Friday, December 30, 2005

Indian shares King Faisal international award / `Exhumed bo/dies' case: CBI probe ordered / free ebooks /

Indian shares King Faisal international award

The award consists of 24 carat, 200-gram gold medal and a cash award of

DUBAI: An Indian mathematician has been named the co-winner of the King
Faisal International Prize for 2006, in recognition of his path-breaking
research, which has strengthened links between mathematics and physics.

M. S. Narasimhan, an honorary fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental
Research in Mumbai, shares the prize with United Kingdom's Simon Kirwan
Donaldson, president of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Professor
of Mathematics at Imperial College, London, for their seminal contributions
to mathematics, which also helped provide a foundation for physical

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Director-General of the King Faisal Foundation,
said the prizes would be distributed to the winners on February 18.

The two mathematicians' work has helped to establish strong ties with the
formulation of quantum chromo dynamics for which the King Faisal Prize in
physics was given last year, the Foundation said. Each of the five prize
categories consists of a certificate, hand-written in Arabic calligraphy,
summarising the laureate's work; a commemorative 24 carat, 200-gram gold
medal, uniquely cast for each prize; and cash award of $200,000. - PTI..


`Exhumed bodies' case: CBI probe ordered

Ahmedabad : The Gujarat High Court on Thursday directed the Central Bureau
of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the case of "exhumed bodies,"
suspected to be those of post-Godhra riot victims, near Lunawada in
Panchmahals district.

Justice C. K. Buch issued the direction in response to a writ petition
jointly filed by social activist Teesta Setalvad and riot-affected victim
Ameena Habib Hasool, demanding that the case be transferred to the CBI. The
CBI has also been ordered to file its report before January 30.


----- Original Message -----
From: nowshad yusuf
To: Rifa Group Mail
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 9:46 AM
Subject: Free e-books

Dear Friends,

Are u interested in reading ? Visit the following site and enjoy reading of
thousands of e-books FREE!!!!!


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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Fw: Kaun Banega Crore Pati claims its first victim!

----- Original Message -----
From: saraswathy menon
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 1:42 PM
Subject: FW: Kaun Banega Crore Pati claims its first victim!

Kaun Banega Crore Pati claims its first victim!

New Delhi- The tremendously popular TV game show,"Kaun Banega Crore Pati"
claimed its victim in the capital. Mrs Neelam Arora, utterly disgusted with
her husband's inability to answer the simplest of questions, divorced him
immediately after the end of the show. The
entire event has shaken the capital to the core and has left the local
populace in a state of daze. Mrs Neelam Arora, when contacted, was all fire
and fury. "How can you stay married to a dumb brick who cannot answer even
the first 1000 Rupees question? Even a 6 year old
can answer such questions, but my husband, I mean, my ex-husband
*%$#@&*(unprintable) couldn't do it.

That's why; I called a lawyer immediately and filed divorce papers."
She also added that all her friends and relatives supported her move. She
also dismissed the suggestion that her husband, for motives best known to
him, could have deliberately flunked the question. Mr. Pankaj Arora, a
property dealer in one of the colonies of East Delhi, was happy when he got
the news from the Star TV network that he had got selected, one among
millions, for participating in the popular show and he considered himself
lucky to be so chosen. He was also told to bring his wife along to the
studios at Mumbai where the game shows were to be hosted by Mr Amitabh
Bachhan. Winning a crore was hardly in the mind of Mr Arora and all Mr
Pankaj Arora wanted to do there was to gape at his idol and may be he
thought he could try to sell him a few of the plots of his clients to
Amitabh at a small tidy margin. But Mrs Arora was made of sterner stuff.

Mrs Neelam Arora, ever the ambitious wife, now took charge of her indolent
husband. She hired the best tutor from Sachdev Tutorials, made him learn all
the countries and capitals in the world, currencies of different countries,
names of different states, rivers, towns in the country etc. After 3 weeks
of gruelling schedule of cramming, Mr Arora and Mrs Arora confidently
embarked on their journey to Mumbai, little knowing that the game show was
change their lives forever. Mr Arora was one among the 10 hopefuls selected
for the 'fastest finger first' event.

Amitabh appeared in flesh and blood and Mr Pankaj Arora, whose lifetime
ambition, was to see his childhood hero in person, felt a sense of
fulfillment and pressed some buttons in a hurry. Mr Arora couldn't believe
it! Mrs Neelam Arora felt like a mother whose favourite kid had won the best
baby show. Not only had he given correct answers, but he had done so even
before others could begin!

There was a hubbub around the auditorium as Mr Pankaj Arora gingerly took
the seat from Amitabh for everyone was convinced that history was going to
be made that day. There was suspense in the air and the audience could sense
money floating all around them. Amitabh Bachhan started the show by smiling
benignly at the nervous Mr Arora, the kind of smile he would give to a ABCL
investor, clapped his hands and read out the question. "Mr Pankaj Arora,
yehi hai aap ka pehla sawaal. Who wrote 'Valmiki Ramayan'? The choices are
A. Tulsidas B. Ramanand Sagar C. B R Chopra D. Valmiki?" Mr Pankaj Arora
promptly said, "Ramanand Sagar!". He had not forgotten the days when he used
to get up early on Sundays solely to watch the epic. Amitabh again smiled
the benign smile, cajoled him to use his lifeline, audience poll etc., but
Mr Pankaj Arora, like a true blue property
dealer, didn't budge from his position. He later told everyone sobbingly
that he wanted to preserve the lifelines for using them after touching the
25 lac mark Amitabh commiserated with him and told a shocked Mr Arora that
his answer was wrong. The pin-drop silence that followed immediately was
only to be broken by loud angry shriek from a female, that vidently from a
female, who had been done in by her husband.

She shouted immediately, "Is there a lawyer in the house?".

Before the pandemonium that broke out could settle in, Mr Arora and Mrs
Arora had parted ways as husband and wife. This event has caused great
sensation among the community of TV viewers and the effect has been electric
among the chronic followers of this game show. Whether this
'wife-divorcing-husband -for-flunking-the-first- question' event, will drive
away all husbands from the show or pull them with magnetic attraction to the
greatest TV game show ever, only time alone can tell - Agency news.


Its regarding Kaun Banega Chorpati - 2 (KBC - 2)

You all know it's a good business. But have you ever pondered. How Good??
Any guesses?? Let's see..

Airtel is charging Rs. 6 per SMS sent for this contest.

Assuming only 100 entries from say 10 cities of some 20 districts and 20
6(Rs/SMS)*100(entries)*10(cities)*20(districts)*20(states) =

24 lakhs in 20 minutes. (People trying for the 2 lakhs cash prize).
Imagine what if 1000 entries try out from 100 cities????
The figure simply grows by 2 more zeroes and yields a whooping 24 Crores!!!!
And it does not stops there... In practice it could be another multiple of
100 or worst case a multiple of 1000 on an average.

In that case it is 24*100 crores earnings in just 20 minutes on every
episode!!! And the prize money : mere 2 crore (and from whose pocket ? )

Smart Business By Siddharth Basu!

And the best part of this calculation is just the SMS earning!!
What about the Ad money ??? A rough annual profit calculation goes like

2400*(5*4)(episode/month)*12 = 576000 crores.

Let even 50% get dissolved in taxes and other payments, still you will be
left with (which includes even the meager 480 crores of prize money. i.e.,
if every episode bags 2 crore prize!)2,88,000 crores profit (only from SMS).

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What if you could write an e-mail to yourself and be assured of receiving it 20 years in the future? / THE REAL INDIA

Most time capsules involve cramming stuff into a metal box and burying it in
a hole in the ground. It's a method that works--but it's so primitive. What
if you could write an e-mail to yourself and be assured of receiving it 20
years in the future?

That's what we've done with this e-mail time capsule. Simply fill out the
fields below, decide how long you want the capsule to be sealed for and hit
send. We'll do our best to make sure the message gets delivered.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

On-line storage alternatives /

On-line storage alternatives

New on-line back-up tools allow sharing of files/documents

The feature-packed on-line storage service e-snips (,
which provides you one GB space for free, will be quite handy in tackling
your storage problems.

Recently this author tried out the new on-line backup product, Mozy
( which is still in its testing phase. This utility allows
you to encrypt/store files on its server for free. To back up data, you need
to download the Windows XP based Mozy client. This author is yet to make
extensive use of the service.

Another web based storage solution worth a trial is Streamload
(http://www.streamload. com). It lets you store up to 10 GB for free; but
the free account holders cannot download files of size above 10 MB.

On-line word-processors

The on-line word-processor market is currently agog with action and many
such products are emerging (even big players like MicroSoft are planning to
enter this segment -

The on-line document editor Zoho Writer (
is another Office product worth a mention. An additional feature of this
service is that it provides an e-mail id to which you can send documents. A
document thus sent will be stored on Zoho's server under your account and
you can edit or share it with anyone.

WideWord ( is yet another web based document editor
trying to get some foothold in this segment. Here, you can create a document
by just providing an e-mail id. The service will store the document on its
server and send you mail with a link for accessing/editing the newly created

Opencourseware Finder

Reputed educational institutions such as MIT (
publish course materials on a range of subjects that include engineering,
biology and economics for free download. The newly launched search engine,
Opencourseware Finder (, helps you locate
such materials with ease.

J. MURALI He can be contacted at:

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Accident in Dubai today 27 Nov 2005

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2005 4:59 PM

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The overwhelming presence of foreign workers in the Arabian Gulf has become a national security issue

Region | Bahrain

Published: 24/11/2005, 09:51 (UAE)

Call for prudent labour import policy

By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

Manama: The overwhelming presence of foreign workers in the Arabian
Gulf has become a national security issue amid international calls to equal
rights in their host nations, a Gulf Cooperation Council official warned on

GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiya.

"The GCC countries need to look at the massive presence of expatriates
basically as a national security issue, and not merely as an economic
matter, particularly in light of global changes and international
conventions," GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiya said.

"International accords are pressing for the settlement of expatriates
and imposing giving them salaries equal to nationals and greater rights in
the areas of education and health. This new situation calls for a more
rational and more prudent policy by the GCC states in importing labour," Al
Attiya said at the opening of the two-day GCC labour ministers meeting in

Zero-tolerance policy

"The GCC countries should resort to expatriate labour only when there
is a deep need for them and there are no local or regional alternatives," Al
Attiya said.

"The countries should implement a zero-tolerance policy towards
violators because it is matter of national security," he said.

"The GCC states need to gradually replace the expatriate force and to
address the causes of their overwhelming presence and to draw up a relevant
strategy that includes developing local human resources and boost
competitiveness in the public and private sectors," Al Attiya said.

Observers say that very high levels of foreign labour can cause a
variety of problems in the GCC countries, with profound political, social
and cultural consequences.

Earlier this month, James Zogby, President of the Washington-based
Arab American Institute, warned that the "guest workers" were a "time bomb
waiting to explode and unleash riots like those that rocked France."

"In this region, as well, in many places, workers are trapped in
horrible conditions, denied justice and their basic humanity. It hurts not
only them, but the image and the moral fibre of the countries which host
them. You must see them, incorporate their rights into your vision and
defend them," Zogby said.

More than 10m foreign workers

a.. Foreign labour makes up 88 per cent of the workforce in the UAE,
83 per cent in Qatar, 81 per cent in Kuwait, 72 per cent in Saudi Arabia, 55
per cent in Bahrain, and 54 per cent in Oman, according to official figures
in the Gulf states.
b.. In all, the number of foreigner workers exceeds 10 million, or
up to 70 per cent of the GCC's labour force, a figure that a Bahraini
economist describes as "frightening" especially given the large population
growth and economic problem.
c.. Observers say that very high levels of foreign labour can cause
a variety of problems in the GCC countries, with profound political, social
and cultural consequences.
d.. Foreign workers hail mainly from Asia (especially the Indian
subcontinent) and from the Arab East. Asians tend to work as domestic help
or as manual workers, while Arabs are employed in administration and
government positions.
e.. Over the past few months, thousands of low-paid Asian workers
staged protests, some violent, in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE for not
receiving salaries on time.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Internet: a case of `founders keepers? / Ravishing charm of the Ravi Varmas /

The Internet: a case of `founders keepers?
Anand Parthasarathy
The second World Summit on the Information Society that opens in Tunis on
November 16 will see a renewed effort by developing nations, with U.N.
backing, to transfer `control' of the Internet from the U.S. to an
independent body.

THE WORD "cyber space" was coined long before the Internet was born. In fact
it is the creation of American novelist William Gibson who used it in his
novel Neuromancer a good ten years before the World Wide Web gradually
became a reality.
At the turn of the century, Gibson, asked to comment on the shape taken by
his unintended brainchild said perceptively: "The Internet is extra national
and post geographical. It is happening largely outside the jurisdiction of
politicians. It is truly one of the strangest things we have done as a
species. and we have done it inadvertently. If we take care of it, it may be
a step towards a better world." His instinct was right in one important
aspect: the relative freedom from political control that Internet enjoyed.
Indeed its origins lay in a network called DARPANet, a creation of the U.S.
government's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was initially
handed over to a consortium of American academic institutions, then grew and
grew... to become today's Internet.
By late 1980s the number of Internet users - and hence addresses - became
unmanageable without some regulation. The U.S. Department of Commerce and
the Post and Telecommunications Department established the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority (IANA), which in 1998 became the Internet Corporation of
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private corporation that includes a
number of stakeholders.


Ravishing charm of the Ravi Varmas
The song, `Pinakkamano..' showcases the grandeur of Ravi Varma paintings in
cinematic style. PREMA MANMADHAN speaks to the crew that created it


HISTORY VERSUS THE PRESENT The three Ravi Varma paintings juxtaposed with
the poses that Kavya Madhavan strikes in the song, `Pinakkamano..' in the
movie, `Ananthabhadram'
Raja Ravi Varma was once dubbed the creator of `calendar art' and `kitsch'.
Detractors took a back seat before long and the royal artist's works are
today one of the most sought after in the international art world. That he
made art accessible to people through reprints in those days is what puts
him above most others. All the gods and goddesses who adorned pooja rooms in
Kerala in the best part of the last century were certainly Ravi Varma
The song, `Pinakkamano... ', penned by Gireesh Puthencherry and composed by
M.G. Radhakrishnan in `Ananthabhadram', is a celebration of Ravi Varma
works, a tribute to the Raja, as Santosh Sivan, director and
cinematographer, puts it. The song, sung by M.G.Sreekumar and Manjari, with
orchestration by Kannan, appeals for a specific reason.


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Artists' forum, the Left speak up for Kushboo / Found dead in U.S. / The great digital divide

Artists' forum, the Left speak up for Kushboo
DPI leader denies that his party and PMK are behind agitations


Found dead in U.S.
New Delhi: Nayyar Pervez, son of the former MP, Syed Shahabuddin, was found
dead in a hotel room in the United States. He was a professor in Columbia

The great digital divide
Today, the dividing lines between the rich and the poor, between the North
and the South, are the fibre-optic and high speed digital lines.

"But access to the Internet is of little value if the information that it
contains is ... in a language you don't understand, or if it fails to deal
with the life and death questions ... ."

MILES TO GO: New technologies are shrinking the world, but a huge percentage
of the world population has been left out.
WHEN these words appear I shall just have attended the World Summit on the
Information Society in Tunis, a serious attempt to grapple with the
challenges of our information-technology-driven times - the digital divide,
the governance of the Internet, the hope that the new technologies can drive
development. But the information revolution, unlike the French Revolution,
is at present one with much liberté, some fraternité and no égalité. It is
yet to deliver the goods, or even the tools to obtain them, to many of those
most in need.
Today, the dividing lines between the rich and the poor, between the North
and the South, are the fibre-optic and high speed digital lines. If "digital
divide" is an over-used phrase, it represents a reality that cannot be
denied. Fifteen per cent of the world's population controls around 80 per
cent of the world's telephones and about 90 per cent of access points to the
Internet, and they are 13 times more likely to own personal computers than
the rest. And the rest are the 85 per cent of the world's population living
in low and lower-middle income countries.


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Saturday, November 19, 2005
Forgetful? is your solution. People are forgetful, but as
Internet users we all have one thing in common.

We check our email every day.

The premise of is simple.

1.. You give us an email address.
2.. You tell us an event for which you need a reminder.
3.. You tell us when to send you the reminder.
4.. We send you an email on that day and time to a specified mailbox.
It's that simple. You check your email and there is a self-written reminder,
delivered to your inbox from's servers. No misplaced
post-it notes. No complicated scheduling programs. Just a quick note of your
own design delivered into your Inbox when you think you'll need it.


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Thursday, November 10, 2005

New library movement on the anvil in Kerala / yahoo \YAH-hoo\ noun / U.S. used white phosphorous against Iraqi civilians, charges Italian TV /

New library movement on the anvil in Kerala
Special Correspondent
Every school in the State to have better library facilities soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: T he Education Department in Kerala has charted out a
task programme called `Vayanayilude Valaruka' (Grow up by Reading) for
encouraging reading habit among schoolchildren.
At a press conference here on Wednesday, Education Minister E.T. Mohammed
Basheer said libraries in all government schools and government-aided
schools in the State would be modernised and strengthened under the
programme. And a `library period' will be added to school timetable shortly.
The formal inauguration of the programme is scheduled to be held at a
function at St. Teresa's School in Ernakulam on Thursday. Mr. Basheer said
2,393 high schools and 2,827 upper primary schools would get better library
facilities during the first phase of the programme by the first week of
January 2006. Lower primary schools will get the facility subsequently.
The idea is to implement the programme with the participation of local
bodies, non-governmental organisations, local clubs, financial institutions,
school parent-teacher associations, Grandhasala Sanghom, cooperative
societies, public sector institutions and media houses.
Help will definitely flow in from all corners for such a programme, Mr.
Basheer said.


yahoo \YAH-hoo\ noun
: a boorish, crass, or stupid person
Example sentence:
The local teenagers' reputation as a bunch of yahoos was belied by their
courteous treatment of the stranded motorists.
Did you know?
We know exactly how old "yahoo" is because its debut in print also marked
its entrance into the English language as a whole. "Yahoo" began life as a
made-up word invented by Jonathan Swift in his book Gulliver's Travels,
which was published in 1726. The Yahoos were a race of brutes, with the form
and vices of humans, encountered by Gulliver in his fourth and final voyage.
They represented Swift's view of mankind at its lowest. It is not
surprising, then, that "yahoo" came to be applied to any actual human who
was particularly unpleasant or unintelligent. Yahoos were controlled by the
intelligent and virtuous Houyhnhnms, a word which apparently did not catch
people's fancy as "yahoo" did.

U.S. used white phosphorous against Iraqi civilians, charges Italian TV
The shells of the weapon burn every living thing within 150 metres of impact


INDISCRIMINATE USE?: White phosphorous being allegedly used by U.S. forces
in Iraq in November 2004 seen in this image from video made available by the
website of RaiNews24, the all-news channel of Italian RAI state television.
ROME: Italian state television aired a documentary on Tuesday alleging that
the United States used white phosphorous shells ``in a massive and
indiscriminate way'' against civilians during the November 2004 offensive in
The report said the shells were not used to illuminate enemy fighters at
night, as the U.S. Government has said, but against civilians, and that it
burned their flesh ``to the bone.''
The documentary by RaiNews24, the all-news channel of RAI state television,
quoted former marine Jeff Englehart as saying he saw the bodies of burned
children and women after the bombardments.
Host of allegations
``Burned bodies. Burned children and burned women. White phosphorous kills
indiscriminately. It's a cloud that, within ... 150 metres of impact, will
disperse and will burn every human being or animal.''
There have been several allegations that the U.S. used outlawed weapons,
such as napalm, in the Fallujah offensive.
On November 9, 2004, the Pentagon denied that any chemical weapons,
including napalm, were used in the offensive.
On its web site, the U.S. Government has said it used phosphorous shells
``very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes.'' It noted that
phosphorous shells were not outlawed.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Lined Paper / Free Online Graph Paper / Indians, most sexually content and committed! / Let us have another '9/11'


Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs
Downloadable and very printable, I find these PDFs extremely useful.

So, you can make a 24x30 inch sheet with a green one-inch 10 point grid.
Obviously I cannot anticipate all needs, but the grids below should cover
most common ones.

Notice to people with Spam Blocks
If you have a Spam blocker that requires authentication, such as those from
ChoiceMail or Earthlink - I will not take steps to add myself to your
whitelist. Add me to your whitelist before you send out your email, or you
won't ever receive my replies.


Lined Paper
Lined Paper PDF Generator - Just horizontal lines. I needed this a while
back, so I figured other people might also need it.

Graph Paper
Graph Generator Lite - Specify the number of squares you want - and the size
of them.

Plain Graph Paper PDF Generator - Set your border and grid spacing (i.e. 4
lines per cemtimemter) to get as much graph as possible on your paper.


Indians, most sexually content and committed!
Tuesday, 08 November , 2005, 17:47

New Delhi: When it comes to making love, Indians are not only the safest but
are also the most committed to their partners and do not find their sex life
monotonous, according to the Durex Global Sex Survey.

The survey conducted by the world's leading condom brand said Indians have
had least (21 per cent) unprotected sex without knowing their partner's
sexual history, as compared to the global average of 47 per cent (Norwegians
73 per cent and Greeks 70 per cent are most likely to have unsafe sex
without knowing their partners sexual history).

As far as the number of sexual partners are concerned, Indians had the
fewest with an average of three as compared to nine globally. Turks with an
average of 14.5 partners have had more sexual partners than any other
nationality in the world.

That Indians are committed to their partners is vindicated by the fact that
only 13 per cent of them have had one-night stands, which is the least
compared to 44 per cent worldwide, it said.

The survey, which interviewed over 3,17,000 people from 41 countries,
including India, said apart from being the safest love-makers very few
Indians find their sexual relationship with their partner monotonous.

Only three per cent of Indians experienced monotony in sex compared to seven
per cent globally. While 46 per cent of Indians said they were happy with
their sex lives compared to 44 per cent globally.

Indians were rated slow when it came to losing their virginity at an average
age of 19.8 years as compared to 17.3 years, the average age when people had
sex for the first time worldwide, the survey said.

People from Iceland have sex younger than any other country (15.6) followed
by the Germans (15.9) and Swedes (16.1), it said.

Believing in safe sex, however, did not deter Indians in seeking sexual
contentment. Pornography (37 per cent) and pleasure enhancing condoms (28
per cent) are the top two sexual enhancers preferred by Indians. Globally,
23 per cent voted in favour of pleasure enhancing condoms.

Indians, like many other nationalities around the world, believe that
HIV/AIDS was the most important area that needed greater public awareness.
While 87 per cent of Indians voted it as a top priority area, which needed
greater awareness in the society, 72 per cent of people globally felt so.

Therefore, a majority of Indians (47 per cent) felt that government should
be investing in sex education in schools while 34 per cent around the world
believed so, the survey said.

The Indian priority to sexual safety was re-emphasised when close to a half
(49 per cent) said that with regard to encouraging the young people priority
should be to abstain from sex before marriage. Globally, only 8 per cent of
the people felt so.

Almost three quarters of adults worldwide (74 per cent) believed that young
people should be encouraged to practice safe sex while 41 percent of the
Indian opined the same.

Indians are, however, late to receive sex education with the average age of
getting the first sex education being 15.6 years while globally 13.2 years
was the average age for the same.


Let us have another '9/11'


NOVEMBER 8: The terror strikes of September 11, 2001, so transformed the
world it even invaded our lexicon: "9/11" became a metaphor for cataclysmic
destruction. But let us pause and see if these dates can be turned around.

For instance, September 11, 1893, was the first day of the World's
Parliament of Religions in Chicago where representatives of all organised
religions participated with the declared objective of presenting the
important truths held in common by the different religions of the world and
to bring the nations of the earth into a more harmonious relationship.

Let us have another such World's Parliament of Religions, with the greatest
scholars/sages of all faiths along with all the world's leaders, in India,
the land of Swami Vivekananda's birth. In other words, let us have another
"9/11", the real "9/11".

Swami Vivekananda was the unmatched hero of the Parliament of Religions in
Chicago. The unknown, monk became known throughout America and the world. In
his speeches, Swamiji stressed the idea of the validity of all religions and
their harmony.


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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Noam Chomsky and the human revolution / Mark Fischer spoke to Chris Knight, a scientist specialising in human origins.

Noam Chomsky and the human revolution

Mark Fischer spoke to Chris Knight, a scientist specialising in human origins. His main current interest lies in working out how human language may have evolved. This has led him to clash with Noam Chomsky

You are on record as saying that Chomsky needs to be overthrown and replaced. Why?

Chomsky is a genius - there’s no question of that. He’s made linguistics into a science, discovering how syntax works and how closely the world’s natural languages are related. In his view, at a deep level there’s really just one language, which he calls ‘Universal Grammar’. Linguistics is the attempt to work out the specifics of this grammar.

The problem is that he goes out of his way to construct an impenetrable wall between linguistics and everything else. For him, only natural science can be genuinely scientific. So linguistics can qualify as a proper science only if it sets out from a special definition of language. The main requirement, according to Chomsky, is to avoid confusing two things. One is language. The other is how it’s used. For Chomsky, linguistics doesn’t study usage: it studies only nature. Language is a computational faculty located in the head, enabling us to think in a human way. By defining language as a part of human nature, Chomsky justifies turning his back on culture and the humanities. Meanwhile, in his social activism and commentary, he turns his back on science. Not just Marxism but all other approaches claiming to be ‘scientific’ are point-blank rejected. In a nutshell: socialism mustn’t be scientific and science mustn’t be social. I am an anthropologist. For me, as an anthropologist, the interesting question is not just that Chomsky says such things. The really interesting question is why.

It’s not difficult to show that Chomsky’s objective role has been to drive a wedge between science and activism, doing all possible to ensure that no connection is made. To the American corporate and managerial elite, two things are important. One is that the scientific community doesn’t get active. The other is that the activist community doesn’t get scientific. As if to show that this split-brain approach is perfectly possible, Chomsky goes out of his way to construct two versions of himself, neither of which seems to be on speaking terms with the other.

It is hard to think of a policy more deeply reactionary. We now have a situation in which the climate science community in the US is frantically sounding the alarm, warning the oil industry about the potentially catastrophic consequences of global warming. Because their findings make such awkward reading to oil-dependent politicians, the climate science community is currently being ‘investigated’ by the Bush regime - the implication being that some of the leading scientists may be communist sympathisers. To a Marxist, it’s obvious that all this is nonsense. On the other hand, it is true that when ordinary impartial science collides with the political requirements of the ruling establishment, it becomes an incipiently revolutionary force. The international scientific community is now becoming aware that it must defend its autonomy - the inviolable autonomy of science. Scientists, for the most part, know that they must feel free to say uncomfortable things to their own governments, taking political action where necessary in defence of science.

More than anybody else, Chomsky legitimises the professional judgement that this would be wrong. He acts as a role model for all those who insist that there must be no mingling of politics with science. His peculiar value to the authorities is his talent for championing this position not from the political right but from a standpoint on the far left. This makes him virtually unassailable. His argument sounds very reasonable. He points out that an activist who invoked the authority of science to justify some personally favoured policy would be deeply suspect. Does any activist have the right to dress up this or that political ideology as ‘science’? Conversely, does a scientist have the right to subordinate theory construction to a political cause? Wouldn’t that be betraying the true mission of science?

Such arguments are in a sense right. They are also highly convenient. It is no secret that initially, when Chomsky’s paradigm was getting off the ground in the 1950s, the US military were interested in ‘Universal Grammar’ As they offered substantial funding to Chomsky’s research programme, it is on record what they wanted to achieve. They needed an electronic command-and-control device for use in their weapons systems. They hoped for a system in which personnel on the ground could issue verbal instructions to an airborne missile, specifying trajectories and targets. If they could do this in everyday, natural language - without having to learn special codes - it would obviously be hugely advantageous to them. ‘Universal grammar’ seemed an excellent idea.

It may well be that few people were under the illusion that Chomsky himself could actually build a universal language machine. In fact, on a personal level, he showed little interest in any direct military application of his ideas. But it was widely believed that his theoretical approach might indirectly assist. Working in what was called the ‘Research Laboratory of Electronics’ at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky consistently described the human language faculty as if it were a computational device composed of wires and switches.

Noam Chomsky: believes that social factors have nothing to do with the evolution of language
As it happens, needless to say, the machine promised by Chomsky was unlikely to be built in real life. No one will ever be able to construct a machine with a sense of humour, for example. But, machine or no machine, Chomsky’s value to the establishment remained real enough. He succeeded in dislodging linguistics from its former place among the social sciences, redefining the discipline as natural science. Once this move had been made, it caused terrible conceptual problems, producing utter bafflement all around and leading to what became known as the ‘linguistic wars’ - which proved to be among the most bitter and acrimonious disputes in western intellectual history.

Many linguists felt that their intellectual discipline had been violated by the attempt to have it completely removed from the broader humanities and passed over to the natural sciences. In order to avoid social and political issues, Chomsky declared that contemporary word-meanings - for example, the lexical concept, ‘carburettor’ - had been fixed for all eternity when Homo sapiens first evolved. Not surprisingly, such laughable ideas produced gasps of utter disbelief among Chomsky’s colleagues. Nothing in linguistics seemed to make sense any more. To activists in particular, Chomsky’s ideas about genetic determinism seemed abstract and irrelevant. But his principled stance on issues such as Vietnam made him difficult to attack. The outcome has been this very deep intellectual schism and this widespread feeling that you mustn’t mix activism with science.

If you did unite science and activism, what would the implications be? How does this debate impinge on what people should be doing politically in the here and now? Isn’t it all interesting - but arcane?

Not arcane at all. Chomsky’s great achievement has been to prove that language is ‘off the scale’ as far as anything else in biological communication is concerned. It’s not like a development from chimpanzee vocal calls such as pant-hoots or waa-barks. Language is qualitatively different. And he’s correct: it’s hard to see how language could have gradually evolved. Darwinian evolutionary science has so far failed to explain this puzzle at all. Human children are born with a ‘language instinct’ - that is, they are equipped to acquire complex grammatical rules so spontaneously and creatively that it is as if they knew the basics already. But if this is an instinct then it seems to have come from nowhere. No ape has any such instinct. For obvious reasons, this puzzle has appeared to provide ammunition for the creationists.

So, the implication is that language emerged out of some kind of revolution?

Yes, it must have been a qualitative leap, perhaps like the emergence of life itself. It was a major transition, one of many such events during the course of life’s evolution on earth.

Does Chomsky agree?

His view is that language is special. Furthermore, something special must have happened to make it special. Chomsky makes very few categorical statements about the special event in question, which he has recently termed humanity’s ‘great leap forward’. He views the whole topic as speculative. But he does insist on one thing: whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t social.

For Chomsky, you can have a revolution, as long as it remains part of natural science. Therefore it might have been a cognitive revolution. Or perhaps a massive genetic mutation. Alternatively, as neurons accumulated in the human brain, critical mass might have been achieved, whereupon the language device suddenly self-installed. So you can attribute the emergence of language to a ‘revolution’. And you can mix that word with other words, such as ‘cognitive’, ‘genetic’ and so on. But one absolute taboo remains in force. You mustn’t combine the word ‘revolution’ with the word ‘social’. That would be mixing politics with science.

When someone insists on such a point with such ferocity, you have to ask - why? Then, when you remind yourself that they are working in a Pentagon-funded environment, it all begins to make sense. It makes sense that Chomsky is forced to say things that to most people seem insane.

For example, he categorically insists that language is not for communicating thoughts. The first person to get suddenly wired up for language didn’t need anyone to talk to. The individual concerned used language simply to talk to ‘itself’ (Chomsky in his scientific capacity treats humans as ‘natural objects’). If you object that language is brilliant for enabling us to share our thoughts and dreams, he retorts that in fact almost anything can be used in this way. For example, you might want to make a public statement with your new hairstyle. The fact that you can use hair in such a way doesn’t imply that human hair evolved so that people could share their thoughts. Once again, the possible uses of a thing and its intrinsic nature must be kept conceptually separate.

That’s Chomsky’s position. It is easy to show that it doesn’t work. Where evolution is concerned, you need a theory to show how and why humanity’s ‘great leap forward’ happened and what it was comprised of. But, as soon as you have a social theory of any kind, it becomes a hot potato. If you are operating in a Pentagon-funded environment, it takes courage to come up with the discovery that revolution works. Obviously, the theory itself is going to have political implications, even if you are not particularly political as a person.

Your approach seems to suggest that everything distinctively human about human nature springs from a revolution. Is that a fair summary?

That’s right. The chief value of the study of human origins is precisely that. It undermines what is probably the deepest of all prejudices against the whole revolutionary project - the idea that not even a revolution could ever change ‘human nature’ The ruling class want us to believe that greed, selfishness, private property, sexual inequality, violence, etc - all these features of the current global order are intrinsic to the human condition. The study of human origins shows the reverse. This exciting branch of science reveals that everything distinctively human about our nature - for example, self-consciousness, the ability to see ourselves as others see us, the ability to establish moral and political understandings accordingly - all these things which define our humanity emerged out of struggle. They are all products of the greatest revolution in history, the one that made us human.

Did this debate explicitly feature during the symposium with Chomsky you attended?

Chomsky’s lecture on the evolution of language was predictable. He went into ‘C-command’, something called ‘binding’ and various other features of syntax. He implied that something amazing must have happened to get these features implanted into the human brain, but didn’t explain what.

I started by asking a question trying to pinpoint exactly what that ‘great leap forward’ was. What happened? Did I miss something, I asked? Where exactly was his theory? He replied that the brain became suddenly wired for language, although we don’t know how. That was the amazing event.

I asked a follow-up question: “Professor Chomsky, you seem to be very vague about what it was. Yet you are absolutely definite on just one thing: whatever it was, we know for certain it wasn’t a social revolution. Do I understand you correctly?” His comeback was that anyone who thought that social causation impinged in any way was sadly misguided. Nothing in the social life of humanity can possibly find its way back into the genome. We are all Darwinians, he pointed out, not followers of Lamarck.

I couldn’t let this go, despite the etiquette that’s supposed to be observed at such events. I took the microphone again and reminded everyone that the whole point about modern Darwinism is its focus on cooperation versus competition. By ape or monkey standards, human social cooperation is off the scale. Was Chomsky really saying that such topics are simply irrelevant?

He reiterated that social interaction is indeed irrelevant, since we’re dealing with innate structures of the human mind.

I had another go, of course. Humans do indeed have innate cognitive features which apes don’t seem to possess. We can point at things, for example. Stand in front of a cat and point - and it just stares at your finger. It doesn’t get it, no matter how hard you try. Even chimps don’t point things out to one another. Each sees the world from its own perspective. No ape behaves as if enquiring of those around it: ‘Do you see what I see?’ Two-way mind-reading is something they just don’t get. So the human revolution did involve a cognitive leap - but this was emphatically social.

Chomsky was exasperated and simply reiterated his assertion: social factors have nothing to do with the emergence of language. At which point I had to sit down, of course. But it had been worthwhile getting him to unequivocally state his position in such a forum.

So what does the future hold?

Let me mention one particular scientist. His name is Luc Steels. Chomsky has spent his life in an imaginary electronics laboratory. He’s been engaged in concocting designs for a language machine he’d never have to build. He knew that nobody would ever ask him where the fuses should go or how the wiring would work. By contrast, Luc is one of the world’s best-known designers of intelligent robots. His machines are built with the equipment to work out what’s going on around them and correlate perspectives. They don’t have any special wiring for language. They have to work that out for themselves. Luc calls this the ‘recruitment’ theory of the origins of language. His machines just recruit whatever resources they can find in order to establish communication. They’re built to remember those communicative interactions that succeed while forgetting those that fail.

Luc insists that if you follow Chomsky’s advice, it won’t work. If you design the hard wiring for ‘Universal Grammar’ in advance and jam it into your machines, you’ll just get it wrong. The implications are far too subtle and complex for anybody to work out. You just have to make these machines - his own ones look like comical dogs, by the way - and let them interact. After some time, they cumulatively build up the wiring for language. Of course, the outcomes are relatively crude, but in terms of underlying principles, the parallels with language seem to be real. I’m hoping to bring Luc to London soon, so that you can see what I mean.

By a stroke of good fortune, Luc was appointed by the conference organisers to prepare a response to my own paper at the conference. The title I had chosen was ‘The human revolution’. My final slide was this two-word slogan: Revolution works. I was surprised and relieved because Luc defended not only the general theory but also many of the details of my argument. At the symposium, this carried weight, I think, because everyone could see that Luc Steels knew what he was talking about. Unlike Chomsky, he actually had to build his ‘language machines’ - and they worked!

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say Chomsky has spent his life fighting off the theory of the human revolution. His opponents are doing joined-up thinking and he doesn’t want to know. My own experience of conferences of this kind is that, wherever scientists from different disciplines start talking among themselves, they discover that there was indeed some kind of revolution. Then they begin wondering about the details. What exactly happened? Most agree the crucial events occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. A new species emerged - Homo sapiens. Linguistically, socially and in other ways, humans did things that were quite peculiar. Nothing like this species had ever hit the planet before. And, as we begin piecing our story together, there’s this take-home message: Revolution works.

Like Galileo with his theory about a moving earth, a discovery of this kind is bound to upset the authorities. As Chomsky’s approach is set aside, I think linguists will want to escape their irrelevance and isolation, linking up with colleagues in neighbouring disciplines. As scientists feel less atomised and isolated, I think we’ll feel a new determination to defend our intellectual autonomy against the obvious institutional pressures to hold back.

The scientific community is intrinsically international. To remain true to science, we’ve no choice but to resist all merely national governments and authorities in favour of a constituency whose internationalism matches ours. As a scientist in paid employment, I am part of the working class. In becoming scientifically enlightened and self-organised, our aim must be to embrace society as a whole, just as Marx envisaged.

We won the revolution once. We have good grounds for believing we can do it again.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Prof. ONV on Kerala Piravi Day

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bush is a failure / passive driving ???

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 11:41 AM
Subject: google

Go to
Type "failure" (without double quotes) in the search text box.
Press "I'm Feeling Lucky" button just next to "Google Search" button.
See what happens.


When will we stand up to the carmakers?
George Monbiot- © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
THE BAN on smoking in bars will save some fraction of the bar staff who die
every year as a result of passive smoking. The moral case is clear: people
are being exposed to a risk for which they have not volunteered. While
smokers have an undisputed right to kill themselves, they have no right to
kill other people. This case being generally applicable, what does the U.K.
Government intend to do about passive driving?
Every year, according to a paper published by the British Medical Journal,
some 54 bar staff in the U.K. die as a result of their exposure to other
people's cigarette smoke. And every year, according to the EU, some 39,000
deaths in this country are caused or hastened by air pollution, most of
which comes from vehicles. This is a problem three orders of magnitude
greater than the one that has filled the newspapers for the past six months,
and no one is talking about it.
It is true to say that British air, like that of most parts of the rich
world, is much cleaner than it used to be. Since the great smog of 1952
forced the Government to legislate, since coal gave way to gas and factories
fitted filters to their chimneys, acute pollution crises of the kind which
once killed thousands in a couple of days have not recurred. Between 1992
and 2000, traffic fumes fell steeply. But in 2000 the decline in the most
dangerous pollutant - small particles of soot - came to a halt. Since then
the levels have held more or less steady (with a spike in the hot summer of
2003). The British Government is in breach of European rules, and the
European Commission is in breach of any serious effort to do something about
it. So 39,000 lives are shortened every year.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005



You have 7 days to pick up this file. After 7 days it will be deleted. You
can only download the file once, so be sure and save it to your computer
rather than playing or running it from the browser.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Again Scam - now on Lottery Tax

Again Scam - now on Lottery Tax, originally uploaded by naamhs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks dies /

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks dies 

Detroit: Rosa Parks, the black woman whose single handed protest sparked the civil rights revolution in America has died.
The 92-year-old icon of the racial equality movement died in her sleep on Monday surrounded by a small group of friends and family members, according to her lawyer Shirley Kaigler.
Parks was a 42-year-old seamstress for a department store in Alabama when she caught a bus in the town of Montgomery on December 1, 1955.
Three stops after she got on, a white man boarded and had to stand. Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her seat for him and uttering the words: “I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.”
Her arrest and subsequent court appearance sparked a boycott of the bus system, led by a Then unknown Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
The boycott lasted 381 days, and led to a US Supreme Court decision forcing Montgomery to desegregate its bus system.
Parks received the highest U.S. civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1996 and Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 1999.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Tsunami caused by a bomb??

Please take a look at the following link, the same order

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

RIFA is organizing a seminar on the above mentioned subject "New Agenda for Kerala Development" on 28 October 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: Raveendran Muraleedharan
Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2005 11:00 AM
Subject: please post in your group
Dear friend,

As responsible people from kerala the gulf malayalees are very
much concerned about the total social and economic development of the
ordinary people of kerala. The governments that ruled kerala since
independence implemented various measures for the emancipation of the poor
and the downtrodden. How far they succeeded in achieving the target?

It is now certain that in April-May 2006 a new government will
take office. What ought to be their agenda for the comprehensive development
of the ordinary people in the coming years?

RIFA is organizing a seminar on the above mentioned subject "New
Agenda for Kerala Development" on 28 October 2005. The presenter of the
subject is Mr. Suresh Kumar Mundiyath.

The October issue rifa monthly magazine "aksharam" will also be
released on that day.

The presentation will start at 7.00 PM, soon after the ifthar
party being organized by rifa

Space constraint is forcing us to make the attendance by
invitation only. Anyone from this group seriously aspiring for participation
in the ifthar and discussion may write to us.

With best regards,

Ahmed Melattur



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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Poll selects Noam Chomsky as world's top intellectual


Poll selects Noam Chomsky as world's top intellectual

Duncan Campbell

Distinguished professor remains unimpressed by the honour

Noam Chomsky

LONDON: He is in his 70s and first became known for his theory of transformational grammar — and now he is top of the thinkers' hit parade. Noam Chomsky, the Professor of Linguistics who has become one of the most outspoken critics of American foreign policy, has won a poll that names him the world's top public intellectual.

Prof. Chomsky, who was underwhelmed by the honour, beat off challenges from Umberto Eco, Richard Dawkins, Vaclav Havel and Christopher Hitchens to win the Prospect/Foreign Policy poll.

More than 20,000 voters from around the world took part in selecting the winners from a list of 100.

Missing segments

The most striking aspect of the list is the shortage of the young, the female and the French. Only two of the top 10, Mr. Hitchens and Salman Rushdie, were born after the War, and Naomi Klein is the highest placed woman, at 11.

France provides one name in the top 40, fewer than Peru and Iran provide.

Since the poll was for the world's leading intellectuals, it should come as no surprise that websites manned by supporters of Prof. Chomsky, Mr. Hitchens and Abdolkarim Soroush were used to draw attention to it.

Prof. Chomsky's supporters are clearly the most energetic: he took 4,800 votes to Mr. Eco's 2,500. The voters came mainly from Britain and the U.S.

Sceptical winner

"I don't pay a lot of attention to them," said Prof. Chomsky on Monday night of the poll. "It was probably padded by some friends of mine!"

Pondering the absence from the list of younger intellectuals, David Herman asks in the new issue of Prospect: "Who are the younger equivalents to [Jurgen] Habermas, Chomsky and Havel? Great names are formed by great events.

But there has been no shortage of terrible events in the last 10 years." Only two of the Top 20 have yet to reach the age of 50.

Alternative perspectives

The choice of Prof. Chomsky will be welcomed and contested by many of the same names who responded delightedly or furiously to the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Harold Pinter last week.

In recognition of this, Prospect offers some alternative perspectives, with Robin Blackburn arguing for Prof. Chomsky's right to head the list as both a brilliant expositor of linguistics and a vital critic of the U.S. abroad.

Oliver Kamm, however, dismisses him as a knee-jerk anti-American who is cavalier about his sources.



Sunday, September 25, 2005

Apex court stays criminal case against Lapierre / Indian girl's one-rupee suicide / Money power dictated Delhi power privatisation'

Apex court stays criminal case against Lapierre

Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the criminal proceedings
initiated against Dominique Lapierre, French author of a book on the Bhopal
gas disaster, and his publisher Shekar Malhotra by Madhya Pradesh
Director-General of Police Swaraj Puri. A Bench, comprising Justice K. G.
Balakrishnan and Justice P. P. Naolekar, issued notice to Mr. Puri and
Javier Moro, France-based publisher of It was Five Past Midnight in Bhopal,
on a petition from Mr. Lapierre and Mr. Malhotra seeking transfer of the
complaint outside Madhya Pradesh.

They said Mr. Puri was holding a powerful position and could influence

On his criminal complaint against Mr. Lapierre and Mr. Malhotra, a Jabalpur
court issued summons to the publisher to appear before it on September 26.

The complaint said the writer had not portrayed the incident properly as
well as the police role in the right perspective.

Civil suit

Mr. Puri also filed a civil complaint seeking a $20-million compensation and
to restrain the publishers from printing, selling and circulating the book.
The Jabalpur court issued notices to the author and the publisher on this
petition also


Indian girl's one-rupee suicide

Half of India's children are malnourished, a UN report says
A 12-year-old Indian girl committed suicide after her mother told her she
could not afford one rupee - two US cents - for a school meal.
Sania Khatun lived with her mother in a village north of Calcutta under a
tarpaulin sheet provided by the state.
Sania normally ate nothing at school but on Friday saw classmates eating
rice and asked for one rupee.
Her mother scolded her and when she returned from work found her daughter
hanged from the ceiling with a sari.
"She wanted just one rupee... but her mother could not give her the money
due to poverty," government official Nakul Chandran Mahato told the Reuters
The mother, Jainab Bewar, is a widow who works as a maid in the village of
Paraspur, 200km (125 miles) north of Calcutta.
She normally fed her daughter with food she could get from the houses she
worked in.
India's Telegraph newspaper said Sania was tempted by the sight of
classmates eating puffed rice and oil cakes.


Money power dictated Delhi power privatisation'

DAMAGING INDICTMENT: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at her residence on
Wednesday. - PHOTO: PTI

NEW DELHI: In a severe indictment of the Delhi Government led by Chief
Minister Sheila Dikshit over the whole process of privatisation of the power
distribution network in the Capital, the Public Accounts Committee of the
Delhi Legislative Assembly has accused the powers that be of bending all
rules and colluding with business houses to "accrue monetary benefits'' to

It has alleged possible involvement of one or more members of the Core
Committee set up by the Delhi Government for power privatisation in
favouring the conditional bidders for "monetary consideration'' by effecting
major modifications in the transfer scheme.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

06 Sept 1965: Indian Army invades W Pakistan / C-DIT releases free Malayalam software / America's shame: the aftermath of Katrina

1965: Indian Army invades W Pakistan

Indian troops have invaded West Pakistan, crossing the border at three
points in an attack which appears to be aimed mainly at the city of Lahore.
Authorities in Delhi say their action was intended to prevent a direct
attack by Pakistani forces against India.
On 25 August, Pakistani soldiers launched a covert operation across the
ceasefire line, established in 1949 after the first Indo-Pakistani war, into
Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.


C-DIT releases free Malayalam software

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT)
has released the free software version of the official Malayalam language
software it had developed for the Department of Official Language.
The software, which works on Linux platform, consists of six Malayalam fonts
in Unicode and a special editor. It can be downloaded free of charge from
the Web site,
A Windows version of the software is also available.
The software was developed under the joint auspices of the State Information
Technology Mission and the Centre for Linguistic Computing Kerala - a joint
venture of the C-DIT.
Free software can be used, copied, studied, modified and distributed. The
free software movement is initiative by programmers collaborating across


America's shame: the aftermath of Katrina

Arvind Sivaramakrishnan

A tale of systematic neglect, administrative incompetence, market-driven
environmental destruction, and desperate poverty is unfolding in Louisiana.

"AMERICA'S DIRTY secret." That is what a British TV news reporter, speaking
live from Louisiana, called the underclass of America's poor. A tale of
systematic neglect, administrative incompetence, market-driven environmental
destruction, and desperate poverty is unfolding in Louisiana. It is exposing
squalor that would shame a third-world country, as well as racial and
political divisions reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.

The facts themselves are grim enough. As if the rain brought by Hurricane
Katrina did not do enough, the dykes and levees built to keep the sea out of
the city of New Orleans collapsed for lengths of hundreds of metres. The
resultant flooding caused what may well amount to thousands of deaths,
untold billions of dollars worth of damage, and rendered the city
uninhabitable for what is now estimated to be another two years.

Minimal aid, in the form of basic food and water, is finally reaching those
who have survived. It is simply not known how many are still stranded in the
upper floors of their homes and apartment blocks, nor how many have
perished. Some experts have said the forensic task of identifying the dead
will be far harder than that which followed the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, as the bodies in Louisiana are decomposing very quickly
in temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius. State officials say there is no
system for collecting and storing the bodies.


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Monday, September 05, 2005

A reminder program / A tutorial site / On-line office suite / Mother Teresa dies / us supreme court on public property

1997 Sept 05
Mother Teresa dies
Mother Teresa¸ the Nobel Peace Prize winner who devoted her life to helping
the sick and the poor¸ dies at the age of 87.
Full story:


A reminder program

As we get completely engrossed in our work on a computer, we may forget
important appointments, events and so on. A program that works in the
background and reminds us of important events at specified times will help
us a lot. The software, SwizzTool ( is one such
product. Apart from helping you set-up reminder alerts, this program lets
you do such tasks as assigning hotkeys to programs, invoking a Google search
on the string stored on clipboard and so on.

A tutorial site

Numerous discussion forums and tutorials on a wide array of subjects that
help you become better at what you do are available on-line.

The (, the
web portal with links to over three hundred programming language tutorials,
is an excellent service worth a visit

On-line office suite

To exploit the Net's `access from anywhere anytime' paradigm, several
desktop applications are migrating towards it. The availability of
high-speed links accelerates this trend. The on-line office-suite
application, gOffice, developed for helping netizens create/store documents
on-line with a browser, is the latest one in this genre.

gOffice ( features a web based word processor with
several tools we generally find in popular word processing packages like
MS-Word. It supports features such as spell check, editor with graphical
interface and so on. The document created with the application can be saved
as a PDF file on your local machine or can be sent to anyone as an e-mail
attachment. As the document can also be saved on the gOffice's server, you
can open/edit it from any place on the Net. Currently, on this web-based
office suite, which is free for personal use, only the word processing
component is implemented. Soon modules such as Worksheet and Presentations
will be made available.

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Sixty years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings / VIPs dot discom's online defaulter list / Blue collar workers in the boardroom /


Sixty years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

In the early morning hours of August 6, 1945, an American B-29 warplane, named the Enola Gay, rolled down the runway of an American airbase on the Pacific island of Tinian. It flew for almost six hours, encountering no resistance from the ground.

At 8:15 a.m. local time, the plane dropped its payload over the clear skies of Hiroshima, a Japanese city with an estimated population of 255,000. The atomic bomb that the plane was carrying, “Little Boy,” detonated some 600 meters above the city center, killing 80,000 people—30 percent of the population—immediately or within hours of the explosion.

Three days layer, on August 9, a similar plane carrying a more powerful weapon left Tinian but had more difficulty reaching its intended destination. After encountering fire from the ground, and finding its target city Kokura covered in clouds, it flew on to its second target, Nagasaki, a heavily industrialized city of about 270,000. Due to the specific topological features of Nagasaki, and to the fact that the bomb missed the city center, the effects were slightly less devastating. An estimated 40,000 people were killed outright.

The Hiroshima bomb was targeted at the Aioi Bridge, which it missed by about 250 meters. According to one account, the bomb exploded instead directly above a hospital headed by a Dr. Shima: “The Shima hospital and all its patients were vaporized.... Eighty-eight percent of the people within a radius of 1,500 feet died instantly or later on that day. Most others within the circle perished in the following weeks or months.”



VIPs dot discom's online defaulter list

Dennis Marcus Mathew

HYDERABAD: The former Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, was slightly
late in paying his power bill that ran into Rs. 2.93 lakhs. But the delay of
more than three weeks was enough for the Central Power Distribution Company
of Andhra Pradesh Limited (CPDCL) to list him among defaulters with arrears
crossing Rs. 50,000. The tagline is: Once a defaulter, remain so for six
months for everyone to see with a single click. Mr. Naidu, on the list last
updated on March 31, 2005, will bear the ignominy till September 2005. His
name figures in the Hyderabad North list, where `Reason for Pendency of
Default' is mentioned as `Ex Chief Minister'!


Blue collar workers in the boardroom

Brian Ellsworth

Worker-managed businesses have been the dream of the world's socialists. In
Venezuela, they may become a reality.

FOR 20 years, Pedro Gomez felt just part of the machinery at his job at
Aluminio del Caroni, or Alcasa, a state-owned aluminium company in an
industrial zone where the Caroni and Orinoco rivers converge in
south-eastern Venezuela. Mr. Gomez, 51, a casting table operator who shovels
molten aluminium down a channel from an industrial oven into a cast that
makes 12-foot rods, says management never listened to his complaints about
corrupt contractors or shoddy equipment.

But things have changed. The management is now heeding his request for a new
casting table, he said, and will even allow him to help determine the
company's 2006 budget. This April, he was permitted to vote, along with the
company's other 2,700 workers, to elect some of Alcasa's 19 managers and two
of its five corporate directors. Most of the candidates were drawn from the
rank and file. "The managers and the workers are running this business
together," Mr. Gomez said. "It gives us new motivation to work hard."

Why do we experience a sticky feeling on our teeth when a not fully ripened
banana is eaten?

The sticky feeling and astringent taste that we get when eating unripe,
uncooked bananas are due to different compounds in the latex. Banana latex
consists primarily of tannins, terpene resin, pectins and other proteins
similar to latex from other plants.

As an interesting side note, dried banana peels are used in the leather
industry for blackening of leather due to their high tannin content.



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Monday, August 01, 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Find web pages which link to a particular URL / real?

Find web pages which link to a particular URL

You can find web pages which reference a particular URL using this search
method on Google:

So, for example, a Google search of "link:" turns
up web sites which link to Aunty.

Note that there is no space after the "link:"

Find web pages which have your search terms in the title

A really useful way to quickly zero in on that for which you are searching
is to limit your search to pages which have your search terms right in their
title. You can do this with the "intitle:" limiter. For this search you must
put the full search string in quotes:

"intitle:term1 term2 term3?


A Google search of "spam blockers" turns up 637,000 hits. (A search without
the quotes turns up a whopping 1,150,000.)

By contrast "intitle:spam blockers" (note again the lack of a space between
the ":" and the first search term), turns up 730 hits, all of them highly
focused, as they are pages whose titles contain the term "spam blocker".

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Containers from Kerala used in London attacks? / Fasting ascetic passes away

Containers from Kerala used in London attacks?

G. Anand

British police say the containers were manufactured and supplied by a
Thiruvananthapuram firm

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An important clue to the recent terrorist attacks in
London may lie in plastic food storage containers exported from Kerala to
the U.K. and sold through retail outlets in that country.

A Thirvananthapuram-based company, which exports moulded plastic articles to
the U.K., was contacted by the London Metropolitan Police investigating the
bomb attacks. The BBC reported the Anti-Terrorist Branch's claim that all
five bombs that failed to explode "were placed inside dark-coloured
rucksacks or sports bags" and "all of them were made using the same type of
plastic food storage containers."

The British police have now found that the 6.25-litre containers were
manufactured and supplied by `Family Plastics,' a manufacturer of injection
moulded plastic articles at Manvila here. The company is a Rs. 4-crore
manufacturing and export unit owned by Simson A. Fernandez, a local
resident. London shopkeepers stocking similar containers have been asked to
contact the police if they had sold five or more such containers recently.


Fasting ascetic passes away

A Jain nun (right) and others sit around Ratan Bai, who was performing
"sallekhna" or voluntary death, in Ganj Basoda, near Bhopal. Bai died after
fasting for six months.

BHOPAL(M.P.): Thousands of people flocked to the cremation of a 75-year-old
woman here after she gained attention by slowly fasting to death over six
months in a rare example of an ancient salvation rite of the Jain religion,
her family said. Ratan Bai died on Friday in Ganj Basoda, a small town in
Vidhsha district, 120 km north of Bhopal, her son-in-law, Satish Jain, said.

Like Hindus and Buddhists, Jains believe in reincarnation. Salvation is
obtained by personal effort - leading austere, non-violent lives. A few
Jains undertake "sallekhna," or voluntary death, a ritual for ending the
cycle of death and rebirth. They stop eating and meditate until they die. In
July last year, Ms. Bai decided to undergo "sallekhna." Accompanied by her
three sons and three daughters, she visited the head priest of the Jain
religion, Brahmanand, in nearby Katangi town, Mr. Jain said. The head priest
gave his approval for her to undertake the ritual.

She formally became an ascetic 20 days ago at a ceremony, he said. ``She
voluntarily stopped the intake of solid food six months ago. She took only
fruit juices and water. She stopped taking even fruit juices 12 days ago and
restricted herself to drinking small quantity of water everyday until she
died on Friday,'' said Deepesh Jain, her 19-year-old grandson. Ganj Basoda
has a population of more than 100,000, but many people travelled from nearby
villages in recent weeks as Ms. Bai's fast got extensive media attention.

``This was a way of ultimate purification of the soul,'' said Kiran Godre, a
Jain nun, who looked after Ms. Bai during her ritual. ``She became a saint
in the eyes of the Jain community and hundreds of people visited her during
her fasting days to pay their respect.'' -

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Terrible tragedy at Bharat Bhavan / Verdict in Mavoor toxic effluent case upheld /

BHOPAL: Nearly 300 paintings, including priceless ones by J. Swaminathan and
M. F. Husain, have been destroyed following flooding of the basement of
Bharat Bhavan, the massive multi-arts complex here, in the wake of a

Bharat Bhavan Director Pawan Jain said on Wednesday the damage was
extensive. Over 10,000 paintings - oil on canvas and watercolour - were
stored in the basement.

There was a sudden cloudburst on Monday evening, and a section of the
basement was flooded. Most of the material kept there was soaked. According
to Mr. Jain, 200 to 300 paintings, including the ones by Husain and
Swaminathan, were destroyed. Well over 2,000 paintings were damaged.

Criticising "construction and detailing" of the Bharat Bhavan complex,
designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa, Mr. Jain said: "Care had
not been taken to prevent seepage or protect the building from the Bhopal
Upper Lake's backwater thrust, which is a major cause of seepage at the
floor level. A committee of technical experts that was set up to study the
problem of seepage had raised this issue."


Verdict in Mavoor toxic effluent case upheld

Staff Reporter

Firm's officials have to undergo SI of one-and-a-half years

KOZHIKODE: The Kozhikode District and Sessions Court on Wednesday upheld the
verdict of the Chief Judicial Magistrate's (CJM) Court sentencing the
defunct Mavoor unit of Grasim Industries (Pulp Division) president R. N.
Saboo, and three other top officials to simple imprisonment of
one-and-a-half years and imposing a penalty of Rs.5,000 each for allowing
toxic effluents to flow from the factory into the Chaliyar river.

District Court Judge Thomas P. Joseph endorsing the lower court's verdict of
November 13, 2003, convicted the other officials, including the factory
Technical Wing joint executive president C. Kochukrishnan, the Technical
vice-president C. L. Gathani and the Processing Department general manager
M. P. Raja.

While dismissing the appeal of the accused against the CJM court verdict,
the District Court also issued summons asking them to appear before the CJM
court on August 8 to enforce the conviction. It confirmed the findings of
the CJM court that the factory had discharged untreated and toxic effluent
into the Chaliyar river causing injury to public health and aquatic

This was also the first time top management officials of a industrial unit
in the State had been convicted on account of discharging untreated
effluents from a factory into a river. The verdict was based on a case filed
by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) environmental engineer
A. K. Hansraj on October 3, 1998.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

London bombers 'were all British' / Indonesian Maid Miyati Sent to Jail / Worldcom ex-boss gets 25 years

London bombers 'were all British'

Detectives now believe the London bombings were carried out by four
British-born men in what were possibly the country's first suicide attacks.
Security sources said it was likely at least three of the men, said to
be of Pakistani descent, are dead, after belongings were found at the

The details emerged as explosives were found in Leeds and Luton after
a series of raids. One man has been arrested.

The BBC's Frank Gardner said an expert may have offered the bombers


Indonesian Maid Miyati Sent to Jail
Maha Akee l, Arab News

JEDDAH, 12 July 2005 - Nour Miyati, the Indonesian maid who was severely
injured and lost limbs as a result of alleged torture by her sponsor - has
been jailed. She was removed from hospital yesterday evening and taken to an
unspecified public jail. Her embassy was not informed. Indonesian labor
attache, M. Sukiarto, confirmed that the embassy was not informed of this
development. "I'm very disappointed. I don't know why she was sent to jail,"
he told Arab News.

In March, Miyati was taken to a Riyadh hospital by her sponsor in critical
condition and severe injuries causing gangrene to her fingers, toes and part
of her right foot; some of her fingers and toes had to be amputated. At
first she claimed that her sponsor tied her up for a month in a bathroom and
beat her severely injuring her eyes and knocking several of her teeth out.

A report in May said that M iyati had retracted earlier accusations that her
sponsor tied her up and tortured her. Consequently she was charged with
making false allegations against her sponsor.

The embassy was surprised by that report and asked for a reinvestigation
because they claimed that Miyati was mentally unstable and under pressure
because the embassy staff, her lawyer and the National Society for Human
Rights were denied access to her during the investigation. Her sponsor and
his wife were charged with assault and mistreatment; he was released from
jail on bail and both are awaiting trial.


Former Worldcom boss Bernard Ebbers wept openly as he was sentenced to 25
years in jail for his part in the scandal which brought down the firm.
Mr Ebbers was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy in March, following
revelations of an $11bn (£6.2bn) accounting fraud at Worldcom in 2002.

The 63-year-old was also guilty of seven counts of filing false documents.

The sentence was handed down by federal judge Barbara Jones, who earlier
this week rejected his bid for a new trial.

The sentence was the toughest yet in a string of corporate scandals in the

Mr Ebbers did not address the court. Instead, he wiped his eyes with a white
tissue. Meanwhile, Kristie Ebbers, his wife, cried quietly.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Daily /NRI who guided Deep Impact to its success / Pak renovates Hindu temple / 1979: Skylab tumbles back to Earth / Indian arrested in Malaysia

NRI who guided Deep Impact to its success

S. Rajagopalan

Washington, July 5, 2005

When he watched Halley's Comet through binoculars many years ago, Shyam
Bhaskaran used to wonder if he would be able to pursue his cosmic passion.
Little did he realise then that the hand of destiny would lead him to the
centrestage of a comet mission.

On Monday, the second generation Indian American scientist led the
navigation team of NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft that flawlessly crashed
into comet Tempel 1 as part a grand project to gain insights into the
origins of the solar system.

Bhaskaran has now worked as a navigator on several NASA missions at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) n Pasadena, California.

Even so, the Deep Impact was something very special, he said in a telephone
interview amid widespread relief and satisfaction that everything has worked
to clockwork precision.

Compared with sending a spacecraft to Jupiter, landing rovers on Mars and
even Stardust's technical feats, Deep Impact presented unprecedented
challenges, recalls Bhaskaran.

The kind of precision needed here was unimaginable, with the impactor having
to hit the comet at a speed of 23,000 miles per hour.


Pak renovates Hindu temple

Work has begun on a $20,000 project to renovate and expand the sole Hindu
temple in Lahore that was damaged in the wake of the Babri mosque demolition
in 1992.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board is overseeing the repair work on the
Krishna temple, which some believe is at least 80 years old.

"The lone temple had been in a dilapidated condition since the locals
attacked it in the wake of Babri mosque destruction. The mob not only
removed the idol of Lord Krishna but also damaged the main rooms after which
cracks appeared in the main walls," The News reported on Saturday.

The local Hindu community, led by Manohar Chand, had long been demanding the
renovation of the temple. However, the paucity of funds and the anger of the
locals over the Babri mosque razing had been holding up the project, the
newspaper added.

The restoration work involves refurbishing the main prayer room and two
adjacent rooms, the construction of two new halls, a community kitchen and a
four-room hostel.



* 1979: Skylab tumbles back to Earth *
The space laboratory¸ Skylab I¸ plunges to Earth scattering debris across
the southern Indian Ocean and the sparsely populated Australian desert.
Full story:

1979: Skylab tumbles back to Earth
The US space laboratory, Skylab I, plunged to Earth this evening scattering
debris across the southern Indian Ocean and sparsely populated Western
All week there has been mounting speculation over where the spacecraft would
come down. It has been in orbit six years - for the past five of those it
has been unoccupied.

Skylab's last signal was recorded at 1611 GMT. Less than an hour later a
tracking station at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic confirmed the
solar panels were beginning to peel off as the craft descended.

The 77.5 ton Skylab could break into as many as 500 pieces, including a
5,100lb (2,310kg) airlock shroud and a 3,900lb (1,767kg) lead safe to
protect film from radiation, which are expected to survive the heat of
re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.

Head of the Nasa task force monitoring Skylab, Richard Smith, said they had
already received reports of hot debris, which had lit up the night sky, from
several points in Western Australia.

'Edge of Cornwall'

Dozens of residents reported seeing debris falling near Kalgoolie, 370 miles
(595km) northeast of Perth.



We perform several tasks repeatedly (loading our favorite word processor,
accessing search engines and the like). We can be a little more productive
if we can perform these tasks by just pressing specific key-combinations.
For instance, if we can access Google by pressing the key combination
`Ctrl-g,' life can probably be much smoother. If you share this view, have a
look at the free open-source program, AutoHotkey
(, which can be used to assign keystrokes to
invoke a program or a set of programs. The software allows you to write
scripts for assigning keystrokes for automating a set of tasks. Before you
start using the program, go through the tutorial
( that lucidly explains the
procedure to be followed for creating/running scripts.

Distance calculator

Need to calculate the distance between any two cities in the world or
distance between any two countries in the world? Check out the on-line
service, Distance Calculator at: http://

J. Murali

E-mail the author


Indian arrested in Malaysia
Monday, 11 July , 2005, 10:07
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police have arrested an Indian in connection with
the theft of 8,000 documents from the country's Immigration Department in
Kuantan province, a media report said on Monday.

District police chief Kamal Pasha said the suspect had an Indian passport
with a pass sticker number which was believed to be stolen from the
Immigration Department in Kuantan last year.

"His passport number was found to be the same as that of the stolen
passport," the police official said at the end of a search operation against
special crimes in the capital here.

The man, who was not identified by the 'New Straits Times' daily, was stated
to be 42-year-old and detained in Kuala Lumpur's Jalan Masjid area.

Last May, some men broke into the Kuantan Immigration Department and fled
with 8,000 ringgit (Rs 90,000) as well as 8,000 documents belonging to the

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BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition

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