BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition

Friday, February 25, 2005

25 feb 2005


100 per cent FDI in construction industry through automatic route
By Sushma Ramachandran

NEW DELHI, FEB. 24. The Government today allowed 100 per cent foreign direct
investment in the construction industry through the automatic route.
Conditions restricting FDI to a minimum area of 100 acres and 2,000 dwelling
units are relaxed to 25 acres and 50,000 square metres for construction
development projects.
---

Bar on appointing women to temple post lifted
By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, FEB. 24. A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court held invalid a
provision in the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religions Institution rule which
prohibited women from being appointed sub-group officers in Devaswoms under
the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).
The Bench comprising Justice R. Bhaskaran and Justice M.N. Krishnan gave the
ruling while allowing a writ petition filed by Baby S. Supriya, an employee
of the Board, against its refusal to appoint her to the post in a Devaswom
in Kollam. According to her, the board refused to appoint her on the ground
that the rule prohibited women from occupying the post. The petitioner
contended that the rule was discriminatory and against the Constitutional
provisions. There was no bar on women being appointed in categories such as
Kazhagam under the Devaswoms. The duties of a sub-group officer were to
manage and supervise devaswoms and competent women could be appointed to the
post.

---
This day in history
1964: Cassius Clay crowned world champion
Cassius Clay, 22, has been crowned heavyweight champion of the world after
beating Sonny Liston in one of the biggest upsets in boxing's history.
Clay, from Kentucky, was announced the winner after the hot favourite
retired at the end of the sixth round in Miami.
When the bell rang for the start of the seventh round, Liston stayed on his
stool in the corner of the ring - saying he did not want to continue.
Florida state attorney Richard Gerstein is to launch an inquiry into the
fight.
Clay was earlier fined around £900 for disgraceful conduct after he ranted
at his 32-year-old opponent during the weigh-in.
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

24 feb 2005

Spate of sex abuse charges against priest shock USA
Washington, Feb 20. (PTI):More than 1,000 people in the United States have
alleged in 2004 that they were "sexually abused" as children by Roman
Catholic priests and deacons, a new national audit of US dioceses has said.

The 1,092 allegations were against 756 priests and deacons, half of whom had
previously been named in similar accusations, it said.

The figures released on Friday by the Roman Catholic Bishops said during
2004, the church spent 157 million dollars on legal settlements and other
costs related to sexual abuse.

More than 300 clergy members were temporarily removed and 148 permanently
defrocked, it said, adding three dioceses have declared bankruptcy.

It brings the total number of alleged victims since 1950 to 11,750, the
number of accused priests to 5,148, and the church's expenses to more than
840 million dollars.

The national audit of US dioceses was done to determine how well they have
complied with the child protection policy American prelates instituted
nearly three years ago at the height of the clergy molestation crisis.

Teams of auditors, comprised mainly of former FBI agents, compiled data in
visits to dioceses across the country.

The auditors found that more than 95 percent of dioceses have taken the
required steps to keep children safe.

Seven dioceses and Eastern rite territories were out of compliance and one
diocese, Lincoln, Nebraska, refused to participate.



---



52 per cent dropout in schools

By Our Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI, FEB. 21. Four years after the Government of India adopted the
"mission mode" to universalise elementary education through the Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), only 47 of the 100 children enrolled in Class I reach
Class VIII. This puts the dropout rate at 52.79 per cent which, according to
the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, "is unacceptably high."

Chairing the first meeting of the Governing Council of the National Mission
for SSA, Dr. Singh attributed the high dropout rate to a "lack of adequate
facilities, large-scale absenteeism of teachers and inadequate supervision
by local authorities." Reaffirming the Government's commitment to
universalising elementary education and referring to various deadlines set
for achieving this, he said: "We give dates that have lost meaning. We need
education for all, today."

Later, briefing the media, the Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun
Singh, said the dropout rate at the elementary level (Class I to VIII) was
52.79 per cent with that at the primary level (Class I to V) being 34 per
cent.

Among girls, it was 53.45 per cent at the elementary level and 33.72 per
cent at the primary level. Among boys, the rate stood at 52.28 per cent at
the elementary level and 35.85 per cent at the primary level.



---

---

The credit card generation

By Hasan Suroor

There is widespread concern over the easy availability of credit cards
and loans, which have pushed up personal debt across age-groups to
unprecedented levels in Britain.



WE WERE all teenagers once, a little awkward with money and never quite in
control of our modest finances. Fortunately for our parents, however, the
era of rampant consumerism was still some years away and credit cards were
something only "others" had.

One survey shows that more than 80 per cent of British teenagers have their
own television sets, stereos, and mobile phones. Other expensive gadgets,
found in most households with teenagers, include computers, PlayStation
consoles, ipods and digital cameras. Research by Money, Money, Money, a
financial guide, suggests that most youngsters have no sense of money
because of the cushioning provided by their parents. And when confronted
with the real world they simply cannot handle their financial affairs, the
guide says noting that "living with mum and dad might seem like a nightmare,
but there is always milk in the fridge, a landline for long chats with
friends, and washing that just sort of happens."

It is estimated that more than half of Britain's "new" bankrupts are below
30, borrow heavily on credit cards and spend indiscriminately regardless of
whether they can afford it. Nearly 60 per cent of recent personal insolvency
cases reportedly involved twenty-somethings with debts exceeding £60,000.

Credit cards are the reason why most people fall into debt and the young,
with their carefree attitude to money, are more vulnerable. Pollsters say
that people, particularly the young, end up spending more when they shop
with a credit card, often buying things they do not need. "If you go into a
shop with a credit card, you will spend seven times more than you would with
cash," a spokesman for a leading accountancy firm told a newspaper.

A parliamentary committee, in a recent report, criticised credit card
companies for not being sufficiently transparent in how they charge their
customers - and Nationwide, one of Britain's leading building societies,
claimed that, according to new research, credit card providers and banks
were making "half a billion pounds of profit every year" by manipulating the
way they charge interest.

Debt counsellors say that while government intervention is welcome,
ultimately it is for people themselves to make sure that sums add up. They
are advising families to go back to basics and re-learn the old-fashioned
art of living within their means - and say that while at it they should
explain a few home truths about money to their children as well.

The good old Indian ethic of thrift, anyone?

---





---
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Monday, February 21, 2005

21 feb 05

The Word of the Day for Feb 18 is:
billingsgate \BIL-ingz-gayt\ noun

: coarsely abusive language


Example sentence:
A steady stream of billingsgate could be heard coming from the
basement after my father hit his thumb with his hammer.

Did you know?
From the time of the Roman occupation until the early 1980s,
Billingsgate was a fish market in London, England, notorious for the crude
language that resounded through its stalls. In fact, the fish merchants of
Billingsgate were so famous for their swearing that their feats of vulgar
language were recorded in British chronicler Raphael Holinshed's 1577
account of King Leir (which was probably Shakespeare's source for King
Lear). In Holinshed's volume, a messenger's language is said to be "as bad a
tongue ... as any oyster-wife at Billingsgate hath." By the middle of the
17th century, "billingsgate" had become a byword for foul language.

---

Sending photos by e-mail now easier and free
By Anand Parthasarathy



BANGALORE, FEB. 20 . Those who regularly need to send large photographs as
e-mailed attachments will be familiar with two problems: The photo is too
big - my e-mail service won't allow attachments larger than one megabyte or,
with my dial up connection it takes too long to go.

If you are among those hoping to find some solution to these problems, a new
software tool may be the answer to your unsaid prayers. What's more, for
basic use, it's free.

A San Diego-based company has used the just-concluded "Demo 2005" conference
in Scottsdale, Arizona to debut a truly cool tool called "Photoleap" that is
a great help for sending and receiving bulky digital photos by email. It is
available as a free download from http://www.photoleap.com/downloads/ and
comes in separate editions for Windows (XP or 2000) PCs and Apple Macs (Mac
OS 10.3). Before installation on your desktop, you have to furnish your
e-mail address and the application will be launched as soon as you receive a
mail from Photoleap.

The software, once installed, looks much like the "Outlook" email tool and
in the free version, it allows you to send up to 25 photos in one mail, each
not more than 3.5 MB in size. After a thirty day trial, you can continue
indefinitely using the tool with this limitation - or pay $29.95 a year,
which allows you to send up to 250 photos at a time, each up to 8.5 MB.

The download itself is 1.92 MB and as a trial, this correspondent sent a
large cinema still. The photo was over 500 MB in size and with a normal
dialup connection, it typically takes 3-4 minutes to send the mail. Sent
through Photoleap, it was mailed almost instantaneously - and received
within seconds on another e-mail account as an 11 KB file - that's almost a
50 fold compression.

---



CPI(M) turns party of the young

By C. Gouridasan Nair



MALAPPURAM, FEB. 20. The State CPI(M), which has often been described as the
party of the aged, has turned younger over the last few years. Out of the
party's total membership of 3.16 lakh, 60,000 are aged below 25 years and
roughly 2 lakh aged between 25 and 50 years. The organisational report of
the State CPI(M), presented to the 18th party State conference on Saturday,
says that the party has only 55,000 members aged between 50 and 70 years and
just 5,362 members aged above 70 years. And, most significantly, the report
reveals that 50 per cent of the party members are persons who joined the
party after 1997 and that 90 per cent of the party members joined the party
after 1977, after Emergency.

The CPI(M) State secretariat member, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who briefed
media about the deliberations of the conference, said the report has also
noted there was a fall in the rate of decline in party membership since the
Kannur State conference three years ago. The drop out rate, which ranged
between 7.56 per cent and 14.43 per cent during the period prior to the
Kannur conference, had fallen to between 6.95 per cent and 13.64 per cent
during the last three years. The party membership grew by 23,000 over the
last three years.

Mr. Balakrishnan said that the number of women party members had risen by
8,500 during the report period taking the share of women in the total
membership of the State party from 7 per cent at the time of the Kannur
conference to 10.11 per cent. The number of Scheduled Caste members rose by
12,520 and that of Scheduled Tribe members by a mere 123 during the period.
The membership of mass organisations allied with the party had also risen
during the period, from 1.13 crores to 1.23 crores. This does not, however,
imply that the State party has the support of so many persons because there
is the possibility of the same individual being the member of different mass
organisations, the CPI(M) leader said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the class composition of the party in Kerala is
clearly pro-working class with 51 per cent of the members being industrial
and farm workers and farmers. Only 0.04 per cent of the total membership
(142 persons) is landlords and 0.01 per cent (35 persons) belonging to
affluent sections of society, he said.

---

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

American playwright Miller dies

American playwright Miller dies

Arthur Miller was one of the most influential playwrights of his time


Miller died on Thursday evening, having battled with cancer, pneumonia and a
heart condition.

He was one of the most significant American writers of the 20th Century,
whose fame was further magnified by his short-lived marriage to Marilyn
Monroe.
His play The Crucible was inspired by the hysteria of the McCarthy witch
hunts which he became embroiled in.
'Rare integrity'

"Mr Miller passed away at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, last night at
9.17pm of heart failure," said Julia Bolus, the playwright's assistant.
He was also a highly dignified and an extraordinarily formidable man, an
independent man

British playwright Harold Pinter said he was a "wonderful chap" and he was
"absolutely flabbergasted" at the news of his death.
"He was a great playwright and a great man - and a great friend of mine," he
said. "His plays are among the finest works that have been produced in the
20th Century," Pinter told BBC News 24.
"But he was also a highly dignified and an extraordinarily formidable man,
an independent man. He was so honest and a man of rare integrity in his
writing."

Miller and Monroe had a short-lived marriage
New York-born Miller was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman
in 1949 at the age of just 33.
Although already considered one of the foremost literary giants of his era
he was catapulted into the pop culture sphere following his marriage to
actress Monroe. The tempestuous marriage lasted just five years.

Miller found himself caught up in McCarthy anti-communist witch hunts.
When he testified in front of a congressional committee in 1956 he refused
to reveal any names and so was held in contempt. The decision was overturned
two years later. The trials inspired The Crucible, set during the Salem
trials of the 1690s which led to suspected witches being killed amid mass
hysteria. Among Miller's other plays were A View from the Bridge and later
works were The Ride Down Mount Morgan and The Last Yankee. The main
character in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, became a symbol of the
struggle of the "little man" to realise the American Dream. The play is
still widely performed today, while the TV movie version picked up numerous
awards for its star Dustin Hoffman.

***

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

08 feb 2005




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Court notice on unsolicited calls on cell phones
By J. Venkatesan



NEW DELHI, FEB. 7. The Supreme Court today took note of the menace of
unsolicited phone calls on mobile phones by issuing notice to the cellular
companies and five private banks, among others.

The notice was issued on a public interest petition filed by social activist
Harsh Pathak, whose family had to answer a spate of unsolicited and
telemarketing calls received on their mobile phones.

A Bench of Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Justice S.B. Sinha sought the
response of the Centre, the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd; Hutch; Reliance
Telecomm; IDEA Cellular; Bharti Telenet; Citibank; HSBC Bank; Standard
Chartered Bank; HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank.

The petitioner contended that he and his family members were subscribers of
various mobile phone companies. They were annoyed over unsolicited
telemarketing calls made to them by cellular phone firms, banks and a host
of other companies using telemarketing as a strategy for business promotion.
He said a lack of concern on the part of respondents towards the public in
general and subscribers in particular in addressing the issue was affecting
the fundamental rights of the petitioner and other citizens as enshrined in
Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

The petitioner said like him and his family, other mobile phone subscribers
would also be receiving unsolicited calls from banks offering credit cards,
insurance companies, auto finance firms, etc.

He sought a direction to the respondent cellular companies to check,
regulate and end the invasion of privacy of subscribers at all times and
hours through such unsolicited calls; a direction to the respondents to
protect the subscribers from the harassment and invasion of privacy through
unsolicited telemarketing calls and any other business promotion calls and
to restrain the cellular companies from transferring the data about the
telephone numbers to any other company for commercial purpose.
---

The Word of the Day for Feb 07 is:
cadre \KAD-ray\ noun

1 : framework
2 : a central unit especially of trained personnel able to assume
control and train others
*3 : a group of people with a unifying relationship


Example sentence:
NASA's cadre of courageous astronauts offered America the modern-day
heroes it needed.

Did you know?
To understand "cadre," we must first square our understanding of the
word's Latin roots. "Cadre" traces to the Latin "quadrum," meaning "square."
Squares can make good frameworks - a fact that makes it easier to understand
why first French speakers and later English speakers used "cadre" as a word
meaning "framework." If you think of a core group of officers in a regiment
as the framework that holds things together for the unit, you'll understand
how the "central unit" sense of "cadre" developed. Military leaders and
their troops are well-trained and work together as a unified team, which may
explain why "cadre" is now sometimes used more generally to refer to any
group of people who have some kind of unifying characteristic, even if they
aren't leaders.

---


Monday, February 07, 2005

07 feb 2005




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increase your hotmail space.... just follow the following points.

Initially it will be upgraded to 25 mb and after 30 days it will be upgraded
to 250 mb.

1) login ur hotmail account and go to options.
2) go to personal
3) click my profile
4) change country to united states wait for browser to load united states
settings.
5) change the state to new york and zip code 10025
6) click update
7) click continue
8) go to language and make sure its english
9)paste this link in the same browser.
http://by17fd.bay17.hotmail.msn.com/cgi-bin/accountclose

10) wait until the screen says you re hotmail is closed and ready to be
deleted. click close account . go back to login page and relogin to ur
hotmail account..!!
11) Click Activate
12) Then Click I Accept, after this don't check mark any of the boxes in the
screen, just say continue.
Thats All!

your account size will now increase to 25 mb which a mnth later becomes 250
mb.

---

The Word of the Day for Feb 06 is:
placate \PLAY-kayt\ verb

: to soothe or mollify especially by concessions : appease
Example sentence:
After his baseball crashed through his neighbor's window, Jared tried to
placate the angry man by offering to replace the window with his own money.
Did you know?
The earliest documented uses of "placate" in English date from the late 17th
century. The word is derived from the Latin "placatus," the past participle
of "placare," and even after more than 300 years in English it still carries
the basic meaning of its Latin ancestor: "to soothe" or "to appease." Other
"placare" descendants in English are "implacable" (meaning "not easily
soothed or satisfied") and "placation" ("the act of soothing or appeasing").
Even "please" itself, derived from the Latin "placere" ("to please"), is a
distant relative of "placate."


---

Saturday, February 05, 2005

05 Feb 2005

 
IT'S 'FUN TO SHOOT SOME PEOPLE': US GEN REUTERS
 
WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 3: A SENIOR US MARINE CORPS GENERAL WHO SAID IT WAS "FUN TO SHOOT SOME PEOPLE" SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN HIS WORDS MORE CAREFULLY BUT WILL NOT BE DISCIPLINED, MILITARY OFFICIALS SAID ON THURSDAY.
 
LT. GEN. JAMES MATTIS, WHO COMMANDED TROOPS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND IS SLATED TO BE PORTRAYED BY STAR ACTOR HARRISON FORD IN AN UPCOMING HOLLYWOOD MOVIE, MADE THE COMMENTS AT A CONFERENCE ON TUESDAY IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
 
"ACTUALLY IT'S QUITE FUN TO FIGHT 'EM, YOU KNOW. IT'S A HELL OF A HOOT. IT'S FUN TO SHOOT SOME PEOPLE. I'LL BE RIGHT UP FRONT WITH YOU, I LIKE BRAWLING," MATTIS SAID. "YOU GO INTO AFGHANISTAN, YOU GOT GUYS WHO SLAP WOMEN AROUND FOR FIVE YEARS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WEAR A VEIL," MATTIS SAID DURING A PANEL DISCUSSION. "YOU KNOW, GUYS LIKE THAT AIN'T GOT NO MANHOOD LEFT ANYWAY. SO IT'S A HELL OF A LOT OF FUN TO SHOOT THEM."
 
---
 
Saudi Who Rode 'Satan's Horse' Tells His Story Raid Qusti, Arab News
 
Ali Al-Mirdasi of Khab Algabr in Buraidah, is the first Saudi to receive permission to ride a bicycle in his area.
 
RIYADH, 5 February 2005 - "Satan's horse" is not a myth. As narrated by an elderly Saudi, it is the name local residents of Buraidah, Al-Qasim, used to call a bicycle some 47 years ago at a time when new inventions were unacceptable to the majority of people there and ignorance prevailed. In the 1940s and early 1950s, ignorance made people reject anything new, particularly a device of any sort. History tells us that many Saudis rejected the telegram, the radio, the car and other inventions that the late King Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom, was keen on using to be in tune with the times and to serve his people. Ali Al-Mirdasi, a resident of Khab Algabr in Buraidah, is the first Saudi to receive permission to ride a bicycle in his area.
 
 "The commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - locally known as the Mutawaa and known then as the "Nuwwab" - banned people from riding bicycles. The permission I received from them was a statement written on one of their official documents saying that, 'since Ali Al-Mirdasi needs to ride his cycle from Khab Algabr to school, we have given him permission to ride his cycle from that area to his school.' And it had their official stamp," he said. He said that there were certain conditions for receiving a permission from the religious police, but said his father, who worked as a member in the commission itself, helped in getting the document from the state body. 
 
One funny incident he remembers was when he and his brother were caught by members of the commission at night when they had left night school and were on their way back home. The commission people asked them what their purpose was to come out at that time, and what they were doing at the far end of the town. When they revealed their names and informed them that they were sons of their colleague and that they were on their way home from night school, they let them go, but "only after having us make a written commitment that they would never be late to return home again even though this happened just after Isha prayers". Al-Mirdasi said the rationale behind the ban was "society's fear for anything new and because society was not opened up to others." "Today's youth should be grateful to God for all the modern scientific inventions they can use. They enjoy so many modern tools and other things that we in our times could not," he said.
 
---
 
From: Harikrishnan. K. P To: nam.hariharan@gmail.com Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 12:12 PM Subject: Fw: Emergency calling number 112 (GSM)
 
NUMBER CAN BE DIALED WITHOUT SIM CARD DURING EMERGENCY.
 
The Emergency Number worldwide for GSM Mobile is 112 and not 999. You can dial 112 even without a Sim Card. If you find yourself out of coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you.
 
Do share this important info with others too. Hope you'll never need to use it though! And interestingly... This number 112 can be dialed even while the keypad is locked.



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The Hindu - Breaking News