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    National News - MAY

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    Abhishek

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    National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:59 pm

    This thread for Copy Pasting all Important news from India's Leading newspapers.

    Copy and Past all Important news from the daily newspapers.


    Last edited by Abhishek on Sat May 07, 2011 12:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Sun May 01, 2011 5:07 pm

    Helicopter carrying Arunachal CM missing


    A Pawan Hans helicopter chartered by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu to fly from Tawang to Itanagar went missing on Saturday morning, and its status was not known till late in the night.

    Radio contact with the helicopter was lost shortly after it passed over the Sela Pass in West Kameng district, located at an altitude of 13,700 feet. No contact was established with anyone on board since then.

    The helicopter, which took off from the Tawang helipad at 9.56 a.m., was scheduled to land at the Itanangar Rajbhawan helipad at 11.30 a.m. Besides Mr. Khandu, the pilot and the co-pilot, Mr. Khandu's personal security officer, Y. Chohddak, and a woman relative of the Chief Minister were on board the five-seat helicopter.

    Principal Adviser to the Chief Minister Tsering Gyurme told The Hindu that no contact could be established with anyone on board Mr. Khandu's helicopter, so the State government was not in a position to confirm anything.

    “We are all praying for the safety of the Chief Minister and all others on board. Search and rescue missions are on to trace the helicopter and establish contact,” he said on phone at 6.10 p.m.

    A Pawan Hans official at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi International Airport here also said no contact could be established with the helicopter. There were, however, conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the helicopter and the safety of Mr. Khandu and others.

    Conflicting reports

    Home Minister Tako Dabi said in the afternoon that the government received information that the helicopter landed somewhere near the India-Bhutan border, and that another helicopter was rushed to Guwahati to bring the Chief Minister.

    “We have got the information that the Chief Minister has landed safely and will fly back to Guwahati. Another helicopter has been sent from here to bring the Chief Minister and others back to Itanagar,” Mr. Dabi said on the phone from Itanagar at 4.15 p.m.

    The assistance of the Army and the Indian Air Force was sought, and two Cheetah helicopters were deployed on a search and rescue mission. However, inclement weather disrupted the operation, which is expected to resume on Sunday morning. The State government and the Army have also deployed ground search parties and appealed to the villagers along the helicopter's route for help.

    This incident comes 12 days after a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in Tawang killing 17 persons on board. On November 19 last year, an Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter crashed at Bomdir near Tawang, killing all 12 defence personnel on board. The victims comprised an army officer and 11 IAF personnel.

    On August 6, 2010, a crew member died after he fell down when the door of a Pawan Hans helicopter suddenly opened midair shortly after it took off from Namsai in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Sun May 01, 2011 5:08 pm

    Chidambaram and Raja subsequently ‘worked out an agreed formula on spectrum charges'


    In a two-page written statement he released at a press briefing in New Delhi on April 29, 2011, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram took strong issue with Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Public Accounts Committee chairman and senior BJP leader, for his “gross distortion” of the contents of the January 15, 2008 note that he had sent as the then Finance Minister to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He complained that “Mr. M.M. Joshi's draft report...mischievously commented that I had ‘pleaded with the Prime Minister to treat the matter as closed.'”

    Taking the offensive, Mr. Chidambaram contended further that “even a person with average intelligence would have noticed that the note did not deal with entry fee at all...it dealt with spectrum charges alone and suggested three measures for raising revenue.” He explained that his note made “the general point, which was the consistent view of the Ministry of Finance, and from which position I never wavered,” was as follows: “Spectrum is a scarce resource. The price should be based on its scarcity value and efficiency of usage. The most transparent method of allocating spectrum would be through auction. The method of auction will face the least legal challenge.”

    However, this is an incomplete part of the story. In February 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh revealed the following about the role of the Finance Ministry and the then Finance Minister in the months that followed the January 15, 2008 note.

    As the draft PAC Report points out in Para 3.69, the Prime Minister in his interaction with the Editors of the Electronic Media on February 20, 2011, stated: “…This was also discussed with the Finance Ministry because in terms of the Cabinet decision of 2003 the pricing and allocation of Spectrum was to be settled between the Ministry of Finance and the Telecom Department. Initially, of course, the Finance Ministry did ask for a high price of Spectrum but after many discussions, the two ministries agreed that as far as 2G is concerned, we have to live with the present system particularly with regard to the amount of Spectrum that is built and embedded into a license agreement. So this is the background why I did not proceed further with this matter of pricing of Spectrum, because if the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Telecom both agree and they have the obligation of the Cabinet Decision of 2003 to decide on the matter and also since TRAI is an expert body and Telecom Commission has experts, if all of them are of the same view, I did not feel I was in a position to insist that auctions must be insisted.”

    But this was not all. The draft PAC Report, in Para 3.70, quotes Prime Minister as being even more specific in his February 24, 2011 reply in the Rajya Sabha debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address. This was what Dr. Singh said on the role of the Finance Ministry and the then Finance Minister:

    “The Leader of the Opposition has alleged that I have distanced myself from key policy decisions and also that the spectrum pricing was decided against the explicit dissent of the then Finance Minister. I regret the attempt to create the appearances of differences through innuendo and misrepresentation. The issue will now be examined by a JPC, and I have no doubt the JPC will bring out the full facts. However, I feel it is only appropriate that I should place the facts before the House, and through the House the people. Since the issues involved are complex, I would not like to take up too much time of the House at this time but state only the essentials.

    “The government's policy on the pricing of spectrum was taken on the basis of the Cabinet decision of 2003, which specifically left this issue to be determined by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Telecommunications. Contrary to the assertion of the Leader of the Opposition, the record clearly shows that the then Finance Minister, while he initially had a different view, which he communicated to me on January 15, subsequently consulted with the Minister, Telecommunications and the two Ministers worked out an agreed formula on spectrum charges, which was reported to me in a meeting on July 4, 2008. Furthermore, this decision that was put to me by the two Ministers was in line with the recommendations of TRAI in its report of August 2007. In that report TRAI had clearly stated that only 3G spectrum should be auctioned and the policy for 2G spectrum should continue on the same basis as hitherto. This recommendation of TRAI was based on the need to ensure a level playing field between the new entrants and the incumbents. The two Ministers had agreed on this, because of legacy considerations, and I accepted their recommendation.”
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Sun May 01, 2011 5:10 pm

    Purulia arms-drop case: ‘Centre committed to unravelling conspiracy'



    The Centre on Saturday reiterated that it was committed to unravelling the truth and the entire conspiracy behind the Purulia arms-drop case. In a late-night statement, the government said that “any new fact emerging at any time” in the case that dated back to 1995 would be looked into by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

    The statement comes a day after the Communist Party of India (Marxist) demanded a judicial probe into the case to uncover the network responsible. The party said the arms-drop was aimed at fomenting violence to destabilise the Left Front government in West Bengal.

    The government's statement said that recent allegations by the wanted and proclaimed offender in the case, Niels Christian Nielson alias Kim Davy, were “mischievous and aimed at misleading the prosecuting agency and a court in Denmark, which is seized of the matter of his extradition to India to face trial.”

    The statement said: “Notwithstanding what Kim Davy and Peter Bleach, a convict in this case, have said to a section of the media, the fact remains that no government agency connived or helped them in their heinous act.”

    It said the case has remained under investigation, and “any new facts will be looked into by the CBI in a professional manner.”

    “Once Kim Davy is extradited and put to trial in an Indian court of law, he will get ample opportunity to explain his contentions and his defence to the court, which will decide on his culpability as per evidence and the law,” the three-page statement said.

    “The government and the CBI are acutely conscious of the fact that nothing should be done at this stage that will prejudice the extradition proceedings or the intended trial of Kim Davy after his extradition to India,” it said.

    On Friday, the CBI dismissed Davy's claims that the clandestine arms-drop from a foreign plane in 1995 in Purulia was carried out by “political forces” at the Centre in order to destabilise the Left Front government in West Bengal.

    The government had taken the incident “very seriously” right from the beginning and the CBI was provided all-out support in its investigation in and outside the country, the statement said.

    “The Government of India has facilitated the free, impartial and professional investigation of the case at every stage. The Government of India is committed to unravelling the truth and the entire conspiracy behind the crime and to bring all the guilty to justice,” it said.

    “Letters Rogatory were also sent to several countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, the U.K., Bulgaria, Latvia and Denmark. Investigations were conducted through mutual legal assistance arrangements in the U.S., South Africa, Netherlands, Ecuador, Brazil and Sweden,” the statement added.

    Referring to Davy, the statement said that earlier he had admitted to his role in the crime not only in front of the print and visual media — including the BBC and in a book written by him — but also before a Danish court at Hillerod in Copenhagen.

    “His self-serving allegations and attempt to give a political colour to his crime, and thus deflecting the judicial process of his extradition, is not substantiated by the evidence and facts,” it said.

    On Bleach, a co-conspirator, the Centre said he was convicted and sentenced to life by a court on the basis of evidence collected by the CBI. His conviction was never set aside by any superior court in India.

    The statement recalled that after the probe, the CBI filed a charge sheet in 1996 against 13 persons, and subsequently, two more charge sheets were filed in the case. The judgment in the case was pronounced on February 2, 2000. The then government granted presidential pardon to remit the sentences with respect to five Latvians in 2000 and to Bleach in 2004.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Sun May 01, 2011 11:38 pm

    LS Speaker will decide on PAC draft report

    HRD minister Kapil Sibal has termed the draft PAC report on 2G spectrum allocation as "not a report" because it has not been adopted by the parliamentary committee, but said it is for Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to decide on the matter.

    "The PAC chairman (Murli Manohar Joshi) himself said he had adjourned the meeting. So obviously for a report to be adopted, it has to be adopted either unanimously or by a majority. In any case it was not adopted by a majority, so there is no report," Sibal said.

    He was asked to comment on the status of the PAC report submitted by Joshi to the Speaker.

    "For it to be an official report it has to be adopted. So when did the adoption take place? Who adopted it? Was it done unanimously or by a majority? It is nobody's case that this was done," Sibal said.

    However, he made it clear that whatever decision the Speaker takes on the status of the PAC report would be acceptable to the government.

    "Naturally the government has to accept... We are bound to. The Speaker is the Speaker," he said, in reply to a question.

    In this particular case the Speaker "will decide the matter", Sibal said.

    Recalling the April 28 meeting of the PAC which witnessed high drama, he said the 11 members -- 9 from the Congress-DMK combine and one each from BSP and SP -- of the PAC gave letters to Joshi to the effect that they were rejecting the report.

    Asked whether the proceedings that took place after Joshi had adjourned the PAC meeting had any significance, Sibal said, "The votes have been submitted to the (Lok Sabha) secretariat."

    He refuted media reports that the SP and BSP members had not submitted letters stating they were rejecting the report and had merely demanded that more time should be given to the issue.

    When told that the PAC chairperson has to be from the Lok Sabha and a Rajya Sabha member could not have chaired the meeting after Joshi's adjournment, Sibal said it was common law that any person can act as the presiding officer, though "not as chairman", for a particular meeting.

    Congress member from Rajya Sabha Saifuddin Soz had 'chaired' the PAC 'meeting' on April 28 after Joshi had adjourned it.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Mon May 02, 2011 6:41 pm

    Joshi re-appointed PAC Chairman


    Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Sunday re-appointed senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for a second term, accepting his nomination by the BJP and despite the controversy over the panel's draft report on the 2G spectrum scam he had sent to her office on Saturday.

    Dr. Joshi's new term will be for one year.

    Faced with disruption by Congress-led members, Dr. Joshi adjourned the last meeting of the 21-member PAC on Thursday and had the report sent to the Speaker with the request that it be tabled in the Lok Sabha. But 11 members alleged that the draft had factual errors, and Dr. Joshi did not adjourn the meeting but staged a walkout. They elected Rajya Sabha MP Saifuddin Soz to conduct the proceedings and rejected the draft Dr. Joshi had prepared.

    Senior Congress MP S.K. Rao handed the Speaker a written submission and briefed her about the way the proceedings of the April 28 meeting were conducted.

    Meanwhile, the BJP has hailed the Speaker for honouring the democratic process by re-appointing Dr. Joshi as head of the committee that finalises the financial audit of all Ministries.

    Without naming Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy expressed shock at his comments that the draft be consigned to the dustbin and demanded that he apologise to Parliament. He hoped that the Congress would act against him for breach of privilege.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Mon May 02, 2011 6:43 pm

    Remnants of Mauryan-era stupas found in Girnar forest

    Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh has asked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to undertake a thorough archaeological survey of the Girnar reserve forest and the Gir sanctuary in Junagadh district in the Saurashtra region of the State.

    In a letter dated April 21, Mr. Ramesh said he was giving the advice on the suggestion of a noted historian from Delhi University Nayanjot Lahiri, who recently visited the reserve forest and found the remnants of two “stupas” which she believed could be of the Mauryan dynasty.

    Mr. Ramesh said Dr. Lahiri located one of the stupas, locally known as Lakha Medi, near the Bhordevi temple inside the forest.

    The historian reckoned that the stupa must have been about 50 feet high. Its core was of solid bricks, similar to the “Sanchi Stupa – I” (Madhya Pradesh) and the “Stupa at Piprahwa” (Uttar Pradesh), believed to be of the Mauryan era.

    She had also found many loose bricks around indicating there could have been other stupas in the vicinity. But what was more alarming was that the bricks from the stupas were being taken away by the locals for renovating the temple.

    “Therefore, it is urgent, that there is a complete survey of the stupa with accurate line drawings and photographs followed by careful archaeological conservation,” Mr. Ramesh said.

    Better stupa

    The historian located another “stupa,” locally called “Rathakot,” near another temple known as “Jina Baba ki Madi,” beyond Hasnapur dam in the Girnar reserve forest. This stupa was found to be in a much better condition.

    Mr. Ramesh said Dr. Lahiri believed that if a proper survey was carried out, the reserve forest and the sanctuary could become famous for not only being the only abode of the Asiatic Lions, but also of the country's “historic heritage.”

    The survey would require close cooperation between the State Forest Department and the Department of Archaeology.

    ‘Coral Atlas'

    Meanwhile, a first comprehensive “Coral Atlas” of the State — giving not only the figures and extent of the coral reefs across the State's coastline, but also the details of the habitat scenario in each of the reefs — has been released by the State government. The Atlas was prepared by the State-owned Gujarat Ecology Commission with technical assistance from the Bhashkaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geo-Informatics.

    According to Principal Secretary of the State Environment and Forests Department S.K. Nanda, the Atlas would serve as an important baseline in the preparation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for Gujarat initiated by the Union Environment Ministry. “It is also a contribution to the State's earnest efforts towards sustainable development,” he said.

    Website launched

    Along with the Atlas, a dedicated website on Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project was also launched by the State government. The Atlas was the second publication of the GEC after the “Mangrove Atlas of Gujarat” last year featuring thematic maps of mangrove distribution along the State's coastline.

    “The initiative by GEC is an attempt to come out with the baseline documentation on the natural heritage in order to ensure effective management of the coastal zone in line with the rising developmental activities on the coastal belt,” GEC member-secretary E. Belaguruswamy said.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Mon May 02, 2011 7:13 pm

    Sunil Lanba becomes Chief of Staff of Eastern Naval Command


    Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, a veteran warship commander, today took over as the first three-star Chief of Staff of the Vishakhapatanam-based Eastern Naval Command.

    Lanba is replacing Rear Admiral Karambir Singh, who will proceed to Port Blair on transfer as the Chief of Staff the tri-services Andaman Nicobar Command.

    The post, which till now was being held by a Rear Admiral-rank officer, has been upgraded in view of Navy's increasing capabilities on the eastern sea board.

    The Navy has been strengthening its capabilities on the eastern front as important assets such as the amphibious warfare vessel INS Jalashwa, nuclear submarine Arihant and an important conventional submarine base, are based there.

    It is also planning to deploy its recently acquired Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft P-8I there.

    It will also deploy an aircraft carrier fleet on the Eastern front after the induction the Admiral Gorshkov and the under construction Indigenous Aircraft Carrier in next three to five years.

    Commissioned on January 1 1978, Vice Admiral Lanba is a Navigation and Direction Specialist and is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.

    He has commanded four warships, including a minesweeper INS Kakinada, a Frigate INS Himgiri and Destroyers INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai.

    The Admiral has held various important staff appointments including Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:01 pm

    ED granted permission to question Tapuriah

    The Special Judge under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Monday granted permission to the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Kolkata-based businessman Kashinath Tapuriah, an aide of Hasan Ali Khan, who has been charged with money laundering.

    The ED will question Tapuriah till Wednesday in the Patna passport case, in which forged documents were used to get a passport for Khan. The ED was granted a similar permission by the court on Saturday to interrogate Khan in the case. Both Khan and Tapuriah are in judicial custody.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:02 pm

    No talks till strike is called off: Vayalar Ravi


    As the strike by State-owned Air India pilots entered the sixth day, the government on Monday refused to talk to them till they called off their agitation.

    “I have already stated that there will be no talks as long as the pilots are on strike. They have to call off their strike first and then come for talks. There is no change in the position,” Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, who briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day about the situation, told reporters on Monday.

    Mr. Ravi said the striking pilots were also facing contempt of court proceedings, initiated on the plea of the Air India management by the Delhi High Court.

    “The court has adjourned the matter till Tuesday. We will wait for the court orders and abide by whatever it directs,” he said.

    The High Court heard the striking pilots, owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), and the management and adjourned the matter for Tuesday.

    Demanding pay parity with their colleagues of the erstwhile Air India, better working conditions, removal of Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav and a CBI inquiry into alleged withdrawal of flights on profitable routes, pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines went on strike on April 26.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Ravi said the Air India management was working under him and asserted that there was no question of “surrendering” to the striking pilots.

    “Till today, I have not received any memorandum of demands from the pilots. I had met them in March, the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) held six meetings with them and the management held seven meetings, where the issue relating to wage parity was discussed. We agreed to a third party deciding it and the Justice Dharmadhikari committee with two other experts was set up. It will take five months to give its report on issues of integration and salary structure. What can I do till then” he asked.

    Mr. Ravi said issues of flying hours, free passages for the family and wage parity would be dealt with by the committee. “All of a sudden, the pilots go on strike in an utterly irresponsible manner. I held meetings with all the unions, I think they like me and I also trust my workers. I have nothing against anyone, but so far they are on strike, we will not talk to them,” he said.

    Air India's domestic operations came to a virtual standstill in the wake of the strike. With all eyes on the Delhi High Court judgment, Air India has stopped taking domestic bookings for a few more days.

    The carrier is also transferring its passengers on to other airlines without charging them anything extra.

    The Minister said the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) called a meeting of private carriers on Monday and asked them to refrain from charging exorbitant fares.

    “All carriers have been directed not to exploit the situation and inconvenience passengers,” he said.

    The strike disrupted 90 per cent of the domestic operations, though flights by its subsidiaries Alliance Air and Air India Express on the regional and international sectors, including the Gulf, operated normally.

    The management has derecognised the ICPA and sacked nine pilots, including ICPA president Captain A.S. Bhinder and its general secretary, Captain Rishabh Kapur, over the last week. Six pilots have been suspended.

    On efforts to trace the Pawan Hans helicopter in which Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others were travelling from Tawang to Itanagar, the Minister said so far no concrete information was available on their whereabouts.

    Pawan Hans operations from 15 helipads in the northeastern region have been kept in abeyance.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:04 pm

    Court issues notice to Centre, States on plea for endosulfan ban


    The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and all the States on a petition for a nationwide ban on endosulfan, given the pesticide's harmful effect on the people.

    A Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar issued the notice on the petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India, after hearing senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal. It asked Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam to be present in the court on May 11, the next date of hearing.

    In its petition, the DYFI said the valuable life of a large section of people was affected by the use of endosulfan, which had already been banned in 81 countries and whose use was not permitted in another 12 countries. Several studies had shown that the pesticide could also affect human development. “Researchers studying children from an isolated village in Kasaragod district of Kerala have linked Endosulfan exposure to delays in sexual maturity among boys. Endosulfan is an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide. This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical owing to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation and role as an endocrine disruptor.”

    The DYFI said endosulfan was the only pesticide applied in cashew plantations in Kerala for 20 years, and it had contaminated the environment of villages.

    All-party demand

    An all-party delegation from Kerala met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded a ban on the sale and production of the pesticide nationwide, but nothing had so far been done.

    Given the pesticide's harmful effect on the people, Kerala had imposed a ban on endosulfan. The excessive use of chemicals and pesticides for optimising agricultural production had posed an alarming level of danger to the health of people, particularly farm workers.

    Hence this writ petition for a directive to the Centre to prohibit the sale of endosulfan in its present form or any of its derivatives throughout India; to all the States to explain their stand on such a ban; to the Centre to provide sufficient rehabilitation facilities to those affected by the use of endosulfan and to identify its manufacturers and compensate the families of those who died or were affected by its use.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:05 pm

    Posco gets final forest clearance


    Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has granted the final forest clearance to Posco's Rs.54,000-crore integrated steel plant in Orissa, even while urging action against the sarpanch of one of the villages protesting against the project.

    Last month, Mr. Ramesh offered some hope to the protesting people of Dhinkia and Gobindapur by taking note of the resolutions passed by their village councils alleging that the Orissa government had failed to implement the Forest Right Act, which promises tribals and other forest dwellers legal land rights. But on Monday, he accepted the State government's word that it had implemented the Act, and that there are no valid claims in the area. “Faith and trust in what the State government says is an essential pillar of cooperative federalism, which is why I rejected [the option of an independent inquiry into the contradictory claims],” said the order Mr. Ramesh issued.

    On April 29, the State government told the Centre that the two palli sabha, or village council, resolutions were invalid as they were passed at meetings convened by the sarpanch without the authority of the gram panchayat; they were not recorded in a book kept for the purpose, and they were signed by only 60-odd people in each of the villages.

    The Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) has alleged that the State government is deliberately showing only the signatures on the first page of the scanned document, while the hard copies of the resolutions show more than 2,000 signatures. Mr. Ramesh decided not to question the “bona fides of the democratically elected State government.”

    “I must respect the reports from the sub-division officer and the Collector. Their views and also [those] of the State government must prevail unless there is overwhelming and clinching evidence to the contrary,” he said.

    However, Mr. Ramesh seemed to give voice to his own scepticism with a footnote at this point. “This notwithstanding the fact that the State government has been actively canvassing for the project in question.”

    The State government has also warned of stringent action against Sisir Mohapatra, sarpanch of Dhinkia, who is also the secretary of the PPSS, for misusing his official position and violating the Orissa Grama Panchayat Act.

    Mr. Ramesh's order “expects” the State government to follow through on its threat, warning that “if no action is taken forthwith, I believe the State government's arguments will be called into question.”

    Extra conditions

    Granting the final clearance to the South Korean giant after a five-year delay, Mr. Ramesh added a condition: the steel company must bear the cost of regeneration of an equivalent amount of open, degraded forestland in another district as a compensatory measure. This is in addition to the 60 conditions listed in the initial clearance granted in January 2011.

    He added that he “would expect” that the revised Memorandum of Understanding between the company and the State government would not include any export of iron ore, noting that such provisions had made him “deeply uncomfortable.” However, it is unclear whether this can be considered a “condition,” as the issue is not under his mandate as Environment Minister.

    While Posco welcomed the order, the PPSS accused the Minister of selling the livelihoods of 4,000 people and the laws of the land to the highest bidder.

    Defending his order, Mr. Ramesh said the implementation of the Forest Right Act and its relation to forest clearances “is a learning and evolving process,” which will continue to be upgraded and improved.

    The PPSS expressed outrage at this approach. “We are not familiar with this novel concept. A law is either followed or not followed… To allow the forestland to be taken without implementing them is a criminal offence under two laws. A crime cannot be ‘a learning and evolving process',” it said.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:06 pm

    ‘Chandra did not enter into criminal conspiracy with A. Raja'


    Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Monday submitted before the Delhi High Court that there was no truth in the charge by the Central Bureau of Investigation that Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then Minister for Communications, A. Raja, and manipulated allotment of 2G spectrum to his group companies.

    Appearing for Mr. Chandra before Justice Ajit Bahrioke, Mr. Jethmalani said it was not his client who was instrumental in any way in the allotment of licences for the spectrum to his group companies on first-come first-served basis as the Prime Minister had himself approved the mechanism for the same.

    Mr. Jethmalani quoted excerpts from the speeches of the Prime Minister made in Parliament and on other forums. He said the Prime Minister had approved the mechanism for allotment of licences for the 2G spectrum on first-come first-served basis. His client did not persuade the head of the government to make the statement, Mr. Jethmalani added.

    Mr. Jethmalani was arguing for grant of bail to Mr. Chandra who, along with four other executives of private companies is in jail here following dismissal of their bail applications on April 20 by the designated court set up on a direction by the Supreme Court

    The other executives who are seeking bail in the High Court are Swan Telecon director Vinod Goenka and Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.

    Mr. Jethmalani concluded his arguments. Counsel for other accused persons will resume arguments on May 4.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:28 pm

    CBI files appeal against acquittal of Ajit Jogi’s son

    Just five days before Bastar votes for a new Lok Sabha MP, the key campaigner of the Congress party, former chief minister Ajit Jogi faces bad news.

    The CBI has filed a criminal appeal in Chhattisgarh high court challenging the acquittal of his son Amit Jogi in the murder case of NCP politician Ram Avtar Jaggi.

    The central investigative agency had arrested Amit Jogi in 2005 and charged him with plotting the murder of Jaggi, who was shot dead in Raipur on June 4, 2003, a time when Ajit Jogi was the chief minister of the state.

    The CBI appeal comes nearly four years after Raipur sessions court acquitted Amit, while convicting 24 other co-accused who were sentenced them to life.

    With just five days to go for the Lok Sabha bypoll in Bastar, the appeal is likely to cast a shadow on the ongoing election campaign.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:28 pm

    Anti-Naxal ops: Over 2000 retired Armymen to train CRPF

    The government has decided to recruit more than 2000 retired Army personnel to help the CRPF gain expertise in crippling IEDs and hidden landmines while undertaking anti-Naxal operations.

    The retired Army personnel and officers, including those from the Sappers regiment who specialise in this job, will soon be deputed with each of the 62 battalions of the force deployed for countering Naxals in various states.

    The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the lead force for the offensive against Naxalites in the country, has lost more about 150 personnel in various IED and landmine explosions in the Naxal zones during the last year.

    "The improvised explosive devices and hidden landmines have become a reason for worry amongst the forces operating in the Naxal-affected regions. The landmines in certain cases were planted more than 30 feets below the ground which could not be detected by gadgets or sniffer dogs," a senior CRPF officer said.

    Each of the 62 battalions of the CRPF, including two of the specialised Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), will have 35 of these officers each, he said.

    As many as 434 retired junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and 1,736 non-commissioned officers will be inducted into the force soon and will inturn train the company commanders of the strike units to detect and defuse these hidden mines, the officer said.

    The ex-Army personnel will also train the CRPF men to efficiently use equipment that have been procured to detect IEDs and landmines. "However, these gadgets are hardly of any use as landmines are planted deep in the earth, beyond the reach of these equipment," he said.

    The officer said the former JCOs abnd NCOs will provide expertise to the CRPF units to have the upper hand in dealing with the IEDs and conduct casualty-free strikes in the Naxal terrain.

    According to home ministry figures, a total of 10,268 casualties have been reported between 2005 and May 2010 due to Naxal violence. Out of these, 2,372 deaths were reported in 2009 as against 1,769 in 2008 and 1,737 in 2007.

    A total of 1,999 civilians and security men lost their lives in 2006 and 1,952 others in 2005. As many as 439 people were killed between January and May this year, the data said.

    A total of 83 districts in nine States -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- have been identified as Naxal-hit.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 03, 2011 6:29 pm

    More transparency: Highway projects to be bid through e-tenders

    In a move to bring greater transparency in the bidding of highway projects and make the authorities more accountable, the highways ministry will soon put all information in public domain.

    Highways minister C P Joshi on Tuesday said that three pilot projects would be bid for through e-tendering to make the process more transparent.

    Two of these projects would be on BOT (toll) mode – Vijayawada-Machlipattanam and Patna-Buxar stretches of NHs – and the third one would be an operational maintenance and tolling (OMT) covering Siliguri-Goyakota-Purnea.

    "Based on the results of these experiences from August this year onwards all NHAI projects would be bid out through e-tendering," NHAI chief general manager (IT) Atul Kumar said.

    Talking to reporters, the minister said that soon they would take the help of GIS based satellite imagery for planning and monitoring of NHs in the country.

    A pilot project of 1200 km covering far flung areas would be covered. This is likely to improve management of ongoing works and would help finalise alignment of highway projects.

    Joshi also said that the ministry has set month-wise target for awarding of highway projects.

    "We have target to award 7,300 km on BOT (toll) and another 1,000 km on BOT (annuity) and cash contract. Besides this another 1000km of NH would be awarded by the state governments," said the minister.

    NHAI records show that achieving this target would be the highest during UPA rule. In 2010-11, the NHAI had awarded only 5,083 km of highway. The targeted awarding of 7,300 km on BOT (toll) alone is likely to attract investment of Rs 57,000 crores.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 05, 2011 5:55 pm

    ED summons Kanimozhi, four others

    The Enforcement Directorate has issued summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to DMK MP Kanimozhi and four others named in the CBI charge sheet in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

    Sources said that besides Kanimozhi, the summonses were issued to Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa's cousin Asif Balwa, Director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. Rajeev Agarwal and Karim Murani of Cineyug Films (Pvt.) Ltd. They have been asked to appear before the Directorate after May 6 and provide documents related to their funding, income and property. — PTI
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 05, 2011 5:58 pm

    Environmental appraisal authority coming

    The Union government is in the process of setting up a National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) as part of efforts to bring in institutional reforms and improve environmental governance, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday.

    The Minister was delivering the second Lawrence Dana Pinkham Memorial Lecture at the convocation ceremony of the Class of 2011 of the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ).

    Mr. Ramesh said that as a professional, science-based and autonomous entity tasked with environmental appraisals and monitoring of compliance, NEAMA would mark a major improvement over the current system wherein the Ministry did appraisal and approval of projects.

    While NEAMA would be more effective in addressing conflict of interest issues through separation of the processes of appraisal and approval, the appraised projects would require his final approval to ensure the principle of executive accountability, he said.

    In his lecture that drew metaphors from essayist Isaiah Berlin's reference to the Greek poet Archilochus — “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing” — Mr. Ramesh argued that India needed to be liberated both from the “high GDP growth hedgehogs” and the “conservation-at-all-costs hedgehogs.”

    Striking a balance

    Espousing need to work the balance between the worldviews of hedgehogs and foxes, he said, “India needs to straddle both worlds at the same time — the world of high GDP growth and the world of meaningful ecological security.”

    Mr. Ramesh said, “Towards helping strike this balance between rapid growth and conservation, an expert group — chaired by Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University — is being set up to develop a roadmap for India to be able to report ‘green' national accounts by the year 2015.”

    Market-friendly move

    The Minister said a beginning was being made to move to a market-friendly system of regulation with the launch of a pilot project in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra to implement regulations for air pollutants.

    Providing some insight into his decision-making processes, Mr. Ramesh put forth two of his specific innovations through which he wanted to “make the trade-offs explicit and make the choice in full public glare” — the practice of “speaking orders” to communicate to the public the contours of the middle path in debated issues such as Bt-brinjal, Vedanta and most recently Posco, and the other, the system of public consultations exemplified by the redrafting exercise of CRZ Notification of 1991.

    Presents diplomas

    Reverting to his hedgehog-fox metaphor, Mr. Ramesh urged the students to “be hedgehoggy but develop the traits of a fox.”

    He would also add the caveat that too much flexibility may lead only to survival of no enduring value—“being a fox should not degenerate into behaving like a chameleon.”

    The Minister later presented diplomas to 200 graduates.

    Intriguing situation, says N. Ram

    In his introductory remarks, N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and Media Development Foundation Trustee, pointed to the “intriguing situation” in India, and most developing countries, where the news media was in growth mode even while some of the international trends that led to decline of the media in mature markets waited to catch up.

    “The Indian media is also in a congenial situation where it has the time to make adjustments and avoid the mistakes made elsewhere in terms of planning media growth to the extent it can be planned,” Mr. Ram said.

    Media Development Foundation Chairman Sashi Kumar said though 10 years was too short a period for an institution like the ACJ to lay claim to a legacy, its alumni were making a difference to the practice of journalism in the country.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 05, 2011 6:01 pm

    Civil society submits wish list to Planning Commission

    Civil society groups have recommended that the Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan provide access to essential entitlements and development opportunities for the marginalised and increase investments in public services such as health, education, skill development, training and infrastructure building.

    Over 600 social activists, representing Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, people living with HIV, those with disability, the youth, the transgender population and the elderly, in a report “Approaching Equity: Civil Society Inputs for the Approach Paper – 12th Five Year Plan” have rejected the concept of gross domestic product growth alone as a goal of planning and suggested that a comprehensive real-time database on the marginalised and violence against the poor and vulnerable be created to enable more realistic and just planning.

    Investments for the poor should be increased and programmes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana and the Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana should be strengthened along with the public distribution system, the report suggests.

    While welcoming the efforts of the Planning Commission to make the planning process more responsive to the citizens concerns, Amitabh Behar, social activist, said here on Tuesday that the civil society groups had seized this opportunity to make the 12th Plan process more participatory and somewhat representative of the public opinion. The report captures the urgent concerns of the most marginalised and neglected communities. It had emerged from the wide consultations undertaken to identify and reflect on the insights and aspirations of the public, Mr. Behar said.

    The report says that special steps need to be taken to make cheaper credit and other financial services available to the poor, who are at present largely unbanked, and calls for more transparency, accountability, and monitoring with establishment of mechanisms for people's participation.

    Laws should be strictly followed, especially labour laws and protection laws for children, Dalits, Adivasis and other underprivileged classes. Justice should be ensured through proper rehabilitation and resettlement process for those voluntarily displaced, along with ensuring proper registration and enumeration of migrants, portability of their entitlements and security of their rights, the report says.

    The civil society groups held 16 consultations across the country in which organisations representing major communities involved themselves in an unprecedented exercise of addressing all the 12 challenge areas listed out by the Commission.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 05, 2011 6:04 pm

    India to pay for Iranian crude oil in rupee

    After having explored various options to make payments and having run out of them, India is understood to have decided to pay Iran for the crude oil supplied by it in rupee terms.

    After discussions between the Finance Ministry and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, it has been decided that the Ministry will seek the note of the Union Cabinet to switch over to the rupee payment system for the Iranian crude, officials in the Petroleum Ministry said.

    Under the newly floated but yet to be approved proposal, National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) will open rupee account with Indian banks and could use the money to purchase non-strategic items such as railway imports and buy commodities. It will not be able to use the money to invest in India or for buying shares or companies. The Finance Ministry will prepare and submit a list of do's and don'ts for Iranian authorities from the money it gets as part of the crude oil payments.

    The official said the Reserve Bank of India, which, in December last year, discontinued a long-standing mechanism of payment through central banks, previously opposed payments for Iranian oil in rupee but has now relented. In February, India started making euro payments through an Iranian bank based in Germany. But that had to be stopped soon after Germany came under pressure from the United States to put an end to this practice.

    The government also explored the option of Indian oil firms opening accounts in Dubai-based Noor Islamic Bank for direct transfer of money to Iran. But the UAE is also learnt to have refused to route payments.

    India imports 12 million barrels of crude oil every month from Iran, which is the nation's second-largest supplier, after Saudi Arabia. The problem began after the RBI, on December 23, did away with the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) mechanism for paying for Iranian crude oil imports, which make up for 12 per cent of the nation's oil needs.

    In February, it began clearing past dues for Iranian oil imports by making euro payments through the German-based Europisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG (EIH Bank). But EIH, which is owned by Iran, is a banned entity in the U.S., and Washington persuaded Germany to stop payments.

    This has resulted in outstanding payment of $2.8 billion as on March-end towards Iran.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 05, 2011 6:05 pm

    5 million tonnes of additional foodgrains for BPL families

    To make storage space available for the fresh rabi harvest, the Union government has decided to allocate an additional 5 million tonnes of wheat and rice to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population under the public distribution system (PDS).

    The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, cleared the Food Ministry's proposal at a meeting on Monday.

    The additional foodgrains will be made available from June 1 over six months, informed sources said.

    The meeting also decided to extend subsidised edible oil through the PDS till September.

    The EGoM, however, decided to hold further consultations on the proposed national Food Security Bill.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 06, 2011 6:08 pm

    Dorjee Khandu's body, copter wreckage found

    Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was found dead in the remote and inaccessible Luguthang village, about 30 km from Tawang near the India-China border, on Wednesday morning. His relatives and villagers reportedly identified the body.

    The sad news came after five days of intense search operations since the Pawan Hans A350-B3 helicopter carrying Mr. Khandu and four others went missing near the Sela Pass at 10.05 a.m. on April 30 while flying from Tawang to Itanagar.

    All five bodies have been traced. The four others were the pilots, Captains T.S. Manik and J.S. Babar; Khandu's personal security officer Yeshi Chodak and Yeshi Lhamu, sister of Tsewng Dhundup, Congress MLA from Tawang.

    The breakthrough in the search came when some villagers spotted the bodies and the helicopter wreckage and informed a control room. Immediately, search teams were mobilised to trek to the crash site. There is no road to Luguthang and the porter route is also now reportedly snow-covered, delaying retrieval of the bodies.

    Official sources said three bodies were charred beyond recognition. The crash site is located in the Mukto constituency, which is represented by the Chief Minister.

    Union Minister for Development of the North East Region B.K. Handique, who is camping in Itanagar to oversee the search operations, told journalists that a panchayat leader, Thupten, identified the body of the Chief Minister. But a formal identification of all the bodies was yet to be done. He said their recovery was expected to take time as it was a gruelling trek. An Army helicopter would lift the bodies from the crash site.


    He said the Tawang Deputy Commissioner would do the formal identification after the bodies were retrieved. The body of Khandu would be brought to Itanagar so that people could pay homage. It would then be taken to Tawang for the last rites.

    On April 30, the ill-fated helicopter took off from Tawang at 9.56 a.m. and was scheduled to reach the helipad at Itanagar at 11.30 a.m. but radio contact was lost after about 20 minutes and after it had just passed over the Sela Pass, which is located at an altitude of 13,700 feet.

    Although seven locations were identified based on satellite data of the Indian Space Research Organisation and mapping of the probable crash sites done by the Sukhoi-30 meant for focussed search and rescue missions, the actual crash site did not figure among them.

    While the Indian Air Force deployed Mi-17 and Cheetah helicopters for the search, about 3000 Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Sashastra Seema Bal personnel and over 1000 local villagers scoured the high altitudes.

    Search operations were stalled from day one as several of the locations were covered with snow and inclement weather prevailed.

    A pall of gloom descended on Itanagar with shops and business places spontaneously downing the shutters.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 06, 2011 6:10 pm

    Bench stays probe in case against Alagiri


    The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday stayed the ongoing investigation by the Keezhavalavu police near here into a criminal case registered against Union Minister M.K. Alagiri and other Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam functionaries on the basis of a complaint lodged by Tahsildar M. Kalimuthu (since suspended) on April 1.

    Justice M. Duraiswamy granted the interim stay and ordered notices to the Home Secretary, Director General of Police, Superintendent of Police and Inspector of Keezhavalavu police station, seeking their replies to a writ petition filed by the complainant Kalimuthu, who claimed to have lodged a “false complaint under the orders of his superiors and forceful directions of the police personnel.”

    Resiling from all allegations levelled by him against the Union Minister and others in the complaint, the complainant sought to transfer the investigation to “some other neutral agency or officer outside Madurai district.” He alleged that the Madurai police were acting in a biased manner and forcing him to own up the contents of the FIR .

    In his affidavit, the suspended Tahsildar said he was deputed as the Assistant Electoral Officer of the Melur Assembly constituency on April 1, when he received information about the Minister's visit to Ambalakaranpatti Valludaiyar Temple in Vellalurnadu in Melur taluk. Immediately, he proceeded to the spot along with a videographer.

    While the Minister was offering worship at the temple, his team “entered the temple in haste,” he said. “We forgot to remove our footwear. The worshippers and public in the temple objected to this. This created some confusion and commotion,” he said. The Collector latter directed him to give a complaint to the Keezhavalavu police station. The Collector “further informed me that the Superintendent of Police concerned will be intimated and that I have to give a complaint as would be instructed by the police,” he said. He claimed that he was asked by the Inspector and other officials at the police station to give a complaint that he had received information that the Minister was coming to the temple, along with 50 persons, to canvass for votes and that when the incident was being recorded, the Minister shouted at them and asked him and others to leave the premises and that he had come to assault the officials. “In the tension and trouble that was created and the orders of my superiors and under the forceful directions of the police personnel, I succumbed to the pressure and gave a complaint…” he said.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 06, 2011 6:11 pm

    Netizens warned against attacks while searching for Osama stuff


    Netizens searching for news and pictures related to al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden have been cautioned by cyber experts to beware as their accounts could be hacked or spams could harm their computers. Those active in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are particularly vulnerable.

    For instance, Internet security firm McAfee has pointed out that with the news of bin Laden being dead, spam e-mails with videos disapproving of his possible killing are doing the rounds in cyberspace. These e-mails lure users into clicking the link, which are then directed to a site that downloads a small file onto your system.

    This file, detected currently as either “Heuristic.LooksLike.Win32.EPO.F” or “Artemis!7C4314D9690D” is a Trojan (programme used to hack an Internet account) that does nothing but steal data.

    “McAfee has also seen links and scams that lead to FakeAV, RBot and ZBot binaries…such spam mails carry the following subject lines – ‘See video in which Osama bin Laden is shown holding a newspaper with today's date'; ‘OSAMA-BIN-Laden-aparece-segurando-jornal-com-a-data-de-hoje-obama-se-passa-por-mentiroso.exe', ‘fotos-do-osama-morto.exe', ‘pictures-of-osama-dead.exe',” it said.

    Malicious content

    It has warned users to look out for any of the above words in the subject lines of e-mails, links via Facebook or Twitter as such mail/links will be malicious. To stay safe while surfing, McAfee has asked netizens to be cautious and especially on guard when receiving messages that purport to offer photos of bin Laden's body, funeral at sea or any additional details.

    Similarly, Websense Security Labs has warned that hackers could immediately take advantage of notoriety and the huge trends in searches in an attempt to infect massive amounts of computer users. “Cyber criminals are constantly exploiting where the masses go, and news on bin Laden's death is no exception. We wanted to warn everyone looking for news on his death to be cautious when clicking on new links,” said Patrik Runald, Senior Manager, Security Research, Websense Security Labs.

    “Make no mistake, hackers are going to go after websites…along with search engine results to prey on visitors looking for more information. Compromises on breaking news items are also very dangerous to organisations because employees who are searching online can potentially put an organisation at risk for exploit and data loss.”

    Phishing attacks

    Another security software firm, Symantec, has said that the first spam using news of bin Laden's death was seen within three hours of the event. One of the phishing attacks (a way to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity) has spammers sending mails to people, which claims to have links to photos and uncensored videos of Osama, and directs users to phishing sites.

    “Cyber criminals look to make a killing by leveraging the big news through spam, phishing and social engineering tactics,” said Symantec Director (Development) Abhijit Limaye.
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    Re: National News - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 06, 2011 6:12 pm

    Kalmadi, two others sent to Tihar jail

    The sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, and two other former OC officials were on Wednesday sent to the Tihar Central Jail on 14-day judicial custody. They were allegedly involved in a criminal conspiracy to award the Games Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system contract to a Swiss company.

    ‘Rights violated'

    In the remand application before Special Judge (CBI) Dharmesh Sharma, the Central Bureau of Investigation said the probe was at a crucial stage. Some important witnesses were yet to be examined. The role of Suresh Kalmadi; the former OC Joint Director-General (Sports), A. S. V. Prasad; and the former Deputy Director-General (Procurement), Surjit Lal, was of a “serious nature” and the accused must be sent to judicial custody in the interest of “effective and proper investigation.”

    On April 26, the court gave the CBI eight days' custody of the three. Mr. Kalmadi's counsel alleged that the CBI infringed his fundamental right by arresting him on April 25 and then keeping him in custody for longer than 24 hours before producing him in court on April 26. Counsel referred to TV channels telecasting details of Mr. Kalmadi's arrest hours before 4.30 p.m., the time of arrest recorded in the case diary.

    “He was called on the pretext of investigation and arrested. He was asked no questions that day. This is a question of fundamental rights being violated,” counsel said.

    CBI rebuts charge

    Rebutting the charge, the CBI said Mr. Kalmadi was questioned at length. “We have produced a CD of the interrogation. He was questioned by the investigating officer and other supervising officers. We are not concerned about the reportage by the media. Two witnesses have signed the arrest memo which mentions the time of arrest as 4.30 p.m.,” said CBI public prosecutor V. K. Sharma.

    The agency submitted to the judge a seven-page transcript of questions and answers.

    The suspended Congress leader and the other two former OC officials are being held for offences punishable under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Indian Penal Code. They have also been booked under Section 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

    ‘Caused wrongful loss'

    In its remand application, the CBI said the accused, in conspiracy with others, abused their official position, and “awarded the contract at an exorbitant rate, approximately Rs.107 crore, in a most wrongful manner, restricting and eliminating all competition, and thereby causing a wrongful loss to the government of India and corresponding wrongful gain to Swiss Timing.”

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