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Anna Hazare breaks fast after 288 hours, nation relieved


Anna Hazare ended his 12-day fast on Sunday morning before thousands of cheering supporters at Ramlila Maidan.

The 74-year-old Gandhian accepted a glass of tender coconut water mixed with honey from a Dalit and a Muslim girl -- Simran and Ikrah -- at 10:20 am on the dais at the Ramlila Ground ending over 288 hours of fast that began on August 16.

After a brief address, Hazare was driven straight to Medanta Medicity run by eminent cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan who was attending to him along with his team during his entire period of fast. Hazare will stay in the hospital for two-three days.

"I have only suspended my agitation. I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved," he said to a thunderous applause from thousands of his supporters waving tricolour and shouting slogans like 'Anna Hazare Zindabad'.

Flanked by his team members, including Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia, Hazare said what has been achieved in Parliament yesterday is a victory of the people of India, democracy and those assembled in Ramlila Ground.

Maintaining that People's Parliament is bigger than "Parliament in Delhi", Hazare said that is why the Parliament had to listen to people's Parliament.

"This movement has created a faith that the country can be rid of corruption and we can go ahead with implementing laws and the Constitution made by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar," he said.

Referring to Parliament's decision to refer three of his demands - Citizen's charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and creation of Lokayuktas through Lokpal bill - for Standing Committee's consideration, he said, the country can be proud of this moment. Thirteen days of agitation has yielded fruits, he said.


Outlining his future agenda, Hazare chose reforms in election and education systems and working for the betterment of farmers and labourers.

He said his fight would now be for Right to Recall and Right to Reject. While Right to Recall would be for those elected, the Right to Reject will be a column in the ballot paper which would ensure the voter has a right to say that he does not like the listed candidates.

"We have to reform electoral system. (we need) Right to Reject. You should be able to reject your candidate in the ballot paper. We have to do that.

"If majority say they do not like any of the candidates in the fray, the election should be cancelled. How much money they (candidates) will distribute? Once the candidate spends Rs 10 crore for one election and if the election is cancelled, then right sense will dawn upon them," he said.

He said they will have to think about farmers' problems as well as the woes of labourers and fight for them relentlessly.

"We are thankful to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he showed remarkable leadership yesterday in the parliament. We are also thankful to all the parliamentarians for listening to the voice of the common man," Kejriwal said.

"The entire country had poured out on the streets, their anger over a corrupt system was boiling over."
spoonfeeding + pf form
"We are thankful to Dr Naresh Trehan and his team from Medanta Medcity for the constant vigil and closely observing Anna Hazare's health. We are also thankful to media who have supported this cause.

"We did not have any funds but it was only due to your generosity and donations that we could achieve all this. We are also very thankful to officials of MCD, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Police and Delhi mayor. I would also like to mention that all the officials of Delhi Police and Tihar Jail served us very well. Anna never felt he was in a jail. Lastly, we are very thankful to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and all his activists and workers of Art of Living who united for this cause."

Describing them as the backbone of the agitation, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal had a special word of praise for the over 300 volunteers who worked round the clock for 13 days to the keep the movement against corruption going.

Minutes before Hazare broke his fast Sunday morning, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said: "The backbone of the protest is our volunteers who were insulted, scolded, treated in a bad way but still they worked efficiently for hours."

"On days when I used to sleep here and sometimes get up at 3 a.m., I used to see several volunteers hushing up at the stairs near the dais. When I used to ask them to sleep, they would say - 'No, we want to protect our Anna', that was their spirit," he said.

From food, ambulance, security, crowd management, maintaining links with the media, and transcribing speeches -- the volunteers from India Against Corruption (IAC) were the lifeline behind the 74-year-old's fast that gripped the world's attention.

Around 80 volunteers were in action at the ground all day and night to provide security to Hazare, said activist Atul Kumar.

These volunteers, both men and women, worked in shifts to ensure that some volunteers were always at Ramlila ground. "We worked in shifts - morning, evening and night," said Praveen Deshmukh, another volunteer.

History was made in Parliament on Saturday when the two Houses bowed to Anna Hazare's campaign, powered by a groundswell of popular support, for a strong and independent Lokpal.

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha unanimously resolved that the Standing Committee would consider Anna's three demands - including the lower bureaucracy in the Lokpal's purview, a central law for creating Lok Ayuktas in states and a citizen's charter for government departments providing public service. This finally paved the way for Anna's 12-day fast to end.

Around 4,000 people stayed overnight at the protest venue while hundreds of others arrived early in the morning.

"I started at around 5 am as I wanted to ensure that I could be in the front row, so that I could witness Anna breaking his fast," said 37-year-old Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Ghaziabad who claims to be a die-hard Anna supporter.

There is a festive atmosphere at the ground, as people are singing and dancing to the tune of drums and celebrating "victory" of Hazare.

Another supporter Vijay Gupta, who had come along with his family from Lucknow said, he was "happy to be part of history in making."

"I am extremely happy that the government has conceded to the demand of Anna Hazare, the corruption is affecting everybody in the society and we want a very strong Lokpal Bill," he said amid chanting of slogans.

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Marriages may soon need no-dowry undertaking



Planning to get married, or want to get your marriage registered?

First, declare in writing that you didn't ask or give dowry.

The committee on petitions under the chairmanship of MP Bhagat Singh on Wednesday presented its report to the Rajya Sabha on the dire need to curb female feticide. The panel has recommended that that the registration of marriage must be made mandatory and "undertaking from both the parties should be maintained at that time that no dowry has been exchanged between those parties". The committee said it "understands that publicity of high expenses on marriages of rich people have cascading effects on the psyche of middle-class and lower-middle class citizens of the country."

The report, therefore, recommended to the ministries to find ways and means to regulate high expenses for the wedding ceremony. "The evil of dowry is one of the vital causes leading to low status of girl child in the society. Unfortunately, the practice of dowry is still prevalent. The committee is unhappy that this law enacted in 1961 has been unable to check the evil of dowry in the society."

It added, "The committee, accordingly, recommends that government should take immediate steps to review the toothless Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, and ensure that it prescribes some mandatory obligations in the form of disclosures/joint declarations on the parties to the marriage (on both sides) so that they remain conscious and bound socially and legally to their resolves/declaration of not having asked for/given any dowry in marriage."

As per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data, there has been an increase in cases of dowry registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, from 3,204 in 2005 to 5,650 in 2009.


The existing definition of 'dowry' under the Act is limited in its scope and does not distinguish between 'gifts' that are exchanged voluntarily and 'dowry' that involves an element of coercion, the report said.

"While the Rules to the Act provide for registration of gifts, but, in the absence of a mechanism for authentication of such gifts, there is nothing to prevent its abuse/misuse. In the opinion of the ministry of women and child development, the scope and coverage of the law needs to be expanded, based on a better understanding of how the system of dowry operates in the current social context. There is also a need for stricter penalties under the law to serve as deterrence to demanding dowry," it added.

The government is considering making amendments to the Act. Some of the areas which are being looked at are strengthening the definition of "dowry", making a specific provision on 'gifts' and their authentication, increasing penalties for 'taking and demanding dowry' to increase the law's deterrent effect and strengthening role of functionaries under the law.

Dowry deaths under Section 304B of IPC has also increased by 2.6% in 2009 (8,383) as compared to 2008 (8,172), says NCRB record, 2009.


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Top 10 Strange Pictures That Shocked The World

It has often been said throughout time that a picture is worth a thousand words. Any picture may be worth a thousand words, but only a few rare photos tell more than a thousand words. They tell a powerful story, a story poignant enough to change the world and galvanize each of us. Over and over again…

From the iconic images of Omayra Sanchez’s tragic death to the horrifying images of the Bhopal Gas disaster in 1984, the power of photography is still alive and invincible.


Here is my top 10 list of photos that shocked the world:

Warning: Be prepared for images of violence and death (in one case, the photograph of a dead child) if you scroll down.

10. Kosovo Refugees (Carol Guzy)
Carol Guzy, the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography, received her most recent Pulitzer in 2000 for her touching photographs of Kosovo refugees.

The above picture portrays Agim Shala, a two-year-old boy, who is passed through a fence made with barbed wire to his family. Thousands of Kosovo refugees were reunited and camped in Kukes, Albania.


9. War Underfoot (Carolyn Cole)
Los Angeles Times photographer Carolyn Cole took this terrifying photo during her assignment in Liberia. It shows the devastating effects of the Liberian Civil War.

Bullet casings cover entirely a street in Monrovia. The Liberian capital was the worst affected region, because it was the scene of heavy fighting between government soldiers and rebel forces.


8. Thailand Massacre (Neil Ulevich)

Neal Ulevich won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for a “series of photographs of disorder and brutality in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand” (Pulitzer.com).

The Thammasat University Massacre took place on October 6, 1976. It was a very violent attack on students who were demonstrating against Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn.

F. M. T. Kittikachorn was a dictator who was planning to come back to Thailand. The return of the military dictator from exile provoked very violent protests. Protestors and students were beaten, mutilated, shot, hung and burnt to death.


7. After the Storm (Patrick Farrell)

Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell captured the harrowing images of the victims of Haiti in 2008. Farrell documented the Haitian tragedy with impressive black-and-white stills. The subject of “After the Storm” is a boy who is trying to save a stroller after the tropical storm Hanna struck Haiti.

More photos of Patrick Farrell: A People in Despair: Haiti’s year without mercy


6. The Power of One (Oded Balilty)

In 2006, Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of illegal outposts, such as Amona. Oded Balilty, an Israeli photographer for the Associated Press, was present when the evacuation degenerated into violent and unprecedented clashes between settlers and police officers. The picture shows a brave woman rebelling against authorities.

Like many pictures on this list, “The Power of One” has been another subject of major controversy. Ynet Nili is the 16-year-old Jewish settler from the above picture. According to Ynet, “a picture like this one is a mark of disgrace for the state of Israel and is nothing to be proud of. The picture looks like it represents a work of art, but that isn’t what went on there. What happened in Amona was totally different.” Nili claims the police beat her up very harshly. “You see me in the photograph, one against many, but that is only an illusion – behind the many stands one man – (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert, but behind me stand the Lord and the people of Israel.”


5. World Trade Center 9/11 (Steve Ludlum)

The power of Steve Ludlum’s photos are astounding, and the written description only tends to dilute the impact. The consequences of the second aircraft crashing into New York’s WTC were devastating: fireballs erupted and smoke billowed from the skyscrapers anticipating the towers’ collapse and monstrous dust clouds.


4. After the Tsunami (Arko Datta)

One of the most representative and striking photos of the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami was taken by Reuters photographer Arko Datta in Tamil Nadu. He won the World Press Photo competition of 2004. Kathy Ryan, jury member and picture editor of The New York Times Magazine, characterized Datta’s image as a “graphic, historical and starkly emotional picture.”

“After the Tsunami” illustrates an Indian woman lying on the sand with her arms outstretched, mourning a dead family member. Her relative was killed by one of the deadliest natural disasters that we have ever seen: the Indian Ocean tsunami.


3. Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984 (Pablo Bartholomew)
Pablo Bartholomew is an acclaimed Indian photojournalist who captured the Bhopal Gas Tragedy into his lens. Twenty-six years have passed since India’s worst industrial catastrophe injured 558,125 people and killed as many as 15,000. Because safety standards and maintenance procedures had been ignored at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, a leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals triggered a massive environmental and human disaster. Photographer Pablo Bartholomew rushed to document the catastrophe. He came across a man who was burying a child. This scene was photographed by both Pablo Bartholomew and Raghu Rai, another renowned Indian photojournalist. “This expression was so moving and so powerful to tell the whole story of the tragedy”, said Raghu Rai.


2. Operation Lion Heart (Deanne Fitzmaurice)
Pulitzer Prize award winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice won the highly respected award in 2005 for the photographic essay “Operation Lion Heart.”

“Operation Lion Heart” is the story of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who was severely injured by an explosion during one of the most violent conflicts of modern history – the Iraq War. The boy was brought to a hospital in Oakland, CA where he had to undergo dozens of life-and-death surgeries. His courage and unwillingness to die gave him the nickname: Saleh Khalaf, “Lion Heart”.

Deanne Fitzmaurice’s shocking photographs ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in a five-part series written by Meredith May.

1. Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez (Frank Fourier)
Frank Fournier captured the tragic image of Omayra Sanchez trapped in mud and collapsed buildings. The eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia 1985 triggered a massive mudslide. It devastated towns and killed 25,000 people.

After 3 days of struggling, Omayra died due to hypothermia and gangrene. Her tragic death accentuated the failure of officials to respond quickly and save the victims of Colombia’s worst ever natural disaster. Frank Fournier took this photo shortly before Omayra died. Her agonizing death was followed live on TV by hundreds of millions of people around the world and started a major controversy. May her soul rest in peace…


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Short Biography of Anna Hazare and What is Lokpal Bill and Latest Wallpapers to Support Anna Hazare's Anti-Corruption Movement


Name: Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare known as Anna Hazare
Birth Date: 15 January 1940

Anna Hazare was born in Bhingar village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state in western India to Baburao Hazare and Laxmi Bai, an unskilled labourer family
He was raised by his childless aunt in Mumbai but could not continue beyond VII standard and had to quit midway due to problems. He has two sisters. He is unmarried.


Anna had enrolled with the Army on April 14, 1963.
He had completed his training at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
He had joined the service as a recruit.
He was attested as a soldier on November 16, 1963.
He was holding the rank of sepoy at the time of leaving the service.

Anna Hazare started his career as a driver in the Indian Army.
During his 15-year tenure as a soldier, he was posted to several states like Sikkim, Bhutan, Jammu-Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Leh and Ladakh and braved challenging weathers.

When Anna was in Army five medals were notified to Anna –
1. Sainya Seva Medal,
2. Nine Years Long Service Medal,
3. Sangram Medal,
4. 25th Independent Anniversary Medal
5. Paschimi Star

Anna was greatly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings. In the year 1965, Pakistan attacked India and at that time, Hazare was posted at the Khemkaran border. On November 12, 1965, Pakistan launched air attacks on Indian base and all of Hazare’s comrades became martyrs In 1978, he took voluntary retirement from the 9th Maratha Battalion

After serving 15 Years in Army Anna took the voluntary retirement and returned to his native place in Ralegan Siddhi, in the Parner tehsil of Ahmednagar district.

Background of the movement
The movement started due to the resentment because of the serious differences between the draft Lokpal Bill 2010 prepared by the government and the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by the members of this movement, which has received significant public support:

In 2011, Anna Hazare led a movement for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (ombudsman) bill in the Indian Parliament. As a part of this movement, N. Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement drafted an alternate bill, named as the Jan Lokpal Bill (People’s Ombudsman Bill) with more stringent provisions and wider power to the Lokpal (Ombudsman). Hazare has started a fast up to death from 5 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a new bill with more stronger penal actions and more independenceto the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.


The movement attracted attention very quickly through various media. It has been reported that thousands of people joined to support Hazare’s effort. Almost 150 people are reported to join Hazare in his fast. He said that he would not allow any politician to sit with him in this movement. Many social activists including Medha Patkar,Arvind Kejriwal and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi have lent their support to Hazare’s hunger strike and anti-corruption campaign. This movement has also been joined by many people providing their support in Internet social media such as twitter and facebook. In addition to spiritual leaders Swami Ramdev,Swami Agnivesh and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, many bollywood celebrities like Shekhar Kapur, Siddharth Narayan, Anupam Kher, Madhur Bhandarkar, Pritish Nandy, Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Raj,Aamir Khan, Chetan Bhagat showed their public support through twitter. As an outcome of this movement, on 6 April, 2011 Sharad Pawar resigned from the group of ministers formed for reviewing the draft Lokpal bill 2010.
Anna Hazare started his “Fast until Death” at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, stating “I will fast until Jan Lokpal Bill is passed”

The movement gathered quite a significant amount of support from India’s youth visible through the local support and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Draft Lokpal Bill 2010
  1. Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman.
  2. Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the “Competent Authority”
  3. Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations.
  4. CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other.
  5. Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up-to 7 years.
  6. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
  7. Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.
  8. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
  9. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
  10. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.
  11. Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area

Jan Lokpal Bill

  1. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
  2. Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.
  3. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
  4. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
  5. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.
  6. Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area

Latest Anna Hazare Wallpapers to Support for STOP Corruption in India
















 

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'Acceptable to all' Lokpal Bill within 3 months: Singhvi


Chairman of the standing committee on Lokpal Abhishek Singhvi on Monday said differences between Team Anna and the government was not much on content but on the methodology and promised to present an "acceptable to all" bill within three months.


"You and I are together as far the objective and content is concerned. The essence is similar if not identical and that is fighting corruption. There could be relatively minor differences in form.

"If the ways are a little different, it is because the government is bound by a structure and parliamentary process," Singhvi said when asked whether the parliamentary panel could end up incorporating the provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill when it submits its final draft on Lokpal Bill to Parliament.

Noting that Parliamentary panels are given three months initially to give their report and it is generally followed by one or two extensions of three months each, Singhvi, however, said the panel headed by him will give its recommendations within three months.

"We will give recommendations on Lokpal Bill well before the three-month period given to us," he said refusing to be drawn into a debate on the deadline put by team Hazare.

"Competition in putting up conditions is not going to solve the issue," he said.

Hazare's associate Kiran Bedi, however, reacted sharply to it saying "Singhvi had still not understood the fever. To see the heat generated, they need to see it live."



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Ind vs Eng: India thrashed again, slip to number three in Test rankings


Sachin Tendulkar came agonisingly close to a phenomenal 100th international century before a pathetic India slumped to an innings and eight runs defeat in the fourth and final Test to give a ruthless England a resounding 4-0 series win on Monday.


Scorecard

Needing to bat out the entire fifth day to save the game, Tendulkar (91) led a spirited fightback alongwith Amit Mishra (84) but the complexion of the game changed dramatically after their dismissals as the visitors lost as many as seven wickets for a mere 21 runs to be all out for 283 in the second innings just at the stroke of tea.

With this emphatic victory, England officially crowned themselves the number one team in Test rankings with 125 points followed by South Africa with 118 points.

The Indians, who started the series as the number one Test team, surrendered the number one tag after losing the third Test in Birmingham and have now slipped to the number three position following the 4-0 whitewash.

Spinner Graeme Swann was the wrecker-in-chief for England with with impressive figures of six for 106 while Stuart Broad chipped in with two wickets.

Resuming at the overnight total of 129 for three, Tendulkar and Mishra raised hopes of drawing the game as the duo put on 144 runs for the fourth wicket but Mishra's departure virtually opened up the floodgates as none of the Indian batsmen showed the determination to hang around for long.

The visitors suffered a stunning collapse, losing their last seven wickets for 21 runs, a reflection of the capitulation which has been a feature right through the series.

Tendulkar and Mishra, who resumed this morning, continued the good work for the first 40 minutes after lunch but then both were gone in quick succession.

Mishra started the rot when he played inside the line to a Graeme Swann delivery and his off-stump was pegged back. The gutsy knock by the leg-spinner lasted for 184 minutes and 141 balls and his 84 runs included 10 fours.

From the other end, India suffered the double blow when Tendulkar was given out leg before wicket which appeared a harsh decision as the Tim Bresnan delivery appeared to be heading down the leg stump.

Television replays showed that the ball would have hit the top of the leg stump.

Tendulkar made his 91 runs in 239-minutes and 172-ball innings, slamming 11 fours. It was not the best of his knock as he was dropped on scores of 70 and 85 off Swann and there was also a stumping against the off-spinner which went begging last night.

India's innings unfolded quickly as Suresh Raina took his second duck from the match, out again to Swann but this time leg-before-wicket.

England claimed the second new ball as soon as it was due and its' effect was immediately apparent. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (3) slashed at a wide delivery from Stuart Broad and was caught at second slip.

RP Singh departed in the same over when he edged an outswinger into the gloves of wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Gautam Gambhir came out to bat at number eight and was hit on his helmet by a rising delivery from James Anderson.

After six overs by the medium-pacers, off-spinner Swann was brought into attack and there was a loud claim for a catch in close-in cordon off Ishant Sharma which was upheld by umpire Rod Tucker.

But the batsman asked for a review on the decision and the replays showed there was no contact with either the bat or the gloves.

Swann also claimed the wicket of Gambhir when the left-hander charged down the wicket and only sliced a catch to Eoin Morgan at gully.


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Nitish Kumar ties rakhi to trees

With a motto to save trees, environment and the Earth, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday utilized the occasion of 'Raksha Bandhan' to tie rakhi around trees here. "Protection of trees is the need of the hour to save environment and protect the world from natural disasters," he said while appealing to people to plant at least one tree during their lifetime and protect trees from felling.


Nitish along with deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi went to Rajdhani Vatika, a newly-developed eco-park near the secretariat, to tie rakhis around trees. This programme had been announced by Modi on August 9 when the state observed Earth Day. On the same day, the ruling JD (U) launched its tree plantation drive with a target of planting about 50 lakh new saplings to maintain ecological balance.

"Green colour and greenery give a soothing effect. So more plants and trees would have a healthy impact on the human body, mind and soul," said the CM and added Bihar is making a sincere effort to protect the environment. "Bihar is changing and this exercise will make Bihar green and beautiful," he said.

Nitish said tree plantation is going on a large scale in the state under various programmes. Under MNREGA, 5,000 trees will be planted in each panchayat and students are also participating in a separate plantation drive. He urged people to plant trees on their own land too.

Deputy CM Modi said in Patna 21,000 saplings will be planted in three years, which will make the state capital a green spot. He said trees will be planted in other towns, along roads and embankments too. "On 'Raksha Bandhan', not only sisters tied rakhi to their brothers but men and women also took a pledge to protect trees," said Modi.

JD (U) MLA Poonam Devi led a group of women and girls in tying rakhi to Nitish and Modi. Others present on the occasion included Nand Kishore Yadav, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Singh, P K Shahi, Shyam Rajak, S N Arya and Sukhda Pandey, all ministers.

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'More dangerous' times ahead: World Bank chief


World Bank chief Robert Zoellick warned of a "new and more dangerous" time in the global economy on Saturday, with little breathing space in most developed countries as a debt crisis hits Europe.


Zoellick said the eurozone's sovereign debt issues were more troubling than the "medium and long-term" problems which saw the United States downgraded by Standard and Poor's last week, sending global markets into panic.

"We are in the early moments of a new and different storm, it's not the same as 2008," said Zoellick, referring to the global financial crisis.

"In the past couple of weeks the world has moved from a troubled multi-speed recovery -- with emerging markets and a few economies like Australia having good growth and developed markets struggling -- to a new and more dangerous phase," he said in an interview with the Weekend Australian newspaper.

People were in less debt than during the credit crunch and current events did not have the same "sudden shock" factor, but Zoellick said there was less room to manoeuvre this time around.

"Most developed countries have used up their fiscal space and monetary policy is about as loose as it can be," he said.

Zoellick said the eurozone's structure "could turn out to be the most important" challenge currently facing the world economy, with some hope for Spain and Italy but debt-crippled Greece and Portugal unable to devalue.

European Union action taken to date "fall short of what is needed", the World Bank chief said.

"The lesson of 2008 is that the later you act, the more you have to do," said Zoellick, questioning whether the troubled European nations could "ever get ahead of the problems that have plagued them."

He also urged British Prime Minister David Cameron not to be deterred from austerity measures by recent riots -- the country's worst in decades -- saying his spending cuts were "really necessary."

"My concern would be if the politics knocked them off course," Zoellick said.

Markets swung wildly this week on rumours of a French credit downgrade over the debt crisis, which started in Greece and is now fuelled by fears Spain or Italy might default, sparking a break up of the 17-nation currency.

Investors are questioning whether France and Germany, the eurozone's two largest economies, can continue to underwrite other states' debts without losing their top credit ratings and falling victim to the crisis themselves.


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Realty bites: House in Mumbai slums for Rs 40 lakh


The realty market is booming in Mumbai. But not in its traditional posh, suburban or newly developing pockets. It is flourishing in the teeming slums that house 60% of the city's population. The informal property industry here is easily worth several hundred crores a year. Some tenements in these areas sell for as much as Rs 15,000 per sq ft while rents for the humble hovels can soar as high as Rs 10,000 a month. It's another matter that the living conditions almost always remain sub-human.
Thousands of shanties in prime locations are regularly bought and sold under the radar of government scrutiny. The market boasts its own set of brokers and investors. "Most transactions are done in cash and the only loser is the government, which does not receive stamp duty," says Sharad Mahajan of Mashal, an NGO working in Dharavi.

A two-room house at the Matunga labour camp on Dharavi's 60-feet Road, for instance, can cost up to Rs 40 lakh, say local brokers. Ajay Kanchikurve purchased a 200-sq-ft tenement in the neighbourhood a few years ago for Rs 13 lakh and built a floor over it. He claims that today his "well-furnish flat" could fetch him Rs 35-40 lakh.

In upmarket localities like Worli, Nepean Sea Road, Cuffe Parade and Colaba, the rate for a shanty can shoot up to over Rs 25 lakh-the offer generally made by builders keen to redevelop the slum enclave. In the Bharat Nagar slum adjoining Bandra-Kurla Complex, some residents received over Rs 1 crore a shanty to shift permanently a few years ago. "One man showed me a cheque of Rs 1.75 crore he had received from a builder," says housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu.
Calculated per square foot, some of these values could well match the going rates in western suburbs such as Malad, Andheri and Borivli. The numbers, however, do not show the squalor and poor living conditions prevailing in Mumbai's slum clusters. "The poor can no longer afford to live in a slum," says activist and human rights advocate Shakil Ahmad.

Antop Hill broker Asghar Ali says that rents in Wadala's slums are around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 a month for a 100-sq-ft home and around Rs 3,500 for a 200-sq-ft tenement. At the other end of the city, PM Shaikh, another realtor, pegs the rentals at Colaba's Azaad Nagar slum between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 a month.

Shanties in Dharavi can cost up to Rs 10 lakh. They can also fetch rent as high as Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 a month. Lakshmi Kamble, a plastic sorter from Dharavi, received offers of up to Rs 6 lakh for her kuccha 40-sq-ft house, which can hold a single bed and a small kitchen. It works out to Rs 15,000 per sq ft.

"The USP of a property in Dharavi is that it can be used either for residential or commercial gains. The owner can make a good sum if he uses it for commercial purposes. If, instead, he diverts the property for residential purposes, he will charge a high rent to compensate for the loss of income from running a shop or factory," says advocate Vinod Shetty of Acorn Foundation, which works extensively in Dharavi.

A developer with deep insight into slum redevelopment projects in central Mumbai says there are two categories of slums-those that are eligible for rehabilitation under the state government's slum rehousing schemes and those declared unauthorized.

"The eligible ones command a price of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh in Worli, Saat Rasta and Lower Parel. An illegal shanty, on the other hand, can fetch between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh," he says. A hovel with a mezzanine floor can be rented out for Rs 10,000 a month.

"The value shoots up to Rs 35 lakh when a builder signs an agreement with the slum society. At this stage, 20% of slum residents sell their shanties to the builder and move out," the builder adds. Their preferred destinations are in the far-flung suburbs of Virar, Nalasopara, Diva and Mumbra, where a shanty can be bought for Rs 2-3 lakh.

"Since the builder cannot purchase shanties under his name, he gets them registered in the names of his driver, cook, domestic help, etc. The slum resident receives a small portion by cheque and the remaining in cash," the builder says.

Jockin Arputham, a Magsasay award winner and president of the National Slum Dwellers Federation, says the slum market is booming. "For instance, Jari Mari slums near the airport that are up for redevelopment command a good premium of up to Rs 12 lakh. It is a big business involving politicians and middle-men," he says.

Free houses provided to eligible slum dwellers are another goldmine. Although it is illegal for them to sell these houses for 10 years, as many as 40% of all slum residents who are eligible to receive a 269-sq-ft flat encash them and move out.

Most inhabitants of slums, however, prefer to take a shanty on rent. Asma Shaikh is one of them. A domestic help originally from Behrampur, West Bengal, she lives in a cramped one-room house with her family in the congested Vijay Nagar slums at Antop Hill. She and her husband, a manual labourer, manage to eke out Rs 2,000 a month for rent, water and electricity. "We will never be able to afford a house here," she says.

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Amitabh Bachchan saddened by ban on 'Aarakshan'


Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is an upset man. The actor, early Friday morning, in his blog expressed dismay and loss of faith in governance after a ban was imposed on his new movie 'Aarakshan' in various states. The movie received cold response from states with Punjab and Andhra Pradesh joining Uttar Pradesh in barring its screening on Friday.


He wrote, "Without any knowledge of what the film contains, without any desire to determine the trust and the most basic principles of law of democracy, it has merely strengthened my and many others' fear of the weakness it conveys of our belief in governance and its ethics."

The actor was disappointed that the Uttar Pradesh government has banned the film for two months citing law and order problem in the state. Questioning the ban, Bachchan said that will law and order not be a problem after two months.

Ban on the film is definitely going to incur losses to both the distributors and exhibitors. Meanwhile, trade sources are saying that the revenue at least to the tune of Rs 15 crore would be lost.

He further said by banning the movie not just the producer but all those who have invested time, blood, tears and money in the film will be at a loss.

Bachchan said that politicians don't really care about the Censor Board. In his blog he wrote, "What is the need then of the Censor Board, a statutory body instituted by you, the legislatures and Parliamentarians that govern this land. You nominate what you believe, to disbelieve what you nominate!! Better to remove it altogether then rather than give it disrespect.

"I do not care and never have cared about the fate of any film of mine, and I never shall. I do not care if this film does well or not, but I shall admit, this film has shown a mirror to the country and to one of its conditions. This film has shown a path that needs to be taken for a better and more secure future of this country. And if god forbid this film fails at the box office, it shall demonstrate to a large extent the failure of the reality in the country, that today it struggles with.

"I shall believe and will always believe in the words that Dr Prabhakar Anand pronounces during the course of this film - Is desh mein do bharat baste hain .. aur sahi mano mein agar hum samaaj mein parivartan chahte hain, toh in dono ke beech ka jo antar hai use mitana padega ... (Two India's reside in this country .. and truthfully if we have to see any progress in our society, then the distance between these must be erased ..)."

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Beautiful Independence Day Wallpapers - India, 15th August 1947

Decorate your Personal Computer or Office Computer or Laptop with latest Independence Day Wallpapers, to download the below Wallpapers Right click on the images and select option "Save Image as", save the image where ever you want, Next go to Desktop and Right click then select Properties; from Properties window Select Desktop tab, there you will find a Browse button and select your Wallpaper, which you have Save already.





























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