Sunday, October 30, 2011

World population hits 7 billion on Oct. 31, or thereabouts

World Population Hits - 7 billion on Oct. 31, or thereabouts
It took only a dozen years for humanity to add another billion people to the planet, reaching the milestone of 7 billion Monday — give or take a few months.

Demographers at the United Nations Population Division set Oct. 31, 2011, as the "symbolic" date for hitting 7 billion, while acknowledging that it's impossible to know for sure the specific time or day. Using slightly different calculations, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the 7-billion threshold will not be reached until March.

Under any methodology, demographers agree that humanity remains on a steep growth curve, which is likely to keep climbing through the rest of this century.

The U.N.'s best estimate is that population will march past 9.3 billion by 2050 and exceed 10.1 billion by the end of the century. It could be far more, if birthrates do not continue to drop as they have in the last half-century.

Nearly all the projected growth this century is expected to occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while the combined populations in Europe, North America and other wealthy industrialized nations will remain relatively flat. Some countries, such as Germany, Russia and Japan, are poised to edge downward, their loss made up mostly by ongoing growth in the United States, which is bolstered by waves of immigrants.

The buildup to Monday's milestone has briefly turned up the flame on long-simmering debates about growth on a finite planet: Whether a growing population or growing consumption remains the biggest environmental challenge, how best to help lift a billion people out of poverty and misery, whether governments should provide contraception for those who cannot afford it.

The new leader of the United Nations Population Fund, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, a Nigerian obstetrician-gynecologist, stepped gingerly into the fray. His agency remains a favorite punching bag of antiabortion activists in the United States for its role in supporting family planning clinics in developing countries.

"Instead of asking questions like, 'Are we too many?' we should instead be asking, 'What can I do to make our world better?' " wrote Osotimehin in the annual.

State of the World Population report. The report chronicles disparities between rich nations and poor ones. Poor countries continue to have low education levels and startlingly high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal and child deaths due to complications from childbirth.

"In many parts of the developing world, where population growth is outpacing economic growth, the need for reproductive health services, especially family planning, remains great," Osotimehin concluded.

Some have used the occasion to celebrate the unrivaled success of the human species. Population grows when births exceed deaths. The 7-billion mark was reached because people are living longer and the number of infant deaths has dropped, because of a more secure food supply and because of advances in sanitation and medicine.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will hold a news conference Monday to mark the date and talk about challenges ahead, particularly how to reduce poverty, invest in the world's 1.8 billion youth and help countries develop in a sustainable way.

In 1999, his predecessor, Kofi Annan, designated a boy born to refugee parents in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as Baby 6 Billion. He had been plucked from the hundreds of thousands of babies born that day to put a face on global population growth. Adnan Mevic, now 12, has become something of a celebrity.

None of the estimated 382,000 babies born Monday will have such an honor.

There is no word yet on how the United Nations will handle the next milestone, when the globe's population hits 8 billion — about 14 years from now.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saudi King Abdullah Names Interior Minister as Crown Prince

Saudi Arabia King - Abdullah
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah named his interior minister and half brother as crown prince, putting a conservative chief of police next in line to lead the world’s largest oil exporter.
The appointment of Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 78 this year, was announced by state television, citing a royal decree. Saudi princes pledged their allegiance to Nayef, it said.
Head of the Interior Ministry since 1975, Nayef becomes the most powerful prince in the kingdom at a time of turmoil in the Middle East and high unemployment at home. He backed the religious police and clamped down on the Shiite minority, according to Jane Kinninmont at Chatham House in London.
“Nayef has spent his entire career as the country’s police chief and is going to keep a firm lid on dissent,” said British author and historian Robert Lacey. “He will do it his way.”
His predecessor, Prince Sultan, died on Oct. 22. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Riyadh in accordance with the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. U.S.
Vice President Joe Biden led an American delegation to Riyadh yesterday to offer condolences to Abdullah. The delegation met with Nayef and Prince Salman, the governor of the Riyadh province. Read More...                              

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar hits back at Digvijaya, asks him to join Art of Living

NEW DELHI: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh Thursday denounced Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a BJP-RSS agent, prompting the spiritual guru to ask the politician to join his Art of Living course.
Saying he could not respond to everything stated about him, Ravi Shankar suggested in Bangalore that Digvijaya Singh could join Art of Living, a group that offers various courses to achieve better quality life.
"People write a lot of things about everyone, I cannot respond to all of them," Ravi Shankar said.
"I will continue to work against corruption. I am not afraid of anyone," he added.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar hits back at Digvijaya
Ravi Shankar's comments followed Digvijaya Singh's comments earlier Thursday that Ravi Shankar was "Plan C" of the BJP-RSS combine in order to divert public attention from its "terror links".
He identified the other "plans" of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh as yoga guru Baba Ramdev as well as anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.
"I have been saying from day one, that all this is a part of the overall plan BJP-RSS combine," Digvijaya Singh said, referring to the anti-corruption campaigns by the three that have shaken the government and the Congress party.
"They want to divert the attention of people of this country from the issue of involvement of Sangh activists in terror," he said.
"Therefore, there is an overall plan. Plan A Baba Ramdev, Plan B Anna and Plan C Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Maharaj," he added.
In a separate statement, Ravi Shankar said while legislation was needed to combat corruption, "a law alone cannot bring down corruption. A moral and spiritual wave has to be created".
He said he has been speaking against corruption and would continue to do so. "Even yesterday (Wednesday), (I) administered oath to one lakh people to not give or take bribe," the Ari of Living founder added.
Digvijaya Singh said that while the Congress had taken steps to control corruption, the BJP had not done much.
"UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has taken all possible steps," he said, referring to the Right to Information Act and the jailing of allegedly corrupt politicians, officials and company executives.
"Why did BJP not register a case against Bangaru Laxman when he was caught taking money on tape? Why a case was not registered against Jaya Jaitley when she was caught on tape striking a deal with an arms dealer in defence minister's house?" he asked.
The BJP hit back...
"Digvijaya Singh may make any plan he likes, he will only destroy the reputation of Congress in the country," BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad said.
"The country is angry over black money and corruption. Whoever speaks against it, whether Baba Ramdev or Annaji or civil society, he (Digvijaya) goes ... against all of them and says all kinds of things," he said.                                   

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kalam May Play Kudankulam Pacifier

Former president A P J Abdul Kalam
Former president A P J Abdul Kalam could play a role in resolving the standoff over the Kudankulam nuclear plant with the respected scientist's goodwill and credibility expected to bridge the trust deficit between the government and agitating fisherfolk.

The former president, a strong advocate of nuclear energy, might be well placed to ease tensions over the Russian-built Kudankulam plant as he is familiar with the fishing communities in the area where the reactors are located. His family is understood to have had business links with the fishermen.

Kalam has already said that he plans a survey of coastal nuclear installations and his intervention with the Christian fishing community that has opposed the plant could narrow differences and indentify areas of concern and solutions.

Although he has spoken in favour of the Kudankulam plant, which is now near completion, Kalam's interaction with local agitators can bring in a linguistic and regional connect that a team of technologists and scientists may not be able to establish. The church has backed the stir saying the area is vulnerable to quakes.

But apart from the environmental arguments, there is uncertainty about the social and economic changes the 10,000MW nuclear power plant may engender in the area. While the government says it means more jobs for locals, there is worry over whether traditional social patterns will be disrupted.

Kalam's personal credibility could bring the two sides together and help develop guarantees or assurances that the fishermen and their families find convincing. Safety and security of livelihood and worries over whether the plant could go the Fukushima way in the event of a natural calamity are troubling the community.

On its part, the government seems determined to negotiate its way out of the deadlock and is looking to engage a church convention in Trichy this week. The Centre is pulling out all stops to ensure the deadlock ends peacefully. It is even exploring if a team of scientists could interact with church leaders to explain that the power plant will be a benign presence in the Tirunelveli area.

After an apparent miscommunication between the Centre and state government over a letter written by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the state is being kept in the loop at every step. Senior figures from the Department of Atomic Energy might meet Jayalalithaa soon to brief her on efforts to soothe local sentiments and the plant's safety features.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Barack Obama: All US Troops To Leave Iraq in 2011

Associated Press President Barack Obama While Press Release

President Obama: "In the next two months our troops will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home"
All US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year, President Barack Obama has announced.
He ordered a complete withdrawal from the country, nearly nine years after the invasion under President George W Bush.
About 39,000 US troops remain in Iraq, down from a peak of 165,000 in 2008.
The US and Iraq were in "full agreement" on how to move forward, Mr Obama said, adding: "The US leaves Iraq with our heads held high."
Mr Obama spoke at the White House following a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
The US declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq in 2010. The deadline for complete troop withdrawal by end of 2011 was set during former President George W Bush's term in office.
However, the issue of a full pullout had been the subject of an ongoing debate.
Iraqi leaders had wanted 5,000 US troops to remain in a training capacity. But those trainers would not have received immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.
The Pentagon refused to accept that condition, with Defence Secretary Leon Panetta insisting that "we protect and provide the appropriate immunity for our soldiers".
The decision to pull out all US troops suggests no deal could be reached, despite Iraq's desire for continued access to US military expertise, correspondents say.
Earlier this month, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said: "If we do not have agreement on the immunity, there will be no agreement on the number."
Mr Obama said the withdrawal comes amid changes in American military priorities, including a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, and new political realities in the Middle East and Africa.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

India Seal Series Glory

Ravindra Jadeja (L) And Mahendra Singh Dhoni Celebrate The Winning Runs

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed two fours in the final over as India beat England by five wickets to take a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match one-day series.

Young batsman Ajinkya Rahane top-scored with 91 and Gautam Gambhir hit 58 as the world champions surpassed England's challenging 4-298 with four balls to spare in a thrilling day-night match.

India were struggling at 5-235 in the 42nd over before Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja steered the hosts home with an unbeaten 65-run stand for the sixth wicket.

With 17 needed off the last two overs, the pair took 10 runs in the 49th bowled by Jade Dernbach, before Dhoni smashed the first two balls of the final over from Tim Bresnan for boundaries to clinch victory.

Dhoni returned unbeaten on 35 and Jadeja was on 26 as the new-look Indians, without seven players who won the World Cup final against Sri Lanka in April, took the series

When India batted, Rahane put on 79 for the first wicket with Parthiv Patel and 111 for the second with Gambhir to lift India to a comfortable 1-190 by the 34th over.

England hit back with four wickets for 45 runs as fast bowler Steven Finn removed Gambhir and Rahane, Bresnan dismissed Suresh Raina for zero and Graeme Swann trapped Virat Kohli lbw for 35.

But Dhoni and Jadeja turned the game around with a match-winning stand in front of 25,000 excited home fans.

"We back ourselves to chase whatever the opposition scored and we have been doing that for the past few years," said the India captain.

"The top order did the job for us. The dew was a factor because the ball started to come nicely on to the bat in the evening. The way Rahane batted with Gambhir was crucial.

The fourth one-dayer will be played in Mumbai on Sunday before the final game in Kolkata on October 25.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yahoo Still Mulling Strategic Options, Report Says

Yahoo Corporate Building
Yahoo's board of directors is considering a number of strategic options beyond selling the company, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang said today at a conference in Hong Kong.

"The intent going in is not to put ourselves for sale," Yang said at the AsiaD conference, according to an AllThingsD report. "The intent is to look at all the options."

Yang noted that while selling the company intact is an option, Yahoo is made up of three units (its core search and content business, as well as stakes in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba). "They are looking at a core asset that they don't know how to value," he said, referring to Yahoo's Asia assets.

"So far we have not ruled out any possibilities," he said. Interestingly, selling off Yahoo's international assets would be a key part of private equity deal Yang is reportedly considering that would take the company private.

Despite its tepid stock price, high employee attrition rate, and sputtering product development efforts, Yahoo has been attracting a lot of attention from possible suitors. Including Yang, those said to be interested in taking over Yahoo include venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, fellow dot-com wunderkind AOL, and even Microsoft, which pursued Yahoo vigorously a few years back, to no avail.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

After Kejriwal Attack, Anna Says His Team Ready To Face Bullets

Anti-Corruption Activist Anna Hazare Says His Team Is Ready To Face Even Bullets

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal was attacked in a public meeting in Jhulelal park in Lucknow on Tuesday evening. A person attempted to assault Kejriwal by hurling a shoe at him.

The attacker has been identified as one Jitendra Pathak of Jalaun. He was caught by the volunteers present and handed over to the police.

While being led away the man said that Kejriwal was misleading the public on the issue of corruption and that he had no personal grudge with Kejriwal. He also claimed that he didn't belong to any political party.

Team Anna core committee member Sanjay Singh later told reporters that Kejriwal has pardoned the attacker and asked the police not to register a case against him.

This is the second attack on a Team Anna member after Prashant Bhushan was attacked in his Supreme Court lawyer's chamber on October 12 for his remarks favouring plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.

Reacting to the attack on his close aide, Anna Hazare said that he is not deterred, and his team is ready to face bullets to eradicate corruption. He added that he is planning a trip to Lucknow to make people aware of corruption.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Polling For First Phase Of Tamil Nadu Civic Polls Begin

Polling for the first phase of the civic polls in Tamil Nadu began across the state this morning on a peaceful note.

No untoward incident was reported as polling began at ten corporations including Chennai besides many other local bodies at 7 AM.

Arch-rivals AIADMK and DMK are locked in a battle in the polls while actor-politician Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and Left parties, AIADMK's allies in the April 13 assembly polls, have joined hands.

A total of around 80,000 police personnel have been posted for security with more than 10,000 engaged in Chennai.

In Chennai, DMK candidate and Mayor M Subramanian and AIADMK's S Duraisamy, who lost toDMK's MK Stalin in the April 13 Assembly elections, among others, are the important candidates.

Congress, DMK's ally, and PMK, another partner, will be going it alone in the elections for over 1.30 lakh civic posts in which more than four lakh candidates are in the fray.

The second and final phase is scheduled on October 19. In the 2006 local body polls marred by allegations of violence and irregularities, DMK managed to win Chennai corporation among others. But the ruling AIADMK is keen to wrest control, seeking to repeat its assembly polls performance. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Militants Assault US Base In Eastern Afghanistan

US Base In Eastern Afghanistan
Militants assaulted the gate of an American base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, striking before dawn with rocket-propelled grenades and a vehicle packed with explosives.

The attackers failed to breach the gate of the base in Panjshir province's Rakha district, though they did hit a security tower with a rocket-propelled grenade, said provincial Police Chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

Three of the men attacked on foot, shooting, while a fourth detonated the explosives-laden vehicle outside the gate, Jangalbagh said. All four of the attackers were killed and two security guards were wounded, he said. He did not provide nationalities for the security guards.

The spokesmen did not have any immediate details on the attack.

Jangalbagh said there was some damage to the base, but it was unclear how much. The base houses a provincial reconstruction team — a mix of military and international civilians who work to improve provincial governance, services and infrastructure.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Researchers Trace The Roots Of Europe's Black Death Plague

Black Death Plague
The Black Death of the medieval era, far from being just a more dangerous form of an already-occurring disease, was a newly evolved variant of a harmless bacteria that quickly began its death march across the globe.

That's the finding of researchers who have sequenced the genome, or genetic blueprint, of plague bacteria and found that the strain arose no more than 140 years before the bubonic plague's start in 1347. The plague killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe in five years. Even more surprising, that era's plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, don't appear to be that much more virulent than the plague of today.

Europe was in the midst of a cooling trend called the Little Ice Age, which lowered temperatures, reduced harvests and increased rains. People were ill-nourished and weak while rats flourished.

Researchers were able to extract DNA from the teeth of four skeletons excavated at a cemetery in London where more than 2,500 people were buried during the plague years. They were able to reconstruct about 99% of the plague's genome.

Plague evolved from a soil-dwelling bacteria that acquired extra genetic material, which bacteria sometimes do, and became a killing machine.

It originated in Mongolia, infecting fleas that lived on rats and quickly came into contact with a nomadic population called the Golden Horde, which was sweeping along the Silk Road trading route. They brought plague with them to Europe, where it rapidly spread, says Johannes Krause, one of the paper's authors and a paleo-archaeologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

The lessons for today are two-fold, he says. New diseases tend to cross over when humans move into new areas and come into contact with animals and pathogens with which they previously didn't interact. And climate change is likely to cause movement of both people and animals.

The good news is that "we have very good medical facilities and lots of researchers that can deal with this much better than they could in 1348," Poinar says. Although plague still kills an estimated 3,000 people a year mostly in the developing world, it is easily treated with antibiotics, Poinar says.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Launches iCloud Service

Apple Launches iCloud

Apple Inc's iCloud service, part of its first product release since the October 5 death of Steve Jobs, may cement the loyalty of millions of consumers lured by Jobs's pioneering mobile devices over the past decade.

The service will automatically store photos, songs and other files on servers at Apple's data centers and sync them with all of a customer's gadgets. A photo taken with an iPhone would appear within seconds on a user's iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV set-top box and any personal computer running iTunes.

The move steps up competition with Google Inc's Android and other mobile-device rivals by making it harder to switch away from Apple products, said Bill Whyman, a technology analyst with International Strategy & Investment Group. If iCloud works as advertised -- something Apple's previous online products haven't always achieved -- the convenience of no longer needing to upload, download or sync files may lead many customers to buy exclusively from Apple, he said.

"iCloud could raise the switching costs for the customer, and the barriers to entry for the competitor," Whyman said. "That's very powerful."

Walter Price, a portfolio manager at RCM Capital Management, has estimated that iCloud could increase Apple's market value by $100 billion to $500 billion, due to the service's effect on hardware sales and purchases of songs, movies and other media. The Cupertino, California-based company is already the world's most valuable business, with a capitalization of $371.1 billion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Aazaan' To Take A Different Route On Terrorism

When producer/actor Sachiin Joshi and director Prashant Chadha decided to make 'Aazaan', a film which explores global terrorism with biological warfare in the middle of it all, they were sure that the film would play it's game differently. This means that unlike quite a few other films belonging to similar genre, 'Aazaan' was sure about not getting into any conversations around 'jihaadis' or give out a cry of 'Allah Hu Akbar'.

"Pick any movie that targets terrorists and you see people raising their guns, firing shots and ending the scene with a cry of 'Allah Hu Akbar'. Such scenes have been repeated in so many films that it has almost become a clich. The very relevance of a holy phrase like 'Allah Hu Akbar' tends to get lost when such scenes are repeated time and again. Sachiin as well as his director Prashant Chadha were sure that they didn't want to trivialise the matter. Yes, they make a statement against terrorism but without getting into a jingoistic mode", says a source close to the makers.

"The film addresses the issue that when a terrorist turns out to be a Muslim, what's the reason behind that. We have explored the kind of circumstances he is put in due to which he becomes a terrorist", says Sachiin, "No, there are no talks of 'jihaad' in 'Aazaan' though we are talking about terrorism."

'Aazaan' releases this Friday all over.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sensex Gains 170 Pts On Funds Buying Amid Firm Global Cues

The BSE benchmark Sensex rose by over 170 points in opening trade on Tuesday on sustained buying by funds and retail investors, tracking firm global cues.

The 30-share BSE index, which has gained 764.82 points over the past two trading sessions, rose by another 170.39 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 16,727.62 points in the first five minutes of trade on Tuesday, backed by consumer durables, banking, metal and realty stocks.

Likewise, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty index moved up by 51.35 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 5,030.95.

Brokers said a firming trend overseas and speculative buying ahead of the quarterly earnings season mainly buoyed the trading sentiment in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up by 2.96 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei Index rose by 1.98 per cent in morning trade. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Index closed 2.97 per cent higher on Monday.

More than 30 killed in Syria violence

Evacuate Britons From Syria After An Escalation In The Violence There
At least 14 civilians and 17 security personnel were killed in clashes across Syria, with the flashpoint city of Homs turning into a battle zone, activists said on Monday.

Seven of 14 civilians killed on Sunday were gunned down by security forces in the city of central Syria, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that seven others were killed in other towns.

Seventeen security personnel died the same day in clashes with mutinous troops refusing orders to shoot on anti-regime protesters, the watchdog said.

"It was like a war scene in Homs where blasts and sound bombs were heard all over town, with heavy machineguns also being fired," said the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which organises protests on the ground.

"A lot of homes were destroyed. Nine people were killed and dozens wounded. Security agents and pro-regime militias prevented ambulances from evacuating the wounded," the LCC said.

It said the regime "attacked the Homs region in yet another desperate effort to make its free residents bow and to snuff out the revolution."

I am very lucky to have a bowler like Malinga: Harbhajan

Harbhajan SIngh & Malinga Enjoyed their victory during the match session
The total they put on board didn't seem like a winning one but Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh said gamechanger Lasith Malinga proved to be the key as his depleted team lifted the Champions League Twenty20 trophy by beating the more fancied Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Electing to bat first, Mumbai made just 139 in their 20 overs and it looked the match was out of their hands against an aggressive RCB line-up. But Malinga (2-23) and Harbhajan himself (3-20) shone with the ball to eke out a 31-run triumph for Mumbai.

"Obviously, I was a little disappointed with the way we lost momentum in the middle overs, I still feel we could've got 160 on this wicket. We were 20 runs short. The wicket played like yesterday and we played a few bad shots and a couple of run outs didn't help and we put ourselves in a very difficult situation," Harbhajan told reporters in the post-match press conference.

Harbhajan and Malinga"When we got inside the dressing room in the middle of the innings, our coaches Polly (Shaun Pollock) and Robin (Singh) spoke to the boys and they said we should go out there and fight till the last ball. 'I don't want any of you to feel the game is over, because 140 could be the winning total'," he said.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Engagement with Pakistan will continue: US

The US is, however, concerned about the negative public opinion about America in Pakistan - Victoria Nuland
Washington: A State Department official on Friday said that the US would continue to work to improve its relationship with Pakistan.
"As we've said many times over the last couple of days and weeks, we are engaged intensively with Pakistan at all levels. That engagement will continue," the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.
The Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, will be there in Islamabad for talks with the top Pakistani leadership over the weekend.
"We look forward to continuing to try to work together on these absolutely essential issues both for their security, for our security and for the region," she said.
However, she added that the US was concerned about the negative public opinion about America in Pakistan.
"This has been one of the key focuses of our embassy in Islamabad to try to give an accurate picture to a broad cross-section of Pakistanis about all that we have tried to do as a nation to support Pakistan's own democratic reform efforts, education in Pakistan, quality of life, micro lending, economic projects," she said.
"It's sometimes hard to permeate, given the intense emotions about other aspects of the relationship," Nuland said.
"But as you know our civilian assistance to Pakistan, which has not been touched, is all focused on trying to strengthen Pakistan's own efforts to grow the economy, improve and modernize education, to help more people out of poverty, et cetera. And we will continue to make those efforts to support Pakistan," she said.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

After Goa's illegal iron ore mining, is gold mining next?

Goa's illegal iron ore mining may have made headlines in recent times
PANAJI: Goa's illegal iron ore mining may have made headlines in recent times, but several prospectors, including Vedanta Resources owned Sesa Goa, over the last two decades, have made a beeline to the state looking for gold.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who is also Goa's mines minister, Wednesday told the state legislative assembly in a written reply that his department had received 19 applications for prospecting precious materials like gold and platinum in areas spread through Goa.

While 11 applications for prospecting gold, platinum and other precious metals from 1994 to 2011 have been withdrawn by the applicants, the state ministry of mines has kept seven cases in abeyance and has granted a personal hearing in one case.

The companies which had applied for prospecting licences for gold, silver and other precious metals are Geomysore Services (India) Pvt Ltd, Goan Mineral Resources Pvt Ltd, Sarmeta Exploration of Pvt Ltd, Sesa Goa and Adi Gold Mining.

Former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) national secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu, recently arrested for illegal mining, had also applied for a gold prospecting licence some years ago.

Opposition as well as ruling legislators have alleged a mega illegal mining scam in Goa, allegedly with the involvement of a politician-bureaucrat and unlawful mining lobby nexus.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tesla Motors Model S electric vehicle "will be faster than a Porsche 911"

.— Five years after shocking the automotive world by unveiling what was basically a battery-powered Lotus Elise, Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla Motors, debuted his electric car company's first all-original car, the Model S, and announced that it "will build a high-performance version of the Model S that will go zero to 60 (mph) in 4.5 seconds. That's faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera."

Click the below image to read the full story...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

U.S. defense secretary: Israel must improve its relations in the Middle East

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is on a trip that will take him to Israel, Egypt and Belgium
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned that Israel must improve its relations with neighboring countries, saying the country is becoming increasingly isolated in the region.

Panetta made the comments ahead of his scheduled arrival Monday in Israel, where he was to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an effort to jump start peace talks.

"I don't think there is any question in talking with leaders from Israel that they recognize that they've becoming increasingly isolated in that part of the world, and that's not ... a good situation," Panetta told reporters while en route late Sunday to Israel.

"I think they recognize that it's important to do whatever they can to try to improve those relations."

Tensions in the region have been running high in recent weeks over the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood before the United Nations, and Israel's plans to build 1,100 new homes in disputed territory in south Jerusalem.

"The important thing there is to again reaffirm our strong security relationship with Israel, to make clear that we will protect their qualitative military edge," Panetta said.

"As they take risks for peace, we will be able to provide the security that they will need in order to ensure that they can have the room hopefully to negotiate." Read More...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sanjeev Bhatt's life is in danger, says top cop's wife

My husband's life is in danger, says Sanjeev Bhatt's wife
Whistleblower IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta has written to the Gujarat DGP Chittaranjan Singh and Ahmedabad police commissioner Sudhir Sinha, expressing fear for his life and alleging that his arrest was politically motivated.
She stressed that they was not hopeful of getting.
"A case was lodged against Sanjiv in Ghatlodia Police Station and he was handed over to crime branch, who are encounter specialists. I can't trust them at all, I fear for his life," she said.
"Since yesterday, I am not allowed to meet Sanjiv. The police officials are not even allowing the lawyer to meet him. Then how can we file his bail application," his wife Shweta Bhatt said.
The Ahmedabad police commissioner had asked the city crime branch to investigate the case in which suspended whistleblower IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested on Friday. Bhatt was taken to the crime branch office in the city on Saturday morning for interrogation, while he will be produced before a local magistrate seeking his police remand.
The police did not allow Bhatt's wife, Shweta, his lawyers, social activist Mallika Sarabhai and former DGP RB Sreekumar to meet the arrested cop at police custody.
On Friday night, after Bhatt's arrest, two teams of police carried out search operation at Bhatt's residence and also at the residence of his mother.
"My house was raided by over 35-40 policemen yesterday for more than two hours without any intimation. They took away Sanjiv and since then there is no communication with him," Shweta said.
Bhatt was arrested in connection with an FIR filed against him by police constable KD Pant for threatening him and making him sign a false affidavit with regard to a meeting called by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on February 27, 2002.
Earlier in April this year, he had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging complicity chief minister Narendra Modi during the 2002-post Godhra riots.
Four days back, he had filed another affidavit in the Gujarat high court stating that he had got "documentary evidence implicating some politicians and police officials in the murder of former minister Haren Pandya."