|N A T I O N|
|Chances of Clinton
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 The forward movement made in the four formal and one informal round of talks between the Prime Ministers special envoy, Mr Jaswant Singh, and US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr Strobe Talbott, notwithstanding, there is little likelihood of India playing host to President Bill Clinton this winter.
Canopy issue: Centre's indecision irks HC
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 The Delhi High Court today expressed serious displeasure over the failure of the Central Government to take a concrete decision on the shifting of the India Gate canopy, despite repeated directions in this regard.
warns Farooq of nationwide stir on Vaishnodevi
board fines hostel owner
members of Dawood gang arrested
more killed in UP floods
asked to file affidavit on PIL against Prasar
Chances of Clinton visit recede
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 The forward movement made in the four formal and one informal round of talks between Prime Ministers special envoy, Mr Jaswant Singh, and US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr Strobe Talbott, notwithstanding, there is little likelihood of India playing host to President Bill Clinton this winter.
Though the official stand taken by the Americans, as indicated by their National Security Adviser, Mr Sandy Berger, is that a formal decision on the trip will be taken "by the end of September", highly placed sources in the Government of India indicated that with the sanctions imposed against India by the USA under the Glenn Amendment in force, neither will it be prudent for India to receive the President nor will it be practical for the White House to plan the trip.
Besides, other factors also mitigate against the trip. One of them is the likelihood of impeachment proceedings being initiated against President Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky affair. A President facing impeachment proceedings of this nature cannot be sent on an important foreign trip by policy planners in Washington.
Another factor is the uncertainty in Pakistan. After the missile strikes in Afghanistan, for which Pakistani air space was used by the USA, there is considerable hostility towards Washington in that country which rules out the possibility of an American President's visit. To add to this is also the uncertainty over the future of Pakistans Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif, which also mitigates against a visit by the US President to that country. Normally, the US President would have visited India and Pakistan simultaneously.
The negative factors weighing against the Clinton visit apart, there has been some forward movement in the talks between Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Talbott. One thing which has emerged very clearly from these talks is that while the USA has been showing its concern on the nuclear non-proliferation regime, India has been steadfastly pointing out its security concerns, especially vis-a-vis the nuclear capability of China and the close cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing in the field of missiles and nuclear technology.
There are indications that as a result of the four round of talks, there is some realisation in Washington about Indias security concerns.
While the USA would like India to sign the CTBT, India would not like to be rushed into doing this. Due to its economic constraints, Pakistan is on the threshold of signing the CTBT. India has no such compulsions and thus Indias sovereign right to decide the timing of appending its signature to the CTBT is being assiduously guarded.
The CTBT has so far been signed by 41 countries and ratified by only eight. The USA itself is yet to ratify. India is among three countries which have not signed it so far.
The CTBT deadline is September, 1999. If and when India decides to sign, it would not be necessary for it to rush to ratifying it. Thus, a long haul is ahead.
Before deciding to sign the CTBT, the Indian government has to evolve a consensus at home. The winter session of Parliament may see a few rounds of all-party talks or at least confabulations between the ruling coalition and the principal Opposition party on the subject.
India is in no hurry to sign on the dotted line. The possibility of India signing the CTBT within this calendar year appears unlikely.
PTI reports from Washington: In an acknowledgement of Indias security concerns, a US government-owned Defence Institute has said Washington failed to stop technology and weapons of mass destruction-related traffic between China and Pakistan, an issue repeatedly conveyed to the Clinton Administration by New Delhi.
These were some of the strongest arguments India had advanced for its need to carry out nuclear explosions but the Clinton Administration did not accept them, the thinktank on Defence issues, the National Defence Universitys Institute for National Strategic Studies said in its "Strategic Assessment 1998".
Pachmarhi camp: greater focus needed
on unity within Cong
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 Having established her leadership at the Pachmarhi camp, the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, has to focus attention in bringing about greater unity and sense of purpose in the party.
The Congress chief herself is well aware of the differences and wranglings in the party. Her concern was reflected in the valedictory address where she stressed the need for absolute unity and discipline at all levels, including among top leaders.
To start with not many party leaders were hopeful of the brainstorming exercise getting underway. Used to, as they were of repeated promises by the past chiefs which were never kept for varying reasons, many continued to believe it will not be held at all.
According to a senior leader, there was a suggestion that Ms Gandhi postpone the camp in view of the forthcoming assembly elections in four states Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram. They felt a strong declaration might affect the partys poll prospects.
When that did not happen, many leaders who were initially kept out of the list of invitees started knocking at the 10, Janpath door to seek an invitation, as if their very political career was in peril.
There were some who were preventing their rivals from reaching Pachmarhi and a classic example came from the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
One of the decisions was to invite former state unit chiefs but a clash of leaders resulted in the name of Mr Virendra Kataria being deleted reportedly under pressure from another senior leader from the area.
Eventually, Mr Kataria made it to Pachmarhi after the Congress President intervened and okayed his invitation. Of course, the current Punjab Pradesh chief, Mr Amarinder Singh, too must be complimented for standing by his senior colleagues in the party and rallied behind Mr Kataria.
For some it was just marking their presence at the shivir and be seen around in the assembly of top leaders of the party - nothing more, nothing less.
The clamouring for official vehicles which were requisitioned from neighbouring towns and cities, at times reflected misplaced priorities.
There was an instance when a Haryana leader who reached at Itarsi enroute Pachmarhi along with Mr Bhajan Lal, insisted on being given an air-conditioned car just because the former Chief Minister was provided with one.
Another facet of infighting was the manner in which the Madhya Pradesh leaders performed. At a meeting with the Congress President several of them let loose a barrage of complaints against the Chief Minister, Mr Digvijay Singh, as she listened in silence.
One senior leader complained that he was not being consulted by the Chief Minister while making administrative changes or posting of even a town inspector and in such a situation his assistance might not be effective.
Canopy issue: Centre's indecision irks HC
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today expressed serious displeasure over the failure of the Central Government to take a concrete decision on the shifting of the India Gate canopy, despite repeated directions in this regard.
"In the interest of justice, we expect that the Central Government will take an early decision," a Division Bench comprising Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justice K.S. Gupta observed, noting their dissatisfaction over the delay in the matter.
standing counsel U. Hazarika submitted before the Bench
that the government had still not taken a final decision
on the matter.
After Mr Hazarika sought time to place the facts before the Bench, the matter was adjourned to October 8 for further directions.
Previously, also the Centre had sought several adjournments on the question of deciding the issue citing one difficulty or the other.
The court was hearing a
public interest petition filed by the Conservation
Society of Delhi (CSD) and the Indian National Trust for
Cultural Heritage (Intach) opposing the move of the
government to shift the historic India Gate canopy from
its present site and replace it with the statue of
VHP warns Farooq of nationwide
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (UNI) The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today demanded an end to political or government interference in the administration of all Hindu shrines in the country and asked the control to be given to 85 crore Hindus.
VHP working president Ashok Singhal, speaking to reporters here, came down heavily on the Jammu and Kashmir Government's move to constitute a new committee to manage the affairs of the Vaishnodevi shrine replacing the old Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board formed in 1986 by the then state Governor, Mr Jagmohan. The move smacked of a "conspiracy" to usurp Rs 100 crore that had been collected by the board as offerings and which was being used for improving facilities for Vaishnodevi pilgrims, Mr Singhal alleged.
He warned of a nationwide agitation if the proposed step was not taken back by the state government before the coming Navratras.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee to examine the amendments proposed to the Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Act. The sub-committee comprises state Ministers for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Industries and Commerce, Revenue, Rural Development, Finance and Animal Husbandry.
The management of the Vaishno Devi shrine was in the hands of about 2000 "baridars" (traditional caretakers) who used to "pocket" a major portion of the money that was offered at the shrine. There was practically no development of the shrine.
However, the role of the "baridars" was scrapped by the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act brought by Mr Jagmohan who constituted a board in 1986 the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
The board has the state Governor as chairman and in addition has 10 members. The government does not have any say in the matters of the board.
Mr Jagmohans action was upheld by the Supreme Court. The "baridars" were given a Rs 5 crore compensation with Rs 7.5 crore interest.
Mr Singhal claimed before the formation of the board in 1986 nearly 400,000 pilgrims visited the shrine annually. Now with improved facilities after the formation of the board, the number had gone up to 4,400,000 annually.
Mr Singhal said at present about Rs 100 crore was in the coffers of the shrine board which had become an "eyesore" for some people. The money, which was collected by way of offerings at the shrine, was being used for improving facilities for pilgrims and development of the surrounding eco-system. Even the foundation stone of a university had already been laid.
By the new proposed amendment, the role of "baridars" was sought to be revived and Rs 60 to 70 crore out of the Rs 100 crore would be disbursed among them. The "baridars" would be revived with effect from 1986.
He warned the state government against any such move and said Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah should "be careful" and take the matter seriously otherwise there would be a nationwide agitation. He called for the intervention of state Governor Girish Saxena and demanded that the Bill be taken back.
He said an initiative had
already been taken. He had spoken to the Governor this
morning and met Union Home Minister L.K. Advani. A
delegation would also be sent to have talks with the
Chief Minister on the issue.
Marriage goes online
BANGALORE, Sept 8 (PTI) The net age has finally arrived with a bang, even weddings have gone online.
And where can it happen but in this science and infotech capital with its cosmopolitan culture which is a beautiful amalgamation of tradition and modern.
The guests who trooped in for the wedding of Faiz (son of Canopy restaurants owner, Syed Basheer) and Taskeen, surely had a very interesting surprise in store, with a computer and digital camera, vying for attention amid glittering diamonds and shimmering silks.
But for this young, strappy lad, Kailash Gupta of Systems Solutions, a city based group, it was more of a challenging experiment to make the wedding a global experience, with relatives of the couple, scattered all over the world taking an active part in the two-day wedding, on their computers connected to www.bangalorenet.com (created by Systems Solutions).
On August 30, the first day of the wedding which took place in the make-shift hall in the citys sprawling RSI Grounds, 105 internet users had logged in.
It really was a feat accomplished, said 35-year-old Kim Tan, director, operations of the group since it was pouring with a leaking roof, the computer and, the camera got wet and wires disconnected.
The only problem, which could have been the VSNL connection, said Kim, which was luckily solved with phone line holding the load of 11 to 15 kilo byte graphic images being uploaded to the internet servers.
Explaining the operation,
Pradeep Kumar, who also works for the group, said,
it takes time to transfer the images from the
computer on location to the server that stores the
images, so it isnt really live. But since the
images are continuously updated, web-surfers get the
feeling of actual participation, he said.
Juvenile board fines hostel owner
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (PTI) In its first ever judgement, the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) has slapped a Rs 18,900 fine on a private girls hostel owner for withholding the salary of a 12-year-old child worker for nine months.
The Bench of magistrates, comprising the JWB Chairman, Mr B.S. Gahlaut and a member, Mr Rameshwar Goel, also imposed Rs 200 as fine on an NGO South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), holding it responsible for publicity of the matter when it was under inquiry.
The Bench, in its 17-page handwritten judgement yesterday, ordered owner of the hostel in South Delhi, Mr Mukesh Prabhakar to pay the fine within 15 days or undergo one years simple imprisonment in default.
Mr Gahlaut said, In my knowledge this is the first such trial ever since the board was constituted in 1962. This may be for the first time in the country too.
While restoring Santosh to his family members in Bihar, the court ordered that Rs 10,000 of the fine amount would be kept in fixed deposit and made available to Santosh after he reached the age of 16 and the rest would be spent for his welfare, education and rehabilitation.
A Defence Colony Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) had rescued Santosh on August 6 and handed him over to the SACCS general secretary, Mr R.S. Chaurasia, as an interim measure while reporting the case to the JWB for his rehabilitation.
The SDM had rescued the juvenile after a social worker Mr Ram Sharan filed a complaint alleging that Santosh was engaged as a bonded labour in the girls hostel and not allowed to come out of the house.
The court, however, said the charge of cruelty had not been proved beyond doubt, but the fact was that the child had not been paid money nor any provision was made for his welfare.
4 members of Dawood gang arrested
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 The Delhi police today claimed to have unearthed a plot to kill a Bombay-based businessman with the arrest of four alleged members of the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
The police said Afroze, Raunaq Abbas, Abid Qureshi and Mahawat Ali Khan were arrested from hotel De Romana in the Jama Masjid area yesterday.
The police received a tip-off that Afroze and Raunaq were making frequent telephone calls to Dubai, Pakistan, Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh from a PCO and they might be in possession of some illegal arms.
A police team kept watch on them and raided their rooms last evening. A loaded country-made pistol and four cartridges were recovered from their possession.
During interrogation the suspects disclosed that Afroze and Raunaq were waiting for the delivery of an English weapon and ammunition to kill a businessman in Bombay as he had refused to give extortion money to Dawood men, the police said.
They were to reach Bombay and to contact a person code named Papa over the telephone. Papa was to identify the target.
They also disclosed that Afroze and Raunaq were sent to Delhi by Abid Qureshi residing in Muzaffar- nagar who frequently visited Dubai.
They were to receive Rs 2 lakh and a visa from one Zargam Zaidi residing in Dubai who is allegedly a member of Dawood gang. Abid had given the telephone number of Zargam Zaidi to them.
42 more killed in UP floods
LUCKNOW, Sept 8 (PTI) At least 42 more people have been killed in house collapses triggered by heavy rain in Uttar Pradesh taking the toll to 1,280 as the flood situation improved further, official reports said today.
While 24 persons died in house collapses in Ambedkar Nagar, seven died in Sitapur and four in Balrampur since yesterday.
Two more districts Almora and Ambedkar Nagar were today declared flood-hit, taking the total number of districts affected to 55, reports said.
A Central Water Commission report said all major rivers, barring the Ghaghara at Turtipar, had receded below the danger mark.
The reports said that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would undertake an aerial survey of the flood-affected eastern districts on Thursday.
Govt asked to file affidavit on
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (PTI) - The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to file a counter affidavit on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the "constitutional validity" of the Prasar Bharati ordinance and clubbed it for hearing with the petition by ousted Prasar Bharati Corporation (PBC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) S.S. Gill on November 14.
The directive to file the counter affidavit was issued by a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice R.C. Lahoti and Mr Justicte C.K. Mahajan, which had earlier issued notices on Mr Gills plea to the Cabinet Secretariat, the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Law and Justice and the PBC, directing them to file replies.
Attorney-General Soli Sorabji obviously referring to Mr Gills plea opposed the PIL filed by Mr Virender Kataria, a former MP, and said, "Once a person, who is supposed to have suffered injury had moved a petition, there is no ground for seeking the same relief".
However, senior advocate Ashwani Kumar appearing for Mr Kataria said the PIL should not be seen as ground to seek relief for Mr Gill. "I hope the shadow of Gills petition would not loom on my plea," he said.
"My case is
different. I am not raising the ground of malice or mala
fide as had been raised in the other (Gills)
petition," he said, adding, "I have asked the
court to lay down clear guidelines for exercising the
power to issue ordinance under Article 123. My petition
goes beyond the issue raised by Gill," he said.
Stone hurled at Fernandes
MALDA, Sept 8 (PTI) Defence Minister George Fernandes today had a narrow escape when a stone thrown from a crowd missed him at the Hosne Shah railway stadium here.
The incident occurred at 2.10 pm when the minister was talking to local Trinamool leaders at the stadium after alighting from the helicopter. But apparently, neither he nor his security guards seemed to notice it.
A large crowd of curious
onlookers had gathered at the stadium along with local
Trinamool Congress leaders to meet the Defence Minister
and Mamata Banerjee to appraise them of their problems,
when a section shouted: "We are suffering. What is
the Centre doing about it?"
5 bank officials convicted
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (UNI)
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has
secured conviction of five bank officials in cases of
conspiracy and fraud.
M.L. Aggarwal, an officer of the State Bank of India (SBI) in Kanpur, was sentenced to RI for one year and fined Rs 4 lakh for cheating the SBI to the tune of Rs 43.43 lakh.
K.D. Meena, a
clerk-cum-cashier with an SBI branch at Bharatpur,
Rajasthan, was sentenced to RI for one year for
misappropriating Rs 56,554.
Om Prakash, a clerk with
the Canara Bank, Meerut, was sentenced to RI for one year
for fraudulently obtaining a cheque book and subsequently
withdrawing Rs 1.20 lakh by forging the signatures of
|Anti-malarial drug from
NEW DELHI: Researchers in Lucknow have developed a drug to cure cerebral malaria by exploiting a compound isolated from a Chinese herb. Scientists at the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) and the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) have jointly developed the drug, arteether that can cure about 98 per cent patients with no harmful side effects, says a recent CDRI report. It is effective against drug resistant varieties of Plasmodium Falciparam Parasites too. PTI
Bandh affects life in South Tripura
Kids fall ill
19 die in road
Criminal shot dead
AIDS orphans by 2010
EU film festival
in Delhi, Bangalore
MTV told to
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