YSR copter crash: ‘cockpit voice recorder not yet decoded’

KURNOOL: The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of the ill-fated Bell 430 helicopter that crashed at Pavuralagutta on September 2 killing then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and four others has not yet been decoded.
This was stated by V.V. Lakshminarayana, DIG, Central Bureau of Investigation, after an investigation team visited Pavuralagutta on Thursday. The team, comprising officials from CBI, bomb disposal squad, dog squad, forensic science laboratory and other agencies spent nearly five hours at the crash site carefully examining every inch of the area

Craft Bazaar-2009

 A 10-day Craft Bazaar-2009 will be organised by A.P. Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd at People’s Plaza on Necklace Road from November 6 between 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. About 150 craftsmen from different parts of the country will participate in the expo. The exhibition is open for all

 

Exhibition from today

The ninth India Shopping Mall exhibition is commencing at the YMCA here on Friday. It will run till November 10.

There will be more than 100 stalls in the exhibition, selling different products like terracotta, sofa sets, fabrics, leather, modular furniture, cookware, artefacts, home furniture, fitness equipment, carpets, antique furniture from Bhutan, etc.

 

Need to instil confidence among IT aspirants stressed

VISAKHAPATNAM: Representatives of the IT industry and the academia have reached a consensus on making the IT and ITES aspirants ‘industry-ready’ by the time they pass out of the colleges.

This was one of the issues which was agreed upon at an interactive session organised by the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) at Dr. L. Bullayya College on Thursday. Initiating the debate, Joint Director of STPI M.P. Dubey underlined the need to instil confidence among IT-aspirants as they were demoralised by the slowdown in the economy.

Principal of Bullayya College I. Pardhasaradhi highlighted the need to bridge the gap between the requirements of the industry and the knowledge gained by the students in the colleges.

He said that theory and practice were two different things and felt that industry and academia should work together for mutual advantage in this regard.

Symbiosys CEO O. Naresh Kumar and Ravi Eswarapu of Tech Mahindra felt that aspirants of the city and the region should be trained at their colleges to make them industry-ready from day one. In the absence of trained candidates, the IT industry would prefer non-locals who have the requisite skills.

Faculty training

Director of the Computer and Management Studies of Bullayya College K.V.S. Patnaik said that it was decided that the industry representatives should train select faculty from the colleges and the latter should in turn train students during the last three months of the academic course.

Director (adademic) of Bullayya College Bhaskara Reddy and Vizag Information Technology Association advisor Adapa Govinda Rao were among those who spoke.

It was also decided to hold another meeting with representatives from the industry and academia in the city on November 23. The CEO of Quatrro Raman Roy, who is also known as the father of Business Process Outsourcing in India, would address the participants.

Mr. Roy would also address the students on the prospects of IT industry the same day

CM wants 10 new ministers

Hyderabad: The Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, wants to induct 10 new ministers into the Cabinet.

Sources said that he wanted to either drop or give new portfolios to Mr Komatireddy Venkata Re-ddy (Nalgonda), Mr Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose (East Godavari), Mr Kanna Laxmi Narayana (Guntur), Mr Balineni Srinivasulu Reddy (Prakasam), Mr P. Ramachandra Reddy (Chi-ttoor), Mr N. Raghuveera Reddy (Anantapur), Mr Jupally Krishna Rao (Mahbubnagar), Mr Danam Nagender (Hyderabad), Ms Sabita Reddy (Rangareddy), Mr Ponnala Laxmaiah (Warangal), Mr Anam Ramnarayana Re-ddy (Nellore), and Shilpa Mohan Reddy (Kurnool).

Mr Rosaiah is expected to explain to the Congress president the need to recast the Cabinet at the appropriate time to refurbish the image of the government. “He wants to prove his ability to govern by bringing the cabinet under his control,” said the source.

The Chief Minister will pay another visit to Mrs Gandhi after he gets elected as CLP leader.

 

The new size zero – Sony’s ultra slim ‘Vaio X’ notebook

Your laptop has got even lighter and slimmer – precisely 655 gms in weight and half an inch in thickness. Sony has launched its latest series of ultra slim laptops (11.2 inches in size) called the ‘Vaio X’. With this release, the company has surged ahead in the race to the world’s lightest notebook, ahead of Apple’s MacBook Air and Dell Adamo.

Check out what Sony’s new Vaio X notebook has to offer –

The model comes in two styles – one with a smooth glossy finish and the other being a matt metal look

It supports different battery variants (if not the standard one, the weight could increase to 755 gms)

The battery is said to last ‘a working day’ or 16 hours

11.1 inch LCD display having a resolution of 1366×768 pixels and is LED backlit

Despite its smaller size, the keys in the keyboard are quite well-spaced

Integrated with mobile broadband (UMTS) – no external broadband cable required

Besides two USB ports, it also has a VGA port, Ethernet socket and SD/ Memory Stick reader

It has an in-built Motion-Eye webcam

This notebook comes with ‘Windows 7’ pre-installed

Sony plans to make a big impact with this miniature series, having romped in the original size-zero, Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor as its brand ambassador. The celeb couple, Saif and Kareena, aren’t new to laptops, with Saif having previously endorsed the Chinese brand ‘Lenovo’, which later saw a rise in its India sales.

Sony has set aside Rs 15 crores for its marketing in India, possibly the reason for the laptop being priced at Rs 65,000. Despite being pricey, the laptop is expected to do well, purely for its chic design and being the world’s lightest notebook.

Next on the line is the touch-screen VAIO.

Vinay Dora

Dentists can identify patients at risk of heart attacks

Washington: Dentists can do more than just taking care of your oral health – they can help determine your risk for fatal heart attack, says a new study.

The study followed 200 patients (101 women and 99 men) in private dental practices in Sweden whose dentists used a computerized system, “HeartScore,” to calculate the risk of a patient dying from a cardiovascular event within a 10-year period.
The system, designed by the European Society of Cardiology, measures cardiovascular disease risk in persons aged 40-65 by factoring the person’s age, sex, total cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure and smoking status.

Patients with HeartScores of 10 percent or higher, meaning they had a 10 percent or higher risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke within a 10-year period, were told by dentists to seek medical advice regarding their condition.

12 patients in the study, all of them men, had HeartScores of 10 percent or higher. All women participating in the study had HeartScores of 5 percent or less.

Of the 12 male patients with HeartScores of 10 percent or higher, nine sought further evaluation by a medical care provider who decided that intervention was indicated for six of the patients.

Two patients did not follow the dentist’s recommendation to seek further medical evaluation and one patient was only encouraged by his dentist to discontinue smoking. Physicians for three patients were not able to confirm their risk for cardiovascular disease.

All 200 patients enrolled in the study were 45 years of age or older with no history of cardiovascular disease, medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes and had not visited a physician during the previous year to assess their glucose, cholesterol or blood pressure levels.
The researchers conclude that oral health care professionals can identify patients who are unaware of their risk of developing serious complications as a result of cardiovascular disease and who are in need of medical interventions.
The study has been published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association

TN Govt. to buy 40 lakh colour TV sets for free distribution

MKarunanidhi

The State government has decided to purchase 40 lakh more colour television sets as part of its project of distributing the sets free to people.

This would be the fifth installment of the purchase of colour TVs. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi made an announcement in this regard on Thursday after chairing a meeting of leaders of legislature parties at the Secretariat.

Global bids would be floated shortly. By the middle of December, they would be opened and by third week of next month, the contracts would be settled. Starting from February 2010, the distribution would go on up to December. Those tender specifications adopted for the fourth phase of the project would be adopted now also.

Another decision was that additionally, 8,37,500 colour TVs would be procured under the fourth phase of the project.

In the four installments, the TVs were distributed to 85, 15,343 households at a cost of about Rs. 2,036.69 crore. The permission was given for covering 1.04 crore households and the amount sanctioned was about Rs. 2267.87 crore.

Those who attended the Thursday meeting were M.K. Stalin, Deputy Chief Minister, D.Sudarssanam (Congress), C. Govindasamy (Communist Party of India-Marxist), V. Sivapunniyam (CPI), H. Abdul Basith (Indian Union Muslim League), M. Jagan Moorthy (Puratchi Bharatam) and D. Ravikumar (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi).

Teacher training and recruitment: Sibal asks States to conform to central laws

_KAPILSIBAL

Union Minister for Human Resourses Kapil Sibal

The Centre has asked the West Bengal Government to conform to the regulations of the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and the spirit of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act while recruiting primary teachers.

Though school education is the domain of State Governments, this central intervention has been made in view of the trouble being faced by the West Bengal Government after the Calcutta High Court declared courses run by Primary Teacher Training Institutes (PTTI) in the State as illegal due to lack of NCTE recognition.

Briefing mediapersons here, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said the State Government invited applications from Class X pass-outs for recruitment as primary teachers at a time when the Centre and the West Bengal administration were working to soften the impact of the High Court judgement.

In view of the advertisement for recruitment of 58,000 primary teachers, the Minister has written to the West Bengal Government urging it to revisit its recruitment process and ensure that only persons possessing minimum qualifications as prescribed by the NCTE are recruited to avoid any future complication.

“We want and expect State Governments to cooperate with us by amending laws and bringing them in conformity with the central legislation,” Mr. Sibal said; pointing out that the new recruitment drive by West Bengal may well be challenged in court given that it continues with the old regime that was declared illegal by the Calcutta High Court.

Giving details on the controversy, Mr. Sibal said PTTIs in West Bengal were offering one year Diploma in Education (D.Ed) to Class X pass students while the NCTE regulation mandates a two-year D.Ed programme for primary teachers. And, only students who have cleared Class XII with 50 per cent marks are eligible for the course. Hence, these PTTIs were not recognised by the NCTE.

As a result of the judgement, 31,141 persons were adversely affected. While some have been awarded diploma by the non-recognised PTTIs, others could not write the examination because of the Court injunction. In consultation with the State Government, the Centre has worked out three options to ensure that their career prospects are not affected.

The issue has been hanging fire for over a year now to the extent that Mr. Sibal had a couple of meetings with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee; both of whom lead their respective parties in the State.

Night-shift workers should avoid coffee: study

COFFEE_FESTIVAL

The older you get, the more affected your sleep will be by coffee

Night-shift workers, if they wish to improve their sleep, need to lay off the coffee, according to new research.

In a study, Julie Carrier, a University of Montreal psychology professor has found that caffeine interferes with sleep and this side-effect worsens as people age, the website Science Daily reported.

“Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant to counteract sleepiness, yet it has detrimental effects on the sleep of night-shift workers who must slumber during the day, just as their biological clock sends a strong wake-up signal,” says Ms. Carrier.

“The older you get, the more affected your sleep will be by coffee.”

Twenty-four men and women participated in the study: one group was aged 20 to 30, while a second group was aged 45 to 60. Everyone spent two sleepless nights in lab rooms before being allowed to sleep. “We all know someone who claims to sleep like a baby after drinking an espresso. Although they may not notice it, their sleep will not be as deep and will likely be more perturbed,” says Ms. Carrier.

Both participant groups had to take a pill three hours before sleeping; either 200 milligrams of caffeine or a lactose-based placebo. All subjects who consumed caffeine pills had their sleep affected, especially older participants who slept 50 per cent less than usual. In both age groups, caffeine decreased sleep efficiency, sleep duration, slow-wave sleep (SWS) and REM sleep.

The combined influence of age and caffeine made the sleep of middle-aged subjects particularly vulnerable to the circadian waking signal. Ms. Carrier suggests that lower brain synchronization, caused by age and caffeine, produces greater difficulty in overriding circadian waking signals during daytime and that leads to fragmented sleep.

These results have implications for the high proportion of the population using caffeine to cope with night work and jetlag, particularly the middle-aged. Ms. Carrier recommends that everyone over 40 reduce their coffee consumption, especially if they work at night. Her study builds on recent findings that reducing coffee consumption is the best way to improve sleep for the middle-aged.

Firms focus on employees’ families

 Earlier, work and home life were stringently compartmentalised. Employers were not aware of, nor were they particularly concerned with, what was happening in their employees’ homes. Now those strictly-demarcated boundaries are blurring and merging. Taking a leaf from the book of foreign companies, a number of Indian firms are now focusing on the new concept of work-life balance in offices, which brings the family to the forefront. An employee’s performance at the workplace, according to this new way of thinking, is directly linked to the family. Many companies are now going out of their way to involve families in different office initiatives to ensure that they share in many areas of an employee’s work life.
Udit Bhatia, a Relationship Manager with Tata Communications in Delhi elucidates, “Since families play a vital role in an employee’s life, companies are now coming up with family engagement programs to help their employees find a balance between work and home. For instance, we have regular family get-togethers once in three months, in which we can unwind with our families by going to theme parks, plays and so on.”
Some companies are going a step further in encouraging family involvement at the workplace. Karan Chawla, a merchandiser with Koutons, a leading apparel retailer company, describes their initiative. “In our company, we have a spouse referral program through which a husband and wife can work in the same company, thus giving them an opportunity to spend more time together,” he says. Explaining the motivation behind this, Karan adds, “There are many benefits to such projects. The most important one being that it cuts down on office politics and encourages employees to work together as a family. We started a program called Koutons Parivaar, in which we have several employee wellness initiatives.”
Manish Jain, head of Corporate Communications at Perot India, echoes his view. He says, “In today’s stressful work environment, it is important for employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and their private lives so that both the company and the workers benefit in the long term. We conduct yoga and salsa classes in the office campus along with crèche and transportation facilities for the well-being of our employees. In addition to that, we have special work-life balance seminars with spouses to spread awareness about these areas.”
The bottom line, according to HR managers today, is for people to realise that unless the family is involved in the workplace, there can be no optimum performance there. Rahul, an HR manager with Global Softwares says, “In our company, families are invited to visit the campus and see what the employee is doing. And their support and appreciation helps the employee.”

 

Cong’s first list for GHMC elections

HYDERABAD: Congress on Thursday night released a list of 130 candidates for the GHMC polls scheduled for
Nov 23.

After a two-day long discussions, a list of probables was submitted to PCC president D Srinivas for approval.

The candidates were selected by the PCC as per AICC guidelines, party general secretary R Ananda Bhaskar said. M Veerappa Moily, ACC in-charge of Andhra Pradesh affairs, chief minister K Rosaiah, Greater Hyderabad Congress committee president D Nagender, MPs, MLAs, DCC presidents falling under the GHMC areas participated in the discussion over selection of candidates.

Talking to the media late in the night, D Nagender said candidates for the remaining 20 seats were not selected due to lack of consensus. He said the final list would be announced on Friday morning.

Villa Marie student leaps to death

HYDERABAD: It was a bloody Thursday at Villa Marie College with a 20-year-old B Com student, B Anusha, jumping to her death from the fourth floor of the college building.

students

ANXIOUS LOT: Students of Villa Marie peek through the gates of their college where Anusha committed suicide on Thursday.

 When the other students were in their classrooms, a visibly disturbed Anusha, excused herself from her class on the first floor at around 9.30 am and climbed up to the fourth floor of the same building. She then called up her father and cried inconsolably, allegedly complaining about harassment from her friends, and even as he assured her that he would sort out her problem she took the fatal leap, her mother Radhabai told media persons.

 But Anusha’s decision to end her life wasn’t a pre-determined one or so it seems. In fact, police officials who are verifying her cellphone call records say that she made repeated attempts to reach her father but did not get through to him. Her classmates say that it was possibly a network problem on the other floors that drove Anusha to the fourth floor, where many students go to make calls. The police say that Anusha sent an SMS to her father, “Bye dad, I am going to die’’ before she jumped. Anusha was rushed to Yashoda Hospital, Somajiguda, where doctors detected internal injuries. The only visible physical injuries were on her left elbow. She was declared dead at 11.20 am.

Tendulkar’s dismissal was the turning point: Ponting

JUBILIANT: Ponting and Co. celebrates after the fall of Gautam Gambhir. Photo: K.R. Deepak

The Hindu JUBILIANT: Ponting and Co. celebrates after the fall of Gautam Gambhir. Photo: K.R. Deepak
“Sachin Tendulkar played a mighty innings. It was a knock which could have taken the game away from us. That is why his dismissal was the turning point in our victory today,” said Australian captain Ricky Ponting after his team won the fifth one-dayer here on Thursday.

 

“Definitely, when Sachin was batting we thought the game was slipping away. But credit should be given to our bowlers, especially the young guys for responding so well in the slog overs. Doug Bollinger was truly special,” Ponting said.

“Yes, it was certainly difficult to defend even 350 on this pitch. But I believe that we always thought that our all-round game was much better,” the victorious captain said.

Terrific innings

“I think Shaun Marsh played one of the best one-day innings I have seen in India after Shane Watson took the fight to the Indian bowlers,” Ponting said.

“This win should do a world of good to the young guys who were apparently playing under a lot of pressure in such demanding conditions,” he said. “Definitely, it is a great feeling to lead the series, especially after what I feel was reduced to a three-match series (before this contest),” he said.

Indian captain M.S. Dhoni said: “The players seemed to be just going through the motions in the given situation. Probably, they tried to change gears from first to sixth, when cricketing discipline would have worked better,” he said.

“But I don’t think losing such close games is a reflection of lack of team spirit. In contrast, they actually do a lot of good to the team for they can believe they can chase such big scores,” he said.

Special innings

“It is sad that we lost this game after such a special innings from Sachin. I have always been a big fan of his ‘Desert Storm’ (against Australia in Sharjah some years ago),” he said.

“We all wanted to score the winning run after such a brilliant effort from Sachin, who single-handedly brought us back into the game,” he said.

“Definitely, the bowlers could have done better. Maybe experience would have counted under these conditions,” he felt.

Commonwealth Games budget doubled

India's first individual Olympic Gold medallist and world champion air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, starts the baton run during the launch of the XIX Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games outside Buckingham Palace in London on Oct. 29, 2009.

AP India’s first individual Olympic Gold medallist and world champion air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, starts the baton run during the launch of the XIX Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games outside Buckingham Palace in London on Oct. 29, 2009.
Faced with delays and escalating costs, the 19th Commonwealth Games, to be held here next October, received a major boost on Thursday, with the Union Cabinet deciding to more than double the budget allocation.

 

The budget has been hiked to Rs. 1,620 crore from Rs. 767 crore. The amount will be given as loan to the Organising Committee of the Games at the prevailing interest rate of the government.

Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson Ambika Soni said the increase had become necessary due to several factors.

For instance, several new items that were essential for the successful delivery of the games but were not provided in the initial budget, such as sponsorship and television rights, security, ticketing, city operations, accreditation and sustainability and environment, are included now.

Likewise, there were changes in the scope of the work and cost escalation in respect of accommodation, catering, opening and closing ceremonies, rent for the office of the Organising Committee, risk management-insurance, protocol and CGF relations, communications, image and looks, technology and the Queen’s Baton Relay.

There is a significant increase in the number of days of the Relay — from 136 to 240 days for the international leg and from 60 to 100 days for the domestic leg. The revised route for the relay now covered all the 70 CGA nations and territories in the international leg and all States in the national leg.

Further, the number of volunteers required for the games has gone up to nearly 30,000, with concurrent increase in terms of cost of accreditation, catering, uniform and other such expenses.

Ms. Soni said the components of rent for the Organising Committee’s headquarters and for technology alone accounted for a significant portion of the increase. The allocations for the two items were practically zero in the initial Budget. It has now been estimated that about Rs. 175 crore is required for the rent and Rs. 200 crore for the technology.

Replying to queries, the Minister denied that the increase in the budget would mean a waste of resources. Pointing out that the amount was being provided as a loan, she said the Organising Committee expected to generate revenue of about Rs. 1,708 crore.

The run up to the games has been mired in controversies with Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper at one time expressing serious concerns over the pace of the preparations. The matter was consequently resolved following detailed discussions between the top brass of the CGF and the Indian Olympic Committee.

 

Islamic Groups now support ‘Vande Mataram’

Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind are just ignorant

The the All India Muslim Tehwar Committee (AIMTC) and the National Secularism Front of India (NSFI), two prominent Muslim groups in Madhya Pradesh have stated that it is by no means un-Islamic to sing Vande Mataram in India.

According to yje AIMTC and NSFI, they have have translated the song into Urdu and that it is simply a prayer to keep the nation safe. “It is not against Islam or un-Islamic. This is the reason why several Muslim freedom fighters chose to lay down their lives singing ‘Vande Mataram’,” claimed AIMTC chairman Osaf Shahmeeri Khurram. Khurram said “Vande mataram” is not a prayer to a mother goddess. “It is a prayer to the almighty to keep the nation safe and thus there should be no problem in singing or reciting it,” he said.

“Even Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind chief Mehmood Madani’s grandfather Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani and his father Asad Madani who was also a Congress MP had sung ‘Vande mataram’ on various occasions,” he claimed. “Had ‘Vande Mataram’ been un-Islamic then Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Maulana Obeidullah Sindhi or martyr Ashfaqullah would not have laid down their lives singing ‘Vande Mataram’.”

According to Khurram, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and Darul-ul-Uloom in Deoband which sparked the controversy by issuing the original fatwa were basically ignorant of the facts. NSFI president Irshad Ali Khan Afridi also said “Vande Mataram” was not un-islamic. “The controversies arise only because people who issue such diktats have failed to understand it. They are, it seems, not aware of the facts,” Afridi said.

“Why did no cleric oppose music director AR Rahman when he sang the song which not only became quite popular but also took him to new heights of his career?” he asked.

The Muslim clerics at the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind do not support the song because “Vande Mataram” means “Mother (India), I bow to thee!”, which goes against their religion, since according to Moulana Muizuddin of the Jamiat, “We cannot bow before anybody other than the Allah. It is un-Islamic.”

No More Terrorism in India!

Enough is enough

Why is India being knocked down by terrorists over and over and over again? Why is the government allowing such terrorists to cross over and bomb cities? And why hasn’t there been any retaliation by the ruling Congress?

Heck, Pakistani terrorist Kasab, who took headshots at hundreds of Indians on 26/11 is cooling his heels in prison even at this moment; and India cannot use him as proof that Pakistani soil was used to train him, because Pakistan simply denies it!

Let me give you a brief outline of these terrorists’ recent vacations to India: On March 7, 2006 triple bombings in Varanasi killed 23 people and injured 68 others at an ancient temple and crowded railway station. On May 21, 2006 seven people including two guerrillas were killed in Srinagar as militants attacked a Congress party rally, three days ahead of the prime minister’s visit for the second Kashmir roundtable. On July 11, 2006 eight people, including tourists and pilgrims, were killed in five hand grenade attacks in Srinagar. The same day 135 were killed in Mumbai in serial blasts in suburban trains at during rush hour in the evening.

On February 19, 2007 68 people were killed in Panipat after two bombs went off on the Samjhauta Express. On May 18, 2007, 12 people were killed in historic Mecca Mosque in the Charminar area of Hyderabad. On Aug 25, 2007 42 were killed in two blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park at Hyderabad. On May 13, 2008 : 80 people killed in serial bomb blasts in Jaipur. On July 25, July 26, 2008 57 people killed after 18-odd synchronised bombs went off within less than two hours in Ahmedabad.

On September 13, 2008, 26 people killed in six serial bomb blasts at Karol Bagh, GK-II and Connaught Place in New Delhi. On September 27, 2008 three people were killed after a crude bomb exploded in Mehrauli. On September 29, 2008 five people died after a bomb went off in a crowded market at malegaon. On October 01, 2008 two people killed and 100 injured in serial bomb blasts in crowded market places in Agartala. On Oct 14, 2008 eight people injured after bomb planted on a rented bicycle went off in the Colonelganj market in Kanpur. On Oct 30, 2008 at least 50 killed in serial bomb blasts across Assam.

And the biggie – on Nov 26, 2008 183 killed and over 300 injured in a daring terror attack at Hotel Taj, Nariman House, Hotel Trident Oberoi and other places in the city. It was the worst-ever terror attack in India which lasted for 59 hours. Nine terrorists were gunned down, while one (Dear Kasab) was caught alive. 20 policemen and 2 NSG Commandos were killed, while 23 foreign nationals were among the dead.

Was that a tedious list to read? Get a load of this – the terrorists at the Taj on 26/11 were constantly in touch with their handlers back in Pakistan, and everytime they got tired of shooting Indians in their heads, they got boosts and pep talks from their handlers over the phone. A few CDs were produced in a Mumbai court on Wednesday which contained recorded conversations between the attackers and their handlers. Here is an example of the morale boosting lines given to the attackers: “Fight like a lion! If you see movements (of armed forces) then you fire!” Yes, India did allow perpetrators of terror attacks to go scot-free.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and even Pakistan’s ISI was involved with the terrorist attacks. Yet India has absolutely no power or will to do anything about it. To add the bitter salt, the Pak Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed that India is funding Taliban fighters to cause unrest in Pakistan. And to add in the guffaws Pakistan set free Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. What can we do? The least India could have is a conceived and conceptualised security architecture. Thankfully the Indian armed forces have embarked on their ‘modernisation drive’ and will benefit from the emerging technologies like the IT sector.

A top brass military man stated today: “US has not allowed a second 9/11 to happen, Indonesia has not allowed a second Bali-bombing to happen. India has allowed people to get away after the Parliament attack, Delhi blasts and finally the 26/11 incident. The time for all of us has come to say no more.” I wholeheartedly agree with Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor. Enough is Enough.

‘Youngsters getting too sensitive’

HYDERABAD: It could be a common refrain that society is becoming too insensitive, but psychologists say that social niceties were never more

important than they are now. People are more sensitive and egoist than ever before and need to be handled with care, even if the person concerned is a friend, spouse or even one’s offspring.

Thursday witnessed two suicide bids in the city in reaction to seemingly routine provocations. While B Anusha jumped from the fourth floor of her college building as she couldn’t take the alleged harassment of her friends anymore, Swarnlata, also a college student popped sleeping pills after her mother reprimanded her for not eating properly. While Swarnalata survived her suicide attempt, Anusha has left four extremely worried friends, against whom her mother has filed a complaint.

“In the earlier days, when parents punished their kids, it was acceptable. But, no longer so,’’ notes Dr K N Vishwanath, clinical psychologist and professor at the Administrative Staff College of India. He says that “respecting human dignity’’ has become very important these days and people need to be relatively more cautious when articulating their views.

While Dr Vishwanath lays emphasis on the increased importance of inter-personal relation skills, Ranjana Haladker, director, Roshni, helpline for the suicidal believes that there is a big difference in the thinking of the young from their parents. In the case of B Anusha, for instance, her mother said that she had no idea that her daughter was feeling so depressed due to the alleged harassment by her friends. Haladker says of the 600 calls her helpline gets, 40 are those of the suicidal young. The solution, she says, is to take the concerns of the present-day young seriously.

Haladker has a point. Around 20 suicides were reported in the state in the month of October, of which around 80 per cent cases were those of students or young techies.

“People who commit suicide tend to make a distress phone call and many tend to ignore it thinking it is an attention-seeking tactic,’’ says Dr Alim Chandani, consulting psychiatrist with Apollo Hospitals. Taking these calls seriously could yield a solution, he says.

However, Dr Alim Chandani also gives another take on the issue of the youth jumping the gun, rather literally. Apollo Hospitals says that studies have shown that younger women are more prone to attempting suicides, but the intent to die among them is not very high. This is possibly illustrated in the case of Swarnlata who popped the sleeping pills, but in relative ‘moderation’ and thus survived.

“Besides, there is a sociological phenomena observed that when a famous personality commits suicide, those on the brink (of ending their lives) to take the leap,’’ he says. He says the news coverage of the suicide bid by boxer woman S Amaravathi may have an impact on those depressed and contemplating to end their lives.

Air India pilots threaten to go on strike once again

Unless their salaries are paid

Pilots of national carrier Air India on Thursday threatened to go on strike again if their flying allowances and other salary arrears of the past two months are not been paid to them by November 10.

The pilots threatened to go on strike from November 24 in that case.

The decision was taken at the Indian Commercial Pilots Associations (ICPA) central committee meeting at the Air India house (complex) in southern Chennai on Thursday.

The ICPA, a union formed by 800 erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, had sent a 14-day strike notice to the Air India management on Monday (November 02).

The irked pilots say that foreign pilots employed by the airline are being paid more than them.

“Our demand is that our salaries… that is flying allowances is a major part of the salaries has not been paid for two months and the foreign pilots who are employed by the company are being paid approximately 30 percent more than what we are being paid and apart from other allowances and perks, they are also being paid on time.,” said Captain Sabu, secretary of ICPA.

Trashing reports that the airline is incurring losses due to recession, Sabu said that despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh”s assurance, the Air India management has not paid any heed to their grievances.

“The entire airline as whole is suffering now and the Honourable Prime Minister had promised in his Independence Day address that he would not allow Air India to die away. But we do not see the management following it up.

“The management is not taking even a single step in the right direction. We have given them a number of suggestions on how to revive this airline and to improve our finances but they do not seem to be interested in that.”

“They are only talking about pay cut from all the employees. No, recession has got absolutely nothing to do with this because we still see that our planes are going full, most of our flights are going full. There are passengers travelling,” he added.

The airline declared a loss of billion dollars in the financial year March 2009, while in September, around 400 Air India executive pilots went on mass sick leave for four days to protest pay cuts, resulting in more than 200 flights being cancelled and the airline losing more than rupees 100 crore (one billion rupees). (ANI)

Tendulkar’s incandescent innings in vain

MASTERCLASS: Sachin Tendulkar raises his bat to the crowd after scoring his 45th ODI century. India ultimately went on to lose the match by three runs and now trail 2-3 to the Australians.

 

AP MASTERCLASS: Sachin Tendulkar raises his bat to the crowd after scoring his 45th ODI century. India ultimately went on to lose the match by three runs and now trail 2-3 to the Australians.
It was a remarkable exhibition of strokeplay by Tendulkar, who not only notched up his 45th ODI hundred but also became the first cricketer in the history of the game to cross the 17,000 run mark

It was a night that broke hearts. The evergreen script of Sachin Tendulkar single-handedly fighting cricketing battles for India was enacted again.

In the end, sadness and silence lingered. The maestro, egged on by the challenge of a daunting target and a familiar foe, played an incandescent innings that turned the clock back, clipped a milestone 17,000 ODI runs, and raised hopes on a feverish Thursday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Tendulkar’s 175, a number resonant with Kapil Dev’s triumphant effort against Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup, was, however, destined to embrace tragedy.

Chasing Australia’s 350 for four in 50 overs, India scored 347 in 49.4 overs to lose the fifth ODI of the Hero Honda Cup by three runs and trail the seven-match series at 2-3.

Tendulkar’s innings (175, 141b, 19×4, 4×6) was reminiscent of his knocks against the Aussies in Sharjah in 1998. He punched Ben Hilfenhaus for his first four. Soon he pulled Doug Bollinger, tucked Clinton McKay, slammed Shane Watson and danced down and lofted spinners — Nathan Hauritz and Adam Voges.

Dainty touch

The dainty touch was evident too as he late cut and finely swept Michael Hussey in a 209-minute tenure remarkable for its power, placement and poise.

Tendulkar’s 45th ODI hundred was also a manifestation of his genius. Shaping to pull Voges, Tendulkar realised that the delivery was fuller in length and he quickly shortened his extravagant back lift to whip the ball past a bemused Ponting at mid-on.

Tendulkar also found an enterprising ally in Suresh Raina (59, 59b, 3×4, 3×6) and as the duo scripted a 137-run fifth-wicket partnership, a fairytale began to take shape.

The required equation boiled down to 75 from 60 balls, 41 from 30 and eight from the last six deliveries but Raina and Harbhajan Singh fell in succession, Tendulkar’s effort to scoop one over short fine-leg proved fatal and the tail ran itself out.

Frail top order

In a night that was a tribute to Tendulkar’s longevity, his partners in the top order displayed frailty. Virender Sehwag (38) continued his obsession with playing cameos and top-edged Ben Hilfenhaus as Doug Bollinger plucked a fine catch running from short fine-leg.

Gautam Gambhir gifted memories and a first ODI wicket to debutant seamer Clinton McKay. Yuvraj Singh popped a return catch to Shane Watson and M.S. Dhoni was surprised as he found a diving Adam Voges at point before Tendulkar hinted at a near-miracle.

Like father like son

Earlier, it was a case of like father like son. Geoff Marsh scored his first One-Day International hundred at India’s expense in 1986. And 23 summers later, his son Shaun Marsh notched up his maiden ODI century, that too against the Indians.

Marsh junior’s cultured 112 (112b, 8×4, 2×6) along with Shane Watson’s opening blitz (93), skipper Ricky Ponting’s 45 (45b, 3×4, 1×6) and Cameron White’s 57 (33b, 2×4, 5×6) helped Australia grab the initiative after opting to bat.

Marsh did enjoy his reprieves on 29 and 51 when Dhoni and Virender Sehwag dropped him and he was also a subdued player during the opening partnership of 145 runs from 152 deliveries with an aggressive Watson.

However, there was no mistaking the southpaw’s talent. Marsh bided his time while Watson (93, 89b, 9×4, 3×6) cut loose against an erratic trio of Ashish Nehra, Praveen and Munaf Patel, who replaced Ishant Sharma in the Indian XI.

Power hitting

Later, Marsh displayed power in carting Harbhajan down the ground and finesse while hoisting Nehra over mid-wicket with a turn of the wrist.

Watson (93, 89b, 9×4, 3×6) fell to Harbhajan, who bowled a tight first spell of 8-0-28-1 while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja went for runs.

Meanwhile, Marsh relished the deliveries homing into his pads and registered his maiden ODI century on a day that would be remembered for Tendulkar’s brilliance.

The Scores

Australia: S. Watson c Jadeja b Harbhajan 93 (89b, 9×4, 3×6), S. Marsh c Gambhir b Nehra 112 (112b, 8×4, 2×6), R. Ponting b Praveen 45 (45b, 3×4, 1×6), C. White c Tendulkar b Praveen 57 (33b, 2×4, 5×6), M. Hussey (not out) 31. Extras (lb-6, w-5, nb-1): 12. Total (for four wickets in 50 overs): 350.

Fall of wickets: 1-145 (Watson), 2-236 (Ponting), 3-270 (Marsh), 4-350 (White).

Power Plays: One (Overs 1-10): 56/0; Bowling (11-15): 41/0; Batting (35-39): 44/1.

India bowling: Praveen 9-0-68-2, Nehra 10-0-79-1, Munaf 9-0-73-0, Jadeja 5-0-44-0, Harbhajan 10-0-44-1, Yuvraj 7-0-36-0.

India: V. Sehwag c Bollinger b Hilfenhaus 38 (30b, 5×4, 1×6), S. Tendulkar c Hauritz b McKay 175 (141b, 19×4, 4×6), G. Gambhir c Hilfenhaus b McKay 8 (13b, 1×4), Yuvraj c & b Watson 9 (10b, 1×4), M.S. Dhoni c Voges b McKay 6 (16b), S. Raina c Manou b Watson 59 (59b, 3×4, 3×6), Harbhajan c Manou b Watson 0 (2b), R. Jadeja (run out) 23 (17b, 3×4), Praveen (run out) 9 (9b, 1×6), A. Nehra c Hussey b Bollinger 1 (2b), Munaf (not out) 2 (3b). Extras (b-1, lb-5, w-8, nb-3): 17. Total (in 49.4 overs): 347.

Fall of wickets: 1-66 (Sehwag), 2-92 (Gambhir), 3-126 (Yuvraj), 4-162 (Dhoni), 5-299 (Raina), 6-300 (Harbhajan), 7-332 (Tendulkar), 8-333 (Jadeja), 9-335 (Nehra).

Power Plays: One (Overs 1-10): 68/1; Bowling (11-15): 33/1; Batting (45-49): 38/3.

Australia bowling: Hilfenhaus 10-0-72-1, Bollinger 10-0-75-1, McKay 10-0-59-3, Watson 8.4-0-47-3, Hauritz 5-0-43-0, Voges 3-0-19-0, Hussey 3-0-26-0.