Shri Dnyanesh Moghe (Director) film “Digant”, Ms Sunanda Bhat (Director) film “Ningal Aranaye Kando” and Dr. Biju, (Director) film “Akashathinte Niram”, at a press conference, during the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2012), in Panaji, Goa on November 26, 2012. (PIB)
Monday, November 26, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Rotary Int. and Army join hands with CMC Heart team
Mr Som Nath Sharma and Mrs Sharda Devi from Akhnoor (J&K), Mr Mohd
Shabir & Mrs Shamim Akhtar from Rajouri (J&K) are extremely happy
parents today. Their children – Janu Sharma (7y) and Irfan (8y)
respectively had major heart defects with large holes in their hearts
along with defective valves. Both were not growing according to their
age and would get recurrent infections and were blue in colour . They
would land up in the emergency time and again. They are both from a
financially challenged background. They were investigated in Jammu
where the doctors advised an early major open heart surgery at an
advanced centre. Both could not afford to even travel outside J & K.
Their case was ‘adopted’ by the Army under project Sadbhawana – a
brain child of the Chief Of Army Staff – Gen Bikram Singh – and the
International Rotary India Humanity Foundation (based in Kolkata with
Mr Shekhar Mehta as the Director) which runs the Saving Little Hearts
programme. Mrs Sushmita Dasgupta with Ms Urmi Basu (sponsor) of the
Rotary took a personal interest and brought these children with their
parents to the prestigious Christian Medical College & Hospital in
Ludhiana to Dr Harinder Singh Bedi – Head of Cardiac Surgery. On
investigation it was realized that only a major open heart surgery
could save both as medicines had no role and if untreated it could
even lead to death. The bright youngsters suffered from a congenital
heart defect called Tatralogy of Fallot - what is called a ‘Blue Baby’
disease. This is a defect from birth and basically leads to impure
blood mixing with pure blood due to a large hole in the heart combined
with small arteries to the lung.
Dr Bedi who has had advanced training in the treatment of such cases
at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Australia and is one
of the senior most practicing cardiac surgeons of India - told that
both children underwent a major open heart surgery (total correction)
and are doing well. Dr Bedi said that their hearts are now normal and
both can now lead a normal healthy life. In fact Janu now wants to be
a doctor while Irfan is aiming to be a fighter pilot. The children
were operated upon under the ‘CMC Gift of Life’ project where highly
subsidized International level cardiac surgical care is given to all
Dr Abraham G Thomas – Director of CMC said that the Institute is fully
geared to take care of such children with heart defects. Dr Bedi told
that it was only because of the strong backup of Dr Jugesh Chattawl –
Prof of Paediatrics – and her team that most of the heart defects
could be safely treated in CMC. The other members of the Heart team
during the marathon surgeries were Dr A Joseph, Dr S Garg , Dr Melchi,
Dr Anish, Dr Vishal, Dr Gurleen, Dr Elizabeth, Dr Ashwin and Dr
Cynthia . The Officers of the Army took a personal interest and gave
invaluable logistic and moral help.
Pic: Master Janu and Master Irfan with Dr Harinder Singh Bedi , Dr
Jugesh Chattwal and the Heart team of CMC
For Further Details Please Contact Dr.H.S.Bedi: 9814060480
Friday, November 23, 2012
Marines Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast, Camaraderie
By Marine Corps Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
Regional Command Southwest
By Marine Corps Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
Regional Command Southwest
|FORWARD OPERATING BASE GERONIMO, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2012 - Marines with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7 were in the holiday spirit this Thanksgiving.|
For Thanksgiving, the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Geronimo served a special menu for the Marines. They ate turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie. All their holiday favorites were available. It was a welcome boost of morale at a time when many Marines miss their families the most.
"It's nice having a Thanksgiving Day meal rather than a [Meal, Ready-to-Eat]," said Branner, who hails from Chicago. "It helps the mindset of being away from home. A lot of these guys make groups of close friends in the Marine Corps, and today we are able to talk about more than Afghanistan, FOB Geronimo and work."
Marines often refer to one another as brothers and sisters, and for deployed Marines during the holidays, that saying holds true.
"They realize we are also their family," said Cpl. Justin Burns, warehouse noncommissioned officer with the battalion. "They turn to their brother to the left and right of them and say, 'You are my family, let's go eat dinner.'"
With the familiar Thanksgiving Day smells of turkey and gravy wafting through the air, the Marines joked and shared stories. With the television playing sports in the background, it gave some Marines a familiar aura while deployed to another country.
"I believe being away from their family for the holidays gives the Marines something to bond over," said Cpl. James Smoak, warehouse chief with the battalion. "No one wants to be away from their family, but I look forward to the camaraderie and spending time with my fellow Marines."
This is Smoak's fourth deployment and each deployment was during the holiday season. He is accustomed to not being home for Thanksgiving and said his family supports him.
"My family understands this is my job," said Smoak, from Icard, N.C. "This is what I do, and this is the profession that I chose."
Unlike Smoak, many of the Marines are on their first deployment to Afghanistan, and first away from their families and friends.
"We have a young battalion and some good senior leadership," Branner said. "I think the first time being away from home will be a humbling experience for them."
The new Marines had a welcome surprise when they arrived at the mess hall. The decorations and Thanksgiving Day menu helped boost morale.
"I don't think a lot of guys expected the mess hall to be decorated," said Burns, who hails from Fort Worth, Texas. "They had banners, cutouts and Happy Thanksgiving signs everywhere. It was really set up nice. They did a really great job for us."
The meal meant more to the new Marines than a different menu. In a country where holidays are still workdays, the pumpkin pie, turkey and camaraderie helped bring the Marines with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, closer together as a family.
NATO International Security Assistance Force
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
|By Cheryl Pellerin|
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2012 - For the United States and its allies, ending the al-Qaida threat calls for a modified military footprint, close work with partners, and continued U.S. involvement in regions of the world where violent extremism has flourished, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said tonight.
Addressing a large audience here at the Center for a New American Security, the secretary discussed significant national security challenges and opportunities ahead.
He also outlined priorities that characterize the approaching end of the longest period of sustained armed conflict in the nation's history.
The priorities, Panetta said, are fighting the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, ending the war in Afghanistan, implementing the new defense strategy, meeting fiscal responsibilities, countering nuclear proliferation, improving cybersecurity, achieving greater energy security, implementing the Asia-Pacific rebalance, and taking care of service members, veterans and military families.
"But tonight I wanted to focus on the goal that still remains at the top of the priority list, as it must. That goal that the president made very clear -- that we have a responsibility to disrupt, degrade, dismantle and ultimately defeat those who attacked America on 9/11 -- al-Qaida," the secretary said.
" ... To protect Americans at home and overseas," he added, "we need to continue to pursue al-Qaida wherever they go, whatever form they take, wherever they seek to hide. We must be constantly vigilant, we must be constantly determined to pursue this enemy."
What will it take, he asked, to achieve the end of al-Qaida?
The essential first step is to finish the job that the United States and its coalition partners began in Afghanistan, he said, "and we are on track to do that."
As the United States and its NATO partners agreed at the 2010 summit in Lisbon, Panetta said, Afghans must be responsible for their own security by the end of 2014.
This transition will require continued commitment by the international community and the United States to help Afghan forces achieve this goal, he added.
"We have come too far. We have invested too much blood and treasure not to finish the job," the secretary said. "There are no shortcuts, nor can we afford to turn away from this effort when we are so close to achieving success and preventing al-Qaida from ever returning to this historic epicenter for violent extremism."
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, prolonged military and intelligence operations have significantly weakened al-Qaida, Panetta said.
The terrorist group's most effective leaders are gone, its command and control has been degraded and its safe haven is shrinking, he added, but al-Qaida remains.
"We have slowed the primary cancer but we know that the cancer has also metastasized to other parts of the global body," the secretary said. Two examples of that spreading al-Qaida presence are Yemen and Somalia.
In Yemen, for example, the capabilities of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, are growing. This group has targeted the United States for attack and sowed violence and chaos in Yemen itself, Panetta said.
"We have struck back in an effort to disrupt and dismantle this group through a very close partnership with the government of Yemen ... and the Yemenese themselves," he added.
In Somalia, against the militant group al-Shaabab, progress also has been made, the secretary said, "in large part because of an effective partnership between the United States and the African Union Mission in Somalia."
But the challenge is far from over, Panetta said.
"President [Barack] Obama has made clear, we will fight not just through military means but by harnessing every element of American power -- military, intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement, financial, economic and above all the power of our values as Americans," the secretary said.
The second step in achieving the end of al-Qaida, Panetta said, involves maintaining pressure on al-Qaida in Pakistan, on AQAP in Yemen, and on al-Qaida-associated forces in Somalia.
That means degrading the terrorists' senior leadership, dismantling their organizational capabilities, remaining vigilant to ensure the threat does not reconstitute, and working to build the capacity of U.S. partners, including Pakistan, to confront these shared threats, he added.
"Despite challenges in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Pakistan," the secretary said, "one area in which our national interests continue to align is defeating the terrorists on Pakistan soil that threaten both of us. We remain committed to pursuing defense cooperation based on these shared interests."
A third step is to prevent the emergence of new safe havens for al-Qaida elsewhere in the world that the group could use to attack the United States or its interests, he said.
"The last decade of war has shown that coordinated efforts to share intelligence, to conduct operations with partners, are critical to making sure that al-Qaida has no place to hide," Panetta told the audience.
"We will expand these efforts, including through support and partnership with governments in transition in the Middle East and North Africa," he added.
"This campaign against al-Qaida will largely take place outside declared combat zones, using a small-footprint approach that includes precision operations, partnered activities with foreign special operations forces, and capacity building so that partner countries can be more effective in combating terrorism on their own," the secretary said.
DOD will work whenever possible with local partners, he added, supporting them with intelligence and resources they need to deter common threats.
In Mali for example, Panetta said, "we are working with our partners in Western Africa who are committed to countering the emerging threat to regional stability posed by AQIM."
A fourth step needed to bring an end to al-Qaida involves investing in the future, he added, in new military and intelligence capabilities and security partnerships.
"Our new defense strategy makes clear -- the military must retain and even build new counterterrorism capabilities for the future," Panetta said.
As the size of the military shrinks, for example, special operations will continue to ramp up, growing from 37,000 members on 9/11 to 64,000 today and 72,000 by 2017, the secretary noted.
"We are expanding our fleet of Predator and Reaper [unmanned aerial vehicles] over what we have today. These enhanced capabilities will enable us to be more flexible and agile against a threat that has grown more diffuse," Panetta said.
"We are also continuing to invest in building partner capacity, including through Section 1206 authority to train and equip foreign military forces. Our new Global Security Contingency Fund has been very helpful in placing new emphasis on cultivating regional expertise in the ranks," the secretary added.
A final point that too often takes a backseat to operations against al-Qaida, Panetta said, is how to prevent extremist ideologies from attracting new recruits.
"Over the past decade we have successfully directed our military and intelligence capabilities at fighting terrorism," he added. "And yet we are still struggling to develop an effective approach to address the factors that attract young men and women to extreme ideologies, and to ensure that governments and societies have the capacity and the will to counter and reject violent extremism."
To truly end the threat from al-Qaida, the secretary said, "military force aimed at killing our enemy alone will never be enough. The United States must stay involved and invested through diplomacy, through development, through education, through trade in those regions of the world where violent extremism has flourished."
This means continued engagement in Pakistan, he added, and following through on U.S. commitments to Afghanistan's long-term stability.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has outlined a comprehensive strategy for North and West Africa that combines security assistance and economic development, strengthens democratic institutions and advances political reforms, Panetta said.
" ... We will be vigilant and we will posture our military and intelligence forces to prevent and if necessary respond to threats of violence against our interests throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including threats against our embassies and consulates, and our diplomats themselves," the secretary said.
"But to truly protect America, we must sustain and in some areas deepen our engagement in the world –- our military, intelligence, diplomatic and development efforts are key to doing that," he added.
Pursuing an isolationist path, the secretary said, "would make all of us less safe in the long-term."
"This is not a time for retrenchment. This is not a time for isolation. It is a time for renewed engagement and partnership in the world," Panetta said.
Leon E. Panetta