L A T E S T      N E W S

India, Germany sign 6 new pacts 

BERLIN: India and Germany on Thursday inked six key MoUs, including that for putting together €7 million for next four years towards joint research in the field of higher education and a pact for a soft loan of €1 billion for strengthening the green energy corridor.

A pact to promote German as a foreign language was also signed by the two sides following the 2nd round of inter-governmental Consultations in Berlin.

Under pacts signed, both Germany and India have committed to €3.5 million each towards working on joint research and innovation programmes.

According to officials, under the strengthening of German language collaboration, currently 30,000 children in Kendriya Vidyalaya are learning German and under the pact they will try to increase the capacity.

A pact regarding the establishment of green energy corridor was also signed besides one in agriculture and establishment of a working group in infrastructure, cooperation in standardisation, conformity assessment and product safety.

Under the pact for the green energy corridor, the grid system in several states will be used to transmit energy produced by renewable and non-conventional means.

Another pact for Indo-German civil security research was also signed.

Minister for Human Resources Development Pallam Raju, who is accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on three-day bilateral visit here, said the two countries knew each other’s strengths and have identified some areas for the joint research.

The Human Resources Development Minister also said Germany has been on a “very sound technical footing” because of which there were many programmes assisted and handled by Germans in both IIT Chennai and IIT, Mandi.

According to official data, around 4,500 Indian students are pursuing various courses in Germany, while around 800 German students are studying or doing their internships in India. — PTI Back







Maharashtra Home Minister booked for 'provocative' speech 

BANGALORE: An FIR has been filed against Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil by Karnataka Police for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race or language for his alleged provocative speech on Belgaum issue, a bone of contention between the two states.

Patil has also been booked under Representation of People Act for violation of the election code for the May 5 assembly poll in the state, police said here on Thursday.

The FIR was filed for "provocative utterances" by Patil at a function organized here on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of Kiran Thakur, leader of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES) and editor of Marathi daily "Tarun Bharat", according to Belgaum superintendent of police Sandeep Patil.

Belgaum Police, which filed the FIR on Wednesday, is probing the case and would take legal action accordingly, the SP said.

In his speech, Patil had allegedly made provocative remarks while recalling the incident when the then Belgaum mayor, Vijay Pandurang More, was attacked in Bangalore several years ago for a resolution by the civic body seeking merger of Belgaum and several other Marathi-speaking areas with Maharashtra.

The FIR has been registered under Sections 153(A) of IPC for provoking and creating disharmony between communities on religion, race, place or birth or language and under the Representation of People Act, police said.

Belgaum and some other border areas have been a bone of contention between Maharashtra and Karnataka. Maharashtra claims Belgaum should be part of it, but Karnataka maintains that it is part of the state and the issue is a closed chapter.

A political outfit, MES, has been raking up the Belgaum issue now and then, evoking strong reaction from Kannada protagonist bodies. — PTIBack








JD(U) may demand projection of BJP's PM
candidate before LS elections

NEW DELHI: BJP ally JD(U), whose antipathy to Narendra Modi is well-known, is likely to make a strong demand for the early projection of the next prime ministerial candidate of the alliance and emphasise its committment to secularism ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. 

Though party leaders remain tightlipped about the political resolution to be adopted at its two-day National Executive beginning in New Delhi on Saturday, there are clear indications that the party will vehemently oppose projection of the Gujarat Chief Minister within NDA for the top job.

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav evaded a direct reply on whether the party will oppose the projection of Modi. 

"We had never compromised on the issue of secularism nor will we do now," he said.

He was asked whether secular credentials of NDA's next prime ministerial candidate will be an important issue to be discussed at the JD(U) meet.

On whether the party will discuss the issue of Modi's increased projection in BJP, he said, "There is no bar on any issue. Everything can be discussed. Sky is the limit as far discussing issues is concerned.

"Our party allows people to raise issues. But how can we say what will be the decision before the party's National Council meet."

Yadav's comments are significant as there has been quite an unease in JD(U) over Modi recently addressing a series of meetings with a party leader saying it seemed "if he has been the declared prime ministerial candidate of BJP".

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who runs a coalition government with BJP, has been a known critic of Modi.

A sizeable section in JD(U) believes that parting of ways with BJP will be unavoidable if Modi is projected a prime ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha polls.

"So far NDA has gone to elections projecting Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. Why should they not do it now," was the refrain of a senior JD(U) leader, who did not want to be named.

Yadav, who is also the NDA convener, said that the alliance between BJP and JD(U) is working on a common agenda under which BJP had to drop its controversials issues like Ram Temple, abrogation of Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code.

"Our national agenda is secular. It is there for last 17 years. Our issues and their (BJP's) issues are different," he said.

Amid growing speculation whether his party will remain within NDA at a time when there is increased focus in BJP on Modi, Yadav said, "No name has been decided either within BJP or within NDA. What is the point in embarrassing somebody or ourselves by taking someone's name regularly."

Sections in JD(U) believe that Modi is not the consensus candidate even within BJP and there could be a possibility of the Gujarat leader being kept out of the race in the view of difference on the issue among the allies.

Attacking Modi, JD(U) leader Shivanand Tewari has claimed that Modi was "desperate" to become Prime Minister and that even without the party naming him, "the Gujarat chief minister has already started believing that he is a prime ministerial candidate of BJP."

Tiwari has also slammed Modi for his comments that states like Bihar should adopt the Gujarat model of development and asked him to learn from the Bihar model instead.

"We will take stock of the political situation prevailing in the country and related issues at our party's National Executive to be held in New Delhi on April 13-14," Kumar had recently said in Patna in reply to questions about the future of JD(U)'s alliance with BJP.

"We will also apprise NDA of our deliberations and opinion on various political issues," he had said to repeated questions on his stand that BJP should announce its prime ministrial candidate in advance. — PTIBack








Sehwag may not play for India again: Geoffrey Boycott

NEW DELHI: Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott says Virender Sehwag is unlikely to play for India again and the opener will "sadly fade away" after playing a bit of Indian Premier League.

Sehwag was dropped for the last two Tests against Australia in the recent series and was also excluded from the list of 30 probables for the Champions Trophy.

"I don't think he'll play again. I think it's because India have gone the right way. It took a little while to come around to it. They've given youth a chance," Boycott told a cricket website.

In eight Test matches since April 2012, he has managed to score just 408 runs at an average of 31.38, with highest being 117. In the six ODIs, in the same period, he scored 183 runs at an average of 30.5 and was dropped for the ODI series against England.

His last ODI century was the double hundred against the West Indies in December 2011.

Boycott said India have done the right thing by blooding youngsters in the national side.

"After they lost to England, I kept saying you have to give these young batsmen a chance. You have to get them in and you have to build again for the World Cup. I've never changed my view on that. You are world champions in ODIs, you have to move on, and it doesn't matter who you are, I always say, age is not the barrier, it's about performance," he said.

Boycott said Sehwag was one of the best batsmen of the last 20 years and lack of a defensive technique was his only shortcoming.

"He played it his way and his way, at times, on certain pitches, was highly successful. But when it comes to the ball moving around and it was a bit more bouncy, his defensive technique was exposed. But trying to tell him and make him play differently, how do you do that? Sehwag has got all his runs playing his way," Boycott said

He also stressed that it was difficult for a player like Sehwag to change the way he played the game.

"His nature, his personality, is a more happy-go-lucky, generous, easy-natured, friendly, affable sort of personality that fits in with the way he batted," Boycott said.

"He used to bat freely, with lots of strokes. It's not in his nature to play carefully, steadily. I'm sure people have tried to say, 'Can you play a little more carefully? You are older now, you maybe don't pick the ball up quite as well or quickly, or you've still got lots of talent and use your experience.' You tell everybody all these things but it's very difficult to change people from what they are. And, it's too late now. I think he's just going to play a bit of IPL and then, sadly, fade away," he said. — PTI




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