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Newsletter. Issue 2008-13. June 21, 2008
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India News Clips

Mangalore to be world seat of Konkani culture
15 Jun 2008, 0059 hrs IST,TNN

PANAJI: While Goa is the only state in the country to have Konkani as its official language, however, the biggest centre for the development of the Konkani language, art and culture is being set up in Mangalore, in Karnataka.

"The first phase of the Vishva Konkani Kendra is almost complete and will be inauguarated in September," informed Basti Wavan Shenoy, president of the Vishva Konkani Kendra while speaking to TOI. A brainchild of Shenoy, Rs 2 crore has so far been spent on the first phase of the centre, which consists of a World Konkani Library, World Konkani Museum, administrative block, research wing, mini-convention theatre, seminar hall and the hall of fame.

Goa and Kerala have their own Konkani bhavans founded by Konkani intitutions, but the one being set up in Mangalore is considered to be the largest and fulfledged cultural centre. "With the setting up of this centre, Mangalore city will truly become the world seat of Konkani culture," Shenoy said. It may be recalled that during the first World Konkani Convention (Vishwa Konkani Sammelan) held in Mangalore in 1995, it was unanimously adopted to construct a ‘World Konkani Centre’ (Vishwa Konkani Kendra) at Mangalore to promote Konkani.

"Estimated to cost Rs 6 crore, Vishwa Konkani Kendra project is a manifestation of the mandate given by the final resolution passed during the first World Konkani Convention in 1995," Shenoy said. The two-storeyed Konkani centre, being built on three acres of land at Shakthi Nagar, Mangalore, will also have a research and documentation facility. Translation of works of Ravindra Kelekar, A T Lobo, J S Alvares, Dr V J P Saldanha and other eminent authors. According to Shenoy, the Vishva Konkani Kendra has received monetary support from the Syndicate Bank, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, and also P Dayanand Pai, S M Rao, R V Deshpande, T M A Pai Foundation.


US Indian arrested in fake job racket
By Parveen Chopra - New York

June 16: Seven people, including an Indian American running an IT company in the US, have been arrested for allegedly running an immigration racket that promised work visas and green cards to aspirants who were offered fake jobs in his firm. New Jersey-based Nilesh Dasondi has been charged with using his CyGate Software and Consulting company that would petition for H1B visas and green cards on behalf of people for a fat fee.

A member of the Edison town zoning board, Dasondi, 41, is a naturalised US citizen who made an unsuccessful bid in last year’s Edison council Democratic primary. According to papers filed by assistant US attorney Burt Ryan, at least six Indian beneficiaries reportedly paid him large sums for their immigration to the US. Three of them were arrested from Long Island in New York and one each from New Jersey, Chicago and Arizona last week.

Newsday, a daily, reported that the three Long Islanders — Kishor Parikh (42), Devang Patel (31) and Chetan Trivedi (40) — made monthly payments totalling between $70,000 and $100,000 to Dasondi. — IANS


Indian American Governor Bobby Jindal rejects V-P conjecture
By Arun Kumar
Washington DC

June 16: Louisiana’s Indian American governor Bobby Jindal has once again discounted speculation that John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, may pick him as his running mate, saying he’s currently focused on his current job.

"The speculation is flattering. I’ve talked to the senator several times. We’ve never talked about the topic," Mr Jindal said on Sunday on Face the Nation on CBS. "The reality is, I’ve got the job that I want. This is an historic time for my state, not only because of Katrina and Rita, those awful hurricanes in 2005, but for many reasons, like the energy economy and other opportunities," he said.

"I’m certainly supporting Senator McCain, will do whatever I can to help him get elected, but I’m focused on being governor of Louisiana," Mr Jindal said on CBS’s Face the Nation. But Mr Jindal, a former member of the US House of Representatives, who became the first Indian American governor of a US State in January, did not say whether he’d reject a running-mate offer.

Some analysts have drawn comparisons between Mr Jindal and presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Both are newcomers to the national scene, minorities, highly educated, young and talented at public speaking. Mr Jindal said that, even aside from policy differences, those comparisons have their limitations.

"I think Senator Obama is an incredibly gifted speaker. I don’t think I should be included in that same short list, and I mean that as a sincere compliment," Mr Jindal said. —IANS

See Also:
Bobby Jindal - Catholic Convert and Son of Indian Immigrants - Wins Louisiana Governor's Race


US warns Pakistan against releasing A Q Khan

New York, June 16 (PTI) US officials have privately warned Pakistan against releasing discredited scientist A Q Khan after investigations revealed that he might still be in possession of the design of a nuclear bomb, which is "easier to hide" and could become a "terrorist issue" in future. The discovery, about the presence of blueprint of the sophisticated and compact nuclear weapon in Khan's computers network spread over Switzerland, Dubai, Malaysia and Thailand by US and IAEA investigators, has raised the possibility of his still having sensitive material.

The findings have given new grounds to the US officials to issue fresh warnings to the Pakistani authorities, who consider Khan's chapter as closed, against releasing him. He is currently under house arrest in Pakistan. "We've been very direct with them that releasing Khan could cause a world of trouble," a senior US administration official, involved in the effort, was quoted as saying in the New York Times today.

"The problem with Pakistan these days is that you never know who is making the decision the army, the intelligence agencies, the president or the new government", the unnamed official added. Meanwhile, the compactness of the new design has also become a cause of concern, as the smaller warhead created from it is "more efficient and easier to hide," implying that one day it might become a "terrorist issue", another official was quoted as saying.

The warhead built from the blueprint design could fit atop a family of medium-range missiles that derive from North Korea's Nodong class of missiles. Those missiles include Pakistan's Ghauri and Iran's Shahab. All are about four feet wide, and any warhead atop them must, by definition, be smaller, the daily reported. PTI.


UK has an Indian immigration problem - with a difference
Prasun Sonwalkar

London, Jun 8 (PTI) Britain is facing an immigration problem with an India connection but with a difference - and one solution being considered is to 'shoot at sight'. Parakeets originally from India have multiplied in such large numbers that they are threatening native birds like robins and woodpeckers.

The rose-ringed parakeets, which are native to the Himalayas, have grown over 30,000 in Britain and have colonised parks and gardens in London, Surrey and Kent. Christopher Butler, professor at Oxford University, predicted that parakeet numbers in Greater London would rise by 30 per cent a year. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) estimates their number will rise to 50,000 by 2010.

John Tayleur, an expert at the British Trust for Ornithology, warned that since parakeets nest early, they take the best sites, putting native species like nuthatches, kestrels, starlings and tawny and little owls at risk. The Department for the Environment and Natural England is compiling a report on parakeets and other invasive species. In London, the parakeet (Psittacula krameri), which gives a sharp and carrying kee-ak kee-ak call, is among the 20 most-sighted birds.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that it was working with RSPB and other agencies to address the issue. One of the solutions being considered is a purge of the parakeets - by shooting them. "We have commissioned the Central Science Laboratory to do a desk study of parakeet data to get a fuller picture. In the meantime landowners can apply to Natural England (the conservation agency) for an individual license to control the species," a spokesman for the department said. PTI


Lord "appointed" chairman of technology college

Lucknow, June 8 (PTI) A technology college near here has an unusual chairman with literally high connections - Lord Hanuman. The Sardar Bhagat Singh College of Technology and Management, which is approved by the All India Council for Technology and Education (AICTE) and is awaiting affiliation to the Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU), has Lord Hanumnan's idol occupying the place of pride in unfamiliar surroundings of the chairman's office.

One of the two vice chairmen, Vivek Kangri told PTI that the "chairman" has delegated all powers in him and the other vice chairman to act on his behalf. A resolution passed by the trust gave the top-most post of the institute to lord Hanuman.

Kangri said Lord Hanuman helped them including the other vice chairman, Pankaj Singh Bhadauria in all difficult situations and provided them with the strength and ability to establish the institute. The two, he said, have experienced that during all trying times they have been bailed out by Lord Hanuman. Thus they found it fit to give the highest post in their institute to Hanuman as a mark of dedication and devotion.

All correspondence and paper work in the name of Lord Hanuman is being done by the two and during the meetings the chairman's chair is left empty with both occupying the adjacent seats as a mark of respect. PTI

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