Saturday, January 14, 2012

Panetta Hosts

First Official U.S.-Netherlands Defense Meeting

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2012 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta hosted a Pentagon honor cordon today for his counterpart from the Netherlands during the two leaders' first official bilateral meeting.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta meets with Dutch Defense Minister Hans Hillen at the Pentagon, Jan. 12, 2012. Panetta and Hillen discussed the new U.S. defense strategic guidance, bilateral defense cooperation issues and ongoing operations in Afghanistan and plans for transition. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo 
The secretary and Dutch Minister of Defense Hans Hillen discussed the new U.S. defense strategic guidance, bilateral defense cooperation issues, and ongoing operations and plans for transition in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said.The Netherlands has contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan since 2003. Currently, 183 Dutch troops are deployed to Regional Command South and the capital region, according to ISAF officials.
Panetta and Hillen also discussed U.S. force posture in Europe, the upcoming NATO defense ministerial meetings to be held in early February in Brussels, and the NATO 2012 Summit scheduled for May in Chicago, Kirby said.
While discussing NATO issues, the spokesman added, Panetta recognized and praised the Netherlands' "traditionally strong voice and leadership in the NATO alliance."
Leon E. Panetta
Related Sites:
State Department Background Note on the Netherlands 

Conference of Tourism Ministers

The Union Tourism Minister, Shri Subodh Kant Sahai at the conference of Tourism Ministers of ASEAN countries, at Manado, Indonesia on January 12, 2012.

Voice of Voiceless: Community Radio Mattoli

Radio Mattolli has a saga of success
                                     A special feature by Sudha S. Namboothiry*
For the past two and  a half years most of the people of backward   Wayanad in Kerala wake  to the echo of their lone Community Radio- Radio Mattolli . If you are in Wayanad you can tune in to Radio Mattolli at 90.4 MHz frequency from 6 am to 10 pm. Located at Dwaraka, Mananthavady in Wayanad District, this Community Radio is administered by Wayanad Social Service Society , an NGO with 36 years of experience in development interventions in Wayanad District.
           Radio Mattolli which  was launched in 2009 has a saga of success and need not say  Fr. Thomas Joseph Therakam  , Director of the Radio has reasons to be happy.  Latest survey show that number of daily listeners come to 24.05% of the population. In demographic figures of the district (as per 2011 census) it comes to 2,00,056 people. But if weekly and occasional listeners of the Radio Mattoli are included,  the figures will be 74.05% (6,10,539). Another interesting factor is 56% depends on Radio Set for listening to community radio program, whereas 40% use their mobile phones to tune into Mattoli.

           According to Fr. Therakam, Community Radio is the perfect tool to provide comprehensive knowledge, technology, awareness, and empowerment etc. to a targeted audience.   Radio always had upper hand over other media like newspaper and television since a literate can only read newspaper or pamphlets and  viewing television means dedicating time for that and there is a need for electricity in the area too. But anyone can listen to a radio and do other work simultaneously. This is to be noted that about 30,000 families in Wayanad do not have electricity connection.

Radio Mattoli is the first Community Radio service in Kerala and the only electronic media in the State to broadcast programme in tribal dialects daily. The programme   which is all comprising of education, information health etc. is daily aired at 2.30 PM and at 8.05 PM. Radio Mattoli has also launched “Namma Sasthra” – A Special Science Popularization Program supported by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment. This is broadcasted in local dialect also. Apart from this there are the regular features like reflections on  Gandhian thoughts, Interaction between officials and public, programmes for women prepared by women, introducing various books and local libraries, health programmes, programmes on job oriented training , new courses etc.    Well the Radio is living upto its mission of providing an avenue for the free flow of beneficial information aimed at bringing socio economic changes in the society. As the programmes aired are mostly presented by local  people, listeners  have  an immediate emotional attachment with the presenter and the message is effectively received. The target groups consist of marginal farmers, indigenous people, dalits, agricultural labourers women and children. Hence such an emotional bonding is much required  says Fr. Therakam. These people need to have the sense of belonging in order to trust .

Radio Mattoli has even formed Mattoli clubs in schools. Out of the 288 schools in the district 91 schools have Mattoli clubs. Members of these  clubs get a chance to broadcast their programmes over Mattoli. This inculcates leadership quality, creativity, presentation capability and awareness in children. They get a wonderful exposure to the world of electronic media.

Started with an initial investment of Rs. 58 lakh, which was used for infrastructure and one year functioning of Radio Mattoli, today it has the support of NABARD, Coffee Board, Kerala State Agricultural Department and the limited commercial spots permitted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Need not say Radio Mattoli is here to give voice to the voiceless and help them express themselves socially, economically, culturally and spiritually in order to make them masters of their own destinies.                              ***

*Media & Communication Officer (PIB, Cochin)

National Youth Day Celebrated at Ludhiana also

Dr.Sapna Kiran addressed the students
Karma Hospital being run by Dream & Beauty Charitable Trust organized a seminar on Public Health at BCM Sr. Sec. School, Focal Point, Ludhiana on the occasion of National Youth Day. Dr Sapna Kiran (MPH, University of Western Sydney, Australia) addressed the students about the health and hygiene. She also presented the national and international career avenues in public health. Karma Hospital is organizing Free Medical checkup camps and informative seminars in various industries and schools under CSR