Sunday, July 8, 2012

Williams sisters win fifth Wimbledon doubles

Serena Williams teamed up with sister Venus to win a fifth Wimbledon women's doubles title, ending a perfect day after she had also claimed a fifth singles crown.

The sisters defeated Czech sixth seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5 6-4 for their 13 Grand Slam doubles triumph last night.
Earlier, Serena had beaten Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 5-7 6-2 to win a fifth singles title at the All England Club, her 14th major overall.
The sisters now have five Wimbledon doubles titles, four Australian Open, two US Open and two French Open doubles triumphs.       
"It was a very long day. I was happy to win the singles and I think it may have been a big letdown if I had lost the doubles," said Serena.
Venus added: "I felt like I played a match already by watching Serena from the box earlier on Sunday.
It's been a great day for all of us. "If anyone knows what it's like to win singles and doubles in the same day, then it's me. It's an amazing feeling. Tomorrow she'll wake up in bed and think 'Oh my god, I'm the Wimbledon champion.

Chidambaram appointed head of EGoM on spectrum auction

Home Minister P Chidambaram was on Friday appointed the head of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on spectrum auction that was reconstituted after Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar declined the job fearing controversies.

Chidambaram, a former Finance Minister, will head the seven-member group that also includes Defence Minister A K Antony, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, I&B Minister Ambika Soni, Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The ministerial panel is to decide on the minimum or the base price for auction of telecom spectrum vacated from cancellation of 122 licenses by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
Pawar, who earlier this week recused himself from chairing the group fearing he would be dragged into controversies, is not a member of the reconstituted EGoM, sources said.
Sources said no date for the meeting of the EGoM has been fixed yet.
The EGoM was last week reconstituted after Pranab Mukherjee, who was heading it, resigned as Finance Minister to contest the Presidential elections.
Reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was not only regrettable and condemnable but downright scandalous.
"The Prime Minister is not concerned about propriety," he said while his party colleague Yashwant Sinha was sarcastic about the appointment.
However, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chaudhary strongly defended the decision saying opposition allegations against Chidambaram were not substantiated. The government has to govern and cannot be held hostage to opposition allegations.

BJP on Sunday announced that Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda has submitted his resignation to the party and will be replaced by B S Yeddyurappa's loyalist Jagadish Shettar.

The BJP high command bowed to Lingayat leader Yeddyurappa in view of the Assembly elections due early next year and agreed to replace 59-year-old Gowda, a Vokkaliga leader, with Rural Development Minister Shettar, 56, who is a Lingayat.
"In view of the current political situation in Karnataka, Sadanand Gowda has handed over his resignation to me. In his tenure, he did work and the performance of our government was very good."
"There were no complaints against him on grounds of corruption but keeping the party's interest in mind, as a good party worker, he has resigned in the interest of the organisation," BJP President Nitin Gadkari told reporters in New Delhi.
He also announced that he has accepted Gowda's resignation on behalf of the party.
"Our party has decided to hand over the leadership to Jagadish Shettar," Gadkari said.
Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley will go to Bengaluru on Monday to oversee the formal election of Shettar as Chief Minister of Karnataka by the party MLAs.
Asked if Deputy Chief Ministers would also be appointed by the party as was reported earlier, Gadkari said no such decision has been taken on this issue.
With the Assembly elections just 10 months away, the BJP central leadership realised that to put up a "good show", it will have to fight under the leadership of Yeddyurappa, whom many see as the undisputed leader of the Lingayat community which has always voted for the party, BJP sources said.

Western Ghats 39 places declared as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

Dr. K. Parameswaran*
 Thirty nine places in the Western Ghats region have been declared as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

·         The Western Ghats, is a mountain range that runs along the western side of India.
·         It runs, about 1600 kms, North to South, along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau.
·         It is one of the eight hottest hotspots of biological diversity in the world.
·         It originates near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, finally ending at Kanyakumari.
·         These hills cover a total area of 160,000 square kms.
·         The average elevation is about 1,200 m (3,900 ft).
·         The region is home to over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species.
·         It is also reported that the Western Ghats is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.
·         There are numerous protected areas designated by the Government of India in the Western Ghats. They include two bio reserves and thirteen National Parks.
·         The Nilagiri Biosphere Reserve that comprises 5500 square kms of evergreen and deciduous forests forms an important part of the Western Ghats.
·         The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, which forms part of the Western Ghats, is one among the last tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forest in India.
·         In August, 2011, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) designated the entire Western Ghats as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA). The panel also assigned three levels of ecological sensitivity to its different regions.
·         In 2012, thirty nine places in the Western Ghats region have been declared as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

The Planning Commission today held a meeting with Vice Chairmen of State Planning Boards and Planning Secretaries to exchange views on key issues facing the Center or the States in the Twelfth Plan. Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Chairman, Shri MS Ahluwalia said that States have in the past been consulted at the time of the Annual Plan discussions with Chief Ministers, and when all States come to the National Development Council. This was the first time that a consultation was being held with Vice Chairmen of Planning Boards and Planning Secretaries of the States.

The meeting was convened as part of the Planning Commission’s efforts at broader outreach in preparing the Twelfth Plan to exchange views on critical policy issues and to share best practices. ShriAhluwalia said that there were many sector-specific success stories in many parts of the country. These were not sufficiently acknowledged or replicated. He felt that the planning processes, and our methods of funding, should be restructured to encourage experimentation and innovation, and to reward success.

ShriAhluwalia also emphasized that planners need to go beyond making a single or best-case prediction, based on ideal policies. Planners should also use other methodologies, such as scenario planning, which would show alternate equally plausible outcomes, if other policy choices are adopted. The consequences of suboptimal policies should be spelt out.

The meeting started by a presentation by ShriArunMaira, Member, Planning Commission on the different scenarios that the country might experience, ranging from a “Flotilla Advances” scenario where everything works as planned, to a “Muddling Along” scenario where there is partial progress, and a “Falling Apart” scenario where most of what needs to be done does not get done. This was followed by an overview of major issues we have to face in the Twelfth Plan, given by Dr.PronabSen, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission. In the next session, five selected states—Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Meghalaya, and Tamil Nadu made brief interventions about how they had improved their process of planning. This was followed by an open discussion with all states. The last session came up with specific ways in which the Commission and the States could work together to more effectively address the many challenges of the 12th Plan.

This meeting was attended by the Vice/Deputy Chairmen of the Planning Boards of fourteen States; two other States were represented by their Chief Secretaries. The remaining States and Union Territories had sent their Principal Secretaries of their Planning Departments.

Nominations invited for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration for the year 2011-2012
Nominations are invited for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration for the year 2011-2012 to acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by serving officers of the Central and State Governments . The Scheme rewards the outstanding and exemplary performance of civil Servants and the discharge of routine duties and responsibilities and/or implementation of programmes/projects in the normal course, do not qualify for the Award. Initiatives and projects whose qualitative and quantitative outcomes/results are of a very high order, and benefit a large number of citizens/stakeholders could be considered. There would be a maximum of 15 Awards, given under individual, team and organisation categories. It is underlined that the self nominations would not be accepted. Nomination of an individual or a team of officers or an organization could be made by Central Government Departments/Ministries/State Governments/Non-Governmental Organisations and other stake-holders. Two copies of the nominations should be mailed by registered/speed post directly to the following address and it must reach the office by 15th July, 2012:

Director(AR), Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, Sardar Patel Bhawan, 5th Floor, Sansad Marg New Delhi-110001

Phone: 011-23360369; Fax-011-23742133;

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