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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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N A T I O N

Swine Flu
Defer foreign trips: Azad

New Delhi, June 15
After a student of Jalandhar-based Guru Amar Dass Public School tested positive for swine flu, the government has advised people, especially students, to defer foreign visits till the time swine flu pandemic is controlled the world over.

Six suspected cases in B’lore
Bangalore, June 15
An Air France crew member is among four persons who were admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) in Bangalore today with symptoms of swine flu.

  Man quarantined in Kolkata

Hike likely in rice, cotton MSP
New Delhi, June 15
The Union government is likely to announce a higher support price for rice and cotton this sowing season. While the recommended price for rice is Rs 950-980 per quintal, that for cotton is Rs 3,000 per quintal. According to sources in the agriculture ministry, a decision in this regard may be announced soon.



EARLIER STORIES

From royalty to ‘aam aadmi’
Cong asks partymen to shun feudal titles
Virbhadra Singh/Preneet Kaur New Delhi, June 15
There is no room in the Congress for princes or princesses. All maharajas, maharanis, rajas, rajkumaris, kunwars and begums in the Congress will soon become “aam aadmi” in continuation of the party’s ‘aam aadmi’ agenda during the Lok Sabha elections.

Virbhadra Singh/Preneet Kaur 

‘Split specialist’ Lalu faces crisis in RJD
Leaders loyal to him are deserting the party one by one
Patna, June 15
The man who enjoyed breaking political parties for 15 years is now facing regular desertion from his own camp. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has had the credit of effecting a split in each and every political party in the state, be it the BJP, BSP, SP, Congress or even the Left parties during his hey days. But he is a worried man today, for people considered loyal to him are leaving the party one by one.

Hooda gives Rs 5 cr for Kosi flood victims
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (left) with his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar at Patna airportPatna, June 15
Assuring the people of Bihar to stand by them during any crisis, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced an additional donation of Rs 5 crore from his relief fund for the rehabilitation of flood-ravaged people of Kosi belt.



Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (left) with his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar at Patna airport on Monday. — PTI

Two docs among five held for taking blood of minors
Jaipur, June 15
The Karauli police today arrested five persons, including two doctors, for their alleged involvement in forcibly taking blood of minors and selling it at high rates at Hindaun town of the district.

BJP’s situation volcanic: Sushma
Bhopal, June 15
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj has described the situation in her party after the Lok Sabha polls as "volcanic" and said that it would not be wise to say anything about it.

3-day police custody for Shiney Ahuja
Mumbai, June 15
Actor Shiney Ahuja, who was arrested on Sunday evening for allegedly raping his 18-year-old domestic servant, was remanded in three-day police custody by a local court here today.

Child-lifting charge on BSP minister 
Lucknow, June 15
An Uttar Pradesh woman has alleged that a minister in the Mayawati government had stolen her newborn son from a hospital six years ago.






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Swine Flu
Defer foreign trips: Azad
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15
After a student of Jalandhar-based Guru Amar Dass Public School tested positive for swine flu, the government has advised people, especially students, to defer foreign visits till the time swine flu pandemic is controlled the world over.

As many as six confirmed cases of swine flu were reported on Sunday, bringing the total number of H1N1-affected people to 23 in the country. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today recommended that till the disease was not controlled globally, young people from educational institutions going abroad should suspend their visits. “We are requesting people to temporarily suspend foreign visits till the virus is controlled globally,” Azad said.

“They can go after 2-3 months,” he said, all the while stressing that the deadly influenza was completely under control in India. “Medicine is available in plenty and the most important thing is that this disease is 100 per cent curable,” he said, asserting that there was no reason to panic as out the 23 reported cases, 11 had already been treated and discharged.

“Keeping in view the size and population of the country, there is nothing to worry about,” Azad said.

However, the Health Minister is concerned over the spread of flu to smaller towns in the context of reports of infection from Punjab. On Monday he was informed that the State Health authorities in Punjab had been alerted and separate isolation ward prepared at Government Hospital, Jalandhar, created to treat cases with symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1) virus. Following a review of state of preparedness to tackle the spread of flu virus, Azad asked the Director-General Health Services to rush a rapid response team to Punjab. The DGHS has been asked to make available adequate quantities of Tamiflu to help contain spread of the disease.

The minister’s advisory, especially to students, comes in the light of a student of Jalandhar-based Guru Amar Dass Public School testing positive for swine flu. The student, admitted to a hospital in New Delhi, tested positive for the virus on his return from the US. The students had gone to NASA and came back on June 12.

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Six suspected cases in B’lore
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 15
An Air France crew member is among four persons who were admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) in Bangalore today with symptoms of swine flu.

“Their samples have been sent for tests. We are expecting the results to arrive tomorrow,” Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director of the institute, said.

Talking to The Tribune, Buggi said the Air France employee had spent considerable time with mother-daughter duo who tested positive for the infection after arriving here from New Jersey on an Air France flight on June 12.

“The two passengers, tested positive for the virus, had problem with their luggage. The crew member came in contact with them as he had to help them out with their luggage,” Buggi said. He said three others, who admitted to the hospital today with the symptoms of H1N1 flu, were also international passengers.

Buggi said the 29-year-old mother and her three-year-old daughter, tested positive for the flu, were responding to the treatment.

Man quarantined in Kolkata

Kolkata, June 15
A 24-year-old man, who returned to the city from a trip to Malaysia via Dhaka, was today sent to hospital from the airport after being suspected of being infected with swine flu. Bahar Ali Mandal, a resident of Kalyani in Nadia district, landed at the NSC Bose International Airport here, airport medical officer said. — PTI

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Hike likely in rice, cotton MSP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15
The Union government is likely to announce a higher support price for rice and cotton this sowing season. While the recommended price for rice is Rs 950-980 per quintal, that for cotton is Rs 3,000 per quintal. According to sources in the agriculture ministry, a decision in this regard may be announced soon.

As per sources, the MSP for the common variety of rice has been advised at Rs 950 per quintal while that for grade ‘A’ (variety) has been recommended at Rs 980 per quintal.

And in cotton category, only two varieties, primarily grown in Maharashtra, are being considered for an MSP hike, the new rate to be Rs 3,000 per quintal. They include ‘Shankar’ and ‘D6’, say sources.

Meanwhile, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal has called the rice MSP hike as “inadequate”, “unrealistic” and a “cruel joke with the farming community”. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said he would call on the Prime Minister and demand a minimum of Rs 1,400 per quintal MSP for rice.

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From royalty to ‘aam aadmi’
Cong asks partymen to shun feudal titles
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15
There is no room in the Congress for princes or princesses. All maharajas, maharanis, rajas, rajkumaris, kunwars and begums in the Congress will soon become “aam aadmi” in continuation of the party’s ‘aam aadmi’ agenda during the Lok Sabha elections.

The party has asked its members to shed all feudal appendages that they may be using with their names, formally or informally. The party advise to its members is to strike off monarchical titles like maharaja, raja, begum, kunwar, rajkumar, shrimant riding with  their names with imme- diate effect.

All such feudal titles are being erased from party’s records. Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said: “All feudal titles have been removed from the party’s records.”

Apparently the directive, asking party men and women to drop their royal appendages belonging to yesteryears, has come straight from Congress president Sonia Gandhi. While the immediate provocation for the advisory is not known, it is an indirect suggestion to all party members to take heed and drop the use of such feudal appendages informally as well.

It is no secret that some members of the erstwhile royal families prefer to be addressed by their royal titles. Many of the heads of the former royal households continue to use their titles in their official correspondence and while addressing one another. An official note sent recently from the office of Minister of State of External Affairs Preneet Kaur referred to the Congress MP from Patiala as “maharani sahiba”. Her husband, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, likes to be addressed as “maharaja”.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh is called “raja sahib” and former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is “raja Virbhadra Singh”. Then there is Rani Ratna Singh, raja of Amethi Sanjay Singh, Kunwar Arjun Singh, Kunwar RPN Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindhia and other scions of erstwhile princely states, who are still called by their feudal titles even after being elected to the Lok Sabha.

As per Article 363 A of the Constitution, the powers and titles of the rulers of the native states have been discontinued along with the Privy Purse in the 26th Amendment.

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‘Split specialist’ Lalu faces crisis in RJD
Leaders loyal to him are deserting the party one by one
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, June 15
The man who enjoyed breaking political parties for 15 years is now facing regular desertion from his own camp. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has had the credit of effecting a split in each and every political party in the state, be it the BJP, BSP, SP, Congress or even the Left parties during his hey days. But he is a worried man today, for people considered loyal to him are leaving the party one by one.

And to add further to his agony, they are all climbing on to his arch rival Nitish Kumar’s bandwagon -- JD(U). The desertion that began in RJD just before the Lok Sabha polls with Lalu’s trusted brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav and many others quitting the party over denial of tickets was expected to be an election specific syndrome. But it seems to have become a continuing affair even after the polls.

Senior RJD leader Upendra Prasad Verma, who has been a minister all throughout Lalu-Rabri regime quit the RJD to join the JD(U). He was followed by Bhim Singh, an MLC and prominent leader of extremely backward castes. Bhim Singh’s resignation from the party as well as the Bihar Legislative Council has reduced the strength of RJD in the Upper House of state legislature to only eight, causing a serious threat to its status of remaining the main opposition party in the Council.

Even before Lalu could get over the shock following Upendra Verma and Bhim Singh leaving him to join Nitish’s camp, his protégé-turned-staunch loyalist Shyam Rajak also bolted away from the RJD. Rajak, the national general secretary and national spokesman of RJD was a minister for nine years in Lalu-Rabri government. By his own admission, Lalu preferred to break his electoral alliance with the Congress in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls only to field Shyam

Rajak from Jamui (SC) parliamentary seat. The Congress wanted this seat for its former minister Ashok Chaudhary. The very next day of Rajak quitting the RJD as well as the membership of state legislative assembly, another Lalu loyalist and state general secretary of RJD Nihora Prasad Yadav also resigned from the party.

Both Rajak and Nihora Yadav were inducted into the JD(U) today by Nitish Kumar who signed their membership receipt in the presence of mediapersons and many other leaders of JD(U).

Sources said that many more MLAs from the RJD, particularly those who have witnessed the trailing of their party nominee in the Lok Sabha polls from their assembly segment, are willing to switch over to the JD(U). They are all awaiting a green signal from the JD(U). Apparently, Lalu is also aware of these fence-sitters as he had announced recently in the state-level workers meeting that all those who have a ‘weak heart’ may leave the party as he would like to start his struggle afresh and would not mind to begin from zero.

Main defectors

n Sadhu Yadav: Lalu’s trusted brother-in-law

n Upendra Prasad Verma: Has been a minister all throughout Lalu-Rabri regime

n Bhim Singh: An MLC and prominent leader of extremely backward castes

n Shyam Rajak: National general secretary and spokesman

n Nihora Prasad Yadav: Another Lalu loyalist and state general secretary 

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Hooda gives Rs 5 cr for Kosi flood victims
Tribune News Service

Patna, June 15
Assuring the people of Bihar to stand by them during any crisis, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced an additional donation of Rs 5 crore from his relief fund for the rehabilitation of flood-ravaged people of Kosi belt.

Hooda was here to inaugurate the rehabilitation projects undertaken by his Sonepat district administration in one of the worst flood-affected villages, Shahpur-Musahri under Sonbarsa block of Saharasa district.

He along with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar jointly inaugurated the schemes which included around 200 houses with potable water facilities, a community hall, roads and solar lights besides public toilets in the village. The Sonepat district administration has virtually adopted this village.

Acknowledging the contributions of Biharis in the development and prosperity of Haryana, Hooda said Haryana always had very cordial relations with Bihar and it would continue to help Bihar in the hour of crisis

Hooda was all praise for the government of Bihar for undertaking the massive rescue and relief operations at the time of Kosi deluge that had affected five districts having a population of around 33 lakh. Around 200 persons and thousands of cattle heads were perished in the floods last year. He also showered praises on Nitish Kumar and said ‘the work being done by Nitish Kumar ji is being acclaimed across the country’.

On his part, Nitish Kumar expressed gratitude to the government of Haryana and its people for extending their help to the flood victims of Bihar. Nitish also praised the Sonepat district administration for adopting one of the flood-ravaged villages. Later, Nitish hosted a banquet lunch at his official residence in the honour of Hooda and his team of officers.

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Two docs among five held for taking blood of minors
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, June 15
The Karauli police today arrested five persons, including two doctors, for their alleged involvement in forcibly taking blood of minors and selling it at high rates at Hindaun town of the district.

The arrests were made after the families of three minor boys, aged between 12 and 14, lodged a complaint against two doctors last evening. The police sources said preliminary investigation revealed that blood was collected from at least 30 minor boys before being sold to various agencies.

Father of one of the victims told the police that his son was kidnapped by a tout a few days back and released after collecting blood from him at a hospital.

The police then raided two private hospitals and arrested five persons. Those arrested have been identified as Dr HN Singh, Dr Girish Agarwal, Sultan, a compounder; Suraj, a cleaner; and Rakesh Kohli, a tout.

Ironically, the racket was busted on World Blood Donors Day. The incident came to light after the two minors complained of dizziness and told their families as to how they were forced to give blood at a hospital a fortnight back.

The police sources said the hospitals involved in the racket used to pay handsome amount to Rakesh Kohli for each unit of blood he would collect. The police has also seized all blood related record of these hospitals for further investigation.

The police is looking into the modus operandi adopted by the doctors and their links with other parties.

The police apprehend that what has been unearthed may just be a tip of the iceberg and the accused might have targeted many other children from other nearby villages as well.

Meanwhile, two victims identified as 13-year-old Bashrudding and 14-year-old Manoj have been admitted to a hospital where certain medical tests are being conducted on them under the police supervision.

The accused were booked under Sections 308, 326, and 336 of the IPC. A local court today sent them to two-day police remand. Five others, including three doctors and two lab technicians, are still at large.

As per the WHO norms, the minimum age for blood donations is 18 years while the donor should at least weigh 40 kg.

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BJP’s situation volcanic: Sushma

Bhopal, June 15
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj has described the situation in her party after the Lok Sabha polls as "volcanic" and said that it would not be wise to say anything about it.

Sushma, who arrived here yesterday on a four-day visit to her parliamentary constituency Vidisha, told reporters last evening that the situation in the BJP right now was volcanic and even a small spark can flare it.

She said in her view there was nothing wrong in senior BJP leader LK Advani continuing as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha as he would have become the Prime Minister if the NDA had won the LS elections.

Answering a question, she said it was wrong to say that she would eventually succeed Advani as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The senior BJP leader said that her role as BJP election in-charge for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand had come to an end and now she was only the MP from Vidisha.

Sushma said that she has already made it clear a number of times that she had no intention of interfering in the affairs of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh. — PTI

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3-day police custody for Shiney Ahuja
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, June 15
Actor Shiney Ahuja, who was arrested on Sunday evening for allegedly raping his 18-year-old domestic servant, was remanded in three-day police custody by a local court here today.

Ahuja has been charged with rape, wrongful restraint and threatening the life of his victim. The police said the preliminary medical examination conducted on the girl indicated that she was sexually abused. The actor was also medically examined.

The final report on the two would be out in a couple of days, the police said.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police Dilip Suryavanshi told reporters that the actor had confessed to his crime during questioning. He had reportedly told the police that he had consensual sex with the girl. The victim has been removed to a government-run welfare centre for destitute women for the time being.

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Child-lifting charge on BSP minister 

Lucknow, June 15
An Uttar Pradesh woman has alleged that a minister in the Mayawati government had stolen her newborn son from a hospital six years ago.

Pramila Sharma of Deoria district was here on Monday for a DNA test to substantiate her claim that the six-year-old son of Religious Endowment Minister Rajesh Tripathi was actually hers.

Parmila's husband Ashok Sharma said in 2004 his wife gave birth to a baby boy in the Gorakhpur medical college. Tripathi's sister, who was her friend, had come to visit her in the hospital.

"Tripathi's sister visited us in the hospital when the boy was born and on the third day the boy was stolen from the ward. We searched for about 15 days and one day we saw Tripathi's sister carrying the child," Ashok Sharma told reporters here.

He said the family approached Tripathi, who was a journalist then, to return the child but he didn't. "We lodged an FIR against him," he said. The matter was later taken to a court where Pramila insisted that she was ready for a DNA test at her own expenses.

"We have come here after the court's order and are waiting for the minister to arrive since the morning," Sharma said. He alleged that Tripathi offered him money to give up the claim of the child. — IANS 

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BRIEFLY

Budget on July 6 
NEW DELHI:
The Union government on Monday decided to commence the Budget session of the Parliament from July 2 with the General Budget to be presented on July 6. The Railway Budget would be presented on July 3. — TNS

Ragging call centre misses deadline
NEW DELHI:
The proposed national call centre to enable victims of ragging from across the country to dial a toll free number to register complaints has missed the deadline. The call centre was supposed to be functional on Monday. Education Consultancy India (EdCIL) was entrusted with the job of setting up of the national call centre while UGC was supposed to monitor the helpline. The helpline will have a software which will pass on the message to heads of the educational institutions within 15 minutes of the complaint, so as to help the administration to swing into action for rescue of the victim students. — PTI

Tribal protesters torch three police camps
MIDNAPORE (WB):
Protesting against alleged police harassment, tribals on Monday torched three police camps and virtually took control of Lalgarh area in West Midnapur district after the forces withdrew apprehending violence by protesters who also forced a CRPF contingent to retreat. The police camps at Belatkri and Dharampur and the Ramgarh outpost in Lalgarh were wound up by the police, where the tribals have been enforcing a "boycott"" against them, the police said. The camps, in ‘pucca’ buildings, were ransacked before being torched by the tribals in the district that has witnessed frequent clashes between adivasis and CPM activists, officials sources said. — PTI

Dalit teen dies after hospital denies entry
LUCKNOW:
A Dalit teenager in Uttar Pradesh died on Monday after a government-run hospital allegedly refused to admit him, the police said. “Anil Kumar, (18), who had suffered burn injuries after being electrocuted, was reportedly denied treatment by doctors in a hospital in Hamirpur district on Monday,” Superintendent of Police Suryanath told IANS over the phone. The kin of the deceased alleged that the doctors asked them to take away Kumar, as the hospital was not meant for treating “lower caste patients”, he added. A high-level enquiry has been initiated into the case to probe the role of doctors who have been accused of denying the treatment. — IANS

Kasab breaks down
Mumbai:
The lone terrorist held in the 26/11 attacks, Ajmal Kasab, was seen weeping after photographs showing him firing at people at the CST railway station last year were produced before the court on Monday. As his photographs were taken on record by the court, Kasab sounded low. In the post-lunch session, when the witness was being cross examined, tears rolled down Kasab’s cheeks. — PTI

Relief for Kosi victims
Patna:
Assuring the people of Bihar to stand by them during any crisis, Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced an additional donation of Rs 5 crore from his relief fund for the rehabilitation of flood-ravaged people of Kosi belt. Hooda was here to inaugurate the rehabilitation projects undertaken by Sonepat district administration in one of the worst flood-affected villages, Shahpur-Musahri under Sonbarsa block of Saharasa district. — TNS

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