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Vol.II. No.16

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Friday, December 27, 2013

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Zakia’s plea against clean chit to Modi rejected

Political parties divided over T-issue

Ahmedabad, Dec 26 : In a major relief to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a metropolitan court on Thursday rejected the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of a former Congress MP, against the clean chit given to him and others by the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Metropolitan Magistrate B J Ganatra while pronouncing the order in open court told Ms. Zakia’s counsel Mihir Desai that her petition has been rejected and they have the liberty to approach a higher court. Jafri, whose husband Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was among 68 people killed in the Gulbarg society massacre here during the post—Godhra riots, had filed a protest petition on April 15, this year objecting to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT’s closure report absolving Modi of complicity in the conspiracy behind the carnage. 74-year-old Zakia, who was present at the court, broke down after the verdict was out and said she will appeal against it in the higher court in a month. “The only hurdle in the acceptance of SIT’s recommendations was the protest petition and the protest petition was rejected, obviously the SIT report has been accepted. So, SIT’s investigation, integrity, impartiality, all have been given a judicial stamp,” R.S. Jamuar, SIT’s counsel, told reporters after the verdict. After completing its investigation on Zakia’s complaint, the SIT had had filed its closure report on February 8, last year. It concluded that despite difficulties in obtaining evidence in the case because of the lapse of eight years, whatever material it could gather was not sufficient enough to prosecute those against whom allegations of hatching the conspiracy had been levelled.In her petition, Zakia had demanded rejection of the SIT report and an order by the court to file charge sheet against Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and others.

Hyderabad, Dec 26 (IPT) : Major political parties in Andhra Pradesh now are a house divided ever since the process to carve out a separate Telangana state began a few moths ago. The ministers,legislators and party leaders hailing from the Telangana and Seemandhra (Coastal and rayalaseema) regions of the state are functioning as separate groups though belonging to the same parties,espousing their respective causes (one group supporting separate Telangana while the other opposing the move to bifurcate the state). The MPs, MLAs and ministers from the two regions have been meeting President Pranab Mukhrjee who is now in the city for the southern sojourn to represent to him about their stand on the bifurcation move. These meeting with the President by the representatives of different political parties have become a daily feature. Only today, union Minister D.Purandeshwari met the President at Rashtrapathi Nilayam in Bolarum, Secunderabad, and urged him to keep the state,contrary to her party's stand on the issue. YSR Congress President Y Jaganmohan Reddy, MP, too met the President and submitted an affidavit appealing to Mr Mukherjee not to divide the state. Telangana Congress ministers and leaders who met the President yesterday urged Mr.Mukherjee against extending the January 23 deadline set for the legislature to send its views on the A P Reorganisation Bill, 2013, seeking to create a separate Telangana state.

AAP prepares for general elections New Delhi, Dec 26 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Thursday named two members who would look into preparations for the Lok Sabha elections next year. "The two members Pankaj Gupta and Sanjay Singh - will look into the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls. They will help in making the party's election manifesto and other poll-related issues," party leader Yogendra Yadav told media

persons at the party office in central Delhi's Hanuman Road. Yadav said the two members would comprise a subcommittee under the party's parliamentary affairs committee. They will also help party volunteers across the country in poll preparations. AAP is going to form the government in Delhi after winning 28 seats in its debut elections for Delhi's 70-member assembly.

Purandeshwari, Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industry along with her husband Dr.D.Venkateswara Rao, M.L.A called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Nilayam, Bollarum on Thursday.

Cabinet okays probe in Gujarat snooping, BJP furious New Delhi, Dec 26 : The union cabinet Thursday ordered the setting up of a commission of inquiry into the alleged snooping on a young woman by Gujarat Police at the behest of then state home minister Amit Shah, sources said. A furious BJP said the decision was "politically motivated". The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting here presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The inquiry will look into the "physical/electronic surveillance" in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi "allegedly without authorisation", an official statement said.According to sources, a retired Supreme Court judge may be named to head the commission of

Cabinet approves enhancement of compensation for fishermen in 12th plan Hyderabad, Dec 26 (IPT) : The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the central sector scheme 'National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen' during the 12th Plan and enhanced the among of assistance and compensation to fishermen. The scheme will be implemented within an outlay of Rs 640 crore including a central outlay of Rs 320 crore for the remaining part of the 12th

Plan.Under the scheme will provide Group Accident Insurance for active fishermen, Development of model fishermen village, Saving-cumRelief, and Training and Extension to the fishermen, according to an officials release here today. The Cabinet also approved enhancement in assistance and compensation to fishermen including Group Accident Personal Insurance

compensation to one lakh from Rs 50,000.During the 12th Plan period, the cabinet targeted for construction of additional houses of 4,600 houses per year, coverage of 3.5 lakh fishers under Saving-cum-Relief every year, an additional coverage of three lakh fishermen under Group Accident Insurance and covering of 6,400 fishermen per year under Training and Extension, release added.

CPI(M), JD (S) discuss secular alternative for 2014 LS polls New Delhi, Dec 26 : Janata Dal (Secular) Secretary General Kunwar Danish Ali today called on CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat to hold talks on strengthening the secular third alternative against Congress and the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The meeting between two leaders lasted over 30 minutes and the parties would cooperate in Kerala where the JD(S) is in alliance with Left and Democratic Front, Mr Ali told reporters after the meeting.'We both agree to

join hands in the interests of the nation,' he said. There have been series of meeting among the Third Front parties where Mr Karat has called on Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akilesh Singh Yadav at Lucknow, Mr Ali said. CPI leader A B Bardhan has had a meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at Patna and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Bhubaneswar for the same purposes, he added.

inquiry. The announcement is likely to be made in a few days.Two news portals claimed last month that Shah ordered the illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of a "saheb", widely believed to be Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The Gujarat government has already ordered a probe into the case. Shah is now Uttar Pradesh in-charge for the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress had earlier alleged that the woman was close to Modi and was put under surveillance by the then minister of state for home and Modi-aide Amit Shah in 2009, after Modi suspected the woman of being close to an IAS officer. A group of women activists, including Mahila Con-

gress members, had even approached the president demanding a judicial probe into the incident. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said: "Congratulations to central government, this should have happened earlier."The BJP reacted angrily to the decision, saying the real target was Modi, now the party's prime ministerial candidate. "The centre's decision to institute a fresh commission of inquiry into the alleged snooping case is an attempt to tarnish the image of Gujarat government," BJP president Rajnath Singh said. "The Congress is trying to hit at the principal opposition party's prime ministerial candidate. It is a clear case of political vindictive-

BJP criticises Congress over Gujarat snooping probe New Delhi, Dec 26 : The BJP Thursday criticised the UPA government's decision to set up a commission of inquiry into the alleged snooping on a young woman by the Gujarat Police, saying it was "political vindictiveness" against its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. "The centre's decision to institute a fresh inquiry into the alleged snooping case is an attempt to tarnish the image of the Gujarat government. It is a step against the federal structure of our constitution. When the state government had already ordered a probe, what was the point behind setting up a new commission of inquiry," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh asked. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the decision could be challenged in court. "The Gujarat government has already set up a commission of inquiry The setting up of a parallel commission by the central government ostensibly on the pretext of this issue covering more than

one state is without basis I am sure it can be legally challenged," he said. The young woman, an architect who was in Karnataka capital Bangalore, was allegedly under the surveillance of Gujarat Police. Jaitley said the setting up of the new commission was "politically motivated". "It is an affront to the states. I hope other chief ministers also join the protest against this action," he said.BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told mediapersons: "Congress is trying to hit at the principal opposition party's prime ministerial candidate. It is a clear case of political vindictiveness coming into play." The Congress leads the United Progressive Alliance government. Two news portals had claimed last month that former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah had ordered the illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of a "saheb", widely believed to be Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

ness coming into play," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley termed the cabinet move as "politically motivated" and said it was against the "federal structure"."It is a step against the federal structure of our constitution. When the state government had already ordered a probe into the case then what was the point behind setting up a new commission of inquiry," he said in a statement. "The setting up of a parallel commission by the central government ostensibly on the pretext of this issue covering more than one state is without any basis... I am sure it will be legally challenged in courts," Jaitley said.

Men rob two women, shoot bank manager Ghaziabad, Dec 26 : Three robbers Thursday snatched gold jewellery and a mobile phone from two women and shot a bank manager on a street here when he resisted them, police said. The incidents occurred early in the morning near the Hindon Indian Air Force station, Superintendent of Police G. Muniraj said. The two women were on their morning walk when the motorcycleborne criminals snatched their gold chains, the mobile and a ring from them. The victims were identified as Mithlesh Sharma and Aruna Sakar, wives of retired officers of a paramilitary force and the army respectively.The criminals then tried to rob a bank manager of a bag he was carrying. When he resisted, one of them fired at his head from a gun, but the bullet hit him elsewhere. Doctors said he was in a critical condition.

YSRCP MPs,MLAs, MLCs submit individual affidavits to President Hyderabad, Dec 26 (IPT) : Opposing the division of Andhra Pradesh YSR Congress Party leaders today submitted affidavits signed seperately by three MPs, 23 MLAs, Six MLCs to the President Panab Mukherjee, who is currently on his annual southern sojourn here. A delegation consisting of party MLAs, MPs and MLCs led by YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who called on the President here, submitted a memorandum to keep the state united and they also submitted individual affidavits in this regard to him. In his letter addressed to the President, Kadapa MP Jagan said that a majority of the members of state legislature are opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh and our

right is being over looked in the light in taking decision by the Congress party for creation of sepearate Telangana statehood. Urging the President to stall the bifurcation of Andhra pradesh, he said the draft of the Andhra Pradesh Re-organization Bill 2013 (Bill), apparently prepared with great haste, was sent to state Legislature for offering their views without even mentioning the Objects and reasons for the Bill and without providing any background information on any of the important issues. This clearly shows that the Union Government does not want any informed discussion and debate on various issues that directly impact the lives of over 8.4 cr people of the state, he said in the letter.

Badminton player Saina Nehwal visits the Taj Mahal in Agra on Thursday.


Friday, December 27, 2013

MARK INDIA, Hyderabad

MARK INDIA Flat No. 106, Block - A, Archana Apartment, East Marredpally, Secunderabad 500 - 026.

Will Arvind Kejriwal fulfill AAP's promises of 700 litres of water, cheap electricity? With decks cleared for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to form government in Delhi, all eyes are now on Chief Minister designate Arvind Kejriwal, whether he would be able to deliver his promise to provide 700 litres of free water, cheap electricity bills, order probe against some Congress leaders allegedly involved in corruption among other things he mentioned in the party manifesto. Kejriwal had on Wednesday reiterated that he will provide 700 litres of free water to each household within 24 hours of taking oath along with his Cabinet ministers on December 28. Both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are keeping a close watch on every move of Kejriwal and would certainly not spare any moment to criticise his party if any of the promises made during election campaign remain unfulfilled. Not only the main opposition parties, even Delhiites have high hopes from the new political outfit, which had a dream run in the recently held Assembly polls here. Congress has also set a three-month deadline for AAP to deliver its agendas, which the latter had promised before Delhi Assembly elections. The Congress yesterday scotched speculation that it was having second thoughts on giving support to the AAP, removing what initially looked like the last of the hurdles vis-a-vis government formation. The BJP has termed the promises made by AAP as impractical. Calling AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal as “too adventurous”, BJP leader Balbir Punj has said that the chief minister designate makes tall promises. “Let us see if he lives up to people's expectations,” Punj said. Kejriwal, who tapped into public anger to take the AAP to the corridors of power, will take oath on Saturday as Delhi's seventh chief minister, with his party promising to "completely overhaul" the system. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Ramlila Maidan, where Anna Hazare fasted for 12 days for Jan Lokpal Bill with Kejriwal as one of his aides.

The six big lessons of the assembly polls It would seem that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s overall victory in the assembly polls requires little analysis. After all, in Madhya Pradesh and in Rajasthan, the Congress has performed worse than it has in decades, perhaps since 1977; in Delhi, it has been reduced to a Uttar Pradesh-style bit player, its place on the leaderboard taken by the Aam Aadmi Party. First: there is, beyond dispute, a giant amount of antiCongress sentiment in the Hindi-speaking belt. The results from Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, as well as from north and central Chhattisgarh, reveal this. In a broad sweep of India from Raipur west to Kutch and north to Ambala, the Congress will suffer in 2014. (It is worth noting that it didn’t exactly sweep these areas in 2009, either.) In this context, it would be glorious if the Congress’ leaders tried appearing a little less smugly arrogant when they deal with this result than they have so far in the United Progressive Alliance’s tenure. Also, can we all please now acknowledge that Rahul Gandhi’s 10 years of work “strengthening the Congress grassroots” is completely and utterly useless if he doesn’t also take sensible, policy positions? The idea that he can run away from the UPA’s performance is not just politically ridiculous, it is being, and will be, seen as an amoral betrayal. He seems to be unable to reverse course; his concession speech showed

a masterful ability to repeat himself, promising a “transformed” party. If it hasn’t been transformed yet, Mr Gandhi, exactly how many more legislators would you like to lose before you can transform it? Gandhi has very little credibility left with most people, and his continued unwillingness to create real policy discussions within Congress as opposed to ersatz elections and loyalty tests is hurting the party. In a slightly different world, I am pretty sure that Gandhi would have happily been working for Arvind Kejriwal. Unfortunately for the Congress, he’s its unwilling leader. It is past time that Rahul Gandhi to step aside. Second: Whether this converts into solid support for the Bharatiya Janata Party everywhere isn’t that certain. As the Delhi results show, anti-Congressism doesn’t mean a vote for the BJP if alternatives are available. In fact, people will flock readily to a credible non-Congress, non-BJP alternative. What does this mean? It means that the BJP, in 2014, can’t rely on solid results in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh purely as a result of votes against the United Progressive Alliance. And, without a solid showing in UP, the BJP can’t come to power. Third: The question everyone’s asking. What’s Narendra Modi’s influence on this round of assembly elections? Well, let’s try to be logical about it. In order to claim that Mr Modi made a difference to

voting, you’ve got to show places where the BJP would not have won in his absence. Or, in other words, you’ve got to show places that might have voted Congress or AAP or BSP if not for Modi. That’s tough to do. In fact, by all accounts, the results seem to indicate the absence of any such effect. Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, who has never lost a chance to rubbish Mr Modi, will have a million reasons why the vote in MP reflects less on Modi than on him. In Delhi, where someone just looking at the campaign posters would think that Modi was the CM candidate and not the genial Dr Harsh Vardhan, the BJP failed to mop up the votes of those who swung away from the Congress. In Rajasthan, if any personality mattered, it was Vasundhara Raje Scindia. Modi is likely to deliver a bombastic victory speech, but it better not be from the Red Fort just yet. This is not to say that Modi did not make a difference in these elections. He did -- but only very indirectly, for example in Delhi, by forcing the BJP to dump Vijay Goel for Dr Harsh Vardhan, and by energising the party’s cadre. In other words, Modi did what the Gandhis should have been doing for the Congress: control factional infighting and pump up workers, all to the greater good of the party. (The Gandhis notably failed to do this in Rajasthan.) Whether this will happen again going into the general elections is anyone’s guess. Fourth: this

Struggle for resources at root of Central Africa religious violence Mariam watched in horror as militiamen burst through the gate of her home in Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and demanded her husband say whether he was Muslim. When he said yes, they shot him dead. “They killed him just like that in front of our child,” said Mariam, who fled through the back door. “Then they hacked and clubbed our neighbors, a husband and wife, to death.” The two-day frenzy of violence in Bangui this month in which militia killed 1,000 people, according to Amnesty International - fed fears that Central African Republic was about to descend into religious warfare on a scale comparable to Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. The slaughter - a response to months of atrocities by mostly Muslim fighters from the Seleka rebel group who seized power in March - prompted France to immediately deploy 1,600 troops under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians. Religious leaders had sounded the alarm over abuses by the Seleka after they burned churches, looted and killed during their southward march on the capital early this year. The violence has displaced some 700,000 people so far. Many in the country insist that the origins of the bloodshed have little to do with religion, in a nation

where Muslims and Christians have long lived in peace. Instead, they blame a political battle for control over resources in one of Africa’s weakest-governed states, split along ethnic faultlines and worsened by foreign meddling. “We carried out these attacks because we have been invaded by foreigners by Chad and Sudan,” said Hercule Bokoe, a member of the militia, known as “antimachete” and set up for self defense before the Seleka rebels arrived. He said his group’s aim was purely political: it would fight on until Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, installed as interim president, left power. “We said to ourselves that the country cannot continue to be held hostage by foreigners,” Bokoe told Reuters. “POLITICAL CONFLICT” Rich in diamonds, timber, gold, uranium and even oil, Central African Republic has been racked by five coups and numerous rebellions since independence from France in 1960 as different groups fought for control of state resources. That - and spillover from conflicts in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Chad have destroyed the rule of law, leaving a phantom state with an ill-disciplined army, corrupt administration and a lawless interior. Djotodia and other Seleka

leaders launched their uprising to gain access for northern peoples to resource wealth - particularly oil being exploited in their northern homeland by the China National Petroleum Corporation. Djotodia says his northern Gula tribespeople - Muslim pastoralists neglected both under French colonial rule and post-independence governments - were betrayed by former President Francis Bozize, who sought their aid for a 2003 coup but surrounded himself with his Gbaya tribe once in power. With support from battlehardened Chadian and Sudanese fighters, many of them also Gulas, Seleka swept southward, overrunning not only Bozize’s poorly equipped troops but also a South African peacekeeping force in March. Once in Bangui, unable to speak French or the local Sango language, Seleka fighters sought out Arabicspeaking Muslims and stayed with them, often hoarding looted goods in their homes.Non-Muslims equated this with complicity, said Archbishop of Bangui Diedonne Nzapalainga, with the devastating effects seen in the early December violence.“To non-Muslim locals, Muslim now equals Seleka and Seleka equals Muslim,” said Nzapalainga, who for months has worked with Muslim clerics to try to calm rising religious ten-

sions. “We came out early and declared that this conflict was not a religious conflict but a political one.” “CHAD IS THE MASTER” Djotodia, 64, waged an unsuccessful uprising against Bozize in the late 2000s using a network of Sudanese and Chadian support he had established during his time as consul in Nyala in Sudan’s southern Darfur region earlier that decade.But a rift between Bozize and his main military backer, Chadian President Idriss Deby, shifted the balance of power in Djotodia’s favour. Deby, who had helped install Bozize as president in the 2003 coup, withdrew his Chadian presidential guard last year. Witnesses said Chadian peacekeepers simply stood aside when Seleka troops led by a former member of Deby’s own presidential bodyguard - marched on Bangui. As Bozize’s replacement in the presidential palace, it is now Djotodia who enjoys the protection of Chadian bodyguards. Many in the capital say ethnic ties between the Seleka and Chadian soldiers participating in a 3,700-strong African Union peacekeeping mission (MISCA) are complicating efforts to resolve the crisis.Residents in Bangui have accused Chadian troops of supplying Seleka fighters, turning a blind eye to their activities, and even

attacking Christians themselves. Olivier Domanga, a resident of northern Bangui, said Chadian troops distributed dozens of weapons to Muslim inhabitants of his neighborhood. “Chad is the master of Seleka and Seleka is its attack dog,” said Philomon Dounia, another Bangui resident.Chad says its peacekeepers are neutral and denies supporting Seleka or distributing weapons to Muslims. After opposition politicians and civil society activists demanded the Chadians’ withdrawal, MISCA’s commanding officer, Cameroon’s Martin Tumenta Chomu, said on Tuesday they would be moved outside the capital to northern Central African Republic.Even in a country inured to rebellions, Seleka’s atrocities have proved shocking. It has been exacerbated the lack of a command structure in the loose coalition, whose name means ‘alliance’ in Sango. Warlords carved up territory where they had the power of life and death as they sought to extort money, particularly from non-Muslims. Acknowledging he was powerless to control the fighters in a country the area of France, Djotodia announced the official dissolution and disarmament of Seleka following outcry from the international community, but this had little effect.

is not the general election ‘semi-final’. The element of anti-Congress sentiment is important, but not crucial. In at least three of the four states reporting today, the swing has mostly been caused by localised factors. In Rajasthan, the consolidation of certain evenly-divided swing communities -- the Jats, for example -- behind Scindia and Muslim discontent with the Congress government over recent deaths in police firing were reportedly crucial. In MP, the four per cent that voted for Uma Bharti’s rebel party last time returned to the BJP fold. In Chhattisgarh, the southern tribal-dominated Bastar region voted following the devastating Maoist attack on a Congress campaign rally. And it would be all four states if you believe that the AAP is essentially a localised phenomenon, too. Fifth: For the BJP, this result actually conceals some pretty bad news. If the Congress’ gameplan is indeed, as many imagine, to abandon urban areas as lost and double-down on getting undecided rural voters to back it, then the BJP’s strategists will have to look very hard indeed at whether that will allow their party to get to over 175-180 seats in 2014. Simply put, urban voters carried the Congress to 200plus against the BJP in 2009. Yes, there are more urban voters now. But are there enough of them to carry the BJP to 180 in an electoral landscape which also includes an energised and efficient Aam Aadmi Party? That’s far from certain. Remember, the BJP’s vote share in Delhi actually went down. If AAP contests across India, it will sweep up urban votes even in mixed urban-rural constituencies that would otherwise have swung to the BJP. Rather than repeating Delhi on a national scale, the outcome of this double election – one on local issues in rural areas, one on national issues in urban areas – is remarkably uncertain. The BJP might lose just enough urban votes to AAP to let Congress get a slight plurality in mixed urban-rural seats. If I were the BJP, I would not be celebrating quite so quickly. It can sweep its heartland in 2014, as it has shown it can do, but that heartland isn’t quite big enough. And it can put up a good fight in towns and cities, too – but unless it neutralises AAP or similar political entrepreneurs, it may find itself tantalisingly short, just as has happened to it in Delhi. And finally: let’s dump the “voters now reward good government” nonsense. Frankly, it doesn’t seem to have any predictive power. We wind up evaluating whether a government was good depending on whether it was voted back in or not. If Ashok Gehlot was voted back in in Rajasthan, we would have pointed to his government’s improvement of the last-mile delivery of state services. Were Raman Singh to return, we would say that he has delivered good government; if he doesn’t, then it’s because he was populist about free food. Sheila Dikshit was generally supposed to have delivered “good government” and she’s been handed an epic drubbing.

Vaccination key to combat cervical cancer Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women and is responsible for nearly 10 percent of cancer deaths in women - particularly in developing countries. In India, it kills over 74,000 women every year. Now, researchers have completed a systematic and comprehensive genomic analysis of cervical cancer in two different populations - identifying recurrent genetic mutations that were not previously found in cervical cancer. The findings also capture the role that human papillomavirus (HPV), a common viral infection of the reproductive tract, plays in the development of cervical cancer. "While we don't have the complete answer yet in this case, what we are seeing is that, in two different populations, the causes of cervical cancer are similar and, fundamentally in both cases, it comes down to HPV-genome interaction, said Matthew Meyerson, co-senior author of the paper and professor of pathology and medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The team examined the genetic code in the proteincoding regions of the genome - on samples from 115 cervical cancer patients from Norway and Mexico. The study identified 13 mutations that occurred frequently enough across the samples to be considered significant in cervical cancer. Eight of these mutations had not been linked to the disease previously, and two had not previously been seen in any cancer type. In each case, the researchers compared genomic data derived from cervical cancer tumours with genomic data from healthy tissue from the same individual to determine what may have gone wrong - or mutated - in the genome to allow the cancer to develop. The mutations identified in tumours but not in healthy tissues from the same individuals are referred to as somatic mutations. By analysing genomic data from diverse populations, we can discover patterns to disease progression in context of the full range of human genetic variation," said co-senior author Helga Salvesen. Among the most notable findings were somatic point mutations in the gene ERBB2, which was found in a small but significant subset of the tumours. Mutations in this gene, which is also known as Her-2, had not been previously been linked to cervical cancer, but it is a known oncogene common in breast cancer. Treatments exist that target the gene. The most striking finding was to learn more about how HPV - a primary risk factor for cervical cancer - is driving the disease. "Our findings further elucidate the key role HPV is playing in the development of cervical cancer, which in turn emphasises the importance of combating the disease by vaccinating against HPV," Meyerson said. The paper claimed the study bears important clinical implications for targeted therapeutics. "It is hoped that, as we combine vaccination strategies and novel targeted therapies, we will be better able to combat cervical cancer," the paper added.

New gene a risk factor for type 2 diabetes

First the facts. The number of diabetes patients in India is expected to reach 100 million by 2030, according to the latest Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study. And the number of type 2 diabetics is rapidly increasing in our country. To add to their woes, researchers in Mexico and the US have uncovered a new genetic clue that contributes to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.The team discovered a risk gene for type 2 diabetes that had gone undetected in previous efforts. People who carry the higher risk version of the gene are 25 percent more likely to have diabetes than those who do not, and people who inherited them from parents are 50 percent more likely to have diabetes, said the study. To date, genetic studies have largely used samples from people of European or Asian ancestry which makes it possible to miss culprit genes that are altered at different frequencies in other populations, said study author Jos Florez, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. By expanding our search to include samples from Mexico and Latin America, we've found one of the strongest genetic risk factors discovered till date, which could illuminate new pathways to target with drugs and a deeper understanding of the disease, he added. The higher risk form of the gene - named SLC16A11 - has been found in up to half of people who have recent Native American ancestry, including Latin Americans. The variant is found in about 20 percent of East Asians and is rare in populations from Europe and Africa.The elevated frequency of this risk gene in Latin Americans could account for as much as 20 percent of the populations' increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes - the origins of which are not well understood. We are now using this information to design new studies that aim to understand how this variant influences metabolism and disease, with the hope of eventually developing improved risk assessment and possibly therapy, said Teresa Tusie-Luna, principal investigator at the Biomedical Research Institute, National University of Mexico. "One of the most exciting aspects of this work is that we've uncovered a new clue about the biology of diabetes," said co-senior author David Altshuler." We are now trying to figure out what is being transported, how this influences triglyceride metabolism and what steps lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, he added. The teams ultimate goal is to reach a deeper understanding of this pathway to find new drug targets for treating diabetes.


Friday, December 27, 2013

MARK INDIA, Hyderabad

Opposition warns of "deep state" in new Turkish cabinet Istanbul, Dec 26 : Turkey's opposition accused scandal-hit Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday of trying to rule via a secretive "deep state", after a cabinet reshuffle that would tighten controls on police already beleaguered by government-ordered purges. Among 10 new loyalist ministers Erdogan named late on Wednesday was Efkan Ala, a former governor of the restive Diyarbakir province who will wield the powerful Interior portfolio and oversee Turkish domestic security. Ala replaces Muammer Guler, one of three cabinet members who resigned after their sons were detained in a graft probe that erupted on December 17. Guler, who like Erdogan had called the case baseless and a plot, sacked or reassigned dozens of police officers involved including the chief of the force in Istanbul. "He (Erdogan) is trying to put together a cabinet that will not show any opposition to him. In this context, Efkan Ala has a key role," Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the biggest opposition party CHP, said in remarks carried

by Turkish media. "Erdogan has a deep state, (his) AK Party has a deep state and Efkan Ala is one of the elements of that deep state," added Kilicdaroglu, using a term that for Turks denotes a shadowy power structure unhindered by democratic checks and balances. During his three terms in office, the Islamist-rooted Erdogan has transformed Turkey, cutting back its once-dominant secularist military and overseeing rapid economic expansion. He weathered unprecedented anti-government protests that swept major cities in mid-2013. But the corruption scandal has drawn an EU call for the independence of Turkey's judiciary to be safeguarded and has rattled stocks and the lira, with the currency falling to a historical low of 2.1025 against the dollar on Monday. The affair is a potent and personal one for Erdogan. It lays bare his rivalry with Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric whose Hizmet (Service) movement claims at least a million faithful including senior police officers and judges. Another of the three

cabinet members who quit on Wednesday over their sons' detention, Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, broke ranks by urging the premier to follow suit. The Turkish leader, in power for 11 years and facing local elections in March and a national ballot in 2015, was unmoved. Vowing no tolerance for corruption, he said on Wednesday graft investigation was tainted by foreign interests. Unlike anyone else in the 20-member cabinet, Ala is not a member of parliament and thus does not answer directly to a constituency. In his previous post as undersecretary of the prime ministry, political sources told Reuters, he urged a crackdown on demonstrators who flooded the streets over the summer in protest at what they see as Erdogan's authoritarianism. "Who would you trust other than your undersecretary, with whom you have been working closely for years?" said one government source, who characterized the new ministers as "surprise" picks conveying Erdogan's desire for fresh faces.

Beijing, Dec 26 : China is to more than triple the amount of compensation that some parents get if their only child dies, the health and family planning agency said on Thursday, in the latest sign of a more lenient stand on an uncompromising population policy. China's childless parents are emblematic of the problems of the tough one-child policy, which the government says has resulted in 400 million fewer births since 1980. A loosening of the one-child policy, which will allow more parents to have a second

child, will begin early next year. Traditionally, Chinese people rely on children to support them in old age so when a sole child dies, elderly parents can find themselves in dire circumstances. China has little in the way of welfare or health insurance systems. From next year, couples in cities who have lost their only child and in which the woman is 49 or older will get 340 yuan ($56) per parent a month, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a statement. Previously, urban couples

got 100 yuan a month per parent, under rules set in 2010. Couples in rural areas will get 170 yuan per parent a month. In May, about 400 people who had lost an only child gathered in Beijing to appeal in front of the National Health and Family Planning Commission's headquarters, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper. Wang Hailong, a senior official from the National Health and Family Planning Commission who met the protesters, said then he would resign if the issue was not addressed before the end of the year.

China to triple compensation for parents losing only child

Bangladesh troops sent out to try to stem election violence Dhaka, Dec 26 : Tens of thousands of troops fanned out across Bangladesh on Thursday in a bid to stem political violence ahead of next month's elections, which the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has boycotted. Violence has gripped the country as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League press ahead with the January 5 vote. BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia has called on Bangladeshis to march to the capital on Sunday to protest against the elections, declaring "democracy is dead". The opposition says it will not take part unless an interim government is installed and Hasina steps down. Hasina wants to do away with the practice of installing a caretaker government. With the BNP's boycott, more than half the 300 parliament seats will go uncontested, making it unlikely the vote will do anything to restore stability in one of the world's poorest countries. The army will be deployed until January 9, an Election Commission official said. People are shot, beaten or burned to death daily in clashes between rival groups and police. More than 200 people have died in political violence this year, half of them since November 25, when the Election Commission announced the date for the vote. Rolling general strikes staged by the opposition and blockades of roads, rail lines and waterways are also hurting the $22 billion garment industry, which supplies some of the world's top retailers, employs four million people and accounts for 80 percent of the country's export earnings. Hasina and Khaleda have dominated politics in Bangladesh for more than two decades, and mutual suspicion bordering on hatred has blocked attempts at reconciliation.

apanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, follows a Shinto priest to pay respect for the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday.

An anti-government protester throws a rock at riot police near a sport gymnasium in Bangkok, Thailand

Thai Election Commission asks for poll delay after clashes Bangkok, Dec 26 : Thailand's Election Commission (EC) called for a February poll to be postponed on Thursday after bloody clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters seeking to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and scuttle the ballot. One policeman was killed and three were wounded by gunshots fired from an elevated position during the chaos, which erupted as riot police fired teargas and rubber bullets at rock-throwing protesters seeking to break into the venue of an election ballot numbers draw. About 40 demonstrators were hospitalised, most from teargas, while several were hit by rubber bullets, the Public Health Ministry said. Hours after the unrest started, the EC issued a statement recommending the government postpone the vote until all sides supported it, an unlikely scenario given

Five injured in Egypt bus bomb blast

Cairo, Dec 26 : A bomb blast hit a public bus in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Thursday, wounding five people, the Interior Ministry said. The blast came a day after the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, accusing it of being behind the violence. The group has denied the claim, saying the government is trying to scapegoat it. A homemade bomb planted in a main intersection went off as a public bus passed in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, Interior Ministry said in a statement. Authorities then found at least one more bomb attached to an advertisement billboard apparently intended to hit security forces who responded to the first, state TV reported. The other two explosives were defused. The explosion shattered windows on the bus, and flying glass injured five people, one of them seriously, the Ministry said. Ministry spokesman Abdel-Fatah Osman told state TV said that the bomb was planted near a school complex and intended “to terrorize people and cause chaos.”

African leaders in South Sudan for peace talks Juba, Dec 26 : The leaders of Kenya and Ethiopia arrived in South Sudan on Thursday to try and mediate between the country’s President and the political rivals he accuses of attempting a coup that the government insists sparked violence that has threatened to destroy the world’s newest country. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will meet with South

Sudanese President Salva Kiir later on Thursday, said Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth. World leaders have urged the country’s leaders to stop the violence in which thousands are feared killed. The United States, Norway and Ethiopia are leading efforts to open peace talks between Kiir and his political rivals. Mr. Kiir said in a Christmas address that he is willing to “dialogue” with all his opponents.The

United Nations is investigating reports of mass killings since violence began spreading across South Sudan after a fight among the presidential guards on December 15, pitting soldiers from Mr. Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group against those from the Nuer ethnic group of former vice-president Riek Machar. South Sudan’s top U.N. humanitarian official, Toby Lanzer, said on Monday that he believes the death toll has surpassed 1,000. Mr.

Leuth, the Information Minister, said the government has not yet established formal contact with Mr. Machar, who has been accused of leading what the government insists was a failed coup plot, because “the rebel” was expected to first renounce violence.“For us, we are not talking with him,” he said, referring to Mr. Machar, whose whereabouts remain unknown. Government troops are trying to retake control of

Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity state, from forces loyal to Mr. Machar. There was also reported fighting overnight in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, according to Mr. Lueth. Upper Nile and Unity comprise the country’s key oil-producing region, raising fears unrest there could cut off the country’s economic lifeblood. South Sudan gets nearly 99 per cent of its government budget from oil revenues.

that Yingluck's Puea Thai Party is almost certain to win. The EC's request is a setback for Yingluck as she seeks to renew her mandate in the face of demonstrations by a group calling for a suspension of Thailand's fragile democracy, which they say has been subverted by her influential, self-exiled brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The clashes are also a big blow to Yingluck, who had ordered police to act with restraint, fearing opponents would stir chaos intentionally to weaken the government and trigger an intervention, either by the military or judiciary. "The February 2 election may not happen if there's no mutual consent between all the related parties," the EC said. "The election commission would like to ask the government to consider postponing the election until the mutual consent could be reached," it said, adding that

it could take that decision itself in a January 2 crisis meeting. The protesters draw strength from the south, Bangkok's middle class and elite, who call Yingluck a puppet of Thaksin, a former telecoms tycoon and populist hero among millions of poor in the north and northeast whose votes have won his parties every election since 2001. Ekanat Prompan, a spokesman for the protesters, said the group would not change its stance. "We insist on reforms before the poll. The Yingluck administration has to step down," he said. Yingluck called a snap election for February 2 in an attempt to deflate weeks of mainly peaceful protests that, at their peak, have drawn 200,000 people on to the streets of Bangkok. About 2,000 gathered outside Yingluck's home in a Bangkok suburb, although

she was not there. She has not been in the capital for most of the past week, choosing instead to shore up her support in her power base to the north. She is not due to return to Bangkok until the New Year. The crisis has dealt a blow to an economy already suffering from weak consumer spending, falling factory output and sluggish growth of exports, worth about 60 percent of gross domestic product. The Finance Ministry said on Thursday annual growth of Southeast Asia's secondbiggest economy was likely to be 2.8 percent, below the 3 percent target, with confidence hurt by the unrest. It expected 4 percent growth next year, possibly 3.5 percent if the political standoff continued. The election was made more uncertain on Saturday when the main opposition Democrat Party announced a boycott.

Russia says Arafat died of natural causes: Interfax Moscow, Dec 26 : Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of natural causes, not radiation poisoning, the head of a Russian state forensics agency that tested samples taken from his body said on Thursday, according to the Interfax news agency. The Russian finding was in line with an assessment by French scientists who said earlier this month that Arafat, who died in 2004, had not been killed with radioactive polonium. "Yasser Arafat died not from the effects of radiation but of natural causes," Vladimir Uiba, head of the Federal Medico-Biological Agency (FMBA), was quoted as saying by Interfax. Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel

but then led an uprising in 2000, died at 75 in a French hospital four weeks after falling ill following a meal in his Ramallah compound surrounded by Israeli tanks. The official cause of death was a massive stroke, but French doctors said at the time they were unable to determine the origin of his illness. No autopsy was carried out. Swiss forensic experts said last month that their tests of samples taken from Arafat's body were consistent with polonium poisoning, while not absolute proof of the cause of death. Samples were taken from Arafat's body in November 2012 by Swiss, French and Russian experts after an al Jazeera documentary said his clothes showed high amounts of polonium.

Hit by scandal and resignations, Turk PM names new ministers Ankara/Istanbul, Dec 26 : Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday after three members quit over a corruption scandal that has posed an unprecedented challenge to his 11-year rule. The crisis erupted on December 17 when dozens of people, including of the head of state-run Halkbank, were arrested on graft charges. Erdogan responded by purging police investigators. The ensuing feud with the judiciary reignited long-simmering street protests and rattled foreign investors. Earlier on Wednesday, three ministers who had sons among those detained resigned. Two of them echoed Erdogan in depicting the inquiry as baseless and a conspiracy. The third, Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, turned on the premier."For the sake of

the wellbeing of this nation and country, I believe the prime minister should resign," he told NTV news. By breaking ranks, Bayraktar may have diluted any easing of pressure on Erdogan afforded by the ministers' resignations, although some commentators thought their timing was off. "These are very late and difficult resignations. They don't have any value in terms of democracy," said Koray Caliskan, an associate professor at Istanbul's Bogazici University. After nightfall, a spentlooking Erdogan announced he was appointing 10 new ministers to replace the three who quit and others planning mayoral runs in local elections in March. The fact that the shake-up happened over Christmas cushioned the blow to Turkey on dormant

international markets. But the stock index closed 4.2 percent and the lira weakened to 2.0862 against the dollar. During his three terms in office, Erdogan has transformed Turkey by tackling its once-dominant secular military and overseen rapid economic expansion. He weathered anti-government demonstrations that swept Istanbul and other cities in mid-2013. The gauntlet thrown down by Bayraktar set off fresh protests in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir. Erdogan was unmoved. In a speech earlier on Wednesday, he vowed no tolerance corruption. He argued that the work of the about 70 police investigators he had sacked or reassigned - including the chief of the force in Istanbul, Halkbank's headquarters was deeply tainted.


Friday, December 27, 2013

MARK INDIA, Hyderabad

Bitcoin operators shut shops in India amid RBI warning New Delhi, Dec 26 : A number of bitcoin operators in India have begun suspending their business following RBI’s warning against use of such virtual currencies due to potential money laundering and cyber security risks. While RBI is yet to come out with a clear regulatory framework for bitcoins, which have been gaining currency across the world over the past few months, it has issued an advisory cautioning general public against use of bitcoins and other virtual currencies.Within days of this advisory issued on December 24, a number of entities offering bitcoin services

Aam Aadmi Party did what Rahul Gandhi wanted to do: Digvijay Singh

New Delhi, Dec 26 : Congress leader Digvijay Singh said that Aam Aadmi Party had managed to do what Rahul Gandhi had set out to do. In an interview to a TV channel, Digvijay said that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls could see a triangular fight between Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal's AAP. He hailed the tactics of the AAP regarding door-to-door campaigning and said that the Congress and the BJP had stopped this practice. He also pointed out that the Congress vice president had been saying that people should have total access to party leaders but they had not been able to do that. Digvijay further said that the Congress would have to adopt AAP's practices. After the results of Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi were announced on December 08, Rahul had told the media that the Congress had to learn from the AAP and involve a lot of non-traditional people. The Congress was decimated by the BJP in all the four states. The BJP got majority in three states and emerged as the single largest party in Delhi. Meanwhile, the AAP stunned everyone with their spectacular performance in their first outing and won 28 seats in Delhi. The BJP won 31 and SAD bagged 01 seats in the 70 member House. Later, the BJP told the LG that they could not prove majority on the floor of the House, when invited to form the government.

have suspended their operations, temporarily or indefinitely, while websites of a few others have gone down. However, some other entities continue to run their operations of offering bitcoin exchange services for rupee and other currencies. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be generated through complex computer software systems with solutions shared on a network, although the process is complex and such ’mining’ can be done only on very powerful servers.Hardly three years into existence, bitcoin has already become the world’s most expensive currency and

its per unit value soared past $1,000 level or about Rs. 63,000 recently, although the prices have now slipped below Rs. 50,000 level. There was a phenomenal surge in the exchange rate for bitcoin from little over $200 to well past $1,000 during November, but there has been an extreme volatility since then and the RBI’s warning has further added to its woes in India.One of the bitcoin operators in India,, has posted its website, “Post the RBI circular, we are suspending buy and sell operations until we can outline a clearer framework with which to

work. This is being done to protect the interest of our customers and in no way is a reflection of Bitcoin’s true potential or price,” it said. Another entity, INRBTC also said that “in light of RBI’s notice, services of are being suspended indefinitely”. Explaining its decision, INRBTC said that RBI has stated that users of virtual currencies are exposed to both legal and financial risks. “Further it (RBI) states that absence of information of counterparties could subject the users to unintentional breaches of Anti-Money laundering and combating the fi-

People of Delhi are the chief minister, not me: Kejriwal Kaushambi, Dec 26 : Delhi Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kjriwal today said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will fulfill its promises mentioned in its manifesto and added that people of Delhi would be the chief minister and not him. Kejriwal, who will take oath on Saturday at the Ramlila Maidan as Delhi's seventh chief minister, said: "Everyone is invited for the oath taking ceremony. I am not going to be the Chief Minister, but people of Delhi are." "Appeal to the people of Delhi, everyone should come to the Ramlila Maidan for the oath ceremony," he added. Reassuring the Delhiites, Kejriwal said that his party will deliver promises on time and has also chalked out plans about how to provide 700 litres of free water to the

people.On Wednesday, describing the menace of corruption as a very big issue for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Kejriwal has said that his minority government, which is being given outside support by the Congress, is determined to introduce and pass a Jan Lokpal Bill in the next 15 days. Responding to reports in the media that it would be impossible for the AAP to pass a Jan Lokpal Bill within the next 15 days because rules of government do not permit, Kejriwal told media, "As per the Constitution, the Delhi State Assembly has the right to pass all laws, except those in the State List that may come in conflict with Central laws." "As I understand, in 2002, the Transaction of Business Rules were amended to read that all state governments

would have to take the permission of the Central Government to pass any law. This , we feel, is wrong. This is something related to the time when the British were in power in India. Then, all administrative decisions related to India, had to be sent to London for approval. We are an independent country now, and we do not have to follow this," Kejriwal added. Kejriwal on Tuesday held consultations on government formation and the party named its ministers. The AAP sent the names of six ministers - Manish Sisodia, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Somnath Bharti, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain and Girish Soni to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.The AAP staked claim to form the government in Delhi after the BJP decided not to form the government.

Home Ministry to inspect accounts of AAP on foreign funding New Delhi, Dec 26 : Home Ministry will soon inspect the books of accounts of Aam Aadmi Party in connection with alleged illegal foreign funding to it. The move comes after the AAP sent replies to queries from the Home Ministry regarding violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act while receiving funds from abroad.“We need further interaction with AAP as we need some clarification on their replies. We will inspect their books of accounts,” a senior official said. The Home Ministry probe into the foreign fundings to

AAP came following a directive of Delhi High Court in response to a public interest litigation.The AAP, which is all set to form government in Delhi, said it was ready for any kind of probe and insisted that it had taken donations only from Indians, residing in the country or abroad. “If we are found guilty of any wrongdoing, we will accept double the punishment,” AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said.AAP had said it has collected about Rs. 19 crore till November 8 as donations from 63,000 people including a host of NRIs.It has claimed to have received

donations ranging from Rs. 10 to several lakhs, from rickshaw-pullers to traders and industrialists to fight the polls and bring a “graft-free” administration. Former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit had questioned the source of funding of AAP, whose main election plank was to check corruption.AAP had a stunning debut in the recent Delhi assembly election, winning 28 out of 70 seats.The party chief Arvind Kejriwal will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Delhi on Saturday after Congress with eight MLAs extended outside support to the nascent party.

nancing of terrorism (AML/ CFT) laws,” it added. “The only option left now is suspend the services until further arrangements can be made,” INRBTC said, while adding that all trades which have been executed till December 26, 2013 will be processed completely. “All pending orders will be cancelled and the deposits on those orders will be refunded 100 per cent to the users,” it said.Many other websites offering bitcoin services in India have gone down, although a few continue to operate as of now despite increasing regulatory glare on bitcoins globally.

Four workers burnt alive in major fire Hyderabad, Dec 26 (IPT) : Four workers were burnt alive in a major fire which broke out in a rubber factory at Gagan Pahad near Shamshabad here this morning. According to fire officials, the cause of the fire was suspected to be a leak in the pipeline carrying some in flammable liquids. The fire spread to a room where the four workers were sleeping. They were burnt alive.The fire was put off by fire tenders which were rushed to the spot on being informed about the inferno.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik pays floral tribute to Biju Patnaik at the party's 16th foundation day celebration in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Constitutional status for proposed judicial appointments panel New Delhi, Dec 26 : Amid demands by jurists and the BJP, the government on Thursday gave the go ahead to grant constitutional status to a proposed Commission for appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary to ensure that its composition cannot be altered through an ordinary legislation. A Parliamentary standing committee which examined the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bill, 2013 had also made a similar recommendation. There were demands that the composition as well as the functions of the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should be mentioned in the Constitution as a safeguard against future

the Upper House, the main bill — the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 -- was referred to the standing committee. The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill defines the establishment of the proposed body to recommend appointment and transfer of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts. “We have made compromises to make the bill palatable to all. We have satisfied all demands.... The bill with official amendments will be tabled in the Lok Sabha now,” Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here. While a constitutional amendment bill requires two-third majority for passage in a House, a normal legislation just needs a simple majority.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah finds nothing wrong in MLAs' foreign junket Bangalore, Dec 26 : A planned foreign tour of MLAs from Karnataka amidst drought in parts of the state has come under sharp criticism. The 10- to 12-day “study tour” would see a contingent of MLAs from the state visit Brazil, Argentina and Peru next month. The "study tour" of the Estimates Committee of the Legislature, comprising MLAs from all parties, will cover holiday destinations such as Rio de Janerio, Manaus, Iguassu, Lima, Cusco, and Buenos Aires, besides Dubai, according to the itinerary. Among the destinations are the "exuberant ecosystems of Rio's tropical urban jungle" and shopping at Manaus, where they will experience rhythms of Samba, Tango and Paraguayan music during dinner and a show at a local restaurant." The

New Delhi, Dec 26 : President Pranab Mukherjee will visit Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra Dec 27-28, reports said on Thursday. The President will inaugurate the 37th Indian Social Science Congress-2013 at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh Dec 27, said a press release from the President's House. In Maharashtra, he will inaugurate the 66th annual session of Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE),

sembly speaker KG Bopaiah (BJP) said he had not yet made up his mind on joining the trip, while Vishwanath Patil (KJP) said he would not undertake the tour. A similar planned junket of 100 MLAs in different batches when large parts of the state were reeling under drought during the BJP rule last year had triggered a public outcry. The tour by members of five legislature committees numbering around 20 each, accompanied by 15 officials, to Russia, South America and Scandinavian countries in September and October was then expected to cost the state exchequer over Rs 8 crore. Following the outcry, the then Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had asked a batch of legislators on a visit to Argentina and other countries to call off their trip and fly back home

planned junket comes even as 65 taluks in the state have been declared drought-hit, parts of which were visited recently by the central teams after Karnataka government sought funds from the Centre to meet the situation. Washing his hands off the matter, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the tour was not decided by the state government. “It is the Legislature Committee that decides (on such matters). They (MLAs) go every year,” Siddaramaiah said. Congress MLA Malikayya Guttedar defended the junket, saying: “MLAs from drought-hit areas not coming on tour. Media is discussing as if we have committed a crime.” State minister Dinesh Gundu Rao also defended the tour, stating that “it has to be a combination of both study and entertainment.”

Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimappa had earlier told a news agency, “The Estimates Committee, consisting of as many as 18 legislators, is planning a study tour of Brazil, Argentina and Peru.” He said the tour programme has been approved but the date of journey has yet to be finalised. "It depends on the committee to decide on the date of journey and schedule." The tour may cost the state exchequer about Rs 60 lakh, the Speaker said, adding the trip is for 10 to 12 days. The legislators would visit South American countries to study the developments there in various departments, he said. Asked about the tour coming at a time when parts of the state are reeling under drought, Thimappa said it is for the legislators to take a call on the tour. Former As-

CHEMCON 2013 at Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai Dec 27. The President will also inaugurate the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress at National Sports Club of India, Worli the same day. On Dec 28, Mukherjee will unveil the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Thane. He will also inaugurate the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Tribal Research and Training Institute at Pune.

New Delhi, Dec 26 : Congress has set three-month deadline for Aam Aadmi Party to deliver its agendas which the latter had promised before Delhi Assembly elections. The Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit on Wednesday said that there is no rethink in the party on the support it has declared for AAP government in Delhi. Besides this, he also said that AAP should reduce power tariffs without giving subsidies. He further added that AAP had asked for three months time to fulfil its promises, so it should be given a chance to implement them. While AAP has laid down 18 promises and has also said that it would expose several scams within days of coming to power in the national capital, eyes are all set on the rookie party to deliver what it had promised. BJP leader Balbir Punj too on Wednesday said that the promises made by AAP are impractical.

President Pranab to visit UP, Maharashtra

Women offer prayers on Marina beach at the Bay of Bengal to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the 2004 Tsunami in Chennai. The Tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004 killed more than 200, 000 in 12 Indian Ocean nations.

changes.The decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting held here Thursday. According to the proposal, while new Article 124 A of the Constitution will define the composition of JAC, Article 124 B will define its functions. At present, the composition of the proposed panel is defined in the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 which was introduced along with a separate constitutional amendment bill in Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session. The constitutional amendment bill says there will be a JAC but does not say it will be headed by the CJI or mentions the composition. While the constitutional amendment bill — an enabling bill — was passed by

Congress sets 90-day deadline for AAP

Edited, Printed, Published and Owned by L. Aseervadam, Printed at Krashak Printer, Vidyanagar, O.U. Campus Road, Hyderabad. Published from Flat No: 106, Block - A, Archana Apartments, East Marredpally, Secunderabad 500 026. Phone : 040 40160906, 27712775, Fax : 040 -27712774, E-mail :, Editor-in-chief : L. Aseervadam, RNI. No : APENG/2012/47447

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