Archive | April, 2012

Mombasa Republican Council protests: Kenyan killed

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

MOMBASA (GGS NEWS )25 Apl 2012 : – One person was killed in Kenya on Tuesday during a protest against the government’s rule of the Mombasa coastal strip, a tourism magnet and one of the country’s main foreign exchange earners.

The protest came after the government banned the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group calling for the coastal city area to secede.

More than 50 people stormed a court that was hearing a case in which the MRC has challenged the government ruling. Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

“I can confirm that one person died in the confrontation after the youths affiliated with the MRC stormed the law courts,” said regional police chief Aggrey Adoli.

Adoli said the youth died after he was hit by a stone thrown by a fellow protester. He denied reports by some protesters that police had fired live rounds.

“The death of the youth was not as a result of a police bullet, but rather he died of wounds inflicted after his colleague hit him with a stone,” he said.

Adoli said the protesters had been warned to stay away from the court. Police made several arrests and several protesters were injured.

The MRC says it wants the coastal strip, which includes Kenya’s main port, to run its own affairs and accuses successive governments of doing too little to alleviate poverty.  President Mwai Kibaki said in a state of the nation address in parliament on Tuesday the coastal region would remain part of Kenya.

MRC chairman Omar Mwamnwadzi said: “The action by the police … has caused tension in the region. If anything happens as a result, I cannot be blamed because the government has pushed us to the wall.”

The group says it has thousands of members, mainly unemployed youths.

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UN Council to consider next steps on Sudan, S.Sudan

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

Sudan,(GGS NEWS) 25 Apl 2012 : The U.N. Security Council demanded on Tuesday that Sudan immediately stop airstrikes on South Sudan and will consider in the coming days what further steps to take to stop clashes between the east African neighbors spiraling into war.

Senior U.N. officials told the 15-nation body that aerial bombing of South Sudan’s Unity State on Monday night had killed 16 civilians, injured several dozen and caused significant damage to infrastructure.

The Sudanese army has denied carrying out air strikes.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said the latest hostilities amounted to a declaration of a war by his northern neighbor.

Clashes along the ill-defined border between the former civil-war foes has led to a standoff over the Heglig oil field after it was seized earlier this month by troops from South Sudan, which declared independence last year.

“Council members welcomed the withdrawal from Heglig by the SPLA (South Sudan’s army), demanded an immediate halt to aerial bombardments by the Sudanese forces and urged an immediate ceasefire and return to the negotiating table,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said, characterizing the Security Council consultations on Tuesday.

U.N. under-secretary-general for peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, U.N. envoy to Sudan Haile Menkerios and Hilde Johnson, head of the U.N. mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, all briefed the Security Council.

Rice, who is the Security Council president for April, said the council also “acknowledged the constructive contribution of the African Union Peace and Security Council and its communiqué adopted earlier today which will … inform our consultations on further action.”

The Security Council discussed last week possibly imposing sanctions on Sudan and South Sudan if the violence did not stop.

British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters that the African Union Peace and Security Council “set out a very detailed and clear roadmap and asked for Security Council Chapter 7 endorsement of that plan.”

A Chapter 7 resolution by the council would be legally binding on both Sudan and South Sudan.

Distrust runs deep between the neighbors, who are at loggerheads over the position of their border, how much the landlocked south should pay to transport its oil through Sudan, and the division of national debt, among other issues.

Both are poor countries – South Sudan is one of the poorest in the world – and the dispute between them has already halted nearly all the oil production that underpins both economies.

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Leveson Inquiry: Rupert Murdoch faces grilling over papers’ influence

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

Uk,(GGS NEWS) 25 Apl 2012 : Rupert Murdoch faces a two-day grilling under oath at the Leveson Inquiry into and press standards in the UK.The 81-year-old News Corporation chairman and chief executive will be asked about the phone-hacking scandal, his oversight of his UK newspapers, and his influence over British politicians.

His son James, 39, who is appearing before the landmark public inquiry on Tuesday, is set to be questioned further about when he learned of evidence suggesting hacking was rife at the News of the World.

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Court 73 at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London will be packed for Rupert Murdoch’s evidence sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.

It will be the billionaire’s highest profile public appearance since he gave evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee last July.

Mr Murdoch told MPs it was the “most humble day” of his life and apologised for the phone-hacking scandal, but the session was disrupted when a protester pelted him with a foam pie.

The setting is more formal this time: the media tycoon will swear an oath promising to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” before undergoing scrutiny at the hands of the experienced counsel to the inquiry, Robert Jay QC.

The Murdochs are appearing separately, meaning that James Murdoch will not be able to interrupt to help his father answer questions as he did in front of the MPs.

The Leveson Inquiry has a wide-ranging remit to examine the culture, practices and ethics of the press, and make recommendations for the future regulation of British newspapers.

It has already taken evidence on unethical and possibly illegal behaviour by journalists, and on relations between police and newspapers.

Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson is now turning to contacts between politicians and the national press.

The Murdochs will be asked about the phone-hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World last July after revelations that the paper listened to the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

James Murdoch is expected to face more questions about what he knew as executive chairman of News Corp’s UK newspapers division News International, a post he held until February.

Two News of the World executives claim they warned him in June 2008 that the practice of phone-hacking extended beyond royal editor Clive Goodman, who was jailed in January 2007.

News Corp still owns The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times, and has a 39 per cent stake in satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

The inquiry has heard that a young Times reporter hacked into a policeman’s emails in 2009 to unmask him as the author of an anonymous blog.

Rupert Murdoch will be asked whether he exerted undue influence over British public life through his papers and his regular meetings with top politicians.

He told MPs he met David Cameron “within days” of the 2010 general election and was invited to Downing Street by Gordon Brown “many times”. Tony Blair is godfather to one of his children.

A small number of seats in the Leveson Inquiry hearing room will be made available to the public on a first-come, first served basis during the Murdochs’ appearances.

But security will be tight to prevent any repeat of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee protest.

Lord Justice Leveson will hear evidence today from John Ryley, the head of Sky News, who is likely to be asked about the broadcaster’s decision that it was in the public interest for a journalist to hack into the emails of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin.

Also appearing are Aidan Barclay, chairman of Telegraph Media Group, which publishes the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of the companies which own the Independent and London’s Evening Standard.

The inquiry has already heard from Richard Desmond, owner of the Express and Daily Star titles, and is expected to take evidence from Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday owner Lord Rothermere in the coming weeks.

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US lawmaker asks Clinton to reconsider decision on visa to Modi

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

WASHINGTON,(GGS NEWS) 25 Ap; 2012 : A US lawmaker has asked the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to reconsider the government’s decision against issuing a diplomatic visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, drawing strong reactions from the Indian American Muslim community here.

Congressman Joe Walsh, a right wing conservative Republican and a tea party favourite has written a letter to Clinton, requesting her to consider granting a diplomatic visa to Modi.

The letter attracted strong reaction from the Indian American Muslim community who yesterday demanded that the State Department should not change its 2005 policy on Modi’s visa.

Clinton is yet to respond to the letter, which was written by Congressman Walsh more than a fortnight ago, but sources in the State Department said there has been no change in its policy with regard to Modi’s visa and would not change till the matter is sub-judice.

Taking a strong objection to the effort of Walsh, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) alleged that the Congressman’s letter is factually incorrect.

“It is unfortunate that a sitting member of the US Congress should attempt to make a case based on ignorance of the law which was amended in September 2009, specifically to remove the 24-month restriction,” IAMC president, Shaheen Khateeb, said.

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Pakistan tests nuclear-capable missile

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

ISLAMABAD,(GGS NEWS) 25 Apl 2012 : Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Wednesday, the military said, less than a week after India tested a missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads as far as Beijing and Eastern Europe.

Pakistan’s Shaheen-1A is an intermediate range ballistic missile, capable of reaching targets in India. Military officials declined to specify the range of the missile.

The missile’s impact point was in the Indian Ocean. India and Pakistan have fought three full-scale wars since they were carved out of British India in 1947. They conduct missile tests regularly and inform each other in advance.

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‘Conservative party to be first to have British Indian PM’

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : The Conservative party is going to be the first in the UK to have a British Prime Minister of Indian-origin, Premier David Cameron has forecast as he praised the community for their hard work to make Britain what it is today.

“We were the first party to have a woman prime minister (Mrs Margaret Thatcher), we were the first party in (Benjamin) Disraeli to have a Jewish prime minister and when I look at the talent behind me I think we are going to be the first party to have a British Indian Prime Minister,” Cameron said at the launch of the Conservative Friends of India.

He noted that “the values of Conservative party and values of British Indians such as caring about family are identical” and praised “the excellent contributions” of Sailesh Vara, MP, government whip and Prity Patel, MP.

At the outset Cameron told the packed gathering at The Lawrence Hall in central London, “we would like to celebrate the success of British Indian businessmen and British Indian cricket players.”

“There are so many British Indians who had put in hard work to make Britain what it is today.”

Referring to UK-India tie, he said “first of all, the relation between Britain and India is incredibly strong and incredibly important. But we have to make it strongest ever.”

He said sometimes people think that Indian economy was just based on call centres.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indian economy is there as a dynamo to the world economy,” he noted.”Indian businesses own some of the most iconic British brands. Car companies like Jaguar Land Rover (owned by Tatas) that are selling cars all over the world. What a great combination between Indian capital and British labour that’s actually producing a world-class car. Indian investment in Britain is of top quality,” Cameron said.

Referring to the scourge of terrorism, Cameron said, “We have faced the challenges of terrorism. India faced terror attack in Mumbai and in Britain we had terror attack in London 7/7. Britain and India stand together so that terror never raises its head again.”

Speaking on the occasion, India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Jaimini Bhagwati said, “India deeply appreciated your vision for the growth of the bilateral partnership”, adding “we want to further deepen and diversify the bilateral relation.”

He said the two countries are already working closely at the United Nations and other forums such as G-20.

“Sky is the limit for India-UK relation,” he said..

Smriti Irani, BJP MP said, “I am here today as a proud Indian to express my grateful thanks to British Indians.”

Lord Popat said he was proud to be involved with the Conservative party for the last 30 years.

He said the Conservative Friends of India would be hosting the first annual lecture where an Indian Minister would be the chief guest.

It would be followed by a Diwali lunch with a Senior British Cabinet minister as Chief Guest.

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10 million Indians wish to move to US: Poll

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

WASHINGTON,(GGS NEWS) 25 Apl 2012 : Around 13 per cent of the world’s adults — or over 640 million people — would like to emigrate with roughly 150 million, including ten million Indians wishing to settle in America.

So suggests a new Gallup survey giving the US an undisputed title as the globe’s most desired destination for would-be migrants since Gallup began tracking patterns in 2007.

Would-be migrants who express desires to relocate to the US most likely come from populous nations such as China (22 million), India (10 million), Brazil (7 million), Nigeria (15 million) or Bangladesh (8 million).

In addition to the almost 1 in 30 adults globally who would like to permanently settle in the US, vast numbers are attracted to the UK (45 million), to Canada (42 million), to France (32 million), and to Saudi Arabia (31 million).

Despite large numbers of people in China, Nigeria, and India who want to migrate permanently to the US, these countries are not necessarily the places where the US is the most desired destination.

Potential migrants aspire to move to countries all over the world for the simple reason that they are in search of opportunity, Gallup said.

Opportunity could mean the chance to join family members who are already in other countries, to start a new business, to express one’s views without fear, or to live where children are treated with respect.

The reason the US is such a highly desired destination for potential migrants, in addition to being the land of opportunity, could be that many Americans are accepting of migrants in their communities, Gallup said.

Gallup.com’s latest figures on adults’ aspirations to move to other nations are based on a rolling median of surveys, using the responses of 452,199 adults in 151 nations between 2009 – 2011. The 151 nations represent over 97 per cent of the globe’s adult population.

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Rajiv protected Quattrocchi, Amitabh story planted: Top cop

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

NEW DELHI,(GGS NEWS) 25 Apl 2012 :   The whistleblower in the Bofors case has made his identity known after 25 long years. In an exclusive interview, former Swedish Police chief Sten Lindstrom has owned up being the ‘Swedish Deep Throat’ in the illegal payoffs case that once rocked both India and Sweden. Now a quarter of a century later, investigations lie buried, despite coming tantalizingly close to blowing the lid off the sensational scandal.

Lindstrom says in an interview to the journalist who had broken the story, Chitra Subramanian, that there was no evidence to suggest that former PM Rajiv Gandhi had taken bribe in the Bofors deal. However, he did not seem to have done much to prevent the cover up that followed in both India and Sweden to protect the main accused, Ottavio Quattrocchi, against whom, says Lindstrom, there was conclusive evidence.

Lindstrom has revealed that he was the person who leaked over 350 documents to the Indian journalist. He was the journalist’s secret informant who operated under the pseudonym of Swedish Deep Throat.

“Many Indian institutions were tarred, innocent people were punished while the guilty got away,” says Lindstrom. “The evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi was conclusive. Through a front company called AE Services, bribes paid by Bofors landed in Quattrocchi’s account which he subsequently cleaned out because India said there was no evidence linking him to the Bofors deal. Nobody in Sweden or Switzerland was allowed to interrogate him.”

In the interview, appearing in a website The Hoot, Lindstrom says, “Ardbo (Bofors managing director) had also mentioned a meeting between an AE Services official and a Gandhi trustee lawyer in Geneva. This was a political payment. These payments are made when the deal has to be inked and all the numbers are on the table.”

Lindstrom’s ‘disclosures’ are known in India, examined even by courts and brushed aside, and the timing of the disclosure that he was the ‘Deep Throat’ for the exposes on Bofors scam is certain to trigger some speculation about his motive.

Quattrocchi was discharged in 2009 by the court which observed that the CBI, which withdrew prosecution against him, had failed to “put forward legally sustainable evidence with regard to conspiracy in the matter”.

In fact, Lindstrom goes on to suggest that the Gandhi family may have gone out of his way to protect Quattrocchi. “He (Ardbo) had written in his notes that the identity of N (Arun Nehru) becoming public was a minor concern but at no cost could the identity of Q (Quattrocchi) be revealed because of his closeness to R (Rajiv Gandhi).”

Lindstrom gives a clean chit to Amitabh Bachchan and his family saying that the story against them was planted in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter by Indian investigators. “They gave me a list of names to pursue including the name of Amitabh Bachchan… During that trip to Sweden, the Indian investigators planted the Bachchan angle on DN,” he says.

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Race for Rashtrapati Bhawan: APJ Abdul Kalam a good choice, says Samajwadi Party

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

NEW DELHI,(GGS NEWS) 25 Apl 2012 : Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s prospects of succeeding President Pratibha Patil gained momentum on Tuesday with Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad announcing his unequivocal support.

“Our vice-president Hamid Ansari should be made the President,” Prasad said, explaining why he preferred Ansari over former president APJ Abdul Kalam, whose name has also aroused much speculation. “Kalam has already been the president. Now, Ansari should be made because he is an able person and his performance is also best in the Rajya Sabha,” Prasad said.

Prasad’s endorsement carries some weight because Congress, which leads the United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, does not have the numbers to install its candidate in Rashtrapati Bhavan this time round. However, along with the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party, which support the UPA from outside, the ruling coalition can successfully field a consensus candidate. While UPA and the parties lending outside support together command 53% votes in the indirect presidential poll scheduled for July, the UPA along with SP and BSP has 51% votes. The three Ms, including the mercurial Mamata Banerjee, UPA member Trinamool Congress party’s chief who has been at odds with Congress over several issues, are therefore critical for this year’s presidential race.

Several Congress leaders are also believed to be rooting for Ansari because they feel it will be easier to rally support for somebody who is not seen as a true-blue Congress candidate. While Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s earlier comment that an apolitical candidate should be chosen has provoked quick reactions, only SP and the RJD have clearly stated their position yet. SP had proposed a second term for Kalam. “It is too early to comment on it. Let the name of candidate be declared first and then only we will make our stand known,” said Mayawati.

The principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which has 21% votes, and 28% along with its partners in the National Democratic Alliance, is maintaining a strategic silence to avoid a rapid polarisation against its stated choice. “We do not want to comment on any individual. But our view is that there should be a consensus among all political parties on the candidature of the President,” said BJP leader Rajnath Singh. “Nothing has come to us formally so far,” said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury. “There is naturally a lot of interest in speculation on the presidential election. It happens every five years, beginning in the month of April-May, and goes on till the elections.”

Besides Kalam, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s name has also been doing the rounds, even as he is believed to command more support outside his party than within. Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s three-hour meeting with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the latter’s residence on Tuesday added one more name to the list. Many speculated that the former governor, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, wanted Patnaik to support him for the presidential poll, a suggestion that Gandhi denied. Ansari had also recently met Patnaik, who is yet to reveal his party’s stand.

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Nifty below 5200 as S&P lowers India outlook

Posted on 25 April 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Citing a slowdown in investment and economic growth and a widening current account deficit, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) rating services on Wednesday revised India’s long-term rating to negative from stable. It affirmed `BBB-‘ rating for India and warned that the country stands one out of three chance of a downgrade in two years if external positions worsen.
In a press statement, the agency said India’s favorable long-term growth prospects and high level of foreign exchange reserves support the ratings. On the other hand, India’s large fiscal deficits and debt, as well as its lower middle-income economy, constrain the ratings. “We expect India’s real GDP per capita growth will likely remain moderately strong at 5.3% in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, compared with about 6% on average over the prior five years, but down from 8% in the middle of the last decade,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Takahira Ogawa. The rating agency also said the government will face headwinds in implementing policy reforms.
This news sent shock waves in market, sending Sensex down by more than 150 points. The rupee reacted by moving to 52.65 to a dollar. Discounting the slides as a knee-jerk reaction,No sooner had the news spread, the finance ministry activated its damage-control machinery saying the S&P has only waved a red flag and not downgraded India which will not impact the ability of corporates to borrow abroad. While this might soothe ruffled feathers of worried investors, experts point out that unless the government delivers on reforms, a downgrade is imminent.

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