Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oppose GM food

Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill is the ultimate threat to the safety of our food. The bill will create a body that will allow genetic modification of our food. It is due to be tabled in the upcoming session of Parliament.
Right now, state governments can reject any open release or field experiments of genetically modified (GM) crops in their respective states. With the BRAI in place, state governments will lose this power.
Public opposition has kept the Central government from tabling the bill in Parliament so far. We must ensure that the bill is not tabled in the upcoming session as well. This can happen if State governments also oppose the introduction of this controversial bill.
Write to your Chief Minister and ask her/him to oppose the BRAI bill because it threatens our food safety.
Earlier, opposition from people and various state governments, helped get a moratorium on the genetically modified Bt brinjal.[1] People across the country have been expressing their displeasure with this bill,[2] that can bring Bt brinjal back. If the States join in, then the Central government will find it difficult to introduce this bill in Parliament.
The BRAI bill will ease the entry of dangerous GM food into our country.[3] The body created, will become the autocratic approver of GM crops. BRAI can even override the Right to Information act and deny us information on the safety of GM food.
Write to your CM and ask her/him to save your food from genetic modification.
Forward this mail to 10 or more of your friends and help put more pressure on the Chief Ministers.
Thanks a billion!

Neha Saigal
Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner
Greenpeace India

Monday, January 30, 2012

Papua New Guinea mutiny leader charged

A retired army officer who tried to overthrow the Papua New Guinea government last week appeared in court on Sunday and was charged with mutiny.Police say, retired colonel Yaura Sasa was arrested on Saturday.

Sasa and a group of around 30 armed rebel soldiers placed the military's top commander under house arrest in a bloodless, pre-dawn mutiny on early Thursday.

He threatened unspecified military action unless Prime Minister Peter O'Neill complied with a Supreme Court order to re-instate ousted Prime Minister Michael Somare.

But the crisis ended later in the day after police arrested at least 15 of the mutinous soldiers and freed the army commander who had been under house arrest.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

India, EU making good progress on trade pact

India, EU making good progress on trade pact.
India and the European Union are making steady progress towards concluding the ambitious bilateral trade opening pact on goods, services and investment.

This was disclosed by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum, WEF meeting in Davos, Switzerland yesterday.

He said, it will have a positive impact not just for India and the EU, but for others also, as it will help keeping the global economy robust.

Sources said, the annual India-EU Summit is slated to be held in the second week of February in New Delhi and some announcements regarding the trade pact is expected.

Taj Mahal's minaret tilted 3.57 cm in three decades: ASI

Taj Mahal's minaret tilted 3.57 cm in three decades: ASI
Is a leaning Pisa Tower in the making in India? It appears so. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, the South west minaret of the famed Taj Mahal has recorded a tilt of 3.57 cm in three decades. But overall there is no significant change in its heights.

This has been revealed in an affidavit filed by it in the Supreme Court in response to the apex court's direction for the latest survey report on Taj Mahal.

The direction was given following reports that the historical monument is facing danger to its structure owing to environmental pollution.

Poll campaigning ends in Punjab, U’khand

Campaigning for 117-seat Punjab Assembly ended on Saturday evening with ruling SAD-BJP alliance and opposition Congress putting their best foot forward to wrest power in the 30th January polls.

The campaigning by and large remained peaceful in the state which saw national leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, BJP leaders L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti and BSP Chief Mayawati criss-cross the state.
Besides Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the other campaigners included Team Anna members who, however, did not advocate in favour or any political party confining their campaign to corruption and setting up of a strong Lokpal.
Film and TV actors Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Rajesh Khanna, Kirron Kher and Samriti Irani and a host of local singers and actors, including Gurdas Mann, Harbhajan Mann and Gurpreet Ghuggi besides cricketer-turned-politicians Navjot Sidhu and Mohd Azharudin added to the colour.
The other leaders who visited the state included Union Ministers Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Haryana Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Om Parkash Chautala, respectively.
Leaders of Left and other parties, including Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury, also toured the state which will see a total of 1,078 candidates, including 93 women, in fray. About 1.76 crore voters, including 83.61 lakh women, will seal the fate of the candidates at 19,841 polling stations, including five identified as "hyper sensitive" and 32 as "sensitive".
Besides Punjab Police personnel, about 200 companies of central paramilitary forces will be deployed in the state to ensure free and fair polling.
Electioneering comes to end in Uttarakhand
Electioneering outdoor for the 30th January assembly poll in Uttarakhand on Saturday came to an end after which candidates switched over to door-to-door campaign in a last-minute attempt to woo voters.
A total of 788 candidates are trying their luck from 70 constituencies in the state where over 63 lakh electorates are expected to exercise their franchise on Monday.
Electioneering picked up towards the fag end as bad weather hampered the movement of national leaders during the early phase of campaign. BJP President Nitin Gadkari and some other leaders' visits were also cancelled due to the inclement weather.
During the electioneering, Congress had attacked BJP on changing chief ministers frequently to cover up its alleged scams and asked the people to vote on development plank.
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi tried to puncture the campaign of BJP "Khanduri (incumbent chief minister B C Khanduri) hai zaroori" by stating why he was removed in 2009 if he was so important.
Ruling BJP highlighted scams relating to 2G spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and Adarsha Housing Society in a bid to nail down Congress and asked the people to vote for the party for showing its commitment to weeding out corruption by bringing a strong Lokayukta bill.
The star campaigners from BJP and Congress also crisscrossed the hill state during the fortnight-long electioneering.
Chief Minister B C Khanduri addressed nearly two dozen rallies across the state during the past four to five days.
During his meetings, Khanduri had raked up emotive issues including the Muzaffarnagar massacre during Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 1994. "You all know who were the perpetrators of the Muzaffarnagar incident? You also know that it was only BJP which formed the new state of Uttarakhand," Khanduri had said.
With the Election Commission cracking down on use of money power, the cacophony of the electioneering was missing this time with candidates shunning big shows of strength.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paes in mixed doubles final : Australian Open

Paes in mixed doubles final, Sania-Hesh ousted

Leander Paes is in line to win two Slam titles as he and Elena Vesnina reached the mixed doubles summit clash even as Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi bowed out after their semifinal defeat at the Australian Open on Friday.

Fifth seeds Paes and Vesnina came from behind to tame a fighting Italian pair of Roberta Vinci and Daniele Bracciali 5-7 6-2 10-7 in the semifinals.

Paes has already made it to the men's doubles final with Czech partner Radek Stepanek and they face top seeds Americans Bob and Mike Bryan.

Meanwhile, the sixth seeded Sania-Bhupathi's campaign ended after they lost 3-6 3-6 to the eighth seeded combo of Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States and Romania's Horia Tecau in just 68 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.

Although the match was a closely-contested affair, the American-Romanian duo played better as far as the crucial points were concerned. The Indians could hit only 17 winners as compared to 24 by their opponents.

In the opening set, the Indians managed to convert only breakpoint out of the three that they got, besides losing their serve on two occasions to hand their opponents the advantage.

The second set was on serve till 3-3 but the eighth seeds broke Sania and Bhupathi to go up 4-3 and then held their serve to make it 5-3.

The Indians once again failed to keep their serve and the opponents claimed their second consecutive break to book a place in the final

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tax rebate to Companies in safe -haven funded by Indian Banks

Honorable Members of Parliament,
I was shocked to find yesterday Essar Steel had commissioned Rs.37,500 crore Flat Products Steel Plant but soon Firstly found out in 2008 Annual Report it was 93% owned by Cayman Island company. Secondly this Indian Funded project would not contribute much to taxes in India, thirdly it would cause all the pollution in high population density Surat district and fourthly displace existing facilities in other states due to excess capacity.
Ø      With Rs.37,500 Crores India could have promoted 10,000 Agro Industries – 20 in each district adding atleast 10% GDP and to benefit 5 crore farmers directly and indirectly compared to NEGATIVE contribution – reducing net employment and increasing cost compared to existing units. 
My NRI returned friend invested in Essar Steel subscribing to IPO – purchased 10,000 shares for Rs.220 each when Ruias paid just Rs.10 for each share, for several years ES didn’t register the share – finally when registered its value Rs.15-Rs.18 and he than sold it. Had he purchased some plot it would have been worth Rs.10 crores.
Thus Essar Steel largely financially promoted by Indians and debt funded by Indian Bank and Indian money was owned by Ruias almost free is now owned and operated by Ruia company from Cayman Island. Essar Steel retained over subscription as permitted and invested Free Cash in its control to fund (Oil and Gas, Power, Infrastructure, Ports, Projects, Services, Shipping, BPO, Telecom, Realty, Information technology, Publishing, Agribusiness, Essar TV, Partner with Essar, Other businesses.) 
Ø      Ruias transferred ESSAR STEEL to Cayman Islands – foreign ownership is 93%. So entire group funded by Indian Equity and Indian Deposits is not registered in India and not contributing to Taxes in India.
Ø      This alone is $30b to $50b Loss to India or transfer of $50b to CAYMAN Island. (Essar Hutch was worth $18.9b)
You wondered how Gujarat as claimed by Narendra Modi is growing fast but firstly not reflected in GDP figures and secondly Gujarati people continues to be Malnourished, Stunted and Under Weight. Essar Projects, RIL, Tata, Adani and others contribute nothing to Gujarat – subsidies are more than tax revenue when most are owned and operated from Tax Heavens. These Foreign Owned companies also claim Corporate Tax Concessions called Tax Forgone.
As per latest Monthly Per Capita Expenditure Gujarat Ranks 8th and 9th among major states.
I quick succession we found just one family Essar was involved in Foreign Transactions and Illegal Subsidy to
1. Sales tax subsidy of 125% of project cost i.e. Rs.9100 crores to Essar Refinery.
2. $20b Essar Hutch sold out to Vodafone for $12b – India got nothing – even IT case was lost.
3. Essar Steel too is Cayman Island Company 93% directly owned and controlled by Ruias.
4. Tata, Ambanis, Mittals, Ruias, Agarwals etc operate foreign companies from Foreign Heavens with Indian Money.
Similarly many more companies Funded By Indian Banks and Indian money are Registered in Foreign Companies contributing nothing to the states and center as Taxes and little by way of employment – but polluting our Environment.
Ravinder Singh
January27, 2012

“Vivekananda Memorial Programme for Museum Excellence”

Union Finance Minster Shri Pranab Mukherjee would be leaving for the two day official visit to Chicago, US on the early  morning of Saturday,28th January, 2012. During his visit, the Finance Minister’s first engagement on arrival would be to address the Chicago Council on Global Affairs where large number of business leaders of the Corporate World are likely to participate.
 Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee include unveiling of Swami Vivekananda Memorial Plaque at the Art Institute of Chicago, inauguration of exhibitions of Tagore Paintings at Art Institute of Chicago and signing of two agreements by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India with the (a)Art Institute of Chicago for the “Vivekananda Memorial Programme for Museum Excellence” and (b) with the University of Chicago for an endowment to establish “The Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Chair.”  
During his visit, the Finance Minister’s first engagement on arrival would be to address the Chicago Council on Global Affairs where large number of business leaders of the Corporate World are likely to participate. These business leaders would mainly be from Fortune 500 companies as Chicago is Headquarter of 32 such companies including Boeing, Caterpillar, McDonalds, Kraft, Abbott Laboratories and Sara Lee among others. During his address, the Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee is likely to share his perception about the Indian and Global economy especially when the world economic situation is in a state of flux. On the other hand, India today occupies the leadership position in the world order across various fields and has enormous resources, technology and skills with a pre eminent position. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee is likely to envisage the shared goals and objectives with these business leaders and invite them to become an active partner in India growth story.                     

Thursday, January 26, 2012

63rd Republic Day- 63 Things to Admire About India

63rd Republic Day- 63 Things to Admire About India

By SiliconIndia,Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 18:23 IST

Bangalore: We are 63 years old as a Republic. It is the time to celebrate the fact that we are the citizens of India and live in a democracy; a blessing we sometimes take for granted. It is time to appreciate our founding fathers that had the conviction and wisdom to give us this Constitution; which for all its frailties has stood the test of time. Here are the 62 things in our national life that define us and make us proud.

The Indian Armed Forces: Nothing matches the untamable courage of the Indian jawans and officers. They live to defend our borders; stay awake so we get a good night's rest. They are truly the brave forces. Jai Jawan!

Hospitality: One of the most evident things any person or even a visitor in India will notice is its hospitality. Indians are full of warmth and hospitality. For instance just board a train and you will see that the family on the next berth will open their tiffin, with rotis and sabzi and pickles and generously offer to share their food with you. Guests in a small Indian home! No issues because they eventually offer their bed while they sleep in the hall. Hospitality like this would only be seen in a place like India.

Economic Renaissance: It has been such a pleasure to see that since the beginning of the 1990s, India has taken an upbeat turn in the economic field. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh will be remembered in history as those who dared to abandon the old Soviet path of a planned economy.

Supreme Court: It is our tough cookie that serves justice and gets to rap our leaders. The apex court that has had a very busy year, pulling up governments, public servants and criminals along with all the scams bursting into the scene one after another.

Election Commission: Whether it is about thinking of a new political party or a fancy symbol for your existing one, or wanting to nail a guy for his hate speech. The Election Commission is here to meet your every electoral need.

Indian Railways: Our very own essence of India, the Indian Railways, something no one can miss to travel in. The experience of hot chaai, garam vadas, even a three-course meal in the train, ensures you get a ride you'll never forget! It is 'India's Lifeline' without a doubt.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

EU agrees to begin lifting sanctions against Myanmar

EU foreign ministers agreed on Monday to begin easing sanctions against Myanmar to encourage reform but will await further positive signals before calling an end to restrictive measures, diplomats said.

"We will begin by suspending some visa bans as a first stage from today," said a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity as EU foreign ministers began a day of talks in Brussels.
Lifting all sanctions will be "conditional on the continuation of positive action by the authorities," the source added.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton hailed "the quite extraordinary changes in the last weeks and months" and announced she would visit the country in April as she went into the ministerial meetings.
The 27-nation bloc has been divided over how soon to lift sanctions, with some insisting on waiting for by-elections on April 1, which will see a historic bid for parliament by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ashton said the European Union had been in contact with her on the issue

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Growth rate of 9% cent during the 12th Five Year Plan.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia says the country is aiming to achieve a growth rate of nine per cent during the 12th Five Year Plan.

Speaking at a Seminar on the Approach to the 12th Plan in Kochi, Dr. Ahluwalia said the focus of the plan period is to achieve a much faster, sustainable and inclusive growth in the country.

He said there is a need to pull more people out of agriculture sector and to focus on non-agricultural activities, such as manufacturing. He pointed out that if a large part of the population is left in such low productive sector such as agriculture, they will be deprived of the benefits of higher growth rate.

Dr. Ahluwalia said attempts should be made to curtail the growth of subsidies to achieve a growth rate of nine per cent. He said creation of employment opportunities, skill development of labour force, access to quality education, infrastructure development, curtailing energy requirements and efficient usage of water are important components of achieving inclusive growth.

Rajasthan retain Ranji Trophy

Rajasthan completed formalities on the fifth and final day as they successfully defended the Ranji Trophy by virtue of first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu, at the Chepauk, in Chennai on Monday.

The match was dead as a contest on the fourth day itself, when Rajasthan managed a huge 326-run first innings lead.
Rajasthan walked away with a winners' cheque of Rs 2 crore while Tamil Nadu got half that amount.
With only academic interest left in the match, Rajasthan declared at 204 for five in the second innings, leaving Tamil Nadu to bat out a few mandatory overs which would have ended the drudgery. The match was called off after the hosts had managed eight runs for the loss of two wickets in 13 overs.
The man who has turned a bunch of 'also-rans' into a gutsy domestic outfit is undoubtedly Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
With back-to-back domestic titles under his belt, Kanitkar will certainly now be remembered as one of the finest domestic captains in recent times rather than a 'one-shot wonder' which has been his claim to fame for past 12 years.
Kanitkar, who became a journeyman cricketer six season back when his own state Maharashtra dumped him, though, admitted that the title should be attributed to "a bit of luck and loads of hardwork" that his boys put in.
"It's an amazing feeling. At the group stage, we had a few results going our way. We won a few matches and then a combination of favourable results got us in the knock-out. We played superb cricket after that," Kanitkar stated at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Strengthening Research & Development in Power Sector

Union Power Minister Calls for Strengthening Research & Development in Power Sector
Union Minister of Power, Shri Sushilkumar Shinde has called for strengthening research and development in power generation, transmission and distribution sectors. He was addressing the delegates of the India Energy Congress 2012 in New Delhi today. Shri Shinde said that while the country has made remarkable progress in the power sector during the 11th Plan, a lot more still has to be done. He said that during the 11th Plan period the country has added about two-and-a-half times of the capacity that was added during the 10th Plan period. He said that 80,000 MW capacity is under construction for the 12th Plan. Emphasising on the need of energy conservation through efficiency improvement, the Minister reiterated India’s commitment to cheaper, sustainable and clean power. He said that through various initiatives such as star labelling of products, the achievement in the avoided generation capacity during the 11th Plan will be over 10,000 MW.

Shri Shinde asked the delegates to look into the issues affecting the power sector such as prices of fuels and the local problems. Regarding AT&C losses Shri Shinde said that while the Government has launched the schemes such as Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP). Adding that Smart Grid can be another answer in this direction, he said that it is also necessary to find out other causes of transmission losses such as theft and non-billing. He said the Ministry is taking steps to bifurcate the losses between the commercial losses and losses due to other reasons including technical and theft.

Underlining the importance of renewable energy, the Minister said that the cost of solar power is gradually coming down. He said that there is a need for a greater focus on research and development in the field of solar photo-voltaic.

Speaking on the occasion Secretary (Power), Shri P. Uma Shankar said that there are a number of issues which need to be deliberated including availability of ports and rail facilities for transporting imported coal, availability of land, water and ash disposal facilities for thermal power plants and financial health of distribution companies.

The two-day conference being attended by delegates from India and abroad is deliberating on emerging opportunities and challenges in energy sector.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hosni Mubarak still President:

Hosni Mubarak is still president of Egypt as he never signed a resignation letter, his lawyer asserted in court on Sunday as he began wrapping up the defence case in the trial of the ousted strongman.

"Mubarak did not write a letter of resignation,"Farid al- Deep  told the court.

"The document was signed by Omar Suleiman," Egypt's former spy chief who was appointed by Mubarak as vice-president during a popular uprising last year demanding that the veteran leader quit. As a result, Deeb said, the Cairo criminal court is not competent to try Mubarak, who should be referred to a "special tribunal." Mubarak stepped down on February 11 last year, pushed out of power after an 18-day revolt against his regime. He has been on trial since August charged over the deaths of hundreds of protesters killed during the uprising.Being tried with him are his former interior minister and six ex-security officials.
The prosecution wants Mubarak to hang for the killings.

Mubarak is also facing charges of corruption along with his sons Gamal and Alaa in a separate trial in the same court. The defence began on Tuesday a five-day challenge and is due to wrap up the case concerning Mubarak and his sons later on Sunday. The trial will continue with defence teams for ex-interior minister Habib al-Adly and the six security officials arguing their cases.The last hearing is set for February 16.
The court is then expected to recess for deliberation after which the judge will set a date for the verdict.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why the Commission cannot have Negative Vote on the EVMs.

Dear  friends of nnfi
In a PIL, for adding negative vote in the EVMs, hearing on 19th January 2012, Advocate Jamshed Mistry while intervening for AGNI drew the attention of the Court of the 2007 Supreme Court ruling which ordered the Election Commission of India to have braille also in the EVMs for the blind. This was also to maintain secrecy. Earlier the blind were being guided by some one to cast their vote thus violating Rule 49[M] Vote on Secrecy..
Judge Sinha asked, similarly why the Commission cannot have Negative Vote on the EVMs. After all in both cases it was to maintain secrecy of the voter.
Mr. Mistry also objected to the State Election Commission that it was too late to add this extra button in the EVMs for NONE OF THE ABOVE. He said the Commission would be announcing the names of candidates only on 4th February 2012 and only after that date the candidate names can be added. Hence it is the right time he mentioned.
The court gave 8 days time to Election Commission to confirm why a button for Negative Vote cannot be added just like the braille and kept the next hearing for Wednesday 25th January 2012.
Sharad Kumar
Trustee i/c Elections
AGNI [Action for good Governance & Networking in India]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

National Painting Competition on Water Conservation

Second National Painting Competition on Water Conservation Organised. Union Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Shri Vincent H. Pala presented the prizes to the winners of the second National Painting Competition organised by the Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources at a function in New Delhi toady. The theme of the competition was “Role of Children in Water Conservation”.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Pala underlined the need to harvest the rainwater in view of limited availability of fresh ground water resources. He said It is necessary that the young generation is fully aware about the water resource scenario of the country and understands the concerns and steps to mitigate the challenges in water resource management, in particular the water conservation efforts. He called for actively involving children in spreading of awareness on water conservation and efficient water use practices in the country.

The first prize at the competition was won by Disha Roy Choudhury of Siliguri, West Bengal. She was awarded cash prize of Rs. one lakh. There were four second prizes of Rs. 50,000/ each. The winners included Bhavika Dugar of Coimbatore, A.Yokaran of Chennai, Yeerandip Debnath of Sealdah and Devjit Choudhury of Jamshedpur. The eight third prize winners with cash prize of Rs. 25,000/ each included Shreya Das of Faridabad, Kshitiz Rawat of Delhi, Sayani Das of Jamshedpur, A.Esha Rayal of Hyderabad, Shreeraksha of Mangalore, A.Priya Darsini of Coimbatore, Bhagyashree Kunwar of Mumbai and Imon Chetia Phukan of Guwahati. All

Tell President Obama: Support Democracy and Civilian Rule in Egypt!

Tell President Obama: Support Democracy and Civilian Rule in Egypt!

20.01.2012 18:08:50 - Dear Naresh,

In January 2011, the people of Egypt took to the streets and brought down their president of thirty years, Hosni Mubarak. Next week will mark the anniversary of the protests in Tahrir Square. While Mubarak is gone, his military and much of his regime still rule the country.

(live-PR.com) - On Tuesday, when President Obama delivers the State of the Union address, he should tell Americans and our allies throughout the Middle East and the world that the United States supports civilian, democratic rule in Egypt. And that the United States stands with all those who struggle for human rights and democracy.

"It's time for the Egyptian military to hand power
to civilian rule!" That's what I heard from the human rights activists I met with in Egypt this month. They are putting their faith in advancing the democratic transition process and in remaining mobilized and vigilant against any backsliding on human rights from Egypt's new rulers. One human rights activist there told me that the military leadership "threatens our very existence".

In recent months, the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) has presided over:

the killing of scores of peaceful protestors calling for the end of military rule;
raids on the offices of American, German, and Egyptian NGO's working to promote a transparent democratic process in the country;
fueling divisions within Egyptian society by targeting Christians and implementing an election timetable and system that favored the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood; and
the trial of over 12,000 civilians in military courts.

If the United States wants to build a positive relationship with a new democratic Egypt, President Obama should state unequivocally that Egypt's future lies with a democratic civilian government and that the military rulers do not have the unconditional support of the U.S. government.

Ask President Obama to state his support for a democratic Egypt in next week's State of the Union address. Tell him to support civilian rule in Egypt!


Neil Hicks,
Human Rights First
Contact information:
Sagar Media Inc

Friday, January 20, 2012

Zayed Future Energy Prize

Zayed Future Energy Prize

20.01.2012 03:52:09 - Nksagar-Sagar Media Inc:General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Tuesday presented the 2012 Zayed Future Energy Prize to three winners and two runners up.

(live-PR.com) - Dr Ashok Gadgil from the US won the Lifetime Achievement award while French company Schneider Electric received a Recognition Award in the Large Corporations category.
Carbon Disclosure Project based in the UK secured the top award of $1.5 million while India's Orb Energy was the runner up with a cash prize of $1 million, followed by Environmental Defence Fund of the

US getting $500,000.

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed at the prestigious award said: "The Zayed Future Energy Prize has become a beacon of light, stimulating thinkers and creators while encouraging the world to accelerate innovation in renewable energy and sustainability.This Prize is a clear manifestation of the vision of the late founding father of the UAE,Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who placed a priority on investing in human capital and the preservation of our natural resources for generations to come."

"Encouraging these innovators allows us keep them motivated, and as such, ensures that our communities keep benefiting from their inventions. In light of the challenges facing the world today be it energy security or safeguarding our natural resources these innovators offer their concerted efforts. The United Arab Emirates, led by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is committed to exerting every effort towards encouraging such ambitious initiatives aimed at improving our collective quality of life."

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority the sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates, Monday expressed "keen interest" in increasing investment in India, especially in infrastructure sector.

"This is an opportunity to enter this huge market," said Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, who is on a visit here.

Sheikh Hamed discussed the investment opportunities with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma during a meeting at Udyog Bhawan here.

"We will be very happy to see your participation in Indias infrastructure building, Sharma said.

The two country have agreed to set up a joint working group to facilitate the flow of investments, commerce and industry ministry said in a statement after the meeting.
Contact information:
Sagar Media Inc

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ICWAI gets its Name Changed to ICAI

ICWAI gets its Name Changed to ICAI and its Members to use ACMA and FCMA The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) will be henceforth be known as The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI). The change is a sequel to the passing of of ICWAI Amendment Act 2011, to enable their members to use the designation ACMA and FCMA denoting Associate and Fellow membership of the Institute respectively. This will enable the members working in India and abroad, being recognized by a common designation by which similar members are known throughout the globe. This is a major boost to the members of the Institute who serve in various countries across the world and were facing discrimination due to their earlier designation AICWA and FICWA. This was stated by the President of ICWAI Mr. M.Gopalakrishnan in the press meet on the sidelines of the Regional Conference being held at Bangalore today.

ICWAI is a Statutory Professional Body constituted under the special act of Parliament, namely, the Cost and Works Accountant Act, 1959. It acts with the objectives of promoting, regulating, and developing the profession of Cost Accountancy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

South Africa clinch ODI series aginst Sri Lanka

South Africa sneaked a four-run win over Sri Lanka on the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-affected third one-day international on Tuesday to clinch the five-match series 3-0.

South Africa was 179-5 after 34 overs chasing Sri Lanka's 266-9 when rain came down at Chevrolet Park.
Umpires called the game off about an hour and 20 minutes later, handing South Africa a narrow victory and first series win under new skipper AB de Villiers.
De Villiers was 39 not out at the end and Albie Morkel 7 not out, but Faf du Plessis's career-best ODI score of 72 from 99 balls had pushed South Africa within reach of victory.
Du Plessis' innings was crucial after Lasith Malinga (2-20) struck twice and the home team slipped to 113-4.
"I would have liked the game to go to the end,'' De Villiers said, "but I am proud of the boys. We pulled it back with the ball and were solid with the bat.''
Sri Lanka's competitive total was earlier set up by a second successive half-century by Upul Tharanga in a 94-run opening stand with captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (33).
Sri Lanka couldn't capitalize on its strong start, however, as Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (38) and Dinesh Chandimal (36) didn't go on to make big scores when well-set.
Nuwan Kulasekara hit a quickfire 40 down the order but the tourists were reined in when a 300-plus scores was possible.
South Africa spinners Robin Peterson and JP Duminy had a wicket each to remove the openers, while fast bowler Morne Morkel finished with 2-65.
Sri Lankans were still unfortunate not to have the chance to see the game through and apply late pressure on the home team, which still needed 88 runs off 16 overs when the weather intervened."We're definitely disappointed to lose the series like this,'' Dilshan said.
"We had a great chance to win today, with Lasith (Malinga) still having five overs with almost 90 runs to go. We'll try to finish strongly in the last two games.''
Tharanga made a rapid start, crashing five fours and two sixes in his 58 from 65 balls before Peterson had him caught off a top-edged sweep by Colin Ingram. Dilshan fell eight runs and two overs later.
Sangakkara and Chandimal added 52 for the third wicket but their stand was ended with a Du Plessis direct hit from backward point to run out Sangakkara.
Sri Lanka slipped from a strong position at 154-2 to add just 112 more runs in the last 20 overs, despite late rallies from Nuwan Kulasekara and Kosala Kulasekara, who made 19 from 20 balls.
Malinga fired out Graeme Smith and Ingram in a deadly opening spell and recalled opener Alviro Petersen fell for 17 trying a reverse sweep off Dilshan to leave South Africa 52-3.
Du Plessis and Duminy rebuilt with their 61-run partnership until Duminy was given run out for 25 when Nuwan Kulasekara threw down the stumps.
TV replays appeared to show Duminy just home and the surprise decision by third umpire Billy Doctrove left South Africa's players shaking their heads in bewilderment and coach Gary Kirsten clearly angry. In his disappointment, Duminy took a long time to leave the field.
Du Plessis hit seven fours in his third ODI half-century and even though he was also run out after struggling with cramp the fifth run out in the match No. 6 De Villiers dragged South Africa above the required run rate with three fours in his 39 from 36 deliveries.
It was just enough for a fifth ODI series win in their last six for the Proteas and sent Sri Lanka to a fifth straight loss in limited-overs contests


12 to 14 April 2012
SAN ANTONIO, United States

Intellectbase International Academic Consortium
invites Abstracts, Case Studies, RIP and FP from
Intellectbase publishes 15 Refereed Academic

The deadline for abstracts/proposals is 16 March

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SAPA Workshop Series

SAPA Workshop Series
Empowering South Asian Youth in Peace Activism
Workshop Partners:
QPSW, Ekta Parishad, HMI and Indian committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO)

Feb 4-9, 2012, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha (India)

Peace building in South Asia is a challenge for youth. Youth from South Asia do not have much access to non violent conflict transformation training. Moving from a national to a South Asian identity is an important step for strengthening grassroots democracies.

South Asia Peace Alliance (SAPA) works on nonviolence and peace issues in South Asia. There is an identified need for youth from South Asia to learn about peace activism, facilitation skills and social engagement

To this end, SAPA plans a series of 5 day Training in India for Youth from selected youth from  organizations from across South Asia.

This workshop is happening at a time when historic Jan Satyagraha Campaign 2011-2012 (of SAPA partner organization Ekta Parishad, Year long Gandhian action In India.) is in progress. This gives opportunity to be part of this process as a part of non-violent training.

Participants Targeted: 25 from South Asian countries
Programme content
Youth will learn the practicalities of non-violent action and thus gain confidence to be able see demonstration of putting theory into action by taking part in on-going nonviolent campaign in India. It will provide empowerment through dialogue and provide a toolkit for future action.

In this workshop the “Turning the Tide” tools for Nonviolent power for Social change.

Ekta Parishad module on Pedagogy of Nonviolent action and an Introduction to the Basic Facilitation skills for youth to work with community will be shared.

For Whom?
This is programme is open to those who believe practicing nonviolence by applying at the community level. Those desiring to become facilitators in the process at the grassroot level. We prefer senior youth (Above 25) working with  voluntary organizations, Institutes, Civil Society groups, Committed individuals.

There is token registration fees is Rs.1000.for a 5 days workshop. Those part of the workshop can opt for optional exposure programme.to be with Shri P.VRajagopal, noted Gandhian, peace activist and leader of Jan-Satyagraha Campaign, for 3 days. For more details http://js2012.wordpress.com/

Participants will have travel on their own or get sponsorship for individuals or representing organizations.

Last Date for applying Jan 20, 2012, application form enclosed.

For any further details write to secretariat.sapa@gmail.com  

Contact Person
Vijay Bharatiya & Rita Roy
Mobile: 91-9427700762

SAPA Website: http://southasiapeacealliance.weebly.com/index.html

SAPA Regional Secretariat 
2/3 A, Block-A, Jungpura,
New Delhi-110014  (INDIA)

Going Green in 2012:

Going Green in 2012: 12 Steps for the Developing World

 As we start the new year, here are 12 steps we can take to reduce our impact on the environment. 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia----Many of us are thinking about the changes we want to make this year. For some, these changes will be financial; for others, physical or spiritual. But for all of us, there are important resolutions we can make to "green" our lives. Although this is often a subject focused on by industrialized nations, people in developing countries can also take important steps to reduce their growing environmental impact.

 "We in the developing world must embark on a more vigorous 'going green' program," says Sue Edwards, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD). "As incomes rise and urbanization increases, a growing middle class must work with city planners to ensure our communities are sustainable." 

ISD's Tigray Project recently received the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2011, shared with Kofi Annan, Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Since 1996, Tigray has worked to help Ethiopian farmers rehabilitate ecosystems, raise land productivity, and increase incomes through such practices as composting, biodiversity enhancement, the conservation of water and soil, and the empowerment of local communities to manage their own development. 

Broadening sustainability efforts is essential to solving many of the world's challenges, including food production, security, and poverty. The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. "With so many hungry and poor in the world, addressing these issues is critical," says Danielle Nierenberg, director of the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project. "Fortunately, the solutions to these problems can come from simple innovations and practices."  

Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet team recently traveled to 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and will soon be traveling to Latin America, to research and highlight such solutions. The project shines a spotlight on innovations in agriculture that can help alleviate hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment. These innovations are elaborated in Worldwatch's flagship annual report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet

Hunger, poverty, and climate change are issues that we in the developing world can help address. Here are 12 simple steps to go green in 2012:

1.      Recycle:
Urbanization is on the rise throughout the developing world. According to the United Nations, the highest urban-area growth is 3.5 percent per year in Africa. But waste management is not keeping up with population growth. It is inefficient in urban areas and virtually nonexistent in rural areas, resulting in the pervasive unloading of waste in unmanaged dump sites and bodies of water and endangering public health.

What you can do:
  • Collect your household's waste in two separate containers----one for organic waste like scraps of food and one for other waste like plastic, glass, metal, and paper. You can compost the organic waste (see #11).
  • Cities such as Johannesburg have recycling drop-off sites. If your city doesn't, look for neighbors who are interested in salvaging and reselling items like cans. Brazil, for example, boasts a 96.5 percent aluminum can recycle rate due in large part to the 180,000 Brazilians who collect and resell cans for profit. 
2.      Reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Over the last two decades, roughly 75 percent of human-made carbon dioxide emissions were produced by fossil fuel burning. Coal and other environmentally polluting fossil fuels can be replaced by renewable resources, including biofuels.Globally, some 25 million homes convert biogas into energy for lighting and cooking, including 20 million households in China and 3.9 million in India.

What you can do:
  • Instead of burning coal or wood, use biogas converted from the methane produced by either livestock manure or weeds such as water hyacinth. In Rwanda, the government is working to make biogas stoves more affordable----by the end of 2011 they had hoped to see them being used in 15,000 households, and in Ethiopia, the target is 14,000 biogas digester plants with rural households by the end of 2013.
  • Use an environmentally friendly solar cooker to utilize solar energy instead of fossil fuels. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is committing $50 million to advance the goal of securing 100 million such stoves in developing countries by 2020. 
3.      Make the switch.
In 2007, Australia became the first country to "ban the bulb" and began a process to replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. By late 2010, incandescent bulbs had been totally phased out, and, according to the country's environment minister, this move has made a big difference, cutting an estimated 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. The Ethiopian government is the first in the developing world to consider banning incandescent bulbs. Its distribution of 5 million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) has created energy savings of 75 percent.

What you can do:
  • Although CFLs are initially more expensive, they use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times as long. The government of Australia estimates that the country's switch to CFLs will save the average household 66 percent on their electricity bill.
  • Encourage your local and national governments to follow Ethiopia's example and give free CFLs to consumers in exchange for their old incandescent bulbs. 
4.      Re-use water bottles
Worldwide, 900 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, and more than 4,000 children die each year from preventable diseases. As a result, many consumers use bottled water. We consume 200 billion bottles of water globally. It takes 1.5 million barrels of crude oil to produce these bottles and 2.7 tons of plastic, 86 percent of which ends up as garbage or litter.

What you can do:
  • Stainless steel reusable water bottles are the best solution, but you can also reuse plastic bottles every time you encounter a clean water source. When it is time for a new bottle, recycle the old one.
  • The Life and Water Development Group Cameroon has partnered with Thirst Relief International USA to bring clean water to those without access. One filtration unit uses layers of crushed rock, sand, and naturally forming bacteria to remove 99 percent of harmful bacteria from drinking water. 
5.      Conserve water.
Each of us requires 3,000 liters of water a day to meet our dietary needs. Yet half of people worldwide live in countries where water tables are falling. Because 70 percent of water is used to irrigate agriculture, it is important that we better conserve water as we grow our food.

What you can do:
  • Growing one ton of grain requires 1,500 tons of water, but many crops indigenous to the developing world require much less. In Asia and Africa, the pigeon pea is drought-resistant and can grow in low-nutrient soil with little water while still producing a yield that is 20 percent protein.
  • Rainwater Concepts in India is working to popularize simple rainwater harvesting techniques, successfully recharging 90,000 wells.
6.      Turn down the AC.
Thirty of the world's 50 most populous cities are located in the developing world, mostly in hot climates. Use of air conditioners increases 20-35 percent annually in developing countries, and the related chemicals emitted are stalling the global effort to heal the ozone layer, the part of our atmosphere that protects the planet from harmful solar rays.

What you can do:
  • Use fans instead of air conditioning to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals released into our air.
  •  If you want to install air conditioning in your home or business, use ozone-friendly units instead of those that emit hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
7.      Support food recovery.
Each year, roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption----approximately 1.3 billion tons----gets lost or wasted, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In the developing world, this often happens because of premature harvests or a lack of proper storage facilities, sufficient infrastructure, or appropriate preservation methods. Every metric ton of food waste sent to landfills emits 4.5 times the amount of carbon dioxide, and decomposing food in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

What you can do:
  • Farmers in Pakistan have saved 70 percent of their harvest by switching from jute bags and containers constructed with mud to more durable metal containers.
  • In West Africa, farmers use solar dryers to save the 100,000 tons of mangos that would otherwise go to waste annually. This technique can be used with other fruit to save them from perishing after harvest.
8.      Buy local, indigenous crops.
Rice, wheat, corn, and soy are the crops that modern agriculture focuses on most. Reliance on so few crops is dangerous. The 2010 drought in Russia decimated a third of the country's wheat harvest, and the developing world felt the shock as food prices skyrocketed. Indigenous and traditional crops, however, are often hardier and more resistant to pests and disease. 

What you can do:
  • Find out what crops are indigenous to your area and which farmers are growing them. Buy directly from those farmers or ask your local market to carry their products.
  • Grow indigenous crops in your own garden (see #10) and share with your neighbors.
9.      Plant a tree.
Globally, we have lost 13 million acres of forest each year since 2000. In Latin America, the expanding popularity of cattle operations and soybean farms trumps preservation of the Amazon. Brazil is the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide, not because of industry or automobiles, but because of deforestation.

What you can do:
  • Plant a tree or two at home. In addition to the environmental benefits, it will provide shade and keep your home cooler. If you plant a citrus or nut tree, you'll enjoy the extra food as well.
  • Agroforestry, or planting trees among crops, can provide shade and help control erosion. In addition, leguminous trees can add nutrients to the soil naturally, making the soil more fertile and increasing crop yields.  
10.  Plant a garden.
Fourteen million people in Africa migrate from rural to urban areas each year, and studies suggest that by 2020, an estimated 40 million Africans living in cities will depend on urban agriculture to meet their food requirements. Home gardens helped families in Kibera, Nairobi, survive when unrest after the 2008 elections shut down roads and prevented food from coming into the city. And the sale of garden surplus is an excellent way to supplement family income.

What you can do:
  • If your access to land is limited, you can create a "vertical garden." Fill tall sacks with soil, poke holes on different levels, and plant seeds in the holes. Use waste water from your home and compost (see #11) to keep your soil rich and healthy, improving the quality of your food. If you live in an urban area and don't have access to land, reuse old tires or buckets to create portable planters. 
11.  Compost organic waste.
The World Bank estimates that 50 percent of an average developing country's solid waste can be composted. By repurposing compostable waste such as food scraps, wood waste, and paper and cardboard products, we can reduce landfill space and add reclaimed nutrients to our agricultural efforts
What you can do:
  • Work within your family to compost your own organic waste, or work with your community to establish a collective compost site.
  • To make the most of your compost, use it to nourish local gardening efforts.
12.  Eat meat that is raised right...and eat less of it.
Livestock are raised on a third of the Earth's land, accounting for approximately 18 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. In the developing world alone, 1 to 2 trillion cubic meters of water per year is needed to raise crops for these animals. Global meat production has increased 20 percent since 2000, and nearly 90 percent of additional growth is expected to occur in the developing world, predominantly on large, industrial farms.

What you can do:
  • Think about where your meat comes from. Giant, industrial farms pollute the environment through heavy use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other harmful inputs. Pastoral farms can help reduce pollution and supports the livelihoods of local farming families.
  • If you're a farmer, consider building a biodigester so that you can convert the organic waste from your animals into a nutrient-rich fertilizer and biogas, a renewable energy source that you can use for heating and electricity.  
The most successful and lasting new year changes are those that are practiced regularly and have an important goal. As we embark on this new year, let's all resolve to make 2012 a healthier, happier, and greener year for all.

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