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November 3, 2001 - November 3, 2001

Jimmy Carter & Hillary for quake anniversary Saturday, November 3, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
After Bill Clinton, it's yet another US ex-president Jimmy Carter to visit Kutch. This time it is to mark the first anniversary of the earthquake in January 2002. Also set to visit is New York senator Hillary Clinton.

The American India Foundation (AIF), which has channelised over $2 million for some of the organisations working in Kutch, is giving final touches to the high-profile visit. It's co-ordinator Mike Patel told Times News Network on Friday, "It is almost final, but looking to the circumstances we are keeping it a little low-profile as of now. The visit will be planned on January 26, 2002 to mark the first anniversary of the quake."

He said Jimmy Carter, who is an AIF trustee, is working on several projects related to housing in Africa, and has shown keen interest in visiting Kutch. Efforts are being made to bring honchos of top transnationals in the entourage.

AIF wants to ensure that Kutch earthquake does not slip out of people's memory with passage of time. "Visit of dignitaries will help focus on Kutch, and people in America can thus be convinced about the need to generate more funds. Besides, those who helped generate funds will be convinced that that they are put to right use."

The foundation has channelised funds to four organisation _ Abhiyaan, Janvikas, SEWA and Kalaraksha _ working on different projects in Kutch.

Patel who is 'Commissioner of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders' expressed total satisfaction about the use of funds and the work done by these organisations. "Our part of work was easy, their's is a tough job. But they have done a tremendous job. I saw children learning at computer education centre. Most of the housing projects are upto 60-70 per cent complete. Handicrafts and self-sufficiency projects are doing well. I am satisfied."

Dismissing the criticism about AIF funds not reaching to some organisations, he said: "Credibility and proven track-record were the criteria for funds. Our trustees were very clear that we did not want funds to be misused. Besides, we were not into emergency relief but in long-term programmes. So we asked the organisations to start working on a project and then expect funds. Many not considered for funds were therefore unhappy."

Patel claimed that the attacks on WTC have not affected AIF projects much. "One fund-raising dinner at Chicago had to be postponed. We diverted some of the funds for New York victims. The foundation's scope includes other countries too, and we cannot neglect disasters elsewhere."

The AIF participated in candle-light vigils in New York, and educated middle-class Americans who were mistaking Sikhs and other Indians for Taliban.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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40 fishermen to return home on Sunday Saturday, November 3, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
RAJKOT: The remaining 40 Indian fishermen who are in Pakistani jails would return on Sunday in seven boats. Of the 196 fishermen, Pakistan authorities had freed 156 and they had reached Okha by Friday morning.

Director of fisheries H P Dave said all the 156 fishermen have reached home. So far 25 boats have come back. Two boats had developed mechanical snags and were rescued by the Coast Guards as they had stayed off the official route. The ten remaining boats would set sail on Friday night and reach Okha by Sunday morning.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had made arrangements for food and shelter for the family members who came from Diu, Wanakbara, Goghla, Bulsar, Porbunder and Veraval three days ago to receive them.

The fishermen recalled their nightmare and said they were beaten up in the jail and deprived of food which mostly was infected with insects. The food comprised dry roti and half cooked dal. The rooms were dark and dingy with mosquitoes.

Almost a dozen people were pushed together in a 10 ft by 10 ft room with no sanitation facility. Most could not sleep. All pleas to repair their boats before going to India went unheeded, they said adding that of the 32 Indian boats 25 could be retrieved. Seven were still stuck in the marshy land near Karachi. The engines were not repaired and they faced difficulty while coming back.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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The bottomline;zero tiger presence in Gujarat Saturday, November 3, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
It's official. The roar of the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger has been silenced forever in the state.

If the census of 1992-93 and 1997 had raised hopes that these Scheduled-I animals might still be lurking in some parts of Gujarat, the recently-concluded tiger census of 2001 has made official what many foresters and wildlife enthusiasts have been fearing.

Tigers, found in abundance in Gujarat from Valsad to Banaskantha till the 1950s, are now extinct here. Four years after the 1997 census, which recorded pug marks of a tiger, the forest department has not witnessed any tiger sighting.

"Our hopes to come across tigers during the leopards and tigers census of 2001 dashed. Tigers are now extinct from Gujarat," highly placed officials in state forest department told TNN.

"It is disappointing but not surprising. There has been a gradual loss of tiger habitat in Gujarat. The 2001 census shows that they have not even strayed into Gujarat from neighbouring states during last four years," he said.

The last tiger census, held in 1997, had recorded the presence of one tiger while the census of 1992-93 had recorded pug marks of five tigers. "It may sound strange but a tiger was last spotted in Nadiad. We came across its pug marks near Nani Aral village of Kheda district. It was resting in a castor field. We assume that this tiger might have strayed along the route of Vatrak river and thus accidentally frequented Nadiad area," the official said.

State forest department documents also mention that between December 1991 and January 1992 one tiger was killed on the Rajasthan border in North Gujarat. In both '92-93 and '97 census tigers sighted had strayed into Gujarat from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan forests.

"We had surveyed the areas where there was probability of tiger presence but were disappointed. Strangely, people in these areas, where probability of tigers straying in from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra was high, still talk of having seen a tiger. But we did not come across any scientific evidence to corroborate this claim," the official said.

Oral as well as recorded history mentions that Moghul emperors, the rulers of Gujarat sultanate and princely states like Baroda hunted tigers for years. "There are eight sub species of tigers of which three are already extinct. In India, the tigers belong to the Royal Bengal sub species. Sadly, now the only places to see a tiger in Gujarat are zoos and museums," he said.

The world-wide population of tigers is around 7,000. In India there were about 4,600 tigers in 1986. By 1993 the population dropped to 3700 while in 1997 it plummeted to 3,230. In stark comparison, studies show, the strength of tigers by the beginning of 19th century was around 40,000. Among the sub-species that have become extinct are the Bali Tiger, Caspian Tiger and the Javanese Tiger. The other existing subspecies are the Royal Bengal Tiger, Chinese Tiger, Siberian Tiger, Sumatran Tiger and Indo-Chinese Tiger.

"Tiger is a Schedule I animal and has endangered status. The reasons for its becoming extinct from Gujarat are many. Primary among them is the loss of habitat due to deforestation and pressure on forest areas," observes a senior forest official.

* Poaching is one of the main reasons for the decline in tiger population across the world.

* Tiger is perhaps to only animal whose all body parts are used.

* In international market 1 kg of tiger bone fetches up to 10,000 US dollars. The trade value of tiger body parts including skin is only next to narcotics.

* Products like Tiger Bone Wine are extremely popular and preferred in South-East Asian countries.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Meet on women in educational mgmt Saturday, November 3, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
VADODARA: A two-day national seminar on 'Women in Educational management Vision and Action' will be organised at MSU from November 5.

MSU former vice-chancellor Padma Ramchandran will deliver the keynote address and faculty of education and psychology former dean Sneha Joshi will give a special address on the occasion.

Several eminent educationists and administrators from the national level are to participate during the panel discussions. The seminar will aim to provide a platform for women educational managers in the form of networking to help women academic managers and promote research activities in these areas.

Sub-themes of the seminar include barriers faced by women educational managers at higher educational level, strategies for empowering women educational managers and success stories of women educational managers.

Some other agenda for discussions during the seminar are deliberations on barriers faced by women educational managers at higher education, discussion of different strategies for empowering women educational managers through training, mentoring IT and ICT and taking cognisance of the success stories of women educational managers.

The valedictory function would be presided over by the Pro-Vice Chancellor V D Pathak and Prof P K Dongre who will present the valedictory address at 3 pm on November 6.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Lalbhai Group to start pre-schools in Gujarat Saturday, November 3, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: In what could be a major step towards corporatisation of education in Gujarat, the Lalbhai Group on Friday announced launching 25 pre-schools in big and small cities of the state from the next academic year.

Lalbhai Group's Ascent Learning Private Limited (ALPL) venture has entered into a strategic agreement with Egmont Imagination India Limited to launch the pre-schools that will have interactive fun learning as its USP.

Branded as 'Eurokids', the pre-schools are part of Egmont International's chain of pre-schools that has a presence in 29 countries across the globe.

"Children in India and especially in Gujarat get a raw deal as far as interactive learning in a fun way is concerned. In the US and Europe, children between 2 and 4 years of age get the benefit of various educational aids and learning tools that give them a very strong foundation. As opposed to this, children here get to learn only the English alphabets and nursery rhymes as part of the pre-school experience and we want to change this through our pre-schools," said Rajeev Agarwal, ALPL head of operations.

To start with, ALPL is launching 25 schools in various cities of the state, including Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Mehsana, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Anand among others. Admissions are expected to begin from December 17.

Eurokids will have fun-rooms complete with art-corner, role play, puppets corner, computer corner, math and cooking corner, science corner, music and movement corner for creative and innovative learning.

Curiously, the cost of learning in these pre-schools is pegged between Rs 550 and Rs 1,200 per month. When quizzed on the fee disparity for uniform courses, Agarwal said those paying fee on the higher side will be eligible for air-conditioned classes and will get to use imported educational tools, while those paying the lower side of the fee will have to make do with non-AC classes and locally-made tools and equipment.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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