Friday, May 25, 2012

In the Rafale Aircraft

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne after a one hour sortie in the Rafale Aircraft at St. Dizier Airbase on May 23, 2012. The Commander of the Rafale Squadron, Commandant (Squadron Leader) Kubiak Thierry and the Chief of Staff of the French Air Force, General Jean-Paul Paloméros are also seen. (PIB photo)      24-May-2012

Allen Anticipates

Much Summer Activity in Afghanistan
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 - The commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan candidly told reporters today his assessment will largely set the course for operations there after the drawdown of U.S. surge forces and before the end of NATO's combat role in 2014.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, briefs reporters at the Pentagon, May 23, 2012. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
"I owe the president some real analysis on this. We're going to need combat power; I don't think anyone questions that," Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, International Security Assistance Force commander, told reporters at the Pentagon. Allen said significant events will occur in Afghanistan this summer, including the withdrawal of some troops, reposturing the battle space, inserting advisors, and moving Afghan forces increasingly into the lead.
"We've got about 30 months left on the campaign, 31 months or so," the commander said. "The ANSF has yet to be fully recruited. It'll be done soon, but the deadline on it was 1 October."
The general noted Afghan army and police numbers have grown over the past year from 276,000 to 340,000, and they will reach their full strength ahead of the scheduled deadline in October.
After the 23,000 remaining U.S. "surge" troops leave Afghanistan by the end of September, Allen said, he will take "a very hard look" at the state of the insurgency, the Afghan forces' success in planning and leading combat operations, and the operational environment he anticipates in 2013.
"The aggregation of those factors will generate ultimately an assessment of what U.S. and non-U.S. ISAF combat power I'll need ... to continue the process of moving the ANSF into the lead in '13 and '14 and giving them the kind of support that they need so that they'll be successful," he said.
"We're going to make that analysis in the aftermath of the fighting season and the recovery of the 23,000 troops," the general added.
Afghan forces augmented by International Security Assistance Force advisory teams will fill in as NATO troops thin out, the general said.
"While, in absolute terms, eventually our numbers come down, it is not our intention to cede the ground ... to the Taliban," he said.
Afghan forces will concentrate in the eastern and southwestern areas of Afghanistan to maintain security gains in the hardest-fought areas, Allen said.
At the Chicago NATO summit that ended Monday, coalition members noted the ISAF commander will regularly assess operational conditions and the capability of Afghan forces, Allen said.
"Right now we're planning every six months, so that we can adapt our plan ultimately for the final size and structure of the [Afghan army and police forces] in the post-2014 period as conditions require," he added.
Allen said NATO's campaign in Afghanistan has been long, difficult and costly, but he believes it is on track.
"I see it every day -- tangible evidence of progress," he said. "And we're making a difference. We're fulfilling the Lisbon road map of transition, and the international community is standing with the noble people of Afghanistan and Afghanistan now and into the decade of transformation."

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen
Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Related Articles:
Allen Explains Priorities in Afghanistan

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gen. V.K. Singh with Gen. Sankar Roy Chawdhury

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. V.K. Singh with the Retd. COAS Gen. Sankar Roy Chawdhury and the GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, Lt. Gen Bikram Singh during his visit to HQ Eastern Command, Kolkata on May 19, 2012.  (PIB photo)    19-May-2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A special Postage Stamp

The President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil releasing a special Postage Stamp to commemorate the Birth Centenary of Karmayogi M.B. Appasaheb Kadadi, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on May 17, 2012. The Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal and the Union Power Minister, Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde are also seen.  (PIB photo)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The former President releasing the NCDC Anthem

The former President of India, Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam a releasing the NCDC Anthem at the National Conference on Cooperatives for the celebration of International Year of Cooperatives, 2012, in New Delhi on May 15, 2012. The Union Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Shri Sharad Pawar, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing Industries and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Harish Rawat and the Secretary, Agriculture & Cooperation, Shri P.K. Basu are also seen. (PIB photo)      15-May-2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil releasing the coins in denominations of Rs.5/- and Rs.10/-, at the function to mark the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of the Parliament of India, in Central Hall of Parliament House, in New Delhi on May 13, 2012. The Vice President and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh are also seen.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kabir Kala Manch creates awareness through dramatics

Creating awareness through Stage
For Kabir Kala Manch art is much more than a medium of entertainment. It’s a tool to denounce injustice, mobilise the oppressed, prepare them for struggle, create consciousness and bring about positive change.

The manch, which is a group of students and professionals, has been making people aware on various social issues through their forceful shahiri and street plays in the city.

The group comprises writers, composers and talented performers who impress the audience with their thoughtful compositions and presentations.

The Gujarat riots in 1992 inspired the artistes to come together and use their art for awareness. Drawing inspiration from Kabir’s compositions, with social messages, they chose to name their group after the sant who has commented on various issues in his dohas.

“People like Kabir, Pablo Picasso and others who used their art for bringing in revolutionary changes are our ideals,” said one of the members Sagar Gorkhe.

The absence of glamour or showy tactics makes their performance more effective. The words are direct, hitting you straight and the message is loud and clear, forcing you to think and act.

The force comes from a thoughtful study of the issues, whether its farmers’ suicides, atrocities on the backward section, violence against women, casteism, Hindu-Muslim riots, terrorism, students’ issues, regional issues like naxalism in Jharkhand or capitalism in Bengal.

Sagar Gorkhe said, “We have a library with over 500 books on a wide variety of subjects from law, various ideologies, thinkers, issues, caste system and its evolution, capitalism, economic inequality and various social revolutions all over the world. We make it a point to study all the aspects of an issue before taking it up.”

Whether its ‘Tanta thambva, Budakhali Andhar; Rajyat Bharla Gundancha Bazaar, Mazya Dehatun Ya Aag Krantichi Vahate, Ani Vidrohachi He Sapaan Balicha Pahate or Savitrichya Lekiho Saad Ghalti Jagaala, Pankh Levun Navyache Haak Deti Abhalala….the compositions seldom miss the target. The message is driven home through the use of local dialects, simple words and direct style without mincing words.

The group performs at programmes and meetings related to various issues. They also hold programmes at colleges and schools. Street play is another strong medium used to reach out to people.

The group has brought out two CDs Yeo Balicha Raaj and Jaati Antaachi Kahani while two other CDs will hit the market soon.
“Our aim is clear. We do not wish to get into commercialisation nor will we go with any political party or non-government organisation. We wish to make people aware and motivate them to fight injustice. We aim at individuals and not at groups or communities. It’s only when individuals will rise to revolt that a change will come,” said Gorkhe.

The scripts, direction and dialogues are managed by the group members. They also hold workshops on composing songs, singing, performing street plays and skits. They come together for practice at their office near Alka theatre every morning.

Courtesy: kracktivist

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Professor K.V. Thomas delivering the inaugural address

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Professor K.V. Thomas delivering the inaugural address at the workshop ‘Best Practices in Targeted Public Distribution System’ organized by Department of Food and World Food Programme, in New Delhi on May 10, 2012. {PIB photo}    10-May-2012

A letter from Barack Obama

Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry
Friend --
Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Manpreet Singh Badal announces party set-up

*Birdavinder appointed Chief Spokesman
*Bhagwant Mann will be YPP President
Birdavinder Singh.JPG
Bhagwant Mann .jpgAmanpreet Singh Chhina Ok.jpgBibi Ranjit Kaur Bhatti Mansa.jpg Chandigarh: People’s Party of Punjab president  S. Manpreet Singh Badal has today announced his Party’s set-up. At the State level S.Birdavinder Singh Ex-Deputy Speaker Punjab  has been appointed Chief spokesman , Sh. Bhagwant Maan has been appointed President of the YPP ( Youth People’s Party)  while S. Yadwinder Singh Bhutter and S.Davinderjit Singh Dhose will be Vice-President of YPP.  Ex Senior additional advocate general Sh. S.S.Bhinder will head Legal Wing and Sh. Kuldeedp Singh Dhose will be President of the Kissan Wing.  Mrs. Ranjit Kaur Bhatti will head the Women Wing of the Party. In a press statement issued today by the Party’s Press Secretary S. Arunjot Singh Sodhi, Dr. Navjot Singh Dahiya has been made President of the Medico Wing and S. Nirmaljeet Singh Nimma, Ex-MLA is the head of SC/ST Wing. Sh. Sitar Bhatti will head Minorities’ Wing and Col. Surjeet Singh Firochechi will be President of Ex-Servicemen Wing. S. Amanpreet Singh Chhina will head NRI Wing and Sh. Vibhor Garg will be the President of the Parwassi Mazdoor Wing. Sh. Satpal Adampur, IRS (Retd.) will be the President of Retired Officers &Employees Wing of the Party.  
According to press statement S. Manmohan Singh Gumtala will be District president of Shri Amritsar Sahib , Kulwant Singh Lohgarh Barnala, Sukhdev Singh Chahal Bathinda, Pardeep Singh Sibiya Faridhkot, Jagmeet Singh Sahota ‘Bawa’ Fatehgarh Sahib,Sukhpreet Singh Randhawa Fazilka, Jai Jeet Singh Johal Ferozpur, Hardyal Singh Gajnipur Gurdaspur, Bhupinder Singh Pappu Azrram Hoshiarpur,Dr Navjot Singh Dahiya Jallandhar Urban, Baba Rajinder Singh Johal Jallandhar Rural,Kuldeep Singh Cheema Kapurthala, Er. Jagdeep Singh Jagraon Ludhiana Rural, Munish Gupta Ludhiana Urban, Dr Ranider Singh Bhana Moga,Jagjit Singh Honey Fattanwala Mukatsar, Dr Jaspal Singh Bhinder Pathankot, Avtar Singh Harpalpur Patiala Rural, Joga Singh Chaparr Patiala Urban, Balwant Singh Gill Ropar, Harmanjit Singh Dicky Sangrur and Vijaypal Chaudhary will be district president of Shri Tarn Taran Sahib.District presidents of Mohali , Mansa & SBS Nagar will be announced later. First meeting of all State and District presidents will be on 10th May at Chandigarh said Sodhi.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Battaglia Stresses Readiness, Resilience During Korea Visit

"I am very, very proud of their courage"
By Walter T. Ham IV
8th U.S. Army

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea , May 4, 2012 - As he meets with U.S. service members in South Korea this week, the military's top enlisted leader is stressing the importance of their mission and the need for resilience.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, makes a point during his May 1-5 visit to South Korea. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Lee Kyungmin
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is visiting military posts across the Korean peninsula in a visit that began May 1 and concludes tomorrow."It's been my honor and privilege to visit with soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and family members here on the Korean peninsula," Battaglia said. "I am very, very proud of their courage and commitment and the relationship, especially, that the U.S. has with the [South Korean] forces."
Battaglia said the bilateral relationship enables the alliance to deter and prevent the daily threat of possible conflict with North Korea.
Emphasizing the importance of the U.S. presence, Battaglia said American troops on the Korean peninsula have to maintain a high level of readiness.
"We have potential threats that live very nearby," he said. "It's extremely important for us to maintain a footprint -- not only in the best interest of our national security, but in the protection and best interest of this Korean peninsula."
A combat veteran who served in Anbar province during the Iraq war, Battaglia emphasized the importance of readiness. "You really have to keep a game face on," he said.
As the U.S. military reshapes and downsizes after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sergeant major said the Defense Department will strike a balance that maintains military readiness.
The senior enlisted leader also noted that readiness and resilience go hand in hand.
"They are intertwined," he said. "If I don't have the ability to overcome adversity, I'm not ready." And that extends to families, he added, because if a service member's family isn't resilient as well, the service member can't be ready.
Battaglia said American troops continue to serve with distinction in Korea and around the world.
"We ask more from our troops now than ever before in our history of our armed forces, and these troops continue to clearly answer the call," he said.
During his visit, Battaglia also met with senior military leaders, including Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, and Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, commander of the 8th U.S. Army. This is his first trip to South Korea since he assumed his current duties Oct. 1.
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia 
Related Sites:
U.S. Forces Korea 

PM's address for NCTC Meeting

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) meeting in Delhi 
Following is the text of Prime Minister’s address:
“I welcome you to this very important meeting on the very important issue of operationalising the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

As all of you know, we had initially intended to discuss this issue in the Chief Ministers' Conference on Internal Security held on 16th April, 2012. But in view of the importance of the matter and concerns raised by some Chief Ministers, we have decided to have a meeting exclusively on this important subject. It’s my sincere hope that as a result of your deliberations today, we will make further progress in improving our counter-terrorism architecture and our operational and institutional capabilities to deal with this menace. I also hope that today's discussions will take place in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, which are essential in tackling the challenge of terrorism.

I would like to reiterate what I have said before. It is not our Government's intention in any way to affect the distribution of powers between the States and the Union that our Constitution provides. The establishment of the NCTC is not a State versus Centre issue. The primary purpose behind setting up the NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout this vast country, as the Intelligence Bureau has been doing so far. The NCTC should be a vehicle of our combined efforts to reach the shared goal of curbing terrorism and eradicating militancy.

Terrorism is today one of the most potent threats to our national security. There can be no disagreement on putting in place an effective counter terrorism regime with efficient mechanisms and response systems both at the national level and at the State level. Neither the states nor the Centre can fulfill this task alone. The closest cooperation and coordination is therefore necessary to meet the threats that emanate from within and outside our borders.

I believe that it is the responsibility of the Centre to give form and shape to a cohesive national approach and strategy based on information gathered globally and from all the states of our Union. On their part, the states should use their expertise, knowledge and machinery to secure their own territories and work in coordination with the Centre and other States.
Since 26/11, we have diligently strengthened our counter terrorism capabilities both in the States and at the Centre. I believe that today the State and Central Police and intelligence agencies are working in harmony and in close coordination. These efforts have resulted in several noteworthy successes. The State Police forces have achieved some excellent results in the recent past. On the whole there is broad agreement on the strategy and measures that we must adopt to counter terrorism in all its multifarious dimensions in India, including cross-border terrorism, Left Wing Extremism, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the North-East and religion based terrorism. However, much remains to be done.

Our government remains committed to working with the State governments and providing them all possible help in combating terrorism. We have been providing financial assistance to the States and helping them train State police and intelligence agencies. We are also implementing schemes on border management and on coastal security, and the scheme for modernization of state police forces. Our government will continue and strengthen these efforts.

The antecedents of the NCTC lie in the recommendations by a Group of Ministers and by the Administrative Reforms Commission, commencing from the lessons learnt in Kargil. It is our belief that the NCTC, in its design and its operational aspects, will supplement the counter-terrorism capabilities of the States and not supplant them. The NCTC mechanism will give each state agency an ability to see the bigger picture of terrorist threats and thus would enhance their counter terrorism capability and access to resources to tackle them.

But for the NCTC to function smoothly and effectively, it is very important that we have a fairly broad consensus on its powers and its functions. We would like the State governments to be with us in this important initiative, which we believe would strengthen our counter-terrorism efforts. We remain open to the suggestions of Chief Ministers. We would like to benefit from their vast knowledge, wisdom and experience.

In preparation for our discussions, the Ministry of Home Affairs has circulated drafts for the Standard Operating Procedures for the Standing Council and for the exercise of operational powers under section 43 A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Both drafts reflect the detailed provisions for Centre-State coordination in both the organizational set-up of NCTC and in its proposed powers and functions.
With these words, I wish you success in your deliberations and I look forward to an open discussion today. May today's deliberations enable us to continue working together to put in place even more effective counter-terrorism architecture in our country. (PIB) 05-May-2012 11:52 IST


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Early intervention for optimal treatment of squint

Every case of squint can lead to loss of stereo vision
Ludhiana, 2nd May, 2011(Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria) Generally squint is considered important only from the cosmetic point of view. It is true that deviated eyes do not look good on a person’s face. Added to this is the psychological and emotional distress. However this is not the only deficit caused by squint, says Dr Satish Thomas, pediatric ophthalmologist and squint specialist at Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana. It can cause decreased vision because of amblyopia if the squint is in one eye. In addition, every case of squint can lead to loss of stereo vision or 3 dimensional vision.  We can have 3D vision only when both the eyes function simultaneously. Children with squint suppress image from one eye in order to avoid double vision, but in the process lose 3D vision.

Squint is best corrected as early as possible after its onset. This is because 3D vision can only be restored if eyes are realigned within about a year of onset, which is before 2 years of age. Amblyopia or lazy eye can only be treated before 7 or 8 years of age. If squint is to be operated only for cosmetic purposes, then timing of surgery does not matter as much. A surgeon can operate and correct squint at any age, but unless it is done very early in life, the patient cannot obtain any binocular vision and 3D perception ability. This is a very important criterion for many professions and careers like sports, surgery, becoming a pilot etc. It is extremely important even for most simple activities like threading a needle. Unfortunately many patients who come to us late have been advised by many doctors that they have to wait until they get older to have squint operated. Most squints do not improve with time and if we wait in the hope of spontaneous improvement, everything will be lost except a chance of straight eyes.
Dr Satish Thomas says that for the last 7 years, ever since he returned from doing fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and squint from Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, he has been earnestly campaigning for early treatment of squint. It is encouraging that over the last few years more and more patients are coming in earlier for treatment. In the last year Dr. Thomas said that he has seen close to 100 new children with squint in the hospital who have been appropriately treated. Twenty of them have been operated upon and many of them have been corrected with appropriate spectacles and occlusion therapy. However, the number of adults coming in with congenital squints is also on the rise. During the last year about 50 adult patients underwent surgery for squint which they had from childhood. This is a reflection of the society’s understanding of the disease which needs to change. Almost all the varieties of primary squint originate in childhood and need to be operated early in life for maximum benefits.