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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Micromax debuts Android phone Andro A60 in India

Micromax Andro A60New Delhi, Nov 28: The new buzz in handset market is Micromax Android phone Andro A60. We all heard the catchy slogan, 'Again we are very sorry, Micromax Mobiles,' but, now this quote hits to top brands Nokia and Samsung. In last few months Micromax has grabbed their market shares.

The new Micromax Andro A60 has a 2.8-inch resistive full touch screen and a 3.2 megapixel cam at rear. Andro A60 runs on Android 2.1 Eclair and powered with 600MHz Microprocesor.
The other features include WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and fmRadio This phone offers internal memory of 150 MB but supports micro SD card upto 32 GB.

Micromax Andro A60 specification:

* 2.8-inch resistive full touch screen
* 3.2 MP camera Auto Focus
* Android 2.1 Eclair OS
* 600MHz microprocessor
* WiFi
* Bluetooth
* FM radio
* Weight 105gms
* Measures 106.8mm x 59.2mm x 14.0mm
* 150MB internal memory
* Support micro SD upto 32 GB
* 1280 mAh Li-ion Battery
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2G spectrum scam: Ratan Tata to move Supreme Court on Radia tapes

New Delhi:  Ratan Tata, the Chairman of the Tata Group of companies, will move the Supreme Court on Monday against the publication of intercepts of his conversations with Public Relations (PR) representative Nira Radia, who handles the corporate communication for the Tata Group.

The phone transcripts are part of the evidence in the 2G spectrum scam and have been made public. The scam is believed to be India's largest-ever swindle worth Rs. 1.76 lakh crore, according to the government's auditor.

Tata's petition in the Supreme Court is likely to state the following:

Phone transcripts of conversations between Radia and her public relations clients including the Tatas should be used only for investigations.
Phones can be tapped but information should not be made public.

The publication of these transcripts has affected his right to privacy.

Speaking to Shekhar Gupta on NDTV's Walk the Talk programme, Ratan Tata had recently said that the government agencies have special powers to invade people's privacy, but with that special power, come special responsibilities.

He also asserted that the Tata Group never subverted any policy through Radia. "Never once have we done something to exploit a policy issue, never once we used her (Radia) to make payments or to seek favours," he said, adding that the government should take over the tapes and restrain the media from indulging in character assassination.

Speaking on the show, Tata also said that the leaked tapes that have Radia and others discussing 2G spectrum are taking away attention - he describes them as "a smokescreen" from the real issue. Tata was one of Radia's clients. She is now part of the investigation into the 2G controversy.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rahul: Manmohan is ‘the cleanest man' in national politics

AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on his arrival at Ahmedabad airport on Friday to meet Youth Congress members at Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara in Gujarat. Photo: PTI
The All India Congress Committee general secretary, Rahul Gandhi, has described the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, as the “cleanest man” in national politics in the present scenario.
Asked about three “most honest and non-corrupt politicians” in the country, Mr. Gandhi after Mr. Singh named the Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, and the Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram. The AICC general secretary, who is also in-charge of the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), was answering questions put up by the youth and student leaders at a youth convention held here during his day's visit to Gujarat on Friday to give a boost to the NSUI enrolment drive.
Media kept out
The media was not allowed to attend any of Mr. Gandhi's meetings with the youth and student leaders held in Ahmedabad followed by similar sessions in Rajkot and Vadodara in which he asked students to join the NSUI in large numbers and take active part in politics. According to the NSUI national general secretary, Shahnawaj Sheikh, and its Central Election Committee member, Vinaysinh Tomar, who briefed the media about Mr. Gandhi's visit, the AICC general secretary also described the Prime Minister as a “bullet-proof man” apparently indicating at his shield of honesty and non-corrupt past.
Mr. Gandhi, who has virtually re-modelled the youth Congress structure in the country by giving more stress to elective representations rather than nomination system of the office-bearers, said he want to follow the same pattern in the NSUI as well. He said he himself was a beneficiary of the present system of encouraging “family ties” and people with strong “connections and political family background,” but he disliked the system and wanted to encourage everyone having the potential to ride up the ladder instead of being picked at the top because of the “connections.”
“Fulfilling father's dreams”
But he said he himself had joined the politics only to fulfil the incomplete dreams of his grand-mother and father, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He believed that the “communication revolution” brought about by his father had benefited the poor and the common man to a great extent.
Telephones, which were considered to be a symbol of the rich and influential in the eighties, became a common household feature because of the communication revolution, he said.
‘Insult to Gujarat'
The spokesman of the Gujarat BJP, Vijay Rupani, claimed that Mr. Gandhi had called Gujarat as a “terrorist State” and it would never be tolerated by the people of the State. Pointing out that his mother and the Congress national president, Sonia Gandhi, had “abused” the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, as the “merchant of death,” Mr. Rupani said Mr. Gandhi's accusation of was not only an insult to the people of the State but also of the country.
The youth leaders present at Mr. Gandhi's meeting, however, could not recall the AICC general secretary having made any such derogatory remarks about Gujarat.
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Delhi Police directed to register FIR against Geelani, Roy

Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy during a convention on the Kashmir issue, in New Delhi on October 21. A Delhi court on Saturday ordered registration of FIR against them for their remarks made at the convention.
A Delhi court on Saturday ordered registration of FIR against Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, writer Arundhati Roy and five others for their speeches made at a meeting in New Delhi on October 21.
“The Delhi police is hereby directed to lodge an FIR under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and file a report in this regard on January 6, 2011 the next date of hearing,” Metropolitan Magistrate Navita Kumari Bagha said.
The court rejected the status report submitted by the Delhi Police which said no offence relating to sedition and other charges were made out against Mr. Geelani and others.
It said there were prime facie cogent evidence against the accused and asked the police to further investigate the allegations and file a compliance report.
The court had earlier pulled up the police for failing to submit proper status report on the complaint filed with them on October 28 by Sushil Pandit seeking registration of FIR against Ms. Roy and Mr. Geelani.
Besides Mr. Geelani and Ms. Roy, the complaint sought prosecution of five others, including Delhi University professor S.A.R. Geelani, who was acquitted in Parliament attack case, and Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a professor of Jammu and Kashmir University.
According to the complaint, the accused made the comments at a convention in New Delhi on October 21.
The Hurriyat leader shared the dais with Ms. Roy and Maoist ideologue Vara Vara Rao among others. Mr. Geelani was heckled by a section of the audience during the meeting.
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The Acer Aspire One D260 Netbook Get’s Reviewed Real All-Day Battery Life

b.jpgAcer Aspire One D260NEW DELHI: Tata Teleservices and Acer India today announced the launch of a Next-Generation Netbook—the Aspire One AOD 260. The netbook comes with Tata Photon Plus, Aspire One will offer high-speed Internet access upto 3.1 Mbps.

The Acer Aspire One AOD 260 Netbook will leverage the capabilities of HSIA technology on TTSL's CDMA network and provide users with broadband connectivity. The netbook sports a 10.1" screen with LED back-lit and 16:9 aspect ratio, Intel Atom N450 CPU, a 1.3 megapixel camera, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, 160 GB HDD 5400 RPM, six-cell battery with eight hours of life, Windows 7 Starter preloaded, three USB Ports, Bluetooth connectivity and in-built wireless capability, amid many other features.

Acer One AOD 260 netbook also promises longer battery-life, convenience, tighter integration and security. The netbook is priced at Rs 17,999 and will be available in Delhi and Mumbai in the initial launch phase.
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Cong MP Jagan's action undesirable: Jaipal Reddy

Jagan Mohan ReddyNew Delhi, Nov 27: Citing the increased baseless criticism of Congress MP Jagan Mohan Reddy to other party leaders, union minister Jaipal Reddy claimed that Jagan's actions are undesirable.

Few days back, Sakshi channel owned by Jagan, son of former Andhra Pradesh CM YSR, criticised Sonia Ganthi and Manmohan Singh and again on Nov 26, the channel slammed Rahul Gandhi and the recent CM of the state KIRAN KUMAR Reddy.

"Everybody knows that the channel is owned by him (Jagan) and the channel is run for his own politics apparently. The channel is being misused to weaken the party. It is very undesirable," stated Jaipal on Nov 27.

Expressing his rage, Jaipal also claimed, "Jaganmohan Reddy is violating party discipline. Naturally the decision (about action on Jagan) has to be taken at the national level of the party."
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CBI gets custody of Swami Asimanand

Swami Asimanand, an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, was on Friday remanded to the CBI custody for seven days by a local court.
The prosecution had sought 15—day police custody of Asimanand, but the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate allowed CBI to interrogate him for a week beginning tomorrow. — PTI
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Rs.25-crore projects for Pudukottai

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned loans to the tune of Rs.25 crore under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) XVI for Pudukottai district for implementation of various infrastructure projects such as renovation of irrigation tanks, construction of school buildings, bridges and carrying out improvements on rural roads.
Of the sanctioned amount, Rs. 3.32 crore has been earmarked for construction of an anicut across Mudiyanar to feed Athani tank in Aranthangi taluk and another across Vellar River in Thandalai to feed Mumbalai and Vadakadu Manamelkudi tanks in Manamelkudi taluk.
A sum of Rs. 6.74 crore will be spent for construction of additional classrooms and laboratories, purchase of laboratory equipment, and provision of drinking water in nine secondary schools.
Of the remaining amount, Rs. 7.89 crore will be spent for improving 70.80- km of rural roads and Rs. 6.06 crore for construction of five high-level bridges on Aranthangi- Mimisal and Pudukottai- Yembal highways.
R. Anand, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, Pudukottai, said that through implementation of these projects, 380 hectares of land could be brought under cultivation.
The nine schools would get 58 additional classrooms. The projects would be carried out by the line departments of the State Government, such as the District Rural Development Agency and Public Works Department.
The projects would be completed by the end of 2013, he said.
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Hospital annexe likely to start functioning from January

With the paver block tiles laying work having been completed inside the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) premises, the temporarily closed main entrance near casualty ward would be thrown open in a few days, said Medical Superintendent S. M. Sivakumar here on Friday.
The work, taken up a few months ago, required closure of main gate on Panagal Road. It was taken up in two phases — at a cost of Rs. 33 lakh and at Rs. 50 lakh — from the Madurai West MLA Local Area Development Fund.
All health workers, staff nurses and doctors working in the GRH would be administered A1 (H1N1) vaccine free of cost. Though there had been no case of swine flu reported in this region, the vaccine was administered following a government directive. Beneficiaries under ‘Kalaignar Kaapeettu Thittam' were administered the vaccine free of cost. About 5,000 persons, including GRH staff, medical college students and doctors, had taken the vaccine.
The GRH annexe building coming up near Anna bus stand at a cost of Rs. 28 crore would start functioning by January.
A nodal officer from New Delhi would inspect the facility on Saturday. “Almost 95 per cent of the work is over. On installation of state-of-the-art equipment, it will start functioning from January-end,” he added.
The new building, which has been accorded Level-2 trauma care facility, will have 300 beds, including a pay ward.
With Madurai being a referral centre for nearly nine districts, on an average, 90 to 100 cases of trauma-related injuries (head, orthopaedics and general surgeries) were brought every day to the GRH which had only 30 beds. The new building should not only offset the shortage but also facilitate better care for patients, he said.
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‘High tea' and straight talk

CLEAR MESSAGE: Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy addressing IAS and IPS officers in Hyderabad on Friday.
Sending out a loud and clear message to bureaucrats, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy advised IAS, IPS and IFS officers against lobbying for transfers and promotions and called upon them to put up an improved performance in the interests of the poor.
He would go by performance while effecting promotions and transfers; he knew 75 per cent of the officers by name and even enjoyed personal rapport with some. But he would expect everyone to deliver. “Any Chief Minister would have to appear for an examination (elections) once in five years. “To write the exams is to show results,” he observed. Addressing them briefly at a ‘high tea' he hosted for the officers at the Lake View Guest House on Friday evening, Mr. Reddy said, “I have clarity about the policies and programmes I will pursue.” He sought their cooperation to implement them in letter and spirit.
Officers individually greeted the Chief Minister, who was on a dais flanked by the three heads of all-India services -- Chief Secretary S.V. Prasad, Director General of Police K. Aravinda Rao and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests C.M. Madhukar Raj. Mr. Reddy observed that God had given him an opportunity to serve the State when it was passing through a crucial phase. He would strive to give good governance and win the confidence of all. The Chief Minister asked the 200-odd officers -- the cream of administrative cadre -- to ensure that the benefits under various welfare schemes reached the poor. “You play a key role in transferring the benefits to the targeted sections. Be transparent and accountable.”
Referring to the leakages/loopholes in welfare schemes, Mr. Reddy stated that there was a need to develop a system to rectify them and improve the delivery mechanism. “Take novel initiatives to plug them,” the Chief Minister said.
‘Some rust'
The Chief Secretary said he knew the Chief Minister's priorities by following his maiden media conference on Thursday. He assured that they would be implemented as expected, although there was “some rust” among the officers. Mr. Prasad said Mr. Reddy had brought along with him “a lot of freshness, dynamism and promise of performance”. The DGP said the police force would ensure that the government's image was enhanced. The PCCF said IFS officers would strive to achieve a pollution-free State.
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No travel curbs on people living with HIV

The External Affairs Ministry has clarified that there are no travel or residency restrictions for people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV) coming to India.
In an e-mail to all its embassies and consulates, the Ministry of External Affairs has asked all offices to remove the requirement for HIV testing from the visa forms available with Indian embassies and consulates.
International applause
India now puts itself in the company of the United States and China that recently lifted their travel restrictions, prompting applause from PLHIV communities and human rights groups internationally, according to the Forum of Parliamentarians on HIV and AIDS (FPA).
This action was prompted by a parliamentary question on April 15, 2010, by E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Rajya Sabha member and state organiser of the Forum .
Registered organisation
The FPA is a registered organisation with the membership of Parliamentarians from all major political parties. It was started in 2002 as a bipartisan forum for steering the political response to AIDS, in partnership with UNAIDS.
 At the behest of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier withdrawn the requirement for HIV testing of foreigners, including students. However, some Indian embassies and consulates continued to display the requirement of HIV test certificate on their websites as well as on visa forms. The latest move from the MEA will ensure that HIV-related questions will not be asked on any visa application forms.
Upholds India's commitment
 Welcoming the initiative from the MEA, Oscar Fernandes, Rajya Sabha member and President, FPA, said: “I am pleased that India has clarified its position to lift HIV-related travel restrictions.”
UNAIDS Country Coordinator Charles Gilks said: “Such regulations were issued by many countries in the 1980s when little was known about HIV, and there was more of confusion and fear about the virus.”
Globally there is no evidence that such restrictions prevent HIV transmission or protect public health.
“The MEA move upholds India's commitment to human rights and dignity of all people, including those who are living with HIV,” he added.
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Chief Minister for Delhi today

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is leaving for New Delhi on Saturday morning to get a sense of the Congress high command's expectations from his government and on the composition of his Council of Ministers.
“Almost all the Congress MLAs have called on me after I was sworn in which indicates their cordiality towards me”, said Mr. Reddy who has already done preliminary homework on the composition of his Cabinet during consultations with AICC general secretary Veerappa Moily on Thursday. To a question, he said the MLAs who met him include supporters of Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
Speaking to The Hindu here on Friday, the Chief Minister did not seem to attach much political significance to Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi meeting him. As both of them were MLAs from Chittoor district, they met frequently and had lunch together. To persistent questions, he did not rule out the possibility of the Praja Rajyam extending outside support to his government.
Asked about the feedback he received for the agenda he had spelt out so far, Mr. Reddy said he had the advantage of occupying office without any “baggage” or by lobbying for the post. He said the Centre was prepared to go all out to extend unstinted support for the progress of Andhra Pradesh. In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who called him on phone promised his full backing for the State's development irrespective of the outcome of Andhra-Telangana dispute.
The Chief Minister said it was a superfluous question whether he would carry on Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's welfare programmes since he was part of an eight-member core group, including Ministers, which worked out finer details of innovative programmes like Arogyasri, health insurance scheme for the poor, refined them with the help of YSR's political adviser K.V. P. Ramachandra Rao before posing them to the then Chief Minister. He was the Government Chief Whip at that time.
In this context, he narrated his success story in getting a training centre of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to the State, though the Centre had almost decided to establish it in Orissa. YSR had almost given up his efforts since the issue was posed to then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil who quit the Cabinet after the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai. He (Mr. Kiran Kumar) took up the matter with Mr. Patil's successor, Mr. Chidambaram, though Orissa was unrelenting as it had offered 220 acres of land free of cost.
Mr. Reddy said his announcement on Thursday about transparent governance and firm action on the law & order front were not scripted in advance. He preferred not to talk too much now on policy issues, his priorities or his plans to curb corruption as he wanted to ensure that his actions would speak for themselves, he added.
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Action Plan for 60 Naxal-hit districts

With the aim of giving a fillip to development schemes in tribal and backward regions, mostly affected by Naxal violence, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Friday approved the commencement of an Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in 60 selected districts.
The IAP would be an additional central assistance scheme on a 100 per cent grant basis. It is aimed at quick resolution of problems concerning healthcare, drinking water, education and roads.
In 2010-11 alone, each of the 60 districts will be given a block grant of Rs. 25 crore, with the total coming to a whopping Rs. 1,500 crore. In 2011-12, the grant will go up to Rs. 30 crore each.
“This is in pursuance of the Finance Minister's announcement in his budget speech of 2010-11 and the Prime Minister's address to the National Development Council on July 24. The scheme, to begin with, will be implemented over two years — 2010-11 to 2011-12,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists. .
Schemes would be decided by a committee, headed by the District Collector. The Superintendent of Police and the District Forest Officer would be its members. The IAP would be reviewed for implementation in the 12th Plan at a later stage, Mr. Chidambaram said.
KBK plan
The existing Kalahand-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) plan would continue, with an annual allocation of Rs. 130 crore for all the eight districts in Orissa put together. The eight KBK districts have been included in the IAP. They would get an additional block grant of Rs. 25 crore each in the current year and a suitable additional amount under both State and district components of the IAP in the subsequent years.
The IAP would focus on improvements in governance and the States would have to comply with specific preconditions before availing themselves of the second tranche of the additional financial assistance in 2011-12 under the State component of the IAP. However, these conditionalities would not apply to the district component of the IAP, according to the CCEA decision.
The scheme would focus on effective implementation of the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
While the district component would be administered by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the State component would be administered by the Planning Commission.
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"Pakistan must keep its promises"

Smita Salaskar (left) and Kavita Karkare, wives of slain police officers, Vijay Salaskar and Hemant Karkare, interact with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Mumbai, on the second anniversary of the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, on Friday.
Pakistan has not fulfilled its promises of bringing to book the perpetrators of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Friday, second anniversary of the tragedy.
The Minister expressed the hope that “Pakistan would realise its responsibility as a nation and government and fulfil its promises to bring to justice, those who perpetrated the attacks.”
Mr. Chidambaram was addressing a function organised to award the dealership of a CNG outlet to the family of assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale, who was killed while intercepting Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab.
“Our neighbour Pakistan made many promises to us that they will bring to justice the masterminds, controllers and handlers of the 26/11 tragedy. They have not done so, so far. They promised me they will arrest all the seven persons whose names I had handed over to them. They have not done that so far. They promised me, they will provide voice samples of the persons whose names are handed over. They have not done so far … It is my duty to caution the people that we have a neighbour who has not yet fulfilled the promises it made to us.”
“No ambitions”
Calling for a cautionary approach while dealing with Pakistan, he said, “While we must trust our neighbour, we must always verify. We must always be on our guard, always be vigilant. India has no ambitions except to live in peace and harmony. India wants all her neighbours to grow at the same rate at which India grows. India wishes prosperity for all the people of South Asia.”
Saluting Ombale, Mr. Chidambaram said it was his sacrifice that led the police to capture Kasab alive. “If Kasab had died, there would be no conclusive link to Pakistan. The fact that we were able to capture Kasab alive, proved the conclusive link to Pakistan, and that the terror attack was mounted from Pakistan's soil.”
Police reforms
Among the many lessons learnt post 26/11, one was need to “pay attention to the police forces of this country.”
“If you don't pay attention, you will not have an efficient, equipped police force in times of distress and tragedy. We must recruit more police personnel. There are still over 3,00,000 vacancies in the constabulary all over the country. We must give them proper shoes, uniforms, training, weapons, a decent pay and housing. If we neglect these, how will we have a force that will rise to the occasion in times of tragedy or distress? In the last two years, States have responded to my call and done quite a bit, but I am afraid, there is still some distance to go. I sincerely hope that Maharashtra will show the lead under the leadership of [Chief Minister] Prithviraj Chavan,” Mr. Chidambaram said.
He thanked the Petroleum Ministry for giving the CNG outlet to Ombale's family and to the families of 17 other martyrs, in the previous years. The government would stand by the families and help them come out of their emotional traumas.
Mr. Chidambaram remembered the martyrs of 26/11 as well those killed in other tragedies prior to the 26/11 attacks.
Mr. Chavan and Murli Deora, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, attended the event.
“Extraordinary deed”
Mr. Chavan hailed the police for their response to the attacks. He said Ombale came from a humble farming household, but his deed was extraordinary. The Maharashtra government would do everything to support the families and to ensure security.
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Pandemonium in Parliament for 11th straight day

The logjam in Parliament over the demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum allocation continued for the 11th day on Friday with both Houses adjourning till Monday.
Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, however, witnessed a brief spell of calm in the morning after days of uproar when statements paying tributes to the 26/11 victims were read out by Chairman Hamid Ansari and Speaker Meira Kumar.
The Opposition forced adjournment of Rajya Sabha thrice - two in the pre-lunch sitting and then for the day - keeping up pressure on the government for a Parliamentary probe into the 2G Spectrum issue.
Every time the House met, Opposition members including members from BJP and AIADMK trooped into the well and shouted slogans in support of their demand for JPC.
The Upper House even witnessed a scuffle after a DMK member displayed a placard against AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa which infuriated her party members who tried to snatch the papers.
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Amnesty urges Egypt to stop military Facebook trial

Rights group Amnesty International urged Egypt on Friday to stop the trial of a Facebook user accused of publishing information about Egypt's military without permission.
Amnesty said in a statement that Ahmed Hassan Bassyouni, 30, faced up to five years in prison for setting up a group on the the social network about carrying out military service and answering questions about the military.
Amnesty urges Egypt to stop military Facebook trial

Egyptian officials could not be reached for comment on the case on Friday. Bassyouni appeared before the al-Haram Military Court on November 24. The case has been postponed until November 29, Amnesty said.
"The Egyptian authorities must end the practice of trying civilians before military courts," Amnesty said. "This is an abuse of the Egyptian judicial system and the right to a fair trial. These trials are fundamentally unfair."
It added that Bassyouni, who was arrested on October 30, seemed to be under trial solely for publishing information readily available in the public domain.
Web activists said separately on Friday that two Egyptian opposition pages on Facebook had been deleted from the Internet ahead of Egypt's parliamentary election on Sunday.
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Tata says govt should investigate telecom scandal

The government should take a stand in the telecom spectrum scam, Ratan Tata, one of India's most influential businessmen, told a television channel, referring to the scandal that has paralysed the Indian parliament.
"I wish the government would take a stand, bring order...have an investigation, book people who are guilty of something," Tata, who leads salt to software conglomerate Tata Group and counts telecom operator Tata Teleservices as one its units, said in excerpts of an interview to be aired on Saturday on broadcaster NDTV.
Tata says govt should investigate telecom scandal

A government agency has sent notices to nine telecoms firms including Tata Teleservices, India's fourth-biggest mobile operator, over investigations related to an alleged multi-billion dollar telecoms licence scam, media reports said.
The scam, which revolves around the sale of telecom licenses at low prices, has led to the resignation of India's telecoms minister, and, according to an official watchdog audit, has possibly lost the state USD 39 billion in revenue.
"There has been a smokescreen behind what is really the so-called scam, which really is out-of-turn allocation of spectrum, hoarding of spectrum by important players for free, and things of this nature," Tata said.
In its report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said rules were flouted when the licences were given in 2007 and 2008, and led to many ineligible firms receiving them.
Last week, the Supreme Court criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his apparent delay in probing the widening scandal, potentially one of the biggest to hit India.
The government has resisted additional probes, saying a CBI investigation is under way. Critics say the government fears it will be dragged into a long-running investigation ahead of state elections.
The scandal has now engulfed parliament as opposition parties have kept it shut since November 9 over demands for a full parliamentary investigation into the disputes over sale of telecoms licences and radio airwaves worth billions of dollars.
The shutdown weakened the government's ability to move key economic measures and delayed legislation in areas such as banking and mining, although the government is not at risk of collapsing.
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Congress gives stern warning to Jagan Reddy

Attacking rebel Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, Union Minister and senior party leader from the state S Jaipal Reddy today said he was violating party discipline and termed his actions as "very undesirable".
Reddy said the Sakshi channel owned by Jagan, which telecast programmes attacking Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi was being "misused" to weaken the party.
"Everybody knows that the channel is owned by him (Jagan) and the channel is run for his own politics apparently. The channel is being misused to weaken the party. It is very undesirable," the minister said responding to questions about the programmes aired by the channel. Jaganmohan reddy
Reddy said while Jagan's father late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S R Reddy was a "tremendously loyal Congressman", his young son, "otherwise dynamic, seems to be confused".
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Mumbai attack victims remembered

India has marked the second anniversary of the deadly attacks on Mumbai with memorials, candlelight vigils and prayer meetings.
Police were on high alert on Friday as security forces held a parade through the country's commercial city, while mourners gathered at the hotels, railway station, cafe and Jewish centre where the attacks occurredin November 2008.
Candlelight vigils were held overnight and a multi-faith meeting is scheduled to be held at the Gateway of India monument on Friday evening.
Both houses of the Indian parliament held a minute's silence to honour the victims of 60 hours of violence that saw 10 gunmen attack a host of targets.
The attackers arrived by sea from Pakistan on the evening of November 26 after hijacking a fishing boat, according to Indian and US intelligence. Authorities regained full control of the city only three days later.
The deadly rampage, which India has blamed on elements inside Pakistan, claimed 166 lives. About 300 people were injured in the incident.
Live television footage during the Mumbai siege was shown around the world as Indian commandos battled with the attackers and terrified civilians tried to escape the bloodbath.
Indian authorities, wary of further attacks by Pakistan-based groups, increased security for the anniversary.
"With [the] terror threat lingering over the city in the view of the second anniversary of 26/11, we have made elaborate security arrangements and Mumbai has been put on alert," Rajkumar Vhatkar, a senior city policeman, said.
Call for justice
Both India and the United States blame the attacks on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.
"We will never succumb to the desigfns of our enemies," Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, said in a statement on Friday.
"We pledge to redouble our efforts to bring the perpetrators of this crime against humanity to justice."
Speaking in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, SM Krishna, the Indian foreign minister, repeated the call urging Pakistan to tackle terror groups on its territory and bring the suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba masterminds to justice.
"Once again I call upon Pakistan to dismantle the terror machine operating with impunity in territories under its control and to bring all the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to speedy justice," he said.
On Thursday India sent an official diplomatic message to Pakistan's embassy in the capital, New Delhi, urging it to "fulfill its obligation and commitment" to bring the plotters to justice.
The letter accused Islamabad of stalling over the trial in Pakistan of seven suspects accused of plotting the attacks, adding that "New Delhi expresses regret for not receiving feedback on issues raised by it".
Legal battle
Nine of the 10 gunmen were killed in clashes with security forces and the sole survivor, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was sentenced to death by a Mumbai court in May. He is challenging the sentence.
Candlelight vigils and multi-faith prayer meetings were part of tributes paid to victims of the attacks [EPA]
India has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to bring the plotters behind the attacks to justice, and the incident continues to dog relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
Seven suspects in Pakistan - including the alleged mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Zarar Shah - have been put on trial in the country, but none has been convicted.
The prosecution has since stalled, with Pakistani officials demanding that Kasab be allowed to testify, which New Delhi has refused. Pakistan also wants to send a fact-finding commission to India to gather more evidence.
India sees these moves as stalling tactics and says it has handed over enough evidence in a series of dossiers to secure the convictions of the accused men. Pakistan says the evidence is inadmissible in court.
US solidarity
Earlier this month Barack Obama, the US president, visited the city, and met the families of the victims and survivors. He paid his respects at a memorial in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, which was one of the attackers' prime targets.
Obama and his delegation also made a point of staying overnight at the hotel, the scene of a three-day siege, in what was seen as a gesture of solidarity.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, in a statement late on Wednesday reiterated the US' solidarity with India.
"As the people of the United States gather with family to celebrate Thanksgiving, we pause to remember the horrific attack on innocent men, women and children that occurred in Mumbai two years ago."
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kiran Kumar Reddy to be sworn in as AP CM today

Hyderabad: Kiran Kumar Reddy will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday after incumbent K Rosaiah resigned on Wednesday in a surprise move.
The Congress high command decided on Kiran Kumar Reddy to assume the top post in what is seen as an attempt to checkmate rebel Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy, a four-time MLA and YSR loyalist, is the son of late Congress leader Amarnath Reddy, who was considered the political guru of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu.
<a href='http://connect.in.com/kiran-kumar-reddy/profile-517119.html' target='_blank'><font color='#307dc3'><u>Kiran Kumar Reddy</a></u></font> to be sworn in as AP CM today
On a day of fast-paced developments, 77-year-old Rosaiah, the stop-gap Chief Minister who took over in the aftermath of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's death in September last year, resigned citing health reasons.
Hours later, the Congress Legislature Party met and authorised party chief Sonia Gandhi, who named Kiran Reddy, currently Speaker of the Assembly, to succeed Rosaiah.
"I thank Sonia Gandhi for giving me the opportunity," Reddy said, adding that he will try his best to implement late Andhra CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's policy in the state.
Senior Congress minister Veerappa Moily has said the Deputy Chief Minister will be from Telangana region. Geetha Reddy is the front-runner for the Deputy CM post.
After a brief meeting of the CLP, which authorised Gandhi to choose the new Chief Minister, top Congress emissaries Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, Veerappa Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad met and discussed the issue with the Congress President.
"Congress President Sonia Gandhi has selected Kiran Kumar Reddy as the new leader of the Congress Legislature Party," Mukherjee said in a brief statement.
50-year-old Reddy who hails from Rayalaseema region will have his task cut out.
His appointment is seen as Congress' political management ahead of the submission of the report by December 31 on the sensitive separate statehood issue by the Justice B N Srikrishna panel.
But the biggest challenge for Kiran Kumar Reddy could be his mentor the late YSR Reddy's son Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The late Chief Minister's son has made no secret of his ambition to be Chief Minister - but Kiran Kumar Reddy's robust performance as Speaker and his influence in Rayalaseema seems to have ensured he got the top job.
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Cong workers protest against TV news story on Sonia

Congress workers in various parts of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday protested against the telecast of a 'blasphemous' news feature against Sonia Gandhi by a television channel owned by party MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
Jaganmohan ReddyState Health Minister Danam Nagender and Information Technology Minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who were ardent followers of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, led a sit-in in front of the former Chief Minister's statue at Panjagutta Centre here while scores of Congress workers held a protest outside the Sakshi channel's head office in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.
MLCs P Sudhakar Reddy and Ganga Bhavani also took part in the agitation.
Heavy police force was deployed outside Sakshi office and the protesting Congress workers were taken into custody for defying prohibitory orders.
Youth Congress workers also staged protests outside Sakshi offices at Karimnagar, Chirala, Nellore and other places demanding an apology from Sakshi management over the telecast of the story against Sonia and Congress party. They also burnt copies of Sakshi Telugu newspaper owned by Jagan.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Land scam: Raid at LIC; Central Bank manager held

LICNew Delhi, Nov 24: Shocking bribery and land scam cases have been unearthed as CBI on Nov 24 informed that they conducted raid at LIC offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai and arrested 8 officials of public sector banks and financial companies including General Manager of the Central Bank.

Sources informed that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LIC Housing Finance; the General Manager of Central Bank of India; and the Deputy General Manager of Punjab Bank in Delhi are among the eight top detained officials.

Following the news, Indian markets once again crashed drastically as NSE Nifty lost 69 points while closing on Nov 24.
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Miffed Sonam Kapoor slams critics

If you thought Sonam Kapoor was happy being just another pretty face in Bollywood, think again. The Aisha girl doesn't take criticism too kindly, even when it comes from her own fraternity.

The actress has gone into attack mode after her I Hate Luv Storys co-star Imran Khan reportedly said that she should "do more movies, less magazine covers" on the TV show Koffee With Karan. According to Sonam, she has never gone overboard with fashion shoots, doing as many, or as few covers as other actresses. However her pictures seem to have a bigger impact, she claimed.

Sonam didn't mince words when it came to expressing her displeasure over Imran's remarks. "Imran is really sweet and I like him, but I can't take someone so wet behind the ears seriously. He still has a lot to do before he makes statements like that," she was quoted as saying in a recent interview.

Imran is not the only co-star who has taken a dig at Sonam. Abhay Deol, who acted opposite her in Aisha, also went public with his feeling that too much time and effort was wasted in styling the wardrobe for the film. "I won't take chances with films like Aisha anymore," he said.

But Sonam refuses to concede ground to her detractors. If stalwarts like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra consider her good enough to be in their films, then there is no cause for anyone to doubt her credentials as an actress, she says.

Her list of current projects is certainly impressive. While she is shooting for Pankaj Kapur's Mausam with Shahid Kapoor, she will also be seen in Anees Bazmee's Thank You with Akshay Kumar and Abbas-Mustan's Players starring Abhishek Bachchan.
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Pamela never stayed in the Bigg Boss house?

Everyone agrees that Pamela Anderson's debut on Indian television was pheeka. But here's some news about her that's sure to jolt you.

The Baywatch babe never stayed in the Bigg Boss house. While she was shown entering a special room without cameras, the truth is that she never spent any time in that room.

She used the room to exit and was whisked away from there, to a five-star hotel in Khandala. A source reveals, "Pamela had already stated she wouldn't stay with the house inmates under any condition."
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Bihar set to re-elect Nitish Kumar, blow to Congress

Nitish Kumar, who spearheaded the development of Bihar, one of India's poorest states, is set to be re-elected as its chief minister on Wednesday, in a blow to the ruling Congress party mired in a corruption scandal.
The re-election of Nitish Kumar, a member of the Janata Dal United party that is part of the national opposition coalition, as leader of Bihar comes as the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh struggles with graft accusations over the sale of telecoms licences, an issue the opposition has used to keep parliament shut for two weeks.
Bihar set to re-elect Nitish Kumar, blow to Congress

While Bihar is not a traditional stronghold for Singh's ruling Congress, the party was hopeful of improving its performance there, fielding its young leader and potential prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi to campaign.
Bihar accounts for 40 of the 545 seats in the national parliament -- the fifth largest parliamentary bloc in India. It can play a crucial role in federal coalition politics.
Kumar's coalition was almost decisively ahead in 192 of the total 243 assembly constituencies, television stations showed. If he is declared the winner, he will start a second, five-year term.
Bihar was long a byword for lawlessness, caste politics and snail-paced development until Kumar, who first took office in 2005, turned the economy around, rapidly building roads, curbing crime and boosting education and health care over the next five years.
Bihar's economy grew an average 11.35% each year between 2004 and 2009, compared with 3.5% in the prior five years and above the national growth average.
"The re-election of our coalition is a reaffirmation of the people's faith in the development agenda of Nitish Kumar," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, a leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which Kumar's party is allied to.
While the next general election is in 2014, the Bihar vote could, in part, be seen as a rejection of policies of Congress, which has struggled to tame high inflation and has been hampered in its ability to govern by a series of crises, mostly over corruption, since its re-election last year.
In Bihar, Congress struggled to better its 2005 tally of winning nine seats. The BJP was on its way to improving its 2005 performance which could boost the confidence of the party going into half a dozen more state elections over the coming year.
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Rosaiah submits resignation to Governor

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan with Chief Minister K. Rosaiah at the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Rosaiah resigned on Wednesday citing personal reasons. Photo: Special Arrangement
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Konijeti Rosaiah has submitted his resignation to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan on Wednesday afternoon.
The Chief Minister announced his decision to quit “due to advanced age” at a hurriedly convened press conference and later drove to Raj Bhavan along with some of his Cabinet colleagues. He was closeted with the Governor for about 15 minutes when he reportedly asked Mr. Narasimhan to accept his resignation at the earliest.
Mr. Rosaiah, who appeared relaxed during the brief media interaction, said there were no political reasons behind his resignation and refused to reply when asked about his possible successor. He said his 14-month-long stint as Chief Minister was satisfactory.
He said he had no special influence or support of groups in the party for his elevation as Chief Minister. He was given the responsibility due to the good impression Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the party’s Core Committee had on him.
Recalling his stint as Finance Minister earlier, he said his activity was confined to one department. But the Chief Minister’s job entailed strenuous work of reviewing the functioning of all the departments and ensuring an effective coordination between them. “I have taken up the responsibility at an advanced age and the work pressure enhanced considerably,” he said.
He thanked the party, bureaucracy and the people for reposing faith in him and declared that he would extend all the possible cooperation to his successor.
“I will be free from tomorrow and will extend all possible help to whoever takes the responsibility,” he said.
Mr. Rosaiah tendered his resignation a few hours ahead of an emergency meeting of the Congress Legislature Party scheduled at 6.30 pm to discuss the issue of choosing his successor. AICC leaders Pranab Mukherjee, M. Veerappa Moily, Ghulam Nabi Azad and A.K. Antony are expected to attend the CLP meeting as the party High Command’s observors.
There was hectic political activity in the Congress party with MLAs discussion among themselves about the possible successor of Mr. Rosaiah.
PTI adds:
Governor accepts Rosaiah’s resignation
Mr. Narasimhan on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Mr. Rosaiah.
The Governor, however, asked Mr. Rosaiah to continue in the post till alternative arrangements were made, a Raj Bhavan spokesman said.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SNL TSA Skit Gets Passengers Ready For Holiday Travel

NL treated viewers to a TSA skit worth remembering. As millions of people are gearing up for their flights, they should remember that the TSA patdown could be enjoyable, at least SNL thinks so. Watch the hilarious clip now and see what everyone is talking about. Leave it to 'Saturday Night Live' to address everyone's concerns about flying during the holidays. With full body scans and intimate pat downs, who knows what will happen this weekend. If it's not bad enough that traveling is always difficult this time of year, now passengers get their unmentionables searched.

The one thing that might bring a smile to your face, though, is SNL's TSA skit. Sure, it's still very uncomfortable to have people touching you, but you can replay the video below in your head to get through it. Just imagine Kenan Thompson and that lovable fake mustache saying 'hello' with his goofy accent, it'll make your life easier.
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Raw video: Pike River coal mine

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Transportation Security Officer says TSA workers doing their

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Again IAS officer detained for leaking secret info

Union Home MinistryNew Delhi, Nov 23: Another Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer on Nov 22 was detained over leaking confidential information as the special cell of Delhi police booked him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

IAS officer Ravi Inder Singh, a 1994-batch West Bengal-cadre, was accused of passing on information to a telecom company.

However, police officials stated that Singh was not formally arrested, he was only detained for questioning.

GK Pillai, the Union Home Secretary, stated, "The raid was conducted after complaints that the officer was leaking sensitive information to some corporates."

Singh is the third IAS officer to be held in 2010 over the charge of leaking sensitive information.

IAS officer O Ravi, a joint secretary handling disaster management, and RS Sharma, a director-rank officer handling police modernisation, were arrested on similar charges in Apr 2010.
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Manmohan calls for change in varsity curriculum

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watches, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa seeks the blessings of Satya Sai Baba at the 29th convocation of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher learning in Puttaparthi on Monday. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said there was need for change in university curriculum that would enable a shift in the students' ability to meet the challenges posed by a rapidly growing economy and changing policies.
Delivering the convocation address at the 29th convocation of the Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSIHL), a deemed university, here, Dr. Singh said: “Students should be in the forefront in addressing the changes of the present day. Accelerated changes in technology are leading to new challenges and students should focus on breaking new path that others will do well to follow.”
The convocation coincided with the 85th birthday celebrations of Sai Baba that began last week.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah; Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa; Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin; the former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan; Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil; Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan; Tripura Governor D.Y. Patil; Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata; and TVS group Chairman Venu Srinivasan were among those the high profile personalities present.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is engulfed in a political crisis, was seen exchanging pleasantries with Dr. Singh and speaking to Sai Baba.
Dr. Singh said the country was already renowned in several areas, including information technology, biotechnology, space and nuclear sciences and it was important for varsities to sustain the quality of education. Given the larger role played by the country in world affairs, emphasis should be on creating systems that not only provided opportunities to youth the country, but also enabled them on a global scale.
While appreciating the emphasis laid on scientific research by SSIHL, he said this should not be restricted to theoretical world. History, economics, humanity and the realm of culture should also be given equal importance. He complimented the graduating students, saying their lives would not be complete unless the knowledge was shared with the less privileged and less fortunate.
Dr. Singh expressed concern that individuals and institutions, who had the means to take up philanthropic activities, were not emulating the likes of Sai Baba in serving the less privileged. He showered praises on Sai Baba for the service rendered by him to the poor by offering them education and health services free of cost.
Sai Baba exhorted the graduates to proceed in their lives with sacrifice as the first principle, and build a social status for themselves where they could live harmoniously with others.
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Cong workers protest against TV news story on Sonia

Congress workers in various parts of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday protested against the telecast of a 'blasphemous' news feature against Sonia Gandhi by a television channel owned by party MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
Jaganmohan ReddyState Health Minister Danam Nagender and Information Technology Minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who were ardent followers of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, led a sit-in in front of the former Chief Minister's statue at Panjagutta Centre here while scores of Congress workers held a protest outside the Sakshi channel's head office in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.
MLCs P Sudhakar Reddy and Ganga Bhavani also took part in the agitation.
Heavy police force was deployed outside Sakshi office and the protesting Congress workers were taken into custody for defying prohibitory orders.
Youth Congress workers also staged protests outside Sakshi offices at Karimnagar, Chirala, Nellore and other places demanding an apology from Sakshi management over the telecast of the story against Sonia and Congress party. They also burnt copies of Sakshi Telugu newspaper owned by Jagan.
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26/11 victim's kin sues ISI, LeT in court

Mumbai 26/11 attacksNew York, Nov 23: A relative of the victims of 26/11 2008 Mumbai attacks registered a case against Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in a Brooklyn court, local media reported on Nov 23.

The man, who few days back honoured his grand son Moshe's nany for rescuing the child during the 26/11 attacks, sued ISI and LeT under the case of a wrongful death.

Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivka were slaughtered when the attackers entered the Chabad Lubavitch centre in Nov 2008.

The couple were killed in front of their wo-year-old son Moshe, who was rescued by his nany Sandra.
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Parliament standoff continues for eighth day

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee leaves after an all-party meeting, aimed at breaking a parliamentary deadlock over opposition demands for a JPC probe into 2G spectrum scandal, in New Delhi on Monday.
The standoff in Parliament over a joint Parliamentary probe into the alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation continued today with the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha adjourning till noon following uproar.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, opposition members including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party were in the well demanding setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe reports of irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum.
The Opposition members were countered by those from the treasury benches who waved placards demanding the resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa over corruption charges.
Some Congress members almost rushed to the well with placards and raised slogans. They were asked to retreat to the aisles by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Trinamool Congress members were seen waving the list of questions signalling their willingness for continuance of the normal business of the House.
The sloganeering and counter-sloganeering continued for a while and Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till noon.
In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition members trooped rushed to the well soon after Chairman Hamid Ansari completed obituary references.
Congress members too moved into the aisles demanding sacking of the Karnataka Chief Minister over alleged land scam in the state.
While opposition members shouted “We Want JPC”, members in the treasury benches held placards reading “Sack Yeddyurappa“.
AIADMK members held copies of a magazine carrying a cover story on former Telecom Minister A. Raja’s alleged role in the irregularities in allocation of 2G telecom spectrum.
Mr. Ansari took up the first listed question of the day and asked members not to display any banners.
“No raising of posters,” he said, but the protesting members were adamant, forcing him to adjourn the House till 1200 hours.
The Question Hour was taken up in the Lok Sabha only on November 9, the first day of the winter session, while the Rajya Sabha had adjourned for the day as a mark of respect to a sitting member.
Since November 10, Parliament has not seen transaction of any significant business and both the Houses have been witnessing adjournments barely minutes after meeting.
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I will abide by party’s decision: Yeddyurappa

Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa during a closed-door meeting with MPs and Ministers from Karnataka at Karnataka Bhawan in New Delhi, on Monday. Photo : Rajeev Bhatt
After striking a defiant note for days, Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa today said he would abide by the decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s high command on him.
“Whatever decision our national leaders are going to take about me, I am going to obey their orders,” he told reporters here this morning.
“Today, I am going to meet all our national leaders and I am going to explain the situation in Karnataka. We are facing Zila panchayat elections within a month,” he said.
Asked if he would step down, the chief minister said, “I have not committed any mistake. I will meet the central leaders. Whatever they say, I will obey. But so far no body has asked my resignation“.
The chief minister said he had discussed the “political situation” in Karnataka with senior leader Arun Jaitley and would meet other central leaders today.
Mr. Yeddyurappa is likely to meet BJP leader Nitin Gadkari later in the afternoon to discuss the crisis.
He maintained that the central leadership has not asked him to step down, adding that he had ordered an inquiry into the alleged land scams by a retired high court judge Justice B. Patmaraj.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is claiming to have the support of 110-120 MLAs, said all community people were supporting him.
Top party leaders, including L. K. Advani, M. M. Joshi and Rajnath Singh are understood to have decided that the Chief Minister’s continuance has become untenable and that he should be told to make way.
The Chief Minister has, however, kept the party guessing on his moves.
Mr. Yeddyurappa has reportedly told the party leadership that his removal might harm the first-ever BJP government in the South, for whose formation he had played a key part.
Mr. Yeddyurappa has earlier deputed a team of his loyalists, including Home Minister R. Ashok, a prominent Vokkaliga leader, Higher Education Minister V. S. Acharya, a probable to replace the Chief Minister in the event of his exit, and some others to Delhi to persuade the party against change in leadership.
Asked if he was “blackmailing” the central BJP leadership because he was a Lingayat leader, Mr. Yeddyurappa said, “All communities are supporting me because we have 110 seats in the House. This type of communal thinking was never in my mind“.
On what would be his response in case his party asked him to resign, he shot back saying, “I will not answer such questions because they have not asked me to step down”.
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'India a natural ally to U.S.'

Within a fortnight of the highly successful India visit of President Barack Obama, a top Pentagon official has said identified India as a "natural ally" of the United States with which the defence relationship is getting stronger. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with U.S. President Barack Obama prior to a meeting, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi recently. File photo: Shanker Chakravarty
The state of the defence relationship with India is "very positive and very strong and getting stronger," Michele Flournoy, the Undersecretary of Defence for Policy, said in an interview to the American Forces Press Service.
India, she said, is the second-most populated nation in the world after China and a natural ally to the U.S.
The Indians, Ms. Flournoy said, want to cooperate with the U.S. The Indian military frequently conducts exercises with the United States and there is a vital exchange programme between the two nations.
"We're trying to move into areas where we can be more cooperative operationally -- like maritime security or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," she said, adding, "They have a lot of capability and a lot of well-trained people and they are great partners. We are looking to grow that relationship over time."
Meanwhile, she said Chinese have used its military relationship with the U.S. more as a "rheostat" and her country would like to have a military-to-military relationship with Beijing that is as comprehensive and collaborative as they have on diplomatic and economic issues.
"The Chinese have used the military relationship more as a rheostat. It's on when everything is happy," she said.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Somdev-Sanam scoop gold

Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh (L) celebrate with their gold medal on the podium after winning the men's doubles final at the Asian Games.
Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh clinched the men's doubles gold medal in tennis in the Asian Games on Monday.
With the young Sanam providing the fireworks and Devvarman lending solidity, the Indian duo followed in the footsteps of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, in performing a hat-trick of gold for India in the event, with a 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-8 victory over the second-seeded Gong Maoxin and Li Zhe of China.
Paes and Bhupathi had saved seven matchpoints on way to defending the title in the last edition in Doha against the Ratiwatana twins, Sanchai and Sonchat of Thailand, who were seeded No. 1 in the current draw but had lost their first match.
The gold medal in the absence of Paes, Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, was a huge tonic for the young players, particularly after the heart-breaking loss for Sania Mirza and Vishnu Vardhan in the mixed doubles final against the second-seeded Yung Jan Chan and Tsung Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei earlier.
Stumbling block
Tsung Hua Yang once again proved the stumbling block for the Indian aspirations, after his performance in the men's semifinals in the team competition, in guiding Taipei to a 4-6, 6-1, 10-2 victory in the mixed final. It was a terrific effort by Sania to end up with an individual bronze and a mixed doubles silver, after she had been unwell.
It was a memorable day for India as the second-seeded Devvarman battled an indifferent form to make the singles final with a 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 victory over Zhang Ze of China earlier in the day. He set up a date with the top-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the final.
“This gold is huge for us,” said Sanam who was representing the country at this level for the first time, and Devvarman had no hesitation in admitting that it was a “high point of his life.”
The Indian players were all praise for the Chinese pair's solid game under pressure, and picked up the return winner at 5-9 in the match tie-break when Sanam's big serve down the middle was ripped back for a backhand return winner, as the pick of the shot.
There was tension as the Indian pair missed two more matchpoints with inadequate returns, but the Chinese obliged by putting a forehand long, after Devvarman had followed his first serve with a judicious shot. The two jumped into each other's arms, and it was Devvarman's turn to carry Sanam Singh.
Coach Nandan Bal chose Sanam as his ‘Man-of-the-Match', but credited Devvarman for having carried the team to the final with his mature game. He said that he had belief in the team as the duo had made the semifinals of the Chennai Open Tour event at the beginning of the season.
Devvarman meets Istomin
On his part, Devvarman said that he enjoyed playing doubles with Sanam, and said that he was ready with adequate energy for the singles final against Istomin, despite having played 14 matches so far in the Games, in singles and doubles.
“I am not tired, I will be ready for the final,” Devvarman said.
He said the loss in the doubles of the team competition had helped them tighten their game better. “That loss hurt us. We really wanted to the win the team gold. It taught us a lot. We changed a few things,” said Devvarman.
Brushing all comparisons with Paes and Bhupathi, both Devvarman and Sanam Singh were modest to say that they looked up to the “idols,” and had a lot to achieve to reach the levels of the two top 10 players of the country.
Sanam, a former No. 4 junior in the world, said that he was looking forward to playing more doubles with Devvarman, if given an opportunity despite their contrasting rankings, once he finished with his University degree in the U.S. over the next six months.
Good effort
Coach Enrico Piperno gave a lot of credit for Vishnu Vardhan maturing with every match, and he was all praise for the superb manner in which Sania had played through the Games in adding a silver and a bronze to her original collection of two gold, a silver and a bronze.
“I thought that Sania would win the singles gold, considering the way she was playing, but Akgul Amanmuradova played the match of her life,” said Piperno.
Despite winning his semifnal against the third-seeded Go Soeda of Japan, 6-1, 6-0, another Uzbek, Denis Istomin admitted that he expected a tough match in the final.
“I have played Somdev a couple of times. He is very tough,” said Istomin.
While Devvarman will look to win his second gold medal, the Uzbeks will also be looking to win both the men's and women's singles titles.
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India leaves New Zealand a mountain to climb

Rahul Dravid came up with a super knock and his partnership with skipper M.S. Dhoni on day three has given India the opportunity to apply pressure on New Zealand. Photo: K.R. Deepak
Rahul Dravid lives in the present moment at the crease but can bat through overs, spells and sessions to construct monuments. His focus and refined strokeplay were on view at the VCA Stadium here on Monday. The elegant right-hander's 191 was the hub as India declared at 566 for eight on the third day of the final Test, gaining a mammoth lead of 373.
New Zealand lost opener Tim McIntosh during the 11 tense overs of batting when the ball spun and the close-in catchers circled the batsmen. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, switching to round the wicket, got one to straighten at the left-handed McIntosh who erred in playing back to a quicker delivery.

Ojha unlucky

And left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was unlucky not to win a leg-before shout against night-watchman Gareth Hopkins; the delivery came in with the arm. New Zealand was 24 for one at stumps with key man Brendon McCullum on a rather chancy 15. The Kiwis have a mountain to climb.
In a collapse of sorts, the host slumped to 328 for five in the morning before Dravid and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (98) batted New Zealand out of the Test with a 193-run partnership. The 37-year-old Dravid's 31st Test hundred and his second of the series – he made 104 in Ahmedabad – was underlined by exemplary technical attributes.
Dravid's back-lift travels from around the third slip but the bat comes down a lot straighter if the ball is on a good length or pitched up. If the length is short, he transfers weight on to his back leg, halts the bat's down swing and his elevated blade is already in a good position for the horizontal bat strokes – the cut or the pull.

Technically correct

The accomplished batsman picks the length in a jiffy and accordingly adjusts his back-lift. Dravid watches the hand carefully and follows a few old tricks. If the ball is released early in action, it is generally on a good or a fuller length. If it is delivered later, the ball is likely to be pitched shorter.
Dravid's innings was a blend of solid defence off either foot or pleasing strokeplay. Vettori was cut with panache. McKay was pulled with Dravid getting on top of the ball to keep in down. And Southee was whipped past the mid-wicket ropes. Dravid's driving, on either side, was marked by poise and balance.
He was fortunate, though, on 94 when he edged a cut off Vettori but Ross Taylor at slip was unable up to hold a difficult offering. His concentration unwavering, Dravid continued to pile up runs. He was, finally, held in the deep of occasional off-spinner Kane Williamson while attempting to accelerate the run-rate.

Dhoni on attack mode

Short of runs, Dhoni responded with some punishing strokeplay. He struck McKay for three successive boundaries, a typical whip through the on-side was followed by two on-the-rise lofted blows on the off. The skipper cut and slashed with dare.
Dhoni's bat-speed and strong wrists were evident when he thwacked McKay for a stunning straight six. This was power-play. Dhoni had the rub of the green on 42 when McIntosh, running with his back to the ball from mid-off, could not hold on to the testing skier; the Indian captain had miscued Vettori.
Dhoni continued to live dangerously but was pegged back by Vettori's negative line from over the wicket, Southee's precise off-cutters – he was fortunate to survive a leg-before shout - and a bout of cramps. The Indian captain was eventually flummoxed by a Vettori delivery of drift and slight away spin to knock back a return catch.

Tendulkar misses out

Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar, on course for an epoch-making 50th Test century, fell to debutant McKay. The left-arm paceman's rising delivery - short of a length and angled across - extracted the fatal nick from Tendulkar (61). McKay did not quite straighten the ball at the right hander but operated with heart, speed and a fair measure of control from over and round the wicket.
Once again the Kiws fought hard. Chris Martin angled a full length ball into V.V.V. Laxman (12) who missed a flick to lose his leg stump. And the left-handed Raina, not too comfortable against the short-pitched stuff, from the pacemen eventually succumbed Vettori's extra bounce; he pushed forward to be picked up at short leg. Then, Dhoni joined Dravid and New Zealand chased leather.
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