Thursday, January 31, 2008

Legal experts: Protect your privacy online, despite trends

Legal experts: Protect your privacy online, despite trends

January 31, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s not that privacy – and protection – of personal information are totally a thing of the past, but people must be more vigilant than ever in the online world, legal experts say.

Ironically, one attorney says, in an age when concern about privacy is rising, many insist on becoming more and more public on sites such as MySpace.

“There are a number of statutes which have made information held by one person about another subject to not being disclosed, have made it confidential,” said Oklahoma City attorney Bob Luttrell. “There are some statutes that have made that information confidential, under certain circumstances, even from the prying eyes of the state or federal government.”

Luttrell, with the McAfee and Taft law firm, said such laws generally cover identifiers that reveal more than what he referred to as basic “telephone information.”

He said the identifying information may be a person’s name associated with an account number or medical record number or history.

“Those are almost all focused at what information gets gathered by certain industries regarding their customers,” Luttrell said.

One such federal law applies to financial institutions, another to medical records.

“What we’re starting to see is, people are having expectations that everything about them that they don’t tell someone is private,” Luttrell said. “That’s a little unrealistic, I think.”

As an example, he said, people get upset about the fact that their name and bank account number may have gotten out, when every time they write a check, their name and account number are published to the world.

“I think our sense about privacy now is that other people have a responsibility to protect information that I give them about me,” Luttrell said, “but in a lot of my daily life, I release that information to the world, just as a matter of how I live my life.”

In the world of the Internet, that publication to the world is almost literal.

“And it lives forever,” Luttrell said.

Search engines index even Web pages that do not exist anymore, he added.

“If it’s ever been out, even if it’s deleted from the site, it remains in their search engine, I guess, forever,” Luttrell said.

There are steps people can take to protect themselves, particularly from crimes such as identity theft, he said.

Those include basic but important things such as not putting Social Security numbers on personal checks, which used to be fairly common.

“It’s basically because the one identifier we have that segregates us as individuals, at least in the United States, is a unique Social Security number,” Luttrell said.

The Federal Trade Commission has undertaken a project taking input from industry about whether it is possible to shift to another unique identifier, away from the SSN, he said.

“It doesn’t seem that there are very many people that think that’s a possibility,” Luttrell said.

People should also be careful with unsolicited credit card solicitations they receive, making sure they are destroyed, he added.

“Those can be accepted, then the credit card intercepted,” he said.

Luttrell mentioned a study that determined that more personal information is disclosed in response to spam e-mails and personal contacts than is obtained by hacking into computer systems.

“At one point that was the case, that people just give it away,” he said.

Consumers can block their accounts with credit bureaus, restricting solicitations and inquiries, he added.

Of course, there will always be scammers who can get around certain protections.

“They’re ingenious,” Luttrell said, “and I don’t know that there’s any way to fully protect yourself from that, other than just not do business with anybody and not give any information to anyone. It’s part of the function of, I’m afraid, living our life in a technologically advanced society.”

Luttrell raised an issue that is somewhat generational when it comes to privacy, with many younger people revealing much of their personal lives on social networking sites.

“We’ve got all this concern about privacy, but people want to be more and more public,” he said. “For some reason, people don’t think about what kind of information can be obtained from their MySpace page.”

Jane Wheeler, director of the Consumer Protection Unit in the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, said many people do not protect their personal information as carefully as they should.

“But it’s important to say that sometimes you can do everything and it’s still stolen,” she added.

The over-arching consideration is to always be on guard when dealing with anyone who wants to know that information, Wheeler said.

“Don’t give it to them,” she said. “It’s as simple as that, although in practice, it’s not so simple. There are a lot of con artists out there that are very good at making themselves look like they’re somebody you know, when they aren’t.”

Wheeler said sophisticated Internet phishers copy logos and other information from the Web sites of, say, credit card companies, then send out thousands of e-mails hoping to catch people unaware and obtain their account numbers and other information.

“These people are very hard to catch, because they’ll do it for 48 hours, get what they can, then do it again with another type of bank or whatever,” she said.

Wheeler said that legitimate banks, credit card companies and shopping sites do not send out e-mails or make phone calls seeking such information.

Protecting passwords is another basic concept that many do not follow.

It’s important, Wheeler said, to develop uncommon passwords that are long and contain both numbers and letters.

“It’s very hard, I know, because we get asked for so many passwords,” she said, adding that passwords should be changed about every 90 days.

Consumers should also check the privacy policies of Web sites they use, Wheeler said.

“Find out how they’re going to use your information,” she said.

When deciding whether to purchase something online, Wheeler said, know who you’re dealing with, and try to make sure their site is a secure “https” site.

“Of course, hackers can get into anything, but you’re just trying to make your odds better,” Wheeler said.

Updating the security software on home computers and being careful with free software and file-sharing could also increase those odds, she indicated.

Wheeler said one scam making the rounds now involves automated phone calls.

The caller tells the consumer that “we’re just calling to make you a better offer” on credit cards, but are really just after personal information.

Often, Wheeler said, legitimate phone numbers may show up on caller-identification programs, but the calls are actually generated from elsewhere.

“We’ve had people that have gotten sucked into that,” she said.

These unfortunates often discover sizeable unauthorized transactions on their credit card accounts.

Even offline, Wheeler said, consumers should be on alert, protecting their handbags and making sure no one is looking over their shoulder when they make a purchase.

“Once your identity gets stolen, it can be just a total nightmare,” she said. “It’s better to head it off if you can.”

Oklahoma City attorney Kathi Rawls said it is key for consumers to access their credit reports at least quarterly from one of the three major credit bureaus, and look for any mistakes or unauthorized transactions.

“A lot of times, people don’t even know that they have the right to a free credit report annually,” Rawls said.

It is important to monitor all three agencies, she said, because not all have the same information.

If an inaccuracy is found, she said, a consumer should write to the credit-reporting agency by certified mail, return receipt requested.

“When they know that there are specific charges or balances that are foreign, they should immediately make a fraud report to their local police department,” Rawls said.

Credit bureaus and creditors are often reluctant to take action regarding any charges that have not been reported to law enforcement, she added.

Rawls said some creditors hound individuals who are obviously not responsible for a debt.

She said she has two cases currently where she is having to go through a jury trial to get transactions off of her clients’ records.

Rawls said one client had his very first paycheck garnished to pay a default judgment for a credit card debt that he does not owe.

“A poor consumer has got to jump through hoops to try to prove that they are not the person who made these charges,” Rawls said. “It’s very frustrating.”


No privacy in Mobile usage

No privacy in Mobile usage

Wednesday January 30 2008 00:00 IST


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Friday, January 25, 2008

Chickenpox Disease is spreading in North Chennai

Tamil Murasu

A woman image seen in Mars: NASA

NASA images reveal mystery figure on Mars

LONDON: Life on Mars? Well, bizarre images have emerged showing a mystery female figure walking down a hill on the arid planet. The photo of what looks like a naked woman with her arm outstretched was among several taken on the red planet and sent back to Earth by NASA's Mars explorer Spirit, the 'Daily Mail' reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed Web site. Though no official confirmation has come from NASA whether the figure is an alien or an optical illusion caused by a landscape on Mars, it has s et the Internet abuzz that there really is life on Mars.

The news of the mystery woman on Mars came just days after a team of French scientists claimed to have discovered proof that the red planet possesses high-level dense clouds of dry ice, which scud across its orange sky. Using data obtained by the OMEGA spectrometer on board ESA's Mars Express, the team found the existence of the ice clouds which sometimes become so dense that they throw quite dark shadows on the dusty surface of the red planet.

"This is the first time that carbon dioxide ice clouds on Mars have been imaged and identified from above. This is important because the images tell us not only about their shape, but also their size and density. Previously, we had to rely on indirect i nformation. However, it is very difficult to separate the signals coming from the clouds, atmosphere and surface,'' according to lead scientist Franck Montmessin of the Service d'Aeronomie at University of Versailles. - PTI

Business Line of THE HINDU

Also read the related News in The New Indian Express as follows:

Mars looks like naked woman: NASA

Thursday January 24 2008 01:12 IST


LONDON: Life on Mars? Well, bizarre images have emerged showing a mystery female figure walking down a hill on the arid planet.

The photo of what looks like a naked woman with her arm outstretched was among several taken on the red planet and sent back to Earth by NASA's Mars explorer Spirit, the 'Daily Mail' reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed website.

Though no official confirmation has come from NASA whether the figure is an alien or an optical illusion caused by a landscape on Mars, it has set the Internet abuzz that there really is life on Mars.

As one enthusiast put it on the website, "These pictures are amazing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what appears to be a naked alien running around on Mars."

The news of the mystery woman on Mars came just days after a team of French scientists claimed to have discovered proof that the red planet possesses high-level dense clouds of dry ice, which scud across its orange sky.

Using data obtained by the OMEGA spectrometer on board ESA's Mars Express, the team found the existence of the ice clouds which sometimes become so dense that they throw quite dark shadows on the dusty surface of the red planet.

"This is the first time that carbon dioxide ice clouds on Mars have been imaged and identified from above. This is important because the images tell us not only about their shape, but also their size and density.

"Previously, we had to rely on indirect information. However, it is very difficult to separate the signals coming from the clouds, atmosphere and surface," according to lead scientist Franck Montmessin of the Service d'Aeronomie at University of Versailles.

The New Indian Express

Alsoread the related stories in Malaimalar:

Malaimalar dated 24-01-2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

PIL: paise income litigation

In public interest


Activist judiciary: a pro bono fiduciary vis-a-vis operation public interest litigation.


The Supreme Court building in New Delhi

THE praxis of public interest litigation (PIL) has in its democratic dimension a people-oriented philosophy. To disown its legitimacy will amount to jurisprudential barbarity. It is just and fair to jettison pretended PIL processes but unjust to forbid the jurisdictional innovation on the pretext of abuse when really aggrieved persons with a pro bono “standing” in the generous sweep of locus standi parameters come to the High Court or the Supreme Court. Remedial directives against constitutional violations and arbitrary action by the executive, or rulings that go beyond constitutional limitations, or an alleged breach of fancied privileges by the legislature cannot be dismissed in limine. No plea of Montesquieuan autonomy can choke judicial review: that will amount to constitutional apostasy.

Nor, of course, can the “robed brethren” on the Bench invade the constitutional space preserved for the other two branches of the Republic.

It may be wise to look back at two cases that perhaps illumine the propositions of PIL jurisprudence and the healthy jurisdictional limitations in such matters. In Fertilizer Corporation (1981 1 SCC 568), sitting on a Bench of the Supreme Court I made the following observations:

“In the Municipal Council, Ratlam, a Bench of this Court observed: [SCC pp. 168 & 174: SCC (Cri) pp. 934-35 & 945, paras 1 & 24]: ‘It is procedural rules, as this appeal proves, ‘which infuse life into substantive rights, which activate them to make them effective’… The truth is that a few profound issues of processual jurisprudence of great strategic significance to our legal system face us and we must zero in on them as they involve problems of access to justice for the people beyond the blinkered rules of “standing” of British-Indian vintage. If the centre of gravity of justice is to shift, as the preamble to the Constitution mandates, from the traditional individualism of locus standi to the community orientation of public interest litigation, these issues must be considered. In that sense, the case before us between the Ratlam Municipality and the citizens of a ward, is a pathfinder in the field of people’s involvement in the justicing process, sans which as Professor Sikes points… the system may ‘crumble under the burden of its own insensitivity’…’

“Our judicial system has been aptly described as follows: ‘Admirable though it may be, [it] is at once slow and costly. It is a finished product of great beauty, but entails an immense sacrifice of time, money and talent. This ‘beautiful’ system is frequently a luxury; it tends to give a high quality of justice only when, for one reason or another, parties can surmount the substantial barriers which it erects to most people and to many types of claims’.”

My observations in the case continued thus: “If a citizen is no more than a wayfarer or officious intervener without any interest or concern beyond what belongs to any one of the 660 million people of this country, the door of the court will not be ajar for him. But, if he belongs to an organisation which has special interest in the subject matter, if he has some concern deeper than that of a busybody, he cannot be told off at the gates, although whether the issue raised by him is justiciable may still remain to be considered. I, therefore, take the view that the present petition would clearly have been permissible under Article 226.”

Further I observed: “The democratisation of judicial remedies which is the thrust of our separate opinion, induces us to conclude with a quote: ‘It was the boast of Augustus that he found Rome of brick and left it of marble. But how much nobler will be sovereign’s boast when he shall have it to say that he found law dear and left it cheap; found it a sealed book and left it a living letter; found it the patrimony of the rich and left it the inheritance of the poor; found it the two-edged sword of craft and oppression and left it the staff of honesty and the shield of innocence’.”

In a recent case, the Supreme Court of India observed thus:

Public interest litigation which has now come to occupy an important field in the administration of law should not be ‘publicity interest litigation’ or ‘private interest litigation’ or ‘politics interest litigation’ or the latest trend ‘paise income litigation’. The High Court has found that the case at hand belongs to the last category. If not properly regulated and abuse averted, it becomes also a tool in unscrupulous hands to release vendetta and wreak vengeance, as well. There must be real and genuine public interest involved in the litigation and not merely an adventure of knight errand borne out of wishful thinking. It cannot also be invoked by a person or a body of persons to further his or their personal causes or satisfy his or their personal grudge and enmity. Courts of justice should not be allowed to be polluted by unscrupulous litigants by resorting to the extraordinary jurisdiction. A person acting bona fide and having sufficient interest in the proceeding of public interest litigation will alone have a locus standi and can approach the court to wipe out violation of fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions, but not for personal gain or private profit or political motive or any oblique consideration. A writ petitioner who comes to the court for relief in public interest must come not only with clean hands like any other writ petitioner but also with a clean heart, clean mind and clean objective.

“For the last few years, inflow of public interest litigation has increased manifold. Considerable judicial time is spent in dealing with such cases. A person acting bona fide alone can approach the court in public interest. Such a remedy is not open to an unscrupulous person who acts, in fact, for someone else. The liberal rule of locus standi exercised in favour of bona fide public interest litigants has immensely helped the cause of justice. Such litigants have been instrumental in drawing attention of this Court and High Courts in matters of utmost importance and in securing orders and directions for many underprivileged such as pavement-dwellers, bonded labour, prisoners’ conditions, children, sexual harassment of girls and women, cases of communal riots, innocent killings, torture, long custody in prison without trial or in the matters of environment, illegal stone quarries, illegal mining, pollution of air and water, clean fuel, hazardous and polluting industries or preservation of forest as in T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India. While this Court has laid down a chain of notable decisions with all emphasis at their command about the importance and significance of this newly developed doctrine of PIL, it has also hastened to sound a red alert and a note of severe warning that courts should not allow their process to be abused by a mere busybody or a meddlesome interloper or wayfarer or officious intervener without any interest or concern except for personal gain or private profit or other oblique consideration.” (see Janata Dal v. H.S. Chowdhary.)

In short, while public interest litigation cannot run riot with aberrant objectives and oblique motivations, the just access of public spirited people to the court as a salvationary functionary with rare power but as a sentinel on the qui vive ever on its guard cannot be extinguished out of obdurate obscurantism. Neither can such access be allowed to suffocate on grounds that may have been sound in the feudal days but obsolete under current conditions of mafia menace, socio-economic pollution and authoritarian ukases.

In such cases, the court does not invade or usurp but judiciously reviews constitutional violations to defend the fundamentals of good government and human rights. It will be peevish and obnoxious to criticise the performance by the judiciary of its constitutional obligation. Reactionary precedents must be overruled. John Whicher F. wrote in “Originality, Cartography and Copyright” (38 NYU Law Rev. 280, 299 (1963): “It is fair to insist that judicial responsibility includes the task of exposing bad precedents. Judges are, or should be, their brothers’ keepers.”

The Supreme Court of India has been democratised into the Supreme Court for Indians. Those who disagree with this thesis, whether they are on the Bench or off the Bench, breach their oath and are out of tune with the ethos of the Constitution. As the Bible posits: “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”

Justice (retired) V.R. Krishna Iyer is a former Judge of the Supreme Court.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TN Govt. policy on Cement supply: Editorial

TN Govt. policy on Cement supply: Editorial

Tuesday January 22 2008 00:00 IST

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Bhagat Singh is a terrorist: IAS Exam Question Paper

Narrate Bhagat Singh’s role as terrorist: IAS Exam Question Paper

Tuesday January 22 2008 00:00 IST

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Read the related stories:

About Bhagat Singh: Wikipedia

Interview with Bhagat Singh’s nephew

Bhagat Singh and his associates

Autopsy of the rule of law

Autopsy of the rule of law

By BIJO FRANCIS Published: January 22, 2008

HONG KONG, China: About 12 people were hospitalized with symptoms of poisoning on Dec. 26 in Thrissur district of India's Kerala state. One person died, and the rest were treated in utmost secrecy.

The reason for the poisoning was exposed in the media after the death of one of the patients. The news revealed that the deceased and his friends were police officers and that they had become ill after consuming illicit alcohol served during a dinner party organized by one of their colleagues, to celebrate his wedding.

A case was registered against the police officer who served the illicit brew. Instead of proceeding with his marriage, the groom absconded. A search at the hotel where the incident happened revealed that not only illicit locally made brew was served at the party, but also dozens of bottles of imported foreign liquor were also served to the guests. None of this imported liquor had been brought into the country after paying the customs duty.

If you think the police officer who threw the party was a high-ranking officer, you are wrong. The officer was just a constable that had been recruited as a driver to the state police service, though the list of invitees to his party included some of the high-ranking police officers in the district, of which many took treatment in secret.

Where does a police constable earn the money to throw such a party with imported liquor? The incident reveals the nexus between the illicit liquor mafia and the local police. The police criminal nexus is nothing new in India. It is common knowledge that police officers, irrespective of their rank, are close associates of criminals. This nexus is open and in full public view.

Organized crimes ranging from human trafficking to narcotic drug sales are carried out with the complete knowledge of the local police. Irrespective of the state or region the close connection between law enforcement agencies and criminals is so intricate that the police and the criminals are closely paired up. Their illegal bond is evident from the underground narcotic drug manufacturing unit to the ordinary drug peddler who sells to a wide-ranging clientele on the street corner.

A few years ago a senior police officer in Kerala was accused of stealing petrol from railway bogies at the shunting yard. The officer was then serving as the chief of the Railway Protection Force, and, it was alleged and reasonably proved before the public eye that the officer had carried out his "business" with the help of petty criminals. The same officer was later accused of importing musical equipment without paying the customs duty to equip his wife's sound recording studio. The officer, who is a close associate of several leading politicians in the country, is still in active service.

The police in India cannot continue with their illegal deeds without the blessings of the politicians in power. Policing in India comes under the state list. This means the local police is fully under the control of the state government. As of now there are no effective mechanisms in India that can 'police the police'. During the past several years there was not a single attempt to address this problem. When adverse public opinion mounts pressure upon the government, the government constitutes commissions to study and suggest changes. These commissions are halfhearted attempts to ward off public attention from the apparent problem.

India's National Police Commission was set up on Nov. 15, 1979. Soon after its constitution, the commission was closed down in May 1981. In between, the commission published several reports, but most of its recommendations are yet to be implemented. Most important were recommendations to sever the unwarranted political and bureaucratic control over the police through direct and indirect means and to set up an independent police complaints authority. These recommendations still exist only on paper.

The commission is not the only body to make these recommendations to the government. Organizations ranging from the National Human Rights Commission to the Supreme Court have repeatedly asked the government to address the independence and discipline of the police service. None of these has been considered by the state or central government thus far.

The governments often express concern regarding increasing crime rates and the failure of the police to control crime. This is a duty that every government in India has religiously discharged. It consists of the shedding of tears and expressions of shock when a high profile case goes for a sham trial where the accused is acquitted or discharged due to pitfalls in the investigation.

Frequent acquittals and mistrials have generated a completely different discourse. The current debate on the criminal justice system disregards the state of policing. The earnestness shown by the government in drafting laws, often draconian ones like the various special security enactments, is not reflected in addressing the root concern of the failure of the criminal justice system, which is policing.

India is now gearing up to introduce changes to its criminal procedure law. Proposed amendments like fastening irrevocability to the statements given to police at the time of an investigation are not only contrary to common-law practice in India, but also give more opportunity to the police to get away with ill-intentioned deeds at the expense of the innocent person.

Such amendments will require additional resources and increase the work load of the already stalled courts, where the final disposal of a case can take decades. Legislative changes of this nature will kill the rule of law in India, which currently exists at least in theory.

Such amendments are based on the wrong premise that acquittals in criminal cases are due to the failure of the witness and ignoring the fundamental fact that the acquittal is often due to the failure in policing. This does not mean that all the suggested amendments are bad. Some changes, such as introducing a witness protection mechanism, are good. But what good is a protection mechanism in a system that cannot prevent crimes, and what trust can a witness have in a law enforcement agency that is in league with organized criminals?

India's legislators are once again about to take a completely wrong step due to concerns about crime and the justice system. What the legislators and gurus of the legal system do not want to touch is the failure of the police system.

What needs to be addressed is the fact that a local policeman can treat his friends and senior colleagues with illicit alcohol and the case is not investigated. What needs to be changed is the resistance of politicians and bureaucrats in severing their unwarranted control over the state police. What needs to be corrected is the lack of discipline in the police force and the absence of an independent police complaints authority.

Without addressing these issues, the crime rate in India will not decrease, but the complaints against crimes might. If one dares to complain about a crime committed against him, the chances are the complainant might end up in prison, not the criminal or corrupt police officer who fails to investigate the crime properly. Soon, Indians will have a bigger party, not sponsored by a police constable, but by the entire police department, where everything illegal might be served to the guests. In preparation for this, Indians could consider preparing for an autopsy of the rule of law that used to exist, at least in theory.

(Bijo Francis is a human rights lawyer currently working with the Asian Legal Resource Center in Hong Kong. He is responsible for the South Asia desk at the center. Mr. Francis has practiced law for more than a decade and holds an advanced master's degree in human rights law.)


Jayalalitha not heir of MGR's legacy: Vijayakanth


Chennai: Actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth has refuted AIADMK chief J.Jayalalitha's claim of being the true heir to the political legacy of former chief minister M.G.Ramachandran and termed her ascent as a mere "accident".

"Jayalalitha emerging as the leader of the AIADMK is an accident," Vijayakanth told reporters near Erode Monday.

The charismatic actor-turned-politician M.G. Ramachandran - popularly known as MGR - had broken away from DMK and formed the AIADMK in 1972.

"The former chief minister and AIADMK leader (MGR) never declared Jayalalitha as his political heir," said Vijayakanth, who likes to be called as Karuppu (dark) MGR.

He also alleged Jayalalitha - a top actress in her younger days - "had never spent a single rupee for the poor when she was an actress".

"But I have been involved in lot of welfare activities for the past 25 years. I give Rs.50,000 every year to the home for the dumb and deaf at MGR's residence at Ramavaram," said the actor, who is also an MLA and the president of his one-year old MDMK party.

"I never said I am MGR's heir. But I am just following his footsteps like Ekalavya in Mahabharata. He took Dhronacharya as his teacher, MGR is my political guru."

"I want to establish a clean and corruption free government like he did,", he said.

He said the DMDK would contest on its own in the 2009 parliamentary elections and would win all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.


Friday, January 18, 2008

AIADMK alone represents the political legacy of MGR

“AIADMK alone represents the political legacy of MGR”

Special Correspondent

It is too early to talk about an alliance with BJP: Jayalalithaa
— Photo: V. Ganesan

CHEERING LITTLE ONES: AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa with prize winners at a function organised by Dr. MGR School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired on the occasion of M.G. Ramachandran’s 91st birth anniversary at Ramavaram near Chennai on Thursday

CHENNAI: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa, in her first visit to the Ramavaram house of her political mentor M. G. Ramachandran in 10 years, asserted on Thursday that she represented the political legacy of the AIADMK founder.

“We are the political heirs of Puratchi Thalaivar MGR. No one else in the world can claim the right. We are running the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam founded by him. Now, I am the leader and general secretary of the party instituted by him, with the blessings of Puratchi Thalaivar. If somebody else claims that they are Puratchi Thalaivar MGR’s heirs, people will ridicule them. At the time of elections, they will unmistakably make it clear what they think of such persons,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

She was addressing a function organised by the Dr. MGR School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired on the occasion of the AIADMK founder’s 91st birth anniversary.

Earlier, she hoisted the party flag at the entrance to MGR’s residence and paid homage to his memorial on the premises. Ms. Jayalalithaa said there were some who attempted to come up in politics, just as the AIADMK founder did. “Instant coffee can be produced, not instant leaders,” she remarked.

Pointing out that MGR did not become a political leader overnight, she said he had joined a political party early in life and accepted the leadership of C.N. Annadurai. He had worked for the growth of the party and propagated the policies of his leader. “It was he who made Anna the Chief Minister [in 1967].”

“Our home”

Describing the Ramavaram residence as “our home,” she said: “We have every right [to visit the house]. We can come here whenever we want. There is no need for others to make any comment.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that in 1995, she visited the Ramavaram residence to call on Janaki Ramachandran, MGR’s widow. The next year, when she came to know that Janaki Ramachandran had died, she went there to pay her respects. Her present visit was in response to the invitation of the school management and MGR’s family members. The AIADMK leader gave away prizes to winners of contests and watched cultural programmes presented by the school students. In a brief chat with journalists, the AIADMK leader, who hosted a lunch on Monday for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party ‘prabhari’ (in-charge) of Tamil Nadu, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said it was premature to talk about an alliance with the BJP.

Before she went to Ramavaram, she declared open a medical camp at the party headquarters at Royapettah and gave away medicines and aid equipment to three patients.

Tributes paid

At the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam headquarters in Koyambedu, Panruti S. Ramachandran, chairman of the presidium, garlanded the statue of MGR.

S. Thirunavukkarasar, BJP national secretary, accompanied by party leaders G. Kumaravelu and M. Chakravarthi, paid tributes at the MGR memorial house at T. Nagar.

© Copyright 2000 - 2008 The Hindu


MGR birth anniversary celebrated in Pondicherry

MGR birth anniversary celebrated in Pondicherry

Special Correspondent

Photo: T. Singaravelou

Paying tribute: Chief Minister N. Rangasamy garlanding the statue of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.G. Ramachandran in Puducherry on Thursday

PUDUCHERRY: Garlanding of statues, offering floral tributes to portraits, distributing sweets and clothes to the poor marked the 91st birth anniversary of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and founder of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) M.G.Ramachandran on Thursday.

Chief Minister N. Rangasamy garlanded the statue of MGR near the new bus stand.

Led by secretary of the Puducherry unit of the AIADMK A. Anbalagan and secretary of the Jayalalithaa Peravai Omsakthi Sekar, the party activists participated in a procession held from the party office in Uppalam to the new bus stand.

A decorated portrait of MGR was taken on a vehicle at the head of the procession.

Functionaries of the AIADMK and its front organisations garlanded the statue of MGR. Legislators and representatives of local bodies also offered floral tributes to the statue.

Functions were held in Muthialpet, Usudu, Villianur, Lawspet, Uzhavarkarai and Thattanchavadi.

© Copyright 2000 - 2008 The Hindu


Thursday, January 17, 2008

A website for making maths interesting

A website for making maths interesting


CHENNAI: There are gymnasiums aplenty to keep the physique fit. But, have you come across a gym dedicated to wellness of the mind?

A resident of Ambattur, Sitalakshmi Seshadrinathan has developed a website with the objective to hone the analytical and logical skills of students and professionals.

The brainchild of Ms. Seshadrinathan opens up a new world of simple but exciting puzzles based on maths. The aim is to make maths learning a fun activity, including through the “Dots and Patterns” segment that seeks to sharpen the creative skills of youngsters. Ms. Seshadrinathan, with over three decades of experience as a maths teacher, developed the website a year ago to help the students to get rid of their fear of the subject. “The site helps students apply their maths knowledge gained in classrooms and also those who find it difficult to face aptitude tests in various examinations,” she said. The website was developed to share the knowledge gained through several years of teaching experience with the students, she added.

From the 45 puzzles posted at the time of its launch, the website now has 104 puzzles. “I plan to post about 500 puzzles in two years. It takes two days to develop a puzzle,” said Ms. Seshadrinathan, who completed a course in basic animation to give shape to her dream of a website on analytical skills. She also plans to add more mind activities in the website that has about 120 members now.

© Copyright 2000 - 2008 The Hindu


PMK seeks district status for Tirupattur

PMK seeks district status for Tirupattur

Staff Reporter

It is needed for administrative convenience: MLA

“Women from Tirupattur work in textile units at Tirupur for Rs.30 a day”

TIRUPATTUR: Tirupattur MLA T.K. Raja is all set to raise the issue of administrative convenience and seek the bifurcation of Tirupattur from Vellore during the forthcoming Assembly session.

Mr. Raja said that Vellore was a big district, spread over 64,044 sqkm. The population had crossed 35 lakh and there were a total of 12 Assembly constituencies and three Parliamentary constituencies. Besides, there were 15 municipalities, 21 town panchayats, 757 village panchayats, 21 special grade panchayats and 20 panchayat union blocks.

Tirupattur had to be separated from Vellore for administrative convenience, Mr. Raja said. There were separate District Education Offices for Vellore and Tirupattur.

Similarly, there were separate Forest Offices for Vellore and Tirupattur and also separate Deputy Director (Health) Offices. Tirupattur and Vellore were already functioning similar to separate districts. “So, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi should consider all this and announce separate district status for Tirupattur,” Mr. Raja said.

As Tirupattur had not been declared a district, development work got delayed. People from Tirupattur and its adjoining villages had to travel 300 km up and down if they had work at the Collectorate in Vellore. Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Salem were within a distance of 110 km. Yet they functioned as separate districts.

Similarly, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam were separated by just 30 km. But all the three had been declared separate districts.

Mr. Raja alleged that the government was delaying a decision on his plea to bifurcate Tirupattur from Vellore. He had raised the issue in the Assembly more than 10 times. The Chief Minister had promised to consider the demand once the delimitation of constituencies was over.

Tirupattur and Vaniyambadi were yet to see industrial development, Mr. Raja alleged.

The only units that catered to the employment needs were the tanneries at Ambur and Vaniyambadi. The long-pending assurance of the State governments over a period of three decades to bring the SIPCOT to Tirupattur was yet to materialise, he added.

In fact a situation existed where the women from Tirupattur worked in textile units at Tirupur for a paltry sum of Rs.30 a day, he said.

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