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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SFA postpones AI Governor's gold cup...Bhaichung father of third child...Remanti and Roman in Kalimpong...Gurung feels at home - Morcha chief moved by govt gestures...Global Urban Vision – November 2011...Poster plea for low-key festivity - Tragedy casts pall over festival of lights...Centre’s health programmes launched in 3 N Bengal dists

The team of 
Kalimpong News, KalimNews its sister concerns and Kalimpong Press Club
SFA postpones AI Governor's gold cup
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, GANGTOK, October 25: The Sikkim Football Association (SFA) has postponed the 33rd edition of All India Governor’s Gold Cup to March next year insisting that the uninterrupted yearly run of this premier regional level football tournament has not been broken.
The Governor’s Gold Cup has been annually held here at Gangtok during the festive season of September-October since 1979 by SFA and this time, the 33rd edition was scheduled to kick-start from October second week.
However, as the organizers informs, the September 18 earthquake led to the postponement of the tournament to next mid-March before this 2010-11 football calendar year ends thus ensuring that the Governor’s Cup tournament chain since 1979 is not broken.
“We have been conducting the Governor’s Gold Cup tournament uninterruptedly every year and this is only major tournament in the country to have an uninterrupted run for so many years. We were prepared for this 33rd edition of Governor’s Gold Cup and all arrangements had been made but we had to postpone it due to the earthquake”, said SFA general secretary Menla Ethanpa.
Ethanpa informed that the tournament was supposed to start from October 9 and end on October 20. We had invited 12 teams including a couple of I-League clubs outside Sikkim and four local teams for this tournament, he said.
“At first we decided to postpone the tournament for a month but in the recent review meeting, it was decided that the tournament will be held on March next year as it was not possible to hold the tournament in November due a limited time period for making preparations and top clubs of the country will not be free due to I-League. School exams will also start in November and after that winter will set in. Clubs from warmer areas will not want to play here during the cold months of December, January and February”, said Ethanpa.
“After a long deliberation, it was decided that the 33rd edition of the Governor’s Gold Cup tournament will be held on mid-March next year. By hosting the tournament before March ends, we will ensure that the tournament is not interrupted and our record of conducting the Governor’s Gold Cup annually is maintained”, said the SFA general secretary.
The Pajlor Stadium, where the Governor’s Gold Cup is held, had also sustained some damages in the earthquake.
“The stadium is okay. There were some light damages and we will get that rectified. The artificial turf has some depression but is good enough to play football. We will ask the company which has made this pitch to come and have a look”, said Sikkim sports secretary Karma P Bhutia.
The Bhaichung Bhutia co-owned United Sikkim Football Club also agreed with the SFA’s decision to hold the 33rd Governor’s Gold Cup in March next year.
“It would have seen inappropriate had the tournament been held at the moment when the State is recovering from a devastating earthquake. People here may have not liked it and it is a good decision of the SFA to hold the tournament in March. The weather at that time will also be good and it is also good to have a major tournament for the people early next year”, said United Sikkim senior manager Arjun Rai.
United Sikkim has presently given a leave to all its players as the Governor’s Gold Cup has been postponed. “We have been invited to play in the All India Brigade of Gorkhas Gold Cup football tournament in Darjeeling which starts from November 4. All our players are returning to Gangtok on October 27 to practice. The tournament at Darjeeling will help us to prepare for the upcoming second division I-League qualifiers”, said Rai.
Last year, the Governor’s Gold Cup had been held on October here at Paljor Stadium which was won by ONGC Mumbai.
According to SFA records, the Governor’s Gold Cup had started from 1979 and has been continuing since then. Interestingly, the 6th edition of Governor’s Gold Cup had two winners in 1984 as the final match could not be played. Mohan Bagan and Jamshedpur XI had been declared as joint winners due to the sudden death of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Bhaichung father of third child
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok, October 25: Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia has been blessed with a third child today on the eve of Laxmi Puja. His wife, Madhuri Tipnis Bhutia gave birth to a girl today here at Central Referral Hospital at 12:40 pm.
The couple already has twin children, one boy and one girl.
Bhutia is currently in New Delhi and he will be arriving tomorrow at Gangtok, said close friend Arjun Rai.
“Both Bhaichung and Madhuri are absolutely delighted with the birth of a girl. Both of them have hoped to have a daughter. Bhaichung told me that his daughter has brought good fortune (Laxmi) to him on the eve of Laxmi Puja. All the family members are very happy”, said Rai.
Rai and former East Bengal football Sherap Lepcha had gone to the hospital after Madhuri had been admitted today morning.
“Both the mother and baby are in good health. The baby is of 2.8 kgs and she has been named by the family as Samara Dechen Bhutia”, said Rai.
“All the players, coach and officials of United Sikkim football club congratulates our co-owner Bhaichung Bhutia and his wife for being blessed with a daughter”, said Rai.
Remanti and Roman in Kalimpong
KalimNews: NE superstar finalists Remanti and Roman visited and pleaded Darjeeling people to vote for them in the North East Ke Star competition. During a press conference in Kalimpong both Remanti Rai and Roman Mukhia made appeal to the people to send SMS starting from 28th October to 8th November. The finale will be held on 12th November.
DD North east is telecasting the North east council states competition. Remanti 25 a graduate singer and Roman 21 a student dancer are representing the state of Sikkim. The two Sikkimese talents, Remanti and Robin have secured final spots in the singing and dancing events respectively in the ‘Northeast Ke Superstar’, a talent hunt contest organized by North East Council (NEC) for the eight Northeastern States.
Voting lines are open from October 28 till November 8 after the penultimate round is telecasted by DD Northeast on October 28 and 29. Video episodes of the ‘Northeast Ke Superstar’ are being telecasted in DD-Northeast thrice a week since September 7 tracking down the early days of the contest to the State-level champion round.‘Remanti, Robin Northeast Ke Superstar Fan Club’.
“This is a right way for all of us in Sikkim and Darjeeling region to revive and show solidarity ”, said group member Joesph Lepcha, a Gangtok based journalist.
Our first aim is to spread the message among all people to watch the episodes of Northeast Ke Superstar. Voting will then automatically come to the minds of the people”, he said.

Group chief coordinator Mrs DK Lepcha said “Our two children have reached the finals of a Northeastern regional level contest and we all should come forward to help them. The people of Darjeeling and Sikkim have always remained united in promoting and supporting the local talents. We had come together for Prashant Tamang, Bhaichung Bhutia and Parkriti Giri. Such initiatives help in maintaining vibrant relations among the neighbours”, said Mrs Lepcha.
Remanti will be singing two songs and Robin will be performing two dances during the grand finale.  Both the finalists requested to send SMS at 56363 by texting SONG RMN for Remanti and DANC RBM for Roman.
Gurung feels at home - Morcha chief moved by govt gestures
TT, Siliguri, Oct. 25: Bimal Gurung today said the concern shown by the Trinamul-led government after the Bijanbari tragedy made him feel at home, indicating the sea-change that the relationship between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the state government has undergone in the past few months.
But the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief while appreciating the gestures did not mention either the word “state” or “Bengal”.
“The co-operation we received here at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) from different corners including the Trinamul Congress, Congress and the local people was an extremely humane gesture. I think this has happened for the first time in 34 years (the period of Left rule). Considering the help and solidarity that we received here, I felt like this was my home (yeh apna ghar hai),” Gurung told journalists after his tour of the NBMCH.
The Morcha chief, accompanied by party general secretary Roshan Giri, and MLAs Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Rohit Sharma, met the 22 injured people admitted to the medical college and spoke to the doctors on duty on their condition. The visit lasted for around 45 minutes. The Congress MLA from Matigara-Naxalbari Shankar Malakar also accompanied the Morcha team.
This is the first time that Gurung visited a hospital after the walkway gave away and left 32 people dead and more than 100 injured.
“After the overwhelming response that we got from every level here, now I think we have to nurture this relationship,” the Morcha president said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the hills a day after the tragedy, visited all the injured people at the NBMCH and the Darjeeling district hospital.
She had also been in touch with the district administration and the Morcha leadership while personally monitoring the rescue operation.
Gurung’s remarks today were his way of mending fences. After the earthquake on September 18, when Mamata visited Sikkim where 60 people were killed after a brief stop at Kurseong, Gurung had said the chief minister had “committed a sin with her cursory hill visit”. Gurung had also said it was such actions that made him demand statehood.
But the Morcha-Mamata relationship began to thaw when the chief minister announced a slew of projects for the hills during her visit to Darjeeling on October 11.
In fact, when he was asked today if he would demand central assistance for the Bijanbari victims, Gurung said he would leave the matter to Mamata.
“That will be decided by our Madam Chief Minister and her government. At the moment, the members of our central committee will decide how best to help those affected in the Bijanbari incident,” Gurung said.
The Morcha chief also visited the Bagdogra army hospital, where 10 accident victims had been admitted, before returning to Darjeeling.
“The accident has brought together the people of the hills and the plains. After coming here, we felt that they (the injured people from the hills) were not away from their homes. We are grateful to the state government and locals for this gesture,” Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri said at the medical college.
The Trinamul MLA from Siliguri, R.N. Bhattacharya, who is also the chairman of the state standing committee on health, said 42 patients were being treated at the NBMCH and several nursing homes in Siliguri. He was also present at the medical college today.

Poster plea for low-key festivity - Tragedy casts pall over festival of lights

VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 25: Bijanbari tried to limp back to normality with shops opening for the first time this afternoon after Saturday’s footbridge collapse that killed 32 people but the town and the surrounding areas will have a low-key Diwali tomorrow.
Yogendra Rai, a resident of Bijanbari, said: “Even this morning, most of the business establishments were shut. But later during the day, traders started opening shops for the first time since Sunday.”
The Bijanbari Merchant Association and the general public put up posters in town announcing that Diwali would be a very low-key affair tomorrow. The Nav Prabhat Sangh, an organisation in the Chayanpuri area in Bijanbari has also taken a similar decision. Five of those who lost their lives in the Bijanbari tragedy were from Chayanpuri.
Diwali is usually celebrated with much gusto by the Nepali community. Tihar celebrations started in the hills yesterday with the Kag (crow) Tihar. While the crows, considered to be messengers of Yamaraj (god of death), were remembered yesterday, today was the day for dogs. On Kukur (dog) Tihar, dogs are given a bath, garlanded and fed in many parts of the hills.
Dogs are well treated today as they are thought to have the power to feel the presence of Yama and are said to guard his empire.
However, in Bijanbari and the neighbouring areas like Chungthung and Goke, a pall of gloom was palpable. There will be no fanfare in these areas tomorrow when the hill families are expected to worship cows. People will perform Laxmi Puja and every house is ready to be decorated with marigold and diyas (earthen lamps). But girls might not move around singing the traditional bhailo in Bijanbari tomorrow as it used to be during Tihar days.
The girls’ visit to every house in the traditional attire of chowbandi cholo is a key feature of Laxmi Puja celebrations. They are offered sel roti (traditional dish made of flour) and money as gifts and in turn, wish the families wealth and prosperity.
Men visit every household in the locality singing deaushuras and Goru Puja is performed on the fourth day of the festival.
Legend has it that King Bali lost his kingdom to Lord Vishnu but got permission to visit his subjects once a year singing deaushuras.
The festivities will be minimal elsewhere in the hills also as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has already appealed to the people to refrain from bursting crackers.
Bhaitika, the most important day of the Tihar celebrations, falls on Friday. A large number of families are expected to confine the celebration to a low-key affair. On this day, girls apply tilak on the forehead of brothers who visit their houses and extract a promise that they will be protected at all times.
Among the Gorkhas, the Newar community has the most elaborate programmes during the Tihar days. They make colourful mandaps on the floor with rice grains, rice flour, red paint and puffed rice. However, if there is death in the household in the year preceding the festival, there will no celebration at all for the family.
Asok visit
Former minister Asok Bhattacharya today visited the bereaved families in Bijanbari and demanded a thorough inquiry, either by the CBI or by a judicial officer, into the bridge collapse.
“Those who are guilty of negligence must be booked,” said Bhattacharya.

Municipality raid in Kalimpong
KalimNews: KalimNews: Municipality Officers of Kalimpong raided a few sweets shop and destroyed stale and unhealthy sweets. During a raid it was found that some of the sweets on sale were not fresh and suitable for human consumption.
Centre’s health programmes launched in 3 N Bengal dists
SNS,KOLKATA, 25 OCT: The Union health ministry has decided to start two programmes for control of non-communicable disease in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and North Dinajpur after it was found that the prevalence of these diseases is high in these districts.
The programmes ~ National Programme for Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease & stroke and National Programme for Health Care of Elderly People ~ were formally launched today. According to a study conducted by the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), almost one million women do not get proper cancer screening due to lack of cancer detection centres.
In West Bengal, the study was conducted in Hooghly district and around 2.5 lakh women were screened. The study was conducted amongst women within the age group of 18-60 years in four states in India like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. It was found that 60 per cent of the women are not aware of the symptoms of the disease. The Centre has disbursed around Rs 4 crore to start the programme and it was decided that 80 per cent of the funds would be borne by the Centre while the state health department will provide the rest. It has been decided that a separate clinic would be earmarked in various block primary health care centres (BPHC) for treatment of those suffering from such diseases. For running the clinics, additional staff will be recruited on contractual basis.
A senior official of the state health department said that it was decided that health staff will also visit the houses of those patients who could not be sent to the nearby health care centres for treatment. Primarily, doctors and nurses from various district hospitals will be hired to look after their treatment. It was also decided that geriatric clinics, which are still lying non-operational at various district hospitals, will be made operational for smooth functioning of the programme. Senior health officials said that if the project is successful then they might extend it to other districts as well.
Since there is no proper data bank to assess the number of people suffering from such diseases in the state, it has been decided that a statistical data will be collected from these three districts. Dr Subhomoy Dutta Chowdhury, director of health services, said that efforts are being made to make the programme successful. 

Global Urban Vision – November 2011
(Compiled and Published by J.N. Manokaran ( on behalf of Glocal Leaders Network)
I India
1.India accounts for 58 percent of those practising open defecation globally: India accounts for 58 percent of those who practice open defecation across the globe. In its finding for the year 2008, UNICEF estimated that as many as 63.8 crore people, that is, 54 percent of the country's population, practice open defecation due to inadequate sanitation. On this ignominious list, Indonesia is a distant second with 5.7 crore people lacking toilet facilities, and it accounts for 5 percent of the hapless population which still are denied sanitation, with China following where 5.6 crore people have no other option. On one count, Ethiopia's condition is worse than India's - 60 percent of its population are put to discomfiture against the 54 percent in India. Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka follow suit; but the fact remains they are still are better off than India in providing sanitation to their population. According to another report, the economic impact of inadequate sanitation costs India about Rs. 2.4 trillion or about 6.4 per of its gross domestic product. Diarrhoea alone claims four lakh lives annually, of which 90 percent are children. But tragically enough, the annual central budget is just Rs. 2000 crore which is just about two percent of the entire budget for Rural Development which is close to Rs.1 lakh crore. Only five states in India - Kerala, Sikkim, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra - are doing well in sanitation; others have a long way to go. Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 10 percent of population that suffers on account of inadequate sanitation. (K. Balchand, accessed on 29 September 2011.)
2.Road accidents cost India Rs 1 lakh crore a year: Road deaths and injuries cost India at least Rs 1 lakh crore per year, India has the dubious distinction of registering maximum number of road deaths annually. The latest report prepared by the transport research wing of road transport and highways ministry said that in 2009, 125,660 people were killed in road accidents and another 515,458 received severe or minor injuries. According to a note jointly prepared recently by the health and the highways ministries, an estimated 1.6 lakh people were killed in road accidents in 2010. While annually the nation loses almost 1.5% of its GDP on account of road accidents, India is not even spending 10% of that amount to make our roads safe. ( accessed on 4 October 2011.)
3.Bangalore 6th in world for worse parking: In the space of eight months, up to August 2011, Bangalore's traffic police booked over 4 lakh cases of illegal/wrong parking of all class of vehicles including cars. The precise number is 4,25,379. This means over 50,000 cases of wrong parking are booked every month, as per Bangalore city traffic police records. In Bangalore, wrong parking occurs due to lack of parking space and it takes almost 20 to 35 minutes to find parking space in the central business district comprising MG Road, Brigade Road, Kamaraj Road, Commercial Street and Residency Road. Bangalore conforms to the global average time spent looking for a parking spot, which is 20 minutes, according to the recently released fourth annual IBM Commuter Pain Survey. The survey provides a unique look into the interplay between traffic congestion and human emotions - from New York to Nairobi. The survey conducted among 8,042 commuters in 20 cities across 6 continents has confirmed that parking is elusive worldwide with over half the commuters abandoning search for a parking spot. Not surprisingly, Bangalore reported the largest number of tickets for illegal parking - the 50,000 cases booked per month. The survey showed that drivers in New Delhi (58%), Bangalore (44%), Nairobi (43%) and Milan (37%) are most vocal with each other over a specific parking spot in commercial areas. Wrong parking is a direct consequence of waiting to find a slot. Globally, Over 30% of traffic in a city is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot. Drivers in Nairobi averaged 31.7 minutes in their longest search for a parking spot while commuters in Bangalore, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mexico City, Paris and Shenzhen reported means significantly above the worldwide average. 17% of drivers in Milan and Beijing and 16% of drivers in Madrid and Shenzhen spent 31 to 40 minutes looking for parking. The key results of the survey are captured in a commuter pain index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in cities worldwide. Montreal has emerged the least painful city to commute, while Mexico city is the most painful. Bangalore and New Delhi have been voted the 6th and 7th most painful cities, respectively, for commuting. The negative impact of traffic on stress levels, physical health and productivity is felt to be higher in emerging markets. (Prashanth G NPrashanth G N, accessed on 4 October 2011.)
4.CIC shield to protect RTI crusaders: Central Information Commission (CIC) has come out with a landmark resolution to combat unending assaults on right to information (RTI) activists. According to the resolution, if the commission receives a complaint regarding an assault on or murder of an information-seeker, it will examine pending RTI applications of the victim and order the departments to publish the requested information suo motu on their websites. The CIC meeting addressed the need for governments to take responsibility for the lives of information-seekers and protect them from assaults. RTI activists are usually attacked because of the nature of information they seek. If the information is made public on the web every time an activist is attacked, Gandhi said that instead of killing RTI activists, people about whom information is sought will try and protect them. RTI activists have welcomed the move. The move will increase transparency and reduce fraud. He felt that publicising information sought by victims of assault will help people understand the gravity of issues RTI activists seek to expose. (Anahita Mukherji, accessed on 5 October 2011.)
5.No Indian university makes it to world's top 200: Not a single Indian university, not even the celebrated IITs and IIMs figure in the latest ranking of the world's top 200 universities, with American varsities dominating the list. US institutions have grabbed seven spots in the top 10 despite President Barack Obama warning American students of stiff competition from pupils in India and China. Three British universities, Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London, continue to make the cut with a university in China also making the grade. The world rankings produced by the Times Higher Education magazine, places 75 US universities in the top 200. UK has 32 universities in the list, followed by Germany (12), the Netherlands (12) and Canada (9). The list of top 200 includes universities in Taiwan, Brazil, Singapore, South Africa and China, but this year repeats earlier trends about India. No Indian university is deemed good enough to be included in the elite list, inspite of India claiming to have substantially increased its spending on higher education in recent years. The top 10 in the list of 200 universities are: California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Oxford, Princeton University, University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley. California Institute of Technology, better known as Caltech, is a relatively small institution, with about 2,000 mostly graduate students and almost 500 staff. ( accessed on 7 October 2011.)
6.No countryside for women: Census data released earlier this year revealed there are 914 girls for every 1,000 boys born - a sharp fall since 2001 when the ratio was 933 girls for every 1000 boys. A decades-old Indian preference for male children, who are seen as breadwinners, has led to the skewed ratio, aided by cheap ultrasound tests that assist in sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. Siyani, in Gujarat, shows the decline. Here, some 350 men over the age of 35 are simply unable to get married -- out of a total population of roughly 8,000. The absence of women is obvious in the village's bumpy, tiny lanes, where cows wander freely, especially in the evenings. Among the group of men living together, men perform all the tasks which are traditionally the domain of women: sweeping, cooking and cleaning. The situation has also led to another reversal in custom, with some women and their parents asking for a lot of money from men to allow men to marry them, an inversion of the usual dowry system in which the woman's family has to pay the man's. At sunset, as the day's work ends, groups of unmarried men gather around the village tea stalls and tobacco shops, lacking wives and families to go home to. "I've given up looking," said Bharatbhai Khair, who is single at 45 and has been trying to marry for 25 years. "The women want more money for marriage than I can afford. ( accessed on 13 October 2011)
7.All work and No play: Outdoor activity has become alien to India’s couch potato children. 61% of school-going children are growing up without the right fundamental skills that are needed to engage in sports. This covers locomotor skills (to run and hop) 56% have little space sense; manipulative skills (to throw and catch) 71% can’t throw or catch properly; non-manipulative skills (balancing) and spatial awareness (awareness of self-space and boundaries). 48% can’t run properly; 57% have poor flexibility and 43% have unhealthy body mass index. The survey was done on 19,797 children in 73 schools across 39 cities. (Damayanti Datta, India Today 24 October 2011, p. 89.) Breaking News:
8.SC 'endorses' sting journalism: : Five years after it had upheld the expulsion of 11 MPs in the cash-for-questions scam, the Supreme Court on 17 October 2011 dismissed the Delhi police's bid to prosecute the two journalists who had conducted the sting operation. As a corollary, a 2010 Delhi high court ruling that corruption can be exposed by undercover journalists without informing authorities has attained finality. A bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam dismissed the special leave petition filed by the police against the high court verdict quashing the charge sheet in relation to Aniruddha Bahal and Suhasini Raj of The SC agreed with the HC view that if the journalists had taken the police into confidence about their operation to expose MPs accepting bribes to ask questions in Parliament, "the respective MPs would have been given information by the police beforehand and would have been cautioned about the entire operation." The police had tried to implicate the journalists on the ground that every person aware of the commission of an offence was obliged to inform the nearest police officer. The implication of the SC's decision is that undercover journalists can well claim immunity under Section 24 of the Prevention of Corruption Act which stipulates that a statement made somebody who offered a bribe to a public servant "shall not subject such person to a prosecution" on the charge of abetting the offence. (Manoj MittaManoj Mitta, accessed on 18 October 2011)
9.SC sets deadline for water, toilet in govt schools: Disgusted with the utter neglect shown by different state governments towards basic amenities in schools, the Supreme Court has directed them to provide toilets, particularly for girls, in all government schools by the end of November. “It is imperative for the governments to provide toilet facilities to students. Parents would not their send girl child to school if there is no toilet,” the court said while hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Ravinder Bana seeking directions to the governments to ensure that children are given education in hospitable and safe conditions. It also asked all the district magistrates in the country to file comprehensive affidavits regarding availability of basic facilities such as potable drinking water, toilets — both for boys and girls — electricity, boundary walls and mid day meal in the primary schools. India has about 688,000 primary schools and 110,000 secondary schools. According to statistics, two third of the school going age children are enrolled in schools. But the figures are deceptive as many don’t attend schools regularly. At least half of all students from rural areas drop out before completing their school education. (Rakesh Bhatnagar, accessed on 19 October 2011.)
10.Tamil Nadu tops in human trafficking: MHA report: The Union home ministry has suggested that doing something as simple as ensuring that streetlights function in all places, especially lonely stretches and alleys, can cut down crime against women. This is one of the measures recommended by the Union home ministry to state governments after it found that in many instances of women being attacked, the incidents have happened in dark, isolated areas. The latest report also showed that there is an increase of 4.1 per cent in crime against women. According to the 2010-11 annual report, Andhra Pradesh tops the country, registering 12.5 per cent of the total incidents of crime against women. Tamil Nadu stands No. 1 in cases of human-trafficking, accounting for 781 cases out of a total of 2,851 cases in the country. In Chennai, as per corporation records, over 1 lakh streetlights are used in the city. But many residents complain that the lights are not properly maintained. Officials say that 3 per cent of streetlights in the city are faulty. (Pramila Krishnan, accessed on 19 October 2011.)
11.Delhi topples Mumbai as maximum city: The urban agglomeration (UA) of Delhi has for the first time overtaken that of Mumbai, a TOI analysis of just-released census data shows. Close to 22 million people now live in Delhi's extended urban sprawl, while Mumbai's sprawl is home to just under 21 million. The census defines a UA as "a continuous urban spread constituting a town and its adjoining outgrowths". However, while the census office uses data across districts to designate an urban agglomeration, it does not go across state lines, leading to a misleading situation in which the Delhi UA does not include several major satellites. TOI added Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad to the Delhi UA population to arrive at a figure of 21.7 million people in the capital's UA. It is these satellites, in fact, which tell the real story because some of them more than doubled their numbers in the past decade, driving Delhi's explosion. Mumbai UA's population in 2011 stands at 18.4 million, according to the latest census data, and even if satellite areas that are not included-like Vasai-Virar, Panvel, Bhiwandi and Navi Mumbai-Panvel-Raigad-are counted, the financial capital's UA still adds up to 20.7 million people. The Kolkata UA now has 14.1 million people. The big three-known as " megacities" since they have populations of over 10 million-remain a long way ahead of the rest of India's big cities. About 15% of India's total urban population lives in these three cities alone. The Chennai UA, which remains the fourth biggest, is less than half the size of Mumbai or Delhi. The Bangalore UA has knocked Hyderabad off the fifth position and is now almost as large as Chennai; 8.5 million to Chennai's 8.7 million, closing a gap of almost a million that existed in the last census. Overall, there are now 53 cities of million-plus people as compared to 35 in 2001 and 43% of India's urban population lives in them. Among the new cities on this list is Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir's first million-plus city. Rapidly urbanizing Kerala has added six new million-plus cities to Kochi, its only such city in 2001, and Jharkhand now has three where it had none. Orissa, on the other hand, has not a single million-plus city, like the entire north-east. More than a quarter of a billion people live in just 468 Indian cities known as Class I cities, each having a population greater than 1 lakh. (Rukmini Shrinivasan & Hemali ChhapiaRukmini Shrinivasan & Hemali Chhapia. accessed on 20 October 2011.)
12.Big cities have worst sex ratios in country: India's towns are worse than its villages when it comes to the child sex ratio (CSR), but its biggest cities are even worse. Against an overall ratio of 914 girls for 1,000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years, the urban ratio is 902 but the combined figure for cities with a population of a million or more is just 898. The CSR quite clearly going from bad to worse as you go from overall population to urban population to the million-plus cities. The states which fall in this category are with one exception from what were once pejoratively labeled the BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) belt. The only exception is Gujarat, where the CSR for the million-plus cities, which include Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, falls to 836, a good 50 points lower than the state's average. In Karnataka and West Bengal, while the same pattern held, the decline in the ratios in the big cities was much smaller. The opposite of this trend is witnessed in states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, where the CSR actually is better in the biggest cities than in the state as a whole or in the urban areas. In the case of Kerala, there really isn't much of a difference between the three figures. Among the urban agglomerations, Surat had the worst CSR of 814 and Thiruvananthapuram the best with 971. Among the metros, Delhi with 868 was the worst followed by Greater Mumbai with 900. In comparison, Bangalore with 939, Hyderabad with 943, Kolkata with 946 and Chennai with 962 were significantly better. ( accessed on 20 October 2011.)
13.India Human Development Report raps Gujarat, praises UP and Bihar: Despite impressive growth, Gujarat has not been able to reduce malnourishment levels, while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, among the most backward in the country, have done better in improving the lot of their marginalized Dalits and tribals. These are some of the conclusions of the India Human Development Report 2011 released by the Centre. Gujarat was among the worst performers, with 69.7% kids up to 5 being anaemic and 44.6% suffering from malnutrition, proving that high growth was no guarantor of improvement in health. The two of the economically backward states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar social movements have helped in better performance of deprived classes. Overall, the human development index (HDI) for the country has improved through the last decade, with the inequality gap between states narrowing down. India's HDI gained in the last decade-it increased by 21% from 0.387 in 1999-2000 to 0.467 in 2007-08-and the differences and inequality between the states reduced over time. The countryhad witnessed an improvement in spreading education but its record on sanitation and nutrition remained dismal. Despite the improvements, the condition of the lower castes in UP and Bihar was still not comparable with those in other states. That would require greater growth and social mobilization. Gujarat, with a relatively high per capita income, witnessed a higher incidence of child malnutrition. MP had the maximum number of chronically wasted and underweight children, followed by Jharkhand. ( accessed on 22 October 2011.)
14.Every eighth urban child in India in the age-group of 0-6 years stays in slum: Report: According to ‘Slums in India – A statistical compendium 2011' published by the Union government. “About 7.6 million children are living in slums in India and they constitute 13.1 per cent of the total child population of the urban areas of the 26 States/ Union Territories reporting slums,” the report compiled by the National Buildings Organisation (NBO) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation says. More than 20 per cent of Chandigarh's children are in slums. According to the data, Maharashtra has the highest slum child population with around 1.7 million children (between 0-6 years) staying in slums. But Chandigarh has the highest proportion of slum child population. After Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh has the second highest slum child population of around 0.97 million. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (0.83 million), Madhya Pradesh (0.6 million), West Bengal (0.53 million) and Tamil Nadu (0.51 million). In Chandigarh, a whopping 20.9 per cent proportion of the 0-6 age group population stays in slums. The picture is dismal in case of at least 23 States, where more than 10 per cent of the child population stays in slums. In fact, in 11 of these 23 States, the proportion of slum child population is more than 15 per cent. This includes the ‘much applauded for development' state of Gujarat, along with other States like Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Goa.Even in progressive States like Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, more than 10 per cent of the child population stays in slums. The other States, where the proportion is more than 10 per cent are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Tripura, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir. The picture is no better in the million plus cities of the country. “Around 2.5 million children in the age group of 0-6 are living in the slum areas of million plus cities in 2001; this constitutes 27.3 per cent of the total child population of these 27 cities,” the report stated. Half of these 2.5 million children stay in the three major metros of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. While Mumbai has 0.86 million children, Delhi and Kolkata account for 0.3 million and 0.15 million children respectively. “The child sex ratio at 921, in the slum areas of 26 States/Union Territories, where slum population has been reported, is higher than 903, recorded for non-slum urban areas of these States and Union Territories,” the report said. The highest child sex ratio in this age group is 988 and it has been observed in the slums of Puducherry. It is closely followed by Meghalaya (986) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (965). In fact, even in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar, the child sex ratio in slums is above 943. Generally, 943 is a figure which is regarded as average natural sex ratio at birth. The ratio stands lowest in Punjab at 822. But the report indicates that it is still much better than the ratio in the non-slum population of Punjab, which is 790. (Vinaya Deshpande, accessed on 16 October 2011.)
15.India accounts for 22% of global rotavirus-inducted diarrhoea deaths: India recorded 98,621 rotavirus-inducted diarrhoea deaths in 2008, which is about 22% of global toll from the infection. Nigeria - the second worst-hit country - recorded about 41,000 deaths, or less than 50% of fatalities as compared to India. Pakistan (39,000) and Bangladesh (9,000) figures among the top 10 worst-affected nations grappling with rotavirus infection, says a study that appeared in medical journal, "The Lancet Infectious Diseases". It shows 453,000 deaths occurred due to the infection even though a vaccine was available. About 4.2 lakh (93%) of the total deaths were clustered in the poor countries of Asia and Africa. Less than 0.5% of the deaths occurred in high-income nations, many of whom have adopted universal rotavirus vaccination (URVV) programmes and also had low virus-related mortality. Five countries - Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan - accounted for more than half of all rotavirus-infection induced deaths. India is among the countries, which is yet to introduce a vaccine against rotavirus in its national immunization pogramme, but it is being used in private healthcare sector. The study, conducted by Dr Jacqueline Tate and Dr Umesh D Parashar of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, says, "one out of every 260 children born each year will die from diarrhoea caused by rotavirus infection by their fifth birthday. Worldwide in 2008, diarrhoea attributable to rotavirus infection resulted in deaths in 4.5 lakh children younger than five years - 37% of deaths attributable to diarrhoea and 5% of all deaths in children younger than five years." Each year, an estimated 1.8 million children die from diarrhoea, where the most common cause is rotavirus. Kounteya SinhaKounteya Sinha, accessed on 25 October 2011.)
II DiasporaBreaking News:
1.Indians 2nd largest foreign student population in US: American universities and colleges have been more than happy to pick up the slack. Faced with shrinking returns from endowment funds, a decline in the number of high school graduates in the US and growing economic hardship among American families, they have stepped up their efforts to woo Indian students thousands of miles away. Representatives from many of the Ivy League institutions have begun making trips to India to recruit students and explore partnerships with Indian schools. Some have set up offices in India, partly aimed at attracting a wider base of students. Indians are now the second-largest foreign student population in America, after the Chinese, with almost 105,000 students in the US in the 2009-10 academic year, the last for which comprehensive figures were available. Student visa applications from India increased 20% in the past year, according to the American Embassy. Although a majority of Indian students in the US are graduate students, undergraduate enrolment has grown by more than 20% in the past few years. And while wealthy families have been sending their children to the best American schools for years, the idea is beginning to spread to middle-class families, for whom Delhi University has historically been the best option. American universities have now become "safety schools" for increasingly stressed and traumatized Indian students and parents, who complain that one fateful event - the final high school examination - can make or break a teenager's future career. It is not merely the competition that drives them to apply to study in the US. It is also the greater intellectual freedom of an American liberal arts education. India's educational system is rigid, locking students into an area of study and affording them little opportunity to take courses outside their major beyond the 11th grade. Only a few courses of study are considered lucrative career paths. (Nida Najar, accessed on 15 October 2011)
2.US H-1B visas to Indians increase by 24%: The United States has increased H-1B visas to Indians by 24 percent between 2010 and 2011. The US government on Tuesday said that it had increased H-1B visas from 54,111 issued in 2010 to 67,195 in 2011. (Indrani Bagchi, accessed on 25 October 2011.)
III Global
1.Christ and Che among top 11 icons: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Coca-Cola bottle and Christ are history's top iconic images, according to an Oxford professor. Martin Kemp has collated a selection of 11 images for his book Christ To Coke - How Image Becomes Icon.A print of Che Guevara, the US flag and Nick Ut's photo of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack in Vietnam were also included on the list. He said he wanted to explore why iconic images have "achieved their status". He added: "The 11 images here are as secure and universal in their iconic status as any cultural products can ever claim to be." The top eleven images are: 1. Christ; 2. The Cross; 3. The Heart; 4. The Lion; 5. Mona Lisa; 6. Che; 7. Napalmed and Naked; 9. Stars and Stripes; 9. Coke: The Bottle; 10. DNA and 11. E=mc². "An iconic image is one that has achieved wholly exceptional levels of widespread recognisability and has come to carry a rich series of varied associations for very large numbers of people across time and cultures." ( accessed on 9 October 2011)
2.Women gang arrested for drugging and raping men to steal semen:A gang of women has been arrested in Zimbabwe for drugging, kidnapping and raping male hitchhikers to steal their semen, The arrest followed an incident where detectives in Gweru seized 33 used condoms from a suspected vehicle after reports of attacks on men seeking lifts in the town as well as other towns like Harare and Mashonaland West. The men were reportedly taken to secluded places by the women and were forced into sex, sometimes unprotected at gunpoint, following which the rapists collected their semen and threw the victims on the roadside. The police are now asking the victims to come forward and identify the attackers and also hope to match the semen to some of the victims through DNA tests. ( accessed on 15 October 2011,)

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