Thursday, July 31, 2008

Should abortion laws be changed?

A couple from Mumbai -- Niketa and her husband Haresh Mehta -- have moved the Bombay High Court and have demanded an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. The couple have challenged a rule that bans abortions after the 20 th week of pregnancy. 25-week pregnant Niketa and her husband Haresh Mehta have decided to take such a drastic step after they discovered that their unborn child suffers from a congenital heart condition. This implies that if 31-year-old Niketa were to give birth to the child, it would never live a normal life because of a congenital complete heart block.The couple says that they found out about their unborn child's incurable condition on July 22, and in two days they filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the right to abort their child at this advanced stage. The Mehta’s are the first couple to bring this issue before a court and demand an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.As per the law, according to the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, abortions are permitted up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Between the 12th and the 20th week, an abortion can be permitted with the consent of two doctors only if the mother or the child faces a fatal risk. However, beyond the 20th week of pregnancy, an abortion can be conducted only if the mother’s life is in danger and not the child’s. A doctor, who conducts an abortion beyond the 20th week for any reason apart from a fatal risk to the mother, can be sentenced to imprisonment of up to seven years.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Similar blast in Ahamedabad. To destroy communal harmony.

At least two people were killed as seven synchronised blasts hit India's western Ahmedabad city on Saturday, police said.
Forty-eight people were injured in the explosions that occurred in busy areas in Ahmedabad, among the top commercial cities in India, the NDTV network reported.
Police officials told the news channel that the blasts occurred within 15 minutes starting at 6.45 pm (1315 GMT) local time in the eastern areas of Sarkhej, Maninagar, Sarangpur, Isanpur, Diamond Market, Bapu Nagar and Narol Circle.
The bombs appear to have been planted on bicycles or in tiffin boxes in Ahmedabad, some 50 kilometres south-west of Gandhinagar, the state capital of Gujarat state.
No militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Indian President Pratibha Patil condemned the blasts and asked people to maintain peace and communal harmony.
Police expressed fear the bombings could trigger sectarian clashes in Gujarat, which has witnessed large-scale riots between Hindu and Muslims in the past.
Additional police forces were dispatched to the sensitive areas to maintain law and order.
The blasts come a day after eight low-intensity bombs shook the southern city of Bangalore, claiming two lives.

Bangalore terrorised

The serial blasts that rocked Bangalore city on Friday afternoon, resulting in the death of a woman and injuries to scores of people, has shaken its citizens very badly. That the blasts using explosives and timer devices — though of low intensity — occurred at eight different places in a span of about 75 minutes, indicates it was a co-ordinated attack intended to cause widespread panic in the city.Apart from areas in the heart of the city like Rajaram Mohan Roy road, Langford Town and Madivala, the fact that the culprits targeted the Hosur-Sarjapur road that houses several big and small IT companies shows that the culprits clearly wanted to strike at the pride and economic heart of Bangalore. Though the damage was minimal, the incidents led to great panic, disruption of traffic and closure of schools, colleges and business establishments, including cinemas and malls in many areas. It would naturally take some time for the police to establish the identity of the culprits and their motives behind the blasts, though there are already suggestions that these incidents bear the hallmark of terror outfits like HuJi and LeT. Ever since the terrorist attack at the premises of the Indian Institute of Science in December, 2005 in which an IIT professor from Delhi was killed, Bangalore has shuddered at the prospect of repeat performances with deadlier consequences. In recent intelligence reports Bangalore had figured prominently as among the cities whose vital installations had come under the terrorists’ radar and red alerts had gone up from time to time. The pre-emptive arrests of some alleged terrorists and SIMI activists in Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka in the recent past gave an indication that the peace and serenity of the state could no longer be taken for granted.

If the terrorist hand is indeed responsible for the attack, the Central intelligence agencies will have to step up their vigil, along with the state police force, as one of the country’s important economic hubs like Bangalore cannot be allowed to become hostage to forces inimical to the country. As it is impossible for the authorities alone to take sufficient preventive measures, these incidents should make the citizens become proactive. They must report to the police any suspicious persons, their movements or events that come to their notice so that securing the city becomes a collective responsibility. The city has to stand up and demonstrate that it will not tolerate such cowardly acts against innocent citizens.

Friday, July 25, 2008

7 blast Bangalore :-low intensity blast to create fear.

Blame game has already begun to hide the intelligence's failures that lead to blasts in Bangalore.Strongly condemning the serial blasts in Bangalore, BJP president Rajnath Singh blamed the Centre for its lackadaisical attitude towards terrorism. Asking the Centre to display its firm resolve in fighting terrorism, Mr Sign said the Centre had a tendency to dismiss terrorist activities as a mere law and order problem, for wcich the common man was paying a heavy price. BJP also criticised Centre for not providing adequate security to the City.
The Centre must come out with an elaborate and integrated action plan to deal with terrorism in the country and the BJP would offer all its support to the Government in fighting the menace, he added. Meanwhile, Congress criticised the BJP for blaming the blasts on the soft attitude of the Centre towards terror and its perpetrators.'It's very unfortunate that the BJP was playing politics in this hour of crisis,'' he said and added that law and order was a state subject. He said Congress was not soft on terror and cited the case of Jammu and Kashmir where '' the number of militant attacks had dramatically declined.''Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal said that the Centre had forewarned the Karnataka government about Bangalore being possible terrorist targets."The Intelligence Bureau had received inputs that terrorists could target the cybercity Bangalore. The state government was told to be on high alert," he said. Jaiswal said the main aim of the serial blasts in Bangalore was to "spread terror."Home Minister of Karnataka, V S Acharya denied that there was an intelligence failure and said that the police had been on an alert. He also criticised the union goverment for not providing adequate security to Bangalore.Communist Party of India( Marxist) in a statement, said, " It is a matter of deep concern that the Central governmment has so far failed to uncover the network behind these nefarious activities," the party said. It also demanded the intelligence and security agencies to track down culprits responsible for the terror act.

Where & When?

First blast: 1.20 pm, Madiwala bus depot

Second blast: 1.25 pm, Mysore road

Third blast: 1.40 pm, Adugudi

Fourth blast: 2.10 pm, Koramangla

Fifth blast: 2.25 pm, Vittal Mallaya road

Sixth blast: 2.35 pm, Langford Town

Seventh blast: Richmond Town

Fugitive life--Rodavando Karadzic.

The capture of Radovan Karadzic is a textbook example of how one man has the potential to change history. The news was celebrated in Sarajevo, which endured more than three years of siege under Karadzic’s leadership of the Bosnian Serbs. At the same time, it is a great wake-up call for Western Europe -- or it should be.For the truth is, months or even years back, the Balkans were not high on the European agenda. Whenever EU foreign ministers were to discuss the region over lunch, it roused nothing but yawns in the Brussels press room. For once, journalists are not to be blamed. It is the European politicians who are guilty for embracing the region like a caretaker government handles business.Croatia? Its leaders are in discussions on joining the EU. Bosnia and Herzegovina? Errr, anybody care? Serbia? Still not "fully cooperating" with the Hague war crimes tribunal, right? The recent Kosovo independence saga triggered some attention in Brussels but it was more of the same, tiring news: the EU’s 27 countries were sharply divided over Kosovo’s independence, and the issue was reduced to lengthy paperwork over whether to "acknowledge" the will of the people or just "take note" of it.This is not to say that handling the Balkans is easy. Not at all. Still, there was the feeling that the EU lacked, and still does, a political commitment toward its own back yard, in other words, a real strategy. Lots of energy is invested in Russian energy and even Turkey’s on-again, off-again hopes of joining the EU. But the EU states at times tend to behave as if the Balkans didn’t exist.Then comes the Karadzic story. The Balkans are suddenly exciting news, with real emotions and mystery, pumped up by images of a ruthless Bosnian-Serb leader turned white-bearded practitioner of alternative medicine. Not only Olli Rehn, the EU enlargement commissioner, and Balkans experts in foreign offices across Europe, but also the political elite and public can witness that the new government in Serbia appears to be fulfilling its promises to track down and extradite suspected war criminals. Nobody believes that Belgrade’s former inability to capture Karadzic was for real.With President Boris Tadic‘s outwardly rigorous stance on war crimes fugitives, one can expect that another major obstacle to potential EU membership – the potential capture of wanted military commander Ratko Mladic – will soon be removed. It might have an impact on Milorad Dodik, prime minister of the Republika Srpska, which makes up 49 percent of Bosnia. A wind of change in Belgrade could blow away shelters of warlords hiding in Republika Srpska, and that may push representatives of the other two ethnic groups in Bosnia to cough up their own guys who have blood on their hands. In the best scenario, Karadzic in The Hague could bring positive change in Bosnia.GREENHOUSE EFFECTTadic’s actions won’t be left unrewarded in Brussels. The ice has already started to melt in relations with Serbia, a country that still shows deep divisions between those who want to integrate with Europe and those who see Kosovo’s independence as an illegal act carried out in collusion with the Europeans and Americans. The latter tend to see Russia as Serbia’s best friend. With Karadzic in the dock, Serbia could in a short time see the EU open its doors to freer travel and trade. Should Mladic be found, countries like the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Sweden will agree that Serbia is fully cooperating with the Hague tribunal, and the EU will be able to give its consent by granting Serbia candidate status. In the best scenario again, Bosnia, Montenegro and possibly Albania would also become candidates – perhaps as early as next year -- which would be an immense psychological boost for the region. It could also ease tensions over Kosovo, since the Serbs would be gaining a lot elsewhere.The arrest of Karadzic opens a major window of opportunity for the EU. Now is the time to step in and engage the region. Now is the time to embrace the pro-European government in Belgrade, reward it, and send a clear message that the union offers a better alternative than Russia’s support of fervent nationalists and obstruction over Kosovo. By doing so, Brussels would help the entire region.Critics often complain of the EU’s lack of will and unity when it comes to tough challenges like the Balkans, which goes a long way to explain Europe’s many failures there. It may also explain why the media and policy-makers tend to doze when Balkan issues come up. But the EU cannot ignore instability that festers just around the corner. Human trafficking, organized crime, ethnic tension, and religious conflicts are all there. EU states must put away the blindfolds and take the Balkan region more seriously. Making Pristina, Sarajevo, and Belgrade better places would help the people there -- and boost European self-esteem as well.

I upload an interactive interactive,click,,474564,,00.html

Check timeline=>

1945: Born into poverty in Montenegro, the son of a Serb nationalist fighter
1960: Moves to Sarajevo, marries, studies medicine, becomes a pyschiatrist, writes poetry and meets Dobrica Cosic, who encourages him to enter politics.
1968: Publishes poetry collection
1971: Graduates in medicine
1974-1975: Studies at Columbia University in New York
1983: Becomes a hospital worker in Belgrade
1990: Helps found and serves as President of SDS party
1992: Civil war breaks out between Serbs, Croats and Muslims after the UN recognises Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent state.
1992-1995: Bosnian war
Nov 1995: The Dayton peace accords are brokered. Karadzic is indicted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN tribunal.
1996: Resigns the presidency and goes into hiding.
2004: During his years on the run, he publishes a book called Miraculous Chronicles of the Night.
2008: Arrested in Belgrade, after he had been living in the city and practising alternative medicine in disguise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

UPA won Trust Vote by 19.

Litmus test, fire drill or trust vote - the government is 'nuked'. Congress is all geared up to show that Manmohan Singh is just not an economist but a seasoned politician. As quotable quotes fly from all sides of the parliament - today is the day India would know who is more politically correct. As the headline on Times of India rightly says, 'where's the party tonight?'
- Vote tally - for the govt - 275, against the govt - 256
- UPA ahead in count, voting in progress
- T Cong, MNF and 1 BJP MP abstaining from trust vote
- Lok Sabha MPs voting now
- First time ever money shown in Lok Sabha
- PM to reply to debate in LS shortly
- Abdul Rashid Shaheen says he will vote for the UPA
- Will quit public life is proved: Ahmed Patel
- For UPA: 272, Against: 265 and Undecided / Abstain: 4
- Hungama in Lok Sabha after it resumes
- PM should resign on moral grounds: Mayawati
- Nobody will be spared if found guilty: Somnath
- Speaker adjourns House due to unruly scenes
- Trust vote at 7: 15 pm
- Kishan Lal Diler admitted to hospital
- Amar Singh says
1) If there is any sting, please show it
2) I want to know if those MPs were on sale
3) Jaswant Singh approached me to topple UPA
4) Jaswant Singh tried to bribe me
- Trust vote after PM's reply at 6:30 pm
- This is a shameful day in our history: Prakash Karat
- Ashok Argal should be arrested: Mulayam
- CNN IBN to hand over tape to Speaker
- CNN IBN decides not to telecast tape
- CNN IBN has cash for vote tape
- All party meet begins in Speaker's chamber
- Sonia discussing strategy with Congress leaders
- Lok sabha adjourned till 6 pm.
- SP MP Virendra Bhatia: CBI enquiry has to be done
- Speaker Somnath Chatterjee calls for an all party meet in his chamber
- Baseless allegations by BJP: Lalu
- Government wanted proof so we gave it: BJP
- We demand that the matter be investigated properly: Advani
- This is corruption at the highest level: Advani
- 3 MPs allege bribe worth rupees 3 crore by SP. The three MPs are Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahaveer Bhagora and Ashok Argal.
- I allowed them to bring money to Parliament: Advani
- Our MPs we offered 3 crore for abstention: Advani
- BJP MPs show money in House
- Harihara Swain and Archana Nayak deny they'll vote for UPA
- Sensex gains 300 points ahead of trust vote
- Dhindsa: We will vote against UPA
- 36.3 million farmers benefited from loan waivers: FM
- No govt did so much for farmers: FM
- Lalu speak
1) Left is good at creating confusion
2) I also have a wish to become PM but there is no hurry
3) CPM has ignored its old leaders
4) I congratulate PM and Sonia
5) I have good personal relations with Mayawati
6) Advani did not say one word against US in his speech
7) Only infrastructure development will ensure progress
8) Advani cannot be equated with Vajpayee's stature
9) RJD has 24 MPs but we have never asked for any favours
10) Manmohan and Sonia never indulged in any foul play
11) We are winning with a thumping majority
- Chandrababu Naidu meets Deve Gowda again
- All 11 BJD MPs to vote against UPA
- MNF MP Vanlalzamwa to abstain
- Look at our energy usage as an opportunity: Rahul
- Priyanka Gandhi: We are confident of winning the trust vote
- Jayanthi Natarajan: We are confident of winning
- We have already expelled Atiq Ahmed: Amar Singh
- Somabhai Patel says he will vote for UPA
- UPA crosses halfway mark in trust vote
- Our 36 MPs will vote in favour of govt: Amar Singh
- Diler likely to abstain from trust vote
- Abdul Rashid Ahmed says he will vote against UPA
- Lok sabha adjourned till 2pm.
- I am not speaking as a member of the political party, but as a common man: Rahul Gandhi
Rahul's words for the Nuclear deal: Energy security necessary to alleviate poverty. We have to create energy security for future growth. Poverty is directly connected to energy security. Energy is responsible for 9% growth.

Trust vote to begin around 6pm today.
- Mayawati: By Tuesday evening the government will be gone.
- BJP MP from Gujarat Somabhai Patel says he will vote for UPA government.
BJP MP Archana Naik: Congress tried to buy me. BJP's Archana Naik says all the 11 BJD MPs to vote against the government.
- Speaker grants leave to 6 MPs from voting. Most of them are believed to be from NDA.
- Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee revealed to reporters that he would be in the post till the completion of the trust vote this evening. 'Did I say month and year,' he shot back when reporters asked him about a reported statement of his that he would be in office till July 22.
- Indian bookmakers believe the UPA government will hold on to power in today's confidence vote in parliament, media reports. They are offering a return of only 50 rupees on a 100 rupee stake on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government surviving. Defeat brings a profit of 175 rupees on the same stake.
- Sensex rose more than 2 per cent, led by HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries, on expectation the government would win a confidence vote in parliament in the evening.
- FM on Nuclear deal: We have been transparent on N-deal, all texts available. India should end nuclear isolation. India signed nuke agreement with Russia and France.
- Finance Minister P Chidambaram assures that economy is on the right track.
Food grain production on a record in 2007-2008: Chidambaram
- Lalu Prasad told reporters: The UPA enjoys the support of unlimited MPs.
- The lone Mizo National Front MP in the Lok Sabha Vanlalzawma would abstain in the trust vote in the Lok Sabha. The MP said that he would be attending the proceedings of the Lok Sabha throughout the day but press the yellow button, to mark his absence from voting. An MNF leader had said on Monday Congress was the main rival of the ruling party in Mizoram and it would not like to support the Congress-led UPA in the Parliament.
- Amar Singh: Our 36 MPs will vote in favour of Government.
6 SP Mps kidnapped by BSP, says Amar Singh
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaches parliament, says UPA will win trust vote.
- Telegu Desam Party Chief N Chandrababu Naidu met BSP supremo Mayawati today to discuss the future strategy of their political alliance. During the day, Naidu also met CPI(M) general secretary Praksh Karat at the party headquarters and then even caught up briefly with CPI leader A B Bardhan.
- The UPA government had to seek confidence vote in the light of Left withdrawing support over UPA governments' landmark nuclear energy deal with the United States.
- The Congress-led government needs to secure 272 votes if every lawmaker votes - to win the confidence motion and implement any economic reforms. If the government loses, the nuclear pact between New Delhi and Washington will likely be finished, and early elections will probably be called for later this year.
- Determined to ensure the win in parliament, Manmohan Singh and top officials of Congress Party have reassured the support of allies, wooed rebellious members back into the party. Also the people could witness some interesting deals like renaming an airport for a lawmaker's father, promising a high-level job to another, and two rival politicians allege handing out millions of dollars to others.

Govt, rivals wage war of words

While Leader of the Opposition L K Advani held the prime minister singularly responsible for the political crisis, Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee put up a passionate defence of the Indo-US nuclear deal.
An apparently confident UPA took on Opposition BJP and former allies Left parties on Monday as the countdown for the trust vote in the Lok Sabha entered a crucial phase with the ruling coalition claiming that they have the support of 276 MPs, clearly crossing the majority mark. While Leader of the Opposition L K Advani held the prime minister “singularly responsible” for the political crisis, Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee put up a passionate defence of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Chaired by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who belied all apprehensions of resigning on Monday before the introduction of the confidence motion, the debate went on smoothly barring a 15-minute adjournment in the post-lunch session following fracas between SP and BSP members.Moving a one-line motion that “this House expresses its confidence in the Council of Ministers”, the 75-year-old prime minister told a packed House that “every single decision” taken by his government in the last four years was in the “best interests of our people and our country”. PM pats Surjeet, BasuTrying to steal the show from his Left critics, Dr Singh heaped praise on veteran Marxist leaders Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Jyoti Basu for their “sagacity” and “leadership” for helping set up the coalition government.Moving the motion, he said for the past couple of decades the country was used to governments being forced to seek a vote of confidence within months of coming to power. “I regret that this session of Parliament has been convened when the attention of the government has been on the economy, particularly on the control of inflation and on implementing programmes for the welfare of our people, particularly our farmers. This exercise, I submit sir, was wholly avoidable,” he said. “I assure the House and the country that every single decision, every policy initiative we have taken was in the fullest confidence that we are doing so in the best interests of our people and our country,” the prime minister said to the thumping of desks by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Advani held that the nuclear deal has become an agreement between two individuals, making India “subservient” and a “junior partner”. “The UPA is like a patient in the ICU room. The first question everyone asks is whether he (patient) is going to survive or not,” he said opposing the confidence motion. Advani’s comments that Singh had opposed Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998 drew a sharp response from the prime minister, who said he had spoken only about opposition to the sanctions that followed the explosions and how the country should be prepared to face the challenges. The BJP leader also said that if people vote the NDA back to power, they would renegotiate the deal to make it more equal and ensure that there “are no constraints on our strategic autonomy”.CPM leader Mohammad Salim accused the UPA of “outsourcing the diplomatic processes to the US” in fulfilling their loyalty to President George Bush. Countering Advani’s remarks that the UPA government has been reduced to a minority, Mukherjee said UPA’s combined strength of 237 with the Samajwadi Party’s 39 added upto 276. With the Lok Sabha having an effective strength of 541, the ruling coalition enjoyed a simple majority, he said. An emotional Mukherjee, who has been UPA’s pointsman for talks with Left parties on the nuclear deal, asked his former allies to “touch their heart” and asked, “Is this an issue (nuke deal) that you (Left) are bringing down the government?”

Monday, July 21, 2008

UPDATE:-Trust Vote-Dr. Singh is going to majority

myLot User Profile

A two-day special session of Lower House of Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) to enable the countrys coalition government vote of trust to continue in power, after it was reduced to a minority following withdrawal of support by one of its allies, began here Monday.
The session began here this morning and the voting on the trust motion would take place Tuesday. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh moved the trust motion in the Lok Sabha and highlighted the achievements of his government during the last four years.
On July 10, Dr Manmohan Singh met countrys President Pratibha Patil and handed over a letter to seek trust vote in Parliament. This was necessitated as on July 8, the Indian Left Parties, which has 61 lawmakers in Lok Sabha withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh-led government over the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.
The Lok Sabha has a strength of 545 lawmakers, which includes two nominated members, who do not enjoy voting rights. Any government requires the support of minimum 272 MPs to be in power. The governments five-year term expires in April 2009, when Lok Sabha elections are scheduled. In case the government fails to prove majority on the floor of Lok Sabha Tuesday, early elections will be held. Dr Manmohan Singh, and Indias ruling alliances Chairperson and President of Congress -- the largest party in the alliance -- Sonia Gandhi have expressed confidence that the Government would win the trust vote by gettting support of more than 272 MPs. The Prime Minister too belongs to the Congress Party.
India's coalition government and the Congress Party have maintained that the nuclear deal with US, would end countrys decades-long nuclear isolation and address Indias energy needs on a long term basis. The government has also said that the nuclear deal is in no way a cap on the countrys strategic programme and abundant energy is necessary to sustain Indias high economic growth rate and ensure rapid development. Both the Indian and the US governments are keen to conclude the deal before year-end.

PM moves confidence motion in LS

We have been forced to move the confidence motion when the Government is focusing on containing inflation, Dr. Manmohan Singh told parliament
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday moved the confidence motion in the Lok Sabha and expressed the hope that the people of the country would repose their faith in the Government.
The trust vote was wholly avoidable, Dr. Singh said. "We have been forced to move the confidence motion when the Government is focusing on containing inflation," he said. The Prime Minister said he had planned to keep the Lok Sabha informed about talks on the nuclear energy agreement with the US.
"If the Government had been allowed to complete negotiations with the IAEA and NSG, I would myself have come to parliament to seek its guidance beforeoperationalising the nuclear agreement," he said.
The Government would consult the parliament before operationalising the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Dr. Singh said, adding that all initiatives of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) have been in the interest of the country.
BJP's L.K. Advani, leader of the opposition, opened the debate on the confidence motion, saying that the Government has been reduced to a minority after the Left parties withdrew support over differences on the nuclear deal. The Government is paralyzed and is only talking of the nuclear deal with the US, he said.
Advani also said that he was not against maintaining good relations with the US nor was he opposed to the nuclear deal. But, he added that the NDA would re-negotiate the nuclear agreement with the US if it came to power.
The Lok Sabha will debate on the "Trust Vote" for two days. The vote will take place tomorrow. A total of 12 hours has been allotted for discussion on the Trust Vote spread over two days, according to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
Meanwhile, the BJP demanded that the special session be extended by one more day to debate the confidence motion. The demand was raised by BJP leader V. K. Malhotra at a meeting of floor leaders convened by Chatterjee.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dinner Diplomacy

With just two days left for the crucial vote of confidence of ruling Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), political scenario turned into a battleground on Sunday with politicians defecting amidst heavy lobbying in New Delhi.
Chief of Samajwadi Party (SP) Mulayam Singh Yadav denied any rift within his party and claimed that his party is united even as a few Member of Parliament (MPs) from his party decided to desert him. "There is nothing wrong within our party, there is no rift, we are united, be it the people or the party workers, all are together," said Mulayam Singh.
Mulayam Singh expressed his confidence that the UPA government would bounce back and last its full term. He added that SP had suspended five MPs but despite that his party still enjoys the support of 39 MPs.
"As far as the issue of our support is concerned, we are against the communal forces and we continue to do so. We are doing things that are in favour of the government," added Mulayam Singh.
On the other hand Munawwar Hassan rebel member of Samajwadi Party announced that he, along with 9-10 other MPs of SP have decided to vote against the UPA government.
Munnawar addressed the media after meeting Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and party chief of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
"We have made all arrangements for the government to topple over. As we had told you almost ten days back, a group of us, around 9-10 of us are leaving SP and are with Mayawati. The numbers shall be sufficient now," said Hassan.
Meanwhile, Mayawati seems to have emerged as the key player in the political game that is all set to decide not only the fate of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led government but also of the US-India civil nuclear deal.
After a luncheon meeting, she said that the opposition camp is geared up to topple the government.
"We have decided to vote UPA out of power and for the same; we have made a one point program in today's meeting. In the July 222 vote of confidence, we have decided to vote against the government," said Mayawati.
Taking a stand against Mulayam Singh, Mayawati said that he is accusing her party of horse-trading without any proof. She further added that she is not responsible if members of SP voluntarily join her camp.
"Now if SP members voluntarily join us, if they vote against the nuclear deal and vote against the government, what can I do," asked Mayawati.
Amidst all the political drama, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), one of the former communist allies of the UPA who withdrew support leading to the vote of confidence motion in the parliament, reiterated its stand against the nuclear deal.
Prakash Karat, General Secretary of CPI (M) expressed hope that the UPA government will not see the light of the day after June 22, the day slated for the confidence vote.
"We have made up our mind to vote this government out of power on July 22. We do not wish that this government should stay in power after July 22," said Karat.
The hitherto blurred situation should be clear with the outcome of the 'political dinner parties' planned by various top politicians.
The government believes it has enough votes to avoid an early election after securing the backing of the Samajwadi Party, but observers say the trust vote could turn out to be close.
If the government loses, early elections will be called and a civilian nuclear deal with the United States, over which the government's communist allies withdrew support, could be buried.
The government needs to reach the 272 mark in the 543 member Lok Sabha to win the trust vote.
The nuke deal, which has been clouded in controversy but gives India access to the U.S. nuclear fuel and technology, is potentially worth billions of dollars to the U.S. and European nuclear supplier companies and would give India more energy alternatives to drive its development.
Copyright :ANI

Trust Vote ??

Trust vote is turning out to be no less than the general election that in any case is not too far whether the Manmohan Singh led Government wins it or not. No political party is thinking about the nation. An election at this stage would be a disaster when there is global surge in prices and economies world over is dwindling. With the date approaching for the trust vote, the number game is getting sharper. Over a decade ago, the Vajpayee Government fell by just one vote. It’s going to be extremely close.
The three major parties have different interests in toppling the Government. The Bharatiya Janata Party is taking it as an opportunity to come back to power in spite of the fact that the nuclear deal would have been in place had the party been in power. In other words, the party has no problem with the nuclear deal. Also, its own Adviser Mr. Brijesh Mishra had lauded the deal recently by saying “we couldn't’t have got it any better.” Another issue, the BJP wants to take advantage of is price rise. The BJP as well other parties are aware there is no way at this stage to contain the prices even if they come to power. All the developed nations are facing the problem of price rise. Only if someone could come out with an alternative to oil then the prices can be contained. And, this is very unlikely.
The Bahujan Samaj Party that has nothing to do with the nuclear deal is another force with a twin mission - First, to avenge Centre-‘instigated’ CBI investigations against its MPs and second, the realization of Mayawati dream of progressing from being a State power to a Central power.
The Left, the so-called third force, is like a wounded lion bereft of power that it tasted for the first time in six decades. It has now left its ideology behind and hobnobbing with parties that it once said are communal. So, nobody is thinking of the poor tax payers whose money will be spent on the elections.
Admitting that ruling establishment is pulling all stops to get smaller parties and individual MPs to vote in favour of the UPA during the trust vote, Left is also attempting to rally political parties so that the government can be toppled on July 22.CPM general secretary Prakash Karat had a meeting with party’s parliamentary leadership to decide on the strategy inside and outside Parliament.
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is not likely to resign before the trust vote but assured his party that he would cast his ballot against the UPA. “It’s all a part of well-thought out plan. We will not lose a vote,” a source said. Senior leaders are also reaching out to various parts of the country to tell people how Manmohan Singh-led government has betrayed the country on the issue of nuclear deal and how it falls short of PM’s promise in Parliament.
As for Left’s efforts to garner support, so far apart from TDP no party has committed. JD (S) MP Veerendra Kumar has also promised support to Left even if party goes with the government. Left is also not relying on Deve Gowda.
But National Conference is undecided. On the other hand Left feels Jharkhand Mukti Morcha cannot be relied upon. Parties like AGP have gone over to NDA and will vote against the government.
Explaining NC’s dilemma, a Left source said, “National Conference does not want to antagonise
Congress before assembly election. NC sees itself as filling the slot left by the PDP in J&K and team with Congress after the election results.”

CPM also denied that senior leaders like Jyoti Basu do not agree with party’s stand to vote against the UPA. Calling it “fabricated”, CPM said “such motivated reports are being floated to hamper the rallying of all the forces who are committed to oppose the nuclear deal and bring to book UPA’s failure to tackle price rise and other problems of the people.”

But what’s wrong with the nuclear deal? The Prime Minister has said that the deal will open up new possibilities of cooperation not only with the US but also with other nuclear powers like Russia and France. Mr. Manmohan Singh said that without the agreement trade in dual technologies could not become a reality. The deal, he said protects our national interest, our capacity to use the nuclear power to protect our strategic interests.”
According to sources in Sydney, Australia is waiting for the deal to happen and then reverse its stand on sale of Uranium to India. Australian Foreign Minister Mr. Stephen Smith, according to media reports, said although the Government has a strong policy of not exporting Uranium to non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty signatory countries, the ban could be overturned if the long awaited 123 agreement between India and US was finalised. “If the agreement is passed, we could join the consensus. We will wait for the agreement and then make a judgment. In the agreement, a reference to the section 123 of US Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allows the US and other countries to supply nuclear technology and fuel to India even though it is not a signatory to the NPT.”
The External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the nuclear power offered the most potent means to ensure energy security. “In my view, nuclear power appears to offer India the most potent means to realize its long-term energy security” he said. Mr. Mukherjee said “nuclear energy is an option and we shall have to go (for the deal).” “Given the oil price scenario, we seriously need to consider how our energy basket may be expanded so as to meet the deficit in India’s energy requirement.”
BJP leader Venkiah Naidu had sometimes back blamed the Prime Minister for not obtaining a consensus on the Indo-US nuclear deal before going ahead with it. “The government went the opposite way. It first signed the deal and then sought to have a political consensus and is now seeking cooperation of the opposition” he added.
The Left’s contention is that the Hyde Act does not allow India to pursue its Defence nuclear programme and that the US will interfere with India’s foreign policy.
Even if the US does so it really doesn’t matter because till now it was the Soviet Union who was running India’s foreign policy. It is the shift from Russia to US that is really upsetting the Left.
So, in all situations all parties would have to devise ways to stall elections and save tax payers’ money.

With just over 120 hours left for the trust vote, sources have told me (on behalf of Star News)that the UPA is leaving no stone unturned to win the extra support in lieu of the forthcoming trust vote scheduled on July 22 in a bid to attain the magic number of 272.Over 20 undecided MPs continue to hold the key to the fate of the government during the trust vote as both the UPA and its opponents are fighting tooth and nail to garner support of small groups and independents.In a House with a strength of 545 minus the Speaker, two vacancies and a member who cannot vote, the two sides are close to each other with the ruling UPA accounting for 263 committed MPs and the opposition a committed 258.
BJP 'brokers' have got proactive before trust vote: Cong
Launching a frontal attack against the Opposition BJP, the Congress on Thursday (July 11) alleged that the "brokers" of the party are roaming around to ensure support for the NDA during the trust vote.
"The brokers of BJP, trained by a former minister who is no more, have become proactive before the trust vote," Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari alleged.
Asked whether the Congress too was adopting questionable methods to win support of the MPs, Tiwari refuted the charges and attacked the BJP.
"This is a party whose ethics are defined by one of its national presidents accepting money on national television. In Karnataka, they are adopting all means to secure support of rival MLAs," said Tiwari.
In reply to a question whether the Congress was "comfortable" taking the support of MPs with a criminal background and those in jail, Tiwari said these MPs would be exercising their constitutional rights.
Asked if the clean image of the Prime Minister would get a dent following the support of the tainted MPs, Tiwari said, "there would be no impact on his image".
BSP, SP indulging in opportunistic politics: BJP
Meanwhile, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh lashed out at the BSP and the Samajwadi Party for favouring personal interests above national cause.
The party alleged that leaders of both SP and BSP are involved in disproportionate assets cases and cannot be expected to provide clean governance, state BJP president Ramapati Ram Tripathi said.
"These parties do not hesitate to take the help of criminal, corrupt and fundamentalist elements in forming the government," Tripathi said, adding the recent deal between SP and Congress was also guided by selfish motives.
He said BJP will have no alliance with BSP and go alone in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Ruling out speculations of factionalism after senior party leaders including vice president Kalyan Singh abstained from the state executive meeting in Vrindavan recently, Tripathi released an ambitious plan to mobilise party cadres before the elections.
"Our target is to hold 1,000 meetings every day from August 9 to August 23 to inform the cadres about issues such as Amarnath Shrine Board, the deteriorating law and order in Uttar Pradesh, minority appeasement by Central and state governments and the rising inflation which will be made election issues," he said.
State level rallies will be held in Varanasi, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Agra, Aligarh, Moradabad, Bareilly, Gorakhpur and Gonda from August 28 till the end of September.
Soren gives shivers to UPA
The 64-year old tribal leader Shibu Soren is giving anxious moments to the UPA government as stand of its 5 Lok Sabha members on the trust vote is still a closely guarded secret. MPs belonging to the Jharkhand outfit are among over 20 Lok Sabha members who hold the key to the fate of the government during Tuesday's confidence vote.
The JMM is said to be involved in a hard bargain with the UPA for giving its support and has given enough indications that Soren should get back his Coal Ministry in return for his party's support.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Again Indian Journalist attacked

Ahmadabad: Gujarat have a very long controversial history for attacking "Media" ,i.e~ "to destroy the freedom of speech"- the gospel starts from the attacking press office for enlisting the name of M.F.Hussain in Bharat Ratna list , to the harassing of student of MS Vadora University for the exhibition of arts like naked Hindu Gods. Most recently TOI's Gujarat resident editor Mr.Desai wrote a "nexus between under world & the present DIG of Gandhinagar & then an FIR also lodged against Times of India. This was followed by the allegation against well knowen writer Aashis Nandy . And finally yesterday's attack on press by Asaram Bapu 's(a self declared God man) mobs to erase the fire against the asaram's two boy found dead on street. The media rally to protest the attack on journalists by supporters of religious guru Asaram Bapu was today stopped by police and several among them were detained.More than 100 journalists took out a protest rally from Sabarmati police station to Asaram Ashram. They were carrying placards condemning the attack on media persons yesterday during the shutdown in the city over the mysterious death of two boys studying in an Asaram-run school.When they reached near the ashram they were stopped by the police and detained. The journalists were then taken to the Sabarmati police station.Various journalists, covering the 'bandh' called by local residents, were beaten up by Asaram Bapu's supporters, who attacked them with sticks and also damaged their equipment like television camaras and outdoor broadcast vans."Supporters of the Bapu came out with sticks and attacked the media persons. I was also hurt in the attack," Gopi Ghangar, a correspondent of Hindi news channel ‘Aaj Tak', had said yesterday.The bodies of the two cousins, Abhishek (11) and Dipesh Vaghela (10), were found on July 5 on the banks of Sabarmati river near the Ashram.Their family members have alleged that the two were murdered. Police have not been able to make any headway in the investigation, causing anger among the locals.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My first Drama Review .

I generally don't write cinema critics not only for my very lack of knowledge ,,more importantly unless until "this show (or at least trailer) " satisfy me or otherwise circumstances are so hard,-that to refresh I watch it . This week has a very hectic calender to most of all Indian journalists & on 22nd July trust vote will follow. In the mean time I enjoy a Russian movie :Alexander Sokurov's drama about a Russian soldier in Chechnya who is visited by his grandmother.
Genre Type: Drama

MPAA Rating: NR

Starring: Galina Vishnevskaya, Vasily Shevtsov, Raisa Gichaeva

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov

The question is not what filmmaker Alexander Sokurov's deliberately paced drama, set during the second Chechen war, looks like, but what it smells like.The answer? Guns, iron and men.That's what Russian army officer Denis Kazakov (Vasily Shevtsov) identifies as the strange odor coming from the inside of a tanklike vehicle he's showing to his visiting grandmother (opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya in the title role), who has just arrived at his camp in Chechnya. As visualized by Sokurov ("Russian Ark"), the scene is so redolent of dusty, olive-drab metal, sweat and oily gun rags that you can practically smell it coming off the screen. The tension, therefore, that is introduced by the almost absurd presence of this silver-haired little old lady among the male-dominated culture is exquisite, if not exactly epic.On her second day in camp, Alexandra shakes off her military minders and wanders into the nearby town market, where she's greeted by the mostly Muslim population with reactions ranging from the outright hostility of a teenage boy to the open arms of Malika (Raisa Gichaeva), a local woman who invites the heroine back to her apartment for tea and conversation.Speaking of conversation, "Alexandra" is pretty chatty for a war movie.That's because it's not one. Not really. Although guns can often be heard firing in the distance, the violence is limited to dirty looks and references to how many people Denis has had to shoot.The frequent, mundane talks -- which Alexandra engages in with her grandson, Malika and the base camp's enlisted men -- are not so much about politics as they are about people. At the same time that they underscore the gulfs between the young and the old, between men and women, between civilians and soldiers, and between Russians and Chechens, they highlight the common humanity of these groups with a touch that is both delicate and devastating

Nuclear Deal

Jammu, Jul 18 (PTI) Strongly backing the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal, Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz today said it will help the country generate more power to meet its energy needs."By signing the deal, India will get access to clean nuclear fuel. It will help us to generate enough power to meet the requirements of the country," said Soz who is also the President of Jammu and Kashmir Congress."Most of the electricity in the country is generated through coal, but generation of power through nuclear fuel would enable us to get clean and enough supply of power," he said while addressing the JKPCC convention here.Yesterday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi took the deal to the people's court and said that the deal will help generate more power.Gandhi, addressing a rally in Nellore yesterday, had attacked the opponents of the deal, saying that the party does "not need any certificate from anyone on patriotism and national interests." Soz said India is the only nation which has been offered such a deal despite having tested nuclear weapons twice earlier."India is a proven nuclear power but a responsible democratic government which has such nuclear weapons not to use to attack others but only as a deterrent," Soz said."We are soon going to sign the agreement on the nuclear deal in the interests of the people of the nation," he said and asked his party workers to carry this message throughout the state.Referring to the power crisis in Jammu province, the Union Minister said that he had already taken up the matter with the officials concerned and the Haryana Government. PTI
India will brief representatives of a total of 54 countries from the IAEA Board of Governors and the NSG on the safeguards agreement of the Indo-US nuclear deal on Friday. Twenty-six of the 54 member nations are part of both the IAEA and the NSG. The briefing - to be conducted by Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon - is an Indian initiative and not taking place at the IAEA premises in Vienna. The presentation will try to explain: The importance of the deal for an energy-hungry India. India not being a signatory to the NPT, will also try to allay fears of nuclear proliferation. Controversial elements in the safeguards agreement are also likely to come up. Especially references to India's unspecified right to 'corrective measure' in the event of a disruption of fuel supplies. India will also try to make a subtle pitch to NSG countries for future nuclear trade. Menon will be helped in the task by a top official of the Department of Atomic Energy, R B Grover, India's permanent envoy to the IAEA, Saurabh Kumar and the MEA's negotiator on the agreement, Venkatesh Varma. A safeguards agreement approved by the IAEA's board is necessary for India to amend the rules of global nuclear commerce determined by the NSG. The board is scheduled to meet on 1 Aug to take a decision on the safeguards agreement. IANS correspondent in Vienna Mehru Jaffer spoke with CNN-IBN early on Friday morning and below is her analysis: “What India has to convince the 35 board of governors of IAEA is that it will continue to use the technology that it buys USA & the other suppliers countries in a responsible way. The concern is that India has promises to open up only 14 of its for IAEA inspection, what about the other six? There are skeptics with the board of governors there are member who jealously are for non proliferation and they are very concerned that it is a 100 per cent safeguards draft, how are they going to monitor the nuclear technology and what India buys will not be diverted from civilian use to its military.”

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Israel Paid `Heavy Price' Over Hezbollah Prisoners, Olmert Says

Israel paid a ``heavy price'' in its agreement with Hezbollah to release five Lebanese prisoners in exchange for the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.
Samir Kuntar, who was convicted of killing a girl and her father in 1979, and four inmates, returned to a welcome rally in Beirut yesterday after Hezbollah handed over the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser to the Red Cross.
``We decided to bring our boys home even at the heavy price of releasing a reprehensible murderer,'' Olmert said in an e- mailed statement late yesterday. ``Concern for the fate of every one of our soldiers is the glue that joins us together as a society and enables us to survive surrounded by enemies and terrorist organizations.''
The capture of the soldiers sparked a 33-day war between Israel and Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim Hezbollah militia that resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 Lebanese and 159 Israelis. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told the rally in Beirut yesterday that ``the time of victory has arrived,'' Agence France-Presse reported.
The bodies of the two soldiers were presented in black coffins by Hezbollah representatives to the International Red Cross in the Lebanese border town of Naqura yesterday. They were taken to the Israeli side and positively identified before the Lebanese prisoners were sent across the border.
Position of Strength
Hezbollah didn't say before the exchange that the soldiers were dead. The group achieved a position of strength in negotiating the swap with Israel by not revealing the fate of the soldiers, AFP cited Nasrallah as saying when he addressed the crowd in Beirut.
``Had their fates been revealed in a tactical error, the negotiations would have taken a different course,'' he said.
Regev and Goldwasser were captured in a cross-border raid by Hezbollah. It isn't known whether they died immediately or after they were taken captive.
The swap agreement included Kuntar, who was convicted of killing a four-year-old girl, her father and two police officers. Kuntar was 16 when he landed on the Israeli coast from Lebanon in a boat with three fellow members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and broke into the apartment of Danny Haran in the town of Nahariya.
Court Testimony
According to court testimony, Kuntar killed Haran in front of his four-year-old daughter and then crushed the girl's skull with the butt of a rifle. Kuntar said Israeli soldiers were responsible for at least one of the deaths. Haran's wife, Smadar, was hiding in the apartment and accidentally smothered her two-year-old daughter as she tried to stop her crying.
The exchange agreement demonstrates the ``moral and ethical strength of the Israeli people,'' Olmert said in his statement. ``Happy is the people that has these values. Woe to the people that now celebrates the release of a human animal that smashed the skull of a four-year-old girl.''
Israel also agreed to hand over the bodies of 199 ``enemy combatants.'' It sent the first group of 12 across the border shortly after the Israeli soldiers were returned.
Hezbollah, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., has been linked to scores of attacks since its 1982 founding, including rocket strikes on Israel, the 1983 Beirut bombings that killed 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen, and the 1994 killings of 85 people at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
While Israel's Cabinet approved the exchange two days ago, it rejected a report from Hezbollah on the fate of missing airman Ron Arad, according to a statement on the prime minister's Web site. Israel will continue to seek information on Arad, who disappeared in Lebanon in 1986, Olmert's office said.
Israel is negotiating with the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas for the release of Gilad Shalit, a soldier captured outside the Gaza Strip three weeks before the abduction at the Lebanese border. Shalit is believed to be alive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2 India : Enterprise & Politics.

Recently I participate in Mumbai based national TV News channel Guest appearance On the subject of the "relation or nexus" between politics & corporates. By the way I -as a contemporary subject also cover US election contiguously & will take my states trip i.e~ "visit the location of the covering subject "on coming January. You know that how the opinion gap speculate between Barrack Obama & John Mc Cain ~to the answer of the question :"Gas price " or "out sourcing".
At that night I say the tryst of Indian politics :" Corporatisation of Politics or may :"(politicisation of Enterprise) is too much comparing the at better transparent deal. In fact in this country Gandhi assassinated in G.D.Birla's mansion.
~~Every body are corrupted when memory recall the case of "RIL & Late Pramod Mahajan " or even perception as "Amar Singh was more popular for "his dalal" role to allocate more & more subsidies when SP in power.

Number Crunching:
Telengana Rashtra Samiti, a regional political group, has said it will vote against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the trust vote on July 22.
The party's leader K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday said that he would ally with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to vote out Singh.
Singh's Congress party was hoping to win the support of TRS, which has three members in Parliament, and several small parties to muster majority.
Dayanidhi Maran, who made his way to the Lok Sabha as a member of Tamilnadu's DMK party may abstain from the trust vote, reports say.
Maran was removed as India's telecom minister on the advice of the DMK party after an internal dispute with the party leadership.
The trust vote became necessary after Prime Minister Singh lost majority in Parliament's Lower House after a group of Communist parties, opposed to the civil nuclear deal with the US, halted support.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Asif tested positive--again.

This story is exclusively covered by Cricketnirvana.com
Even as the Indian Premier League has declared that the it was Pakistani pacer Mohammad Asif who failed the dope test, Asif expectedly has denied the allegation and claims he had never taken any banned substance. He says he will seek the Pakistan Cricket Board's advise on a 'B' sample test to prove his innocence.Asif said that he was innocent and denied using any contraband - In fact, Asif, who played for the Delhi Daredevils during the IPL said that he was very careful about what medicines he used and was shocked and disturbed at how the test had turned out positive.When the pacer had returned from his recent 19-day detention in Dubai for carrying contraband drugs, he had said that he had cleared two doping tests in the IPL."I never thought my test will come positive because I know I took nothing. I will be talking to the Board and seeking advice on having a sample 'B' tested to confirm the issue," he said.The pacer, who has appeared in 11 Tests and 31 one-day games, had interestingly, said he had used a Hakeem's medicine for his elbow injury and nothing else.What next for Asif?Asif cannot yet be called guilty; as per procedures, Asif can request for a B sample analysis in the hope that the test may return negative.The chances of that are limited considering samples A and B are collected at the same time - but Asif and an IPL representative can attend that second Test.The results of the B sample will then be referred to the IPL Drug Tribunal which comprises of Sunil Gavaskar, Dr Ravi Bapat and Shirish Gupte.But considering this is the second time Asif has violated ICC's stringent anti-doping mesures, a life ban surely hangs over the Pakistan paceman.PCB to act toughMeanwhile the Pakistan Cricket Board is reportedly upset and disappointed with Mohammad Asif and is set to take a tough stance against the paceman saying it will not back the speedster this time round.Asif had earlier tested positive in 2006 after a banned substance nandrolone was found in his samples before the ICC Champions Trophy, but then the PCB tribunal had cleared him after the pacer proved his innocence.But this time round, after it was revealed that Asif has failed a dope test during the Indian Premier League the PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi expressed disappointment at the latest development and stated that they had no intentions of supporting Asif this time around.But PCB's Director of Operations Zakir Khan though said it was the IPL's prerogative to look into the Asif case since it does not fall under the PCB's domain
Mohammed Asif today became the first cricketer to have tested positive twice in dope tests even though cricket is replete with incidents where a number of players have been found guilty of the offence.The Indian Premier League today (Julyl 14) confirmed that Pakistan paceman Asif was the cricketer who tested positive in the random samples during the cash-rich IPL tournament.Asif, along with Shoaib Akhtar, also had tested positive for banned drug nandrolone in 2006 ahead of the Champions Trophy tournament in India.Cricket's image took a beating in 2003 when Australian spin wizard Shane Warne was found guilty of using banned diuretics and was subsequently excluded from the World Cup team.A one-year ban was also imposed on the legendary leg-spinner.West Indies player David Murray had also conceded that he was taking drugs since 1978. He revealed that he took marijuana before and after the match and even had to go to the jail for the offence.England all-rounder Ian Botham was also suspended for two months by the ECB for consuming hemp. Botham initially denied taking any drug but according to reports he later accepted his guilt.Another British player Phil Tuffnel also failed in a dope test.Former Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram was accused of carrying marijuana during his team's West Indies tour in 1993 while his compatriots Aqib Javed, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed were arrested for the same reason.It required Grenada Prime Minister's intervention in sorting of the matter and the first Test match was delayed by one day.Former Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming was caught red handed consuming hemp in 1993-94 during the South Africa tour. Fingers were also raised on Matthew Hart, Dion Nash, Adam Parore and Shane Thomson though New Zealand Cricket imposed fines only on Fleming and Hart.Six players from the South African team were imposed heavy fines for using narcotics while celebrating their win over the Caribbean team in 2000-01.Herschelle Gibbs, Andre Nel, Justin Kemp, Roger Telemachus, Paul Adams and team physio Craige Smith were fined USD 13,000 for the offence.As far as India is concerned no player till date has been found guilty of using drugs. However, former spinner Maninder Singh was caught with cocaine last year.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Film Reveiw :"Kung Fu Panda"

Cast: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu
Director: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
It's hard not to like Kung Fu Panda even though there have been many smarter animation films recently. It tells the story of an overweight panda Po (voiced by Jack Black) who works for his father in a noodle shop, but secretly yearns to be a kung fu fighter.
Which is why he climbs up thousands of steps to the ancient temple where the Dragon Warrior will be chosen to face off against the dreaded villain Tai Lung who is believed to be planning his escape from an Alcatraz-like prison.
Dustin Hoffman lends his voice to Kung fu guru Master Shifu who lines up five of his best students before the temple master for his selection. Shifu's "Furious Five" comprise Monkey, Tigress, Mantis, Viper and Crane, all highly skilled fighters who could crack open your skull with one deadly move. Yet, as luck would have it, the temple master picks none of them, but roly-poly Po instead to be the Dragon Warrior. Naturally what ensues are a series of laugh-out-loud moments as this hopeless panda with a total lack of skill is trained in the art of kung fu.
The film is an easy watch, enjoyable even, despite its formulaic 'against-all-odds' theme.
The real fun in Kung Fu Panda comes from the action scenes which are packed with energy and full of crazy little moments that'll have you in splits throughout. The all-star-cast voice talent also includes Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu, but it's Dustin Hoffman doing his best gruff vocals as Master Shifu who is the finest talent on board.
It's also impossible not to lose your heart to Po, the klutzy, couch-potato panda who gets his attitude from Jack Black's amazing voice intonations. Kung Fu Panda is a visually stunning film whose animation is part-computer generated part-hand drawn, it's the kind of photorealistic 3-D animation that makes characters and locations come alive because they're so intricately detailed and fantastically executed.
I'm going with three out of five for Kung Fu Panda, if you're looking for a chance to let your hair down and to just have a good time this weekend, I doubt you'll find anything else that'll do the trick.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Update2 :Nuclear Deal

One of the most notable events of the G-8 meeting in Tokyo this week had little to do with economic growth. In a conversation yesterday, U.S. President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed a civilian nuclear deal that has been in the works for nearly three years. The pact, known as the 123 Agreement under U.S. law, would allow American firms to invest and trade in civil nuclear technologies with India -- a significant event if it occurs, given that India hasn't signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and has not allowed full inspections of its nuclear plants.

With only months left before Congress breaks for the U.S. Presidential elections, the time needed to finalize the deal this year may be running out. In addition to securing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) approvals, U.S. law requires Congress to pass a joint resolution of approval.
All of this is causing the deal's backers to wring their hands, despite yesterday's sideline chat. If the 123 Agreement is not approved on Mr. Singh's and Mr. Bush's watch, it could encounter additional difficulties next year. The leadership of the Indian political party most likely to succeed Mr. Singh's Congress-led coalition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has already announced that it wouldn't "mind another [nuclear] blast if it is necessitated." Meanwhile, John McCain and Barack Obama have pledged to ratify or amend the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Not much of this is mentioned when the deal is being sold in Washington. Within the Beltway, the deal is the business opportunity of the century, one that will strengthen global nonproliferation efforts and bring India into the international nonproliferation fold. Enabling legislation, known as the Hyde Act, requires that all U.S. nuclear assistance be suspended if India resumes testing, that the U.S. do nothing to violate its own pledges under the NPT, and that India place all of its civilian reactors under IAEA nuclear inspections in perpetuity. When questioned earlier this year House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the deal is and must be "completely consistent with the Hyde Act."
All of this sounds pretty good. There's only one problem: To garner the political support necessary to proceed with the deal, Mr. Singh and his supporters have been making a pitch back home that's the polar opposite of Washington's story board. Thus just last week, to gain the support of the Samajwadi Party (an Indian political group previously opposed the deal), the prime minister's office announced that "the 123 Agreement clearly overrides the Hyde Act" and that, as such, "there is nothing in the agreement which places an embargo on India's right to carry out a nuclear test if it thinks this is necessary in India's supreme national interest."
In the next few weeks, India is also expected to submit a safeguards agreement before the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna. India will make a unilateral statement aimed at reserving its right to expel IAEA inspectors from reactor sites if the U.S., or other fuel suppliers, suspend nuclear fuel shipments for any reason -- including Indian resumption of testing. Indian officials are also likely to plead for nuclear fuel supply guarantees so the country can stockpile uranium fuel against future nuclear fuel supplier cutoffs that might occur -- again, following a future nuclear test. If, as expected, no IAEA board member or NSG country objects to these Indian statements, India will construe the silence as assent.
The U.S. State Department is quite aware of these views. It's a key reason why late last year, State pleaded with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs not to release the Department's unclassified answers to whether or not the Executive believed the deal required the U.S. to cut off nuclear supplies to India if it tests; if the Department thought India could stockpile U.S. nuclear fuel to reduce U.S. influence on Indian nuclear testing policies; and precisely what kind of safeguards India must agree to. Oddly, the Committee agreed to keep State's answers under wraps. This suggests American diplomats want India to think it can test with impunity while it is telling Congress India can't.
But there's more: Earlier this year, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee suggested India "delink" finalizing the U.S. nuclear deal from getting the IAEA and the NSG approvals. His idea was to get the U.S. to convince the IAEA and NSG to allow India to do business with any nuclear supplier state. This would then allow India to import Russian and French nuclear goods, instead of American goods which would be laden with troublesome nonproliferation conditions.
His pitch was more than hype. The U.S. actually has been twisting arms at the NSG, threatening to leave and so dissolve the group if countries critical of the India deal did not fall into line on India. Also, as a practical matter, U.S. reactor sales to India won't happen even if New Delhi refuses to buy Russian or French. Why? No private U.S. nuclear firm would risk doing business with India until it establishes a sufficient amount of Indian nuclear damage liability coverage. Given India's horrific experience with the American-built Union Carbine chemical-plant accident at Bhopal, when this will occur is anybody's guess.
* * *
All of which raises the question, if this "peaceful" nuclear deal isn't to pump up U.S. reactor sales, just what is it about? One could argue that India could use more foreign uranium. It's recently run so low on domestic fuel that it's had to reduce the power production level of its civilian reactors significantly. It also needs foreign uranium because its own uranium production has remained relatively flat, while its civilian and military requirements have risen.
This is where the trouble begins. It turns out that fueling India's civilian reactors with foreign fuel is not all that peaceful. As K. Subrahmanyam, former head of India's National Security Advisory board noted, "Given India's uranium ore crunch . . . it is to India's advantage to categorize as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refueled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons grade plutonium production."
India, however, doesn't need more weapons to keep up with Pakistan; it needs more and better ones to match China. That's why India has been developing intercontinental range ballistic missiles -- weapons that could use more, smaller, lighter, efficient advanced thermonuclear warheads. This, in turn, is why India's hawks are so interested in resuming nuclear testing. That Pakistan is committed to matching India's nuclear progress, is perhaps why New Delhi has yet to ramp up. But once New Delhi has all the uranium it needs for both its civilian and military program, it will surely revisit this.
Unfortunately, glossing over these points is the most the Americans and the Indians now seem willing do. This may be diplomatically clever but strategically, it's spring loaded to produce misunderstanding and tragedy. The U.S. certainly should not finalize the deal until either India agrees it should stop upgrading its arsenal significantly or we clearly decide that we no longer care if it does. For the record, right now just the opposite applies.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Rafael Nadal Blog

Marriage is over , now the time for Divorce.

The left parties have announced that they are withdrawing support from the UPA government at the centre. They will be making the decision formal tomorrow (Wednesday) by submitting their letter of withdrawal of support to President of India.The decision has come in the wake of the announcement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday that the government will go the IAEA "very soon".In a letter addressed to Pranab Mukherjee, the Convenor of the UPA-Left Committee on the Indo US Nuclear Cooperation, the left parties say "As you are aware, the Left parties had decided that if the government goes to the IAEA Board of Governors, they will withdraw support. In view of the Prime Minister’s announcement, that time has come."In the letter the representatives of the left parties have claimed that the committee has not been able to come to any findings because the contents of the Safeguards Agreements negotiated with the IAEA has not been made available.It has been learnt that the Left parties have sought time tomorrow from the President of India and are expected to submit their letter of withdrawal of support.The UPA government did win the support of the Samajwadi Party before the Prime Minister left for G-8 Summit on Monday, but it will require more support to be able to pull through the vote of confidence that will be required, if the Left formally withdraws its support.

"Now, the difference is that the honeymoon period is over... It is only a question of filing divorce papers if it comes to that end. The Prime Minister knows it and he is the one person who knows it."— CPI-M General Secretary, A B Bardhan

"As the time for the ninth meeting of the UPA-Left Committee on the nuclear deal approached, the country was plunged into a political crisis once again on the future of the nuclear deal. What is the cause for this ongoing crisis? The answer lies squarely in the Prime Minister's renewed bid to go to the IAEA for seeking the approval of the Board of Governors on the text of the Safeguards Agreement."— CPI-M General Secretary, Prakash Karat

"I am hopeful that there will be time to take the deal to its logical conclusion. We have been assured that once we take the decision to go to the IAEA the process will move pretty fast."— Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Update1 :G8 Summit 2008

G8 summit opens with soaring prices, Africa aid as focus
Leaders of the world's richest nations opened a summit on Monday, aimed at battling skyrocketing oil and food prices, as pressure mounted on them to live up to their pledges to help Africa.Leaders including US President George W Bush gathered in the secluded spa resort of Toyako in northern Japan for a three-day session, with seven African leaders joining them on the first day to take up the plight of the continent.Riot police with shields stood under pouring rain and blocked some 50 protesters, who had camped out in the meadowlands from getting anywhere near the plush hotel where the world's top leaders were meeting.The closest that demonstrators got was the other side of sapphire-blue Lake Toya, where they shouted slogans in the improbable hope that leaders on the hilltop on the other side would hear them.European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso set the tone for the meeting by proposing the creation of a one-billion-euro EU fund to fight hunger and help farmers in poor countries with seeds and fertiliser.Inflationary concernsFood prices have nearly doubled in three years and set off riots in parts of the developing world, which are also being hit hard by record oil prices.In the closed-door session, African leaders pushed for the Group of Eight nations to make good on aid promises, saying the continent was bearing the brunt of rising food prices, a Japanese official who was present said."Because of the recent surge in food prices, African agriculture's supply and demand is not balanced and we would like the G8 to fully support" our cause," the official quoted African delegates as telling G8 leaders.Pope Benedict XVI also called on G8 leaders to focus on the world's weakest and poorest people, as they are "more vulnerable now because of speculation and financial turbulence and their perverse effects on the prices of food and energy."But aid groups said that some of the G8 nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States - were walking away from earlier commitments.The club of rich nations promised in 2005 in Britain to boost aid to Africa by a further $25 billion by 2010. But UN and African Union figures indicate that only less than a quarter of that amount has been forthcoming.The Oxfam charity said that Canada in particular was working to water down aid pledges, with their position backed by France and Italy. "We can't let them step away from their promises," Oxfam activist Max Lawson said. "For rich countries this is peanuts. For African countries this is life or death."The G8 was joined for Monday's so-called outreach session on Africa by the leaders of Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.The G8 leaders were expected to focus at their main session Tuesday on soaring oil prices, which have imperilled global economic growth by stoking inflation, prompting warnings by aid groups not to forget Africa.In Mali, hundreds of activists from around the world gathered in the dusty town of Katibougou for a poor people's summit organised to counterbalance the G8.G8 leaders also pushed for action on Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe secured a sixth term last month in a widely condemned election in which his only rival dropped out faced with violence."I care deeply about the people of Zimbabwe. I am extremely disappointed in the election, which I labelled a sham election," Bush said after meeting with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the head of the African Union.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would also hold talks with African leaders on the Zimbabwe crisis and press for movement in the fight against climate change."I hope the US ultimately should take (on) this leadership role. This is what the whole international community expects of the United States," Ban told AFP in an interview.The United States is the only major industrial nation to shun the Kyoto Protocol, as it pushes for more commitment from developing nations. Last year's G8 summit agreed that the leaders would "consider seriously" at least halving carbon emissions by 2050.
G8 must do more for food security: ActionAid
As the G8 summit starts in Japan, international NGO ActionAid has appealed to leaders of the world's eight richest countries to take urgent steps to end the current global food crisis."The ranks of the hungry have swelled to over 950 million in 2008, and ActionAid estimates that a further 750 million are now at risk of falling into chronic hunger," the NGO said in a statement on Monday. "As many as 1.7 billion people, or 25 percent of the world's population, may now lack basic food security," the statement added."G8 leaders can, and must take bold steps in Hokkaido to prevent world hunger spiralling further out of control," the NGO said, demanding an immediate revocation on subsidies to biofuels production."ActionAid's analysis shows that on current trends, 290 million people are hungry or at risk of chronic hunger because of the biofuels juggernaut," the NGO said."The US should immediately remove all subsidies for corn ethanol production and revoke the targets for increased use of biofuels that are driving the current increase in corn and other biofuels feedstock prices," Action Aid said."G8 leaders should support a five-year moratorium on the diversion of arable land into biofuel mono cropping. Instead of subsidizing biofuels the G8 countries should increase research, investment and incentives to scale up alternative renewable energy sources," the statement said.ActionAid alleged, "The G8 countries' failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is already wreaking havoc on agriculture through severe floods and droughts and rising temperatures. Weather effects have already reduced harvests in some countries. In some countries in Africa, yields from rain-fed agriculture could drop by as much as 50 per cent by 2020 because of climate change.""It will cost developing countries an estimated $67 million a year to tackle these and other risks, but so far, G8 pledges to the two voluntary climate change adaptation funds amount to only $158 million, less than a tenth of what Europeans spend annually on sunscreen," the statement added.The NGO called upon the G8 leaders to "confine future increases in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius by agreeing binding and time bound targets to reduce their own emission levels by at least 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020"."The US as the single largest polluter, must commit to reduce its emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and provide at least $55 billion of the estimated $67 billion annual cost of helping developing countries cope with climate change," the NGO’s statement said.Based on historic responsibility and capacity to pay, ActionAid has also demanded, "The G8 must commit to assist developing countries in accessing clean technology. Clean technology funding must be additional to overseas development assistance; should give preference to grants that provide incentives for developing countries to embrace a clean development path; and should give preference to small, locally controlled and managed projects that provide local energy access, particularly directed at women."

Will US attack Iran,

After reading an article on
Los Angeles Times , under the headline of :"No proxy war with Iran". This is an excerpt of my feelings & reaction coming from heart and mind.

Of course, if Seymour Hersh is right, in a pretty real sense the Bush administration has already attacked Iran. Under the auspices of a presidential finding promulgated last fall or winter, special operations forces and other operatives are inside Iran trying to stir up and capitalize on the kind of discontent that just might lead to regime change. It would be funny if it weren't more tragic to consider that the United States, based on its actions, has evolved into some kind of bizarre caricature of the dying Soviet empire, blundering about, spreading money and weapons and operatives around to try to subvert (the acolytes would say "liberate," just as the Soviet ideologists and propagandists did) various regimes that we consider dangerous or vulnerable or both.
Because advocates of the policies the U.S. seems to be following would speak to him only of high degrees of classification or in generalities, Hersh ended up having his most fruitful conversations with critics of the apparently disjointed and ill-thought-out activities your tax dollars (or your grandchildrens') are paying for. His perspective may be a little one-sided; there just might be a plausible strategy behind the expenditure of some $400 million. But critics of throwing it around among Ahwazi Arab, Baloch, and other dissident groups and seeking better intelligence about Iran's nuclear programs make a pretty good case that, at best, it is most likely money wasted, and could have untoward consequences.
So the U.S. government is arguably, if covertly, already at war with the Iranian regime. It's the kind of war that the other side can choose to avert its eyes from if it deems the threat trivial or if it wants to buy time to assemble the means of crushing it. If the covert war starts to do actual damage, the risk of incidents that could lead to serious military action rises, even if neither side really wants escalation.
For years I have been more skeptical than many antiwar people about the likelihood of a U.S. attack on Iran, and the fundamental disincentives still apply. Adm. Mike Mullen has let it be known that he would like more troops in Afghanistan, but for the time being he will have to extend tours of duty instead because so many troops are tied down in Iraq. Where is he going to get troops for action In Iran, unless the calculation is that some of the troops now in Iraq can be sent over to Iran without seriously destabilizing Iraq? (If so, it's an argument that the Iraqis, who are starting at least to talk like an independent entity, have things well in hand enough that U.S. troop withdrawals could begin quickly without leaving behind too much of a mess or triggering a bloodbath – though, of course, U.S. strategists don't have an especially impressive record of predicting unintended consequences in Iraq.)
Iran would be a much more difficult military target than Iraq was. The argument could be made that we could do enough just with bombing – not eliminate the threat forever of Iran getting a nuclear weapon but delay the likelihood by a decade or so – to make it a tolerable risk. But such an attack would not eliminate and might even increase the ability of Iran to respond in damaging ways – blocking the Strait of Hormuz, getting Hamas, Hezbollah, and maybe Syria to do damage to U.S. and Israeli interests and probably Israeli territory, not to mention mucking about much more extensively in Iraq. Killing civilians, especially scientists and technicians working on nuclear projects, would create an unpleasant backlash, but failing to do so would make it likelier that Iran could recover quickly and really get cracking on a nuke. Equipment can be replaced, but recovering specialized knowledge and experience might take a generation
All these fundamentals militate against starting a war, and it seems to be the case that a goodly number of military leaders are pushing back against the kind of rush to war most observers think Cheney would like to initiate. Still, in recent weeks we have seen a number of incidents that suggest the possibility of serious military action, whether we get there by design or by stumbling into it. For instance, there was the highly publicized Israeli exercise in which fighters and bombers flew toward the Mediterranean near Greece, the same number of miles in that direction as Iran is in another, as many pointed out.
Does that indicate that the Israelis are getting ready to strike, with or without U.S. cooperation? As's George Friedman has pointed out, it seems unlikely. For starters, an aerial foray to Iran would have to pass over Jordanian and Iraqi airspace; indeed, refueling would have to take place in Iraqi airspace, which the U.S. controls. In addition, rescue helicopters would almost certainly have to be based in Iraq to be useful, which would mean the U.S. would at least have to facilitate and provide ground services.
The most fundamental factor arguing against a unilateral Israeli strike, however, is that by publicizing the war games over Greece, Israel utterly eliminated the element of surprise. When Israel took out the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, it took everybody, including the U.S. and other allies, completely by surprise. Giving the Iranians a warning makes it likely the Iranians could do more to move activities to places that would not be seriously affected by conventional bombing and missile strikes, or at least only marginally damaged. Moving people out of harm's way would be easier and could be done more quickly than moving heavy equipment. Under most circumstances, you would think that if Israel were going to strike it would do everything possible to avoid signaling its intentions, and it has done the opposite.
Unfortunately, that might suggest that if the geniuses running the administration really think it would be useful to strike Iran before leaving office (and let the successor deal with the consequences), they might conclude that a unilateral U.S. strike is the least dangerous way to go. Sunni regimes in the region would be seriously upset if the Israelis struck, but they might be privately relieved and content with only token protests if the U.S. did it. At least one could make that calculation.
Consequently, while I still think the fundamentals, considered strictly in a coldly calculated realpolitik fashion, argue strongly against an overt U.S. military attack on Iran, it's possible to imagine people on the other side of the argument making a case that the Bushlet just might buy. And he might even be more likely to buy into it (or even be signaling that he wants the case to be made more aggressively), fancying it will enhance his precious legacy as a visionary leader not afraid to take decisive action, even – especially? – if it's not popular.
So here's one observer who's uncertain but a little fearful that what the late Gen. William Odom (and may his shade forgive me for not more publicly celebrating what he achieved in a life devoted to his country's best long-term interests when he died recently) called "America's Inadvertent Empire," might just blunder inadvertently into a conflict that could make the Iraqi debacle seem like a walk in the garden with plenty of time to smell the flowers.
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