Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Adobe Partners with Aditya Educational Institutions to impart creative skills to students First South India Center of Excellence at the institution established under Adobe Creative Technology Academy (ACTA) initiative India, New Delhi. —January 07, 2014 — Adobe and Aditya Educational Institutions, South India’s leading higher education institution, today announced a strategic tie-up to help students gain industry-ready skills by setting up the first Centre of Excellence (CoE) in South India. Founded under the Adobe Creative Technology Academy (ACTA) initiative, the CoE will provide an industry leading integrated program on Adobe software, curriculum, support and certification resources, which will be integrated into the educational institution’s curriculum. As a result, students gain hands-on experience with the latest technologies and develop skills to help them excel in the 21st century workplace. Under this agreement, students of Aditya Educational Institutions will also have the opportunity to sit for the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) examination and obtain a certificate on some of Adobe’s leading tools including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver. Satish Reddy, Vice Chairman, Aditya Educational Institutions said, “In keeping with our vision of constantly enriching the knowledge of students and enhancing the quality of education, this partnership with Adobe is a welcome initiative. We are glad our educators and students will now get an opportunity to equip themselves with the latest in digital technology under Adobe’s ACTA initiative. Adobe technology will help hone the skill set of students enabling them to be industry-ready. The tie-up with a world-class organization like Adobe will help the students in an efficient way to discover new technologies and enable them to be ready for the job market,” he added. Commenting on this collaboration, Kulmeet Bawa, Head Enterprise Sales, Adobe South Asia said, “Adobe’s ACTA initiative is an endeavor to validate our commitment to transform India’s higher education landscape. Through this association, we hope to help Aditya Educational Institutions in fulfilling their vision of offering students an enhanced learning and a creative experience.” “In a survey conducted by Adobe across India, 41% of educators responded that they need more tools and training to help them promote creativity in the classroom. This collaboration will help address this gap. New features and updates in Adobe Creative Cloud will enable students and educators to keep up to date with the most leading-edge technology and features, with access to the latest tools to help build a successful career,” added Kulmeet Bawa. For updates and news about Adobe India, like us on Facebook.com/AdobeIndiaStudents and follow us on Twitter@AdobeIndia. About Aditya Educational Institutions Aditya Educational Institutions is a pioneer in creating technocrats with a host of knowledge imparted at various levels. Aditya is committed to excellence in quality training of innovative technologies for the future offers a high-quality experience for its students. About Adobe Systems Incorporated
Chief Guest Datuk Seri G Palanival at 12 Parvasi Bharatiya Divas 8 01 2014 Datuk Seri G Palanival at 12 Parvasi Bharatiya Divas thanked the Indian government on yearly organizing PBD that brings together people of Indian origin from all over the world.He said,” Malaysian population of Indian origin is close to 2 million and Malaysia is one of the largest trade partners for India,the two way trade in the year 2013 is expected to touch 14.4 billion US dollar. Malaysia is gradually emerging major potential investors in India and stands 19 th largest investors in India.There are about 70 Indian joint ventures companies operatingin Malaysia. More than 60 Indian cos have opened their offices in the multimedia super corridor at Cyberjaya,Kuala lumpur and Penang.” On the subject of bilateral trade he said,” Trade between two countries is progressing at healthy rate,I see much more areas that can be exploited for instance 5 super economic corridors in Malaysia-namely Northern Corridor Economic Region,Iskander Economic Corridor,East Coast Economic Region,Sabah Development Corridor and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.” Datuk Palanival reminded that PM Dr Singh on his last visit signed six MoUs to elevate bilateral relation to the new levels of a long term and strategic partnership.
PM’s address at Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, 2014 January 8, 2014 by sagarmedia Dr Manmohan Singh ‏@PMOIndia PM’s address at Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2014 I am delighted to extend to all of you a very warm welcome on the occasion of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. I am glad that, once again, the New Year is beginning with a celebration of the emotional, spiritual, economic and family ties that bind the expatriate Indian community to the motherland. This year, we welcome particularly the younger generation among the expatriates. Their presence in our midst gives a special resonance to this year’s theme of connecting across generations. Our chief guest this year is Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, Federal Minister for Natural Resources & Environment of the Republic of Malaysia and President of the Malaysian Indian Congress. He embodies the ideas that bring us together for Pravasiya Bharatiya Diwas. Not only does he have an outstanding record of public service and personal accomplishments, he also represents a vibrant Indian community, which has made an immense contribution to Malaysia’s progress and served as an effective bridge of understanding and friendship between India and Malaysia. Ours are two pluralist democracies that have many common interests in their shared neighbourhood and have built a strong partnership in the last decade. We are delighted, Datuk Seri Palanivel, to have you with us today. It is not only the size of the Indian expatriate community as the world’s second largest, but also your achievements that give you a very significant global profile. The Indian community’s contribution to India has also been invaluable – from the workers who labour abroad to support their families and communities at home; the professionals who share the fruits of their skills for India’s development; the entrepreneurs who bring investments into and promote exports from India; and, the community leaders who interpret India for the world and advance its interests abroad. We on our part will continue to support and assist you, and promote your links with India in every possible way. It was for this purpose that, when our Government came to power, we established the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. We have also recently launched the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana to provide social security to Indian workers abroad. The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Delhi will be completed this year. We also intend to start a scheme to assist state governments in establishing Pravasi Bharatiya Bhawans. I compliment the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and my colleague Shri Vayalar Ravi for these initiatives. On this occasion, I would also like to record my appreciation for the work of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, as also the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for successfully addressing the challenges that more than a million Indian workers faced following changes in Saudi Arabia’s labour policies. As always, our objective is to support our emigrant communities and I hope this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas will again provide an opportunity to discuss how we can forge a more productive partnership. I know that many of you have questions about the future of the Indian economy and concerns about social challenges, the shape of our polity and the issues of governance in our country. There is a perception in some quarters outside India that the country is losing its momentum of the past decade. This is also amplified by the political contestations here in India, which are inevitably louder in the election season that is now on the horizon. I wish to assure you that there is no reason to despair about our present or worry about our future. Indeed, as I have said earlier, we are heading into better times ahead and I would urge you to remain engaged in the future of this country with confidence and optimism. Let me make five broad points to bolster this argument. First, regardless of the outcome of the next elections, they will once again demonstrate to the world the strength of our democracy and our institutions, and the enduring nature of these ideals that constitute the bedrock for our nation’s progress and our quest for a life of opportunity, justice and equity for all citizens of our diverse country. Recent developments point to the greater enrichment of our democracy, which is becoming more participative and interactive, with people using both traditional methods and new digital tools to mobilize and communicate. It is especially encouraging to see our youth from all walks of life not only articulate their expectations and aspirations, but take actively to politics to shape their future. This is only to be welcomed. It is only thus that the extraordinary transformation that is taking place in our country on multiple levels can be distilled constructively into our democratic process, which has the vitality and responsiveness to reflect the new and emerging concerns and hopes and aspirations of our people. I am confident and so should you be that the future of our country as a pluralistic democracy is safe and secure. Second, our economy has done well over the past decade. In the nine years since 2004, we averaged a healthy growth rate of 7.9% per annum. There has been no doubt a slow down in the recent past, and we will probably end this year at the same level as last year with 5% growth. A number of international as well as domestic factors have contributed to this situation. Despite these challenges, our economic fundamentals remain strong. Our savings and investment rates are still over 30% of our GDP and the entrepreneurial spirit in India is very much alive and kicking. In recent months, we have also taken a very wide range of decisions to accelerate the implementation of mega infrastructure projects, reform tax administration, improve fiscal management, liberalize foreign direct investments and rationalize the system for allocation and utilization of natural resources. With greater political support, we could have legislated deeper reform measures – for example, in the financial and insurance sector. However, our decisions are already beginning to make an impact and India is re-emerging as an attractive investment destination. I am confident you will see the evidence clearly in the next few months. Third, India is changing in a way that is significant but not always evident to those who do not see the big picture. Over the past ten years, our communication networks have expanded exponentially and much of rural India will be connected by broadband in the very near future. About a thousand institutions of higher education are today part of the high speed National Knowledge Network. Telephony is now within the reach of everyone. The education sector has been radically reformed with Central Universities having gone from 17 to 44 and the IITs and IIMs doubling in number. At the primary level, nearly every child in India is going to school today. The National Skills Development Authority is working with other stakeholders, including those from the private sector, to train 50 million people for the workforce during the next 5 years. We have added over 17000 kilometers of highways and more than 200,000 kilometers of new roads in rural areas. Our power generation capacity is expanding rapidly, aided by initiatives in solar, wind and nuclear energy to give ourselves a more sustainable energy future. Fourth, India’s economic growth has not only accelerated, it has also become socially more inclusive and regionally more balanced. Inclusive development has always been the guiding principle of our Government and we have pursued it with great vigour and purpose in recent years. Our poverty levels are declining at faster rates; economically weaker states are growing at faster rates; agriculture growth has accelerated; and real rural wages have increased three times since 2004. This is the result of path-breaking legislation and schemes that have created unprecedented rights to work, food security and right to education. For our government, inclusive development is not merely a moral imperative or a political necessity, but an essential ingredient of sustainable long-term economic growth and social stability. Finally, one of our key priorities has been to provide open, transparent, accountable and clean government. The Right to Information, the Lokpal legislation, the Government Procurement Bill, changes in the systems for the allocation of natural resources and empowering our law enforcement and audit agencies are some of the steps we have taken in that direction. The task is complicated because we have to overhaul entrenched practices and systems while respecting the federal nature of our polity. Strengthening governance is an ongoing process and we can never say that we have done enough, but I am confident that we are moving in the right direction. India is changing rapidly from within at the same time as being called upon to adjust to a rapidly changing world. This is a formidable challenge for a country of our size and our diversity. But it is a challenge we are equal to. In particular, we draw strength from the energy and optimism of India’s youth; from the freedoms that empower our people; from the debate that enriches our thinking; from the sense of unity that only becomes deeper when tested the most; and from the political consensus that underpins our economic policy. I have no doubt that we are prepared to assume the international role and responsibilities that the world at large expects from a rising India. I am also confident that the association between India and its over twenty-two million roving ambassadors in the expatriate Indian community will continue to deepen and prosper in the years that lie ahead. With these words, let me conclude by wishing you and your families a very happy and successful 2014 and I thank you once again for joining us for the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. May your path be blessed.
Hindustan FC booked their place for the Super Eight League 8 01 2014 New Delhi, January 07: Solutrean-Bonjour-Hindustan FC booked their place for the Super Eight League round of the Delhi Senior Division League after holding National United SC 2-2 in their last preliminary round match played at the CWG Sports Complex in Akshardham today. With this draw, Hindustan FC accumulated 12 points from six matches, courtesy of three victories and three draws. They go into the Super Eight League round as the group topper. Going into the break with a 2-goal lead, the former champions have themselves to blame for squandering the lead in the 2nd half. Abhay Rana give HFC a deserving lead as early as in the 3rd minute before Pankaj Negi doubled the delight in the 29th minute. The Shahdara based NUSC, playing with two foreign force, thereafter created few chances but HFC managed to hold on to their lead. However, changed of end saw NUFC playing a much better game and often troubling the HFC defence including the goalkeeper. In one such chances, Stephen pounced on a rebound to slot home his first goal in the 53rd minute. In the 75 minute, Stephen once again rose to the occasion as he slotted home the equaliser much to the delight of the few supporters present there. National United SC still have an outside chance to go into the next round. Played Win Draw Lose GS GA Points HFC 6 3 3 0 12 5 12 For more information, Contact Babua Biswas IndiGenius Sports Management Edit : Edit Comments : Leave a Comment » Categories : sports -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Damon Hill to be event ambassador for Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2014 8 01 2014 F1 World Champ Damon Hill to be event ambassador for Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2014 Mumbai, January 7, 2014: The 11th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, to be run on January 19, 2014 will be graced by F1 World Champion Damon Hill. Promoters Procam International today announced Great Britain’s Damon Hill, 1996 World Champion and Michael Schumacher’s main rival for the Formula One Drivers’ Championship during the mid-90s as the International Event Ambassador of USD 360,000 prize money Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. Damon Hill, son of late Graham Hill, and the only son of a World Champion to win the title, has had 122 Grand Prix entries, 22 Grand Prix wins, 42 Podiums, 20 Pole positions and 19 Fastest laps in his F1 racing career. Damon Graham Devereux Hill was born on September 17, 1960, two years before his father Graham won his first driver’s title, the second coming in 1968. The death of his father in a plane crash in 1975 left the 15-year-old in drastically reduced circumstances and Damon worked as a labourer and motorcycle courier to support his further education. Hill started his Grand Prix career during the 1991 season as a test driver with the championship-winning Williams team while still competing in the F3000 series. In 1996 the Williams car was clearly the quickest in Formula One and Hill went on to win the title ahead of his rookie teammate Jacques Villeneuve, becoming the only son of a Formula One champion to win the championship himself. Taking eight wins and never qualifying off the front row, Hill enjoyed by far his most successful season. At Monaco, where his father had won five times in the 1960s, he led until his engine failed, curtailing his race and allowing Olivier Panis to take his only Formula One win. Near the end of the season, Villeneuve began to mount a title challenge and took pole in the Japanese Grand Prix, the final race of the year. However, Hill took the lead at the start and won both the race and the championship after the Canadian retired. Hill equalled the record for starting all 16 races of the season from the front row, matching Ayrton Senna in 1989 and Alain Prost in 1993. Sebastian Vettel holds the record for the highest number of front row starts in a season, with 18 in 2011. Damon Hill will be in Mumbai from Thursday, January 16 till event day and hopes to inspire the younger generation of Indian sportsmen to work hard for glory. Overcoming adversities from early in life, Damon Hill climbed the pinnacle of success, following up his exploits on the F1 tack with sound business acumen. When Williams made Damon Hill a Formula One driver, despite his undistinguished racing record, Frank Williams said it was because he was “a tough bastard” and he admired his “fierce inner determination.” During his visit to Mumbai Haile will meet with the sponsors and partners, the elite athletes, encourage the amateur athletes and later on spread the message worldwide about the event and the running movement in the country. Damon Hill’s association with the event is in line with Procam International’s efforts to bring to India some the world’s most accomplished sportsmen to raise the profile of the sport of distance running. Some of the luminaries who have been event ambassadors in the past include names like haile Gebrselassie, Michael Johnson, Mike Powell, Linford Christie, Paul Tergat, Steve Ovett, Gail Devers, Dame Kelly Holmes, Dan O’Brien, Cathy Freeman, Kapil Dev and Vijay Amritraj to name a few. Edit : Edit Comments : Leave a Comment » Categories : sports -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rajat Tokas does a dabangg! 8 01 2014 Seen in a jovial mood on Jodha Akbar sets, Ekta’s Akbar Rajat Tokas mimicks Salman’s dabangg style While his onscreen image is one of imperial royalty, Rajat Tokas aka Akbar of Zee TV’s Jodha Akbar, was seen in a jovial mood on the sets and posed for the shutter-bugs in a Dabangg avatar. Sporting a hep moustache and wearing dabangg glares, Rajat looked quite unlike his historical avatar of Akbar onscreen. A la Salman Bhai, Rajat was seen doing the classic belt shuffle while he was strutting around in the Dabangg look. The no-nonsense man is known for sticking to strict shoot and exercise regimes and is rarely seen mingling with others on the sets. But looks like with passage of time, he seems to have broken ice with some of his co-stars and is having fun on the sets. Talking about his onscreen image of the Great Emperor and the contrast it bears to what he is like in real life, Rajat said, “I try and maintain a certain dignity when I am in the public glare so that my off screen persona blends in with the image of Akbar I portray on screen. I usually am seen in a calm, composed, no-nonsense demeanor because that is what comes naturally to me anyway. But, with the amount of time we spend on the sets, it would be unnatural not to get close and comfortable with some of the crew members that you begin to like over a period of time. So, yes … we are having more fun on the sets these days …it’s a natural process of getting to know each other better and becoming less inhibited and more playful as you go along!” With the current track of the show focusing on the temptress Benazir’s (Meghana Naidu) dubious plans to entice and manipulate Akbar, and Jodha in the bargain getting insecure and jealous, Akbar is caught in a flurry of emotions. Will Akbar be able to understand Benazir’s wicked intentions in time or will Benazir get the better of him? Do not miss Jodha Akbar, Every Monday – Friday, at 8:00 PM, Only on Zee TV! Edit : Edit Comments : Leave a Comment » Categories : TV Serial -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- International shots 8 01 2014 Iraq delays assault on militant Iraq is delaying its attack on the militant-held city of Fallujah due to the risk of civilian casualties after 29 people were killed in the nearby town of Ramadi, AFP cited an officer as saying. The government lost control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi last week to militants. “It is not possible to assault (Fallujah) now” as civilian lives will be put in danger, said Defense Ministry spokesman Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Askari. During the night, local security forces attempted to gain back the southern portion of Ramadi from Al-Qaeda linked groups, but failed. Cargo train transporting oil derails in eastern Canada A train carrying propane and crude oil derailed and caught fire in Canada’s eastern province of New Brunswick. Local residents have been evacuated and there are no reported injuries, local officials. Canadian National Railway train was carrying “dangerous goods” when it derailed near the village of Plaster Rock at about 7 p.m. local time (23:00 GMT), according to the Director of Public and Government Affairs at Canadian National Railway, Jim Feeny. Fatah members can return to Gaza – Hamas Hamas premier Ismail Haniya has addressed West Bank rivals Fatah, saying its members would be allowed back into Gaza, in efforts to promote Palestinian reconciliation, AFP reported. The leader also stressed that it would happen “without preconditions.” It comes about three months after Haniya spoke on the phone to Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, talking about the need for reconciliation and a “return to national unity.” Netherlands and Cuba begin political dialogue The Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans and his Cuban counterpart concluded a high-level visit in Havana by signing an agreement on Tuesday to begin a political dialogue, going against the EU’s current stance on Cuba. Timmermans expressed his desire for the EU to change its policy towards relations with the island nation, which currently limits high-level interactions. “Havana through the centuries has been a meeting point between Europe and the Americas and I believe it still has an important role to play in this regard,” he said. One of the topics discussed between Timmermans and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez included Cuba’s attempts to “bring an end to the last violent conflict in the region;” in reference to hosting peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC. US to reduce submarine missile-launchers to comply with START accord Starting in 2015, the United States will begin reducing launch tubes on a certain class of ballistic missile submarines in fulfilment of its 2011 START accord with Russia, according to a new report. The US Navy will eliminate four launch tubes from each of its 14 Ohio submarines, marking the first substantial move to reduce strategic nuclear arms since the treaty was signed, a report published in the new edition of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reveals. The START pact requires Russia and the US to cut their respective stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 and their fleets of long-range delivery vehicles to 700 each. US boosts military sales to Iraq to aid in fight against Al-Qaeda – White House The White House has said that the US is increasing its military sales and deliveries to Iraq to help the local authorities fight insurgent groups, many of them linked with Al-Qaeda. The US is to provide 10 ScanEagle surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Iraq in the upcoming weeks and 48 Raven surveillance UAVs later this year, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, as quoted by Reuters. Russian FM Lavrov, US State Secretary Kerry to discuss Iran’s role in solving the Syrian crisis – UN Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the US State Secretary John Kerry are to meet and discuss Iran’s role in finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, according to the UN, as quoted by Itar-Tass news agency. The meeting is set to take place on January 13. Janet Yellen confirmed as first female head of US Federal Reserve The US Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the next head of the US Federal Reserve on Monday following her nomination by President Obama in October. Yellen, currently the vice chair of the Fed, now becomes the first woman to lead the institution in its 100-year history. The nomination had encountered some political infighting among Republicans and Democrats in the Senate as a result of wider GOP efforts to block Obama’s nominees to top executive and judicial branch positions. As a result, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid instituted a major procedural change eliminating the possibility of the minority party, the GOP, from filibustering nominees. Regardless of some Republican opposition, prior to its last break, Yellen cleared a key procedural vote in Congress by 59 to 34 1,500 Syrian refugees accepted into Britain Britain has taken in 1,500 Syrian asylum seekers since January 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stated on Tuesday. “Of course we should do that. We have accepted hundreds of asylum seekers who have sought and been provided with refuge in this country under our international obligations,” stated Clegg. Overall, Britain has granted some 2,000 Syrians asylum since March 2011 when the violence started in Syria. If asylum seekers arrive in the UK, having made their own way to the country it’s treated on a case-by-case basis, rather than the UK offering aid through a resettlement program, according to a Home Office spokeswoman, reported AFP. UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage has been openly critical of the UK government for its apparent refusal to resettle Syrian refugees, while Amnesty International has also slammed the ‘truly pitiful’ response to the situation in the country. UAE to free US man jailed over video mockumentary An American who was imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates after participating in the creation of a video mocking Dubai youth will be freed, according to a family spokesperson. Shezanne Cassimwill be flown back to the US on Thursday. He had been sentenced to a year in prison in December, along with a fine of approximately $2,700 after being accused of defaming the UAE’s image abroad along with five other foreigners. Condition of children hurt in Volgograd blasts improves There has been an improvement in the condition of children hurt in the Volgograd terrorist attacks and moved to Moscow for treatment, health minister, Veronika Skvortsova, said. A three-and-a-half month old girl, Vika Tolkunova, has come out of coma and is now able to breath with minimal assistance, while a nine-year-old girl, Olya, is recovering well. A 16-year-old boy also reports improvements, Skvortsova told RIA-Novosti. Thirty-four people were killed and over 70 others injured in two suicide blasts which rocked Russia’s southern city of Volgograd on December 29 and 30. Iraqi violence surge has Syrian links – Russia The Russian foreign ministry has expressed confidence that the current surge of violence in Iraq has religious roots, and is intrinsically linked with the developments in neighboring Syria, where civil war between the government and Islamist rebels has been raging for nearly three years. “Terrorists from Al Qaeda and other groups linked with it, who are active in Iraq and Syria, know no boundaries, they bring death and suffering to peaceful populations,” the ministry said in a statement. Russia condemned The ministry also condemned terrorism in all its manifestations and expressed support for the country’s counter-extremism measures as Iraqi government troops push Islamists from the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. Stability in the region may only be reached “through the soonest political settlement of the Syrian crisis, through reaching national accord in Iraq in the interests of all political forces and ethnic and religious groups,” the statement concluded. US Senate votes to advance jobless aid program The US senate has voted 60-37 to extend unemployment insurance benefits. The $6.4 billion plan cleared the hurdle on Tuesday morning with the exact number of votes required for the bill to avoid a filibuster. Senate Democrats only had the support of four Republicans on Monday, but seemingly managed to gain the support of a further member of the party. The bill is a Democrat priority and will extend long-term unemployment benefits to some 1.3 million Americans who lost them following the Christmas period. 25 militants killed in Iraq missile strike Twenty-five Iraqi militants have been killed in a missile assault in Ramadi, central Iraq. Forces conducted “missile strikes, resulting in the killing of 25,” according to defense ministry spokesman, Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Askari, who spoke to AFP. China suspends 14-year video game console ban China has suspended its 14-year ban on the sale of video game consoles inside the country, allowing ‘foreign-invested enterprises’ consoles produced by Sony Corp, Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd to enter the Chinese market. The ban, introduced in 2000, has left PC games with nearly two-thirds of the market. China is the third largest video game market in the world and revenues grew by over a third in 2012 to nearly $14 billion last year. Initially, the mental health of youth was cited as the reasoning behind the ban. South Sudan peace talks underway in Ethiopia South Sudan’s government delegation and rebels have started face-to-face talks in neighboring Ethiopia, aimed at ending the bloodshed that erupted in mid-December and quickly spread to different areas of the world’s newest country, the two sides said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. The tribal and political unrest that has lasted for three weeks so far has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people and displaced more than 200,000 people, with the UN peacekeeping force in the country now doubled. Attacks in Iraq kill 4 as fight against Al-Qaeda-linked group continues Authorities say attacks in Iraq have killed at least four people as government troops continue to battle Al-Qaida-linked militants in western Anbar province. A suicide bomber crashed his explosives-laden truck into a police station in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing two people and wounding 55, according to Maj. Raid Emad Rasheed, AP quoted. In a separate incident, a roadside bomb hit an army patrol on the outskirts of Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding another, police said. Another bomb struck a patrol of Sunni militiamen in a different part of Baghdad, killing one and wounding four. A medical official confirmed the figures. The comments were given anonymously. Spanish Princess Infanta Cristina suspect in fraud case The youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos has been summoned to appear in court over accusations of fraud and money-laundering. Infanta Cristina, 48, is married to Iñaki Urdangarín, who was accused in November 2011 of misappropriating public funds through the Instituto Nóos, a nonprofit organization Urdangarín headed. The princess has been named an official suspect and is scheduled to appear in court on 8 March. It is thought to be the first time a direct relative of the king will appear in court accused of misdeeds. ​Turkey fires 350 police officers amid political crisis Some 350 Turkish police officers have been sacked or reassigned overnight in Ankara in a massive shakeup of the police force, local media report. 250 of the vacant positions were filled with new officers, most of them from outside the Turkish capital. The move comes in the midst of an ongoing political crisis in Turkey, which was triggered in mid-December by arrests of businessmen close to the government, including relatives of some ministers, on allegations of corruption. The shakeup comes a day after PM Tayyip Erdogan suggested the retrial of hundreds of army officers convicted of plotting a coup against his government. Erdogan cracked down on the military with the help of the Hizmet movement of the US-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, which has strong ties in the police and the judiciary. Now Erdogan’s followers accuse Gulen of using the same leverage against his government. Guinea-Bissau detains Senegal fishermen in Russian trawler row Guinea-Bissau has detained several fishing boats from Senegal in response to the detention of the Russian trawler, Oleg Naidenov, with a mixed Russian-Guinean-Bissau crew, reports Itar-Tass. Guinea-Bissau is hoping to put pressure on its northern neighbor to make it release the 23 sailors. Senegal detained the Russian ship on accusations of illegal fishing, but an inspection sent on board failed to find any violations. Russian diplomats are working to defuse the situation, which, according to the owner of the ship, arose from backstabbing competition for fishing resources in Western Africa. ‘Jihad Jane’ sentenced to 10 years for plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Colleen R. LaRose, who is perhaps better known as “Jihad Jane,” was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for her involvement in a plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew a picture of the prophet Muhammad atop the body of a dog. Using “Jihad Jane” as a screen name, LaRose travelled to Europe in order to murder Vilks but returned to her Pennsylvania home when her co-conspirators failed to meet with her. LaRose stands at 4-feet-9-inches and told the court Monday she was inspired to join the Islamic holy war upon seeing images of Palestinians “screaming and crying.” She explained she no longer desires to be a jihadist and was in a “trance” when she went to Europe in 2008. ​Federal judge rules Chicago’s prohibition on gun sales is unconstitutional Chicago’s law prohibiting gun sales was deemed unconstitutional Monday by a federal judge. “Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms,” US District Judge Edmond E. Chang wrote. He delayed the ruling to allow the city to either appeal the decision or to begin preparing new guidelines on sales “short of a complete ban.” The law was adopted in 2010 after the US Supreme Court struck down the city’s ban on gun possession. The ordinance allowed the transfer of firearms only through inheritance Edit : Edit Comments : Leave a Comment » Categories : Business, CSR, Education, election, Politics -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Obama didn’t believe in his own Afghanistan strategy 8 01 2014 Obama didn’t believe in his own Afghanistan strategy – former defense sec Despite an admirable intellect and dedicated support for US military personnel at war, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says President Barack Obama didn’t have sufficient faith in the troop-surge strategy he ordered in Afghanistan. Gates relays in a new memoir how frustrating it was for him, leading the US military at a time of two major wars, to have to battle a White House staff often intent on wresting control over war policy from the Pentagon. He says Obama’s inner-circle, most with only political or academic backgrounds, became “increasingly operational,” which resulted in “micromanagement of military matters – a combination that had proven disastrous in the past.” Gates has served eight United States presidents, Gates said, Obama’s White House staff was the most “centralized and controlling” about national security policy since the Richard Nixon administration. “I never confronted Obama directly over what I (as well as [then-Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton, [then-CIA Director Leon] Panetta, and others) saw as the president’s determination that the White House tightly control every aspect of national security policy and even operations. His White House was by far the most centralized and controlling in national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ruled the roost.” Obama’s inner sanctum annoyed Gates so much, that he writes he was compelled to deliver a “rant” to national security staff who were making decisions about Libyan intervention policy without Pentagon insight. A former CIA director under President George H.W. Bush, Gates said he admired Obama’s intellect and decision-making, adding that the President was not afraid to support positions “opposed by his political advisers or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats.” Yet Gates said there were times he questioned Obama’s commitment to advice from the Pentagon and to his own strategies once implemented. After months of debate with Gates and top advisers, Obama ordered a troop surge in Afghanistan in late 2009. Around 30,000 soldiers were to be the final push for stabilizing the war-torn country before a phased withdrawal starting in mid-2011. “I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Gates writes in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.” Gates writes that after Gen. David Petraeus, then the central commander for both major wars, made public remarks suggesting he was not comfortable to setting a fixed date for the US military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Obama openly chided his military leadership for “popping off in the press” during a major National Security Council meeting. According to Gates, Obama said, “‘If I believe I am being gamed …’ and left the sentence hanging there with the clear implication the consequences would be dire.” Gates added: “I was pretty upset myself. I thought implicitly accusing” Petraeus, and possibly Chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gates himself, “of gaming him in front of thirty people in the Situation Room was inappropriate, not to mention highly disrespectful of Petraeus. As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” In addition, Gates said that during a contentious September 2009 meeting with White House staff on Afghanistan policy, he nearly stepped down. “I was deeply uneasy with the Obama White House’s lack of appreciation — from the top down – of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war,” he recalls. “I came closer to resigning that day than at any other time in my tenure, though no one knew it.” Gates was the lone holdover from Republican President George W. Bush’s Cabinet to serve in President Obama’s White House after the Democrat entered office in January 2009. He oversaw crucial moments of at least two major wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the helm of the Pentagon, from December 2006 to July 2011. Gates said George W. Bush’s White House squandered success during the early phases of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Yet Gates writes that he is not sure how he would have answered if Bush had asked Gates in 2003 whether war in Iraq was the right decision. Gates praised Bush’s order for a troop surge in Iraq, which, with with the help of cash incentives, tampered down insurgent violence. He notes that he and Bush’s second Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were the only voices urging the President to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, with no success. Gates said Obama’s decision to send Navy SEALs to attack a housing compound in Pakistan targeting Osama bin Laden was “one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House.” His memoir goes to great lengths to convey how much he was concerned for US troops’ safety amid so much conflict, saying he has “an overwhelming sense of personal responsibility” for the troops he ordered into combat. Gates said both Obama and Hillary Clinton admitted to him that their opposition to the Iraq war during their heated 2008 presidential primary campaign hinged on political calculations. “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. … The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.” The former Defense secretary has glowing remarks for Cabinet colleague Clinton. He “found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.” Not unlike other tomes written by former Cabinet officials in the past, Gates’ memoir, reviewed Tuesday by The New York Times and The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, is chock full of political drama and internecine intrigue. For instance, Gates calls Vice President Joe Biden a “man of integrity,” but nevertheless says Biden led the White House staff’s supposed suspicion of the Pentagon, “poisoning the well” against military leadership. “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” Gates wrote of Biden. The White House released a statement Tuesday saying Obama stands behind Biden, a longtime US senator before joining the Obama administration. “The President disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day,” National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in the statement. Gates also reveals that Obama nearly ordered a criminal investigation into disclosures on Iran policy published by The New York Times, and that once the White House pointed the blame at Pentagon officials, only Obama would “acknowledge to me he had problems with leaks in his own shop.” RT News Edit : Edit Comments : Leave a Comment » Categories : agreement, Business, Pact, Philinthrophy, Politics, world News -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mushirul Hasan’s book on Maulana Azad shatters myths 8 01 2014 Mushirul Hasan’s book on Maulana Azad shatters myths on Islam and its impact on the idea of a unified India - Islam Pluralism Nationhood-Legacy of Maulana Azad launched in the capital - Mushirul Hasan’s unconventional form of storytelling seeks to provide the thrill and opportunity of being a historian and an explorer, to each reader New Delhi: 7th January 2014: Niyogi Books’ latest offering Islam Pluralism Nationhood-Legacy of Maulana Azad penned by the renowned author and historian Professor Mushirul Hasan’s was launched at an elegant function held in New Delhi, today. A panel discussion on “Islam Pluralism Nationhood-Legacy of Maulana Azad” was also held on the sidelines, which explored Islam and its impact on the idea of a unified India. On the occasion marking the 125th birth anniversary of Maulana Azad, Muchkund Dubey, President, Council for Social Development; Irfan Habib, Renowned Author and one of the most celebrated Historian India has ever produced; Syed Shahid Mahdi, Former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia University and an institution on Islam and Sirajuddin Qureshi, President, India Islamic Cultural Centre were also present and took part in the panel discussion. K Natwar Singh, Indian politician and former cabinet minister presided over the function. In an unconventional form of storytelling the book penned by Mushirul Hasan seeks to provide the thrill and opportunity of being a historian and an explorer, to each reader. A compilation of confidential facsimiles of notes, memos and letters, rich and varied, they unfold Azad’s story like never before. The detailed ‘history sheets’ compiled by the Intelligence Bureau, are as informative as entertaining, conveying the tentativeness at the heart of an anxious and apprehensive government. The other documents reflect government policies in relation to the popular upsurge that had taken place in some parts of the country, an agitation that also drew Azad into the nationalist fold. Post-Independence communications on policies that were gradually shaping the young independent India also shed ample light on Azad’s robust conviction of combining the essence of Islam and pluralism in building a new nation. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, commonly remembered as Maulana Azad, rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British Raj in the early 1920s. A powerful writer and an equally stimulating orator, his sway over the Muslim communities was considered a threat by the government which looked for every opportunity to clip his wings and restrain his activities. Azad took these tribulations gracefully and came to play a very decisive role as a senior leader of the Independence movement. Like his pen-name Azad, which meant free, here was a man who relentlessly strove to remove the shackles of incapacious thinking, challenging its rigidity, wisely integrating the munificence of Islam and pluralism into the folds of nationhood. About the Author: Professor Mushirul, an internationally known historian and author and a Padmashree awardee, Mushirul Hasan has, among other notable contributions, explored the lives of the Congress Muslims, who survive on the margins of the dominant discourse on Indian nationalism. He is a biographer of Mohamed Ali, M.A Ansari and has published their correspondence and speeches. He has edited a collection of essays on Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and co-authored a major biography of Jamia Millia Islamia. He has introduced the proceedings of the Indian National Congress, of which the first volume is already out. His much-awaited new book Political Prisoners, with Niyogi Books, is due to be published soon. Mushirul Hasan has served as Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, and as Director-General of the National Archives of India. Professor Hasan has recently been awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship for his project—Roads to Freedom: Prison, Prisoners and Colonialism. About Niyogi Books : Niyogi Books, a premier book publisher, has been regularly publishing books on Indian culture, religion, history along with biographies of eminent personalities. It has lately entered in the field of fiction. Recently, three of its titles won awards for ‘Excellence in Publishing’ instituted by the Federation of Indian Publishers. These include Mapping India, Rabindranath Tagore: A Pictorial Biography and M F Hussain: A Pictorial Tribute. About the Book: ISBN: 978-93-83098-19-4 Price: Rs 695/- Size: Paper: Book Printing Pages: 209 Hard bound with jacket For further queries, please contact: Le Communiqué Consultancy

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