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Archive | January, 2013

IPL auction: Pak players snubbed again

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 31(UNI):Considered pariahs by the Indian Premier League since 2008, Pakistani cricketers were once again left out of the list of players to be auctioned for the event’s sixth edition in April-May.

The 101-strong list of players, to be auctioned on Sunday, does not feature a single Pakistani player despite the resumption of bilateral cricket ties between the two neighbours in December last year.

Pakistani players have been ignored by IPL since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Even though the Pakistan Cricket Board has been pushing for their inclusion, the efforts have not paid off even this year.

And it has got nothing to do with the recent tension that gripped the Line of Control earlier this month after an Indian soldier was beheaded during a violation of the ceasefire.

The move to keep Pakistani players out was initiated in December last year even though BCCI had hinted about having them for the auction at least.

The BCCI’s apprehension stemmed from the fear of controversies given that having sportspersons from across the border remains a sensitive matter in India.

“It is for the franchises to decide their teams. The franchises invest a lot of money and they do not want to take risk by including Pakistani players. The idea is to play it safe”, a top IPL official said.

Recently, Pakistani hockey players were sent back from the Hockey India League while the women cricketers from the country, who are here for the World Cup, were shifted from Mumbai to Cuttack following protests by the Shiv Sena.

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Mumbai attacks: Pak panel likely to visit India by mid-Feb

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

Islamabad, Jan 31 (UNI) A Pakistani judicial panel is expected to make a second visit to Mumbai by mid-February after being given a green signal by India to cross-examine four officials in connection with the probe into the 26/11 attacks.

India has okayed the visit of the judicial commission, which would travel to Mumbai without any delay, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a news conference here last night.

Though he did not give a date, sources said the commission is expected to travel to Mumbai by mid-February.

The commission had visited India in March last year but its findings were rejected by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court that is conducting the trial of seven suspects, including LeT’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, because the panel did not have the power to cross-examine four key witnesses.

Following negotiations between officials of the two countries in December, India agreed to allow the Pakistani commission to cross-examine the police officer who led the probe into the Mumbai attacks, the magistrate who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker, and two doctors who performed the autopsies of the attackers.

Kasab was hanged last year in a jail in Pune.

Malik said Pakistan had decided to send the commission to India but there were “some legal requirements” which would be followed.

He said he had directed the Interior Secretary to issue a notification regarding the commission’s visit at the earliest.

The anti-terrorism court will also be approached to issue a fresh order regarding the panel’s visit.

Malik said the commission will comprise the same persons who had visited India last year.

Thanking Indian authorities, especially Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, for allowing the panel’s visit, he said: “This is a good omen as we are working together to eliminate terrorism, which has affected the people of the region”.

He also claimed that the trial of the seven Pakistani suspects was in the “final stages” as some 20 witnesses had testified and been cross-examined.

The remaining witnesses were expected to be examined within two months, Malik added.

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Lokpal Bill with amendments cleared by Cabinet

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 31 (UNI) The amended Lokpal Bill, which delinks the central government from creation of state Lokayuktas, was today approved by the Union Cabinet, paving the way for its consideration by Parliament.

The revised bill incorporates a number of changes recommended by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, including appointment of the Director of Prosecution by the CVC.

The government, however, has not accepted a key recommendation of the panel that an official facing an inquiry by the Lokpal should not be given an opportunity to be heard at the stage of the preliminary inquiry.

The Select Committee, to which the controversial bill was referred in view of sharp differences between political parties, has recommended delinking of the creation of Lokayuktas from the Lokpal Bill.

This was one of the most controversial provisions with several parties contending that it amounts to the central government encroaching upon the rights of the states.

The Bill had said state governments will have to set up Lokayuktas within one year of enactment of Lokpal.

On the issue of giving opportunity to an official to present his or her view, the government feels that such a protection is required and depriving the officials facing allegations the opportunity to present their views was against the “principle of protection”. .

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Protecting envt, promoting devpt not “zero sum game”: PM

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 31 (UNI) Amid the green versus industry debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said protection of environment and promoting development need not Continue Reading

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Women’s World Cup kicks off with India-WI clash

Posted on 30 January 2013 by admin

Mumbai, Jan 30 (UNI) Untouched by the hype and hoopla that follows their male counterparts, India’s women cricketers are all set to start their World Cup campaign when they take on the West Indies in a Group A match here tomorrow.

The day-night clash would set the ball rolling for the event, which will also be held in Cuttack where the Pakistan team (placed in Group B) is based due to security concerns in Mumbai.

Group A matches are to be held in Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium, MIG Club at Bandra and the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground of the Mumbai Cricket Association.

Group B matches, involving strong contenders Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan, would be held in two grounds in Cuttack.

The remaining Group fixtures for India, who finished third in the last championship, are against three-time winners (1973, 1993 and 2009) England at the Brabourne on February 3, and qualifiers Sri Lanka at the same ground on February 6.

Prior to that England will take on Sri Lanka on February 1 at the Brabourne.

Sri Lanka would lock horns with the West Indies side on February 4 at the MIG ground in Bandra while the England-Windies clash on February 6 is scheduled at the BKC.

Apart from Mithali, India would bank on former captain Jhulan Goswami, diminutive batter Poonam Raut, wicketkeeper Sulakshana Naik. The bowling attack would be spearheaded by Gouher Sultana and Niranjana Nagarajan.

“We have senior players like Jhulan Goswami, Amita Sharma, vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who has been among runs. We have two comeback players (Murugesan) Thirush Kamini, Karuna Jain, who have played the last World Cup. I am hoping that with this kind of combination, we will do very well,” said world number one batter and Indian captain Mithali Raj.

England, led by Charlotte Edwards who is playing her fifth successive World Cup, are tipped to top the group and commence their bid to win the crown for the fourth time with a game against Sri Lanka on February 1 at CCI.

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US Senate confirms John Kerry as Secretary of State

Posted on 30 January 2013 by admin

Washington, Jan 30 (UNI) Veteran Senator John Kerry, known for his relationship-building skills, is all set to replace Hillary Clinton as the new US Secretary of State after the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed his nomination.

69-year-old Kerry, currently the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a close confidant of President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues especially on the volatile Af-Pak region.

The nomination of Kerry, a Vietnam war veteran, was confirmed yesterday by 94-3, with all three negative votes coming from Republican Senators James Inhofe, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, who is Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus.

This is the first Cabinet selection during Obama’s second term to be confirmed by the Senate. Friday is the last working day for 65-year-old Secretary of State Clinton.

Senator Robert Menendez, incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that Kerry was the best choice to head the State Department.

“When it comes to our role in world affairs, we agree that it is critical for the US to remain fully engaged and to project not only the power of our military strength where necessary, but the wisdom of our democratic ideals,” he said.

Kerry’s exhaustive experience and his relationship with global leaders will significantly help the US in its foreign policy matters, he noted.

Exuding confidence in Kerry, Senator Frank Lautenberg noted the wide support for the diplomat reflected his great qualifications and ability to build global relationships.

Senator Ben Cardin said Kerry’s legacy of fighting for democracy, human rights and global peace will continue at the Department of State.

“He played a key role in bringing our troops home from Iraq and ending the war, and has been an advocate for peace and democratic transition in some of the most challenging conflict zones, from Sudan to Afghanistan,” Cardin said.

Kerry was nominated for the post by President Obama in December last year, nearly a month after the Democrat secured a second term in office. .

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Zero tolerance on crimes against women: Top J&K Army official

Posted on 30 January 2013 by admin

Srinagar, Jan 30 (UNI) A top Army commander in Kashmir today said there would be no immunity for those personnel who are found to be involved in a heinous crime like rape.

“Rape, whether committed by a civilian or by a soldier, is a big sin. Whenever such an incident takes place (involving a serviceman), we take strong notice and conduct a court martial,” General Officer Commanding of the 15 Corps, General Om Prakash told reporters at Shopian, 52km from here.

He said the army takes action against its erring personnel even in cases of molestation or eve-teasing.

“It is part of the (army) discipline that if any Army man commits such a crime, he will have to face action whether there is Armed Forces Special Powers Act or not,” he said.

Om Prakash was responding to questions whether the army would implement the recommendations of the Justice Verma commission which had sought civil trial of army personnel involved in offences like rape.

“We have not seen the Justice Verma report. We can only comment on it after having gone through it,” he added.

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Consultation process on Telangana still on: Shinde

Posted on 30 January 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 30 (UNI) Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today refused to give any fresh deadline for making any announcement on Telangana, saying discussion on the issue was still on. Continue Reading

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Never expected to don national colours: Dhoni

Posted on 29 January 2013 by admin

Chennai, Jan 29 (UNI) Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said he never expected to don the national colours and pointed out that the ‘small-town’ tag has made him a tougher player.

“I never thought I will play for India. I am never worried if I am not selected for a particular game or series but my focus will be on contributing for the next match,” Dhoni said at a panel discussion moderated by commentator Harsha Bhogle.

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IMF announces USD 18.4 million quick aid to Mali

Posted on 29 January 2013 by admin

Washington, Jan 29 (UNI) The International Monetary Fund announced a USD 18.4 million quick financial aid to Mali as a support to maintain macroeconomic stability and growth during the next 12 months, as part of a broad-based support by its development partners.

The disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility is designed to help Mali deal with urgent balance of payments need and catalyze financial support from Mali’s international partners, which is critical to Mali’s economic recovery”, said Min Zhu, IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair.

The economic situation in Mali is going through a difficult period as a result of the 2011 drought, insurgent attacks in the north and political instability after the coup in March 2012.

“Economic activity contracted by 1.5 percent in 2012, inflation was pushed up by escalating food prices, and a balance of payments deficit has emerged,” Min said adding that fiscal stress intensified as a result of weakening tax revenues, the suspension of donor budget support, and upward pressure on social and military spending.

The government responded with fiscal austerity, he said adding that the tight liquidity situation has led to the accumulation of arrears to external creditors in the amount of 0.5 percent of GDP.

“The authorities’ 2013 program appropriately reflects near-term priorities. It aims to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability by keeping spending in line with available revenues and avoiding the emergence of new arrears,” said Min.


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