Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ed Miliband is the Leader of the Labour Party in England


Ed Miliband has won the Labour leadership in England after narrowly beating Brother David in a dramatic run-off vote ahead of the party's conference. Ed won by just over 1% from former foreign secretary David after second, third and fourth preference votes came into play.

Mr Miliband, 40, replaces acting leader Harriet Harman in the contest triggered by the resignation of Gordon Brown. The former energy secretary appears to have benefited from a last-minute surge of support

Mr Miliband hugged David after the result was announced. In his victory speech, he vowed to unify the party, telling delegates: "The Labour Party in the future must be a vehicle that doesn't just attract thousands of young people but tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of young people who see us as their voice in British politics today."

He paid tribute to his predecessors Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, but added: "We lost the election and we lost it badly. My message to the country is this: I know we lost trust, I know we lost touch, I know we need to change. "Today a new generation has taken charge of Labour, a new generation that understands the call of change."

Prime Minister David Cameron called Mr Miliband from his Chequers country retreat to congratulate him on his victory. In a three-minute conversation, he told the new leader of the opposition that people would tell him that his was "the worst job in the world" but that it was not that bad and promised to keep him in touch with matters of national security.

Ed Miliband responded by saying that he would lead "a responsible opposition" which would work with the government where they could.

After four rounds of voting Ed Miliband won with 175,519 votes, while David Miliband received 147,220 votes.


The Ed Miliband story:

Ed Miliband, who has been MP for Doncaster North since 2005 and was energy and climate change secretary until Labour's election defeat in May, 2010, is a former aide to Gordon Brown at the Treasury, who joined the Labour Party at the age of 17.

The son of the late Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband, he is the 20th person to take on the leadership of the Labour Party.

He positioned himself to the left of his brother, the former foreign secretary who is five years older and who started the four-month contest as frontrunner.

He sold himself to party members as the "change" candidate, securing the backing of three of the four biggest trade unions - Unite, Unison and the GMB.

To some extent, Ed Miliband has spent much of the first 40 years of his life in the shadow of his older, better-known brother David, the former foreign secretary.

He did the same course - Philosophy, Politics and Economics - at Oxford University, at the same college, and followed David into a similar backroom role in the Labour Party, albeit on different sides of the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown divide. The two even lived in a flat in the same building for a while.

They both sat in Gordon Brown's cabinet, with Ed filling the less high profile role of climate change and energy secretary. Ed used to introduce himself at meetings as "the other Miliband".

His stunning victory in the Labour leadership contest may mean David will soon have to start using that line.


Marxist father:

During the leadership contest, both Miliband brothers made much of the fact they went to an ordinary North London comprehensive school. And while this is true, their childhood will probably have been a little more colourful, and certainly more intellectually stimulating, than that of the average North London schoolboy.

Their father, Ralph, a Polish Jew who fled the Nazi invasion of Belgium in 1940, was one of the leading Marxist theorists of his generation - and a fierce critic of the Labour Party. Their mother, Marion Kozak, is also a well-known figures on the British left.


Campaigning mother:

But although he is sometimes said to be politically closer to Ralph than his brother, in truth the two Miliband brothers are worlds away from his brand of socialism.

Although no lover of Soviet-style one-party rule or violent revolution, he had abandoned the Labour Party long before his sons were born, believing socialism could never be achieved through Parliamentary means.

He died in 1994, a few weeks before Tony Blair became Labour leader, but had viewed with unease his sons' part in creating what would become known as New Labour.

Their mother Marion, an early CND activists and human rights campaigner, who is a leading member of the Jews for Justice for Palestinians group, and who, unlike Ralph, remained in the Labour Party, is thought to have been a greater influence on their political development.


Student activism:

Both brothers have said the experience of seeing equally bright pupils, from less privileged backgrounds, failing to reach their potential had a profound impact on their politics and outlook. The more academically gifted of the two, Ed did better than David in his A-levels, following his brother to Corpus Christi College in Oxford, where he became involved in student activism.

After briefly working as a television journalist, Ed was taken on by current deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, then a shadow minister, as a speech writer and researcher. His number-crunching skills soon brought him to the attention of the then shadow chancellor.

When Labour came to power, Ed was pitched into the never-ending turf wars between the Treasury and Downing Street, coming to be seen as one of Mr Brown's key backroom allies.

He gained a reputation as something of a diplomat, whose skill at defusing rows was reportedly much in demand in the escalating battle between Brownites and Blairites.

It is said that Ed would often be despatched from the Brown camp to make peace with Downing Street, where David worked as head of Blair's policy unit. "I was the one who tried to bridge some of the nonsense that there was," is how he now describes his role.

In 2003, he spent a year's sabbatical at Harvard University, to study and lecture at Harvard's Centre for European Studies, before becoming an MP for the safe seat of Doncaster North in 2005. Like his brother, he belongs to the generation of Labour politicians who, until recently, had known nothing but power. He lives in Primrose Hill, the same fashionable North London district where he grew up, with partner Justine and their young son. Another son is on the way in November, 2010.


Iraq war:

He has won support from the left by calling for the retention of the 50p tax rate and opposing a third runway at Heathrow Airport and he was widely praised by green activists during his time as climate change secretary.

The brothers have also disagreed on Iraq - with Ed calling the 2003 invasion a "tragic error" and saying he would have voted to give weapons inspectors more time had he been an MP at the time.

UN Women

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon September14th announced a new agency – UN Women – headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, to oversee all programmes aimed at promoting equality for women.

‘Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector,’ Ban said at the UN headquarters in New York.

‘I’m confident that under her strong leadership, we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world,’ Ban said of Chile’s first female head of state.

He said the creation of UN Women is the fruit of four years of effort to achieve one of his priorities as secretary-general.

The process to select the head of UN Women began shortly after the General Assembly approved the plan for the new agency in July 2009 and a 26-member selection committee proposed three candidates. Ban chose Bachelet, who the committee unanimously endorsed, he said.

UN Women:

UN Women, by amalgamating four United Nations agencies and offices, is to create a new single entity within the Organization to promote the rights and well-being of women worldwide and to work towards gender equality. It is set to become operational in January 2011 and will merge the UN Development Fund for Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

The agency’s status will be comparable to that of Unicef and Bachelet will hold the rank of deputy secretary-general. The General Assembly adopted a resolution on 14.09.2010 on improving system-wide coherence within the UN, and the text spells out the support of Member States for a new consolidated body – to be headed by an under-secretary-general – to deal with issues concerning women.

The resolution means the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) will be merged.

In a statement issued today by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “particularly gratified” that the Assembly had accepted his proposal for “a more robust promotion” of women’s rights under the new entity.

“An important step has been made in strengthening the United Nations’ work in the area of gender equality and empowerment of women, as well as in ensuring the effective delivery of its operational activities for development, which constitutes the other key components of the resolution,” the statement noted.

Mr. Ban said in the statement that he had appointed more women to senior posts than at any other time in the history of the UN, including nine women to the rank of under-secretary-general. The number of women in senior posts has increased by 40 per cent under his tenure.

The Assembly’s resolution tasks Mr. Ban with providing Member States with a comprehensive proposal outlining the mission statement, structure, funding and oversight of the new entity so that it can be created as soon as possible.

The resolution also calls for greater measures to harmonize business practices within the UN development system, ways to improve the funding system for such activities, and other steps to streamline practices within the world body.

After the resolution, UNIFEM – which currently operates in autonomous association with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – issued a statement welcoming “the unanimous strong support” among Member States, which follow three years of extensive consultations on the structure and operational details of the new body.

“UNIFEM trusts that deliberations can resume soon ensuring an informed and swift establishment of the composite entity,” the statement said.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eighteenth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution


The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the official document that outlines the fundamental laws and the structure of government in the island nation of Sri Lanka. This is Sri Lanka’s second republican constitution and was promulgated in its original form on 7th of September 1978 by the National State Assembly.

Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution

The Sri Lankan Parliament this week voted to approve a constitutional amendment, the Eighteenth Amendment that removes the two term limit on the presidency and authorizes the President to appoint the chairs and members of several key independent commissions, judges, and other government officials.

Article 30 of the Sri Lankan Constitution sets the presidential term at six years, but Article 31 limits a president to two terms. The Eighteenth Amendment lifts that limit and allows a president to run for an indefinite number of six-year terms.

The government’s press release says that the change “will enhance the people’s franchise and give the people a wider choice in the election of a President.

The Amendment also empowers the president to appoint the chairs and members of an array of independent commissions, judges, and other government officials. The Amendment abolishes the Constitutional Council, a ten-member body created under the Seventeenth Amendment and comprised of members appointed by both the President and leaders in Parliament (including opposition members and a minor party member). Under the Seventeenth Amendment, the President was empowered to appoint independent commission chairs and members, judges, and certain other officials only upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.

The Eighteenth Amendment replaces the old Constitutional Council with a new Parliamentary Council, consisting of five members of Parliament (with only two opposition members). Under the Eighteenth Amendment the President alone is empowered to appoint independent commission chairs and members, judges, and certain other officials, but “in making such appointments, the President shall seek the observations of the Parliamentary Council.”

The Eighteenth Amendment also requires the President to attend Parliament once every three months. Under the old Article 32, the President had “the right at any time to attend Parliament.”

The Amendment comes in the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 18-point re-election victory in January. The Amendment will allow President Rajapaksa to run for a third term in 2016. The BBC has more on the politics behind the Amendment.

History of the Constitution

When the UNP came to power in July 1977 with a five-sixths majority, the second amendment to the 1972 Constitution was passed on 4 October 1977 to bring in the Executive Presidency, and Mr. J. R. Jayewardene, the then Prime Minister, became the first Executive President on 4 February 1978. Before the 1977 General Election the UNP also sought a mandate from the people to adopt a new Constitution. A Select Committee was appointed to consider the revision of the Constitution. The new Constitution, promulgated on the 7th of September 1978, provided for a unicameral Parliament with legislative power and an Executive President. The term of office of the President and of Parliament is six years. It also introduced a form of multi-member proportional representation as the electoral system. The Parliament was to consist of 196 Members, but this was later increased to 225 by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The Constitution provided for an independent Judiciary and guaranteed Fundamental Rights, providing for any aggrieved person to invoke the Supreme Court for any violation of his or her fundamental rights. The Constitution also provided for a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) who could investigate public grievances against Government Institutions and State officers and give redress. It also introduced anti-defection laws, and referendums on certain bills and on issues of national importance.

Constitutional Amendments

Amendment

Date

Subject

First 20.11.1978 Dealing with jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal
Second 26.02.1979 Dealing with resignations and expulsion of Members of the First Parliament
Third 27.08.1982 To enable the President to seek re-election after 4years; vacation of office of President
Fourth 23.12.1982 Extension of term of First Parliament
Fifth 25.02.1983 To provide for by-election when a vacancy is not filled by the party
Sixth 08.08.1983 Prohibition against violation of territorial integrity
Seventh 04.10.1983 Dealing with Commissioners of the High Court and the creation of Kilinochchi District
Eighth 06.03.1984 Appointment of President’s Counsel
Ninth 24.08.1984 Relating to public officers qualified to contest elections
Tenth 06.08.1986 To repeal section requiring two-thirds majority for Proclamation under Public Security Ordinance
Eleventh 06.05.1987 To provide for a Fiscal for the whole Island; also relating to sittings of the Court of Appeal
Twelfth
(Not enacted)
Thirteenth 14.11.1987 To make Tamil an official language and English a link Language, and for the establishment of Provincial Councils
Fourteenth 24.05.1988 Extension of immunity of President; increase of number of Members to 225; validity of Referendum; appointment of Delimitation Commission for the division of electoral districts into zones; proportional representation and the cut-off point to be 1/8th of the total polled; apportionment of the 29 National List Members
Fifteenth 17.12.1988 to repeal Article 96A to eliminate zones and to reduce the cut-off point to 1/20th
Sixteenth 17.12.1988 to make provision for Sinhala and Tamil to be Languages of Administration and Legislation
Seventeenth 03.10.2001 to make provisions for the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions
Eighteenth 08.09.2010 to remove the sentence that mentioned the limit of the re-election of the President and to propose the appointment of a parliamentary council that decides the appointment of independent posts like commissioners of election, human rights, and Supreme Court judges.

Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution is much maligned for it was seen as the root cause of the island’s many problems, social and political. It created an all powerful executive presidency which had no parallels. The Sri Lankan President has no peers when it comes to the powers he/she enjoys. It is the president’s prerogative to appoint judges, personnel to head all key institutions. He also has the power to dissolve the parliament by dismissing governments. No court can institute action against the president.

The move of incumbent Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking to repeal the Article 31 (2) of the constitution to pave the way for his third-term election sparks controversy in the country. The article stipulates: “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the people shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the people.”

The president’s immense powers were reflected in the statement of Junius Jayawardene, the creator of the system, which said as President of the Republic, the only thing remained beyond him was the capability to convert a man to a woman and vice versa.

Rajapaksa has achieved what none of his predecessors did – ending the 30 year-old military campaign of the Tamil Tiger rebels to set up a separate state in the north and east regions. He was elected for his second term with a resounding 60 percent of the vote. He won the hearts of the majority Sinhalese who for reasons of sheer nationalism voted for the man whom they claimed liberated them from the clutches of terrorism and unified the Sinhala nation.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, the main opposition leader claims Rajapaksa had no mandate for a change. He claims that he did not get enough votes to change it and that what he tried to do now is to use defectors from other parties to vote for it.

Other people may have different opinions. Common people insist that the move is a good one. Ajith Nandalal, a fruit seller said that he supported the move to extend the term for the president.

Rajapaksa has become a cult political figure after his military success. His detractors point to the president’s desire to create a Rajapaksa dynasty.

The Rajapaksas waited in the sidelines as the Senanayake and Bandaranaike dynasties dominated the island’s politics since winning independence from Britain in 1948 until Jayawardene changed the pattern in 1977.

The popular president’s elder son Namal is already a key figure in the administration and the president’s three brothers, Chamal(parliamentary speaker), Basil (the powerful economic development minister) and Gotabhaya (defense secretary and the man credited for plotting the down fall of the Tiger rebels) are all figures of immense stature.

A senior minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that when Jayawardene became president he was 72 years old. Realistically there was no way for him to go beyond a second term. That was why there was only a two term limit.

Rajapaksa was 60 when he was first elected. He will be 72 when he completes his second term in 2016 and by Jayawardene’s precedent should look good for more terms beyond the two.

Rajapaksa is not the only successor of Jayawardene who took office on the strength of the pledge to abolish Jayawardene’s monstrous creation. But like Chandrika Kumaratunga before him, he chose to ignore the pledge once he found himself firmly in the saddle.

The 17th amendment (17A) adopted with cross party support in 2001 was a case in point. The constitutional council was empowered with the presidential prerogative to make the key appointments in the broader concept of depoliticizing the key institutions.

Rajapaksa ignored to implement the 17A throughout citing it was undermining his presidential authority. Purists saw it as the president’s discomfiture to stick to principals of good governance and accountability.

“The government should have implemented the 17A, which would create good governance and improve the rule of law in the country. Therefore this amendment would have an adverse impact on the country,” Newton Wickramasuriya, the chairman of the National Chamber of Industries said.

The Minister of Construction Wimal Weerawansa told reporters that the 18th amendment has eliminated room to topple the government. Weerawansa said the constitutional provisions which sought to weaken the government have now been laid to rest with the passage of the amendment on September 8.

The government’s defense of the amendment is mainly centered around economic development in the post conflict phase that the island is currently going through. “It is generally recognized that to accelerate development a fundamental requirement is a strong executive. That is an absolutely essential condition,” G. L. Peiris, the minister of External Affairs argued.

The Tamil and the Muslim minority have been generally supportive of the powerful presidency relatively better than their majority Sinhala counterparts. Minority leaders, particularly the Tamils used the powers to make demands which the Sinhalese presidents sometimes were obliged to fulfil.

The presidency had at least been able to confer the due status to the Tamil language. Jayawardene in the 1980s was able to legalize the official language status to Tamil.

The main Tamil party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) still stands to oppose 18A.

“It is very undemocratic and flawed in principle,” Suresh Premachandran, a senior TNA legislator claimed. The main Muslim party is in support. “We have risen to the occasion,” Rauff Hakem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress said.

The 1978 constitutional process and the 18A both have a thing in common — the lack of time allowed for public debate to weigh the pros and cons.

US Condemns Sri Lanka Constitutional Amendment:

The United States on Saturday condemned Sri Lanka’s passage of a constitutional amendment granting the president new powers, saying it undermined democracy.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called on Mr. Rajapaksa’s government to take steps to strengthen independent institutions, increase transparency and promote national reconciliation.

The government argued the constitutional change was justified to give Mr. Rajapaksa time to build Sri Lanka’s economy after a long civil war with Tamil Tiger separatists.

Opposition and rights groups criticized the measure as a blow to democracy and a step toward dictatorship by Mr. Rajapaksa. Critics also accuse him of stifling dissent, jailing opponents and disregarding the rule of law as he holds an office with almost unchecked control of the government.

pension scheme for unorganised sector workers

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on September 26th launched a pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector who do not have access to the social security net.

Under the scheme — which is named ‘Swavalamban' — subscribers would get Rs.1,000 from the government each year for a subscription amount of Rs.12,000 per year. The scheme will remain valid for this financial year and for the next three consecutive fiscals.

Mr. Mukherjee has already allocated Rs. 100 crore for the scheme in the budget for 2010-11. It will be managed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India.

A subscriber can enter the scheme at the age of 18 years and will be eligible for pension after turning 60. Mr. Mukherjee said 87 per cent of the country's workforce would benefit from the ‘Swavalamban' scheme, adding that there were eight crore people above 60 who were not getting pension. This figure will rise to 20 crore over the next 17-18 years. On turning 60, the pensioner can withdraw 60 per cent of his contribution, while the balance will be given as a monthly annuity by the LIC. The LIC has been appointed one of the many aggregators who will collect subscription amounts from subscribers.

3 women chosen for Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

For the first time three women figure in the list of nine scientists chosen for the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2010. The awards were announced at a function to mark the foundation day of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research at New Delhi on September 26th.

The award for S&T Innovations for Rural Development 2009 will go to the Indian Oil Corporation's Research and Development Centre in Faridabad.

CSIR Director-General Samir Brahmachari said the award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh, a citation and a plaque and will be presented by the Prime Minister later this year.

The awardees for Biological Sciences are Sanjeev Galande of the National Centre for Cell Science, Pune and Shubha Tole of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

The others are Swapan K. Pati, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore; Sandeep Verma, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur ; G.K. Ananthasuresh, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata (Engineering Sciences); Mitali Mukerji, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi , Umesh Vasudeo Waghmare, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore and Kalobaran Maiti, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (Physical Sciences). This year no award is being given in Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences and Mathematical Sciences.

In his address, Minister for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan noted that India's research funding is almost one per cent of the GDP and is poised to go up. Emphasising that CSIR must have strong presence in the engineering research with other fields, he said “I keenly look forward to the day when CSIR would launch its own commercial entities based on the laboratory generated know-hows.”

He also expressed happiness over CSIR's plan for a “Vision Document-CSIR 2022” which is going to broadly focus on its strengths and needs and chart an action plan.

Mr. Chavan expressed concern over India sliding a place to be at the 31st spot in the world competitive index and called for bringing proactive and enabling measures which should propel India among the first 20 if not in the first 10.

Chennai Super Kings is champion

Chennai Super Kings won the Champions League Twenty20 tournament, defeating Eastern Cape Warriors by eight wickets in September 26th final. The victory was set up by Chennai's spinners, R. Ashwin and Muttiah Muralitharan, who between them claimed five wickets for 32 runs from eight overs. Their performance helped Chennai restrict Warriors to 128 for seven in 20 overs. Michael Hussey (51 n.o.) and M. Vijay (58) controlled the chase by batting sensibly. They ran well between the wickets after dropping the ball at their feet. Vijay was the more aggressive of the two. He played the lofted inside-out drive particularly well, scoring two sixes and a four with the stroke.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Malayalam, Urdu writers claim Jnanpith awards

Malayalam litterateur O.N.V. Kurup and Urdu poet Akhlaq Khan Shahryar were on Friday chosen for the Jnanpith Award for 2007 and 2008 respectively. The selection board chaired by Oriya writer and Jnanpith winner Sitakant Mahapatra made the choices for the top literary awards.

Kurup, popularly known as “ONV”, is a leading voice among contemporary Malayalam poets. As a statement issued by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the trust that presents the award, noted, he began his career as a “progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology.” ONV has 20 collections of poetry and six works of prose to his credit.

Born in 1936 in a Muslim Rajput family in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district, Shahryar shaped himself as an “intellectual poet”, whose poetry strongly expresses an “ideological non-commitment.”

His roots, according to the statement, lie in a desire for self-realisation and his attempt to understand modern problems. “Shahryar is not concerned in his poetry with messages or conclusions. Rather, he expresses the spiritual suffering and psychological anguish of what he regards as the wounded modern man,” it said.

Shahryar, who played a major role in shaping Urdu poetry as it is today, has received many awards including the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Akademi award, the Sahitya Akademi award, the Delhi Urdu Akademi award and the Firaq Sammaan.

ONV's concerns

C. Gouridasan Nair adds from Thiruvananthapuram:

Presenting ‘A Poet's Testament' at a ‘Meet the Author' series organised by the Sahitya Akademi in New Delhi some years ago, ONV had said: “No writer can claim that his works will change the world as he desires. The crown of a saviour is too heavy for him. But he cannot escape from his own concerns for mankind and Mother Earth. For me a poem can be an ardent wish or prayer for peace for all or a motif of love that binds hearts together, or a signal for an imminent storm or a soothing balm over a bleeding wound or even a clarion call for social change… Poetry, irrespective of its language, in its spirit, transcends all geographical barriers to express its concern for the entire world of phenomena.”

Here, he was articulating the perennial concerns of his poetry, from the day his first poem ‘Munnottu' (Forward!) appeared in a local weekly way back in 1946 to those that he pens to this day.

ONV is one of the few to emerge from the turbulent times of the freedom struggle and revolutionary fervour of the 1940s and keep pace with the changing times, constantly rediscovering his poetic voice with changing sensibilities. This he did without compromising his fundamental allegiance to the progressive romantic worldview and always attempting a fruitful fusion of tradition and modernity in his choice of subjects and his poetic utterance.

Born in 1931 at Chavara, a coastal village in south Kerala, ONV burst on to the Malayalam literary scene during what is often called the Pink Decade, of 1946-'56. His poems of this period are marked by revolutionary fervour. But by the 1960s, his poetry began to resonate with tragedy and disillusionment, but he still remained the spokesperson for the toiling millions. Soon, he moved on to much larger concerns about the very survival of the human species in the face of marauding human greed and the clamour for freedom everywhere. His later poetry retained all these elements, but with the sweep of vision and stoic rhythm that comes with long experiences with different facets of life. Regardless of the phases through which it has travelled, ONV's has been poetry of hope and humanity, even if it is about the shade that a green shoot would offer in some far corner of the earth some day in the distant future.

ONV is a prolific writer and one of the finest lyricists in Malayalam. His major works include ‘Daahikkunna Paanapaathram' (The Thirsty Chalice:1956), ‘Mayilpeeli (Peacock Feather:1964), ‘Agnishalabhangal' (Fire Moths:1971), ‘Aksharam' (Alphabet:1974), ‘Karutha Pakshiyude Paattu' (Song of a Black Bird:1977), ‘Uppu' (Salt:1980), ‘Bhoomikk Oru Charama Geetham' (A Dirge for the Earth:1984) and ‘Ujjayini' (Ujjain:1994). He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1998, the Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award for ‘Agnishalabhangal' in 1971, the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘Aksharam' in 1975 and the Vayalar Rama Varma Award for ‘Uppu' in 1982. As lyricist, he had won the National Award for Best Lyricist in 1989 and the State Award for the Best Lyricist over a dozen times.

Kerala's Culture Minister M.A. Baby described the Jnanpith Award for ONV as a recognition for Malayalam and Kerala. Fellow Jnanpith- winner and Malayalam novelist M.T. Vasudevan Nair described it a long-awaited recognition for ONV's poetic genius.

Reservation for OBCs up in West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on 2010, september 24th announced increased reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the State from the existing seven per cent to 17 per cent.

He said a notification has been issued to reserve government jobs under this policy which also classified the backward classes into two separate groups.

This move takes reservation up to 45 per cent in West Bengal.

Around 3.15 crore people constituting 39 per cent of the State's population are under OBC classification.

While one section called ‘more backward' would get a 10 per cent reservation, the other section classified as ‘backward' would get seven per cent quota. Of the 56 groups under ‘extra backward' category, 49 belong to the Muslim communities, West Bengal Minister for Backward Classes Development Jogesh Burman said.

The sub-grouping has been done based on a sample-study conducted by the Anthropology Department of the Calcutta University. The study pertained to a survey of 1.1 lakh households.

On the timing of the announcement, Mr. Bhattacharjee said at a press conference: “It is merely coincidental. This has no connection with the (ensuing) elections; we have done this from our social obligation”.

The Chief Minister said that while the certificates would be given from Monday, following the official decision, block-level camps would be organised by the State Government on October 8 and 11 to take the decision to the people while also distributing certificates.

Peepli Live is India's official entry for Oscars

Peepli Live, the Hindi film produced by actor Aamir Khan, will be India's official entry to this year's Academy Awards (Oscar) in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

The selection committee comprised 15 members, including directors S. Krishnaswamy, Jayaraj and Sekhar Das, sound recordist S.K. Srivastava, writers G. Neelakanta Reddy and C.G. Rajendra Babu, music director Gangai Amaran, and costume designer Anu Vishnu.

Five Tamil films — Singam, Madharasapattinam, Angadi Theru, Raavanan and Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya — were among the 27 films initially shortlisted. Paa, Raajneeti, My Name is Khan, Three Idiots and Pazhassi Raja also made it to the list.

Directed by journalist Anusha Rizvi, Peepli Live is about farmer suicides in the country and talks about how the media and politicians handle the issue.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Commonwealth Games



The Commonwealth Games are multinational and multisport competions held for atheletes from the Commonwealth Nations, i.e, nations that were/are being ruled by the British Government. But what about them make them the third largest sporting event, next only to the Summer Olypics and the Asian Games? It is the vast history that they leave behind them. Who knew that when they started off in 1930, they were called the British Empire Games? So here is some history to tingle your senses...

  • Concept of Games was first proposed by Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891, when he wrote for The Times
  • First held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • In 1930, there were only 11 countries that participated
  • In the first Games, women ony competed in swmming events. Hwever, in 1934, they competed in some atheletic events also
  • Name Game:
    • 1954-66 - Called British Empire and Commonwealth Games
    • 1970-74 - Called British Commonwealth Games
    • 1978 - Called Commonwealth Games
  • Till 1994, only single competition sports had been on the program, thus giving it the name, "Friendly Games". Then, in 1998, Team sports were introduced, which included netball, hockey and rugby 7.
  • In 2000, Commonwealth Youth Games were introduced, for all aspiring atheletes 18 years and younger.
  • In 2002, for the first time, any multisporting event gave medals to elite atheletes with disability (EAD).
  • There are currently 54 members of the Commonwealth Nations, and 71 teams
  • Today, there are 31 sports and 7 para-sports (sports for the disabled). These are categorised ino three broad groups - Core sports, which the host country must include; Optional sports, which the country may or may not choose to include; and Recognised sports, which the country cannot include till the requirements of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) are filled.

India

India is now preparing to host the upcoming Games in October 2010. A quick sneak-peek into out past at the Commonwealth has much to reveal about our participation, with the national pride being attached to it, somewhere in the picture; after all, we have won 272 medals in just 12 Games, that's not a small conquest

  • We joined the Commonwealth in 1947 after having gained independence
  • The first Games we attended was in 1934 and have attended 13 Games since
  • We got 69 medals in the 2002 Games and 50 in the 2006 ones
  • We commonly win medals in boxing, badminton, wrestling, weight lifting, shooing, atheletics, judo, hockey and table tennis

Interesting

Interested in the Commonwealth Games but couldn't care less about the where the first Games was held or how 'Hamara Bharat Mahan'? Just want some conversation starters to entertain on the dinner table? Well, this section is just for, our gossip lovers!

  • For the first Games, the City of Hamilton provided $ 30000 to cover the travel cost of participants. They actually funded their costs!
  • The 1942 and 1946 Games were not held due to WW II
  • Cricket has been played in only one of the Commonwealth Games, in 1998, Kuala Lampur
  • Only six teams have attended every Games : Austarlia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scottland and Wales. Highest scorers from these are Australia in ten Games, England in seven and Canada in one
  • United Kingdoms has hosted the game five times, Australia and Canada four times each, and New Zealand thrice. Auckand (New Zealand) and Edinburgh (United Kingdom) are the only cities to have hosted the Games twice
  • Star Atheletes:
    • Willi Wood, a lawn bowler from Scotland, UK, is the first competitor to have competed in seven Commonwealth Games from 1974 - 2002
    • Greg Yelavich, a shooter from New Zealand, won 11 medals in six Games from 1986 - 2006
    • Ian Thorpe, an Australian swimmer, has won 10 gold medals for swimming in the Games, his first few being when he was just 15 (1998), despite the fact that as a child he was allergic to chlorine
  • Boycotts: Most controversies arise due to apertheid, South Africa being involved in most
    • 1978 - Nigeria
    • 1986 - 32 of 59 African, Asian, and Caribbean nations

India's win in the Games:

Games Entered Gold Silver Bronze Total
1934 British Empire Games - - 1 1
1938 British Empire Games - - - -
1954 British Empire & Commonwealth Games - - - -
1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games 2 1 - 3
1966 British Empire & Commonwealth Games 3 4 3 10
1970 British Commonwealth Games 5 3 4 12
1974 British Commonwealth Games 4 8 3 15
1978 Commonwealth Games 5 5 5 15
1982 Commonwealth Games 5 8 3 16
1990 Commonwealth Games 13 8 11 32
1994 Commonwealth Games 6 11 7 24
1998 Commonwealth Games 7 10 8 25
2002 Commonwealth Games 30 22 17 69
2006 Commonwealth Games 22 17 10 49
Total Medals 102 97 72 271

Nations

Countries which have participated, and locations of the games
Countries which have participated, and locations of the games.
Purple = Countries which have hosted the Empire games or Commonwealth games, or plan to host the games
Red = Other countries which enter the games
Green = Countries which have entered the Empire games or Commonwealth games but no longer do

The years/locations of the games is shown with black dots.

Africa
Botswana Cameroon Ghana Kenya
Lesotho Malawi Mauritius Mozambique
Namibia Nigeria Rwanda Seychelles
Sierra Leone South Africa Swaziland Tanzania
The Gambia Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe
Americas
Belize for Bermuda.')" for Canada.')" Falkland Islands
Guyana Newfoundland* St. Helena
Asia
Aden* Bangladesh Brunei Darussalam Hong Kong*
India Malaya* Malaysia Maldives
Pakistan Sabah* Sarawak* Singapore
South Arabia* Sri Lanka

Caribbean
Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Bahamas Barbados
British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Dominica Grenada
Jamaica Montserrat St. Kitts & Nevis St. Lucia
St. Vincent & The Grenadines Trinidad & Tobago Turks & Caicos Islands
Europe
Cyprus England Gibraltar Guernsey
Isle of Man Jersey Malta Northern Ireland
Scotland Wales

Oceania
Australia Cook Islands Kiribati Nauru
New Zealand Niue Norfolk Island Papua New Guinea
Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu
Vanuatu


* Former Commonwealth nations or territories that have sent teams to past Commonwealth Games.



Delhi gets Flag for XIX Commonwealth Games in 2010

On the closing ceremony of 18th Commonwealth Games at Melbourne in 2006, New Delhi took the Commonwealth Games flag. It was an uphill task for Delhi to get the honour of hosting the 19th Commonwealth Games from 3rd October 2010 to 14th October 2010. To host Commonwealth Games in 2010, Delhi defeated 22 other countries by 43 votes.

On 10 February 2005, the Organising Committee (OC) Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi was born as a registered society to entrust the organising and hosting of the XIX Commonwealth Games to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The Government of Delhi is leaving no stones unturned to make these Commonwealth Games a gigantic success.

Ongoing Projects for Commonwealth Games 2010

For this, a new "Commonwealth Games Village" is being constructed by the Emaar MGF Land Private Limited, on National Highway 24 adjacent to the famous Akshardham Temple, New Delhi. The Commonwealth Games Village will have 2 to 5 bedrooms Wi-Fi enabled "GREEN" apartments with 100% power backup and lots of unparallel features. The work for this project of Commonwealth Games Village is going on in full swing and is expected to complete on time.

India plans to host the first ever green Commonwealth Games (CWG) in 2010. Considering the climate of Delhi in October, around 300, 000 new potted plant species are being developed by the Scientists of Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun. These flowers will have a special characteristic of better longevity and begin flowering/blossoming in a month's time.

Keeping with the green theme, the Organising Committee plans to make this whole Commonwealth extravaganza carbon free. 'Each one of us has a role to play to ensure that India hosts the first green Commonwealth Games. There have been green Olympics but this has not been the case with the Commonwealth Games. We have begun with the Thyagaraj stadium and Games Village and will make sure that every stadium in the country is environment friendly,' Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said.

Earlier 21.12 Billion Rupees were allotted by the Indian Government for the timely and up to the mark completition of Commonwealth projects but on 7 July 2009, Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian finance minister scaled it to 34.72 Billion Rupees. One can easily see how serious the Indian Government is to make Commonwealth Games 2010 a memorable experience for one and all.



S. No Venue Year No of Countries
1 Hamilton, Canada 1930 11
2 London, United Kingdom 1934 16
3 Sydney, Australia 1938 15
4 Auckland, New Zealand 1950 12
5 Vancouver, Canada 1954 24
6 Cardiff, United Kingdom 1958 35
7 Perth, Australia 1962 35
8 Jamaica, West Indies 1966 34
9 Edinburgh, United Kingdom 1970 42
10 Christchurch, New Zealand 1974 38
11 Edmonton, Canada 1978 48
12 Brisbane, Australia 1982 47
13 Edinburgh, United Kingdom 1986 26
14 Auckland, New Zealand 1990 55
15 Victoria, Canada 1994 64
16 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1998 70
17 Manchchester, United Kingdom 2002 72
18 Melbourne, Australia 2006 71
19 New Delhi, India 2010 85

Sensex regains 20,000 level



The BSE benchmark Sensex shot up by over 135 points to regain the magical 20,000-level in the opening trade on Tuesday for the first time since January 17, 2008, on spurt in buying of oil and gas, capital goods and banking sector stocks.

The 30-share index of the Bombay Stock Exchange surged by 135.42 points to 20,041.52 in the opening trade, for the first time since January 17, 2008. All the sectoral indices were trading with gains up to 1.30 per cent.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange also crossed the crucial 6,000 points to trade 36.40 points higher at 6,016.85 points.

Both indices have regained these levels after almost 32 months. Analysts said sustained inflows of overseas funds, bolstered by fast expanding economy, helped indices to touch the 32-month high.

Revisiting Indian poverty


Even as India once more self-declares its “arrival on the world stage” with a symbol for the Indian rupee, a global assessment presents a depressing picture of India’s actual economic performance. In a study whose conclusions were to be expected, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHDI) has revealed that an appropriate index of poverty (and deprivation) finds its incidence in India and elsewhere to be much greater than estimated by the controversy-dogged measures of “income poverty” that abound.

Commissioned by the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme to evolve a multi-dimensional approach to and define a more appropriate index of poverty for inclusion in the 20th anniversary edition of its flagship Human Development Report, the OPHDI has recently completed its study that provides a new assessment of the level and distribution of global poverty.

Authored by Sabina Alkire and James Foster, the new measures of poverty go beyond the income measures to capture the range of deprivations individuals suffer because of factors varying from inadequate education to ill health and poor standards of living. Thus, besides the conventional head-count of those below a certain income or calorie-consumption level the Alkire-Foster index attempts (as the Human Development Index had done) to aggregate measures of a range of deprivations. It also attempts to measure the intensity of poverty in terms of the average number of deprivations individuals in households suffer.

It is to be expected that as we move from purely income measures to more multi-dimensional indices the incidence and intensity of poverty would increase. But what is noteworthy in the evidence on the Indian case is not just the gap between measures of income poverty and societal deprivation, but the story it tells about the incidence of poverty in certain Indian regions when compared with other poor countries of the world and about the poor progress made over time in addressing certain kinds of deprivation. Thus, OPHI research suggests that as compared with 410 million multi-dimensionally poor people resident in 26 of the poorest African countries there are as many as 421 million in just eight of the poorer Indian states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal). Further, if we take an indicator such as the proportion of malnourished children, progress with dealing with acute malnourishment seems non-existent: the figure across India stood at 46 per cent in 2005-06 as compared with 47 per cent in 1998-99.

These and other similar pieces of evidence indicate that the policy establishment must exercise more than modicum of caution when advertising India’s economic success and announcing its arrival as a second-tier global power. Moreover, since these developments occur in the midst of India’s much-vaunted departure from the “Hindu rate of growth” and its climb to a 9 per cent rate, they raise two questions. First, does GDP growth tell us anything about economic performance defined to include some measure of economic well-being? Second, have we been experiencing in this country a process of growth which is hugely inaequalising, with attendant implications for social order?

India’s elite did not require the OPHI to alert it on the need to pose these questions. It has for long been known that the official estimates of even income poverty had cynically misused numbers that were inter-temporally incomparable because of changes in the questionnaire used by the National Sample Survey Organisation in its quinquennial consumer expenditure surveys. This helped present a picture of substantial decline in the incidence of poverty over time, and especially during the years of liberalisation. Moreover, even measures of poverty that adjusted for the problem of incomparability were based on a poverty line so low that if we took an expenditure level of, say, Rs. 20 a day, the incidence of poverty more than doubled. As a result we now have a multiplicity of estimates of the number and proportion of the income poor in India.

But this too has not helped settle the controversy, because the evidence pointed to very different estimates. While the “poverty lines” for rural and urban areas are supposed to be (price-adjusted) representations of the income required to deliver defined individual calorific intakes, direct figures on actual calorific intake point to much larger populations being deprived of a minimum of nutrition than the income poverty measures do.

Finally, it has been known that once we went beyond pure income measures of poverty and looked at other indicators of deprivation, not only was the incidence of deprivation substantial in terms of indicators varying from literacy to child malnutrition, but the progress in alleviating certain forms of deprivation had slowed during the high growth years. The problem is not just that India has significantly underperformed when addressing poverty and deprivation over 60-plus years of post-Independence development, but that progress has slowed in precisely those years when the surpluses available to tackle this problem has increased substantially. The problem is not inadequate growth, but one of institutional inadequacy. It is also one of an increasing reluctance of the elite to address those inadequacies and, therefore, of the failure of what is undisputedly one of the most remarkable experiments with parliamentary democracy.

China’s space programme gears up for missions to Moon, Mars



China is planning giant strides into deep space exploration by sending its first lunar manned mission by 2025, a probe to Mars by 2013 and to Venus by 2015, intensifying its space race with India which also plans Moon and Sun missions.

China’s first step toward expected to orbit the Moon, land and return to Earth by 2020, said Ye Peijian, Commander in Chief of the Chang’e (lunar landing) programme and an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Ye told a meeting Space scientists that China plans to launch its first manned moon landing in 2025, a probe to Mars by 2013 and to Venus by 2015.

“China has the full capacity to accomplish Mars exploration by 2013,” Ye was quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times newspaper.

The unmanned mission to the Moon was seen as a counter to India’s Chandrayan-1, which left its foot prints on the Moon by crashing on to the lunar surface with the tricolour, stealing a march over China by becoming the fourth country to do so after the U.S., Russia and Japan.

China, earlier, had a head start by flying a man into space in 2003 thus becoming the third nation only after United States and the Soviet Union and Chang’e 1 was launched in 2007 which entered lunar orbit and sent pictures of the moon.

India plans to launch its Chandrayan-II mission in 2012-13 with its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which would include a lunar orbiter to probe the moon surface for geological date and look for helium-3.

ISRO also plans to send manned space flight by 2015 and a human moon mission by 2025 besides plans to send a satellite (Aditya) to study Sun corona with more advanced GSLV launchers.

China has also announced plans to set up its orbital space station by 2020.

Earlier this month, Chief Engineer overseeing China’s lunar exploration programme Wu Weiren said that work on the Chang’e-2 lunar orbiter had entered the pre-launch testing stage and it would make its first trial flight before the end of the year.

Chang’e-2 will carry out a soft-landing test in preparation for the launch of Chang’e-3, which is scheduled for 2013. The Chang’e Project is named after a Chinese legend of a goddess who took a magic elixir and flew to the moon.

Space-programme officials had said previously that the Chang’e-2 mission would be launched in October around the Mid Autumn Festival, dedicated to the Moon Goddess, Chang’e, but no precise date has been given.

Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China’s lunar orbiter project, said Beijing plans to launch an orbital space station by around 2020 is achievable, based on aerospace technology development and the success of future manned missions.

China’s space programme will pose great challenges to scientists and technicians, Mr. Ouyang said. The space station will be quite small in size compared with the International Space Station, a joint collaboration between 16 countries, including the U.S. and Russia.

Chinese analysts, however, dismissed international concerns that Beijing is engaging in an outer-space arms race, stressing that recent activities and future missions are for scientific purposes and for the benefit of mankind.

Tendulkar short-listed for three awards

Maestro Sachin Tendulkar and dashing opener Virender Sehwag of India, along with South African batsman Hashim Amla and England off-spinner Graeme Swann, have been short-listed for the top honours at the LG ICC Awards 2010.

The votes have now been cast by the independent 25-person academy and one of the four players will receive the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Cricketer of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Bangalore on October 6.

Tendulkar, Sehwag and Amla are also in the running for the Test Player of the Year award, alongside South Africa paceman Dale Steyn.

Tendulkar is in contention too for the ODI Player of the Year award with the Australian duo of Shane Watson (pace bowling all-rounder) and Ryan Harris (paceman) as well as South Africa's A.B. de Villiers (batsman).

The Twenty20 International Performance of the Year sees New Zealand's Brendon McCullum short-listed alongside Australia's Michael Hussey, Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and South Africa's Ryan McLaren.

Player short-list (in alphabetical order): Cricketer of the Year: Hashim Amla (SA), Virender Sehwag (Ind), Graeme Swann (Eng), Sachin Tendulkar (Ind).

Test Player of the Year: Hashim Amla (SA), Virender Sehwag (Ind), Dale Steyn (SA), Sachin Tendulkar (Ind).

ODI Player of the Year: Ryan Harris (Aus), Sachin Tendulkar (Ind), A.B. de Villiers (SA), Shane Watson (Aus).

Emerging Player: Umar Akmal (Pak), Steven Finn (Eng), Angelo Mathews (SL), Tim Paine (Aus).

Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year: Ryan ten Doeschate (Ned), Trent Johnson (Ire), Kevin O'Brien (Ire), Mohammed Shahzad (Afg).

Twenty20 International Performance of the Year: Michael Hussey (Aus) for his 60 not out off 24 balls against Pakistan in the semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20 2010 in St. Lucia on May 14, Mahela Jayawardene (SL) for his 100 off 64 balls against Zimbabwe in Guyana on May 3 and his 98 not out off 56 balls against West Indies in Bridgetown on May 2010 both during the ICC World Twenty20 2010, Ryan McLaren (SA) for his five for 19 against the West Indies on May 19 in Antigua, Brendon McCullum (NZ) for his 116 not out off 56 balls against Australia in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 28.

Women's Cricketer of the Year: Katherine Brunt (Eng), Shelley Nitschke (Aus), Ellyse Perry (Aus), Stafanie Taylor (WI).

Umpire of the Year: Aleem Dar, Steve Davis, Tony Hill, Simon Taufel.

Spirit of Cricket: India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

57th National Film Awards

The 57th National Film Awards has given a big boost to veteran director Shaji N Karun, who was ignored by the Kerala State Award Committee.

Shaji’s off-beat and critically acclaimed Kutty Sranku won four major National Awards.

Kutty Sranku has got four National awards, ‘Swarna Kamal’ Award for Best Film, Best Cinematographer Anjali Shukla, Story and Screenplay for PF Mathews and Harikrishnan , Best Costumes Jayakumar . The film also got Sreekar Prasad a special jury award for his editing in the film

Shaji N Karun the director of the film said: “I’m honoured that Kutty Sranku won so many awards in different categories. I feel Mammootty should have got the best actor award for his sincere performance in the film.”

Pazhassi Raja, which had swept Kerala State and Filmfare awards had to be satisfied with only Best Sound for Resul Pookutty and Background Score for Ilayaraja. Mammootty was heavily tipped to get Best Actor award for the film but at the last minute was piped to the post by Amitabh Bachchan for his Paa.

The 57th National Film Awards were announced in New Delhi on 2010 September 15.

Highlights:


Best feature film: Kutti Sranku (Malayalam)

Best Actor: Amitabh Bachchan (Paa/Hindi)

Best Actress: Ananya Chatterjee (Abohomaan/Bengali)

Best popular film providing wholesome entertainment: : 3 Idiots (Hindi)

Best Director: Raju Hirani (3 Idiots/Hindi) / Rituparno Ghosh (Abohomaan/Bengali)

Best Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra (3 Idiots/Hindi)

Best Supporting Actor: Farooq Sheikh (Lahore/Hindi)

Best Supporting actress: Arundhati Nag (Paa/Hindi)

Best Child Artists: Jiva, Anba Karasu (Pasanga/Tamil)

Best film on Social issues: Well Done Abba (Hindi)

Best Choreography: K Shivsankar ( Magadhira/Telugu)

Best Kids movie: Ottani Pati & Keshu

Best camera work: Anjali Sukla (Kutti Sranku/Malayalam)

Best Music Director: Amit Trivedi (Dev D)

Best Playback Singer (Male): Rupam Islam (Mahanagar)

Best Playback Singer(Female): Nilanjana Sarkar (Housefull)

Sound Engineer: Resul Pookkutty

Best Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire (3 Idiots/Behti Hawaa)

Best background score: Ilayaraja (Kerala Verma Pazasi Raja)

Best National Integration Film: Delhi 6 (Hindi)

Best Hindi Film: Paa


INDIRA GANDHI AWARD FOR BEST DEBUT FILM OF A DIRECTOR: Lahore (Hindi)

Director: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan


AWARD FOR BEST POPULAR FILM PROVIDING WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT: 3 Idiots (Hindi)

Director: Rajkumar Hirani


NARGIS DUTT AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE FILM ON NATIONAL INTEGRATION: Delhi 6

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra


BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: Well Done Abba (Hindi)

Director: Shyam Benegal


BEST CHILDREN’S FILM: Putaani Party (Kannada) & Keshu (Malayalam)

Directors: Ramchandra P.N. (Putaani Party) and Sivan (Keshu)


Music Director (Background Score) : Ilayaraja


SPECIAL JURY AWARD: Kaminey (Hindi)

Kutty Srank (Malayalam)

Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (Malayalam)

Sreekar Prasad

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Magadheera (Telugu)

R. Kamal Kannan

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Magadheera(Telugu)

K.Siva Shankar

BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION

BEST ASSAMESE FILM: Basundhara Director : Hiren Bora

BEST BENGALI FILM: Abohomaan Director : Rituparno Ghosh


BEST HINDI FILM: Paa Director : R. Balakrishnan


BEST KANNADA Film: Kanasemba Kudureyaneri Director : Girish Kasaravalli


BEST KONKANI Film: Palatadcho Munis Director : Laxmikant Shetgaonkar


BEST MALAYALAM FILM: Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja Director : T. Hariharan


BEST MARATHI FILM: Natarang Director : Ravindra Harishchandra Jadhav

BEST TAMIL FILM: Pasanga Director : Pandiraj


SPECIAL MENTION: Padmapriya


BEST NON-FEATURE FILM (Sharing): The Postman directed by B. Manohar

Bilal directed by Sourav Sarangi


BEST DEBUT NON-FEATURE FILM OF A DIRECTOR (Sharing): Vaishnav Jan Toh directed by Kaushal Oza and Ekti Kaktaliyo Golpo by Tathagata Singha

BEST COMPILATION FILM: Pancham Unmixed

Director: Brahmanand S Siingh


BEST ENVIRONMENT FILM INCLUDING AGRICULTURE: In for Motion

Director: Anirban Dutta


BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: Mr. India

Director: Haobam Paban Kumar


SPECIAL JURY AWARD: Kelkkunnundo

Child artist :Aasna Aslam


SHORT FICTION FILM: Boond

Director: Abhishek Pathak

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New WPI series in place

Inflation for the month of August stood at 8.51 per cent, according to the new Wholesale Price Inflation (WPI) series released by the government 2010, 14th September.

As per the old series with a base year of 1993-94, WPI inflation stood at 9.5 per cent for the month, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Overall inflation in August witnessed a fall of 1.27 percentage points from 9.78 per cent in the month of July, as per the new series, which considers 2004-05 as the base year.

As per the new WPI index, inflation was 0.31 per cent in August last year. “It (the new index) will help in informing both the government and people how the prices are moving. This will give a robust picture and reflect actual price movement,” Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.

He said food inflation is still a cause of concern. As per the new WPI data released today, prices of primary articles - food, non-food articles and minerals - shot up by 15.76 per cent on an annual basis.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: “Inflationary pressure is still there because food prices have gone up because of the erratic monsoon, but I do hope annualised inflation would be much lower in the new series.”

Year-on-year, food articles became dearer by 14.64 per cent, while prices of non-food articles likes fibres and oilseeds soared by 16.04 per cent. Minerals became 23.82 per cent more expensive. Fuel and power, including LPG and petrol, registered an annual inflation of 12.55 per cent.

Manufactured products - foods products, beverages, tobacco, cotton textiles, wood, paper, etc. - saw an average price rise of 4.78 per cent on an annual basis.

However, sugar became cheaper by 0.63 per cent year-on-year and leather and leather products also witnessed a fall of 0.08 per cent.

Consumer items widely used by the middle class, like ice-cream, mineral water, microwave ovens, washing machines, gold and silver are reflected in the new series of WPI inflation.

The new WPI series has 241 more items than the old index. With the additional items, the WPI now measures a total of 676 items against 435 earlier.

New tourism policy unveiled

A new tourism policy for the Andhra Pradesh State was unveiled on 2010, 13th september after a gap of 12 years with focus on attracting private sector investments in tourism and hospitality and promoting tourist destinations in all the regions.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, who held a review meeting with Tourism Minister J. Geeta Reddy and officials here on Monday, cleared the draft policy . He will officially announce the policy on September 27, World Tourism Day. The new policy aims at giving 20-25 per cent capital investment subsidy not exceeding Rs.30 lakh for investments up to Rs.100 crore. The subsidy for mega projects beyond Rs.100 crore will be decided on a case to case basis. The Tourism Department will also maintain a land bank for allotment to projects on lease.

Announcing the details to reporters, Ms. Geeta Reddy said that incentives would be given to private sector for promoting new tourism products like heli tourism, beach, water bodies, eco, adventure, rural, heritage tourism besides ‘Aam Aadmi' tourism.

Heli tourism is meant for small families/groups to fly by helicopters to different destinations. Fly Tech Aviation Academy showed interest in the project.

Under ‘Aam Aadmi' tourism, affordable, clean accommodation, bed and breakfast facilities, dormitories would be developed.

The advantage of Hyderabad as an attractive Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination would be maximised by promoting its world-class facilities. A society was formed with government officials, representatives of convention centres, star hotels to work as collective partners, she said.

A society was also formed with stakeholders to give thrust to medical tourism and a similar arrangement would be in place with producers, directors from AP, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to encourage film tourism and facilitate shootings, she added.

Four Institutes of Hospitality Management would be set up at Warangal, Medak, Vijayawada and Kadapa.

Turkey backs constitutional reform

Turkish voters have backed a package to reform the Constitution, which so far has favoured the military, the self-proclaimed guardian of Turkish secularism.

The results of a referendum held on Sunday showed that 58 per cent of the voters approved the constitutional reform package mooted by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The amendments include 26 articles, which aim to curtail the powers of the military by making the armed forces more accountable to civil courts. Besides, it lifts the immunity over the plotters of the 1980 military coup, following which Turkey's current Constitution was drafted. The approval of the package will also open the door for key judicial reforms, including the restructuring of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors.

Both institutions have in the past clashed with Mr. Erdogan's party, which has stressed its commitment to democracy and secularism, notwithstanding its Islamic roots. Ahead of the referendum, Turkey's Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said: “This new model will prevent today's legal system from leading the country into a judicial dictatorship, while paving the way for other progressive reforms.”

Sunday's referendum, which saw a 78-per-cent turnout, also allows workers to join more than one union. Besides, it recognises the rights of civil servants and other state employees to engage in collective bargaining. It also promotes gender equality and bars discrimination against children and the elderly.

Analysts say the referendum has significantly boosted Mr. Erodagan's personal standing, and is a major step forward for the AKP as it gears up for Turkey's scheduled parliamentary elections next year. The AKP has also pledged it would go all out for the adoption a brand new Constitution after its much anticipated victory in the 2011 polls. “The main message out of the ballot boxes is that our nation said yes to advanced democracy, yes to freedoms, yes to the superiority of law — not the law of the superiors — and yes to the sovereignty of national will,” said Mr. Erdogan in a televised address. The Turkish government says its amendments align with European Union's criteria for membership, which Turkey aspires.

Observers say Turkey is likely to show greater assertion in its foreign policy in the wake of the referendum. Along with Brazil, it has already emerged as prominent player in nuclear diplomacy surrounding Iran. Turkey's popularity in the Arab world has soared after Israel attacked a boat hired by a Turkish charity that was carrying relief material for the besieged residents of the Gaza strip.