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Archive | January, 2014

Egypt’s army chief Sisi promoted to field marshal: presidency

Posted on 27 January 2014 by admin

Cairo, Jan 27 (UNI) Egypt’s army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, was today promoted to the rank of Field Marshal amid speculation that the military strongman was readying for a presidential bid.

Interim president Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree promoting 59-year-old Sisi to the rank of Field Marshal, the highest in the military. Egypt’s army rarely promotes senior officers to the rank of a field marshal.

Sisi’s popularity soared after July last year, when he announced the ouster of Morsi amid nationwide mass protests against the Islamist president’s troubled one-year rule.

As a result, a number of campaigns have sprung up to pressure Sisi to run for the presidency in the upcoming elections.

While he had initially announced he would not seek power, Sisi has more recently said the possibility is open, Ahram Online reported.

Mansour yesterday announced that presidential elections will be held before parliamentary polls — an amendment to the transitional roadmap which was agreed upon by various political forces after Morsi’s ouster.

According to Mansour’s decree, the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) should begin procedures to hold the polls in no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days following the successful passage of the country’s newly-amended constitution.

The constitution was put into effect on January 18 after a two-day referendum on January 14-15 which yielded an overwhelming 98.1 per cent majority approval of the charter.

Accordingly, the presidential polls should take place between February 17 and April 18.

Tens of thousands converged to Tahrir square and elsewhere in the country on Saturday to celebrate the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Thousands carried banners and posters urging Sisi to run for presidency.

Before his appointment as Minister of Defence by Morsi in August 2012, Sisi had been serving as head of military intelligence since 2010.

Egypt has witnessed a steep rise in violence, with blasts now a regular occurrence, since the army toppled Morsi.

Security forces have blamed Islamist elements for a series of blasts and violence and intensified a crackdown on them.

Nearly 50 people were killed and 247 injured in violence on the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

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AAP constitutes state level coordination committee in UP

Posted on 27 January 2014 by admin

Lucknow, Jan 27 (UNI) AAP has constituted a state-level coordination committee and opened a secretariat in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha poll preparations, party spokesman Sanjay Singh said here today.

“Incharges of every Lok Sabha have been appointed and to decide names of candidates a state level screening committee has also been constituted,” Singh added.

He said that Aam Aadmi Party would contest in almost all the 80 seats in UP and would field candidates against every prominent person including SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.

About ruling SP, Singh said that Mulayam has been exposed among the people due to alleged misdeeds of its workers, who were seen doing hooliganism at toll plaza, beating engineers and also due to communal riots in the state.

“SP and BJP want to communalise atmosphere of the state”, he alleged.

Asked about poll surveys, Singh said that without finalisation of candidates, AAP was seen getting 18 per cent vote share in these surveys and after the declaration of candidates this percentage would further increase.

Replying to a question, Singh said that AAP would contest 350 Lok Sabha seats in the country and would not forge alliance with any other party.

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PM to inaugurate 101st Indian Science Congress in Jammu

Posted on 27 January 2014 by admin

Jammu, Jan 27 (UNI) Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the 101st Annual Indian Science Congress at the Jammu University campus here on February 3.

“Around 8000 delegates including academicians, young scholars and scientists and the students, are expected to participate in this Congress”, convener of the Press and Media Committee of the Science Congress, Professor Neelu Rohmetra said here today.

Based on the theme ‘Innovations in Science and Technology for Inclusive Development’ it is maiden mega academic event in the history of Jammu University, Prof Rohmetra said.

The five-day event from February 3-7 will have 14 sections and sessions, besides the plenary sessions, Science Communicator’s Meet, Science Exposition, Children’s Science Congress, Women’s Science Congress and so on.

Vice-President Dr Hamid Ansari, Former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, J-K Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, several Union Ministers, Nobel Laureates Prof Y Lee and Dr Ferid Murad, president ISCA, presidents and Office bearers of various Science and Technology Councils and Academies of various Countries, shall grace the Congress.

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Militants allegedly attack CRPF, Army personnel in Kashmir

Posted on 18 January 2014 by admin

Mystery surrounded the claim of security forces personnel, guarding the Pantha Chowk-Parimpora bypass, that they came under attack from suspected militants in Hyderpora area of the city today.

CRPF and Army personnel posted on Road Opening Party duty at Hyderpora claimed that two gunmen allegedly opened fire at them but no one was hurt in the incident.

The personnel on duty initially told reporters that the assailants were travelling in a car but told their senior officers, who visited the spot, that the militants were motorcycle borne.

DIG, CRPF, R Rajasekaran told reporters that they are investigating the claim of the personnel on duty.

He admitted that no empty cases of bullets, which were reportedly fired by militants, were found on the spot.

“If the militants were travelling on a motorcycle, the empty cases should have been there. We have not found anything so far,” he said.

However, local residents and shopkeepers in the area said they did not hear any gunshots, contesting the claim of the security forces.

The alleged incident took place at the same spot where militants attacked an Army convoy on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the valley on June 24 last year which left eight army personnel dead and 16 others injured.

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Bureaucrats not granting clearances due to CAG, CVC fear: PM

Posted on 17 January 2014 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 17 (uni) Facing accusations of policy paralysis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today admitted that growth rate had slowed down because clearances were not granted Continue Reading

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Rahul”s blistering attack on BJP

Posted on 17 January 2014 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 17 (uni) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today made a blistering attack on BJP saying it believed in lighting fires of communal hatred and turning people against one another.

In a no-holds-barred attack on the main opposition, he told the delegates at the day-long AICC session that BJP believed in disrupting Parliament year after year and day after day in the last ten years stalling important legislations.

“Democracy is not rule by dictates. Democracy is not rule by one man. We will not respond by lighting fires of communal hatred and turning people against one another.

“We don’t respond by proposing that structures of democracy be handed over to one man,” he said in his 45-minute speech singling out BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi without taking his name.

Asked to head the party’s election campaign by the CWC yesterday, Rahul Gandhi said Congress believed in Constitution and “our MPs will elect the new Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution”.

He also utilised the occasion to tell the prime minister that government should raise the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from nine to 12, an issue on which the party MPs have already been campaigning.

Rahul said the coming elections are a turning point in the country’s journey and the Congress should transform itself by catering to the aspirations of the common man and ordinary worker.

“The option before us is not whether to change but when and how to change,” he said to a thunderous applause from the delegates.

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Rahul has all qualities to become PM: Lalu

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

Patna, Jan 16 (UNI) Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad today said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has all the credentials for becoming the country’s prime minister and would prove much better than ‘communal’ Narendra Modi.

“Kya kammi hain unme Pradhan Mantri banane me? (does he lack any quality to become Prime Minister?)… He has all the qualities for the high post,” Prasad told reporters here.

“Has he instigated any communal riot or indulged in crime against any community?” the RJD chief asked rating Gandhi higher than the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Modi.

Prasad, who has been rooting for a tie up with Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections said he might be dubbed a ‘sycophant’ for praising Gandhi but it is a “fact” that Gandhi is “Prime Minister material”.

On Yoga-guru Ramdev calling him ‘Kans’ for not supporting fellow backward caste leader Modi for the high post, Prasad said “Ramdev is going on the path of Asaram and will meet the same fate.

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Sand mining will be streamlined in 15 days: Mahadevappa

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

Bangalore, Jan 16 (UNI) Even as sand truckers continued their 27-day-old stir seeking permits for sand transportation, Karnataka government today said sand mining activities would be streamlined in the next 15 days.

Karnataka PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa said sand, whose price has shot up to Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh per truck following the strike, would be available for people at affordable price.

Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ and Agents Association is not transporting sand for the last 27 days demanding that the government relax certain provisions in the new sand law.

Mahadevappa said government will not succumb to pressure mounted by the sand truckers who are seeking permits for sand transportation, besides asking for the withdrawal of criminal cases registered against them.

He maintained that sand mining was posing environmental concerns and unlimited sand extraction cannot be permitted.

The federation is also demanding a comprehensive policy to ensure “legal transportation of sand”, besides monthly permits to truck operators so that sand transported legally is not seized and illegal transportation is checked.

Mahadevappa said all Deputy Commissioners, who head the district committees for overseeing sand mining activities, have been directed to take necessary steps to register cases for any violation of the rules.

Further steps will be taken on the issue at a meeting convened by Chief Minister with all Deputy Commissioners on January 29, Mahadevappa said.

The new Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules 2013 will not only curb illegal sand mining but also increase revenue to the exchequer, Mahadevappa said.

“Only the Public Works Department (PWD) has been authorized to mine and sell sand at rates prescribed by the government,” he added.

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Posco steel plant in Odisha to be operational in few weeks: PM

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) The much-delayed USD 12 billion Posco steel project in Odisha is set to be operational in the next few weeks and granting of mining concession to the South Korean Continue Reading

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‘India, Pak working to allow 3 banks in each other’s country’

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

Islamabad, Jan 16 (UNI) India and Pakistan are working on allowing three banks to set up branches on each other’s soil to help improve trade relations.

In August 2012, it was announced that both sides have agreed to issue a full banking licence to two banks from each country.

The two Indian banks that were allowed to operate in Pakistan were State Bank of India and Bank of India.

On the other hand, quasi-state owned National Bank of Pakistan and privately-owned United Bank Ltd were selected for running full-banking operations in India, once licensed by the country.

However, there was not much forward movement on that.

Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan told PTI here that the issue was raised with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma in New Delhi during a visit by Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“We were told there that Reserve Bank of India had since, I would say lessened its restrictions, it is no longer two banks. Any bank that fulfils the requirement can apply. For the time being, we are working on three banks each,” he said.

The Minister, who today left for India, said “The State Bank of Pakistan has just written to the RBI that three banks would like to open their branches in India. I don’t know when but it will happen. Some movement has taken place,” he said.

The Minister argued that the biggest hurdle in having normal trade ties is the “very restrictive visa regime”.

“People cannot travel to other country. Visa is not something that appears on trading figures but is very substantial. If businessmen from one country cannot travel to another country and see firsthand and analyse the economic opportunities that are there, then trade is severely hampered,” Khan said.

“Visa restriction is what we call a non-tariff barrier,” he added.

Khan pointed out that another part that does not appear in trade figures was the lack of bilateral banking relations.

“That is also not a trading issue but is a necessary facility required for trading. So banking relationship has to be there. Another issue that we will talk about, may be not in this trip is to allow communication network. Allow roaming,” he said.

“And here I am quite definite that obtaining a SIM in Pakistan is miles easier than it is in India. So if people can’t communicate and use the banking channel, and if they can’t travel, it is a hurdle to trade,” he said.

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