Saturday, January 10, 2015


US issues worldwide alert for its citizens post France attacks
In view of the horrific terrorist attacks in France, the US has issued a caution for its citizens worldwide, including in India, saying attacks against Americans are becoming increasingly prevalent. 

"Recent terrorist attacks, whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats, or individual perpetrators, serve as a reminder that US citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness," the State Department said.

Giving details of the threats that the US assets and Americans face worldwide, State Department said India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect US citizens directly or indirectly.

"Anti-Western terrorist groups active in India include Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba," it said, adding that it remains concerned about the continued threat of terror attacks, demonstrations, and other violence against US citizens and interests overseas.

"Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places, but could occur at any time," the statement said.

The US government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may be planning attacks in the region, possibly against US government facilities, its citizens, or US interests, it said.

The presence of Al-Qaeda, Taliban elements, LeT, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organisations, many of which are on the US government's list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organisations, poses a potential danger to US citizens in the region.

Terrorists and their sympathisers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack locations where US citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit. It said the presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan.

No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and crime, and a strong possibility exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against US and other foreign nationals at any time, it added.

Elements of the former Taliban regime and members of other terrorist organisations hostile to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and foreign nationals remain active in every province of the country.

The threat situation in Afghanistan is still considered critical and is expected to remain so through the current political and military transition, it said.

The State Department further said current information suggests that ISIL, Al-Qaeda, its affiliated organisations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against US and Western interests in Europe.

Authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe is increased as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq, it said.

Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organisations but conducted on an individual basis.

In the past several years, organised extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions, it added.

On Friday, three terrorists who seized hostages at separate locations and ignited fear across Paris were killed along with three of their hostages as the gunmen clashed with thousands of French security forces.

France has been on high alert since the country's worst terror attack in decades the massacre on Wednesday in Paris at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead. 

The Lunchbox Gets Nominated at BAFTAS

The Lunchbox directed by Ritesh Batra becomes the first Indian film since 1990 to be nominated at the BAFTA awards since ‘Salaam Bombay’.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced the nominations earlier today. The Lunchbox is nominated in the ‘Best film not in the English language category.
Producer Guneet Monga is ecstatic at this nomination. “We are so happy that our faith in Ritesh and The Lunchbox is paying off so beautifully. It’s a film we are very proud of and earning a Foreign Film nomination is yet another reassurance that great content will always go a long way. I would like to say a big thank you to the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) and the BAFTA jury.”
The award ceremony will be held on Sunday the 8th of February 2015 in London.


Obama to France: ´The United States stands with you´

"I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow," Obama said at a speaking engagement in Tennessee, describing France as America´s "oldest ally."
"The moment that the outrageous attack took place, we directed all of our law enforcement and counterintelligence operations to provide whatever support that our ally needs in confronting this challenge," Obama added.
Obama was speaking hours after the crisis that began with the massacre of 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo reached a dramatic climax, with French police storming two hostage sites, killing two brothers wanted for the magazine attack and a jihadist ally.
"We´re hopeful the immediate threat is now resolved. The French government continues to face the threat of terrorism and has to remain vigilant. The situation is fluid," Obama added.
"President Hollande made it clear they´ll do whatever is necessary to protect their people and I think it´s important for us to understand France is our oldest ally."
US Secretary of State John Kerry honored the victims and congratulated French security forces Friday evening at the French embassy in Washington, where he signed a book of condolences.
In a surprise visit to the embassy one day earlier, Obama signed the book with "Vive la France!"


Five killed, 17 injured as blast targets Rawalpindi Imambargah

At least five people were killed and 17 others injured in a blast targeting an Imambargah in Chitian Hatian area on Friday.
Police said that a suicide attacker blew himself up after his attempt to enter the worship place was foiled.
The police said the suicide bomber reached the spot at around 9:20 PM riding a bike. They said that the bomber parked his bike and tried to enter the Imambargah.
Eyewitnesses said the explosion that took place outside the Imambargah was so intense that windowpanes of nearby buildings were shattered.
They said a Mehfil-e-Milad was being held in the Imambargah when the attack took place.

The injured were taken to the District Heaquaters Hospital where some of them were in critical condition.

Unemployment rate up at 4.9% in 2013-14
Highlights of the key findings of Employment and Unemployment situation in India, released by Labour Bureau, Government of India in its Report on Fourth Annual Employment & Unemployment Survey 2013-14

According to the latest survey report by the Labour Bureau, unemployment rate in India rose to 4.9% in 2013-14 from 4.7% in 2012-13, mainly on account of increase in joblessness in rural areas despite the government’s employment scheme MGNREGA. However, the unemployment rate dropped in urban areas from 5.7% in FY13 to 5.5% in FY14.

The survey has been conducted in all the States/UTs by covering all the districts. A total sample of 1,36,395 households which includes 83,385 households in the rural sector and 53,010 households in the urban sector.

The employment-unemployment situation- The unemployment rate is estimated to be 4.9% at All India level under the Usual Principal Status (UPS) approach. The unemployment rate for different categories based on UPS approach is-

(in percent)
Rural + Urban
Source: PHD Research Bureau, Compiled from Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment, GOI

At all India level, 49.5% persons are estimated to be self employed under the Usual Principal Status Approach followed by 30.9% as casual labour. Only 16.5% were wage/salary earners and the rest 3.0% covered contract workers. The survey results show that majority of the persons are employed in the primary sector. Under Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector, 46.9% persons are estimated to be employed at All India level based on Usual Principal Status Approach.

Labour force and worker-population ratio- Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is estimated to be 52.5% under the UPS approach at All India level. LFPR for different categories based on UPS approach is as follows:

(in percent)
Rural + Urban
Source: PHD Research Bureau, Compiled from Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment, GOI

The Worker Population Ratio (WPR) is estimated to be 49.9% at All India level under the UPS approach.

An attempt was made in this round of the Annual Employment Unemployment Survey to work out some estimates of underemployment, considering only the duration of work available to participants in the Labour Force. Only 60.5% of persons aged 15 years and above who were available for work for all the 12 months during the reference period were able to get work throughout the year at All India level. In rural and urban sector, it was 53.2%  and 78.5% respectively.

Youth Employment - Unemployment Scenario 2013-14- Unemployment Rate for different age groups and by two different approaches is as follows:

  (in percent)
15-17 Years
18-29 Years
30 Years & above
Source: PHD Research Bureau, Compiled from Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment, GOI

The Unemployment Rate for the persons aged 18-29 years and holding a degree in graduation and above is found to be maximum with 28% based on Usual Principal Status Approach at All India level. The Unemployment Rate for the persons aged 18-29 years and having educational qualification "below primary" and "primary" is about 4% based on Usual Principal Status Approach at All India level.

Employment in Informal Sector & Conditions of Informal Employment 2013-14- Information on characteristics of enterprises and conditions of informal employment was collected for usual principal status workers engaged in AGEGC (agriculture sector excluding growing of crops, plant propagation, combined production of crops and animals without a specialized production of crops or animals) and non-agricultural sector.

Proprietary and partnership enterprises together shares more than 50% of the employed persons. In other words, among the workers in AGEGC and non-agricultural sectors, about 52% are found to be engaged in informal sector enterprises. Around 39% workers are employed in proprietary enterprise type which implies that a high proportion of informal workers are engaged in proprietary enterprises as compared to partnership enterprises in both rural and urban sectors.

About 93% of the casual workers do not have any written job contract; which implies more informality among them followed by contract workers (68.4%). Among the wage/salaried employees where more formal jobs available, about 66% employees have reported to be working without written job contract.

Employment-Unemployment Scenario among different Social Groups 2013-2014- The households have been classified based into four social groups, viz., Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Others category. According to the survey, 41.1% households belong to the OBC category followed by 30.4% under Others category, 18.8% under SC category while 9.6%  belong to the ST category at All India level. All the households under study are put in five categories on the basis of number of employed members in the household.

(in percent)
1 Person
2 Persons
3 Persons
4 & above persons
Rural + Urban
Source: PHD Research Bureau, Compiled from Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment, GOI

The Unemployment Rate (UR) for different social groups based on Usual Principal Status Approach and Universal Principal & Subsidiary Status approach is as follows:

(In percent)
Source: PHD Research Bureau, Compiled from Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment, GOI

Education, Skill Development & Labour Force 2013-14- Population aged 15 years and above who received/are receiving vocational training is estimated at 6.8% at All India level. In rural and urban areas, it is 6.2% and 8.2% respectively. About 76% of the persons aged 15 years and above have reported to be employed at All India level who have received/receiving vocational training during the reference period.

In case of 'graduates' and 'post graduates' the unemployment rate is about 14% and 12% respectively based on Usual Principal Status approach. Whereas in case of 'not literate' and 'below primary' persons, the unemployment rate is less than 2% each based on survey results.

The percentages of formally trained persons are estimated at 2.2% and 4.4% in rural and urban sectors respectively. The percentages of informally trained persons are estimated at 4% and 3.8% in rural and urban sectors respectively. In case of informal training, the percentage of vocationally trained unemployed persons is found marginal at 3.1% whereas in case of formal vocational training acquired, the percentage of unemployed persons is estimated at 14.5%.

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