Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Season's Greetings from IFPRI!Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
Dear Mr. Sagar,

As 2014 comes to an end, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your support and collaboration during this exciting and fulfilling year.

Nutrition figured prominently on the global stage and was a centerpiece of three signature publications: the Global Food Policy Report, which calls for an end to hunger and undernutrition by 2025; the Global Hunger Index, which features an essay on hidden hunger; and the inaugural Global Nutrition Report, launched at ICN2, which provides a comprehensive narrative on global and country-level progress on all forms of nutrition.

Technology options for sustainable food production continued to be highly debated in 2014. IFPRI helped move the conversation along with two publications: Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity, which provides guidance on various technology strategies to fight hunger as competition for resources grows, and the Atlas of African Agriculture Research & Development, which highlights the ubiquitous role of smallholders in Africa.

The WTO negotiation and national trade policy finally made significant progress with India’s approval of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. IFPRI provided much-needed analytical support toward this effort.

IFPRI continued its strong presence in countries and regions. The country strategy support programs in BangladeshChinaEthiopiaGhanaNigeria, and Pakistanassisted with countries’ transformation agendas in agricultural and rural areas. 

IFPRI held two signature events in Africa: the 17th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis, hosted by the Dakar office, and the annual ReSAKSS conference, hosted by the Addis Ababa office. Both events brought together hundreds of policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders within and outside of Africa to review progress, identify policy and investment gaps, and set future agendas for achieving more open trade, stronger agricultural growth, and enhanced food security and nutrition.

Gender is a cross-cutting theme that underpins much of our work. IFPRI, USAID, and OPHI published the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index: Baseline Report, which covers 13 countries from five regions.

Finally, we held another successful 2020 Policy Consultation and Conference, focused on building resilience for food and nutrition security, in Addis Ababa in May.

We hope that IFPRI’s work contributes to our mutual quest to end hunger and undernutrition, and look forward to collaborating with you in 2015.

Best wishes from our family to yours,

Shenggen Fan


Anti-Islamic rally expands in Germany

Anti-Islamic rallies are expanding rapidly in eastern Germany. The country's leaders are concerned that the movement could lead to broader social unrest.

A demonstration in Dresden drew about 15,000 people on Monday. Participants rallied against Islamic extremism and demanded restrictions on the inflow of Muslim refugees from the Middle East.

The weekly event was started in October by a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. It initially drew about 500 people, but soon grew sharply. Similar rallies are now being held in other cities.

Most participants are ordinary citizens, but some are thought to be members of far-right groups with xenophobic ideals.

Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference on Monday that there's freedom of assembly in Germany, but there's no place for incitement and lies about people who come from other countries.

More than 500 young people are said have traveled from Germany to join the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria. Germans are concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks by the returning recruits.

German leaders are alarmed that the anti-Islamic rallies could inflame animosity against an estimated 4 million Muslims in the country, and lead to social unrest.

US, Iran resume nuclear talks

Diplomats from the United States and Iran have resumed talks on Iran's nuclear program after Iran and 6 major powers failed to meet the November deadline for a deal.

Foreign ministers of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany agreed with their Iranian counterpart on November 24th to extend their deadline for an agreement on Iran's nuclear development until the end of June next year.

The ministers said that while progress had been made, there are still some serious gaps to close.

The Iranian media reported that the acting deputy secretary of the US State Department, Wendy Sherman, met Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi in Geneva on Monday.

119 journalists abducted in 2014

An international media advocacy group says 119 journalists were kidnapped this year, an increase of 32 from last year.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a report that 66 journalists were killed in 2014, 5 fewer than in the previous year.

The group installed a shipping container in front of the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday to highlight the case of an imprisoned journalist.

It said a number of journalists were kidnapped for ransom by Islamic State militants and others. 47 journalists were kidnapped in Syria and Iraq.

The group says the beheading of journalists for propaganda purposes had rarely taken place before.

It says the murders have become more barbaric and the number of abductions is growing rapidly in an attempt to prevent independent news coverage.

Abbott orders ‘sweeping investigation’ into deadly hostage crisis

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday ordered a sweeping investigation into this week’s deadly Sydney hostage crisis, Reuters said. The decision came after tough new security laws and the courts failed to stop a convicted felon from walking into a Sydney cafe with a concealed shotgun. Three people were killed, including hostage taker Man Haron Monis, when police stormed a cafe in the city early Tuesday. Australia passed sweeping security laws in October aimed at stopping its citizens from going to fight alongside jihadists in conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

China to build 3rd Beijing airport over congestion problems

China has approved a third airport for the capital, Beijing, to reduce congestion and chronic delays, AP said. The massive new airport will be built 46km south of the city center and take five years to build, according to a China Daily report. It is expected to handle 72 million passengers per year and will take the pressure off Beijing Capital International Airport in the northeast. This world’s second-busiest airport handled more than 83 million passengers last year.

Bulgaria detains 3 foreigners bound for Syria

Bulgaria has detained three foreigners, wanted in Spain on terrorism charges, on their way to take part in the conflict in Syria, Reuters said. The two Moroccans and a Brazilian were held on Monday at a border crossing with Turkey, according to Bulgaria’s state security agency. Extradition procedures will be initiated as Interpol had issued arrest warrants for the three suspects.

4 Pakistani Taliban killed by US drone strike in Afghanistan

A US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan killed four Pakistani Taliban members and seven other insurgents, Reuters reported. The missiles killed the militants on Tuesday afternoon as members of the Pakistani Taliban were attacking a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, according to Mahlem Mashuq, the governor of Sherzad district in Nangarhar province. “Eleven insurgents, four of them Pakistani Taliban, were traveling in a pickup truck that was hit by a drone strike, killing all of them,” Mashuq said. The Pakistani and Afghan branches of the Taliban are loosely allied and operate across the porous border.

An urgent need for dialogue, ceasefine in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin has held a teleconference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and his Ukrainian and French counterparts, Petro Poroshenko and Francois Hollande. Ukrainian crisis and the urgent need for a lasting ceasefire in the Donbass region topped the agenda, the Kremlin announced. The Kremlin noted that one of the “priorities” now is to exchange hostages, and the removal of heavy weapons from the demarcation line. Providing economic and aid assistance to east Ukraine was also stressed. All sides agreed on the “importance” of holding a contact group meeting to facilitate the Minsk Accord.

Afghan Taliban condemns deadly school attack in Pakistan

The Afghanistan Taliban movement condemned the attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a military school that killed 141 people, mostly children, on Tuesday. "The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women is against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government," the movement’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement as quoted by Reuters. The Pakistani Taliban is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban movement.

NATO doubles number of flights near Russian borders - Russia top brass

NATO has boosted the number of intelligence flights near Russian borders, Russian Air Force chief Viktor Bondarev said. Over 3,000 flights have been registered in total in the border zone in 2014, thus doubling the figures of 2013. The routes are very close to the border which allows taking intelligence from areas almost 500 km over the border, Bondarev said. The statement comes shortly after a Russian plane was accused of a dangerous approach with a Swedish civil plane last Friday. The Air Force Chief stressed that such reports are used to divert attention from NATO concentrating its forces near Russia.

At least 25 killed in Yemen’s Houthi areas as 2 car bombs explode

At least 25 people were killed when two car bombs exploded in Radaa city in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda, Reuters reported, citing local and medical sources. The first car bomb exploded near a checkpoint manned by Shiite Houthi rebels while a school bus was passing, killing 15 students. The second car blast happened near the house of an official in the area rumored to support Houthis, killing 10. Radaa is seen as a bastion of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Houthis captured the capital Sanaa on September 21.

Obama, Kerry condemn Taliban attack on Pakistan school

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the school attack that left more than 100 children dead in Pakistan’s Peshawar demonstrates the “depravity” of the terrorists responsible. Obama said later the US government was committed to working with Pakistan to combat terrorists. US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in London, said the culprits behind the siege served a “dark and almost medieval vision." He added that “this act of terror angers and shakes all people of conscience.”

35 Turkish football fans go on trial over ‘attempt to stage coup’

Thirty-five Turkish football fans have gone on trial accused of attempting to stage a coup during mass protests last year, Reuters said. The Besiktas supporters face charges described by rights groups as an abuse of justice. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences for them, accusing the fans of helping organize the protests that erupted in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in May 2013. The protests grew into a challenge to the then prime minister, now president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

More than 6,800 dead from Ebola – WHO

The Ebola death toll has risen to more than 6,800 people, almost all of them in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Monday. As of December 13, there had been 18,464 cases of infection from the deadly virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and 6,841 people had died, AFP reported. Sierra Leone last week overtook Liberia as the nation with the most infections, with 8,273 cases and 2,033 deaths as of December 13.

Kerry lobbies Palestinian negotiators to avert UN ‘end occupation’ resolution

US Secretary of State John Kerry was in last-minute talks with Palestinian negotiators last night over a UN bid to force Israel to withdraw from Palestinian land, AFP said. Kerry met chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat to persuade him not to rush ahead with a draft UN resolution seeking to set a two-year timetable for an end to the Israeli occupation. It was expected to be submitted to the UN as early as tonight. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier warned that European backing for the Palestinians could harm his country.

Israel’s Arrow ballistic missile shield ‘fails’ 1st live interception test

Israel’s upgraded Arrow ballistic missile shield failed its first live interception test on Tuesday, Reuters said, citing security sources. Operators of the Arrow 3 battery at Palmahim Air Base on the Mediterranean coast reportedly canceled the launch of its interceptor missile after it failed to lock on to a target missile fired over the Mediterranean. “There was a countdown to the launch, and then nothing happened,” according to one source. The Defense Ministry said that a target missile was launched and carried out its trajectory successfully. Arrow 3 interceptors are designed to fly above the Earth’s atmosphere to destroy incoming nuclear, biological or chemical missiles.

7 arrested in Spain for recruiting women for Islamic State

Spanish and Moroccan police have arrested seven people suspected of recruiting women to go to Syria and Iraq to support Islamic State insurgents, Reuters said. Four women and a man were arrested in Barcelona and the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the Spanish Interior Ministry said Tuesday. Two men were detained in the Moroccan town of Fnideq, close to Ceuta. Those arrested were accused of forming a network to find, recruit and send women to Syria and Iraq. It was not clear whether any of the affected women were being recruited specifically to fight for the ultra-radical jihadist movement.

Iran says ‘good atmosphere’ in nuclear talks with US

Tehran said on Tuesday that bilateral nuclear talks with the US were proceeding in a good atmosphere, Reuters said. Monday’s session “lasted more than six hours and proceeded in a good ambience,” according to Iran’s chief negotiator and deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi. “Solutions exist in some cases, in others there is need for more effort and discussions,” he said in televised remarks. Differences between the two sides remain over key issues such as Tehran’s uranium enrichment capacity and how fast economic sanctions should be lifted.

100 Syrian soldiers, 80 jihadists killed in fight over Idlib military base – report

Around 100 Syrian soldiers and 80 Islamist fighters were killed during a two-day battle over the Wadi al-Deif military base, Reuters reported, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Al-Qaeda’s Syria wing, the Al-Nusra Front, overran the base, situated next to the country’s main north-south highway in Idlib province on Monday, the monitoring group said. Two other Sunni Muslim militant groups, Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham, also took part in the battle.

Britain reopens embassy in Cairo after 9-day suspension

The British Embassy in Cairo reopened on Tuesday after suspending public services nine days ago for security reasons, Reuters said. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was “very grateful for the close co-operation from the Egyptian government which has made this re-opening possible.” The embassy was closed to the public on December 7. The Canadian embassy closed a day later.

Pakistani Taliban take hundreds of students, teachers hostage at Peshawar school

Taliban gunmen in Pakistan reportedly took hundreds of students and teachers hostage on Tuesday in a military-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar. At least three students were killed and 28 injured in the attack, Reuters said citing a hospital official. At least six armed men had entered the Army Public School, and about 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside, the military said. Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani said that “suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel.”
Media reports 
Met Rashtrapati ji. He was very cheerful. I had gone to ask about his health but instead he talked about issues relating to the Nation!
Met Rashtrapati ji. He was very cheerful. I had gone to ask about his health but instead he talked about issues relating to the Nation!

Movies: The Silent Couple & Ugly Official Trailer

17 12 2014
Ugly Official Trailer
Ugly Movie Official Trailer
Watch, if you love your wife
 Executive Producer – Gaurrav Dhar

Book Launch : Caste in Contemporary India:By Prof Surinder S. Jodhka,

17 12 2014
Book Launch Programme at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities(CSH)
A book: Caste in Contemporary India written by Professor Surinder S. Jodhka, a brilliant academician, was launched at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi. The programme was organsied by CSH to release this book under the chairmanship of Prof(Dr) Leila Choukroune, Director of the CSH and Head of the Globalisation and Regulation Research Area. A brief introduction was given by Prof(Dr) Leila Choukroune about the book. Prof(Dr) Satish Desphande, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics( University of Delhi), Prof Gilles Verniers, Assistant Professor in Political Science, Ashoka University and CSH Research Associate, Dr Jules Naudet, CSH Senior Research in Sociology and Head of the Politics and Society Research Area shared the dias. All of them discussed briefly about the book. Faculties, scholars, and students from JNU and other universities attended this programme. High tea was served to all the participants.
Many in urban India tend to believe that caste would and should have disappeared by now had it not been politicized and used by wily actors in India’s electoral politics. Its institutionalization through the reservation policy, the quotas for Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes, is also cited as the other reason for its continued survival. Against the popular middle-class assumption that the continued presence of caste is a result of incomplete modernization of India’s economy and its cultural values, the book constructs a different trajectory of caste. The institution of caste has seen significant changes, particularly during the past four or five decades.
This change has been experienced almost at all levels and almost in all regions of the country, although not following a single evolutionary or linear path of progression.
More importantly, even when the institution of caste and the social and economic structures sustaining it undergo significant changes, caste has not disappeared. Even in regions where the change in social and economic domains of rural life has been quite “radical” and the older order of caste has nearly disintegrated, caste-based divisions and inequalities continue to matter and often overlap with the emergent disparities of the new economy, both rural and urban. The realities of caste in contemporary times are also not exhausted by analyses of electoral politics.
Caste matters in multiple ways and in different spheres of social, economic and political life, sometimes visibly, sometimes not so visibly. The book is an outcome of Prof. Jodhka’s work on caste completed over the past decade and half. Most of this research has been in the form of empirical explorations of contemporary manifestations of caste carried out both in rural as well as in urban settings in northwest India.
They represent a specific mode of engaging with the subject, which is different from the manner in which caste was imagined and studied by sociologists/ social anthropologists and other social scientists until the 1970s, or even in the 1980s. However, the book is not only about documenting the empirics of caste in contemporary India, but tries to present a framework that would hopefully help us understand social inequalities in other societies as well.
Academic Profile of Prof Surinder S. Jodhka
Prof. Surinder S. Jodhka
Prof. Jodhka researches on different dimensions of social inequalities – old and new – and the processes of their reproduction. Empirical focus of his work has been the dynamics of caste and the varied modes of its articulation with the nature of social and economic change in a neo-liberal€ India; studies of agrarian social change and contemporary rural India; and the political sociology community identities. His publications include Interrogating India€™s Modernity (ed. OUP 2013); Caste: Oxford India Short Introductions (OUP 2012); Village Society (ed. Orient Blackswan 2012); Community and Identities: Contemporary Discourses on Culture and Politics in India (ed. Sage 2001). He is editor of the Routledge India book series on €˜Religion and Citizenship. He is among the first recipients of the ICSSR-Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists, for the year 2012.
Inputs by Rahul Kumar, (, Associate Editor, Sagar Media Inc.

17 12 2014

The irregularities of Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation to benefit FA Enterprises

Copy of complaint filed withPolice & ACB
From: Preeti Sharma Menon  Tue, 16 Dec ’14 8:54p
Show full Headers
The Deputy Commisioner of Police,
Bandra Police Station
Dear Sir,
This is to bring to your notice certain important information that has surfaced during our investigations in the various deliberate irregularities followed by Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation to benefit FA Enterprises and FA Constructions Private Limited both of which belong to the family consisting of Fateh Mohmd, Jaitun, Nisaar Khatri, Abid Khatri, and Zahid Khatri.
While crores of common man’s hard earned money have been siphoned to these companies, the assets that the family own includes innumerable cars, all of which either stand in the name of the said family members or some dummy names some of which to our knowledge are as under:
1.  MH1AV1      White Range Rover Vogue
2.  MH43W1     Bentley White
3.   MH1AS1      Black Range Rover
4.   MH1TC393A   Rolls Royce
5.   MH1AK1 White Lamborgini
The aforementioned cars have been confirmed by the RTO’s office as having fake number plates as these numbers belong to vehicles with completely different make.
On 15th December 2014, I had by an even dated letter made a complaint with the RTO authority asking them to raid and confiscate the said cars which to our information till then were lying at c., Opp to Shiv Sagar Hotel, Vileparle (E).  On 16th December 2014,  ie. today when we reached the said place, we found that the cars were already removed.
However, a Rolls Royce with the Chassis No: SCA664S08CUH16567 with car plate no. NL 04 C 2573 was found in the name of FA Construction.   The picture of the same car with Maharastra’s temperory registration is available.  It remains only a surprise as to how the car while in Maharashtra gets a registration from Nagaland.  An investigation into the details of what procedure was followed in the matter, will expose a huge lapse on the part of the government and its various departments which once again remains at the mercy of the mighty capable to bribe.
Two note books were recovered from the basement area and retained by the RTO(and later on handed over to us), which reflects the details including the type of the car as mentioned above.   A copy of the same is attached herewith.
When we tried to recover the CCTV footage from the society’s office, the same was tampered with and we were informed that the details available are only from 12th December 2014.   We apprehend that it is the result of a tip off that the evidence was tampered with. We state that tampering with evidence is an act that needs to be taken cognizance of and that it is only expected that immediate action be taken to send a detterent to all the white collar criminals.
Please note that the family has a history of using Fake plates.  On 22nd December 2013 Mumbai Mirror had carried an article which stated that Fateh Mohmmed Khatri was absconding after his car with fake number plate was confiscated and its driver arrested. The sections that were applied then were 465(forgery), 468(forgery with the intention of cheating) 471(using as genuine a forged document) and 420 (cheating of IPC).   The family is a habitual offender and therefore in the capacity of a diligent citizen I hereby call upon you for your immediate action.
You are therefore hereby called upon to investigate into the details and keep a tab on all the activities at Pratik Venue CHS.
Thanking you,
Yours truly,
Anjali Damania.

UNICEF Executive Director, on killing of children in Peshawar

17 12 2014
Statement by Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, on killing of children in Peshawar, Pakistan     

New York, 16 December 2014. The horrific, callous killing of more than one hundred children today in Peshawar, Pakistan must do more than shock the conscience of the world – as it will.

It must also summon us, all the more, to support the parents of Pakistan who wish for their children the best possible education – and all those who are working to provide it.

UNICEF extends our heartfelt sympathy to the families of the children who have been lost.  We mourn with them.

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland i...