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Friday, December 31, 2010

Yeddyurappa says he will meet Governor every 15 days

Bangalore:  Perhaps this is a sort of New Year's resolution to bury the hatchet.  Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa drove to Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on Friday morning to meet Governor HR Bhardwaj.  The BJP has repeatedly attacked Mr Bhardwaj for abandoning the basic  impartiality required of his office, and functioning as an agent of the Congress. Mr Bhardwaj in the past has served as India's Law Minister.

Mr Yeddyurappa described the meeting as a courtesy call. The next Assembly session in Karnataka starts on Thursday.

The Governor has been vocal about his belief that the single-largest trademark of Mr Yeddyurappa's government is corruption.  He has suggested that from illegal mining to irregular land scams, the BJP has abused its powers in the state.

Two months ago, Mr Bhardwaj discarded a vote of confidence won by Mr Yeddyurappa after a section of his party seemed on the cusp of switching sides to support the Opposition.  Mr Bhardwaj ruled that the voice vote was not enough for a matter as serious as the survival of the government, so he asked the Chief Minister to undergo another trust vote just four days later - a first for India.
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Jagan in capital to plead farmer cause

NEW DELHI: On the day the Srikrishna panel submitted its report on Telangana issue, Jagan Mohan Reddy stepped up pressure on Congress by dashing to the Capital and regretting that PM had not given him time to apprise him of the woes of flood-hit farmers in coastal Andhra. He met agriculture minister Sharad Pawar with a request for better relief package.

 Jagan, who quit Congress after his claim to CM's post following the death of his father Y S R Reddy was turned down, wrote to PM on Sunday for time to discuss flood relief with him, besides also seeking time with Pawar and textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran to discuss weavers' plight. After meeting Pawar, he said, "He assured me of readying a package in a day and taking it up with PM."

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AP: Cong's Instability,Telangana Row Made News in '10

A cocktail of instability in Congress and the demand for separate Telangana statehood combined to produce a politically-charged situation in Andhra Pradesh through 2010 and promises a lot more in the coming year.

The political chaos that actually began towards the end of 2009 ran through the whole of 2010 and may continue in the new year over the Telangana demand on which the Justice Srikrishna Committee submitted its report on December 30.

While the prime reason for this seemingly prolonged turbulence is the demand for and against the bifurcation of the state, the internal strife in the ruling Congress party has also been a large contributing factor.

The agitations for and against the division of Andhra Pradesh that began in December 2009 and spilled into the first half of 2010 not only paralysed the state administration but also left the main political parties in shambles.

The happenings within the Congress also left Andhra Pradesh in a state of political uncertainty throughout the year as the ruling party failed in many ways than one in managing its own affairs. Governance, as a result, appeared to have become a casualty.

Disarray will only be a mild word to describe the state of Congress as it was forced to replace a "non-effective" Chief Minister (K Rosaiah) on the one hand and to contend with the rebellion caused by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, the son of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, on the other.

New Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is facing a tough challenge from Jagan, who is waiting for the opportune moment to dislodge the state government, though for the record he has promised to let it continue till 2014.

Jagan's first rebellious act was embarking on the 'Odarpu' Yatra for consoling families of persons who died of shock or committed suicide following his father's death.

In fact, he used the controversial yatra for a show of strength and building a base for himself across the state, particularly in the Andhra-Rayalaseema regions.

The response to his road shows proved that Jagan not only succeeded in his plans but also compounded the woes of the beleaguered Congress.

By already attracting close to 30 MLAs, half-a-dozen MLCs and about five Lok Sabha MPs of Congress to his side, upon his exit from the party, Jagan has already sounded the warning bell for the Kiran Kumar government.

Come 2011, Jagan will launch his own political outfit with the main objective of decimating the Congress, which he quit in December. He may be keen on attracting the "fence-sitters" in the Congress jump on to his bandwagon, endangering the survival of the Kiran government.

Jagan apart, Congress also faces uncertainty from within as the Telangana protagonists in the party too have openly declared a war if statehood is not granted.

The cracks along regional lines in Congress that began appearing in December 2009 only widened in 2010 as the high command remained apathetic to the developments in the party.

The principal opposition Telugu Desam Party is not in a comfortable position either. The TDP is split on regional lines with the Telangana leaders favouring a separate state while those from Andhra-Rayalaseema opposing it.

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu is unable to take a clear stand on the state division issue and is closely monitoring the happenings in the Congress so that he could devise his party's strategy.

Though initially there was hope in the TDP circles about the party's prospects brightening in the wake of Jagan's exit from Congress, the complete rout it faced in the July by- elections in Telangana has indeed become a cause for concern.

With the TDP still vacillating over its stand on the statehood issue, hope of revival in its fortunes in the Telangana region that was always considered its citadel may be scant.

The separatist Telangana Rashtra Samiti, on the other hand, is riding high on the "sentiment" wave following its spectacular showing in the by-elections where it won all the 11 seats it contested.

In fact, 2010 saw the TRS fighting a do-or-die battle to achieve its sole objective - securing statehood for Telangana.

It has taken the battle, with the help of other separatist forces, almost to a decisive stage this year, so much so that the political future of Andhra Pradesh now hinges on the outcome of this battle.

Year 2010 could well be a forgettable one for actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi as his two-year-old Praja Rajyam Party headed nowhere. By vouching for a united state, Chiranjeevi antagonised people of Telangana, so much so that his party has been reduced to nothing in the region.

After more than 10 months, however, he started attracting some of his fans from Telangana back to his fold for re-building the PRP.

But the PRP also seems to be stuck in an existential dilemma. It has done no good for itself by hobnobbing with the ruling Congress and in fact lost its credibility by showing a desperation to join the government.
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Almatti height increase welcome, but water share unjust: Karnataka

Water gushing out of the Almatti dam. File photo
The verdict of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal has been hailed by irrigation experts, particularly the decision to increase the height of the Almatti dam. However, many are unhappy over the share of water allocated to Karnataka, when compared to Andhra Pradesh, describing it as “unjust”.
Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the State Government was not fully satisfied with the award.
Speaking to presspersons in Hubli on Thursday, Mr. Bommai said the permission to increase the height of Almatti dam from 519 ft. to 524 ft. was welcome.
However the demand of Karnataka for 278 tmcft of water had been partially met with allotment of only 177 tmcft, which was a matter of concern, he said.
Mr. Bommai said that the tribunal had mentioned about setting up of a monitoring board.
He clarified that the State was happy but not satisfied with the award.
The former Water Resources Minister and Congress leader H.K. Patil, said in Hubli that while the tribunal's approval to increase the height of the dam was a positive outcome, the water-sharing formula was worrisome.
He said the State had staked its claim for a reasonable 278 tmcft of water in ‘B' Scheme as over 43.8 per cent catchment area of the Krishna fell in the State. Mr. Patil said that even the Bachawat Commission in its recommendations on water-sharing under ‘A' Scheme in the 1970s said that during further adjudication, the issue of Karnataka getting a share of 50 per cent of the surplus water and Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra sharing the remaining equally should be considered. The tribunal had overlooked it, he said.
Mr. Patil said that the State Government should be ready to approach the Supreme Court if things were not set right.
The former Minister Vaijnath Patil, speaking from Gulbarga, said that the allocation for Karnataka was unacceptable because Andhra Pradesh was already using the unutilised waters released by Karnataka.
The former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy welcomed the verdict.
“The award will benefit the people of north Karnataka”, Mr. Kumaraswamy said and hailed the contribution of people, who have struggled to secure for Karnataka its rightful share in the river waters.
Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said he would reserve his opinion on the award till he read the contents of the order in detail.
Krishna Water Disputes Advisory Committee member Panchappa Kalburgi, speaking from Bijapur, stated that the decision to maintain a minimum flow of 116 tmcft of water in the Krishna would benefit the region, particularly during summer.
However, Mr. Kalburgi cautioned that Maharashtra should be instructed to release water as soon as it started receiving rainfall as it would be difficult for Karnataka to release water from Almatti dam to maintain 116 tmcft flow if Maharashtra failed to release water from its dams. “The State Government should submit a proposal seeking allocation of more surplus water scientifically,” he added.
Congress MLC Khaji Arshed Ali said the State Government should stop bothering about the utilisation of water by other riparian States and focus on building dams and canals to utilise the allocated share.
Successive State governments had failed to utilise the 734 tmcft of water allocated by the Bachawat tribunal, he pointed out.
“The award had set a deadline of the year 2000 to utilise the water. This was not done and the government sought extension of the deadline by 10 years.
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Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra

Hyderabad: The Telangana agitation over the Centre’s decision to create a new state in the region has forced several companies, including Bharat Forge, the Lakshmi Mittal Group and the NTPC-BHEL joint venture, to either put their expansion plans on hold or explore other states.
Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra
Projects moving out

Addressing the media here on Tuesday after a meeting with industry representatives, Chief Minister K Rosaiah said Bharat Forge, which planned to set up a nuclear power plant equipment unit at Nellore at an estimated cost of Rs 2,500 crore, was considering moving to Gujarat.
The proposed project was to generate employment opportunities for 5,000 people. Andhra Pradesh succeeded in getting the project after a stiff competition with Tamil Nadu.
Likewise, French car maker Peugeot, which was considering investments in the state, and steel major Lakshmi Mittal Group, which had also planned a unit here, were going slow on their expansion proposals.
The chief minister said Sri Lanka-based Brandix Apparel, which has units in Nellore and Visakhapatnam, was rethinking on its decision to set up a unit in the Telangana region. The company provides large-scale employment to the locals.
Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra
In June, the Andhra Cabinet had already approved allotment of 750 acre to bag the project for which the state had faced stiff competition from Rajasthan.
The NTPC-BHEL project was supposed to be the largest public sector investment in the state after the Vizag Steel Plant and had a potential to provide direct employment for 6,000 people, besides indirect employment for over 25,000. It had plans to manufacture equipment for thermal, hydro, gas and power plants.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was to lay the foundation stone for the unit but this was postponed following the death of former chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. "We are not able to approach the prime minister asking to lay the foundation stone in view of the turmoil in the state," Rosaiah said.
Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra

Agitation intensifies
Meanwhile, the ongoing agitation for statehood to Andhra Pradesh's Telangana region intensified Tuesday as thousands of people from all walks of life came on to the streets in various districts to press for their demand.
Protests, road blockades, rallies, processions, meetings, human chains and cultural programmes were organised across the region by all political parties and other pro-Telangana groups.
Tension continued at Osmania University, the nerve centre of the agitation, as students took out a procession to the police station demanding release of their leaders. Police had a tough time controlling the angry students.
The protest was held even as police stepped up efforts to foil the plans of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the students for a 'Chalo Hyderabad' march and rally Jan 3. Police have denied permission for the protests and imposed prohibitory orders in and around the city.
Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra
However, the government Tuesday received a jolt with the state high court quashing its order for closure of all university hostels and messes in Telangana. The court directed that the hostels and messes be reopened with necessary measures to prevent the entry of outsiders.
Police went on alert in Hyderabad and other parts of the region a day ahead of the shutdown called by the all-party JAC. Additional forces, including paramilitary personnel, were deployed in the state capital and other towns.
The tussle between students on hunger strike and the police continued on the campuses of all universities in the region, especially the Kakatiya University in Warangal.
Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra
New Year celebrations under threat
Some student unions have threatened to disrupt New Year celebrations at Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad. A group of students staged a protest outside the film city owned by media baron Ramoji Rao.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner B. Parasada Rao has warned of strict action against those planning to disrupt New Year celebrations in the city.
Demanding withdrawal of cases booked against those participating in the agitation, lawyers staged a sit-in outside the Nampally criminal court complex.
In Warangal, students, lawyers and government employees came together to stage massive protests. Lawyers boycotted courts.
Telangana Fallout: Companies put plans on hold in Andhra
In Karimnagar town, hundreds of people marched through the streets demanding the immediate formation of Telangana state. Leaders of all parties vowed not to rest till the central government announced the formation of the state.
Protesters in various towns also used folk songs and cultural performances to highlight their demand.
In Mahabubnagar district, government employees resorted to a 'pen down' protest in support of the Telangana movement.
The 'fast unto death' and relay hunger strikes by students, lawyers and legislators cutting across party lines also continued.
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CBI or Closure Bureau of Investigation?

CBI or Closure Bureau of Investigation?
The closure of the Aarushi murder case has brought the investigative skills of the Central Bureau of Investigation into sharp focus.
Once known to be a premier investigative agency and India's version of the Scotland Yard of UK, the CBI has earned itself some snide comments as it willingly surrendered its backbone to the ruling dispensation or crawled when asked to bend.
Though an independent agency, the CBI is more seen as an agency of the ruling party to settle scores, keep opponents silent, force political parties to support or oppose issues. Little wonder that the BJP and the Opposition parties call the CBI the Congress Bureau of Investigation.
But to be fair, the CBI got a messy case when the UP police handed over the Aarushi file. The UP police had botched up the evidence, tampered with the scene of crime and created enough red herrings.
That be so, why did the CBI take over two years to declare that they had a hopeless case on hand? Why did the CBI use unscientific means to question the servants of Dr Rajesh Talwar?
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Technical institutes to reserve 5% seats: Sibal

New Delhi:  From now, technical institutes approved by AICTE have to reserve up to five per cent of their seats for students from economically backward sections of the society.

"Till now, tuition fee waiver scheme operated by AICTE allowed providing up to 10 per cent supernumerary seats that are given to students of economically backward category. It was the discretion on the part of the institution to apply for such a scheme. Now these seats are made mandatory for every institute up to five per cent," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.

Unveiling the revised AICTE norms, he said the technical institutes can from now on increase the intake capacity per programme from 40 to 60 seats.

Opening up the doors to the corporate sector, he said companies can also set up technical institutes provided they set up entities registered as a non-profit entity under section 25 of the Company's Act to run such institutes.

No joint venture will, however, apply to this, he said, adding the scheme would only be allowed in 241 districts where at present no AICTE approved institute exist.

"If corporate sector wants to offer AICTE programmes, they can do so after setting up a section 25 company without a joint venture, and thereafter seek approval from AICTE for the programmes," he said.

At present, only trusts and cooperative societies are allowed to run technical institutes.

Further, corporates can set up campuses through PPP or through build-operate-transfer mode under agreement with public sector.

Further relaxing norms, he said in rural sector, only 10 acre will be required to set up an engineering institute while in urban sector only 2.5 acre.

He said the measures are aimed at easing the pressure on the education sector and providing relief to the students in matters of admission.

"These are all incentives given for expansion of the education sector because the demand is huge and supply is less and the problems of fees etc. So when the sector expands and meets demands, the pressure on the system will be much less. It will be easier for students," he said.

Significantly, Sibal also said that as per the new AICTE norms, stand alone PG programme can be offered by institutes as against the existing norm where PG courses are allowed in campuses where under graduate programme exist.

He said B.Sc students can seek lateral entry to a second year degree programme provided they have passed Mathematics at XII or at B.Sc level besides engineering graphics and engineering mechanics along with second year subjects.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sanjay Dutt ruined 8 years of my life, says producer Noorani

 Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has ordered attachment of two properties of film actor Sanjay Dutt in keeping with an arbitration award passed by the Indian Motion Pictures Producers` Association in January this year on a financial dispute between him and producer Shakeel Noorani.According to a TV news channel, the court issued a warrant against Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt for confiscation of all his property. Shakeel went on record saying that he has been duped by Sanjay and because of him he has lost 8 years of his life.

The court took this action on the petition filed by Shakeel Noorani back in 2002, who claimed that the actor backed out of his film titled ‘Jaan Ki Bazzi’. Noorani dragged the actor to court over losses incurred due to the actor abandoning a film.

According to the court order, all of Sanjay’s belongings can be seized and he might even turn homeless.

Speaking from Sanjay’s residence, Noorani said, “I have just pasted the court’s attachment notice at Sanjay Dutt’s home and tomorrow I will be going to his office. This man wasted 8 years of my life. The film was 50% complete and he left it mid way. I have made ‘Joru Ka Ghulam’, which was a hit and after that because of this issue, I have been facing a lot of problems and since then haven’t been able to release any other film.”

He further added, “I am grateful that the court passed the order in my favour. The lost time won’t come back again. I could regain my stake in the industry, but I will not sit back against wrong done to me because of which even my kids had to suffer.”

However, Sanjay has the option of approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court’s order.

Efforts were being made to contact Sanjay Dutt to know what he plans to do next, but all went in vain. However, his lawyer said that they will challenge the illegal claims made by Noorani as when the court opens.

Dutt has 6 weeks to contest the notice and the alleged false decree that has been granted by Bombay HC. Country’s eminent lawyer Satish Manchandani, addressing media on behalf Dutt said, “We will have a look at the decree execution order of the High Court and then decide on appropriate action to be taken in this matter”.
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Netizens shocked as CBI lets Aarushi's murderer roam free

"Shame", "Yet another let down", "Is it a cover up?"-- these are some of the reactions of netizens to the CBI filing a closure report in the sensational Aarushi double murder case after a two-and-a-half- year probe marked by botched up investigations.
"Even 'cold cases', twenty years and older are solved in the US! What on earth is happening here, another cover up?" Sunaina Serna Ahluwalia wrote on social networking site Facebook.
Shreya Talwar, another user, wrote, "Yet another let down, but this is not where we stop. This is the time (when) we need to join hands and fight against the injustice happening to Aaru, instead of sitting back and taking everything as it comes."
However, the buzz which was visible when the 14-year-old was murdered in May 2008 along with the domestic help Hemraj is missing this time. Various communities and pages that were created in the name of the killed teenager and appealed for justice are slowly picking up.
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Click Click!

Ameesha PatelAmeesha Patel posted pictures of Raveena Tandon, Neelam and designer Anna Singh from Farah Ali Khan's birthday bash last night. 'Last nite at farahs bday. All the hotties'

Sonam Kapoor tweeted a
picture with a happy brand plug. 'At a loreal shoot. The make up I'm using.' Gosh, does she need ALL that to look good?

Meanwhile, Preity Zinta showered her love on a cute dog, 'Saw this cutie pie in the mall today and just could not resist taking a
pictureB! Awww !!!'
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Are you ready for Faffy?

Aftab ShivdasaniHe might not have lit up the box office, but it's clear that Aftab Shivdasani is quite a hit with his co-stars.

Riteish Deshmukh was the first to mark the spot: 'Hey a big shout out to my friends and one of the most funniest co-actors Aftab Shivdasani @faffmeister - welcome buddy'

Bipasha Basu
tweeted, 'Hey guys give a warm welcome to @faffmeister (AFTAB SHIVDASANI)!!A fantastic actor costar n a very dear friend! Love!'

Abhishek Bachchan gave him a shout out too, 'Guys show the love to a Dear friend and all round good guy to Aftab Shivdasani @faffmeister welcome to the chaos faffy!'

Meanwhile, Aftab is finding his feet on twitter, 'Sorry if I can't personally thank all of ul.. But THANK U for all ur greetings and love! Yes it feels amazing to be here :)'

Some guys have all the love!
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Setting out for action

Bipasha BasuAfter shooting for her Hollywood film Singularity, Bipasha Basu is back on the sets of another film. 'Jst wrapped shooting 2day 4 'dum maaro dum'!Hd a fab time shooting wth @rohansippy @RanaDaggubati n our DOP amit roy!V hve a super film!Yay N how could I forget abhay deol ! He is a total sweetheart:)Really chilled out!'

Madhuri Dixit, tweets with an easy cool vibe and her happy twang, through her iPad, 'Gone mobile. Get ur tweet on. On my way to filmistan to give you next weeks adventures on JDJ. Trying to tweet at least in am and pm. Difficult to keep up when filming. Love to hear from all of you. That is the best part of twitter.'

Shabana Azmi is lending time to the producer vs lyricists spat. She replied to a fan explaining her stance, 'all that's being asked is 4 lyricists and music directors to get 12.5percent each of the PROFIT producers make on their songs.FAIR. Producers will still make 75 percent PROFIT.D world over Copyright rests with writers In India writers are made to SURRENDER their rights.'
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Big B on a mission!

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan is on a mission to meet friends.
'Spent very early morning with Aamir and his team at work ... interesting comment and discussions on film and future,' he tweeted.
The actor also met up with his former co-stars Shashi and Shammi Kapoor. 'Just visited Shammi Kapoor ji in hospital .. Despite his condition full of life joy and fun .. A true star .. Get well soon ! Many wondering if I have made a typo error about Shammi ji and Shashi ji ... no I have not ... they are both in Hospital ..'
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Shah Rukh returns to twitter

Shah Rukh KhanThe twitter world is quite a busy one, and Bollywood contributes a great deal to it. Here's looking at the best  star tweets of the day.

Shah Rukh Khan,
who's been off twitter for 56 days, made a comeback!

He tweeted, ''To new beginnings. have a healthy happy & fulfilling new chapter. may all your troubles be as shortlived as your new year resolutions. Love.'
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A news that is not so sweet

Chronic exposure to the chemical could lead to peptic ulcers, the research warns. File photo
Just when consumers make a conscientious effort to stave off junk food pangs and reach for some wholesome fruit, here comes news that is distinctly hard to swallow.
A deadly chemical, calcium carbide, is used widely across the country to artificially ripen fruit, risking the health of consumers, cautions a study published in the latest issue of Current Science.
Mangos, bananas, apricots, papayas, and plums were found to have been treated with calcium carbide (CaC2), which contains traces of arsenic and phosphorous, say authors Md. Wasim Siddiqui and R.S. Dhua, who are scientists at West Bengal's Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya.
Although banned, the chemical, known commonly as “masala,” is used freely in the country, the scientists add, calling for greater monitoring of the sales of the compound. The Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954, and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, both ban artificial ripening, including the use of CaC2.
This hazardous and carcinogenic chemical puts consumers at the risk of short-term and long-term health problems. Early symptoms of arsenic or phosphorus exposure include diarrhoea, thirst, irritation in the eyes, mouth, nose and throat. Chronic exposure to the chemical could lead to peptic ulcers, the research paper warns.
The authors add that although fruits developed an appealing and uniform peel colour, they are not as flavourful, often even raw inside and have shorter shelf-life. Mangoes of the Langra, Himsagar and Fazli varieties, Cavendish banana and some varieties of tomato are neither yellow nor red when naturally ripe. “But people are not aware of this.” CaC2 also breaks down the organic composition of vitamins and other micronutrients.
Food adulteration has become “rampant due to the inefficiency in government-regulated quality assurance practices,” says the paper, adding that the Departments of Health and Agriculture must check the practice.
“It is not solely the responsibility of the government; people must also become aware and avoid consuming contaminated fruits,” the paper concludes.
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Srikrishna Committee submits report on Telangana

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram receives the report of Srikrishna Committee on Telangana from former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna, in New Delhi on Thursday.
The five-member Justice Srikrishna Committee on Thursday submitted its report on the demand for separate Telangana state, to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who said government will consult all political parties before taking an “appropriate” decision on the issue.
The two-volume report, prepared by the Committee after extensive discussions with political parties and other organisations in the state over the past 11 months, was submitted a day before the Committee’s term was to expire.
Report to be made public on Jan. 6
Soon after the submission of the report, Mr. Chidambaram told reporters that he proposed to convene a meeting of eight recognised political parties of Andhra Pradesh on January 6.
“Immediately after the meeting, the report will be made public,” he said on the report which the Committee had said will contain “several suggestions with pros and cons” on the Telangana demand.
The highest satisfaction of the largest number will be its aim, Justice Srikrishna had said on Tuesday about the report.
Mr. Chidambaram said the government will consider the report carefully and begin the process of consultations with all political parties before taking appropriate decisions on the report.
“That is the only way in a democracy and those who respect democracy must also respect the process of democracy,” he said.
“The report is in two volumes. The report will be carefully studied in the Ministry of Home Affairs and will be shared with the ministries or departments concerned of the government.
The government has great faith in the wisdom, maturity and tolerance of the people of Andhra Pradesh, he said.
The Home Minister said all political parties and groups have given an assurance that they will maintain peace, harmony and law and order. “We welcome and believe these assurances“.
He said that he has noted that there was some concern about the deployment of security forces.
“Let me assure the people of Andhra Pradesh that the deployment of security forces is a purely precautionary measure. They will remain in the force headquarters or police stations as a reserve force.”
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Ponting out of fifth Test for Australia

Australian captain Ricky Ponting pauses with his fractured left little finger after winning the Third Ashes Test cricket match against England in Perth, Australia on December 19, 2010.
Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting will miss the fifth Ashes Test against England because of continuing problems with a broken finger.
Vice-captain Michael Clarke will lead Australia in the Sydney Test starting on Monday. The Australia squad for the final Test of the series will be named later on Thursday.
Ponting was ruled out of playing after further x-rays on his broken little finger on his left hand “showed evidence that the fracture . . . has moved during the course of the Melbourne test,” Australia’s team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said on Thursday in a statement.
England retained the Ashes with an innings win in Melbourne and leads the series 2—1.
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I am “fully committed” to demand for JPC into 2G scam: Joshi

Senor BJP leader and Public Accounts Committee Chairman Murali Manohar Joshi. File photo
Against the backdrop of unease in Bharatiya Janata Party over pursuance of 2G probe by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, its Chairman Murali Manohar Joshi on Thursday associated himself with his party’s demand for Joint Parliamentary Committee into the issue of corruption during UPA-II, saying he was “fully committed” to it.
In a statement issued a day after his reported meeting with the BJP President Nitin Gadkari, Mr. Joshi sought to clear doubts in his party by saying that the PAC would be looking into only the aspect of accountability in public spending with regard to 2G spectrum allocation.
“As a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, I stand fully committed to the demand for the formation of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to look into the broader questions related to corruption facing the country today,” Dr. Joshi said.
Contending that the “issues of corruption during UPA-II” are of great concern for the people of India, he said the PAC which he heads would look into the matters of public spending based on the CAG reports.
“The PAC has a constitutional jurisdiction and its function is well laid out. It shall function within its purview and within the rules and procedure of the Parliament.
It shall make sure that every paisa of public money is well accounted for,” Dr. Joshi said.
He noted that the PAC does not deal just with the Telecom Ministry but analyses every report of the CAG dealing with the various ministries.
“As the Chairman of the PAC, I believe in the Committee’s vast powers in bringing greater accountability to public spending. I commit myself to playing this role effectively,” the BJP leader said.
Dr. Joshi’s statement assumes significance as BJP has been uneasy with him pushing forward the PAC inquiry into 2G spectrum allocation, as it was seen as scuttling the Opposition’s relentless demand for JPC probe.
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Srikrishna Committee submits report on Telangana

Police arrest pro-Telangana students in Hyderabad on Thursday. The 5-member Justice Srikrishna Committee submitted its report on the demand for separate Telangana state, to Home Minister P. Chidambaram today. Photo: P.V. Sivakumar
The five-member Justice Srikrishna Committee on Thursday submitted its report on the demand for separate Telangana state, to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who said government will consult all political parties before taking an “appropriate” decision on the issue.
The two-volume report, prepared by the Committee after extensive discussions with political parties and other organisations in the state over the past 11 months, was submitted a day before the Committee’s term was to expire.
Report to be made public on Jan. 6
Soon after the submission of the report, Mr. Chidambaram told reporters that he proposed to convene a meeting of eight recognised political parties of Andhra Pradesh on January 6.
“Immediately after the meeting, the report will be made public,” he said on the report which the Committee had said will contain “several suggestions with pros and cons” on the Telangana demand.
The highest satisfaction of the largest number will be its aim, Justice Srikrishna had said on Tuesday about the report.
Mr. Chidambaram said the government will consider the report carefully and begin the process of consultations with all political parties before taking appropriate decisions on the report.
“That is the only way in a democracy and those who respect democracy must also respect the process of democracy,” he said.
“The report is in two volumes. The report will be carefully studied in the Ministry of Home Affairs and will be shared with the ministries or departments concerned of the government.
The government has great faith in the wisdom, maturity and tolerance of the people of Andhra Pradesh, he said.
The Home Minister said all political parties and groups have given an assurance that they will maintain peace, harmony and law and order. “We welcome and believe these assurances“.
He said that he has noted that there was some concern about the deployment of security forces.
“Let me assure the people of Andhra Pradesh that the deployment of security forces is a purely precautionary measure. They will remain in the force headquarters or police stations as a reserve force.”
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Citi scam: Shivraj Puri surrenders in court

The main accused in the Citibank fraud case, Shivraj Puri has surrendered in the court and police has sought remand, reports CNBC-TV18.
Divulging details about the case, Gurgaon DCP said that the quantum of the fraud is almost Rs 300 crore, out of which Rs 200 crore belong to the Hero Group family. The police has traced upto 80 accounts belonging to banks and brokerages. According to Police, broking companies Religare, Bonanza, Okaya and one more is involved in the fraud.
Citi scam: Shivraj Puri surrenders in court

Citibank is investigating a fraud case by one of its Gurgaon branch employee who has allegedly siphoned off money from various HNI clients.
The bank, which struggled amid mounting losses on credit cards and mortgages, has been selling some of its assets from its Citi Holdings unit. Citi last month sold a USD 1.4 billion real estate loan portfolio to OneWest bank, helping it shrink Citi Holdings to less than 20% of Citi's total balance sheet.
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Big B lends voice to Aamir Khan Productions' Delhi Belly

Not too long ago, the media was rife with tussle between the 'perfectionist' Aamir Khan and the stalwart of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan, over the latter's film Black. When everything seemed lost, there was an olive branch extended and Bachchan and Aamir once again became close friends. Now Bachchan Sr. will be lending his voice to Aamir Khan Productions' forthcoming film Delhi Belly.

One may recall, Amitabh Bachchan, had lent the voice earlier too for Aamir Khan's first home production Lagaan.

Couple of days ago, Aamir and Kiran were seen visiting Amitabh Bachchan on sets of a film where he was shooting. After a long closed door meeting and catching up, they left almost after two hours. And yesterday morning Amitabh Bachchan dubbed in a suburban studio for Delhi Belly. Amitabh Bachchan

Bachchan's voice-over will also be heard in the first trailer of Delhi Belly that will be attached with Dhobi Ghat on Jan 21. The said piece will be an introductory piece and what's interesting is that Aamir has written the piece.

Aamir has been concentrating and working diligently with Abhinav Deo the director on the final edit of Delhi Belly.

Delhi Belly stars Imran Khan, Kunal Roy Kapur and Vir Das in lead roles.
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BMW to create 1,200 dealer and service network jobs in 2011

Luxury car major BMW India today said it would create 1,200 jobs in the dealer and service network in India in 2011.
The company said in a statement, "BMW India would employ around 400 people by the end of 2010. Upto 1,200 jobs will be created in the dealer and service network in 2011.''
According to the company it plans to set up BMW dealerships of international standard across all metropolitan centres in the country.
The first phase saw the German luxury carmaker establish 12 BMW outlets in major metropolitan cities.
In 2011, BMW India plans to expand its dealer network to 22 from the present 20 outlets.
The BMW Group's investment in India till September 2010 totalled Rs1.1 billion (Rs110 crore / $24.47 million), which would increase to Rs1.8 billion by the end of 2012.
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Krishna water row: AP awarded largest share of water

The Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal has finally given out its verdict.It has awarded the largest share of water from Almati dam to Andhra Pradesh, allocating 1001 TMC. The tribunal also allocated 911 TMC of water to Karnataka and 666 TMC to Maharashtra. The tribunal verdict can be reviewed only after May 2050.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Laxman knock puts India marginally ahead

DURBAN: Another day of taut-wound drama and wild-swinging momentum ended with South Africa on 111 for three in pursuit of 303.
The second Test, which careened breathlessly on the second day, moved less rapidly on the third, but the action was no less engrossing. Both India and South Africa appeared in control at various periods on Tuesday, and at stumps, drawn early because of the gloom that had gathered, neither team was out of it.
India, marginally ahead, has V.V.S. Laxman to thank for its position. Laxman (96) again summoned his nerveless best in desperate times, playing an innings of soft-handed finery. His ability to bat with lower-order batsmen, elevating their game as he does so, resulted in India making 228 after falling to 148 for seven.
The eighth-wicket partnership of 70 between Laxman and Zaheer Khan — identical to the stand the pair raised in Johannesburg in December 2006 when India won its first Test in South Africa — looked game-turning.
But the host fought its way back into the game, securing India's last three wickets for 10 and beginning its chase forcefully.
Graeme Smith attacked Zaheer, driving, cutting, on-driving, and short-arm pulling the left-armer for boundaries. Better rhythm
Alviro Petersen took on Ishant Sharma, hooking a bouncer for four after slashing the seamer over the slips. Despite the boundaries, Ishant showed good signs — his run-up, and as a result, his delivery, had better rhythm and balance.
These intangible gains were doing little for India though; the possibility of a wicket falling looked remote. Out of the blue, Smith failed to control a pull-stroke off Sreesanth.
The bowler did direct his bouncer better than he has all game, forcing the left-hander to fetch it. Their exchange of words before the dismissal may also have affected the South African captain's concentration.
It was the perfect way to go to tea for India; more gains were to follow. Harbhajan Singh got one to spin and bounce to have Petersen caught at short-leg. Sreesanth then struck a psychological blow, goading Hashim Amla to cut a short, wide delivery that left him.
Dhoni got his gloves under the edged ball, prompting Sreesanth to point to the heavens and applaud. It was the wicket India most wanted.
India might have also had Jacques Kallis had Cheteshwar Pujara held a sharp chance at short-leg, placed behind square. Harbhajan was the unlucky bowler.
By then it had grown overcast and it was a matter of time before the players left the field.
The day began with a hot, drying nor'easterly wind blowing across Kingsmead, not the moisture-bearing sou'westerly, but it made little difference to Dale Steyn, whose exceptional skill was allowing him to swing a 30-over-old ball.
It was Morne Morkel, however, who broke through, causing Pujara to play on. The angle of the batsman's blade in a defensive backstroke allowed the ball to slip off the bat's face onto the stumps.
M.S. Dhoni played his strokes, ensuring that the runs came at a comforting pace. The 48-run partnership between Laxman and Dhoni was significant because it changed the game's texture.
But when Dhoni pushed at a ball angled across him from left-arm over, feet following the exploratory stroke, to be caught behind off Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Harbhajan edged Morkel to second slip after being turned inside-out by the delivery, India was in peril.
Zaheer's knock
Zaheer didn't appear keen to last, moving to the leg-side as he tried to smear Tsotsobe to all parts. Lucky to survive, he settled into the role of supporting his great friend and batting advisor.
Zaheer had further fortune — two strong shouts for ‘lbw' off Steyn and Paul Harris were turned down with the lead at 256 and 260 respectively.
Laxman played beautifully — his battles against Steyn, who was first armed with swing and seam, then with medium-paced cutters, were fascinating. All the old magic was there, the graceful backfoot drives, the wrist-flicks, the back-cuts, and there was something new, the fine paddle against the left-arm spinner, when other avenues were blocked.
Steyn eventually had Laxman touch a ball to Mark Boucher, giving the wicketkeeper his ninth catch of the match; thus was a well-deserved hundred thwarted, although with Laxman, it's about more than the numbers.
India — 1st innings: 205.
South Africa — 1st innings: 131.
India — 2nd innings: V. Sehwag c Boucher b Tsotsobe 32 ( 31b, 6x4), M. Vijay c Amla b Morkel 9 ( 27b, 1x4), R. Dravid c Boucher b Tsotsobe 2 ( 7b), S. Tendulkar c de Villiers b Steyn 6 ( 10b, 1x4), V.V.S. Laxman c Boucher b Steyn 96 ( 171b, 12x4), C. Pujara b Morkel 10 ( 56b, 1x4), M.S. Dhoni c Boucher b Tsotsobe 21 ( 35b, 4x4), Harbhajan c Kallis b Morkel 4 ( 7b), Zaheer c de Villiers b Harris 27 ( 63b, 4x4), Ishant c Amla b Kallis 0 ( 16b), Sreesanth (not out) 0 ( 2b); Extras (b-8, lb-4, w-9): 21; Total (in 70.5 overs): 228.
Fall of wickets: 1-42 (Sehwag), 2-44 (Vijay), 3-48 (Dravid), 4-56 (Tendulkar), 5-93 (Pujara), 6-141 (Dhoni), 7-148 (Harbhajan), 8-218 (Zaheer), 9-223 (Ishant).
South Africa bowling: Steyn 15.5-1-60-2, Morkel 15-1-47-3, Tsotsobe 13-3-43-3, Kallis 13-2-30-1, Harris 14-2-36-1.
South Africa — 2nd innings: G. Smith c Dhoni b Sreesanth 37 ( 38b, 5x4), A. Petersen c Pujara b Harbhajan 26 ( 45b, 4x4), H. Amla c Dhoni b Sreesanth 16 ( 16b, 3x4), J. Kallis (batting) 12 ( 28b, 2x4), A.B. de Villiers (batting) 17 ( 38b, 1x6); Extras (nb-3): 3; Total (for three wickets in 27 overs): 111.
Fall of wickets: 1-63 (Smith), 2-82 (Petersen), 3-82 (Amla).
India bowling: Zaheer 6-2-25-0, Ishant 5-0-21-0, Sreesanth 7-0-30-2, Harbhajan 8-0-29-1, Tendulkar 1-0-6-0 .
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Summons to Lalit Modi, 6 others in cheating case

CHENNAI: The Central Crime Branch police have issued summons to the former Indian Premier League chairman, Lalit Kumar Modi, and six others in a case of funds misappropriation.
The summons was sent by Speed Post to the Mumbai residence of Mr. Modi, who is now said to be staying abroad. He has been asked to appear before the investigation officer on January 7, police sources said.
The case arises out of the complaint lodged by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against Mr. Modi and the others, accusing them of causing it a loss of Rs. 468 crore, mainly in the allotment of media rights and free commercial rights. The CCB registered a case under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 477 (A) (falsification of accounts) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Action for

The investigators also served summons on Harish Krishnamachari of Mumbai; Ajay Verma of New Delhi; Kunal Das Gupta, Chairman and CEO, Pioneer Digadsys Services Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai; and World Sport Group office-bearers Venu Nair, Andrew Georgiou and Seamus O Brian. “They have been summoned to appear before the CCB police in the first week of January. Action under the provisions of Section 172 of the IPC can be initiated against those who do not respond to the summons,” Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran said.
Mr. Rajendran said the preliminary investigation pointed to some financial losses. “We have asked the accused persons to clarify on some issues…the line of investigation has been indicated along with the summons. The complainant [the BCCI] has answered our questionnaire.”
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India offers training slots for Sri Lankan military personnel

COLOMBO: Despite the defence personnel training academies being almost full, India on Tuesday offered training placements for the Sri Lankan security personnel.
This was part of a series of measures that were agreed upon to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.
The training offer was conveyed by the visiting Indian Defence Secretary, Pradeep Kumar, to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he called on the President at his official residence, Temple Trees, here on Tuesday.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the two countries will have a joint naval exercise in the Sri Lankan waters in 2011. Also, an annual defence dialogue and staff-level talks between the Navy and armies of the two countries will begin from next year.
On behalf of the Indian Air Force, Mr. Kumar accepted an invitation to participate in the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Sri Lankan Air Force next year. The Air Force chief is scheduled to come here for talks later this month. The Indian Army chief and the Navy chief had held discussions with their counterparts here.
Mr. Kumar told Mr. Rajapaksa that the prevailing good defence relationship between the two nations should be expanded and strengthened.
He said the Defence Dialogue should be further expanded to include the Army and the Navy.
“I am happy over the manner in which the discussions went. We will continue the discussions,” he told The Hindu.
Mr. Rajapaksa welcomed the initiatives to strengthen defence cooperation, a release from the President's office said.
The decision to institute the annual Defence Dialogue was agreed during a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Rajapaksa in June.
Earlier, Mr. Kumar paid homage to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) troops killed by the LTTE.
The Indian delegation that held multi-pronged talks with Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakasa and Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris included Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha; Smitha Nagaraj, Joint Secretary (PIC), Ministry of Defence; Tirumurti, Joint Secretary (BSM), Ministry of External Affairs; Sumer Singh Additional Director General Military Operations (A), Ministry of Defence (Army); Rear Admiral A. Chawla MoD (Navy); Air Vice Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Air Headquarters; DIG K.R. Suresh Director (Operations) Coast Guard Headquarters.
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Pranab sees Naxalism as the biggest threat to nation's security and peace

NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday expressed concern over the spread of naxalism to more backward areas and pointed out that it was the biggest threat to the country's peace and security. He urged the security forces to exercise restraint while dealing with such situations.
“I am particularly concerned at the spread of left-wing extremism to some of the more backward areas. In part, it is a reflection of our failure in meeting the expectations of the local people,'' he said while presiding over the 71st Raising Day celebrations of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) here.
Mr. Mukherjee noted that the government had deployed about 60,000 CRPF personnel to fight Naxalites in various States.
Corrective measures
He said:
“It is easy to misguide people who have been denied their legitimate demands or deprived of their rights and where the State has not shown adequate sensitivity to share and mitigate the local concerns. However, implementation of corrective public measures required prevalence of a certain degree of normality in the affected areas.
“It is vital to dovetail development efforts of the State in these areas to your operational strategy and practice. While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with the armed component of extremism, a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be exhibited in dealing with the general population in the affected areas.
“I urge you to handle the situation with sensitivity and a firm resolve with a view to bringing back the disgruntled elements of society into the mainstream of developmental process.''
Peace and security of the country were being challenged by threats from cross-border terrorism, insurgency in the north-eastern areas and emergence of left wing extremism. These had direct implications not only on the development and prosperity of the affected regions, but also on the overall well being of society. There was need to address these concerns urgently and in totality. The writ of the Constitution should be implemented across the country.
Mr. Mukherjee said:
“We, as the custodians of the Constitution, have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to ensure that the writ of the Constitution runs throughout the length and breadth of the country with no exceptions.
“How well and successfully you are able to reach out to the tribals and other affected people, show respect in securing and protecting their rights and convince them of the opportunities that beckon them, would determine the success of your efforts.''
The government had recently approved an Integrated Action Plan for the districts affected by left-wing extremism. It covered 60 tribal and backward districts where a grant of Rs. 25 and Rs. 30 crore a district would be given during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively, he added.
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PLA secretary arrested in Imphal

IMPHAL: In a major breakthrough, the team of police commandos and troopers of 39 Assam Rifles arrested the secretary of the Division No. VI of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the proscribed underground organisation Revolutionary People's Front, on Monday night. The rebel was identified as T. Sanju, 27, of Thoubal district. Police recovered two AK 56 rifles and two 9 mm pistols.
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South Africa vs India, 2nd Test

RSA: 131, 215-all out (72.3 Ovs)
Ind: 205, 228
India won by 87 runs
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Buddhadeb sends his reply to Centre

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday sent in his reply to a letter written to him by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Mr Bhattacharjee, who received the letter on Monday, days after it was leaked to the media, had said at a party rally that he would send a fitting reply.
The Home Ministry's letter reportedly raised several issues, including those of armed camps set up in the Jangalmahal area and of the killings of workers and supporters of Opposition parties.
Copy on Wednesday
Asked by the media at the State Secretariat about the contents of his letter, Mr. Bhattacharjee declined to disclose the details. “I have sent my reply, you will get a copy on Wednesday,” he said.
Sources said the Chief Minister's response was faxed and that he would make the contents public only after the addressee read the letter.
On Monday, Left Front chairman Biman Bose condemned the media-leakage of confidential communication even before the Chief Minister saw it, saying it was a not an honest method of writing a letter to a State government. He said camps had been set up in the left wing extremism-affected areas to shelter party workers and supporters who had been ousted from their homes by the rebels.
Incident-wise list
He demanded that the Trinamool Congress furnish a detailed and factual report on the number of killings of its activists. “I have with me an incident-wise list of the 337 Left Front workers and supporters killed between the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and December 26, 2010.” Of these, 222 were in the Jangalmahal area, where 120 adivasis were killed. “The Trinamool has said that 96 workers were killed, but they should have ready a list like we have,” he said.
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53 buses destroyed during Shiv Sena bandh

Pune: The bandh called by the Shiv Sena on Tuesday started on a violent note and ended with the party declaring that it will not stop the campaign till the statue of Dadoji Konddeo is restored to its original place in the Lal Mahal.
However, the average Puneite was able to carry on with his daily activities.
The bandh was called a day after the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) removed the statue of Dadoji Konddeo, whose status as Shivaji's mentor is a matter of debate, from the historic monument Lal Mahal.
A total of 53 buses were destroyed by the Shiv Sainiks during the day. More than 375 people were detained and let off by the police. The Shiv Sena blocked the Bangalore Pune express highway in protest. Later in the day, a bus was set on fire in Pune's Chinchwad area.
In the nearby Lonavala district too, Shiv Sainiks attempted to stop trains from leaving the station. Security was beefed up at various political establishments, according to Pune Commissioner of Police Meera Borwankar. Bandobast was witnessed at major bus stands and railway stations.
Speaking to the media at the end of the day, Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe claimed that the bandh was successful, while accepting that the protest did take a fierce turn. “Six hundred-year-old history cannot be changed forcefully. Our opposition today was against the Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government. It was not against the people,” she said.
Many civic rights organisations opposed the bandh.
“The Opposition parties forget other pressing needs of the city and are fighting for an issue that most Punekars are not worried about,” Kiran Moghe of the All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said.
“The corporation could have decided on the issue in a democratic way. All the parties are only trying to play caste politics through this entire episode.”
However, the Sena-BJP combine denied the allegation that it was trying to polarise castes. The ruling NCP-Congress alliance made it a political issue, it said. “This is a social issue. We are answerable to our people,” BJP leader Girish Bapat said.
“The guardian Minister Ajit Pawar has said that he was not involved in this decision, but we do not buy that. It is they who are playing the political game. They want to win the election on this emotional issue, not us.”
Meanwhile, a police case was registered against 32 corporators who created ruckus at the Pune Municipal Corporation on Monday. The loss at the PMC amounted to Rs. 5,73,000, according to the police. In an unusual move, the four parties have agreed to share the compensation cost, so as not to bother the tax payer.
There were protests in Aurangabad, Kolhapur and Sangli also.
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Curbs on New Year parties at hotels

CHENNAI: The Chennai police have announced several restrictions and guidelines for hotels organising New Year parties, including setting 1.30 a.m. as the deadline for winding up the celebrations.
Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran, at a meeting with hotel representatives on Tuesday, said they should inform the Deputy Commissioner of Police concerned about the special programmes/events. They should obtain structural stability certificate if they planned to erect a stage. The hotels should also install surveillance cameras at vantage points.
Swimming pools should remain closed from 8 p.m. on December 31 to 6 a.m. on January 1. Liquor should be served only at the bar, Mr. Rajendran said. “Liquor should be served only up to 11 p.m. We have asked them to wind up the celebrations by 1.30 a.m.”
Mr. Rajendran said hotel authorities must ensure that there is no eve-teasing. While restricting the number of tickets/passes, the hotel staff should ensure that guests in an inebriated condition do not drive vehicles. Such guests should be accommodated in the hotel till a driver is arranged. All vehicles entering the premises should be thoroughly checked.
Mr. Rajendran said the hotel authorities have been told to inform employees that they should alert the police in case they came across any unclaimed baggage on the premises. “Such parties can be soft targets…we have asked them to take basic security measures to ensure that the celebrations are incident-free.”
Hotels should not allow guests to park their vehicles on the road. Steps should be taken to make alternative parking arrangements. “If foreign nationals are engaged to perform, they should have necessary travel documents. Our idea is to ensure that each and every guest is identified. Night patrolling will be intensified and adequate police personnel deployed across the city during the celebrations,” Mr. Rajendran said.
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Suspected militant arrested

KASHMIR: A suspected militant was arrested and a cache of explosives and live ammunition recovered from him in Baramulla district in north Kashmir on Tuesday, the police said.
Mohammad Maqbool Lone was arrested after the police received information from Kaw Check village in Kreeri, 35 km from here.
The police said eight hand grenades, eight under-barrel grenade launcher grenades, 11 detonators, 323 rounds of AK-47 and a wireless set were recovered.
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Despite Joshi's assertion on PAC's scope, BJP insists on JPC probe

NEW DELHI: Even as senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who heads Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), is enthusiastic about the committee's ongoing probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the main Opposition party is putting up a brave front, maintaining that only a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) can ensure accountability.
The BJP dismissed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer to appear before the PAC, arguing it had no meaning and the issue was not just about accounts but about accountability.
Not at all enthusiastic about Dr. Joshi's comments about the PAC as its Chairman, senior BJP leaders merely said the PAC was an independent body and Dr. Joshi was only fulfilling his constitutional duty.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj chose Twitter to say that “[The] scope of PAC is totally different from that of JPC. While PAC deals with accounts, JPC deals with accountability and governance.''
Party spokesperson and MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy was emphatic. “BJP at its highest level reiterates its stand that to go deep into the 1.76 lakh crore scam, nothing less than a JPC probe will do. We want to state categorically that the BJP will not accept anything less than a JPC,” Mr. Rudy told journalists here on Tuesday.
Clearly, the BJP finds itself speaking in different voices and in a peculiar situation, with Dr. Joshi commenting on Monday that the PAC could go beyond the CAG report on the 2G spectrum scam and would look into the Prime Minister's offer to appear before the panel.
“Joshi doing his job”
Asked about a pro-active PAC under the chairmanship of Dr. Joshi, the party spokesperson said: “The PAC Chairman is aware of his duties. He is doing his job. He has never said there is no need for a JPC.''
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Srikrishna: we will give an impartial report

NEW DELHI: The Srikrishna Committee, which held wide-ranging consultations over the past 11 months on the demand for a state of Telangana as well as to maintain the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday said it would give an “impartial and professional” report that would seek to achieve the “highest satisfaction of the maximum number of people.”
The five-member panel, headed by the former Supreme Court judge, Justice B. N. Srikrishna, will submit a report by December 31 to Home Minister P. Chidambaram. It was appointed on February 3.
At a press conference here, Justice B.N. Srikrishna expressed the hope that the committee's report would seek to bring about a “permanent solution” to the statehood demand. All political parties had promised to maintain peace, harmony and calm after the submission of the report. “I hope peace prevails in the State after the report is submitted. It is the responsibility of the politicians and the media,” he said.
Indicating that the report would run into two volumes, committee's member-secretary Vinod K. Duggal said it would offer “several options with their pros and cons.'' Every aspect mentioned in the terms of reference of the committee was looked into in a detailed manner and the issue at hand [Telangana] was analysed in all its “hues and shades.”
The panel met 30 times, visited 23 districts and 35 villages and held interactions with about 100 organisations.
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Pakistani troops violate ceasefire in Kashmir

Jammu/Srinagar, Dec 29 (IANS) Pakistani troops fired at Indian positions in Ramgarh sector of the international border in Jammu and Kashmir early Wednesday in yet another violation of the bilateral ceasefire in less than 24 hours, officials said.
A Border Security Force (BSF) official said the ceasefire violation in Balad border post in Samba district led to exchange of fire for around 45 minutes.
The Balad border post, about 45 km southwest of Jammu, came under fire from the Pakistani side at 4.30 a.m. The BSF retaliated, leading to exchange of small and heavy arms fire till 5.15 a.m.
"The fire was returned and after around an hour of intermittent exchange of fire, calm has been restored in the area," a military spokesman said.
Informed Sources said it was being ascertained whether or not the firing had been resorted to from the Pakistan side to facilitate infiltration of terrorists across the border.
"The visibility at that time was bad due to a blanket of fog and darkness. We are trying to ascertain if it was an attempt by militants to infiltrate," a senior official said.
On Tuesday also, Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire at the line of control (LOC) when they fired at Indian positions in Poonch district of Jammu region.
"There also the army had returned the fire after being fired upon by the Pakistani troops," a police official said in Poonch district.
According to the defence ministry, there have been over 150 incidents of ceasefire violations since 2006. Over 50 happened this year alone. India and Pakistan had agreed to ceasefire along the Jammu and Kashmir frontiers in November 2003 as part of confidence building measures.
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A.P. to revoke 1,665 cases against students

Andhra Pradesh senior minister K. Jana Reddy offers juice to Congress MPs and MLAs from Telangana region who ended their hunger strike after assurance from State Government that all criminal cases filed will be withdrawn, on Tuesday.
The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday announced that it would withdraw all cases filed against students during the agitations for a Telangana state and a united Andhra Pradesh. Following this, nine Congress MPs from the Telangana region called off their fast.
Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy and Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy, along with four of their Cabinet colleagues, called on the fasting MPs at the New MLA Quarters in the evening and told them that all 1,665 cases, involving 8,047 students, would be withdrawn.
The Ministers offered lime juice, first to Congress Working Committee member K. Keshava Rao and then to Ponnam Prabhakar, Sarve Satyanarayana, G. Sukhender Reddy, S. Rajaiah, Balram Naik, Manda Jagannath, K. Rajagopal Reddy and G. Vivekananda. The MPs began the fast on Monday.
Hectic parleys preceded the breakthrough. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Pradesh Congress Committee president D. Srinivas and Ministers from the Telangana region were in constant touch with Mr. Keshava Rao.
At the Congress headquarters Gandhi Bhavan, Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy met Mr. Srinivas and followed it up with another meeting with Ministers D. Sridhar Babu, D.K. Aruna, Sunitha Laxma Reddy and Basawaraj Saraiah, besides Ms. Sabitha Indra Reddy and Mr. Jana Reddy.
After the meeting, a senior Minister contacted Mr. Keshava Rao and read out the statement. Then, the Home Minister and others made the announcement to journalists in the Secretariat.
“Generous” act
Responding to the appeal, Mr. Keshava Rao said the government's “generous” act would help the students immensely; otherwise, they would have lost the academic year.
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Joanna Yeates murder: police 'holding secrets of architect's killing', father says

The father of Joanna Yeates said he believed the police knew far more than they were letting on as they launched a murder investigation into his daughter’s death. 

Delayed post-mortem results showed that the 25-year-old architect had been strangled before her body was dumped in a country lane in Bristol.
David Yeates said he was worried that her killer would never hand themselves in and added that the family had always feared she had been murdered.
Miss Yeates went missing on Dec 17 and her fully clothed body was found on Christmas Day.
Avon and Somerset Police said they did not believe there was an increased risk to the public, but added that they had received calls from several women since the disappearance.
Asked if Miss Yeates’s boyfriend Greg Reardon was under suspicion Det Chief Insp Phil Jones said: "He is a witness." 
Details of how Miss Yeates died were delayed until Tuesday because her body had been frozen by heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures.
On Tuesday, more than 70 officers continued searching the woodland where she was found, Durnford quarry nearby and the flat she shared with Mr Reardon.
Detectives are also trawling through hours of CCTV footage in the hope of capturing Miss Yeates with her killer.
They believe her body had been dumped several days before she was found, and they focused their appeals for information on the first three days she was missing.
Her 63-year-old father and 58-year-old mother, Theresa, travelled on Monday from their home in Hampshire to formally identify their daughter’s body but returned home on Tuesday.
Speaking from their home in Ampfield, Mr Yeates said: “We are sure the police know more about what happened than they are telling us but at the moment we are not questioning them because we feel they are doing their best.
“I fear that whoever has done this will never hand themselves in but we live in hope that the police will catch who is responsible.
“Hearing Jo had been murdered was not a surprise because we had been told to prepare for the worst.”
Mr Yeates, who works in IT, said the family felt a sense of relief when they saw the body.
“Things were made just that little bit less terrible when we saw Jo’s body yesterday.
“It was a relief to see her again - we just said: 'Welcome back.
“Last week was the worst of our lives and we are hoping that we will never have to go through anything like this again.”
Miss Yeates’s body, which bore no other significant signs of injury other than compression of the neck, is being held by the police.
Her father said they were keen to arrange her funeral but had been told her body would not be released “for a while”.
Further details emerged last night about Miss Yeates’s last known movements before she disappeared on December 17.
She had met friends at the Ram pub in Bristol city centre before leaving them at 8pm and walking to Waitrose and onto Tesco, where she bought a pizza.
Police said she also stopped at Bargain Booze, close to Tesco, where it is understood she bought a £2 bottle of cider.
She was last seen alive at 8.40pm before she returned to her flat on Canynge Road, where she had recently moved with Mr Reardon.
He raised the alarm about her disappearance on Dec 19 when he returned from a weekend visiting his half-brother in Sheffield and realised she had vanished.
Miss Yeates’s purse, bank cards, keys, mobile phone and coat had all been left in the flat, along with a receipt for the pizza, which was missing.
It is understood that there were no signs of a struggle in the flat. Although Miss Yeates was found fully clothed, sexual assault has not been ruled out.


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Britain forms plan for Gulf evacuation in event of war with Iran

The British armed forces are drawing up contingency plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands of British residents and tourists from Dubai and other Gulf cities in the event of war with Iran.

Tourists and camel in Dubai
An Emirati man riding a camel passes by foreigners sunbathing on a beach in the Gulf emirate of Dubai Photo: AFP/GETTY
The Coalition government under David Cameron ordered an immediate review of British military planning in the Gulf after the election last May. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that new proposals are being drawn up to coordinate military activity in the region with local allies hostile to Iran, particularly the United Arab Emirates.
Planners have realised they had to tear up existing emergency plans for local British residents. Since the previous review in the 1990s, the expatriate population has grown to more than 100,000 in the UAE alone, while a million British tourists, from businessmen on stopovers to England footballers with marital problems, come to Dubai every year.
It is feared they might be at risk if, as it has promised, Iran retaliates for any military strikes on its nuclear sites with missile attacks on "western interests" in the Gulf.
Royal Navy warships, along with their American and French counterparts, regularly patrol the Gulf and tie up in UAE ports, while Iran has also threatened to mine the strategically crucial Straits of Hormuz.
The region's gearing up for the possibility of a war stands in contrast to the relaxing tourists on beaches or the opulent expat villa compounds.
In the last year, the United Nations, the US and Europe have all imposed heavy sanctions on Iran. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, was one of a number of regional Arab leaders revealed in Wikileaks cables to have been pressing for even tougher action. Diplomats say he has also been the key mover, along with William Hague, the foreign secretary, in demanding an upgrading of Britain's traditional military ties with its former colonial protectorates in the Gulf.
He has also personally raised the issue of the safety of the foreign population, which makes up 70 per cent of the UAE's 4.5 million residents.
The new military co-operation plan, whose full terms remain secret, will be signed off in the first half of 2011, when Mr Cameron is expected to visit. It is regarded as such a priority that it is being protected from defence cuts.
The plan is also expected to include an offer from Britain to help to keep vital infrastructure such as electricity and water desalination plants running in the event of war.
Meanwhile, proposals are being drawn up to organise evacuation runs for civilians across the border to Oman, which is not currently in Iran's sights, and other neighbouring countries.
Cruise liners may be posted in the Gulf of Aden, with Royal Navy warships shuttling civilians from the small emirate of Fujeirah, which lies outside the Straits of Hormuz. Depending on assessments of the safety of civilian flights, extra airfields in addition to the region's extensive network of international airports may be opened up.
Diplomats are keen to stress that embassies around the world are required to maintain contingency plans for British citizens facing all kinds of disasters and emergencies. In the Middle East, they usually entail recommending expatriates stay put and maintain a low profile – as, for example, during the Gulf War. "The physical requirements to move this many people means that we would try to delay evacuation as long as possible," said another Gulf-based diplomat.
But as Iran refuses to dismantle its nuclear programme, the potential for disaster is not being discounted. "It is a huge number of people who are affected here," the source said. "There are over 100,000 Brits who live here, one million Brits who visit every year. Their safety is a matter of particular concern."
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Philanthropy plan: donate to charity every time you pay by bank card

People will be asked to give to charity every time they use a cash dispenser or pay with a bank card under government plans to increase philanthropy.

People would be asked to give to charity every time they used a cash-point or paid with a bank card under radical Government plans published today to boost philanthropy under plans proposed by Francis Maude
Banks are to adopt a system that allows people to make a small donation to charity whenever they withdraw cash.
The Government also wants shops to offer customers the opportunity to “round up the pound” when using a debit or credit card, with the extra money going to charity.
Under the proposals, anyone making sizeable charitable donations would get letters from ministers.
Any National Lottery winners who donated part of their windfall to good causes would be publicised on television.
The plans are unveiled on Wednesday in a discussion paper published by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, who wishes to foster a culture of charitable giving.
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