Archive | March, 2014

Missing flight MH370 live: Search enters fourth week as U.S. says no evidence points to terrorism

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Missing flight MH370 live: Search enters fourth week as U.S. says no evidence points to terrorism

Posted on 31 March 2014 by GGS News

BBC REPORT

Malaysia, 31 March : Rescue crews have put no time limit on the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said.

Mr Abbott told reporters near Perth, where the operation is being co-ordinated, that the hunt for flight MH370 was still being stepped up.

Ten aircraft and 10 ships are scouring the sea south-west of Perth for debris from the airliner.

The Beijing-bound plane disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board.

The signal from its flight-data recorder lasts about 30 days.

The search teams are deploying a special tool known as a “towed ping locator” to find the recorder, which will be used once debris from the plane has been found.Several floating objects have been found during the search in recent days, but none is believed to belong to the missing plane.

“We can keep searching for quite some time to come,” said Mr Abbott.

“The intensity of our search and the magnitude of our search is increasing, not decreasing.”

Some 153 of the passengers were Chinese, and dozens of their relatives arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

They have become increasingly upset with the perceived lack of information from the Malaysian authorities.Chanting “Tell us the truth”, they said they wanted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to apologise for what they regard as misleading statements.

Many were outraged when Mr Najib stated earlier that he believed the plane had come down in the Indian Ocean with no survivors.

But Mr Abbott gave his backing to that assessment, saying: “The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean.

“That’s the absolutely overwhelming wave of evidence and I think that Prime Minister Najib Razak was perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion.”

Various theories about what went wrong have been suggested – including the captain hijacking his own plane.

The speculation was fuelled by reports that files had been deleted on the pilot’s home flight simulator.

However, on Saturday Malaysia’s transport minister said investigators had found “nothing sinister” from the simulator.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 vanished less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

The airliner diverted off course and lost contact with air traffic controllers between Malaysian and Vietnamese air-traffic control areas.

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SAD (A) candidate from Ludhiana withdraws from contest

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SAD (A) candidate from Ludhiana withdraws from contest

Posted on 31 March 2014 by GGS News

Ludhiana,(GGS NEWS ) 31 March : Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate for Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat Talib Singh Sandhu today surrendered his party ticket and announced his support to SAD-BJP combine candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali.

The former MLA informed about his decision to party president Simranjit Singh Maan.

Later while speaking to reporters, Sandhu said he did want to fight against a person of Ayali’s stature who was known for his contribution to the Zila Parishad during his five year tenure as its president.

Polling will be held in Punjab and April 30.

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Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi should be stripped, sent back to Italy: BJP MLA

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Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi should be stripped, sent back to Italy: BJP MLA

Posted on 31 March 2014 by GGS News

Jaipur, 31 March : After last week’s controversy over Congress MLA Imran Masood’s threat to ‘chop’ Narendra Modi, a BJP MLA stated that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi should be stripped and sent back to Italy if the BJP came to power. BJP MLA Heeralal Regar, while addressing Rajasthan’s Tonk constituency, said, “Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should be stripped off their clothes and sent back to Italy.”

Taking note of Regar’s comments, the Congress party has complained to the Election Commission.

However, speaking to a news channel, Regar he apologised for his remark, but added he has been misquoted. “I have not taken any name. If anyone is hurt by my comments, I apologise,” Regar said.

A few days ago, Congress’ Saharanpur candidate Imraan Masood had threatened to “chop Narendra Modi into pieces”, inviting sharp criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which termed the remark as “inflammatory” and sought strict action by the Election Commission.

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Supreme Court to decide fate of death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar today

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Supreme Court to decide fate of death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar today

Posted on 31 March 2014 by GGS News

Supreme Court stops execution of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar

Supreme Court stops execution of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. File Photo

New Delhi, 31 March :  The Supreme Court will decide today whether the death sentence given to Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, convicted for a 1993 blast in Delhi, should be commuted to life in jail. The Centre has said it has no objection to his being spared the death sentence.In January this year, the court had stopped Bhullar’s execution and had sought a medical report on his mental health. (Supreme Court stops execution of terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar) His family has pleaded that the 49-year-old is mentally unfit and thus should not be hanged.

Last week, the Centre told the court that it had “no problem” with him being spared the death sentence and that such a petition could be allowed in view of a recent Supreme Court verdict that a delay in deciding mercy pleas can be a ground for such relief.

Mr Bhullar was convicted of triggering a bomb blast in Delhi in 1993 that killed nine people. He had applied to the President for clemency in January 2003. His request was rejected eight years later.

His family then pleaded in the Supreme Court that he be spared the death sentence as he was mentally ill and also because of the delay by the President of India in deciding his clemency appeal.

In April last year, the Supreme Court had refused to commute his death sentence to life in prison.

But after the top court commuted, in January this year, the death sentences of 15 convicts and found that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in carrying out an execution are grounds for reducing the penalty, the judges in the Bhullar case observed that the landmark ruling could affect their decision. (Supreme Court commutes 15 death sentences due to delays)

While commuting the death sentences in January, the Supreme Court had also said that mental illness such as schizophrenia and the use of solitary confinement could make a convict eligible for a reduced sentence.

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Daily Hukamnama- 31 March 2014

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Daily Hukamnama- 31 March 2014

Posted on 31 March 2014 by GGS News

Gond, Fifth Mehl: Chant Guru, Guru, Guru, O my mind. I have no other than the Guru. I lean upon the Support of the Guru, day and night. No one can decrease His bounty. ||1|| Know that the Guru and the Transcendent Lord are One. Whatever pleases Him is acceptable and approved. ||1||Pause|| One whose mind is attached to the Guru’s feet his pains, sufferings and doubts run away. Serving the Guru, honor is obtained. I am forever a sacrifice to the Guru. ||2|| Gazing upon the Blessed Vision of the Guru’s Darshan, I am exalted. The work of the Guru’s servant is perfect. Pain does not afflict the Guru’s servant. The Guru’s servant is famous in the ten directions. ||3|| The Guru’s glory cannot be described. The Guru remains absorbed in the Supreme Lord God. Says Nanak, one who is blessed with perfect destiny – his mind is attached to the Guru’s feet. ||4||6||8||

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Bomb kills Afghan coalition service member

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Bomb kills Afghan coalition service member

Posted on 30 March 2014 by GGS News

AFGHAN, 30 March : The international military coalition in Afghanistan says a roadside bomb has killed one service member in a southeastern province.

Coalition spokesman Capt. Patrick Simmons confirmed the death. The bomb was set off by remote control Sunday as a convoy reached the outskirts of Qalat, capital of Zabul province, said district governor Abdul Khaliq Ayubi. He says another three troops were wounded.

NATO usually waits for member countries to announce the nationalities of casualties.

Most of Afghanistan’s security is now in the hands of the Afghan National Security Forces ahead of the withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of December. Still, international service personnel occasionally patrol troubled areas and assist Afghan troops when requested.

A stubborn insurgency still rages in Afghanistan’s south and east.

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Women burn more calories when they exercise after taking protein

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Women burn more calories when they exercise after taking protein

Posted on 30 March 2014 by GGS News

Washington, 30 March  (ANI) : A new study has suggested that women should follow a high-protein meal with half an hour of moderate exercise as it burns more calories as compared to exercising on an empty stomach.

Ashley Binns, a doctoral student in kinesiology and exercise science who led the study at the University of Arkansas, said the goal was to determine the interaction between the thermic effect of food and exercise on the body’s total energy expenditure, as measured in calories .

Thermic effect is the amount of energy that it takes to digest, store and utilize the food we eat.

Binns said that her team looked at the effects of protein consumption alone on total energy expenditure and protein consumption combined with exercise, and found that with exercise, there is a trend for a continued increase in caloric expenditure with higher protein consumption.

Additionally, the consumption of the high- or low-protein meals resulted in greater energy expenditure than the fasted state, she said.

“That means that eating prior to exercise does provide fuel to burn, making us more like an energy-burning machine,” she asserted.

Ten “recreationally active” college-age women of normal body weight participated in the study. For their testing sessions, they were given a high-protein meal, low-protein meal, or no food at all, before walking on a treadmill.

Binns said that previous studies involving high- and low-protein diets have typically examined the athletic populations and morbidly obese individuals, but she wanted to see what the thermic effect of food was like for a normal individual, who didn’t have any metabolic disorders or medications that would affect their metabolism.

Exercise was key to the study, Binns said, because high-protein diets without exercise can lead to muscle loss.

With just a high-protein diet and no exercise, the body heats up to break down the protein but what also happens is it breaks down muscle, she said.

The study has been published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. (ANI)

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British PM David Cameron hails same-sex marriages in country

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British PM David Cameron hails same-sex marriages in country

Posted on 30 March 2014 by GGS News

Xinhua

LONDON, 30 March : — British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday celebrated the introduction of same-sex marriages in Britain, as same-sex couples are allowed to be legally married in the country from this weekend.

“For the first time, the couples getting married won’t just include men and women, but men and men, and women and women…in Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay, the State will recognize your relationship as equal,” Cameron wrote in an article for PinkNews, a homosexual news service in Britain.

“That is not something that the State should ever deny someone on the basis of their sexuality. When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change,” he added, comparing same-sex marriages to his own.

The prime minister said the introduction of same-sex marriage sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality.

“It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay. That is so important in trying to create an environment where people are no longer bullied because of their sexuality,” he noted, showing sympathy for notable British homosexuals like Alan Turing, Ian McKellen and Clare Balding.

Citing challenges that still remain for homosexuals, the politician promised to be “as committed as ever to working with you to challenge attitudes and stamp-out homophobic bullying and hate crimes.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also congratulated the same sex couples on their “making history.”

“As you make those last-minute preparations and your family and friends gather, I hope you have a day to remember. Here’s to a long and happy life together for you and your partner. And here’s to a fairer, more modern and equal future for our country,” Clegg said.

The deputy prime minister has also asked for the Rainbow flag, a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride, to be flown above the Cabinet Office and Scotland Office over the weekend as the first same sex weddings take place in Britain.

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Kerry, Lavrov hold talks as Russia vows no Ukraine invasion

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Kerry, Lavrov hold talks as Russia vows no Ukraine invasion

Posted on 30 March 2014 by GGS News

AFP

MOSCOW, 30 March : US secretary of state John Kerry will hold impromptu talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Sunday, after Russia pledged not to invade mainland Ukraine following its seizure of Crimea.

The meeting in France comes amid heightened diplomatic efforts to resolving the worst east-west crisis since the cold war.

Tensions have run high since Moscow’s lightning takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, with the United States accusing Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.

But signs of progress have recently appeared, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling his US counterpart Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a US proposal for a diplomatic end to the stand-off.

Lavrov suggested Moscow’s main demands were that Ukraine should become a federation, commit to not joining Nato and restore order to cities after almost half a year of street protests.

Putin also told Obama that the problems surrounding the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestr — a Russian-speaking region seen by some as the Kremlin’s next target —should be solved not by force but by talks in the “5+2” format of Moldova, Transdniestr, the OSCE, Russia and Ukraine, with the EU and US as observers.

Ukraine is now at a crossroads after the fall of pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych in February and the clock is ticking down to May 25 presidential elections which are expected to cement Kiev’s pro-West course.

With boxing champion turned politician Vitali Klitschko bowing out of the race, the overwhelming favourite to win the polls is pro-European confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko, although feisty former premier Yulia Tymoshenko is expected to mount an all-out campaign since declaring her candidacy this week.

Lavrov said Moscow had no intention of ordering its armed forces to cross over the Ukrainian border and acknowledged the divisions between Moscow and the West on the crisis were narrowing.

“We have absolutely no intention and no interests in crossing the Ukrainian border,” he told Russian state television.

“We (Russia and the west) are getting closer in our positions,” he added, saying recent contacts had shown the outlines of a “possible joint initiative which could be presented to our Ukrainian colleagues”, he added.

Lavrov made clear Russia’s priorities for Ukraine were a federalisation which would allow the interests of everyone in Ukraine — including Russian speakers in the east and south — to be fully represented.

He said Kiev should also commit to being non-aligned — with Ukrainian Nato membership clearly a red line for Moscow.

However a clear solution remained elusive. “There is no single plan,” RIA Novosti quoted Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. “We have differing views of the situation. Our discussions involve an exchange of ideas, but one cannot say that we have some sort of single approach.”

The United States and European Union clearly want Russia to de-escalate tensions by removing the troops said to be surrounding Ukraine’s eastern borders.

Kiev this week estimated there were now 100,000 Russian soldiers positioned around Ukraine — a figure neither confirmed nor denied by Moscow.

As the ex-Soviet Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia watch events in Ukraine anxiously, news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Germany was ready to send “up to six air force planes for air policing operations to the Baltic” region, as well as a navy vessel.

Putin and Obama had earlier discussed ways to solve the crisis in Ukraine, both the White House and the Kremlin said in separate statements, although neither side gave precise details on the nature of the plan on the table.

However, in a sign both sides feel there are grounds for discussion, Kerry decided mid-flight on a trip back from Riyadh to head to Paris and meet Lavrov.

Both the state department and Moscow confirmed the meeting would take place.

Russia is also feeling economic pressure, with the United States and European Union having already hit Moscow with sanctions against senior officials and markets worried about measures that could hurt the wider economy.

Moody’s put Russia’s credit rating on review for a possible downgrade on Friday, saying the current crisis “could significantly dampen investor sentiment for several years to come”.

The race to take on the permanent role of Ukraine’s president became clearer as Klitschko announced he would not stand in the polls, leaving Poroshenko as the clear favourite in what could still be a tight race.

“We have to nominate a single candidate representing the democratic forces,” Klitschko told a congress of his UDAR (Punch) party.

“This has to be a candidate who enjoys the strongest public support. Today, this candidate in my opinion is Petro Poroshenko.”

This could give a clear run to Poroshenko, the only prominent Ukrainian businessman to back the protests against Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko, who was jailed under Yanukovych, has a lot of ground to make up to catch Poroshenko who leads in opinion polls but analysts see her as a wily campaigner.

As the rest of Europe was set to move their clocks one hour forward for summer on Sunday, in Crimea, residents braced for a two-hour jump into the timezone of their new masters in Moscow.

Crimea’s Tatars on Saturday voted to push for self-rule in their historic homeland following its takeover by Russia, but remained torn on how to engage with the new authorities.

The Tatars, which make up about 12 percent of Crimea’s population, strongly opposed and largely boycotted the hastily-organized March 16 referendum that saw the peninsula split from Ukraine.

Meanwhile the Czech government said it was ready, if needed, to help the 20,000 ethnic Czechs living in Ukraine’s northwest Volhynia region.

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Sonia Gandhi attacks BJP in Assam, says opposition only talks

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Sonia Gandhi attacks BJP in Assam, says opposition only talks

Posted on 30 March 2014 by GGS News

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, 30 March : Seeking to boost her party’s campaign in Delhi for the Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address an election rally in the national capital today.Although Congress’ candidates are busy campaigning in their respective constituencies, party leaders say Mrs Gandhi’s rally will bolster the party’s flagging morale before Delhi goes to polls on April 10.

“Sonia Gandhi’s rally will resuscitate the Congress. There will be a huge crowd in the rally,” Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said on Saturday.

Mrs Gandhi will address a public rally at Ajmal Khan Park in New Delhi constituency represented by Ajay Maken, who is now facing a triangular contest with the entry of Aam Aadmi Party. He is opposed by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Meenakshi Lekhi and AAP’s journalist-turned-politician Ashish Khetan.

According to experts, retaining Delhi’s seven parliamentary constituencies would be an uphill task for the Congress whose image has been marred by a string of corruption scandals.

Major arrangements of transportation have been made to ensure there is a big crowd, said Mr Sharma.

“Buses and other means of transport have been arranged. People will come walking too. We are sure of an impressive turnout,” he said.

The internal organisation of the Congress and the block committees are working round-the-clock to this end, said Mr Sharma.

“We have made four-five rounds of supervision. Senior leader Shakeel Ahmad and others too are monitoring the preparation,” he said.

“This is a prestige issue for us. Our rallies during the assembly elections were reported in media to be a dismal show. The opposition too commented about it. This time we want to give them a befitting answer,” he added.

Asked about the poor attendance in Congress rallies during last year’s assembly elections, Sharma said: “People of Delhi have faith in Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. There was enthusiasm in people for them, but the organisation let us down. The preparations were not adequate.”

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