Saturday, January 30, 2010

The brightest and biggest full moon of 2010


Dinakaran ePaper

Moon in full glory on a `Pournami day' spotted over the skies near Vijayawada. File photo: CH. Vijaya Bhaskar

Moon in full glory on a `Pournami day' spotted over the skies near Vijayawada. File photo: CH. Vijaya Bhaskar

The phenomenon occurs as the Moon's orbit is elliptical with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other.

The brightest and biggest full moon of 2010 will be seen on Saturday.

The full moon on Saturday will be around 15 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter as compared to other full moons during the year.

"The moon will not only shine brighter but will also appear bigger as compared to other full moons during the year," Science Popularization Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) Director C B Devgun said.

The full moon will be at its best at around 8 PM, he said.

The phenomenon occurs as the Moon's orbit is elliptical with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other.

At closest, our natural satellite lies roughly 3,56,630 km from Earth compared to the Moon's average distance of 3,84,800 km from Earth.


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't wait for 21 days for Booking LPG

Tamil Murasu ePaper

Goods Train starts to run on Karaikal-Nagoor BG Line

Tamil Murasu ePaper

India sweep Idea Cup with 2-0 verdict against Bangladesh by 10 wickets


Express Buzz ePaper

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Dinamalar ePaper

Maalaimalar ePaper

Also read the related stories in THE HINDU as follows:

Zaheer bowls India to victory

K.C. Vijaya Kumar

Bangladesh lower-order finds the spearhead too hot to handle

The left-arm speedster was chosen the Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series

Zaheer Khan's second innings spell was his career-best effort

— Photo: AFP
HAIL THE HERO: Zaheer Khan, whose superb spell spelt Bangladesh's doom on Wednesday and helped India sweep the series, is appreciated by Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh for his fantastic effort.

Dhaka: Amiable off the field and aggressive on it, Zaheer Khan is a man of two parts. Thankfully for India, the man from Shrirampur was at his menacing best at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here on Wednesday and set up India's fourth successive triumph in Tests.

Zaheer's second innings yield of seven for 87, which turned out to be his career-best, and a match-haul of 10 for 149 proved too tough a hurdle for the Bangladesh batsmen and the second Test hurtled towards an early closure here on the fourth day.

India defeated Bangladesh by 10 wickets to win the match and sweep the Idea Cup series with a 2-0 verdict.

The victory though was attained with a touch of irony. India needed just two runs after Bangladesh's second innings folded up at 312. Openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir looked up at the sun, muttered their prayers and soon walked in with an easy victory firmly in sight.

In a hurry

Usually Gambhir takes first-strike but Sehwag was in a hurry and took guard. A mighty heave off Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan scythed through air. Sehwag failed to connect the next ball too that also eluded wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim. Sehwag and Gambhir pocketed the two byes, punched their gloves mid-pitch and the number one Test team had lived up to its billing though the triumph was registered against a squad yet to fully find its feet in Test cricket.

Resuming at 228 for three in its second innings on the penultimate day, Bangladesh stayed resolute in the first hour. The overnight pair of Shahadat Hossain and Mohammad Ashraful extended their fourth-wicket partnership to 68 runs and the prospect of India batting again became increasingly evident.

The first 13 overs went for 50 runs as Shahadat used the long-handle to good effect. The night-watchman was dropped on 33 by substitute Amit Mishra off Harbhajan Singh's first over but failed to capitalise as another swipe offered redemption to the guilty fielder and relief to the aggrieved bowler.

Triggering a collapse

Shahadat's dismissal triggered a collapse that was quick and fatal as the last seven wickets fell for just 22 runs. Ashraful was consumed by Ojha's delivery that turned a shade to lull the batsman into a weak push. The snick was taken and the Indians huddled together, fully aware of the lower-order's rallies of resistance that revived Bangladesh in the earlier outings.

The Bangladesh tail though never wagged and the slump started with Shakib, who batted with needless haste. When circumspection was the need of the hour, Shakib decided to make an emphatic statement through a pounding bat.

He carted his first delivery for six off Ojha and in the next over from the left-arm spinner, continued his bat-with-anger routine. An attempted slog-sweep found a leaping Gautam Gambhir at square-leg.

The sight of the retreating captain and a score of 301 for six proved too much to handle even for a tail with a spine. The stage was set for Zaheer to deliver the knock-out punches based on reverse swing.

Operating around the wicket and cramping the batsmen with his tight line and angle, Zaheer perplexed the batsmen who were not sure whether the delivery will zoom in or seam away.

Three in an over

Zaheer's 20th over hastened the host's demise as he scalped with his second, fourth and fifth deliveries. Raqibul shouldered arms and found his timber tremble.

Mahmudullah pushed forward, found the one that swerved away and edged. Murali Vijay dived at second slip to pluck the catch inches off the turf with his left-hand and was soon lost in bear-hugs.

Shafiul Islam was beaten and bowled as the ball darted in but Rubel Hossain thwarted the hat-trick delivery. Immediately Mushfiqur lashed two fours off Harbhajan Singh to ensure that Bangladesh wiped out the 311-run deficit.

After lunch, Zaheer castled Rubel and within a span of 20 minutes, India had won. Zaheer deservingly bagged both the Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series awards.


Bangladesh — 1st innings: 233.

India — 1st innings: 544 for eight wkts. decl.

Bangladesh — 2nd innings: Tamim c Dhoni b Zaheer 151 (184b, 13x4, 3x6), I. Kayes c (sub) Karthik b Zaheer 5 (15b, 1x4), J. Siddiqui c Dhoni b Zaheer 55 (143b, 5x4), Shahadat c (sub) Mishra b Harbhajan 40 (74b, 4x4, 1x6), M. Ashraful c Dhoni b Ojha 25 (65b, 2x4), Raqibul b Zaheer 5 (23b), Shakib c Gambhir b Ojha 7 (6b, 1x6), Mushfiqur (not out) 10 (26b, 2x4), Mahmudullah c Vijay b Zaheer 0 (2b), Shafiul b Zaheer 0 (1b), Rubel b Zaheer 0 (3b); Extras (b-7, lb-5, w-2) 14. Total (in 90.3 overs): 312.

Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Kayes), 2-219 (Siddiqui), 3-222 (Tamim), 4-290 (Shahadat), 5-291 (Ashraful), 6-301 (Shakib), 7-304 (Raqibul), 8-304 (Mahmudullah), 9-304 (Shafiul).

India bowling: Zaheer 20.3-2-87-7, Ishant 15-2-50-0, Harbhajan 26-7-75-1, Ojha 22-4-77-2, Sehwag 7-2-11-0.

India — 2nd innings: V. Sehwag (not out) 0 (2b), G. Gambhir (not out) 0(0b); Extras (b-2): 2. Total (for no loss in 0.2 overs): 2.

Bangladesh bowling: Shakib 0.2-0-0-0.


Jayalalithaa urges Mamata to sanction more Railway projects


Jayalalithaa urges Mamata to sanction new projects

Special Correspondent

Says 80 per cent of Chennai-Madurai railway line remains single track

Wants State to be pressured to agree to bear 50% cost of projects

CHENNAI: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa and her party MPs have urged Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to sanction new projects and allocate sufficient funds for early completion of ongoing projects in the State.

They said Tamil Nadu, situated in the southern corner of the country and far away from the consuming market, required a well-knit transport infrastructure more than any other State.

Pointing out that 80 per cent of the Chennai-Madurai Railway line, lifeline of the State, continued to be single track, the memorandum stated that the work should be completed within the next two years by allocating sufficient funds.

On electrification, the AIADMK general secretary and the MPs said work was moving at a snail's pace.

"The Railway Ministry had sanctioned and approved work regarding electrification up to Kanyakumari two years ago. Sufficient funds may be allocated for electrification for Trichy-Madurai, Madurai-Kanyakumari and Madurai-Tuticorin rail tracks."

They requested Ms. Banerjee to allocate sufficient funds for gauge conversion work between Coimbatore-Dindigul via Palani, arguing that this link was important since it connected Coimbatore and Madurai, two major cities. Besides seeking allocation of adequate funds for the Coastal Railway line between Chennai and Puducherry via Mamallapuram, the AIADMK leader said the Tamil Nadu government should be pressured to agree to bear 50 per cent of the cost of projects sanctioned by the Railway Board a few years ago. The new projects are Ariyalur-Tanjore; Dindigal-Kumuzhi; Dharmapuri-Morappur; Needamangalam-Mannargudi; Thiruvannamalai-Jolarpettai; and Thanjavur-Pudukottai via Kandarvakottai.

They also wanted the Ministry to sanction another railway line between Avadi-Sriperumbudur.

Pointing out that paltry allocations had prevented the MRTS in Chennai from reaching its destination in St. Thomas Mount, they said it should be completed this year with more allocation of funds. The AIADMK sought suburban trains connecting Coimbatore-Erode; Coimbatore-Pollachi; Madurai-Virudhunagar; and Madurai-Dindigal.


With regards,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Indian Republic Day, January 26th, 2010

REPUBLICAN DAY MESSAGES of Dr. Rajendra Prasad - the 1st president of India

"We must re-dedicate ourselves on this dayto the peaceful but sure realization of the dream that had inspired the Father of our Nation and the other captains and soldiers of our freedom struggle, the dream of establishing a classless, co-operative, free and happy society in "his country,"

"We must remember that this is more a day of dedications than of rejoicing - dedication to the glorious task of making the peasants and workers the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured," he added.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad - the 1st president of India

Indian Republic Day, January 26th Indian Republic Day, January 26th

Even before the Independence of India from the British rule on August 15, 1947, January 26th was celebrating in a different context. "It was the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 - January 1, 1930, that the Tri-Colour Flag was unfurled by the nationalists and a pledge taken that every year on January 26, the "Independence Day" would be celebrated and that the people would unceasingly strive for the establishment of a Sovereign DemocraticRepublic of India".

Tri-Colour Flag

India became a Republicand the constitution came into force onJanuary 26, 1950. The Constituent Assembly was convened and appointed a committee with Dr. B. R. Ambedkaras Chairman to draft the Constitution. India declared herself to be a Sovereign DemocraticRepublic. The Indian Constitution, the longest in the world, consist 397 articles and 12 schedules, which provides for a single citizenship for the whole of India.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Congress won Parliament Elections only on Sri Lankan Govt. stopped the usage of heavy weapons

India rejects Lanka's claims

India's ruling Congress party rejected claims by a top Sri Lankan official that the Sri Lankan government's decision to stop the use of heavy weapons during the latter stages of the war helped the Indian government win the General elections in Tamil Nadu last year.

Speaking to Daily Mirror online, Congress spokesperson, Shri Satyavrat Chaturvedi, said that the local political and economic issues in India were more dominant than the Sri Lankan issue in the outcome of the Indian polls.

"During the Elections both the rival Parties, M. Karunanidhi and his Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam party (DMK) and J. Jayalalitha's All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party were sympathizing with the Sri Lankan Tamils and this issue was the common feature that was being used by both parties so no single party had the advantage," Satyavrat added.

Secretary to the President Lailith Weerathunga had told Daily Mirror online last week that President Mahinda Rajapakse helped India's congress party win the general elections in Tamil Nadu last year by reaching an agreement with the Indian Government to stop using heavy weapons during the last stages of the war.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa helped India's Congress party win the General Elections in Tamil Nadu last year by reaching an agreement with the Indian government to stop using heavy weapons during the last stages of the war, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga told Daily Mirror online.

In an interview on the 'HOT SEAT' segment of the website Mr. Weeratunga said the President had turned down a request from India to stop the military operations last year but later reached an agreement to stop using heavy weapons in order to help the Congress win the polls.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Karnataka: Lawyers may soon get e-library access

Lawyers may soon get e-library access

Minister for Law, Justice, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar has said that the State Government was thinking of chalking out a project for providing "e-library" facility to all bar associations in the State.

Mr. Suresh Kumar was launching the website of Karnataka State Law University (KSLU) at Navanagar here on Monday.

The Minister said he had discussed the matter with Principal Secretary for E-Governance M.N. Vidyashankar.

He said during his interactions with various bar associations he had come across problems of lawyers who did not have the facility of a good library pertaining to law. "We are working out the modalities on providing "e-library" facility through e-governance. Probably in the coming budget, the project will be announced," he said.

The Minister said that his department was thinking of setting up Karnataka Lawyers Academy for the benefit of advocates in the State, especially those practising in small centres.

Appreciating the initiatives taken by Vice-Chancellor of KSLU J.S. Patil, including use of khadi, building patriotism and usage of electronic gadgets for making law teaching more effective and interactive, he said there was "definite reason for hope" that KSLU would emerge as a premiere law institute.

MLC Mohan Limbikai urged the Minister to take steps to name the university after Sir Siddappa Kambali, a legal luminary known for his social service. Sir Kambali not only handled seven portfolios including law in the Mumbai Government but was instrumental in taking up several initiatives that largely helped people of the region. Mr. Limbikai underscored the need for providing e-library facility to the advocates of the region through the KSLU website.

The Vice-Chancellor elaborated on the various initiatives being taken by the KSLU to make it a world class law university. He said the "khadi campaign" started by the KSLU Law School had spread to 11 law colleges and more law colleges had shown interest in wearing khadi dresses once in a week. He said KSLU had developed foolproof examination system and would be organising a workshop on "Legal Education Policy".

Registrar (Evaluation) Suresh Nadagouda welcomed the gathering while Registar G. Vidyasagar proposed a vote of thanks.

The website contains comprehensive information about the university and title of books available in the KSLU's library.


Mr. Suresh Kumar said that there was no problem with regard to funds for the development of the university. The Minister said for the first year Rs. 10 crore had been released to the university. The Vice-Chancellor had sought Rs. 100 crore grant for the development of the university. "Depending on the requirement for each year, we will release funds to the university," he said.


Article in Business Line: The politics of governor's office

The politics of governor's office

Rasheeda Bhagat

In the interest of smooth Centre-State relations and in a truly federal structure it is desirable that a chief minister be consulted on the appointment of a Governor.

AS CHIEF Minister, Ms Jayalalithaa has had a few run-ins with Governors. A politician of strong likes and dislikes, she seldom hesitates to make public her feelings, and when beaten at political games, always fights back. But the latest imbroglio over the messy exit of the Tamil Nadu Governor, Mr P. S. Ramamohan Rao, is one of those instances when she is on strong ground. Actually, when the axe fell on the governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Goa a few months ago, those of Bihar and Rajasthan escaped, and one wondered how the Tamil Nadu Governor, whose closeness to the Sangh Parivar was well known, had been spared.

It was obvious that sooner than later the DMK, an important constituent of the United Progressive Alliance Government, and one which had delivered 39 crucial Tamil Nadu Lok Sabha seats to the Congress-led alliance, would make a move for Mr Rao's ouster. And it was no secret that the DMK chief, Mr M. Karunanidhi, would make a pitch for Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, for whom he has both respect and affection for refusing to send in a report that was sought so as to dismiss the DMK Government under Article 356 way back in 1990.

But the manner in which the latest operation was carried out reiterates how the gubernatorial office continues to be used and misused for political reasons, raising the question yet again on whether this Constitutional post is required at all.

After messing up in Manipur so badly that the representative organisation of students has made it clear that it would henceforth prefer to deal with the Prime Minister rather than the Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil was hardly at his gracious best in ousting Mr Rao from the Chennai Raj Bhavan. Granted, hatchet jobs cannot be accomplished without pain, but the manner in which Mr Patil went about it raises questions on his ability to handle as sensitive a portfolio as Home. To give as flimsy a reason as the failure to host a tea party on Independence Day for ousting the Governor does not quite reveal his political astuteness.

And having to deal with as fiery a chief minister as Ms Jayalalitha, the UPA Government should have been doubly careful. While there can be endless debates on the propriety of a chief minister being consulted before selecting an incumbent of that State's Raj Bhavan, vis-à-vis the Constitutional obligation for a Central government to do that, in the interest of smooth Centre-State relations and in a truly federal structure it is desirable that a chief minister be consulted on the appointment of a Governor.

But, then, 39 Lok Sabha seats cannot be brushed aside, and so, ironically, we have a situation where the Opposition stalwart of the State, rather than the ruling deity, decides on the Raj Bhavan incumbent.

For the DMK, Mr Barnala will return to the Raj Bhavan as its hero. Returning to his dismissal in 1990, Mr Chandrasekhar was then the Prime Minister and the DMK government was on the block for its alleged links with the LTTE. But when Mr Barnala refused to oblige with a report facilitating the dismissal of the DMK government under Article 356, he was transferred out of Tamil Nadu. Eventually, the DMK government was dismissed, on January 30, 1990, and President's Rule proclaimed.

Mr R. Venkataraman, who was President, wrote in his book My Presidential Years that he had advised the Prime Minister not to go by the allegations of the political parties about the DMK's links with Tamil extremists but to get an independent assessment of the ground situation in Tamil Nadu done by the RAW and IB before taking the final step. Significantly, the Central Government had not taken a report from the Governor before the decision.

Deposing before the Jain Commission on April 26, 1994, Mr Chandrashekhar had said, "It is true that TN Government of DMK was dismissed even without Governor's report. Article 356 does not require Governor's report as a precondition for dismissal of a Government." But while the DMK ministry had to go, Mr Barnala became a bit of a hero in Tamil Nadu, because the popular sentiment then was that the Karunanidhi government's dismissal was unjust, and demanded by the Congress(I) led by Rajiv Gandhi which was cosying up with the AIADMK. But the President's Rule lasted an unusually long period, till mid-1991, and Rajiv Gandhi's assassination on the eve of the elections — the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections were held along with the Lok Sabha elections in May 1991 — swept in the AIADMK-Congress alliance with a brute majority. Since then, the electoral pendulum in Tamil Nadu has been swinging from the DMK to the AIADMK.

In 1995, again the Governor and the Chief Minister were pitched against each other when Dr Chenna Reddy gave his sanction to the Janata Party president, Dr Subramaniam Swamy, to file a case against Ms Jayalalitha in the Tansi land deal of 1992.

However, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings and referred to the Constitution Bench the question of whether the Governor had the authority to sanction prosecution against a serving Chief Minister.

Should he take the aid and advice of the Cabinet while doing so had to be examined. But following the sanction, charges flew thick and fast between Raj Bhavan and Poes Garden, with the Chief Minister claiming that the Governor had turned Raj Bhavan into a political post. The next point when Ms Jayalalithaa's relationship with the Governor came into focus was when Ms Fatima Beevi, a former Supreme Court judge, took the decision in 2001 to administer the oath of office to Ms Jayalalithaa despite her conviction in one of the cases filed against her by the previous DMK regime. After this came the midnight arrest of Mr Karunanidhi, then a constituent of the ruling NDA Government in Delhi.

In July, Ms Fatima Beevi resigned after the Vajpayee Cabinet decided to dismiss her for having "failed to discharge Constitutional obligations" in the wake of arrest of the former Chief Minister, Mr Karunanidhi, and two Union Ministers — Murasoli Maran and Mr T. R. Baalu — in Chennai. In her report to the NDA Government, she defended the police action against the two Union ministers.

Predictably, the Congress came down heavily against this decision, describing it as "vindictive, hasty, ill-considered and motivated."

The AICC general-secretary, Ms Ambika Soni, said the NDA Government "was waiting to get even with her for administering oath of office to Ms Jayalalithaa against the wishes of the Home Minister." The Left parties too put in their protest. What is intriguing is that even after Ms Fatima Beevi's exit, when it was time for a replacement, the Vajpayee government had toyed with the idea of sending Mr Barnala to Tamil Nadu in November 2001, undoubtedly on the recommendation of Mr Karunanidhi, who was part of the NDA government then.

Senior AIADMK leaders had then hailed this a "mischievous move" on the NDA Government's part and that too at a time when the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP was close to the AIADMK. Eventually, the DMK walked out of the NDA, along with the MDMK and the PMK, and the BJP-AIADMK alliance came a cropper in the Lok Sabha polls.

Any Governor holds office under Article 156 (1) at the "pleasure of the President" It is not as though the BJP has not played games with Raj Bhavan incumbents during its years in power.

Though Indira Gandhi was the first prime minister to sack a Governor — again it was Tamil Nadu's Prabhudas Patwari to become the first victim of this game in 1980 — the BJP has also bent or twisted the "pleasure of the President" several times.

In 1998, the BJP-led coalition government secured the resignations of the Governors of Gujarat Krishna Pal Singh; Goa's T.R. Satish Chandra; UP's Romesh Bhandari; Mizoram's A. P. Mukherjee and the Lieutenant Governors of the Union Territories of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Pondicherry. In 1991, Ms Fatima Beevi fell prey to the bitter battle between the chiefs of the two Dravidian parties.

In the past suggestions have been made by Mr V. P. Singh and the Left parties that when the government at the Centre changes, all Governors should resign. But this has not become the norm, leaving the gubernatorial office at the mercy or "pleasure" of the ruling entity in Delhi.

In the coming days, Tamil Nadu will see some interesting times. After Ms Jayalalithaa and the UPA government have finished trading charges on whether she did wrong in making public her conversation with Mr Patil where she demanded to be told if he was "consulting" her or "informing" her, all eyes will be on what turn the CM-Governor relationship takes in Chennai. The late Chenna Reddy was a maverick and enjoyed to the hilt playing political games with the miffed AIADMK supremo in the 1990s. But Mr Barnala is a different kettle of fish altogether.

There are bound to be fissures in the Governor-CM relationship, particularly in view of the incumbent's closeness to Mr Karunanidhi, as well as in the State-Centre relationship — a headache that the Manmohan Singh government, already battling several fronts, could well have avoided.


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