April 24, 2012
A leaked video purportedly showing senior Congress politician Abhishek Manu Singhvi having sex with a woman in his office raises questions about how to balance the right to privacy with public interest.
Read the Firstpost.com story
Welcoming the Supreme Court judgement allowing telecom firms whose licences it had earlier cancelled, to continue operations till September 7, telecom
operators today said it will provide a huge relief to customers.
The apex court today extended the deadline for conducting auctions of the spectrum freed due to cancellation of 122 licenses, to August 31 from June 2 and allowed the operators to continue offering their services till September 7.
The Congress is likely to bring back several ministers if these four ministers quit their portfolio.
This comes after the Congress formed a panel headed by Defence Minister AK Antony to go into the causes of the party's defeat in the Punjab and Goa polls and its lackadaisical performance in Uttarakhand where it failed to get a majority on its own.
The review committee, which includes Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde as members, gave its report to party president Sonia Gandhi.
The CPI today appealed to Maoists to unconditionally release abducted Sukuma District Collector Alex Paul Menon and asked Chattisgarh government to do everything possible to achieve a breakthrough. "Targeting civilian officers, people's representatives and their security guards who are on duty is meaningless and unhuman activity.
Maoists should stop this type of abductions and killings and respect human values," the party said. Menon is not well and needs immediate medical attention. He should be released on human considerations immediately, the
party's Central Secretariat said in a statement.
Former Peace Corps volunteer Peter DiCampo captures Life Without Lights.
Stunning slideshow on Foreign Policy. See
Must read: In the Islamic Republic of Iran, all politics may not be sexual, but all sex is political. Read
AMS would concur.
A security guard has described the trauma of seeing last July's car bomb blast set off by Anders Behring Breivik at Norway's government headquarters. Tor Inge Kristoffersen told the Oslo court he watched on CCTV as a car parked and a man wearing what looked like a guard's uniform got out.
Read more on the bbc.
Derek O'Brien @quizderek Speaking in Rajya Sabha in a few mins.Just to make one point on Right of Children to Free & Compulory Education.
The TMC MP, recently seen on a TV channel, said when asked if he would sit next to Left MPs in Parliament: "NO, I will not." Remember, Mamata's dictat asking people not to socialise -- sit, eat, sip chai, marry -- CPM party members.
Parliament today also voiced concern over the abduction of Collector Alex Paul Menon by Maoists in Chhattisgarh with CPI, AIADMK, DMK and Congress members seeking "meaningful steps" for his release. Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, D Raja (CPI) said the incident has haunted the conscience of the nation.
In the Lok Sabha, the issue was raised by AIADMK leader M Thambidurai, who said that the Centre should come out with a strategy to tackle the Maoist problem. He said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Collector's abduction.
As an aside, Jaya has slammed the Centre for not releasing enough funds for Tamil Nadu.
Had the Congress Telangana MPs not disrupted the proceedings in the Lok Sabha today this issue would have occupied more time. BJP leaderJaswant Singh today sought a comprehensive discussion in the Lok Sabha on the sensitive issue of India's defence preparedness.
Singh, a former Defence Minister, raised the issue during Zero Hour asking the government to come forward to allay the apprehensions being raised about national defence preparedness. The effectiveness of the armed forces and the country's defence preparedness was being questioned, he said and sought a proper discussion on all aspects of the issue.
With a Maoist 'peoples court' likely to try Odisha BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka tomorrow at Narayanpatna in Koraput district, the ultras were taking advantage of the halt in security force operations by digging up roads in the area since Friday to make it inacessible.
"As anti-Maoist operations have been stopped as per their demands following the hostage crisis, the present situation will certainly give the Maoists opportunity to re-group and prepare for major attacks", said a senior official.
It was also not known whether the Maoists would extend their deadline as earlier, but they were lingering with the situation as operations by security forces were halted, he said.
David Davidar recalls the advice once given to him by the writer R.K. Narayan about publishing books in India. "Don't worry, you'll be gone in a few years,' Mr Narayan warned. "There aren't enough writers here."
Imagine that: An India lacking in writers.
Read the piece on the New York Times.
Details on the Gilani contempt case: A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Pakistan reserved its verdict in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, DawnNews reported.
The verdict would be announced on Thursday and the prime minister has also been summoned for the occasion. During Tuesday's hearing, newly-appointed Attorney General Pakistan Irfan Qadir claimed that no law addressing contempt of court existed in Pakistan.
Gilani was charged with contempt of court on Feb 13 over the government's two-year refusal to write to authorities in Switzerland asking them to re-open corruption cases against President Zardari.
In the morning session of Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, BSP supremo Mayawati, Union ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Rajeev Shukla, and Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi and actor Jaya Bachchan were among the 50 new members who took oath in the Rajya Sabha today.
Jaitley, who was re-elected to the Upper House from Gujarat, was the first to be called to take oath. After taking oath in Hindi, he greeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chairman Hamid Ansari. Ansari congratulated Jaitley and remarked "welcome back."
Mayawati, who got elected to the Upper House after her party suffered defeat in Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, solemnly affirmed in Hindi that she would bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution.
Even before the House met for the day, she was greeted by leaders cutting across political lines. After taking oath, she walked up to the Prime Minister, who stood up to acknowledge her greetings with folded hands.
Following the announcement of the suspension, there was yet another uproar in Parliament. Adjourned till 2.30 pm.
If you're nodding off, here's something to wake you up.
Traces of ancient viruses which infected our ancestors millions of years ago are more widespread in us than previously thought. A study shows how extensively viruses from as far back as the dinosaur era still thrive in our genetic material.
Read the report on the bbc.
Expressing satisfaction over settlement of the custody row involving two NRI children, Norway today said the resolution of the issue illustrated the "good relations" between the two countries.
The NRI kids Abhigyan and Aishwarya, who were kept in foster care by authorities in Norway for nearly a year, arrived here this morning after a Norwegian court yesterday handed them to their paternal uncle.
"The two governments have been working very closely and constructively in solving the case. It illustrates the good relationship between the two countries," Norwegian ambassador Ann Ollestad said.
A Norwegian court yesterday handed over the two children to their uncle, ending months of custody row that saw India stepping up diplomatic pressure on Norway to send them back.
Sreesanth @sreesanth36 @sachin_rt Happy birthday respected paaji..,God bless u nd family with lots more happiness..keep going strong,
And this is the picture that Yuvraj posted a while ago.
Against the backdrop of BJP seeking a clarification from Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on the CD controversy, Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday sought to draw a line between public and private life, saying a "sensible balance" needed to be maintained.
"Has it something to do with parliamentary affairs or something which is in the realm of a citizen's private life. I think that we should not really intrude where we should not be intruding," he said outside Parliament House today.
"You cannot treat everything in the same manner... parliament must be concerned about procedure and issues and when it comes to private lives of people, I think it should be handled in a different manner," Khurshid said.
Facebook has filed updated documentation with the Securities and Exchange Commission in advance of its initial public offering, revealing that the world's largest social network now has a mind-boggling 901 million monthly active users compared to 680 million a year ago.
The updated documents also reveal that it has over 500 million users engaging with the social network on their mobile devices.
Other eye-popping numbers revealed: Facebook users uploaded 300 million photos daily and Facebook itself paid $300 million in cash and 23 million shares to acquire smartphone photo app Instagram, a deal valued at a total $1 billion.
Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary today criticised Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan for refusing to mediate for the release of Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
"He (Bhushan) is such a hopeless and useless man. This is a man who doesn''t speak with a sense of responsibility. He should understand what those families are going through whose members are trapped with the Maoists," Chaudhary told media outside parliament. "I request you (media) to not spread what he says," she added.
Maoist rebels on Saturday abducted Menon, an IAS officer of 2006 batch, from the middle of a meeting with villagers from Majhipara village in Keralapal area of the Naxal-infected district.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Rajnath Singh on the Presidential candidate said, "We do not want to comment on any individual. But our view is that there should be a consenus among all political parties on the candidature of the President."
Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav also refused to comment on any name for the Presidential candidate, saying, "Let's first hold talks on the issue."
And another column by the Hindu's Chhattisgarh correspondent, Aman Sethi.
An all-party meeting held in Raipur on Monday to discuss proposals to secure the release of kidnapped Sukma District Collector, Alex P. Menon, concluded with the Chhattisgarh government calling off military operations in Bastar and agreeing to negotiate with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), thereby casting doubts over the future of the State's development programme as independent experts have pointed to the security forces' inability to provide sufficient security for civil administrators. Read
On April 20 this year, Rajat Kumar, Collector of Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, was travelling through his district when an improvised explosive device, planted by cadres of Communist Party of India (Maoist), exploded under his convoy. While Kumar's vehicle avoided the explosion, three people including a zilla panchayat member and the BJP's district vice president were killed. A day later, Maoist guerrillas abducted Alex Menon, Collector of the adjoining district of Sukma and killed his security guards.
Read Aman Sethi on the Hindu
Mediator Manish Kunjam is on his way to handover abducted district collector Alex Paul Menon's asthma medicines.
In a relief to Tibetan religious leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to drop his name from the charge sheet in the foreign and Indian currency recovery case.
Karmapa (26) was charged under section 120-B for conspiracy along with nine others who were charged under different sections of IPC including 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) and 467 (forgery of valuable security), in the challan filed by police in a Una court.
Yesterday, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who had caused a flutter by pitching for a "non-political" person as the candidate for the Presidential polls, said he had only talked about an "agreed" candidate. "I have not said this. I have spoken about an agreed candidate," Pawar told reporters when asked to comment on his remark on a "non-political" candidate for the post of the President of India.
On the same issue, former UP CM Mayawati today said, "Let the names come, I will take a call."
Meanwhile, Lalu Prasad Yadav wants vice president Hamid Ansari to made President.
In other news, an update on the Bo Xilai scandal.
The dramatic fall from grace of a man so close to the top of China's hierarchy is "very positive" for the country's political development, one prominent China expert has argued. The sudden sacking of Chongqing chief Bo Xilai in mid-March has handed the country's leaders a rare opportunity to embrace "bold and genuine" reform, said Cheng Li, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Read the report on cnn.
Also see on rediff.com: The Bo Xilai I met.
If you haven't, please go to Google rightaway.
A zipper runs down the centre of the page marking the 132nd birth anniversary of Gideon Sundback, the Swedish-American inventor of the ubiquitous
zipper. If you drag your mouse down to unzip the zipper, it will split the screen, including the search textbox and reveal the relevant results for the name Gideon Sundback.
In less than 15 minutes after it convened, Lok Sabha is adjourned till noon over the Telangana issue.
Continuous adjournments have resulted in as many as 39 bills waiting to be passed. As both houses reconvene today, Lok Sabha has 39 pending bills and the Rajya Sabha has 47. These include the Women's reservation bill, Lokpal Bill, Judicial Accountability bill, Land Acquisition Bill, Direct Taxes Code, among others.
Bhushan said the demands for ending operation 'green hunt' and release of innocent tribals are "justified". Government should also address issues facing them like handing over large tracts of land to big corporations, he said.
In a statement, the Maoists also termed Menon's health as critical and asked the mediators to bring medicines along with them. The Maoists asked the government not to indulge in "delay tactics" as Menon's health was deteriorating.
Team Anna member and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan today refused to mediate on behalf of the Maoists but appealed to them to unconditionally release Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon.
He also stated that the demands of the Maoists were "justified" and government should address the issues facing them.
Hours after the Maoists named him as one of three mediators for negotiations with the government, Bhushan said that he would not mediate on the issue. "No, I am appealing to the Maoists to unconditionally release the collector. I agree to most of their demands which are justifiable but the collector should not be used as a bargaining chip," he told PTI when asked if he would act as a mediator.
"Menon is an innocent officer. If the government is serious about addressing the root causes of Naxals, I am quite happy to be part of any negotiations then," he said.
The kidnap of a District Collector in Chhattisgarh even as the Odisha hostage crisis remains unresolved suggests the Maoists are looking at soft ways of escalating their ongoing war against the Indian state.
Read the editorial on the Hindu today
Back to the NRI kids:
The children's father Anurup said, "It is a big relief. I can't say how relieved I am after one year of trauma and tension. This is the day I have been waiting for." He said he has been told not to go back to India with the children and hence will stay back in Norway for some time.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna thanked Norway for letting the children return to India, stating that he was "delighted" by the news.
The two children were accompanied by Norwegian officials on their journey back to India. Minister of State for External Affairs Praneet Kaur was present at the Delhi airport to welcome the children. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken up the matter with his Norwegian counterpart during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in March.
In other news, the US supercarrier that took Osama Bin Laden's body out to sea has reached the Western Australian port of Fremantle with 4,700 American sailors on board. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, deployed since November, have been aiding US forces in the Middle East as well as taking part in an exercise with the Indian Navy.
The ship is expected to stay in Fremantle for about two days. The port visit will include crew working with the elderly, visiting sick children and helping at animal refuges. The visit comes as Australia and the US strengthen their defence alliance, with the first contingent of US marinesarriving in Darwin earlier this month.
Maoists say collector Menon critical, demand medicines (Hindustan Times)
Maoists today issued a statement saying that the health of the abducted Sukuma district collector Alex Menon is critical and have demanded medicines for him. Read
Maoists name Prashant Bhushan, 2 others as mediators (Indian Express)
Maoists asked the govt not to indulge in 'delay tactics' as Menon's health is deteriorating. Read
Like Che Guevara, abducted Sukma collector Menon also took motorcycle trips (The Times of India)
IAS officer Alex Paul Menon betrayed no sign of alarm when armed Maoists shot dead two of his bodyguards and abducted him on Sunday. Read
Parliament Session: UPA govt eyes three key reform Bills (Indian Express)
Govt says it will take up pending financial sector reform Bills, but put Lokpal onus on Oppn. REad