China's new leader Xi Jinping has assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Beijing would continue to pay great importance to developing relations with India as the bilateral cooperation has brought substantial benefit to people of both nations.
China will pay
great importance to developing relations with India and expects to carry
out close cooperation with India to create a brighter future of their
bilateral relations, Xi wrote in a letter to Singh which was delivered
to him by top Chinese diplomat Dai Bingguo on January 11th in New Delhi.
State-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying that
China-India relations have maintained stable development in the past few
years, which has brought about substantial benefits to the two
countries and the two peoples. The world has enough space for China and
India to achieve common development, and the world also needs common
development Xi said in the letter.
Dai, the chief negotiator of
the India-China border talks was in New Delhi last week to attend the
Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) top security
officials meeting. Xi's letter was stated to be in response to a letter
from Singh after his election as General Secretary of the Communist
Party of China (CPC) succeeding Hu Jintao.
Monday, January 14, 2013
MahaKumbh : A Holy dip for divine liberation
The inaugural day of the two-month-long congregation, often described as the “greatest show on earth”, was marked by the first “Shahi Snan” of 13 “akharas” wherein Naga Sadhus – a martial order of ascetics who move about either naked or scantily clad with matted hair and ash smeared bodies marched to Sangam in processions with their leaders perched atop ornately decorated elephants, horses and chariots and musical bands in attendance in a unique blend of austerity and opulence.
The first to move out were Mahanirvani and Atal Akharas, followed by Niranjani and Anand and then Joona, Awahan and Agni.
They are to be followed by Nirvani Ani, Digambar Ani and Nirmohi and Naya Udasin, Bara Udasin and Nirmal akharas in the same order fixed during the British period following a violent clash among ascetics of different akharas at a kumbh congregation.
The akharas have been allotted fixed time, ranging from 30 minutes to about an hour depending upon the size of their respective procession, for bathing with routes for going to and returning from Sangam so separated as to ward off possibility of members of rival akharas coming in contact with each other.
Devotees from across the country had started pouring in since on Sunday evening and the influx continues despite cold weather and elaborate security arrangements on account of which bathers are being made to park their vehicles several kilometres away from the holy confluence and reach the Sangam on foot.
Vehicular traffic has been banned on most of the roads in the city from Sunday till Tuesday to facilitate movement of people.
The “Shahi Snan”, which is a star attraction of the event, began at around 6 AM as curious, awestruck onlookers gathered on both sides of the over-a-kilometre-long road of metallic chequered plates on which the processions of “akharas” proceeded towards the Sangam.
The crowds were separated from the procession with the help of barriers. Security personnel kept a steady, though anxious, watch on the movement of the “Naga sadhus” along the route, from watch towers and by monitoring CCTVs as their processions have sparked off violent clashes in the past.
The Mela, held every 12 years, will go on for next two months and will conclude on Maha Shivaratri on 10th March.
The administration is expecting a nearly 10 per cent rise in pilgrims attending the mass Hindu pilgrimage this year compared to the previous Maha Kumbh held in Allahabad in 2001.
Exceptionally large crowds are also expected on Mauni Amavasya (February 10, 3 crore) and Basant Panchmi (February 15, 1.9 crore).
Besides, spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev and Asaram Bapu, also have planned their visits.
The huge turnout of people, visits of high-profile gurus in addition to the presence of naga sanyasis have increased the pressure on police and administration for smooth functioning of the Kumbh Mela.
A lurking fear of terrorist strike has further heightened the challenges in recent years.
“More than 7,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces, including companies of the Rapid Action Force and the National Disaster Response Force, have been pressed into service,” IGP (Allahabad) Alok Sharma, designated as the nodal officer for security arrangements during the Maha Kumbh, had said.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated across the country with much pomp and fanfare.
The occasion which marks the transition of the sun into the Makar rashi or the zodiac sign Capricorn, also brings an end to winter solstice.
The harvest festival of Pongal will be celebrated in Tamil Nadu on Monday. People, both young and old, boil milk with freshly harvested rice, sweets and lentils, ginger, turmeric and spices by the dawn of the day, on the porches of their houses.
The porches are colourfully decorated with intricate ‘kolam’, or rangoli. The festival is essentially to pay their respects to sun for its help in securing a good harvest. Preparations for this festival are in full swing across the state.
President Pranab Mukherjee greeted fellow countrymen on the occasion of festivals – Lohri, Bihu and Makar Sankranti.
The President also greeted people for Pongal. In his message, the President said that festivals which celebrate fresh harvest, hard work of farmers and bounty of nature bring the promise of further growth and progress for our nation.
The Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari has greeted the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti and Pongal.
In his message he has said that these festivals, which are celebrated all over the country under different names with enthusiasm, devotion and gaiety, reflect the fundamental unity of our country and commemorate ‘Uttarayan’ or the beginning of the northward journey of the Sun, besides the harvest season.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also greeted the nation on the occasion of Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal
Joint Press Conference of Senior Politicians
The Chief Reporter/Photographer
Subject : Joint Press Conference of Senior Politicians of different parties on FDI in Retail
To spell out their future course of action and concerns on FDI in Retail in context of current scenario, senior leaders of different political parties will join a Press Conference to be held by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) which is leading a nationwide movement against FDI in Retail.
Senior BJP Leader Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Shri Sharad Yadav, President Janata Dal (U) and Convenor, NDA, Shri Sita Ram Yechury, Senior leader of Communist Party of India (M), Shri A. B. Bardhan, Senior Leader of Communist Party of India among other politicians will blow the whistle of intensifying agitation.
Date : Tuesday, the 15th January,2013
Venue : Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi
Time : 12 noon
We shall be grateful if you kindly depute a Staff Correspondent of your esteemed newspaper to cover the same. Please also join us at lunch soon after the Press Conference.
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