Archive | January, 2012

Barack Obama confirms drone strikes in Pakistan

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

US,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 :- U.S. President Barack Obama has defended the use of drone strikes in Pakistan, which U.S. officials have never before publicly acknowledged.

Speaking during an online town hall discussion Monday, President Obama said the drone attacks have been used to target al-Qaida and its affiliates, and that many of the strikes have been in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The president said the operations are used for “very precise, precision strikes,” and he said the United States does not authorize the attacks “willy-nilly.” He said it is a targeted, focused effort against “active terrorists” in difficult-to-reach locations.

Following the president’s remarks, a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman told the French news agency that the attacks are “unlawful, counterproductive and hence unacceptable,” despite, what he called, their “tactical advantages.”

The Pakistani government has long condemned the drone strikes as a violation of its sovereignty, but the attacks are believed to be carried out with the help of Pakistani intelligence.

Until Monday, U.S. officials had never confirmed the missile strikes against militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, but they have anonymously confirmed such attacks to various news outlets.

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Senegal braces for further protests

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

DAKAR,(GGS NEWS) 31 JAN 2012 : — Senegal readied for fresh protests Tuesday after security forces shot dead a 60-year-old woman and a teenager at a rally against President Abdoulaye Wade’s controversial bid for a third term.
Tensions have escalated in the West African nation after the constitutional council gave Wade the green light to run in February 26 polls, prompting international calls for calm and condemnations of violence.
Senegal, typically a beacon of democracy among troubled neighbours, was urged by Amnesty International to halt a clampdown on protesters after two people were shot dead by security forces in the northern city of Podor.
“Today’s bloodshed marks a dramatic escalation in the violence that has plagued Senegal in the run-up to its elections,” said Salvatore Sagues, the global rights body’s West Africa researcher.
Washington, for its part, urged 85-year-old Wade to allow power to pass “to the next generation”.
“While we respect the process, the political and legal process in Senegal, the fact that he’s now been cleared to run, our message to him remains the same: that the statesmanly-like thing to do would be to cede to the next generation, and we think that would be better,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told journalists.
“Our view is that Senegalese democracy is strong enough to move to the next generation.”
But El Hadj Amadou Salla, minister of state and a senior Wade campaign official, said it was “too late” and the president’s candidacy has already been validated.
The country’s opposition has called for mass resistance to force Wade to step aside in the wake of the ruling, which sparked deadly riots Friday in which a policeman was killed.
A fresh protest is planned for Tuesday afternoon, stoking fears of more violence.
The constitutional council on Monday dismissed all appeals against Wade’s candidacy, leaving no legal recourse for opponents who accuse him of carrying out a constitutional coup.
A 17-year-old protester and 60-year-old female bystander were shot dead by paramilitary police who “opened fire on a crowd demonstrating against the constitutional council decision” in Podor, said Amnesty.
Details on Monday’s protest in the distant northern town are sketchy, but sources say it was led by a regional leader of the June 23 Movement (M23) of opposition and civil society groups.
Senegal’s presidential spokesman Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye called for peace: “The real combat is the one we must lead to hold a transparent election… being a candidate means nothing,” he told journalists.
“We deplore the will (of the opposition) to lead the country into chaos… we don’t want Senegal to go up in flames.”
M23 called for “a peaceful gathering” on Tuesday at 3:00 pm (1500 GMT) in Dakar in the suburb of Colobane, where Friday’s rally exploded into violence.
A policeman was killed by rioters during running battles with youths who torched cars and shops, erected barricades and burned tyres on Dakar’s main roads.
The opposition argues that the constitution allows a president to serve only two consecutive terms, but Wade says the law, which was amended in 2008, does not apply retroactively and cannot take into account his previous two terms.
Wade has dismissed opposition protests as “temper tantrums”.
Police, meanwhile, freed a coordinator of the M23 protest movement Monday after two days in custody.
Alioune Tine, a prominent member of the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO) said he was freed without being charged.
“I still don’t know what they accused me of,” the activist.
Wade said in a recent interview with a local news website that he needs three more years to complete his projects, fuelling speculation that he wants to line up a successor.
Former colonial power France said Senegal was excluding some groups from the vote after three candidates including music icon Youssou Ndour were rejected by the constitutional council.
“France regrets that not all political sensitivities could be represented,” foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
Ndour, the country’s most famous export, has urged the world to protest what he called a “constitutional coup d’etat”.
Aside from Wade, the council approved 13 other candidates including three former prime ministers and main opposition leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng.

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Double murder accused found hanged

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

UK,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 :- A Lithuanian man accused of the murders of a Birmingham couple has been found dead in his prison cell.Rimvydas Liorancas, 37, was charged with the murders of Avtar and Carole Kolar at their home in Handsworth Wood this month.

West Midlands police said he was found dead in his cell at Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes on Saturday.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Woodhill prisoner Rimvydas Liorancas was found hanging in his cell at 8.52am on Saturday. Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 9.30am.

“As with all deaths in custody, the prisons and probation ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”

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Euro zone jobless hits highest level since birth of euro

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

BRUSSELS,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 : — Eurozone unemployment hit a record 10.4 percent in November and December, provisional official figures showed on Tuesday.
The Eurostat data agency had previously estimated an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent in November but it was revised to 10.4 percent in its latest report.
The jobless rate has now remained at 10 percent or above for eight months in a row.
An estimated 16.469 million people were without jobs in the 17-nation monetary union in December, 20,000 more than in November, Eurostat said.
Spain was again the nation with the highest unemployment rate at 22.9 percent, the same figure as November. Greece came second with 19.2 percent.
Austria still has the lowest rate at 4.1 percent followed by the Netherlands at 4.9 percent and Luxembourg at 5.2 percent.
In Germany, Europe’s top economy, unemployment was stable at 5.5 percent. It rose slightly in France, the eurozone’s second biggest economy, from 9.8 percent to 9.9 percent.
The rate for the entire 27-nation European Union was stuck at 9.9 percent in December, with an estimated 23.816 million people unemployed.

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Tahawwur Rana’s plea for fresh trial rejected

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

US,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 :- A US court today rejected Pakistan born Canadian Tahawwur Rana’s plea for a new trial in cases related to the Mumbai and Denmark terror plots, saying there is no reason to believe the court erred in convicting David Headley’s co-accused for aiding Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The District Court said the defendant had failed to demonstrate that the court erred and a new trial is warranted, and that the government has presented substantial evidence of defendant’s knowledge and participation in the acts.

In June last year, after a three-week trial, 50-year-old Rana was convicted of providing material support to the banned LeT, and of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in connection with a foiled plot involving Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten.

He was, however, acquitted of charges that he aided the terrorists who carried out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Rana had appealed for a new trial in September last year citing that the jury was confused and that he did not get a fair trial.

According to documents released by the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, the court applied the correct legal standard, considering the totality of the evidence and properly denied the motion to quash.

The documents said that the court correctly concluded that, even considering Headley’s statements, probable cause existed.

The court particularly noted a September, 2009 conversation in which Rana and Headley discussed Denmark as a “target” and said there was significant evidence regarding the defendant’s knowledge and actions.

In denying the motion, the court pointed to at least three recorded conversations in which Rana was a participant, his involvement with Headley’s travel to Copenhagen and his attempts to get Headley a visa.

The documents said that in his final argument, Rana concludes “without the support of law or fact” that the district court erred by ruling against him.

However, the defendant fails to offer a single citation or any explanation for how the court allegedly erred, said the court.

The defendant’s “argument is waived because he provides no authority indicating that the district court erred”.

In fact, it said, the defendant’s list of errors is so cursory that the government has no meaningful ability to respond.

“In arguing that the government failed to prove its specific allegations, the defendant Rana simply rehashes his sufficiency of the evidence argument,” the court said.

Among other arguments, defendant argues that he lacked knowledge of Headley’s true activities, and thus neither he nor Headley constituted “personnel”.

As discussed at length above, the government presented substantial evidence of defendant’s knowledge and participation, it said.

Thus, the evidence demonstrated that defendant had provided both himself and Headley as “personnel,” and that defendant “concealed” the nature of such support.

Based on this evidence, a rational trier of fact could have, and did, find “the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” the court concluded holding that Rana’s argument was without merit.

“Because the government need only have proven that defendant conspired to, or did, provide one form of material support, the government need not address defendant’s arguments about other forms of material support for purposes of this motion.

“The government, however, submits that the evidence demonstrated each of the forms of material support alleged in the Second Superseding Indictment and Bill of Particulars”.

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Antony blames Army for Gen VK Singh’s age row

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 :- As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear the Army Chief age row, both Defence Minister AK Antony and Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh on Tuesday blamed the Army for the mess. Both Antony as well as General Singh said that the Army sat on the problem for 36 years and that the problem should not recur.
Antony said that the Supreme Court verdict on the controversy surrounding the date of birth of Army Chief will be final. Refusing to see the controversy as a civil-military conflict, Antony said that people responsible for maintaining the records will take the decision on General Singh’s date of birth.
“It’s gone beyond the government. Let’s wait for the Supreme Court decision. That will be final and nobody can question that,” said Antony in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“There are people responsible for that, (and) they will take the decision. At this stage it won’t come to me,” said the Defence Minister.
Antony pointed out that the controversy was not new and it had been festering for over 36 years.
“It’s been 36 years but the government was not in picture. It was only known to the Army. In 2006 the Army noticed two dates of birth, then it went to the level of Army Chief in 2006. The government of that day took a decision and recommended it to the Army. Where is the civil-military controversy? In 2008 it was another Army Chief and then the recommendation was sent to the government and the government accepted that,” he said.
Reacting to the Defence Minister’s statement, Genral VK Singh said, “Yes, this problem has been within the Army. It shouldn’t have happened, but has continued for 36 years, and this problem will not recur ever again.”
“The letter from the Defence Ministry to the Adjutant General’s branch is being studied and reply will be given in due course,” he said.
“There was some problem in coordination between the branch that keeps all the service records and other branches. Now a system has been put in place to resolve the coordination problem. As a result, such problem will never recur,” General Singh said.
The Indian Army has two sets of records related to General Singh’s dates of birth leading to the controversy and forcing the Army Chief to move the Supreme Court to resolve the issue. The government has also filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on the petition moved by General Singh on his age row. Through the caveat, the government has sought that the court does not pass an order before hearing it.
While Adjutant General Branch, the official record keeper in the Army, manitains General Singh’s date of birth as May 10, 1951; in the Military Secretary Branch General Singh’s date of birth is May 10, 1950.
General Singh, a para-commando and veteran of 1971 Indo-Pak war, has been contending that May 10, 1951 should be treated as his actual date of birth as it was mentioned in his matriculation certificate but the Defence Ministry has rejected it as May 10, 1950 is the date entered in his UPSC form for the NDA.
If General Singh’s date of birth is taken as May 10, 1951 then he will retire in March 2013 and if May 10, 1950 is accepted then his tenure will come to an end in May 2012. The difference of one year will have an affect on who will succeed him as the next Army Chief.
If he retires on May 31, 2012 then Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh will take over as the next Army Chief, but if he demits office in March 2013 then Northern Army commander Lieutenant General KT Parnaik could take over from him as Lt Gen Bikram Singh will retire later in 2012.
But if General Singh is removed or resigns before May 31, 2012, then Western Command Chief Lieutenant General Shankar Ghosh, who is the senior most serving officer in the Army, will take on as the 27th Chief of the Indian Army.

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Swamy scores, SC sets rules for prosecuting authorities

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

NEW DELHI,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 :- Setting aside the Delhi High Court judgement on sanction of prosecution in 2G case, the Supreme Court today held that filing of a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right of a citizen and the competent authority should take a decision on giving the sanction within a time frame.

If the sanction is not given within four months then it is deemed to have been granted, the two judge bench of the apex court held in a case filed by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the Prime Minister for sanction to prosecute the then Telecom Minister A Raja.

The bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly held that Swamy had the locus standi to seek sanction for Raja’s prosecution.

It said sanction should be granted within a time frame and the competent authority shall take action in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the apex court in the Vineet Narain case of 1996.

Justice Ganguly, who wrote a separate judgement, agreed with Justice Singhvi and said sanction would be deemed to be granted if the competent authority fails to take a decision within a period of four months.

The bench said that right to file a complaint against a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right.

The bench said it was not accepting certain submissions made by the Attorney General in defending the stand of Prime Minister’s Office.

The court said it was not declaring as ultra vires the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

 

 

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Govt’s expert panel to meet on Kudankulam issue today

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

Chennai,(GGS NEWS) 31 Jan 2012 :- The first face-to-face discussions on the stalled Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu will take place today, the expert committees appointed by the central and Tamil Nadu governments to calm down the fears of locals about the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. They will meet on Tuesday to discuss the ways of carrying out their mandate, as per the sources.

Reportedly, the members of the two committees will be meeting for the first time. The central government has formed a 15-member committee and the Tamil Nadu government has formed a six-member committee,” S.A. Bhardwaj, director (technical) of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), told the sources.

According to the sources, fourteen members of the central government’s panel met on Monday and discussed the points raised by the anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) agitators.

The discussion was about the ways in which technical aspects could be simplified so that a layman could understand,” as per the sources.

S. Sivasubramanian, coordinator of the People’s Rights Movement, an organisation fighting for the plant’s closure, stated, “Our two representatives on the state government formed committee will participate in tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting, as per the sources.

Queried about former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s 10-point programme for the development of Kudankulam and neighbouring areas, he said “Perhaps laying of four lane road would enable faster evacuation of people in case of a nuclear disaster.”

Referring to Kalam’s statement that country is bigger than individuals Subramanian said,” a community cannot be sacrificed for the economic development of a nation.”

According to the sources, Kalam visited KNPP on Sunday and gave a clean chit to the project, saying it was a modern and safe plant.

NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam.

Reportedly, the first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore (over $2.5 billion).
Work at the Rs. 13000-crore project has been paralyzed for almost a month following protests by thousands of villagers.

Villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population.

These confrontations lead to the stoppage of the project work, there by delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.

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I have been dropped, not rested: Haddin

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS :- Australia’s wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has said he feels like he has been dropped from the ODI side rather than rested. And Haddin believes that he could find it hard to force his way back into the one-day squad if his replacement Matthew Wade performs strongly in the first few games of the tri-series with India and Sri Lanka.

Australia’s national selector John Inverarity said on Monday that Haddin deserved to put his feet up after a gruelling schedule of Tests over the past few months. However, he also said the selection panel had an open mind about who would keep wicket for the remainder of the one-day series, the squad having only been named for the first three matches.

“I think anytime you’re out of the Australian Cricket team you’re dropped,” Haddin said on the Sydney radio station 2KY. “You give another guy an opportunity to take your spot. If they do well you could find it hard to get back in the team but that’s the way it is and I’ve just got to deal with that.

“We need to see how young Matty Wade goes at this level. It’s seen as a good opportunity to play him and from my point of view, if he does well there’s no guarantee you’ll get your spot. Once you’ve given it up you give someone an opportunity and you might not play again … If you give your spot up, you’ve got no right to walk straight back in.”

Haddin, 34, last year retired from Twenty20 internationals but remained part of Australia’s Test and one-day setup. However, a summer in which he failed to have a major impact with the bat and initially made some errors behind the stumps has left Haddin under pressure to hold his place, although he is expected to be one of the two keepers who will take part in the Test tour of the West Indies in April.

He will captain the Prime Minister’s XI in a one-day game against Sri Lanka in Canberra on Friday. Wade, 24, will make his ODI debut against India at the MCG on Sunday.

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WWE to put Mike Tyson in its HOF

Posted on 31 January 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS :-  Retired boxing great Mike Tyson is set to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this March.He was previously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2011 for his success inside the ring, but will now be added to the wrestling HOF for his appearances in the 1990s.

World Wrestling Entertainment announced Monday (January 3) that Tyson will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during a ceremony taking place on March 31 at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena — the night before WrestleMania XXVIII goes down.

For Tyson, it’s an honor.

“I am honored to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame,” Tyson said. “I was the youngest heavyweight champion of all time, but the most fun I ever had in the ring was with WWE.”

Tyson’s history with the sports entertainment company dates back to the late 1990s. When he was suspended from boxing for his infamous ear-biting incident with Evander Holyfield, the boxing legend appeared on “Monday Night Raw” where he had a staredown with Stone Cold Steve Austin and an ensuing brawl.

The incident led to Tyson being named special enforcer for the main event at WrestleMania XIV between Austin and Shawn Michaels. When Tyson declared Austin the winner and Michaels disputed it, the boxer delivered a knockout punch to Michaels.

More recently, Tyson returned to WWE in January 2010 as a guest star on “Monday Night Raw”, teaming with Chris Jericho in a tag-team match against Michaels and Triple H. However, Tyson turned on Jericho and knocked him out, allowing Michaels to pin Jericho for the victory.

For his classic appearances, Tyson will be enshrined in the “celebrity wing” of the WWE Hall of Fame, alongside the likes of Drew Carey, William “The Refrigerator” Perry and Pete Rose.

Others inducted into the Hall that night include wrestlers Edge, The Four Horsemen and Mil Mascaras, among others. More inductees are to be announced.

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