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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blast rips Pune’s popular German Bakery, very close to Headley’s recce spots

Terror Strikes Yet Again On Saturday 3 Foreigners, All Women, Among 9 Killed Just Across Jewish Chabad House, Osho Ashram

Asseem Shaikh, Swati Shinde & Mihir Tanksale | TNN 


Pune: Terror returned to haunt the country on Saturday when a bomb blast ripped through Pune's popular German Bakery, close to the Osho Ashram and diagonally across from the Jewish Chabad House, recced by 26/11 suspect David Coleman Headley. At least nine people were killed, three of them foreigners, all women. More than 45 people have been rushed to hospital with varying degrees of injury. 
    This is the first terror attack since the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. Over the last two months, there has been a 

growing buzz of an imminent strike, especially as India and Pakistan were preparing to resume talks that had been suspended after the Mumbai massacre. Now, there is a question mark over the dialogue scheduled to be held in Delhi on February 25. 
    The explosion took place at 7.15 pm when the bakery was milling with people, many of them foreigners. According to Union home secretary G K Pillai, there was an unattended packet which exploded when a waiter tried to open it. 
    The German Bakery is a popular haunt of foreigners like Leopold Cafe in Mumbai. In fact, both are mentioned by the Lonely Planet tourist guide and are therefore patronised by many backpackers. 

    Investigators from the army's bomb disposal squad said it appeared that a battery-operated improvised explosive device had been used. "We have found traces of an explosive,'' said M Z Ansari, one of the officials. The impact of the explosion was such that the concrete walls of the bakery caved in while its fibre roof was blown to bits. The body parts of some of the dead and the injured were found strewn on the North Main Road and near the gates of the O Hotel, a few metres from the bakery. 
    "The dead include some foreigners but we are still to establish their nationality and identity,'' minister of state for home Ramesh Bagwe told reporters. Most of the injured had suffered burns and fractures, doctors at Sassoon hospital said. 
    Chabad House in Mumbai, which was attacked on 26/11, had been recced by Headley, just as he had visited the Pune one. Headley had stayed at the Surya Villa Hotel in Pune's tony Koregaon area which is close to the blast site. 
    In Delhi, G K Pillai called an emergency meeting of security officials and instructed all state capitals to be put on high alert. A team also began interrogation of Batla House terror suspect Shahzad Ahmad to find out if he had any information about an impending attack in Pune. "It is most probably a terror attack. We are sending a forensic team of the CBI and personnel of the National Investigative Agency,'' Pillai said. 
    Panic gripped Pune as the news of the blast spread. The police, however, refused to confirm whether any terror group was involved, saying it was too early to arrive at a conclusion. They closed all roads to the Koregaon Park area and a nakabandi has been ordered across the city. 

2 VICTIMS FROM CITY 
    
The Pune police have identified the Indian victims as Vinita Gadkari and Shilpa Goenka (both from Mumbai), Shankar Pansare (of Velhe near Pune), Ankit and Anandi Dhar (Kolkata) and P Sundari (Bangalore). 

First Attack Since 26/11 
Three foreigners killed, four others among over 45 injured Blast at 7.15 pm when German Bakery was packed Union home ministry calls emergency meet, rushes experts Delhi, Mumbai and all state capitals put on high alert Terror strike may set back Indo-Pak talks 
SATURDAY AFTER SATURDAY 
Sept 27, 2008 | Blast in Delhi's Mehrauli flower market 
kills 1, injures 23 
Sept 13, 2008 | Serial blasts in Delhi kill 24, injure over 100 
July 26, 2008 | Serial 
blasts in Ahmedabad kill 30, injure over 100 
    Aug 25, 2007 | 30 die, 60 hurt in Hyderabad strike 
    Oct 2005 | Three blasts on Diwali eve in Delhi kill 62, injure hundreds 
'Foreigners suspected' 
Pune: Special secretary (home) U K Bansal on Saturday said "foreigners'' were suspected to have been involved in the Pune blast. State home minister R R Patil reached Pune late on Saturday night, while chief minister Ashok Chavan is expected to be in the city on Saturday. State deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and some officials said while the police had inputs about a threat to the German Bakery and security had been beefed up in the Koregaon area, Patil denied there was any intelligence input about an attack.

Ali Reza, a Canadian, is rushed to hospital as the army moves in


German Bakery in the heart of Pune is popular with foreigners, just as Leopold restaurant is in Mumbai

Sunday, February 7, 2010

BICYCLE CHIEFS Pedal Pushers Inc

A growing number of environmentally conscious corporate honchos in Mumbai are ditching their fancy wheels for humbler ones

Recently, during a routine campus presentation, Saurabh Gupta confused many students in his audience. Despite being the HR manager of a famous Indian coffee chain, this pinstriped executive arrived on a bicycle. While taking his laptop out from the back seat, he noticed the students staring suspiciously at him in the parking lot. But before they started imagining recession hangovers or began doubting his company's purse, Gupta decided to clarify. In a style reminiscent of Kapil Dev, he told them that the bicycle was, in fact, the secret of his energy. 

    Since 2007, cycling has been this Bandra-based coffee chain employee's favourite morning stimulant. Gupta has been commuting daily to his office in Worli on a cycle for over three years and this 25-minute ride, he claims, has done more for his productivity than even caffeine. "I feel dynamic, charged, and capable of fresh ideas through the day,'' says Gupta, who chose thehumble vehicle in a bid to change 
his sedentary, desktop lifestyle. At first, colleagues thought Gupta had lost it when he switched from his car to a cycle. Today, though, perhaps after gauging his personal profits like fuel, money, time and attractive losses like weight and calories, they have started periodically borrowing Gupta's keys. "Recently, for an office picnic to Diveagar, I took the bicycle on the bus and we all had fun riding it on the beach, one by one,'' says the tri
umphant 35-year-old. 
    Gupta's is the kind of glee that many working professionals, who have started consciously commuting to their office and client meetings on a cycle, feel. Not only can they save on fuel, feel carbon-neutral and skip the boredom of gym but, more importantly, they can escape traffic jams. And in a vast city like Mumbai, where roads are perennially clogged by slow worksin-progress, this time-saving promise is prompting a slow conversion from cars to bicycles. Cities like California, in fact, conduct what's called the 'Celebrity/CEO cycle-towork day' in order to promote the green practice and lend stardust to it. Closer home though, where the first cyclothon is fast approaching, this seems to be becoming a daily trend. Faisal Thakur, who organises night cycle rides in the area
where Salman Khan is seen cycling accompanied by bodyguards, knows of a CEO who has started cycling cautiously to his BKC office. "A car follows him, with his laptop and other essentials,'' Thakur says. 
    Slowly, a growing number of not just middle-management employ
ees but also CEOs and white-collar professionals seem to be ditching cars and egos and uninhibitedly plonking on this middle-class twowheeler, to reach their workplace. Take famous orthopaedic surgeon Dr Anant Joshi, who counts Sachin Tendulkar among his clients, for instance. Joshi has installed a shower cubicle in his office room. He is often sweaty before operations nowadays, not out of nervousness. For the past five years, he has been coming to work on a bicycle everyday. The staff is always amused to see Joshi, who has a car, arrive on a unique bicycle which he later folds and places at the reception."Once, while I was folding the cycle, a patient asked me where she could get this electric wheelchair,'' recalls Joshi, who packs this folding cycle while travelling. It was his increasing environment-consciousness and frustration with traffic that made him sell his SUV some years ago, and later, after a patient, whom he had saved from surgery, gifted him a cycle, Joshi thought this was the best way to be green. He has four bicycles now, and the unique British-make folding cycle is his favourite. "Cycling is also softer on the knees than the treadmill, and is a better form of exercise,'' says Joshi. 
    Bharat Bhardwaj, CEO of a health portal, has seen senior citizens in Europe "cycling to work even in rough weather, wearing raincoats''. Every Saturday, Bhardwaj too cycles from his residence in BKC to an Andheri hospital on a cycle. He is a bit embarrassed to undertake the 40-minute ride on a daily basis though. The hot weath
er is also a deterrent for him since he has to wear formals to work. So he sticks to cycling on weekends when the dress code is relaxed. 
    But a strict corporate dress code need not always put a spoke in the bicycle wheel. Management consultant Mehul Ved, for instance, has found his way around this situation. The cycling enthusiast, who stays at Marine Lines and works in Andheri, wears cycling gear on his 
way to work and carries his office wear on his bicycle. On reaching, he dashes to the restroom to shower and changes into formal clothes. The entire routine, including the 25-kilometre-one-way-ride takes him an hour. Initially "my parents were sceptical about my safety as I was braving peak-hour traffic''. But now, Ved, who started cycling after seeing a few Twitter updates by friends who seemed to be enjoying the habit, says he reaches faster. "I know the good roads from the bad ones,'' he says. 
    However, it's important to follow safety measures, warns Amit Bhowmick, CEO of Cyclists.in, an online forum of cyclists from all over India. Last week, he advised a group of IT employees from Thane—who wanted to prepare for the 'cycling to work' routine—to wear helmets, sport headlights and paste reflective stickers. "You have to be visible on the road,'' says Bhowmick, who himself reaches all his client meetings on a cycle. 

    As a community however, these newly converted greens are visible anyway. Often, men in the backseats of taxis and cars, "the kind who read pink papers'', stare at Aparna Roy, the brand manager of an international energy drink. It's probably the daily sight of a 28-year-old backpack-and-laptop-toting, helmet-clad woman in capris on a cycle, she guesses. But these stares are worth braving, feels the Bandra-based Roy, who rides to her Worli office thrice a week. After all, "wading through the Pali Naka and Turner Road traffic has never been easier''. Her colleagues now tease her, saying she doesn't need an energy drink anymore." The bicycle gives me enough wings,'' laughs Roy.

HOT WHEELS Dr Bharat Bhardwaj (l) cycles to work on weekends while consultant Mehul Ved rides to his Andheri office from Marine Drive daily

2009 was India’s hottest yr ever

Average Temp Almost A Degree Above Normal

Neha Lalchandani | TNN 


New Delhi: You might have been feeling the heat for a while but it's official now—2009 was the hottest year ever recorded in India and almost a degree warmer than usual. The annual mean temperature for 2009 was 25.55°Celsius, 0.913° higher than the long-term annual average of 24.64°C. 
    Interestingly,of the 12 hottest years in the 108 years since 1901, when the Met department started maintaining temperature records, 8 have been in the past decade. This is in keeping with the global trend of the last decade being the warmest on record. 
    Data available with the Indian 
Meteorological Department (IMD) also indicates that the most abnormal temperatures—hotter than normal in this case—were recorded in winter and monsoon in 2009. In fact, they were the warmest ever. "Abnormally warm conditions prevailed over major parts of the country during winter. Temperature over (the) hilly regions of the westernHimalayas was 3-5°C above normal in the second fortnight of January, while in February the mean temperature over almost the entire country was above normal. However, there were cold wave conditions on a few occasions in UP in January,'' said an IMD report. 
    IMD director-general Ajit Tyagi said the mean maximum and minimum temperatures of September were the highest in the past five years, while January and August recorded the highest mean temperatures since 1901. "If one analyses the trend, it is evident that global warming is taking place, the rise in temperature becoming apparent since about 1990. In India, 2009 was specially warm due to several factors, the main being the fact that there was a deficiency in rainfall in both monsoon and winter,'' he said. 
India saw 0.5° mercury rise in 100 years 
New Delhi: 2009 has been declared the hottest year ever recorded in India. 
    The data, if not just IMD's claim, is verified by senior government officials, who say that in the past 20 years, there has not been a single year in which the average temperature has been below normal. "We are seeing a global trend being reflected in India. In the global arena, of the 12 hottest years in the century, 11 have been in the past two decades. In the past 100 years, there has been a rise of 0.74° globally though India has seen a rise of 0.5°,'' said an official. 
    S K Dash, professor at IIT-Delhi, who co-authored a paper in journal Current Science in 2007 along with Lord Hunt, agrees that warming is an evident phenomenon though there is a huge amount of uncertainty about whether this is a trend or only a periodic fluctuation and what the reasons for it are. "We analysed the temperature trend according to regions and found an increase 
of between 0.2° and 1° in maximum temperatures across the country. The coastal regions probably recorded the most increase. However, it is difficult to differentiate between natural warming and human contribution,'' he said. 
    The changes in weather have not been common across the country, the IMD's report points out. It says that "a significant positive trend in temperatures was observed over most parts of the country except over some parts of Rajasthan,Gujarat and Bihar''. 
    Officials also say that this decrease in mean temperature over some regions is why India's increase in average temperature has been less than the rise in global averages. 
    "The fall in temperature in areas like Rajasthan and Gujarat is because of a huge amount of dust in the atmosphere which reflects the sun's radiation. In Bihar, where only a small area has seen a fall in temperature, it could be because of a lot of greenery. However, the variation in weather phenomena over the country is also reflected in the monsoon. In 2009, while the overall monsoon for the country was 78% of the average, several ar
eas in central and northwest India experienced drought-like conditions. While rainfall has not decreased, the number of rainy days has gone down, indicating heavy rain on some days. This spells trouble for our agriculture,'' said a government official.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shell Oil Comments - A MUST READ!

Please send this in formation to ALL your family & friends, especially those who have kids in the car with them while pumping gas. If this were to happen, they may not be able to get the children out in time.
 
 

MUST READ, EVEN IF YOU DON'TOWN A CAR.



Safety Alert! 
Here's some reasons why we don't allow cell phones in operating areas, propylene oxide handling and storage area, propane, gas and diesel refueling areas. 


The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations 


In the first case
, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump. 


In the second
, an individual suffered severe burns to their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car! 


And in the third
, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car. 


You should know that: Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes 


Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition 


Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc. 


Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, (I.e., solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc...) 


TO sum it up, here are the Four Rules for Safe Refueling: 

1) Turn off engine 
2) Don't smoke
 
3) Don't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off 
4) Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling
.


Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of 'static electricity' at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires.


His results were very surprising: 
1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women. 
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static. 
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes. 
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires. 
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas 
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges. 
7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer. 
8) Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.


Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. 
If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle. 


As I mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Focus Humanitarian Assistance Provides Relief for Landslide Victims in Hunza, Pakistan


Affected people are seen searching the landslide debris for their belongings. Photo: FOCUSAffected people are seen searching the landslide debris for their belongings. 
Photo: FOCUS
Attabad Village, Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, 13 January 2010 - Focus Humanitarian Assistance is providing relief to four villages in northern Pakistan that were struck by a devastating landslide on 4 January 2010.

According to initial disaster assessment reports, Attabad Payeen, Attabad Bala, Sarat and Ayeenabad were directly affected by the massive landslide in Hunza valley, which killed thirteen people and injured nine others. Six people are still reported missing. Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), Pakistan's voluntary Search and Rescue Team (SART), Disaster Assessment Response Team, Community Emergency Response Team and Village Emergency Response Teams were immediately mobilised to respond to the emergency.

The landslide has had devastating consequences. In the upper part of Hunza valley, a population of about 20,000 people has been cut off from the rest of Hunza region. "We are still trying to get to these people. Unfortunately if we don't, soon, food and other supplies will run short. This is also winter time in the region, so families living without shelter and heating are even more vulnerable," said Fozia Anwar, a female volunteer working with the SART team in Hunza valley.

Volunteers offloading medicines and relief goods received for Gojal. Photo: FOCUSVolunteers offloading medicines and relief goods received for Gojal. 
Photo: FOCUS
Other villages, Ahmadabad and Ayeenabad, have been evacuated given the threat of water build-up or dam breakage in the area. Wazir Baig, Speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) and Mutabiat Shah, Member, GBLA, along with officials from the National Disaster Management Authority are overseeing the response and relief efforts in Aliabad, Hunza, where relief items from all agencies are being collected. ThePakistan Army, local administration, volunteers, residents and trained FOCUS experts are continuing search and rescue efforts.

FOCUS Pakistan is also working closely with the Internally Displaced Persons camps in Hunza. Over 200 families have been registered in four school camps established in the Altit village. Seven trucks carrying relief goods including flour, rice, sugar, pulses, tea, fuel, kitchen utilities, blankets, pillows and other items have arrived in Aliabad. Bedding and immediate utility items were provided to over 170 families in the camps, while other relief items are being stored under the supervision of local administration, and will be issued on a needs-basis.

As part of its mandate, FOCUS Pakistan conducts regular geological surveys and hazard assessments of vulnerable areas across the country, particularly in the mountainous areas of northern Pakistan. According to a 2006 assessment of the affected area, there was a high risk of rapid movements and potential disaster in the region. The survey also projected debris fall resulting in the blockage of the Hunza River. According to the report, the eastern part of the village was the most vulnerable. "One block of the area had already been detached in a landslide in 1994. Since then, there was risk of another block falling off, since there were obvious cracks that were at least 100m in length," said a FOCUS geologist who conducted the survey in 2006. The survey and hazard assessment report were shared with the Gilgit Baltistan government, due to which 25 households were evacuated from Attabad Bala and relocated to safer locations in March 2009.

For further information:
Nusrat Nasab 
Deputy Executive Officer 
Focus Humanitarian Assistance Pakistan 
Telephone: +92-51 2294024; 2294051 
Fax: +92-51 2294036 
E-mail: nusrat.nasab@focushumanitarian.org  

Salimah Shiraj 
Member for Communications and Publications 
His Highness Prince Aga Khan 
Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Pakistan 
Telephone: + 92-21 35861242 
Cellular: +92 300 8200350 
E-mail: salimah.shiraj@akcpk.org  

Notes: 
Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is a crisis response and disaster risk management agency established in Europe, North America and South and Central Asia. It helps vulnerable communities build resilience to natural and man-made disasters and compliments the provision of humanitarian relief principally in the developing world. FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions, for people of all faiths and origins, in specific regions of the developing world. For further information please visit www.akdn.org/focus

Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of non-denominational development agencies, created by His Highness the Aga Khan, with complementary mandates ranging from health and education to architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities. As a contemporary endeavour of the Ismaili Imamat to realise the social conscience of Islam through institutional action, the AKDN agencies work to improve living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender. Working in the fields of economic, cultural and social development, AKDN aims to provide choices and opportunities to communities so that they can realise and determine their own development. For further information please visit www.akdn.org

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

‘Everyone has a responsibility to save the environment’

Large players in the corporate sector can play a crucial role in the restoration of degraded habitats and preservation of natural ecosystems

With its diverse ecosystems and extremely rich biodiversity, India ranks among the 15 top biodiversity-rich countries of the world. However, with the rise in population, there are relentless pressures on governments and industries to convert forest lands, mangroves, grasslands and other wilderness areas for agriculture, industries, power and irrigation projects, housing and urban development. The quest for uncontrolled and unsustainable development has taken a heavy toll on India's natural treasures. 

    Coming from one of the oldest business families of India, I have realised that any commercial activity has a carbon footprint. While this is inevitable, it is certainly not impossible to reduce its overall impact on the environment by direct or indirect mitigation methods. The burning of fossil fuels to generate energy is one of the major factors contributing to global warming. Although essential, we must also try our best to substitute our energy requirements with other renewable energy options such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal sources which are less polluting. Waste is another by-product of any business venture. Total solid waste generated in India annually is around 50 million tons. It is everyone's moral responsibility to reduce the per capita waste generation substantially by opting for less consumption and using environment-friendly waste disposal options. 'Reduce, reuse and recycle waste' should be an important part of any big or small business venture. 
    In my opinion, large players in the corporate sector can play a crucial role in the restoration of degraded habitats and preservation of natural ecosystems. Nothing can sequester carbon dioxide as well as a protected forest does. Natural ecosystems provide us with valuable services like fresh air, food, water, medicines, carbon sequestration, climate regulation, recreation, ecotourism, etc. Thus, the value of a standing forest is much more than that its one-time use as a raw material for fossil fuel generation or timber. In India, where large tracts of fallow land are left unutilised, it is essential to adopt such areas for restoration and make them available for local biodiversity. Responsible wildlife tourism is a promising industry in India, generating huge foreign exchange. Villagers living around areas like Corbett, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Kazi
ranga and other tiger reserves of India have benefited from eco-tourism activities. 
    While there is a necessity for developing countries to modernise and improve their economies, we also need to live in harmony with our natural environment. This can only be achieved by exercising creativity, applying knowledge and widespread participation. Every individual should be made aware of her or his duties and responsibilities towards the environment. This is where NGOs such as The Corbett Foundation which I founded, continue to play an important role. The Corbett Foundation was established in 1994 and today it runs programmes to help the rural populace in more than 200 villages around Corbett, Bandhavgarh and Kutch. Conservation can only be achieved by involving the local stakeholders, providing them with employment opportunities and motivating them to lead a sustainable lifestyle with nature.



"Although essential, we must also try to substitute our energy requirements with other renewable energy options as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal sources which are less polluting" 
Dilip D Khatau 
Chairman The Corbett Foundation

THE GREENHEARTS!

Do you know what Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, John Abraham and the likes do when they are not doing the jobs they are famous for? Guess not… Coz, these stars very discreetly don the green hats off stage to work on the mission 'green'

 When Willie Nelson sang the track What a Wonderful World, it did encourage viewers to 'reduce, reuse, and recycle.' Earth Communications Office (ECO), a Hollywood green group founded by Bonnie Reiss, had many stars support the tree-hugger campaign. With members like Pierce Brosnan, and Kevin Bacon, ECO made its mark with emotional public-service announcements shown in the movie theatres. The impact was overwhelming. People started to follow what the stars appealed for… The campaign acted like a wake-up call! 

While many stars associate themselves with some or the other eco-friendly group, there are stars that prefer to fight the 'green' battle all by themselves. Stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford have been upfront advocates of green policies, but they almost single-handedly carry forth their campaigns. While Leonardo lent his celebrity status to produce and narrate an eye-opening green documentary 'The 11th Hour', Redford has been personally pressing many US mayors to make climate change a priority in their cities. 
While the film fraternity is all out to save the planet, music stars 
too follow suit. When music star Madonna and rock band Smashing Pumpkins sang for the Live Earth series, it did sensitise people to climate change. The superstar Madonna's Live Earth event had nine concerts played over 24 hours across seven continents before an audience of two billion. The bid to save the world was a mastermind of former US vice president Al Gore - who helped focus attention on the environmental movement with his Oscar-winning film, 'An Inconvenient Truth'. During her big event, Madonna called for mass global change to reduce carbon emissions and to tackle 'climate crisis'. 
    Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney also took part in a hearing on global warning and food policy launching a campaign called ' Less Meat = Less Heat' (see pic on right). The aim was clear. McCartney and the associates wanted to stress on the fact that vegetarianism has to be the new way of living. The results it will have will not only benefit the present generation, but the future generations as well in the form of a clean, green and a healthy environment. 
    Leave alone Hollywood, Bollywood stars too have been quite active on the fronts that concerns the planet. So when Farhan Akhtar, Gulzar, Tom Alter and the likes came forward to sign in support of NGO Oxfam's message on climate change in Osian's Cine Festival, it didn't come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, it did force people to think about the need to take eco-friendly measures. 
    The Bollywood support for environment has been coming from all corners. While Bangalore saw Actress Vasundhara Das spreading awareness on save energy and planet by promoting (CFL) Compact Florescent Lamps, Bhopal witnessed Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor (see pic on extreme right) with film director Prakash Jha at a bicycle rally as part of an environment awareness campaign. 
    That the stars do work for a cause is nothing new, what is new is the fact that both Hollywood and Bollywood stars are now all out to work for the environment. They are doing all that they can to save the planet from the clutches of deadly global warming. 
    Such is the aura of stars that all mediums including electronic and print have been 
taking the help of glitterati to give away a strong social message. No wonder, Bollywood hunk Abhishek Bachchan was brought in as an ambassador of the 'Idea' campaign to encourage people to use mobile to save paper. Looking at the success of the campaign, government has also involved the actor to promote the 'Green Earth' campaign. The aim is clear—to sensitise people to the cause of Mother Earth and to encourage people to adopt habits that are environment friendly. 
    The biggie wiggies have also been strongly pitching in to save the dying animals. The 
fact that PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) has supporters from all over, including celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Keanu Reeves and our very own John Abraham (see pic on extreme left), goes to show that the stars are not just there to entertain. They mean some serious business too. 
    Fashion shows, special concerts, talk shows, road shows, rallies and star-studded nights organised exclusively all across the world for the cause of environment stand testimony to the fact that stars do make a difference; and that when these stars reach out, they do make an impact.

Leonardo DiCaprio 
actor 
"Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity. We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming."


Pamela Anderson 
actress 
"An action is needed to prevent Florida's roadside zoos from keeping apes and to ensure that these primates are transferred to approved sanctuaries to live out the remainder of their lives in suitable surroundings."


Arnold Schwarzenegger 
actor 
"We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late. The science is clear. The global warming debate is over. It is time for all of us to act now."


John Mayer 
musician 
"No thinking about 'offsetting your carbon footprint'. No rallies. No browbeating people who think the Earth just has a fever. Pick one thing to change this year, and keep the rest of your life the same."




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