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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Edition 5: Domestic News

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office announced Saturday that he will attend the U.N. climate change conference which is about to begin in Copenhagen.
The Indian government recently pledged to cut emissions by 20 to 25 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.
Leaders of more than 100 nations are taking part in climate change conference, which aims to reach a new international agreement on reducing emissions and assistance for developing economies working to slow the global warming trend. U.S. President Barack Obama, India's prime Minister Singh and most other heads of state or government are expected in the Danish capital during the final sessions of the 12-day conference, which begins Monday.
Mr. Obama has revised his travel plans and will be arriving in Copenhagen for the end of the conference on December 18. He had originally intended to take part in the meeting's earlier stages, but his spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said the president decided U.S. leadership would be "most productive" during the final rounds of talks.
Thousands of people rallied in London Saturday to demand a strong climate deal at the U.N. Conference.
About 20,000 people turned out for a demonstration organized by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, which includes groups such as Oxfam and Greenpeace.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, whose country is another major polluter, also will be in Copenhagen. China, India and the United States all have recently announced their targets for reducing carbon emissions.
Following India's pledge to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 20-25 percent over the next decade, the White House said Friday the United States is ready to pay a "fair share" of $10 billion per year in climate aid to developing countries as part of a new climate change agreement.
Participants in the Copenhagen meetings are trying to reach a new international accord to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
President Obama had originally planned to arrive in Copenhagen on December 9, but his revised schedule calls for him to attend the climate change meetings one week after he accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan's recent request to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to protect the judiciary from increasingly ''intrusive'' queries appears to have triggered an exercise to look for options to effect changes in the RTI Act.
Following the CJI's impassioned letter, which said questions asked by chronic litigants about the judiciary could erode its independence, the government has started looking into possible changes in the RTI Act, highly placed sources said.
The exercise will be a tightrope walk as the government is keen to ensure that any change in the Act is not seen as blunting the efficacy of the transparency law. At the same time, it is examining options to limit queries on certain issues, including the process of appointment of judges and correspondence between the CJI and other constitutional authorities.
One of the options being debated in the law ministry is the feasibility of making RTI applicants state the purpose behind their question to the judiciary.
The other option, sure to be welcomed by the judiciary if it actualizes, is to take certain information out of the RTI Act's purview.
The CJI's letter had stated that judicial appointments in India were made on the basis of constitution bench judgments of the Supreme Court. He had pointed out that under the prevailing process, the meeting of the collegium seldom put in writing its views on persons who were rejected for posts of judges in high courts or the apex court. The CJI also told the PM that secrecy around the selection process of judges was not unique to India.
On December 6, 2009, millions of Indians were united in celebration as their team ascended to the top of the ICC Test rankings.

Fittingly, the victory that made it possible was marked by standout performances from the men who have played a crucial role in India's ascent. Virender Sehwag has scored more runs than any other Indian batsman over the last 25 Tests - played over a two-year period beginning November 2007. His innings of 293 - played at a pace that left the bowlers ample time to finish the demolition job - proved pivotal as India fulfilled its destined tryst with the top slot.
Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan have been India's highest wicket-takers during this period. Both picked up six wickets apiece for the match, with Zaheer coming up with a five-wicket haul to polish off the tail on Sunday morning and take India to a comfortable win by an innings and 24 runs. Gautam Gambhir was missing, but the glorious trinity of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman all made valuable contri-butions. In the autumn of their careers, they finally got to savour a moment they have dreamt of for many seasons. What made it particularly poignant was that it came in perhaps their last Test on home soil together. India has no Test series scheduled at home next year and by the time 2011 dawns - post World Cup, that is - age may well have caught up.
But that's in the future. For now, the team deserves to soak up the moment. Sadly, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble aren't part of the present
Squad, but there's no denying their massive contribution. India needed to scalp four Sri Lankan wickets on Sunday morning to clinch the series and ascend to the No.1 spot in the ICC Test rankings.
''The way they played in the two Tests (Kanpur and Mumbai), they deserve to be there,'' was Sangakkara's way of paying tribute to the world's new No 1 team. It is only the third time in the last 47 months of Test cricket that India have managed to register two consecutive victories.
Yet, the 2-0 win has catapulted them to the top of the world. A far cry from where India were exactly a decade ago: the 3-0 thrashing in Australia in 1999-00 immediately comes to mind, followed by their first ever home series defeat to South Africa in 2000.
In between, there were two drawn series Down Under, a historic series win in Pakistan (2003-04) followed by series victories in West Indies (2006), England (2007) and New Zealand (2009). That India ruled at home too, during this phase, has finally led them to the zenith.
Dhoni knows the bigger effort now will be to sustain that position. Australia did it for eight long years, ever since the Test championship was introduced in 2001. South Africa briefly reigned and Sri Lanka arrived here with a shot at the title too. In fact, if they had won this series 2-0, they would have been numero uno.

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