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Saturday, August 7, 2010

‘Indian Achievers Award conferred...20th PR Pradhan Award of Merit Ceremony held....Landslide disrupts Toy train... ABAVP conditions to GJMM

Prakha, GANGTOK, August 8: Seasoned tour operator-hotelier Karma Bhutia was conferred with the ‘Indian Achievers Award’ under ‘young entrepreneur’ category during the 24th Indian Achievers Summit during a function held at New Delhi on August 5.The award by the Indian Achievers Forum recognizes outstanding achievement in showing innovative spirit and business acumen in the nation.
During this summit, few outstanding achievers from different parts of country were honoured with’ Indian Achievers Awards’ for their achievements and efforts in their respective fields. The chief guest of this seminar was Harish Rawat, Union Minister for Labour and Empowerment and Shanta Kumar, Member of Parliament, Bhutia informed in a press release.
Bhutia is the head of Marcopolo World Travels based at Gangtok which is recognized by the Ministry of Tourism, Indian Association of Tour Operators and graded ‘A’ by State tourism department. He is also the proprietor of The Royal Demazong at Chongyek which is the first 3-star resort in Sikkim to be recognized by Ministry of Tourism.
The Marcopolo World Travels tour agency, which was established way back in 1994, has grown into a full-fledged professional operator in the Northeast region providing various tourism related services like conferences, inbound/outbound package tours, adventure tourism like expedition, trekking and rafting.
Bhutia, himself, is an old hand in tourism industry and is the former senior vice president of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS). He is presently an advisor of the TAAS. He has also received the 31st International Award for tourism and hospitality in 2005 from the Trade Leaders Club of Madrid in Spain.
 “This award comes as an encouragement and to work more hard with responsibility. I would like to thank my entire family, staff, TAAS and State tourism department for their cooperation & continuous support”, said Bhutia. He also extended his special gratitude towards all his counterparts, business partners and different stakeholders from simple tourist to writers, filmmakers, climbers and diplomats who helped him to promote Sikkim in India and abroad.
Congratulating Bhutia, TAAS president Lukendra Rasaily said: “Karma’s contribution to our association and Sikkim Tourism is really note worthy. He has worked in TAAS in different capacities as executive and senior vice president. He has always encouraged our members and led them to different seminar, travel trade fairs and also contributed in capacity building as a resource person for our members as well as students and youth of Sikkim. May this be an encouragement for all the
upcoming tour operators of Sikkim”. The awardee informed that the ‘Indian Achievers Award’ was held under the theme of ‘Achievements: Corporate Social Responsibilities’ and the seminar highlighted the contributions and efforts of individuals and organizations working in various sectors of industry, commerce, banking, education, technology and tourism.
Chairmen, chief executives, directors and promoters of various organizations from the country and aboard participated in the event along with leading technocrats, doctors and educationists. The seminar also aimed in bringing together entrepreneurs and persons from corporate and social organizations on a common platform.

Lho Rum Faat festival concluded-Primitive Tribe certificate distributed
Prakha, MANGAN, July, 08: On the occasion of State level festival 13th Tendong Lho Rum Faat 2010 which was held at Mangan, sponsored by Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Ministry of Culture, Govt. Of India, Culture Affairs & Heritage Department, Sikkim Tourism and Sikkim Legislative Assembly concluded with distribution of Primitive Tribe Certificates and felicitation to eminent members of the community.
The Chief Guest for the day was Speaker, KT Gyaltsen, MP Rajya Sabha, OT Lepcha, Chairman celebration committee, RB Subba, Minister HRDD, NK Pradhan, Minister Forest, Bhim Dhungel, Political Advisor to CM, H Lachungpa Sangha MLA, Phitook Tsh Bhutia, President RMRT, CT Lepcha, DM(N), TN Kazi, Area MlA's of North, TT Bhutia, SG Lepcha and TW Lepcha, Former Minister, Thukchuk Lachungpa, TLRFF programme coordinator, PW Lepcha, Chairperson SCPCR, C Saring, Up-Adhyaksha, Officers, panchayats and public.
President TLRFF, SG Lepcha welcomed the gathering and informed that Hon'ble Chief Minister was unable to attend the programme due to tight schedule and people should not feel depressed.
President RMRT, in his address said that, this festival has completed thirteen years of its celebration and Government has declared it as State level festival. So, preservation of our Tradition and culture should be given first priority. Our community has been given Primitive tribe status and no one should file objection in this matter as it’s the democratic right of the tribe.
He also informed that, all the Lepcha tribe should apply for Primitive tribe certificates from District Collector. And about delay in construction works of 'Swarga Jane Sidhi' at Daramdin is due to changes made in the size and design. So, there’s nothing serious to worry about.
Then the students of Play & Learn, Eklavya Tribal modal school Namprik JHS and NSA displayed cultural programmes. The programmee was followed by felicitation to eminent members by Chief Guest- GB Mainwaring Literary Award 2010 to Ren.Dhendup Lepcha, Retd.Addl. Secretary who was the first lepcha Editor of Sikkim Herald in 1978. Ren. Namgyal Lepcha of MLAS, Dzongu was given Tendong Award 2010 for his social service to the communities. Late Lha Tsh Kunchudyangmoo memorial Literary award to Songmit Lepcha for obtaining highest marks inlepcha language. The release of CD/DVDs and books of indigenous lepcha 'Namthar' and 'Kingchum Darmik' ect.were also held.
Chief Guest in his address stressed that, this festival is historical programme of lepcha tribe and we all are the believers of nature due to which every species are surviving on earth. So if nature is protected and safe then everything will be safe. The beauty of Sikkim lies within our tradition, culture and unity which have to be maintained with proper education. So right thinking will progress all communities and only negative thoughts will create friction which should be understand by opposition party leaders so we have to be practical and creative for for making our State proud, he said.
At the end of the programme the vote of thank was given by Chairperson SCPCR, C Saring. 
20th PR Pradhan Award of Merit Ceremony
Topper Girl of the year 2010 Rinji Tamang of St. Philomina's School (not in picture) Topper of the Year 2010 Binay kr Biswakarma of SUMInstitution (below)
ABGL opposes InterimSetup
KalimNews:Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League has categorically opposed the proposed GAA more or less agreed by GJMM, the center and the state Governments. It is of the opinion that the people of hills and Dooars still demand the formation of a separate state Gorkhaland for their identity. But the proposed GAA will not fulfill it at the same time the proposed draft has  so many flaws and confusions on it.One the one hand it says the  term of the GAA will be upto 31.12.2011 but on the other hand it says that the term of the elected body of GAA is five years. It is also said that there will be election of Panchayat members within 6 months but in the hills there is no such called democracy in practice and election in true sense in this situation is not possible. It has also asked  opined there no mention of the service security or anything about the Contractual Adhoc staff of DGHC as well the present status of tea gardens and medicinal plantations and its workers.
Adivasi conditions to GJMM
KalimNews:Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad will fight for the 20111 assembly election. In its meeting held in Jodhpur it has decided to participate in the election and its central committee's approval on the proposal. Meanwhle ABAVP has put some conditions to GJMM for its support. In its meeting held in Chalsa it has proposed that it is for inclusion of Dooars and plains in the sixth schedule and if GJMM seeks its support GJMM should support the demand.  On the other hand if the Interim setup or any kind of body is formed then the power of authority should be handed over to the Adivasi people.
Hill parties dismiss Interim Council
SNS, KOLKATA, 7 AUG: Gorkha National Liberation Front (C) and All India Gorkha League (AIGL) have informed the state government in writing that setting up of an Interim Council in Darjeeling  would not bring any significant changes in the hills.
During the last tripartite meeting held in Delhi last month, the Centre had placed a draft on setting up Interim Council in Darjeeling to break the deadlock.
The state government had sought an opinion about Interim Council from all six non-GJMM parties, which constituted Democratic Front (DF) in Darjeeling. Later, the state government had decided to seek the opinion of the DF constituents about the suggestion of the Centre. During a meeting at Writers’ Buildings early this week, the representatives of four DF partners told the state urban development minister Mr Ashok Bhattacharjee and health minister Mr Surja Kanta Mishra that the proposed Interim Council would not improve the situation in Darjeeling. The DF partners were asked to submit their opinion in writing before 6 August.
The state home secretary Mr Samar Ghosh today said at the Writers’ Buildings that GNLF ( C ) and AIGL have submitted their views of Interim Council in writing yesterday. “They are of the opinion that Interim Council can not be a solution to the crisis in Darjeeling. They maintained that efforts should be made to restore peace and democracy in the hills first,” Mr Ghosh added.
The four other DF partners however have not let their opinion known to the state government on Interim Council so far.
Landslide disrupts Toy train

ANI, Gayabari (West Bengal), Aug 7 : Landslide in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district caused the roads to cave in, which in turn severely damaged the narrow gauge track on which the famous Toy train runs.assive landslide occurred due to heavy downpour on Thursday.
The landslide has upset all road links from Siliguri to various other places in Darjeeling district such as the hill resort of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Sukna.
The business of locals in Gayabari village suffered as the suspension of the toy train services has decreased the influx of tourists in the region and the breaches in the road on National Highway 55 has closed all routes of communication for them.
“We are facing a lot of hardships with the non-plying of vehicles on road. Since the past two months the train services have been suspended. Initially our business was running well but now hardly any customers come here, and neither do we see tourists,” said Hare Ram Thakur, a local shopkeeper.
“The breaches in the road have resulted in a lot of inconveniences. The rail tracks have been broken since the last two months but we don’t know when they will finally get repaired,” he added.
This time the rail authorities are waiting for the road authorities to repair their side of the damages first before the rail line can be laid again.
“Breaches have occurred on the roads because of which the rail track also plummeted. Till the time the road is repaired, the railway lines cannot be laid. The Director of Darjeeling Hill Railways had a talk with the collector and the commissioner of Darjeeling on this matter and he has informed that the National Highways Authority of India will work on this and will submit a roject on this matter by early September and we will work towards this as soon as possible,” said Keshav Chandra, General Manager, North East Frontier Railway. 
Heavy rainfall triggered landslide, blocks traffic on NH-55
ANI, Gayabari, 7 August : The traffic along the National Highway 55 was disrupted following a heavy rainfall that triggered landslide in the Darjeeling Hills valley region.
The landslide blocked all road links from Siliguri in the foothills to various other places in Darjeeling District. No human casualties, were, however, reported from Gayabari village, where the landslide caused extensive damage. “The trends of landslide are very dangerous here. We have 15 households here and all of them have been shifted to the Jawahar Jyoti Primary School nearby due to fear of further landslides,” said Dhan Bahadur Pradhan, a local resident of Gayabari.
Pradhan further complained that the concerned authorities have not come forward with any help other than providing very less quantity of food. Meanwhile, the truck drivers, who operate along this highway, insisted that the reconstruction of the road should be entrusted to a reliable and professional contractor since driving on NH-55 has been a dangerous venture, particularly during the monsoon.
Desperation in lifeless Leh, fear over missing persons
Foreign tourists assisting local volunteers in removing debris from a flash flood affected area in Leh on Saturday. Photo: PTI
Shujaat Bukhari, TH: Though 130 bodies have been recovered, more than 500 people are still missing and it is feared they might have died. Some suggest that the number could be higher at 800.
A mother tries to pacify her child, injured in the flood-damaged Choglamsar village, after a visit to an army medical camp on the outskirts of Leh. Photo: APJust two days ago, Leh was humming with life, tourists dotting the roads, hotels occupied and people counting on more prosperity. But on Saturday the J&K town wore a desolate look, with smashed houses, broken cars, flesh and debris — tell-tale evidence of Friday's ravage caused by flash floods and mudslides.
Though 130 bodies have been recovered, more than 500 people are still missing and it is feared they might have died. Some suggest that the number could be higher at 800. Old Leh town has been flattened with mud, with no clue to where the houses stood. The debris is being cleared fast.
A mother tries to pacify her child, injured in the flood-damaged Choglamsar village, after a visit to an army medical camp on the outskirts of Leh. Photo: AP
Bemoaning the destruction, a young man Tsering sobs: “We have nothing. We lost four of our relatives, houses and all we had. Where will we go?” Cries and shrieks have become the order during past 36 hours in Leh and adjoining villages. People are desperate to know about the welfare of their near and dear ones, though the administration is leaving no stone unturned in helping them. It is chaos in hospitals, where the injured are groaning in pain, as also worry over the fate of their kin.
People being rescued from a damaged house in flash floods at Nimoo Bazgoo in Leh. Photo: PTI
“I just heard a deafening sound over my head and after that I can't recollect anything,” said a woman. She feared that the rest of her family was dead. "
Hotels and restaurants are deserted and the tourists shattered, many of them joining in the rescue work and some leaving in panic. People being rescued from a damaged house in flash floods at Nimoo Bazgoo in Leh. Photo: PTI
This is the season of tourists. But now many have cancelled bookings” said hotelier Mohammad Yaqoob. Officials said over 100 tourists were trapped on the Leh-Manali road and efforts to rescue them were on. Some others are trapped in the town. Additional flights from Delhi are likely to fly the tourists back home. Over 3,000 tourists were in Leh on Friday.
It is just debris all over in the worst-hit Choglamsar, just 5 km from here, and other villages. “It is doomsday here. Everything has perished,” said Choglamsar resident Abdul Aziz. Not only locals but also people from other States like Bihar have been injured or are dead. Nine labourers were simply washed away along with their tents near Leh were washed away. “They perished right before me,” Kumar of Gopalganj said in hospital.
Rescue teams are finding it difficult to reach the people who are either trapped or dead, as road links are severely hit. “Roads have simply disappeared, bridges and culverts were washed away in torrents of rain,” T Angmoo a resident, told . Sources said many children were feared dead.
Communication, first priority”With authorities restoring the roads in Leh, the focus shifts to connectivity of villages. “Communication is the first priority as we need to reach out to the missing people,” a top Army officer said.
Road connectivity between Leh and Kargil has also snapped. Many bridges have been damaged as rainwater, in the aftermath of the cloudburst, is running at 40 miles per hour, posing a threat to not only Border Roads Organisation personnel but also the surviving roads.
Tattoo Risk
A new study has revealed that individuals with multiple tattoos that cover large parts of their bodies are at higher risk of contracting hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases.
University of British Columbia researchers reviewed and analyzed 124 studies from 30 countries, including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and the United States, and found the incidence of hepatitis C after tattooing is directly linked with the number of tattoos an individual receives. During tattooing, the skin is punctured 80 to 150 times a second in order to inject color pigments.
“Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, infections may be transmitted if instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized or without proper hygiene techniques,” said lead author Dr. Siavash Jafari, of the UBC School of Population and Public Health (SPPH).
“Furthermore, tattoo dyes are not kept in sterile containers and may play a carrier role in transmitting infections.
“Clients and the general public need to be educated on the risks associated with tattooing, and tattoo artists need to discuss harms with clients,” said Jafari.
Other risks of tattooing identified by the study include allergic reactions, HIV, hepatitis B, bacterial or fungal infections, and other risks associated with tattoo removal.
The researchers are calling for infection-control guidelines for tattoo artists and clients, and enforcement of these guidelines through inspections, reporting of adverse events and record-keeping.
They also recommend prevention programs that focus on youth – the population who are most likely to get tattoos – and prisoners – who face a higher prevalence of hepatitis C – to lower the spread of hepatitis infection.
In Canada, 12 to 25 per cent of hepatitis C infections among prisoners are associated with tattooed individuals, compared to six per cent of the general population.
The findings were published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases

Bethany Hamilton's Brutal Shark Attack

SURVIVORS RE-LIVE SHARK ATTACKS: Zac Golebiowski and Bethany Hamilton share their amazing escapes from shark attacks.
SURVIVORS RE-LIVE SHARK ATTACKS: Zac Golebiowski and Bethany Hamilton share their amazing escapes from shark attacks.Morungexpress: Remember around six years ago when we heard of the surfer girl who lost her arm to a shark? Just about everybody I’ve spoken to can recount that news event.
Her name is Bethany Hamilton and after hearing the details of her story, it sounds more like a Hollywood movie. Indeed, it soon will be. “Soul Surfer” is slated for a Spring 2011 release, and it’s shaping up to be a watershed moment in biographical movies. Bethany and her family are devout Christians and together they are having an impact on the surfing community, young girls seeking solid role models, and anyone who has ever questioned, “Why me?”
Bethany Hamilton had already been surfing for several years when, at age 13, she and a few friends were a quarter mile off the North Shore of Kauai on Oct. 31, 2003, enjoying another tropical day in the Pacific paradise, when, in a split second, a 15-foot tiger shark came up from the deep and took a huge bite out of Bethany’s surfboard -- and with it her left arm, clear up to the shoulder. Almost 20 minutes from shore, her friends were sure she would bleed to death (it is reported that she lost 60 percent of her blood that morning) before getting help. But cool heads and lots of prayer prevailed.
From the book “Soul Surfer,” published by MTV Books in 2004, page 70, Bethany states: “I had a shiny, light blue Rip Curl watch on my left hand that I was dangling in the water. I sometimes wonder if the reflection of that watch in the clear water is what attracted the shark. That’s when I was suddenly aware of a large gray object closing in on my left side. He was slow and silent; he really crept up on me. If I had had my head turned I would have seen everything: the rolled-back eyes, the triangle-shaped teeth, the sandpaper-like skin, the pointy snout, the pulled-back gums. Luckily, all I saw was a blur.”
At Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Tom Hamilton, Bethany’s father, was having a fairly common procedure done to his knee. Just after being given an epidural, the knee surgery was stopped because a wounded surfer was being rushed to this particular operating room. Tom, a surfer himself and therefore concerned for a sports comrade, soon discovered it was a 13-year-old girl who had been attacked by a shark. A father’s instinct kicked in. He knew it was his little girl. How bad was it? He knew of others who had been attacked by these mysterious creatures of the deep. One acquaintance had lost a foot; another, a man who played the piano, lost a hand, and Tom had heard of yet another who died from a shark attack. He tried to get up, but the anesthetic had numbed him from the waist down. A Christian since 1980, Tom began to pray. He spent a torturous hour in the recovery room; “his mind was wild with scenarios of what might be happening in that operating room, the room he was supposed to be in.”
Later, when her parents were allowed to enter the recuperation area, Bethany looked up at them, her shoulder encased in thick bandages, her face nearly white from blood loss, and a slight smile revealing silver braces. When viewing the home video of Bethany at that moment, one can only wonder if that brave smile was formed to comfort her family. When you get to know the now 19-year-old, sun-bleached blond champion surfer, you don’t even have to ask her if she was thinking of others.
Since that fateful day, Bethany has astounded competitors and impressed the world with her determination and athletic ability. In 2008, she began competing full-time on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series. In her first competition against many of the world’s best female surfers, she finished third. She has won countless surfing medals, been around the world wherever there is surfing and has been on numerous talk shows recounting her story, as well as proclaiming her love for Jesus. Bethany’s dad says, “The remarkable thing about her is that she moved on. She dealt with it and moved on, faster than me or Cheri or her two brothers could. She was like, OK, this is what happened to me, this is how I’m going to be, and I’m going to deal with it and work with it.”
Six years after the attack, Bethany’s tale is being released on film by Sony Pictures through its spiritually friendly branch, Affirm Pictures. Dennis Quaid plays her father and Helen Hunt is featured as Bethany’s mom. Singer Carrie Underwood takes on the role of a local youth minister. AnnaSophia Robb, she’s the star of “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “Bridge to Terabithia,” stars as Bethany.
Also professing a relationship with Jesus Christ, 16-year-old AnnaSophia (a native of Denver, Colo., who was taught to surf by Bethany), said in a recent interview: “Personality wise, we’re a little different. She’s definitely more ‘chill’ than I am -- part of that whole surfer vibe. But we are similar in a lot of ways. We’re both very determined. We both have strong goals. Faith is a big part of our lives. And we both have fantastic families.” When asked what she hopes people will take away from this movie experience, Ms. Robb told the Christian press, “I know this is the obvious answer, but I hope they’ll be inspired. It’s a story about faith and perseverance. And while Bethany is amazing, she’s still this everyday person. Hanging out with her, she’s just Bethany. I’m hoping people will realize they can do anything, too. Because she did it.”
I’ve had the distinct opportunity of interviewing many a celebrity, but never have I been more moved than by my time spent with Bethany and her family in Hawaii (they are a terrific team). I intend to do another article about my stay on the island and the privilege of getting to know the Hamiltons on their own turf (so to speak). For now, let me leave you with the most moving moment I had during my island stay, one that brings me peace and resolve.
I asked her, “You’ve had a great influence on many people and obviously, the Lord has used this incident in your life. But if you could go back to that day, would you have stayed out of the water?” I’m sure she had been asked the question before, but still she offered a thoughtful response. “Umm ... no. It was God’s will for it to happen. So much good has come out of what seems like a terrible thing, and it’s been an amazing journey. I’m still doing what I want to do. More than what I ever dreamed of. And I know that God’s in control, that this has been a part of His plan.”
Knowing the Bible, actually being able to quote verses, helped sustain the family during their ordeal. One such verse, Jeremiah 29:11, remains in their daily prayer life: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

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