The visit to the Taj Mahal may have been the highlight of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s short visit to Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, but he also discussed some important issues with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.At a meeting in Agra, the two leaders discussed collaboration to improve the lives of farmers in India’s most populous state. Among the issues raised were the two centres of excellence for horticulture and food processing coming up in Basti and Kannauj districts with Israel’s support, drinking water management in urban areas and solid waste management, a government spokesperson said.The critical subjects of water conservation, water recharging and drip irrigation were also discussed in context of the depleting water table in the drought-prone Bundelkhand. Mr. Adityanath said the talks were “extremely positive”, and would pave the way for exchange of technical knowledge in future. Exudes confidence“I have faith that through the exchange of technology and in the interests of farmers in mind, the talks will move forward. We will try to bring a smile to the faces of farmers through the use of technology,” he said. The signs of new collaboration between the State government and Israel come months after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Jal Nigam of Uttar Pradesh and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources on water utility reforms.
Voting rites: Floral tributes at Paul Wellstone’s Washington officeThe voice that was raised in protest in the US Senate hearing on the George W. Bush Administration’s resolution to go to war with Iraq is now silenced.Democrat Paul Wellstone, the dissenter, his wife Sheila, their daughter Marcia Markuson and five others,Voting rites: Floral tributes at Paul Wellstone’s Washington officeThe voice that was raised in protest in the US Senate hearing on the George W. Bush Administration’s resolution to go to war with Iraq is now silenced.Democrat Paul Wellstone, the dissenter, his wife Sheila, their daughter Marcia Markuson and five others died tragically in an airplane crash on October 22.It was on a sombre note that some 20,000 people packed into two sports stadiums on the University of Minnesota campus to remember Wellstone. The service was at once a sad memorial for close friends and a spirited political rally for Democrats desperate to retain control of the Senate.Former President Bill Clinton, former vice-president Al Gore, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, actor Michael J. Fox and at least half the Senate attended.The family asked Vice-President Dick Cheney to stay away, ostensibly because they did not want the event to be overwhelmed by the security men and the protesters that follow him.But it is believed that the Democrats were uncomfortable at the prospect of Cheney, who urged Republican Norm Coleman into the race against Wellstone, benefiting from the news coverage of the service.According to a Democratic Senate aide, the service was chronicled by at least 110 newspaper reporters, 70 radio stations, 22 photographers and 34 television crews. Former vice-president Walter F. Mondale is slated to replace Wellstone on the forthcoming ballot.The crash of the campaign plane in which Wellstone was flying came a few days after it became evident that Wellstone’s vote against the resolution in the Senate pushed him ahead of his Republican challenger by 10 percentage points.advertisementTwo years ago, Governor Mel Carnahan of Missouri had also died in another campaign plane crash and was eulogised by then President Clinton in a similar service. Incidentally, Bush is expected to campaign in Minnesota with Coleman a couple of days before the ballot.Wellstone, who was the chairman of Senate Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, also had a soft corner for the subcontinent.Espousing peace in the subcontinent, he stressed the need to establish a framework for reconciliation between India and Pakistan and expressed concern that China’s nuclear strategic arsenal build-up would fuel the nuclear arms race in the subcontinent.
India’s Sukhen Dey has won the gold medal with a splendid lift in the clean and jerk. His compatriot Ganesh Mali took the bronze.Dey comfortably lifted 139 kg in his second attempt even as the other weightlifters made heavy weather of it.Dey, who won a silver behind Hamizan Aminul Ibrahim in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games four years ago with a total of 252 kg, ended up here with a total weight of 248 kg, leaving Malaysia’s ZMD Pisol with the silver and teammate Mali with the bronze with a total weight of 244.Incidentally, Srinivasa Rao, who won the bronze in Delhi, lifted 248 kg.
The Elders today congratulated the UN Security Council on its selection of António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as the next UN Secretary-General to succeed Ban Ki-moon in January.Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said: “I am delighted by the outcome of the Council’s selection process. António Guterres is a highly-qualified candidate who is well-prepared for the many daunting challenges he faces. He will need the firm support of the Security Council as well as the wider membership of the United Nations to help him fulfil his mandate in these challenging times.”The Security Council’s nomination of Mr Guterres now goes to the UN General Assembly for approval. Hopefully, the resolution endorsing his candidacy will be adopted by acclamation, demonstrating that the new Secretary-General enjoys the support of all 193 member states.The Elders have consistently called for a transparent, merit-based process to select the new head of the United Nations. The open General Assembly hearings in which António Guterres along with the other candidates participated were an important and welcome step in this direction.