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Libya asked the UN Security Council to suspend sanctions

Tripoli/Moscow: Libya has asked the UN Security Council to suspend sanctions against the Muammar Gaddafi's regime, which were imposed in response to violent suppression of protests by the government in the country, the media reported. The Security Council adopted a resolution on Feb 26 on "targeted measures" against the current Libyan government. The sanctions include a total arms embargo, travel bans and freezing of accounts held by the country's leadership. Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa wrote to the Security Council Friday urging the lifting of the sanctions, adding that the government was "taken aback" by the measures as only "a modicum" of force had been used against protesters.

Inspired by the ouster of long-time rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, opponents of Gaddafi are demanding an end to his 41-year rule.

The widespread protests that broke out on Feb 14 have reportedly claimed scores of lives, with one estimate putting the number at about 2,000.

On Saturday, troops loyal to Gaddafi broke through opposition defences and entered Zawiyah city near the country's capital.

The military offensive was launched Friday night, using artillery and tanks, the media reported. Other media said heavy fighting was still raging.

The government lost control of Zawiyah, some 60 km to the west of Tripoli, in late February. The city was viewed as a platform for an attack on Tripoli to oust Gaddafi.
Tags : UN Security Council, UN Sanctions against Libya, UN Sanctions against Muammar Gaddafi's Regime, Libya Protests, Libya Government

Breast cancer survivors more likely to fall

A new research has revealed that combined effects of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy may increase the risk of bone fractures in breast cancer survivors.

Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, asked post-menopausal breast cancer survivors whether they had fallen in the past year and then tracked their falls over a six-month study period.

They found evidence that women who have survived breast cancer may fall more often than their peers.

"Our study is the first to consider how breast cancer treatment may increase fall risk by using a comprehensive set of objective measures of fall risk and by exploring mediators of the treatment-falls relationship," commented Kerri M. Winters-Stone, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Scientist, Oregon Health & Science University, School of Nursing and a member of the Knight Cancer Institute. "Our findings suggest that recently treated postmenopausal breast cancer survivors have higher rates of falling compared with population averages for community-dwelling older adults. Balance disturbances may explain how treatment could have contributed to falls in breast cancer survivors."

Investigators found that 58 per cent of breast cancer survivors had experienced a fall in the previous year and almost half (47 per cent) fell within 6 months after joining the study, a rate nearly double the 25 per cent to 30 per cent annual fall rate reported for community-dwelling older adults over 65 years of age.

Researchers measured a comprehensive set of neuromuscular and balance characteristics known to be associated with falls in 59 study participants. They found that only balance discriminated breast cancer survivors who fell from those who did not. The study findings also suggest that the balance problems may have been related to changes in the vestibular system that were associated with chemotherapy treatment.

Professor Winters-Stone stated, "Falls in breast cancer survivors are understudied and deserve more attention, particularly in light of the increase in fractures after breast cancer treatment and the relationship of falls to fractures. Our findings add to growing evidence that fall risk is increased in breast cancer survivors and that vestibular function may underpin associations between breast cancer treatment and falls."

The study is scheduled for publication in the April issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Tags:Women,treatment,Survivor,patients,chemotherapy,breast cancer

Sperm quality deteriorating gradually

A new study has blamed falling sperm quality and rise in testicular cancer cases over the recent years on environmental reasons, particularly chemical exposure.

Researchers from the University of Turku examined three groups of men born between 1979 and 1987, and found that those who were born in the late 1980s had a lower sperm count than those born at the beginning of the decade, reports the BBC.

The study subjects were Finnish men because they have previously been shown to have some of the highest sperm counts in the world.

But the scientists were never sure if this was because of their genetics or because they were exposed to fewer harmful chemicals.

The total sperm counts were 227 million for men born in 1979-81, 202 million for those born in 1982-83 and 165 million for men born in 1987, respectively.

In addition, the researchers observed that there was a higher incidence of testicular cancer in men born around 1980 compared with men born around 1950.

"These simultaneous and rapidly occurring adverse trends suggest that the underlying causes are environmental and, as such, preventable," said lead author Prof Jorma Toppari.

"Our findings further necessitate the efforts to identify reasons for the adverse trends in reproductive health to make preventive measures possible," he added.

"Scientists have been concerned for some time about the possibility that younger men may be producing less sperm than their fathers and grandfathers did at the same age," said Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield.

But he said methods used to measure sperm have changed significantly over time and have not always been reliable.

Pacey said this study used ''very robust laboratory methods''.

"The fact that sperm counts have dropped so quickly, and mirrors the increase in the incidence of testicular cancer in Finland, suggests that the effect is probably environmental," he said.

"The best working theory we have to explain why sperm counts may be declining is that chemicals from food or the environment are affecting the development of testicles of boys in the womb or in their early years of life," he added.

The study is published in the International Journal of Andrology.
Tags:Sperm donation,Quality,chemical exposure

Skype,Facebook in talks over video calling

SAN FRANSISCO: Facebook Inc, the world's biggest social-networking company, is holding talks with SkypeTechnologies SA about offering Web video calls to its 500 million users, two people familiar with the discussions said.

Video calling between friends on Facebook was first discussed by the two companies last year, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. The feature wasn't offered in an October update to Skype, which did include voice calling between Facebook friends.

As Web users adopt new ways of communicating, such as video and mobile messaging, Palo Alto, California-based Facebook has added features to give members more ways to keep in touch. Bringing video calls to its social network would ramp up competition with Apple Inc., which introduced the feature on its iPhone in June, and with Google Inc., which offered Web calling through Gmail in August.

Video calls accounted for more than 41 per cent of all Web calling between Skype users in the second half of last year, the company said in January. Luxembourg-based Skype registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in August to sell its shares to the public.

"Last year, we announced the integration of Facebook in Skype, so people can keep up to date with their Facebook friends through News Feed in Skype and even call and SMS their Facebook friends on any phone from Skype," Facebook said in an e- mailed statement. "With regards to any further integration, we don't comment on rumor and speculation and have nothing to announce at this time."

Jennifer Caukin, a spokeswoman for Skype, declined to comment.
Tags:web,video calls,Skype,Facebook

European countries are being used by al-Qaida to route money to India

New Delhi: European countries are being used as hot destinations by terror group al-Qaida to route money to India, according to a report by Peruvian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The report said the FIU had found at least one case of such suspicious transaction by al-Qaida every month and shared them with the US investigators.

"The FIU also reports tracking cases similar to that of an OFAC-designated (US Office of Foreign Assets Control) of al-Qaida element moving money from Europe through Lima and on to India," the report leaked by WikiLeaks, a non-profit media organisation dedicated to bringing important information to the public, quoting FIU head Enrique Saldivar disclosed.

"Asked if this al-Qaida case was the first of its kind or they had seen similar cases before, Saldivar told NASOff that they see about one case a month," the cable said.

The FIU receives and analyses STRs, may request additional information relevant to cases or operations related to money laundering or terrorist financing, provides financial intelligence reports (FIR) to the Public Prosecutor's Office, participates and/or requests joint investigations, and coordinates with foreign FIUs and entities.

"Of the 7,710 suspicious activity reports examined by FIU analysts in 2009, 781 resulted in financial intelligence reports sent to the public ministry for further processing and investigation.

"Based on these 781 intelligence reports, the FIU concludes more than 3 billion dollars moved illegally through Peru's financial sector in 2009," it said.

"83 per cent of this amount, according to the FIU, is related to drug trafficking. The other 17 per cent is reportedly related to fiscal fraud, corruption and illegal gun dealing. Currently, 308 of these intelligence reports are at various stages of investigation and prosecution in the legal system - as compared to four cases in 2008," the cables read.

According to Saldivar, anti-money laundering efforts in Peru are hindered by several factors.
Tags:Peruvian Financial Intelligence Unit,al-Qaida

Take back 5 percent service tax at AC private hospital proposal :FICCI

New Delhi: Expressing disappointment over the proposal to levy five percent service tax on treatment at air-conditioned private hospitals, a leading industry lobby has asked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to roll it back and extend infrastructure status to the healthcare sector.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has contended that the proposal will impact the quality and safety measures, as today air-conditioning is an essential need and not a luxury in any hospital.

The budget has proposed the normal service tax on health checks in hospitals with air-conditioning and more than 25 beds, which will lead to patients ending up paying much more than earlier.

This is also substantiated by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals which do not accredit hospitals without central air-conditioning in their facilities as split or window air-conditioning increases the risk of infection in the hospital.

FICCI also said that reduction in overall funding for national health programmes along with increase in diagnostic costs will deter the already negligible effort on preventive healthcare and further increase the burden on secondary and tertiary treatments.

According to a World Health Organisation report (2005), if healthcare issues are not addressed holistically, losses on account of health issues would amount to five percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), or a whopping Rs.61 trillion ($1.3 trillion) by 2015.

The report also added that the 20 percent increase in current allocation for health is misleading, as nearly 80 percent of the health expenditure is financed out of pocket.

Most rural patients come to the tertiary care hospitals in the cities for treatment by mortgaging their personal assets. Any increase in healthcare costs for hospitals would be passed on to patients, pushing them to the brink.

According to FICCI, India today is in dire need to expand its healthcare infrastructure which is extremely inadequate. Beds per every 1,000 people in the country is low at 0.9 when compared to the global average of 2.7, or 3.0 in China and 2.4 in Brazil.

To reach an average of 2 beds per 1,000 population, a realistic target set considering the current state of health infrastructure, India needs to add over 1.75 million beds with an estimated investment of $86 billion by 2025, it said.
Tags : service tax on treatment at AC private hospitals, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, infrastructure, healthcare sector

DMK to pull out of the UPA federal government -Congress party still room left for negotiation

New Delhi: Senior Congress party leaders felt there was still room left for negotiation after the sudden decision on Saturday by the DMK to pull out of the seven-year pact with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) federal government.

Even DMK leaders post the decision of the party on withdrawal of support communicated in the evening said they could reconsider if the Congress party were to relent on the seat-sharing formulae proposed by their party, which has 18 members in Lok Sabha.

"The developments have been sudden. We are in the process of consultations. It is too early to comment," said Satyavrat Chaturvedi, a former spokesperson for the Congress party, even as senior DMK leader T.R. Baalu was equally cryptic.

"We are all friends. We do not see the end of the road. Even though we have withdrawn our ministers, our friendship will continue forever," Baalu told reporters after soon after the DMK communicated its decision.

"Definitely we will have a discussion, but if they reconsider."

Even Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said the issues will be resolved. In a rather candid admission, he told reporters there were problems with the Tamil Nadu-based ally over seat-sharing for assembly elections, but that the same would be set to rest.

"In our political relationship, we have sometimes some problems. We have the capacity to create problems and at the same time solve them. It will be solved," Mukherjee had said Saturday noon.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi also hoped for a resolution. "There is no need to comment on it now," he told reporters here. "Unnecessary press comments will only muddy the waters."

With only a month to go for the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, the DMK had said it was ending its seven-year alliance with the Congress party and asked its six ministers in the federal council of ministers to quit.

A DMK resolution said, henceforth the support to UPA government will be "issue-based". The stated reason for the dramatic decision was the Congress' insistence on contesting 63 of the 234 assembly seats in the state.

DMK chief Karunanidhi said in Chennai that he initially wanted to give the Congress 51 seats to contest in Tamil Nadu's 234-seat assembly, which was increased to 53, then to 55, further to 58 and finally to 60.

"But is it practical for the Congress to demand 63 seats and expect them to be given?"
Tags : Senior Congress party leaders, DMK out of UPA government,DMK leaders, DMK members in Lok Sabha

India successfully tested a ballistic missile interceptor

Bhubaneswar: India today successfully tested a ballistic missile interceptor from a defence base in Orissa as part of its endeavour to create a shield against incoming enemy missiles, officials said.

The indigenous interceptor was fired from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast near Dhamra in Bhadrak district, about 170 km from here.

It successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile - a variant of the Prithvi II fired from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur on sea in Balasore district, about 70 km away from Wheeler Island across the sea.

The interceptor was fired few minutes after the target missile was fired.

"It was a fantastic mission. It successfully hit the target," S.P. Dash, the director of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, told the media.

Defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said the endo-atmospheric interceptor missile hit the target missile at an altitude of about 16 km.
Tags : India Defence News, India Ballistic Missile Interceptor, India Defence Base in Orissa

BJP MP Varun Gandhi tied the knot with graphic designer Yamini Roy

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh): Gandhi scion and BJP MP Varun Gandhi tied the knot with graphic designer Yamini Roy at the Kamkoteshwar temple here today morning with the shehnai playing in the background and the conch being blown, part of Hindu rituals.

A group of priests, headed by Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, performed the wedding rituals before limited guests.

"Everything was performed very well as per the Hindu, Sanatani traditions," Saraswati told reporters shortly after conducting the marriage.

The rituals started at around 6.30 a.m. in the 'Brahm Mahurat' (auspicious time) and continued till 9 a.m., after which the newlywed couple made a brief appearance before hundreds of mediapersons, locals and others.

Holding his mother and BJP MP Maneka Gandhi's hands, Varun, 30, stood besides Yamini, 28, as shutterbugs jostled for space to get the best shot for the much-awaited ceremony.

Dressed in dhoti-kurta - a traditional attire - Varun acknowledged the greetings extended by the journalists with folded hands, while Yamini, draped in a pink coloured sari, smiled at the crowd.

The Kamkoteshwar temple on Hanuman Ghat, one of the most sacrosanct temples in the holy city of Varanasi was decorated for the occasion as hundreds of district police, provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and other security personnel stood guard.

Tonnes of flowers from other states, including West Bengal and Gujarat, filled the atmosphere with their fragrance.

Earlier on Saturday, the haldi rasm (a pre-marriage ceremony) was performed at a simple function in the temple complex. While Gandhi wore a cream-coloured kurta-pyjama, Roy was dressed in a light pink sari for the ritual.

"Both of them (Gandhi and Roy) will lead a happy life," Saraswati had said on Saturday.

Varun's wedding reception in Delhi, slated for March 8, had been cancelled following the death of his grandmother. Amteshwar Anand, 77, mother of Maneka Gandhi, died on Feb 28 in New Delhi.
Tags : Uttar Pradesh News, India Politics News, Varun Gandhi Wedding, Varun Gandhi at Kamkoteshwar Temple, Hindu Rituals

Titan Industries Limited decided to merge Tanishq (India)

Kolkata: Titan Industries Limited has decided to merge Tanishq (India), a wholly owned subsidiary, with itself to reduce entity costs and eliminate legal compliance requirements, the company announced on Friday.

"Tanishq (India) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Titan Industries Limited. Since the said subsidiary is a non-material unlisted subsidiary and does not have any operations, the Board of Directors of Titan Industries Limited decided to merge it with itself pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Companies Act, 1956," a company release said.

The proposed merger would reduce the number of legal entities in the group and thereby serve to reduce entity costs as well as eliminate legal and regulatory compliance requirements related to the said subsidiary, it said, adding it has no impact whatsoever on the 'Tanishq' brand operated by the jewellery business division of Titan Industries Limited.
Tags : Titan Industries Limited, Tanishq India),entity costs, legal compliance requirements,Companies Act, 1956

Jet Airways announced a reciprocal frequent flyer partnership with US Airways

New York: Jet Airways on Friday announced a reciprocal frequent flyer partnership with US Airways.

This is the second reciprocal agreement by India's premier international airline with North American airlines in recent weeks. Just last month, Jet entered into a sharing agreement with Air Canada,Heathrow Airport as the transfer Jet flights for Mumbai.

Announcing its tie-up with US Airways, Jet said on Friday, "Effective today, JetPrivilege members will now be able to earn and redeem JPMiles while they travel on the entire global network of US Airways.''

The reciprocal frequent flyer partnership will allow US Airways Dividend Miles members to be able to earn and redeem their miles on the entire network of Jet Airways.

Sudheer Raghavan, Jet Airways chief commercial officer, said, "With this partnership, Jet Airways will now be able to offer guests unmatched connectivity and seamless travel from US Airways' hubs at Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington DC to India and beyond.

"We are delighted to partner with a carrier with the transcontinental scope of US Airways to enable our airline to enhance its connectivity and reach in the American markets.''

Jet Airways, which currently flies to New York and Toronto in North America, has frequent flyer partnership agreements with 23 leading international airlines, including Air France, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, Swiss Air, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and All-Nippon Airways.

US Airways operates more than 3,200 flights daily to over 200 destinations in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Tags : India Business News, India Aviation Sector, Jet Airways US Airways Partnership, Jet Airways US Frequent Flyer Airways Partnership

Azim Premji, chairman and MD of Wipro inaugurated the South Indian Bank corporate office

Thrissur (Kerala): South Indian Bank, headquartered in this district of Kerala, today opened 30 new branches at various locations in the country taking its network strength to 640.

Azim Premji, chairman and MD of Wipro, inaugurated the renovated corporate office of the bank here.

Acknowledging that Wipro had huge stakes in banking, Premji said banks in the country had to face the dynamism of a changing world.

"They have to face increased competition and shoulder many new responsibilities, including those pertaining to the rural sector, and serve the less privileged," said Premji.

He said the global economic crisis emanated due to the indiscipline in the US and European banking systems.

"It did not affect the Indian banking system much due to effective steps taken by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the self-discipline of banks in India," he said.

"Financial inclusion in India at present compares poorly with its peers in Asia. Bank branches exist only in nine percent of villages in India. Rural penetration can be increased only by increased use of information technology," said Premji.
Tags : India Business News, South Indian Bank in Kerala, South Indian Bank Branches in India, Wipro

Cricket World Cup :Ireland are bracing for another tough game against India

Bangalore: Putting behind their upset victory over England, an upbeat Ireland are bracing for another tough game - against co-hosts India - in the Cricket World Cup at the Chinnaswamy stadium here on Sunday.

"We are aware that playing India in India will be challenging because of the fanatical fan support they have. We have seen it all in Bangladesh (Feb 25) and are getting used to it," a confident Irish skipper Willam Porterfield told reporters here.

Not to be carried away by one win, that too over England, Porterfield said they were approaching the match with the seriousness and preparation it deserved.

"A match against India on their home turf will be a special occasion and we are looking forward to it. We know the kind of pressure both teams will be playing under due to high expectations here and back home," Porterfield said before joining his team for a gruelling practice session.

Noting that each World Cup game was different and had to be played afresh, the Irish skipper said the team had no hangover of their historic win over England (Wednesday) and was quite aware of India's strong batting line-up and the advantage its spinners have on the sub-continent pitches.

"We have put Wednesday behind us to fully concentrate on this game afresh, as we have a formidable opponent in India, which is more familiar with local conditions than us. We have to give our best to maintain the winning momentum we got playing England on the same pitch," Porterfield said.

Asked if the same winning squad would be retained or changes were likely, the Irish skipper said they were exploring the options. All-rounder Andre Botha, who didn't play in the last match due to groin niggle, was fit and in the reckoning to strengthen their batting and bowling.

"(Alex) Cusack came in his place and Gary Wilson was the extra batsman in the last game. We have got so many options with the ball. Even Kevin O'Brien did not bowl though he is also an outstanding all-rounder. If we have to chase a 300 plus total, as was the case in the last game, we need depth in our batting," Porterfield said.
Tags : India Sports News, Indian Cricket, World Cup, India Ireland World Cup Match, Ireland England World Cup Match

Actor Deepak Dhobriyal 'pappi' in "Tanu Weds Manu" is now happy with his new image

Mumbai: He played 'pappi' in the film "Tanu Weds Manu" and walked with accolades for his flawless comic timing. Actor Deepak Dhobriyal is now happy with his new image which is a far cry from his earlier serious roles.

"The films I did so far like 'Gulaal', 'Delhi 6' and 'Omkara' cast a different image of me in the audience's mind. People started taking me as a very serious person. That's because they are not aware how fun-loving a person I am. I am happy that I could entertain people," Deepak told the media.

Actor Madhavan and Kangana Ranaut played the lead roles in this romantic comedy.

"This is my first film where after listening to the narration of my character from Himanshu (writer Himanshu Sharma) and Anand (director Anand Rai), I didn't have to take a look at the script because their words got saved in my mind," said Deepak.

For him each script is a different world altogether.

"Every film is a different world created by the writer and the director. I just try to be a part of it and the role takes its own flight. I only concentrate on what my lines are and what the character wants to portray. I don't see whether the role is comedy or a serious one," said Deepak.

After "Tanu Weds Manu" he is doing comic roles in "Mumbai Cutting" and "Teen They Bhai".

"But given a choice I would always prefer doing a serious role," he said.

"In a serious film, audience respects the content. There is always a thought; there is a socio-political subject. So, while doing a serious film, you shed your personal complexities and deal with something bigger than that," said Deepak.

"Mumbai Cutting" comprises 11 short films by 11 directors on the city.

"I am doing Kundan's (director Kundan Shah) film in 'Mumbai Cutting'. It's a silent film. It's about an aspiring actor who has just arrived in Mumbai and his encounter with local trains. He comes to be the king of the film industry but misses eight trains; he is unable to board any of them. It's a very funny film," said Deepak.

Giving a sneak preview of his other project, Deepak says, "In 'Teen Thay Bhai' I play the younger brother of Om Puri and Shreyash Talpade. The three brothers don't see eye to eye. Then they have to spend two days together in a single room. It's full comedy."

Deepak believes small-budget serious films fail due to lack of proper publicity.

"There is so much of stress in society that people prefer to see comedy. Serious films require strong content and right publicity. I have observed that there is always some lacuna in publicity of a serious film except a few like 'Rang De Basanti' or '3 idiots' even 'Laagan'," said Deepak.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood, Deepak Dhobriyal in Tanu Weds Manu, Deepak Dhobriyal Comic Timing, Deepak Dhobriyal Serious Roles

After "Yamla Pagla Deewana",Bobby Deol is the face of Anees Bazmee's film "Thank You"

Mumbai: Credit it to the success of "Yamla Pagla Deewana", actor Bobby Deol is the face of filmmaker Anees Bazmee's upcoming film "Thank You" and not old favourite Akshay Kumar.

After giving two huge hits -- "Singh is King" (2008) and "Welcome" (2007) -- it was thought quite certain that Akshay would be the face of Bazmee's film. But the director brought changes in the film's promotion strategy after seeing the soaring success of "Yamla...".

"There were alterations made in the trailer of the film as well. Initially, the promos featured Akshay Kumar prominently. But after seeing Bobby's performance and his audience connect in 'Yamla Pagla Deewana', the filmmakers reworked on the promo to feature Bobby," a source said.

Bazmee confirmed the change, and said: "It is a marketing strategy to promote Bobby as much as we promote Akshay. Bobby is generally shy, but we are pushing him to go all out for 'Thank You'."

Bobby has always been media shy and reclusive in promoting his films. But with "Yamla...", he has realised the importance of reaching out to the audience, so he is keen and geared up to actively promote "Thank You", says the source.

Apart from Bobby and Akshay, the romantic comedy also features actors Sonam Kapoor, Celina Jaitley and Irrfan Khan in lead roles.

"Thank You" is set to hit theatres on April 8.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood, Yamla Pagla Deewana Success, Thank You Promotion, Bobby Deol in Thank You, Akshay Kumar in Thank You

B.S. Yeddyurappa will honour Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Mumbai: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa will honour Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for her contribution and achievement in the arts and culture segment on March 11.

The 37-year-old actress will be honoured at the inaugural ceremony of the second Vishwa Kannada Sammelana at Belgaum in Karnataka.

The sammelan's objective is to showcase the state's developments in the field of agriculture, irrigation, information technology, bio technology, industry, arts and culture, etc.

It will honour people of Karnataka origin, including Narayana Murthy of Infosys, who have made it big outside the state and abroad in any of these fields.
Tags : India Entertainment News, B.S. Yeddyurappa, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Honour, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's Contribution to Arts and Culture Segment


2G spectrum scam:Chacko,head of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

New Delhi: Congress old-timer P.C. Chacko, a four-time Lok Sabha MP, was today appointed as the head of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) that will probe the alleged finanical irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum - billed as one of the biggest scams in India. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar appointed the 65-year old Kerala politician, who represents Thrissur constituency in the house, as the head of the 30-member panel, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters.

The government, giving in to the opposition's relentless demand for a JPC, last week formed the multiparty panel to probe alleged irregularities in 2G spectrum allocation and to also look into the telecom policy from 1998 to 2009. This covers the governments of both the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Of the 30 members, including the chairman, 20 are from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.

The JPC, the fifth so far, was formed to end a parliament deadlock between the government and the opposition disrupting the winter session citing government auditors' report that the second generation spectrum was sold by former IT and communication minister A. Raja at throwaway prices to telecom firms causing a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The panel will "examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation thereafter by successive governments, including decisions of the union cabinet and the consequences thereof, in the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009", Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

The Congress has eight Lok Sabha MPs in the panel and the BJP six. The Congress members include Chacko, Manish Tewari, Jai Prakash Agarwal and V. Kishore Chandra Deo.

From the BJP, the panel members include former ministers Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha.

Among the Rajya Sabha's nominees on the JPC are P.J. Kurien, Jayanthi Natarajan and Praveen Rashtrapal from the Congress; S.S. Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP; and Tiruchi Siva from UPA ally DMK, to which Raja belongs.

Others from the upper house on the panel are Yogendra P. Trivedi (NCP), Ramchandra Prasad Singh (JD-U), Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M).

Raja, who was forced to quit in November in the wake of the Comptroller and Auditor General's report that the specturm allocation had caused the exchequer a notional loss of Rs.1.76 crore, is in Tihar jail.
Tags : Congress leader P.C. Chacko, Lok Sabha MP, Joint Parliamentary Committee, JPC probe, finanical irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum, biggest scam in India.

Pitching for a new Asian security order,ready to work with the ASEAN countries

New Delhi: Pitching for a new Asian security order that is "open, flexible and inclusive", India on Friday said it was ready to work with the ASEAN countries to establish such an architecture in the interests of regional safety and peace.

"From the Indian point of view it (the new Asian security order) should be open, it should be flexible and it should be inclusive. This is essential for the order to work," National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told the two-day India-ASEAN Delhi Dialogue III that concluded here.

Noting that ASEAN was "central" to the future of Asian security itself, Menon pointed out that the ASEAN countries and India had achieved success in tackling piracy in the Malacca Straits and called for replicating the cooperation model for promoting the new security architecture too for the region.

"If you look at our record in dealing with piracy along the straits of Malacca, our power - as ASEAN and neighbouring countries - I think we can claim to have been more successful example. Look at the Horn of Africa, the efforts there are not quite successful," he said.

Attributing the success of the joint attempts to contain piracy by ASEAN and India to their ability to evolve structures for working together on its own without any ideology and without any fuss, Menon said rhe success of piracy operations gave him the confidence that the security issues could be dealt with effectively.

"I would suggest we do what we exactly did when we dealt with piracy. We faced a concrete issue, we learnt how to deal with it and we did it ourselves," he said.

Proposing that the security architecture be plural and include all relevant powers of the region, including those with a presence in the region, he said the strategic centre of gravity had shifted to the Asia after the financial crisis of 2008 and the region has to deal with security issues.

"As the fastest developing part of the world, we also have the most to lose from instability and insecurity in the international system," he said.

"We do not realise this, but we have the most at stake in maintaining, in the foreseeable future, the present trajectory of growth. We have a stake in preventing instability and insecurity which could affect our future growth," he added.
Tags : Asian security order, India and ASEAN countries,regional safety and peace,India-ASEAN Delhi Dialogue

People of normal weight are far less likely to die

Mumbai: People of normal weight are far less likely to die from any cause compared to individuals who were overweight or obese, says a recent study on more than a million Asians.

The research, conducted as part of the Asia Cohort Consortium, included health status and mortality information on more than 1.1 million individuals from east and south Asia.

In the cohorts (study groups) of East Asians, including Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, the lowest risk of death was seen among individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the range of 22.6 to 27.5, which is considered normal to slightly overweight.

One of the study groups from India, the Mumbai Cohort Study, was led by Prakash C. Gupta, director of Healis-Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.

"Despite the growing concerns regarding the gradual transition towards increasing rates of obesity, under nutrition remains a major health problem in India and being underweight is even more dangerous," he said.

Gupta mentioned that among all of the Asian populations studied, the risk of death was increased by a factor of 2.8 among those who had a BMI of 15 or less.

"Based on the findings in this paper, in addition to a standard public health message of not being obese, we formulate the new key public health message for not being underweight either," Gupta recommended.

BMI (Body Mass Index) is defined as weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of height in metres.

East Asians with a raised BMI of 35.0 or higher had a 50 percent higher risk of death. The same was not true for Indians and Bangladeshis, indicating that a high BMI did not affect all ethnic groups in a similar way.

The study was led by Wei Zheng, professor of cancer research at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Tennessee; Paolo Boffetta, professor of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and John D. Potter, senior adviser of public health sciences division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The authors concluded that the study provides strong evidence supporting the biologic plausibility that excess weight contributes to a higher risk of death which confirms that most people are at a higher risk for dying early if they are obese and is a clear message not to gain weight as we age.

At the same time being underweight is also not desirable, they noted.
Tags : Research by Asia Cohort Consortium, health status of Asians, mortality information on people of east and south Asia

AIIMS to allot a seat in a masters course to an MBBS doctor:Delhi Court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to allot a seat in a masters course to an MBBS doctor who denied this last year due to a change in the prospectus just before the counselling date.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna said: "The AIIMS authorities will have to allot a seat to Varun Aggarwal in PG course in the general category either in surgery, gynaecology or orthopaedics in the next academic session in July 2011."

The court was hearing the petition filed by Aggarwal, who had alleged that the AIIMS authorities had failed to follow the existing procedure and changed the prospectus just ahead of the counselling date in June 2010. On that ground he was not allowed to get admission in MS (surgery) despite holding 179th rank in the merit list.

The court said: "The AIIMS may have been conferred with the privilege of institutional preference, but that would not enable it to change the prospectus in the manner it has been done. Thus, the action of the AIIMS on this score is vitiated and we cannot give a stamp of approval to the action of the institution."

"The hopes and aspirations of the students, who came within the zone of merit, cannot be scuttled by changing the prospectus by way of introducing a corrigendum. By issuing a corrigendum, the scenario of results changed because further results were published and more candidates were called," the court observed.

"The conditions stipulated in the prospectus are guidelines for all concerned and everyone is required to follow the same in letter and spirit and not act in transgression," the court added.
Tags : Delhi High Court, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, AIIMS seat,masters course to an MBBS doctor, counselling date

Women on nightshift escape skin cancer

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found that shift work may be associated with a reduced risk of skin cancer in women.

"Shift work has been associated with increased risk of certain cancers and chronic non-malignant diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes," said lead study author Eva Schernhammer, a researcher in the Channing Laboratory at BWH.

"However, while shift work has been associated with other cancers, the risk of skin cancer among night-shift workers is unknown."

The researchers documented 10,799 incidents of skin cancer in 68,336 women in the Nurses' Health Study over 18 years of follow-up and examined the relationship between rotating night shifts and skin cancer.

They found that higher duration of working rotating nightshifts was associated with a significantly lower risk of skin cancer.

When examining the effect of night shift work on different types of skin cancer, although the risk for each skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) decreased, the strongest association was observed for melanoma.

Working ten or more years of rotating night-shifts was associated with 44 per cent decreased risk of melanoma.

The researchers also found that darker-haired women in the study had the lowest risk of skin cancer. There were no differences in risk by sunlight exposure level at baseline, geographic residence or body location of skin cancer. That the inverse association was strongest among women with dark hair raises the possibility for several mechanistic explanations, including a genetic component that may affect both the extent of melatonin suppression during night work and skin cancer risk.

"Although higher melatonin levels appear to be beneficial in individuals with stable circadian rhythms, in shift workers, for certain disease outcomes melatonin suppression may actually be more beneficial," concluded Dr. Schernhammer.

These findings are published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute .
Tags:Women,skin cancer,nightshift,health

Drug cuts HIV risk for breastfeeding infants

In a new study, scientists found that giving breastfeeding infants of HIV-infected mothers a daily dose of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine for six months halved the risk of HIV transmission to the infants at age 6 months compared with giving infants the drug daily for six weeks.

The longer nevirapine regimen achieved a 75 per cent reduction in HIV transmission risk through breast milk for the infants of HIV-infected mothers with higher T-cell counts who had not yet begun treatment for HIV.

"Extended breastfeeding reduces infant mortality in places that lack safe, clean water by protecting babies from common childhood diseases because breast milk contains protective antibodies from the mother that formula feeding does not provide," says Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, which funds the trial.

"These findings show that giving the infants of HIV-infected mothers an antiretroviral drug daily for the full duration of breastfeeding safely minimizes the threat of HIV transmission through breast milk while preserving the health benefits of extended breastfeeding."

The new findings apply to mothers and infants in developing nations, where infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis and pneumonia often pose a life-threatening risk to very young children.

The study was presented at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston on March 2, 2011.

Partners of cancer patients too get ill

A new study has found that people who are married to or cohabiting with a cancer patient suffer more illness in the year following their spouse or partner's cancer diagnosis.

The research was conducted by Katarina Sjovall, a cancer nurse from Lund University, Sweden.

Sjovall studied partners of individuals with colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer or prostate cancer.

Her study shows that the number of diagnosed diseases among partners increased by 25 per cent after the cancer diagnosis.

"Having a close relative with cancer entails worry and anxiety and an increased workload that places a strain on one's health", Sjovall said.

The most significant increase was in diagnoses of mental illnesses such as depression.

But there was also a significant increase in cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal diseases and abdominal diseases.

The highest increase was in cardiovascular disease among spouses and partners of those with lung cancer, which increased by almost 50 per cent.

The worst affected were spouses and partners of lung cancer patients, who had over 70 per cent more days off sick than the general population in the year following their partner's diagnosis.

And healthcare costs increased most for men under 64 who had a partner with cancer.

"One possible explanation could be that the men feel less comfortable taking on a caring role as the partner of a cancer patient and that they therefore suffer more stress", said Sjovall.

Current umpires suspect Muralitharan's action: Hair

Melbourne: Controversial former umpire Darrell Hair has claimed that many of the current officials suspect Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan's action but do not want to call him in matches for the fear of creating a furore.

Hair, who called Muralitharan for suspect action back in 1995, said many of the current umpires feel the same about the Lankan but prefer to turn a blind eye.

"A couple of current umpires have said to me, 'Something is wrong', but they prefer to let it go," Hair, who quit the ICC's elite panel in 2008, was quoted as saying by 'the Herald Sun'.

"There is still a lot of doubt about his deliveries. A few have told me, 'There is definitely something wrong with his action, but I'm not going to call him'. They are the ones who have to live with that," he revealed.

Hair said such an attitude of the umpires was unfair on the other teams.

"If you're an umpire you're meant to uphold the law so both teams get a fair shake. There's been some umpires who think, 'I'm on a good wicket here, I'm making good money, I won't rock the boat'," he said.

"It's not my style, it's obviously theirs." Hair said he has been watching Muralitharan's bowling in the ongoing World Cup in the sub-continent and is not convinced about some of the deliveries he has bowled.

"I watched a few of his deliveries in his game against Pakistan and I noticed the last few overs when he was really getting some turn on the ball, those wouldn't have complied under scrutiny," Hair said.

"But this is his last World Cup, he's going to bow out with a lot of fanfare and no umpire will be bothered by it. Each time I wrote a list of concerns and put them in a report, but the report system wasn't working.

"The only way it would have worked was if the Sri Lanka board listened to it and quite patently they didn't want to. Back in 1995, I have no doubt he threw a hell of a lot of balls. He had his action reviewed, but then he started bowling the doosra and there's no one in the world who can bowl that legally," he added.
Tags:world cup,Suspect Action,Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan,Muttiah Muralitharan,ICC,Darrell Hair

WikiLeaks suspect forced to sleep naked in prison

Washington: The Army private suspected of giving classified US documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks was forced to sleep naked in a military jail at least once this week, the Marine Corps acknowledged on Friday after the soldier's lawyer complained.

Commanders of the prison near Washington ordered all of Pfc Bradley Manning's clothing, including his boxer shorts, taken from him Wednesday night under provisions of the Navy Corrections Manual, which governs prisoner treatment, said 1st Lt Brian Villiard, a spokesman for the Marine Corps base.

"It was a situationally driven event but to go into detail about it would be inappropriate because it would violate the detainee's privacy," Villiard said.

Col Thomas V Johnson, another spokesman, said the treatment was not punitive.

Manning, a former intelligence analyst, is charged with aiding the enemy and 33 other offenses for allegedly stealing computer files of more than 250,000 confidential State Department cables, classified video of a deadly US helicopter attack and a raft of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. The video and thousands of the documents have been published on the WikiLeaks website.

He was arrested in May and brought to Quantico July 29 from a detention facility in Kuwait.

The Navy Corrections Manual permits clothing removal for prisoners who have threatened suicide or made a suicidal gesture, or for strip searches involving suspicion of a crime.

Villiard said Manning hadn't been placed on suicide watch.

The 23-year-old remains in maximum custody and on prevention-of-injury status, designations that keep him confined alone 23 hours a day, and require removal of all clothing except his boxer shorts at night.
Tags:wikileaks,United States Marine Corps,Thomas V Johnson,Navy Corrections Manual,Marine Corps,Brian Villiard

Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi paid tribute to veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and other leaders today paid tribute to veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh, who died of cardiac arrest here a day earlier at the age of 80.

Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi visited the former union minister's 17, Akbar RoadT residence where his body has been kept and expressed their condolences to the grieving family. According to a family member, his body will be flown to hometown Churhat in Madhya Pradesh, where the last rites will be performed on Sunday.

The Congress working committee also held a special meeting here today to condole Arjun Singh's death, a party office-bearer said.

The CWC meeting - the first after its formation on Friday - was held at 10, Janpath, the residence of party chief Sonia Gandhi. Besides Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, senior ministers A.K. Antony and Pranab Mukherjee and other leaders also attended the meeting.

Condolence meetings were held at various Pradesh Congress Committee offices too.

Arjun Singh, a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, died of cardiac arrest at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Friday evening. He was 80. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
Tags : Manmohan Singh Tribute to Arjun Singh, Sonia Gandhi Tribute to Arjun Singh, Congress Leaders Tribute to Arjun Singh, Arjun Singh Cardiac Arrest

Sonia Gandhi retained senior leaders in her team of office bearers

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi retained most of the senior leaders in her team of office bearers unveiled on Friday, with the long-awaited announcement not springing any major surprises. The exercise, done keeping in view intra-party equations in the states and caste and regional balances, has seen senior state leaders, including Birender Singh and Madhusudan Mistry, finding a place in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's top decision making body.

Though six leaders have been dropped from the CWC, most senior leaders have retained their places.

Party leaders said that the principle of one-third reservation for women does not apply to CWC and but there are few women in the team announced on Friday.

There is no woman among the nine general secretaries, but three among 19 members of the working committee and two among permanent invitees to the working committee. There is no woman among the five special invitees to the CWC.

There are five women among the 33 secretaries announced on Friday.

While some of the ministers holding charge of states have not been repeated, two ministers - Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik - continue as general secretaries.

Azad, in fact, has been given charge of Andhra Pradesh, which is electorally crucial for Congress and is witnessing an agitation over the demand for a separate Telangana state. Azad is also incharge of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

There has not been any change in the profile and role of Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as a possible prime ministerial candidate at the next Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

Sonia Gandhi has elevated leaders like Mohan Prakash and Jagmeet Singh Brar by giving them charge of states. There has been some surpise in party circles over appointment of lesser-known faces likes Dhani Ram Shandil, a former MP, and Gulchain Singh Charak, a party leader from Jammu and Kashmir, as incharges of states.

Uttar Pradesh, which will to go assembly polls in 2012, has found good representation in the CWC. Apart from both the Gandhis, who are MPs from the state, the extended working committee has three other MPs, including Beni Prasad Verma, Nirmal Khatri and Raj Babbar.

As many as 18 leaders have been dropped as AICC secretaries from the previous team that had 38 members. Former Youth Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who has worked with Rahul Gandhi, has been been made a secretary. Party observers said that some young party leaders and known faces such as Priya Dutt had been taken in as secretaries.

The new team of secretaries announced Friday includes party MPs Avinash Pande, Bhakta Charan Das, Jitendra Singh, Sanjay Nirupam, Meenakshi Natarajan, Parvez Hashmi, Priya Dutt, R.C. Khuntia, Tarachand Bhagora, V.Hanumantha Rao, Avtar Singh Bhadana and Vijay Lakshmi Sadho.

It also includes Abdul Mannan Ansari, Anees Ahmed, Mirza Irshad Baig, Jayadev Jena, K. Jayakumar, K. B. Krishnamurthy, Manish Chatrath, P.Sudhakar Reddy, Praveen Rashtrapal, Sagar Rayka, Sanjay Bapna, Sanjay Bhoi, Shanimol Usman, Shantaram Naik, Maj Ved Prakash, Vinay Kumar Sorake, Vivek Bansal, Deepak Babaria, Asha Kumari and Pankaj Sharma.

Special invitees to the working committee include INTUC president G. Sanjeeva Reddy, former Punjab Congress chief Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Raj Babbar, Khatri and Anil Shastri.
Tags : Congress president Sonia Gandhi, senior Congress leaders, office bearers,Congress Working Committee

CVC enquiry:alloting state-owned BSNL WiMAX franchises

New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission is enquiring into irregularities in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's (BSNL) WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) franchises, parliament was told today.

The Department of Telecom has also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of member (finance), telecom commission for detailed examination of the course of action taken by BSNL while floating a tender for short listing bidders for WiMAX franchises, Minister of State for Communications and IT Gurdas Kamat told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

WiMax offers high speed internet access with fast data downloads.

BSNL has entered into an agreement with franchisees for roll-out of WiMAX services in urban areas of Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh (West), Rajasthan, Karnataka, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra service areas under a revenue share basis.

As per the agreement, the franchisee was to deploy WiMAX network and BSNL would provide its infrastructure like premises, towers and media connectivity. However, according to reports, the operator had selected some five franchise companies to deploy WiMAX services across the country out of which one was alleged to have got the contract without following the complete procedure.

BSNL has been recording huge losses in the past two years. It posted a loss of Rs.1,822.65 crore during 2009-10.
Tags : India Business News, India Telecom Sector, Central Vigilance Commission, BSNL WiMAX Franchises, Irregularities in WiMAX Franchises

World cup:Sensational upset against England,filled Ireland with hope

Bangalore: A sensational upset against England has filled Ireland with hope, but coach Pete Johnston knows that India would be a tougher nut to crack when they clash in the World Cup on Sunday.

"We know what it means to play a strong team like India," Johnston told the media.

"They have a strong batting line-up and they are playing on home turf. (Virender) Sehwag and Sachin (Tendulkar) are there in the top order. Yuvraj (Singh) and Yusuf (Pathan) in the middle. We also have to face smart operators Zaheer (Khan) and Munaf (Patel), besides negotiating the spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla. We have to give them a tough fight to harbour any hopes of pulling off yet another upset," he said.

Ireland is not taking anything for chance and the team sweated out in a practise session here today. The agile Irish players took to the ground early for a gruelling session at the nets, with England-slayer Kevin O'Brien being the cynosure of all eyes.

The Indians also had a rigorous practise session. After an hour long workout in the gym and three hours at the nets at the National Cricket Academy ground, coach Gary Kristen led the team into the stadium for unwinding with a soccer match in the post-lunch session.

India have three points from two matches, having beaten Bangladesh in the first match and managing to tie against England.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's boys have plenty to cover in the fielding and bowling departments, the two weaker areas of the home side, due to which England came close to chasing down 338 last on Sunday.

Ireland, on the other hand have tasted a rare win over England and are raring to go against India, looking for another upset. They know that they can stay in the race for a berth in the knock-out stage.

"India cannot afford to take Ireland lightly as England did and paid dearly. The home team's emphatic victory over a fledgling Bangladesh in Dhaka will not count much against top teams like South Africa. Even Ireland proved that they are not a pushovers," said Sujith Somasunder, a former international.

India will surely watch out for Kevin, who hit the fastest World Cup century to upset England. Kevin turned the game around with Alex Cusack (47) with a 162-run sixth wicket partnership.

The wicket at the Chinnaswamy stadium is flat and produced two high scoring matches. There was little for the spinners as one would have hoped after India's warm up match against Australia. Dhoni may go for an extra bowler as even pacers Zaheer and Munaf struggled to contain the English top order, especially skipper Andrew Strauss, who hit a fine 158.

"India should be looking to post over 350 if they bat first. If they bowl first, they should contain Ireland, who are upbeat after their victory against England and would be eyeing another kill," said Somasunder.
Tags : India Sports News, Indian Cricket, England Ireland World Cup Match, Ireland India World Cup Match

1986 Bofors gun deal:Delhi court closed the case ,no charges against Ottavio Quattrocchi

New Delhi: A Delhi court today closed the Rs.640 million kickbacks case related to the 1986 Bofors gun deal on a plea by the CBI, dropping criminal charges against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, the only accused still alive in one of the country's biggest scandals and whom India has repeatedly failed to extradite.

Accepting the Central Bureau of Investigation's closure report and observing that too much time and money had gone into it, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav observed: "At this moment we have to end the case, therefore I allow the CBI plea to close the case.

"I think the CBI has moved this application to close this case after applying their minds, therefore there is no need of wasting public money in continuing the investigation."

"There is a long list of cases pending in lower courts. Therefore we want this case to be closed as the defence counsel has no locus standi in this case," he said.

"We have already spent Rs.250 crore during investigation during this case which was public money. Therefore, we don't want the public money to be wasted," the court added.

The premier investigative agency was seeking to close all criminal cases against Italian businessman Quattrocchi, one of the alleged recipients of kickbacks in the controversial Rs.15 billion Bofors gun deal in 1986 that had led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989.

Many influential figures were accused of receiving payoffs in the deal which involved the purchase of Bofors guns for the Indian army. Many of the accused have since died or been exonerated in the case.

CBI counsel U.S. Prasad and Naveen Kumar Matta expressed happiness over the court's order. "It was in public interest to withdraw the case and our application was bonafide," said Matta.

"Two attempts made for the extradition of Quattrocchi failed. The court, in view of the delay in the case, found our application bonafide."

However, the defence counsels said they will appeal against the court order. "I will appeal this order in a high court and the Supreme Court as well," said defence counsel Ajay Aggarwal.

The CBI had been seeking withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi, who had never appeared before any Indian court to face trial citing lack of evidence, even as a tax tribunal ruled in December 2010 that illegal commissions were indeed paid in the deal.

The agency had said its plea to withdraw the case has been filed with bonafide intention as it has spent a huge amount of money on the investigation but has not been able to arrest Quattrocchi.
Tags : Delhi Court, 1986 Bofors Gun Deal, Criminal Charges against Ottavio Quattrocchi, Bofors Kickbacks Case

Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner (CVC)-Manmohan Singh accepts his "reponsibility"

Jammu: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today broke his silence on the Supreme Court quashing the appointment of P.J. Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner, and said he accepts his "reponsibility".

"I accept my responsibility," Manmohan Singh told reporters here.

Thomas' appointment was termed illegal by the Supreme Court on Thursday. Singh was part of a three-member panel which selected him to the post.
Tags : India News, Appointment of PJ Thomas, Appointment of PJ Thomas, Chief Vigilance Commission, Supreme Court

Congress leader Arjun Singh died of cardiac arrest

New Delhi: Congress leader Arjun Singh, a former union minister, chief minister and governor, who made a strong bid to become prime minister in the mid-1990s, died of cardiac arrest in a hospital here today evening. He was 80.

He is survived two sons and a daughter.

"He was in the hospital for the last 15 days. He was shifted to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) yesterday. He was suffering from chronic diseases," All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director R.C. Deka told the media.

"He was on life support," Deka added.

A staunch loyalist of the Gandhi family, Arjun Singh was twice the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, governor of Punjab and commerce and human resource minister at the centre.

Today, Singh was named a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee.
Tags : India News, Arjun Singh Cardiac Arrest, All India Institute of Medical Sciences

General Motors (GM) to launch 14 variants of 6 new cars in India

Kolkata: Carmaker General Motors (GM) India will launch 14 variants of six new models in the country in the next two years, a top company executive said today.

"We will launch 14 variants of six new models in the next 24 months. Among the six, two will be commercial vehicles, which will be launched next year. The other models will be SUV and Sedan, among others," General Motors India president and managing director Karl Slym told reporters here.

He said the company will showcase a mini Chevrolet electric car in Arpil. The car has been developed at GM's Bangalore plant.

He, however, declined to comment on when the electric car will be formally launched in the country.

According to Slym, GM was eyeing at selling two lakh and three lakh cars in 2012 and 2013, respectively, in India.

He also said that capacity of the Halol manufacturing plant, which currently produces 85,000 units, was being expanded to 1.1 lakh units, pumping in $500 million.

Stating that the car industry in India grew by 30 percent last year, Slym said the company's sales grew by 60 percent in 2010.

This year the industry was is expected to grow by 12 to 15 percent and the GM aims growth at twice the market rate, he said.
Tags : India News, General Motors, Launch of new Car Models, mini Chevrolet electric car

Harish C. Mariwala,MD of Marico Ltd,taken over as president of the FICCI

New Delhi: Harish C. Mariwala, chairman and managing director of consumer goods firm Marico Ltd, has taken over as president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the country's oldest industry association.

"We will work closely with the government on key areas of economic reforms," Mariwala told reporters today.

Mariwala, who succeeds Rajan Bharti Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, was elected president of FICCI at its 83rd annual general meeting here on Tuesday.

Naina Lal Kidwai, group general manager and country head of HSBC, has been elected vice president of FICCI.

"The election of Kidwai is historical first for FICCI both in gender terms and also because she is the first professional to hold office in FICCI's 83-year history," said Mariwala.

Mariawala said he would focus on specific areas like introduction of tax reforms, foreign investment in multi-brand retail and infrastructure, and in tackling corruption in national governance.
Tags : India Business News, Marico Ltd, FICCI, Harish C. Mariwala

Thailand-based Bangkok Airways starts flights between Thailand, Mumbai

New Delhi: Thailand-based Bangkok Airways today said it has started its first India operations by connecting Bangkok with Mumbai through six flights per week.

"Demands are there and we realised that there is still plenty of room to be filled in terms of seat capacity," said Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osot.

According to him, the airline expects to carry an average of 60 percent capacity-load factor.

"The opening of Bangkok-Mumbai on March 2 and Bangkok-Dhaka on March 27 is part of the airline's 2011 expansion strategy," the company said in a statement.

The airline's inaugural service to Mumbai, an Airbus 319, had a seating capacity of 118, including 12 seats in business class and 106 in economy class.

At present, the airline offers regional services to seven domestic destination in Thailand and seven international route, with a fleet of 17 aircrafts.
Tags : India Business News, India Aviation Sector, Bangkok Airways India Operations, Bangkok Airways Mumbai Flights

Mobile subscribers in India touched the 771.18 million:TRAI

New Delhi: The number of mobile subscribers in India touched the 771.18 million figure by January end, with the addition of 18.99 million connections in the month, official data shows.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the wireless user base grew 2.52 percent to 771.18 million in January from 752.19 million in the previous month.

The report said that while the share of urban subscribers declined to 66.42 percent from 66.65 percent in the month, the share of rural subscribers increased from 33.35 percent to 33.58.

With this, the total number of telephone subscriber base touched 806.13 million, registering a growth of 2.39 percent.

The overall teledensity in India reached 67.67.

But the report said that in January, out of the total 771.18 million subscribers, only 548.66 million subscribers were active subscribers on the date of peak visitor location register (VLR).

VLR is a temporary database of the subscribers who have roamed into the particular area, which it serves. Each base station in the network is served by exactly one VLR, hence a subscriber cannot be present in more than one VLR at a time.

The growth in this category was led by Bharti Airtel, which added 3.3 million users to take its subscriber base to 155.8 million users.

Reliance Communications followed next with an addition of added 3.2 million new subscribers, taking its subscriber base to 128.87 million. Vodafone added 3.1 million connections, taking its user base to 127.36 million subscribers.

Newer operators, however, showed a dismal performance with their subscriber base declining tremendously. Videocon posted a decline of 6.89 percent, with over one million customers moving out of its network, leaving it with 6 million customers.

While Loop telecom added a meagre 17,541 subscribers. Currently the operator has 3 million subscribers.

According to the data, the broadband subscriber base grew 2.70 percent from 10.92 million in December to 11.21 million in January 2010. However, the wireline segment declined marginally from 35.09 million in December to 34.94 million at the end of January.
Tags : India Business News, India Telecom Sector, India Mobile Subscribers, India Mobile Connections

Toyota Kirloskar Motor decided to defer the launch of its hatchback Etios Liva

Chennai: Car maker Toyota Kirloskar Motor has decided to defer the launch of its hatchback Etios Liva by two months in order to cater to the increasing demand of its compact model Etios.

Toyota Kirloskar is also taking various measures like starting second shift production, improvements in per vehicle production time and production enhancement measures to bring down the waiting time for Etios, the company said in a statement issued today.

Launched in last December Toyota Kirloskar has been logging good numbers for its Etios.

Last month the company sold 9,308 cars of which 2,786 are accounted by Etios. Toyota Kirloskar has sold 4,844 Etios since its launch. The model has a waiting period of around five months.

Commenting on the steps, Managing Director Hiroshi Nakagawa said: "Our customer-first philosophy means that we put the customers' needs ahead of everything else - it is this philosophy that has always helped Toyota manufacture quality products and maximise customer satisfaction."
Tags : India Business News, India Automobile Sector, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Etios Liva, Toyota Kirloskar Etios Liva Launch, Toyota Kirloskar Etios

West Indies outclassed Bangladesh in a World Cup Group B match

Dhaka: West Indies outclassed Bangladesh in a World Cup Group B match at Dhaka today winning their encounter by nine wickets.
After bowling out Bangladesh for 58, the West Indies reached the target in 12.2 overs, losing their only wicket in Devon Smith.
Tags : West Indies Bangladesh World Cup Match, World Cup Group B, World Cup Match at Dhaka

Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor,Priyanka Chopra run for Cosmopolitan Magazine's fun, fearless awards

New Delhi: Bollywood beauties Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra are in the run for Cosmopolitan Magazine's fun, fearless awards, to be held in Mumbai Saturday.

The three actresses are competing in Fun, Fearless Female All Time Reader's Choice Award this year.

Other categories include - Fun, Fearless Power Couple award, for which the nominees are - Kareena Kapoor-Saif Ali Khan; Hrithik Roshan-Sussanne Khan and Arbaaz Khan-Malaika Arora Khan.

There is also a Fun, Fearless Male 2010 Reader's Choice Award, and Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Salman Khan, and Arjun Rampal are competing for the title in this category.

The event, in its third edition now, takes place annually in India, Britain and the US.

"The Fun, Fearless Female Awards is a cult, one-of-its-kind event that celebrates all that's iconic of the Cosmo woman - her attitude, drive, and the never-say-never spirit," Nandini Bhalla, editor of Cosmopolitan, said in a press statement.

The organisers are expecting a star-studded turnout at the event Saturday at the Taj Land's End, Mumbai.

"The response has been tremendous - from readers, Bollywood favourites, and the industry. The Fun Fearless Awards are a pat on the back to women (and some special men) from different areas of life-acting, music, theatre, and more.

"Last year's awards saw a great turnout - Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, and more. And this year's awards promise to be bigger, better, and more Cosmo than ever," said Mala Sekhri, chief operating officer, Lifestyle Magazines, India Today Group.
Tags : India News, Bollywood, Cosmopolitan Magazine's Fun, Fearless awards, Power Couple award

CBI raided the offices and residences of suspended Prasar Bharati CEO B.S. Lalli

New Delhi: The CBI today raided the offices and residences of suspended Prasar Bharati chief executive officer (CEO) B.S. Lalli and Waseem Ahmed Dehlvi of Zoom Communications here for their alleged involvement in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) broadcasting scam. The raids started at 8 a.m. and were simultaneously conducted at four places, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) spokesperson Vineeta Thakur told the media.

The places where the raids were conducted include Lalli's Pandara Road residence, his Mandi House office and Dehlvi's Greater Kailash-1 residence and Kalkaji office, CBI official R.K. Gaur said.

CBI registered an FIR against Lalli on Thursday night.

Lalli, who is facing corruption charges, was placed under suspension on Dec 21, 2010. He is an IAS officer of the 1971 batch belonging to the Uttar Pradesh cadre.

The V.K. Shunglu Committee, appointed by the government to probe allegations of corruption surrounding the Commonwealth Games in October 2010, noted that the Prasar Bharati had sanctioned highly inflated bills in connection with the broadcast of the event.

The committee said in its first report on Feb 1 that CWG contracts were awarded by public broadcaster Prasar Bharati arbitrarily "without ensuring reasonable rates and overruling suggestions".
Tags : CBI raids offices and residences of B.S. Lalli, Prasar Bharati CEO B.S. Lalli,Zoom Communications, Commonwealth Games,CWG broadcasting scam

Turmeric fights colon cancer

Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that turmeric's active ingredient called curcumin amplifies the therapeutic activity of highly toxic anti-inflammatory drugs used to fight colon cancer when used at high doses.

Turmeric, a bright yellow spice from south Asia belonging to the ginger family, is the main ingredient in curries — and ancient wisdom suggests that it's also good for your health.

Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari of Tel Aviv University's School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and his colleagues have found that curcumin can fight cancer when used in combination with a popular anti-inflammatory drug, alleviating the inflammatory response caused when cancer takes root in the body.

A treatment based on this finding has already had promising results in human clinical trials.

"Although more testing will be needed before a possible new drug treatment is developed," says Dr. Lev-Ari, "one could combine curcumin with a lower dose of a cancer anti-inflammatory drug, to better fight colon cancer."

Research in the last few decades has shown that cancer is linked to inflammation. Several lines of evidence demonstrate that chronic inflammation in the stomach can cause gastric cancer and that inflammation in the liver from hepatitis can lead to liver cancer.

Dr. Lev-Ari and his colleagues found that Celecoxib, a popular anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to treat arthritis, also inhibits proliferation of colon cancer in laboratory settings.

Curcumin increases the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects of Celecoxib while reducing its dose, thus reducing its toxic side-effects, including the rate of heart attack and stroke.

The results of the new study have been published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology .
Tags:Turmeric,health,colon cancer

Sleeping with light on causes weight gain

Too much light at night appears to lead to weight gain, according to a report, based on studies of mice that provide fresh clues on obesity.

The researchers found that mice exposed to a dim light at night over eight weeks had a weight gain that was about 50 percent more than other mice that lived in a standard light-dark cycle.

"Although there were no differences in activity levels or daily consumption of food, the mice that lived with light at night were getting fatter than the others," said Laura Fonken, lead author of the study and a researcher at Ohio State University.

The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, said the weight gain could be a sign that light has an effect on the metabolism.

"Something about light at night was making the mice in our study want to eat at the wrong times to properly metabolize their food," said Randy Nelson, co-author of the study and professor of neuroscience and psychology at Ohio State.

If these results are confirmed in humans, it would suggest that late-night eating might be a particular risk factor for obesity, Nelson said.

In one study, mice were housed in one of three conditions: 24 hours of constant light, a standard light-dark cycle that included 16 hours of light and eight hours of dark, or 16 hours of daylight and eight hours of dim light.

Results showed that, compared to mice in the standard light-dark cycle, those in dim light at night had significantly higher increases in body mass, beginning in the first week of the study and continuing throughout.

By the end of the experiment, dim-light-at-night mice had gained about 12 grams of body mass, compared to eight grams for those in the standard light-dark cycle.

Mice in constant bright light also gained more than those in the standard light-dark cycle, but Nelson said the mice exposed to dim light was a more important comparison for humans.

Although the mice exposed to dim light did not eat more than others, they did change when they ate, consuming more food at night.

Since the timing of eating seemed significant, the researchers did a second study, with a change: instead of having food freely available at all times, food was restricted to either the times when mice would normally be active or when they would normally be at rest.

In this experiment, mice exposed to the dim light at night did not have a greater gain in body mass than did the others when their food was restricted to times when they normally would be active.

"When we restricted their food intake to times when they would normally eat, we didn't see the weight gain," Fonken said. "This further adds to the evidence that the timing of eating is critical to weight gain."

The researchers said the findings offer clues for causes of the obesity epidemic in Western countries.

"Light at night is an environmental factor that may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in ways that people don't expect," Nelson said. "Societal obesity is correlated with a number of factors including the extent of light exposure at night."

He said prolonged computer use and television have previously been linked to obesity but because they are associated with a lack of physical activity.

"It may be that people who use the computer and watch the TV a lot at night may be eating at the wrong times, disrupting their metabolism," Nelson said.

"Clearly, maintaining body weight requires keeping caloric intake low and physical activity high, but this environmental factor may explain why some people who maintain good energy balance still gain weight."
Tags:weight gain,sleep,Obesity,night,Light on

How students' alien hoax fooled UK govt

London: British authorities were fooled by a group of engineering students who managed to spark fears of a real alien invasion against the country in 1967, according to newly released secret UFO files. The police, armed forces and intelligence services were mobilised following the "very successful" practical joke made during a student rag week, said the files released by The National Archives.

They revealed how the authorities, including four local forces and a bomb disposal unit, swung into action after calls from the public that six UFOs were found in a perfect line across southern England, the Telegraph reported.

"But fears of a real 'war of the worlds' incident petered out after examination of the 'spacecraft' showed that it was an elaborate rag week hoax by engineering students," said the newspaper. The story emerged as part of the largest ever release of UFO files, which also revealed a number of military sightings of UFOs, a claimed "alien abduction" in London and an unidentified aircraft shadowing a Lancaster bomber.
Tags:UFO files,Lancaster bomber

US university to investigate sex toy demonstration by professor

Chicago: Northwestern University's president said on Thursday that he is "troubled and disappointed" that a psychology professor allowed a couple to engage in a sex act involving a motorized sex toy in front of dozens of students, and is calling for an investigation.

Hours after accounts of the February 21 class appeared in local newspapers, including the university's defense of Professor John Michael Bailey's decision to allow students to witness the act, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro strongly criticised the lecturer.

"I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member," Schapiro said a statement issued by the Evanston university.

A guest lecturer had been discussing bondage and sexual fetishes during Bailey's human sexuality class. According to published reports, a couple at the lecture decided that a video the students were watching on the female orgasm was not realistic and gave a live presentation involving the sex toy. Schapiro said it did not matter that the incident occurred after the class was over, that attendance was voluntarily and that the students were warned of the explicit nature of what they were about to see.

"I have recently learned of the after-class activity associated with Prof Michael Bailey's Human Sexuality class, and I am troubled and disappointed by what occurred," he said.

"I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University's academic mission," he said.

Evanston police say it will be up to the school to determine if the demonstration violated any local ordinances. The guest lecturer asked the students if they were "ready for a live sex show," student Justin Smith told the Chicago Tribune.

At that point, Faith Kroll took off her clothes and she and Jim Marcus climbed on the stage and, as about 100 students looked on, the pair demonstrated the use of a motorized device with a phallic object attached to it. The lecturer, Ken Melvoin-Berg, told the newspaper that the students were told about issues such as safety and consent.
Tags:sex toy demonstration in US university,Northwestern University,Chicago Tribune

Follow Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Twitter for Jammu and Kashmir news

Jammu: If you want news from Jammu and Kashmir, might as well follow Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Twitter. For, not only did he tweet about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's arrival here today morning but also threw in information about the weather.

"The PM arrives to a wet & windy Jammu. Umbrellas seem to be order of the day," Abdullah tweeted soon after receiving the prime minister at the airport. Manmohan Singh is here for a day's visit.

It has been raining since Thursday afternoon and the gusty winds have added to the chill.

Way back in April 1983, then prime minister Indira Gandhi had arrived in Jammu when it was witnessing heavy rains.
Tags : Jammu and Kashmir News, Social Networking, Omar Abdullah on Twitter, Manmohan Singh's Arrival at Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Weather

Manmohan Singh wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan,including J&K

Jammu: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is here on a daylong visit, today said India wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including on Jammu and Kashmir.

"We wish to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries through a friendly dialogue process," he said. "We will enter these talks with an open mind," he added.

Addressing the convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology here, the prime minister said: "We wish to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries through friendly, constructive and peaceful negotiations. And this includes the issue of Jammu and Kashmir."

"We are willing to discuss all issues that have a bearing on the peace, dignity and well-being of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he reiterated.

But he also voiced concern about terrorism emanating from Pakistan. "We cannot forget what happened in Mumbai," he said referring to the November 2008 terror attack.

India and Pakistan have agreed to "resume dialogue on all issues" following a meeting of their foreign secretaries in Bhutan in February.
Tags : India News, India Pakistan Issues, Jammu and Kashmir Issues

Rajya Sabha question hour would be taken up in the afternoon

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari today announced that question hour in the upper house would be taken up in the afternoon instead of morning from next week.

Ansari said members raise issues of concern at the expense of question hour and it had been decided to shift the timings.

He said 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every day and 2.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. today "shall be available for asking and answering of questions". He said the new timings would come into force from March 7.

"It has been observed that matters of concern are raised at the expense of question hour," he said.

The chairman said the decision to shift the timings had been taken after consultation. He said when the house meets in the morning, matters of concern would be raised with the permission of the chair.
Tags : Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha Question Hour, Rajya Sabha Issues, Hamid Ansari

Veerappa Moily- Thomas could not continue as central vigilance commissioner (CVC)

New Delhi; Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily today said P.J. Thomas could not continue as central vigilance commissioner (CVC) after the Supreme Court ruled his appointment as illegal.

"There is no question of him (Thomas) continuing as it (his appointment) has been declared a nullity and illegal by the Supreme Court," Moily told reporters outside parliament, a day after the apex court order.

Asked if the government needed to issue a notification in this regard, he said: "The notification will be issued saying the post is vacant."

About the appointment of a new CVC, Moily said: "That is a process which the government has to take."

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the appointment of Thomas as head of India's top anti-corruption watchdog over his alleged involvement in a corruption case, six months after he was appointed to the post.

Moily had on Thursday said Thomas has tendered resignation following the apex court order - though Wills Mathews, Thomas' counsel, had denied the claim.
Tags : India News, PJ Thomas Appointment, Central Vigilance Commission, M. Veerappa Moily, Supreme Court

Fraud US university-US authorities to work for Indian students affected

Washington: US authorities have agreed to work closely with the Indian embassy here for early resolution of the problems faced by hundreds of Indian students affected by the closure of a fraud US university.

The agreement was reached during a meeting here between a group of Indian students of the Tri-Valley University (TVU) with Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar with representatives from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Student Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) present.

There was a detailed and useful discussion and exchange of information on the manner in which the problems of students at TVU are being addressed, and some of the continuing concerns of the students, the embassy said.

"It was agreed that the students and representatives from ICE and SEVP would remain in touch with the Embassy to continue to work together for early resolution of the issue,"

The Embassy said it had also been informed by US authorities that more than 50 per cent of the students were at various stages of processing for reinstatement.

Other students were advised to contact ICE on their website (, or contact their call centre at telephone 703-603-3400 to initiate the consideration of their cases.

Nearly 1,500 Indian students face the prospect of deportation unless they can secure admission to another school to maintain their visa status.

As many as 18 Indian students were radio tagged to prevent their fleeing. Anklet monitors of 11 of the students have since been removed following the intervention of the Indian consulate in San Francisco.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had in a Feb 22 letter to Shankar assured her that the State Department is following the case "closely and is working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Government of India to ensure fair and appropriate treatment of the students."

Reiterating the strong commitment to foster educational exchanges with India, Clinton also said, "Indian students make a strong contribution to both our countries and it is among my priorities to ensure that this pillar of our partnership remains strong".
Tags : Indian embassy, Indian students in US, fraud US university, Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar,US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, India and US news

Abhishek Choubey,"Ishqiya" director moving into a suburban setting

Mumbai: Abhishek Choubey, who took his plot and characters in "Ishqiya" to the rural badlands of North India, is moving into a suburban setting for his second directorial venture. He says the woman's part would again be central to the script, though far more sophisticated and mysterious than in the previous film.

"My second film is set in Mumbai. I want to run the script by my writer and director friends in Mumbai to see if I've got the nuances right," said Choubey.

The challenge for him is to take the female protagonist beyond Vidya Balan in "Ishqiya" and Priyanka Chopra in "7 Khoon Maaf".

"The woman in my next film is not just delicious in her provocative attitude, she is also deeply mysterious. I can't say if she is unique. But she's certainly arresting and in no way like the typical heroines," he said.

The film is a city-based thriller with dark yet humorous overtones.

"Yes, I'm making a dark thriller. Since it's a whodunit, the title has to be just right. My producer and mentor Vishal Bhardwaj had given me a fantastic title in 'Ishqiya'. I'll have to lean on him again this time for a title," he said.

The young director apparently wants to cast Vidya Balan, who was the central character in "Ishqiya", in the central part again. But he is reluctant to reveal anything right now.

"All I can tell you is I can't have Naseer saab back in my second, much as I'd like to. There's no protagonist of that age in my second film. As for Vidya and Arshad Warsi, it is too early to talk," he said.

But he said Gulzar will write the lyrics and Bhardwaj will score the music.

"I can't imagine making a film without them. Look at the impact of 'Dil to bachcha hai jee'. I am quite happy to see Madhur Bhandarkar has named his film after my song," he said.
Tags : India News, 'Ishqiya' director, Abhishek Choubey, Vidya Balan, Vishal Bhardwaj,

University lecturers- e-certificates will be sent to all those who qualify for the UGC-NET test

New Delhi: In a new e-governance initiative, the human resource development ministry on Thursday announced that e-certificates will be sent to all those who qualify for the University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) test for appointment as university lecturers.

Close to 15,000 aspirants will now get their UGC-NET qualification certificate through e-mails, instead of the earlier practice of receiving hard copies of the certificate. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal launched the e-certificates on Thursday.

"This is yet another step towards e-governance we are trying to build," Sibal said after launching the programme.

"Every 20 seconds, a certificate will be mailed to the eligible candidates," UGC's acting chairman Ved Prakash said.

The certificate will be given to 10,433 candidates who qualified for NET and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) in the exam in June 2010.

The UGC-NET exam is conducted twice every year in June and December in 77 subjects at 74 centres spread across the country.

"Approximately five lakh students take the UGC NET exam every year, and 15,000 qualify in every batch. With this e-certificate, the time taken in giving the certificates, which was earlier six months, will now be only six days. At the same time the time taken for verification of authenticity of the certificate by employer will take only 24 hours against the earlier time of four months," he said.

The certificates will also be password protected, will carry a photo of the candidate and have a unique bar code.

"An sms will also be delivered to the candidate as soon as the certificate is delivered in their mail box," Prakash added.
Tags : e-governance initiative, human resource development ministry, e-certificates, University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test, UGC-NET, appointment as university lecturers


Bollywood actor & BJP nominee Hema Malini elected to the Rajya Sabha

Bangalore: Veteran Bollywood actor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee Hema Malini was today elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.

She defeated noted Kannada writer K. Marulasiddappa who contested as an independent with the support of the opposition Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). The actor won by 106 votes to 94.

The ruling BJP has 106 members, including speaker, in the assembly while Congress-JD-S together have 97.

The poll was held to fill the vacancy created following the death of M. Rajashekara Murthy of the JD-S last December.

Hema Malini would be a member till April, 2012, when Murthy's term would have expired. She was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha 2003-09.
Tags : Indian Parliament, Hema Malini in Rajya Sabha, K. Marulasiddappa

P.J. Thomas as CVC "historic" and the "biggest blow":BJP

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today termed the Supreme Court's decision to set aside the appointment of P.J. Thomas as central vigilance commissioner (CVC) "historic" and the "biggest blow" to the central government.

"This is the biggest blow to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Congress government," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.

The apex court today struck down the appointment of Thomas for his alleged involvement in a corruption case, six months after he was appointed to the post.

"Today, in a historic decision, the CVC appointment by the union government has been struck down. This also vindicates the BJP position, more so the position taken by the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj who had opposed the appointment then on the same ground on which the Supreme Court has struck it down," he said.

The larger issue is that the government is part of all the corruption, Rudy alleged.
Tags : Bharatiya Janata Party, Supreme Court's decision on the appointment of P.J. Thomas, central vigilance commissioner, CVC, central government

Telecom giant Bharti Airtel launched its 3G service in Delhi circle

New Delhi: Telecom giant Bharti Airtel today launched its third generation (3G) service in the national capital region spanning Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida."We are definitely witnessing the tipping point of non-voice and data explosion in this country and will be bringing the Airtel 3G advantage pan-India soon as promised," said Atul Bindal, president, mobile services, Bharti Airtel.

The operator has already launched its 3G services in seven cities: Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore, Manipal, Udipi and Jaipur.

According to Bindal, with just over a month since the company began its rollout, their 3G network covered around half a million customers and had 4,500 sites which were available across seven cities.

The company also offers customers different tariff plans.

"Customers can choose from Airtel's easy-to-understand 3G tariff plans, which have been crafted to prevent 'bill shock' and help customers monitor their consumption of data with personalised data usage limits and alerts," added Bindal.

The company has lined up packages on a daily basis depending on the application and content requirement of a customer. The company will be promoting a sachet pack wherein the applications will be available for Rs.21 per day.

The 3G services will offer features such as video-calling, mobile TV, video streaming and access to applications at super fast speeds on mobile phones and personal computing devices.
Tags : Telecom giant Bharti Airtel, third generation service, 3G service in Delhi, Airtel 3G service in Gurgaon, 3G service in Faridabad and Noida, data explosion, Airtel 3G in pan-India

Canada's BlackBerry maker will launch its PlayBook tablet

Toronto: With Apple unveiling its leaner, sleeker and faster iPad2 on Wednesday, there is now speculation that Canada's BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) will launch its PlayBook tablet on April 10.

Quoting its sources, the media said on Wednesday that the BlackBerry tablet will hit retail stores on April 10.

"We have been told by multiple sources that RIM's very first tablet will be launching on April 10th in retail locations. Additionally, we're told the OS (operating system) goes GM (gold master) on March 31st and that when you boot up the device right out of the box, you'll be prompted to upgrade to a newer version of the OS. We'll have another hands-on coming up shortly...,'' the media said.

At 7-inch size and featuring front and back cameras, the 1-GHz dual-core PlayBook will run on BlackBerry maker's new powerful QNX operating system which RIM specifically bought for the tablet.

RIM has already announced to offer the PlayBook in four models - Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi+WiMax, high-speed LTE and HSPA+.

Since the BlackBerry smart phone's over 55 million users worldwide swear by its encryption technology for securing privacy, analysts say the Canadian wireless giant could hit a gold mine if it is able to seize the corporate segment of the tablet market.

To target these business and corporate subscribers, RIM has integrated the PlayBook with its smart phone through BlackBerry Bridge.

What augurs well for RIM is a survey last week which said that about 50 percent of corporate are ready to adopt the tablet whose market is set to balloon to more than 100 million by next year.

Unlike Apple, BlackBerry's already vast network of carriers worldwide would also give a very big advantage to the PlayBook to make its mark in the Apple-dominated tablet market.

In the fast crowding tablet market, Motorola Mobility has already launched the Xoom. Hewlett-Packard is set to follow with its TouchPad and Samsung with the three new versions of its Galaxy Tab which was launched last year.

There was no reaction on Wednesday from Waterloo-based BlackBerry maker to Apple's new iPad which at 10-inch - like the first version- is still bigger than the PlayBook.

At 601 gramme, down from 680 gramme from the first version, the new iPad is still heavier than the PlayBook which will weigh 425 gramme, with thickness of just 10 mm.

Apart from addition of front and back cameras for video-conferencing, the new iPad also has twice the speed of its predecessor. It comes in two colours - black or white borders - and will be able to connect to your HDTV through an HDMI adapter.
Tags : Apple iPad2, RIM PlayBook Tablet, BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet