Saturday, March 26, 2011

Auto graveyard born from Japan tsunami wreckage


Miyako: The destruction wrought by the tsunami that slammed Japan two weeks ago has given rise to graveyards for machinery pulled from the wreckage.
Cars mangled by the massive wall of water that destroyed into Japan's northeast coast are being removed by construction equipment, placed on trucks and laid to rest by the thousands on flood plains once covered with water.
The cars, many of which are marked with spray paint to indicate if bodies needed to be removed from inside, are laid in neat rows with license plates easily visible for license owners or family members hoping to find lost vehicles.
"I parked near the office, saw the tsunami from my window and after the water withdrew, my car was nowhere to be seen," said Motohiro Yamazaki, who was looking for his Suzuki among hundreds of wrecked cars at auto graveyards in the tsunami-devastated city of Miyako.
Workers are slowly clearing paths through the destruction with bulldozers, leveling land after fire fighters have checked and made sure there are no bodies buried in the debris.
The city of Sendai has used parks and baseball fields as dumping grounds for electronics removed from the debris.
Residents trickle into an open field of destroyed vehicles in Miyako to take off license plates and remove registration forms, which will make it easier for them to cut through red tape with insurance companies and the government to declare their cars dead.
"I left my drivers license, work license and health insurance card in the car. I can't go to the hospital without that."
Two weeks after the tsunami, electricity has been turned on again to many areas on higher ground near the devastation, mobile phones service is slowly being restored and goods have finally appeared on once empty store shelves.
Yamazaki's car, however, was nowhere to be found.
"I guess it's somewhere in the Pacific Ocean."
japan auto graveyard born from japan tsunami wreckage

ULFA calls strike against PM's Assam visit

Guwahati: The Paresh Baruah faction of ULFA has called a 12-hour Assam bandh on Monday to protest the visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to campaign in Assam for the Assembly polls. The Prime Minister has "failed" to keep his written promise to discuss all the core issues for political solution of the Assam-India conflict, the outfit said in an e-mail to the media. Accusing Singh of "being the Prime Minister after acquiring his Assam residency documents without following rules", the ULFA alleged, "under his leadership a new conspiracy has been hatched to divide Assam and make the Assamese community extinct". "Singh has divided the ULFA to destroy the organisation," also asserted the e-mail signed by ULFA central publicity wing convener Arunudoy Dehotia. The underground group also threatened to call such strikes even when other central ministers or leaders from any political parties come here as "colonial India has sown the seed of divisiveness among the indigenous people of Assam and the North-East region to continue its domination here". "Till the rights of the indigenous people here are established, such bandh calls will continue," the ULFA warned.


Swedish supercar Koenigsegg coming to India

Koenigsegg is partnering with Gurgaon-based InterGlobe Enterprises for their India launch, say reports. The launch is expected to be on March 29, 2011. Koenigsegg's high-end cars carry a price tag of Rs 9.6-10 crore. The latest Koenisegg model, Agera R, was launched at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The Koenigsegg Agera was awarded the Hypercar of the Year by BBC Top Gear. The Koenigsegg CCXR was chosen by Forbes as one of the ten most beautiful cars in history. The first car from the Koenigsegg stable was the Koenigsegg CC.

Govt funds non-existent schools in Assam


Guwahati: The election campaign in Assam is gathering momentum with politicians battling more for votes and less for issues. But education seems far from their agenda.
Government schools in Assam are in shambles. And an RTI filed by a student has revealed shocking revelations.
The BR Ambedkar School in Guwahati, which has apparently received Rs 4,01,450 for its 217 students - actually does not exist.
There is money trickling in for schools which exist only on paper and not in reality. For example, one such school is the Dr BR Ambedkar school in Lachitpur. You can see the list of students and the money that has been procured in their name. But go around Lachitpur and you will find no trace of this school.
The Mangal Chandi Hindi LP School is another example. The headmaster says that funds for the dalits were instead going to a school - which had ceased to exist since 1991. In 2009-10, this non-existent school received Rs 2,94,150.
Headmaster NP Singh said, "This school does not exist, I don't know who these children are. This signature is also fake and this headmaster doesn't exist."
When we confronted the Department of Welfare for SCs and STs, which sanctions these funds, they blame it on shortage of manpower, but promise to investigate.
None of the senior officials we tried to contact were available for comment. All saying they were busy with election preparations. They may not speak to us, but they definitely owe an explanation to the people of Assam, especially the children, who's future is under threat.

India offers a helping hand to quake-hit Myanmar


New Delhi: India on Friday expressed readiness to assist Myanmar in whatever way it can in the relief efforts following a strong earthquake there in which at least 75 people have been killed so far.
"We are saddened to learn about the loss of lives and damage to property in the recent earthquake in Myanmar. India has conveyed its deep condolences to the Government of Myanmar and expressed readiness to assist them in whatever way we can in their relief efforts," Ministry of External Affairs said in a release here.
India is in close touch with the Government of Myanmar in this connection, it said.
myanmar earthquake
At least 75 people were killed and over 110 injured so far when a strong earthquake struck Myanmar, officials said, with fears that the toll would rise as news filtered through from remote areas still cut off.

Jats to end stir, Hooda to set quota commission


New Delhi: The Jat protestors are planning to withdraw their three-week-long protest after talks with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. An official confirmation is likely to take place on Saturday afternoon.
The Jats have been demanding reservation in government jobs under OBC quota. The meeting with Hooda has resulted in the setting up of the 'Haryana Backward Classes Commission' within a month.
The Jat agitation had paralysed rail traffic in many parts of northern India.
They have now agreed to lift all blockades, especially after the Supreme Court directed the Haryana and UP governments to immediately control the situation.
The Commission would consider the demand of communities of Roar, Jat, Jat Sikh, Tyagi, Bishnoi would come under the ambit of the Backward Classes.
The decision to withdraw the agitation comes a day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Haryana government to immediately get the rail tracks cleared of protesters to restore normal movement of trains.
The high court had also directed all the groups spearheading the Jat agitation to exclude the blockades of trains from their agitational programmes with immediate effect.
Also, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan governments to ensure that supply of essential commodities including water to the national capital was not disrupted in the wake of threats by Jats agitating for quota in central jobs.

Mysterious disease kills 5 in Mizoram

A mystery disease has killed five persons in a remote tribal village in southern Mizoram. A forum for the tribe has rapped local authorities for delayed response to the epidemic-like crisis. Officials in southern Mizoram's Lunglei district confirmed the death of five persons at village Thanzamasora during the past fortnight. They suspect the cause of the disease to be acute respiratory infections including pneumonia, but are not very sure.

Thanzamasora is a Chakma tribal dominated village.
Underlining the seriousness of the issue, the Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) on Friday sought Lunglei deputy commissioner M Zohmingthangi's intervention. It also asked the medical officers concerned to provide immediate medical facilities to prevent the epidemic from spreading.
"Apart from the five who died many others are sick but there is total lack of healthcare services. A medical team distributed some medicines but this is not enough. Worst, the superstitious villagers believe that deaths are due to black magic cast upon them. At least 13 families have already fled the village and more families are likely to flee if the situation is not brought under control immediately," said MCDF president Hemanta Larma.
He added, "Although the situation is taking a serious proportion, there is delayed response from the authorities. There seems to be some problem as Thanzamasora village is under the administrative control of Lunglei district but healthcare services falls under the chief medical officer of adjoining Lawngtlai district."

Manmohan Singh to watch Mohali match, invites Pak President, PM to join


New Delhi, Mar 25 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who will be watching the World Cup Cricket semifinal match between India and Pakistan on March 30, has invited President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to visit Mohali to join him and the millions of cricket fans of the subcontinent to watch the match.
"I propose to be at Mohali to watch the World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan to be held on 30th March. There is huge excitement over the match and we are all looking forward to a great game of cricket that will be a victory for sport. It gives me great pleasure to invite you to visit Mohali and join me and the millions of fans from our two countries to watch the match," said Dr. Singh in his letter to President Zardari.
Dr. Singh in his letter to Prime Minister Gilani said: "I propose to be at Mohali to watch the World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan to be held on 30th March. There is huge excitement over the match and we are all looking forward to a great game of cricket that will be a victory for sport.
"It gives me great pleasure to invite you and your gracious wife to visit Mohali and join me, my wife and the millions of fans from our two countries to watch the match," he added.
India is all set to encounter archrivals Pakistan in the semi-final stage at Mohali on March 30 following their five wickets victory against Australia in Thursday''s quarterfinal in Ahmedabad. (ANI)