Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Google to invest in Space Explorations & Natural resources Venture

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 05:55 PM PDT

Internet Search Leader Google will now invest in ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and CEO Larry Page have teamed up with Avatar director James Cameron  to start such a project. More details are awaited next week.

The fledgling company, called Planetary Resources, will be unveiled at a Tuesday news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, according to a press release issued this week.

Aside from naming some of the company’s high-profile backers, the press release disclosed tantalizingly few details, saying only that the company will combine the sectors of “space exploration and natural resources” in a venture that could add “trillions of dollars to the global GDP.” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Planetary Resources will explore the feasibility of mining natural resources from asteroids, a decades-old concept.

“This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources,’” according to the press release.

Planetary Resource was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $10 million to a group that launched a reuseable manned spacecraft. Other notable investors include Charles Simonyi, a former top executive at Microsoft , and K. Ram Shriram, a Google director.

The venture will be the latest foray into the far-flung for Cameron, who dived last month in a mini-submarine to the deepest spot in the Mariana Trench. The plot of his 2009 science fiction blockbuster film, “Avatar,” concerned resource mining on alien planets.

Textbooks in Jammu and Kashmir show PoK as Azad Kashmir

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 01:36 PM PDT

In a shocking incident, Class 3 students in an Army School of Jammu and Kashmir are being taught that  Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK) is Azad Kashmir.

The controversy surfaced three days ago when it was found that the map practice exercise book for schools run by Army Education Welfare Society showed PoK as Azad Kashmir.

“As soon as the discrepancy was noticed, the Society withdrew the books,” sources in Army said today.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has, however, distanced itself from the controversy by maintaining that the exercise book in question was brought out by a private publisher and not of the NCERT which it prescribes for class one to class eight students.

When asked to comment on the faux pas, CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi said” Board has Nothing to do with it. We prescribe only NCERT textbooks for class one to eight students. This book which is being talked about is of a private publisher”.

Asked to comment on the issue, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “if it was a deliberate act, then it is a very dangerous thing as Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive area. Even if it is mistake, the Centre should look into the controversy…the Government of India should take immediate steps to check a repeat of such incidents.”

Indian elected as member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 12:13 PM PDT

India born Kamaljit Singh Bawa, a distinguished professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has been elected a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bawa, founder and president of Bangalore based Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), will join the academy Oct 6 with some of the worlds’ most influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors and leaders.

Besides sustainability expert Bawa others elected to the Academy in public affairs and journalism category are: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, Jr, veteran diplomat R. Nicholas Burns, television journalist Judy Woodruff; and Boston Globe editor Martin Baron.

“Election to the Academy is both an honour for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz.

“We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

The announcement of Bawa’s election came as he was receiving the Gunnerus Sustainability Award the world’s first major award for sustainability, awarded by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, for the impact his research has had on the sustainability of global biodiversity.

Team Anna member Qasmi caught recording meeting proceedings

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 11:20 AM PDT

The Members of  India Against Corruption and Team Anna suffered a major setback when they found a core committee member Mufti Shamoon Qasmi recording the proceedings of the Internal meeting  and transmitting it without permission.  While Qasmi has been asked to stay away from few future meetings, he himself denounced the membership.

Team Anna was discussing the group’s future strategies, including their alliance with yoga guru Baba Ramdev, when Qasmi was reportedly found recording the proceedings chaired by Anna Hazare, who has now decided to launch a nationwide campaign from June for a strong Lokpal.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said that when Qasmi was asked about the recording, as “this was a breach of our trust”, he denied any knowledge about the matter.

The recording was “accidental,” Bhushan quoted Qasmi as saying.

“When we told him to accept his mistake, he got angry. Anna also requested him to exercise restraint, but he stormed out. It has come to our knowledge that he’s been speaking rubbish outside,” Bhushan told reporters.

The meeting asked him to keep out of the deliberations for some time, he added.

Indicating that the wedge had widened, another senior activist from the group, Arvind Kejriwal, said Qasmi had been caught “red-handed” just like Swami Agnivesh, who was found relaying the details of meetings of Team Anna to ministers in the government at the peak of Hazare’s fast at Ramlila ground in Delhi last year.

“Just like Swami Agnivesh, he had been caught red-handed,” Kejriwal said.

Team Anna member Shazia Ilmi too was critical of Qasmi.

Ilmi said the team had confronted Qasmi, asking him: “You are a member of the core committee, the discussion is going on and you are recording and relaying it outside. Further, you are claiming that you are doing this since you are a Muslim? It was a very unethical thing to do and using one’s religion to excuse an inexcusable action is even worse.”

Ilmi said the team had found “three recordings” when they checked Qasmi’s phone.

Qasmi was roped into Team Anna  in October Last year in a bid to clear the air regarding Muslim’s perception towards Anna’s anti-graft agitation. Qasmi is General secretary of All India Imams Organisation – which claims to be the umbrella organisation of one million Imams in the country.  He is also the  President of Rashtriya Sarvadhram Ekta Parishad which promotes communal harmony. He is also Vice-President of New Delhi-based Foundation for Religious Harmony and Universal Peace which is also based in New Delhi.

Asked whether Qasmi was expelled from the meeting, Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas said that he was only asked to leave the meeting for some time.

“It is his decision to leave the movement or not. We have just asked him not to attend the meeting for some time,” he added.

The meet’s focus was on the strategy to further pitch for a strong Lokpal law. The meet comes ahead of the parliament meeting again from Tuesday for the second half of this year’s budget session after a three-week recess.

After the meeting, Team Anna member Kiran Bedi expressed hope that the country would get a strong Lokpal by the end of the month-long parliament session.

She said the team members had resolved to create awareness about Lokpal in their home states, besides trying to increase the numbers of India Against Corruption (IAC) volunteers.

“Anna will start his countrywide tour by the end of June,” she said.

The opposition has also demanded passage of the Lokpal bill in this session.

About the alliance with yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Bedi claimed that while the two campaigns were independent, Hazare and Ramdev could combine their voices against graft.

“We believe that if the corrupt can come together, then those who oppose them, can also join hands,” she said.

Earlier, Bhushan said that the committee had also resolved to send notice to and seek clarifications from 16 tainted ministers. After receiving their replies, Team Anna will release the graft evidence and documents to the media, she said.

Regular Soda Intake raises chances of Heart Stroke

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 11:02 AM PDT

Regularly quaffing sugar-sweetened, low-calorie sodas is likely to spike risk of a stroke, but intake of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee seems to lower it, a study reveals.

The study is the first to examine soda’s effect on stroke (when brain is deprived of blood supply) risk. Previous research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout and coronary artery disease.

“Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet,” said Adam Bernstein, study author and research director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported.

“What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases – including stroke,” added Bernstein, according to a university statement.

The research analyzed soda consumption among 43,371 men, who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between 1986 and 2008, and 84,085 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1980 and 2008. During that time, 2,938 strokes were documented in women while 1,416 strokes were documented in men.

In sugar-sweetened sodas, the sugar load may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin which, over time, may lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors of ischemic stroke (blood supply to the brain is blocked). This risk for stroke appears higher in women than in men.

Conversely, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, lignans and magnesium, all of which act as antioxidants and may reduce stroke risk. When compared with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda, one serving of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of stroke.

The Dirty Picture Premiere cancelled even after Cuts

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 10:42 AM PDT

Vidya BalanThe TV premiere of Vidya Balan starrer The Dirty Picture was stalled at the last moment  on Sunday, despite 59 cuts in the film to make it suitable for television viewing. While film’s director Milan Luthria is shocked and disappointed, filmmaker Karan Johar branded it hypocrisy.

The government moved quickly to stall the screening of film by an entertainment television channel, ostensibly due to its “adult” content, and asked the channel to telecast it late in the night after prime time.

Information and broadcasting ministry officials in New Delhi told IANS that they have sent a letter to Sony TV not to telecast the movie during prime time Sunday.

“The channel has been told to screen the movie only after 11 p.m.,” they said to a query in this regard.

This directive from the ministry left Luthria, fuming, even as the Mumbai film industry reacted angrily to the development.

“I am shocked and disappointed that this decision was taken at the last moment. For the last two months we have been working on this and as per the rule few scenes had to be cut to get the U/A certificate. Don’t harass us like this,” Luthria told IANS.

“We re-submitted the film after 59 cuts. Now I am curious to know why has this happened. DVDs of the films are already out and many people have already seen it,” Luthria added.

The film, which is reportedly based on the story of late southern actress Silk Smitha and fetched Vidya Balan her first National Award, was to be shown at 12 noon and at 8 p.m. Sunday on Sony TV. However, it was not shown. Sony had bought the rights of the Ekta Kapoor’s production venture for Rs 8 crore.

After the decision to pull it off from the small screen, Sony ran a ticker saying: “For unavoidable reasons we regret to inform that the film ‘The Dirty Picture’ will not be telecast today. Any inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.”

Johar too was surprised at the decision.

“A national award winning film cannot have a national telecast??? this is not an irony but plain and simple hypocrisy!!!! #dirtypicture. If the censorship is not a final authority then what is??? Complicated and blurred lines defeat the core of democracy!!!! #dirtypicture,” he tweeted.

The film, which also features Tusshar Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah and Emraan Hashmi, is replete with “bold scenes” and after cuts it was given a UA certification for being shown on Indian television.

Tusshar also expressed his disappointment on Twitter.

“Really unfortunate that after all the necessary cuts and a valid UA certificate, The Dirty Picture could not be telecast today on Sony TV,” he tweeted.

“In light of recent events that exposed the dark side of Bollywood, ‘The Dirty Picture’ was well timed as it depicts a similar harsh reality!

“Sad that inspite of being acclaimed for it’s entertaining realism and having won 3 National Awards the regulatory forces have stalled the show,” Tusshar posted.

Kingfisher Employees strike again over No Salary

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 10:30 AM PDT

kingfisher airlines

Kingfisher Airlines is again in Crisis. Employees have gone on strike again over non-payment of salaries. KA Authorities are negotiating with  agitating  employees

“We are in constant touch and hopeful of resolving the situation soon. Only 200 employees were not paid due to some technical glitch. We are trying to ascertain the reasons and are confident of resolving them soon,” an official of the airline told IANS.

The official said all the agitating employees have their salary accounts with the ICICI Bank and the airline has asked the bank to clear their dues.

“We have asked them (ICICI) to let us know how did the 200 employees not get paid. And if there is a problem from our side we will resolve it,” he said.

Airport sources said despite the flash strike, operations of the airline were not affected.

The employees had gone on a flash agitation claiming that their salaries had not been paid even after the management had committed to clear the dues.

Earlier April 3, a group of pilots and cabin crew had threatened to go on a strike as they had not been paid for four months.

That time Kingfisher Chairman Vijay Mallya had written to the staff assuring them that their dues would be paid in a phased manner from April 4.

“All junior staff will be paid … April 4. All pilots and engineers will be paid April 9 and 10,” he wrote. “My focus now is to start paying your seriously overdue salaries.”

Mallya had assured his employees that he would be available at all major stations from this week to address the staff concerns.

The letter had stated that the company was in a position to pay the overdue salaries as its bank accounts had been un-frozen following payments worth Rs.44 crore to the income tax department and Rs.20 crore as service tax.

The airline had suspended operations to several cities in the last week of March and asked its staff to stay at home till it managed fresh funding.

The airline’s international operations have been suspended after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) barred the carrier from its inter-airline clearing house and billing and settlement plan accounts due to non-payment of dues.

Kingfisher has a debt of Rs.7,057.08 crore. Its net loss widened to Rs.444.27 crore for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2011 from Rs.253.69 c

Maoists set a deadline of 3 days for release of Alex Paul Menon

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 10:10 AM PDT

24 hours after the abduction of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon,  Maoists have set terms for his release. They want an immediate stop on the Operation Green Hunt along with release of 8 hard-core Naxals including 2 Women Maoists. They have also set a  deadline of 3 days.

The demands were made even as spiritual leaderSwami Agnivesh expressed willingness to mediate between the Naxals and the government to secure the release of the 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer, who was abducted yesterday at Majhipara village in Raipur district where he was meeting villagers for a government outreach programme.

Additional Director General of Police Ram Nivas (anti- Naxal operations) told reporters that the demands were made by an unidentified Naxal leader in an audio message to media organisations. The authenticity of the audio tape was being verified, he said, adding no Maoist group has got in touch yet with the state government.

According to Nivas, the demands made were an immediate halt to “Operation Green Hunt”(anti-Maoist offensive), sending security forces in Bastar region back to the barracks and release of eight jailed Maoist leaders including two women. In the message, the Maoist leader has alleged that false cases have been foisted against the eight jailed ultras.

Nivas said police have received some vital clues and added that Menon was safe.

Swami Agnivesh told PTI he was ready to mediate and was waiting for the government or the Naxals to approach him.

Menon’s wife Asha in a fresh appeal said the Naxals should release her husband saying they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the people. She said that Menon had some health problems and was not carrying adequate medicines when he was abducted.

“He is an asthmatic patient and I request the government and the Naxals to understand that he is just left with two doses of medication,” she said, adding that he would not be able to cope up with in case of an emergency.

The Association of IAS Officers in Chattisgarh held a meeting here today and appealed to the ultras to release the Collector unharmed.

Locals in the area where Menon was kidnapped took out a peace march to demand his release. A large number of people, including school children, participated.

Revered Hindu Pond drying up in Pakistan

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 10:05 AM PDT

A pond considered sacred by Hindus abutting a 900-year-old temple complex in Pakistan is drying up after tubewells began supplying the water to a cement factory and to two villages, said a media report Sunday.

The Hindu temple at Katasraj in Punjab province is considered sacred due to a pond, which according to Hindu mythology was formed from Lord Shiva’s tears.

It is also said that the Pandava brothers stayed in the temple region for four out of the 14 years they spent in exile.

Dawn reported that the sacred pond at Katasraj is drying up.

A cement factory near the temple complex has installed tubewells which have reduced the water level in the pond. The water from the pond is also being supplied to Choa Syedan Shah and Waula village as the government has failed to provide alternative facility to the residents.

The water supply to Choa Syedan Shah was sanctioned before 1947 on the condition that the water in the pond would be maintained to a certain level.

There was no shortage of water in the pond till 2007, but that year saw industrial development with three cement factories coming up.

The media report said the cement factory near the Hindu temple complex posed a threat to the pond.

The factory administration had said that it would arrange water from the Jhelum river but later it installed many tubewells near the temple, said sources.

“The water in our village has disappeared due to the cement factory,” Fazal Elahi, a resident of Waula village, was quoted as saying.

Ramesh Kumar, president of Pakistan Hindu Council, told the daily that the Punjab government “should take immediate steps to preserve Katas temples and the pond”.

I dont want Bail – Former Telecom Minister Andimuthu Raja

Posted: 22 Apr 2012 08:30 AM PDT

Andimuthu RajaJailed former communications minister Andimuthu Raja is not very keen on getting out on bail because he would prefer to walk out of prison with “clean hands” in the 2G spectrum allotment controversy that has dominated national attention for over a year.

In an exclusive interview to IANS, Raja maintained his “innocence” and said he was concentrating on cross-examining the prosecution witnesses, but didn’t elaborate on the case which is pending before a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“I want to come out of jail with clean hands, rather than be released on bail,” Raja told IANS in a Patiala House court during the hearing of the case Friday.

Raja has completed more than 14 months in Delhi’s Tihar Jail in the case that cost the DMK leader his ministerial job in November 2010.

The trial has been dragging on for more than a year now with some 410 applications, including bail pleas from other accused, filed. But not a single application has been moved by the DMK MP seeking bail or to attend parliament sessions.

Raja was arrested Feb 2, 2011 by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, which is purported to have caused a huge loss to the national exchequer.

He was sent to Tihar on Feb 17 last year.

Raja told IANS he was looking forward to conclude the trial “as early as possible”.

“It will be better to seek acquittal…trying to complete trial as early as possible. However, I could move my bail application (if the trial drags on), wait for that time,” he said.

Raja’s nephew T. Srinivisan, who is not counselling him but assisting him in preparing his case, said the former communications minister is waiting for the bail application of former telecom secretary Sidharth Behura, who is also in Tihar Jail.

Except for Raja and Behura, all the arrested accused have been released on bail. Behura’s bail is pending in the Supreme Court.

Raja’s counsel Babanjeet Singh said: “If Behura’s bail is accepted in the top court, then we will approach the court for Raja’s bail also.”

Another of his counsels said Raja’s legal team was waiting to conclude the cross examination of D.S. Mathur, another former telecom secretary who had deposed against the DMK leader.

“Then we will think about other matters – whether to move bail or to go parliament,” the counsel said, requesting not to be named.

The special CBI court had remarked that Raja could attend parliament if he wanted to. But the MP replied that his first priority was to present his case before a judicial bench instead.

Another co-accused and DMK MP, Kanimozhi had been granted permission to attend parliament.

According to the government auditor, the 2G scam allegedly masterminded by Raja pertained to biased distribution of mobile airwaves and operating licences, in lieu of kickbacks, to telecom firms that could have cost the treasury up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue.

Nineteen individuals and six companies are accused in the case.

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