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22 Oct 2014

Understanding and Defeating Resurgent Fascism

Robert J. Burrowes, KalimNews, 22 October 2014: As fascism is being intruded more widely and deeply into key areas of world politics, it is important to identify this trend, to explain the psychology of fascism and to nominate key elements of any strategy to defeat it.
Fascism is best known for its rise in Italy under Benito Mussolini and its Nazi manifestation in Germany under Adolf Hitler. However, despite the enormous cost in human lives it took European and other peoples to defeat Nazism in World War II, fascism remains a prevalent, persistent and growing problem in world politics. In fact, while we like to think that modern leaders oppose fascism and the violent behavioral outcomes that arise from it, the reality is that many political and corporate leaders are fascists themselves and support other fascists when elite interests require it. They just don't use the word 'fascist' to identify themselves and modern political analysts rarely use it either.
One manifestation of fascism is occurring in eastern Ukraine (and now Kiev) where the United States elite is sponsoring the ongoing genocide of Russian-speaking peoples in support of fascist groups that are directly descended from Nazi groups in World War II. For a taste of the extensive documentation of this point, see Robert Parry 'Ukraine's Neo-Nazis Demand Respect'http://consortiumnews.com/2014/10/15/ukraines-neo-nazis-demand-respect/, Michel Chossudovsky 'America's Neo-Nazi Government in Kiev. Towards a Scenario of Military Escalation' http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-neo-nazi-government-in-kiev-towards-a-scenario-of-military-escalation/5380384, Michel Chossudovsky 'Ukraine and the "Politics of Anti-Semitism": The West Upholds Neo-Nazi Repression of Ukraine's Jewish Community' http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-and-the-politics-of-anti-semitism-west-upholds-neo-nazi-repression-of-ukraines-jewish-community/5370790 as well as this video 'Ukraine Crisis: What You're Not Being Told' http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=81d_1403227131, this video 'Neo-Nazis in Ukraine' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LKFptM7oOk and this video compilation: 'US support of violent neo-Nazis in Ukraine' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw Moreover, in a recent video report which also referred to the earlier US-orchestrated genocides in Rwanda and Libya, it becomes clear that 'Genocide is just another foreign policy tool for the US' fascist elite. See 'Genocide in Eastern Ukraine' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JFY6Xug6X8
Do you think that this description sounds too extreme? Here is the response of the eminent Norwegian peace research scholar Professor Johan Galtung: 'US Fascism? Yes, indeed; if by fascism we mean use of massive violence for political goals. US fascism takes three forms: global with bombing, droning and sniping all over; domestic with military weapons used across race and class faultlines; and then NSA-National Security Agency spying on everybody.' See 'The Fall of the US Empire - And Then What?'
But the ongoing prevalence of fascism reaches well beyond the United States. The eminent Burmese scholar Dr Maung Zarni notes that fascism 'is not encoded genetically or culturally in any people. The word "fascism" is not exclusive to historical discussion of the Germans, Italians, Japanese or for that matter any group with a brutally fascist past.... Just as there were the good Germans and the Nazi Germans, I would argue, there are "Nazi Jews", based on the available evidence of popular and legalized racism in Israel towards ALL Arabs.... What else would we call the Jews of Israel who demand "death to Arabs"?' See 'Stop Playing the Anti-Semitism Card & Get Real about the Rise of Fascism in Israel' http://www.maungzarni.net/2014/08/stop-playing-anti-semitism-card-get.html
Moreover, as long-time Middle East analyst Dr Franklin Lamb notes, 'many Jews feel that the world is against them, and view criticism of Zionist apartheid Israel as a mask for animosity towards Jews' but, he argues, any 'rejection' is 'not at all about Jews, but only about Zionism as a fascist, racist creed'. See 'A Nail in Zionism's Coffin?' http://www.countercurrents.org/lamb020814.htm
Elsewhere in the world, Dr Maung Zarni has warned about the rise of Buddhist fascism against the Muslim Rohingya in Burma. See 'Myanmar's new Nazis: Wirathu's "Buddhist" Vision, 969 Islamophobia, strategies and 969 Rakhine-China-connections'http://www.maungzarni.net/2013/07/wirathu-and-his-hate-crimes-background.html and 'Burmese Neo-Nazi Movement Rising Against Muslims' http://www.asiasentinel.com/society/burmese-neo-nazi-movement-rising-against-muslims/ Other examples could be cited.
There have been many attempts to understand fascism, starting with the early work of Wilhelm Reich 'The Mass Psychology of Fascism'http://www.relatedness.org/Mass_Psychology_of_Fascism.pdf. So what is fascism and what is the underlying psychology of individuals who are fascists?
Usually, fascism is described as a form of authoritarian nationalism in which a dictator has complete power and violently suppresses opposition and criticism while emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and racism. (If you want to read a 14 point characterization of fascism, see Professor Lawrence Britt's 'Fascism Anyone?' http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/2710) More generally, however, the above definition of Galtung's highlights its essence. But the psychology of fascists – those who believe in, and use, 'massive violence for political goals' – is complex and is a direct outcome of the nature of the extraordinary violence to which they were subjected as children.
Let me briefly identify the psychological profile of fascists and the specific violence that generates a person with this psychology. For a thorough explanation and elaboration of this point, see 'Why Violence?' http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence and 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice' http://anitamckone.wordpress.com/articles-2/fearless-and-fearful-psychology/
First, fascists are terrified and they are particularly terrified of those individuals who perpetrated violence against them when they were a child although this terror remains unconscious to them. Second, this terror is so extreme that fascists are too terrified to consciously identify to themselves their own perpetrator (one or both parents and/or other significant adults who are supposed to love them) and to say that it is this individual or individuals who are violent and wrong.
Third, because they are terrified, they are unable to defend themselves against the original perpetrator(s) but also, as a result, they are unable to defend themselves against other perpetrators who attack them later in life. This lack of capacity to defend themselves leads to the fourth and fifth attributes – a deep sense of powerlessness and a deep sense of self-hatred. However, it is too terrifying and painful for the individual to be consciously aware of any of these feelings/attributes.
Sixth, because they are terrified of identifying that they are the victim of the violence of their own parents (and/or other significant adults from their childhood) and that this violence terrified them, fascists unconsciously delude themselves about the identity of their own perpetrator. They will unconsciously identify their 'perpetrator' as one or more individuals of whom they are not actually afraid from an existing 'legitimised victim' group, such as people from a different race, religion or class. This is also because their unconscious terror and self-hatred compels them to project onto something (that is, people and/or resources) that is 'controllable' (because their original perpetrators never were). For this reason, their victims are (unconsciously) carefully chosen and are always relatively powerless by comparison.
This is easy to do because, seventh, children who become fascists have been terrorised into accepting a very narrow-minded and dogmatic belief set that excludes consideration of those in other social (including racial, religious or class) groups. The idea that they might open-mindedly consider other beliefs, or the rights of those not in the 'in-group', is (unconsciously) terrifying to them. Moreover, because they have been terrorised into adopting their rigid belief set, fascists develop an intense fear of the truth; hence, fascists are both bigoted and self-righteous. In addition, the belief set of fascists includes a powerful and violently reinforced 'lesson': 'good' means obedient; it does not mean intrinsically good, loving and caring.
Eighth, and as a result of all of the above, fascists learn to unconsciously project their self-hatred, one outcome of their own victimhood, as hatred for those in the 'out-groups'. This 'justifies' their (violent) behaviour and obscures their unconscious motivation: to remain unaware of their own suppressed terror and self-hatred.
Ninth, fascists have a compulsion to be violent; that is, they are addicted to it. Why? Because the act of violence allows them to explosively release the suppressed feelings (usually some combination of fear, terror, pain, anger and powerlessness) so that they experience a brief sensation of delusional 'relief'. Because the 'relief' is both brief and delusional, they are condemned to repeat their violence endlessly.
But the compulsion to be violent is reinforced by another element in their belief set, the tenth characteristic: fascists have a delusional belief in the effectiveness and morality of violence; they have no capacity to perceive its dysfunctionality and immorality.
And eleventh, the extreme social terrorisation experience to which fascists have been subjected means that the feelings of love, compassion, empathy and sympathy, as well as the mental function of conscience, are prevented from developing. Devoid of conscience and these feelings, fascists can inflict violence on others without experiencing the feedback that conscience and these feelings would provide.
In theory, of course, fascists can heal from the terror and self-hatred that underpins their psychology. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to have the courage to seek the appropriate emotional support to do so. In the meantime, those of us so inclined must resist their violence and this can be done strategically. See 'The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach' http://www.sunypress.edu/p-2176-the-strategy-of-nonviolent-defe.aspx
f you wish to join the worldwide movement to end all violence, fascist or otherwise, then you are welcome to sign online 'The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent World' http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com
In summary: Fascists are terrified and self-hating. But, rather than feel their own cowardice and self-hatred, they unconsciously project this as fear of, and hatred for, the people in one or more 'legitimised victim' groups.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of 'Why Violence?' http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com

How was Dhirubhai Ambani able to build his enormous empire without any entrepreneurship background at all?

Dhirubhai Ambani is an Indian icon who did that way. He is a little more special than the American entrepreneurs above as the old world relies on connections & lineage a lot, lot more than the new world. 
Dhirubhai started out as a trader importing polyester fabric and exporting spices. The small dowry he got and experience he acquired working in middle east, helping him a bit to get started in this.  
Trading was not a sexy thing those days. Only uneducated people and very rich kids without much drive were dabbling in there. There was not enough competition for someone as smart and as fierce as Dhirubhai. Once he mastered polyester trading, he moved upstream to start producing fabric and downstream to directly brand this fabric to customers.
His apparel brand - Vimal - created a sensation in the 1970/80s. Vimal brought in top fashion designers to build the aesthetic appeal, focused a lot on fabric quality, made really sexy promotions and got a whole bunch of top model & cricketers to endorse. 
Then expanded the polyester business and started producing the things needed to make the polyester (as India's import rules were quite harsh) such as petrochemicals.
Besides the product innovation, he also utilized the financial markets to full extent. His company went to IPO in 1977 (when India's stock markets were very small) and really used the power of common investors. When I was young, my parents will always be chatting about how everyone should own Reliance stock - it took stock markets to the masses.
Dhirubhai had the dream to break in a market with too much of connections, had the persistance to stay through Indian government's moronic policies, had the innovative ability (both in product and finance) and finally the luck (from the dowry to being at a time when the Indian economy was exploding).
While a family background in entrepreneurship can help you be a good entrepreneur, it doesn't help a lot in being a legendary entrepreneur. Legends completely blaze their own path without being encumbered by the past.

Sleuths sound alert on Sudipta’s Nepal links

saradhaDebasis Konar,TNN, Oct 22, 2014,KOLKATA: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alerted the Nepal government's Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) to check hawala transactions through Nepal. Since the focus has shifted to Bangladesh after the Burdwan blast, ED officials suspect that hawala transactions will now be done through Nepal for terror funding.
Moreover, the sleuths felt that it is easier to use Nepal to send money to India or from India. Already, the ED is probing if Saradha money was siphoned off to Nepal via hawala channels. There are also reports that Sudipta Sen had been to Nepal while he was on the run. Sleuths suspect that he also had links with Dubai. The sleuths are also scanning the passport of Sudipta Sen to bust his foreign links.
It has come to the notice of the ED officials that a number of chit funds operating in Bengal had shifted money to Nepal through hawala channels. The sleuths fear that a part of this money might also land up with the militants. Recently, it was found that an Assam-based terror outfit was sending money to Nepal and ED will confiscate the same from a Nepal bank.
The sleuths are trying to find out if Saradha money was sent to middle-east and other countries. Spending of huge money to organize a number of overseas Bengali conferences in the US and Australia and the frequent foreign trips by the crew of Channel 10, owned by the group, have raised ED's suspicion.
ED is also probing if Ghosh was part of the hawala racket. It's also trying to find out whether there was any violation of the Money Laundering Act while paying fees of the MP's son who studies in London.
The sleuths have also set their sights on some of the relatives of the Saradha top functionaries who live abroad.
Meanwhile, the ED officials are probing if there was funding from Bangladesh for the Burdwan blast. The investigators who had gone to the blast site spoke to a number of police officers and confirmed that there was organized terror funding from Bangladesh. ED is also trying to find out how the money reached the terrorists who were involved in the bomb manufacturing and how did they manage to purchase plots to set up illegal madrassas in different parts of Bengal.

Excitement can trigger silent heart attack

TNN | Oct 21, 2014, KOLKATA: A fourth of all heart attacks strike without warning and are often triggered by a sudden excitement. They are not preceded by the usual symptoms of a cardiac ailment — chest pain, breathlessness or unconsciousness. Instead, they have a silent build-up that is likely to go unnoticed.
This is what happened to the 24-year-old football fan Subhadip Sanyal who had dilated cardiomyopathy leading to a sudden heart attack at the Salt Lake Stadium during Sunday's ISL match. The youngster survived the attack, which was possibly triggered by a sudden gust of excitement following a goal, according to doctors.
While dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart gets enlarged and fails to pump blood, sudden attacks could also be precipitated by plaque deposited inside cardiac arteries. In both conditions, there are rarely any symptoms.
"About 25% of heart attacks happen without prior indications. They are mostly caused by arhythmia, arterial blocks or by thickening of heart muscles, apart from myopathy. Patients are taken by surprise and a sudden excitement is usually the trigger. This is what seems to have happened to the young football fan. Both stress and ecstasy could impel a heart attack in such cases for they raise the demand for oxygen in the system, putting the heart under strain," cardiac surgeon Kunal Sarkar.
The most common cause of a sudden attack, however, is a blocked artery, according to cardiologists.
"Plaque inside cardiac arteries could rupture and block them. This could happen after a sudden bout of excitement or stress. Plaque deposition often happens silently without signals. So, the patient has no way of knowing that he or she is vulnerable," said Anjan Siotia, interventional cardiologist at BM Birla Heart Research Centre.
Adrenalin in blood could also be a trigger, said experts. A reason why sudden attacks usually occur early in the day. "This is the time when adrenalin secretion is high, often precipitating an attack," said Siotia.
Depending on the time taken to transfer such patients to the hospital and the quality of treatment, survival rate could vary. But in Kolkata it was as high as 95%, according to experts. "Such patients usually survive the first attack. But the quality of care and follow-up treatment are important for plaque deposition, arhythmia or myopathy are serious disorders. They could turn fatal without constant monitoring," said Siotia.
Sanyal's condition confirmed the assessment. Doctors at AMRI, Salt Lake where he is now under treatment said he was still critical.
The best way to ward off sudden heart attacks was to undergo regular check-ups, according to Sarkar.

Nepali literature more expressive than English, feels Bipul Chhetri

Tamanna Tamang, SNS, Gangtok, 21 October: His songs from the recently-launched debut album has sketches from Darjeeling, explores everything that every Hill folk can relate to. Be it the toy train, the wildfire, the bustling wind, cow bells, mountains, the humming of the monks at the monastery, he sums up everything in his songs, lending them a folk flavour, while also giving them a western touch.
Bipul Chhetri took the Gangtok people to a high with his simple yet elegant music at Cafe Live and Loud as part of his ‘Lai Bari Lai’ tour. After thrilling the Kathmandu crowd, people here could not resist themselves from tapping their feet right from ‘Asar’ to ‘Mountain High.’
Thirty-three-year-old Chhetri from Kalimpong sent the crowd here down memory lane with his amalgamation of Nepali folk-rock genre that explores the beauty and uniqueness of the Hills. Maintaining a low profile as of now, music seems to come to him as a passion, though he ceases to contemplate himself as a celebrity.
“Folk music completed me as a person and I am deeply rooted in the culture, because folk music has a sense of originality and it is who I am,” he shared. He, however does not confine himself to mere folk music and strives to explore other genres as well.
“Our culture has a lot more potential in terms of expression. Nepali literature and culture can capture a lot more than what English can do, and our rich culture has been the original source of motivation for me,” Chhetri said here on Saturday.
Kalimpong’s very own musician, Chhetri also holds a diploma in classical guitar from Trinity College, London. Right from his first song ‘Dhadelo’ that created a sensation online to recent hits like ‘Mountain High’, ‘Asar’ and ‘Ram Saile’, an ode to his father, his songs have been on everyone’s playlist, confined not only to the Hills but beyond it.
Chhetri, who claims music to be have been in his blood said “music was always there in my life since childhood. And good music teachers at my school, St Augustine’s in Kalimpong, helped me explore more.”
Chhetri, whose Darjeeling-related songs are a hit on Sound Cloud, added: “The overwhelming response from music lovers all over the world was more than expected.”
Chhetri also heads the Arts Department at the Vasant Valley School in New Delhi, suggests young and aspiring artists to come out of the confinement and explore, meet different people so that something or the other comes up. 
His next stop will be Delhi, followed by a tour outside India.

An interview with Bipul Chettri, Darjeeling's musical gem
Ashim Sunam, meri news: Bipul Chhettri's debut album titled, 'Sketches of Darjeeling' has been well received by all and sundry, primarily residents of Darjeeling, whose souls have been touched by those flawless songs in the album. His songs paint a beautiful picture of Darjeeling. It is more of a painting, where the strokes have been meticulously planned, bringing about the richness of Darjeeling culture, its monsoon season, mountains, monasteries, toy train etc, and in the process making people feel nostalgic.
His songs reflect the deep profound love and respect for Darjeeling. The youths of today might have been influenced by western music, but 'Sketches of Darjeeling' reminds the beauty of folk music with a few brushes of western music. The amalgamation has made the album more soothing for our ears to listen.

While interviewing the singer, his down to earth nature took over as he talked about folk music, his album, his father, Darjeeling, culture, passion for music, weather etc. All such chit-o-chat with the singer gave me a 'Mountain High,' which can easily be understood by those who have lived in the foothills of the Himalayas in the past.
Excerpts from the interview:
Ashim Sunam : Bipul Chettri is a household name in Darjeeling, yet your identity remains under a thick blanket. Can you introduce yourself to your fans?
Bipul ChettriBipul Chettri :  (Smiles..) I am just a normal hometown boy from Kalimpong, Darjeeling. I passed out from Saint Augustine's School, Kalimpong, after which I came to Delhi and graduated from Delhi University. Presently, I am the Head of the Art Department at Vasant Valley School in New Delhi.
We people from the hills have been brought up in a similar way, so we have a similar way of looking at things. Similar as in the way we see the world, and the way we perceive things around us, which makes us so alike.
Ashim Sunam: Your album, since launch has been on the lips of everyone. Did you expect such a warm response?

Bipul Chettri: Firstly, I was overwhelmed with the response I received for the song, 'Wildfire' in SoundCloud and after which it was 'Asaar', the response multiplied. So, I was prepared to expect such kind of positive response. I am happy that people liked my music, which is the biggest gift that one can get out of it.

Ashim Sunam: With so much adulation for Wildfire in SoundCloud, did it act as an inspiration to launch this album? 

Bipul Chettri : One can definitely say so as well, where Wildfire was the launching pad. It provided me with encouragement, and to go forward with my ideas.

Ashim Sunam: There is a beautiful sense of musical arrangement in the song, Mountain High, with the Shehnai and a great baseline. How did you come up with such ingenuity ?

Bipul Chettri : See, when I was in the process of making 'Mountain High', I was thinking in terms of mountain and primarily music in the mountains, as to the instruments, which reflect the mountains. Whenever I thought of mountains that I have seen in my life, monasteries always came into the picture, somehow that had an impact on me, so the music that came out was what you hear while you are at the monastery, where mystical sounds come from ghalang, pipes and the big drums. I wanted to capture that somewhat into my song and Shehnai was the most adaptable instrument. 

Ashim Sunam: When you play the guitar, it is so soothing to one's ear. How did your education in Trinity College, London help you in this regard?
Bipul Chettri : The listening experience that I received while lending ears to classical music in Trinity College was worthwhile, because classical guitar opened up the door for other orchestral instruments. In the process, it opened up a lot of doors for me in terms of harmonically arranging music. It opened up possibilities for me to explore more. 

Ashim Sunam: Most of the songs in the album takes one back to Darjeeling. Is this your signature style of making people feel nostalgic about Darjeeling? 

Bipul Chettri : Certainly, the nostalgic feel is present, but, this is what I am. This is my music. This is what I have grown up listening. This is in a way, my identity, as a person and musician. It is all coming up as to what has been fed into me, since I was born. 

Ashim Sunam: Was there a conscious effort from your side to focus on Darjeeling while writing these songs?

Bipul Chettri : I have termed the album, 'Sketches of Darjeeling'. My basic thing was to capture the essence of Darjeeling – the different elements for me what made up Darjeeling. It was capturing the essence of the rainy season, rail gadi, mountains, wildfire etc. 

Ashim Sunam: The lyrics for Ram Sailee is what had been written long ago by your father, who was also a musician. Can you talk about him in brief?  

Bipul Chettri : I have drawn a great amount of inspiration from my father, Late Nirendra Mohan Chettri, who hailed from Kurseong. People from the hills still talk about my dad and his songs, which are considered evergreen by many. Songs such as Swarnim Sapna, E Mera Ninda and Ram Sailee still remain dear to the people of his generation. He was a very well known musician during his time. He was a pioneer in fusing western musical elements into Nepali music as well. 

Ashim Sunam: Which is your personal favourite song in the album?

Bipul Chettri : I do not know if I can choose any song as favourtite. There is a special attachment with all the songs. But, I have a particular attachment with Wildfire, as it was the first track, which set everything on place. Besides that, I love all the songs. 

Ashim Sunam: There is a lot of folk music elements in all your songs. So, which genre of music does your song belong to?

Bipul Chettri : It is folk music in various ways, but I had no intentions of branding it as folk music. The voice has come out as folk, as that is something which I felt deep inside and probably being from Darjeeling, which has a rich folk culture. May be, this all culminated in what it closely looks like folk music. Also we have many other elements involved as well. So, we can say soul is the folk and the brain is western music. 

Ashim Sunam: Rail Garee is one of a kind song in the album. Any reason for choosing Darjeeling Toy Train as the main subject? 

Bipul Chettri : As I was in the process of making of the album, I thought about one thing, which is really unique about Darjeeling and it was the Darjeeling Toy Train. Not mentioning Darjeeling Toy Train would make the album incomplete. 

Ashim Sunam: How did you split time between work and finishing the debut album?

Bipul Chettri : In terms of splitting time, it was not like that I had to sit down and work on my album everyday. It just happened naturally. Whenever an idea struck me, I wrote it down, it happened everywhere and anywhere. Even when working, if an idea came up to me, I would just scribble it. The process was everywhere. 

Ashim Sunam: Did you approach any major music companies to launch your songs? 

Bipul Chettri : I did not approach any of the major labels company as I wanted an independent launch. Perhaps, also with me being new in this field, I thought that I should do things on my own and see things as to how it goes. 'Ok listen' is India's top website for promoting independent musicians. Other top musicians also sell their songs on the website. 

Ashim Sunam: What are your other ways to promote the album?

Bipul Chettri : As of now, I am thinking of performing live, maybe in Darjeeling, Sikkim and Nepal. Apart from this I would also get a few CDs done, as people are eager to save a hard copy of the album, for they want to preserve it. 

Ashim Sunam: Is there a dearth of music platforms for independent Indian musicians?

Bipul Chettri : It is for the first time that I have delved into the realm of the online industry to sell my music, so it would not be inappropriate for me to comment on this particular question. But, with people spending much time over the Internet in India, things are getting better. 

Ashim Sunam: With the youth in Darjeeling listening to western music on a large scale, are we losing out on our rich folk music culture?

Bipul Chettri : People should understand the quality of folk music. It helps us understand our culture. Most of us try to emote the west. We should not forget what we have - folk music will help us get back to our roots and also make us more complete and take the good things about our culture forward.

Ashim Sunam: What about your second album? 

Bipul Chettri : Lets see, maybe next year. I am working on some materials, I have just started.

Bid to boost foreign tourist traffic in NB

SNS, Siliguri, 21 October 2014: With a view to attracting more tourists from abroad, the state tourism department has planned to invite foreign tour operators to visit the region and other parts of Bengal on a regular basis.
Addressing an interactive session with tour operators of other countries like Italy, France, Germany and Australia, joint director (Tourism) Sunil Agarwal today said five tour operators from different countries visited this region last year.
“We have noticed that the flow of foreign tourists has increased after their visit. This year, we have invited tour operators from eight countries as they took part in a three-day 3rd International Tourism Mart, which was held in Shillong from 13 October to promote tourism in the northeastern states,” Mr Agarwal said, adding, “A total of 22 countries took part in Shillong. Of them, tour operators from eight countries agreed to accept our proposal and visited this region with the help of local tour operators in the Dooars, Kalimpong and Darjeeling.”
According to him, the 4th International Tourism Mart will be held in Sikkim in 2015 and more foreign tour operators will be invited from different countries.
The foreign tour operators left north Bengal by flight today. The state tourism department paid for all the expenses of the foreign tour operators during their tour in north Bengal.
The interaction today was organized by the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association (EHTTOA) with help from the tourism department. A total of 21 tour operators from this region took part in the International Tourism Mart in Shillong.
The general secretary of EHTTOA, Partha Guho, explained nature, culture and adventure-based tourism in this region and urged the foreign tour operators to spread the word about the eastern Himalayan region among their clients back in their respective countries.
Mr Guho also pointed out to the Buddhist circuit, including in Nepal and Bhutan.
Working president of EHTTOA, Samrat Sanyal, coordinated the day’s programme.
During the interactive sessions, all of them appreciated the scope for better tourism in this region, though they were much delighted after visiting Shillong, and assured that they would approach their clients to visit this region.
Asked about their views on the restrictions imposed by some countries on visiting certain areas, including Darjeeling for its volatile situation, they said: “The area is peaceful and people are so nice. We did not find problems of militant movement during the tour.”
Olego Vorobevskii, associated with the Russian Federation, said: “I do not have any knowledge of the restrictions, and my country has not imposed such restrictions.”
However, Eva Maria Langley, who came from Germany, admitted that her country had restricted its citizens from visiting Darjeeling during the agitation in the Hills.
“But I must inform the authorities of the present peaceful situation here so that people can visit the region freely,” Mrs Langley said.

Mary Kom likely to attend Siliguri carnival

SNS, Siliguri, 21 October 2014: If everything goes as planned, people in Siliguri will get an opportunity to see their boxing champion MC Mary Kom, thanks to the Siliguri Carnival, which is slated to be held between 15 and 21 December, and which the Olympic bronze medallist is likely to attend. 
The Siliguri Municipal Corporation is facilitating the event, and a source associated with the event said Mary Kom might be there during the opening ceremony. 
"Mary Kom has played a significant role in popularising an unconventional sport. Many women who had cherished their dreams to make the country proud have been highly inspired by her. As such, we thought about bringing somebody here who could steal the show, while people would have an opportunity to see and meet their icon," the source said. 
Apart from her Olympic bronze medal Mary Kom became the first Indian woman boxer to win gold in the Asian Games. She clinched the medal in the recently-concluded Incheon Games in the flyweight (-51kg) class. 
Organisers said the boxer has been an inspiration to many women and that her visit to the region could be a motivational factor for the fairer sex here. 
"We are trying to rope in some other famous personalities too,” the source added. The carnival is set to be held at different venues in the town, including Baghajatin Park, Dinbandhu Mancha, Surjya Sen Park and Kanchenjungha stadium. 
There will be many other events, including cultural shows, children film festival, photography exhibition and artificial rock climbing. 
Trinamul Congress MP and famous quizmaster Derek O'Brien is scheduled to hold a quiz contest on 20 December, while singer Nachiketa will prepare the theme song for the carnival. Singer Arijit Singh and film makers Gautam Ghose and Anjan Dutta will also be present in the carnival. 
The source said that a website will be created to spread the word about the carnival.

Kurseong maths teacher wins national honour

SNS, Kurseong, 21 October 2014: A mathematics teacher from Saint Alphonsus HS School in Kurseong, Anand Pradhan, has been honoured with the National Best Teacher Award-2014. The award was handed over to him during the 9th National Mathematics Convention on 11 and 12 October at Raipur in Chhattisgarh, organised by the All India Ramanujan Mathematics Club (AIRMC) in association with Raipur Engineering Club RITEE.
The Chhattisgarh state education minister handed Mr Anand Pradhan a gold medal, a plaque/memento, and a citation.
It is learnt that the All India Ramanujan Mathematics Club is a government-approved national club that caters to the needs of school children and helps them understand the subject with ease or aim to remove the fear of mathematics from the minds of the people. Seven persons, including Mr Pradhan, had been selected for the prestigious award among the 100 other entries.
According to the AIRMC, MR Pradhan has put in a lot of effort while experimenting on his ‘Mathematics Work’ to uplift the standard of the subject in schools of Darjeeling Hills.
According to Mr Pradhan, the AIRMC had organised a seminar with PHD scholars in January this year, in which 21 scholars, including himself, had participated. His presentation during the seminar was adjudged the best. “I have also been invited to participate in the upcoming international mathematics convention slated to be held next year in Mauritius,” he said.
According to him, he completed his MSC from Calcutta University, but when he was studying at North Bengal University, the then department head Prof Karanjai inspired him to do research work on mathematics.
“Professor Karanjai had told me that in his career he noticed that many students from Darjeeling have been avoiding or not completing their studies on mathematics. Since then, I decided to find out the reasons,” Mr Pradhan said.
He said his thesis on mathematics will be completed next year under the guidance of professor Karanjai, who is now retired.
Asked about the reasons for Hill students’ disinterest in the subject, he said there are many. “But the main ones are that Mathematics needs a lot of practice, which the students here do not do. The second is that parents do not seriously involve themselves in the studies of their children,” he said.

Shyamal Sen panel’s term to expire today, duped investors demonstrate

Saradha-groupSNS, Kolkata 22 October: Hundreds of chit fund depositors, including those of the Saradha group, today vented their ire at the state government's silence on the fate of the Justice Shyamal Sen Commission that is examining the claims of about 1.8 million depositors for refund. Its term expires tomorrow and sources said the state government had no intention to extend it. 
Around 1.4 million of lakh depositors are yet to receive refund, while the Commission has issued cheques to the tune of Rs 251.22 crores among 4.98 lakh depositors. 
At present, the Rs 286.5 crores given to the commission by the state government is almost exhausted while Rs 2.48 crore the commission got from debtors of Saradha chief Sudipta Sen is still there. 
The total number of non-Saradha depositors is around 5 lakh and the Commission is yet to disburse cheques to them. 
The members of the Commission are in a quandary after the government failed to send any notice stating clearly that the tenure of the Commission has been ended. Around 33 members of the Commission still do not know about what they will do from tomorrow onwards. 
“If the state government does not extend the tenure of the commission then we will have to report to the home secretary. 
Lets see what happen,” a member of the commission added. 
Hundreds of chitfund depositors today held a demonstration at Rani Rashmoni Avenue expressing anxiety over the expiry of the commission’s term and demanded immediate return of their money ‘as promised’. 
Speaking at the rally, CPI(M) leader Mr Sujon Chakraborty alleged that the state government's assurance to refund the depositors' money with the appointment of the Shymal Commission had been ‘a gimmick’.

NE bypoll results prove no Modi wave: Gogoi

PTI, Guwahati, 21 October 2014: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday said that Congress victory in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur by-elections prove that the hype about Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave did not exist in the region. 
The victory of the regional party Nagaland People's Front (NPF) in Nagaland also corroborates the same, Gogoi said in a tweet. "It is clear indication that people of Northeast realised that Modi's promise of special treatment to NE is just lip sympathy," he said. 
In Manipur, Congress candidate Elangbam Dwijamani defeated Yumnam Radheshyam of Trinamool Congress in Hiyanglam Assembly constituency while in Arunachal Pradesh, Congress won Gabriel Denwang Wangsu won Kanubari Assembly seat by defeating BJP's Rongnai Maham. 
Dr Neiphrezo Keditsu of NPF defeated BJP's Visasolie Lhoungu Naga in the Northern Angami-II Assembly constituency in Nagaland. Gogoi had tweeted yesterday that the Modi wave in the country was "on the wane" as BJP had failed to get a simple majority in Maharashtra and just barely managed to cross the half-way mark in Haryana in the just concluded Assembly polls in the two states.

Sikkim organic mission: SKM files police complaint against Chamling

DICHEN ONGMU, EOI, Gangtok, 20 Oct 2014: The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha on Monday filed a written complaint with the police against Chief Minister Pawan Chamling accusing him of conspiring against SKM MLAs regarding his recent statement accusing opposition legislators of bringing into the state banned inorganic materials. They said if any inorganic material is found in their vehicles, it would be the handiwork of the chief minister in order to malign them.
The SKM had demanded Chamling must withdraw his statement wherein he had accused SKM MLAs of smuggling chemical fertilisers into the state in their vehicles to sabotage the state government’s organic mission. They had served him a 24-hour ultimatum to prove the allegation or to tender a public apology.
During a Press conference held late in the evening on Monday, the nine opposition MLAs said Chamling and his party were looking for ways to extract revenge on the SKM for the exposure it has made regarding misguiding the public with the organic mission. They added the chief minister would not hesitate to go to the extent of planting banned substance in their vehicles to frame them on false charges.
Siyari MLA Kunga Nima Lepcha said the government had done whatever it pleased over the last 20 years without being questioned as there was no opposition in the state. But since the SKM started to expose the SDF government’s deceitful ways, especially regarding the authenticity of the organic mission’s success, the latter was in a state of panic and could resort to whatever subterfuge means to hide its misdeeds.
He added the SKM wanted to stand as a strong opposition and supported the good initiatives taken by the government, but it would certainly not hesitate to expose any misdeed. Lepcha further said the government's claim about the organic mission being successful has been completely contradicted by Chamling’s statement where he has blamed the concerned department’s officials for lacking in effective implementation including undue delay. As the government was finding it difficult to suppress the department’s failure, the chief minister was blaming the opposition for sabotaging the mission, he said.
The SKM MLA also raised the issue of chemicals being used in the religious site Char Dham in Namchi, which is the chief minister’s constituency, stating the government's lies had been exposed as it is clear that it is using chemicals at the spot.
Martam Rumtek SKM legislator Dr. Mechung Bhutia informed that out of the 74,000 hectares of agricultural land in the state, only 46,000 hectares had been certified till date while alleging proper norms and procedures are not being followed in the certification process. He claimed the certification process took place behind closed doors and the government did not take permission from the farmers and landholders and they were also not informed when their lands would be certified.
Bhutia also disputed Chamling’s claim of the state not getting funds from the Centre for the organic mission, saying since Sikkim adopted the organic mission in 2003, all funds allotted by the Centre to the agriculture and horticulture department are being used for the organic mission. He said a total of Rs11,000 crore had been spent till date on the mission but the benefits have not reached the 60,000-odd farmers forcing them to give up farming and opt for other means of livelihood. 
The MLA urged the government to take a proper approach in implementing the mission and suggested a host of measures including provision of financial support to farmers in case of low production, organic manure for a period of five years, plant health clinics to control diseases in plants and an Information and an education and communication centre to educate farmers on the benefits of the organic mission.
The SKM MLAs concluded by stating that if no action was taken in response to the complaint, the party would be forced to file a defamation case against the chief minister.

Nepal, India sign historic Power Trade Agreement

PTI, EOI, Kathmandu: India and Nepal on Tuesday inked a historic Power Trade Agreement (PTA), allowing exchange of electricity and opening up new vistas of cooperation in the hydropower sector.
During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal in August, the two sides had agreed to sign the agreement that would allow exchange of electricity generated from hydel projects in Nepal and India. A draft agreement of the PTA was prepared by the two governments in first week of September.
Nepalese Secretary in the Ministry of Energy Rrajendra Kishore Kshatra and Energy Secretary of India Pradeep Kumar Sinha inked the agreement at a function held at the Prime Minister's Office.
"This agreement will throw up new vistas of cooperation between India and Nepal in power sector," said Sinha.
"This agreement will also provide a permanent forum for interaction between Indian and Nepal in the power sector," he added.
There is also the provision of establishing a joint working group in the PTA to be headed by joint secretaries of the two countries.
The joint group will sit every six months and take up issues not only pertaining to the existing cooperation in power sector between the two countries but will also explore and identify new areas of cooperation, he said.
There will also be a joint steering committee headed by secretaries of the two countries, which will meet in regular intervals, he said.
"This endeavour will, no doubt take us forward towards supplying power 24 hours a day and seven days a week," he said.
"The signing of the PTA was the result of our continuous effort since 2010 and this has opened up the possibilities of power trading between the two countries," Nepalese secretary Kshatra said.There is a provision to forming bilateral mechanism for implementing the agreement, he said.
The agreement was signed keeping in mind the existing international practices regarding power trading, he said.
This agreement till also facilitate regional power trade in South Asian region, Kshatra said.
"I am confident that the governments of Nepal and India are committed towards implementing the agreement immediately after the signing in ceremony," he said.
Nepalese authorities and GMR group of India last month signed Project Development Agreement to construct 900 MW Upper Karnali Project in the presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. 

ONGC triumph in shoot-out to lift Governor’s Gold Cup..... ONGC Mumbai lifts Governor’s Gold Cup 2014

10647186_10203102821237685_8444246362445840751_nhif-live.com: ONGC FC lifted the 35th All India Governor’s Gold Cup by defeating Manang Marshyangdi Club Nepal 2-0 via penalty shoot-out, after a keenly contested encounter ended 2-2 after regulation time and extra time at Paljor Stadium, here on Tuesday (21 October). 
In first-half it was ONGC who dominated the procceding. Kailash Patil put them in to the lead in 20th minute and in 36th minute Fanai Lalmuanpuia scored from free-kick to double the lead. 
Meanwhile the team from Nepal did create some good moves in patches but ONGC defenders succesfull thwarted them. 
At the half-time teams went to dressing room with the mumbai outfit leading 2-0. After change of ends MMC Nepal went on an all out effort to level the scoreline and with immediate effect Sujal Shrestha pulled one goal back for MMC in 50th minute from the spot. 
Trailing on 2-1 the nepali club pressed even harder on ONGC defence and equalised on 64th minute through Dodoz. 
During remaining part of the match both teams came close to breaking the deablock but none of them could not able to done that. In penalty shootout ONGC found the target twice out of their four attempts however MMC Nepal failed to convert any of their shots in to the goal.

EOI, Gangtok, 21 October 2014: ONGC Mumbai was crowned the winner of the 34th All India Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament 2014 after a thrilling display of skills against Manang Marsyadi Club of Nepal. 
The final played today at the Palzor Stadium in Gangtok saw the Mumbai side defeating MMC Nepal in a tiebreaker after the two sides remained at two goals apiece at the end of the regular 90-minute play. 
Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling was the chief guest and former chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari and cabinet ministers were also present. Palzor Stadium was jam-packed with thousands of supporters and most of them were rallying behind the Nepal team. ONGC Mumbai had a two-goal lead in the first half from Kailash Patil and F Lalmuwanpuii, while MMC finished goalless. 
The second half witnessed the Nepal team coming back strongly with two back-to-back goals from Sujal Shrestha and L Jakito Dodojo. In the tiebreaker, the four strikers from MMC Nepal failed to score any goal from penalty, while ONGC Mumbai scored netted two to lift the prestigious Governor’s Gold Cup.

Tea strike support plea to parties

Avijit Sinha, TT, Siliguri, Oct. 21: The joint forum of 23 tea garden trade unions today decided to appeal to all political parties to extend their support to the 12-hour general strike they had called across north Bengal on November 12 to press for a settlement on wage hike in the industry.
The forum, which comprises the trade unions of all principal political parties, except the Trinamul Congress, will also hold meetings at five places in north Bengal — Islampur, Darjeeling, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar — from November 1 to apprise the general public of the demand by the workers to revise the daily wage.
As of now, tea garden workers in the Darjeeling hills receive Rs 90 per day, while those in the plains are paid Rs 95 per day. The wage revision was due on April 1.
“We would appeal to every political party and social organisation to support the 12-hour general strike that we have called across north Bengal on November 12. We would also urge the BJP to call off the general strike in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts on November 7 for the wage hike and support our strike,” said Chitta Dey, the convenor of the Co-ordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers.
The forum had also called for a 48-hour industrial strike in tea gardens on November 11 and 12.
Another decision of the forum is to hold workers’ meetings and demonstrations in every tea garden on November 8 and 9 before joining duty.
Dey said the current plucking season would be over in two weeks and there was an apprehension among labourers that a section of planters might drag the wage hike negotiations till the next season in March.

Jumbos dead near paddy fields

TT, Oct. 21: The carcasses of two wild elephants were found at separate spots in the Dooars forests this morning with no external injuries, but clotted blood was noticed on the trunk of the male elephant whose tusks were intact.
Although no external injury marks were noticed, forest guards said they were not ruling out unnatural death in the case of the tusker and a pregnant adult female.
Some forest officers raised doubts that the animals may have been poisoned with pesticide, sprinkled on paddy fields near forests to keep away marauding herds.
The tusker was found dead in the Diana forest, about 10km from where the pregnant jumbo was spotted in Champramari.
The forest stretches are adjacent to each other in the Nagrakata block in Jalpaiguri district.
On Saturday, two elephants died of electrocution in Naxalbari, around 35km from Siliguri.
“There was blood on the trunk of one elephant which was a tusker, while the other animal was pregnant,” a forest source said. “We are not ruling out the possibility that the animals may not have died naturally and are awaiting post-mortem reports.”
Both the animals were found near paddy fields.
A senior forester said: “It is ominous for wildlife in the region if live wire or pesticides in paddy fields are used to keep elephants away. Several elephants had died on the fringes of reserve forests and close to the elephant corridor from electrocution and poisoning. We had toiled hard to convince farmers to abstain from such practices. It is indeed a cause of concern for us.”
“Vets have been called for post-mortem as it is rare that an animal dying naturally would have blood on its trunk,” said Narayan Chandra Saha, the beat officer of Diana forest.
Hriday Roy, a local resident, said: “There is a chance that the tusker may have died of poisoning as there is a trend among a section of local farmers to use pesticides in their fields to prevent elephants from damaging the crop.”