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N A T I O N

Inverse monsoon trough causing scanty rains
New Delhi, July 14
Why is it that monsoon clouds are pouring their hearts out all over the country, except Punjab and Haryana, particularly this month. Between July 1 and 14, while Haryana recorded 57 per cent deficient rainfall, Punjab was relatively better off at minus 13 per cent, says IMD director S.C. Bhan.

Insurance Policy
Time of purchase vital for claims: SC
New Delhi, July 14
In a ruling of far reaching consequences in deciding the insurance claims, particularly in motor accidents cases, the Supreme Court has held that recording of the time of buying the policy was vital to check insurance frauds.

Al-Qaida No. 2 turns anchor
New Delhi, July 14
For those who believed that the world’s most feared terror outfit, the Al Qaida, has become moribund, here is a reality check. The latest video from Al Qaida supremo Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri has perplexed the strategic and security brass across the globe as the Al Qaida has demonstrated its technological skills in preparing it.



EARLIER STORIES


Actor Aamir Khan signs an autograph during a promotional event for the 2001 Oscar nominated movie “Lagaan” in Mumbai
Actor Aamir Khan signs an autograph during a promotional event for the 2001 Oscar nominated movie “Lagaan” in Mumbai on Saturday. It became the third Hindi language film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (after Mother India in 1957 and Salaam Bombay! in 1989). — AFP

Left parties to meet for deciding V-P candidate
New Delhi, July 14
With differences cropping up amongst the Left parties on the kind of person to be selected as the vice-presidential candidate, the four Left parties are expected to meet informally in the capital next week to narrow their views.

Prez Poll
Vajpayee distorting facts: Congress
New Delhi, July 14
The war between the UPA and the BJP over the presidential election took a fresh twist today, with the Congress accusing former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of distorting facts and misleading members of the electoral college.

Pratibha Patil seeks votes of Uttarakhand MLAs, MPs
Dehra Dun, July 14
As part of her election campaign, UPA's presidential candidate Pratibha Patil today sought the votes of Uttarakhand MLAs and MPs. She met the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party legislators and MPs as well as senior state leaders of the NCP, BSP, CPI and the CPM at a hotel here.

UNPA to protest against Chidambaram
New Delhi, July 14
Even as they declared their decision to abstain in the presidential election to keep equal distance from the Congress and BJP, UNPA leaders accused the UPA government of "targeting" some of its leaders and "misusing the CBI to oppress the Opposition."

Encounter deaths not murder: Andhra HC
Hyderabad, July 14
In a significant ruling, Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that murder cases should not be registered against police personnel involved in encounter killings. Delivering a majority 2-1 verdict, a full bench of the High Court said that slapping cases straightaway under Section 302 of the India Penal Code would virtually cripple the administration and functioning of the police.

‘Judicial overstepping often necessary’
Ahmedabad, July 14
Hitting out at the legislature for its adverse comments about the judiciary, a Supreme Court judge today said there was no harm in overstepping the “Laxman Rekha” (limitations) for the delivery of justice.

7 dead baby girls dumped near hill
Nayagarh (Orissa), July 14
Some women of Pratap Prasad village came across bodies of at least seven baby girls dumped in the foot of the Duburi hill, five km from here, today, police sources said.

Wife deserts man after 10 days of marriage
Dehra Dun, July 14
A woman allegedly deserted her husband a few hours after the honeymoon couple checked in a hotel at Mussoorie on Friday evening. Only 10 days had passed since their marriage.

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Inverse monsoon trough causing scanty rains
Vibha Sharma
Tribune news service

New Delhi, July 14
Why is it that monsoon clouds are pouring their hearts out all over the country, except Punjab and Haryana, particularly this month.

Between July 1 and 14, while Haryana recorded 57 per cent deficient rainfall, Punjab was relatively better off at minus 13 per cent, says IMD director S.C. Bhan. The reason behind this is actually very easy to understand. As far as Punjab and Haryana are concerned while the rainfall during June was in excess, the problem started only from the beginning of July.

The concentration of rainfall over a particular area is all dependent on the monsoon trough, a low-pressure area that is established before the monsoon sets in. The trough, in its normal position, extends from Sriganganagar to the Bay of Bengal, passing over Delhi, Allahabad in central Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.

All monsoon systems that are formed in the Bay of Bengal travel along this trough and give rains to different parts depending upon the position of the trough, which keeps oscillating. So while last month the trough was toward the north of its normal position, around the beginning of July it shifted place and remained more or less toward the south. In 2004 as well, there were deficient rains in the north because the trough remained southward of its position.

This monsoon season, till date, three systems have formed. In July, the only system that developed travelled along the trough, which was south of the normal position, to give rains over Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and central India. But recently it shifted back to its normal position, which is why there have been rains over Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and the IMD says there will be fairly widespread rains over north India during the next 48 hours.

It rained in excess in June, which is why despite the rainfall being deficient in July the overall cumulative rainfall record is still better. As per Bhan, between June 1 and July 11, Haryana recorded 22 per cent excess and Punjab 15 per cent excess rains.

But the going is not expected to remain very good. The IMD in its fresh long-range forecast update for the 2007 monsoon on June 29 predicted a “not alarming but not so good” situation for the northwest comprising Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Delhi and west Uttar Pradesh.

The IMD said the region would receive less rains and forecast rainfall would be 90 per cent of the LPA with an error margin of ± eight per cent. Director of the IMD's Pune-based National Climate Centre M. Rajeevan, said in the coming months some lull periods could be expected, resulting in more subdued rains henceforth.

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Insurance Policy
Time of purchase vital for claims: SC
S.S. Negi/Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 14
In a ruling of far reaching consequences in deciding the insurance claims, particularly in motor accidents cases, the Supreme Court has held that recording of the time of buying the policy was vital to check insurance frauds.

Recording of the exact time of purchasing an insurance policy should be treated by the courts as a vital factor to decide whether it was a genuine document or a fraudulent piece of paper bought after an accident to cheat the insurance company, a Bench of Justices A.K. Mathur and Dalveer Bhandrai held.

“It is the obligation of the court to look into the contract of insurance to discern whether any particular time has been specified for commencement or expiry of a policy. A very large number of cases have come to our notice where insurance polices are taken immediately after accidents to get compensation in a clandestine manner,” the court said.

To curb the widespread mischief of getting insurance polices after the accidents, it was “absolutely imperative” to clearly hold that the effectiveness of the insurance policy would start from the time and date specifically incorporated in it not from an earlier point of time, the court held.

The judgement came on an appeal of National Insurance Company (NIC) against the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal granting a compensation of 1.60 lakh to the legal heir of a victim of a bus accident in Assam.

The insurance policy of the bus had expired 21 days earlier and was renewed at 2 pm on July 20, 1994, while the accident had taken place at 9.15 am the same day.

The Guwahati High Court had upheld the tribunal’s order, rejecting the first appeal of the NIC.

The insurance company had challenged the High Court order in the apex court, citing the time of renewing of the police as a vital factor. It stated that at the time of the accident, the bus did not have any insurance cover and hence the company was not liable to pay any amount to the legal heir of the accident victim.

The NIC counsel argued that as per the Motor Renewal Endorsement document the contract for insurance of the bus between the company and its owner had come into force only five hours after the accident.

Allowing the appeal of the NIC, the apex court set aside the impugned order holding that the High Court had “seriously erred in ignoring these basic and vital documents and deciding the case against the company on the ground of the non-production of the cashier and insurance development officer.”

The apex court described the approach adopted by the High Court in deciding the important question as “manifestly erroneous” as it had led to the miscarriage of justice.

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Al-Qaida No. 2 turns anchor
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
For those who believed that the world’s most feared terror outfit, the Al Qaida, has become moribund, here is a reality check.

The latest video from Al Qaida supremo Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri has perplexed the strategic and security brass across the globe as the Al Qaida has demonstrated its technological skills in preparing it.

The 90-minute production differs from other Al Qaida videos as, for the first time, it shows al-Zawahiri as an anchor, who uses audio and video footages from world leaders, editors, Islamist writers and terror ideologues to drive his point home.

The video, released by As-Sahab productions to jihadist websites on July 4, shows “anchor” al-Zawahiri using cameo appearances of such diverse people as jihadist hero Abdullah Azzam, Al-Quds Al-Arabi editor-in-chief Abdul Bari Atwan, 9/11 commission chairman Thomas Kean, Saudi national security council secretary-general Prince Bandar-bin-Sultan, former US secretary of state Colin Powell, Kuwaiti academic and Islamist writer Abdullah al-Nafisi and Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia leader Saad al-Faqih.

The assessment of experts and analysts here is that the al-Zawahiri video is a technology demonstrator that the Al Qaida may be facing problems in Iraq and elsewhere but the outfit retains capabilities to cause damage and the element of surprise.

From the tone with which al-Zawahiri addresses Hamas and the larger Palestinian situation, it appears that the video was recorded prior to Hamas’ mid-June offensive that consolidated the group’s control over Gaza. That would mean the video was recorded before al-Zawahiri’s audio message released June 25, which noted the Hamas victory in Gaza and called on Hamas to establish a government in Gaza based on Islamic law.

The video was followed by the July 10 release of another recording from al-Zawahiri in which he threatens the United Kingdom for knighting author Salman Rushdie. Like his June 25 recording, it is a video comprising an audio recording and a still picture of al-Zawahiri.

Al Qaida’s video and audio recordings have been flying in thick and fast this summer like in the corresponding period last year. However, there is one crucial difference. Osama bin Laden, who was in the mix last time, is conspicuous by his absence this time.

The India factor

There is a silver lining for India in this video. The video exhorts Muslims to perform jihadi duties in such areas as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Palestine. However, there is no mention of India. This goes contrary to last month’s development wherein a statement purportedly on behalf of Al Qaida, had announced that the Al Qaida had roped in Kashmir in its list of target areas.

Al-Zawahiri ends the video by flag-marking a two-part strategy. The short-term plan involves targeting “Crusader-Jewish interests … in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia and everywhere we are able to strike their interests.”

The long-term plan is to change the “corrupt and corrupting” regimes in the Muslim world once the crusaders and Jews have been defeated and can no longer support these regimes.

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Left parties to meet for deciding V-P candidate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
With differences cropping up amongst the Left parties on the kind of person to be selected as the vice-presidential candidate, the four Left parties are expected to meet informally in the capital next week to narrow their views.

As the drama over the presidential elections persists, the vice-presidential race, the elections for which are to be held in August, is beginning to heat up.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat has said they would work to choose a candidate supported by both the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) and the ruling UPA.

“Many people could fit the bill. But, it won’t be a Left candidate,” he told a news weekly.

Earlier, he told a news channel that, “We won't insist on a politician. Whoever it is, has to be a distinguished person. The vice-president does not comment on policy or pass laws.”

However, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan told The Tribune that the vice-president has functions like being the chairman of Rajya Sabha. He said that a person capable of handling such tasks should be made Vice-president.

For the presidential candidate, the Left had stated that the ideal candidate would be a political personality with secular credentials, well versed in constitution and procedures.

Names of Justice K Ramaswamy — former Supreme Court judge and also a Dalit, social worker Swami Agnivesh, Historian Mushirrul Hassan and West Bengal governor Gopal Gandhi are doing the rounds.

By ruling out Left candidate for the vice-presidency, Karat has only reiterated the party’s doctrinal and tactical terms - that the party does not want to be part of the executive branch of the state, when it cannot influence the direction of the decision making process.

Sources said by extending an olive leaf to the UNPA, the Left parties, which have increased their criticism of the UPA government in a calibrated manner, could be preparing themselves for the larger strategy of forming a third alternative before the 2009 general election.

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Prez Poll
Vajpayee distorting facts: Congress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The war between the UPA and the BJP over the presidential election took a fresh twist today, with the Congress accusing former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of distorting facts and misleading members of the electoral college.

Attacking Vajpayee for the first time in this campaign, parliamentary affairs minister and official representative of the UPA-Left presidential nominee Priyaranjan Dasmunsi today demolished former Prime Minister’s statement that President Kalam decided not to seek a second term because of the UPA’s unprincipled opposition to his candidature.

Vajpayee’s comments were contained in a letter sent to all MPs and MLAs seeking support for the NDA-backed presidential candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Dasmunsi produced press clippings to remind the former Prime Minister that it was the BJP which announced Shekhawat’s candidature even before the Election Commission had issued notification for the presidential poll and well before the UPA-Left decided on fielding Pratibha Patil as its nominee.

Dasmunsi said the former PM had himself announced that his party would not be able to support Kalam as it did not favour a second term for an incumbent President. Sticking to this convention, he said, the BJP had rejected a proposal to give a second term to K.R. Narayanan.

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Pratibha Patil seeks votes of Uttarakhand MLAs, MPs
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 14
As part of her election campaign, UPA's presidential candidate Pratibha Patil today sought the votes of Uttarakhand MLAs and MPs.

She met the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators and MPs as well as senior state leaders of the NCP, BSP, CPI and the CPM at a hotel here.

Uttarakhand contributes 70 legislators and eight Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members.

Of them, the Congress has 20 and BSP eight MLAs, respectively. The Congress has five MPs of both houses of the Parliament.

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UNPA to protest against Chidambaram
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
Even as they declared their decision to abstain in the presidential election to keep equal distance from the Congress and BJP, UNPA leaders accused the UPA government of "targeting" some of its leaders and "misusing the CBI to oppress the Opposition."

Talking to mediapersons along with other UNPA leaders at the residence of INLD leader Ajay Chautala, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh accused finance minister P. Chidambaram of giving instructions to freeze bank accounts of AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa.

Amar Singh said they will protest against Chidambaram in Parliament in the same way as the Congress had protested against former defence minister George Fernandes.

The Congress had boycotted replies and interventions made by Fernandes after he was reinstated as defence minister following the Tehelka expose.

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Encounter deaths not murder: Andhra HC

Hyderabad, July 14
In a significant ruling, Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that murder cases should not be registered against police personnel involved in encounter killings.

Delivering a majority 2-1 verdict, a full bench of the High Court said that slapping cases straightaway under Section 302 of the India Penal Code (IPC) would virtually cripple the administration and functioning of the police.

While dismissing a batch of 11 petitions filed by civil rights activists, the court, however, said investigations could be launched against policemen if there was any specific complaint.

While Justice L Narasimha Reddy and Justice G. Yethirajulu gave concurrent finding on the issue, Justice Bilal Nazki differed with the majority view and held that all encounter killings should be registered as murder cases under Section 302. Speaking on behalf of the full bench, Justice Narasimha Reddy made it clear that in the absence of any complaint, the guidelines prescribed under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) should be followed. A separate FIR should be registered against individual police officer only in the event of a specific complaint, the court said.

The petitioners, including PUCL president K.G. Kannabiran, revolutionary writer Varavara Rao and president of Human Rights Forum Balagopal, had urged the court to direct the government to automatically register murder cases against policemen involved in encounter killings. — TNS

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‘Judicial overstepping often necessary’

Ahmedabad, July 14
Hitting out at the legislature for its adverse comments about the judiciary, a Supreme Court judge today said there was no harm in overstepping the “Laxman Rekha” (limitations) for the delivery of justice.

"People these days are talking about Laxman Rekha of the judiciary," Justice Arijit Pasayat said while indirectly referring to recent comments made by politicians, including Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee who had asked the judiciary to remain within its limits.

Stating that those who spoke of the “Laxman Rekha” themselves did not know their own limits, Pasayat said, "If anybody oversteps this Laxman Rekha for delivering justice, I personally would welcome such overstepping." It is sometimes necessary to cross the line for the sake of justice, he said.

Pasayat was addressing a national seminar on "Vision of law in changing social environment" organised by the state unit of the Rule of Law Society here.

He, however, clarified that the judiciary had no intention of running the administration. It can only show the way of how it should be done.

"The courts are not trying to run the country and they do not intend to do so," he said. — PTI

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7 dead baby girls dumped near hill

Nayagarh (Orissa), July 14
Some women of Pratap Prasad village came across bodies of at least seven baby girls dumped in the foot of the Duburi hill, five km from here, today, police sources said.

They informed the villagers about it following which the police visited the spot, local police station inspector in charge Tariq Ahmed said.

The police suspect that the bodies were thrown near the foothills by persons involved in maternity care activities.

"All babies appeared to have been born within the last 24 to 48 hours with the placenta attached in some cases," said a villager. — PTI

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Wife deserts man after 10 days of marriage
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 14
A woman allegedly deserted her husband a few hours after the honeymoon couple checked in a hotel at Mussoorie on Friday evening. Only 10 days had passed since their marriage.

As per police complaint, Gurpreet Singh of village Baddowal near Ludhiana had married Kamaljit Kaur of Jagraon on July 1 and the couple reached Mussoorie on July 11 for honeymoon. They checked in at Himalaya Club hotel in Landour area the same evening. The complainant, who runs an electronic parts shop in Ludhiana, alleged that he fell unconscious around 10 pm after consuming food ordered by his wife. After regaining consciousness he found himself locked in the room as his wife had taken away its key along with gold jewellery, Rs 28,000 cash, a mobile phone, clothes and car. She did not leave even toiletries behind.

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