- World’s No. 1 archer Deepika under pressure for Olympic Medal
- India to construct 43,000 houses in Sri Lanka
- Amarnath Yatra claims 74 lives in 19 days
- Falling rupee making India more attractive to tourists
- World Chess Olympiad for Blinds to be held in Chennai this year
- Kalam requests World to opine against Nuclear Proliferation
- Who would be the NDA Candidate for Vice Presidential Elections ?
- Archana Vijaya eliminated from Jhalak Dikhla Ja 5
- Army Jawans molest a Tribal Girl in Sibasagar district of Assam
- Hamid Ansari to continue as next Vice President
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 06:30 PM PDT
Though highly hopeful of winning an Olympic medal, world number one archer Deepika Kumari Saturday said being at the top of the rankings does not guarantee a podium finish at the London Games.
“Being the world number one is an added pressure and it does not guarantee a medal unless I and all the team members perform well. However, our preparation has been good and we hope to make the country proud,” said Deepika on the eve of the team’s departure for the London Olympics.
The women’s team of Deepika, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro and the men’s team comprising Rahul Banerjee, Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai leave for the London games Sunday.
Deepika exuded confidence of winning medals both in the individual and team event.
“Why expect a medal only from me. Our team is good enough to get medals. We have been practicing real hard and are quite satisfied with our preparations,” added Deepika.
Chekrovolu said that the camaraderie and teamwork between the three girls is the strength of the team.
“We understand each other well and help each other on the field. We do not hesitate to point out each other’s mistakes. The chemistry and understanding between the three is our strength,” said the 29-year-old from Nagaland.
With Bombayla Devi being the only one with Olympic experience, the team will bank on her.
“Though I was nervous in my first Olympic (Beijing 2008), this time I am confident. We are well prepared and confident both individually and as a team,” the 27-year-old from Manipur said.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 05:30 PM PDT
India will build 43,000 houses for Sri Lanka’s war displaced communities in the north and east, the Indian High Commission here said Saturday.
This is part of the overall commitment by India to build 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka for those hit by the war that ended in 2009, Xinhua reported.
According to the Indian mission, the beneficiaries will be selected through a transparent process.
The project will be implemented immediately, it added.
A pilot phase to build 1,000 houses in five districts of the Northern Province was launched in November 2010. Of this 950 houses are ready.
The project has a total outlay of approximately $270 million.
Thousands of Tamils were displaced during the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka which ended with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 04:30 PM PDT
Seventy-four Amarnath pilgrims have died in the first 19 days of the pilgrimage. This was acknowledged officially Saturday by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the “yatra” to the 13,500-foot altitude cave shrine devoted to Lord Shiva in the south Kashmir’s Pir Panjal range.
“Between June 25-July 13, a total of 74 lives have been lost, of which six were due to accidents, including the case of drowning of a non-Yatri, and 68 due to different medical reasons. It was noted that two Yatris had died in hotels, 12 in hospitals and two on the way to hospitals outside the Yatra area. As reported by the health department, as many as 1,85,259 pilgrims received treatment at various Medical Aid Centres and hospitals,” said Navin K. Choudhary, chief executive officer of the SASB.
Of the 74 who lost their lives, 53 were in the 20-60 years age group, 16 in the 61-70 years group, three were above 70 years, and in two cases ages could not be ascertained.
A release issued by the spokesperson of the shrine board, which is headed by Governor N.N. Vohra, said that these facts came to light during a review meeting of the board. It was also acknowledged that some of the pilgrims were carrying “fake health certificates”, thus dodging the authorities at the entry gates.
Choudhary said that the pilgrims died as they did not adhere to the advisory of the shrine board.
The board CEO also disclosed that till date more than 4.50 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at Amarnath.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 04:02 PM PDT
The falling rupee may have hit the budget of Indian tourists. But on the flip side, leisure travellers from abroad are evincing more interest in India as hotel stay has become cheaper, say tourism industry officials.
India has suddenly become a widely searched topic on the web for its tourist destinations, with most mid-level travellers, who would earlier come in the discounted off-season, now enquiring about expensive hotels.
In comparison, the fall in the rupee has forced outbound Indian tourist to search vigorously on the web for even smallest discounts in order to stay within the budget.
“Because of the falling rupee — the interest in Indian destinations has risen. We have seen more searches done for India from Southeast Asian countries and London,” Jackson Fernandez, travel search engine Wego’s general manager for India, told IANS.
In comparison, the outbound Indian traveller has begun to search more for cheaper flights and different categories of hotels.
Indian tourists are now “tending to move to different spectrum of rates”.
“Instead of higher value stay, they are making adjustments. Where earlier they would choose to stay at the centre of the city, which would be expensive, they are moving to other places for a better price,” said Fernandez.
Sanjay Bhasin, managing director of Goibibo, says with the falling rupee, “India has suddenly become more attractive”.
Bhasin said the tourism market had been hit by a 25 percent hike in air fares as well hotel rates compared to last year.
However, the inbound mid-level traveller is now checking rates and trying for early booking for the peak season of October-February.
The rupee fall has led to a drop in outbound tourist traffic by close to 12 percent, said Bhasin.
“But incoming growth has started. Queries to Goibibo have gone up by 50 percent for religious tourism and for the main season period,” he said.
Queries have come for Bihar’s Bodh Gaya sector from Japan and southeast Asia, he said.
On how the rupee’s fall has affected travel plans of Indians, Bhasin said: “People who would go to the United States and Europe are travelling to Dubai, Gulf and southeast Asia, while those who would be going there are moving instead to Kathmandu and Colombo. And the traveller who would earlier have headed to these neighbourhood places is now going to the domestic tourist market.”
Raja Natesan, chief operating officer, TUI India, too said that the rupee’s fall has hit the travel industry, especially outbound leisure travel.
“Usually by early April, there would be a surge in leisure bookings all over India. This year, this surge started almost at the end of April. Agents all over India reported a loss in demand and business was sluggish. Some established agents reported a loss in enquiries of 30 percent compared to last year,” Natesan told IANS on mail.
“However, domestic business has benefitted somewhat as a result. We are seeing a surge in domestic bookings,” Natesan said.
He said that with the air ticket getting more expensive, it has hit the tourist hard.
“There has been a combined hit to the pocket of anywhere between 18-40 percent when compared to last year,” according to Natesan.
“This is not good news for the travel industry and it may well result in tour operators discounting heavily to attract the customer back, but that simply means the already thin profit margins will get further eroded,” he said.
According to Fernandez, with Diwali being the next travel season, outbound Indian travellers have already started searching for early bird offers.
“People know that if you book in advance, you get better rates. Typically, where the economy is falling, outbound travel is expensive and people try to accommodate more economically,” he added.
Fernandez said a study by wego.co.in has shown that “Indians are still travelling, but adjusting their options within the same category of accommodation and examining airlines for the smallest variances in fare rather than cancelling plans”.
He said Wego is “like the Google for travel” and provides a platform where people can find the best travel rates for hotels and travel. “We can give indications,” he added.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 02:30 PM PDT
The 14th IBCA Chess Olympiad for the Blind will be held here Aug 9-19. It will be the first time Asia will host the event.
After the successful conduct of the 11th Individual World Chess Championship for the Blind 2006 in Goa, the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) Congress awarded this event to India unanimously.
The last edition at Heraklion in Greece saw a total of 164 players from 34 countries take part.
The traditional powerhouse of chess, Russia, took the gold with Ukraine and Spain clinching the silver and bronze medals.
World champion Viswanathan Anand has been a morale booster to the Indian blind team. Anand’s positive initiative helped the Indian team to take part in the IBCA Chess Olympiad in Greece.
Charudatta Jadhav, general secretary of AICFB, said Friday: “Anand’s support gives me huge motivation and inner strength to initiate ambitious programmes to take chess for the blind at next level in spite of several adversities.”
Impressed by the blind team’s work, Anand said: “I have interacted with many visually challenged players and I can say honestly that these players have a special talent.
“I am really happy to see them so motivated. What has struck me is their love for chess. I have found that they are preparing intensely for the championship and are not shying away from hard work.
“I think they are quite motivated and feel deep down that they will be successful.”
Anand thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalaithaa for extending support to the team.
“The blind chess player from Chennai, Srikrishna, could take part in the world blind event in Greece, thanks to the timely support of the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.”
Thirtyone countries have confirmed their participation, including 25 International Masters, five International Woman Masters and 120 FIDE rated players.
The championship will be a team event, comprising nine rounds and a match between two teams will be played on four boards. Each team will field a maximum of five players, the fifth player being the reserve.
In addition to the gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three ranked teams, similar medals are at stake for the best three individuals on each of the five boards.
International Arbiter R. Anantharam, the only A grade International Arbiter in India, is the chief arbiter of the tournament.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 01:30 PM PDT
Ex-President of India and a great Scientist Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam has called for a Worldwide opinion against Nuclear Weapons. Nicknamed as Missile Man, perhaps he is the only Missile Man in world who has voted against Nuclear Proliferation.
“Nuclear energy is a clean source of energy but world opinion should be formed against nuclear weapons,” he said at an interface with students of Shimla’s schools and colleges.
Kalam said there were more than 10,000 nuclear weapons in the world. “Russia and America have signed nuclear arms reduction treaty. Attempts should be made not only to put curbs on addition of new weapons but also on their use. We are also a nuclear state. There is a need for universal pressure to free the world from nuclear weapons.”
Kalam’s comments came as school children asked him, “With technological advancement, how can we check the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction.”
“This is really a difficult question,” Kalam, who was the principal scientific advisor to the government before serving as the president from 2002 to 2007, remarked on being asked by another student about his experience with the political parties (during his presidentship).
“In politics, there are some good people. But the focus now shifted from development to politics. Normally, the development polity should be 70 percent and the politics of parties to get elected should be 30 percent. But now, the phenomenon has reversed. Development polity has reduced to 30 percent and the focus of political parties (to get elected) is 70 percent.”
The missile man, who was the key player in India’s 1998 nuclear test, asked students to read ‘Biology of Beliefs’ by Bruce Lipton to develop scientific temper.
“One should have four qualities — great aim, upgradation of knowledge, hard work and perseverance,” he told a class 4 student on being asked, “How one can become a president?”
He advised students to follow the footsteps of great personalities and get inspirations from them.
“When I was a 10-year-old boy studying in Class 5 in a small school, my teacher taught me about the bird’s flight by drawing pictures on the blackboard. This developed my inclination towards science. I chose physics as one of my subjects. Thereafter, I learnt aeronautics and rocket engineering.”
He said he had met 12 million youths in a decade and he could say there “is a marked change in their thinking process”.
He told the students that India was going through difficult times. Despite corruption and scams, with the inner strength of the country and its strong economic base, India has the potential to become the leader of the world. “The 60 crore youth below the age of 25 give a lot of hope.”
The former president was in town to deliver the keynote address at a public colloquium on fundamental duty.
His address to the select gathering of students, judiciary and government functionaries at the historic Gaiety Theatre was interactive.
Before taking questions from the children, Kalam asked the children to recite poem “I Will Fly” with him.
“I am born with potential. I am born with goodness and trust. I am born with ideas and dreams. I am born with greatness. I am born with confidence. I am born with wings. So, I am not meant for crawling, I have wings, I will fly I will fly and fly.”
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 12:30 PM PDT
After UPA has declared its Presidential candidate, nobody knows what is going on in the opposition camp of NDA which is always surrounded by internal disputes.
BJP has cleared that it won’t support any external Candidate but field its own candidate, unlike Presidential Polls where it is supporting P Sangma.
But the roads are not very easy for NDA especially when its allies are being attracted by Congress in return for Governmental favours. JDU President Sharad Pawar had indicated earlier that they would be supporting NDA Candidate, but Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has hinted a possible support to UPA Candidate Hamid Ansari.
With key UPA Ally Trinamool keeping its stance open for Vice President Polls, a third front is likely to be built during the entire election process.
BJP is likely to decide its candidate among, Najma Heptulla, Jaswant Singh and Murli Manohar Joshi, while, Trinamool is pressing for Gopal Krishna Gandhi, who happens to be the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi or Krishna Bose, the niece of Great Freedom Fighter Subhas Chandra Bose. A BJP Leader said that both were “good and ideal candidates”, but refused to divulge if the party may back either.”If some good candidate is suggested by other allies or even other non-Congress parties, we may consider it,” the leader said.
Sources from the party, however, add that any final decision will be taken after fathoming the wish and support of allies as well as other non-Congress parties.
“BJP cannot jump head right without calculating the kind of support we will have. All options have been kept open, but there is a strong feeling that a BJP member must be fielded for the contest,” a leader said on condition of anonymity.
The JD-U and another NDA ally, Shiv Sena, broke ranks with the BJP to support UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee for the July 19 presidential poll.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 12:03 PM PDT
Archana Vijaya, the Channel V anchor and a model has been eliminated from Dance Reality Show Jhalak Dikhla Ja 5 which was aired today night.
She was paired with choreographer Sanam Johar for the show, aired on Colors.
Archana was an average performer, but tried hard to get her moves right.
She impressed judges Madhuri Dixit, Karan Johar, and Remo D’Souza with her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. She is the third contestant to be eliminated out of the show after ghazal singer Talat Aziz and Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya.
Archana won the first season of Channel V’s “Get Gorgeous” in 2004. That set the ball rolling for her innings as a presenter on the small screen. She became a video jockey, and even went on to host a number of events, product launches, corporate award shows and cricketing events through the years.
Her last stint as an anchor was for “Extraa Innings” during the fifth season of Indian Premier League (IPL).
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 10:34 AM PDT
It seems that Assam has become the hub of Women Molestation. While whole nation is panicking over the molestation of School Girl in Guwahati Monday Night, a new such incident has come up in Sibsagar district of Assam, this time by Army Jawans, which is likely further fuel the anger.
According to Sibsagar SP, S K Dutta, a Patrolling Team of Army leaded by a Lance Naik spotted a Teenaged Girl in Forest collecting Firewood.
When Naik and his team allegedly tried to molest her in the forest, the girl created a furore which was heard by the nearby local villagers who rushed to the spot and managed to free the girl from the armymen clutches, Dutta said.The Army personnel posted in the Nitaipukhuri camp managed to flee from the spot.The area is flood prone and militant-infested for which the camp of the Army was set up.
Army sources, when contacted, said that there was no information on the matter with them.
Posted: 14 Jul 2012 10:19 AM PDT
Ruling UPA has decided to contest again the present Vice President Dr. Hamid Ansari as the next Vice-President. With a majority in Electoral College, it can be easily speculated that he would continue as the Vice President for Second Term.
However, Trinamool, a key ally to UPA has not yet decided its instance. It is likely that it would support some other Candidate for the post. Trinamool has suggested the names of former West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose’s niece and former Lok Sabha member Krishna Bose.
The Elections for Vice President would take place on August 7. Election Commission has already issued the notification for this. A Key NDA member JD-U had already extended its support to Hamid Ansari earlier
Congress president Sonia Gandhi made the announcement of Ansari’s candidature for another term as vice president at a meeting of UPA parties’ leaders at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence here.
“He has presided over Rajya Sabha with dignity and distinction. UPA is honoured to nominate him for a second term as vice president of India,” she said.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram later described Ansari’s choice as “unanimous” though Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy said the party had suggested names of former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former MP Krishna Bose.
Shortly after the decision was made, Manmohan Singh and Gandhi spoke to Ansari to congratulate him.
Chidambaram said the prime minister had spoken to Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani before the UPA meeting to seek support for Ansari. He said the prime minister had also spoken to Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, and that the two leaders had “welcomed the decision”.
Manmohan Singh also spoke to Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat.
Chidambaram said the decision to nominate Ansari was “accepted by all leaders present” and all parties, including the Trinamool Congress, applauded the announcement.
However, he added that he was not saying anything on behalf of the Trinamool Congress. The party, led by Mamata Banerjee, has also differed with the Congress on its choice of Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate.
The home minister said some names were suggested during discussion but decision on Ansari was unanimous.
“Of course, (there was) unanimous decision at the meeting,” he said.
Chidambaram said Ansari had accepted the nomination and hoped all parties would welcome the decision and extend support to him.
Trinamool leader and Railway Minister Mukul Roy, who represented his party at the meeting, said his party had suggested names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Bose, the niece of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.
“We spoke our names. They conveyed their names… I will go back to the party. The party will decide,” he said.
Roy said some other names were also suggested at the UPA meeting but did not elaborate.
Ansari was in contention as the UPA’s presidential candidate along with Mukherjee. Banerjee did not concur with either of the choices and had suggested three names, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chaterjee for the highest constitutional post of the country.
However, her suggestions were not accepted by the Congress.
Ansari was elected vice president in 2007 and his term will come to an end Aug 10.
Election for the vice president’s post is scheduled Aug 7. Last date for filing nominations is July 20.
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