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Ramdev arrested on way to Parliament

NEW DELHI: Yoga guru Ramdev on Monday courted arrest after he was stopped by the Delhi Police from marching towards Parliament as part of his intensified protest against corruption and bringing back black money stashed away on foreign shores.

Ramdev courted arrest along with thousands of his supporters near the Ranjit Singh flyover, just a few metres away from the Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi, the venue of his fast protest since Thursday.

"Delhi Police is a puppet in the hands of the Central government. We will not do anything that disrupts peace. We wanted to march towards Parliament in a peaceful manner to make our voices heard," he told his supporters before courting arrest.

"Our intention is not to disrupt peace. We will cooperate with the police and go according to the law. We have respect to the law of the land," he said before getting into a Delhi Transport Corporation bus which Delhi Police had brought to take him.

He is being taken to Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi. Holding the national tricolour, Ramdev hopped into a open vehicle from outside the Maidan in central Delhi and began his march at 1:15pm. He was soon joined by thousands of his supporters.

"Let us start the march to Parliament. Our march is not to gherao Parliament. But to agitate. None of our volunteers should indulge in violence," he told his supporters before beginning his march.

Ten minutes into the march, the cavalcade was stopped by Delhi Police near the flyover, saying that they do not have permission to march.

Heavy police presence could be seen outside Ramlila Maidan and Ranjit Singh Flyover, the route of the protest march.

Ramdev announced on Monday morning that he and his supporters would march towards Parliament and hold an agitation outside the complex.

"The government has become completely deaf. We have to make them hear us. Now our protest will be outside Parliament. We are not talking about gherao," Ramdev said while addressing his supporters in the morning.

"Lok Sabha polls will be in 2014 and 99 per cent could be in 2013. This protest is to ensure that no dishonest person enters Parliament. Such people should be boycotted. We do not have a political agenda," he said. — PTI



Gadkari, Mulayam support Ramdev's agitation

NEW DELHI: Sharing the dais with Ramdev, BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Monday pledged his party's "full support" to the yoga guru's agitation against black money and launched a blistering attack on the Congress-led UPA government on issues like corruption and black money.

Appearing along with NDA convenor Sharad Yadav at the Ramlila Maidan protest venue, Gadkari told Ramdev that the BJP would stand "fully behind him" in his agitation demanding bringing back black money stashed away in foreign banks and that the party was raising the issue in Parliament.

"There is no political agenda to this agitation. This agitation should not be seen from political prism. This is an agitation of the people of the country and not of one single party. Black money should be brought back to the country and spent on the country's development," he said in his address.

Alleging that CBI has become "Congress Investigation Bureau", Gadkari claimed that the investigative agency was the "biggest strength" of the government which is using it to black mail people like Ramdev.

"We have not seen it once. We have seen it many times that CBI is misused by the government. They use it to blackmail people. They are trying to harass people like Ramdev and his supporters," he said.

The BJP chief also wanted to know why the government was "reluctant" in naming the people who have stashed black money in foreign shores.

"The BJP is fully behind Baba in his fight against black money. He has our full support. Here you are leading lakhs of people in the movement and in Parliament, the BJP raised the issue and stalled the House on the matter," he said.

He said black money should be brought back to the country and spent on developing India.

Gadkari also alleged that the government "shows the way" to jail to people who raise their voice against corruption and black money instead of listening to them.

"The government is full of corruption. The PMO and most departments saw the file regarding 2G spectrum but they said they know nothing. Did not P. Chidambaram clear the files? Only Raja and Kalmadi have landed in jail," he charged.

"I feel that after the elections, most people who are roaming in Central Hall will be in Tihar Jail. This is what I feel," he said.

He also asked people of the country to support the movement against black money and corruption so that the money is spent on their development and empowerment.

Meanwhile, UPA ally Samajwadi Party on Monday said it will support anybody who fights for the cause.

“Our party is against black money. Whoever talks about bringing back black money, we will support (him),” SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters outside Parliament House.

He said if black money comes back to the country, it will do good for the nation and its people.

“Black money should come back. It is our own issue. Whoever raises the issue it is good and we support him,” he said.

Yadav’s comment came as Baba Ramdev decided to take his protest on black money and corruption to Parliament and vowed to oust Congress in the next Lok Sabha polls.

“The issue was raised in the House (Parliament) today”, Yadav said, while noting that the government has promised to bring back black money stashed away abroad.

The SP leader evaded a reply when asked to comment on Baba Ramdev’s claim that UPA is a sinking ship.

His party colleague Ram Gopal Yadav took a dig at BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav for sharing dais with Baba Ramdev.

“People who don’t trust their cadres and feel that they cannot win elections without support of others only do such thing. I will not go to any such stage,” he said. — PTI




Geetika suicide case: Kanda moves Delhi HC for anticipatory bail

NEW DELHI: Absconding former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, wanted in connection with the suicide of former flight attendant Geetika Sharma, on Monday moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail. The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday. On August 9, Kanda's anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by a sessions court that said allegations against him were grave and serious in nature and that his application was without merit.

Kanda, who owned the MDLR Airlines, where the 23-year-old Geetika was earlier employed, was booked for abetment to her suicide and criminal intimidation.

Kanda, former Minister of State for Home in Haryana, has been on the run since. 

Geetika hanged herself in her north Delhi's Ashok Vihar house on August 5 and left behind a suicide note, blaming Kanda for her extreme step. Her autopsy report on Friday confirmed there was no foul play. — IANS




London Olympics comes to rocking end

LONDON: Some of Britain's greatest singers and celebrities provided a touch of glamour and vibrance as London on Sunday bid a grand farewell to bring down the curtains on the 30th Olympic Games with a heady mix of music, culture and dazzling fireworks in London.

The skyline lit up with breath-taking fireworks and the swanky Olympic stadium was virtually transformed into a jukebox as some of Britain's biggest pop stars and singers performed in an engrossing 'after show party'.

At the end of a three-hour ceremony, the Olympic flame was ceremoniously extinguished, marking the end of the 17-day sporting extravaganza which saw many Olympic and world record being re-written and many new heroes emerging.

More than 10,500 athletes from 204 nations took part in the Games staged in this historic city for an unprecedented third time.

US and China predictably emerged as the powerhouses by taking the first and second spots in the medals tally while hosts Britain produced their best-ever show to take the third position. India too had their moments of glory at the Olympic Games as it notched up its best ever medal tally of six.

Similar to the opening ceremony, Britain again showcased its rich music repertoire combined with some stunning visual and lighting effects at the closing ceremony watched by an estimated two billion global audience.

Billed as the biggest 'after show party', the Spice Girls appeared atop London's black taxis singing some of their chart-bursting numbers and there were others such as The Who, George Michael, Muse and Ed Sheeran who enthralled the capacity crowd of 80,000 who thronged the stadium.

The closing ceremony celebrated the achievements of athletes at the Games and also saw London handing over the baton to Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the 2016 Games.

The Ceremony provided an opportunity for the world to view the creative expressions of Artistic Director Kim Gavin, his team and the culture of United Kingdom.

The Closing Ceremony, titled 'A Symphony of British Music', celebrated the fact that music has been one of Britain's strongest cultural exports over the last 50 years.

More than 4,100 performers, including 3,500 adult volunteers and 380 school children from the six East London Host Boroughs, took part in the ceremony.

The ceremony began with a show depicting a journey through a day in the life of the city -- from early morning rush to glittering sunset.

Singer Emeli Sande was driven around the track in a newspaper rubbish truck, singing "read all about it". Soon Julian Lloyd Webber could be seen playing cello.

The figure of former PM Winston Churchill, played by Timothy Spall, then appeared with his cigar and proclaimed words from Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Michael Caine then appeared on the big screen and his voice from the iconic British film "The Italian Job" echoed around the stadium, followed by the exploding doors of a car.

As the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" came to an end, the central knot of roads, traffic and buildings pulled apart in a dramatic burst.

British-Irish boy band 'One Direction' performed 'What Makes You Beautiful', followed by a performance of percussion group 'Stomp'. Thirty gymnasts from 'Spellbound' then performed on and around the buildings, dressed as a gang of clown-headed city businessmen. British rock band 'Kinks' also had their moment, performing the 'Waterloo Sunset' song.

After the initial concert, the flag-bearers of the participating delegations, including India's bronze medal winning woman boxer M C Mary Kom, entered the Stadium in single file, closely followed by the athletes.

At the Closing Ceremony, athletes marched together, not by nationality. This was a tradition that began at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games and is a way of bringing the athletes of the world together as 'one nation'. 

Indian athletes such as Krishna Poonia and members of the hockey team could be seen enjoying the ceremony.

The show had a segment showcasing Bhangra drummers, clad in a white dress and a group of performers, who heaved 303 white boxes, representing the number of Olympic events, towards the centre of the stage. These boxes then formed into a pyramid, on which the highlights of the Games were screened.

A victory ceremony of the men's marathon, one of the last events of the Games, then followed where the top three finishers were given away the medals by IOC president Jacques Rogge. Some of the Games volunteers then climbed the podium and their contribution to the Olympics was acknowledged.

An original footage from the famous 'Imagine' photo shoot done in 1971, remastered by Beatles singer John Lennon's wife Yoko Ono, was shown on the big screen even as a group formed a pattern out of 101 fragments to resemble his face, which then broke up as the song ended.

Celebrated British singer George Micheal then joined the ceremony, singing "Freedom 90" and "White light", enthralling the spectators, who gave him a huge applause.

Fifty scooters, with lead singer Ricky Wilson riding pillion in one of them, entered the stadium, while Indie rock band 'Kaiser Chiefs' performed on stage.

Top models such as Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss then walked the ramp, followed by a singing performance by Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox, who stood on top of a makeshift dark skeletal boat which 'sailed' into the stadium.

Singer Ed Sheeran then performed Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' as tightrope walkers dressed as businessmen walked on the rope before one of them 'went up in flames'.

Next was comedian Russell Brand who sang Pure Imagination from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, followed by performances by British DJ Fatboy Slim, singers Jessie J and Taio Cruz and rapper Tinie Tempah, who regaled the audience by chorusing a song from the film Saturday Night Fever.

'Spice Girls' also performed a medley of songs, atop their cabs, which were driven around the stadium. The audience also got a glimpse of English rock band 'Beady Eye' as they performed 'Wonderwall'. 

To provide an Indian flavour, a host of bhangra dancers dressed in colourful costumes performed with English comedian Eric Idle, much to the delight of the audience.

British rockers 'Muse' then performed the London 2012 Olympic song "Survival". Soon former 'Queen' singer, Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991, came alive on screen, followed by a performance by band member Brian May. May and Jessie then gave an electrifying performance with a rendition of the Queen anthem 'We will rock you'.

After the musical extravaganza, the formal part of the ceremony started. The Mayor of the Host City, Boris Johnson joined Rogge on the rostrum and gave him back the Olympic flag after a traditional wave. Rogge then presented the flag to the Mayor of the next Host City of the Olympic Games.

Three national flags were then hoisted on flagpoles one at a time, while the corresponding national anthems were played: the flag of Greece to honour the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the flag of the Host Nation (UK), and the flag of the country hosting the next Summer Olympic Games (Brazil). 

There was also a short presentation of Brazilian culture, music and dance and a surprise appearance of legendary footballer Pele with his country's troupe of dancers.

London Games organising chief Sabastian Coe then gave a thanksgiving speech, before Rogge declared the 30th Games closed after a speech in which he called upon the youth of the world to assemble at Rio de Jenerio for the 31st Olympiad four years later.

The Olympic Flame, which has been burning in the Thomas Heatherwick-designed cauldron since the opening of the Games, was then extinguished –- a poignant and moving moment for all those involved in the Games and the audience at large.

The 204 charred "petals" of the cauldron will be given to each competing country.

The pixels that were used to such effect to light up the stadium seats during the opening ceremony were put to even greater use, with the audience encouraged to pick them up and wave them around.

As the show concluded, a spectacular display fireworks and more music provided the grand finale to the biggest sporting extravaganza. — PTI





Tendulkar, Sehwag laud Sushil

NEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar lauded his dedication while Virender Sehwag was in awe of his “mental strength” as India’s star cricketers gave a collective round of applause to wrestler Sushil Kumar for clinching a silver medal at the just-concluded London Olympics.

Sushil, who had bagged a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games, became the first Indian athlete to notch up back-to-back Olympic medals with silver on the final day of competitions in London on Sunday.

“Sushil has done us proud by winning India its second silver medal. We are proud of his dedication, commitment and effort. Well done Sushil!!” Tweeted Tendulkar.

“Sushil showed the size of his heart today and his mental strength of a world champion. Najafgarh ka Sher. Extremely proud of you bhai :),” added Sehwag, a friend of the unassuming Delhi wrestler who competes in the 66kg freestyle event.

Another star cricketer who congratulated Sushil was Yuvraj Singh, who will return to international action in September’s Twenty20 World Cup after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer.

“Congratulations to sushil kumar!! First indian to win back to back individual medals! a hallmark of a great athlete!!” he said.

Joining Yuvraj was Suresh Raina, who said, “Sushil’s silver is no less than gold. What a fighter! Heard he was dehydrated before his fight. Great feat to win at consecutive Olympics.”

The 29-year-old Sushil, who was India’s flagbearer in the opening ceremony, lost to Japanese Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu in the gold-medal bout.

With the addition of Sushil’s silver medal, India completed their engagements in the 30th edition of the Olympics with a record haul of six medals — two silver and four bronze — but the gold medal could not be won by anyone.

In Beijing, India had won one gold and two bronze medals. — PTI




Pak committed to better relations with India: Zardari

Islamabad: Asserting that Pakistan is committed to better relations with India, President Asif Ali Zardari today said he hopes that the search by the two countries for peaceful resolutions to all disputes through sustained and productive dialogue will bear fruit.

Zardari made the remarks in a message issued on the occasion of a seminar to be organised by the South Asian Free Media Association in Lahore and Amritsar on August 13.

The democratic government and the people of Pakistan "wish to see peace and cooperation flourish in the subcontinent", he said.

India and Pakistan need durable peace and security to focus on the social and economic development of their people, Zardari said.

"On this occasion, I wish to express my full support to the endeavours of SAFMA to bring the people of the two countries closer together and help build bridges of understanding, cooperation and trust," he added.Back




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