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Archive | October, 2013

Future unsure but Indian GP set for historic Vettel crowning

Posted on 24 October 2013 by admin

Greater Noida, Oct 24 (UNI) Amid dwindling spectator count and mounting administrative hassles, the Formula One carnival is all set to hit the national capital this Sunday with the third Indian Grand Prix, which faces an uncertain future after being pulled off next year’s motorsport calendar.

As if the wrangling over taxes and clearances was not enough, the event is now facing a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the conduct of the race.

The apex court will give it a hearing tomorrow when the drivers warm up in the practice session.

Amid the off-track drama, greatness will be witnessed on it when a dominating Sebastian Vettel is crowned the youngest quadruple world champion this weekend.

With five comfortable wins in a row, the Red Bull driver has opened up a huge 90 points lead over nearest rival Fernando Alonso (207) of Ferrari and needs just a fifth-place finish to clinch his fourth straight world title.

Only two drivers before Vettel have won four straight titles — Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina and German great Michael Schumacher.

The 26-year-old German is the only driver to win the Indian Grand Prix so far and the way he has dominated the second half of the calender, it looks unlikely that he would be challenged too much in his bid to score a hat-trick of wins at the Buddh International Circuit.

However, the legend-in-making is not ready to take his foot off the pedal yet.

“It is not an easy track, because of a few complicated rhythm-breakers that are in there. The most difficult part is the uphill entry to Turn 3, because seeing the apex is practically impossible. So to drive a perfect lap around the Buddh circuit, you need good driving instincts,” he said.

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Obama quizzes Sharif on delay in start of 26/11 trial

Posted on 24 October 2013 by admin

Washington, Oct 24 (UNI) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faced uncomfortable questions from US President Barack Obama who did some plain speaking by asking him as to why the trial of those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack had not yet begun besides raising the issue of cross-border terrorism, particularly the activities of terror outfit JuD led by Hafiz Saeed.

Sharif, on his first visit to the US after coming back to power in May last, met Obama for over two hours at the White House yesterday but he appears to have made no headway on his objective of stopping US drone attacks and American intervention on Kashmir.

“He (Obama) asked, why the trial of the (Mumbai) terrorist attack in India has not started yet,” Sharif himself disclosed this to reporters immediately after holding talks with Obama.

Reflecting India’s concern over the slow pace of progress in the 26/11 case in Pakistan, Obama posed questions to Sharif over the delay of the trial that has already been hampered by a number of roadblocks.

Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans, is the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). The JuD has been declared a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba by the UN Security Council.

Speaking in chaste Urdu, Sharif said Pakistan’s relationship with India, including the Kashmir issue, was discussed during talks with Obama.

But Sharif did not give details of what aspect of the Kashmir issue he raised nor did he talk about the response from Obama on this issue.

It is obvious that Sharif’s pitch for US intervention on the Kashmir issue had failed to strike a chord with the American leadership with Obama making no reference to any US role in resolving the issue.

The US, this week, had said there has not been an “iota of change” in its policy on Kashmir, which remains a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, as it dismissed Sharif’s efforts to seek American intervention to settle the dispute.

“He (Obama) has raised the issue of (Dr Shakil) Afridi.

He spoke about cross-border movement. He also talked about Jamaat-ud-Dawa,” the Pakistan Prime Minister said, without giving details.

Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, is under detention in Pakistan.

Obama, after the meeting with Sharif, said that the Pakistan Prime Minister was taking a “wise path” in exploring how decades of tension between India and Pakistan can be reduced. .

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Cong will win MP Assembly elections: Rahul

Posted on 24 October 2013 by admin

Rahatgarh(MP), Oct 24 (UNI) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today expressed confidence that his party will come to power in Madhya Pradesh after the next month’s Assembly elections.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the Congress would definitely win the Assembly elections,” Rahul said while addressing a public meeting at the Basheer Dada ground at Rahatgarh in Sagar district.

Referring to Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh’s earlier remarks, Rahul stressed that the party would fight the elections unitedly and all candidates would be nominees of the party and not of any leader.

Digvijay Singh had earlier said in his remarks that if the Congress was truly united no force could defeat it.

Rahul tried to strike an emotional chord with the people by recounting his 2005 visit to Bundelkhand when he had slept in the houses of the poor, shared meals with them and discussed their problems.

He said that despite being bit by mosquitoes and facing an upset stomach, he was not worried as the visit helped him to get a feel of how poor people live in real India. He wished that similarly more and more leaders should visit villages in India.

Rahul said after his visit to parts of Bundelkhand in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a package of Rs 4,750 crore was sanctioned for the region.

Rahul then asked the people if even one jobless youth had got employment under it, to which the crowd responded with a loud “no”. .

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Terror emanating from ‘neighbourhood’ affected India,China: PM

Posted on 24 October 2013 by admin

Beijing, Oct 24 (UNI) With Pakistan in mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today warned that terrorism and radicalism Continue Reading

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Cyclone not to hit local rice supplies or its exports: Thomas

Posted on 14 October 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Oct 14 (UNI) Severe cyclone that ravaged crops in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh will not hit domestic supply of rice or its exports, Food Minister K V Thomas said today.

The cyclonic storm ‘Phailin’ had hit east coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh yesterday. It has left a trail of destruction in coastal areas, ravaging crops, infrastructure and flattening hundreds of houses.

Asked if rice supplies would be affected due to cyclone, Thomas said: “How can it be? Our production is so high. We have ample stocks that shows India’s strength.”

Rice production has grown over the years despite some parts of the country being affected by one or the other natural disaster, he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

“India’s rice and wheat are getting good price in the international market. There is no curb on exports,” he added.

Rice production from this year’s summer crop, which is being harvested slowly in some parts of the country, is estimated at 92.31 million tonnes. Odisha and Andhra Pradesh normally produce 18-20 million tonnes of rice.

Rice stock in the government godowns are at 19 million tonnes as of now, against the requirement of 7.2 million tonnes.

India has removed curbs on rice and wheat exports since September 2011 owing to surplus production.

On sugar production, Thomas said, “We are expecting 25 million tonnes of output in the 2013-14 marketing year, against the demand of 22 million tonnes.”

The government projections on sugar output are in line with the industry. However, production in 2013-14 is likely to be slighly lower than last year’s 25.1 million tonnes.

The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.

India the world’s second biggest sugar producer.

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Malaysian court rules non-Muslims cannot use ‘Allah’

Posted on 14 October 2013 by admin

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 14 (UNI) In a landmark judgement, a Malaysian court today ruled that non-Muslims cannot use the word “Allah” to refer to God and prohibited a Christian newspaper from using it in the Muslim-majority nation.

A unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal here allowed the government’s appeal to set aside the 2009 decision of a High Court which had allowed ‘The Herald’, a Malaysian Catholic newspaper, to use the word “Allah” to refer to God.

In December 2009, the High Court had declared the decision by the home ministry prohibiting ‘The Herald’ from using the word “Allah” as illegal, null and void.

Anger over that ruling had sparked arson attacks and vandalism at Malaysian churches and other places of worship.

Federal Court judge Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali, leading a three-member panel, said it was the court’s considered finding that the home minister had not acted in any manner or way that merited judicial interference on his decision to prohibit the publication to use the word “Allah”.

“On evidence before us too we are satisfied that sufficient materials have been considered by the minister (home minister) in discharging his function and statutory power under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984,” he was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency.

The judge said it was also the court’s judgement that the condition set by the home ministry in the Herald’s publication permit, which prohibited ‘The Herald’ from using the word “Allah”, did not infringe any church’s constitutional rights.

“It is our common finding that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity,” said Justice Apandi, who read the summary of the decision.

The other two judges presiding on the panel were Justices Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim and Mohd Zawawi Salleh.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew, responding to the verdict, said the ruling was flawed and the church would appeal against the ruling.

On February 16, 2010, the Roman Catholic Church led by Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed a judicial review application, naming the home ministry and the government as respondents and seeking, among others, a declaration that the home ministry’s decision to prohibit the use of the word “Allah” in The Herald publication was illegal.

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No question of government taking over NSEL:Chidambaram

Posted on 14 October 2013 by admin

Washington, Oct 14 (UNI) Ruling out takeover of the crisis -ridden NSEL, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that its parent group Financial Technologies and another related entity MCX-SX are under watch and Continue Reading

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At least 94 dead in migrant shipwreck off Italy

Posted on 03 October 2013 by admin

Rome, Oct 3 (UNI) A ship carrying African migrants to Europe caught fire and capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa today, killing at least 94 people as it spilled hundreds of passengers into the sea, officials said.

Over 150 people were rescued but some 200 others were still unaccounted-for.

It was one of the deadliest accidents in recent times during the notoriously perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from Africa for migrants seeking a new life in the European Union.

“We need only caskets, certainly not ambulances,” Pietro Bartolo, chief of health services on the island, told Radio 24. He gave the death toll of 94 but told Sky TG24 he expected that to rise as search operations continued.

“It’s an immense tragedy,” said Lampedusa Mayor Giusi Nicolini, adding that the dead included at least one child of about 3 and a pregnant woman. Blue, white and black tarps covered the bodies at the port.

Coast guard ships, local fishing boats and helicopters from across the region were combing the waters trying to find survivors, said coast guard spokesman Marco Di Milla. The boat left from Tripoli with migrants from Eritrea, Ghana and Somalia, Di Milla said.

Antonio Candela, the government’s health commissioner for Palermo, said 159 people had been rescued, but the boat is believed to have been carrying as many as 500 people, the LaPresse news agency reported.

Nicolini said the ship had caught fire after those on board set off flares so it would be seen by passing ships. The ship apparently then capsized, spilling the passengers into the sea near Conigli island.

Lampedusa is closer to Africa than the Italian mainland a mere 113 kilometres off the coast of Tunisia and is the frequent destination for smugglers’ boats.

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BJP expecting Lok Sabha polls to be announced ‘anytime’

Posted on 03 October 2013 by admin

Kolkata, Oct 03 (UNI) The BJP was expecting the Lok Sabha polls to be announced ‘anytime now’, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said today.

“We are expecting that the Lok Sabha polls could be announced anytime now. If it is held in December, we have 100 days, and if in March then 150 days,” Naidu told a press conference here after addressing party workers.

The BJP campaign committee had decided to expedite the election campaign process across the country. “A total of 100 rallies will be held across the country,” he said.

BJP’s election plank in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls would be good governance and development, he said.

He said that BJP would not join hands with any party like the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

“We will field candidate in all 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state,” Naidu said.

The party would hold a massive rally here in January to be addressed by party leaders, including its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“We plan to hold a massive rally at Brigade Parade ground where top leaders like Narendra Modi, L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and others will be present,” the former BJP president added.

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Fodder scam: Lalu gets five years in jail, Mishra four

Posted on 03 October 2013 by admin

Ranchi, Oct 3 (UNI) RJD chief Lalu Prasad was today sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case that immediately disqualifies him as MP and will keep him out of elections for 11 years, raising questions over the leadership of his party ahead of Lok Sabha polls next year. Continue Reading

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