L A T E S T      N E W S

Post-26/11, India's tough talk rattled Pakistan: Rice

Washington: Rattled by India's tough talk after the Mumbai terror attacks, a "terrified" Pakistan pressed the panic button and told the US, China, Saudi Arabia and "everyone that India had decided to go to war". Islamabad informed the White House that India had warned them that they had decided to go to war and a US Presidential aide anxiously called her to convey this, says the then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"That isn't what they're (India) telling me," she told the aide.

"In my many conversations with the Indians over the two days, they'd emphasised their desire to defuse the situation and their need for the Pakistanis to do something to show that they accepted responsibility for tracking down the terrorists," Rice wrote in her book 'No High Honors' that is scheduled to hit the book stores next week.

Giving an insider account of what transpired beyond public gaze after the 26/11 attacks, Rice discloses that the origin of the panic in Pakistan were the "stern words" conveyed by the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a phone call.
Rice asked the operations centre to get Mukherjee on the phone, but they couldn't reach him.

Consequently she started getting nervous and she thought that Mukherjee was trying to avoid her as New Delhi was preparing for war.
"I called back again. No response. By now the international phone lines were buzzing with the news. The Pakistanis were calling everyone—the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Chinese. Finally Mukherjee called back. I told him what I'd heard," Rice wrote in her 766-page book.





Centre strongly opposes commuting sentence of Rajiv assassins

Chennai: Strongly opposing the petitions by three Rajiv Gandhi assassins challenging their death sentences, the Centre on Friday said the delay in the disposal of the clemency pleas was not a valid ground for commutation of capital punishment.
"However long it may be, is not a mitigating circumstance or can be construed as a valid ground for commutation of death sentence and in any event does not reduce the gravity of the crime," the Centre said in its counter affidavit in response to the petitions filed by Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan.

On August 30, a division Bench comprising justices C Nagappan and M Satyanaryanan, had stayed for eight weeks the execution of the trio.
When the petitions came up on Friday, the judges adjourned the hearing on the petitions to November 29 as the Supreme Court was hearing a petition for transferring the petitions to another high court.

In the affidavit on behalf of the Centre, Joint Secretary (Judicial) in the Union Home Ministry, J L Chugh, pointed out that the power of the President under Article 72 of the Constitution "is a discretionary power which cannot be taken away by any statutory provision".

The power cannot be altered, modified or interfered with in any manner whatsoever by any statutory provision or authority, the affidavit said, adding that "exercise of power under Article 71 of the Constitution is not curtailed by any limitation as to the timeframe within which such power conferred might be exercised".
Asserting that deterrent punishment alone could prevent other potential offenders from committing such crimes, the counter said it was also likely to dissuade people from associating in future with any terrorist organisation in committing such diabolical and heinous crimes.





Medha for overhauling of Team Anna; to skip Core panel meet

New Delhi: Another Team Anna member Medha Patkar on Friday said there was a need for "overhauling" the group as it was facing a number of allegations and many members of the Core Committee were being targeted, but denied any rift within.
At the same, Patkar said she will not be attending Saturday's Core Committee meeting, which Hazare and Justice Santosh Hegde have also decided to skip.
"I don't think there is a difference of opinion. The only thing is a bit of overhauling is certainly becoming necessary because there are a number of allegations and Core Committee members are being targeted," she said.

She said Saturday's meeting of the committee will be in a better position to take a decision on the overhauling.

Her remarks came as another Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas shot off a letter to Hazare on the eve of Core Committee meeting, seeking its expansion to make it more representative against the backdrop of Congress leaders targeting it.

He said the leaders of the ruling party were targeting Hazare and each member of the Core Committee and trying to tarnish their public image and credibility.
Patkar, a prominent member of the Core Committee, said all its members are with the movement. "The movement does not mean only Core Committee," she asserted.
Asked about Justice Santosh Hegde's remarks on allegations faced by Team Anna members that "it's a nice churning and 'manthan' is going on", Patkar said he was not giving any opinion against the Committee or the movement.

"He has the right to give his own frank opinion whether it is with respect to any allegation or otherwise," she said.





Pak tests nuclear-capable Hatf-7 cruise missile

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday test fired nuclear-capable Hatf-7 cruise missile with a range of 700 km that can hit targets in India.
The test of the "indigenously developed multi-tube" cruise missile system was successful, said a statement issued by the military.

The Hatf-7 or Babur missile has stealth capabilities and can carry nuclear and conventional warheads, the military said.

The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee Khalid Shameem Wyne.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani congratulated the scientists and engineers on their achievement.




BSNL reconnects its landlines with pvt mobile 
companies in Punjab

Chandigarh: After nearly a month of disruption, state-owned telecom major BSNL on Friday restored services between its landline telephones and private mobile operators.

The services have been restored following fresh directions issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to BSNL to restore the services by Friday.

"The Points of Interconnect (providing connectivity between BSNL landline phones and mobile phones of private operators within Punjab have been restored, following directions from the head office," a BSNL official said here.

Earlier last week, BSNL had ignored similar directions of Trai, after which private mobile operators again approached the regulatory body.

On September 29, BSNL's Punjab circle had disconnected the services to five mobile operators including Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communication and Idea, on account of pending dues amounting to Rs 13 crore.

Customers could not call up on one another's network in Punjab, Chandigarh and Panchkula in Haryana.

BSNL landline subscribers could not make a call to mobile subscribers of private mobile operators and vice-versa.

On October 3, BSNL restored services to RCom and Tata Teleservices as telecom tribunal TDSAT stayed BSNL from disconnecting services of the two private operators.

BSNL, following hardships faced by those in distress, had restored services to emergency numbers like 100, 101, 102 and 108 in the Punjab circle.
In Punjab, BSNL has about 11.91 lakh landline customers, while mobile operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had 67.09 lakh, 42.30 lakh, and 47.34 lakh subscribers respectively as on July 31.




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