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Bar bribery scam: LDF holds protest in Kerala Assembly

Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

LDF protests in Kerala Assembly

ANI
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) staged a protest in the Kerala Assembly on Monday demanding the resignation of Excise Minister K. Babu for his alleged involvement in the bar bribery scam.There was a proposal to hike the bar license fee to Rs. 25 lakh but the fee was fixed at Rs. 23 lakh in a meeting chaired by Babu. Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar retiring from politics?

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has reportedly hinted at retiring from politics.

PTI
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has reportedly hinted at retiring from politics.Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, speaking at a function in Mapusa town of Panaji, said he does not feel inclined to take up big responsibilities.”After 60 (years), one has to think about retirement. I turn 60 on December 13, therefore, I had started thinking about retirement two-three years back. I have to intensify that, therefore, I don’t feel inclined to take up big responsibilities,” reported IANS. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar also stated that his attention would linger on Goa and that if the state government veers onto the wrong path, he would endeavour to bring it back on track.In 2014, Parrikar was inducted into the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance. He has also served as chief minister of Goa.

Tipu celebrations: VHP continues protests, one stabbed in Mangaluru district

As tension prevailed over the issue, a man was stabbed at Golitottu near Puttur in the district and was in critical condition at a hospital

PTI
In fresh violence amid the raging row over celebrations of the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, a man was stabbed in Mangaluru district even as Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Friday staged protests across Karnataka, opposing the government’s decision.As tension prevailed over the issue, a man was stabbed at Golitottu near Puttur in the district and was in critical condition at a hospital, police said even as Mangaluru city observed a bandh in response to the call by right wing outfits against the government decision and to protest the death of a VHP worker during violence in Madikeri on November 10. Two men were stabbed, one of them fatally, near Mangaluru late last night after a meeting organised by Social Democratic Party of India supporting the celebrations turned violent. Police, however, did not link the stabbing incidents to the Tipu controversy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Harish(28) was stabbed to death at Vagga Halegate,Bantwal Taluk, 25 km away from Mangaluru, by unidentified men who came in a car when he was on his way home. His friend Samiulla who was with him was also stabbed and has been hospitalised. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped in Dakshina Kannada district for three days after VHP and Bajrang Dal called for a bandh today in protest against the Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations.The bandh call was given late last night after the stabbing incident. The two Hindu outfits had earlier decided to stage protests against the death of VHP leader Kuttappa in Madikeri in Kodagu district on November 10.Mangaluru wore a deserted look today as the bandh call received a total response. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses and private vehicles were off the roads and all shops and business establishments remained closed.Police said stray incidents of violence were reported from some parts of Mangaluru today. Four buses parked at Pumpwell were stoned by miscreants. VHP and Bajrang Dal activists blocked roads during the hour-long protest in various parts of the state, including Mysuru, Mangaluru, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Shivamogga and Hassan. In Bengaluru, protest was held in front of the Town Hall in the heart of the city, where VHP activists vented their ire against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah whose government decided to celerbrate Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary from this year.The functions were held on November 10. Madikeri was rocked by violence over the celebrations during which 60-year-old VHP activist Kuttappa died with the circumstances of his death not being clear. A youth who had received bullet wounds also died.

Mangaluru: Youth stabbed to death, violence erupts in city

The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) had called for a state-wide protest against the death of Sahil, 24, after he died due to a bullet wound.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
A 28-year-old motorcyclist and his friend, Samiulla, were attacked at Manihalla in the unrest that broke out at BC Road, Mangaluru on Thursday evening.Harish was stabbed and succumbed to injuries in the hospital while Samiulla was injured. The Social Democratic Party of India was protesting near the Bantwal Tahsildar Office and thus there was tension at BC Road.A report in The Hindu states that the SDPI had called for a state-wide protest against the death of Sahil, 24, after he died due to a bullet wound. He had gone to Madikeri on Tuesday for the Tipu Jayanti celebrations and was returning home when he was shot. They also claimed that the Kodagu district administration was negligent and hence tension erupted at Madikeri. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As soon as Haneef, SDPI activist, finished his speech, stones were thrown at him states the report. Stones were being thrown from behind the Bantwal Tahsildar Office. Thus, people apparently ran in all directions causing panic. Shops and offices were shut down immediately. The police are now investigating who started throwing stones adds the report. The SDPI activists also staged a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mangaluru on Thursday evening.

Narendra Modi applies FDI balm on Bihar wound

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government bounced back into action two days after it took a massive drubbing at the Bihar election by easing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in 15 sectors, including defence, mining, banking, broadcasting, civil aviation and construction. The move sent a positive signal to investors a day before the PM’s UK visit on the government’s intent to work towards structural reforms by allowing 100% FDI in direct-to-home (DTH), cable network and plantation crops. The government raised the cap on uplinking of news and current affairs TV channels to 49% from 26%.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The government eased investment norms in sensitive sectors like defence and retail and allowed 100% FDI through the automatic route in duty-free shops and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs). It raised the foreign investment promotion board’s (FIPB) monetary limit to Rs 5,000 crore from Rs 3,000 crore for approving FDI proposals. Experts hailed these changes as “significant” for attracting investments into the country. Anis Chakravarty, senior director and lead economist, Deloitte India, said liberalisation of FDI rules in major sectors reaffirmed the government’s commitment to bring in long-term investments, and were a pro-active step towards achieving a higher level of ease of doing business. “The way he (Modi) has done it is interesting. Sensitive sectors like defence and broadcasting have been opened up for investment. There is a tremendous push for Make in India and ease of doing business,” he said. According to Chakravarty, relaxation of rules on establishment and ownership transfer would draw investment from NRIs. Dhiraj Mathur, executive director of PwC, said the new overseas investment in defence was an important step in “unravelling the complexities and lowering barriers to investing in manufacturing in the sector”. “Investment in defence has now been aligned with other sectors. What remains is cleaning up defence procurement procedures and the implementation of new reforms,” he said. Pranav Sayta, tax partner, EY India, said that the initiatives by the government would help in reviving the investment cycle and putting India back on a high growth track, which would build an environment to support job creation. ASSOCHAM felt opening up key sectors like defence, civil aviation, retail, banking and e-commerce a day before Modi’s visit to the UK will send a positive signal to global investors about its focus on returning to the economic agenda after Bihar elections. D S Rawat , secretary general of ASSOCHAM, said: “At a time, when risk capital, by way of equity is hard to come by, FDI is the best option. Given that India remains among the few bright spots in the world, global investors would find it compelling to seriously look at these opportunities”. Vivek Mehra, partner, PwC India, said relaxation of FDI rules showed “Modi government’s intent to fast-peddle the growth agenda”. “The government has meticulously identified the FDI bottleneck policy and has taken corrective measures,” he said. According to him, allowing FDI in completed real estate projects like malls was good for the stressed sector. “Allowing 100% FDI in completed construction projects will help the real-estate sector in liquidating their current inventories, thereby fuelling growth. A number of itches impeding FDI in real-estate projects have been removed, including investment in completed projects for leasing out, minimum capitalisation and lock-in period being eased out,” enumerated Mehra. Parag Jariwala, vice president – institutional research, banking and financial services, Religare Capital Markets Ltd, said Tuesday’s announcements would have significant implications on the banking sector with full fungibility in FDI, with which the composite cap (FDI and FII) of total foreign holding in private banks will be 74%. He said the new rules will benefit banks like Yes Bank and Axis Bank. Amitabh Kant, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said: “This is a Diwali gift for investors. This is the biggest bang reform of the government.”

Bihar polls: After tantrik jibe, PM Modi says ‘Lalu virus’ has hit Nitish’s computer

While mocking the Nitish-Lalu combine, Modi said that Nitish has promised to give out computers, but how will they run if there is no electricity, adding, “the Lalu virus is already there in those computer.”

As Bihar gears up for the final three phases of polling, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dared the pair of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Yadav and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to go ahead with their entire ammunition of abuses and extensive plotting against him because ‘more the mudslinging, more the lotus will bloom’.Addressing a rally in Bihar’s Buxar district, Modi trained his guns on Lalu and Nitish, and said that their only agenda was to bring him down instead of Bihars’s development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While taking on the Congress ,Modi said the grand old party is contesting 40 Assembly seats, but it is not visible anywhere. “There will be no contest in these 40 seats and all will be won by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).”“Madam Sonia ji, the Congress ruled Bihar for 35 years and the party must tell people what development work was done during that period,” PM Modi exhorted.While mocking the Nitish-Lalu combine, Modi said that Nitish has promised to give out computers, but how will they run if there is no electricity, adding, “the Lalu virus is already there in those computer.”A day ago, Modi called Lalu a “tantrik” (occultist) and his party “Rashtriya Jadu Tona Party” as he reached out to the youth and weaker sections, promising a six-point programme for the state’s development.Amid indications that the caste and reservation debate dominating the polls scenario here could be detrimental to NDA’s prospects, the Prime Minister raised the development pitch promising “bijli-paani sadak” (electricity, road and water) and “kamai, padhai, and dawai” (earning, education and medicines) for each family in the state.Blaming “Bade bhaai (Lalu) and Chhote Bhaai (Nitish Kumar) for problems plaguing the state, Modi insisted that the only plank NDA has is of “development”.Hitting back at the grand alliance’s “Bihari versus Bahari (Bihari versus outsider)” barb to attack BJP, which is fighting the polls under the leadership of Modi and Amit Shah, the Prime Minister took up the issues of migration and unemployment among youths.Modi said that Bihar will celebrate real Diwali on November 8 and that this election would bring double joy to the entire nation.

Abdul Rashid’s beef party provoked people to kill trucker: PDP

The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir gave a new spin to the murder of trucker Zahid Ahmad Bhat by claiming that the beef party organised by independent MLA from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid, had provoked the people in the Jammu division.

Abdul Rashid had hosted a beef party in Srinagar a couple of weeks ago.

PTI
The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir gave a new spin to the murder of trucker Zahid Ahmad Bhat by claiming that the beef party organised by independent MLA from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid, had provoked the people in the Jammu division.”It is a fact that the beef party provoked people in the Jammu region, and hooligans in Udhampur reacted by attacking Kashmiri drivers… And in this provocation Zahid unfortunately lost his life. Islam says we should not provoke but respect other communities,” said Peerzada Mansoor Ahmad, senior PDP leader and political secretary to party president Mehbooba Mufti.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Engineer Rashid had organised a beef party in MLA hostel Srinagar on October 7 sparking an angry reaction from the BJP lawmakers who thrashed him in full public view inside the Legislative Assembly. On Monday, Hindu Sena activists smeared black ink on Rashid’s face at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. Miscreants attacked a Kashmir-bound truck with a petrol bomb near Udhampur on the night of October 9 and 10. Two truckers, Zahid Ahmad Bhat and Showkat Ahmad Dar, received 70 per cent and 40 per cent burns respectively in the incident. While Bhat succumbed to his burns on Sunday, Showkat is undergoing treatment in the Safdar Jung hospital.”Why did Engineer Rashid organise beef party in MLA hostel and used the utensils in which food is served to our non-Muslim brothers? Why did he not organise the party in his home? What was the motive behind it?” asked Mansoor.The statement has sparked off an angry reaction from main opposition National Conference and Engineer Rashid. “They are justifying the murder of Zahid and giving cover to the murderers. PDP is trying to hide their failures and they are acting like proxies of BJP,” said Engineer Rashid, who arrived in Srinagar from Delhi on Wednesday.Nasir Aslam Wani, provincial president of National Conference, said PDP is trying to hide behind these alibis because the law and order situation has gone for a toss in the state. “Murder is not justifiable by any alibi. They (PDP) are trying to blame others. They need to set their house in order,” Wani said.PDP’s spin comes at a time when south Kashmir is on the boil. Stone pelting, curfew-like situations and protests have become order of the day in south Kashmir townships. Strict restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar on Thursday even as Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani was detained by police when he tried to march to Anantnag.

Madhesis in Nepal seek India’s support

The ongoing agitation by the Madhesis has further intensified with the members of the community squatting on the roads blocking movement of vehicles on the border.

Madhesis

The Madhesi community, which has been agitating against the newly-adopted Constitution of Nepal, has sought “moral” support from India to “force” the Himalayan nation to accept its demands. “We want India to extend moral support to us… India’s support is crucial for us… It will force Nepal to effect necessary changes in the Constitution and accommodate our concerns as well,” says Rajendra Mahato, national president of Sadbhawana Party of Nepal. The ongoing agitation by the Madhesis has further intensified with the members of the community squatting on the roads blocking movement of vehicles on the border. Senior Madhesi leaders from Rupandehi district in Nepal have accused Maoist leader Prachand of misleading the people and throwing the country into chaos and anarchy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “We want share in the Constitution in proportion to our numerical strength,” Mahendra Yadav, president of the district Madhesi Front in Rupandehi, had told the agitators last week. “We will never accept a Constitution which does not take our interest into account,” he said. Other Madhesi leaders, who also addressed the agitators, made it clear that their protest would continue till their demands are met. The Madhesis are upset that the Constitution divides the country into seven states with some borders slicing through their ancestral plains. The Madhesis, along with several other small ethnic group, also want the states to be larger and be given more autonomy over local matters. Agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front formed a human chain along the highway in 22 districts in the plains from Mechi to Mahakali, Nepal as part of its protest.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP says death toll in Ankara bombing rises to 97 | Reuters

ISTANBUL Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said the death toll in twin bomb attacks on an activists’ rally in the capital Ankara had risen to 97.

Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu earlier told a news conference that 86 people had been killed and 186 wounded, 28 of whom were in intensive care.

(Reporting by Asli Kandemir; Writing by Nick Tattersall)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

After blackout, Nepal government asks cable operators to air Indian TV channels

The Nepal government on Tuesday asked cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.

Protest against the Nepal constitution

Image Courtesy : Wikimedia commons
The Nepal government on Tuesday asked cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.The Ministry of Information and Communications sought clarification from various cable operators as to why action must not be taken against them as they have violated the National Broadcasting Act.Cable TV operators in Nepal today stopped airing all the Indian channels to protest blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by agitators opposing Nepal’s new Constitution. The Ministry said that the cable operators violated the provisions and had stopped broadcasting the channels without any prior notice.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry has asked them to furnish clarification within 24 hours and continue the broadcast. President of Federation of Nepal Cable Television Association, Sushil Parajuli on Monday said that the cable operators decided to stop the broadcast of the Indian channels as “India has been intruding in the national sovereignty of Nepal.”Unrest in Nepal’s Terai plains over the new Constitution has led to the blockade of Birgunj trade checkpoint with India, cutting off vital supplies. The country is reeling under scarcity of essential goods including petroleum products and cooking gas due to the blockade along the border areas.Normal life has been severely affected due to the growing tension in the border areas. Meanwhile, the cadres of agitating Madhes-based parties on Tuesday vandalised Nepal-bound vehicles which were stranded at Indian customs point.Three vehicles ferrying goods, including petroleum products, were vandalised at Ram Janaki Temple in Sunauli, the Indian town bordering Nepal this afternoon. Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, “The blockade has damaged Nepal-India relations and also shattered Modi’s efforts to cement ties between the two neighbours.”Meanwhile, Bijaya Gachhadar, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Democratic, a moderate Madhesi party, after attending a meeting with the government officials claimed that the border blockade was not due to the agitating Madhesi cadres.A meeting was held between Chairman of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and Terai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur at latter’s residence at Sanothimi in the district on Tuesday.At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities. The agitating Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities. Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India.

Nepal’s new Constitution: India hopes ‘difficult days’ will not affect Indo-Nepal ties

Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya hoped that there would be ease in supply of essential commodities from India soon as efforts are being made at diplomatic and political level in this regard.

Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.
File Photo
PTI
With Indo-Nepal ties witnessing unease after the promulgation of the new Constitution in Nepal, India hoped that “difficult days” would not affect their friendship as it welcomed the Nepal government’s move to hold talks with agitating groups.”We welcome the recent steps taken by the government of Nepal to hold dialogue with the agitating groups to end the existing political crisis in a peaceful manner,” Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said. He said India wants stability in Nepal and it was not against the new Constitution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We see the Constitution as the culmination of violence and end of very brutal insurgency Nepal had gone through. Nepal has come out of a very difficult situation and we don’t want that it return to another difficult situation,” Rae said during an interaction programme here.”Nepal-India friendship is very old, solid and very much stable, and it doesn’t depend on any specific issue or incident,” he said, adding “I am confident even after these difficult days our friendship will be stronger.”On his part, Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya hoped that there would be ease in supply of essential commodities from India soon as efforts are being made at diplomatic and political level in this regard.Asking people from both countries to observe tolerance and have a positive attitude towards dealing with the issue, the Nepalese envoy said, “India has always played an important role during the hardship faced by Nepal in the past which was evident during the recent earthquakes.”Let’s not speak irresponsible things and develop negative attitude towards each other at this sensitive time which might damage the centuries old friendly relations.””We should maintain peace, stability and move towards economic prosperity and I hope India will extend support to our endeavour as a peaceful, stable and prosperous Nepal will also be in the interest of India,” he said.Rae also cautioned that if Nepal does not take every one along while drafting the Constitution then it will be sowing the seeds of future conflict as well as opening the door of instability that will also affect India.”Therefore, the only solution to the current problem is talk,” the Indian Ambassador added.Meanwhile, Nepal’s major parties yesterday started talks with the agitating Madhesi parties to find a solution to the Terai problem through peaceful means.Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.”The friendship of India is not confined to a particular region, or southern plains, but we have the same family relations between Uttarakhand and Far-western Nepal as well as relations of eastern Nepal with our states in eastern India like Sikkim and West Bengal,” the Indian Ambassador said.The three major parties — Nepal Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist — yesterday formed a three-member committee to hold dialogue with the parties and groups agitating against the new Constitution. Nepali Congress leader and Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya and CPN-UML Chief whip Agni Kharel and Narayankaji Shrestha from UCPN-Maoist are the members of the committee.”We have already started dialogue with the Joint Madhesi Front and other agitating groups of the southern Nepal and the talks are moving towards a positive direction,” Acharya told PTI.Mahanta Thakur, president of Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Bijaya Gachhadar, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Democratic, among others are taking part in the talks. The agitation in the southern Nepal has entered 45th day and the country is reeling under scarcity of essential goods including petroleum products and cooking gas due to the blockade along the border areas with India.Shortage of petroleum products have created panic among the people in Kathmandu, who are queuing for hours to fill petrol and diesel in their vehicles. Normal life has been severely affected due to the growing tension in the border areas. More than 40 people have been killed in over a month-long violence.

NDFB(S) ‘self-styled’ chief Rabi Basumatary arrested

In what the security forces have called the “final push” launched on September 18 against the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)(Songbijit), the Army, in a joint operation with the Sashastra Seema Bal and the Assam police on Friday arrested its chief Rabi Basumatary, alias Rongja Baja, along with his personal security officer from Kokrajhar district.NDFB(S) is the group involved in massacre of 71 Adivasis in lower Assam in December last and 46 minorities in May last year. The self-styled chief was also involved in the killing of Narayan Barman , the then in-charge of a police post in the district on 26 September, 2013.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials said that one AK-56 rifle, 170 rounds of AK ammunition, 50 rounds of INSAS ammunition and four hand grenades were recovered from them.So far , eight NDFB(S) militants have been killed, while 539 militants and their associates have been arrested in the operations launched by the security forces after the December massacre.Senior officials also said that additional troops have been mobilised to flush out the remaining cadre of the insurgent group.NDFB(S) senior commanders like G Bidai and K Batha are among those who are yet to be apprehended.

Bihar polls: Sharad Yadav rejects question of rift in Grand Alliance

Days after pulling out of the grand alliance of JD(U)- RJD-Congress, Samajwadi Party on Thursday announced it was forging a coalition along with NCP, NPP and Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic) to contest the upcoming Bihar elections as the ‘Third Front’.

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav on Friday dismissed the Samajwadi Party-driven formation of a ‘Third Front’ for the Bihar polls and said that there was “only one front” in the state, that of his party with RJD and Congress.The Rajya Sabha MP also said that his party has finalised a list of candidates for the October-November polls and was waiting to conclude seat-sharing talks with Congress even as he dismissed claims of bickering within the grand alliance. With reports suggesting that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad were not going to turn up at Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s weekend rally, Yadav said there was “nothing deliberate behind it.” “These leaders are busy with ticket distribution and there is no time. Other leaders of our parties though are going to be there. There is nothing deliberate behind it,” he said here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after pulling out of the grand alliance of JD(U)- RJD-Congress, Samajwadi Party on Thursday announced it was forging a coalition along with NCP, NPP and Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic) to contest the upcoming Bihar elections as the ‘Third Front’.But reacting to the development ahead of the polls, Yadav said, “There is only one front and that is of JD(U)-RJD- Congress. We don’t comment on all these issues (on formation of SP-led front), but there exists only one front… ours.” He further added, “We have finalised our candidates. Only thing is discussion with Congress is going on. They (opposition parties) are declaring candidates in phases, we will do it in one go.”The JD(U) leader said that the grand alliance will contest the polls on the issue of development and Kumar’s track record. “Our chief minister has taken the state a long way along the path of development. We want to change the equation of politics in the nation,” he said.

Opportunist Jitan Ram Manjhi shouldn’t be taken seriously, says Congress

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to announce the seat-sharing for Bihar Assembly polls today.

The Congress Party on Sunday accused former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of playing opportunistic politics by keeping in touch with all the political parties ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls.There is no need to take seriously what Jitan Ram Manjhi says. He did not stay with Nitish Kumar, who made him the chief minister. If the Bharatiya Janata Party allots him 10 to 20 tickets then he won’t stay with them too, said Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra.It is a symbol of opportunistic politics. The BJP cannot give him the position of chief minister, which was given by Nitish Kumar, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to announce the seat-sharing for Bihar Assembly polls today.Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Bhupender Yadav today met Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) supremo Manjhi, who had expressed dissatisfaction with the number of seats to be allotted to his party, at the Bihar Niwas here.BJP president Amit Shah has so far held discussions with Manjhi, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) supremo Ram Vilas Paswan and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha to iron out differences over some seats.Manjhi, who had initially agreed to go with the BJP president’s efforts to settle the seat-sharing, is now reportedly looking for more than 15 seats.Polls to the 243-member Bihar Assembly will be held in five phases starting on October 12 and ending on November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Indian-origin man leads in mayoral polls in Bonn

Ashok Sridharan, who is the candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has established a narrow lead over his nearest rival.

Ashok Sridharan

Image Credit: youtube
A 49-year-old Indian-origin man in German city of Bonn has emerged as the front-runner for the city’s top job ahead of this Sunday’s polls to elect a new mayor, according to a opinion poll. Ashok Sridharan, who is the candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has established a narrow lead over his nearest rival Peter Ruhenstroth-Bauer of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). However, around 26 per cent of the voters are still undecided about who they will vote, according to the polls. Four other candidates also are in the race for the mayor’s office. Current SPD mayor of Bonn Juergen Nimptsch announced at the end of last year that he will retire when his term expires in October.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Around 245,000 voters in Bonn will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new mayor. Sridharan, who is the son of a migrant from India and a German mother, currently serves as the treasurer and deputy mayor in the nearby town of Koenigswinter. Even though Bonn is one of 178 cities and towns which will choose new mayors and municipal councils in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, the election in the former German capital has gained special significance and its outcome will be watched with great interest across this nation. If elected, Sridharan will become the first Indian-origin mayor of a major German city. The CDU has pinned high hopes on its candidate to regain control of Bonn after more than 20 years’ rule by the SPD.The CDU is also hoping that a victory in Bonn will enable the party to recover from a string of defeats in the elections for mayor in several cities during the last two years and to prepare the ground for the national election in 2017. Sridharan closeness to the citizens of Bonn also has been widely appreciated by his party colleagues, who bestowed him with the title “Indian boy of Bonn” at the CDU’s carnival celebrations early this year.Sridharan’s nomination is also seen as a gesture of goodwill by the CDU towards Germany’s ten million strong migrant community and a strong signal that they are welcome in the party. During his election campaign, Sridharan emphasised that if elected, he will give top priority for reducing the city of Bonn’s 1.7 billion euro debts and for achieving a balanced budget.

Ceasefire violations, infiltration to dominate BSF-Rangers meeting

The talks between Indo-Pak border forces are being held after more than one-and-a-half-years.

People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti addresses a public rally in Pulwama district of Kashmir on Tuesday

PTI
Unprovoked cross-border shelling and infiltration attempts from the other side of the International Border (IB) in Jammu will be at the centre of talks between Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers in New Delhi starting Thursday. The 15-member visiting Pakistan delegation will be led by the senior Rangers director general (Punjab) Major Genera Umar Farooq Burki while director general of BSF DK Pathak will lead the 23 -member Indian side. Inspector general of BSF Jammu frontier Rakesh Sharma will also be part of Indian delegation in the meeting.”During the conference major border-related issues like unprovoked firing and infiltration bids from across the border will be discussed. Besides the matters pertaining to different types of disputes will also be discussed,” said a BSF spokesman at Jammu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The talks between Indo-Pak border forces are being held after more than one-and-a-half-years. The last round of talks was held in Lahore in December 2013.Sources said the issue of “no response” by the other side when BSF waves the ‘white flag’, an indication to ceasefire and meeting of on-ground commanders of the two sides, will also be taken up during the talks.”The conference is being held at a very crucial juncture since for the last two years the border guarding forces have been engaged in heavy exchange of fire from time to time resulting in the heavy losses of men, material and livestock to the ether side of the border,” said the spokesman Official figures reveal that around 430 ceasefire violations occurred on the IB while 153 violations were reported on the LoC in 2014. Eight soldiers including four BSF men and four army personnel were killed in the cross border shelling. Official figures reveal there were a total of 347 ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, including 199 along the LoC in 2013.Sources said the BSF will also take up the issue of intrusion in the ‘Harami Nallah’ area of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, smuggling of contraband from across the border and illegal movement of suspects close to zero line along the IB in order to facilitate illegal activities. Pakistan had last month confirmed the agenda for DG-level talks which included issues like the alleged use of objectionable language by troops on the Indian side and air space violations by suspected unmanned aerial vehicles. According to Pakistan High Commission sources, serious concerns on the infiltration from the Indian side in Punjab and Rajasthan and who were involved in sabotage activities will be raised during the talks.

Political storm hits Jammu and Kashmir after Omar Abdullah accuses Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of spying on him

Omar was referring to the quizzing of a journalist who had gone to interview him at his residence in Srinagar. She, according to Omar, was asked several questions by a cop from the CID branch of Jammu and Kashmir.

Omar Abdullah

A major political storm has hit Jammu and Kashmir after the former chief minister Omar Abdullah accused the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government of spying on him.Omar was referring to the quizzing of a journalist who had gone to interview him at his residence in Srinagar. She, according to Omar, was asked several questions by a cop from the CID branch of Jammu and Kashmir.Visibly angry, former chief minister took to Twitter and spewed his angst against the Mufti government.”Mufti Govt brazenly spying on me. A journalist interviewing me for a national daily just got stopped right outside my gate by CID person… She was asked who she was & what the purpose of her visit was! Seriously guys if you want to know just ask me, I couldn’t care less if U do,” Omar tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar also lampooned the government for “unleashing apparatchiks” to spy on him. “Dear Mufti Sahab if you & your apparatchiks want to know what I’m up to pick up the phone & ask me. Please don’t accost people outside my gate,” he said. The ruling People’s Democratic Party was quick to react and give it back to Omar in the same coin. “Basically one of his (Omar’s) workers was there and he was not allowed to go inside. He asked this lady (journalist) who are you and how you were allowed and I was not. Then the lady said a CID guy had asked her questions,” said Wahid ur Rehman Para, PDP spokesman and political analyst to J&K chief minister.Para also mocked at the claims that Omar was being spied by the government. “Even if you do spying you don’t do this way. He is a Z-plus protected person and he is the ex-chief minister. He is vulnerable and police are worried about who is who and what is going on. They also frisk there and that is the security concern,” he said.

Bihar Elections 2015: Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi asks for 13 seats

Manjhi clarified that he is not tempted by the CM chair and his sole objective is to eradicate Nitish government from Bihar.

PTI
Former Bihar chief minister and head of Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM) Jitan Ram Manjhi has asked for atleast 13 seats for his party in the upcoming Bihar assembly elections.Clearing the air over CM chair, Manjhi said that he is with the National Democratic Alliance (ADA) without any condition, with an objective to eradicate ‘jangal raj’ and that he is not a CM candidate, reported Prabhat Khabar.”We had a total of 18 MLAs, out of which five joined BJP. I didn’t create any pressure on them. We have now 13 MLAs and no compromise will be made on their seats”, he said in the report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Manjhi, who also claims that he brought 34 different policies for the development of Bihar when he was the Chief Minister, said that when Nitish Kumar took over he was forced to implement only 16 of them. When asked on seat distribution, he said BJP president Amit Shah would finalise it in a week.

dna Must Read: From latest in Manipur to shock defeat of Kei Nishikori in US Open- Top 5 stories at 9 am

Here is a curated list of top 5 stories at 9 am.

1. Manipur violence: Three killed, 14 injured; houses of minister, five MLAs torchedAt least three agitators have been killed and 14 others injured in a protest in Manipur over the passing of the inner line permit system (ILPS) bill on the floor of the assembly, on Monday night.Six houses, those belonging to a minister in the Manipur government and five other MLAs, were set on fire this evening by agitators in Churachandpur district. Read More <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. In fall season, GDP latest to sputter: growth slows to 7% vs 7.5% in Apr-JunA little more of the Modi-magic faded on Monday with the national income in the April-June quarter expanding at a much slower rate of 7% compared with the previous quarter growth of 7.5% as investment and consumer spending dipped.The latest blow to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government comes on the heels of slackening economic reforms due to its inability to push them through and a “doubtful” monsoon. Read More 3. Man sentenced to 20 years in suicide bomb plot at Kansas airportA man who plotted a suicide car bomb attack at a Wichita, Kansas, airport in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Monday.Terry Loewen, 60, had access to secure airport areas because of his work as an avionic technician, according to federal officials, who dubbed the bomb plot an attempted terrorist attack. Read More 4. Morgan leads England to dramatic win over Aussies, Steve Smith’s 90 goes in vain England held their nerve to beat Australia by five runs in a thrilling finish to a one-off Twenty20 international on Monday.Captain Eoin Morgan smashed a superb 74 off 39 deliveries to lift the home team to 182 for five and despite a brilliant 90 by Australia skipper Steve Smith, the touring side fell just short of their target. “It was brilliant, a great game of cricket to win,” Morgan told Sky Sports. “You can learn a lot from playing in close games against top opposition. Read More 5. US Open: Last year’s finalist Kei Nishikori suffers shock first round exitFourth seed Kei Nishikori’s hopes of making another magical US Open run came to a quick end on Monday as last year’s runner-up fell at the first hurdle, falling 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 to Frenchman Benoit Paire. Read More With agency inputs

Father of Virginia TV reporter slain on air vows to fight for gun control | Reuters

WASHINGTON The father of a Virginia journalist killed in an on-air shooting said on Thursday he would become a crusader for gun control, but analysts said there was little likelihood of legislation on the federal level any time soon, despite changes in some states.

Two journalists, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of Roanoke CBS affiliate WDBJ7, were shot during a live interview on Wednesday by a disgruntled former station employee who later killed himself. The woman who was being interviewed was wounded and hospitalized.

Parker’s father, Andy Parker, urged state and federal lawmakers to take action on gun control, especially to keep firearms out of the hands of people who were mentally unstable.

“I’m not going to rest until I see something happen. We’ve got to have our legislators and congressmen step up to the plate and stop being cowards about this,” Parker told CNN, describing himself as a supporter of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

He said the National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, likely would contend that his daughter and Ward would have been safe if they themselves had been armed.

“It wouldn’t have made any difference,” Parker said. “How many Alisons is this going to happen to before we stop it?”

The United States had about 34,000 firearms deaths in 2013, with almost two-thirds of them suicides, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sarah Trumble, a senior policy counsel for the Third Way, a Washington think tank, said prospects for gun control had little chance in the Republican-controlled Congress, despite intense media focus on the Virginia killings.

“There’s no playbook for what to do here,” she said, but added that changes were more likely in states than at a federal level. “The states are really where the action is.”

The last time there was a push at the federal level for tighter gun control was following the massacre of 26 people, mostly children, at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

President Barack Obama supported legislation that would have extended background checks for gun buyers and banned rapid-firing assault weapons. But despite national revulsion over the Newtown killings it was rejected in April 2013 by the U.S. Senate, including by some lawmakers in Obama’s Democratic Party.

After Wednesday’s shooting, Obama reiterated his frustration over the issue of gun violence, saying the United States needs to do “a better job of making sure that people who have problems, people who shouldn’t have guns, don’t have them.”

MEASURES GO AHEAD

Although the issue is stalled at a national level, gun control measures have gone ahead in the last two years in several U.S. states, with 18 now requiring background checks for the sale of handguns, said Colin Goddard, senior policy adviser for Everytown, a gun control advocacy group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Among other gains for advocates of gun control are a 2014 referendum in Washington state for background checks on gun sales in which backers of the initiative outspent the NRA. Oregon’s governor in May signed legislation for background checks on almost all buyers.

Nevada voters will go to the polls in a similar referendum next year.

In Maine, Goddard said Everytown had started a campaign to get a background checks question on the ballot. But gun rights advocates notched a victory in the state last month when it became the fifth to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

In Virginia, where the NRA is headquartered, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe called for gun controls after Wednesday’s shooting.

But gun control legislation is unlikely to pass the Republican-dominated legislature, said Stephen Farnsworth, a pollster at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

“It’s a very gun-friendly legislature and the shootings this week will do little to change that,” Farnsworth said. He added that polls have shown more support for gun control among state residents than among politicians.

Wednesday’s shootings were particularly shocking because they happened on air, and because of social media posts about the attack by Vester Flanagan, 41, the man police said carried out the shooting.

His posts illustrated a trend of people wanting to commit murders and post images of the killings online to gain notoriety, Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, told NBC.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Centre asks Supreme Court to keep political parties out of RTI ambit

The petition was filed by an NGO–Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking an order to declare all the national political parties as public authorities.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Central Government on Monday filed an affidavit in Supreme Court seeking to keep political parties away from the Right to Information (RTI) ambit. The apex court in July sought a response from the Centre and six leading political parties on whether national political parties should be declared as “public authorities” so that they come under the ambit of RTI Act. The court issued notices to the government, election commission of India (ECI) and the BJP, Congress, BSP, CPI, CPI(M) and NCP, and sought replies within six weeks.The petition was filed by an NGO–Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking an order to declare all the national political parties as public authorities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to ANI, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said, “Not surprising that the Central government wants to finish RTI act completely. Just as they are destroying all institutions of accountability whether its Lokpal, CVC or CBI, they want to destroy RTI act also.”Bhushan also contended that national parties are virtually funded by the state as they are exempted from filing income tax returns. Bhushan said they would have to deposit 35% of donation received by them had they not been exempted. He said that it shows that they are being funded by the government, making them liable to come under the RTI ActThe petition was filed after their refusal to comply with the Central Information Commission (CIC) order of June 3, 2013, declaring the national political parties to be public authority under Section 2(h) of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.According to the NGO’s plea, political parties receive huge sums of money in form of donations and contributions from corporates, trusts and individuals but do not disclose complete information about the source of such donations and they should mandatorily disclose details of their income as well as expenditure.(With Agency Inputs)

After Sushma Swaraj’s salvo, Hurriyat Conference leaders Bilal Lone, Shabir Shah and 2 others detained in Delhi

New Delhi: As uncertainty loomed large over Indo-Pak NSA talks, moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Bilal Lone and Shabir Shah were among four separatist leaders detained today at Delhi airport to prevent them from meeting Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz in the event of his arrival here.

All the four separatist leaders were put under house arrest in the capital, official sources said. Lone, who is the executive member of moderate faction of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, was stopped at the ladder of the aircraft as he deplaned and was informed that he was under detention and would remain confined to his rented accommodation in South Delhi, the sources said.

Separatist leader Bilal Lone. AFPSeparatist leader Bilal Lone. AFP

Separatist leader Bilal Lone. AFP

Lone is the fourth separatist leader from Kashmir who was detained at the Delhi airport. Earlier, Shabir Shah, who broke away from Hurriyat last year and formed his Democratic Freedom Party, was detained along with two senior members of his party in the morning.

Bilal refused to make any comments about his detention. The separatist leaders were told that “restrictions have been imposed on their movement in the national capital” ahead a possible talks between Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, official sources said.

Shah along with two other separatist leaders Mohammed Abdullah Tari and Zamir Ahmed Sheikh are under house arrest in a south Delhi guest house and the trio will remain confined to that place only.

All the separatist leaders have been given an option that they were free only to travel to Srinagar, in case they wanted to. While leaving Srinagar, Shah had said the he would like to meet Aziz. “Today we are going to ask the people of India whether former Indian Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, their leader L K Advani or Manmohan Singh were wrong. During their tenure, they never blocked us from meeting Pakistani officials when they came to India…

“Kashmir is an important issue…Pakistan’s stand is clear. They are saying that they will come for talks and present whatever they want to say. India can also put forward its argument but Kashmir issue must be included,” he insisted.

The top separatist leaders have received an invite from Pakistan High Commission in Delhi for a reception being hosted for Aziz, who is scheduled to arrive in Delhi tomorrow afternoon to hold talks with Doval on Monday if everything goes as per plans.

The Pakistan High Commission’s invitation to hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatist leaders to meet Aziz has upset New Delhi but Pakistan has stuck to the line that such meetings were “routine”.

PTI

Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah put under house arrest

Srinagar: Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah was on Friday put under house arrest again ahead of Friday prayers.

Shabir Ahmad Shah. IBNLive

Shabir Ahmad Shah. IBNLive

A police party visited the Sanat Nagar residence of Shah, the chairman of Democratic Freedom Party, on Friday morning and asked him to stay indoors, officials said.

Shah, who parted ways with moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference last year and formed a separate unit, was not allowed to go for Friday prayers, a spokesman of Shah’s party said.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani also continued to be under house arrest.

Several other separatist leaders including moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik were put under house arrest on Thursday but were released within couple of hours.

The top separatist leaders have received an invite from Pakistan High Commission in Delhi for a reception being hosted in the honour of National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz who is scheduled to arrive in Delhi to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Sunday.

The Pakistan High Commission’s invitation to Geelani and other separatist leaders to meet Aziz has upset New Delhi but Pakistan has stuck to the line that such meetings were “routine”.

PTI

PDP disapproves Pakistan’s thinking on Assembly’s legitimacy

We (legislators) have a democratically elected character. So, no one can say that we are no ones. We disapprove of that and we do not accept that: PDP

Sartaj Aziz

File Photo
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday said Pakistan’s line of thinking that Jammu and Kashmir Assembly or its Speaker has no legitimacy will not help in addressing the issues or creating an atmosphere of peace in the state. “We do not agree with this that the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly or its Speaker has no legitimacy. In fact, this is the only legitimately elected body of representatives who have the right to talk,” PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar told reporters here.Apparently referring to separatists, Akhtar, who is also a minister in the PDP-BJP government said, others who talk on Kashmir issue only represent an idea and have a point of view, but we (legislators) have a democratically elected character. So, no one can say that we are no ones. We disapprove of that and we do not accept that,” he said, when asked his reactions on Special Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on foreign affairs and national security, Sartaj Aziz’s statement that Kashmir was a “disputed territory and Pakistan does not recognise its Assembly.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhtar said, that does not have any bearing on our legitimacy, the whole world knows that we are legitimately elected through a free and fair election in which about 80 per cent people participated. “Pakistan has a point of view, our country has a point of view, our party too has a point of view and then others as well have a point of view. But within that entire debate, the fact lies that I am a democratically elected representative.” The PDP leader said some people also raise questions over the state legislature, but Aziz’s comments were not acceptable and not right as well. “We (legislators) have come with 80 per cent votes. If someone says that we are not legitimate, then I do not think it is correct. This line of thinking won’t help in addressing the issue or creating an atmosphere of peace,” he said.Aziz had yesterday said Pakistan will not invite Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker to Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU) meeting as it would compromise its position on Kashmir issue. He said Kashmir was a disputed territory and Pakistan does not recognises its Assembly. “We will never invite the Speaker of occupied Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Pakistan does not recognise and accept the said Assembly as a legitimate one,” he had said.Pakistan is hosting Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference from September 30 to October 8 for which over 70 per cent of the delegates have confirmed participation. India has threatened to boycott the meet if J-K Assembly Speaker was not invited.

U.S. Justice Department weighs request to probe Clinton emails | Reuters

NEW YORK The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it is weighing a request by two government inspectors to look into the possible mishandling of classified information in Hillary Clinton’s private email account from when she was secretary of state.

The department said it “has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information.”

A Justice Department official said the “referral” is not a request for a criminal investigation into Clinton’s emails, thousands of which she handed over to the State Department after resigning in 2013.

Clinton’s use of a private email account for her work as America’s top diplomat came to light in March and brought criticism from political opponents that she had sidestepped transparency and record-keeping laws.

Clinton, the front-runner to represent the Democratic Party in the November 2016 presidential election, has repeatedly said she broke no laws or rules by eschewing a standard government email account for her State Department work in favor of her private account. She also said she sent no classified information by email.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement she “followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials.”

The former first lady said she handed to the State Department last year all the work-related emails she had, amounting to some 55,000 printed pages covering her four-year tenure, although her staff have recently acknowledged there are gaps in the records she retained.

But the inspector general of the intelligence community, in a letter to Congress, said a limited sampling of Clinton’s emails in question found at least four that contained classified information and should have been considered secret.

Reports on Friday about a possible investigation into the emails caused confusion.

The New York Times originally reported that two government inspectors general had asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Clinton’s use of her private

email account

It altered its report on its website overnight without explanation to suggest she personally was not the focus of a criminal referral.

Then, the Justice Department said the inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into the emails, before backtracking and saying that there was a request for a probe but not a criminal one.

While Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination, several recent polls have found a majority of voters find her untrustworthy, a perception exacerbated by controversy over her emails.

Republicans have seized on the email scandal in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail. The Republican National Committee, in a statement Friday, urged the Justice Department to investigate.

(Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez, Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Speaker grants extension to parliamentary panel on Land Bill

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is already expecting a stormy session in the both houses on allegations of corruption and impropriety against its senior ministers and the extension may help it to stave off a debate on the controversial Bill.

The joint parliamentary panel on Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2015, has been granted another extension by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan till August first week, putting a question mark over the submission of the committee’s report before the end of monsoon session. The committee, which was mandated to submit its report on the first day of monsoon session on Tuesday, was earlier given an extension till July 27. If the committee fails to finish its work in the Monsoon session, the government would have to re-promulgate the land ordinance for a staggering fourth time, to prevent it from lapsing. The ordinance was re-promulgated for the third time on May 31.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is already expecting a stormy session in the both houses on allegations of corruption and impropriety against its senior ministers and the extension may help it to stave off a debate on the controversial Bill. During an all-party meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “We should move forward on the Land Bill. There are many outside forums where various issues are discussed extensively. The Monsoon session is short, hence the time of Parliament should be used for debating issues which are relevant and important.”The committee has a lot of business to take care of in the added time as the last two meetings saw little work happening. While last week, the secretaries of various state governments remained absent from the committee’s meeting, a week earlier too the members could not discuss much. According to sources, the panel chairman SS Ahluwalia is likely to ask time till August 3, to submit its report. In the coming meetings, the committee has to take up clause by clause discussion of the legislation and members also have to move amendments, which will be put to vote.The joint committee has so far received over 600 memorandums on the Land Bill, 2015, from various bodies such as NGO’s, trade bodies, political activists, industry chambers and legal forums. It also recorded 52 oral evidences from individuals and groups. Only two bodies – Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry – have supported the controversial amendments to the Bill during their oral evidences. Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s affiliates such as Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Swadeshi Jagran Manch slammed the Bill before the committee for diluting the consent clause and doing away with social impact assessment.

Common link between 26/11 financiers and Hurriyat member: ED

When contacted, Shah denied the allegation and said the matter was in the court and it will be decided there

Probe agencies have found a common link between money received by Firdous Ahmad Shah, a member of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s hardline Hurriyat Conference, and financiers of 26/11.The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which recently filed its first charge sheet in a money laundering case in the Kashmir Valley, has alleged that Shah, Chairman of Democratic Political Movement, received over Rs three crore between 2007 to 2010. The money was received from ‘Madina Trading’ located in Brescia in Italy and sender was claimed to be Javed Iqbal, a resident of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). However, after Italian police arrested two Pakistani nationals in 2009, it was alleged that the firm had made nearly 300 transfers in the name of Iqbal, who probably had never set his foot in Italy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Italian police, while concluding the probe had said the Brescia-based company had made several transfers using the identity of totally innocent, unsuspecting persons, whose identity cards or passports may have been stolen. In the case of Iqbal, his identity may have been stolen when he used another money transfer agency in Pakistan.The name of Madina trading had cropped up during the investigation of 26/11 Mumbai attacks when it was found that the second payment of 229 US dollars was wired to Callphonex via Western Union Money Transfer receipt number 8364307716-0 for activitating the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) used during the terror strikes. The sender of this payment was Javed Iqbal and he had used Western Union Money Transfer agent Madina Trading to make the payment to Callphonex.For identification, Iqbal provided Madina Trading with Pakistani passport number KC092481, the charge sheet said. During the scrutiny of 300 entries of wire transfers, it was found that the money had been allegedly sent to Shah and his associate Yar Mohammed Khan in small amounts, the sources said. The charge sheet, which has been filed in the court of Sessions Judge, Srinagar (Special Judge, Money Laundering), naming Shah and Khan, alleged that the two men received money from Italy through Western Union Money Transfer and it was used for unlawful activities relating to terror funding.When contacted, Shah denied the allegation and said the matter was in the court and it will be decided there. While ED claims Shah admitted to having received money through wire transfers, he himself denied it saying, “I don’t remember. There was some money that had come to Khan but I don’t remember as of now.”The ED attached Shah’s house at Abi Gujar in Lal Chowk, which was, however, released by the court and the matter is under adjudication. Besides this, Rs one lakh belonging to Khan has been frozen, the official said.The previous Omar Abdullah government had taken up with the Centre the need for roping in Enforcement Directorate to deal with the issue of financing terror groups through illegal means.

Stone pelting, Pakistani flags back in Srinagar as Modi visits Jammu

On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Jammu to mark the birth centenary of Girdhari Lal Dogra, the Nowhatta area near Srinagar witnessed heavy stone pelting  while the police fired tear gas shells to control the mob.

Clashing with the police. ReutersClashing with the police. Reuters

Clashing with the police. Reuters

The youth who ensured that their faces were masked also unfurled Pakistani and Islamic State flags. The demonstrations started soon after Friday prayers concluded at the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area.

Even as the state administration is seeking to downplay the incident, calling it recurring and done by some youngsters to attract attention, the frequency of such incidents have only been increasing of late. The demonstrators who gather in large numbers have consistently posed a huge problem for the security forces.

The frequency of such anti-India events have put the ruling BJP, which is sharing power with the People’s Democratic Party in the state in an awkward position. The BJP alleges that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has not been doing enough to keep these anti-India elements at bay.

The Nowhatta area in Srinagar has become notorious for repeated violent demonstrations with demonstrators shouting pro-Pakistan slogans and flags mostly after the noon prayers on Friday. Pitched battles are often fought on the streets with the police resulting in many injuries and even deaths at times.

Lalu Yadav hits out at PM Modi over ceasefire violations by Pakistan

The RJD chief also said that the BJP formed a government with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir, yet “The result is that Pakistani flags are being hoisted there.”
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dna Research & Archives
Expressing concern over death of soldiers in cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for not backing up their “tall claims” regarding Pakistan.”So many of our soldiers, including those from Bihar, are being killed in cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir. There is no sign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP backing up their tall claims that Pakistan will not dare look into our eyes,” Prasad said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The RJD chief added that the BJP formed a government with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir, yet “The result is that Pakistani flags are being hoisted there”.In further dig at Modi’s foreign policy initiatives, Lalu alleged, “The prime minister was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping while the Chinese Army entered our territory and stayed for over seven days.” “All this doesn’t augur well.”Prasad also pooh-poohed BJP President Amit Shah’s claim in the wake of Friday’s Legislative Council results for 24 seats that the Janata Parivar unity has flopped badly on the ground.”What will Shah say? He is unable to see that NDA won 12 seats (but) we won 10 seats. There is not much difference in numbers. We lost a few seats with very narrow margin,” Prasad countered.”Moreover, this was not a elections in which the masses were involved,” he added.The veteran RJD leader asserted that the public will show the ground reality to BJP in the forthcoming polls. He also said that RJD and JD(U) will start talks on seat-sharing in the coming days.

Malaysia’s PM denies fraud, says ex-PM Mahathir foments crisis | Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday denied taking money from state fund 1MDB or any other entity for personal gain, after a media report said investigators traced nearly $700 million to bank accounts that were allegedly in his name.

The Wall Street Journal’s report, if true, would be the first time the beleaguered prime minister has been directly linked to accusations of corruption surrounding the fund.

Reuters could not independently verify the report.

Najib blamed former prime minister and Mahathir Mohamad, a past ally, of being behind the latest corruption allegations, which he described as a lie and said the allegations began when he refused to implement Mahathir’s personal demands.

Mahathir was not immediately available for comment.

“Let me be very clear: I have never taken funds for personal gain as alleged by my political opponents – whether from 1MDB, SRC International or other entities, as these companies have confirmed,” Najib wrote on his Facebook page and on Twitter.

He said he believed that Mahathir was working with “foreign nationals” to promulgate “this latest lie” and warned that those continuing to mount these attacks should be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.

Mahathir, who was once Najib’s patron and remains highly influential, has become Najib’s fiercest critic and has called for him to step down over the 1MDB furore.

Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, Mahathir withdrew his support for Najib after the Barisan Nasional coalition fell short of a majority in 2013 elections but retained power.

In a blog released late in the day, Mahathir made no mention of the Wall Street Journal report and instead made allegations about people in power dodging taxes.

The PM’s office said earlier in the day that the allegations were part of a “continuation of political sabotage”.

PM ALREADY ON BACK FOOT

Najib, the son of a former primer minister, has been weakened by accusations of graft and mismanagement from the opposition and from within his own party.

Now in his second term, the premier has also been under pressure over his management of the economy and a scandal over the murder of a Mongolian model nine years ago.

He says he had nothing to do with the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, and two officers who were part of Najib’s security detail at the time were found guilty of her murder.

However, Najib retains support within the long-ruling BN coalition and from within his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

“If they (the Wall Street Journal) were dead serious about the authenticity, the reports should have named the sources,” Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, said in a Tweet.

1MDB has faced a storm of criticism over its debt of nearly $11.6 billion and financial mismanagement. Najib chairs the fund’s advisory board.

The Wall Street Journal, citing documents from a government probe, said there were five deposits into Najib’s account.

The two largest transactions, worth $620 million and $61 million, through a chain of companies linked to 1MDB were done in March 2013 during the election campaign, it said.

The fund is facing separate investigations by the country’s central bank, auditor-general, police and the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

1MDB described the allegations as “unsubstantiated” and said it had never provided any funds to the prime minister.

“To suggest otherwise, as some media outlets have done, is highly irresponsible and a deliberate attempt to undermine the company,” the fund said in a statement.

Najib has previously denied any wrongdoing in connection with 1MDB and has accused opponents of spreading misinformation.

Two opposition groups, the Democratic Action Party and the People’s Justice Party (PKR), said Najib should take leave to allow a proper investigation into the allegations.

“In order to protect whistleblowers and allow a free and independent investigation, he cannot hold the post of prime minister,” PKR lawmaker Tian Chua said.

“He must set himself aside; it would show that he is confident of his innocence. If he refuses, there will be suspicion that someone is trying to cook the books.”

(Additional reporting by Yantoultra Ngui and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah in KUALA LUMPUR, Rujun Shen in JOHOR BAHRU, Umesh Desai in BANGKOK and Jongwoo Cheon in SINGAPORE; Editing by Louise Ireland)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Don’t shield netas with criminal records: ADR

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
The Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) has demanded that the government repeal the amendments made to the Code of Criminal Procedure. ADR is an organisation that analyses affidavits of politicians before elections. It has even come out with post-election analysis of people with criminal backgrounds who have made it to the legislature.The government recently amended the CrPC making it mandatory for the authorities to seek permission of the speaker of the assembly and the chief secretary before taking any action against elected representatives and bureaucrats. Elected representatives of corporations and councils were also covered in this.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a press statement about its previous ananlysis, ADR stated that as per the 2014 elections results, 57% of the MLAs in state had declared criminal cases. Of these, 31% had declared cases where charges had been framed.Maharashtra is second highest after Jharkhand in the number of MLAs with criminal cases. Cases on some of them range from murder, attempt to murder, crime against women, causing communal disharmony, robbery, dacoity and kidnapping.Its analysis of local body elections in Navi Mumbai showed that out of 105 winners analysed, 17 had declared criminal cases and out of this 13 had declared serious criminal cases.”In view of such grave statistics regarding the composition of the Maharashtra assembly and municipalities, further restricting the power of filing an FIR against an elected representative would bode ill not just for legislature but for the very fabric of democracy in the country. This decision limits the accountability of elected representatives and bureaucrats and shields them from the application of law and justice. Elected representatives are repositories of public trust and the sanctity of their position in the legislature can only be upheld through scrutiny and accountability,” read its press release demanding that the amendments be scrapped.Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of ADR, said: “This decision of the Maharashtra cabinet goes directly against Article 14 of the Constitution of India which guarantees ‘equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws’ to ‘any person within the territory of India’. This decision obviously gives ‘greater protection’ to MLAs and bureaucrats, and therefore makes them ‘more equal’ than ordinary citizens.”

Sharad Pawar defends Chhagan Bhujbal, says NCP stands by him

“Instead of conducting a fair probe, the investigators are more interested in leaking information to the media. This is surprising. I have handled Home department and this is not the manner in which investigation is done,” Pawar told reporters here. Pawar said the ACB officers are exaggerating the valuation of Bhujbal’s properties to the media.

Breaking his silence over ongoing probe by ACB against his party colleague Chhagan Bhujbal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday came out in strong defence of the former deputy chief minister saying the investigators are more interested in ‘publicity’ than conducting a “fair” inquiry.”Instead of conducting a fair probe, the investigators are more interested in leaking information to the media. This is surprising. I have handled Home department and this is not the manner in which investigation is done,” Pawar told reporters here. Pawar said the ACB officers are exaggerating the valuation of Bhujbal’s properties to the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Bhujbal is our colleague and we will stand by him without interfering in the probe. We would help him in every- way,” he said. Interestingly, Home department is headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis whose government had given consent to the Anti-corruption Bureau to probe alleged irregularities against Bhujbal in construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.Pawar was addressing reporters after Bhujbal called on him and apprised him about how the ongoing raids on his residential and office premises in different parts of the state were “unfair and unjust”. Pawar said he felt there was a substance in Bhujbal’s defence. “All decisions for which Bhujbal is being held accountable were taken by the Cabinet. Cabinet decisions are decisions of government. The way details of the investigations are being leaked is surprising and this is objectionable and not a sign of good probe. Chief Minister should look into this,” he said.Taking a dig at the statements made by some BJP leaders that NCP leaders would be arrested for their “role in scams,” Pawar said, “All of us, including myself, are waiting to see when this government puts us behind bars.” State unit BJP president Raosaheb Danve had earlier said that senior NCP leaders including Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare and Bhujbal — who all were ministers in the previous Democratic Front government — will soon be put behind bars for indulging in corruption.

India ramps up solar power target to 100 GW

The Union Cabinet, in an ambitious push for clean energy, ramped up the country’s solar energy generation target five times to 100 GW by 2022, from 20,000 MW under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNUSM) on Wednesday. If India manages to achieve this target, it will become one of the largest green energy producers in the world. JNNUSM was launched by the United Progressive Alliance in 2009. This will also greatly reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels thus reducing our carbon emissions, which is the third largest in the world behind China and United States of America. Currently, India has an installed solar photovoltaic capacity of 3,800MW.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Along with this decision, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved setting up of over 2,000 MW of grid-connected solar projects on build, own and operate (BOO) basis under JNNUSM Phase-II. As per the Centre’s plan, of the 100 GW, 40 GW would be rooftop solar energy and 60 GW wouild be through large and medium scale grid connected solar power projects.The big push for solar would need an investment of Rs 6 lakh crore. In the first phase, the Centre will be providing Rs.15,050 crore as capital subsidy to promote solar capacity addition. Primarily, the capital subsidy would be too promote Rooftop solar projects. Globally, and especially since the National Democratic Alliance came to power, India has retierated its committment to push solar energy vigorously during climate conferences. If the country is able to achieve the 100GW target, it will cut down 170 million tonnes of carbon emissions. But, to give an idea of the gravity of the ambition, the country would have to look no further than China. From less than a third of GW of solar energy capacity, China is currently producing almost 19 GW of solar energy. Despite already producing 19GW of solar energy already, the country’s 2017 target is pegged at 70GW.

Why Pakistan rhetoric now when it kept mum over Osama’s killing by American troops: Shiv Sena

An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on Friday said that Pakistan first needs to tell the world why it did not dare to speak up against the US when its troops entered the country and killed dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Rebel soldiers of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) examine weapons and ammunition at a military base in Kokang region March 10, 2015.

Reuters
Taking a dig at Pakistan over its assertions in the wake of India’s cross-border surgical strike in Myanmar, Shiv Sena on Friday said the neighbouring country should not make such comments when it had kept silent over the killing of Osama bin Laden by American troops.An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on Friday said that Pakistan first needs to tell the world why it did not dare to speak up against the US when its troops entered the country and killed dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden in 2011.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Instead of taking lessons from the operation in Myanmar, Pakistan is using a language of warning India. It doesn’t suit… Pakistan to make such comments,” it said.”American soldiers had trooped inside your country and killed Osama bin Laden and even took away his corpse with them. You should first tell the world why you did not utter a single word then,” it added.In the wake of Indian Army’s successful cross-border strike in Myanmar targeting insurgent groups, Pakistan Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan had said, “Pakistan is not like Myanmar. Those having ill designs against Pakistan should listen carefully that our security forces are capable of giving matching response to any adventurism.”Khan’s statement had come in response to Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s comment that the military action in Myanmar to hit back at the insurgents who had killed 18 soldiers in Manipur was a message to other countries.Slamming Pakistan, the article added, “In the last few years, the US has carried out hundreds of drone attacks on Pakistan and killed over 3,000 people out of which 84 were terrorists. But, Pakistan kept on shouting that all those killed were innocent citizens. If that is the case, why is Pakistan sitting quietly against the US?””If Pakistan kept quiet then, why the unnecessary rhetoric against India now? Thousands of Indians have been killed by terrorist strikes originating from Pakistan. But the Myanmar operation is a lesson to show that terrorism against India will not be tolerated anymore,” the Sena asserted.

IIT Madras row: DYFI members stage protest outside campus, detained

The agitating members of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) raised slogans against the Modi-led Union government and HRD Minister Smriti Irani even as they were whisked away by the policemen.

Scores of volunteers belonging to the leftist DYFI were detained on Saturday after they tried to stage a road blockade outside IIT, Madras to protest the derecognition of a students’ group for allegedly criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as some political parties expressed concern over ‘threats’ to freedom of expression.The agitating members of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) raised slogans against the Modi-led Union government and HRD Minister Smriti Irani even as they were whisked away by the policemen.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They also had a heated exchange of words with the police and raised slogans against the management of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) and sought action against it for derecognising Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle recently.A DYFI volunteer said the “agenda of RSS” will not be allowed in Tamil Nadu.Security has been beefed up around IIT-M in anticipation of more protests, police said.Meanwhile, DMK and MDMK expressed “shock” over the “intolerance” shown by the authorities of IIT-M, and expressed concern over “threats” to freedom of expression.”This stand to curb freedom of expression taken by the institution and the Union government is most disheartening.This incident displays a clear unwarranted interference of the Union government in the running of an educational institution,” DMK Treasurer M K Stalin said in a statement.Young minds should be allowed to engage in societal dialogue constructively and dissent should not be stifled, he said, adding, “Such regressive and repressive actions will lead to unrest and rebellion among youth.” “I urge the Union government to respect the freedom of speech and expression of the citizens and be open to criticism and dissent,” he added.MDMK leader Vaiko slammed Irani for saying she had nothing to do with the derecognition episode even as he condemned the institute’s management for “stifling” dissent. “Irani should realise that none has the right to snatch away the basic right of freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India,” he said, while urging that the action against the study circle be withdrawn immediately.IIT, Madras, had come under criticism on Friday for derecognising the said students’ body for allegedly violating code of conduct. The issue is scheduled to be taken up in the Board of Students meeting in August.

Soft separatist party takes a hard stand against militancy

The state and its people are struggling hard to cope-up with the distressing economic situation complicated by the devastating floods of September 2014. The forces inimical to peace are aiming at destabilising the situation once again to push Kashmir into perpetual suffering. Violence has neither served any purpose in the past, nor is it going to serve any purpose in future,” Akhtar said.

From soft-separatism to neo-nationalism, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has come a full circle after it gave a clarion call to the people to rise against the “perpetrators of violence” who are out to spread anarchy in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.”Such senseless acts of violence have already impeded the progress of the state to a considerable extent and the persistence of the menace is not going to do any good to the people. All the right thinking people should rise against such anarchism,” said Naeem Akhtar, Jammu and Kashmir minister for education and senior PDP leader.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is perhaps for the first time that PDP has openly shunned kid-glove approach and called upon the people to rise against the perpetrators of violence in the state. Known for their soft separatism agenda, PDP’s core agenda has been the self rule doctrine which calls for instituting dual currency, political restructuring, economic integration between the two parts of Kashmir, demilitarisation and constitutional restructuring within the Indian constitution.”The state and its people are struggling hard to cope-up with the distressing economic situation complicated by the devastating floods of September 2014. The forces inimical to peace are aiming at destabilising the situation once again to push Kashmir into perpetual suffering. Violence has neither served any purpose in the past, nor is it going to serve any purpose in future,” Akhtar said.The hard-hitting statement from close aide of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been prompted by back to back attacks on Monday in which six people including four army men, an employee of BSNL franchisee were killed in Kashmir valley.”The violent incidents at Tangdhar along LoC, Yaripora in district Kulgam and Sopore in district Baramulla are a grim reminder that the elements inimical to peace, are out to undermine the efforts of the democratic forces in J&K which are aimed at bringing political stability and economic prosperity to the state,” he said.Akhtar said by attacking a telecom franchisee at Sopore and killing an innocent employee there, the perpetrators of violence have made their intentions clear that they don’t want people to earn their bread and butter. “If anything, the violence has only brought miseries to the State and its people by adding to the numbers of the orphans, widows and destitute”, he said.Premier opposition party National Conference (NC) however has lambasted PDP for shying away in identifying the people involved in these attacks.”Why are they shying away from identifying the people involved in these attacks? This is hypocrisy. They are in government they must know who are doing these attacks, whether they are militants, Pakistan or or any other agency.They are playing politics on the dead bodies of people”, Ali Mohommad Sagar, general secretary of NC, told dna.

Food park issue: Smriti Irani addresses ‘Kisan Panchayat’ at Rahul Gandhi’s stronghold in Amethi

Lucknow: Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani is on a day-long visit to Amethi, the parliamentary constituency of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, on Tuesday, party leaders said.

Irani unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi, a Congress stronghold, but gave the Gandhi scion a run for his money.

Having promised to “stay in touch”, Irani has been meeting people from Amethi in New Delhi on a regular basis, a senior BJP leader told IANS while saying that during her Tuesday visit, the minister would be addressing ‘Kisan Panchayat’ at all blocks in the district.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani to talk to farmers in Congress stronghold Amethi.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani to talk to farmers in Congress stronghold Amethi.

She will be accompanied by union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Baliyan.

Local leaders said that while the visit is largely to “dispel doubts” created by the Congress in the mind of farmers about the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s policies, sources said Irani is “leaving no stone unturned to cultivate goodwill for herself and the party” in the Gandhi bastion.

Rahul Gandhi is slated to visit Amethi on May 18.

On a two-day tour to the family pocketborough, Rahul will meet local party leaders, workers and also interact with the farmers and apprise them of the anti-farmer policies of the Modi-led central government.

He is likely to take up issues like the land acquisition bill and compensation to farmers after the unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm destroyed crops in most parts of the state.

IANS

Taxis flout security norms, no one to bell the cat

In the second rape in a registered taxi in a span of four months the Capital has again brought back to focus the worrying issue of women’s safety in public places. The accused in the case 38-year-old Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Najafgarh, is a repeat offender and has been sent to jail before for several offences.

In the second rape in a registered taxi in a span of four months the Capital has again brought back to focus the worrying issue of women’s safety in public places. The accused in the case 38-year-old Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Najafgarh, is a repeat offender and has been sent to jail before for several offences. The cab he was driving was a registered ‘Kaali-Peeli’, which is usually a trusted cab service. The Uber rape case, in which a registered sexual offender, raped a 25-year-old woman in a Uber taxi in December last year, had shockingly revealed security lapses in private taxi services. Uber, a multi-national taxi service, has since steadfastedly stayed away from helping the survivor. Instead, it is currently engaged in trying to quash a complaint the survivor has made at a US court against it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Security lapses are a norm. Ravind, a taxi driver who plies in a stand in Central Delhi, says that on some days he lets his brother’s son run his taxi. “He’s unemployed and is from the village. There are days when I let him drive the taxi,” says Ravind. He also adds that his nephew does not have security clearance from the police. Rajesh, a taxi driver in South Delhi, says that his taxi does not have a security clearance. According to the Delhi Statistical Handbook data, there are 5,071 radio taxis, 3,435 economy radio taxis and 22,138 tourist taxis. Apart from that, there are 12,000 local kaali-peeli taxis. Till 2014, there were about 78,686 taxis registered in Delhi. Also, most taxis do not have the mandatory GPS tracking services required to ply in Delhi, said police officials. “We have specific instructions about security arrangements of women working in BPOs, who travel between 8 pm to 7 am. But, the security of women in public transport comes under the purview of the transport commissioner,” said a police official, adding that dark spots in the city are usually under police surveillance. The Delhi police, which launched the Himmat helpline and app in January, has recently received a rap from the Delhi high court this week for not maintaining the app properly. Officials, who called the helpline, did not receive any calls from the helpline, observed the court. Jugmati Sangwan of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said that the huge security lapses are proof that there is lack of will power of authorities. “The highest authorities of these services should be given exemplary punishment. They should have stricter policies in place, and see to it that not implementing these comes with a punishment,” said Sangwan. “Repeat offenders are driving cabs. Uber had 5,000 cabs, which was not even registered as per norms. How do these lapses happen?”

PC George’s supporters announce revival of Kerala Congress (Secular)

Kerala Congress (Secular) was founded by PC George.

Image courtesy: Hrishikesh.kb

Wikimedia Commons
A powerful faction supporting former government chief whip PC George in the crisis-hit Kerala Congress (M) today announced revival of Kerala Congress (Secular), a party founded by him which merged with state Finance Minister KM Mani’s party just ahead of Assembly elections in 2011.George, who was recently removed as government chief whip for waging a war against KC(M) Chairman Mani and his son Jose K Mani over the bar bribery issue, did not attend the press conference in which revival of the KC(S) was announced by former legislator TS John, who is its Chairman.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The party would enjoy full support of George, a Kerala Congress (M) legislator representing Poonjar Assembly constituency in Kottayam District, KC(S) sources said.George could not formally join the KC(S) as such a move would attract the anti-defection law. He is the lone legislator who has rebelled against Mani and his son in the Kerala Congress (M) which has nine MLAs and the third largest partner of ruling United Democratic Front.Mani is not willing to oust George from the KC(M) as he wants to scuttle the rebel leader’s efforts to join the Congress-led UDF as a separate partner. John claimed that KC(S) enjoyed support of almost all former district presidents of the revived party.

Girish Karnad turns up for Bengaluru beef eating event, but cops take away food

Bengaluru: Calling ban on beef as an act that was against the diverse food culture of our society, Left wing body Democratic Youth Federation of India and Dalit outfits today held a beef eating programme here that was attended by Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad.

The event was organised in protest against the ban on beef in different parts of the country and also supported and attended another famous Kannada writer Dr K Marulasiddappa.

Ibnlive imageIbnlive image

Ibnlive image

Protesters criticised the beef ban as an attempt to encroach upon the choice of food and against the diverse food culture of Indian society.

Both Karnad and Marulasiddappa did not eat beef,but said they support the event and stand against such ban.

“I don’t want people to say that because I eat beef therefore I opposed the law. No, everyone has the right to practice….” Karnad said.

To a question he said “Who said large part our population doesn’t eat beef? This nonsense is created by Brahmins;this is created by Hindutva protagonists. Vokkaligas, Muslims, Christians, Dalits and many other communities eat….then how is it against the practice of large population of this
country?”

Marulasiddappa said “I have not eaten beef here because I don’t follow that food habit, I have that right, but at the same time I don’t have right to scorn at those who eat it. I have respect towards them.”

Anticipating trouble as the event had invited a lot of opposition, police intervened and took away the eatables made of beef from the organisers.

Criticising the police action as undemocratic, organisers said, “this is against the law, we criticise this act by the police, ours was a peaceful programme, we have in no way affected the law and order situation.”

PTI

Issue of unmarked graves returns to haunt Mufti government

Unmarked graves have returned to haunt the 26-day old Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led People’s Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janta Party coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Unmarked graves have returned to haunt the 26-day old Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led People’s Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janta Party coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), spearheading the campaign for the people missing in security forces’ custody, have formally written to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed urging him to set up an independent commission of inquiry co-chaired by two credible retired Supreme Court judges to investigate the 7,000 unmarked graves.”The letter reminds Mufti Mohammad Sayeed that the responsibility of investigation and prosecution for 8,000-plus disappearances and 7,000-plus unknown, unmarked and mass graves lies with the Indian state, and its functionaries, including government of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Tahira Begum, spokesperson of APDP.A 2011 official inquiry report on unmarked graves conducted by the investigative wing of the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had detected 2,156 unidentified bodies buried in 38 graveyards across five districts of north Kashmir.This excluded 574 bodies that were buried as unidentified but later identified that those of locals. The inquiry has also found 18 such graves in which more than one body is buried. It has also detected 20 charred bodies and five bodies comprising only of skulls.The SHRC report had come three years after APDP came up with ‘Facts Under Ground’, an investigation detailing 940 to 1,000 nameless graves of unidentified slain people.A year later in 2009 International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK) came up with a report “Buried Evidence” documenting 2,700 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves, containing 2,943 bodies, across 55 villages in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts of Kashmir. It was based on applied research conducted from November 2006-November 2009.”The issue of unknown, unmarked and mass graves is closely connected to the issue of enforced disappearances… Our work was recognized by the European Parliament who passed a resolution in July 2008 urging Government of India to hold an investigation into the issue of unmarked and mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir. Further, the European Commission was called upon to offer financial and technical assistance to Government of India”, reads the APDP letter to Mufti.APDP has demanded that an Independent Commission of Inquiry, co-chaired by two credible retired justices of Supreme Court assisted by a relevant panel of international experts, and under scrutiny of independent observers, be tasked with the mandate of investigations of enforced disappearances and unknown, unmarked and mass graves, within a set time frame.”This Commission should carry out forensic examinations, DNA profiling, identify accused persons responsible and devise a framework for reparations”, said Tahira.APDP has also asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to put pressure on centre to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and invite/permit the following United Nations Special Rapporteurs / Working Groups to visit Jammu and Kashmir.”Without addressing structural and prevalent conditions, and more importantly, in the absence of justice, there can be no peace or normalcy. Therefore, the healing touch that is required of your government as an immediate step is, as stated above, mechanisms in place to address the issues of enforced disappearances, and unknown, unmarked and mass graves,” the APDP letter said.

Separatist leader Shabir Shah summoned by ED in terror finance case

New Delhi: Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmed Shah has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in connection with a decade-old case of terror financing through ‘hawala channel’.

Shah, the Chairman of Democratic Freedom Party of Jammu and Kashmir, has been summoned on 24 March, official sources said.

File photo of Shabhir Shah. IBNLiveFile photo of Shabhir Shah. IBNLive

File photo of Shabhir Shah. IBNLive

The case relates to August 2005 of Delhi Police’s Special Cell when they arrested Mohammed Aslam Wani, an alleged hawala dealer, who had claimed that he had passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah.

When contacted, Shah, who has denied these charges earlier, said that he was not aware of any summons. When pressed further, he said that he was in a meeting and he will talk on Tuesday.

Wani, who is at present out on a bail, has also been summoned by the ED, which registered a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against him.

Wani was arrested with Rs 63 lakh received through ‘hawala’ channels from the Middle East and a large amount of ammunition on August 26, 2005.

During questioning, he had claimed before police that Rs 50 lakh was to be delivered to Shah and Rs 10 lakh to the Jaish-e-Mohammad ‘area commander’ in Srinagar Abu Baqar while the rest of the money was to be his commission.

Wani (35), who hailed from Srinagar, also claimed that he had delivered about Rs 2.25 crore to Shah and his kin in several instalments over the past year.

Wani, who ran a computer shop with his brother-in-law Feroz Mattoo, had come in contact with Shah early in 2004 when he had sold him a computer, police had said.

According to sources, Shah had asked Wani to channel ‘hawala’ money to him from Delhi for which he was paid three per cent as commission.

He had also given Wani the phone number of one Saifi based in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) who gave him instructions to collect the money.

Wani had come in contact in March, 2005, with Abu Baqar who had directed him to collect a consignment of explosives, arms and ammunition from Delhi, the sources said.

Wani was arrested along with 5 kg RDX, 10 detonantors and a foreign-made pistol with 15 live cartridges from an East of Kailash apartment in south Delhi.

PTI

PDP conveys ‘displeasure’ to BJP over Legislative Council polls nomination

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday said here that it has conveyed its “displeasure” to BJP leadership over “misunderstanding” on the seat sharing for the Legislative Council polls, a day after both the parties fielded six candidates each for the 11 seats.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday said here that it has conveyed its “displeasure” to BJP leadership over “misunderstanding” on the seat sharing for the Legislative Council polls, a day after both the parties fielded six candidates each for the 11 seats.According to PDP, both the parties had decided to contest the upcoming biennial elections for 11 vacant seats jointly.While BJP had agreed to field five candidates, the PDP had agreed to fight for six seats.But to the surprise of PDP, BJP filed nomination papers for six candidates yesterday.”We (PDP and BJP) had a seat sharing agreement in which PDP was supposed to field six candidates and BJP was to field only five.”But as they have fielded six candidates we have conveyed our displeasure to the party and we feel there might be some misunderstanding behind this that needs to be sorted out,” PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar told PTI.
He also said that dialogue between PDP and BJP over formation of government in the state has “progressed a lot.” “The dialogue has progressed a lot, but unless it’s not done it’s not done,” Akhtar said, adding that “time will tell the outcome.”Asked about RSS’s “displeasure” over BJP joining hands with PDP for formation of government, Akhtar said, “I cannot comment on this, this is something between RSS and BJP, our party has nothing to do with this.”The two parties had contested Rajya Sabha polls on the seat sharing basis in which PDP won two seats while BJP could win only one seat as Congress candidate Ghulam Nabi Azad who was the joint candidate of Congress and National Conference got reelected to the Upper House.
Amid reports of RSS expressing displeasure over BJP offering concession to the PDP on the ideological issues of Article 370 and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), PDP president Mehbooba Mufti yesterday met Union Minister Arun Jaitley as the two parties try to narrow differences over a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for formation of a government.On February 17, MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh had held an hour-long meeting with Governor NN Vohra, which he said was to discuss administrative related issues.On a question regarding the delay in the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh had said, “There are certain authorised leaders within the party who are holding deliberations and discussions on the issue and only they can comment on that.”When asked to comment on the reported displeasure shown by RSS on BJP offering concessions to PDP on the core ideology of the party he said, “I cannot speak on the issue as I am not authorised to speak.”The state saw a fractured mandate in the Assembly polls result declared on December 23. PDP emerged as single largest party with 28 MLAs, 16 short of magic number of 44 in the 87-member Assembly. BJP bagged 25 seats followed by National Conference with 15 and Congress 12.

PDP blames former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for ‘Governor’s rule’ in Jammu and Kashmir

PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in the recently concluded state elections which threw up a hung Assembly.

Omar Abdullah has been criticized by PDP

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has not been able to cobble an alliance for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday blamed former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for forcing ‘Governor’s Rule’ on the state.”We had time till January 19 to form a government but the situation has been forced (on the state) by Omar,” PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said.He said the PDP was in talks with various political parties for formation of a stable government in the state.”We could have forged an alliance…We are in touch with different parties as informal channels are open with all parties,” he said. Akhtar said the party will continue its efforts for formation of a stable government in the state.”We are hopeful that we will be able to form a stable government soon,” he added. Asked if fresh election in the state was a possibility, Akhtar said “we will discuss the situation if it comes to that”.Also Read: Omar Abdullah attacks BJP over ‘negotiations’ with PDP, raises AFSPAOmar, soon upon his return from England, met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra asking to be relieved from being the caretaker chief minister of the state. The National Conference (NC) working president said the state needed a full-time administrator to deal with the situation arising out of border hostilities between India and Pakistan in Jammu region and rehabilitation of flood victims in the Valley.PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in the recently concluded state elections which threw up a hung Assembly. BJP won 25 seats in the 87-member house while NC and Congress bagged 15 and 12 seats respectively. However, there has been a deadlock over government formation since the results were declared on December 23 as no combination of parties have been able to come together.While BJP and PDP have claimed that back channel talks were on, there is no clarity on the progress made in these talks as both parties have maintained a wait-and-watch approach.

Nagaland: 11 legislators quit, Chief Minister assures of government stability

Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang

In fresh trouble for Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang, 11 of his Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislators – two ministers, four MLAs and five parliamentary secretaries resigned on Thursday demanding change of leadership. However, R Zeliang claimed his government was stable.The 11 NPF legislators in their resignation letters addressed to the Chief Minister said they are quitting from their respective portfolios with immediate effect, as majority of NPF and DAN legislators have elected Kaito Aye as the new leader of NPF Legislature Party.They also asserted that Zeliang no longer enjoyed the support and confidence of the members of the House. The Ministers who resigned include Noke Konyak and Dr Benjongliba, Parliamentary Secretaries are Torechu, Kropol Vitsu, Dr Longriniken, Deo Nukhu, while the MLAs holding charge of various government undertakings are Merentoshi R Jamir, Namri Nchang, Dr Neiphrezo Keditsu, EE Pangteang and Naiba Konyak.The Chief Minister was yet to accept the resignations.Earlier on Thursday, Zeliang asserted that his government was secure with the support of adequate number of legislators from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) partners. Zeliang had yesterday met Governor P B Acharya with NPF president Dr Shurhozelie and explained the status of the government.This was the second time within a span of seven months of his leadership that a situation had been created in the state by some disgruntled NPF elected members, Zeliang said after the meeting and termed it as a “total disregard of the people’s mandate”.The Chief Minister faced an open rebellion on January 5 with dissident NPF legislators claiming they had elected a new leader. Following the move, Zeliang had sacked two ministers and suspended them along with five other MLAs, from primary membership of NPF for “conspiring to overthrow” the NPF-led DAN government in Nagaland.More than 20 of 38 NPF dissident legislators, who are demanding change in state leadership, met at Dimapur on that day to elect Industries and Commerce Ministers G Kaito Aye as the new leader of the NPF Legislature Party and “empowered him to form a new government”.In a swift action, cracking the whip on dissidents, Zeliang then sacked Aye and Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu, the Roads and Bridges Minister. Aye, along with his colleagues, met the Governor last evening and staked claim to form a new “popular” government in Nagaland. He was accompanied by four other NPF MLAs and one BJP MLA who demanded immediate dismissal of the ‘minority’ government headed by Zeliang.

Omar Abdullah attacks BJP over ‘negotiations’ with PDP, raises AFSPA

Outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday questioned BJP’s reported negotiations with PDP, which wants revocation of AFSPA, saying the ruling party at the Centre had accused him of compromising national security whenever he raised the issue.”So when I raised AFSPA I was accused of playing politics with Nat Sec (national security). BJP negotiates Govt (government) formation with @jkpdp using AFSPA & that’s OK??” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.Omar also criticized Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its “assertion” that a coalition with BJP is necessary for getting the special assistance of Rs 44,000 crore submitted by his government for the flood affected people of the state.”We are being told by the @jkpdp that the tie up with BJP is necessary for the 44,000 crore flood relief. Shouldn’t a state just get its due?” Omar said.