Archive | May, 2012

Rahul’s Youth Congress experiment failing?

Posted on 30 May 2012 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) The Congress seems to have suffered another setback as the Indian Youth Congress membership plan has recorded a sharp decline in membership-registration following their ‘icon’s’ Rahul Gandhi’s ‘ineffective’ performance in the recently held assembly elections.

According to report, the drive has failed to attract youth to be a part of Indian Youth Congress and the numbers have declined to one-third in Gujarat and one-tenth in Jharkhand and Tamilnadu.

In the recent drive in Gujarat, only 2.5 lakh youth enrolled for IYC, whereas this figure had touched 7 lakh during 2010.

The similar trend has emerged in Uttar Pradesh also, where youth’s choice seems to have shifted to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Prior to UP assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi was considered youth icon in the state, but post-election scenario has changed the statistics.

The sharp decline in youth enrollment with IYC is now being construed Rahul Gandhi’s failure in obtaining people’s faith in Congress.

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Sizzling city: Season’s hottest day at 44 degrees Celsius

Posted on 30 May 2012 by GGS News

NEW DELHI,(GGS NEWS)  The heat is on, and it’s only going to get worse. Delhi sweltered under a maximum temperature of 43.1 degrees Celsius on Thursday, the highest for the season. Oppressively hot winds forced people indoors, leaving shopping centres wearing a deserted look. Not surprisingly, power demand shot up, peaking at 4,823 MW, the highest so far this year.

Worse, the Met office has forecast a further rise over the next few days. “On Friday, the maximum temperature is likely to be 45 degrees Celsius,” said a senior Met official. The hot spell is expected to continue till next Tuesday.Before Thursday’s peak temperature, which was 4 degrees above normal, the highest maximum recorded this season was 42.6 degree Celsius on May 10 and 11. The humidity on Thursday swung between 9 and 36%.

Officials said such temperature surges were normal during May. “Last year, the maximum temperature in May was 44.1 degrees. In 2010, it was 45.4 degrees, while in 2002, the mercury had shot up to a record-breaking 46 degrees Celsius,” the official said.

Many Delhiites said the dust in the air, being brought in by gusty winds from Rajasthan, was increasing their discomfort. “We do not step out of home till evening these days. The whole day is spent watching TV with ACs switched on. Our power bill is going to be unimaginably high this month,” said Swati Das, a resident of Kailash Colony in south Delhi. Das said power cuts for even a few minutes had become unbearable in this weather.

The peak power demand on Thursday touched the season’s highest of 4,823 MW. Discoms BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani attributed the spike in demand to Delhiites keeping their air-conditioners on for most of the day.

The maximum demand of 1,880 MW was met by BSES Rajdhani while Yamuna catered to 1,250 MW, it’s highest ever.

“Hot winds also made the day miserable. I desperately wanted to be indoors but my professional commitments forced me outdoors,” said Abhishek Kumar, a marketing executive.

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The jeweller Faberge honoured by a Google doodle

Posted on 30 May 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé – best known for creating the famous Fabergé eggs – has had the 166th anniversary of his birth celebrated with a Google doodle.

The search engine has turned its homepage emblem into a set of six gold eggs decorated in diamonds, precious metals and gemstones in tribute to the designer.

Fabergé was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia on May 30, 1846 to the Baltic German jeweller Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt.

His father was an established jeweller, dealing in fine decorative objects, which his son continued after inheriting the family business in 1870.

Fabergé quickly developed a reputation for producing exquisite jewelled objects including the Easter egg designs which made him world famous.

In 1882 at the Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow, Fabergé won the gold medal. He was appointed as the court jeweller of the Romanov dynasty in 1885.

He died on September 24, 1920 at the age of 74.

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Govt changes stand over bail of Italian marines

Posted on 30 May 2012 by GGS News

Thiruvanthapuram, (GGS NEWS) 30May 2012 : The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted bail to two Italian Marines in the Feb 15 fishermen shooting case.

The Marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, were granted bail on the conditions that they each pay a fine of Rs.One crore as penalty and provide two Indian sureties.

Besides, their passports would have to be surrendered and they can not leave the area falling under the jurisdiction of Kochi city police commissioner. They are supposed to report to the commissioner everyday between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Two Indian fishermen — Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45 — were allegedly mistaken as pirates and shot dead off Alappuzha in Kerala by the Marines, who were serving as the security crew aboard Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie.

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India crash out of Azlan Shah hockey title race

Posted on 30 May 2012 by GGS News

IPOH ( Malaysia),(GGS NEWS) 30 May 2012 :  Five-time champions India’s title hopes came a cropper after they suffered a 2-3 defeat against Argentina in a crucial match of the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Wednesday.

India suffered from their inability to capitalise on openings and also feeble defense to allow Argentina to call the shots.

Two field goals by Matias Paredes (37th minute) and Santiago Montelli (38th) soon after the half-time gave Argentina the advantage and then Gonzalo Peillat (58th) converted a penalty corner to ensure a victory for the Pan American champions.

The Indians fought hard and reduced the margin twice through goals from Sardar Singh (48th minute) and V R Raghunath (61st minute), but an equaliser eluded them inspite of repeated attacks into the rival citadel.

India have now lost three of their five matches, logging just six points ahead of Thursday’s last league outing against Pakistan.

Argentina have boosted their tally to nine points with three successive wins after starting with two losses.

The first session was mostly confined to the midfield with both teams often losing possession on top of the rival circle. India created two openings from the left flank, but were unable to capitalise on them.

India’s first penalty corner in the sixth minute was also wasted as Sandeep Singh’s rising flick was deflected out by a defender.

Sandeep even suffered a minor ankle sprain in taking the penalty corner and was rested for a long period, but will be back for Thursday’s game against Pakistan.

After a barren first half, Argentina scored two goals in the space of one minute soon after the change of ends.

Paredes benefitted from Sandeep’s defensive lapse off a long diagonal pass to flick the ball into the goal.

Within a minute, Argentina were up 2-0, courtesy another silly error from the Indians, to be precise captain Sardar Singh who easily gave away the ball and Montelli had all the time in the world to shot the ball into the net.

India then went all out and were rewarded with their second penalty corner from which Sardar scored with a reverse hit after Raghunath’s initial flick was saved by Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi.

Argentina were then put 3-1 ahead by Gonzalo Peillat’s low penalty corner shot that went to the left of Indian custodian Sreejesh.

India continued to press hard and were back in the contest when Raghunath scored with a rising drag-flick into the net nine minutes from the hooter.

Raghunath had a chance to restore parity for India in the 66th minute from another penalty corner, but this time his shot went wide of the Argentine goal.

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Syria: William Hague says risk of civil war and collapse increasing

Posted on 28 May 2012 by GGS News

Syria,(GGS NEWS) William Hague has said there is an increasing risk of civil war in Syria and the government must implement an international plan to stop violence.

Speaking in Moscow, the UK foreign secretary said Friday’s massacre in the town of Houla was “deeply disturbing” and had “drawn the attention of the world” to events in the country.

UN envoy Kofi Annan is due to hold talks with President Assad on Tuesday.Mr Hague said the Annan plan was the “only hope” for stability in Syria.

He was speaking after holding talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, talks which were dominated by the violence of Syria.

The United Nations has condemned Syria for its use of heavy weaponry after at least 108 people were killed, including many children, in the Syrian town.

‘Cycle of violence’

The UK has said it was “absolutely sickened” by the killings and the Syrian charge d’affaires will be summoned to the Foreign Office later to hear the government’s criticism.

“I think we are all deeply disturbed by what we have seen over the weekend that has illuminated the continuing killing and abuse in Syria,” he said.

Mr Hague said the Assad government must implement a six-point put forward by Mr Annan, a former UN secretary general, which would see an immediate end to violence and for a path towards a “more plural and democratic” system of government in the country.

“The Annan plan is the best hope for Syria, at the moment the only hope for Syria, to try and break the cycle of violence.

“It is not as if the alternatives in Syria are the Annan plan or the Assad regime retaking control of the country. The alternatives are the Annan plan or ever-increasing chaos in Syria and a descent closer and closer to all-out civil war and collapse.

“There needs to be a fundamental change in the approach of the Assad regime if Syria is to be saved from ever greater chaos and disorder.”

Russia and China have blocked previous attempts to impose UN sanctions on Syria. Russia views Syria as an ally in the region.

Mr Lavrov said Russia wanted to see an end to violence by all sides in Syria and a political process based on respect for Syria’s “sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence”.We are dealing with a situation in which both sides evidently had a hand in the deaths of innocent people,” he said.

‘Not responsible’

The UN said 49 children and 34 women were among Friday’s dead. Syria claimed anti-government forces were responsible for the deaths.Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said: “We categorically deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre.”

Meanwhile, Syrian Olympic Committee chairman Mowaffak Joma has said the UK “has no right” to deny their athletes access to the London 2012 Olympic games.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had said Syrian delegation members with connections to the regime will not be allowed entry.

Mr Joma said the Olympic charter forbids host countries from banning athletes.

The unrest in Syria has killed at least 10,000 people since protests against President Assad broke out in March 2011.

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Two men self-immolate in Tibet

Posted on 28 May 2012 by GGS News

SHANGHAI (GGS NEWS) – Two Tibetan men set themselves on fire in central Lhasa on Sunday, the first in a series of self-immolation protests against Chinese rule over Tibet to take place in the regional capital, the Xinhua state news agency said on Monday.

Police put out the flames within two minutes but one of the men died, it said. The other was seriously injured but later able to talk.

“They were a continuation of the self-immolations in other Tibetan areas and these acts were all aimed at separating Tibet from China”, Xinhua quoted Hao Peng, head of the Communist Party’s Commission for Political and Legal Affairs in the Tibet Autonomous Region, as saying on Sunday.

At least 34 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March 2011 in protest against China’s six-decade rule over Tibet, according to Tibetan rights groups. At least 24 have died.

China has branded the self-immolators “terrorists” and criminals and has blamed exiled Tibetans and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for inciting them.

Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a separatist. The Dalai Lama says he merely seeks greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

The self-immolations took place on Pargor, or Barkhor, Street, Xinhua said. The area is one of Lhasa’s busiest quarters, adjacent to the Jokhang Temple, and is often crowded with pilgrims and tourists. Xinhua said downtown Lhasa was particularly crowded for a celebration.

Robbie Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University in New York, said he had heard reports of the self-immolations from people in Lhasa, with a person describing the city as “boiling”.

“For the Chinese authorities, it has very serious implications and suggests that the movement is spreading among Tibetans,” Barnett told Reuters. “It could lead to an increased severity of restrictions and controls.”

Telephone calls to the Tibet Autonomous Region and Lhasa municipal governments were not answered.

The U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia said Lhasa was “filled with police and paramilitary forces and the situation is very tense”.

Only one other self-immolation had been reported in the Tibet Autonomous Region, a province-level administrative area under the central government. The rest occurred in Tibetan-populated areas of other provinces in southwestern China.

The Chinese term for the Jokhang Temple was blocked on Monday on the popular microblogging site Sina Weibo.

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Nepal calls elections as constitution deadline passes

Posted on 28 May 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Nepal’s prime minister has called a fresh parliamentary election after warring political parties failed to reach an agreement on a new constitution. The deadline for the new statute passed at midnight on Sunday.
Nepalwas plunged into a new phase of political instability on Monday after the government failed to meet a deadline to agree on a new federal structure.
In a bid to defuse the crisis, Prime Minister Baburum Bhattarai announced in a midnight television address to the nation that parliament would be disbanded ahead of an election in November.
“Regressive forces prevented us from writing an inclusive constitution on time,” the prime minister said.

“We will make an attempt on November 22 to elect a fresh constituent assembly to make another attempt to write a new constitution, which addresses the aspirations of all the people.”
“There is no alternative to fresh elections,” he added.
The country’s Constituent Assembly, which has doubled as a parliament, was elected in 2008 to write the statute in the wake of a 10-year civil war. It had been hoped that it would put an end to the political instability which has plagued Nepal since the end of the Maoist-led war in 2006 and the subsequent overthrow of the monarchy.
Ethnic stumbling blocks

Since then political parties have been battling over whether the country should be divided into states along ethnic lines. A lack of consensus meant the assembly’s initial two-year term was extended four times with a final deadline set for midnight on Sunday.
The Constituent Assembly will now disband, although the 601-member body will remain functional in its role as parliament until November’s vote.

The call by Maoist Prime Minister Bhattarai for fresh elections has been met by fierce opposition from the other members of the ruling coalition. The leaders of the Nepali Congress, the Unified Marxist Leninist party and the United Democratic Madhesi Front, all argued that the elections would be unconstitutional.
“The Maoists were never serious about discussing the major issues in the constitution, which is why we don’t have a constitution today,” Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel said on Sunday.
Earlier, thousands of people from various ethnic and political groups had gathered outside the parliament in Kathmandu as politicians scrambled – in vain – to reach agreement. More than a dozen people were injured when protesters tried to break a security cordon, prompting police to fire tear gas.

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Mass anti-government protest in Morocco

Posted on 28 May 2012 by GGS News

CASABLANCA, (GGS NEWS) : Morocco — Tens of thousands of Moroccans took to the streets of Casablanca on Sunday in the largest opposition protest since an Islamist-led government took office, reflecting mounting tensions over unemployment and other social woes.
The protest was organised by trade unions which accuse Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane of failing to deliver on the pledges of social justice that brought his party to power in the wake of the Arab Spring.
“There are more than 50,000 people who are demonstrating to call on the government to start a genuine dialogue addressing our country’s social ills,” opposition Socialist MP Hassan Tariq said.
A official estimated the crowds at between 15,000 and 20,000.
“The trade unions are united and the message to the Benkirane government is clear: he needs to change his strategy,” Tariq told AFP as the crowd marched through the heart of Morocco’s largest city and its economic capital.
Union leaders have been appealing to the government for talks on improving salaries and social conditions in a country where almost half of people aged between 15 and 29 are neither working nor in school, according to a World Bank report this month.
The report said Morocco’s large youth population — 30 percent of the total of 32 million people — could be an “engine of growth” but that young people faced numerous obstacles.
Morocco’s government is grappling with a crisis caused by drought and a sharp slide in tourism revenues, the country’s largest source of income along with transfers by Moroccans abroad and phosphate exports.
Hundreds of youths from the February 20 Movement — known as M20 — also turned out in Casablanca for the demonstration on Sunday.
Their movement was born of the wave of protests which took hold in the kingdom last year after pro-democracy revolts in Tunisia and Egypt toppled long-standing regimes.
King Mohammed VI nipped the protest movement in the bud by introducing significant reforms to curb his near-absolute powers.
The ensuing November 2011 election saw the Justice and Development Party — a moderate Islamist party — win the most seats and head a coalition government.
It had pledged to address the protest movement’s grievances and fight for more social justice in a country mired by high unemployment and illiteracy rates.
But less than six months after it was sworn in, Benkirane is facing renewed discontent from protesters who see no change.
“Benkirane and Fouad Ali El Himma are two sides of the same coin,” was one slogan chanted in the streets of Casablanca, referring to the king’s closest advisor.
In April, parliament adopted a 2012 budget that trims the public deficit but continues efforts to reinforce social spending.
It foresees a public deficit at 5.0 percent of gross domestic product this year, down from over 6.0 percent last year as the previous government splurged on subsidies, notably on food, to defuse the growing protest movement.
Finance Minister Nizar Baraka has said the country’s economy would likely grow by around 3.0 percent this year, less than the 4.2 percent forecast in the budget because of the drought and the debt crisis in the eurozone, which is Morocco’s biggest trade partner.

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UN Security Council condemns Syria over massacre

Posted on 28 May 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Special envoy Kofi Annan is to visit Damascus on Monday, the day after the UN condemned Syria for its use of heavy weaponry in the town of Houla, where at least 108 people were killed.

Forty-nine children and 34 women were among Friday’s dead, the UN said.

Syria’s ambassador to the UN rejected what he called a “tsunami of lies” from some Security Council members.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is going to Russia, which views Syria as a vital ally in the region.

The BBC’s Daniel Sandford, in Moscow, says Mr Hague will argue that this could be the last opportunity to secure a “political transition” in Syria and avoid all-out civil war.

Russia and China have blocked previous attempts to impose UN sanctions on Syria.

The Syrian ambassador to London has also been summoned to the Foreign Office to hear the British government’s condemnation of the massacre in Houla.

Fighting in Syria has continued despite the deployment of some 280 UN observers monitoring a ceasefire brokered by Mr Annan.

Opposition activists said at least 30 people were killed on Sunday when the army shelled the central city of Hama. These reports cannot be independently verified, as Syria severely restricts journalists’ freedom of movement.

The BBC’s Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon say there is no sign that the Syrian government’s behaviour on the ground has changed as a result of the Houla massacre.

Sunday saw thousands of activists take to the streets in protest at events in Houla.

‘Severe physical abuse’

On Sunday, the Security Council unanimously adopted the non-binding statement, calling for the Syrian government to withdraw its heavy weaponry from residential areas and return them to barracks.

“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the killings… in the village of (Houla), near Homs, in attacks that involved a series of government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood,” the statement said.

“The members of the Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse,” the statement continued.

“Such outrageous use of force against civilian population constitutes a violation of applicable international law.”

But Syria’s UN ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, accused some members of the council of trying to mislead the world about Syria’s role in the massacre.

“Neither [UN observer mission head Maj Gen Robert] Mood nor anybody else told the Security Council in the informal session that he would blame the Syrian government forces for what happened.

“It is really pitiful and regrettable that some members of the council came out just a few minutes after Gen Mood had finished his briefing to mislead you, to tell you lies about what happened,” he said.

Mr Jaafari said there had been deaths, but said they had been due to close-range assassinations rather than a result of shelling. Syria has blamed the massacre on “terrorists”.

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