Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Continuing turmoil in Yemen

Italian security officer kidnapped in Yemen.An Italian embassy security officer has been kidnapped by gunmen in Yemen, reflecting the country's deteriorating security.Reuters news agency says the officer was seized in the capital Sanaa on Sunday by a group of armed men who approached the Italian embassy by a car. There has been no word from the kidnappers yet.

The Italian government is gathering intelligence and has asked the Yemeni government for help and to work toward an early release of the captive.The kidnapping highlights the continuing turmoil in Yemen. Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down after over 20 years of autocratic rule and replaced by a new government in February.

Armed groups linked to Al Qaeda are expanding in the country, taking advantage of the political confusion since the power transfer.Kidnappings of foreign nationals have occurred one after another. In March, a female Swiss language instructor was seized by an armed group. The group used her as a bargaining chip to demand the release of their detained comrades.Also on Sunday, about 100 armed people who still support the ousted president stormed the Interior Ministry bilding.media agencies NHK

Press Conference: Syndicate Bank CMD declares Q1 Results 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

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 FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR Q1 OF FY-2012-13
                                                                           Amt.                            (YoY Growth) 

                                      Business Mix           Rs. 2,72,100 crore      (12.06%)

                                      Deposits                     Rs. 1,58,200 crore      ( 9.41%) 

                                      Core Deposits          Rs. 1,16,200 crore      (19.61%)

                                      Advances                  Rs. 1,13,900 crore      (15.97%)

                                      Net Profit                    Rs. 391.42 crore         (10.35%)

CD RATIO AT 72.21%

GROSS NPA AT 2.97%

NET NPA AT 2.05%

                                                                                    

Performance Highlights for the First Quarter of FY 2012-13

Ø  Yield on Advances increased by 76 bps (Q1 to Q1) to reach 12.38% from 11.62%.

Ø  Interest Income increased by 19.20% (Q1 to Q1).

Ø  Non Interest Income increased by 26.11% (Q1 to Q1) mainly due to recovery of Rs. 196.73 crore in Technical Write Off Accounts.

Ø  Net Interest Margin (NIM) stood at 2.79% (Sequential Increase of 11 bps over Q4 of FY 2011-12).

Ø  CRAR of the Bank is at 12.29% under BASEL-II (Tier-I Capital: 9.92%; Tier –II Capital: 2.37%).

Ø  Bulk Deposits reduced from Rs. 47,180 crore to Rs. 41,478 crore showing a reduction of 12.08%.

Ø  Provision Coverage Ratio has improved to 64.42%.

Ø  Total Delivery Channels: 3100 (1808 Branches/ECs plus 1292 ATMs).

PROFIT

Ø  Net Profit of the Bank stood at Rs. 391.42 crore for Q1 of FY 2012-13 as compared to a profit of Rs. 354.70 crore for Q1 of FY 2011-12, showing an increase of              Rs. 36.72 crore and 10.35% (YoY).

Ø  Operating Profit of the Bank stood at Rs. 896.54crore for Q1 of FY 2012-13 as compared to a profit of Rs. 801.37 crore for Q1 of FY 2011-12 showing an increase of   Rs. 95.17 crore and 11.88% (YoY).

BUSINESS

Ø  Total Business of the Bank increased to Rs.2,72,048 crore as on                            30th June, 2012 from Rs. 2,42,770 crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 12.06 %.

Ø  Total Deposits increased to Rs. 1,58,152 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from                  Rs. 1,44,554crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 9.41%.

Ø  Core Deposits increased to Rs. 1,16,247 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from                  Rs. 97,192crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 19.61%.

Ø  Retail Term Deposits increasedto Rs. 52,012 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from                  Rs. 40,614crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 28.06%.

Ø  Advances of the Bank increased to Rs. 1,13,896 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 98,216 crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 15.97%.

Ø  CASA Deposit increased by Rs. 4235 crore to Rs. 37,990 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 33,755 crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 12.55% .

Ø  CASA Deposits to Total Deposits at 24.02%.

Ø  Credit Deposit Ratio at 72.21%


INCOME

Ø  Total Income during Q1 of FY 2012-13 increased by 19.77% to Rs. 4696 crore from Rs. 3920 crore in Q1 of FY 2011-12 due to healthy growth of 19.20 % in Interest Income which reached Rs. 4287 crore and 26.11% growth in Non Interest Income.

Ø  Non Interest Income during Q1 of FY 2012-13 increased by 26.11% to                        Rs. 408 crore from Rs. 324 crore in Q1 of FY 2011-12 mainly due to recovery of Rs. 196.73 crore in Technical Write Off Accounts.

Ø  Net Interest Income during Q1 of FY 2012-13 increased by 10.56% to                         Rs. 1126 crore from Rs.1018 crore in Q1 of FY 2011-12.


IMPORTANT RATIOS

Ø  Gross NPA ratio stands at 2.97% as at 30th June, 2012 and Net NPA ratio at         2.05%.

Ø  Provision Coverage Ratio at 64.42%.

Ø  Net Interest Margin (NIM) at 2.79% (Sequential Increase of 11 bps over Q4 of  FY 2011-12) .

Ø  Return on Assets (RoA) at 0.87 %.

Ø  Cost of Deposit is at 7.98% for Q1 ofFY 2012-13.

Ø  Yield on Advances is at 12.38% for Q1 ofFY 2012-13.

Ø  Cost to Income Ratio is at 41.57%.

Ø  Book Value Per Share at Rs. 377.24 as on 30th June, 2012 as against                        Rs. 337.93  as on 30th June,2011.

Ø  CRAR of the Bank is at 12.29% under BASEL-II (Tier-I Capital: 9.92%; Tier –II Capital: 2.37%).

Ø  Business per Branch increased to Rs. 151.64 crore from Rs. 147.67 crore registering a growth of 2.69 % (YoY).

Ø  Business per Employee stood at Rs. 14.72 crore.

DELIVERY CHANNELS

Ø  Bank’s Branch Network stood at 1794 Branches besides 14 Extension Counters.

Ø  17 Branches opened and 5 Extension Counters upgraded by the Bank during Q1 of FY-2012-13.

Ø  Bank Installed 22 New ATMs during Q1 of FY-2012-13. The total number of ATMs as on 30th June, 2012 stood at 1292 (including 09 Mobile ATMs, 333 offsite ATMs and 06 Biometric ATMs).

Ø  ATM Coverage isat 72% vis-à-vis Branch Network.

Ø  Over 1 lac ATM Cards were issued during the quarter taking the total ATM customer base to 33.72 lac.

Ø  4.70 lac internet banking users and 27.51 lac customers availing SMS facility.

Ø  82.42% of eligible cash transactions happening through ATMs.
  

RETAIL CREDIT

Ø  Retail loans at Rs. 11,872 crore constituted 10.42% of Total Advances and grew by 16.98 %(YoY).

o   Vehicle Loan Portfolio grew by 29.21% (YoY) to reach Rs. 1230 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 952 crore as on 30th June, 2011.

o   Education loan Portfolio grew by 4.79% (YoY) to reach Rs. 1173 crore as on30th June, 2012 from Rs. 1120 crore as on30th June, 2011.

o   Direct Housing Loan Portfolio grew by 19.36% (YoY) to reach                          Rs. 5481 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 4592 crore as on 30th June, 2011 .

 PRIORITY SECTOR

Ø  PS Advances grew by 10.35% (YoY) to Rs. 40,244 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 36,469 crore as on 30th June, 2011.

o   Agricultural advances grew by 11.91% (YoY) to Rs. 15,010 crore as on                    30th June, 2012 from Rs. 13,412 crore as on 30th June, 2011.

o   Bank issued 24,198 Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) during the Quarter ended                      30th June, 2012 with an amount of Rs. 550 crore. Total number of KCCs as on 30th June, 2012 was 4,32,242 KCCs with an amount of  Rs. 9007 crore.

MICRO,SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

Ø  Number of MSE (Micro & Small Enterprises) Accounts increased to 1,83,996 from 1,69,137and Bank’s Fund Based exposure under MSE to Rs. 17,900 crore from            Rs.15,886 crore thereby registering a growth of Rs. 2014 crore i.e. an increase of 12.68% (YoY).

Ø  Number of MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Accounts increased to 1,85,963 from 1,70,142 and Bank’s Fund Based exposure under MSME to                    Rs. 20,288 crore from Rs. 17,716 crore thereby registering a growth of                        Rs. 2572 crore i.e. an increase of 14.52 % (YoY).

Ø  During Q1 of FY 2012-13, 4896 MSE Accounts with an amount of Rs. 343 crore & 4951 MSME accounts with an amount of Rs. 370 crore were opened.

Ø  17 MSME Specialised Branches and 51 MSME focused Branches were functional as on 30th June, 2012.
 
FINANCIAL INCLUSION

Ø  1,09,183 NO FRILLS Accounts were opened during Q1 of FY 2012-13 taking the total number of NO FRILLS Accounts to 22,44,482 as on 30th June, 2012 with an outstanding balance of Rs. 426.29 crore.

Ø  569 Villages have been allotted to the Bank with population of more than 2000 and all of them were already covered during the last Financial Year itself.

Ø  4,89,522 No Frill/ Other Savings Accounts have been opened in 569 covered villages  up to 30th June, 2012 covering 3,35,038 households.

Ø  2,16,997 Biometric Cards have been issued in FIP allotted villages and 4,51,030 transactions have been done through the same.

Ø  A campaign was launched on 16.05.2012 to ensure at least one bank account of each household in 569 villages allotted to the Bank under Financial Inclusion Plan.  Under the campaign, a structured survey of all households in villages allotted under FIP was carried to identify all households without a bank account. Simultaneously, accounts have been opened preferably in the name of head of the family during the survey. Under the campaign, a total number of 30,486 new accounts were opened completing coverage of 100% households in 569 FIP allotted villages.     

 HR INITIATIVES

Ø  Bank recruited 187 personnel including 20 Specialist Officers during Q1 of                   FY-2012-13.

Ø  The process for recruitment of 325 Probationary Officers and 100 Agriculture Officers is under process.

Ø  808 Employees promoted during the quarter ended 30th June,2012.


NEW INITIATIVES

Ø  Bank came out with Attractive Features in Oriental Home Loan & Oriental Vehicle Loan Schemes with reduction in Rate of Interest, Lowest EMI, Higher Loan Eligibility, Flexible Repayment Period and special concessions in interest rate to loyal customers.

Ø  Leading initiative was taken by the Bank in waiving the NEFT Charges on transactions up to Rs. One Lac. This initiative of the Bank was also appreciated by Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Hon’ble Finance Minister during his meeting with the Chief Executives of Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions on 12.06.2012.

Ø  The Bank has recently launched ORIENTAL DOUBLE DEPOSIT SCHEME where as per the existing interest rates the money gets doubled in 90 Months (Senior Citizens) and in 96 Months (Others).

Ø  An MoU was signed on 18th June,2012 with E-Billing Solutions Pvt. Ltd (EBS) for offering aggregator services.  EBS is a neutral payment gateway solution for merchants to facilitate online shopping across a spectrum of banks debit & credit cards and Utility Bill Service provider’s viz. IndiaIdeas.com Ltd (BillDesk), Techprocess Ltd, CCAvenue, and IRCTC thereby facilitating Net Banking customers to make online payments. 


IT INITIATIVES

Ø  Unclaimed Deposits / Inoperative Accounts displayed at Bank’s website in compliance with RBI Guidelines.

Ø   Loan EMI Payment – The new functionality will enable our retail Net-Banking customer to make online payment of their Loan EMI installments.

Ø   Payment gateway to Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and SGSITS Indore.

Ø   Online CBS Connectivity through Laptops at Mobile Branches & Ultra Small Branches.

Ø   Implementation of Centralized MIS project.

Ø  SMS alert for customers for SMA/NPA Accounts.

Ø  M/S STQC, a wing of Ministry of Information Technology has renewed “ISO27001” certification. It confirms that our Bank is adopting international best practices for processes and security framework for Data Centres.

Ø  At Mewat District field test has been successfully completed for inter-operability of Smart Cards for Financial Inclusion.


CSR INITIATIVES

Ø  As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, the Bank has set up a Trust in the name of ‘OBC Rural Development Trust’ on 09.12.2005 for setting up of Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs). The Trust has set up Institutes in five Districts, viz., Jaipur, Sriganganagar, Ferozepur, Dehradun and Palwal. Since inception, a total of 793 training programmes have been conducted benefiting 27,285 candidates. During the Financial Year 2012-13, 40 training programmes have been conducted benefiting 1,437 candidates.

Ø  The Bank has opened 4 Financial Literacy & Credit Counselling (FLCC) Centres in Karnal and Palwal districts of Haryana, Sriganganagar in Rajasthan & Ferozpur in Punjab. A total of 14,635 persons were counselled in these FLCCs, out of which 91 cases were referred for debt restructuring.

Ø  A Project for extending social welfare schemes such as NREGA, Pension, etc. has been launched in 6 Districts viz. Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Muktsar in Punjab and Jind in Haryana. A total number of 2,75,766 smart cards have been issued and activated up to 30th June, 2012.

Ø  A Skill Development Program for probable women entrepreneurs on tailoring & embroidery has started in FIP village Marora, District Mewat, Haryana. Initially, 40 women are undergoing training for a period of 30 days.

Ø  Installation of 8 solar lights in Village Rasoolpur Jatan, District Muzaffarnagar, UP and construction of toilets at Primary School.

Ø  Tri-cycle was provided to a physically challenged student of primary school, FIP village Kasmandi Kalan, Block Malihabad, District Lucknow. Ceiling fans were provided to Panchayat Bhawan and Primary School in that village.
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Supreme Court Upholds Basel Convention but allows hazardous US Ship Exxon Valdez 

Parliamentary Committees Intervention Will Be Sought To Stop Hazardous Waste Dumping  ࠼br>

Hazardous Waste Rules need to be revised for compliance with Conventionࠠ࠼br>

New Delhi 30/7/2012: The Bench of Supreme Court, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameshwar, upheld UNⳠBasel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal but allowed the end of life ex US Ship Exxon Valdez (MV Oriental N) at Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat.

The implication of this direction would be that all the ships which are have entered or are entering the Indian territorial waters have to show compliance of Basel Convention. In case there is non compliance, all these ships should go back to country of origin.

The Applicant in the case, Gopal Krishna commented, ㅸxon Valdez did not follow the Basel Convention and therefore according to the judgment dated 06.07.2012 it should have been sent back to the country of export. The Court ought to have applied Precautionary Principle not for the purpose of dismantling the ship but for sending it back because the principle implies that the pollution of hazardous nature has to be avoided particularly when its impact on environment and human health are not known.伳pan style>  A copy of the Basel Convention and its Technical Guidelines is attached. ༯span>

ࠠࠠࠠࠠࠠ In fact the Bench asserted in this order what they have said in their final judgment dated 06.07.2012 namely that all Ships coming for dismantling have to follow Basel Convention and if there is any violation, action should be taken according to the Municipal Laws.

The main concern of the Applicant was that ships like Exxon Valdez are End of Life ships and the entire ship itself is hazardous waste which are regulated under Basel Convention as it is embedded with asbestos waste, cables containing PCT, heavy metals, paint chips etc. the argument was not that the Ship contains any hazardous waste in loose form. None of the above mentioned authorities had given any inventory to the court about hazardous waste contained in the body of the Ship.

The arguments which were advanced by ApplicantⳊadvocate Mr. Sanjay Parikh regarding following Basel Convention namely, that there should be prior decontamination by the country of Export and prior permission by the country of Import before Ship enter the Indian territorial waters. These have been recorded in the judgment. ༯span>

It is noteworthy that Basel Convention is related to the control of Trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal. Article 1, Article 2, paragraph 1 and 4 and Annex IV, paragraph B of the said Convention are relevant. Ships destined for ship-breaking operations are within the definition of "wastes" as defined by the Basel Convention. The Convention defines "wastes" as: "substances or objects which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law" (Article 2, paragraph 1.).

The term "disposal" is further defined to mean "any operation specified in Annex IV to this Convention" (Article 2, paragraph 4). Annex IV includes final disposal operations and operations which lead to recovery, recycling, reclamation, direct re-use or alternative uses. Under Annex IV, paragraph B., ships destined for ship-breaking will, in fact, fall within the entry: "R4 Recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds".

Notably, ships destined for ship-breaking operations are "hazardous wastes" under the Convention.

Article 1 of the Convention determines the scope of the Convention and defines "hazardous wastes". The definition of "hazardous wastes" includes, inter alia, "wastes that belong to any category contained in Annex I, unless they do not possess any of the characteristics contained in Annex III". Ships destined for ship-breaking typically contain, inter alia, the following Annex I hazardous substances to an extent that they do constitute hazardous wastes:

-Y9 Waste oils/water, hydrocarbons/water mixtures, emulsions;

-Y10 Waste substances and articles containing or contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) and/or polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) and/or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs);

-and a host of Y19 to Y45 constituents such as Y23 Zinc compounds, Y26 Cadmium; cadmium compounds, Y31 Lead; lead compounds, Y36 Asbestos (dust and fibers).The Parties to the Basel Convention further supplemented Annex I and III by elaborating specific wastes as hazardous wastes and including such wastes in Annex VIII. Annex VIII contains many entries of specific wastes which are contained in ships destined for ship-breaking.

i.ࠠࠠࠠࠠ࠼/span>The ship-breaking operations in non-OECD countries like India do not constitute environmentally sound management as required by the Convention. Ships destined for ship-breaking contain significant quantities of asbestos, PCBs, hydraulic fluids, paints containing lead and/or other heavy metals, tributyltin or TBT antifouling coatings, contaminated holding tanks, and other substances rendering them hazardous waste and extremely dangerous to human health and the environment when scrapped in the existing ship-breaking yards.

ii.ࠠࠠࠠࠠ In addition, Article 4, paragraph 3 requires the Parties to "consider that illegal traffic in hazardous wastes or other wastes is criminal."Article 4, paragraph 4 requires that "Each Party shall take appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement and enforce the provisions of this Convention, including measures to prevent and punish conduct in contravention of the Convention."Therefore, each Party has a legal obligation to prohibit such ship exports and must do so with respect to all persons ("any natural or legal person" - Article 2, paragraph 14) subject to its jurisdiction, e.g., exporters, importers, brokers, owners, those persons in possession and/or control of the ship, captains, etc.

iii.ࠠࠠࠠࠠIn order to export a ship for ship-breaking, there is a legal requirement to decontaminate it such that it no longer contains Basel Convention hazardous substances prior to export.

iv.ࠠࠠࠠ࠼/span>Among other things, what is emphasized in the Convention is prior informed consent and the disposal of waste in an environmentally sound manner. India has signed and ratified the said convention, in the order dated 14.10.2003- (2005)10 SCC 510 it has been observed that the Basel Convention is a part of Article 21 of the Constitution.

v.  Basel Technical Guidelines under the Basel Convention on Ship dismantling read as follows:

㔲ansboundary movements of hazardous wastes or other wastes can take place only upon prior written notification by the state of export to the competent authorities of the states of import and transit.伳pan style> 

vi. ༯span>The Basel Convention Technical Guidelines specifically points out: Ballast water which is fresh, brackish or marine water that has intentionally been brought on board a ship in order to adjust the shipⳠstability and trim characteristics in accordance with various operating conditions 㭡y contain pollutants, such as residual fuel, cargo hold residues, biocides, oil and grease, petroleum hydrocarbons, and metals (e.g. iron, copper, chromium, nickel, and zinc). Ballast water in cargo tanks (oil) is referred to as dirty ballast water. The transport of large volumes of water containing organisms from shallow, coastal waters across natural oceanic barriers can cause massive invasions of neritic marine organisms. Because ballast water is usually taken from bays and estuaries with water rich in animal and plant life, most ships carry a diverse assemblage of aquatic organisms. Aggregate sediments typically found in ballast tanks will contain living species which reflect the trade history of the vessel.䠼/span>

It further adds: ᔨe arrival condition of the dismantling candidate is most likely that of 㩮 ballast䮠The discharge of ballast water/ sediment species into the coastal sea-area may be a potential source for introducing unwanted organisms which threaten the ecological balance in the surrounding seas and thereby represent a direct threat to biodiversity. Ballast water can be the carrier of viruses and bacteria transferred to humans causing epidemics. In order to limit the biological threat represented by the introduction of invasive species via ballast water, the vessel should undergo recommended de-ballasting.ࠠࠠࠠࠠ

In view of the July 30 and July 6, 2012 judgments of the Court, Union Ministry of Environment & Forests will have to revise its Hazardous Rules to become complaint with the CourtⳠorder and Basel Convention. ༯span>

The Applicant will approach the relevant Parliamentary Committees to seek their intervention because CourtⳠorder and international law is being violated through subordinate legislations and through creating a fait accompli situation like in the case of end of life ships like Riky, Blue Lady, Platinum II and now Exxon Valdez to facilitate hazardous waste dumping. ༯span>

A separate application is being filed in the larger matter of hazardous waste management in the country to ensure compliance with CourtⳠdirections of the October 14, 2003 order and the recommendations of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes.࠼span style>Bangaldesh Supreme Court order had taken cognisance of the hazardous materials on ship and has reproduced its diagram both are attached.  

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), 9818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com, Web:toxicswatch.blogpsot.com
Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi Instituto Cervantes  
  2 de agosto de 2012 / August 2nd of 2012
 
   
  CONCIERTO: MUSIC FOR THEM

Jueves 2 de agosto a las 7pm en el auditorio, entrada libre.



Sinopsis:

La ONG “Streets of India” inaugura su gira de conciertos en el Instituto Cervantes. Tras cinco años de experiencia haciendo voluntariado en Calcuta, se dieron cuenta del poder curativo de la música y el entretenimiento en gente en situaciones vulnerables. Con esta premisa nace el proyecto musical “Music for them”, un espectáculo de música y baile que ya ha pasado por hospitales, centros de enfermos y orfanatos de Calcuta en 2009 y 2010, y en ciudades de Rajasthan (Jodhpur, Narlai, Luni y Khejarla) en 2011. Ya han sido más de 5.000 personas las que han interactuado con “Music for them”.
Este 2012 el grupo de 6 músicos españoles se lanzan a conquistar los corazones de los niños y niñas en la gira que da comienzo en nuestro centro y que continúa en Antyodaya Niketan (Delhi), Naya Nagar (Gurgaon), y los centros de rehabilitación de la Fundación Vicente Ferrer (Anantapur).

Más información sobre el proyecto en su blog.
Video de la gira de 2011 de Music for them.


 
CONCERT: MUSIC FOR THEM

Thursday 2nd of August at 7pm at the auditorium, free entrance



Synopsis: 

The NGO “Streets of India” is opening their concerts tour at Instituto Cervantes. After 5 years of experience volunteering in Calcuta, they realized that curative power of music and entertainment on the most vulnerable people. With this premise they created the project “Music for them”, a show of dance and music that has already been performed in hospitals, centers for the ill and orphanages in Calcutta during 2009 and 2010, and in the Rajasthan cities of Jodhpur, Narlai, Luni and Khejarla in 2011. More than 5.000 people have already enjoyed and played with “Music for them”.
For this 2012, the group of 6 spanish musicians will conquer the hearts of the children in their tour, starting at our center, in Antyodaya Niketan (Delhi), Naya Nagar (Gurgaon), and the rehabilitation centers of Vicente Ferrer Foundation (Anantapur).

More information about the project in their blog.
Video from the tour of 2011 of Music for them.
 
 

 
  Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi
48, Hanuman Road
Connaught Place
110 001 Nueva Delhi
India

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Investigation into ongoing HR violations in Burma’s Arakan (Rakhine) State

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay Photo: unspecial.org
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for a “prompt, independent” investigation into ongoing human rights violations in Burma’s Arakan (Rakhine) State after ongoing violence between the Buddhist and Muslim communities.


“We have been receiving a stream of reports from independent sources alleging discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes,” said Commissioner Navi Pillay said.

“Reports indicate that the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya community.”

Meanwhile, Tomas Quintana, the UN expert on human rights in Burma, will visit the country for four days starting on Tuesday, at the invitation of the government.Quintana will visit Arakan State for one day said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in a statement on Friday. Quintana will report his findings to the UN Human Rights Council, OHCHR said.

The violence in Arakan State in western Burma has claimed up to 78 lives and thousands of homes and businesses were burned during June.

High Commissioner Pillay said, “The government has a responsibility to prevent and punish violent acts, irrespective of which ethnic or religious group is responsible, without discrimination and in accordance with the rule of law.”

Pillay expressed dismay at the derogatory language used against the Rohingya by state-run media, some independent media, and social networking websites.

She noted earlier commitments by the government that said it would conduct an investigation and a recent fact-finding mission by the Myanmar Human Rights Commission.
 
“I also welcome the government's decision to allow the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar access to Rakhine State during his planned mission to Myanmar next week. It is important that those affected from all communities in Rakhine are able to speak freely to the Special Rapporteur,” the High Commissioner said.

“But while he will be able to make an initial assessment during his one-day visit, this is no substitute for a fully-fledged independent investigation,” she said.

She also called on Burmese national leaders to speak out against discrimination, the exclusion of minorities and racist attitudes, and in support of equal rights for all, and stressed that the United Nations was making an effort to protect and assist all communities in Rakhine State.

“Prejudice and violence against members of ethnic and religious minorities run the risk of dividing the country in its commendable national reconciliation efforts, undermine national solidarity, and upset prospects of peace-building,” she said.

This week, the European Commission, the US, Asean, Islamic organizations and Quintana, the UN special human rights reporter, have called for access to western Burma by humanitarian groups and for a credible investigation.

Earlier this week, 58 civil society groups condemned what it said is a “wave of abuse launched by state authorities in Myanmar against the Rohingya community,” in a statement released on Tuesday.

It also charged Bangladesh with flouting international law in its attempts to prevent fleeing Rohingya from entering the country.

The coalition group – led by Refugees International, the Arakan Project, and the Equal Rights Trust – issued a series of recommendations that were delivered to the governments of Burma and Bangladesh on Tuesday.

“In Myanmar, what began as inter-communal violence has evolved into large scale state-sponsored violence against the Rohingya,” said the statement.

“Many Rohingya continue to be victims of violence and cannot leave their homes for fear of persecution, and are thus deprived of their livelihood and most basic needs,” said the advocacy groups. “The urgent humanitarian needs of those displaced (IDPs) – including those not in IDP camps – are not being adequately met and there is concern that those displaced will not be allowed to return to their homes as soon as it is safe to do so, thus creating a situation of protracted displacement.”

Hamas: Gaza-Egypt border to be eased

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya announced border restrictions  soon to be eased between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Haniya met Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi on Thursday. He told supporters on Saturday that Morsi had agreed to relax border controls.Haniya said border open times will be extended by four hours to twelve hours a day. The number of people allowed to cross the border per day will be increased from 1,000 to 1,500. Hamas is the ruling party in the Gaza Strip and an offshoot of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas politicians have been working on improving the relationship with Cairo since the inauguration of the new Egyptian president.The border was strictly controlled under the former government of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Israel too appears to be trying to rebuild its relationship with Egypt to improve security. It is increasingly concerned about the deepening relationship between Hamas and Egypt.

Clashes between Buddhist and Muslim communities in western Myanmar

On going clashes between Buddhist and Muslim communities in western Myanmar  killed at least 78 people and displaced thousands last month,with an estimated 80,000 people displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw, with most of them living in camps or with host families in surrounding villages.
the United Nations (UN) said Friday.UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed serious concern about reports of human rights violations committed by security forces in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the clashes have taken places, stating that reports include “discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes.”
Violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the state, was triggered after an ethnic Rakhine woman was raped and murdered on May 28, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). This incident was then followed by the killing of 10 Muslims by an unidentified mob on June 3.The violence has affected over 30,000 people, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has continued aiding with additional tents.
 Pillay added that reports - from independent sources -indicate that “the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya [Muslim] community.”
Pillay also called on national leaders to speak out against discrimination, the exclusion of minorities and racist attitudes, and in support of equal rights for all in Myanmar, as “prejudice and violence against members of ethnic and religious minorities run the risk of dividing the country.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The historic “Monnet Go for Gold” torch reaches its final frontier


Completes its journey from Jammu to Kanyakumari, travelling 6486 kilometers across 50 cities

Kanyakumari, July 27, 2012Monnet Go for Gold - an initiative by Sandeep Jajodia led Monnet Ispat & Energy Limited (MIEL) - a flagship company of the Monnet Group, travelling through over 6000 kilometers across 50 cities has been working towards spreading the spirit of sportsmanship in a nation which has been working hard to strengthen itself on the global map for the Olympic sports.

Monnet Go for Gold torch run that was flagged off from Jammu & Kashmir amidst lot of fanfare has been traversing through several cities across India before culminating the historic crusade today in Kanyakumari. The symbolic “Monnet Go for Gold” torch from its flag off to its culmination in Kanyakumari today has had major stopovers in Chandigarh, New Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Nagpur, and Mumbai.

The Monnet Go for Gold torch run has received an overwhelming response and it has been a heart-warming experience to receive a warm welcome from each city that Monnet Go for Gold torch travelled through. The entire journey right from the launch of the campaign, at the fun runs and at stopovers, the Monnet Go for Gold initiative has witnessed mammoth support from local masses along with political and sports stalwarts who have come forward in support of this initiative.

The Monnet Go for Gold torch was flagged off from Jammu on March 1, 2012 by the Honorable Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Omar Abdullah. The torch since then travelled through the northern parts of the country touching Chandigarh on 07th March 2012 and finally making its way through New Delhi on the 11th of March 2012. Eminent personalities from the field of politics, sports and entertainment welcomed the Monnet Go for Gold torch at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The convoy and the torch travelling through the heart of India made its way to Bhubaneswar on April 01, 2012.  Honorable Chief Minister of Orissa, Shri Naveen Patnaik flagged off the Monnet Go for Gold torch from the Kalinga Stadium. On April 11, 2012, the torch travelling from Bhubaneswar via Cuttack, Angul, Sambalpur and Katapali reached Raipur at the Outdoor Stadium, sports complex, Budhapara. Honorable Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr. Raman Singh flagged off the Monnet Go for Gold Torch from Raipur. On April 22, 2012 the convoy reached Nagpur at the Yashwantrao Stadium.  On this historic day, the Yashwantrao Stadium was audience to political and sports stalwarts who came together in support of the Monnet Go for Gold torch. Travelling from Nagpur via Amrawati, Akola, Jalgaon, Dhule, Malegaon, Nashik and Kalyan the symbolic torch has entered Mumbai. From Mumbai the torch traversed through Panaji, Mangaluru, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to reach its final frontier, Kanyakumari.

Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, Chairman and Managing Director, Monnet Ispat & Energy Limited, said “Monnet Go for Gold – Fun Run – Kashmir Se Kanyakumari Tak”, saluting the spirit of sportsmanship in India, aims at positioning India as Sporting Nation and not just as a cricketing Nation by creating awareness amongst the people of India towards the efforts of our athletes in putting India on the global map for sports. It is my firm belief that if we manage to do so, we can very well be on course to perform well at the 2016 or perhaps 2020 Olympics."

Travelling through the length and breadth of the country, today we mark the culmination of the Monnet Go for Gold torch initiative in Kanyakumari. Through this journey we have tried to touch the soul of every Indian to unite for the support of all athletes that are representing India at the Olympics and to cheer and motivate for them and send a strong message that the wishes of the entire nation is with them. I would like to congratulate everyone associated with this initiative and a special thanks to the athletes who held the torch high and ran across the country. ", he added

Monnet Ispat & Energy Limited is also the proud sponsors of the Indian Boxing team whose seven men boxers and one women boxer have qualified for the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. Monnet Group has also announced cash prizes of Rs 51 lakhs for the gold medal winners, 21 lakhs for the silver medal winners and Rs 11 lakhs to bronze medal winners at the London Olympics 2012.

Mr. AslamSher Khan, Former Olympian & President, Olympians Association of India and Former Indian Hockey team captain Mr. Zafar Iqbal from the Arjuna Awardees Association of India also have come forward in support of the ‘Monnet Go for Gold’ initiative.

About Monnet Group:

Monnet Ispat & Energy Limited (MIEL): MIEL is promoted by Mr. Sandeep Jajodia. Its principal activities include manufacturing and marketing of Sponge Iron, Steel and Ferro Alloys. In addition, MIEL is engaged in mining of mineral assets like coal & iron ore and is also involved in the generation of power for captive consumption. The Monnet Group has manufacturing facilities in Raipur and Raigarh in Chhattisgarh and is currently in the midst of implementing a 1.5 Million Tons integrated steel plant to produce plates, structural and rebar’s at its facility at Raigarh in Chhattisgarh to cater to the high growth infrastructure sector. MIEL through its subsidiary is now making measure of forays in the development of Merchant Power Plants and is currently implementing the first 1050 MW power plant at Angul

About Monnet Boxing Foundation (MBF)

Monnet Group has been actively engaged in promoting boxing as a sport in the country and as a part of its CSR initiative the Monnet Group has proudly associated itself with boxing by being the official sponsors of the Indian Boxing Team. Monnet believes that our country having population of more than 1.2 billion has potential to churn good boxers, however the irony is that not much attention is given towards developing boxing as a loved sport and identifying and training amateur boxers. Monnet, to address this concern has also set up Monnet Boxing Foundation –to identify and train amateur boxers.  Monnet in order to provide a platform with world class facilities would be setting up Monnet Boxing Academy to train the amateur boxers from the grassroots level.

Anand Sharma invites British participation in at least one NMIZ

 The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma in a bilateral meeting with Mr. William Hague, British Foreign Secretary in London today, invited British participation in at least one National Manufacturing and Investment Zone (NMIZ) as partner. British Foreign Secretary Mr. William Hague responded positively to it and asked his Office to examine the opportunities for NMIZ in the United Kingdom.

Shri Sharma also raised the issue of visa and stated that the bilateral trade and investment between the two nations is getting impacted by difficulties in obtaining visas. To this, Foreign Secretary Mr. Hague assured Shri Sharma to look into the issue early as the United Kingdom greatly appreciates the contribution of Indian professionals working in the country.

Mr. Hague also said that there will be British support for an early conclusion of the India-European Union Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement. Shri Sharma said that both the sides engaged intensively to find solutions on outstanding issues which are mutually beneficial and acceptable. He also mentioned that a Ministerial review of the negotiations was held on 26th June, 2012 at Brussels

India’s Most Shocking Smuggling Racket

India’s Most Shocking Smuggling Racket

The arrest of Uzbek smuggler Olga Kozireva 12 years ago brought to light one of the most brazen illicit operations this country has ever seen. But those likely to get away are the government officials who were bribed with money and sex to look the other way
Scandal
AN OPERATION ALL TOO BRAZEN Olga Kozireva (above) made 68 trips to India between January and August 2000. The frequency of her visits alone should have aroused suspicion
AN OPERATION ALL TOO BRAZEN Olga Kozireva (above) made 68 trips to India between January and August 2000. The frequency of her visits alone should have aroused suspicion
On 28 August 2000, Olga Kozireva, an Uzbek, arrived at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport from Bishkek by Kyrgyzstan Airlines flight No K2-545. As is the case even today, the arrival of a woman from a former Soviet republic was not a rarity, but even so, Olga stood out. She was 26, fluent in Russian with a little English to get by, and she had a diploma in medicine from the Red Cross Society in Tashkent. Her grainy passport photograph suggested a look that was to become famous a decade later with the release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And her effrontery at the airport actually seemed to belong in fiction. She had the temerity to walk through the green channel with 27 bags weighing a total of 2,200 kg registered on her air ticket.
Only a fool could have believed she would make it through, but Olga was no fool. In that year alone, between January and August, she had travelled to India 68 times, often with even bigger consignments. But something finally went wrong that day. After four years of letting Olga and several other Uzbek women walk past with little or no scrutiny, a Customs officer decided to act.
THE SMUGGLING RACKET
The tale that unravelled in the ensuing investigation would be unbelievable if it were not true. Since 1997, Olga and her accomplices had been brazenly walking through the airport’s green channel—for those with nothing to declare—with tonnes of baggage. The day she was caught, the consignment had Chinese silk being flown in from Uzbekistan, a prohibited item that had done great damage to India’s domestic industry. In 2000 alone, there were 23 instances of similar consignments of Chinese silk being cleared with only nominal penalties. Officials on duty, it seemed, had deliberately noted only small quantities of Chinese silk in their records, charged minor penalties and let huge consignments into the country.
This, though, was less astounding than the fact that of the 84 trips she made just through IGI Airport in Delhi since 1997, Customs officials on 42 occasions did not even log a description of the goods she was carrying. On 35 occasions, her flight number was not recorded. During this time that she was flying into India from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, no one has any idea what she had brought in, apart from Chinese silk. At least one news report at the time states that in October 1999 and June 2000, her accomplices brought in bullet-proof jackets. It’s safe to assume these were not meant for Indian security forces, so the implications of this are disturbing.
While recent news reports do not highlight the financial scale of the racket, a simple calculation based on the Customs probe suggests that the amount involved was large. One of the officials involved revealed to Customs investigators that apart from the Uzbek women provided to them for sex, a bribe of roughly $500 was paid on every bag brought in.
On the day she was caught, Olga had 27 bags, and an estimated Rs 5 lakh had been arranged as a bribe to evade Customs duty of around Rs 50 lakh. Taking into account the number of times Olga had visited India since 1997, this roughly adds up to Rs 5 crore in bribes to ensure duty evasion of Rs 50 crore. Considering the fact that she was one among several Uzbek women making similar trips, the racket has meant Customs losses of hundreds of crore in a period when the rupee was worth much more.
THE MODUS OPERANDI
The racket seems to have begun on a modest scale in 1997 when some Indian Group B officers of the rank of superintendent and inspector were first approached. As Olga and her accomplices grew confident of getting material past Customs, the scale of their operation increased to the point that by 2000, Olga herself was walking in through immigration and Customs at IGI airport once every two or three days. The frequency of her visits alone should have triggered an alarm among security officials at immigration, but their failure to act has never been examined.
According to Olga, the man behind the scandal was an Afghan named Mamoor Khan who had left India shortly before her arrest. The arrangement with the officers was simple: even before the consignment was loaded—in Pakistan, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan—the staff on duty at IGI were contacted, and they in turn would indicate which shift would be appropriate for getting the contraband through.
The network was vast and included staff at some airports where the material was loaded. The investigation found that ‘the staff of [Kyrgyzstan Airlines] at Bishkek and other places were hand in glove with offender passengers to suppress weight of excess baggage carried by them without recording the actual weight of the goods [in lieu] of illegal gratification from the offending passengers.’ The airline, which was later fined, informed DRI officials that, ‘this matter has been investigated and [the] services of staff responsible including that of Mr Dusheev, Head of Manas Airport, [have] been suspended.’
In Delhi, as the flight would be about to arrive, traders from Chandni Chowk—a locality in old Delhi—would already have turned up at the airport with delivery trucks to pick up the consignment. They would pay the officials the pre-arranged bribe, and wait for the flight to land. The payment ranged from $400 to $700 a bag, depending on its size. One of the officials later admitted having received sexual favours, too, from Uzbek women.
The contraband, usually transported in large sacks, would then be taken out and loaded on the waiting vehicles. None of this could have been possible without the involvement of the senior staff at Customs clearance. The material was not hidden from anyone’s view, nor could it be hauled off surreptitiously. Moreover, in several cases, a nominal weight had been recorded for a much larger consignment, an assessment that could only have been made by the shift in-charge, usually a Group A official of the rank of deputy commissioner or above.
Olga’s arrest had thus exposed an airport smuggling racket unprecedented in its scope and gumption. The financial losses, while large, were not as significant as the possible threat to national security. Under the circumstances, it was to be expected that investigations would commence speedily, and end in action against the officials involved. But if the scandal was astounding in itself, what has followed since is even more incredible.
THE CUSTOMS INVESTIGATION
Two different kinds of offences were involved: one related to the criminal conduct of the officials involved, a case that was handed over to the CBI, and another related to smuggling that dealt with Customs and was investigated by the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
The problem became clear at the very beginning. The DRI at the time was headed by MK Zutshi, whose wife Vijaya Zutshi was commissioner at the airport till mid-
2000. Moreover, DD Ingty, then additional director of the DRI, had been additional commissioner at the airport from 1997 to 1999. This may in some measure explain why the DRI took the otherwise inexplicable decision to restrict its investigation only to the year 2000.
When the case finally did come up before the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), this tribunal began its conclusions and findings by stating, ‘It is shocking to read para 557 of impugned order. Learned Adjudicating Authority noticed that Ms Olga K admitted in her statement that she along with her associates was coming to India right from the year 1997. But show cause notice was issued to different persons to deal with the illegal clearances made mainly [during] the year 2000, even though extended portion was invokable (sic) for a period of 5 years…’
Given this background, it wasn’t surprising that no Group A officers—that is, officers of the rank of deputy commissioner who supervise shifts and their seniors—serving at the airport were part of the probe.
They were not the only ones kept out; the appellate tribunal in its judgment noted that ‘RN Zutshi (an inspector not related to the then DRI chief whose confession formed the initial basis for the investigation) has deposed unequivocally that 60 per cent of the bribe money used to go to the Preventive Department of the Airport which also manned the exit gates of the Airport. Superfluous investigations were conducted and blame was put entirely on the officers involved in baggage clearance keeping the Preventive Wing completely out of the scope of investigation, making sketchy, superficial, deliberately flawed and incomplete adjudication proposals.’
The appellate tribunal judgment, pronounced in 2011, was the result of an appeal filed against the decision of the airports commissioner who had, based on these ‘sketchy’ DRI investigations, decided to fine seven Customs officials of the rank of superintendent and below. The cumulative fines ranged roughly from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.
Further, the appellate tribunal imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on 14 other Custom officials who had been spared by the commissioner. These officials filed an appeal to the High Court, which sent the matter back to the appellate authority because the case against each had not been dealt with individually but been clubbed together. The matter has since been pending with the tribunal despite a High Court order demanding an early hearing.
This is because the case has been repeatedly listed before a bench that did not pass the original order, even though the original bench of DN Panda and Rakesh Kumar continues to sit and hear other matters on a regular basis. The Revenue Department, which operates under the Union Finance Ministry, has direct control over the appellate tribunal, but it has failed to take any action in this case so far. Given the Ministry’s record in the context of the CBI investigation, this does not seem surprising.
THE CBI INVESTIGATION
The case was taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in March 2001. This agency asked the Finance Ministry for its sanction to prosecute nine group A officers and 35 Group B and C officers through the Director General (Vigilance). The Ministry finally granted this sanction in March 2006, but only against 27 officers and just five of the nine Group A officers.
The five Group A officers are VK Singh Kushwaha, then additional commissioner at the airport, apart from HR Bhima Shankar, Rajiv Gupta, Virender Kumar Choudhary and Upendra Gupta, who were all deputy commissioners. These officers continue to serve in senior positions in the department even as the trial goes on.
After the framing of charges, the actual trial began only in 2011, long after the case had faded from public memory.
In a startling development since, reported in The Financial Express, Finance Secretary RS Gujral has written to CBI Director AP Singh earlier this year asking the agency to apply to the judge for a closure of the case against the five officers.
While the CBI has clarified that it will not be dropping the case, the existence of this letter—obtained by the paper through a Right to Information (RTI) application—has not been denied by the Ministry.
According to the newspaper’s report, the letter states that the cases were referred to the attorney general, who, after examining the charges and departmental enquiries, has recommended the withdrawal: ‘It has been decided by the competent authority that the case [before the special judge, Tis Hazari] is fit for withdrawal of prosecution.’
Open received no response from the finance secretary at the Ministry on why it has had this change of mind when the facts have not changed since its sanction for prosecution was first granted. Clearly, if the case against the five officers falls through, the others also get away.
As for those against whom a sanction-to-prosecute was denied by the Ministry in the first place, departmental inquiries were initiated. These have since been closed. Deepak Garg, Deputy Commissioner (Preventive), head of the same preventive wing that came in for so much flak from the appellate authority, is now a member of the DRI and is among the select few tipped to join the Tax Research Unit in the Revenue Department, the body responsible for framing the Union Budget.
SECOND LIFE
It would be interesting to examine this case afresh in light of the debate over the Lokpal Bill. The extent of corruption in this case is evident, embracing almost the entire Customs staff serving at IGI Airport for a period of five years. The fact that smuggling took place, bribes were paid and there was a grave threat to national security is not in doubt. But as far as the Government is concerned, no official seems to be guilty.
Olga Kozireva served a two-year sentence before she was granted bail, which she jumped and has since made her way back to Uzbekistan. Only one inspector of the department, the one who admitted to sleeping with Uzbek women, was dismissed from service.
Every aspect highlighted in the debate over corruption in this country over the past two years has played a role in this particular case.
The Government has used its discretion on granting sanction-to-
prosecute to let off several officers, and is now attempting to do likewise even in case of those against whom sanction was first granted. This delay has resulted in the trial proceeding at a far slower pace than it should, and as public memory fades, the overburdened CBI seems to have other things on its mind.
As for the DRI investigation, it reveals the hollowness of any mechanism to check corruption that exists within the framework of a department. The very people responsible for overseeing work at the airport, it turns out, were directly or indirectly associated with the investigation.
The failure of the department, as opposed to the CBI, to act against any Group A officer reveals how cronyism within services such as the IAS, IPS and IRS has reached an extent where senior officers go out of their way to protect their own, whatever their crime.
Even while no senior officer has been called to account, fines have been levied against 21 Group B and C officials by the appellate tribunal—the only judgment that has been passed so far in this 12-year-old case.
The tribunal could not act against senior officials because they were not arraigned in the case, so it seems we have a situation where those in charge of duty shifts at IGI Airport bear no responsibility for what happened in the periods under their watch, nor are they called to account for misrepresenting the sizes of consignments, which cannot be done by their juniors.
Juniors have been fined, but they have been absolved of any wrongdoing in departmental proceedings. Clearly, abetting smuggling does not seem to be ‘conduct unbecoming of a government servant’ in India.

Friday, July 27, 2012



Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), India’s leading SUV manufacturer, today unveiled the ‘New Look Verito’. The stylish Verito Sedan has undergone a major makeover to become more elegant and contemporary. The all new avatar of Mahindra’s sedan now sports 23 new changes and features with improved ergonomics, redesigned interiors and exteriors and uncompromised safety features.New Verito is powered by the renowned Renault drive-train with the option of 1.5Dci CRDi diesel engine or 1.4 MPFI petrol engine.The  new Verito offers  21.03 KMPL  fuel efficiency.

Speaking at the launch of the New Look Verito, Pravin Shah, Chief Executive, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., said, “The New Look Verito sedan has been created in line with the Mahindra tradition of giving more value to customers. It enhances value by being more stylish and contemporary, feature packed and with convenient ergonomics. I am sure that the New Look Verito will heighten its appeal not only amongst its core customers but also amongst people looking at options for a more stylish sedan. In fact, the best in class mileage, features, space and comfort combined with the attractive price of the new Verito will make it a truly irresistible value proposition. The Verito, which has always been a sensible buy, is now even more attractive with its enhanced style quotient”.

The New Look Verito sedan with 23 changes and new features, is a lot more aesthetically appealing and ergonomic to use, its core strengths, such as the efficient Renault 1.5 LDCi diesel engine and Renault 1.4 L MPFi petrol engine, best in category body width and 510 litres of boot space, still remain intact. The New Look Verito, available in 2 variants in petrol (G2 and G4) and 3 variants in Diesel (D2, D4 and D6), starts at an attractive price of Rs 5.27 lacs (ex-showroom Delhi for Petrol, BS4) & Rs. 6.26 lacs (ex showroom Delhi, for Diesel, BS4). It is also available in a wide range of 8 attractive colour options – Diamond White, Fiery Black, Toreador Red, Java Brown, Mist Silver, Rocky Beige, Twilight Blue and the all new Dolphin Grey.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama : Funds significantly outraised by Romney

Naresh –
My upcoming birthday next week could be the last one I celebrate as President of the United States, but that’s not up to me — it’s up to you.
This July deadline is our most urgent yet, coming after two consecutive months of being significantly outraised by Romney and the Republicans.
And if you pitch in $3 or whatever you can before midnight tonight, you and a guest will be automatically entered to join me at my birthday get-together next month:
https://donate.barackobama.com/My-Birthday
Thanks. Hope I’ll see you soon.
– Barack

Dear friends,




A chemical leak in Bhopal killed 20,000 people, poisoned 500,000 and caused decades of disease and death. Justice could finally be served on the company responsible but only if our government admits the full scale of the disaster. An international outcry created this opportunity -- now sign the petition to ensure no victim is ignored.
A chemical leak in Bhopal killed 20,000 people, poisoned 500,000 and caused decades of disease and death -- now survivors have a real chance to get justice from the company responsible. But our government is working behind the scenes to help shield Dow Chemical from having to pay compensation to everyone affected. It's up to us to step in and bring victory to the victims.

It took weeks of public outcry to convince the government to target Dow at all for these crimes and now Home Affairs Minister Chidambaram is busy erasing almost 80% of the victims from the claim, drastically reducing the possible damages.

A public outcry forced the Minister to bring the case to court. Now lets pressure him to submit the accurate figures to the Supreme court so that all the victims get justice. Join the call and when we reach 50,000 signers we will take out a hard-hitting newspaper ad that will force his attention:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_bhopal_i2/?bTfWiab&v=16564

The Bhopal chemical spill tragedy wrecked the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and scorched the earth for generations. Yet despite this historic destruction, no justice has been served. Union Carbide, the company in charge of the plant, dodged responsibility, then was bought by Dow Chemical who have also refused to pay out fair compensation to the victims still desperate for help dealing with the loss and destruction around them.

Now, after decades of fighting for justice and a big campaign to push the Indian government to act, the petition before the Indian Supreme Court will reopen the case – paving the way to compensation from Dow to the survivors. But accurately assessing the number of victims is key to ensuring every victim gets compensated if they win. Minister Chidambaram is responsible for a brief submitted to the court, that eliminated almost 80% of the victims as assessed by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The Minister is likely working to protect Dow in order to keep India’s investment reputation. We can show him that justice is more important than bending the law to please big corporations! Click below to sign the petition and if we reach 50,000 signers, Avaaz will take this message directly to the morning newspaper that Minister Chidambaram reads:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_bhopal_i2/?bTfWiab&v=16564

The Bhopal survivors need allies to win their decades long fight for justice, and we can answer their call. In the past, Avaaz has successfully stood with other communities under threat from multinational companies from Guatemala to the Ivory Coast. Now let’s support the victims of Bhopal in their final push for justice.

With hope,

Meredith, Iain, Alaphia, Pascal, Emma, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION

The Tragedy Continues (Tehelka)
http://www.tehelka.com/story_main53.asp?filename=Op140712SATINATH.asp

Bhopal Activists Slam U.S. Ruling (blog)
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/06/28/bhopal-activists-slam-u-s-ruling

Between the flames (The Hindu)
http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/metroplus/article3635160.ece

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