L A T E S T      N E W S

Right to reject, recall may not work in India: CEC

New Delhi: Amid a campaign by Team Anna for polls reforms, the Election Commission has opposed any proposal to include the 'Right to Reject' or `Right to Recall' clauses in election rules, saying they may not work in a large country like India. Opposing the proposal to have a 'Right to Recall' as in many developed countries, chief election commission (CEC) S Y Quraishi has held that it will "destabilise" the country, especially in areas where "people already feel alienated". On the proposal of introducing a clause on the Right to Reject, Quraishi said even though the EC has supported introduction of 49-O (rule) button in EVMs for voters to express their displeasure over candidates, the proposal will lead to more frequent elections.Back


3 prominent Sikhs get Sikh Heritage Awards

New York: Three prominent Sikhs, including senior Indian diplomat and author Navtej Sarna, have been given the Sikh Heritage Awards for their contribution to "elevating the Sikh experience".

Sarna received the award from the Sikh Art and Film Foundation here on Saturday at an awards gala celebrating the rich heritage, traditions and culture of the Sikhs. Sarna, currently India's ambassador to Israel, is the author of two novels "The Exile" (2008 ) and "We Weren't Lovers Like That" (2003). Both the books have been translated into Hindi, while the latter has been translated into Arabic too.

His non-fiction titles include "Folk Tales of Poland" (1993), "The Book of Nanak" (2003) and most recently "The Zafarnama" (2011), a translation from Persian to English of Guru Gobind Singh's letter to Aurungzeb. Besides Sarna, Heritage Awards were also presented to Jaspal Bindra, CEO Asia, Standard Chartered PLC for Leadership and filmmaker Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham") for Art. Back


India fishing in troubled waters of Vietnam, warns Chinese daily

Beijing: The agreement signed by India with Vietnam to explore oil in the South China Sea is a "reckless attempt to confront China", said a state-run Chinese daily, warning that Beijing may have to take actions "to show its stance".

"Both countries clearly know what this means for China," the Global Times, which has in the past taken hard lines on India, said in a commentary referring to the agreement New Delhi signed with Hanoi last Wednesday.

"China may consider taking actions to show its stance and prevent more reckless attempts in confronting China."

It noted that India is willing to fish in the troubled waters of the South China Sea so as to "accumulate bargaining chips on other issues with China".Back


19 Indian Haj pilgrims dead in Saudi Arabia

Dubai: As many as 19 Indians, who came to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj, have died in the country while undertaking the annual pilgrimage, officials have said. Nineteen of the 61,847 Indian pilgrims who arrived from India to perform Haj in Saudi Arabia are reported to have died so far, authorities

said. Of the total number of pilgrims who have already flown in from India, 27,487 are in Makkah and 34,345 are in Madinah, according to Consulate General of India in Jeddah. "So far 223 flights have come from India and 8,177 pilgrims have moved from Makkah to Madinah. As of today, 19 pilgrims have expired, out of which 15 came through Haj Committee of India and four through private tour operators, the consulate statement said. A maximum number of 20,268 have come from Delhi while 10,128 have come from Lucknow. Another 6,977 have flown out of Hyderabad while 8,400 have come from Kozhikode, the statement said.Back


CIL staff threatens strike, power crisis may worsen

New Delhi: The government's efforts to improve the grim power situation due to coal shortage may come to a naught, with CIL workers threatening to go on a 72-hour strike demanding a hike in bonus and pay revision.

"Over three lakh workers of CIL along with two lakh contract workers would proceed

on a 72-hour strike immediately if the Coal Ministry fails to address their demands, including a hike in bonus and pay revision," All-India Coal Workers Federation general secretary Jibon Roy said.

State-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) is the world's biggest coal producer and accounts for over 80% of the domestic production. "The coal ministry has called a meeting with workers' unions of Coal India (CIL) on October 17 which will be chaired by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal," CIL chairman and managing director N C Jha said.

The ministry will convince workers not to resort to strike which could further aggravate the shortage of coal supplies, as power companies are already battling with less supply, an official said.

The five workers' unions -- the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the All India Trade Union Congress, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha and the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh --have threatened to proceed on if their demands are not met.

Coal India has offered an annual bonus of Rs 17,000 per worker, while the unions are demanding for a minimum bonus of Rs 23,500 per employee.Back


Hazare starts week-long 'maun vrat'

Ralegan Siddhi: Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday began his week-long 'maun vrat' (vow of silence) at his native village for "atma shanti" (peace of soul). "Anna began his maun vrat this morning. He is sitting under a banyan tree near the Padmavati temple here," Hazare's close aide, Datta Awari said.

The 74-year-old Gandhian will stay in a 'kuti' (hut) during the maun vrat, Awari said. Hazare has been continuously interacting with people after ending his 12-day-old fast for a strong Lokpal bill in Delhi in August, and this put a lot of strain on him, Awari said.

The vow of silence comes close on the heels of the recent assault by suspected Ram Sene activists on a key 'Team Anna' member, Prashant Bhushan, who had advocated plebiscite in Kashmir.

Hazare has distanced himself from Bhushan's statement, saying he did not agree with it and that it was the senior lawyer's personal view.Back


Maoists snub Mamata over 7-day deadline

Kolkata: Maoists snubbed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 7-day deadline to lay down arms. They demanded immediate release of all political prisoners and said no talks could take place if joint forces continued to remain in the area.  Mamata had issued a stern warning on Saturday while addressing a rally in Jhargram saying that negotiations and violence could not go together. Mamata had blamed them for the recent killing of two Trinamool Congress workers. "Maoists have no ideals. They are 'supari' killers, jungle mafia. People hate violence. We initiated the peace process. We will continue the negotiations, but you (the rebels) have to lay down arms," Mamata had said. Back



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