Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Talks set stage for various areas of cooperation

A joint statement issued at the end of the two-day Home/Interior Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan here on Tuesday flagged various areas of cooperation, including countering drug and human trafficking, streamlining visa procedure, fake currency, cyber crimes and maritime cooperation.

Indo Pak Talks

India provided information on the ongoing probe into the Samjhauta Express blast. It was also agreed that after filing the report in the court, updated information will be shared with the Pakistani authorities concerned.

On the issue of providing India voice samples of alleged masterminds of the attack, sources said Pakistani officials had said that a lower court had rejected their case in this regard. An appeal had been filed with the High Court and a positive outcome was expected, the Indian delegation was told.

The statement said both the sides agreed to set-up a joint working group to examine the modalities for streamlining the visa procedure/modalities and for giving a final shape to revision of the bilateral visa agreement.

Official sources indicated that a proposal had been put forth to relax norms for issuance of visa to journalists, businessmen, senior citizens and patients coming for medical treatment.

The Indian side also proposed to relax norms for people who have a valid visa and want to travel again within the span of two years, by removing time-consuming security background check process, which is done from here.

The Indian High Commission in Pakistan will be empowered to issue necessary permissions to such travellers, the sources said. The delegations also exchanged views on the decisions taken in the last round of talks held in Islamabad in 2008.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Oscar winning actress - Sandra Bullock donates $1 million to Japan

Actress Sandra Bullock sent a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross this week to help with earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan, the Red Cross said Thursday.

It is the largest celebrity donation to the Red Cross to be announced since the disaster struck last Friday, although the charity may have gotten large contributions that were kept confidential at the donors' request.

"This contribution is vitally important as the Red Cross works to provide critical assistance and essential relief items in this time of urgent need for so many people in Japan," the relief organization said.