SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Special cell for missing kids insensitive: parents 
Noida, January 20
As an after effect of Nithari killings, the Noida police here has set up special missing cells in all police stations. But the grouse of the parents is that even the cases of their missing children are not been registered in these missing cells.
School students protest against Nithari serial killings and demand the execution of the accused in Bhopal on Saturday School students protest against Nithari serial killings and demand the execution of the accused in Bhopal on Saturday. — PTI photo

Gangrape guilty won’t be spared, says Mulayam
Lucknow, January 20
After mounting pressure by social activists, one person was detained by the Allahabad police late this evening in connection with the case of gangrape of two 17-year-old girls studying in a residential madrasa in Allahabad.





EARLIER STORIES

Law and order mess in Gujarat: Sonia
Dahod, January 20
Setting the ball rolling for her party ahead of elections to the Gujarat Assembly this year, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today criticised the Narendra Modi government’s handling of law and order and said the BJP was dividing society on the basis of caste and creed.

Hyderabad to have metro rail
Hyderabad, January 20
The city is all set to have a metro rail of international standards to meet the increasing traffic congestion. The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet today approved the Rs 8,760 crore Hyderabad metro rail project covering 66 km and involving the construction of 63 stations.

Social justice: TN for amending Constitution 
Chennai, January 19
The Tamil Nadu Government today demanded that the Constitution should be amended to fulfil the aspirations of the backward classes and the minorities. Through the Governor's maiden speech this year to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) demanded that the Central Government should rewrite the Constitution in a manner in which aspirations of the backward classes, oppressed classes and minorities would be better reflected.

Despite Cong ‘betrayal,’ SP to back UPA
Allahabad, January 20 The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh today said even though the Congress had “betrayed” its faith by withdrawing support from the state government, the SP would continue to support the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.

Inflation, New Year’s gift by UPA govt: BJP
New Delhi, January 20
The BJP today expressed concern over galloping inflation and attacked the Congress-led UPA government’s directive to step up recruitment from minority community in police, banks, PSUs and Railways, describing it as “worst communal divisive game of vote bank politics”.

BJP welcomes move
New Delhi, January 20
The BJP has welcomed the Election Commission's decision to transfer Punjab's DGP S.S. Virk in view of forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

Four held for carrying explosives in Mumbai

Mumbai, January 20
The Mumbai police early this morning arrested four persons, including a woman, while they were transporting 6.5 kg of TNT. Their names were given as Sakhu Gaikwad, Gautam Telore, Sanjay Pawar and Harishchandra Telore, all in their 40s.






Four persons, who were arrested with 6.5 kg of explosives near the Andheri railway station are taken to a court in Mumbai on Saturday. —PTI photo

Four persons, who were arrested with 6.5 kg of explosives near the Andheri railway station are taken to a court in Mumbai on Saturday

Dalit front for Mumbai poll fizzles out
Mumbai, January 20
Attempts by some Dalit leaders to forge a common front for Mumbai's civic polls have fizzled out. Angry youth from the community had heckled and challenged these leaders following last November's violence in different parts of Maharashtra to come together on a common platform for the civic polls in the state.

Russian N-energy panel chief arrives
New Delhi, January 20
The head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, Sirgei V Kiriyenko, arrived here today, five days ahead of President Valdimir Putin’s visit to India. He will visit Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu tomorrow to evaluate the progress of its construction and also discuss the prospects of future cooperation for a strategic partnership.

Release of Kamal’s new film stayed
Chennai, January 20
In yet another case of trouble over his film, the Madras High Court today stayed the release of ace actor Kamal Hassan’s Tamil film “Dasaavatharam”, in which he is playing 10 roles.

Johnny Depp in Mira Nair’s ‘Shantaram’
Mumbai - January 20
‘Shantaram’, the autobiographical work by Australian bank robber-turned-Mumbai slum- dweller Gregory David Roberts, is being made into a movie starring Johnny Depp in the title role and directed by Mira Nair.

Wildscreen Festival opens
New Delhi, January 20
Wildscreen Festival, the world's most prestigious wildlife and environment film festival was inaugurated here yesterday by Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi.

India to counter China’s anti-satellite test, says DRDO
Bangalore, January 20
India is determined to take necessary steps to counter China’s newly developed ability to target satellites through ballistic missiles and is assessing the reported test undertaken by China in this regard.

Karnataka goes bananas over eggs
Bangalore, January 20
Children of the state may have chosen to have eggs as part of the mid-day meal scheme in Karnataka, but the state government cannot choose between eggs or bananas, the "vegetarian" alternative being put forward by various seers. The state Cabinet, which met here today, drew a blank on the issue. The students are the losers with the government ruling nothing will be served till the issue is resolved.

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Special cell for missing kids insensitive: parents 
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 20
As an after effect of Nithari killings, the Noida police here has set up special missing cells in all police stations. But the grouse of the parents is that even the cases of their missing children are not been registered in these missing cells.

While the local police is asking the harried parents to bring copies of old FIRs and a photograph of the missing child, the CBI insists that only Nithari cases be registered by it, say the parents of children gone missing from other places.

So far nearly 12 children have been registered as missing in these cells.Out of scores of people who have approached the CBI, complaints of only 15 have been registered so far.

Many people from Delhi, Haryana and Ghaziabad had thus to go back dejected for want of a copy of the original FIRs.

Bajrang Bhandari from Kavi Nagar, Ghaziabad, had come to missing cell to file FIR of his brother, Jeevashh, but his complaint was not registered as cops had demanded a copy of the original FIR and a photograph of his brother.

Jay Nath from Jahangirpur, Delhi, whose 12-year-old daughter, Rama, had gone missing in February 2006, said Rama's report had been registered in Delhi, but when he approached the special missing cell in Noida the cops said:"If the Delhi police has failed to trace your daughter what can we do now"?

Anand Singh, father of Deelip Singh, 15, from Khora Colony, said by stamping on his complaint, the Ghaziabad police thought they had done their duty.

In Nithari,the CBI team said they would register missing cases of Nithari only. Shyam Lal Rathore from Noida's Maharishi Nagar said he had gone to the Guest House in Sector-38 to file the missing report of his 12- year- old son Jay Prakash but was turned back by cops as only the cases of Nithari missing kids were being investigated.

Parents like Shyam Lal said: "The Noida police had done nothing when our sons and daughters had gone missing.Now the CBI is also turning us back. Where should we go now?

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Gangrape guilty won’t be spared, says Mulayam
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, January 20
After mounting pressure by social activists, one person was detained by the Allahabad police late this evening in connection with the case of gangrape of two 17-year-old girls studying in a residential madrasa in Allahabad.

The police, however, said the person was yet to be identified. Senior officials preoccupied with the Kumbh mela arrangements were not available for comments.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, meanwhile, announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the two victims. He also assured that the guilty would not be spared at any cost.

Mr Yadav also assured of the young women’s security after the local media drew his attention towards the case of six miscreants posing as men from CID forcibly breaking into the residential girls’ madrasa Jamaat-e-Swalihaat, on Wednesday night in Kareli locality.

The rape victims, both belonging to poor families of rural Allahabad, were taken to Moti Lal Nehru College Hospital and Dufferin Hospital for medical examination on Saturday for a good 70 hours.

While the sealed medical report has been handed over to the police, sources informed that the medical examination had confirmed the rape.

Social activists associated with a local NGO Stree Adhikar Sanghatna that carried out a fact-finding of the incident brought out these startling details in its report. Following it, National President of the AIDWA Subhashini Ali personally met the Governor and the DGP in Lucknow yesterday that was instrumental in conducting the medical examination today.

Despite the CM’s assurance, the victims are petrified and do not want to return to the madrasa located 5 km away from Kareli. Padma, a teacher who was part of a fact-finding team, which took up the case with the local administration, confirmed that the parents of the young girls were shocked and did not want their daughters to return.

Speaking to the TNS, one of the survivors informed that they were pursuing a six-year residential course of Alim and were in the final year. They had been studying at the madrasa for the past six years.

On the fateful night of January 17 at around midnight, six miscreants, reportedly claiming to be police personnel from the CID, broke the front door and entered the premises for “investigations”. They locked the watchman in the storeroom. They then woke up the female caretaker and the sleeping girls.

While the other inmates were locked in a room, the miscreants picked up the two girls at knife and pistol point threatening to cut them into “three pieces”. They were taken away to the open fields, about a kilometer away from and gang raped them.

More shock was in store for the victims when the SO refused to lodge a complaint and diluted it to molestation. He did not send the girls for a medical examination, a prerequisite to establish the rape. Only after the intervention of SSP B.D. Paulson that an FIR was finally registered under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC later in the day.

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Law and order mess in Gujarat: Sonia

Dahod, January 20
Setting the ball rolling for her party ahead of elections to the Gujarat Assembly this year, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today criticised the Narendra Modi government’s handling of law and order and said the BJP was dividing society on the basis of caste and creed.

“Gujarat has always been a region full of peace and prosperity. I won’t comment on what happened in the state a few years back. But now the crime rate has increased considerably, especially against women,” Ms Gandhi told the Adivasi Mahasammelan, a huge congregation of tribals, in Devgarh Baria town.

The law and order situation has come to such a stage that anything can happen any time, Ms Gandhi said.

Ms Gandhi, on a day’s visit to the predominantly tribal district of Dahod, criticised the state government for failing to address an increase in attacks on weaker sections, including Dalits, tribals and women.

"Communal elements can never become a national force," she said without naming any political rivals or parties.

While Congress has been working to uplift society, the BJP has been dividing it on the basis of caste and creed, she said.

Ms Gandhi appealed to the people in the region to contemplate on a range of nagging issues before turning out to vote.

"It is surprising that communal forces have started using the name of Mahatma Gandhi for political benefits," she said, adding that the person who killed the father of the nation had a communal ideology.

"Their real intentions can be known only by (Lord) Ram," she said with an intended pun in her statement. — PTI

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Hyderabad to have metro rail
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 20
The city is all set to have a metro rail of international standards to meet the increasing traffic congestion.
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet today approved the Rs 8,760 crore Hyderabad metro rail project covering 66 km and involving the construction of 63 stations.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV),Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited,will be formed to monitor the implementation of the project on a fast track, Minister for Information Shabbir Ali told reporters here.

The works on the ambitious project will commence in June this year as a public-private partnership venture on build operate and transfer (BOT) basis. The first phase, covering three most congested routes in the city, will be completed in four years.

Five consortia, comprising reputed national and international companies, had been pre-qualified and bid documents will be issued to them soon after getting approval from the Central Government, the minister said.

With an average cost of Rs 132 crore per km, the project will involve construction of stations, with all modern facilities, at an average interval of one kilometer each. The elevated stations will have modern passenger amenities with escalators and elevators for easy access.

All coaches will be air-conditioned with automatic door closures and modern safety features, the minister said.

The metro will ensure a maximum speed of 80 kmph and an average speed of 34 kmph as per international standards. The frequency of the trains will be three to five minutes in the beginning during peak hours.

The minimum fare will be Rs 8 and maximum Rs 19 in 2010. The capacity of a 3-coach train will be 1,020 passengers per trip and of six-coach train will be 2,068 passengers.

The five consortia which got pre-qualified include companies such as Siemens, Reliance Energy, Essar Constructions, Singapore MRT, Magna Allmore (Malaysia), Emirates Trading Agency (Dubai), Nagarjuna Constructions, Bombardier (Canada), Alstom (France), ItalThai (Thailand) and GVK.

The minister said that since MRTS projects were generally not financially viable, the development of real estate will be allowed in areas around the stations, on lines of Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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Social justice: TN for amending Constitution 
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, January 19
The Tamil Nadu Government today demanded that the Constitution should be amended to fulfil the aspirations of the backward classes and the minorities.
Through the Governor's maiden speech this year to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) demanded that the Central Government should rewrite the Constitution in a manner in which aspirations of the backward classes, oppressed classes and minorities would be better reflected.

In his speech, Mr Barnala observed:"To ensure holistic federalism and social justice, the Constitution should be rewritten afresh.The Constitution has been amended about 100 times. The change is inevitable in the evolution of mankind. In the past 50 years, the country's political, social and economic facets and needs of the working classes have radically changed. People belonging to the most backward, backward and Scheduled Castes besides Scheduled Tribes have been forced to do tight rope walking. To ensure social justice, gender rights and federalism, a complete review of the Constitution is necessary," Mr Barnala pointed out.

This is for the first time that any Governor's customary annual address has openly made a demand on behalf of the ruling DMK and supported by him.

Before the Governor could begin his address, the Deputy Leader of Opposition O. Panneerselvam began reading from a prepared text demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, his son and Local Administration Minister M. K. Stalin for electoral malpractices during the October civic poll last year.

He further demanded that the Director-General of Police D. Mukherjee and City Police Commissioner Ms. Lathika Saran should also be sacked with immediate effect along with the State Election Commissioner Chandrasekaran for the same reason.

However, Mr Barnala ignored the interruptions and continued reading his speech while the Opposition walked out. The Governor said that the Central Government should keep pace with the changing times. The Governor recalled that Late C. N. Annadurai, the founder of the DMK had said the same thing in the Rajya Sabha four decades ago.

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Despite Cong ‘betrayal,’ SP to back UPA

Allahabad, January 20
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh today said even though the Congress had “betrayed” its faith by withdrawing support from the state government, the SP would continue to support the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.

Talking to newspersons here, SP general secretary Beni Prasad Verma said in the greater “interest” of the people, his party do not want to provide a chance to the BJP to come to power at the Centre.

‘’If the UPA government has courage, it should dismiss our government and impose President’s rule as the Supreme Court would quash it the next day. We will prove our majority in the House on January 25,’’ Mr Verma added.

Mr Verma said the UP Congress had withdrawn support from the state government by making false allegations that Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav had relations with communal parties.

‘’At present, the Congress is the “mother of communalism”. It was responsible for the communal disturbances in Ayodhya.

Saints bless Mulayam

Ardh Kumbh Nagar: In a development which could have far reaching political implications, embattled Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav took blessings from representatives of “Akharas” camping at the world famous Ardh Kumbh fair here today.

Interestingly, the saints were led by Mahant Gyan Das, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the coordinating body of the 13 “akharas” who is also a sworn adversary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the BJP.

The Chief Minister flew to Allahabad this morning and reached the Triveni Sangam to personally see the arrangements there. He later took a dip in the sangam at the VIP ghat.

After reaching the ABAP camp, Mr Yadav garlanded representatives of “akharas” seated on the stage.

While some representatives of the “akharas” garlanded him, other saints capped his shoulders with a “Ramnami” scarf and silken shawl, which could well be suggestive of the new political equations in the wake of VHP’s recent resolution to start construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya from this year only.

The biggest of the 13 “akharas”, the Joona Akhara represented by ABAP general secretary Mahant Hari Giri, presented Mr Yadav a “rudraksha” chain.

‘’This rudraksha chain will not only help Mr Mulayam remain the state Chief Minister but also help him become the Prime Minister of the country,’’ Mahant Hari Das maintained.— UNI

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Inflation, New Year’s gift by UPA govt: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
The BJP today expressed concern over galloping inflation and attacked the Congress-led UPA government’s directive to step up recruitment from minority community in police, banks, PSUs and Railways, describing it as “worst communal divisive game of vote bank politics”.

Addressing the mediapersons, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said inflation, which had risen to two years’ high was a red signal to the Indian economy and the worst part of the story was that the government was clueless about it.

Calling it as the UPA’s New Year’s gift to the common man, in whose name it came to power, Mr Javadekar said inflation affected adversely the purchasing power and standard of living of ordinary citizens.

Demanding enough quantity of quality wheat, rice, sugar, edible oil and pulses at reasonable rates at PDS shops, the spokesman asked the government to take effective steps to regulate forward trading.

Referring to the Centre’s new directive for stepping up recruitment from the minority community, Mr Javadekar said this was aimed at not serving the targeted communities but to serve the political purpose of the Congress.

Earlier, wooing of the Muslim community was couched in the language of minority welfare, Mr Javadekar pointed out and added that today the UPA government had shed its camouflage and was explicitly courting the Muslim community alone.

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BJP welcomes move

New Delhi, January 20
The BJP has welcomed the Election Commission's decision to transfer Punjab's DGP S.S. Virk in view of forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

BJP Spokesman Prakash Javadekar said one more land scandal embroiling Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had come out so also his plans to misuse the police to scuttle the probe. "The EC has taken a right decision," he said. — TNS

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Four held for carrying explosives in Mumbai
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 20
The Mumbai police early this morning arrested four persons, including a woman, while they were transporting 6.5 kg of TNT. Their names were given as Sakhu Gaikwad, Gautam Telore, Sanjay Pawar and Harishchandra Telore, all in their 40s.

According to the police, the explosives were being carried in a package by the woman Sakhu Gaikwad.

Additional Commissioner of Police (West Region) V.K. Choubey said today that a police team kept a watch outside the Andheri railway station on the Western Railway network following a tip-off about the arrival of the consignment.

The four who arrived by a train at the railway station were caught as soon as they came out, Choubey said.

According to him, the police suspect them of carrying the explosives on behalf of some gangsters. All of them hailed from villages in and around Nashik district.

The four were already under the police scanner because they were used by some criminal gangs to bail them out. Gangsters usually have outside contacts who stand surety for them when they are arrested.

Explosives like TNT and RDX are used to make bombs. The bombs that exploded in Mumbai's trains last July had RDX, TNT and other explosives bound inside a pressure cooker for added effect.

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Dalit front for Mumbai poll fizzles out
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 20
Attempts by some Dalit leaders to forge a common front for Mumbai's civic polls have fizzled out. Angry youth from the community had heckled and challenged these leaders following last November's violence in different parts of Maharashtra to come together on a common platform for the civic polls in the state.

Elections to eleven urban bodies are to be held on February 1. Though anger simmers among the Dalits of Maharashtra following the massacre of a family from that community in Khairlanji, Bhandara district lack of leadership will ensure that their votes are splintered yet again.

Dalit leader Ramdas Athavale who tried till the last minute to forge a common front today admitted that his efforts have failed. "Some leaders like Prakash Amedkar and Jogendra Kawade even did not attend meetings to bring about a unit of all RPI factions," Athavale told this reporter.

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Russian N-energy panel chief arrives
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
The head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, Sirgei V Kiriyenko, arrived here today, five days ahead of President Valdimir Putin’s visit to India.
He will visit Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu tomorrow to evaluate the progress of its construction and also discuss the prospects of future cooperation for a strategic partnership.

Mr Kiriyenko, also a former Russian Prime Minister, had already visited the plant in April last.

A joint Indo-Russian committee has been formed to work out proposals for completing the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Russia has already agreed to ensure the commissioning of Units I and II without compromising on quality and security. Like Tarapur, Kudankulam is under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and so Russia can supply fuel to this power plant as well.

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Release of Kamal’s new film stayed

Chennai, January 20
In yet another case of trouble over his film, the Madras High Court today stayed the release of ace actor Kamal Hassan’s Tamil film “Dasaavatharam”, in which he is playing 10 roles.

Ms Justice Chitra Venkataraman granted the stay for four weeks, on a suit filed by S. Senthil Kumar of Chennai and ordered notice to Kamal Hassan, who has taken credit for the story, returnable by four weeks, and to Oscar Ravichandran, producer of the film.

In her interim order, the judge said there was no harm in granting injunction for a limited period of four weeks from exhibiting the film.— UNI

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Johnny Depp in Mira Nair’s ‘Shantaram’
Tribune News Service

Mumbai - January 20
‘Shantaram’, the autobiographical work by Australian bank robber-turned-Mumbai slum- dweller Gregory David Roberts, is being made into a movie starring Johnny Depp in the title role and directed by Mira Nair.

Depp was chosen to play the title role from among several leading Hollywood stars. His company Infinitum Nihil and Brad Pitt's Plan B along with Initial Entertainment Group are to produce the movie to be released by Warner Brothers.

The film will be shot on locations in Mumbai, Australia and North America. The best-selling work, which takes Robert aka Shantaram from, an Australian prison to Mumbai and then onward to the killing fields of Afghanistan is expected to be complete sometime in 2008. Work on the project will begin later this year.

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Wildscreen Festival opens
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
Wildscreen Festival, the world's most prestigious wildlife and environment film festival was inaugurated here yesterday by Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi.

The minister announced that the next international film festival of India will have a separate section of environment films. The six-day festival (January 19-24) at the British Council is being organised by Wildscreen, the Bristol-based educational charity dedicated to nature conservation, the British High Commission and the British Council in India as part of a British Government initiative to support sustainable development and conservation in the sub-continent and globally.

According to a press note issued by the British High Commission, Wildscreen India will feature an exciting programme of film screenings and workshops in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune.

Noted film-makers, experts and activists Mile Salisbury, Jane Goodal, Jeremy Bristow, Harry and Laura Marshall and Karen Patridge are participating in the festival. British Environment Minister David Miliband is arriving here on Sunday to attend a special preview of films on wildlife crime being produced by Indian film-makers under the UK Environment Film Fellowships.

In his message, the British Environment Minister said:’’It is a great honour to be part of the Wildscreen festival. It is through an event like this one that we can reach out and raise awareness on climate change, and I am delighted to be here representing the British Government.''

Mr Miliband said that India and Britain had a long-standing commitment to tackle environmental issues and the joint partnerships had been successful in addressing climate change, sustainable development, protection of environment amongst many other key issues.

Wildscreen Chief Executive Harriet Nimmo who is also attending the festival said that Bristol was known internationally as Green Hollywood for its production of nature films. 

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India to counter China’s anti-satellite test, says DRDO
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 20
India is determined to take necessary steps to counter China’s newly developed ability to target satellites through ballistic missiles and is assessing the reported test undertaken by China in this regard.

The country may also see the DRDO and the ISRO collaborating with each other to tackle the new threat. This was conveyed by Senior Adviser to the Defence Minister and chief of the DRDO M Natarajan, who said, “Maybe we need the DRDO to talk to the ISRO”. The DRDO has distanced itself from the ISRO publicly due to technology export constraints from the US.

Mr Natarajan said the test undertaken by China was a matter of concern for the country. He said this was more so because of the reported technology which could disable satellites in space by using the GPS navigation system.

The DRDO chief was responding to reports emanating from the US yesterday which stated that China had killed one of its ageing satellites by using a ground-based ballistic missile. The report was attributed to US spy agencies.

Mr Natarajan said the country still did not have any details of the reported test as China had not confirmed it in the first place. He said they had, however, taken the reports seriously and had started the process of assessing its likely impact on the country as well as the subcontinent.

Meanwhile, in a disclosure, the DRDO chief said the country had made a breakthrough recently in developing technology aimed at intercepting missiles. “One such test undertaken recently was successful”, he said, adding that the test had seen a ballistic missile being intercepted at a height of 50 km. He said following the test, the country had the expertise of continuous monitoring of missiles from the very start of launch. Claiming that this expertise had been developed in-house, he said the entire missile interception programme was being fine-tuned by the DRDO and development of an anti-missile capability was possible in the near future.

Explaining the different nature of the expertise which had been recently acquired by the country in comparison to what China had achieved, he said missiles could be intercepted ballistically but in the case of satellites the same technology could not be used as they were in different orbit. 

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Karnataka goes bananas over eggs
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 20
Children of the state may have chosen to have eggs as part of the mid-day meal scheme in Karnataka, but the state government cannot choose between eggs or bananas, the "vegetarian" alternative being put forward by various seers. The state Cabinet, which met here today, drew a blank on the issue. The students are the losers with the government ruling nothing will be served till the issue is resolved.

The government had earlier decided to serve eggs as part of the mid-day meal scheme in government schools. A survey conducted by it among 58 lakh students had seen as many as 50 lakh students choosing eggs. The other eight lakh chose bananas.

However, the decision was put on hold when various institutions run by religious sects as well as the Akshaya Patra foundation of ISKCON objected to serving on eggs, terming it a non-vegetarian meal which would hurt the religious sentiments of devotees. In fact, the mid-day meal operations in Bangalore and Hubli-Dharwad, two of the largest cities in the state, face total derailment as the foundation has threatened to dissociate itself from the scheme if the directive is not withdrawn.

The Cabinet meeting today decided to authorise the state Education Minister to study the various mid-day meal schemes in other states and then decide on what to serve students. The issue has become complicated with politicians of all hue giving their own views on the subject. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), coalition partner of the Janata Dal (Secular) has chosen to take the side of the religious lobbies and embarrassed the JD(S) which wanted eggs to be served in schools under the scheme.

Meanwhile, Public Works Minister H.D. Revanna, who is the brother of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, today suggested that serving eggs and another alternative, milk, might not be viable. "The teachers will drink milk", he said going on to say "attendants will love to gobble eggs before they are served to the students".

Mr Revanna, who is currently facing criticism from legislators of the JD(S), who find him very meddlesome and accuse him of "controlling" his brother, has carried the debate to another tangent by even suggesting that it was important to upgrade the standard of education being received by children in Government Schools rather than upgrading the food they get. "I have told the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Education Minister to focus their attention on improving the standard of education", he said adding the government was yet to allocate degree colleges to each district and that many schools were running in rented buildings.

The issue has also become politicised with community leaders of the Lingayat caste, which along with the Vokkaligas, is the dominant community in the state, also protesting the serving of eggs in schools. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is from the Vokkaliga community and his deputy B.S. Yediyurappa of the BJP from the Lingayat creating a new set of problems for the coalition government. It may take some time for the issue to be settled with the entire political class going "bananas" over eggs.

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