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Top Stories of the Week

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Huge mudflow inevitable from volcano lake

Volcano A crater lake on a New Zealand volcano used as a backdrop in the ''Lord of the Rings'' films is on the verge of collapsing and could send a torrent of muddy water down the mountain in coming weeks, media reported today.

Melting snow on Mount Ruapehu has filled the lake to within 1.5 metres of its lip, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

The 2,797-metre volcano is the highest mountain in the North Island and home to two commercial ski fields.

Scientists say a lahar, or mudflow composed of volcanic material and water, is inevitable as warm summer weather causes the snow to melt and fill the lake.

''It is still expected the earliest the dam might start collapsing to create a lahar down the Whangaehu River is February/March,'' the Herald quoted a Department of Conservation official as saying.

On December 24, 1953, a lahar rushing down the Whangaehu River destroyed a railway bridge, causing a packed passenger train to plunge into the river, killing 151 people on board.

Since then, a barrier of boulders and gravel has been built to divert any lahar flowing into the river. No major towns would be in its path.

Mount Ruapehu, which last erupted in 1995 and 1996, creating the present crater dam, is in Tongariro National Park, where Peter Jackson filmed some scenes for his ''Lord of the Rings''.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Hillary Rodham Clinton

International NewsThe former first lady acknowledged her plans to take the first step of forming a presidential exploratory committee.

"I'm not just starting a campaign, though. I'm beginning a conversation with you, with America," Clinton says in her web message. She announced that she will be holding live, on-line video conferences with Americans starting Monday.

"Let's talk about how to bring the right end to the war in Iraq, and to restore respect for America around the world," she said.

Clinton's announcement, days after Sen. Barack Obama shook up the contest race with his bid to become the first black president, establishes the most diverse political field ever.

Clinton is considered the front-runner, with Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards as other top contenders. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who would be the first Hispanic president, intends to announce his plans on Sunday. Other Democrats seeking the highest office in the land include Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) is expected to formally announce his candidacy soon.

With millions in the bank, a vast network of supporters and top status in nearly every poll of

Democratic contenders, Clinton is undertaking the most viable effort by a female candidate to capture the White House. Her creation of a presidential exploratory committee allows her to raise money for the campaign; she already has lined up campaign staff. She is the first presidential spouse to pursue the office; her husband, Bill, served two terms in the White House from 1993-2001.

A polarizing figure since she burst onto the national scene during her husband's first presidential campaign, Clinton engenders strong opinions among voters, who either revere or revile her but rarely are ambivalent.

She often is compared to her husband and found lacking in his natural charisma. Others have criticized her for being overly cautious and calculating when so many voters say they crave authenticity. Many Democrats, eager to reclaim the White House after eight years of President Bush, fret that she carries too much baggage from her husband's scandal-plagued presidency to win a general election.

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Attack on Nithari Killers

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday produced Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli, prime accused in the Nithari serial killings, in a special court here.

The duo was severely beaten up by a group of lawyers and public in the premises of the court here, where they were produced by the CBI. Some lawyers caught Pandher by his hair and repeatedly punched him on his face and rained blows on him. Unable to withstand the attack, the businessman became unconscious and fell to the ground.

The policemen surrounding them had a tough time controlling the angry crowd. The CBI has registered 19 cases against them. Uttar Pradesh Police had on December 29 recovered skulls and human remains from a drain behind Pandher's D-5, Sector 31 residence in Noida, unearthing the serial killings of children and women allegedly killed by him and his domestic help Koli.

Asked if the lawyers claimed to have been named in the case were absconding, SP (city) Govind Agarwal said: "Well, not really. We have obtained lots of TV news footage and newspaper photos for identifying many more individuals guilty of thrashing Pandher and even roughing up policemen. Stern action will be taken." from Times Of India

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Reality Show Winners

Rahul RoyActor Rahul Roy has won Big Boss, one of India's biggest reality shows. Model Carol Gracias and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen were the last to be evicted.
All former contestants came together to celebrate the occasion. Rahul Roy walked away with Rs 50 lakh prize money after three months in the house.

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty stormed to victory on Britain's ''Celebrity Big Brother'' after her treatment on the television show sparked fears of racist bullying that escalated into an international row.

Shetty, whose victory will be seen as a triumph for racial equality in Britain and India, beat 13 other contestants, including those who were accused of tormenting her.
But the 31-year-old was quick to play down allegations that she had been the victim of racial abuse on the show, unaware the spat had already drawn tens of thousands of complaints, dominated headlines and even prompted a sponsor to pull out.
''Things happen and people make mistakes and we are all human beings and we are all fallible,'' said Shetty after emerging victorious from the specially-designed Big Brother House, where she had been cooped up for 26 days under 24-hour surveillance.
''I know one thing for sure, Jade really didn't mean to be racist,'' she said, referring to shamed television star Jade Goody who was a central figure in the furore.
''I really don't want to leave England putting anyone in trouble,'' added Shetty in an interview on Channel 4, which broadcasts the controversial series .

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Monica Lewinsky hunting job in London

Monica LewinskyMonica Lewinsky, the lady who landed former US President Bill Clinton in a famous political sex scandal in 1998, is now hunting for a job in London.

33-years-old Lewinsky graduated from the London School of Economics last month.

In 1998, the US House of Representatives impeached Clinton on charges of lying to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice to conceal his affair with Lewinsky.

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Bangalore violence

Night curfew was clamped in part of the City even as a 12 year-old boy was killed in police firing and more than 30 people injured in fresh violence that broke out during a 'Shobha Yatra' taken out by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on 21st January 2007.

The curfew, clamped as precautionary measure, would be in force till morning in Bharatinagar area and depending upon the situation decision would be taken to withdraw.

Police said the boy was killed at Kamaraj road when the police opened fire after lobbing of tear gas shells and lathi charge was proved to be futile to disperse the mob which indulged in torching vehicles besides pelting stones on roadside shops.

More than 40 vehicles including buses, autorickshaws and two wheelers were damaged and torched and scores of shops were damaged in stone pelting.

More than 30 people, including six police personnel, who were injured in violence were admitted to various Hospitals.More than 300 people were taken into custody in connection with the violence.

In other two areas Shivajinagar and Halasur police limits Prohibitory Orders under section 144 were clamped. Large scale violence broke out during 'Shobha Yatra' taken out by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists.

No fresh incidents of violence was reported last night in the trouble hit areas where night curfew had been clamped.

Additional Police Commissioner Bipin Gopalakrishna said the curfew in Shivajinagar, Bharatinagar and Halsur, Tannery Road, K G Halli and Thimmaiah Road last night, was relaxed in the morning.

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India wins first ODI by 14 runs

Sports news : Cricket, Saurav GangulyIndia were indebted to Sourav Ganguly for posting their highest total against the West Indies as the left-handed opener celebrated his comeback with a superb 98.The former Indian captain, playing his first one-dayer in 16 months, hammered three sixes and 11 fours in his 110-ball knock to help the hosts surpass their previous best total of 325-5 against the West Indies.

However, West Indies opening batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul smashed a robust century, but failed to stop India from posting a thrilling 14-run win in the first one-day international here.

The left-hander cracked an unbeaten 149 for his fifth one-day hundred before the West Indies were restricted to 324-8 in reply to India's challenging total of 338-3 on a batting pitch.

The 32-year-old Chanderpaul threatened to ruin Ganguly's day with a gem of an innings, which came off 136 balls with the help of three sixes and 16 fours. He was named man of the match.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sania Mirza crashes out of Australian Open

Sports News, TennisSania Mirza could not rein in the string of unforced errors and her serve also let her down as the Hyderabadi ace crashed out of the Australian Open singles event following a 3-6, 2-6 second round loss to Japan's Aiko Nakamura here today.

The Indian was erratic throughout, committing 26 double faults in all, as Nakamura outplayed her in just over an hour to set up a third round clash with Swiss Martina Hingis.

Sania thus failed to better her 2005 show at the Melbourne Park, where she had reached the third round before losing to eventual champion Serena Williams.

Nakamura, it seemed, had learnt her lessons from the 2005 loss to Sania in the Japan Open, the only face-off between the two players before today's match, and was clearly the more disciplined, breaking the Indian thrice in the opening set.

Sania also managed to convert the two break points that came her way but never looked to be in her elements and committed 12 unforced errors compared to Nakamura's six to surrender the first set in just 33 minutes.

The second set followed almost the same script and Nakamura gave no chance to the world number 53, breaking her twice. The Hyderabadi star wasted two break points and served poorly, committing three double faults apart from 14 unforced errors to bow out of the first Grand Slam of the year.

Sania later admitted that she was not in her best form and blamed poor serve and the inability to land the trademark forehands for the straight set loss.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Indonesian Jet Crash

Bad weather is more likely than a mid-air explosion to have caused the disappearance of an Indonesian passenger plane that vanished more than two weeks ago with 102 people aboard, an aviation investigator said today.

Frans Wenas, head of a government team investigating the case, said aircraft overstress or bad weather, or a combination of both, could have caused the accident.

''The aircraft may have run into an uncontrollable weather situation which got it in an unusual position,'' said Wenas, an investigator from the National Transport Safety Commission.

The airliner may have disintegrated on impact with the sea or due to underwater pressure, he added.

There had been suggestions the 17-year-old aircraft, which vanished from radar screens on New Year's Day, had exploded in mid air, but a study of pieces of the airliner found so far indicated this was probably not the case, he said.

''Looking at the pieces that we have found and where they were located, there are no indications that the plane exploded in the air,'' Wenas said by telephone, adding that the debris recovered showed no signs of burning or of an explosion.

After finding no trace of the plane for more than a week, a fisherman found the tail stabiliser of the Boeing last Tuesday snared in his nets off Lojie Beach on the west coast of Sulawesi island.

No bodies or survivors have been found.

Other small pieces of wreckage have been found in the past few days floating in the sea or washed up on beaches in the area.

Air Marshal Eddy Suyanto, the head of the search mission, said on Monday that a fuel spill in the sea spotted by a search aircraft and believed to be from the doomed jet could provide a new clue.

But the slick rescue workers had not been able to locate the spill when they tried to go to the area to get a sample, officials said.

Fragments of human hair and scalp that might come from passengers were found on Sunday and had been sent for DNA testing. The process could take two or three days.

Suyanto said previously that, considering that parts of the plane found so far were mostly small, a body was unlikely to have survived the disaster in one piece.

Indonesian navy ships assisted by a US oceanographic ship have also been trying to locate the missing plane's fuselage, which could still house the flight recorder that could provide clues to explain the disaster.

The flight recorder is set up to give off a signal for 30 days to aid detection, but it is likely to be very hard to locate in waters as deep as 1,700 metres in the area.

The plane was heading from Surabaya in East Java to Manado in northern Sulawesi when it vanished in bad weather. The plane made no distress call, although the pilot had reported concerns over crosswinds.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sidhu sent to Patiala jail

Cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has sent to Patiala jail. He was the former BJP MP.Last month, Sidhu was given a three-year jail sentence by the Punjab and Haryana High court after he was convicted in a Patiala road rage case in 1988, in which a person had died.

He has surrendered in keeping with a legal provision by which an appelant has to surrender in the original court's jurisdiction before the Supreme Court can take up his appeal.

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Postmortem identifies 3 missing children

Three of the four highly decomposed bodies found in an abandoned rice sheller of former Congress MP Jagmeet Singh Brar last night, were today identified as those of children of the migrant Bawaria families who had been reported missing for almost two months.

Speaking to UNI, IG Bathinda Range Mr V K Bhawra, said three of the children were identified as Ashki (9), Ratni (13) and one boy Satbir (10) after the post mortem carried out at the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital at Faridkot this morning.

The fourth highly decomposed body could not be identified. As the bodies were half-burnt, the identification was extremely difficult, he said.

Mr Bhawra said a BDR was entered by the police on the complaint of the parents and the missing report was flashed on the local TV Channels and newspapers.

Some people, including a woman belonging to Bawaria tribe hailing from Rajasthan, named by the missing children's families were questioned by the police after raids carried out throughout last night and in the day, he said.

However, nobody has been arrested so far, Mr Bhawra said.

The bodies of children with their hands tied were found by a police patrol party from the deserted rice sheller, which had not been in operation since the last few years. The patrol party had gone to the godown to make arrangements for the stay of police personnel during the coming 'Maghi' mela here.

The incident, coming close on the heels of Noida's Nithari serial killings, has sent shockwaves in the state poised for assembly polls next month.

The firebrand Congress campaigner, Mr Brar, when contacted stated that the rice mill owned by his family, had been closed for the last five years. He said the matter be thoroughly investigated adding that he would fully cooperate with the police.

Commenting on the political ramifications of the matter, Mr Brar admitted he even had rivals within the Congress party itself and stressed that he would like the truth to come out.

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He alone to blame for mistakes

President George W Bush told Americans today ''where mistakes have been made in Iraq, the responsibility rests with me,'' as he unveiled a new war plan that includes an infusion of more than 20,000 extra US troops.

In a remarks prepared for a televised prime time speech, Bush also said the United States would hold the Iraqi government to certain ''benchmarks,'' including passage of oil-sharing legislation, reconstruction and job projects and political reforms. But he set no timetable for achieving these goals.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

9/11 hijacker friend to be sentenced

A German court on Monday will sentence a Moroccan friend of the September 11 hijackers who was found guilty last year of being an accessory to mass murder, the court said today.

Mounir El Motassadeq, a member of a group of radical Arab students in Hamburg who organised the 2001 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died, faces up to 15 years in prison.

Germany's top appeals court in Karlsruhe had in November found Motassadeq guilty of abetting the murder of 246 passengers and crew who died on four planes that crashed on September 11, 2001.

Lawyers for the Moroccan had demanded the suspension of the first hearing in Hamburg today, at which Motassadeq was present. His lawyer accused the court of being unconstitutional because it was set up specifically for the hearing.

''We are dealing with an extraordinary court which has been formed exclusively for El Motassadeq,'' Ladislav Anisic told German broadcaster N24.

''What is happening here goes against our constitution.'' Motassadeq, 32, is one of only two people convicted of involvement in the September 11 attacks.

The other is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a US court in May 2006.

Last November's decision overturned a 2005 ruling which convicted him of belonging to a terrorist organisation while clearing him of abetting mass murder.

Motassadeq's lawyers insist he knew nothing about the plot to fly hijacked planes into the New York and Washington targets.

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CBI probe and Forensic tests for Noida killing

Noida killingsStating that Uttar Pradesh government had ultimately bowed to public pressure by agreeing on a CBI probe into the killing of innumerable children at Nithari village in Noida, the BJP today said the investigation should start immediately.

The two accused of Nithari killings, Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Koli were put through various psychological tests today at the Forensic Science Laboratory here.

Noida Deputy SP Dinesh Yadav, who accompanied the accused from Delhi, told newspersons near the FSL that they had requested the officials here to conduct three tests -- narco-analysis, lie-detector and brain mapping -- in order to probe the missing gaps.

''The tests are part of the investigations, and are being done on court orders,'' Mr Yadav said.
Asked about the possibility of a link to organ trade, the DSP said, ''The case would be probed from every possible angle.'' Refusing to to give a time-frame for completion of the tests, the FSL Director said it could take at least three to four days. ''It depends on the personality and the mental status of the accused.

They are human beings, nothing can be fixed. But it might take three to four days,'' he added.
He said the FSL here was recognized as number one in the country and declared as the national resource centre by the Centre.

''The laboratory has various facilities in narco-analysis, psychological profiling, and lie-detection, among others, of international standards,'' the Director said.

Several important cases like the Madhumita murder case, Anara CD analysis, Telgi case, and others were brought here for investigations.

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Violence in Nandigram, West Bengal

The situation in Nandigram, West Bengal that witnessed a mob violence on Wednesday, remained under control even though tension simmered as villagers put up barricades to cut-off the area from rest of the state, official sources said today.

Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said the situation in Nandigram, in East Midnapore district, was under control but tension still prevailed in the area.

A large contingent of police had been posted in the area after the mob fury in which 20 people, including 14 cops, were injured following a reported government move for acquisition of 22,500 acres of land for two proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZs) by the Indonesian Salim Group.
The incident took place even before the political situation in Singur over the land acquisition by Tatas cooled down.

However, the state government denied having issued any notification for land takeover in the area saying the violence was ''deliberate'' and it was made to happen on the basis of a rumour.

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ULFA strikes Assam

ULFA attacks AssamSeparatist militants gunned down 10 people in two attacks in restive Assam on Sunday, bringing the death toll in a wave of rebel violence since Friday night to 67, police said.

Hundreds of soldiers and police raided insurgent hideouts in jungles of the northeastern state after two days of coordinated rebel strikes.

Police blamed the attacks on the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which has been fighting for the independence of Assamese people in a conflict that began almost three decades ago and has killed thousands of people.

"We are going all out against the ULFA," Tarun Gogoi, Assam's chief minister, told Reuters.

"Massive combing operations have started and additional troops are being rushed to the affected areas."

Rebel attacks have increased since September after the ULFA and New Delhi called off peace talks and government troops ended a truce. Since then, the rebels have bombed crowded markets and railway stations, killing dozens of civilians.

The weekend wave of violence started late on Friday with the gunning down of 48 labourers and traders. An explosion on Saturday killed seven people, including four policemen.

The attacks continued on Sunday with the rebels killing 12 people, including nine labourers at a brick kiln and two supporters of the ruling Congress party in the oil- and tea producing state, police said.

Security officials said the attackers had fled to the mountains of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.

Last week the ULFA warned non-Assamese businessmen and labourers of dire consequences if they continued to live in Assam, accusing New Delhi of flooding the state with outsiders to reduce the indigenous Assamese population to a minority.

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German population goes down

Germany, with one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, suffered another drop in population last year as deaths outpaced births and the number of immigrants declined again, the Federal Statistics Office said today.

The population fell by about 150,000 in 2006 to 82.31 million after declining by 144,000 in 2005 to 82.44 million, the office said. The drop in 2006 marked the third time in the last quarter century that Germany's net population shrunk.

The office estimated the number of births in 2006 had fallen to between 670,000 and 680,000, a record low since measuring began in 1946. That was also down from 686,000 in 2005. The number of deaths was steady at between 820,000 and 830,000.

Fewer immigrants came to Germany in 2006 and more Germans left their country. The net gain in immigration versus emigration was down to about 20,000 to 30,000 in 2006 from a net gain of 79,000 in 2005.

Germany's population has been shrinking for more than 30 years and there are 3.3 million fewer Germans than in 1972.

Economists have warned that unless Germany's demographic trend is reversed, Europe's largest economy will go into terminal decline, with pensions and healthcare costs soaring as the average age gets higher and higher.

The government introduced subsidies to working mothers in January with the hope it would raise the birth rate.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Woman kills self, two mentally retarded children

The wife of a Jamshedpur-based industrialist killed herself and her two mentally retarded children by driving her car into a ravine at Daravali in Mulshi taluka of Sutarwadi village, 30 km from here.

The deceased, Neha Khatan (36), drove her car with her children Nipun (12) and Chahat (3) directly into the valley. The car caught fire, killing all three occupants instantly, police said adding the bodies were beyond recognition. The identity of the deceased was established through the number-plate of the car.

The police said the incident occurred last evening. Initially, the police believed it was a case of accident. However, they recovered three suicide notes written by the deceased for her husband, who owns a factory in Bhosari industrial area in Jamshedpur and her parents in which she stated that she was committing suicide out of depression.

In her note, she said she wanted her husband to remarry and that she had another five-year old daughter Janhavi, who was normal.

Police have registered a case of suicide and murder, sources added.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Inquiry for Saddam execution recording

United States President George W Bush has told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that he supports the investigation to find out the person responsible for taunting Saddam Hussein and recording his execution on a cell-phone camera.

White House spokesman Tony Snow who gave this information yesterday said ''He (Bush) expressed that it was the right thing to do to investigate the taping and behavior at the execution of Saddam Hussein. And the prime minister agreed, and said the political parties were pained at the filming and the release, and they are taking a look at punishing those responsible.'' According to a report from Baghdad, Iraqi authorities are questioning at least two guards suspected of involvement in the taunting and filming.

President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki spoke for nearly two hours and also discussed options for the proposed new US Iraq policy which the President prefers to call a new way forward.

Snow says both men define winning the same way, the establishment of an Iraqi government that can sustain, govern and defend itself.

He is expected to announce that new way forward in a nationwide address sometime at the end of this month.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

President Kalam gives assent to Reservation Bill

President A P J Abdul Kalam has given assent to the 'Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2006, paving the way for starting implementation of the reservation policy from the 2007 academic session.

The Act provides for reservation in admission of students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to certain Central Educational Institutions established, maintained or aided by the Central Government.

The provision of the Act, inter-alia will not apply to (i) a Central Educational Institution established in tribal areas referred to in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, (ii) the institutions of excellence, research institutions, institutions of national and strategic importance specified in the Schedule to this Act, and (iii) the Minority Educational Institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30 of the Constitution.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lathicharge on irate villagers - Noida

Serial Killing, NoidaOn January 1st 2007, Police claimed to have recovered arms and chemicals from the residence of the accused in the serial killing of children and women in Sector 31 Nithari village here.
Searches carried out Dec 31st, 2006 at the house of Mohinder Singh Pandher led to the recovery of a rifle, a revolver and some chemicals, said a police official.

''Some pornographic CDs and literature were also found during the overnight search operation.'' Blood stains were also found at two places inside the palatial house of Pandher (60), a manufacturer and supplier of earth movers and bulldozers, said the official adding that the chemical and samples of blood stains sent for forensic examination.

Meanwhile, on Sunday (Dec 31st, 20060) police resorted to lathicharge on irate villagers in Nithari village who pelted stones on forces deployed there after they tried to enter the 'killer house' at about 1500 hrs by breaking the barricading put there. The mob also vandalised Noida medical centre and broke a few ambulances.

In wake of mounting agitation against the brutal killings, the State government has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the victims' families. The state government had ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident, fixing the responsibility of those guilty of laxity in conducting investigations, which would submit its reports in three days.

Former UP chief minister and Bahujan Samajwadi chief Mayawati visited the Nithari village and demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident. "We will also write a letter to UP Governor. We also request Central Government to impose President's rule in the state,” she said.

Surendra was arrested on Friday and he allegedly confessed to sexually abusing and murdering at least seven children after police found the skeletons following a tipoff. The remains of the children were found buried in plastic bags behind a water tank in the house of a businessman for whom Kohli worked in Noida.

The businessman, Mohinder Singh, and a medical store owner were also arrested, but police have refused to say whether they had any direct involvement in the killings. The police say after the bodies, many of them in parts, were found, the alleged killer, a domestic servant at the house, confessed to luring at least seven children to the home and killing them.

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Serial Killing in Noida

The police here have arrested a serial killer and later dug out skeletal remains of several children from a 'nullah' in Nithari village area of the city.

City SSP R K S Rathore told UNI that a mobile was seized from the possession of the arrested accused -- 30-year-old Surender.

A sack containing clothes and slippers of children was also recovered from the place where the killer resided, said Superintendent of Police Soumitra Yadav adding that the entire 'nullah' was being searched.

Police also said that during interrogation, the accused admitted to raping and later killing several girls found missing from the area earlier. He later threw their bodies in the 'nullah'.

Meanwhile, a huge crowd gathered at the 'site' where police were digging out skeletons from the 'nullah' after news spread that the killer involved in the killing of several children had been arrested.

As many as 38 children have been missing in the last one-and-a-half years from the area.
The police has dug up the lawns of the 'killer house' in Nithari village as part of continuing efforts to probe the serial killings of women and children at the place. However, ''nothing suspicious'' was found in the night-long digging of the non built-up area at 'D-5 Nithari Gaon' in Noida's Sector 31, according to top police sources.

''Though nothing concrete has been found in the digging, the final word would be out only after laboratory tests are conducted on the unearthed substances.'' The digging was undertaken to find out if some bodies had been buried inside the house as well, the sources added.

Meanwhile, several members of the victims' families today met the two-member enquiry panel and asked for ''liberal assistance'' to begin life anew. They demanded that at least one member of each affected family be given a government job and a 25 sq metre plot for building a house.

Speaking to the affected families, after visiting the 'killer house' in Nithari Village this afternoon, Mr Katiyar empathised with them and regretted that a'' pittance'' was announced as compensation by the state government.

''At least Rs ten lakh should be given to all those who had suffered for so long at the hands of the killer,'' he said.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reactions on Saddam execution

Leftist parties and Muslims today held demonstrations across Madhya Pradesh dubbing as 'barbaric'' the hanging of former Iraq President Saddam Hussain and burnt US President George Bush in effigy. Police was alerted across the state to keept strict vigil to avert any untoward incident, particularly in view of the Id-ul-Zuha festival on Monday, Inspector General of Police Ashok Soni said.

In the Muslim-dominated Itwara area in the state capital, CPI workers and a group of Muslims held demonstrations separately and burnt effigies of the US President.

At Neemuch town in western Madhya Pradesh, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, currently
holding its state convention, adopted a resolution condemning the 'barbaric' incident terming it as a frontal attack on the judiciary and sovereignity.

''It showed the extent to which US could go to monopolise on petroleum and other resources across the world'', CITU state General Secretary Badal Saroj said and urged other trade unions to stage protests against American criminal misadventures.

The CITU workers also took out a rally that culminated into a public meeting. CITU National Secretary and former CPI(M) MP Dipankar Mukherjee, in his address, urged the Indian government to take a stern stand against the US onslaught on secular Iraq, a traditional ally of India.

Reports from different districts said Muslims held protests against Saddam's hanging on the eve of Bakrid.

The leader of Russian ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky today led a protest rally outside the Iraqi Embassy in central Moscow, to protest former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's execution. ''Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the Iraqi Embassy building, all of them LDPR members,'' a police spokesman told mediapersons.

He said the rally was not sanctioned by the city authorities and it was peaceful and no one was detained. Thirteen State Duma (Lower House of Parliament) members also participated in the rally. The protesters carried flags with the party's symbols and several posters.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Zhirinovsky said Saddam's execution would result in the most negative consequences, since it would stir up another outburst of anti-American sentiments all over the world, particularly in Muslim countries.

Muslims may take it as an attack against the Islamic world, he added.


Saddam Hussein executed

US-backed Iraqi television station Al Hurra said Saddam Hussein had been executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m.(0830 hrs IST) on Dec 30th 2006.

The former Iraqi president ousted in April 2003 by a US-led invasion was convicted last month of crimes against humanity over the killings of 148 Shi'ite villagers from Dujail after a failed assassination bid in 1982.

An appeals court upheld the death penalty on Tuesday. Iraq's government has kept details of its plans to conduct the execution completely secret amid concerns it could spark a violent backlash from his former supporters.

Arabic satellite channel Arabiya said Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former judge Awad al-Bander were also executed by hanging today. Four car bombs targeting Shi'ites in Baghdad and a town south of the capital killed more than 70 people, hours after Saddam Hussein was hanged amid fears of revenge by his Sunni Arab supporters.

In Baghdad, three car bombs exploded in quick succession in the mainly Shi'ite neighbourhood of Hurriya, killing 36 people and wounding 77, an Interior Ministry source said. Police in Kufa, near the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, said 36 people were killed and 58 wounded by the car bomb at a market packed with shoppers ahead of the week-long Eid al-Adha holiday.

They said a mob killed a man they accused of planting the bomb in the town about 160 km south of Baghdad. The attacks came the same day as Saddam was hanged for crimes against humanity, prompting fears of a violent backlash by his supporters among his fellow Sunni Arabs.
While the attacks may have been a swift response to the execution, such bombings are common in a country where at least 100 people die on average every day in bombings, mortar attacks and death squad killings. Though today's bombings may have been planned independently of the execution.

They were typical of the cycle of sectarian violence that is driving both Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and others from their homes, increasingly dividing Baghdad and surrounding areas on sectarian grounds. Bombs frequently provoke reprisals from militias, whose practice is to kidnap, torture and shoot their victims, leaving the bodies dumped in places where they will intimidate.

A formerly mixed neighbourhood, Hurriya, where the three car bombs struck on Saturday, has become increasingly dominated by Shi'ites as Sunni Arabs have been driven out by threats and attacks.

Saddam's execution was welcome by Shi'ites and Kurds, who were oppressed under his rule, but many in the once dominant Sunni Arab minority were angry and all sides feared it could spark even more violence.

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