INDIA INTELLIGENCE REPORT
 

News Analysis - Missiles

 

 

PM Visits Russia

What is India News Service,  Sunday, May 8, 2005, 2200 hrs IST
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is visiting Russia for a short but busy three days. He is participating in a celebration of the Allied victory over the the Nazis 60 years ago. He is expected to hold several sideline bilateral meetings with other world leaders. Fifty Six heads of state including European Union leaders, the American and Chinese Presidents are also expected in Moscow.
 
Over the last one year, there were several high-level diplomatic exchanges between India and Russia. Additionally, several joint seminars were organized for the first time including one on energy and another on Information Technology. Later this month, twelve Indian banks are expected to participate in a banking seminar in Moscow.

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The beleaguered Union Railway Minister and RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav made an unprecedented allegation. Waving a letter written by an IAS officer, considered close to his political party, he claimed that the country’s two Election Commissioners (B.B. Tandon and N. Gopalaswamy) were part of the "Sangh Parivar." He charged that they had countermanded last year’s Chapra Lok Sabha election—where Laloo was a candidate and in which he had won—because they were anti-Yadav. Prasad was born into the Yadav community.
 

Tandon dismissed these charges as “baseless”. He said the Chhapra countermand decision was “unanimous” and was a judicial order subject to judicial review. “Any aggrieved party could have challenged it in the Supreme Court,” he said.

If Prasad presses his quit call, the Centre will be faced with an unprecedented situation. The Indian Constitution (Article 324 (1)) does not allow for the removal of an Election Commissioner except on the recommendation of the CEC.

Tandon dismissed the charges If Laloo Prasad

Prasad Prasad has been facing increasing pressure from the Opposition, business leaders, editorials, newspapers, and opinion makers to resign from the Central Government. They charge incompetence in handling the Railways portfolio and embezzlement of funds earmarked for development and flood relief in Bihar where he was Chief Minister for over a decade. Some accuse the Central Government of diverting attention by highlighting old "scandals" and ordering new "probes" which usually does not have any outcome.

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Several Members of the Parliament calling themselves The Tiger And Wilderness Watch, are to meet on Monday to discuss the Scheduled Tribes (recognition of forest rights) Bill or the Tribal Land Rights Bill, 2005. In what is believed to be a tussle between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over the control of forest land, the MoEF and conservationists are vehemently opposing the Bill, saying that the passage of it will adversely affect the health of forests. Even members of the ruling coalition are said to be vehemently opposing this Bill.

Tribal leaders and some Non-Government Organizations National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers and the Asian Centre for Human Rights disagree that tribesmen and other forest dwellers are responsible for the destruction of forests and wildlife, adding that this is the viewpoint of some politicians, wildlife activists and forest bureaucracy who have vested interest in denying forest rights to its dwellers. They say that tigers disappear because of poachers, timber mafia, corrupt officers and not because of forest dwellers.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court  admitted an Interlocutory Action filed by Amicus Curiae Harish Salve against the decision taken by the Central Government to split the 'business' of forests thus blocking the passage of the Bill already cleared by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

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States
 

It's public land, but in private hands
Five decades ago, Madras Corporation used to lease its land to private parties. The rent was nominal in most cases as the civic agency was offering the land for social causes. But today most of the land have either changed ownership illegally or continue to be occupied by the descendants of the original leaseholders in contravention of the guidelines set by the civic agency.

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`Globalisation has thrown up world of opportunities'
There is a huge opportunity for India in the era of globalisation, provided the entrepreneurs tapped it wisely by improving quality of their products, cost, delivery, technology and marketing strategies, said B. Santhanam, Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Council of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

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Afforestation work to begin in Tuticorin
The Forest Department will take up afforestation, costing Rs. 3.59 crores, under the National Afforestation Programme in the district during 2005-07. District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukarasu told The Hindu that 1,500 hectares was identified for raising different plantations.  Of this, 1,000 hectares was in tank foreshores and the rest was community land.

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Andhra Pradesh clinches deal with Volkswagen
Minister for Major Industries, Botsa Satyanarayana said that the Volkswagen car project of Germany is finally coming to Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Satyanarayana said the car project was proposed to be set up on a 350-acre site at Aganampudi near Visakhapatnam as a complete manufacturing unit avoiding the complete knock down (CKD) and semi-knock down (SKD) routes contemplated earlier. He said about 70-80 ancillary units also would come up along with the car project.

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Project to bring down infant mortality rate
Unveiling a five-year Reproductive and Child Health Project-II, Andhra Pradesh Commissioner of Family Welfare, C. B. S. Venkataramana said that the State is targeting ringing down child mortality rate from 62 per cent at present to 30 per cent by 2010..

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AIDS project to be replicated in Africa
The Executive Director of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Noeleen Heyzer, has said the REAPS-AIDS prevention project being implemented by the Vijayawada division of South Central Railway, will be replicated in Africa and other parts, where there is high incidence of the disease.

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Jal Nirmal Project helps north Karnataka districts
The Jal Nirmal Project (JNP), aided by the World Bank, is improving the implementation of drinking water, sanitation and road projects in rural areas and has instilled a sense of responsibility towards community facilities among beneficiaries. The project, being implemented in northern Karnataka districts, has not only helped in the development of villages under the project but also eased drinking water shortage and improved sanitation in rural areas.

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Prisoners lead the way in HIV awareness campaign
An ongoing Partnership in Sexual Health (PSH) project at the Central Prison here for promoting sexual health awareness among prisoners has been encouraging with many of them showing readiness to undergo voluntary HIV screening programs. The project has thus helped in detecting many new HIV positive cases among prisoners, who were hitherto unwilling to be tested. Five out of the 12 prisoners who underwent voluntary screening in the past six months were tested HIV positive.

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Neighbors

‘ISI within ISI plotting attacks against General’
Fearing a third attempt on the life of President Pervez Musharraf, a Pakistani federal minister has said that there was a more powerful group within the ISI and the Army who are his ‘‘enemies’’.

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Three killed in Yangon blasts
A Myanmar official said that near simultaneous explosions at two busy supermarkets and a convention centre in Myanmar's capital on Saturday left at least three persons dead and more than 20 others wounded.

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Rs 1,100 cr project on mother, child health
To improve the primary health services in the state, the Punjab Government has framed a re-productive and child health project worth Rs 1,100 crore and has sent the same to the Centre for approval and grants.

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US anti-ship missiles for Pak
The Pentagon has notified the US Congress of a proposed sale of anti-ship missiles to Pakistan, including 40 air-launched and 20 ground-launched Harpoon Block II missiles and associated equipment valued at about $ 180 million. 

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View from abroad

Korea on brink of first nuke blast: US
America’s spy satellites have detected frenetic activity in North Korea indicating that the secretive Stalinist state is on the verge of detonating a nuclear weapon.

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China rejects US appeal to cut off oil supply to N. Korea
A senior U.S. envoy asked Chinese officials last week to cut off North Korea's supply of oil as a way of pressuring the government to return to disarmament talks. But the Chinese rebuffed the idea, saying it would damage their pipeline, according to U.S. officials briefed on the talks.