Sunday, January 23, 2011

North East Shuttles to acquire 3 more aircraft for $7.5 mn

As a part of its efforts to enhance air connectivity in the country's North-East region, non-scheduled operator--North East Shuttles--plans to acquire three more aircraft this year at a cost of $7.5 million, a top company official said. The private operator currently provides air services across Assam, Manipur and Mizoram with three small aircraft.


"We are in talks with some aircraft manufacturers to acquire three new aircraft," North East Shuttles' Managing Director Capt Shoba K Mani said on the sidelines of the 6th North East Business Summit organised by the Indian Chambers of Commerce in Mumbai.
The company is also in discussions with aircraft makers for funding the acquisition of the three aircraft at a cost of $2.5 million each.
These aircraft would be used to commence new routes which are being worked out, Mani said.
Once the aircraft are inducted into the fleet, North East Shuttles will operate 150 more flights per month, the company official said, adding Dimapur, Dibrugarh and Leelabai (an airstrip in Assam and skirting Itanagar) are the new air bases which it was looking to operate flights from.
"We are also in advanced stages of negotiations with the Arunachal Government to operate air services from there," Mani said.
North East Shuttles currently operates 380 flights a month with two 18-seater Dornier 228 and one nine-seater Cessna Caravan aircraft, connecting Guwahati with Imphal and Aizawl, Silchar with Guwahati, Aizawl and Imphal and Imphal and Silchar.
Besides, the company also provides charter and medical emergency evauation services as well.

India's first implant injectible contraceptive


Mumbai: Another option for all women looking at family spacing or who just want to play it safe, there's something that promises to help you stay away from the tedious pill routine.
The matchstick size injectable implant, clinically tested by the ICMR over 6 years on 3000 healthy women , has proved to be 100 per cent efficient in warding off pregnancy for 3 years.
The contraceptive is a heavy dose of hormone progesterone, but medics claim, side-effects are minimal.

Dr Rekha Daver, HOD Gynecology, JJ Hospital, Mumbai says, "Scientists have done a research and now we have third generation Progesterone which have minimum side effects, hormones will always have a side effect, because you are taking in the body. But these progesterone are the safest, they have minimal side effects on our blood, cholesterol, coagulation."


At regular intervals this implant releases hormone progesterone in the body which acts as a preventive against pregnancy. Now the whole procedure takes five minutes. But there are some side-effects.


Dr Rekha Daver says, "Side effects range from Cycle change to weight gain, irregular spotting or bleeding, patient has to be cancelled for that."


The trial also found that the women got back to their regular fertility cycles at the end of the three-year period and were able to conceive.


Available in 18 countries worldwide, the injectable implant had over 550 cases of failure in the London trials.


But experts attribute that to an incorrect method of administration.


The Health Ministry plans to launch this radical method of contraception on a national scale. But consult your doctor to see what contraceptive method is best suited for you.

Jaipur Lit Fest: S Asia Lit prize to HM Naqvi


Jaipur: Karachi-based author HM Naqvi beat out stiff competition from five contenders to win the first DSC Literature Prize for South Asia for his debut novel 'Home Boy'.
The $50,000 award was instituted last year by infrastructure firm DSC, which is also the main sponsor of the Jaipur Literature Festival, and is aimed at honouring work of literature that deals with South Asia as a subject matter.
36-year-old Naqvi's 'Home Boy' is a story of three Pakistani men living in New York who find themselves at the centre of a charged atmosphere post 9/11.
"I started writing the book in 2003, and since 2003 to 2011 I was working very hard. Most of the time I would work till 6 in the morning. I was almost a destitute when I wrote Home Boy, it was lots of hard work," he said after being adjudged the winner.
Among the contenders for the prize were Amit Chadhuri's 'The Immortals', Musharraf Ali Farooqi's 'The Story of a Widow', Tania James' 'Atlas of Unknowns', Manju Kapur's 'The Immigrant' and Neel Mukherjee's 'A Life Apart'.
The award was instituted at the Jaipur Literature Festival last year and the shortlist of six books was announced in October.
DSC Director Manhad Narula, the brain behind the award, said he hoped it would have an impact on the scene of literature in South Asia as this was the first such prize honouring work on this subject.
"Some literature prizes tend to give more importance to the author rather than to his or her work. But I hope through this award we are able to ensure what matters is what the author is writing about," he said.
He said one of the measures that would go a long away in ensuring credibility to the award is the fact that it honours work on the subject of South Asia, be it by any author of any nationality.
"It’s about time South Asians have our own damn award," said an elated Naqvi.
Asked if he had to say something to his critics, the 36-year-old author said: "Mercifully in the US, in India as well as in Pakistan, my critics have been few. But all criticisms of Home Boy are valued. It is a debut novel and it has all the strengths and weaknesses of a debut novel."
The winner was decided by a jury chaired by Nilanjana S Roy, along with Lord Mathew Evans, Ian Jack, Amitava Kumar and Moni Mohsin.
Awarded for the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, the prize is given to works published in English, and includes translations in English with a share of the award money also going to the translator.
Jury chairperson Nilanjana S Roy said the award had helped fill a blank space in the region.
"We are beginning to debate what exactly is Asian literature. The winner of this prize might not even be a South Asian," she said.
Jury member Ian Jack said the choice for the award was difficult and the jury was divided till the last moment.

Sukna case: pension cut for Lt Gen Rath

Lt Gen PK Rath, convicted in the Sukna land scam on Friday, will continue to hold his three-star rank, but will lose service seniority and take home the pension of a colonel when he retires in February next year. A military court on Saturday reduced Rath’s seniority by 15 years for the purpose of related stories Tribunal rejects Lt Gen Rath's plea in Sukna land scam case Sukna scam: Rath's 'open arrest' revoked Lt Gen Rath found guilty in Sukna land scam Army shame: Lt Gen Rath found guilty in Sukna scam fixing his pension and service seniority by 18 months, besides a severe reprimand.

Rath — the senior-most serving Indian Army officer to be convicted in a court martial — will get a pension of R48,000 a month compared to the Rs 58,000 a lieutenant general takes home. The General Court Martial, convened in Shillong on Friday, found Rath guilty of striking a deal with a realtor, Dilip Agarwal, for facilitating the transfer of 71 acres of land next to the Sukna military station in West Bengal. Rath was found guilty of issuing a no-objection certificate and illegally signing a memorandum of understanding with the realtor, keeping his superiors in the dark. But four charges of fraud against him could not be established. Rath was a former commander of the Sukna station in north Bengal. But a former judge advocate general — chief of the army’s legal branch — said on condition of anonymity: “Rath has been let off lightly. The offences he has been convicted for involve moral turpitude. He could have been dismissed.” Rath’s sentence will now have to be confirmed by the army chief and if the punishment is found inadequate, the court may be asked to review its decision. Rath’s conviction has also paved the way for former military secretary Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash’s court martial. A court of inquiry into the Sukna scam had indicted Prakash, too, in December 2009. Prakash was accused of furthering the interests of Agarwal and influencing Rath to swing the deal in the realtor's favour.



Ahead of the Republic Day Celebrations, a powerful bomb rocked Imphal east district, damaging at least 5 houses in Tirupati. No casualty has been reported… Manipur Commerce & Industry Minister Y. Irabot who is also the Local MLA has condemned the blast… 
A powerful blast went off on Friday night at around 9:45pm in Imphal East district in Tirupati, an area inhabited by the minority, non-local petty traders and hawkers, residing in Manipur, causing heavy damages to at least five houses. Miraculously, there was no human casualty.Soon after the blast, the local MLA of the area, Shri Y Irabot, the Commerce & Industry Minister rushed to the spot and consoled the traumatize people of Tirupati. The Minister condemned the cowardly act and did not rule a connection of the blast with the controversies over a proposed building of a local deity temple in place of an existing Hindu temple and said it a case of picking on soft target.This is the first violent incident in the run up to the Republic Day celebrations routinely boycotted by militants..militants operating in Manipur warn of violent activities to prevent the 26th January celebrations in the State.

Cong speaks Omar's words on BJP's R-Day plans

New Delhi: Backing the measures of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to deal with the march of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) youth wing to Srinagar, the Congress said on Saturday that the state administration was fully empowered to deal with the situation. "Whosoever from any quarter, irrespective of ideology, religion, or political affiliation, tries to create any ambiance of provocation, tension or antagonism in Jammu and Kashmir is doing a great disservice to the nation and deserves to be condemned unequivocally," party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said without specifically referring to the march. Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists have announced their plans to hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day.

The Congress is sharing power with the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir.


After a high-level meeting presided over by Abdullah on Thursday, the state government said it had directed the civil and police authorities to ensure that all measures are taken to ensure that the law and order in the state is not disturbed in the run up to the Republic Day celebrations.


The BJP has planned a public meeting in Jammu January 25 to coincide with the march of its youth activists.