Friday, January 29, 2010

London conference on Afghanistan

In London leaders from more than 60 nations are holding conference from Thursday get over the violence and bring peace ,to quell Afghanistan Taliban-led violence in recent months to bring peace.
India's presence with high-level delegation led by External affairs minister Mr. S. M. Krishna. Eminent leaders participating in the conference to be chaired by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and UN Secretary General Ban-ki- Moon, to seek way to bring stability in Afghanistan by reconciliation program with Taliban-led groups and gradual transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces.
Mr. Karzai has said he will unveil a program to attract militants for joining the mainstream if they renounce violence and accept Afghan constitution. Taliban has dismissed the conference, saying it will produce no more results than previous gatherings adding they are not fighting for money, property and position.
Western nations including US and Britain have promised to fund the program, while some other nations are expected to announce for sending additional forces.US-led NATO countries are stressing for a timetable to hand over security to Afghan forces starting from this year and begin withdrawal of their forces from the war-torn country.
US President Barack Obama has already announced for withdrawal of troops from July next year while committing for 30 thousand extra troops.The conference, to be followed by another such conference at Kabul after few months, will also renew international commitment for reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. Some nations have advocated greater role for India in reconstruction of Afghanistan citing its success so far but Pakistan is opposed to allowing India giving greater influence in the war-torn country.Taliban are warning that a meeting in London on Thursday will do nothing to help Afghanistan.A statement posted on a Taliban Web site Wednesday dismissed the one-day international donor conference as a "waste of time." Reports VOA Asia
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Himalayan glaciers blunder

Chairman of Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change Dr.R K Pachauri admits the mistake in the panel's report that the Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035 due to global warming. Terming the mistake as unfortunate, he said it is a human error and he will do everything possible to see that such mistakes are not repeated.He, however ruled out his resignation over the issue.
He said the next COP is due to be held in Mexico City at the end of this year.
BASIC group and the US agreed on
an accord, the major features of which are:Recognition that the world must not exceed a 2° Celsius warming above preindustrial level.Developed countries to formalise their reduction pledges and for developing countries to state their proposed efforts by February 1,
2010.Provision for the mitigation actions to be monitored nationally and reported in line with guidelines to be worked out.An assessment of the implementation of the accord to be completed by 2015.Establishment of a new Copenhagen Green Climate Fund — to be set up by developed countries by 2012 for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries (EU pledged
$10.6 billion, Japan $11 billion and the US $3.6 billion), and for $100 billion a year to be made available by 2020.Thus Authorises the long awaited forest protection mechanism

The Indian official correspondent says the report became a point of discussion after its findings were challenged. Noted Geologist V K Raina while dismissing the findings of the panal sought an apology from Dr. Pachuri for debunking his findings. PCC had warned that climate change was likely to melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 - an idea considered ludicrous by most glaciologists.

University of Iceland in collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Carnegie Corporation of New York have joined hands to work in the fields of glaciology and soil science, and will enable Indian scientists and students to seek training in Iceland and the United States. The purpose of this joint effort is to improve understanding of the effects of climate change on the Himalaya and the manifold consequences that follow for the possibilities of water management and food production on the plains below.

Present on the occasion was the President of Iceland HE Dr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Dr R K Pachauri, Director-General TERI, and the joint teams from - University of Iceland, Ohio State University and the TERI Glaciology team, headed by Prof Syed Iqbal Hasnain.

Speaking on research and collaboration in the field of glaciers, HE Dr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, said, “There is an immediate need to enhance the knowledge of receding glaciers, which will have a major impact on ecology and social security. Consequently, the potential impacts of climate change in the Himalayan region are very likely to have a strong influence on food and water security. Hence it is important to bring the scientists from India and Iceland on a common platform and discuss on the future framework of research cooperation.”

Elaborating on the collaboration, Dr R K Pachauri, said, “The presence of Iceland as a country makes this initiative of great value as Iceland has a great understanding of this issue, which goes back a century. Scientific data assimilated by IPCC is very robust and it is universally acknowledged that glaciers are melting because of climate change. The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) in its endeavor to facilitate the development of an effective policy framework and their strategic implementation for the adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts on the local population is happy to collaborate with the University of Iceland, Ohio State University and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, under the leadership of HE Dr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. ”
Sagar Media reports that the official correspondent says the report became a point of discussion after its findings were challenged. Noted Geologist V K Raina while dismissing the findings of the panal sought an apology from Dr. Pachuri for debunking his findings.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jyoti Basu dies

17Jan:Kolkata:Veteran CPM leader Jyoti Basu been West Bengal CM for 23 years as he became chief minister of West Bengal June 21, 1977,headed the Left Front government till Nov 6, 2000, straddled Indian politics for over six decades,died at AMRI hospital in Salt Lake City, Kolkata today 17 Jan 2010,where he was admitted with pneumonia on January one died here today of multi-organ failure.

The former West Bengal Chief Minister was 95 and is survived by son Chandan,who is an industrialist. His wife Kamal pre-deceased him four years ago.He Graduated from Presidency College with honours in English. He did his Bar at Law from London during study law, was drawn to the communist movement, which he formally joined following his return to India in 1940,reached pinnacle of his political career in 1996,when he was coalition choice of prime minister of India could not make it after his party's veto. He later called the party decision a "historic blunder".

Hamid Ansari has deeply condoled the death of veteran CPIM leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said he had turned to the veteran Marxist leader on many occasions for his advice on important issues and the response was always pragmatic.Singh said the death of the 95-year-old CPI(M) leader marked the end of an era in the annals of Indian politics.He was a man of great integrity with a deep commitment to secular values, the Prime Minister said in his condolence message."I have personally had a very long association with Shri Basu. On many occasions in my career, I turned to him for his sagacious advice on all matters, whether they related to West Bengal or to issues of national importance."Singh said he was "a powerful regional voice in the national political scene and helped to strengthen Indian federalism.""Shri Basu will be remembered by the people of West Bengal for bringing stability and order to the State after the turbulent period of the early 70s and for the rural transformation he brought about through his visionary land reforms and his style of democratic and decentralised governance," Singh said.

Home Minister P Chidambram was in the city rushed to hospital to offer condolences."I offer my sincere condolence to his family and the people of West Bengal", P Chidambaram said.

Dr Ajit Kumar Maity said that the veteran leader breathed his last at 11:47 am at the AMRI Hospital.Biman Bose, the Chairman of the Left Front coordination committee, announced to reporters a little around 1230 hrs.PM sends condolences message to the departed leader.As the news of departed leader spread the condolence message shall pour from India and abroad.

BJP today condoled the death of veteran Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu, describing him as one of the tallest contemporary leaders of Indian politics.Senior BJP leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said Basu was a man "committed to the service of his people, his ideology and a sense of idealism".

Congress condoled his demise."It's a very sad development not only for West Bengal or CPI-M but for the country as a whole. The country has lost one of its worthiest sons," party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad said.Basu stood for simplicity and firmness at the same time in public life and "his death is a loss for the nation," he said.

NDTV tweet message informs that Jyoti Basu's cremation on Tuesday,Jyoti Basu's eyes will be donated.Delhi CM Shiela Dikhshit described Basu death an end of an era.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee seeks 3-day state mourning to regret the death of Basu.Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today described Marxist icon Jyoti Basu as a "great political figure" and called for a 72-hour state mourning."I think we all should observe a three-day state mourning across the country to pay homage to such a great political figure of Indian politics," the Trinamool Congress leader told reporters here.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters he had lost a great well-wisher with the demise of Communist veteran Jyoti Basu."In his death, I lost a great well wisher, the country has lost an able administrator, an outstanding parliamentarian and a charismatic political leader,"today afternoon.Mukherjee further adds he was the "architect of the first UPA-United Progressive Alliance government in 2004 that had been supported by the Left parties from outside".

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader A B Bardhan said Basu was the "tallest leader"."He also fought to the end. We express our heartfelt sadness on his demise," Bardhan said."Basu fought for the poor and the downtrodden," he said.As condolences poured from all over, the All India Forward Bloc described the passing away of Basu as a "a big and irreparable loss... for the entire Left, working class and progressive movement of the country".

Saturday, January 16, 2010

USNS Comfort in service of Haitian

The hospital ship Comfort will leave its home port in Baltimore early Saturday to arrive in Haiti Thursday, delivering medical and surgical services

( - US despatched the hospital ship, USNS Comfort to the stricken Haitians in the Caribbean country.Haitians who are without medical help, food, water, blankets, and power.Painkillers, syringes, sterile bandages, sutures, gloves, masks, and as many more doctors and surgeons as possible are needed in Haiti to cope with Tuesday's calamitous earthquake.The list of medical needs seems endless for the emergency health professionals working around the clock to treat innumerable injuries.

“This is a moment when we feel we can have a huge impact,” along with other military medical providers already on the ground, as well as those from nongovernmental organizations and the international community, the ship's captain, Navy Capt. James Ware, said Friday. “Our hope is to work with those individuals, side by side, to truly help the people of Haiti.”

The hulking hospital ship, three football fields long and one wide, has 250 hospital beds and a 550-person medical team that includes trauma surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, eye surgeons and obstetricians and gynecologists.

The team will also include medical professionals from the Navy, Army, Air Force and U.S. Public Health Service, as well as nongovernmental organizations.

Ware said he expects his staff to initially see about 500 patients a day when it arrives in Haiti, working up to 750 or more, and to conduct 20 to 25 surgical procedures a day.Haitinewsnet

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Indo-French civil nuke in force

Indo-French agreement on the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy enters into force on Friday,a multiform civil nuclear cooperation and paving way for companies to build atomic power plants in India.Indo-French nuclear agreement allows for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from French atomic reactors under safeguards, and gives an assurance of lifetime supply of nuclear fuel for these reactors.It does not bar the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies.
France becomes the second country after Russia to give unconditional rights to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to India.The agreement makes it mandatory that reprocessing be done under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).The pact came into force after Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont exchanged the instruments of ratification of the agreement between the two governments signed in Paris on September 30, 2008.

"In accordance with the provisions of the Agreement, it enters into force on the same day," a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pravasi Film Festival 2010

Pravasi film festival 2010 is first of its kind organized by the Pravasi Today group in association with the Mauritius government at India Habitate centre from Jan 3 to Jan 6 and forty three films and docuementaries were showcased from different countries and most of the film makers were present in festival to witness respond to their performance.Festival with six panel discussions on various aspects of NRI cinema stretched to threadbare discussion reagrding marketing and fiscal two key aspects of film making.
NRI Star of India diaspora to glitter the occasion were Deepa Mehta from Canada,Pooja Kumar of USA,Nasreen Munni Kabir and Sangeeta Dutta from United Kingdom,Aruna Vasudeva as festival advisors.Cinestar heading the jury for best feature film,best documentary and best short film was headed by veteran film director Basu chaterjee heading feature film jury and Latika Padgoankar,lead Non-feature jury others members were Rahul Rawail and Sanjay Singh,Aruna Vasudev and Namrata Joshi.Veteran actor Saeed Jaffrey was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in absentia,Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan starrer Life Goes On has been declared the Best Film at the Pravasi Film Festival.The short fiction ‘Shor’ by D K Krishna and Raj Nidimoru received the best short fiction award,the film ‘Flying Sikh’ by Navdeep Kandola got the best short non-fiction award.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Indian science needs autonomy

04.01.2010 05:55:30 Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has called for liberating Indian science from the shackles of bureaucracy and in-house favouritism.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said that Nuclear supplier Group waiver has paved the way for an accelerated nuclear power development programme.

( - Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh said their is need for greater autonomy for scientific institutions, he regretted that red tape, political interference and lack of proper recognition of good work has led to regression in Indian science in some sectors.

Prime Minister said, special effort must be made to encourage scientists of Indian origin currently working abroad to return to

India.Inaugurating the 97th Indian Science Congress in Thiruvanthapuram, he called for special incentives to turn brain drain into brain gain for the future.Holding that time has come to give a "new boost" to science and technology, he asked Indian scientists working abroad to return to the country to convert the "brain drain" to "brain gain".

Dr Singh announced that the government was considering revision of the value of doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships as well as formulation of schemes that would cover all research scholars with some funding support.He also pointed to the challenges before the scientific community on the front of food and energy security and climate change mitigation.Further Singh aded India must achieve energy efficiency and shift to renewable energy. He underlined the need for a plan for accelerated nuclear power
. Referring to the Copenhagen summit on climate change, the Prime Minister said there was a limited success as nobody was satisfied with the outcome.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Congress, India's top Defence Scientist said that a weapons system is being readied to neutralise enemy satellites operating in low-earth orbit.

Defence Research and Development Organisation Director General V K Saraswat told reporters that India is putting together building blocks of technology that could be used to neutralise enemy satellites.

He however added that the defence scientists have not planned any tests but have started planning such technology which could be used to leapfrog to build a weapon in case the country needed it.

Aseans hopes on Free Trade

2010-01-01 10:31:17 - .India enters free trade with Asean countries- South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia country's market-opening pacts with three of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and South Korea will be operational from Friday.The remaining seven Asean members will take a few more months to get the India-Asean trade pact, which needs to be "internally approved or ratified by their parliaments," an official said.

Aseans Free Trade is the most important event of the day on the first day of year 2010 for Asian countries .To put straight records the media agencies inform China-ASEAN FTA covers a population of 1 billion and involves about $450 million of trade volume.The average tariff on goods from the ASEAN countries is cut down to 0.1 percent from
9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.India enters free trade with Asean countries.

Indian exports to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia accounting for over 90 per cent of the India-Asean USD 44-billion trade, would also be given easy access on about 4,000 tariff items.Under the Indo-Korean Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which includes services, Indian professionals from as many as 163 sectors, including IT, English teaching, consultancy and engineering, would be eligible for temporary visas up to one year in Korea. Under this agreement, customs duties will also be reduced or eliminated on as many as 93 per cent of Korea's tariff lines which includes tyres, electrical goods, vehicle parts and petroleum products."Korea has taken commitments to give favourable considerations to Indian banks as well for opening their branches there," he said. However, India must also reciprocate on this front to move forward. In fact, half of the country's USD four billion exports to Korea would be exempted from duty right away.India and South Korea signed the CEPA on 7th August, 2009 in Seoul. The domestic industry welcomes the move saying the agreement would help double the USD 10-billion commerce between the two countries over the next five years. The CEPA with Korea is the second comprehensive deal for India after Singapore. Unlike a free trade agreement, which covers goods only, CEPA also covers investments, services and bilateral cooperation in other areas. The free trade agreement with Asean was signed on 13th August. DDNew

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Japanese film festival at Main Building

Japanese film festival at Main Building, IIC
Time:6:30 pm on 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th & 12th January 2010

Japanese Film Festival
Entry : Free, Call 011-24619431 IIC.

Place : Auditorium, Main Building, India International Centre
40 Max Muller Marg, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi-110003
Event Details : Japanese film festival.

Schedule :
5th January : Drifting
6th January : Husand and Wife
7th January : Mother
11th January : The Echo
12th January : Two in The Shadow

Spain branding EU

Spain takes the helm of the EU - a role which will define how member states work with the new EU president and foreign policy chief.Council of Europe, the supreme governing body comprising the heads of the EU states and governments, will have a permanent president. Herman Van Rompuy, the former Belgian Prime Minister, will begin his first 2.5-year EU presidential term on January 1, 2010.Spain will chair important EU ministerial meetings on the economy, eurozone policy, the environment and energy, as well as other sectors to prepare the regular spring and fall EU summits and to coordinate EU foreign policy.

Spain on its 4th rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union Spain is going to be the driving force behind the birth of a new Union, following the Treaty of Lisbon coming into effect on 1 December, which creates significant expectations for the 27 countries and 500 million Europeans who currently make up the great European project.Presidential conveys during the first six months of 2010, we do not only have the important challenge of implementing the Treaty of Lisbon; we are also going to have to take on such vital tasks as economic recovery following the international financial crisis and revitalising the European Union’s position in the international order.

The Spanish Presidency is based on two main principles: innovation, not only technological, but also economic, institutional and political, and equality, used in the broadest sense of the term, to include equal opportunities, gender equality and solidarity between social groups, regions and states

With reports in the media Mr Van Rompuy will chair a special EU economic summit on 11 February and further on 25 March EU leaders will try to agree on the economic strategy for the next decade. EU-US summit in Madrid on 25 May is tesing time for EU leadersip on matters of climate change,fiscal crisis and countries taking lead at varios ministers meet to creates its International brand as collective unit forothers region to follow suit.

Spanish have never been too shy about breaking with formalities. Until Europe gets used to having a permanent president, Van Rompuy will share his powers with the country that once called Belgium the Spanish Netherlands.Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero has promised that the Spanish presidency will leave a noticeable mark on the history of the EU, despite this duality of power.The Iberian presidency may propel the EU towards the signing of a new partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia to replace the PCA, which was prolonged several times after it was due to expire in late 2007.

Europe also needs a new PCA agreement with Russia because of the unsolved problem of the Ukrainian gas and oil corridors linking Russia with the EU. Shortly before Spain took over the EU presidency, Russia warned that Ukraine's unfriendly moves could theoretically complicate oil deliveries to Europe via the Druzhba pipeline.
Although the EU authorities do not think the oil problem could be as acute as the gas one, they are "ready to closely monitor the situation."

Spain, an EU leader in terms of renewable energy resources (solar and wind energy), intends to advocate for the introduction of these technologies in the EU.
EU diplomats also say a new PCA agreement could be signed during Spain's presidency. BBC reports list of EU summits with third countries that will be held in Spain: Morocco (7-8 March), Canada (10 May), Mexico (15-16 May), Latin America and Caribbean (18-19 May), United States (25 May), and Egypt (5 June).
EU has another major initiative with neighbouring countries - the Eastern Partnership, launched in May this year, aims to build closer ties with six former Soviet republics- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Croatia is eager to conclude its accession talks with the EU in 2010, their intiative for membership in 2011. And its Balkan neighbours too in the queue to join at some future date,with Iceland and Turkey.

But in July 2008 France - the then holder of the EU presidency - launched a 43-nation Union for the Mediterranean, which included North African countries, and that may get a boost from Spain's presidency. It made little progress in 2009.

EU is coming to see that Russia has other options and is not doing Russia a favour by buying its oil and gas. Brussels is not fully convinced that it will have no energy problems with Russia either. Spain is preparing to turn the EU in the direction the international organization previously addressed rarely and unwillingly, Latin America, where Madrid has considerable ties, trade and economic interests.

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero first outlined, and Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos later elaborated, the Latin American strategy of Spain's presidency. Spain will encourage Brussels to expand political, trade and economic relations with all Latin American countries.Spain would like the EU to develop trade with Colombia and Peru, its former colonies, and to sign an agreement of association with all Central American countries.

Spain believes that the EU should have initiated dialogue with Cuba long ago and encouraged the U.S. to lift its embargo on the island. It has also announced the intention to use its EU presidency to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Middle East.

Spain may try to rehabilitate the EU economies is to convene an extraordinary EU summit in February to discuss its economic strategy and economic revival measures. EU economy has started growing again, but it has not yet fully overcome the consequences of the global crisis.EU faces threat the upcoming strike by the employees of the European Commission and other EU agencies. They have threatened to paralyze Europe unless they are given the 3.7% raise in salaries they were promised in October.

Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Poland say the raise is excessive amid the general decline in salaries in the EU, and insist that it be limited to 1.8%.Trade unions of the EU clerks have announced that this meager increase would cost the EU dearly as they have 45,000 members, more than the Belgian army has service members, and could easily bring life in Brussels to a standstill.Media agencies

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