Friday, July 16, 2010

Trade unions call for shutdown against price rise on September 7

New Delhi, July 15 (ANI): Trade unions of the country including Congress party-backed INTUC (Indian National Trade Union Congress) will go on a day-long strike against price rise and other policies of the Central Government on September 7.Addressing a national convention of trade unions here on Thursday, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said this will be the biggest ever strike of the workers."All the central and trade unions together, including the INTUC, are going for a one-day strike primarily against price rise, against retrenchment, against underpayment, against poverty, against many of economic policies of the government, and it is going to be the biggest ever held worker's strike in the country," said Dasgupta.Members and leaders of INTUC, AITUC, Hind Mazdoor Sabah (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) and Labour Progressive Front (LPF) participated in the convention.Earlier on June 25, a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had lifted the pricing controls on petroleum following which the price of petrol went up by Rs 3.50 a litre.The Government hiked the prices of diesel by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder. (ANI)

Next round of Naga peace talks to resume toda

New Delhi, July 16 (ANI): The next round of peace talks between Centre''s representatives and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) leaders will be held here from today.NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and other senior functionaries of the group will attend the meeting.Before leaving for Delhi, Muivah told reporters at Dimapur airport that no dates had been fixed so far but hoped the dialogue would commence soon between the NSCN-IM leaders and the Centre''s representatives.Muivah, who wrapped up his nearly one-and-a-half-month-long peace mission with the last public meeting at Jalukie under Peren district, described his journey as successful.He also said that the resentment amongst the Naga tribal people over him being banned from visiting his hometown in Manipur was not such a big issue to withhold peace talks."I think that should not be a very big issue because, it is something natural and nobody can go against it," Muivah told reporters in Dimapur."I am exceedingly happy because I have the commitment and the support of the people particularly for the national decision, for the national rights. What is more than that? ...They have openly given the students that they would stand from the true to the end, just for the cause of the Naga people," he added.Earlier, he said the central government has the authority to resolve the issue."Everyone knows that central government is not subject to Manipur state. Manipur state is subject to the Central government, so they can solve. They have the authority to do it, but they don''t want to do it, why, because probably they have the personality and that problem would have to be solved by them first," he added.The Nagas have been demanding a free Nagalim state carved out of the northeastern region, including parts of Manipur.Manipuris oppose this and see Muivah''s attempt to visit his village as undermining their territorial integrity. (ANI)

Cabinet approves new symbol for rupee

The rupee will soon have a unique symbol joining elite currencies like the US dollar, Euro, British pound and Japanese yen in having a distinct identity. The new symbol was approved by the cabinet on Thursday. The Indian rupee will have its own symbol, a mix of the Devanagri 'Ra' and Roman 'R', to become the fifth currency in the world to have a distinct identity. The new symbol, designed by IIT post-graduate D Udaya Kumar was approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. Significantly, Kumar is all set to join as a faculty member in the IIT, Guwahati’s design department. The rupee will join the elite club of US dollar, British pound-sterling, Euro and Japanese yen to have its own symbol. The symbol will be printed or embossed on currency notes or coins. Kumar's entry was chosen from among 3,000 designs competing for the currency symbol. He will get an award of Rs 2.5 lakhs. Announcing the cabinet’s decision, Soni said the government will try that the symbol is adopted within six months in the country and globally within 18 to 24 months. The symbol will feature on computer key boards and software’s so that it can be printed and displayed in electronic and print. However, this isn't going to happen overnight. It may take up to a year for the new Rupee symbol to be used throughout India and about two years for international acceptance. For widespread usage, the new symbol has to be accepted by the Unicode Consortium's Unicode Technical Committee that is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Unicode Standard, including the Unicode Character Database. India is a member of the Unicode Consortium and getting an approval for the new symbol shouldn't be too difficult. In fact the new symbol had been designed keeping in mind the ease with which it can be incorporated into the existing software systems. The Unicode Technical Committee meets on a quarterly basis and the next meeting is scheduled for October. While the Government of India can mandate hardware manufacturers to include the symbol in keyboards, it can also be accessed through assigned keyboard combinations or via the operating system's Character Map, post approval from the Unicode Consortium. Software manufacturers can include the symbol in their new updates. However, people do not necessarily need to wait for the official standards approval to use the new Rupee symbol. Soon typographers will release fonts that include the symbol. But these fonts might not be universally supported.