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Krishan waters row: CM to lead all party delegation to Delhi today Hyderabad, Dec 19 : Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy will lead an All Party delegation and present a Memorandum on the judgement of Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on Krishna Waters (KWDT-II) to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh tomorrow in New Delhi. The Chief Minister along with the All Party delegation will request the Prime Minister to render justice to Andhra Pradesh. It may be recalled here that the Chief Minister assured at the All Party Meeting held recently on Brijesh Kumar Tribunal verdict on Krishna Waters Dispute to lead an All Party delegation to the Prime Minister. Later, the Chief Minister will receive 'the Best State: Governance' award presented by the India Today Group at 1145 hours. He will also participate in a panel discussion after the award ceremony and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Union Minister for Overseas Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi among others will participate. The India Today study on 'The state of the States' is an attempt to find out which of India's States offer its citizens the best opportunities both at work and outside.
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Kiran remains defiant; vows to stall bifurcation process
Governor ESL Narasimhanis seen receiving the President Pranab Mukherjee at Hakimpet Airbase on Thursday.
Hyderabad, Dec 19 (IPT) : Refuting allegations that he was tacitly toeing the Congress high command’s line on the State bifurcation issue, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday asserted he would continue his fight till the division process was stopped. “I am committed to what I said earlier...that I will try to stop the (bifurcation) cyclone. I am a warrior and will continue the fight till the end,” he told reporters during an informal chat in the Assembly premises this afternoon. Mr. Reddy’s assertion comes even as the Assembly gets ready to debate the draft AP Reorganisation Bill, 2013, that provides for creation of a new state of
Telangana. Frequent adjournments and pandemonium are holding up the debate. “I did not attend the House on Monday (when the draft Bill was tabled) only because I was unwell,” he said, refuting allegations from various quarters that he deliberately skipped the session despite vowing to stall the legislation.” “It is for the AP Legislative Council and Assembly to decide whether the State should remain united or be separated. The Centre should go ahead with the division process only as per the Constitution,” said the Chief Minister. “In the bifurcation of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the (respective) Assemblies passed resolu-
tions based on which the Centre carried out the division,” Mr. Reddy pointed out. The Chief Minister said a debate is yet to start in the Assembly over the Bill sent by the Centre. “Only the Bill has been tabled in the House...debate has not started.” Members on both sides (Telangana and Seemandhra) should express their views on the draft Bill keeping in mind sentiments of the people of the respective regions, he said. On the objections raised by Seemandhra legislators on the “lacunae” in the Bill, Mr. Reddy said the State Government would write a letter to the Centre seeking information on certain aspects of the proposed legislation.
Hyderabad, Dec 19 (IPT) : Both houses of the Andhra Pradesh assembly were Thursday adjourned till Jan 3 without debate on the bill sent by President Pranab Mukherjee for formation of a Telangana state. For the fourth day, no debate was possible on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013 as the Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) lawmakers stalled both houses opposing the state's break-up. Speaker N. Manohar, who adjourned the assembly amid ruckus, announced that the house will meet again from Jan 3 for the second leg of the winter session ending Jan 23. The first part of the session will be from Jan 3 to 10. After Sankranti holidays, the house will meet again from Jan 16. The assembly, adjourned in the morning, re-assembled after 1.30 p.m. As the Seemandhra legislators belonging to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress continued to shout slogans, the speaker adjourned the house.The winter session,
which began Dec 12, was to continue till Friday. The bill for the formation of a Telangana state was tabled in both houses Monday after it was sent by the president, seeking the opinion of Andhra legislators. The bill has to be returned to the president by Jan 23. Seemandhra TDP members wanted the speaker to send back the bill to the president without debate so that the state remains united. Their counterparts from the YSR Congress wanted the house to pass a resolution opposing the state's bifurcation.Telangana legislators, irrespective of party affiliation, urged the speaker to allow the debate. The legislators from both Seemandhra and Telangana are planning to meet President Mukherjee, who is arriving here Thursday evening for his annual presidential southern sojourn. The legislative council was also adjourned till Jan 3 amid ruckus. Speaking in the council, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said there was no clarity on how the debate should take place.He advised both the speaker and
the council chairman to call a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee, if necessary, to set the procedure for the debate. In his first comments in the legislature since tabling the bill, the chief minister said the issue was sensitive and such a bill was never discussed in both the houses. "The debate should be within the framework of the constitution, and its rules and traditions. It should be without provocation, and all members should be careful about the language they use," Reddy said "The sentiments of nobody should be hurt," added the chief minister, who is also opposing the bifurcation of the state.Kiran Reddy cited instances of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar assemblies which suggested amendments in the bills meant to carve out Uttarakhand and Jharkhand states respectively. TDP leader in the council Y. Ramakrishnudu took exception to the statement, saying Reddy should not direct the presiding officers on how to run the house.Amid the pandemonium, council chairman A. Chakrapani adjourned the house.
Assembly adjourned without No hurry in restoring US debate on Telangana diplomatic privileges: India New Delhi, Dec 18 : India Thursday said it will not immediately take a call on giving back the special privileges to US diplomats that were taken away in a retaliatory measure after the handcuffing and strip search of an Indian envoy in New York. US Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday evening called up National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to express regret over the arrest and strip search of 39-year-old Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday
said the decision to revoke the paring down of privileges to US diplomats would not be taken in a hurry. "Such decisions are not taken in a hurry. We will study the matter and then take a call," the minister told on the sidelines of an event here.He said the decision to pare the diplomatic privileges was not done with an "intent to hurt them (US), but because we expect certain courtesies and we return them. These are courtesies, and not rights". India has asked US diplomats to give back the diplomatic ID cards given to
Cabinet approves India's stand at WTO New Delhi, Dec 19 : The Union Cabinet today approved the stand adopted by India at the ninth ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held in Bali at Indonesia from December 3-7. "Prior to the Bali ministerial conference, the cabinet had provided directions to the Commerce and Industry Minister on the stand to be taken by India."Acting on these directions, India took the position from the beginning that food security was non-negotiable," the cabinet said in a statement."As a result of its unwavering stand and the
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support it was able to muster, India succeeded in getting the text on food security appropriately amended. The final agreed text addresses India's core concerns. It has a firm commitment from members to work on a permanent resolution." The recent draft agreement is a significant victory for India whose programme of stocking subsidised food grains to ensure cheaper food for its people was considered to have blocked the progress of negotiations. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma reaffirmed India's stance in Indo-
nesia, calling food security 'a fundamental issue' and added that 'India will never compromise'. Trading partners say the food security programme contravenes WTO rules which limit farm subsidies, and there are concerns that India could use the policy to export food at cheaper prices, thus distorting the market. The new agreement would allow developing countries farm subsidies for the food security of their people, improve terms of trade for the Least Developed Countries and cut customs rules around the world.
them by the Indian government and return airport passes. India also removed the extra police barricades around the US embassy here.In a damage control exercise, Kerry had Wednesday evening called up the NSA and expressed concern that this "unfortunate public issue" of the arrest and strip search of Khobragade should not be allowed to hurt the "close and vital" India-US ties.Asked about his statement on a "conspiracy" behind the arrest of Khobragade, Khurshid suggested there was an effort by "certain people to trap the
Communal violence, Telangana bills later: Shinde
New Delhi, Dec 19 : The central government will bring the anti-communal violence bill and the bill on creating Telangana in the next session of parliament, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Thursday. The cabinet passed the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2013, Dec 16. It was expected to be introduced in the winter session which ended Wednesday. The bill is facing stiff opposition from the BJP and some other parties.
Indian officer"."Those who joined hands with them are part of the conspiracy," he said.Khurshid said Kerry had also sought to speak to him Wednesday but he could not take the call as he was in Gurgaon. He said the US secretary of state, who is travelling, would be calling again. Khurshid also said India had invested a lot in the relationship with the US and wanted the good ties to continue."Our relationship has a lot of investment. It is not an irreversible matter and we have to deal with it sensibly," he said. India has expressed outrage over the strip and cavity-search of Khobragade, who has been charged with visa fraud and underpaying her nanny. The issue figured in parliament, with MPs, cutting across party lines, condemning the treatment meted out to the diplomat. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the incident "deplorable".Khobragade has been transferred to India's Permanent Mission at the UN in New York, which would provide her with more diplomatic immunity.
Centre to give AAP a few more days to form govt.: Shinde New Delhi, Dec 19 : The Centre on Thursday said it will give a few more days to Aam Admi Party (AAP) to explore the possibility of forming a government in Delhi where political uncertainty continues after the recent Assembly elections threw a hung verdict. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that the Central government has asked the Lieutenant Governor as to how much time the AAP has sought for formation of government in Delhi. “We will give some more days (to AAP) for government
formation in Delhi. This is a democratic process,” he said. Mr. Shinde’s statement indicated that the Central government was not in a hurry to impose President’s rule in Delhi and ready to wait at least till Monday when AAP, with 28 MLAs in its kitty, makes public its decision whether to form the government after eliciting views from the people. AAP had sought time from Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to take a decision whether to form government after Congress, with eight MLAs, offered outside
support to the Arvind Kejriwal-led party. The party had set 18 conditions for Congress and BJP before it can decide on taking their support to form a government. Congress had then put the ball in AAP’s court, saying 16 of its 18 demands needed just administrative decisions and had nothing to do with Parliament or assembly. However, AAP on Tuesday had announced that it would distribute 25 lakh copies of letters seeking people’s views on the issue of government formation and
then replies will be accepted till Sunday. In a House of 70, BJP(31) and its ally Akali Dal(1) together have 32 seats, four short of majority while AAP has 28 seats. The Lt Governor has already recommended that Delhi be put under President’s rule with the new assembly in suspended animation among other options. Imposition of central rule was one of the options listed by Jung in his report submitted to the President after his consultations with BJP, the single largest party, followed by AAP.
Congress President Sonia gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with the new DPCC President Arvinder Singh Lovely meeting party workers who came to greet him on the passage of Lokpal Bill by Parliament, at his residence in New Delhi on Thursday. Party President Sonia Gandhi is also seen.
Friday, December 20, 2013
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Aston Martin crash ‘baffles’ Mumbai cops On the evening of December 8, a customised Aston Martin worth Rs 4.5cr registered to the Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Ports with licence plate MH. 01. BK. 99, was cruising down Pedder Road in Mumbai’s posh South Mumbai suburb, when the driver lost control. The car was going at such a high speed that it banged into an Audi, being driven by Foram Ruparel, a 25-year-old MBA student and Ghatkopar resident, causing the car to jump the divider and hit an oncoming bus. The Aston Martin then hit a Hyundai Elantra, owned by Vikram Mishra, a resident of Thane who works at a pharmaceutical firm. One of the passengers in his car was a pregnant woman, who sustained injuries. Though the driver tried to flee, the car stalled. By the time the chaos ended, the two security details following the Aston Martin in two Honda CRVs, had whisked the driver away, leaving the car there. The police took 12 hours to record the statements of the eyewitnesses and at 5.30 am, an FIR was filed. Police also stated that CCTV footage at Cadbury junction was inconclusive as it did not show the face of the driver. A Reliance spokesperson informed the police that it was a driver who was in the car. The next day, the driver, Bansilal Joshi (55) and weighing 100 kg, who had worked with the company for around 30 years, turned up at the Gamdevi police station to confess that he had taken the car for a test drive on Sunday morning and crashed it. While the police recorded his statement, a number of factors raised suspicions. First, why were two security details following a car driven by a chauffeur and not a family member. Second, no chauffeur would drive a Rs 4 crore Aston Martin at over 100 km per hour when followed by a security detail. Third, why was the driver whisked away from the scene of the crime without the matter having been reported or statements being recorded. Fourth, the driver of the Audi, 25-year-old Ruparel recorded a statement saying the man at the wheel of the Audi, whom she saw weaving through traffic at high speed before he hit her via her rear view mirror, was a young man. However, this final detail was omitted from the first FIR registered by assistant inspector I.
Retroactive immunity for the consul? Frankel The December 12 arrest of Devyani Khobragade, a deputy consul general at India’s consulate in Manhattan, has precipitated quite a diplomatic brouhaha. Khobragade, who is accused of underpaying her nanny and falsifying documents to get the nanny into the United States, was handcuffed by diplomatic security staff, turned over to U.S. Marshals and strip-searched before being released on $250,000 bail. As anger escalated in India on Tuesday, with reports that Khobragade was forced to undergo a cavity search, Indian authorities retaliated by removing protective concrete barriers in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi. (The Marshals Service has said there was no cavity search.) On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed “regret” and “concern” to his Indian counterpart, and the White House told reporters that it is looking into Khobragade’s arrest “to ensure that all standard procedures were followed and that every opportunity for courtesy was extended.” It’s a big mess, but there could be a relatively easy way out for both Khobragade and the State Department: retroactive diplomatic immunity. It’s a rare but not unprecedented State Department device to grant foreign officials full immunity for their actions even if they weren’t entitled to such broad protection when they committed the supposed misconduct. VIENNA CONVENTIONS As a consular official,
Khobragade has only limited immunity, unlike high-level embassy personnel and their families. Diplomats and consulate officials are actually covered by two different international treaties, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963. And as the State Department explained in its guide for law enforcement on diplomatic and consular immunity, consulate personnel are protected just for actions connected to their official duties. If Khobragade had been an Indian diplomat, she could not have been arrested for mistreating household staff, but a deputy consul is not immune from those charges because they’re not related to consulate work. After the arrest, India appointed Khobragade to its permanent United Nations mission, according to her lawyer, Daniel Arshack of Arshack, Hajek & Lehrman. Arshack told Reuters Wednesday that the transfer to a new post “clothes her in diplomatic immunity, which provides immunity for acts before or after the appointment.” In a text message to me, he cited a section of the State Department guide addressing termination of immunity, which says (in part): “Criminal immunity precludes the exercise of jurisdiction by the courts over an individual whether the incident occurred prior to or during the period in which such immunity exists.”That’s helpful language for Arshack and Khobragade, but from con-
versations with a couple of experts and a review of precedent on retroactive diplomatic immunity, I think the issue is more complicated than one sentence in a State Department guide. There are really two questions wrapped up in the Khobragade case: Is she entitled to full diplomatic immunity by dint of her appointment - by India - to a post at the UN? And if she is entitled to broad protection, is the immunity retroactive? Under the Vienna Conventions and the U.S. law implementing them, the Diplomatic Relations Act of 1978, diplomatic status is conferred on foreign officials by the State Department, not by the countries sponsoring the officials. It is up to the United States, in other words, to decide whether to credential Khobragade as a full diplomat entitled to broad immunity.By itself, India’s designation is not sufficient. There’s federal precedent on this point: In 1997, Gambia asserted that a special advisor to one of its missions in the U.S. was immune as a diplomat from criminal bribery charges. Federal prosecutors said he hadn’t been designated a diplomat by the State Department. U.S. District Judge Michael Moore ruled that the Gambian official wasn’t entitled to full immunity because he wasn’t credentialed by the State Department. (The official pleaded guilty and there’s no record of an appeal by Gambia.)A State Department representative indicated in a press briefing Wednesday that it would be up to the U.S. to decide Khobragade’s
or the ‘Spear of the nation’ and gave it back as it got. The South African professor and this author came to the conclusion that there was a real possibility of South Africa following the Indian subcontinent and being partitioned with a separate Zulu land. An article written jointly by the two of us was published in leading South African newspaper at that time. But then none had reckoned with the genius of Mandela. One of the major demands of the Zulus was for regional autonomy and special status. By accepting the position of the Zulu Monarch, Mandela neutralised a large measure of support for Buthelezi. Forced by the public opinion as well as fear of violence from MK, Buthelezi’s IFP participated in the 1994 elections and won 10 percent of national vote and 51percent vote in the Zulu-majority Natal province. On May 10, 1994 as Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first black President in the history of South Africa, he made Buthelezi the country’s home minister, a post he continued in for the next 10 years. Mandela successfully tackled the real challenge of Zulu separatism unlike Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi in 1947. Many African nations have faced constant violence due to strong tribal ties and a culture of inter-tribe wars.
When he completed his term as President in 1999, Mandela walked away from power, showing great humility and also showing that he was not indispensible. This was also a very shrewd move as he guided the ANC government from outside with a carefully crafted succession policy of giving power to representatives of all the three major tribes in turn. The current President of South Africa is a Zulu. Inkatha and its separatist movement are a distant memory. Many commentators in India have been calling Mandela South Africa’s Gandhi. This is unfair to both these great men. Mandela was not as rigid a follower of non-violence as Gandhi was. His use of MK in ending the separatist struggle of Zulus is well documented. Unlike Gandhi’s denunciation of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Mandela never under estimated or belittled the value of violent struggle. The famous ‘Rivonia Trials’ in 1963-64 were a watershed in the life of Mandela and South Africa. These trials were the outcome of a raid by the South African police on the farm, Lilliesleaf at Rivonia near Johannesburg, on July 11, 1963. The trial was the most famous in the history of South African political resistance. Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and others were sentenced to life imprisonment on June
12, 1964. This marked the virtual end of the peaceful struggle waged by the majority black Africans and can be said to be the beginning of the armed struggle, not out of choice but out of compulsion. Much before the arrest in 1963, the ANC in its annual conference chalked out a plan to carryout underground violent struggle in case it was banned. Known as the M-Plan (Mandela Plan), ground work was laid to carry out underground struggle on the lines of Communist revolts in other parts of the world. The formation of volunteer corps wearing uniforms and swearing an oath during the defiance campaign of the 1960s, were the first tentative steps towards formation of the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK for short) that meant ‘the spear of the nation’. The MK was a hierarchical organisation with a clear ‘top-down’ character. In Mandela’s words, ‘The idea was to set up an organisational machinery that would allow the ANC to take decisions at the highest level which could then be swiftly transmitted to the organisation as a whole without calling a meeting.’ At the same time the plan had important features promoting local initiative and participation. The smallest unit was a cell, which in urban townships consisted of ten houses on a street.
How Nelson Mandela avoided the partition of South Africa! Historians will record Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Friday at the age of 95, as the greatest political leader of the 20th century. Much has been written about and will be written about his extraordinary feat in healing the racial breach in South Africa. It was indeed a historical achievement by any standard. But in the view of this author his other big achievement, of avoiding a partition of South Africa against a determined bid by Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi has not received much attention. He was thus a Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln rolled into one. Preserving a united South Africa against western intrigues was indeed a signal achievement. He can also be called the father of South African democracy. He established the true democratic traditions by walking away from power in 1999 after just one term as President. These achievements make him undoubtedly the tallest leader of the last century. It was in 1993 that this author met a distinguished South African professor of political science who was also an African National Congress’s rare white activist. In discussions we found tremendous parallels between partition of India in 1947 and situation in South Africa in 1990s. South Africa was at that time going
through a very turbulent period. Mandela was released in February 1990 but instead of the promised peace, the nation was rocked with greater violence. In the four years between 1990 and 1994 over 20,000 people died in violence between the IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party of the Zulus) and the largely Xhosa-dominated ANC. There was an uncanny resemblance between what was happening in South Africa in the 1990s and the happenings in India between 1945 and 1947. Chief Buthelezi was playing the role performed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Buthelezi launched the equivalent of Jinnah’s ‘direct action’ (mass killings/riots). Zulus, like Muslims in India, had memories of having ruled over the entire country, were more warlike than the majority Xhosas, were in greater number in the armed forces and formed a majority in the Natal province. Like Jinnah earlier, Buthelezi was also associated with ANC and the anti-apartheid struggle but later broke away and pursued a ‘separatist’ agenda. The white regime and western powers clandestinely supported Zulu separatism as they did Jinnah’s Muslim League. Of course there were major differences in the two situations. The ANC unlike the Indian National Congress had an armed wing Umkhonto (MK)
diplomatic status. Deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said it was premature to discuss any change in the consulate official’s immunity because the U.S. government has not been notified of her new appointment. She also said that the State Department would have to sign off. “It is not an automatic thing by any means,” she said. But let’s assume that the State Department, which has clearly been rattled by India’s rage at Khobragade’s treatment, agrees to credential her as a full diplomat. Does her immunity reach back to shield her against actions predating her new appointment? It can, according to Peter Rutledge, associate dean of the University of Georgia School of Law and an expert on international dispute resolution. Retroactive diplomatic immunity, Rutledge said, is quite rare but it’s not unprecedented. The best-known example dates back to 1982, when Miami-Dade police officers attempted to search the home of Prince Turki Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, who was suspected of holding an Egyptian woman against her will. At the time of the raid, in March 1982, Abdulaziz had no diplomatic credentials. He did have a burly security staff, which scuffled with police and fended off execution of the search warrant on the prince’s home. Abdulaziz and his family sued Dade County for violating their civil rights. County officials countersued, claiming they were injured in the scuffle with the prince’s staff. In April 1982, about three weeks after the failed search, the State Department granted Abdulaziz and his family full diplomatic immunity. The prince withdrew his suit against Dade County and moved to dismiss the county’s counterclaims, arguing that his diplomatic status shielded him from the suit. Despite arguments by Dade County that Abdulaziz hadn’t been a credentialed diplomat when his guards blocked police from entering his house, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of the counterclaims, holding that the prince had been eligible for diplomatic status at the time of the botched raid, even if he hadn’t yet received it. In effect, the ruling endorsed the concept of retroactive immunity. Skeptics later accused the State Department of kowtowing to the Saudi royal family, but that hardly mattered to Abdulaziz, who faced neither criminal nor civil consequences from allegedly detaining a woman against her will and blocking a police investigation. The Khobragade case has some clear distinctions, especially because the State Department has been involved with her investigation since at least early September, when, according to spokeswoman Harf, U.S. officials first alerted Indian authorities of allegations against their deputy consul general. It was also diplomatic security officers who arrested Khobragade, not local cops without foreign policy sensitivity. For all we know, the State Department intended to send a message to the international diplomatic corps, which is often accusedofcloakingitselfindiplomatic immunity to avoid claims of mistreating domestic staff.
'Total tobacco ban can reduce consumption' The most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption is by imposing a total ban on its use at home or, on a larger scale, in the whole city, say community medicine experts. Banning tobacco use inside homes - or more broadly in the whole city - forces smokers to either cut down consumption or quit completely, report University of California (UC), San Diego School of Medicine researchers in the online issue of science journal Preventive Medicine."When there's a total smoking ban in the home, we found that smokers are more likely to reduce tobacco consumption and attempt to quit than when they're allowed to smoke in some parts of the house," said professor Wael K. Al-Delaimy, UC San Diego department of family and preventive medicine."The same held true when smokers report a total smoking ban in their city or town. Having both home and city bans on smoking appears to be even more effective." "California was the first state in the world to ban smoking in public places in 1994 and we are still finding the positive impact of that ban by changing the social norm and having more homes and cities banning smoking," he said.Al-Delaimy and colleagues surveyed 1,718 current smokers identified as a representative sample of the adult population in California.They found that total home smoking bans were significantly associated with reduced consumption and successful quitting, but partial bans were not.
High sugar ups risk of breast cancer
If you are obese or diabetic and have not yet had your breasts examined, its time to visit the doctor. Scientists have now discovered why high blood sugar coupled with diseases such as obesity and diabetes can raise the risk of breast and other cancers. Mina Bissell, distinguished scientist with Berkeley Labs Life Sciences Division, and her Japanese co-researchers Yasuhito Onodera and Jin-Min Nam, have shown that a dramatic increase in sugar uptake could transform normal cells into cancer cells. Furthermore, through a series of painstaking analysis, we have discovered two new pathways through which increased uptake of glucose could itself activate other oncogenic pathways. This discovery provides possible new targets for diagnosis and therapeutics, said Bissell, a leading authority on breast cancer. The three scientists examined the expression of glucose transporter proteins in human breast cells. The focus was on the glucose transporter known as GLUT3, the concentrations of which they showed are 400 times greater in malignant than in non-malignant breast cells. The study was carried out using a 3D culture assay - an investigative or analytic procedure in labs -- developed earlier by Bissell and her group for mouse mammary cells and later with her collaborator, Ole Petersen, for human breast cells. The assay enables actual reproduction of breast cells to form structural units and for malignant cells to form tumour-like colonies. Our work highlights the importance of the context in studying pathways involved in tissue-specificity and disease, and sheds additional light on the relationship between metabolic diseases and cancer, Onodera explained.The study also confirmed the efficacy of antidiabetic drugs, such as metformin -- which lower blood glucose levels -- in lowering cancer risks and mortality.The results of the study have appeared in the latest edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
BP of 150/90 new normal for people over 60
New guidelines suggest that people over 60 can have a higher blood pressure than previously recommended. Until now, people were told to strive for blood pressures below 140/90, with some taking multiple drugs to achieve that goal. But the guidelines committee, which spent five years reviewing evidence, concluded that the goal for people over 60 should be a systolic pressure of less than 150. And the diastolic goal should remain less than 90. Systolic blood pressure, the top number, indicates the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts. Diastolic, the bottom number, refers to pressure on blood vessels when the heart relaxes between beats. Essentially, the committee determined that there was not strong evidence for the blood pressure targets that had been guiding treatment, and that there were risks associated with the medications used to bring pressures down.The committee, composed of 17 academics, was tasked with updating guidelines last re-examined a decade ago. The group added that people over 60 who are taking drugs and have lowered their blood pressure to below 150 can continue taking the medications if they are not experiencing side effects.But, it cautioned, although efforts to lower blood pressure have had a remarkable effect, reducing the incidence of strokes and heart disease, there is a difference between lowering blood pressure with drugs and having lower pressure naturally.
Friday, December 20, 2013
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Thai protesters march in bid to oust PM, take aim at US Bangkok, Dec 19 : Antigovernment protesters marched in Bangkok on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office but their numbers appeared far smaller than earlier in the month, when she called a snap election to try to defuse the crisis. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban is demanding political and electoral reforms before any vote is held and wants these to be overseen by a "people's council" that his movement will help nominate rather than by Yingluck, who is caretaker prime minister until the election, set for February 2. Thailand's National Security Council said only 6,500 people gathered at the busy Asoke intersection in central Bangkok at around mid-day, although office workers and others lined the route of the march to voice support.
A separate group of about 1,000 student-led protesters marched to the U.S. embassy. The United States has annoyed the protesters by calling for the democratic process to be respected, effectively endorsing the holding of an election. Nititorn Lamlua, a protest leader, said U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney ought to be transferred. "If she needs to leave the embassy, she'll have to go by helicopter because she has badmouthed the protesters," he said. On December 9, when Yingluck called the election, about 160,000 protesters had massed around her office complex, and before that some had occupied ministries and other state buildings, but police say no more than 2,000 people are now camped out at the main protest sites in
Bangkok's historic quarter. Demonstrators on Thursday held banners saying "We are anti-corruption" and "No elections before reform". One sign read: "We will not accept Square Face", a nickname given to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother and the figure at the centre of Thailand's eightyear, on-off political crisis. Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon, is adored by the rural poor because of cheap healthcare and other policies brought in while he was in power, but he was toppled by the military in 2006 and now lives in self-exile. Yingluck won a landslide victory in 2011 and her Puea Thai Party is well placed to win the next election because of Thaksin's
foreign delegations to visit the park, most recently officials from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2010. The United States, South Korea and others have expressed concern that the execution of Jang over an alleged plot indicates high-level instability in the opaque regime. Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae expressed concern at the political upheaval and urged Kim's regime to take more responsibility for its people. "I want to request North Korea to take a more responsible attitude towards its people, and I urge it to shed its old mentality, prejudice and arrogance," he told a conference in Seoul. Another foreign visitor also headed to North Korea on Thursday -- US basketball star Dennis Rodman, who has struck up an unlikely friendship with Kim and plans to train a North Korean basketball team. Rodman said on his way to Pyongyang that he was hoping a basketball game he is organising in North Korea could "engage" the American people and US President
Barack Obama. "Sport is so important to people around the world so I hope this is going to engage the American people, especially Obama," the eccentric former Chicago Bulls star said at Beijing airport. Rodman is organising an exhibition game between the North Koreans and a team of mainly ex-NBA players on January 8, to mark Kim's birthday. The young Swisseducated ruler is reported to be a keen basketball fan. "North Korea is striving to project an image that the execution will not disturb international affairs and dealings with the South," Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, told AFP. "At the same time, Kim Jong-Un will continue with benevolent gestures to calm public anxieties domestically," he said. The North's ruling party daily Rodong Sinmun said Thursday that Kim had sent fishing boats to a military unit, which vowed to catch more seafood to improve its soldiers' diet.
Kampala, Uganda, Dec 19 : South Sudan’s military said on Thursday it no longer controlled a key town in a rural state where fighting has spread in the aftermath of what the government says was an attempted coup mounted by soldiers loyal to a former deputy president. The authorities in Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei, were not answering their phones, leading the central government to believe they had defected, said Philip Aguer, the South Sudanese military spokesman. “We lost control of Bor to the rebellion,” he said. At least 19 civilians have been killed in violence in Bor, Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general’s office, said on Wednesday, citing figures from the South Sudan Red Cross. He said tensions were also on the rise in the states of Unity and
enduring support in the populous north and northeast. Ranged against them are a royalist establishment that feels threatened by Thaksin's rise and a middle class that resents what it sees as its taxes being spent on wasteful populist policies that amount to vote-buying. Thaksin fled in 2008 before being sentenced to jail for abuse of power in a trial he says was politically motivated. Suthep's movement gained impetus in early November after Yingluck's government tried to push through a political amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return home a free man. After failing to get the politically influential military on his side, Suthep is trying to reenergies his supporters with
marches this week and a rally on Sunday. A court has issued an arrest warrant for Suthep on a charge of insurrection but police have done nothing to apprehend him, despite his appearance at a military seminar and other events. On Wednesday the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the U.S. FBI, said it would ask banks to freeze the accounts of 18 rally leaders, including Suthep, to investigate what it called suspicious transactions. Suthep says he wants to wipe out electoral fraud, eradicate corruption and reform state agencies including the police. Even if the vote goes ahead on February 2, its legitimacy could be undermined if the main opposition Democrat Party does not
South Sudan unrest continues North Korea, South Korea hold first talks since Pyongyang purge as Army loses town
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan during the launch of Loreal Paris' 'Kajal Magique' in Mumbai.
Seoul, Dec 19 : North and South Korea Thursday held their first talks since Pyongyang's shock purge, meeting at a joint industrial park in the North as a delegation of G20 officials toured the facility. Last week's execution of Jang Song-Thaek, the uncle and former political mentor of leader Kim Jong-Un, sparked international fears of instability in the nuclear-armed North. The last round of North-South talks about the operations of the Kaesong industrial zone was in September when the complex -just over the border in North Korea -- reopened after a fivemonth closure caused by military tensions. "We will review the implementation of what has been agreed and carry out tasks concerning the development of the Kaesong industrial complex," South Korea's chief delegate Kim Ki-Woong told journalists before crossing the closely guarded border. The meeting in Kaesong coincided with a trip by a 25member foreign delegation to
Kaesong as South Korea solicits outside investors in the estate, hoping their involvement would prevent the North shutting down the facility in the future. The Seoulfunded Kaesong, which opened in 2004 as a rare symbol of cross-border cooperation, employs some 53,000 North Koreans in around 120 South Korean light industrial firms. But its operations have often been hampered when cross-border ties turn sour. Thursday's delegation included senior Turkish financial official Ibrahim Canakci and other officials from the world's 20 leading economies, as well as executives from the International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank. They were visiting Seoul for a conference. They will inspect several factories run by South Korean businessmen and other facilities in Kaesong, but are not expected to hold formal talks with North Korean officials there, said the South's unification ministry which handles cross-border relations. It said North Korea had previously allowed
Venezuela's Maduro holds rare dialogue with opponents Caracas, Dec 19 : Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held a rare meeting with opponents , challenging them to collect signatures to oust him in 2016 if they wanted but to work with him in the meantime. Maduro invited opposition mayors and governors to Miraflores presidential palace in an attempt to draw a line after four bitterly fought elections in Venezuela in little over a year. "I've greeted you with sincere affection. I respect all your political positions," said the 51-year-old former union activist, urging them to join government anti-poverty projects in the OPEC nation of 29 million people. "In the spirit of Christmas, we can turn over a new page," he added. "Our differences will remain, but I urge you to work." Before the meeting, Maduro shook hands with high-profile opponents such as Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, whom he has repeatedly lampooned as a "vampire," and Valencia Mayor Miguel Cocchiola, whom he has called a "thief" and "criminal." The president also offered them gifts of writings by Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in March, and played a recording of the late president singing Venezuela's national an-
them. While Maduro spoke of a fresh start between Venezuela's bitterly opposed political factions and listened attentively to his opponents, cynics will remember how his mentor, Chavez, skillfully interspersed rapprochements and attacks to outwit his foes. Maduro reminded his opponents of their constitutional right to seek a recall referendum half-way through his term should they collect the nearly 4 million signatures needed. "In 2016, you have the opportunity. If you want to get me out of the presidency, collect the signatures then," he said. Maduro won an April presidential vote to succeed Chavez by just 1.5 percentage points. But his "Chavista" candidates took a bigger-than-expected 10 percentage points more votes than opposition rivals in local elections earlier this month. That has given Maduro some political breathing space and may enable him to take some potentially unpopular measures such as a devaluation to manage Venezuela's grave economic problems. The president's opponents sat stone-faced through Maduro's opening speech at the meeting, which was broadcast live on local TV,
but then did not hold back when allowed to give ripostes.The opposition's main leader, Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles, chose not to attend, saying he did not oppose dialogue but felt the government was imposing conditions. He complained about the government's undermining of local authorities in opposition hands by creating parallel bodies. In various oppositioncontrolled areas, the government has named alternative "protectors" and organizations funded by the state. Caracas Mayor Ledezma, for example, saw his losing rival Ernesto Villegas immediately given a post for the "revolutionary transformation" of the capital after the December 8 local vote. He called on Maduro to focus on grassroots concerns such as annual inflation of 54 percent, scarcities of products from flour to milk, and service failures."We came here to talk about the most urgent needs of Venezuelans," Ledezma told Maduro at the meeting, also urging him to consider an amnesty for jailed opponents. In an unusual move, state TV broadcast Ledezma's remarks and then a stream of other opposition leaders' often highly critical speeches at the meeting.
Upper Nile.Ethnic rivalry is threatening to tear apart the world’s newest country, with the clashes apparently pitting soldiers from the majority Dinka tribe of President Salva Kiir against those from ousted Vice-president Riek Machar’s Nuer ethnic group. At least 500 people, most of them soldiers, have been killed in violence since the alleged coup attempt on Sunday, the government said on Wednesday. At least 700 more have been wounded, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said. Although Juba, the South Sudanese capital where the alleged coup was mounted, has since become calm, violence appears to be spreading to other parts of the oil-rich East African nation. Tensions have been mounting in South Sudan since Mr. Kiir fired Mr. Machar as his deputy in July. Mr. Machar has said he will contest the presidency in
2015.Mr. Machar himself is the subject of a manhunt by the country’s military after he was identified by Mr. Kiir as the leader of an alleged coup attempt on Sunday. Mr. Machar has denied he was behind any coup attempt. Mr. Kiir told a news conference in Juba late on Wednesday that he was willing to enter talks with Mr. Machar, a rival for power within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Wednesday that South Sudan was experiencing a political crisis that “urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue.” Mr. Ban said he urged Mr. Kiir “to resume dialogue with the political opposition”. South Sudan has been plagued by ethnic violence since it peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war.
take part. At a conference this week, members could not agree whether to run in the election or back the protests. Democrat lawmakers resigned from parliament this month to march with Suthep, who was a deputy prime minister in a Democrat-led government until 2011. Some agree with his call for reforms to be implemented before another election is held, but others believe their party, Thailand's oldest, should respect the democratic process and run for office. A decision is expected on Saturday.
Russia signals to Syria's Assad to stay silent on re-election Moscow, Dec 19 : A Russian diplomat signaled on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should refrain from statements suggesting he might seek reelection because it could fuel tension before planned peace talks. Russia has been Assad's most important international ally during Syria's civil war, but the remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to Interfax news agency appeared to be a rare public criticism of Assad by Moscow. Assad told Syria's Al Mayadeen television in October that he had no intention of quitting, despite pressure to do so from the United States and rebels fighting government forces. He also saw no obstacles to being nominated for a new term. "Such rhetorical statements affect the atmosphere and do not make the situation any calmer," Bogdanov was quoted as saying.Looking ahead to an international peace conference which is planned on Syria next month in Geneva, he said.
Angela Merkel visits France after re-election Paris, Dec 19 : German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Paris Wednesday to meet French President Francois Hollande after being re-elected for a third term, with the aim of "starting now a new step" in relations between the two countries. The first foreign trip of her third term as chancellor emphasized "the special importance of Franco-German relations", Xinhua quoted Merkel as saying at a news conference in the Elysee Palace after meeting Hollande. Germany and France have already "worked together very closely in recent months" and "we can start now a new step", she said, adding that the two countries will hold a summit in February next year to deepen bilateral relations. "We all want to let Europe step forward and make it a strong continent of the world," she said ahead of a European Union (EU) summit due to take place Thursday and Friday in Brussels, where European leaders will discuss a planned banking union and France's military mission in Africa. Hollande congratulated Merkel on her reelection and the formation of the new German government.
Men keep a stolen cat in a bird cage at the so-called thieves market in downtown Amman, Jordan. Dog breeding coupled with dog napping is a thriving business in Jordan, where lax laws call for only a $7 fine for violators and police remain hesitant to pursue those suspected of animal abuse. Activists have campaigned for years for increased penalties, but lawmakers seem uninterested to pursue it in a culture where animal abuse remains rampant.
Singapore riots: 3 more Indians remanded to custody Singapore, Dec 19 : Three more Indians, charged with rioting, were on Thursday remanded to custody for a week to assist in the investigations into Singapore’s worst outbreak of violence in over 40 years. Karuppaiah Chandrasekar, 31, Palanivel Dhasmohan, 27, and Arumugam Karthik, 24, had been charged in court last week for being part of an unlawful assembly on December 8, 2013 at Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most South Asian workers take their Sunday break. Mr. Chandrasekar and Mr. Dhasmohan were alleged to have thrown hardened concrete at police officers. Mr. Karthik was said to have been part of a group of at least five that had overturned and set a police car on fire, as well as thrown a dustbin, hardened concrete, bottles and a metal drain cover at the bus windscreen and windows. The case against the three would be heard next Monday, along with 25 other Indian nationals who had appeared in court
earlier in the week. On Wednesday, Moorthy Kabildev, 24, and Sathiyamoorthy Sivaraman, 36, were also remanded to custody for a week after being charged in court for the violence. The violence was sparked after a fatal traffic accident involving Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu. The 33-year-old Kumaravelu, a construction worker in Singapore, was killed in the accident involving a private bus. Lawyer Amarick Gill told the court that all three men have met the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) criteria, and that pro bono lawyers would be assigned to them, if they do not instead seek their own representation. Mr. Gill also said the CLAS list of volunteer lawyers have been finalised, and that the assignment of lawyers — one to each of the 26 accused who have not engaged their own counsel — would take place over the weekend, in time for the next hearing on Monday afternoon, the Straits Times reported. The cases of all 28 Indian nationals would be heard on Monday. Two men will take their own defence counsels.
Friday, December 20, 2013
MARK INDIA, Hyderabad
UPA Govt lost will to govern: Arun Jaitley
No hurry to restore US diplomats' privileges: Khurshid New Delhi, Dec 19 : India Thursday said it will not take a call immediately on restoring the special privileges of US diplomats that were taken away as a retaliatory measure after the handcuffing and strip-search of an Indian diplomat in New York. US Secretary of State John Kerry called National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to express regret over the arrest and strip-search of 39-year-old Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York. Hours after the call, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the decision to revoke the paring down of privileges of US diplomats would not be taken in a hurry. "Such decisions are not taken in a hurry. We will study the matter and then take a call," the minister told on the sidelines of an event here. India has asked US diplomats to give back the diplomatic ID cards given to them by the Indian government, return airport passes and also removed extra police barricades around the US embassy here. In a damage control exercise, Kerry called up the NSA and expressed concern that this "unfortunate public issue" of the arrest and strip-search of Khobragade should not be allowed to hurt "close and vital" India-US ties. Khurshid said Kerry had also sought to speak to him Wednesday but he could not take the call as he was in Gurgaon. He said the US secretary of state, who is travelling, would be calling again. Khurshid added that India had invested a lot in the relationship with the US and wanted the good ties to continue. "Our relationship has a lot of investment. It is not an irreversible matter and we have to deal with it sensibly," he said. India has expressed outrage over the strip and cavity search of Khobragade who has been charged with visa fraud and underpaying her nanny. The issue figured in parliament, with lawmakers cutting across party lines, condemning the treatment meted out to the 39-year-old. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the incident "deplorable". Khobragade has been transferred to India's Permanent Mission at the UN in New York which would provide her with more diplomatic immunity.
Aam Aadmi Party volunteers distributing letters, seeking people's opinion on formation of government with Congress support, in Malviya Nagar market, New Delhi on Thursday.
Protests outside US consulate in city Hyderabad, Dec 19 (IPT) : Left parties and their affiliated students' organizations staged protests near the US consulate here Thursday against the ill-treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade by the US authorities in New York. Tension prevailed in the busy Begumpet area as police stopped dozens of protestors who tried to march towards Paigah Palace housing the consulate. Police, who had erected the barricades on the road leading to the consulate, arrested the protestors who reached there in batches.
Raising slogans of "Down with US imperialism", the protestors carried banners, placards and flags of their respective parties. Police resisted the attempts of the protestors to remove the barricades. They jostled with each other, leading to tension. Police personnel were seen bundling the protestors into waiting vehicles and shifting them to police stations. Taking strong exception to the handling of the situation by the police, a protestor alleged that police were acting as agents of the US. The banners carried by the pro-
Members of Autonomous Councils for Adivasis during a dharna for various demands at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday.
FM says markets have factored Both state, non-state in $10 bln withdrawal by Fed actors engaging in efforts to destabilise India: Prez New Delhi, Dec 19: Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said ten billion dollar reduction in 85 billion dollar bond buying programme by the US Federal Reserve is a moderate change and the markets will not be surprised by these changes.Mr Chidambaram told reporters here that India was now better prepared to deal with the situation arising out of tapering of quantitative easing than in May, 2013."The government is of the view that markets had already factored in the US Federal Reserve's decisions and, therefore, are not likely to be surprised by these moderate changes. Besides, we are better prepared than in May, 2013 to deal with the conse-
quences, if any, of the US Federal Reserve's decisions," Mr Chidambaram said.The US Federal Reserve has announced that it will continue to purchase securities at the rate of 75 billion dollars a month than the earlier level of 85 billion dollars, Mr Chidambaram said. The Finance Minister described this as a mild reduction.Besides, he said, the Fed has not announced any sequential reduction. After, the US Central Bank announced the taper, Mr Chidambaram spoke to RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan early this morning. He said the government has taken note of the statement issued by the US Federal Reserve on the taper.
New Delhi, Dec 19 : Saying that both state and nonstate actors inimical to the naion are continuously engaged in efforts to destabilise India, President Pranab Mukherjee today emphasised on the need to fight against terrorism that receives support from outside the country. Delivering the annual information and Broadcasting Centenary Endowment lecture at Vigyan Bhavan here, the President said, "The challenges to our security can come from many sources. We have to fight against terrorism that receives support from outside our country. Both state and nonstate actors inimical to the nation are continuously engaged in efforts to destabilise India." The President said left-wing extremism is another serious threat to social peace and harmony. He said social media was increasingly emerging as a weapon for terrorists."The rapid change in technology has also resulted in new threats. The misuse of the social media is now a weapon that terrorists across the world and antinationals are employing with greater sophistication. "This has to be combated adopting superior tactics and technology," the President said.
testors read "Uncle Sam, don't act ugly with India" and "Shame shame, America is still racist". The protestors demanded an unconditional apology from the US. "Mere condemnation by parliament is not enough. India should act firmly without bothering about its impact on trade and business relations with the US because the country's honour and pride is more important than anything else," said a protestor. Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO), Pro-
Natgrid would deter terror attacks: Shinde
New Delhi, Dec 19 : Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Thursday expressed hope that the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) centre in Delhi would function as a deterrent against terrorism in the country. "The National Intelligence Grid is an integral intelligence system that will plug our vulnerabilites by upgrading and enhancing our capability to detect and respond to such threats at the earliest," Shinde said while laying the foundation stone of the data centre and main office in Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi. This is the second centre of Natgrid after Bangalore -- which will work as a disaster recovery centre. A home ministry official said the Natgrid data centre will use cutting-edge technology to help strengthen intelligence and law enforcement agencies' ability to detect t e r r o r i s t a c t i v i t y, a n d swiftly piece together information that could help pre-empt attacks or find the perpetrators if an attack does take place. "The government has ensured that there is no repeat of the 26/11 type of attack. 2013 witnessed four bomb blast cases. Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bodh Gaya and Patna suffered from terrorist violence," Shinde said. The home minister expressed happiness that the Bangalore, Bodh Gaya and Patna blast cases have been solved. "For our men and women who ensure the internal security of the nation, effective and timely intelligence is often what stands between saving precious lives and a possible disaster," he said.
gressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU), All India Students Federation (AISF), Students Federation of India (SFI) and other students, youth and Dalit organizations participated in the protests. Police stepped up security as more organizations were planning protests at the consulate to condemn the illtreatment meted out to Khobragade by the US authorities.Unlike in New Delhi, where security barricades were removed from outside the US embassy, the consulate here remains out of bounds for public.
New Delhi, Dec 19 : Criticising the UPA on the issues ranging from corruption to creation of a separate state of Telangana, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said the Congress-led Government "has lost the will to govern" and its leaders "have lost even the will to fight back". "The UPA Government has faced several adversities. The Government's decision making ability is in doubt. The economy is not picking up. There is no coordination between the ministers. Corruption has dented the image of the Government," Mr Jaitley said in a Facebook post.He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "has never been perceived to be a mass leader".He said the projection by the UPA of their next generation leader (referring to Rahul Gandhi) "has not taken off"."Even a brief conversation with Congress leaders familiarizes one of the despondency. The UPA has lost the will to govern. Its leaders have lost even the will to fight back," Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said.He said the UPA's "nonperformance and falling image" was compounded by two other mistakes. Mr Jaitley said the 'arrogance' of power was "writ large" in the statements of Congress ministers and leaders. They thought that power is immortal and no other political combination will ever displace them. The BJP leader said ex-
cessive propaganda has its dangers and people do not digest such propaganda. "Only the UPA leaders are buying their own propaganda. The recently concluded session of Parliament evidenced this loss of capacity and will to rule. No effort was made to get the session to run. The session had to be abandoned midway. The disturbance was predominantly by the UPA members, their allies and supporters," Mr Jaitley said. He slammed the Congress-led Government for delay in the Lokpal Bill saying that it 'refused' to accept the formulations contained in the now approved enactment.
Media must file authentic reports: Rights panel chief
New Delhi, Dec 19 : National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman K.G. Balakrishnan said Thursday that media reports must be authentic as these form the basis of taking up cases of human rights violation suo motu by bodies like the NHRC. "The commission has taken suo motu cognisance of many issues of human rights violations on the basis of media reports. However, subsequently, in some cases, it also came to light that the contents were not fully correct," Balakrishnan said here.
AAP gets 5 lakh views on government formation New Delhi, Dec 19 : Over 5 lakh replies have been received, till Thursday evening, from the people of the capital and outside on the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) poser whether it should form a government in Delhi with Congress support, said a party member."We have received a total of 5.25 lakh replies through SMS, interactive voice response and web," an AAP leader told."The responses are still being re-
ceived. The compilation would be conducted Sunday evening and the result would be announced on Monday," he said.He also said that the party was receiving responses from people outside Delhi too.AAP had launched a message campaign Tuesday evening seeking to know if it should form a government after the Dec 4 elections resulted in a hung assembly.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which
Indian Army organises educational tour for girls in Kashmir Srinagar, Dec 19 : The Indian Army organised an educational tour for girls in Handwara District on Wednesday to strengthen the bond between the army and civilians. A group of 20 girls will tour Mumbai, Pune and Delhi and visit all educational institutions during their visit. "We are sending twenty girls on an all India tour. They will be going to Mumbai, Pune and Delhi and visiting all the educational institutions," said Principal of the Girls Higher Secondary School, Manzoor Ahmad. The 21 Battalion of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) of Indian Army has organised this tour known as Sadhbhavana 'Watan ke Sair' (Visiting the country) for the schoolchildren of class XI. A student, Rubeena Majeed, thanked the Indian Army and expressed happiness on being selected for the tour."We are very thankful to the army for giving us this opportunity of taking us on this tour. This will be beneficial for our future as well,
will help us in increasing knowledge. This is a big opportunity for us that we are going to Mumbai, as we had never imagined that we will be able to go to Mumbai ever. They are taking us to Mumbai, Pune and Delhi," said Majeed. A sharp increase in the number of girl students was seen, years after normalcy returned to the region. The Kashmir region has witnessed numerous militant attacks, insurgency and infiltration attempts from across the border in the last two decades.The Indian Army has been launching a large number of military civic action programmes aiming at wining the hearts and minds of the people. In 1998, Indian Army had launched 'Operation Sadbhavana' (Faith) for the residents of rural areas in Jammu and Kashmir. Militants had created havoc by large scale destruction of government property and public assets like schools, bridges, electricity supply system causing severe hardships to locals.
ended as the single largest party with 31 seats in the 70member house, declined to form a government. The AAP, with 28 seats, was invited next but sought time to give its reply.The routed Congress, left with just eight seats, offered outside support to the AAP. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said his party would announce its final decision on taking power Dec 23 after finding out the views of the people.
BJP condemns Cong for giving credit of Lokpal Bill to Rahul
New Delhi, Dec 19 : The BJP today took a dig at the Congress for giving credit of passage of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament to its vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the credit for the Bill goes to social activist Anna Hazare.Mr Prasad said Mr Gandhi was "very important" in the government but was 'silent' on various alleged scams. "He is also responsible for scams during the UPA regime," the BJP leader said.Mr Prasad slammed the US government for arresting and strip-searching Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in that country. He said people of the country and diplomats were deeply agitated over the issue.Amid reports that a commission of inquiry may be ordered by the Centre into the alleged snooping on a woman in Gujarat allegedly at the behest of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah.
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