Archive | August, 2012

Arun Gawli gets life term for murdering Sena corporator

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

Mumbai,(GGS NEWS) : Arun Gawli, convicted in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar has been awarded a life sentence by a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court. The gangster turned politician and 11 others were convicted for the murder Jamsandekar last week.
Ten others were also awarded life imprisonment in the case while accused Sunil Ghate was convicted only under Arms Act and has been sent to three years’ rigorous imprisonment.
Special MCOCA court judge Prithviraj Chavan, while pronouncing the judgement here, also imposed a fine of Rs 17 lakhs on Gawli, failing which he will have to undergo an additional three-year imprisonment.The court also sent Gawli to ten-year imprisonment each for being a member of the organised crime syndicate and extortion.
While pronouncing the sentence, judge Chavan said “Instead of death I am giving you life imprisonment.”
This is Arun Gawli’s first ever conviction. The gangster turned politician has close to 50 criminal cases against him. The prosecution said Gawli was paid Rs 30 lakh for the contract killing of Jamsandekar. According to police, the contract of killing Jamsandekar was allegedly given by accused Sahebrao Bhintade and Bala Surve, who were reportedly his (Jamsandekar’s) rivals in construction business and the local politics.
It was Gawli’s own men that turned against him, ensuring his arrest in 2008 and his conviction last week. Interestingly, Gawli’s party, the Akhil Bhratiya Sena, backs the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition in the Brihan Mumbai Corporation.
The court also convicted eleven others accused while the sentence will be pronounced on August 27. One of the accused, Bala Surve, died during trial, while three accused were acquitted for lack of evidence.
Jamsandekar was shot dead in March 2008 at his Asalpha residence in suburban Ghatkopar. Gawli was arrested on May 21, 2008 and has been in custody since then.
On October 7, 2010, the court had framed charges against Gawli and other accused under MCOCA, sections 302 (Murder), 34 (common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, while Gawli and others had pleaded innocence.
The crime branch had said that the other reason why Jamsandekar was executed was that Bintade and Surve were eyeing a plot at Saki Naka in suburban Mumbai and Jamsandekar reportedly “refused to cooperate”.
According to prosecution, Jamsandekar was murdered at the behest of Gawli, who had, along with the co-accused, conspired to execute him.
The chargesheet said that a sum of Rs 30 lakh was paid to the Gawli gang for the job. The trial had commenced from October 2010.

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Indian students at London university face deportation

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

London,(GGS NEWS) :  The London Metropolitan University has been banned from teaching overseas students, leaving more than 2,000 under-graduates potentially facing deportation. This includes 300 Indian students too and their fate now hangs in balance.
The London Metropolitan University’s overseas recruitment licence was suspended last month during a UK Border Agency investigation. It found that a significant number of students were staying in the country illegally and there was no sufficient evidence that they met mandatory English levels.
The UKBA also found that the university was unaware about whether students were attending classes.
The National Union of Students has contacted Prime Minister David Cameron, reiterating the potential damage to the 12.5 billion pound UK Higher Education industry.
There is a particular problem for students joining for the year beginning in September, they don’t know what lies ahead and there is a problem for the second and third year students who may now have to move elsewhere or move back because the government survey at this university found that that a quarter of the students sampled have no visas to stay in this country, and there is no saying as to how many ever attended classes here or can speak any English.

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Speedy conclusion of 26/11 trial will be biggest CBM: PM tells Zardari

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Pushing Pakistan to act against India-directed terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday told President Asif Ali Zardari that expeditious conclusion of the Mumbai terror attack trial in that country will be a “major” Confidence Building Measure in bilateral relations.

During a meeting between the two leaders which lasted more than half-an-hour, Singh underlined India’s terrorism-related concerns.

The Prime Minister “underlined our terrorism-related concerns. He pressed for an expeditious conclusion in 26/11 trial and said action take in this sphere (terrorism) would be a major CBM,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said briefing reporters on the Singh-Zardari meeting on the sidelines of the 16th NAM summit here.

Singh was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and other senior officials while Zardari had his son Bilawal Bhutto, Foreign Affairs Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik in his team.

Singh told Zardari that action in Mumbai attack trial in Pakistan will be a major CBM, help in bridging the trust deficit and build public support for the kind of relationship India would like to see between the two nations.

Zardari reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister to visit Pakistan and Singh responded thanking him for the gracious invitation.

“The Prime Minister said he attached great importance to normalising relations with Pakistan and that he would like to visit that country at a suitable time that is to say, he would like a well prepared visit,” Mathai said.

Reiterating India’s desire for peaceful cooperative relations with Pakistan, Prime Minister Singh said there is a need to proceed in a “step-by-step, graduated” approach given the complexity of bilateral relationship it has with that country.

Mathai said Zardari reiterated his country’s commitment to bring to justice those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack.

The President agreed that terrorism posed a continuing threat to peace and security and referred in this regard to some of the difficulties faced in his own country, he said.

The meeting came a day after the Indian Supreme Court upheld LeT terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s death sentence in the Mumbai terror attack case, strengthening India’s case for action against others involved in the 26/11 strike in which 166 people were killed.

Singh said the action taken in 26/11 will be a “major CBM that will help in bridging the trust deficit and will help in building public support for the kind of relationship that we would like to see between the two nations”, Mathai said.

Pakistan on its part said the Mumbai terror attack case trial was underway and that it would need to send another judicial commission to India to cross-examine three witnesses in the case.

Mathai said that Indian government is taking a “positive view” on the Pakistani request and said a judicial clarification was needed on whether there can be a repeat visit of Pakistan Judicial Commission to India and cross- examine the witnesses. The witnesses included a doctor and a Metropolitan Magistrate who recorded the statement of Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman.

Singh said a stable and prosperous Pakistan acting as “bulwark” against terrorism is in its own interest and that of the region.

Singh and Zardari while reviewing the state of bilateral relations expressed satisfaction at the Foreign Secretary- level talks so far and hoped that Krishna’s forthcoming visit to Pakistan next week would provide an opportunity to take stock of progress in the resumed dialogue and chart the course for the next round.

Noting that some achievements had been made, the two leaders hoped India and Pakistan would be able to prepare a kind of roadmap for the way forward at the upacoming meeting.

The two leaders also noted the progress made in several areas, including bilateral trade and economic ties.

Zardari advocated regional economic cooperation, maintaining that Pakistan could be a catalyst in promoting this effort.

Prime Minister reiterated India’s desire to have peaceful relationship with Pakistan and given the “complexities” in the Indo-Pak relations, both leaders agreed to have “step-by-step graduated” approach which will have the best “chance in succeeding”, Mathai said.

Singh told Zardari that India wishes Pakistan well and New Delhi was willing to meet Islamabad half-way in making efforts to normalise our bilateral relation for peace and stability of the region.

The leaders felt that there was a vast potential in the trade and commerce area between the two countries, the Foreign Secretary said, adding their Commerce Secretaries are scheduled to meet very soon and take forward the process of three agreements, including customs corporation and dispute resolutions which have been decided earlier.

There was appreciation by Singh and Zardari for the work done by the Commerce Ministers and the Secretaries of the two countries.

There was also a discussion on a need for closer consultations and Malik, who was part of Zardari’s delegation, mentioned the need for a “closer, regular and institutionalised dialogue” in the matters relating to his ministry, Mathai said, adding Malik also suggested regular exchanges for the border management.

Asked about CBMs in Jammu and Kashmir, Mathai said one round has already taken place and second round will also happen in due course.

Singh had last met Zardari in New Delhi in April this year when the Pakistani President made a private visit to India to pray at the Sufi shrine in Ajmer.

The Prime Minister had hosted a lunch for Zardari and conveyed to him that people of India will judge Pakistan by the actions taken to curb terrorism and against those responsible for Mumbai terror attacks

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Romney promises jobs in convention pitch

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS  : Mitt Romney has pledged “to restore the promise of America”, as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Florida.

Mr Romney accused President Barack Obama of failing to deliver on his promises and presented his plan involving energy independence, cutting the budget deficit and creating jobs.

He also spoke of his Mormon faith.

The Obama campaign said Mr Romney had been “no tangible ideas” and he “would take our country backwards”.

Mr Romney will challenge the Democratic president in November’s election.

His speech was the climax of the three-day Republican convention, which correspondents saw as an attempt to show the human side of a candidate who is sometimes accused of being opaque and distant.

Family guy

Mr Romney began the most important speech of his political career by accepting the nomination that he was overwhelmingly awarded on Tuesday by thousands of delegates at the gala in Tampa.

It secured him the position that eluded him in his first presidential bid in 2008, when Arizona Senator John McCain became the Republican nominee.

“I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed,” Mr Romney said, in a speech that was watched by millions across the US.

The 65-year-old presidential nominee recounted details of his Mormon upbringing, with anecdotes about his family life and his parents’ loving marriage.

Mr Romney talked about his own experiences as a father, apparently becoming emotional as he talked about the times when he and his wife Ann would wake up to find “a pile of kids asleep in our room”.

He also levelled a barrage of attacks at President Obama: “The time has come to turn the page. Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us. To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations.

“Now is the time to restore the promise of America,” he added.

‘No apology’

Mr Romney vowed to create 12 million American jobs over the next four years and turn around an economy saddled with an 8.3% unemployment rate.

He also pledged to make the US energy independent by 2020, cut the national deficit and negotiate new trade agreements.

“I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began his presidency with an apology tour,” he said.

He accused the president of having “thrown allies like Israel under the bus”, while being too lenient with Iran.

“Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty and Mr Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone,” Mr Romney said.

He brought the crowd to its feet when he pledged to repeal Mr Obama’s signature healthcare bill.

The event ended with the entire Romney family – his wife, five sons and their wives and most of his 18 grandchildren – on stage with him as thousands of balloons were released over the convention floor.

Responding to the speech, Mr Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina said it contained little substance.

“Much like the entire Republican Convention, Mitt Romney’s speech tonight offered many personal attacks and gauzy platitudes, but no tangible ideas to move the country forward,” he said.

“What he didn’t share were his actual proposals, which would take our country backwards.”

Attendees in tears

Appearing on stage earlier to pledge his support for Mr Romney, Hollywood star Clint Eastwood raised eyebrows with an off-the-cuff monologue to an imaginary Mr Obama in an empty chair.

Referring to the president, the actor told a rapturous audience: “When somebody does not do the job, you’ve got to let ’em go.”

Democrats have sought to depict Mr Romney as a wealthy, elitist, tax-dodging, corporate raider and policy chameleon. Low favourability ratings have dogged him throughout his campaign and he trails Mr Obama in likeability.

To counter that image, the convention heard emotional testimonials about Mr Romney’s work as a Mormon leader that left some attendees in tears.

One couple talked of how Mr Romney had befriended and comforted their dying teenage son.

A woman recalled how the Republican’s “eyes filled with tears” when her premature baby daughter was close to death in hospital.

On Wednesday, Mr Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, pledged a “turnaround” for America, while attacking Mr Obama.

But fact-checkers said there were a number of inaccuracies in the Wisconsin congressman’s address.

The job of softening Mr Romney’s edges also fell to his wife, who brought down the house on Tuesday with a speech about their high-school romance.

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Weakened Isaac drenches Louisiana, Mississippi

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Isaac soaked Louisiana for yet another day and pushed more water into neighbourhoods all around New Orleans, flooding homes and forcing last-minute evacuations and rescues.

As the storm slogged its way across the state and windy conditions calmed, the extent of some of the damage became clear. Hundreds of homes, perhaps more, were underwater, thousands of people were staying at shelters and half of the state was without power. About 500 people had to be rescued by boat or high-water vehicles, and at least two people were killed.Louisiana’s energy department said one million utility customers were without power in four states because of Isaac, down from 1.05 million at 10 a.m. A total of 846,409 Louisiana customers, or 37 per cent, and 140,457 customers in Missisippi, or 9 per cent, did not have electricity, the department said on its website. Less than 1 per cent of Alabama and Arkansas customers experienced outages.

And the damage may not be done. Waters continued to rise and a dam at a lake near the Louisiana-Mississippi border was under a lot of pressure and power lines and trees were felled as Isaac moved into Arkansas.

Farther south, evacuations were ordered widely ahead of the storm, but Isaac’s unpredictable, meandering path and the amount of rain – as much as 40 centimetres in some places – caught many off guard.

“I was blindsided, nobody expected this,” said Richard Musatchia, who left his home in LaPlace, northwest of New Orleans.

Mr. Musatchia said 1.5 metres of water filled his home before a neighbour passed by with a boat and evacuated him and his six-year-old boxer, Renny.

David Newman was frustrated the government spent billions reinforcing levees for New Orleans and Jefferson Parish after Katrina and now he had the water.

“The water’s got to go somewhere,” he said. “It’s going to find the weakest link, and with the wind directions, we were ground zero.”

As officials called for impromptu evacuations, a debate started about whether anyone was to blame.

Along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, officials sent scores of buses and dozens of high-water vehicles to help evacuate about 3,000 people as rising waters lapped against houses and left cars stranded. Flood waters rose waist-high in some neighbourhoods, and the Louisiana National Guard was working with sheriff’s deputies to rescue people stranded in their homes.

Isaac’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 64 km/h , and the National Hurricane Center said it was expected to become a tropical depression by Thursday night, meaning its top sustained winds would drop below 62 km/h . The storm’s centre was on track to cross Arkansas on Friday and southern Missouri on Friday night, spreading rain as it goes.

Forecasters expected Isaac to move farther inland over the next several days, dumping rain on drought-stricken states across the United States midsection before finally breaking up over the weekend.

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‘Osama’s body was identified by a young girl’

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Osama bin Laden’s dead body was positively identified by a young girl who was in the room with him when he died, a former US Navy SEAL has revealed.

In his explosive book about the operation, titled ‘No Easy Day’, 36-year-old Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen, described how the Navy SEALS made their way through the terrorist leader’s private quarters on the third floor in his Abbottabad compound.

Bissonnette revealed Bin Laden was shot before the team reached the room he was hiding in, taken out by a point man as he peered through a doorway.

According to The Daily Mail, Bissonnette alleges he was the second man to step inside the room and finds a man lying on the ground, surrounded by two hysterical women, later revealed to be two of his wives.

Three children, likely to have been bin Laden’s own offspring, were cowering in the corner.

Bissonnette and his teammate, named ‘Tom’ in the book, then fired a series of rounds into his chest to ensure he was dead.

Examining the body, the pair became convinced they had killed Bin Laden, the paper said.

As they photographed and took DNA samples, an Arabic speaking SEAL, called ‘Will’ in the book, began interrogating the women, who refused to identify him.

So ‘Will’ turned to the children, who identified the dead man as bin Laden.

“(Will) went over to the kids who were outside on the balcony. (He) knelt down and asked one of the girls, “’Who is the man?” The girl didn’t know to lie. “Osama bin Laden,” Bissonnette wrote.“Will smiled. “Are you sure that is Osama bin Laden?” “Yes,” the girl said,” he added.

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UN extends peacekeeping mission in Lebanon

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to extend the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year, saying the situation there remains a threat to international peace and security.

The council expressed “deep concern” at violations of the 2006 resolution that ended the war between Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

The UN force known as UNIFIL, which has been in southern Lebanon since 1978, was expanded after the 2006 war so peacekeepers could deploy along the border with Israel to help Lebanese troops extend their authority into the south for the first time in decades.

The resolution adopted Thursday by the council extends the force’s mandate until August 31, 2013.

The resolution also warned against attempts to threaten the security and stability of Lebanon amid outbursts of violence and escalating tensions in the country fueled by the 17-month conflict in neighboring Syria.

The UN Security Council condemned “all attempts to threaten the security and stability of Lebanon, reaffirming its determination to ensure that no such acts of intimidation will prevent UNIFIL from implementing its mandate.”

A roadside bomb wounded five French peacekeepers in southern Lebanon in December, one of several attacks on the UN force last year. France blamed Syria for the attack, saying it had acted through its Lebanese ally, powerful Shi’ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah.

Syria, which has had far-reaching influence in Lebanon for decades, denied any links to the attack. Syrian President Bashar Assad withdrew troops from Lebanon in 2005 after a 29-year presence and Hezbollah remains a strong ally.

France, Lebanon’s former colonial power, has contributed the largest number of troops to the UN peacekeeping force and is increasingly concerned the Syrian crisis – which began as peaceful pro-democracy protests – could spread into Lebanon.

In an annual foreign policy speech on Monday, French President Francois Hollande said a solution to the Syrian crisis had to be found before it spread beyond its borders.

“I realize the difficulty of the task and the risks, but what is at stake goes far beyond Syria,” he said. “It concerns the entire security of the Middle East and especially the independence and stability of Lebanon.”

Despite government efforts to insulate it from Syria’s turmoil, Lebanon has seen armed clashes in its two largest cities, and earlier this month authorities said they uncovered a Syrian plot to destabilize the country.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern that the violence in Syria could spread to Lebanon.

The force has an authorized strength of 15,000 troops. The UN says 11,530 troops were on the ground at the end of July.

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UN to pull staff out of Afghan provinces

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

Kabul,(GGS NEWS) : Aug 31:  The UN assistance mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) will withdraw its representations in several provinces, reported the Afghan Pajhwok news agency citing UNAMA chief Jan Kubis.
The news comes a day after an Afghan serviceman shot dead three Australian soldiers and wounded two others at a base near Tirinkot in Uruzgan province.
UNAMA will confine its operations to the zonal level within a few months, said Kubis during a visit to Tirinkot.
Uruzgan province needs more assistance than other provinces in Afghanistan, he said at a meeting with local officials and residents. He also noted that the security situation has improved but that much remains to be done.
He said the provinces where the UN is closing its representation will continue receiving international assistance as before.

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Supreme Court asks Sahara Group to refund Rs 17,400 crore to investors

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) :  Supreme Court directs Sahara Group to refund Rs 17,400 crore which it had collected from its investors.
SC grants three months time to Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation to refund the amount.

SC directs SEBI to conduct probe against the two Sahara companies to find out their actual subscriber base.

SC appoints retired apex court judge Justice B N Aggarwal to oversee the probe by SEBI against the two Sahara companies.

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CAG Vinod Rai has ‘political ambitions’: Digvijay:

Posted on 31 August 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Thursday lashed out at Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, accusing him of harbouring “political ambitions” like one of his predecessors, TN Chaturvedi.

Chaturvedi was the CAG in 1989 when the auditor published a report on the Bofors guns bought by Rajiv Gandhi’s government. After his retirement, Chaturvedi joined the BJP and became an MP and governor of Karnataka.

“The way the CAG is going, it is clear he has political ambitions like TN Chaturvedi. He has been giving notional and fictional figures that have no relevance to facts. How has he computed these figures? He is talking through his hat,” Singh told The Indian Express.

Singh’s comments are the first by a senior Congress leader directly attacking the CAG, whose coal blocks allotment report has caused a political furore.

Rejecting the CAG’s findings on the allotments, Singh dismissed the opposition’s demand for cancellation of coal block licences. “Why should we justify them by cancelling them? It would appear that we have done something wrong. The decision had been taken after due deliberations and consciously,” he said.

Singh also slammed Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, for saying the Congress had got mota maal for the coal block allotments. “As far as mota maal is concerned, she has to explain what she received from the Reddy brothers,” Singh said referring to the BJP leaders from Bellary. “It is also for (Nitin) Gadkari to explain what he got from Ajay Sancheti,” he said, referring to a businessman friend of the BJP president.

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