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Americans go to the polls today
12 Indian-Americans in the fray

Americans will vote in the mid-term elections tomorrow and by all assessments Democrats are likely to regain the control of Congress after over a decade.
Young supporters listen to US President George W. Bush at a Republican Party congressional mid-term election rally in Topeka, Kansas, Young supporters listen to US President George W. Bush at a Republican Party congressional mid-term election rally in Topeka, Kansas, on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Putin clears space pact with India
Moscow, November 6
Clearing the way for joint space exploration and transfer of space technology to New Delhi, the Indo-Russian Space Cooperation Agreement has been signed into a federal law by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Saddam appeal process starts
Baghdad, November 6
Judges put Saddam Hussein’s appeal process into motion today as Baghdad found itself once more under round-the-clock curfew after the ousted President’s death sentence stirred Iraq’s sectarian tensions.


 

 

 

EARLIER STORIES


WE WANT BACK

Demanding return to school, Palestinian schoolchildren take part in a protest outside an event being attended by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah
Demanding return to school, Palestinian schoolchildren take part in a protest outside an event being attended by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday. Since September, many Palestinian government workers, including teachers, have been on strike due to the Hamas-led government’s inability to pay wages. — Reuters

Woman suicide bomber attacks Israeli troops
Gaza, November 6
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself up near Israeli troops today in a Gaza town where Israeli forces had killed two women acting as human shields for militants, residents said.

Indian gets life term for killing roommates
Sydney, November 6
A student of Indian origin in Australia has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court for bludgeoning his two flatmates to death with a baseball bat.

New hand baggage security at airports
Brussels, November 6
Strict new security measures on hand baggage have come into effect across European airports, curbing the amount of liquids passengers can bring with them on board planes.

Award for AIR man
Beijing, November 6
Engineer-in-Chief of All India Radio Ansu Sekhar Guin has bagged the annual Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) award for excellence in broadcast engineering.

 




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Americans go to the polls today
12 Indian-Americans in the fray
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Americans will vote in the mid-term elections tomorrow and by all assessments Democrats are likely to regain the control of Congress after over a decade.

More than 12 Indian Americans are part of this historic political battle.

The cast of characters include the sole Indian American Congressman in Washington, a former contender in New York real estate mogul Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" and the longest-serving Indian American in politics.

From 2000 to 2005, the Indian American population has grown to 2.3 million, a 38 per cent growth rate, according to the US Census Bureau. "This community is ready for prime time," Sanjay Puri, Executive Director of the US-Indian Political Action Committee, told The Tribune, noting the increased participation of Indian Americans in the political process. USINPAC provides bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office who support the issues that are important to the Indian American community.

Bobby Jindal, the sole Indian American Congressman in Washington, is a Republican from Louisiana. He is up for re-election on Tuesday. "There is so much at stake for our state in my re-election campaign for Congress," Mr. Jindal tells his supporters. "Louisiana needs strong leadership now more than ever." In order to take control of Congress the Democratic Party must win six Senate seats and 15 seats in the House of Representatives. According to some pollsters and political pundits that goal is achievable.

Raghu Devaguptapu of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee says, "Polling and research is continuing to show American's dissatisfaction with the current leadership on issues ranging from the war, health care, job creation, and alternative energy." In Arizona, Rano Singh is the Democratic nominee for the State Treasurer's seat. Ms. Singh, 52, got involved in politics after a fellow Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot dead in the racial backlash that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the USA. In a September poll, Ms. Singh trailed state Senator Dean Martin 26 to 40; however, 34 per cent of the voters remain undecided.

"For Indian-American Democrats, 2006 should be called the year of the Goyle/Goyal. Both Jay and Raj stand great chances of getting elected in tough districts because they are running strong message-driven and budget-disciplined campaigns," Mr. Devaguptapu says.

In Kansas, Raj Goyle, 31, is challenging incumbent Representative Bonnie Huy. While in Ohio, Jay Goyal, an engineer and vice president of his family business, Goyal Industries, is running a strong race.

In Iowa, Swati Dandekar is running for her third term for the Iowa State House. She was the first Indian-American woman to win a state legislative seat in 2002 when she defeated her Republican opponent who infamously asked in a local newspaper: "Will a person raised to function in the upper caste of India, the most repressive form of discrimination on the planet, be able to shed such repressionist views and fully and effectively represent the citizens of House District 36?" According to the Indian American Leadership Initiative, Mrs. Dandekar is in a key race as Republicans hold a two-seat advantage in the Iowa State House. If the Democrats control the chamber, Mrs. Dandekar is likely to emerge as a player in the 2008 presidential race. In 2004, she served as a co-chair for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign in Iowa.

In Maryland, House of Delegates Majority Leader Kumar Barve, first elected in 1990 and the longest serving Indian American in politics, is expected to retain his seat. As is another Democrat, Minnesota Sen. Satveer Chaudhury. Mr. Chaudhury was first elected to the Minnesota State House in 1996 and then to the State Senate in 2000, becoming the first Indian-American state Senator.

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Putin clears space pact with India
Vinay Shukla

Moscow, November 6
Clearing the way for joint space exploration and transfer of space technology to New Delhi, the Indo-Russian Space Cooperation Agreement has been signed into a federal law by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin signed the pact into a federal law after both Houses of Russian Parliament unanimously approved the pact last month allowing the transfer of sensitive space technology to India for the peaceful use of outer space, Kremlin press service said today.

The framework agreement signed in New Delhi during Putin's visit in December 2004 set a streamlined system and identified the

mechanism for enhanced cooperation in peaceful exploration of space, including protection of secret information and intellectual property rights and settling disputes.

After signing into law by President Putin, Indo-Russian Space Cooperation will acquire strategic character and would speed up joint collaboration in completing and operationalising the Global Navigational Satellite System (GLONASS) to end the monopoly of the Pentagon-controlled US Global Positioning System (GPS), sources in the Russian Federal Space Agency Roskosmos said.

During the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee's Moscow visit earlier this year, Russia's Defence Ministry had also agreed to give India access to GLONASS's military segment, which was used for guidance of smart weapons.

Under the GLONASS agreement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Russian navigational satellites Glonass-M with the help of Indian space launch vehicles and jointly develop with Russia a new generation navigational satellite Glonass-K. The two countries would also jointly develop and market Glonass receivers for commercial use.

The GLONASS's Russian segment would be available for use by the end of this year and globally it would be available in 2008.

On completion GLONASS will have 24-satellites in orbit.

Russia will also launch a small research satellite- YouthSat for India and an agreement on this could be signed later this month. — PTI 

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Saddam appeal process starts

Baghdad, November 6
Judges put Saddam Hussein’s appeal process into motion today as Baghdad found itself once more under round-the-clock curfew after the ousted President’s death sentence stirred Iraq’s sectarian tensions.

Saddam was sentenced to hang by the Iraqi High Tribunal, which found him guilty of crimes against humanity yesterday in the case of 148 Shiite civilians killed in revenge for an 1982 attempt on the then Iraqi leader’s life.

The verdict served only to deepen Iraq’s bitter religious divide, with Shiites celebrating it as a victory against their former oppressor and some Sunni Arabs protesting this latest humilation to the ousted regime.

Tribunal spokesman Raed Juhi said the court has 10 days, starting today, within which it must submit its ruling justifying Saddam’s execution to an appeals committee. This panel will then invite input from the prosecution. Defence lawyers have also said they will submit their arguments.

Twenty days after that, the case will be sealed and the panel will retire to consider its verdict. No date has been set for their final judgement, which is binding, said Juhi, who is also the court’s investigative judge.

If the final verdict confirms Saddam’s guilt, he will be executed within 30 days and some powerful Iraqi voices are calling for the judges not to dawdle.

“We strongly feel that every day he lives is not good for the Iraqi people. We need to put and end to him, to this dictator,” Bassam Ridha, a senior aide to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said. — AFP

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Woman suicide bomber attacks Israeli troops

Gaza, November 6
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself up near Israeli troops today in a Gaza town where Israeli forces had killed two women acting as human shields for militants, residents said.

The Israeli army, confirming the suicide attack in Beit Hanoun, said one soldier was slightly injured and evacuated to hospital in the first such bombing against Israelis since April.

On the Palestinian political front, President Mahmoud Abbas travelled to the Gaza Strip for talks with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on a unity government they hope can ease Western sanctions against the Hamas-led administration.

A government spokesman said Hamas had chosen a candidate to take over as Prime Minister from Haniyeh, one of the Islamist group’s leaders, once a deal with Abbas was finalised. Past talks aimed at completing an agreement have failed.

Government spokesman Ghazi Hamad declined to identify Hamas’s proposed replacement.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Relatives identified the bomber as Mervat Masaoud, an 18-year-old student at Gaza’s Islamic University. — Reuters

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Indian gets life term for killing roommates

Sydney, November 6
A student of Indian origin in Australia has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court for bludgeoning his two flatmates to death with a baseball bat.

Ram Puneet Tiwary, 27, murdered Chow Lyang Tay and Poh Chuan Tan at the home they shared in Kingsford, Sydney.

The three men were studying engineering at the University of NSW and had come from Singapore, according to a Sydney Morning Herald newspaper report.

Tiwary, who owed one flatmate $5,000, beat both of them several times with the baseball bat and later stabbed them in the neck to make sure they were dead. 
— IANS

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New hand baggage security at airports

Brussels, November 6
Strict new security measures on hand baggage have come into effect across European airports, curbing the amount of liquids passengers can bring with them on board planes.

New restrictions on the size of carryon luggage will also be introduced, starting April 17, 2007.

The 25-nation European Union agreed to tighten airport security measures after British authorities said in August they had broken up a plot to bring down US-bound flights with liquid-based explosives.

The new rules limit passengers to carrying no more than 100 ml (a fifth of a pint) of liquid per container. All such containers should fit into a clear re-sealable plastic bag to be presented at security 
checkpoints. All liquids will be subject to security checks prior to boarding planes and include not only water and soft drinks, but also soups, creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, sprays, gels, toothpaste and shaving cream. — AP

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Award for AIR man

Beijing, November 6
Engineer-in-Chief of All India Radio Ansu Sekhar Guin has bagged the annual Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) award for excellence in broadcast engineering.

Guin was selected for the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions in broadcast engineering and related disciplines at All India Radio and Doordarshan, the ABU said in a press release here today. Guin is the technical head of All India Radio (AIR), responsible for the management and operational aspects of AIR's network.

He holds the position of President of the Broadcast Engineering Society of India.

In AIR, Guin has been responsible for the implementation of many new services such as digital radio studio automation, digital video archives, digitalisation of the satellite-based networking system and digital audio broadcasting. — PTI 

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