Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chinese community in Kolkata

The Chinese of Kolkata in West Bengal, India are a community of immigrants and their descendants that emigrated from China starting in the late 18th century to work at the Calcutta port . Unofficial estimates put the number of Chinese in Kolkata anywhere from 5,000 to 200,000, most of whom live in or near Chinatown in Tangra.
The ethnic Chinese have contributed to many areas of the social and economic life of Kolkata. Today a majority are engaged in business with a major segment involved in the manufacturing and trade of leather products. A sizeable number are also owners and workers in Chinese restaurants. Kolkata is the only city in India to have a Chinatown.
The first record of travel from China is provided in the travelogue of Fa-Hien who visited Tampralipta, in what is now Tamluk in the Fifth Century A.D. Records of immigration for the next sixteen centuries are not reliable although many words in Bengali can be attributed to Chinese influences.For example chini, the Bengali word for "sugar" comes from the word for China, and words like Chinamati for porcelain china hint at Chinese influences.

Kolkata, then known as Calcutta, was the capital of British India from 1772 to 1911. It was also geographically the easiest accessible metropolitan area from China by land. The first person of Chinese origin to arrive in Calcutta was Yang Tai Chow who arrived in 1778. He worked in a sugar mill with the eventual goal of saving enough to start a tea trade. Many of the earliest immigrants worked on the Khidderpore docks. A police report in 1788 mentions a sizeable Chinese population settled in the vicinity of Bow Bazaar Street.

During the time of Warren Hastings, the first governor-general of British India, a businessman by the name of Tong Achi established a steel mill at Achipur, 33 km from Calcutta, on the bank of the Hooghly River near Budge Budge.A temple and the grave of Tong Achi still remain and are visited by many Chinese who come from the city during the Chinese New Year.

One of the earliest records of immigration from China can be found in a short treatise from 1820. This records hints that the first wave of immigration was of Hakkas but does not elaborate on the professions of these immigrants. According to a later police census, there were 362 in Calcutta in 1837. A common meeting place was the Temple of Guan Yu, the god of war, located in the Chinese quarter near Dharmatolla. A certain C. Alabaster mentions in 1849 that Cantonese carpenters congregated in the Bow Bazar Street area. As late as 2006, Bow Bazar is still noted for carpentry, but few of the workers or owners are now Chinese.
According to Alabaster there were lard manufacturers and shoemakers in addition to carpenters. Running tanneries and working with leather was traditionally not considered a respectable profession among upper-caste Hindus, and work was relegated to lower caste muchis and chamars. There was a high demand, however, for high quality leather goods in colonial India, one that the Chinese were able to fulfill. Alabaster also mentions licensed opium dens run by native Chinese and a Cheena Bazaar where contraband was readily available. Opium, however, was not illegal until after India's Independence from Great Britain in 1947. Immigration continued unabated through the turn of the century and during World War I partly due to the fact that China was undergoing political upheavals such as the Opium Wars, First Sino-Japanese War and the Boxer Rebellion. Around the time of the First World War, the first Chinese-owned tanneries sprung up.
Sino-Indian War of 1962
During the Sino-Indian conflict, the Chinese faced anti-national sentiment unleashed by the Indian National Congress-dominated government. Chinese businesses were investigated for links to the Chinese government and many people of Chinese origin were interned in prisons in North India. Like the Chinese in India, many communists found themselves behind bars and labeled 'foreign agents'.There is decisive evidence, documented by the CIA, that a small minority of Indian Communists were actively betraying Indian military secrets to the Beijing politburo.
India's Independence from Britain did not hinder the influx of Chinese into Kolkata. In 1961, there were close to 7,000. The Sino-Indian War of 1962 ended further immigration from communist China. An unknown number left (most for Australia, Canada, and the United States). Further, those that remained were often suspected of collaboration with an enemy nation. According to a 2005 documentary, some were sent to an internment camp in Rajasthan The situation was alleviated when India and China resumed diplomatic relations in 1976. However, it was not until 1998 that ethnic Chinese were allowed naturalized Indian citizenship. In 2005, the first road sign in Chinese characters was put up in Chinatown, Tangra.

The Chinese today work as tannery-owners,sauce manufacturers, shoeshop owners, and restaurateurs. A number of them run beauty parlours in the city. Among services, dentistry is a traditional occupation that is being welcomed by the new generation. Many of the shoe shops lining Bentick Street, near Dharmatolla, are owned and operated by Chinese. A number of restaurants dotting the city are also owned by the Chinese. Fusions of Chinese (especially Hakka) and Indian culinary traditions have given rise to a widely available form, Indian Chinese cuisine. There is one Chinese newspaper published in the city, The Overseas Chinese Commerce in India but figures from 2005 show that sales have dwindled from 500 to 300 copies sold. At one time, 90% of the students of the Grace Ling Liang English School were ethnic Chinese. In 2003, they comprised only about 15% of the 1500 students.

Many of the Chinese of Calcutta are Christians. A large number of the younger generations became Christians due to the influence of missionary schools they studied in. The Chinese New Year remains widely observed.[2]

Man gets new life after first-of-kind surgery (Lead)

MUMBAI - Dipesh Shah suffered from a major heart problem and doctors described his case as “extremely rare” with a risk of developing permanent infections. But 39-year-old Shah’s heart valve was successfully repaired without serious repercussions after a first-of-its-kind surgery here.

Shah suffered severe aortic valve leakage in his heart, but secured a new lease of life when a team of medicos led by Ramakant Panda successfully operated on him.

Panda described the case as “extremely rare”. This was the “first time in India that a unique surgery of this nature” was conducted at the Asian Heart Institute (AHI).

Shah, who did not have any previous complaints of heart trouble, had gone to AHI for a routine check-up in January. Though all his investigations were fairly normal, his 2D Echo revealed leakage in theaortic valve.

“A heart valve helps control the flow of blood in and out of the heart. The leakage is caused due to damage to the aortic valve and results in backward flow of blood from the aorta. Shah’s CT coronary and aortic angiogram showed different tubular dilation (bulging) of the ascending aorta,” Panda told IANS.

Finally, on March 12, as Shah’s anxious wife Jigisha, 14-year-old son Mounil and 78-year-old father prayed, he was wheeled into the operation theatre for surgery that lasted over 12 hours.

He first underwent Trans Esophageal Echocardiogram (TEE), a procedure in which the probe instrument is inserted through the mouth and passed into the food pipe to view the heart and its functioning.

This was followed by opening the aorta, an examination of the aortic valve and the decision to repair it, said Panda, who shot to fame after he successfully operated on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year.

“Generally, when the valve gets damaged, it is replaced with a mechanical or biological valve. However, in this case the valve was repaired, not replaced,” he explained.

Accordingly, the dilated portion of the ascending aorta was replaced with a 34-mm woven polyester vascular prosthesis, reinforced with bovine collagen. The right and left coronary arteries were re-implanted on the vascular prosthesis.

“TEE was repeated on Shah, which showed mild aortic leakage, indicating good repair. The patient was absolutely stable and discharged a week later (March 19),” Panda said.

Explaining the challenge, Panda said that when the valve does not function properly, it is either repaired or replaced with a new valve, especially theaortic valve.

“Replacement involves a lot of post-surgical care. Since the new valve is a foreign object, it tends to produce clots and gets blocked, compelling the patient to take blood thinners for the rest of his/her life,” he added.

Added to this is the risk of the patient developing permanent infections in the replaced valve.

“However, if it is repaired - as in Shah’s case - the patient retains his own valve, doesn’t need long post-operative care and quality of life is much better,” Panda said.

Aortic valve repair is a rare thing. In Shah’s case, because of the 7-8 cm bulging of the aorta, the gap between the flaps of the valve had increased considerably, making it near-impossible to repair it, which resulted in its dysfunction, though the flaps had not torn.

Jigisha said that the Shah family would be forever “indebted to Dr. Panda and his team,” for giving a new lease of life to her husband.

“He has come home now and is feeling quite normal. Yes, there are severe dietary and other restrictions, some minor side-effects after the surgery, but he is cheerful,” Jigisha told IANS from her home in Borivli west, a north-west Mumbai suburb.

The total cost of the operation would work out to over Rs.1 million (US $22,205) Jigisha said adding that her husband is expected to go back to his routine within two months.

Top 10 Most Spoofing April Fool 2010 SMS

April 1st is the special day, dedicated to make fool to our friends, relatives and others. People play pranks and make various fun with their friends as part of celebration of April Fools Day.

In our fast moving daily life, people hardly manage time to meet friends and play a hoax on the gullible one. Since April Fool Day is not observed as a holiday, people enjoy this day by sending SMS jokes to their friends from their working place; instead of doing it practically.

Send some spoofing April fool 2010 SMS to your friends and family and make this April fool day a memorable one.

A Day Will Come . . .

When The Whole World Will






But Keep In Mind

April Fool Comes Once A Year


Its Ur Day


Today, tomorrow and forever there will be one heart that would always beat for you.
You know Whose???
Your Own Stupid!!!
Happy April Fool Day!


I am your girlfriend:

theek kaha na ?

In short I am your S.I.S.T.E.R. :p

Happy April Fools Day


NeeDS U..
Worries About U
Lonely Without U
Guess Who?
… THE ZOO ..


Kya Aap ne suna hai..?
BBC per
CNN per
IBN7 per
NDTV per
nahi suna..!
Radio Mirchi per toh suna ho ga..!
Agar phir bhi nahi suna toh ab padh loo..
Today is April Fool Day and 1 F(O_O)L is reading this msg Very carefully..


Everything has a day…
Every pet has a day…
Every fool too has a day!
Hope you might have enjoyed your day!
The April Ist !


So Sweet is ur SMILE???
so Sweet is ur STYLE???
so Sweet is ur VOICE???
so Sweet is ur EYE?????
see …….how Sweetly I LIE.


For Pepsi “Shahrukh”
For Coke “Aamir”
For Mirinda “Vivek”
For fanta “Rani”
& For Thumps Up “Akshay”
Don’t worry
For Bante wala soda “You”
Cheers !!!
“Happy April Fool Day”


FOOLon ki
FOOL ke saath wish kiya hai
u r the most
and ColorFOOL
amngst all FOOL’s


Jab tum aine ke paas jate ho to aina kehta hai
beautiful beautiful!
aur jab tum aine se dur jate ho to aina kahata hai
? aprilfool, aprilfool .


Not making any political statement by marrying Shoaib Malik: Sania Mirza

Hyderabad, March 30 (ANI): Tennis sensation Sania Mirza on Tuesday stated that she was not making any political statement by marrying Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.

Sania and Shoaib are scheduled to marry next month.

Addressing the media outside her house in Hyderabad, Sania said: "We are not getting married for making political statement. We are getting married, that is the only thing in my mind. It is as simple just like you people get married."

"I''m very happy, my family is very happy with the occasion. The reception will be held on April 15. The venue has not been decided as yet. It is still weeks away, but I''m happy," she added.

Sania further said that she will continue playing for India, and will continue to be an Indian citizen despite her decision to settle in Dubai.

"I''m going to keep playing. I will play for India, and inshallah he will play for Pakistan," Sania said.

"We will settle in Dubai, it is a safe place to live in and it will be the middle base for both of us," she added.

Sania also informed that she has known Shoaib for the past six to seven years.

Replying to query regarding supporting the cricket teams between India and Pakistan,

"I will support India but I will definitely support my husband. But I will definitely support India."

Earlier reports had said that Sania and Shoaib were in a relationship for the last six months, which had led to disruption in the Hyderabad girl''s earlier engagement to childhood friend Sohrab Mirza. (ANI)

General VK Singh to take over as new Army chief today

New Delhi, Mar 31 (ANI): General VK Singh will take over as the new Army Chief here today.

The 59-year-old General takes over from General Deepak Kapoor, who retires from service today.

He will be the 26th Army Chief and will stay at the helm of the 1.13 million personnel-strong Army for over two years.

An honours graduate of the US Army Infantry School at Georgia in the US, General Singh is an alumnus of the Wellington-based Defence Services Staff College, the Mhow-based Army War College and the US Army War College, Carlisle.

A third generation army officer, General Singh was commissioned into the Rajput Regiment on June 14, 1970.

He had participated in the 1971 war against Pakistan and in the operations of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force in Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s.

He also commanded the Jalandhar-based 11 Corps and Ambala-based Strike Corps and was an instructor in the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) headquarters in Bhutan.

He is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal, the Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Yudh Seva Medal. He is also one of the honorary ADCs of the president of India, who is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. (ANI)

Chhattisgarh to host 37th National Games in 2013

New Delhi, Mar 31 (ANI): Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi has said that Chhattisgarh will host the 37th National Games, scheduled for 2013.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh signed the host city contract with Kalmadi at a function here on Tuesday.

The state government also handed over a cheque of Rs.two crore as contract fee for holding the event, which includes 33 categories of Olympic sports.

Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Kalmadi termed it as an opportunity for Chhattisgarh to train and prepare sportspersons with aspirations to emerge among the top performers and win medals.

"Not only Commonwealth Games but we also want to look forward to the Olympics as well. We want to encourage Olympic sports at all levels. We have to prepare players in every state and now Chhattisgarh also has a chance to prepare their players and in coming days they should participate at the national level and win medals because it is necessary and they should be won in Olympic sporting events," he said.

Raman Singh said that the state has already started preparations for the games.

"The elementary preparations have started and we hope to make the event a great success," he added.

"I just want to say that we will try that Chhattisgarh organises the best edition of National Games. For that whatever infrastructure is required, primary discussions and meetings regarding the games have already begun and progressing well," he said.

The subsequent event will be staged in Kerala during May this year while Goa will host the 36th edition in 2011. (ANI)

Northeast Briefs

10kg IED found
Dhubri, March 30: A 10kg IED was seized from the house of Sheikh Sabi Dokar, 28, at Uttar Raipur here on Tuesday. Dokar has been arrested.

Dacoit killed
Dibrugarh: A dacoit was killed in an encounter with police at Bogibeel here on Monday.

Sivasagar: Army personnel recovered a rifle and ammunition hidden in a drain at Tiphuk tea estate here on Tuesday.

Absu demand
Kokrajhar: The All Bodo Students Union on Tuesday demanded seizure of arms and ammunition and deployment of more forces ahead of the April 9 BTC election.

Party switch
Sivasagar: Altogether 85 AGP workers on Tuesday joined the Congress at a meeting held at Namti under Amguri constituency here.

Road mishap
Dhubri: The Dhubri district AKRSU organising secretary, Bhrigu Moni Roy, died when his motorcycle collided with a truck at Balpara here on Monday.

Nehu teachers oppose move on new heads

Shillong, March 30: The North Eastern Hill University (Nehu) is poised for more rough times with the university teachers’ association opposing the move of vice-chancellor Pramod Tandon to appoint new heads in two departments.

At a meeting last night, the North Eastern Hill University Teachers’ Association opposed Tandon’s move to appoint new heads in the departments of information technology and electronics and communication. The two heads of departments had resigned after some KSU activists manhandled them for conducting the examinations on a holiday on December 30 last year.

Iftekar Hussain and S.K. Dutta, heads of department of information technology and electronics and communication respectively, had resigned from their posts soon after the incident demanding congenial working environment and condemning the university for holding the examinations on a holiday.

President of the Nehu teachers’ association S.B. Prasad in a statement issued here said three months after the incident, an inquiry committee instituted by Tandon submitted the report on the matter yesterday without even meeting the affected teachers.

“Moreover, the vice-chancellor conducted a meeting with faculty of the school of technology to appoint two new heads in place of the earlier ones who had resigned,” Prasad alleged.

He said Tandon had failed to take responsibility for scheduling the examination on a state holiday on December 30, which is the death anniversary of Khasi freedom fighter Kiang Nagbah.

He said the vice-chancellor did not do anything positive towards mitigating the insult and humiliation suffered by the teachers.

The association in a resolution also clarified that the teachers cannot be held responsible for scheduling the examination and hurting local sentiments.

“It is rather the office of the vice-chancellor that should take all the responsibility for notifying examination on a local holiday,” Prasad said.

The association also said the move on the part of the vice-chancellor to appoint new heads of the departments amounts to double humiliation of the teachers.

“Hence the vice-chancellor should offer an unconditional apology to the affected teachers for humiliating them further by not showing any solidarity with them,” Prasad added.

According to the teachers’ body, Tandon should also request the teachers to withdraw their resignation letters.

The association demanded proper upkeep of security on the campus so that such incidents do not recur in the future.

“We want Nehu to strengthen the security of the teachers and staff on duty so that they do not have to be subjected to such a shame,” Prasad added.

Indo-Myanmar highway to better ties - 100km road from Mizoram to neighbouring port to cost Rs 600cr

Silchar, March 30: The Centre will build a modern highway spanning 99.82km between Lawngtlai town in south Mizoram to Sittwe port in northwest Myanmar on the Bay of Bengal to establish a sea link between several states in the Northeast, including Mizoram, Assam and Manipur with other parts of the country.

Union minister for national highways and transport Kamal Nath will arrive in Aizawl on April 24 to lay the foundation of the multi-modal road transport project in Lawngtlai, 335km from Aizawl. Though this project was approved four years ago after New Delhi got the clearance of Myanmar, the subsequent delay led to the escalation of the cost of the scheme from Rs 420crore to a whopping Rs 600crore.

This road, whose construction will be completed in two years, will unveil a transit access for goods and people between India and Myanmar as part of the Open Asia policy among the nations of the continent.

Sources in Aizawl said more fresh schemes for the improvement of road infrastructure and sea links are now in the pipeline, and the official delegations between India and Myanmar are busy in giving shape and finding out resources to give a go-ahead to some of the schemes. The sources added that other schemes envisaged area network of roads between towns in the Chin hills and Arakan Yoma, including Paletwa and Tiddim on Myanmar’s borders with Mizoram and Manipur to facilitate trade, cultural exchanges and tourism between the two countries and upgrade the waterways of Kaladan river flowing through Mizoram’s southern borders to Myanmar.

The sources also said improvement of the Sittwe port was on the cards. At present, Indian and Myanmarese businessmen exchange produce of the two countries in a Rs 12crore international trade centre at a village near Champhai in west Mizoram.

While India trades in cement, bicycle parts, medicines and horticulture products of Mizoram, from Myanmar handicrafts and clothes, apart from electronics goods and shoes, arrive in plenty.

Manipur mulls pre-paid power supply

Manipur is set to introduce ‘pre-paid’ power supply mechanism to control power theft in the state.

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh indicated the new measure to check power theft to group of press persons after inspecting Thoubal Multi-purpose project at the adjoining areas of Ukhrul, Senapati and Imphal east districts,45 km north-east of state capital on Monday.

“We’re planning to introduce pre-paid power supply system and discussions are on in this regard,” Ibobi said .”Laying of underground cable is also in full swing”.

Checking theft of power becomes all the more imperative as the state has a shortfall of 35 MW to 40 MW in its peak hour requirement. The state hopes that once the three projects -- 2000MW Lower Subansiri (Arunachal Pradesh),750MW Bongaigaon (Assam) and Palatana (Tripura) -- are commissioned in March 2011, its power woes would be minimised.

Preparing ahead, Manipur has also initiated upgrading the exisiting 132 KV Yurembam power supply transmission station near Imphal. But the project is facing opposition from locals, who do not want to part with their agricultural land for the project.

"We'r not opposing expansion of the sub-station, but we don't want to sacrifice our paddy fields", Kh Somorendro,a resident of Yurembam village said. "Construction activities on agricultural lands would affect food security when we are speaking of things such as Right to Food.”

Kaziranga guards attacked

Guwahati, March 30: Militants believed to belong to a Karbi breakaway faction attacked an anti-poaching camp at the Kaziranga National Park last night and snatched a rifle, a walkie talkie set and a searchlight from the forest guards.

The incident took place at Panbari reserve forest, which is a part of the national park, on the foothills of Karbi Anglong hills along National Highway 37.

Police said the raiders could be members of the breakaway faction of the recently surrendered Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF). The same group, the police said, was involved in the kidnapping of an official of a private company from Bokajan recently.

Kaziranga divisional forest officer D. Gogoi said there were three personnel — a forest guard, a home guard and a casual worker — present at the camp near National Highway 37 when the raid took place. The forest personnel were deployed at the camp to prevent rhinos from straying out of the national park.

“It was around 11.30pm when the armed raiders descended on the camp and forcefully took away a 303 rifle, a walkie talkie set, a searchlight and a mobile phone. The attackers were there at the camp for not more than 30 minutes before they vanished into the adjacent Karbi Anglong hills. They warned the guards not to inform anyone till the morning,” Gogoi said.

Park authorities, who came to know about the incident half-an-hour later, immediately launched a manhunt to apprehend the culprits with the help of police. However, they failed to locate the raiders.

A forest official blamed the BSF for not helping the forest department in last night’s operation.

“We informed the BSF immediately but they never came,” he said.

The official said the forest guards, especially those posted near the Karbi Anglong hills and near the national highway, had to face a lot of risks to keep vigil during the night.

“With just a 303 rifle, the guards are no match for the militants armed with AK-47s,” he added.

A police official at Bokakhat said there was no doubt that the group comprised members of the breakaway faction of the KLNLF, who had refused to surrender arms.

“There are reports of this group’s involvement in anti-social activities in both Karbi Anglong and Golaghat districts,” he added.

Last night’s incident was the third such attack on anti-poaching camps by militants at the national park, which is also a World Heritage Site.

About two years’ back, militants attacked the Paharline camp at the Kohora range of the park and took away weapons from the forest guards.

Rebels had also carried out a similar attack at the Hatidandi camp of the Bagori range.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

India's Indigenous Light Combat Helicopter takes 1st flight

India's indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has flown for the first time. The helicopter, which was test-flown on Monday, successfully hovered for 15 minutes.

The LCH is based on technologies developed for India's Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter.

The LCH will be equipped with missiles in addition to its nose-mounted cannon. It will be able to take out tanks and other armoured vehicles in addition to giving battlefield support to Indian military formations.

No cinema hall for 1.5 million residents of Islamabad

ISLAMABAD - Due to absence of any functional cinema hall in Islamabad, millions of entertainment-starved residents of the Pakistani capital are forced to watch foreign movies broadcasted on the Cable TV network, leading to local cinema culture’s dangerous downfall.

Islamabad’s four cinema houses, including Melody Cinema at Melody Market, Kohsar Cinema in sector G-7 and two NAFDEC cinemas on Jinnah Avenue, Blue Area, have been non-functional for more than seven years due to government’s negligence.

The 1.5 million-strong population in Islamabad is waiting for revival of cinema houses in the city to enjoy movies on big screen.

“In Islamabad people have no other option except to stay in homes and watch movies screened by the Cable TV network. The cinema going trend is still alive in the twin city Rawalpindi where the people are enjoying this entertainment,” the Daily Times quoted one resident, as saying.

Sources said that the joint project of Cinepax and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to establish a five-screen cinema house with a setup of food courts, shopping mall and health club, is in doldrums due to dismal law and order situation in the city.

The construction of the basic structure of the cinema house had been started on 10 acres of land, but investors expressed their reservations about the project following some untoward incidents, they added.

So far, 850 out of 1,000 cinema houses have been closed down across Pakistan. (ANI)

‘Love palace’ built by famous prostitute in Paris restored

LONDON - The ‘love palace’ that had been built by one of the most successful prostitutes in history has been restored to its former glory in centralParis.

The multi-million pound building, built by La Paiva, is still known by that name, and also has a restaurant with the same moniker.

The property, “number 25 of the world famous Avenue Champs Elysee” is where the self-styled Marquise de la Paiva, or ‘La Paiva’, seduced rich and famous men including English lords, while claiming to be a beautiful aristocrat.

In fact Esther Lachmann was from Polish peasant stock and made up her background while breaking into London and Paris society at the height of the Victorian era.

She married the wealthy Portuguese Marquis de la Paiva, who helped her build the Paiva mansion in 1865.

It became the scene of some of the most decadent parties in the history of Europe, complete with courtesans from all over France offering their erotic charms to royalty, statesmen and other leading figures of the day.

The diamond loving La Paiva kept a close eye on all those who entered her love palace, sometimes banning other women so she could have all the male party guests to herself.

She soon grew bored of her Marquis, divorcing him so as to marry the equally rich Prussian count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, who was 12 years her junior.

This enabled her to add features to the mansion, including a hand-carved staircase made of gold, marble and onyx imported from Algeria, and erotic bathrooms.

The marble bathtubs were regularly filled with milk or even champagne.

La Paiva, also known as ‘La Grande Horizontale’ - came to personify one of the most decadent periods in French history, whenParis became a centre of high-class sex and luxury living.

Her home is now set back on the increasingly commercialised Champs Elysee, next door to a Gaumont cinema and the official souvenir shop of Paris St Germain Football Club.

Since 1904 it has been the home of the Travellers Club, an elite private member’s club which only opened its doors to women during the past decade.

“Everything has been completely restored. Work has been non-stop, but the whole place has its spark back,” the Telegraph quoted Olivier du Plessis, club secretary, as saying.

“The restoration was carried out by Etienne Poncelet, chief architect of Paris’s historical monuments, using government grants. It is still know as La Paiva mansion, and has a restaurant with the same name,” du Plessis added.

When La Paiva died in 1884, her German husband kept her exquisite body intact in embalming fluid and used to cry over it every night. (ANI)

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and Vivaz launches in India: Price, Features

NEW DELHI, INDIA — Sony Ericsson has launched the much awaited Xperia X10 and Vivaz for India. In addition, they have also announced to bring X10 Mini, X10 Mini Pro and Vivaz Pro very soon.

This marks a new era for Android handsets. While Samsung and HTC are already selling Android devices in India, Sony Ericsson, the leading handset maker will be first time into this business.

The five high-end mobile phones will be priced between Rs 25,695 and Rs 35,795 in India. Besides these five devices, Sony Ericsson will launch low-end sub-Rs 5,000 handsets as well.

Sony Ericsson, with new brand ambassador Kareena Kapoor will roll out its marketing campaign, which will be focused on digital and social networks. Consumers will experience an altogether different sides of social and digital media through their mobile phones.

Sony Ericsson is concerned about the current market share, dominated greatly by Nokia, Blackberry and Apple. In an attempt to regain their position once it hold during the time of Walkman and Cybershot series, Sony Ericsson has taken several moves. It has partnered MTV India, UTV, Shemaroo, Electronics Art Indiagames and Disney, along with some other entertainment providers.
Xperia X10 Features

Display: 4.0 inch capacitive touchscreen
Weight: 135 gms
Operating System: Android OS v1.6
Memory: 1 GB storage, MicroSD expansion slot
Camera: 8.1MP/autofocus / LED Flash
Connection: WiFi, Bluetooth AD2P
Vivaz Features

Display: 3.2 resistive touchscreen
Weight: 97 gms
Operating System: Symbian Series 60, 5th edition
Memory: 75MB internal memory, MicroSD expansion slot
Camera: 8.1MP/autofocus / LED Flash
Connection: WiFi, Bluetooth AD2P

Bodies of 21 babies found in river in eastern China

Bodies of 21 babies found in China river

BEIJING — Bodies of 21 babies have been discovered in plastic bags in a river in eastern China and authorites suspect they were dumped there by local hospitals, state media reported Tuesday.

An initial investigation showed that eight of the 21 babies wore identification tags on their feet tracing them back to Jining Medical College Hospital in Shandong province, the according to the People’s Daily Web site. The other 13 were unidentified.

Three of the eight were admitted to the hospital in critical condition, the report said. It did not say when they were admitted.

Video footage posted online showed interviews with local residents who discovered the bodies covered in plastic trash bags floating near the shore over the weekend.

Calls to the Jining Medical College Hospital information office rang unanswered Tuesday afternoon.

Some of babies shown in the video, ranging from newborns to several months old, wore bluish-green identification tags with their mother’s name, their birth dates, measurements and weight, while others were found shrouded in hazardous waste bags.

An official who answered the phone at the Jining Health Bureau confirmed the news, but would not give any details. Like many Chinese officials, he refused to give his name.

SKorea president orders military on alert after navy ship sinks; diver dies in search for crew

SKorean president visits shipwreck; diver dies

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND, South Korea — South Korea’s president ordered the military on alert Tuesday for any moves by rival North Korea after the defense minister said last week’s explosion that sank a South Korean ship may have been caused by a North Korean mine.

The blast ripped the 1,200-ton ship apart last Friday night during a routine patrol near Baengnyeong Island near the tense maritime border west of the divided Korean peninsula. Fifty-eight crew members, including the captain, were plucked to safety; 46 are missing, with dim prospects for their survival.

A 53-year-old diver who lost consciousness during the underwater mission to locate the missing crewmen died Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. A second diver was being treated for injuries, officials said.

As the search continued, divers prepared to break into the ship Tuesday, Rear Adm. Lee Ki-sik of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters. He said there were no signs of life inside.

President Lee Myung-bak flew to wreckage site to review search operations, meet with marines and console family members, the presidential Blue House said.

Baengnyeong is just eight miles (13 kilometers) from and within sight of a North Korean military base where surface-to-ship guided missiles and artillery are heavily deployed, presidential spokesman Park Sun-kyoo said.

Lee told officers South Korea must maintain its military readiness until North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program.

“When we are strong, we can defend ourselves. If we are weak, we’ll face more danger,” Lee said. “South Korea’s military should be strong.”

Earlier Tuesday, Lee ordered his military to stay alert for any moves by rival North Korea.

“Since the sinking took place at the front line, the military should thoroughly prepare for any move by North Korea,” Lee told his Cabinet, according to his spokesman.

Military officials say the exact cause of the explosion remains unclear, and U.S. and South Korean officials said there was no evidence of North Korean involvement.

However, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told lawmakers Monday that a floating mine dispatched from North Korea was one of several scenarios for the disaster.

“North Korea may have intentionally floated underwater mines to inflict damage on us,” Kim said.

The two Koreas remain in a state of war because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953. North Korea disputes the sea border drawn by the United Nations in 1953, and the western waters near the spot where the Cheonan went down have been the site of three bloody skirmishes between North and South.

Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim reported from Seoul and photographer Young-joon Ahn from Baengnyeong Island. AP writers Sangwon Yoon in Seoul, photographer Lee Jin-man in Pyeongtaek and Eric Talmadge in Tokyo also contributed to this report.

Naga legislators resolve to meet underground leaders

The Joint Parliamentary Working Committee (JPWC) of Nagaland Assembly has resolved to meet leaders of different underground groups for consultation to find a 'common Naga voice' towards finding a lasting settlement to the vexed political conflict.

At a meeting chaired by speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie on Monday, the committee members discussed the current Naga peace process and adopted a few resolutions asserting that as elected representatives of the people they should facilitate the talks between the Centre and the underground groups.

The resolution, signed by Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and opposition leader Tokheho Yepthomi, said the meeting welcomed the efforts of the UPA government and the NSCN in resuming the political dialogue.

The JPWC, formed last year with members all party hues, reiterated to support the dialogue in "our collective endeavour to bring lasting peace to our land and its people".

Lauding the signing of 'Covenant of Re-conciliation' by three underground groups and formation of Joint Working Group (JWG), it appealed to them to stop violence.

The JWG was formed by two groups of NSCN and NNC/Federal after signing the Covenant of Re-conciliation last year in Thailand.

The joint parliamentary panel also appealed for unity among the underground groups so as to facilitate "early resolution of the Naga political issue", the resolution said.

Assam MPLAD fund diverted to build Congress office, 3 arrested

Three officials in a western Assam town landed in prison on Sunday for facilitating the construction of a Congress office with funds meant for a community hall.

Anowar Hussain, former Congress MP from Dhubri constituency, had in 2008-09 released from his Local Area Development (LAD) fund Rs 3.45 lakh for a community hall in Bilasipara town.

This town in Dhubri district is 250 km west of Assam capital Guwahati.

The ‘community hall’ did come up last year. But it carried a name – Rajiv Bhavan – and began functioning as the sub-divisional Congress office.

Bilasipara Grameen Jagaran Manch, a rural NGO, subsequently filed a PIL in Gauhati High Court saying money from MPLAD fund was diverted to build an asset for the Congress. MPLAD funds, routed through local administration, are not meant for political parties.

Following a directive from the court, the police in Bilasipara registered a case (No 174/09) against Raju Ahmed, secretary of the Community Hall Construction Committee. The very day Ahmed was arrested (in December), the building sported a new signboard, and it read ‘Community Hall’ instead of ‘Rajiv Bhavan’.

“We went for a deeper probe during these past three months and took necessary action against the guilty officials,” Dhubri Deputy Commissioner Jyotindra Lahkar told Hindustan Times.

Investigations revealed the community hall was to have been set up on another plot of land 3 km from where it was established. Three officials – Jayanta Kalita, assistant project officer of Planning and Development Department and junior engineers Shahjahan Ali and Shabibur Rahman – were also found to have gone overboard in pleasing their political masters.

Kalita, Ali and Rahman were arrested Saturday night, produced before a special court on Sunday and sent to Dhubri District Jail.

Apart from MPLAD fund, Assam has had a history of misuse of MLALAD money. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General ending 31 March 2009 revealed how Kamrup district authorities had between 2004-05 and 2008-09 had created assets worth Rs 95.70 lakh on private lands.

Guidelines of MPLAD and MLALAD schemes do not provide for construction or creation of any assets for the benefit of an individual.

Monday, March 29, 2010

400 militants waiting to cross LoC into Kashmir: Army

At least four-hundred militants are waiting across the Line of Control (LoC) to sneak into Kashmir, the Army has said.

Talking to media in Srinagar, Brigadier General Staff (BGS) of the 15 Corps, Brigadier Gurmeet Singh said, "Four hundred militants are waiting at launch pads to sneak into the valley."

He said, "This year we have occupied additional counter infiltration positions and repair of border fence has also commenced early."

The BGS said that between 270 and 300 militants were still active in Kashmir valley.

The Army had last week foiled a major infiltration bid in the Keran sector of the LoC and eliminated the complete group comprising of eight militants.

"The area of infiltration is high altitude, with rugged mountains and is snow laden, currently having 12 to 15 feet of snow. Terrorists, as is evident from the recoveries, were heavily armed, well equipped for snow and high altitude area and had the latest communication and navigation equipment, indicative of the support of intelligence and government agencies from across the LoC," Brigadier Gurmeet Singh said.

Sonia has given the nod for approaching CBI

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has given the green signal to the party's Sikkim unit to take up with CBI the case of alleged disproportionate assests amassed by Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, the party's senior Congress leader K N Upreti on sunday said.

Gandhi has asked the state Congress unit to take up the case with the central investigating agency on the basis of documentary evidences in this regard, Upreti said in a statement here.

Accordingly the state unit leaders will meet CBI officials for registration of a corruption case against Chamling within the next 10 days and sumbit documents about various properties of Chamling and his family 'amassed through illegal and corrupt means' over the years.

Upreti said the state Congress has documentary evidences of the disproportionate assets of Chamling valued at about Rs 4000 crore.

Supreme Court had last week dismissed a petition filed by Kunga Nima Lepcha and others, all Congress leaders, seeking a direction to the CBI for registration of a case against Chamling for allegedly amassing wealth reportedly to the tune of Rs 1600 crore.

Workshop calls for sensitivity on reporting HIV/AIDS

A day-long media workshop on HIV/AIDS has called for application of utmost sensitivity and adhering to Press Council's guidelines on reporting issues related to HIV/AIDS.

The workshop "Building perspectives on HIV/AIDS", jointly organised by Dimapur Press Club, Centre for Advocacy and Research and Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) and supported by UNDP Initiative at Dimapur yesterday also insisted that media needs updating on various issues such as sigma, discrimination, gender bias, human rights when concerning HIV/AIDS.

Highlighting on the response of media to HIV/AIDS problem in Nagaland, DPC president Dilip Sharma urged that media in the state needed to move beyond reporting on events, facts and figures on the issue.

"It is the duty of media to do more investigations with regards to the disease, societal responses and its impact in the society," he said.

Aarthi Pai, head of programme at Centre for Advocacy and Research, urged journalists to keep constant updating on the terminologies in the case of reporting on HIV/AIDS.

Referring to a number of words, frequently used in media, which are now considered "derogatory and sensitive" she suggested the journalists to avoid them.

Hospital gets annexe boost

Shillong, March 27: A 200-bed annexe — a part of the Shillong Civil Hospital — was inaugurated today by chief minister D.D. Lapang, ending a four-year wait for a much-needed facility.

The delay in the inauguration of the annexe, the construction of which was completed nearly four years ago, had caused considerable inconvenience to patients, with the latter having to even use the corridors of the government-run hospital.

The Meghalaya government had approved the construction of the annexe on March 2001. The building, with water supply facilities, was completed at a cost of Rs 3.60 crore in August 2006.

Later, the directorate of health services (DHS) had also bought equipment, including beds and other accessories worth Rs 59.26 lakh, for the 200-bed hospital.

The delay in appointment of staff pushed back the hospital’s inauguration even further.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had said in its report that the hospital had been admitting at least 20 to 25 patients per day in excess of its capacity of 400 beds. Patients were apparently being accommodated “in the corridor, despite having a complete hospital building of 200-bed capacity”.

The CAG, in its report, also said that the extended hospital facility remained unutilised because of the delay in taking a final decision on the actual requirement of posts for the hospital and their sanction.

Inaugurating the new building, Lapang today said the growth in terms of population and urbanisation had put pressure on the government to upgrade health facilities in the urban centres.

He urged the health department to ensure adequate supply of medicines and modern equipment for an efficient health delivery system.

The chief minister also presented citations to two employees of the civil hospital, sweeper Lata Massie and ward girl Margrita Kharthangmaw. Deputy chief minister (incharge of health) Mukul Sangma said all efforts had been made to improve the health delivery mechanism by providing adequate facilities to the hospitals.


Three arrested for funds misuse
Dhubri: Assistant planning officer of Dhubri district, Jayanta Kalita, junior engineer of Debitola block, Fabibar Rahman, and an employee of the block, Sahjahan Ali Ahmed, were on Sunday arrested by police from their respective residences in Dhubri district for their alleged involvement in spending government funds on political activities. Sources said NGO Gramya Jagaran filed a PIL in Gauhati High Court demanding an inquiry into the alleged diversion of Rs 2.45 lakh meant for the construction of a community hall at Bilasipara.

Dacoit held
Nagaon: Nagaon police arrested Mustafa Ali, a dacoit, from Joysagar in Sivasagar district on Saturday night.

Rebels arrested
Kokrajhar: Two NDFB militants belonging to the Ranjan Daimary faction were apprehended by security forces from the Santipur area in Chirang district on Saturday.

Shops gutted
Silchar: Three shops in Silchar’s one of the prominent commercial hubs on Janiganj Road were gutted in a fire on Saturday.

Medicines seized
Silchar: Police on Saturday seized Phensydil and Corex worth Rs 1 crore from a Tripura-bound truck at Kathigorah in Assam.

Imphal: More than 20 houses, including an equipment room of the Central Agriculture University in Imphal, were damaged by a gale on Saturday.

Power crisis grips Tripura

Agartala, March 28: Tripura is facing a severe power crisis with load-shedding enforced by the Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited hovering between one-and-a-half and two hours daily.

In rural areas, longer hours of load-shedding are in force to make up for the shortfall in the availability of power. The situation is worsened by the growing demand for power as the sweltering summer months draw near.

“At the moment our peak hour demand is 160MW but with the onset of summer from mid-April this will rise to 180-185MW. There is no way to make up for the shortfall of roughly 45MW and there is no alternative to daily load-shedding,” a source said.

He said because of drastic depletion of water level in Dumbur lake, the generation of power in the Dumbur hydel project is now to 3-4MW.

“We are heavily dependent on the Northeast grid but since the dry spell has started we have been receiving around 30-35MW as the generation of power from hydro-electrical projects has gone down because of decreasing water level,” the source said.

War over Waterloo relic - Assam Rifles and heritage trust argue over cannons

Guwahati/Shillong, March 28: Two cannons, which were used in the Battle of Waterloo, find themselves once again in the middle of another battle, this time over their possession.

While the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) wants the cannons back at Aizawl, the Mizoram capital, the Assam Rifles, the custodians of the artillery pieces, wants to keep these with them.

The cannons were brought to Aizawl and kept at the headquarters of the 1st battalion of the Assam Rifles in 1892, but were taken away to Tuensang in Nagaland in 2003 when the battalion moved base there.

Dinesh Baishya, convenor of the Assam chapter of INTACH, said the cannons are international heritage since these were used in the battle of Waterloo and thus the Assam Rifles does not have exclusive right over them.

He said the INTACH being an international body for conservation and preservation of natural, cultural, living, tangible and intangible heritage of various races in India has more right over cannons than the Assam Rifles.

“Historically, the cannons were brought to Mizoram, so these must be kept in Mizoram to remind the present and future generations of Mizos about the history of their land. People of Mizoram cannot go to Tuensang to know their history. The Assam Rifles museum in Shillong will not be accessible to all people to see the cannons,” Baishya argued.

The cannons were brought to Aizawl and displayed at the Assam Rifles battalion headquarters by Lt Col J. Shakespeare in 1892.

Shakespeare, in his 1939 book The Making of Aijal said the armaments were among those used by the Duke of Wellington’s troops to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

The big guns were dumped into the sea from a Burma-bound warship that was docked in the Chittagong port (now in Bangladesh) in 1857.

He wrote, when the detachment of the 34th Native Infantry mutinied on November 18 that year as part of the Sepoy Mutiny, the cannons were thrown overboard to prevent them from falling in the hands of the natives and were fished out after crushing the mutiny and brought to Aizawl.

Assam Rifles PRO Lt Col A.K. Choudhury from Shillong said the cannons will remain with the Assam Rifles, but no decision was taken to shift them from Tuensang.

A majority of the people of Mizoram wishes that it should be properly preserved by the Assam Rifles and the problem is only with INTACH, he said.

There was a suggestion to shift the cannons to the War Museum to be built in Laitkor on the outskirts of Shillong, but no decision has been taken in this regard, he said.

“It will take at least a year to build the War Museum and only after its completion that we will be able to make a decision to shift them from Tuensang to Shillong,” he said.

According to the Assam Rifles official, a majority of the people of Mizoram considers that Assam Rifles can preserve the cannons better as “we are preserving other war memorials too”.

He reminded that 40 per cent of Assam Rifles staff is from the Northeast and there is no reason for any worry as far as preserving the war memorial is concerned.

Staff Officer, Assam Rifles Major Rajat posted in 23 sector which looks after both Aizawl and Tuensang areas said over phone from Aizawl that cannons were in the custody of Assam Rifles for a very long time and the MHA was also agreeing to keep them in the Assam Rifles custody He also reiterated that the Assam Rifles are yet to take any decision regarding shifting of the cannons from Tuensang either ro Aizawl or to Shillong.

Locals at Aizwal believed that if fingers were pointed at the two cannons they would fire on those pointing at them, said Joseph Lalrintluanga, a resident of Aizwal.

Forces burn ganja in Manipur

Imphal, March 28: The security forces under the Red Shield division today burnt 1.2 tonne ganja with a street value of Rs 35 lakh at Gothal in Churachandpur district, headquarters of the Maratha Light Infantry Battalion, in the presence of Narcotics Control Bureau officials and state police.

The commandant of the 16 Maratha Light Infantry, Col Prasanta Chauhan, said drives were carried out at Ukha, Henglep and Mongkhen along the Thangjing range of Manipur’s Churachandpur district. The army unit and the 46 Assam Rifles seized the consignment during a joint drive against cultivation and smuggling of the contraband, he said.

Col Chauhan said ganja and opium were extensively cultivated in the district and the produce was smuggled outside Manipur through Jiribam bordering Cachar district of Assam along National Highway 53.

“The smugglers engaged porters and Rs 1,000 is paid to each for transporting the contraband from Henglep of Churachandpur district to Jiribam, before the consignments were taken to various destinations through Assam.”

He said village chiefs of the areas where poppy and ganja were planted were warned that action would be taken against them if they did not stop cultivation of the narcotics.

Air India snag leaves Thai monks stranded at Agartala

As many as 44 Buddhist monks from Thailand were stranded Sunday at the Agartala airport after their Kolkata-bound Air India flight was cancelled due to technical snag, officials said in Agartala.

"The monks came to Tripura from Thailand last week to visit Buddhist religious places in the northeastern state. On Sunday, they were scheduled to go to Bodh Gaya in Bihar via Kolkata but their Air India flight was cancelled due to a technical hitch," an Air India official said.

The flight was scheduled to depart from Agartala around 4 pm.

The airline official said that alternative arrangements were made to send the monks to Kolkata Monday in another aircraft.

"The Air India authority did not make any arrangements for the monks' night stay in Agartala. We stayed at a hotel here making our own arrangements," said Samut, the leader of the Thai monks' group.

Hot altercations occurred between the monks and the Air India officials over their accommodation in Agartala after the flight was cancelled. Some of the monks said they were unhappy with the Air India treatment meted out to them.

Cong handles BPF with ‘care’

Guwahati, March 28: Buoyed by its success in Rajya Sabha polls, the ruling Congress today finalised its gameplan for the April 9 BTC polls keeping in mind the interests of the BPF, its ally in the government, which the party doesn’t want to provoke in any manner and endanger the alliance before the 2011 Assembly elections.

PCC sources said a guarded Congress leadership has laid down dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with the BPF, which runs the BTC. The party has also decided to keep chief minister Tarun Gogoi out of the campaign.

“We have to do a lot of tightrope walk to ensure it is a friendly contest in letter and spirit. We will be exploiting public sentiments against the BPF in our favour by harping on development and peace, our party’s ideology, what our government has done in the BTAD. There will be no attack on individuals, especially BPF candidates and leaders, with whom we have very cordial ties, reflected from their smooth support to our two successful Rajya Sabha candidates,” a source said.

The message was conveyed to the 23 candidates and the BTAD leaders at a PCC meeting at Rajiv Bhawan lasting for over three hours.

PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, vice-president Y.L. Karna (in-charge of BTAD) and secretary Rana Khan attended the meeting wherein the candidates aired their concerns and expectations from the party. The PCC also released the list of office-bearers, ministers and campaigners on active poll duty.

The Bhumidhar Barman-led BTAD poll committee also met in the evening. There are in all 40 seats in the BTC.

Trinamul Congress, which fielded four candidates of its own, today extended support to six Independents, according to office-bearer of the state unit, Debashish Dutta.

The candidates, however, apprehend “rigging” and “abuse” of official powers by sitting BTC councillors despite the State Election Commission having assured free and fair polls after a three-day extensive tour last week.

So far, 18 additional companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the BTAD and more would go if required.

Besides, 26 Assam Civil Service officers have been exclusively deployed from outside the autonomous district to maintain law and order and enforce the model code of conduct.

“We have also increased the number of polling booths by 500, so there is less crowding and less travelling for voters. We have also assigned 10 observers,” state election commissioner Biren Dutta said.

Pope refuses to be intimidated by sex abuse claims

LONDON - Pope Benedict XVI has said that the Catholic Church would “not be intimidated” by the sexual abuse scandal surrounding it.

The 82-year-old Pontiff spoke to tens of thousands of pilgrims at St Peter’s Square in a Palm Sunday service at the start of Holy Week.

“From God comes the courage not to be intimidated by petty gossip,” The Telegraph quoted him as saying.

In his address, the Pope added. “Christ guides us towards goodness and does not let us be disarmed by ingratitude” and mentioned how man can sometimes “fall to the lowest, vulgar levels”.

The Pope recently apologised following a string of shocking revelations claiming senior bishops in Ireland had been involved in covering up the crimes relating to the mistreatment of children.

But his historic apology failed to comfort the victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland, who said the letter only referred to Ireland and not other regions and did not admit that the abuse was systematically covered-up. (ANI)

Some suspects in FBI raids in Midwest expected in court; Christian militia may be a target

At least 3 arrests after FBI raids in Midwest

ADRIAN, Mich. — A Christian militia group was a target of at least one of a series of weekend raids the FBI conducted in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, a Michigan militia leader says.

The FBI said Sunday that it had conducted raids in the three states, resulting in at least three arrests. Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects. Some of the suspects were expected in court Monday.

It wasn’t clear what prompted the raids, but Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, said one of his team leaders got a frantic phone call Saturday evening from members of Hutaree, a Christian militia group. They said their property in southeast Michigan was being raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Lackomar said.

“They said they were under attack by the ATF and wanted a place to hide,” he said. “My team leader said, ‘No thanks.’”

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold confirmed the FBI had been working in two southeast Michigan counties near the Ohio state line but wouldn’t say whether the raids were connected to Hutaree.

FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said agents arrested two people Saturday after raids in two Ohio towns. A third arrest made in northeast Illinois on Sunday stemmed from a raid Saturday just over the border in northwest Indiana, both part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI in Michigan, according to a statement from agents in Illinois.

Lackomar said his group wasn’t affiliated with Hutaree but that a handful of that group’s members twice attended training sessions with theSoutheast Michigan Volunteer Militia that focused on survival training and shooting practice.

On its Web site, Hutaree quotes several Bible passages and states: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. … Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.”

The group didn’t return an e-mail sent by The Associated Press and phone numbers for the group’s leadership were not immediately available.

Law enforcement swarmed a rural, wooded property Saturday evening near Adrian, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit. Two ramshackle trailers sat side-by-side on the property, the door to one slightly ajar late Sunday as if it had been forced open.

Phyllis Brugger, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said some people who lived there were known as having ties tomilitia. They would shoot guns and often wore camouflage, according to Brugger and her daughter, Heidi Wood.

“Everybody knew they were militia,” Brugger said. “You don’t mess with them.”

In Hammond, Ind., 18-year-old George Ponce, who works at a pizzeria next door to a home that was raided, said he and a few co-workers stepped outside for a break Saturday night and saw a swarm of law enforcement.

“I heard a yell, ‘Get back inside!’ and saw a squad member pointing a rifle at us,” Ponce said. “They told us the bomb squad was going in, sweeping the house looking for bombs.”

He said another agent was in the bushes near the house, and law enforcement vehicles were “all over.” He estimated that agents took more than two dozen guns from the house.

Another employee, Ron Jakubczak, said the man who lived in the house often wore Army fatigues and would “play-fight” with his German shepherds. People at the pizzeria were surprised to find a military transport vehicle once parked in the man’s yard, he said.

In Ohio, one of the raids occurred at Bayshore Estates, a well-kept trailer park in Sandusky, a small city on Lake Erie between Toledo and Cleveland. Neighbors said the man taken into custody lived in a trailer on a cul-de-sac with his wife and two young children.

A young man who answered the door at the trailer Sunday said no one from the family wanted to talk. A neighbor said he saw authorities with rifles run past his window and toward the trailer Saturday night.

“They took over the block like it was the Army. I thought we were being invaded,” said Michael Morin, who lives two lots away.

FBI agents in Ohio also made an arrest in Huron on Saturday night, said Wilson, the FBI spokesman. He said no further information would be released until after they appeared in court Monday.

Associated Press Writers Erin Gartner in Chicago; Rick Callahan and Charles Wilson in Indianapolis; John Seewer in Sandusky, Ohio; Matt Leingang in Columbus, Ohio; and Devlin Barrett in Washington contributed to this report.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480: GF100 Review

The newest high performance video card from NVIDIA is GeForce GTX 480 GF100. The GTX 480 is aiming at providing maximum gaming performance, not even provided by its predecessors. The ATI Radeon HD 5870, singly dominating the GPU market, will get a good contender in form of GTX 480.

For more than one year, NVIDIA has been serving with the highest performing graphics card, named GeForce GTX 295. It was not convincing to the users as they had the option of getting the same performance from much less expensive Radeon 5870. But now by unveiling GeForce GTX 480, NVIDIA is giving their most anticipated GPU.

GF100, NVIDIA’s next-generation GPU architecture is also codenamed as Fermi. GeForce GTX 480 is based on the Fermi third-generation Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) architecture. It has 480 CUDA cores, which is doubled the shader horsepower of GT200. The geometry pipeline is renovated, with more improved performance in geometry shading, stream out, and culling. The number of ROP (Raster Operations) units per ROP partition is doubled (to 48 in total). The new video card is ready to astonish you with improved fillrate, that enables multiple displays to be driven with ease. 8xMSAA performance optimized through enhanced ROP compression. The utility of additional ROP is to provide better balance and performance even for uncompressed portions of the scene. The texture units is redesigned for improved efficiency and higher level performance in real-world application.
Specifications and Features


Memory: 1280MB/320-bit GDDR5
Cores: 448
Power Connectors: 2X 6-pin
Power: 215W
Thermal: Dual Slot Fansink
Outputs: DL-DVI

We got the specification details from

$499 (approx. Rs.22500)

April 2010.

NVIDIA is a bit late with their DX11-class cards, but it’s better late than never. NVIDIA is hopeful about its strong product giving a tough competition to others and also to their previous products. It has finally come with the graphics card, that is ultimate for the hardcore gamers.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kingfisher bomb: Prime suspect in custody

Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 28 (ANI): The Kerala Police have placed an employee of a private cargo firm in Thiruvannthapuram in its custody for his alleged involvement in putting an explosive device on a Kingfisher flight on March 21.

The arrest is likely to be recorded later today.

Investigators have declined to identity the man and said it would be revealed after all formalities are completed.

The explosive device was found in the cargo section of the Kingfisher plane after it had landed in Thiruvananthapuram from Bangalore last Sunday. The flight had 27 passengers and four crew members.

All passengers were deplaned after a cargo cleaner alerted CISF officials about a suspicious object onboard.

A Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) was rushed to the airport to check out crude bomb.

It was defused and taken off the aircraft. (ANI)

Godhra riots: SIT chief says questioning of Modi is a big step forward

Gandhinagar, Mar.28 (ANI): Special Investigating Team (SIT) head R K Raghavan has said the questioning of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the 2002 communal riots and particularly with regard to the Gulbarg Society massacre, is a big step forward in seeking to deliver justice to the victims.

But he said it is the Supreme Court’s responsibility to decide whether a case needs to be filed against Modi.

Declining to reveal details of the questioning, Raghavan said former CBI DIG A K Malhotra had grilled Modi in two sessions, and when the time was appropriate, he would interact with Malhotra to formulate his assessment of the questioning.

Raghavan said he was happy that the SIT appointed by the Supreme Court, could get Modi for questioning and that it will have to appreciate the evidence before making any comments on the issue.

"It is a very big step forward in trying to understand and unravel quite a few mysteries in the matter...I am happy that we were able to get the CM for questioning. I have to appreciate the evidence," Raghavan said.

Raghavan said that the petition of Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed along with 68 others in the Gulbarg Housing Society riots in 2002, was the SIT''s "bible" and questions broadly related to it.

"I have greatest concern for the victims and I have never failed to take my eye away from justice. I am conscious of the sacred trust given by the Supreme Court," a private television channel quoted the SIT chief, as saying.

Asked why he did not question Modi, Raghavan said as the chief of SIT, he does not meet the witnesses or the accused and it is a job done by the investigating officer or the inquiry officer.

He said the SIT has the right to recall if there were "gaps" and that applied to any witness.

He said that he was reasonably confident about handing in the SIT report to the Supreme Court by the designated deadline of April 30. (ANI)

Gay couple to part ways following parents' pressure

Just two days after the first such public marriage in Manipur, a gay couple have agreed mutually to part ways following stiff resistance from their parents, police said on Saturday.

Parents of 26-year-old Soibam Sandip and 28-year-old Nikhil Hidangmayum had filed a complaint with Shingjamei police station in Imphal West district against the wedding held in Christian-style on Wednesday. The officer-in-charge of the police station counselled the gay couple, following which they agreed for a divorce, they said.

According to the parents, the marriage was conducted without their permission, although invitation cards were sent out to their friends about a week earlier.

Sandip works in a beauty parlour run by Nikhil.

Petrol bomb hurled at Meghalaya school principal's office

Unidentified persons today hurled a petrol bomb at the office of the principal of a premier school here, police said.

However, there was no casualty, they said.

The explosive damaged two window panes and some furniture inside the St Edmund's School located at Laitumkhrah, they added.

Today being a holiday, neither the principal nor any other staff was present in the office when the bomb was hurled, they said.

Militant lays down arms in Manipur

In a case of surrender, a militant of banned People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) in Manipur has laid down arms before a senior security official.

A press statement issued by the Assam Rifles said today Yengkhom Nabachandra (22), identified to be a PREPAK hardcore member, surrendered before the Commander of 26 sector of Assam Rifles Brig S K Bhanot yesterday.

He also deposited one 9mm pistol.

The authorities pledged to take all steps to rehabilitate the ultra.

Residents protest explosion - Imphal West seeks security

Imphal, March 27: A day after a grenade explosion wounded 12-year-old Thongram Jekojit, the residents of Mayengbam Leikai of Imphal West today slammed the government and those responsible for the blast.

Jekojit sustained splinter injuries on the right side of his face and thigh when a grenade exploded in front of a shop last evening.

The boy, undergoing treatment at Langol View Clinic in Imphal West, is stable.

No group claimed responsibility for the blast. “The bomb could have killed many people at the time. It is because of sheer luck that Jekojit survived the blast. We condemn the incident,” Sanatombi Devi, an aunt of the boy, said.

She alleged that the incident took place because of security lapses.

“Those responsible for it should issue a clarification to the people on why they hurt a minor boy by exploding a bomb in a crowded place. The government should take up measures to prevent such incidents,” she said.

The residents said no one knew what happened, as people present there were busy shopping and returning to their homes.

The residents said a security vehicle had passed the area shortly before the blast.

“We cannot not say whether it was an attack on the security convoy or the bomb fell on the convoy or the perpetrators exploded the grenade to target civilians,” another resident said.

The site of the blast is very close to a fuel pump. However, officials ruled out the possibility of the pump being the target, as the owner did not have any dispute with any armed group and had not received monetary demands from any militant group.

Women of Mayengbam Leikai today staged a sit-in near the site of the explosion to condemn the incident. Most shops near the site of the blast remained closed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Babri mosque demolition case: IPS officer says Advani gave incendiary speeches

Rae Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), Mar 26 (ANI): Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Anju Gupta, who is on deputation with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Delhi, on Friday told a Rae Bareilly court that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani gave incendiary speeches on December 6, 1992 asserting that the temple would be built at the same place.

Gupta, who was posted as Advani''s personal security officer during the period, said in the court, "I received Advani from the Faisabad border and he was present at the Ram Katha Kunj along with a host of other BJP leaders."

"Kalraj Mishra, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal and Pramod Mahajan were the other leaders present at the venue," she added.

"Advani said to his supporters that the temple would be built at the same place," she claimed.

Encouraged by Advani''s speech, Gupta further said the ''Kar Sevaks'' moved towards the area with daggers in their hands, as the Ram Katha Kunj was only 150 meters away from the site.

She also said that senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar provoked the crowd.

Earlier, she arrived in court this morning to record her testimony as a witness for the prosecution against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani and other Sangh Parivar leaders.

Gupta was posted as Advani''s personal security officer during the period when the BJP was bringing its supporters to Ayodhya for ''kar seva'' at the mosque, claimed by the Sangh Parivar to be the birthplace of Lord Rama.

Immediately after the riots in 1993, Gupta had told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) how Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and the rest had expressed delight over the demolition of the mosque.

CBI Director Ashwani Kumar had reportedly written to Cabinet Secretary K Chandrashekhar urging him to release Gupta for the important hearing on the Babri Mosque demolition case.

A special Ayodhya court in Rae Bareilly had earlier discharged Advani on the plea that charges against him were based on mere suspicion. The CBI dropped the charge of criminal conspiracy - Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) - in its revised charge sheet submitted before the Rae Bareilly court on the directives of the Allahabad High Court.

The revised chargesheet contained relatively milder sections under the Indian Penal Code - Sections 153-A, 153-B (propagating communal violence), 147, 149 (rioting) and 505 (spreading ill-will). This was believed to be the result of CBI''s failure to press the charges strongly. (ANI)

Supreme Court rejects PIL for M F Husain''s return

New Delhi, Mar 26 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which urged the Central Government to take steps to ensure M F Husain''s safe return to India and withdraw all cases pending against him.

The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan rejected the petition, saying Husain has every right to stay in India, but he has to take a decision in this regard

The Supreme Court said it could not direct the Union of India to withdraw the cases as private individuals had filed the complaints.

The judges were hearing the petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh. He had filed the PIL on February 26. (ANI)

LG GW620: Price and Specification

Kolkata – LG has announced a brand new Android Phone for the Indian Market that will also have a nice touchscreen as well as a full slide out five line QWERTY keypad. The phone is priced at Rs. 18990 in India except Chhattisgarh where the price is set at Rs. 19990. But if you are an experienced customer or have some personal relationship with the seller you can grab one at around Rs. 18,000.

To speak about the specification about the phone I must say that I didn’t find anything missing on this device. Apart from the physical QWERTY keypad, there is a 3 inch capacitive TFT Screen. There is a 5MP camera that can record videos as well with QVGA resolution. The camera also supports some advanced features such as geo-tagging using which the camera can automatically tag photos where they were taken. There are also other features such as face detection and image stabilization that will correct your images if your hand shook a little bit while taking the pictures.

The phone is also a multimedia blockbuster. The video player can play even DivX files apart from other common file formats. Music enthusiasts will love this phone as it comes with a standard 3.5 mm audio jack so that you can connect your favorite headphone with this device.The phone also supports MicroSD Cards upto 32 GB which would be enough to store all your favorite music and videos. Other connectivity options include 3G, GPRS, EDGE, WLAN, Bluetooth and micro USB connectivity with PC.

Sprint HTC Evo 4G Review and Pictures

Sprint and HTC have entered into a joint venture to bring an unmatched device to the U.S. Evo is the first ever 4G phone in the US(also capable of 3G signal). HTC’s Evo 4G combined with unprecedented speed, size and power is one of the best Android phones out there. It allows up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including laptop, camera, music player, video player and any other Wi-Fi-enabled device, to enjoy the benefits of 4G speeds on the go.

Previously Sprint has launched 4G technology in Baltimore in September 2008. Sprint 4G covers more than 30 million people and with Evo, it expects to have up to 120 million people covered by the end of 2010.

Sprint Evo’s 4G network is empowered by Clearwire, the company behind building of the WiMAX network. But, Sprint is the only national wireless carrier to offer 4G services on the Clearwire WiMAX network.

Have a look what are the key features (I also tried to pick some exclusive new features of EVO) EVO unleashes.

Enjoy watching smooth HD video on live like screen. Evo has impressively bright 480×800 TFT LCD display resolution. With 4.3-inch multitouch screen EVO 4G has the largest pinch-to-zoom displays in the wireless industry.

Evo has a slick and sturdy looks. It is made off glass, plastic and aluminum, so doesn’t appear bulky in hand.

EVO 4G is powered by 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, also found in HTC Nexus One.
Operating System

Evo will run on Android 2.1. Sprint and HTC has come together with an innovative plan. They want to merge the Android platform into 4G world with the help of Evo. This would enhance the performance speed of Android apps and also make access to thousands of apps from Android market using Google services like Google Goggles, Google Earth and other searches. Overall, You would enjoy a faster and better web browsing than ever before.

EVO is coming with dual cameras an 8.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with HD-capable video recorder and a forward-facing 1.3 megapixel camera. HTC EVO 4G unleashes the ability to create, stream and watch video that far surpasses expectations of what is possible on a phone today.

1GB of built-in storage, along with 512MB of RAM.
Internet Accessibility

HTC EVO 4G will deliver a smooth and no-compromise Internet experience. Adobe Flash technology is there to ensure that users can watch embedded video, animation, or other rich Internet content without sacrificing the intended quality.

HTC EVO 4G has the fastest data speeds of any U.S. wireless device available today. 4G delivers download speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G1. It is possible to download music, pictures, files, or videos in seconds. In case of upload, HTC EVO 4G is a bit slow. But you can post high-quality video to YouTube or Facebook, or share moments in real time over the Internet live, via Qik.
Social Networking

Social networking is also going to be easier with EVO. EVO 4G adds a number of new features, including Friend Stream, which aggregates multiple social communication channels including Facebook and Twitter into one organized flow of updates
Other Features

A heap of new features are available with HTC EVO 4G.

* Android 2.1 brings you an unique opportunity to search pictures instead of words. By just taking a picture of several restaurant options, HTC EVO 4G will provide restaurant reviews to help you choose the best one.

* HTC EVO 4G is incorporated with an excellent feature — built-in voice-to-text technology. By pressing a button on the screen and speaking, while keeping in touch, your message or email will be composed.

* HTC EVO 4G users will have access to thousands of applications, widgets and games, which they can download and install on their phone through Android Market.

* Like HD2 Mini, Desire, Sense interface is revamped in EVO 4G. It includes a new feature called Leap. Leap is an elegant way for providing multitask support. If you pinch anywhere on the homescreen, you will be given seven thumbnail versions of your open pages, there after you can go to any of those open applications or close each of them.

Price and Availability

Sprint has not disclosed the price of EVO 4G yet. You can expect it in this summer.

Will 100$ Marvell Tablet (1080p full-HD capability, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity and FM radio) Kill Apple iPad?

NEW YORK CITY — Marvell, the leading manufacturer in integrated silicon solutions is all set to launch a high performance mobile tablet. The Moby tablet with 1080p full-HD capability, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS connectivity and FM radio will be an all-in-one device.

Marvell’s Moby tablet is aimed at bringing radical changes in the way of learning. For this reason Marvell has targeted the students. Marvell’s tablet will provide an array of choices for learning — books, online sources, text, video, news, music, data expression or any medium. With the help of this device students can conduct research and communicate with many wise and educated professionals around the globe. Thus they can enrich their knowledge.

Besides working as a supreme learning tool, Marvell’s Moby tablet will ease the problem of high price rate of books. Students don’t have to bother about an old version of textbooks and moreover they will not have to carry heavy school bags. Marvell’s ultra thin and light Moby tablet is expected to hold a full year’s worth of books but weigh less than half of one typical textbook. These are some key areas Marvell tablet focuses.

In this context I want to inform you that tablets have started their journey with Apple. Apple launched iPad on April 3, 2009. Since then, other giant PC makers like HP, Dell and Samsung are also claiming to release tablets very soon. And now with Marvell announcing to unveil Moby tablet, the comparison between Apple iPad and Moby tablet begins shaping up.

We are more or less familiar with the features of Apple iPad.Though Marvell hasn’t revealed detailed technical specifications of the Moby tablet, we got to know some of those. Let’s see what are the striking features.

Graphics – High performance 1080p full-HD 3D graphics
Operating System — Either Android or Windows Phone 7.
Software Support — Adobe Flash
Processor – 1.2-GHz
Battery Life — Long
USB port and internet connectivity.

Price : $100

Marvell is planning to launch Moby tablet by Q4 of this year. We will find out whether Marvell tablet will keep up with our expectation and be a trueApple iPad killer. What do you think about the tablet, soon to be gifted by Marvell?

Maoists kill two CPI (M) leaders in Medinipur

West Medinipur (West Bengal), March 25 (ANI): A group of over 100 Maoists raided a village and gunned down two local leaders of Communist Party of India (Marxist) at Silda in West Medinipur district of West Bengal on Wednesday (March 24).

They also attacked and caused extensive damage to the premises of the Range Forest Office.

Reportedly, after setting the office buildings of the party office on fire, they gunned down two party members to death.

The targeted party workers were identified as Himangshu Dey and Sibu Mondal.

Some leaflets against the ''Operation Green Hunt'' were found lying near the dead bodies with a warning that if the operation continued they would continue with their attack on the state government, presently ruled by the CPM-led Left Front.

A Range Forest Officer, who was also attacked, managed to survive.

"They first started smashing everything; then they began knocking on my door with iron rods. I opened the door and a Maoist man hit me on my head and face. He was armed with two rifles, bow and arrow, iron rod and also an axe over his shoulder. There were 150 Maoists including half a dozen women Maoists," said Kalipada Singh, Range Forest Officer, Silda.

The Maoists contend that they are fighting for the rights of the poor and marginal farmers and the landless labourers.

The Maoist rebels have ignored repeated calls from the government to renounce violence and negotiate.

Instead, they have stepped up attacks in recent months, prompting the government to go after them in a concerted strike.

Thousands have been killed in the Maoist insurgency, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as the gravest domestic threat to India''s internal security. (ANI)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Singer Johnny Maestro of The Brooklyn Bridge dies in Florida

Singer Johnny Maestro dies in Fla.

NEW YORK — Singer Johnny Maestro of the rock-and-roll and doo-wop band The Brooklyn Bridge has died.

Original band member Les Cauchi says Maestro died late Wednesday in Florida. Maestro was 70 and had been battling cancer. His last residence was in Cape Coral, Fla.

Maestro begin his career in the 1950s with The Crests, whose hits included “16 Candles.”

He later joined The Brooklyn Bridge, which has continued to perform.

Cauchi said the group performed its hit, “The Worst That Could Happen,” on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Other well-known songs include “Blessed is the Rain” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

On the Net:

Ex-King Gyanendra’s statement on monarchy a daydream, say Nepali leaders

KATHMANDU - Most Nepali leaders have described a recent statement by former Nepal monarch King Gyanendra that “the monarchy hasn’t completely ended” as a daydream.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said on Thursday: “It is only a day dream to say that the monarchy still exists in the country. So, the meeting did not discuss about his remarks.

Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) Chairman Mahantha Thakur expressed surprise over the former king’s remark and joked that the former king might have made such remarks in delusion.

Meanwhile, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha claimed that the latest statement by former King Gyanendra has made it clear that counter revolutionaries are conspiring in the country.

“The deposed king gave his recent statement with the support from counter revolutionary forces, Kantipur quoted him as saying.

He remarked that yesterday’s statement of the ex-monarch that the monarchy could resurrect is an audacious attempt to disrespect the people.

Former king in an interview with a private television channel on Wednesday aid it is hypothetical to say that the monarchy has been abolished in the country.

The former king said that he does not think that the monarchy has ended. “While turning the pages of the country’s history, there are ups and downs..,” he said, adding that people will decide considering this and (all should) take this up.n February 2005, Gyanendra Shah sacked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and started ruling directly.

Following the royal takeover, the seven major political parties formed a broader alliance and joined hands with the rebels Maoists signing a 12-point understanding which paved way for the 2006 April movement (Janandolan II ) that eventually pulled down monarchy and carved out Constituent Assembly polls.

The 240-years monarchy got officially abolished in the first meeting the Constituent Assembly of May 28, 2008 and the country was baptized a republic. (ANI)

When an anti-poppy raid went in vain in Manipur

UKHRUL - An anti-poppy operation launched by volunteers of All Manipur Anti Drug Association (AMADA), Assam Rifles, Litan police station, and Narcotics Control Bureau (Imphal Unit) met with disappointment, as poppy cultivators had already extracted the seeds from the plants before the arrival of the team in Ukhrul district of Manipur state.

The joint team uncovered a poppy cultivation site of about 2,000 acres in Ukhrul district alone. But on its arrival at the spot, it turned out that nearly all the poppy seeds had been harvested leaving the plants standing.

The team also discovered that an adjoining field of about the same size had been cleared, apparently for planting more poppy plants. All the plants were destroyed.

R K Ibosana Singh, intelligence officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Imphal unit, said that on the basis of anonymous tips, they have launched a massive campaign, ‘Operation Armstrong II’, to destroy poppy plantations in all the hill districts of Ukhrul, Chandel and Churachandpur in Manipur state.

“Without expressing the name of the informer, they come to office and say-as a young citizen I have all the right to inform these things for the betterment of our society. There are some poppy plants, planted by some unknown persons, and this makes all the youth intoxicated by taking it in mouth and by boiling it….and taking it in liquid form,” said Singh.

The team also found makeshift huts constructed at the poppy cultivation sites to ostensibly store the poppy harvest.

Empty boxes of khaini (tobacco), which were used for scrapping opium from poppy fruits, were also found.

Local villagers say that they are compelled to cultivate poppy since they do not have alternatives to sustain their livelihood.

“Every community comes and buys the extracted opium, including Meitei, and Kukis. Our village is very poor. So we have planted them to sustain our livelihood. As we don’t have any agricultural land, we buy our daily basic needs with the income generated from these plants,” said Lhungpu Haokip, village chief of Thawaii village, Ukhrul.

The Anti-Narcotics Department of Manipur has noted that a high income generated from the poppy cultivation coupled with demand from Myanmar has led villagers in the border area of the state to growing poppies illegally.

As per reports, the crude produce of poppy grown in the state is smuggled out to cater to the Golden Triangle through the porous Indo-Myanmar border.

The Golden Triangle is located in the hilly terrains of the South East Asian countries, namely Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, and is considered to be one of the largest heroin producing zones of the world.

India allows poppy cultivation under licence in very small pockets and under strict supervision, with the produce solely used for medicinal use. (ANI)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Opposition parties decide to boycott urban bodies polls

The opposition parties in Sikkim today announced their decision to boycott the ensuing urban bodies polls slated to be held on April 27 claiming that the entire election process was 'defective' and 'anti-Sikkimese'.

The state government had conducted the delimitation of the municipalities, nagar panchayats and nagar nigams in an arbitrary manner without consulting the opposition and giving a hearing to the people, alleged the state Congress President Nar Bahadur Bhandari and announced the decision of the opposition parties to boycott the urban bodies polls.

The representatives of the opposition parties like the Congress, BJP and SHRPP had walked out of an all-party meeting called by the state election authorities to seek their support for conduct of the urban bodies polls.

Another opposition party SNPP had announced its decision to boycott the urban bodies polls last week.

Bhandari alleged that the arbitrary manner of delimitation of the territories of various urban bodies and delimitation of seats for various communities were done without consultation with the opposition and the general public to leave them with no no option but to stay away from the urban bodies polls till rectification of the anomalies.

Manipur youths post ire agaist army's special powers

As part of their pressure on the central government, Manipur youth would send al least 15,000 postcards to President Pratibha Patil demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the militancy-ravaged northeastern state, youth leaders said here Tuesday.

The postcard campaign is being organised by the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI), a junior partner of the Congress-led coalition government in Manipur.

"At least 15,000 postcards would be sent to the president, urging to revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, (AFSPA) from the state," AIYF president Purnimashi Devi told reporters.

The printed postcard reads: "We, the members of the AIYF, on behalf of the Indian youth, appeal to you (President of India) in unison to intervene and initiate urgent measures to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the northeastern states."

"The act has consistently violated the fundamental rights of Indian citizens and denied civil liberties to those living in the northeastern region," it said.

"Continuous acts of violence, including rape and arson, have been perpetrated against innocent citizens since the implementation of this act. Various democratic forces have opposed this draconian act for the past decades," the postcards added.

The postcard carries pictures of Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast-unto-death for 10 years for the repeal of the act in the state.

Sharmila, 38, was re-arrested earlier March 10 by police on charges of attempted suicide, soon after her release from judicial custody. She was sent to a prison hospital and put on a nasal drip.

The postcard appeal has also urged the president to hold political talks with separatists' outfits without any pre-condition.

The AFSPA provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight and arrest anybody without a warrant, and is a sensitive issue in Manipur.