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4.5L TO BE COLLECTED 
State can recover compensation for custodial death from cops: HC 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: The Madras high court has upheld the state governments move to recover 4.5 lakh from two police personnel,who were allegedly involvedin a caseof custodialdeathbecause of which the government had to pay the sum as compensation to the victims family.
Justice K Chandru,dismissing the petitionsof a specialsub-inspector and an inspector,said : Thestatesliability to pay compensation (in case of custodial deaths ) cannot be questioned.Similarly,the states power to recover the amount from the officers responsible for such misconduct also cannot be questioned.The contention that they (police officers ) were acquitted by the criminal court and that the departmental proceedings ended in their favour will not debar the state from recovering the amount. 
B Kalitheerthan,inspector of police,coastalsecurity,Nagapattinam,was a sub-inspector and K Subramaniam,now a special sub-inspector,was working as a head constable in Pollachi when they were charged with the custodialdeathof a lorry driver.The victimswife moved the HC demanding compensation.Finding the duo guilty,the court held the state as being vicariously liable for the offence and awarded 5 lakh as compensation.
The police personnel are now before the court,challenging the governments notice to recover 2,56,452 from Kalitheerthan and 1,93,548 from Subramaniam.
They contended that they were acquitted and the departmental proceedings too had been given up.Therefore,the allegation of torture was not proved either in the criminal trial or in the departmental enquiry.Therefore,based upon a high court order,that too without notice to them,the amount cannot be recovered from them,they said.
Rejecting their contentions,Justice Chandru said when the relatives of the deceased filed a petition,thestate governmentwas a party and the court had clearly recorded that acquittal by the criminal court has no relevance on payment of compensation.The court said there was evidence of physical injuries on the body of thedeceasedwhichcouldhavebeen inflicted only by the two officers who were instrumental in the arrest.



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I was targeted for showing Aurobindos human side 

Bosco Dominique | TNN 


Caught in a row over his portray al of Sri Aurob indo,American historian Peter Heehs is glad that his visa has been extended by a year despite calls for his deportation.In an interview with Sunday Times,Heehs,an inmate of the Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry for over four decades,says there are many ways of approaching the life of the spiritual leader and none of them can be termed in correct.He says the decision extend his visa represents the true feelings of the government of India. Excerpts from an interview: Do you think the delay in get ting the visa extended was because of the uproar over your biography of Sri Aurob indo 
My visa extension becam an issue around the time my book became an issue.It is n coincidence.I was never in formed about any visa irregu larity earlier.What is your response to the controversy your book has cre ated 
Any book is open to criti cism.You publish something people will review,point out mistakes,bring things up fo discussion,criticize your facts your approach,anything an thats the way the intellectua life proceeds.I have no issue with that.But what really hap penedwascharacter assassina tion.They firsttargeted me an then the ashram,because the trustees stood by me.What triggered the contro versy 
I can say categorically tha Idid notsay SriAurobindo an the Mother had a romantic re lationship.I did not say tha there was any element of mad nessin SriAurobindos person ality.But these questions wer raised in the literature I ha read.As an impartial biogra pher,I wanted to take up an discuss these.On these issues I have written four pages an at the end of it I concluded tha the relationship between Sr Aurobindo andtheMother wa entirely spiritual.It is unfortu nate that people did not bothe to read till the end.How is the response from academicians and those who know about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother 
The people who have neve heard about Sri Aurobindo o hadjust a vagueidea abouthim found him to be a remarkable individual after reading my book.Some people said when spoke of Sri Aurobindo as a human being I was bringing him down to earth and insult ing him.But by showing his human side I was trying to highlightthe multi-faceted per sonality.What changes have you seen in the ashram 
It was much different ear lier.Therewere very few people then.The Mother was there but not many visitors.Yogic environment was very strong I easily got into a spiritua mode and along with a few other inmates,developed a cen tre that became a centre fo archives later.There is a differ ence between yoga sadhana and religion.Now,people get out of buses,visit the samadhi and the dining room.They dont know who Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were.What is your take on those op posing the freedom of speech 
I think in a robust democ racy like India there is alway room for discussion.Peoplesay that Indians are close-minded but Amartya Sen in his book Argumentative Indian shows India has a long tradition of discussion and debates.Wha kind of democracy is it when the minute you disagree with someone you are taken to court What are your plans 
I have got tickets.I have plans to go to Europe and the United States.I will come back in July and continue my work What are your future projects 
I am planning a book nex year on intellectual history The book will focus on how the idea of self changed over a pe riod of time in different coun tries.


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RAW postings too may come under RTI lens 

Administrative Process Not Exempted From Purview Of Act,Says Chief Info Commissioner 

Deeptiman Tiwary TNN 

New Delhi: Appointments to Indias secretive external intelligence arm,the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),could come under public scrutiny,with the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) upholding an order that the administrative process of an appointment is not exempted from the RTI.
Although the agency is likely to further challenge the order,the CIC ruling does throw open RAWs functioning and officials to RTI applications.The order is bound to cause some unease to the agency that in the past has been gripped by internal dissension over promotions and appointments.
Passing an order on an RTI query seeking information on appointment of RAW chief Sanjeev Tripathi,the CIC upheld an appellate authority directive that the external agency is not exempted from the Act as the administrative work in the case was carried out by the Cabinet secretariat.
Although an appointment does not in itself impinge on its more secret functions,information about postings and designations being made public can be worrying for the RAW,whose organizational structure is a secret.Officials fear the directive may set precedent for other queries on officers holding sensitive posts.
The chief of RAW carries out several functions,including appointments and financial decisions,as secretary (R) under Cabinet secretariat.The CIC order,which doesnt seem to be thought through,opens up a lot of sensitive activities to public scrutiny, a former RAW chief said.
Filed last August by Subhash Chandra Aggarwal,the RTI application had sought replies to a number of questions related to the appointment of current chief Sanjeev Tripathi.The application was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) last December on the ground that RAW was exempted from the ambit of the Act under Section 24(1) of the RTI Act.
Subsequently,Aggarwal appealed with the first appellate authority at the Cabinet secretariat.When the authority failed to pass an order in stipulated time,Aggarwal approached CIC that heard the matter on February 29,2012.The appellate authority saw merit in the plea and held: The desired information did not relate to the exempted organization but to the manner in which the appointment was made by the competent authority and,therefore,it could not be said that the information was about the exempted organization. 
Upholding the order,the CIC said,The Appellate Authority has clearly accepted that the desired information does not relate to the exempted organization but to the Cabinet Secretariat.With this clarification by the Appellate Authority,we hope the CPIO shall take appropriate decision at the earliest and communicate to the Appellant.Aggarwal is now alleging deliberate delay on part of Cabinet Secretariat.I have still not received the information as the Cabinet Secretariat has forwarded the query to a different division now, he says.
Former additional secretary with R&AW Jaidev Ranade says,One would have to see the order in isolation at the moment given the RAW chiefs appointment is now public anyway.If there are such applications on other appointments,perhaps,CIC will use its wisdom and decide on case to case basis.


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Obamas security men sent home for misconduct 

Cartagena (Colombia): A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for president Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct.A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation claimed the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena,site of the Summit of the Americas.A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute the claim.
A US official,who requested anonymity,put the number of agents sent home at 12.Secret Service was not releasing the number of personnel involved.
The incident threatened to overshadow Obamas economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the US.In Washington,Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan would not confirm that prostitution was involved,saying only that there had been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena for the summit.
Donovan said the allegations of misconduct were related to activity before the presidents arrival on Friday night and didnt impact security plans for Obamas trip.
Obama attended a leaders dinner on Friday night at Cartagenas historic Spanish fortress and was due to attend summit meetings with regional leaders on Saturday and on Sunday.AP


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NEIGHBOURLY VISIT: US prez Barack Obama with wife of Colombian president,Maria Clemencia Rodriguez 



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After 7 yrs & 6 kids,Brangelina ready to wed 

Los Angeles: Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are engaged to be married after seven years of romance and six children.
Their engagement news first became public when Beverly Hills jeweller Robert Procop revealed that he helped Pitt,48,design a custom diamond ring for Jolie,36,the Hollywood Reporter said.The ring is estimated to have cost $250,000.
Later,Pitts spokeswoman Cynthia Pett-Dante confirmed the news,saying,Yes,its confirmed.It is a promise for the future and their kids are very happy.Theres no date set at this time.Brad designed the ring. 
Procop said,Brad had a specific vision for this ring,which he realized over a yearlong collaboration.He wanted every aspect of it to be perfect,so I was able to locate a diamond of the finest quality and cut it to an exact custom size and shape to suit Angelinas hand. PTI


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MADE FOR EACH OTHER:Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie;(inset) Jolie sports an engagement ring while visiting LA County Museum of Arts 



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At 70,S Africa prez to wed for 6th time 

Johannesburg: South African president Jacob Zuma,who turned 70 last week,will marry for the sixth time next weekend when he takes his long-time fiance,Bongi Ngema,as his fourth current wife,his spokesman said on Sunday.
Polygamy forms part of Zulu culture and is legal in South Africa,and Zuma,a Zulu traditionalist,has 21 children,according to the presidency website.President Jacob Zuma will be formalizing his relationship with his fiance by having a private traditional ceremony this coming weekend, said Zumas spokesman,Mac Maharaj.The ceremony will take place in Nkandla in KwaZulu Natal province,Maharaj said.Zuma is also married to Sizakele Zuma,Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma and Tobeka Madiba-Zuma.
He was previously married to home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,and to Kate Mantsho-Zuma who committed suicide.For official events,Zuma usually takes one wife on a rotating basis to serve as first lady AGENCIES


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KNOTTY: Zuma 



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At burial grounds,money weighs more than records 

A Selvaraj TNN 

Chennai: There are no records of the bodies cremated or buried at the two burial grounds in Padi under the Ambattur zone of the Chennai Corporation,a reply to a recent RTI query has found.
PACEtrustcoordinator G Balaji,who filed the RTI query,said he found from his own investigations that anyone coming to bury or cremate a body without a death certificate can do so by paying anything between 5,000 and 20,000 to the caretakers at these two facilities.Unlike other cremation grounds in the city,these two facilities are maintained privately.
In his RTI application to the public information officer (PIO) of the Tiruvallur Collectorate,under whosejurisdiction Ambattur came until its merger with the Chennai Corporation,Balaji asked : Who takes care of these facilitiess What is the tariff to bury or cremate a body How many death certificates have been issued so far Furnish the details of all deceased either buried or cremated at these places in Padi from January 1,2008 to December 1,2011.
The application was later forwarded to the PIO-cumhealth officer of the corporations zone 7.The latter in his reply said that the two places at Ilango Nagar in Padi and on Tiruvalluvar Salai opposite Lucas TVS were being used as burial grounds.Hereditary caretakers were looking after these facilities and came under the control of the tahsildar concerned,he said.
We issue death certificates after receiving a residence certificate enclosed with the form issued by a medical officer of a government hospital.As these burial grounds are being maintained by hereditary caretakers,we dont have any records for them.The corporation does not employ any person at these places.We dont collecting cash for burials or cremations here, the health officer claimed in his reply.
Sources said many preferred to bury or cremate their deceased kin here because of the easy access.Thiscouldencourage goons and gangsters to use these places to dispose of bodies.Any member of the general public coming here with a body is forced to shell out a huge sum, a resident said.


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EASY WORK: At the Ilango Nagar crematorium in Padi,a body can be cremated without having to produce a death certificate 



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OUT OF FAVOUR 
Distributors in a kolaveri after 3 goes for a six 

Kamini Mathai TNN 

Chennai: With its theme song Kolaveri Di getting over five million YouTube hits and the fact that superstar Rajinikanths daughter Aishwarya was making her directorial debut,3 was expected to hit bulls eye at the box office.And it did too,only to bounce right off.
The movie began with a noon show,which ran full.The next show saw a 50% drop in the number of tickets sold.And the show after that saw another 40% drop, says an exhibitor,adding that the movie is running to empty halls across the state.While Dhanush has gone on record stating that his wifes movie has suffered no losses,distributors from Tamil Nadu,Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are claiming otherwise.
Arul Pathy TA,president of the Tamil Nadu Film Distributors Association,says distributors have complained to him of the heavy losses they have incurred on buying distribution rights of the movie.The filmmakers managed to generate a lot of hype with the song Kolaveri Di but the movie has not lived up to the mark, he says.
Telugu film producer and distributor Natti Kumar,who spent Rs 6 crore on the Telugu distribution rights for the movie ( 4.35 crore on the royalty and the rest on publicity and promotion material),says he has only recovered 1.70 crore.
According to reports,distributors have lost 20 crore in Tamil Nadu,while they suffered a Rs 2 crore loss in Karnataka.We have approached Dhanush and his father-in-law Rajinikanth for compensation but so far we have not received any money though they have promised to help, says Kumar.Meanwhile,Rajnikanths office issued a statement that the superstar is not connected with the revenue generation of the film and that the actor will not reimburse the distributors for any losses.
After the hype created by the song,as distributors we expected a great movie and so we took the gamble.Now we are paying the price, says Dr Kalidas,Tamil Nadu distributor for 3 in the north Arcot,south Arcot and Chengalpet region.Revenue generation is reported to be far from adequate even overseas.According to reports,collections in Malaysia,the US and UK dropped by 50% by the second week.Meanwhile,a representative on behalf of the 3 production team has stated that box office collections are good.


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Mexican arrested for murder of girlfriend 

Mohiniyattam Student Killed After Argument 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Madurai: A Mexican national has been arrested on charges of killing his girlfriend,allegedly over a dispute for custody of their daughter.
The body of Ceule Denise Acosta,36,a student of Mohiniyattam at Kalamandalam Deemed University in Thrissur,Kerala,was found in a suitcase dumped in a tank in Austinpatti police limits on April 11.
Her boyfriend Martin Manric,40,a post-doctoral student of mathematics at Kalasalingam University in Virudhunagar district,and their daughter Adella,5,were staying on the university campus.Acosta visited the child once or twice a month,police said.
On April 9,Manric filed a complaint with the Krishnankovil police saying that Acosta,who left for Thrissur,was missing.
Police registered a case and began investigations.On April 11,a partiallyburnt body of a middle-aged woman was found stuffed in a suitcase in a tank in the Austinpatti police limits.Police began looking into all woman-missing cases down south when the case filed at Krishnankoil was noticed.Manric came under the scanner and it was found he owned a vehicle.When he was picked up and questioned,he confessed to killing her in a fight as she insisted on taking their daughter to France.
Addressing mediapersons,south zone IG,Rajesh Das,said: Manric and Acosta have known each other for 20 years and were living together.When Acosta insisted on taking their daughter to France,a quarrel ensued that led to the killing.The accused has confessed and he has been secured. 
Tony,a distant relative of Acosta who came on a tourist visa and was staying in Kerala,was allegedly getting close to Acosta and may have upset Manric,police said.
Adella is in the custody of the police and will be admitted to a home before being handed over to her relatives through court,DIG Balanagadevi told reporters.Madurai SP Asra Garg said they had informed the Mexican Embassy,the Union home ministry and other officials.

LOVE ENDS IN TRAGEDY 




JULY 2011 | 


Martin Manric,Ceule Dennise Acosta and their daughter arrive at Kalasalingam University,Virudhunagar 

SEPTEMBER 2011 | 


Acosta enrols for Mohiniyattam classes in Thrissur 

APRIL 4 | 


Acosta visits her daughter and Manric on the university premises 

APRIL 9 | 


Manric kills Acosta in a quarrel and hides her body in the house 

APRIL 10 | 


Manric dumps her body in a water tank 

APRIL 11 | 


Police recover the body 

APRIL 14 | 


Acostas relative Tony starts pressurising Manric over Acosta disappearing and an oral complaint is lodged 

APRIL 17 | 


Manric picked up by the Virudhunagar police for enquiry


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Acosta 
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Manric 



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FATE UNKNOWN 
Stop Odisha from freeing Naxals: PIL 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: A retired major general and counter-insurgency expert on Wednesday challenged the Odisha governments decision to swap 27 hardcore jailed Naxals with kidnapped BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka in the Supreme Court but was met with a question: Is the situation judicially manageable 
Major Gen Gagandeep Bakshis counsel Brijesh Kalappa mentioned the PIL before a bench of Justice T S Thakur and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and sought a direction restraining the Naveen Patnaik government from succumbing to Naxal blackmail.
The bench asked,If harm comes to the hostage,who will be responsible Our interference may aggravate the situation. It initially sent a request for solicitor general R F Narimans presence before hearing arguments on the PIL but later adjourned it for Thursday.
Responding to the benchs question whether it would be prudent on the judiciarys part to intervene at this stage,Kalappa said the court had done so when both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments were about to meet the demands of forest brigand Veerappan,who had kidnapped cine star Rajkumar in 2000.
Kalappa said the release of Maoists accused of grave offences would demoralize security forces.The petitioner quoted a TOI report of April 9 to inform the court that the police had threatened to stop operations against Naxals if the prisoners were released.
Bakshi claimed to have reliably learnt that the Odisha government has evolved a novel method of releasing Maoists/accused by granting them bail.The bail application filed on behalf of the Maoists/ accused is not being opposed by the public prosecutor.This is how the diktat of Maoists is being carried out by the state government,forgetting the law and the rule of law. 
He quoted the home ministrys statement that the CPI (Maoist) was the biggest leftwing extremist outfit in India responsible for sustained violent activities aimed at overthrowing and overwhelming parliamentary democracy and replacing it with Maoist rule.

Deadline ends but Maoists refuse to release MLA 


Bhubaneswar: Maoists on Wednesday refused to release abducted BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka,even as the Odisha government announced to withdraw cases against 13 of their people.
The Maoists had set a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday for the government to concede to their demands,which included withdrawal of cases against those in jail instead of releasing them on bail.TNN


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CJIs remarks adversely affect RTI drive,says CIC 

New Delhi: Days after Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia said that irrelevant RTI queries were impeding the working of judges in courts,Central Information Commission said the remarks would have a significant negative impact on RTI.
Information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi,in a letter to the CJI,said that his comments could dampen the RTI journey of India.
Gandhi admitted that RTI was being used in a trivial manner in certain cases but he argued that it was also possible to show that progressive laws like dowry act and atrocities act were being used in a trivial manner or to harass innocent people.
He added,It is also true that most public authorities including information commissions and courts have not fulfilled the promise of Section 4 of the RTI Act consequent to which they are then complaining about increasing RTI requests, he said.Section 4 provides for public authorities to proactively disclose information that could be of public interest.Batting strongly for the RTI Act,
the information commissioner said the legislation was beginning to make a small difference in the power equation between citizens and the government.
Most of us are aware that the average citizens interactions with government are usually humiliating and annoying for citizens.Most delivery systems are failing badly in terms of delivering services to citizens.In this scenario RTI is showing hope of bringing correction,and perhaps has a potential of making our nation a true democracy which recognizes sovereignty of the Indian citizen, he added.TNN


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  • 19 Apr 2012
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)

More egg on faces of Nepal’s Maoist leaders Noodling in
Nepal

After being forced by circumstances beyond their control to hand over control of their former Peoples’ Liberation Army combatants to Nepal Army in a sudden move last week, Nepal’s Maoist leadership was trying to take credit and perhaps hoping for a happy ending.

But that saving grace was also denied to them by their former colleagues this week. Exasperated with their leaders for falling back of promises and ‘deserting’ them at a crucial time, most of them chose retirement with monetary benefits to joining the Nepal Army.

Though parties in Nepal had agreed on integrating the former rebels to the army as part of the peace deal six years ago, how many would join NA and the details of the important process was always a bone of contention among the players.

While Maoist leaders wanted a significant chunk of their 19,000 PLA men to integrate, other parties and also NA opposed this. The ensuing stalemate led to a delay of many years before the major parties finally agreed on the figure of 6,500 in a deal signed last November.

This was followed by a verification process in the PLA cantonments where 9,705 opted for integration and the rest decided on retirement and rehabilitation. More delay followed till the details regarding ranks, training etc were sorted out last week. But the Maoist leaders, who were thinking of using them to pressurise other parties on contentious issues of the new constitution, were forced to hand over the PLA men to the army when violence broke out in cantonments between commanders and their men.

Instead of admitting his helpless that prompted the move, Maoist chief Prachanda tried to put up a brave front and declared how the “audacious” step was needed to take the peace process to conclusion



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  • 19 Apr 2012
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)
  • Guardian News Service letters@hindustantimes.com

UK DESTROYED COLONIAL CRIME FILES

LONDON: Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, a review has concluded.

Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

The archive came to light last year when a group of Kenyans detained and allegedly tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion won the right to sue the British government. The Foreign Office promised to release the 8,800 files from 37 former colonies held at the highly-secure government communications centre in Buckinghamshire.



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Bwood pushing teens towards alcohol: Study 

Kounteya Sinha TNN 

New Delhi: Bollywood seems to be pushing Indian adolescents into taking to alcohol.A study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai on Friday says alcohol use in Bollywood movies is directly influencing the drinking habits of Indian adolescents with those exposed to such movies being three times more likely to take to it.
The study,involving 3,956 adolescents by an organization called Health Related Information Dissemination Against Youth (HIRDAY),found 10% of the students (aged between 12 and 16 years) surveyed had already tried alcohol.
Students,who had been most exposed to the depiction of alcohol consumption in Bollywood movies,were found to be 2.78 times more likely to have tried it as compared to those who were least exposed.
Even when adjustments were made for demographic variables,social influences and characteristics of adolescent and parenting,teens were found to be 1.49 times more likely to have tried alcohol if they had been highly exposed to such films.
These results show that exposure to depictions of alcohol use in Bollywood films is directly associated with drinking among Indian youth, said Dr G P Nazar from HIRDAY.While alcohol advertizing is banned in all Indian media and scenes that justify or glorify drinking are not allowed in Bollywood films,there is no dedicated health legislation that prohibits the depiction of alcohol in these films.Besides,there is a clear need for an immediate alcohol control policy, he added.
The study saw 59 Bollywood movies being coded to record the number of alcohol use occurrences and 3,956 teens were asked if they had seen these films.Students in the fourth quartile the quarter than had seen the greatest number of alcohol use occurrences in these movies were found to be 2.78 times more likely to have tried alcohol compared with those in the first quartile of exposure.
A World Health Organization study said families with frequent drinking husbands in New Delhi spend 24% of their family income on alcohol as compared to 2% in other families.
In 2007,the health ministry had called for strict control of alcohol sale in India,including banning of scenes in movies that show consumption of alcohol.It had also prepared a draft national alcohol policy,but that never saw the light of the day.

ON A DANGEROUS HIGH 


At an average,Indians take their first sip of alcohol at the age of 19 compared to 28 in the 1990s Studies say that in another 5-7 years,majority of Indians will start consuming alcohol at the age of 15 Nearly 62.5 million people in India drink alcohol with per capita consumption being around 4 litres per adult per year 
Over 40% of road accidents take place in India at night,with one-third of them being due to drunk driving 
Spirits make up for 88% of what Indians regularly drink while beer boasts of a 10% share 
Wine consumption is 2% 
An average Indian adult (15 years and over) drank 2.6 litres of pure alcohol between 2003-05.This was higher than the per capita consumption in south east Asia region which For every six men,one woman drinks alcohol in India stood at 2.2 litres India is the largest alcoholic beverage industries in the world,producing 65% in southeast Asia It also contributes to about 7% of the total alcohol beverage imports into the region Alcohol is said to play a role in 20 to 30% of cases of cancer,liver,chest and throat disease and is blamed for up to a third of all traffic accidents


Pc0111600.jpg 



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NOT BORN THIS WAY 
Proved: Chicken comes before egg 


Ahen has produced a live chick in a freak birth at a poultry farm in central Sri Lanka,said a veterinary surgeon.
The vet in charge of the town of Welimada,P R Yapa,said the egg appeared to have incubated inside the hen for 21 days and the hen died when it gave birth to the chick.The chick is fully formed and healthy.
I had only heard about such aberrations,but I was able to see it for myself today,doctor Yapa said.
He said the free-range farm owners alerted the local veterinary authorities after the highly unusual phenomenon and he performed post-mortem examination to confirm the cause of death.
The post-mortem revealed that it died of internal wounds.There were lacerations and a tear of the reproductive tract that caused the death, Yapa said.AGENCIES


Pc0131400.jpg 



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  • 21 Apr 2012
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)
  • Sanchita Sharma letters@hindustantimes.com

50% Indian smokers don’t know it can kill

NEW DELHI: Smoking kills, but most smokers still don’t know how. One in two Indian smokers isn’t aware that tobacco addiction can lead to stroke and 38% that it can cause heart disease.

These are some of the startling findings of a World Heart Federation report that will be released at the World Congress of Cardiology (WCC) in Dubai on Saturday.

India is high on tobacco addiction. It has 138 million smokers and 28% of its people in the 15-49 age group use tobacco in some form or the other. Bidis are the most popular (48%), followed by chewing tobacco (38%) and cigarettes (14%).

Every year, tobacco kills 1 million people in India. Heart disease caused by it accounts for the highest number of deaths (29%).

Data from Indian Heart Watch — the country’s largest heart-risk survey of 6,000 people across 11 cities over five years — presented at the WCC on Friday found awareness among tobacco users shockingly low.

While people in smaller cities smoked more and ate more fatty food than fresh fruits and vegetables, those in the metros were less active. Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol were uniformly high. Awareness and control rates of risk factors were low even among literate middle-class urban Indians. Roughly one in three surveyed had hypertension but only 57% knew about it. Among those diagnosed with hypertension, 40% were on medicines and only 25% had it under control.

“To get people to quit tobacco, the policies must focus on clearly informing the people through effective measures, such as pictorial warnings on tobacco products depicting heart disease and stroke as real dangers,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India



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  • 21 Apr 2012
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)
  • Vivina Vishwanathan letters@hindustantimes.com

Are jewellery saving schemes in gold worth?

SHORT IS SWEET If you need jewellery in the near future, such schemes are for you. From an investment point of view, deposits work better

From page 1 Siddhi Gorivale Tare, a 26-yearold commercial artist based in Mumbai, has been putting a part of her earnings in a jewellery saving scheme. “I wanted to buy a gold bracelet but haven’t been able to do so since I don’t save in a disciplined manner,” she says. She puts an equal amount of money ( R2,000) every month and at the end of the 11-month tenure, she will get a benefit of 9.09% (simple interest) and will be able to buy bracelet worth R24,000 she has been eyeing for some time. “It is an easier way to get hold of gold,” she says.

Like Tare, there are several across the country, who are investing in such schemes. For example, branded jeweller Tanishq currently has about 400,000 takers for its Golden Harvest Scheme; Tanishq has had 1.2 million customers till date for this scheme. On the other hand, PC Jeweller Ltd has 45,000-50,000 customers for its jewellery saving scheme. Other established jewellers, including GRT Jewellers and Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd, also have similar schemes. HOW DO THEY WORK? You invest a fixed amount every month for the chosen tenure and the jeweller adds a month’s installment at the end; some jewellers even pay double the installment. Once the tenure ends, you can buy gold worth the money collected from the same jeweller. The customer can get a benefit of 8.33-16.67% through such schemes (see table).

However, do note that the 16.67% benefit is available only with one jeweller, PC Jeweller. The company reinvests the amount in such a way that besides being able to meet the interest it needs to give to the customer, it gets to keep the additional returns it generates as profit. “The money we get from investors through the jewellery savings scheme is deposited by us in fixed deposits in banks (most of them nationalized banks) and is absolutely safe,” says S Subramaniam, chief financial officer, Titan Industries, the parent company of the jewellery business Tanishq.

Some jewellers use this money for operating expenses or to carry out a company’s normal business activities.

“By getting customers involved in this scheme, we ensure future sales,” says RK Sharma, executive director, PC Jeweller. THE ADVANTAGES For those who do not have any other form of saving, this can work well since you buy an asset at the end of the term. “Holding liquid cash is a risk for a majority of Indian women,” says Ashok Minawala, ex-chairman, All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. “Hence, a scheme like this can help them not only save money but also convert it into gold at the end of the tenure.” THE LIMITATIONS The first limitation is that you can use the accumulated amount only to buy gold jewellery . So in case you need some accumulated money fo at the end of the tenor, you won’t be able to use this money. Secondly, the jewellery you purchase at the end of the tenure would be available at the prevailing market rates then. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? If you are planning to get married in a couple of years and need some jewellery for the same or if you want to gift your daughter, wife or sister but don’t have a lump sum amount, then this scheme is for you. But if your purpose is pure investment, then stay away from such schemes as the making charges of the jewellery and fluctuating gold prices will eat into your returns. A simple recurring deposit will work better for you.



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  • 21 Apr 2012
  • Hindustan Times (Delhi)
  • Reuters letters@hindustantimes.coma

Sistema to take $1 bn writedown

FIRM’S measure is related to the suspension of its Indian licences

Russian services conglomerate Sistema will take a writedown of nearly $1 billion related to the suspension of its Indian licences, sources close to Sistema said on Friday.

The writedown is a non-cash item that will be recognised in Sistema’s fourth-quarter results, eroding earnings, one of the sources told Reuters. Sistema declined to comment. Around half of the writedown is related to a licence revaluation and the rest to goodwill, the Vedomosti newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Supreme Court in February ordered the cancellation of 122 telecoms licences held by eight operators, including Sistema and Norway’s Telenor, over alleged irregularities in the way they were awarded in 2008.



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