Dateline New Delhi, Wednesday, May 17, 2006


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BJP leader Babulal Marandi resigns

      New Delhi: Coming down heavily upon the 'rampant corruption and growing extremism' in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Jharkhand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babulal Marandi resigned from the parliamentary board of the party today. Marandi also went on a 24-hour hunger strike and forwarded his resignation to the party president Rajnath Singh. The move by Marandi has come as a setback to the BJP as he enjoys tremendous support of the tribesmen in the State. A meeting was held at the residence of senior leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee Party in morning to discuss about this new development. Marandi's party general secretary Sanjay Joshi met him last night and attempted to patch for his differences over the governance and the proposed fast. Marandi, however, remained stern on his decision.

Achuthanandan CPM legislature leader (Go To Top)

      Thiruvananthapuram: The Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) members on Wednesday unanimously elected veteran leader V S Achuthanandan as the CPI-M legislature party leader. The decision was made at the meeting of party MLAs held here. The swearing-in of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) ministry will take place on Thursday at the Central Stadium. For the first time, the swearing in ceremony has been planned outside the Raj Bhavan to enable the public to witness the function. The CPI-M State committee on May 15 had chosen the 82-year-old Achuthanandan to head the ministry. Achuthanandan will be meeting Governor R L Bhatia later today to formally stake claim for forming the government. The LDF State committee is also scheduled to announce the composition of the entire Cabinet today. Some names of the ministerial nominees include, senior leader Paloli Muhammadkutty, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, M A Baby, T M Thomas Isaac, P K Gurudasan, A K Balan and P K Sreemathi. According to sources, 19-member cabinet is being planned in which the CPI-M will have 12 nominees, including Chief Minister, the CPI four and Janata Dal(S), the RSP and Kerala Congress (Joseph faction) one each. Achuthanandan had won from Malampuzha in Palakkad by a margin of over 20,000 votes. The CPI-M led LDF emerged with maximum seats in Kerala Assembly elections. In the landslide victory, LDF won 98 seats in 140 members Kerala Assembly. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy submitted his resignation on May 12 after the CPI-M led LDF emerged victors by securing a majority. Chandy has been asked to continue till the new ministry assumes office.

IB ministry to preview Da Vinci Code (Go To Top)

      Mumbai/New Delhi: The Centre today said it would hold a special screening of the controversial film based on Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" before clearing it for screening in the country. Confirming it, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said representatives of Christian bodies would also see the film, before a final decision was taken on its release in India. Following the announcement, Joseph Dias of Catholic Secular Forum withdrew his hunger strike at Azad Maidan in Mumbai. Dias, who is the General Secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum, had begun his hunger strike on Tuesday to voice his opposition against release of the film in India.

Netaji escaped to Russia: probe (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The Justice Mukherjee Commission report constituted to look into the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has said that Netaji did not die in the reported aircrash widely believed to have killed him in August 1945. It said that the Taiwan aircrash was a cover-up to help Netaji escape to Russia after the end of World War II. The one-man commission report also said the ashes kept in an urn in the Renkoji temple in Japan also did not belong to Netaji. The report was tabled in Parliament today along with an action taken report, but the Centre has rejected it. The Commission has suggested investigation into the angle over Netaji's escape to Russia. The report was submitted to the government in November last year.

Eight Guyanese kids operated in Delhi (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: Eight Guyanese children, suffering from complex heart disease, were successfully operated upon at Delhi's Heart Centre last month and discharged on Tuesday after a review. The youngest amongst this group is 21/4 years and oldest is 18 years. All of these children have undergone open heart surgery except, one who had the hole in the heart fixed up by an umbrella device. Two of them had heart valve replacement and five of them had intra cardiac repair and some of them had complex anatomy like VSD with congenital mitral stenosis. Four of these patients had severe PAH and in fact were considered inoperable by other centres. One of them, a four-year-old child with large VSD and parachute mitral valve, also needed permanent pacemaker implantation. The initiative of the treatment of these children was taken by Jeanette Singh, the President of the 3 Rivers Kids Foundation of Canada and by Dr. M. Khalilullah at The Heart Centre, where these patients were treated at exceptionally economic package. The foundation also financed one Indian girl child who had undergone open heart surgery for congenital heart disease. We hope and wish that there may be many such joint programs organized in future to help the deserving patients across the globe.

Cyber-security focus on Information Day (Go To Top)

      New Delhi: The world today celebrates the first "World Information Society Day" and the theme for this year is "Promoting Global Cyber-security." On the eve of the day, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Yoshio Utsumi in his message said that this year, ITU had advocated the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to assist the disabled and to prepare for emergencies and disasters. And to ensure that the growth of ICT remains sustainable, the theme for this year was Promoting Global Cyber-security. The "World Information Society Day" was earlier celebrated as World Telecommunication Day commemorating the founding of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865. It was on this day, the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris by the 20 founding members, and the International Telegraph Union (ITU) (then it was known) was established to facilitate subsequent amendments to this initial agreement. India has been the member of ITU since 1869. At present, ITU has 189 member states. The week long celebration will end on May 24, which also marked the day when Samuel Morse in 1844 sent his first public message over a telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore that ushered in the telecommunication age.

Fifty mine bombs found in Andhra (Go To Top)

      Visakhapatnam: Visakhapatnam Police on Wednesday recovered around fifty pressure mine bombs from near its border with East Godavari district, a Maoist infested area of Andhra Pradesh Officials said that the recovered pressure mines were reflective of the use of sophisticated methods of attack by the rebels in the recent times. "We seized the pressure bombs from a Maoist infested area. This is for the first time that pressure mines have been recovered. Earlier, crude bombs were used but these kinds of explosives are a cause for worry," said V.V. Srinivasa Rao, Superintendent of Police, Visakhapatnam. Rao said that it was the third seizure of explosives within a week. Earlier, box mines, claymore mines and liquefied explosives were recovered. Police further said that the unearthed mines were made with a technology used in Israel and Vietnam. Maoists in the country, who hold sway over vast tracts of the countryside in the east, south and centre, claim to fight for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers. And, generally, their main targets are security forces and political opponents. Nearly 600 people -- about 300 Maoists, 250 civilians and 50 policemen -- have been killed in clashes since January 2005 when a truce collapsed.

Saran, Burns to meet on nuke deal (Go To Top)

      Washington: US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, and Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran have agreed to meet in London next week to reportedly iron out existing differences between Washington and New Delhi on the July 18, 2005 civilian nuclear deal. According to agency reports, a serious attempt will be made by the two senior officials to retrieve the civilian nuclear cooperation deal that was formalised during the March visit of President George W Bush to India. The deal aims to give India access to US nuclear energy technology for the first time in three decades, and Burns and Saran are said to have confirmed their London meeting over phone on Tuesday. According to reports, officials of both India and the United States have complained that each side has got too little and the other too much. The U.S. Congress must approve the deal.

Musharraf: Charter a gimmick (Go To Top)

       Islamabad: Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has said that the Charter of Democracy signed between former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif was nothing but a political gimmick to fool the country's population. He said Benazir and Sharif were still ignoring the people and were more interested in their personal interests. He said he would not allow anybody to play with the people's destiny, adding a comprehensive reply in light of the democratic and political reforms taken by the government should be initiated. He further said there was no room for either Benazir or Sharif in the 2007 general elections, reports the Daily Times. Benazir and Nawaz had on Sunday signed the "charter of democracy" in London to strengthen their alliance against President General Pervez Musharraf. Benazir's PPP and Sharif's PML (N) and several other parties have formed the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and are demanding free and fair polls in 2007, which they have said, cannot be possible as long as Musharraf is in power. They are also opposed to Musharraf retaining the title of President and Chief of the Army Staff, and have said that retaining both posts is unconstitutional.

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