Nation 2  


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 Waziristan.
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 in Lahore.
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 attacks themselves.
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 Davis.
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 died.
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 Afghanistan.
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 any survivors.
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 International Development.
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 it.
Foreign nationals at Haneda Airport explain why they want to leave Japan
“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 government.
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 Japan.
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 of Tokyo.
The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is continuing to meet and monitor the situation in the troubled reactor.
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 and hospitals.
About 17,000 British nationals were believed to have been in Japan last Friday but there have been no reports yet of fatalities.
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 shortages.

Fresh riots at Australia’s Christmas Island centre

BBC - 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 security staff.
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, police said.
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,” he said.
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 asylum-seekers.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott said the detention system was “in crisis”.

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 reactors.”
Mr Chavez added that global concerns about the safety of nuclear power would boost demand for Venezuela’s oil exports.
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 substantial opposition.
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 [confidence] vote”.
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 confidence vote”.
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 out to.”
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 alone.
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 Thursday.
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 27 March.
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
By Dharman Wickremaratne

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 district.
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 progress.
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 connection.
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 sector.
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.
(The writer is an environmental journalist who can be reached at ejournalists@gmail.com)

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 Lanka.
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 confidence.”
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 Microsoft.
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 knowledge
“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 Environmental Authority.
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 event.
More than 200 bins were distributed at this event and it will help manage a reasonable amount of waste within the area.
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 Prize

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 into English.
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 waiver request.
Entry Forms along with the Eligibility Criteria and Selection Process are available at the prize’s website at www.dscprize.com.
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.
Eligibility criteria
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 the jury.
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 subsequent edition.
In case of multiple entries made for the same book by more than one publisher, the first received entry would be considered.
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 into English.
The book must not be self-published.
Books published only in e-book form are not entitled to be entered.
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 20, 2011.
Selection Process
All entries will be assessed by the Jury over a period of four months
A longlist of around 15 books will be announced in September 2011
A shortlist of Five or six books will be announced in October 2011
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. Jeyavathsalan