Saturday, June 30, 2012

Derek Mitchell appointed US envoy to Myanmar


Veteran diplomat Derek Mitchell will be appointment as America's first Ambassador to Myanmar in 22 years.His appointment has been confirmed by the Senate, the latest in a series of efforts by the US to bring the country out of isolation after five decades of military rule.

Forty seven -year-old Mitchell, who was till now the Special US Representative and Policy Coordinator for Myanmar, is expected to leave for that country soon.
San Suu Kyi is back to Myanmar on Saturday after her five-nation European tour.
She arrived in Yangon after an exhausting two-week visit to Europe was given a reception normally reserved for heads of state and toasted for her peaceful resistance to dictatorship.Suu Kyi, 67, to prepare for the re-opening of Myanmar's fledgling parliament in Naypyidaw on Wednesday when she will take her place -- alongside her National League for Democracy (NLD) colleagues as an elected MP for the first time.

On her first visit to Europe in more than two decades the Nobel Peace laureate visited Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Britain and France.She delivered a long delayed Nobel lecture, was honoured at her alma mater Oxford University, met pop stars and politicians and charmed the European public with speeches on her decades of struggle and her hopes for Myanmar.On Thursday in Paris she said she was ready to lead the country if required and pledged to work towards embedding reforms ahead of scheduled 2015 national elections.She also expressed delight at her reception and the support the Myanmar democracy campaign has garnered in Europe over the years."So many people from different parts of the world seem to be aware of what we have been struggling for in Burma," she said. "I felt such a tremendous sense of solidarity with us. That has been a surprise."

Parliamentary session is to discuss recent deadly communal violence which flared in western Myanmar, among other issues, and marks the NLD's entry into mainstream political institutions in the country.
The party was repressed for years by the army junta that ruled Myanmar for decades, but a reformist government under ex-general President Thein Sein has made a number of changes since it took office last year.

Mercosur Suspends Paraguay

Mercosur Suspends Paraguay, Accepts Venezuela as New Member
South American trading bloc Mercosur has suspended Paraguay’s membership in the organization while approving Venezuela as a new member, Mexican media reported.
Presidents of Mercosur member-countries gathered on Friday in Mendoza, Argentina, for an emergency summit following the recent impeachment of Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo by the country’s parliament.
Mercosur leaders voted to suspend Paraguay’s membership until presidential elections in the country in April 2013, but decided against imposing economic sanctions on one of Latin America’s poorest nations as Paraguay’s economy heavily depends on trade with other Mercosur members.
Mercosur, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay as full members, and Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as associate members, earlier condemned Lugo’s ouster and barred Paraguay’s interim president Federico Franco, whose party supported the impeachment, from attending the summit.
At the summit, the leaders of the bloc approved Venezuela as a new full member starting July 31.
Caracas had been trying to get the full membership for six years, but the move had been blocked by Paraguayan lawmakers despite Lugo’s support of Venezuela’s aspirations.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez said in an interview with Telesur television network on Friday that the country’s full membership in Mercosur would have a powerful “political, geopolitical, and social” impact as it meant “a defeat for imperialism and Paraguayan bourgeoisie.”

Annan calls to end the bloodshed in Syria

Annan calls to end the bloodshed in Syria


Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that the international community has a good chance in Geneva of finding a path forward to stimulate the implementation of Kofi Annan’s Plan on the Syrian conflict.
“We have a very good chance tomorrow in Geneva to find a common denominator and find a path forward in order to stimulate the implementation of of Annan’s Plan from both sides of the Syrian [conflict],” Lavrov said during a briefing after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in St. Petersburg.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the Syrian government is ready to withdraw its armed forces from the country’s cities in parallel with the forces of the Syrian opposition.
Russia has said the Geneva conference should include all the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Syria’s neighbors (Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon), as well as key players in the region (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran) and international organizations (League of Arab States, European Union).
According to UN estimates, some 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Lodon-based organization with a network of activists in Syria, has put the death toll at 12,000.
UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan on Friday appealed to participants in a Saturday meeting on Syria to “act in unison” to end the bloodshed in the Middle East country, pointing to deep involvement by external powers which is contributing to a worsening situation there.
“Many external powers are deeply involved,” the former UN chief wrote in an article for The Washington Post, noting “Despite formal unity behind the six-point plan, mutual mistrust has made them work at cross-purposes.”
The six-point peace plan devised by Annan has won widespread support but has failed to halt the raging violence and bloodshed in Syria. The envoy blamed the plan’s non-implementation for its failure, and lamented the situation in the Arab nation as one that “could hardly be more grave.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday that his country is “in a state of a real war,” calling for all polices and directives directed to win the war.
Without naming any countries, Annan said the external powers, ” intentionally or otherwise,” “have encouraged the government and parts of the opposition to believe that force is the only option.”
“This serves no one’s interest — least of all that of the Syrian people,” he asserted.
Annan announced on Wednesday that an Action Group for Syria, involving world powers and regional players, will meet on Saturday in Geneva to identify “steps and measures” to secure full implementation of the peace plan and UN Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including “an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms.”

Mongolian Democratic Party to form coalition govt

2012-06-30 08:22:33 – ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA .Sagar Media Inc;
The main opposition Mongolian Democratic Party, or MDP, is expected to become the largest force in the country’s parliament. It took the most votes but failed to gain a majority in Thursday’s general election.The pro-free market party is expected to soon begin talks with other parties to form a coalition government.
The election commission said that with 97 percent of the votes counted on Friday afternoon, the MDP had won about 32 percent, followed by the ruling Mongolian People’s Party, or MPP, with 28 percent.
The breakaway party from the MPP, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, or MPRP, led by former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar, garnered about 20 percent of total vote. MDP has secured 20 seats . The MPP has 15, and the MPRP 4.
The final results will not be known for a while as 28 seats for the proportional representation constituencies have yet to be allocated.
Davaa Batbayar, a candidate from the MDP who was called Kyokushuzan when he was a sumo wrestler in Japan, lost his bid.Retired Yokozuna grand champion Asashoryu’s
elder brother Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar, from the MPP, lost despite support from his younger brother.
From the Office of the President of Mongolia: The following is a statement released by Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj to international journalists and organizations observing Mongolia’s seventh parliamentary election upon the conclusion of voting:
“I am proud that the people of Mongolia have cast their ballots today in the seventh free and fair national parliamentary elections since our revolution. On the heels of these elections, we have moved further down the path of democracy and progress for this great nation.
As the democratic anchor of the East, Mongolia has an obligation to our people and to our global allies to continue on the course of expanding freedom and opportunity for all. The votes of our citizens in this week’s elections serve as a reminder that our people hold their leaders accountable for their actions, and that continuing to eliminate corruption, promoting transparency and building economic success for all Mongolians remain national priorities.
To best serve the interests of our people and to advance our global role as a stable democracy, members of all political parties must work together to ensure that Mongolia will meet the challenges of the 21st century. This objective is critical, as only cooperative governance will ensure a proper standard of living for our people, and opportunities for generations to come.
I urge the members of the new parliament to work together to ensure the sustainability of our nation’s precious resources as we pursue meaningful economic opportunities that these assets offer all Mongolians.
Today is a great day in Mongolia’s history. We should be justifiably proud of completing another free and fair election. However, we cannot forget the tremendous, important work that lies before us. I am committed to working closely with the new parliament, civil society groups, business and community leaders to move Mongolia forward. I truly believe that in doing so our people will reap the rewards for themselves and their children that their hopes, votes, and their voices have brought them.”

EU leaders & German parliament approves EU bailout fund

Germany’s Parliament finally approves a permanent euro zone bailout scheme. A new budget rules drawn up by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Both the bills were ratified by Germany’s lower house Bundestag and upper house Bundesrat with the required two third majority.With the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism and “fiscal pact” also called fiscal compact for budget discipline, Germany clarified its intentions to stand by the euro.The 500 billion euro fund ESM will be used to bailout the faltering economies of Italy and Spain.

European leaders have agreed to allow the use of rescue funds to recapitalize ailing banks directly.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters about the agreement on Friday following overnight meetings at the EU summit in Brussels.The agreement states that by the end of this year bailout funds will be provided directly to banks rather than through their national governments.The decision comes as the governments of Italy and Spain are urging action to bring down their borrowing costs for financing public debt.Van Rompuy said the EU countries hope to finalize the plans when the region’s finance ministers meet on July 9th.The EU summit agreed to spend 120 billion euro, or about 149 billion dollars, to stimulate economic growth.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has rejected international intervention in his country, saying Syria's problems will be resolved by Syrians.Assad made the remark during a one-hour interview broadcast on Iran's state-run television on Thursday. The interview was reportedly recorded one week ago.

Syrian president condemned the United States and European countries for supporting anti-government forces behind the scenes. He added that Arab countries were also involved and that Syrians will not accept any solution proposed by other countries.

Assad said opposition extremists in Syria are colluding with international terrorists to attack civilians.

He said his government will continue using force to crack down on opposition forces. He said eliminating just one terrorist can save many lives.

Fighting between government troops and opposition forces has been escalating across Syria.

The opposition says 104 people, including 20 children, were killed in government attacks on Wednesday alone.

The United States, Russia and other key players in the crisis will meet in Geneva on Saturday.

Paes agrees to Olympic participation

Veteran Leander Paes has finally agreed to take part in the London Olympics, ending days of suspense over his participation after he threatened to pull out due to a selection row that engulfed Indian tennis ahead of the mega-event.

After days of maintaining a stoic silence on his Olympic participation, Paes confirmed his participation at the post-match press conference of the ongoing Wimbledon Championships in London, a statement which is likely to put a lid on the selection controversy.
"I am looking forward to representing my country with the teams that the All India Tennis Association have selected," Paes said after winning his first-round men's doubles match with regular Czech partner Radek Stepanek.
"I am here to play sport and not politics," he asserted.
The 39-year-old had threatened to withdraw from the Olympics despite being India's number one doubles player after being paired with a lower-ranked Vishnu Vardhan for the big event against his wishes.
Paes' partners of choice -- Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna -- refused to combine with him and insisted on being sent as a team themselves.
The All India Tennis Association ultimately bowed to their insistence in a compromise formula of sending two teams, leaving Paes furious.
Paes was given the mixed doubles slot with Sania Mirza, breaking her Grand Slam winning combination with Bhupathi.
In an extraordinary attack shortly after getting her Olympic wildcard, Sania hit out at AITA, Paes as well as Bhupathi, claiming that she was used as a "bait" to pacify the disgruntled veteran.
Paes, however, chose to stay mum on Sania's outburst.
"Unfortunately, I see the games being played within games, and as much as that is very disheartening, I am looking forward to playing my sixth Olympics for my country as I have played for 22 years for the people and the flag.
"Every Olympics has some nonsense coming in with it. I know how much hard work goes into what I do. (Either) people choose to respect it, which I'm very lucky that India does, (or) people choose to disrespect. That's their problem, not mine," Paes added.
The world number seven doubles player said he had no complaints about being paired with Vardhan, who is ranked 206 in the ATP list.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner in men's doubles is a singles bronze medal winner from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Paes, set to make a record sixth Olympic appearance, said he would look to help Vardhan, who would be making his Games debut in London.
"I don't even know if he has grass-court shoes. So it's a bit of a tough one. But he's a really good kid, I'm happy to play with him.
"Whatever the obstacles are, which I see are going to be many -- he's never been to Wimbledon before -- whatever I can do as an experienced professional athlete to help my partners out, I do," he said.
The controversy broke out when AITA initially paired Paes and Bhupathi as the only men's doubles entry for the Olympics. Bhupathi refused to play with Paes, citing his commitment to Bopanna.
When approached by AITA, Bopanna also rejected the idea, leaving Paes cornered.
It was then that AITA came out with a compromise formula which was lambasted by Sania who said it reeked of male chauvinism and was humiliating to Indian womanhood.
Despite Paes' confirmation, Bhupathi might still trigger a controversy as he has expressed his desire to partner Sania in mixed doubles given their recent success -- most significant being the French Open title just a few weeks back.


In the matter of allowing FDI in Retail, repeated statements have been issued by the
Government recently.One such statement of Union Commerce Minister Shri Anand
Sharma wherein he claimed the support of Kearala Government for allowing FDI has
been contradicted by Kerala Chief Minister Shri Oomen Chandy who has said that State
Government had not written to the Centre supporting the FDI as claimed by Mr. Sharma.
Such a misleading statement of Shri Sharma has questioned the creditability of the
Why the Union Government is in great haste to allow FDI in Retail by overlooking the
ground realties of Indian Retail Trade is a matter needs a probe-said the Confederation
of All India Traders (CAIT) which is spearheading a national movement against FDI in
Retail Trade. The Government must clarify the pressures which are forcing for making
such statements. The CAIT has strongly said that any move to allow FDI in Retail will
be protested tooth and nail nationwide by the traders and other Stake Holders of Retail
The CAIT has written a communication to Chief Ministers of all States and has sent
them its publication " FDI in Retail - Assumptions V/s Facts" in order to apprise them
with the ground realties and detrimental affects of FDI in Retail Trade. The CAIT has
also sought an audience with the Chief Ministers.
The CAIT regretted that on such an important issue, the Central Government did not
think it propoer to talk to Traders who are one of the important constituent of Retail
Trade in a situtation where not only the traders but farmers,labourers,hawkers,consu
mers and other sections of the retail trade are bitterly opposing FDI in Retail Trade.
The CAIT has demanded that the unanimous report of the Parliamentary Standing
Committee submitted on 8th June,2009 to Parliament should be made subject matter
of the discussion on this matter.
For more information please contact CAIT, Secretary General, Mr. Praveen Khandelwal@9891015165,

Telecom equipment industry posts revenues of Rs 1,13,188 crore 
Nokia, Samsung, Cisco Top 3 players


New Delhi, June 29, 2012: The Indian telecom equipment industry posted marginally lower revenues of Rs 1,13,188 crore in 2011-12 compared to Rs 1,14,133 crore in FY2010-11, according to the 2012 annual survey of the Indian Telecom industry by CyberMedia group’s flagship journal for the telecom industry, Voice&Data.

The17th annual survey, Voice&Data 100, covered over 500 telecom companies in India spanning carrier equipment, enterprise communication equipment, and user device manufacturers.
According to the Voice&Data 100 survey, nearly half of the telecom equipment revenue came from carrier equipment manufacturers, which saw a dip of 5.06% to touch Rs 55,333 crore during the year. In the previous year, FY10-11, the segment had registered Rs 58,285 crore revenue.
Enterprise equipment grew at 8.89% to report revenues of Rs 23,183 crore in the year, up from Rs 21,291 crore in FY10-11. The user device segment that includes mobile handsets, fixed phones, data cards and tablet computers, contributed more than one-third to the total telecom equipment industry, at Rs 34,672 crore, recording a flat growth of 0.33% from Rs 34,557 crore a year ago.
“The survey bears out market apprehensions that the operators have slowed down investments in building, expanding and upgrading their networks. This could have a serious impact on Indian’s tele-density and broadband targets,” says Ibrahim Ahmad, Group Editor, Voice&Data.

The Top 10 Club

Mobile handset maker Nokia had the highest revenue during the year followed by Korean electronics major Samsung. They were followed by telecom equipment manufacturers like Cisco, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson, and Alcatel-Lucent. The Top10 club also saw inclusion of software companies like TCS, Wipro and Tech Mahindra.
Source:Voice&Data 100 Annual Survey June 2012
Voice&Data attributes the sharp decline in the carrier equipment revenues to policy uncertainty which restrained many telecom operators from releasing large scale network expansion orders. The Top 10 club also saw Samsung registering highest growth of 57.34% to capture the second position with revenues of Rs 9,000 crore, riding high on its smartphone and tablet portfolio.
Within the carrier equipment business, segments like transmission, telecom turnkey and wireless infrastructure were the biggest losers. Transmission segment dropped 21.88% to report revenues of Rs 3,825 crore (from Rs 4,896 crore last year). The telecom turnkey segment revenue dropped 65.27% to Rs 1,862 crore (from Rs 5,362 crore). The wireless infrastructure segment dipped 40.51% to record revenue of Rs 10,930 crore from Rs 18,374 crore a year ago.
The enterprise equipment business grew by 8.89% to reach Rs 23,183 crore in FY11-12 from Rs 21,291 crore in FY10-11. Enterprise cost saving equipment segments like audio-video conferencing and voice solutions showed significant growth of 16% and 15% respectively. Modem and router industry saw a negative growth as enterprises demanded futuristic and multi-tasking devices like single device working as modem, router and switch.
“Higher spend on enterprise and consumer communications in the last fiscal re-iterates increasing importance of user communications. Operators will have to enhance their services to match user expectations,” added Ahmad.
About Voice&Data100
Voice&Data100 (V&D100) is the most comprehensive annual survey of the Indian telecom equipment and services industry. It is the most trusted and widely used survey for those seeking authentic information on Indian communications. It is also the most comprehensive, as it covers a wide range of segments and is the only 'single source' of such diverse information.

The V&D100 (volume II) for 2011-12 survey will focus on telecom services and service providers, and is slated for release next month.

About CyberMedia

CyberMedia is South Asia's first and largest specialty media house, with fifteen publications (including BioSpectrum, Dare, Dataquest, PCQuest, Voice&Data, and Global Services) in the information technology, telecom, consumer electronics, and biotech areas, and is a media value chain including Internet (, events, and television. The group's media services include market research (CMR), content management and multimedia.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  criticized the US and the EU for implementing severe sanctions against the country.Khamenei said on Wednesday that western sanctions are intended to create a rift between the Iranian people and their government. He added that such a conspiracy will ultimately fail.

Western countries are stepping up economic sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear development program.A new US law designed to increase pressure on Iran is set to take effect on Thursday. The EU will also begin an oil embargo against Iran July 1st.

The International Energy Agency said sanctions cut Iran's oil exports by 40 percent last year, from 2.5 million barrels a day to 1.5 million.The hard-line stance of western countries is affecting daily life in Iran. Residents in Teheran say they hope their government takes some measures to reduce the high cost of living.


Ivan Gasparovic urges EU integration

Slovakia’s leader spoke the need for further European economic integration in overcoming the region’s credit woes.President Ivan Gasparovic spoke to media in Tokyo on Wednesday ahead of the EU summit. The meeting in Brussels will focus heavily on the debt crisis. Gasparovic said Slovakian people wonder why they have to pay for the failures of Greece. But he added his people understand that supporting Greece is a guarantee for the future of Slovakia.
Slovakia improved its financial condition by taking strict austerity measures before introducing the euro three years ago. Many Slovakians strongly oppose giving financial support to Greece.
The president stressed integration is essential because the debt crisis can no longer be tackled independently by member states.

Mongolians go to polls to elect a new parliament on Thursday, with the main issue to make important choices about how to use the country's vast mineral resources.The voting began at 7AM for the general election held every 4 years to choose members of the 76-seat legislature.
Mongolian People's Party is  main ruling and Democratic Party is opposition parties campaigned with differing visions for developing coal and mineral reserves.The ruling Mongolian People's Party is open to foreign investment, while the opposition Democratic Party is cautious about foreign control.

Among the candidates is a former professional sumo wrestler known in Japan by the name of Kyokushuzan. He is vying for re-election from the Democratic Party.

  Former Yokozuna grand champion Asasyoryu's elder brother is a candidate for the Mongolian People's Party. The former Yokozuna has expressed support for his brother.

 Mongolia introduced electronic voting machines for the first time this election.Polling stations close at 8PM, after which vote counting begins immediately

'Scientific Dating of the Ancient Events from 2000 to 7000 B.C.'

Dear All,

You are cordially invited to Vimarsha the monthly discussion series of Vivekananda International Foundation.

Smt Saroj Bala (Member- Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction, Ministry of Finance- Govt. of India & Director- Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas)
will  speak on

'Scientific Dating of the Ancient Events from 2000 to 7000 B.C.'

on Friday, June 29, 2012

at 6:30pm

Venue : Vivekananda International Foundation,
Plot no. 3, San Martin Marg,
               New Delhi-110021

The talk will be followed by an interaction.

Please join us for tea at 6.00 pm.

Manash Bhattacharjee
Asst. Secretary

IIT exam row resolved new format from next year IIT exam row resolved; new format from next year

After months of wrangling, government and IITs have resolved their differences on the entrance exam row by agreeing on a compromise agreement over holding the common exams from next year.

As per the agreement, admission to the IITs from 2013 would be based only on rank achieved in the advance test subject to the condition that selected candidates are in the top 20 percentile of successful candidates of their Boards.

This formula replaces the proposed format of giving weightage to the class XII board results, which was vehemently opposed by the IITs.

The compromise was reached at a meeting of IIT Council in New Delhi on Wednesday, the highest decision-making body having representatives from government and Directors of all the 16 of these institutes.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who is the head of the Council, skipped the crucial meeting which was then chaired by M N Sharma, Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT, Madras.

"There was complete unanimity among the council members about the new format," Sharma told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He said NIT council and the IIIT council will meet early next month to evaluate the system in view of the tweaking of the proposed format.

The government had earlier proposed a common entrance which was rejected by IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kanpur and some others were also likely to follow suit.

Sibal later said a huge objective had been achieved with the proposed common test despite the changes pressed by the IITs.

He felt that the government's aim of reducing pressure from students has been achieved along with a partial check on capitation fees.

The percentile ranking system of selection is expected to make admissions to the IITs tougher and more competitive, an official said.

According to a study by CBSE, the percentage of the last student on the merit list according to the percentile ranking in its board stood at 78 percent, while the percentage of the last student under this formula in Uttar Pradesh board stands at about 65 percent. In Tamil Nadu Board, it stands at 78 percent.

Sharma hoped the faculty federation will come onboard with Wednesday’s decision which has been vetted by the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs in its meeting last Saturday.

The Council's decision will be deliberated by the respective IIT Senates even as IITs, the NITs and the IIITs have agreed to joint counselling for admitting students to their institutes.

Sharma said that as part of the new formula, the advance test will be held after the main exam.

There will be adequate time between the two tests. Only the top 1.50 lakh candidates in the main will be qualified to appear in the advance examination.

"Admissions to the IITs will be based only on all India rank in advance test, subject to condition that such candidates are in the top 20 percentile of successful candidates of their boards," he said.

Sibal, who skipped the meeting apparently to show that there is no interference from the government, apologised for his absence.

"I would like to apologise for my absence from this crucial meeting of the IIT Council today. I have always taken my duties as a Union minister seriously and tried to do my best for the nation and most importantly its children who are its future require of me," he said in his message read out at the meeting.

The government had on 28th May announced the new test from 2013, under which aspiring candidates for IITs and other central institutes such as NITs and IIITs will have to take tests under a new format of common entrance test, which will also take the plus two board results into consideration.

Noting that IIT Council has among its members wisest persons from the academia and research community, Sibal said the issues such as the burden on the students from appearing in multiple exams should be addressed.

IIT faculty federation, meanwhile, has welcomed the development on Wednesday saying most of the concerns of the federation have been addressed.

"This is in positive direction and most of the concerns of the IIT Senate has been addressed," federation secretary A K Mittal said.

IIT alumni, however, expressed its reservation about the decisions arrived on Wednesday and said it will decide its future course of action.

In a statement, it said that the top 20 percentile criteria is pro-rich and will be detrimental to the interests of students from rural India.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CM increases political pension of erstwhile rulers of Dang district by 25%

Chief Minister Narendra Modi has made a decision to raise the political pension given to the erstwhile rulers, naiks and bhaubandhs of Dang district by 25% with effect from April-2012.

Giving details of the decision state government spokespersons Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas and Minister of State for Finance Saurabh Patel said that annual political pension is being given to the erstwhile rulers, naiks and bhaubandhs of triabl-dominated Dang district since 1954 on permanent bases as per heirship, as a part of their fundamental rights and privileges and in lieu of their ownership of forest land and estates.

The state government has decided to raise their pension by 25% with effect from April 1, 2012. This will benefit five rulers, nine naiks and 653 bhaubandhs. The state government felicitates these rulers and hands over them pension during the traditional festival - Dang Darbar - which is being organized every year in Dang district, spokespersons said.

Gross Failure of National Disaster Management Authority

June27, 2012
Honorable Prime Minister of India,
Dr. Manmohan Singh,
New Delhi 110011

Copy to the Secretary, NDMA.
Respected Sir,
It is unfortunate even after Seven years NDMA has functioned in most unprofessional manner with Never Learning from Mistakes attitude.

The very first challenge was Surat Floods 2006 that were entirely avoidable in view of One of Largest Storage Dam UKAI on Tapi River. The dam was allowed to fill up in first few weeks of monsoon leaving no flood absorption capacity. Since then 3 times Bhakra Dam was allowed to fill up by first week of August by fully draining out storage for pre-monsoon irrigation leading to floods in 2008 and dangerous situation in 2010.
As per CWC report of June21, 2012 Seven important dams have more than 50% of live storage just ahead of Monsoon – these dams are Rana Pratap Sagar in Rajasthan, Panam in Gujarat, Upper Tapi in Maharashtra, Bansagar in Madhya Pradesh, Mahanadi and Manimata Bongoi in Chhatisgarh, Paramnikulam in TN. Three important dams have 30% to 50% of Live Storages are Mahi Sagar in Rajasthan, Kadana in Gujarat, Somasila in AP, Mettur and Aliyar in TN. Dams in TN are storing water for irrigation during South West Monsoon months when state get low rainfall unlike rest of India.

Fire Fighting operations in Maharashtra and New Delhi, involving most important State and GoI buildings, were very Un-professional. It was horrible Fire Fighters were not wearing Fire Proof Uniforms, Didn’t carry Sledge Hammer to Break Open Heavy Door – were seen kicking it. They didn’t have one inch Hoose-Reel to take it with them inside North Block to Water Down fire in close situations. In both cases Firefighters were throwing water from outside at considerable distance wasting water and effort and failing to Containing Fire in Mumbai for hours.

NDMA have yet to develop procedures to take out children from Open Wells. Heavy Duty Vacuum Cleaner with extended hose could maintain Natural Air circulation in wells, Unregulated Oxygen doses are fatal.

NDMA need to develop Methods and Procedures to prevent and deal with disasters. For Example: - States need Executive Orders to Fill up Bore-wells With Sand before Drillers abandon Unsuccessful Wells.
Thank you,
Ravinder Singh*
Inventor & Consultant
Y-77, Hauz Khas,New Delhi – 110016

*Ravinder Singh is a WIPO awarded inventor specializing in Power



I wil be outspent: Barack Obama I will be outspentTuesday, 26 June, 2012 9:13 PMFrom: "Barack Obama" Add sender to ContactsTo: "Naresh Sagar" Naresh --

I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.I'm not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups -- I'm talking about the Romney campaign itself. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem.

The Romney campaign raises more than we do, and the math isn't hard to understand: Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney's campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.

And, again, that's not including the massive outside spending by super PACs and front groups funneling up to an additional billion dollars into ads trashing me, you, and everything we believe in.
We can be outspent and still win -- but we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win.

More than 2.2 million Americans have already chipped in for us, and I'm so grateful for it. As we face this week's fundraising deadline, please donate $3 or more today

Every donation you make today automatically enters you to join Michelle and me for one of the last grassroots dinners of this campaign -- today is your last chance to get your nameThese dinners represent how we do things differently. My opponent spent this past weekend at a secretive retreat for the biggest donors to both his campaign and the super PACs that support him.

I've got other responsibilities I'm attending to.
Donate today to stand for our kind of politics:
Thank you,



Sad to say :Michelle Obama Sad to say Wednesday, 27 June, 2012 3:27 AMFrom: "Michelle Obama" Add sender to ContactsTo: "Naresh Sagar"

Naresh --

I'm sad to say this is probably the last dinner with supporters that Barack and I will be able to host together before the election.

Today's the last day you can chip in to be automatically entered for the chance to join us -- and I hope you will. You can donate all the way up to midnight tonight, when the campaign will randomly select the winners:

Thanks for everything you're doing. Every little bit makes a difference.

Hope to see you at dinner,


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BscDigitalAnimation now at Lovely professtional Univ with BIG AIMS

BIG AIMS and Lovely Professional University Announce Strategic Collaboration to Redefine Animation & VFX Education in India

- Unveils first of its kind Bachelor of Science Program in Digital Animation Film Making & Digital VFX Film Making

Delhi, June 26, 2012: BIG AIMS (Animation Infotainment & Media School), a premier animation and VFX training academy of Reliance Animation today entered into a strategic collaboration with Lovely Professional University (LPU) to introduce first of its kind degree program in Digital Animation Film Making & Digital Visual Effects Film Making in India, along with Diploma and Certificate Courses. The MoU was signed between Ashish S Kulkarni, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Animation and Mr. Ashok Mittal, Chancellor, Lovely Professional University.

Under the MoU, BIG AIMS and LPU will offer the finest Bachelor of Science Program in Digital Animation Film Making & Digital Visual Effects Film Making. The program will expose and prepare students to the creatively exciting animation and film making industry with an unmatched degree program by LPU in association with BIG AIMS. The courses have been designed to harness best creative and technical talents in students. The Bachelor of Science Program in Animation & Visual Effects Film-Making will be made available to students across India through authorised BIG AIMS learning centres.

For those looking for focused career options within a short turnaround time BIG AIMS will be offering LPU affiliated Diploma and Certificate courses. These courses will help the students to gain mastery in these specialised areas of knowledge in a shorter span of time.

The USP of all the courses is the innovative curriculum underlines the core principles of Animation and VFX Filmmaking that position it primarily as an artistic vocation with technology seamlessly integrated. The program will help groom the creative and artistic talents of the students so that they can manoeuvre the latest technology as per the demands of the artistic needs of the medium, which is the very essence of Animation and VFX Filmmaking as per the global demands.

Speaking on this significant development Ashish SK, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Animation said, “We are delighted to join hands with Lovely Professional University to create a talent pool for the fast evolving animation, VFX, gaming and comics (AVGC) industry in India. Considering the present needs and the trends of the industry, the B.Sc. programs along with the Diploma and Certificate Courses is extremely well designed to create the finest talent pool for the emerging era of digital content creation in the field of Animation and VFX Film Making. We strongly feel that the art of storytelling holds the key to success in this industry, therefore our endeavour would be to expose the aspiring youth to the secrets of animation and VFX filmmaking and effective story telling through this degree program so that one day they can turn into accomplished creators of animation and VFX content.”

“For Animation, VFX, Gaming and Comics as an industry, the greatest assets are the people in its various techno creative departments and not the machines and software’s. It’s the mind of the creative workforce that makes the tools come alive turning celluloid dreams into reality. At BIG AIMS we are dedicated to groom the minds of our young generation as unique creative individuals who aspires to find themselves as leaders in the emerging digital era of creative expressions.” added Ashish.

Mr. Ashok Mittal remarked “Over the years Lovely Professional University has made available cutting edge degree programs in various disciplines to students across India and overseas also. Our association with BIG AIMS has given us an opportunity to introduce for the first time a comprehensive degree program for the fast evolving and highly competitive animation and VFX industry. I am extremely impressed with BIG AIMS’s faculty training program which I am sure will go a long way to ensure quality deliverables of the curriculum. We do hope that together we will be able create world class animators and visual artists in India.”


BIG AIMS, a premier animation and VFX film making academy of Reliance Animation, is part of Reliance Entertainment – the largest entertainment group in India.

BIG AIMS has been incepted to bridge the gap between present training methodologies and answer the real professional needs of the animation, VFX filmmaking industry. In other words, BIG AIMS positions itself as an Academy that inculcates learning in the real-time production environment to equip the students to perform as per the demands of the industry from day one. BIG AIMS centers are already operational in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, and Nagpur.

BIG AIMS’s young animators and VFX film makers have already been placed successfully in some of the most renowned studios in the country like Accel Animation Studios, Fountain Pixel Animations, Prime Focus, Pixion, Prana Studios, Reliance Animation, Reliance Media Works, Side FX Entertainment, Ven Sat to name a few.

About Lovely Professional University:

Lovely Professional University is India's Largest University*(* In terms of students on a single campus) with more than 25000 students (on one campus) is the culmination of mammoth efforts to change the shape of the Indian education to bring it at par with global standards and to shape the future of aspiring students by providing them a world class platform to hone up their talents.

The University believes in” Transforming the Education”, to create “Well Qualified Professionals” who can be employed effectively from day one, once they have completed their studies. This is achieved by inculcating in the students all those traits and skills that are required at the workplace, to make a complete professional. This approach of Lovely Professional University is what prompted us to get into an association with them.



Press Invite July,9,2012 Subject: Invite for a Public meeting From: mahalingam marimuthu Tue, 26 Jun '12 4:37p To: Sehrish Shaban and others Cc: Bcc:

Dear Friend,

There is rising concern across the country about the large scale arrests and harassment of Muslim youth by the security forces of the state. Young men are being picked up without explanation, taken into police custody, beaten and tortured and eventually thrown into jail awaiting trial for years on end. Several have died in custody, the latest case being of Qateel Siddiqui who died in mysterious circumstances in the Yerwada Jail, Pune. He was arrested last November and killed in a high security prison for a case in which his complicity had still not been established.

There has been silence about the disappearance of Fasih Mahmood, the engineer picked up in Saudi Arabia. Except for denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, there has been no response from the UPA government about efforts to trace an Indian citizen whose family is now running from pillar to post in search of Justice.

Urdu journalist Syed Kazmi remains in jail on charges of terrorism, with the police still to file a chargesheet against him.

These are just a few cases of hundreds, with official reports now admitting that a majority of prisoners in Indian Jails are Muslims. Citizens concerned about the increasing intolerance and authoritarianism of the Indian state where the minorities no longer feel safe in their own homes have decided to come together to organise a Public Meeting to raise a voice against injustice and what amounts to state terror. A resolution calling upon the state for remedial action at different levels will also be adopted at the Meeting that will be addressed by political leaders and senior representatives of civil society.

We call upon you to join and support the initiative that is part of a series of protests held by civil society on this issue in Delhi and other states over the last few weeks,by sending us a line with the name of your organisation.


JULY 9,2012 at 3p.m.





Looking forward to your participation,

With Thanks and Regards,

Mohammed Adeeb, MP, Rajya Sabha.

Seema Mustafa, Senior Journalist.

Prof.Anuradha Chenoy,JNU

Dr.Mahalingam M

Research Fellow Centre for Policy Analysis

N 24 A, First Floor,

Green Park Extension,

New Delhi - 110016

Naresh --

I've written you quite a few emails. Today, I want to hear from you.

Because at 19 weeks out, every decision we make today is more important for this election than the decisions we made yesterday. From staffing plans to on-the-ground organizing strategies, these decisions will only get more important from here.

You're someone who's let us know at some point that you stand behind this president, and you have a stake in how we grow the most effective grassroots army possible between now and November. So we want to hear it straight from you: What's working? How can we inspire more people to join us? And how's this election shaping up from your perspective?

Please take a minute to answer a couple questions here.

What you tell us is going to help shape our strategy to inspire other supporters to help grow this campaign. You'll help determine the very best way we can communicate the President's accomplishments to the rest of the country.

I'm asking you because supporters like you have driven this campaign from the very beginning. The President has counted on you to get us here, and how we move forward from now until November 6th is up to you.

So here's your opportunity to weigh in and let us know what you think:

Looking forward to hearing from you,



Jim Messina

Campaign Manager

Obama for America

THE ŠKODA PRIZE announces ‘Call for Entry’ for its 3rd edition

ü Applications to the prestigious ŠKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary art will be open from June 30, 2012.

New Delhi – June 22, 2012: Launched in 2009, by ŠKODA Auto India and Seventy EMG, The ŠKODA Prize is recognized as one of the most of influential platforms for Indian contemporary art. Call for entry begins on June 30th, applications are available on and will be accepted until 31st August 2012.
The prize brings together a diverse pool of nominees from across India and includes internationally recognized artists as well as newer talents. Nominees need to be below the age of 45, and should have had a solo show in the country over the last 12 months; they will have demonstrated sustained vision, innovation, and a mature understanding of material and form through their careers.
The winner takes away the prestigious ‘The ŠKODA Prize Winner’ title and also receives a prize money of INR 10,00,000. Runners-up are invited to participate in international residencies supported by Prohelvetia, the Swiss Arts Council. Visited by thousands every year, The ŠKODA Prize Top 20 exhibition (which takes place alongside the India Art Fair in New Delhi) showcases country's most promising contemporary artists.

Juried by a panel of notable personalities and supported by museums and cultural institutions of international repute, The ŠKODA Prize presents a unique vantage point to engage with some of the most exciting developments in Indian contemporary art today. The jury members of The ŠKODA Prize in the past have included collector Mrs. Kiran Nadar, Mrs. Tasneem Mehta, (Managing Trustee and Honorary Director, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum), artist Vivan Sundaram, Pooja Sood, (Director of Khoj), Heike Munder (Director of the Migros Museum für gegenwartskunst, Zürich) who was also on the jury for this year's Turner Prize, while renowned artists Marc Quinn, and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor have presented awards to past winners Mithu Sen (2010) and Navin Thomas (2011).

In 2011, The SKODA Prize platform was extended to create a prize for artists at the beginning of their careers with The Breakthrough Artist Award – which recognizes younger artists under the age of 35 - based on their debut solo exhibitions in India. The Breakthrough Artist Award is supported by highly regarded publication Art India (over a decade old magazine). Through its association with ART India, The SKODA Prize also supports the development on critical dialogue, and writing about Indian contemporary art. Mr. Girish Shahane, Art Critic, Curator and Director, Art for The SKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary Art, said “We aim to build on the reputation the award has established as a benchmark of artistic quality, while also attracting more new voices through the Breakthrough Artist Award”.

The last date for applying for the Breakthrough Artist Award is 30 October 2012, please send in your entries to
Art India Publishing Co Pvt Ltd, c/o JSW Steel Ltd, Victoria Mills Compound, P.B.Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai-400013.

Tel: 022-24917961

About The ŠKODA Prize

The ŠKODA Prize is most prestigious award on the Indian visual arts scene. It recognises cutting-edge work demonstrating vision, innovation, and a mature understanding of material and form. The Prize brings to public notice exciting trends in contemporary art, highlighting the output of established mid-career artists as well as new voices. It is backed by jurors of impeccable credentials, renowned patron institutions, a dedicated group of advisors, and a management team of proven capability. The ŠKODA Prize is a Seventy EMG Arts Initiative.

Press contact:

To receive more information about The ŠKODA Prize, please contact:

Flint Asia
Bhavna Katyal
+91 9810781095
Nidhi Awasty
+91 9899598586

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paraguay President impeached

Paraguay President Fermando Lugo is impeached by the Congress after a violent clash between farmers and police last week. Paraguay Senate moved an impeachment motion in lower house on Thursday which was passed by the majority on Friday,Lugo said he will abide the Congress move and tendered his resignation. Vice President Federico to assume the interim president of Paraguay.The neighboring nations have objected to the impeachment of Lugo and the matters to be discussed in their Latin American fora? Last week clashes between farmers and Police on land eviction at ruralEstate killed seventeen Police offices and farmers dead.The interior Minister and National police chief resigned but the senate carried out the impeachment process.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Egyptians gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square,

Tens of thousands of Egyptians are gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, dissatisfied with the interim military government's handling of the presidential election.The outcome of the election was due on Thursday, but the electoral commission has delayed reporting the winner. The two candidates, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and the former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, have both declared victory.

The protesters, including Muslim Brotherhood supporters, are accusing the military government of manipulating the election results.On Friday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a statement supporting a peaceful demonstration. But it added that it would use force to prevent damage.

Singur Act held unconstitutional by Calcutta High Court

    A setback to West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee, Calcutta High Court on Friday held as unconstitutional and void Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, under which the state had vested land leased to Tata Motors.  Giving its verdict on an appeal by Tata Motors Ltd, a division bench comprising Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Mrinal Kanti Chaudhury observed that the President's assent had not been taken for the Act and as such it was void and unconstitutional.  The implementation of the order was, however, stayed for two months by the division bench to allow the aggrieved party to appeal before a higher court.  The division bench set aside the order of Justice I P Mukerji who had held the Act to be constitutional.  It observed that the single bench had no jurisdiction to fill up loopholes left by the legislature.  The court also observed that what was done in Singur was acquisition of land by the said Act and as such it was void.  Tata Motors had challenged the order of the single bench of the Calcutta High Court, which had upheld the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, by which the West Bengal government vested the land leased to the company at Singur, before the division bench of the court.  Tata Motors had appealed against the order of Justice Mukerji, which was passed on 28th September, last year.  Justice Mukerji had held the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 to be constitutional.  The court had, however, ordered on 28th September an unconditional stay of the judgement till November two to allow any aggrieved party to file an appeal, if it so desired.  Tata Motors had been leased 997 acres at Singur in Hooghly district, about 40 km from Kolkata, by the previous Left Front government for its Nano car project, billed as the cheapest car.  Trinamool Congress, which was then the main opposition in West Bengal, had demanded return of 400 acres to farmers unwilling to give land for the project.  Tata Motors had moved its Nano small car factory to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008 citing law and order problems, but had kept possession of the leased land at Singur.  After coming to power in May 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had the Singur Act passed in the Assembly as one of her government's first major legislations.  Counsel for the state government Kalyan Bandyopadhyay, who is also a Trinamool Congress MP, said that the state would appeal against the order in the Supreme Court.  Bengal to decide action after getting copy of H C verdict  The West Bengal government, which received a setback with Calcutta High Court holding Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act as unconstitutional, on Friday said it would decide its next course of action only after getting a copy of the verdict.  "We have not received the copy of the court verdict. The state government will take action only after getting it," Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters in Kolkata.  The High Court has held as unconstitutional and void the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, under which the state had vested land leased to Tata Motors.  Chatterjee also assured the people, farmers and land labourers in Singur that they were with them and would continue to stand beside them.  "We were with them, we are with them and we will be with them. We are committed to protect their interest," he said, recalling that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had observed a 26-day fast in Singur to protect the interests of farmers.  He said the state government was committed to return the land of unwilling farmers and protect interests of land labourers.

PM hits out at developed nations over carbon emissions

PM Manmohan Singh on Friday hit out at industrialised countries over the issue of making available additional finance and technology to help developing world reduce carbon emissions, saying there is “little evidence” of support for them.

Dr Singh also made a strong plea for finding new pathways for sustainable living since the current consumption patterns in the industrialized world are unsustainable.
The prime minister enunciated India’s stand in his address during the plenary session of the Rio+20 summit, which is officially known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
“Many countries could do more if additional finance and technology were available. Unfortunately, there is little evidence of support from the industrialised countries in these areas(reducing emissions intensity). The ongoing economic crisis has made matters worse,” he said.
Describing economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability as all equally critical as components of sustainable development, Prime Minister Singh said that the task before the world community is to give practical shape and content to this architecture in a manner that allows each country to develop according to its own national priorities and circumstances.
Observing that the Rio+20 Summit was meeting at a time of serious economic crisis and political ferment in the world, the prime minister said it is timely because it focuses the world community’s minds on “the future we want” and how to realise it.
“Difficult though it may seem, we have to summon the imagination to balance the costs that we will incur in the present with the benefits that will accrue to future generations,” said Prime Minister Singh, who was among the 125 world leaders who participated in the deliberations.
The Prime Minister made it clear to the summit that for developing countries, inclusive growth and a rapid increase in per capita income levels are development imperatives.
“Those living at the subsistence level cannot bear the costs of adjustment and their livelihood considerations are important in determining how scarce natural resources such as land, water and forests are used. The severe deterioration of land and water resources is already affecting the well- being of millions of people living on the edges of subsistence, particularly women and children,” he said.
Noting that Sustainable development also mandated the efficient use of available natural resources, Singh said the world community has to be much more frugal in the way it uses natural resources.
“A key area of focus is energy. We have to promote universal access to energy, while at the same time, promoting energy efficiency and a shift to cleaner energy sources by addressing various technological, financial and institutional constraints. In India, we are implementing an ambitious National Solar Mission as a critical option for our energy security,” he said.
Observing that environmental sustainability is the third leg of the sustainable development architecture, the prime minister said that economic activity invariably results in negative spinoffs, either by way of local pollution, or by way of global effects such as Greenhouse Gas emissions.
“We need to tackle both,” said the prime minister.
Dr Singh also spoke about issues relating to local pollution and how it can be regulated and how such regulation may impose costs on various economic actors.
“To ensure equity, there may be a case for targeted assistance to small producers to meet part of these costs and this should be built into policy,” he said.
At the global level, Dr Singh said that the approach to the problem should be guided by equitable burden sharing.
“It is for this reason that the first Rio Summit enshrined the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. I am happy we have reaffirmed this principle as well as the principle of equity during this Summit,” he said.
This does not, however, mean that countries should not take proactive actions to promote sustainable development, Dr Singh said.
“In India, our efforts over the last two decades have yielded positive results. Over the period 1994-2007, our emissions-GDP intensity, excluding agriculture, has declined nearly 25 per cent. Looking ahead, we have set a target to further reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 20-25 per cent between 2005 and 2020, the prime minster said.
Stating that one of the key challenges that demanded urgent global action is the worrying depletion of bio-diversity across our planet, Dr Singh said the Eleventh Conference of Parties on Convention on Biodiversity is being hosted by India in October this year at Hyderabad.
“We look forward to working with the global community to make it a success,” he said.
“The future we want should be a future in which there is ecological and economic space for sustainable growth for all. Let us work together to attain the future that we all desire..,” Dr Singh added.

Pakistan desires peaceful ties with its neighbours, including India, and will work to strengthen the dialogue process that is already underway to resolve problems like the Kashmir issue, the new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said.Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday invited the opposition for reconciliation and vowed to ensure supremacy of the Parliament, strengthen democracy and hold free, fair and transparent elections. “Powers to all the institutions flow from the Parliament. The Parliament manifests aspirations of the people and we shall ensure that nobody exercises this right of the Parliament and the people,” he said in his maiden speech after election as Prime Minister.“Some undemocratic minds try to belittle democracy and the people of Pakistan.

 Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was sworn in as the 25th Prime Minister of Pakistan on Friday, President Asif Ali Zardari administered oath to the new prime minister.Ashraf was administered the oath of office by President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday night, hours after he was elected as the new Prime Minister by the National Assembly.
A new federal Cabinet was also sworn in at the Presidency, where 27 federal ministers and 11 ministers of state took oath.
"We want peaceful ties with our neighbours Afghanistan, Iran and India. We desire good relations in our region on the basis of the philosophy of peaceful co-existence," Ashraf said during his first address in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament following his election on Friday.
"We are ready to strengthen the process of talks that is underway to solve all problems, include the Kashmir issue," he said while focussing on Pakistan's foreign policy and the regional situation.
Speaking less than an hour after he was elected the premier during a special session of the National Assembly, Ashraf made it clear that Pakistan intended to play a key role in neighbouring Afghanistan as the US begins moving toward a drawdown of troops in the war-torn country.
"As a responsible nation, Pakistan will continue to play its role as an enabler and facilitator of peace and stability in the region and the world," he said.
"As my predecessor said, for Pakistan, Kabul is the most important capital in the world. And it is our firm belief that until there is peace in Afghanistan, there can be no peace in Pakistan," Ashraf said while referring to remarks made recently by former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The PPP-nominated Ashraf, 61, as its prime ministerial candidate after Gilani was disqualified by the Supreme Court on Tuesday due to his conviction of contempt.
Gilani was convicted and given a symbolic sentence of less than a minute by the apex court in April after he refused to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.
During his speech, Ashraf said he would also work to strengthen Pakistan's ties with China and the Islamic world.
China, he said, had stood by Pakistan in every difficult hour and the relationship between the two countries was taller than the Himalayas.
Ashraf pledged to consolidate ties with the European Union and to work to strengthen ties with the US and the world community on the basis of equality and without compromising on Pakistan's honour and sovereignty.
He thanked all the allies of the ruling Pakistan People's Party for supporting him and paid tribute to Gilani, saying his predecessor had worked to ensure the supremacy of democracy and parliament.
"We need to take the democratic set-up forward. The constitution and laws emanate from parliament, which is the last hope for the aspirations of the people," he said.
Ashraf further pledged that the next election, scheduled for early next year, would be free, fair and transparent.
The PPP does not like politics of confrontation and the country cannot afford such politics at the current juncture, when it is facing serious challenges, he said.
He invited the opposition for talks to resolve all issues facing the country and said his government would give priority to resolving the problems of the insurgency-hit Balochistan province.

Seventh Report on the State of India’s Environment, Excreta Matters:

Add sender to Contacts
Dear  Mr Naresh Kumar Sagar,
We are writing to you because of your interest in water and waste management. We know that you will find our new report of interest: Citizens’ Seventh Report on the State of India’s Environment, Excreta Matters: How urban India is soaking up water, polluting rivers and drowning in its own waste. The report, in two volumes, is on the horrendous crisis of water scarcity and growing threat of water pollution in cities and presents a detailed city-by-city analysis of the situation on the ground. The findings of our report are based on a nationwide survey, in which we collected primary data on the state of water and waste provisioning. We used this data for analysis and also put together an assessment of the challenges ahead. 

We know that India will urbanize. It will implode, which will put pressure on scarce water resources. And if we do not get the sums of water-waste correct, it will also drown in its own excreta. It is also clear that we in the growing parts of the South do not have the financial capital or natural resources to be able to ape the systems of the already industrialized world cities. We know that we have to urbanize, but to do this differently, so that we can build cities that are water-prudent and waste-wise. 
How is this possible? 

This is what we have detailed in the two-volumes of our report. The first report details issues of water supply, groundwater, sewage and why we are not managing to clean our rivers and lakes, in spite of pumping money and new technologies. It joins the dots between pollution and our flush toilets – between the river and the cities infrastructure to provide water to all and take back the waste of all. It then sets out to explore the management challenges – from the issue of private sector involvement to the matters of economics of water and waste in cities and what needs to be done to build a different future. The report presents an agenda for change, which we hope will be accepted and adopted by cities as they grow. 

The second volume presents a city agenda – city by city. We detail the water and waste stories of 71 cities: We ask where does the water come from, where does the waste go? Putting together this apparently simple answer has taken us a huge amount of research. It is indeed appalling how little we know of our own realities. 

Today cities across India are sourcing their water from further and further away, which in turn is increasing tensions between rural and urban water use. Worse, cities take clean water but release sewage and toxins in rivers and lakes. This in turn leads to pollution of local water sources, forcing cities to look for newer and newer water – and longer the water pipeline gets, the more the distribution losses in supply or water and less is the amount available for investment in sewage and pollution control. In this book we discuss the challenge of dying rivers, in spite of the race to build sewage treatment plants. We present data on the state of pollution, treatment systems and costs. And we argue that we need ways to change the flush and forget mindset, if this vicious cycle of water scarcity and pollution has to be broken. We believe this can and must be done.  

It is for this reason that we are excited by this research. We hope that this knowledge of the sums of urban water and waste will help us demand the need for innovation and re-engineering in technologies, systems and methods used for water supply and sewage. 

As we see it, the ‘matter’ of water and excreta – is both a crisis but also an opportunity to get it right. We will look forward to your involvement in this matter in the coming months. We believe these reports detail out the way Indian cities (and perhaps other parts of the world that are similarly placed) can develop differently. We hope you will also agree that this report is not just about water and waste. But about the paradigm of urban growth that is sustainable and affordable. This is the challenge.

Please do get a copy of the books, as you will find these useful. The e-version of the report is also available at our store: I am writing because we know that not only will the report be useful in your work, but also that your payment will help CSE’s financial sustainability. All the money we get from the sales of our publications goes into our corpus (endowment), which in turn helps us survive tough times. So, we hope you will not only get your own copy but will also help us spread the word about the report and its findings.

With warm regards
Sunita Narain

Excreta Matters (2-volume set)
Price (including postage):
Volume 1, 296 pages, Rs 750/USD 45.00
Volume 2, 496 pages, Rs 1,100/USD 60.00
2-Volume set price: Rs 1,450/USD 80.00
Down To Earth readers get 10% discount. Please quote your customer number

1. To make an online purchase, please visit:

2. Pay by cheque/DD in favor of
Centre for Science and Environment
41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area,
New Delhi-110 062

Contents: Volume 1
CHAPTER 1: Pipe dream    
It is axiomatic that as cities grow, so will the demand for water. Or, is it? What if cities have no idea what the water demand is, yet attempt gregarious supply? Beyond the city, is urban-industrial growth already inciting water conflicts?
    Scenes from a pipe dream    
    Supply and supply more    
    Scarce for most    
    Lost in transmission    
CHAPTER 2: Hurtling into the aquifer    
City water math, truly laissez-faire, turns into a con if you consider the x-factor: groundwater use. Nobody knows how much is used in India’s cities. What is visible, though, is how city 
waterbodies are disappearing. Depleting the aquifer by default is foolish enough. But how wise is it to extinguish a city’s natural endowment?
    X-factor in water maths    
    Stop sponging off lakes and tanks        
CHAPTER 3: The water-waste connection    
Where there are humans...there will be excreta. Where there is water use...there will be sewage discharge. More water...more sewage. More water for whom...more sewage from whom? 
Sewerage systems to collect and convey excreta exist only in parts of cities. Within a city, there are stark inequities in water use as well as excreta disposal.
    Water: sewage    
    Excreta journey    
    Excreta tales from all over India    
    Think excreta: connect water to sewage    
CHAPTER 4: The real excreta of progress    
Cities today exhibit a flush-and-forget mentality that’s turning India’s rivers into sewage canals. The mentality has turned pollution control into an infrastructure spree, a pure scam. A rash of sewage treatment plants dot cityscapes. The river remains pus-filled. Moreover, rivers in India, dammed now from headwater to sea, are losing flow. So such a mentality bodes really ill.        
    Downstream is where all of us live    
    Tryst with cleaning rivers    
    Clean-up: tech and cash    
    Without water can a river be cleaned?    
    Partial treatment = Pollution    
    Solution for pollution    
CHAPTER 5: PPP dream    
Could water, too, increase cash flow? What if the sewage treatment infrastructure spree was not only a spree but also a profitable bandwagon to jump on to? Two buzzwords dominate and can sell any plan: 24x7 and PPP. But will they work a new magic?
    Right answer or wrong question?    
    Infra structure: India pining    
    Future: private    
CHAPTER 6: Faeconomics    
The cost to deliver water has become exorbitant. But is full-cost pricing the solution? Moreover, the supply-obsession of water utilities ensure they pay little attention to the growing volumes of sewage their supply results in. Can urbanising India persist on such a path?
    Bills and beyond    
    Costs: electrifying    
    Recovery is a separate business by itself    
    ‘Matter’ is engrossing    
CHAPTER 7: The agenda for water to water    
Provide clean water to all. Augment local water supply to cut the length of the pipeline. 
Legislate to protect waterbodies. Get rich without water. Re-design the flush toilet. India must 
design to turn waste to water. Let us re-learn the water-to-water cycle. Let the rivers flow.
    India isn’t imperial Rome    
    The strategy for water and waste  

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