Monday, March 28, 2005

29 Mar 1971: Calley guilty of My Lai massacre

On this Day in History

1971: Calley guilty of My Lai massacre

Lieutenant William Calley has been found guilty of murder at a court martial for his part in the My Lai massacre which claimed the lives of 500 South Vietnamese civilians.
The 27-year-old commander could receive the death penalty or life imprisonment after the massacre which saw US soldiers open fire on civilians in My Lai and neighbouring villages in central Vietnam in March 1968.
Lieutenant Calley was in charge of Charlie Company, a unit of the American Division's 11th Infantry Brigade, who were on a mission to root out the communist 48th Viet Cong Battalion fighters.
Brutal killings
The Viet Cong were not in the village and instead more than 500 unarmed civilians were brutally killed in an unprovoked attack by US troops.
Lieutenant Calley will be sentenced in the next few days after the verdict was announced at Fort Benning, Georgia today.
The jury of six army officers spent 13 days weighing up evidence from a four month trial.
They rejected his claim he was merely following orders in a military chain of command instilled in him since joining the army.
Lieutenant Calley faced four charges:
the murder of at least 30 "oriental human beings" at a junction of two trails
killing 70 others in a ditch
shooting a man who approached him with his hands raised begging for mercy
killing a child running from the ditch where the 70 died.
He was found guilty on the first three charges, although the number of the first was slashed from 30 to one because of conflicting evidence, and the death toll in the second charge was reduced to 20.
The final charge was reduced to assault with intent to kill a child of which he was found guilty.
Three of Lieutenant Calley's senior officers will be tried on charges arising from the massacre, two men junior to him have already been tried and acquitted and charges against 19 others have been dropped.
Charges came after the army commissioned an investigation into the cover-up of the massacre which became known as the Peers inquiry.
In Context
The massacre came to light a year after it happened after investigative media reports.
The crimes included murders, rape, sodomy, maiming and assault of civilians.
The Peers inquiry recommended charges should be brought against 28 officers and two non-commissioned officers involved in the concealment of the massacre.
Lieutenant Calley was the only one to be convicted and he was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour. Within three days he was out of prison, pending appeal, on the personal instructions of President Richard Nixon.
He spent the next three years under house arrest at Fort Benning in Georgia.
Freed on bail in 1974 his sentence was then cut to 10 years but he was paroled later that year after completing one third of his sentence.

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28 mar 2005

The Word of the Day for Mar 27 is:
Byzantine \BIZ-un-teen\ adjective

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient city of Byzantium or
the Eastern Roman Empire
2 : of or relating to the Eastern Orthodox Church
*3 often not capitalized : intricately involved and often devious

Example sentence:
Rosa's novels vividly depict a Byzantine world of scheming and intrigue.

Did you know?
Today, the city that lies on the Bosporus Strait in Turkey is named
Istanbul, but it was once known as Constantinople (a name given to it when
it became capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire), and in
ancient times, it was called Byzantium. Its history is exotic - filled with
mystics, wars, and political infighting - and the word Byzantine (from Late
Latin "Byzantinus," for "native of Byzantium") became synonymous with
anything characteristic of the city or empire, from architecture to
intrigue. The figurative sense of labyrinthine deviousness first appeared in
the late 1930s. It was popularized by its frequent use in reference to the
Soviet Union, whose secrecy and despotism were equated by Westerners with
what went on in the old Byzantine Empire.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

24 mar 2005

Iraq action 'crime of aggression'

Lord Goldsmith has denied being 'leaned on'

The Iraq war amounted to a "crime of aggression", the former deputy legal
adviser to the Foreign Office has said. Elizabeth Wilmshurst made the
claim before war in her resignation letter, obtained by the BBC News
Website. But part of the letter has not been released. A report on
Channel 4 claims it shows the attorney general changed his mind on the
legality of the war. The attorney general's spokesperson said Lord
Goldsmith's independent view was that action in Iraq was lawful.

'Professional privilege'

Ms Wilmshurst resigned from her post on the eve of war because she did
not believe military action in Iraq was legal.

In her resignation letter, Ms Wilmshurst says military action in Iraq
was "an unlawful use of force" which "amounts to the crime of aggression."

"Nor can I agree with such action in circumstances which are so
detrimental to the international order and the rule of law," she says.

The letter was requested by the BBC News Website's World Affairs
correspondent Paul Reynolds under the Freedom of Information Act - but part
of the letter was not revealed.

The Foreign Office said the missing part was covered by exemptions
relating to the professional privilege applying to a law officer in the
formulation of government policy.

According to Channel 4 News, the missing piece refers to legal advice
Lord Goldsmith gave to the government.


Channel 4, without giving a source for the information, quotes Ms
Wilmshurst as indicating that the attorney general changed his mind at the
last minute, giving approval for the war after having previously opposed it.


Parents 'could pick babies' sex'

Parents could be permitted to select their baby's sex
Parents undergoing IVF could be allowed to select the sex of their baby
under proposals put forward by MPs.
A Commons Science and Technology Committee report said more decisions about
fertility treatment should be made by patients and their doctors.
The MPs also called for the regulator, the Human Fertilisation and
Embryology Authority, to be disbanded.
And they said "taboo" research, such as implanting human cells into animals,
should be considered, with regulation.
It makes a number of bold and challenging recommendations


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

23 mar 05

'Prevent child marriages'

NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. The Supreme Court has asked Collectors and Superintendents of Police to prevent mass child marriages. This is in view of the thousands of child marriages every year during festivals such as "Akshay tritiya," "Akha Teej," "Ram Navami," "Basant Panchami" and "Karma Jayanti." — PTI
Shabana Azmi in NIC

NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. The Centre today appointed the actor, Shabana Azmi, and the Congress leader, Syed Shahabuddin, members of the National Integration Council (NIC).
The NIC was reconstituted last month under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, a spokesperson said.
The names of Ms. Azmi and Mr. Shahabuddin were under the category of Eminent Public Figures, he said.
`Only doctors with 5 years experience can perform sterilisation'
By J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. The Supreme Court, expressing serious concern over deaths caused by unregulated sterilisation methods in the country, has directed all States and the Union Territories to permit only those doctors with five years of gynaecological experience to conduct sterilisation programmes.
A three-Judge Bench, comprising Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice C.K. Thakker, passed the order on a petition from Ramakant Rai and another person seeking guidelines for sterilisation procedures.
The Bench said several States had filed affidavits on the steps taken by them to regulate sterilisation procedures. However, it was apparent that there was no uniformity in the procedures and norms for ensuring that the guidelines framed by the Centre were being followed.
The Bench directed all the States and the Union Territories to introduce a system of having an approved panel of doctors with five years of gynaecological experience to carry out sterilisation. The panel might be prepared State, district or region-wise.

Woman Leading Friday Prayers Condemned
Arab News
JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — The Islamic Fiqh Academy, an affiliate of the 55-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, has strongly condemned as “religious heresy” the recent incident of a woman leading Friday prayers in New York City.
“This is a misleading heresy and sedition,” the academy said about the incident in which Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, led prayers for a mixed-gender group.
“The incident is a clear violation of Shariah as it does not allow women leading prayers for men or delivering Friday sermon to them or mingling of men and women at prayers,” said the academy’s statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

Wolfowitz Dating Muslim Woman Causes Stir
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
Shaha Ali Riza 

WASHINGTON, 23 March 2005 — Here’s a bit of news that had Washingtonians choking on their coffee this morning: President Bush’s neoconservative hawk Paul Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s architect of the US invasion of Iraq, is dating a Muslim!
While battle lines have hardened over President Bush’s nomination of Wolfowitz to become president of the World Bank, what many say is really fueling the controversy is concern within the bank over Wolfowitz’s reported romantic relationship with Shaha Ali Riza, an Arab feminist who is the acting manager for External Relations and Outreach for the Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank.


Guest Worker May Lose Digits, Toes After Being Tied Up in Bathroom for a Month
Hassan Adawi, Arab News
JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — A 25-year-old Indonesian woman who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will have several of her fingers, toes and part of her right foot amputated because of gangrene after being tied up for a month in a bathroom by her Saudi sponsor, who also apparently beat her severely, injuring her eye and knocking several of her teeth out.
The reason given was that the woman, who worked as a maid, had not finished cleaning the house. The Indonesian government is demanding justice as Riyadh police continue to investigate this disgusting crime.


Man offers 1 mn for place in Pak cricket team!

Asian News International
Islamabad, March 21, 2005

A London-based Pakistani millionaire has offered the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) an amount of nearly one million pound for giving him an opportunity to play for Pakistan against India in the ongoing series.
M Jamshaid, a Pakistani national living in London, made this offer through e-mail to the PCB.
"We have received an e-mail of this millionaire who boasts of his game skills and wants to play for the country," The News quoted a PCB official as saying.


Malappuram duo wanted in US

KOZHIKODE, MARCH 22: Two village school dropouts from Malappuram have allegedly pulled off a Rs 50-crore investment scam in New York, swindling scores of NRIs and native Americans. They were running an ethnic restaurant there.
Kerala police have decided to seek the Interpol’s help to crack the case.

The Crime Branch has arrested 35-year-old Mohemmed Ali alias Mohemmed Kutty, a green card holder. They are looking for his senior partner, 45-year-old Shefin Syed Mohemmed Abdullah.
Police say the suave Kutty had gone to school for only four years and was a labourer in Malappuram before migrating to the Gulf 16 years ago.
Abdullah was a cook in Nilambur and was known for his special biriyani. He, too, had gone to the Gulf and had eventually managed to get himself a sponsor to the US. Kutty tagged along and by 1993, the duo had rented floor space from a Chinese landowner in Queen’s Village, Hollid Town, to set out with their small 15-guest restaurant, the Malabar Palace.
The restaurant was an instant hit with the local NRI community, and soon began drawing others as well. Over the years, it grew in size and its owners gained in stature. ‘‘This restaurant was a favoured haunt for many politicians and VIPs going to New York, with Kutty and Shefin playing eager hosts. This increased their credibility in the largely Indian expatriate community,’’ says P. Abdul Hamid, a Circle Inspector investigating the case.
A few years ago, they began advertising in local and community publications in New York, seeking investment to expand the restaurant. And money poured in. ‘‘They roped in all kinds of NRIs — from nurses to software geeks to traders to even daily wage earners — and a whole lot of native Americans too,’’ says Hamid.
The duo even issued stamped receipts to investors and told them the money would be deposited in two New York banks — Citibank and Northfort Bank. Then, in 1993, Shefin and Kutty handed over the restaurant to a Malayalee crew to run it till they came back from vacation, and took a flight home. They never returned.
Tired of waiting, six of their victims, led by Islamuddin Khan — an NRI from UP who had handed them $1,60,000 — petitioned the Kerala DGP recently, who later asked the Crime Branch to probe. Kutty, who the police say was staying in Indian cities, was caught two days ago in his village.
‘‘After word of Kutty’s arrest reached US, we are now being flooded with scores of petitions and phone calls, from New York and even other US cities. It would be sometime before we get an accurate picture, but it (the scam) already appears to be worth upward of Rs 50 crore,’’ police said.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Air India Express 21 03 05

----- Original Message -----
From: Dilumon Poulose
To: Sanjiv Varghese ;
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2005 9:19 AM
Subject: FW: Air-India Express flight

Frequently Asked Questions

Booking Queries
How do I book my flight?
Do I receive a ticket when I book a seat on an Air-India Express flight?
Can I purchase an open Air-India Express ticket?
What do I do if I have to fly Air-India Express within the next 24 hours?
How do I pay for my booking?
Can I change my reservation (route, date and time changes)?
Is an Air-India Express booking valid for travel on other airlines?

How do I book my flight?
You can make a new booking by any of the following methods: -
Buy a seat online at
Walk into any of Air-India Express's airport or city offices to
purchase over the counter.
Visit one of our appointed Travel Agents. The list is available with
our city and airport offices.
Once your payment has been made, you will be issued an Itinerary
receipt for your reference .

Do I receive a ticket when I book a seat on an Air-India Express flight?
Air-India Express issues Itinerary Receipts instead of conventional
tickets. The itinerary receipt is available online for web-based
bookings or can also be handed over to you by the airline office or
the travel agent once payment has been made for your reference.

Can I purchase an open-dated Air-India Express ticket?
No. All the chosen sectors must be booked and paid for at the same time.

What do I do if I have to fly Air-India Express within the next 24 hours?
Should you need to travel within the next 24 hours then -

Bookings can be made upto 90 minutes prior to flight departure through
Airport office, City office, Travel Agent and website It may be noted that Check-in counters close
60 minutes prior to flight departure.
Call Air-India Express's Reservation office and make payment through
your credit card up to 6 hours prior to flight departure during office
Once your payment has been made, you will be issued a PNR Number and
an Itinerary receipt will be handed over to you at the airport
/airline office or by the travel agent for your reference. Please
carry this receipt with you when you report for the flight.

How do I pay for my booking?
There are four ways to pay for your Air-India Express booking:
Online booking via the Internet using credit cards.
Pay for flights booked through the Air-India Express's reservation
office by credit card.
For seats purchased at Air-India Express's walk-in city or airport
offices we accept:
i) cash
ii) credit cards
For seats purchased with one of Air-India Express's preferred travel
agents, kindly refer to the individual agent for details.

Can I change my reservation (route, date and time changes)?
If you wish to change the date and time, you must inform us of your
requirement at least 12 hours before the scheduled departure of your
flight. Changes to your booking will incur a fee of Rs. 250 or
equivalent local currency per passenger per sector and this can be
done at the point where you have bought the ticket, i.e. if you have
made the booking through a travel agent you can get your itinerary
changed through that particular travel agent only.

However, our Reservation offices, Airport and City offices would be
able to help you in making changes in your itinerary, irrespective of
from where you purchased the ticket.

Change of route is not permitted in any case.

Is an Air-India Express booking valid for travel on other airlines?
No, all the bookings are solely for travel on Air-India Express.
Tickets are non-endorsable to any other airline.

Baggage Queries
How much baggage can I check-in on Air-India Express flights?
How much hand luggage (unchecked baggage) can I bring onboard
Air-India Express flights?
With upgraded security on aircraft what items am I not permitted to
carry onboard the aircraft?

How much baggage can I check-in on Air-India Express flights?
Each passenger (excluding infants) is allowed, depending on the
destination, some baggage free of charge, subject to the regulations
of the airline. Checked baggage in excess of free allowance is subject
to excess baggage charge and space availability on the aircraft.
(Unless otherwise specified). Infants are entitled to 10 kilos baggage
free of charge.

How much hand luggage (unchecked baggage) can I bring onboard
Air-India Express flights?
Each passenger (excluding infants) is allowed to carry one small
piece of hand luggage (unchecked baggage), which must not exceed 7
kilos. If your hand luggage exceeds the stated limits it will have to
be checked in. In the event that your total checked-in baggage exceeds
the free allowance, an excess baggage charge will be incurred. It is
recommended that all valuable articles are only carried in your hand

With upgraded security on aircraft what items am I not permitted to
carry onboard the aircraft?
Recently, there has been an increase in the level of security
onboard all aircraft. Passengers are not allowed to bring any sharp
objects onto the aircraft. This includes nail clippers, scissors,
razors, blades, bulbs, batteries or any other object that may be
considered dangerous. The airline will not be held responsible for any
such item, which is taken over by security agencies.

Lost Baggage & Refunds
What should I do if my baggage has been lost during my flight with
Air-India Express? Am I entitled to compensation?
Can I get a refund for a seat that has not been used?

What should I do if my baggage has been lost during my flight with
Air-India Express? Am I entitled to compensation?
In the event of loss or damage to baggage the airline's liability is
limited to USD20 (or equivalent local currency) per kilo for
checked-in baggage, provided, loss of baggage has been reported to the
airline, prior to leaving the customs enclosure and if not traced
within 7 days.

Can I get a refund for a seat that has not been used?
Please refer to Air-India Express's cancellation and refund policy.

When do I check-in?
How do I check-in without a ticket?
Is there any advance seat reservation facility?

When do I check-in?
Air-India Express check-in counters open 3 hours prior to scheduled
flight departures. Kindly proceed to the check-in counters assigned to
Air-India Express. Check-in counters close 1 hour before the scheduled

How do I check-in without a ticket?
The check-in process is the same as with a conventional paper
ticket. Simply bring your Itinerary Receipt and your valid passport
and visa to the check-in counter. For domestic travel a photo-Id i.e
driving license, credit card, Pan card, etc. is required.

Is there any advance seat reservation facility?
No. Seat numbers will be assigned at the time of check-in.

Delays and Cancellation of Flights
What is Air-India Express's procedure for delayed flights?
What is Air-India Express's policy if a flight is cancelled?
Am I entitled to a refund if I cancel my flight?
In the event that I miss my onward flight as a result of my first
flight being delayed, will Air-India Express put me on the next
available flight or refund my ticket?

What is Air-India Express's procedure for delayed flights?
In the event of a delayed flight we make every effort to contact
passengers in advance to inform them of the rescheduled departure.
Passengers are requested to provide their local telephone contact in
order to advise them regarding delays.

What is Air-India Express's policy if a flight is cancelled?
Air-India Express has 2 options available to passengers in the event
that a flight is cancelled.

Passengers can be transferred to the next available Air-India Express
flight without any additional charges subject to seats being
Fare can be refunded.

Am I entitled to a refund if I cancel my flight?
Please refer to the Air-India Express cancellation policy.

In the event that I miss my onward flight as a result of my first
flight being delayed, will Air-India Express put me on the next
available flight or refund my ticket?
No, Air-India Express operates on a point-to-point basis and will
not be held responsible for the consequence of any delays experienced
while flying Air-India Express.

Traveling with infants, expectant mothers and travelers with special needs
How does Air-India Express classify an infant, a child and an adult?
How do I book for an infant?
What should I do if I need special assistance?
What is Air-India Express's policy regarding unaccompanied young
What are the regulations for expectant mothers traveling on Air-India
Can I request for special assistance for disabled passengers?
How do I make a request for specific seats?

How does Air-India Express classify an infant, a child and an adult?
An infant is classified as one below 2 years of age, a child is
classified as between 2 and 12 years of age and an adult is anyone
over the age of 12 years. All infants must be accompanied by an adult
passenger in the ratio of one infant to one adult.

How do I book for an infant?
The same procedure has to be applied as is applicable for booking an
adult. However, the date of birth is mandatory. Infant must be booked
with the accompanying adult .

What should I do if I need special assistance?
Should you require any special services while you travel with
Air-India Express please call our Reservation Offices and inform our
staff of your requirements and they will do their best to accommodate
your needs.

What is Air-India Express's policy regarding unaccompanied young
Air-India Express will accept unaccompanied children between 5 years
and 12 years of age.

What are the regulations for expectant mothers traveling on Air-India
Expectant mothers may travel up to and including the 27 weeks of
their pregnancy, and will be accepted between 28 to 35 weeks if they
are in possession of a doctor's certificate confirming the stage of
their pregnancy and stating that they are fit to fly. Expectant
mothers above their 36 weeks will not be allowed to fly on Air-India
Can I request for special assistance for disabled passengers?
Upon reservation we will make every effort to ensure that any
special services you may require are provided to you.

How do I make a request for specific seats?
Seats are only assigned at the time of check-in. The earlier you
check-in, the better chances you have to request for your preferred

General FAQ
Does Air-India Express provide any food or drinks onboard?
Where does Air-India Express fly?
What type of aircraft does Air-India Express fly?
Does Air-India Express offer any special offers such as a frequent
flyer program?

Does Air-India Express provide any food or drinks onboard?
Air-India Express will provide pre-set meals in addition to soft beverages

Where does Air-India Express fly?
To start-off Air-India Express plans to fly to 4 international
destinations  Dubai, Abu dhabi, Muscat and Salalah, with service from
5 Indian cities  Calicut, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai and

What type of aircraft does Air-India Express fly?
Air-India Express will operate a B737-800 new generation aircraft in
economy version.

Does Air-India Express offer any special offers such as a frequent
flyer program?
No, Air-India Express does not offer a frequent flyer program.

If you have any more questions, please contact us
Delhi / Mumbai / Kerala - 1412
For passengers from Rest Of India call ( 011) -1412 for Delhi
(022) -1412 for Mumbai
(0471) -1412 for Trivandrum

Saturday, March 19, 2005

19 mar 05

From: rvarma
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 23:13:26 -0800
Subject: The real looters

NEW DELHI, MARCH 14: Maharashtra, which houses Mumbai, the financial
capital of the country, accounts for the highest amount of corporate loan
defaults in the banking sector. Corporates in the state owe a whopping Rs
37,396 crore as dues to banks and financial institutions as on March 31,

Delhi is a distant second in the defaulters' list with Rs 13,399 crore
outstandings. The total amount of bad loans in the banking sector stood at
Rs 96,084 crore at the end of 2003-04, of which the largest chunk - Rs
52,101 crore - was with public sector banks, followed by private and foreign
banks with stressed assets of Rs 22,357 crore.
Banks and FIs have already filed suits for recovery of Rs 62,639.54 crore of
the outstanding amount. Though they have been successful in recouping
substantial dues, fresh non-performing assets are being added up
simultaneously. According to Reserve Bank of India's list of defaulters
released by the All Indian Bank Employees Association, companies in Tamil
Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal with unpaid dues of Rs 10,755 crore, Rs
6,542 crore and Rs 5,822 crore respectively also feature in the list of top
"The NPA level is huge and it needs to be immediately cleaned up before
allowing foreign money into the sector," CH Venkatachalam, secretary, AIBEA,
told FE.
The biggest defaulters include well-known names such as DCM Ltd, Lloyds
Steel, Core Healthcare, Prakash Industries, Malvika Steel, IG Petro and
Pyrites Private Ltd.
Mr Venkatachalam also said the validation of the Sarfaesi Act by the Supreme
Court did not have any wholesome effect on reducing the non-performing
assets. The Act empowers the banks to recover the outstandings but they are
largely unable to exercise the option due to the Debt Recovery Tribunal Act
provision mandating withdrawal of all cases before the tribunals prior to
Meanwhile, unions have also demanded that Securitisation Act must empower
banks to take over personal assets of the top management of defaulting


The Word of the Day for Mar 18 is:
capricious \kuh-PRISH-us\ adjective

: governed or characterized by sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated
ideas or actions : unpredictable
Example sentence:
Given his capricious nature, Irving is more likely to go wherever the road
takes him than follow any scripted plan.
Did you know?
The noun "caprice," which first appeared in English in the mid-17th century,
is a synonym of "whim." Evidence shows that the adjective "capricious"
debuted about sixty years before "caprice"; however, it's likely that both
words derived via French from the Italian "capriccio," which originally
referred not to a sudden desire, but to a sudden shudder of fear.
"Capriccio" in turn derives from the Italian "capo," meaning "head," and
"riccio," the word for "hedgehog."


From: rvarma
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 19:08:12 -0800
Subject: Air Arabia

DUBAI: UAE-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia LLC announced on Thursday the
commencement of daily flights to Mumbai from March 26, with the fare of a
one-way ticket from Sharjah to Mumbai starting from nearly Rs 3,000.
The fare of the one-way ticket excluded government taxes and surcharges and
similar return fares will also be available, Air Arabia said, adding its
fares will be at least 15-20 per cent lower than other airlines.
Also, the airliner's fare structure is based on supply and demand and fares
increase as more seats are booked on a particular flight. Flights will
depart Sharjah International Airport daily at 16:40 hrs and arrive in Mumbai
at 21:00 hrs local time.
From Mumbai, flights will depart every day at 21:45 hrs and arrive in
Sharjah at 23:25 hrs local time. The latest destination grows the airline's
reach to 12 countries and 16 destinations within the Middle East, North
Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
" I would like to thank the Indian government and civil aviation authorities
for their role in facilitating our operations and their invaluable
cooperation in making this possible," said Mr Adel Ali, Air Arabia's CEO. -


New Patents Bill introduced amid protests

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MARCH 18. The Patents (Amendment) Bill, 2005, was introduced in
the Lok Sabha today amid protests with a majority of members from across the
political spectrum, including parties supporting the Government, objecting
to the adoption of the ordinance route.

The introduction of the Bill - replacing the Patents (Amendment) Ordinance,
2004, promulgated on December 26 last year to meet the January 1, 2005,
deadline to move over to a new patents regime - by the Union Commerce
Minister, Kamal Nath, saw the Left parties on the side of the Opposition
along with the Samajwadi Party protesting the move.


Woman Leads Friday Prayers in New York City
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News

WASHINGTON, 19 March 2005 - In a historic first in New York City yesterday,
a group of American Muslim activists broke with convention and had a woman
lead the Friday prayers, in order to "send women from the back to the front
of mosques."

According to the Progressive Muslim Union, which organized the event, Dr.
Amina Wadud, professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth
University, was the first woman to lead public, mixed-gender Friday prayers.
She also delivered Friday's sermon.

Dr. Wadud, the author of "Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a
Woman's Perspective," believes Muslim women should be able to lead in

The Muslim world and the American Muslim community generally believe that
women cannot lead mixed-gender prayers. It is only over the centuries, they
say, Muslim women have lost their place as intellectual and spiritual

"I have no objection to this salah, even though I disagree with it. It is a
matter of opinion, it is not a fixed law that women cannot lead the salah,"
Imam Mohamed Al-Hanooti, the grand mufti of Washington metropolitan area,
told Arab News.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

16 mar 05

'Da Vinci Code' blasted by top cardinal

By Philip Pullella
Wednesday, 16 March , 2005, 03:01

Rome: A top Catholic cardinal has blasted The Da Vinci Code as a "gross and
absurd" distortion of history and said Catholic bookstores should take the
bestseller off their shelves because it is full of "cheap lies."
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in an interview with the Milan newspaper Il
Giornale, became the highest ranking Italian Churchman to speak out against
the book, an international blockbuster that has sold millions of copies.

"(It) aims to discredit the Church and its history through gross and absurd
manipulations," Bertone, the archbishop of the northern Italian city of
Genoa and a close friend of Pope John Paul told the paper in its Monday
"This seems like a throwback to the old anti-clerical pamphlets of the
1800s," he said.
The central claim of the book, written by U.S. author Dan Brown, is that
Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children. The Bible says Jesus never
married, was crucified and rose from the dead.
Bertone's comments were significant because until the Pope named him
archbishop of Genoa in 2003 he was for years the number two man at the
Vatican's most powerful department - the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith.
"You can find that book everywhere and the risk is that many people who read
it believe that those fairy tales are real," he said. "I think I have the
responsibility to clear things up to unmask the cheap lies contained in
books like that."
A central storyline of the book is that the Holy Grail is not the cup which
Christ is said to have used at the Last Supper but really the bloodline
descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Bertone calls this idea "a
Bertone is so incensed about the novel that he will be the key speaker at a
roundtable in Genoa on Wednesday night attempting to dismantle the book,

'Date of birth in horoscope not conclusive proof of age'
By Our Legal Correspondent
NEW DELHI, MARCH 15 . The Supreme Court has held that the date of birth
(DoB) entered in one's horoscope cannot be taken as conclusive proof for
determining the age if the DoB recorded in the school register is different.
A Bench, comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S.H. Kapadia, giving
this ruling said: "Horoscope is a very weak material to prove age of a
person." But "where no other material is available, the horoscope may be
considered but subject to its authenticity being established." For a
horoscope to be treated as evidence in terms of Section 32 (5) of the Indian
Evidence Act, it must be proved to have been prepared by a person having
special knowledge as regards to the authenticity of date and time mentioned
therein. The school records have more probative value than a horoscope for
determining the exact date of birth of a person, the Bench said allowing an
appeal of the Punjab Government against a High Court order ruling in favour
of a person who had relied on the horoscope for proving his DoB.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ravi Varma"
Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 11:09 AM
Subject: Tally

Building brand 'Tally'

The story of an Indian software package that has made global reach

Posted online: Saturday, March 05, 2005 at 0000 hours IST

Tally, one of the better known software packages developed in India,
is making silent strides in spreading computerisation among the small
business establishments and charted accountants, not only in India but
in 88 countries across the world.

Tally-the package and the brand- has been built over 19 years and
developed by a businessman (not a software whizkid!). For sheer
numbers, today Tally has over 1.8 million users outside India. In
India, over 35 lakh small establishments and a bulk of 80,000
professional chartered accou-ntants use Tally accounting solutions.

Meanwhile, the company is looking at making full use of the
opportunity in the VAT regime. "Business people need to adopt VAT
structure from April 1. We have introduced specific packages in
Singapore and the UK, where VAT has been in use," said Tally Solutions
president Bharath Gopalakrishnan.

The company has launched Tally 7.2 version with state-specific tax
structures to facilitate filing of statutory returns by businessmen.
"A businessman will be required to provide the raw data, and all the
reports according to VAT requirement will be generated by our
software," he added.

With changes in the tax regime, even Tally is looking at having a
different marketing strategy to sell its products more aggresively.
"According to various industry studies, over 16 million business
establishments are present in India today. Of this, eight million
establishments are too small (like paan shops), which are not looking
at adopting computers as of now. The remaining eight million, already
four million are computerised. We see a huge potential in the rest and
are looking at selling around a million packages in the next few
months," he said.

In order to reach out to these business establishments, the company
has signed up with over 25,000 hardware resellers in the country to
market its product. "Along with our 100 direct dealers, we have signed
up with over 25,000 hardware resellers," said Mr Gopalakrishnan.

There is another reason for the company to sign up with hardware
resellers. As Mr Gopalakrishnan puts it, in the last 18 years though
millions are using the Tally package, only 1.5 lakh are registered
users. "Piracy is over 90%. We are providing training to all the
resellers about the value proposition that Tally offers them if they
sell the package to the customers," he said.

Moving forward, Tally plans a channel presence of over 50,000 hardware
and software resellers who will be enabled and trained by Tally
Solutions to act as Value Added Resellers. "In the next four quarters,
we are introducing pay-roll package, Tally on Microsoft and Linux
platform and also in multiple languages. In the first quarter, we plan
to export our product to the Middle East and South-East Asia," said Mr

The company gets 90% of its business from the domestic market and 10%
from exports. The Tally package is priced at Rs 4,950 for single users
and Rs 13,500 for multiple user licenses in India.


The Word of the Day for Mar 05 is:
indigence \IN-dih-junss\ noun

: a level of poverty in which real hardship and deprivation are suffered and
comforts of life are wholly lacking
Example sentence:
"It is a fine thing, reader, to be lifted in a moment from indigence to
wealth." (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre)
Did you know?
Is your vocabulary impoverished by a lack of synonyms for "poverty"? We can
help. "Poverty," "penury," "want," "destitution," and "indigence" all
describe the state of someone who is lacking in key resources. "Poverty"
covers the range from severe lack of basic necessities to an absence of
material comforts ("the refugees lived in extreme poverty"). "Penury"
suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money ("illness condemned him to
years of penury"). "Want" and "destitution" imply extreme, even
life-threatening, poverty ("they lived in a perpetual state of want") ("the
widespread destitution in countries beset by famine"). "Indigence," which
descends from a Latin verb meaning "to need," implies seriously straitened
circumstances and usually connotes the endurance of many hardships and the
lack of comforts ("she struggled through the indigence of her college


Violent eruptions in Wisconsin and Georgia: the pathology of a society in

The bloody incidents last Friday and Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia and
Brookfield, Wisconsin have dominated the American media for the past week.
And with reason: the killing of seven people at a Wisconsin church service
and four people in and around an Atlanta courtroom are the latest
expressions of an increasingly common and troubling phenomenon in America:
eruptions of apparently random and self-destructive violence.
The media coverage provides no understanding of the social meaning of these
events. On the contrary, it obscures it, treating the two gunmen, Brian
Nichols in Atlanta and Terry Ratzmann in Wisconsin, as isolated cases,
individuals driven solely by their own pathologies rather than products of a
society that is increasingly dysfunctional, crisis-stricken and brutal.
In Atlanta, the media focus has been on the evident failure of courthouse
security. Nichols, a 210-pound former athlete, was able to overpower a
female sheriff's deputy, take her gun, kill three people, and then escape
from the Fulton County Courthouse, where he was on trial for rape, facing
life in prison if convicted. He later killed a fourth person and took his
car, before surrendering to police.
Ross owed over $18,000 in unpaid credit card debts. He was forced to sell
his home and rent it back, then was evicted and lived in his minivan during
the last weeks of his life.
If Ratzmann and Nichols had killed "only" one victim and then themselves,
their actions would have drawn scarcely any notice. Such tragedies take
place on a daily basis in the United States. Far from being isolated
events, the killings in Georgia and Wisconsin highlight a pattern of
behavior which must have deeper social roots.
According to a 2002 report by the Violence Policy Center, at least 662
people died in murder-suicides in the United States over a six-month period
the previous year-an average of nearly two murder-suicides each day, every
day. Seven states had more than 10 murder-suicides during the study period:
Florida (35), California (29) and Texas (29), Pennsylvania (17), New York
(14), Virginia (12), and Ohio (11).
No more recent figures are available. Due to political pressure from the gun
lobby and other right-wing groups, no government agency compiles centralized
statistics on either suicides or homicides involving firearms. According to
the VPC, however, more US firearm deaths are suicides than homicides (16,599
compared to 10,828 in 1999).
Three-quarters of murder-suicides involved "intimate partners," the study
found, and of these, 94 percent involved men killing women and then

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

05 March 2005

Saturday, 5, March, 2005 (24, Muharram, 1426)

Saudi Labour Law and You by Mohammed Jaber Nader

S.A. from Dammam Recently I fell sick and got treatment at a hospital near
my residence. My company refused to pay the bill, arguing that I should have
used the hospital stipulated by the company. I knew about this condition
before, but I decided to go to the nearest hospital because I was concerned
about my condition. My contract states: "Medical expenses will be paid and
the Saudi labor law will apply in cases of sickness." It doesn't state that
I must use a particular hospital. In this case, is my company legally
correct to refuse payment?

You knew about your company's regulations, which are in accordance with the
labor law which also enjoins that the employee undergoes diagnosis and
treatment with the knowledge and supervision of his employer. You did this
without your company's consent. You will have to bear responsibility for
non-compliance. The way left out for you is to explain your circumstances
and if your company still doubts your statement ask them to refer you to the
doctor of their choice to confirm what you have reported as true. It is
within your right to do that.


M.V. from Alkhobar I am working with a company in the Kingdom since 1983 and
I am planning to go on final exit in the middle of 2005. I have a question
about my service. On Nov. 15, 1990, I left on a vacation of two months and
was supposed to join duty on Jan. 15 1991. Unfortunately, due to the Gulf
War, I could not report on the supposed date and my re-entry visa expired.
Then the company sent me a new visa and I resumed duty on July 9, 1991, in
the same job. Regarding my end-of-service-benefit (ESB), should my service
be calculated as continuous from 1983? Or will it be treated as a new
service from July 1991, since I came on a new visa?

Your service should be considered as continuous. Nevertheless, the period of
absence between Jan. 15 and July 9, 1991, must be deducted from your
service. I understand your service has not been terminated or your rights
settled for the first period of service. Then, no matter what number of
contracts or visas or changes occurring to the service, as long as you have
been working for the same company during all the period, without changing
employers or terminating your first service, your service must be considered
as continuous. Your service should be treated as such and your ESB should be
calculated for all the period as one service from the day of joining to the
day the service is actually terminated.


V.R. from Riyadh I have a contract for a specified period of three years
which is coming to an end shortly. The contract includes an
end-of-the-contract gratuity payable at rate of half a month's basic salary
for every year of service. Of late, the manpower agency which recruited me
stated in all new contracts that the salary paid every month includes the
end-of-service benefit. I have got a couple of questions in this regard: (1)
Is it correct on the part of the manpower agency to state that the salary
paid includes ESB, and thereby wriggle out of its obligations under Saudi
labor law? (2) When it comes to renewing my contract and if both parties do
not enter into a specific contract, would my contract become unspecified
from the date on which the old contract matures or does it become
unspecified from day one?

As per the Saudi labor law, ESB must be paid at the end of the service. So,
it is illegal to pay it along with the monthly salary and mention this in
the employment contract. As to your employment contract, if a new contract
is signed after the maturity of the present contract then your contract will
be treated as specified contract. If a new contract is not signed and the
service continues, then your contract would become un-specified from the
first day of your employment.


This day in history

1953: Soviet leader 'on brink of death' Rumours are circulating in Moscow
that Joseph Stalin, the long-time leader of the Soviet Union, is near death.
The first official news of Mr Stalin's illness came in a statement on

It said the Soviet leader, who came to power in 1928, had suffered a
cerebral haemorrhage on Wednesday night.

An update issued earlier today mentioned "sharp disturbances of the heart

There is speculation that the 73-year-old, born Iosif Vissarionovich
Dzhugashvili, in the Soviet republic of Georgia, is now in the final stages
of an illness he has been suffering some time.

Soviet newspapers today are clearly preparing their readers for the worst.

Their front pages carry the bulletins on Mr Stalin's health as well as
sombre leading articles.

On the inside pages, feature articles praise the Soviet leader both as a man
and politician.


World leaders have expressed concern for Mr Stalin's health.

A statement issued by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said his
private secretary, John Colville, had yesterday called on the Soviet

Mr Colville had passed on the prime minister's regret at the news of Mr
Stalin's ill-health and asked to be kept informed of his progress, the
statement said.

US President Truman also expressed sympathy for Mr Stalin.

"I am sorry just as I would be if such a thing happened to any other
acquaintance of mine," Mr Truman said.

If Mr Stalin's death is confirmed, he will be most remembered for
instigating political purges in which tens of thousands were killed.

He was also behind the introduction of farming collectives which led to a
famine and the death of up to 10 million people.

His death is expected to provoke a power struggle within the ruling

The death of Joseph Stalin was officially announced at just after 0100 GMT
on 6 March.

The statement said he had died at 2150 local time on 5 March.

Hundreds of thousands of people queued to see Joseph Stalin's body

He was embalmed and put on display alongside the first Soviet leader,
Vladimir Illyich Lenin, in his mausoleum in Red Square in Moscow.

But Nikita Khrushchev, who became Soviet leader after a power struggle, led
a move to denounce Stalin as a tyrant who caused millions of deaths.

In 1961 Stalin's body was removed from its place in the honoured Lenin's

It was reburied near the Kremlin wall along with other minor figures from
the Bolshevik Revolution.


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Friday, March 04, 2005

03 03 05

`Moderate quake may prove devastating' By Roy Mathew

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 27. Studies by the Centre for Earth Science Studies
(CESS) say that Kochi city, Alappuzha town and Mullaperiyar dam face the
danger of devastation in case of an earthquake of moderate intensity
occurring close to them.

The study says that Kochi and Alappuzha are sitting on 400-metre-deep
alluvial soil formations. This would have highly destabilising effect on
buildings in the case of an earthquake.

The Director of CESS, M. Baba, says the soil beneath the buildings would get
fluidised under the force of even a moderate earthquake. Hardly any building
in the city and the town is built to withstand earthquakes. The geology of
no other city or town in the State presents such a danger as they stand on
better underground formations.

The CESS is preparing site response data indicating the intensity of ground
shaking anticipated in an earthquake in Kochi and its impact.It has surmised
from the study of past earthquakes that there is possibility of earthquakes
of the magnitude of up to 6 on the Richter scale occurring in the State.

The Mullaperiyar dam will not withstand such an earthquake with epicentre
near the dam. The chances of an earthquake occurring in the vicinity of the
dam are high owing to the presence of major lineaments and fault zones in
the region.

The expert committee, constituted by the Government with Dr. Baba as
coordinator to look into the stability of the dam against earthquakes, said
the dam would not be safe in the case of an earthquake near its vicinity. If
a Koyna type earthquake occurs in the vicinity of the dam, the structure is
unlikely to withstand it. Even under pure static conditions at a maximum
water level of 136 feet, some elements of the model exhibit tensile
stresses. Increase of water level will lead to further increase in tensile
stresses at the base.


----- Original Message ----- From: Harikrishnan.K.P To:
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2005 8:03 PM Subject: Fw: Memorandum to
President against Patent Ordinance

Please look at the attachment.



please spend few seconds to sign this document

rgds Sujith S


Narayanan criticises Vajpayee for Gujarat riots

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 2. Breaking his silence over two years after
stepping down from office, the former President, K.R. Narayanan, has
criticised the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for his handling
of the post-Godhra situation. He also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of
preventing him from a second term in office.

"He [Mr. Vajapyee] did not do anything effective. I had sent him letters. I
had talked to him directly," Mr. Narayanan said in a freewheeling interview
to the Congress MLA, P.T. Thomas, carried in a recent issue of the Malayalam
magazine, Manava Samskriti.

Claiming that there was a conspiracy involving the State and Central
Governments behind the 2002 Gujarat riots, he said: "Had military been given
powers to shoot, the carnage in Gujarat could have been avoided to a great

"I had asked the military to be sent to suppress the riots. The Centre had
the constitutional responsibility and powers to send the military if the
State Governments asked. The military was sent. But if the military was
given powers to shoot at the perpetrators of violence, recurrence of
tragedies in Gujarat could have been avoided. However, both the state and
central government did not do so," Mr. Narayanan said.


A portable web server

A web server helps you host web pages and lets you share files with others.
If the web server is a portable one, which can be housed on a floppy or
flash drive, you can have a mobile web site and share your resources from
any machine, anytime.

The portable web server, MyWeb (http://www.xuebrothers. net/myweb/myweb.htm)
is a good example of a product of this kind. The program allows you to host
a web site within a couple of minutes. It can also be used to share files
from your desktop.

After downloading the software, load it by just clicking on the file and
configure it using the option `Server Property.' Now, if you want to share a
file with others, right-click on the option `Dynamic files' and enter the
path of the file to be shared. Also, if you keep the program on your flash
drive, you can run the web server from any Windows computer anywhere on the

Apart from the web server software mentioned above, many portable programs
are in place. The browser, PortableFirefox (mentioned in an earlier column)
and the portable version of the e-mail client Thunderbird (http://portable
thunder are good examples.

In this regard, you may visit the portal `Portable Freeware Collection'
( that provides a wide array of free
portable programs. Here, you will find many portable programs stored under
different categories that include Audio, Education, Internet, Operating
system and Programming.

The small browser, OffByOne (, is a good software
discovered by this author with the help of this portal. The portal also
features a `news feed' for helping you keep abreast with latest products
easily with your news aggregator.


On-line to-do list service

Noting down the list of things to do in our family, business and
professional life will certainly help us make life less troublesome. Also,
if we keep these lists on-line, we can look at them anytime from anywhere.

For such requirements, take a look at the free on-line `to-do' list creation
service, `Ta-da List' ( The service allows you to
create any number of to-do lists and hosts them on its server. It provides
you a hostname of the form http:// your-login-name., for
accessing your lists from the Web. These days no on-line service, which has
changing data, comes without a news feed and `Ta-da' list is also no

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