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China to build railway lines up to India border

Written By Kvartha People on Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:16 PM

China is planning the construction of two railway lines in Tibet that will extend up to the border with India and are expected to be completed by 2020, State media reported on Thursday.
The railway lines will run from the town of Shigatse, which next month will be connected to the Qinghai-Tibet railway line that extends to Lhasa. Traffic on the 254 km Lhasa-Shigatse line, which began to be built in 2010, will commence next month.
A top official of the Tibet Autonomous Region government said the railway line will be further extended during the 13th five year plan period (2016-2020), running to two regions near the border with India: Yatung, a trade centre close to Sikkim and Bhutan, and to Nyingchi in the east, near the Arunachal Pradesh border.
A third railway line will be build to Gyirong, where there is a trade and border checkpoint connecting Tibet’s Yatung county and Nepal.
The projects, Chinese experts said, will have both economic and strategic dimensions.
“It will accelerate transportation of the mineral products, which could only be transmitted through highways that often risk being cut off during rainy seasons or see vehicle turnovers,” Zhu Bin, an official of a mineral company, told the official People’s Daily.
The party-run Global Times quoted experts as saying the projects would also have an impact on the boundary dispute with India.
“The Indians have lately been working on adding infrastructure in the South Tibet region, in order to strengthen control,” Liu Zongyi, a scholar at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the newspaper, referring to Arunachal Pradesh which China claims as “South Tibet”.
“They have been sensitive to how the Chinese government moves in the southwestern area of Tibet,” he said, adding that “the bargaining chips will be increased on the Chinese side if people in the South Tibet region see better economic development in southwestern Tibet.” 
9:16 PM | 0 comments

Train hits school bus

  Twenty students and driver of a school bus were killed and 19 children injured when a passenger train rammed it into it at unmanned level crossing near Masaipet village in Medak district, about 40 kms from Hyderabad on Thursday morning.
Thirteen students of Kakatiya Techno School in Toopran, about five kms from the school were killed on the spot while the others succumbed to bleeding injuries at two private hospitals in Kompalli on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The driver Bhikshpati too died in the accident.
The injured students were first rushed to Balaji and RR hospitals in Kompally and later shifted to Yashoda hospital in Secunderabad for better medicare. The Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao rushed to the hospital to personally monitor the situation.
According to eye witness accounts and police sources, Nanded-Secunderabad passenger train was approaching Masaipet when the school driver tried to speed past the unmanned level crossing resulting in the ghastly accident. The accident occurred at 9.10 am as the train was running four hours behind schedule. On version said there was a building which could have obstructed the view of the driver.
It is said students screamed at the driver not to rush through the level crossing but the latter ignored their pleas. The badly mangled bus was dragged for a distance of one km before the train came to a halt.tr
9:01 PM | 0 comments

4 Indian tailors evacuated from Gaza

Written By Kvartha People on Monday, July 21, 2014 | 10:31 AM

Four Indian tailors working in Gaza for the last two years have been evacuated unharmed with the help of the Representative Office of India (ROI) in Ramallah, a top UN official said.

The four, Abdur Rehman from Lucknow, Anwar Hussein belonging to Mumbai, Kamil hailing from Badam Ganj and Rashid Ahmed of Bareilly were working for a Palestinian businessman.

They left the strip on Sunday, one of the bloodiest day in the 13 days of conflict that saw 97 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers dead in one of the fiercest attack launched by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in recent years.

They had moved to Gaza two years ago from Qatar. The ROI was in constant touch with them since the beginning of Israeli offensive and coordinated their evacuation efforts with UN Access Coordination office in Gaza. They were received at the Erez crossing by the staff of the ROI, who helped them escape to Jordan through the Allenby crossing. The tailors would be leaving for India from Amman on Monday.

Pushkar Sharma, an Indian-American representative of the UN Access coordination office in Gaza, said that the Indians, along with a few other foreign nationals, crossed over through the Erez crossing around noon before the two-hour humanitarian ceasefire brokered by the Red Cross began.

Some more Indians, married to Palestinians or working at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charities, have decided not to leave the coastal Strip because of personal or moral reasons.

“The Indian mission in Palestine has been constantly in touch with us and extended all help which gives us a lot of strength”, an Indian woman from Vishakhapatnam, married to a Palestinian and living in Khan Younis town of Gaza with her six children, told PTI.
10:31 AM | 0 comments

Rebels hold train carrying bodies

Britain, Germany and France agreed on Sunday they should be ready to ratchet up sanctions on Russia over the downing of a Malaysian jet carrying 298 passengers when European foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday.

Meanwhile rebels in eastern Ukraine on Sunday took control of the bodies recovered from downed Malaysia Airlines plane even as U.S. and European leaders demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin make sure rebels give international investigators full access to the crash site. The rebels also have allegedly recovered the black boxes from the plane and will hand them over to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a rebel leader said.

Reflecting the continued international pressure, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron in statement demanded that President Putin force separatists controlling the site to “finally allow rescuers and investigators to have free and total access to the zone.”

The French presidency warned in a statement that “If Russia does not immediately take the necessary measures, consequences will be drawn by the European Union at the Foreign Affairs Council which takes place on Tuesday.”
10:27 AM | 0 comments

Rebels have taken all plane crash bodies

Written By Kvartha People on Sunday, July 20, 2014 | 4:42 PM

Separatist rebels have taken away all the 196 bodies that workers recovered from the Malaysian Airlines plane crash site to an unknown location, Ukraine's emergency services said Sunday.

Associated Press journalists saw the rebels putting bagged bodies onto trucks at the crash site Saturday in eastern Ukraine and driving them away. On Sunday, AP journalists saw no bodies at the crash site and emergency workers were searching the sprawling area only for body parts.

Ukrainian spokeswoman Nataliya Bystro said Sunday that the emergency workers had been laboring under duress and were forced to give the bodies to the armed rebels.

"Where they took the bodies — we don't know," Bystro told The Associated Press.
4:42 PM | 0 comments

Modi's oath taking costs 17.60 lakhs

An expenditure of at least Rs 17.60 lakh was incurred on the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, an RTI reply has found.

The reply provided by the President’s Secretariat said approximate cost incurred on the arrangements of the oath-taking ceremony related to stage, furniture and other allied items is Rs 17.6 lakhs.

In its response to activist Ramesh Verma, the Secretariat said that it does not maintain the records of expenditure function-wise.

“Hence the information sought for cannot be provided. It is informed that the expenditure on functions in incurred by the spending units from the annual budget allotted to respective head of accounts,” a reply from CPIO Saurabh Vijay said.

The activist had sought to know from the President’s Secretariat “head-wise” details on the expenditure incurred on the oath-taking ceremony of Mr. Modi and total number of persons who attended the ceremony.
4:35 PM | 0 comments

Congress-N.C end alliance in J&K

Azad, Soni announce Congress will go it alone; Omar says to spin it “now as a Congress decision is wrong” as he had conveyed it to Sonia 10 days ago

The National Conference-Congress coalition in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday hit the rocks as the two parties announced that they will go it alone in the Assembly polls in the State due later this year.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and Saifuddin Soz announced in Jammu that the party will fight the Assembly elections alone and will not enter into any pre-poll alliance.

“After extensive talks with Congress leaders and workers at all levels, the party has come to the conclusion that we are going to fight the forthcoming Assembly elections on our own strength,” Ms. Soni, in-charge of J&K Congress, told reporters.

“We will put up candidates or support some of the traditional alliance candidates on all the 87 seats in J&K alone”, she said.

Minutes later, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is working president of the National Conference, took to Twitter to announce that he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi 10 days ago that there will be no pre-poll alliance in the State.

“I met Mrs Gandhi 10 days ago & thanked her for all her support. I conveyed NC’s decision to fight the elections alone,” Mr. Abdullah said on Twitter
4:33 PM | 0 comments

Become agents of change, says President to Students of Central University of Kerala

Written By Kvartha Alpha on Friday, July 18, 2014 | 5:30 PM

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee attended the first Convocation of the Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod

Speaking on the occasion, the President said success of India will lie in mobilizing all the positive forces to fight the scourges of poverty, deprivation and backwardness. The students present here enjoy a privileged position by virtue of having access to higher education. This privilege comes with a huge moral responsibility. Their success will lie in becoming the agent of change the catalyst in mitigating the hardships and sufferings of the people. The President said “it is alright to have personal ambitions. But it should not be the ‘be all and end all’ in life. While pursuing your individual goals, always keep the bigger picture; the higher calling; the greater good, in mind. Treat your personal aims and the greater good as one integrated whole, without separating them”.

The President said if students are the future of this nation, it is the teacher who shapes them. Teachers in ancient India led exemplary lives, worthy of the reverence they received. India needs such teachers in greater numbers today, who are not only dedicated towards teaching and committed to their students but are also driven by a selfless desire to mould the moral fibre of our society.

The President named the campus of the University 'Tejaswini Hills, after the river in the region. In the context of the unfortunate ‘Endosulphan’ tragedy at Kasaragod, the President welcomed the initiative to establish a School of Medicine and Public Health. He said this school should be a platform for higher learning and research in all systems of medicine, with particular emphasis on community healthcare and affordable medical treatment.

Full text of President’s Speech:

1. It is a happy occasion for me to be here today to attend the First Convocation of the Central University of Kerala. I am also delighted to visit Kasaragod, located in the Malabar region, which holds great socio-historical significance. It was an important centre of commerce during the medieval times, frequented by Arab and European traders. During India’s struggle for independence, this region produced prominent freedom fighters like Pazhassi Raja, Kelappaji – known as ‘Kerala Gandhi’ – and K.P. Keshava Menon.

2. Despite its glorious past, this region over the years has lagged behind the rest in terms of development. To restore its rightful place as a centre of growth befitting its legacy, one of the important initiatives was to establish this Central University in 2009. Flanked by the Western Ghats on one side and the magnificent Malabar Coast on the other, Kasaragod provides a picturesque, tranquil ambience for higher education.

3. The Central University of Kerala had braved the initial limitations of infrastructure and support facilities to start its academic activities with two post-graduate programmes. It now has six schools, 17 teaching and research departments, over 600 students and 100 faculty members. It is commendable that within two years of receiving this permanent site for campus, this institution has succeeded in creating the essential minimum infrastructure to shift five academic departments and the administrative wing. I am pleased to name this Campus, ‘Tejaswani Hills’, after the river in this region, Tejaswini, which literally means radiant. This University has also set up a centre at Thiruvananthapuram. I compliment the university authorities for quickly responding to the recommendation for establishing centres at state capitals made at the Conference of Vice Chancellor of central universities held in Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2013.

4. I am glad to learn about the proposed expansion of academic programmes at this University. A classical language centre has been envisaged. With Malayalam attaining classical status in 2013, I am sure that such a centre will provide a worthy platform for research in various aspects of the local language, literature and culture. A School of Medicine and Public Health has also been planned. In the context of the unfortunate ‘Endosulphan’ tragedy at Kasaragod, this is a welcome initiative. This school should be a platform for higher learning and research in all systems of medicine, with particular emphasis on community healthcare and affordable medical treatment.

5. Awarding degrees today to its first batch of students, Central University of Kerala has attained an important landmark in its journey of continuous development. It is indeed a moment of pride, joy, satisfaction and fulfilment for the students and this entire university community. I congratulate each one of you who has a share in and is deserving of the success of the students. Convocation day should be a time for introspection about the purpose of education and its role in the development of the individual and the nation.

Dear Students:

6. India is an emerging global power. Yet, there are many in this country on the periphery of basic needs. Success of our nation will lie in mobilizing all the positive forces to fight the scourges of poverty, deprivation and backwardness. You enjoy a privileged position by virtue of having access to higher education. This privilege comes with a huge moral responsibility. Your success will lie in becoming the agent of change – the catalyst in mitigating the hardships and sufferings of the people.

7. It is alright to have personal ambitions. But it should not be the ‘be all and end all’ in life. While pursuing your individual goals, always keep the bigger picture; the higher calling; the greater good, in mind. Treat your personal aims and the greater good as one integrated whole, without separating them. Swami Vivekananda had stressed on the inextricable link between education and altruism, which I quote: “Do you feel for others? If you do, you are growing in oneness. If you do not feel for others, you may be the most intellectual giant ever born, but you will be nothing; you are but dry intellect, and you will remain so” (unquote). Always be the responsible citizens of this great nation and inspiring role models for the future generation.

8. If students are the future of this nation, it’s the teacher who shapes them. I was a teacher before I came into public life. I know how gratifying it is to be a part of this noble profession. Our adage of mata pita guru daivam has always placed the teacher on a pedestal. The teacher led exemplary lives, worthy of the reverence they received. India needs such teachers in greater numbers today, who are not only dedicated towards teaching and committed to their students but are also driven by a selfless desire to mould the moral fibre of our society.

9. We are faced with a scarcity of good teachers in our universities. The challenge before us is two-fold – fill up vacant teaching positions, and attract the best talent. Innovative measures like appointing eminent resources on short-term basis from research institutions, industry or from abroad have to be adopted to reduce vacancies without dilution of standards. Quality of faculty has to be transformed by providing them encouragement to attend seminars and workshops, undertake collaborative research and contribute to research publications. Needless to say, boosting faculty standards is crucial for up-grading our higher education sector.


10.Indian universities are absent from the top two hundred ranks in the world as per reputed surveys. Though our institutions are placed in higher brackets amongst Asian or BRICS nations, or in some specific disciplines, we are yet to convert these micro developments into macro successes. With greater impetus being provided to the ratings process now, I am confident of finding a few Indian institutions amongst the front-ranking universities in one or two years’ time. Though newly established universities like yours may not be in the reckoning immediately, you should continue to make progress so that you can soon come up to the level of the leading institutions.

11.Academic development has to be through a multi-pronged strategy. Modern physical infrastructure like smart classrooms has to be made available. ICT networks have to be leveraged for sharing of ideas and knowledge, and academic cooperation. E-content through such networks has to be suitably integrated into the regular curriculum. A dedicated cell has to be in place to strengthen linkages with the industry. Various forms of academia-industry collaboration – endowments and chairs from industry, visiting faculty from industry, joint academia-industry research guides, drafting industry expertise in creating academic programmes and introducing sandwich courses for industry executives – have to be introduced. Alumni have to be involved in different capacities – in governance mechanisms, as experts in course design, or as student mentors. I am sure alumni of this University will play a fruitful role in its affairs in the times to come.

12.Due emphasis has to be laid on research activity. To help find solutions to local problems, the focus of research has to be local but its quality should be global. The universities have to tend to grassroots innovations by facilitating the conversion of ideas into tangible products. In the course of the Vice Chancellors’ Conference this year, I had announced the institution of three Annual Visitor’s Awards for the best University, best innovation and best research. I would like all the central universities, including yours, and their faculty and students to strive hard to get recognition. I am hopeful of these awards instilling a spirit of competition as well as cooperation amongst the central universities.

13.With these words, I conclude. I once again wish all of you on this pleasant occasion. I also wish you good luck for your endeavours.
5:30 PM | 0 comments

Russia our greatest friend, Modi to Putin

Written By Kvartha People on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | 9:02 PM

Hailing Russia as “our country’s greatest friend,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that India was committed to deepening ties between the two countries and to exploring new areas of cooperation.

Mr. Modi met the Russian President on the sidelines of the 6 th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on late Tuesday night and invited him to visit the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.

“If you ask anyone among the more than one billion people living in India who is our country’s greatest friend, every person, every child knows that it is Russia,” Mr. Modi said.

The two heads of nations discussed all major bilateral issues concerning strategic affairs, global political matters, defence cooperation and economic ties during the 40-minute meeting, during which Mr. Modi was reportedly briefed about Russia’s position on the crisis in Ukraine.

According to website Russia and India Report, discussions explored possibilities of supplying Russian gas to India through pipelines via China or Pakistan. RIR also cited sources saying Mr. Putin had “offered comprehensive measures” to raise bilateral trade to $20 billion.

Mr. Modi said he looked forward to Mr. Putin’s visit to India in December, for the13th annual Indo-Russian summit in New Delhi, and urged the Russian President to visit the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

“You could visit the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, our joint project… your visit there would be an excellent symbol of our cooperation,” he said.

The two leaders were earlier expected to meet on Monday following the interaction between Mr. Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

However, the meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday owing to Mr. Putin’s meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia.

Congratulating Mr. Modi on being elected the Prime Minister of India, the Russian President said he was pleased that India and Russia were “in full consensus” on working together on the international stage and on matters of economic and defence cooperation.

“We know that you are a great friend of our country… I hope… we will be able to work together with your government to continue building our relations,” he said.

Mr. Modi cited INS Vikramaditya as an “excellent example of the cooperation between our nations” saying it added to Indian naval strength.

He also praised the Russian President for his clear views at the BRICS summit.
9:02 PM | 0 comments

BJP moves to form govt in Delhi

BJP on Wednesday indicated that it may take a shot at government formation in Delhi if invited by lt governor Najeeb Jung.

Sources said in case BJP decides to form government, senior leader and former finance minister Jagdish Mukhi could be a strong contender for the chief minister's post.

They said the party was confident of getting the required support of MLAs from other parties, , with reports suggesting that government formation in Delhi could hinge on a group of Congress MLAs breaking away to support a BJP government to avoid fresh assembly polls.

The possibility of a split in the eight-member Congress unit in the Assembly has been doing the rounds for some time now. The moves for government formation have gathered momentum after the appointment of Satish Upadhyay as Delhi BJP chief and Amit Shah as national president.
After a meeting with party legislators, Satish Upadhyay said the party will consider formation of government if the lt governor invites it to take over the reins.

"We will consider it (formation of government) provided Lt Governor Najeeb Jung calls us," he said. He, however, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders of the party will take a final call on the issue.

He held a separate meeting with all seven party MPs from Delhi on Tuesday to know their views on whether BJP should try to form a government in Delhi or prefer fresh polls.
8:58 PM | 0 comments

Modi accept Obama invitation

Written By Kvartha People on Saturday, July 12, 2014 | 12:02 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accepted the formal invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama that was delivered by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. After meeting Mr. Burns in Delhi, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying he “thanked President Obama for the invitation and looked forward to a result-oriented visit with concrete outcomes that imparts new momentum and energy to India-U.S. strategic partnership”.
Mr. Modi is likely to meet President Obama on September 30 after his visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, where a number of crucial bilateral meetings are also expected. By inviting Mr. Modi, the U.S. has made an exception to its rule of avoiding bilateral meetings in Washington while the General Assembly is in session. This is a far cry from its policy until recently of having revoked Mr. Modi’s visa over the Gujarat riots.
Preparatory meetings for the summit are already under way, with a slew of senior officials expected in Delhi following Mr. Burns’ visit. On Saturday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun Kumar will lead an economic delegation to India., visiting Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad to discuss “growing the U.S.-India commercial relationship,” a U.S. Embassy release said. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected on July 31, followed closely by U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in the second week of August. The non-resident Indian community is expected to accord Mr. Modi a grand welcome in New York, according to PTI.
12:02 PM | 0 comments

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