Top Stories of the Week
Bharti to depose in HC within 2 weeks
New Delhi, Sept 27 (UNI) Bharati Yadav, the key witness in the Nitish Katara murder case and sister of prime accused Vikas Yadav, will depose in the court within two weeks, her counsel said today.
Vikas Yadav, son of controversial politician DP Yadav, is charged with murdering Nitish Katara in February 2002.
Bharti's counsel filed an affidavit before Justice A K Sikri in the Delhi High Court today asking for two weeks to come to the court.
Ccurrently studying in the UK, Bharati has been served 16 summons and many bailable and non-bailable warrants have been issued against her, but have not succeeded in ensuring her appearance before the court. If she failed to appear on the designated date, she would, in all probability, be proclaimed an offender, a rare case for a witness.
Her absence lent credence to the prosecution's allegation that she was stonewalling progress in a case in which her deposition could go against her own brother. The prosecution, basing its case on Bharati's affair with Nitish, attributed as the motive behind the murder.
Bharti's willingness to depose followed the rejection of her petition, seeking permission to depose through video conferencing, by the Supreme Court last week. A bench comprising Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice D K Jain then allowed Bharti to withdraw her petition.
Hair will not officiate at Champions
Australian umpire Darrell Hair will not officiate at the ICC Champions Trophy in India next month, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said today.
Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, issued a press statement in which he said, "A decision has been made in consultation with the ICC president Percy Sonn, the ICC general manager of cricket David Richardson and myself that he will not umpire at the Champions Trophy amid concerns over his safety and security and also the safety and security of those around him during the tournament."
Hair alleged ball tampering against Pakistan in the fourth and final Test at the Oval against England, which led to its forfeiture, and Pakistan and India later objecting to him umpiring in the prestigious Champions Trophy.
Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was earlier cleared of the ball-tampering charge after a two-day ICC hearing in London. However Inzy was convicted on the second charge - bringing disrepute to game- was handed four-match ban by ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle.
Most people to live in cities by 2008
The number of people living in cities will surpass those living in rural areas for the first time around mid-2008, a year later than previously forecast, a UN official has said.
''A quick back-of-the envelope calculation yields August 16, 2008, as the day there will be as many urban dwellers as rural dwellers,'' said Thomas Buettner, head of the estimates and projection section at the U.N. Population Division.
The urban and rural populations would then each total 3,349,383,005 people, he told sources yesterday, adding that there were wide uncertainties about the data.
Urban populations have been growling more quickly than rural areas for decades, particularly in developing countries, due to the greater availability of jobs and freer lifestyles.
In 2005, the United Nations forecast that half the world's people would be living in cities by 2007. Buettner said the date had been put back because of new information from national censuses.
''The adjustments are not indicating a change in the trends,'' Buettner said, adding that urban dwellers now made up 49 per cent of the world population.
The 2005 report said that 20 cities now have 10 million or more inhabitants, compared with just four, Tokyo, New York-Newark, Shanghai and Mexico City, in 1975 and just two, New York-Newark and Tokyo, in 1950.
Buettner said the rural population would continue to grow until 2019 but at a slower rate than the urban population.
Earth quake in Andaman Sea
An earthquake of moderate intensity occurred in the Andaman Sea this evening.The quake, which measured 5 on the Richter Scale, struck at 1853 hrs, India Meteorological Department said here.It epicentred in North Andaman Sea.
Inzamam-ul-Haq's judgment day
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq should learn on Thursday if he will be penalised on charges of ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute after his team forfeited last month's fourth Test against England. Inzamam gave evidence to an International Cricket Council (ICC) code of conduct hearing at The Oval on Wednesday, convened after Pakistan refused to take the field after tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test played at the same venue (The Oval).
The protest followed a decision by umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove to penalise Pakistan five runs and change the ball for alleged ball tampering. In a statement on Wednesday the ICC said the hearing heard evidence from 11 witnesses, including Inzamam and both umpires.
It said submissions would be made by legal representatives from both sides today and adjudicator Ranjan Madugalle would then retire to make his decision.
''It is anticipated the adjudicator will reach his decision at some stage on Thursady,'' the statement said.
If found guilty of ball-tampering, Inzy faces a fine of between 50 and 100% of his match fee and could also be banned for a Test or two ODIs. On the second charge, a ban of between two and four Tests or four to eight ODIs is possible.
Judge throws Saddam out of court
Saddam Hussein was expelled from the courtroom for the second hearing in a row today after the new chief judge dismissed his request to be allowed out of the metal pen where defendants must sit.
''I have a request here that I don't want to be in this cage any more,'' he said, waving a yellow paper. ''Get him out,'' the judge ordered court guards.
Karnataka to set up 800 tele centres in rural area
In an effort to combat corruption in rural areas, the Karnataka Government will launch ' Nemmadi,' a novel scheme to provide succour to the rural masses through tele centres, a one stop shop for delivering various services to the people at their doorsteps, from first week of October.
Disclosing this to newsmen here Revenue Minister Jagadish Shettar said 37 various types of services would be offered by these centres.
They included provision of certificates covering a wide range of topics such as birth, death, caste and income, residence, widow, landholding,non creamy layer, solvency and unemployment. Each service would cost Rs 15 and in some cases like pension it was much less. This would serve as a boon to the rural masses, he explained.
Replying to queries he said a consortium of three private companies led by 3i Infotech, a technology solutions company, would invest Rs 30 crores to set up 800 tele centres in villages to deliver all government services. It would be run on Public Private Partnership with minimal investment from the government but with tight control to regulate quality services.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy would launch the first set of 25 tele centres during first week of October followed by opening of 275 tele centres on November one. By January next, the remaining 500 tele centres would become operational. The Whole state needed 5500 tele centres each per Grama Panchayat, he added saying it would be implemented in five years.
He observed that it was another feather in the cap of Karnataka which had already earned accolades by introducing citizen centric e-Governance projects such as Bhoomi, Kaveri and Bangalore One.
e-Governance Secretary Rajeev Chawla, who was also present here, said each tele centre would have physically handicapped people as employees as desired by the Chief Minister which would be 30 per cent of the total employees.
Baosteel plans to expand
China's Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. said on Saturday it was hoping to set up a subsidiary in Spain with paid-up capital of 200,000 euros ($156,384).Baosteel is also planning to set up a subsidiary in Shanghai with capital of 50 million yuan to produce ''special metals'', Baoshan said in an announcement in the Shanghai Securities News.China's steel makers are eyeing expansion overseas as the country becomes the world's largest producer and a net steel exporter.
Helicopter with 24 on board missing
On 23rd September a private helicopter carrying 24 people, including a junior minister and staff of a nature conservation group, disappeared in eastern Nepal today, a government minister and media reports said.Tourism minister Pradip Gyanwali confirmed media reports that the aircraft had been missing since noon local time.''Yes, it is missing,'' he told Reuters, but could give no further details.The Himalayan Times online service said junior forestry minister Gopal Rai was among 24 people on board the helicopter which went missing in the Taplejung district, 300 km east of the capital, Kathmandu.The helicopter was also carrying staff of the WWF global environmental conservation group, the report said.
Officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said they had lost contact with the helicopter, Shree Airlines 9N-AHJ (MI-172), after seven minutes taking off from Ghunsa, Kanchanjungha, at noon yesterday.
Two helicopters of the Nepal Army had been dispatched to search for the missing copter but bad weather and nightfall forced the suspension of all aerial search operations, reports said.
Security personnel have been mobilised to search the missing chopper.
''Locals heard a loud noise in the jungle five minutes after the helicopter took off from Ghunsa. The region is very remote. The helicopter vanished from the sky suddenly and nobody could see what happened next,'' a radio channel said.
According to reports, the passengers included Minister of State for Forest and Soil Conservation Gopal Rai and his wife, charge d' affaires in Embassy of Finland Pauli Mustonen, Forest secretary Damodar Prasad Parajuli, director general of the Department of Forest Sharad Rai, director general of DNPWC Narayan Poudel and Margaret Alexander of USAID, managing director of EHBC, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-U) Mingma N Sherpa, former minister Harka Gurung, conservation director of WWF-UK Jill Bowling, and co-chairman of ASRSG, WWF Nepal Tirtha Man Maskey and country representative WWF Nepal Chandra P Gurung.
Pakistan's nuclear secrets leaked
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said ''ego satisfaction and money'' lured his country's top nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan to leak nuclear secrets to Iran and other countries.
In an interview to the CBS television's ''60-Minute'' show, which was telecast last night, Gen Musharraf described Dr Khan as ''a self-promoter obsessed with fame and power, a lone wolf who exerted personal control over key aspects of Pakistan's nuclear operations and was able to transfer top secret technology with no official help''.
The interview was aired on the eve of the release of Gen Musharraf's 368-page book, ''In the Line of Fire: A Memoir'', which says Dr A Q Khan shipped two dozen centrifuges to North Korea and 18 tonnes of material and centrifuges to Libya and Iran.
When asked how was all of this material moved without someone in the government or the army finding out about it, President Musharraf said, ''First of all, bringing these centrifuges or their parts, these are not huge elements. They can be put into your car and moved.'' He recalled that whenever such complaints were brought to his notice, his stock reply was ''give me evidence. Give me proof''. Gen Musharraf said proof was presented to him three years later which he said was one of the most embarrassing moments in his career.
During a trip to the United States, the Pakistani leader recalled, he was asked by President Bush to meet CIA Director George Tenet on a very important matter, where he was confronted with sensitive documents that proved someone in Pakistan was selling nuclear secrets.
''He (the CIA Chief) took his briefcase out, passed me some papers, told me to have a look and I saw that it was a centrifuge design, with all it's numbers and signatures - of Pakistan,'' Gen Musharrraf said.
He said he took the documents and began his own investigation, discovering that highly sophisticated nuclear technology was sent not only to North Korea but also to Iran. The culprit was Dr A Q Khan, the country's father of the nuclear weapons programme, he said. For years, Dr Khan controlled some of Pakistan's most sensitive nuclear facilities, and claimed credit as father of its atomic bomb.
To make matters worse, he pointed out, the US and Britain intercepted this shipment of nuclear supplies that Libya had purchased from Pakistan in 2003.
He said the world was demanding a harsh punishment for Dr A Q Khan but he believed the Pakistani people would not tolerate a long trial and prison sentence because ''today, he's a hero of Pakistan. Because he's given us the atom bomb''.
Gen Musharraf had Dr Khan arrested and later pardoned him, placing him under house arrest.
French paper says Laden dead
On september 23rd a French regional newspaper today quoted a French secret service report as saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.
L'Est Republicain printed what it said was a copy of the report dated September. 21 and said it was shown to President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and France's interior and defence ministers on the same day.
''According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead,'' the document said.
''The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al Qaeda was a victim while he was in Pakistan on Aug.
23, 2006, of a very serious case of typhoid which led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs.'' The report, which was stamped with a ''confidential defence'' label and the initials of the French secret service, said Saudi Arabia first heard the information on September. 4 and that it was waiting for more details before making an official announcement.
A senior official in Pakistan's interior ministry said: ''We have no information about Osama's death.'' Saudi-born Bin Laden was based in Afghanistan until the Taliban government there was overthrown by US-backed forces in late 2001. Since then, US and Pakistani officials have regularly said they believe he is hiding somewhere on the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, on 24th September; Saudi Arabia said today it had no evidence that Osama bin Laden had died, shedding further doubt on a secret document leaked in France that said Saudi secret services believed he had died last month.
France and the United States said yesterday they could not confirm the report in French regional daily L'Est Republicain which quoted France's DGSE foreign intelligence service as saying the Saudi secret services were convinced the al Qaeda leader had died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August.
Time magazine separately posted an article on its Web site citing an unidentified Saudi source, who claimed bin Laden was stricken with a water-borne disease and may already be dead.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington, however, issued a statement saying: ''The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no evidence to support recent media reports that Osama bin Laden is dead. Information that has been reported otherwise is purely speculative and cannot be independently verified.'' French President Jacques Chirac told reporters bin Laden's death ''has not been confirmed in any way whatsoever and so I have no comment to make'' and that he was surprised a confidential note had been published.
France has launched a probe into how the document was leaked.
Pakistan launches cultural web site
US first lady Laura Bush and Pakistan's Begum Sehba Musharraf attended a function here where Pakistan launched a website to showpiece the ''beauty and richness'' of its cultural heritage and traditions.
The website, ''Gift of the Indus: The Arts and Culture of Pakistan'' is a joint venture of the John F Kennedy Center and the Pakistan National Council of the Arts.
Mrs Bush, in her remarks said, ''Learning about other cultures and countries is at the heart of diplomacy. By learning about Pakistani music, literature and theatre, we also learn about the people of Pakistan and their rich heritage.
Mrs Bush said Pakistan and the United States were allies in efforts to secure peace for the world.
IT cases against Jaya
A local court today adjourned to October 27, the four Income-Tax cases against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa and her close aide Sasikala.
When the cases came up for hearing, First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (EOW-I) J V Raj adjourned the cases to October 27 after recording the submissions made by the Defence Council N Jyothi that the revision petition filed by Ms Jayalalithaa was pending before the Madras High Court.
Mr Jyothi also contended out that the Supreme Court had directed the High Court to dispose off the peition in four months and sought a long adjournment.
However, the Magistrate posted the case to October 27 for further hearing.
The case relates to non-filing of IT returns by Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala for the assessment year 1993-94. The other two cases pertained to non-filing of IT returns by M/s Sasi Enterprises, in which they were partners, for the asseement year 1991-92 and 1992-93.
London bomb victims let down
Victims of last year's deadly London suicide bomb attacks were let down by poor emergency planning, a government report will say today according to media reports.
The Home Office report will admit that anti-terrorism plans failed to deal with the aftermath of the bomb attacks by four British Islamists on London's transport network on July 7 which left 52 commuters dead and more than 700 wounded. It will add that victims and families did not get the support they required, a lack of emergency facilities contributed to survivors' distress and police could not cope with the number of calls from worried relatives.
However, the professionalism and bravery of the emergency workers on the day is praised, the media reports said. ''We accept that there was more we could have done in our preparations and in our response on the day and in the days and weeks that followed,'' the Times newspaper quoted the report, titled Lessons Learned, as saying.
It comes after Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell admitted earlier this week that mistakes had been made after the bombings, the first suicide attacks in western Europe.
''I think the anger that people feel is justified,'' she told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
India meets West Indies today
India will find themselves up against a rejuvenated West Indies side as they seek their first win of the DLF tri-series tournament in Malaysia today. Brian Lara's team upset Australia in their last match and he believes they can now go from strength to strength.
Indian team is looking at making few changes and S Sreesanth looks almost certain to find a place ahead of a seamer. ''We haven't picked the team but we won't see big changes, even though some changes would be there,'' said Indian Coach Greg Chappell.
He also said that the team had slightly different role for Irfan now. Irfan has struggled with the ball but has chipped in with a vital fifty batting at number three. "Some people don't seem to have confidence in my players, but I do," Lara commented.
"We are not highly ranked in the world and are focused on getting up there. I feel it is going to come right." West Indies hope to have seam bowler Corey Collymore available for the first time in the tournament after recovering from a thigh injury. And having already qualified for next Sunday's final has given them a major lift ahead of the Champions Trophy in India, where they will have to pre-qualify despite being the defending champions.
UK Muslims demand punishment for Pope
A day after Pope Benedict XVI apologised over his remarks against Islam, Muslim leader Anjem Choudary told a demonstration here that the Pope should face execution for his comments.
''Those who insulted Islam should be subject to capital punishment,'' he told demonstrators who were protesting outside Westminster Cathedral yesterday.
He said, ''Muslims take their religion very seriously and non-Muslims must appreciate their religious sentiments and they must also understand that there may be serious consequences if you insult Islam and the Prophet,'' he added. Demonstrators were holding placards attacking saying ''Pope go to Hell, Trinity of Evil: Western Crusade against Islam''.
Mr Choudary said,'' Whoever insults the message of Mohammed is going to be subject to capital punishment. I am here to have a peaceful demonstration. But there may be people in Italy or other parts of the world who would carry that out. I think that warning needs to be understood by all people who want to insult Islam and the Prophet,''he added. A website run in the name of the Mujahdeen Army, which allegedly claimed responsibility for attacks in Iraq, addressed the Pope as ''You dog of Rome''.
However, spokesman of the Scotland Yard said, ''We have had no complaints about this. There were around 100 people at the demonstration. It passed off peacefully and there were no arrests.'' Larger Islamic groups in Britain however, said they accepted the Pope's apology. Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain said, ''The Vatican has moved quickly to deal with the hurt and we accept that. It was something that should never have happened - words of that nature were always likely to cause dismay - and we believe some of the Pope's advisers may have been at fault over his speech.'' Pope Benedict had yesterday apologised over his remarks on Islam, saying he was ''deeply sorry'' about the reaction and that medieval quotes he used on holy war did not reflect his personal views.
NASA lost original tape
The U.S. government has misplaced the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," a NASA spokesman said on Monday.
Armstrong's famous space walk, seen by millions of viewers on July 20, 1969, is among transmissions that NASA has failed to turn up in a year of searching, spokesman Grey Hautaloma said.
"We haven't seen them for quite a while. We've been looking for over a year and they haven't turned up," Hautaloma said.
The tapes also contain data about the health of the astronauts and the condition of the spacecraft. In all, some 700 boxes of transmissions from the Apollo lunar missions are missing, he said.
"I wouldn't say we're worried -- we've got all the data. Everything on the tapes we have in one form or another," Hautaloma said.
NASA has retained copies of the television broadcasts and offers several clips on its Web site.
But those images are of lower quality than the originals stored on the missing magnetic tapes.
Because NASA's equipment was not compatible with TV technology of the day, the original transmissions had to be displayed on a monitor and re-shot by a TV camera for broadcast.
Hautaloma said it is possible the tapes will be unplayable even if they are found, because they have degraded significantly over the years -- a problem common to magnetic tape and other types of recordable media.
The material was held by the National Archives but returned to NASA sometime in the late 1970s, he said.
"We're looking for paperwork to see where they last were," he said.
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US University Fair for aspiring Indian students
Students and parents interested in finding details about studying in the US will have the opportunity to meet representatives of 28 American institutions at the US University Fair here on Saturday.
The Fair, at the Taj Palace Hotel, is being organised by the Washington-based Linden Educational Services. ''The fair is free of charge and open to the public. The first hour of the fair is for undergraduates only,'' the US Embassy here said in a statement.
The participating schools represent the full offering of the US education system, including large state institutions, private universities and liberal arts colleges. Many schools offer distinguished undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programmes in business management, computer science and engineering.
Two informative presentations will also be offered at the fair. A member of the Linden staff will give a talk on ''US Higher Education for Graduate Students.'' Another staff member will talk about ''US Higher Education for Undergraduate Students.
Last year over 5.72 lakh international students pursued their higher education in the US, with more than 80,000 coming from India.
Details about the Fair, including the pre-registration form and a list of participating universities, can also be obtained at www.lindentours.com.
Tata Steel bags sixth International Trade Fair
Tata Steel adds a feather to its hat by bagging the First Prize at the sixth International Trade Fair in New Delhi.
Tata Steel received the award for the Design and Concept of its stall in the Indian National Category at the sixth International Trade Fair, a company release issued here today said.
The Fair and Conference on 'Minerals, Metals, Metallurgy and Materials' (MMMM 2006) is being organised by Indian Institute of Metals as part of its Diamond Jubilee Celebrations during September 11 to 14 in the Capital.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Dr Jairam Rameshwas was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
In the International Trade Fair, Tata Steel's stall was adjudged the best, alongwith SAIL, amongst ninety national companies participating in the Trade Fair. Thirty international companies also took part in the exhibition. List of participating companies included Baosteel, SAIL, Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Copper Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, M N Dastur & Co Ltd, MECON and other such companies of national and international repute.
China was the partner country for the International Trade Fair this year.
In the award winning exhibition Tata Steel showcased its best coal mining practices, cutting edge technology used in iron ore mining, pioneering human resource practices, 78 years of industrial harmony and various other aspects of the company.
The various participating companies from countries all over the world exhibited latest technologies and know-how.
'Dead' criminal arrested
A criminal, who managed to declare himself officially dead 25 years ago, was caught selling obscene literature here, police today said.
Ram Lal Vishwakarma was arrested from Maidagin area last evening and the certificate declaring him dead 25 years ago was also recovered, police said. Interrogation and checking of old records revealed that Ram Lal, a native of Hartirath area of the city, was a listed criminal in the early 1970s.
In 1967, he was caught red-handed, while trading obscene items following which the court sentenced him to imprisonment for a few days. After coming out of jail, he was caught twice in different burglary cases and was again punished by the court.
Later, he was caught for an offence under Arms Act.
In 1976, the accused was released on bail and subsequently, fled from the city, following which he was declared absconder in the official records. The process of attaching his property was also initiated by the court.
Ram Lal's family came to his rescue by managing to get a death certificate in his name from Chayal tehsil in the neighbouring Allahabad district dated October 14, 1981. Once declared officially dead, all pending cases against Ram Lal were closed in 1983. Since then, he had been living in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh along with his family.
After returning here 6 days back, he again engaged himself in the business of obscene literature. A case of fraud was registered against him, following which he was sent to jail.
Galaxy gives clues to early universe
Scientists said that they have found the most distant galaxy yet, nearly 13 billion light-years away, in a discov
ery that could help explain how stars were formed at the dawn of time. The galaxy, named IOK-1, is so far away that the light waves that reached Earth depict it as the system of stars existed shortly after the Big Bang created the universe 13.66 billion years ago.
That period, known to astronomers as the Dark Ages, saw the formation of the first stars and galaxies from elementary particles. Scientists had been unable to directly observe that time period until now. Japanese astronomers working at the Subaru Telescope Facility in Hilo, Hawaii, developed a filter to pick up light that has been stretched over billions of years to the red end of the spectrum by an expanding universe.
The scientists, whose findings will be published today in the journal Nature, said they had expected to find at least six galaxies similar to IOK-1, 12.88 billion light-years away.
A light-year is the distance that light travels in one year, about 9.46 trillion km.
Instead they found only one object that could be identified as a galaxy, leading them to believe they were witnessing a process known as reionization, when the first stars cooked free-floating hydrogen atoms into the transparent plasma gas that fills much of the universe today.
According to this theory, light from other galaxies as old as IOK-1 is blocked by hydrogen atoms that were still whole and had not yet gone through reionization. Another theory holds that few galaxies existed during this time, 780 million years after the Big Bang. It would mean that reionization had already taken place.
Either way, it shows that the universe changed substantially in the 60 million years that separate IOK-1 and the next oldest galaxies to be observed on Earth, the astronomers said. The scientists found another object similar to IOK-1, but could not say if it was a distant galaxy or something else such as a black hole.
US remembers 9/11 five years on
Sombre ceremonies have been held in the US on the fifth anniversary of the devastating 11 September attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people. People fell silent at New York's World Trade Center site to mark the times the two planes hit and the towers fell.
Over three hours, the names of the 2,749 killed there were read out.
After meeting New York firefighters, President George W Bush laid a wreath at the other crash sites - in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.
In the evening, at 2100 local time (0100 GMT), Mr Bush will make a formal TV address to the nation from the Oval Office.
It will be only the fifth time that Mr Bush has made such an address to the American people - the first was on the day of the attacks.
US President George W Bush has urged Americans to unite behind the "war on terror" in a speech marking five years since the 11 September attacks. The president talked of "a struggle for civilisation" and said the safety of the nation depended on the outcome of "the battle in the streets of Baghdad".
93 blasts convicted Memon family
The special TADA court hearing the the long-drawn 1993 Mumbai blasts case on Tuesday convicted four members of the Memon family - Yakub, Essa, Rubina and Yusuf.
Three other members of the Memon family - Suleiman, Hanifa and Rahil - have, however, been acquitted with the judge giving them the benefit of doubt.
The four Memons have been held guilty on charges of conspiring and abetting acts of terror.
They face jail terms ranging from a minimum of five years to life imprisonment.
Yakub Memon, the brother of prime accused 'Tiger' Memon, has been charged for possession of unauthorised arms. The complete verdict in the case will be delivered in batches in a staggered manner over a period of four weeks.
Yakub Memon is younger brother of prime accused and conspirator Tiger Memon.
After the blasts, the family members of Tiger, including Yakub, had escaped to Dubai and from Mumbai to Pakistan. Except Tiger and his brother Ayub, the entire family returned to India and arrested by CBI in 1994.
Since then Yakub has been in custody and is undergoing treatment as he suffers from depression, according to his lawyer Subhash Kanse.
Sanjay's turn could take longer. According to public prosecuter Ujjwal Nikam, verdict on actor Sanjay Dutt's role would take at least a month's time. "Court has adopted a well-thought of strategy to deliver the verdict and the judemnt would come according to it,"
At least two people were feared killed and dozens of people were wounded in a blast outside a mosque in Maharashtra on Friday, police said.
"We have heard of a blast outside a mosque in Malegaon (town). There are reports of injuries but we have no news of any deaths yet," P.S. Pasricha, Maharashtra's police chief, said.
Thousands had gathered at the mosque for Friday prayers in the town which is 260 km northeast of Mumbai. According to initial reports, there had been more than one explosion, but that could not be confirmed.
Mumbai was placed on high alert following a blast in Maharashtra's textile town of Malegaon on Friday, police said. The entire city and especially some sensitive areas have been placed on high alert, they said. Security has been stepped up at entry and exit points, at vital installations and places of worship, police said. In view of the July 11 serial train blasts in the city, security forces have already been on alert.
Tamil Nadu government to set up IT academy
The Tamil Nadu goverment will set up an IT Academy to improve the standards of computer education in the State, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced today.
Inaugurating Connect-2006, a three-day conference organised by the CII here, he said the academy would focus on upgrading the curriculum of graduate and post-graduate courses in keeping with present needs.
Stating the IT revolution had no relevance if it did not improve the lives of the poorest, he said ICT could provide opportunities for touching the untouched and approaching the unapproached.
'My government is deeply committed to winning the war against hunger, deprivation, want, inequality and unemployment. We are ceaselessly striving towards this cause', he said and appealed to Connect-2006 to pledge itself to this cause.
Attributing the growth of the IT industry in the State to the availability of skilled human resources, Mr Karunanidhi said to strengthen this, the Union HRD Ministry would set up an Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing - a National Centre of Excellence.
The establishment of this prestigious institution in the State would create a new chapter in the development of the IT industry.
Video tape shows Laden
Al Jazeera aired a video tape that showed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden meeting what it said were perpetrators of the September 11 attacks on US cities, days ahead of the fifth anniversary of the strikes. The television said yesterday the tape documented the ''daily life'' of al Qaeda operatives as they trained and prepared for the attacks in the mountains of Afghanistan.
The video, which shows Bin Laden in one scene greeting a fighter against the backdrop of a mountain, also contained parts of taped ''wills'' of two of the September 11 attackers, Wael al-Shihri and Hamza al-Ghamdi.
''If we accept our humiliation ... the footsteps of the enemy will stretch from Jerusalem to Mecca,'' a man identified as Hamza al-Ghamdi was shown as saying.
In one scene a man chops wood. Another scene shows a man preparing a meal.
Voters welcome news of Blair exit next year
News that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will quit within a year received a warm welcome on the streets of London today where voters said he had served his purpose.
Blair had served his purpose, they said, hoping that his expected successor, seen most likely as Chancellor Gordon Brown, would not mean more of the same policies.
The prime minister's departure ''is probably best for the Labour Party because they need a change,'' said Martin Fry, 48, a public sector worker. He felt Blair had done a largely good job, likening him to Margaret Thatcher, one of his most illustrious predecessors.
''However, like Thatcher, I think he has come to a point in his political life when he has outlived his usefulness and his purpose,'' Fry said. ''He was the right person at the right time when he came into power but times have changed.'' After two days of high drama over Blair's future, the prime minister said in a televised statement that this month's annual Labour Party conference would be his last as leader.
But he said: ''I'm not going to set a precise date now, I don't think that's right. I will do that at a future date and I'll do it in the interests of the country.'' When Blair finally bows out, he will not be remembered fondly by some voters because of his unpopular decision to take the country to war in Iraq and ally himself closely with US President George W.
PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal rejects
Denying his involvement in the multicrore fake stamp scam, Maharashtra PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal today rejected allegations levelled against him by prime accused Abdul Karim Telgi saying there is no truth in the charges.
Asked to comment on the allegations being tape-broadcast by a private television news channel, Mr Bhujbal told UNI that the said video tape of Telgi's narco-analysis test, being played by a news channel, is three years old and had been investigated thoroughly by special investigating team (SIT) of Mumbai police and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
''Even though Telgi was arrested in Karnataka, it was during my tenure as Home Minister (of Maharashtra), his parrallel economy was destroyed by the(Maharashtra) police. He was booked under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). In fact, because of me , he faced the heat. How could I have helped him '' ?, Mr Bhujbal asked.
''Telgi's activities were noticed in 1995 and we were not in power at that time. When we got proof, we acted against him. Earlier, he gave a slip to the police as many as 15 times'', he added.
Mr Bhujbal, who was then the State Deputy Chief MInister, also doubted authencity of the narco-analysis tests.
''Telgi has been taking names of people because of whom he had to face trouble. This is nothing but revenge'', Mr Bhujbal said. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, whose name also allegedly figures in the tape, is in Delhi and was not available for his reaction.
Tata Motors to invest in expansion
Tata Motors will invest Rs 12,000 crore over four years in expanding capacity, company Managing Director Ravi Kant told reporters here today. Mr Kant said the company is looking at overseas markets like South Africa, West Asia and others, only after satisfying its projected demand in the domestic market by March next year.
''Tata Motors is looking at selling its buses and trucks via three Russian firms.'' The company also plans to roll out a semi-commercial vehicle 'world truck' to be launched first in Korea by 2008.
The funding will be done through internal accruals, Mr Kant said, adding that the company might borrow if needed.
Tata Motors sold 6000 vehicles last month.
Pawar rejects Telgi's allegation
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today termed as irresponsible and baseless the reported confession made by multi-crore stamp paper scam accused Abdul Karim Telgi naming him as allegedly involved in the case.
"There is no need to take any cognizance of what a criminal has said,"Mr Pawar said reacting to Telgi's confession aired by a TV channel.
UNI YS RP HT2025 RELATED NEWS
France, Saudi in 2.5 bln euro arms deal
France and Saudi Arabia are poised to sign a 2.5 billion euros ($3.21 billion) arms deal for 40 helicopters and at least two Airbus A330-200 refueling aircraft, La Tribune newspaper reported today.
The initial order - finalised on Sunday during talks in Riyadh between French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Saudi government officials - would comprise 30 Fennec multi-purpose military helicopters and 10 marine versions of the NH-90 transport helicopter, the newspaper said.
Both helicopters are made by Eurocopter, a division of European aerospace group EADS. EADS also owns 80 per cent of Airbus. La Tribune said the deal could be followed in 2007 by a further 4 billion euros order for 42 more NH-90 and other helicopters and ground-to-air missiles, while talks on a possible later sale of tanks, submarines, frigates and Rafale fighter aircraft were continuing. A French defence ministry spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
CBI denies pressure in Mattoo case
Central Bureau of Investigation counsel Amrendra Sharan today denied in the Delhi High Court any pressure on the agency investigating the Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case.
''Whose pressure was there?'' asked Justice P K Bhasin of the Division Bench following the ''unexplained delay'' of four days in making available the postmortem report. The observations assumed significance in view of damning comment by the Sessions Court against the CBI. ''Though I know he is the man who committed the crime, I acquit him, giving him the benefit of doubt,'' the court had said.
The court had accused CBI of keeping away evidence collected by it and fabricating documentary evidence, and had even cast doubts on the DNA report.
Twenty-three year old Delhi University law student, Priyadarshini, was allegedly raped and murdered by Santosh Singh at her South Delhi apartment on January 23, 1996. However, the postportem report was available only on January 29.
Mr Sharan explained the delay on two accounts--firstly the case was transferred from Delhi police to the CBI on January 25 night because Santosh was the son of J P Singh, who was at that time a serving Delhi Police officer. Secondly, January 26 was a holiday being Republic Day. Two subsequent days being Saturday and Sunday respectively, the report couldn't have been handed over until January 29, he added.
However, the High Court judges asked, "So what? Don't the police work on holidays?'' Although the CBI counsel replied that the agency officials did not come to offices on Saturdays, the judges observed short of pulling up the agency, ''The investigating officer might have been more efficient'' and asked if there was any pressure on the agency.
Denying the allegations, the CBI counsel appeared to fumble for words before calling the trial court judgement erroneous and contradictory. Mr Sharan said the sessions' court had failed to appreciate evidence, including the fact.
Priyadarshini was strangled at her South Delhi apartment with 19 injuries on her person. Santosh was Mattoo's senior at the Faculty of Law and had been stalking her for sometime.
The evidence, mostly circumstantial included the fact that Priyadarshini had even lodged a complaint with the Maurice Nagar police station against Santosh stalking her. She met the then Commissioner of Police and even got security. On the day of the murder, a neighbour had seen Santosh outside Priyadarshini's home.
The CBI later instituted an internal inquiry and challenged the trial court's competence regarding DNA tests. The CBI review petition filed in 2000 with the Delhi High Court took six years to be listed. It followed nationwide public pressure after the acquittal of the main accused in the Jessica Lall case.
Mother Teresa's 10th death anniversary
Saint of the Gutter- Mother Teresa- was remembered by the people, who found home and food at her house, on her 10th death anniversary today.
The main function was held at Mother's house in Central Kolkata, where the inmates, nuns and people from walks of life assembled and remmembered her legacy with weeping.
Missionaries of Charity's Superior General Sister Nirmala said Mother was rembered for her love for the people of this city.
All India Minority Forum and Satya Seva Bhavan, an NGO, jointly organised an all faiths prayer meeting at Mother's House. A seminar on 'National Integrity' was also organised to pay homage to Mother.
Forum president Idrish Ali said Mother was symbol of national intergrity and she had served the poverty-stricken people throughout her life. Children also offered flowers and prayed for her soul. People of different beliefs participated in this programme.
Declared "blessed" by Pope John Paul II in October 2003, Mother Teresa had set an example of Christian services for the poor and underprivilege people.
Fingerprint compression for quick search
Catching criminals could become quicker thanks to a new fingerprint technique developed by British scientists. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in England have developed a technique to compress fingerprints lifted from a crime scene so they can be transmitted to a fingerprint bureau in a fraction of the normal four to 20 minutes.
''Now we can transmit a lift within 30-60 seconds,'' Professor Nigel Alinson told a news conference yesterday at the British Association Festival of Science.
The system, which will be used by all 43 U K police forces, was approved by the National Fingerprint Board earlier this year.
Instead of visiting several crime scenes and waiting until the end of the day to get the prints to a bureau, crime scene examiners can use a laptop with a wireless card and a small scanner to send them via mobile phone networks.
In an area of England where the system was tested it takes, on average, four days to get an identity. The system could reduce that to less than two hours, according to Alinson.
''The current record time for an examiner attending a scene to a suspect's identity being obtained is 20 minutes,'' he said.
Alinson and his colleagues are also working on developing technology to identify footwear impressions and shoe patterns taken from crime scenes.
Although footwear evidence is not as unique as DNA or fingerprints, Alinson said there is more chance of picking up footprints from the scene than fingerprints.
Since January, new police powers in England allow footwear impressions to be taken from crime scenes and stored and searched in a database.
''There is no practical technology to do this at the moment, it is done manually,'' said Alinson.
The software he and his team are working on will compare features of the shoe with a reference library of up to 12,000 different models.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is Killed
, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the “Crocodile Hunter,” was killed Monday by a stingray
while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.
Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called “Ocean’s Deadliest” when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous bard on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.
“He came on top of the stingray and the stingray’s barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart,” said Stainton, who was on board Irwin’s boat at the time.
US rebuts 9/11 homegrown conspiracy
The United States government is attacking conspiracy theories about the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York as the fifth anniversary of September 11 approaches.
According to a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll carried out in July, more than one-third of Americans suspect US officials helped in the Sept 11 attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could later go to war.
The State Department responded this week with a rebuttal of World Trade Center demolition theories and doubts about other events of the day that abound on the Internet.
It listed some of the most prevalent September. 11 myths, led by claims the twin towers were destroyed by secretly planted explosives, not burning passenger jets. ''This is how the collapses may have appeared to non-experts, but demolition experts point out many differences,'' said a department ''special feature'' available at http://usinfo.state.gov/media/misinformation.html
Demolition professionals always blow the bottom floors of a structure first, while the collapses began at upper levels, where the hijacked Boeing 767s hit, it said. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11. The Bush administration responded by leading an invasion of Afghanistan and, in 2003, of Iraq.'CORRECTIVE' EFFORT
The State Department was providing ''corrective information'' in response to misinformation in the media and on the Internet, said Joanne Moore, a department spokeswoman.
The information in the rebuttal was not new, she added, but drawn from public sources.
In a similar vein, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology posted a ''fact sheet'' on its Web site on Wednesday in question-and-answer format responding to alternative theories about the fire and the collapse.
NIST, which carried out a three-year investigation, concluded the towers collapsed after being hit by separate, fuel-laden aircraft flown by hijackers.
The resulting fire, which reached temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees celins, led to an inward bowing of perimeter columns and subsequent collapses, NIST found in 43 volumes that comprise a final report issued last October.
In putting out its answers to 14 questions about the World Trade Center, NIST, an arm of the Commerce Department, said its findings did not support the ''pancake theory'' of collapse premised on a progressive failure of floor systems consistent with a controlled demolition.
''NIST is a group of government scientists whose leaders are Bush appointees, and therefore their report is not likely to veer from the political story,'' said Kevin Ryan, an editor of the online Journal of 9/11 studies.
Ryan says he was a former site manager of a division of Underwriters Laboratories, an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization.
''The more information we learn about this investigation, the more concerned we become,'' he said.
IIJT opens two new centre in Bangalore
To bridge the huge demand-supply gap in the field of computer accounting, Indian Institute of Job-Oriented Training (IIJT) today launched its activities in South India from here.
The institute, which launched its Malleshwaram and Basavangudi centre here, gave equal importance to theoretical knowledge and practical application, thus meeting the needs of the industry.
IIJT CEO Devesh Srivastava told newspersons here that the computer accountancy course of the institute would guarantee those who want to pursue accounting as a career with top quality jobs. The institute gave its students a world class experience in learning with fully interactive classrooms and options for online training.
He said the road ahead for IIJT included expansion plans for building an integrated network of quality vocational training centres all over the country that would cater to the masses. By March 2007, IIJT targetted to open 100 fully operational centres.
The courses offered include computer fundamentals, accountancy and audit to banking and finance, capital market operations, and corporate and industrial law. IIJT also trained students on soft skill module, designed in partnership with Hero Mindmine, a division of the US Dollar 3.2 billion Hero group of companies. Besides, IIJT provided 100 per cent guaranteed placement through its dedicated placement cell.
Jammu & Kashmir Sex scandal
A local court today once again reserved till September 5 the judgement on the bail applications of former Jammu and Kashmir Ministers Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Raman Mattoo and others, accused in the sex racket case that had rocked the Valley.
Principal Sessions Judge, Srinagar Mohammad Yaqoob Mir deferred the hearing on the bail applications of Mir, Mattoo and others till September 5.
Moulvi Aijaz pleaded the case on behalf of the accused while the CBI was represented by public prosecutor R K Saini. The court also said all identical bail applications would be taken up on the same day. However, the main case would come up for hearing on September 9. Earlier on August 18, 21, 26 and 28 the court had four times deffered the hearing on the bail pleas.
The court on August 17 had granted interim bail to senior IAS officer Mohammad Iqbal Khanday, another accused in the sex scandal, on medical grounds after 50 days of detention. He was asked to furnish a surety of Rs one lakh and a personal bond of the same amount. He was the first among more than 15 accused, arrested by the CBI in connection with the sex scandal, to have been granted bail. Khanday was arrested by the CBI on June 29, and booked under section five of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
Khanday, an IAS officer of 1978 batch, had served in several top positions, including the Principal Secretary to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and was the first person from the Valley to have qualified in the Civil Services examination. He was Principal Secretary in the Planning and Development Department at the time of his arrest. The CBI has so far arrested several top politicians, civil, police and paramilitary officials in connection with the sex racket.
Besides, Mir, Mattoo and Khanday, the others arrested were sacked including state Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi, BSF DIG K C Padhi, Jammu and Kashmir Police DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, J&K Police Counter-Insurgency Kashmir (CIK) wing DSP Mohammad Yousuf Mir and Naaz Hotel owner Riyaz Kawa.
Mir, a former Minister of State for Roads and Buildings and a sitting Congress legislator from Dooru in Anantnag district, was arrested by the CBI from the Jammu and Kashmir House at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi on June 20.
Mattoo, a former Minister of State for Industries and Commerce and an independent legislator from Habba Kadal in Srinagar, was also arrested by the investigating agency from his residence at Gupkar here on June 20.
The DIG BSF had surrendered before the CBI here on June 7 while Sethi, who was evading arrest since a proclamation notice was issued against him on June 14 by the CJM following a request by the CBI, also surrendered in a local court at Jammu on June 21.
Flood situation in Madhya Pradesh
Four people were killed when heavy rains lashed Bhopal and adjoining areas affecting life in Madhya Pradesh and administration in the flood-hit Kawas in Barmer started drilling to drain water even as the death toll rose to 36 in floods in various districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Near flood situation arose in Madhya Pradesh with almost all rivers and rivulets in spate and vehicular traffic from the capital to Raisen and Sagar remained affected. Flights were affected as rainwater accumulated on the runway at Bhopal airport. Two youths were washed away while crossing a nullah in Ujjain while two people were killed as lightning struck them in Shivpuri yesterday. Many trains were running behind schedule due to heavy rains and flooding of tracks.
At least 35 people, trapped in rising waters in two canals after a heavy downpour in Jhalawar district of Rajasthan, were rescued even as heavy rains continued to lash Udaipur and Kota divisions with warning of more torrential rains in the next 24 hours. Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar, Banswara and Chittor recorded heavy rains. Many roads have been blocked in Kota division due to continuous downpour. The state government has started drilling to drain flood waters in the worst-affected Kawas village in Barmer district.
Light to moderate rains were experienced in the national capital early this morning as people woke up to another cool day. The rains plummetted minimum temperature to 24.5 degrees Celsius, from 25.2 degrees yesterday. The weatherman have forecast more rainfall for the day and also during the next few days due to the Northwesterly movement of the Monsoon depession which lay over East Madhya Pradesh yesterday.
Rs 3cr to stop epidemic in Barmer
The state government has sanctioned Rs three crores for prevention of seasonal diseases resulting from flood and incessant rain in Barmer district.
District Collector Subir Kumar said the Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) has been permitted to spend Rs 65 lakhs while the Principal Medical Officer can spend Rs one lakh. The CMHO has been given permission to spend the remaining Rs 2.35 crores as per the norms, he added.
The state government has also sanctioned Rs 3.50 crores for the cattle treatment fund to Animal Husbandry department.
The Disaster Management and Relief Department has been allotted Rs 5.5 crores for repairing and restoring water supply works. Over Rs one lakh has also been allotted for repair of damaged canals and dams in the district and Rs 6.30 crore for immediate repair of damaged roads in the district.
A sum of Rs 12.04 crores has been sanctioned for providing clothes and utensils to 1.20 lakh families.