Tuesday, September 30, 2008

US house reject Bailout package,.Against=228 & For=205.

Using BlackBerrys in Congress should be a felony.The 110 page draft can be downloaded, but who has the time to read it.Let us get it over, soon and move on.

This plan is indefensible using reason. That's why all they have resorted to is fear mongering. Disgusting. Shameful. Irresponsible and insulting."...this sucker could down!" "Financial Armageddon""A once in a century event" "Unthinkable catastrophe" "3-4 million Americans will lose their jobs in the next 6 months" "A meltdown on Wall St. that will IMMEDIATELY cause a meltdown on Main St."Pelosi's statement was priceless- "All of this was done in a way to insulate Main St. and everyday Americans from the crisis on Wall St."Insulate? Then why no bankruptcy reform? Why no money for investigators and auditors to provide transparency of the web of toxic practices that got us into this mess? Why no commitment to shut down the CDS casino going forward? What you sold to everyday Americans is the most expensive blanket ever made while neglecting to fix the heat.The fundamental principle of this bi-partisan plan is a $700 billion dollar tax increase on Joe six-pack and his family to pay the gambling debts of multi-millionaires. That's just a fact. The bogus possibility of taxpayers recouping their losses on those worthless credit derivatives is dependant on the housing bubble re-inflating, which we should all be hoping will not happen! If it does, it will only be brief before it bursts again because bubbles must burst by definition. Inflated price/household income ratios are dangerous. Get it? Talk about voodoo economics. This is the equivalent of bloodletting to treat AIDS.200 economists wrote to Barney Frank and Co. urging them to wait and study alternatives. He told them to take a hike. The public, screaming in fury at their representatives in polls and thousands upon thousands of phone calls, letters and e-mails were told to take a hike.Exactly WHY there isn't more time has never, I repeat, NEVER been laid out in unambiguous terms. All we've been fed is a revolting diet of the politics of fear. "You won't be able to get a mortgage! Credit card rates will skyrocket! Businesses will be unable to expand and grow. Unemployment will rise!" They think we're idiots. All these things have temporarily happened before without cries of Armageddon.Sure, if you got bad credit, you won't get a sub-prime mortgage, which is a really good idea. But mortgages make banks money, they're not going to disappear. Credit card rates going up might cause people to stop living beyond their means, also not a bad idea. Businesses with good products and good models will grow because they are profitable, worthy of investing in. Those with no profits, when you take away the deceptive accounting tricks derivatives facilitate, will fail. And a jobs program would cost a lot less than $700 billion dollars.The policy makers on both sides of the aisle who accept this deal are lying to us and bowing to fear, subservient to financial industry lobbyists. This bill is a big, fat ugly mistake that must be stopped.

Singur UPDATE 02: Mamta to NewDelhi for a meeting with Sonia

Fearing a political fallout of the imbroglio over land acquisition in Singur of West Bengal, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Monday said it will launch a campaign to clarify its stand on Tata Motor’s Nano car project there.

“We don’t have much hope the way it is going on in Singur as the Tatas have decided to stop the work at Nano car plant in Singur. If the company withdraws the project from the state then people are going to react adversely,” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said in an interaction with women journalists here.CPI-M leads West Bengal’s ruling Left Front.The party will launch a campaign to inform people how Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee spearheading the protest in Singur was misleading people.Karat, however, did not give details of the proposed campaign.“The people are angry and will react against those who blocked the project in the state,” Karat said.Auto major Tata Motors’s project to roll out the world’s most inexpensive car Nano, priced at Rs.100,000 ($2,500), from its plant at Singur, about 40 km from Kolkata, has faced tough resistance since its inception 28 months ago over land acquisition.Tata Motors has suspended work in the plant since Sep 2 after some of its workers were threatened and manhandled by a section of farmers, led by the Trinamool, to protest the acquisition of their land for the project.Demanding return of the 400 acres the government acquired “forcibly” from farmers, protesters laid siege to the factory from Aug 24, a move that prompted the company to suspend operations.

Jamia encounter :Unanswered Questions

The Jamia encounter, in which two suspected Indian Mujahideen militants were shot dead on September 19, has come under the cloud of suspicion with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issuing a notice to the Delhi Police.The commission has asked the city Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal to submit a report on the incident.The NHRC notice follows a series of fact-finding visits by a number of journalists, intellectuals, students, civil rights activists and lawyers to the site where the encounter took place. On September 19, two suspected militants, Atif and Sajid, were shot dead in a gunbattle with the police in south Delhi's Jamia Nagar locality in which a Delhi police special cell officer lost his life. In a series of press conferences after the encounter, the Delhi police claimed that one militant was arrested while two managed to escape after a dramatic shootout. One of the suspected militant, Zeeshan, who was alleged to have escaped was later arrested on the same day. Thereafter, a team of People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) visited the encounter site on September 21 and have picked several holes in the Delhi police's version of events.The members of the team were noted Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Dr N K Bhattacharya (Jan Hastakshep), Shahana Bhattacharya (PUDR), Dr Ish Misra (Jan Hastakhep), Delhi High Court Advocate N D Pancholi, and teachers of Jamia Milia Islamia University, Prof Mir Imtiaz and Sreerekha.Murky encounter?The team has raised a series of questions, which the Delhi police will have to answer to clear the suspicion surrounding the encounter.1. How many masterminds are there? A succession of organizations, such as the HUJI, SIMI and the IM, have already been named by different state police as the organizations responsible for the blasts that have taken place in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi and the bomb scare in Surat. Atif suddenly becomes the new mastermind of all the blasts after a succession of other masterminds such as Abu Bashir, Tauqeer, Saddik Shaikh, among others. His name was never mentioned earlier, not even a few days ago when the sketches of the Delhi Bombers were released.Media reports have suggested that the Delhi encounter might have been a fallout of a tussle between the Mumbai Police and Delhi Police to hog the limelight. According to a media report, both Mumbai and Delhi police were behind Atif Amin and the latter went ahead with the encounter in a bid to pre-empt the former. "We felt there was no need to plot the encounter so hurriedly and things could have been different had it been planned properly," a senior Mumbai cop was quoted as saying by the news report. In a hurry to get hold of Atif, the Delhi police lost one of its bright officers.2. When did the police get to know that they were terrorists? If they knew before they entered, why did they not seal the exit to the building and ask the alleged terrorists to surrender without going in?3. If the Special Cell knew that they were dreaded terrorists and had to be arrested/apprehended, then why was M C Sharma not wearing a bullet proof vest?4. If the Special cell did not know that they were terrorists before they entered, how did they claim soon thereafter that these were the terrorists and masterminded the blasts without even the opportunity of an interrogation of the person arrested and a thorough investigation of the evidence from the scene of the alleged encounter?5. Could two persons have escaped, considering there are no escape routes, save one which was the entrance from which the STF entered heavily armed? Related facts as per the team:
L-18 Batla house, the scene of the two 'encounter' killings of Atif and Sajid, is a four-storied building with two flats on each floor and a single stairwell. There is only one entrance to the building. All the other spaces are grilled and cannot be used to get out of the building, the team observed. The building is abutted on the left and right by two buildings, which are only about two floors high. There is a narrow lane to the front and an even narrower lane at the back.
6. If they were truly the terrorists behind the bombings, they would not have given their correct personal details in a tenant verification form to the police, which was just after the Ahmedabad Blasts and before the Delhi Blasts. Related facts as per the team:
Documentary evidence proves that Atif had submitted his correct details to the police in a tenant verification form duly received by the police on August 21, 2008. The form is a printed form which has been countersigned and bears the seal of the Jamia Nagar police station. The form also has his correct mobile phone number.
The Special Cell now claims that the verification form is forged, despite the fact that it is countersigned and bears the seal of the Jamia Nagar Police Station. However these documents were handed over to the media by the caretaker of the apartment within two hours of the alleged encounters and hence he did not have enough time to have carried out such a forgery.
7. Zeeshan who also shared the L-18 flat was taking the IIPM entrance test at the time of the alleged encounter and was arrested later in the night of September 19 from the Head Lines Today studios at Jhandelwalan. The arrest came soon after he had given an interview at the television studio which was partially aired. On what basis was he arrested?8. As per news reports, the police has so far not carried out a Test Identification Parade (TIP) by eyewitnesses who claim to have seen those responsible for the Delhi bomb blasts? Was a TIP done before the burial of the two boys who were shot dead? Has the police tried to match the sketches of the accused made at the time with those being arrested? What are the results of such efforts if they have been made?9. In view of the continuing speculation and controversies surrounding the 'encounter' and a version of the post-mortem reports being discussed by the press, why have the post-mortem reports of the two youths and the policeman who were killed in the house not been made available to their families and to the public?10. Has an FIR been lodged or investigation launched into the incident of the 'encounter' itself? Related facts as per the team:
This is what the law requires. NHRC guidelines on encounter killings clearly state "That when information is received that death was caused in an encounter as a result of firing by the police, prima facie the ingredients of culpable homicide under section 299 of the IPC are satisfied." That is sufficient to suspect that an offence of culpable homicide has been committed.
11. Since, according to the press statement issued by Holy Family Hospital on September 19, 2008, X-rays of the chest and abdomen of M C Sharma had "not revealed any foreign bodies," what has happened to the bullets fired on him? Have they been collected from the scene and sent for forensic analysis?Key conclusionsBased on their visit and a thorough investigation of facts and media reports, the team came to certain preliminary conclusions. 1. The version of the police that they had learnt that these youths were behind the Delhi blasts when they went in to arrest them is clearly false. If that were not the case, then inspector Sharma and his team, who were experienced policemen from the Special Cell and had in fact been involved in several lethal encounters in the past, would not have entered the premises at all and certainly not without bullet proof vests.2. The police gave the version of these youths being the terrorists behind the Delhi, Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts and of Atif being the mastermind to the media soon after the alleged encounter. Till this point, the police had not had the time to interrogate Saif, who had been arrested, or to thoroughly investigate the laptops recovered from the scene of the incident etc. Hence, they had no actionable information on the basis of which to make such claims. Therefore, the police version that they were the terrorists behind the blasts with Atif as the mastermind clearly seems to be a story concocted by the Special Cell before they went to pick up these people.3. The story of two people escaping from the building is an utter lie. 4. The subsequent picking up of Zia ur Rahman, the caretaker's son, and of Shakeel and others on the pretext that they were also involved in this conspiracy is highly dubious and smacks of vindictiveness against individuals who came out with statements and evidence that contradicted the police version.5. The claim of the police that the tenant verification form, handed over to the media by the caretaker, Rahman, only a couple of hours after the incident, is forged, is not at all credible. There appears no reason for Rahman to have forged such a form and kept it with him in advance, and there was certainly no time for him to have forged the papers and handed them to the media soon after the incident.6. Saquib Nisar, who the police claim provided logistical support for the serial blasts in Ahmedabad and the bomb scare in Surat, was taking an MBA examination from July 23 to July 28, 2008. Copies of his admit card and exam sheets signed by the examiners are available. Nisar was picked up by the Delhi police after the Jamia encounter. He is accused of being part of the recce for Karol Bagh blasts and networking activities.7. None of the accused who are alive and arrested have legal representation or counsel. Moreover the police have been releasing information supposedly procured from them during interrogation to the media. This further adversely affects their chances of justice.The fact-finding team will come out with a detailed report of their findings in the coming weeks.The idea behind raising these questions is not to question the validity of the police encounter but to highlight the lack of transparency in the whole incident. Every other day, the media is fed with stories by various state police agencies (Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi) who all claim to have arrested the mastermind. The Jamia encounter and the subsequent events call for a coordinated effort from all state agencies in tackling terror.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Singur UPDATE :Tata already quit

Isn't we[ Bengals] self suicidal? http://www.ikolkatalove.in/community.aspxuid/whatanews4u.htm
TO ENSURE food security and development of the society at the same time, we have to utilise the latest scientific inventions and machines. It helps increase food production and grow more crops in a shorter time. The educated youth of the farmer’s family who will become redundant because of mechanisation of farming should acquire the skill sets needed to seek employment through other avenues. And that’s exactly where the role of industry becomes very important because the government cannot provide jobs to each one of them. So, we need industries.
Now consider West Bengal, where high-density population and poor industrialisation has worsened the problem of unemployment. When the Tatas announced that their much-awaited Nano plant would be set up in Singur in West Bengal, experts hoped that the factory manufacturing the world’s cheapest car would provide livelihood to more than 50,000 families. The main unit and 51 ancillary units would provide direct employment to more than 6,000 people and further provide indirect employment to people seven to eight times that number. Though there was a small chunk of nearly 18 per cent of ‘unwilling’ land-losers who didn’t accept solatium for their land, work proceeded at the Singur plant to ensure that the Nano hit the roads by October 2008. In August 2008, when 85 per cent of the project had been completed, the ongoing protest or ‘movement’ took a more violent turn. The so-called ‘peaceful satyagraha’, which had been limited to attacks on the boundary wall and intimidation of innocent Nano workers, was now replaced by threats to lives and brutal physical attack on officers, workers and security guards working on the project.
Interestingly, the untiring crusaders against industry are a unique combination of ultra-left and ultra-right forces led by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The latter is represented only to the extent of 10 per cent in the state assembly; and in the Lok Sabha, only one from the TMC represents West Bengal – the state sends 42 representatives to the Lok Sabha! Even after the government’s recent announcement of an additional solatium of 60 per cent (50+10) and other new carrots (including the restoration of 70 acres of land acquired for the project) to make the compensation package more attractive, protests continue, demanding restoration of 400 acres of land, 300 acres from the project area and 100 acres from outside the project area.
Restoring 300 acres of land from the project area implies aborting the project. Even if restored, the flyash-laden land can no longer be used for cultivation. Yet the protesters insist on their ‘democratic’ demand being met when an overwhelming majority of farmers, youths and people from all walks of life want the project not to be aborted! So, the real issue is not one between the poor farmers and the industry; nor is it an issue of agriculture versus industry. The real issue at Singur is politics and dirty, destructive politics at that. And these politicians can do everything to hinder West Bengal’s development in order to exploit the anti-establishment and negative sentiments.

Another Delhi blast

The Faridabad police have detained two persons, one from Aligarh whose cell phone was used to make calls to media organizations after the blast in Mehrauli in south Delhi on September 27 that killed two and injured 24 people. Second person is a businessman from Faridabad who sold the sim card. The police claim that they have new definitive leads on the Mehrauli attack. Police have connected this blast to three similar blasts in south Delhi earlier this year. The three blasts had occurred at Lado Sarai, IIT crossing and at Green Park area, but were then considered as an act of mischief and never considered as an act of terror. It is being said that the nature of explosive was similar to the ones in Mehrauli yesterday.Investigators then had visited Jalpaiguri and Siliguri in West Bengal and questioned a few people regarding this including one person known as Jalaluddin.Besides these three blasts, investigators are now finding similarities between six more explosions of similar nature from 2001 to 2008 that took place in Delhi. Most blasts have remained unsolved. Among the mysterious explosions that took place in Mehrauli, one was near Indian Institute of Technology on January 16 in which one person was injured. A fortnight later, two similar blasts were reported from Malaviya Nagar locality. Massive manhunt for Mehrauli bombersMeanwhile, Delhi police have launched a massive manhunt for the two men who dropped the bomb in crowded Mehrauli market and launched extensive checking across the capital. The two men, believed to be aged around 30-32 years, riding a black motorcycle with Delhi registration number were responsible for the explosion in which a boy was killed and 18 other people injured. "The two well-built suspects wear in black dress, were wearing black helmets and riding a black Bajaj Pulsar. So it has not been possible for the eye witnesses to identify them," Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Ajay Kashyap said after the blast. The person riding in pillion dropped the packet containing tiffin in which the explosive was hidden near an electronic shop in the Mehrauli market. A child picked up the packet and wanted to return it to the motorcycle riders but it exploded killing him. Three persons, including a couple, saw the entire episode and are being questioned. Ammonium nitrate used in low intensity blastOfficials said the ingredients of Mehrauli bomb was ammonium nitrate in a small quantity along with sulphur and potassium. The bomb was loosely packed and contained one-and-a-half inch nails while sulphur was used to create dark smoke.Potassium was used as the triggering mechanism as this material burns due to friction and contact with air. The packing of explosive was very loose thus making it a low-intensity explosion.Ammonium Nitrate was used in the five serial blasts that shook the national capital on September 13, leaving 24 people dead and many others injured.In order to restrict sale of Ammonium Nitrate, used extensively by terror groups to strike in various parts of the country, the government had "in-principle" approved for amendment of the Explosives Substances Act to include it.The chemical was believed to have been used in recent series of explosions in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi and in many earlier blasts including the serial train blasts in Mumbai, Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts. Theories on blastThe investigators are seeking answers to why such a haphazard attempt was made two week after the well coordinated attack. Several theories are being explored.

Theory 1: Investigators believe that terror modules retaliated under pressure after recent crackdown by police forces in various states like Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Mumbai.

Theory 2: Terror modules may not have planned an elaborate plan to target, but want to perpetuate fear and panic by incidents like throwing explosive device.

Theory 3: Some elements of terror modules could be warning security with yesterday's blasts that they were still active, daring them with their dangerous intentions.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Isn't India's regulatory system need to be toughen to avoid Lehman-Brothers news

There will be no more bright-eyed IIM grads flying to London and New York to do their summers with Lehman Bros.
It's the death of a Dream. The end of the Formula.
Sure, in time, i-banking may bounce back but right here, right now the idea that clearing one entrance test followed by two semi-educative years on campus lead you straight into the 'global league' (in terms of greenbucks)... that, for the next couple of batches, is over.
And honestly, I think it's actually a very good thing.
I don't hate i banks or i bankers. But I do have a problem with the fact that these jobs offered so much more money than ANY other sector that even the thinking bschool grad could not help being dazzled. It was like a thousand watt bulb shining in your face -blinding you to all else.
2007 was actually the peak year for the global i-banks, in 2008, they remained strong but consulting and private equity were seen as 'hotter'. One 2008 grad from IIMA who had offers from a global i bank in New York as well as McKinsey chose the latter. Two reasons: I banking he felt was more 'risky' and secondly, he wanted to stay in India.
Here's the sector-wise break up of http://www.coolavenues.com/placements/2008/iima-f-08-1d.php/l2
That will change because Lehman & ML apart, there are just very few jobs now on offer in the financial sector. Global or otherwise. The regulars will come and pick up a couple of students, just to keep the relationship with the institute. But that will be a light drizzle, not a downpour.
We won't be seeing (I think) any new records being set in terms of dollar-converted-to-rupee salaries (last year's record: Rs 1.44 crores).
We also won't be seeing (I hope) the crazy one-upmanship among the top three IIMS about which one bagged the most PPOs and global ibanking offers.
What will happen? No IIM grad will be wanting for a good job, but there will be no auto-pilot choice. Students will think and choose more carefully.
The traditional recruiters like FMCG marketing (HLL, P&G), Indian companies (TAS, Aditya Birla Group) and emerging sectors like retail and telecom will attract more attention and interest.
Consulting and PE of course will be red-hot.
An interesting phenomenon (pointed out by a former i banker friend) is that in the US, whenever there is a slowdown, applications to MBA programs surge. If you're out of a well paid job you may as well go back to school. By the time you graduate, the economy would also have recovered.
In India though, I wonder if all this news may not have the opposite effect. I don't think the aam junta will STOP wanting to do an MBA but we may see the numbers taking the CAT stabilise. Instead of the year on year surge.
Also watch for the hot new trend of i bankers returning home. And when asked "What are your plans"? the response I'm hearing a lot of is "Starting up."
That could be a respectable way of remaining unemployed until the markets correct themselves. Or a case of i bankers who've 'made enough money' deciding to hang up their ties for good.
Welcome to the heat and dust!

This article also appear on Expressindia Blogs

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Last Lear ¬watch it

Shakespeare meets Hindi cinema in Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear, an extremely moving tale of about actors, human beings and relationships. The film is not about Shakespeare, but the Bard is never absent from the scene. He lives through the character of Harry or Harish Mishra, a retired stage actor, played to perfection by Amitabh Bachchan. The film tells the tale of two obsessed human beings, one with cinema and the other with acting. When the two come together, the result is something quite unforeseen. Like all of Rituparno's works, this movie too is layered deep with subtexts which hover around the main plot. Like all of his cinema, this movie too is rich in imagery and the manner in which each scene is textured with nuances and meanings. It is an extremely subjective experience watching Rituparno's films, but one thing is for sure, one is never left unmoved by the human drama that is played out in them.
The film is about a retired stage actor, talented and whimsical, one who is the protégé of a dying art form, Shakespearean drama, and the other a prodigy of the new breed of cinema. Both are talented, obsessed and quite ruthless where their art is concerned. Arjun Rampal plays Siddharth, the director and does a great job of holding his own against the Big B at his towering best. When these two colossal talents meet, art emerges but at the cost of Hari's life. Woven around this is the story of Shabnam, an actress (Preity Zinta), Nandana, Hari's mistress (Shefali Shah) and the nurse (Divya Dutta). The film begins in flashback as Siddharth's film is being premiered while Hari, the main protagonist of the film lies paralysed in bed. Shabham decides to go to meet Hari instead of attending the premiere and meets an initially hostile and fiery Nandana. The two women bond gradually as they sit through the night and talk about Hari, and of their lives. Hari's life and the film shoot is unfolds through the eyes of three people, Hari's mistress, his co-star and a young journalist, who is writing a book on the film's making. Filtered through these three individuals emerges the vibrant, at times absurd and naive, but always wedded to his art, character of Hari. His insistence on enacting his death scene for the film, which ironically proves to be his last turn as an actor, as he is injured in the scene and is paralysed, perhaps for ever. Hari is obsessed about enacting his death scene, it's his dedication to his art which spurs him on to do that fatal scene. Siddharth accepts after making him sign a bond which releases the film maker and his crew from any responsibility in case Hari is injured during the shoot. His ruthless obsession for getting that perfect shot ensures that Hari never walks again. It's a drama in which both individuals are driven by their obsessive dedication to their art, but while there is something pure and innocent about the actor's pursuit of his craft, the director's compulsions reek of ruthlessness. There is no regret for Siddharth but the others associated with the film are left shaken by the accident.
Built into this drama is the story of Shabnam, involved in an emotionally abusive relationship, which finds a parallel in the story of the nurse as well. Nandana lives in her silent, big house, with no one to take out her frustrations on but the hapless nurse. Rituparno builds a compelling drama around the story of Hari, the maverick, Shabnam, Siddharth and Nandana. The film is shot beautifully, with every shot having an organic connection to the whole. The movie unfolds with just the right amount of pace and rhythm. The background score is a subtle player, enhancing the emotional quality of the scenes. The story may not be very strong but what is strong is the film's screenplay and the manner in which the entire drama unfolds. The casting is apt and perfect, be it the Big B, Arjun Rampal, Shefali Shah, Preity Zinta or Divya Dutta. Each of these actors manage to get into the skin of their character and deliver the goods. It's truly an ensemble performance.
Amitabh Bachchan is terrific as Hari. His towering personality and booming voice are just apt for the role of the ageing stage actor. The manner in which he delivers soliloquies from Shakepeare's plays is just terrific, be it Prospero from The Tempest or Lear from King Lear, it is truly like watching a dying craft from one of our most accomplished actors around. Bachchan shares an excellent screen chemistry with Preity and Arjun Rampal, who manages to hold is own against him. Arjun puts in a very confident performance as Siddharth. First there was Om Shanti Om, then Rock On and now The Last Lear. Arjun Rampal is definitely emerging as an actor to watch out for.
But the show stealers are definitely the women, with Shefali Shah leading the brigade. Her body language, her modulation and her expressions are a treat to watch as she hooks the audience into her life with her powerhouse performance. Divya Dutt does not have much to say, but the manner in which she delivers is also riveting. Preity plays a very unglamorous character, perhaps for the first time, and does a very good job of it too. The beauty of the film is the manner in which it has been written, with each character carefully delineated. The dialogues are perfect, mostly in English, with a smattering of Bengali. In all, this is very moving and poignant drama. Finally, hats off to Rituparno for his masterly direction. The Last Lear bears his signature all the way.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Delhi serial blast

At least 18 people were killed and 70 injured in five serial blasts in a span of 45 minutes when terrorists targetted three crowded market areas in the heart of the Capital this evening 9September 13). Bringing back memories of the pre-Diwali terror strike in Sarojini market in 2005 that left 68 dead, the blasts rocked Connaught place, about a km from Parliament, Ghaffar market in Karol Bagh in Central Delhi and the M Block market in posh Greater Kailash in South Delhi. Home Minister Shivraj Patil said that 18 people have died and many others injured in five blasts that took place in a span of 45 minutes. Patil said the blasts have been engineered by people who want to create disharmony and disturb the social texture and expressed confidence that their designs would be defeated by people maintaining social harmony. Indian Mujahideen, a shadow amalgam of banned SIMI and Lashker-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for the blasts through an e-mail sent to news organisations around the same time when the blasts took place. A young boy claiming to be an eye-witness said that two men in black clothes planted something in a dustbin in the Central Park in Connaught place which exploded later. Of the 70 injured admitted to RML and other hospitals and some of them were said to be in a serious condition. Two people were believed to have been detained in connection with the explosions. All the major markets in the Capital were shut as a precautionary measure shortly after the blasts. Today's blasts come on top of the serial blasts in Jaipur in May in which 65 people were killed and the explosions in Ahmedabad in July that left 49 dead. There were serial blasts in Bangalore in which two people were killed, a day before Ahmedabad blasts. The first explosion rocked Ghaffar market of Karol Bagh at 6.15 PM when its was bustling with Saturday evening shoppers for the foreign goods available in many of the shops there. The explosive was kept near a Maruti car and the impact of the blast was so severe that a three-wheeler autorickshaw was thrown up several feet in the air. This was followed by two blasts in Connaught Place-- one in Central park and one near a commercial tower in Barakhamba area and two in Greater Kailash in South Delhi. While at least eight people were believed to have been killed in Karol Bagh, four or five deaths occurred in Connaught place. The explosives were planted in dustbins in Connaught place area while in Greater Kailash one was in dustbin and another on a bicycle. At least two unexploded bombs were recovered outside Regal cinema house in Connaught place and near India Gate. The blast sites at the five areas were spattered with blood and several vehicles lay mangled as shattered blasts triggered panic with people runing helter-skelter. Several siren-blaring ambulances rushed to take the injured to hospitals. In RML hospital alone there were nine bodies. 35 injured were admitted in this hospital. One of the two explosions in the Connaught Place area took place near Gopal Das Bhavan which houses private offices and banks. In the GK-I blast, some people were injured and ten shops damaged in the twin explosions that occured at around 6:40 pm. Prelimnary examination of the blast sites showed that the explosions were of low intensity where ammonium nitrate in an integrated circuit had been used in almost all the explosions. Delhi police sets up helpline Delhi police tonight set up a helpline to provide information about victims of a series of explosions in the national capital which claimed at least 18 lives. The number is 011-23490312. All bodies are kept at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital while over 70 injured were being treated at various hospitals including Lady Hardinge, Safdarjung, Jasaram and Gangaram, a senior police official said. Chronology of Delhi blastsOct 29, 2005: 50 people killed and 70 injured, including some foreigners, in three explosions in two busy markets and near a bus in Delhi.May 22, 2005: One person killed in serial blasts in two cinema halls in Delhi.Dec 30, 1997: Four commuters killed and about 30 injured in a bomb explosion in a bus near Punjabi Bagh.Nov 30, 1997: Twin blasts in Red Fort area leaves three killed and 70 injured.Oct 26, 1997: Twin bomb blasts in Karol Bagh market leaves one dead and 34 injured.Oct 18, 1997: One killed, 23 hurt in twin bomb blasts in Rani Bagh market.Oct 10, 1997: One killed, 16 injured in three bomb blasts at Shantivan, Kauria Pul and Kingsway Camp areas.Oct 1, 1997: Thirty injured in two bomb explosions near a procession in the Sadar Bazar area.Jan 9, 1997: 50 injured in bomb blast opposite the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO.May 23, 1996: At least 16 people killed in bomb blasts in Lajpat Nagar Central Market.PM, Sonia, other leaders strongly condemn serial blasts Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday (September 13) joined leaders of other political parties in strongly condemning the serial blasts in the national capital which claimed several lives. Soon after the blasts, the Prime Minister appealed to the people to maintain calm and expressed grief at the loss of lives, a PMO spokesman said. Gandhi described the blasts as a dastardly act of cowardice and said those behind the incident will not be spared as "they have no place in our civilised society." CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the incident reflected laxity in the country's security system. "The incident proves that there is laxity in our security system which needs to be investigated. It is a condemnable act," he said. The party's Delhi unit said the incident was aimed at disturbing the communal amity in the capital. CPI National Secretary D Raja said such cowardly act should be condemned in strongest terms and no culprit should be allowed to go scot free. "People should stand united at this juncture," he said. BJP blames Centre for the blasts The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday (September 13) squarely blamed the Centre for the serial blasts in Delhi saying that it failed to act despite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi warning of such a possibility. Addressing the party's Vijay Sankalp rally which marked the beginning of its campaign ahead of a series of elections in the country, senior party leader L K Advani said, "Modi had told the Prime Minister, Home Minister, National Security Advisor about the conspiracy of the terrorists which was revealed during interrogation by Gujarat Police conducted on the Ahmedabad blast accused." "It was not just an apprehension. Government cannot say it is an intelligence failure. One of our Chief Ministers said it was going to happen in the country's capital," he said. Modi had told the Prime Minister about ten days back that during the course of investigation police found that the Ahmedabad blast accused had a hand in other blasts and the terrorists also had a conspiracy of conducting serial blasts in Delhi. The rally saw party president Rajnath Singh and Advani attacking the Congress for being soft on terror and failing on all fronts. The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate singled out PM Manmohan Singh for the Delhi blasts and said it is "a worthless government". BJP top brass including all BJP Chief Ministers except Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje attended the rally where BJP President Rajnath Singh declared that if BJP came to power it would ensure that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was executed without delay. The rally also saw Advani throwing a challenge to the Congress and ruling coalition to dissolve Parliament and go in for early election giving an opportunity to the people to make their own comparative assessment of previous NDA rule and the present UPA regime. Shiela Dikshit appeals for calm Soon after the series of bomb blasts rocked the national capital this evening, Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit appealed the people to maintain peace and calm at this crucial hour. "We must keep calm and peace at this moment of hour otherwise those behind this sinister attack will get the impression that they have succeeded in their aim," Dikshit told reporters. Terming them as the enemies of the nation, she said we should show our courage to face the situation and should not panic. Condemning the blasts as a sheer cowardly act, Dikshit said the situation should not go out of hand otherwise it would be victory for those who are responsible for the blasts. "The act of violence will not be tolerated and the accused will be brought to the book within the ambit of law," Dikshit said. ssWe as a government are here to help the people in need. We will try our best to adequately compensate families of the victims and bear all the medical expenses of the injured, the Chief Minister added. We have called an urgent cabinet meeting tomorrow to discuss the medical and monetary help to be given to the victims of bomb blasts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Should a problem develop, well, science can’t get it right all the time, can it?

To recreate the ‘Big Bang’ theory of Universe creation on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). While some fear that these experiments will lead to the destruction of Earth, physicists associated with the project from around the world have assured everyone that the experiments are safe.
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, was founded in 1954. It is situated near Geneva, Switzerland on the Franco-Swiss border. The primary research conducted at CERN is focused on studying the origins and workings of the Universe primarily through experiments in physics.
LHC at CERN is the largest particle accelerator in the world. It is located 100 m (328 feet) underground straddling the Franco-Swiss border. The accelerator is 26,259 m (over 16 miles) in length and contains 9300 magnets. Testing on the LHC was finished earlier this year and tomorrow the real experiments begin.
Physicists will begin looking for the origins of the Universe by performing a series of experiments. Those experiments will hurtle
two beams of particles travel[ing] at close to the speed of light with very high energies before colliding with one another. The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum. They are guided around the accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field, achieved using superconducting electromagnets.
Four different areas around the Collider will take measurements of the collisions for use in six different experiments. The largest two experiments,
ATLAS and CMS will be analyzing the multitude of particles created by the collisions.
Two smaller experiments,
ALICE and LHCb will look for "specific phenomena" like "quark-gluon plasma" and b-quarks. By analyzing these phenomena, scientists hope to learn more about anti-matter and the origins of the Universe.
The two smallest experiments
TOTEM and LHCf will look at protons or heavy ions that don’t actually collide but just brush past each other.
All of these experiments will involve thousands of scientists from universities and research laboratories worldwide. Since these experiments are expected to produce over
15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data annually, CERN created a new faster Internet connected only to the organizations involved.
All of this data will eventually be housed at eleven major computer centers in France, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic Countries, Spain, Taipei, the UK and two sites in the U.S. This is one of the largest and fastest
grid computing networks in the world.
All of the fears about the earth being destroyed by black holes, strange matter or some other side effect from the LHC experiments have all been
So now we just wait and see what exactly makes up the universe. At the end of all of the experiments and crunched calculations we may have an idea if
Higgs boson particles really exist, the existence and make up of extra dimensions, and the makeup of dark
LHC FAQ in 140 Characters or Less

Q: WTF is a Large Hadron Collider?A: Hadrons are the parent family for protons and neutrons. The collider will smash protons together to see what they're made of.
Q: What are ATLAS and CMS and all these other acronyms?A: They are particle detectors. ATLAS and CMS are the big ones. Each detector is designed to carry out a set of experiments.
Q: How does the Large Hadron Collider work? A: It smashes particles moving at near the speed of light together. Then, detectors look for very rare particles in the wreckage.
Q: Is smashing things together to look for progressively smaller and rarer particles really how particle physics is done?A: More or less: yes. Theoretical physicists work out the math. The experiments get run to see whose math matches the world.
Q: Gimme the stats on the Collider? Factoid stats. A: 17 miles around. 9,000 magnets. 7,000 scientists. $10 billion. Operating temp: -456.25 F. Power used: 120 MW. Network: 1.8+Gb/s.
Q: Who paid for the Large Hadron Collider?A: You did! But not nearly as much as your European cousins. The US contribution stands at $531 million. Total cost: $10 billion.
Q: How does a particle detector work? A: They work like digital cameras with 150 megapixels taking snapshots 600 million times a second! Then algorithms look for interesting stuff.
Q: Is there an end 'product/goal' that the average Joe will eventually see from these experiments? ie:teleportation? A: Not directly, but confirmation that physicists understand the universe would be nice. And you never know. The engineering can lead to other things.
Q: When you smash particles at nearly the speed of light isn't that going to release a lot of energy?A: Yes. The highest-energy collisions will reach 14 trillion electron volts.
Q: How many particles are actually colliding? A: Hacked Wikipedia: The beam pipes contain 1.0×10-9 grams of hydrogen, which would fill the volume of one grain of fine sand.
Q: Is the Large Hadron Collider a threat to human civilization and the existence of the Earth? A: No. Einstein's relativity says it's impossible. And, just in case, studies of highly-energetic cosmic rays hitting earth rule it out, too.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

India's Nuclear victory

The 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) today (September 6) granted a crucial waiver to India that will enable it to carry out nuclear commerce, ending 34 years of isolation enforced in the wake of the 1974 Pokharan nuclear tests.
Following is the chronology of some key developments related to the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal:
1968: India refuses to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) on the grounds that it is discriminatory.
May 18, 1974: India conducts its first nuclear test.
March 10, 1978: US President Jimmy Carter signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, following which US ceases exporting nuclear assistance to India.
May 11-13, 1998: India tests five underground nuclear tests.
July 18, 2005: US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first announce their intention to enter into a nuclear agreement in Washington.
March 1, 2006: Bush visits India for the first time.
March 3, 2006: Bush and Singh issue a joint statement on their growing strategic partnership, emphasising their agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.
July 26, 2006: The US House of Representatives passes the ‘Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006,’ which stipulates that Washington will cooperate with New Delhi on nuclear issues and exempt it from signing the Nonproliferation Treaty.
July 28, 2006: The Left parties demand threadbare discussion on the issue in Parliament.
November 16, 2006: The US Senate passes the ‘United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and US Additional Protocol Implementation Act’ to "exempt from certain requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 United States exports of nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to India."
December 18, 2006: President Bush signs into law congressional legislation on Indian atomic energy.
July 27, 2007: Negotiations on a bilateral agreement between the United States and India conclude.
Aug 3, 2007: The text of the ‘Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy’ (123 Agreement) is released by both governments.
Aug 13, 2007: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes a suo motu statement on the deal in Parliament.
Aug 17, 2007: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat says the ‘honeymoon (with government) may be over but the marriage can go on’.
Sept 4, 2007: UPA-Left committee to discuss nuclear deal set up.
Feb 25, 2008: Left parties say the UPA would have to choose between the deal and its government’s stability.
March 3, 2008: Left parties warn of ’serious consequences’ if the nuclear deal is operationalised.
March 6, 2008: Left parties set a deadline asking the government to make it clear by March 15 whether it intended to proceed with the nuclear deal or drop it.
March 7, 2008: CPI writes to the Prime Minister, warns of withdrawal of support if government goes ahead with the deal.
March 14, 2008: CPI(M) says the Left parties will not be responsible if the government falls over the nuclear deal.
April 23, 2008: Government says it will seek the sense of the House on the 123 Agreement before it is taken up for ratification by the American Congress.
June 17, 2008: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee meets Prakash Karat, asks the Left to allow the government to go ahead with IAEA safeguards agreement.
June 30, 2008: Prime Minister says his government prepared to face Parliament before operationalising the deal.
July 8, 2008: Left parties withdraw support to government.
July 9, 2008: The draft India-specific safeguards accord with the IAEA circulated to IAEA’s Board of Governors for approval.
July 10, 2008: Prime Minister calls for a vote of confidence in Parliament.
July 14, 2008: The IAEA says it will meet on August 1 to consider the India-specific safeguards agreement.
July 18, 2008: Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon briefs the IAEA Board of Governors and some NSG countries in Vienna on the safeguards agreement.
July 22, 2008: Government is willing to look at "possible amendments" to the Atomic Energy Act to ensure that the country’s strategic autonomy will never be compromised, says Prime Minister Singh.
July 22, 2008: UPA government wins trust vote in the Lok Sabha.
July 24, 2008: India dismisses warning by Pakistan that the deal will accelerate an atomic arms race in the sub-continent.
July 24, 2008: India launches full blast lobbying among the 45-nation NSG for an exemption for nuclear commerce.
July 25, 2008: IAEA secretariat briefs member states on India-specific safeguards agreement.
Aug 1, 2008: IAEA Board of Governors adopts India-specific safeguards agreement unanimously.
Aug 21-22, 2008: The NSG meet to consider an India waiver ends inconclusively amid reservations by some countries.
Sep 4-6, 2008: The NSG meets for the second time on the issue after the US comes up with a revised draft and grants waiver to India after marathon parleys.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trinamul look into forward. Tomorrow All party meeting @Rajbhavan

In an apparent climbdown, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her party wants work to resume at the Tata Motors' Nano plant at Singur, but after excluding the controversial 400 acre acquired farmland.She also said that she is ready for talks with the West Bengal government for a way out of the impasse over farmland acquisition."We want work to resume at the Tata Motors plant soon because we don't want the poor workers to suffer. But the plant should be set up excluding the 400 acre farmland acquired from the unwilling farmers," Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said addressing protesters at Singur."Our agitation is not against industrialisation but for the rights of the farmers. We too understand the benefits of industries but priority must always be given to the farmers who provide us with food for sustenance," Banerjee added.The Trinamool chief said she is ready for talks with the state government to solve the row over farmland acquisition."Why only the state government, I am ready to sit at the discussion table with anyone to sort out the issue. I have also requested Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi to take the initiative. But the 400 acre farmland must be returned to the farmers," Banerjee said.More than 997 acres of land was acquired for the Tata small car project in Singur of which 691.66 acres belonged to farmers who gave their land willingly.

Well timing of leak of 26page suspicious letter

Accusing the Prime Minister of "misleading" Parliament and the country on the nuclear deal issue, main opposition BJP on Thursday demanded the resignation of the Manmohan Singh government."The Manmohan Singh government has no business to continue in office and should leave immediately," senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said.The former external affairs minister said in view of the "gross breach" of privilege of both the Houses of Parliament, an immediate session should be convened "within the shortest possible time" to enable BJP to move a privilege motion against the Prime Minister if the UPA did not quit.The BJP made the demands in the wake of the disclosure of correspondence between the Bush administration and US Congress that the pact would be off if India conducted a nuclear test.
Attachment: I upload here 26page letter written to US Congress
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