Friday, April 29, 2011



Sulabh selected for UN's renewable energy awardchanging the standards of sanitation in India/globaly/Sulabh founder has addressed Cambridge students -

Sulabh selected for UN's renewable energy award

New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) Sulabh International, the pioneer of sanitation sector in India, has been selected for this year's prestigious Renewable Energy Award.

The award will be presented to Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak at United Nations headquarters on June 11 in New York, a statement issued by the NGO said here today. The UN's Inter-governmental Renewable Energy Organisation (IREO) has selected Sulabh for the award recognising its incredible strides in promoting and changing the standards of sanitation in India as well other parts of the world. Notably, the NGO has developed an indigenous two-pit toilet technology which is not only cost effective but also produces bio-gas. Modelled on the status and integrity of the Nobel Prize, the award recognises achievements of individuals and institutions in response to the crisis of climate change and sustainable global energy resources, the statement said. This annual awards ceremony also draws attention to future energy issues which constitute some of the most urgent challenges facing the world's leaders today, it added.

In Bihar-The Grade I to Grade III officers,including IAS, IPS officers asked to submit asset details: Modi-January 25, 2011(just for reference...VT)

Home » State News » Bihar

Bihar IAS, IPS officers asked to submit asset details: Modi

Updated on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 20:18

Patna: The Grade I to Grade III officers, including IAS and IPS, have been asked to submit the details of the assets to the state government by February 28, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said on Tuesday.

"We have asked the senior officials, including IAS and IPS,besides other Grade I to Grade III officers to submit the details of the assets they have by February 28", Modi said while addressing a function to mark the 88th birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur.

Assets of IAS officersand other Group ‘A’ Central Service Officers by June 1.-April 30, 2011

Assets of IAS officers to be made public

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) is planning to post all details on its website as a move to bring transparecy.

Sources said the committee of secretaries (CoS) headed by Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar recently gave DoPT the go-ahead to put the details on its website.

The government move comes against the backdrop of a recent circular issued by DoPT asking all the Ministries and Departments in the Central government and the state governments to forward immovable property returns of all IAS officers for the year 2010 to DoPT.

Move after circular

The government move comes against the backdrop of a recent circular by DoPT asking all ministries and departments to forward immovable property returns of all IAS officers.

SC refuses to take up 'premature' PILs on Lokpal Bill panel- April 29, 2011

SC refuses to take up 'premature' PILs on Lokpal Bill panel


A bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia posted the matter for hearing in July.

The bench said, "The petitions are premature and can't be taken as the Lokpal Bill was yet to be passed."
"It is still not the law," the bench, also comprising justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar said.
The bench dealt with the three petitions separately and passed identical orders for hearing them in July.
While dealing with one of the petitions, the bench said, "Some of the averments in the petition are untenable in law."

The petitioners including some public-spirited individuals and advocates had challenged the notification issued by the government relating to the constitution of the committee for drafting of the Lokpal Bill.
"We will go strictly by the law," the bench said while adjourning the matter.

The PILs have stated that the Lokpal cannot act as a watchdog over the judiciary as it would be unconstitutional.

Among the petitions listed before the bench is one by Mahan Dal, which claims to be a political party in Haryana. It has submitted that a bill of vital national importance cannot be drafted in haste or under pressure from Anna Hazare and others as it would set a bad precedent.

"Whether a decision affecting the whole of the nation can be taken so suddenly without having a public debate on such a national issue of great public importance?

"Whether the government could take an action under the threat or pressure from one of the citizens of the country and whether this would not create a bad precedent for future?

"Ultimately the government succumbed to the pressure of Anna Hazare and hurriedly came out with a resolution on April 8 2011," counsel R.K. Kapoor had said in the petition.

The PIL alleged that the composition of the joint drafting committee was totally partisan, arbitrary and against national interest.

The members of the committee include Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, M Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khursheed.

The civil society representatives are Hazare, Justice (retd) N Santosh Hegde, senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan and his advocate-son Prashant Bhushan and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal.

"Enactment of Lokpal would be against the spirit of Article 50 of the Constitution of India. It will wipe out the separation of the judiciary from the executive.

"A decision affecting the whole nation cannot be taken so suddenly without having a public debate on such a national issue of great public importance. The government cannot take action under threat or pressure from one of the citizens of the country and such succumbing to pressure tactics would create a bad precedent for future," the petitioner had said.

It said ideally the joint drafting committee should be expanded and finalised after seeking public opinion to include diverse interests like women, minorities, media, academics etc. and other known public figures of un-biased and non-partisan persons.

The second petition filed by individual Kaushal Kishore Shukla, through counsel Jitender Singh, had sought induction of the Leader of the Opposition in the drafting panel.

The third PIL was filed by advocate Manoharlal Sharma who not only challenged the notification but also sought a CBI inquiry into alleged illegal activities of Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan.

Rahul promises tickets to ‘performing’ workers-Apr 30 2011

Rahul promises tickets to ‘performing’ workers


Addressing gatherings of party youths in Hamirpur and Jalaun districts, Rahul said such workers would also be given positions of responsibility in the organisaton.

“Workers who have calibre will be given a chance to rise instead of those who have came directly,” he told a meeting of party workers at Banshidhar college in Orai. Gandhi said earlier workers used to work at the groundroots level but relatives of some big leaders elbowed them out to grab important posts. “But, it will not happen now,” he said.

The MP from Amethi also advised the youths to concentrate on broadening the base of the organisation, rather than making frequent visits to Delhi.

Ads by Google Wildlife Photographers Get Found by people who need you! 100% Free and used in 200 countrieswww.skillpages.comSmart Photography Get the National Geographic Mag at Your Home. Only 2875 Rs Annuallywww.GetNationalGeogrICICI Health Insurance Health Insurance for Entire Family. Pre & Post-Hospitalisation

Taking pot shots at both the ruling BSP and main opposition Samajwadi Party, he said in these two parties “one leader takes all the decision”, but it is not so in Congress.

Rahul Gandhi, who arrived on a two-day visit of Bundelkhand, was accompained by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh and office-bearers of the Youth Congress.

Rahul said that while the country was progressing, Uttar Pradesh was sliding backwards in terms of development and the conditions in Bundelkhand were particularly bad. Youths of the state have to go to Maharashtra, Punjab and South India in search of employment.

One of the Youth Congress workers who attended the meeting at Orai in Jalaun said Rahul gave examples of how funds were not being utilised properly, even as the state faced electricity shortage and the condition of the roads remained poor.

“Roads are in a pitiable condition and power generation has become half of what it was in 1990,” he added.

Congress leader Dijvijay Singh urged partymen to be prepared for a decisive battle to uproot the “corrupt” Mayawati government in the state.

Earlier in the day, Rahul landed in Kanpur and drove to Hamirpur where he spoke to a group of youths for about 25 minutes. On way from Hamirpur to Jalaun, his cavalcade was stopped at many places by locals who wanted to hand over memorandums regarding their local issues. He listened to their problems and also stopped for some time at a small market near Jalaun to inquire about the prices and storage facilities for wheat in the region.

On Saturday, he will attend a rally which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address in Banda. This is the first time the prime minister is visiting Bundelkhand.

क्रिकेट को छोड़ अन्य खेल संघों की हालत जर्जर.-बीसीसीआई के अध्यक्ष शशांक मनोहर ने प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह के साथ मुलाकात कर आर्थिक मदद की पेशकश की है।

क्रिकेट को छोड़ अन्य खेल संघों की हालत जर्जर.

देश में अन्य खेलों की दुर्दशा पर भारतीय क्रिकेट कंट्रोल बोर्ड अब विचार करने लगा है। बीसीसीआई के अध्यक्ष शशांक मनोहर ने प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह के साथ मुलाकात कर आर्थिक मदद की पेशकश की है।

देश में क्रिकेट को छोड़कर अन्य खेल संघों की हालत जर्जर है। हॉकी से लेकर कुश्ती तक के खिलाड़ी सुविधाओं के अभाव में ज्यादा आगे नहीं बढ़ पाते हैं। इसी को देखते हुए बीसीसीआई ने मनमोहन सिंह से अन्य खेल संघों में हस्तक्षेप करने का सुझाव दिया है। मनोहर का मानना है कि यदि मनमोहन सिंह जी नियमों पर नजर रखेंगे तो बीसीसीआई द्वारा दी गई आर्थिक मदद का उपयोग सही ढंग से हो सकेगा।

बीसीसीआई अध्यक्ष ने प्रधानमंत्री से मुलाकात कर उन्हें बोर्ड की प्रजातांत्रिक प्रणाली के बारे में बताया। मनोहर ने कहा कि अन्य खेल संघ का कामकाज किसी एक या दो व्यक्ति के इर्दगिर्द घूमता है। यदि वहां का तंत्र सुधारा जाएगा तो खेल का विकास होना तय हो जाएगा। बीसीसीआई अध्यक्ष मनोहर, सचिव एन श्रीनिवासन, उपाध्यक्ष राजीव शुक्ला और आईपीएल के सीईओ सुंदर रमन इस प्रधानमंत्री के साथ हुई इस बैठक में मौजूद थे। बोर्ड ने प्रधानमंत्री को वर्ल्डकप सेमीफाइनल देखने आने का धन्यवाद दिया है।

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making sanitation as popular as cricket/India would do well to study how Bangladesh has been able to take bigger strides in the sanitation sector

Making sanitation as popular as cricket

By Darryl D'Monte

(our indian ngo/organization 'Sulabh International' is doing it ....till much extent...VT)

700 million Indians have cell phones, but 638 million still don’t have access to proper sanitation. At this year’s South Asian Conference on Sanitation, social solutions to the problem were discussed, including “naming and shaming” and the CLTS programme which gets villagers to map the open areas where they defecate

There can hardly be a bigger taboo than sanitation when it comes to the government, bureaucracy or even the people themselves. Nobody wants to know how human waste is disposed of; in many cases, it simply isn’t. However, there is a small but growing band of international and national NGOs and multilateral institutions that’s homing in on the problem, which may well begin by naming it “shit” instead of the more polite “excrement”.

South Asia is the worst off in the entire world in this respect and, within it, India by far the biggest offender when it comes to sheer numbers. The fourth major South Asian conclave known as SACOSAN (South Asian Conference on Sanitation) was held in Colombo recently. It began in Dhaka, in 2003, and then Islamabad and Delhi in 2008. It has proved a useful exercise in stocktaking.

As is well-known, the United Nations has laid down several Millennium Development Goals which seek to halve the number of people deprived in the world of specific basic amenities, by 2015. Sanitation is set to be the biggest stumbling block. Around 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to a toilet, of which 72% live in Asia. Only Sri Lanka, which expects to cover 85% of its population by 2015, and the Maldives are on track to meeting this UN goal.

A speaker at SACOSAN put the issue in perspective when he pointed to the paradox that while some 700 million people have cell phones in India, as many as 638 million people have to make do without sanitation. That too when the country is registering near double-digit growth.

Nobody has drawn the connection between poor sanitation and hygiene which is taking a terrible toll on health. As the India Country Paper at SACOSAN is candid enough to admit, it is estimated that one in every 10 deaths in the country is attributable to this lack. Indeed, diarrhoea, which is a preventable disease, is the biggest killer (more than tuberculosis, contrary to the public perception), accounting for one in every 20 deaths. In 2006, it is believed to have caused 450,000 deaths, of which nearly 90% were of children under 5 years of age.

If figures of this colossal magnitude still do not shake people out of their complacency about the human cost of the lack of sanitation, the economic figures corroborate the dismal story. According to the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank, the adverse economic impact of inadequate sanitation in India in 2006 was in the order of Rs 2.4 lakh crore, or $53.8 billion. In per capita terms, this works out to Rs 2,180 per person. And, it accounts for a staggering 6.4% of GDP. All of this is preventable.

To those who argue that India doesn’t have the funds to combat poor sanitation, the counter argument is that the nation is already bearing a huge economic loss, hence it makes no sense not to invest in this sector as a topmost priority.

As speaker after speaker at SACOSAN argued, it is not so much the provision of hardware -- toilets and taps -- as “software” which can make the difference. In other words, it takes political and social solutions to transform the sector, more than the conventional development approach. Thus, in Maharashtra, as a state government official pointed out, there is now a law which debars anyone who does not have a toilet from contesting gram panchayat elections in future. Such “naming and shaming”, however provocative it may seem at first, is necessary to galvanise people, particularly in rural areas. As of July 2010, the UN has recognised safe water and sanitation as a human right. Countries should take their cue from this.

Official data put the sanitation coverage of villages in India at 68% in 2010, although it goes without saying that several toilets have been built but have fallen into disuse due to lack of water and maintenance. In certain areas they are used for entirely different purposes like keeping goats or stacking firewood. It is difficult to change people’s behaviour, and the practice of open defecation is centuries-old. However, it camouflages the social reality that women are the first to suffer from this deprivation, which experts term “imprisonment by daylight”. In Haryana, which has the worst sex ratio in the country, women have taken the lead in several villages to have a toilet installed in their homes.

Officially, three-quarters of the country’s urban population is estimated to have access to sanitation. Around half have individual toilets and 24% share facilities. As many as 18% of people in cities defecate out in the open. Using 2001 data, there are an estimated 30 million urban dwellers that do not have access to toilets; this is expected to rise to 40 million in 2011. Slums are a major problem due to the lack of space to build facilities. The social service organisation, Sulabh International, has catered to slum pockets in some cities, even with mobile toilets to overcome the shortage of space. The government enacted a National Urban Sanitation Policy in 2008 and cities are being rated from May last year. At last count, only four out of 423 made the grade.

There are schemes like the Total Sanitation Campaign, launched in 1999, and the Nirmal Gram Puruskar, initiated in 2003, under which villages that are “open defecation free” are awarded every year with a cash prize, given away by the President in the national capital. However, after an initial burst of enthusiasm with the Puruskar, many villages that received the award have since slipped, somewhat like India’s total literacy campaign. While India may take credit for bringing sanitation to 315 million people between 1990 and 2008, the government simply cannot keep pace with the growing population.

Multilateral institutions have crunched the figures of coverage in South Asian countries and found that while the rich always enjoyed access to sanitation, the lowest two percentiles are almost as badly off as they were two decades ago. In India, the middle class has gained access. There are other indices of deprivation in this country: tribals and dalits still fare the worst. In certain schools, SACOSAN heard, dalit boys are made to clean toilets.

An entire session was devoted to “reaching the unserved”. Even in Sri Lanka, 1 million schoolchildren have no access to sanitation. A speaker recommended that in South Asia, in future, no school should be built without toilets. This acquires utmost urgency for girls who are reaching puberty, with menstrual hygiene being an even bigger taboo than sanitation per se. The Maharashtra government official cited how, in certain water supply projects, women’s groups had taken over the maintenance, and also initiated income-generating activities. One of these was to make inexpensive sanitary napkins in zilla parishad schools, which are sold for Rs 1-2 a piece.

Before SACOSAN, the London-based international NGO WaterAid, in collaboration with other partners, brought out a “Traffic Lights” score sheet for India’s progress on sanitation, using the colours at traffic signals. This was based on the perceptions of NGOs working in the sector. Thus, green indicates that more can be done, yellow that progress is not what it should be, while red indicates that there are roadblocks ahead. Most of India’s indicators received a green signal, though the scorers were liberal -- perhaps afraid of stepping on the toes of the biggest country in South Asia! -- in altering some red scores to yellow.

On the all-important issue of whether the Indian government has initiated any steps after the Delhi SACOSAN on including the right to water and sanitation in the Constitution, India received a yellow. It has signed the UN resolution to this effect, while a working sub-group on drinking water and sanitation for the 12th Five-Year Plan is giving its recommendations on the issue. However, there has been no progress on including this right in the nation’s Constitution; these rights are not even mentioned in the National Water Policy document. There are only “some vague references” to them in the National Drinking Water Guidelines.

On whether any special moves have been made to reach the unserved -- particularly vulnerable sections like women, socially and economically deprived people -- India again gets a yellow light. At SACOSAN, a speaker mentioned how as many as 10% of South Asia’s population suffers from some form of physical disability, including HIV/AIDS, which is presumably much higher than in other countries. The health ministry has been monitoring the progress of sanitation in areas dominated by scheduled castes, tribes and minorities. It has also started a programme to distribute sanitary napkins in 200 districts.

SACOSAN was flexible enough to include outstanding performers in the sanitation sector. From India, Kusam Rajamouli, sarpanch of Gangadevipally village in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh, related his experience, which had to be translated from Telugu. In 10 years, the gram panchayat had been completely represented by women, with the one exception. The village enjoyed total sanitation and uninterrupted water supply. All the children were enrolled in school. Gangadevipally has received 14 awards, including the Nirmal Gram Puruskar and a Google award worth Rs 5 lakh. People from neighbouring villages visited it to find out how it had managed to achieve these wonders!

Rajamouli stressed five points. Water and sanitation had to be asserted as a human right. Villagers had to share the responsibility of providing these amenities (“they have to be crazy about it, like they are about cricket!” he said). The village had to draw up a micro-plan and obtain government support. The gram panchayat lacked funds, which had to be remedied. And, finally, there were many obstacles in the way of obtaining funds.

Several speakers referred to the omission of the innovative approach towards achieving goals known as “Community-Led Total Sanitation” or CLTS. A leading exponent, who runs a CLTS Foundation in Kolkata, is Dr Kamal Kar, who has propagated the technique throughout Asia and other continents. For some reason, many multilateral development organisations and international NGOs did not mention CLTS, although they endorsed the approach in general. This drew a sharp comment from, among others, Dr Robert Chambers, a veteran economist from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex in the UK.

The approach resembles a street play, to some extent. “Conscientisers” visit a village and ask those who are present to gather in an open area. Usually, since the men are at work in the fields, it is the women who assemble. They are then asked to draw the outline of the village with a stick on the bare ground. This causes considerable excitement and debate among the instant cartographers.

Next, they are asked to indicate where their houses are, using a pinch of white powder, which is provided. There is more merriment among the villagers who try and locate their dwellings on the ground. Then, the CLTS person pulls out a bottle of yellow turmeric powder, and asks the women to indicate on the map where in the village they defecate. Obviously, there is a great deal of resistance to this move and the women have to be cajoled into cooperating.

But the exercise is not quite over yet. They are asked to mark where their children defecate when they have diarrhoea, which is obviously closer to their dwellings as the children are unable to walk the distance. The CLTS person then asks for a glass of water, into which he drops a pinch of turmeric powder and offers it to anyone to drink. Having associated the powder with excrement, there are no takers. The conscientiser tells them that this is actually what they drink every day of their lives, since they are defecating near water sources close to their villages. The message quickly sinks in.

At a national level, India would do well to study how Bangladesh has been able to take bigger strides in the sanitation sector, given that Sri Lanka is far ahead in its human development indices. It has to do with greater mobilisation of communities, and, not least, women’s empowerment. That should be a sobering thought for this country, considering it thinks of Bangladesh as something of a basket case.

Read earlier reports by Darryl D’Monte on SACOSAN at The-crow-and-the-broom-Progress-on-sanitation-in-the-South.html and A-bottom-up-approach-to-sanitation.html

Infochange News & Features, April 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bihar story on women in panchayat bodiesWhen Bihar in 2006 provided for 50% reservation to women it was touted as a silent revolution,is deafening now

Bihar story on women in panchayat bodies

in Vihara

PATNA: When Bihar in 2006 provided for 50% reservation to women in panchayat bodies, it was touted as a silent revolution by chief minister Nitish Kumar. The silent revolution that saw the fair sex capturing half of the 2.6 lakh seats in states panchayat bodies, is deafening now.

While it was a dream come true for the lakh and odd women, it was empowerment of a new kind for half of the states 10.38 crore population, desperate to have a say in the governance. The result was a pleasant surprise: women outnumbered men when it came to voting in 2010 assembly elections; 54.85% women voted as against 50.7% men. The turnout of women was as high as 60% in nine of the states 38 districts.

A record 34 women made it to the 243-strong state legislative assembly. Among them was Jyoti Devi, an unschooled Musahar (the poorest community among dalits). ``It was the result of the process of empowerment at the panchayat level that a poor woman like me was fielded by ruling JD-U from Gaya's Barachatti,'' she said.

Beena Devi(in the picture)of Nawada's Loharpura panchayat feels panchayats are serving as nurseries for women leaders in new Bihar. ``Women are as competent as men,'' the Loharpura mukhiya told TOI and proudly added she was adjudged one of the best mukhiyas in the country by the Union panchayati raj ministry.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi agrees with Beena. `Its a common perception that women are more capable and less corrupt than men,'' he said and added the reservation policy has completely changed the profile of rural society as women are now helming the village administration.

But throwing off male dominance was not a smooth affair for many. Take, for instance, the case of Uma Devi who paid a heavy price for refusing to withdraw from the contest in the 2006 election in Jamui district's Islampur panchayat. Goons of a criminal don tore open her one-year-old daughters belly and took away the two other kids and slaughtered them.

In many panchayats, men have adopted a somewhat novel method to stick to power. They fielded wives in the election, and are now content with calling the shots as an MP or SP; that is `Mukhiya Pati' or `Sarpanch Pati'.

CM Kumar has also heard of such MPs and SPs who forcibly sit in official meetings and dictate orders on behalf of their spouses. The administration has been directed to keep these de facto functionaries away from panchayat meetings. ``It will take some time for this kind of democracy to mature in Bihar,'' said Modi

Courtesy: Faizan Ahmad, TNN

American Girl: A Portrait of Poverty(save the children- NGO)

American Girl: A Portrait of Poverty

By Sally Lee and Kate Lawler

Meet Savanna, whose parents struggle to pay their bills, put food on the table, and keep their house warm. As this intimate, eye-opening portrait shows, many families in rural America live in extreme poverty -- and a good education may be the only hope for their children.

Savanna Jacome
David Burnett

Savanna's Home

Raising a family in the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Kentucky isn't easy. Nearly one in four children in the state live in poverty; in Jackson County, where Savanna Jacome lives, almost 37 percent of kids are poor, 38 percent of adults don't have a high school diploma, and the unemployment rate is the third highest in Kentucky. "The key to breaking the cycle of poverty is education," says Mark Shriver, senior vice president of U.S. programs for Save the Children. "If a child is not reading at grade level by third grade, that child is going to have academic problems all the way through school." Save the Children runs 33 innovative early-language and literacy programs in Kentucky schools -- and 168 in rural communities across the United States -- that are bringing real hope to families like Savanna's, who dream of a better future for their kids.

See what other readers have to say about this story. Leave a Comment.(save the children-NGO)

Bihar has become d 1st state in d country 2 sets up agriculture 'cabinet' for farm sector to improve d agrarian sector n d plight of d farmers-27/4/11

Bihar sets up agriculture 'cabinet' for farm sector

in Vihara

PATNA: Bihar has become the first state in the country to constitute an agriculture 'cabinet' with an aim to improve the agrarian sector and address the plight of the farmers.

The new 'cabinet' is headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and will have in it ministers of 18 departments including water resources, irrigation, energy, rural works, sugarcane industry, animal husbandry and disaster management.

"Agriculture sector is one way or another dependent on all these departments," an official said.

The chief minister's agriculture advisor Mangal Rai, former director general Indian Council of Agriculture Research ( ICAR )), is a special invitee to this cabinet. The first meeting of the agriculture cabinet is to take place Tuesday.

"All these departments will work with a single goal to develop the agriculture sector," the official said."It is not only a big news for the millions of farmers of Bihar, but beginning of turnaround for agriculture sector. This will help the state to achieve second green revolution," state Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh told IANS.

Singh said the Bihar government has given highest priority to the agriculture sector and increased its budgetary allocation from Rs.25 crore to almost Rs.844 crore in 2011-12.The news of a cabinet exclusively for the agriculture sector was cheered by the farmers."It appears that the Bihar government is turning its attention to agriculture sector," Mahavir Mahto, a farmer near Patna , said.

In the last five years, Nitish Kumar has repeatedly said that he wants to have one or two agriculture product from the state on the plate of every Indian in the coming years.

The state government chalked out a roadmap for the agriculture sector in 2008.

"Several steps, including promotion of modern techniques of farming, organic farming, use of improved seeds among others, have been taken in last two-three years but it is still a long way to go in developing the agriculture sector," an official of agriculture department said.

Atul Singh, an economist researcher in New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University , said that Bihar's agriculture growth instead of going up has shown declining trend."It is a hard fact revealed by the government's own economic survey," Singh said.According to the official data, against the national productivity average of 2 tonnes of rice per hectare, the state's rice productivity is about 1.5 tonnes per hectare.

In case of wheat, the state's productivity is 2.2 tonnes per hectare against the national average of 2.7 tonnes.The state government holds repeated droughts and floods responsible for this poor production.The state government admits on its official website that agriculture is the key to the overall development of the state economy.

Agriculture is the backbone of Bihar's economy, 81 percent of workforce, and generation of nearly 42 percent of the state domestic product, it says.

"Barring maize and pulses, productivity of various farm produce in Bihar is much below the national average. Though the area under cultivation is shrinking, there is tremendous scope for income generation, by improving productivity. Adverse climatic condition, like draught and floods, do play a role in decreasing products," the official website says.

Source: Economic Times

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

मीडिया पर भी आरटीआई लगाने का वक्‍त आ गया है! 26 April 2011

मीडिया पर भी आरटीआई लगाने का वक्‍त आ गया है!

26 April 2011 3 Comments

इन सभी तस्‍वीरों को बड़ी साइज में देखने के लिए तमाम इमेजेज पर चटका लगाएं।

♦ डेस्‍क

सोमवार, 25 अप्रैल को सीएसडीएस सराय में मीडिया पर एक शानदार बहस हुई। बहस में नौजवान पत्रकारों की एक बड़ी फौज ने हिस्‍सा लिया। वरिष्‍ठ पत्रकार ओम थानवी ने कहा कि मीडिया में भ्रष्‍टाचार कोई नयी परिघटना नहीं है। अब आपको बहस के लिए इसलिए ये बड़ा और जरूरी मुद्दा लग रहा है क्‍योंकि इसमें आप बड़े नामों को शामिल पा रहे हैं। उन्‍होंने यह भी कहा कि पत्रकारिता की आंख छोटी हो गयी है। वह नहीं देख पा रहा है कि पानी कैसे गायब होता जा रहा है, हवा कैसी जहरीली होती जा रही है और झुलसाने वाली आग से बचाने वाले आसमान की परत कैसे पतली पड़ती जा रही है। पत्रकारिता को सामाजिक जिम्‍मेदारियों की तरफ ले जाना होगा और अभी भी इसके लिए कम ही सही, मुख्‍यधारा के मीडिया में जगह है। उन्‍होंने नौजवानों से कहा कि आपको कहीं उम्‍मीद न दिखे, तो आप जनसत्ता में अपने लेख भेजिए, हम छापेंगे।

सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता और साहित्‍यकार अनीता भारती ने कहा कि मीडिया का जातिवादी चेहरा पिछले दिनों कायदे से उजागर हुआ है। उन्‍होंने एक उदाहरण के जरिये यह समझाने की कोशिश की कैसे मीडिया दलितों के मुद्दे, उनके स्‍वाभिमान के प्रतीकों के साथ दोयम दर्जे का बर्ताव कर रहा है। उन्‍होंने कहा कि महावीर से लेकर तमाम महापुरुषों की जयंती पर अखबार विशेष परिशिष्‍ट निकालते रहे हैं – लेकिन अंबेडकर की घनघोर उपेक्षा करते हैं। अभी अभी गुजरी अंबेडकर जयंती पर अखबारों ने ब्‍लैक आउट करने की शैली में चुप्‍पी ओढ़ ली।

टीवी पत्रकार प्रभात शुंगलू ने कहा कि मीडिया की गली अब ऐसी हो गयी है, जहां रहस्‍य ही रहस्‍य हैं। वहां नियुक्ति की कोई पारदर्शी प्रक्रिया नहीं है। प्रतिभाशाली लोग देखते रह जाते हैं और गैरप्रतिभाशाली लोग सभी जगहों पर भरते चले जा रहे हैं। उन्‍होंने यह भी कहा कि कुछ पत्रकार मीडिया में आते हैं और देखते ही देखते उनकी जीवन शैली लैविश होती चली जाती है। अब वो समय आ गया है, जब आप मीडिया पर भी आरटीआई का पहरा लगाने की बात करें। इसके लिए भी दबाव बनाया जाए कि पत्रकार अपनी संपत्ति की घोषणा करें।

सीएसडीएस के सीनियर फेलो रविकांत ने अब हम विमर्श में पूंजीवाद जैसे जुमलों का इस्‍तेमाल न ही करें तो बेहतर। यह टर्मिनॉलॉजी अब पुरानी पड़ चुकी है। नयी बात करें। वैसे भी पूंजीवाद की आलोचना के साथ बात शुरू करने पर हमें पूंजीवाद की रचनात्‍मकता के बारे में पता नहीं चलता। उन्‍होंने मीडिया के मसखरेपन को समझने के लिए मनोहर श्‍याम जोशी के नॉवेल कसप में ईश्‍वर के बारे में दिये गये उनके वक्‍तव्‍य की याद दिलायी। जोशी जी ने लिखा है कि ईश्‍वर कितना बड़ा मसखरा है – ये इससे अंदाजा लगाइए कि उसने सेक्‍स करने और शौच करने के लिए एक जैसी चीज ही बनायी है। रविकांत ने कहा कि मीडिया को आज ऐसे ही समझने की जरूरत है। वह तमाम खबरों को एक ही तराजू (शायद टीआरपी, शायद सनसनी) पर तौलने की कोशिश करता है।

रविकांत ने कहा कि मीडिया या किसी भी माध्‍यम, व्‍यवस्‍था से ट्रांसपेरेंसी की उम्‍मीद करना बेमानी है। ट्रांसपेरेंट कुछ हो ही नहीं सकता। हम एक क्षण को ढंकने के लिए दूसरा क्षण रचते हैं। क्‍योंकि आज न्‍यू मीडिया की पैनी नजर इतनी पसर रही है कि कोई भी सीक्रेट अब हमारे आगे सीक्रेट नहीं रहेगी। हालांकि इस नजर पर भी सरकार की नजर है। हम जिस इंटरनेट को आजाद जगह मानते हैं, सरकार उस पर भी आंखें गड़ाये हुए है।

मीडिया पर हुई इस बहस का संचालन युवा मीडिया क्रिटिक विनीत कुमार ने किया। पूरी बहस में कई लोगों ने अपनी बात रखी। मसलन… मिहिर पंड्या, शीबा असलम फहमी, पूनम तुषामड़, राकेश कुमार सिंह, भूपेन आदि। बहस के शुरू में संदर्भ से परिचय कराया अविनाश ने और प्रस्‍तावना रखी मीडिया विश्‍लेषण और अध्‍ययन से जुड़े दिलीप मंडल न।

पूरी बहस का ऑडियो लिंक यहां है। यूं तो लिंक पर भी सीधे ऑनलाइन सुना सकता है, लेकिन डाउनलोड करके सुनेंगे, तो निर्बाध सुन सकेंगे…

आखिर में दिलीप मंडल ने कनक्‍लूडिंग वक्‍तव्‍य रखा, उसका ऑडियो अलग से सुनिए। इसे भी डाउनलोड करके सुनिए, तो सही रहेगा…

Black money comes mainly from India: Assange-Black money comes mainly from India: Assange

Black money comes mainly from India: Assange

Assange confirms Indian names in Swiss bank data
At a stage where governments around the world have tried to hide away from the embarrassment caused by WikiLeaks expose on black money, founder Julian Assange speaks exclusively to Times Now's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on the Swiss bank data and Indian names features in the same.

Julian Assange, made a stunning disclosure, that there could be Indian names in the data that WikiLeaks would publish. In the course of the interview, Assange appealed to Indians to absolutely not lose hope that the names of those with secret Swiss accounts will come out at one point in the future. Hinting that Wikileaks might work with specialized agencies before releasing the Swiss bank data he pulled up the Indian government for not being aggressive like Germany in going after the list of Indian account holders. In fact he said India should be more aggressive because India seems like it is losing per capita more tax money than Germany

This is the first time Assange has spoken about Indian accounts in these Swiss banks, and comes at a time when the national debate over Swiss Bank accounts has sharpened.

Arnab Goswami: You have strong views on it. And I completely appreciate that you can't talk about it in detail. But let me ask you more generically, that is your heart, you would like to reveal the your heart. I am not asking you when and under what circumstances, but having known about it, you would like to reveal details of how the system operates, wouldn't you?
Julian Assange: Well, we have various types of information about different banking operations in the world. Over time, we have revealed those. In fact, most of the legal attacks on us have been from banks. Banks in Scotland...banks in Dubai...banks in Iceland. We all received legal attacks from these banks. And we will continue publishing data on these banks as soon as we are able to do so.

Arnab Goswami: Have you encountered any Indian names? I am not asking you to tell me where, which banks...
Julian Assange: Yes there are Indian names in the data we have already published or going to publish. I can't remember specifically whether there are Indian names in the upcoming publication. But I have read Indian names. Similarly, in these private Swiss banking concerns, where you need at least a million dollars...which is a significant amount of money...Not an average Indian.

Arnab Goswami: And it is difficult to identify those names. Anything else you can tell us?
Julian Assange: I can't tell you anything more at this stage. As we go through the process of releasing data, as always we have to do extra research. And once we understand which media organizations are best placed to help us with that research, then we operate with them. But we are not at that stage yet that I know all the research that is going on.

Arnab Goswami: To all our Indian viewers, just one point. Should they lose hope that the names will come out at one point.
Julian Assange: No

Arnab Goswami: What would you say to them?
Julian Assange: That you should absolutely not lose hope. It is quite interesting. There is a...There are different forces at play here. The German government in particular has been very strong. There needs to be transparency in banking operations. It has gone so far as to buy CDs Liechtenstein and so on...To reveal this information. Very, very aggressive approach by the German government and the German government is the dominant power within Europe. So, those German attitudes are seeping into Europe as a whole. The US has also been applying pressure in relation to UBS and tax evaders. So the problem is, as Swiss bank accounts are opened up there are simply other ways to deal with the situation. So you go and register a trust, in say Charles and then the trust then goes and opens a Swiss account while you might (?) a Swiss bank account, but what is there is a trust in Charles..Then you have to break that trust in Charles. That is the problem throughout the offshore sector. That is quite hard to deal with. In case you get this through regulation, kind of get this at a level that although people can hide their assets in this way, the amount of expense and effort and risk involved in the asset hiding doesn't make it worthwhile.

Arnab Goswami: Given the economic and political clout that India wields, any reason that India should not be as aggressive?
Julian Assange: No. There is no reason why India should not be aggressive. In fact maybe, it should be more aggressive because India seems like it is losing per capita much more tax money than Germany.

Govt pre-empts SIT, sets up panel to track black money-Apr 26, 2011

Govt pre-empts SIT, sets up panel to track black money

<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"> document.write('<a href="" target="_blank"><img src=""/></a>'); </script><noscript><a href="" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" /></a></noscript>
NEW DELHI: In an attempt to pre-empt a proposal to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that it would set up a 10-member high-powered supervisory committee to track black money and their linkage to terror funding and drug syndicates.

The revenue secretary will head the committee which will include directors of CBI, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and chiefs of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Financial Intelligence Bureau (FIU), Foreign Trade and Tax division as well as deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

"This committee will start work immediately. Every time any of the investigating agencies comes across some information about black money -- both abroad and domestic -- it will be shared with other agencies and investigation will be coordinated. The revenue secretary will submit periodic status reports to the court," solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam said.

During the last hearing, the Bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar had asked the Centre to respond to why an SIT not be set up to track black money as the government appeared to have done nothing concrete and why names of foreign bank account holders who had stashed black money there not be disclosed.

The Centre's pre-emptive measure of announcing a special committee did not cut ice with petitioner Ram Jethmalani, whose counsel and senior advocate Anil Divan said, "It is just old wine in a new bottle. All these agencies were already party to the petition and nothing concrete was done on this issue. The government wants to exclude an independent eye on the probe into black money for obvious reasons."

Subramaniam said the revenue secretary-headed special committee would be more effective than SIT. "The committee will not only supervise ongoing probe against suspected hawala dealer Hasan Ali Khan and Liechtenstein's LGT Bank account holders but all future black money cases," he said.

He said because the government did not disclose the names of foreign account holders in compliance with the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAA), there was a steady flow of information about such accounts held by others.

"The Foreign Intelligence Unit and other agencies are already looking into 37 such cases, both foreign and domestic black money accounts held by Indians. This is in addition to Hasan Ali Khan and the 16 LGT Bank account holders who are already under the scanner," he said.

Subramaniam opposed SIT on the ground that the members would not be able to proceed fruitfully against the offenders because the Prevention of Money Laundering Act provisions specify that statements given only to officials of ED were admissible in court. "If such statements were recorded by SIT members who are not part of ED, then it would not be admissible in court," he said. The arguments will continue on Thursday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rahul focusing young faces for clean politics-Mar 19, 2011

19/4/11Rahul focusing young faces for clean politics

Indian population believes that politics is a ‘black box' where the entrance is obscure. People who are entered into politics do have family relations or their friends are into the politics. Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi himself is honored member of a privileged supporting family. However, he is the only politician seems keen on replacing or altering such a kind of condition by bringing in new faces and ideas into politics from side to side of candidate recruitment in politics.

Mr. Burleigh confirmed that Rahul Gandhi was focused on replicating his Punjab model of applicant selection prior to Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and ultimately all over India. This model includes landing inner voting’s to the Youth Congress, incredible the Congress had no way done earlier permitting successful young applicants drawn from this side to struggle for political seats where the Congress was not viable.

Though few parts of the elder party leadership in Punjab state were awkward with this youth party selection method, but Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had his method and two of the three selected candidates thus elected with successful results in the voting.
Proving the note wrong “that most Indian politicians get entry because of family connections or friends, Rahul Gandhi said that establishing an unbolt and clear procedure of applicant selection opening at the mainly basic level and self-governing party would do more to help Congress party in the following years by allowing young and fresh faces with ideas”.

Roughly, 20 percent of members of Lok Sabha in Congress-led joint Progressive grouping was less than 45 years of age, Rahul Gandhi told the ambassador while highlighting that putting onward the younger applicants would support to construct Congress power.


Rahul Gandhi wants youth in lower strata of powerlike GPs, assembly, council and gradulally the Parliament..D balance of the old & d young importance

Rahul Gandhi wants youth in lower strata of power

UDUPI: It was an occasion they would cherish for the rest of their lives. They looked upto him to show them the way. When Rahul Gandhi walked into Shamili Hall in Mangalore at 2:20pm, a 5000-plus strong youth conglomeration cheered his entry.

Rahul was at ease and didn't waste any time. He told the audience to fight corruption relentlessly at all levels and strengthen the Youth Congress. He stressed that the nomination culture of the party be shunned.

"Implementing RTI was one of the greatest achievements of the Congress government in recent times which made a big impact to bring about transparency at all levels. Had RTI not been implemented, many of these scams we talk about would not have even surfaced," he said.

Rahul encouraged the crowd to ask pertinent questions. Youth Congess member Edmond Fernandes, an MBBS student of Father Mullers Medical College, said his grouse was that though he was enrolled as a member of the party, his many attempts to contact Rahul either through e-mail or SMS never saw a response from the young politician. Rahul replied that he

received umpteen SMSes and emails every day and that it would require a lifetime to individually contact the senders. However, he said he would try to work out a way to be accessible.

A girl from Mangalore asked Rahul why women did not get a fair chance in politics through Congress. He smiled and said, "Who said women are not getting a fair chance? Our own party president (Sonia) is a woman. Two of the AICC secretaries attached to me are women. Shanimol Usman looks after the IYC and Meenakshi Natarajan looks after the NSUI and many more such women leaders are coming up in the Congress organization."

Questions about the government's delay to act against the "corrupt Yeddyurappa government" and why the Congress did not extend a second term to APJ Abdul Kalam as president left him saying, "I have a lot of respect for Kalam, but you must ask these questions to MPs and MLAs. As for the corrupt state government, it is run by a different party and we have our own limitations to deal with the situation."

Most of his speech stressed on the need for organizational elections in the party. Rahul said, "The nomination culture is no more in the Youth Congress and NSUI. Inner party elections in Youth Congress in Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu proved to be very effective and even the Election Commission and oppostion parties have lauded our measures." He cited the recently concluded Kerala elections as an example, "Eighteen youth Congressmen who went through this process got tickets. My motive is not to get more cabinet berths for youth at this juncture. I prefer more committed youth to get into the lower strata of power like GPs, assembly, council and gradulally the Parliament. The balance of the old and the young would bring more vigour to Congress."

assembly elections in five states could possibly throw up two more woman CMs but elections low on woman power/ IANS | Apr 7, 2011

Elections low on woman power

NEW DELHI: Although the assembly elections in five states could possibly throw up two more woman CMs, there is hardly anything to celebrate over the representation of women in the democratic exercise.

All major parties support the women's quota bill but this is not reflected in the number of women they have fielded. In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK is contesting 160 of the 234 assembly seats.

Only 13 of the 160 are women. DMK has fielded 119 candidates, 11 among them women. Neighbouring Puducherry has only one woman candidate.

Trinamool Congress has fielded 34 women among 228 candidates.

The Left, which has been spearheading the movement for 33% reservation for women, has given 15.8% representation to women in its Bengal list. Among the 10 Left allies, CPM has fielded 41 women and Forward Bloc four. In Kerala, which has 140 assembly seats, the Left Democratic Front has put up 14 women and United Democratic Front (UDF) has eight women.

Assam has 447 male candidates and 38 women in the first phase of polling. In the second phase it is 449 and 47.

Bihar to celebrate 100 years of Gandhi’s satyagraha12 Apr, 2011

Bihar to celebrate 100 years of Gandhi’s satyagraha

in Vihara

The centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha against British rule will be celebrated in Bihar, from where it was launched, on a large scale in 2017.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Sunday announced at a function at Gandhi Sangrahalya here: ‘Now it is 2011. We will celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha movement against the British rule in 2017.’

Mahatma Gandhi launched his satyagraha against the British rule in Bihar’s Champaran district April 10, 1917. After his return from South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi chose to experiment with satyagraha in Champaran.

In Champaran, a district in state of Bihar, tens of thousands of landless serfs, indentured laborers and poor farmers were forced to grow indigo and other cash crops instead of the food crops necessary for their survival. These goods were bought from them at a very low price. Suppressed by the ruthless militias of the landlords mostly British, they were given measly compensation, leaving them mired in extreme poverty.

The villages were kept extremely dirty and unhygienic, and alcoholism, untouchability and purdah were rampant. Now in the throes of a devastating famine, the British levied an oppressive tax which they insisted on increasing in rate. Without food and without money, the situation was growing progressively unlivable and the peasants in Champaran revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia) and Raj Kumar Shukla took Mahatma Gandhi to Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha began.Mahatama Gandhi arrived in Champaran with a team of eminent lawyers, comprising of Brajkishore Prasad, Rajendra Prasad, Anugrah Narayan Sinha and others.

Gandhi established an ashram in Champaran, organizing scores of his veteran supporters and fresh volunteers from the region. He organized a detailed study and survey of the villages, accounting the atrocities and terrible episodes of suffering, including the general state of degenerate living.

Building on the confidence of villagers, he began leading the clean-up of villages, building of schools and hospitals and encouraging the village leadership to undo purdah, untouchability and the suppression of women. He was joined by many young nationalists from all over India, including Brajkishore Prasad, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Ram Navami Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru.

But his main assault came as he was arrested by police on the charge of creating unrest and was ordered to leave the province. Hundreds of thousands of people protested and rallied outside the jail, police stations and courts demanding his release, which the court unwillingly did. Gandhi led organized protests and strike against the landlords, who with the guidance of the British government, signed an agreement granting more compensation and control over farming for the poor farmers of the region, and cancellation of revenue hikes and collection until the famine ended. It was during this agitation, that Gandhi was addressed by the people as Bapu.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Haiti Photos Earn Washington Post Journalists Pulitzer -April 22, 2011

Haiti Photos Earn Washington Post Journalists Pulitzer


Three Washington Post photographers were awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize on Monday in the category of breaking news photography. Carol Guzy, Ricky Carioti and Nikki Kahn’s heart-wrenching photos taken in Haiti after the devastating earthquake are what earned them the distinguished award.

“This award is an amazing tribute to the people of Haiti, the tenacity of the Haitian spirit and the profound sorrow the Haitian heart has had to endure,” said the three photographers. “It's hard to celebrate an award for something that's so very sad.”

The winning photos captured images ranging from rescue missions, injured children and moments of deep despair. This is the first time winning Carioti and Kahn have been honored, but this marks the third Pulitzer for Guzy. “We're just the link, we're not the important ones, said Guzy. “Though it's nice our work is recognized, it's never the ultimate goal. The important ones are the people in the stories, the people who know what's happening in that world.”

The emotion and anguish caught in these photos are profound. The Haitian people are still living with this pain every day, but photographs like these taken by Guzy, Carioti and Kahn allow people around the world to get a glimpse of the Haitians’ struggle and resilience.

In the line of fire: What the war photographer saw At its best, war photography is compelling, emotive, frightening. Here we celebrate the work of 2

In the line of fire: What the war photographer saw

At its best, war photography is compelling, emotive, frightening. Here we celebrate the work of two men who excelled at it – and paid with their lives

By Alice-Azania Jarvis

Friday, 22 April 2011(

Battle plans: in one of the last photos Hondros took before he was killed, the photographer captures Libyan rebel fighters as they discuss how to dislodge ensconced government loyalist troops in Misrata, Libya, 20 April
(Here we celebrate the work of two men who excelled at it – and paid with their lives...My hearty condolence and tribute to them...RIP.....VIBHA TAILANG)

Battle plans: in one of the last photos Hondros took before he was killed, the photographer captures Libyan rebel fighters as they discuss how to dislodge ensconced government loyalist troops in Misrata, Libya, 20 April

Yesterday the world's media mourned as news spread of the first Western journalists to die in the Libyan conflict. The British photojournalist Tim Hetherington and the American photographer Chris Hondros were killed on Wednesday in the besieged city of Misrata.

Hetherington is best known as co-creator of the documentary Restrepo, whose depiction of life on the front line in Afghanistan earned him an Oscar-nomination and the 2010 Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Over a year he, along with American journalist Sebastian Junger, was embedded with troops in the country's north-eastern Korengal Valley. In an apolitical, observational style, it captured the day-to-day lives of the men – from their deployment to their return. He was, in the words of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, "about as perfect a model of a war photographer as you're going to find these days," with "a deft eye and unwavering dedication". Beginning his career as the sole staff photographer on The Big Issue, he documented conflicts across Africa and Afghanistan, his work characterised by a poised reflection rarely seen in breaking news work. "I have no desire to be a war fire-fighter," he told The New York Times in 2009. "I'm interested in reaching people with ideas and engaging them with views of the world."

Hondros, meanwhile, won acclaim for his images from war zones in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, he was named a finalist for the Pulitzer prize, for his work in Liberia, and in 2006 his Iraqi coverage earned him the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal, one of the most illustrious awards in the field. Born in New York to Greek and German parents – both refugees from the Second world War – he maintained a base in the city.

With two colleagues injured in the same bombardment – photographers Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown – the fate of Hetherington and Hondros is a sobering reminder of the perils faced by those covering conflicts. While they may be the first Western journalists killed, the so-called Arab Spring has taken the lives of an estimated 10 others. In Libya alone, the al-Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber and Mohammad Nabbous, a reporter for Libya Alhurra TV, were killed in hostilities.

"You have to be of a certain type of make-up to do this work," Hondros had observed. "We're all suited for different things. But we need those people. We need journalists."