ADVERTISEMENT

National

Bright, sunny day in Delhi, max temp rises to 24 degrees

People in Delhi woke up to a bright and sunny morning today, with clear skies and a significant rise in the minimum and maximum temperatures in the past 24 hours.


The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said the maximum temperature during the past 24 hours was 24 degrees Celsius, up from 22.3 degrees on the previous day and 3 degrees above normal.


The minimum temperature in the past 24 hours rose to 10.7 degrees Celsius, up from 7.6 degrees on the previous day and 2.7 degrees above normal for this time of the year.


The clear skies meant that flight operations remained normal at the Delhi airport today after being disrupted by dense fog in the morning in the past six days.


The IMD has forecast maximum and minimum temperatures of 22 and 8 degrees Celsius tomorrow.


The Northern Railway has cancelled 16 trains today because of foggy conditions in the region, over and above the several trains already cancelled till January 31. Besides, as many as 32 trains were running between 3 and 30 hours late and 12 trains were rescheduled, the Railway said.


NNN

Flight operations normal at Delhi airport on Monday

Flight operations were normal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here after the disruptions of the past six days because of dense fog over the capital.


An airport official said the skies were clear this morning and, with visibility remaining at more than 2000 metres, flights were operating as per schedule.


However, some flights were delayed because of operational reasons, he said.


Dense fog in the early hours of the past six days had led to the cancellation, rescheduling and diversion of scores of flights.


NNN

BASIC countries to work for outcome at COP-16 in Mexico

Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh briefing the media after discussing the post Copenhagen scenario on Climate Change by the Environment Ministers from BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), in New Delhi on January 24, 2010.
Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh briefing the media after discussing the post Copenhagen scenario on Climate Change by the Environment Ministers from BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), in New Delhi on January 24, 2010.

Environment Ministers from BASIC countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - met here today and re-emphasised their commitment to working together with all other countries to ensure an agreed outcome at the Conference of Parties (COP-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Mexico later this year.

The Ministers recalled that the BASIC countries, functioning as a cohesive group, had made important and constructive contributions at COP-15 held in Copenhagen last month.

The meeting was attended by Mr Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission of China, Mr Carlos Minc, Minister for Environment from Brazil, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from South Africa and Minister of State for Environment & Forests Jairam Ramesh.

The Ministers underscored the centrality of the UNFCCC process and the decision of the Parties to carry forward the negotiations on the two tracks of Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) under the Convention and the Ad hoc Working Group on further emission reduction commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in 2010 leading up to COP-16 and COP/MOP6 in Mexico.

They also reiterated that all negotiations must be conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner.

The Ministers called upon Denmark, the COP President, to convene meetings of the two negotiating groups — (AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP) – in March 2010 and to ensure that the AWGs meet at least 5 times before the Mexico Conference. They emphasised that funding, logistics and other procedural issues should not be allowed to become a constraint in the convening of these meetings which are essential to make progress towards an agreed outcome at COP-16.

While underscoring their support to the Copenhagen Accord which is in the nature of a political agreement, the Ministers recalled the important contribution of the BASIC countries in its finalisation. They underlined the importance of the Accord as representing a high level political understanding among the participants on some of the contentious issues of the climate change negotiations. They expressed the hope that this would facilitate the two-track process of negotiation under the Bali Roadmap to lead to a successful conclusion of ongoing negotiations in Mexico.

The members of the BASIC Group have already announced a series of voluntary mitigation actions for 2020. The Ministers expressed their intention to communicate information on their voluntary mitigation actions to the UNFCCC by January 31, 2010.

The Ministers called for the early flow of the pledged $10 bn in 2010 with focus on the least developed countries, small island developing states and countries of Africa, as proof of their commitment to urgently address the global challenge of climate change. In this context, the Ministers welcomed the progress made on the proposal for financing and implementation of the REDD+ mechanism and decided to undertake close coordination to this end.

The Ministers agreed to meet at the Ministerial level every quarter, and the next meeting will be hosted by South Africa in late April.

They agreed to coordinate their positions closely as part of climate change discussions in other forums. They emphasised the importance of working closely with other members of Group of -77 & China in order to ensure an ambitious and equitable outcome in Mexico through a transparent process.

The Ministers also emphasised that BASIC is not just a forum for negotiation coordination, but also a forum for cooperative actions on mitigation and adaptation including exchange of information and collaboration in matters relating to climate science and climate-related technologies. The Ministers expressed their desire to enhance South-South cooperation with other countries on various issues including those relating to scientific cooperation and support for adaptation to vulnerable countries.

Yesterday, the four ministers had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The current G-77 Chair – Yemen – had also been invited for the meeting but could not attend because of other commitments, an official press release added.

The meeting was convened by India to have consultations amongst BASIC countries and evolve a coordinated approach to climate change-related issues in 2010 in the run-up to the Mexico conference in December.

The meeting here follows last month's UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen where it was decided to continue negotiations in two tracks relating to Bali Action Plan and Kyoto Protocol for another one year so as to have a final outcome in Mexico.

At Copenhagen, the President of the COP, the Prime Minister of Denmark also had discussion with a select group of countries on the Copenhagen Accord that was not adopted but noted by the Conference of Parties.

NNN

7 swine flu deaths in India raise toll to 1184

Seven more deaths caused by influenza A (H1N1) have been reported from India, taking the toll due to the swine flu pandemic in the country so far to 1184, an official statement said here today.


According to it, three of the deaths - two in Gujarat and one in Maharashtra - were reported during the day today.


Besides, reports of four deaths that occurred earlier - two in Rajasthan and one each in Gujarat and Maharashtra - were conveyed by the state authorities concerned to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare today, it said.


Of the total swine flu deaths in the country so far, Maharashtra now accounts for 310, while 212 lives have been lost in Gujarat, 174 Rajasthan, 141 in Karnataka, 90 in Delhi, 52 in Andhra Pradesh, 38 in Punjab, 36 in Kerala, 33 in Haryana, 19 in Madhya Pradesh, 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 13 in Uttarakhand, 8 each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Tamil Nadu, 6 each in Chhattisgarh and Puducherry, 5 in Goa, 3 in Orissa, 2 each in Assam and Jammu & Kashmir and 1 in Mizoram.


The statement said 9 new cases of swine flu were reported from different parts of India today - 3 in Karnataka, 2 in Gujarat, and 1 each in Delhi and Uttarakhand.


With these, the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus reported in the country so far has gone up to 28,551, the statement added.


NNN

President to address nation tomorrow on R-Day eve

President Pratibha Patil will address the nation tomorrow evening on the eve of the 61st Republic Day.


The address will be telecast over all channels of Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) in Hindi, followed by English, from 1900 hours onwards.


In addition, AIR will broadcast the regional language versions of the address over its regional channels from 2130 hours onwards, an official press release added.


NNN

ISRO conducts static test of its largest sold booster

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today said it had successfully conducted the static test of its largest solid booster - S200 - at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota today.


The successful test of S200 makes it the third largest solid booster in the world, next to the RSRM solid booster of Space Shuttle and P230 solid booster of ARIANE-5.


An ISRO press release said the S200 solid booster will form the strap on stage for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle – Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) which is currently under advanced stage of development for launching 4 ton class of communication satellites.


It said the S200 solid booster contains 200 tonnes of solid propellant in three segments. The motor measures 22 meter long and 3.2 meter in diameter.


According to the release, the design, development and successful realisation of S200 solid booster were a pure indigenous effort involving Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram and SDSC, with the participation of Indian Industries.


The S200 solid booster derived its heritage from the solid boosters developed earlier for the ISRO launch vehicle programme. The preparation and casting of S200 solid booster segments were carried out at the newly established Solid Propellant Plant (SPP) at SDSC.


During the test, the S200 booster was fired for 130 seconds and generated a peak thrust of about 500 tonnes. The performance of the booster was exactly as predicted. Nearly 600 health parameters were monitored during the test and the initial data indicates normal performance, the release said.


Today`s successful test of S200 is a major milestone in the solid rocket motor programme of ISRO and a vital step in the development of GSLV – Mk III, the release added.


NNN

Morning fog affects more than 40 flights at Delhi

Dense fog over Delhi since late last night disrupted the schedules of at least 43 flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) today.


Airport officials said authorities implemented low visibility procedures at 0325 hours and terminated them at 0925 hours.


During these six hours, as many as 138 flights were operated under various Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), they said.


As many as 15 flights were cancelled, 22 were rescheduled and six were diverted during this period.


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast foggy conditions in the morning for the next two days.


NNN

Presidential Awards for Customs, Central Excise officers

The President's Award of Appreciation Certificate for exceptionally meritorious service rendered at the risk of life has been given posthumously to the late Narabeshwar Singh, who was the Assistant Commissioner, Central Excise Division, Varanasi.


On the occasion of Republic Day, as many as 31 officers of Customs & Central Excise have also been chosen for grant of Presidential Award of Appreciation Certificate for specially distinguished record of service, an official press release said.


"These officers have exhibited exceptional commitment and devotion to duty on a sustained basis, while achieving the goals set for their organizations," it said.


The following is the list of officers:


A. EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE RENDERED AT THE RISK OF LIFE:-


Late Narabadeshwar Singh,while working as Assistant Commissioner, Central Excise Division, Varanasi.


B. SPECIALLY DISTINGUISHED RECORD OF SERVICE:-


COMMISSIONERS/ADDITIONAL DIRECTORS GENERAL


Somya T. Dave, Additional Director General, Directorate of Systems & Data Management, New Delhi.


ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONERS/ADDITIONAL DIRECTORS/JOINT COMMISSIONERS/JOINT DIRECTORS


1. Sanjay Mahendru, Assistant Director General, Cental Economic Intelligence Bureau, New Delhi


2. K.V.V.G Diwakar, Additional Director, Directorate of Central Excise Intelligence, Bangalore.


3. Gurdeep Singh, Additional Director, Directorate of Export Promotion, New Delhi.


4. P. Hemavathi, Additional Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Gandhidham.


5. Kumar Santosh, Additional Director, Directorate of Vigilance, New Delhi.


6. Sharawan Kumar, Additional Commissioner, Service Tax, Bangalore.


DEPUTY DIRECTORS/DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS/ASSISTANT DIRECTORS / ASSISTANT COMMISSIONERS


1. Ranatosh Mukherjee, Deputy Director, Directorate of Systems & DataManagement, Risk Management Division, Mumbai.


2. P. AnanthaKrishnan, Deputy Director, Directorate of Revenue Iintelligence, Calicut.


3. D.S. Mane, Assistant Director, Directorate of Central Excise Intelligence, New Delhi.


4. N.V. Joshi, Assistant Commissioner, Ahmednager Central Excise Division, Aurangabad


APPRAISERS/SUPERINTENDENTS/SENIOR INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS / ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS


1. Sunil Kumar Pandey, Appraiser, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, New Delhi.


2. Natarajan Suryanarayanan Iyer, Senior Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Ahmedabad.


3. Subarath Kar, Senior Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Central Excise Intelligence, Kolkatta.


4. Anil Kumar Rawal, Senior Intelligence Officer, Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, New Delhi.


5. Prodyot Mukherjee, Appraising Officer, Directrotate of Revenue Intelligence, Kolkatta.


6. Atul Kumar Pande, Superintendent, Central Excise, Bhopal


7. M.V.S. Prasad, Superintendent, Central Excise, Guntur


8. K. Jagan Mohan, Supreintendent, Central Excise,Visakhapatnam -1


9. S. Ravindranath, Enforcement Officer, Directorate of Enforcement, Hyderabad.


10. Satya Prakash, Enforcement Officer, Directorate of Enforcement, New Delhi


INSPECTORS/INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS


1. G. Raja Sekhar Reddy, Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Hyderabad


2. Gurjit Singh, Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Hqrs. New Delhi.


3. F. Rajasekar, Inspector, Central Excise, Puducherry


4. Diwakar Joshi, Intelligence Officer, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, New Delhi.


5. S. Murlidharan, Inspector, Central Excise, Coimbatore


6. Nalin Kumar Jha, Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Central Excise Intelligence, Ahmedabad


7. Shivananda Prabhu, Inspector, Large Tax Payer Unit, Bangalore.


PA-CUM-CONFIDENTIAL ASSISTANT


N. Ariramakrishnan, PA-Cum-Confidential Assistant, Consulate General of India, Dubai


SENIOR TAX ASSISTANT


Bachan Lal, Senior Tax Assistant, Customs and Central Excise, Jammu


DRIVER

S.P. Dhotre, Driver Grade -1, Driver, directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Mumbai.

NNN

Morning fog in Delhi disurpts flight, train schedules

The capital was enveloped by a thick fog from late last night till this morning, but the skies had cleared and the sun was out by mid-morning, lending some warmth to the air.


The maximum temperature in the past 24 hours was 22.3 degrees Celsius, up from 18.7 degrees of the previous day and 1.3 degrees above normal.


The minimum temperature was 7.6 degrees Celsius, 0.4 degree below normal for this time of the year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.


The IMD had forecast a foggy morning today and a mainly clear sky later. It said the maximum and minimum temperatures today would be around 23 and 9 degrees Celsius today.


It has also said the maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 22 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius tomorrow and around 21 and 7 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.


The foggy conditions meant that the schedules of several flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi were disrupted today.


The running of trains in the region was also affected. The Northern Railway said it had rescheduled 14 trains today, while 33 trains were running between 3 and 30 hours late. At least 14 trains were cancelled today, over and above the several trains already cancelled upto January 31 because of the fog.


NNN

Delhi Metro services to be curtailed on Jan 26, 29

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today said its services would be partially curtailed on January 26, Republic Day, and January 29, when the Beating Retreat Ceremony will be held at Vijay Chowk.


It said the train schedules of Line 2 (Central Secretariat –Jahangirpuri), Line 3 (Noida City Centre – Dwarka Sector 9) and Line 4 (Yamuna Bank to Anand Vihar) have been modified in this regard.


On January 26, there will be no Metro service available at Central Secretariat and Patel Chowk stations of Line 2 and Mandi House and Pragati Maidan stations of Line 3 till 1230 hours.


On that day, the Metro services on Line 2 will be available only from Rajiv Chowk to Jahangirpuri from 0600 hours to 1230 hours. On Line 3 there will be two short loop services wherein, train services from 0600 hours to 1230 hours will run in two sections- from Dwarka Sector 9 to Barakhamba Road and back and from Noida City Centre to Indraprastha Metro station and back.


On Line 4 from Anand Vihar to Yamuna Bank and back, passengers can avail connecting services towards Dwarka after 1230 hours only. Thereafter, normal Metro train operations will be resumed on Line 2., Line 3 and Line 4 with a headway of 4 minutes and 6/12 minutes on all lines.


Services on Line 1 (Dilshad Garden to Rithala) would be normal with 6 minute headway, DMRC spokesman Anuj Dayal said..


On January 29, Metro services will not be available at Central Secretariat and Patel Chowk stations of Line 2 from 1530 hours to 1830 hours. Thus, services on Line 2 will be available only between Jahangirpuri and Rajiv Chowk during this time. Services on Line 1 (Dilshad Garden to Rithala), Line 3 (Dwarka Sector-9 to Noida City Centre) and Line 4 (Yamuna Bank to Anand Vihar) would operate normally.


In addition, all Metro parking lots will remain closed from 1900 hours on January 25 to 1300 hours on January 26. This is as per advice of the Delhi Police due to security reasons, Mr Dayal added.


NNN

Foggy morning in Delhi, max temp rises to 22.3

Early morning fog disrupted the schedules of more than 20 flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) and affected the running of scores of trains, but the capital had mainly clear skies for the rest of the day today.


The maximum temperature in the past 24 hours went up to 22.3 degrees Celsius, up from 18.7 degrees of the previous day and 1.3 degrees above normal.


The minimum temperature remained at 7.7 degrees Celsius, 0.3 degree below normal for this time of the year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.


It has forecast foggy conditions in the morning for the next three days. It said the maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 23 and 9 degrees Celsius tomorrow.


It said the maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 22 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius on Monday and around 21 and 7 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.


The Northern Railway rescheduled 14 trains today while more than 80 trains were running between 3 and 30 hours late. At least 8 trains were cancelled today, over and above the several trains already cancelled upto January 31 because of the fog.


NNN



Fog affects more than 20 flights at Delhi airport

Thick fog over Delhi disrupted the schedules of more than 20 flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) from late last night to this morning.


According to airport officials, the low visibility procedures were started at 2207 hours and ended at 1110 hours, a total of 12 hours and 57 minutes. During this period, as many as 138 flights were operated under various Instrument Landing Systems (ILS).


Three flights were cancelled, 15 were rescheduled and three were diverted to other airports during this period, they said. Besides, many flights were delayed.


NNN

7 more swine flu deaths in India, toll goes up to 1177

Seven more people have died of influenza A (H1N1) in India, raising the toll due to the swine flu pandemic in the country so far to 1177, an official statement said here today.


One death was reported during the day today from Maharashtra. Besides, reports of six deaths that occurred earlier - four in Chhattisgarh and one each in Gujarat and Maharashtra - were conveyed by the authorities of the states concerned to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare today, the statement said.


Of the total swine flu deaths in the country so far, Maharashtra now accounts for 308, while 209 lives have been lost in Gujarat, 172 Rajasthan, 141 in Karnataka, 90 in Delhi, 52 in Andhra Pradesh, 38 in Punjab, 36 in Kerala, 33 in Haryana, 19 in Madhya Pradesh, 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 13 in Uttarakhand, 8 each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Tamil Nadu, 6 each in Chhattisgarh and Puducherry, 5 in Goa, 3 in Orissa, 2 each in Assam and Jammu & Kashmir and 1 in Mizoram.


The statement said 39 new cases of swine flu were reported from different parts of India today, including 14 in Gujarat, 12 in Maharashtra, 5 in Delhi, 4 in Rajasthan and 1 each in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and Haryana.


With these, the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus reported in the country so far has gone up to 28,551, the statement added.


NNN

Mrinal Pande appointed Chairman of Prasar Bharati

The President has appointed well-known journalist and writer Mrinal Pande as the Chairman of the Prasar Bharati, which runs public broadcasters All India Radio and Doordarshan.


Her term will be upto April 30, 2011 from the date she assumes office, an official press release said here today.


The appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Selection Committee headed by Vice-President M Hamid Ansari.


The post was lying vacant since December 18 when the Government had accepted the resignation of Mr Arun Bhatnagar, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who had submitted his resignation some months before that. In the normal course, Mr Bhatnagar's tenure would have ended on April 30, 2011. His brief innings in the Prasar Bharati Board was marked by a running feud with its CEO B S Lalli and differences among the members of the Board.


Ms Pande, 64, had last year quit as Chief Editor of the Hindi newspaper Hindustan, a part of the Hindustan Times group, to focus on her writing career. She is also a television personality and a short-story writer. She has also worked as the editor of women's magazine Vama.


It was learnt that the Government had also appointed journalist Suman Dubey and renowned film-makers Muzaffar Ali and Shyam Benegal as part-time members of Prasar Bharati Booard.


NNN

Editors Guild urges EC to act against "paid news" during elections


The Editors Guild has urged the Election Commission (EC) to take strong action against candidates and journalists who violate the disclosure norms of election expenditure with regard to media publicity.


The Guild also deplored the growing trend in some quarters to purvey political advertisements as news.


A delegation from the Guild, led by its president Rajdeep Sardesai, submitted a memorandum to the EC yesterday expressing its grave concern over the phenomenon of "paid news", pointing out that several recent media reports had highlighted the prevalence of this "pernicious" practice.


Mr Sardesai told the EC that this dangerous trend threatened the foundations of journalism by eroding public faith in the credibility and and impartiality of news reporting. It also vitiated the poll process and prevented a fair election, since richer candidates who could pay for their publicity had a clear advantage, he said,


Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said that while the commission did not have the mechanism to monitor the candidates in all 543 constituencies, some random samples could be examined closely. If a few candidates were made an example of it would serve as a warning to others.


To a suggestion from the Guild that the expenditure limit of the candidates be raised to a more "realistic level", Mr Chawla said it was not in the hands of the Commission because the limit was fixed by Parliament.


Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi said that the manner in which the Election Commission handled the complaints against Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the recent Maharashtra assembly election would serve as a test case to demonstrate its commitment to tackle the growing malaise of "paid news".


Mr Chawla said the Commission had received several complaints on the issue of paid news. He said one grievance was that candidates sometimes got blacked out by unscrupulous publications, unless they paid up. He said others complained that well heeled candidates who could pay got write-ups in their favour.


Election Commissioner V S Sampath said the Commission would welcome advice on how to deal firmly with the malpractice. He suggested that the guild come forward with some concrete suggestions.


Apart from Mr Sardesai, the Guild delegation included journalists Coomi Kapoor, Mannini Chatterjee and Seema Chisti, a press release from the organisation added.


NNN

R-Day parade to feature 21 tableaux

As many as 21 tableaux will form part of this year's Republic Day Parade on January 26 and showcase India's cultural diversity, development in science and technology, military might and economic strength.


The tableaux will be from 13 states and eight Central Ministries/Departments, depicting themes such as industrial progress, national heritage, traditional art and culture and legendary personalities.


According to an official press release, the tableau of Rajasthan will depitct the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory at Jaipur, while that from Manipur will be based on Hiryang Tanaba, the traditional boat race of the Meiteis tribe.


The Bihar tableau will focus on the Bhagalpur silk weavers, the one from Maharashtra on the the "dabbawalas" of Mumbai, the suppliers of lunch boxes from home to thousands of office-goers in the metropolis, and the one from Karnataka will depict Pattada Kal, a world heritage site.


The Meghalaya tableau will be on the indigenous bamboo drip irrigation system and Tripura's will focus on the late film music director Sachin Deb Burman.


The tableau from Jammu & Kashmir will be on handicrafts such as wood carving, willow work and carpet weaving while Goa tableau will focus on the International Film Festival of India, for which it is now the permanent venue.


The 2500 million year-old stalagmite Kotumsar caves will be the subject of the Chhattisgarh tableau, while the Padayani festival, dedicated to Goddess Kali, will be the theme of the Kerala display.


Cane, bamboo and textiles will be the theme of the Mizoram tableau, while the Uttarakhand display will be focused on the Kumbh Mela at Hardwar.


Among others, the Ministry of Culture's tableau will display music instruments of India, while the tableau of the Ministry of Rural Development will be on the Indira Awaas Yojana and the Ministry of Railways will focus on the steam locomotives of yesteryears and the latest Duronto Express trains.


The Ministry of Power has planned a tableau on "Green Energy" and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs one on the Forest Rights Act. The Ministry of Agriculture has a tableau on traditional ploughing and modern farm equipment, while the Department of Sports will depict the coming Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010, which is blled as the first "Green Games".


The release said nearly 400 artists, fabricators and designers are involved in the making of these tableaux at the special artists' village in the capital.


NNN

BASIC Environment Ministers to meet in Delhi on Sunday

Environment Ministers from BASIC countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - will meet here tomorrow to discuss the post-Copenhagen scenario on climate change.


An official press release said the meeting had been convened by the Government of India to have consultations amongst BASIC countries and evolve a coordinated approach to climate change-related issues in 2010 in the run-up to the Mexico conference in December.


The meeting here follows last month's UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen where it was decided to continue negotiations in two tracks relating to Bali Action Plan and Kyoto Protocol for another one year so as to have a final outcome at the sixteenth Conference of Parties (CoP) in Mexico.


At Copenhagen, the President of the COP, the Prime Minister of Denmark also had discussion with a select group of countries on the Copenhagen Accord that was not adopted but noted by the Conference of Parties.


The release said BASIC Ministers would take stock of all issues arising from the Copenhagen Conference and the steps needed to ensure the interests of the developing countries.

Mr. Carlos Minc, Minister for Environment, Brazil; Ms. Buyelwa Sonjica ,Minister of Water & Environmental Affairs, South Africa and Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman, National Development & Reform Commission of China, Republic of China are expected to participate along with Mr Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests at the meeting.


NNN

Clear skies in Delhi, cold conditions persist

It started out as another cold and foggy morning in Delhi today but by mid-morning the sun was out warm and bright, bringing some cheer to people in the capital who have been reeling under intense cold conditions for the past several days.


The maximum temperature in the past 24 hours came down slightly to 18.7 degrees Celsius from 20 degrees of the previous day and 2 degrees below normal. The minimum temperature went up a little to 7.7 degrees Celsius, up from 7.4 degrees of the previous day and 0.3 degrees below normal.


The fog, which had started descending late last night, caused some disruptions in flight schedules at the Delhi airport, affected the movement of trains and slowed down road traffic.


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a mainly clear sky for the rest of the day today, with the maximum temperature around 21 degrees Celsius.


It has forecast foggy conditions over the capital in the morning in the next two days. It said the maximum and minimum temperatures would be 22 and 9 degrees Celsisus tomorow and 23 and 8 degrees Celsius on Monday.


The Northern Railway rescheduled 14 trains today while scores of trains were running between 3 and 30 hours late. At least 8 trains were cancelled today, over and above the several trains already cancelled upto January 31 because of the fog.


NNN

Dense fog over Delhi affects 35 flights

A blanket of dense fog enveloped the capital for the third day today, disrupting the schedules of scores of flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here.


The fog had started descending around midnight last night and reduced visibility in many parts of the city to near zero. By the wee hours of this morning, visibility at the airport had dropped to around 100 metres, affecting early morning departures, airport officials said.


At least six flights were cancelled and 29 were rescheduled, they said. Airport authorities introduced low visibility procedures at 0128 hours till 1300 hours, a total of 11 hours and 22 minutes. During this period, 232 flights were operated using Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) procedures, the officials said.


Several flights were rescheduled and some were cancelled or diverted to other airports, they said. Besides, many flights were delayed.


By 1000 hours this morning, the visibility at the airport had improved to between 550 and 750 metres and the airlines were trying to clear the backlog of flights as quickly as possible.


The airport authorities had to use low visibility procedures for nearly 15 hours from 2058 hours on Wednesday to night to 1157 hours yesterday morning because of similar foggy conditions. At least 25 flights were cancelled, 22 were rescheduled and 28 - 26 domestic and two international flights - were diverted to other airports in this period.


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast fog over the capital this morning and has predicted similar conditions in the morning for the next two days.


NNN

Ten-laned mixed corridor to Bangalore's Electronic City opened

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Kamal Nath today inaugurated the ten-laned mixed corridor 9.985 km elevated highway from Bangalore's Silk Board Junction to Electronic City - the longest elevated national highway in the country.


Mr Nath said the highway, providing a link to the area where some of the city's best known software firms are located, would set the benchmarks and standards for such projects in the future for the country.


Terming this as the first step towards solving the infrastructure crisis of Bangalore, he said, "which city can be more deserving than Bangalore for such a project as the 'intellectual city' has brought India on the IT map of the world."


He announced that Karnataka would get Rs 18,000 crores of road projects in the next four years which would help in reducing the infrastructure deficit in the state.


He later told reporters that the Government of India would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Malaysia next month for greater cooperation in the road sector.


Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Union Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily and Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa were amongst those present on the occasion.


According to an official press release, the project would benefit lakhs of daily commuters and would save more than one hour of travelling time for commuters travelling from Silk Board Junction in Bangalore to Electronic City.


With a traffic of about 1.5 lakh PCUs (Passenger Car Units), this elevated highway will be the second busiest toll road in the country and the third busiest in the world. It will not only benefit the urban population living in Bangalore but also shorten the travel time for those travelling between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The project is a part of the North-South Corridor connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari.


The total cost of the project is Rs.450 crore. With a negative grant of Rs.16 crore, the project has been completed by Bangalore Elevated Toll Way Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle initiated by a consortium of three construction companies on BOT (toll) basis. The concession period is 20 years.


NNN

Pakistan Dy. High Commissioner summoned on ceasefire violations

India today conveyed its strong protest to Pakistan over the recent increase in incidents of ceasefire violations from across the border.


Responding to queries on the violations, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner in Delhi was called to the Ministry of External Affairs today in this regard.


India conveyed its strong protest over the incidents of "grave and unprovoked firing" across the International Border by Pakistan, including the firing of rockets in the Amritsar sector of the International Border, on the night of January 8-9, Mr Prakash said.


"Government has asked Pakistan to take all necessary steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents," he added.


NNN

I&B Ministry starts tracking system for TV channel applications

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has set up a "Satellite TV Channels Application Tracking System" (STATS) as part of its efforts to ensure transparency in the system of approvals for channels.


The system will allow applicants to get updates on the status of their applications online, an official press release said.



It said software developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) would enable companies to log on to an especially designed programme to know the status of their applications.


?


The applicant companies can log in with their unique Company Identification Number (CIN) and a password to use the software. Each company can see the information related to the channels in respect of which an application has been submitted to the Ministry. In addition to the status of the channels, companies can also get information regarding the status even for applications regarding SNG/DSNG vans, change of name, change of logo, change of directors of the company, change in the shareholding pattern, extension of period of operationalisation, license renewal and so on.


Some months ago, the Ministry had also started a system of Open House meetings on the 5th of every month where applicant companies can get information about the status of their applications.


According to the release, the Ministry has so far permitted 516 private channels and to set up 78 teleports.


NNN

7 more swine flu deaths in India take toll to 1170

Seven more peope have died of influenza A (H1N1) in India, taking the toll due to the swine flu pandemic in the country so far to 1170, an official statement said here today.


Two of the deaths, both in Gujarat, were reported during the day. Besides, reports of five deaths that occurred in recent days - three in Maharashtra and one each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh - were conveyed by the authorities of the states concerned to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare today.


Of the total swine flu deaths in the country so far, Maharashtra now accounts for 306, while 208 lives have been lost in Gujarat, 172 Rajasthan, 141 in Karnataka, 90 in Delhi, 52 in Andhra Pradesh, 38 in Punjab, 36 in Kerala, 33 in Haryana, 19 in Madhya Pradesh, 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 13 in Uttarakhand, 8 each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Tamil Nadu, 6 in Puducherry, 5 in Goa, 3 in Orissa, 2 each in Assam, Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh and 1 in Mizoram.


The statement said 47 new cases of swine flu were reported from different parts of India today, including 19 in Maharashtra, 10 in Gujarat, 8 in Karnataka, 7 in Uttar Pradesh, 2 in Haryana and 1 in Madhya Pradesh.


With these, the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus reported in the country so far has gone up to 28,512, the statement added.


NNN

PM says highest priority to inclusive growth

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said his Government accorded the highest priority to inclusive growth and was committed to ensuring that workers in the organised and the unorganised sectors were partners in the progress of the country.


Dr Singh was talking to a delegation from the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), led by Dr G Sanjeeva Reddy, a member of Parliament, here.


The delegation included Mr M. Raghavalah, Mr G. Kalan, Mr S.Q. Zama and Mr R. Chandrasekharan. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge were also present at the meeting.


The delegation impressed upon the Prime Minister the need to ensure that the workers got their fair share and were protected against problems arising due to the slowdown in growth.


They also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister who directed the Ministry of Labour and Employment to constitute a Group, including the representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Industry, to examine the issues raised in it and give recommendations on how to address them.


NNN

Govt. puts airlines, airports on high alert about hijack threat

The Government has put all Indian airports and airlines, especially national carrier Air India, on a high alert after receiving intelligence inputs about a possible attempt by terrorist groups to hijack an Indian aircraft.

File photo of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
File photo of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

The Government has put all Indian airports and airlines, especially national carrier Air India, on a high alert after receiving intelligence inputs about a possible attempt by terrorist groups to hijack an Indian aircraft.

Official sources told NetIndian that the alert to the airlines and airports had been issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The airlines were advised to step up their security drills and deploy sky marshals and take all other possible measures to thwart any such attempt. Airports have also been asked to upgrade security. In fact, many airports have banned the entry of visitors in recent days.

The heightened security would mean, among other things, mandatory secondary ladder point checks on aircraft flying between India and various South Asian countries.

Indian missions in these countries have also been informed about the threat and told to sensitise the local staff of Indian airlines there about the need for maximum security both at airports and on the aircraft, the sources said.

The sources said intelligence agencies had received inputs that groups linked to the al Qaeda or the Lashkar-e-Taiba were planning to hijack a flight from one of the SAARC countries and that the national carrier could be the main target.

India has not seen any major terrorist attack after the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which left 164 people killed, and the Government has reason to believe that the terrorist groups might attempt a sensational strike out of sheer desperation.

Mr U K Bansal, Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, told reporters today that the Government supsected that there could be an attempt to target an Indian aircraft, especially one flying abroad.

"We have alerted our agencies to be careful," he said. He said this applied especially to agencies involved in anti-hijacking measures, both within and outside India. He said the agencies would liaise with their counterparts in the neighbouring countries to ensure that the anti-hijacking measures were equally strong on the other side as well.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement that it had directed the stepping up of security arrangements at all concerned airports and airlines following the inputs received from security agencies as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"Following the Ministry’s directives, the level of security to counter threat perception has been upgraded and all necessary measures have been undertaken by the agencies in-charge of Civil Aviation security, including strengthening of anti-hijacking measures.

"There will also be deployment of sky marshals on certain flights; introduction of stepladder frisking as an additional precaution and all other necessary steps with regard to the safety and security of the passengers," the statement added.

NNN

Syndicate content
© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.