April 03, 2012
Just in: The NHRC recommends Rs 27.94 crore compensation to familiesof victims of Punjab mass cremation case during militancy days.
The National Human Rights Commission ordered the monetary relief for the next of kin of persons who the Punjab Government has admitted were in police custody prior to their deaths. Their bodies were allegedly cremated illegally by the security forces in Punjab.
Meanwhile, the wife of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, whose outfit claimed to have abducted Italian national Paolo Basusco, today appealed to the ultras
not to harm the hostage. Subhasree Das was acquitted by the high court in a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, but was rearrested for
alleged involvement in Maoist activities.
Her appeal came a day after her husband, the secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI(Maoist), issued a threat on audio tape to the media. "We may take the extreme step if the government launches an offensive to release the hostage," he had said.
Panda's outfit had earlier claimed to have abducted two Italian nationals Claudio Colangelo and Paolo Basusco on March 14. Though Coangelo was released on March 25 on humanitarian grounds, Basusco is still in Maoist captivity.
The outfit has demanded immediate release of seven persons, including Sabyasachi's wife in jail at Gunupur. Asking the state government to resolve the hostage crisis politically, Subhasree also appealed to the abductors of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka to release him. "Please do not harm the MLA. He hails from a tribal family and works for the welfare of the tribal people," Subhasree told reporters at the Gunupur court premises.
Russian officials today were trying to nail down the cause of a plane crash in Siberia which killed 31, amid reports that the craft may have become uncontrollable after icing over.
The turboprop ATR-72 went down moments after taking off from the Tyumen airport yesterday and disintegrated on impact two kilometres away from the runway.
Twelve people out of 43 survived and were being treated in Tyumen and Moscow. Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee, which is now deciphering the plane's in-flight recorders, said today that "the craft's engines have been working up to the moment of impact" on the snow-covered field.
However "after the plane gained an altitude of 210 metres, it began to list, first by 35 degrees to the right, and then to the left by over 50 degrees", at which point it crashed, the committee said.
The Sticky Bomb is back in the news. It was recently in the news, when it was used during the car bombing of the Israeli diplomat in New Delhi.
Today, a sticky bomb killed an Iraqi television presenter working for a local TV station in Salaheddin province in central Iraq. Kamiran Salaheddin, a presenter for Salaheddin Channel, was killed in central Tikrit by a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to his car, as he drove home from work.
Salaheddin, 34, and father-of-two was the second journalist killed in Iraq this year, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraq-based media rights group.
Hafiz Saeed, the leader of a Pakistan-based group blamed for the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, has demanded proof after the US announced a $10m bounty on his head. In an exclusive interview to Al Jazeera, Saeed said the US move was prompted by the fact that he had beenorganising rallies against the reopening of supply lines through Pakistan to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
"We are not hiding in caves for bounties to be set on finding us. I think the US is frustrated because we are taking out countrywide protests against the resumption of NATO supplies and drone strikes," Saeed said.
LeT chief Hafiz Saeed reacts to US bounty on his head: He says he is not hiding in caves for bounties to be set to find him.
Yesterday, on the day of the long-awaited election, I decided to return to Independence Ward, the Rangoon neighborhood I wrote about in my piece last week on the difficult choices facing Aung San Suu Kyi. It turned out to be a good place to be.
Christian Caryl writes for Foreign Policy. Read
After initially disqualifying a transgender contestant, organizers of the Miss Universe beauty pageant have reversed course saying she can participate. In a statement late Monday night, the Miss Universe Organization said Jenna Talackova can compete provided "she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions."
The United States's decision to announce a bounty of $ 10 million for the capture of or information leading to the capture of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed will help contain his agenda against the US. But this move may not really help India. Before the 26/11 terror strike, though Indian authorities were aware of how dangerous the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was, the United States had still not labeled it as a terror group.
Read Vicky Nanjappa's report
Home minister P Chidambaram at a press conference on the US bounty on LeT chief Hafiz Saeed's head says India can share information regarding the terror group with the US. PC says there is enough evidence to detain Saeed now that there was finally presssure on Pakistan to act. He says that the US has recognised what India has been saying for a long time, that Hafiz Saeed is involved in terrorism and is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The bail plea of Syed Mohammad Kazmi, an accused in the Israeli embassy car bombing case, has been dismissed. The journalist was arrested last month in connection with the February 13 terror attack.
Kazmi, 50, who claimed to have been writing for Iranian publications, was arrested on March 7 following investigations into the incident where a magnetic bomb was stuck on an Israeli embassy vehicle in New Delhi.
Four persons including the wife of an Israeli diplomat were injured in the bombing incident.
A doctor couple, who had gone on a vacation to Thailand, allegedly leaving their 13-year-old maid locked-up and starving in their flat at Dwarka in South West Delhi, was today denied anticipatory bail.
"Anticipatory bail plea dismissed," Additional District Judge I S Mehta said, declining the relief to Dr Sanjay Verma and his wife Sumita, against whom look-out notices were issued on April 2 by the Delhi Police.
The anticipatory bail plea made on behalf of the couple, wanted by the police for allegedly employing a child below 14 years of age and exploiting her, contended that the section 26 (exploitation of juvenile or child employee) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, is not applicable to them. Appearing for the doctor couple, their counsel told the court that his clients were to return to India on March 31.
An act of amazing generosity by the grieving family of a working class man who had suddenly died resulted in restoring life to another ordinary working class man, whose tenacity and optimism helped him wait for a long time on the organ waiting list. What makes this miracle even more amazing, says Dr Sanjay Nagral, is that transplant transcended what is perhaps one of the deepest fault lines in Indian society, the chasm between two religions.
Read the story on Rediff.com.
A thick security blanket involving hundreds of policemen besides snipers and commandos would be put in place for the visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to the famous Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer. He is likely to be gifted a set of books and a sword as per tradition. Two hours prior to the visit the shrine would be cleared of devotees.
Zardari is expected to be inside the dargah for about half an hour. He will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi over lunch on April 8 before making a private visit to the famous shrine.
Harsha Bhogle @bhogleharsha getting ready for my first day in the studio with set max. a bit uncertain, a little apprehensive...yes, happens even after all these years!
The opening ceremony of IPL5 begins tonight, with matches starting from tomorrow.
It's confirmed now. In a first, former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has decided to skip the CPI(M) party congress beginning at Kozhikode tomorrow. Speculation is now rife that he wants to be relieved of
his membership in the central committee and politburo.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has communicated his inability to attend the party congress to CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. Bhattacharjee has been consistently avoiding vital meetings of the party since CPI(M)'s drubbing in the Assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala.
TV reports just in say that the Karnataka high court has ruled that the chief minister's appointment of the deputy Lokayukta is 'void from inception'. Karnataka Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen sought the cancellation of retired judge Chandrashekaraiah's appointment as Upa Lokayukta ( deputy ombudsman) as it has been made without consulting him.
Justice Sen says since he was not consulted, the appointment of Chandrashekaraiah (only one name), a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, violates law and hence it should be annulled. The HC today ruled in his favour.
The CBI, yesterday asked the Vectra Group chairman Ravi Rishi not to leave the country.
The army chief has sent a written complaint to the CBI but the agency has asked him for more details. Rishi and the UK-based Vectra Group are also being investigated in the Czech Republic following a complaint last year from an activist of corruption watchdog Transparency International that they had caused losses to Tatra, reports the Telegraph.
Documents show that the Vectra Group, which has substantial stakes in Tatra a.s. in the Czech Republic and in Tatra Slovakia in Slovakia, tried to retain its near-monopoly over the supply of heavy vehicles to the Indian Army by practically bidding twice for the same contract.
Just in: PM Manmohan Singh has agreed to WB chief minister Mamata Banerjee's demand of holding a separate meet on NCTC. Which means no decision on NCTC can be taken before the CMs meet on May 5.
On Saturday, Mamata had demanded that the meeting of chief ministers next month should discuss only the "sensitive" National Counter Terrorism Centre issue and said she had written to the Prime Minister about it.
Mary's Mosaic, a new book about the socialite, artist, and close friend of John F Kennedy, claims that her death was a CIA conspiracy. Writer Nina Burleigh disagrees.
Read the story on the Daily Beast
Defence Minister A K Antony and Army Chief Gen V K Singh today paid tributes and laid wreaths at the cemetery of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on
his 98th birth anniversary. Paying tributes to him, Antony said he will be an
inspiration to generations of armed forces.
The Defence Minister said the people and the country will never forget his contribution, particularly the victorious 1971 Indo-Pakistan war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.
Earlier, Antony and Gen Singh laid wreaths on the new gravestone for the late Field Marshal and attended a prayer and military memorial service which was attended by LT Gen Bikram Singh, GOC-in-chief Eastern command and Army
Chief-Designate, and other top-ranking army officials. Mankeshaw's two daughters were also present.
On the Daily Beast: Bin Laden's widow's testimony raises troubling questions -- but the relationship had already hit a new low.
"We already know that the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League, cricket's most lucrative competition, will start and finish in the same place -- Chennai,' Huw Richards writes in The International Herald Tribune.
Nor will anybody be too surprised if the final May 27 is a repeat of the opener Wednesday, when the Chennai Super Kings begin their pursuit of a third consecutive IPL title at home against the Mumbai Indians, Richards writes. The Champions League is a global competition among teams playing the Twenty20 cricket format.
Read the NYT's India blogs.
A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq -- starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds -- will come clean in his first British television interview.
Curtainraiser on the Independent.
After those truly amazing photographs, prosaic news that the shares of Kingfisher Airlines rebounded from record lows and surged over 14 per cent in the afternoon trade as the standoff between the management and employees, agitating over delayed salaries, ended today.
The protesters accepted the assurance given by the beleaguered carrier's promoter Vijay Mallya and decided to withdraw the agitation from tomorrow.
Following this, the stock saw a spike of 14.56 per cent to Rs 17.30 on the BSE. At the NSE also, the scrip surged 14.61 per cent to a high of Rs 17.25.
In the previous trade, Kingfisher had slumped about 9 per cent to Rs 14.95.
Dear Those Who Are Left:
Further to my earlier email and media statement, I bring good news. I'll pay you what I can, even if it's in CDs and water. If it's not all that I owe, I'll pay you the rest later, or you will be fully compensated in your next life, whichever comes first.
Hilarious read on the WSJ
Amid reports that VIP facilities including an LCD TV were being provided to Bibi Jagir Kaur, lodged in Theh Kanjla Jail in Kapurthala in connection with
the abduction case of her daughter, a top Punjab Prisons official today ordered an inquiry into it.
Punjab DGP (Prisons) Shashi Kant also insisted that rules will be followed in the case. "I have deputed an IG rank officer to conduct the probe. He will visit the jail and go into all the reports (talk of VIP treatment to Kaur). I don't tolerate any nonsensical stuff and we don't want any adverse publicity. Rules will have to be followed," Kant said.
Asked to comment on reports that a 32-inch LCD TV and DTH dish antenna was installed in the jail yesterday, Kant said he had got it checked from Khanna and the Jail Superintendent told him that the article had not made its way inside the complex where prisoners are lodged.
Just in: The doctor couple who went on a holiday to Thailand locking up their minor maid has sought bail.
Four days after they were charged for having left the 13-year-old girl in confinement for almost a week while they were out holidaying in Bangkok, the doctor couple applied for an anticipatory bail.
The couple, believed to be in Pattaya in Thailand, applied for bail on Monday at the Dwarka district courts. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
The couple, Sanjay and Sumita Verma, was charged with torturing the girl who was brought to Delhi from Jharkhand reportedly by an uncle who promised her a job.
The 2011 Talent Shortage Survey by Manpower Group found that India's skill shortage (or 'difficulty in filling jobs') is a staggering 67% -- among the highest globally.
Read the WSJ report.
Tracking the Tatra deal with this story on the Telegraph, Kolkata
The government today gave belated approval to a 15-year weapons purchase plan a week after army chief Gen. VK Singh's letter to the Prime Minister detailing critical shortages in weapons and ammunition was leaked. At its core, the plan will translate into a huge shopping list that global military companies will study before bidding for contracts worth billions of dollars.
Update on the Adarsh case:
Senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak, who was also BMC commissioner, has been arrested in the Adarsh Housing scam. He is being investigated by the CBI just now.
As municipal commissioner in 2010, Phatak is alleged to have allowed the height of the building in upmarket Colaba to be raised beyond 100 metres without the approval of the High-Rise Committee of the municipal body. His son also received a flat in the Adarsh Society building. Apart from Pathak, Retired Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari who was questioned along with Pathak by the CBI, has been arrested.
While on Pakistan, more on the big story today: the US bounty on Hafiz Saeed's head.
The WSJ writes that there's a gap this morning between official and unofficial reaction in India to the news.
Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, where he will hold talks on bilateral relations, especially defence and security cooperation, a military spokesman said today. Kayani left for Saudi Arabia last night though an official announcement was made only this morning.
Kayani's visit assumes significance as it comes at a time when Pakistani lawmakers are debating recommendations for revamping ties with the US and NATO and recasting the countrys foreign policy.
On the other end of the spectrum, international pop icon Katy Perry, who arrived in Chennai and checked into the Taj Coromandel, is being pampered by the staff. After a traditional aarti and tikka welcome, she was ushered in to the the royal suite, which had played host to Queen Elizabeth II. Two personalized lady butlers, bath linen with her initials, a jacuzzi and over 10 varieties of exotic teas have been provided for the singer's brief stay there.
Perry will be the show-stopper for the IPL inaugural show, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and is expected to perform a few of her biggest hits including I Kissed A Girl, before the IPL anthem.
Staying at the Taj Coromandel are also Amitabh Bachchan, who will be reading poetry, Harbhajan Singh and IPL chariman Rajiv Shukla.
A peek at the Kolkata culture Mamata Banerjee keeps flaunting. Autorickshaw drivers in the city went on a rampage this morning pelting buses and forcing passengers to disembark after they went on a strike over increased fuel prices.
On the Daily Mail: Life has come full circle for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Spurned by the US once, he is lapping up the attention of the US media now. His efforts to shed the burden of the 2002 Gujarat riots got another fillip when Time magazine listed him among the contenders for the 100 most powerful people in the world list.
Historian and author Ramchandra Guha's piece for the Hindustan Times:
Many Indians know that it was an Englishman, Allan Octavian Hume, who set up the Indian National Congress; and that it was an Englishman, Charles Freer Andrews, who was Mahatma Gandhi's closest friend, in that capacity of lobbying with the British to grant India freedom, while (on his own steam and following his own conscience) writing a series of stirring pamphlets on the shameful condition of Indian labourers in Fiji, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Indians also know that an Irishwoman, Annie Besant, established a 'Home Rule League' promoting self-governance for India, as well as schools for Indian girls in Benares, Madras, and elsewhere.
Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has became one of only four terrorist leaders for whom the US has offered a bounty of USD 10 million,
joining the likes of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
The only person with a higher bounty on his head than these four terrorist leaders is Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, for whom the US has offered a reward of USD 25 million under its Rewards for Justice programme.
Besides 61-year-old Saeed, the other terrorist leaders who carry a bounty of USD 10 million on their head are Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Du'a, one-eyed Mullah Omar and Yasin al-Suri alias Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, a senior Al-Qaeda facilitator based in Iran.
Update on the VK Singh vs MoD debate.
National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon has said it is not appropriate to debate on defence preparedness and acquisition process in the public domain due to its sensitive repercussions.
Menon made these comments on the sidelines of a seminar on India's national security challenges and issues.
Drawing attention to the recent controversies including that of the Army Chief General V. K. Singh, and his allegations of being offered Rs 14 crore, Menon said such sensitive issues hurt the morale of the armed forces.
"In the recent past we have seen several doubts being raised in public about our defence preparedness and our acquisition process. Debate on these issues is healthy within government and it must lead to our constantly learning from our own experience but public debate on such issues which are sensitive must have some limits and especially when it starts affecting national morale or it gets comforts to our enemies. It crosses the limit with what is acceptable and it must be held accountable," he added.
He further said that persisted gaps in defence preparedness are currently being addressed.
A while ago external affairs minister SM Krishna speaking on the $10 million US bounty on Hafiz Saeed, said the announcement of the bounty reflects
the commitment of India and the US to bring perpetrators of the Mumbai
terrorist attack to justice and continuing efforts to combat terrorism.
Saeed, the founder of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, is on India's most wanted list. After the 26/11 attacks that left 166 people dead, India has asked Pakistan to hand him over.
Krishna said the US move sends a strong signal to LeT terrorists.
In world news:
A teenager who beat his mother to death with a hammer and burned her body in a "chilling" murder inspired by a Coronation Street plot has been jailed for at least 16 years. Daniel Bartlam, who was 14 at the time, initially told police his mother, Jacqueline, had been killed by an intruder at their home in Redhill, Nottingham, on 25 April last year.
Read the report on the Guardian.
Another important story you shouldn't miss...
A report prepared by the World Bank's Institutional Integrity Unit has listed 'fraudulent and corrupt' practices by private Indian contractors working on national highway projects funded by it, and sought a thorough investigation into the matter.
Contractors paid bribes and gifts, including gold coins, to "influence the actions' of officials and consultants of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), says the report dated March 1, 2012.
Read the exclusive report on the Indian Express.
Employees, including pilots and engineers, haven't been paid since December. Yesterday, in a statement issued to the media after a meeting with the management, the employees said, "We are not currently in a mental state to undertake any duties and doing so would jeopardise the safety of our aircraft and more so ever our valuable guests."
They asked the airline to pay salaries for December and January by today, by 8pm and clear the remaining dues by April 20.
KFA operations were hit on Monday as some employees stayed away from work.
TV reports say that KFA staff will fully cooperate with Vijay Mallya, possibly signalling the end of the crisis. All Kingfisher pilots will be back on duty on Mallya's assurance that salaries will be paid. Junior staff will be paid their dues by tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in Pune, the parents of Shubham Shirke, who was abducted and murdered here allegedly by three of his friends for ransom, have demanded justice for their son and stringent punishment for the killers.
"My son was innocent and friendly with everybody. The suspects tortured him before strangulating him to death for no reason. We want justice," said Sunita Shirke, the mother of the 15-year-old, who was killed by his classmate and two other boys at Dighi on Saturday.
Sunita and Mahadev Shirke said, "This was a cold blooded murder of a minor by minors. If the law is against stringent punishment to minors, there is an urgent need to lower the age limit for juvenile crimes." The Shirkes also want that there should not be any political interference in the investigation.
"We want special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to conduct the trial of our son's case," Sunita told reporters yesterday at her residence in Dighi. Shubham was kidnapped on Saturday from Dighi area and was taken to a nearby hill where he was strangled to death. The accused then made a call to his father Mahadev Shirke demanding Rs 50,000 which was later brought down to Rs 15,000, police had said.
However, Shubham was not released even after his father Mahadev paid the money to the abductors that night following the ransom call. Thereafter, the parents approached Vishrantwadi police and three arrests were made in the case.
Continuing with our update of world news sstories, a former student opened fire on students and staff at a religious college here on Monday morning, killing seven people and wounding at least three more, the authorities said.
Read the NYT report
Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's victory in Myanmar's by-elections on Sunday represents the nascent return of opposition politics to the country after nearly half a century of military rule.
It has also created an opportunity for the United States to begin easing economic sanctions that are hindering reform. Aung San Suu Kyi, kept under house arrest by the government for 15 years, won a seat in the parliament with a handy plurality.
Read the report on cnn.com
Asean leaders are meeting in Cambodia, with North Korea's planned rocket launch, Myanmar's by-election and the South China Sea topping the agenda. The two-day summit is taking place in the capital, Phnom Penh. Foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, meeting ahead of their heads of state, have expressed concern over Pyongyang's plans to launch a rocket in April, reports the bbc..
US announces $10 million bounty on Lashkar chief's head (The Times of India)
India's tormentor-in-chief Hafiz Saeed, the head of Pakistan's deadliest terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, now carries a $10 million bounty on his head. Read
Pay by today or we will strike, Kingfisher employees threaten (Hindustan Times)
Kingfisher Airlines employees have rejected chairman Vijay Mallya's latest plan for salary disbursement and have threatened to strike work if two months' salaries are not credited to their accounts by 8pm today. Read
New details emerge on Tatra truck deal (The Hindu)
Even as the CBI started questioning Ravi Rishi, the London-based millionaire businessman at the heart of the showdown between the Defence Ministry and Chief of the Army Staff V.K. Singh, fresh details have begun to emerge on the truck deal that precipitated the crisis. Read
Food inflation: Fat's in the fire as edible oil prices rise 10% (The Times of India)
Edible oil prices soared almost 10%-Rs 6 to 8 per kg-in the last one month, piling up pressure on the already vulnerable food inflation. Read
Woman raped by goons she hired to kill husband (The Times of India)
A 39-year-old woman in Hooghlys Polba, 60km from Kolkata, was raped by the killers she had hired with the help of her lover to murder her husband. Read
Star Group bags broadcast rights (The Hindu)
The deal valued at Rs. 3,851 crore for 96 matches includes rights for India's international matches at home and domestic events such as Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy but does not include the IPL. Read