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Zia clarifies his timing of declaration of independence

What Mujib Said

Jyoti basu is DEAD

Jyoti Basu: The pragmatist

Dr.B.R. Ambedkar

Memories of Another Day

Memories of Another Day
While my Parents Pulin Babu and basanti Devi were living

"The Day India Burned"--A Documentary On Partition Part-1/9


Partition of India - refugees displaced by the partition

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 Swine Flu Pandemic ENCASHED Brutally inIndia to Overlook Drought in BHARAT.Monsoon deficit widens, cane crop dips.Early farmer suicides.


2009 Swine Flu Pandemic ENCASHED Brutally inIndia to Overlook Drought in BHARAT.Monsoon deficit widens, cane crop dips.Early farmer suicides.


Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, Chapter 326


Palash Biswas


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Sensex snaps three-day losing streak; auto realty up

Economic Times - Mohammed Sabir - ‎14 minutes ago‎
MUMBAI: Indian equities ended higher arresting three-day fall Tuesday but gave most of intra-day gains in the last hour of trade. Beaten down sectors like auto, realty and metals were the star performers while IT space ended flat.

Tata secures private loan for Jaguar Land Rover

Reuters India - ‎1 hour ago‎
LONDON (Reuters) - Tata Motors has secured a 175 million pound ($289 million) private sector loan for its luxury unit Jaguar Land Rover and no longer needs financial support from Britain, a UK government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Monsoon situation grim but GDP to grow at over 6%: FM - ‎2 hours ago‎
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has officially declared 161 districts as drought-prone and said the government

Swine Flu Panic Attack Reaches India

Forbes - Naazneen Karmali - ‎2 hours ago‎
MUMBAI -- Four months after the first outbreak of swine flu, India is discovering how deadly this virus can be. The country's first swine flu death, ...

Swine flu claims 2 more lives, toll reaches 10

Indian Express - ‎2 hours ago‎
Pune: A 63-year old Thane woman and a Vadodara girl succumbed to the deadly swine flu virus on Tuesday taking the all India swine flu death toll to ten. ...

Feared swine flu cases keep pupils at home

Independent Online - Craig McKune - ‎4 hours ago‎
At least 190 Western Cape schools have reported suspected cases of swine flu and up to a quarter of the province's pupils are staying home ...

Pune battles swine flu - ‎1 hour ago‎
As the H1N1 virus claimed the eighth victim in Pune, the city continues to battle the deadly flu. All schools in Pune wear a deserted look.

Three people with swine flu die in Qld

The Age - ‎2 hours ago‎
A 78-year-old woman, who died at Caboolture Hospital, and a 52-year-old man, who died at Cairns Hospital, were both in groups considered vulnerable to swine ...

Province records fourth swine flu-related death - ‎3 hours ago‎
A fourth BC death involving the swine flu or H1N1 virus has been confirmed, the provincial government reported Monday. Since Aug. 4, 42 new cases, ...

Kaminey hit by Swine Flu scare?

Times of India - Renuka Vyavahare - ‎5 hours ago‎
Karan Johar refraining from shooting 'Kurbaan' in Pune is a sign in itself that the Swine Flu scare has finally gripped Bollywood as well. ...

Swine flu: Pune in caution mode - ‎4 hours ago‎
People of Pune are still in a state of shock with the death of a 35-year-old chemist, the fourth in the city and the seventh in India. ...

Fourth BC swine flu death confirmed

Vancouver Sun - Rebecca TeBrake - ‎6 hours ago‎
The death brings the total number of confirmed swine flu deaths in BC to four since July 13. Forty-two new cases, including the death, have been confirmed ...

13-year-old girl dies of swine flu; toll climbs to 8

Press Trust of India - ‎6 hours ago‎
Pune, Aug 11 (PTI) Swine flu claimed one more life in the country with a 13-year-old city girl becoming the latest victim of the deadly virus, ...

Woman with swine flu dies in SA

Brisbane Times - ‎7 hours ago‎
There have been 4253 confirmed cases of swine flu in SA. There are 46 patients with swine flu in hospital in SA - seven of whom are in intensive care.

Swine flu: woman dies at home

ABC Online - ‎8 hours ago‎
A ninth person has died in South Australia related to the outbreak of swine flu. SA Health says the woman, 38, died at home. The coroner will investigate ...

Sun Coast man dies from swine flu

ABC Online - ‎9 hours ago‎
A 73-year-old man has died in the Nambour Hospital, in south-east Queensland, from swine flu. He is the second Sunshine Coast resident to die from the ...

Swine flu tally in city crosses 300 mark

Indian Express - ‎9 hours ago‎
In just two months, the swine flu patients' count in Pune has crossed the 300 mark, with a total of 304 persons suffering from swine flu (H1N1) virus. ...

BC records 4th swine flu death - ‎9 hours ago‎
(US Centers for Disease Control) BC has recorded another death from H1N1 flu virus, the fourth confirmed "swine flu" death in the province since July 13. ...

Swine flu in WA 'should peak soon'

ABC Online - ‎10 hours ago‎
Health authorities expect the unprecedented pressure on Perth's hospitals due to swine flu to continue for the next few weeks. ...

76-year-old swine flu patient put in ICU with pneumonia

Ha'aretz - Dan EvenRonny Linder-Ganz - ‎13 hours ago‎
A 76-year-old man from Tel Aviv with swine flu is hospitalized in intensive care in the Rabin Medical Center in Petah ...

India Inc remains calm, but cautious on swine flu spread

Economic Times - ‎13 hours ago‎
The steady spread of swine flu virus in the country has made India Inc take preventive steps, although not many are talking about widespread shutdown in the ...

Swine flu: Private hospitals roped in, but are they fit?

Times of India - ‎12 hours ago‎
MUMBAI/PUNE: Even as the worsening swine flu pandemic in Pune forced the government to shut down educational institutions for a week, and cinema halls and ...

Private hospitals, labs to be roped in to tackle swine flu

Hindu - Aarti Dhar - ‎13 hours ago‎
WARDING OFF THE VIRUS: As swine flu cases are increasing by the day, especially in Maharashtra, caution seems to be the byword. ...

Texas health officials gird for swine, seasonal flu

Dallas Morning News - Christy Hoppe - ‎14 hours ago‎
AUSTIN – Texas health officials are preparing for the double-whammy this fall of the swine flu and the seasonal ...

Swine Flu: New Wave Expected

Washington Post - ‎16 hours ago‎
US and Other Northern Countries Racing to Prepare for Second Wave of Swine Flu Virus. A medical professional leads a volunteer to receive an experimental ...

Going Back to School With Swine Flu: How Parents Can Prepare

U.S. News & World Report - ‎17 hours ago‎
It includes getting up to speed on what our family should do if my child gets swine flu. Last spring, the federal government ordered schools to close if ...

Swine flu scare spreading fast in India

Economic Times - ‎16 hours ago‎
CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: Swine flu deaths spread beyond western India, claiming the life of a four-year-old boy in Chennai, even as death of a Pune pharmacist on ...

Swine flu death toll rises to seven

Business Standard - ‎16 hours ago‎
Swine flu deaths spread across the country, claiming the life of a four-year-old boy in Chennai, while two more persons from Pune fell victims, ...

Feds offer tips for schools' swine-flu response

Seattle Post Intelligencer - Jennifer Radcliffe - ‎15 hours ago‎
As school resumes this month, educators should be prepared to stave off outbreaks of the swine flu, especially until the vaccine is ...

Swine flu: health check-up in schools

Hindu - ‎16 hours ago‎
The government had initiated prompt measures to prevent the spread of the swine flu virus. Steps had been taken to set up screening facilities at the ...

Bengal gears up to tackle Swine Flu

Business Standard - ‎17 hours ago‎
Fresh cases of Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) were reported today even as state health department officials prepare to issue advisory to educational institutions ...

Spain Records 9th Death From Swine Flu

Wall Street Journal - ‎17 hours ago‎
MADRID (AFP) -- A 28-year-old woman has died of swine flu in Spain, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the disease in the country to nine, ...

Two suspected cases of Swine flu in Nashik

Press Trust of India - ‎17 hours ago‎
Nashik, Aug 10 (PTI) Two suspected swine flu cases were being treated in the district civil hospital here. The two patients, studying in Pune returned home ...
Environmental fundamentalism

Environmental fundamentalism

If the west does not want India to use coal, it must compensate it for using other clean fuel-fired electricity.

Another dose of stimulus, please 

As economy recovery turned brown, questions are raised, whether policy of jump-starting economy through fiscal stimulus failed.

Is India ready for debt management office? 

Debt management over years become a specialist job and administrations the world over have resorted to branching this activity under a separate authority.

Better late than never!
After weeks of refuting govt readies to act on monsoon failure.
Cosmetic surgery will not do
Air-India's ambitious turnaround strategy needs more substance.
Who wants to be PM?
For each week Britain's PM enjoy a busman's holiday, Cabinet ministers act as stand-ins.

More >>

Mythili Bhusnurmath
Core principles of deposit insurance
BCBS and IADI have finally agreed on the following 18 core principles of deposit insurance.
Environmental fundamentalism
For India to avoid coal, West must compensate with fuel-fired electricity.
Raghu Krishnan
Can F1's most successful driver save Ferrari and car-racing?'

Brice Taylor Exposes Mind Control In The US - 19:52 - Aug 11, 2007

(0 Ratings)  Rate:

Brice Taylor is the highest level survivor of MKULTRA and government mind control ever to go public. In her new book, Thanks For the Memorie...all » Brice Taylor is the highest level survivor of MKULTRA and government mind control ever to go public. In her new book, Thanks For the Memories: The Truth Has Set Me Free, she discloses hidden mechanisms used by the nations' most ruthless oligarchs to control America, and reveals their intent to precipitate a global dictatorship. Taylor also identifies many of the individuals at the top of the power structure that she was personally involved with. Brice Taylor, (pseudonym for Susan Ford), a healed survivor of MKULTRA trauma-based mind control, is dedicated to ending mind control and abuse. If copyright becomes an issue on this video upload, it will be deleted immediately. Please rate and comment.«


<embed id="VideoPlayback" src="" style="width:400px;height:326px" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"> </embed>


2009 Swine Flu Pandemic ENCASHED Brutally in India to Overlook Drought in BHARAT.
Three more people died of the H1N1 influenza on Tuesday, with one death each reported from Pune, Vadodara and Mumbai, taking the total number of people killed by the viral disease to 10.

In Pune, the disease claimed the life of a 13-year-old; in Mumbai, a 63-year-old was killed; and in Vadodara, a seven-year-old girl succumbed to the fever.


Shruti Gavde, who had tested positive last on Saturday, died in Pune's Sassoon Hospital, barely hours after a pharmacist Sanjay Tilekar died there Monday night, an official from Maharashtra's State Swine Flu Control Room said.


A student of AD High School in Pune, Shruti had been admitted to Sassoon Hospital on Sunday in critical condition. She died around 1.30 am on Tuesday, according to the official.


In the Maharashtra capital Mumbai, Shahida Warsi died at a private hospital.

Monsoon deficit widens, cane crop dips.
The threat of a drought looms large over India's 161 districts and sowing of crops was down by a fifth, the finance minister said on
"One hundred and sixty one districts have been declared as drought-prone," Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

Mukherjee said the government was sticking to a gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of more than 6 per cent and was confident that direct tax receipts for the 2009/10 fiscal year would be surpassed.
The country has received 25 per cent less than normal rainfall so far this year, a senior agriculture scientist today said here.

"The current year has seen scanty and deficient rainfall to the extent of 25 per cent, Dr K D Kokate of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) said at a review meeting of Krishi Vigyan Kendras of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

The food grain production in the country stood at 231.6 million tons in 2007-2008 and 234 million tons the subsequent year, he said, adding that ICAR was providing weather-based agro advisory at the national level and had launched an agricultural management plan as a contingency measure.

Ninety-nine more Krishi Vigyan Kendras would come up across the country in addition to the existing 568 such centres, he said.
India's national tsunami warning centre said Tuesday it had issued no alert in the wake of a huge 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck
off the Andaman Islands between India and Myanmar.

"We haven't issued any tsunami warning so far," said Ravichandra Vedula, an official with the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services in the southern city of Hyderabad.

"We are monitoring all data on water levels and no anomaly has been observed. Everything is normal," Vedula told AFP.

The quake hit at 1:55 am (1955GMT) around 263 kilometres (163 miles) north of Port Blair, the main town in the Andamans, and was around 33 kilometres (20.2 miles) deep, the US Geological Survey reported.

The USGS said a tsunami watch had been issued for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.
The first death from swine flu in India has sparked off a real panic in the country, but there is actually no need for one.

While a pandemic of the nature of swine flu cannot be taken lightly, it is also not needed to treat it with terror. Swine flu is caused by a virus that has so far responded to treatment by anti-viral medications.
Early farmer suicides News Breaks and Ruling manusmriti Hegemony busyin ROTHSCHILDS Surgery to Finish Majority Masses to Help Monopolistic Aggression. Knowing theRothschilds affairs and noting the India Incs Governance, I would not be surprised a little bit if the COCKTAIL of SEX, BAZAR and Maoism as well turnto be as PROJECTED as our Polity, Parliament, democratic set Up and Mass Movements as well as trade Unions happen to be!
The people who planned and executed the 9/11 attack are still operating in the area and plotting attack against the United States, the
White House on Tuesday said, adding this is the reason why America continues to be in Afghanistan.

"We should keep in mind that the reason we are in Afghanistan is because the people who plotted and executed the attacks on 9/11 are still operating there and are plotting attacks against Americans even now," White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters abroad Air Force One traveling with US President Barack Obama, en route to Andrews Air Force Base from Mexico.

President Obama, he said, feels that the troops in Afghanistan are operated under some of the most dangerous conditions in the world and they are doing it bravely and with a great amount of courage. Obama fully supports what the US troops are doing in Afghanistan, he said.

The new Af-Pak strategy announced in March this year is still to be fully implemented, he said, adding that the aim of the new strategy is to ensure the defeat of Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The US senate has confirmed India-born lawyer Preet Bharara as Manhattan's next US attorney who will oversee some of the most prominent
cases like the prosecution of Bernard L. Madoff for his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

"As a naturalised American citizen from India, Bharara also brings a diversity of background to the post," said the New York Times noting that for this nominee of President Barack Obama "politics and prosecution don't mix."

And while recent United States attorneys in Manhattan have come directly from prosecutors' jobs, Bharara's background on Capitol Hill will serve him well, it said citing Daniel C. Richman, a law professor at Columbia University and a former Southern District prosecutor.

"He contributes things that we've not seen before," Professor Richman was quoted as saying. "He's thought hard about what a US attorney's place should be within a broader federal enforcement system and the train wrecks that can develop when unthinking or ill-thinking bureaucrats tamper with that."

Preetinder S. Bharara, 40, was born in Ferozepur, India, and he was an infant when his parents immigrated to the United States in 1970. He grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and graduated from Harvard in 1990 and Columbia Law School in 1993.

His father, a Sikh, and his mother, who was Hindu, were born in what is now Pakistan. In the violent migration that occurred after the 1947 partition, his father and mother both moved to the Indian side, with their families losing property and most of their possessions, Bharara has said.

His wife's father, a Muslim, also moved, from the Indian side into Pakistan, also losing his home "and much, much more," as Bharara put it according to the Times. And his wife's mother was born in Palestine, after her father, who was Jewish, escaped with his family from Nazi Germany.

"Four different families, practicing four different faiths - all compelled to flee a half century ago because of their religion," Bharara said in a speech to the South Asian Bar Association of New York in 2007.

"It also means," he joked, "that even when my wife fasts for Yom Kippur, and my father-in-law fasts for Ramadan, I get to stuff my face with samosas all day."
Late monsoon to lower farm growth by 5% and GDP by 0.25%: Godrej
India's agriculture growth could be lowered by 5 per cent due to deficient monsoon, top corporate leader Adi Godrej said on Saturday.

Failure of the monsoon and the consequent dip in agriculture growth could also impact the country's GDP growth which is already under strain due to the impact of global recession, he said.

"If the monsoon is delayed, agriculture growth will be down by 5 per cent and GDP growth by 0.25 per cent," Godrej Industries Chairman Adi Godrej said on the sidelines of a function here.

The actual effect will be felt from September or October onwards and it would impact both rural and urban areas alike," he said.


Swine flu panic grips Pune, hundreds throng sole testing centre
Two days after a schoolgirl succumbed to influenza A(H1N1) in this Maharashtra city, hundreds of people - young and old – on Wednesday
thronged the only swine flu testing centre here, leading to chaos at the hospital.

Serpentine queues of people wearing handgloves and sergical masks were seen outside the Naidu Hospital. A scuffle broke out in the crowd as people jostled to get themselves checked by doctors to prevent the disease.

"Yes, hundreds of people came to our hospital. Since Tuesday evening, there is a rush," said Sanjay Walehker, an official at the epidemic helpline in the Naidu Hospital.

"Till afternoon today, more than 500 people have visited us. They are not patients but are scared of swine flu. Most of them are suffering from normal flu as it is the rainy season. They voluntarily came for testing," Walehker said.

Another official at the hospital said there was chaos in the morning as the hospital authorities were not prepared to handle such a huge number of people. Nurses, paramedics and doctors were swamped by patients.

"We have now deployed around 15 doctors to take care of the voluntary patients," the official said.

Police were also called in to control the crowds outside the hospital. Policemen were seen patrolling the streets leading to the hospital, wearing masks and handgloves.

Rida Shaikh, 14, died at the Jehangir Hospital in Pune Monday. She was suffering from the influenza A(H1N1) for almost a fortnight, but was not diagnosed on time. Her parents allege that her death was due to "delayed treatment" and it is a case of medical negligence on the part of the private hospital where she was admitted.

The Maharashtra government has already declared the Pune-Satara belt of the state pandemic hit as over 150 people have been diagnosed there with swine flu. Pune, known as an educational hub across the country, has alone registered 113 cases, of which at least 75 are school students.

Till Tuesday India had reported 574 cases of swine flu. Of them over 470 have already been discharged from hospitals.

Walehker said there is a panic in parts of the city after the schoolgirl died - the first swine flu death in the country.

"There is a scare in parts of the city, mainly in the Cantonment area where the Naidu Hospital is located. Students are certainly scared after the incident," Pankaj Bedi, an NGO worker, said. Rida Shaikh was a resident of the Cantonment area.

A majority of farmers still depend on monsoon rains for kharif crops and agriculture sustains over 60 per cent of the country's 1 billion-plus population, though, the farm sector's contribution to the GDP is decreasing.

On his group's real estate business, Godrej said, "we are looking at new housing projects in Ahmedabad, Kolkata and suburban Mumbai. Bookings for these would start in the next two-to-three months."
India to procure flu vaccine from abroad: Azad
 Swine flu vaccines would be procured from international companies to immunise medical and para-medical staff involved in treating and testing patients for the disease.

"As of now, in India, we are not expecting the vaccine to be ready before December-January, so in case any international company begins manufacturing it before October, we would buy it and provide the same to our para-medical and medical staff," Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here.

In India, three companies were in the process of manufacturing the vaccine, out of which one is already conducting animal trials, he said but added they were not expected to produce the vaccine before December-January.

"To ensure fast-track production of the vaccines, it was decided that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) would harmonise animal trials of the vaccines being developed by these companies," Azad said.

The companies which are producing vaccines in India are the Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech and Panacea.

The health minister said the WHO has estimated that worldwide, 30 per cent of people would be afflicted by the swine flu virus and added that India has managed to contain the disease which is evident by the number of people affected as compared to the country's large population.

Govt issues swine flu guidelines
 The Delhi government issued fresh guidelines for home quarantine of H1N1 patients on Monday, the day 14 patients were confirmed with swine flu.

As per the guidelines, patients confirmed with H1N1 flu should be isolated in a well-ventilated room for seven days and should maintain distance from visitors and family members (see box on left for whole list).

Principal Secretary (Health) J P Singh said, "People should follow the guidelines to control spread of the disease. It is important to isolate the patients, and ensure they do not venture out."

Fifty-four patients are undergoing treatment for H1N1 influenza in Delhi, of which 34 are on home quarantine. The number infected by the virus so far in the city now stands at 242.

Of the 14 persons found positive on Monday, four had recently travelled abroad; the others got the disease "indigenously", health officials said.

As of now, 20 persons are in hospitals. "All our patients are stable and on the way to recovery," Delhi's Health Minister Kiran Walia said. "There is no need to panic — our hospitals are well equipped and we have enough medicines."

She said the teams are working round the clock to trace people who came in contact with swine flu patients to contain further spread.

Walia said it was decided in a meeting with hospital medical superintendents and district surveillance officers that contact-tracing teams should be strengthened. "We have 11 teams in each hospital and one team in each of the nine districts," she said. "We want more personnel in each team."

As the number of queries increases, the government has meanwhile decided to provide call centre support to the public. "The details are yet to be finalised but we want the call centre to be up and running soon," Singh said.


Nitish seeking 10.5k cr central assistance to fight drought

the Bihar government on Tuesday said it would sought a Rs 10,500-crore Central package to meet the situation.

"Our demand for a central package will exceed Rs 10,500 crore to tide over the crisis. Final touches are being given to the draft for the memorandum in consultation with experts.

It is expected to be ready by late evening," state Disaster Management's Principal Secretary Vyasji said.

The memorandum was likely to be submitted to the Centre within a day or two, he said.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday declared 26 of the 38 districts as natural calamity-hit and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately rush a team of union ministers to assess the drought and ensure early release of funds.

According to state government estimate, the drought has affected 1.26 crore families.

The chief minister has issued instructions to the authorities to take steps to ensure that no starvation death took place anywhere in the state.

The districts declared drought-hit were Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Buxar, Rohtas, Kaimur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Arwal, Banka, Nawada, Aurangabad, Munger, Sheikhpura, Lakhisarai, Jamui, Bhagalpur, Saran, Siwan, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Begusarai, Madhepura, Kishanganj, Katihar and Vaishali.

A sum of Rs 100 crore had already been released from the state contingency fund to meet the crisis.

The state planned to provide gratuitous relief, cash dole, create additional irrigation facilities, set up cattle camps, arrange supplementary nutrition and safe drinking water in the affected districts.

The chief minister said the state government had allotted Rs 7.50 crore to the health department and mobile medical units sent to the drought-affected areas.


Govt will use its might to contain food inflation

Faced with the dichotomy of overflowing granaries and rising commodity prices, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the government will do "everything possible" to put the lid on food inflation.

He conveyed this to business chamber FICCI-led delegation that called on him.

"He (Prime Minister) was quite confident that given the buffer stock, they (government) would be able to handle the food inflation," FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra told reporters after the meeting.

Central agencies like Food Corporation of India have buffer stocks of over 50 million tonnes of rice and wheat. The delegation, which met the Prime Minister against the backdrop of drought in several parts of the country, was informed that the government godowns were brimming with food grain stocks and that it would do "everything possible" to ensure that there is no food inflation.

While the Wholesale Price Index based inflation remains negative, prices of essential commodities like pulses, sugar and vegetables have skyrocketed in the past few months. The Prime Minister informed the business leaders that the government was gearing up the public distribution system (PDS) to mitigate the impact of deficient rains.

As many as 141 districts have been declared drought-hit. On concerns of drought on the economic growth, FICCI President Harsh Pati Singhania said, "There will always be concerns".

Singhania also said that investments in agri-market infrastructure should be included in the priority lending of the banks. Ensuring adequate liquidity to ensure industrial growth was also a key issue, the FICCI President said. He said the Prime Minister has assured them that the government borrowing programme would be managed efficiently.


'Ambani gas pact flouts Govt authority'

 The part of the Ambani family MoU that divides the gas found by RIL between brothers Mukesh and Anil group firms is against public interest, flouts government authority and will set a wrong precedent for others, the Oil Ministry has said.

Responding to comments sought by the Prime Minister's Office on a letter from industrialist Anil Ambani, the ministry last week wrote that the family MoU was clearly against the provisions of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) and will "harm the public interest."

Anil had written to the Prime Minister on July 15 seeking a direction to the Oil Ministry to stop favouring Reliance Industries in a commercial dispute between two companies.

The Bombay High Court's June 15 order that upheld the MoU, gives "precedence to a private family MoU over the government's rights under the PSC, the policies approved by the Government and the Constitution of India," it said.

The court had asked RIL to supply more than one-third of peak output from KG-D6 fields to Anil Ambani Group's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd at USD 2.34 per million British thermal unit, a rate 44 per cent lower than government approved price for the fuel from the fields.

Any private arrangement to distribute natural gas for private business plans is nothing but monopolising a vital natural resource and will set a bad precedent under which production from other fields may also be appropriated, the ministry stated.

Main article: 2009 swine flu outbreak actions concerning pigs .... One doctor said that "when there's something that's new and unknown, it scares people. ...


Don't have capability or intention to match China force for force: Navy chief

Admitting that India neither has the "capability nor the intention" to match China's military strength, Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said here today that "common sense dictates" that India needs to cooperate with China rather than confront it.

"In military terms, both conventional and non-conventional, we neither have the capability nor the intention to match China, force for force. These are indeed sobering thoughts and therefore our strategy to deal with China would need to be in consonance with these realities," Mehta said, delivering an address on National Security Challenges organized by the National Maritime Foundation.

In his address, perhaps his last in public as Navy chief — he retires month-end — Mehta said: "Common sense dictates that cooperation with China would be preferable to competition or conflict, as it would be foolhardy to compare India and China as equals...Whether in terms of GDP, defence spending or any other economic, social or development parameter, the gap between the two is just too wide to bridge and getting wider by the day," the officer said.

Warning that China will be one of India's primary challenges in the years ahead, Mehta said that the country is in the process of consolidating its "comprehensive national power" and is creating "formidable military capabilities" and boundary issues between the countries could lead to mistrust.

"Once that is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in its immediate neighbourhood. Our 'trust deficit' with China can never be liquidated unless our boundary problems are resolved," the Navy Chief said.

Pointing out that India's expenditure on Defence has been hovering around a low two percent of GDP in recent years, Mehta said that the strategy to deal with China on the military front would be to introduce modern technology and create a "reliable stand-off deterrent."

"On the military front, our strategy to deal with China must include reducing the military gap and countering the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean Region," the officer said.

However, he warned that unless spending on defence is increased substantially, the military gap could even widen further. "Let alone bridging the gap between us and our potential adversaries, without a substantial increase, the gap may widen further and dilute our operational edge," Mehta said.

Making it clear that India needs to grow out of its Pakistan-centric approach when it comes to strategic planning, Mehta said that China's growing power should be a major consideration in future national planning.

"China's known propensity for intervention in space and cyber warfare would also be major planning considerations in our strategic and operational thinking," he said.

State govts alerted to keep strict vigil ahead of I-Day

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Posted: Aug 11, 2009 at 1524 hrs IST
Red fort

New Delhi Ahead of Independence Day celebrations, Union Home Ministry has asked all the states and union territories to maintain a tight vigil especially along the coastal areas which may be used by Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Toiba to infiltrate.

Intelligence reports indicated that besides the national capital, Kolkata and Hyderabad are on the hit list of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashker-e-Toiba, sources said.

A hawk-eye vigil was being maintained in and around Delhi, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hoist the tri-colour at the historic Red Fort, official sources said.

The area around the Red Fort which mainly consists of walled city has been sanitised and police informers deployed to keep a tab on any movement of anti-national elements.

Besides heavy deployment of gun-totting commandos from Delhi Police, para-military and elite National Security Guards, air defence guns would be kept in readiness to ensure that no flying object hovers over the venue on August 15.

The Home Ministry asked states to take adequate measures to ensure special security arrangements at the venues where the national flag would be unfurled, sources said.

The security establishment has also asked the northeastern states to maintain a strict vigil against possible attacks from Left wing terror groups and insurgents.

Indian companies may pitch in with generic version of Tamiflu
10 Aug 2009, 1108 hrs IST, Khomba Singh & Sushmi Dey, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The swine flu outbreak, classified by the World Health Organisation as a "public health emergency of international concern" , may see
Indian drug makers pitching in with the generic version of the antiviral Tamiflu as the world looks for quick, affordable options to counter the infection.

"We have already received proposals from people on behalf of countries in Latin America, Mexico and Israel. We have the capability to supply 1.5 million dosages of the drug within 4-6 weeks," said Cipla joint MD Amar Lulla.

Cipla and other Indian pharma majors can now legally manufacture generic versions of Tamiflu after the patent office in Delhi last month rejected a patent application by Swiss company Roche, which markets the antiviral in India. With this, Indian companies can export the generic versions to countries where Tamiflu is not patented.

Even in countries where Roche holds the patent, the concerned government can issue compulsory licencing, which essentially means waiving off patent to allow generic players to supply drugs in public interest.

The swine flu outbreak that was first reported from Mexico has so far claimed over 100 lives and has now spread to Canada, parts of Europe, and at least five states in the US, where it has already been declared a public health emergency.

Swine flu, or swine influenza, is a form of the virus that normally infects pigs. There are many forms of flu and the different varieties have the ability to exchange genes with one another. The form of flu that originated in Mexico is a genetic mixture of viruses that have been seen in pigs, birds and people.

In 2006, when the bird flu outbreak took place, Cipla and Ranbaxy had supplied the antiviral to some Asian countries after their respective governments intervened to buy the generic version. "The Indian government already has a stockpile of Tamiflu which it procured during the bird flu outbreak and one million more will be procured," said Dr VN Katoch, director general, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

The joint secretary in the health ministry Debasis Panda said that a generic drug in the market definitely makes a difference in terms of affordability and availability. However, since the judgement against Roche has come only recently, it remains to be seen how much time they would take to translate it in terms of availability. Mr Lulla said he is yet to hear from either WHO or the health ministry, but his company is ready for any eventuality.

Cipla sells the drug at Rs 1,000 ($20) for 10 days (a typical course is five days), which is much cheaper than the patented ones. Tamiflu (Oseltamivir Phosphate) is a drug developed by American company Gilead, and Roche has the marketing licence for the drug in India. Currently, Hyderabad-based Hetero has an agreement with Roche to develop and market generic Tamiflu.
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 Private hospitals, labs to be roped in to tackle swine flu

Aarti Dhar

35 senior officers from other Ministries will help coordinate efforts: Azad

— Photo: Vivek Bendre

WARDING OFF THE VIRUS: As swine flu cases are increasing by the day, especially in Maharashtra, caution seems to be the byword. Here the teacher and the taught at the Rajawadi Municipal School in northeast Mumbai wear protective masks against the spreading virus.

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday decided to involve private hospitals in checking for the A(H1N1) influenza that has already claimed seven lives and affected 864 persons across the country.

The decision was taken in view of the increasing number of swine flu cases coming to government hospitals.

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has also requisitioned the services of 35 additional and joint-secretary-level officers from other Ministries, to help coordinate with the States in containing the disease and ensuring treatment to the people.

Briefing journalists after a three-hour meeting with the Cabinet Secretary here, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that with the number of swine flu cases increasing, it was decided that private laboratories and hospitals be allowed to test and treat patients provided they had the capacity to do so.

They would have to follow the guidelines approved by the Ministry, which have been forwarded to the States.

Involving the private sector would ensure availability of additional diagnostic capacity for testing for this influenza, Mr. Azad said.

At present, testing is done in 18 government laboratories.

Senior officers from other Ministries will be briefed on Tuesday and will then be sent to the States and Union Territories to assess their preparedness in terms of isolation capacity. They will also gauge the clinical capability of different hospitals both in the government and in the private sector. However, people will have to pay for the tests and treatment provided at private hospitals. Typically, a test costs about Rs. 10,000, and is done free of cost at government facilities.

The Centre will issue directives to private hospitals to make it legally mandatory to treat patients and comply with the guidelines which include operating isolation wards and having separate paramedical staff and doctors, and separate out-patient departments and wards.

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 Swine flu deaths spread beyond western India, claiming the life of a four-year-old boy in Chennai, even as death of a Pune
pharmacist on Monday evening took the toll to seven, and the Centre shifted gears to battle the virus.

The government has decided to procure additional two crore tablets of anti-viral drug oseltamivir, the generic version of Roche's anti-flu drug Tamiflu, used worldwide for treating swine flu.

While retailing of oseltamivir—sold under the brands Tamiflu and Fluvir—within a fortnight is actively being considered, the government is also exploring the possibility of roping in private hospitals and laboratories for testing and treating swine flu-infected patients. This, while the government is planning to double the number of medical kits to test the virus, by importing an additional 22,000 kits.

"The number of swine flu cases are rising. We have to work a little harder," health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters in New Delhi, as people flocked to hospitals for swine flu tests.

The government will identify around 35 bureaucrats of the rank of additional secretary and joint secretary from several ministries who will be posted soon to various states to work with state governments to identify private hospitals and private testing laboratories with required facilities. The identified facilities will be designated to treat patients of swine flu.

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Mr Azad also said he did not favour closure of schools but left it to the state governments and schools concerned to take a call. Airport screenings will also not stop, he added.

All these initiatives were taken at an exhaustive meeting Mr Azad with Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar and other top health minsitry officials on Monday. Several key issues related to the government's strategy to manage public health and check the spread of this virus in the country were discussed at the high-level meeting that went on for almost three hours in the health ministry.
Flu view: Do not overdo it

New Delhi, Aug. 10: India may be wasting resources and placing children at risk of side effects without good reason by giving the antiviral drug oseltamivir to every child infected with pandemic influenza, research suggests.

Medical experts also cautioned that India may be using up antiviral drug stocks without being able to clearly assess the severity of the pandemic in India because of decades of neglect of viral fevers.

A study released by Oxford University scientists today indicates that while oseltamivir can shorten the duration of seasonal flu in children by up to a day, it is unlikely to prevent flu complications. The study suggests that the antiviral has little effect on asthma flareups, increased risk of ear infections, or the need for antibiotic treatment among children with seasonal flu.

The Indian health ministry has been providing antiviral therapy to every patient -- child or adult -- infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus. Family members with no signs of flu symptoms have also been asked to take the treatment.

Health officials have argued that this treat-every-case policy is intended to prevent the spread of H1N1 into the community.

But the Oxford review of several previous trials of flu involving 1,766 children shows that antiviral therapy has only a small effect on preventing the spread of the virus. The review appears today in the British Medical Journal.

"It's not very good in preventing spread," said Matthew Thompson, senior clinical scientist at Oxford University and a research team member. "You need to treat 13 children to prevent one child from getting flu," Thompson told The Telegraph.

The review showed that the antiviral is linked to an increased risk of vomiting.

Sections of India's medical community have also expressed concern about the government's policy of treating every patient, pointing out that the majority of patients have mild symptoms that can be treated just as any other flu.

"Patients with mild symptoms may not need antiviral therapy," said Randeep Guleria, professor of medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

"Most patients with flu only need to take bed rest, keep themselves well-hydrated, and use paracetamol to reduce fever -- while keeping watch for signs of serious illness such as breathlessness or high fever that doesn't go away or coloured sputum.

A meeting of medical experts called by the government today decided that India should stockpile an additional 20 million doses of oseltamivir. It had bought 10 million doses in May this year.

An official told The Telegraph that the issue of treating every case has been debated during meetings of experts, but there is no change in the antiviral drug treatment policy yet. More than 200 children have received the antiviral in India so far since the arrival of H1N1 in India in May this year.

India's pandemic flu death count rose to seven and the number of infections climbed to 959 today, but doctors and virologists cautioned that an effort to assess the severity of this flu in India is handicapped by the lack of baseline flu mortality data.

"We're groping in the dark," said Thekekkera Jacob John, former head of virology at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. "Is this virus causing lower or more mortality than seasonal flu viruses in India? We don't know."

The US, which maintains a strong surveillance network for flu estimates, that about 36,000 people die from seasonal flu in that country every year. Over the first three months of the 2009 pandemic, 302 people had died from H1N1 infection.

The numbers from the US suggest that H1N1 is not any more virulent than seasonal flu viruses. India has no such numbers to compare. It is the price India is now paying for dismissing viral fevers for decades, one expert said.

Limited surveillance over the past five years and accounts from hospitals suggest India also has peak flu seasons and some patients have severe illness and pneumonia, said V.K. Vijayan, director of the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, New Delhi.

The Indian Council of Medical Research plans to this year launch the country's first ever study to assess death rates from seasonal flu. A senior scientist at the ICMR told The Telegraph that influenza was not viewed as a public health problem in India. "We have had to worry about dengue, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, diarrhoeal diseases -- they all claim far many more lives every year."

ICMR to develop low-cost testing kits for flu

New Delhi, Aug 11 (PTI): The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) today initiated a process of developing low- cost indigenous testing kits for swine flu.

Top scientists and senior government officials met here to discuss steps to develop the low-cost kits, officials said.

The meeting, attended by ICMR chief V M Katoch, National Institute of Communicable Diseases Director Shivlal and Joint Secretary (Health) Vineet Choudhury, came a day after Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the ICMR will explore the possibility of developing low-cost kits. Once developed, these kits will be distributed across the country.

Reagents used to test swine flu are very expensive as a negative sample will cost Rs 5,000 and a positive sample will cost Rs 10,000. Azad has said the government has already taken steps to procure adequate testing reagents by immediately procuring another 22,000 kits in addition to the 27,000 kits recently procured. This will cost around Rs 1.75 crore.

On developing vaccine for swine flu, he said a company has already commenced animal trial of these vaccines. To ensure fast track production of vaccines, he said, the ICMR would "harmonise" animal trials of the vaccines being developed by companies.

A 63-year-old woman dies of swine flu at Noor Hospital in Byculla. She is the tenth victim of the viral infection.

ICMR to develop low-cost testing kits for flu

New Delhi, Aug 11 (PTI): The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) today initiated a process of developing low- cost indigenous testing kits for swine flu.

Top scientists and senior government officials met here to discuss steps to develop the low-cost kits, officials said.

The meeting, attended by ICMR chief V M Katoch, National Institute of Communicable Diseases Director Shivlal and Joint Secretary (Health) Vineet Choudhury, came a day after Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the ICMR will explore the possibility of developing low-cost kits. Once developed, these kits will be distributed across the country.

Reagents used to test swine flu are very expensive as a negative sample will cost Rs 5,000 and a positive sample will cost Rs 10,000. Azad has said the government has already taken steps to procure adequate testing reagents by immediately procuring another 22,000 kits in addition to the 27,000 kits recently procured. This will cost around Rs 1.75 crore.

On developing vaccine for swine flu, he said a company has already commenced animal trial of these vaccines. To ensure fast track production of vaccines, he said, the ICMR would "harmonise" animal trials of the vaccines being developed by companies.

A 63-year-old woman dies of swine flu at Noor Hospital in Byculla. She is the tenth victim of the viral infection.


Monsoon: Rain and drought


Monsoon deficit widens, cane crop dips 8:23pm IST

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's monsoon shortfall worsened to 28 percent at the weekend, raising fears that the June-September season may turn out to be as bad as 2004 when summer crop output fell 12 percent after a drought.  Full Article

SCENARIOS - What can India do to manage a bad monsoon? 5:05pm IST 

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains this season have been below normal and unevenly spread, hurting crop outputs, driving up food prices, threatening a fragile economic recovery and spurring increasingly urgent calls for government action.  Full Article  

PM asks states to act on poor rains Saturday, 8 Aug 2009 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked state governments on Saturday to take first steps to deal with poor monsoon rains that have hit sowing of important crops, leading to a sharp rise in prices of food items like sugar.  Full Article  

High tide in MumbaiSlideshowSlideshow 
Slideshow: Mumbai high tide
Monsoon in IndiaSlideshowSlideshow 
Slideshow: Monsoon in India
Mumbai floodedSlideshowSlideshow 
Slideshow: Mumbai flooded


Crops, shares at risk from monsoon woes Friday, 7 Aug 2009 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Forecasts of weak rains in the next five days and inadequate water in reservoirs have raised the risk to the country's cane and soybean crops, and fears of a wider economic fall out could spook the stock market.  Full Article  


Poor monsoon stalks India despite economic strides
Poor monsoon stalks India despite economic strides

India is fretting once again over a poor monsoon just as other signs point to a rebounding economy.  Full Article

Bill should address malnutrition: Amartya Sen Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Saturday favoured a universal public distribution system but added that there could be a multiplicity of vehicles for delivery to have a wider reach and equitable supply of food grains to the needy.

Welcoming the United Progressive Alliance government's proposed Right to Food Act, Professor Sen said it was a "step in the right direction as we have to reach the deprived people in a variety of ways." He had not seen the draft of the proposed Bill, yet, "if there was one," but said it should address the issue of malnutrition, which he described as "horrendous."

Professor Sen, who was here to promote his book, The Idea of Justice, was participating in a discussion on the food security, organised by the Right to Food Campaign.

While there was no one system that could solve the problem of under-nutrition, it was necessary to recognise that food, healthcare, education and the treatment of women were all closely linked. "For instance, the magnitude and reach of maternal under-nourishment was not widely recognised but it reflects on the way women are taken in society. The two big neglects behind under-nutrition are lack of food and entitlement."


Economist Jean Dreze termed the government's proposed Food Security Act a "repackaging" of the existing system. The government needed to have a three-pronged strategy of social assistance, proper nutrition for children and universal PDS before coming up with a comprehensive Food Security Act, he said.

Former bureaucrat Harsh Mander said the state must ensure that nobody went hungry. "Those who are outside the system and various schemes must be included."

The Right to Food is an integral component of the proposed National Food Security Act, under which every below poverty line family will get 25 kg of food grains a month at Rs. 3 a kg.

"I am on Left," says Amartya Sen Hasan Suroor
There is no such thing as "perfect" justice, he argues

Everyone is interested in justice as they see it

The stress should be on removing more visible forms of injustice

LONDON: Amartya Sen has called for the Indian Left to regard him as a friend saying that his criticism of the Left parties over their stand on the India-U.S. nuclear deal did not detract from the fact that he was very much a man of the Left.

"I am on Left and if Left want me I'm delighted," he said noting good-humouredly that he was criticised in India for questioning the Left's fury over the nuclear deal when, in his view, there were more pressing issues such as poverty and malnutrition to be furious about.

His inspiration

Speaking about his new book, 'The Idea of Justice,' to a full-house at the London School of Economics on Monday, Prof. Sen repeatedly referred to leading Marxist thinkers — including, of course, Marx's own writings — while presenting his alternative approach to mainstream theories of justice that he challenges in his book.

He said he was not claiming to break new ground by offering a comparative theory of justice and mentioned Adam Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft and Karl Marx among those whose works represented different versions of comparative thinking. Instead of looking for a "perfectly just society" they were more interested in the removal of "manifest" injustices from the world. His own idea of justice was inspired by their thinking.

Prof. Sen said that people often asked: "Who's interested in justice?" And, yet, the fact was that at some level —consciously or subconsciously — everyone was interested in justice as they saw it.

"I remember my son when he was three complaining that his sister was not being 'just' to him!" he quipped.

As in his previous lectures on the issue, the Nobel Laureate argued that there was no such thing as "perfect" justice; that justice was relative to a situation; and that instead of searching for "ideal" justice, the stress should be on removing the more visible forms of injustice such as subjugation of women, poverty and malnutrition.

Effective approach

For example, if U.S. President Barack Obama was able to push through his healthcare reforms, it would mean removing a massive manifest injustice that affected more than 40 million Americans who didn't have access to health. This was a far more effective approach to fighting injustice than getting bogged down in the idea of "institutional justice"— the belief that once "just" institutions were created justice would follow.

'Niti' and 'Nyaya'

Prof. Sen said Indian philosophy made the distinction between institutional justice and the actual "realisation" of justice. This was denoted by the two Sanskrit words "niti" — the principle of justice; and "nyaya" meaning delivering justice on the ground. His book is an argument for "nyaya."

"The idea of justice demands comparisons of actual lives that people can lead, rather than a remote search for ideal institutions. That is what makes the idea of justice relevant as well as exciting in practical reasoning," Prof. Sen says in his book.

In a wide-ranging speech and during his interaction with the audience, Prof Sen dealt with a host of issues, including the meaning of human rights, equity and fairness — and inevitably recounted his favourite story about three children who quarrel over a flute all arguing that their claim was the most ``just."

 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked state governments on Saturday to take first steps to deal with poor monsoon rains that have hit sowing of important crops, leading to a sharp rise in prices of food items like sugar. Meanwhile, the poor monsoon has triggered early tragedy in India's farm suicide belts, with several despairing farmers killing themselves right at the start of the kharif season.

Amaratya Sen would be "delighted" if the Left parties in India regard him as a comrade despite his support for the Indo-US nuclear deal, as the Nobel laureate felt that there were more pressing issues in the country like poverty and malnutrition to be "furious" about.

Sen says there is no such thing as 'perfect' justice' and attempts should me made to remove more visible forms of injustice such as subjugation of women, poverty and malnutrition.

"There is no such thing as perfect justice; that justice is relative to a situation; and that instead of searching for ideal justice, the stress should be on removing the more visible forms of injustice such as subjugation of women, poverty and malnutrition," Sen said.

Speaking about his new book, 'The Idea of Justice,' and answering queries from the gathering at the London School of Economics, Sen said

notwithstanding his criticism of the Indian Left on their stand on the India-US nuclear deal, he wanted them to regard him as a friend.

"I am on Left and if Left want me I'm delighted," he said. Sen said he was criticised by the Left in India for questioning their fury over the nuclear deal when, "there were more pressing issues such as poverty and malnutrition to be furious about."

Monsoon rains in India, where only 40 percent farmland is irrigated, were 25 percent below normal since the start of the season in June and 64 percent below normal in the week to Aug. 5.

Forecasts of scanty rains in the next five days and low water levels in reservoirs have stoked concerns of a sharp fall in sugarcane and soybean output, and a larger economic fallout for Asia's third biggest economy.

"Agricultural operations have been adversely affected in several parts of the country, causing distress to farmers and their families," Singh said.

"I would urge that wherever there is need, the states should immediately commence relief operations. The states may also monitor the availability of seeds, fodder and cattle health requirements."

The central government usually asks the state governments to ensure farmers get seeds in the event that they have to replant important crops.

Farm Minister Sharad Pawar last month said India had enough grain stocks for 13 months and his government might free some wheat for open market sale.

"We should not hesitate to take strong measures and intervene in the market if the need were to arise," Singh added.

The prime minister said output of winter-sown crops must be raised to compensate for the loss of this season.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is keeping a close watch on the delayed monsoon and its possible impact on agriculture, Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan said Friday, asserting that there were enough foodgrain to handle any unforeseen situation that might arise.

"We all know that there is a shortfall of monsoon in north-west India. The PMO is closely monitoring the situation. The cabinet secretary and secretary to the PM are keeping a tab on the developments," Chavan told reporters on the sideline of an event in New Delhi.

"There is no need to panic. The average rainfall is calculated on the basis of rain over four months - from June 1 to September last. Yes, it's fact that the northwest has received around 50 percent less rainfall in June," said Chavan, who is also the minister for earth sciences.

"The July rainfall is going normal but what we want to see is if it can fulfill the shortage of June. In fact IMD (India Meteorological Department) had predicted 83 percent rainfall in northwest India (17 percent less than average)," he said, adding that generally India gets 890 mm of rain, of which "19 percent is experienced in June".

When asked about the drought like situation in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and some other states, he said: "The food pockets generally depend on irrigation and not entirely on the monsoon."

In case any problem arose, he said: "There is a very strong storage of foodgrain".

Admitting that the delayed monsoon was a "real and serious problem" in north India, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday hoped the situation "will definitely improve".

"It is true that the whole country is worried about monsoon recession as on today, particularly Vidarbha," Pawar said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

"As compared to last week, as per reports which we are getting, there is improvement in certain areas," he said, adding: "The real and serious problem is essentially in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, western UP, part of Bihar and Himachal Pradesh.

"In these areas, there is more serious problem. Problem is serious throughout India, particularly in these regions it is more serious," the minister said.

According to the latest IMD estimates, the cumulative seasonal rainfall during this year's monsoon has so far been 43 percent below the long-term average.

Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, rainfall was excess or normal in seven and deficient or scanty in 29 meteorological sub-divisions.


Monsoon deficit widens, cane crop dips

By Ratnajyoti Dutta

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's monsoon shortfall worsened to 28 percent at the weekend, raising fears that the June-September season may turn out to be as bad as 2004 when summer crop output fell 12 percent after a drought.

Dry weather in India, where the majority of the 1.1 billion people live in villages, has also raised concerns about economic recovery, sending Indian shares down 1 percent to their worst close in three weeks.

Cane sowing in India, the world's top consumer of sugar, has dropped 3 percent below last year, particularly in the drought-hit Uttar Pradesh, where crop area has dropped 17 percent.

Total cane area is lower than last year, but soybean area was up 2.6 percent at 9.4 million hectares, while corn area rose 7.5 percent to 6.5 million hectares, latest data from the farm ministry showed.

Annual monsoon rains, vital for sugarcane, oilseeds and other crops, began disastrously with the driest June in 83 years followed by near-normal rainfall in many parts of India in July, but this month, India received barely a third of normal rain.

The total rainfall deficit in the country since the season began in June was 28 percent by Aug. 8 from 25 percent three days earlier, senior officials of the weather office told Reuters.

The soybean-producing region of central India, which has been almost totally dry for more than two weeks, is expected to see better rains in the next seven days, they said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the country's top cane producer, rainfall was likely to improve from Wednesday, the officials, who did not want to be identified, said.

Monsoon 64 pct below normal in Aug 5 week

Thu Aug 6, 2009 6:20pm IST
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were 64 percent below normal in the past seven days, dipping for the second straight week at a crucial period for oilseeds and sugarcane, and raising concerns of rising food prices.

Last week's rainfall was the worst since mid-June, while total rainfall since the start of season on June 1 was a quarter below average, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday.

The soybean-producing central part of India remained parched, getting barely 1 percent of the normal rainfall, putting the crop at risk if the dry patch continues another week.

Weather officials said central India may get good rains soon.

"Increase in rainfall activity is likely in central and adjoining northern plains in 2-3 days," said one official, who did not wish to be named.

The June-September rains are the main source of irrigation for farms and are crucial for Asia's third-largest economy.

The weather department said only seven of India's 36 weather zones received normal rains during the week to Aug. 5.

Early farmer suicides

Aug. 8: The poor monsoon has triggered early tragedy in India's farm suicide belts, with several despairing farmers killing themselves right at the start of the kharif season.

Five took their own lives in the past few days in Andhra Pradesh after their seed stocks went waste, either because they couldn't sow them in time owing to scanty rain or because they dried up in the fields.

Seven suicides in August and 36 in July have been reported from Maharashtra's Vidarbha, where a dry spell has damaged more than half the standing soybean crop.

Andhra farmers had taken huge loans to stock fertilisers and seeds and made preparations to expand their area of cultivation by over 20 per cent this year, buoyed by government assurances of a strong monsoon and the good rain of the past five years.

With the monsoon season more than halfway through and the nation-wide rain deficit up from 19 to 25 per cent, they have been left high and dry.

Mandal Koraiah, 45, of Karimnagar had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 to raise cotton on his 15 acres. He drank pesticide after his seedlings dried up.

"I wish he had told me; then I too could have joined him," sobbed his wife Lakshmiamma, 40, left with the responsibility of feeding her two teenage children and repaying her husband's debts.

Such tragedies mostly occur during harvest time, in October or later, when crop failure drives some farmers to kill themselves, but the scanty rainfall is already filling many with despair this year.

Scientists have said the chances of a late monsoon rally making up the rain deficit are decreasing and predicted a drop in yields.

In Vidarbha, Prakash Kotate of Gaigaon and Dadarao Mankar of Akola hanged themselves on Raksha Bandhan day. Ramdas Pawar of Yavatmal swallowed poison and Madan Andale of Amravati jumped into a well.

In Andhra's Mahboobnagar, groundnut farmer Kavali Raju, 30, took sleeping tablets, leaving his pregnant wife to bear the brunt of his Rs 18,000 loan.

Konda Mogili, 60, of Warangal and Baku Subbi Reddy, 40, of Chittoor had lost their cotton and tomato crops last season and this kharif's disappointment proved the last straw. "We were to marry off our daughter Kanakalakshmi in October," said Reddy's wife Mahalakshmi.

"Almost one lakh quintals of seeds have gone waste and seedlings in 10 lakh hectares have dried up," Andhra agriculture minister N. Raghurami Reddy said. Cotton has been sown in 10.26 lakh hectares out of 12 lakh hectares, and groundnut on eight lakh hectares out of 14 lakh hectares.

The Andhra government says a 50 per cent rain deficit could lead to a failure of the cotton crop in seven districts and a loss of Rs 325 crore in input costs alone.

B. Ramanamma, a woman farmer from Karimnagar, said that even after the monsoon had a patchy start, the farmers had made preparations for intensive cultivation on assurances from officials and politicians that rainfall would improve by the third week of July.

"Will anyone please tell us how we can carry on till October, when our neighbours will be in a position to lend us grains and alms?" she asked.

"Farmer-friendly" chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy — first swept to power in 2004 by a wave of anger against the Chandrababu Naidu government following a spate in farmer suicides — had this to say: "Nine years of misrule by Naidu and seven years of drought cannot be set right overnight."

Maharashtra's Ashok Chavan government, facing an Assembly election in October, has announced measures to tackle the "drought-like situation" in 129 tehsils.

'Radical rethink' needed on food

By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

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Scientists try to boost crop yield

A "radical rethink" of how the UK produces and consumes its food is needed, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has warned.

He was speaking at the launch of the government's assessment of the threats to the security of what we eat.

The food supply was currently secure but population growth and climate change could have an impact, he warned.

Producers, supermarkets and consumers have been invited to suggest how a secure food system should look in 2030.

Some of the findings from the consultation are expected to be published in the autumn.

We have to feed another two and a half to three billion mouths over the next 40 to 50 years
Hilary Benn

As well as launching the consultation process, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a scorecard-style assessment of the current state of the UK's food supply.

"It is to stimulate a debate within the UK on what a food policy should be, and how do we define and look at food security more broadly," said Defra's chief scientific adviser Professor Robert Watson.

"Food is absolutely essential, and over the past few years we did see a food price increase - not only in the UK, but across the globe," he told BBC News.

"We think it is time to have a debate with consumers, farmers, the private sector... on what the food policy should be for the UK.

"We are clearly food secure in the UK today," he observed. "We produce about 60-65% of our own food [and] import about 20% from Europe.

"So the [test] for us will be, as the Earth's climate changes, what will be the challenges not only in the UK but throughout the world?"

More needs to be done to promote natural ways of growing food. It needs to be sustainable, seasonal and fresh
Rui De Sousa, London

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said while Britain was more self-sufficient now than it was in the 1930s and 1950s, everyone had to start thinking ahead about how to produce more using less water and less fertiliser.

He said last year's sudden jump in the price of food and oil, which most fertilisers are based on, was a "wake-up call".

"We saw last year when the oil price went up and there was a drought in Australia, which had an impact on the price of bread here in the UK, just how interdependent all these things are," he said.

"We have to feed another two and a half to three billion mouths over the next 40 to 50 years, so I want British agriculture to produce as much food as possible."

He also encouraged British consumers to buy more UK-grown produce and called for a re-think on best before or sell by dates to reduce waste.

Food for the future

Today's food security assessment focuses on six areas, including global availability, UK food chain resilience and household food security.

Vegetables (Getty Images)
Population growth means the world needs more food from fewer inputs

It assesses the current situation in each area, and the likely situation in 5-10 years time.

One sector identified as "very unfavourable" and showing no sign of improving is global fish stocks.

Yet other areas, such as the diversity of the UK's suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables are deemed "favourable" and likely to improve even more.

In July, the Sustainable Development Commission - the government's environmental watchdog - warned that the current food system was failing.

In its report, the commission warned that the current approach was a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and paid little attention to soil quality and water use.

Diagram showing UK self-sufficiency for food groups (Image: BBC)

Responding to the Defra publications, the British Retail Consortium said that any strategy had to be centred around consumers.

"Without their buy-in, no plan will work," said food policy director Andrew Opie.

"We do need a sustainable supply chain, but retailers do not need government statements to wake them up to these issues, they are already taking action.

"What we need is joined-up policy with government agreeing what it wants from food across all its departments and agencies."

Theme Current position Compared to mid 1990s Likely position in 5-10 years' time
Source: Defra's Food Chain Analysis Group, August 2009
Global resources sustainability (land use change) Uncertain Deterioration Very
Comments Unclear how much forest loss attributable to food production; small rise in farmland use since 1990s.
UK availability and access (diversity of supply) Favourable        Similar Favourable
Comments UK has impressive diversity - 26 countries account for 90% of supply.
UK food chain resilience (energy dependency of UK food chain) Uncertain Improvement Favourable
Comments Food chain a heavy energy user but intensity is falling and high prices and policy are incentivising further efficiency improvements. But other risks remain as does the challenge to go low carbon.

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G8 pledges to boost food supplies
10 Jul 09 |  Europe
Stop wasting food, Brown urging
07 Jul 08 |  UK Politics
Trees are 'crucial famine food'
04 Aug 09 |  Science & Environment

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News feeds| News feeds

Supermarket offers and food waste targeted in goverment's food strategy

All aspects of food – production, processing, distribution, retail, consumption and waste – must be addressed, says Hilary Ben

wheat and sky

Regular wheat already reflects large amounts of sunlight ? new varieties could Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian

Fewer cut-price supermarket gimmicks and other measures to help target food waste are central to a new government food security strategy to maintain UK food supplies for the next 40 years.

The strategy is highly critical of bogof - "buy one get one free" - offers and heavily reduced "loss leader" lines that encourage shoppers to buy food they don't need which eventually ends up in the bin. And it calculates that reducing food waste has the potential to cut carbon emissions equal to taking a fifth of the country's traffic off the roads. It also promotes leaner and healthier diets, along with higher crop yields and a move towards accepting genetically modified crops.

The series of reports called Food 2030 had been expected last month but was delayed by internal disagreement within the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and foot-dragging over measures that would potentially be unpopular with voters.

Launching the strategy the environment secretary Hilary Benn said: "Last year the world had a wake-up call with the sudden oil and food price rises, but the full environmental costs and the costs to our health remain significant and hidden. We need to tackle diet-related ill health that already costs the NHS and the wider economy billions of pounds each year.

"We need everyone in the food system to get involved — from farmers and retailers to the health service, schools and consumers. Our strategy needs to cover all aspects of our food — production, processing, distribution, retail, consumption and disposal."

It was welcomed by some food specialists who argue that government must provide a brake to consumer-driven market forces. But there was criticism that action with real bite, including curbs on the power of supermarkets over suppliers, and carbon emissions from farming, remained too vague.

There was also frustration that the government was still producing policy strategies and consultations a year on from a major report commissioned at the height of global food price rises from the Cabinet Office called Food Matters. Many felt the new strategy did not include enough substantial changes.

Meredith Alexander, head of food policy at the charity ActionAid UK, said: "The government launched an inquiry into ways supermarkets abuse their market power in May 2006. Three years later, they are only now considering whether or not to actually do something about these bullying practices that contribute to poverty wages overseas."

Professor Tim Lang of City University, a specialist on food policy and member of the Sustainable Development Commission, said: "The issue is how radical or slight will changes for consumers be, and how soft or hard will the policy changes be?

"It's good to see Defra at last championing the view that the UK's food system needs to become very different. But I predict that some very uncomfortable and unpopular decisions will lie ahead for governments in coming years.

"The dominant policy language of recent years has centred on markets, choice and consumer sovereignty. These are too simplistic now. Politics needs to move fast."

Apart from targeting wasteful supermarket offers the reports also promise further action on reducing "tempting" packaging and encouraging restaurants to highlight calorie counts. Food waste in the UK is currently running at average of £420-worth per household, rising to £610 in families with children.

Benn also said that food producers in Britain would have to adapt to climate change, and perhaps grow crops in different areas where they were previously difficult to grow. The report warns that the face of the countryside will have to continue to change to guarantee food security, with GM crop experiments part of the strategy.

"We need to think about the way in which we produce our food, the way we use water and fertiliser," Benn said. "We will need science and we will need more people to come into farming because it has a bright future." He added that global food production had to increase by 70% to feed a world population of 9bn in 2050.

The National Farmers' Union welcomed the strategy's 'joined-up' approach, involving all government departments linked to food production, including the Treasury. NFU president Peter Kendall called for a similar improvement in co-ordinating food research, as well as monitoring GM's effect on the animal feed market as well as pig and poultry production.

He also appealed for a level playing field on sustainability, with strict measures applying to imports as well as home-grown food. He said: "It would make no sense to insist that our production was sustainable but increasingly rely on imports that are not."

Dr Tom MacMillan, executive director of the Food Ethics Council, complimented Defra on "taking a systematic approach to assessing food security" and getting on with the job. But he questioned whether the department had enough clout to tackle wider issues involved in food waste and poor diet.

"For instance, a big factor in food insecurity is income inequality, and you can't crack that by fiddling about with food prices. It calls for better social protection in the UK and internationally," he said. "Another big question mark is over climate change. One of government's most important commitments in Food Matters [a government report published in July 2008] was to push for European climate agreements to take account of methane and nitrous oxide from farming, yet so far all that's happened is a seminar with the French.

"To achieve its aims, the department needs a stronger mandate from the government."

David Adam

Hilary Benn yesterday reignited the debate on growing GM crops in Britain when he suggested the controversial plants could contribute to increased food security. He said: "If GM can make a contribution then we have a choice as a society and as a world about whether to make use of that technology."

GM: feeding the world with science

No GM crops are grown commercially in Britain, although several varieties are farmed extensively in mainland Europe, the United States and elsewhere. This is less down to UK government policy than a reluctance among seed companies to apply for the relevant permits, given the high-profile backlash in Britain against GM food a decade or so ago.

Ministers have never ruled out GM in the UK and a series of comments from inside Whitehall in recent years have prompted speculation that a new industry charm-initiative is preparing to sprout.

In 2008, then environment minister Phil Woolas, said Britain was rethinking its position on GM due to a "growing question" of whether it could help feed the developing world.

Industry bodies have also used the recent food crisis as leverage, though Martin Taylor, head of GM firm Syngenta, told the Guardian last year: "GM won't solve the food crisis, at least not in the short term".

David Adam

From allotment to table in 50 years

With the appetite for home-grown food growing like, well, bindweed, it is good to see urban balconies and backyards groaning under the weight of courgettes and tomatoes. But with National Allotment Week starting today, it is hard to see how the government can meet the demand.

The waiting list in Camden and Islington for an allotment now stands at a staggering 40 and 25 years respectively. With more than 80,000 people nationwide facing an average three-year wait, this isn't all due to middle-class demand – or the Observer Organic Allotment. Research released today by home insurance firm LV shows that 56 per cent of allotment users use their plot to save money, while more than a third do so because of concerns about pesticides.

London food czar Rosie Boycott has promised 2012 new plots by (you guessed it) 2012 and even the venerable National Trust is promising 1,000 new plots in the next three years to help meet this growing demand to grow your own. And if you get your name down today in Camden, your first crop will be ready just in time for 2050.

Allan Jenkins is allotment gardener-in-chief and editor of Observer Magazine

More news

- The PM must look into the goings-on in the petroleum ministry

The dispute between the Ambani brothers has hitherto progressed only in the courts. The weapons in courts are counsels' pleadings. Indian counsels tend to throw in all possible arguments — good, bad and indifferent — into their briefs. Once the briefs are filed in court, they are in theory public and anyone can get hold of them. But, in fact, they are extremely difficult to get. The warring parties sometimes release the briefs to their friends in the press; but legal expertise is low and space limited in the press, and briefs are seldom fully reported. As a result, it has been extremely difficult to follow the Ambani dispute.

Anil Ambani has done a public service by explaining to the shareholders of Reliance Natural Resources Limited in its Annual General Meeting the issues as he sees them. He made four specific charges. First, he accused Reliance Industries of refusing to honour its gas-supply agreement with RNRL. Second, he said that the price of $4.20 per million British thermal units that RIL proposes to charge customers is too high and would enable RIL to make exorbitant profits. Third, he accuses the petroleum ministry of siding with RIL in the gas dispute. And finally, he argues that India is going to have enough gas for its needs for years if not decades, that the costs of exploiting it are low, and that for the sake of its development, gas should be priced low — even lower than the $2.34/MMBtu that is stipulated in the agreements between RIL and NTPC and RIL and RNRL.

Mukesh Ambani, through a faceless spokesman, replied that he did not wish to reply to Anil's "baseless, malicious and wrong accusations". This is actually a reply, though he may not realize it. It also comes straight from the pen of a legal hack — just the kind of thing mindless lawyers frequently say in courts. Last year, Anil sued Mukesh for what he said in an interview to New York Times. It was a pretty innocuous interview; it is difficult to see what was defamatory about it, unless it was Mukesh's jocular statement that when the two divided up Reliance, Anil took with him the department in the business which spied on people in the government. For that Anil is suing him for Rs 10,000 crore. So Mukesh has grown cautious. In any case, Mukesh is a man of few words. He is a master of action, not of words; and it is action that Anil was referring to in his speech in the AGM.

The specific action is that the two brothers signed an agreement in 2005 under which RIL promised to supply to RNRL gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin at $2.34/MMBtu. RIL has not delivered gas to RNRL as required by the contract. This is a simple fact; Mukesh cannot claim that he has delivered any gas. Hence it is a simple breach of contract. RNRL has sued RIL for it. RIL contends that the contract is superseded by the terms under which the government has given the lease of the K-G basin to Reliance, under which the sale price of gas has to be approved by the government. I do not know about the particular agreement with RIL. But I do know that there is no such stipulation in the conditions publicly laid down by the government for the New Exploration Licensing Policy VII, under which RIL has got its lease. Whatever evidence RIL had for its contention that the government was the arbiter was rejected by Bombay High Court on June 15, when it directed RIL to sign a contract with RNRL within a month which would promise RNRL 28 million cubic meters a day of gas for 17 years. RIL appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court's verdict. The Supreme Court heard both sides on July 30, and postponed the hearing to September 1. So far, RIL's filibuster has succeeded.

And as to Anil's allegation that the petroleum ministry is hand-in-glove with RIL, the ministry filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking it to annul the agreement between Anil and Mukesh. The agreement is not in force at present; RIL has refused to comply with it. The benefit of the agreement, and consequently the loss from its non-implementation, are entirely Anil's. Thus the petroleum ministry's intervention is against Anil.

It could argue that the intervention is equally against Mukesh, who would lose K-G gas if the government got its way. For what the government asked for is that it should be allowed to nationalize K-G gas, which it calls a "national resource". On that logic, it could take away anyone's private property. By giving oil concessions under NELPs, the government has created private property in mineral resources. It shares rights to that property in the form of oil-sharing arrangements that it has specified in the NELPs. It cannot then take away the private property by claiming that it is a "national resource". Many of the oil concessions are given to joint ventures; for example in K-G, Reliance is in partnership with Niko Resources. Tomorrow the government will trick Niko Resources out of their rights in the concession on the ground that it is a national resource. This is not a legal argument; but more important, it is inconsistent with the rule-based capitalist system of which the government of India is supposed to be the guardian.

The ministry of petroleum launched the eighth round of NELP on April 9. It has just extended the last date of submission of bids; that suggests that it was disappointed with the response. The response may have been poor because the hydrocarbon markets are down just now. But there may be other reasons. One could be the experience of those who won concessions in earlier rounds — for instance, the Ambani brothers. The Central government has repeatedly intervened in the lawsuits relating to their dispute. It has repeatedly taken positions that implicitly supported one brother. And now it claims that hydrocarbons are a "national resource" subject to its absolute disposal — that it can arbitrarily, and at any time, abolish the private rights to the hydrocarbons that it promises in NELP to create.

That is how I would read the petroleum ministry's maneuvers in the Ambani affair if I were Shell, Exxon or any other foreign oil company. I would note that Indian ministers have no qualms about working in favour of or against particular Indian industrialists, and of bending the rules if necessary. I would note that my legal rights vis-à-vis the government would be insecure, and that the judiciary would allow enormous delays in delivering justice. This was the reputation of India before the 1991 reforms; in one sphere — hydrocarbons — it remains unchanged.

The Prime Minister has gone far beyond the reforms and is absorbed in higher matters these days. Having made friends with George W, he is courting Gilani now. But if he comes down sometimes from the higher reaches, he would do well to look into the machinations of his petroleum minister. In this case, it may not be enough to look into the matter. He may have to remove the minister.

On symptoms, stay-at-home advice
- Socialising curbs to prevent flu spread

New Delhi, Aug 10: The health ministry today asked all adults and children with symptoms of influenza to stay home, get themselves assessed by doctors and avoid work and socialising in a move to prevent the spread of pandemic influenza.

The ministry has also decided to borrow senior administrators from other government departments and fly them to state capitals to persuade the states to speed up the process of expanding medical facilities to handle swine flu.

A review meeting of medical experts and health officials chaired by the cabinet secretary left it to local authorities to decide whether schools should be closed.

"But school closure is not a solution," health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, outlining decisions taken at the meeting.

"If students continue to move around and socialise outside, closures would have be of no use. Instead, parents should ensure children with symptoms remain home," he added.

The stay-home-if-sick advisory will also apply to all adults, Azad said. The advisory comes at a time when public health experts believe the pandemic flu virus is beginning to expand.

Health authorities today confirmed 95 additional cases in eight cities, taking the cumulative count to 959. Seven people have died so far. At least 60 of the new infections today involved local spread.

Medical experts said a stay-home advisory would work well if it was accompanied by clear directives to the medical community on how to manage mild flu and spot signs of serious infection. Azad indicated that the health ministry was unhappy with states' pace of preparedness.

"We've been writing letters. Now we'll send officers who will work with state authorities to identify government and private hospitals which will be able to manage the flu," Azad said.

The review meeting has recommended that while India waits for three local companies to produce a vaccine against H1N1, the government will pursue the import of a vaccine if it becomes available earlier. "The imported vaccine stocks will be first used to protect all doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff involved in managing the flu," Azad said.

The meeting also decided that the government would circulate guidelines for testing the H1N1 virus to private laboratories so that they could set up capabilities for diagnosis. India has only 18 government laboratories that offer H1N1 tests.

The review meeting has also recommended the import of 22,000 H1N1 test kits in addition to the 27,000 which had been recently procured. The Indian Council of Medical Research has been asked to examine local development of a test kit.

Swine influenza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Swine influenza is endemic in pigs
Electron microscope image of the reassorted H1N1 influenza virus photographed at the CDC Influenza Laboratory. The viruses are 80–120 nanometres in diameter.[1]

Swine influenza (also called H1N1 flu, swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu) is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus. Swine influenza virus (SIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs.[2] As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human influenza, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. If transmission does cause human influenza, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection. The meat of an infected animal poses no risk of infection when properly cooked.

During the mid-20th century, identification of influenza subtypes became possible, allowing accurate diagnosis of transmission to humans. Since then, only 50 such transmissions have been confirmed. These strains of swine flu rarely pass from human to human. Symptoms of zoonotic swine flu in humans are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.




Of the three genera of influenza viruses that cause human flu, two also cause influenza in pigs, with influenza A being common in pigs and influenza C being rare.[3] Influenza B has not been reported in pigs. Within influenza A and influenza C, the strains found in pigs and humans are largely distinct, although due to reassortment there have been transfers of genes among strains crossing swine, avian, and human species boundaries.

Influenza C

Influenza C viruses infect both humans and pigs, but do not infect birds.[4] Transmission between pigs and humans have occurred in the past.[5] For example, influenza C caused small outbreaks of a mild form of influenza amongst children in Japan[6] and California.[6] Due to its limited host range and the lack of genetic diversity in influenza C, this form of influenza does not cause pandemics in humans.[7]

Influenza A

Swine influenza is known to be caused by influenza A subtypes H1N1,[8] H1N2,[8] H3N1,[9] H3N2,[8] and H2N3.[10] In pigs, three influenza A virus subtypes (H1N1, H3N2, and H1N2) are the most common strains worldwide.[11] In the United States, the H1N1 subtype was exclusively prevalent among swine populations before 1998; however, since late August 1998, H3N2 subtypes have been isolated from pigs. As of 2004, H3N2 virus isolates in US swine and turkey stocks were triple reassortants, containing genes from human (HA, NA, and PB1), swine (NS, NP, and M), and avian (PB2 and PA) lineages.[12]


Thermal scanning of passengers arriving at Singapore Changi airport.

Although there is no formal national surveillance system in the United States to determine what viruses are circulating in pigs,[13] there is an informal surveillance network in the United States that is part of a world surveillance network.

Veterinary medical pathologist, Tracey McNamara, set up a national disease surveillance system in zoos because the zoos do active disease surveillance and many of the exotic animals housed there have broad susceptibilities. Many species fall below the radar of any federal agencies (including dogs, cats, pet prairie dogs, zoo animals, and urban wildlife), even though they may be important in the early detection of human disease outbreaks.[14] [15]


Swine influenza was first proposed to be a disease related to human influenza during the 1918 flu pandemic, when pigs became sick at the same time as humans.[16] The first identification of an influenza virus as a cause of disease in pigs occurred about ten years later, in 1930.[17] For the following 60 years, swine influenza strains were almost exclusively H1N1. Then, between 1997 and 2002, new strains of three different subtypes and five different genotypes emerged as causes of influenza among pigs in North America. In 1997-1998, H3N2 strains emerged. These strains, which include genes derived by reassortment from human, swine and avian viruses, have become a major cause of swine influenza in North America. Reassortment between H1N1 and H3N2 produced H1N2. In 1999 in Canada, a strain of H4N6 crossed the species barrier from birds to pigs, but was contained on a single farm.[17]

The H1N1 form of swine flu is one of the descendants of the strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic.[18][19] As well as persisting in pigs, the descendants of the 1918 virus have also circulated in humans through the 20th century, contributing to the normal seasonal epidemics of influenza.[19] However, direct transmission from pigs to humans is rare, with only 12 cases in the U.S. since 2005.[20] Nevertheless, the retention of influenza strains in pigs after these strains have disappeared from the human population might make pigs a reservoir where influenza viruses could persist, later emerging to reinfect humans once human immunity to these strains has waned.[21]

Swine flu has been reported numerous times as a zoonosis in humans, usually with limited distribution, rarely with a widespread distribution. Outbreaks in swine are common and cause significant economic losses in industry, primarily by causing stunting and extended time to market. For example, this disease costs the British meat industry about £65 million every year.[22]

1918 pandemic in humans

The 1918 flu pandemic in humans was associated with H1N1 and influenza appearing in pigs;[19] this may reflect a zoonosis either from swine to humans, or from humans to swine. Although it is not certain in which direction the virus was transferred, some evidence suggests that, in this case, pigs caught the disease from humans.[16] For instance, swine influenza was only noted as a new disease of pigs in 1918, after the first large outbreaks of influenza amongst people.[16] Although a recent phylogenetic analysis of more recent strains of influenza in humans, birds, and swine suggests that the 1918 outbreak in humans followed a reassortment event within a mammal,[23] the exact origin of the 1918 strain remains elusive.[24] It is estimated that anywhere from 50 to 100 million people were killed worldwide.[19][25]

1976 U.S. outbreak

On February 5, 1976, in the United States an army recruit at Fort Dix said he felt tired and weak. He died the next day and four of his fellow soldiers were later hospitalized. Two weeks after his death, health officials announced that the cause of death was a new strain of swine flu. The strain, a variant of H1N1, is known as A/New Jersey/1976 (H1N1). It was detected only from January 19 to February 9 and did not spread beyond Fort Dix.[26]

President Ford receives swine flu vaccination

This new strain appeared to be closely related to the strain involved in the 1918 flu pandemic. Moreover, the ensuing increased surveillance uncovered another strain in circulation in the U.S.: A/Victoria/75 (H3N2) spread simultaneously, also caused illness, and persisted until March.[26] Alarmed public-health officials decided action must be taken to head off another major pandemic, and urged President Gerald Ford that every person in the U.S. be vaccinated for the disease.[27]

The vaccination program was plagued by delays and public relations problems.[28] On October 1, 1976, the immunization program began and by October 11, approximately 40 million people, or about 24% of the population, had received swine flu immunizations. That same day, three senior citizens died soon after receiving their swine flu shots and there was a media outcry linking the deaths to the immunizations, despite the lack of positive proof. According to science writer Patrick Di Justo, however, by the time the truth was known — that the deaths were not proven to be related to the vaccine — it was too late. "The government had long feared mass panic about swine flu — now they feared mass panic about the swine flu vaccinations." This became a strong setback to the program.[29]

There were reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder, affecting some people who had received swine flu immunizations. This syndrome is a rare side-effect of modern influenza vaccines, with an incidence of about one case per million vaccinations.[30] As a result, Di Justo writes that "the public refused to trust a government-operated health program that killed old people and crippled young people." In total, less than 33% of the population had been immunized by the end of 1976. The National Influenza Immunization Program was effectively halted on December 16.

Overall, there were about 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), resulting in death from severe pulmonary complications for 25 people, which, according to Dr. P. Haber, were probably caused by an immunopathological reaction to the 1976 vaccine. Other influenza vaccines have not been linked to GBS, though caution is advised for certain individuals, particularly those with a history of GBS.[31][32] Still, as observed by a participant in the immunization program, the vaccine killed more Americans than the disease did.[33]

1988 zoonosis

In September 1988, a swine flu virus killed one woman and infected others. 32-year old Barbara Ann Wieners was eight months pregnant when she and her husband, Ed, became ill after visiting the hog barn at a county fair in Walworth County, Wisconsin. Barbara died eight days later, after developing pneumonia.[34] The only pathogen identified was an H1N1 strain of swine influenza virus.[35] Doctors were able to induce labor and deliver a healthy daughter before she died. Her husband recovered from his symptoms.

Influenza-like illness (ILI) was reportedly widespread among the pigs exhibited at the fair. 76% of 25 swine exhibitors aged 9 to 19 tested positive for antibody to SIV, but no serious illnesses were detected among this group. Additional studies suggested between one and three health care personnel who had contact with the patient developed mild influenza-like illnesses with antibody evidence of swine flu infection. However, there was no community outbreak.[36][37]

1998 US outbreak in swine

In 1998, swine flu was found in pigs in four U.S. states. Within a year, it had spread through pig populations across the United States. Scientists found that this virus had originated in pigs as a recombinant form of flu strains from birds and humans. This outbreak confirmed that pigs can serve as a crucible where novel influenza viruses emerge as a result of the reassortment of genes from different strains.[38][39][40]

2007 Philippine outbreak in swine

On August 20, 2007 Department of Agriculture officers investigated the outbreak (epizootic) of swine flu in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon, Philippines. The mortality rate is less than 10% for swine flu, unless there are complications like hog cholera. On July 27, 2007, the Philippine National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) raised a hog cholera "red alert" warning over Metro Manila and 5 regions of Luzon after the disease spread to backyard pig farms in Bulacan and Pampanga, even if these tested negative for the swine flu virus.[41][42]

2009 outbreak in humans

The H1N1 viral strain implicated in the 2009 flu pandemic among humans often is called "swine flu" because initial testing showed many of the genes in the virus were similar to influenza viruses normally occurring in North American swine.[43] But further research has shown that the outbreak is due to a new strain of H1N1 not previously reported in pigs.

In late April, Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization's director-general, declared a "public health emergency of international concern" under the rules of the WHO's new International Health Regulations when the first cases of the H1N1 virus were reported in the United States.[44] [45] Following the outbreak, on May 2, 2009, it was reported in pigs at a farm in Alberta, Canada, with a link to the outbreak in Mexico. The pigs are suspected to have caught this new strain of virus from a farm worker who recently returned from Mexico, then showed symptoms of an influenza-like illness.[46] These are probable cases, pending confirmation by laboratory testing.

The new strain was initially described as an apparent reassortment of at least four strains of influenza A virus subtype H1N1, including one strain endemic in humans, one endemic in birds, and two endemic in swine.[43] Subsequent analysis suggested it was a reassortment of just two strains, both found in swine.[47] Although initial reports identified the new strain as swine influenza (i.e., a zoonosis originating in swine), its origin is unknown. Several countries took precautionary measures to reduce the chances for a global pandemic of the disease.[48] The Swine flu has been compared to other similar types of influenza virus in terms of mortality: "in the US it appears that for every 1000 people who get infected, about 40 people need admission to hospital and about one person dies".[49]. There are fears that swine flu will become a major global pandemic in the winter months, with many countries planning major vaccination campaigns. [50]


Transmission between pigs

Influenza is quite common in pigs, with about half of breeding pigs having been exposed to the virus in the US.[51] Antibodies to the virus are also common in pigs in other countries.[51]

The main route of transmission is through direct contact between infected and uninfected animals.[11] These close contacts are particularly common during animal transport. Intensive farming may also increase the risk of transmission, as the pigs are raised in very close proximity to each other.[52][53] The direct transfer of the virus probably occurs either by pigs touching noses, or through dried mucus. Airborne transmission through the aerosols produced by pigs coughing or sneezing are also an important means of infection.[11] The virus usually spreads quickly through a herd, infecting all the pigs within just a few days.[2] Transmission may also occur through wild animals, such as wild boar, which can spread the disease between farms.[54]

Transmission to humans

People who work with poultry and swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at increased risk of zoonotic infection with influenza virus endemic in these animals, and constitute a population of human hosts in which zoonosis and reassortment can co-occur.[55] Vaccination of these workers against influenza and surveillance for new influenza strains among this population may therefore be an important public health measure.[56] Transmission of influenza from swine to humans who work with swine was documented in a small surveillance study performed in 2004 at the University of Iowa.[57] This study among others forms the basis of a recommendation that people whose jobs involve handling poultry and swine be the focus of increased public health surveillance.[55] Other professions at particular risk of infection are veterinarians and meat processing workers, although the risk of infection for both of these groups is lower than that of farm workers.[58]

Interaction with avian H5N1 in pigs

Pigs are unusual as they can be infected with influenza strains that usually infect three different species: pigs, birds and humans.[59] This makes pigs a host where influenza viruses might exchange genes, producing new and dangerous strains.[59] Avian influenza virus H3N2 is endemic in pigs in China and has been detected in pigs in Vietnam, increasing fears of the emergence of new variant strains.[60] H3N2 evolved from H2N2 by antigenic shift.[61] In August 2004, researchers in China found H5N1 in pigs.[62]

Main symptoms of swine flu in swine.[2]

These H5N1 infections may be quite common: in a survey of 10 apparently healthy pigs housed near poultry farms in West Java, where avian flu had broken out, five of the pig samples contained the H5N1 virus. The Indonesian government has since found similar results in the same region. Additional tests of 150 pigs outside the area were negative.[63][64]

Signs and symptoms

In swine

In pigs influenza infection produces fever, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing and decreased appetite.[11] In some cases the infection can cause abortion. Although mortality is usually low (around 1-4%),[2] the virus can produce weight loss and poor growth, causing economic loss to farmers.[11] Infected pigs can lose up to 12 pounds of body weight over a 3 to 4 week period.[11]

In humans

Main symptoms of swine flu in humans[65]

Direct transmission of a swine flu virus from pigs to humans is occasionally possible (called zoonotic swine flu). In all, 50 cases are known to have occurred since the first report in medical literature in 1958, which have resulted in a total of six deaths.[66] Of these six people, one was pregnant, one had leukemia, one had Hodgkin disease and two were known to be previously healthy.[66] Despite these apparently low numbers of infections, the true rate of infection may be higher, since most cases only cause a very mild disease, and will probably never be reported or diagnosed.[66]

Video xo.ogv
In this video, Dr. Joe Bresee, with CDC's Influenza Division, describes the symptoms of swine flu and warning signs to look for that indicate the need for urgent medical attention.
See also: See this video with subtitles on YouTube [1]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in humans the symptoms of the 2009 "swine flu" H1N1 virus are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The 2009 outbreak has shown an increased percentage of patients reporting diarrhea and vomiting.[67] The 2009 H1N1 virus is not zoonotic swine flu, as it is not transmitted from pigs to humans, but from person to person.

Because these symptoms are not specific to swine flu, a differential diagnosis of probable swine flu requires not only symptoms but also a high likelihood of swine flu due to the person's recent history. For example, during the 2009 swine flu outbreak in the United States, CDC advised physicians to "consider swine influenza infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute febrile respiratory illness who have either been in contact with persons with confirmed swine flu, or who were in one of the five U.S. states that have reported swine flu cases or in Mexico during the 7 days preceding their illness onset."[68] A diagnosis of confirmed swine flu requires laboratory testing of a respiratory sample (a simple nose and throat swab).[68]

The most common cause of death is respiratory failure, other causes of death are pneumonia (leading to sepsis)[69], high fever (leading to neurological problems), dehydration (from excessive vomiting and diarrhea) and electrolyte imbalance. Fatalities are more likely in young children and the elderly.


Prevention of swine influenza has three components: prevention in swine, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.

Prevention in swine

Methods of preventing the spread of influenza among swine include facility management, herd management, and vaccination (ATCvet code: QI09AA03). Because much of the illness and death associated with swine flu involves secondary infection by other pathogens, control strategies that rely on vaccination may be insufficient.

Control of swine influenza by vaccination has become more difficult in recent decades, as the evolution of the virus has resulted in inconsistent responses to traditional vaccines. Standard commercial swine flu vaccines are effective in controlling the infection when the virus strains match enough to have significant cross-protection, and custom (autogenous) vaccines made from the specific viruses isolated are created and used in the more difficult cases.[70][71] Present vaccination strategies for SIV control and prevention in swine farms typically include the use of one of several bivalent SIV vaccines commercially available in the United States. Of the 97 recent H3N2 isolates examined, only 41 isolates had strong serologic cross-reactions with antiserum to three commercial SIV vaccines. Since the protective ability of influenza vaccines depends primarily on the closeness of the match between the vaccine virus and the epidemic virus, the presence of nonreactive H3N2 SIV variants suggests that current commercial vaccines might not effectively protect pigs from infection with a majority of H3N2 viruses.[72][73] The United States Department of Agriculture researchers say that while pig vaccination keeps pigs from getting sick, it does not block infection or shedding of the virus.[74]

Facility management includes using disinfectants and ambient temperature to control virus in the environment. The virus is unlikely to survive outside living cells for more than two weeks, except in cold (but above freezing) conditions, and it is readily inactivated by disinfectants.[2] Herd management includes not adding pigs carrying influenza to herds that have not been exposed to the virus. The virus survives in healthy carrier pigs for up to 3 months and can be recovered from them between outbreaks. Carrier pigs are usually responsible for the introduction of SIV into previously uninfected herds and countries, so new animals should be quarantined.[51] After an outbreak, as immunity in exposed pigs wanes, new outbreaks of the same strain can occur.[2]

Prevention in humans

Prevention of pig to human transmission

Swine can be infected by both avian and human influenza strains of influenza, and therefore are hosts where the antigenic shifts can occur that create new influenza strains.

The transmission from swine to human is believed to occur mainly in swine farms where farmers are in close contact with live pigs. Although strains of swine influenza are usually not able to infect humans this may occasionally happen, so farmers and veterinarians are encouraged to use a face mask when dealing with infected animals. The use of vaccines on swine to prevent their infection is a major method of limiting swine to human transmission. Risk factors that may contribute to swine-to-human transmission include smoking and not wearing gloves when working with sick animals.[75]

Prevention of human to human transmission

Influenza spreads between humans through coughing or sneezing and people touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth.[76] Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food.[76] The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days for analysis.[77]

Recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control against influenza. This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public.[78] Chance of transmission is also reduced by disinfecting household surfaces, which can be done effectively with a diluted chlorine bleach solution.[79] Although the current trivalent influenza vaccine is unlikely to provide protection against the new 2009 H1N1 strain,[80] vaccines against the new strain are being developed and could be ready as early as June 2009.[81]

Experts agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infections, including ordinary influenza and the swine flu virus. Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of evidence shows small droplets containing the virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transferred via the fingers to the mouth, nose or eyes. Alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers work well to destroy viruses and bacteria. Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as a sudden fever, cough or muscle aches should stay away from work or public transportation and should contact a doctor for advice.

Social distancing is another tactic. It means staying away from other people who might be infected and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an infection is spreading in a community. Public health and other responsible authorities have action plans which may request or require social distancing actions depending on the severity of the outbreak.


In swine

As swine influenza is rarely fatal to pigs, little treatment beyond rest and supportive care is required.[51] Instead veterinary efforts are focused on preventing the spread of the virus throughout the farm, or to other farms.[11] Vaccination and animal management techniques are most important in these efforts. Antibiotics are also used to treat this disease, which although they have no effect against the influenza virus, do help prevent bacterial pneumonia and other secondary infections in influenza-weakened herds.[51]

In humans

If a person becomes sick with swine flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). Beside antivirals, supportive care at home or in hospital, focuses on controlling fevers, relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance, as well as identifying and treating any secondary infections or other medical problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses; however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs.[82] The virus isolates in the 2009 outbreak have been found resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.[83]

In the U.S., on April 27, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations to make available Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral drugs to treat the swine influenza virus in cases for which they are currently unapproved. The agency issued these EUAs to allow treatment of patients younger than the current approval allows and to allow the widespread distribution of the drugs, including by non-licensed volunteers.[84]

See also


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Further reading

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New administrative framework to come up in Darjeeling

Press Trust of India - ‎1 hour ago‎
New Delhi, Aug 11 (PTI) The Centre today agreed to abolish the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and work for setting up an alternative administrative framework in the hill district of West Bengal.

Govt taking stern view of Indian student's safety in Oz: Tharoor

Indian Express - ‎1 hour ago‎
Shashi Tharoor emphasised that ultimately law and order in Australia was the responsibility of its Govt. The government has taken a serious view of the safety of its citizens in Australia and even a single person being hurt was of "great concern" to it ...

Noida scam: Axe falls on 16 officers

Times of India - ‎11 hours ago‎
LUCKNOW: Chief minister Mayawati on Monday ordered suspension of 16 officials, including three IAS officers, in connection with the Rs 4000 crore hotel land scam in Noida in 2006.

Punjab to carry out census of NRIs

Press Trust of India - ‎2 hours ago‎
Chandigarh, Aug 11 (PTI) Punjab Government today ordered compilation of comprehensive census data of over 20 lakh Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) hailing from the state for initiating welfare schemes for them in a coordinated manner.

Pak admits four dead terrorists are its nationals

Times of India - ‎14 hours ago‎
MUMBAI: Pakistan has admitted to the Indian government that four of the nine terrorists involved in the 26/11 attack are all Pakistani nationals, state home minister Jayant Patil revealed on Monday.

JK budget: 15000 jobs to make Kashmiri Pandits return home

Indian Express - ‎14 hours ago‎
The Jammu and Kashmir government Monday offered a package of 15000 jobs in public and private sector to migrant Kashmiri Pandits to bring them back to Kashmir.

India defines outer limit of weapons programme - ‎35 minutes ago‎
New Delhi: Eleven years after it detonated nuclear bombs at Pokhran, India has defined the outer limits of its strategic weapons programme.
Aw, India is less macho now Calcutta Telegraph

India, Nepal to discuss better border management

Hindu - Sandeep Dikshit - ‎13 hours ago‎
NEW DELHI: Border management, encroachments and political mechanisms to promote trust and understanding among parties in Nepal will come up for high-level discussions during the visit of Nepal's Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala, which began here on ...

After Kalavati, it's Vidyavati now

Hindu - Atul Yadav - ‎13 hours ago‎
First-hand experience: Congress president Sonia Gandhi gets help from a villager during her three-day visit to Rae Bareli on Monday.

Bengal Governor has had enough of the Left - ‎3 hours ago‎
New Delhi: West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and told him he doesn't want an extension after his tenure ends in December.

Kasab wants a clock to keep time for Ramzan

Times of India - ‎14 hours ago‎
Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab has told the court that he wanted to fast during the holy month of Ramzan. He has also requested that he be allowed to keep a clock in his cell so that he can keep track of time while observing rozas.

New twist in Sister Abhaya murder case

Christian Today - India - Babu Thomas - ‎15 minutes ago‎
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday told the Kerala High Court that a former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, who is currently a Supreme Court judge, had viewed the video of the narco analysis tests conducted on the three ...

US aware of India's step on North Korean ship

Times of India - ‎7 hours ago‎
PTI 11 August 2009, 09:34am IST WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday said it was aware of the steps taken by India with regard to the North Korean ship, which has been detained by Indian authorities.

Swine flu may force Cong to defer AICC session

Times of India - ‎6 hours ago‎
NEW DELHI: The swirling swine flu may force Congress brass to defer its plans to hold an AICC session. The AICC congregation, calling workers from across the country for a meeting with top leadership, was being timed with the culmination of the budget ...

LeT men get jail term

Indian Express - ‎10 hours ago‎
The Lucknow District Judge awarded life imprisonment to a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and sentenced another to 14-years of imprisonment on Monday.
Lifer to LeT member Times of India

Tension grips Vasai after MLA's aides attack villagers

Indian Express - ‎10 hours ago‎
Tension prevailed in Vasai after villagers protesting against the newly formed municipal corporation retaliated an alleged attack by a local legislator Hitendra Thakur and his aides on Sunday night.
Additional forces rushed to Virar Daily News & Analysis

'Chintan Baithak' to draw lessons for BJP's poll debacle

Hindu - Neena Vyas - ‎16 hours ago‎
New Delhi: The three-day brainstorming session planned by the Bharatiya Janata Party as a `chintan Baithak' in Shimla from August 19 will try to analyse and draw the appropriate lessons from the results of the Lok Sabha election 2009 and then plan to ...