- India to have nationwide E-Blood Banking Service
- Australia again luring Indian Students
- High Court asks Air India Pilots to resume Duty imemdiately
- Satyamev Jayate row: Aamir to meet Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot
- Indian Indra Nooyi among 18 women CEO of Fortune 500
- Bhojpuri songs to eradicate Kala Azar in Bihar
- Pakistan says World Trade Center Attack happened last Year
- 23000 surrender Voter Id cards in protest to Koondankulam Nuclear Plant
Posted: 09 May 2012 02:14 PM PDT
Aiming at boosting blood donation in the country, the union health ministry is planning a nationwide database of blood donors connected through a web-enabled system.
“Blood donation services require a complete revamp. We are planning a national database of blood donors connected through email and social media,” Health Secretary P.K. Pradhan said here Tuesday.
“We want more volunteers for effective resource management and constantly engagement with the community in the database,” Pradhan added.
Already functional in Odisha, e-blood bank service is a web-enabled system for electronic monitoring of blood collection, testing, storage and final use or disposal. The system functions through bar-coding of blood bags to ensure blood collected first is used first in 100 per cent cases.
“An online database of regular donors needs to be maintained. Donors listed in the database will get SMS reminders and encouragement notes so that their interest is maintained,” he said, adding “a similar system could work for organ donation”.
The health ministry is roping in volunteers from the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS). While voluntary blood donation camps organized by schools, colleges and civil society have popularised blood donation among people, a proper collection and transfusion service is needed, the official said.
According to official statistics, the percentage of annual voluntary blood donors per year is around 50 percent, way less than the World Health Organisation’s target of 100 percent collection through voluntary non-remunerated donors.
Posted: 09 May 2012 05:49 AM PDT
Indian students are once again heading to Australia, along with a rise in international students, with the perceived threat of physical violence having receded to a large extent.
Violence against Indians in Australia has been a sensitive issue, especially after several racially motivated attacks on international students a few years back had strained relations between the two nations.
Indian students, according to an Australian Immigration Department report, top the list of visas granted in Australia.
Overall, 284,152 international students were granted visas in the first three quarters of the Australian financial year ending March 31. This figure represents an increase of 4.5 percent compared with the same period in 2010-11.
Over 23,000 Indian students were granted visa this year.
The Australian Immigration Department assessment of Indian applications seem to have improved significantly from the same period last year as there has been a whopping 82.8 percent increase in Indian students getting the all important nod.
While 2,319 Indian students were granted visa in India in the three quarters ending March 2011, the number has ballooned to 4,238 this year.
A massive increase has also been noticed, according to a recent Immigration Department report, in the Indian students making application for Australian student visas. More than 8,000 Indians applied for visa to study in Australia in the nine months to March 31 which represents approximately 120 percent increase as compared to the number of applications last year.
The latest Immigration Department report on student visas has elicited comments from Monash University migration expert Bob Birrell, who is known for his hardline approach on anything linked to Indian students or academic courses they usually opt for.
“They have been swooshing around the system, applying for student and tourist visas, family reunion and as temporary skilled migrants,” Bob Birrell told The Herald Sun newspaper Tuesday while referring to Indian students in Australia.
“The student system was opened up to allow so many in, and now they are seeking whatever means are available to stay on via other visas,” he said.
The noticeable turnaround in student visa grants is also being attributed to a “backlash” from the Australian education institutes who had criticised the way Immigration Department was refusing applications from international students.
“Recent changes in the visa application process has made it easier for Indian students to come down under to study,” says Jag Khairra, a Melbourne-based migration and education consultant.
“Australian government has also worked hard to address fears about attacks on Indian students,” Jag added.
There were approximately 345,000 international student visa holders in Australia as of March 31.
Posted: 09 May 2012 04:50 AM PDT
Operations of national carrier Air India, affected for two consecutive days due to an employees agitation, may become normal after the Delhi High Court Wednesday issued restraining orders on pilots from going on strike.
The flag carrier had moved the Delhi High Court against the pilots who had gone on en masse ‘sick leave’ from Tuesday, leading to several flight cancellations.
The agitation led by a pilots union of pre-merger Air India, had gone on en mass ‘sick’ leave protesting the move by the airlines to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines. The stir caused four international flight cancellations each on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Till now in the day, four flights have been cancelled, including New Delhi-Singapore, New Delhi-New York, New Delhi-Frankfurt and Mumbai-Newark,” a senior Air India official on the operations arm told IANS.
“We have called in reserve pilots and other flights are operating per schedule. Passengers are being updated about their flight status.”
Sources in the pilots union also claimed that the disgruntled aviators have also reached out to the chief labour commissioner’s (CLC) office.
Adopting a tough stance, Air India Tuesday sacked 10 pilots who went on mass sick leave and de-recognised their union — Indian Pilots Guild (IPG). The IPG is likely to discuss the issue and the sacking of 10 senior pilots at a meeting later Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh slammed the agitation calling it 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.”
“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,” he asked.
Singh further said that while in an earlier order 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?”
Currently training for the first batch of pilot and crew members for the 787 is going on in Singapore. An aircraft like 787 requires around 10 pilots for operating a full day’s schedule or a connecting long haul flight.
Air India had booked 27 Boeing 787s in 2006 in a mega deal for 68 aircraft from Boeing. The first of the 27 Boeing 787 aircraft which were ordered in 2006 for IPG cadre pilots before the merger in 2007 is expected to join the fleet at the end of the month.
Air India is only the third global airline after All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines to receive the fuel-efficient and eco-friendly aircraft.
Posted: 09 May 2012 03:04 AM PDT
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is to meet Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Wednesday in connection with female foeticide cases highlighted by the TV reality show “Satyamev Jayate”.
“Aamir had expressed his desire to meet the chief minister on May 9. The chief minister has agreed to meet him at his official residence at 5 p.m. today (Wednesday),” said a senior official in the chief minister’s office.
Khan in his programme “Satyamev Jayate”, aired Sunday, had highlighted the story of a sting operation done seven years back by two Jaipur based journalists to expose increasing female foeticide cases in four states – Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Following the expose, the Rajasthan government had come down heavily on doctors who were involved in sex determination tests and abortions and had started a probe against them. The doctors since then have neither been promoted nor have been cleared of the charges.
Aamir had said in his show that he would appeal to the Rajasthan chief minister to get the cases against the doctors clubbed together and tried in a fast track court. He also appealed the viewers to support his signature campaign.
Gehlot Tuesday tweeted: “Satyamev Jayate is a great and extra ordinary initiative to root out female foeticide. I am eager to have a fruitful dialogue with Aamir on May 9.”
Rajasthan has been in the news for increasing cases of female foeticide and female infanticide.
According to Census 2011, Rajasthan has 883 girls between the age of 0-6 for every 1,000 boys. The child sex ratio in 2001 was 909.
Alarmed over the state’s skewed sex ratio, the state government recently announced steps to curb pre-natal sex determination tests at ultrasound clinics.
Posted: 09 May 2012 02:01 AM PDT
Soft drink major Pepsico’s Indian born CEO Indra Nooyi is one of the 18 women who have shattered the glass ceiling to lead America’s 500 largest corporations, according to Fortune magazine’s latest ranking.
Nooyi, who leads the 41st biggest company in America, is listed fourth among top women executives by the leading US business magazine. She “has overseen a shift in focus from soft drinks into less profitable, albeit healthier, snack foods market in recent years,”
Others on the list that includes more women CEOs than ever before are Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard (10th) and Ginni Rometty of IBM (19th), both of whom started within the last year.
Also on the list are Patricia Woertz of agricultural processors Archer Daniels Midland, Irene Rosenfeld who heads up Kraft Foods and Ursula Burns who is CEO at Xerox and Sherilyn McCoy at Avon.
Rometty is IBM’s first female CEO and Xerox chief Ursula Burns is the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company. The top five female CEOs on the list all held positions in strategic planning before being appointed.
There are an additional 21 female CEOs in the Fortune 501-1000, some managing steel, oil and energy companies.About 10 percent of the top 500 US companies, and almost 40 percent of Canada’s 500 largest companies have no women on their boards, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit research organization advocating for more women in business.
Posted: 09 May 2012 01:01 AM PDT
Bhojpuri folk songs that have been entertaining people in Bihar for years will now be used to spread awareness about the kala azar disease, a recurring epidemic that takes hundreds of lives in the state each year and afflicts thousands of poor people.
The state government has roped in singer-actor Manoj Tiwari for the initiative.
“The state government has given the go ahead to use folk songs to create awareness about prevention of the deadly kala azar in rural areas,” a health department official told IANS.
Over 23,000 kala azar cases were reported in 31 of Bihar’s 38 districts in 2011. The disease, transmitted by the sand fly, has killed over three dozen people so far this year and claimed over 70 lives last year, officials said.
Over 750 people have died of kala azar in the past five years. The authorities in Bihar aim to eradicate the disease by 2015.
The official said the government has roped in singer-actor Tiwari – known for his Bhojpuri hits – for the initiative.
“Folk songs will be recorded in his voice soon. Tiwari will sing folk songs to help government agencies against kala azar,” the official said.
“I will sing folk songs in Bhojpuri to create awareness on how to prevent the disease that is caused by poor living conditions and lack of sanitation,” Tiwari said.
He said kala azar will be main theme of folk songs composed and sung by him.
Kala azar, medically called visceral leishmaniasis, is known as the poor man’s disease because it affects the poorest.
The sand fly, which transmits the disease, multiplies in the cow dung that villagers use to plaster their shanties or as cow dung cakes for fuel. The flies survive on the sap in banana and bamboo groves and on decomposed cow dung heaps.
The disease is characterised by fever, weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver and can lead to cardiovascular complications, resulting in death. Experts say poor living standards and unhygienic conditions make members of the Mushahar community, who are Dalits, easy prey.
The worst kala azar-hit areas of Bihar are the northern districts of Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and East and West Champaran. Around 90 percent of the world’s kala azar cases are found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sudan.
Posted: 09 May 2012 12:59 AM PDT
Shocking Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lawmakers with its factual errors, a Pashto textbook for Class 5 students says the 9/11 terror attack happened in 2011 and the general elections will be held in the country in February 2008.
Lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly were left stunned when an opposition member pointed out errors in the book, reported Dawn.
“At times incidents occur, which hugely affect human history and re-write a new one. Like ‘September 11, 2011′ incident in America is before us. The incident occurs in America but the whole world got affected,” said the social study book recently introduced by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board Peshawar.
9/11 refers to the Sep 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre complex in New York and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Mufti Said Janan, who highlighted the matter, wondered as to how the people could expect any good from the government when it was distorting facts and history.
The lawmaker read several paragraphs from the book. Thousands of copies have been published in Pashto and distributed among students free of cost.
A paragraph said general elections will be held in the country in February 2008.
The general elections are scheduled to be held in 2013.
Posted: 09 May 2012 12:57 AM PDT
Around 23,000 people belonging to nine villages in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu have surrendered their voter identity cards to draw attention to the continued neglect of the peaceful protest against the Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), said a top activist.
“We have received around 23,000 voter identity cards from people living in nine villages – Idinthakarai, Thomaiyarpuram, Perumanal, Kuduthalai, Kudankulam, Vairavikinaru, Kuthankuli, Kuttapuli and Avaidaiyalpuram,” S.P. Udayakumar, coordinator of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), told IANS over phone from Idinthakarai.
Earlier, PMANE had decided to hand over the voter identity cards to the Radhapuram tehsildar. “We spoke to the Radhapuram tehsildar. He expressed his inability to receive the cards in person,” Udayakumar said.
The decision to surrender the voter identity cards was taken by PMANE as the central and the state governments remain silent on the indefinite fast undertaken by round 340 people at Idinthakarai for nine days.
PMANE has agreed to withdraw its current struggle if the central government commits to a timeframe for fulfilling some of their demands, said Udayakumar.
He said PMANE Tuesday launched the `Respect India’ campaign, similar to the `Quit India’ call given during the struggle for Indian independence.
According to Udayakumar, India is facing a situation where its sovereignty, independence, freedom, natural resources, livelihood of the poor, their right to life, and the very future of the country are in imminent peril.
India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here.
Work at the project had come to a standstill last year after villagers in the area, fearing for lives in case of a nuclear accident, mounted an intensive protest.
The Tamil Nadu government had earlier passed a resolution asking the central government to halt work at the plant and to allay the fears of locals.
To resolve the issue, the central and state governments set up two panels.
The central panel submitted its final report Jan 31. The Tamil Nadu government set up another expert committee which too favoured the project.
In March this year, the state government gave its green signal to the project and also announced Rs.500 crore for local area and infrastructure development. Following that, work at KNPP was restarted with police protection.
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