|Monday, July 17, 2000,
Longest total lunar eclipse in 150 yrs
Minister opposes PoT Bill
flays Pak for violations
NEW DELHI, July 16 — The Amnesty International has flayed Pakistan for extra-judicial executions and impunity with which over 250 persons were sentenced to death, mostly by special court after unfair trials of which 13 have been hanged so far.
may actually have more water
rain in Haryana
Longest total lunar eclipse in 150 yrs
NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI) — The earth’s shadow swept past the moon this evening turning a yellow shining full moon into a dim red one, and finally blackening it out of view, in the longest total lunar eclipse in 150 years.
India missed the beginning of the celestial show. But the awesome spectacle of the moon vanishing totally was visible over eastern and north-eastern India stretching from Port Blair, Puri and Bhubaneswar to Calcutta, Darjeeling, Agartala, Aizawl, Kohima, Guwahati, Shillong and Gangtok.
The rest of India could only witness the tail-end of the show when the shadow started disappearing giving way to a dim moon again.
In several parts of the country including the national Capital, swirling monsoon clouds and rains turned spoilsport for avid star gazers.
The partial lunar eclipse began at 5.27 p.m. and the total at 6.32 p.m. The total eclipse that lasted for an hour and 47 minutes was second in a rare hat trick of eclipses in one month. It was preceded by and will be followed by a partial solar eclipse at the beginning and end of this month.
As the earth came in between the sun and the moon, its shadow first began sweeping across the moon at 5.27 p.m. blocking out much of its bright light.
As the shadow descended gently like a whale, the moon’s face turned red and finally hid from view.
The total eclipse was over at 8.19 p.m. when the shadow started disappearing slowly to make the moon partially visible and fully come to the view of spectators an hour later.
The rest of the country that missed the total lunar eclipse had an opportunity to see the tail-end of the show.
The total lunar eclipse captured astronomers’ attention for two reasons — it was the longest in 150 years and was the second in a series of three in a month, scientists said.
It was not just Indians but also animated star gazers of New
Zealand, Australia, southern tip of South America, Mexico, the west
coast of Canada, Hawaii, and western USA who were being treated to the
grand celestial spectacle.
Diplomatic snub to Pakistan
NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI) — In a major diplomatic setback to Pakistan’s military regime, three European countries have reportedly refused to accept Islamabad’s designated Ambassadors.
The military regime had nominated former military officials — Major-Gen Mustafa Anwar Hussain (retd), Vice-Admiral S. Ali Khan (retd) and Air Marshal Mohammad Najeed (retd) — as the envoys to Sweden, Belgium and Italy to replace Mr Naeem U. Hassan, Mr S.K. Dehlvi and Mr Arif Ayub, Pakistani media reports said.
The reports quoted Pakistani Foreign Office (FO) sources as saying that "while the three European governments rejected the nominations without citing any reasons, the FO has interpreted the move as indicative of the European Union’s objection to military personnel representing a military regime."
The reports, appearing in The Friday Times, said "the rejection is a clear indication that these governments are unhappy with the military takeover in Pakistan" and added that Islamabad still had the option of making fresh nominations to these posts.
Although Islamabad’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, one of its close allies, has been relieved of his duties, the post was "still lying vacant" as Riyadh was "delaying" the clearance of former ISI Director General of Lt-Gen Asad Durrani as Pakistan’s new Ambassador to that country.
While sources close to General Durrani were quoted as saying that
he had himself refused the nomination, the reports quoted FO sources
as saying that the "delay" in Saudi Arabia taking a decision
"may have to do with the corruption case pending against the
General in the Supreme Court of Pakistan."
13 more die in Gujarat
GANDHINAGAR, July 16 (UNI) — Less rain since last evening provided some respite, but number of death in weather-related incidents rose to 84 as 13 more deaths were reported in Gujarat today.
Official sources said 23 persons had been killed in Ahmedabad, 18 in Kheda, 12 in Surat, six each in Surendranagar and Valsad, five each in Junagadh and Navsari, four in Bharuch, three in Sabarkantha and two in Panchmahals.
Flood Control Room sources said bodies of nine victims of Friday’s tractor trailer accident had been recovered. The vehicle was carrying 22 farm labourers when it fell into a nullah on Shedi river. Ten persons were rescued by local divers. A search was on for the remaining three missing persons.
The Gujarat government is sending teams to various parts of the state to assess the damage to property and crop, on the basis of which assistance would be sought from the Centre. The state Health Department has begun distributing medicines in affected districts to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases.
The state received some rainfall since last night, but Saurashtra and Kutch mostly stayed dry. Even in Saurashtra, some taluks of Surendranagar and Jamnagar got moderate rain, while Porbandar, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts remained dry.
Less rain brought some respite to the state. In Ahmedabad, the city transport corporation began normal services today. Power supply also was restored to most parts of the city, but telecommunication remained partly affected due to submersion of some junctions.
The services of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation
remained affected due to damages to roads. However, the air traffic
normalised following improvement in the weather. Rail traffic also
functioned normally today.
Law Minister opposes PoT Bill
NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI) — Law Minister Ram Jethmalani is opposed to the proposed law on terrorism and will soon take with the Cabinet the need not to go ahead with the Prevention of Terrorism (PoT) Bill, 2000, as recommended by the Law Commission.
"I am personally totally against the enactment of any special law against terrorism as it is bound to be misused by the police," Mr Jethmalani told PTI over the phone from Mumbai.
"Now that the NHRC has reacted sharply against the enactment of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, I will soon write a detailed note against the proposed Bill recommended by the Law Commission and forward it to the Union Cabinet," he said.
The government had said in response to the NHRC objection that the proposed law "strikes a very nice balance" between the requirements of combating terrorism and protecting the essential human rights of the accused.
Asked whether the NHRC could reject a Bill and advise the government not to enact a particular law, the Law Minister said "the NHRC has no such mandate to advise the government to either enact a particular law or not. It was a body set up to deal with the human rights violation cases alone."
The NHRC on Friday rejected the government’s defence on a draft Bill on the lines of TADA and categorically said "there was no need to enact such a law."
However, Mr Jethmalani said the NHRC was supposed to react to all legislations which it felt would violate human rights of the citizens or would be an instrument in the hands of the authorities to abuse power.
"The NHRC feels the provisions in the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Bill will be inconsistent with the human rights of the citizens. That is why it has reacted in this manner," the Law Minister said.
He said the existing laws were enough to meet any untoward incidents arising out of insurgency, militancy and terrorism.
The Bill, recommended by the
Law Commission in its 173rd report, was a draft one and the government
was trying to evolve a consensus through consultations with states and
union territories and all political parties before presenting it to
Parliament, a Home Ministry spokesman had said.
Amnesty flays Pak for violations
NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI) — The Amnesty International has flayed Pakistan for extra-judicial executions and impunity with which over 250 persons were sentenced to death, mostly by special court after unfair trials of which 13 have been hanged so far.
In its annual report for 1999, released recently, it said Pakistan was showing persistent bias against the rights of women.
The report said the rights of religious minorities, journalists and other human rights defenders continued to be under threat.
It said high levels of corruption, disregard for the rule of law and a further weakening of civil institutions resulted in a series of crises, including a protracted confrontation between the government and the Press.
At least 250 persons, both criminals and political prisoners, were reportedly extra-judicially executed even though some observers put the number much higher and claimed that killings were a part of a policy decided at a senior level of the government, the report said, adding that the police often sought to conceal such killings by claiming they occurred during "encounters" or exchange of fire.
It said judicial inquiries found that several victims in Sindh belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had been extra-judicially executed but no action was taken against the perpetrators.
The Amnesty International report said Pakistan had failed to provide religious minorities with adequate protection and at least 54 Ahmedias were charged under the blasphemy laws, which included eight who were charged under a section of law which carries a mandatory death sentence.
The report highlighted the abuses against women, children and other disadvantaged sections of society and said the Pakistani government took no steps to end them.
Several hundred girls and women were killed for allegedly dishonouring their male relatives and some members of the fair sex had been "sacrificed" for having been raped.
The report said even defenders of women’s human rights of women were targeted and for the same reason the Pakistani senate failed to pass a resolution condemning violence against women in August, last year.
The report said
comments on the performance of Gen Pervez Musharraf, who overthrew a
democratically elected government of Mr Nawaz Sharif on October 12
last year, were not available immediately and could not be included in
this year’s report.
award for Punjab farmer
NEW DELHI, July 16 — Mr Darshan Singh Tabiba from Hiyatpura village in Punjab will be presented with the Jagjivan Ram Kisan Puraskar — a Rs 1 lakh innovative farmer award — at a function tomorrow by Agriculture Minister Nitesh Kumar.
The minister will give away awards to 94 farm scientists, four agricultural research institutions, one innovative farmer and two non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Mr Darshan Singh Tabiba has been selected for the Jagjivan Ram award for his innovative farming practices and successfully diversifying his agriculture to aquaculture, dairy, poultry, piggery, apiary and agro forestry. He has obtained a record fish production of 13 tonnes per hectare, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) press note said here today.
Mr Tabiba had also developed a sequential system of growing toria and mustard in the dried up fishponds in winter. He had indigenously devised a timer mechanism for water pumps and also assembled a combine harvester from scrap, the press note said, adding that he had also designed a straw reaper and a fish feeder for uniform distribution of feed without wastage.
The press note said "his work is a model to be followed by other farmers to raise their income".
Among the total awards, worth over Rs 23 lakh, 21 ICAR institutes were also being rewarded.
Five teachers had been selected for excellence in teaching for 1998-99.
These awards of Rs 25,000 each
had gone to Dr M.L. Saini of HAU (Hisar) for plant breeding, Dr P.P.
Gupta of PAU, Ludhiana, for veterinary pathology, Dr Mrs Indu Grover
of HAU, Hisar for Home science extension and education and Dr B.V.
Patil of UAS Dharwad for plant pathology.
for hi-tech gadgets at airports’
NEW DELHI, July 16 — The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has stressed the need for the installation of hi-tech security gadgets at airports across the country for effective surveillance.
"Installation of hi-tech equipment in airports will not only enhance the surveillance acumen, but also reduce the burden on the personnel," the CISF Director-General, Mr Trinath Mishra, told The Tribune.
The demanding task of guarding 55 airports in the country was entrusted upon the CISF, a month after the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December last.
"We are going slow in taking over the security of major airports due to shortage of personnel," he said.
Though nearly five months had elapsed, the CISF had taken over the responsibility of security only in 19 airports, most of them small ones.
In an attempt to overcome the constraints, Mr Mishra said: "We have urged the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the Airports Authority of India to install sophisticated security gadgets at airports."
The CISF Director-General said sophisticated security systems like close circuit televisions should be installed and computer-actuated tickets should be issued at least in major airports like Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai and Mumbai.
The CISF had also suggested conducting of a joint survey of airports by its officials along with BCAS experts to assess security loopholes, manpower requirement and suggest amendment in the design of the airports for better access control in airports.
Reasoning out the slow takeover of airports, he said: "If we have to take over the security of the entire 55 airports, we will require about 15,000 additional personnel."
The problem does not end here the CISF is also facing immense problem finding accommodation for its personnel deployed in airports across the country.
"For a foolproof security in airports, at least 40 per cent of the personnel deployed in the airports should reside close to the place of work. With lack of permanent houses near the airports, we have been forced to put our personnel in makeshift houses," he said.
Another major handicap faced by the organisation was arranging accommodation for women personnel.
"So far we were getting women personnel on deputation from other forces like the BSF and the CRPF, but now with the responsibility to man 55 airports we need to recruit more women personnel and also make available decent accommodation for them," he said.
Mr Mishra pointed out that by installing sophisticated security systems and introduction of computer- actuated tickets, the force could save tremendous amount of manpower and also reduce security threat.
Mars may actually have more water
NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI) — The crust of Mars may hold two to three times more water than what scientists had thought earlier according to a new study.
The study, published in the latest issue of the journal "Geophysical Research Letters", suggested that the red planet holds a significant amount of groundwater reserve at present.
Scientists previously calculated that around 90 per cent of the Martian water was lost over the planet’s history.
But Laurie A Leshin at Arizona State University in the USA, analysed tiny water bearing crystals in a Martian meteorite to suggest the presence of more water. The meteorite, QUE94201, was collected from Antarctica in 1994 and blasted off Mars about three million years ago.
However, the findings do not indicate how much water is present on Mars, Mr Leshin said adding that the estimate required a detailed analysis of Martian soil.
Future missions to Mars will
have to study Martian soil, both in place and after returning samples
to earth, to arrive at a meaningful estimate of the actual amount of
water remaining there, Mr Leshin said.
rain in Haryana
NEW DELHI, July 16 — The monsoon has been vigorous in Haryana and west Rajasthan and active in Jammu and Kashmir, east Uttar Pradesh and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh.
Rainfall: Rain or thundershowers have occurred at most places in west Rajasthan, at many places in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, east Rajasthan, east Uttar Pradesh and hills of west Uttar Pradesh, at a few places in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and at isolated places in thee plains of west Uttar Pradesh. The chief amounts of rainfall in cm. are: Haryana: Sirsa 10, Naraingarh 8, New Delhi (Safdarjung) 3, Ayanagar (Delhi), Delhi Ridge and Rohtak 2 each, and Ambala, Chandigarh, Faridabad, New Delhi (Palam) and Sonepat 1 each, Himachal Pradesh: Nahan and Paonta 11 each, Shimla 5, Rampur Bushahr 2 and Kandaghat 1, Jammu and Kashmir: Jammu 11, Kathua 4 and Katra 2, Punjab: Patiala 2, Rajasthan: Nokha 29, Bhinmal 15, Pokaran 11, Gangar 5, Chikwas, Ranmawas and Shyam 4 each, Arhod, Bali, Bhilwara, Fastehpur, Jalore and Shippura 3 each, Arnodh, Jaisalmer, Nagor and Tikli 2 each and Dungarpur, Galyakot, Jodhipur, Kotri, Kama and Sarwar 1 each and Uttar Pradesh; Basti 10, Haripur 9, Banbasa, Dehradun and Turtipar 7 each, Ballia 6, Birdghat and Bahraich 5 each, Ayodhya, Balrampur Kakrahi and Varanasi A.P 3 each, Joshimath and Mukhlishpur 2 each and Bansi, Bani, Chandradeepghat, Fatehgarh, Hanuman Setu, Kakardharighat, Lucknow, Palliakalan and Shardanagar 1 each.
Forecast valid until the morning of 18th:
Rain or thundershowers will occur at most places in Rajasthan, at many places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, east Uttar Pradesh and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh and at a few places in the plains of west Uttar Pradesh.
Heavy rainfall warning: Heavy rain is likely at a few places with very heavy falls at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab during the next 48 hours. Heavy rain is also likely at isolated places in Haryana, Rajasthan, east Uttar Pradesh and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh during the same period.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of 18th: Overcast sky with a few spells of rain/thundershowers, one or two may be heavy in some areas.
Farmers weather bulletin for Delhi forecast valid until the morning of 18th: Moderate to rather heavy rain will occur at many places.
NOIDA, July 16 — A newly married woman was allegedly hanged by her in-laws.
According to reports, Munisha (22) recently married Dhirendra of Khaura Colony in Noida. She was reportedly being harassed by her in-laws who were demanding Rs 2 lakh. As the parents of the victim could not meet the demand, Munisha was hanged yesterday night, according to the police.
An FIR has been registered against the victim’s husband, her mother-in-law and sister-in-law in Sector 24 police station.
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