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Search for missing airlines goes deeper

Written By Kvartha People on Monday, April 14, 2014 | 7:02 PM

A US Navy underwater drone will be deployed to scour the floor of the Indian Ocean for a missing Malaysia Airlinesplane, search officials said on Monday, launching a new phase of the operation after nearly six weeks of fruitless searching.

PERTH: Search crews will for the first time send a robotic submarinedeep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to try to determine whether underwater signals detected by sound-locating equipment are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, the leader of the search effort said.

The crew on board the Australian navy's Ocean Shield will launch the unmanned underwater vehicle on Monday evening, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search off Australia's west coast. The Bluefin 21 autonomous sub can create a three-dimensional sonar map of the area to chart any debris on the seafloor.

The move comes after crews picked up a series of underwater sounds over the past two weeks that were consistent with an aircraft's black boxes, which contain flight data and cockpit voice recordings. The devices have beacons that emit "pings" so they can be more easily found, but the beacons' batteries last only about a month, and it has been more than a month since the plane vanished.

"We haven't had a single detection in six days, so I guess it's time to go under water," Houston said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott raised hopes last week when he said authorities were "very confident" the four underwater signals that have been detected are coming from the black boxes on Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

But Houston warned that while the signals are a promising lead, the public needs to be realistic about the challenges facing search crews, who are contending with an extremely remote, deep patch of ocean - an area he dubbed "new to man."

"I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage. It may not," Houston said. "However, this is the best lead we have, and it must be pursued vigorously. Again, I emphasize that this will be a slow and painstaking process."

The Ocean Shield has been dragging a US Navy device called a towed pinger locator through thewater to listen for any sounds from the black boxes' beacons. Over the past 10 days, theequipment has picked up four separate signals.
7:02 PM | 0 comments

coal secretary's book new blow to PM Manmohan Singh

A new book accuses Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being weak and unable to stamp out corruption on his watch, the second recent attack by an insider that undermines the Congress party as it seeks re-election despite trailing in opinion polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has cast the world's largest ever election as a battle between its dynamic and assertive leader Narendra Modiand the relatively ineffective incumbent premier Manmohan Singh.

That impression was underlined in a book, published on Monday, called "Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and Other Truths" by PC Parakh, who retired as coal secretary in 2005.

It said Singh's inability to take on vested interests led to the so-called "Coalgate" scandal, which rocked his premiership.

It was the second book in the last week to portray 81-year-old Singh, Prime Minister since 2004, as a well-intentioned man of high personal integrity but one often unable to assert his authority.
6:59 PM | 0 comments

Maoist target teachers and ambulance

Written By Kvartha People on Sunday, April 13, 2014 | 8:24 PM




Seemingly discarding the constitution of the CPI (Maoist) and a fundamentaltenet of their guerrilla war, Naxals in Chhattisgarh on Saturday targeted teachers, men on medical duty and civilians along with CRPF personnel, killing 14 people in two separate attacks at places over 200 km apart.

Five ‘shiksha karmis’ — the name used for teachers in Bastar — on election duty were killed in one of the attacks.

In the other, Naxals blew up a Sanjivani 108 ambulance, one of a fleet of specially equipped vehicles that have proved effective in reaching medical aid to the poor in remote areas.

Maoists have fired at Sanjivani 108 ambulances in isolated incidents earlier, but have quickly apologised for the “mistake”. They have repeatedly claimed that it was against their constitution to attack medical professionals and teachers.

Saturday’s attacks — both of which were carried out using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) without a shot being fired — mark the biggest ever loss of teachers in an ambush by Maoists, and the first instance of an IED blowing an ambulance to smithereens. Over 10 people were injured in the attacks, and were being treated at a hospital in Raipur.

The first attack took place near Ketulnar in Bijapur district around 11 am. Police said the IED ripped apart a mini bus in which poll officials were returning from duty in Kutru to the district headquarters, carrying polling material. A forest department employee travelling with the five shiksha karmis, and a helper of the mini bus too were killed.

Four of those killed were identified as Sonla Vijay, Yalam Ramchandram, Kursam Shankar and Samayya Jhadi. In a statement, Chhattisgarh Police said, “Nearly 130 polling personnel were moving on foot from Kutru to Godma, accompanied by security personnel. Later, the polling officials boarded four mini buses. While three of the buses passed safely, the last one was caught in an IED.”

As the administration grappled with the enormity of the attack, within an hour came news of an incident in Darbha, the second in that region in the space of a month
8:24 PM | 0 comments

PM's office to seek consent from Gujarat Government

In response to an RTI application, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will seek consent from the Gujarat Government and Chief Minister Narendra Modi for making public details of the correspondence with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the post-Godhra riots in 2002.

The PMO has earlier refused to disclose the communication exchanged between the then Prime Minister and the Gujarat Chief Minister quoting Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act, without given any specific reasons. The provision exempts information which, if made public, is likely to derail any probe, arrest or prosecution of offenders.

The decision by the PMO Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) S.E. Rizvi was overturned by the appellate authority, Director PMO Krishan Kumar, on an appeal from the applicant that no germane grounds for denial of information had been put forth. The applicant also submitted that since the correspondence sought was 11 years old, it was not likely to impact any probe, apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

The appellate authority issued directions stating "As regards contention that the grounds for exemption claimed under section 8(1) (h) are not tenable, CPIO PMO is directed to obtain fresh inputs in this regard and provide the same to the applicant within 15 working days."

In subsequent response to the over six-month-old application, the CPIO has taken recourse to Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act, intimating the applicant that the consultation with the third party (the GujaratGovernment and the then State Chief Minister) is in process.

The provision stipulates that where a CPIO intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under the Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the CPIO shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to the third party with regards to the information sought.
8:14 PM | 0 comments

Maoists kill at least 7 poll officials

Written By Kvartha People on Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 8:16 PM

At least 14 persons, including civilians, CRPF men and polling officials have died in multiple attacks by Maoists in Bastar region on Saturday.

The first incident took place in Darbha, second in the region in a month, when the rebels ambushed a Sanjivani 108 ambulance around 12 pm. Six CRPF personnel and the driver died in the attack.

While Maoists have fired at ambulances on few isolated occasions, it is the first instance when they blasted an ambulance.

The attack took place under mysterious circumstances. The CRPF personnel were on foot, when they hitched a lift in an ambulance. Just a km and a few minutes later, the ambulance was caught in an IED explosion, and was blasted to smithereens. So powerful was the IED that it left a deep crater across several meters on the national highway 30.

Even assuming that the Maoists learnt about the presence of CRPF cops in the vehicle immediately after they took the lift, it would leave just a few minutes for them to plant an IED and carry out the attack. Significantly, the area is heavily guarded, witnessed a major attack on the Congress convoy last May and an ambush on the CRPF team this March when 27 and 16 persons had died, respectively.

CRPF camps have dotted the area since then and the area is heavily patrolled, still the rebels could ambush in just a few minutes
8:16 PM | 0 comments

Manmohan says BJP has always divided the couuntry

Hitting the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday made a scathing attack on BJP by describing its ideology as against the composite culture of the state and said the party had always “divided the country.”

“BJP leaders want to give a turn to the Lok Sabhaelections on communal issues, but we all need to give more emphasis on national issues. This time the big national issue is whether the country should have a government led by a party which has always divided the country,” Dr. Singh said while addressing an election rally in favour of his party candidate here, sitting MLA Sanjay Kapoor.

Referring to the controversial statement by BJP leader Amit Shah asking voters to avengeMuzaffarnagar riots, the Prime Minister said, “You have heard the speech of one of the BJP leaders. The question before you today is whether you will tolerate it and till when. UP is known for its mixed culture and there is a tradition of respecting each others religion, and I want to tell you that BJP’s ideology and works are against this ‘ganga-jamuni tehzib’ (composite culture)”.

“Uttar Pradesh has always been politically important, and this time also the Lok Sabha results in the state would decide who would form the government at the Centre,” Dr. Singh said.
7:59 PM | 0 comments

Shoe thrown at Hillary Clinton

Written By Kvartha People on Friday, April 11, 2014 | 12:08 PM


A female protester has thrown a shoe at Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State while she was delivering a speech in Las Vegas, media reports said.

The woman was immediately taken into federal custody by the Secret Service.

Clinton, who is widely expected to run for the 2015 presidential elections, had to dodge as the protester hurled her footwear at her during her keynote address to the annual convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

“Is that somebody throwing something at me?” Clinton asked, putting her right hand above her eyes to cut the glare of lights from the stage, Las Vegas Review Journal reported.

“Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?” she quipped amidst laughter from the audience.

“My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial…Thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did,” she said.

The Secret Service said the women, who wished not to be identified, sneaked in the auditorium with a capacity of some 1,000 people.
12:08 PM | 0 comments

Australian PM is 'confident' over MH370 black box

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday he was “confident” that the latest signals picked up by search vessels were from the black box on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

Speaking to reporters after arriving in Shanghai on an official visit, Mr. Abbott said the search area had been narrowed down, indicating that vessels were close to a breakthrough after more than a month of searching for the Boeing 777, which disappeared around one hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of March 8. Bound for Beijing, the plane had 239 people on board, including five Indians, 154 Chinese, and 38 Malaysian nationals.

“We have very much narrowed down the search area and we are very confident that the signals that we are detecting are from the black box on MH370,” the Australian Prime Minister told reporters in Shanghai, according to Reuters.

Recovering the black box, which records flight data, is crucial to discovering what went tragically wrong on board MH370, which disappeared from air traffic radars somewhere over the Gulf of Thailand.

Malaysian officials said investigations had led them to believe that on-board transmitters had been manually disconnected and the plane had been “deliberately” diverted wide off-course, before tracking far south to the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia and plunging into some of the world's most remote waters.

Rescuers are facing a race against time to recover the black box, which may be several thousand feet under water, on the ocean bed. As batteries in the black box, which is also equipped with underwater beacons, usually last for around 30 days, rescuers are already on borrowed time, experts said.

Mr. Abbott's comments on Friday are only the latest in a long-winding search effort that has already seen many false leads. The twists and turns have brought anguish to relatives, who have been through an unimaginably traumatic few weeks in waiting for news of their loved ones.

Here in Beijing, many relatives of the 154 Chinese nationals, who still wait at a hotel for news, have held on to hope - hope which has been fast-diminishing, but would not be extinguished, they said, until there was some concrete evidence about the fate of the aircraft, whether through the recovery of the black box or debris.
11:48 AM | 0 comments

Shinde says advisory to Chief Ministers on terrorism cases stands

Written By Kvartha People on Thursday, April 10, 2014 | 8:38 AM

BJP had accused him of playing vote-bank politics.In a statement which could trigger a fresh stand-off with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said “a few Chief Ministers who believe in fundamentalism” opposed his letter to CMs asking them not to detain innocent minority youth in terror cases.

The advisory, issued last year, saw the BJP accusing Mr. Shinde of playing vote-bank politics and demanding his resignation. “I am very categorical about this. The reason my letter was opposed was fundamentalism. I still stand by my letter that innocent people should not be harassed. Do not take minorities only as Muslims. Minorities include Jains, Buddhists and other communities as well,” Mr. Shinde said in an exclusive interview to The Hindu in his constituency here on Wednesday.

He said his letter was not an order. “I do not want to override the power of State governments. It is just a suggestion but I have not withdrawn it. It still stands.” On the Centre’s probe into the spying on a woman in Gujarat allegedly at the behest of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Shinde said, “It is still going on.” He denied the BJP charge that the UPA had failed to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre. “It was the BJP-led States and a few others which opposed it, so we decided to suspend the move. They felt we are taking over the rights of States, which is not true.” Defending himself against the Adarsh Commission indictment for extending political patronage to the scam-hit building project in Mumbai, Mr. Shinde, who was then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said: “My role was limited since the originalletter of intent had been cleared by my predecessor, Vilasrao Deshmukh. The land belongs to the State government, whose right it was to sanction it for housing.” Mr. Shinde denied the Commission’s view that he gave clearances hastily without consulting the Cabinet. “The powers had been delegated to the ministry concerned,” he said. “Adarsh is not at an issue in this election. No one has spoken of it so far.”
8:38 AM | 0 comments

Modi's roadshow begins in vadodara

Written By Kvartha People on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | 12:30 PM

Amid much fanfare and energetic demonstration of support, Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi began his road show in Vadodara, ahead of his nomination from the constituency on Wednesday.

Mr. Modi's cavalcade drove through packed streets as BJP supporters put up an elaborate show for his welcome. Traditional dance and folk music performancesraised the pitch of the rally. Many came dressed in ethnic attire to accord a ceremonial welcome to Mr. Modi.

"In Vadodara, Mr. Modi will post a historical victory. There is great excitementamong party workers. The Congress is trying all means to get publicity even if it means climbing poles," Saurabh Patel, State minister for Industries said.

Mr. Patel was referring to Vadodara's Congress candidate Madhusudhan Mistry's recent attempt to tear the Gujarat chief minister's posters, for which he was arrested.

Stringent security arrangements were in place, marked by a heavy police deployment and barricading along the route of the road show, as Mr. Modi enjoys 'Z plus' security. Shops downed their shutters.

Modi masks, placards and banners streaked the streets of Vadodara.

"We want to see Mr. Modi as PM. Youths from all over India support him," Jay Jangla, insuranceprofessional said.

In a bid to showcase Muslim support for Mr. Modi, a section of BJP supporters from the minoritycommunity staged a separate photo-op.

"The Muslims have prospered more in Gujarat compared to their counterparts in other States. There is just a phobia being created about Mr. Modi," Khalid Mallik, a businessman said.

"The Congress is just trying to play politics by making an issue out of Mr. Modi," said Farid Khan Pathan of Vadodara.

Members of the Vadodara-based Anya Bhasha Hashi Cell of the BJP, that tries to drum up support for Mr. Modi among southern and Hindi language speakers, also came to support the road show.
12:30 PM | 0 comments

BCCI moves SC to get access to statements by Srinivasan and Dhoni

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to get the audio recordings of statements made by beleagured chief N Srinivasan and Indian captain M S Dhoni before the court panel.

The move by the cricketing body comes in the wake of controversy over the apex court panel holding that Srinivasan and Dhoni lied over the role of Gurunath Mayeippan in Chennai Super Kings.

BCCI on the last date refuted Dhoni having ever told the panel that Mayeippan was only a cricket enthusiast and had nothing to do with CSK.

A bench led by Justice A K Patnaik allowed the BCCI to file the application seeking the audio tapes, which currently lie with the court in a sealed cover.

Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan had been indicted forbetting in IPL 2013 by the SC-appointed probe panel, prompting the bench to give Srinivasan an ultimatum to step down or risk being removed
11:30 AM | 0 comments

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