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March 31, 2009

Sanjay Dutt barred from contesting Lok Sabha polls
New Delhi, March 31: In a landmark decision aimed at preventing the criminalisation of politics, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the plea moved by Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt seeking suspension of his Supreme Court has done well by not diluting the law. It’s a victory for constitutionalism.” SC reserves order The apex court had on Monday reserved its order on the actor’s plea. polls. The agency countered the contention of Dutt's counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve that he was only convicted on the basis of his confessional statement, saying the actor was held guilty not only on the basis of his confession but also that the court's findings were based on recoveries, disclosures and corroborative evidences. "It is not a case entirely based on confession but s u p p o r t e d b y disclosures, recoveries and corroboration of evidences," the ASG said. "The conviction under Arms Act cannot be o v e r s i g h t e d , " Subramanium said opposing Salve's submission that the 50year-old actor was absolved of serious offences under TADA, including entering into conspiracy with other accused in the March 1993 Mumbai blasts case. S a l v e contended that there was no reason to put up hurdles for the actor, who was convicted only once, in entering public life and his family antecedents should be taken into account to stay his conviction. He said Dutt had possessed arms as he feared a threat to the life of his father late Sunil Dutt and other members of his family after the January 1993 riots. Dutt sought suspension of the conviction on the grounds considered by the apex court while staying the conviction of BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road rage case. However, CBI opposed the contention, saying the case of cricketer-turnedpolitician stood on a different footing as he was acquitted by the trial court before it was overturned by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Subramanium said the CBI was also opposing Dutt's plea on the principle laid in the Representation of People's Act which under Section 8(3) prohibits a person sentenced to two years imprisonment from contesting the elections. "The statutory law (election law) strictly puts a bar on convicted persons from contesting elections," ASG said, adding that the power of the court to stay the conviction has to be exercised rarely. CBI was joined by several residents from Lucknow in opposing Dutt's plea, with their lawyers contending that relief by the apex court would lead to the "whole spectre" of criminals getting into public office. S e n i o r advocates Soli Sorabjee, KTS Tulsi and advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the residents submitted that allowing convicted persons to contest elections would strengthen criminalisation of politics which the apex court itself had tried to prevent. "If a person is convicted and not allowed to contest election there is no violation of fundamental right," Sorabjee said. Tulsi said any relief in the case would lead to a rush of petitions by criminals and the battle to clean public office of criminals would be defeated. Dutt in his petition contended that his conduct during the trial should be considered for granting him relief like cricketerturned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu. -Agencies

14 new judges sworn in as additional judges of Madras HC
Chennai, Mar 31 Fourteen newly appointed Judges to the Madras High Court were today sworn in as additional judges. Chief Justice H L Gokhale administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new judges. M s R S R a m a n a t h a n , B a l a s u n d a r a m Rajendran, Raja Elango, D u r a i s a m y Hariparanthaman, Cyril Thamarai Selvam, C h i n n a s a m y Swaminathan Karnan, Nadesa Gounder Kirubakaran, M M Sundresh, Thirunelveli Subbiah Sivagnanam, M Duraiswamy, T Raja, Kumari R Mala, Ms Aruna Jagadeesan and C M Akbar Ali, were sworn in as additional judges. After the swearing in, a welcome address was given by Advocate General G Masilamani. All the advocates association office-bearers and the advocates participated in the function. W i t h t h e addition to these judges, the strength of Madras High Court has gone up to 58 against its total sanctioned strength of 60.

conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case for contesting Lok Sabha polls. While passing its judgment, the apex court bench said, “We are not inclined to suspend his conviction. It was not a fit case to grant stay of conviction.” The Supreme Court’s decision has come as a major blow for the Samajwadi Party, which has announced to field the actor from the prestigious Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency. The decision has also shattered Dutt’s plans to enter politics. However, the Congress party and several eminent jurists have welcomed the SC decision to bar Sanjay Dutt from contesting polls. The Congress party has said that it would now field a candidate from the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency even if Dutt’s wife Manayata contests elections. Praising the SC decision, eminent jurist Soli Sorabji said, “Any other verdict would have sent a wrong signal. The

Dutt’s plea was strongly opposed by the CBI when it came up for hearing yesterday. T h e investigating agency, which had not opposed Dutt's bail when he was sentenced to six years imprisonment by a Mumbai TADA court, said a case cannot be made out to stay his conviction under the Arms Act to enable him to contest elections. The actor has raised legal points and referred to his family background to seek relief from the apex court. "No case can be made out to stay his conviction," Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium asserted before a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan. CBI contended that Dutt would not suffer irretrievable or irreparable injury if his plea was refused. The actor had sought suspension of conviction in order to enter public life by contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha

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Times Chennai E-Paper
Chennai, Mar 31: The rationalist Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) today pledged support to the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in Tamil Nadu for the May 13 Lok Sabha polls in the state. Adopting a resolution to this effect, the executive committee, chaired by DK president K Veeramani, called upon Kazhagam activists to campaign for the victory of candidates of DMK, Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The meeting also decided to release a book, containing the achievements of the DMK government, after it came to power in May 2006 and five-year achievements of C o n g r e s s - l e d U PA government at the Centre. Stating that the people of the state were very much worried about the Lankan Tamils issue, the executive said, the DMK, which had been showing concern over the issue, had twice lost its government for the cause of the Lankan Tamils.

March 31, 2009

New Syndicate members elected to the Madras University
Chennai, March 31: Six professors were elected to the Syndicate of the University of Madras on Saturday even as a section of the professors raised objections against the validity of some professors contesting for a place in the Syndicate. Prof H Devaraj, head (in charge), D e p a r t m e n t o f biotechnology, was elected to the Syndicate of the University of Madras on Saturday. But several people have expressed their surprise at his candidature, as he is only a head-in-charge. “He is the head of the department in place of another professor, who is on a sabbatical. W h e n t h e professor returns, then will the University conduct the elections again, as it is very clear that only the head of departments or institutions can become Syndicate members?’’ asks a professor of the University, who did not wish to be named. A term for a Syndicate lasts for three years, and those who have been elected to the office for two terms cannot contest again. But the ViceChancellor of the University of Madras, Prof S Ramachandran, refuted the charge of breaking of rules to accommodate Prof H Devaraj. He said that he is the head of the department of Biotehnology and the rules do not say that a head (in charge) cannot participate in the elections. Also, another professor pointed out that if the majority had a problem then it was a democratic process and professors could have voted him out of the process. So it is a nonissue. But the issue shows that the University is witnessing increasing unrest among professors and general unhappiness over administrative issues frequently erupting in the University. Other professors who were elected to the Syndicate are - M. Kandaswamy, head of department of Inorganic C h e m i s t r y ; S Karunanidhi, head of d e p a r t m e n t o f Psychology, S P Mohan, head of department of Geology. F a t h i m a Vasanth, principal of Madras School of Social Work and P Prakasam, reader, department of Tamil, Pachaiyappa’s College. -Agencies

DK pledges support to DMK-led DPA front in LS polls
In the recent past, the DMK government had exerted pressure on the Centre to act on the issue, besides ensuring distribution of relief materials, including food, clothes and medicine to the suffering Tamils. By giving a total victory to the DMK-led front, it would further exert pressure on the Centre to reddress the grievances of the Lankan Tamils, it said. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and parties in the Third front, had contradictory views on the Lankan Tamils issue, it pointed out.

Youth duped of Rs 30 lakh for govt jobs
Chennai, March 31 : About 25 youth have filed a complaint of cheating with the suburban commissioner S R Jangid on Monday. They were promised jobs with the Airport Authority of India (AAI). A complaint filed by Ezhumalai, who represented the men, said that he was working with the municipal corporation in the area for the last 20 years. He came in contact with Manibharati alias K G Laxmiswami through a common friend, who had told him that the latter had helped him get a government job for his wife and could help his sons too. Manibharati allegedly said that he knew an employee with the AAI, Gautam Singh, who said he could help them get a job for his sons and nephews. He wanted Rs 150,000 plus a commission of Rs 1 lakh per candidate. “About 25 of them came forward for the job from my side and coughed up close to Rs 30 lakh. I had many interactions with Manibharati, who also went to the extent of allotting the men their jobs at the airport.” Manibharati also produced a letterhead of AAI addressed by the General Manager of AAI congratulating the youth on their performance and called them for a medical examination as the next step towards recruitment. The youth then came down to Chen nai. “We realised that it was a hoax when we found out that there was no one called Gautam Singh at the AAI,” the complaint said. When Ezhumalai tried to question Manibharati, he was allegedly told he (Manibharati) was a close associate of a top political leader. Manibharati “threatened our with dire straits if we didn’t shut up,” Ezhumalai said in his complaint. \ Jangid has directed the Chrompet police to investigate the matter. -Agencies

March 31, 2009 Times Chennai E-Paper

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HC asks Govt to consider institutions applications afresh
Chennai, Mar 31 : The Madras High Court on Monday directed the State Government to consider the applications afresh from educational institutions seeking land ceiling exemptions. S o o n , educational institutions can first acquire tracts of lands and then approach the Government for exemption from land ceiling provisions. According to the Government, a state amendment to the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling of Land) Act 1961 was awaiting presidential assent. Recording this development, a division bench of the Madras High Court comprising justice P K Misra and justice A Kulasekaran disposed of a batch of about 30 writ appeals and writ petitions, and directed the State Government and the Anna University to consider afresh applications from educational institutions, seeking land ceiling exemptions. In November 2002, the Government and the University declined to grant affiliations to these institutions, on the ground that they did not obtain permission under Section 37B, before seeking affiliation. They must first obtain permission and then acquire lands, it said, adding, ''there could not be post-facto permission or approval.'' During the pendency of these appeals and petitions, the Government amended the Act, empowering itself to grant approval to those who seek approval after the lands were acquired. However, they must file the applications within a time limit, the amendment said. T h e amendment has been passed by the assembly and it was awaiting presidential assent. After hearing the Government and senior advocate K Duraisamy, the bench said that it need not go into the issue, in view of the latest development, and reminded the matter back to the Government a n d t h e U n i v e r s i t y, asking them to consider the applications of the institutions afresh. Till the matter is decided one way or the other, the interim stay orders granted by the Court would be in force, the bench said. -Agencies

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‘Project Exhibition 2009’
Chennai, Mar 31: Sri Sai Ram Engineering College (SSEC) has conducted ‘Project Exhibition 2009’, an exhibition of 146 projects done by students from six departments. The projects were done by students of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Electronics & C o m m u n i c a t i o n Engineering, Computer Science Engineering, Information Technology, Instrumentation & Control Engineering departments, a college release here said yesterday. Mr V Srinivas, Assistant General Manager R&D, Hyundai Motors India Limited inaugurated the function. The exhibited projects were judged by industry professionals and three prizes were awarded for projects in each department. A cash prize and a citation were given to winning groups. A souvenir with abstracts of all 146 projects was released by Mr V Srinivas, AGM (R&D) Hyundai Motors India Limited and received by Mr M Vasu, Secretary, SSEC. Hyundai Motors India Foundation sponsored a Sonata car worth Rs 16 lakhs for the Bio-fuel Research Centre of the Mechanical Engineering Department of SSEC. The car key was handed over by Mr Srinivas and received by Mr Sai Prakash Leo Muthu, CEO & Managing Trustee, SSEC. Mr Leo Muthu, Chairman, Mr M Vasu, S e c r e t a r y, M r S a i Prakash Leo Muthu, CEO, Prof V R Rajamanickam, Director, Dr C V Jayakumar, Principal and Dr A Rajendra Prasad, HOD (Mechanical) & Project Exhibition Coordinator supported their students from the very beginning of the project by providing all facilities required to carry out the projects. Apart from imparting academic education, our college aims at honing potential skills of students that help them face real-life challenges in this competitive world. We have been conducting project exhibitions over the last 10 years at the college campus. In today’s scenario, students need more than just academics to become industry ready. This exhibition is an initiative to provide students with more skills and give them holistic growth, said Mr Leo Muthu, Chairman, Sri Sai Ram Engineering College.

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March 31, 2009

Homi Bhabha's passion gave way to India's nuclear programme
Mumbai, March 31: Homi Jehangir Bhabha, father of Indian nuclear programme, was very fond of physics and expressed his desire to pursue his carrier in it even though he was a student of engineering Tripos and Mathematics Tripos in UK, one of Bhabha's close associate has said. Bhabha, who studied at Gonville and Caius college at Cambridge in UK during late 1920s, wrote a letter to his parents expressing his passion for Physics, Prof B V Sreekantan, also the former director of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) said while delivering a lecture on 'Homi Bhabha as a Physicist : Personal Reminiscences' at BARC on Monday. The Research Centre is celebrating the centenary year of Bhabha by conducting various activities. Bhabha, in his letter which he wrote from Cambridge in 1932 said, "I seriously say to you that business or job as an engineer is not the thing for me. It is totally foreign to my nature and radically o p p o s e d t o m y temperament, and opinions. Physics is my line. I know I shall do great things here." "My success will not depend on what A or B thinks of me. My success will be what I make of my work. Besides India is not a land where science cannot be carried on," he said. Bhabha further wrote, "I am burning with a desire to do physics. I will and must do it some time. It is my only ambition. I have no desire to be a successful man or the head of a big firm. There are intelligent people who like that and let them do it." Mr. Sreekantan said that Bhabha specialised in Cosmic Ray physics and even published 64 scientific papers in reputed international journals during his lifetime besides establishing Nuclear Power empire. Talking about how Bhabha came back to India on a short holiday after taking Physics as his career in 1939 and since the World War II broke then, Mr. Sreekantan said that he could not return to UK to pursue Physics but instead joined the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore at the invitation of India's one of the leading scientist late Sir C V Raman. But the Indian experience at IISc had made him write a letter to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust to make his for a world class institute for Physics in India for Indians. After two year's of experience in IISc, Bhabha felt that with enough financial support India can have institutions like those in Cambridge and Princeton. So, he wrote a letter to Sir Doarab Saklatvala, Chairman of the trust on March 12, 1944. The TIFR was the result of the funds received from the trust, which became the cradle of India's Cosmic Ray programme as well nuclear programme. The subjects on which research and advanced teaching would be done would be theoretical physics, e s p e c i a l l y o n fundamental problems and with special reference to Cosmic Rays and Nuclear P h y s i c s , a n d Experimental research on Cosmic Rays, the letter stated. Mr. Sreekantan also told the BARC scientists that although there were rumours in those days that C V Raman and Bhabha never had good relations, it was Raman who recommended and nominated Bhabha for the 'Fellow of Royal Society'. Mr. Sreekantan also said that as a director of TIFR he was delighted to receive a gift - sketch of beggar - done by Bhabha from the Manhatten Project famous Australian scientist Mark Oliphant. Oliphant asked Bhabha to sketch a beggar who was at Gateway of India during an evening walk when both did not have a piece of paper but Bhabha did the sketch on an empty envelope which he found in his pocket and now it is in the art collections at TIFR, Mr. Sreekantan said. Mr. Sreekantan, who is currently associated with National Institute of advanced Sciences (NIAS) recalled Bhabha's abilities to select scientific talents through personal interaction sometimes even in a casual manner for the country's ambitious nuclear programme as well as for the fundamental research. -Agencies

Scientists to assess psyche of simulated flight to Mars team
Prague, March 31: Czech scientists from Tomas Bata University in Zlin, south Moravia, will assess the psychological condition of the team of a simulated flight to Mars within the international Mars 500 project, Jaroslav Sykora, International Academy of Astronautics member, said on Monday. The first part of the experiment as part of the prepared flight to Mars will start in Moscow where a six-member team will close itself for 105 days in a 500 cubic meter space ship model placed in the Earth Experimental Complex (NEK) at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research ( IBMP). The flight of a real space ship to Mars in the future will last almost two years, Sykora said. It will take 250 days after which the spaceship will be flying around Mars for about one month while part of the team will land on Mars's surface in a module. It will take another 240 days before the astronauts return to the Earth. This is quite a long time to provoke unexpected stressful situations and the team should be prepared to face them and this is the goal of the experiment Czech scientists will work on, Sykora said. All members of the team will be able to ask for the end of the experiment but this is only expected if their lives were threatened, Tomas Srb from the QED GROUP said. After the first 105day long part of the project is completed at the end of this year the second stage lasting 520 days will start. A team that will participate in it has not yet been chosen. It is expected to include a woman and maybe a Czech, Sykora said. Mars 500 is a joint project of the IBMP and the European Space Agency (ESA), in which researchers from dozens of the member countries of the ESA, Russia, Canada and the United States are participating. -Agencies

Action video games improve eyesight: Study
San Francisco, March 31: A new study has found that action video games can improve players' eyesight, researchers said Monday. T h e s t u d y, which was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that the visual processes needed to play games like Call of Duty 2 improved players' c o n t r a s t s e n s i t i v i t y. Contrast sensitivity allows people to notice different shades and is particularly important for such tasks as driving at night and discerning patterns and facial expressions. " N o r m a l l y, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery somehow changing the optics of the eye," D a p h n e B a v e l i e r, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, said in a statement. "But we've found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more e ff i c i e n t l y, a n d t h e improvements last for months after game play stopped." Bavelier and other researchers studied two groups that played video games for 50 hours during over a nine-week period. The group that played shooting action games like Call of Duty 2 and U n r e a l To u r n a m e n t registered enhanced contrast sensitivity compared to those in the group that played nonaction games such as Sims 2, which doesn't require precise visually guided aiming actions in high stress situations. "When people play action games, they're changing the brain's pathway responsible for visual processing," Bavelier said. "These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it, and we've seen the positive effect remains even two years after the training was over." This suggests that the effect of the video game training could provide an alternative to eyeglasses or surgery for those with diminished contrast sensitivity. -Agencies

World's largest laser now ready for use
Washington, March 31: After more than a decade of work and $3.5 billion, US engineers have completed the world's most powerful l a s e r, c a p a b l e o f simulating the energy force of a hydrogen bomb and the sun itself. The federal Energy Department will announced today that it has officially certified the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, clearing the way for a series of experiments over the next year that eventually is hoped will mimic the heat and pressure found at the center of the sun. The facility, the size of a football field, comprises of 192 separate laser beams, each traveling 1,000 feet in a one-thousandth of a second to converge simultaneously on a target the size of a pencil eraser. While the NIF laser is expected to be used for a wide range of high-energy and highdensity physics experiments, its primary purpose is to help government physicists ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons as they become older. The laser "will be a cornerstone" of the weapons stewardship program, "ensuring the continuing reliability of the US nuclear stockpile without underground nuclear testing," Thomas D'Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in an interview on Monday. The NNSA, a semi-independent arm of the Energy Department, oversees nuclear weapons programs. -Agencies

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March 31, 2009 Times Chennai E-Paper

Wardha (Maharashtra), March 31: While launching his poll campaign in Wardha district of Maharashtra, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday presented the UPA government’s report card on its five-year-rule and appealed the voters to vote in favour of the Congress party. Praising the C o n g r e s s – l e d U PA government of Dr Manmohan Singh, Rahul said, “It has fulfilled most of the promises it made to you. The nation has progressed immensely and achieved a lot under the Congress rule.” The young Congress leader also extended his full support to the Prime Minister by s a y i n g , “ T h e U PA government has launched several schemes for the benefit of the poor and the downtrodden. It has signed the crucial nuclear deal for your own benefit and secured your future.” Making his point further, Rahul said, “The downtrodden need a government like the one run by the Congressled UPA, which pays heed to their concerns and reaches the poor unlike the others (BJP), which talk the language of rich.” The Congress leader also launched a scathing attack on the NDA led by the main opposition BJP for dividing the country on communal lines. “The Congress

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is a unifying force. It’s a party for the poor and the downtrodden. The UPA has united the country where as the BJP has divided the nation,” Rahul stated while addressing a large gathering of supporters. Pitching high in favour the Congress party, Rahul said, “The NDA has not introduced any scheme for the benefit of the poor. The Congress party is guaranteeing jobs for at least 100 days.” Rahul concluded by making an emotional appeal to the voters to vote the Congress party back to power since “it was the only party, which viewed the country from a common man’s point of view.” -Agencies

German rape case: Rohit permitted to travel abroad
Panaji, March 31: Goa Children's Court has granted permission to state Education Minister Atanasio Monserratte's son Rohit to travel abroad for 45 days along with his parents from April 20. The state police have filed a chargesheet against Rohit (21) and is currently out on bail. The court had yesterday granted him permission to travel abroad for 45 days on a holiday along with his parents from April 20. R o h i t , a Management student, was charged for sexually abusing German minor girl after her mother filed a police complaint last year. J u n i o r Monserratte had surrendered before police on November 4 last, a month after the complaint was lodged. On November 1 0 , l a s t y e a r, t h e Children's Court had directed Rohit to deposit his passport while granting him conditional bail. -Bureau Report

UPA has fulfilled all promises: Rahul

Madhu Koda’s family assets worth over 1 crore
Chaibasa, Jharkhand, March 31: Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda's family is worth over Rs 1.24 crore in terms of moveable and non-moveable property. According to an affidavit filed by Koda along with his nomination paper for Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat as an independent, the cash, fixed deposits, insurance policies, shares, gold, vehicles and paternal landed property stood at Rs 50,41,284. He showed his wife's assets as Rs 53,15,692 and daughter's as Rs 20,93,635, according to the documents made available by the returning officer after Koda filed his papers here yesterday. A graduate from Orissa's Utkal university, Koda had dethroned his former party colleague and ex-chief minister Arjun Munda to take up the reins of the state for 23 months before JMM president Shibu Soren dislodged him from the chair. This is for the first time that Koda is contesting Lok Sabha elections. -Bureau Report

There is no Third Front: Advani
New Delhi, March 31: Arguing that the mere presence of political parties which are neither with UPA nor NDA does not mean there is a Third Front, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani says many of these regional parties would join NDA if it is in a position to form a government. "The mere presence of political parties other than those which are with the Congress or the BJP does not mean there is a Third Front. I don't think a Third Front exists," Advani Said in an interview. Advani said for most of these parties -like the Left, TDP, TRS, BJD and JD(S) which call themselves the Third Front -- Congress was the main political opponent in the states where they had a strong presence. The former Deputy Prime Minister said some of the regional parties did not want to ally with BJP-led NDA before the elections. "These parties fear that if they join the BJP alliance Muslims will not vote for them. But JD(U) is one example where it did not lose Muslim votes," he said. A d v a n i expressed confidence that such parties would join the NDA after the elections but refused to name them. "The BJP has made India a bi-polar polity by ending Congress monopoly. Though I cannot say India has a two-party system, it is definitely not multipolar," Advani said. On the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD -- which left the NDA a few weeks ago and is now with the Third Front -- Advani said, "I regret the separation as it was due to some misunderstandings but I am sure these will be sorted out after the polls." He said the BJD broke-off from BJP thinking it could come to power on its own. Advani said TDP was never a part of the NDA. "In 2004, it gave outside support to our government after the polls. Our only understanding was that the Lok Sabha Speaker would be theirs," he said. Advani said BJP supported the TRS demand for carving out a separate state of Telengana from Andhra Pradesh. The veteran leader said the formation of an alliance by RJD, LJP and SP in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar would harm the Congress. When asked if he felt that RJD and SP may again join the Congress after the elections, Advani said even if this were to happen the immediate concern for the Congress was the damage these two would bring to it in the Lok Sabha polls. " T h e U PA i s withering away," he said. Asked if the BJP would dilute its stand on Hindutva to accomodate more allies, Advani said, "Hard-core Hindutva is a catch-phrase. Nationalism is our ideology. Even Gandhi called for Ram Rajya and said he was a Sanatani Hindu. Muslim League was opposed to this saying why does he sing Raghupati Ragho..." -Agencies

Batla encounter: HC stays disclosure of autopsy reports
New Delhi, March 31: The Delhi High Court Tuesday stayed the CIC's order directing the police to reveal post mortem reports of two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists and a Delhi Police inspector killed during the Batla House encounter last year. J u s t i c e S Ravindra Bhat passed the order on a plea of Delhi Police which maintained that the disclosure of post mortem reports would affect the ongoing investigations into the September 13 serial blasts in the capital. The court also stayed the order in which the Central Information Commission had directed the police to furnish copies of the FIR against the accused of serial blasts cases under the RTI Act. A d v o c a t e Mukta Gupta, appearing for the police, contended that the investigations were still on and the disclosure of post mortem reports, which contained a number of clues, would affect the investigations. "Two terrorists died and two escaped in the incident (encounter). We are still trailing the absconders. Disclosure of post mortem reports can reveal information regarding kind of weapons used and other things on the basis of w h i c h m a n y corroborative evidence can be destroyed," Gupta said while pleading to stay the CIC order passed on March nine. A suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist and the prime accused of serial blasts Atif Ameen and coaccused Sajid were killed during the Batla House encounter at South Delhi locality on September 19. The gun-battle also claimed life of inspector M C Sharma. -Agencies

Attack on Kasab’s lawyer: 9 Shiv Sainiks held Show ‘visible results’ in 26/11 probe, PM tells Pak
New Delhi, March 31: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday put the onus of resumption of composite dialogue between India and Pakistan on the latter, saying Islamabad will have to show "visible results" in the Mumbai terror attacks probe before the two countries can sit together again. "Pakistan should show visible results on the 26/11 probe," Dr Singh said at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, on the sidelines of the civil investiture ceremony. "It has to prove that the government is doing all that is possible (to bring the perpetrators to book)," he said, adding "it is the least they should do to convince us of their sincerity." B o t h t h e countries will have to jointly face the scourge of terrorism, the Prime Minister stated further. Regarding the accusations being levelled on his UPA government in connection with the imposition of the National Security Act (NSA) on B J P l e a d e r Va r u n Gandhi, Dr Singh said that the decision had nothing to do with the Centre. The decision to impose NSA was taken by the government of Uttar Pradesh, he added. -Agencies Mumbai, March 31: Anjali Waghmare, appointed by a special court to represent arrested terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab in the Mumbai terror attacks trial, has pulled out of the case following an attack on her house by Shiv Sena activists. "Owing to public sentiment, I withdraw from the Kasab case," Anjali said. On Monday night, over 100 activists belonging to Shiv Sena staged a protest and pelted stones at Waghmare’s residence at Warli Camp area of the city, police said. Waghmare was unhurt in the attack and police resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse the mob. The situation was brought under control. The police have arrested nine Shiv Sainiks, including a Corporator, in connection with the incident. "Nine Sena workers were held last night for unlawful assembly and house tresspass. They were holding protest outside Waghmare's residence in Worli Police Camp," senior police inspector BV Worlikar said.They will be produced before a magistrate in the afternoon, he added. "They seem to be upset against Waghmare, who is representing Kasab. They were shouting slogans against her," Joint Police Commissioner KL Prasad (Law and Order) said. On March 23, Kasab, who had earlier sought consular access from Pakistan, had requested the court to provide a lawyer at the expense of the state, in the absence of a response from Islamabad. Following the request, the court had prepared a panel of 17 lawyers. Of the 17 advocates, Waghmare's name was approved by the judge to appear for Kasab, a resident of Faridkot in Pakistan.

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Washington, March 31: Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the White House has said President Barack Obama greatly values Indo-US relationship and wants to "further advance the impressive partnership" the two countries have established in the last one decade. Obama leaves today to attend the G-20 summit in London on the sidelines of which he would be meeting Singh on April 2. This would be Obama's first meeting with the Indian leader after he was elected as President last year, to which he is eagerly "looking forward to", the White House said. "The President is looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister Singh in London," Mike Hammer, spokesman of National Security Council, White House, told a news agency. "He greatly values the US-India relationship and wants to continue, build on, and advance further the impressive partnership that has been established," Hammer said. The President recognises and appreciates the incredible contribution made by IndianAmericans to the US economy and society and also the vast connections that are developing between Indian and American investors, academics, and families, he said. Obama hopes to foster and nurture those relationships through bilateral and regional initiatives that support strong ties, he said. "The President also believes that the US and India have common interests and concerns on many global issues and he hopes to be able to work with India to address these challenges together in a spirit of mutual cooperation," Hammer said. During the meeting the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, prominent among them being the current situation in India's i m m e d i a t e neighbourhood, Afghanistan and

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Pakistan and Obama's new Af-Pak policy, which he unveiled last week. The current global economic crisis, climate change and the bilateral relationship too would dominate the meetings. Speaking to a group of select foreign journalists, including PTI, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner yesterday said the two leaders would be taking stock of the full range of issues and interests between the two countries. "I think, we start with a very good working relationship with the economic agencies involved. We are trying to figure out how to build on that. Obviously we will listen to the ideas from the Indian government. It is important that we work out something that both sides believe would be practical and effective," he said. Meeting foreign journalists along with him, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Michael B G Froman, said the Obama Administration is discussing with Indian counterparts how to make the "most out of the" IndoUS CEOs forum. -Agencies

At least 300 drown off Libyan coast: Migration group
Tripoli, March 31: Vessels carrying hundreds of migrants capsized off the coast of Libya in separate incidents over the last two days and more than 300 people were believed to have drowned, an international migration group said on Tuesday. The International Organisation for Migration s a i d L i b y a n o ff i c i a l s reported between one and three ships had sunk in Libyan waters yesterday and Sunday. The group confirmed the information with diplomatic sources, spokesman JeanPhilippe Chauzy said. He said strong winds could have caused the vessels to capsize. IOM believes that the migrants were trying to cross from North Africa to Italy in search of a better life in Europe. According to the group's figures, some 33,000 people crossed from North Africa to the Italian island of Lampedusa alone in 2008. Many of the boats are not seaworthy and deadly accidents are frequent. Some of the survivors managed to reach the shores of Italy while others have been intercepted and returned to Libya, said Laurence Hart, an IOM official in the northern African country. " R e s c u e operations are ongoing," Hart said. He said that the number of missing ranges between 300 to 500 people but that an exact causality figure has not been confirmed. -Bureau Report

Obama 'greatly values' Indo-US ties"

Emergency declared on Philippine hostage island
Manila, March 31: A "State of Emergency" has been imposed on the Philippines island of Jolo following the expiry of a deadline by Islamic militants who threatened to behead a Red Cross worker, the military said. Jolo Governor A b d u s a k u r Ta n ' s proclamation authorises police action against the Abu Sayyaf militants, restricts civilian movements and imposes a curfew on the island, the military said. "I am just confirming that indeed Governor Tan has declared a State of Emergency," Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo, spokesman for the marines on Jolo, told reporters. Islamic militants holding three Red Cross workers said that they will behead one hostage on Tuesday afternoon if the Philippine military does not cede control of an entire island, a government official said. Abu Sayyaf rebels told negotiators a tactical retreat from parts of Jolo island would not be enough to save the lives of the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) captives. The militants seized ICRC staff Mary Jean Lacaba of the Philippines, Andreas Notter of Switzerland and Eugenio Vagni of Italy in mid-January while they were on a humanitarian mission. Pope Benedict XVI later on Monday urged the militants to free the workers, the Vatican said in a communique. The pontiff "wants to raise his voice and urge that humanitarian sensibility and reason prevail over v i o l e n c e a n d intimidation," the statement said. "The Holy Father... asks for their release and calls on the authorities to favour a peaceful outcome to the tragic situation," the communique said. The rebels’ new demand was relayed late Sunday, just hours after the military and police pulled back from a jungle area where they had cornered some 120 militants and their three hostages, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said. The pull-back left the rebels in control of five towns and 140 square kilometres (54 square miles) of the island, the government said. But, said Puno, Abu Sayyaf's council of leaders now wants all security forces to abandon existing bases, leaving the province's half a million residents "completely unprotected" from the rebels. " T h e y demanded new repositionings," Puno said, adding that the military camps have been in Jolo for decades. -Agencies

'N Korea has 2 nuclear warheads for Rodong missiles'
Seoul, March 31: The US and South Korean i n t e l l i g e n c e organisations have obtained information that North Korea has two nuclear warheads that could be mounted on mid-range Rodong missiles, a senior analyst at an international nongovernmental group said on Tuesday. D a n i e l Pinkston, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, said he got the information from a g o v e r n m e n t o ff i c i a l whose country he declined to specify. The warheads are said to have been made from plutonium extracted at North K o r e a ' s Yo n g b y o n nuclear complex. R o d o n g missiles are believed to have a range of 1,300 kilometers, putting Japan within its target range. As to where the warheads are stored, Pinkston told Kyodo News he is unsure, but Rodong missiles may be readied for a launch from one of three missile bases in North Pyongag, Jagang and Yanggang provinces. He also said it would take one or two days to assemble the warheads as the plutonium and the detonating devices are stored separately. It is believed North Korea has put the o p e r a t i o n a n d maintenance of nuclear weapons under control of an independent organ directly run by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il separately from the Army. -Agencies

Two militants killed by Israeli fire in Gaza: Medics
Gaza City, March 31: Two Palestinian militants were killed and four others wounded on Tuesday by Israeli fire in the Hamasrun Gaza Strip, medics said. The two were killed in an air raid in the Maghazi area in the centre of the territory, a strike that also wounded two others, they said. T h e r a i d , following exchanges of fire between troops and militants near the Kissufim border crossing to the east of Maghazi, wounded two Palestinians. According to witnesses, the exchange of fire came after a blast went off near an Israeli military jeep that was driving in the area. The Army had no immediate comment on the reports, but a military source said that troops opened fire at armed gunmen as the latter were trying to place explosives near the border barrier between the Jewish state and the Palestinian territory. Relative calm has reigned in Gaza since January 18, when Israel and Hamas declared mutual ceasefires ending a 22day war that the Jewish state waged on the territory in response to consistent rocket fire. Egypt has been brokering talks to turn the ceasefires into a lasting truce. Tuesday's incidents come ahead of the swearing-in of a new government in Israel later in the day, led by hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu. -Bureau Report

Warships set sail ahead of N Korean rocket launch
Seoul, March 31: Japanese, South Korean and US missiledestroying ships set sail to monitor North Korea's imminent rocket launch, as Pyongyang stoked tensions on Monday by detaining a South Korean worker for allegedly denouncing the North's political system. North Korea says that it will send a communications satellite into orbit between April 4 and 8. The US, South Korea and Japan suspect the regime is using the launch to test long-range missile technology, and warn it would face UN sanctions under a Security Council resolution banning the country from any ballistic activity. North Korea has threatened to quit international talks on its nuclear disarmament if punished with sanctions. The communist regime's m a i n n e w s p a p e r, Rodong Sinmun, reiterated that warning on Sunday, saying the talks will "completely collapse" if taken to the Security Council. F u r t h e r heightening tensions on the divided peninsula, North Korean authorities detained a South Korean worker at a joint industrial zone in the North for allegedly denouncing Pyongyang's political system and inciting female northern workers to flee the country. North Korea assured Seoul it would guarantee the man's safety during an investigation, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North. The detention came as two American journalists working for former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV media venture remained in North Korean custody after allegedly crossing the border illegally from China on March 17.

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Avoid taking protectionist measures: PM to G-20
New Delhi, March 31: Asking industrialised nations to avoid protectionism in the trade of goods and services, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said it was important and necessary for the G-20 Summit to take "credible decisions" to help reverse the current slowdown and instil a confidence in the global economy. In a statement before leaving for London to participate in the meeting of world leaders to discuss the economic meltdown, Singh also focussed on the need to ensure adequate flows of finances to the developing countries to overcome the reversal of international capital flows. Singh, who will have his maiden meeting with US President Barack Obama on Thursday, said the time has come for the international economic and financial architecture to reflect contemporary economic strengths. The Prime Minister, who is undertaking his first trip abroad after the coronary bypass surgery on January 24, said considerable amount of preparation has been done for the Summit. T h e s e preparations relate to provision of coordinated fiscal stimulus by major economies to offset the decline in private demand, agreement on a set of principles to plug loopholes and weaknesses in the supervisory and regulatory arrangements for the financial institutions, he said. He underlined the need to undertake effective measures designed to provide emerging and developing countries adequate resources to offset the effects of global slowdown on their economies. "It is important and necessary for the Summit to take credible decisions which will help to halt and reverse the current slowdown and to instill a sense of confidence in the global economy," he stressed. " I t i s a n unfortunate reality that the effects of the slowdown have spread across the world, and developing countries, particularly those in Africa, are facing its worst consequences," the Prime Minister said. He asked the developed countries to steer clear of protectionism and work towards restructuring and reforming the international financial institutions. "There are some issues which require particular focus such as the need to ensure the adequate flow of finances to the developing countries to overcome the reversal of international capital flows, and not retard progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, the need to avoid protectionism in trade of both goods and services, and restructuring of international financial institutions. India, Singh said, has benefitted from growing global interdependence as manifested in the high growth rate that the country has achieved over the last five years. "We would like to ensure that our economy continues to expand at a healthy rate to meet the principal challenges of eradicating poverty and ensuring balanced and inclusive socio-economic development for our people," he said. "Our economic, financial and banking institutions have shown great resilience and the fundamentals of our economy remain strong," he said. Singh is l i k e l y to press the developed countries to desist from trade barriers and ensure that flow of funds for development do not suffer. New Delhi hopes that the London Summit will come out with clear and strong guidelines on measures for recovery of global economy and reform of the international financial institutions. -Agencies

India's growth to slip to 5% in 2009: ADB
Manila, March 31: Economic growth in developing Asia was expected to slow to its lowest rate in more than a decade due to the global economic crisis, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday. It predicted India's economic growth would be five percent in 2009. The Asian Development Outlook, the annual report of the Manila-based ADB, forecasts economic growth in Asia to slide to 3.4 percent, down from 6.3 percent last year and 9.5 percent in 2007. The report said that India's economic growth will ease to 5 percent in 2009 from 7.1 percent in 2008, but was expected to recover in 2010 as the global economy recovers. The report also said China's economic growth was expected to slow to 7 percent in 2009, but the quick response of Beijing to minimise the impact of the crisis could result in 8 percent growth in 2010. The report said that if the global economy experiences a mild recovery next year, the economic growth for the region could expand 6 percent in 2010. "With the slow growth, more than 60 million in 2009 and close to 100 million in 2010 will remain trapped in poverty - living on less than $1.25 a day - than would have been if growth had continued at its earlier pace," the report said. But the ADB report noted that Asian economies were in much better position to cope up with the adverse impact of the crisis than they were during the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, when economic growth averaged 0.2 percent. "Many Asian governments have already responded quickly to the crisis with appropriate financial, monetary and fiscal policies and so far the impact on financial stability has been limited," it said. The ADB said the current crisis underlined the risks of growth that is excessively dependent on export-driven expansion. "Developing Asia should rebalance growth to endure the global crisis and boost its resilience to large external shocks in the long run," it said. -IANS

'India should play greater role in solving eco crisis'
Washington, March 31: The US expects India to play a greater role along with China and other major economies in tackling the current financial crisis and supports bigger responsibilities for it in the international financial institutions, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said. "Just looking at what is happening at the w o r l d e c o n o m y, I certainly expect India to play a greater role," he told a group of select foreign journalists, including a news agency, on the eve of US President Barack Obama's departure for London to participate in the G20 Summit on April 2. But what role countries like India would want to play, would depend on the governments, Geithner said. "Those judgements, those governments would have to make," he said in response to a question. G e i t h n e r insisted that the US is advocating for an acceleration of the completion of the next review of the IMF quotas to January 2011 in order to see a further shift in voice and vote to emerging market and developing countries. T h e s e institutions should be better reflective of realties of the present time and have a more balanced sets of obligations and responsibilities, he said. "We are committed to accelerate the quota review, and to lay out a clear roadmap to an agreement on set of that governance change; changes in voting rights and shares and responsibilities that come with change of that review," he said in reply to a question related to India. "In this context we would be looking at a whole range of options. I am sure that the countries of Europe and other countries would come up with their own view on how their interests could best be represented in that reformed governance structure," Geithner said. T h e Tr e a s u r y Secretary argued that each of the G20 countries need to look carefully the challenges they face and make sure that "we are doing what is necessary, in our own country to help recovery established. And the power of each of our individual actions would be greater in moving together." Geithner said: "In this basic framework of strong support of recovery, commemorative financial repair, openness in trade investment side, support for the international financial institutions, as well on the reform agenda I think, there is a very strong basis of support consensus among the governments of the G-20; more support, I think, you have seen in decades." -Agencies

'Both recovery and reform of global economy critical to us'
Washington, March 31: Tw i n o b j e c t i v e s o f promoting recovery in the global economy and to put in place a set of reforms in the international financial system to help prevent future crises of this type taking place are crucial for G20, said a top US Treasury official. "Both those key objectives are critically important to us – the broad recovery agenda as well as the reform agenda," US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a group of select seven foreign journalists, including one from PTI, on the eve of departure of the US President Barack Obama to participate in the G20 Summit in London. Geithner insisted that the G20 countries together must take aggressive action on two fronts -- first to ensure economic recovery and restart global growth and second to reform the supervisory and regulatory framework to prevent such economic crises from occurring in the future, while encouraging innovation and growth. G20 is a group of 20 leading and emerging economies of the world representing more than 85 per cent of the global economy. For the second time in less than six months, the leaders of these countries including India are meeting in London on April 2 to develop a common approach to the current global economic crisis. The First G20 Summit was held in Washington in November. -Agencies

Brazil cuts taxes in face of economic downturn
Brasilia, March 31: The Brazilian government enacted additional tax cuts Monday in the face of shrinking forecasts for gross domestic product (GDP) amid the global economic downturn. The move came after the country's central bank Monday reduced its economic outlook for GDP to 1.2 percent for the year from 3.2 percent. F i n a n c e Minister Guido Mantega announced a reduction of taxes on building materials and an extension of a tax break on cars. The government hopes to make up for the expected tax shortfall by increasing cigarette taxes to 30 percent. According to the Banco Central, the industrial sector has been hardest hit by declining demand - with forecast growth of 0.1 percent instead of 3.4 percent. The bank also predicted inflation of 4 percent, revised downward from 4.7 percent. "I would be satisfied if we had growth this year of 1 or 2 percent," Mantega said in announcing the tax moves in Sao Paulo. As recently a s D e c e m b e r, t h e government said a growth rate of 4 percent was possible. -Agencies

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Florida, March 31: Danish teenager C a r o l i n e Wo z n i a c k i upset Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva 7-5, 6-4 to reach the Sony Ericsson Open quarter-finals on Monday. The 18-yearold from Odeanse came back from a break down in each set to reach her sixth quarter-final of the season. The result continued a poor tournament for the top East European women with Russians Dinara S a f i n a a n d Ve r a Zvonareva and Serbians Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, all top-10 players, failing to make the last 16. Wozniacki, n a m e d t h e W TA ' s newcomer of the year for 2008, is enjoying a breakthrough season and has climbed to 12th in the rankings. " I ' m j u s t enjoying every day and every match that I'm playing," said the Dane, whose parents are Polish. "That I keep winning is just great. I just felt like I was playing really well today. I just got everything together," she told reporters. Wozniacki will play Svetlana Kuznetsova, who comfortably won her allRussian fourth round tie

March 31, 2009
with Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 6-1. Fifth-seed Venus Williams came from a set down to beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 46, 6-1, 6-4 and her sister Serena, the world number one, faces China's Zheng Jie later on Monday. Hungarian Agnes Szavay, who eliminated Ivanovic, lost 6-2, 6-4 to Belarussia's Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka's quarter-final opponent will be Australian Samantha Stosur whose impressive form continued with a 6-4, 6-4 win over France's Amelie Mauresmo. -Bureau Report

Harper replaces Doctrove for third India-NZ Test
Wellington, March 31: Australian Daryl Harper will replace Billy Doctrove as the on-field umpire for the third and final cricket Test between India and New Zealand starting on April 6. Doctrove was diagnosed with chest infection during the second Test in Napier and had to be replaced by stand-in umpire Evan Watkins on the third day. India lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the opening game while managing to snatch a draw in the second despite being asked to follow on. -Agencies

Dane Wozniacki upsets Dementieva

Smith likely to play in ODI series against Australia
Melbourne, March 31: Having recovered from his finger injury, South Africa skipper Graeme Smith is likely to return to the squad for the five-match ODI cricket series against Australia, beginning in Durban on Friday. S m i t h i s recovering well from the fractured right little finger he suffered while facing Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson`s delivery in the second Test in Durban earlier this month. "Graeme has resumed batting. He has had some throw-downs in the nets and he is progressing," team spokesman Michael Owen-Smith was quoted as saying. The injury kept Smith out of the third Test in Cape Town and the two Twenty20 internationals which followed. E a r l i e r, t h e opening batsman broke little finger on his left hand while facing Johnson in the Sydney Test in January. However, star South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis who suffered a groin strain while bowling in the Cape Town Test, appears less likely to return to the side for first one-dayer, the daily reported. "We`ll just have to assess him when he gets to Durban early this week," Owen-Smith said. Meanwhile, good show in second T20 match against Australia has earned rookie allrounder Roelof van der Merwe a berth in the South Africa squad for first two ODIs. -Bureau Report

Nadal and Murray through in Miami
Miami, March 31: World number one Rafael Nadal held off a strong challenge from Portugal's Frederico Gil to win 7-5, 6-3 and book a place in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open. Spaniard Nadal broke service twice in the first set and, after the determined and aggressive Gil broke early to go 2-0 up in the second, regained control to clinch victory. Nadal will face the winner of the thirdround tie between Russian Igor Andreev and Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka. The Spaniard's powerful serve was the basis of his victory -- he produced five aces and won 76 percent of points on first service. N a d a l , h o w e v e r, w a s n o t satisfied with his performance. "You can't play well every day, and today was one of these days," he told reporters. "No opponent is easy, especially if you are not playing your best tennis. So everything was more difficult today." Fourth seed Andy Murray won 6-4, 6-4 against Chilean Nicolas Massu although he struggled at times against his 29-year-old opponent. -Agencies

Laxman returns to top-20, Ishant moves up too
Dubai, March 31: Riding on the match-saving hundred against New Zealand in the second c r i c k e t Te s t , I n d i a n batsman VVS Laxman today returned to the top20 of the ICC Rankings, up six places to 15th in the latest list. In the rankings for Test bowlers, Indian pacer Ishant Sharma`s 3-95 in the drawn match helped him leapfrog Jacques Kallis of South Africa, Pakistan`s Danish Kaneria and England`s Monty Panesar to a career-best 17th spot. Laxman struck a fighting unconquered century that helped India salvage a draw in the second Test against New Zealand in Napier yesterday. The stylish righthander followed up his 76 in India`s 305 all out in the first innings with an unbeaten 124 as the tourists finished 476-4 after being forced to follow on. After his excellent performances with the bat, Laxman jumped six places to put himself in 15th position, just behind Sachin Tendulkar, who contributed 49 and 64 in the match, the ICC said in a statement. Opener Gautam Gambhir was the highestranked India batsman in fifth place and his knock of 137 in the second innings has not only strengthened his current position but has put him within striking distance of fourth-placed Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka. While Laxman is the only player in the top 20 to make an upward movement, India`s stand-in captain Virender Sehwag is the only batsman in the top20 who has slipped down the ladder. The opener has dropped two places to 17th position after scores of 34 and 22. The table is still headed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies who leads Pakistan captain Younis Khan by a very small margin while Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara is in third position. Sri Lanka`s iconic spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is the still the number-one ranked bowler with South Africa`s Dale Steyn in second spot and Mitchell Johnson of Australia in third place. In the ICC Test Championship table, India will retain its third position behind Australia and South Africa irrespective of how the Wellington Test pans out. If India wins the match and the series 2-0, it will stay on 118 Ratings Points while New Zealand will also stay on 81 Ratings Points. However, if New Zealand turns the tables on India and wins the Test to square the series, India will slip to 115 Ratings Points while New Zealand will rise to 85 Ratings Points. -Agencies

Van Persie pulls out of Dutch squad with leg injury
Amsterdam, March 31: Netherlands striker Robin van Persie pulled out of the Dutch squad preparing to play Macedonia in a World Cup Group Nine qualifier on Wednesday. Van Persie has been troubled by a hamstring injury he sustained during the 3-0 victory over Scotland on Saturday, the Dutch federation (KNVB) said in a statement on Monday. The Dutch are top in Group Nine with 12 points after four matches, eight points ahead of Scotland and Iceland, who will meet in Glasgow on Wednesday. Macedonia have three points.

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A pilgrimage to the birthplace of Pilsner beer
Plzen, Czech Republic, March 31: Order a beer at a restaurant or bar, and unless you've requested an ale, porter or stout, you'll probably be served the clear, golden brew behind our most familiar brands: Pilsner. And this is its ancestral home. Mugs of frothy beer served in this cobblestone-studded city the quality of Plzen's beer was poor, according to the brewery, and in 1839 protesters dumped 36 barrels of the local brew outside the town hall to show their discontent. That prompted the citizen brewers of Plzen to combine forces and build a modern beermaking facility, which opened in 1842, the same one that operates to this day. A y o u n g brewmaster and reputed ruffian, Josef Groll, took the helm and began making the beer that became known as Pilsner lager, fermenting barley malt, hops and water at a low temperature, and adding yeast that collected at the bottom of the mixture. Among the beer's defining qualities were its shimmering appearance and subtle bitterness from locally grown hops — the dried flowers of the hop plant. Other ingredients specific to the region included soft water drawn from 328foot-deep wells and malt made from barley grown in the Czech regions of Bohemia and Moravia. The water used in today's Pilsner Urquell, the company says, is from the same u n d e rg ro u n d so u rce used to make the original in 1842. And the strain of yeast used to convert sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process reputedly is traceable to that used in the original recipe. Plzen, Czech Republic, March 31: Order a beer at a restaurant or bar, and unless you've requested an ale, porter or stout, you'll probably be served the clear, golden brew behind our most familiar brands: Pilsner. And this is its ancestral home. Mugs of frothy beer served in this cobblestone-studded city southwest of Prague may resemble others the world over, but a trip to the local brewery confirms these are no ordinary suds. The faintly bitter lager first produced in Plzen more than a century ago gave rise to a style of beer that has since circled the globe. Much of today's lagerstyle beer, in fact, owes its flaxen color and crisp flavor to a brewing process formulated in this small metropolis in the Czech Republic's Bohemia region. Its name still reflects its origins: Pilsner, Pilsener, or sometimes just Pils. The beer's precise birthplace, the Pilsner Urquell brewery, stands on the city's fringes, enclosed by an ornate 19th century double archway. Its copper kettle-lined confines have changed with the times, but visitors can still see hints of the past, including a network of underground tunnels once used to store huge casks of fermenting beer. The plant's distinctive heritage hasn't been overlooked by its current owner, London-based SABMiller, which has built a large diorama of an old-time brewery inside a sleek visitors' center also furnished with a vending machine that dispenses beer. The Pilsner Urquell factory of today is a marvel of modern brewing, operating 24 hours a day and churning out 120,000 bottles of beer per hour. But it has its origins in a brewing tradition that stretches back to the late 1200s, when King Wenceslaus II granted brewing licenses to more than 250 city residents. But the quality of Plzen's beer was poor, according to the brewery, and in 1839 protesters dumped 36 barrels of the local brew outside the town hall to show their discontent. That prompted the citizen brewers of Plzen to combine forces and build a modern beermaking facility, which opened in 1842, the same one that operates to this day. A y o u n g brewmaster and reputed ruffian, Josef Groll, took the helm and began making the beer that became known as Pilsner lager, fermenting barley malt, hops and water at a low temperature, and adding yeast that collected at the bottom of the mixture. Among the beer's defining qualities were its shimmering appearance and subtle bitterness from locally grown hops — the dried flowers of the hop plant. Other ingredients specific to the region included soft water drawn from 328-footdeep wells and malt made from barley grown in the Czech regions of Bohemia and Moravia. The water used in today's Pilsner Urquell, the company says, is from the same underground source used to make the original in 1842. And the strain of yeast used to convert sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process reputedly is traceable to that used in the original recipe. The brewing of Pilsner Urquell has remained largely unchanged since Groll's time, according to a video shown to tourists at the brewery. Ground malt and water are boiled three times in copper kettles, a procedure carried out perhaps once or twice in the making of o t h e r b e e r s . Carmelization occurs at the bottom of the kettles, producing flavorful compounds. The concoction is boiled with hops before being fermented at a low t e m p e r a t u r e , pasteurized and packaged in bottles, cans, kegs and tanks. The total brewing time remains the same as in the days of yore, about five weeks. Julie Johnson, editor of All About Beer magazine in Durham, N.C., noted that the beer's name, Urquell, means "the original source" in German. "Pilsner beer is the ancestor of the kind of global international lager style that makes up 90-something percent of the beer we drink today," she said, pointing to brands such as Budweiser, Rolling Rock and St. Pauli Girl. "Those are all indebted to Pilsner." In a nod to the beer born in Plzen, American brewers of the 19th century created "something that was much softer for the American palate," she said. "That, in turn, has swept the world." P i l s n e r, a n d pale ales that emerged around the same time, stood out because "they were light, they were beautiful to look at," Johnson said. The beers owed their attractive look to malt made from barley that had been heated evenly using an indirect source — then a revolutionary technique. Earlier malt may have been partly burned, producing beer with "a darker and roastier taste," she said. The malt's consistent quality yielded exceptionally clear beer, and its emergence coincided with the spread of glassware that allowed drinkers to admire its appearance. "So you had a beer that appealed to the eye as well as the nose and mouth," Johnson said, "and people were just struck dumb by how lovely and beautiful it was." P i l s n e r Urquell's flavor, which is dry rather than fruity like an ale, comes from local ingredients such as the locally grown hops, known as Saaz hops, she added. Visitors to the brewery can sample that flavor at the end of a guided tour that last about an hour and-a-half and ends in one of the underground cellars used to store barrels of fermenting beer in the days before refrigeration. One guide, Katerina Sedlackova, attested to the qualities of Plzen's namesake beer, offering cups of the drink — freshly made, unpasteurized and drawn from one of a few remaining wooden barrels kept in service. "You should know that Pilsner Urquell is very healthy," she exhorts, referring to nutrients such as vitamin B. "If you drink a cup of beer a day, you should stay healthy." Bureau Report

Playboy fears moral policing in India
New York, March 31: Adult entertainment publisher Playboy, which sees India among its potential growth areas, fears that government restrictions on products deemed to have "immoral influence" in the country could be a roadblock for its business. " T h e governments of some countries, such as China various jurisdictions or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations," the company noted. Playboy said in an investor presentation late last year that India has been identified as a key target region to expand its presence, along with China and Latin America. However, a number of global entities such as Fashion TV (FTV) and AXN, a TV channel transmitted by Sony Entertainment Television, have faced the wrath of moral policing in India in the past. The government briefly banned FTV twice in the past for nudity in its content, while AXN was also banned for a week in January 2007 for airing a programme titled 'The World's Sexiest Advertisements'. FTV was first banned in February 2002, but the decision was reversed in a week after the channel promised to adhere to the Indian sensibilities. In 2007, the Indian government again banned FTV for a period of two months beginning April 1, while taking exception to a programme titled 'Midnight Hot.' The ban was lifted only after the channel agreed to adhere strictly with the local rules. FTV now transmits a separate India-focussed channel, FTV India, which contains no nudity, which is in sharp contrast to its global programming. Wa y b a c k i n 2004, Hooters of America Inc, a restaurant chain known for its scantily-clad and cheerleader-style hostesses and present in over a dozen countries, had announced plans to open shop in India, but is yet to start operations here.

southwest of Prague may resemble others the world over, but a trip to the local brewery confirms these are no ordinary suds. The faintly bitter lager first produced in Plzen more than a century ago gave rise to a style of beer that has since circled the globe. Much of today's lager-style beer, in fact, owes its flaxen color and crisp flavor to a brewing process formulated in this small metropolis in the Czech Republic's Bohemia region. Its name still reflects its origins: Pilsner, Pilsener, or sometimes just Pils. The beer's precise birthplace, the Pilsner Urquell brewery, stands on the city's fringes, enclosed by an ornate 19th century double archway. Its copper kettle-lined confines have changed with the times, but visitors can still see hints of the past, including a network of underground tunnels once used to store huge casks of fermenting beer. The plant's distinctive heritage hasn't been overlooked by its current owner, Londonbased SABMiller, which has built a large diorama of an old-time brewery inside a sleek visitors' center also furnished with a vending machine that dispenses beer. The Pilsner Urquell factory of today is a marvel of modern brewing, operating 24 hours a day and churning out 120,000 bottles of beer per hour. But it has its origins in a brewing tradition that stretches back to the late 1200s, when King Wenceslaus II granted brewing licenses to more than 250 city residents. But

and India, have sought to limit the influence of other cultures by restricting the distribution of products deemed to represent foreign or immoral influences," Playboy has said. The government regulations on adult content could negatively affect the entity's business and financial conditions, New York Stock Exchange-listed Playboy Enterprises said in its annual report filing with the US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission. Interestingly, New York Stock Exchange-listed Playboy Enterprises has identified India, along with China and Latin America, among target regions for its geographical expansion. Besides its flagship magazine, Playboy distributes its programming and contents across the world on TV networks, websites, mobile platforms and radio. "Regulation of adult content could prevent us from making our content available in

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Times Chennai E-Paper

March 31, 2009

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