- P A Sangma working hard to become President of India
- Mamta Banerjee backs APJ Abdul Kalam for President
- SC allows devotees to enter Inside Kalighat Temple
- Luke Pomersbach takes a U turn denies any confessions to Police
- Anna goes against IPL, calls for control on it
- Lokpal Bill sent to the tables of Select Committee
- Anna Hazare writes a strong letter to Arvind Kejriwal over extra Expenditure
- Former IMF chief faces gang rape allegations
- TCS World 10K to be run this weekend at Bangalore
- How Public Money is wasted in silly Political ads in India
Posted: 22 May 2012 10:53 AM PDT
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader P.A. Sangma, whose name has been proposed for president by the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Tuesday said he would urge parties to “respond to the call of conscience” and choose a tribal for the post.
Sangma, who met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to thank him for backing his presidential candidature, told reporters: “We hope that other political parties, including those in the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) and the NDA (National Democratic Alliance), respond to the call of conscience in the nation by the tribal people and support us in the coming presidential election.”
Marching ahead in the presidential race after being backed by BJD leader Patnaik and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa, Sangma is making attempts to get support from major parties.
Sangma, who was accompanied by other tribal leaders from different political parties, said: “We belong from different political parties but we are fighting a common cause of projecting a tribal as a presidential candidate.”
Thanking Patnaik and Jayalalithaa, he said: “Indeed it is time, a distinguished tribal leader needs to be the ‘rashtrapati’ of this great nation.”
Sangma’s daughter, Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma, told a news channel that it was “too early to say anything”.
“The UPA will take a collective decision and I hope it will be on the positive side,” she told Times Now.
“Right now no one is officially a candidate. He has a lot of potential and has a long way to go,” she said.
Sangma’s party NCP is a key ally of the Congress-led UPA. However, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has not made his stand clear.
The Congress and BJP have so far been quiet on the issue.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati also declined on who her party would back.
“The UPA has not announced its candidate, the NDA has not announced its candidate, how can we comment,” Mayawati told reporters in the parliament complex.
Posted: 22 May 2012 10:13 AM PDT
Breaking her silence over the presidential race, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Monday said she would “be happy” with Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi or A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as president but not Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Refusing to back Mukherjee, the West Bengal chief minister said: “…I’ll be very happy to see if Meira Kumar or Gopal Gandhi or even A.P.J. Kalam. These three names are better. I think so.”
“Is he the son of Bengal? He may be the son of world… I don’t think so, but it is his choice. I don’t know,” she replied when asked by CNN-IBN in an interview about her stand on backing Mukherjee for the coveted post.
“No, I didn’t say but if the country allows him, who am I to oppose it,” she said.
“It depends on the majority, it’s a democratic country. He is finance minister… It’s Congress party’s decision who will be the candidate we cannot say… I cannot interfere in Congress party’s business it’s not my prerogative,” she said.
“But if you ask my party’s choice or the personal choice then I’ll say I love Meira Kumar. She is a soft-spoken lady and from the Scheduled Caste background also,” she said, referring to the Lok Sabha speaker.
“Even I love Gopal Gandhi (former governor of West Bengal) he is a very good man also. He is a man of integrity, and if you ask me A.P.J. (Abdul) Kalam he was a very good president also. He was an all party choice.”
Though the Congress is yet to announce its preference for the top post, there is a section in the party that feels Mukherjee, widely seen as the chief troubleshooter of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), would be better off serving the government.
There is no consensus yet among key political parties on who should succeed Pratibha Patil as the next occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Meanwhile, the BJP leadership Monday discussed P.A. Sangma’s candidature for the post of the president. The party will take a final decision soon. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik have backed Sangma’s candidature.
Posted: 22 May 2012 09:10 AM PDT
The Supreme Court permitted devotees to access the sanctum sanctorum of Kolkata’s Kalighat temple to pay obeisance to the deity.
An apex court bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya cleared the decks for the entry of devotees into the sanctum sanctorum after it stayed the April 20 order of the Calcutta High Court that had banned the entry of devotees to the ‘garbha griha’ (sanctum sanctorum).
While staying the high court order, the Supreme Court observed that in south India, devotees were not permitted in the sanctum sanctorum, as they had a concept of ‘darshan’, whereas in north and east India, there was a concept of ‘puja’ and touching the feet of the deity.
The stay of the operation of the high court order was till the further orders of the court, the judges said.
The court, however, said that the Kalighat temple committee would follow the high court direction on maintaining cleanliness in the temple.
Senior counsel Ashok Bhan, appearing for the central home ministry, told the court that they had no objection to devotees entering the garbha griha. “We are not opposed to the entry of devotees to the garbha griha,” Bhan told the court.
Senior counsel for the Temple Committee Rana Mukherjee told the court that even the prayer in the public interest litigation before the high court was limited to regulating the entry of devotees and not barring their entry as had been done by the high court.
Justice Mukhopadhaya inquired how were people offering their obeisance in the 157-year-old Dakshineswar Temple, also located in Kolkata.
When the court was told that people were not permitted in the sanctum sanctorum of the Dakshineswar Temple, Justice Mukhopadhaya told the counsel that only two days back a newspaper carried a photograph of two people standing in the sanctum sanctorum.
The judges inquired how could the high court pass an order that was at variance with the scheme formulated by the apex court in 2006 on giving access to the devotees to the sanctum sanctorum in various temples.
The court said that the “high court could not alter, modify or add to the apex court scheme”.
When the counsel for the original petitioner before the high court said that devotees were often cheated by ‘pandas’ posing as priests, the court observed that if that was happening then it must be happening at the time when devotees stood in queues leading to the sanctum sanctorum.
The apex court Tuesday issued notice to the central and West Bengal governments on a petition by the Kalighat temple committee challenging the high court order banning the entry of devotees into the sanctum sanctorum and allowing only two priests at a time.
The petition said that it had strong prima facie case and would suffer an irreparable loss if the interim order of the high court was not stayed.
The high court passed its order after hearing a public suit seeking directions to the temple committee to ensure that the temple in general and the sanctum sanctorum in particular was kept in a clean state.
The high court directed the temple committee to make arrangements that the offerings made by the devotees were credited in the account of the temple and not appropriated by the priests.
Posted: 22 May 2012 07:22 AM PDT
Counsel of Luke Pomersbach, the Australian player of IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Monday denied that the cricketer had confessed to police of having inadvertently touched or molested US citizen Zohail Hameed.
Lawyer Neeraj Chaudhry told IANS that his client did not make any confession to police or anyone that he had molested the woman in a five-star hotel.
“It was all a rumour. Luke did not make any such confession. His case is pending in court. So, he will only tell court if he needs to say anything,” said Chaudhry.
Additional Commissioner of Police K.C. Dwivedi told IANS that Pomersbach did not confess to police that he had inadvertently touched or molested the Hameed under the influence of alcohol.
Dwivedi said another IPL cricketer K.P. Appanna, who has also cropped up in the case as he was caught in CCTV footage while accompanying Pomersbach in the corridor of Maurya Sheraton where the incident took place, told police that his presence at the time of the incident was a coincidence.
“He was not accompanying Pomersbach,” said Dwivedi on the basis of Appanna’s statement to police.
“Appanna’s name came to light after he was seen in CCTV footage recovered from Maurya Sheraton hotel where the American woman was molested during a party,” said the officer.
Police questioned Appanna, a leg spinner who plays for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy, during the day Monday.
Pomersbach was arrested Friday after Hameed alleged that he molested her and hit her friend Sahil Peerzada when he objected to the cricketer’s behaviour. Peerzada was punched in his ear following which he had to undergo a surgery.
The official said that Peerzada, who is a friend of RCB director Sidhartha Mallya, was invited to the post-match party at the hotel Thursday night.
At the time of the incident, Peerzada was present along with Hameed, his friends Moiz and Miraj, and Pomersbach.
Pomersbach allegedly misbehaved with Hameed at the party.
“When she left the party along with Peerzada, she was followed by Pomersbach and Appanna after a few minutes,” said a police source.
Appanna had come to ask whether Mallya was there in the room, the source said, adding Hameed had also corroborated this.
The official informed that they had recorded Moiz’s statement too.
Hameed had alleged in her complaint to police Friday that five to six members of the IPL team had pressurised her to withdraw the case against Pomersbach.
Posted: 22 May 2012 06:11 AM PDT
Social Activist Anna Hazare has criticized the IPL form of Cricket for bringing in more Foreign Influence into the Indian Culture and was spoiling the youth. Taking a cue of the busted Rave party in Mumbai, he pressed for a limit on such activities.
Mumbai police busted a rave party in Juhu in northwest Mumbai Sunday night detaining around 100 people, including two IPL players — Rahul Sharma of India and Wayne Parnell of South Africa who play for the Pune Warriors team.
The IPL is a “new form of cricket” which has brought foreign culture here, Hazare said, adding that it will have a bad impact on the youth.
“IPL team owners buy players like they are animals,” he said on the sidelines of an event at Jalgaon Maharashtra.
Hitting out at those detained at the rave party, Hazare said they should be punished with life imprisonment if found guilty.
“All those found guilty should be punished with life imprisonment. This (possession and consuming of drugs) is a serious offence and those doing so should bear the consequences,” Hazare said.
Hazare is on a five-week statewide tour since May 1, to create awareness on the need for a strong lokayukta legislation in Maharashtra. His tour will end June 6.
A total of 58 men and 38 women were detained and taken to a hospital for blood and urine check-up after a rave party was busted at the Oakwood Premier hotel near Juhu beach. Police also seized around 110 grams of cocaine and other drugs including Ecstasy and charas from the party. The organiser of the party Vishesh Handa has been arrested and remanded in police custody till May 25.
Posted: 22 May 2012 05:36 AM PDT
The much-awaited Lokpal bill was Monday sent to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha soon after being taken up for debate after a gap of more than four months.
The bill was last debated on Dec 29 last year, the last day of an extended winter session, when the house functioned till midnight but could not pass the bill.
It was taken up again on the second last day of the budget session Monday, and has now been sent to a 15-member select committee which will give its report on the first day of the last week of the monsoon session in mid-August, pushing the bill to the November-December winter session.
As soon as Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances V. Narayanasamy introduced the bill around 5.40 p.m., Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agarwal moved an amendment to send the bill to a select committee.
This irked the opposition members. who accused the government of using the SP member as a shield. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal however quoted from the rule book that any member can move a motion for sending a bill to a select committee by means of an amendment, which was backed by Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien.
The upper house then saw high voltage drama, with members from both treasury and opposition benches quoting from the rule book, arguing whether the SP member had the right to move the motion or not. However, Narayanasamy soon moved another motion to send the Lokpal bill to a select committee.
Opposition members then pointed out that no suggestion to send the bill to a select committee was made earlier, with Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley even wondering whether the government wanted a Lokpal at all.
“Let’s answer one basic question… do we want Lokpal or we don’t want Lokpal…,” Jaitley said.
“From the winter to the budget session, there was enough time to consult every one,” he said adding that the amendment sent by government at the last moment brought provisions which could not be accommodated in the constitutional structure.
“The country expects a straightforward answer instead of games being played,” the leader of opposition added.
The upper house later passed through a voice vote the motion to send the bill to a select committee.
Posted: 22 May 2012 03:56 AM PDT
Anna Hazare has written a strong letter to his colleague and Member of IAC Arvind Kejriwal regarding the money collected on his name, in which he pressed for more transparency in the donations received and the expenditure. He even called for austerity measures reducing unnecessary expenditure from the budget,
In this letter Anna says, ” After Aug 16th, the core committee has met many times, but I am also not aware, so how will the committee or the public understand? I am not happy with the current state, and upon asking questions, it is said that allegations are being made. This is not correct“.
Kejriwals NGO, PCRF, which is collecting all the funds is spending too much of the peoples money on PCRF’s staff and it’s activities. No details of funds collected or expenses incurred has been provided to Anna or the Core Committee. Only the Audit report is not enough. Even 5 rupees spent must be put in front of the Core Committee. Expenditure must happen only where necessary, but to spend money where it is not needed is not correct.
Anna also asked that the peoples money must be spent with great care. A budget of future expenses needs to be created. Improvements must be made in all of the above.
Posted: 22 May 2012 02:22 AM PDT
Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be investigated for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring in Washington, and the charges could also constitute gang rape.
French authorities said Monday that police from Lille city will open an inquiry into the acts that allegedly took place in Washington in December 2010, CNN reported.
French newspaper Liberation reported that the allegations stemmed from statements made by two women the newspaper described as “escort girls”. They were questioned by Belgian police as part of a probe into a prostitution ring run out of a hotel in Lille, near France’s border with Belgium.
According to the newspaper, the women said they had accompanied two associates of Strauss-Kahn on a visit to Washington, and stayed at a hotel there.
One of them alleged that Strauss-Kahn had used force against her during a sexual encounter at the hotel, despite her protests.
The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington told CNN no sexual assault at the hotel was reported at that time.
The prostitution investigation continues a string of sexual allegations against Strauss-Kahn. He has not been convicted of a crime.
A sex scandal halted his expected run for the French presidency. He stepped down from the top job at the IMF after the May 2011 incident, in which a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault and attempted rape. He denied the accusation.
The case ultimately fell apart after prosecutors decided they could not be sure about the credibility of the alleged victim, despite forensic evidence that showed a sexual encounter had occurred.
Posted: 22 May 2012 01:48 AM PDT
Bangalore: The fifth edition of TCS World 10K would be run here on May 27, 2012 with over 24,000 participants in seven categories of the race.
The last four editions saw some of the world’s best long distance runners descend into Bangalore to participate in this prestigious event and this year should be no different. A 10K road race demands a high octane combination of endurance and speed and the TCS World 10K Bangalore, 2012 is once again expected to attract the world’s best long distance runners and track & field stars.
The event TCS World 10K has a charitable angle also and it has raised Rs.1.63 crore for 84 NGOs, according to Murray Culshaw, chairman, Bangalore Cares, the official charity partner to the event.
Culshaw said that the event this year, organised by Procam International, will also see 20 corporates with 22 teams, over 500 charity fund raisers and above 6000 donors.
“We always believe in the power of an individual, as a donor and a fundraiser and this platform proves that. Over the last editions, we have facilitated over Rs.5 crore in fund raising for 150 NGOs,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Nagaraj Ijari, vice-president and Global Head-HiTech Business Unit, Tata Consultancy Services, reiterated his company’s commitment to the cause of charity and announced that some 3,500 TCS employees will be taking part in the 10Km run Sunday.
Culshaw announced the nominations for the ‘People’s Green Award”, a platform provided by the TCS World 10K Bangalore to admire and acknowledge people who share the event’s dream to make the earth a greener and better place to live in.
Also involved in the charity project are Assetz Property and member for Provision Asia (PVA), Mindtree whose representatives spoke on the occasion.
Posted: 22 May 2012 12:43 AM PDT
Public Money is continuously being dumped into politically aimed ads in newspapers and TV Channels these days. A recent example is sufficient to show that how seriously Government utilizes the Tax Payer’s hard earned money.
And this Austerity drive is not limited to New Delhi, but happens in almost all states.
Over the weekend, Mamata Banerjee, a key ally of the Congress-led government, had a centre spread in The Times of India as her government completed a year in office. The ad, titled 'One year towards a ray of hope' explained the recent initiatives of her state government in West Bengal.
And this is not restricted to the government. Last week, J.Jayalalithaa, whose party sits in opposition in parliament, celebrated a year in office as chief minister of Tamil Nadu with ads on the front page of many English dailies.
One wonders where the money for these ads comes from? Can it be used in a better manner? Are these ads really needed?
Several million rupees are spent on print media ads on the birth and death anniversaries of national leaders. It is tough to understand how India can afford to spend taxpayers' money this way when there is dire need of reforms as growth languishes near 3-year lows, current account deficit rises and the rupee sinks.
When it comes to austerity, even Pratibha Patil, the President of India, has been under fire. She has been criticised for costing the public exchequer more than 2 billion rupees on her foreign trips, a record for any Indian president.
A few days after his Parliament speech, Mukherjee announced a ban on government employees buying new vehicles and imposed curbs on holding workshops/meetings by government officials at five-star hotels.
But are these Austerity Measures only for Officials? A Business Standard Report Suggests that at least 15 Ministers would
Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath is travelling to Tokyo this week, as part of the CII delegation to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Japan.
Nath will inaugurate the business roundtable at Tokyo, co-hosted by CII and its Japanese partner, Keidanren.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan is travelling to Rio De Janeiro for the Earth Summit, scheduled from June 20 to June 22.
HRD and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal is scheduled to visit the US for a week next month — a trip on which he will combine work related to both his ministries.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh is headed to the USA to take possession of the Dreamliner aircraft.
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma will be travelling to Brussels in June for the EU-India negotiations on FTA.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will be visiting New Zealand and England in the next few weeks.
Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy is slated to go to Turkmenistan in connection with the signing of the TAPI pipeline agreement
Those who have no immediate travel plans include Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, I&B Minister Ambika Soni, Home Minister P Chidamabaram, among others.
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