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Pune, February 25: The recent bout of claims and counterclaims by Union railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and MNS chief Raj Thackeray about celebration of chhat puja in the state has created much curiosity among Puneites about this festival. Rumour mills were on an overdrive that Chhat Puja will be celebrated by Yadav in Mumbai soon.

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Assault on judge’s driver: accused granted bail

Pune, February 25: Ajit Chandrakant Satkar, who was arrested on Sunday after he, in a drunken state, vandalised the car of a visiting Aurangabad High Court judge and assaulted the judge’s driver, was produced in the Shivajinagar Court on Monday, where he was remanded to police custody and later granted bail.

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Prostate disorders on the rise

Pune, February 25: “Despite under-reporting of the disease, prostate disorders are on the rise and it is estimated that nine out of ten elderly men will develop prostate enlargement,” said Maj Gen H L Kakria, Commandant, Command Hospital today. He said out of these, only two or three will turn symptomatic. On Monday, 800 people benefited from a prostate disorders detection camp conducted jointly by the Command Hospital (SC) Pune in association with Care India Medical Society at the hospital premises.

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No Desai, cops return empty-handed from Kolkata

Pune, February 25: The team that had gone to get ISI agent Saeed Desai’s custody from the Kolkata Police returned empty-handed, thanks to an order passed by the Alipur Court’s Chief Judicial Magistrate saying that the Kolkata police would be escorting Desai to Pune after his period of remand ends.

According to Anti-Extortion Cell chief inspector Bhanupratap Barge, Desai has been remanded to Kolkata police’s custody till February 29, after which he has to be handed over to Pune crime branch.

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NDA diamond jubilee celebrations kickstart

Pune, February 25: Diamond Jubilee Celebrations at the National Defence Academy kickstarted on Monday with a group of eight officers and 10 Cadets of the Academy commencing on a Desert Safari Expedition as part of the celebratory events.

Commandant NDA, Air Marshal TS Randhawa, VM flagged off the team led by Gp Capt NB Sathe, Dir Trg, NDA who would be undertaking the expedition on a 04 x Maruti Gypsy and 02 x Sumo.

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Khadki’s water woes see no end

Pune, February 25: For years, residents in Khadki have been facing severe shortage of water. And the situation shows no sign of improving. Civic activists say both the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Khadki Cantonment Board have been passing the buck while doing little to improve water scarcity situation.

Compounding the citizens woes, the water being supplied to some inner areas of Khadki is allegedly contaminated. Yuvraj Jain, a resident of Juna bazaar, says people have been affected by jaundice due to contamination of water during the early showers last year.

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Cyber Genius unearths IT talent in schools

Pune, February 25: Over 1,000 students, from about 35 schools across the State, participated in Cyber Genius, an inter-school competition, held recently at Yashwantrao Chavan Natya Gruha. The contest, organised by Dr. Kalmadi Shamrao High School, was conducted by Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP). This was the 10th year of the contest.

For the last few years, a special category for children from financially backward sections has been included in the contest. This has enabled students from PMC-run schools to participate.

Pune, February 25: The National Federation of Insurance Field Workers of India (NFIFWI), the only association representing the 21,000 Development Officers of LIC all over India is conducting a Parliament March on March 5.

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Harbinger makes teaching science more interesting

Pune, February 25: The Entomological Foundation, a non-profit organiation in USA, has partnered with Harbinger Knowledge Products for design and development of innovative game-based online learning content for K3 and K4 grade audience.

The objective of the online content is to better reflect the Foundation’s mission “to build a future for entomology by educating young people about science through insects” by offering educational interactive activities, stated a press note.

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Varsity sitting on Rs 75 lakh

Pune, February 25: In a huge embarrasment to the University of Pune, it has come to light that the varsity has not used Rs 75 lakh which should have been given to the students under various scholarships. This has come to fore after an activist filed an application under the Right to Information Act.

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BPOs go for novel recruitment schemes

Pune, February 25 When placement agency consultant Anjum Shaikh was desperate to augment her data base for call centre recruitment she hit upon a novel idea. A team of tele callers who worked for her were asked to hang up their phones and instead go and sell burgers at a multiplex. “Even as they sold a burger to a customer they asked him or her to register with them for a lucky draw we also conducted. In no time we’d managed to generate a strong database with this novel move,” says the consultant candidly.

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Pune airport eyes three more destinations

Pune, February 25: After the 15-day closure, Pune airport will be reopened on Wednesday with no change in facilities or schedule of the airlines. The only good news for passengers is, when the regime of restricted watch hours ends in May, destinations like Aurangabad, Coimbatore and Kolkata will be connected to Pune. The international destinations like Singapore and Bangkok are also in fray, as the international players Lufthansa and Emirates have enquired about the slot.

Pune, February 25: Taking into consideration the changes in the city in the last few years, for the first time, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will conduct a socio-economic survey of the entire city. The aim is incorporate the findings while preparing the new Development Plan (DP).

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400 skilled workers flee Balewadi complex

Pune, February 25: Over 400 skilled labourers from various parts of north India, hired for upgrading the Balewadi sports complex for the Common Youth Games (CYG) 2008 have fled the city in the wake of the MNS hate campaign, raising a question mark over the contractor’s capability to meet the May 31 deadline. B G Shirke Construction Technology Limited Company, contracted by the government for the work, has written a letter to the Directorate of Sports saying that it would be tough to meet the deadline in the absence of skilled labour.

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Leprosy patients protest delay in financial aid

Pune, February 21: A group of leprosy patients on Thursday led a protest organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Safai Mazdoor Congress (ABSMC) outside the district collector’s office. As many as 81 applications were filed six months ago at the collectorate under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana, which offers financial assistance to leprosy patients. Under the scheme, every leprosy patient who lives alone in a single room/house is eligible for Rs 500, whereas two patients who live together in a room or house would each be eligible for Rs 300 every month.

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Japanese students impressed by ‘Indian smile’

Pune, February 21: “When we see pictures of some countries with so many luxuries, we wonder inspite of having so many things why are people not smiling? But when we saw villagers in India who have no luxuries, but still there is a smile on their face, we face a dilemma as to which should be called a prosperous place? …” This reaction of the Japanese students who have come on a short visit to Pune, came as an immediate response to the routine media inquiry, “How do you find India?”

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Need more cardiac surgery centres: Guv

Pune, February 21: Around six million people in India have coronary artery disease and five million have rheumatic heart disease. While 40 per cent of them require cardiac surgery, there is a need for setting up centres to attend to paediatric cases, State Governor S M Krishna said on Thursday.

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A week after MNS violence, fear factor returns

Pune, February 21: A good week after MNS violence against migrant labourers from north India had abated, trouble seems to brewing yet again in parts of the city. With Chatth Puja slated on February 25, rumour mills have gone on an overdrive about likely repercussions in Pune.

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Hawkers’ rehabilitation gains pace

Pune, February 21: With the civic general body meeting of the Pune Municipal Corporation approving a “No hawkers’ policy” on Thursday, the implementation of rehabilitation of hawkers in Pune will now gain momentum. The general body decided that out of the total number of shops provided under this scheme, five per cent would be reserved for the visually-impaired and physically-challenged.

Pune, February 21: In a bid to encourage the cooperative sugar mills in the state to take up cogeneration projects, the State on Thursday announced that it will bear five per cent of the project cost as grant. This has been announced with the aim of getting the sugar mills to set up cogeneration of 800 MW in the next three years. This will help reduce the stake of the sugar mills in cogeneration cost from 10 per cent to five per cent.