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Monday, March 8, 2010

Edition 11: News

Local Travel By National Leader
All India Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi attracted lot of attention by travelling in a local train during his visit to Mumbai on Feb. 5.
Putting his usual convoy aside, Rahul took a train from Andheri to Dadar after interacting with college students at Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle and changed to Central Line at Dadar to proceed to Ghatkopar. He had come to attend a function organised by the Youth Congress. This sudden change of mean of travel put a lot of pressure on the police deployed for the security of the young leader.
The meeting at Ramabai Nagar comprising 500 slum youths, self help groups, NGOs and social workers lasted for about 25 minutes.
Besides taking a train trip, he also bought his own ticket after withdrawing money from an ATM. This was unusual for any leader in the country.
However, his trip was marred by political controversy as Shiv Sena protested during his travel with flag flags. The Shiv Sena leaders claimed this was a theatrical ploy & a political stunt. Udhav Thackerey, Executive President of Shiv Sena critisize Rahul’s act.
Successful Lanuch of Agni III
India on Sunday successfully test-fired its indigenous Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 3500 kms from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa, making the nuclear-capable platform ready for induction into the armed forces.
"The fourth test-firing of the Agni-III missile was carried out at 1050 hours on Sunday. It was for the full range and it hit the target with pin-point accuracy and met all the mission objectives," Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.
Two Navy ships located near the target tracked and witnessed the missile hitting it accurately, he said.
Defence Minister A K Antony congratulated DRDO chief V K Saraswat and the scientists involved in the Agni-III project on the "remarkable success" of the missile test.
The defence spokesman said the launch was part of the pre-induction trial and "now the missile system will be fully inducted into the armed forces."
A number of radars and electro-optical tracking systems along the coast of Orissa monitored the path of the missile and evaluated all the parameters in real-time, Kar said.
Equipped with a state-of-the-art advanced computer, the navigation system used for guiding the missile to its target is the "first of its kind", he said.
The 17-metre long marker pen like Agni-III is 2 metres in diameter and has a two-stage solid propellant system with a pay load capability of 1.5 tonnes.
“During the course of the flight, the missile reached a peak height of 350 kms and re-entered the atmosphere successfully tolerating the skin temperatures of nearly 3000 degree Celsius," Kar said.
Tax Hike By PMC
The standing committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation on February 6 approved 11 per cent hike in taxes. The committee also decided to impose steep hike on property tax for IT sector and decided to charge octroi on gold and silver on the basis of Value Added Tax (VAT).
The standing committee of the PMC met to decide the new tax structure ahead of the annual civic budget. Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Zagade had proposed 22 per cent hike in various taxes. Rates for octroi were also hiked in the draft budget.
" Administration was expecting additional revenue of Rs 379 crores from hike of 22 per cent in general taxes proposed by the municipal commissioner, However the standing committee approved 11 per cent hike which will fetch Rs 181 crore to civic coffers" said standing committee chairman Nilesh Nikam.
Jhumpa Lahiri Appointed By Obama
Indians in United States celebrated as Indian-American Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri has been appointed as a member of US President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, along with five others.
"I am proud that these distinguished individuals will serve in my Administration. The arts and the humanities enhance the vibrancy of our society, inspire us and strengthen our democracy," Obama said in a statement.
"I look forward to working with them in the weeks and months ahead," Obama said.
Besides Lahiri, other appointed to the committee are Chuck Close, Fred Goldring, Sheila Johnson, Pamela Joyner and Ken Solomon, the White House said.
She was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN / Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel The Namesake was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Blast In US Power Plant
A huge explosion ripped through a US power plant today being built in Connecticut amid reports up to 50 people may have died, emergency officials said, as a rescue operation swung into place.
The blast at the gas-fired plant in Middletown, home to 40,000 people on the Connecticut River, sent flames and black smoke billowing into the sky and shook houses several miles (kilometers) away, witnesses said.
As helicopters, ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene and a massive search and rescue operation was launched, officials were reluctant to say how many might have died, but a large number of fatalities was feared.
"The reports vary from a few, several to possibly as many as 50 dead," Brian Albert from the Middlesex told AFP.

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