Sunday, January 29, 2012

PRESS CONFERENCE on February 1, 2012.

Film Festival is an exciting and unique space in many ways. Along with screenings in auditorium, films will also be shown in simulated video parlours, in a multi hub video library and as installations. It will premiere documentaries, screen award winning films, a few rarely seen films, curated sections from film archives from Germany and India; present installations, in-depth conversations with filmmakers and pay homage to Homai Vyarwalla, Tareque Masud and Lucia Rikaki. To speak about the festival and the films this year, the Curator of the Festival Ms. Gargi Sen (Director, MLF) along with Ms. Indrani Majumdar (Assistant Programme Officer, IIC) will address a PRESS CONFERENCE on February 1, 2012. The details are given below. Complete schedule and list of the screenings will also be released at the Conference.We request you to kindly send your reporter and photographer to cover the event. Press Conference. Venue: Press Club of India Date: February 1, 2012  Time: 4 pm

Poll campaigning ends in Punjab, U’khand

Campaigning for 117-seat Punjab Assembly ended on Saturday evening with ruling SAD-BJP alliance and opposition Congress putting their best foot forward to wrest power in the 30th January polls.

The campaigning by and large remained peaceful in the state which saw national leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, BJP leaders L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti and BSP Chief Mayawati criss-cross the state.
Besides Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the other campaigners included Team Anna members who, however, did not advocate in favour or any political party confining their campaign to corruption and setting up of a strong Lokpal.
Film and TV actors Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Rajesh Khanna, Kirron Kher and Samriti Irani and a host of local singers and actors, including Gurdas Mann, Harbhajan Mann and Gurpreet Ghuggi besides cricketer-turned-politicians Navjot Sidhu and Mohd Azharudin added to the colour.
The other leaders who visited the state included Union Ministers Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Haryana Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Om Parkash Chautala, respectively.
Leaders of Left and other parties, including Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury, also toured the state which will see a total of 1,078 candidates, including 93 women, in fray. About 1.76 crore voters, including 83.61 lakh women, will seal the fate of the candidates at 19,841 polling stations, including five identified as "hyper sensitive" and 32 as "sensitive".
Besides Punjab Police personnel, about 200 companies of central paramilitary forces will be deployed in the state to ensure free and fair polling.
Electioneering comes to end in Uttarakhand
Electioneering outdoor for the 30th January assembly poll in Uttarakhand on Saturday came to an end after which candidates switched over to door-to-door campaign in a last-minute attempt to woo voters.
A total of 788 candidates are trying their luck from 70 constituencies in the state where over 63 lakh electorates are expected to exercise their franchise on Monday.
Electioneering picked up towards the fag end as bad weather hampered the movement of national leaders during the early phase of campaign. BJP President Nitin Gadkari and some other leaders' visits were also cancelled due to the inclement weather.
During the electioneering, Congress had attacked BJP on changing chief ministers frequently to cover up its alleged scams and asked the people to vote on development plank.
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi tried to puncture the campaign of BJP "Khanduri (incumbent chief minister B C Khanduri) hai zaroori" by stating why he was removed in 2009 if he was so important.
Ruling BJP highlighted scams relating to 2G spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and Adarsha Housing Society in a bid to nail down Congress and asked the people to vote for the party for showing its commitment to weeding out corruption by bringing a strong Lokayukta bill.
The star campaigners from BJP and Congress also crisscrossed the hill state during the fortnight-long electioneering.
Chief Minister B C Khanduri addressed nearly two dozen rallies across the state during the past four to five days.
During his meetings, Khanduri had raked up emotive issues including the Muzaffarnagar massacre during Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 1994. "You all know who were the perpetrators of the Muzaffarnagar incident? You also know that it was only BJP which formed the new state of Uttarakhand," Khanduri had said.
With the Election Commission cracking down on use of money power, the cacophony of the electioneering was missing this time with candidates shunning big shows of strength.

Taj Mahal's minaret tilted 3.57 cm in three decades: ASI

Taj Mahal's minaret tilted 3.57 cm in three decades: ASI
Is a leaning Pisa Tower in the making in India? It appears so. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, the South west minaret of the famed Taj Mahal has recorded a tilt of 3.57 cm in three decades. But overall there is no significant change in its heights.

This has been revealed in an affidavit filed by it in the Supreme Court in response to the apex court's direction for the latest survey report on Taj Mahal.

The direction was given following reports that the historical monument is facing danger to its structure owing to environmental pollution.

India, Brazil, SAfrica distressed at Doha impasse

India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) has underscored the need for resisting protectionism in the current economic scenario.

"Global economic conditions are challenging, this is almost fourth year of recession. The only way is to engage more and work for a multilateral trade regime," Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters in Davos on Saturday.

At the IBSA meeting, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual event, the trade ministers said that developed countries had caused distortions by high-level of protection in the form of tariffs and subsidies in agriculture.

These distortions "continue to undermine the development prospects of developing countries, especially the least developed among them," an IBSA declaration said.

It said, "The ministers expressed deep disappointment at the current impasse in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations..."

The IBSA ministers met ahead of the informal meeting of important WTO members, including India, US and South Africa.

Besides Sharma, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and Rob Davis of South Africa were present.

The meeting hosted by the Swiss authorities was also attended by Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Pascal Lamy.

US Representative Ron Kirk said "We need to have a new start and have a beginning towards putting something concrete on the table.... I am hopeful."

Kirk's remarks are important given the impression among the developing countries in the midst of slowdown and the US elections; America does not seem to be keen on pushing for opening up of its economy.

About the discussion, Sharma said it was very frank and healthy. "One thing that came out of the meeting with absolute clarity is that all the ministers and political leaders are collectively committed to keep the flame burning.

"Even small measures would move in the direction of the final agreement. Many bilateral and regional agreements are there and we are also pushing some of them but there are some issues which has to be through the WTO," he said.

Meanwhile, during a panel discussion, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy said most of the problems related to the WTO negotiations are political in nature.

"The bilaterals (agreements) have mostly been between large players. The rules-making functions of the WTO are not working totally, but that does not meant that bilaterals have an advantage over multilaterals... In bilaterals, you can pick and choose the partners," he pointed out.

Speaking on the occasion, European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said that the problem is certainly political within WTO.

"Doha round began ten years ago. The emerging economies have largely emerged since then. Not just China, even India and Brazil have emerged as major players on global platform," he added.

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