|Pakistan: Calls for
revenge after US drones kill 40
BBC - Tribal
leaders in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan have
vowed revenge against the US after drones killed more than
40 people near the Afghan border.
“We are a people who wait 100 years to exact revenge. We
never forgive our enemy,” the elders said in a statement.
Thursday’s attack has caused fury - most of the dead were
tribal elders and police attending an open-air meeting.
Observers say anger over the botched drone raid may help
Pakistan delay an assault on the Taliban in Waziristan.
The Pakistani military has so far resisted US pressure for
such an assault. It is already fighting militants in a
number of other parts of the country’s north-west.
The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says Thursday’s
casualties will also add to pressure from Islamabad on the
US to scale back drone strikes which regularly target
The area is an al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold and a launch
pad for frequent attacks on US-led forces in Afghanistan.
But the strikes are hugely unpopular in Pakistan. The latest
one comes at a time of rising tension after the CIA
contractor Raymond Davis was acquitted of murdering two men
Thursday’s drone strike is thought to have killed more
civilians than any other such attack since 2006.
Officials say two drones were involved. One missile was
fired at a car carrying suspected militants. Three more
missiles were then fired at the moving vehicle, hitting it
and the nearby tribal meeting, or jirga.
At least four militants in the vehicles were killed, local
officials said. Most of the rest who died were elders, local
traders and members of the tribal police.
“The world should try and find out how many of the 40-odd
people killed in the drone attack were members of al-Qaeda,”
the elders said in their statement following the attack near
North Waziristan’s regional capital, Miranshah.
“It was just a jirga being held under local customs in which
the prominent elders of Datta Khel sub-division, and common
people were participating to resolve a dispute.
“But the Americans did not spare our elders even.
One of the elders, Malik Faridullah Wazir Khan, said he
reached the scene 30 minutes after the missiles hit - four
of his relatives were killed.
“The area was completely covered in blood,” he told the BBC.
“There were no bodies, only body parts - hands, legs and
eyes scattered around. I could not recognise anyone. People
carried away the body parts in shopping bags and clothing or
with bits of wood, whatever they could find.”
He said 44 people died at the scene, including 13 children -
one as young as seven.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s army chief condemned the raid by US
unmanned drones in unusually strong terms, calling it
“intolerable... and in complete violation of human rights”.
The Pakistani military often makes statements regretting the
loss of life in such incidents, but rarely criticises the
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, however, said such “acts of
violence” make it harder to fight terrorism.
Drone strikes have stoked anti-US feeling in Pakistan.
The US embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Lahore,
Karachi and Peshawar were all closed on Friday for security
reasons following Thursday’s attack and the release of Mr
The US does not routinely confirm that it has launched drone
operations, but analysts say only American forces have the
capacity to deploy such aircraft in the region.
The Pakistani authorities deny secretly supporting drone
attacks. Many militants, some of them senior, have been
killed in the raids, but hundreds of civilians have also
Pakistan has troops stationed in North Waziristan but has
resisted US calls for a wider operation there. The region is
a stronghold of militants fighting US-led forces in
Many analysts believe at some point Pakistan’s military will
have to move in - if not for America’s sake, then for
Pakistan’s. Militants attacking targets inside Pakistan also
find sanctuary in North Waziristan.
|Japan crisis: UK
rescue team to withdraw
BBC - UK rescuers are
withdrawing from Japan after extensive searches of rubble
following last week’s earthquake and tsunami did not find
The International Search and Rescue (ISAR) team has
completed its mission in the northern town of Kamaishi.
The UK government said snow and falling temperatures mean
the chance of finding anybody alive was now “extremely low”.
The Foreign Office is chartering planes from Tokyo to Hong
Kong to help Britons who want to leave Japan.
The UK ISAR team, which arrived in Japan on Sunday, agreed
not to extend its operations after discussions with the
Japanese disaster authorities and their US counterparts.
Earlier this week the team found several bodies during
searches in the north-eastern town of Ofunato, but there
were no survivors.
The team - 59 search and rescue experts, four medics and two
sniffer dogs - was made up of members from fire brigades
across the UK and was put together by the Department for
Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell said: “We are all
extremely proud of the work of the UK Fire and Rescue team.
“Sadly, the chance of them finding further survivors is now
extremely low and so their specialist skills are no longer
necessary in Japan.”
One rescuer, Alan Downes, said: “We’ve seen total
devastation in the areas affected. It’s so significant, I
struggle to comprehend how any community can move on from
Foreign nationals at Haneda Airport explain why they want to
“But people here are getting on and dealing with what’s put
in front of them.”
Meanwhile, Britons who want to leave Japan have been given
the option of joining flights chartered by the UK
The first, a Cathay Pacific plane to Hong Kong with 200
seats block-booked for British nationals, will leave on
Friday evening. More are planned over the weekend.
There will be no charge for those “directly affected” by the
tsunami, but a charge of £600 will otherwise apply.
By 1600 GMT on Thursday, some 43 British nationals had
expressed an interest in this option. The Foreign Office
said those who wished to leave and could not secure
commercial tickets should call +44 20 7008 6900.
People are being advised to use commercial flights if
possible, and the Foreign Office said it still advised
against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and north-eastern
The British embassy has also organised a coach to take
Britons from Sendai to Tokyo.
The prime minister’s spokesman said Britons were advised to
stay outside an 80km (50 mile) exclusion zone around the
stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, which lies 140 miles north
The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is
continuing to meet and monitor the situation in the troubled
The spokesman said Sage had examined worst-case scenarios
and risks to human health and concluded the risk could be
managed if people stayed indoors.
Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons
there remained “severe concerns” about some British
nationals who officials had been unable to locate.
“Our consular teams in London and Japan have been working
round the clock,” he said. “We’re following up all the leads
from the helpline we have set up.”
Mr Hague said more than 50 extra staff had been sent to the
affected regions, and they were visiting reception centres
About 17,000 British nationals were believed to have been in
Japan last Friday but there have been no reports yet of
Japan’s east coast was devastated by the tsunami triggered
by last Friday’s earthquake.
Those areas not wiped out are suffering power cuts and water
|Fresh riots at
Australia’s Christmas Island centre
Australian police have fired tear gas to subdue rioting
asylum seekers at the Christmas Island detention centre
following days of unrest.
Police reinforcements were flown to the island on Thursday
after about 250 detainees set fire to buildings and attacked
Inmates say they are protesting against living conditions
and the time it takes to process their asylum applications.
Some asylum seekers have been reportedly held for 18 months.
Christmas Island, off the north-west coast of Western
Australia, is home to more than 2,500 asylum seekers.
The centre is overcrowded following a steady surge of asylum
seekers arriving by boat in Australia’s northern waters.
More than 6,500 arrived in Australia by boat last year,
mostly from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Bricks and concrete blocks were thrown by protesters and
they destroyed two compounds at the prison-like centre,
The incident was the latest in almost a week of similar
riots and break-outs at the facility.
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd condemned the riots
as “completely unacceptable”.
“How can you expect our officials to process applications
for asylum when that sort of thing is happening?” he said in
a televised statement, adding that there would be no
relaxation of the rules.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said police were firmly
back in control at the centre.
“Last night buildings were damaged, fires were lit and there
were violent approaches to the Australian Federal Police,”
The authorities used tear gas and “beanbag” bullets - which
have been described as mini beanbags fired out of a gun-like
weapon - to bring the protesters under control.
Mr Bowen said another 70 police were being sent the island
to bolster the 118-strong force already there.
The Immigration Department announced this week it had
transferred almost 100 asylum seekers from Christmas Island
to Darwin, following the continued unrest.
Another 500 asylum seekers may be transferred to Darwin from
the island in coming weeks, ABC reported.
Mr Bowen said overcrowding and long delays were contributing
to a level of frustration which had contributed “significant
and serious” incidents at Christmas Island.
Earlier this month, the government announced it would build
a new immigration detention centre in the northern city of
Darwin to relieve overcrowding on Christmas Island.
The conservative opposition believes harsher measures must
be taken to deter more boats from arriving with more
Opposition leader Tony Abbott said the detention system was
|Hugo Chavez calls off Venezuela’s
nuclear energy plans
BBC - Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez says he is freezing plans to develop a nuclear
energy programme in the light of the crisis in Japan.
Venezuela signed a deal with a Russian company last year to
develop a nuclear power plant over the next decade.
But Mr Chavez said events in Japan showed the dangers of
developing nuclear power were too great.
Chile has said it still aims to sign a nuclear accord with
the US next week despite the crisis in Japan.
Countries around the world have been reconsidering their
nuclear policies in the face of the crisis at Japan’s
Fukushima nuclear complex triggered by last week’s huge
earthquake and tsunami.
President Chavez said he was calling off Venezuela’s plans
to build a nuclear plant.
“It is something extremely risky and dangerous for the whole
world,” he said.
“Despite the great technology and advances that Japan has,
look at what is happening with some of its nuclear
Mr Chavez added that global concerns about the safety of
nuclear power would boost demand for Venezuela’s oil
In Chile, President Sebastian Pinera said he would go ahead
with a nuclear co-operation deal with the US that is due to
be signed during President Obama’s visit next week.
Mr Pinera said Chile had to keep the option of nuclear power
open to fuel its growing demand for energy despite anxieties
over the nuclear disaster in Japan.
“Chile needs to learn about nuclear energy, and that is why
we have signed accords with France and Argentina and we will
sign another with the US,” he said after meeting the
Japanese ambassador to express his condolences.
Like Japan, Chile is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” of
seismic activity and is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.
Indian PM Manmohan Singh denies bribing
MPs for votes
|BBC - Indian PM Manmohan Singh has said no member of his
Congress party or government bribed MPs to survive a crucial
vote of confidence in 2008.
A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks says a party aide
showed a US embassy official “chests of cash” to pay off MPs
ahead of the vote.
Mr Singh said there were doubts about the veracity of such
cables. The leak heaps further pressure on the embattled Mr
Singh after a string of corruption scandals.
The vote took place after the government’s left-wing allies
withdrew their support over a controversial nuclear deal
with the US.
But the Congress party narrowly survived the vote despite
The leaked cable, reported in The Hindu newspaper, has
caused uproar in the Indian parliament with the main
opposition parties saying that Congress had “brought shame
to the nation” and calling on the prime minister to resign.
Mr Singh told parliament that “no one in the Congress party
or the government indulged in any unlawful act during the
He said a parliamentary committee had investigated the
allegations of vote buying in 2008 and had “concluded that
it had insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion”.
Mr Singh said people had voted the Congress party into power
in the general election in 2009 despite the opposition
parties “repeating their allegations of bribery in the
The prime minister criticised the contents of the cable, and
doubted its veracity.
“It is unfortunate that speculative, unverified and
unverifiable communication can be given dignity by the
opposition to revive old charges that have been soundly
rejected,” Mr Singh said.
Earlier Mr Singh told a conclave organised by India Today
magazine that he had “no knowledge of any such purchases of
votes” ahead of the vote.
“I have not authorised anyone to purchase any votes. I am
not aware of any acts of purchasing any votes. I am not at
all involved,” Mr Singh said.
The cable by US official Steven White said that the embassy
employee had met Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of senior Congress
leader Satish Sharma. It says that Mr Kapur told the embassy
employee that “money was not an issue at all, but the
crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money
would vote for the government”.
The embassy employee said he was shown “two chests
containing cash and said that around $25m (£15.5m) was lying
around the house for use as pay-offs”.
Nachiketa Kapur rejected the report, saying: “I vehemently
deny these malicious allegations. There was no cash to point
Satish Sharma told a news channel that he did not even have
an aide called Nachiketa Kapur.
Mr Sharma is described as a “close associate of former prime
minister Rajiv Gandhi [and] considered to be a very close
family friend of [Congress party chief] Sonia Gandhi”.
|Japan crisis: Germany to speed up
nuclear energy exit
|BBC - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a
“measured exit” from nuclear power in response to the crisis
affecting four reactors in Japan.
Defending the temporary closure of Germany’s seven oldest
reactors, she said the Japanese disaster meant it could no
longer be “business as usual”.
Mrs Merkel told parliament that the goal was “to reach the
age of renewable energy as soon as possible”.
She urged Germans to show the Japanese people they were not
She said the two countries had 150 years of diplomatic
relations and called on Germans to donate money. “This is
help between friends,” she said.
Although she stressed that Germany’s nuclear plants were
among the world’s safest, she said that “when, in Japan, the
apparently impossible becomes possible and the absolutely
unlikely reality, then the situation changes”.
Heckled by her opponents, she said the future of energy
policy would be carefully considered in the next three
months, adding that changing to renewable energy would
require a broad consensus.
Chancellor Merkel has come under fire from opposition
politicians as well as the nuclear industry for her abrupt
change of stance on atomic energy and she was jeered as she
addressed the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on
Last year, her government extended the life of Germany’s 17
nuclear power plants by 12 years but suspended the decision
for three months in the wake of the Japanese crisis. The
decision to shut down seven of the oldest reactors
temporarily soon followed.
The Isar-1 reactor in Bavaria is set to go offline shortly,
followed by Neckarwestheim, a reactor that has been the
focus of large protests in Baden-Wuerttemberg, where Mrs
Merkel’s Christian Democrats face a tight election battle on
The leader of the opposition SPD Sigmar Gabriel accused the
chancellor of electioneering and of bypassing democratic
debate over Germany’s atomic energy.
“You only involved the Bundestag pro forma and didn’t
involve the Bundesrat [upper house] at all. You had already
arranged everything with the gentlemen from the nuclear
industry,” he said.
|Empowering women in
Gampaha a grand success
Gampaha district belongs to the
ancient Maya Rata - one of Sri Lanka’s four provinces in
pre-colonial times. Gampaha’s northern boundary is Maha Oya,
southern the Kelani River and western the Indian Ocean. The
district’s eastern boundary is the 1,000 feet-long contour.
To the north of Gampaha are the Puttalam and Kurunegala
districts and to the south is the Colombo district. To the
east is Kegalle district.
The extent of the Gampaha district is 1,386 square
kilometres. According to its geological features this
district belongs to the coastal plain. Its highest point is
the 272 metre-high Walbotale Mountain. The district’s four
Korales are Siyaney, Aluthkuru, Southern and Northern
Hapitigam. The area has 12 electorates including Dompe.
It was at Dompe that we met Mangala Kumari, a 42-year-old
mother of two.
Today, she earns about Rs. 3,000 per week by selling
anthurium flowers which she grows in her home garden. Not
only Mangala, but also many other women in the area are
looking forward to growing this income-generating plant as a
means of self¬ employment.
Anthurium - also called ‘Flamingo Flower’ - is a large genus
of about nearly 1,000 species, belonging to the Araceae
family, which is a native of the wet tropical mountain
forests of Central and South America.
A plant yields about seven flowers a year. They can be long
preserved and packing them is easy. This attractive flower
is widely used for decorating venues of festive events.
The climate in Gampaha and eight other districts are well
suited for growing anthurium which is a foreign-exchange
earner. The main markets for anthurium are Singapore, the
Netherlands, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand. Today it is a
source of income for hundreds of women in the Gampaha
We met many of them, including Mangala Kumari at a Women’s
Empowerment Workshop at Gampaha. A programme titled Gampaha
Liya Abhiman is now underway to train unemployed women in
the district and direct them towards self-employment.
The Sri Lanka Samurdhi Authority is directing the
educational and training programme on the advice of Attorney
Pushpa Rajapaksa, according to a concept of Minister of
Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa.
The programme’s long-term objective is to help every woman
in Gampaha district to raise their economic well-being
through self-employment. Under this women-helping-women
programme the participants will receive training, funding
and get access to proper markets for their products.
The self-employment opportunities are in the areas of
clothing manufacture, agriculture and livestock management
in a home-based setting. A large number of women were
expected to benefit from Gampaha Liya Abhiman and the
majority of them are housewives and mothers. Among them is
Sriyawathie, a mother of four.
Having earlier engaged in agriculture with her husband she
is today a beneficiary of this training programme. A very
courageous and persevering woman, her one aim is to educate
her children well and make them good citizens. Today Liya
Abhiman is leading the Gampaha district’s march towards
Growing flowers, bee-keeping, tailoring, cultivating
mushrooms, dairy farming and the export of Visithuru Pathra
are among the areas in which the women are trained. After
they are trained Samurdhi banks provide them with loans to
start their own businesses. Seventy percent of the members
of Samurdhi Bank Associations are women.
A workshops presided over by Attorney Pushpa Rajapaksa was
also held to train Samurdhi officials. According to her the
programme’s main objective is to eradicate poverty in the
district by empowering women.
It commenced from the Dompe electorate focusing on nine
sectors. From Dompe alone 212 women have applied for
training in sewing. Now they are being trained in batches of
30 using 10 sewing machines. A plan has been drawn up to
sell their other products to holiday resorts run by the
public and private sectors.
Already a number of applications have been received in this
Gampaha district’s total population is 2.1 million (512,368
families). Twenty eight percent (143,925) of these families
are Samurdhi recipients. Fifty two percent (1,101,173) of
the entire population of the district are women. The ratio
of unemployment in the area, according to the census of 2007
is 4.7 percent.
Under the Liya Abhiman programme steps are also being taken
to eliminate malnutrition in families. This has resulted in
the reduction of alcohol consumption in the Dompe- Tungalla
Seventeen percent of Sri Lankan women between the ages of 15
and 49 suffer from malnutrition which has posed a major
challenge to society. Under Liya Abhiman, women are taught
the importance of balanced diets. The programme has
strengthened the resolve of these women to become flexible
like bamboos when facing storms in life.
Over 50 persons participated in a training programme on
growing anthurium conducted by agricultural instructress
Anusha Siriwardena. They were extremely keen on learning new
methods and techniques that would help them towards
self-employment. With this training each participant hopes
to earn Rs. 2,500 per week from growing anthurium.
The average selling price of an anthurium flower is around
Rs. 30. It is hoped to expand the Liya Abhiman programme
throughout the Western Province. It includes feedback on the
progress so far made.
About 150 recipients had completed training courses in dress
making, bridal dressing and cake making among others to
start their own businesses. Five sewing machines will be
presented on completion of each of the next training courses
under the Liya Abhiman programme.
Mirigama Youth Services Officer, Vilasini Ratnayake
expressed her appreciation of the assistance given by Liya
Abhiman to encourage young women towards self-employment.
She said each young woman trained under this programme earns
around Rs. 18,000 per month.
The greatest challenge facing mankind today is poverty. Its
main victims are the unemployed. The women of Gampaha have
decided to take up this challenge under the Liya Abhiman
programme with its broad objectives. Their resolve to stand
on their own feet deserves our well-wishes.
writer is an environmental journalist who can be reached at
|Microsoft celebrates 7 years in Lanka
Initiatives touch the lives of youth
across the island
“It has been an amazing journey,” avers Janaki
Karunaratne, Manager, Community Affairs, Microsoft Sri
Lanka. “Seven years of touching lives and transforming the
aspirations of the youth of the country.”
As the Manager, Community Affairs, Janaki is responsible for
‘taking IT knowledge’ across the island to the masses. With
this objective in mind, the projects and programmes
undertaken by Microsoft Sri Lanka are vast and varied,
incorporating the livelihood and future lifestyles of the
youth across the country. Janaki took time off to highlight
some of these pioneering efforts undertaken by Microsoft Sri
Begun in 2007, the Microsoft-sponsored Migrant Worker
programme was initially meant as an added skill for
housemaids who were leaving the shores in search of a better
life. Many of these workers were illiterate and backward and
feared the lack of contact with family they would leave
behind. Therefore, together with the Sri Lanka Anti
Narcotics Association (SLANA) Microsoft initiated training
programmes in ten SLANA centers island wide. “We trained
full time trainers to teach these migrant workers the basic
skill in internet usage and how to leverage in computer
knowledge. This gave them the added knowledge and
The Unlimited Potential programme was started in 2006 and is
aimed at four industries: Apparel, Hospitality, Agriculture,
Media and Journalism. This programme consists of a custom
made IT based curricular to improve IT skills as a career
opportunity for students who are looking to enter the job
market and for those already in jobs looking for added
qualifications. According to Janaki, this programme is
rolled out through the Vocational Training Authority, the
IDM, the Computer Education and Training Institution in Sri
Lanka, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry
(FCCISL) and the Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel
(SLITA). The Unlimited Potential is sponsored entirely by
After the devastating tsunami hit the coastal areas of Sri
Lanka, Microsoft stepped in immediately to bring relief to
the people who lost their livelihoods. Together with the
Sarvodaya, Microsoft initiated 12 tele-centers to enable
these affected youth to rebuild their lives using IT skills.
Microsoft also helped construct a village in Hikkaduwa, one
of the worst affected areas, along with a Community Center
to store data online in lieu of future disaster. As part of
the Tsunami relief, a micro-financing programme was started
in Hambantota with the Women’s Development Foundation.
Further, with the end of the war, Microsoft has stepped in
to train the youth in IT skills in the North and East.
Another innovative initiative by Microsoft is the
distribution of free Software for the NGO’s. “We believe
that these NGO’s must conform to ethical standards and abide
by country laws and as such, we stepped in to provide them
with genuine software,” says Janaki. “This was, they are
compliant with country laws and are also empowered to
perform their tasks better.” The Software for the NGO’s is
an ongoing project which has now reached across the island.
One of the most significant programmes offered by Microsoft
is the Gamata IT (GIT) which coincided with the Year of IT
and English. “This is an initiative that is geared to
breakdown the language barrier with the introduction of the
Sinhala Language Packs and subsequently the Tamil Language
Packs,” says Janaki. These were kicked off with road shows
in deep rural areas with the intention of spreading IT
knowledge. Schools in these areas were provided with
Multipoint Laboratories with the students and teachers
therein given a three-day basic training course on IT.
Additionally, all the Grama Niladaris within these areas
were also trained to use IT technology. Thereafter, an IT
Club was formed in each of these schools to facilitate IT
“We believe that these programmes that we have initiated
have directly touched over 50,000 students and youth causing
a ripple effect across thousands more,” Janaki said. The
seven year journey has improved IT literacy, encouraged
enthusiasm and initiated an IT generation which is
considered the future of the country.
|Pilisaru to manage solid waste in a
sustainable manner, says minister
|Solid waste has become one of the most critical issues
casing immense suffering to the urban as well as semi urban
population in Sri Lanka. ‘Pilisaru’ National Solid Waste
Management Project operating under the Ministry of
Environment and Central Environmental Authority plans to
manage solid waste problem in a sustainable manner.
As another step towards this process distribution of
composting bins and waste separation bins was held at
Pannala Sirimalee Reception Hall on Tuesday (15.03.2011)
with the participation of Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister
of Environment and Charitha Herath, Chairman of the Central
These waste separation bins and composting bins were
distributed to institutions such as Agrarian Services
Centres, educational offices, schools, hospitals and
religious places in the area. Chiefs of the religious places
in the area, religious leaders, principals of schools, heads
of government institutions in the area participated at this
More than 200 bins were distributed at this event and it
will help manage a reasonable amount of waste within the
Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, the Minister of Environment said
solid waste had become one of the major issues.
“Let’s start waste management from our homes. It is the
simplest solution for this problem. Composting is one of the
best solutions that could be applied for household waste
management. Adopting to a simple lifestyle parallel to
development process is also a better method for waste
management and younger generation has to be motivated on
this target,” he said.
Charitha Herath, Chairman, Central Environmental Authority
stressed that the Central Environmental Authority was the
main regulatory body of environment in Sri Lanka.
“Pilisaru project operates with the long term plan as the
major initiative for solid waste management in Sri Lanka.
Environment has become important as much as the economy.
There should be a change in the way of thinking of people in
order to make it more productive. CEA always works to
provide better solutions and aims to make the country a
better place with an ideal environment,” he said.
This programme helps strengthen the ten thousand home garden
programme by regularizing waste management within the
region. Pilisaru project has planned to implement this
programme islandwide in order to achieve a green Sri Lanka
for future generations according to the Mahinda Chinthana.
|DSC prize for South Asian Literature 2012
Submissions now open for the USD 50,000 DSC
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 has issued
a call for entries inviting publishers from across the globe
to make their submissions for the prestigious USD 50,000
award. The DSC Prize, now in its second year, will be
awarded to the best work of fiction pertaining to the South
Asian region, published in English, including translations
The winner of the DSC Prize 2012 will be announced in
January 2012. The deadline for submissions is April 20,
2011. Owing to publishers’ requests regarding increasing the
number of entries allowed, the eligibility criteria for the
DSC Prize has been augmented. To qualify, books must have
been published for the first time between January 1, 2010
and December 31, 2010. Publishers can send in up to two
entries per imprint; however, one additional entry per
imprint may be considered if a publisher sends in a special
Entry Forms along with the Eligibility Criteria and
Selection Process are available at the prize’s website at
The DSC Prize is a one-of-its-kind endeavor focusing on
South Asian writing. The award is not author-ethnicity
driven and is open to any work pertaining to the South Asian
region – its people, culture, and diaspora. The DSC Prize
brings South Asian writing to a new global audience and aims
to raise awareness of South Asian culture around the world.
The first DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was awarded
to H. M. Naqvi for his debut novel Home Boy (HarperCollins
India) early this year.
About DSC Limited’s Literary Initiatives
In its efforts to contribute to social growth and create
social infrawealth, DSC Limited has identified the promotion
of literature as a key initiative. The company firmly
believes that promoting literature helps build the character
of society, just as its infrastructure projects help create
the infrawealth of the nation. As a major move towards
promoting literature, the company has been the principal
sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival for the last
five years. During this period, this event has grown to
become the biggest literary event of its kind in the region.
In order to further strengthen its literary initiatives, DSC
Limited also partnered the first ever DSC South Asian
Literature Festival in London in October 2010. With growing
interest and a robust following of South Asian writing in
the UK, this event is a critical step in extending the
company’s patronage of literature to a global platform. As
part of its vision of promoting South Asian literature, the
most significant development has been the institution of the
DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2010. This unique
prize, which carries an award of USD 50,000, is a
celebration of the rich and varied world of literature
belonging to the South Asian region. It has been well
received by the literary fraternity globally and the first
edition culminated with HM Naqvi winning the coveted prize
for his debut novel Home Boy.
An entry must be a full-length work of fiction of at least
25,000 words. Novels and novellas are eligible for the
prize. While short story anthologies are not eligible,
collections of short stories linked by theme may be
considered under special circumstances at the discretion of
All entries must have been published between January 1, 2010
and December 31, 2010. The entry must be published for the
first time during this period, as certified by the publisher
in the entry form.
Entries can be submitted only through publishers, who may
send in two entries per imprint. Only one additional entry
per imprint may be considered if the publisher sends in a
special waiver request.
An entry may be submitted for consideration only once in any
edition of the DSC Prize and cannot be resubmitted in a
In case of multiple entries made for the same book by more
than one publisher, the first received entry would be
The submitted book can be written by an author of any
ethnicity from any country, which predominantly features
themes based on South Asian culture, politics, history, or
people. South Asia is defined as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,
Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan.
The author, and where applicable, the translator must be
living at the time of the book’s submission.
The book must be an original work in English, or translated
The book must not be self-published.
Books published only in e-book form are not entitled to be
Seven hard copies of the entry would be required to be sent
to the DSC Prize Secretariat by courier.
All entries in the form of hard copies need to be received
by the Secretariat by 20th April 2011.
The Advisory Committee would ratify selection of entries and
their decision would be final. All submissions would be
treated on a confidential basis.
All entries for the DSC Prize with the Entry Form, must be
received by the DSC Prize Secretariat in Gurgaon by April
All entries will be assessed by the Jury over a period of
A longlist of around 15 books will be announced in September
A shortlist of Five or six books will be announced in
The final winner would be announced in January 2012
|20th anniversary celebrations of
District 310 D Thailand
District Governor Lion S. Jeyavathsalan attended the 20th
anniversary celebrations of District 310 D Thailand where 20
past District Governors of’ District 310 D Thailand were
felicitated. District Governor Lion Ruanchai of Thailand
presenting a memento to District Governor Lion S.