Saturday, January 31, 2009

NDA to opt for surgical strikes to demolish

 ITANAGAR, Feb 1 – Accusing the UPA Government at the Centre of dithering in taking strong steps against terrorists, BJP president Rajnath Singh today said the NDA would opt for surgical strikes to demolish their camps inside Pakistan if it came to power.

NDA would take other countries into confidence on the need for such surgical strikes if it came to power after the Lok Sabha polls, he told a rally here.

“True there had been attacks on Parliament and on Akshardham and Raghunath temples during the NDA rule. But the morale of securitymen was high then and most of the terrorists were killed by security personnel...The UPA Government has failed to hang Afzal Guru for his involvement in the attack on Parliament despite court verdict,” he said.

The NDA, if voted to power, would not ‘waste time’ in carrying out the court verdict on Guru, he said and appealed to the people to throw out the UPA in the coming polls as it had failed on all fronts.

The UPA Govt had withdrawn POTA and denied involvement of Pakistanis in the terrorist acts. “But after the Mumbai strike, good sense has prevailed and it at last enacted some law to replace POTA.

Terrorism, Singh said, grew in India because of ‘weak-kneed’ policy of the Cong, which feels any stringent law against terrorists would antagonise the minorities. “I would like to ask Congress if they think all people belonging to minority communities are supporters of terrorists ?” – PTI

British envoy to play Sherlock Holmes in Bollywood flick

Rituraj Borthakur

Shillong, Jan 31 Career diplomat and British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata, Simon Wilson now has a new role to play as a detective.

However, this is not in real life but in reel.Wilson, who has previously dabbled in amateur theatre is excited about donning the long coat and hat of fictional super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.The diplomat plays the cameo in the Kolkata-sourced Hindi movie "The Diamond Murders" directed by Ashoke Viswanathan.

"I have done some amateur theatre in my life and this cameo role seems quite charming," Wilson told PTI.Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of Four", "The Diamond Murders" is set against the colonial background of Shillong, with its heritage buildings and European ambience getting transformed into a British countryside in the murder mystery.

"The film is a murder mystery that explores the Indian psyche to show how women's mind work. A lady travels through time and constructs a narrative as she creates characters borrowed from fiction like Gulliver's Travels and Treasure Island before she gets kidnapped.

The protagonist, Prasant Sehgal, solves the mystery," says Viswanathan.Rajat Kapoor plays Prasant Sehgal while Arvind Rao the Watson prototype is played by Priyanshu Chatterjee."Ashok Vishwanthan is a friend and when he offered me the role which was being shot in Meghalaya, I happily accepted it," says Wilson.

'70,000 Indians migrated to Australia in last decade'

Australia has witnessed a massive influx of Asians in the last decade, with India and China together accounting for almost one-fifth of the new arrivals in the country during the period.

Between 1996 and 2006, India and China together accounted for over 1.5 lakh of the total jump in immigrants to this country.

According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of Indians arriving in the country between 1996 and 2006 increased by 70,000, while the number of people from European countries fell over the same period.

The highest increase in the number of immigrants, however, was witnessed from China, ABS's report 'Portait of a Nation' based on the Australian census of 2006 said.

The number of Chinese people on the move to Australia between 1996 and 2006 increased by 96,000.

While the movement of Asians is on the rise, the number of Europeans crossing in to Australia has been found to be declining though Europe still continues to provide the highest number of foreign-born residents to Australia.

Though 24 per cent of the immigrants or 92,000 still arrived from the UK, the report said that 35,000 fewer people came from the country. The data also showed that 4.4 million people in Australia were born overseas.

Besides China and India, other Asian countries that saw an increase in the number of people moving to Australia are South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Asian-born immigrants now account for 27 per cent of the foreign-born population of Australia and 60 per cent of all immigrants now on the move to Australia are from Asian countries.

He's beautiful, he's brilliant, he's boring

Tennis purists, critics and writers may sing the same symphony of praises each time Roger Federer systematically demolishes an opponent with clockwork precision, but the fans beg to differ. The keywords 'federer, boring' on a web search throw up 173,000 links, and while the 27-year-old may have his defendants, the verdict is damning.

Tennis's former No 1 aspires for perfection, which has seeped out from his tennis racquet to his on-court demeanour -- the slow walk across court, the poker face, and each meticulous wipe of the wristband after a gruelling rally. New epithets on the subliminity of Federer's backhand keep cropping up, but the inescapable fact remains that the great man is a tad boring. The concept of sport as entertainment takes a beating far worse than anything the Swiss has inflicted on hapless opponents, miles removed from the days of John 'you cannot be serious' McEnroe, and Jimmy 'I can turn the crowd against you' Connors.

If you compare him with the contemporaries, there's Andy Roddick, a former No 1 himself, who has held forth on Saturday Night Live, and turned away questions about his love life -- from Mandy Moore to Maria Sharapova and swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker -- with a quick wit guaranteed to raise a few laughs. The talking point in Federer's case has often been the latest cow he was gifted.

There's yelling, cussing, antic-king Marat Safin, also said to be extremely talented, but whose outpouring of emotion stands in the way of similar greatness. The Russian may have only two Slams to his name, but his sulks and unbelievable gestures on court will be sorely missed in a sport on the hunt for personalities.

And then, there's Rafael Nadal of the now-abandoned pirate pants, sleeveless shirts and messy hair, who pumps his fist like no other, and isn't afraid to let off a little scowl his adversary's way.

It's war, but Federer doesn't seem interested in getting his hands dirty. He reminds you of another legend, who also had to battle with similar 'he's too boring for words' accusations, and coincidentally, possessed the same the one-handed backhand -- Pete Sampras. The American was constantly measured against Andre Agassi on the personality stakes, and Federer seems to have the same thing going with the passionate outpourings of the man from Spain who has taken away his throne. Both possess the brain of a champion, but while the Spaniard wears his heart on his sleeve, Federer keeps it all inside. What's more fun to watch?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Villagers suffer as Siroy impasse continues

UKHRUL, Jan 31 : Tucked away 18 kilometres from Ukhrul main town, the Shiroy village is under seige, the situation arising out of the back-drop of a stand-off between the Assam Rifles and the NSCN(IM). The crisis entered its 11th-day today as the conflict remains unresolved.

According to a source from the established Coordination Committee on Shirui Seige(CCoSS), the economy and the normal life in the affected Shirui village was paralysed owing to the situation as the village folks are unable to take to activities of farming though it is the sowing season.

It is reported that womenfolk numbering around 50 to 80 from the neighbouring villages are keeping vigil at the thoroughfare between the NSCN camp and the Assam Rifles singing and praying to harmonize the situation. Day and night they are trying to avoid the much feared booming of guns between the armed parties. The economic activities of farming and selling of the crops has been disturbed infringing the rights and daily livelihood of the innocent villagefolk, it said.

The report also stated that an indefinite sit-in protest against the seige of Shiroy village by the Assam Rifles still continues and around 2000 womenfolk in the heart of Ukhrul town at Gandhi Chowk are staging protests every day demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Assam Rifles personnel from the village since the issue has caused immense trouble.

It is also reported that on January 28 civil society bodies from Nagaland including Naga Hoho, the apex Naga frontal Naga civil organization, Naga Students Federation (NSF) in collaboration with the UNC, ANSAM, NWSUM, NPMHR (South Sector) from Manipur unit and TNL, TKS, TMNL, TSL,TWL, the leading Tangkhul social organizations in Ukhrul district visited the village, but so far there is no change in the situation.

Earlier on January 25, the CCoSS also submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Ukhrul district demanding change of the Assam Rifles but till now there is no change, said reliable sources.

The MIP team from Hebron has also come to Ukhrul to oversee the overall situation.

MPLF eggs on students to support principals

Imphal, January 31 : THE MANIPUR People's Liberation Front (MPLF), a united body of several outlawed rebel organisations of Manipur, has called upon the people, specially the student community to stand solidly behind the suspended principals of seven government higher secondary schools.

In a press release, the convenor of the MPLF stated that the announcement of suspending the teachers on the ground that their schools did not participate in the celebration of India's Republic Day is an act of the marionette government to punish the innocent and the weak when it can't tackle the real and bigger problem.

Expressing joy to the people for having successfully boycotted the celebration of Republic Day in Manipur also, the MPLF stated that this is a clear example of the people of Manipur standing against India's rule and that celebrations like Republic Day have no meaning to the people.

The press release further said, the fact that democracy has been reduced to a mockery in the largest democratic country was vividly proven by the incident of distribution of bundles of corrupt money in the parliament some months back.

However, in Manipur, the rule of the army, deployed behind the veil of democracy that has been reduced to a mockery, is keeping the people gagged and is indulging in wanton killing, bashing and arrests of people at will, it stated.

The one and only way to escape from this oppression is to restore sovereignty and independence of Manipur, the MPLF stated.

If those, who defied the appeal of MPLF and took part in the celebrations, are found taking part again in future, it would be considered a challenge to the MPLF and appropriate action would be taken against them, the convenor warned.

Manipur Writers` meet out to prove men smart but women smarter

IMPHAL, Jan 30 : With teh objective to prove women`s solidarity and unity are strong if not stronger than that of men women writers fromall over the northeast have come together at the first ever North East Women Writers` Meet, inaugurated at the Kangla Hall today.

The meet would also seek to reiterate women`s unique nature and position in the region which has been a vital bridge in giving a truer and more positive image of the northeast.

The three-day writers` meet is being jointly organised by the department of art and culture, Manipur under the aegis of the North East Zone Cultural Centre Dimapur and Leimarol Khoijeikol (LEIKOL), Manipur and was attended by MLA Th Nandakishore and Dr. K Sobita, joint director art and culture, Manipur as chief guest and president respectively.

Th Nandakishore expressed the need for recognising the emerging women writers in the region and maintained that the meet would ignite the subdued talents of the women writers. The chief guest also donated a sum of Rs. 10,000 as an assistance for the meet.

Around 12 participants from the entire north east states attended the inaugural function. During the meet the participants from other states revealed that such meets gave them the opportunity to share ideas and different views and also gave them the chance to interact with the women of the north east.

Chin 'living in slavery'

30 January

Human rights body highlights plight of persecuted Christian group

By Nirmal Ghosh, Thailand Correspondent

BANGKOK: The Chin people, Christians living in remote and rugged north-western Myanmar, are subjected to forced labour, torture, killings and religious persecution by the country's military regime, a human rights group said yesterday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a report based on interviews with Chin refugees across the region, said thousands of Chin have had to flee their homeland, mostly across the border to India as well as to Malaysia and Thailand.

The population of the Chin state is reckoned to be around 500,000. But between 75,000 and 100,000 Chin currently live in the Indian state of Mizoram, without support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). About 30,000 Chin live in Malaysia.

The refugees have fled lives of constant fear, hardship and harassment, and conditions that amount to little more than slavery.

HRW's report documents cases of Chin people being forced to work without pay for the Tatmadaw - the Myanmar army - in projects such as road-building, construction and porterage. They worked under harsh conditions and could not attend to their crops and families.

The report documents several individual cases of arbitrary abuse ranging from harassment for money, to torture and imprisonment. The Chin people's religious symbols are also often destroyed.

Ms Sara Colm, a senior researcher for HRW, told journalists yesterday that the exodus of minority groups from Myanmar showed no signs of stopping, and had to be recognised as a problem for the whole region. 'The Chin state is a template for how repression works in rural Burma,' she said.

Her comments came amid a storm over the Thai military's alleged abuse of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine state, which has put pressure on Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to live up to his publicly stated commitments to human rights and justice.

Life for the Chin in their mountainous homeland, hard enough in normal circumstances, is made unbearable by the Tatmadaw which has 10 battalions stationed in the state. An assessment in 2007 by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar came to the conclusion that 70 per cent of the population of the Chin state live in poverty, and 40 per cent are without adequate food sources.

The junta has done nothing to alleviate famine conditions in the state, where the 50-year bamboo flowering cycle has recently fuelled a boom in the rat population - which has attacked crops after finishing off the bamboo.

The Chins' own armed group, the Chin National Army, no longer poses a significant threat to the military regime, but its cadres make matters worse by levying taxes on locals. Any contact, even accidental, between an ordinary local and a Chin National Army cadre is grounds for being beaten, tortured and imprisoned.

Conditions in Mizoram are also not friendly, even though Mizos and Chins are ethnically closely related. Chins have been harassed by the Young Mizo Association, an ultra-nationalist vigilante organisation which constantly threatens to evict them from Mizoram and has carried out its threats.

HRW called on India to do more for Chin refugees in Mizoram, including allowing UNHCR to set up an office there.

The group also called for more assistance in remote areas of Myanmar. 'There is a need to focus international attention on areas of Burma that are extremely remote and neglected,' said Ms Colm.

Five civilians killed in US drone attacks: Report

Islamabad, Jan 30 : Five persons, who were killed in the January 23 US drone attacks in South Waziristan of Pakistan, were innocent civilians, The News reports.

According to well placed sources, the US missile attacks carried out in the Gangai Khel area in South Waziristan on January 23, killed five tribesmen namely Malik Din Faraz, Sher Ghulam, Hamdullah, Habib Noor and Lohi Khan.

The US led predator attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan is targeted at the Al-Qaeda terrorists in the region, but Pakistani authorities have claimed that the drones are affecting innocent people more.

Islamabad has urged United States numerous times, to discontinue the attacks as it is proving counterproductive in its ‘war on terror’ in the region, but Washington is firm on its stand.

Earlier, the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates had said that Washington would continue strikes by unmanned Predator drones against militants in Pakistan.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meghalaya youth body over Power project

Shillong : A youth organization in West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya today demanded the government to handover the Kynshi Hydel Power Project to any company by March this year.

The Kynshi project was not handed to any company after the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance ( MPA) government had scrapped the deal with the Athena Project Private Limited and Jaypee groups. The previous Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government had signed power deals with six companies for execution of power projects in the state, but, the MPA coalition who took over the reigns of the state here scrapped the deals, while some of the MoU were rewritten.

The Warsan Lyngdoh Langrin Youth Association (WLLYA) from the area today told reporters that for development of the area the association welcomed any company to execute the project. “We welcome any company to execute works of the Kynshi project. But the government has to decide by March,” the youth association president Frank. K. Sandy Myrthong told a news conference here today. He said the association is not against Atena Project Private Limited and Jaypee groups or NEEPCo, but, construction of the project should begin.

Earlier, Athena Project Private Limited and Jaypee Groups, who had been awarded the execution work for the Kynshi stage I and II hydro power projects had requested the Meghalaya government to reconsider its decision to scraps the deal with the companies. But the government said that it will not reconsider the decision but stand by its earlier decision to scrap the deals.
The association also felt the need of forming a Joint Action Committee on the project to further execution of the power project.

NU Education dept informs

Kohima : The M.Phil/Ph.D scholars, research workers of different Universities and Institutes, teachers, lecturers, individuals and NGOs who have conducted research studies in the field of education in Nagaland have been informed that a study on “Trends of Research in Education in Nagaland” is being conducted for All India Association for Education Research (AIAER).
The purpose for the study is to examine the trends of educational research in Nagaland, identify the gaps and highlight emerging issues.
An abstract of research containing details such as, name of the investigator, title of the study, year, objectives of the study, details of methodology such as sample, tools used and findings of the study may be sent to the Department of Education, Nagaland University, Kohima either by post or in person so as to reach latest by 16th March 2009 to enable the team to review and include it in the aforementioned survey. For  more details, contact 9856161988.
This was stated in a release issued Dr. Lungsang Zeliang, Sr.Lecturer, Department of Education, Nagaland University, Kohima campus and Dr.Buno Liegise, Reader, Department of Education, Nagaland University, Kohima Campus.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rahul can become PM: Pranab

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi can become Prime Minister as early as after the Lok Sabha elections due soon if there was a suitable mandate, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee indicated on Saturday.

Mukherjee, whose statement that days are not far off for Rahul who “may follow the footsteps of his father to become the Prime Minister”, two days back, led to a chorus of demand, reiterated his remarks today in an interview to a news channel.

His comments came close on the heels of AICC’s assertion that it was up to Rahul to decide the timing of assuming the leadership of the country.

Doing a delicate balancing act, the AICC had also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has done well on every front.

“Who knows he may follow the footsteps of his father one day..when Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister at the age of early forties,” Mukherjee said in the interview today.

To a question whether he believes that Rahul has the potential to become the PM, Mukherjee said he could not say who will be the potential and who would not be potential Prime Minister.

“There is a potentiality in a number of people. India has a number of persons who have the Prime Ministerial material…..who have the potential,” he added.

To another question, Mukherjee today said “it depends on which political party or parties are going to have majority in our Parliamentary system.”

“After the election, how the elected MPs are going to choose their leader…..these are unavoidable steps one will have to take,” he added.

On Friday, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed had said “it is true that Rahul Gandhi has all the qualifications which are necessary to lead the country. All feel that way.

Earlier the AICC had declared Rahul as the third pole in the party after Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Union Minister Arjun Singh had said last year that there was “no harm” in making Rahul the Prime Minister of the country, a comment which did not find favour with the AICC. Party General Secretary Digvijay Singh said “Rahul is fully competent to occupy the post of Prime Minister.”

Those associated with Gandhi and Congress say he is the “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP) of the party in a country which has 65 percent of its population below the age of 38.

The young brigade in Congress rallies around him and hails him as their leader, inside and outside Parliament. This group comprises Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora and Sandeep Dikshit among others.

Munde criticises Shiv Sena for supporting Sharad Pawar as PM

Jan 27 Criticising the Shiv Sena's statement to support NCP Chief Sharad Pawar as prime ministerial candidate, BJP General Secretary Gopinath Munde today said the NDA partner is not adhering to the "Dharma of alliance".
"Sena's statement for supporting Sharad Pawar's candidature for premiership is deplorable," he said adding the NDA partner is not sticking to the basics of a political alliance.

Making the NDA stand clear to Sena, Munde said that the BJP leader L K Advani is the consensus candidate of the alliance for the coming Lok Sabha elections and no one should have any doubt over it.

"Opposition leader L K Advani is our prime ministerial candidate," he said.

Munde, who was here as a part of his "Shetkari Sangharsh Abhiyan Yatra", was speaking to the mediapersons.

He said that Shiv Sena has earlier also betrayed BJP and supported Congress-backed candidate instead of supporting BJP candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for the post.

Now they are making the same mistake by supporting Pawar, he added.

The BJP leader also criticised the Centre and state's loan waiver scheme to the farmers, saying the Congress led government at both the places are not addressing the basic problems of the farmers.

He demanded a separate loan waiver scheme for Dalits, tribals and landless labourers as well. PTI

Kerala Jihadi Abdul Sattar, arrested in Andhra

Andhra police have arrested an explosives expert from Kerala who allegedly sent youths to Pakistan for training in jihadi activities in Kashmir.

Abdul Sattar, who police say designed some of the bombs that went off in Hyderabad in 2007 and in Bangalore and Ahmedabad last year, was detained in Hyderabad last week. He was today remanded in the custody of Karnataka police, which wanted him in 10 cases.

Sattar is accused of recruiting youths from Kerala and putting them through the basics of militancy in some Hyderabad madarsas before sending them to Pakistan.

Andhra police zeroed in on Sattar after arresting one of his alleged recruits, Sheikh Abdul Jabbar, from Tirur in Kerala’s Malappuram district, from Hyderabad last November. Jabbar was later handed over to Kerala police.

“With the arrest of Sattar and Jabbar, we have found out how Muslim youths in two districts of Kerala, Malappuram and Kannur, are being lured into terrorism,” said a senior intelligence official.

Police officials said Sattar, a businessman in electrical goods, had first come to Hyderabad in 2004 and stayed at Jamia Arifia Nooria, a seminary-cum-educational institution in Cyberabad’s Bandlaguda.

Sattar had links with Arifuddin, a cleric and a custodian of the seminary’s dargah who had come to Hyderabad from Kerala 20 years ago, police said.

30-yr-old attempts suicide at AIIMS

NEW DELHI: A 30-year-old man attempted suicide by consuming poison outside AIIMS around 1am on Monday. Claiming that he was being harassed by cops, the man reportedly wanted to die in front of the Prime Minister. PM Manmohan Singh is recuperating at the hospital after a by-pass surgery.

Amit Kumar, a resident of Sultanpuri in northeast Delhi, thought his suicide would made the PM aware of cops' `goonda raj' in the city. "I don't want to live in fear. The police is running a goonda raj and I want the Prime Minister to care of this,'' he wrote on his left hand.

Even though the incident took place within 50 metres of the AIIMS premises, Amit allegedly lay frothing on the road for nearly 15 minutes before PCR van reached the spot. He was rushed to AIIMS Trauma Centre where his condition was stated to be stable.

When he was being carried away to the hospital, he reportedly shouted that he was being harassed by the police and land grabbers in Sultanpuri who have usurped his property there. According to eyewitnesses, he said that when he complained against the property grabbers, they got his brother implicated in a false case of kidnapping and got him jailed. He reportedly said he met senior police officers of the outer district including the DCP but his grievances were not redressed.

When contacted, Atul Katiyar, DCP (outer), said the police were investigating claims made by Amit. At the time of the incident, Amit was reportedly carrying a file which contained photocopies and receipts of the complaints he had made to various officers.

A day in the life of India

Although this shouldn’t come as a surprise, here are some January 26 news items that highlight the ways of working in our part of the world.

1. Narcotics top cop runs a drug ring
Saji Mohan, a member of Indian Police Service (IPS) - the elitest ones of the Indian police, a former director of India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and currently an officer with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai, has been nabbed for running a heroine racket. At the time of his arrest, Saji had on him about 12 Kilos of heroine, worth about Rs 12 Crores (about $2.5 million).
While working with NCB in his capacity as one of its top officers, Saji Mohan is known to have seized 52 Kilos of heroine. But he reported only 5 Kilos of the seized drugs, using the rest for his own drug enterprise.
2. PWC auditors pocket Crores per month to falsify company audits
Srinivas Talluri and S. Gopalakrishnan, two auditors with the PricewaterhouseCoopers India(PWC), have been arrested for conspiracy and co-participation. They have been accused of helping the pretty-soon-almost-defunct IT giant Satyam to falsify 33 billion non-existent Rupees and almost 13000 non-existent employees in its accounts. The corrupt auditors are reported to have been making between Rupees 1-2 Crore per month to do the dirty deeds.
3. CBI officers rape wife of the accused
A 38-year old woman has told the Chandigarh court that CBI (Criminal Bureau of Investgation) officials investigating a case against her husband, had repeatedly raped and abused her in a government rest house.
4. Custodians of Indian culture grope women
In Mangalore the other day, members of a group called the Rama Sena; attacked, abused and groped women in a Mangalore pub. The group members told the press that the women were drinking alcohol and dancing in the pub.
5. Security Force constables kill superiors
On January 26, two Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) constables, members of India’s elite paramilitary force which protects airports, atomic installations and power plants, shot and killed their senior officers in two separate incidents.

UK: Raids on 3 Indian restaurants

LONDON: Britain's immigration officials raided three Indian restaurants and a Chinese takeaway joint in north England and arrested seven illegal migrants from Bangladesh, China and India working there.

Officers from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) responsible for securing the UK borders, controlling migrations and enforcing immigrations and customs rules visited a string of restaurants and takeaways after getting tip-offs about illegal immigrants being employed there.

In a raid on the Rajpooth Indian Restaurant, in Durham City, three Bangladeshi men were found working illegally. Also, two illegal migrants from China were arrested from the 'May Flower Chinese Takeaway' joint.

The owners of the two hotels were fined 50,000 pounds for employing people who did not have the right to work in the UK.

The UKBA authorities also raided 'Gill's Chip Shop' in Wallsend and arrested an Indian who was working illegally there.

The team, from UKBA's Tyne enforcement unit, also raided the Memories of India restaurant in County Durham and arrested two Bangladeshi men.

"We are working hard to pull the plug on the illegal jobs which lure illegal immigrants to come to the UK in the first place," said UKBA North East operations director Steve Lamb.

"Illegal working is unfair on honest employers who recruit staff with the right to work in the UK and who pay them a proper salary. Employers who don't play by the rules face fines and could potentially end up in jail", he added

UKBA has also recently started naming on its website employers who have been fined under the new rules.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pratibha Patil honours bravehearts

Parul Sharma

REMEMBERING THE MARTYRS: (Clockwise from top left): Wives of Hemant Karkare, Gajender Singh, Tukaram Gopal Ombale, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar and mother of Sandeep Unnikrishnan receive the Ashoka Chakra award from President Pratibha Patil at the Republic Day function in New Delhi on Monday.
NEW DELHI: Two months after the terror attacks in Mumbai, six security personnel who laid down their lives fighting terrorists, were honoured with Ashoka Chakra on the 60th Republic Day on Monday.
In all, 11 security men were awarded posthumously Ashok Chakra at the investiture ceremony. It was a rather sombre moment as the wives of 10 awardees and Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s mother received the honour from President Pratibha Patil.
Ms. Patil patted and comforted the women, with some of them touching her feet.
Chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of Maharashtra Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, Inspector of Anti-Extortion Cell of the Maharashtra Crime Branch Vijay Salaskar and Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Tukaram Ombale were given the award for sacrificing their lives while fighting terrorists in Mumbai in November 2008.
Loud applause A loud applause erupted when the names of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajender Singh of the 51 Special Action Group of the elite National Security Guard were announced. They died during the commando operation in Mumbai. Many in the audience rose from their seats as the awards were presented.
Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who led a police team in the Batla House encounter in Jamia Nagar here last September was honoured.
Wives of Colonel Jojan Thomas, Commanding Officer of 45 Rashtriya Rifles, and Havildar Bahadur Singh Bohra of the Parachute Regiment, who were killed in separate counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir received the award from the President.
R. P. Diengdoh of the Meghalaya Police, who had shot dead a militant and captured two others in the jungles of Meghalaya, was also honoured.
Wife of Assistant Commandant of the Special Operation Group of the Orissa State Armed Police P.K. Satapathy collected the award bestowed on him for his valour while countering naxalite violence.

Anti-nationals a threat to Assam: Governor

Sushanta Talukdar

Defying ULFA’s boycott call people hoist flags
Two battalions of AISF raised to protect tea estates

Guwahati: Assam Governor S.C. Mathur on Monday said gravest threats to the State and its people emanated from the activities of a section of anti-national forces who, he said, were operating with support from organisations based outside the country.
In his Republic Day address after unfurling the Tricolour on the Latasil parade ground here, the Governor appealed to insurgents and militants to shun violence and come forward for dialogue within the framework of the Constitution.
“We are committed to bring peace to Assam and shall keep our doors open for dialogue but we will not leave any stone unturned to fight anti-national forces.”
The Republic Day passed off peacefully in the State. People defied the boycott call given by the United Liberation Front of Asom and joined the celebration by hoisting the Tricolour in houses, public places and participating in official functions.
The Governor said that for the security of tea estates and industries, two battalions of the Assam Industrial Security Force (AISF) had been raised. Another battalion was being raised for protecting the installations of Oil India Limited and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
Mr. Mathur said a development council for the Gorkhas and six new development councils for the Ahoms, the Mataks, the Morans, the Koch-Rajbongshis, the Chutias and the Adivasis were being set up. The six communities were demanding the Scheduled Tribe status and organisations spearheading their cause had rejected the State’s earlier announcement of the development councils.
On the foreigners’ issue, the Governor said the government was committed to the implementation of the Assam accord without causing any harassment to genuine Indian citizens. The updating of the National Register of Citizens was on and the data entry of electoral rolls would be completed shortly. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was present.

Two Poems

Patric Cunnane/Uddipana Goswami

Solzhenitsyn in Scotland
Walking in the rain
Reminded him he was free
Walking now was freedom
Rain now was freedom
Walking meant
Walking to labour
Getting wet was life threatening
No coat to shield malnourished skin
Only a righteous anger stoking a will to survive
Walking in the rain of Scotland
Not everyone’s idea of a holiday
Some prefer sun-kissed beaches
A walk amongst the dripping heather
Removes one more brick from
An enclosure round the heart
Alexander Solzhenitsyn died 3 August 2008

Would I be a poet still?
Your vocabulary is no longer mine.
My language you may not know.
But would you call me a poet still
If I did not write the words you spoke?
Would I be a poet still
If I wrote instead the cacophony
Of insurgent cross-fires
And false encounters, secret killings?
Will you consider it poetry
If it were splashed with mud from military boots
Mixed with the blood of revolutionaries and mercenaries
And political touts and merchants of ideology?
They were dreamers who thought poetry
Was about nation, revolution, freedom.
They were dreaming in their sleep
Their dreams died as they slept.
Poetry became a casualty of armed skirmishes.

PATRIC CUNNANE performs poetry at readings, cabarets and festivals. His latest collection is Baltimore He began writing stories four years ago and is a founder member of Porcupine writers’ group which holds monthly meetings to discuss members’ new stories.
          Poems have appeared in many publications including The Guardian and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Two poems appeared in Velocity - the Best of Apples and Snakes, selected by The Independentas among the year’s 10 best poetry collections. Patric also MCs for Apples & Snakes shows.
He organises regular readings to promote new and established poets through his poetry organisation, Dodo Modern Poets. DMP has performed at the Edinburgh Festival, the St Ives Literature Festival, the Hastings Festival and many others including a number of Dylan Thomas inspired nights in Laugharne, South Wales. A regular DMP evening takes place at the Poetry Society in Covent Garden. (For details go to In October 2007 the group presented a gala evening at New Wimbledon Studio Theatre as part of the first Wimbledon Bookfest. The evening was successful and they returned to the Bookfest at the same venue in October 2008, playing to another packed house.
         Patric ran a workshop on performance poetry in the New Forest. He has worked with elderly groups in day care centres in the London Borough of Merton and with schools in the same borough as part of the Big Arts project for several years running. He ran a poetry workshop for Merton’s arts festival for adults with learning difficulties.
        He supplements his arts income from regular work as a journalist. He lives in Colliers Wood, South London.
UDDIPANA GOSWAMI is from Assam in Northeast India, a region of rich indigenous cultures but also of insurgency, ethnic conflicts and consequent militarization, all of which informs her writings. She is Assamese literature editor of Muse India, a literary e-journal. Her creative works have been published in the journals Etchings (Australia), Chandrabhaga (India), Muse India (India), The Other Voices International Project (online), XCP Streetnotes (online). Her poetry has also appeared in Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry (South Africa). When not writing poetry, Uddipana is a media consultant, researcher and translator. For more:

Naga Reconciliation turns to People Power

Naga Reconciliation turns to People Power
A section of the elders and citizens in attendance during the meeting with the Forum for Naga Reconciliation in Mokokchung, January 26. (Morung Photos)

Dimapur : The quest for Naga reconciliation as initiated and led by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation has reached a turning point with the forum’s members undertaking the arduous task of traveling to various districts to solicit response, advice and feedback of the public.

A five-member team of the forum led by its convener Rev. Dr. Wati Aier and including Rev. Pughoto Aye, Toshi Wungtung, Dr. N Venuh and Nepuni Piku visited Wokha and Mokokchung January 24 and 25th respectively.  Separate meetings with apex tribal bodies, student and women leaders of the two districts were held. Public leaders, elders and women of both the Ao and Kyong tribes raised several questions and debated on issues pertaining to the Naga movement and reconciliation.

However, at the end on the day, the forum gained the trust and confidence of the people of the two districts. While extending fullest support to the reconciliation process, Kyong Hoho president Yansethung Jami summed up the opinion of the Kyongs on reconciliation: Nagas are one and that there should be only one Naga “government”. Similarly, outgoing Ao Senden president Temjenkaba who presided over the Mokokchung meeting requested the forum to design a “broad political framework” and present it to the various Naga underground groups.

Both the apex women bodies of the Kyongs (Kyong Eloe Hoho) and Aos (Watsu Mundang) also assured to continually pray for success of the reconciliation movement and that the endeavor of the forum would not  go in vain.
In both the meetings, the forum members highlighted its objectives and the importance of people’s involvement in the reconciliation process.  “The Naga issue is like a jigsaw puzzle; even a small piece is needed to complete the whole. Likewise everybody’s contribution is needed. Your wisdom, moral and spiritual support towards the reconciliation process is a must,” said Rev. Dr. Wati Aier.
Rev. Wati said the reconciliation move was based on the “historical and political rights of the Nagas” as well as from the Christian perspective. Assuring that there were no strings attached, he said reconciliation did not mean “unification or merger” and that it has no windows or doors.
He further clarified that the role of forum was limited to facilitating the reconciliation process. “Our aim is not to get involved or entangled with status of solution. That is up to the public and national workers. After reconciliation process, political nomenclature will come in which Forum for Naga Reconciliation will not have any role,” the forum’s convener said.
Also, Rev. Pughoto Aye said the Naga public is the ultimate authority to decide on reconciliation, while Toshi Wungtung said the protraction of the Naga issue was destroying the Nagas and that reconciliation was the key to “unlock the difficulties” to Naga unity and solution. “We have to be honest and sincere ourselves while facilitating underground groups to come together,” Dr. Venuh added.
Public leaders and elders of Wokha raised several issues and there was an exchange of ideas among the forum members and public. Nepuni Piku thanked the public for sharing their views and offering valuable insights and suggestions to forum. On January 26 at Mokokchung town, Rev. Wati Aier and Rev. Pughoto Aye also addressed the congregation of Ao Baptist and Sumi Baptist Church respectively.

Honour killing accused slapped with $15 mn lawsuit

Silicon Valley: A Sikh man, awaiting trial in an honour killing case, has been slapped with a $15 million lawsuit in California's civil court by the victim's family.
Gurparkash Khalsa, 56, is in jail charged with killing Ajmer Hothi, 23, the ex-boyfriend of his daughter on March 27, 2007 after he married another woman.
Hothi's family seeks the money to compensate for their loss and to send a message, their attorney Steven Brown said. "They want to make it clear that he needs to be held accountable," Brown was quoted as saying by
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed last week in San Joaquin County Superior Court on behalf of Jasvir Kaur, Hothi's widow, Avtar Hothi, his father and mother Manjit Kaur Hothi.
According to prosecutors, Khalsa stalked Hothi, who had dated Khalsa's daughter. Khalsa, who owned Pacific Coast Intermodal - a trucking firm based in French Camp refused to allow Hothi to marry his daughter, because he was just a trucker, prosecutors have said.
Khalsa later learned that his daughter had aborted Hothi's child and demanded the couple marry but Hothi's parents had sent their son to India for an arranged marriage, according to court papers. Prosecutors accuse Khalsa of tracking down Hothi and killing him in a cab.
Hothi was shot nine times with a handgun similar to one Khalsa had registered years before, according to a police report. The gun was, however, never recovered.
San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau plans to seek a life sentence for Khalsa in the jury trial set for May, the website said.

Complete list of winners at 15th annual SAG Awards

Complete list of winners of the 15th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are as following:

Cast: "Slumdog Millionaire." Actor in a leading role: Sean Penn, "Milk." Actress in a leading role: Meryl Streep, "Doubt." Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight." Supporting actress: Kate Winslet, "The Reader." Stunt ensemble: "The Dark Knight."

Drama series cast: "Mad Men." Actor in a drama series: Hugh Laurie, "House." Actress in a drama series: Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters." Comedy series cast: "30 Rock." Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock." Actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock." Actor in a movie or miniseries: Paul Giamatti, "John Adams." Actress in a movie or miniseries: Laura Linney, "John Adams." Stunt ensemble: "Heroes."

Life Achievement: James Earl Jones.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Partial solar eclipse on Jan 26

Friday, 23 January, 2009

A partial solar eclipse would be witnessed in parts of the country on January 26th as the moon covers a portion of the sun. The eclipse which will start at 10.27 am IST will however be visible in India only after noon between 2:30 and 3: 30pm.

The eclipse will be visible only from southern parts of India, eastern coast, most of northeast India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

However the northern and western parts of India will not be able to witness the celestial event.

Bomb found in Guwahati

Guwahati, Jan. 22: A 40kg bomb was recovered from Aoubari village at Goreshwar in Baksa district last night.
Police said the bomb was found in the courtyard of veterinarian Hari Prashad Das’s home. Experts from the army later defused the bomb.
Nagaon: The three-week-old Mohit Hojai led-Autonomous State Demand Committee council plunged into a crisis on Thursday with six of its elected members resigning from the party to join the Congress. A source in the North Cachar Hills ASDC said eight members had signed the resignation letter but two of them later withdrew their resignation. Udalguri: The Udalguri district administration has instituted awards to recognise public services. Deputy commissioner S.S. Minakshi Sundaram on Thursday said the awards aim at identifying leaders in Udalguri district. Barpeta: Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday announced a medical package for Barpeta, including intensive care units in eight public health centres.

Karkare, Unnikrishnan may get Ashok Chakra

Maharastra’s Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) former chief Hemant Karkare, sub-inspector Tukaram Gopal Omble and National Security Guard (NSG) commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who were killed during the Mumbai terror strikes, are believed to have been chosen for awarding the Ashok Chakra.

The three officers, who fell to the bullets of terrorists while participating in the operations to flush out the terrorists from Pakistan, were among the nine names approved for the bravery award, which would be formally announced on January 25, the Republic Day eve, Government sources said in New Delhi.

Inspector M C Sharma, a Delhi police encounter specialist who died in the Batla House police operation against Islamic terrorists, was also among the shortlisted martyrs for the medal, sources said.

Apart from these four brave hearts, the government has also shortlisted Havildar Gajendra Singh Bhist, a 36-year-old NSG commando killed during the Mumbai anti-terror operations at Nariman Point, sources said.

Others reportedly selected for the gallantry medal included Army officer Colonel Jojin Thomas, Orissa police officer T K Satpathy, Havildar Bahadur Singh Vohra and Meghalaya police officer A Diengdoh.

The government was still considering Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte, who died in the Mumbai anti-terror operation, for the Ashok Chakra and a decision on them would be taken in a couple of days, sources added.

MPLF calls general strike on Jan 26

Imphal, January 23 : Calling upon the people of Manipur to boycott all Republic Day functions, the Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF) has called a general strike all over the State with effect from 1 am of January 26 till 6 pm of the same day.

A press release issued by the MPLF convenor reminded that different insurgent outfits of the North East region including MPLF, KLO, TPDF and ULFA have issued a joint statement regarding their boycott call of the Republic Day celebrations in the region as in the previous years.

Asserting that January 26 was the day when the Constitution of India was forcibly imposed on the region 58 years back, the MPLF appealed to the people not to venture out of their homes and to suspend all forms of transport service during the general strike.

It further asked all the people not to undertake any business activity or screening movies or organising any entertainment programme on the day.

The MPLF also asked all concerned to cancel all flights to and from Imphal on January 26.However, media, medical service and water supply will be exempted from the purview of the general strike.

People's stationary protest demonstrations against the State may be staged during the general strike.

The MPLF also called upon the people to ponder over the alleged degenerated condition and inhumanely low living of the people since the Constitution of India was forcibly imposed in the region 58 years back.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seminary in Kerala gets affiliation from Belgian varsity

Thrissur , Jan 22 The Marymatha Major Seminary here has become Asia&aposs first Catholic religious learning institute to get affiliation of the renowned Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, church sources said.

The documents in connection with the academic collaboration between the Faculty of Theology of Europe&aposs centuries-old Catholic University and the seminary was signed by the Dean of the Faculty of Leuven, Prof Lievein Boeve, and the Archbishop of Thrissur , Mar Andrews Thazhath here recently, the sources said.

The academic collaboration would go a long way in the structural development, study and research in Indian theology with the co-operation of the Catholic University, they said.

The students of the seminary would now be entitled to get the degree in Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) recognised by the Leuven University.

In the Catholic religious educational system, STB is the first of three ecclesiastical degrees in theology, followed by Licentiate of Sacred Theology and Doctor of Sacred Theology in the second and third phases, the sources said.

BRC, Khadoor Sahib and Birsa Munda in q-finals

A league match in progress between Birsa Munda, Rourkela, and Mehta Gurukul School, Doraha, in Jalandhar on Tuesday.

Bihar Regimental Centre (Danapur), Birsa Punda School (Rourkela) and Baba Gurmukh Singh Uttam Singh School (Khadoor Sahib) qualified for quarter-finals of the 5th All- India Balwant Singh Kapur Hockey Tournament being played at the Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium here today.

Today in the last league matches

Baba Gurmukh Singh Uttam Singh School, Khadoor Sahib, routed St Ignatius School of Gumla by 4-0 in a league outing. In Bikramjit Singh put Khadoor Sahib in the lead in the fifth minute. Maintaining their pressure. Varun Kumar consolidated consolidated the lead in the 18th minute.. At hald time winners were leading by 2-0. Inderjit Singh further increased the lead with a field goal in the 54th minute. One minute later, Varun Kumar completed the winners' tally (4-0).

BRC Danapur overcame a stiff resistance from Government School Jharsa ( Gurgaon) in a well-contested league fixture by 3-2. The Gurgaon boys took the lead with Rohit Malik finding the object in the 13th minute. In the 40th minute J Harinz of Danapur equalized (1-1). Two minutes later the Danapur gained the lead through Rakesh Roshan. In the 51st minute Jagannath of Danapur scored the third goal for the team. In the 57th minute Rohit Malik of Gurgaon reduced the margin ( 2-3).

In the third match Birsa Munda School of Rourkela outplayed Mehta Gurukul School of Doraha by 5-1. The scorer for the winners were Vikas Khajur (8th and 24th), Arvun Barla (30th)inute, Suresh Toppo (12th ) and Amit (34th). Jatinder Singh scored the solitary goal for Mehta Gurukul School in the14th minute.
The quarter-finals will be played tomorrow.

LIC’s new policy won’t be subsidized by policyholders: Chairman

Chennai, Jan 22  Existing Life Insurance Corp (LIC) policyholders will not have to subsidise holders of the insurer’s new guaranteed return product Jeevan Aastha, LIC chairman T.S. Vijayan has said.
Launched for 45 days, the scheme closed Wednesday and is expected to fetch LIC around Rs.90 billion (Rs.9,000 crore).
‘There is no question of robbing Peter (existing policyholders) to pay Paul (Jeevan Aastha holders),’ Vijayan told IANS over phone from Delhi.

‘The funds collected under Jeevan Aastha will be kept separately and investments will be made from that. Today a triple A rated corporate bond gets a return of 11 percent. We will soon be locking the investments,’ he added.
Vijayan said he was confident the fund will generate sufficient surplus to pay not only the guaranteed return but also the loyalty bonus.
The single premium policy guarantees a return of Rs.90 and Rs.100 for every Rs.1,000 of sum assured for a five-year and a 10-year tenure, respectively.
However, this has made competition to raise doubts as to how LIC is going to pay such high returns, as the compounded rate of interest works out around eight percent.
An official of a private life insurer preferring anonymity told IANS: ‘In the case of a guaranteed return policy, 50 percent of the premium collected will have to be invested in government securities and the balance in triple A rated corporate securities.’
‘Today, the return on government securities is around six percent and 8.5 percent in the case of corporate bonds. After factoring in expenses like agents commission and administrative costs, LIC’s margin will be around seven percent. The question is how LIC will bridge the shortfall as similar products sold by private players offer lower returns.’
But according to Vijayan, LIC has taken sufficient precaution to avoid any asset-liability mismatch.
‘The policy will be for two periods, five years and 10 years, and the scheme closed on Wednesday. In a couple of days we will know the amount collected selling Jeevan Aastha.’
According to sources close to LIC, the product does not leave much margin for LIC.

Jawan kin warn of boycott

Slain rifleman’s relatives to shun R-Day if killer not found
Imphal, Jan. 22 A joint action committee formed by relatives and neighbours of an India Reserve Battalion personnel, who was found murdered during sentry duty last week, threatened to boycott the Republic Day functions and launch a series of protests if its demands were not met.
The action committee set January 24 as the deadline for the Okram Ibobi Singh government to arrest and punish the culprits, pay an ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh, full salary to the victim’s family and also a suitable government job to a family member. 
“If the Ibobi Singh government fails to fulfil the demands by January 24, the action committee will boycott the Republic Day functions. We will also launch a series of agitation,” Zakir Hussain, president of the committee, today said.
Md Sikandar, an IRB rifleman, was found bludgeoned to death on the morning of January 15 at the sentry tower inside the office complex of the superintendent of police, Imphal East, Th. Radheshyam Singh.
The killer or killers also took away the light machine gun (LMG) provided for the sentry post. Though the police suspected that the crime was committed by one or more policemen present in the police complex at Porompat of Imphal East, they have not been able to nail the culprits. 
“We are still investigating the case and we could not find any clue to the identity of the culprits,” a police officer said. Senior police officials blamed lapses on the part of the sentry for the crime. 
“Firstly, he was substituting his replacement without informing his senior officials. Secondly, he was sleeping on a mat at the sentry post with pillows and blankets. Had he been awake no one could have harmed him. The incident has tarnished the image of the district police,” the police officer said.
Sikandar’s sentry duty was from 9pm to midnight. Another rifleman was to replace him from midnight to 3am. On request by the replacement, the sentry continued his duty after midnight. 
Sources said the police believe it to be an inside job since the gate of the complex was closed from the inside when the body was discovered. 
The motive could be the killer or killers snatched the weapon to sell it.

Flowery message of peace attracts thousands to Bangalore's Lalbagh

Bangalore's famous garden Lalbagh is packed with visitors these days, all jostling for a walk through a flower show on the theme of world peace.

Organised jointly by the Horticulture Department and Mysore Horticultural Society to mark Republic Day, the flower show in the lush green botanical garden spread over 240 acres in the heart of the city is attracting hundreds of visitors.

The show opened Jan 17 and ends on Republic Day Monday.

Over 20,000 have already paid Rs.30 a head and visited the show, an annual feature as part of Republic Day celebrations.

'We're expecting another 50,000-70,000 visitors in the coming five days. We're sure thousands will throng Lalbagh to enjoy the beautiful display of flowers, especially on Republic Day, as it's a holiday,' Horticulture Department Director G.K. Vasanth Kumar told IANS.

World peace was chosen as the theme of this year's show as the country was mourning the terror attacks in Mumbai and several other parts of the country last year, Kumar said.

'Flowers have healing power. The entire country is reeling under fear of terror. No one is safe today. In order to bring cheer and bonhomie among the Bangaloreans we have decided to make the flower show a special treat for all.'

The theme is depicted by a special floral edifice in the shape of a globe with two doves atop. Around 100,000 roses have been used for the floral arrangement inside the famed Glass House at Lalbagh.

In all, 350 varieties of flowers are on display at the colourful carnival. Around 100 stalls at the show sell gardening gadgets, manures, pots, seed varieties, saplings, plants, herbal products, and books on plants, to name a few.

Along with common flower varieties like roses, marigolds, cockscomb and geranium, the show also displays a number of exotic flowers, including brachycome and colosia.

Like in previous years, this year's show also features an exhibition of hybrid vegetables, including exotic vegetables that are now becoming increasingly popular in India - broccoli, zuchini and Chinese cabbage.

The flowers have been arranged in styles typical of various countries - Indian, Dutch, Thai, Belgian, Indonesian, and the famous Japanese Ikebana. Miniature Bonsai plants are also on display.

Deputy Director of Horticulture M. Jagadeesh said security had been beefed up in and around Lalbagh to avoid any untoward incident.

'In the light of terrorist threats, security this year has been beefed up with metal detectors, surveillance cameras, additional police personnel and mirror detectors. These measures have been taken in the interest of the public. Parking restrictions have also been implemented and buses have been denied entry into the garden,' said Jagadeesh.

'It's really beautiful, as if I am surrounded by a sea of flowers. I am planning to buy a few varieties. I am hugely enjoying it along with my children,' said Sudeshna Chakraborty, a housewife who visited the flower festival Wednesday morning, along with her two sons.

Two seeds fall by the wayside in girls' singles tennis

Girls' fourth seed Ashvarya Shrivastava and seventh ranked Aishwarya Agrawal bit the dust in singles pre-quarter finals of the ONGC ITF junior tennis tournament here Wednesday.

Shrivastava was shut out by Sharmada Balu 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, while Agrawal went down to city girl Treta Bhattacharya 4-6, 3-6, in 100 minutes at the DKS Complex court.

Treta took 25 minutes to take the first set 6-4 breaking Agrawal in the second, sixth and tenth games. Treta was broken twice in the second set but broke back in the next games to move into the last eight.

Results of matches played Wednesday:

Boys' Singles Pre Quarter Finals : Chandril Sood (1)(124) beat Lakshit Sood (237) 6-2,6-2;Jayaprakash Mohit Mayur (309) beat S.V. Abhishek (238) 5-7,6-2,5-0(Conc.); Laurent-Oliver Daxhelet (3)(Bel) beat Naveen Sai (245) 6-2,6-3; Sai Kartik Nakireddy (8)(235) beat Shabaaz Khan (282) 6-2,6-4; Saurabh Singh (5)(194) beat Devpriya Jaiswal (Q)(1668) 6-0,6-4; Venkat Iyer (WC)(652) beat Sumeet Pratap Shinde (262) 7-5,6-4; Adirek Khundarnpinitnon (7)(Tha)(232) beat Bibaswan Deb (WC) 6-4,6-2; Vaidik Munshaw (2)(155) beat Siddharth Sivakumar (WC)(604) 6-3,6-4.

Girls' Singles Pre Quarter Finals : Valentina Starkova (1)(Kaz)(127) beat Sharon Sanchana Paul (580) 6-3,2-6,6-3; Shweta Kumari Solanki (5)(248) beat Sonia Dayal (364) 6-2,6-2; Prerna Bhambri (314) beat Natasha Palha (555) 6-1,6-1; Treta Bhattacharyya (595) beat Aishwarya Agrawal (WC)(7)(264) 6-4,6-3; Carol Augustine Benito (Esp)(461) beat Zainab Ali Sajjad (Q)(1083) 6-3,6-2; Sharmada Balu (294) beat Ashvarya Shrivastava (4)(210) 4-6,6-3,7-5; Anna Rapoport (8)(Rus)(267) beat Mehak Singh (Q)(1692) 6-3,6-1; Anastasiya Prenko (2)(Tkm)(198) beat Gopika Kapoor (335) 6-3,7-5..

Boys' Doubles Pre Quarter Finals : Sumeet Pratap Shinde & Shabbaz Khan beat S.V. Abhishek & Srikar Alla 6-7(1-7),6-4,(10-7); Sai Karti Nakireddy & Naveen Saai (4) beat Mohammed Ashraf & Devpriya Jaiswal 6-3,6-0; Appanervanda Muddappa & Saurabh Singh (2) beat U.M. Gugan Verma & Rohit Bisht 6-3,7-5.

Boys' Doubles Quarter Finals : Lakshit Sood & Chandril Sood (1) beat Sumeet Pratap Shinde & Shabbaz Khan 6-2,6-3; Ryoto Tachi (Jpn) & Bibaswan Deb (WC) beat Sai Karti Nakireddy & Naveen Saai (4) 6-4,6-4

Girls' Doubles Pre Quarter Finals : Prerna Bhambri & Gopika Kapoor beat Anikta Raina & Shweta Rana (4) 6-4,6-3.

Girls' Doubles Quarter Finals : Rishika Sunkara & Aishwarya Agrawal (1) beat Sharmada Balu & Nimisha Mohan 2-6,6-1,(10-3); Sonia Dayal & Aishwarya Shrivastava (3) beat Prarthana Thombare & Nova Patel 6-3,0-6,(10-8); Anna Rapoport (Rus) & Natela Dzalamidze (Rus)(2) beat Jaanesh M. Kaur & Mehak Singh 6-1,6-0.

Squash: Indian girls lose to Hong Kong

Indian girls suffered a shock defeat against Hong Kong after their star player, Dipika Pallikal, retired with a hamstring injury when in front in the first rubber at the Asian Junior Squash Championship here Wednesday.

Dipika won the first two games and looked set for a comfortable win against Tsz Ling Liu, but surrendered the match after pulling a hamstring at the start of the third game and subsequently retired after the Hong Kong girl won the third and fourth without dropping a point.

Meanwhile, the Indian boys romped to two victories defeating Japan 3-0 and Hong Kong 2-1.

The results:

Boys Poll A: Malaysia beat Qatar 3-0 (Kamran Khan bt Ahmed Al-Tamimi 11-4 11-6 13-11; Ng Jo Wen bt Abdullah Al-Tamimi 9-11 11-8 11-1 11-4; Muhd Zulazri bt Khalid E Al Handawi 11-5 11-6 11-9).

Korea beat Iran 3-0 (Seung-Woo Jin bt Kashani 11-8 11-9 11-8; Won-Suk Choi bt Navid 11-5 11-9 9-11 11-2; Seung-Cheul Han bt Vahid 12-10 11-4 2-11 9-11 11-5).

Malaysia beat Korea 3-0 (Ivan Yuen bt Seung-Woo Jin 11-9 11-8 11-7; Muhd Zulazri bt Seung-Cheul Han 11-13 7-11 11-8 11-5 11-7; Ng Jo Wen bt Won-Suk Choi 5-11 11-4 11-8 11-4).

Iran beat China 3-0 (Kashani bt Meng Xiowmin 1-11 14-12 12-10 12-10; Vahid bt Li Zhiyuan 11-5 11-4 11-6; Navid bt Sheng Jiagi 11-9 19-17 11-8).

Pool B: Hong Kong beat Sri Lanka 3-0 (Nelson Chan bt Gihan Suwaris 11-5 11-6 11-6; Kit Lun Choy bt Kasun Weerasuriya 11-5 11-4 11-2; Ngo Long Fung bt Ravindu Laksiri 11-6 11-9 11-2.)

India beat Japan 3-0 (Aditya Jagtap bt Hayate Gunji 11-4 11-8 11-4; Karan Malik bt Ryosei Kobayashi 11-2 11-5 11-4; Paramit Singh bt Tomataka Endo 11-2 11-9 11-6).

Sri Lanka beat Chinese-Taipei 3-0 (Gihan Suwaris bt Kai-Han Chuang 11-6 11-6 11-8; Kasun Weerasuriya bt Ching-Han Chen 11-5 11-2 12-10; Dilshan Senaratne bt Chun-Yu Chang 8-11 11-8 11-8 11-5).

India beat Hong Kong 2-1 (Aditya Jagtap lost to Leo Au 6-11 8-11 11-13; Karan Malik bt Ngo Long Fung 11-9 5-11 11-5 6-11 11-7; Ravi Dixit bt Nelson Chan 11-7 11-9 11-8).

Girls Pool A: Korea beat China 3-0 (Sun-Mi Song bt Li Dongjin 11-2 11-3 11-1; Yeon-Soo Yang bt Lu Yao 11-0 11-1 11-3; Ji-Hyun Lee bt Gu Jinyue {China} 11-3 11-7 11-4).

Malaysia beat Singapore 3-0 (Low Wee Nee bt Pamela Chua 11-9 11-7 11-4; Rachel Goh bt Sheril Yn Yang 11-4 11-4 11-5; Tan Yan Xin bt Mao SHi Hui 11-8 9-11 11-7 11-9).

Malaysia beat China 3-0 (Low Wee Wern bt Li Dongjin 11-2 11-1 11-1; Rachel Goh bt Lu Yao 11-1 11-2 11-1; Tan Yan Xin bt Gu Jinyue 11-3 11-2 11-3).

Singapore beat Iran 3-0 (Pamela Chua bt Saeedeh 11-5 11-4 11-3; Mao Shi Yuan bt Sogol 11-7 11-4 11-5; Mao SHi Hui bt Paria 11-9 11-5 11-5).

Poll B: Japan lost to Sri Lanka 1-2 (Mayu Yamazaki bt Randima Ranaweera 9-11 12-10 11-1 11-8; Risa Sugimoto lost to Nadindhi Udangawa 9-11 10-12 6-11; Waka Nakamoto lost to Damindhi Udangawa 1-11 3-11 1-11).

India lost to Hong Kong 1-2 (Dipika Pallikal lost to Tsz Ling Liu 14-12 11-8 7-11 0-11 0-11 (retired); Anaka Alankamony bt Ka Man Lee 7-11 12-10 15-13 10-12 11-8; V Anwesha Reddy lost to Tsz Wing Tong 6-11 11-4 6-11 11-13).

Man caught for raping minor girl in Dimapur

Kohima, Jan 22 : A 10-year old girl was allegedly raped repeatedly, the last on the 17th, by a 50-year old man in Niuland sub-division under Dimapur district. Sources said that the rape-accused, identified as one Zhetokhu Yeptho, aged 50 and of Phuye Old village, was apprehended by civil organizations of Niuland and paraded before being handed over to the police.

Niuland Sumi Totimi Hoho today informed that the organization along with GBs and DBs and public leaders apprehended the perpetrator and handed him over to police.

Police sources said the victim was brought to the house of Zhetokhu by her father on January 9 to help with domestic work. Zhetokhu reportedly promised to pay Rs 200 per month, besides providing her food and clothing.

On the said day, he also paid Rs 3000 to the victim’s father and promised to look after the girl.
However, on January 13, Zhetokhu brought the girl to Dimapur on the pretext of buying her some clothes, but took her to one hotel, where they stayed for the night.

On the same night, Zhetokhu raped the girl thrice and again in the morning before going back to Niuland. Police said the perpetrator did not buy any clothes for the girl, instead threatened her not to disclose anything to anybody.

Again on January 16 and 17, the girl was raped inside Zhetokhu’s house when his wife went to sleep.

However, on January 18, the girl fled to one of her aunt’s house and narrated the whole incident, which was reported to a women’s group in Niuland.

This morning, a large number of women gathered and took out Zhetokhu and paraded him in Niuland town. He was later handed over to the police. Later in the afternoon, he was brought to Dimapur’s women cell, where he confessed to his crime.

Sources said Zhetokhu has grandchildren of the victim’s age. The minor girl was also sent for medical examination, which confirmed rape.

The NSTH meanwhile cautioned any person or groups from attempting to release the accused on bail. Any person attempting such will be doing so at own risk.

The NSTH would be forced to take an own course of action, a note from the women hoho cautioned.

Fire destroys 4 houses in Dimapur

Dimapur : Four houses used as tyre stores were today destroyed in a fire that broke out at Burma Camp, below the over-bridge, at Tragopan junction.

The fire began at around 3:00 PM reportedly from an electric short circuit and raged on for more than two hours before it was finally put out after 5:00 pm.

Fire trucks were slowed by the narrow lanes, obstruction caused by the railway tracks and congestion between houses in that locality.

Owing to this, the fire raged on untended while the fire trucks went back for refills. However, the true heroes of the day were the locality’s boys who, at the risk of their own safety, fought the fire.

They formed human chains on the rooftops and put in a tireless fight against the blazing monster with constant doses of water in buckets, vessels and even dishes.

A tyre shop belonging to one Javid Alem was completely gutted while nearby houses also suffered extensive damage in the attempt to keep the fire from spreading to the other closely-set houses.

Officials from the fire department informed that no casualty resulted from today’s fire incident.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rashid Khan set to defend Faldo Series title

India’s golfer Rashid Khan, who has enjoyed a whirlwind year since winning the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, that earned him a trip to Brazil with Nick Faldo as well as an appearance on the Asian Tour, is all set to defend his title at Mission Hills Golf Club in China from March 25-27.

The 17-year-old Khan claimed the Faldo Series Asia trophy in sensational style at Mission Hills in December 2007, shooting a final-day 66 that included a back-nine of 31 in front of legendary golfer Faldo himself.

Khan remembers fondly the six-time Major winner’s reaction when he eagled the par-four 15th and followed it with a birdie: “The eagle was a big turning point for me. Not only did it give me a four-shot lead, it also helped me relax. When I birdied the next hole, Nick told my coach I was a machine.”

For a player who works as a caddie at his local golf club in Delhi, Khan’s win at Mission Hills was a highly significant moment in his young career to date. “It was a great feeling, especially as it was my first overseas win. The reaction in India was great… suddenly everyone knew who Rashid Khan was and I won my very next tournament in Mumbai.”

His victory opened a number of doors, including an invitation from Faldo to play in the international Faldo Series Grand Final in Brazil. “It was a great tournament and I was excited to meet Nick Faldo again.” However he confesses: “I didn’t play well… hopefully I can qualify again and do better next time.”

As Faldo Series Asia champion, Khan was also invited to play in the 2008 Volvo Masters of Asia, the season-ending Tour Championship on the Asian Tour, an opportunity he hopes to repeat. “That was an incredible learning experience for me… seeing Asia’s top golfers up close and how they play under tournament conditions. I can’t wait to play more Tour events in the future.”

Khan is hoping to repeat his performance in Faldo series title this year. “I’m really looking forward to defend my title and spend more time with Mr Faldo. My goal is to win again. I’ll try my best and see what happens.”
Supported by UBS, Mission Hills and The R&A since its launch in 2006, over 60 of Asia’s brightest prospects will compete in the third Faldo Series Asia Grand Final over 54 holes on the Faldo Course at Mission Hills.

The field of boys and girls aged 12 to 21 will include qualifiers from 11 Faldo Series Asia championships in nine different countries across the region during 2008-2009, namely three in mainland China plus one in each of Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Faldo, who will once again host the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, has also invited five winners from the 2008 international Faldo Series Grand Final in Brazil. These include Khan’s compatriot, Rahul Bakshi, who claimed the boys’ under-18 title at the Costa do Sauipe Resort, plus Faldo Series champion Steven Brown of England and players from England, Spain and Brazil.

Endorsed by the Asian Tour, the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation and the Guangdong Golf Association, five leading players from the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final will be invited by Faldo to play in the 2009 edition in Brazil. The boy and girl champion will once again be invited to play in a flagship professional event on the Asian Tour and Ladies European Tour, respectively.

CDO- Army combine crack down on KCP factions in Delhi, Bangalore KK Nganba, son, City Meetei and many others nabbed

Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, January  20 : A JOINT team of army, Manipur police commandos and Delhi police arrested seven hardcore members of the newly unified KCP including its nominated president on January 17 in New Delhi.

Another Police team arrested City Meetei and several other members of KCP (City Meetei faction) from Bangalore today.

A press release of the PIB (Defence Wing) in Imphal today disclosed that the arrest of top leaders of KCP was made in a meticulously planned operation by the joint team of officials of 57 Mtn Divn, Bishenpur police commando and Special Branch, Delhi police.

According to the press release, troops of 57 Mtn Divn had, over protracted period of time, generated specific and continuous intelligence regarding presence of top leaders of KCP (Mangang) and KCP (Lamphel) factions in New Delhi.

These leaders had got together in Delhi with a view to carrying out unification of splintered groups of KCP Mangang, Lamphel and City Meetei.

A joint team of officials of 57 Mtn Divn and Bishenpur district commandos was sent to Delhi to carry out the operation.

Special Branch of Delhi police provided excellent support to the vital operation, the press release stated and added that covert surveillance of the suspected house over a period of time to confirm the presence of the leaders and vital inputs were obtained from records of telephone calls of those occupants.

It was positively confirmed that a meeting was being conducted and a swift and well coordinated operation was launched in two locations in New Delhi, in which the seven hardcore cadres were arrested, the PIB (Defence Wing) informed.

The arrested persons are: N Amumacha, who had been recently nominated as president of the newly unified group of KCP (Mangang, City Meetei and Lamphel) factions.

He was trained in the first training course of PLA conducted in China; Chongtham Manglemjao @ KK Nganba @ Chaoba @ Koi @ Irabot, leader of KCP (Mangang) group, now nominated as general secretary/home secretary and foriegn secretary of the newly unified group; Chongtham Ibomcha, leader of KCP (Lamphel) group, now nominated as collector of the newly unified group; Chongtham Ningtamba, S/o KK Nganba, now nominated military head, political section of the newly unified group; Ng Ratan, nominated deputy finance secretary of the newly unified group and two lady cadres were also arrested who were involved in extortion activities.

The PIB (defence wing) informed that on further interrogation of the arrested leaders, they revealed that the house in which they were staying was a hideout of the group in Delhi, and the group was planning to disrupt the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations.

It was confirmed that Chongtham Ibomcha was working to unified the three different factions of KCP Mangang, Lamphel and City Meitei.

Explicit details of extortion and the future draft press release of the unification to be issued on January 26 was also recovered from the hideout, informed the PIB (defence wing) .

It further claimed that the arrest of the seven persons succinctly demonstrates the disconnect between the leaders and rank and file.

While the cadres suffer, the leaders of the group enjoy a luxurious life.

The operation code-named "Operation grand slam" coordinated by 57 Mtn division was a huge success, the press release further claimed and added that all the UGs were arrested without firing a single bullet and causing any injury to innocent life.

Meanwhile, another highly reliable source said that an important leader of the KCP named City Meite has been nabbed from Bengalore yesterda afternoon.

He was nabbed by a team of Bishnupur district police commando based on specific information of taking shelter in the city with the help of Bengalore police.

Some members of his family were also rounded up along with some increminating documents and others.

The names of the others were apprehended with City Meitei could not be immediately confirmed.

Mention may be made that City Meitei hail from Thoubal district.

Protestors charge towards CM gate

Imphal, January 20 : Decrying the conduct of Police Commandos in arresting two alleged innocent youths and demanding their immediate release, womenfolk from Nongmaikhong area today charged towards the Chief Minister's bungalow in an attempt to lodge a complaint.

The agitated womenfolk were, however, herded off by the police.

The two youth namely, Salam Sanahanba (35) s/p late Thambalngou and Salam Premjit (25) s/o Rajen, both residents of Nongmaikhong Makha Leikai, have been allegedly arrested by Imphal West District Police Commandos from their respective houses this morning.

Monday, January 19, 2009 Releases Obama's Ideas for Change in America

The notion of marijuana legalization making the top ten list for Obama's transistion team has generated amazing Web traffic for, indicating that the subject is a very serious one among today's Americans.

Corrosive Cop Thriller ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’

The gloriously overboard Brooklyn’s Finest on Saturday became the first acquisition at Sundance ‘09, where the Richard Gere/Ethan Hawke/Don Cheadle cops-in-crisis B-flick went to Senator Entertainment.

Word around town had Senator dropping close to $5 million on domestic rights to the Antoine Fuqua thriller, with reports saying the resurgent label plans a fourth-quarter 2009 release date. Finest galvanized audiences following its Friday night premiere, where its overlapping storylines of three cops — a self-loathing beat officer one week from retirement (Gere), a desperate vice-squad renegade (Hawke), and waaayy undercover careerist (Cheadle) — recalled the sprawling scope of Heat and the clumsy plot contrivances of Babel. It’s total genre trash, but it’s utterly gripping, ambitious and unapologetic genre trash that we’d recommend any day over the dry self-seriousness of its contemporaries We Own the Night or Pride and Glory.

Moreover, we recommend it on the basis of its ending alone — an unbelievable 20-minute freefall of corpses that ever-modest director Fuqua related to “Greek tragedy.” We also heard last night that Senator persuaded Fuqua to relent on his final-cut insistence, or at least reconsider the closing scene, the impact of which can be almost totally inverted by trimming a single shot. Which, for the record and with due deference to spoilers, we fucking loved.

As does Fuqua, who told as much to the packed house at Friday’s premiere, even while seeming to lay groundwork indemnifying himself from softness. “I think no matter what it’s not a happy ending,” he said, ticking off the final act’s body count. “So why not swing for the fences? I believe in finishing what you started.” Us too, Antoine. Fight the good fight.

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