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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

USA’s no to Anderson’s extradition
New Delhi, July 20
The USA rejected India’s request for extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson in connection with the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, official sources said here today.

Flood problem: PM announces task force
Guwahati, July 20
IAF helicopters rescue a child after a breach in Kopili river embankment in Nagaon district of Assam on Tuesday. Describing the Assam flood situation as “very serious and grave”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced the formation of a high-powered task force to report to the Centre within six months the ways to find a permanent solution to the recurring flood problem.
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IAF helicopters rescue a child after a breach in Kopili river embankment in Nagaon district of Assam on Tuesday. — PTI photo

Shift Pappu Yadav to jail: SC
New Delhi, July 20
The Supreme Court today ordered the immediate shifting of former MP and Lok Janshakti Party leader Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, to Beour jail from Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), saying that he had been taking various courts to ride by faking illness to stay away from the prison.

Govt ignoring House, CMs on water issue: BJP
New Delhi, July 20
The BJP Parliamentary Party today accused the UPA government of neither taking Parliament into confidence nor the Chief Ministers of the affected states on the water issue and decided to take up the issue strongly.

Centre dares Haryana on water Act
New Delhi, July 20
The Centre is looking at ways of buying time to defuse the crisis triggered by Punjab’s decision to nullify its water-sharing treaties with neighbouring states. While a Presidential reference on the issue remains its ultimate option, the Centre is persuading the Haryana Government to challenge the Punjab Water Act in the Supreme Court since it is an affected party.



Gavin Spokes, a member of the Australian band The Nail Factory, plays Didgeridoo, a traditional wind instrument, during a Press preview of World Music Festival in New Delhi on Tuesday
Gavin Spokes, a member of the Australian band The Nail Factory, plays 'Didgeridoo', a traditional wind instrument, during a Press preview of World Music Festival in New Delhi on Tuesday. The festival will be held in Leh on July 31. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan releases a book on Khushwant Singh written by his son Rahul Singh
Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan releases a book on Khushwant Singh written by his son Rahul Singh (right) in New Delhi on Tuesday. 

Noted actor Naseeruddin Shah poses with his son Imaadudin during the rehearsal of his play Chhote Bhai Bade Bhai in Mumbai
Noted actor Naseeruddin Shah poses with his son Imaadudin during the rehearsal of his play Chhote Bhai Bade Bhai in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI photos

Jaguar crashed due to engine fault
One more found defective
New Delhi, July 20
The experts here have found fault in engines of the just two Jaguar aircraft among the entire fleet, which had been brought to ground recently for check-up at the Ambala air base.

Laloo persuades Soren not to quit
New Delhi, July 20
Coal minister Sibu Soren is reported to have offered his resignation from the Cabinet on being issued a non-bailable arrest warrant by a Jharkhand court. But rail minister Laloo Prasad Yadav is apparently persuading him not to take this extreme step, highly placed UPA sources disclosed here today.

Rehman Khan to be new RS Vice-Chairman
New Delhi, July 20
Minister of State for Chemicals K. Rahman Khan has finally emerged the dark horse for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman as the ruling UPA today announced an unanimous consensus on his name.

Advani, Venkaiah visit Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam, July 20
Former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu today visited Kumbakonam to express grief at the fire tragedy which claimed 90 lives and announced a solatium of Rs 25 lakh for the families of the victims.
In video (28k, 56k)

No change in NCERT history books this session
New Delhi, July 20
The NCERT has decided not to change the history textbooks for the current academic session, keeping in view students’ interest, but de-saffronise them from the next session, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

VHP workers court arrest
Hyderabad, July 20
More than 100 VHP workers courted arrest in the Rayalaseema and Telangana regions of Andhra Pradesh today, protesting against the implementation of 5 per cent reservation to Muslims by the state government.

Videos
Devotees resume Badrinath yatra after removal of roadblocks.
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Watch out, here comes Hum Tum cartoon series!
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Kolkata duo make wave with unique storytelling skills.
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USA’s no to Anderson’s extradition

New Delhi, July 20
The USA rejected India’s request for extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson in connection with the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, official sources said here today.

The US Administrative Department had rejected the extradition request on the technical ground, the sources said.

The news came a day after the Supreme Court had ordered a compensation of Rs 1503 crore for the Bhopal gas victims.

A Bhopal city court had ruled last year that Anderson should face charges of culpable 
homicide (under Section 304 of the IPC) and had lashed out at the CBI for diluting the charge against him to negligence not amounting to murder.

The government had argued that under Section 304(A), it was an extraditable offence as per the provisions of the Extradition Treaty between India and the USA.

Meanwhile, the Bhopal gas victims will file a petition in the Supreme Court to increase the settlement fund for including the additional number of the victims since the tragedy in 1989.

The Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS) and Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti today said the application would be filed within a week.

BGPMUS convenor Abdul Jabbar Khan said though the number of the victims, who were to be compensated as per the terms of the $40 million settlement, was 1,05,000, over 5,70,000 claimants had been paid compensation out of the settlement fund so far.

“In such a situation, more than five times the settlement amount would be required to compensate all the victims,” he said. — PTI, UNI
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Flood problem: PM announces task force

Guwahati, July 20
Describing the Assam flood situation as “very serious and grave”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced the formation of a high-powered task force to report to the Centre within six months the ways to find a permanent solution to the recurring flood problem.

Addressing a press conference at Lokopriyo Gopinath International Airport following a day-long visit to flood-affected Assam, he also announced that a central team would soon visit the state to assess the damage caused by the unprecedented floods to facilitate further relief to the victims.

As immediate relief the Centre had already given Rs 46 crore from the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) and Rs 55 crore from the Calamity Relief Contingency Fund (CRCF), the Prime Minister said.

He said for flood protection measures an additional amount of Rs 90 crore would be sanctioned in the next half of the Tenth Five Year Plan.

The high-powered task force would evolve a holistic view of the flood situation and suggest short, medium and long-term measures to solve the problem.

He said the flood problem required active cooperation of the Central Government.

“Whether national or not, the Centre has to take active interest in the state”, he added.

Asked about the excess water from Bhutan and China that had aggravated the flood problem in the state, he said, “we have to discuss it with those countries”.

He said the funds so far sanctioned by the Centre to cope with the flood situation were not enough as the “floods have defied solution for long”.

“We have to look at the problem from the entire North Eastern Region’s point of view and evolve a system to ensure a common solution”, he added.

The Prime Minister said: “We should look at the ground situation and the Centre is alive of its responsibilities and whatever is necessary to help the state government to tide over the natural crisis, the Centre will provide”.— PTI
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Shift Pappu Yadav to jail: SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 20
The Supreme Court today ordered the immediate shifting of former MP and Lok Janshakti Party leader Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, to Beour jail from Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), saying that he had been taking various courts to ride by faking illness to stay away from the prison.

“It is in the interest of justice for the authorities to take Rajesh Ranjan to the prison cell immediately and any treatment, if and when required by him, may be provided to him in the jail hospital,” a Bench of Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde, Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice A.K. Mathur in its order said, while expressing anguish over the way the Bihar Government had come to his aid after his arrest on March 16 in the trade union leader Ajit Sarkar murder case.

“We will be the last to deny you (Yadav) an opportunity of treatment but you have taken many a court for a ride.” the Bench told Yadav’s counsel Rishi Malhotra. “it is clear from his medical reports that his ailment is not such that it required 24-hour hospitalised treatment,” it observed.

While directing the authorities concerned to give effect to its order forthwith, the court sought explanation from the PMCH Medical Superintendent how Yadav was allowed to occupy two ICU rooms.

“The statement of PMCH Superintendent that Yadav was treated in the general ward is totally false as he was provided two special rooms in the ICU. The hospital authorities had treated him like a VIP,” the court said, asking the Superintendent to submit an affidavit within two weeks that “why action should not be taken against him.”
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Govt ignoring House, CMs on water issue: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
The BJP Parliamentary Party today accused the UPA government of neither taking Parliament into confidence nor the Chief Ministers of the affected states on the water issue and decided to take up the issue strongly.

It also decided to vociferously raise in both Houses of Parliament the issue of arrest warrants issued against Coal Minister Sibu Soren and also the proposed 5 per cent reservation to the Muslims by the Andhra Pradesh Government.

At a meeting, chaired by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, several BJP MPs, especially from Rajasthan, expressed serious concern over the manner in which the Congress-led government was trying to play “dirty politics” on the water issue disregarding national interest and also not taking into confidence neither Parliament nor the Chief Ministers of states concerned about its moves pertaining to the sensitive issue.

Addressing party MPs, Mr Vajpayee said Mr Soren’s continuation in the Union Cabinet despite the issuance of arrest warrants against him by a Jharkhand court in the Chiridih massacre case was “improper” and asked party MPs to raise the issue in both Houses, according to Parliamentary Party spokesman V. K. Malhotra.

He told newspersons that the hour-long meeting also decided to take up in Parliament issues such as the alleged involvement of Congress leaders in the Telgi multi-crore stamp paper scam, drought situation in different parts of the country and 5 per cent job reservation for the Muslims given by the Andhra Pradesh government.
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Centre dares Haryana on water Act
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
The Centre is looking at ways of buying time to defuse the crisis triggered by Punjab’s decision to nullify its water-sharing treaties with neighbouring states. While a Presidential reference on the issue remains its ultimate option, the Centre is persuading the Haryana Government to challenge the Punjab Water Act in the Supreme Court since it is an affected party.

Alternatively, it has informally advised Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that he delays the implementation of the Act on the ground that its rules have to be framed first. This is a time-consuming process and can give the government time to cool tempers on all sides.

The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), which reviewed the matter yesterday, was also informed that though the controversy had generated some heat among the urban masses, it was yet to catch on in the rural hinterland as the water supply to the farmers in neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan had not been stopped.

Government sources said constitutionally and legally, the Centre had no authority to repeal the legislation passed by the Punjab Government. The only option available to the Union government is to dismiss the state government, place the state under the President’s rule and then repeal the Act. The government, however, can hardly afford to take recourse to this step. Any signs of confrontation with the Punjab Government, it is felt, can lead to a volatile situation in the state.

UPA sources said the BJP was dissuading Mr Chautala from adopting the judicial route as it would like to discredit the Manmohan Singh government by portraying it as “weak and toothless.”Top

 

Jaguar crashed due to engine fault
One more found defective
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
The experts here have found fault in engines of the just two Jaguar aircraft among the entire fleet, which had been brought to ground recently for check-up at the Ambala air base.

IAF officials here said the experts called in specially, from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and British Aerospace (BAE) along with the air force engineers, carried out intensive checks on the entire fleet stationed at Ambala base and found defect in just one aircraft besides the one which had crashed leading to the aircraft being brought to the ground for inspection.

Officials said that in fact the endurance of the aircraft came in for test after the checks on ground by HAL and BAE experts when four of the aircraft from the fleet flew all the way from Ambala to Alaska to participate in Cope Thunder 2004 exercises with the USAF. Taking off from the Ambala base on June 21 last, the four aircraft along with the other IAF aircraft, including two of the latest IL-78 midair refuelling aircraft, reached Alaska on July 10 and have been participating in the Cope Thunder exercises.

The IAF had ‘brought to ground’ the entire fleet of its Jaguar fighter aircraft in late May to check on a technical defect, which had caused some of these planes to crash on routine sorties.

The court of inquiry set up to investigate the crash of a Jaguar fighter aircraft on May 7, 12 km north of Ambala, had pointed out a snag in the engine, which had led to the crash. A split-pin in the engine was found missing, which apparently led to the crash.

As a result the Air Headquarters had ordered that Jaguar aircraft be ‘brought to ground’ for a complete check-up before they were cleared for flying again. The aircraft were cleared for flying one at a time, after a complete check by experts.

The IAF has about 80 Jaguar aircraft of which four have crashed till now in 2004.

The British Aerospace experts, original manufactures of Jaguars, had been called in this time after the snag was detected. The experts from HAL and the manufacturers checked every aircraft for its technical quality and declared it fit for flying again.

In fact the checks were carried out at all the stations where the IAF had four of its Jaguar squadrons stationed. Besides Ambala, the Jaguars are also based at Gorakhpur and Pune.
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Laloo persuades Soren not to quit
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
Coal minister Sibu Soren is reported to have offered his resignation from the Cabinet on being issued a non-bailable arrest warrant by a Jharkhand court. But rail minister Laloo Prasad Yadav is apparently persuading him not to take this extreme step, highly placed UPA sources disclosed here today.

Already under opposition attack on account of the pending court cases against him, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav believes that if Mr Soren steps down voluntarily, he would also come under pressure to tender his resignation.

UPA sources said Mr Soren did express his willingness to step down from the Cabinet but Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav persauded him to change his mind on the plea that he will only be playing into the Opposition’s hands. At the same time, he did not want Mr Soren to set an example which he might be forced to emulate. Mr. Soren has moved the courts for legal relief. However, Mr Soren might still resign in case he is not able to get legal relief and is arrested.

The Congress-led UPA government has been targetted by the BJP ever since it came to power for the inclusion of what it describes as “tainted ministers.” Besides Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, the opposition has also trained its guns at his RJD colleagues and ministers, Taslimuddin and M.A.A.Fatmi. The Rail Minister, however, has fended off this attack on the plea that none of them had been convicted. He also pointed out that former Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani and his BJP colleagues Murli Manohar Josi and Uma Bharati had also been chargesheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Still to recover from the Opposition onslaught on this issue, the Sibu Soren case has only served to further embarass the UPA government. The issue rocked Parliament today even as a two-member Jharkhand police team reached the Capital to execute the non-bailable arrest warrant against Mr Sibu Soren. On tour in Guwahati, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh avoided all queries on Mr Soren’s fate, merely stating, “You will know in due course.”

Although helpless on this issue, given the compulsions of coalition politics, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is apparently uncomfortable with the inclusion of chargesheeted ministers in his Cabinet.

Publicly, however, the Congress has come out in full defence of Mr Soren. Party spokespersons Girija Vyas and Anand Sharma maintained that this was a clear case of political vendatta. They pointed out that the case in which Mr Soren had been served the arrest warrant was 30 years old and pertained to a mass movement for the creation of Jharkhand in which thousands of people had participated. They said the Jharkhand Assembly had passed a resolution in 2002 scrapping the cases agaisnt those who participated in that movement But the case against Mr Soren was kept pending.Top

 


BJP stages walkout over Soren issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
The government’s silence on the issue of arrest warrant against Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren by the Jharkhand court forced the Lok Sabha adjournment for about 20 minutes today with angry BJP and Shiv Sena members staging a walkout.

Immediately after the House assembled this morning, the Opposition members were on their feet demanding a response from the government on the issue.

Raising the issue, BJP leader V. K. Malhotra said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee should respond and take Parliament into confidence.

Raising slogans the BJP members trooped to the well of the House.

As nothing could be heard in the din, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12 noon.
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Rehman Khan to be new RS Vice-Chairman
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
Minister of State for Chemicals K. Rahman Khan has finally emerged the dark horse for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman as the ruling UPA today announced an unanimous consensus on his name.

Announcing this here, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said he emerged as the consensus candidate for the post following talks with leaders of all parties including NDA Chairman Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh.

Even though the main Opposition party along with its allies has agreed to accept Mr Khan for the post, sources said a nominal contest could still be held on July 22 as the Shiv Sena had decided to field Eknath K. Thakur as its candidate. Mr Khan (65) is a Chartered Accountant by profession.
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Advani, Venkaiah visit Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam, July 20
Former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu today visited Kumbakonam to express grief at the fire tragedy which claimed 90 lives and announced a solatium of Rs 25 lakh for the families of the victims.

Mr Advani said it was the responsibility of “all of us” to see that the safety and security of children in schools was taken care of.

Referring to the Kumbakonam tragedy and the Commission of Inquiry ordered by the Jayalalithaa Government, he said since the inquiry commission had been set up, it would not be fair on his part to go into the reasons of the fire tragedy and “fix responsibility on someone for the tragedy.”
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No change in NCERT history books this session

New Delhi, July 20
The NCERT has decided not to change the history textbooks for the current academic session, keeping in view students’ interest, but de-saffronise them from the next session, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

The decisions to this effect were taken by the NCERT executive committee which met here for two days last week to consider the recommendations of the panel of historians which said the history books were “biased, badly written and full of inaccuracies, rendering them unsuitable for continuation”, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh told the Lok Sabha.

“It was, however, decided that from the next academic session the earlier books of history will be restored with appropriate modifications in line with the existing curriculum and minor corrections wherever required”, the statement said. — PTI
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VHP workers court arrest

Hyderabad, July 20
More than 100 VHP workers courted arrest in the Rayalaseema and Telangana regions of Andhra Pradesh today, protesting against the implementation of 5 per cent reservation to Muslims by the state government.

At several places, effigies of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was burnt, police sources said.

More than 5,000 workers participated in the protest rallies in Anantapur, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Nirmal and other places, VHP sources claimed here.

VHP All-India Secretary Y Raghavulu, here on a short visit, said workers, led by district unit Presidents and secretaries, staged peaceful demonstrations at more than 80 places.

Over 500 workers, who came from Achampet in Mahabubnagar district to Hyderabad, distributed one lakh pamphlets to register their protest. — UNI
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BRIEFLY

Sanjay Dutt allowed to go abroad
MUMBAI:
A special court constituted under TADA on Tuesday allowed actor Sanjay Dutt to go abroad from July 22 to August 21. The court, which is hearing the 1993 bomb blast case, allowed Dutt to visit Canada and the USA. Apart from shooting for the film Dus, Dutt has been invited to attend the Independence Day celebrations in Chicago, his counsel Farhana Shah told the court. Judge P.D. Kode, however, warned Dutt not to maintain any contact with accused declared absconders in the case and restrained him from tampering with evidence in any manner. — TNS

Warrant for cash scam
New Delhi:
The Supreme Court today sought a report from the Gujarat High Court if any other case like the warrant for cash scam in which bailable warrants were issued to the President, the Chief Justice of India and two other dignitaries by a Ahmedabad Magistrate, had come to its notice in the past. The High Court was asked to submit the report within two weeks, indicating whether any other such corruption case in the lower judiciary had come to light and if so, what steps were taken in this regard, a Bench of Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde, Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice S. H. Kapadia said. — LC

Ex-minister ends fast
Dehra dun:
Uttaranchal former Revenue Minister Harak Singh Rawat withdrew his indefinite fast this afternoon after an assurance from the party in charge of state affairs Moti Lal Mr Vohra, and Chief Minister ND Tiwari, that justice would be done. His legislator colleagues later took him to the Assembly session, over a year after he had vowed not to step into the House till he was absolved of the rape charges levelled against him. — TNS

Modi award for Anil Kakodkar
New Delhi:
Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar has been chosen for this year’s Gujar Mal Modi Innovative Science and Technology Award. Announcing the award today, Mr Satish Kumar Modi, president of the Gujar Mal Modi Foundation said Dr Kakodkar had made outstanding contribution to research and development of India’s nuclear power programme. The award would be presented to him on August 9 at the India Habitat Centre. — TNS
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