May 08, 2012
At least two security officials have been killed after ex-rebels attacked the office of the Libyan prime minister in the capital, Tripoli.
Under attack for delaying action for two years on the alleged bribe offer to Army Chief Gen V K Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony today said he had ordered a CBI probe as soon as the matter came into public domain without anybody demanding it. Antony said he had not taken any action when the Army
Chief told him about the bribe offer in 2010 as he had told Gen Singh to do so but he had refused to pursue the matter then.
"That day I did not do anything...I accept that day I did not take action. I am not denying that," he said, replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the functioning of the Defence Ministry. As Opposition members sought to corner him over his inaction leading to an uproar, Antony said the Army Chief did not want to pursue it "so I did not take action".
China today said it would further investigate reported claims of South Korean authorities that they have seized Chinese-made capsules containing powdered
remains of dead babies.
Medications made of human remains were not found in China, but further investigation into the matter would be launched, Chinese health authorities said in reply to media reports that "health capsules" made with aborted fetuses were smuggled into South Korea from China.
Watch the video of the capsules being emptied here.
With the deadline by Maoists to Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka, who had been held captive by them for over a month, to resign ending on Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said today that he should not quit under pressure from 'illegal' forces.
"Any elected people's representative, including Jhina Hikaka, should not resign under pressure from illegal and unconstitutional forces", Patnaik told reporters here on his return from New Delhi. Stating that the job of MLAs and MPs was to serve their constituencies, the chief minister said that they should continue to work for the people.
This statement, of course, came before Naxals in Odisha killed the ASI they abducted today to protest combing operations.
Wealth is concentrated with the 1 percent because America no longer makes things: Financiers just manipulate money.
Read it on the Salon
Just in: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani faces the possibility of being disqualified for five years, says the Pakistan Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court today issued the detailed verdict in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, DawnNews reported. The verdict, comprising 77 pages, was authored by Justice Nasirul Mulk. Regarding the argument that the letter to Swiss authorities could not be written as President Asif Ali Zardari enjoyed immunity, the order said.
Did you see the first episode of Aamir Khan's Satyameva Jayate on Sunday?
Did you miss anything when the superstar with a conscience launched himself on the small screen with a multi-million publicity blitz?
Was Aamir's debut performance fiery enough to rekindle the hearts of television viewers thoroughly degenerated by the Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi genre of programming?
The answer is in between 'yes' and 'no.'
Read Sheela Bhatt's column on rediff.com, one of the few to offer an intelligent criticism of the show.
Following the Indian uprising against the British of 1857, in which the rebels made Bahadur Shah II their nominal leader, the emperor was convicted and dispatched to live out his years in sad exile in Rangoon. He would die there in November 1862, the last of the once mighty Mughuls.
Read Andrew Buncombe on the Independent.
Also read William Dalrymple's masterful book: The Last Mughal, which traces Bahadur Shah Zafar's story.
Drought-hit Maharashtra was today virtually left high and dry after it demanded a Rs 2,200-crore relief package from the Centre with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking it to exercise fiscal discipline, giving fodder to the opposition Shiv Sena to hit out at the ruling Congress.
An all-party delegation of MPs and MLAs from Maharashtra, led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, which met Singh was told by the Prime Minister to exercise fiscal discipline through proper use of allocations made by the Planning Commission, state leaders said.
Hilary Clinton has just had first-hand experience of the problems that the Indian government regularly faces with its unpredictably irascible -- and it now appears maybe untruthful -- coalition partner, Mamata Banerjee.
Read John Elliott's blog
If you're in London, and so desire, watch Shakespearean plays in Gujarati.
This is what the festival promo says: The Globe to Globe festival brings together artists from all over the globe, to enjoy speaking these plays in their own language, in our Globe, within the architecture Shakespeare wrote for. The artists will play the Globe way -- telling stories through the word and the actor, complemented by costumes, music and dance -- and will complete each play within two-and-a-quarter hours (we hope).
More (We aren't sure if you can carry your theplas with you)
Pressing its demand for three-year moratorium for West Bengal on repayment of loans, key UPA ally Trinamool Congress today slammed the government on various policy issues including land acquisition, Right to Education and taxation.
Participating in the debate on Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Trinamool member Kalyan Banerjee asked the Centre to immediately consider the West Bengal government's demand for moratorium on loan repayment for the state on the lines of Punjab.
"Our leader Mamata Banerjee has been repeatedly requesting (the moratorium), please give it to us," the Trinamool member said passionately. "You (Centre) get the lion's share...states are facing financial problems...you take the benefit of taxes...you are not heeding to states facing problem. You are doing it at the cost of people coming from states," he said.
Referring to the Centre's decision to set up a committee to consider the state's demand, he said, it was stated a month back but "where is the result? Where is the effect?...there is no output".
In Parliament, Pranab Mukherjee pushes for goods and services tax. He says we cannot check fiscal deficit without Opposition help and that the Opposition is essential to getting laws passed.
Baijayant Jay Panda @Panda_Jay Terrible news, cowardly act, not killed in shootout but aftr being abducted RT @otvnews: Maoists kill police ASI (Kruparam Majhi of Odisha)
Panda is a BJD MP from Kendrapada, Orissa.
Meanwhile, expenses on foreign and domestic tours of central ministers and VVIPs rose by more than ten times to Rs 678.52 crore in 2011-12, up from Rs 56.16 crore in the previous year.
The tour expenses was increased from Rs 46.95 crore in the budget estimates of 2011-12 to Rs 499.89 crore in the revised estimates, due to payment dues to Air India for VVIP travels and maintenance of aircraft, etc., government informed the Lok Sabha today.
Mukherjee says the global economy is changing and we have to build a consensus to ensure economic growth.
For once, the opposition benches are silent.
Updates on that very tragic story in a bit.
Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, finance minsiter Pranab Mukherjee responds to the debate on the Finance Bill.
Krupa Ram Majhi was abducted when he was escorting a water tanker to a CRPF camp in the Nuapada area.
ASI Kruparam Majhi, who was abducted around 11 am today, was shot dead near the Dharambandha police station at Nuapada. It is believed that the killing was in retaliation to the combing operations in the area.
The ASI's body has been recovered by the police.
Just in: The abducted ASI has been shot dead. Police have just recovered the body.
That's what Venky Vembu says on Firstpost.com. Read
The story that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee probably needs to have a look at to get a reality check and a better world view. As Hillary Clinton said yesterday, women in politics should have the hide of a rhino and criticism should not be taken personally.
Cracking the whip, national carrier Air India has sacked 10 pilots from the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) who went on mass sick leave against the plan to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to those from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
"We have sacked 10 pilots who are first officers. IGP has been derecognised and its Mumbai office will be seized,' senior Air India official told IANS here. "We have sent doctors to the houses of pilots who have reported sick and are monitoring the situation closely. No international flight operations have been affected in any way."
IGP is the union of pilots of Air India prior to its merger with Indian Airlines. The pilots have been agitating since midnight on the flag carrier's plans to provide training to Indian Airlines pilots on the Boeing-787 Dreamliner which are to be inducted.
Wrapping up the last foreign tour before her tenure comes to an end on July 25, President Pratibha Patil returned here today after a nine-day visit to the South Africa and Seychelles. Patil's Seychelles trip, where she arrived on April 29,was marked by key developments that included India's support to the island republic in tackling with the menace of piracy, apart from a USD 75 million financial package to it.
During what came as the second Presidential visit from India to the country after 22 years, India inked two key MoUs with Seychelles.
Also see: President Patil defends her foreign tours again
On Rabindranath Tagore's 151st birth anniversary watch this documentary made in 1961 directed by Satyajit Ray. Watch
Details of that abduction in a bit.
Meanwhile, the government has waived almost Rs. 2 crore, allegedly owed by Speaker Meira Kumar for use of her father Jagjivan's Ram residence in Delhi.
An RTI query has revealed that Meira Kumar, on getting the bill, said she had vacated the house number 6 at Krishna Menon Marg in November 2002 and so the government decided to withdraw the recovery notice.
Read the report on NDTV.com
The cop was on his way to a CRPF camp with a water tanker when the abduction happened in the Naxal dominated Nuapada district of Orissa.
NDTV reports, however, say the cop is missing and not abducted. Maoists have called for a bandh in seven states including Andhra Pradesh, Orissa.
This abduction comes less than a week after Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon was released by Naxals.
For those of you waiting with baited breath to see Rahul Bhatt (Mahesh Bhatt's son and a housemate on Bigg Boss) on the big screen, the wait will get longer.
When Mahesh Bhatt was asked whether it was a deliberate decision not to launch his own son and daughter, he said, "No, it is not like that. There is no strategy or plan behind this." "The doors aren't shut on Sunny (Rahul Bhatt). It is
just that he is too fussy. He was offered 'Kalyug' and he said no to it. He was also offered a film by Pooja, he said no to that as well," he said. "There is no need to obsessively weave a film only for him. I don't owe him a break. If he gets a break outside, so be it," he added.
Rahul, an aspiring actor, was in news in 2009 following revelations that David Headley, an accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, had befriended him.
Some of us can count our blessings Rahul is picky.
Here are the details of what Army Chief Gen V K Singh said today on defence preparedness.
The General said the force was operationally prepared to meet any contingency, days after he highlighted major "shortcomings" in the country's defence preparedness. On corruption in defence deals, he said it was important
to ensure probity and transparency.
Speaking about defence preparedness of the country, the Army Chief said, "With great confidence, I can say that operationally we are prepared to take on any contingency that can arise." Singh said defence preparedness was a large field that comprises training of troops, morale of the troops and the type of equipment and other things.
In a letter to the Prime Minister on March 12, Gen Singh had complained about lack of defence preparedness and ammunition. He had also pointed out the obsolescence of air defence systems in the force.The leakage of the letter in the
media had triggered a controversy.
VK Singh retires on May 31.
India has launched an antitrust probe of Google Inc's online advertising business to investigate potential anticompetitive practices, government officials familiar with the matter say, marking the latest setback for the Internet company in an emerging market where it has lofty ambitions.
In other news, Indian national Surjeet Singh, who has been languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail in this eastern Pakistani city for over 30 years, is expected to be freed within three months, his lawyer has said. The Punjab government yesterday told the Lahore High Court that Surjeet had completed his term and would be released.
Through a written report submitted in the court of Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, the government said Surjeet was given the status of an internee last month. The judge was hearing a petition seeking the release of Surjeet filed by his Pakistani lawyer Awais Sheikh, who is also counsel for Sarabjit Singh, an Indian on death row after his conviction for alleged involvement in bomb blasts in 1990.
The Air India management has derecognised the Indian Pilots Guild and terminated the services of 10 pilots who went on strike today. Earlier in the day, the management had warned that the striking pilots must return to work by 6 pm today or face action.
If you're big on nostalgia, read this. A tennis party pose among tea trolleys: full-length dresses and sun hats for the ladies; shirt-sleeve order, neat moustaches and optional pipe for the men. This is just one of many photographs showing life in India at least a century ago - and they were all found in a shoebox.
As France's veers left with Franois Hollande's win, a report of how Nicolas Sarkozy lost the elections because of his personality and not economics.
Read the report on CNN.
The two men are believed to be Kafil Akhtar and Syed Abdul Rehman are now being interrogated by Crime Branch officials and belong to the IM and LeT respectively.
One of the issues that came up during the Clinton visit was the Teesta water dispute. Today, former Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shamsher M. Chowdhury said the recent statement issued by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Dhaka on the bilateral water disputes, is encouraging.
The two countries recently decided to re work the water sharing agreement on the River Teesta, which is the fourth biggest cross border source of water between India and Bangladesh after the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
As per a bilateral agreement of water sharing signed in 1983, 36 percent of water from the river goes to Bangladesh while 39 percent is retained by India. Now, both countries want to modify the sharing rules, and experts believe that Bangladesh could demand 55 percent of water for itself and allow India to claim the remaining 45 percent.
India will curtail its imports of Iranian oil by 20 percent, officials said, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks in New Delhi to enlist India's help with sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran over its nuclear program.
More on this story on Bloomberg
Welcoming the Supreme Court order to strike down the Centre's policy of giving Haj subsidies, Muslim Members of Parliament today sought an arrangement which will directly benefit the pilgrims and improve standards of
the minority community.
"The Haj subsidy of Rs 600 crore is given to Air India and not pilgrims... Under this garb of subsidy, it (money) is going to Air India which is a sick airline," Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi told reporters outside Parliament. Reacting to the apex court order, Owaisi said, "This Rs 600 crore should be invested in education of minority girls because their education standards are very very low."
Mdecins Sans Frontires shut down its operations in the Kupwara district of Kashmir last month and will significantly reduce its activities in the valley as a whole, cutting a staff of 100 by more than half.
Read the blog on the New York Times.
On the New York Times' India blogs: The Avengers may have left comic-book fans salivating and Hollywood studio executives happily counting their box-office receipts,' but the hit superhero movie has taken some criticism in India where audience members have "objected to scenes set in a slum", Dave Itzkoff writes in Arts Beat blog of The New York Times.
Arjun Kapoor, who came under the scanner when heavyweight Salman Khan allegedly refused to promote the actor for his upcoming flick Ishaqzaade on Twitter, has slammed reports of a cold war between them.
According to rumour mills, the snub was a consequence of Kapoor's fall-out with Khan''s sister Arpita on the dating front. However, this development comes as a shock because Kapoor considers Khan his mentor who nudged him to shed 50 kilograms so that he could try his hand at acting.
Till then, Kapoor was satisfied making things happen by assisting directors and producers. "He doesn't need to patronise me on Twitter. I don't think Salman Khan needs to come to me and subscribe to me on a social medium. Today Yash Raj production is the biggest in Bollywood and he [Salman Khan] is doing Yash Raj's next film with them,' Gulf News quoted Kapoor as saying.
In other news, the US has foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to blow up a passenger plane and seized a sophisticated explosive device bearing the "hallmarks" of the 2009 underwear bomb, officials said. The plot was foiled before it threatened any Americans, and no airliners were at risk, a US official said.
A non-metallic explosive device that could have passed through airport security unnoticed like the one used in the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound jet in 2009 by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was recovered, the
official said. It was meant for use by a suicide bomber, he said.
No sniggers on Twitter as Krishna, Clinton pump hands, unlike the Hina Rabbani Khar visit.
The Iranian issue is not a source of discord between India and the US, affirms Krishna, even as Clinton says she hopes India will reduce Iran oil imports. Krisha says the Iran issue should be seen beyond the issue of energy
Krishna says India will provide level playing fields to the US as per law.
US has reasons to believe that Hafiz Sayeed is one of the principal architects in the Mumbai attack."We want to make it visible to the world that Saeed is resposible for the deaths of 166 people, including six Americans. And that he masterminded the 26/11 terror attacks."
Hillary says Pakistan needs to ensure that its territory is not used to further terror attacks.
She is now taking questions from the media, most of which are about terrorism and Hafiz Saeed (the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks).
Clinton says the US is committed to acting against terror threats in Pakistan, Afghanistan and those that threaten to destroy their allies. She says governments need to fight stronger against terrorism.
Hillary says the US believes there needs to be greater trade transit between Indian the rest of South-east Asia. (This is what she had also brought up during the interactive session at La Martiniere school in Kolkata yesterday). And that Indian must build trade and transit to Bangladesh and Myanmar.
She says we should be working to have the largest trade relationship with each other.
She also says terrorism issues were discussed and reiterated that Pakistan needs to act on terror.
Krishna says both India and the US believe that Pak needs to act on terror.
He says India is optimistic about the future relations with the US and conveyed India's concerns about the mobility of IT professionals.
Secretary Hillary Clinton now speaks. "We discussed civil-nuclear agreement. We need to expand trade ties with India and at the same time hope to see India reduce imports of Iranian oil.
SM Krishna-Hillary Clinton address the press after their meeting this morning. Key issues discussed were:
-- Visa problems of Indian students were discussed.
-- Bilateral relations are on track and we are satisfied with our relationship with the US.
-- Need to eliminate terror sanctuaries in Pakistan
-- Discussed peaceful settlement of the Iran nuclear issue.
Incidentally, the US says that Mamata Banerjee and Hillary Clinton did discuss FDI on retail and the Teesta water issue. Yesterday, at the press conference immediately after the two met, the West Bengal CM categorically denied the issues were brought up.
Just in: The Supreme Court strikes down the Centre's policy of giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims. The SC asks the Centre to do away with the policy in 10 years or in effect, phase it out in 10 years.
The Centre had informed the Supreme Court that it had decided to restrict Haj pilgrimage at government subsidy to Muslims only as a "once in a lifetime" affair as against the existing policy of "once in five years".
In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the government said the new guidelines have been framed to ensure that priority is given to those applicants who have never performed Haj.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging a Bombay high court judgement which had directed the Ministry of External Affairs to allow certain private operators to operate the services of 800 of the 11,000 pilgrims earmarked under the VIP quota subsidised by the government.
Earlier, the bench had pulled up the Centre's practice of "politicising" the annual Haj pilgrimage by permitting official delegations to accompany the pilgrims, for which the government offers huge subsidy, saying, "It's a bad religious practice."
Echoing Defence minister AK Antony's statement in Parliament yesterday, that India was battle ready, Army chief General VK Singh says today that defence forces are operationally prepared to meet any contingency.
Read what Antony said in Parliament yesterday.
Ajit Singh said the pilots are not helping by reporting sick. "It has disrupted flights, people are stranded and being put up in hotels. The management will look at the rules of Air India and decide what action is to be taken. There are many methods to deal with their demands but going on strike is not one of them, he said.
The pilots guild however says the strike is not indefinite and they were ready to join back if the management agreed to two among their 10 demands.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today called the strike by Air India pilots as illegal, and said the management of the national carrier would take appropriate action against those involved in the stir.
Singh said the pilots went on sick leave in the midst of their talks with the management of Air India which has led to cancellation of flights. Four Air India international flights from New Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled this morning after about 100 pilots refused to join work. "They are reporting sick. They have not given any notice for any strike. So whatever the Air India management rules and regulations, action will be taken accordingly," Singh said.
Apart from that bomb threat, it will be a taxing day for flyers with four Air India international flights cancelled from Delhi and Mumbai today after about 100
pilots refused to join work. The airlines domestic operations, however, were
unaffected. "Four flights - Delhi-Toronto, Delhi-Chicago, Mumbai-Newark and Mumbai-Hongkong via Delhi have been cancelled due to unavailability of pilots," an Air India spokesperson said here. About 100 pilots have so far not reported for duty, the spokesperson said.
A section of Air India pilots owing allegiance to Indian Pilots Guild are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training. A section of Air India pilots had yesterday threatened to strike work following the failure of talks with the Air India management.
Indian airports have been put on high alert after reports of a sabotage attempt by a human bomb. While the CISF, NSG teams have been alerted, the threat is not specific, but general in nature. Which means the airport supposedly targetted by the human bomb has not been mentioned.
Last evening, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed key strategic issues, including civil-nuclear cooperation, terrorism, the situations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Read the rediff story here
Yesterday in West Bengal, Hillary Clinton came, Hillary Clinton saw (mostly NGOs) and now it's up to Mamata Banerjee to decide if the chief minister can conquer the urge for distractions and use the opportunity to turn the tide. "US investment was not possible because of the political situation (earlier). Now their (the US establishment's) views are favourable for investment,' the chief minister told a 20-minute news conference at Writers' Buildings after meeting the US secretary of state.
Moreon the Telegraph, Calcutta.