Real problem is the Hyde Act and the bilateral 123 Agreement: CPI(M) Says the future of UPA government depends on the decision that it takes "Assurance of uninterrupted fuel supply is outside IAEA's jurisdiction' NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday cautioned the government that it was "mistaken' if it thought that it could go ahead and take steps for operationalising the India-U.S. nuclear deal after arriving at an agreed text with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a safeguards agreement. "It will amount to a gross violation of the majority opinion in Parliament. The Left parties will take all the necessary steps to stop the government from taking such a harmful step. It is for the Congress leadership to decide whether it wants to be seen as kowtowing to the pressure of the Bush administration or acting democratically and heeding the voice of Parliament and the people. And this decision has to be a quick and clear one. The future of this government depends on the decision they will take,' the party organ People's Democracy said. "Unfortunate' In a political commentary "Turning Point Has Arrived' in its latest issue, it described as "unfortunate' the statement of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament on March 3 and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reply to the debate on the President address as all of them continued to "harp on the government's efforts to go ahead with the nuclear deal.' It reminded the government that the Left parties had clearly stated that the government cannot proceed with the finalisation of the IAEA safeguards agreement and take the next step to go to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) given the basic objection to the Hyde Act and the 123 Agreement. While noting that as far as the Left parties are concerned, the problem is not the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, the commentary said: "The real problem is the Hyde Act and the bilateral 123 Agreement with the U.S. The Left parties have in the UPA-Left Committee on Nuclear Issue put up five notes which comprehensively deal with the harmful impact of the Hyde Act on the 123 Agreement, foreign policy and security-related matters.' U.S., not IAEA, the supplier "Even a layman can understand that the IAEA is an international regulatory authority and not a supplier of fuel or nuclear equipment. It is the U.S. which is the supplying party in the 123 Agreement. And as has been repeatedly stated by the U.S. authorities, they are bound by the provisions of the Hyde Act. They assert that the provisions of the 123 Agreement do not contravene the Hyde Act.' The commentary said that it was not within the scope or jurisdiction of the IAEA to provide any assurance for uninterrupted fuel supply or help India build a strategic reserve. "Neither is it within the powers of the IAEA to spell out corrective measures that can be taken by India in the event of the termination of the fuel supply by a party contracted to do so,' the commentary said.

The Assam government on Thursday banned clinical trials on humans of a genetically engineered vaccine developed by Dhaniram Baruah, a cardiac surgeon from the State. He claimed that the vaccine corrected genetic defects causing heart diseases and diabetes and even prevented cancer. Dr. Baruah was jailed by the State government in 1997 following the death of patient on whom he had carried out a transplantation of a pig's heart. The operation took place at his institute, the Dr. Baurah Heart City located at Sonapur, 20 km from here. He was released the same year. State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma told the Assam Assembly that the State government would ask Dr. Baruah not to carry out further clinical trials of the vaccine without first obtaining a licence for it. The Minister said the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drug and Magic Remedies Act, 1955 stipulated that after the successful clinical trial of any new drug on animals, one had to take the permission of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization for carrying out clinical trials on two humans after obtaining their consent. If the test on the two was successful then fresh permission had to be taken for conducting further trials on 10 more persons to establish its medical success. The Health Minister informed the House that Dr. Baruah had not obtained any permission from the drugs control authorities. Replying to a zero hour notice raised by Communist Party of India (Marxist) Ananta Deka, the Minister said the State government would also urge Dr. Baruah to hand over the materials in support of his claim for onward submission to the drugs control authorities. Mr. Deka drew the attention of the Minister to newspaper reports about Dr. Baruah's claim and demanded a high level probe.

After a year's gap, Olive Ridley turtles have started mass-nesting at the Rushikulya rookery in Orissa's Ganjam district. On Tuesday night, around 15,000 turtles reached the beach. Their number grew to around 35,000 by Wednesday night, said A.K. Jena, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Berhampur. He expects more turtles to come in over the next few days, for congregations of thousands of turtles are waiting off the coast. It is the first episode of mass nesting of these endangered marine turtles on the Orissa coast this year. Mass nesting occurs regularly at the Rushikulya rookery, the Devi river rookery and the Gahirmatha beach in Orissa. But last year there was no mass nesting at the Rushikulya river mouth, where in 2006 it occurred twice. "It speaks of our limited knowledge about the habits and habitats of these marine turtles,' said Mr. Jena. Female Olive Ridleys can store sperms without fertilisation inside their body up to three years. Forest Department officials, experts from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Wild Life Institute of India, Dehra Dun, are monitoring the mass nesting. The 3-km stretch of beach where the turtles are laying eggs has been divided into 100-m segments. There are 35 sampling points within this area to record data on the reptiles reaching the coast to lay eggs. Fishermen have been requested not to fish in the region where the turtles are waiting in the sea. Tourists are also under strict watch to ensure silence and darkness on the beach, which are important factors for turtles, said Mr. Jena. Over the last four days, fishermen from villages such as Purunabandh and Gokharkuda are working as volunteers for the Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Project. They are helping protect turtles clambering up the sandy beach after midnight to dig holes with their flippers to lay around 20 to 30 eggs each. They cover the eggs with sand and venture into the sea by morning. Lying buried in sand, the eggs hatch after 45 days.

Kenichi Horie, who has crossed the Pacific in a solar-powered boat made of recycled aluminium, is getting ready for his next solo sea adventure. The 69-year-old Japanese sailor will set out March 16 on what he says will be the world's longest voyage in a wave-powered boat. Speaking through a translator at the Hawaii Yacht Club, Mr. Horie said he would travel more than 6,400 km from Honolulu to Japan aboard a 3-tonne yacht called the Suntory Mermaid II at a speed of up to 5 knots. The boat made of recycled aluminium relies on the energy of waves to move two fins at its bow and propel it forward. Mr. Horie said it is a sturdy vessel, designed to right itself if it capsizes. But it is equipped with an engine and an 11-m sail mast for emergencies. The journey, which would take a diesel-powered boat about 10 days to complete, is expected to take him about 2.5 months. He will take along rice, canned food and microwaveable meals. And beer. Solar panels atop the catamaran will power the microwave, and Mr. Horie will have a satellite phone and access to e-mail. "With so many people supporting me, even by myself, I won't feel lonesome,' Mr. Horie said. To pass the time, he said, he would also take books and a radio. "I still think he's crazy for doing this,' said Howie Mednick, vice commodore of the Hawaii Yacht Club. But he called the voyage "historical' and "amazing.' A spokesman promoting the voyage said the sailor hoped the shipping industry would eventually adopt the clean wave technology. The journey would not be Mr. Horie's first time travelling the seas using green technology. In 1992, he powered a boat by pedalling, travelling from Hawaii to Okinawa. And in 1996, he sailed nearly 16,000 km from Ecuador to Tokyo aboard a solar-powered boat made largely from recycled aluminium beer cans.

Outstandingly organic: The villagers of Meekeri in Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu at the entrance to their village. Though organic farming has been proved to be a low investment technology for growing crops, marketing organically produced crops has not been an easy task especially for some farmers. Lack of information on marketing channels and absence of proper governmental guidelines has forced many of them to sell their produce for a throwaway price, an irony when today, organic produce fetches a good price (Rs.3-4 per kg more) than chemical p roduces. The villagers of Meekeri village, popularly called as organic village, situated about 16 kms from Udhagamandalam, faced a similar problem in marketing their organic produce. Bio village The village has been adopted by the Institute of Commercial Horticulture (ICH), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Udhagamandalam, under the Hill Area Development Programme as a bio-village. The farmers of the village were trained to cultivate their crops under organic practices by ICH. Crucial inputs such as Panchagavya, Dasagavya, Biodynamic compost, vermicompost, Cow pat pit Azospirillum, Phosphobacteria, and bio-control agents such as Trichoderma viride and, Pseudomonas fluorescens for growing the crops were provided by the Institute. Increase in yield Field demonstrations were conducted under the guidance of Dr. N Selvaraj, Professor and Head of the Institute. Speaking on behalf of the villagers Mr. N. Sekar, a farmer said, "there is an increase in yield of 5

Ants and bees teach us cooperation. Spiders have given us hints about how to make ultra thin and strong fibers. Bacteria and fungi produce molecules that we use as drugs. What has the lowly lizard that we can learn from? Most of us despise it at home, yet it holds a fascination for us. Hindu almanacs (panchamgam) interpret the sounds the lizard makes and the direction from where it falls (on our body), and predict the (often dire) outcome. We grudgingly marvel at its ability to scurry on vertical walls and across the ceiling. Trying to understand It is this ability of the lizard and its larger outdoor cousins

B.P. Jeevan Reddy If the government ignores the will of Parliament and proceeds to finalise the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, it would mean the executive is asserting its supremacy over Parliament

It now delivers electricity, hot water to Japanese homes A prototype of a fuel cell battery for mobile phones, a file picture. Hiratsuka: Masanori Naruse jogs every day, collects miniature cars and feeds birds in his backyard, but he is proudest of the way his home and 2,200 others in Japan get electricity and heat water

"The Act is a domestic legislation and the 123 is an international accord' Centre concedes presence of some "prescriptive and extraneous' elements in the Hyde Act Pranab says India's rights and obligation arise only from the 123 Agreement agreed upon NEW DELHI: The United States has said the Hyde Act will have to be considered while operationalising the civilian nuclear agreement with India but indicated that it is unlikely for the legislation to impinge on the agreement. "The Hyde Act is a domestic legislation and the 123 Agreement is an international agreement. I think we can move forward with both in a consistent manner,' Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told newspersons after meeting senior External Affairs Ministry officials here on the first day of his visit. Mr. Boucher made the observation when asked whether the Hyde Act would have any bearing on the nuclear deal. He met Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Joint Secretary (Americas) Gaytri Kumar. He said both sides discussed ways by which they could advance this "very important' relationship. Objections Political parties here have objected to some provisions in the Henry J. Hyde U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act such as requiring the U.S. President to annually certify whether India is participating in the U.S. and international efforts to check proliferation, including dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapon producing capabilities. It also has clauses on the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Wassenaar Arrangement. But New Delhi maintains that the Hyde Act is an enabling provision that is between the legislative and executive wings of the U.S. government and will not have a bearing on the nuclear deal. However, it concedes the presence of some "prescriptive and extraneous' elements. Rice statement The waters were stirred after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs panel last month that "we will support nothing with India that is in contradiction to the Hyde Act. It will have to be completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act. We'll have to be consistent with the Hyde Act or I don't believe we can count on Congress to make the next step.' In Parliament, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday insisted that India's rights and obligation on civilian nuclear cooperation rose only from the 123 Agreement that "we have agreed upon.' Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury has said the Hyde Act will severely compromise the country's sovereignty and independent foreign policy. He agreed with Mr. Mukherjee's observations that the Hyde Act is an enabling provision, but pointed out the U.S. administration could enter into a civil nuclear cooperation arrangement under the conditions listed in the legislation.

In voting for the further tightening of international sanctions against Iran despite the satisfactory resolution of all concrete issues surrounding its previous nuclear activities, the United Nations Security Council has wilfully and unnecessarily escalated a crisis that was heading towards a peaceful end. When Iran's nuclear file was sent to the UNSC in 2006, there was one major and several minor outstanding issues that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claimed were standing in the way of certification of the absence of "undeclared nuclear activities.' The major issue was the extent of work Iran might have done on the P-1 and P-2 centrifuge designs bought from the clandestine network run by A.Q. Khan. The minor issues were (a) establishing the source of enriched uranium contamination on equipment at an Iranian technical university; (b) explaining the procurement activities of the Physics Research Centre (PHRC); (c) understanding why Iran had conducted experiments with Polonium-210; (d) understanding the significance of a document on the casting of uranium metal that Iran said it was given by the Khan network; and (e) resolving the status and extent of work undertaken at the Gchine uranium mine. The IAEA also said it had questions based on documents provided to it by other member states (to wit, the United States) suggesting that Iran might have engaged in additional studies and research on warhead design and uranium conversion. In diplomatic discussions of the Iranian nuclear file, these alleged studies invariably figured last. Not anymore. Now that the IAEA, in its latest report dated February 22, has pronounced itself satisfied with Iran's explanation of all five outstanding issues (the P-1 and P-2 question was resolved last year itself), these "alleged studies' (as the IAEA itself terms them) have become the new focal point of U.S.-led efforts to pressure the Islamic Republic to give up its right to pursue a civilian nuclear fuel cycle. Resolution 1803