Archive | November, 2010

JPC demand: Parliament logjam continues as Govt, Oppn refuse to blink

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :  After wastage of 13 consecutive working days, the entire Winter session of Parliament appears set to be lost as efforts to break the government-opposition stand-off over JPC issue failed on Tuesday with both sides hardening their positions.

At an all-party meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, the Opposition made it clear that it will not allow Parliament to function till JPC into 2G spectrum allocation is set up but the government said the demand was “unacceptable”.

The Opposition parties also emphasised that it will not be satisfied by anything less than JPC, rejecting government’s proposal for Supreme Court monitored CBI probe into 2G scam.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, at a nearly two-and-a-half hour lunch meeting hosted by Meira Kumar, rejected the opposition’s demand.

Sources in know of what transpired at the meeting told IANS that Mukherjee, who is also the leader of the house, tried hard to convince a united opposition to give up its demand over setting up a JPC.

“He was in combative mode. He spoke endlessly. Went on and on with history, but failed to convince the opposition,” said the source privy to the meeting.

The finance minister said the government was “determined” and no JPC would be set up, which angered the opposition and “the logjam continues”, said the source.

The government also ruled out sine die adjournment of the session which is slated to conclude on December 13.

To build pressure on the government, about 80 MPs belonging to non-NDA opposition parties marched to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to urge President Pratibha Patil to “advise” the government to set up JPC.

“All the Opposition parties demanded a JPC and if the government cant give JPC, the Parliament would not be able to function. We have told this thing to the Speaker also,” Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj told reporters after the two-and-a-half hour meeting.

During the meeting, the Speaker suggested that the Question Hour should be allowed and other issues could be debated later but it was turned down by the Opposition.

“We asked how will that help if Question hour goes on,” Swaraj said, adding her party wanted Parliament to function not only one hour but the whole day.

“Why is the government refusing to accept JPC is bewildering. Government feels many skeletons will come out of its cupboard,” CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said.

Insisting that the demands for JPC do not fit in the rules of Parliament, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, “This meeting could not bring about the results we expected.”

Contending that her effort was to end the impasse in Parliament, Kumar said, “till a solution is found, both sides (government and Opposition) should continue efforts.”

The meeting at the committee room of the Parliament Library complex began at 1.30 p.m. and lasted till about 3.30 p.m. The discussion was attended by leaders of all parties in the house.

On the lunch menu was chicken biryani, vegetable pulao, fish curry, mixed vegetables, dal tadka and kheer for dessert.

Hoping to reach some sort of consensus, Meira Kumar tried to bring the government and the opposition on the same page on the issue that has seen parliament’s adjournments for 13 successive days.

Allies of the ruling Congress have backed the government’s stance that there was no need for a JPC as the Public Accounts Committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi, was already looking into the Comptroller and Auditor General report on the 2G spectrum allocation.

The government had earlier held two rounds of talks with opposition leaders to end the stalemate but without success.

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Indian team can win Olympic medal in London: Brasa

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 ::  The current Indian Hockey team has the potential to have a podium finish in the 2012 London Olympics but for this to happen the training system need to change, outgoing chief coach Jose Brasa said.

After missing the Olympics for the first time in 80 years when the Games were held in Beijing in 2008, Asian games bronze medalist India will have to go through qualifiers to book a ticket for the next edition.

“Forget about the qualifiers, this team is capable of winning a medal in Olympic. If they are trained properly with scientific method, adequate support staff with a sports psychologist, proper programme and modern equipments. None of these is available now,” Brasa told PTI before leaving for Spain as his contract expires on Tuesday.

“If they maintain the same form, they can beat any team. I mean the kind of hockey they played against Pakistan and England in Delhi CWG and then in Guangzhou Asian Games. I strongly believe that the same bunch of players can win qualifiers,” the Spanish coach said.

He emphasised on giving two years of proper training to the team.

“Ric Charlesworth (Australian coach) has said and I am repeating, that one needs at least two years to prepare a team. I wanted to prolong my stay here, as I said before leaving to China, provided my programme for the team is implemented on priority basis which did not happen,” he said.

“I am impressed with Indian players. They are motivated, skillful and hardworking. What they need is better facilities and proper guidance. I hope that better sense prevails in officials and they provide them what they need.”

Brasa also urged national coach Harendra Singh to withdraw his resignation and be with the team. Harendra had resigned on moral ground after the semi-final defeat against Malaysia in Asian Games.

I think that was a mistake. Harendra should reconsider his decision. His attitude is right and he understands the team,” said Brasa. He also dismissed the media reports that his contract would have been renewed had the team won a gold medal at Asian Games.

“This is not correct. There is no such thing mentioned in my contract. We wanted to win the yellow medal but poor umpiring, worst pitch and lack of video referral cost us that. My team was capable of winning the title,” he said.

When asked about what he will miss the most about India, Brasa has said that he will never forget the time spent with players and Indian crowd.

“The best memories are the time I spent with the players. On ground (I would remember) shouting in Hindi like ‘peeche hato’, ‘udhar banda bhejo’.

“Apart from that Indian crowd is one of the best I have seen in my life. I have never experienced that kind of support even in Olympics,” he said.

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Jagan keeps Cong guessing on his next move

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

Hyderabad,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 ::  A day after resigning from the Congress party and his Kadapa parliament seat, YS Jaganmohan Reddy kept the ruling party and his supporters guessing about his next move.

The young leader, who arrived in his native Pulivendula town in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district on Tuesday, met his close aides and discussed future course of action. He is likely to return to Hyderabad only on Thursday.

Sources close to Jagan said he was adopting “wait and watch” stance before making his next move, which most likely is to float a new party to emerge as another Sharad Pawar or Mamata Banerjee to take on Congress.

Meanwhile, state Congress chief D Srinivas met the party leaders at Gandhi Bhavan, the party headquarters here, to review the situation and also to assess the damage Jagan may cause to the Congress.

The son of late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), Jagan on Monday resigned from the Congress party, accusing the leadership of hatching a conspiracy to divide his family.

His mother Vijayalaxmi also resigned as member of the state assembly from Pulivendula constituency, also in Kadapa district. But his uncle, YSR’s brother YS Vivekananda Reddy, has stayed on with the Congress.

After paying tributes to his father at his grave at Idupulapaya family estate, the 38-year-old industrialist-politician met Vivekananda Reddy in an effort to persuade him to leave the Congress but failed.

Vivekananda Reddy, a member of state legislative council, made it clear that he would not leave the party till his last breath and also condemned Jagan’s allegations against the leadership.

Jagan’s supporters, including four legislators and an MP, rushed to Pulivendula to meet him. For the second day, his sympathisers at the grassroots level in the party and in local bodies in a few districts resigned en masse, but no MP or legislator has quit yet.

Konda Surekha, a legislator and Jagan loyalist, said she would remain in the party as long as Jagan wants her to be. She indicated that he would soon launch his own party.

By cashing in on the legacy of his late father YSR, Jagan hopes to build his party as a key force in the 2014 elections, in case he fails to gather support among Congress legislators to force by-elections now.

By appealing to his loyal legislators not to resign for his sake, he has also tried to keep the Congress leadership confused about the number of his supporters.

As many as two dozen legislators showed up at a public meeting at Kakinada in July during the ‘Odarpu Yatra’ which he had undertaken against the wishes of the leadership.

Congress sources believe that the number has now reduced to single digit but the Jagan camp is claiming the support of at least 30 legislators.

Jagan hopes to draw more support from the disgruntled legislators left out of Wednesday’s cabinet formation. The former Kadapa MP will keenly be watching who is inducted into the cabinet and who is left out.

Political observers, however, say it may not be easy for Jagan to pull down the government given the support it is sure to get from two parties.

The Praja Rajyam Party of actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi has turned down the Congress’ offer to join the cabinet but it has assured outside support to save the government. The PRP has 18 legislators in the 294-member assembly and even if two dozen legislators walk out of Congress, the PRP could still save the government.

The Congress can also fall back on the support of its ally Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which has seven legislators.

After Vijayalaxmi’s resignation, the tally of the Congress has come down to 156 in the 294-member assembly. The magic figure to ensure majority is 149.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has 89 legislators, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) 11 and the Left parties five legislators. There are four Independents.

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PM consults with Albertans on creating jobs and economic growth

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

Canada,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :: Edmonton, Alberta Prime Minister Stephen Harper today met with small business owners and working families in Edmonton, Alberta, to discuss ways to create jobs and economic growth as the Government plans for the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

“With Canada’s economy still fragile, protecting and creating jobs, stability and financial security remain our number one priority,” said the Prime Minister. “The values of hard working Canadians – living within your means, reducing waste and duplication to keep taxes low – will continue to guide us as we move forward.

Launched in 2009, the Economic Action Plan has so far contributed to the creation of more than 420,000 new jobs since July 2009 and helped the country emerge from the global economic crisis faster and stronger than most other major industrial countries around the world.

In Alberta, over 1,000 Economic Action Plan projects are currently underway or completed, including hundreds in Edmonton. Projects such as the Trans-Canada Highway twinning in Banff, the construction of the TELUS World of Science in Calgary and the GO Community Centre in Edmonton have helped mitigate the effects of the economic downturn by putting Canadians across the province back to work.

“The Economic Action Plan is working. It has created jobs and provided financial security to families through the worst global recession since the Second World War,” continued the Prime Minister. “However, the economy is more than just numbers. That is why my Government will continue to create jobs and support families by continuing to implement the stimulus measures in Canada’s Economic Action Plan.”

Over the coming months, as the next phase of the Economic Action Plan is developed, the Prime Minister, his Cabinet and caucus will travel to small towns, communities and cities across the country to listen to and seek the views of Canadians on the Government’s long-term Economic Action Plan.

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The Space Shuttle Mission Simulator At The NASA Booth, I/ITSEC 2010

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

NASA,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :: We are happy to announce that you will be able to visit us at the NASA booth (#585) at I/ITSEC – the biggest serious simulation show in the world .

This year, NASA puts special emphasis on its support for the STEM initiative. What is STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics -all essential for modeling and simulation for Earth and Space.

We shall be there, presenting SSMS:TCE and answering questions about the sim, what makes it tick, current plans and its future roadmap.

At the show, on Wednesday, December 1st, we shall be revealing the official name of the next generation of our Space Shuttle Mission Simulator, its official badge and planned major features set. We shall also be revealing some sneak peeks at the current Alpha, including a short live demonstration showing off some of the features. This will be the first public appearance of the next version.

We hope to see as many of you this December, in Orlando, FL at I/ITSEC 2010, at the NASA booth.

“Space Shuttle Mission Simulator: The Collector’s Edition”(tm) is the most realistic, extensive, comprehensive and exciting Space Shuttle simulator available today on Windows PC, and it is designed to provide the closest experience and excitement of the NASA Space Shuttle missions in incredible detail.

The Space Shuttle Mission Simulator(tm) is available as a CD box at PC games and computing retailers across North America and Europe, and for online purchase in downloadable format at the SSMS official web site: www.space-shuttle-mission.com. The latest Demo can also be downloaded freely at the same web site. Please check the “About” page and the downloadable manuals for more information about the simulator’s capabilities and scope.

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NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery: Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 P.M. EST On Dec. 2

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

NASA,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 ::  -NASA- will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television  and streamed on the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.

Participants are:

– Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
– Felisa Wolfe – Simon-, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.
– Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
– Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.
– James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe

Media representatives may attend the conference or ask questions by phone or from participating NASA locations. To obtain dial-in information, journalists must send their name, affiliation and telephone number to Steve Cole at stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov or call 202-358-0918 by noon Dec. 2.

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Mirwaiz heckled in Delhi again

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :  The youth wing of BJP on Tuesday attacked Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s car when he was entering Foreign Correspondent’s club here to attend a seminar.

As the news about his presence at the seminar came out, activists of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha assembled outside the venue and shouted slogans against the Mirwaiz.

Shouting slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram”, the demonstrators hurled eggs, water bottles and a few stones at the SUV of the Mirwaiz, damaging the windscreen of the vehicle.

Nearly one company (120 personnel) of CRPF and Delhi Police personnel escorted the Mirwaiz into the venue of the seminar.

“We are here to protest the Mirwaiz’s presence. He should not be allowed to participate in any programme as he furthers anti-India agenda,” BJYM activist Anil Sharma told reporters while he was being detained.

Some of the youths, who were being whisked away by CRPF, told the personnel of para-military force that it was ironical that they (CRPF) were trying to save a person who had been instrumental in tarnishing their image in the Kashmir Valley.

The commotion lasted for nearly 45 minutes before the protesters were whisked away in two buses.

This is the third attack on the Mirwaiz in last five days. Earlier, he was attacked on November 28 by members of BJP’s student wing who hurled eggs at his vehicle here and displayed banners.

The Mirwaiz was coming out of an auditorium in Kolkata after attending a seminar on ‘Kashmir- A Way Out’ when members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who were holding banners and shoes tied to a stick, threw eggs at his car, besides shouting slogans.

On November 25, the Mirwaiz and another separatist leader Bilal Lone were heckled by activists of Hindu organisations during a seminar in Chandigarh.

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US planning pay freeze for government workers

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

US,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :: President Obama has proposed a two-year pay freeze for federal government workers as part of efforts to reduce the US budget deficit.

The White House estimates that the pay freeze would save about $2bn (£1.3bn) a year and up to $28bn over five years.

Taking this step would require the approval of Congress.

The US had a budget deficit of $1.3tn (£837bn) in the year to September, and critics have said the government should do more to narrow the gap.

Mr Obama and his Democratic Party have been criticised for being big spenders with their healthcare policy and economic stimulus measures.

Poor handling of the economy was seen as a key factor in the Democrats’ poor performance in the recent mid-term elections.

Mr Obama said on Monday that both Republicans and Democrats faced a challenge “to get federal spending under control and bring down the deficits that have been growing for most of the last decade”.

The president’s announcement comes before a Wednesday deadline for the bi-partisan national Deficit Commission to agree on ways to cut the national debt.

On Tuesday, President Obama is meeting leaders of both parties to discuss whether to extend tax cuts that were introduced under the Bush presidency.

Republicans are calling for tax cuts to be extended across the board, including households with incomes above $250,000 (£161,000), while Mr Obama insists the cuts should just be for those in lower tax brackets.

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Bangladesh protesters and police clash in mass strike

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

Bangladesh,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :: Bangladeshi police have clashed with protesters in the capital Dhaka as a nationwide strike brought much of the country to a halt.

The 24-hour industrial action shut schools and businesses, including crucial garment export shipments.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called the walkout in protest at “misrule” by the Awami-League led government.

BNP leader Khaleda Zia was evicted from her home of nearly 40 years this month.

Tuesday’s was the second opposition-led strike in the last fortnight.

Police used batons to disperse a group of opposition supporters near the BNP headquarters in the capital.

Thousands of policemen were deployed across the country to prevent violence, said the authorities.

The BNP said more than 1,000 party members and activists had been taken into custody in the days leading up to the latest walkout.

It comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Khaleda Zia against her eviction from the military-owned house.

The house was leased to Ms Zia, a year after the assassination of her husband, former president General Zia-ur-Rahman, in a military coup in 1981.

The government said the lease was illegal, a finding upheld by the high court.

Ms Zia’s supporters argue that the government’s decision is political vengeance.

The strike halted garment exports, which account for over 80% of Bangladesh’s total exports.

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Pakistan drone victim to sue US for $500m

Posted on 30 November 2010 by GGS News

Pakistan,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2010 :: A Pakistani tribesman plans to sue the CIA for $500m (£320m), claiming it is responsible for the deaths of his son and brother in a drone air strike.

Karim Khan, from North Waziristan, said his lawyer had notified the US embassy in Islamabad of the legal action.

The villager says no militants were in his home when it was struck by missiles on 19 December 2009.

It is thought to be the first time a Pakistani citizen has filed a compensation case against the US.

The tribal region has been the focus of US drone attacks since August 2008.

Hundreds of militants and civilians have died in the raids.

On the border with Afghanistan, the area is a known sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaeda.

“Both were civilians and employees of the local government administration. A man who was working at my home was also killed in the attack.”

Mr Khan, a freelance journalist, said no foreigner or militant was in his home at the time of the attacks.

“For the past year, I’ve been knocking on the doors of the local political administration, and the government, but have received no justice,” he said.

“Therefore I have now decided to take this legal remedy.”

Mr Khan said his lawyer had sent notices to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, CIA director Leon Panetta and the agency’s Islamabad station chief, Jonathan Banks.

If he did not receive a satisfactory response in 14 days, he would automatically file a civil case in Islamabad against the respondents, Mr Khan added.

The US does not comment on individual missile strikes, although the drone attacks have been officially recognised as part of the war in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region

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