Archive | November, 2012

Pak, Afghan strategic partnership agreement talks begin

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

ISLAMABAD,(GGS NEWS) : Pakistan and Afghanistan today began negotiations on a Strategic Partnership Agreement even as Kabul called on Islamabad to take more steps, including the release of Taliban detainees, to push forward the troubled peace process in the war-torn country.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar presented a draft of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) to her Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul during a meeting at the Foreign Office this afternoon.

Both ministers told a news conference after their talks that they would like the pact to be signed as soon as possible though Rassoul made it clear that such an agreement required “full trust” between the two sides.

“The issue is that you cannot sign a SPA where there is not full trust and confidence between the two countries. I think you are reaching that grade now,” he said in response to a question about conditions set by President Hamid Karzai for the pact.

Rassoul said his discussions with Khar marked the “first step” in paving the way for signing the agreement.

Khar said that both sides had started the journey towards finalising the agreement, which was first suggested by Karzai during a trilateral meeting with the US in September.

Karzai had angered Pakistan in October by demanding that it should stop backing terrorists as a condition for negotiating the SPA.

At that time, the Foreign Office had described Karzai’s comments as “entirely misplaced and without any basis”.

During the news conference, Rassoul acknowledged that a list of Afghan Taliban detainees whose release has been sought by Kabul had figured in his talks with Khar. However, he did not give details.

Referring to the release of about a dozen mid-ranking Taliban detainees by Pakistan earlier this month, Rassoul said: “This is a time for continued action. Therefore I hope that we will continue with implementing other concrete measures in a timely manner in pushing the peace process forward as outlined in the peace process roadmap we have shared with the government of Pakistan”.

He said that “all those who can help advance the peace process (should) go free” so that the “Afghan government and Taliban can engage”.

While Kabul will continue working with all its allies to facilitate reconciliation, the peace process must be led by the Afghans, Rassoul said.

“The peace process should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. If not, there is no peace,” he asserted.

Khar reiterated Pakistan’s position that it is committed to backing an Afghan-led process.

“There is no doubt that Pakistan is walking the talk of supporting at all costs an Afghan-led, Afghan-driven and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation,” she said.

Issues like the release of prisoners, safe passage for those participating in the peace process, facilitation of contacts by Pakistan were “discussed thoroughly”, she said.

Elaborating on Pakistan’s role, Khar said Islamabad could not “be more than” a facilitator to “whatever future the Afghans choose for themselves”.

Impressions that Pakistan had “favourites” in Afghanistan or had intentions of controlling the peace process were “historic hangovers”, she contended.

Khar and Rassoul also announced that the two sides would operationalise a joint commission to address the issue of releasing prisoners held in both countries and work towards extending the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement to Tajikistan.

They said a conference of ulema (Islamic scholars) will be held in Kabul at the end of January to boost the Afghan peace process.

The two ministers said their discussions had also focussed on narcotics control, steps to counter terrorism and extremism and tensions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border caused by insurgent raids and shelling.

Rassoul said peace in both countries was closely linked and Pakistan had an “especially central and crucial role” in advancing the Afghan peace process.

He further said Afghanistan will not allow its soil to be used for terrorism against Pakistan.

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Former prime minister IK Gujral dies after prolonged illness

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral died on Friday afternoon after a prolonged illness. He was 92.

“IK Gujral passed away at 3:31 pm at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde announced in the Parliament.

Gujral was admitted to Medicity hospital on Nov 19 after he was diagnosed with lung infection. He had been on dialysis for over a year and had not responded to treatments for the past few days. His condition worsened after which he was put on ventilator support.

IK Gujral served as the 12th prime minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998. He also served as foreign minister twice – once in the VP Singh government and then later in the United Front government. He participated in India’s freedom struggle and ‘Quit India Movement’. He was also jailed in 1942 for his activities during the pre-independace era.

Born on Dec 4, 1919 in Jhelum, Gujral began his political career as student leader of the communist party. Later, he joined mainstream politics and served in different portfolios between 1967 and 1976. Among the postitions he handled were in Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, and Housing and Planning.

Gujral left the Congress party in 1980s and joined the Janata Dal party. He was later elected to Lok Sabha from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in Punjab and became the external affairs minister in VP Singh’s government. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events were the biggest issues he faced during his tenure.

Prime Minister Manmohan paid tribute to PM IK Gujral and called his son Naresh Gujral to convey his condolences.

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Explain why Facebook girls were arrested: SC to Maharashtra

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

New Delhi,(GGS NEWS) 30 Nov 2012 : The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Delhi and Puducherry governments over the petition filed by a Delhi University student, Shreya Singhal, challenging the Information Technology Act. The court has asked Maharashtra to explain arrest of the two Palghar girls over Facebook comments on late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
The Attorney General, in his response to the petition, told the apex court that the arrest of the girls was unjustified. The Attorney General said the arrests were wrong, but Section 66(A) of the IT Act need not be scrapped.
Reacting to the court’s action, the petitioner, Shreya Singhal, said, “I am happy with the SC response. Freedom of speech is utmost important and that should be protected.”Meanwhile, politicians and cyber experts say the section should be re-written. BJD leader Jay Panda will move a private members’ bill seeking changes in the IT law.
Even as the debate over Section 66(A) continues, Mumbai’s Joint Police Commissioner, Himanshu Roy admitted that police officers need more training and sensitisation while dealing with cyber crimes. Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Himanshu Roy said, “Cyber crime is a special type of crime, it needs specialised investigation skills which are not available with all police stations, which are more attuned to dealing with garden variety property and body offences. We need more training and more sensitisation there.”
Earlier on Thursday, the government circulated new guidelines on how to enforce the controversial section following the Facebook arrests row. It says prior approval from the Deputy Commissioner or an IGP-level officer is needed before Station House officers can register such complaints.
Sources say the government is acting on civil society fears that the Maharashtra incident is not justified and that Section 66(A) of the IT Act is unconstitutional and open to misinterpretation. “I personally welcome this amendment completely. It’s a good amendment,” Himanshu Roy said.
Following the recent developments, youngsters are now being careful of what they post online. The fear has turned even worse after a youth in Palghar was on Wednesday detained for allegedly posting defamatory comments about Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray. The youth has, however, claimed that his Facebook account was hacked.
In Palghar, where two girls were also recently arrested over a Facebook post criticising the Mumbai bandh for the funeral procession of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, every youngster, active on social media, is now wary of what they post online. “The message was written to create tension amongst north Indians and the MNS,” said the youth.
Even before the storm over the arrest of the two girls had receded, the Palghar youth was questioned by the police for alleged derogatory posts against the MNS chief , and after he claimed that his account was hacked, a case under the IT Act was registered against an unknown person after the police concluded that a fake account was created in the youth’s name.
Meanwhile, taking a cue from the Shiv Sena, the MNS too threatened to teach Raj Thackeray ‘s online critics a lesson. MNS district chief Kundan Sankhe said, “Proper punishment should be meted out so that such posts are not made.”
However, amidst the fear came some respite for the two girls who were arrested for their posts on Mumbai shutting down following Bal Thackeray’s death. The Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) hinted a closure report would be filed soon, even as the Centre drafted new guidelines on the usage of IT laws. The Supreme Court, too, admitted the PIL asking for section 66 A to be made non cognisable.
While the Palghar arrests have certainly reignited the long pending debate of section 66(A) of the IT Act, it has also brought to the fore the intolerance of the political class towards any criticism. This episode has certainly been a setback for all those who vigorously use social networking sites to express their views. It has brought in a sense of fear.
What the Section 66 (A) of IT Act says:
1. Punishment for sending offensive messages via electronic mail message
2. Any electronic mail message that is grossly offensive or is menacing
3. Any false info causing annoyance, insult, danger
4. Causing inconvenience
5. Deceiving or misleading recipient
6. If guilty, faces up to 3 years in jail and a penalty.

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Palestine wins historical vote to upgrade UN status

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Palestine overwhelmingly won a historical UN General Assembly vote which will upgrade its status to non-member observer state at the world body, despite intense opposition from the US and Israel.

India was among the 138 nations in the 193-member body that voted in favour while nine countries opposed the resolution that sought upgrading the status of Palestinian Authority from ‘entity’ to ‘non-member observer state. Forty-one countries abstained from the voting which took place yesterday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “an important vote” has taken place in the General Assembly.

“Today’s vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations. We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel,” Ban said in his remarks after the votes were cast.

The symbolic vote signified the huge international backing for Palestine and came as a stinging defeat for Israel and the US.

The vote could enable Palestine to access bodies like the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which prosecutes people for genocide, war crimes and major human rights violations. Some nations like the UK have said Palestine could use access to the ICC to complain about Israel.

In his address to the General Assembly before the vote, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the vote will “issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine”.

“…Our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalises the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement,” Abbas said.

“The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: enough of aggression, settlements and occupation,” he said.

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimise a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” Abbas told the Assembly before the vote.

The Palestinian Authority President said with the vote the world was being asked to undertake a significant step in the process of rectifying the “unprecedented historical injustice” inflicted on the Palestinian people since 1948.

“Your support for our endeavour today,” he said, “will send a promising message – to millions of Palestinians on the land of Palestine, in the refugee camps both in the homeland and the Diaspora, and to the prisoners struggling for freedom in Israel’s prisons – that justice is possible and that there is a reason to be hopeful and that the peoples of the world do not accept the continuation of the occupation.”

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Egypt Islamists approve new Constitution

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

CAIRO (GGS NEWS) :— Islamists approved a draft constitution for Egypt early Friday without the participation of liberal and Christian members, seeking to pre-empt a court ruling that could dissolve their panel with a rushed, marathon vote that further inflames the clash between the opposition and President Mohammed Morsi.

The move advanced a charter with an Islamist bent that rights experts say could give Muslim clerics oversight over legislation and bring restrictions on freedom of speech, women’s rights and other liberties.

The draft must now be put to a nationwide referendum within 30 days. Morsi said Thursday it will be held “soon.”

The Islamist-dominated assembly that has been working on the constitution for months raced to pass it, voting article by article on the draft’s more than 230 articles for more than 16 hours. The lack of inclusion was on display in the nationally televised gathering: Of the 85 members in attendance, there was not a single Christian and only four women, all Islamists. Many of the men wore beards, the hallmark of Muslim conservatives.

For weeks, liberal, secular and Christian members, already a minority on the 100-member panel, have been withdrawing to protest what they call the Islamists’ hijacking of the process.

“This constitution represents the diversity of the Egyptian people. All Egyptians, male and female, will find themselves in this constitution,” Essam el-Erian, a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared to the assembly after the last articles were passed just after sunrise Friday.”We will implement the work of this constitution to hold in high esteem God’s law, which was only ink on paper before, and to protect freedoms that were not previously respected,” he said.

The sudden rush to finish came as the latest twist in a week-long crisis pitting Brotherhood veteran Morsi and his Islamist supporters against a mostly secular and liberal opposition and the powerful judiciary. Voting had not been expected for another two months. But the assembly abruptly moved it up in order to pass the draft before Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court rules on Sunday on whether to dissolve the panel.

“I am saddened to see this come out while Egypt is so divided,” Egypt’s top reform leader, Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said, speaking on private Al-Nahar TV. But he predicted the document would not last long. “It will be part of political folklore and will go to the garbage bin of history.”

A new opposition bloc led by ElBaradei and other liberals said the assembly had lost its legitimacy.

“It is trying to impose a constitution monopolized by one trend and is the furthest from national consensus, produced in a farcical way,” the National Salvation Front said in a statement, read by Waheed Abdel-Meguid, one of the assembly members who withdrew.

Thursday’s vote escalates the already bruising confrontation sparked last week when Morsi gave himself near absolute powers by neutralizing the judiciary, the last branch of the state not in his hands. Morsi banned the courts from dissolving the constitutional assembly or the upper house of parliament and from reviewing his own decisions.

Speaking in an interview on state TV aired late Thursday, Morsi defended his edicts, saying they were a necessary “delicate surgery” needed to get Egypt through a transitional period and end instability he blamed on the lack of a constitution.

“The most important thing of this period is that we finish the constitution, so that we have a parliament under the constitution, elected properly, an independent judiciary, and a president who executes the law,” Morsi said.

In a sign of the divisions, protesters camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square who were watching the interview chanted against Morsi and raised their shoes in the air in contempt.

The president’s edicts sparked a powerful backlash in one of the worst bouts of turmoil since last year’s ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. At least 200,000 people protested in Cairo’s Tahrir square earlier this week demanding he rescind the edicts.

Street clashes have already erupted between the two camps the past week, leaving at least two people dead and hundreds wounded. And more violence is possible.

The opposition plans another large protest for Friday, and the Brotherhood has called a similar massive rally for the following day, though they decided to move it from Tahrir to avoid frictions. Bands of youths have been daily battling police on a road leading off the square and close to the U.S. Embassy.

The Constitutional Court’s announcement that it would rule on the legitimacy of the assembly was a direct defiance of Morsi’s edicts. It will also rule Sunday on whether to dissolve the upper house of parliament, which is overwhelmingly held by Islamists. Most of the nation’s judges are on indefinite strike to protest the edicts.

It is not clear what would happen to the approved draft if the court dissolves the assembly. The crisis could move out of the realm of legal questions and even more into the more volatile street, to be decided by which side can bring the most support.

The opposition is considering whether to call for a boycott of any referendum on the constitution or to try to rally a “no” vote, said Hamdeen Sabahi, a National Salvation Front leader who ran in this year’s presidential race and came in a surprisingly strong third.

“The people should not be made to choose between a dictatorial declaration or a constitution that doesn’t represent all the people,” he told independent ONTV, referring to Morsi’s decrees. “He is pushing Egypt to more division and confrontation.”

During Thursday’s session, assembly head Hossam al-Ghiryani doggedly pushed the members to finish. When one article received 16 objections, he pointed out that would require postponing the vote 48 hours under the body’s rules. “Now I’m taking the vote again,” he said, and all but four members dropped their objections. In the session’s final hours, several new articles were hastily written up and added to resolve lingering issues.

“We will teach this constitution to our sons,” al-Ghiryani told the gathering.

Islamist members of the panel defended the fast tracking. Hussein Ibrahim of the Brotherhood said the draft reflected six months of debate, including input from liberals before they withdrew.

“People want the constitution because they want stability. Go to villages, to poorer areas, people want stability,” he said.

Over the past week, about 30 members have pulled out of the assembly, with mainly Islamists brought in to replace some. As a result, every article passed overwhelmingly.

The draft largely reflects the conservative vision of the Islamists, with articles that rights activists, liberals and others fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities and on civil liberties in general.

One article that passed underlined that the state will protect “the true nature of the Egyptian family … and promote its morals and values,” phrasing that suggests the state could prevent anything deemed to undermine the family.

The draft says citizens are equal under the law but an article specifically establishing women’s equality was dropped because of disputes over the phrasing.

As in past constitutions, the new draft said the “principles of Islamic law” will be the basis of law.

Previously, the term “principles” allowed wide leeway in interpreting Shariah. But in the draft, a separate new article is added that seeks to define “principles” by pointing to particular theological doctrines and their rules. That could give Islamists the tool for insisting on stricter implementation of rulings of Shariah.

Another new article states that Egypt’s most respected Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, must be consulted on any matters related to Shariah, a measure critics fear will lead to oversight of legislation by clerics.

The draft also includes bans on “insulting or defaming all prophets and messengers” or even “insulting humans” — broad language that analysts warned could be used to crack down on many forms of speech.

It also preserves much of military’s immunity from parliamentary scrutiny, putting its budget in the hands of the National Defense Council, which includes the president, the heads of the two houses of parliament and top generals.

The committee has been plagued by controversy from the start. It was created by the first parliament elected after Mubarak’s ouster. But a first permutation of the assembly, also Islamist-dominated, was disbanded by the courts. A new one was created just before the lower house of parliament, also Brotherhood-led, was dissolved by the judiciary in June.

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Australia vs South Africa Live Score: Perth Test, Day 1

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Australia v South Africa – South Africa tour of Australia (3rd Test) – Live Cricket Score and Match Update [Day 1] – Starc, Watson strikes leave Proteas reeling

Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc delivered early for Australia in the first session of the ongoing third Test against South Africa at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground in Perth today on November 30, putting the visitors on the back-foot by reducing them to a precarious 63 for 3 by lunch on day one.

The match, which will determine the ICC’s top Test team ranking, sees the Proteas fighting to hold on to their top spot, while the Aussies, in addition to looking to dethrone South Africa, will be pushed to give Ricky Ponting (due to retire after the Perth Test) a fitting farewell.

Earlier in the day, South African captain Graeme Smith decided to bat first in the series-decider after winning the toss, and the visitors brought Robin Peterson, Dean Elgar, and Vernon Philander in to replace Jacques Rudolph, Rory Kleinveldt, and Imran Tahir.

Australia, meanwhile, went into the match with a completely revamped pace attack, featuring Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson, as well as debutant John Hastings. Vice-captain and all-rounder Shane Watson also made a return to the team after recovering from his calf injury.

The Proteas opened their innings with skipper Smith (16) and Alviro Petersen (30), and the opening partnership had swelled to 38 runs when Watson struck in the 12th over, dismissing the Proteas captain who was caught out at first slip by his Aussie counterpart Michael Clarke.

Hashim Amla (11*) was the next batsman to step up to the crease, but the team total had reached just 61 when Australia’s reset pace attack kicked in. Mitchell Starc launched a fierce assault, which saw Petersen making his exit in the 23rd over, followed 2 overs later by veteran Jacques Kallis, who was only allowed to contribute 2 runs.

AB de Villiers (0*) was the next man to step up to the crease, and the Proteas, at a shaky 63 with 3 of their top batsmen down by lunch, will be hoping for a steady partnership between the wicketkeeper batsman and Amla as they move into the second session on day one. Australia, meanwhile, look to be in top form, and will be counting on their pacemen to continue in a similar vein.

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Section 66A of IT Act under SC scrutiny

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

NEW DELHI,(GGS NEWS) : Voicing concern over recent incidents of people being arrested for posting alleged offensive messages on websites, the Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a PIL seeking amendment to the Information Technology Act.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said that it was considering to take suo motu cognisance of recent incidents and wondered why nobody had so far challenged the particular provision of the IT Act.

Taking the case on urgent basis, the bench agreed to hear the PIL filed by a Delhi student Shreya Singhal later today.

Shreya has contended in her plea that “the phraseology of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 is so wide and vague and incapable of being judged on objective standards, that it is susceptible to wanton abuse and hence falls foul of Article 14, 19 (1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution.”

She has submitted that “unless there is judicial sanction as a prerequisite to the setting into motion the criminal law with respect to freedom of speech and expression, the law as it stands is highly susceptible to abuse and for muzzling free speech in the country.”

The arrests which have been referred to by Shreya in her petition include that of a 21-year-old girl for questioning on Facebook the shutdown in Mumbai after Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death, which was ‘liked’ and shared by her friend, who was also arrested.

Shreya has also referred to an April 2012 incident, when a professor of chemistry from Jadavpur University in West Bengal, Ambikesh Mahapatra, was arrested for posting a cartoon concerning a political figure on social networking sites.

She has also referred to the arrest of businessman Ravi Srinivasan in October 2012 by the Puducherry Police for having made a allegation on twitter against a politician from Tamil Nadu as well as the May 2012 arrests of two Air India employees, V Jaganatharao and Mayank Sharma, by the Mumbai Police under the IT Act for posting content of Facebook and Orkut against a trade union leader and some politicians.

Shreya in her plea has also sought issue of guidelines, by the apex court, to “reconcile section 41 and 156 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code with Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution” and that offences under the Indian penal Code and any other legislation if they involve the freedom of speech and expression be treated as a non-cognizable offence for the purposes of Section 41 and Section 156 (1).

Section 41 of the CrPC empowers the police to arrest any person without an order from the magistrate and without a warrant in the event that the offence involved is a cognizable offence. Section 156 (1) empowers the investigation by the police into a cognizable offence without an order of a magistrate.

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Yeddyurappa set to quit, says BJP did not treat him well

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : 10. 48 am: Yeddyurappa in tears as he sets out to quit BJP

Yeddyurappa became emotional as he recalled his long association with the party even as he trained his guns at BJP
leaders for hatching a “conspiracy” against him.

“The party has given everything to me. And I have sacrificed my life to build my previous party (BJP)”, he said,
fighting back tears.  Yeddyurappa said he is leaving the party “because of our own (BJP) people. They don’t want me to continue in the party; that’s why I am resigning from the primary membership as also MLAship”.

He is slated to tender his resignation to Speaker K G Bopaiah this afternoon. Yeddyurappa would also fax his resignation from the primary membership, sources said.

“Some people (in BJP) did not want to me to continue as Chief Minister. They tried to put me in the dock. I tolerated
in the past one year with a lot of patience”, Yeddyurappa said. “I am leaving the party with deep sadness”.

9:15 am : BJP MLA says that more MLAs in state want to resign to join Yeddyurappa

Will the Karnataka government survive and if so for how long is now the question.

One BJP MLA has already come out saying that he is willing to resign to join the former chief minister and that there are others willing to join him as well.

“If Yeddyurappa gives his resignation a number of MLAs will give their resignation…even I will,” MLA BP Harish said.

Harish said that the former chief minister was the reason for the party’s growth in the state.

9:00 am : Yeddyurappa asks BJP MLAs not to resign

Yeddyurappa has now reached Bangalore where he is expected to resign later today from the state legislative assembly and the party.

” Despite all my contributions to the party, and getting so many Lok Sabha seats, still BJP has not treated me well,” he said.The former Karnataka Chief Minister said he did not want any of the BJP MLAs who wanted to support him to resign from their posts for now in order to avoid disciplinary action.

” I have not requested anyone to resign from the BJP for the time being. If they want to take their own actions thats up to them,” he said.

He also accused other BJP leaders in the state of wanting to oust him from his post so that they could become Chief Minister of the state. That he was instrumental in the choice of the two leaders who replaced him is incidental. Or perhaps they didn’t match his standards.

And now that he’s parting ways with the party, he’s confident of trouncing the party across the state in the upcoming elections. When they will be is something the Lingayat community leader could know best.

“I am sure of defeating BJP. We will contest in every constituency,” he said.

8:30 am:  Yeddy to leave party today

Rebel BJP leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is all set to resign from the party and his assembly membership today, severing his 40-year-old association with it.

Yesterday, Yeddyurappa, who has rejected calls to remain in BJP, told reporters at Shikaripura, his home town in Shimoga district, “I will go in a march along with my supporters to Vidhana Soudha tomorrow at 12 noon and submit resignation to my assembly membership.”

Yeddyurappa‘s exit is expected to put the BJP at a crossroads, but the party leaders have put up a brave face saying it will have no impact. The 70-year-old Lingayat leader is credited with bringing BJP to power in Karnataka, making it as the first ever party government in the south.

He asserted that he was firm on his resolve to launch his new regional party “Karnataka Janata Party” (KJP), which would formally come into existence on December 9 at Haveri.

“I have asked Ministers, MPs and MLAs not to attend the party launch. I want Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar led ministry to complete its term”, Yeddyurappa said, in a bid to avoid any disciplinary action by BJP against his supporters.

Yeddyurappa and his loyalists have been claiming that at least 50 legislators were keen on joining KJP.

All efforts by top BJP leadership including its President Nitin Gadkari and senior leader Arun Jaitley to prevent the “worst”, failed to pacify the agitated Yeddyurappa, who was axed from chief ministership in 2011 in the wake of allegations of corruption.

Yeddyurappa turned more belligerent after BJP rebuffed his repeated attempts to regain Chief Ministership and refused to at least make him the state unit party chief. Enraged over what he called as “betrayal” by his party leaders, Yeddyurappa decided to bid a good bye to BJP and float his regional party.

Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa began his political stint when he was elected as President of the Shikaripura Taluk erstwhile Jana Sangha in 1972 and won his first assembly poll in 1983.

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Srinagar reels under curfew for third day

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

Srinagar,(GGS NEWS)  Nov 30 : Curfew continued for the third day in most parts of summer capital Srinagar, as authorities feared sectarian violence after Friday prayers.

Srinagar District Magistrate Basheer Ahmad Khan told reporters that curfew would continue in nine police station areas Friday. The curfew was imposed Wednesday.

The district magistrate said authorities would review the situation in the evening to make a decision on the future course of action.

Sectarian clashes between Shia and Sunni Muslims erupted in Hawal area of the old city Wednesday evening, and police intervention triggered clashes between protesters and security men.

Curfew will continue Friday in Lal Bazar, Zadibal, Nigeen, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, M.R. Gunj, Safakadal and Parimpora police station areas.

Main roads in these areas have been blocked off, with vehicles of security forces parked across roads. Coils of concertina wire has also been used to block thoroughfare.

Police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel have been deployed even in areas in the city not under curfew.

Senior separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani, Shabir Shah and Muhammad Yasin Malik have appealed to the people to maintain calm and not to fall prey to anti-social elements.

Educational institutions, government offices, banks, post offices, public transport, shops and other business establishments will not function in areas under curfew Friday.

Kashmir University has put off all examinations scheduled for Friday.

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Pressure on NCP to bring back Ajit Pawar

Posted on 30 November 2012 by GGS News

MUMBAI,(GGS NEWS) : A Maharashtra government White Paper on irrigation projects worth Rs 68,000 crore has given a clean chit to the water resources ministry, which NCP leader Ajit Pawar headed for nine years, and justified the expenses incurred over the past 10 years.

The findings, which ET has access to, will be presented to the state cabinet on Thursday. The paper claims that there has been a 28 per cent growth in irrigated land in the state and the rise in ratio of irrigated land in 2010 compared with 2000 is 5.17 per cent.It states there has been an increase of 70 TMC water provided to cities and industrial sector.

The White Paper claims that cost escalation in each project has been approved by the Central Water Commission and the Planning Commission and the escalation is much lower when compared with projects in other states. It also says the departmental schedule rate (DSR), which is a measure for comparing tender process in various states, is the lowest in Maharashtra’s irrigation projects, compared with other states and with other departments in the state.

The paper blames expenses on land acquisition and rehabilitation for the jump in project costs. It says the state has undertaken 69 medium or large and 186 small irrigation projects, all of which have been approved by the Central Water Commission.

The paper says in many cases, rehabilitation of the project-affected didn’t take place for years, which resulted in water wastage and cost escalation. The paper says the cost of the Gosikhurd project rose to Rs 7,777 crore from Rs 400 crore in 25 years because the displaced could not be rehabilitated and 32 TMC water had to be released from 40 TMC capacity.

After allegations of cost escalation and publication of an audit report showing just 0.1 per cent increase in irrigated land, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had demanded a White Paper from the water resources department.

Ajit Pawar, who was the irrigation minister from 1999 to 2008, quit as deputy chief minister following these allegations.

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