IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL framework announced

Saina Nehwal is
World No. 1
badminton player
APRIL 03 - APRIL 09, 2015
Tel: 646-247-9458
framework announced
Obama claims ‘good deal with Iran’
I.S. Saluja
Saina took over the reins from China's Li Xuerui, who slipped to
third with Spain's Carolina Marin claiming the second position.
NEW DELHI (TIP): Indian ace Saina Nehwal's ascent to the
top of women's badminton was officially confirmed on
Thursday, April 2, with the release of the latest rankings by
the game's international governing body.
In becoming the first Indian woman shuttler to attain the
number one spot in world rankings, Saina took over the
reins from China's Li Xuerui, who slipped to third with
Spain's Carolina Marin claiming the second position. Saina,
contd on Page 20
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (TIP): April 2, 2015 becomes
historic as Iran Nuclear deal framework is announced. It is a
significant step towards a landmark deal aimed at keeping
Iran's nuclear program peaceful.
Iran would reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium
by 98% and significantly scale back its number of installed
centrifuges, according to the plan. In exchange, the United
States and the European Union would lift sanctions that have
crippled the country's economy. "It is a good deal, a deal that
meets our core objectives," U.S. President Barack Obama said
in a speech from the White House Rose Garden. "This
contd on Page 20
By 2050, Hindus will become the
world’s third largest population: Study
WASHINGTON (TIP): Hindus will become the world's third
largest population by 2050, while India will overtake
Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population
according to a new study. According to the Pew Research
Center's religious profile predictions assessed data released
on Thursday, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34
contd on Page 20
A Healthy Start: More Texas
Children Eating School Breakfast
AUSTIN, TEXAS (TIP): More kids across
the state and the country are starting the day
with a healthy meal, as the latest study
shows another increase in the number of
low-income children taking part in school
breakfast programs.
The report from the Food Research and
Action Center shows that on an average day
last year, more than 1.5 million Texas kids
ate free or reduced-price school breakfast.
FRAC's director of school and out-ofschool-time programs Crystal FitzSimons
says that number should keep rising with the
law passed in 2013 to expand eligibility
taking effect this school year.
"That required breakfast be made available
to all students at no charge in high-need
schools and that had a dramatic impact on
breakfast participation," she says.
Nationally, an average of 11.2 million lowincome kids ate breakfast at school each day
last year, and research shows that a healthy
meal to start the day is one key to improved
academics. FitzSimons says many factors are
driving the upward trend in school-breakfast
contd on Page 20
We are bringing out a special issue to mark Vaisakhi on April 10, 2015.
We will welcome articles and advertisements which should reach us by
April 06, 2015. For further information, please
visit our website or email to
[email protected] or dial 646-247-9458.
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
Test your EYE Q
By Dr. V.K. Raju
resident John F. Kennedy said
during his inaugural speech "The
greatest obstacle to truth is not the
lie, but the myth which is persistent,
persuasive and unrealistic."
Let us look at some eye care facts and
myths according to the
AmericanAcademy of Ophthalmology, the
largest body of ophthalmologists (eye
MDs) in the world.
"Reading in dim light is
harmful to your eyes." FALSE.
Using your eyes in dim light does not
damage them. For centuries, all nighttime
reading and sewing was done by
candlelight or with gas or kerosene lamps.
However, good lighting does make reading
easier and can prevent eye fatigue.
"Using computers can
damage your eyes." - FALSE.
Looking at computer monitors will not
harm your eyes. Often, when using a
computer for long periods of time, just as
when reading or doing other close work,
you blink less often than normal. This
reduced rate of blinking makes your eyes
dry, which may lead to the feeling of
eyestrain or fatigue. Try to take regular
breaks to look up or across the room.
Looking at objects farther away often
relieves the feeling of strain on your eyes.
Keep the monitor between 18 to 24 inches
from your face and at a slight downward
angle. Also consider the use of artificial
tears. If your vision blurs or your eyes tire
easily, you should have your eyes examined
by an ophthalmologist.
"Wearing the wrong kind of eyeglasses
damages your eyes." - FALSE. Eyeglasses
are devices used to sharpen your vision.
Although correct eyeglasses or contacts
help you to see clearly, wearing a pair with
the wrong lenses, or not wearing glasses at
all, will not physically damage your eyes
but may cause eye fatigue or strain.
However, children younger than 8 years old
who need eyeglasses should wear their
own prescription to prevent the possibility
of developing amblyopia or "Lazy eye".
"Children outgrow crossed or
misaligned eyes." - FALSE.
Children do not outgrow crossed eyes.
A child whose eyes are misaligned may
develop poor vision in one eye because the
brain will "turn off" or ignore the image
form the misaligned or laze eye. The
unused or misaligned eye will not develop
good vision unless it is forced to work.
This is usually accomplished by patching
or blurring the stronger eye. Children who
appear to have misaligned eyes should be
examined by an ophthalmologist as soon as
possible. In general,the earlier misaligned
eyes are diagnosed and treated, the better.
Treatment may include patching,
eyeglasses, eye drops, surgery or a
combination of these methods.
"Learning disabilities are caused by eye
problems." - FALSE. Difficulties with
reading, mathematics, and other learning
problems in children are often referred to
as learning disabilities. There is no strong
evidence that vision problems cause
learning disabilities of that eye exercises
cure learning problems. Children with
learning difficulties often need help from
teachers and people with special training.
Before such treatment begins, it is
important for the child to have a complete
medical eye examination to make certain
he is she is seeing as well as possible.
"Sitting close to the television can
damage children's eyes." - FALSE.
Children can focus at close distance
without eyestrain better that adult. They
often develop the habit of holding reading
materials close to their eyes or sitting right
in front of the television. There is no
evidence that this damages their eyes, and
the habit usually diminishes as children
grow older. However, children with
nearsightedness (myopia) sometimes sit
very close to the television in order to see
the images more clearly, so they should
have an eye examination.
"Eating carrots improves
your vision." - FALSE.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is
essential for sight, but many other foods
also contain this vitamin. A well-balanced
diet, with or without carrots, provides all
the vitamin A necessary for good vision.
"People with weak eyes
should avoid reading fine
print." - FALSE.
It is said that people with weak eyes or
people who wear glasses will "wear out"
their eyes sooner if they read fine print or
do a lot of detail work. The concept of the
eye as a muscle is incorrect. The eye more
closely resembles a camera. A camera will
not wear out sooner just because it is used
to photograph intricate detail. You can use
your eyes without fear of wearing them
"Wearing eyeglasses will
cause you to become
dependent on them." - FALSE.
Eye glasses are used to correct blurry
vision. Since clear vision with eyeglasses
is preferable to uncorrected vision, you
may find that you want to war your
eyeglasses more often. Although it may
feel as if you are becoming dependent on
your eyeglasses, you are actually just
getting used to seeing clearly.
"Older people who gain 'second sight'
may be developing cataracts." - True. Older
individuals who wear reading eyeglasses
sometimes find themselves able to read
without their eyeglasses and think their
eyesight is improving. The truth is they
are becoming more nearsighted, which can
be a sign of early cataract development.
"A cataract must be 'ripe'
before it is removed." FALSE.
With older surgical techniques, it was
thought to be safer to remove a cataract
when it was "ripe." With today's modern
surgical procedures, a cataract can be
removed whenever it begins to interfere
with a person's lifestyle. If you are unable
to see well enough to do the things you like
or need to do, you should consider cataract
surgery. Surgery is the only way to remove
a cataract.
"Contact lenses can prevent
nearsightedness from getting
worse." - FALSE.
Some people have been led to believe
that wearing contact lenses will
permanently correct nearsightedness so
that eventually they won't need either
contacts or eyeglasses. There is no
evidence that wearing contact lenses
produces a permanent improvement in
vision or prevents nearsightedness from
getting worse.
"Eye can be transplanted." FALSE.
Medical science has no way to
transplant whole eyes. Our eyes are
connected to the brain by the optic nerve.
Much like a fiber optic cable, the optic
nerve is made up of more than one million
tiny nerve fibers. This nerve cannot be
reconnected once it has been severed.
Because of this, the eye is never removed
from its socket during surgery. The
cornea, the clear front part of the eye, has
been successfully transplanted for many
years. Corneal transplant is sometimes
confused with an eye transplant.
"All 'eye doctors" are the
same." - FALSE.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor
(M.D. or D.O.) with special training to
diagnose and treat all diseases of the eye.
To become an ophthalmologist requires a
minimum of eight years of medical school
and hospital training after college. An
ophthalmologist is qualified to provide all
aspects of eye care, including cataract,
laser and other eye surgery. Optometrists
(O.D.) and opticians are other types of eye
care professionals. They are trained and
licensed to provide some aspects of eye
care, but they are not medical doctors and
have not attended medical school. In most
states, they cannot prescribe all
medications or perform surgery.
Last year, USA spent close to 3 trillion
dollars on healthcare. Unless we seriously
educate the public (it is an ongoing
process), myths persist not only in eye
care spectrum, but also throughout the
health care arena.
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
Obama honours Indian
American Professor Murty
S. Kambhampati
Among the 14 winners of
the Presidential Award
for Excellence in Science,
Mathematics, and
Engineering Mentoring
(PAESMEM) is Indian
American and an Andhra
University graduate
Murty S. Kambhampati, a
professor of biology at
Southern University at
New Orleans, and Sri
Lankan origin Tilak
Ratnanather, an associate
professor in the
biomedical engineering department of the Johns Hopkins
University, Maryland will receive his awards at a White
House ceremony later this year.
“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s
future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,”
President Barack Obama said announcing the names of
the award winners Friday.
“They open new worlds to their students, and give them
the encouragement they need to learn, discover and
innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and
our nation’s future, too.”
The PAESMEM is awarded by the White House to
individuals and organizations to recognize the crucial role
that mentoring plays in the academic and personal
development of students studying science and
engineering-particularly those who belong to groups that
are underrepresented in these fields.
Kambhampati holds a PhD from Jackson State
University in Environmental Science and a PhD from
Andhra University, India in Ecology.
Over the years, he established excellent collaborations
with several instittions to place students for summer
internships and ecological field trips. according to his
He is an active research mentor for undergraduates and
is Southern University at New Orleans’s Beta Kappa
Chi/National Institute of Science chapters’ sponsor.
He has won several awards for his work as a mentor,
including the National Role Model Faculty Award from
Minority Access, Inc., in 2008.
His research interests are Phytoremediation,
Environmental Toxicology, ecological studies on coastal
ponds, and Environmental Biotechnology.
US Senator Menendez indicted
on corruption charges
WASHINGTON (TIP): US Democratic Senator Robert
Menendez of New Jersey was indicted on corruption
charges, allegations that the high-ranking lawmaker said
he would address at a news conference on Wednesday
night. Menendez was indicted by a grand jury in New
Jersey for accepting gifts from Salomon Melgen, a Florida
ophthalmologist, in exchange for using the power of his
Senate office to benefit Melgen's financial and personal
interests, according to the court filing.
The allegations against Menendez, a senior lawmaker
on foreign policy and banking, raise the possibility of
Republicans gaining a 55th Senate seat to strengthen their
hand in policy fights with Democratic President Barack
Obama, should the senator decide to resign his seat.
Menendez was stepping down as ranking member, or top
Democrat, on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee,
Senate aides saidMenendez and Melgen, both 61, were
charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of
violating the travel act, eight counts of bribery and three
counts of honest services fraud. Menendez was also
charged with one count of making false statements.
Menendez, in response to previous reports of a federal
investigation, has denied wrongdoing. Melgen and his
representative could not immediately be reached for
comment on the charges.
Indian-American Parents of
‘Abducted’ Children Seek US Help
Indian-Americans have asked the US
government and the Congress to
consider imposing sanctions on India,
alleging that they have “not been able to
get justice” from the Indian system in
reuniting with their kids who have been
“abducted” by their spouses there.
In all the cases, the “abduction” is by
their spouses, who fled to India after
marital dispute and got court orders
against them.
All these “abducted” kids are
American citizens and in the past few
months American lawmakers have
joined hands in urging the Obama
Administration to consider imposing
sanctions on countries like India where
the government is not helping them
getting back the abducted US kids.
Nearly a dozen of these IndianAmerican parents from various parts of
the US last week held a series of
meetings with officials from the State
Department, testified before a
Congressional committee, met a large
number of lawmakers urging to help
them get their kids back to the US.
They held a candle light vigil at the
White House and also went to the
Indian Embassy to submit a
memorandum to the Indian
Indian-American parents are part of
the larger group – Bring Our Kids
Home – which consists of parents
facing the same traumatic problem of
“abducted children” in other countries
like Pakistan, Russia, Japan and
Bindu Philips with her twin boys before they were allegedly abducted by her exhusband
International Parental Child
Abduction (IPCA) is a form of child
abuse and a violation of US and
International law.
Several nations have signed the
Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of
International Parental Child
Abductions (“Hague Convention”),
India is not a signatory to it. As per
State Department reports, between 201213 India ranked as the number one nonHague signatory country, said Ravi
Parmar, one of the Indian-American
A law was passed by US Congress last
year after years of inaction on the part
of successive US Administrations to
enforce existing US laws and Hague
Convention obligations.
“This new law could result in
sanctions on those countries that don’t
cooperate in returning US children,
victims of IPCA,” said Vikram Jagtiani,
another parent.
Most of these Indian-American
parents have written multiple letters to
both Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj, but have received no response
so far.
“Why I am not getting my children
back. They need to be me,” Bindu
Philip, who testified before a
Congressional committee last week,
told PTI.
National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children (NCMEC) says 86
per cent of all active cases of
abductions to India are open two years
or more and 51 per cent of all active
India related cases are open five years
or more. 21 per cent of all India related
cases close without the child returning
or child turning 18 years.
New York Mayor's initiative on Obama's
Executive Order on Immigration
Nisha Agarawal launches Free Legal advice program
NEW YORK (TIP) : New York City's new
Indian American Commissioner Nisha
Agarwal has rolled out a special series of
engagements with the immigrant
community clearly taking the biggest issue of
her office bulls on.
After assuming office in February, 2015 she,
along with her team, started with Mayor de
Blassio's Municipal ID Card Program which
is open to all NYC residents regardless of
immigration status. The Program has already
seen applications in excess of a 100,000 and is
growing . More centers for application
processing are being set up to speed up the
process and reduce delays, said
Commissioner Nisha Agarwal.
Commissioner Agarwal has also launched
a special initiative to providing Free Legal
screening by trusted immigration attorneys
and Non-Profit Law firms.
Commissioner Agarwal at a press
briefing, April 2, held at the Centre for
Community & Ethnic Media of CUNY
Graduate School of Journalism started by
saying that they will do everything possible
for the over 200,000 illegal immigrants in
Nisha Agarwal, NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, speaks of Mayor Bill de
Blasio's plans on implementation of Obama's Immigration Executive Order, at CUNY
School of Journalism, April 2 | TIP Photo
New York City. She further stated that
Obama's Immigration reform, if approved,
will help millions of immigrants get legal
status in the United States. She laid special
emphasis on reducing and checking
Immigration Fraud and how her office is
getting the City ready with good legal
support for them.
Commissioner Agarwal announced a
Special Free Screening by trusted attorneys
on the12th April where anyone can come and
explore his/her case on getting legal status in
the United States. The Screening is planned
at the Jewish Temple - Emanu-EL in upper
East side (1st East 65th Street) for the 12th
April between 11am to 5pm.
Registration is free and to schedule
appointments anyone can register by calling
212 419 3700
A guidebook to City , State and Federal
laws -Immigrant Rights and Services
Manual- in 6 Languages has been prepared
to remove the language barrier for the
benefit of immigrants.
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
Illinois State’s Attorney
pledges to fight hate
crimes against Sikhs
CHICAGO (TIP): A recent video
showing classmates taunting a Sikh
student on a Georgia school bus – one of
them calling the student a “terrorist” –
and the 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple
in Wisconsin that left six dead have
highlighted the problem of hate crimes
against the Sikh community.
On Sunday, March 22, Cook County
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez reached
out to address the problem by visiting
the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago
in Palatine.
Before the congregation assembled at
the society’s Gurdwara Sahib (Sikh place
of worship), Alvarez told members she
will seek the community’s input for her
recently formed Hate Crimes Advisory
and Prosecution Council.
“I also understand that the issue of
hate crimes is a significant concern to
your community and I want to
emphasize my commitment to
combating this issue as your state’s
attorney,” she said.
Alvarez announced that she has
named one of her assistant state’s
attorneys, a member of the Sikh
community, to the council. Amrith
Aakre, who handles the office’s
diversion programs and trains law
enforcement about the Sikh community,
is familiar with the Gurdwara Sahib,
having attended the temple while
growing up in West suburban Wayne.
Alvarez has also named Aakre’s
father, Rajinder Singh Mago, who
handles community outreach and
public relations for the society, to her
Asian American Advisory Council.
She said the chief focus on the Hate
Crimes Council will be creating and
maintaining proactive partnerships
with communities typically targeted in
hate crimes.
“My goal is to reinvigorate our
efforts, not only in prosecuting hate
crimes when we become aware of them,
but also in bringing together important
voices to develop a community-based
plan that works to raise awareness
about hate crimes and also strives to
prevent them,” she added.
Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in
the world, with 23 million followers. For
comparison, Judaism is the sixth
largest, with 15 million.
Aakre said Sikhs promote equality
and, at its founding, was committed to
abolishing the Indian caste system. One
of the marks of the faith is the wearing
of the turban, which has become a
target for religious intolerance.
“There has been a significant amount
of negative media post 9/11, and there
is still that perception that many
turban wearing individuals in the U.S.
are Muslims, Middle Easterners
somehow connected to terrorism,”
Aakre said. “We know that none of
these things are true, but that
misperception has led to the significant
number of incidents and the rise of
hate crimes and bullying within in the
United States.”
Statistics from the Sikh Coalition
show that more than two-thirds of Sikh
students are victims of bullying, she
Aakre’s brother, Satnaam Singh
Mago, spoke of his own experiences as
a child being bullied and the conflicts
he faced growing up.
“You go to school and you want to be
American. You’re at home (and) there is
so much pressure. You’re trying to be
Indian. You’re trying to balance two
lives,” he said.
“The suicide rate is actually
comparable in the Sikh community (to)
the gay community,” he added. “The
misinformation that comes with the
turban, with the Sikh community and
all that is costing us – our boys, our
girls -so much in our community. These
stakes really are high for us.”
New anti-gay
laws in US are
Apple chief
WASHINGTON (TIP): Apple chief
Tim Cook slammed what he called a
wave of "dangerous" laws in several US
states that he said promote
discrimination and erode equality, in an
editorial published on Sunday.
Cook - one of the most prominent
chief executives to publicly
acknowledge his homosexuality - wrote
in the Washington Post that socalled
"religious freedom" laws passed in
several states threaten to undo progress
toward greater equality.
"There's something very dangerous
happening in states across the country,"
Cook wrote in the editorial.
"These bills rationalize injustice by
pretending to defend something many
of us hold dear. They go against the
very principles our nation was founded
on." Cook's comments follow the
adoption of a controversial law in the
state of Indiana last week that critics
say would allow businesses to deny
service to homosexuals on religious
Activists say it makes it legal for
businesses whose owners reject
homosexuality on religious grounds to
turn away LGBT customers.
Obama to finally
visit fatherland
Kenya as president
WASHINGTON (TIP): President Barack Obama will
finally visit Kenya, the land of his father and his forbears,
in July this year.
The US President has studiously avoided going to his
paternal homeland in the six years plus he has been in the
White House, perhaps apprehensive that it would provide
political fodder for conservative wingnuts who have
doubted if he was born in the United States and questioned
his loyalty to the country, aside from his nationality.
But now that there are no more electoral battles to be
fought, the White House on Monday announced that Obama
will travel to Kenya in July to co-host a forum on
entrepreneurship as part of an effort to support economic
development in Africa.
Although he has been to Kenya thrice before, including
once as US Senator, it will be his first visit as President,
coming in the seventh year of his Presidency.
The US President still has family living in Kenya,
including half-brother and other siblings, although his
father Barack Obama Sr died more than 30 years ago.
Obama Sr came to the United States from Kenya for
higher studies in 1959 and met Ann Durham at the
University of Hawaii where they were both attending a
Russian language class. They married soon after and
Durham gave birth to Barack Obama in 1961.
They separated soon after, pursuing their own academic
careers and divorcing when Barack Obama Jr was only two.
The young Obama would see his father only once after that,
when he was around ten years old, before Obama Sr
returned to Kenya and would die in a road accident in 1982
when Obama Jr was 21.
The young Obama's first known trip to Kenya was in
1988, when he spent five weeks there, according to his
memoir Dreams from My Father. He returned to Kenya in
1992 with Michelle, then his fiance, and his half sister
Auma, and again in 2006 during his first year in the US
But Kenya stayed off the radar thereafter although he
has visited 47 other countries as President, including
neighboring Tanzania and South Africa (twice).
A White House blog on the upcoming visit made no
mention of Obama's personal ties with Kenya although it
alluded to it while pointing out that he has visited subSaharan Africa more than any other sitting president.
''Just as President Kennedy's historic visit to Ireland in
1963 celebrated the connections between Irish-Americans
and their forefathers, President Obama's trip will honor the
strong historical ties between the United States and Kenya and all of Africa - from the millions of Americans who
trace their ancestry to the African continent, to the more
than 100,000 Americans that live in or visit Kenya each
year,'' it said.
Inasmuch as Obama is done and dusted with elections,
the Kenya trip is certain to stir up the hard right wing
which has thrived on the so-called birther controversy insisting that Obama was not born in the United States and
thus ineligible to be President of the United States under
Article Two of US Constitution.
Although Obama released his birth certificate before he
became President showing he was born in Hawaii,
conspiracy theorists have maintained that it is a fake. Some
polls have shown that up to 25 per cent of American still
doubt Obama's US birth.
The Indian Panorama New
York and Texas editions are
available on our website
NEW DELHI (TIP): A complaint was filed against Union
Minister Giriraj Singh in a district court on April 2 by a
Congress worker for his racist remarks against Congress
president Sonia Gandhi. Sanjay Kumar Singh filed a
complaint against Giriraj Singh in the court of Chief
Judicial Magistrate Ved
Prakash Singh, who
transferred the case to
the court of SubDivisional Judicial
Magistrate Anju Singh.
The SDJM directed
Mithanpura police
station to register a case
against the minister on
the basis of the complaint, Sumit Kumar, lawyer of the
petitioner, said.
The SDJM gave the order to Mithanpura police station
under Section 166 of IPC (public servant disobeying law with
intent to cause injury to any person).
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi said she would not like to
respond to people with narrow mindset. “I don’t think it is
proper to respond to persons having narrow mentality,”
Gandhi told reporters after surveying the damaged crops and
meeting farmers in Neemuch district in Madhya Pradesh.
Giriraj Singh had kicked up a row with his remarks asking
whether Congress would have accepted Sonia Gandhi’s
leadership had she not been white-skinned. “Had Rajiv
Gandhi married a Nigerian woman and if she was not a
white-skinned woman, would the Congress have then
accepted her leadership?,” he told journalists on Tuesday.
Various women leaders also attacked Singh, who is Minister
of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, saying it
reflected his racial mindset and attitude towards women. The
Minister, who had courted controversies with remarks during
Lok Sabha elections like people opposed to Narendra Modi
can go to Pakistan, also mocked Rahul Gandhi’s absence from
the political scene and likened it to the “missing Malaysian
airliner”. Meanwhile, to a query on Congress Vice President
Rahul Gandhi’s sabbatical, Sonia Gandhi said, “Rahul will
come back soon and he will soon go in the midst of farmers.”
Govt mulls appointment of
new Governors
NEW DELHI (TIP): The Centre is mulling filling vacancies
of Governors in nine states — five of them ruled by the
Congress — soon as one Governor is holding the charge of
four states while five others are in charge of at least two
states each.
“Since some Governors are holding additional charge of 23 states, new appointments are expected in the coming
weeks,” official sources said.
There are vacancies in Raj Bhavans in Assam, Himachal
Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur, all ruled by the
Congress. Opposition parties like JD-U, Left and TRS are in
power in Bihar, Tripura and Telangana respectively.
There is also vacancy in Punjab, ruled by the Akali DalBJP combine. The post of Lieutenant Governor in
Puducherry is also lying vacant.
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi is holding
the additional charge of Bihar, Meghalaya and Mizoram
while Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya is in charge
of the Raj Bhavans in Assam and Tripura.
Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki has been given
the additional charge of Punjab Governor and administrator
of Chandigarh; Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh is holding
the additional charge of Himachal Pradesh. Uttarakhand
Governor KK Paul is in charge of the Raj Bhavan of
Manipur too.
ESL Narasimhan, who was the Governor of undivided
Andhra Pradesh, continues to be the Governor of both
Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh after the
bifurcation while Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and
Nicobar Islands Lt General Ajay Kumar Singh (retd) is
holding the additional charge of the LG of Puducherry.
Aamir Khan and Kamal
Hassan inaugurate FICCI
FRAMES 2015 in Mumbai
By Minesh Ahluwalia and
Kalpana Mudaliar
MUMBAI (TIP): It's that time of the
year again. The onset of a muchawaited spring in New York and a long,
hot summer in Mumbai.
The 16th Annual FICCI FRAMES
conference on the Media &
Entertainment (M&E) industry is back
at the Rennaissance Hotel &
Convention Centre situated on the
picturesque Powai lake in Mumbai.
It's Wednesday, March 25th 2015; Day
1 of the event, and in addition to the
locals, NRIs and other business
visitors from USA, UK, Canada,
Australia and other countries are here
again in full strength; veterans from
the media business, aspirants in the
field of entertainment, panelists,
delegates, you name it, the conference
has them all.
FICCI FRAMES is Asia's largest
global conference on the business of
Media and Entertainment. Spanning
three days, the conference covers the
entire spectrum of the M&E industry,
with back-to-back presentation
sessions, panel discussions & masterclasses focused on microspecializations such as film, television,
radio, print, internet/digital media,
animation and gaming among others.
This highly-anticipated & mostrespected industry event currently
draws over 2,500 participants from all
over the world, with India & USA
together accounting for over 90% of
the attendees.
The list of known names at the
conference reads like a virtual Who's
Who of the global M&E industry.
Attendees get to rub shoulders and
interact one-on-one with top achievers
in the business; for 2015, the list of
presenters & panelists boasts includes
Aamir Khan, Kamal Hassan,
Ayushmann Khurana, Abhishek
Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Vishal
Dadlani, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin,
Rohan Sippy, Siddharth Roy Kapur,
Arjun Kapoor, Vikas Bahl, Suhel Seth,
Ramesh Sippy, Guneet Mongia,
Devendra Fadnavis, Rajyavardhan
Singh Rathore, Gen. V. K. Singh, Harit
Nagpal, Sudhanshu Vats, Gaurav
Gandhi, Mukesh Bhatt, Ashish
Kulkarni, Sundeep Nagpal, Viraf
Patel, Karan Bedi, Kamlesh Pandey,
Anjum Rajabali, to name a few.
Day 1 of the event saw the
inauguration with Aamir Khan
lighting the ceremonial lamp. This was
followed by the welcome address from
Jyotsna Suri, Vice President, FICCI.
Harit Nagpal, CEO & MD, TataSky,
delivered the theme address next.
The FICCI-KPMG 2015 report on the
Indian Media & Entertainment
industry was officially released after
Harit's address; the highlight of this
report is the growth registered by
various disciplines within the industry.
This was followed by opening
remarks from Ramesh Sippy, Co-chair,
FICCI Entertainment Committee, and
Kamal Hassan. Aamir Khan was next
with an interactive session with the
This inaugural session was followed
by a series of presentations, panel
discussions & master-classes. Detailed
coverage of these sessions along with
interviews of key presenters &
panelists will be provided at the end of
the conference.
The list of media corporations at
this year's convention includes BBC,
Discovery Networks, Disney India, Fox
Star Studios, Phantom Films, NDTV,
Excel Entertainment, Star India,
Dharma Productions, TataSky, Viacom
8, Zee TV and Balaji Telefilms, among
several others.
The convention also features
national and international government
bodies such as the Consul General of
USA, Consul General of Canada and
the Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting (India).
Finally, there are a number of M&Ecentric corporations with booths at the
event, looking to showcase a wide
range of industry tools & accessories
such as film-making & broadcasting
equipment, studio apparatus,
animation tools, software solutions &
related technology.
Established in 1927, FICCI
(Federation of Indian Chambers of
Commerce & Industry) is the largest
and oldest apex business organization
in India. FICCI's history is closely
interwoven with India's struggle for
independence and subsequent
emergence as one of the most rapidly
growing economies globally. FICCI
plays a leading role in policy debates
that are at the forefront of social,
economic and political change.
A non-government, not-for-profit
organization, FICCI is viewed as one of
the major voices of India's business
and industry. It works closely with the
government on policy issues,
enhancing efficiency, competitiveness
and expanding business opportunities
for industry through a range of
specialized services and global
linkages. Partnerships with countries
across the world carry forward it's
initiatives in inclusive development,
which encompass critical issues such
as health, education, livelihood,
governance & skill development.
Through its 400 professionals, FICCI
is active in 38 sectors of the economy.
FICCI's stand on policy issues is sought
out by think tanks, governments and
academia. Its publications are widely
read for their in-depth research and
policy prescriptions. FICCI has joint
business councils with 79 countries
around the world. Its publications are
widely read for their in-depth research
and policy prescriptions.
The Media & Entertainment
Division of FICCI serves a vital link
between the media & entertainment
industry, Information & Broadcasting
Ministry and global interests in this
vibrant sector.
Media & Entertainment Division is
an active division organizing the
FICCI-FRAMES, conducting &
releasing pioneering studies in the
sectors, assisting in policy decisions
and helping scale up the industry
through various initiatives.
This division is guided by the
chairman Mr. Uday Shankar and cochairman Mr. Ramesh Sippy.
(The authors- Minesh Ahluwalia is
the CEO of and Kalpana
Mudaliar is a blogger. They can be
reached at [email protected])
When will Rahul return,
asks BJP; Soon, says Sonia
NEW DELHI (TIP): The BJP on Thursday took a
dig at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi
wondering when he will return but Congress chief
Sonia Gandhi asserted that he will soon be back
among the people.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain on April 2
took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi, wondering if he was
really set to return and attend the April 19 rally of
his party against the new land acquisition law.
"We do not know if reports about the date are
true...Is his vacation finally over," asked Hussain.
Sonia Gandhi however asserted that Rahul
Gandhi will come back soon.
"He will come back soon and will be among
people," she said to questions on her son's return
after her visit to Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh to
meet farmers whose crops have been damaged in
the recent untimely rains.
Rahul Gandhi had gone on "leave of absence"
ahead of the budget session of parliament and
there has been recurring speculation about the date
of his return.
The party had initially said that he had gone on
two weeks' leave but the period has extended to over
a month now.
Senior party leader Digvijaya Singh had
indicated earlier this week that Rahul Gandhi is
likely to attend a farmers' rally being held by the
party in the capital on on April 19.
Noting the rally will be attended by all senior
leaders, he said that "when I say senior leaders, it
includes Rahul Gandhi as well.
The Congress meanwhile said it had no specific
information of Rahul Gandhi's date of return.
"I have no official intimation in this regard,"
party spokesperson Meem Afzal said.
CHANDIGARH (TIP): Differences surfaced in Haryana BJP
over the transfer of whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka,
with cabinet minister Anil Vij saying he stands by Khemka and
chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar calling the transfer
Health minister Anil Vij said, "I am totally with Khemka. I am
with him since he fought the battle against corruption. I will
stand by him... comment about this after talking to the CM."
Khattar, who was in Hisar on April 2, "Jo sarkar ko jahan
aavashyakta hoti hai, wahin harek adhikari ko bulaya jata hai.
Hamari aavashyakta us hisab se jaisi hai, waisa hamney lagaya
hai (government appoints any officer as per its requirements.
We have posted him as per our requirements)." He said Khemka
was a good and honest officer.
A 1991 batch IAS officer, Khemka has faced 46 transfers during
22 years of service. He reacted to his transfer on Thursday with
a tweet, "Tried hard to address corruption and bring reforms in
transport despite severe limitations and entrenched interests.
Moment is truly painful."
The government has not given any reason for his transfer, but
sources said that the influential transporters' lobby was
unhappy with the officers' order for stringent checking of trucks
plying the inter—state route, especially those moving between
Haryana and Rajasthan.
Brushing aside suggestion of any role in Khemka's transfer,
transport minister Ram Bilas Sharma said, "It's a routine matter.
I have still kept him in my department. The archaeology
(department) is under me."
Agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar saw no
controversy in Khemka's transfer either, unlike the previous
Congress regime when he was allegedly shunted out over the
Vadra land deal.
"If he (Khemka) sees any issue, then he should talk to us or
the CM," said Dhankar, urging officers to not go to the media.
"He (Khemka) is among the officers who goes to the media the
most," he added.
The government had on April 1 transferred Khemka, 49, to a
"low profile" assignment of secretary and director general of
state archaeology and museums department, just four months
after he was made transport commissioner.
NEW DELHI: (TIP): Compelled by
electoral politics, the BJP-led NDA
government has filed a review petition
in the Supreme Court pleading for its
nod to extend reservation to Jats in
education and jobs under the Other
Backward Classes (OBCs) category
which enjoyed a 27% quota.
The review petition comes in the
wake of a Jat delegation’s meeting with
PM Narendra Modi following the SC
ruling The government’s move has
come within a fortnight of the SC
verdict on March 17 striking down the
Centre’s March 2014 notification that
had put Jats on the OBC list meant for 9
states — Haryana, HP, Uttarakhand, UP,
Delhi, Bihar, Gujarat, MP and Rajasthan
(Bharatpur and Dholpur districts).
Only two days ago, the SC had
reiterated its ruling by refusing to
entertain a petition filed by Jat doctors
pleading for exempting the admissions
for the 2015-16 academic session from the
purview of the judgment. The doctors,
who had applied for post graduation
medical courses under the OBC quota,
had argued that since the admission
process had begun much before the SC
What the govt says
The Central Government has
pleaded for its nod to extend
reservation to Jats in education
and jobs under the Other
Backward Classes (OBCs)
category which enjoyed a 27%
The government said the decision
to include Jats in the OBC list was
in consonance with the SC verdict
in the OBC quota issue in the
backdrop of the Mandal
Commission report
verdict, the quota for Jats should be
retained at least for one more year. In
the review petition, the government said
the decision to include Jats in the OBC
list was in consonance with the SC
verdict in the OBC quota issue in the
backdrop of the Mandal Commission
report. All nine states had already
included Jats in their OBC lists and had
pleaded with the Centre to put them on
the Central list as well. While the UPA
government had extended the OBC
quota to Jats on the eve of the 2014 LS
elections, the Modi government
supported this decision in the SC ahead
of the Haryana Assembly polls last year.
and Pulin Aggarwal, the students of
Electronics and communication
Engineering department of UIET (
University Institute of Engineering
and Technology ) of world renowned
Panjab University, Chandigarh have
devised a cheap video based robot
under the guidance of their
Assistant Professor Sarvjit Singh.
This device can be utilized for the
surveillance of homes. Assistant
Professor Sarvjit Singh said that the
cost of developing this device was
about Rs 6800/- ( US $ 113 approx) and
it can be connected to LAN through
laptop or computer for video. It can
be modified to connect it with WAN
or internet. This wireless
surveillance system can be moved in
different directions through a remote
control device. In this context,
Professor Sarvjit Singh added that
surveillance systems available in the
market are quite costly, ranging
between Rs30000/- (US $ 500 approx)
to Rs40000/- (US $670 approx). Their
device is affordable and it keeps
watch over the house in the absence
of its master, once it is connected to
the internet. Besides, it can be used
through mobile application. "Since it
has a higher torque which enables it
to get through a surface like muddy
waters very easily," claimed
Assistant Professor Sarvjit Singh.
According to him, this device can be
further improved with better
technology. Presently, their priority
was to develop an inexpensive device.
Had they made its chassis at their
Prof. Sarvjit Singh guided Rohan Arora and Pulin Aggarwal in devising a cheap
video based robot. He also guided Shubam Banerjee in developing a low cost
Braille printer for the blind.
own, it would have cost even less.
Also, the data it sends at present is
just password protected but can be
encrypted for use in army, for
example. This project was completed
in time span of 5 months. Assistant
Professor Sarvjit Singh said that
these students had earlier won an
award for their autonomous surface
monitoring robot.
Two students- Oshin Garg and
Saurabh Singh- of ECE (Electronics
& Communication Engineering)
branch of UIET (University
Institute of Engineering and
Technology) department of world
renowned Panjab University
Chandigarh have developed a lowcost desktop Braille printer for blind
persons under the guidance of their
Assistant Professor Sarvjit
Singh.The creators of this device
said that common Braille printer
available in the market is very
costly as its price ranges between Rs
25000/- (US $ 415 approx) to Rs
30000/- (US $ 500 approx). As such, it
was sort of challenge for them to
develop a low cost Braille printer
costing between Rs5000/- (US $85
approx) to Rs10000/- (US $ 170
There is a scope for further
reduction in cost. This project was
completed in time period of 5
months. This printer is ATmega 16
microcontroller based. It has a
needle which moves with a motor to
perforate a sheet of paper. This
device runs on a 12 V adapter and
the consumption of electricity is
even less than that of 25 Watt CFL.
Prof. Sarvjit Singh can be reached at
[email protected]
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
he Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised
Crime (GCTOC) Bill 2015 carries disturbing echoes
of draconian anti-terror laws such as the Terrorist
and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and the
Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Both were
considered failed experiments that led to gross abuse.
More specifically, the Bill seems to be modelled on the
provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised
Crime Act (MCOCA) that was implemented in 1999 and
continues to be in force today. In fact, since 2002 it has also
been in force in Delhi after the police insisted that such a
law was needed as 'organised crime has no limits'.
The common thread running through all these
controversial pieces of legislation is the notion that
regular process, as outlined by the Code of Criminal
Procedure, is not enough to deal with a changed internal
security situation. GCTOC is therefore the latest chapter
in a long-running search to find an 'ideal' anti-terror law,
but like its earlier versions it raises important questions
about the lines the state crosses in its attempts to fight
crime and terror. GCTOC, like MCOCA, allows
confessions secured in police custody to be admitted as
evidence in courts, a disturbing provision that is
tantamount to legitimising custodial torture. Similarly, it
allows the custody of an accused for 180 days rather than
the 90 days provided under normal law. The most
troubling aspect of MCOCA has been the way it enables
the police to sidestep rigorous investigation. It has been
used as a charge in all manner of cases ranging from real
estate deals, prostitution and match-fixing, as the police
seek to stack the odds in their favour in order to secure a
conviction. This practice has repeatedly met with censure
from the courts and there is no guarantee that GCTOC
won't go down the same path.
The debate around GCTOC in the coming days will
most likely take a political hue. When the UPA
government first rejected Gujarat's attempts to pass an
anti-terror law the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi
claimed that he was only presenting a 'xerox copy' of
MCOCA. The UPA argued that the Gujarat law was at
variance with its policy on terror laws as articulated in
the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The new
government may well have a different national policy.
After all, permission for MCOCA was given under the last
NDA government. A more useful debate though, is on the
manner in which these special laws are created. TADA
came into being during the years of the Punjab militancy
and POTA after the Parliament attack of 2001, and the
genesis of MCOCA was from the Mumbai serial blasts of
1993. Knee-jerk reactions lead to severe laws. The focus
should rather be on better resources and training for
investigators who can continue to work under the existing
Code of Criminal Procedure, which is already
comprehensive in scope.
(The Hindu)
Lookout for news,
views and reviews,
log on to
The Indian Panorama New
York and Texas editions
are available on website
Family Abductions: Is there a solution?
"Left-behind parents like myself, on average, spend $100,000 in legal
expenses in both the US and India- and we STILL don't get our kids back",
says the author.
By Samina Rahman, MD
"Children who are victims of family abduction are uprooted
from their homes and deprived of their other parent. Often
they are told the other parent no longer loves them or is dead.
Too often abducted children live a life of deception,
sometimes under a false name, moving frequently and lacking
the stability needed for healthy, emotional development."
(Family Abduction: Prevention and Response, 6th ed., The
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2009.)
nternational parental child abduction (IPCA) and the illegal
retention of children abroad are criminal offenses according
to both US federal law and the United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
194 countries of the world including India but excluding the
US, Somalia and South Sudan, have ratified the UNCRC, which
legally binds their governments to use legislative and
administrative measures to combat IPCA and illegal child
retention. All Governments who have ratified this legally
binding treaty are accountable to the international community.
India ratified the UNCRC in 1992 and re-committed to it
several times over the last 2 decades.
Yet, today over a 1000 children a year are abducted out of the
US by one of their parents, and the numbers are on the rise.
India is the #3 top destination for IPCA.
You can search everywhere on the Internet, just don't expect
to find any recent numbers or reports on IPCA cases. The US
State Department stopped reporting these statistics after 2013.
The US allows 1000s of children to exit US borders everyday
without requiring the traveling parent to provide a letter of
consent from the non-traveling parent. Once a child is abducted
they rarely come back, and if they do, the psychological damage
has already been done.
India lets the abducted children in, and then the Indian
Judicial system facilitates their illegal retention.
These traumatized children remain in India for years while a
long cross-border custody battle ensues between their feuding
Meanwhile an innocent child has lost their childhood for ever.
Finally after the passage of a few years and several court
dates, the Indian courts usually pass an order that the child
remain in India under permanent sole custody of the abducting
parent, since they have now already lived in India for so long
that it would be against the best interests of the child to displace
them from their new home!
There is an unfortunate American woman of Indian origin,
Bindu Philips, who was a New Jersey stay-at-home mother to
her twin boys. Her 8 year old sons have been illegally retained
in India by her abusive husband for 6 years now. She has not
seen them in years. Her father has been fighting a losing
custody battle on her behalf in India.
Left-behind parents like myself on average spend $100,000 in
legal expenses in both the US and India- and we STILL don't get
our kids back.
Here is a link to the chain of events that a left-behind parent
can expect once a child is abducted to India, which I have
outlined above.
Is there any hope for a solution? The answer to this question
depends on first finding the root of the problem.
A number of organizations and communities of left- behind
parents have now joined hands - BOKHome, BAKHome, IStand
Parents Network amongst others.
We have been doing our own research as to what are the
underlying problems and what could be the possible solutions.
Ironically, we found through our research that the laws
against international parental child abduction and the illegal
retention of children abroad are already in existence in both the
USA and India. However, governmental agencies seem
inexplicably reluctant to accept that these laws exist and to
ensure that these laws are enforced.
In the US: The US Department of State says that their hands
are tied, although they promise they are doing everything they
can. However, for over 2 decades they have failed so
spectacularly to follow through with their own commitments
that it appears now that maybe they simply don't care. Not even
the most simple, effective and totally free measures to prevent
IPCA have been undertaken to date.
There are even parents who claim that the US DoS has not
only been unhelpful but have in fact aided in some abductions
and re-abductions.
I can get you in touch with one such American father who
recently sued the U.S. State Department Office of Children's
issues- the case has gone up to the level of the US Federal court
system now. His story is a heart-breaking story of how
corruption still exists in the USA and how it has destroyed his
In March, 2000 the US State Department committed to
developing an interagency database of the cases of IPCA so that
they could share data with the NCMEC, the Department of
Justice, after it had been noted that the State Department was
still "solving" cases whereas the abducted child was retrieved a
month earlier by the FBI.
This interagency database was supposed to be up and
running in August 2000. 15 years later, it still does not exist.
In India: IPCA is a crime in India, but the US DoS warns
abducting parents clearly on its website "Parental child
abduction is not a crime in India."
Left-behind parents have found unrelenting Congressional
support and momentum for our cause in Congressman Chris
Smith. He championed the Goldman Act which was enacted in
8/14, which gives the US Department of State more authority
and also makes it accountable.
He recently questioned US Secretary of State John Kerry on
Bindu Philips' case.
4 Organizations of left-behind parents participated in a 3 day
conference in Washington DC late last month, called the
International Parents' Conference, Embassy Walk &
Congressional Lobby Day on March 25-26, 2015.
The highlight of this event was the OPEN Congressional
Subcommittee hearing on 3/25/15.
Our children need a voice.
(The author is a victim of family abduction. Her son was
abducted by the father. She has authored the article on behalf of
Bring Our Kids Home, BACHome and IStand Parent Network)
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
Strangers in their own land: Dilemma
of the Christian populace in India
By George Abraham
r. Julio Ribeiro, Retired IPS
officer, former DGP of Mumbai
and Gujarat recently said: 'As a
Christian, suddenly, I am a stranger in my
own country'. He was merely reflecting on
the recent dilemma of the Christian
community in India since the ascendance
of Mr. Narendra Modi as Prime Minister
of India. It is indeed the anguish of a
distinguished public servant who has
served the country with great zeal and
dedication to protect and preserve its
territorial integrity.
Today, scores of Indian Christians who
have contributed in so many ways towards
the development of India especially in the
social and educational sectors are pained
to feel the same way as Mr. Ribeiro does!
As a Christian and a member of the
Diaspora, I truly share the sentiment of
Mr. Ribeiro and salute him for his
forthrightness in speaking out.
What exactly has happened to bring
about such anxiety and insecurity to such
a small community that poses no harm to
its fellow citizens? The latest reports from
India point to two more attacks targeting
the Christian religious places of worship,
one at St. George Church in Navi,
Maharashtra and the other at St.Peter and
Paul Church at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh,
along with two schools that are managed
by the churches. Incidentally, both
Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states
are governed by Prime Minister Modi's
These may have happened at the heel of
another incident in Nadia district in West
Bengal where a 72 year old Nun was gang
raped by six individuals at the Jesus and
Mary convent school. Reacting to the gang
rape of the Nun, Surendra Jain, Joint
Secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
(VHP) blamed the 'Christian Culture' for
the incident. He also justified the
vandalizing of a Church in Haryana and
stated that these attacks would continue if
conversions do not stop.
Several Churches in Delhi were
vandalized and desecrated by religious
extremists in the past months including
St. Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden
which was reduced to ashes with its altar
charred and Bibles strewn all over the
ground. Archbishop Anil Couto said that
the arson in St. Sebastian Church was
condemnable not just because it was act of
sacrilege and hate against the community
and its faith, but because it could happen
in the national capital which is recovering
from a series of communal incidents. Also
distressing to him is the sense of police
impunity that long hours were lost, and
possible evidence destroyed, before police
finally came. Most of the culprits still
remain at large and the law enforcement
officials seem to show very little urgency
in bringing them to justice.
These incidents are not just limited to
certain parts of India but happening
across the country. The recent incident in
a village in Chattisgarh reveals the fear
and insecurity of those who have
embraced Christianity as their faith.
Sukhram Kashyap, a Christian from
Chattisgarh, has not only seen his church
vandalized but was denied food rations
from the Hindu dominated village council
and several of his friends were beaten up
when they protested. Some of his fellow
worshippers were reconverted in an
aggressive campaign called 'Ghar Wapasi'
by Hindu fundamentalists who have also
banned any Christian clergy from entering
the village.
Breaking a long silence on this
continuing onslaught by the Hindutva
brigade on Christians and their
Institutions around the country Prime
Minister Modi said the following; 'the
tradition of welcoming, respecting and
honoring all faiths is as old as India itself'.
One wonders whether his ardent followers
in BJP and RSS are listening!
The President of Catholic Bishops
Conference of India Cardinal Baselios
Cleemis said that the recent attacks on
churches and Christians in India have
made many 'feel that their Christian
identity is being questioned and it gives a
sense of sadness. It showed that not
everybody had taken seriously the Prime
Minister Narendra Modi's assurance to
minorities'. 'Irrespective of their faiths,
anybody being attacked was an Indian
citizen and it was the government's duty to
protect them' Cardinal added.
In an interview to Karan Thapar on
Headlines Today, Cardianal Cleemis also
described as "very painful and sad" the
comments of RSS head Mohan Bhagwat
that Mother Teresa's humanitarian works
were driven by her motive to convert those
she served. "It was very painful and very
sad to hear about Mother Teresa whom the
nation honored with Bharat Ratna," he
There is no doubt that that Cardinal
Cleemis spoke on behalf of all Christians
in India that may very well include many
of the faithful in the Diaspora. Although
he did not single out any organization over
many of these incidents but went on to
criticize the Modi government for
observing Christmas as Good Governance
Day, saying good governance should be
done everyday and the Christian festival
should be respected.
One of the most astounding
observations that can be made about these
attacks on minorities in India is that there
is a deafening silence on the part of the
Diaspora in the US. Hindu American
Foundation, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of
America, and GOPIO along with many
other organizations have decided to look
the other way. Though relatively new as
immigrants to this great country, Indians
continue to demand our rightful place,
justifiably so, at the table in sharing the
riches and defending our values and
traditions while not tolerating any
injustice that offends our sensibilities. A
huge segment of the community has
indeed made tremendous strides in this
short period realizing the American dream
and integrating itself into the
However, Christians in India who have
lived there for almost two Millennia are
made to feel as if they are strangers in
their own land. How a personal choice of
faith that is guaranteed under the article
25 and 26 of the Constitution of India
could make or break the 'Indian ness' of
its citizenry is beyond the comprehension
of any rational mind!
Undoubtedly, the forces of polarization
and divisions have come out of the
woodwork and kept themselves busy
transforming India at the expense of the
values and principles of inclusiveness and
tolerance that brought the nation together.
The current Government's dual-track
policy of providing good optics for the
consumption of the global community
while unleashing the extremist forces to
undo the social progress of the last 65
years, mostly under the Congress rule, is
troublesome and disheartening to most of
its citizens!
President Obama in his Siri Fort speech
prodded the new Government 'India will
succeed so long as it is not splintered
along the lines of religious faith, as long
as it is not splintered along any lines and
it is unified as a nation'. It sounds
prophetic and to plainly put it, unless the
Prime Minister reins in these extremist
elements that run amok now, his dream of
'modern India' could be in increasing
(The author isChairman, INOC, USA)
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FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
Pakistan close to buying
eight Chinese submarines:
Financial Times
BEIJING (TIP): Pakistan is close to signing a $4 to $5
billion deal to buy eight submarines from China, the
Financial Times said on April 2, in what it added would
likely be China's largest overseas arms sale.
The decision had been agreed "in principle", the
newspaper said, citing a hearing in the Pakistani
parliament's defence committee.
Pakistani newspaper the Dawn said on Wednesday that
negotiations with China on the sale were at an advanced
Neither China's Defence nor Foreign Ministries
immediately responded to a request for comment.
China and Pakistan call each other "all-weather friends"
and their close ties have been underpinned by longstanding wariness of their common neighbour, India, and
a desire to hedge against U.S. influence across the region.
China and Pakistan already have close defence ties and
China has sold a large amount of military equipment to
the country in the past.
3 navy personnel arrested
over Tamil lawmaker's killing
COLOMBO (TIP): Sri Lankan police have arrested three
navy personnel over an ethnic Tamil lawmaker's
assassination that had been blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said April 1 that
the three men are suspected in the killing of Nadaraja
Raviraj, who was shot dead in his car in 2006 during the
country's civil war.
Raviraj was outspoken on greater self-rule for minority
ethnic Tamils and explained the Tamil perspective of the
conflict in Sinhala, the language of the majority.
The government of former President Mahinda
Rajapaksa blamed the killing on the now-defeated Tamil
rebels, but Raviraj's supporters suspected a government
Rajapaksa's government was accused of operating
paramilitary groups to kill and abduct rebel suspects and
The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena
has promised accountability for wartime abuses.
Zardari plans to launch
daughter into politics
ISLAMABAD (TIP): Pakistan's
former president and PPP cochairman Asif Ali Zardari is planning
to launch his daughter into politics, a
move indicative of strained ties with
his son Bilawal.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari formally
stepped into politics last year, but
soon developed differences with his
father over handling of party affairs.
According to party sources, Bilawal
is living in London and planning to
take a two-year break from politics to
pursue his higher education after
earlier completing his graduation
from Oxford university.
"In his absence, the party needs a
Bhutto to be on the forefront and
Zardari has decided to introduce his
daughter Bakhtawar," the sources
Bakhtawar is being tutored in
politics by senior women leaders of
the party. She might deliver her
maiden political speech at the death
anniversary of her grandfather
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on April 4.
There is a little hope that Bilawal
would attend the anniversary, used as
a rallying point for party workers.
Zulfiqar founded Pakistan People
Party (PPP) and served as prime
minister before he was hanged in 1979
by military dictator Ziaul Haq on
dubious charges of murder.
His daughter Benazir Bhutto was
elected twice as prime minister before
she was killed in an attack in 2007.
PPP is associated with Bhuttos and
after the death of Benazir, Zardari
announced that all his children had
decided to adopt Bhutto as part of
their names
Another blogger
hacked to death
in Bangladesh
Rhino on rampage in Nepal,
kills 1, injures several
Afghan court sentences
photojournalist's killer to 20
years in jail
KATHMANDU (TIP): A wild rhino charged into a city in
southern Nepal on March 30, killing a woman, injuring
several others and chasing panicked people through the
main market and a hospital, an official said.
Attempts to force the rhino out of Hetauda city by
honking car horns and beating drums were unsuccessful,
with the animal running from one area to another,
government administrator Ram Prasad Thapaliya said.
Teams with tranquilizer guns were on their way to
attempt to capture it, he said.
Thapaliya said the rhino fatally gored a 61-year-old
woman on the outskirts of Hetauda, a city of about 135,000
people that borders a forested area. An unknown number
of people were injured, he said.
It chased people around the main downtown market and
the city bus station, he said.
KABUL (TIP): An Afghan police officer who shot and killed
a veteran Associated Press photographer during the
country's 2014 presidential election has been sentenced to 20
years in prison, a Supreme Court official told mediapersons
on March 30..
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he
was not authorized to give statements to the press.
A second AP reporter was injured in the attack, which
took place in eastern Khost province while they were sitting
in their car inside a government compound.
Anja Niedringhaus, 48, a German national, was killed
instantly while Canadian reporter Kathy Gannon who had
covered conflict in Afghanistan for 30 years survived the
The police officer had initially been sentenced to death, but
that decision was overturned by an appeals court and the
Supreme Court upheld that ruling, the court official said.
DHAKA (TIP): A blogger was hacked to death in the
Bangladesh capital on Monday, in the latest brutal attack on
the country's independent writers, a senior officer said.
Police have arrested two men over the murder which
comes just weeks after an American aethist blogger was
also hacked to death in Dhaka, a crime that triggered
international outrage, the officer said.
Bangladesh arrests chief suspect in US blogger murder
"He was brutally hacked to death this morning with big
knives just 500 yards (460 metres) from his home at Dhaka's
Begunbari area," local police chief Wahidul Islam told AFP.
Islam said the men were arrested immediately after the
attack trying to flee the scene.
Police said they were unsure whether the victim,
Washiqur Rahman, 27, was also an atheist blogger but
another social media writer said that he was known to
write "against religious fundamentalism".
"It appeared Rahman used to write using a penname
Kutshit Hasher Chhana (Ugly Duckling)," Imran Sarker,
head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in
Bangladesh, told AFP.
"He was a progressive free thinker and was against
religious fundamentalism," he said.
They have also arrested a suspect over the killing in
February of American atheist writer and blogger Avijit
Roy. Roy was the second atheist blogger to have been
murdered in the Muslim-majority country in the last two
years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since
His killing sparked an uproar at home and abroad with
hundreds of secular activists holding protests for days to
demand justice.
They also slammed the country's secular government for
not doing enough to protect humanist writers.
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
Woods plays 18 holes in
practice at Augusta National
AUGUSTA (TIP): The lingering 'will
he play/won't he play?' scenario with
Tiger Woods ahead of next week's
Masters entered a new phase on April 1
when the former world number one
played a practice round at Augusta
Woods' manager Mark Steinberg said
that Woods had played 18 holes at the
iconic Masters venue as he continued to
assess whether his game would be
"tournament-ready" for the first major of
the year.
However, Steinberg did not say
whether Woods was any closer to
reaching a decision about competing
this year at the Masters, where he is a
four-times champion.
Woods, whose ranking has plummeted
to a mind-boggling 104th, has struggled
badly for form and fitness this season,
and has played only twice on the 2014-15
PGA Tour.
He posted the highest score of his
professional career, an 11-over-par 82, to
miss the cut at the Phoenix Open in
January, and withdrew from the
Farmers Insurance Open early last
month after 11 holes because of
tightness in his back.
Woods, who claimed the most recent
of his 14 major titles at the 2008 US
Open, said he would not return to the
PGA Tour until his game was
"tournament-ready" and many pundits
believe he is suffering from the chipping
"I enter a tournament to compete at
the highest level, and when I think I'm
ready, I'll be back," Woods wrote on his
website. "I hope to be ready for the
If Woods does indeed have the yips, an
involuntary movement of the muscles,
Augusta National would be one of the
most challenging venues for him to
make a PGA Tour comeback because of
its slick, heavily contoured greens. One
thing in Woods' favour is his huge
comfort factor at Augusta National
where in 2010 he tied for fourth at the
Masters after not playing competitive
golf for five months.
He took an indefinite break from the
game in late 2009, as his private life
spectacularly unravelled, to try to repair
his marriage amid revelations about his
extra-marital affairs.
"He knows his way around the
Augusta," Northern Irish world number
Rory McIlroy said earlier this month. "If
he feels ready to play and he does play
then he knows what to do when there."
MIAMI (TIP): Novak Djokovic
recovered from a slow start and had to
battle at the end to overcome tenacious
Spaniard David Ferrer on April 1 to reach
the Miami Masters semifinals.
Serbia's world number one triumphed 75, 7-5 and advanced to a meeting with bigserving American John Isner, who
overpowered Japan's world number five
Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-3.
Djokovic, the defending champion and
winner of the Indian Wells title less than a
fortnight ago, came from two breaks down
in the first set as Ferrer celebrated his
33rd birthday with a runaway start.
But Djokovic reeled him in to take the
first set and served for victory leading 5-4
in the second.
Ferrer was having no part of it. He
broke Djokovic, but was broken himself a
game later to let Djokovic again serve for
the match.
Djokovic now owns eight straight wins
over the Spaniard, winner of three titles
already this season.
"David is one of the toughest opponents,
I knew the match would be physical," said
Djokovic. "He gives you nothing and
makes you work for every point.
"My strategy was to try and dominate
from the baseline, but stay alert for
chances to come to the net. That is
something I've been working.
"It was a tough match, but one that I
Jwala Gutta slams sports
ministry for leaving her out
of TOP scheme
NEW DELHI (TIP): India's ace doubles shuttler Jwala
Gutta on April 1 slammed the sport ministry for ignoring
her for the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme, saying
that she did not deserve such a treatment from the
government after all the struggle she had faced to bring
laurels to the country.
Jwala, a bronze medallist along with Ashwini Ponnappa
in the 2011 World Championships, said that she was
disappointed to have been left out of the scheme despite
being a top shuttler all these while.
"I just read news about Ashwini and my names not
being there in TOP scheme. The only support we had was
of Govt of India and now that also seems bleak. The
players who are already having lot of corporate support
are in the list and Ashwini and me not considered. I don't
know what more to be done. I am kind of tired, kind of
disappointed," Jwala said.
"If we speak its called cribbing and if we don't we will
be just left out. We have struggled so much to just play
doubles even after the performance which was never
expected but continuously being discouraged like this by
association and now the govt. How else are we suppose to
motivate ourselves?" she asked.
The TOP scheme identifies medal prospects from a few
sports, including badminton, to provide funding for topclass training for the 2016 Olympics. Recently,
Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) has
pledged to contribute Rs 10 crore each for three years to
the TOP Scheme for shuttlers.
According to sources, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth,
Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy, RMV Gurusaidutt, and PV
Sindhu are the six shuttlers who have been selected for the
scheme by a government-appointed committee, which also
include chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.
Serena Williams claws into
10th Miami Open final
MIAMI (TIP): A frustrated Serena Williams clawed into
her 10th Miami final on April 1, defeating Simona Halep 62, 4-6, 7-5.
Williams, apparently rattled by the Halep cheer squad
who drowned out most of the chants for the home hope,
saw her mighty forehand desert her in the second set, in
which Halep converted the only break point of the set to
force a third.
World number one Williams, who captured her 19th
Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this year,
regrouped to seize a 5-2 lead in the third only for the world
number three from Romania to battle back.
Finally Williams found a way, and she will bid for an
eighth Miami title against Carla Suarez Navarro.
Spain's Suarez Navarro earned her place in the biggest
match of her career with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Germany's
Andrea Petkovic.
Williams has won all four of her matches against Suarez
Navarro without dropping a set.
Sania-Hingis enter Miami
Open doubles semis
enjoyed. The next round will be totally
different against Isner, who has one of the
best serves in the game."
The tense moments against Ferrer
followed Djokovic's great escape against
Alexandr Dolgopolov, who was up a set
and a break in his fourth-round loss to the
Serbi. Isner, whose year has been modest
at best, has exploded into form on the
hardcourts of Miami, where he has yet to
drop a service game.
He ended the hopes of world number
five Nishikori, Asia's top player who
reached the US Open final last September.
It was Isner's second top-10 win of the
tournament, after his upset of sixthranked Milos Raonic on Tuesday.
"Things just snowballed for me," Isner
said, adding that the hot conditions suited
his game perfectly. He made the most of
that firing 13 aces and 33 winners overall.
"I just played well," Isner said. "I've been
serving well really for a while now, and I
did that again today. I was taking care of
my serve. I was taking my chances on his
serve, and the ball was finding the right
MIAMI (TIP): Fresh from their maiden win in the
Paribas Open title last month, Indian tennis ace Sania
Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis have entered
the women's doubles semifinals of the Miami Open.
The top-seeded Indo-Swiss duo served past the
Rodionova sisters, Anastasia and Arina, 6-3, 6-4 in the
quarterfinal encounter. The Sania-Hingis pairing has been
much-talked about in the tennis circuit and the top seeds
lived up to the hype by claiming their first title win in
their maiden appearance together in Indian Wells in
March. Hingis has won 11 Grand Slams in the team
discipline (nine in women's and two in mixed) while Sania
has claimed three Grand Slams (all in mixed).
The duo, which decided to unite in February, will now
meet the seventh-seeded Hungary-French combine of
Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the last-four
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
gunmen rampaged through a university in
northeastern Kenya at dawn Thursday,
killing 147 people in the group's deadliest
attack in the East African country. Four
militants were slain by security forces to end
the siege just after dusk.
The masked attackers armed with AK-47s
singled out non-Muslim students at Garissa
University College and then gunned them
down without mercy, survivors said. Others
ran for their lives with bullets whistling
through the air.
The men took dozens of hostages in a
dormitory for several hours as they battled
troops and police before the operation was
ended after about 13 hours, witnesses said.
Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage
said fighters from the Somalia-based
extremist group were responsible for the
bloodshed. The al-Qaida-linked group has
been blamed for a series of attacks in Kenya,
including the siege at the Westgate Mall in
Nairobi in 2013 that killed 67 people, as well
as other violence in the north.
Most of the 147 dead were students, but the
two security guards, one policeman and one
soldier also were killed in the attack, said
interior minister Joseph Nkaissery.
At least 79 people were wounded at the
school 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the
Somali border, Nkaissery said. A dusk-todawn curfew was ordered in Garissa and
three nearby counties. One suspected
extremist was arrested as he tried to flee,
Nkaissery told a news conference in Nairobi.
Police identified a possible mastermind of
the attack as Mohammed Mohamud, who is
alleged to lead Al Shabaab's cross-border
raids into Kenya, and they posted a $220,000
bounty for him. Also known by the names
Dulyadin and Gamadhere, he was a teacher
at an Islamic religious school, or madrassa,
and claimed responsibility for a bus attack in
Makka, Kenya, in November that killed 28
One of the survivors of Thursday's attack,
Collins Wetangula, said he was preparing to
take a shower when he heard gunshots
coming from Tana dorm, which hosts both
men and women, 150 meters (yards) away.
The campus has six dorms and at least 887
students, he said.When he heard the
gunshots, he locked himself and three
roommates in their room, said Wetangula,
who is vice chairman of the university's
student union.
"All I could hear were footsteps and
gunshots. Nobody was screaming because
they thought this would lead the gunmen to
know where they are," he said.
He added: "The gunmen were saying, `Sisi
ni Al Shabaab,"' — Swahili for "We are Al
Shabaab."He heard the attackers arrive at his
dormitory, open the doors and ask if the
people who had hidden inside were Muslims
or Christians."If you were a Christian, you
were shot on the spot," he said. "With each
blast of the gun, I thought I was going to die."
The gunmen then started shooting rapidly,
as if exchanging fire, Wetangula said.
"The next thing, we saw people in military
Explosion near bus station
in Gombe, Nigeria; 5 dead
KANO (Nigeria): An explosion near a bus station in the
northeast Nigerian city of Gombe killed at least five and
injured 15 others, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of
Boko Haram.
"We had an explosion outside the motor park (bus
station) this evening around 8.30pm local time (0100 IST
Friday) which killed five people and injured 15 others,"
said Muhammad Garkuwa, a drivers' union official.
"The explosion was from an explosive left by a woman in
her handbag beside a bus waiting to convey passengers to
Jos," he said in an account supported by a nearby food
The attack on Thursday is the latest in a string of
similar explosions against so-called "soft targets" such as
busy bus stations and crowded markets in the restive
northeast, which has been hit for the last six years by
Boko Haram Islamists.
The group has been pushed out of captured territory in
Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states since February by a fournation coalition of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and
Since then, the group has reverted to guerrilla tactics,
including suicide bombings and attacks on civilians in
urban centres.
uniform through the window of the back of
our rooms who identified themselves as the
Kenyan military," he said. The soldiers took
him and around 20 others to safety.
The attack began about 5:30 a.m., as
morning prayers were underway at the
university mosque, where worshippers were
not attacked, said Augustine Alanga, a 21year-old student.
At least five heavily armed, masked
gunmen opened fire outside his dormitory,
turning intense almost immediately and
setting off panic, he told the AP by telephone.
The shooting kept some students indoors
but scores of others fled through barbed-wire
fencing around the campus, with the gunmen
firing at them, he said.
"I am just now recovering from the pain as
I injured myself while trying to escape,
Alanga said. I was running barefoot," Alanga
said.As terrified students streamed out of
buildings, arriving police officers took cover.
Kenya's National Police Service said a "fierce
shootout" ensued as police guarded the
Three of the dorms were evacuated, with
the gunmen holed up in a fourth, the
National Disaster Operations Center said,
and Kenya Defense Forces surrounded the
"I am saddened to inform the nation that
early today, terrorists attacked Garissa
University College, killed and wounded
several people, and have taken others
hostage," President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a
speech to the nation while the siege was still
going on.
Michael Bwana, a 20-year-old student, said
he and other survivors tried to call their
friends trapped in a dormitory, but their
phones were switched off — either by their
owners to keep them from ringing or by the
gunmen who have seized them.
"Most of the people still inside there are
girls," Bwana said, referring to the dorm
where gunmen are believed to be holding an
unknown number of captives.
Wetangula, who was rescued by troops,
said one soldier instructed a group of
students to run and to dive for cover at their
command as they ran to safety.
"We started running and bullets were
whizzing past our heads, and the soldiers told
us to dive," Wetangula said. The soldier told
students later that Al Shabaab snipers were
perched on a three-story dormitory called the
Elgon, he said.Some of the more seriously
wounded were flown to Nairobi for
treatment, authorities said. Kenyatta has
been under pressure to deal with insecurity
caused by a string of attacks by Al Shabaab.
In his speech to the country, he said he had
directed the police chief to fast-track the
training of 10,000 police recruits because
Kenya has "suffered unnecessarily due to
shortage of security personnel." Kenya's
northern and eastern regions near the
Somali border have seen many attacks
blamed on Al Shabaab. The group has vowed
to retaliate against Kenya for dispatching
troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight the
militants following cross-border attacks.
519 dead in two weeks of
Yemen fighting: UN
people have been killed and nearly
1,700 injured in two weeks of fighting
in Yemen, the UN aid chief has said,
raising alarm over the fate of
Valerie Amos yesterday said she
was "extremely concerned" for the
safety of civilians trapped in the
fierce fighting and appealed to armed
factions to do their utmost to protect
ordinary Yemenis.
The violence has sharply escalated
in Yemen following a Saudi-led air
campaign launched on March 26 to
stop an advance by Shia Huthi rebels
that forced President Abedrabbo
Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.
Aid groups have expressed alarm
over the mounting toll of civilian
casualties following an air strike on a
camp for displaced people and the
bombing of a dairy. Dozens were
killed in both attacks.
"Those engaged in fighting must
ensure that hospitals, schools, camps
for refugees and those internally
displaced and civilian infrastructure,
especially in populated areas, are not
targeted or used for military
purposes," Amos said in a statement.
The UN children's agency this week
said at least 62 children had been
killed and 30 injured over the past
week in Yemen, and that more of them
were being recruited as child soldiers.
Tens of thousands of people have
fled their homes, some making the
perilous journey by sea to Djibouti
and Somalia, Amos said.
UN aid agencies are working with
the Yemen Red Crescent to deliver
emergency health kits and generators
so that civilians can have clean water,
food and blankets, she added.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon
this week reminded all sides to uphold
international humanitarian law and
protect civilians.
The United Nations is backing Hadi
as Yemen's legitimate leader in the
face of the Huthi uprising that has
plunged the poor Arab state deeper
into chaos.
The Huthis seized power in the
capital Sanaa in February and last
month advanced on the port city of
Aden, Hadi's stronghold, where they
seized the presidential palace on
April 2.
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
‘Lubitz researched suicide,
cockpit security online’
co-pilot at the controls of the
Germanwings airliner that crashed into
the French Alps last week had been
searching the Internet in the days
leading up to the crash for information
about how to commit suicide and the
security measures for cockpit doors,
prosecutors said here on Thursday.
Investigators found an iPad belonging
to Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot, at his
apartment here in Dusseldorf that
included his browser history between
March 16 and March 23 — the day
before the crash.
"During this time the user was
searching for medical treatments, as
well as informing himself about ways
and possibilities of killing himself,"
they said in a statement. "On at least
one day the person concerned also
spent several minutes looking up search
terms about cockpit doors and their
safety measures," the statement said.
The disclosure came as investigators
in France reported finding the second
so-called black box from the March 24
crash, which obliterated the Airbus A320
aircraft and killed all 150 people aboard.
French prosecutors said they believe
that Lubitz, 27, intentionally locked the
captain out of the cockpit then set a
course for the mountainside. The
discovery on Thursday of the second
black box should enable them to
determine more precisely what actions
Mr. Lubitz took to put the plane into its
fatal descent and to prevent the captain
from re-entering the cockpit.
Prosecutors declined to release any
information on the exact terms
searched. They said such detail must
remain confidential until all evidence
has been evaluated. "Based on the
amount of documents and electronic
data, no further results are expected in
the coming days," prosecutors said.
They also said they were working
together with local and state police to
evaluate the documents and electronic
devices found in Mr. Lubitz' apartment.
Police spent several hours searching
the co-pilot's home on last Thursday,
removing two moving boxes and large,
plastic trash bags full of possible
Among the items found was the iPad,
which prosecutors said contained
"personal correspondence and search
terms that lead to the conclusion that
the device was used by the co-pilot" in
the days before the crash.
The flight data recorder that was
recovered from the crash site on
Thursday tracks hundreds of
performance statistics from the plane,
including its position, speed, altitude
and direction. Officials said the recorder
would be transported to the offices of
France's accidents investigations
bureau, near Paris, for analysis.
An official involved in the
investigation that the recorder's
protective case did not appear to have
been significantly damaged, raising
hopes that the data contained on its
flash memory card would be
successfully retrieved and successfully
synchronized with the voice recorder
recovered soon after the crash.
The official, who requested
anonymity because the investigation is
ongoing, confirmed that the flight data
recorder was found intact. Last week,
searchers recovered a severely damaged
device that they initially believed was
the flight data recorder's external case,
leading them to conclude - and
President Francois Hollande to
announce — that the recorder's memory
card had been dislodged by the force of
the crash. However, the official said that
the item found was subsequently
determined to be an antenna.
Investigators are likely to spend the
next several weeks conducting a
detailed analysis of the two black box
recordings in order to assemble a fuller
picture of what happened in the flight's
final moments.
The latest discoveries came as a team
of German aviation experts and
industry representatives planned to
examine whether to introduce changes
to cockpit door controls and to the
medical assessment of pilots because of
the crash, Germany's transportation
minister said Thursday.
Investigators believe that Lubitz
prevented the captain from returning to
the cockpit by activating security
mechanisms, introduced after the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that are
designed to prevent outsiders from
entering and seizing the controls.
Prince Harry to quit British army in June
LONDON: It's a soldier's life no more
for Britain's Prince Harry.
Royal officials said on Tuesday that
the 30-year old prince will leave the
armed forces in June after 10 years of
service that included two tours of duty
in Afghanistan.
Harry's final army duties will include
a four-week assignment in April and
May with the Australian Defence Force.
The prince will spend time in Darwin,
Perth and Sydney and attend centenary
commemorations of the World War I
Gallipoli campaign in Turkey.
Harry said that leaving the army had
been "a really tough decision" but he
was excited about the future.
In a statement, Harry said he felt
"incredibly lucky" to have had the
chance to serve in the armed forces.
"From learning the hard way to stay
onside with my Color Sergeant at
Sandhurst, to the incredible people I
served with during two tours in
Afghanistan _ the experiences I have
had over the last 10 years will stay with
me for the rest of my life," he said. "For
that I will always be hugely grateful."
Harry, who is fourth in line to the
British throne, graduated from
Sandhurst officers' academy in 2006 and
joined the Household Cavalry as an
armored reconnaissance troop leader.
He served in Afghanistan as a
battlefield air controller for 10 weeks in
2007-2008 until a media leak cut his tour
Keen to return to the front lines
despite fears he would be a top Taliban
target, Harry retrained as a helicopter
pilot and served in Afghanistan in 20122013 as an Apache co-pilot gunner.
Most recently he has served as a staff
officer in the army's London
headquarters, playing a big role in
bringing the Invictus Games _ an
international sports competition for
wounded troops _ to Britain.
Kensington Palace said that after
leaving the army Harry will volunteer
with the British military's Recovery
Capability Program, which helps
wounded service members, "while
actively considering other longer-term
employment opportunities."
Harry was the first British royal to
see combat since his uncle, Prince
Andrew, who flew Royal Navy
helicopters during the 1982 Falklands
War. His older brother Prince William
also attended Sandhurst before training
as a Royal Navy search-and-rescue
helicopter pilot. He has since left the
navy to become an air-ambulance pilot.
Harry has often seemed more
comfortable as a soldier than in his
royal duties, although he has been
visibly energized by his work with
charities for wounded veterans.
Mexico probes deadly oil rig
blast and fire
MEXICO CITY (TIP): Mexican authorities have launched
an investigation into what caused an explosion and fire on
an oil platform operated by state firm Pemex that killed
four workers and injured several others.
The attorney general's office said on Thursday it opened
an inquiry into possible crimes including property
damage and homicide. It deployed officials from the
Criminal Investigation Agency, some specialising in fires,
explosives and mechanical engineering.
The ASEA agency, which is in charge of safety in the
energy industry, said its own staff began to work after
water was poured overnight to cool down the Abkatun APermanente platform on the Gulf of Mexico.
The blast took place before dawn on Wednesday at the
dehydration and pump section of the rig, and it took
almost 16 hours for 10 firefighting vessels to extinguish the
Pemex said it managed to avoid an oil spill. Around 300
workers were evacuated to safety during the emergency.
Sixteen workers were initially hospitalized, and nine were
still being treated yesterday, including two in serious
It was the latest fatal incident to hit Pemex in recent
years. In 2007, two Pemex platforms collided in the Gulf of
Mexico, killing 21 workers and causing a large oil spill.
England farm starts growing
Naga chillies
DEVON (ENGLAND) (TIP): A farm in southwest
England has started growing Naga chillies -- Bhut Jolokia - for the first time on the British soil after years of trial
and error.
The South Devon Chilli Farm's whole stock of 300 kg of
Bhut Jolokia, which is cultivated mainly in northeastern
states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, this year was
finished within weeks.
The farm owner, Steve Waters, told TOI it was incredibly
difficult to grow the Naga chillies, which the Guinness
Book of World Records had certified as the world's hottest
chilli in 2007.
He said it takes Bhut Jolokia seven months to grow from
seed to ripe fruit and is fiercely hot. "The demand for the
chilli in Britain has been rocketing and we have finally
managed to grow it on British soil in large volumes.''
Waters said people do not have to bank on dried Naga
chillies imported from India but can buy them fresh,
plucked straight from the farm.
"This is the first year we have started selling the fruit
and have already become hugely popular. We are also
making super fiery sauces from the Naga chilli.''
US commander accuses China
of creating artificial landmass
in South China Sea
BEIJING: A US navy commander has accused China of
creating an "artificial landmass" in the disputed waters of
the South China Sea.
"China is building artificial land by pumping sand on to
live coral reefs — some of them submerged — and paving
over them with concrete. China has now created over 4 sq
km (1.5 sq miles) of artificial landmass," US Pacific Fleet
Commander Admiral Harry Harris said in a speech in
Australia. Harris said the move has raised "serious
questions" about China's intensions. He said China was
pumping vast amounts of sand and concrete to create a
"Great Wall of sand" and fake islands.
Harris added it was endangering the environment
because the sand was being poured on live corals. He
described the move as part of a "pattern of provocative
actions towards smaller claimant states" in the South
China Sea.
Observers said the creation of new landmass near the
disputed islands would strengthen China's claims over
them. China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua
Chunying had earlier said the country's operations in the
disputed Spratly Islands fell "entirely within China's
sovereignty and are totally justifiable".
ecorate your living spaces
with the following plants to
that will filter the air you
Bamboo palm is a great plant to
have in your house as it can get rid of
all sorts of chemicals in the
atmosphere. It doesn't require too
much direct sunlight so it can be kept
inside, where there is a shady spot. It
eliminates carbon monoxide,
benzene, formaldehyde, xylene,
chloroform and more, making it the
best choice for the laundry room,
living room or bedroom.
In India, rubber plants are very
common. They need a lot of bright
light, water and fertilizer to keep them
healthy. This is a great choice for
eliminating carbon monoxide,
formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
The Areca palm is also like the
bamboo palm. It has arch-like leaves
that are attractive and graceful
looking. It needs more sunlight and
10 gm maida, 2 gm carrot, 2 gm celery, 10 gm onions, 10
gm garlic (peeled), 2 gm oyster mushrooms, 2 gm
shiitake mushrooms, 2 gm fresh mushrooms, 30 gm
mushroom paste, 10 gm butter, 20 ml rich cooking cream,
2 pieces of bread sticks, salt and white pepper powder to
taste, fresh oregano for seasoning
Make the velutee sauce first. To make the sauce, you
need some vegetable stock. Take roughly chopped onion,
garlic, carrot, celery and leek. Cook in water for a long
time to get vegetable stock. Take another pan and make
a white sauce by whisking butter and maida together.
Add this to the vegetable stock and keep aside.
Soak the shiitake and oyster mushroom in hot water.
When it has absorbed enough water, take oil in a pan
and saute the 3 types of mushroom keeping some aside
for garnishing the soup. Now make a paste of sauteed
Now take the velutee sauce in a pan and add
mushroom paste to it. Add cream and cook it while
checking for seasoning. Garnish with cream and serve
10 gm oyster mushrooms, 10 gm shiitake mushrooms,
20 gm fresh mushrooms, 40 gm mushroom paste, 50 gm
white sauce, 30 ml fresh cream, 10 gm garlic (peeled), 1
gm parsley, 20 gm parmesan cheese, 10 gm olive
tapenade, 80 gm penne pasta, 2 portions of garlic bread,
80 ml olive oil, salt to taste
Soak the shitake and oyster mushroom in hot water.
When it becomes soft, keep some mushroom aside and
cut it into cubes. Saute remaining mushroom with garlic
and make the pasta. Keep aside.
Blanch the pasta in hot boiling water with oil and salt.
Keep aside.
Now make the white sauce for it. Mix together butter
and refined flour and add it to the boiling milk. Cook it
Take a pan, saute garlic. Add cubed mushrooms to it.
Add some white sauce and then the pasta and cream.
Cook for a while, check for seasoning. Lastly add the
parmesan cheese to it. Garnish with olive tapenade,
grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Serve hot with garlic bread.
water to keep it growing. It's a great
choice for humidifying the air as well
as eliminating benzene, carbon
monoxide, xylene, trichloroethylene
and formaldehyde.
The pretty Chrysanthemums don't
just look lovely in the house but is also
an air purifier. Place it under indirect
sunlight and check the soil every day
for moisture. It gets rid of ammonia.
Screen the sun
Zero down on a sunscreen that best
meets your requirements and contains
sun protection factor (SPF). SPF 30 is
best recommended for Indian skin
types. Apply sun screen 20 to 30
minutes before stepping out and
ensure you wear sunscreen every day,
even when you stay indoors.
Follow the essential routine
Follow the cleansing, toning and
moisturising ritual twice a day for
best results. Summers are most
nightmarish time for skin issues,
specially acne. To keep your skin acnefree use a cleanser which contains
salicylic acid and helps reduce acne
and prevent future breakouts.
Incorporating exfoliation into your
skin care regime is a must to avoid
dull skin! Exfoliants remove old, dry,
dead skin cells, toxins and other
deposits and allow new skin cells to
surface. Scrub your elbows and knees
at least twice a week to get rid of dead
tissues. Rub a slice of lemon with
sugar every alternate day to keep
them clean and to remove tan.
moisture. Consider switching to a
gentle shampoo and use a deep
conditioner to replenish the loss of
moisture. Massage your hair with a
mixture of coconut oil, castor and
olive oil regularly to keep your hair
Happy Feet
Hair woes
Since hair tends to be moisturedeprived during summers, overuse of
any kind of chemical and hair styling
tool should be avoided. Shampooing
often results in loss of shine and
Start with wearing an open sandal
in the summer to keep your feet dry
and give them a chance to "breathe".
Your feet are subject to sunburn just
like the rest of your body. Use
sunscreen during the day and during
the evenings apply a lightweight
Maintain a healthy diet
With summers in full swing, it is
advised that apart from drinking
lots of water, a special summer diet
consisting of light and healthy food
would ensure a cool mind and body.
To keep your skin hydrated, eat lot
of fresh fruits and green
vegetables. Include fruits and
vegetables like bitter gourd,
spinach, cucumber, watermelons,
oranges, cherries, plums and lychee
to your diet.
olic acid supplements may be an inexpensive alternative
for helping older adults to increase skin blood flow
during heat waves
and reduce cardiovascular
events such as heart attack
and stroke, suggests a new
The study published
online in the journal
Clinical Science showed
that supplemental folic acid
can enhance blood vessel
dilation in older adults.
"We know that when older
adults are exposed to heat, their bodies are not able to increase
skin blood flow to the same extent that young subjects do, and
as a consequence, older adults are at a greater risk for
cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, during
environmental heat waves," explained Anna Stanhewicz, postdoctoral fellow at the Pennsylvania State University.
Researchers know this is due, in part, to aged blood vessels
that cannot produce enough nitric oxide, Stanhewicz said.
Nitric oxide is the molecule produced by the blood vessels
using an enzyme that requires tetrahydrobiopterin -- BH4. As
people age, BH4 bioavailability decreases, Stanhewicz said.
Folic acid increases the bioavailability of BH4 in the body, so
in this study researchers believe that folic acid increased nitric
oxide production by increasing BH4, Stanhewicz said.
Researchers tested very healthy older adults in order to
isolate the affect of age without other cardiovascular diseases.
The participants received both folic acid and lactated ringer's
solution, a placebo, at randomised sites on their arms so that
they could serve as their own controls.
"The bottom line is that folic acid supplementation increased
nitric oxide production in older blood vessels," Stanhewicz said.
Folic acid is vitamin B that every cell in your body needs for
normal growth and development. When folic acid is naturally in
a food, it's called folate.
Some good sources of folate are beans, like lentils, pinto
beans and black beans; leafy green vegetables, like spinach and
asparagus, broccoli; peanuts; citrus fruits, like oranges and
grapefruit among others.
Stronger abs don't develop
overnight -the deal is to first learn
to activate your core. Start on the
floor on all fours, hands placed
under neath your shoulders, hips in
line with your knees. Lift your right
hand and extend your arm straight
out in front of you, at shoulder
height, while simultaneously lifting
your left leg and extending it
straight back. (a) Your body should
be in a straight line from right fin
gertips to left toes. Bring your left
leg to touch your right elbow under
your stomach. Extend your leg and
arm out again. Return to starting
position. (b) Repeat on the other
side. Do five reps on each side.
Stand with your feet hip width
apart, hands placed behind your
head. With a tight core, back
straight and relaxed shoulder, lift
your right leg and raise your right
knee and lower your left elbow
towards each other.
Return to the starting position.
Go for a weekly jog
Jogging for just an hour a week can increase
your life expectancy by six years, according to
a Copenhagen City Heart cardiovascular study
of around 20,000 men and women aged from 20
to 93. Researchers believe jogging delivers
multiple health benefits, improving oxygen
uptake and lowering blood pressure, as well as
many more benefits. However, any physical
activity can help lower blood pressure by
strengthening the heart so it can pump more
blood with less effort, thereby decreasing the
force on the arteries. Power walking can be
just as effective as jogging.
Enjoy yoghurt
Just one small pot a day can reduce your
chances of developing high blood pressure by
a third, according to a study presented at the
University of Minnesota in the US. Scientists
think naturally occurring calcium can make
blood vessels more supple, enabling them to
expand slightly and keep pressure low.
They found those who ate a 120g pot daily
Repeat on the opposite side. Do five
reps on each side.
Sit on the floor, legs stretched
straight out in front of you. Keeping
your core engaged, lean back
slightly, so you're able to place your
hands on either side of your glutes.
Take a deep breath and lift one leg
six inches off the ground. Hold for
five seconds, and then put it down.
Repeat with the other leg. Continue
alternating for a-minute straight,
then take a 20 second break.
were 31 per cent less likely to develop high
blood pressure over a 15-year period than
those who did not.
Go bananas
contain 80 per cent of the salt we consume,
says the Blood Pressure Association. Check
labels: more than 1.5g salt per 100g is a lot,
but less than 0.3mg per 100g is a little.
Lose weight
Eating potassium-rich foods, such as
bananas, and reducing salt intake could save
thousands of lives every year, according to a
new study published in the British Medical
Journal online. Potassium is an important
mineral that controls the balance of fluids in
the body and helps to lower blood pressure.
Making sure you eat five.
Down with salt
Salt draws in fluid, raising the volume and
pressure of blood in your arteries. But it's
not just the salt cellar you have to worry
about — processed foods such as biscuits,
breakfast cereals, takeaways and ready meals
Research has shown that dropping just a
few kilos can have a substantial impact on
your blood pressure. Excess weight makes
your heart work harder and this strain can
lead to high blood pressure.
Don't smoke
The nicotine in cigarettes stimulates your
body to produce adrenaline, making your
heart beat faster and raises your blood
pressure, making your heart work harder.
Work less
Regularly putting in 40 hours per week at
the office raises your risk of hypertension
by 14 per cent, the University of California,
US, found.The risk rises with overtime.
Compared with those who worked fewer
than 40 hours a week, workers who clocked
up more than 51 hours were 29 per cent
more likely to have high blood pressure.
Overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat
healthily, say researchers. So try to down
tools with enough time to relax in the
evening and eat a healthy supper. Set a
message on your computer as a reminder to
go home.
Seek help for snoring
Loud, incessant snoring is a symptom of
obstructive sleep apnea. And more than half
of those with this have blood pressure
significantly higher than expected for their
age and general health.
ahavir Jayanti is the most
important Jain festival. It
celebrates the birth of Saint
Mahavir in a small town called Vaishali. The
importance of the festival owes to the fact
that Saint Mahavir was the founder of
Jainism as a religion. It is a peaceful religion
that cherishes simplicity. Their core values
are such that they do not believe in killing
even an insect. The mood of this festival is
also without any kind of drama, just a quite
celebration with respect to their saint. There
are dominantly four types of Jains:
Digambars and Svetambaras, Deravasis and
Sthanakvasis. The worship rituals of Jains
are not very elaborate or striking as their
leader Mahavir was against idol worship in
its ideal sense. Out of the four sects only
Deravasis go to temples, while the others
regard their ideal faith to be purest when
grandiosity, there are some significant
ceremonies that they uphold. One of the
most significant traditions of this day is the
visit to various tirthankar statues and
temples. There are processions with
pictures and images of Mahavir. The
temples have varied pujas to honor the
statue of Mahavir by flowers, rice, fruits
and abhishek it with milk. There are places
of gathering or temples where the core
values and message of Mahavira is
preached. Some places his life history is
also told. Some of the believers also observe
a fast on this day. Kheer is prepared in most
houses as a sweet dish.
Commonly Celebrated
Mahavir Jain was born in the 5th century
B.C. He was born in a palace of Vaishali to
King Siddhartha and Queen Trisala. During
the pregnancy, the queen is said to have had
dreams of auspicious nature. The number of
dreams varies in belief of each sect. After
running his kingdom faithfully till 30 years
of his age, the great saint gave up all
luxuries and comforts of palace for penance.
For twelve long years the saint had been
under penance. At this time he was
enlightened. He was known to be the 24th
and the last tirthankara to have received
enlightenment. He gave up all redundancies
of life. He would eat on his palms refusing to
use a plate. He also gave up wearing clothes.
Getting rid of these rudimentary materials
he focused on the real things and the real
meaning of life. He preached the importance
of truth and non-violence along with the
message of not owning anything and not
stealing. He later formulated all his
teachings into a religion that he names
Celebrations And Rituals
The festival is celebrated throughout the
country among Jain communities. Although
they believe in simplicity and avoid
Lord Mahavira, as it is believed in
Jainism was born somewhere around the
5th century B.C. His birth date according to
Lunar calendar is on the thirteenth day of
the month of rising moon called Chaitr.
According to the Gregorian calendar it falls
somewhere in the month of April. The most
important places of celebration of Mahavir
Jayanti are Gujarat and Rajasthan. Gujarat
is said to have to maximum number of Jain
shrines. They are also the states where
highest numbers of Jains reside. In India,
Gujarat holds the biggest fair for this
festival. Palitana and Girnar are some of
the most significant places of worship of
the state. Yet Vaishali, in Bihar, being the
birth place of Mahavir, has its own
importance and also celebrates this Jayanti
he Upanishads form the core of
Indian philosophy. They are an
amazing collection of writings
from original oral transmissions, which
have been aptly described by Shri
Aurobindo as "the supreme work of the
Indian mind". It is here that we find all
the fundamental teachings that are central
to Hinduism — the concepts of 'karma'
(action), 'samsara' (reincarnation),
'moksha' (nirvana), the 'atman' (soul), and
the 'Brahman' (Absolute Almighty). They
also set forth the prime Vedic doctrines of
self-realization, yoga and meditation. The
Upanishads are summits of thought on
mankind and the universe, designed to
push human ideas to their very limit and
beyond. They give us both spiritual vision
and philosophical argument, and it is by a
strictly personal effort that one can reach
the truth.
The term 'Upanishad' literally means,
"sitting down near" or "sitting close to",
and implies listening closely to the mystic
doctrines of a guru or a spiritual teacher,
who has cognized the fundamental truths
of the universe. It points to a period in
time when groups of pupils sat near the
teacher and learnt from him the secret
teachings in the quietude of forest
'ashrams' or hermitages. In another sense
of the term, 'Upanishad' means 'brahmaknowledge' by which ignorance is
annihilated. Some other possible
meanings of the compound word
'Upanishad' are "placing side by side"
(equivalence or correlation), a "near
approach" (to the Absolute Being), "secret
wisdom" or even "sitting near the
Meaning of 'Upanishad'
Historians and Indologists have put the
date of composition of the Upanishads
Time of Composition
from around 800 - 400 B.C., though many of
the verse versions may have been written
much later. In fact, they were written over a
very long period of time and do not
represent a coherent body of information
or one particular system of belief. However,
there is a commonality of thought and
The Main Books
Although there are more than 200
Upanishads, only thirteen have been
identified out as presenting the core
teachings. They are the Chandogya, Kena,
Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Katha, Mundaka,
Taittriyaka, Brihadaranyaka, Svetasvatara,
Isa, Prasna, Mandukya and the Maitri
Upanishads. One of the oldest and longest of
the Upanishads, the Brihadaranyaka says:
"From the unreal lead me to the real!
From darkness lead me to light!
From death lead me to immortality!"
The crux of the Upanishads is that this can
be achieved by meditating with the
awareness that one's soul ('atman') is one
with all things, and that 'one' is 'Brahman',
which becomes the 'all'.
Who wrote the Upanishads?
The authors of the Upanishads were many,
but they were not solely from the priestly
caste. They were poets prone to flashes of
spiritual wisdom, and their aim was to guide
a few chosen pupils to the point of liberation,
which they themselves had attained.
According to some scholars, the main figure
in the Upanishads is Yajnavalkya, the great
sage who propounded the doctrine of 'netineti', the view that "truth can be found only
through the negation of all thoughts about
it". Other important Upanishadic sages are
Uddalaka Aruni, Shwetaketu, Shandilya,
Aitareya, Pippalada, Sanat Kumara. Many
earlier Vedic teachers like Manu, Brihaspati,
Ayasya and Narada are also found in the
cientists believe that the planet
is coated in billions of years'
worth of carbon dust, after
millennia upon millennia of being
'dumped on' by passing comets.
The planet Mercury has long
enjoyed a certain glamorous sheen
thanks to it being named after the fleetfooted messenger of the Roman gods.
Now, however, it seems in danger of
gaining an altogether less appealing
association — as a celestial reminder
of what happens if you don't keep up
with the dusting.
American scientists believe that
they have solved the mystery of why,
compared with the Moon, its nearest
airless neighbour, Mercury has a dark
and decidedly non-silvery surface. The
reason, they say, is that the planet is
coated in billions of years' worth of
carbon dust, after millennia upon
millennia of being "dumped on" by
passing comets.
The repeated showers of dusty
"stealth-darkening agent", they
suggest, have in effect turned Mercury
into "a painted planet". Where to
explore in the solar system.
The dim surface of the planet closest
WASHINGTON (TIP): The first human settlers on the moon
may live inside giant lava tubes large enough to house cities,
which were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions, new
research suggests.
The volcanic features are an important target for future
human space exploration because they could provide shelter
from cosmic radiation, meteorite impacts and temperature
extremes, researchers said.
Lava tubes are tunnels formed from the lava flow of
volcanic eruptions. The edges of the lava cool as it flows to
form a pipe-like crust around the flowing river of lava. When
the eruption ends and the lava flow stops, the pipe drains
leave behind a hollow tunnel, said Jay Melosh, a Purdue
University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and
planetary sciences who is involved in the research.
"There has been some discussion of whether lava tubes
might exist on the moon," he said. "Some evidence, like the
sinuous rilles observed on the surface, suggest that if lunar
lava tubes exist they might be really big," said Melosh.
Sinuous rilles are large channels visible on the lunar
surface thought to be formed by lava flows. The rilles range in
size up to 10kms wide, and the team explored whether lava
tubes of the same scale could exist.
Bionic ants could power
tomorrow's industries
obotic ants the size of a human hand that work
together could be the future of factory production
The developers, German technology firm Festo, say it's not
just the unusual anatomy of real-world ants that inspired the
bionic version — the collective intelligence of an ant colony
was also something they wanted to replicate.
The bionic ants cooperate and coordinate their actions and
movements to achieve a common aim — in the same way
individual ants complete tasks for the whole colony. Festo
says that in the future production systems will be based on
intelligent individual components that adjust themselves to
different production demands by communicating with each
other. The ants are able to complete complex tasks like
transporting large, heavy loads, that they wouldn't be able to
achieve individually, by working together.
The robot features a stereo camera and a floor sensor that
together allow the ant to work out its location and identify
objects to be grabbed by grippers at the front of its "head".
The antennae double up as chargers for lithium batteries that
power their movements. A radio module in the abdomen
allows them to communicate with each other wirelessly. Just
like their natural counterparts, the ants have six articulated
Festo says the way the ants are constructed is unique too.
The bodies of the bionic ants are made from a 3D printed
plastic powder melted layer by layer with a laser. The
circuitry is also 3D-printed on top of the body. Festo says this
is the first time the techniques have been combined.
The ceramic legs and pincers are flexible actuators that
move quickly and precisely without using much energy.
Again, Festo says the application of this so-called 'piezo'
technology to miniature robots like its bionic ants is a first.
to the Sun, has long puzzled
astronomers. Since it has the thinnest
atmosphere of all the planets in the
solar system, one possibility was that
it was darkened by the effects of solar
winds and the impacts of micro
Both processes, however, would leave
a thin, dark coating of tiny, dark iron
particles, and analysis found that there
were in fact very few such particles on
Mercury's surface. the
independentNow research, published
in Nature.
Geoscience and conducted by Megan
Bruck Syal at Brown University in
Rhode Island, has produced another
possibility. "It's long been hypothesised
that there's a mystery darkening agent
that's contributing to Mercury's low
reflectance," she said. "One thing that
hadn't been considered was that
Mercury gets dumped on by a lot of
material derived from comets."
China plans huge solar
power station in space
BEIJING (TIP): China plans to build
a huge solar power station 36,000km
above the ground in an attempt to
battle smog, cut greenhouse gases and
solve energy crisis, much on the lines
of an idea first floated in 1941 by
fiction writer Isaac Asimov, state
media reported on Monday.
If realized, it will surpass the scale
of the Apollo project and the
International Space Station, and be the
largest-ever space project.
The power station would be a super
spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit
equipped with huge solar panels. The
electricity generated would be
converted to microwaves or lasers and
transmitted to a collector on Earth,
staterun Xinhua news agency
In 1941, American science fiction
writer Isaac Asimov had published a
short story "Reason", in which a space
station transmits energy collected
from the sun using microwave beams.
Wang Xiji, an academician of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences and an
International Academy of
Astronautics member, says Asimov's
fiction has a scientific basis. After
devoting over 50 years to space
technology research, Wang, 93, is an
advocate for the station: "An
economically viable space power
station would be really huge, with the
total area of the so lar panels reaching
5 to 6 sq km." That would be equivalent
to 12 of Beijing's Tian'anmen Square,
the largest public square in the
world."Maybe people on Earth could
see at night, like a star," says Wang.
Wang says the electricity generated
from the ground-based solar plants
fluctuates with night and day and
weather, but a space generator collects
energy 99% of the time.Space-based
solar panels can generate ten times as
much electricity as ground-based
panels per unit area, says Duan
Baoyan, a member of the Chinese
Academy of Engineering."If we have
space solar power technology",
hopefully we could solve the energy
crisis on Earth," Duan said. Wang says
whoever obtains the technology first
"could occupy the future energy
market." However, many hurdles lie
ahead: A commercially viable space
power station would weigh 10,000 tons.
But few rockets can carry a payload of
over 100 tons to low Earth orbit. "We
need a cheap heavy-lift launchvehicle,"
says Wang, who designed China's first
carrier rocket more than 40 years ago.
"We also need to make very thin and
light solar panels."
Speed bumps to
generate power
AHMEDABAD: Speed bumps
have always been cursed by
motorists for reducing vehicle
efficiency and wasting petrol.
But not any more. Eight
engineering students of the
state have come out with small
speed bumps that can generate
electricity through electrospinning wheels installed
beneath roads in heavy traffic
zones, thereby powering
streetlights and traffic signals.
A conventional speed bump
wastes a huge amount of kinetic
energy when a car is forced to
bring itself from a more efficient
cruising speed to almost zero.
Vicky Vyas, one of the students,
explained: "A rotary is beneficial
when the proportion of the
right-turn traffic is extremely
high; typically if it is more than
30%. They're suitable when there
are more than four approaches
or if there aren't separate lanes
for right-turn traffic."
By placing electro-mechanical
units beneath speed breakers,
we can conserve this energy.
When vehicles pass over the
spinning wheel, power is
produced by the motion of
wheels that is saved in a
generator installed under
electro-spinning wheels.
SHANGHAI (TIP): US drugmaker Pfizer Inc said it
would cease its vaccines sales operations in China after
an import licence for one of its top-selling treatments,
the only vaccine it sold in the country, was not renewed.
A Pfizer spokeswoman declined to say why the
Chinese import licence for Prevenar, an anti-bacterial
treatment, had not been renewed. The China Food and
Drug Administration regulatory agency could not
immediately be reached for comment.
The move comes as drugmakers face growing
difficulties obtaining approvals for medicines in China,
the world's No. 2 drug market, where pharmaceutical
executives say over-stretched regulators have added
more red tape to the process of bringing drugs to
"Based on a careful assessment of this situation, we
have decided to cease our vaccines commercial
operations in China at this time, effective immediately,"
Pfizer spokeswoman Trupti Wagh said in comments
emailed to Reuters.
Prevenar is the only vaccine Pfizer sells in China, and
the move doesn't affect its other operations in the
Strong growth in China sales of drugs including
Prevenar helped Pfizer offset weaker global revenue
growth last year.
Pfizer's vaccines sales team has around 200 staff and
"most colleagues will be impacted", Wagh added. Pfizer
has over 9,000 employees in China, according to its
website, working in business segments including
research and development, prescription drugs and
consumer health products.
China's fast-growing healthcare market is a magnet for
global drugmakers, medical device firms and hospital
operators, all keen to get a slice of a medical bill
estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2020. Drug spending alone
is set to hit $185 billion by 2018, according to IMS Health.
However, China's drug approval backlog jumped a
third last year, authorities said earlier this month,
reflecting rising industry concern that it is getting
harder to get medicines approved.
Wagh said Pfizer would work with Chinese regulators
to bring Prevenar 13 - an updated version of the vaccine to market at some point in future, although she added
there was no clear timeframe for this.
Pfizer's global revenues from the Prevenar family of
products, which includes Prevenar, was $4.5 billion last
year, up 12 percent against 2013, the firm said in its
annual report. This included "strong operational growth"
in China.
Prevenar is used to help prevent pneumococcal
disease, a bacterial infection which can lead to illnesses
such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, according to
the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. It is the
only vaccine approved to treat children under two yearsold for the condition in China, Pfizer's Wagh said.
The World Health Organization estimates there were
around 14.5 million cases of serious pneumococcal
disease in 2000, resulting in nearly 1 million deaths of
young children.
MUMBAI (TIP): Banks operating out
of India will now be able to fund
takeovers in dollars. They will also be
able to allow customers to place bets on
exchange and interest rate movements
in addition to trading in dollardenominated securities. RBI's
recognition for bank branches in an
international financial services centre
(IFSC) as 'foreign branches' is expected
to open new doors for Indian banks and
corporates who had limited access to
international banking.
The new regulation will pave the
way for the Gujarat International
Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in
Gandhinagar to set up its International
Financial Services Centre within its
premises, considering that it is the only
recognized IFSC till date. Many banks
are expected to rush in, given that the
capital requirement is only $20 million
(around Rs 125 crore) and funds raised
there will not be subject to reserve
requirements and banks will also not
be subject to priority sector lending
The new avenue to engage in
international banking comes at a time
when Indian banks are finding rules
made by global regulators very
strenuous and many are scaling back
on foreign operations. ICICI Bank this
week brought back Canadian $80
million that it had invested in its
operations in that country and $75
million that it had invested in its UK
arm as it saw better opportunities to
deploy the funds at home.
In its guidelines for banks opening
an IFSC banking unit (IBU), the RBI
said that only those banks with a
foreign exchange dealer's licence will
be allowed to apply. A majority of the
commercial banks (excluding most
cooperative banks) have a foreign
exchange licence. Each bank will be
allowed only one IBU in the IFSC. "It
can set up an IBU which will be
licensed as a branch in a foreign
geography and will have to maintain
AHMEDABAD (TIP): City-based textile conglomerate Arvind
on Monday said its subsidiary Arvind Lifestyle Brands (ALBL)
and US Polo Association (USPA), USA will jointly pay $3.2
million (Rs 20 crore approx) to Ralph Lauren Corporation
(RLC) USA to settle a lawsuit filed by it in a US court in 2013.
Ralph Lauren had filed a case in a district court in US
against ALBL and USPA alleging breach of agreement due to
non-compliance in respect of disclaimers to be printed on
USPA products sold in India. ALBL has licence to manufacture
and market USPA-branded products in India.
"The parties got into good faith discussions and agreed to
enter into an amicable settlement without admission of
liability of any party," Arvind informed the Bombay Stock
Exchange (BSE). The company further said, "Under the terms
of the settlement, ALBL and USPA have agreed to pay jointly
settlement amount to RLC. As per the settlement agreement,
ALBL shall pay $3,200,000 in full settlement and satisfaction of
the dispute between the parties."
Ralph Lauren had first issued a notice for arbitration to be
held in India against ALBL and USPA and the company was
successful in obtaining a temporary injunction against the
commencement of the arbitration from the jurisdictional
court in India. Later, Ralph Lauren went ahead and filed a
lawsuit in the US Court. Arvind has a large portfolio of owned
and licensed brands and retail formats. The company's own
product brands include Flying Machine, Colt, Ruggers and
Excalibur, among others, while its licensed product brands
have global names like Arrow, Gant, Izod, Elle, Cherokee and
US Polo Assn, among others. It also has a joint venture in
India with global major Tommy Hilfiger.
minimum capital of $20 million in the
GIFT IBU. IBUs can deal with the
wholly owned subsidiaries /joint
ventures of Indian companies
registered abroad," RBI said in its
"IBUs are permitted to undertake
transactions in all types of
derivatives and structured products
with the prior approval of their board
of directors. IBUs dealing with such
products should have adequate
knowledge, understanding, and risk
management capability for handling
such products," the RBI guidelines
The guidelines form the last leg of
clearance that was needed to kickstart GIFT city near Gandhinagar,
Gujarat. In March, the Sebi board had
cleared operations by securities firms
in an IFSC. Now with the RBI licence
opening the doors of international
banking within the IFSC, many
financial institutions are expected to
The new norms will pave the way
for the Gujarat International Finance
Tec-City (GIFT) in Gandhinagar to set
up its International Financial
Services Centre in its premises.
SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asia on Tuesday as
dealers monitored last-ditch efforts between global
powers and Iran to reach a deal on Tehran's nuclear
programme and ease sanctions imposed on the crude
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 69 cents to
$47.99 while Brent eased 55 cents to $55.74 in mid-day
Singapore United Overseas Bank said prices "tumbled
as hopes for a nuclear deal with Iran climbed".
Foreign ministers of US-led major world powers are
racing to beat a midnight Tuesday deadline to nail down a
framework deal with Iran they hope will put an atomic
bomb out of the Islamic republic's reach.
"There are marathon meetings happening all over the
place. There are several issues that have not been
resolved yet. These are important issues," an Iranian
negotiator in the Swiss city of Lausanne said late
US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Lausanne since
Wednesday for the latest in a series of meetings with
Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that have
criss-crossed the globe, said Monday there was still work
to do.
"There still remain some difficult issues," Kerry told
CNN. "We are working very hard to work those through.
We are working late into the night and obviously into
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015
contd from Page 1
Iran nuclear deal framework...
framework would cut off every pathway that
Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon."
The deal would include strict verification
measures to make sure Iran complies, he said.
"If Iran cheats," Obama said, "the world will
know it."
Given below are the key parameters of a Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear
program that were decided in Lausanne,
Switzerland. These elements form the
foundation upon which the final text of the
JCPOA will be written between now and June
30, and reflect the significant progress that has
been made in discussions between the P5+1, the
European Union, and Iran. Important
implementation details are still subject to
negotiation, and nothing is agreed until
everything is agreed. "We will work to conclude
the JCPOA based on these parameters over the
coming months", a White House statement said.
Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately
two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will
go from having about 19,000 installed today
to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only
5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10
years. All 6,104 centrifuges will be IR-1s,
Iran's first-generation centrifuge.
Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over
3.67 percent for at least 15 years.
Iran has agreed to reduce its current
stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched
uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent
LEU for 15 years.
All excess centrifuges and enrichment
infrastructure will be placed in IAEA
monitored storage and will be used only as
replacements for operating centrifuges and
Iran has agreed to not build any new
facilities for the purpose of enriching
uranium for 15 years.
Iran's breakout timeline - the time that it
would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile
material for one weapon - is currently
assessed to be 2 to 3 months. That timeline
will be extended to at least one year, for a
duration of at least ten years, under this
framework. Iran will convert its facility at
Fordow so that it is no longer used to enrich
Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its
Fordow facility for at least 15 years.
Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow
facility so that it is used for peaceful
purposes only - into a nuclear, physics,
technology, research center.
Iran has agreed to not conduct research and
development associated with uranium
enrichment at Fordow for 15 years.
Iran will not have any fissile material at
Fordow for 15 years.
Almost two-thirds of Fordow's centrifuges
and infrastructure will be removed. The
remaining centrifuges will not enrich
uranium. All centrifuges and related
infrastructure will be placed under IAEA
monitoring. Iran will only enrich uranium
at the Natanz facility, with only 5,060 IR-1
first-generation centrifuges for ten years.
Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium
using its first generation (IR-1 models)
centrifuges at Natanz for ten years,
removing its more advanced centrifuges.
Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges
currently installed at Natanz and place them
in IAEA monitored storage for ten years.
Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or
IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium
for at least ten years. Iran will engage in
limited research and development with its
advanced centrifuges, according to a
schedule and parameters which have been
agreed to by the P5+1.
For ten years, enrichment and enrichment
research and development will be limited to
ensure a breakout timeline of at least 1 year.
Beyond 10 years, Iran will abide by its
enrichment and enrichment R&D plan
submitted to the IAEA, and pursuant to the
JCPOA, under the Additional Protocol
resulting in certain limitations on
enrichment capacity. Inspections and
The IAEA will have regular access to all of
Iran's nuclear facilities, including to Iran's
enrichment facility at Natanz and its former
enrichment facility at Fordow, and including
the use of the most up-to-date, modern
monitoring technologies.
Inspectors will have access to the supply
chain that supports Iran's nuclear program.
The new transparency and inspections
mechanisms will closely monitor materials
and/or components to prevent diversion to a
secret program.
Inspectors will have access to uranium
mines and continuous surveillance at
uranium mills, where Iran produces
yellowcake, for 25 years.
Inspectors will have continuous surveillance
of Iran's centrifuge rotors and bellows
production and storage facilities for 20
years. Iran's centrifuge manufacturing base
will be frozen and under continuous
All centrifuges and enrichment
infrastructure removed from Fordow and
Natanz will be placed under continuous
monitoring by the IAEA.
A dedicated procurement channel for Iran's
nuclear program will be established to
monitor and approve, on a case by case
basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of 3
certain nuclear-related and dual use
materials and technology - an additional
transparency measure.
Iran has agreed to implement the Additional
Protocol of the IAEA, providing the IAEA
much greater access and information
regarding Iran's nuclear program, including
both declared and undeclared facilities.
Iran will be required to grant access to the
IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or
allegations of a covert enrichment facility,
conversion facility, centrifuge production
facility, or yellowcake production facility
anywhere in the country.
Iran has agreed to implement Modified Code
3.1 requiring early notification of
construction of new facilities.
Iran will implement an agreed set of
measures to address the IAEA's concerns
regarding the Possible Military Dimensions
(PMD) of its program. Reactors and
Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a
heavy water research reactor in Arak, based
on a design that is agreed to by the P5+1,
which will not produce weapons grade
plutonium, and which will support peaceful
nuclear research and radioisotope
The original core of the reactor, which
would have enabled the production of
significant quantities of weapons-grade
plutonium, will be destroyed or removed
from the country.
Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the
reactor out of the country for the reactor's
Iran has committed indefinitely to not
conduct reprocessing or reprocessing
research and development on spent nuclear
Iran will not accumulate heavy water in
excess of the needs of the modified Arak
reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy
water on the international market for 15
Iran will not build any additional heavy
water reactors for 15 years. Sanctions o Iran
will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably
abides by its commitments.
U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will
be suspended after the IAEA has verified
that Iran has taken all of its key nuclearrelated steps. If at any time Iran fails to
fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will
snap back into place.
The architecture of U.S. nuclear-related
sanctions on Iran will be retained for much
of the duration of the deal and allow for
snap-back of sanctions in the event of
significant non-performance.
All past UN Security Council resolutions on
the Iran nuclear issue will be lifted
simultaneous with the completion, by Iran,
of nuclear-related actions addressing all key
concerns (enrichment, Fordow, Arak, PMD,
and transparency).
However, core provisions in the UN Security
Council resolutions - those that deal with
transfers of sensitive technologies and
activities - will be re-established by a new
UN Security Council resolution that will
endorse the JCPOA and urge its full
implementation. It will also create the
procurement channel mentioned above,
which will serve as a key transparency
measure. Important restrictions on
conventional arms and ballistic missiles, as
well as provisions that allow for related
cargo inspections and asset freezes, will also
be incorporated by this new resolution.
A dispute resolution process will be
specified, which enables any JCPOA
participant, to seek to resolve disagreements
about the performance of JCPOA
If an issue of significant non-performance
cannot be resolved through that process,
then all previous UN sanctions could be reimposed.
U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human
rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will
remain in place under the deal. Phasing
For ten years, Iran will limit domestic
enrichment capacity and research and
development - ensuring a breakout timeline
of at least one year. Beyond that, Iran will be
bound by its longer-term enrichment and
enrichment research and development plan
it shared with the P5+1.
For fifteen years, Iran will limit additional
elements of its program. For instance, Iran
will not build new enrichment facilities or
heavy water reactors and will limit its
stockpile of enriched uranium and accept
enhanced transparency procedures.
Important inspections and transparency
measures will continue well beyond 15
years. Iran's adherence to the Additional
Protocol of the IAEA is permanent,
including its significant access and
transparency obligations. The robust
inspections of Iran's uranium supply chain
will last for 25 years.
Even after the period of the most stringent
limitations on Iran's nuclear program, Iran
will remain a party to the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits
Iran's development or acquisition of nuclear
weapons and requires IAEA safeguards on
its nuclear program.
Saina Nehwal is World No. 1...
who had clinched the India Open Super
Series title on March 29, was already assured
of the top spot after her closest challenger for
the position, Carolina, lost in the semifinals.
Saina thus becomes only the second Indian
overall to be world number one after Prakash
Padukone had the distinction of being the
numero uno men's badminton player.
Rising women's shuttler PV Sindhu held
her ninth position.
Saina, who shuttled past former world
champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand
21-16, 21-14 in the summit clash at the Siri
Fort Sports Complex had said: "I think the
consistency with which I am playing is
great. I reached three finals in last two
months and it is not easy.""Titles makes me
hungry. Next I hope to win more and more
titles, I hope to be fit and injury free. This
result will motivate me to win more titles."
The London Olympic bronze-medallist has
won a staggering 14 international titles in her
glorious career and most recently became the
first Indian woman to make the finals of the
prestigious All England Championships in
In the men's category, India Open Super
Series winner Kidambi Srikanth stayed at the
fourth spot with China's Chen Long leading
the rankings chart.
A Healthy Start: More Texas...
participation, including states and districts
looking at more innovative and
accommodating ways to offer morning meals,
such as breakfast-in-the-classroom programs.
"Kids are eating breakfast in the morning in
the classroom together," says FitzSimons.
"They're doing grab-and-go programs, where
kids kind of grab a breakfast on their way into
school and take it to the class with them. They
are really taking a look at creative ways to
make sure that the breakfast program is
available to kids who want to participate." - See
more at:
By 2050, Hindus will become...
per cent worldwide, from a little over 1
billion to nearly 1.4 billion by 2050.
By 2050, Hindus will be third, making up
14.9 per cent of the world's total population,
followed by people who do not affiliate with
any religion, accounting for 13.2 per cent, the
report said.
The people with no religious affiliation
currently have the third largest share of the
world's total population.
Muslims are projected to grow faster than
the world's overall population and that Hindus
and Christians are projected to roughly keep
pace with worldwide population growth, the
report said.
"India will retain a Hindu majority but also
will have the largest Muslim population of
any country in the world, surpassing
Indonesia," it said.
"Over the next four decades, Christians will
remain the largest religious group, but Islam
will grow faster than any other major
religion," according to the report.
The report predicted that by 2050 there will
be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion,
or 30 per cent of the population) and
Christians (2.9 billion, or 31 per cent), possibly
for the first time in history.
There were 1.6 billion Muslims in 2010,
compared to 2.17 billion Christians.
"The number of Muslims will nearly equal
the number of Christians around the world,"
it added.
If the trend continues, Islam will be the
most popular faith in the world after 2070, it
said.By 2050, Muslims will make up about 10
per cent of the Europe's population, up from
5.9 per cent in 2010.
Over the same period, the number of
Hindus in Europe is expected to roughly
double, from a little under 1.4 million (0.2 per
cent of Europe's population) to nearly 2.7
million (0.4 per cent), mainly as a result of
immigration, it said.
In North America, the Hindu share of the
population is expected to nearly double in
the decades ahead, from 0.7 per cent in 2010
to 1.3 per cent in 2050, when migration is
included in the projection models. Without
migration, the Hindu share of the region's
population would remain the same.
Buddhism is the only faith that is not
expected to increase its followers, due to an
ageing population and stable fertility rates in
Buddhist countries, such as China, Japan and
The projections considered fertility rates,
trends in youth population growth and
religious conversion statistics.
nlike much of India, including Delhi, Pondicherry
seems to cherish its heritage rather than wiping it
clean with shiny new buildings, or letting it
crumble in indifference. Pondicherry's brush with colonial
history and international appeal—it was ruled by France
from the 17th century to 1952, and briefly by the Dutch and
the British—has always given its old-world charm a
decidedly cosmopolitan flavour. The city's official name
Puducherry is a clue to how it negotiates the past.
Originally known as Puducheri, a Tamil port, it was
christened Pondicherry by the French, a name that
remains popular.
In recent years, Pondicherry has changed from a sleepy
small town to a vibrant tourist destination, and is now
dotted with heritage hotels, chic boutiques and Parisianstyle cafes. Yet it is still a place that reveals its secrets at
its own pace. It is only when you amble through its hushed
alleys that you discover the languid mood that defines the
city and the little pieces that make up its soul: a grand
villa; a forgotten statue; a shady green park.
Unlike most Indian cities, Pondicherry is ideal for
exploring on foot. A canal broadly divides the city into two
parts—the French and Tamil Quarters—with compact
layouts which are best explored by cycle or walking. This
is also the most visible legacy of French rule, during
which Pondicherry was segregated into the sea-facing
white town and the black town, the former for the rulers
and the latter for the ruled.
The best area to explore the French part by foot is the
sea-facing promenade that runs parallel to the Goubert
Avenue. The 1.5-kilometre stretch of the promenade, a
miniature version of Mumbai's Marine Drive, is where its
residents gather every evening to catch the sea breeze and
the blue vista of the moon rising on the Bay of Bengal. At
dusk, it's buzzing with food vendors, people on evening
walks, and friends chatting and loafing. The other side of
the avenue is lined with a row of heritage buildings and
scattered statues which let you soak in Pondicherry's
history. The avenue is also traffic-free and pedestrianfriendly between 6pm and 7.30am every day.
The most convenient starting point for a stroll is the
French cultural centre, Alliance Francaise. Located inside
a white villa on the southern edge of the promenade, it
looks out to the sea from one end and the French Quarter
on the other. It has a charming garden restaurant, Le Cafe
de Flore, and is bustling with regular film screenings,
exhibitions, music and talks, much of the time.
Behind Alliance Francaise, the tree-lined boulevards of
the French Quarter are lined with spacious pastel and
ochre-coloured buildings designed in the classical
European style. A few steps away, inside an 18th-century
mansion, Tamil women are busy with needlework at the
Cluny Embroidery Centre—a charitable initiative by the
Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny. Some of the surrounding
edifices have been converted into heritage hotels, among
them Hotel de Pondicherry and Hotel de l'Orient, while
others house fancy boutiques and restaurants—both
ingenious ways of breathing new life into the built
Back on the promenade, little reminders of France dot
the rest of Goubert Avenue. A whitewashed 19th-century
lighthouse stands on one end. A statue of Dupleix, an
illustrious French governor of Puducherry between 1742
and 1754, has now been relegated to one end of the avenue.
Up ahead, a Joan of Arc sculpture stands alone in front of
the well-kept 18th-century church, Notre Dame de Anges.
This rose-and-cream building has an impressive, newlyrestored interior, with a wooden image of Christ. Further
on, the avenue is dotted with more colonial buildingsturned-offices, such as the French Consulate General and
the Secretariat. Le Cafe, located in the middle of the
promenade, is an excellent stop for filter coffee. It occupies
what used to be a customs house and later, port office for
Pondicherry's harbour, and offers unparalleled views of
the sea.
History lessons and political power play continue with
two other major monuments on the promenade. The
austere First World War memorial commemorates the
combatants who died during WWI. Diagonally opposite the
memorial, a few steps on, a larger-than-life statue of
Gandhi occupies centre-stage on the promenade,
surrounded by antique pillars brought from the ancient
seaport of Arikamedu.
Opposite the Gandhi memorial, Bharathi Park is a green
oasis surrounded by offices and important buildings such
as the Raj Niwas and the Legislative Assembly. Once a
parade ground, it is now a popular local spot for an
afternoon siesta. It also encloses a striking white
monument called the Ayi Mandapam, built in the mid-19th
century by the French and rumoured to be named after a
medieval courtesan who had constructed the tank that
supplied water to Pondicherry. There is a striking contrast
between the imposing grandeur of the Governor's House
or Raj Niwas, a whitewashed 18th-century mansion that
was once the residence of the French Governor, and a
dilapidated building on St. Louis Street that houses the
Puducherry Museum. However, there are several historical
gems in the museum's scattered collection, including
ancient Roman pottery shards from the trading port of
Arikamedu nearby and antique French furniture.
Pondicherry's other claim to fame is its connection with
Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa, deferentially known as
the Mother, who evolved a new system of spiritual thought
here. The grey-and-white building of the Aurobindo
Ashram houses the duo's samadhi. Inside, the atmosphere
is quiet, orderly and reverential. If you're intrigued,
Auroville, the utopian, self-contained township founded by
the Mother to promote 'human unity,' and now home to an
international community of followers, is a short drive
away. In sharp contrast to the pristine order of Aurobindo
Ashram, the Manakula Vinagayar Temple across the road
is full of colour and chaos. The only temple in the French
Quarter, it is dedicated to Ganesha, and built in the typical
Dravidian style of architecture with a towering gopuram
(gateway) embellished with colourful carvings.
From here, you can walk down to the Tamil Quarter,
originally built around a nucleus of shrines. This part
of the city has a contrasting architectural style,
demonstrated in restored Tamil mansions like Hotel La
Maison Tamoule and the house of Anand Rangapillai,
a prosperous 18th-century merchant. These have
unique elements like semi-public street verandahs for
visitors outside the house, and inside, a central
courtyard with grand columns. Not too far away, the
Jawaharlal Nehru Street—the city's main shopping
avenue—is fir mly rooted in the present. This is where
you'll find heavy traffic, numerous boutiques and the
Hidesign flagship store that stocks the latest range of
leather handbags sourced from the company's main
factory nearby.
Pondicherry is still, thankfully, not as crowded as other
tourist destinations in India, partly because the nearest
airport in Chennai is a three-hour drive away. For now,
through careful conservation of its heritage and
multicultural ethos, it has found a delicate balance
between its past and the present, and is a great example of
an old city reinventing itself as a modern-day travel
he actress will host a talk show
which will be backed by a
Hollywood studio and air on a
US television network.
Rumours have been rife that Vidya
Balan, who has just wrapped up Mohit
Suri's Hamari Adhuri Kahaani, is now
gearing up for a biopic. She had two
choices before her--to bring back to life
Bengal's diva Suchitra Sen who passed
away in January, 2014, or step into the
shoes of Pakistan's 11th Prime
Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was
assassinated in 2007.
But Vidya told Mirror: "No. I'm not
doing either of the biopics." In fact,
she may not do any more films this
year at all. Instead, she'll focus on a
talk show along the lines of The
Oprah Winfrey Show.
"It's a show unlike any on Indian
television. It will be backed by a
Hollywood studio and will air on a US
television network. It demands six
months of consecutive filming dates
which is why she doesn't want to sign
any new films," says a source close to
the development. While, Vidya
remained tight-lipped about the offer,
she did admit that she is not keen to
work in Indian television and relive
her Hum Paanch days. "The next
CAST: Sara Loren, Taaha Shah, Priyanshu Chatterjee,
Shweta Pandit, Puneet Issar
DIRECTION: Shadaab Mirza
GENRE: Drama
DURATION: 1 hour 58 minutes
STORY: Rich boy meets poor girl whose source of
income isn't respectable according to his family. Can
they get together and live happily ever after, much
against the societal pressure?
REVIEW: Jatin (Taaha Shah), a lawyer's son, falls in
love with Barkhaa (Loren) the moment he sees her in
Himachal. He tries his best to pursue her but she is
reluctant since she is scarred emotionally. Barkhaa, who
works in a bar for a living, dissuades Jatin from
proposing marriage to her but he insists. He takes her to
his parents but they disapprove of the relationship
objecting to her profession. Can the two get together
against his family's wishes and what is Barkhaa's
mysterious past all about? The film is a decent watch for
those, who for some weird reason may crave for the 70's
melodrama. It boasts of an archaic story and a
predictable plot, with the actors spouting done to death
dialogues throughout. If you want to revisit that phase
of Bollywood, where women were perpetually unhappy
and had a 'majboori' for being that way, you can watch
this one. Else, avoid. Loren looks good but is too wooden.
Also, barring cinematography and music, other aspects
of the film are way too mediocre and cliched for your
liking. Sadly it's 2015 and this formulaic drama has
nothing new to offer.
The film starts with Jatin (Taaha Shah) and his
parents looking after his elder brother Akash (Priyanshu
Chatterjee) who is in the ICU. Jatin gets reminded that
he has to be the chief guest at a book launch of 'AKS'. In
spite of being worried sick for his brother, Jatin honours
his commitment and inaugurates the book. As soon as he
starts reading a few excerpts, it rings a bell and he
rushes to find who the publisher is. However, the
publisher says he is unaware of the author's
whereabouts. The book launch takes you through a
series of flashbacks. You are introduced to Barkhaa
(Sara Loren), with whom Jatin falls in love with, the
moment he sees her in Himachal. Barkhaa, however is a
bar girl with a mysterious past. Jatin pursues her but
she is hesitant to get married to him. She eventually
agrees to meet his parents. Jatin's father (Puneet Issar)
strongly opposes the marriage. Elder brother Akash is
shocked by Jatin's choice (he knows Barkhaa is a single
mother since it was he to deserted her, after she got
pregnant with his child). Barkhaa too leaves the house
after seeing Akash. On getting to know the truth, Jatin
accepts Barkhaa and the two get married.
season of Nach Baliye was offered to
me but I declined as I don't see myself
doing a reality show. But I will never
rule out d television," she says.
Kalki Koechlin excited about her
film ‘Margarita With A Straw’
ctress Kalki Koechlin
is happy that actor
Aamir Khan and his
filmmaker wife Kiran Rao are
supporting her forthcoming
film "Margarita With A Straw"
and says that more than box
office collection, support to
such films matters.
"We made such a beautiful
film in a small budget. There is
a huge buzz about the film
already and we have the
support of Aamir, Kiran and
others from the film industry,"
the actress said here on
Monday during the promotion
of the film at a radio station.
“So neither am I seeing this
film from the collections point
of view nor as a hit or a flop. I
am excited about the film," she
In the film, directed by
Shonali Bose, Kalki plays a
cerebral palsy-affected girl. The
film has been appreciated on
the international platform as
Run All Night
ctress-director Angelina Jolie, who
recently underwent cancer
preventative surgery and had her
ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, feels by
overcoming difficulties, one gains strength
and maturity.
Jolie, 39, reflected on what she learned
from the late Louis Zamperini, a World War
II war survivor who was the focus of her
directorial venture "Unbroken", reported Us
"I do believe in the old saying 'What does
not kill you makes you stronger'. Our
experiences, good and bad, make us who we
"Like many of the greatest human stories,
it is about the capacity of regular men and
women to rise above adversity," Brad Pitt's
wife answered when asked about the greatest
lesson she learned from Zamperini's story.
Jolie named top feminist icon
Angelina Jolie has been named Britain's
top feminist icon.
The 39-year-old actress topped the poll for
her campaigning against rape as a weapon of
war in her role as United Nations Special
Envoy, beating off competition from iconic
women's rights activist Germaine Greer,
CAST: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd
Holbrook, Vincent D’Onofrio, Genesis Rodriguez
DIRECTION: Jaume Collet-Serra
GENRE: Action
ctress Salma Hayek doesn't like working
out. She credits her slim figure in her
2014 film "Everly" to running around
after her seven-year-old daughter Valentina.
"I don't like to work out, but I've tried to get into
the best shape I've ever been in. When you're
running around looking after your daughter
you're also doing a lot of work so I was able to
manage pretty well on the set," Total Film
magazine quoted the 48-year-old as saying,
Hayek, who played the titular character in the
film, loves playing a "tough woman", and hopes
the movie inspires people to find the strength
they need to get out of "abusive" situations.
"You also get a kick out of playing a really tough
woman. Women are very tough even though we
often don't show it," she said.
"This kind of story is inspiring for anyone who
has felt frustrated or dominated and doesn't
know how to escape an abusive situation," she
DURATION: 1 hour 56 minutes
STORY: Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) is a retired mafia
hitman. He receives a call one night about his estranged
son Mike (Kinnaman) being in mortal danger. While
helping out his son, Jimmy kills his former boss Shawn's
(Harris) son Danny (Holbrook). This sets Shawn and
Jimmy on a collision course.
REVIEW: Mike's mother passed away a while back and
his dad Jimmy sought solace in the bottom of a Scotch
bottle, when not rubbing people off for a living. Now a
limousine driver with a family of his own, Mike drops off
two clients to an apartment and is then witness to a
murder committed by Danny. The latter tries to kill Mike
in his house, but Jimmy takes Danny out just in time.
When Jimmy telephones Shawn and almost casually
informs him that he has killed Danny, there are no temper
meltdowns. Instead, there's just a mutual resignation
towards the inevitable; Jimmy tells Shawn that they are
going to approach the point of no return. What we then
have is classic Neeson - rumbling voice and lumbering
gait - all the way.
Mike's abandonment issues are convincingly portrayed.
Jimmy's character is wonderfully nuanced and
D'Onofrio's NYPD detective seems tailor-made. Lit by a
thousand neon lights at night and soundtracked by the
distant wailing of police sirens, Collet-Serra makes the
mean streets of New York (Brooklyn and Queens, mostly)
look surreal and fraught with danger at every turn.
There's plenty of atmosphere to boot, thanks to
cinematographer Martin Ruhe's interesting use of
quadrants in his framing technique, adding to the movie's
general sense of urgency. Run... is somewhat lacking in
suspense, but that is forgivable.
We've seen Neeson play a tough-as-nails retired
cop/hitman/special forces person who rescues various
members of his family/public, who also finds his own
redemption in the process, for a while now. But somehow,
he manages to rock this role every single time, giving
action heroes half his age a run for their money. It's like
he's perfected it down to an art. Albeit an ageing asskicker, the Irishman clearly still has what it takes.
FRIDAY, APRIL 03, 2015