SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Q’s extradition: CBI files affidavit in SC
New Delhi, March 8
The CBI does not recognise the 1989 British India’s extradition treaty with Argentina for securing the extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattarochi, an accused in the Bofors payoff case, but said every steps were being taken to bring him to India.

In video: CBI delegation meets Argentine judge. (56k)

Dalit rally turns violent in Gujarat
Gandhinagar, March 8
Congress activists tried to break the police cordon near Info city, after a Dalit rally turned violent, leaving several people injured. Nearly 2,200 Congress activists were arrested by the police.

Bajaj moots fines for House disruptions; MPs say forget it
New Delhi, March 8
Rajya Sabha member Rahul Bajaj's proposal that MPs should be fined for disrupting the House may find an echo with the public, tired of seeing their representatives slug out it in Parliament, but has been dismissed outrightly by his parliamentary colleagues.

Paswan’s assurance to Bhopal gas survivors
New Delhi, March 8
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) received some hope after union chemicals and fertilisers minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured its representatives in the Capital yesterday that he would take up issues of survivors of world's worst industrial disaster with the Prime Minister.


EARLIER STORIES


Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri greets people after being sworn in at Dehra Dun on Thursday. Governor Sudarshan Agarwal (left) is also in the picture.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri greets people after being sworn in at Dehra Dun on Thursday. Governor Sudarshan Agarwal (left) is also in the picture. — PTI

Tarlochan Singh’s call to commemorate Bhagat Singh’s anniversary
New Delhi, March 8
Pointing the government's failure to include the 100th birth anniversary of Shahid Bhagat Singh in this year's commemorative functions on the country's freedom movement, Tarlochan Singh, Independent member from Haryana to the Rajya Sabha, today said satyagraha was not the only form of struggle that led to freedom.

Special package attracts industry to Hardwar
Hardwar, March 8
Hardwar is fast earning the distinction of becoming a destination for industrial pilgrimage. In less than three years, a large number of big and small industrial units from different parts of the country have found this holy city as the most enticing destination to set up their manufacturing plants.

It’s their day

Gursharan Kaur (right), wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with actress Preity Zinta at an International Women's Day function in New Delhi on Thursday.
Gursharan Kaur (right), wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with actress Preity Zinta at an International Women's Day function in New Delhi on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Women face working poverty
New Delhi, March 8
More women than ever before are working, but a persistent gap in the status, job security, wages and education between women and men is contributing to ‘feminisation of working poverty’, says the International Labour Office's report on the International Women’s Day.

Efforts on for women’s quota: PM
New Delhi, March 8
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today told the Rajya Sabha that the government would try to build broad-based consensus on the women's reservation Bill and bring it as soon as possible.

Ram Temple Issue
Contempt petition against Patil, Mulayam

New Delhi, March 8
The alleged structural changes in the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya were brought to the notice of the Supreme Court today in an application seeking contempt action against union home minister Shiv Raj Patil and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, accusing them of raking the issue just prior to the elections in the state.

CCS approves approach for Indo-Pak talks
New Delhi, March 8
The Cabinet Committee on Security tonight approved the approach to be adopted by the Indian side in the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan next week.

Euro 3m offered for energy projects
New Delhi, March 8
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership has offered Euro 3 million for projects supporting development of markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Actress Nagma gets threat calls
Mumbai, March 8
Actress Nagma has filed a complaint claiming to have received threatening calls on her mobile phone from unidentified persons, the police said today.

Corruption: BJP backs judge’s observation
New Delhi, March 8
The BJP today came in support of Supreme Court Judge Markandeya Katju’s observation that the best way to get rid of corruption is to hang a few of them on lamp posts. It extended support to any legislation to this effect if it was brought in Parliament by the government.

Changes in Hindi books ordered
New Delhi, March 8
The HRD Ministry has decided to replace or modify certain stories and poems in the NCERT’s Hindi textbooks following objections that they could hurt the sentiments of certain communities.

Govt aware of Chinese maps
New Delhi, March 8
The government is aware that world maps and globes depicting Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as integral part of China were being sold and circulated in the Communist country, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha here today.

Monica’s jail term reduced
Hyderabad, March 8
The Andhra Pradesh High Court today reduced to three years the jail term of Monica Bedi, former Bollywood actress and associate of Abu Salem. In September last year, a special CBI court had sentenced her to five-year imprisonment for obtaining passport using a fictitious name and address. — TNS

Videos

 Mumbai abuzz at shooting of ‘Meerabai not out’.
(56k)

Traditional Jallikattu of Tamil Nadu.
(56k)

Hurley-Nayar wedding evokes mixed reactions.
(56k)

 

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Q’s extradition: CBI files affidavit in SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 8
The CBI does not recognise the 1989 British India’s extradition treaty with Argentina for securing the extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattarochi, an accused in the Bofors payoff case, but said every steps were being taken to bring him to India.

This was stated by the CBI in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court today in reply to a notice issued on a petition accusing the agency of sitting over the information about Quattrocchi’s arrest for full 16 days and even concealing it from the court during the February 12 hearing.

The affidavit, affirmed by CBI’s DIG Harbhajan Ram, said adequate steps had been taken by the government to extradite Quattrocchi and the matter was under consideration of the Argentine authorities as it would be dealt by them in accordance with the laws of their country.

On the question of 1989 British India’s treaty with Argentina, the CBI said, “The central government has been legally advised that there does not subsist any extradition treaty between India and Argentine government, which has advised the Indian Embassy that no such treaty subsists”.

The agency though admitted that it had received the information on February 7 itself about Quattrocchi’s arrest by Interpol a day earlier, but claimed that there was no intention of concealing any material from the court, when it heard the matter pertaining to the withdrawal of the money by him from his London bank account on January 16, 2006.

“All necessary steps have been taken to seek the extradition of Quattrocchi within the given timeframe,” the agency claimed.

The petition filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal, who had been taking up all aspects of Bofors case in the apex court for the past two years, had alleged that the CBI director had confirmed Quattocchi’s arrest on February 23 only when the media got the wind of it.

A bench, headed by justice C.K. Thakker, had sought complete details from the CBI about the arrest of Quattrocchi and the steps taken by the agency.

The CBI, which acts as a member of Interpol in India, admitted that the Argentine authorities had on February 7 sent a communication seeking confirmation whether the red corner notice against Quattrocchi was still in force and the requisite information about it and his identification was communicated to the authorities in Buenos Aires on the same day.

On the question of delay, the agency took shelter under the issue of diplomatic channels involved and time consumed in translation of the documents from Spanish to English. It claimed that on February 8, the Argentine authorities were requested not to allow him to obtain bail from the court there in view of the pending red corner notice. However, Quattrocchi was released on bail on February 23, the agency said.

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Dalit rally turns violent in Gujarat

Gandhinagar, March 8
Congress activists tried to break the police cordon near Info city, after a Dalit rally turned violent, leaving several people injured. Nearly 2,200 Congress activists were arrested by the police.

Leader of the Opposition Arjan Mothwadia, Bharat Solanki, president Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, B K Hariprasad, general secretary, AICC and incharge of Gujarat affairs and Mukul Vasnik, former general Secretary, AICC were also arrested after addressing the rally. All were released later.

Congress workers, policemen including sub-inspector Brahmbhatt and a few women constables and three journalists were injured when the police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the 20,000 strong rally near Info city on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar state highway, to implement prohibitory orders due to the ongoing Assembly session. Prevented from moving ahead, the workers turned hostile and threw stones at the police.

About 2,000 policemen had been deployed to prevent any untoward incident during the Dalit rally, which was organised by the Gujarat Congress to express their anger against the alleged atrocities on Dalits. — UNI

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Bajaj moots fines for House disruptions; MPs say forget it

New Delhi, March 8
Rajya Sabha member Rahul Bajaj's proposal that MPs should be fined for disrupting the House may find an echo with the public, tired of seeing their representatives slug out it in Parliament, but has been dismissed outrightly by his parliamentary colleagues.

The independent MP, who heads the Bajaj group, has attracted flak for his recent letter to vice-president and Rajya Sabha chairperson Bhairon Singh Shekhawat that the frequent disruptions resulted in public money being wasted.

Suggesting that members and parties should be fined, Bajaj said: "We have seen that the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha are frequently disrupted by groups of members agitated over some issue or the other. While the issue may be genuine, this does curtail the time available for the conduct of business of the House and waste public money in terms of the costs of running the House."

He went on to say: "I believe running the Rajya Sabha for an hour costs Rs 2.5 million -- then fine Rs 5 million. If the fine is severe enough, it may act as a disincentive. I believe that it should be at least twice the cost of the time lost." The radical proposal, which Bajaj says has been referred to the Ethics Committee of the House, has found no takers among other MPs, cutting across party lines, many of whom concede that Parliament proceedings are interrupted too often.

Like Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) who admitted: "Since the budget session began, Tuesday was the first day when the Rajya Sabha met and conducted normal business." In the last winter session, the Lok Sabha lost about 30 hours and the Rajya Sabha about 25 hours due to the proceedings being stalled frequently.

"Actually no work took place all these days since February 23. So nobody is happy. But fines! In a Parliamentary system, that is not approved. As an industrialist, that is how he thinks. The fine system is not practical," Roy added firmly.

Said Madhusudan Mistry, Congress member of the Lok Sabha from Gujarat: “I agree that those who go into the well of the House ought to be penalised. But I can't say what should be the nature of the penalty. It certainly doesn't mean that anybody who protests from even their seats has to be penalised.”

"However, it seems like people who rarely attend the House are raising such issues. How many hours has Rahul Bajaj himself attended Parliament." Others were even more direct and vocal in their criticism.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief whip in the Lok Sabha Ram Kirpal Yadav wondered: "In what form will you agitate then? Rahul Bajaj is not a people's representative, he knows nothing of people's issues. Of course, the House should not be disrupted on every trivial issue. As far as possible, issues should be resolved through debate and discussion."

Shahid Siddiqui of the Samajwadi Party, currently spearheading his party's protest in the Rajya Sabha after the CBI was asked to probe corruption cases against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, was even more dismissive.

"Rahulji's politics is valued in terms of his economics. He values all political issues in terms of loss and profit. We have to deal with the masses of the country and have to articulate their concerns in Parliament.

“If these concerns are not met then we are forced to agitate and disturb the proceedings. That is an instrument available to us." Democracy is a right in Parliament, asserted the BJP’s lone Muslim member in the Lok Sabha, Syed Shahnawaz Husain. "If the government does not heed to our demand, we have a right to agitate and even force adjournments. Bajaj is a big man who can pay fines.

"But there are many members here who represent the people and can barely afford to maintain themselves. Moreover this is not the monarchy of Saudi Arabia. We can't be fined for articulating the concerns of the common man." Bajaj, though an independent, was supported by the BJP-Shiv Sena combine to get elected to the Rajya Sabha. — IANS

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Paswan’s assurance to Bhopal gas survivors
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) received some hope after union chemicals and fertilisers minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured its representatives in the Capital yesterday that he would take up issues of survivors of world's worst industrial disaster with the Prime Minister.

Six ICJB members, including four survivors of the Union Carbide disaster of 1984, have been on an indefinite fast in Bhopal, demanding medical care, economic and social rehabilitation and protection to the environment from toxic substances that continues to affect people of Bhopal even after 22 years. The hunger strikers include Goldman Environmental prize winner Rashida Bee, who lost six family members to cancer and she herself suffers from chronic physical and mental problems ever since the disaster.

Late last evening in Delhi, ICJB members Shalini Sharma, Suroopa Mukherjee and CPI National Secretary D. Raja shared the concerns of the survivors with Paswan and presented him a memorandum. “The minister was very supportive. He spoke on the phone with survivors' representative Satinath Sarangi, who is also fasting in Bhopal, and promised to take up the matter with the Prime Minister. He was concerned that while the Central Government provided the state government with Rs 14 crore for clean drinking water through Kolar pipeline, but no progress had been made in this regard,” says Shalini.

Survivors say that despite the Prime Minister agreeing to demands of the 55 Bhopal survivors, who marched 800 km for 33 days on foot from Bhopal to Delhi last year, the state government continues to be indifferent.

“ Our demands stem from the fact that the Madhya Pradesh government has not implemented any of the decisions reached at the two meetings of the Coordination Committee on Bhopal (CCB), presided over by the joint secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers,” activist Satinath Saringi.

As per the decisions of the CCB, the Madhya Pradesh government was to prepare an action plan for medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation by December 2006. “However, no action plan has yet been prepared nor has the state government formed sub-groups with participation of survivors' organisations to overlook different aspects of rehabilitation work. No representative of the state government has responded even after 15 days of the dharna and third day into the fast,” he says.

Besides this, the survivors are also protesting against Ratan Tata's offer to lead a charitable clean-up of the toxic wastes abandoned by Union Carbide in Bhopal. " Tata’s offer is meant to clear Carbide's liabilities and enable it and its new owner Dow Chemical to expand their businesses in India,” the survivors allege.

The Union Carbide had fled India after the 1984 Bhopal disaster, abandoning thousands of tonnes of toxic wastes. In 2001, Dow Chemical took over all of Carbide's assets. “But Dow failed to produce Union Carbide to face trial in India, and refused to take responsibility for cleaning up the toxic contamination. Because of these unresolved liabilities, Dow Chemical has put investment plans on hold. Tata's offer will allow Union Carbide to go scot-free, and even allow the company to resume business in India,” the ICJB says.

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Tarlochan Singh’s call to commemorate Bhagat Singh’s anniversary
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Pointing the government's failure to include the 100th birth anniversary of Shahid Bhagat Singh in this year's commemorative functions on the country's freedom movement, Tarlochan Singh, Independent member from Haryana to the Rajya Sabha, today said satyagraha was not the only form of struggle that led to freedom.

Taking part in the debate on the motion of thanks to the President's address, Tarlochan Singh said the birth anniversary of the legendary freedom fighter had not been mentioned by the government.

Disagreeing with the view that 1857 rebellion was the First War of Independence, Tarlochan Singh said children are taught about wars waged by rulers such as Shivaji, Maharana Pratap and Banda Bahadur, who was the first Sikh sovereign but all those who fought against foreign rule deserve to be respected.

Tarlochan Singh said parties who called themselves secular wrongly appropriate the right to call some other parties as communal. Questioning the government's commitments to minority welfare, he said it had not passed the legislation to strengthen the National Minority Commission.

Maintaining that the word `minority' had broadly come to denote the Muslim community, he said the government should not spend money only on getting reports. The MP said it should look at Dr Gopal Singh report of 1983 which is still valid. Pointing out that condition of Muslims in the country was better compared to that in the neighbouring countries, he said government's moves should not isolate the Muslim community.

He said leadership of the Muslim community should provide proper guidance to further the cause of education.

Taking a dig at the Congress over the recently concluded assembly elections in Punjab, Tarlochan Singh said that Shiromani Akali Dal had not raised any religious issues during the polls but the Congress had tried its best to use religion by projecting Dr Manmohan Singh as a ‘Sikh PM’ and getting an edict in its favour from a dera in Sirsa. He also alleged that the Haryana government was trying to weaken the role state public service commission.

Calling for a considered education policy, he said syllabi should not be tinkered with change of governments.

The MP said farmers should be given incentives to improve their lot.

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Special package attracts industry to Hardwar
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Hardwar, March 8
Hardwar is fast earning the distinction of becoming a destination for industrial pilgrimage. In less than three years, a large number of big and small industrial units from different parts of the country have found this holy city as the most enticing destination to set up their manufacturing plants.

"If you ask me, it's no less rewarding than a pilgrimage. We were looking for a base in North India and got it here," says Harinda Garg, manufacturer of thermo-insulated housewares. He came from the union territory of Daman to set up his Rs 50 crore unit, which started production a year and half ago.

Others to have come to this pilgrim center to reap the benefits of a special industrial package, include around 30 industrial giants like Hindustan Lever Limited, Cavincare, Hero Honda, Mahindra and Mahindra, ITC Group, Raja Biscuits, Surya Fresh Foods, Ranbaxy, Kirby, Lakhani Footwear and Themis India.

The new package for industry has made this industrially barren hill state richer by Rs 4000 crore, offering direct employment to around 40,000 people. The policy makes it mandatory for 70 per cent of those employed to belong to Uttarakhand. Around 10,000 have already been employed in 150 units, which have become operative.

The investment ranged from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1000 crore. As a measure of world class infrastructure, all the 542 plots at the industrial estate developed by State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL) found takers within a short time.

"The credit for this overwhelming response goes to the entire line of the state's administrative and industrial authorities. Here we knew what system of single window clearance actually means," added Garg, who is also secretary general of SIDCUL Industrial Association, Hardwar.

"We have approved 33 such estates so far on 21,000 acre private land notified for industry here. Some of them have been sold out while others are being developed. We are receiving 15-20 queries a week," informed Dr SS Sandhu, secretary, industries, Uttarakhand.

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Women face working poverty
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
More women than ever before are working, but a persistent gap in the status, job security, wages and education between women and men is contributing to ‘feminisation of working poverty’, says the International Labour Office's report on the International Women’s Day.

It means that despite the number of working women increasing the world over, they continue to be a victim of gender bias in terms of wages, job security and status. In south Asia, comprising India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives, six out 10 working women were classified as contributing family workers but only two out of 10 men have this status.

Interestingly, ILO’s report ‘Global Employment Trends for Women -2007’ , released worldwide for the Women’s day, states that the number of women participating in labour markets, either in work or looking actively for work, is at its highest point. The ILO estimates that in 2006 nearly 1.2 billion of the 2.9 billion workers in the world were women.

Gender gaps were closing but at a slow pace. “Creating adequate, decent and productive work for women is passable, as shown by some progress detailed in the report. But policy makers not only need to place employment at the center of the social and economic policies, they also have to recognise that challenges faced by women at world of work require intervention tailored to specific needs,” the report concludes.

The problem is that more women than ever before were also unemployed. Close to 81.8 million women, were struck in low productivity jobs in agriculture and services or received less money for doing the same job as men. In addition, the share of working age for women who work or were seeking work had actually stopped growing or declined in some regions, partially due to the growing number of young women engaged in education rather than work.

“Despite some progress, far too many women were still stuck in the lowest paying jobs, often in the informal economy with insufficient legal protection, little or no little social protection and a high degree of insecurity,” the ILO says.

The report also shows that today 47.9 per cent women out of the total number of women at work were in the wage and salaried employment than 10 years ago. However, the poorer the region, the more likely that women work as unpaid contributing family members or low income own account workers, in a higher proportion than men.

From being an unpaid contributing family worker or low paid own account become a worker to wage and salaried employee was a major step towards freedom and self determination for many women. However, in the poorest regions of the world the share of female contributing family workers in total employment was still much higher than men, with women less likely to be wage and salaried workers.

In the last global employment trend for women in 2004, it was estimated that women made up at least 60 per cent of the world's working poor, which means that they work but did not earn enough to lift themselves and their families above one dollar per person per day. According to the current ILO study, "there is no reason to believe that this situation has changed in the recent past or will in the near future."

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Efforts on for women’s quota: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today told the Rajya Sabha that the government would try to build broad-based consensus on the women's reservation Bill and bring it as soon as possible.

Responding to the demand from members for bringing the legislation on women's reservation, he said the UPA government was committed to political, social and economic empowerment of women.

Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat delayed question hour on the International Women's Day and allowed women members to speak.

Cutting across party lines, women members demanded early passage of the legislation. Those who spoke included Brinda Karat (CPM), Najma Heptullah and Sushma Swaraj (BJP).

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Ram Temple Issue
Contempt petition against Patil, Mulayam
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 8
The alleged structural changes in the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya were brought to the notice of the Supreme Court today in an application seeking contempt action against union home minister Shiv Raj Patil and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, accusing them of raking the issue just prior to the elections in the state.

The Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Mr Justice R.V. Raveendran posted the application for hearing on March 16 when several other pending Ayodhya-related cases would come up for hearing. The contempt application was filed by Delhi-based Mohd Aslam alias Bhure, whose petition on Babri Majid demolition had been pending since 2002.

Bhure’s counsel alleged the “structural changes” were being made in view of the UP Assembly elections.

“It is, therefore, prayed to the court to pass orders against the respondents for contempt of court orders passed on March 31, 2003” disallowing any changes in the makeshift temple and 67.703 acres of the acquired land around it.

Other UP Government functionaries made respondents in the petition are: State chief secretary Naveen Vajpayee, Faizabad district’s ex-commissioner Manoj Kumar, present commissioner R.P. Shukla, Faizabad district magistrate Amod Kumar and SP Sunil Gupta.

The petitioner said on a visit to Ayodhya, he found “changes made in the makeshift temple and the temporary structure”. “This had been done in violation of various orders passed by this court to maintain status quo till the final decision on the title suit by the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow Bench,” the application said.

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CCS approves approach for Indo-Pak talks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Cabinet Committee on Security tonight approved the approach to be adopted by the Indian side in the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan next week.

The meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also discussed the outcome of the two-day maiden meeting of the joint anti-terror meeting, which concluded in Islamabad yesterday.

At the anti-terror meeting, the two countries had decided to exchange information on terror-related issues and hold regular meetings at three-month interval.

The CCS meeting approved the approach to be adopted by the government at the foreign secretary-level talks to be held in Islamabad on March 13-14, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters.

At the foreign secretary-level meeting, which will kick start the fourth round of composite dialogue, the two countries will discuss issues like  Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, Siachen and Sir Creek.

The two will also discuss various confidence-building measures, including promotion of tourism and visa liberalisation.

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Euro 3m offered for energy projects
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) has offered Euro 3 million for projects supporting development of markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The REEEP is a global partnership between governments and private organisations of developed countries.

The call is an open tender seeking projects from countries like China, India and Brazil and from across the developing world. The offer is the REEEP’s largest in its four-year history and is meant specifically for the emerging market economies like India, says Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), adding that the partnership previously disbursed Euro 2.2 million in 2006 and Euro 1.1 million in 2005.

Renewable energy and energy efficient systems are not so popular in developing countries primarily because of high costs, says Mahesh Vipradas of the TERI, adding that in context with global concerns the aim is a step ahead by developed countries to help reduce the effects of imminent global warning.

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Actress Nagma gets threat calls

Mumbai, March 8
Actress Nagma has filed a complaint claiming to have received threatening calls on her mobile phone from unidentified persons, the police said today.

Nagma registered a complaint yesterday at northwest Mumbai’s Bandra police station. According to the complaint, she had allegedly received threatening calls and SMSs on her mobile phone for the past few days.

Nagma’s allegations came a few days after Bollywood financier and diamond merchant Bharat Shah filed a similar complaint with the police. — PTI

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Corruption: BJP backs judge’s observation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The BJP today came in support of Supreme Court Judge Markandeya Katju’s observation that the best way to get rid of corruption is to hang a few of them on lamp posts. It extended support to any legislation to this effect if it was brought in Parliament by the government.

In reply to a question on the issue, BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj said though the party sympathised with Katju’s observation but in principle we support it and would support any legislation brought before Parliament by the government.

In a lighter vein, she said a lamp post should also be identified at the India Gate in this connection.

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Changes in Hindi books ordered

New Delhi, March 8
The HRD Ministry has decided to replace or modify certain stories and poems in the NCERT’s Hindi textbooks following objections that they could hurt the sentiments of certain communities.

The ministry has decided to replace the stories – ‘Doodh ka Daam’ by Munshi Premchand in the Class XI textbook and ‘Apni Khabar’ by Pandeya Bechan Sharma in the Class IX textbook.

It has also decided to replace a poem ‘Mochiram’ by Dhoomil in the Class IX textbook.

The ministry took the decision as per the recommendation of the Yash Pal committee set up to look into the objections. — PTI

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Govt aware of Chinese maps
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The government is aware that world maps and globes depicting Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as integral part of China were being sold and circulated in the Communist country, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha here today.

In a written reply, he said the government had conveyed to the Chinese side that Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh were integral parts of India. The two countries were also engaged in discussions to arrive at a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question at an early date, he said.

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