Tuesday, April 17, 2012

China:Philippines withdraw all vessels from Huangyan Island

China on Monday urged the Philippines to withdraw all of its vessels from Huangyan Island area to restore peace and stability in the region.Zhang Hua, spokesman of the Chinese Embassy to the Philippines, made the call while answering questions concerning Huangyan Island.In response to a question as to the Philippine side asserting that another Chinese surveillance ship arrived in the Huangyan Island area on Saturday, Zhang said that Chinese public service vessels were conducting legitimate patrols there for law enforcement.
"The incident is resulted from the infringement by the Philippine Navy Flagship Gregorio del Pilar, and the Philippines' coast guard vessels still remain there," Zhang said. "In this context, the Chinese public service vessels have to stay there to watch out the situation."
On China's stance on the incident of Huangyan Island, Zhang said that the Chinese side holds that peace and stability should be maintained at Huangyan Island, with fishing undisturbed.
"China and the Philippines have differences over the sovereignty of Huangyan Island, but after several rounds of consultations, both sides agreed not to do anything to complicate or aggravate the situation," Zhang said.
Since the incident happened, China has been in contact with Philippine officials at various levels in Beijing and Manila, including Foreign Secretary Del Rosario, Zhang said. Both sides, he said, have agreed to settle the incident through diplomatic means.
In view of the complex situation in the area, Zhang noted that China's fishing boats left on April 13 in order to help defuse the situation.
The Philippine side, however, has not withdrawn its ships, Zhang said, adding that as of 2 p.m. local time (0800 GMT) Monday, there were still boats remaining in the area.
"Unexpectedly, an archaeological vessel was found in the lagoon conducting salvage archaeology," he said. "This infringes on China's rights, and violates relevant international conventions. These above activities by the Philippine side raised further grave concerns of the Chinese side on the situation there."
On the Philippines' claim on the sovereignty of Huangyan Island, the spokesman said the island is an integral part of China's territory. It is China that first discovered the island, gave it its name, incorporated it into its territory and exercised jurisdiction over it.
The Philipines' claim of jurisdiction and sovereignty rights over Huangyan Island with the arguments of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is groundless, he said, citing international law, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
UNCLOS allows coastal states to claim a 200-nautical-mile EEZ, but coastal states have no right to infringe on the inherent territory and sovereignty of other countries, he said.
The Philippines asserts that Huangyan Island is closer to its territory, but in fact "geographical proximity" has long been dismissed by the international law and practice as the principle of the solution of territory ownership, the spokesman said.
With regard to how the situation will develop, the spokesman said that China stands ready to engage in further discussions with the Philippine side and try its best to settle the incident properly.

Australian troops to leave Afghanistan earlier

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says most of her country’s troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of next year, nearly a year earlier than initially scheduled.
Australia is part of a NATO-led multinational force in Afghanistan. It has about 1,500 troops there and had originally planned to complete the withdrawal by the end of 2014.
Gillard gave a speech in Canberra on Tuesday. She said that improvement in the security situation in the southern province where Australian troops are stationed has made it possible to pull them out earlier than planned.
She also said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to announce in the next few months the transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces in the area.
At the same time, she made it clear that Australia will continue its assistance to Afghanistan in many ways even after the transition of responsibilities and the withdrawal of the troops.

Worldwatch Institute
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Contact: Supriya Kumar, skumar@worldwatch.org, (+1) 202-452-1992, ext. 510
Global Metals Production Recovers    

Worldwatch Institute assesses growth of worldwide metals production
and the challenges of conservation.
Washington, D.C.----The global production of key metals increased more than 14 percent in 2010 marking a robust recovery from the sharp decline spurred by the 2009 global recession. Production totaled 1.48 billion tons in 2010, the last year for which data are available, according to research conducted for the Worldwatch Institute's Vital Signs project. The increase marks a return to the steep rise in metals production of the past decade, driven in part by the rapid economic expansion of newly prosperous developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil.

The 14.3 percent surge in production was driven not only by common metals such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, gold, lead, mercury, nickel, and steel, but also by more obscure but emerging metals. "Dozens of metals show strong growth as more countries industrialize," says report author Gary Gardner, a senior fellow at Worldwatch. "And increasingly complex products require materials that are not heard about in daily conversation----from hafnium used in nuclear reactors to rhenium, a key metal in jet engines."

The surge in metals production in the past decade is spurred by robust economic output in advanced developing countries, according to the report. "While steel production declined sharply in advanced industrial regions during the 2007-09 recession, it continued its longtime increase in Asia, driven in particular by ongoing strong growth in China," says Gardner. "Steel production in China has quadrupled in the past decade."

Not surprisingly, per capita metal consumption is closely correlated with per capita gross domestic product (GDP). According to the U.S. Geological Survey, countries with per capita GDPs of under $5,000 consume less than 5 kilograms of aluminum per person, whereas those with GDPs exceeding $25,000 consume 15 to 35 kilograms per person. Wealthier countries also have greater levels of stocks in use----in buildings, vehicles, and myriad other economic outputs----than developing countries, often by a factor of 3 to 10, writes Gardner.

"Metals, of course, are a non-renewable resource," notes Worldwatch President Robert Engelman. "A rise in production that matches economic growth is a key indicator of the global economy's unsustainability. Ultimately, recovery and recycling will have to dominate metals supply, because mining and production cannot do so indefinitely."

Given the combination of longstanding metals demand in industrialized countries and surging demand in developing countries, conservation policies will be needed as some metals approach the limits of available supply. Researchers conclude that a potential future global population of 10 billion people could consume 1.7 trillion kilograms of copper total, greater than the estimated global in-ground stocks of 1.6 trillion kilograms.

Progress on metals conservation is slow, however. According to the United Nations Environment Programme's International Resource Panel, the share of discarded metal that is recycled----known as the "end-of-life recycling rate"----is above 50 percent for only 18 of 60 metals surveyed. "Higher recycling rates tend to be associated with materials that are used in large amounts in easily recoverable applications, such as car manufacturing," says Gardner. "Metals with lower rates of recovery are often used in small quantities in complex products, such as electronics."

Many of the metals produced and consumed worldwide end up in landfills, making recovery difficult. Stocks of aluminum in U.S. landfills are equivalent to 43 percent of the aluminum in use in the U.S. economy. And landfill stocks of steel amount to about 20 percent of all steel in use in the United States. "Recovery of these landfill-based resources is not yet economically feasible, but it might be one day," says Gardner.

The pattern of metal use varies between developing and industrialized countries. Developing countries generate less aluminum scrap from recycling in the early decades of development than in the mature stages of their economic growth.

Future policy decisions will need to support the creation of a circular economy that reuses and recycles materials and that remanufactures products to the extent possible. Germany, Japan, and China are countries already making a circular economy a priority.

Further highlights from the report:
  • Global extraction growth rates for copper, zinc, nickel, tin, and platinum averaged 3.4 percent annually over the past few decades, which implies a doubling of extracted material volumes every 20 years.
  • By one estimate, 97.5 percent of all copper produced worldwide in the last 1,000 years has been produced since 1900.
  • China ranks in the top five producers globally for 8 of the 10 most common metals.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that U.S. landfills hold enough steel to build 11,000 Golden Gate Bridges.
  • Most of the projected 2.7-fold increase in world aluminum consumption between 2006 and 2025 is expected to come from developing countries.


DELHi2050 is the only Indian project to be selected for the prestigious International Architecture Biennale,
which advances innovative responses to today's most pressing urban challenges. From 20 April 2012, other than
DELHi 2050, 24 cities around the world will be presented in Rotterdam from places such as New York, Paris, São Paulo and Istanbul.
Due to rapid growth, cities and urban regions today are confronted with enormous challenges. By making
choices now for the future spatial development, challenges and potentials in various fields like mobility, health
water provision can be anticipated, valuable green areas spared and potentials for development and new
urbanization utilized. A brainchild of arch i Platform in Delhi, the process of DELHi2050 started in end of 2010 to build long term future scenarios for the capital of the country together with experts, stakeholders and citizen.
Subsequent to the overwhelming response received from all quarters next steps were taken towards a structural vision for Delhi in 2050, by exploring different themes and creating coherent spatial scenarios.
In an atelier setting the chances and challenges for Delhi are being explored via the following 3 themes: People (Livelihood and Equity), Planet (Water, ecology and waste) and Profit (Densities, mobility and energy). In the
coming year these explorations will translate into possible future scenarios, working simultaneously on different scales (at the level of the region as well as the level of the street) while addressing specific challenges, for example water and infrastructure.
Collaboration DELHi2050 draws upon the knowledge available in the premier academic institutes, the private sector and the governments of both India and The Netherlands. Creating a dialogue between the two countries will enable sustainable collaborations, inter-disciplinary knowledge networks and mutual opportunities, to collectively find a vision for a sustainable and healthy future of Delhi. The Opening
The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam’s (IABR) ‘call for projects’ rewarded a place to ‘Delhi 2050’, among a selective group chosen from the more than 300 responses to this call.
DELHi 2050 phase one and phase two (work in progress) will be opened in Rotterdam on 19 April 2012 at 1600 hrs by Mrs. Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, Kingdom of The
Netherlands and the Mayor of Rotterdam, Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb. From India, the members of the Steering
committee Prof. Ashok B.Lall, Mr. Romi Khosla and Mr. Anne Feenstra will be present, who will be joined by their Dutch counterparts Mr.Ton Venhoeven and Mr. Bart Vink.
ABOUT 5th IABR The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) was founded in 2001 in the conviction that architecture and urbanism are of public importance. The most important task facing architecture is to contribute to the housing and living standards of billions of people. IABR believes that both research and grassroots processes can lead to better and more sustainable built environments, with a specific focus on research and knowledge exchange. It is on that basis that the the 5th edition is called: Making City
5th IABR: Making City ‘How do we make city?’ That is the central question of the 5th IABR: Making City. The inevitable process of urbanization presents a huge political, social, economic and ecological challenge. At the same time, cities offer solutions for the tasks that face us in the 21st century. The city is our future. But only if it is designed, planned and managed better than it is at present. Making City explores future urban scenarios and, in the process, puts design first. It does that through exhibitions at various venues, a conference, debates and lectures, publications, and TV and radio programmes. From 20 April – 12 August, over 20 global cities reveal their visions for the future at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI). Test Site Rotterdam, is an experimental zone for urban design and offers an engaging and divers program of events. The 5th IABR also presents exhibitions in Almere, São Paulo and Istanbul.

A sun rise of BSP in Delhi Civic polls

BJP retain power Delhi Municipality and sun rise of BSP

BJP has retained its ground in Delhi civic polls and BSP has eaten the voters of Congress in the city polls and is likely to inch in 20% of seats of local self government of total of 272 wards.Congress and BSP coming close to their number of seats in Delhi city exhibits the signs of sunrise of BSP at national and city levels with chunk of congress votes follow suits the Mayas political outfit BSP.Delhi dalits and lower caste has come together to fight unitedly and cast their aspiration to rule Delhi and this gives signals for Congress  popularity slowly fade away.
A Clash of Caste and Charismatic leadership show up the results.
Of the 17 results declared by the State Election Commission so far, BJP has bagged 16 wards in all the three corporations while Congress has won one seat.
As per the trends available, BJP is leading in 131 wards out of the total 272 wards while Congress is ahead in 66 seats. Others, including BSP, is ahead 54 seats.
In South Delhi Corporation, BJP has won or is leading in as many as 41 out of the 104 wards while Congress was ahead in 29 seats.Delhi City there are 104 each wards in South and North Corporations and 64 in the East, of which 138 seats are reserved for women. With counting in progress and reports trickling of municipal polls results of Delhi city the capital of India, BJP is moving ahead with substantial majority to retain the power in Delhi civic body.The Trifurcated municipality spread in three corporations – East, South and North Congress appear to retain substantial seats in East but in two others wards South and North party seems to be in back foot.BJP with its power base in Delhi deep rooted in its frontal organization has made again to the civic polls and thus proves that their frontal organisation have the potential and the power to motivate people to vote in their support.Stakes are high for both the national parties in the municipal polls, for which voting took place on Sunday , as it is considered as a semifinal ahead of Assembly elections next year. The municipal polls is seen as crucial for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Congress as well as opposition BJP with leaders believing that it could be an indicator for what is in store for them in the Assembly polls which are 18 months away. The counting of votes for 272 Councillor began at 33 centres across the capital at 8 AM this morning amid high security. Results are expected to come in by 3 pm, a senior State Election Commission official said. BJP candidate Master Balbir Singh,Subhas Arya wins from East and Rajouri Garden respectively.Southern BJP is ahead in 47 seats while Congress is ahead in 22 wards while in East, BJP is surging in 28 seats and Congress 16.BJP Kavita Malhotra and Meenakshi Independent candidate wins.Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta’s wife Shobha is leading in Rohini Central ward by a margin of over 2,000 votes against her Congress rival Dr Monica Puri. Delhi Mayor Rajni Abbi (BJP) too leading in Mukherjee Nagar.BJP is ahead in 132 seats, Congress in 107, BSP in 8 seats, while independents were leading in 17 seats.Leads are now out in 247 seats, with the BJP leading in 131. Congress trends showing leads in 68 seats, with other parties leading in 48 seats. BJP’s gainful lead in North Delhi where they are leading in 60 seats to the Congress tally of 26. South zone the BJP is leading in 46 seats to the Congress’ 32 close shave . Saffron party has turn table from the Congress in the East zone where they are leading in 31 seats as opposed to the Congress’ 11.

MCD Election results 2012

by sagarmedia on April 17, 2012 Delhi City there are 104 each wards in South and North Corporations and 64 in the East, of which 138 seats are reserved for women. With counting in progress and reports trickling of municipal polls results of Delhi city the capital of India, BJP is moving ahead with substantial majority to retain the power in Delhi civic body.The Trifurcated municipality spread in three corporations – East, South and North Congress appear to retain substantial seats in East but in two others wards South and North party seems to be in back foot.BJP with its power base in Delhi deep rooted in its frontal organization has made again to the civic polls and thus proves that their frontal organisation have the potential and the power to motivate people to vote in their support.Stakes are high for both the national parties in the municipal polls, for which voting took place on Sunday , as it is considered as a semifinal ahead of Assembly elections next year. The municipal polls is seen as crucial for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Congress as well as opposition BJP with leaders believing that it could be an indicator for what is in store for them in the Assembly polls which are 18 months away. The counting of votes for 272 Councillor began at 33 centres across the capital at 8 AM this morning amid high security. Results are expected to come in by 3 pm, a senior State Election Commission official said. BJP candidate Master Balbir Singh,Subhas Arya wins from East and Rajouri Garden respectively.Southern BJP is ahead in 47 seats while Congress is ahead in 22 wards while in East, BJP is surging in 28 seats and Congress 16.BJP Kavita Malhotra and Meenakshi Independent candidate wins.Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta's wife Shobha is leading in Rohini Central ward by a margin of over 2,000 votes against her Congress rival Dr Monica Puri. Delhi Mayor Rajni Abbi (BJP) too leading in Mukherjee Nagar.BJP is ahead in 132 seats, Congress in 107, BSP in 8 seats, while independents were leading in 17 seats.
Latest results tally show East : BJP leads  31 Congress ahead 9 and others 10.
                                     South BJP leads  41 Congress ahead 22  others 24
                                      North BJP leads 69 Congress ahead 27  Others 14

  Inflation in March eased to 6.89 percent on account of sharp decline in prices of onions, fruits and protein-based items, even as vegetables and pulses turned costlier.

Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 6.95 percent in February. In March last year, it was 9.68 percent.
As per the official data released on Monday, inflation in food items was 9.94 percent in March, as against 6.07 per cent in February.
Onion prices declined by (-)24.23 percent in March. The rate of decline was (-)48.50 percent in February.
Besides, eggs, meat and fish prices rose 17.71 percent during the month, lower from 20 percent in February.
Pulses turned expensive by 10.05 percent and vegetables by 30.57 percent during March. In February, the rate of price rise in vegetables was 1.52 percent.
Milk became expensive by 15.29 percent, while rice and cereals turned costlier by 4.73 percent and 4.41 percent respectively.
Prices of potato too rose by 11.60 percent. Food articles have 14.3 percent share in the WPI basket.
The manufactured goods showed moderation in inflation to 4.87 percent, from 5.75 percent. This may have a bearing on the annual monetary policy to be announced by the Reserve bank on Tuesday.
The inflation number for March remained marginally above the projections made by Finance Ministry, which had expected it to be around 6.5 percent.
The headline inflation number for January was revised upwards to 6.89 percent, up from the provisional estimate of 6.55 percent.
Inflation in overall primary articles rose sharply to 9.62 percent in March, from 6.28 percent in February.
In manufactured items, it has been high since February 2011, when it crossed the 6 percent mark.
Year-on-year, among manufactured items, iron grew dearer by 17.18 percent and edible oil prices rose by 9.78 percent. Inflation in tobacco products and basic metals was 8.22 percent and 9.51 percent respectively.
Non-food primary articles, which include fibres and oilseeds, was however lower at (-)1.20 percent in March. In February, it was (-)2.56 percent.
Inflation in the fuel and power segment was 10.41 percent on an annual basis. The rate of price rise was 12.83 percent in the previous month.
Experts said the inflationary pressure, driven by prices of food articles, will keep the pressure on the government to remove supply side bottlenecks. Headline inflation was near double digit for most of 2010 and 2011.
The apex bank hiked key policy rates 13 times, totalling 350 basis points between March 2010 and October 2011 to tame inflation.
Since January, RBI has resorted to injecting liquidity into the financial system, by reducing Cash Reserve Ratio for banks. Besides, it has called for fiscal steps by the government to combat inflation.

Non Cong CMs oppose Centre over NCTC

The Centre on Monday came in for sharp criticism at the hands of three Opposition Chief Ministers over the way it was handling issues of internal security.

United by their opposition to the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre, Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Odisha met their Tamil Nadu counterpart J Jayalalithaa in New Delhi to mount pressure against the Centre’s move.
While, Tripura Chief Minister accused Centre of taking a number steps which have implications on the Federal structure of the country, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister called for joint Centre-State efforts in improving internal security.
Congress Chief Ministers supported the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre as an integrating organization for effective offensive against terrorists.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy sought permission from the Centre to carry out a Rs 2,400 crore special road corridor development project to effectively deal with Naxalism.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said illegal coal trading in border areas of a number of northeastern states is fast becoming a major source of funding for terror outfits.
Kerala Chief Minister Oman Chandy urged the Centre to take steps to get the international Maritime  Community to declare that the Ocean along the coast line of India is free from piracy unlike the coast of Africa.
Meanwhile, Congress stressed on need for a coordinated efforts by the Centre as well as States to tackle the menace of terrorism.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav urged the Union Government to provide at least Rs 5,000 crore in the next five years for the purpose of commitment of safeguarding and protecting India.
Speaking at the annual conference of Chief Ministers on internal security in New Delhi, Home Minister said international border in the west and LoC continues to be vulnerable to infiltration.
Meanwhile, Chief Ministers of different states have their own take on the conference.

US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCSC) General Martin Dempsey has there was currently no indication that the attacks had been planned inPakistan.
CJCSC made the revelation while addressing a press conference at the Pentagon with the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Monday.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Panetta said Intelligence reports had suggested before a coordinated assault on the Afghan capital began on Sunday that the Haqqani network of militants had been planning such high-profile attacks.
The former CIA head said that the attacks reflect Taliban are resilient, and this was the beginning of their spring offensive. However, he added that they believed that with the Afghan Army, the US would be able to combat these attacks.
Earlier on Monday, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had also called Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to discuss the weekend’s events and of taking Pakistan-US ties further.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has praised the bravery and sacrifice of Afghan security forces in Sunday’s terror attacks. In his first remarks on Sunday’s incidents, he has strongly condemned the coordinated terrorist attacks in Kabul, Nangarhar, Logar and Paktia provinces, which killed four civilians and 11 members of the security forces and injured 32 civilians and nearly 42 Afghan security forces. He also commended the valour and the devotion demonstrated by the Afghan security forces in quickly reacting and eliminating the terrorists.
In a press statement issued in Kabul on Monday, President Karzai said that Afghan security forces have proved their capability to protect the country.
Describing the infiltration by the suicide terrorists in Kabul and other provinces as an intelligence failure of the government and NATO, he called for full investigation into the incident. President Karzai also offered his heart-felt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and prayed for a quick recovery of the wounded. Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi accused that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network is suspected to have carried out the brazen suicide attacks on western embassies and Parliament in Kabul yesterday. He said that one of the militants arrested told the authorities that al-Qaeda linked Haqqani network was behind the assaults. The involvement of the Haqqani network was corroborated by another militant caught in Nangarhar Province.
The officials also said that the attacks bore the hallmarks of the Haqqani network, which has focus on attacks against high-profile Afghan government and foreign targets. They said the Haqqani network, have now become the focus of American military effort.
Recalling that she pressed Pakistan to “squeeze” the Haqqani network when she visited Islamabad last October, Clinton told reporters in Brasilia that she will “continue to make that point, press it hard.”
She added that “there are already indications of Haqqani involvement” in the weekend attacks on Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan, adding that the “Haqqani network is a very determined foe.”
Clinton recalled that she had told Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in a telephone call from Brazil on Monday that she “expressed my strong conviction that there has to be concerted effort” in fighting extremism.
She said such effort must involves the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

CAG to audit all rural development expenditures: Jairam

Rural Development Minister, Jairam Ramesh on Monday said that the Comptroller and Auditor General, CAG, will audit all rural development expenditures in the country from the year 2007 to 2011. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Mr. Ramesh said that the performance audit of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, MGNREGA, for all the states will be placed before Parliament by the end of the winter session this year. He also informed that his Ministry spends about 40 thousand crore rupees each year on the job guarantee scheme. The Minister said, the audit of Indira Aawas Yojana will also be taken up next year and the audit system will be extended to other schemes gradually. Mr. Ramesh said that it will be mandatory from this year, for every Gram Panchayat’s expenditure to be certified by a Chartered Accountant, drawn up from a district level panel prepared by CAG.

Counting of votes for Delhi county polls begins

Counting of votes for Delhi county polls begins for 272 Councillors
Counting of votes will take place for its three newly created municipal corporations, an exercise which will be watched by Congress and BJP with bated breath.

Counting of votes for 272 wards will take place in 33 centres across the capital amid tight security and all results are expected to come by three pm, a senior State Election Commission official said.
Polling for all the wards spread in three corporations -- East, South and North -- were held sunday in which over 55 per cent polling was recorded during which electoral fate of 2,423 candidates, majority of them independents were sealed.
Stakes are high for both the national parties in the municipal polls, for which voting took place yesterday, as it is considered as a semifinal ahead of Assembly elections next year.
Major outfits  Congress and BJP claimed their parties would sweep the polls. Delhi Congress chief J P Agarwal has said he was "100 per cent confident" about his party's victory while his BJP counterpart Vijender Gupta was "certain" his camp was going to win all the three Corporations.
There are 104 each wards in South and North Corporations and 64 in the East, of which 138 seats are reserved for women. South has the highest number of 904 candidates followed by North (885) and East (634).
The municipal polls is seen as crucial for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Congress as well as opposition BJP with leaders believing that it could be an indicator for what is in store for them in the Assembly polls which are 18 months away.
BJP, which has 164 councillors in the undivided MCD against Congress' 67 and BSP's 17, has been harping on alleged corruption by Dikshit government while Congress has been targeting the saffron party on its "inefficient and corrupt" administration in MCD.
In the 2007 polls to the undivided Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), BJP had bagged 36.17 per cent of the around 42.35 lakh votes polled while Congress got 29.17 per cent. BSP's vote share was 9.87 per cent.

World Book & Copyright day

Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi Instituto Cervantes

23 de abril de 2012 / April 23rd, 2012


El 23 de abril es la fecha que la UNESCO, a propuesta de la Federación del Gremio de Editores de España, estableció como "Día Mundial del Libro y del Derecho de Autor" por coincidir con el aniversario de la muerte, en 1616, de Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare y el Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. En España la celebración del Día del Libro es una tradición y una fiesta de la Cultura en la que tiene lugar la entrega anual del Premio Cervantes.




- 3 PM - Vestíbulo de entrada
Retrasmisión en Directo del Premio Cervantes

- 5 PM - Sala de conferencias
Recital poético por Jordi Joan Baños presentado por Sameer Rawal

- 6 PM - Biblioteca
"Tertulia...que algo queda" tendrá su encuentro mensual para debatir sobre el libro "Vislumbres de la India", de Octavio Paz.

- 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM - Biblioteca
· Jornada de puertas abiertas de la biblioteca:
· Exposición bibliográfica "Premios Cervantes 1976-2011"
· Concurso Día Mundial del Libro 2012


The 23rd of April has been designated by the UNESCO as the "World Book and Copyright Day", following the proposal of the Federation of the Spanish Guild of Editors, so as to coincide with the death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega in 1616. In Spain, the celebration of the Book Day is a tradition and a cultural festival marked by the presentation of the Cervantes Award.


MONDAY, APRIL 23rd, 2012


- 3 PM - Hall of entrance
Live retransmission Cervantes Award

- 5 PM - Conference room
Poetry reading by Joan Jordi Baños introduced by Sameer Rawal

- 6 PM - Library
"... That something is Tertulia" will have its monthly meeting to discuss the book "Glimpses of India" by Octavio Paz.

- 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM - Library
· Open day at the library
· Book Exhibition "Cervantes Award 1976-2011"
· World Book Day Competition 2012

China invites Japan, South Korea to build observatory in disputed Aksai Chin

on April 17, 2012

BEIJING: China is pushing Japan and South Korea to establish an astronomical observatory in Aksai Chin, a remote part of Jammu & Kashmir that Beijing occupied after the 1962 war and had Islamabad cede parts of the region to it a year later.
A Chinese scientist on Sunday said the East Asia Core Observatories Association — with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as it members – has recommended the site for the observatory. Yao told the official Xinhua news agency that the association had also surveyed sites in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, but the new observatory is likely to be established in Tibet (Aksai Chin) this year.
The association’s website shows one of its proposed sites in Aksai Chin (Shiquanhe in Chinese) in Tibet.
“EACOA directors reached a consensus that a review and evaluation meeting are urgently needed among regional excepts, aiming to update EACOA on relevant site survey progress, particularly focus on the site-testing metrology, instrumentations, procedures and data analysis performed on the candidate site at Ali (Aksai Chin) Tibet,” it said about a recent meeting.
Ali in Tibet’s Ngari Prefecture falls within Aksai Chin, which India claims to be its own territory.
The move comes as Beijing has been asking India to pull out of oil exploration from the disputed areas of the South China Sea off the Vietnamese coast. Both China and Vietnam claim the South China Sea.
China feels that the presence of India and Russia, which recently entered the area, will further complicate the territorial dispute. Experts see the Chinese proposal for the observatory as an attempt to complicate the Aksai Chin dispute by drawing in Japan and South Korea, who are members of the Japan-based EACOA.
The observatory will carry out research on planetary science, star formation, gamma-ray bursts and other astronomical projects. It will conduct around-the-clock observations of certain celestial bodies.
The move, if successful, will legitimize Beijing’s claim over the disputed area and make it difficult for New Delhi to establish its rights over it.

Punjab & Haryana Must Stop Collection of Citizens’ Biometric Data
Govt overwhelmed by marketing blitzkrieg of surveillance, biometric, communication technology companies & international financial institutions

April 16, 2012 Chandigarh- The Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar project is a project that has no support in law.

The collection of biometrics under the project to create a National Population Register (NPR) is illegal. This has been underlined by the report of India’s Parliamentary Standing on Finance. There are good reasons why countries like the UK, Australia, Philippines and China have rejected UID/Aadhaar and NPR-like projects, but these seem to have escaped the attention of the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh which are implementing them in pursuance of the MoUs they have signed with the Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI).

These projects are based on the biometric profiling of citizens which, as the Standing Committee on Finance has observed, is without any legal mandate. These instead represent a threat to citizens’ rights and States ’autonomy. 

The Central Government appears to have lost its way and has embarked on projects that show a deep disrespect for citizens of this country The profiling, and the intrusion of privacy, that is a central aspect of these projects are, among other things, contrary to the Supreme Court’s judgment dated July 4, 2011 where it reiterated that the Right to Privacy is a part of the constitutional Right to Life. The central government appears to have been in disrespectful disdain of this judgment too when it launched these projects on the basis of biometrics which is untested and untried, and which have surveillance, tracking, profiling, tagging and convergence at its core.

The 5 page MoU was initially signed by Punjab Govt on 15 April, 2010 and later revised on June 23, 2010. Haryana Government signed a 7 page MoU with UIDAI on June 10, 2010. The 5 page MoU between Union Territory of Chandigarh and UIDAI was signed on June 10, 2012. The MoUs are attached.

While signing these MoUs it appears that the governments did not notice that the collection of biometrics is not only an assault on the dignity and rights of its citizens, but that it is, in fact, illegal - a fact that the Standing Committee on Finance has expressly set out in its report. It may also be noticed that even the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, of colonial vintage, reads: “The object of this bill is to provide legal authority for taking measurements, finger impressions, footprints and photographs of persons convicted of, or arrested in connection with, certain offences.” According to the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, at the time of the acquittal of the prisoner, his biometric data is required to be destroyed. The UID/Aadhaar project and the NPR, however, aspire to store the biometric data forever. There is a DNA Bank Bill that has been prepared and which when enacted could require the citizen to give one's DNA to the state. What ambitions does this reveal? 

Parliamentarians, legislative bodies, jurists, legal academia, former judges, lawyers and groups working on human rights and civil liberties have underlined that central Initiatives such as the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), National Population Register, Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar project and other related projects under execution are not governed by any legal framework, parliamentary oversight and do not conform to the Constitutional Mandate. 

The Standing Committee on Finance found that the UID project is "riddled with serious lacunae and concern areas". It "has been conceptualised with no clarity of purpose and leaving many things to be sorted out during the course of its implementation; and is being implemented in a directionless way with a lot of confusion".  It said that the project cannot be allowed to proceed without the authority of law. "Crucial matters impinging on security and confidentiality of
information" demands that a law be enacted before the project can be allowed to go ahead. The Standing Committee found that the UID project is being implemented in an "overbearing manner without regard to legalities and other social consequences". Especially, the Standing Committee adverted to the "serious security concern" raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs "over the efficacy of the introducer system, involvement of private agencies in a large scale in the scheme which may become a threat to national security ..."; and the National Informatics Centre pointing out "that the issues relating to privacy and security of UID data could be better handled by storing in a government data centre".
In a significant assessment of the project, it said:"Even if the aadhaar number links entitlements to targeted beneficiaries, it may not ensure that beneficiaries have been correctly identified. Thus, the present problem of proper identification would persist."
It found that lessons from experiences in other countries around projects of a like nature have been ignored, including in the matter of costs; complexity; untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and the requirement of high standard security measures which would further escalate costs.
Without a national data protection law issues "like access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching of databases and securing confidentiality of information etc." cannot be handled. 
The Ministry of Planning had admitted that there was no feasibility study "which ought to have been done before approving such an expensive scheme, has been done involving all aspects of the UID scheme including cost-benefit analysis, comparative costs of aadhaar number and various forms of existing identity, financial implications and prevention of identity theft, for example, using hologram enabled ration card to eliminate fake and duplicate beneficiaries."
 The Standing Committee expressed concern about the dependency of the project on private vendors, "as a result' the beneficiaries may be forced to pay over and above the charges to be prescribed by the UIDAI for availing of benefits and services, which are now available free of cost."
The Standing Committee found the project to be "full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built up on untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions." Further, "despite adverse observations by the UIDAI"s Biometrics Standards Committee on error rates of biometrics, the UIDAI is collecting the biometric information."
 The "concerns and apprehensions" besetting the Standing Committee, and "particularly considering the contradictions and ambiguities within the Government on its implementation as well as implications, the Committee categorically convey their unacceptability of the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 in its present form ...The Committee would, thus, urge the Government to reconsider and review the UID scheme as also the proposals contained in the Bill in all its ramifications and bring forth a fresh legislation before Parliament."

The Central Government has chosen to ignore this report, and not to address any of these concerns before proceeding with the project. In January this year, after raising legitimate concerns about the security implications of the way the UIDAI was collecting data, the Central Home Minister and the Chairperson of the UIDAI and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission arrived at an understanding, and agreed to share the population between them for enrolment! How could a security risk be treated with such casualness?

The PSC report also reveals that the UIDAI’s activities like signing of MoU with State Governments is without any legal and constitutional mandate. The recommendations are relevant for Home Ministry’s NPR for Multipurpose National Identity Card.
The Parliamentary Committee is categorical that the Central Govt’s Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) constituted for the purpose of collating the two schemes namely, the UID and National Population Register (NPR), has failed. Together with UID, Central Government is creating NPR by collecting information on specific characteristics of all usual residents in the country. The NPR would also have photographs, 10 finger prints and 2 IRIS prints of all usual residents who are of age 5 years and above. Yet, the Citizenship Act does not mention biometrics, nor do the 2003 Rules -- making the collection of biometrics as part of the NPR exercise illegal.

In a November 2011 interview to the print media, the Director General and Mission Director of the UIDAI had admitted that fingerprints are likely not to work for authentication.  Despite this, the UIDAI is going ahead with the exercise.  The Parliamentary Report notes the absence of a feasibility study, no cost-benefit assessment, uncertain and untested technology, an enrollment process that has national security implications, the lack of data protection and privacy legislation and the disrespect for Parliament by going ahead with a project that was pending parliamentary approval.

The Parliamentary Committee considering the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill has presented its report to the Parliament. The report rejects biometric data based identification of Indians. The report is a severe indictment of the hasty and `directionless' project which has been "conceptualised with no clarity of purpose". The Parliamentary Committee has found the biometric technology being used by UIDAI and NPR is ‘uncertain' and 'untested'.  In short:
•           The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the State Governments with the UIDAI had no prior consultation with the citizens and was done in the most non-transparent manner. This must be immediately cancelled.
•           State Govts and other agencies ought to note that UIDAI has been trying to push for the adoption of the UID through multiple committees of several ministries and for the re-engineering of current systems to fit the requirements of the UID.
•           Aadhaar and NPR are based on biometric and retinal profile procured from people. This is the most repulsive aspect of UID/Aadhaar project. Any biometric profile directly violates the very dignity and privacy of Indian citizens which is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. What is normally used for terrorists and criminals is now sought to be used against the common citizens of this country.

It should be noted that the Parliamentary Committee has taken on board studies done in the UK on the identity scheme that was begun and later withdrawn in May 2010, where the problems were identified to include"(a) huge cost involved and possible cost overruns; (b) too complex; (c)untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; (d) possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and (e) requirement of high standard security measures, which would result in escalating the estimated operational costs."

While there is a studied silence about UID/Aadhaar and National Population Register (NPR) but the related project of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) has faced bitter opposition. Citizen groups demand that States should apply their legal minds and voice concerns about the both. Besides over a dozen State Governments, left parties, parties from National Democratic Alliance, even members of United Progressive Alliance have contended that central projects like NCTC violates the principle of federalism by its arbitrary and making agencies of States subservient to it. This leads to unacceptable erosion of autonomy of the States (including those ruled by regional parties) as envisaged in the Constitution. 

The fact is all freedom loving Indians are opposed to Central Government’s initiatives of Home Ministry like NPR, NATGRID, NCTC and RFID due to following reasons:
1. Threat to privacy, civil liberties, federalism, national security, sovereignty and constitution
2. Without democratic, parliamentary, legal and constitutional sanction
3. Emergence of a Database, Surveillance State and Property based Democracy
4. Anti-poor and anti-citizen as it dismantles Public Distribution System and other existing social service entitlements
5. Promotes outsourcing of governance
6. Fraught with dangers of caste and communal overtones
7. Guided by undemocratic international financial institutions and defence policies of other nuclear weapon holding countries
8. Adverse consequences of participation by foreign companies and biometric technology providers and collection of biometric details an act violation of human rights that turns citizens into subjects and treats them worse than prisoners. The personal and biometric data being outsourced to third parties (including foreign companies) represents an unacceptable security risk for the people in this country, and for the nation itself. UIDAI has entered into contracts with companies like Accenture and Safran Group that are providing similar services to Security Departments of US, France, China and South Korea. This has dangerous possibilities.
9. Compromises citizens’ rights of present and future generations
10. It is a boondoggle, an unnecessary and wasteful project for citizens as it transfers public money to private parties
It is clear that UID/Aadhaar, NPR, NATGRID and NCTC are related because they are a threat to citizens’ rights, federalism and national sovereignty. In the aftermath of PSC report which has rejected collection of biometric data and these schemes, the illegality and illegitimacy of the entire surveillance project has come out in open. There is a compelling logic for the State Governments to adopt the PSC report discuss it in their respective State Assemblies, with its citizenry and abandon UID/NPR related uncalled for central database projects.

Citizens’ opposition to UID and NPR has a historical context. It is also a historical fact that Mahatma Gandhi was against identification based on biometric data in his days of struggle in South Africa in the early part of last century. He had burnt the biometric identity card. A government which insincerely swears by his name stands exposed because of launching projects which were opposed by Gandhiji.

For Details: Dr. Usha Ramanathan, Noted Jurist, New Delhi, Email: urushar@gmail.com
Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), M: 09818089660, E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com

Saints to Govt - Declare Ram Setu a National Monument

Saints to Govt - Declare Ram Setu a National Monument

New Delhi. April.16, 2012. Leading saints today unanimously decided in
favour of declaring Ram setu as national monument. After an hour long
meeting in New Delhi our prominent saints decided that government of
Bharat should not waste the precious time of the honourable supreme
court in getting adjournments again and again and it should
immediately declare Ramsetu as national monument, said mahant Naval
Kishor Dass, secretary general Delhi Sant mahamandal after the

Briefing about the meeting shri Vinod Bansal, the media chief of VHP
Delhi said that various social, religious and cultural organizations
have also attended the meeting held in Udaseen ashram in Paharganj
area in New Delhi. Seeking repeated extensions by the union Government
from supreme on Ramsetu issue clearly shows that the Govt. has no
reasoning behind deferring it as it is the pious place for Hindus.
Instead of seeking extensions again & again, the Govt should
immediately file a final affidavit with the Hon. Supreme court
declaring it a National monument, the resolution said.

Swami Pragyanand, president Delhi Sant Mahamandal, swami Raghavanand,
president Sanatan Dharm Pretinidhi sabha, Mahant Surendra Nath
Avdhoot, president Akhil Bharteeya Sant Samitee, swami Avdhootanand,
Vivek Shah ji maharaj, shri Anil Kumar of Jhandewala Temple society,
shri Karuna Prakash of Indraprastha Vishwa Hindu Parishad, shri Shiv
Kumar of Bajarang Dal, shri Munna Kumar Sharma of Hindu Maha sabha
were amongst many personalities present in the meeting.

Declaring it a national monument will not only respect Hindu
sentiments but also protect environment, save thorium accumulated at
the coast, ensure coastal security & encourage all round development
of the country, the resolution added. SC has fixed up 19th of this
month for the government to decide on the issue.


Vinod Bansal
(Media Chief)

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