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20110128

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it will take out a "rath yarta" (march) in West Bengal

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)on Friday said it will take out a "rath yarta" (march) in West Bengal from Sunday to highlight the lawlessness, "the politics of bodies" and the failure of the union government on price rise. BJP member of parliament Chandan Mitra, who is in charge of the party's affairs in West Bengal, said here that the Nav Jagran rath-yatra, starting from Cooch Behar on Jan 30 and ending in Kolkata Feb 15 with a rally, will also project the party's peace and development agenda.

"Both the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Trinamool Congress are equaly responsible for lawlessness. They are in politics of competitive violence," Mitra said.

He said that price rise began in 2004 when the CPI-M was spporting the United Progressive Alliance government and both the Congress and Trinamool Congress have to answer for the present rise in prices.

The BJP will also oppose the announcement by the Left government in the state to give quota to Muslims in jobs, he added.

"The BJP is opposed to reservation at every level on the basis of religion. Any additional reservation should be only on economic criterion," Mitra said.

He pointed out that the economic condition of the state has gone "from bad to worse" in the last 34 years and the Trinamool Congres is not capable of providing an alternate plan.

The BJP plans to contest all 294 assembly seats in West Bengal but will explore possibilities of alliances with local parties in some parts of the state, he said.

Former BJP president Rajnath Singh will flag off the rath yatra at Cooch Behar on Jan 30 and senior party leader L.K. Advani will address a rally at Kolkata on Feb 15.

Mitra said that the rally will be followed by a meeting of national office-bearers in Kolkata on Feb 16.
source:agency
Tags : Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP rath yarta in West Bengal, union government on price rise

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said no religion preaches "killing of innocent people"

Aurangabad (Maharashtra): Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today condemned terrorism in all forms and said no religion preaches "killing of innocent people".

Addressing a media conference here on the final day of his three-day trip to Maharashtra, Gandhi said that religion and terrorism had no connection.

"I have not come across any religion which preaches violence or killing of innocent people. Terrorists kill innocents and I strongly condemn it," declared Gandhi, who lost his father Rajiv Gandhi to a terror attack in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991.

The Congress general secretary stressed that terrorism is a crime and no terrorist crimes can be condoned as they kill innocents.
source:agency
Tags : India Politics News, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi in Maharashtra

Black money stashed in banks abroad,must be utilised for peoples welfare:Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi

Aurangabad : The black money stashed in banks abroad belonged to the people and must be utilised for their welfare, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said today.

"The Indian Youth Congress is ready to ensure that this money can be channelized for public welfare activities," Gandhi told reporters here while replying to a question on the huge unaccounted cash stashed in foreign banks for tax evasion.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had on Tuesday said $462 billion to $1.4 trillion in black money is estimated to have been stashed abroad by Indians and all steps were being taken to bring it back.

Gandhi was addressing the media on the final day of his three-day visit to Maharashtra.

He is scheduled to travel to the Konkan region of the state later in the day as part of his drive to attract youth to the Congress.
source:agency
Tags : India Politics News, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi in Maharashtra

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi appealed to the youth to give 10 years of their life to politics

Aurangabad : Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today appealed to the youth to give 10 years of their life to politics if they want to see change in the country.

"I assure you, after 10 years, you will be proud of your decision, and the country's politics will take a new direction," Gandhi said, urging educated young men and women to come forward and join the Congress party.

Gandhi was addressing the media on the final day of his three-day visit to Maharashtra.

He is scheduled to travel to the Konkan region of the state later in the day as part of his drive to attract youth to the Congress.
source:agency
Tags : India Politics News, Maharashtra News, Rahul Gandhi Appeal, Youth Politics

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed as a "mere eyewash" Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday termed as a "mere eyewash" Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement about steps to recover black money stashed abroad and called upon the government to take immediate steps to ratify the UN convention against corruption.

In a statement, BJP vice-president Shanta Kumar said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was deliberately mixing the issue of black money with tax-evasion.

He said that the huge amount kept in Swiss banks by Indians had been termed by the Swiss government as stolen property and is regarded by the authorities there as amount collected through illegal and corrupt practices.

Referring to Mukherjee's outlining steps being taken by the government to get the names of Indians with money stashed abroad, Kumar said it was an utopian agenda which would not fetch any fruitful result for the country.

He said that UN convention against corruption was the only international legal instrument to recover the money from tax havens and India was among the few countries which had still not ratified it despite signing it.

He said some countries, which had ratified the treaty, had been able to get some of the money stashed abroad and added that the Swiss representative had declared in the UN General Assembly last year that his government was ready to cooperate with the countries whose illicit money was lying in Swiss banks.

He said that Article 51 to 54 of the Convention binds member countries to share the information of the illicit amount kept in their banks and since Switzerland had also ratified the Convention, it would be legally binding on the Swiss government to disclose the names of bank account holders in the country. He urged the government to immediately ratify the UN Convention.

He said Mukherjee had made no mention of the convention in his statement and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had not replied to his letters on the issue.

"Even the prime minister did not bother to reply to my letters, in which I had asked the government to justify why India is not initiating the ratification process despite the fact that 126 member countries had already ratified the convention" Kumar added.

Referring to the case of Pune businessman Hasan Ali, Kumar said he was served income tax notice in 2007 after a raid on his residences across the country.

"It seems a lenient view taken by the government on his fake passport case was due to his political links with the ruling party," he alleged.

He said ten accounts of worth one lakh dollars in Swiss banks were also detected and a notice to deposit Rs.40,000 crore as tax was issued on Khan.

"The fact had also been confessed by the UPA government in Rajya Sabha on 4th August, 2009. The UPA government had deliberately delayed the proceedings against Khan to facilitate him to withdraw the amount kept in Swiss banks," he said.

Demanding immediate action to seize bank accounts of Khan and his accomplices, he said foreign accounts of the businessman were a concern for the nation.

"Recent reports on the missing Swiss bank accounts of Khan was a concern for nation as he (Khan) had established links with Adnan Khashoggi, a known international arms dealer," Kumar said.
source:agency
Tags : Bharatiya Janata Party, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, black money, UN convention against corruption

Singer Adnan Sami garnered a whopping 475,000 participants for live recording of a song

Mumbai: For the to be done in participation with online listeners on two popular microblogs, singer Adnan Sami garnered a whopping 475,000 participants.

The huge number of participants for Adnan's tribute to his father that he recorded on Jan 21 at the Yash Raj Studios, has encouraged the composer-singer to attempt a whole album with live participants pitching in with their suggestions.

The proposed album will have tracks dedicated to Adnan's fans who would be contributing actively to every composition.

"When I recorded 'Main tere paas hoon' for my father last today, I thought I would give my fans and listeners a chance to share a very precious recording moment with me."

"We expected around 65,000 participants. We got 475,000 very active, very vocal and excitable people coming online with their ideas and suggestions," said Adnan, who is of Pakistani descent but born and brought up in Britain, has been living in Mumbai for quite some time.

Many people who listened in made suggestions and corrections in the music.

"I was taken aback by their inner understanding of a song composition. I was on my laptop. I'd do a line and then a number of people with some very interesting usernames would pipe in. There were people who actually made suggestions that improved the quality of my number. I incorporated these suggestions," said the 37-year-old singer.

The entire process of recording live at Yash Raj with massive online participation will be shown on television.

"It was history. No song in any part of the world has been recorded in this way," said Adnan who intends to carry the online recording session even further.

An entire album devoted to music created by him and the 500,000-odd Adnan-o-philes from all over the world is now being worked out. The only drawback is that the fan tend to get too close for comfort.

"First, some of them have embarrassing usernames like 'hard-on' and 'dickhead'. It sounds really weird to call them out online by such names. We've to find a way out of this. Also some of then get very upset when their suggestions are not incorporated.

"That apart, the whole process of bringing to life a song with the active participation of thousands of people just puts the whole creative process into a different perspective. Done in this way with online inputs my songs become the creative and intellectual property of the listeners," said the singer.

He is known for albums "Kabhi Toh Nazar Milao" and "Tera Chehra". He collaborated with Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan for the song "Lift karade".
source:agency
Tags : India Entertainment News, Indian Music, Adnan Sami, Main Tere Paas Hoon

"Inside Job" Oscar nomination movie, will be released on Feb 4

New Delhi: Critically acclaimed documentary the "Inside Job", which wowed audiences abroad and got an Oscar nomination, will be released here on Feb 4.

Directed by Charles Ferguson and narrated by actor Matt Damon, the film has been nominated in the best documentary feature category for Oscars.

The documentary provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost of over $20 trillion, is labelled as the worst recession since the Great Depression.

It has been shot in the US, Iceland, England, France, Singapore and China.

The film will be released in India by Sony Pictures exclusively in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, followed by a subsequent rollout in other cities.

The "Inside Job" has been screened at the prestigious film festivals of Cannes, Toronto and New York. In India, the film was earlier screened at the Mumbai Film Festival.
source:agency
Tags : India Entertainment News, Hollywood News, Inside Job Oscar Nomination, Inside Job Release

ICC world cup 2011:Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) woke up to the job of finishing ongoing Eden Gardens work

Kolkata: Over 300 labourers were at work on a war footing at the Eden Gardens and officials held emergency parleys, as the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) woke up to the job of finishing ongoing work a day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) took away the India-England Feb 27 game from the historic ground.

"Had they shown such commitment earlier, we would not have had to face such humiliation," said T.P. Dutta, a cricket lover who still finds it difficult to accept that Eden Gardens - which staged the 1987 World Cup final - would not have any match involving India in the coming edition of the big event.

However, the CAB officials were still hoping against hope that the strong stand taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India president Shashank Manohar, who shot off a letter to the ICC, would yield "something positive".

Manohar in his missive wrote that the assurances given by the CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya - himself a former ICC chief - that the work would be completed in time, should be given due importance.

Having drawn flak from all quarters for the tardy pace of renovation work, CAB joint secretary Biswarup Dey called an emergency meeting in the morning that was attended by a host of officials. Supervisory work was distributed among them.

Two huge cranes have been operating non-stop, while over 100 labourers were engaged to fix bucket seats in one of the galleries. Some of the scaffoldings on the outer walls - which were seen till Thursday - have been removed.

Some of the debris still remained inside the ground, but the lower tier of the stadium was almost complete.

Work around the CAB office inside the stadium is on the verge of completion with the workers giving finishing touches.

"We are increasing the height of the sight screen as per the design given by the ICC officials who carried out an inspection Tuesday. We are also flexible on relocating the radio commentary booth about which the ICC has objections," said Dey.

Meanwhile, rumours and speculations were rife. In the morning a section of media went to town quoting Dey that the ICC will re-inspect the facility Jan 31 to decide the fate of the three remaining matches. When queried about it, Dey told the media: "I have not got any intimation. I only saw it on a website."

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the CAB was also lobbying for getting another match involving India and had sounded out Delhi to swap the England match with the one involving India and Netherlands scheduled to be played in the national capital.

Former CAB joint secretary Chitrak Mitra, who has been supervising the work at Eden Gardens, said the association lost 37 days due to the Indian Premier League and the Test match involving South Africa last year.

The ICC ruled Eden Gardens unsuitable for the tie following an adverse report from its venue inspection team that visited Kolkata and four other venues earlier this week to review their readiness for the big event being hosted jointly by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from Feb 19 to April 2.

Dalmiya on Thursday appealed to the BCCI to advise the international body to reconsider its decision.

Referring to the 14-day extension given by the ICC to four other venues, including Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, to complete the finishing work, Dalmiya asked for an extension of 10 days from Thursday up to Feb 7 to hand over a complete Eden Gardens to the game's apex body.

Apart from the India-England encounter, Eden Gardens is supposed to host three other games-South Africa vs. Ireland (March 15), the Netherlands vs. Ireland (March 18), and Zimbabwe vs. Kenya (March 20).
source:agency
Tags : Eden Gardens, Cricket Association of Bengal, International Cricket Council, ICC, India-England Feb 27 game, World Cup News

Sportspersons from Uttar Pradesh who earned honours at the CWG & the Asian Games given cash prizes

Lucknow: Sportspersons from Uttar Pradesh who earned honours at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games were today given cash prizes by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.

The cash prizes are part of the Kanshi Ram International Sports Award instituted by the Mayawati government.

Apart from giving away prizes worth Rs.1.97 crore to the 16 medallists from UP, Mayawati also hosted a lunch for them at her official residence here.

While praising the winners, she said: "The fact that most of the medallists hailed from small towns and villages shows how much of talent we have at the grassroots level, which is where is need to encourage them."

"My government will do everything to tap such talent and give the desired assistance to see that they bloom and shine," she added.

While each of the gold winners in individual events received cheques for Rs.15 lakh, those who were part of a team were given Rs.10 lakh each.

Likewise, those who won silver medal in individual events were given Rs.10 lakh and those who were part of the team received Rs.8 lakh.

Bronze medalists received Rs.8 lakh and team participants Rs.6 lakh each.

Those who were felicitated were: Alka Tomar (wrestling), Anuraj Singh (shooting), N.G. Sonashanu (weight-lifting), Imran Hasan Khan (shooting), Narsingh Yadav (wrestling), Ritul chatterjee (archery), Ashish Kumar (gymnastics), Anuj Kumar Chaudhary (wrestling), Tushar Khakhar (hockey), Sunil Kumar (wrestling), Sudha Singh (atheletics), Danish Mujtaba (hockey), Lokesh Kumar (rowing), Rahul Bajaj (golf), Jasmer Singh (kabbadi) and Rajesh Kumar (rowing).
source:agency
Tags : Sportspersons from Uttar Pradesh, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawat

Sun TV Network Limited declared an interim dividend of 100 percent (Rs.5)

Chennai: The Sun TV Network Limited today declared an interim dividend of 100 percent (Rs.5) on its equity shares having a face value of Rs.5 after approving the accounts for the third quarter of the current fiscal and also the nine month period ended on Dec 31.

The company's total income and net profit for the nine month period went up to Rs.1,492.81 crore and Rs.563.88 crore respectively as against Rs.1,037.17 crore and Rs.402.30 crore posted during the corresponding period last year, the Sun TV board said.

For the third quarter, Sun TV had posted a revenue of Rs.597.99 crore and a net profit of Rs.225.49 crore, up from Rs.312.52 crore and Rs.151.94 crore respectively earned during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, a company official said.

According to the official, the company has recognised Rs.151 crore as the revenue in this quarter from its blockbuster movie "Enthiran"/"Robot".

Even excluding the revenue from the film, the total revenue is around Rs.447 crore for the third quarter, showing a growth over the second quarter revenue of Rs.424 crore, company officials told the media.
source:agency
Tags : India Business News, Indian Media, Sun TV Network Limited, Sun TV Interim Dividend, Sun TV Equity Shares

Public sector UCO Bank today declared a 22.35 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth

Kolkata: Public sector UCO Bank today declared a 22.35 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in its net profit to Rs.301 crore in the third quarter of the current fiscal compared to Rs.246 crore in the corresponding period the previous year.

Declaring the third quarter results, UCO Bank chairman and managing director Arun Kaul said: "Operating profit for the quarter posted a growth of 65.58 percent to Rs.765 crore."

"Bank deposit registered 16.05 percent YoY growth to Rs.1.21 lakh crore for the quarter, while advances of the bank stood at Rs.0.89 lakh crore registering 20.43 percent YoY growth," he added.

Net interest income grew by 89.94 percent in nine months of FY11 to Rs.3,001 crore backed by an impressive 20.43 percent growth in advances, Kaul added.

CASA (current and saving account) deposits increased to Rs.27,888 crore in December 2010 from Rs.24,195 crore in December 2009, recording a growth of 15.26 percent. Saving deposits increased by 21.18 per cent to Rs 23,616 crore.

Gross NPA (non-performing assets) ratio stood at 2.57 percent as on December, 2010 whereas net NPA ratio was 1.13 percent.

The bank targeted 20-21 percent YoY growth in both deposit and credit during the financial year, Kaul said, adding about 10-11 percent of the bank's total credit was in retail.
source:agency
Tags : India Business News, India Banking Industry, UCO Bank YoY Growth, UCO Bank Net Profit

HCL Infosystems Ltd reported a marginal decline of 0.19 percent in its net profit

New Delhi: HCL Infosystems Ltd today reported a marginal decline of 0.19 percent in its net profit during the quarter ended December 2010 at Rs.55.98 crore as against Rs.56.09 crore in the same period last fiscal.

However, the net income from operations of the company increased by 2.75 percent at Rs.3,115.14 crore for the quarter under review as against Rs.3,031.49 crore during the same period in the corresponding fiscal.

While the revenue generated from the computer systems business stood at Rs.1,040 crore, telecommunications and office automation accounted for Rs.2104 crore.

"This quarter has witnessed our growth programs kicking in with us ending it with an all time high order book. There have been some key wins in the system integration space across sectors further strengthening our order pipeline and on the other hand our computer hardware business has also recorded good growth," said Harsh Chitale, chief executive officer, HCL Infosystems Ltd.

The company recently did a strategic acquisition in the Middle East and is actively looking at inorganic growth with a focus to expand both the geographical presence and further enhance their IT services capability.

"We are clearly investing in the future and as we do so a new face of HCL Infosystems is unravelling with each day," said Ajai Chowdhry, chairman HCL Infosystems Ltd.

"As we are a growing business, there are investments being made for capacity building along with seeking opportunities to both grow organically and inorganically," he added.

At the Bombay Stock Exchange, the shares of the company closed up 0.33 percent at Rs.106.
source:agency
Tags : Inda Business News, Indian Corporate Sector, HCL Infosystems Ltd Net Profit, HCL Infosystems Ltd Net Income

Gay and lesbian tourists are big spenders and vacation savvy:18th South Asia Travel and Tour Expo (SATTE)

New Delhi: Gay and lesbian tourists are big spenders and vacation savvy and are being increasingly targeted by travel operators in India, said travel experts at the 18th South Asia Travel and Tour Expo (SATTE) today.

"Gays or lesbians are the biggest spender on lifestyle products. They have maximum disposable incomes as they come from DINK (Double Income, No Kids) group. So they are recession proof and they are vacation savvy," said Thomas Boemkes, managing director, Tom On Tour, a portal for gay travellers and friends.

A special session on 'Gay and Lesbian Tourism' was organised by SATTE.

"Gay men usually come in groups from Western Europe, United States and Canada and their favourite destination is Kerala, Rajasthan and Varanasi," director of Indjapink, India's first and only gay travel boutique for gay vacations, Sanjay Malhotra, said.

He also said after the Delhi High Court ruling in favour of homosexuals, the tourism industry in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community has increased manifold.

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court had ruled in favour of scrapping Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises sexual acts between consenting adults of the same gender.

A total of 38 countries are participating in the exhibition that started today in Pragati Maidan, which has stalls from 25 states of India.
source:agency
Tags : Gay and lesbian tourists, travel operators in India, 18th South Asia Travel and Tour Expo, Gay and Lesbian Tourism

Tata Global Beverages Ltd signed an agreement with Kerala Ayurveda Ltd to form a joint venture (JV)

Bangalore: Tata Global Beverages Ltd today signed an agreement with Kerala Ayurveda Ltd to form a joint venture (JV) for developing a range of beverages and food products based on native recipes for the global market.

"The proposed joint venture will focus on developing beverage and food products based on Ayurvedic recipes, actives and formulations for the global market where benefits of the Indian system of medicine for wellness are recognised," the company said in a statement here.

Both the companies will sign definitive agreements to set up the JV in the next few months and the transaction will be subject to statutory approvals.

"The joint venture will not have conflict of interest with the existing arrangements of either party," the statement added.

The $1.5-billion Tata Group company has interests in beverages, tea and coffee and operates across 40 countries worldwide.

Tata Tea, Tetley, Himalayan natural mineral water, Good Earth and Eight 'O' Clock coffee are some of its regional and global beverage brands.

Kerala Ayurveda, founded in 1945 by renowned Ayurved acharya K.G.K. Panicker at Aluva in the southern state, has a chain of 30 treatment centres and clinics and three hospitals across India, besides a wellness resort in this tech hub (Bangalore).

The Ayurveda firm also offers a range of Ayurvedic courses, treatments and healthcare services through five subsidiaries across the US.
source:agency
Tags : Tata Global Beverages Ltd, Kerala Ayurveda Ltd, beverages and food products on native recipes, Tata's global market,

India says students hold valid visas ,US university closure issue

New Delhi: Voicing concern over the welfare of Indian students affected by the closure of a California-based university, India today asserted that students had valid visas and conveyed to the US that they should be given chance to clarify their position.

The students hold valid visas, a senior official said here today, adding that India is hopeful they will be given adequate opportunity to clarify their position.

"Our immediate concern is the welfare of students. We are in touch with US federal agencies," a senior official said. India's consul general in San Fransisco also is in touch with students, the official said.

India has sought a report from its missions in the US over the fate of Indian students after American authorities closed down a California-based university on charges of "visa fraud" and illegal immigration.

The issue will be discussed in detail when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao travels to Washington next month.

"We have asked for a report from our embassy and from our consulate general and when a report is issued, we will be taking it up with the government of the US," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had told reporters here on Thursday.

The missions have been instructed also to look into the welfare of Indian students affected by the closure of the Tri-Valley University.

Hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of being deported from the US after the university in California, declared "sham", was shut down for allegedly selling US visa to willing students.

The Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a suburb in San Francisco Bay Area, was raided Tuesday and charged with helping foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status, according to local media reports.

A complaint filed by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against the "sham" university alleged that its founder and president Susan Xiao-Ping Su was using the school to issue a US visa to any foreign national willing to pay for it.

The immigration investigation began in May 2010, after it was noticed that the school applied for an excessive number of US student visas when compared to the previous year. The university is said to have 1,555 students, of which 95 percent are Indian nationals, the complaint said.

The US has expressed concern over the incident. "Any activity involving visa fraud would obviously be of great concern to us. The investigation of that is done by law enforcement, obviously with our cooperation, since we are the ones who issue visas," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington.
source:agency
Tags : India Education News, Welfare of Indian Students, US Student Visas, Indian Students in US

Supreme Court dismissed a petition by former BJP MP seeking the abolition of the subsidy given to Haj pilgrims

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition by former Bharatiya Janata Party MP and Hindu ideologue Praful Goradia seeking the abolition of the subsidy given to Haj pilgrims.

"There is no force in this petition and it is dismissed," the court said.

The court also said that a "very small expenditure in proportion to the entire tax collected" was being spent on the pilgrims belonging to different religions.

The apex court bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra also noted that "we must not be too rigid in these matters" and need to adopt a "balanced view".

"We cannot say that even if one paisa of the government is spent for a particular religion there will be violation of Article 27" (of the constitution), the court said.

The order observed that "despite its tremendous diversity, India is still united."

"Only policy which can work and provide for stability and progress is secularism and giving equal respect to all communities, sects and denominations etc," it further said.

Goradia had contended that the money given to the Haj pilgrims came from the direct and indirect taxes he and others paid to the exchequer and this was violative of the Articles 14, 15 and 27 of the constitution.

The petition underlined his Hindu identity.

The Article 27 of the constitution reads: "No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in the payment of expanses for the promotion and maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination."

The court said that there could be two views about Article 27. "One view can be that Article 27 is attracted only when the statute by which the tax is levied specifically states that the proceeds of the tax will be utilised for a particular religion."

"The other view", the court said, "can be that Article 27 will be attracted even when the statute is a general statute, like the Income Tax Act or the Central Excise Act or the State Sales Tax Acts (which do not specify for what purpose the proceeds will be utilized), provided that a substantial part of such proceeds are in fact utilised for a particular religion."

"In our opinion, if only a relatively small part of any tax collected is utilised for providing some conveniences or facilities or concessions to any religious denomination, that would not be violative of Article 27 of the constitution," the bench said.

"It is only when a substantial part of the tax is utilised for any particular religion that Article 27 would be violated," the judges observed.

Referring to the affidavit filed by the central government, the court noted: "State government incurs some expenditure for the Kumbh Mela, the central government incurs expenditure for facilitating Indian citizens going on pilgrimage to Mansarover."

The court also referred to the Punjab government providing "facilities to Hindus and Sikh pilgrims to visit temples and Gurdwaras in Pakistan."

It found no merit in Gordia's petition and dismissed it.
source:agency
Tags : India Judiciary News, Supreme Court, Praful Goradia Petition, Abolition of Haj Subsidy, Haj Pilgrims

Prestigious Catholic school in New York displays Diwali

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Marymount School of New York (USA), a Catholic institution, organized Diwali demonstration.

It reportedly included lighting of diyas and the girls learned how to wrap a sari. Each girl of Class One was presented with her own sari to wear.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has applauded Marymount for honoring Diwali, calling it “a step in the right direction”.

In a statement in Nevada (USA) today, Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that awareness about other religions thus created by such displays would make the Marymount pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

In the past also, Marymount celebrated Diwali with a traditional breakfast of idly, upma, mango-lassi, alu-bhaji, etc. It also included sari displays, lighting of candles in clay jars, bangles decoration, bindis, coloring of Diwali posters, and mehndi hand paintings by a henna-artist.

Marymount is a college preparatory, independent, Catholic day school for girls, founded in 1926 and directed by the Religious Order of the Sacred Heart of Mary established in 1849 in Béziers (France). Headmistress is Concepcion Alvar while Board Chair is Beth Nielsen Werwaiss of Maymount, which promotes “responsible living in a changing world”.

According to Rajan Zed, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
--Press release

mHealth: TATA DOCOMO launches mobile sex education in India

Claiming that most Indian’s are still deeply conservative about sex education, mobile operator TATA DOCOMO has launched a mobile service called “Sparsh” to create awareness about sexual health.

What’s the story?

“Sparsh” is the Sankskrit word for “touch” – which is a nice name for a service like this. It’s based around audio packages. First, the user subscribes to the service by calling 529222. Once subscribed, a list of topics is accessible through the phone. For example, the user can access a module about AIDS, which will provide them with information about the disease, it’s causes and preventative measures.

It’s also very cheap – it costs 10 Rs (around €0.16) for 10 days access. It also costs 1 paise per second while browsing – but that’s about 2 hundredths of a cent.

Who’s behind it?

TATA DOCOMO is the GSM network operated by Tata Teleservices in India. It’s a joint venture with NTT Docomo from Japan. But before it was rolled out, the service was approved by one of the biggest health bodies in India – the FPAI (Family Planning Association of India), a sexual and reproductive health non-Government organization. At the moment, the service is available for English, Hindi and Marathi speakers, but is being launched for seven more dialects in the near future.

Zubin Jimmy Dubash, VP of New Product Development at TATA DOCOMO said “we at TATA DOCOMO aim at providing on-the-go solutions to important issues such as lack of awareness about sex, particularly amongst the adolescents and the ever increasing concern on AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, physical abuse and socially unwanted behavior.”

What we think?

This service is being offered with a tremendous degree of privacy. When someone rings to order it, there isn’t even an actual person at the end of the line. Subscription occurs through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mechanism. And once you’ve ordered, all you have to do is listen – so even in the most conservative area this will offer someone the chance to privately access information about sexual health.

source:gomonews

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the burden of oil price rise will have to be borne at least partly by the people

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the burden of oil price rise will have to be borne at least partly by the people as oil marketing companies were unable to sell at earlier rates as global crude oil had got costlier. "Oil marketing companies cannot make money from heaven. The price rise has to be passed on," Mukherjee told reporters at an informal luncheon here. The freedom to price petrol as per market conditions was given to oil retailers last and accordingly prices of petrol was hiked for the fifth time in 2010 by Rs.2.95 per litre. The hike was necessitated by the rise in global crude prices to $90 per barrel.

Asked how retail petrol prices were now inching towards Rs.60 a litre, as against Rs.52 in 2008 when crude oil was at $147 per barrel, Mukherjee said this was because of general price rise, cost of local production and other activities.

As per government estimates, the impact of selling fuel below cost -- referred to as under recovery in oil industry jargon -- will be Rs.4.17 per litre on petrol and Rs.5.40 on diesel, amounting to Rs.65,000 crore for the fiscal year as a whole.

Mukherjee also hinted that it was not possible to give any more subsidy to oil marketing companies during this fiscal.
source:agency
Tags : India News, Oil price hike, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Indian government

Maharashtra government has acquired a reputation as bad as 'Munni' from Bollywood mega-hit "Dabang":Bal Thackeray

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has acquired a reputation as bad as 'Munni' from the recent Bollywood mega-hit "Dabang", Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said today.

In a hard-hitting editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamna', Thackeray listed the failures and scams afflicting the state government, and added that with Tuesday's burning of Nashik additional district collector Yeshwant Sonawane by the petrol mafia, the state government's reputation has gone for a toss and sullied like that of 'Munni'.

The state leaders keep invoking the names of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar, but the mafia which indulges in adulteration rackets in petrol, edible oil, milk, sand, mava and ghee continues to enjoy life as usual, he said.

"After the Sonawane burning incident, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan vowed that nobody would be spared and promised to take stringent action against the perpetrators...He has been saying that since the Adarsh Society scam... But the 'mafiagiri' continues unabated," Thackeray said.

Alleging that the state is under 'mafia raj' (mafia rule), Thackeray said the mafia's disciples are in Chavan's cabinet.

However, when the ruling party members are busy "dancing on each others chest", it is difficult to see how they will grapple with the mafia around the state, Thackeray said.
source:agency
Tags : Maharashtra News, Maharashtra government, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, Sonawane's burning by petrol mafia

Abhinay Deo's upcoming action thriller "Game", which has Abhishek Bachchan in the lead role

New Delhi: First time director Abhinay Deo's upcoming action thriller "Game", which has Abhishek Bachchan in the lead role, has been scheduled for an April 1 release.

Produced under Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar's banner Excel Entertainment, the film has been shot in Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Britain and India.

Filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar has penned dialogues for the movie that also stars Kangana Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Shahana Goswami, Gauhar Khan and newcomer Sarah Jane Dias.
source:agency
Tags : Entertainment News, Bollywood celebrities, Bollywood films

Katrina Kaif now wants veteran lyricist Gulzar to write romantic poems for her

Mumbai: She is one of the most beautiful women in Hindi film industry, but surprisingly no one has ever written any romantic poems for Katrina Kaif, who believes love is the most beautiful thing in the world. The actress now wants veteran lyricist Gulzar to pen one for her.

"Nobody has ever written a poem for me. But if actually someone writes a poem for me, I think that will be very romantic," she said at the launch of Pritish Nandy's book of love poems "Tonight, This Savage Rite".

Looking her best in an off white-knee length dress, Katrina, 26, surprised everyone when she said: "I want Gulzar saab to write poems for me."

Gulzar, 74, who has written innumerable songs for Hindi films and has many poetry books to his credit, was present at the event and said: "Inshallah, I would write a poem for Katrina for sure."

The event was about love poems and it was but natural to know Katrina's views on romance and the actress happily obliged everyone by sharing her opinion.

"Even though love is known to entail pain, disappointment, disillusionment, still I don't want to be pessimistic about love. I would rather want to have a positive approach to love. I believe that there can be a happy ending, because love is the most beautiful thing in the world," she said.

When asked about Valentine's Day plans, she said: "I have no plans. I will be working on the day."
source:agency
Tags : Entertainment News, Bollywood celebrities, Bollywood films

Apple iPad is officially available in all the Apple stores in India

New Delhi: The Apple iPad made its presence felt in India today. For the first time, Apple iPad is officially available in all the Apple stores across the country.

The lowest price of Apple iPad could be as low as Rs 27,900 and the highest price can escalate to Rs 44,900.

Doing away with its usual pricing strategy of setting high price initially, the prices of all the models have been kept at par with the price tag attached to them in Europe. Apple has been following this strategy with its latest range of MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro along with iMac.

It is to be noted that wi-fi as well as the wi-fi-plus-3G versions are available to the buyers unlike many European countries. Unlike the iPhone, Apple iPad comes unlocked, making it easier for the users to use SIM cards of any service-provider.

After the official launch, the iPad is now likely to reach a larger audience. Apple Store takes the credit for bolstering iPad usage in multiple ways. Games and TV channels are more than successful on the iPad.
source:agency
Tags : Apple iPad in India, Apple iPad launch in India, Apple stores in India, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac

Automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) will first target the captive segment for its newly-launched Genio pickup truck

Chennai: Automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) will first target the captive segment for its newly-launched Genio pickup truck and look at exports along the way, an official of the Rs.31,172 crore company said here today.

"We are looking at exports is all I can say as I do not handle that portfolio. Currently, the focus is on the domestic market targeting the captive segment (owner driven or used by company for delivery purposes) that wants to make a personality or brand statement," Senior Vice President - Sales and Customer Service Arun Malhotra told reporters.

He said the small truck segment is classified into two -- captive and stand-vehicles rented at stands.

Launching the 1.2 tonne pickup truck, Malhotra said: "Currently, the segment size is around 85,000 units and M&M commands around 75 percent of the market with its Bolero pickup model."

The other players in this segment are Tata Motors and Force Motors.

Malhotra said the company plans to roll out 2,000 Genios per month.

He said the BS-III version is priced at Rs.505,000 and the BS-IV engine version will cost Rs.8,000 more.

According to him, the Genio model will be sold through 70 dealerships in the first phase and later increase the distribution reach by selling through 240 dealerships pan-India.
source:agency
Tags : India Business News, Indian Automobile Industry, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd Genio, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd Exports

Bollywood actress Lara Dutta hoping that her fiance Mahesh Bhupathi wins the men's doubles Australian Open

New Delhi: She may not be a tennis freak, but Bollywood actress Lara Dutta is sincerely hoping that her fiance Mahesh Bhupathi wins the men's doubles Australian Open with his partner Leander Paes on Sunday.

"So proud of Lee & Hesh!!! Praying for a win! The only Grandslam title they haven't won together... YET!!! C'monnnnn Boys!!! (sic)," Lara posted on her Twitter page following Paes-Bhupathi's entry into the Australian Open final on Thurdsay.

The two tennis players made for a former World No.1 pair, and have won three Grand Slams together -- Wimbledon (1999) and two French Open titles (1999, 2001). They are now playing a Grand Slam together after nine years.

Bhupathi will be tying the knot with Lara on Feb 19. The duo got engaged in New York in September.
source:agency
Tags : India Sports News, Australian Open, tennis men's doubles

England all-rounder Paul Collingwood is desperate to find his form before ICC World Cup 2011

London: England all-rounder Paul Collingwood is desperate to find his form ahead of the World Cup after his poor form with the bat led to his demotion to No.7 in the ongoing one-day series against Australia.

Collingwood had a horrific Ashes, scoring 83 runs in five Test matches. Subsequently, he retired from Test cricket to focus on his limited overs career.

But the Twenty20 captain is trying to get back his batting form and hit a scratchy 27 against Australia in the fourth One-day International at the Adelaide Oval.

Collingwood admitted his batting slump but said he is not far away from regaining the touch.

"Is the writing on the wall (about being axed from the side)? Is that what you are trying to say? We will have to see what conditions are like. I am desperate to get in the side, like every other batsman. It will be interesting to see what combination they go with," Collingwood was quoted as saying by the media.

"I have been there before, but it is not a position I would like to keep for too long. Hopefully I will get myself back into some sort of form and get up the order a bit, but I understand the reasons I am there," he said.

Collingwood recalled the times where had gone through a rough patch since his ODI debut in June 2001.

"There have been plenty of low points along the way," he said. "It was ridiculous 2006-07. I went from that point thinking, ‘I can't even bat any more', to getting man-of-the-match awards. It can change quickly."

The saving grace for Collingwood has been his bowling. He castled Michael Clarke with his slow-medium pace and conceded 22 runs from seven overs in the fourth ODI.

"I want to contribute in whichever way I can, want to win games for England," he said.

"It is a great way (taking wickets) to take the pressure off in many ways from your batting. But ultimately my role in the side is to score runs and that's what I want to get back to," he stressed.
source:agency
Tags : England Australia One Day Series, Paul Collingwood in Worold Cup, Paul Collingwood Form

Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) collaborating with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for science course

New Delhi: In a new venture, the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) today announced it was collaborating with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for a science discipline course.

The programme, masters in bioinformatics and biotechnology, will be a regular course the IBAB campus in Bangalore and students with bachelor's degree in any branch of science or technology will be eligible to pursue it, according to an IBAB official.

The course aims at providing competence in both biotechnology and computational biology by providing training in the areas of cell and molecular biology, computer science, statistics, and bioinformatics, he said.

The application forms are available for students till April 14, 2011 at the IBAB campus followed by an online written test.
source:agency
Tags : India education news, IGNOU Educational Programmes, IBAB's courses

National Cadet Corps (NCC),to groom school and college students :Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: The National Cadet Corps (NCC), India's tri-services movement to groom school and college students into disciplined citizens, will grow in strength by two lakh and touch the 15-lakh mark soon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here today.

"I am very happy to inform you that in recognition of the good work done by the National Cadet Corps, the government has sanctioned an enhancement in its authorised cadet strength from 13 lakh to 15 lakh," Singh said addressing the cadets at the Prime Minister's NCC Rally.

The cadets have been in Delh for the last one month as part of the annual Republic Day camp and had marched as a contingent in the 62nd Republic Day parade down Rajpath on Wednesday.

The increase in the strength of the NCC, a voluntary organisation, will add five new group headquarters and 40 new units in schools and colleges across the country.

The NCC is also planning to raise its current girls cadet strength from the present 24 percent to 33 percent in the next five years and ultimately achieve 50 percent recruitment of girls in its units.

Noting that NCC was "a proud symbol" of national integration and values of discipline, patriotic service and team work, the prime minister said he commended the organisation for its praiseworthy role in grooming the country's young men and women into disciplined and patriotic leaders of tomorrow.

"I have travelled to many countries but rarely have I come across young men and women who are brighter, better informed and more infused with hope, passion and values than in India," he added.

Praising the NCC for showcasing the diversity of Indian society, Singh said the multitude of talent, experience and learning in the organisation were a great resource for the country.
source:agency
Tags : India Defence News, National Cadet Corps Strength, India's School Students, India's College Students, India's Citizens

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is awaiting data analysis from Russia

Chennai: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is awaiting data analysis from Russia, who supplied the cryogenic engine, to finalise its report on the failure of the GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket's failure soon after its December launch, according to a senior official.

An 11-member expert committee was set up to study the reasons for the disintegration of the heavy rocket Dec 25, 2010, shortly after lift-off.

"We are expecting some data from the Russians who had supplied the cryogenic engine. The Russians are expected to provide the data by the end of this month," former ISRO chief G.Madhavan Nair, who heads the committee, told media.

"We have scheduled another meeting of the failure analysis committee (FAC) Feb 7 at Thiruvananthapuram where we hope to come to a conclusion as to the cause of the GSLV's loss," he said.

The 418-tonne GSLV rocket (cost Rs.175 crore) carrying advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P (weight 2,310 kg, cost Rs.150 crore) veered off its flight path and began disintegrating within one minute after lift-off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

According to the ISRO, the primary cause for the rocket's failure was the snapping of 10 connectors that carry command signals from the onboard computer to the control electronics of the four strap-on motors in the first stage.

The committee is examining why the connectors snapped. It has met once in Thiruvananthapuram early January.

The German made connectors are fixed on a metal plate. The plate, in turn, is fixed to a shroud or cylindrical cover that comes between the cryogenic engine and the lower stage (engine).

According to Nair, the shroud made of composites is part of the Russian cryogenic engine and it got deformed due to the flight load. The committee is yet to conclude why the shroud was not able to bear the load.

Experts told media that the first 15 kilometres of a rocket's flight is a very crucial time as it is subjected to heavy atmospheric loads. It is more so when the rocket is escaping the earth's gravitational pull at 330 metres per second.

The flow of air along the rocket will be turbulent at the transonic speed - when the rocket crosses the speed of sound. At that point the air will attach to the rocket at some places and detach at some spots in a haphazard manner, the experts said, preferring anonymity.

The deformation of the cylindrical shroud is a structural failure and the reasons for that is what FAC is looking into.

Nair said some tests are being conducted in that connection.

ISRO has set up various sub-teams to study and analyse the flight data.

Compared to the other Russian cryogenic engines that powered the earlier GSLV's, the one that was fixed to the ill-fated Dec 25 rocket was 1.3 metres longer to contain higher fuel.

According to a retired ISRO official, the GSLV broke most likely due to the instability caused by the heavy satellite it carried.

Dismissing the contention, another ISRO official said: "The increase in the satellite GSAT-5P's weight is just 90 kg as compared to the GSLV rocket that carried the GSAT-4, weighing 2,220 kg in April. Such marginal increase in weight will make no difference."

He also discounted the possibility of the rocket becoming unstable because of the two-tonne increase in its overall weight as compared to the April GSLV rocket that weighed 416 tonnes.

"The rocket would have burned around 100 tonnes of first stage fuel by the time the problem started. So a mere addition of two tonnes to the rocket's weight would not make it unstable," he added.

R.V. Perumal, a retired ISRO rocket scientist, said: "When the rocket configuration changes, necessary calibrations will be carried out in its navigational systems, control dynamics and aerodynamics to make the mission successful."

ISRO officials say the rocket's capability will be improved continuously so as to arrive at optimum level.

The GSLV rocket that blasted off in April 2010, powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine, stood 50 metres tall and had a lift-off weight of 416 tonnes. That mission too failed as there was a problem in the cryogenic stage built by the ISRO.

The standard configuration for GSLV is a height of 49 metres and a weight of 414 tonnes at lift-off whereas the rocket that went up in flames was taller by two metres and heavier by four tonnes.

Queried about the ISRO getting GSLV technology right, Nair said that the space agency has got the technology right for individual systems and the problem seems to arise when the systems are integrated into a single rocket.
source:agency
Tags : India News, India's GSLV rocket destroyed, ISRO

Dalai Lama is now relying on tools like videoconferencing and Twitter to bypass the Chinese establishment

Dharamsala: The Dalai Lama is now relying on tools like videoconferencing and Twitter to bypass the Chinese establishment and reach out to the ordinary Chinese.

Interacting with Chinese rights activists for the first time through videoconferencing this month, the Tibetan spiritual leader said: "Even though our consistent stand of middle way policy based on the foundation of non-violence has not yielded tangible result through dialogue with the Chinese government, it has helped us in getting strong support from the Chinese."

The 75-year-old Nobel Laureate interacted with civil rights activist Teng Biao and human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong from his residence in this northern Indian hill station from where he heads the Tibetan government-in-exile.

"It is difficult to deal with the Chinese, but I think despite our inability to maintain extensive contacts with Chinese intellectuals and the public, our stand will win their support and it will continue to grow," the Dalai Lama said.

Thubten Samphel, a spokesperson for the Tibetan government-in-exile, told media that this was the first time that the Dalai Lama had interacted with the Chinese through videoconferencing.

"Earlier, he tweeted his Chinese followers on (micro-blogging site) Twitter," he said.

Political observers here say that using the cyber space to reach out to the ordinary Chinese was an attempt to counter China's adverse stand vis-a-vis the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause.

Noted Chinese writer Wang Lixong, who arranged the interaction, said: "If interactions like these are deemed constructive for Sino-Tibetan relations and understanding each other further, then in the future I think and I hope that many Chinese scholars and concerned people will take part."

In his interaction, the Dalai Lama touched upon various topics concerning Tibetan exiles.

On losing grip over the behaviour of a few Tibetans in exile, the spiritual guru said: "There are over 150,000 Tibetans living in exile, of which perhaps 99 percent share a common concern. Of course, there will be difference of opinions and it should exist since here we are following the path of democracy.

"I tell my people that they have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought and they should express themselves freely. So there will be different opinions."

Regarding the stand of pro-independence activists of the Tibetan Youth Congress, he said: "They struggle for independence and criticise our middle way policy. During my occasional meetings with them, I tell them the Chinese government expects that I should arrest some of you, but we cannot do such things here in a free country and I would never do such a thing."

The Dalai Lama, who believes in "greater autonomy" for the people of Tibet, is viewed by the Chinese as a hostile element bent on splitting Tibet from China.

More than 50 years ago, the Dalai Lama fled into exile and established his government-in-exile here. The government is not recognised by any other country.

Commenting on the issue of his reincarnation, he said: "The 400-year-old tradition of the Dalai Lama as both spiritual and temporal leader ended with the direct election of political leadership by the Tibetans in exile in 2001.

"In 1969, I made it well known in my official statement that whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not would be decided by the Tibetan people. In future, to decide whether to have the Dalai Lama's reincarnation and if there is a need, it is not necessary to always follow the past precedents, but we can act in accordance with the given circumstances," he said.

Asked about the deep-seated anger the Chinese establishment displays towards him, he joked: "I am a demon. I have horns on my head."

"This (animosity) is understandable since the Chinese people have access only to one-sided and distorted information," he said while clarifying his stand on protests in several areas of western China in March 2008 prior to the Beijing Olympics.

"The Chinese government greatly publicised that we were creating obstacles for the Olympic Games. Because of such propaganda, the Chinese people are not aware of the entire situation and thus we cannot blame them."

"Can you see my face clearly? Can see my grey eyebrows? See you later," the Dalai Lama said in his concluding remarks.
source:agency
Tags : India News, Dalai Lama, Chinese rights activists, Chinese government, Tibetan government-in-exile

Rajesh Talwar, the father of murdered teenager Arushi Talwar, is now stable

New Delhi: Rajesh Talwar, the father of murdered teenager Arushi Talwar, is now stable after undergoing surgery at the Indraprastha Apollo hospital in the capital, hospital authorities said today.

The hospital said in a statement: "Rajesh Talwar has undergone a surgical procedure today. He is stable and continues to be managed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors."

Talwar sustained multiple injuries after a youth, Utsav Sharma, attacked him with a cleaver outside the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Tuesday.

Sharma, a former student of Ahmedabad's National Institute of Design (NID), is currently in jail and has been booked for attempt to murder and under the National Security Act as the crime had occurred inside a court premise.

Sharma had also attacked tainted former Haryana top cop S.P.S. Rathore, convicted in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, outside a Chandigarh court last year.

Aarushi, 14, was found murdered under mysterious circumstances in her parents' Jalvayu Vihar apartment in Noida, on May 16, 2008. Their domestic help Hemraj was initially suspected for the killing, but his body was found on the flat's terrace a day later.

Talwar was arrested soon after the murders but let off when investigators could not find evidence to nail him.
source:agency
Tags : India News, Rajesh Talwar attacked by Utsav Sharma, CBI court

20110127

P.J. Thomas may be asked to step down as Central Vigilance Commissioner,Veerappa Moily had a meeting with Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday evening, fuelling speculation that P.J. Thomas may be asked to step down as Central Vigilance Commissioner following the Supreme Court asking if the correct procedure was followed in his selection and the BJP's Sushma Swaraj planning to file an affidavit in court to put the record straight on her dissenting note in his selection over a corruption case. The Bharatiya Janata Party launched a sharp attack on the prime minister over the appointment of Thomas as the CVC, saying the "trail" in the selection leads to his door. The party termed as a "patent lie" the government statement in the court that its selection panel did not know that Thomas was charge sheeted in a corruption case of import of palm oil in Kerala in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Moily met Manmohan Singh in the evening, apparently to discuss the case of Thomas.

Earlier, Moily told reporters that the government will reply in the court to the allegations of the BJP and its senior leader Sushma Swaraj.

Swaraj said she would file an affidavit in the apex court soon.

Launching an attack on Manmohan Singh, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the prime minister "should tell the nation when he learnt that criminal prosecution was pending against Thomas in the palm oil import case".

Thomas was selected as the CVC in September last by a committee comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidmabaram and Sushma Swaraj. Though Swaraj had given a written dissent, the commitee selected Thomas on a majority basis.

Sushma Swaraj had claimed she opposed the appointment of Thomas, a Kerala cadre IAS officer, as his name had figured in the charge sheet of a corruption case regarding palm oil imports in Kerala in the 1990s.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that Sushma Swaraj had told the committee for selection of the CVC that a charge sheet was pending against Thomas in the palm oil import case.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it wanted to know if correct procedure was followed in the selection of Thomas.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar asked: "What is the impact of this fact not being revealed to the committee? Doesn't it vitiate the entire decision making process (for the appointment of CVC)?"

Hearing a petition challenging Thomas' appointment as the CVC, the court said that before going into the merit of the case it wanted to know if correct procedure was followed.

The court wanted to know whether the CVC was a constitutional post or a statutory post and what was the impact of the oath administered to the CVC by the president before assuming office.

Prasad said Sushma Swaraj had very clearly stated that the government could select from among the two other names before the selection panel and suggested that the process of appointment may be deferred by a day. "But the government insisted on appointing him (Thomas)," Prasad said.

Attacking the prime minister, Prasad said while former communications minister was an alibi in the 2G spectrum scam and Suresh Kalmadi similarly in the Commonwealth Games scam, "the trail in the case of appointment of the CVC leads to the door of the PM".

"There is no alibi... There is a most scandalous empire under you. The manner in which the government is functioning is utterly callous and deliberately indifferent," he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress tried to distance from the negative fallout of the Supreme Court case against the CVC. Party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed told reporters that "the government will give appropriate reply to all the queries raised by the court".
source:agency
Tags : India Politics News, India Judiciary News, Corruption, Veerappa Moily Manmohan Singh Meeting, PJ Thomas Selection, Sushma Swaraj Affidavit in Supreme Court, PJ Thomas Corruption Case

United States may allow India to purchase of its fifth generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter:Pentagon official

Washington: The United States may allow India to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter programme and eventual purchase of its fifth generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, according to a top Pentagon official.

"There is nothing on our side, no principle which bars that on our side, Indian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter. Right now, they're focused on these aircraft which are top-of-the-line fourth-gen fighters," Pentagon acquisitions Chief Ashton Carter said on Wednesday.

However, the decision to pursue the F-35 is India's alone, he said speaking at the release of a report by the Carnegie Endowment's Ashley Tellis on India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme.

Later Pentagon spokesperson Cheryl Irwin told the media in an e-mail that "If, at some point down the road, India were interested in purchasing Joint Strike Fighter from us, then we would engage the Indians in an open, transparent manner at that time.

"But this would obviously be something that the Indian government would have to decide it wanted or needed."

The Indian contract calls for the purchase of 126 fighters and is valued at more than $10 billion, Carter said. Competitors include the Lockheed Martin F-16IN Super Viper, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Mikoyan MiG-35.

Carter touted the American-built F-16 and F/A-18 as being the most technologically advanced aircraft in the competition.

"I think that, without saying anything disparaging about the other entrants, both F/A-18 and the F-16 offers include the best technology," he said.

Tellis echoed Carter's comments, saying the two US competitors offered the best capability for the lowest price. Of particular interest to India are the American fighters' Active Electronically Scanned Array radars (AESA), he said.

The European and Russian aircraft do not currently have operational AESA radars available. The US military, meanwhile, is currently operating its second generation of AESA radars.

The most important factors in any Indian decision will likely be technology transfer and industrial participation, Carter said.

Carter also stressed the importance of lifecycle costs because 70 percent of a weapon's total cost resides in not in the initial purchase price, but rather in sustainment. According to Tellis, both the F-16 and F/A-18 offer the lowest lifecycle costs out of the aircraft on offer.

Carter also stressed the importance of transparency. "I'm committed to in our process, both with respect to India and in our own internal processes, an open and transparent process, and I think we can promise the Indian government that," he said.
source:agency
Tags : India US Military Ties, India US Joint Strike Fighter Program, India Purchase Fifth Generation F-35 Lightning II Stealth Fighter

Utsav Sharma, who attacked murdered teenager Aarushi's father Rajesh Talwar has a serious mental disorder: Utsav's Parents

Ghaziabad: Stressing that their son has a serious mental disorder, the Varanasi-based parents of Utsav Sharma, who attacked murdered teenager Aarushi's father Rajesh Talwar outside a court here earlier this week, are here to help mount a defence for their son.

When asked about her son's act, Utsav's mother Indira Sharma told the media: "It is all due to the current state of the system in the society. My son has been mentally ill and undergoing treatment at various hospitals."

Lawyer S.P. Chaudhary, who was on Thursday hired to defend Utsav, said: "Utsav is a serious mental patient. He is suffering from bipolar disorder in which a person's thoughts and actions are uncontrolled."

"The history of his actions show that somewhere in his mind he feels that injustice is being done by the system," he added.

Utsav's father, Professor Sushil Sharma, teaches mechanical engineering at IT-Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and his mother Indira Sharma is a psychiatrist and a professor at the Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU.

The former student of Ahmedabad's National Institute of Design (NID) on Tuesday attacked Rajesh Talwar with a cleaver outside a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in this Uttar Pradesh town as hundreds of people watched stunned.

Utsav had been booked for attempt to murder and under the National Security Act as the crime had occurred in the courthouse. He is currently in jail.

He had attacked tainted former Haryana top cop S.P.S. Rathore, convicted in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, outside a Chandigarh court last year.
source:agency
Tags : India Crime News, Utsav Sharma Mental Disorder, Rajesh Talwar Attacked

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,made two resolutions for 2011

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has made two resolutions for 2011: not to allow trouble-makers to spoil the valley's summer and to launch an onslaught against corruption in the state. "All efforts of my government are directed in ensuring that peace stays on in Kashmir," Abdullah told officers here on Thursday after inaugurating a website of the rural development department. "I am determined to break the cycle of violence this year. That's one of my resolutions for the new year," he added.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has already started training five battalions, approximately 3,000 personnel, for the anti-riot training and the use of unconventional and non-lethal means of controlling crowds.

The other resolution, the chief minister told the officers, was "to launch an onslaught against corruption".

Of the three summers of violence in Kashmir, the Omar Abdullah government has faced two -- in 2009 and 2010.

The trouble in Kashmir during summers had started in 2008 with the Amarnath land row agitation. The streets had erupted in protest against the government decision to divert 100 acres of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for providing facilities to the Himalayan cave shrine bound pilgrims at the icy heights of 12,000 feet above sea level.

Protests erupted in the valley in 2009 after the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian.

There were 112 killings in the summer of 2010 and many of these were attributed to police firing on protesters.

The chief minister also disclosed that his government has taken several measures to provide job opportunities to the unemployed.

"The police recruitment has started and we are also asking the private sector to step in to help us address the problem of unemployment," he said.

There are more than half-a-million educated unemployed youth in Jammu and Kashmir.
source:agency
Tags : Jammu and Kashmir news, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir government, agitation in Jammu and Kashmir

National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon,to review implementation of initiatives launched during President Barack Obama's visit

Washington: National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon is here to review implementation of initiatives launched during President Barack Obama's visit to India and prepare the ground for the India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi in April.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who would lead a high level US team to the dialogue co-chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, met Menon over dinner on Thursday.

"Our US-India Strategic Dialogue is premised on our strong support for India's role as an important actor on the international stage," State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley told reporters on Thursday.

Menon is "here to review the implementation of initiatives launched during President Obama's visit to India and discuss developments in our bilateral relationship in preparation for the upcoming Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi this spring," he said

Menon is meeting Under Secretary of State for political Affairs, Bill Burns today for a detailed discussion. He will also be at the White House for a series of meetings hosted by Tom Donilon, the US national security advisor, Crowley said.

Clinton has said she looks forward to visiting India in April to advance the two nations' efforts to forge an even stronger strategic partnership to promote a secure and stable world.

"Our people and governments are forging an even stronger strategic partnership to promote a secure and stable world, and support even greater cooperation on economic development, open government, and democratic values," she said in a message greeting India on its 62nd Republic Day on Wednesday.
source:agency
Tags : India US Relations, Barack Obama's India Visit, India US Strategic Dialogue, Shivshankar Menon

Actor Salman Khan starrer "Dabangg" ,its music swept the Mirchi Music Awards 2010

Mumbai: In this award season, only the film awards were not enough for actor Salman Khan starrer "Dabangg", its music also swept the Mirchi Music Awards 2010 held today.

"Dabangg" is awarded the best album of the year, which was composed by music director duo Sajid-Wajid.

Sajid-Wajid was also conferred with the music director of the year award for the song "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain" during the ceremony.

Best song of the year went to "Munni Badnam" from the film "Dabangg".

Singer Mamta Sharma bagged two awards. She was chosen upcoming female vocalist of the year for "Munni Badnam" and the other award she shared with singer Aishwarya for the same song in female vocalist of the year category.

Upcoming male vocalist of the year award was named after singer Mustafa Kutoane for the song "Beera" of the film "Raavan".

Male vocalist of the year award was given to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain" of "Dabangg".

Sandeep Shirodkar took away the award for best background score of the year for the film "Dabangg".

"I am happy that the film is getting nominated in every award ceremonies and winning a few in all of them. Getting nomination is a big thing for me.

"I like "Tere mast mast do nain" the most and there is "Chori Kiya Re Jiya" which is one of my favourites," Aarbaz Khan, producer of "Dabangg", told reporters while entering the award function.
source:agency
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, Dabangg Music, Mirchi Music Awards 2010

Priyanka Chopra's spokesperson denied rumours of unaccounted assets

Mumbai: Priyanka Chopra's spokesperson has denied rumours regarding the actress that have emerged since the Income Tax raid at her residence on Monday.

Soon after the Income Tax raid, there were rumours that she has unaccounted assets worth Rs.6 crore. The following day, there was news that the IT officials had found actor Shahid Kapoor at Priyanka's house when they knocked her door at 7.30 a.m. on Monday. But her spokesperson has rubbished the news.

"We deny the many malicious rumours being spread in the media on the basis of some unidentified sources," Priyanka's spokesperson said in a press statement on Thursday.

"We are extending all co-operation to the Income Tax authorities in their ongoing investigations and are restraining ourselves from commenting any further on the issue pending completion of the investigative process," added the spokesperson.

The IT officials also raided the respective residence of actress Katrina Kaif and photographer Atul Kasbekar.
source:agency
Tags : Priyanka Chopra's spokesperson Income Tax raid, IT officials at Priyanka Chopra's house

Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez, fuelled rumours about her relationship status

Kolkata: Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez today fuelled rumours about her relationship status by refusing to comment on whether or not she is single.

"Why do you want to know?" giggled Jacqueline to questions whether she is single.

The three-film-old Jacqueline was earlier linked with actor Ritesh Deshmukh, with whom she had acted in two films - her debut film 'Aladdin' and ‘Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai'.

"No comment on that either," Jacqueline told reporters in Kolkata.

Jacqueline has grabbed the eyeballs of tinsel town by replacing sultry Mallika Sherawat for "Murder 2".

"Murder 2" is a sequel to the 2004 movie, which made headlines for its steamy scenes picturised on Mallika and Emraan Hashmi, who is also in the part two being directed by Mohit Suri.
source:agency
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, Jacqueline Fernandez Rumours, Jacqueline Fernandez Relationship Status

Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandes,playing female lead in "Murder 2"

Kolkata: Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandes, who is playing female lead in "Murder 2", says she is a "little" nervous about her much-talked about competition with Mallika Sherwat who was in the part one.

"I am a little bit nervous. That's natural, you know," giggled Jacqueline when asked about the comparisons with Mallika.

"Murder 2" is a sequel to the 2004 movie, which made headlines for its steamy scenes picturised on Mallika and Emraan Hashmi, who is also in the part two being directed by Mohit Suri.

"We all know what "Murder' did for Mallika... It's natural that people will make comparisons and it's also natural that it will make me quite nervous and put me under pressure," said Jacqueline while talking to reporters at the sidelines of "Let's Design season - 3" programme here.

"Lot of people are expecting ‘Murder-2' to be like ‘Murder'. But it will be a totally different narrative. I play a totally different character. It's obviously a thriller and it's got lot of interesting and mysterious kind of characters," said the former beauty queen who feels every woman can relate to her character in the movie.

"The character I play is balanced. She is bold. She is sensuous. She is clever. But at the same time it's a character every girl can relate to," Jacqueline said when asked about her role in the film, which is being produced by Mukesh Bhatt.

The three-film-old Jacqueline praised the director and the producer of the film, saying she she is in good hands.

"They are very cool. They are like family. I am just looking forward to the shoot as I know that I am in good hands," said Jacqueline who entered Bollywood in 2009 with "Aladdin".

After that featured in "Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai" and also did a cameo in "Housefull".
source:agency
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, Jacqueline Fernandes in Murder 2, Jacqueline Fernandes Competition with Mallika Sherawat, Mallika Sherawat in Murder

Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI) posted a 25 percent growth in its consolidated sales

Chennai: City-based abrasives major Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI) posted a 25 percent growth in its consolidated sales and 56 percent net profit for the third quarter ending on Dec 31.

Part of the Murugappa Group, CUMI closed the period with net sales of Rs.408 crore and an after tax profit of Rs.37 crore as against Rs.327 crore and Rs.24 crore declared in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The company expects the buoyancy in revenues to continue during the next quarter but said the main challenge will be increasing raw material costs which would be addressed by price adjustments and improved efficiencies.

Buoyed by strong demand in Indian and Russian markets, CUMI's abrasives division earned Rs.185 crore up from Rs.114 crore earned during the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Its electrominerals division maintained sales at about last year's levels. Sales for the quarter were Rs.145 crore. The domestic and international market for all ranges of fused minerals was positive, driving on the growth trend registered by the user industries.

Silicon carbide sales of the group's Russian acquisition, Volzhsky Abrasive Works recorded an increase of 17 percent mainly due to higher price realisation. Despite this, the business was not able to recover fully the steep increases in costs (power and pet coke) leading to a drop in profits.

In South Africa, sales of of CUMI's venture Foskor Zirconia were flat as the appreciation in the local currency diminished competitiveness despite increased demand. Profitability of the business was eroded due to increased power and fixed costs and due to sales contracts in place at previous prices.

In India, CUMI's electro-minerals business did well with all the three major product groups - silicon carbide, brown fused alumina, and white fused alumina - recording higher sales.

During the Q3 period, the ceramics business recorded a sales of Rs.85 crore with a strong off-take from cement, material handling, mineral processing industries, iron and steel and carbon black industries.
source:agency
Tags : India Business News, Carborundum Universal Growth, Carborundum Universal Consolidated Sales, Carborundum Universal Net Profit

Bangladesh hopes to attract Indian investments worth Taka 30 billion ($422 million)

Dhaka: Bangladesh hopes to attract Indian investments worth Taka 30 billion ($422 million) at the second Indo-Bangla trade fair to be held here in May, reducing its bilateral trade deficit.

India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Matlub Ahmed said he based his optimism on the success of the first Indo-Bangla trade fair held in March last year. This year the fair will be held from May 5-7.

The maiden effort resulted in Taka 10 billion Indian investment in the IT sector with an equal amount of Indian investment in the pipeline, he said.

Ahmed said they expected the second fair to bring in Taka 30 billion Indian investment. He added that the fair would also strengthen the bilateral relations.

"Like the preceding one, this fair will provide the manufacturers and exporters of both the countries with a unique opportunity to showcase their goods and services under one roof which will open up a new window of opportunities for the business communities," the media quoted him as saying today.
source:agency
Tags : India Bangladesh Business, Indian Investments in Bangladesh, Indo-Bangla Trade Fair, India Bangladesh Bilateral Trade Deficit

Cremica products-business formula of a homemaker is creating a buzz in international markets

Chandigarh: A business formula that originated three decades ago in the kitchen of a homemaker is creating a buzz in international markets. What is more, it counts chains like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day as clients.

Brainchild of 62-year-old Rajni Bector, Cremica products started with ice-creams made from a hand churner as a hobby to please friends and local clients, and gradually moved on to other food products. Now it boasts a long list of international clients.

The products of Mrs Bector Cremica, among the first women entrepreneurs of Ludhiana, an industrial hub of Punjab, are not only tickling the taste buds of Indians but are also available in the leading stores in the West.

The venture started in 1978 and the annual sales is expected to touch the Rs.5-billion mark (Rs. 500 crores/$110 mn) this fiscal. The business is growing at nearly 30 percent per annum, company officials said.

Cremica's ready-to-eat food, sauces and ethnic namkeens are doing brisk business in Britain and Canada. Buoyed by the response thus far, Cremica is now eyeing some other unexplored international markets.

"We are exporting snacks, ethnic namkeens, sauces and biscuits to Canada. Our business operations in Canadia were launched through the largest retail chain in Canada and they are marketed by Bloom," said Akshay Bector, the founder's son.

"Our products are available on the shelves of Loblaws. Ethnic namkeens are in vogue and they have seen a whopping response, especially from the Indian community," Bector, who serves as the company's managing director, told media.

"We see a lot of business potential in this particular segment."

Bector considered it a big achievement that products manufactured by an Indian company were selected by one of the largest chain stores in Canada. The products include bhujia, moong dal, chatpat nimbu, panchratan and other namkeens.

Cremica last year signed an agreement with a leading retailer in Britain to sell ready-to-eat products to it.

"We have signed a contract with a Britain-based retailer. We are also making ready-to-eat rice, as per UK standards and expectation, which was obviously very difficult to achieve," said Bector.

According to company officials, the export turnover of the Cremica group is around Rs.850-900 million (Rs.85-90 crores) and they expect it to grow at 25 percent in the coming months.

Taking about Cremica's future plans to expand its international business, Bector said the focus will be on consolidation. "We are also keeping a tab on our new potential foreign clients and eyeing new unexplored markets."

Apart from namkeens, Cremica manufactures a wide range of products, including ice-cream, biscuits, breads, sauces, mayonnaise, jam, salad dressing, bread spreads and condiments.

The company also supplies its products to brands like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, Indian Railways, Reliance, Papa John's, United Nations World Food Programme and Jet Airways.
source:agency
Tags : Punjab News, Fast food outlets in Punjab, Retail chains in Punjab

Mumbai Indians shot a strongly worded letter to the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL)

New Delhi: Mumbai Indians today shot a strongly worded letter to the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) seeking clarification on the last-minute changes made to the auction rules for the league's fourth edition.

Nikhil Meswani, executive director of Reliance Industries, in a letter to the Governing Council asked why was the auction changed from "selection of sets at random" to pre-decided "order of auction list" for the January 8-9 players auction, and said there was no "justification" in making the last-minute change.

"The primary purpose of deciding the order of auction through random draw in the auction room in the presence of the bidders is to ensure transparency and a level playing field to all the franchises so that they are not privy to the process. And no particular team receives preferred treatment," he said.

"Any change in the auction rules process or procedures in this manner on the very last minute can have any justification if, and only if, strong justifiable and emergent reasons can be demonstrated. We see a complete absence of such reason or justification. Kindly let us know as to why and to whose instance ths change was introduced," he said.

Meswani also asked the Governing Council to furnish series of documents, including agenda note and agenda of the meeting (Dec 17) of the IPL Governing Council in which the auction briefing was approved.

He also wanted the quorum and minutes of the same meeting and agenda note if any containing justification that necessitated the change in the presentation of the sets and rules and bye-laws of IPL relating to auction procedures.
source:agency
Tags : India Sports News, India Cricket News, Mumbai Indians, IPL Governing Council, IPL Auction Rules, IPL Fourth Edition

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa acknowledged he had made mistakes

Mysore: A contrite Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa today acknowledged he had made mistakes and said he would not repeat them. "I have committed several mistakes. I will not commit any more mistakes," he told reporters here after attending a 'yagna', a Hindu ritual offering oblations to fire god 'Agni'. Yeddyurappa said: "From now on I will take everyone, including those criticizing me, along and work for the development of the state."

The chief minister, a frequent visitor to temples and religious institutions, said participating in the 'yagna' had given him peace of mind from the problems he had been facing recently.

Yeddyurappa has been fighting favouritism charges over land allotment to his kin. Five complaints have been filed against him in a Bangalore court on Saturday and Monday after Governor H. R. Bhardwaj granted sanction to two advocates to launch criminal proceedings against the chief minister.

He declined to respond to the opposition's attack on him over the charges and his refusal to quit even after the governor had sanctioned his prosecution. "I will not comment or react to criticism against me," he said.

Yeddyurappa was also in confessional mode in October-November 2009 when mining magnates and ministers the Reddy brothers had revolted against him. He was forced to drop his confidante Shobha Karnadlaje from the ministry and shunt out trusted officials from his secretariat.

At that time Yeddyurappa, usually stern-faced, had shed tears in public over his helplessness and had sought people's forgiveness for dropping Karnadlaje and transferring trusted officials. Karnadlaje has since returned to his cabinet and is power minister.
source:agency
Tags : Karnataka News, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Karnataka Governor H. R. Bhardwaj

Take stringent action against those who burnt Yeshwant Sonawane alive:Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy

New Delhi: Describing slain Maharashtra additional district collector Yeshwant Sonawane as a martyr, Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy today appealed to the state government to take stringent action against those who burnt him alive while he was on a raid.

Condemning the killing of the officer by the oil mafia in Malegaon, Reddy said: "We believe he died a heroic death. He died while performing a lofty duty. He was a martyr."

"Although, distribution (of oil) is the business of the state government, we believe that we should recognise the officer who has paid with his life for this noble cause," he said.

The petroleum minister said the oil companies have decided to pay Rs.25 lakh by way of ex-gratia relief to his family.

"We urge the state government to take stringent steps to see that all those involved are punished in a proper way," he said.

Sonawane, 44, was burnt alive in Panewadi, near Manmad in Nashik district, on Jan 25 when he went to conduct a raid on the local oil mafia for pilferage from kerosene tankers.

A 1994-batch Maharashtra cadre officer, Sonawane was posted at Malegaon since over a year. He is survived by his wife and two children, who study at Pune.
source:agency
Tags : India Crime News, Yeshwant Sonawane, Maharashtra Government, S Jaipal Reddy

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) said unable to provide access to corporate emails

New Delhi: BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) today said it was unable to provide a solution to the government for monitoring its corporate e-mailing service but added that it did not think the service will be banned, as earlier threatened by India.

"The company has no solution for corporate e-mail access," Reserach in Motion vice-president (industry and government relations) Robert E. Crow told reporters here.

"BlackBerry represents a very small fraction of VPN (virtual private network) used in India. My perception is that this is not an issue unique to BlackBerry," he added.

The business-phone maker had earlier delivered a solution to the government for intercepting its messenger and internet services but such access for its corporate e-mail services was not provided.

The company stuck to its earlier statements saying that no changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys.

Crow, however, said that the company's inability to provide access to its corporate mailing service would not translate into a ban-something the government had threatened to do fearing that BlackBerry phones could be used by terrorists and anti-social elements.

"We expect the government to look at it as a wider issue," Crow said.
source:agency
Tags : RIM Blackberry, Blackberry Corporate e-mailing Service, Blackberry Service in India

Pakistan has to root out terrorism that has turned out to be a Frankenstein monster:INDIA

New Delhi: Ahead of next week's bilateral talks in Thimphu, India today said Pakistan has to root out terrorism that has turned out to be a Frankenstein monster for Islamabad.

"Pakistan has created the Frankenstein. They will have to deal with it," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told a group of Afghan journalists..

"Frankenstein (in the novel) creates an artificial human being. But the creature turns out to be dangerous," Rao said, referring to terror attacks in Pakistan that have almost become a routine in the country of 170 million people.

"The sickness is there. They have to cure it. They have to root out this evil."

A group of 30 journalists, including 14 women, were in New Delhi to pursue a 15-day media course at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) during which they interacted with officials and journalists to get an insight on how the Indian media functions.

The foreign secretary, at their valedictory function organised in the external affairs ministry's office, said the epicentre of terror "definitely" lies in Pakistan.

The people there, she said, generally want to live a life free from terror but some groups and "elements in the state of Pakistan" were prone to violence.

"I am sure people of Pakistan want peace. But there are some groups and people who think violence is the way. There are elements in the state of Pakistan who have not done anything (to tackle terror). In fact they have allowed it to grow," she said.

Rao said the Pakistan government was aware of it.

She said India was not blaming Pakistan for the terror just for the sake of it.

"People shouldn't think that we are attacking Pakistan. The Mumbai attack is an evidence. The terrorists who attacked Mumbai (in 2008) were from Pakistan. The lone surviving gunman (of the 10 Pakistani terrorists of the 26/11 strike) Kasab is a Pakistani," she said.

Rao's comments came ahead of the scheduled Feb 6-8 India-Pakistan talks in Thimphu between foreign secretaries of the two countries on the sidelines of the Standing Committee meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The talks could set the stage for a meeting between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi and a subsequent visit by Qureshi to Delhi.
source:agency
Tags : India News, Indo-Pak issues, extremism in Pakistan, Afghanistan borders

Music composer-director A.R. Rahman received the World Economic Forum Crystal Award

Davos: Music composer-director A.R. Rahman today received the World Economic Forum Crystal Award for this year for his contribution to the world of art and culture and for his outreach to improve the state of the world.

"Countries that work to eradicate poverty and help the poor are the best," Rahman said at the annual summit of the forum at this Swiss ski resort after Hilde Schwab, president and co-founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, presented him with the award.

"I started this conservatory in my car shed and now want to expand it to a 40-acre land in Chennai because there is no native symphony orchestra in India," Rahman said at the high-profile event.

"You can support the foundation and be part of the music."

The forum also honoured opera singer Jose Carreras with the Crystal Award for his work to fight leukaemia.

"It is our duty to use our popularity in order to give as much back to society as we receive from it. As a cured leukaemia patient, I am eternally in debt to the professionals who helped, and my work is to turn my gratitude into action," Carreras said.

Earlier this week, Rahman had received two nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards for the original score in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" and original song "If I Rise" for the same movie.

The composer had earlier won a double Oscar for his work in "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2009.

He is vying for the golden statuette for the original score with John Powell for "How To Train Your Dragon", Hans Zimmer for "Inception", Alexandre Desplat for "The King's Speech" and Trent Rezmor and Atticus Ross for "The Social Network" in the original music category.

He is sharing the nomination for best song category with Dido and Rolo Armstrong, who have penned the lyrics of "If I Rise".
source:agency
Tags : India Entertainment News, World Economic Forum Crystal Award, AR Rahman Contribution to Art and Culture

Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif's chartered accountant has shot down rumours

Mumbai: Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif's chartered accountant has shot down rumours that she declared an unaccounted income of Rs.6 crore when Income Tax (IT) sleuths raided her residence early this week.

"A search was conducted by the Income Tax department (on Monday) at the residence of my client Ms. Katrina Kaif. My client is disturbed by the speculative reports circulating in the media that she has disclosed unaccounted income running into crores (of rupees) and unaccounted lockers were found.

"The fact of the matter is that no unaccounted income has been declared by her. Katrina is fully cooperating with the IT department, which she holds in high regard," Katrina's chartered accountant said in a press statement.

The IT department also raided the house and office premises of actress Priyanka Chopra, as well as celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar. The officials were investigating whether the celebrity trio had paid taxes proportionate to the known income earned by them during the past year and more from various sources.
source:agency
Tags : Entertainment News, IT raids on Bollywood celebrities residences, tax evasion cases

Big B Amitabh Bachchan will dye his beard and hair into a flamboyant trendy colour

Mumbai: After retaining the same appearance for the last 11 years, Amitabh Bachchan has suddenly turned experimental about his looks. First he decided to sport a trimmed beard and new hairstyle in "Aarakshan" and now for "Boodha", the Big B will dye his beard and hair into a flamboyant trendy colour!

The colour is yet to be decided. According to insiders from the frantically-experimental unit, Big B would either sport a red-tinted beard and hair in the movie -- which will be directed by Telugu maverick Puri Jagannath -- or it could be various flamboyant colours.

When contacted, Jagannath said: "That's right. Bachchan sir is going totally psychedelic for his part in 'Boodha'. You see, he plays a man who is 60 but believes he's still 25. So he moves around dressed and made up like today's youngster. And if anyone calls him a boodha (old man) he is livid. He will be dyeing his beard and wig."

Even the clothesline for Big B in "Boodha" would be in keeping with his character of a man of 25. Apparently, the megastar would be borrowing accessories from his son Abhishek's wardrobe.

The film will go on floors next month.
source:agency
Tags : Entertainment news, Bollywood superstars, Amitabh Bachchan

Consumer electronics major LG Electronics is eyeing to clock an annual revenue growth of 30 percent in India

Kolkata: Consumer electronics major LG Electronics is eyeing to clock an annual revenue growth of 30 percent in India this year over the last year, a top executive of the company said today.

"The company has targeted to achieve a growth of 30 percent in its total revenue in the consumer electronics segment in 2011. The company had posted Rs.11,000 crore total revenue last year," LG India Chief Operating Officer Y.V. Verma told reporters here.

"LG is investing to the tune of Rs.50 crore this year, of which about Rs.35 crore will be invested in marketing," he added.

Stating that India is a very critical market for LG, he said consumer electronics industry in the country was expected to grow at a rate of 13 percent this year.

In India, the company was eyeing 16 states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

The company enjoys 30-35 percent market share in the consumer electronics segment in India.

LG was now giving emphasis on the rural areas of West Bengal in its marketing strategy, he said.

"Rural markets are very critical markets. The markets are value-driven. Consumers in rural areas always care for after-sales service," Verma said.

The company has 285 dealers in eastern India and it will add another 50 in the region by December.

Informing that LG Electronics had two manufacturing plants in India -- one in Noida and another in Pune, he said the latter was being expanded.
source:agency
Tags : India Business News, Consumer electronics, LG Electronics