May 25, 2012
Swapan Dasgupta '@swapan55 BJP has problems but today's "skip meeting" controversy was purely a media creation
Dasgupta is a senior journalist
The CBI is done with questioning YSR Cong chief Jagan Reddy. He was questioned for seven hours, but it's not done yet. The questioning will continue tomorrow.
The MP from Kadapa drove down to the Raj Bhavan road office of the investigative agency to be questioned in the Vanpic deal aspect of the disproportionate assets case against him.
The project deals with the allocation of 28,000 acres of land by the YSR government after acquiring the land from farmers at a cheap rate. The CBI's case is that Reddy made crores of rupees via Sakshi newspaper and TV owned by him.
Kobad Ghandy on the the current state of the Indian economy. The author is a Marxist/Maoist thinker. Read
Meanwhile, the UPA's outside supporter Samajwadi Party today gave a call for a state-wide bandh in Uttar Pradesh on May 31 to press for roll back of petrol price hike.
Two key UPA allies - Trinamool Congress and DMK - have already stepped up pressure on the Centre to roll back the steepest-ever petrol price hike of Rs 7.54 per litre. The TMC sponsored bandh is tomorrow, the DMK bandh on May 31.
Didi, the street-fighter, always takes quick decisions on bandhs and rasta rokos.
Ray of hope on the fuel hike horizon is that Reddy concedes that chief ministers will be taken into account before the final decision is made.
Reddy says that there is never a good time for a price hike, addressing the issue that the price hike was announced during the UPAII anniversary celebrations.
The petroleum minister says instant solutions cannot be found to tackle the fuel hike and some amount of sacrifice is necesssary for long-term goals.
Reddy says the government cannot run the country based on popular sentiment only. It is therefore time for the states and the centre to jointly come out with a workabale formula.
Jaipal Reddy says he cannot allow the image of oil companies to take a beating and promises that the government will watch the situation for a few days. (So does this mean no rollback soon?).
Addressing the bandh call by allies and the opposition, Reddy says, "All parties need to work together to tackle the the situation."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will organise a protest march in Kolkata tomorrow while DMK gave a call for an agitation in Tamil Nadu
on May 30 as the two key UPA allies step up pressure on the Centre today to roll back the steepest-ever petrol price hike.
The protest action by the Trinamool Congress supremo and the DMK are expected to lend weight to a united opposition onslaught against the hike with the BJP-led NDA and the Left already announcing an all india bandh on May 31. Anna Hazare also announced support for the Bharat Bandh, saying his supporters will participate in the stir.
Joining the growing political opposition to the Rs 7.54 per litre hike, the ruling BJD in Odisha gave a call for a state-wide bandh on May 31 to demand an immediate rollback.
Banerjee would lead the procession from Jadavpur to Hazra crossing, covering a distance of 5 km in south Kolkata.
Today is International Missing Children's Day. To mark the event, The Sun yesterday told how a child disappears every three minutes in Britain.
The Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif is living proof that you can sometimes tell the truth more easily with fiction than facts. Hanif is a journalist in one of the world's more dangerous places to be a journalist: Pakistan. He's also become one of the country's most prominent and provocative novelists. His book A Case of Exploding Mangoes told the tale of real-life Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq, who died in a plane crash in 1988. Few believed it was an accident, and Hanif's novel delved into the conspiracies (and conspiracy theories).
Read the interview here
Also see Archana Masih's interview with Mohd Hanif on rediff.com's
As the rupee loses value against the U.S. dollar, executives at Indian companies that earn in dollars should be rejoicing, right? Wrong.
Here's why... On the WSJ
A New Jersey man was arrested in the killing of Etan Patz, Police Commissioner Raymond W Kelly announced on Thursday, an extraordinary moment in a case that has gripped New York City's psyche ever since the 6-year-old boy vanished in SoHo on his way to school in 1979.
The gripping story on the NYT
Shane Warne on Twitter: Look who I bumped into at the cricket !!! The man is super cool & was the best.
(The man in the pic is the great Sir Vivian Richards)
Just so you know: Manish Malhotra '@ManishMalhotra1 Since morning here working on the decor for @kjohar25 birthday bash.
Egg on the face for the Times of India for it's 'exclusive' pictures of Jagan Reddy's palatial home. The pictures were in fact liberally copy-pasted from another website and the the pictures of Jagan's 'home' were in fact, from restaurants, Italian real estate websites...
Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch became the latest global banks to downgrade India's economic growth outlook today, in a sign that the sharp slowdown affecting Asia's third-largest economy is worsening, reports the Financial Times.
Goldman cut India's growth estimates to 6.6 per cent from 7.2 per cent for the fiscal year ending in March 2013, while BofA revised its forecast to 6.5 per cent from 6.8 per cent for the same period.
Calling for expansion of the NDA, Jaitley in his speech said the BJP must "avoid" any kind of contradictory voices emerging from "within".
In the resolution, moved by party's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, the party said, "people look up to the BJP. It is our duty to rise to the occasion, measure up to the expectations and assure the people of the country that the BJP indeed is the instrument which will redeem India."
Seeking to attract regional parties towards it to strengthen the NDA, the party went on the offensive against the Centre accusing it of encroaching upon the federal principles to curb the powers of the state governments. "It is legitimate to draw an inference that respect for federal principles is not a part of the DNA of the Congress", the resolution asserted.
Claiming that the national mood was against the Congress and it must be exploited, BJP leader Arun Jaitley today sought to drive a wedge in the ruling UPA asking its allies to "not only proclaim but strike as well".
"The allies of the UPA are a discontented lot. However, they are willing to proclaim but unwilling to strike. They should not only proclaim but strike too", party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain briefing reporters on the deliberations
quoted Jaitley as stating on the political resolution at the National Executive here. He claimed parties like SP and BSP are "pushed to submissiveness due to pressures on them by the CBI".
Alleging the political management of the UPA is disastrous for the nation, he said, "there is a crisis of leadership. The head of the government is not the natural leader of either the party or the nation. The lack of leadership is responsible for the directionless and the absence of decision making".
A trial has been carried out at Heathrow airport to ensure it can cope with the "significant challenge" posed by the number of visitors during the Olympic Games, reports the Times, London.
On July 26, the day before the Games begin, 16,000 more bags than usual are expected to arrive, and on August 13, the day after the closing ceremony, handlers are preparing to see off an extra 53,000 pieces of luggage, an increase of 35 per cent, on the busiest day in the airport's history.
About 80 per cent of all visitors to the Games will pass through Heathrow, and hundreds of extra border staff will be brought in to ease the queues at passport control. BAA, Heathrow's operator, published figures this month showing that some passengers had to queue for up to three hours to reach passport control in April.
Sushma Swaraj '@SushmaSwaraj BJP I must reach Delhi tonight because I have to leave early morning for an important party function in U.P tomorrow..
Follow all that's happening at the BJP meet here.
J-K CM Omar Abdullah's response to the BJP's announcement that says June 6 will be celebrated as Save Kashmir Day in protest of the Interlocutors Report
Omar Abdullah '@abdullah_omar Oh great, now the #BJP is going to spend a fortnight in July trying to save us Kashmiris. Time better spent saving themselves, we're fine :)
Rajeev Srinivasan suggests some ways that a layman, not an economist or politician, might accept. Read the column on rediff.com.
Also see: The saga of the rupee and why it is falling
The ongoing strike by a section of Air India pilots has not affected the national carrier's operations in the domestic sector, a senior airlines official said today.
"A total number of 108 flights a day are being operated from various stations in the southern region as per schedule," Sunil Kishen, Executive Director (South), Air India, said.
He said the carrier was maintaining its summer schedule of operations to the Gulf and South East Asia but admitted there was a "small dip" in the passenger count on all sectors following apprehensions arising due to the strike.
"None of our pilots in this sector has gone on strike and it is the regular workforce which is operating the flights. And even in the sectors where a section of pilots has gone on strike, a contingency plan has been put in and passengers are being flown to the destinations," he said.
Prasanna D Zore reporting from the BJP National Executive meet says June 6 will be celebrated as Save Kashmir Day in protest of the Interlocutors Report. The BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad says there are many loopholes in the report.
BJP workers have appealed to people not to use petrol, diesel vehicles when protesting the fuel hike on May 31.
The PMO says petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy's meeting with the PM was not about rising fuel prices.
Almost a year after three bomb blasts shook the city killing 27 people and injuring many others, the ATS today filed a 4000-page charge sheet in a special MCOCA court against four accused in the case.
The four accused, Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Shaikh, Kanwar Pathrija and Haroon Naik, are facing trial under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), IPC and other laws. A copy of the confession given by Nadeem before a Magistrate has also been filed in the court.
Five others accused belonging to Indian Mujahideen, including Waqas, Tabrez and Yasin Bhatkal, who are suspected to have played a key role in engineering the blasts, are absconding.
Despite a new found bonhomie between Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari, differences in BJP seem to be far from over at its National Executive meeting here today with leaders L K Advani and Sushama Swaraj set to stay away
from a rally scheduled for this evening.
"Advani's schedule was fixed earlier so he won't be there and Swaraj has to attend a programme in Ghaziabad tomorrow morning," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said downplaying their absence at the rally which has been organised to project BJP as a vibrant party leading the NDA, which is ready to take on the UPA.
Modi and Gadkari are set to be the star speakers at the rally with a senior leader remarking that their bonhomie has upset other senior leaders, including Advani and Swaraj.
French President Francois Hollande and girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler are set to marry 'in the near future', it has been revealed. Presidential aides have been urging France's first ever unmarried 'first couple' to wed quickly to avoid protocol problems on state visits to strict religious countries.
Advisors have warned the couple that their status may be viewed as 'living in sin' by hard-line states like Saudi Arabia or The Vatican. And it seems that the pair have now decided to bow to pressure and tie the knot.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was raised on cricket and played the game during her college days in India and after moving to the US threw herself into a
somewhat similar bat-and-ball sport baseball to keep alive her interest.
This is among several interesting facts mentioned in "Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen", the latest book of David Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, a Fortune 500 company that runs a few of the worlds most popular fast food brands KFC and Pizza Hut.
Actress Shilpa Shetty, who gave birth to a healthy baby boy on May 21, has been discharged from the Hinduja Healthcare hospital in Khar, a western Mumbai suburb. The actress and her husband Raj Kundra were spotted leaving the hospital with their bundle of joy.
And of course, Anna Hazare has joined the call to arms against the petrol price hike.
"My activists will support the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the BJP and Left parties on May 30 to protest petrol price hike," Hazare said while addressing a public meeting in Nashik last night.
"If the government does not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, I will begin my fast unto death at New Delhi," he said. When reporters quizzed him about his health and would be take up fasting during ill-health also, Hazare said, "I am totally fit."
In other news, DRDO Director General Vijay Kumar Saraswat today said Agni-V missile which took 30 years to be developed, was the best such thing in the 21st century. Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India.
It is part of the Agni series of missiles, one of the missile systems under the original IntegratedGuided Missile Development Programme. At a felicitation function at ITM university here, Saraswat said the making of the missile had become possible because of the support and cooperation of people like former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi and former scientific advisor A P J Abdul Kalam.
Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley speaking now. Addressing the UPA allies, he says they should not just preach, but act as well, probably referring to the Trinamool Congress.
Just as Jaitley is done speaking, Gopinath Munde and Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP's Muslim face) get into a spat at the press conference over who should answer the questions. Munde snaps at Hussain when he answers a question posed by a journalist. The party's infighting out in the open?
The BJP moving the resolution says that the UPA-II failed to tackle terrorism and Naxalism. Sushma Swaraj says the petrol price hike will be opposed in Parliament. If the Parliament is not in session, the party will take to the streets.
That's Prasanna D Zore reporting from the BJP's National Executive meet at Mumbai.
Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore reporting from the BJP's National Executive meet at Mumbai: Gopinath Munde says UPA-II under PM Manmohan Singh is the most corrupt government since Independence. The BJP also demands a rollback on petrol price hike and a reduction in state taxes.
On June 4, almost a year ago, the BJP national executive had called the UPA regime "the most corrupt government since independence" and accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of "maintaining a conspiracy of silence" on the numerous scams that have taken place under his watch.
The anti-terrorism squad has filed a chargesheet in 13/7 Mumbai triple blasts that claimed 27 lives.
Also read: Breakthrough, two arrested from Bihar
Shiv Aroor @ShivAroor Sushma hates Jaitley hates Gadkari hates Modi hates Advani hates Yeddyurappa hates Ananthkumar hates Rudy hates Sushma hates Jaitley hates..
Last October, an artist laid out 20 tons of soil smuggled from China's Tibetan regions in a basketball court in Dharamsala, the Himalyan hill town where the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan exiles are based.
Read the blog on the Wall Street Journal.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today indicated that her government may provide some relief to Delhiites from the hike in petrol prices.
"Wait till Monday for my budget," Dikshit, who also handles Finance portfolio, told reporters when asked whether her government was planning to provide some relief to people from petrol price hike. Dikshit had last night indicated that Delhi government may consider cutting taxes on petrol to provide some relief from the hike in fuel price.
"We will see what we can do," she had told reporters in Jammu yesterday when asked whether her government will reduce VAT on petrol. In the steepest-ever increase, petrol price have been increased by Rs 7.50 a litre.
The Chief Minister, however, justified the steep hike saying oil companies were incurring huge losses and the hike was necessary.
The DMK will hold a state-wide protest on May 30 against the petrol price hike, says M Karunanidhi. The BJP has already announced a nationwide bandh on May 31.
Also read on the Wall Street Journal: India needs more bold steps on fuel prices
It may be possible to develop a new male contraceptive pill after researchers in Edinburgh identified a gene critical for the production of healthy sperm.
French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Afghanistan on a previously unannounced visit. Mr Hollande, who took office earlier this month, flew into Kabul and is expected to spend only a few hours in Afghanistan, visiting French soldiers.
Read the report on the BBC.
I established a Facebook account in 2008. My motivation was ignoble: I wanted to distribute my journalism more widely. I have acquired since then just over four thousand "friends" in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, the Middle East, and of course, closer to home
The full story on the New Yorker
Porn starlets Brooklyn Lee and Tasha Reign have revealed that former President Bill Clinton took the initiative to meet them at a fundraiser in Monaco.
Lee, an award-winning porn star, said she noticed Clinton eyeing their table at Wednesday's Nights in Monaco fund-raiser, which was benefitting the William J Clinton Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Lee and fellow skin flick siren Reign said they were at the event as guests of Marc Bell, the CEO of the company that owns Penthouse magazine. The women said that they wanted to meet Clinton, but were turned away.
Or why does the Queen never sneeze in public? The Daily Mail has a light-heated look at the little secrets.
The Special CBI court has adjourned to June 9, the plea filed by former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa seeking anticipatory bail.
Yeddyurappa who is being investigated by the CBI in connection with the mining scam had sought anticipatory bail fearing arrest. He left early this morning for Mumbai for the second day of the BJP's national executive meet.
And the birthday wish from Karan Johar's best friend:
@iamsrkkhan1 RT @SRKFC1: Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to the Director and one of the Best Friend of @iamsrk KARAN JOHAR - @kjohar25 :)
And the birthday wishes are pouring in on Twitter.
maheep kapoor '@maheepkapoor HhhaaapPpyy 40th to the coolest guy I know @kjohar25 .. I love him xoxo
Genelia D'souza '@geneliadHappy birthday @kjohar25 lots n lots of love n love 2day n always
Ehsaan Noorani '@EhsaanSELHappy Birthday bro see this evening @kjohar25
taran adarsh '@taran_adarshMany happy returns of the day to @kjohar25 Have a super day and a fab year. Wish you love, luck, peace, happiness and good health always.
Kumar Taurani '@kumartauraniMany many happy returns of the day @kjohar25 GOD BLESS YOU....
Manish Malhotra '@ManishMalhotra1@kjohar25 happy b'day my dearest friend :-)
Bipasha Basu '@bipsluvurselfHappy Happy Birthday @kjohar25 .Love ur spirit!Looking fwd to d most amazing n anticipated party in a long time.I love bdays!Big Hug!
This is what the Daily Mail has to say about Aishwarya Rai's presence at Cannes.
She may have been criticised in her native India for not losing her baby weight fast enough, but Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looked nothing short of dazzling at the AmfAR Cinema Against Aids gala in Cannes last night. Baby weight or not, the Bollywood actress, 38, lived up to her title of 'the worlds most beautiful woman' in a gold embroidered sari and co-ordinating tailored jacket with Mandarin collar.
Shedding his defiant posture after persuasion by party leaders, former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa today left here for Mumbai to attend the concluding session of the BJP National Executive meeting.
"I am leaving for Mumbai to greet Nitin Gadkari on his re-election as the party President for the second successive term", Yeddyurappa, who had earlier decided to skip the meet apparently upset over being sidelined said.
Yeddyurappa was persuaded by his party top leaders including Gadkari and Arun Jaitely to participate in the executive which the state party strongman had said should discuss Karnataka party affairs also among other issues.
After months of speculation about what she would wear and if she'll manage to shed all the post-partum weight, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has finally made it to Cannes. She wore an Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla chikan sari for the do and teamed it with smokey eyes and a soft updo.
After the resignation of Sanjay Joshi, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi will come face to face today at the party's national executive meet.
Joshi's head was the price for Modi's presence at the party's national executive meeting. Modi proved his dominance over the BJP and its top leadership, including Gadkari, on Thursday by turning up for the national executive meet in Mumbai only after the exit of Joshi.
Stay with us for all that's happening on Day 2 of the meet.
Tell us: Can BJP win the 2014 election?
Yesterday, further cracks appeared in Team Anna with one of its prominent members, who designed the social media campaign for the protests, shooting off a letter to Arvind Kejriwal questioning the way in which the anti-corruption movement has been led.
The letter by Shivendra Singh Chauhan came after a meeting at lawyer Prashant Bhushan's residence last week over the issue of managing India Against Corruption's Facebook page.
The Rapid Action Force and a host of police personnel have been deployed across Hyderabad to maintain law and order in view of YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy's questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday. Jagan reached the CBI's office around 10.30 am on Friday. Scores of Jagan's supporters have reached Hyderabad to show their solidarity. The situation right now is peaceful. No agitations or dharnas have been organised by the Y S R Congress.
Read Vicky Nanjappa's report on rediff.com
Pakistan and India have finalised a new visa regime that seeks to do away with the decades-old strict travel restrictions on cross-border movement of their citizens. Understanding on the new agreement was reached here on the first day of talks between the neighbouring countries' interior secretaries, said a Pakistani official.
That's the message penned by Mohit Chandra, a partner at the consulting firm KPMG. And he wouldn't hire you if he had a choice.
Great read on Firstpost.com
The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession. A financial and economic crisis caused by too much private-sector debt and leverage led to a massive re-leveraging of the public sector in order to prevent Great Depression 2.0. But the subsequent recovery has been anemic and sub-par in most advanced economies given painful deleveraging.
Read the full report here
In a fresh blow to the battered relations between America and Pakistan, US Congressmen on the powerful Senate appropriations committee have voted to deduct 1 million dollars from the 800 million dollars annual budget for each of the 33 years that Dr Shakeel Afridi has been sentenced to, for working with the CIA.
Dr Afridi had set up a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad in an attempt to obtain blood samples from Osama Bin Laden''s family, as the CIA tried to confirm the Al-Qaeda chief''s presence in a nearby villa.
Kadapa MP and YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to be arrested by the CBI today when he appears before it for questioning.
On Thursday, fearing arrest, Jagan filed an anticipatory bail petition in the CBI court which was rejected. Speaking from Guntur, he said the Congress was scared of him as he would sweep the bypolls.
"Why such haste by the CBI? I was asked to appear by the CBI court on May 28, but now the CBI wants me to appear before it on Friday. There is a conspiracy by the state government to delay or postpone the bypolls which will be done in case there is a law and order situation if I am arrested. They want to blame me and postpone the polls,'' he said, adding that if he was arrested, his mother and wife would campaign for his party.
Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata heads the ET-Corporate Dossier ranking of India Inc's Most Powerful CEOs for the fourth year running.Set to retire by the end of the year, Tata will leave a vacancy at the top, just as former Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy dropped off the list of Most Powerful CEOs only when he ceased to be a chief executive.
More on the Economic Times
The rupee depreciated by 27 paise to Rs 55.92 against the dollar in early trade today on stronger dollar against euro and Asian currencies.
Forex dealers said besides dollar's gains in the overseasmarkets on persistent eurozone worries, a weak opening in thestock market also put pressure on the local unit.
However, the Reserve Bank's indication that it may sell dollars directly to oil companies capped the losses.