Archive | August, 2011

Irene floods in North Carolina and New York ‘disaster

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

US,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :-President Obama on Wednesday declared a major disaster area in New York state because of Hurricane Irene, while residents of neighboring New Jersey faced fresh flooding as rivers were pushed to their limits by runoff from northern regions.

The president’s declaration means federal aid to help recovery efforts in the hardest-hit areas will be expedited. Four days after Irene made landfall in North Carolina, four towns or villages in New York are still under water and 4,800 people remain in shelters. Six people died in the state.

According to the Associated Press, a total of at least 44 people have died in 13 states as a result of Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm as it hit New York City on Sunday morning.

In New Jersey, the death toll rose overnight to seven after officials found the body of a man who apparently had been sucked down a utility hole while clearing debris from a drainage basin, according to the Star-Ledger.

On Tuesday evening, thousands of people were under mandatory evacuation orders in cities along the Passaic River, which crested overnight and poured water into Paterson, Little Falls, Lincoln Park and  other towns. “I saw just extraordinary despair,” Gov. Chris Christie said at a news briefing after visiting some affected areas.

Flood water reached the reception desk at a Ramada Inn in Wayne, N.J., prompting police to order the hotel’s guests — many of whom had heeded orders to leave their homes — to evacuate the hotel. Some refused. “Where am I supposed to go? There’s nowhere,” Mimoza Dhurim, whose home was flooded, told the Star-Ledger. The guests were allowed to stay.

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Nigeria Says al-Qaeda-Linked Militant Masterminded UN

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

ABUJA,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 : — Nigeria’s secret police said Wednesday that an Al-Qaeda linked suspect who recently returned from Somalia masterminded last week’s attack on UN headquarters here that killed at least 23 people.
“Investigation has revealed that one Mamman Nur, a notorious Boko Haram element with Al-Qaeda links who returned recently from Somalia, working in concert with the two (arrested) suspects masterminded the attack on the United Nations building in Abuja,” a statement said.
The suspect has been declared wanted following Friday’s suicide attack, it said.
The statement said the two other suspects were arrested on August 21 — days ahead of the UN bombing — and were “notorious leaders of the Boko Haram extremists sect.”
The Nigerian Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Their arrests came after authorities received intelligence on August 18 of plans for attacks in the Nigerian capital Abuja, it said.
“On 18th August, 2011, precise intelligence was obtained by this service that some Boko Haram elements were on a mission to attack unspecified targets in Abuja …,” according to the statement.
The two suspects being held were identified as Babagana Ismail Kwaljima, aka Abu Summaya, and Babagana Mali, aka Bulama.
“Following their arrests, security was further beefed up in Abuja and its environs,” the statement said. “Meanwhile the suspects have made valuable statements and are being held at a military facility.”
There have been growing concerns over whether Boko Haram has formed links with extremist groups outside Nigeria, including Al-Qaeda’s north African branch and Somalia’s Shebab fighters.
Alleged sect members have claimed that they have received training in foreign countries, and analysts point out that their attacks have grown increasingly sophisticated.
Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of shootings and bomb blasts, mainly in Nigeria’s northeast, but it has not been known to target international institutions such as the UN.
It claimed a bomb attack targeting national police headquarters in Abuja in June that killed at least two people.
Friday’s attack saw the bomber make his way past two gates before ramming his car into the entrance of the building.
The secret police statement gave what it said were details on the car used in the attack, saying it was a Honda registered in northern Kano state that had been purchased in 2002.
The UN’s deputy chief held talks with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday and afterward said the “perpetrators must be brought to justice,” while vowing that the attack would not deter the work of the United Nations.
FBI agents from the United States have been asked to assist in the investigation.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with some 150 million people, roughly divided in half between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.

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Firefighters tackle blaze at historic Edinburgh flats

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

GGS NEWS:- MORE than 40 firefighters were called to tackle a huge blaze at a row of houses in the Capital today.
The fire broke out at two colony-style properties on the ground and first floor at Hazelbank Terrace in the Shandon area at around 5.20am.

Two homes were gutted and several properties had to be evacuated.
One female casualty was taken to the EADVERTISEMENT
Around 45 firefighters were tackling the blaze which spread to a third property.

COLONEL Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesman said today a surrender-by-Saturday ultimatum to the fugitive dictator’s henchmen in his home town would be rejected.

Libyan rebels who say they are closing in on Gaddafi issued the ultimatum to loyalists in Sirte to surrender by the weekend or face attack.

Meanwhile a US senator today called for American officials to be given access to the Lockerbie bomber to assess his health.

Senator Robert Menendez has written to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton urging her to ask Libya’s Transitional National Council to give American and international officials immediate access to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is said to be in a coma and near death.

• A CONVICTED drug dealer has forfeited almost £6000 under the proceeds of crime act after being caught with a mobile phone strapped to his manhood.

Police seized £5,780 in cash from convicted drug dealer Leroy Junior Robinson on 15 July, 2010 during a personal search at the roadside in Edinburgh.

Officers also found small quantities of cannabis and diazepam in his possession, plus three SIM cards and two mobile telephones.

One of the mobiles was disguised as a watch and attached to Mr Robinson’s manhood by means of an elastic band.

• EDINBURGH’S Hogmanay street party has been slated in a new book.
The authors of “Crap Days Out” claimed attending the celebration in Princes Street was like being “stuck in a Tesco car park” and also compare it to “a giant internment camp”.

The book claims tickets cost up to £90, armed police patrol the street and locals leave town to make way for the visitors.

Hogmanay organisers were furious. Pete Irvine, director of Unique Events, said: “It’s an extraordinary piece of work. So much of it is completely wrong. It’s bonkers.”
dinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from smoke inhalation.

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London riots: Boy, 11, sentenced over bin theft in Romford

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

LONDON,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :- An 11-year-old British boy, the youngest person to face prosecution over the recent riots in London, was on Wednesday sentenced to a community order for stealing a waste bin during the unrest.

The schoolboy took the waste bin worth 50 pounds (S$96) from the Debenhams department store from the north-east London suburb of Romford on Aug 8 after a gang smashed the shop windows.

A police officer spotted the youngster, whose name cannot be disclosed due to restrictions on reporting cases of under-18s, reaching inside to grab the object which had been on display in the window.

Judge John Woollard, passing sentence at Havering Magistrates’ Court, handed the boy an 18-month youth rehabilitation order, a sentence carried out in the community which is commonly given to young offenders.

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Assad to implement media reform as Syrian protesters vow to continue struggle

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

Syria, (GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :- Dozens of people are believed to have died at the hands of Syrian authorities following their arrests representing a surge in the country’s post-detention deaths that occurred during a violent crackdown during five months of anti-government protests, according Amnesty International.
The deaths of at least 88 people since April compares with the London-based human rights group’s recording of around “five deaths in custody per year in Syria,” the report said. The victims were all make and include 10 children, some as young as 13.
“These deaths behind bars are reaching massive proportions, and appear to be an extension of the same brutal disdain for life that we are seeing daily on the streets of Syria,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International’s researcher on Syria.
“The accounts of torture we have received are horrific. We believe the Syrian government to be systematically persecuting its own people on a vast scale.”
In the majority of the cases, 52, there was evidence that ”torture” and other ”ill-treatment” were the causes of death, Amnesty said.
Many of the victims genitals were mutilated during torture. Such was the case of 13-year-old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, Amnesty said.
“…Hamza Ali al-Khateeb disappeared on 29 April during protests against the siege of Dera’a, and was later found dead with apparent blunt force injuries and a severed penis,” the report said.
Amnesty said it has gathered 1,800 names of people who’ve been arrested since the beginning of protests. The group says that the deaths may constitute crimes against humanity.
The European Union earlier this month submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council that would slap sanctions on Syria as a measure to condemn violence on anti-government protesters that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since March.
“The response from the (United Nations) Security Council has been utterly inadequate so far, but it is not too late for them to take firm and legally binding action,” the report said.

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Court voids Australia’s refugee deal with Malaysia

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

Australia,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :- Australia’s high court has ruled that the government cannot send asylum seekers to Malaysia under a controversial deal between Canberra and Kuala Lumpur.  The court said in a statement that the agreement should be terminated because the rights of asylum seekers could not be guaranteed in Malaysia, which has not signed the United Nations Refugee Convention.  Australia had planned to send 800 detainees to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 verified refugees.

The court’s decision is a major blow to Canberra’s plan to stem an influx of people from poor, war-torn countries attempting to reach Australia by boat.

The judges say Australia’s proposed deal with Malaysia is invalid because the authorities in Kuala Lumpur do not have laws in place to ensure the safety of asylum seekers.

The court found that Malaysia was not legally bound to protect the rights of those seeking asylum under the agreement.  It was signed last month and detailed Australia’s plans to deport 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 certified refugees.

But, almost immediately, the deal was challenged by human rights lawyers.  They won a temporary ruling that prevented the transfer of asylum seekers from Australia — and now the high court has declared the injunction permanent.

However it seems likely that Australia will still have to accept the 4,000 confirmed refugees from Malaysia.

“The court has found that the minister’s declaration under the Migration Act is invalid,” said Don Rothwell, a law professor at the Australian National University.  “The court has found that the removal of unaccompanied minors from Australia to Malaysia would also be invalid under the provisions of the Immigration Guardianship of Children Act.  So, as a result of that, the temporary injunctions that were issued two weeks ago when these proceedings commenced have been upheld,” he said. “And they are now permanent injunctions.”

The so-called “refugee swap” deal appears doomed as a result.  Constitutional law specialists say it could be revived if Malaysia signed the United Nations Refugee Convention.

The high court ruling also casts doubt on Australia’s plans to reopen an offshore processing center for asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea.

A spokesman for Malaysia’s home affairs ministry says the decision was unexpected and that the government is waiting to see if the deal could be changed to make it legal.

In Canberra, the conservative opposition immigration said the judgment was “another policy failure by an incompetent government”.

The judges’ decision will increase pressure on embattled Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose minority government clings to power by a single seat in parliament.

The government had maintained that the agreement struck in consultation with the U.N. refugee agency would withstand any legal challenge.

Australia has long attracted asylum seekers hoping to begin a new life, with more than 6,200 arriving by boat last year. Most are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq and use Malaysia or Indonesia as a starting point for a dangerous sea crossing to Australia’s treacherous northern waters.

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An Air India plane with 123 passengers and crew on board landed under emergency conditions at the airport here

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :- An Air India plane with 123 passengers and crew on board landed under emergency conditions at the airport here today after a minor defect was detected in its hydraulic system.

All the passengers and crew on board are safe, airport and airline sources said.

The Bangalore-Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram flight was scheduled to land here at 1145 hrs. But after the snag was detected all precautions for a safe landing were taken and it touched down at 12.15 hrs, they said.

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Haren Pandya’s wife seeks justice

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

HMEDABAD,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :-Wife of slain Gujarat minister Haren Pandya has sought a reinvestigation into his killing, two days after the Gujarat high court dropped murder charges against the twelve convicts in the case.

“After eight years, I have lost patience and this judgement (August 29) has proved that the real killers of Haren (Pandya) are roaming free while some other persons have been put behind bars and have wrongly served the prison term,” said Jagruti Pandya.

Terming veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani as a “father figure”, Jagruti said, “I want to urge Advanji that as a widow of his senior party worker, to ensure that the BJP and he (Advani) lend support in quest for justice for Haren”.

She said chief minister Narendra Modi “should prove himself to be an ideal chief minister by ensuring that real killers are caught and punished”.

Gujarat high court on Monday dropped murder charges against the 12 accused of killing former minister Haren Pandya in 2003 by upholding a trial court’s verdict convicting them of criminal conspiracy and terrorism under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

Jagruti said she was yet to receive a response from chief minister Narendra Modi over her plea for fresh investigation into the case.

“I had earlier written a letter to chief minister Narendra Modi seeking his co-operation for re-investigation into the case but I have not received any reply from the CM on the issue,” she said.

Appealing Modi to ensure that real culprits of the murder are put behind bars, she said, “Now, after this verdict the chief minister should declare my quest for justice as his cause.

“I along with my two sons, and all BJP workers of Gujarat are eagerly looking forward to the CM to own up this cause for justice,” Jagruti said, adding BJP should take up the matter as its own fight.

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2G: CBI, ED to file fresh status report in SC

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :-The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are likely to file fresh status report before the Supreme Court on Thursday on their probe in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
The investigating agencies are expected to brief a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly on the findings made by them after July 6 when the last status report was placed before the court.
During the last hearing on August 24, the CBI had informed the court that it has completed its probe in the multi-crore scam in which charge sheet has been filed by it against 17 persons including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozi. It had said that a third charge sheet would be filed by September 15.The court has been monitoring the probe on a plea of an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, and Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy on whose petition it had directed the CBI probe the scam.
In the last status report filed on July 6, the CBI had informed the court that it is also probing the role of Union Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran in alleged forcing of the promoter of a Chennai-based telecom company Aircel to sell his shares to a Malaysian firm in lieu of illegal gratification to him in 2006.
The Minister, however, denied all such allegations.
The Enforcement Directorate had also informed that proceedings for attachment of properties have begun against persons and companies already chargesheeted by the CBI.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, other accused in the case include Unitech Wireless Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom’s Director Vinod Goenka, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Raja’s former personal secretary RK Chandolia, DMK-run Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surrendra Pipara.
The other accused persons included Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa and their colleague Rajeev Agarwal.
The accused also included three telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd.
All the accused have pleaded that they have not done anything wrong and refuted the charge of drawing illegal benefits in the 2G spectrum allocation.

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German city introduces ‘sex tax metres’ for prostitutes

Posted on 31 August 2011 by GGS News

LONDON,(GGS NEWS) 31 Aug 2011 :- The German city of Bonn has reportedly introduced “sex tax” meters for street prostitutes in an attempt to tax the world’s oldest profession.

Prostitutes working on the streets of the erstwhile West German capital would now have to buy a ticket from converted roadside vending machines before starting their working “day” — prostitution is legal in Bonn between 8.15 pm and 6 am.

A night’s ticket will set a sex worker back 5.30 pounds, irrespective of the number of clients they have, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.

Like parking metres, the vending machines — that once dispensed tickets to the city’s drivers — also tell users the times of day when a ticket is necessary: in this case between the hours of 8.15 pm and 6 am, Monday to Sunday.

If a police officer catches a sex worker without ticket, they will be fined or banned from working, the newspaper said.

Monika Frombgen, a spokeswoman for Bonn city council, said the ticket machines would bring street prostitutes into fiscal line with their peers in registered sex establishments.

“This is an act of tax fairness. Prostitutes in fixed establishments such as brothels and sauna clubs already pay tax,” she was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.

Some 200 prostitutes work in Bonn. This is the first time tax tickets have been sold on the streets in Germany.

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