|N A T I O N|
|Courts to go on with Jayas
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 The Supreme Court today said trial of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha by special courts at Chennai in certain corruption cases would continue only till the stage of framing of charges against her and posted for November 23 her special leave petition challenging a Tamil Nadu Government notification setting up the special courts.
brings hope to
Dikshit file papers
at petrol stations a boon?
Courts to go on with Jayas cases: SC
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) The Supreme Court today said trial of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha by special courts at Chennai in certain corruption cases would continue only till the stage of framing of charges against her and posted for November 23 her special leave petition (SLP) challenging a Tamil Nadu Government notification setting up the special courts.
A three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice A S Anand, Justice V N Khare and Justice M Srinivasan said during the pendency of Jayalalithas petition in the Supreme Court, the trial courts "will proceed till the framing of charge stage".
The court restrained the trial courts not to proceed with the cases where charges have already been framed. Of the six corruption cases against Jayalalitha, charges have been framed in three. A total of 47 corruption cases are being tried by the special courts set up under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Tamil Nadu Public Prosecutor submitted that the state would not lead evidence in the corruption cases against Ms Jayalalitha, some of her erstwhile Cabinet colleagues and certain IAS officers beyond the charge framing stage.
Ms Jayalalitha through counsel K V Vishwanathan challenged the constitutional validity of the April 1997 notification of the state government setting up three Special Courts to try cases against her.
Sushma, Dikshit file papers
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 The two Chief Ministerial candidates, Ms Sushma Swaraj of the BJP and Ms Sheila Dikshit of the Congress, filed their nominations for Hauz Khas and Gole Market Assembly constituencies, respectively on the last day for the filing of nomination papers today.
The Returning Officers in the Capital had a busy day today as the two main political parties released their lists of candidates just a few hours before the deadline for filing of nomination papers.
While the Congress released its list of candidates in the wee hours, the BJP too announced the names of its candidates for 17 Assembly segments last night.
Many Congress candidates were informed of the party tickets this morning when they queued up outside the residence of the DPCC president to collect the party symbol.
Accompanied by slogan-shouting supporters, beating of drums and nagadas, the candidates reached the electoral offices in a procession of tempos and cars.
Ms Sushma Swaraj reached the office of the Returning Officer accompanied by slogan-shouting supporters and senior BJP leaders, including the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mr Madan Lal Khurana, party General Secretaries Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu and Mr K.L. Sharma and the Delhi Akali Dal leader, Mr Avtar Singh Hit.
However, Ms Swarajs predecessor Mr Sahib Singh Verma was conspicuous by his absence.
The Delhi unit of the Congress has not been able to secure a date from the party President Ms Sonia Gandhi to launch the campaign in the Capital. Ms Dikshit would start the partys electoral battle soon.
The Congress has denied tickets to those candidates who had a criminal background. The sitting MLA from Sultanpur Majra, Mr Jai Kishen, one of the accused in the 1984 riots case and said to be close to former MP Sajjan Kumar, has been denied a ticket. The party has, however, given a ticket to his wife Ms Sushila Devi.
The Congress stood firm by not granting ticket to Deepak Bhagat, son of former Union Minister Mr HKL Bhagat. Mr HKL Bhagat, who is a member of the campaign committee, had reportedly expressed his keenness for having his son fielded for the forthcoming Assembly election.
The names of the 10 women, six Muslims and seven Sikhs figured in the list of candidates released by the Congress.
Amidst high drama and late night confabulations, the Congress finally cleared its list for the Delhi Assembly polls early this morning where it dropped two of the sitting MLAs and focussed on fresh faces.
The Congress leadership eventually cleared the name of DPCC chief, Sheila Dikshit, who will now contest the poll from Gole Market. Her name was earlier considered for the Babarpur constituency.
The two MLAs dropped are Matin Ahmed, who won from the Seelampur segment on a Janata Dal ticket and later joined the Congress, and Mr Jai Kishen, whose wife Sushila Devi has replaced him in the Sultanpur Majra constituency. Mr Salahuddin Pehalawan, a new face, replaces Matin Ahmed in the Seelampur segment.
Mr Matin Ahmed has rebelled after being denied the party ticket and has filed his nomination as an independent candidate.
The Congress this time has included 10 women candidates. These are Sheila Dikshit from Gole Market, Anjali Rai from Paharganj, Sarla Kaushik from Shalimar Bagh,Sushila Devi from Sultanpur Majra, Meera Bharadwaj from Mandawali, Tajdar Babbar from Minto Road, Kiran Chowdhary from Delhi Cantt, Krishna Teerath from Baljit Nagar, Darshana Ram Kumar from Ramnagar and Anjana Kanwar from Hauz Khas.
Meanwhile, the Samata Party decided to field 11 candidates for the Delhi Assembly poll after the BJP decided not to go ahead with the promised seat adjustment.
Releasing the names of its candidates, the Samata Party spokesperson, Mr Digvijay Singh told newspersons here today that the BJP had suddenly decided not to share any seats with his party in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The party has decided to field candidates from Trinagar, Badli, Nangloi Jat, Vishnu Garden, Hastsal, Nasirpur, Badarpur, Mandawali, Karawal Nagar, Bhalswa, Jahangirpuri and Kamla Nagar.
Mr Singh said if his party had any inkling of the BJPs sudden decision, it would have contested for more seats and considered other alliance partners. Mr Singh said that the BJP had not spelt out any reasons for changing its mind and he was not interested in knowing why it had done so. "It is a lesson for us. We feel cheated," he said.
The Delhi Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Balwinder Singh Talwandi has decided to support the Congress in those Assembly segments where the Congress does not have strong candidates.
Mr Talwandi told TNS here today that the Congress is yet to commit its support to his party. He said the negotiations on an alliance with the Congress failed as the latter wanted them to contest on their election symbol.
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Delhi state, Mr Jaswinder Singh Virk, confirmed an alliance with the Janata Dal in Delhi.
Mr Virk said his party had decided to contest only for the Vishnu Garden Assembly seat, leaving Tilak Nagar, Moti Nagar and Hari Nagar to their alliance partner. "We will support the JD in all these segments," he said.
Mr Satish Yadav, President
of the Delhi Pradesh Janata Dal, told TNS that his party
plans to contest for 50 Assembly seats in Delhi. Mr Yadav
said his party would support the SAD (Amritsar) headed by
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.
Revolt by dropped MLAs worries
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 The banner of revolt raised by some of the dropped BJP MLAs has senior city leaders worried since they had expected a "difference of opinion" but not rebellion.
The filing of nomination papers by some of the dropped MLAs as independent candidates who have not been renominated has taken the Delhi unit of the BJP by surprise.
When the deliberations for the distribution of tickets was on, "some problem" had been anticipated from those who would be dropped but defiance of the party high command was unexpected.
A senior party leader, voicing his concern, said they were not prepared for this non-cooperation by some of the legislators. "The legislators should not be concerned about staying in power instead they should work for the interest of the party," he said.
The party leaders feel that the sitting MLAs may try to sabotage the interests of the candidate chosen by the party. Also, a sitting MLA is better known in an area than a newcomer so if a MLA files nomination papers against the party candidate, the candidate may lose votes.
The ruling party got its first jolt when Mr Jagdish Lal Batra, sitting MLA who has been replaced by Mr Sushil Chaudhury as the party candidate from Kasturba Nagar constituency, filed his nomination papers as an independent.
Similarly, Mr Ram Pal Kirana, sitting MLA from Karawal Nagar, protested against the party decision to deny renomination by filing his papers as an independent.
The MLA from the reserved
constituency of Madipur, Mr Swaroop Chand Rajan, had also
openly blamed a Rashtriya Swayam Sewak representative in
the election committee for his name not being included in
the final list.
Shekhawat to contest from Bali
JAIPUR, Nov 6 (PTI) Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat will again contest the Assembly elections from Bali constituency in the state, according to the third list of candidates released by the BJP here today.
The state General Secretary and member of the election committee of the BJP, Mr Om Prakash Mathur, said Mr Shekhawat had been renominated from Bali.
Mr Shekhawat had filed his nomination papers from the Johari Bazar Assembly constituency here yesterday to fulfil the technical formality of taking oath before the returning officer so that he may not be required to go personally to Bali for filing his papers.
The BJP has renominated the Minister of State for Industry, Mr Kali Charan Saraf, from the Johari Bazar Assembly constituency.
The BJP decided to leave the Degana assembly seat for the Congress rebel Richhpal Mirdha who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections on the lotus symbol.
While the Minister for
Local Self, Mr Bhanwar Lal Sharma has been renominated
from Hawamahal and Dr Ram Rai from Jamwa Ramgarh, Mr
Lekhraj Ahri has been selected for Tara Nagar and Mr
Bhagirath Nirman for Khetari.
Samata to go it alone in four states
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) The Samata Party today announced its decision to go it alone in the Assembly elections in four states having felt "let down and cheated" by its BJP ally and supported the Trinamool Congress demand for convening a meeting of Chief Ministers to discuss the price situation.
Party spokesman Digvijay Singh said about six months ago that there was an understanding that the two parties would have seat sharing arrangements for the Assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and that there would be a joint election campaign.
"It is only yesterday that the BJP finally made it clear that for a variety of reasons it would not share any seats with the Samata Party. This is a let down we have not anticipated," he said and felt that the BJP had "cheated" his party.
He said the least that was expected from the BJP was that they reciprocate the trust and fair play that the Samata Party had shown in its relations with them.
He said in the absence of such an understanding, the party would field 11 candidates in Delhi, 50 in Rajasthan, 55 in Madhya Pradesh and 11 in Mizoram and contest the elections on its own manifesto.
He said though the partys primary objective in the elections would be to defeat the Congress "which we believe is the party of national disgrace", it would also raise the issue of price rise and accept the failure of the Vajpayee government in checking inflation.
However, to a question
whether the Samata Party would withdraw support from the
BJP-led coalition at the Centre, he said, "We never
talk on such lines. We are with the BJP and very much in
the government. Moreover, this election pertains to four
Trinamool to contest against BJP
CALCUTTA, Nov 6 (PTI) The Trinamool Congress today stuck to its decision of fielding candidates against its ally the BJP in Rajasthan for the ensuing assembly poll but decided not to contest elections in Delhi.
Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee, who yesterday announced her party would contest two seats each in Rajasthan and Delhi, told newsmen that it could not put up candidates in Delhi due to financial constraints.
But her party would extend total support if any "good" independent candidate sought Trinamools support in Delhi, she said. Trinamool Congress would contest the two seats in Rajasthan on its own.
Asked if the Trinamool Congress was fielding candidates against BJP, she quipped "other parties are also there".
Ms Banerjee, who recently quit the coordination committee of the BJP and its allies in protest against spiralling prices of essential commodities, said she had asked for one seat each in Rajasthan and Delhi from the BJP which the latter refused to concede.
Asked if she was contemplating withdrawing her resignation from the committee, the Trinamool Congress leader said she did not go back on her stand.
Drug brings hope to AIDS victims
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) In a major breakthrough in AIDS treatment, scientists announced a new combination of drugs that clears out the AIDS virus completely from the blood stream and holds the promise of a potential cure for the disease.
The new drug combination announced by international AIDS expert Anthony Fauci from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the USA removes the virus from specific cells of the immune system called CD-4 cells where the virus hides and rests, ready to multiply anytime.
Fauci, an international expert on AIDS, told the Global Congress on Immunology here that adding interleukins, a class of proteins secreted by immune cells, to the existing three-drug combination to treat AIDS patients, totally eliminates the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from CD-4 cells that circulate in the blood.
The triple drug treatment in use so far, which includes anti-retroviral drugs AZT (azidothymidine) and an enzyme protease inhibitor, only eliminates the virus from blood cells.
But it does not eliminate the virus from CD-4 cells, in which the virus lurks around. This is the reason why the treatment does not cure AIDS completely.
Such resting cells containing the latent virus form within a few weeks of infection and have proved to be a major stumbling block in the treatment.
Fauci said this was the first time scientists had shown that triple drug treatment, (known in medical parlance as Haart) and with interleukins eliminates HIV from CD-4 cells.
They are now studying whether this new combination clears out the virus from lymph tissues and other potential reservoirs of the resting virus. The findings will be published once the lymph tissue studies are completed, Fauci told reporters.
If this happens, then researchers have on hands a potential cure for AIDS.
Faucis team studied 14 patients put on a combination of haart and interleukins given intermittently, five times a week and for at least eight weeks.
The team selected six patients and painstakingly studied 10 million cells taken from each. There were no detectable levels of virus in these patients.
The team again studied 300 million cells taken from each of the six patients and found no virus in three cases.
"For the first time, virus has been cleared from infected resting cells," Fauci reported.
"The good news is that we cant find the virus. The sobering news is that we have not looked everywhere," Fauci quipped, cautioning that more organs need to be examined before scientists can be sure that the virus has been eliminated from the entire body.
Fauci said the exact mechanism of clearance of the virus from CD-4 cells has not been fully understood yet.
But scientists believe the new combination either enhances the bodys immunity to HIV, and/or flushes out the virus from the cells.
He said the pool of latent cells with the resting virus is formed very soon after infection and lasts for very many years.
One approach to attack this reservoir of HIV is to boost the weakened immune system. The other is to diminish this pool of cells, which has been achieved by the combination of haart and interleukins.
Fauci, however, conceded addition of interleukins to current AIDS treatment would make it costlier.
He did not foresee the possibility of anti-AIDS drugs becoming affordable to developing countries, which account for 90 per cent of the global AIDS cases, in the near future.
The triple drug combination, announced in Montreal in 1996, is the preferred choice of treatment for medical experts and the sheet anchor for AIDS treatment till now.
However, patients did not get complete remission from the disease. Though HIV multiplication was suppressed and it was removed from the blood cells, the virus continued to linger in the CD-4 cells in many cases.
For these people the new four-drug regimen announced today offers hope of a better cure for AIDS.
Faucis latest findings came as a bombshell on the concluding day of the 10th International Congress of Immunology, stirring intense excitement in the audience.
Turbulence over Wular
WHAT is the Tulbul navigation project issue which has yet again eluded a solution? The dialogue between India and Pakistan on it in New Delhi failed to yield positive results on Thursday.
A basic agreement between the two neighbours on the Wular barrage issue (as Pakistan calls it ) or the Tulbul navigation project (as India calls it) had been arrived at several years ago. The essential dispute centred round the construction of a barrage on the Jhelum downstream from the Wular Lake. India wanted to construct the barrage to regulate the flow of water in the Jhelum in the lean season. It is important to look back on the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. This agreement was signed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ayub Khan.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nehru had said:"This is certainly a memorable occasion because of the fact that a very difficult and complex problem, which had troubled both India and Pakistan for many years, has been satisfactorily solved."
He added that the treaty was an outstanding example of cooperative endeavour between not only the two countries principally concerned, but also by other countries and the World Bank. India's Prime Minister fondly hoped that the Treaty would bring prosperity to a large number of farmers and others in both countries. "All of us, despite many scientific improvements, still depend on the rivers and the good earth, because the combination of this knowledge brings prosperity for the good of the countries concerned."
Under these circumstances, Nehru said, the two countries were trying to utilise to their mutual advantage the waters of the vast rivers "which at present were going waste into the sea. It was a symbol of unity and cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.
President Ayub Khan had this to say: " The problem is one of great magnitude and on it depends the livelihood of millions of people. But it has now been solved after very difficult negotiations which had gone on for a decade."
However, fresh differences cropped up and talks on the project were resumed after a gap of six years.
Between October, 1987, and August, 1992, experts from the two countries met eight times to settle the issue. The matter was taken up during the Foreign Secretary-level talks between 1990 and 1994 also. The year 1992 saw a draft agreement.
On the first day of the current talks, India sought to impress upon Pakistan the need to adhere to the last agreement. Alas! The ninth round proved utterly futile.
India favours the setting up of a barrage at the base of the Wular Lake near Ningli on the Jhelum for navigation purposes. This is a point on which Pakistan had already agreed. Delhi had to forego three lakh acre feet of general storage water. The water level in the barrage was to be allowed to attain the full operational level of 5,177.90 feet. The timings of the filling of the lake were to be decided by the two Indus Water Commissioners.
The crucial period was between June 21 and August 20. All differences were to be settled under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty. However, Pakistan threw a spanner in the works by demanding that, in addition to the agreed provisions, India should give an undertaking that it would not construct the planned 390 MW Kishenganga hydroelectric plant as "it would affect our proposed Neelam-Jhelum power project".
The 1991 joint draft was reproduced verbatim the other day. The issue can be settled with a firm political will in the light of the sentiments expressed by Nehru and Ayub Khan. India wants to sustain navigation throughout the year between the Wular Lake and the Sopore section of the western Jhelum in its course through Kashmir.
The work on the Tulbul project, initiated in 1984, was stopped in 1987 following baseless objections raised by Pakistan under the misinterpreted provisions of the Indus Treaty. Pakistan will not lose any power potential if the agreement is put into effect honestly.
The Wular is the largest fresh-water lake in India. It is 14 km long and 9 km wide. The Jhelum enters it from the south-eastern side and leaves it near Sopore; on the western side is the typical delta town formed by siltation. Small streams like the Harbuji, Arrah, Erin, Pohru and Bandipur flow into this lake. The Jhelum becomes shallow and sand banks appear in the river-bed obstructing navigation. It is only in spring that rainfall causes the snow to melt at higher elevations on the surrounding mountains and causes floods. The Jhelum has, therefore, been described as both a blessing and a curse.
Beyond Bahramgul at Baramula, where the river is hardly 100 yards wide and 10 feet deep flowing between the almost perpendicular mountains, the Jhelum enters a narrow gorge through which it flows over a distance of 128 km till it reaches Muzaffarabad to join the Kishenganga, which drains the northern rim of the Kashmir basin in Telel, Gurez and Sharda. At Uri the river changes its course and follows the direction of the mountain ranges towards Muzaffarabad (2,400 feet) with a fall of 33 feet a mile.
The name Wular given to the lake is believed to be a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word "Ullola" meaning "turbulent". The assignment of this name to the lake seems to have been prompted by the storms which play upon its surface and result in the loss of life and property. The boatmen, who navigate in the lake, cross it in the early hours of the morning when the weather is calm and the risk of getting involved in the tempest is minimum.
One remembers the shrine
of Baba Shakur-ud-Din situated on a small hillock
standing on the lake's western shore. May the saint's
blessings bring good sense to those who try to disrupt
the process of amity between India and Pakistan.
Stores at petrol stations a boon?
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) Cashing in on the new age mantra that the only thing in short supply is time and convenience, shopping under one roof has become a popular concept with even fuel stations joining the bandwagon to extract that extra moolah from the consumer.
You dont have to burn extra fuel to drive down to a departmental store for shopping. You can do the same while filling your vehicles as adjacent convenience stores are becoming a familiar feature in the liberalised economic era says Mr Mohan Nair, a regular customer of a conveneo (the stores owned by the IOC).
Initiated by oil giant Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in 1995, the concept of convenience stores housing all utilitarian items is gradually gaining currency with other companies like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
Several oil companies are now opening such retail outlets or offering franchise to private petrol station owners providing lucrative incentives as this induces the private owners to open up stores to attract more customers.
With modern lifestyle catching up in metropolitan cities, more and more people are turning to convenience stores for last-minute shopping, says an IOC official.
These stores stock a wide variety of products ranging from snacks, dairy food, toiletries, grocery, audio cassettes and many more household products.
Bouyed by the response to these outlets, IOC, has improvised upon the concept and recently launched its jubilee retail outlet at Ongole in Andhra Pradesh.
These outlets are much more than just mere household stores as they offer a lot more to the consumer and include restaurants, beauty parlours, telephone booths and also motels.
These shops address the basic needs of a very large and growing number of young working people, who find the on-site convenience stores very useful. While filling up petrol they also do their purchases and finally save a lot of time says Mr Vikram Mehta, country Chairman of Shell in India.
And, though initially launched only in the Capital, conveneos have now moved on to other cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
For the working women these shops are very useful, says Ms Aditi Kapoor, an advertising personnel. Very often while driving down from the office I do my household purchases from these stores.
Irate mob loots vegetable market
GAYA, Nov 6 (PTI) Angry shoppers, peeved at sky-rocketing prices, today looted an entire vegetable market in Gaya town, the police said.
Hundreds of agitated buyers who had thronged the sprawling Buniyadganj vegetable market accused the vendors of selling commodities at prohibitive prices, manhandled them and looted the entire market.
By the time the police arrived on the scene the angry mob had emptied all stalls.
The buyers alleged that the vendors had purchased vegetables from local farmers at very low rates and sold them at exorbitant prices to make huge profits.
The local farmers have decided not to sell their produce to Buniyadganj market vendors following the incident.
RJD for greater Jharkhand
RANCHI, Nov 6 (UNI) The ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will oppose the creation of a Jharkhand state comprising 18 districts of south Bihar, State Energy Minister Ramai Ram said here today.
Talking to UNI here, Mr Ram said the RJD was not against Jharkhand, but did not favour a state comprising only 18 districts of Bihar.
The party held a Jharkhand state of 18 districts would not serve the purpose for which it was being demanded by the tribesmen of this region.
The RJD favoured a greater Jharkhand of 26 districts, including three districts each of West Bengal and Orissa and two of Madhya Pradesh, he said.
against secular nature
KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has upheld the decision of the Kerala Sahitiya Akademi to perform Aksharapooja or Ezhuthiniruthal (initiation of children into the world of letters), holding that it was not against the secular nature of the Constitution. Dismissing a petition by Mr J. William John of Thrissur, who submitted that the akademi, which was constituted for the purpose of encouraging and developing Malayalam literature, was not empowered to organise a ceremony which was purely religious, Mr Justice C.S. Rajan observed that now a tendency was being shown in every walk of life in the state to colour any event or incident as religious which was definitely not a healthy trend. PTI
Heavy rain hits life
Houses torched in
Tiger control room
4 killed after
fall from 23rd floor
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |