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Beheading video of aid worker released

Written By Kvartha People on Sunday, September 14, 2014 | 1:08 PM

Islamic State (IS) extremists released a video showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, who was abducted in Syria last year.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who on late Saturday condemned this slaying as “an act of pure evil”, confirmed Haines’ death in a statement after the British Foreign Office had said earlier that it was “working urgently to verify the video.”
“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes,” Mr.Cameron said.
Mr. Cameron returned to his residence at 10 Downing Street shortly after midnight and is expected to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee on early Sunday.
The video emerged a day after Haines’ family issued a public plea on Friday urging his captors to contact them.
The Foreign Office said it was offering Haines’ family “every support possible.”
IS militants recently beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and posted the videos online after the U.S. began launching airstrikes and humanitarian missions in August to aid waning Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in northern Iraq. The IS group has also put out videos showing the beheading of Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers and the mass shooting of dozens of captured Syrian soldiers.
At the end of the video showing the beheading of Sotloff, the Islamic State group threatened to kill Haines next and briefly showed him on camera.
President Barack Obama issued a statement strongly condemning “the barbaric murder” of Haines by the Islamic State terrorist group.
1:08 PM | 0 comments

SC puts hold on liquor policy of kerala

Written By Kvartha People on Friday, September 12, 2014 | 10:37 AM

Let the High Court decide the future course, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday stopped the Kerala government from implementing its new liquor policy under which 730 bar owners were asked to shut shop while sparing five-star hotels. The policy was to be implemented from September 12.

Ordering status quo till September 30, a Bench of Justices Anil R. Dave and U.U. Lalit left it to the Kerala High Court, which is scheduled to hear the plea of affected bar owners on September 18, to decide the future course.

The Bench acknowledged that drinking was a social problem which ruined families but said an abrupt halt, by shutting down certain establishments and leaving untouched five-star hotels and toddy shops, was not the way to tackle it.

“If it [drinking] is a social problem, then stop it for everybody. This has gone on for years. Why stop it abruptly? If you [State government] think this is a bad thing, stop it. But do it for everyone,” Justice Dave told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, counsel for Kerala.

Mr. Sibal responded that liquor consumption in the State had led to a “social impact on the family and savings of the family are spent on liquor.”
10:37 AM | 0 comments

SC to hear Koli's plea on Nithari killing

Opening its door to usher in transparency in disposing off death penalty cases, a three-judge Bench led by Justice H.L. Dattu will hear afresh the review petition of Nithari serial killings convict Surinder Koli on Friday.

At 10.30 a.m. and for the first time in the court's history, a three-judge Bench will hear the counsel for a death row convict present oral arguments for exactly 30 minutes in a review petition against death penalty.

Koli will also be the first condemned man to benefit from a September 3 majority judgment authored by Justice Rohinton Nariman for a Constitution Bench. The judgment held that Supreme Court judges should review the question of life and death of a condemned man in public glare rather in the privacy of their chambers without affording him a chance for oral arguments.

The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha had observed that “the fundamental right to life and the irreversibility of a death sentence mandate that oral hearing be given at the review stage in death sentence cases, as a just, fair and reasonable procedure under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution”.

Of the three judges, Justices Dattu and Anil R. Dave were on the original review Bench which had dismissed Koli's review petition on July 25, this year. The September 3 verdict declared that the Supreme Court would hear afresh dismissed and pending review petitions of death row convicts, provided they are filed in a month's time from the date of the judgment.

On Friday, Justice S.A. Bobde will join his two fellow judges on the review Bench as required by the September 3 verdict. The presence of a third judge was required by the verdict to represent an independent and fresh opinion in a death row review. The revised Supreme Court Rules also requires review petitions of death row convicts to be heard by a Bench of minimum three judges.

Friday's hearing comes five days after Justices Dattu and Dave stayed the execution of Koli for a week in a midnight order, just hours before he was to be hanged at Chaudhary Charan Singh jail.

The stay order was passed by Justices Dattu and Dave in the wee hours of Monday morning at the former's official residence, where a team of lawyer led by senior advocate Indira Jaising approached him.

Koli, 42, was found guilty of serial rapes and murders between 2005 and 2006 at his employer, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher's house in Nithari. Remains of several missing children were found near the house.

Koli was sentenced to death in four cases and his death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2011, which described him as a serial killer who deserves no mercy.
10:34 AM | 0 comments

Kejriwal submits sting cd to LT. governor

Written By Kvartha People on Thursday, September 11, 2014 | 10:17 AM

Urges the Lt. Governor to revise his September 4 letter to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking permission to invite the single largest party to form government in Delhi.

Two days after it released a sting purportedly showing senior BJP leader Sher Singh Dagar offering bribe to its MLA, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAp) submitted the footage and transcript of the video footage to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.

Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal also handed over a letter to Mr. Jung in which AAP has requested the L-G to formally convey it to the president Pranab Mukherjee that how BJP’s efforts to form a government in the State is tearing apart all constitutional norms.

In the letter addressed to the L-G, Mr. Kejriwal has also requested him to recommend the dissolution of the Delhi Assembly, hence effectively revising his existing position vis-à-vis government formation.

“In your letter sent to the President on September 4, you have recommended in favour of inviting the BJP to form the government. But the developments of the last few days have made it clear that the BJP cannot form a government as per the constitution,” says the letter.

Referring to the sting, the letter also reminded the L-G that he himself had asked for one when party leaders raised the issue of horse trading in their previous meetings.

“It’s not just Dinesh Mohania (the party MLA from Sangam Vihar who was allegedly offered bribe by Mr. Dagar) but other MLAs also have been approached in a bid to break our party. Shalimar Bagh Bandana Kumari even received a threat on her life, a sting on which we have already submitted to you,” says the letter.
10:17 AM | 0 comments

Rajapakse open for talks

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is open for a dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which devolves more powers to provinces in the island nation.

In an exclusive interview to TheHindu, Mr. Rajapaksa denied reports that he was upset about the meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with six leaders of the Tamil-majority North and Eastern provinces. It was their right in a democracy “to meet anyone,” he said.

He hoped to meet Mr. Modi on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, if their schedules permitted, later this month. According to officials, Mr. Rajapaksa and Mr. Modi’s schedules would overlap for a day and efforts were on to find time for a meeting.

Implementation of the 13th Amendment was one of India’s key demands, and Mr. Modi had told a TNA delegation that “he was dismayed by reports that the Sri Lankan government proposed to dilute the 13th Amendment,” officials said.

In the interview, President Rajapaksa said he was grateful for India’s stand on the U.N. Human Rights Council vote, where New Delhi refused to endorse the demand for an inquiry by an international agency into allegations of “war crimes” by the Sri Lankan Army against the LTTE in 2009. “Our government is conducting local investigations, but we won’t allow them to internationalise it,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. “The next time it [the UNHRC] will say that there must be an international inquiry into Kashmir. What would be our position? Whether it is against India or Sri Lanka, we will not allow an external inquiry.”

He conceded that the inquiry into nearly 20,000 “disappearances” during the war was pending, and they still had not concluded who was responsible for the death of Balachandran Prabakaran, son of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran.

In photographs published in TheHindu dating back to May 2009, the boy was seen being guarded by men in uniform, suggesting it was a custodial killing. “We are investigating it still ... I don’t believe that [it was carried out by the military]. But if it is true, I must know. That is why we are inquiring. In a war, when both sides are fighting, how can you say who shot at whom?” he said.

Significantly, the Sri Lankan President said he would not rule out early presidential elections, as reports suggest, in January 2015.

He also rejected concerns in India about the growing Chinese investment in Sri Lanka, even as he prepares for the visit of President Xi Jinping on September 16, when the two countries are expected to sign a Free Trade Agreement. “India has nothing to worry about from China in Sri Lanka,” Mr. Rajapaksa said in response to a question about a contract on Air Force maintenance that was recently awarded to the Chinese company CATIC. “Until I am here, I can promise that.”
10:13 AM | 0 comments

AAP accuses BJP for bribing

Written By Kvartha People on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | 8:29 AM

Aam Aadmi Party released a sting video on Monday showing city BJP vice-president Sher Singh Dagar allegedly offering a Rs 4 crore bribe to an AAP legislator for resigning from his post.

BJP has distanced itself from Dagar even as the party expressed doubts over authenticity of the tapes. The video muddies the waters ahead of a likely invitation to the BJP to form the government in Delhi as the single largest party, though it is well short of majority.

Even as Dagar claimed that the tape was doctored, AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal said the MONEY being offered to its MLA, Dinesh Mohania, was proof that BJP was trying to buy its way to power. Kejriwal said he would submit the 41-minute recording before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, when the petition seeking dissolution of Delhi assembly comes up for hearing. The party would also approach Election Commission to demand BJP's de-recognition, he added.
8:29 AM | 0 comments

England tour a lesson says Dhoni

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday said that the two-and-half-month-long tour of England, which came to an end on Sunday, was a big learning curve for his boys.
The Indian team played five Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20 International against England. The visitors lost the Test series 1-3, won the ODI series 3-1 and lost the one-off T20.
“This tour was a big learning curve for our young side. None of the boys had played a five-Test series before this and it was always going to be a challenge. We did well in the initial part of the tour - in the first two Tests - and in the ODI series,” Dhoni was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
“We slipped in the middle where we lost the last three Test matches. It happens to all teams but it will now be important that we learn from the mistakes we made here and look to rectify them in the future series.”
8:25 AM | 0 comments

Modi Obama meet this week

A White House statement emphasised that Mr. Obama looked forward to working with Mr. Modi to "fulfil the promise of the U.S.-India strategic partnership."

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday hinted that his summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi here at the end of the month may to large extent focus on counterterrorism and security cooperation policies, including within its ambit the rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and prospects for regional stability after the U.S.’ Afghanistan drawdown in months ahead.
A White House statement emphasised that Mr. Obama looked forward to welcoming Mr. Modi to the Washington during September 29-30 and to working with him to “fulfil the promise of the U.S.-India strategic partnership.”
Administration officials here said that the two leaders would discuss a range of issues of mutual interest including ways to accelerate economic growth, bolster security cooperation, and collaborate in activities that bring long-term benefits to both countries and the world.
Highlighting the summit agenda’s focus on “current developments,” in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, the White House said that these where areas where India and the U.S. could work together with partners towards a “positive outcome.”
IS, a militant extremist outfit that has in recent months gained control of large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, has drawn citizens of numerous countries to its ranks, including from India and the U.S., sparking concerns about terror attacks abroad by radicalised returning nationals.
The summit meeting in the nation’s capital comes after the U.S. reversed a nine-year visa ban issued against Mr. Modi following this year’s Indian general election.
In days prior to his meeting with Mr. Obama, Mr. Modi will attend the United Nations General Assembly and then deliver a much-anticipated address to the Indian-American community here at Madison Square Garden stadium in New York City.
8:22 AM | 0 comments

Pune lady dies

Written By Kvartha People on Sunday, August 31, 2014 | 7:44 PM

A Dudhsagar trek on Sunday went tragic for a group of 31 trekkers from Pune as 24-year-old woman, Chetali Patil, drowned at Dudhsagar river at Collem on Goa’s boundary with Karnataka on Sunday.
The woman had come down to Goa in Goa Express train from Pune along with a group of 31 people including her brother, other relatives and friends for a Dudhsagar trek, Collem police told The Hindu on Sunday.
While crossing the Dudhsagar river holding on to a rope, Ms. Patil lost her grip and fell despite valiant efforts by her brother and other trekkers to rescue her.
Her body will be handed over to relatives after postmortem, said police.

7:44 PM | 0 comments

Pak army calls meet

After night-long clashes here between anti-government demonstrators and security forces that left three people dead and about 450 others injured, the situation continued to be tense and uncertain even as the powerful Army Chief General Raheel Sharif summoned a meeting of corps commanders on Sunday.

The clashes broke out late last night when the demonstrators who have laid siege to the heart of the Pakistani establishment, housing the Presidency, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office, sought to storm Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s residence nearby after breaking through the police barricade.

The violence continued throughout the night and subsided this morning but the 18-day stand-off continued to force Mr. Sharif's resignation over alleged rigging during last year’s elections.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan vowed to fight till death and asked Pakistanis to rebel against the “illegal” regime while the other anti-Sharif protest leader cleric Tahir-ul Qadri alleged seven of his supporters were killed by security forces, which could not be confirmed.

General Sharif called a meeting of his corps commanders to discuss matters relating to the internal security situation.

The army holds the key to resolving the impasse which has plunged the country into the worst crisis, 15 months after Mr. Sharif’s PML-N was voted to power.

Among those injured in the overnight clashes were several journalists.

Reporters, who were covering the protests, were brutally tortured by rioters and the police.

Meanwhile, the government on its part, said it was trying to re-open talks with opposition groups.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the government remained open negotiations to end the crisis peacefully.

“The government did not initiate the clashes. They turned violent and tried to enter sensitive government buildings, which are the symbol of the state,” Rashid was quoted by Geo News channel as saying.
7:35 PM | 0 comments

Rumours rock Modi government

Written By Kvartha People on Friday, August 29, 2014 | 9:22 PM

The first major controversy hit the 3 month-old Narendra Modi government on Wednesday when Union home minister Rajnath Singh publicized his anguish about the "rumour" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had rebuked his son Pankaj Singh for seeking to influence transfers and postings in Delhi Police.

The home minister and the de jure No. 2 in the Modi regime appeared before the media to make the dramatic declaration that he would retire from politics if the insinuation against his son was proven correct. The outburst, which coincided with the denial of a party ticket to Pankaj for the Noida by-election, triggered talk of a power struggle within the new regime, leading both PMO and BJP chief Amit Shah to issue statements backing Singh and vouching for his integrity.

Reacting to "rumour" which have been floating in Delhi circles for at least 3 weeks now, Rajnath said he was forced to step out and clear the air because rumours were persisting. "In the last 15-20 days, rumours have persisted about me and my family. I thought rumours would die out since they had no basis. But I am seeing the rumours have only gathered momentum. I want to assure the nation that the day allegations, even though prima facie and even small, are proven against me or my family, I will quit politics and public life and sit at home."
9:22 PM | 0 comments

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