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)