Sunday, December 30, 2012

A letter from Namita Bhandare

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM
A time for grief but also a time for action
We have a long fight ahead. But we will win
Photo courtesy Facebook
Dear Rector,
Yesterday was a sad day as we woke up to the heartbreaking news of the death of the 23-year-old medical student who was subject to a brutal gang rape, beaten and then dumped on the road on the night of December 16. 
Today, we share the same feelings of sorrow, hopelessness, anger and frustration. Yet, I believe that while this is a time for grief, this is also a time for action. This is a time to say: enough. 
Our petition has gathered over 88,000 signatures. It is important to make every voice count and to send a strong message that we will not continue to tolerate sexual violence against women. 
Tomorrow, at 10 am, I am going to the office of Justice J.S. Verma who is the head of a three-person committee that will submit its findings and recommendations on issues of safety of women. I will be submitting our petition with all the signatures (yes, all 2,700+ pages!). 

It is important to keep this campaign going. I am writing to you once again to request you to sign this petition and forward this email to your friends and family.

The Justice Verma Commission is accepting submissions until January 5. We don't have a lot of time. If you would like to make additional suggestions, please leave a comment as 'reasons for signing this petition'. I will be collecting all the comments and submitting them to the committee.

We have a long fight ahead. But we will win. 

With warm regards,

Namita Bhandare via Change.org
A letter from Namita Bhandare 
PS:  Help us reach out to more people by forwarding this email to your friends or share it on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

An Afghan guard holds a baby

An Afghan guard holds a baby while the child's mother is processed through the medical entry control point at Bagram Airfield, Parwan province, Afghanistan, Dec. 2, 2012. U.S. Airmen with the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group and Afghan guards processed residents needing services ranging from basic clinical care to student vocational programs. (DoD photo by Senior Airman Chris Willis, U.S. Air Force/Released)   12/02/2012

An open debate on violence against women at Ldh

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM
A bill must be passed in parliament at earliest
such crimes are generally committed by the well connected people
LUDHIANA, 21 December 2012:A comprehensive strategy has to be evolved through administrative, socio political and judicial measures to combat the inhuman menace of violence against women. This was the consensus arrived at after open debate on violence against women organized by the All India Working Women Forum (AITUC), Punjab Istri Sabha and Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha Ludhiana today at Shaheed Karnail Singh Isru Bhawan Ludhiana. Dr Narjit Kaur –Convener of the forum said that it was heartbreaking and sobering to read the morning papers and realise how low we have fallen as a society and as human beings. A group of drunk middle aged men raped a young physiotherapist and brutally assaulted her and her boyfriend. Even if the girl survives her physical injuries, the mental scars she bears may not be erased for a lifetime. What sort of wicked and depraved men they must be to so casually and easily rob the joy and health of a harmless young girl at the threshold of womanhood and life and reduce her and her family to utter despair?

Mrs.Gurcharan Kochar – President Punjab Istri Sabha Ludhiana cautioned that it brings us to the urgent question of what needs to be done to prevent more of our daughters being deprived of their happiness, esteem, health and often, their lives. To act strongly and firmly. The female foeticide, honour killings and discrimination against the girl child are a reflection of  gender bias prevailing in the society. This needs to be condemned  and corrected.

Dr Arun Mitra – General Secretary Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha said that such crimes are generally committed by the well connected people who feel that they will go scot free after committing the crime. The economic gaps which have increased in the last about two decades have further marginalized the already deprived section of the society who have become more vulnerable to violence.

The meeting proposed following measures to meet the situation.

1.      All concerned men and women holding any position of authority and whose voice can be heard  by many, should publicly express their outrage and concern.

2.      A bill must be passed in parliament at the earliest wherein the outcome of rape cases must be decided within 45 days by a fast track court. Strong punishment must be meted out to the rapist and he must be publicly humiliated.

3.      Police reforms must be undertaken immediately. Political intervention in the police must stop.  If any police station refuses to register a complaint of rape, there must be a strong and well -defined punishment for the concerned officer.

4.      Laws in relation to sexual harassment at workplace should be enacted in consultation with women orgnaisations.


There should be one page devoted in the daily newspapers to women’s safety. This page should exclusively list crimes against women. Detailed identities and addresses of culprits involved, photographs and daily progress on brutal cases (ie who has been apprehended as yet, what punishment has been given etc)

5.      All employers should make their own  workplaces  as safe as possible for women.

6.      There should be several options for safe travel for women including exclusive buses and taxis, train compartments and plenty of well-lit public toilets. These should have female staff manning them as well.

7.      All parents, when rearing  their children, should place a very strong emphasis on not letting them use violence. Gentleness must be inculcated from the start in boys especially.

8.      All schools should make self- defence, especially for girls , a mandatory part of the curriculum.

Others who spoke at the meeting include Maj. Sher Singh Aulukh – President BJVJ, M.S.Bhatia – Organising Secretary BJVJ, Jit Kumar – General Secretary Punjab Istri Sabha Ludhiana, D.P.Maur – General Secretary Joint Council of Trade Unions Ludhiana.  

 An open debate on violence against women at Ldh

Friday, December 21, 2012

Daughter Delight


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 10:31 PM//12/20/2012 10:55 AM CST
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Winstead hugs his daughter during a homecoming celebration on Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, Nov. 17, 2012. Winstead is assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 141, which completed a deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.
(USA Dod) Daughter Delight

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Candidate Climb

12/12/2012 05:17 PM CST
Marine Corps Officer Candidate School students negotiate the Montford Point Challenge obstacle course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Dec. 8, 2012. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Celebration, 2012 at CMC

Students mesmerized all and filled the whole air
Ludhiana, 10th December, 2012Advent is the time to share love, joy and peace with others. College of Nursing, CMC, Ludhiana celebrated Christmas. The programme began with a welcome speech by Principal Prof.(Mrs.) Ponnamma R. Singh, after which all the dignitaries, guests, teachers and students joined the college choir to sing the congregational hymn.
The opening prayer and the Christmas message was given by Rev. Rogers. The whole gathering was then enlightened with the message from the Director Dr. Abraham G. Thomas. He remembered the old staff and their dedicated services towards the institution as many of the alumni graced the occasion. The soulful and pleasant carols by students mesmerized all and filled the whole air.

Continuing with the Christmas merriment College of Nursing students presented the Christmas play “This is Christmas” which showed God’s love for mankind by sending His only begotten Son for our salvation and this love has to be reflected in all of us.

And then came the most awaited moment i.e. “Arrival of Santa” who had a merry time with the gathering and distributed gifts among students. At the end all enjoyed the fellowship & relished the banquet together as a family in beautifully decorated and illuminated College of Nursing.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Face of Defense:

12/07/2012 08:30 AM CST
Soldier, Sailor Provide Troop Services
By Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Neff
Provincial Reconstruction Team Kandahar

KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2012 - Day-to-day operations at Camp Nathan Smith here wouldn't be the same without Army Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Currier and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony McRoberts.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Currier, left, and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony McRoberts work in the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team's personnel section to provide much-needed services to troops based at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jeff Neff
 .
The duo work diligently behind the scenes in the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team's personnel section as they provide much-needed services to KPRT members.There isn't much that happens without their involvement, from personnel rosters and daily tracking to service members' finances, awards, and promotions.
When the mail arrives, soldiers and sailors wait patiently outside while Currier and McRoberts drive over and get it. Mail is an issue near and dear to all and serves as the lifeline from family members to the troops.
McRoberts, who's been in the Navy for two years, was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., and hails from Midland, Mich. He is based at Naval Air Station Coronado in San Diego on the USS Ronald Reagan. He plans to complete his bachelor's degree in information systems management.
McRoberts concurrently works as a Counter Radio Electronic Warfare Master Gunner. Being a CREW Master Gunner consists of radio frequency engineering for electronic warfare jamming systems involving reacting to and countering radio-controlled explosives.
Texas-born Currier is from San Antonio and now calls Newport News, Va., home. He is an Army reservist from the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) and has been in the Army for 22 years.
Currier served in a variety of duty positions, starting as a combat medic in the 1st Cavalry Division. He later served at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and then deployed to Iraq where he was in charge of a military police aid station.
Currier would later deploy to Kosovo where he served as first sergeant in a civil affairs detachment.
The Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team is a civil-military organization consisting of U.S. Navy and Army active-duty and reserve members who conduct operations to support the growth in capacity and capability of the Kandahar provincial government. KPRT works closely with other military units, civilian agencies, contractors and nongovernmental organizations to support the Afghan government's progress toward sustainable stability.
Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Thursday, December 06, 2012

U.S.-Mexico border

12/05/2012 04:19 PM CST
Guardsmen Continue Security Duties
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

Courtesy Photo by this blog
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2012 - As many as 300 National Guardsmen will remain deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border for another year as part of a border security partnership between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, according to a statement released by DHS today.The deployment is part of a newly extended agreement to strengthen security and facilitate legitimate trade and travel, the statement said. National Guardsmen operate in support of some 18,500 U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents along the southwest border, enhancing surveillance through the use of air assets and state-of-the-art detection and monitoring capabilities including aerial observation, photo imagery and communications support.

In the statement, DHS credited DOD support for the arrest of nearly 20,000 illegal immigrants and the seizure of more than 100,000 pounds of marijuana since March.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said more than 330,000 illegal aliens have been apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border during the first nine months of this year, and more than two million pounds of marijuana and 6,000 pounds of cocaine have been seized.

In 2010, President Barack Obama authorized the temporary deployment of the National Guard along the southwest border to assist law enforcement with the interdiction of illegal aliens, drugs, weapons and money coming from Mexico.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Afghanistan Supply

Network Provides Economic Opportunity
11/28/2012 04:12 PM CST
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Nov. 28, 2012 - The Northern Distribution Network that U.S. Transportation Command helped establish three years ago to supply U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan laid the foundations for strong U.S. partnerships in Central Asia and Russia and for the region's long-term economic security, the Transcom commander said.
Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III traveled through the region last month, thanking the governments for their support for the network's multiple truck, water, rail and air routes used to transport about 40 percent of all military cargo destined for Afghanistan.
The routes have been particularly critical during the past year, Fraser noted, because the Pakistani government closed logistical routes known as the Pakistan ground lines of communication in November 2011 after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed during a border incident with U.S. troops. Pakistan announced in July that it would reopen the route, but Transcom is still working to break the logjam created by thousands of shipping containers that had been stranded for months.
Relying heavily on the Northern Distribution Network since the closure, Transcom ensured that warfighters in Afghanistan never went without the logistical support they needed, Fraser said during an interview with American Forces Press Service.
"They had the sustainment they needed because we had developed these relationships and had multiple lanes [of supply] to use," he said.
Now, as the United States lays plans to draw down in Afghanistan, Fraser said he's found support for strengthening those relationships and improving the processes behind the transportation network -- not just for the duration of the Afghanistan mission and redeployment, but beyond.
Recognizing that U.S. shipments will diminish over time, leaders in nations supporting the NDN see the routes established to support the war effort in Afghanistan as a path to economic progress, Fraser noted. "I think the NDN is opening up opportunities for the future that these countries can capitalize on," he said.
Nations are working together in unprecedented ways as a result of NDN agreements and exploring ways to streamline their import and export procedures to encourage cross-border commerce.
"We are already seeing some of that," Fraser said. "As they look forward to the future, these countries know that the military is not going to be doing things at the same level that we have been for a long time. So they are looking for ways to capitalize on what has happened as a result of the Northern Distribution Network."
Ambassador Dennise Mathieu, Fraser's foreign policy advisor who accompanied him on the trip, said these efforts fit into the State Department's vision of a "New Silk Road" that offers new potential in one of the least economically integrated areas of the world.
The goal is to reconnect economies that had been torn apart by decades of war and rivalry, helping restore commercial bonds among some of the world's fastest-growing economies that sit at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
"The idea is that you can build on the links that have already been established in an economic way," Mathieu said.
Those efforts are bearing fruit in infrastructure improvements to support this vision, she reported. Azerbaijan is building a new port with hopes of becoming a transportation hub. Rail connections are being built between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, and a recently completed rail line runs from the Uzbek border to Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan.
"Eventually, with continued cooperation, they will be able to go all the way from China into Europe," Mathieu said. "You will have a whole new economic network, built upon the foundation of this military logistics supply network."
By integrating economically, regional nations will have a lasting impact that supports U.S. national interests in the region, she said.
"We believe that when you have economic prosperity, then that helps bring about stability and security," Mathieu said. "So therefore, the region is going to be more secure. You will have less conflict. It provides opportunities for people to prosper and for their children to go to school and provides the conditions to start to build a democratic base and institutions."
"All of that is good for the United States," she said, opening new economic markets and strengthening partnerships across the region.
"This is something that has brought people together," Mathieu said. "It's something that enables them to put any differences or difficulties aside so they can work together toward something that benefits everyone."
 
Biographies:
Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III
Related Sites:
U.S. Transportation Command

Monday, November 26, 2012

“Do not forget me Istanbul”

The Director of film Trace, M. Tayfur, Aydin Huseyin Karabey (Director), Aysun Gizem Soysaldi (Actor) film “Do not forget me Istanbul” at a press conference, during the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2012), in Panaji, Goa on November 26, 2012.  (PIB)

26-November-2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guard Duty

11/23/2012 12:45 PM CST
U.S. Army Spc. David White provides security as he stands guard during a key leader engagement in Farah City in Afghanistan's western Farah province, Nov. 18, 2012. White is assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Combined Force Arrests Taliban Leader

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2012 - An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban leader in Afghanistan's Kandahar province yesterday, military officials reported.

The arrested Taliban leader coordinated improvised explosive device emplacements and ambushes against Afghan and coalition forces, officials said.

The security force detained two other suspected insurgents.


In Nov. 21 Afghanistan operations:
-- Three Taliban senior leaders, including the No. 1 Taliban leader in western Logar province, were killed Nov. 21 during a security operation in Logar province. At the time of his death, Abu Baker was the top Taliban leader in western Logar province. Abu Baker facilitated weapons to insurgents, planned attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and was directly involved in foreign fighter facilitation. Deceased Taliban leader Bashir was involved in the Aug. 7 suicide-vehicle IED attack on Forward Operating Base Shank, and directly linked to the final, pre-execution stages of planning for an impending vehicle-borne IED attack targeting Afghan and coalition forces in Logar province, officials said. Deceased Taliban leader Zarqawi facilitated weapons to execute IED as well as direct- and indirect-fire attacks on Afghan and coalition forces. A number of additional insurgents were also killed. One suspect was detained and several rocket-propelled grenades and multiple assault rifles were confiscated.
-- A combined force arrested a Taliban facilitator in Kunduz province. The arrested facilitator is suspected of being directly involved in the purchasing and distribution of weapons to Taliban fighters. The security force also detained one other suspect and seized rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, hand grenades, assault rifles and ammunition.
-- Combined forces arrested a Taliban senior leader in Nimroz province. The arrested insurgent leader is suspected of being involved in the purchasing and movement of weapons and providing intelligence to other Taliban senior leaders. The security force also detained a number of other suspects. 
Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Thursday, November 22, 2012

All-Hands Handshake

11/21/2012 02:19 PM CST
U.S. Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, shakes hands with Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Rollinson during an all-hands call aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore in the 5th Fleet area of responsibililty, Nov. 20, 2012. The Rushmore, part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Uniit, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Rollinson is a hull technician.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Combined Force Kills Several Insurgents

11/21/2012 06:47 AM CST
From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 21, 2012 - An Afghan and coalition security force killed several insurgents during a search for a high-ranking Taliban leader and weapons facilitator in Afghanistan's Logar province today, military officials reported.

As the security force approached the Taliban leader's location, multiple insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms attacked the force, officials said.

The security force returned fire, killing several insurgents and defeating the attack. The security force also detained one suspect and seized several RPGs and a large quantity of assault rifles as a result of the operation.

In other Afghanistan operations today:

-- A combined force arrested five insurgents during a search for a Taliban weapons and lethal aid facilitator in Nimroz province.

-- In Khost province, a combined force arrested a Haqqani leader and weapons supplier, detained three other suspects and seized improvised explosive device-making materials, RPG equipment, ammunition, and firearms. The detained Haqqani leader is believed to be responsible for conducting convoy and IED attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

In operations yesterday:

-- A combined force killed Taliban leader Saifullah in Ghazni province. Saifullah, also known as Allah Dad, was responsible for ensuring freedom of movement for Taliban fighters to gather intelligence and conduct indirect-fire and IED attacks against Afghan and coalition personnel. Prior to his death, Saifullah was involved in an IED attack against Afghan National Security Forces.

In Nov. 19 operations:

-- In Kandahar province, a combined force killed several insurgents, detained one suspect and seized weapons, ammunition and equipment including several AK-47 rifles.

-- A combined force seized 660 pounds of wet opium and detained one insurgent in Daykundi province.


Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Family Matters Blog:

DOD Helps Troops With Higher-ed Problems

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2012 - The Defense Department is again working with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help service members with their higher-education expenses.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Holly Petraeus, the bureau's assistant director for service members' concerns, yesterday announced they are starting a training program for judge advocate general personnel, personal financial managers and education service officers. The training is to spread information about the benefits and consumer protections service members are afforded under the Service Members Civil Relief Act, including interest rate reductions, loan deferral programs, principal reduction options on certain loans for service in hostile areas, and loan forgiveness on certain federal loans for public service.
"We also plan to push out the message through a variety of media to all service members," Petraeus said. "We want them to know that even if they did not know about or ask for student loan repayment benefits when they entered the military, it's not too late to do it now."
The announcement came as the bureau released a report outlining the unique obstacles service members report in trying to pay off student loan debt. The hurdles they describe range from not being able to get the information they need to hitting roadblocks when pursuing benefits.
With many entering service with tens of thousands of dollars of debt – and financial problems being the No. 1 reason troops lose their security clearances – the intervention could go a long way in helping ease the burden of college debt.
In an effort to educate military consumers and the advisors seeking to assist them, the bureau has developed a guide for servicemembers with student loans. Service members also can use the CFPB's Student Debt Repayment Assistant online tool.
The new outreach on student loans is the latest to make higher education more affordable and easier to attain for service members and their families. Last spring, President Barack Obama signed an executive order cracking down on colleges and universities that prey on service members, their families and veterans.
As military benefits go, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is one of the best, which is why some 325,000 service members and 550,000 veterans have pursued college degrees under it. With the help of the protection board, the Defense Department created a memorandum of understanding that colleges and universities must abide by, including providing clear information about their programs, before GI Bill money can be used there. The change goes into effect Jan. 1.
 
Related Sites:
Consumer Protection Financial Bureau Guide
Consumer Protection Financial Bureau Online Tool

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Take responsibility to stop sexual assault


Panetta:Leaders Must Stand Against Sexual Assault
"Any sexual assault has no place in military."  
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2012 - Military leaders at all levels must take responsibility to stop sexual assault, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said.

In an interview with NBC's Natalie Morales that aired yesterday, the secretary said, "Any sexual assault has no place in the military."

He continued, "If we don't take steps to deal with it -- if we don't exercise better leadership to confront it -- it'll get worse. And that's why it's really important that we take the responsibility to ensure that it doesn't have a place in the military. I have men and women in the military who put their lives on the line ... to protect this country. Surely we owe it to them to be able to protect them."

Leaders know "that we have to do a better job at dealing with this," the secretary said. "Look, we've got 200,000 women who are in the military. We're trying to open up another 14,000 positions for women, to be able to fully participate."

Those women want to have a career in the military, and have earned the right, he said.

"They're putting their lives on the line," he said. "We've lost 150 during the wars ... 1,000 have been wounded. We owe them the respect, we owe them the honor, of being able to protect them."

The military stands for and defends the values of good order and discipline, he said, which means, "we've got to make sure that women are protected from any kind of assault."

The services have a clear superior-subordinate structure, Panetta noted.

"We can't go to war, we can't fight, we can't protect this country without a strong chain of command," he said. "But that chain of command means there have to be officers, there have to be [noncommissioned officers], there have got to be leaders who say, 'Wait a minute.'"

Leaders must exercise good order and discipline, and speak out against and act to stop certain behaviors, he said.

Panetta noted the department has taken steps to strengthen sexual assault prevention. For example, he said, department policy now allows a sexual assault victim to rapidly transfer from an assigned unit where the assault happened.

"Secondly, we've made clear that you can't just have a unit commander handle this kind of situation; it's got to be moved up to a senior commander ... who will exercise greater responsibility in bringing that [sexual assault perpetrator] to justice," he said.

Thirdly, he said, "We've got to improve the investigations ... have special victims units. And we're putting that in place."

Training is also critical, the secretary said. "We've got to do better training for both the recruits and the commanders," he added. "So that they're aware that this is a real problem."

What's happening in the military is also a societal problem, Panetta said. "We see alcohol playing a role in these areas. We see ... the abuse, the disrespect that's involved -- and the fact is, rape is rape. And it has to be dealt with in a serious manner, and sometimes that's downplayed in the society."

All of those factors lead to "a situation where you can have this kind of power game," he said. "Where people are put into vulnerable positions, and it all plays out. It plays out in society, and it plays out in the military."

He said the only way to prevent that abuse of power is to have strong leaders at every level who stand against it and say, "This has to stop."

Punishing offenders is also important, Panetta said.

"It's an outrage that we aren't prosecuting our people involved here," Panetta responded when Morales noted that 240 cases were prosecuted out of the more than 3,000 reported last year.

The secretary acknowledged assault prosecutions are "tough cases."

"But the fact is we can do this," he said. "We need to improve the investigations and ... we need to ensure that we have [military] prosecutors who are willing to bring these cases to court and make sure that these people don't get away."

The secretary said he opposes turning military sexual assault cases over to civilian courts. "We have a military justice system. We have to enforce good order and good standards," he said. "If somebody hits somebody, or somebody robs somebody, or somebody commits an act on a battlefield that's wrong, we've got to prosecute those people. We have a responsibility to do that. The same thing is true of sexual assault."

The "vast majority" of service members operate on a deep level of mutual trust, Panetta noted.

"Sexual assault can't be a part of that," he added. "We're the ones who have to make sure that doesn't happen."

The secretary said from the top reaches of the Defense Department down to the platoon and squad level, his message is that leaders must take responsibility.

"Frankly, part of this is also moving women into command positions," he added.

Panetta said he's confident the department can make progress against sexual assault.

"This is an issue I, as secretary of defense, am committed to making sure we confront," he said.  
Take responsibility to stop sexual assault

Biographies:
Leon E. Panetta


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Author Broke Promise to Country, Panetta Says

The book reveals sensitive information
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2012 - Military personnel who take part in sensitive operations like the one that took out Osama bin Laden must stand by the promises they made to the United States, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during an interview broadcast on "CBS This Morning" today.
"There's no question that the American people have a right to know about this operation. This is why the president spoke to the American people when that operation happened," Panetta said. "But people who are part of that operation, who commit themselves to the promise that they will not reveal the sensitive operations and not publish anything without bringing it to the Pentagon so that we can ensure that it doesn't reveal sensitive information, when they fail to do that we have got to make sure they stand by the promise they made to this country."
Two issues are involved, Panetta said. The first is that the book reveals sensitive information, he explained, and the larger issue is that the author deliberately chose not to have the book reviewed by the Pentagon before publication.
"I cannot, as secretary, send a signal to SEALs who conduct those operations, 'Oh, you can conduct those operations and then go out and write a book about it ... or sell your story,'" he said.
"How the hell can we run sensitive operations here that go after enemies if people are allowed to do that?" Panetta added.
 
Biographies:
Leon E. Panetta

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Young Paralympians

Air Force Veteran Shares Wisdom 
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

LONDON, Sept. 4, 2012 - The camaraderie of being part of a team is a draw to many athletes and can be traced to the origins of why many embarked on lengthy careers, staying the course even when things are not always going their way.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Former Air Force Staff Sgt. Mario Rodriguez, right, a member of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic fencing team, squares off with France's Ludov LeMoine at London's ExCel Centre during the Paralympic Games, Sept. 4, 2012. DOD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

Mario Rodriguez, a member of the U.S. Paralympic fencing team and former Air Force staff sergeant, is one such athlete competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games here.

"I was a Russian translator for just under four years with the Air Force," he said. "I really loved the job. I liked serving my country, being at the forefront of things. And the other part of that was just basically being part of something bigger than myself. I think that's kind of how I ended up in sports, because [I enjoy] being part of a team, [building teams], and doing thing together to make things happen.
"Nobody's in this by themselves," he added. "It takes a community to do anything."
Rodriguez said he served his lone Air Force tour stationed on the Greek island of Crete. He elected to have his leg removed in 1992 after an untreatable tumor was discovered. It was then that he discovered wheelchair fencing and began his career.
During his bouts today -- in which he unsuccessfully faced competitors from Hungary, Hong Kong, France and Russia -- the Paralympian fencer said, he didn't feel quite as focused as he could be.
"I was trying to be in the right place at the right time," he said. "This is definitely a game of wits and speed. I definitely had the preparation. I guess I'm just getting a little bit old, to put it bluntly."
Rodriguez said he stepped away from the fencing in 2004, but later the appeal of coaching young, talented fencers brought him back.
"Between 2008 and now, I kind of got coached back into the [fencing] circuit," Rodriguez said. "Basically, what happened was we have a couple of younger athletes that really piqued my interest, and I wanted to see them do well."
Rodriguez noted that as he went to some of the same tournaments and had some success, such as taking the gold medal in Brazil's zonal championships, he built a rapport with the younger athletes.

"I was trying to give them a little extra fodder, and give them the benefit of my experience and knowledge," he said.
Hearing the national anthem at the championship was amazing, Rodriguez said, and also served to inspire him to return to the game.
"I wish I could do that here, but I don't think it's going to happen for me," he said. "It's great to be part of something bigger than myself."
Rodriguez said his goals for the Paralympic Games were to perform the best he could, be a good representative of the United States, and spend time with old athlete friends from other countries, noting that he enjoys sharing the experience with all of the athletes, volunteers and coaches.
Rodriguez also talked about his preparation for Paralympic competition and the advice he gives to younger competitors.
"I think before, the key to my success was overtraining," he said. "I've got to a point in my career where overtraining is definitely detrimental to my being able to stay on the mark. What I [would] tell anyone these days is the most important thing is being able to find a good, healthy sports regimen and not overdoing it."
The Paralympic fencer also said "it's a very, very fine edge to ride on when you're training for something like the Paralympics or any elite sport.
"You have to take care of yourself," he continued. "If you overdo it, then you can't do your personal best. You've got to stay in good physical shape, good mental shape, and just be consistent."
Rodriguez said he is his own worst critic when it comes to examining his own performances.
"I think, some of us, maybe more than others, are [tough on ourselves]," he said. "I tend to be self-critical, and I want to do better, and make my coach ... [and] teammates happy -- make myself happy."
At the end of the day, the Air Force veteran said, he's just happy to represent his country in the Paralympic Games.
"I feel like I've gotten a lot of support," Rodriguez said. "I looked out in the stands and saw several members of our team -- not just people in the fencing community, but from other sports as well. So that really pushed me to do the best I could."

Related Sites:
U.S. Paralympics
Special Report: Military Paralympians

 

Status of Fast Track Courts

The Government has discontinued the scheme of central assistance to States for Fast Track Courts (FTCs) since 1.4.2011. However, several States have continued Fast Track Courts from their own resources. Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Law & Justice, said that in the judgement given by the Supreme Court on 19.04.2012 in Transfer Case (Civil) No. 22 of 2001- Brij Mohan Lal and Others versus Union of India and Others, the Supreme Court has directed that States shall continue Fast Track Courts Scheme only if this is made a permanent feature. They (States) are at a liberty, however, to decide whether to continue the Scheme or not. Fifteen State Governments have conveyed their decision in regard to continuation or otherwise of the FTCs.(PIB)    04-September-2012 19:08 IST 
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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

An operation in the Zharay district of Afghanistan

Combined Force Arrests Suspected Taliban Explosives Dealer
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2012 - An Afghan special operations unit, supported by coalition troops, arrested a suspected Taliban explosives dealer during an operation in the Zharay district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province today, military officials reported.

The detained explosives dealer is believed to be responsible for
coordinating the purchase and transfer of explosives and other bomb-making equipment for Taliban insurgents throughout the region, officials said.

Prior to his arrest, the suspect had acquired several components for building homemade bombs, officials said.

The Afghan special operations unit also detained three other suspected insurgents and seized more than 40 pounds of illegal narcotics as a result of this operation.

In another Afghanistan operation today, a combined force arrested a suspected Taliban IED expert, detained several other suspects and seized military uniforms, firearms and explosives in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province. The arrested IED expert is believed to be a leading figure in the movement and provision of explosives for attacks against coalition and Afghan security forces throughout eastern Nangarhar province.

Also today, Afghan and coalition forces confirmed the death of Shabeer, a Haqqani network leader, following a Sept. 2 precision airstrike in the Pul-e Alam district of Logar province. Shabeer was believed to have been coordinating a high-profile attack using vehicle-borne bombs and other weapons. A post-strike assessment determined no civilian property was damaged and no civilians were harmed.

In operations yesterday:

-- A combined force detained several suspects and seized Afghan army uniforms, an assault rifle and IED components during a search for a Haqqani leader in the Sayyid Karam district of Paktia province.

-- A combined force detained several suspects and seized a firearm during a search for a Taliban leader in the Ghazni district of Ghazni province.

-- A combined force killed two armed insurgents in Logar's Pul-e Alam district.

In Sept. 2 operations:

-- In the Reg-e Khan Neshin district of Helmand province, International Security Assistance Force troops found and destroyed 1,190 pounds of wet and dry opium and detained four people.

-- During a search for a Taliban leader in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province, a combined force killed multiple insurgents and seized an 82 mm recoilless rifle.

-- A coalition airstrike killed multiple armed insurgents during an operation in Logar's Pul-e Alam district.

Also on Sept. 2, Afghan and coalition forces confirmed the Aug. 30 arrest of a Taliban insurgent in the Hisarak district of Nangarhar province. The insurgent is accused of using his status as a member of the Afghan National Police to conduct a May attack that killed two coalition service members. Prior to his capture, officials said, he was attempting to join the Afghan army.

In Sept. 1 operations:

-- A combined force killed an insurgent, detained numerous suspects and destroyed an explosives and weapons cache during a search for a Haqqani leader in the Sayyid Karam district of Paktia province.

-- In the Wali Muhammad Shahid Khugyani district of Ghazni province, a combined force detained several suspects during a search for a Taliban leader.

-- A combined force detained numerous suspects during a search for a Taliban bomb maker in the Washer district of Helmand province.

Related Sites:

NATO International Security Assistance Force 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stand for the national anthem

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and newly commissioned Marine Corps 2nd lieutenants stand for the national anthem at the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School commissioning ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., Aug. 10, 2012.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Let us say No to Atomic weapons

Nuclear weapons be abolished from the earth--Dr arun Mitra 
While paying homage to the victims of atomic bombing  of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9  August  respectively where more than 200000 peoples died. Dr L S Chawla, Dr Bharti Uppal, Dr arun Mitra demanded nuclear weapons be abolished from the earth.  Dr  Chawla President IDPD and Sr Shizuteru Usui president JPPNW paid homage to victims during 1st North and South Asia joint conference of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)  organized by the Japanese Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (JPPNW) on 22nd and 23rd August 2009.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fully loaded

Army Staff Sgt. Beau Detrick carries a fully loaded ammunation box on Krilling Range during the Best Warrior Competition on Fort Benning, Ga., July 31, 2012. Detrick is assigned to the Illinois National Guard.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Another achievement for CMC Stroke Unit:

Awarded Indo-USA Brain Collaborative grant 
Ludhiana, 8th August, 2012. (Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria)The Stroke Unit of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana has received a 1.18crores grant from the department of Biotechnology, India and National Institute of Health, USA. Dr. Jeyaraj Durai Pandian, Professor and Head of Neurology is the receipient of this award. This grant money is to develop a National Stroke Registry between India and USA. Dr. Pandian is the Principal Investigator from India and Dr. Aneesh Singhal, Stroke program, Massachusetts General hospital, Boston (Harvard University) is the Principal Investigator from USA in this grant. Dr. Pandian said that this research grant will help India and USA to develop a common stroke database and do cross cultural studies. New information regarding various risk factors for stroke, clinical services for stroke and reasons for delay in treatment are some of the important parameters that will be studied in this research. The information on stroke will be collected from 4 other centers in the country besides CMC Ludhiana. They are PGIMER Chandigarh, AIIMS New Delhi, NIMS Hyderabad and SCTIMST Trivandrum.
Dr. Pandian stated that this research proposal was selected out of 72 grant applications. Dr. Yashpal Singh, Professor of Neurology said that this Indo-USA collaborative registry will collect data for the next 2 years and many sub-studies will be carried out once the stroke registry is established. Dr. Abraham G Thomas, Director, CMC lauded the efforts of the Neurology department in getting the grant.   

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Shooting at Gurudwara at Oak Tree, WI Inbox

We are shocked and horrified at the brutal killing
                                                           --Indian American Intellectuals Forum
Tel: (718) 478-5735/   (718) 271-0453   – Email: Katarian@aol.com
http://intellectualsforum.blogspot.com/                                    August 6, 2012
Sub:  Shooting at Gurudwara at Oak Tree, WI
We are shocked and horrified at the brutal killing of our 7 Sikh brothers by a gunman at the Gurudwara (Temple) at Oak Tree, WI.
Since 9/11 several Sikhs have been mistaken for Arabs, Afghans and Iranians; attacked and killed.  We are very upset and express our anguish at the death of our innocent brothers.  Our hearts go to the family members of those who have been killed.  We pray to God to give them inner strength to bear this blow with courage,  patience and fortitude.
It is also incumbent on Hindus and Sikhs to educate our non-Indian American fellows with regard to Sikh Dharma.  Sikhs are peaceful and law abiding people, and are known for their bravery, loyalty and patriotism all over the world.  We have to make it very clear to our American brothers that Sikhism has nothing to do with Islam or terrorism.
At the same time, we urge the Law Enforcement agencies to bring to book the culprits as soon as possible.
Narain Kataria
Vice President
Arish Sahani      

Monday, August 06, 2012

An appeal to good samaritans if Punjab

A golden chance to be the part of life savers
A Courtesy photo:     Cooperating To Meet the Health Needs of Returning Afghan Refugees 
Ludhiana, 6th August, 2012:(Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria) B/O Hardeep Kaur, a 13 days old term male neonate (Unit No: C7391173) was admitted at 2 hours of life on 28/7/2012 in a very serious condition with a diagnosis of server birth asphyxia, Meconium Aspiration Pneumonia and Septicemia.
He received critical care treatment was ventilated for 6 days and now is improving. His father is a daily wages laborer, earning Rupees 4000 per month. However the parents are unable to pay the entire bill and require financial assistance.
Any donations to help B/O Hardeep Kaur are welcome. Cheques in the name of “Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana” can be deposited in the medical superintendent office with the name – for B/O Hardeep Kaur, Hospital Unit No: C7391173 - written at the back of the cheque.
For further details Please Contact Dr.Gurmeet: 9216020400

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Developments:CMC city center compelets one year

A large number of patients benefited 
Ludhiana, 3st August, 2012:The CMC CITY CENTER was inaugurated on 01 st August last year at Sirish Hospital, Krishna Nagar, Ghumar Mandi, Ludhiana and had commenced functioning the very next day. During this one year, the CMC City Center through its Consultant Doctors has been able to provide its services to a large number of patients and citizens of Ludhiana.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vijay Obed, Dy Director, explained that CMC City Center was started in response to the many requests from the citizens of Ludhiana from this part of the city, who found it difficult to approach CMC Hospital. The number of patients attending the OPD at the City Center has been steadily increasing. Patients find it very convenient to seek consultation from CMC Consultant Doctors at the City Center.
Dr Abraham Thomas, Director, CMCH, mentioned that CMC City Center, is a major step to get our services across the city to the citizens of Ludhiana for their convenience.  He was glad that the CMC City Center was able to look after the health care needs of the citizens of Ludhiana.
Dr Sirish Chandra was pleased that CMC City Center has completed one year of service and opined that citizens of Ludhiana should take advantage of these services provided by the City Center. He mentioned that patients attending CMC City Center have been very satisfied with the CMC Consultant Doctors and the other services provided by the Center.
Dr Vijay Obed mentioned that Consultant Doctors of CMC Hospital  of all the specialties were available for consultation in the CMC City Center both in the morning and evening; and include – Medicine, Pediatrics, Pediatric Surgery, Eye, ENT, Orthopedics, Urology, Nephrology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Skin, Plastic Surgery, Psychiatry, Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Medical Oncology, Obs/Gyn, Endocrinology and Diabetes, and others.
In addition to the Consultations, various services available at City Center include: Digital X-ray, Digital ECG, modern hematology and biochemistry laboratory, and pharmacy. All these areas are manned by trained and experienced personnel of CMC Hospital. This helps to carry out all the investigations at the City Center, very promptly and efficiently. A complete Physiotherapy Services Unit is also functioning at the City Center. CMC Nursing staff is available all the time to provide care and comfort to the patients; and look after their needs.
In order to serve the community better, a free medical and dental health check-upm camp P was organized at the City Center, which was a great success. A large number of patients benefited from Free Consultations from Doctors of CMC Hospital.   Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria
 CMC city center compelets one year

Thursday, August 02, 2012

‘Rakhi’ to the Presiden

The school children tying ‘Rakhi’ to the President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, on the occasion of ‘Raksha Bandhan’, in New Delhi on August 02, 2012.     (PIB photo)       02-August-2012

IsA meet with raeli soliders

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speak with Israeli soliders at an Iron Dome anti-missile site in Ashkelon, Israel, Aug. 1, 2012. Panetta is on a five-day trip to the region to meet with leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A letter from Michelle Obama

 I'm asking you
Rector --

I'm always amazed by how Barack balances his responsibilities as president, a husband, and a dad.

But sometimes even he needs a little help. And this campaign is going to take all of us pitching in.

All of the things we've poured our hearts into -- from passing health care reform to fighting for an economy that works for everyone -- are on the line.

I know I don't want to wake up on November 7th wondering if I could have done more. So I'm doing everything I can between now and Election Day to make sure we can keep moving this country forward for four more years.

We've only got a few more hours before an important fundraising deadline. Please support this campaign by giving $3 or more today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Deadline-Midnight

From all of us, thanks. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Before the annual Iftar dinner at the Pentagon

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta speaks with Pentagon Army Chaplains (Lt. Cols.) Thomas Waynick and Kenneth Williams before the annual Iftar dinner at the Pentagon, July 25, 2012. Iftar refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the month of Ramadan, the Islamic faith's holiest time.