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Sunday, October 31, 2010


President Obama arrives in India this week on a three-day visit amidst high hopes and great expectations, but...

Indian Tourism has its “Incredible India”campaign; Barack Obama has his “Indispensable India” mantra. From the time the 44th US
president took office, he has flogged this expression several times, elevating it to a new US foreign policy shibboleth. He used it during his remarks to welcome Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the White House; he plied it during a surprise State Department appearance during the strategic dialogue; and he’s applied it several times in between. You’ll hear more of it when he visits India next week.
    It is a recalibration of the Bush-Vajpayee era mantra of “natural allies.” Somewhere down the line, Washington has figured out that India is not cut out to be an ally in the traditional sense. Depending on how one looks at it, India is too independent, too timid, too fractious, too tetchy, too assertive, too moralistic, to make a good ally. So it’s now a “partner.” And in Obama’s eyes, “indispensable.”
    Really? What gives? How come? What is it that India offers the US that the world’s superpower (albeit declining) can’t live without? Not cheap goods. China takes the cake (and eats it too). Not oil and gas. Not precious metals, rare earths, or hi-technology. We come up short on all the good stuff. We are not even a gateway to landlocked Afghanistan (like Pakistan is, which makes it temporarily indispensable), and the one time we helped US planes refuel during the first Gulf War, all hell broke loose in India. So what are the reasons India is termed “indispensable”?
    Well there are 1.2 billion reasons. It’s called the “market” in Americanese.
This is the most attractive thing about India right now for the US. Or, to paraphrase an American expression from not so long ago: ‘It’s our economy, stupid.’A constantly expanding middle-class riding on 8% economic growth into the near future, fuelled by blind Americanstyle consumerist aspiration, hungering for goods, gadgets, and gee-gaws.
    Don’t believe it? Some of our best and the brightest staff their labs, universities, think tanks and other centers of excellence. We are the repository of prime human capital.
    Incidentally, there was this little tour your correspondent took of the first lady’s vegetable garden in the White House this week. It’s a terrific idea. She wants obese America grow and eat more fruits and vegetables, live healthy, size down, consume less sodas and fast food. Great message. Why then, I asked a White House major domo, is US’ India policy geared towards promoting Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds and other notables of witless, unhealthy living? That is a question, said the curator after clearing an awkward throat, best addressed to the state department.
    Indeed, the prime focus of the Obama visit is a dead giveaway if you go by his delegation to India. Absent from the team are secretary of state Hillary Clinton and defense secretary Robert Gates. Accompanying him are commerce secretary Gary Locke and agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack. It’s a sales trip. Of course, the big strategic stuff is also on the table, although it has receded a bit in the face of domestic economic pressures and political expediency. As India’s own economic sinews grow, so does its military heft, and Uncle Sam is all too happy to provide the guns along with the butter to bulk up New Delhi for the role of a regional cop.
    The fact that India is a democracy,
has no particularly contentious issue with the US, and the two countries have matchless people-to-people ties, provides comfort and confidence to Washington that New Delhi can be trusted to safeguard its security interests in the sea lanes around the Indian Ocean. “Common values” is another expression Obama, Bush and Clinton have flogged.
    “The United States values our partnership not because of where India is on a map, but because of what we share and where we can go together,” Obama said in his state department speech. But make no mistake; the map is important. Pakistan, always on the point of imploding, has its foot on the US tacticaljugular going into land-locked Afghanistan. But its strategic carotid runs from the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Hormuz, looping up into the South China Sea towards Japan and Korea — herein lies the heart of 21st century economic traffic.
    To secure this is where the US wants help from India and other democracies in the region. This route, says Robert Kaplan, author of newly published “Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power,” underscores the importance of these nations and bodies of water as the US seeks to check the growing assertiveness of China.
    “What I am alluding toward is a very complex, Metternichian arrangement of power,” Kaplan told a Harvard audience last week. “We don't have to interfere everywhere, we just have to move closer to our democratic allies in the region so they can do more of the heavy lifting.” Obama’s India trip is the first stop in this exercise when he can get his mind away from the
economy and jobs.

US: THE SOLE SUPERPOWER GDP: $ 15 trillion (number one in the world)
Per capita income: $ 47,014 (5th highest)
Per capita spending: $ 1,967 (nine times the world average)
Has 17% of the total votes in IMF
Accounts for 40% of the world’s military spending
Permanent member of the UN Security Council (with veto power)
In 2006, a group of Indian journalists visited a few nuclear facilities in France. At a high-level briefing for the group, a French official said, “France did not im
pose sanctions on India after the 1998 nuclear tests. And we actually wanted a nuclear deal for you. Why did you not do anything about it?” One of them admitted with rare candour that they couldn't pull off what the Americans could. In another couple of years, the Americans would be pulling all stops at Vienna to clear India's nuclear deal through a sceptical and hostile Nuclear Suppliers Group.
    In a nutshell, that’s a good reason for India to need the US — to pull the levers of the global system that makes the world a friendlier place for India, more amenable to the India story.
    As Barack Obama heads to India, he is pressing different buttons — he’s the first US president to make it to Indian shores in his first term. Also, he’s probably one of the very few to actually spend three days here, certainly the first to celebrate Diwali in India. But he's also the first president to measure his visit to India by the number of jobs he could create for Americans back home, struggling with a 9.6 % unemployment rate.
    For Indians, it's a jaw-dropping moment. The US needs us, say bureaucrats and corporate honchos. For years, the silent Indian mantra used to be, “Yankees go back... and take me with you.” Somewhere, the wheels of fate have turned.
    Does India need the US any more? For scores of righteous Indians
bred on a diet that Americans are out to “get you”, it's tempting to believe that those days are over. The growing and dynamic India doesn't much care for the US’ alliances in our neighbourhood. The Americans’ appeasement of Pakistan’s terror-army-spy establishment is actually against India’s interests.
    And then, you are not sure whether the US will kow-tow or be super-belligerent with China. India is buying US defence equipment, but are we sure that the US is a reliable supplier? Or will they give similar equipment to the Pakistanis and undermine our military edge?
    Probably all of the above. But even with this, the US will remain India’s most important partners. One of Manmohan Singh’s top advisers says that “we need the US to invest in India's development.” India is growing rapidly, but it needs many leap-frogging moments if it has to pull hundreds of millions of Indians out of poverty. For that, India’s best partner is still the US.
    “We need their market, their technology, their defence equipment, their expertise in diverse fields and their innovation,” says Tarun Das, former mentor of CII. Manmohan Singh, early on, defined the three “Es” that India needed to excel in for that much-needed leapfrogging moment in India’s history: economy, energy and education.
    The Indian economy has been on a roll, largely due to the enterprise of India’s dynamic private sector. For that to truly flourish, India needs to build capacities in technology and the culture of innovation that sets the US apart from every other country.
    For a long time, India has intellectually logged on to the US educa
tion system, which is still the acme of aspiration and achievement for many Indians. As for energy, India moved to the first step of a leap-frogging act in energy, with the nuclear deal. Officials will tell you that for India to go around the world, signing nuclear agreements with impunity, it would need that old-fashioned American power.
    From the strategic viewpoint, India’s greatest challenge going forward is China. Very simply, India will not be comfortable in a world run by Chinese rules of the game. A high-level Indian official points out that “we would rather that the world is run on the Washington consensus than the Beijing consensus.”
    But for all this, India will never be the kind of pliant “ally" the US has traditionally been used to. And the US is never going to do everything India wants them to do. Indians ask too many questions, Americans set too many conditions. “India can, at best, be a partner, but never an ally. But both countries need to come closer for a stable global order in the 21st century,” says KC Singh, former diplomat.
    The US is proud of what it calls “American exceptionalism.” India is equally conscious of its own exceptionalism. That will never make for a trouble-free marriage. But just as a strong, democratic India is in the interest of the US, the obverse is equally true. US strategy thinker Ashley Tellis says, “American strategic generosity towards India remains an investment is its own geopolitical well-being. And India’s success itself, so long as it's not used to undermine US’ vital interests, becomes New Delhi’s strategic bequest to Washington.”India and the US need each other to be strong — for their own good.

INDIA: AN EMERGING POWER GDP growth rate: 8.5% (current)
GDP projection for 2030: $6.6 trillion
Labour force: 440 million (world’s 2nd largest)
Mobile phone users: 600 million (fastest growing market)
Internet users: 81 million (4th largest)
Foreign exchange reserves: $ 284 billion (5th largest)

INDO-US LANDMARKS 1941 | US President Franklin D Roosevelt roots for Indian Independence. He tells British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “India should be made a Commonwealth at once. After a certain number of years—five perhaps, or ten—she should be able to choose whether she wants to remain in the Empire or have complete independence.” 1949 | Jawaharlal Nehru becomes the first Indian Prime Minister to visit America.

1953 | India and the United States are embroiled in an acerbic dispute over the Battle Act, which bars American aid to any country that traded in strategic goods with China. 1959 | Eisenhower becomes the first American president to visit India. He is received with tremendous enthusiasm. 1960 | America signs a four-year, $1.27 billion PL-480 food agreement with India. 1966 |Indira Gandhi travels to Washington and
meets President Lyndon B Johnson. Although billed as a goodwill visit, she admits to an associate that “my main mission is to get both food and foreign exchange without asking for them.” The visit is a success.
1969 | Richard Nixon becomes the second American president to tour India in a visit that’s believed by many to be the least productive by any US president.
1979 | A year after Morarji Desai travels to the US, Jimmy Carter comes to India, visits a village in Haryana, which is later christened “Carterpuri”.
1985 | Rajiv Gandhi goes on his first official tour of America; meets President Ronald Reagan.
2000 | Bill Clinton becomes the fourth American president to come to India in what is termed a “game changer visit.”
2005 | Manmohan Singh visits America and the much debated nuclear deal is signed.

2006 | Bush comes to India, agrees to support India's nuclear power programme.
2009 | Manmohan Singh visits Washington, the first foreign leader to be received as a state guest by the 10-month old Obama administration. Obama terms Singh's visit “akin to Nehru's 60 years ago.”

2006: Bush and Manmohan in New Delhi

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Russell Brand gets namesake bullock from animal group

British actor Russell Brand poses for photographers as he arrives for the European premiere of ''Despicable Me'' at Leicester Square in London October 11, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregorActor and long-time animal rights defender Russell Brand and wife singer Katy Perry received an unusual wedding gift on Friday from two animal rights groups in India -- a bullock named after Brand.
The two were married at an exclusive resort in Rajasthan last week.
The bullock, or young bull, was a present from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and Animal Rahat, a nonprofit organisation that provides free aid to animals.
Brand was named the "sexiest vegetarian alive" by PETA U.K. in 2007.
"Russell the celebrity and Russell the bullock have something in common: they are both very handsome fellows," said Poorva Joshipura at PETA India.
"The gift of a namesake is also fitting because just as Russell Brand embarks on his new life as a married man, Russell the bullock has also been given a new lease on life -- the heavy loads he once pulled have been lifted from his shoulders for good."
PETA India has yet to hear from Brand in response to the gift, Joshipura added.
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Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey

Khelein Hum Jee Jaan SeyAfter working with Ashutosh Gowariker in film 'What's Your Raashee?' composer Sohail Sen teamed up with the filmmaker in period film 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey'.

Packed with high energy and soft soothing melodious songs, the album is high on patriotic sentiment.

It boasts of five originals. The film is based on Manini Chatterjee's book 'Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34', and the composer has tried to stick to the theme of the movie in his songs.

The first song of the album, 'Yeh des hai mera', is a solo sung by Sohail. Even though the title is quite similar to 'Yeh jo des hai mera' from Gowariker's previous film 'Swades', the two songs are significantly different.

'Yeh des hai mera' is a slow, calm, patriotic song and evokes feelings of encouragement. It is effortlessly sung by Sohail. A good start for the album.

Next is 'Nayan Tere'. Crooned by Pamela Jain and Ranjini Jose, it has a certain amount of mischief and innocence in it owing to the lyrics and the way it has been rendered. The predominance of flute makes it melodious and hummable. In the end, a few lines in Bengali have been also incorporated to keep the soul of the film intact.

The title track of the film is a high tempo, energetic number and what makes it a must hear is the vocals by children from the Suresh Wadkar Ajivasan Music Academy. The dynamism in the voice of these kids and the whistling are the highlight of the song. It oozes patriotism and is so contagious that listeners actually feel the emotion in the song. It has the potential to be a new freedom anthem for the youth.

The only romantic track in the album is 'Sapney salone', which has Sohail and Pamela behind the mike. A soft, pleasing and simple track, it has a tranquillising effect on listeners. Melodious composition and soft orchestration are the pluses of the love song.

Then there is the much talked about Hindi version of the 'Vande Mataram'. It is also in chorus by singers from the Cine Singers Association Chorus Group. It is power-packed and energetic and evokes a feeling of love and pride for the country.

The makers have also packed the background score of the film in the album under various titles like 'Long live Chittagong', 'The Teenagers Whistle', 'Surjya's Sorrow', 'Vande Mataram', 'The Escape', 'Nayan Tere' (sad) and 'Revolutinary Comrades'.

The music sticks to the theme of the film and yet it is entertaining and interesting. Sohail has tried to keep the orchestration subdued and has focused on vocals. Indian instruments like flute and sitar are widely used.

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Celeb Watch Vivek Oberoi ties the knot

Hindi film actor Vivek Oberoi married Priyanka Alva, daughter of late Karnataka political leader Jeevraj Alva, here on Friday. 28-year-old Priyanka is a Business Management graduate from Britain. Her mother Nandini is a well known classical dancer.

Jeevraj Alva, a Janata Dal-United leader and a minister in the Ramakrishna Hegde ministry in Karnataka, passed away in 2001.

The wedding, both in Karnataka and Punjabi style, took place at the sprawling farm house of Alvas in north Bangalore. The Oberois -- father Suresh Oberoi was also a leading Hindi film actor -- will host a reception in Mumbai Sunday.

The pre-wedding ceremonies began Thursday and continued till Friday evening when the barat reached Alva's house. The wedding comes a few days after the release of Vivek's latest bollywood flick, Rakht Charitra, across India.
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Stay out of Gujarat: Supreme Court to Amit Shah

Ahmedabad:  The Supreme Court has directed Amit Shah to stay away from the state from Sunday morning till further orders.

When Amit Shah's lawyer opposed the court's direction for him to stay away from Gujarat the court said, "It is in your interest if you stay away from Gujarat".

The apex court issued notices to Amit Shah and Gujarat government on why his bail should not be cancelled. This order came after the CBI filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of the bail granted by the Gujarat High Court to Amit Shah and sought an urgent hearing. 
The apex investigating agency argued that Amit Shah may tamper with evidence while on bail.
"I want to say only this much that the CBI had filed a petition because of its strong apprehensions that the accused, Amit Shah, can wield lot of influence and can tamper with evidence. So we filed the petition last night, although all the documents were not available. They had yet to arrive from Ahmedabad," senior lawyer KTS Tulsi, who appeared for CBI in the High Court, accompanied CBI officials when the petition was filed, said.

The petition was filed in the Deputy Registrar's office around 10.30 pm on Friday night after the top brass of the premier investigating agency decided to move the Supreme court for cancelling the bail.

"The petition was filed at the residence of the Registrar of the Supreme Court and the Registrar was requested to obtain necessary orders for constitution of the Bench. The Bench was eventually constituted today and the hearing took place at 5 pm. In the course of hearing, the judges enquired as to whether Mr. Amit Shah is still in custody or has he been released. We informed the court that according to our information Mr. Amit Shah was released from jail around 10.15-10.30 pm last night, which is clearly contrary to the Prison Manual and the Prison Rules. We also expressed our strong apprehension that the lives of various witnesses may be put at risk," Tulsi added.

The Court will be on a brief Diwali recess from Monday. The Deputy Registrar is the court's Vacation officer.

It is likely that the petition may come up before the Vacation bench of the Supreme Court on Saturday.
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CBI probing how defence land was transferred to Adarsh society

With the upscale Adarsh co-operative housing society coming under a cloud, the CBI has stepped in and is probing how prime defence land here was transferred to it and set a one-week deadline for the society to provide relevant documents.Screenshot of Google Maps pointing the location of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s link to the society has also emerged with revenue and society officials saying his late mother-in-law Bhagwati Manoharlal Sharma figured in the list of its members. Mr. Chavan was not available for comment but he has sought information on the Adarsh controversy.
The CBI is also investigating how the beneficiaries, including former services chiefs, politicians and bureaucrats, raised money to buy apartments meant for Kargil war heroes and their families in the posh Colaba area in South Mumbai.
The agency, which had begun its probe into the row in early October, has sought documents relating to the society.
Former Army chiefs Generals N.C. Vij and Deepak Kapoor, ex-Navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh, former Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Shantanu Chowdhary, former Union Minister and Shiv Sena MP Suresh Prabhu are among those who have been allotted flats in the 31-storey building.
“We had sought all documents pertaining to the society from the city collector, society’s general secretary and authorities of the Indian Navy and Army in early October,” a senior CBI official said on Thursday.
“While we have received around 4,000-page documents from the collector’s office, there has been no response from the other concerned agencies,” the official said.
The documents were sought following a specific complaint of irregularities, the official said, adding a deadline of one week has been given to the society today to submit the documents failing which the agency would investigate in accordance with law.
The housing society, built on prime defence land, has been constructed in alleged violation of rules.
The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows.
“We are going through the documents provided by the collector’s office and further course of action would be decided later,” the official said.
The agency is trying to ascertain how the defence land was transferred to co-operative housing society and how the beneficiaries, including government servants, raised money to buy the apartments.
“A 1,000-square foot apartment in the society would have cost around Rs 70 lakh in 2004. We will find out how individual beneficiaries arranged the funds,” the official said.
Army on Wednesday said it was carrying out an inquiry into Mumbai’s Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society row.
“As far as we are concerned, the inquiry is on and I would not like to comment beyond this as it may hamper the inquiry,” Army chief General V.K. Singh had said.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony had said the government was “seriously examining” the matter.
The Navy has objected to Maharashtra government according permission for Occupation Certificate citing serious security concerns.
The 100-metre tall building next to a planned helipad and military installations has violated the CRZ limit of a height of 30 metres, the Navy had said.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

I-T searches on premises of Minister, two BJP MLAs in Karnataka

Policemen stand guard outside Karnataka Health Minister B. Sriramulu's Palace Road residence in Bangalore on Monday. I-T officials conducted raids at places of several BJP MLAs and the Ministers. Photo: K. Gopinathan

In one of the largest, single-day operations in recent times in Karnataka, Income Tax officials on Monday searched the office premises of Health Minister B. Sriramulu in Bangalore, and the offices and residences of two BJP legislators, who are involved in mining businesses.
The premises of the MLA from Kudligi, B. Nagendra, and Kampli legislator, T.H. Suresh Babu (nephew of Mr. Sriramulu), both considered close to Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his brothers, were searched in Bangalore and in their home towns early in the morning.
Searches were also conducted in the rooms (no. 333) allotted to Mr. Suresh Babu and Mr. Nagendra (no. 330) in the Legislators' Home here.
A large number of houses, offices, business establishments, mining and construction firms in Bangalore, Bellary and Hospet, searched by the I-T Department, belong to people close to the Reddy brothers.
Documents seized
According to I-T officials, a large number of documents have been seized, and bank accounts frozen. The searches were conducted on over 50 premises.
The searches assume importance in the background of Opposition allegations that the ruling BJP was paying off MLAs from other parties to resign from their posts under its “Operation Kamala.”
The residences and offices of one of Mr. Reddy's personal assistants, Ali Khan, and a legal adviser, Raghavacharlu, were also searched in Bellary, Hospet and Bangalore.
Mr. Nagendra's construction firm in Bangalore, the Bellary-based Aakar Abhinav Construction Company (owned by a close associate of the Reddy brothers), GGS Mines, ILC Mines, Lakshmi Venkateshwara Steels owned by Kharapudi Mahesh, Swatik Steel owned by K. Nagaraj were among the other firms searched. I-T officials said the operation was carried out on the information available from the earlier searches conducted on other mining companies and their proprietors. Mr. Janardhana Reddy's residence and offices were searched in 2007.
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World is big enough for India, China: Wen


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday the world was big enough for their two countries to develop and cooperate, sounding a positive note ahead of a visit planned for later this year.
The world's most populous countries have engaged in repeated diplomatic sparring over the last two years, reflecting growing friction over their disputed borders and roles as emerging global powers despite bilateral trade that has grown 30-fold since 2000.
"There is enough space in the world for India and China to achieve common development ... to have cooperation," Wen said at the beginning of a meeting with Singh on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Hanoi.
"We must strive to ensure the sound and steady growth of our relationship," he said.
Wen said his "preliminary consideration" was that he would visit India later this year.
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BMTC's card for all seasons

The cashless card boom is waiting to board government-run buses in the City, where 1,000 buses will soon be equipped to accept Common Mobility Cards.

Just one card is enough while commuting on all buses without buying a ticket. The cashless card can be charged at some 100 centres being set up in the city.  DH PhotoAccording to State Transport Minister R Ashok, the City has been selected as a pilot for a Central scheme aimed at integrating the cards for use in all public modes of transport in the country.

With the card, commuters will not have to buy bus tickets. Instead, they have to get it periodically charged at the 100 centres being set up in the City exclusively for the purpose.

In the State, the project will be run at a cost of Rs 16 crore, Ashok said, while distributing smart cards to accredited journalists for free travel on government buses on Thursday.

The State will bear 65 per cent of the entire project cost and the rest will be borne by the Centre as part of its Jawaharlal Nehru National Urbal Renewal Mission.

Apart from Bangalore, there are reports that the projects will also be tried out in places like Pune, Chandigarh and Delhi.

While Delhi had reportedly planned for launch of the cards in October before the Commonwealth Games, Pune is said to be ready for a trial run from November 14. The dates for launch of the cards in Bangalore have not yet been announced.

Further, the State government is also in talks with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited to allow people to use the card, once the Metro services begin.

Other initiatives

Other State initiatives to jazz up Karnataka’s transport facilities include developing bus stands and depots in the northern part, at Rs 50 crore.

Ashok, who also holds the home portfolio, said beat system was being reintroduced in Bangalore to instill a sense of safety among citizens and decrease the spiralling crime rate. Over a 1,000 Assistant Sub Inspectors and 4,012 constables were being appointed in addition to 400 police sub inspectors to equip the police force for better patrolling in the City.
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Bihar election: Polling peaceful, 54 pct voter turnout in phase 3

About 54 per cent of 1.03 crore electors cast their votes today in 48 constituencies that went to polls in the third phase of the Bihar Assembly elections which passed of by and large peacefully.

Bihar pollsState Chief Electoral Officer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh said 58 per cent polling was recorded in West Champaran, 57 per cent in East Champaran, 51 per cent in Gopalgunj, 52 per cent in Siwan, 50 per cent in Saran and 54 per cent in Vaishali districts.
Over 185 persons were detained during the poll, which witnessed minor incidents of clash and scuffle, but was otherwise peaceful and smooth, Director General of Police Neelmani said. Around 60 vehicles were also seized.
BJP and RJD workers clashed at two booths under Raxaul Assembly constituency in East Champaran district, but none was injured, official sources said.
A scuffle broke out between supporters of two rival candidates at a booth at Madhavpur in Lalganj constituency in Vaishali district, they said.
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K'taka: Rebel MLAs fate to be decided on Oct 29

Bangalore, Oct 29: The much awaited verdict on the eleven disqualified BJP MLAs would be pronounced by the Karnataka High Court on Friday, Oct 29.

Karnataka map
The third judge, who heard the batch of petitions filed by the rebels, Justice V G Sabhahit would deliver the verdict at 2:30 pm on Oct 29.

Speaker Bopaiah ordered disqualification of 16 MLAs, 11 BJP and five independents on Oct 10 on the floor test faced by Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa.
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Army officer becomes first Indian to BASE jump

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) An officer of the Indian Army Friday jumped off a 450-foot tower in the capital, successfully completing India's first BASE jump -- an adventure sport that is regarded highly risky as it is done from a fixed location at much lower altitudes.
Shortly after dawn, amid uncertain wind speed and hazy conditions, Lt. Col. Satyendra Verma, jumped off from the Pitampura TV tower kicking off the 100th anniversary of the Corps of Signals and the 25th anniversary of the Army Adventure Wing.

'Proud' to be a hardcore adventure enthusiast, the communication officer of the army has earlier done two BASE jumps in the US and Malaysia and has over 1,100 other jumps to his credit.

BASE jumping - an acronym for Buildings, Antennae, Spans and Earth - generally entails slower airspeeds than typical skydives because of the limited height. Jumping from higher altitudes is easier than BASE jumping because a jumper gets more time to control aerodynamics of his or her body and open a parachute.

'It was a thrill -- nothing more, nothing less. When you jump you forget everything. But it involves right preparation and when preparations are right, nothing will go wrong,' Verma told IANS shortly after landing safely on ground after spending some 30 seconds in the air.
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Rahul travels general class to get ‘migrant experience’

Rahul Gandhi undertook an unpublicised train journey in the ordinary sleeper class from Gorakhpur to Mumbai 10 days ago. His mission was to acclimatise himself with the problems of the people who migrate to the metropolis in search of livelihood.
“The Congress general secretary landed at Gorakhpur from a special plane from Bihar and boarded the 2451 Gorakhpur-Lokmanya Tilak superfast express which starts from there in the night,” Congress sources here said. Gandhi, who had reservation in the sleeper class, preferred the general compartment and spent almost 36 hours talking with the common people migrating to Mumbai from eastern districts of the state in search of livelihood, they said. The sources said the main objective of Rahul’s journey was to meet the migrants, youths and unemployed and get to know about their dreams and aspirations. He talked at length with those undertaking the journey for the first time and enquired about the experience of others who had been there earlier, sources said.
The Congress general secretary got off from the train in Mumbai on October 20, the sources said.
Meanwhile when asked, ADG law and order, Brij Lal said the state police was not informed about the programme of the Congress leader. “The SPG extending security did not apprise the state police about the programme and we only know that he took the train from Gorakhpur railway station and traveled in the sleeper class,” he said.
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After India rebuke, US to now follow up on Headley clues

The US has launched a review of its agencies' handling of inputs provided by two of the three wives of David Headley about his involvement in the 26/11 strikes, a top Obama administration official said on Thursday, even as India expressed disappointment for not being provided specific information on the Mumbai attacks plotter.
"The Director of National Intelligence (Admiral Retd James Clapper) has ordered a full review of everything that we knew related to the Headley case," Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told a group of Washington-based Indian reporters at a special White House briefing on Obama's maiden India trip from November 6 to 9.
"Some of this is vast amount of information within the US intelligence system and the nature of the kind of information that we received in this instance from Headley's ex-wives, which was of a more general nature.”
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Obama should support India for UNSC seat: think tank

President Barack Obama: The 'Obama in India' report, authored by Ashley Tellis, argued that the President should accelerate India’s assimilation into global non-proliferation bodies. Photo: AP
During his trip to India early next month, United States President Barack Obama should endorse India’s candidacy for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, an influential Washington think-tank has argued in a report to be released later this week.
Outlining some of the most pressing reasons why the U.S. ought to extend such support the report said that should the UNSC reform occur, it would be inconceivable that India would not be included in the reconfigured body given India was “on track to become the world’s third- or fourth-largest economy, possesses major military capabilities, remains a pluralist liberal democracy, and is a nuclear weapons state”.
Further, three of the five permanent members of the UNSC — Russia, the United Kingdom, and France — had already endorsed India’s candidacy, leaving only the U.S. and China “as strange bedfellows that have resisted the inclination to support New Delhi’s claims”, the report said.
The Obama in India report, authored by Ashley Tellis, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argued that the U.S. President should also accelerate India’s assimilation into global non-proliferation bodies such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
With regard to the civil nuclear agreement, progress on which has slowed since the passage of the nuclear liability bill by the Indian Parliament, the report by Mr. Tellis argued, “Exhorting India to begin serious commercial negotiations with American nuclear suppliers and to sign and ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation… ought to be a priority.”
Common national interests
Speaking to The Hindu from Washington, Mr. Tellis said, about the overall agenda during Mr. Obama’s time in India, “The fundamental thing Obama should remember is that the U.S. partnership with India is intended to support common national interests over the long haul.”
He further said that there was no reason to be discouraged by the challenges that beset both sides today, adding, “There is plenty the United States and India can do together — not all of it will make the headlines but all of it will deepen the partnership.”
Issuing a note of caution to the U.S. on the Pakistan issue, the CEIP report said that Mr. Obama “ought to refrain from asking India… how it can placate Rawalpindi in order to evoke better counterterrorism cooperation from the Pakistan Army”.
In this regard, the report argued that the Obama administration knew well that there was “nothing that India can meaningfully do to assuage Pakistani paranoia beyond what it has done already, namely offer to sustain the peace process and maintain its restraint in the use of force despite the continuing terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan”.
Released less than two weeks before Mr. Obama’s much-anticipated visit to India, the CEIP report further touched upon some of the geo-political imperatives for a deeper India-U.S. relationship.
Remarking upon the role of China in particular, the report said that the U.S. had a “vital stake in maintaining an Asian ‘balance of power that favours freedom’ at a time when managing China’s rise is certain to be the most important strategic challenge facing Washington”.
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China and Japan vow to improve ties

China and Japan's foreign ministers have agreed to improve ties and resume talks on a disputed gas field, as the two sides try to calm their worst diplomatic row in years, China's official Xinhua news agency has reported.
"We agreed that we will make efforts to improve the ties between Japan and China and press forward the strategic, mutually beneficial relationship," Seiji Maehara, Japan's foreign minister, said on Friday after talks with Yang Jiechi, his Chinese counterpart, on the sidelines of a regional summit in Vietnam.
"We also agreed that we will resume the negotiations on the gas field development in the East China Sea," he said.
Following the announcement, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the prime ministers of China and Japan had agreed to meet on Friday. Both leaders are attending the summit of Asean and six other nations in Vietnam.
"The Japanese and Chinese governments have agreed to hold a summit between Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao ... according to government sources," NHK said.
Relations between the world's second- and third-biggest economies took a turn for the worst seven weeks ago when a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japanese coastguard vessels near a disputed island chain.

Japanese authorities arrested the captain of the fishing trawler, sparking outrage in Beijing. The captain was subsequently released, but not before serious damage was done to the relationship.
Beijing cancelled a series of planned diplomatic meetings, insisting the arrest was illegal and invalid.
Angry protests
The row sparked sometimes angry nationalist protests in both countries, with hundreds of Chinese taking to the streets of the southwestern city of Chongqing this week to vent their anger, burning the Japanese flag.
Relations took another hit last month when a dispute flared over oil and resource-rich islands that China calls the Diaoyu and Japan the Senkaku islands, in the East China Sea, that both countries claim as sovereign territory.
Chinese restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals, vital for the manufacture of high-tech goods, and over which China has a near-monopoly on global production, have alarmed Japan and others.
China has denied cutting shipments of rare earths to Japan for political reasons, and says it restricts overall production and exports of the minerals to avoid depleting its reserves and causing harm to the environment.
Wen and Kan met briefly in Brussels during an Asia-Europe meeting on October 4 for their first talks since the incident, but both sides have ramped up the rhetoric since then.
The rift between China and Japan is one of several disputes casting a shadow on efforts to boost economic co-operation among countries in a region increasingly seen as the world's engine of growth.
The Asean leaders have been pressing to fast-track an ambitious plan to establish a political and economic community by 2015, and some have pushed at the meetings in Hanoi this week for greater co-ordination in the face of strengthening currencies.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Women spend 5 days in front of the mirror each year

London, Oct 27 – It is a known fact that men keep waiting for their better halves while they perfect their looks before a night out.
Now, a new UK research has revealed that the time the average woman spends beautifying herself in front of the mirror amounts to five days a year, the Daily Mail reports.
It was found that British women used enough lipstick each day to draw a line from London to New York, on top of 880 gallons (4,000 litres) of foundation and more than 16million sweeps of the mascara wand.
Almost 40 percent said that they would not consider leaving the house without make-up, while 19 percent would rather spend less on food than slash their beauty budget, with one in four saying cosmetics were an essential rather than a luxury.
Women spend an average of 653.64 pounds a year on beauty products, more than 43,000 pounds in a lifetime, and 53 percent say that the recession has had little or no impact on their purchasing patterns.
Londoners are most likely to splash out, spending more than 955 pounds on an average, while those in the North West spend the least 567 pounds. The total annual outlay is 16billion pounds
“Whether it’s a slick of lipstick before the office party or a new skin regime after the winter blues, beauty products have the power to make people feel good about themselves,” Kate James, head of buying for QVC Beauty, the TV channel that interviewed 1,000 women for the survey, said.
‘With more disposable income, modern women are savvier beauty shoppers than ever, getting the best prices from their products and learning the best ways to use them before anything even touches their skin,” she added.
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Kerala: Setback for ruling Left in local body polls

Thiruvananthapuram:  With just six months left for Assembly polls in Kerala, the ruling Left Democratic Front has received a setback in the local body polls in urban areas.

The opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) won two out of the four city corporations to which results were declared and it is currently leading in majority of the municipalities.

In 2005, the Left Front had swept all the city corporations. This time, however, the UDF wrested the prestigious Kochi Corporation from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) after a gap of 30 years and also won the Thrissur Corporation.

In Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam Corporations, both fronts are engaged in a neck-and-neck race.

The election result of the crucial Kozhikode corporation will be announced on October 31.

However, in village panchayats, considered to be traditional Left strongholds, the Left Front continued to maintain an upper hand.
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India-US may ink shale gas tech pact during Obama's visit

NEW DELHI: India plans to sign an agreement with the US for cooperation in exploiting unconventional shale gas reserves during President Barack Obama's visit next month.

"There have been some discussions... we hope to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during US President's visit," Oil Minister Murli Deora said at the Economic Editors Conference in New Delhi.

India does not have technology to exploit shale gas, an unconventional gas trapped in sedimentary rocks and the US is a pioneer in the field.

Oil Secretary S Sundareshan said New Delhi was looking at cooperation with the US in ascertaining shale gas resources base in the country and formulating a policy framework for beginning shale gas exploration.

The agreement is expected to be signed with the US Geological Survey for knowledge-sharing in the area of shale gas.

India is looking at launching first round of auction of shale gas bearing areas by end of 2011.

India intends to see a boom in shale-gas exploration that has fuelled more than $39 billion acquisitions in the US by companies, including Reliance Industries .

Obama is visiting Mumbai and New Delhi during November 6-8 to deepen ties with the world's second-fastest-growing major economy after China.

Shale gas is trapped in geological shale formations and was previously very difficult to extract. But US firms have developed technologies to crack these tight rock formations, making output of the gas economical.

Energy-hungry India, which is 75 per cent dependent on imported oil, hopes to replicate the success seen in the US with its own shale gas reserves.

Shale gas deposits in India are expected in basins in western, central and northeastern parts of the country. Primarily, focus is on three basins -- Cambay (in Gujarat), Assam-Arakan (in the North-East) and Gondwana (in central India).
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IPL Governing Council to discuss Gavaskar's role in Kochi

The Board of Control for Cricket in India says it was not aware of the Kochi consortium's "links" with former India captain Sunil Gavaskar , who was a member of the Indian Premier League's Governing Council before being ousted a few weeks ago.
However, Gavaskar's alleged involvement in the whole process may just include another item in the agenda of the IPL Governing Council when it meets on Thursday in Nagpur to decide the Kochi team's fate.
Gavaskar has been roped in an advisory capacity by the franchise, which says it did so after he was ousted from the governing council.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the Board was not aware of the consortium's move.
Sunil Gavaskar"We were not aware of Gavaskar's links with the Kochi IPL," Shukla said.
"We were never informed, because this issue was never there. This is for the first time we are coming to know about this. We will discuss the issue in the meeting tomorrow," he added.
However, Shukla clarified that at this point of time, neither the BCCI nor the IPL Governing Council will write to the legendary batsman and seek his clarification on the matter.
Gavaskar was ousted from the IPL Governing Council allegedly because of a payment dispute.
The crux of Kochi team's problems are who will run the affairs of the franchise, bought from the BCCI for US $333 million, once the joint venture is formed.
The investors include corporate firms Anchor Earth, Parinee Developers, Rosy Blue and Film Wave -- who hold 75 per cent of the equity.
The remaining 25 per cent has been given to the family of Gaekwads -- Shailendra, his brother Ravi and their parents, plus a few others, all part of the group of promoters -- Rendezvous Sports World -- as free equity for services rendered in successfully bidding for the franchise.
The Board had given the franchise 10 days' time on October 10 to resolve their internal differences and the franchise responded by submitting a letter to the BCCI on the last day of the deadline, October 20.
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India signs CSC on nuclear damages

In a significant step which will enable it to do nuclear commerce, India today signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), which sets parameters on a nuclear operator's financial liability, at the IAEA in Vienna. The Indian move is seen as an effort towards allaying concerns of American companies on account of the newly-enacted Nuclear Liability law by Parliament.
"We can confirm that the Indian government has signed the CSC this morning," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) press officials told PTI from Vienna.
The international convention provides for compensation in case of trans-national implications of a nuclear accident and has been signed by 14 countries, including India.
However, only four countries-- the US, Argentina, Morocco and Romania have ratified the Convention so far.
Upon entry into force, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage would establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident.
The CSC provides for establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a State's exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries related income.
It also sets parameters on a nuclear operator´s financial liability, time limits governing possible legal action, requires that nuclear operators maintain insurance or other financial security measures and provides for a single competent court to hear claims.
According to IAEA, all States are free to participate in the Convention regardless of their involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions or the presence of nuclear installations on their territories.
Adopted on 12 September 1997, the Convention was opened for signature at the IAEA´s 41st General Conference at Vienna that same month and is set to enter into force on the 90th day after date of ratification by at least five States who have a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity.
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Dhoni chills out with wife in Goa

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni celebrated the Aussie tour whitewash by spending time with wife Sakshi on Goa beaches.
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Gujarat riots: Decks cleared for verdicts except in Jaffrey killing case

GORY RIOTS: A scene during post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. The trial court will pronounce its judgement on various riot cases since the Supreme Court vacated the stay order.
Paving the way for the trial court to pronounce its verdict in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, the Supreme Court on Monday vacated its stay order.
The apex court, however, said the trial court shall not pronounce its judgement in the case relating to the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey in which Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been questioned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
A three-judge special bench of Justices D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam passed the order while vacating its May 6 stay on pronouncement of judgement.
The bench said that the court can proceed with the trial in Jaffrey case as the SIT is still in the process of examining certain witnesses.
The apex court had on May 6 stayed the pronouncement of judgement in the Gujarat riots cases following allegations of botched up investigation and demand for re-constitution of SIT that had been subsequently effected pursuant to the bench’s earlier direction.
Prashant Bhushan recuses from riots case
Meanwhile, amicus curiae Prashant Bhushan on Monday recused himself from the case following an application moved by the Gujarat government.
The application sought Mr. Bhushan’s recusal alleging that he was biased and had strong views against the Chief Minister and the BJP government in the State.
The apex court accepted Mr. Bhushan’s plea for recusal and recorded the same in an order.
The bench also issued notice to the Gujarat government on the plea for transfer of the judge dealing with the Gulberg society case relating to the killing of Ehsan Jaffrey.
It was alleged that the judge was biased, favouring the accused and humiliating the witnesses including Zakia Jaffrey, wife of the slain former MP.
The apex court had passed the stay order after allegations were made about lapses in investigations being conducted by SIT into the 2002 Gujarat communal riots cases.
The Court had then appointed A.K. Malhotra, a former DIG of CBI, to verify allegations of lapses in investigations by SIT in the case.
The court had passed the direction while dealing with the plea of NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace of Teesta Setalvad and some rights activists who sought a stay of the trial and sought reconstitution of SIT for its alleged bias.
The apex court has directed Mr. Malhotra to verify the allegations after examining the reply filed by SIT on the issue and submit his report.
The 10 cases being monitored by SIT on the earlier directions of the apex court are— Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.
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Govt not in favour of booking Geelani, Arundhati

The Union government is not planning to file sedition charges against Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy who spoke in favour of ‘Azadi’ for Jammu and Kashmir at a seminar in New Delhi last week, according to some media reports.The reports, quoting highly placed Govt sources, said the Ministry of Home Affairs permission was not needed for the police to file a case of sedition but added that North Block did not believe charging or arresting Geelani and Roy made any sense. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday demanded the arrest of separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and writer-activistArundhati Roy, terming their remarks on Kashmir as "objectionable" and "an attack on the country's "integrity".
On BJP's allegations that government remained silent on the developments, Law Minister Veerappa Moily said, "Politics cannot be mixed with statements which border sedition."
Asked whether his ministry had received a request from the Home Ministry seeking its legal opinion on whether the two can be booked for sedition, the Law Minister said, "I was away for three days...I have not seen the file so far".
Roy, the Booker Prize winning author, had said "Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this."
At a convention in the capital on 'Azadi--The Only Way', Geelani shared the stage with Roy and pro-Maoist leader Vara Vara Rao among others. Geelani, who harped on independence for Kashmir, was heckled by a section of the audience with one of them throwing a shoe.
Stepping up its offensive, BJP demanded the arrests of Geelani and Roy on charges of sedition, saying anyone who speaks against the country should be hanged
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Cup soccer`s psychic octopus dies in Germany

World Cup soccer`s psychic octopus dies in Germany
Paul, the oracle octopus who shot to fame in the World Cup this summer for his uncanny ability to predict the results of Germany's soccer matches, has died at his home in Oberhausen at the age of two.
English-born Paul made headlines across the globe after he correctly forecast how Germany would fare in seven matches, before his psychic powers were tested again for the final.

After Germany's semi-final defeat, Paul tipped Spain to beat the Netherlands in the final, which prompted one news agency to report he had spurred a jump in demand for Spanish government bonds. Paul's prediction duly came to pass: Spain won.
Staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in western Germany said in a statement they were "devastated" to learn of Paul's death when they returned to work on Tuesday.
"He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life," said the centre's manager Stefan Porwoll.
Before matches, two containers of food were placed in the eight-legged creature's tank, each one bearing the flag of one of the teams about to compete for their chance to become world champions. The container Paul picked first was seen as his pick.
Following the World Cup, a Spanish zoo made a transfer bid for Paul but his German keepers refused to sell.
Paul will be kept in cold storage until the centre decides how to mark the mollusc's extraordinary life, Porwoll added.
"We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine," he said.
Paul, who was hatched in Weymouth, England, may yet continue to dazzle the world with predictions from beyond the grave.
A Russian newspaper said in July it had got Paul to predict who would be Russia's next president -- but that the results would be kept secret until the election year of 2012.
Sea Life said Paul would live on as the object of a host of commercial enterprises ranging from special clothing lines to mobile phone applications inspired by his fame in Oberhausen, one of Germany's most cash-strapped cities.
Meanwhile, donations made in honour of Paul's achievements would help to fund a planned permanent rescue centre for sea turtles on the Greek island of Zakynthos, Sea Life said.
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Supreme Court cancels bail for Satyam's Raju

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Tuesday cancelled the bails granted to Satyam Computer founder B Ramalinga Raju, his brother B Rama Raju and four others by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the Rs. 14,000 crore accounting fraud.
Hearing the CBI plea, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma cancelled the bails and asked all six persons to surrender by November 8.
Observing that the case involved the biggest scam in the history of India, which had affected large number of shareholders, banks and financial institutions, the bench said that the High Court order of grating bail cannot be sustained.
The Court also directed the special court in Hyderabad, which is conducting the trial in the Satyam case, to conclude its proceedings by July 2011.

Earlier this month, the bench had issued a notice to Raju, directing him to file his reply on CBI's plea.
In its petition for cancellation of the bail granted to Raju by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, CBI had said that Satyam's founder and former chief "misused" the bail by meeting one of the witnesses in the case and tried to "influence" him.
CBI had filed the chargesheet running into over 10,000 pages, naming more than 250 witnesses. Such a huge volume was criticised by the court in the last hearing on October 19.
Besides the two Raju brothers, the High Court had granted bail to the four employees of the IT firm, namely Srinivas, Ramakrishna, Venkatapathi and Srisailam.
CBI had approached the Supreme Court on September 13 and said that Raju might influence the witnesses majority of whom were his former employees.
The High Court on August 18 had allowed Raju's bail on the ground that all other accused in the case, including his brother Rama Raju, former Satyam CFO V Srinivas and three other former IT company employees G Ramakrishna, Venkatapathi Raju and Srisailam were granted bail by it.

The Court observed that the trial was pending in a special court and detailed reasons for granting bail have not been given by the High Court.
"Normally, the Supreme Court does not interfere in such cases where bail has been granted by the High Court, but the facts of the case indicate demand that we should interfere," the bench said.
Raju, who was arrested on January 9 last year in connection with the biggest ever corporate fraud in Indian history, and is currently undergoing treatment for liver infection in the state-run Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, was ordered by the court to appear before the trial court after being discharged.
A special court has been created by the Andhra Pradesh government for the trial in November 2009 and a judge has been appointed in February 25 this year. 
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‘Expose Pakistan’s anti-India activities’

Armymen prepare to take positions during a gunbattle with militants in Maloora on the outskirts of Srinagar October 21, 2010. An U.S. think-tank report has urged Obama administration to prevail upon Pakistan on the need to stop abettting terrorism into Kashmir. Photo: NIssar Ahmad

The United States should “publicly expose” Pakistan whenever it fails to prevent infiltration across the LoC with India, shut down jihadi training operations and hold the ISI and Pakistani military to pledge that “they will not abet violent actors” in Kashmir, a U.S. think-tank has said.
Releasing a report on Indo-US relations ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said Kashmir issue is a challenge that the U.S. can neither avoid nor resolve as New Delhi has the power to “rebuff” and unwelcome U.S. involvement.
“Washington can do more than it typically has to hold the Pakistani military and the ISI to pledges that they will not abet violent actors in Kashmir,” the report ‘Toward Realistic US-India Relations’ said.
“At a minimum, the United States should expose Pakistan publicly whenever it fails to act to prevent infiltrations across the Line of Control, shut down jihadi training operations, or arrest leaders of organisations that foment attacks on India,” the report authored by George Perkovich said.
At the same time, the report said, Indian leaders must also do “more to correct the mis-governance and human rights abuses that are remobilising Muslims in the Kashmir Valley.”
“Indians may reasonably expect the US to heed to their demand not to try to mediate the Kashmir issue with Pakistan, but they should not expect it to stay silent about large-scale Indian human rights violations or other policies that undermine conflict resolution there,” the report said.
US has legitimate strategic interests in urging both India and Pakistan to explore all prospects for normalising Indo-Pak relations and reducing the threat of violent extremism in South Asia and elsewhere, the report said.
It said Pakistani elites are adapting to the reality that their country cannot wrest the Valley away from India and that it must negotiate a formula to recognise the territorial status quo and improve the quality of life of Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control.
Many Pakistanis recognise further that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is the leader best suited to find and deliver a package that Indians, Kashmiris, and Pakistanis could live with, the report said.
“But if Pakistanis perceive that resolving the Kashmir issue will merely make the environment safer for India to bolster its conventional military advantage over Pakistan, they will balk,” the report said.
“This is another reason that the United States and India must take great care to manage their defence cooperation in ways that reassure Pakistan that India’s aims and capabilities are defensive, not offensive. Conventional military dialogue and confidence-building measures deserve greater attention for this purpose,” it said.
The report said one reason why Pakistanis are turning their attention away from Kashmir is that many see Afghanistan as the hotter front for Indo-Pak competition.
“Pakistanis, especially the military, perceive an Indian effort to extend influence throughout Afghanistan at Pakistan’s expense. Pakistan has fought this influence in many ways, including attacks on the Indian embassy and other targets in Afghanistan,” the report said.
Observing that the US is caught in the middle, the report said Pakistan demands that Washington use its influence on its “new best friend” India not to use Afghanistan as the western side of a vise to squeeze Pakistan.
“India demands that the United States fight the Pakistani—backed Taliban more robustly and eschew temptations to negotiate with the Taliban. India is particularly emphatic about Pakistan’s not being granted a seat in any possible negotiations,” it said.
“Pakistan is willing to fight until the last Taliban or coalition foot soldier falls in order to pursue its interests in Afghanistan, while India is willing to fight to the last American to keep Pakistan from exerting indirect control over a future Afghan government,” the report said.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Anushka kicks out Ileana

Anushka kicks out Ileana

Anushka might be losing her grip over Telugu film industry with a row of duds like ‘Panchakshari’ and ‘Khaleja’. But she is currently hot and happening in Kollywood. Anushka’s Arundhati (dubbed version), and Singam (Yamudu) were super hits in Tamil and it is no wonder that many Kollywood heroes are itching to rope her in their films.

Right now Anushka is doing Vaanam, Tamil remake of Vedam in which Simbu and Bharath are doing the other lead roles. The latest buzz says that Anushka is penciled in to do the lead lady in Vikram’s next flick that is to be directed by ‘Madarasi Pattanam’ fame Vijay.

Actually it is Ileana who was supposed to do Vikram’s next film. However, due to frequent postponements and regular change of directors the project has been delayed for so many months. Finally, when everything seems to fall in place, Anushka came out of nowhere and kicked Ileana out of this project.
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D40 on 23rd in Chennai

D40 on 23rd in Chennai
It has been forty years since South Indian Film Directors Association (SIFDA) formed and its members are all set to celebrate 40 years celebrations ‘D40’ on 23rd of October in Chennai. Tamil directors Bharathi Raja, Linguswamy, P. Vasu and Chinta Lakshman came to Hyderabad to invite Telugu directors to this event.

Telugu directors were elated with such a wonderful gesture and felicitated those Tamil directors in a grand manner. On this occasion, our directors recalled their fond memories of the times when Telugu cinema industry was located in Madras (now Chennai).

D. Ramanaidu, Raghvendra Rao, Kodi Ramakrishna, Mutyala Subbaiah, Krishnavamsi, Rajamouli, Bheemaneni Srinivasa Rao, Boyapati Srinu and others were present at this felicitation.
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Gunasekhar sacrifices his ‘Kathi’ to Kalyan

Gunasekhar sacrifices his ‘Kathi’ to KalyanTitle controversy of ‘Kathi’ finally came to an end. Director Gunasekhar who holds the rights of this title stated that he is backing off from this controversy. “My film with Raviteja is not Kathi. Please don’t call it Kathi anymore. We are in search of another suitable title. If nothing better comes to my mind, I will change the subject too,” said Gunasekhar in a frustrated tone.

“I am not a person who likes to be in news for controversies. I want my work to speak for me. But this is a different case. It questions ones identity. If someone comes and add some word before your title and can simply pass it off as their title by using photo shop gimmicks then what is the use of registering a title? Where is the justice here?” Gunasekhar questioned.

“I was a big fan of NTR. I was brought up by watching his films and idolizing him. Now someone from his family is breaking the rules. If a person hailing from such respectable family doesn’t follow the rules then who will?” he asked.

“I am ending this here. I don’t want further controversies. I hope this sort of injustice isn’t done to anyone,” Gunasekhar ended the trouble with words which seemed sharper and piercing than ‘Kathi’.
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Bava arrives on Oct 29

Bava arrives on Oct 29Bava starring Siddarth in the title role is slated for release on October 29. Actor Siddarth made it official and wished for the film’s success.

Praneetha who made her debut with ‘Em Pillo Em Pillado’ is the lead actress in Bava. Rambabu, the mentor of Sid was making his debut as a director with this film. Siddarth is known for doing city bred and ultra posh roles till now. But in this film he is experimenting with his image by doing a role of rural youth.

Bava’s audio was launched few days ago and Chakri’s tunes are slowly climbing up the charts. Sid has pinned so many expectations on this film. He is expecting Bava to give him a breakthrough into the masses, the section which is yet to be explored by him. He did so much homework to suit the character. For the first time in his career Sid has uttered dialogs in Godavari accent. Being a Tamilian Sid should be lauded for mastering our language.
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Ramanaidu received DSP award

Ramanaidu received DSP awardGuinness record holding producer Dr. D. Ramanaidu received prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award from the President of India, Pratibha Patil. The President gave away national awards to all the winners at the same event.

Ramanaidu was accompanied by junior Ramanaidu, i.e. Rana to this awards function. Ramanaidu deservedly won this prestigious award as he has done great services to film industry. He has produced 135 films till date in various languages. His family is completely dedicated to cinema and carrying his legacy to generations to come. Ramanaidu’s only unfulfilled wish is to direct a film and he is hoping to fulfill that in the near future. Let’s congratulate the great man for his achievements and hope for his good health to make more and more films.
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Prabhas’s ‘Perfect’ planning

Prabhas’s ‘Perfect’ planningPrabhas, fondly called as Young Rebelstar is currently busy with Dasarath – Dil Raju movie. This film is tentatively titled ‘Mr. Perfect’. Kajal and Taapsee are playing his romantic interests in this film.

‘Mr. Perfect’ is almost complete and once he is done with this film, Prabhas will move on to his next flick under Lawrence’s direction. Lawrence has written a ‘Rebel’lious character keeping Prabhas’s image in mind. This film is aptly titled ‘Rebel’ and Prabhas’s Billa pair Anushka is penciled into play the female lead.

This film’s shoot will complete within four months and then Prabhas will enter the sets of Rajamouli’s film. Prabhas recorded a hit with Darling in this year and the films lined up for him seems more than promising.

He is one of the few heroes who have been planning their careers in a perfect manner. Prabhas never takes too much time between his films. Despite the film’s result he will move on to the next and that is a rarity these days. He is also called as producer’s hero because of no tantrums on sets and his dedication towards work.

Prabhas is making sure that at least two of his films to release per year. That planning is not only cheering his fans but also keeping him in ‘business’ all the time. Prabhas is celebrating his birthday today and we at SuperGoodMovies wish the young star a very happy and prosperous birthday.
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Orange follows Puli

Orange follows PuliPuli might be a miserable flop at the box office, but it has set a new trend in promoting audio. Taking its stupendous craze into consideration, Sony music company released Puli audio promos (teasers, song bits or whatever you call) prior to the release of audio. The same trend was followed by Mahesh Khaleja.

Now it is Charan’s Orange turn to follow this trend. Orange audio promos were released today and are creating huge buzz among the film lovers. As Orange is one of the most awaited films of the year, the teasers of its audio are attracting one and all.

So, how does the promo sounds? Does Orange audio lives up to the expectations? Did Harris deliver?

Yup! Orange songs are sounding very promising from what all ‘sound’ that was edited and released. Four out of six songs are chartbuster stuff. Chilipiga… and Nenu Nuvantu are soothing melodies. Rooba Rooba and Hello Rammante are pretty good. O Range and Ola Olaala ala… too aren’t bad and will pick up after repeated hearings.

Stay tuned for the complete audio report of Orange, it is only one day away.
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Kalyan lock horns with Raviteja

Kalyan lock horns with RavitejaNandamuri Kalyanram is not willing to put his ‘Kathi’ down despite Gunasekhar’s press release about his next project ‘Kathi’ with Raviteja. Gunasekhar owns ‘Kathi’ title for many a year and he never gave away the title to anyone as he felt that it is the apt name for one of his dream projects.

However, Kalyanram who is well aware of the rights owned by Gunasekhar, registered a new title ‘Kalyanram Kathi’ at Film Chamber, ala ‘Mahesh Khaleja’. Kalyanram released a press note to all the leading newspapers and channels that ‘Kalyanram Kathi’ was finalized as the title for his upcoming film. Gunasekhar was reportedly miffed with Kalyanram’s act and is now seriously seeking for justice.

Even though Mahesh’s Khaleja title war was similar to this one, it didn’t bother any of the industry people as the person who holds the rights of ‘Khaleja’ title is a smalltime producer. But here both Gunasekhar and Kalyanram are influential and popular persons of Telugu cinema industry. This ‘sword’ fight is catching many an eye at the moment. Let us wait and see who will be the proud owner of this ‘Kathi’.

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