May 10, 2012
In a bid to evolve consensus on the Lokpal Bill before it was brought to the Rajya Sabha, the government today reached out to the Opposition and other parties to thrash out differences and ensure the proposed legislation is smoothly passed.
Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Salman Kurshid, Pawan Kumar Bansal and V Narayansamy met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in Parliament House to discuss the Lokpal Bill.
Easily the world's greatest batsman, Tendulkar says he is still striving to 'live up to own expectations'. Read the report on rediff.com
Subramaniam Swamy's venomous post on Twitter. The reference is to his claims that P Chidambaram's son Karti benefitted from the Aircel-Maxis deal.
Subramanian Swamy @Swamy39 Judges are overloaded with work and hence could not pass Orders. So let us wait for July.PC is bleeding and crawling from one lie to another.
Escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said Thursday that local officials are "going crazy with reprisals" against his family -- and his sister-in-law and nephew have both been detained. "They've started taking revenge,' said Chen, who is being treated at a Beijing hospital for injuries suffered during his escaped.
One of the many benefits of vegetarianism, so animal rights activists say, is that it cures impotence. To that end, the global rights group PETA is offering a way to give flagging Kingfisher Airlines a lift.
The bench asked the investigative agency to explain about it tomorrow during further hearing of the case.
"If it is correct, it is serious but if it is not correct, it is more serious," the bench said adding "how the judge came to the conclusion that white fluid came from outside."
At the outset of proceedings Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Nupur said the special CBI court erred in taking cognisance of the murders against her and her husband Rajesh Talwar and discharging another accused Krishna from whose pillow the blood stains of Hemraj had been found.
The special CBI court's order to prosecute dentist Nupur Talwar in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj faced flak from the Supreme Court which said the magistrate should have been more careful in passing her judgment.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and J S Khehar raised questions on some of the findings of the magistrate on the basis of which Nupur Talwar was summoned to face trial.
"The problem is that the magistrate has made it such a big thing. Magistrate has to be careful while passing orders. Even I revise my judgments five times so that it does not affect anyone and to ensure the language of my order is not harsh," the bench said.
"Look how the magistrate has dealt with the issue. Less the magistrate had said, better it would have been," the bench observed while asking CBI to explain on what basis the trial court came to conclusion that some external thing was found in Aarushi's private parts.
Update on the big story today: President Barack Obama's declaration of his support of same-sex marriage.
While Obama's support is mostly symbolic at this point, his statement could signal the beginning of the end of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which prohibits the recognition of gay marriage at the federal level. Aside from all the emotional implications, DOMA presents some very real financial challenges for married same-sex couples, especially when it comes to income tax returns and retirement planning.
Read more on the Huffington Post.
Hours after his angry outburst led to an hour-long adjournment of Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today expressed his "regret" for losing
his temper, saying it was not appropriate. As soon as the House met again at 4 pm, Mukherjee rose to express his "regret" saying he owed an "apology" to the House.
"I tried to intervene in a matter raised by Yashwant Sinha, but the unfortunate incident took place... I lost my temper. It was not appropriate for me," he said amid thumping of desks by BJP members.
Earlier in the day, an angry remark by Mukherjee in the midst of uproar over a spate of issues, including demand for jute bags for wheat, led to adjournment of the Lok Sabha for over an hour.
A new stage musical entitled Wah! Wah! Girls brings the pulsating charm of Indian films to the heart of London.
Read the report on the Telegraph. And if you're headed to meet the Queen, catch it.
Update on the Air India strike: Over 20 Air India flights were cancelled today from Delhi and Mumbai. From Delhi flights to Frankfurt, Shanghai, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago and Seoul were cancelled while Air India flights to New York, Riyadh and Shanghai were not operating from Mumbai.
Air India operates about 50 international flights and 400 domestic flights every day.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, "if they (pilots) are not willing to follow the court order, why would they listen to me. They have to decide to follow the High Court order. That's the law but they are not willing to do so. What can we do."
Zakia Jafri's lawyer's statement on the missing documents in the SIT report:
The lawyer said they have received some compact discs which are inaudible. Some of the photocopies of the originals provided to them by SIT are also unreadable, he added. To this, the lawyer representing the SIT said it had submitted the items in the court after a gap of ten years as the incidents relate to
2002. "We also have the same CDs and the complainant can examine the original CDs which are available with SIT."
Also see our 15:46 pm post.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has hit back at critics who made gibes about her sense of style saying that she doesn't worry about wearing make-up any more.
During a brief tour in India, Bangladesh and China last week, the former first lady was photographed looking fresh-faced and wearing glasses. Experts were quick to highlight her unpolished appearance, saying she looked 'tired and withdrawn' and pictures were circulated on various social media websites, under the heading Hillary au Natural.
"You know at some point, it's just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention,' the Telegraph quoted Clinton as saying in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
"I feel so relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now and if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change. Because you know, if I want to wear my glasses I'm wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back I'm pulling my hair back," she said.
Here's a toast to the lady.
So what is common to Baba Ramdev, Kishore Biyani,Vijay Mallya and the government of India, other than the fact that they have all been in the news lately?
Find out on Firstpost.com
A conversation with: Mohamed Nasheed, Former President of the Maldives, on the NYT blogs. Read
Also see a story of intrigue: A Coup Made in India? On the Open magazine.
It's a question that's been asked before and this is the New York Times' attempt to find the answer, with the focus on Virat Kohli.
It happens every time a brash new talent arrives on the cricket scene. Having run the gantlet of debut matches, 12th-man selections, one-time picks, slumps and streaks that anoint every new selection, and having settled into the national team as a regular, players like Virat Kohli are then evaluated by fans and columnists for their cricketing attitude. In Kohli's case, the consensus was that he had an attitude problem.
A probe conducted by Indian lawmakers has exposed serious flaws in India's supervision of drug manufacturing, raising fears that many pharmaceuticals available in the Indian market may be unfit for consumption.
Read the report on the Wall Street Journal.
This is The Times of India's response to P Sainath's column in the Hindu.
In response to questions put to the newspaper by The Hindu, an editorial spokesman for The Times of India asserted: The reports (of 2008) were written very honestly and in good faith He said the 2008 page was the outcome of a field visit organised by Monsanto for journalists from Nagpur.
The toll in the Air India pilots strike stands at 45 on Day 3, including the nine pilots who were sacked a few hours ago.
Air India stops taking bookings for US and Europe-bound flights upto May 15. As we told you earlier, AI has stopped bookings for flights from Delhi to New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Toronto.
And the management has just sacked nine more striking pilots.
In other news: The tech world is turning Wedbush's managing director Michael Pachter into a punching bag for comments he made on Bloomberg about Mark Zuckerberg and his hooded sweatshirt. Pachter delivered what probably is the standard line of thinking from Wall Street and investors.
The Lok Sabha has reconvened after being adjourned over the home minister's reply over his son's Karti's alleged involvment in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
For now, still no clarity whether the Parliament Budget session will be extended till May 30 to pass important bills like the Lokpal.
The Trinamool Congress today said it will support the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha if it is brought without the clause about appointing Lokayuktas in the
states. "If the Lokpal Bill is presented without Lokayukta (clause), we will support that. This has been our demand. The states should have the powers to appoint the Lokayuktas. This has been our demand...," TMC leader and Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed said.
Right now, CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta speaking in the Lok Sabha.
Vijay Mallya @TheVijayMallya Having dinner at Atmosphere on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Never been so high up in my life. Awesome view.
The photo that John Travolta says proves he could never have groped a masseur in a gay sex assault. It shows the Hollywood star at a photo-shoot in New York on the day he is alleged to have carried out the attack at a hotel in Los Angeles -- 2,475 miles away.
Six workers in the United States have been fired for clicking the 'Like' button on a Facebook page of their boss's political opponent after a judge ruled that 'liking' a page is not constitutionally protected speech.
Sheriff BJ Roberts of Hampton, Virginia, fired six of his staff members for liking the Facebook page of his running opponent in the 2009 election.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, he said that their actions had 'hindered the harmony and efficiency of the office'.
The staff members sued, claiming that their First Amendment rights had been violated.
In search of Kolkata's lost jazz scene. On the New York Times' India blogs.
Also read: The Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The story of Bombay's Jazz Age.
Even as the Olympic torch begins its journey to London, a strong demand was made in the Rajya Sabha that India should not participate in London Olympics Games as the International Olympic Committee has rejected its calls to drop Dow Chemical, responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy, as sponsor of Games.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Prasanta Chatterjee (CPI-M) said Dow Chemical, which is sponsoring London Olympics has refused to take responsibility of the Bhopal Gas tragedy in which 3,787 persons were killed on the spot in 1984.
Chatterjee said Dow Chemicals took over the companyresponsible for gas leak and the victims of the tragedy have appealed to the government to boycott the Games.
Read: London Olympics torch lit in ancient Olympia
Osama bin Laden may be dead a year ago, but the man remains firmly in the news. A statement issued by the Pakistani government last week stating that the Abbottabad Commission will release its finding report this month was apparently a tactic to "pressurise' the commission and the announcement was made without consulting its members.
Read the report on the Tribune, Pakistan
Back to what happened in Parliament. Lok Sabha, as we told you, has been adjourned till 4 pm over the Aircel-Maxis deal.
Noting that private airlines had raised fares exorbitantly in the wake of Air India strike, members in the Rajya Sabha today voiced concern over the matter even as the government promised to ask such carriers not to take advantage of the situation.
Raising the matter during Zero Hour, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (BJP) said passengers were facing harassment due to cancellation of Air India flights on one hand and hike in fares by private airlines on the other.
Naqvi said the private airlines were taking advantage of the situation and exploiting passengers by exorbitantly raising fares, even more than doubling ticket costs. He demanded a direction be given to the Civil Aviation Minister to tell the House as to what action was being taken against such private airlines.
On the Daily Mail: Indian lawmakers have mounted a massive architectural offensive on the country's colonial heritage.
In what can only be described as a shocking disregard not just for the aesthetic value of Edwin Lutyens' New Delhi but also basic civic norms, as many as 90 MPs have tampered with the basic design of their official bungalows with ugly additions
Stay with us for all the drama from Parliament.
And speaking of Parliament, as India celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of the Joint House of Parliament on May 13, here is the first column in a series, exclusively on rediff.com.
Columnist and senior journalist Aakar Patel says given the fact that the middle class is not responsible in India and cannot be trusted to lead, it is remarkable that our legislature, even with all its vulgar traits, has performed as superbly as it has. Read
The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 4 pm after ruckus over the Aircel-Maxis deal.
Read: PC delayed Aircel deal to benefit son, Karti: Swamy
The IAS has a shortage of about 30 per cent officers. Against a total strength of 6,154 IAS officers, India only has 4,377, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy told the Rajya Sabha. "1,777 posts are lying vacant," he said. UP has the highest number of vacant positions at 216, followed by Bihar (128), MP (118), Rajasthan (112) and Jharkhand (100).
Karti said, "I categorically state that neither I nor any member of my family have acquired or hold any share in any telecom company. In particular, I categorically state that neither I nor any member of my family have acquired or hold any share in either Aircel or Maxis."
He said the statement was first made by a person who is known to "indulge in making wild and reckless allegations". "It is unfortunate that the same allegation should be repeated in Parliament by an honourable MP," Karti said.
Sinha alleged that the son of the former Finance Minister got a 5 per cent shares from Maxis. "Prima facie what happened was a big scam and government
should not hush it up," Sinha said, demanding a statement from Mukherjee, who is the Leader of the House, as also the Finance Minister.
Quoting his son Karti, Home minister P Chidambaram said, "Neither I nor any member of my family holds any share in Aircel or Maxis. These are wild, reckless allegations and the forum of Parliament is being misused to level allegations against private citizens.
Karti today dismissed allegations by BJP MP Yashwant Sinha that he owns five per cent stake in a telecom company which was benefited from the 2G spectrum allocation. In a statement, Karti said it was "deeply regretted" thatthe privileged forum of Parliament is misused to make "wild and reckless" allegations against a private citizen.
His remarks came as Sinha raised the issue of Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 and alleged that Karti was benefited by the deal and Chidambaram was the Finance Minister then.
Ruckus in the Lok Sabha after P Chidambaram reads out a statement on his son Karti's behalf on the Aircel-Maxis deal. The Opposition erupts with a chorus of Chidambaram must go. Karti denies having any share in the deal.
Janata Party president Subhramaniam Swamy's claim is that Karty made Rs 26 lakh out of the deal in 2007.
The Lok Sabha adjourned with the Opposition saying they will not let the House function till the home minister resigns.
The US Embassy has categorically rejected an op-ed published in a Pakistan daily that claimed a meeting took place between US ambassador Cameron Munter and Jamaat ud Daawa chief Hafiz Saeed.
"Ambassador Munter has never met with Hafiz Saeed,' said an embassy statement, mentioning the op-ed titled 'For how long?' that appeared on May 9.
"No US official has made any promises to, or agreements with Hafiz Saeed,' the embassy said.The statement said Hafiz Saeed is a wanted terrorist responsible for the Mumbai 2008 attack that killed 166, including six Americans, reports The Dawn.
The opinion piece on The Hindu on the Supreme Court's order that the Haj subsidy should be phased out.
An angry remark by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the midst of uproar over a spate of issues, including demand for jute bags for wheat, led to adjournment of the Lok Sabha for over an hour this afternoon.
As BJP members stormed the Well to press their demand for availability of jute bags, an agitated Mukherjee tried to respond, but when they continued with the protest he made a certain remark angering the entire BJP.
AIADMK members too trooped into the Well seeking to have a say in the Aircel-Maxis deal that took place in 2006. The issue was raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha targeting the then Finance Minister, alleging that his son was involved.
Home Minister P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister at that time. Amid cries of 'shame, shame' by the opposition members, Sinha alleged that the son of the former Finance Minister got a 5 per cent shares from Maxis.
The stalemate in the Air India pilots's strike continuews. Civil Aviation MinisterAjit Singh today reaffirmed the government's readiness to hold talks with the pilots and hoped that they would follow the High Court order declaring the stir illegal. He also said the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India was a mistake.
"The High Court has given a very clear order. Let us hope that pilots follow the High Court judgement. Everything is negotiable, but they must reach out to us first," Singh said. Holding that interest of the airline and passengers was of paramount interest, the Minister said, "They must make sure that Air India does not lose credibility." The Delhi High Court had yesterday held the strike illegal and barred the pilots from any protest action.
The Pilots' Guild says they are willing to talk to the minister and want to meet the minister.
While we wait for one of them to blink first, Air India is losing Rs 10 crore per day due to the strike.
Enormously popular, extremist Saudi clerics are promoting hatred, violence, and intolerance on Facebook and Twitter. Can they be stopped?
Read the report here
While we get you updates on that Tamil Nadu story, Pakistan today successfully test fired nuclear-capable Hatf-III ballistic missile with a range
of 290 km that could hit targets in India. A top Pakistani military official said the country had developed a "strong nuclear deterrence capability" and was fully capable of thwarting any aggression.
A statement issued by the military described the "training launch" of the short-range Hatf III or Ghaznavi missile as successful.
An interesting piece of information on Dr Khalil Chisti, the Pakistani doctor who has been granted permission to go home.
Dr Chisti was born in Ajmer to a prosperous family of caretakers of the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti shrine. Chishti was studying in Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947 and chose to stay there.
A rundown of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China, Bangladesh and India.
In other stories:
Jimi Hendrix's estate comes out against a biopic on him. Read
And the dishy Marion Cotillard opens up about 'Dark Knight Rises,' new motherhood and her splashy Cannes debut. Read
There's more to the Mumbai terror alert than meets the eye. Yesterday, reports in the media indicated that a terror alert had been sounded in Mumbai and across many Indian airports: five terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Taiba had entered the country and planned to target petrochemical installations in Mumbai using the sea routes. These reports were similar to those a couple of days earlier, concerning Gujarat, where coastal police tightened watch over offshore islands and the petrochemical complex at Jamnagar.
Also see our 11:55 am post.
An ecstatic Dr Chisti says he is happy and relieved at the SC decision allowing him to go home to Pakistan but asks his government to release Indian prisoners languishing there. He says he is grateful and thankful to the Indian judicial system.
The microbiologist has been asked to deposit Rs 5 lakh and his passport with the Indian embassy and return to India on November 1.
Here are the details on the gas leak in the Rajya Sabha. The House was today adjourned twice during the pre-lunch sitting on unusual grounds as members complained of leakage of some kind of gas. At 11.28 am, when Minister of State V Narayanasamy was responding to a question, Congress member Rama Chandra Khuntia complained that there was a gas leakage. Other members too made a similar complaint.
Chairman Hamid Ansari then adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When the House reassembled, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien announced another adjournment till noon. The gas leakage complaint comes three days after Parliament complex faced three brief power cuts on May 7.
First the Air India pilots strike, 21 flight cancellations and now this. A section of Kingfisher pilots have reported sick in protest against non-payment of salaries. The Mumbai-based Kingfisher pilots have decide not to fly from tonight.
Then again, who are these people still booking KF flights?
The Supreme Court has allowed the Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chisti to go home after depositing Rs 5 lakh.
Dr Chisti has to also deposit his passport to the Indian embassy in Karachi and has to return to India by November 1.
The 82-year-old Pakistani was awarded life term in a 20-year-old murder case, can visit his country temporarily. The SC granted permission on humanitarian grounds.
The Bench said Chishti was an eminent scientist of global repute and is 82 year old with no previous criminal record and the issues involved are the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Members holding their nose asked for the Rajya Sabha to be adjourned. The House was first adjourned for 15 minutes, but will now remain so till noon, after gas leakage complaints. MPs say the foul smell is because of unclean toilets.
The RS has now reconvened.
While on Pakistan, read MP, author and columnist, Tarun Vijay's piece on rediff.com.
The number of people in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad daring to stand up before the hate, anti-India junta and the ISI is quite small. They need to be saluted and supported, says Vijay after a recent visit to Pakistan.
Updates on the 'foul smell' in the Rajya Sabha in a bit.
Meanwhile, on the Tribune, Pakistan: Mobile retailers or terrorists?: India confuses Lahore businessmen with militants.
The big story on the Times of India today: What was the need for amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to put down these words in his final report before the Supreme Court which became public this week?
"The cost for boarding and lodging for both the amicus curiae at BSF mess, Gandhinagar as well as the cost for local transportation by private taxi was arranged by the SIT...the cost of travel from Delhi to Ahmedabad and back (for both the advocates) was borne by the amicus curiae. In all the interactions with the witnesses, my advocate colleague Gaurav Agrawal was present."
Also on The Hindu, P Sainath's piece Monsanto, TOI and the truth about BT Read
Sainath is the Rural Affairs Editor for the Hindu and author of the book Everybody Loves A Good Drought. For more than two years, the book remained No.1 amongst non-fiction bestsellers on diverse lists across the country. Eventually, it entered the ranks of Penguin India's all-time best sellers.
Global non-profit organisation Asia Society's India-born head Vishakha Desai, who has advised President Barack Obama on India related issues, is stepping down as President and CEO after 22 years at the city-based leading cultural and educational body.
Read the report on rediff.com.
Just as it looked that the ailing national carrier Air India will take-off on the wings of a Rs.30,000 crore bailout package, the agitation by well over 200 pilots belonging to the Indian Pilots Guild has once again grounded the airline.
That's the opinion piece on the Hindu. Read
Two days after suspected Maoists killed an abducted assistant sub-inspector of police, Kruparam Majhi, in the Nuapada region of Odisha, Naxals today killed a Sarpanch in the Gondia district in Maharashtra.
Just like the ASI, the sarpanch too was abducted by the Naxals. The sarpanch was in captivity since May 7.
The body was recovered this morning with bullet injury marks. Police had launched a suo moto search operation following the abduction.
Appearing before a bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar, senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan urged the court to grant permission for withdrawing the petition.
"Your lordships please don't open the file at all. Kindly grant me permission to withdraw the petition and move the appropriate forum," Dhawan urged the court. Accordingly, the bench granted permission for withdrawal
of the petition.
Tejinder Singh had approached the Supreme Court on April 25 seeking a CBI inquiry on the alleged role of the Army Chief in the purported bugging of the Defence Minister's office and action against him for "misconduct".
The government has already denied reports of bugging.
Tejinder Singh's counsel says he will present documentary proof against the Army Chief. Tejinder Singh, in his petition, requested the court to summon and initiate proceedings against the army chief and others for allegedly making libellous statement against him in the media and accusing him of bribery.
On March 29, he told the court that a press release issued by the army headquarters in Delhi on March 5 levelled serious allegations against Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh. He told the court that the media could not be addressed directly by army officers.
As India celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of the Joint House of Parliament on May 13, here is the first column in a series, exclusively on rediff.com.
Columnist and senior journalist Aakar Patel says given the fact that the middle class is not responsible in India and cannot be trusted to lead, it is remarkable that our legislature, even with all its vulgar traits, has performed as superbly as it has. Read
The decade-long flow of funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation into India's HIV control efforts will stop from June 2013, a foundation official said today, intensifying fears among sections of health activists about the future of the programme.
Avahan was the first large-scale health initiative in India to be supported by the foundation, said to be t he world's largest philanthropic organisation, and will be the first to be closed if it sticks to the deadline announced today.
Read more on the Telegraph, Calcutta.
US President Barack Obama on Thursday publicly endorsed same sex marriage, putting an end to days of speculation about his "evolving views" on the issue. In an interview to the ABC's Good Morning America to be aired on Thursday, Obama said his views on the issue have evolved now and he thinks that "same-sex couples should be able to get married." It may be termed as a historic moment in the civil rights history of America, as no other sitting President has earlier supported marriage between people of the same sex.
The rupee fell the most since December to a new closing low on Wednesday, while currency strategists forecast more pain as central bank intervention remains limited and inflows dry up.
More on the TOI