Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hollande to be sworn in as France president

Francois Hollande to be sworn in as France’s new president on May 15, an official at outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said on Monday. Mr Hollande today to attend an inauguration ceremony at the Elysee Palace with outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy .Hollande,  will accompany Sarkozy at an annual ceremony on Tuesday, a national holiday, to commemorate the end of World War Two, the official at Sarkozy’s office said.

 Hollande has asked for his 10 a.m.  inauguration ceremony to be kept as low-key as possible.
He will invite just three dozen personal guests to join some 350 officials at the event and neither his nor his partner Valerie Trierweiler's children will attend.Man who until recently chugged to work on a scooter will still be presented with the official chain of office, a gold collar weighing nearly a kilogram and engraved with the names of all Fifth Republic presidents.He will then be taken on a traditional victory spin down the Champs Elysees avenue in an open-topped car.

Tuesday afternoon, Hollande  will fly to Germany for dinner with Chancellor Merkel, who says she will welcome the new leader "with open arms". Merkel openly supported Mr Sarkozy in the election battle.Germany's policy is to move towards recovery through austerity; Mr Hollande, an exponent of growth. Two countries  biggest economies immense contributors to the bailout funds Germany and France are key decision-makers over the strategy supposed to pull Europe out of crisis.Mr Hollande has not yet appointed his cabinet, some potential members are already voicing their thoughts.

Planning Commission today finalized the annual Plan of fourteen thousand crore rupees for Punjab for the year 2012-13. This was sanctioned in a meeting between Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and state Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal in New Delhi. Mr Ahluwalia appreciated the efforts of the state to improve fiscal health and initiatives targeted at giving boost to health and education sector.

The Chief Minister, Mr Badal said the state government will focus on development of infrastructure in power, roads, rural water supply, sanitation and sewage treatment plants in municipal areas in this annual plan. In the meeting, the minister for Planning, Dr. Ashwani Kumar drew attention to the development of border districts of the state.

Mr Kumar said the Commission has decided to support the establishment of Integrated Skill Development Centres in these areas to train and impart professional skills to the youth.

ADB approves loan of 50 Mn US $ to Bangladesh

Asian Development Bank has approved a loan of 50 million US dollars to help improve the environment in Bangladesh by financing more energy-efficient brick kilns in the country. ADB’s Board of Directors approved the loan under the Financing Brick Kiln Efficiency Improvement project.

The Bank and Financial Institutions Division under the Bangladesh Ministry of Finance will be the executing agency while Bangladesh Bank will be the implementing agency for the project to be implemented from 2012-2015.The Asian development bank will provide the funds to the Bangladesh bank which will relend the funds to participating financial institutions of the country for providing loans to brick makers seeking to upgrade or build cleaner kinds of kilns.

Anqian Huang, Finance Specialist in the Public Management, Finance Sector, and Trade Division of ADB’s South Asia Department said that Brick-making is one of the biggest polluting industries in Bangladesh and the project will help in making the air cleaner by helping brick makers to switch to cleaner kinds of kilns.

Bangladesh is estimated to have more than 5000 brick fields which contribute around one percent of the country's economy. However the industry is also responsible for air pollution with the brick kilns reported to be burning around 6.0 million tons of coal and emitting at least 9.8 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.

The funds being provided by the ADB is aimed to assist the brick kiln owners to shift to cleaner kiln systems which will use less fuel and also thus result in lesser emission of carbon di oxide.

Apart from this loan, the ADB is also preparing a technical assistance financed by the Government of Japan to assist the Bangladesh government to formulate a brick sector policy and regulations in addition to helping in the process of making the brick makers understand of the value of switching to cleaner kilns.

Two day talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency over Teheran’s controversial nuclear program began in Vienna today. Chief UN Nuclear Inspector Herman Nackaerts is heading the IAEA team while the Iranian side is led by its top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Talking to reporters at the Iranian diplomatic mission in Vienna ,the Chief Nuclear inspector of the agency, Herman Naeckarts told that Iran should provide access to information, people and sites.

The close door talks between Iran and IAEA after a gap of three months are aimed at seeking clarification from Teheran over the possible military dimensions of its nuclear Ahead of the talks the Chief UN Nuclear Inspector, Herman Nackaerts told in Vienna that Iran should now engage on issues of substance with the UN agency. He called upon the Iranian Government to provide access to the information ,people and the sites related to its nuclear program.

During the last round of talks, Iran had refused to grant access to the Parchin military site for the UN Inspectors. The IAEA report in November last year had pointed out that in 2000, Iran has built a large containment chamber at Parchin to conduct high-explosive tests which are strong indicators of possible nuclear weapon development.

Iran has rejected the accusations as fabricated.IAEA is probing the suspicions that Tehran may be seeking nuclear weapons capability.

Court upholds judgement quashing land acquisition in UP

  May 14,   A full bench of the Allahabad High Court today upheld its judgement which had quashed land acquisition in some villages of Gautam Buddh Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh for development of Noida, Greater Noida and Noida Extension and ordered greater compensation for landowners.  The Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S U Khan and Justice V K Shukla passed the order while turning  down review petitions of Noida Authority and Greater Noida Authority and a number of farmers who were dissatisfied with the judgement delivered by a 3-judge bench on 21.10.2011.  The court was of the view that the relief sought by the petitioners could not be provided through a review petition though they were free to file an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order.  The farmers had submitted that they wanted their land back instead of enhanced compensation as directed by the court and hence prayed that notifications whereby their land was acquired be set aside as was done in the case of those villages where possession of land was not effected and hence no development had taken place subsequent to the acquisition.

Inflation rises to 7.23 pc in Apr; veg prices shoot up

Inflation moved up to 7.23 percent in April on account of spurt in prices of vegetables, meat, milk and pulses, although onion and fruits showed a declining trend.

Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 6.89 percent in March. In April last year, it was 9.74 percent.

Vegetables turned costlier by 60.97 percent during April. In March, the rate of price rise in vegetables was 30.57 percent. Pulses were expensive 11.29 percent.

Milk became costlier by 15.51 percent, while rice and cereals turned costlier by 5.68 percent and 5.8 percent respectively. Prices of potato too rose by 53.44 percent.

Besides, eggs, meat and fish prices rose 17.54 percent during the month, slightly lower from 17.71 percent in March.

However, as per the official data released on Monday, inflation for the overall food items category was 10.49 percent in April, as against 10.66 percent in March.

Onion prices declined (-)12.11 percent in April. The rate of decline was (-)24.23 percent in March.

Food articles have 14.3 percent share in the WPI basket.
Inflation in the price of manufactured goods increased marginally to 5.12 percent in April, from 4.87 percent in March.

The headline inflation number for February was revised upwards to 7.39 percent, from the provisional estimate of 6.95 percent.

Inflation in overall primary articles inched up to 9.71 percent in April, from 9.62 percent in March.

On year-on-year basis, among manufactured items, iron grew dearer by 17.98 percent while edible oil prices rose by 11.10 percent.

Inflation in tobacco products and basic metals was 9.48 percent and 10.72 percent respectively.

Non-food primary articles, which include fibres and oilseeds increased slightly by 1.61 percent in April. In March, it was (-)1.2 percent.

Inflation in the fuel and power segment was 11.03 percent on an annual basis. The rate of price rise was 10.41 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. Overall inflation hovered at double digit for most of 2010 and 2011.

The Reserve 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.

However, in its annual monetary policy last month, RBI cut key lending rate by 50 basis points to lower borrowing costs amid falling industrial and economic growth.

RBI has projected inflation to be around 6.5 percent by March 2013, with a caution that it will remain sticky and there is need to arrest the decline in economic growth.

EU Ambassadors interact with Naga civil society

NTIMES 15MAY: EU Ambassadors interact with Naga civil society
Chizokho Vero | Kohima | May 14 Morung Express
The visiting European Ambassadors today interacted with the NGOs here at Razhu Pru where they were briefed about Naga political issue and aspirations of the Nagas among others by the representatives of Naga civil society. The purpose of their three day maiden visit to Nagaland according to them was to improve the relationship between India and European countries including North East India.

Naga Hoho President Keviletuo Kiewhuo told the media persons after an interaction that the NGOs had highlighted to the visiting diplomats about the political development and aspirations of Nagas. The Naga Hoho chief said the visiting Ambassadors were patient enough to hear the voices of NGOs and want to keep in touch with them. The diplomats informed the NGOs about the impact of conflict and how to resolve it. Kiewhuo said that he found them exhibiting “genuine concern” for Nagas.

Angami Public Organization (APO) President Keneingunyu Sekhose also told the media persons that the visiting Ambassadors expressed their desire to explore about investment potential in Nagaland. During the interaction, the civil society groups also conveyed its desire to have cultural exchange programme with European countries, Sekhose said.
The visiting diplomats expressed their desire to know more about the youth activities in Nagaland and the challenges they will be facing for better tomorrow.

The interaction hosted by Angami Public Organization witnessed the presence of representatives from Naga Hoho, Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization, Nagaland Catholic Association, Naga Students’ Federation and Angamimiapfu Mechu Krotho representing Naga Mothers’ Association. Later, the visiting diplomats made a courtesy call to Nagaland’s Governor Nikhil Kumar at Raj Bhavan. They also met with Nagaland’s Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his cabinet ministers which, was followed by a dinner hosted by the Chief Minister.

Earlier, the visiting Ambassadors visited Nagaland University, Kohima campus, Meriema this morning and interacted with faculty, scholars and students. They also held a meeting with leaders of political parties at the committee hall of Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Last night, they met with the senior officers of the Nagaland government at the Heritage and had a brief interaction on the state’s avenues for investment in various sectors.

The eight-member delegation is led by Joao Cravinho from the European Union as Head of delegation and includes Brisian Kirilove Kostova from Bulgaria, Milosav Stasek from Czech Republic, Terhi Hakala from Finland, Janos Terenyi from Hungary, Piotr Klodkowski from Poland, Marian Romasik from Slovak Republic and Card Meier Klodt from Germany.
On Tuesday (May 15), the diplomats will visit 2nd World War Cemetery, Khonoma Green Village, State Museum and Naga Heritage Village, Kisama.

They will depart Kohima for Dimapur on Tuesday where they will interact with Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industries at Niathu Garden. They will also attend the Ist Police Day celebration at Nagaland Armed Police Training Centre, Chumukedima which will be followed by dinner hosted by Home Minister Imkong L. Imchen. They will depart Dimapur for Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday.
Visit to Nagaland University

The visiting Ambassadors during the day also visited the Nagaland University, Kohima campus, Meriema. Interacting with the Vice Chancellor, academic staff and students of Nagaland University, the visiting dignitaries said that as Ambassadors, part of the mission is to discover the country and to work more closely with India including Nagaland. They said that they decided to visit the University because it is a central place for everyone. Skill development is the biggest challenge that India faces, they said adding that the world is facing skill shortage.

The visiting Ambassadors also stressed on cooperation between European and Indian Universities and to create opportunities for exchange of students and faculties between Nagaland University and European Universities. Vice-Chancellor, Nagaland University, Prof. B.K. Konwar gave a speech on ‘Nagaland University in Perspective’. The visiting Ambassadors also had discussion with the faculty members, research scholars and students.
Meeting with political parties

The European Ambassadors held a meeting with leaders of political parties in Nagaland at Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Committee Hall. The meeting was presided over by Speaker Nagaland Legislative Assembly Kiyanilie Peseyie. The visitors said that the objective of their visit is to understand the Indian diversity and to understand Nagaland better and its challenges for economic development in Nagaland in particular.

Briefing the gathering, Minister for Urban Development and Higher Education and NPF President, Dr. Shurhozelie highlighted the challenges of economic advancement and added that the visit is unique and will be a milestone in the history of the Nagas. He said that the formation of Nagaland Legislative Forum of the 11th Nagaland Legislative Assembly comprising of all elected members of NLA is a big boost to finding a solution to the long struggle of the Naga Political Problem. He called upon the visiting Ambassadors for their supports and suggestion to the Indian Government for finding a solution of the Naga Political issue.

Speaking on the occasion, MLA and senior Congress Member, K.V. Pusa briefed the delegates about the Naga people living in neighboring states of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and one-third of the Naga population living in Myanmar. Replying to questions put forward by the Ambassador of Finland on the participation of Women in Naga society, he said that women are treated equal with men.

Participating in the discussion initiated by the visitors, Tokheho Yepthomi from Congress party and leader of the opposition of Nagaland Legislative Assembly said that Nagas are still economically backward but the visit of Europeans Ambassadors and its outcome would lighten the problem.
Meeting with government officials
The European Ambassadors met with the State senior officers at the Heritage on 13th May 2012 to have a brief interaction on the State’s avenues for investment in various sectors. The meeting was hosted by Nagaland State Chief Secretary, Lalthara, IAS.

Welcoming the dignitaries to the State, Lalthara said that European countries have set the best example to the world in setting up a global village where boundaries are respected but freedom to movement within the European countries is free and everyone should learn from them. The Chief Secretary was of the view that Nagaland is growing with the rest of the Country and is advisable for investment.

Commissioner & Secretary Planning, Mhombemo Patton gave a brief report on the State. He said that the story of Nagaland is of a small State with a high growth. He explained that although the growth has been consistent in the State, sectors like Agriculture, Tourism, Bee Keeping, Bamboo, Infrastructure and Banking & Insurance have seen a higher growth.


Home Ministry upset with MEA over EU envoys visit to Nagaland
New Delhi, May 14 (PTI): The Ministries of Home and the External Affairs were today at loggerheads over the visit of eight envoys of the European Union to Nagaland. Following a protest lodged by MHA over the visit without any intimation and security clearance and the ministry raising its concern on the delegation meeting political leaders and civil society, Foreign Secretary Rajan Mathai spoke to Home Secretary R K Singh on the issue.

“In all such visits necessary process is ensured and coordination is ensured amongst all concerned organisations and ministries,” sources in the MEA said. Asserting that the decision to allow the diplomats to visit the sensitive northeastern state was “unilateral”, the MHA asked the MEA to tell it the purpose of the visit and wanted to know why security clearance has not been sought before giving permission for the visit as is the normal practice.

Official sources said the delegation, which includes ambassadors of Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia, met Nagaland Chief Secretary, Speaker of the Assembly, leaders of political parties, representatives of several NGOs and businessmen yesterday. The envoys also visited Nagaland University and met Governor Nikhil Kumar today. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is hosting a dinner for them tonight.
Sources said the MHA was particularly upset over the delegation’s meeting with leaders of political parties and civil society members. It was of the view that Nagaland being an insurgency-prone state such representations could lead to sharing of information which are inimical to country’s interests.

Media agencies 

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