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Thursday, September 30, 2010

No proof mosque was built in Babar's reign - Justice Sudhir Agarwal

Lucknow, Sep 30 (IANS) Justice Sudhir Agarwal, one of the three judges who delivered the Ayodhya judgment, in his order differed with his colleague Justice S.U. Khan that the mosque at the disputed site was built in the reign of Mughal emperor Babar.

"The disputed structure was always treated, considered and believed to be a mosque and practised by Mohammedans for worship accordingly. However, it has not been proved that it was built during the reign of Babar," said Justice Agarwal.

He observed that the area covered under the central dome of the disputed structure is the birth place of Lord Ram as per faith and belief of Hindus.

"It is declared that the area covered by the central dome of the three domed structure belong to plaintiffs (Suit-5) and shall not be obstructed or interfered in any manner by the defendants," he said in his order.

Some key observations of Justice Agarwal are:

The area within the inner courtyard belongs to members of both the communities, Hindus (here plaintiffs, Suit-5) and Muslims since it was being used by both since decades and centuries.

The disputed structure was always treated, considered and believed to be a mosque and practised by Mohammedans for worship accordingly. However, it has not been proved that it was built during the reign of Babar in 1528.

In the absence of any otherwise pleadings and material it is difficult to hold as to when and by whom the disputed structure was constructed. But it is clear that it was constructed before the visit of missionary Joseph Tieffenthaler in Oudh area between 1766-71.

The building in dispute was constructed after demolition of non-Islamic religious structure - a Hindu temple.

The idols were kept under the central dome of the disputed structure in the night of Dec 22-23, 1949.

The area covered by the structures, namely, Ram Chabutra, Sita Rasoi and Bhandar, in the outer courtyard is declared in the share of Nirmohi Akhara.

The open area within the outer courtyard shall be shared by Nirmohi Akhara and plaintiffs (Suit-5) since it has been generally used by the Hindu people for worship at both places.

The land which is available with the Government of India acquired under Ayodhya Act 1993 shall be made available to the concerned parties in such a manner so that all the three parties may utilise the area to which they are entitled to, by having separate entry and exit for people without disturbing each others rights.

Ayodhya site is Lord Ram's birthplace: Justice D.V. Sharma

Lucknow, Sep 30 (IANS) Justice D.V. Sharma, one of the three judges who delivered the Ayodhya verdict, based his order on the findings of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to say that the disputed site is the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The property in the suit is the site of the birthplace of Lord Ram and the Hindus have the right to worship at the site, he said.

The ASI had in a statement before the court said that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure.

Justice Sharma's key observations are:

The disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram.

The place of birth is a juristic person and is a deity. It is personified as the spirit of divine worshipped as birthplace of Lord Ram as a child. The spirit of divine ever remains present everywhere at all times for any one to invoke in any shape or form in accordance with his own aspirations and it can be shapeless and formless also.

The disputed building was constructed by (Mughal emperor) Babar, the year is not certain but it was built against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque.

The disputed structure was constructed on the site of old structure after demolition of the same.

The idols were placed in the middle dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of Dec 22-23, 1949.

A suit filed in 1989 by the Sunni Central Board of Waqfs, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, and others vs Gopal Singh Visharad and others and another suit filed in 1989 by Nirmohi Akhara and another vs Sri Jamuna Prasad Singh and others, are barred by time.

It is also established that the disputed structure cannot be treated as a mosque as it came into existence against the tenets of Islam.

No temple was demolished for mosque: Justice S.U. Khan

Lucknow, Sep 30 (IANS) Justice S.U. Khan of the Allahabad High Court in his Ayodhya judgment Thursday said that no temple was demolished for constructing a mosque, differing with his two colleagues on the bench.

The other two judges on the bench were of the view that the Babri mosque was constructed after demolition of a Hindu temple.

Justice Khan in his observation said that for a very long time till the construction of the mosque it was believed by Hindus that somewhere in a very large area, of which the premises in dispute is a very small part, the birth place of Lord Ram was situated.

"However, the belief did not relate to any specified small area within that bigger area specifically the premises in dispute," he said.

Some of key observations were:

The disputed structure was constructed as mosque by or under orders of Mughal emperor Babar.

It is not proved by direct evidence that the premises in dispute, including the constructed portion, belonged to Babar or the person who constructed the mosque or under whose orders it was constructed.

No temple was demolished for constructing the mosque.

Mosque was constructed over the ruins of temples which were lying there since a very long time before the construction of mosque and some material thereof was used in construction of the mosque.

After some time of construction of the mosque, Hindus started identifying the premises in dispute as the exact birth place of Lord Ram or a place wherein exact birth place was situated.

Both the parties have failed to prove commencement of their title hence by virtue of Section 110 Evidence Act both are held to be joint title holders on the basis of joint possession.

For some decades before 1949, Hindus started treating/believing the place beneath the central dome of the mosque (where at present a make sift temple stands) to be the exact birth place of Lord Ram.

SC made appropriate decision on Ayodhya, says RSS


New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court order dismissing a petition to defer the Ayodhya verdict, and said that the apex court had made the appropriate decision.

RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said the whole country was looking forward to the Allahabad High Court judgment on the title suit in the Ayodhya dispute.

Ayodhya verdict on Sept 30

'There was a deliberate process to defer the judicial process. The petitioner had no locus standi,' Madhav said, adding that the apex court had done what was appropriate.

He said that the Allahabad court judgment would be one step forward in the legal process.

To a query, Madhav said that Sangh leaders will meet to deliberate the High Court judgment.

Ayodhya Judgement: Site birthplace of lord Ram

September 30th, 2010

Lucknow: The 3-judge Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has reached a verdict on the decades-old title suits over the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.

According to media reports, the waqf board suit was reportedly dismissed.

The verdict also stats that the site is the birthplace of lord Ram.

The disputed land is to be divided into 3 parts. 1/3rd of the land to go to the Muslims, 2/3rd to go to the Hindus. The 3rd part is to go to Nirmohi akhara.

The verdict was delivered by the 3-Judge bench consisting of Justices S U Khan, Justices Sudhir Agarwal and Justice D V Sharma at 4:30 PM today.

The first suit in the case was filed 60 years ago by a Hindu seeking right to worship.

After twists and turns the UP Central Sunni Board of Waqfs moved to file a claim in 1961 followed by another civil suit in 1989 in the name of Lord Ram for declaration and possession of the Masjid complex.

All the cases were transferred from a Faizabad court in 1989 to a special bench of the High Court.

As the issue was hanging fire, the BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits mounted a campaign for building Ram temple in Ayodhya at the dispute site claiming it was his birth place.

The campaign reached a crescendo in 1992 when the 500-year-old Babri Masjid was razed to the ground.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

US House Votes to Punish China for Undervaluing Its Currency

Capitol Hill 29 September 2010

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure that would punish China and other countries that undervalue their currencies. The 348-to-79 vote came Wednesday, hours after President Barack Obama expressed concern about the Chinese practice related to its currency.

President Obama spoke about the issue in the U.S. state of Iowa Wednesday. "I will say the reason that I'm pushing China about their currency is because their currency is undervalued," he said.

The president says the undervaluing is a contributing factor to the massive trade imbalance between the United States and China.

U.S. lawmakers and businesses accuse Beijing of keeping the yuan artificially low so Chinese-made goods will have a price advantage on world markets. They say this has led to a loss of millions of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, says the U.S.-China trade deficit has dramatically increased since lawmakers took up the issue two decades ago. "Remember I said the trade deficit was $5 billion a year 20 years ago when we were having this debate then? It is now $5 billion a week," she said.

Pelosi said the legislation would strengthen the Obama administration and future U.S. governments in negotiations with the Chinese.

Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, who sponsored the bill, says the currency manipulation means the Chinese government is artificially subsidizing exports to the United States, translating into low-priced goods from China that hurt the U.S. economy "It may be cheap, because it is being subsidized by their government. But it's putting American workers and American manufacturers out of business," he said.

Republicans, while agreeing the Chinese currency is undervalued, expressed concern that the bill does not cover other issues with China, including intellectual property rights, and say it is punishing American consumers.

"While this legislation addresses an important issue, it will not address many more pressing trade concerns with China, and it will not advance the goal of doubling exports in five years," said Michigan Republican Congressman Dave Camp.

The House bill allows the Commerce Department to authorize tariffs on products from countries with an artificially weak currency.

Hours before the vote, China's central bank pledged to increase the flexibility of the yuan.

China said in July that it would allow the yuan to trade more freely against a basket of other currencies, but its value has increased just slightly since then.

President Obama discussed the issue with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week, urging the Chinese leader to do more to ease tensions over the issue.

But Mr. Wen told U.S. and Chinese business leaders before his meeting with Mr. Obama that there would be "major turbulence" in China if there were a substantial increase in the yuan.

He blamed the huge U.S. trade deficit on the structure of Chinese-U.S. investment and trade, not the value of China's currency.

The U.S. Senate may vote on a similar measure in November.

Credits:News article from Voice of America

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bids touch 6 lakhs for lunch with Big B

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan is auctioning off a lunch date with him to raise money for charity, sparking a frenzy which saw the bids rise above Rs 6 lakhs within hours of the announcement.

The bidding started at Rs 1001 yesterday at online marketplace eBay and it has already reached a whopping amount of Rs 6 lakhs.

The 67-year-old veteran has pipped Bollywood's bad boy Salman Khan and Akshay Khiladi Kumar in the bidding amounts.

A breakfast date with Akshay is currently going for Rs 4,52,000.

On offer is the oppurtunity to spend time with the Shehenshah of Bollywood over lunch. Bachchan will answer the winner's questions about his long career and his easiest, most difficult, funniest and craziest moments.

The winner will also get the opportunity to take photographs with the Big B and get personalized autographs from him.

The actor decided to do the good deed to mark the 'Joy of Giving' week in collaboration with eBay.

The National Award winning actor who is set to host the superhit TV game show Kaun Banega Crorepati for a third time, will donate the proceedings to a charity of his choice.

Also during the Joy of Giving Week Bangalore NGO CMCA (Children's Movement for Civic Awareness) is auctioning an lunch date with actress Raveena Tandon in addition to cricket memorabilia.

BJP welcomes SC decision on Ayodhya title suits verdict

28 Sep 2010

New Delhi: The BJP today welcomed the Supreme Court decision dismissing a plea seeking deferment of the verdict in the
Ayodhya title suits, saying it had always maintained that there should be no legal delay in the case.

'We certainly welcome the Supreme Court decision. The party has already stated its position that it does not desire any legal
delay and this verdict of the apex court has cleared the way for the verdict to be pronounced by the High Court,' BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia today dismissed the plea seeking deferment of the verdict
on Ramjanamabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits by the Allahabad High Court. It gave its green signal to the High Court to go ahead with the judgement.

The BJP had held a meeting of its top brass last week and made a public statement that judicial delays of the last 61 years
had prevented construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.

It had also expressed the hope that there would be no further legal delay in the case. PTI

CCTV footage submitted to HC showing Kasab hitting jail staff

28 Sep 2010

Mumbai: Maharashtra Government today submitted to the Bombay High Court a CCTV footage of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab assaulting jail staff and opposed his plea for a closed-door interview with his lawyers.

The high court is hearing confirmation of death sentence awarded to Kasab for his role in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed.

The Government counsel Ujjwal Nikam presented the CCTV footage to a bench headed by Justice Ranjana Desai which will view the CD in chambers this evening and pronounce an order tomorrow on Kasab's plea for a legal interview within the sight of security staff but not within hearing distance.

Nikam told the judges, 'The incident occurred on September 1 when Kasab was performing some illegal act and jail staff had to intervene. He (Kasab) assaulted prison officials which is clearly shown in the CD.'

'Kasab is a trained commando and with swift movements he can pose a great danger to his own life as well as to that of guards,' Nikam said and submitted an affidavit filed by the jailor opposing Pakistani national's request for an interview with lawyers which should not be within hearing distance of jail staff.

Kasab's lawyer Amin Solkar argued that Kasab was very uncomfortable in answering questions put to him and demanded that they (lawyers) be allowed to interview him all alone and not in the presence of jail staff or police. Nikam informed the high court that after the September 1 incident when Kasab became unruly and assaulted jail staff, the authorities were closely monitoring his movements in the jail round-the-clock through CCTV. An officer is kept present all the time within four feet distance of Kasab, he said.

Even during the trial, Kasab had tried to endanger his own life as well as that of jail staff, Nikam told the bench.

Kasab's lawyer Amin Solkar submitted that communication between a lawyer and his client was privileged.

Nikam argued that the question of taking or giving instructions to the prisoner at this stage did not arise as the evidence is already over and as such there cannot be any privilege communication between the lawyer and client.

The jailor, Rajendra Dhamane, in an affidavit, said that Kasab was a well trained commando in handling various weapons and made very swift movements in the cell. The presence of jail officers near him was essential at the time of interview with lawyers to control his aggressive movements, he said.

Normally, one jail guard is deployed for a convicted prisoner but considering the 'dangerous nature and wild behaviour' of Kasab, jail officers are deployed round-the-clock and CCTV camera installed to monitor his movements, the jailor said.

He cited rule 11 of Maharashtra Prisons Rules, 1962, which provide that every interview with a convicted prisoner shall take place in the presence and hearing of a jail staff.

The rule also provides that during such interview, a prisoner under sentence of death and his friends or legal advisors shall not be allowed to approach each other. PTI

Delhi deploys 'super monkey' for Games security

NEW DELHI — Delhi authorities are to deploy a contingent of langurs -- a large type of monkey -- at Commonwealth Games venues to help chase away smaller simians from the sporting extravaganza.

From Wednesday 10 langurs will be put on duty outside several Games venues in the Indian capital, with the swimming complex seen as particularly vulnerable to monkey misbehaviour, an official said.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has a regular team of 28 langurs which are used to scare away their weaker brethren in VIP areas of the city.

"From tomorrow onwards we will increase the number of langurs from 28 to 38. The additional langurs will take care of the Games venues and other important areas," an NDMC official told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Animals have so far posed major headaches for the under-fire organisers, with stray dogs found in venues and a snake captured at the tennis complex.

Monkeys are a common sight in the verdant Indian capital, where they routinely scamper through government offices, courts and even police stations and hospitals.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BJP, SP, JKNPP to boycott all-party delegation in Jammu

21 Sep 2010

Jammu,; Set to study the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the all-party delegation led by Home Minister P Chidambaram arrived here today, even as BJP, SP and JKNPP decided to boycott the team. The 36(eds correct)-member delegation, which arrived here from Srinagar, will meet over 30 delegations representing political parties, social, religious, trade and other associations, official sources said. The BJP said it will boycott the all-party meeting here in protest against the failure to invite various nationalist parties for putting forth their viewpoints on Jammu and Kashmir. 'We have decided to boycott the all-party meeting here in protest against the failure to invite nationalist parties,' Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Shamsher Singh Manhas said.

BJP spokesman Balbir Ram said 16 organisations have not been invited for the meeting. 'These parties represent the aspirations and view points of Jammu and have been deliberately kept aside,' he said. Some of these organisations are VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Panun Kashmir, he said. He also said members of the all-party leaders delegation can go and meet separatist leaders at their homes despite their refusal to meet, but they chose to ignore and sideline nationalist parties here. 'This is a clear discrimination with Jammu and we are not going to tolerate it,' he said. Demanding resignation of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the state unit of BJP strongly opposed any move to revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and demanded jobs on compassionate grounds for the kin of those killed in the ongoing unrest in the Valley.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers party (JKNPP) has also decided not to meet the delegation. 'We have decided to boycott the delegation as no terms and conditions are attached. The delegation has no constitutional authority to take cognisance of the facts and situation that prevails today in J-K and particularly in the Kashmir Valley,' JKNPP chairman Bhim Singh told reporters here. Samajwadi Party has also decided to keep away from meeting the delegation. 'We are not meeting the delegation,' state SP chief Sheikh Abdul Reham said. Meanwhile, multi-tier security has been deployed in and around
the venue of the meeting. 'We have sounded an alert in Jammu region. Police has been asked to keep a round the clock monitoring in sensitive areas of the region to foil any design of the militants,' Jammu Inspector General of Police Ashok Gupta. PTI

Monday, September 20, 2010

Figures suggest, 65% of Muslim voters voted for BJP in Kathlal

Kathlal, 17 September, 2010

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said, he has been informed with figures that the Bharatiya Janata Party has secured about 65% votes in those Kathlal booths where Muslims have dominating population.

“65% votes of Muslim community in favor of BJP means if Ramzan is near, we are benefited from that, because one would do only right thing in Ramzan. Those who malign Gujarat here and there should understand that Gujarat wants peace and Gujarat wants development. And Kathlal people have proved this,”Modi added.

Modi said this in his victory speech during a rally held at Kathlal.

Meanwhile Kheda district BJP Chief Bimal Shah said that Muslim Youths actively participated in the election in favor of BJP. Shah said, the Muslim youths used to visit the party election office and told that elder Muslims might vote for Congress but the youths would definitely vote for BJP.

BJP breaks into Cong bastion, wins Kathlal by-election by over 21,000 votes

PTI, Sep 17, 2010
KATHLAL (Gujarat): BJP on Friday broke into the Congress bastion by winning the Kathlal Assembly by-elections by over 21,000 votes.

The counting for the elections, which took place on September 13, began today with BJP candidate Kanu Dabhi leading from the beginning of the counting from his nearest rival Ghelabhai Zala of Congress.

While, Dabhi got 62,120 votes, the Congress candidate received 40,573 votes. Dabhi won by a margin of over 21,547 from Zala.

The elections for the Kathlal Assembly constituency had passed off peacefully with over 62 per cent electorates casting their vote, on September 13.

The by-elections were necessitated due to death of sitting Congress MLA Gautam Zala.

Kathlal Assembly seat is considered to be a Congress bastion where BJP has never been able to win since the formation of separate Gujarat state in 1960.

This will be a big boost to BJP just ahead of elections to six municipal corporations scheduled to be held on October 10.

Gujarat wins prestigious 2010 United Nations Public Service Award

Gandhinagar: The Chief Ministers Office, Government of Gujarat has been named esteemed recipient of the prestigious 2010 United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA). State Wide Attention on Grievances with Application of Technology (SWAGAT) has won the UN Public Service Award in the category 'Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Public Service'.

Spoeks persons Ministers of the state government Shri Jaynarayan Vyas & Saurabh Patel outlined the brief of award & said that Gujarat's award was handed out at the 2010 UN Public Service Awards Ceremony on 23rd June, in Barcelona, Spain, coinciding with the United Nations Public Service Day and Secretary to the Chief Minister, Shri A.K. Sharma received the Award.

The UN Public Service Award recognizes the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public service administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promote the role, professionalism, and visibility of public service.

The Chief Minister of Gujarat said: "People's voice is the key driver of a democracy, and listening to that voice is the key test of Good Governance". The award comes as a result of the hard work of the administration at all levels: State, District and Taluka. Winning the 2010 UNPSA has rewarded the dedication of all the administration who have invested in the project.

Few countries win the UN Public Service Award yet Gujarat has successfully managed to win this award in 2009, and now again in 2010. In 2009, Gujarat won the UN Public Service Award for Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO) in the category 'Fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms'. Gujarat is the only State in India to win the UN Public Service Award for the second time.

SWAGAT operates on the principle that grievance redressal is essential for good governance especially to vitalize a democracy. Every month the Chief Minister considers grievance cases through multi-video conferencing with all 26 Districts and all 225 Taluka Offices. SWAGAT is outcome focused and cases are redressed on the same day or in a time-bound manner. This is the first time that the common citizen can access the highest level office with other officers present in real-time through video-conferencing.

The advanced technology system allows attention and monitoring of grievances across the State to ensure resolution. SWAGAT operates across the state and has dealt with 50,585 cases at State and District level and 43,621 cases at Taluka level. 97% of grievances have been resolved since SWAGAT began in April 2003. At monthly State Sessions, Hon. CM reviews District and Taluka cases for quality of redressal and understanding the nature of problems at local level.

All grievances & redressal information (State, District & Sub District) are fed into the same system, through an internet portal. Total Transparency is given as applicants are given a unique ID through which applicants can access their case details and status online.

A number of SWAGAT cases have been highlighted at the UNPSA Forum in Spain, and on the UNPAN website.

Gujarat's winning entries for this award exemplifies the excellence the State has achieved in harnessing good governance to serve the community at large. It is a great achievement for Gujarat as this award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indians have an incredible capacity to do work in short periods of time: Independent report finds no fresh Delhi concerns

Sep 16, 2010,New Zealand

The second report from an independent security firm engaged by the national netball and hockey bodies ahead of next month's Commonwealth Games, has raised no notable fresh concerns.

Netball New Zealand and Hockey New Zealand joined forces with their Australian counterparts in seeking extra information over and above that being provided by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

NNZ chief executive Raelene Castle was reluctant to comment on the specifics of the second report from Control Risks. However, she said no fresh issues were raised.

"They haven't raised anything significantly different than the concerns we were already aware of," she said yesterday.

NNZ and HNZ will continue to get information in the next few days as the October 3 opening of the Games draws nearer.

"We've got a plan in place which is close communications with the NZOC, and our own people we are talking to," she said.

"We'll have regular updates and make our decision once we get that final information back from the NZOC."

An NZOC team, including chef de mission Dave Currie, are in New Delhi doing checks on all aspects surrounding the Games, including security, transport, the state of sports facilities and the recent dengue fever outbreak.

Castle did not want to comment on Currie's criticism this week of NNZ and HNZ and the New Zealand Rugby Union, who have also received additional information, for going to an outside agency for additional security briefings. Currie said their move "defied logic".

The New Zealand Government's advisory service has downgraded the status of travel to New Delhi to its having "high risk" and removed the word "imminent" from the risk level around markets and places of interest.

The Australian Government's equivalent information lists New Delhi as requiring "a high degree of caution", on a scale ranging from "be alert" through to "do not travel", which applies to the troubled Jammu and Kashmir region in the north.

Its briefing notes state that "there is a high risk of terrorist attack in New Delhi".

Of specific concern to NNZ is the state of the court for the Games final, anticipated to be another transtasman joust on October 14.

Reports that the court was separating and unstable are concerning, but Castle is awaiting news from the NZOC and the International Federation of Netball Associations.

She said suggestions that the final might have to be played on a training court with no room for television facilities were a stretch. That was "Plan F" she said.

"There are still some things that need to be finalised and approved before we feel comfortable.

"[Setting aside security] it's about playing an international test in an environment that is suitable for a test."

Castle said having a court that was less than perfect was no reason on its own not to go to the Games.

"And it's not just netball we're talking about. There are a number of sports with a number of challenges."

Among those is swimming. On July 26, shortly before a test event, and not long after its unveiling, the ceiling gave way at the Prasad Mukherjee complex.

However Swimming New Zealand chief executive Mike Byrne remains confident.

"When I saw the pool [about eight weeks ago] it was hard to fathom how they could get it finished," he said yesterday.

"But one thing I learned there was the Indians have an incredible capacity to do work in short periods of time that defies the Kiwi way of doing things."

A Brief history of the Commonwealth Games

September 16, 2010

The very first Commonwealth Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in the year 1930. Canadian Athlete, Bobby Robinson was the key force behind the start of the games as he finally put talks that were taking place for decades into practice. A total of 11 nations accumulating 400 athletes participated in CWG 1930.

Since 1930 the games have been taking place once in every four years except 1942 and 1946 due to the intervention of World War II. Out of the 16 games that have been played so far, three of them have been hosted by Australian cities (Sydney 1938, Perth 1962 and Brisbane 1982).

The name of the Games has been shuffled quite a few times. Between the years 1930 and 1950, the Commonwealth Games were renamed as the British Empire Games and then the British Empire. From 1966 to 1974, the games were called the British Commonwealth Games and 1978 onwards they were titled to what is now the Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games were founded on the basis of history and not on the nations geographical position or climatic conditions. One of the main characteristics of the Games is that the participating countries share one common language. From athletes to coaches and other officials, everyone can converse with each other in English, creating a friendly atmosphere leading to the games often being called as the "Friendly Games".

In order to keep the Games always competitive and exciting, the Commonwealth Games Federation agreed to include team sports in Kuala Lumpur 1998 for the first time in the history of the Games.

Unlike other sporting events, Commonwealth Games bring together nations from different continents under one roof sharing the family spirit of the same historical moments, experiences and links that go beyond cultural barriers.
Hindustan times report

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Salman Khan causes uproar with 26/11 comments

MUMBAI: Bollywood star Salman Khan who came under fire for claiming during an interview to a Pakistani channel that the 26/11 attacks were hyped because the "elite" were targetted, has apologised for his "insensitive" comments.

The actor's statement prompted sharp reactions from Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal, Shiv Sena, BJP and other political parties. Salman also claimed that his comments were "twisted" by the channel Express 24x7.

"I gave an interview to the channel three weeks ago. In this festive season of Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi, a segment of the interview has been twisted and released. I saw it and realised that it sounded very insensitive," said the 44-year-old actor.

"What I meant was that every human life is precious, be it rich or poor. I always had and always will have faith in our intelligence agencies, army and police forces. I did not mean to hurt anybody. If I have hurt anybody I am really sorry," said Salman.
The actor had earlier indicated that his comments were misinterpreted and tweeted that he plans to record all his media interviews in the future.

"It was the elite that was targeted this time. Five star hotels and all. So they panicked. Then they got up and spoke about it. My question is why not before. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked about it so much," the actor had reportedly said during the interview.

Salman's comments were labelled "uninformed" by Bhujbal.

"He is an actor. He does not have the information to make a comment on whether the Pakistani govt was involved or not. People travelling in taxis, constables, waiters, hotel workers, all lost their lives in the attacks," said Bhujbal.

The Shiv Sena had termed the comments "anti national". and BJP too had reacted sharply to the star's statement.

"26/11 attack was an attack on India. We cannot forget that Indian citizens were killed. This was not a small issue for Salman Khan to comment. This was an attack meticulously planned by Pakistan," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson.

The Shiv Sena had demanded an apology from Khan. "The 26/11 attacks were a war against the nation. Salman should apologise for his remarks. Ambani was not staying at the CST, nor was Tata or Birla staying in Cama Lane," Sena leader Sanjay Raut said referring to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama Lane, which were among the places targetted by terrorists.

The comments were condemned by Ujwal Nikam, Special Prosecutor in the 26/11 trial who said that the statement was "childish". TI

Salman Khan gives clean chit to Pakistan on 26/11?

Monday, Sep 13, 2010

26/11 got hyped due to elite targets: Salman Khan to Pak channel

Salman said during an interview to the channel

“Too much hype has been created around the 26/11 attacks because elite people were targeted. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked about it so much. Everybody took this up because the Taj and Oberoi hotels were involved…

“Everybody knows that the Pakistani government was not behind it and it was a terrorist attack. Our security had failed. We have had lots of attacks earlier, and all of them were not from Pakistan. They were from within also.”

Saturday, September 11, 2010

BSNL ready for mobile number portability

September 10, 2010

New Delhi: State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Friday said it is ready with the infrastructure to start mobile number portability (MNP) by the scheduled Oct 31 deadline.

MNP will allow users to retain their mobile telephone numbers even if they switch their operators.

"We are ready with the infrastructure and will meet this deadline," said Gopal Das, officiating chairman and managing director of BSNL.

But there are apprehensions that the MNP implementation will be deferred again. It has already been delayed four times. Initially, MNP was to be implemented by December 31, 2009 in all the metros along with the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The deadline was then changed to March 31, 2010 and then to June 30, 2010. The June 30 deadline was again deferred as operators were not ready with the infrastructure to provide the service.

The latest hurdle could be US-based Telcordia Technologies which, reports said, could move court to protect its MNP business ambition through joint venture MNP Interconnection.

The telecom department has served MNP Interconnection a show-cause notice, asking it why its licence should not be cancelled, after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) rejected its proposal citing security concerns.

Besides MNP Interconnection, the other licencee is Syniverse Technologies India, which has got approvals to implement MNP in India.

The country has been split into two number portability zones comprising 11 circles each and each zone is to be serviced by a separate MNP operator to avoid a monopoly scenario. Reports said the DoT is planning to tweak the MNP guidelines to allow a single company, Syniverse, to roll out its services nationally.

The telecom regulator has ruled out a further delay, saying MNP will be implemented nationwide from Oct 31.

Over 2000 delegates to attend Kerala Travel Mart

September 11, 2010

Kochi: Over 2000 delegates from India and abroad will be attending the four-day Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), beginning here from Sept 23 at the Bolgatty Palace Hotel here. Said to be the biggest International Travel Mart in the country showcasing tourism products of a single state, the sixth edition will see over 500 international tourism professionals from 54 countries participating, Riaz Ahmed, KTM President, said here.

There are 382 sellers from Kerala under different tourism product categories, including 12 houseboats. The record registration by the buyers from different countries, including Poland, Finland, Mexico and South Africa, shows the interest of buyers’ world over in the tourism sector of Kerala. A total number of 551 International and 1621 Domestic Buyers have registered for the mart, he said.

The UK has the highest number of buyer’s registration in this Mart, the theme of which is ’Athithi devo bhava”. The Mart is a market place of tourism products where the buyers come to meet and interact with the sellers and this time a new concept called ’Speed Networking’ is being introduced to give maximum opportunity to both buyers and sellers. The Kerala Mart Society conducts the Mart once in two years for selected buyers from outside Kerala and other parts of the world in order to meet, interact and promote the Sellers, who are members of the KTM Society.

Arjun Munda becomes Jharkhand chief minister again

11 Sep 2010

Ranchi: Arjun Munda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday took oath as the eighth chief minister of Jharkhand at the head of a government that includes the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Munda, who has been chief minister twice earlier, was a JMM legislator before he joined the BJP ahead of the 2000 assembly election.

Munda was administered the oath of office a third time by Governor M.O.H. Farook at the Raj Bhavan.

He took oath along with Sudesh Mahto, president and legislature party leader of All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), and JMM legislature leader Hemant Soren, son of JMM chief Shibu Soren or Guruji.

Munda first became chief minister in March 2003 and then in March 2005. At 42, he is the national general secretary of the BJP and a Lok sabha member from Jamshedpur.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari and senior leader L.K. Advani were not present at the function.

Former BJP chief Rajnath Singh attended as did BJP chief ministers Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh and Ramesh Pokhriyal of Uttarakhand.

With Munda taking oath, President Rule came to an end after nearly three and half months. It was imposed on June 1 after the resignation of Shibu Soren as chief minister May 31.

Munda staked claim to form the government Sep 7 with support from JMM, AJSU, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and two independent legislators.

He is likely to seek the trust vote Sep 14. In the 81-member assembly, Munda enjoys the support of 45 legislators

Goal of software movement is that all software be free: Stallman

11 Sep 2010

Kozhikode: The goal of the Free Software movement is that all software be free so that all software users could be
free, Richard Mathew Stallman, Software freedom activist, said here.

Delivering his keynote address at a national conference on 'Free Software in Education', organised by the National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NIT-C), here last night, Stallman said 'denial of freeom to computer users to alter or modify the source code is an injustice'.

The supporters of proprietary software were restricting the freeom of the user to control his own computers, he said, adding proprietary software imposes unethical social system on its users.

'The distinction between a Free and Proprietary software is not a technical distinction, but it is about the ethical, social and
political question of what freedom individual users and groups of users have', he said.

Non-free software keeps the users divided and helpless, Stallman, the founder of Free Software Movement, said.

Urging the people to join his movement against the false propagation of various groups against free software, Stallman called upon the public 'to reject software that distributed in a way to divide you from your community.

The use of free software in society is development, he said, adding the advocates of proprietary software never stand for the development. Chief minister V S Achuthanandan in the complimentary message which was read at the function, emphasised the need for the use of free software.

Kerala Government had decided to use Free Software at the school, he said. PTI

Increase in tourists arrival in Kerala

10 Sep 2010

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 10:Foreign tourists arrival to Kerala has registered an increase by 13.9 per cent in the
first half of 2010 compared to the corresponding figure last year. Arrival of domestic tourists had also registered an increase by 5.59 per cent during the period, State Minister for Home and Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here yesterday. Total revenue earned by the state in tourismsector was Rs.13,231 crores in 2009.

Stressing the importance of the sector, he said tourism was providing direct and indirect employment to more than
one lakh people. Nearly 5.57 lakh foriegn tourists and 8 million domestic tourists visited Kerala during 2009, he said. Balakrishnan attributed the tourist increase to the various measures initiated by the state government.

A progrmme to open network of shops covering all the popular tourist destinations of the stte to display and sell Kerala's branded souvenirs was also launched by the minister. PTI

Sunday, September 5, 2010

China withdraws reference to Gilgit-Baltistan as ‘northern Pakistan'

BEIJING, September 5, 2010
A day after India voiced concerns to China over its reference to the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region as “a northern part of Pakistan,” the Chinese government withdrew its statement from its official Xinhua news agency as well as from the Foreign Ministry's website.

The Chinese government had issued a statement on Xinhua's website late on Wednesday night, refuting a New York Times opinion piece which claimed that over 11,000 Chinese troops were present in the disputed region.

The statement referred to Gilgit-Baltistan, which India views as under illegal occupation by Pakistan and as an integral part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, as “northern Pakistan,” triggering a protest from New Delhi.

But on Saturday, the statement appeared to have been removed from Xinhua's website. The link to the statement, headlined “China refutes reports of sending troops to Pakistan,” did not open.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, which in a regular briefing on Thursday had repeated the reference to Gilgit-Baltistan “as a northern part of Pakistan” in response to a question on the presence of Chinese troops, deleted records of both the question and its response from its official transcript, which was posted on its website on Friday.

Concerns conveyed

On Friday morning, Indian Ambassador to China S. Jaishankar had conveyed New Delhi's concerns over China's recent moves in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in talks with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun.

In the talks, Mr. Jaishankar raised questions over the presence of Chinese troops in PoK, and also protested China's reference to the disputed region as a part of northern Pakistan. Mr. Zhang assured Indian officials that the troops were stationed there only for flood relief work and to provide humanitarian assistance.

Friday, September 3, 2010

India conveys concern to China over presence in PoK

03 Sep 2010

Beijing/New Delhi: India today conveyed its concerns to China over its presence in Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and its
activities in that region.

The Indian move came in the wake of reports of presence of about 11,000 Chinese troops in Jammu and Kashmir's Gilgit-Baltistan region held by Pakistan.

The Indian concerns over Chinese 'activity and presence' were conveyed by Ambassador to China S Jaishankar during a meeting with their Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Zhang Zhijun in Beijing today, according to officials at the Indian Embassy.

Jaishankar also conveyed India's concerns over the presence of Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the region. However, China had yesterday rejected reports that its troops were in Gilgit region in northern Kashmir.

Jaishankar returned to Beijing yesterday from Delhi where he had briefed the the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on the developments regarding China. The CCS chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had discussed the matter on Tuesday.

Following the US news reports of PLA presence in PoK, India had said it would independently verify the matter which it dubbed
as 'serious, if true'. 'If true, it would be a matter of serious concern and we would do all that is necessary to ensure safety and security of the nation,' External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash had said on Monday when asked to comment on reports in 'The New York Times. About the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 PLA soldiers in Gilgit-Baltistan

Pledge agaist terrorism at Ramzan prayer meeting

03 Sep 2010

Thiruvanananthapuram: Lakhs of muslims who will converge as part of ramzan prayer meeting at Swalath nagar in Malappuram would take a pledge against terrorism and extremism on September 6, considered to be an auspicious day of ramzan month.

All arrangements for this year's ramzan congregation at Swalath nagar have been completed,Sayed Ibrahim Khaleel Bhukari, Chairman of Ma'adin Islamic Academy, the organisers of the meeting told reporters here today.

'We expect more than seven lakh people at the spiritual meeting this time', he said adding last time nearly six lakh people participated. Religious schlors from other part of the country and abroad would participate at the meeting, he said. PTI

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What the dragon is up to?

August 31, 2010

The latest report that China is amassing large contingent of troops on the Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) and is also engaged in some clandestine activity there is disturbing for India. Flood ravaged Pakistan is already in trouble from all sides. On one side is America sitting on Pak's head to contain the menace of Al Qaeda and Taliban in AfPak border.
Pak history's worst flood is taking away the sleep of its leadership where flood ravaged people are in peril for safe drinking water, food, houses and other facilities. There are reports of food riots in refugee camps and the terrorist outfits are making undue advantage of the situation.
It is this disturbing situation China is taking advantage of and amassing troops in PoK. China also reportedly has strategies to construct fast track roads, highways along the existing Karakoram border roads to reach up to the Middle East within 48 hours. The report says work is already on; some strategic underground tunnels have already been made about which even Pakistan too was not taken into confidence by China.
That shows they are going to enliven the ancient Silk Route fast-track. As we know, China has already emerged as world's second economy, knocking down Japan, and if things go according to their current strategy, soon they would be on top knocking down the current super power position of the US. It will be only matter of time for the dragon to roar then. The latest Military and diplomatic impasse between India and China over positioning of missiles by China along the Indo-China border too was causing much concern. The question to Indian military strategist is how far we are ready to take this new challenge on our border.
How long the US would keep the Pak underpinned and how long Pak can resist the temptation from the Jihadists vis-à-vis the pathetic plight of its people who are deluged so badly? Can one sleep in peace with such disturbing situation all along our borders?
Article appeared in Chronicle

PM holds meeting to discuss China threat

01 Sep 2010

New Delhi:Amid reports of China's deployment of troops in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to review China's recent posturing and India's options of dealing with it.
Senior Cabinet ministers, including Defence Minister A. K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna were among those who attended the meeting.

India's ambassador to China S. Jaishankar briefed the ministers at the meeting that discussed how best to deal with China's perceived aggressiveness towards issues critical to India's sovereignty.

The meeting came amid reports that China has deployed about 11,000 troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and Kashmir which has been held by Pakistan.

The 90-minute meeting discussed the recent denial of a visa to a senior Indian general commanding the northern sector, which includes Jammu and Kashmir which is seen here as an attempt by China to question India's sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir.

India had put on hold defence exchanges after Beijing's refusal to allow the visit.

The crucial meeting ended with a consensus among ministers to adopt a firm attitude towards China, specially over issues that question India's sovereignty over its territory, but agreed that the message should be conveyed in such a manner so as not to upset the larger relationship, sources said.

The meeting also discussed what Krishna described in parliament as Beijing's 'more than normal interests' in the Indian Ocean region.

'The government of India has come to realise that China has been showing more than normal interest in the Indian Ocean affairs. So we are closely monitoring the Chinese intentions,' Krishna told Lok Sabha.

Even if PM mops the floor, CWG venues won't be ready: Modi

01 Sep 2010

Ahmedabad:Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the Commonwealth Games preparations, saying even if he mops the floor the sports facilities will not be ready in time.

Observing that the preparations were in a 'mess', Modi also taunted the CWG organisers telling them that any government body in Ahmedabad even would have ensured that all the stadia were ready before the commencement of the mega sporting event on October 3.

'I don't know what is happening in the Commonwealth Games. Even if the PM (Manmohan Singh) starts wiping the floor, the venues won't be ready for the game,' Modi said at a function here.

'CWG people had four years to get the venues ready, but they are still struggling. They should have given it to Ahmedabad (Municipal Corporation), which would have built those stadiums in time,' Modi said.