Tuesday, 8 May 2012

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

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

Air India to raise $1.1 Billion for procuring new Aircrafts

Posted: 08 May 2012 01:06 PM PDT

Air India will raise $1.1 billion to fund its new aircraft acquisition programme and meet working capital requirements, the national carrier said Tuesday, on the day it sacked 10 pilots who went on mass sick leave and derecognised their union.

The sum would include $300 million for its subsidiary Air India Charters Ltd, which operates the low-cost Air India Express, and bridge financing of around $500 million for inducting four Boeing 787 Dremliners.

The move follows a green signal by the government last month permitting domestic carriers to raise upto $300 million each from the international markets during the current financial year towards meeting working capital requirements.

The airline has invited offers from banks and financial institutions for the purpose of interim bridge financing for a six to 12 month period for acquire the four Dreamliner aircraft, slated for delivery from next month onwards.

In return for the funds, instead of a sovereign guarantee, the AI intendsto offer the aircraft or some other equivalent collateral as security and the carrier would repay the loan after selling and leasing back the four aircraft, its offer document said.

The airline has also invited offers for raising funds of around $600 million through external commercial borrowings to cater to its working capital needs for a minimum three-year period at floating or fixed interest rates.

The airline earlier Tuesday sacked 10 pilots who went on mass sick leave protesting against the airline providing Boeing 787 training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines and derecognised the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG).

India Pakistan to sign a new VISA agreement

Posted: 08 May 2012 08:22 AM PDT

India and Pakistan are expected to sign a revised visa agreement making liberalised provisions for businessmen when the Home and Interior Secretaries of the two countries meet for talks in Islamabad later this month, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal said today.

“We have an agreed revised visa agreement – agreed to by the two interior ministries – which provides for very liberalised provisions for businessmen, amongst others. It’s our hope that it will be signed by the end of this month when our Interior and Home Secretaries meet,” Sabharwal told a conference of businessmen of the two countries here. India had simplified its visa regulations and decisions on all applications were being made in about 30 days, he said while responding to remarks by businessmen.


“We were insisting on a number of documents and so on, we have simplified that. You will see these simplified provisions on the Indian High Commission's website over the next few days,” he said. Though most visa applications are dealt with in about 30 days, visas have been issued to Pakistani businessmen “much faster” for about a year, Sabharwal said.

The Home and Interior Secretaries of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in Islamabad during May 24-25 for talks on key issues like counter-terrorism and the visa regime between the two countries.

According to reports, a decision is expected on issuing multiple-entry and police reporting-free visas for businessmen. The businessmen will also be allowed to visit five cities, instead of three at present, while the elderly will be exempted from police reporting.

The Indian cabinet approved the draft visa agreement last month and Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the pact can be signed “if the Pakistani side is ready

Shiv Sena wants Satyamev Jayate to be aired in Karnataka

Posted: 08 May 2012 06:20 AM PDT

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Tuesday asked the Karnataka government to allow the telecast of Bollywood star Aamir Khan’s maiden television show “Satyameva Jayate”.

While hitting out at the BJP government in Karnataka, Thackeray lavishly praised Aamir’s show which went on air last Sunday and secured thumbs up around the country.

In an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna Tuesday, Thackeray said that Karnataka’s decision on grounds that the show was unacceptable to Kannada film makers showed that parochialism had overtaken patriotism.

“The point is Aamir Khan is not like Shah Rukh Khan or other Khans who found nothing wrong in Pakistan cricketers playing in India,” he said.

“(Aamir’s) programmes and movies always dwell on patriotism and love for the country. They always inspire the youth.

“This show must not be tied up in parochial chains or barred from the public. This is our view,” Thackeray said, urging the Karnataka government to permit its telecast.

He took the opportunity to hit out at Karnataka for its attempts to gag the Marathis in the state even as a long-pending boundary dispute with Maharashtra awaits a solution.

Celebrity NRI Chef Vikas Khanna doesnot keep secrets in Kitchen

Posted: 08 May 2012 05:12 AM PDT

vikash khannaUS-based celebrity writer-chef Vikas Khanna, whose signature Indian dish Tree of Life – a variation of gobi ka pakoda – is soon to be served to US President Barack Obama, is also a strong votary of the philosophy of “no secrets in the kitchen”.

Food has to be shared as it represents sharing of cultures which is the way civilisations move forward, says Khanna, whose new cookbook, “Flavors First” has just hit the stands.

“There should be no walls, no secrets in the kitchen. Recipes cannot be secret. If my grandmother had kept them as a secret from me, I would not have been a chef. A journey that begins with secrets ends in secrets. People copy me. I have shared my recipes with honesty in my book,” Khanna told IANS at the launch of his book. The book was released by food columnist and journalist Vir Sanghvi.

Khanna, one of the three Michelin-starred chefs of Indian origin in New York, is busy connecting to readers in India to promote his cookbook and rehearsing for a fundraising dinner for Obama, where he will treat the president to his signature Indian dish, ‘Tree of Life’, a cauliflower-based dish, the writer-chef said.

“It is a variation of the Indian gobi ka pakoda (cauliflower munchies) fried in a batter of rice flower to make it crispy. It is served with a roasted tomato sauce garnished with spices,” the chef said.

The dish – embellished on a white China platter with pomegrenate seeds and mint leaves – is known as ‘The Tree of Life’ as a whole cauliflower is cut from its base to resemble a tree with leaves spread out like a flower, said the chef, demonstrating the dish in the capital.

The ‘Tree of Life’ is also the theme around which Khanna’s restaurant in New York, Junoon, is designed.

A dedicated writer, Khanna has been working on “Flavors First” (Om Books International) for the last three years.

Khanna said the book was a diary of his journey from India to America and how it reflected on the cuisine.

“Your food starts absorbing more influences. I agree in shifting but I don’t believe in de-rooting myself. I thrive physically in America, but India is my spiritual home,” Khanna said.

He said the dishes he chose for “Flavors First” reflects a new kind of understanding about Indian food in the West and the “Indian women in kitchens from where the food comes”. It also includes collaborative recipes that Khanna has learnt through his interactions with cooks from across the world.

“The Indian woman has giving hands – they are always outstretched,” Khanna said.

The book, which has a foreword by Gordon Ramsey, is divided into segments devoted to an introduction to the Indian kitchen, condiments, starters, rice, breads, legumes, soups and salads, vegetables, poultry, meats, seafood, dessert and drinks.

“It has been written in collaboration with Andrew Blackmore Dobbyn, my good friend and colleague. English is, by my reckoning, my fourth language and I still have difficulties with the intricacies of grammar. Andrew has helped me with the organisation of language and recipes,” Khanna said.

The book, though Indian in essence, targets a Western audience, unfamiliar with Indian cuisine. Some of the dishes, as a result, have a fusion sensitivity to them.

“I wanted to convey the universal theme of food. Cinnamon for example occurs in three varieties – American, Indian and Indonesian,” Khanna said citing an instance.

The chef has completed work on his new book, “Holy Kitchens” – a book on Himalayan cuisine. “I am trying to bring back the meaning of sharing food, breaking bread together and how people bond over food,” he said.

General V K Singh wished that Age Row should have been avoided

Posted: 08 May 2012 04:04 AM PDT

Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh Tuesday said he wished the controversy over his age could have been avoided.

Asked what he feels over the issue, sad or angry, the general replied: “I want to look at it as something that could have been avoided.”

Asked by who, he shot back: “By everybody.”

Gen Singh arrived here on a two-day visit Monday and attended the release of a book, “North-East Trilogy”, written by Dipti Bhalla and Kunal Verma.

The book was released by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Indian Army Chief of Staff VK SinghIn response to another question, Gen Singh said corruption had always been a major issue and people were fighting corruption everywhere.

“Our thrust is in transparency and probity and to ensure middlemen’s wrong practices are checked. Defects in purchases … the army takes action and we ensure it is corrected.

“Changes in the entire system are required,” he added.

Earlier, Gen Singh and his wife prayed at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and the nearby Ganapathy temple here.

4 Flights cancelled post100 Air India Pilots went on Strike

Posted: 08 May 2012 02:57 AM PDT

Four international flights were cancelled after nearly 100 Air India pilots reported ‘sick’, officials said Tuesday, even as Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh called their protest illegal.

Since morning, the beleaguered Air India axed two flights from Mumbai and New Delhi each and encountered severe disruption on other routes since midnight Monday, an official said.

Ajit Singh said “this strike illegal”.

“There are certain ways of even going on strike. The pilots may have grievances but they should have spoken to the management, to me and other well wishers,” he said.

“How can they (pilots) go on strike when Air India is on the path of recovery and when it is not out of the woods?”

His comments came as a section of pilots reported sick Tuesday, leading to serious disruptions in flights.

An Air India official told IANS that the Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Newark service and Mumbai-Delhi-Hong Kong flights scheduled to leave early Tuesday have been cancelled due to non-availability of pilots.

Similarly, the New Delhi-Toronto and New Delhi-Chicago flights were also cancelled.

The official added that nearly 100 pilots have remained off duty since midnight as they suddenly fell ‘sick’ and more were likely to follow suit.

Among other things, the pilots are opposing the carrier’s plans to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner to the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots who are now part of the airline.

Ajit Singh dismissed this as unfair.

He said while the Delhi High Court had upheld the contention that the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots cannot be trained on the Dreamliner, the Supreme Court had vacated the stay.

“How can the protesting pilots expect the government to go against the Supreme Court?” he said.

The action by pilots has come at a critical juncture when the airline was hoping the retrieve lost ground with the peak vacation season and had secured a whopping Rs.42,000-crore bailout package.

Hina Khar asks India to take bold initiatives on Siachin

Posted: 08 May 2012 01:34 AM PDT

India should take “a bold initiative” to resolve the dispute over Siachen, the world’s highest battleground, said Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Khar said Pakistan believed that all outstanding issues with India could be resolved through dialogue, reported Dawn Tuesday.

Responding to queries by Indian businessmen on a two-day visit, Khar said in Lahore that Islamabad had been willing to resolve the Siachen dispute way back in 1989.

“Today Pakistan still sticks to its stance and we want India to also take a bold initiative in this regard,” she was quoted as saying.

India and Pakistan “have lost opportunities over 23 years to resolve the standoff on the Himalayan glacier. The recent tragedy in Siachen is a stark and painful reminder of the explicit human cost of status quo”, she added.

Pakistan lost nearly 140 soldiers when a massive avalanche entombed the Gayari army base last month.

The incident prompted army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to say that Islamabad was open for talks with India to demilitarise Siachen.

Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal said New Delhi was also interested in resolving the Siachen dispute.

“We had Kargil (conflict in 1999) that made things difficult. However, both sides have recognised this and it will be discussed in the upcoming talks.”

Khar stressed there could be no military solution to the problems between the two countries and that India and Pakistan “should learn lessons from the past and look forward.

“Pakistanis believe that war is not an option between the two nuclear powers. The only option is to resolve our differences and disputes on the negotiating table,” she added,

Supreme Court asks Government to abolish Haj Subsidy

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:34 AM PDT

The Supreme Court Tuesday came out against the government policy of providing subsidy to the pilgrims going for Haj to the holy city of Mecca.

An apex court bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam further directed the government to eliminate the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in the next ten years.

In another important direction, the court in its order said that a goodwill delegation sent by the government every year to Mecca will comprise only two members – its leader and the deputy leader.

At present, the goodwill delegation consists of 30 members.

The court has also sought details from the state-level Haj committees and the Haj Committee of India as to how subsidy is given and what is the total expenditure on it.

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