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Archive for December 17th, 2009|Daily archive page

Chinese medicine clinics fall foul of health department

In Vietnam Health on December 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm

This undated file photo shows officials check a traditional Chinese medicine clinic in Hanoi (Photo: Thanh Nien)

Traditional Chinese medicine clinics in Hanoi have been found in breach of several health regulations, said Hanoi’s Department of Health.

Investigators carried out surprise inspections at several clinics on December 16 and discovered a host of violations.

Many Chinese doctors were working without permission from the Vietnamese Government and unlicensed practitioners were discovered working at clinics Truong Giang Trung Quoc, Hoa Viet and a branch of Chinese Medicine on Dai Co Viet Street.

In addition, the clinics were selling medicines at prices higher than health department regulations stipulate.

One clinic at 298 Nguyen Trai Street in district Thanh Xuan, was also found using moldy drugs.

There are 64 Chinese doctors known to authorities practicing at 54 clinics around the country. In Hanoi alone, there are 23 clinics.

Related article:
Government to keep tabs on Chinese medicine clinics

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A/H1N1 flu claims 49 lives in Vietnam

In Vietnam Health on December 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Vietnam’s health ministry has confirmed 49 deaths from the A/H1N1 flu as of December 15, with two recent victims were pregnant and the other already suffered from the African fever.

The ministry also has confirmed that a total of 11,047 people were found positive for the A/H1N1 virus in 21 cities and provinces, said Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, Chief of the Health Ministry’s Department for Preventive Medicine and Environment at a meeting of the National Steering Board on Flu Prevention in Humans in Hanoi on December 16.

At the meeting, Dr. Nguyen Van Kinh, Director of the Central Hospital of Tropical Diseases, reported that infections of the A/H1N1 flu in the country seems to have taken a break for sometime.

He said doctors have recognised several cases where patients showed resistance to Tamiflu. However, they said there has been no evidence of genetic mutations from taking the medication.

Dr. Kinh alerted that although the number of A/H1N1 people hospitalized has reduced significantly, those who have been taken to the hospital recently have often dealt with serious complications of the flu infection.

Accordingly, he recommends that an early diagnose and prompt treatment remains the best option for people to prevent themselves from catching the disease.

The doctor also warned that the A/H1N1 influenza in poultry has recently showed signs of recurrence in a number of cities and provinces in the country, which would increase potential risks of poultry-human transmissions.

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Cities host Spanish concert, charity music-fashion show

In Vietnam Culture on December 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm

A concert featuring Spanish romantic and traditional music is to take place at the Hanoi Opera House on December 17.

    Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra

The show, held by the Spanish Embassy in Vietnam, will feature works by Manuel de Falla, La Romanza de Zarzuela and Ruperto Chapí performed by the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra under Spanish conductor Carlos Cuesta.

Free tickets are available at the Spanish Embassy in Hanoi on the 15th floor of the Daeha Business Center, 360 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District.

In addition, a charity music and fashion show organized by FLAUNT & Music Faces will be held at The Hi-fi, at 38 Nguyen Hue Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on December 17.

Popular singers will take the stage including Le Hieu, Phuong Vy, Pham Anh Khoa, the White Noise band and more. Leading models Vu Ha Hanh, Thai Ha, Kim Minh, and Ngoc Quyen will also attend along with Minh Thu, the first runner-up of the Miss Vietnam 2008 Pageant; and Nguyen Ngoc Lan Huong who was named the fourth runner-up in the Miss Model of The World 2009 beauty contest in China this November.

All proceeds from the HCM City event will be donated to the Heartbeat Vietnam Fund to help poor sick children receive free heart surgery.

Tickets are VND200,000-250,000 (US$10-13) each.

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Food, fun and elephants at Highlands culture fest

In Vietnam Culture on December 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm

A tourism and culture week themed “Legend of the Central Highlands Elephant” opened at Buon Ma Thuot City Square in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on December 16.

Elephant parade in the opening ceremony of the Buon Ma Thuot – Dak Lak tourism and culture week on December 16. (photo:TTO)

The opening ceremony began with a special performance featuring contemporary and Highland music by gong troupes from the ethnic Ede, M’nong, and J’rai groups. More than 500 artists and dancers took part in the show.

Earlier in the day, cultural activities kicked off including a food fair, street festival, and photo exhibitions titled “Highlands – Past and Present” and “Lyric Highlands.”

The “Highlands – Past and Present” display introduces viewers to 150 pictures of Highlands culture and people from the colonial past to the present. The “Lyric Highlands” exhibit, meanwhile, showcases 52 works by photographer Lam Tu Khoa taken over eight years.

Other events happening throughout the week include a wood carving contest, trade fair, elephant race, and folk games.

The event aims to honor elephants, the most important animal to the Highlands people.
A project undertaken by the Dak Lak elephant preservation center will be implemented from 2010 to 2014 at a total investment of around VND58 billion (US$3 million), the provincial People’s Committee announced at a seminar on December 15.

Under the project, the preservation center will care for elephants; launch policies to encourage and help elephant breeders in parturition; cooperate with international organizations to update technology; and train officials in preserving and taking care of elephants. The center is situated on more than 200 ha in YokDon national park.

The tourism and culture week marks the 105th anniversary of the establishment of Buon Ma Thuot City and is a chance for the province to introduce its achievements, tourism potential, and socio-economic development. The festival will run until December 20.

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Lack of leadership, funds stalls river cleanup

In Vietnam Environment on December 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm

The Dong Nai River, which provides water for 16 million residents in 12 southern provinces and cities, is slowly dying of pollution. Leaders have failed to enforce protection policies while funding for cleanup efforts was last proposed several years ago.

The polluted Dong Nai River which supplies water to more than 16 million residents in Southern Vietnam. A proposed project to clean up the waterway has failed to get off the ground. (Photo: SGGP)

In 2005, the Ho Chi Minh City Environmental Protection Agency proposed relevant agencies spend VND1 trillion (US$54 million) to clean-up and protect the river. But to date, no action has been taken.

Hoang Duong Tung from the Center for Environmental Monitoring, Data and Information said the Dong Nai River valley is exposed to effluent from 10,000 industrial production companies, and 70 industrial zones (IZ)s and export processing zones (EPZ)s.

The river, which also supplies water to the area’s agriculture production and aquatic farms, is poisoned with 600,000 cubic meters of industrial wastewater a day.

In addition, the river receives millions of cubic meters of harmful wastewater from mineral exploitation, households, health centers, trade villages, garbage dumps, agriculture and aquatic farming.

Of these, the most worrying problem is wastewater from mineral exploitation of metals in Lam Dong and Dong Nai provinces; of nonmetals in Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An Provinces and HCMC; and of bauxite and gold in Lam Dong and Dac Nong provinces.

Most of these mines are opencast and use primitive means of operation.

Lives in jeopardy

According to the General Department of Environment Protection, the polluted river negatively affects residents’ livelihoods and more alarmingly, their health.

High levels of metallic waste and harmful pesticides have been found in many species living in the river and surrounding plants.

These substances accumulate in humans as well, and can lead to sudden gene mutations, a host of diseases including cancer, and even death.

Associate Professor and Doctor Nguyen Van Phuoc from the Natural Resources and Environment Institute said there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence of  “cancer villages” in Vietnam. These communities, usually exposed to high levels of environmental toxins, have reported similarly high levels of cancer cases.

Most residents are unaware, however, of the disastrous effects of pollution on their health.

Protection project fails to take flight

Professor Lam Minh Triet, head of the HCM City Environmental Protection Agency, said a 12-point project to protect the Dong Nai River was proposed several years ago.

Accordingly, the first measure was to set up the Dong Nai River Environment Protection Committee chaired in turn by the 12 provinces and cities’ People’s Committees chairmen.

Total capital for the clean-up effort from central and local budgets and businesses, proposed in 2005, was about VND1 trillion (US$54 million).

The project was approved by the Government in 2007, however, none of the provinces or cities stepped up to participate in the process.

Today, pollution levels in the river have skyrocketed. Numerous IZs and EPZs have sprung up and continue to contaminate the water. Thus, the 2005 cost estimate of cleaning up Dong Nai River would likely be inadequate now.

Related article:
Dong Nai River on verge of death

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Scientists crack gene code of common cancers

In World on December 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Two common forms of cancer have been genetically mapped for the first time, British scientists announced, in a major breakthrough in understanding the diseases.

The maps have exposed the DNA mutations that lead to skin and lung cancers, in a discovery scientists said could transform the way these diseases are diagnosed and treated in coming years.

All cancers are caused by damage to genes — mutations in DNA — that can be triggered by environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, harmful chemicals or ultraviolet radiation, and causes cells to grow out of control.

This undated illustration shows the DNA double helix.

Scientists from Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have mapped this genetic damage from the tumours of two patients suffering from lung cancer and malignant melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

“This is a fundamental moment in cancer research. From here on in we will think about cancers in a very different way,” said Professor Mike Stratton who led the institute’s cancer genome project.

“Today for the first time, in two individual cancers, a melanoma and a lung cancer, we have provided the complete list of abnormalities in DNA in each of those two cancers,” he told the BBC.

“We now see uncovered all the forces that have generated that cancer and we now see all the genes that are responsible for driving those two cancers.”

The scientists’ research, published in the journal Nature, also gained deeper insights into the way the body tries to repair the damage caused by the cancers and stop the disease spreading.

Stratton said the research could in future change the way cancers are treated — by using genetic maps to find the defects that caused them.

“Now that we have these comprehensive complete catalogues of mutations on individual cancers, we will be able to see how each cancer developed, what were the exposures, what were the environmental factors and that’s going to be key for our understanding generally of how cancers develop,” he said.

“And for our individual patients, we will see all the genes that are abnormal and are driving each cancer and that’s really critical, because that will tell us which drugs are likely to have an effect on that particular cancer and which are not.”

Peter Campbell, a cancer-genomics expert involved in the research, said the number of mutations discovered — 33,345 for melanoma — and 22,910 for lung cancer — was remarkable.

“It is amazing what you can see in these genomes,” he said on the website of the journal Nature.

The research shows most mutations could be traced to the effects of chemicals in tobacco smoke (in the lung tumour) or ultraviolet light (in the melanoma tumour), supporting the idea that they are largely preventable.

“Every pack of cigarettes is like a game of Russian roulette,” he said.

“Most of those mutations will land where nothing happens in the genome and won’t do major damage, but every once in a while they’ll hit a cancer gene.”

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US Fed stays course, sees record low rates for ‘extended’ time

In World on December 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

 The US Federal Reserve extended its record low interest rates Wednesday and reaffirmed this policy would remain in place “for an extended period” to support a still-precarious economic recovery.

The central bank, concluding a two-day policy meeting, maintained the federal funds base rate of a range of zero to 0.25 percent, which has been in place for the past year under a plan to revive economic activity.

The Federal Open Market Committee headed by chairman Ben Bernanke did acknowledge some improvement in economic conditions, notably in the troubled labor market, but indicated this was not enough to shift away from a massive stimulus effort.

The US Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC.

The FOMC statement said that recent data “suggests that economic activity has continued to pick up and that the deterioration in the labor market is abating.”

It noted that the housing sector “has shown some signs of improvement over recent months” and that consumer spending is growing “a moderate rate” but is constrained by a weak labor market and tight credit.

The FOMC did reaffirm that some special programs to help restore credit would expire as scheduled and that the central bank would proceed with its trillion-dollar effort to pump money into housing and credit markets.

The text of the US Federal Reserve statement

“The Fed has a slightly more upbeat tone on the economy, but there is no hint that it is preparing to raise interest rates,” said Sal Guatieri, economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Others said the Fed is moving slowly to execute its so-called exit strategy from a massive effort to jolt the US economy out of recession.

“No rate hike should be expected at least through the first part of next year. But the Fed is remaining flexible,” said Joel Naroff at Naroff Economic Advisors.

“The members are adjusting their outlook to the evolving economy and are starting to remove some of the crutches, such as the purchases of mortgage-backed securities.”

The FOMC said it sees “substantial resource slack likely to continue to dampen cost pressures: and predicted that “inflation will remain subdued for some time.”

These conditions “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period,” the FOMC statement said.

A series of programs to restore credit flows are likely to be allowed to expire in 2010, the statement said, confirming the timetable announced earlier this year.

These include efforts to guarantee commercial paper and asset-backed securities used for short-term corporate funding.

The FOMC said it remains in the process of pumping over one trillion dollars into financial markets to support the housing sector and other types of credit, but said these will be concluded as planned in early 2010.

“In order to promote a smooth transition in markets, the committee is gradually slowing the pace of these purchases, and it anticipates that these transactions will be executed by the end of the first quarter of 2010,” the statement said.

John Silvia, economist at Wells Fargo, said the Fed is showing confidence in the economic recovery by allowing the extra programs to run their course.

This path is “a little stronger than some of the regional presidents had predicted,” he added.

Silvia said the Fed may face political pressure as it withdraws some of the stimulus even with unemployment still close to 10 percent.

“You still have a lot of people issuing mortgage securities that no one is buying,” Silvia said.

With the Fed exit, Silvia said “mortgage rates will rise” and the economy will still be far from a full recovery, with unemployment still high.

“A lot of politicians are going to get angry,” he said.

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Bernanke named Time magazine’s Person of the Year

In World on December 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was named Person of the Year by Time magazine on Wednesday, giving him a high-profile boost as he tries to fend off proposals that might weaken the Fed’s independence.

The selection puts the mild-mannered Bernanke, a former professor, in the company of U.S. President Barack Obama, Pope John Paul II and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other prominent world figures the magazine has picked in past years.

The Senate is considering Bernanke’s nomination to a second term to head the Fed — the U.S. central bank — and while he is expected to win confirmation, criticism of the Fed among the public and members of Congress is at its highest in decades.

The Fed’s role in bailouts of Wall Street has prompted criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Some lawmakers are pushing proposals to curb the Fed’s regulatory powers and open up its interest rate decision to congressional audits.

The Fed w

TIME magazine has named Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke its 2009  “Person of the Year”

orries that congressional second-guessing of its policy decisions would compromise its fiercely-guarded independence.

One poll by Rasmussen Reports this month showed public support for Bernanke’s nomination at a scant 21 percent, with 41 percent stating opposition, but he continues to enjoy support on Wall Street and among many lawmakers.

“Ben is the person that kept us from going over the edge of the precipice and into the abyss,” said former Fed Governor Lyle Gramley, now a senior economic adviser at Soleil Securities.

But Republican Senator Jim Bunning, one of the Fed’s sharpest critics, said Time’s pick was a reward for “failure.”

“Many of the problems our markets are facing right now could have been avoided had Chairman Bernanke not been asleep at the switch,” Bunning said in a statement.

Time credited the 56-year-old Bernanke with creative leadership that helped set the U.S. economy on a path to recovery even as he and other policy makers remain concerned about a high unemployment rate of 10 percent.

Double-digit unemployment is one reason the Fed, which cut benchmark interest rates to near zero percent a year ago, on Wednesday repeated a vow to keep rates exceptionally low for “an extended period.

Bernanke “knows the economy would be much, much worse if the Fed had not taken such extreme measures to stop the panic,” Time said in its cover story on the central bank head. The magazine noted he had greatly expanded the Fed’s power through his efforts to fight the financial crisis.


Time’s Person of the Year selection, widely watched in U.S. media, is not meant to be celebratory but rather to focus on a world figure who has been highly influential in the past year.

Still, the distinction is one that analysts said would probably help Bernanke, an expert on the Great Depression who succeeded Alan Greenspan in 2006.

In picking Bernanke, Time passed over runners-up including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who riveted Washington for months with his troop-increase request.

For the first several years of his tenure, Bernanke, known for his low-key, analytical manner, had a much lower profile than Greenspan, who was considered a rock star on Wall Street and was extremely popular with the public during his tenure.

The criticism of the Fed has prompted Bernanke to step into the limelight this year, including granting an interview to the CBS news program60 Minutes” and appearing at a nationally televised town-hall meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bernanke, a Republican, was first named to the Fed by Republican President George W. Bush. Obama, a Democrat, nominated him for a second four-year term in August, praising his deft handling of the economic crisis.

The Senate Banking Committee is due to vote on the nomination on Thursday, although the full Senate is not expected to act until sometime next month. His first term as Fed chief expires on January 31.

The Fed has not faced the same pitch of public acrimony since the 1980s, when then-chairman Paul Volcker‘s interest-rate increases aimed at breaking double-digit inflation threw the economy into two back-to-back recessions.

Gramley, the former Fed governor who served under Volcker, said he thinks the anger at the central bank may even be greater than it was then.

“Then the problem was the public didn’t like high interest rates but there was an understanding on the part of the public that we had a terrible inflation problem that had to be defeated,” he said.

Now, “the public doesn’t understand why (the Fed) had to bail out Bear Stearns or AIG”, Gramley said, referring to insurer American International Group.

Douglas Elliott, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said there’s a good chance the tensions over the Fed will wane as the economy begins to improve.

But he said the increasingly tough political atmosphere for the Fed will be watched closely by investors and in countries such as China that have big holdings of government securities and want to see vigilance by U.S. authorities on inflation.

“We have a huge amount of foreign investment in our government securities as well as private securities,” Elliott said. “Many foreigners are very worried that we’re going to solve our deficit problems by inflation.”

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Activists dodge Japanese whaling fleet after skirmish

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm

 Militant anti-whaling activists said they were dodging a Japanese surveillance ship in icebergs near Antarctica on Wednesday, following their first skirmish with whalers during the annual hunt.

Paul Watson, who is leading a campaign to harass this season’s hunt, said a ship loaded with Japanese security guards had been tailing his group since they left Western Australia on December 7.

When they attempted to approach the Shonan Maru No.2 from behind an iceberg on Monday, Watson said the Japanese targeted them with two water cannon and tailed them for two hours in a high-speed pursuit.

This handout photo released by the Sea Shepherd Society shows the Japanese ship Shonan Maru No. 2 in the seas off Antarctica on December 14.

“We had our water cannons at ready but we never opened up on them,” Watson told AFP, speaking via satellite phone from Antarctic waters.

“As long as they’re following us, they can relay our position to the whaling fleet so they can move if we’re approaching them,” he said.

Japan‘s government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research, which runs the whaling expeditions, said the water cannon was used because Watson’s ship had come dangerously close.

“It was only a normal warning procedure after we repeatedly issued verbal warnings,” said an official. “They know that we use water if they ignore our warnings and get close.

“Then they took pictures for the media, and the media got excited. We are only seeing the same pattern,” he said.

Watson said the Shonan Maru No.2 was still tailing them Wednesday, but that “we’re going to try and lose them in the ice pack down here off the coast.”

“They said if we try to block the operations they’ll put their ship between us and the harpoon vessels, which will most likely result in collisions,” Watson said.

“But we’re not going to back down, we’re there to block their operations and we’re not going to back down because they try to force us out of the way.”

Despite the beefed-up security, Watson said he was confident of disrupting the hunt for a sixth year, saying the activists had a futuristic powerboat which would be able to outrun the ships and block their harpoons.

“It’ll be our interceptor vessel, I think it will make a big difference,” he said.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama this week asked visiting Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd to rein in the activists, describing their actions as “sabotage.”

The Sea Shepherd have chased Japanese whalers for years, sometimes hurling projectiles and climbing aboard Japanese ships, earning them the label of “eco-terrorists” in Japan and hardening the country’s position on whaling.

Hatoyama dismissed threats from Rudd that he would haul Japan before an international tribunal, saying his country’s whaling activity was legal.

Australia’s Greens party said the Rudd government should threaten to abandon a proposed free trade deal with Japan to force Tokyo‘s hand.

“Probably nothing else will get the Japanese prime minister‘s attention more than linking our concern and our desire to end whaling in Antarctica immediately with negotiations over the free trade agreement,” said Greens senator Rachel Siewert.

The FTA talks began in 2007, and the ninth round of negotiations was held in Canberra in July.

An international moratorium on commercial whaling was imposed in 1986 but Japan kills hundreds each year using a loophole that allows “lethal research” on the ocean giants.

Japan makes no secret that the meat ends up on dinner tables, and accuses Western nations of not respecting its culture.

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Demand for new states could change India’s map

In World on December 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm

From scores fasting in demand of a new state in India‘s hilly northeast to a powerful chief minister suggesting her region be split up, the map of the nation is facing an overhaul.

Ethnic minorities and activists in economically deprived regions are seeking states of their own, following the government’s surprise decision last week to give in to a hunger strike and create a new state in southern India.

Now, India is confronting serious calls for a grand reorganization of this sprawling, diverse nation of 1.2 billion.

“We are looking at what could be a major crossroads in the political evolution of the Indian system,” said Mahesh Rangarajan, a prominent political analyst at Delhi University. “Are 28 states enough for a billion people when 300 million Americans have 50 states?”

In this Dec. 10, 2009 photo, supporters of the Telangana movement celebrate after the central government’s decision to initiate the process of creating a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh, at Osmania Universaity in Hyderabad, India.

China, which India is expected to surpass in 2025 as the world’s most populous country, uses centralized, authoritarian rule to maintain order and unity. India’s democracy has relied on constant negotiation and compromise to empower its different ethnic groups and bind the diverse country, from the rural hill people who live on the Tibetan border to the business tycoons of Mumbai.

The Indian system gives broad power to the states. It was largely created after a Gandhi disciple died from a 58-day hunger strike in 1952, while pressing for the creation of Andhra Pradesh, a new state in the south.

Following the ensuing street protests, the government agreed to reorganize the country based on language groups. India has occasionally tweaked its internal boundaries since then, most recently with the creation of three new states in 2000 that brought the total to 28.

Some states remain so large they have become difficult to govern, leaving politically marginalized regions out of the country’s economic boom.

“You’ve got to try something new,” Rangarajan said. “Something’s not working about it.”

Parties across the spectrum — including the ruling Congress Party — have backed appeals for new states to garner regional support during elections. But as the campaigns fade, so does the pressure for statehood.

In an attempt to re-ignite the passions, politician K. Chandrasekhar Rao embarked on another hunger strike in Andhra Pradesh last month, demanding his neglected region of Telangana be given statehood.

As his health faded and protests grew, the government suddenly gave in — and was immediately swamped by calls for at least 16 other new states.

Some want states for neglected minorities, such as the 105 ethnic Gurkha activists who have been fasting since Friday, calling for a state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal.

“This is our final battle,” said Bimal Gurung, a leader of the Gurkha movement. “If the Telangana demand can be met, why can’t our 102-year-old demand be met?”

Others are seeking development of poor and neglected areas, such as the interior Vidarbha region in the state of Maharashtra, which many argue has been ignored in favor of the coastal areas around Mumbai.

Some say smaller units will be more manageable and responsive to voters and lead to better governance.

Mayawati, the powerful chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, sent a letter last week to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling for her gargantuan state to be split in four pieces so it can be more easily administered. The state’s 180 million people give it a population larger than all but five countries in the world.

“This is the demand of the people and the central government should respect people’s sentiments,” she said.

Mayawati, who uses only one name, appeared to be making a shrewd calculation. If the Congress Party government rejects her proposal, it will alienate voters; if it grants it, it will give her regional party three more states — with their accompanying sources of patronage — to potentially govern.

“She is trying to play to the rallies and create some trouble for the government of India to score some political points,” Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said.

She also has a point, analysts say. Bringing politicians closer to the voters is healthy for democracy.

“If your state’s capital is 100 miles away instead of 400 miles away, in theory they are more obliged to listen to you,” said Ramachandra Guha, a prominent historian and author of “India after Gandhi.”

“We are an evolving nation, we are 60 years young. We are yet to find the correct political forms to cope with our growing population,” he said.

Calls are growing for the government to appoint a reorganization commission to take a look at the structure of the country, give a platform for all the statehood activists to air their demands and decide what new states are needed.

Reflecting the political sensitivity of the issue, Congress spokesman Ahmed said the party would not oppose such a commission “provided there is a consensus.”

There are dangers in giving too much, as well.

The Telangana decision has sparked fierce counterprotests in Andhra Pradesh by residents of the state capital, who fear their city might wind up belonging to a different state.

The government has tried to tamp down expectations.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee warned that the Telangana decision “does not mean new states are going to be created everywhere.”

But the newly energized activists say they will not go away.

“Up until now, Andhra Pradesh was boiling,” said Raja Bundela, a leader of the fight for a Bundelkhand state. “It could be Bundelkhand’s turn to burn next.”

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