L A T E S T      N E W S

Advani terms UPA-II ‘illegitimate’, retreats after Cong attack

NEW DELHI: BJP leader L.K. Advani on Wednesday created a storm in the Lok Sabha by dubbing UPA-II as “illegitimate”, but withdrew it after strong protests from the Congress. 

Advani, who came under carping attack with Congress President Sonia Gandhi leading from the front, later said he was referring to the 2008 confidence vote for which “crores of rupees were spent” to save the government. 

There was ruckus in the House soon after Advani spoke of the UPA-II as illegitimate while initiating a debate on the violence in Assam after Speaker Meira Kumar admitted an adjournment motion on the subject. 

“The UPA-II is illegitimate. It has never happened in the history of India ... crores of rupees were never spent to get votes,” Advani said, provoking the Treasury benches. 

As an angry Gandhi was seen strongly objecting to the remark and apparently demanding withdrawal of the comment, Leader of Lok Sabha Sushil Kumar Shinde appealed to him to withdraw the words. 

“Advani is a senior leader. We all respect him. But today he has said the entire (2009) election was illegitimate. This is an insult for all of us. I think he should withdraw his words,” Shinde said in his first intervention as the Leader of the House. 

The Speaker also reminded Advani that she had allowed adjournment motion as people were concerned about the situation in Assam. “But one word used by you has hurt the sentiments of everyone. If you want, you can withdraw it.” 

Advani admitted that he made a mistake by speaking about UPA-II and what he actually intended to say was the 2008 vote of confidence secured during the UPA-I. “My comments were on the confidence vote and not on election. ... Those who were whistleblowers were sent to jail,” he said. — PTI




Ready to discuss Assam violence: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the government is ready for any discussion in accordance with rules and procedures in Parliament before the beginning of the monsoon session even as BJP said it will raise the issue of Assam ethnic violence.

Singh said he hoped all political parties will work with the government to ensure that this session of Parliament goes smoothly.

The NDA on Tuesday had said it will move an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha and suspension of Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the ethnic violence in Kokrajhar, Assam.

"NDA has decided that we will not let Parliament function on Wednesday unless the issue of ethnic violence in Assam is taken up for discussion," BJP President Nitin Gadkari said at a programme in Delhi on Tuesday.

BJP parliamentary party chief LK Advani will move an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday during Question Hour to press for a discussion on this issue.

In Rajya Sabha, deputy leader of BJP Ravi Shankar Prasad and his party colleague Balbir Punj will move a suspension of Question Hour notice on the same issue.

BJP had declared in the all-party meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday that it wants a discussion on this issue on the first day of the session. In case the chair rejects the NDA demand, they are likely to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, sources said.Back




Tattoos on US gurdwara gunman's body hid racist codes

OAK CREEK (Wisconsin): The neo-Nazi gunman who killed six innocent persons at a Wisconsin gurdwara had adorned his body with tattoos that hid secret racist codes and symbols showing allegiance to white supremacist beliefs.

Wade Michael Page, 41, the Army veteran who was killed on Sunday after gunning down the six persons at the gurdwara, left behind a startling trail of clues detailing his descent into hate in the tattoos that marked his body and in his music.

Many of the tattoos covering his arms and torso, Marilyn Mayo, co-director of the Anti-Defamation League's Centre on Extremism, said contained specific racist codes and hidden symbols that showed his allegiance to white supremacist beliefs and to a specific skinhead group.

The ADL maintains an on-line database of racist symbols.

"Symbols are an important part of this culture," Mayo said.

"It allows others to know you're part of the skinhead movement and is used as a way of intimidation. Getting a tattoo is permanent and it comes with a serious commitment. It means you're a member, you're part of this club and have been initiated," he said.

Page, 41, had a tattoo on his right arm below his shoulder with the number "838," which Mayo said is a coded symbol indicating membership in the Hammerskins, a skinhead group whose members have been accused of multiple violent crimes, including murders, since the 1980s.

The number 838 corresponds to the letters H, C, H, an acronym for the group's motto "Hail the Crossed Hammers," a reference to the group's logo, the ABC News reported.

"The tattoo is indicative of membership in the Hammerskins," Mayo said.

"Only a member would have that tattoo." The ADL believes that he was a prospective member as recently as early 2011, but that his membership became official in late 2011.

A former soldier, Page, was demoted from sergeant to specialist before leaving the Army in 1998. His body art would have been banned under Army policies outlawing extremist and racist tattoos.

In the years following his discharge, Page posted dozens of photos of himself online that show the ink on his body.

On the back of his hands, he had tattooed the letters "W" and "P," which Mayo said is an acronym for White Power.

On his left shoulder appeared a Celtic cross, a cross inscribed inside a circle.

"The Celtic cross is a symbol of white pride and is one of most popular symbols for neo-Nazis and White Supremacists," Mayo said.

Within the circle on Page's arm was the number 14, which corresponds to the number of words in the supremacist motto: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." — PTI




Kingfisher cancels 31 flights as employees strike

MUMBAI: Kingfisher Airlines on Wednesday cancelled over 30 flights from Delhi and Mumbai due to a strike by a section of its employees protesting non-payment of salary.

While 22 flights of the airline were cancelled from Delhi, nine were cancelled from Mumbai, sources said.

A section of its employees, including pilots and engineers are not reporting for work to protest non-payment of salary, they said.

Meanwhile, the board of the near-bankrupt airlines is meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss finances ahead of the announcement of quarterly results.

“The airlines’ board is meeting at a five-star hotel in south-west Delhi this afternoon to discuss finances,” the sources said.

The airline’s operations have been disrupted time and again since April when pilots called off work protesting salary delays.

Kingfisher Airlines, which has been facing fund-crunch for almost a year now, has not paid salary to its staff for the past five months. A sizeable number of its employees have not been paid since February.

The decision of airline employees to go on agitation coincides with the monsoon session of the Parliament that starts Wednesday. “We hope that the strike will pull the attention of Parliament and our plight and misery echoes in political corridors,” an employee said. — PTI




Geetika case: Police to grill Gopal Kanda

New Delhi: A day after Geetika Sharma’s family demanded a CBI probe, Delhi Police will question former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda for having allegedly abetted suicide of his former employee.

A former air hostess with Kanda's now defunct MDLR airline, 23-year-old Geetika Sharma was found dead on Sunday at her Ashok Vihar residence in north-west Delhi.

In a suicide note found at her residence, Geetika accused Kanda and MDLR official Aruna Chaddha of repeatedly harassing her.

Geetika’s family had accused Kanda of ruining her chances of working with the international Emirates airline, pressurising her to remain with MDLR.

“I want justice for Geetika Sharma. I want a CBI enquiry. This is not just a suicide case," said her mother.

P Karunakaran, Deputy Commissioner of Police(North-West), said they have now added Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC in the case which was registered on Sunday. Police had earlier registered a case of abetment to suicide against Kanda on the basis of the suicide note.

Besides Kanda, the police have also sent notices to Aruna Chadha and Ankit Alhuwalia. Back





22 killed as bus falls into gorge in Meghalaya

Shillong: At least 22 people were killed and several others critically injured when a Tripura-bound bus fell into a deep gorge in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills district in the wee hours of Wednesday.

The incident took place sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. at Tamseng village near the Meghalaya-Aassam border.

The bus was on its way to Agartala from Guwahati when it fell into the 80-feet deep gorge.

“We have been able to retrieve 22 bodies even as six critically injured persons were shifted to Khliehriat community health centre”, district police chief M.K. Dkhar said.

“There are possibilities of more deaths and the district police and fire service personnel are on the job to rescue the trapped persons in the bus”, he said.

The depth of the gorge is over 80 feet. — PTI




Mary Kom’s decisive match today

London: MC Mary Kom will enter boxing ring on Wednesday with the hope of achieving yet another historical feat.

She became the first Indian women boxer to claim an Olympic medal on Monday by entering the semifinal of women`s 51 kg category defeating Maroua Rahali of Tunisia.

Now, if Mary defeats Nicola Adams of Great Britain, she will become the first Indian boxer to book a final showdown and thus be assured of at least a silver medal.

So far it has been a successful campaign for the diminutive boxer from Manipur who increased her weight from 48kg to 51kg in order for her to be eligible for participation in the prestigious quadrennial event.

The mother of two has been a five-time world champion in the 48kg category.

She defeated Karolina Michalczuk of Poland 19-14 in the pre quarterfinal and then dominated Maroua Rahali of Tunisia with a 16-5 scoreline that ensured India another medal in the 2012 London Olympics.Back





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