|Friday, January 21, 2000,
Cong for early SC promotion Bill
JD (U) demands same number of
seats as Samata
CWC backs J&K policy
Constitutions Hindi copy
Congress forges front for Manipur
Court directive on Ajay Ghosh
BSF upgrading communication
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 While upgrading its communication facilities, the Border Security Force (BSF) has embarked on a project to establish its own data-link network to ensure fast and secure communication between headquarters and lower formations and establishments.
Sources said the project was decided upon at a meeting of BSFs top brass chaired by its Director-General, Mr E.N. Rammohan, last month and approval for the same has been granted.
Under the project, BSF Headquarters (HQs) in New Delhi will be linked with nine frontier areas, all sector HQs and some specific battalions deployed in operationally sensitive areas or counter-insurgency operations (CI). The project is expected to be completed in about a years time.
In addition to deployment in the Kashmir valley on CI operations, the BSF is responsible for manning the Indo-Pakistan, Indo-Bangladesh border and the Indo-Burmese international borders.
Further, the requisite number of INMARSAT terminals for satellite based communications have been sanctioned for BSFs Water Wing based at Bhuj as well as some operationally sensitive battalions deployed in the strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir.
At present, apart from conventional DOT telephone lines, the BSF has a radio communication network consisting of very high frequency (VHF), ultra high frequency (UHF) and high frequency (HF) sets in addition to BEST and SMART systems for high speed and secure communication. The backbone of data transmission in the force is electronic teleprinters with auto mode message switching facility.
Meanwhile, electronic telephone exchanges have been authorised at the battalion level and an extensive network of land-lines for permanent use have been laid along the international borders.
Sources add that a limited number of Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) for satellite communication have also been sanctioned for battalions deployed in operationally sensitive areas.
This number, sources said, will be increased to 62 terminals once the much-hyped POLNET becomes functional. POLNET (Police Net) envisions computerising the operations and data bases of all police stations, law enforcement agencies and security forces in the country and interlinking them through dedicated data link lines.
A Micro Processor
Controlled Morse Oscillator (MPCMO) for use in radio
communication and a Speech Secrecy Devise (SSD) which can
be attached to a telephone to neutralise the fallout of
interception or tapping of phone lines, are also being
China endorses Musharraf rule
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 The warm welcome Pakistans Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf got during his visit to Beijing, his first trip to a non-Islamic country after seizing power through the October 12, 1999 coup, has sent warning signals to New Delhi.
General Musharraf got an endorsement to his regime from Pakistans neighbour and long-standing ally on the eve of visit to Islamabad by the US Assistant Secretary of State, Mr Carl Inderfurth, the highest-ranking US official to visit Pakistan after the coup, who arrived in Pakistan today.
In sharp contrast to the UK, which led a campaign to condemn the coup which resulted in Pakistans suspension from the Commonwealth and the US concern about military rule in Islamabad, the Beijing leadership did not raise an eyebrow over Pakistans reversion to the military rule.
The Chinese foreign office spokesman Zhu Bangzao in fact went on record saying "the internal affairs of Pakistan are its internal issues and China will never interfere. We respect the choice of the people of Pakistan". Zhu added that the bilateral ties between the two countries had became "stronger" during the visit.
Before embarking on the trip, the establishment in Pakistan had exuded confidence which seems to have been not misplaced. "China is Pakistans most trusted and close friend", Foreign Ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf had said adding "our time tested ties have gained strength and substance over the years. Pakistan-China relations remain a corner stone of Pakistans foreign policy".
In Beijing General Musharraf added to this sentiment by pointing out that his visit was the "first visit of the millennium" by any foreign dignitary to China and said he was "touched by this feeling of warmth".
"Friends no matter what", was the headline in Beijings official "China Daily" on the day of General Musharrafs visit. It reported that China and Pakistan had vowed to strengthen their "strategic partnership".
The official Chinese radio said that Chinese President Jiang Zhemin told General Musharraf that Beijing wanted to develop further the " strong relationship".
"China would like to see a more stable and prosperous Pakistan in the future," Beijing radio quoted President Jiang and added " in the new century China would continue to concentrate and develop relations with the people of Pakistan and the government. Our relations have withstood the test of time".
The Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, was quoted as having told the Pakistani General that Chinas support to Pakistan would continue regardless of developments on the international scene or inside Pakistan.
The Chinese premier, according to Beijing Radio, said Pakistan and China "had always adhered to the five principles of peaceful co-existence".
Significantly, according to a PTI report from Beijing today, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao told media that Beijing hoped that India would abide by Panchsheel while dealing with the Karmapa issue.
"We hope India will abide by the five principles of peaceful co-existence", spokesman Zhu was quoted as saying.
Cong for early SC promotion
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 The Congress today urged the Centre to bring forward the proposed Constitutional amendment Bill providing for speedy promotion to Scheduled Castes/Tribes employees in the next session of the Lok Sabha and promised a new Reservation Act as and when it came to power.
Addressing the first convention of the partys newly-created National Advisory Council on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes here today, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: "We want that the government brings about necessary legislation during the next session of the Lok Sabha which we will support," she said, adding that the party would not stop at it but would enact a new legislation, as promised in the manifesto, as and when it got an opportunity.
She also referred to the controversial circulars of the Department of Personnel and Training, which sought to execute a Supreme Court order barring promotions based on reservation. These, she said, had led to denial of reservation in the matter of promotions to the SCs/STs.
Turning to states where her party was in power, she said at those places attention must be paid towards education especially to children from the weaker sections.
The Congress President also said successive Congress governments at the Centre had worked for the uplift of these sections. Jawaharlal Nehru sought to bring this section into the national mainstream through reservation. Indira Gandhi followed it up with tribal sub-plan while Rajiv Gandhi had introduced reservation for these sections in panchayati raj, she said.
She reminded the assembly that Rajiv Gandhi had also made special laws to check atrocities on the weaker sections and trebles.
She also made a special
mention of the contribution of Jagjivan Ram in drafting
policies and programmes and enacting law, prohibiting the
practice of untouchability. The convention was also
addressed by Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, Mr P. Shivshankar,
Mr Buta Singh and Mr Ajit Jogi.
film shares Golden Peacock
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 Curtain dropped down on the 10-day cine jamboree, IFFI 2000 this evening with Indian film Karunam sharing the top award, the Golden Peacock and Rs 5 lakh, with the Japanese Railroad Man in the Asian Competition. The Silver Peacock with a cash of Rs 2.5 lakh for the best director was bagged by Nonzee Nimibutr of the Thai film Nang Nak. The specia Jury Award, Silver Peacock with Rs 2.5lakh for the best contribution was given to Huo Jianqi, director of the Chinese entry Postmen in the Mountains. The Israeli entry Kadosh (Sacred) won a special mention.
Announcing these awards Mr Mrinal Sen, Chairman of the Jury, said that there was an underlying similarity in the Asian cinema as a whole; it portrayed the rural scene with great sincerity and truthful simplicity. About the possible differences among the jury members to arrive at the final decision, the eminent Bengali director said that these were negligible. Besides Mr Sen, there were four other members of the Jury, viz. Abbas Kiarostami, a film maker from Iran, Jean Claude Carrire, a French writer and film maker, Joao Batista de Andrade, the Brazilian film maker and Joan Dupont, film writer.
The Sri Lankan film director Mr Lester James Peries, was given the Life Time Achievement Award. Mr Peries has devoted more than 50 years of his life to the art of cinema. He was the first to receive the Golden Peacock for the best film in 1964 when the Indian Film Festival was competitive.
The Golden Peacock winner Indian film Karunam (Malayalam), directed by young Jayaraj is a simple tale of an old couple who have their sons in the USA and are driven to the home for the aged; their utter loneliness drive them to the brink of death. The second film to get the top award Railroad Man portrays the affection between a dead daughter and living father.
The awards ceremony was
followed by the closing film The Clouds by
the well-known director from Argentina, Ferdinando E.
Solanas. The director, along with the cast of the film,
was introduced to the audience.
JD (U) demands same number of seats as Samata
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (PTI) Seat-sharing negotiations between the BJP and its NDA partners for the Bihar Assembly polls got bogged down today following the insistence of the Janata Dal (U) that it be given the same number of seats as the Samata Party.
Leaders of the three parties discussed a broad formula based on their performance in 1999 Lok Sabha elections in the state under which the BJP gets 174 assembly seats, Samata 96, JD (U) 42 and BPP 12, sources in the three parties said.
They said while the BJP and Samata Party were more or less satisfied with the formula, the JD (U) appeared unhappy and demanded "equitable distribution of tickets" at par with Samata.
Voicing JD (U) reservations about the formula, party spokesman M Raghupathy told reporters here that "we want to make it clear that our strength is second to none in Bihar....If anybody thinks they can undermine the strength of JD (U) they are mistaken."
However, after three rounds of talks among the three parties including one with Home Minister L.K.Advani, Raghupathy said "talks are going in the right direction among NDA partners".
As the bargaining between allies failed to produce a result for the third day running, the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the BJP also did not succeed in finalising its list of candidates for the first of the three phased poll in Bihar beginning on February 22.
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 The government decision to disband the existing Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and have in its place two separate bodiesa regulatory body and a dispute settlement tribunalis directed towards strengthening the telecom regulatory institution.
The Union Cabinet last night decided to repeal the existing TRAI Act, 1997, and replace it with an ordinance called the Telecom Regulatory Amendment Ordinance, 2000.
The Ordinance provides for the formation of a telecom dispute settlement appellate tribunal as a quasi-judicial authority for the telecom sector, thereby withdrawing the judicial powers vested with the existing TRAI.
The new TRAI will now have the power to fix the tariff for the various telecom services, set regulations for activities like revenue sharing between the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and private operators, and decide on interconnectivity charges.
Disputes, if any, will be referred to the telecom dispute settlement appellate tribunal, which will be headed either by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a high court. The tribunal will also have two members drawn from the technical and financial services.
The regulatory authority, which presently has a provision for one chairperson and six members, has been truncated and it will now have a chairperson, two permanent and two part-time members.
Though the government move is being seen in some quarters as an attempt to weaken TRAI, experts in the telecom sector said TRAI will now become more functional, proactive and efficient and will revolutionalise the telecom sector in India and in its wake catalyse growth impulses across the sector.
The Chairman of TRAI, Justice S.S. Sodhi, whose services will stand terminated once the TRAI Act, 1997, is repealed, also welcomed the government move.
He explained that the existing TRAI had become a kind of "toothless" institution as a majority of its decisions, especially those concerning the Department of Telecommunication and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited were challenged in a high court. On several occasions the government departments had their way as the courts upheld their petitions.
Under the new dispensation, all disputes will have to be referred to the telecom dispute settlement appellate tribunal and its decisions can only be challenged in the Supreme Court. In other words the proposed tribunal will have power equivalent to the high court.
Justice Sodhi said the repeal of the TRAI Act, 1997, would mean that his term as well as the appointment of other members stand terminated. But this does not rule out their appointment in the reconstituted TRAI.
He did not agree with the contention that the powers of TRAI stood clipped saying it would in fact become more effective.
Justice Sodhi, who has served as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and then as Lokpal of Punjab till December 1996, did not find anything unusual in the governments clarification that while it would be mandatory for it to seek advice from TRAI in its new form, TRAIs recommendations would not be binding.
The TRAI Chairman said the regulatory authority functioned in a very transparent and open manner and all its decisions were based on extensive discussions with all involved parties. If after all this process the government takes a different view then it has to be in the interest of the nation.
He said the new regulatory institution would promote investors confidence and encourage a competitive regime, which is in the consumers best interest.
The industry too welcomed the government move saying the creation of an independent dispute settlement and appellate tribunal would expedite the resolution of contentious issues.
The industry has been
demanding, for a long time, that the functions of TRAI as
a recommendatory and adjudicatory body should be
separated. It is also felt that the provision in the
Ordinance that the orders of the tribunal can be
challenged only in the Supreme Court would provide a
greater degree of finality to the decisions of the
CWC backs J&K policy
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 The Congress today held back its punches against the Government on measures initiated to tackle the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress Working Committee, (CWC), which has been meeting to clear party candidates for the Assembly elections, discussed the situation last night.
While expressing concern over the situation, the party charged that the government had not learnt any lesson from Kargil intrusion and subsequent incidents and in the same breath it extended support to the efforts of the government to handle the situation.
"Kashmir situation cannot be handled in piecemeal manner, CWC member K. Natwar Singh said today.
Briefing mediapersons, he said, that what was required was the need to raise national consciousness and make the country aware of the situation.
The Congress, he said, as a major political party supported the efforts of the government to deal with the situation but suggested that these steps had to be concretised.
To a question, whether the party would prefer to an all-party meet on the issue, he said that if the Prime Minister felt he should consult political parties. Mr Natwar Singh also said that the Congress also welcomed the setting up of the Indo-US joint working group on terrorism. The party also suggested that the government should put more pressure on the UN and the USA to bring to book the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane, IC 814,
Replying to another
question, on the functioning of the J and K Chief
Minister, the Congress leader said that it was certainly
not happy with the manner in which the state government
was tackling the situation but preferred not to comment
on the Chief Minister.
Constitutions Hindi copy soon
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (UNI) A special commemorative stamp, a calligraphed Hindi copy of the Constitution of India and a special commemorative medallion will be released at the Central Hall of Parliament on January 27 as part of the countrys golden jubilee Republic celebrations.
The stamp would be released by President K.R.Narayanan, the calligraphed copy by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the medallion by Speaker G.M.C.Balayogi, it was approved at an all-party meeting here today.
The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Krishan Kant, and attended, among others, by Mr Balayogi, Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha P.M.Sayeed, Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha Najma Heptullah, leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
At the January 27 event, President K.R.Narayanan will address all MPs.
The function will begin with Speaker Balayogis speech. It will be followed by recorded speeches of first President Rajendra Prasad, first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, author of the Constitution B.R.Ambedkar and "iron man" Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel each for a duration of 10 minutes.
Later the Vice-President will address the gathering.
The hour-long function will conclude with the Presidents speech.
Todays meeting was
attended by Dr Manmohan Singh (Congress), Mr S.R.Bommai
(JD-S), Mr Ram Vilas Paswan (JD-U), Mr Mulayam Singh
(SP), Mr Yerran Naidu (TDP), Mr Raghuvans Prasad Singh
(RJD), Mr Rup Chand Pal and Mr Hannan Mollah (both CPM),
Mr Anantrao Gite and Mr Satish Pradhan (both Shiv Sena),
besides a representative of the National Conference.
A domineering mother
PARENTS imposing their will and views on their children is a common phenomenon. They think it is their prerogative. And these stories have been often captured on celluloid. There was "Mommy Dearest" about Hollywood actress and her clashes with her daughter. Wayne Wangs "Anywhere But Here" is another such film in which Adele August (Susan Sarandon) makes her daughter Anns (Natalie Portman) life a virtual nightmare as she tries to run her life.
The film opens with mother and daughter driving in a Mercedes to Beverly Hills where Adele is bent on making Ann an actress, much against her own wishes. From the outset, it is obvious that the mother and daughter do not exactly hit it off. But the mothers attitude is domineering. "I am your mother and I know whats best for you because that is my job," she tells Ann.
That Adele has already been through two marriages is only proof of her strong will and difficult nature and Ann, being the daughter by the first marriage knows this only too well. Adele hates her small town Bay City, Wisconsin, atmosphere. She is a big city girl and hence wants to make her daughter the same. But it is a long and bumpy journey they have to traverse before they get to a solution and this after a good deal of tantrums and explosive outbursts.
It is a love-hate relationship but as important is their need for each other. Adele feels she is an optimist based on her dads line "when life gets rough and you have a dime in your pocket, you go and get your shoes shined." It means often living beyond ones means which her daughter doesnt like. She also resents her mothers easy way with men.
Alvin Sargents screenplay is adept and covers much ground. It also gets well into the psyche of these two dissimilar personalities and director Wayne Wang (whose "Dim Sum" was quite popular about a decade ago) paces the film well. That he has Susan Sarandon in the lead role also helps and her recent role in "Stepmother" probably makes her feel quite at home in these parent-children roles and she is adequately supported by Natalie Portman who really gets under the skin of this more-sinned-against-than-sinning daughter and gives it all she has without making a glutton of the part.
But apart from the
mother-daughter clash, director Wang also does well to
capture human emotions at their worst like the fight
between Adele and her brother and that to after the
funeral of his son. It brings out the Thomas Hardian
philosophy of life being a pendulum betwixt a smile and a
tear and does so very strongly. Among the better
Hollywood films at IFFI 31.
Congress forges front for Manipur poll
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (UNI) The Congress today announced the formation of a secular democratic front in Manipur and released its first list of 27 candidates for the Assembly elections.
Party spokesperson Ajit Jogi said the Congress would contest 46 of the 60 seats in the state. There would be a one-to-one contest in 15 constituencies and in the rest, friendly contests with the front partners, he said.
The MPP, CPI, CPM, RSP and JD(S) are the other partners in the front, Mr Jogi said.
Court directive on Ajay Ghosh
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (PTI) The Supreme Court today directed the West Bengal Government to shift Ajay Ghosh, incarcerated 38 years ago on murder charges without trial being complete, from a mental hospital to an old-age home and sought views regarding procedure to release and compensate him.
A three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice A.S. Anand, Justice S. Rajendra Babu and Justice R.C. Lahoti, directed the shifting of Ghosh from Antara Gram Psychiatric Centre to an old-age home or to Missionaries of Charity after perusing the 10-page report of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Howrah.
During the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL), amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar had pointed out to the court about Ghoshs case and it had directed the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to nominate a CJM to probe into the long period of incarceration and file a report.
GPPL sign MoU
to be reviewed
20 Muslim women
Man drowns while
off barbers ear
wife to death
target, kills undertrial
3 killed in
4 die under
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