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Judiciary most corrupt in B’desh: Report
Apex court asks graft watchdog to submit its survey

Dhaka, December 29
An international graft watchdog has called Bangladesh’s judiciary as the “most corrupt” institution in the country, as it submitted its controversial report to the Supreme Court today. The Bangladesh chapter of the Berlin-based graft watchdog Transparency International today complied with the top court order submitting its survey documents.

China probed 69,200 cases of bribery in five years
Beijing, December 29
Chinese prosecutors have investigated more than 69,200 bribery amounting to a whopping $2.65 billion in the past five years, the government said today. From 2005 to 2009, over 69,200 cases of commercial bribery, involving some 16.59 billion yuan in funds, were investigated, an official white paper on corruption released here said.

Chanchalkali crowned Miss Elephant International
Kathmandu, December 29
Elephants did the catwalk. Apparently one of the world’s biggest mammal were out to prove that large can be beautiful too. The rare spectacle unfolded at Nepal’s exotic Chitwan National Park, where a unique Miss Elephant International pageant was held.



EARLIER STORIES


US struggles with clean-up, travel delays
SNOW PILE-UP: One of the many unplowed streets in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday. New York, December 29
New Yorkers were today struggling to cope with the aftermath of one of the biggest snow storms to hit the region, severely hampering public transportation and leaving thousands without power.




SNOW PILE-UP: One of the many unplowed streets in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday. — AP/PTI

Thousands still stranded in Moscow
Moscow: Thousands of frustrated air passengers remained stranded at two major international airports here for a third day even as a new snowstorm is expected to further deepen chaos caused by last Saturday's icy rains.

Pak Taliban raises woman suicide wing
12-yr-old girl spills the beans

Islamabad, December 29
The Pakistani Taliban has raised a women’s wing across the border in Afghanistan to carry out suicide attacks and one of its members has battled Pakistani security forces disguised as a man, according to a media report today.

 

Meanwhile, flood chaos in Australia

WATER BLUES: An aerial view of a flooded area in Chinchilla in the southern Queensland state of Australia on Wednesday. Around 1,000 people were evacuated as swollen rivers are expected to rise higher in the coming days. WATER BLUES: An aerial view of a flooded area in Chinchilla in the southern Queensland state of Australia on Wednesday. Around 1,000 people were evacuated as swollen rivers are expected to rise higher in the coming days. — AP/PTI





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Judiciary most corrupt in B’desh: Report
Apex court asks graft watchdog to submit its survey

Dhaka, December 29
An international graft watchdog has called Bangladesh’s judiciary as the “most corrupt” institution in the country, as it submitted its controversial report to the Supreme Court today.

The Bangladesh chapter of the Berlin-based graft watchdog Transparency International today complied with the top court order submitting its survey documents.

Supreme Court officials said they received a dispatch from the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) but were yet to check the contents of the documents ahead of the closure of the court in the afternoon.

According to the survey the judiciary was the most corrupt among the service sectors followed by law enforcement agencies and the land administration as the watchdog came up with its findings on the basis of a household survey it conducted between June 2009 and May 2010. The TIB report also said that corruption in the country’s judiciary system had increased by 40.3 per cent over the past three years.

A survey in 2007 had found 47.7 per cent corruption in the judiciary. The apex court yesterday asked TIB to submit documents of its survey report released last week sparking a massive controversy.

“We received a letter from the Supreme Court seeking the relevant documents of our household survey,” TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said.

The notice said the apex court would take effective steps on receipt of the documents but it mentioned no deadline for submitting the documents. Asked if the TIB would submit the documents as sought by the apex court, Iftekharuzzaman earlier, however, evaded a direct answer saying it was not the duty of the watchdog to investigate any individual’s corruption.

“Besides, the respondents (of the survey) were unwilling disclose names while saying that they had to pay bribe to court employees, clerks, lawyers or brokers,” he said.

Supreme Court officials said the notice was issued after Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque yesterday convened an emergency meeting of the senior judges of the apex court at his residence and decided to review the TIB’s survey documents.

Two courts in southeastern port city of Chittagong earlier this week ordered personal appearance of three top TIB executives as two lawyers filed defamation suits alleging the report to have “maligned” the judiciary.

Judicial Service Association, a forum of lower court judges, two days ago in a statement said the TIB was led by an “ill motive” in calling judiciary the most corruption-prone institution.

The association also alleged that the respondents of the TIB survey accused lawyers, non-judge court employees and middlemen or court lobbyists of corrupt practices while none of them were part of judiciary according to the Bangladesh Constitution.

A court in central Comilla had even issued warrants against the three TIB executives but recalled the order later because of “procedural flaws” in filing the suit. Law minister S. Ahmed earlier dubbed the report “confusing” and “incorrect”. — PTI 

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China probed 69,200 cases of bribery in five years

Beijing, December 29
Chinese prosecutors have investigated more than 69,200 bribery amounting to a whopping $2.65 billion in the past five years, the government said today. From 2005 to 2009, over 69,200 cases of commercial bribery, involving some 16.59 billion yuan in funds, were investigated, an official white paper on corruption released here said.

China's efforts to combat corruption and build a clean government have been managed systematically and promoted comprehensively and "achieved results," it said.

It said the ruling Communist party had shifted its efforts to stamp out graft in the past decade to focus on senior officials who collude with corrupt businessmen or shield underworld figures, as well as cases "that cause mass disturbances".

But corruption problem is still very serious, it added. The prosecutors at all levels investigated more than 240,000 cases of embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty, and rights infringement from 2003 to 2009, the report said.

From January to November, discipline watchdogs of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) investigated 119,000 graft cases, resulting in 113,000 people being punished, of whom 4,332 were prosecuted, Wu Yuliang, secretary general of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection CPC was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying .

In 2009, some 7,036 officials were held responsible for serious mistakes, breach of duty and failing to manage and supervise subordinates, the report said, adding that 83.8 per cent of Chinese thought corruption was reduced to some extent in 2010 in a survey compared to 68.1 per cent in 2003.

As China moved away from Communist philosophy of the past implementing far wider economic reforms permitting private sector to emerge in big way, corruption has emerged as the major issue during the past few with years leading to the arrest of some top officials, some even faced death row.

The report will help eliminate bias and misunderstanding about China's anti-graft battle as it details both achievements and problems, He Zengke, a researcher at the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau said. — PTI

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Chanchalkali crowned Miss Elephant International

Kathmandu, December 29
Elephants did the catwalk. Apparently one of the world’s biggest mammal were out to prove that large can be beautiful too. The rare spectacle unfolded at Nepal’s exotic Chitwan National Park, where a unique Miss Elephant International pageant was held.

Elephants could score points not only for walking the ramp, they were judged also for cleanliness, health, discipline and adornment.

Six contestants vied for the title, with 28-year-old Chanchalkali walked away with the honours followed by Dhirendrakali, 35, and Basantakali, 40. The pageant was held to popularise the tourist resort which is Nepal’s third biggest draw after Kathmandu and Pokhra.

Chanchalkali, No 3 contestant, was attired in pink and had a red hood. Her nails were trimmed and painted with different colours and a garland around her neck. She did a fiery catwalk and uprooted the victory flag to pass it on to her mahout to a tremendous ovation from the crowd and the judges. — PTI 

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US struggles with clean-up, travel delays

New York, December 29
New Yorkers were today struggling to cope with the aftermath of one of the biggest snow storms to hit the region, severely hampering public transportation and leaving thousands without power.

The estimated 60 cm of snow that piled up over the weekend forced the cancellation of 4,500 flights in the New York region’s major international airports and left thousands of travellers stranded.

While the Federal Aviation Administration said late Monday that Boston’s Logan airport had reopened, arriving flights at Philadelphia airport had delays of two hours or more.

The storm whipped through the Northeast from Sunday to Monday, stranding tens of thousands of travellers trying to return home after the Christmas holiday. Elizabeth, New Jersey, just south of Newark, was covered by 81 cm of snow. — DPA

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Thousands still stranded in Moscow

Moscow: Thousands of frustrated air passengers remained stranded at two major international airports here for a third day even as a new snowstorm is expected to further deepen chaos caused by last Saturday's icy rains.

President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered probe by the Prosecutor General amid TV reports showing angry scenes at Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports in the north-west and south-east of the sprawling Russian capital.

Transport prosecutors arrived at the airports to look at the situation on the Kremlin orders to launch a probe into the operations of the Moscow aviation hub and related enterprises. — PTI

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Pak Taliban raises woman suicide wing
12-yr-old girl spills the beans

Islamabad, December 29
The Pakistani Taliban has raised a women’s wing across the border in Afghanistan to carry out suicide attacks and one of its members has battled Pakistani security forces disguised as a man, according to a media report today.

Meena Gul, a 12-year-old girl apprehended by security forces in January in Munda area on the boundary between Dir district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and Bajaur tribal region, informed authorities about the raising of a women’s wing by the Taliban.

Pakistan’s first woman suicide bomber recently targeted a UN aid distribution centre in the Bajaur tribal region, killing nearly 50 people and injuring over 80 others.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said they had prepared more women to carry out similar strikes.

“You will go to heaven before any of us, if you blow up yourself the way I tell you,” Gul recounted her brother, a Taliban commander, as saying. She told The Express Tribune newspaper that her sister-in-law Zainab was responsible for training the women militants.

“She (Zainab) escorted eight women from our village to Afghanistan,” Gul said. Gul added: “My younger sister blew herself up in a suicide attack in Afghanistan. I, however, managed to escape.

Her claims about a women’s wing in the Taliban were initially dismissed by police officers but have been taken seriously in the wake of the attack by the woman suicide bomber on December 25, the newspaper reported. — PTI

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