World’s expiry date: 21 December 2012?

The world will end on 21 December 2012, claims “web-bot” technology that has pushed apocalyptic prophecy into the internet age.

According to web’s conspiracy theorists, the bots accurately predicted the September 11 attacks and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and now they believe that a cataclysm of some sort will devastate the planet on 21 December, 2012.

Developed in the 1990s to predict stock market movements, the software is similar to the “spiders” that search engines use to index web pages.

The bots crawl through relevant web pages, noting keywords and examining the text around them. The theory is that this gives an insight into the “wisdom of crowds”, as the thoughts of thousands of people are aggregated, reports The Telegraph.

George Ure, the project’s “co-mind”, says that his system predicted a “world-changing event” in the 60 to 90 days after June 2001, and on 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks happened.

Despite the vagueness of this prediction, many believed it to be genuine.

Now, the latest prediction is that 21 December 2012 signals the end of the world, possibly through a “polar shift” – when the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field is reversed. Believers claim that as well as the bots, the 2012 apocalypse is predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar, the Book of Revelations, and the Chinese text I Ching. (ANI)

Astronomer busts Mayan calendar’s dire prediction for 2012

Washington,  The world won’t be coming to an end on December 21, 2012, as said to be darkly predicted by the Mayan calendar, says an astronomer.

Ann Martin, doctoral candidate in Cornell University astronomy department, points out that the Mayan calendar was designed to be cyclical, so the fact that the long count comes to an end in December 2012 is really of no consequence.

Simply, it is the end of great calendar cycle in Mayan society, much like our modern society celebrated the new millennium. It does not mean that the ‘world will end’, says Martin.

In fact, the Mayan calendar does not end then and there is no evidence to suggest that the Mayans — or anyone for that matter — has knowledge of the world’s demise, says Martin.

For the past three years, Martin has been a volunteer with Cornell’s ‘Curious? Ask an Astronomer’ service, a website founded by astronomy graduate students in 1997, says a varsity [^] release.

Curious? Ask an Astronomer features the answers to over 750 frequently asked astronomy questions, and readers who can’t find their answers there can submit a new question and receive an answer from a graduate student volunteer.

Principal held for molesting girl in Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad, Nov 14 (IANS) The principal of a private school in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayanagaram district was Saturday arrested for allegedly trying to molest a girl student.

The incident took place in Bhogapuram in Vijayanagaram in north coastal Andhra.

 

Police said Srinivas Rao had called three girl students of Class 5 to his house for some work as the school was closed on account of second Saturday. He allegedly tried to molest one of the girls in a room.

 

Alerted by the screams of the girl, neighbours caught hold of the principal. The parents and other relatives of the victim and local people thrashed the principal after tying him to a pole.

 

A police officer said the 11-year-old girl complained that the principal tried to sexually assault her but Rao has denied the allegation.

 

Rao was arrested and a case has been filed against him, police said.

Mumbai engineer builds up a remote-operated machine to control brutal elephants

Thrissur (Kerala), Nov 14 (ANI): An engineer from Mumbai has designed and developed a remote operated mechanism to control the violent elephants in the state.

Zachariah Mathew with his son conducted the trial run of the device here on Thursday amidst the mahouts and elephant owners.

The duo has named the device ‘Violent Elephant Control Gear’ and it has been manufactured at their engineering firm in Mumbai.

This device weighing only 8 kilograms can be attached to an elephant’s legs and can be controlled from a distance of over 25 meters with the help of a remote.

Zachariah Mathew said that he developed the device after seeing the number of deaths due to elephant rampage in the state.

“Last year I saw in TV that in an area of Kerala, three people died of elephant rampage. So we developed this machine. The advantage of this device is that if an elephant becomes violent, then it can be controlled with the remote from a distance of about 25 kilometers. The elephant will be unable to move its legs after that,” said Mathew.

The remote control gear expenses around Rupees 30,000.

Elephants are used for temple festivals in southern India, particularly in long processions.

Elephants are deeply respected in India, with the elephant-headed god Ganesha one of the most popular in the Hindu pantheon.

But despite their divine status, hundreds of elephants continue to be ill treated and overworked at illicit circuses and temples, where they spend 9-10 hours carrying tourists and locals. (ANI)

Police station in Goa inaugurated with belly dance

Panaji, Nov 14 (IANS) The entire Goa Police top brass was treated to a belly dance performed by a scantily clad Russian dance troupe at a newly inaugurated police station in the state.

The belly dance was held at a function to celebrate the inauguration of the new premises of the Anjuna police station, 15 km from Panaji, late Thursday evening.

 

Officials at the Anjuna police station said that the dance had to be called off after the crowd comprising of police officials and civilians got unruly, and tried to climb onto the stage on which the belly dancers were performing.

 

‘The belly dancers came as soon as the home minister left the premises after the inauguration. All the senior police officials including the inspector general of police and senior superintendents of police were present,’ an official at the Anjuna police station said, adding that the show was conducted by a Delhi-based organiser of exotic dances called Yogi.

 

When contacted, Inspector General of Police (IGP) K.D. Singh said: ‘Yogi had approached us after which he was given permission. What is the harm? The place where the event was held was the police station premises and it was open to the public.’

 

The inspector general of police said the media was simply ‘raking up the issue’.

 

‘When there are naked people on the beach, going against our culture, it is not highlighted. But a dance event in the police station premises is taken wrongly…this should not be done,’ Singh said.

 

In another incident, late Thursday night four superintendents of police, two deputy superintendents and an inspector partying on board offshore casino vessel MV Casino Royale created a stir, after they locked themselves up in a bar room to avoid a media contingent who were invited on board for a press conference.

 

The senior officials stayed cooped up inside ‘Aqua’, the bar on board the casino vessel, until the media vacated the premises.

Sabarimala pilgrimage begins Monday, 40 mn devotees expected

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 14 (IANS) Sabarimala, Kerala’s famed temple, opens its doors Monday for the annual two-month pilgrimage that is expected to see over 40 million devotees visiting the hilltop shrine this year.

The health department has made arrangements for the devotees at the foothills and enroute to the temple top, including increasing the number of ‘oxygen parlours’.

 

The Indian Railways has announced it will operate more coaches while the state state government will run more buses.

 

Earlier, the Devaswom (temple affairs) ministers and secretaries of south Indian states met to discuss arrangements for pilgrims coming from their states.

 

Last year, a record 40 million devotees visited the temple. This year a 10 percent rise in the figure is expected, temple authorities said.

 

More than 5,000 officials, including around 3,000 policemen, will be deployed in the temple town in Pathanamthitta district to oversee the daily administration of the festival season.

 

Additional chief secretary and head of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) K. Jayakumar told IANS that all arrangements had been made for the new pilgrimage season.

 

‘Several review meetings have been held to look into the various pilgrim facilities for the smooth conduct of the festival,’ said Jayakumar.

 

Women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause are barred from entering the Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

 

Sabarimala temple is situated in the Western Ghats, at an altitude of 914 meters above sea level. The temple is accessible only by foot from Pamba, the main halting point.

 

Though the temple is now open throughout the year, the peak pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November and closes on the first day of the Malayalam month in January.

 

Some of the ardent devotees observe a 41-day penance before the pilgrimage during which they do not wear leather sandals, are attired in black dhoti and eat only vegetarian food.

Uttarakhand to get Rs.400 crore for Kumbh Mela Source: Uttarakhand to get Rs.400 crore for Kumbh Mela

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) The central government has released Rs.400 crore for preparations for the Kumbh Mela religious festival, to be held next year at Hardwar in Uttarakhand.

‘We are happy to announce that the central government has released Rs.400 crore for the preparations,’ Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said in his inaugural address at the India International Trade Fair here Saturday.

 

‘Visitors to the Kumbh Mela are not in lakhs but in crores. So our government is doing everything to manage things smoothly. Preparation is on full swing and with this financial support we will be able to make this event a success,’ Pokhriyal said.

 

The festival is scheduled to start Jan 14 on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, considered an auspicious day on the Hindu calendar.

 

He also welcomed the move to make Uttarakhand the focus state at this year’s trade fair, saying: ‘This will give us an opportunity to showcase our resources and tourism opportunities to international and domestic tourists.’

Government making efforts to control price rise: Manmohan Singh Source: Government making efforts to control price rise: Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Nov 14 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here on Saturday that his government is making all out efforts to control the price rise.

Interacting with school students at his Seven Race Cource Road residence on Children’s Day, Singh expressed hope that the price regime will be better in a year’s time.

Explaining the reasons for high price of food articles Singh said: “The government has substantially increased the MSP of wheat, rice and other items to increase the purchase power of the farming community.”

Replying to a question, Singh said there should not be any hasty decision on changing the pattern of the examination system in the country.

The Prime Minister also shared his views on inclusive growth in the country with children.

Commenting on reasons behind the increasing Naxal activities in the country Singh blamed it on the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

“Due to widening gap between the rich and poor, some people are induced to join the Naxalites.”

He also added that the law and order machinery does not reach out to all corners and pockets in the country and this was also a reason for Naxalism.

Dismissing the opposition allegation that he was a weak prime minister, Singh asserted that he was discharging his duties with sincerity and was focused on taking the country forward.

Dr. Singh also said the teachings of Gurus left a very deep impact on his thinking process and he is fond of listening to the Gurbani every morning apart from ghazals.

He also recalled his meeting with the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the Punjab University convocation in the 1950s. (ANI)

US wants stronger ties with China: Obama

Tokyo, Nov.14 (ANI): The United States wants stronger and improved ties with China, said President Barack Obama in a wide-ranging speech on his first trip to Asia as president.

“I know there are many who question how the United States perceives China’s emergence. In an interconnected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another,” the New York Times quoted Obama as telling an audience in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.

Obama spoke at length about human rights, but never connected the pursuit of such rights specifically to China and Tibet, where Beijing-backed authorities have clamped down on religious freedom.

Instead, he clearly sought to avoid alienating Beijing on the eve of his inaugural visit to China, struck broader themes, saying, “Supporting human rights provides lasting security that cannot be purchased any other way.”

Declaring himself “America’s first Pacific president”, Obama previewed many of the themes that will shadow him during his weeklong trip, which will also include stops in Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul.

He called on North Korea to return to talks aimed at reining in its nuclear weapons program or face even greater isolation; he urged the military government in Myanmar to release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ; and he pledged to “never waver in speaking for the fundamental values that we hold dear.”

Obama projected a more conciliatory America, which is trying to break from the past.

On Myanmar, for example, he pledged that he would “be the first American leader to meet with all 10 ASEAN leaders.”

As he has on many of his trips abroad, Obama painted a picture of an America that is willing to learn from its mistakes?

In particular, he said, the United States and Asia must grow out of the imbalance of American consumerism and Asian reliance on the United States as an export market, a cycle he called imbalanced.

“One of the important lessons this recession has taught us is the limits of depending primarily on American consumers and Asian exports to drive growth,” he said.

“We have now reached one of those rare inflection points in history where we have the opportunity to take a different path,” he added. (ANI)

Thackeray’s MNS now warns SBI not to recruit ‘outsiders’ Source: Thackeray’s MNS now warns SBI not to recruit ‘outsiders’

Mumbai, Nov. 14 (ANI): Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has warned the State Bank of India (SBI) not to recruit any “outsiders” during Sunday’s exams in which the bank will recruit for 1100 vacancies.

In a warning letter written by MNS leader Bala Nandgangkar, the party has demanded that only Maharashtrians or those living in the state be allowed to take the exam for the Maharashtra openings.

So far, the SBI has not alerted the police to the MNS threat.

Himanshu Roy, a Joint Commissioner of the Mumbai Police, said the police will discuss the issue with the bank to ensure that Sunday’s exams “are conducted smoothly.”

In the recent Maharashtra assembly elections, the MNS won 13 Assembly seats.

Earlier this week, SP leader Abu Azmi was manhandled by MNS legislators for taking his oath in Hindi.

As Azmi started to take his oath, several MNS members swooped on him and pushed him aside. Legislator Ramesh Banjle uprooted the microphone from the podium.

When Azmi attempted to save himself, MNS member Ram Kadam slapped him and hit him on the face and chest, shocking the 288-member house that had converged for the oath-taking ceremony.he house was adjourned for 30 minutes. Action followed soon, with four MNS legislators-Vasant Geete, Shishir Shinde, Ram Kadam and Ramesh Wanjale-were suspended for four years by the pro-tem speaker for the violent incident.

 

India’s annual inflation rate rises to 1.34 percent

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) India’s annual rate of inflation, based on wholesale prices, rose sharply to 1.34 percent in October from 0.5 percent in the previous month, mainly on account of a 13.32 percent jump in prices of food articles.

Data on the official wholesale price index released Saturday showed that over the past year, prices of potatoes have nearly doubled while onions have become dearer by 37.6 percent.

 

Similarly, pulses are costlier by 22.81 percent, vegetables by 17.02 percent, rice by 13.22 percent, wheat by 6.88 percent, milk by 10.03 percent and fruits by 5.83 percent, showed the statistics released by the industry ministry.

 

During the 12-month period under review, the index for manufactured products was up 1.36 percent while that for fuels, the other major commodity group, declined by 6.55 percent.

 

As per a decision taken by the cabinet, the data on official wholesale price index is now released only on a monthly basis, doing away with the practice of weekly updates, in a bid to curb ‘volatility’ in the markets.

 

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said food prices would come down ‘after a month or so’ as a result of steps taken to import food and create a buffer stock.

 

The Reserve Bank of India and the government have warned India’s annual inflation rate based on wholesale price index for all commodities will rise to 6-6.5 percent by March, while the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council has pegged the rate at 6 percent.

Travel Thursday: Incredible India adjudged World’s Best Destination Marketing Campaign

India is not known for its Marketing prowess, be it anything. Yes, we deliver quality products, but we not able to package and market them well -And that’s the reason why I am very happy with this particular award.

The Incredible India Campaign launched in 2002 has always stood out as one of the better ones that India has executed. However, World Travel Awards adjudging it as World’s Best Destination Marketing Campaign is really something that we should be proud about !

Incredible-India-Website

Incredible India campaign is different in many ways – Even their website stands apart from hundreds of drab Government Websites that we are so used to seeing. Although quite slow to load, the Homepage itself depicts what India stands for – Diversity, culture and colorful are portrayed in a way they should !

Couple of years back, when I happened to see a Incredible India Hoarding on New York Street Bus Stop – And let me tell you – not one person passing by would have missed that one.

The campaign is not only good, but it also has given great results. For past few Years India has been ranking amongst the top Destinations on travelers mind. I am sure the Incredible India campaign has a lot to do with that.

The World Travel Awards – one of the most respected ones, have also rated India as the Leading Travel Destination in Asia

Here are some of the other awards given by WTA:

Any of the readers lived in these hotels or resorts? Let us know your experiences other than telling us that you burned holes in your pockets staying there 🙂

‘Children’s Day’ celebrated at Nehru’s ancestral home

Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 14 (ANI): Children’s Day was celebrated at Anand Bhawan, the ancestral home of the Nehru-Gandhi family on Saturday.

A cultural event was also organised during the two-hour-long programme.

Besides, a Bal Mela (children’s fair) was also organised at many places across the city today.

The children participated with enthusiasm and fervor in this fair organised to celebrate the 120th birth anniversary of Nehru.

Fondly remembering Pandit Nehru, Jagdish Prasad, the caretaker of Anand Bhawan described Nehru as a very good man.

“He (Nehru) used to meet all kind of people be it poor, rich or political leaders. My grandfather always used to tell us that Panditji (as Nehru is fondly known as) was a good man. He was very kind towards poor people,” said Prasad.

There were no restrictions on any of the mansion workers to meet him, he added.

“I feel sad when I think that if only Panditji would have been with us today, then he could have done something for us and our children. We could have celebrated 14th November with him. He was a great support to us and we used to see him like he is our God because he never made us feel like we are poor and there was no restrictions on any of the bungalow (mansion) worker to meet him,” said Prasad.

Prasad further said that Nehru, who was especially fond of children used to look at everyone with same loving eyes.

India made significant technical, industrial and social advances when Nehru was the country’s Prime Minister.

An ardent democrat and internationalist, Nehru, along with President Nasser of Egypt and President Tito of undivided Yugoslavia, founded the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Nehru was the Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964. (ANI)

I am being falsely implicated: Koda

Ranchi, Nov 14 (IANS) Former chief minister Madhu Koda said Saturday that people jealous of him were conspiring to keep him away from the Jharkhand assembly polls by implicating him in the Rs.2,500 crore money laundering scam.

‘I fear I could be killed by conspirators. I will quit politics if investigation agencies prove that I invested in foreign countries or purchased land or mines in foreign countries. There is a conspiracy to keep me away from assembly elections as people are jealous of my (political) growth,’ Koda told reporters in Chaibasa.

Koda Friday disappeared from his Ranchi home and surfaced in his Lok Sabha constituency of Singhbhum in the evening. He is trying to establish a connect with people in his constituency by playing the tribal card.

‘I am being implicated as I belong to a poor tribal family. I will expose everyone at a suitable time,’ said Koda.

He said there was a conspiracy to disassociate him from the people of his constituency. ‘One cannot keep me away from elections as this is my constitutional right,’ said Koda, an independent.

His supporters have floated the Jharkhand Navnirman Morcha (JNM) and announced the names of five candidates to contest the coming polls starting Nov 25. Geeta Koda, his wife, is a nominee from the Jaggarnathpur constituency. In Jharkhand, a party with three to four seats can end up being the kingmaker.

The IT department and Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted raids at 69 places in eight Indian cities, including Koda’s home, since Oct 31.

Koda insists the raids were motivated.

A diary of Koda seized by the IT department reportedly names many Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders. ‘I will expose people who were instrumental in the raid,’ he said.

Koda, who was in hospital for several days, appeared to be in good health as he met supporters and took part in various programmes. He covered 300 km by road to reach his hometown Friday.

Asked about the business of close associate Vinod Sinha, he said: ‘Ask Vinod Sinha about the charges against him.’

Koda initially managed to avoid questioning by the IT department as he was admitted to Apollo Hospital Nov 3. He was discharged Nov 8 and the department started his interrogation Nov 10. He took one day’s rest Nov 13 and went to his home in Chaibasa district.

‘I have faith in the judicial system and I will cooperate with the investigation agencies,’ said Koda.

He also dismissed allegations that he purchased 500 to 600 bikes and 25 to 30 Scorpios ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

On Oct 9, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Koda, three more former ministers as well as his associates Vinod and Sanjay Chaudhary.

Eight killed in Mizoram bus accident

Aizawl, Nov 14 (IANS) At least eight people were killed and 34 injured when the bus they were travelling in fell into a deep gorge in Mizoram, police said Saturday.

The passenger bus was plying between Mizoram capital Aizawl and Farkawn village, bordering Myanmar. While approaching Champhai town late Friday, it rolled down into the 100-feet deep gorge in Buang village in eastern Mizoram, a police official said.

 

While six people died on the spot, two succumbed to their injuries at the Champhai district government hospital. Fifteen of the injured are said to be in a critical condition. The bus was carrying 42 passengers.

Movie Review: 2012

Complete codswallop

This movie portrays the year 2012 as the end of the world, and also threatens mankind with another frightening prediction – 2009, the end of good cinema.

Directed with as much as care as Ram Gopal Varma took while making ‘Aag’ and ‘Agyaat’, Roland Emmerich takes idiocy to the very next level, shoving hundreds of minutes of CGI porn in our faces, laced with guffaw inducing dialogues and gratuitous helpings of ham acting. 2012 is pretty much a laughable ode to brainless action B-movies.

To add to the piles of turd in 2012, there is an Indian astrophysicist (Jimi Mistry) who talks in English with a vomitous Hollywood-Indian accent, and in Hindi with some embarrassingly erroneous grammar. But the worst thing about 2012 is the fact that it asks the audience to take its characters too seriously, the same characters that mouth corny dialogues, look ridiculous covered in white powder, run like clowns, make unforgivably asinine decisions and endanger their own kids for the sake of a danger-filled plot.

Everyone in the film is a walking cliche; there is the separated couple, the father (John Cusack) who is a writer blamed for neglecting his wife (Amanda Peet) and their kids, the wife’s current boyfriend, THE scientist of the United States, THE president of the United States, THE deputy who doesn’t give a tinkers cuss about humanity, one crazy guy obsessed with doomsday conspiracies, the token side characters who die in horrible ways etc. Emmerich tries to build up the characters in the first half hour and fails spectacularly in doing so. As a result 2012 is just about tolerable during the 80 minutes of special effects mayhem and simply unbearable during its other 80.

But the star of 2012 is the CGI, even though it is tiring to watch the hero dodging earthquakes, then dodging volcanoes, then dodging oceans and whatnot, you cannot look away from the screen. There’s enough cheese here to satisfy the wildest of action movie buffs. Massive explosions, colossal waves, flipping cars, tumbling trains, cracking and drowning cities improbable escapes, mammoth sized arcs, its all there.

And the unintentional comedy in between the CGI shots makes a nice accompaniment. John Cusack, who is one of my favourite actors has made the worst career choice of his life with 2012. And you’ll be beefed out with the ham acting involved here – Chiwetel Ejiofor reaches out for Thandie Newton’s bosom, realizes the same and retracts his hand; Danny Glover is laughable is as the President, he makes a complete mockery out of Barack Obama with his dumb sanctimonious speeches. His conviction to be super serious is just uproarious, and Emmerich makes full use of his unintended comic facial expressions.

2012 is complete codswallop, watch it if you love spending your hard earned cash over worthless drivel.

Manmohan Singh beats Osama in Forbes Power List

 

US magazine Forbes on Wednesday released its inaugural ranking list of 67 most powerful people of the world with PM Manmohan Singh at number 36 and mafia don Dawood Ibrahim at 56.

Unsurprisingly US President Barack Obama topped the list of most influential. And Chinese President Hu Jintao ranked second.

Al Qaeda Chief Osama Bin Laden was at 37.

In compiling the inaugural ranking, Forbes said it had narrowed the list to 67 people, “a number based on the conceit that one can reduce the world’s 6.7 billion people to the one in every 100 million that matter.”

“The goal in compiling this list is to expose power and not glorify it, and over time reveal how influence is as easily lost as it is hard to gain,” the magazine said.

World and industry leaders dominated the top 10 of the list, which Forbes said was assessed on the number of people the person influences, their ability to project power beyond their immediate sphere of influence, their control of financial resources and how actively that person wields power.

Also on the list were financial heavyweights including Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein (18) and billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett (14), as well as Pope Benedict (11).

Famous talk show host Oprah Winfrey was at number 45.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came in at number 29 while Queen Elizabeth failed to make the list.

Forbes Magazine named drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman— a fugitive reputed to be hiding in the mountains of northern Mexico — at number 41.

Guzman is ahead of Presidents like Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

As head of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman purportedly has legions of hit-men and enforcers at his command. Violence associated with Mexico’s drug war has cost more than 13,800 lives since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels.

Another Mexican — telecom magnate Carlos Slim Helu, who Forbes listed as the world’s third-richest man — was named No. 6 on the most-powerful list, just five steps behind No 1, President Barack Obama.

Forbes said Slim Helu’s fortune was “equivalent to some two percent of Mexico’s GDP”.

Will the 10th class exam be abolished?

Govt still undecided

 

Amid the controversy over the move to scrap the tenth board examination, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said it is an experiment that is still being debated and felt no decision should be taken in haste.

“We are still debating on this issue. This is an experiment. We should not take a decision in haste”, Singh told a group a children during an interaction on the occasion of Children’s Day.

He was asked whether children are not being made weak by the decision to do away with the tenth board examination. “You are shielding them from difficulties,” a student asked.

Government had in September announced abolition of compulsory CBSE board exams for class X from next academic year (2010-11) and introduction of grading system from current year.

Asked as to why education was getting costlier by the day, Singh said this was so only in private schools. In government schools, every effort was being made to ensure that education did not become a privilege for only the rich.

On what government was doing for children who are not in schools and are living on roads and begging, Singh said, “it pains me a lot. We are trying to educate all children under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan”.

Diabetics in Hyderabad city getting ‘disciplined’

HYDERABAD: India as the world diabetes capital may paint a grim picture of poor lifestyles of people but city doctors have a reason to smile—

their patients are more obedient than ever before, they say. Unlike a few years ago when the doctor’s advice of long walks and fibrous diet were forgotten as soon as the patient left the clinic, the compliance to instructions has increased by at least three times.

This World Diabetes Day, being observed on November 14, doctors say that while more awareness is needed among the general public to prevent diabetes, many patients of this chronic ailment are now an aware lot. Except the ‘rasgulla’ binges at weddings, diabetics in the city are “well behaved’’, say doctors.

A decade ago, the compliance among patients was a heart-breaking 8 to 9 per cent but now over 30 per cent patients do not only nod when the doctor asks them to stay away from samosa-kachori snacks and sweets but even bring it to practise. The proof of this pudding, say doctors, is the dipping dependence on medication to control sugar levels. “Just look at the number of people joining gyms or walking at KBR Park,’’ says a doctor, with a hint of pride.

“Due to diet, exercise, yoga, the requirement of insulin or oral anti-diabetic drugs is coming down. Patient compliance towards prescription and advice is increasing. We are encouraging patients to do yoga as it decreases stress levels,” said Dr N Sudhakar Rao, consultant endocrinologist, Yashoda Hospital. Of every 100 people in the city, 17-18 people are diabetic.

Endocrinologists say that if there is a liefstyle change among patients, there is a change among doctors too, who are now counselling more, prescribing less. “Counselling is more now and we insist on better monitoring of blood sugar levels and weight. We explain to patients how diabetes is the most common cause of hypertension, kidney problems, blindness, among other illnesses,’’ says Dr V K Bhargawa,endocrinologist with Apollo Hospitals. He does add, however, that patients tend to hide they are diabetic at weddings and this is where caution is required.

According to Dr Rao, 80 per cent of diabetic incidents are hereditary and for this reason, Dr Bhargawa says that it would only be wise if families get blood sugar reports matched along with horoscopes at the time of weddings.

Nevertheless, unlike their patients, the general public still need to be more aware. “Awareness is needed especially among IT professionals. Because of their sedentary lifestyle and working hours, they do not come unless they really fall sick,” said Dr V Anjana Haroor, endocrinologist, Care Hospital.

Dr D Vijay Shekhar Reddy, associate professor, endocrinology department, Gandhi Hospital, further noted that youngsters in the age group of 20-30 years need to adopt a healthy lifestyle by sleeping and waking up on time, adopting healthy food habits and doing the routine work by being less mechanical.

 

Indian investigators got good information on Headley: Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: The Indian team of intelligence officials which went to the US in connection with probe into LeT operative David Coleman Headley’s

terror designs has come back with “good information”, Union home minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday.

He, however, refused to share details, saying investigations were still underway.

“The team had a good visit. They have come back with good information,” Chidambaram told reporters here when asked about the trip that officials from Intelligence Bureau and RAW undertook to the US last week to obtain details of the terror plan of Headley.

Asked whether Headley was linked to the Mumbai attacks, the home minister snapped, saying “This is not a cricket match which gives a ball-by-ball description. Investigation is on and once the investigating agency completes investigations, we will share whatever has to be shared.”

Headley, 49-year-old Pakistan-born US citizen, was arrested in Chicago last month by the FBI which said he was part of an LeT plan to carry out terror attacks in India.

Officials of IB and RAW went to the US last week and met FBI counterparts to get details of the plot and Headley’s contacts in India on the basis of his interrogation.

After the return of the Indian team, investigators here have begun unravelling details of Headley’s visits here and identifying people whom he had met in Mumbai, Delhi and other places.