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N-E exodus: Govt blocks more than 250 websites

NEW DELHI: Stepping up its drive against "erring" portals, government has ordered blocking of more than 250 websites in which morphed images and videos were uploaded to incite Muslims leading to exodus of people belonging to the northeast from Karnataka and some other states.

Home Ministry officials said more than 130 websites have been blocked till now while the rest will be blocked shortly.

"We are planning to block some more sites," an official said.

The government is also contemplating to take up the CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team-India) findings at the international forum as it has turned out to be the biggest instance of cyber warfare on India in recent times.

A Pakistan-based hardline group is suspected to have been involved in doctoring images and spreading them across social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to incite Muslims and create scare among people of northeastern region living across India.

Most of the online content started getting posted from July 13 and fake profiles were created for spreading morphed pictures, according to a home ministry report prepared in the wake of mass exodus of people belonging to the north-east from Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Mumbai following rumours about possible attack on them. PTIBack




Beni Prasad Verma says he is happy with rising prices

BARABANKI(UP)/NEW DELHI: Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma was on Monday at the centre of a controversy with remarks that he was "happy" over rising prices of food items as it will benefit farmers, evoking a sharp attack from BJP and other parties.

"Dal, atta, rice and vegetables have become expensive. The more the prices, the better it is for farmers. I am happy with this inflation," the Union Steel Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

He said the media was making a hue and cry of increasing prices. "Media kehti hai ki khane ki thali mehngi ho gayi hai...Isse fayada kisano ka hai, aur sarkar kisano ke fayda ki pachdhar hai" (Media says that cost of food plate has increased but it is benefiting farmers...and the government is in favour of farmers profit)," he said.

Lashing out at his rationale, the BJP accused the Congress of turning a blind eye to the common man being hit by inflation.

"The Congress leaders are not affected by inflation at all. They are not seeing the plight of the people as a result of rising prices. It clearly shows their mentality," BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said in Delhi.

Today, the farmers are hit by high cost of fertilisers and power. "Then how are they going to benefit by rising prices," he said.

Asked about Verma's remarks, law minister Salman Khurshid said it should be viewed in the right context.

"If the farmer gets a good price for his yield, then it is inevitable that market prices will also go up," he said, adding that Prime Minister's economic advisers as also the Planning Commission are there to deal with such issues and keep a check on inflation.

If the recent steps taken by the government including cut in interest rates are viewed holistically, then one will understand the context in which the minister made his remarks, Khurshid said.

Deprecating the government, BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said doesn't it know that farmers, like everyone else, are also equally affected by overall rise in prices.

"The government has become protector of mafias who manipulate prices. The aam aadmi is reeling under mounting inflation and this Government is happy about it," he said.

Reacting sharply to Verma's remarks, BJP state president Lakshmi Kant Bajpai said Congress should issue a statement disowning them.

"It unfortunate that a Union Minister is making such remarks. How can he be ignorant about the problems being faced by the common man due to price rise", he said asking the Congress to clarify its stand on it.

SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said that it was pathetic that a minister was making such a statement, which showed that he had no clue about the problems face by the common man.

SP leader Azam Khan said that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi should take note of Verma's remarks. PTI





Kanda may undergo brain mapping test: Delhi Police

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Monday appeared mulling the option of brain mapping test on former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda who is refusing to cooperate in the probe in connection with the Geetika Sharma suicide case.

Kanda had on Saturday morning surrendered before the police after evading arrest for ten days. Sharma, a former employee of his now-defunct MDLR airline, accused him and another senior colleague Aruna Chaddha of harassing her.

Police sources said Kanda has been evasive during questioning and denied any involvement with 23-year-old Sharma.

When asked whether the police will subject him to brain mapping, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-West) P. Karunakaran said, "If required, we will do that. We will take him to all places where we feel probe is required."

He said nothing has come out yet and "if there is something I will tell you."

Karunakaran said Kanda was telling them that he was in Sirsa for the past ten days before his surrender. "He is not cooperating," he said.

The police also plans to confront Kanda with Chaddha, in a bid to piece together the sequence of events that resulted in the suicide of Geetika who was found dead in her north west Delhi residence on August 5.

Investigators have seized computers from the Gurgaon office of Kanda.

The police team seized computers and documents from Gurgaon office of Kanda, who was sent to seven-day police custody by a local court on Saturday. The team stayed there for three hours and later took Kanda to his Civil Lines residence for further probe in the matter.

The sources said they were looking for hard disks of some computers which may help in further investigations.

The postmortem report of Geetika said she died of hanging and the ligature mark is ante-mortem in nature.

"Sealed samples of vaginal and anal swabs along with slides were preserved for semen and DNA profiling and handed over to the police," the report said. PTI




Heavy firing along international border, intruder killed

JAMMU: Heavy firing exchanges erupted along the international border after Pakistan again violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian posts to push in a group of militants in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district, where one intruder was killed. This is the fourteenth time that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the international border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in the last fortnight.

Pakistani Rangers fired on Indian posts of Mala Bela, Garkhal, Sidra camp and Naka Number-10 along IB in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district around 2230 hours last night, officials said today.

The firing was aimed to facilitate a group of militants into Indian territory. "We observed movement of suspected militants along border", they said.

BSF troops guarding the borderline fired back resulting in heavy exchanges, in which one intruder was killed and other escaped back, they said, adding firing continued till 7.30am on Monday.

Pakistan troops also fired on the forward posts in Krishnagati belt along LoC in Poonch sector violating ceasefire late last night, they said, adding Army troops replied back and firing stopped after one hour.

Pakistan has been repeatedly violating the ceasfire this month.

On August 17, there was heavy cross-border small arms firing on India posts along IB in Abdullian and Korotona Border Out Posts (BoPS) from Pakistan in R S Pura sub-sector in which BSF jawan Chander Rai was killed.

There were two firing incidents and ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Pansar Boder Out Post (BOP) along IB in Samba sector and Krishnagati forward belt along LoC barely on August 15.

On August 13, Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian posts along the Indo-Pak border in Arnia sector of Jammu district. PTI




Under-19 World Cup: India beat Pak to reach semifinals

TOWNSVILLE: India's tail-enders held their nerves in the tense dying moments to edge out archrivals Pakistan by one wicket in a low-scoring thriller to cruise into the semifinals of the Under-19 World Cup on Monday. 

After dismissing Pakistan for a paltry 136, India made rough weather of a small target as they were reduced to 127/9 in 41 overs after being in a comfortable 124/6 at one stage. 

It was a nerve-wrecking final 25 minutes as Mumbai lad Harmeet Singh and number 11 Sandeep Sharma from Punjab held their nerves to eke out a narrow one-wicket win with two overs to spare at the Tony Ireland Stadium. 

The two tail-enders played out seven overs to score the remaining 10 runs as the Pakistanis applied pressure with their fielders closing in. 

The victory came when Harmeet pulled Mohammad Nawaz towards the square-leg boundary to score two runs and take India to the victory target. 

The victory shot triggered off scenes of wild celebration in the Indian camp as his teammates rushed onto the field to hug him. 

India will now take on New Zealand in their semifinal on August 23. New Zealand beat West Indies by three wickets in the other quarterfinal match. 

It must have personally been satisfying for both Sandeep and Harmeet who are dubbed as 'U-19 veterans' in their team as they were playing their second colts World Cup having been a part of the team in 2010 as well. India had then lost to Pakistan. 

Credit should also be given to Baba Aparajith (51, 97 balls, 3x4) as his composed batting after initial jitters steadied the ship. 

India were tottering at 8/3 within the first five overs of their chase but Aprajith along with Vijay Zol (36) added a crucial 66 runs for the fourth wicket to ensure India's passage into the last four stage. 

This was also a sweet revenge for Unmukt Chand and co as Pakistan had convincingly beaten India in the previous two meetings of the under-19 edition in 2006 and 2010. 

In conditions conducive for both seam and swing bowling, Pakistan left arm pacer Zia-ul-Haq troubled the Indian top-order with his brisk pace as he repeatedly got the ball to angle away from the right handers. 

India's batting mainstay Chand paid for his impetuosity as he flashed hard at a Zia delivery only to be caught brilliantly in their deep third-man region by Ehsan Adil. 

In the very next over, right-arm medium pacer Adil got one to shape away from the opener Prashant Chopra (4) as he nicked it to wicketkeeper Salman Afridi. 

Hanuma Vihari (0) followed the suit as he edged one to the second slip of Zia's bowling. 

At 8/3, Zol and Aparajith joined hands to carry out a repair job. They first concentrated on taking singles and two's and hit the occasional boundary in between. 

Zol fell at the score of 74 while attempting a non-existent run as he failed to make to the crease on time. 

Akshdeep Nath didn't stay for long as India were again in a spot of bother at 84/5. 

Aprajith who played a good pull shot and couple of elegant looking cover drives then scored a few quick runs along with wicketkeeper batsman Smit Patel, the duo on two occasions running four runs even as the ball failed to cross the rope. 

Aparajith finally completed his 50 pushing for a single but was soon out as he offered a catch in the covers. 

His dismissal, however, triggered a slump as three wickets in quick succession before Sharma and Harmeet guided them home. 

Earlier, Sandeep (3/24) and Ravikant Singh (3/43) continued their good show in the tournament as they left Pakistan reeling at 98/8 before Ehsan Adil's lusty hitting saw Pakistan reach 136. 

The delivery of the match was bowled by young Bengal pacer Ravikant who dismissed left-handed Saad Ali. The delivery just pitched outside the off stump and moved in a shade to clip the off bail as the gap between bat and pad was minimal. PTI




Saina Nehwal receives BMW car from Sachin Tendulkar

HYDERABAD: Saina Nehwal on Sunday received a brand new BMW car for winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics from none other than batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who said that the world is yet to see the best of the star shuttler.

The felicitation function was organised by vice president of Andhra Badminton Association Chamundeshwari Nath, who honoured the city girl by buying her the luxurious car.

"I am sure that she (Saina) is happy but not satisfied. We are also not satisfied because we know that you can go to greater heights. You have that ability with Gopi's guidance. There are better days ahead and as a sportsperson, you always try to believe that your best is yet to come," the iconic Indian batsman said at the felicitation function.

While announcing a BMW car for Saina and a car each for her coach P Gopichand and budding talent PV Sindhu, Sachin said, "I am quite confident that your best is yet to come and you will emerge victorious across the world and that is what we want".

Heaping praises on Saina, Tendulkar said, "Whatever I have seen of her there is no drama involved, it's just quality badminton and that is what you expect from a sportsperson. After winning (bronze medal) also, she has not got carried away and that's the beauty of being a champion sport person".

Saina gave India its first-ever medal in badminton at Olympics when her Chinese opponent withdrew from the bronze medal play-off after injuring her knee.

"This medal means a lot for India, I am sure this medal has not come without dedication, hard work, focus and having a vision," Tendulkar said.

Congratulating all the medal winners, he said it was "terrific" for India at London. "You all deserve praise and good things that are coming your way," he added.

Responding to the accolade, Saina said she had waited for her Olympic moment since her childhood days.

"I dreamt of being a Olympic champion at the age of 9...It is unbelievable to have won the medal. I am so happy. I should thank Gopi sir for making it possible. He really worked hard with me for many years.

"Myself winning the first medal will really change a lot of things for badminton in India and I am sure we shall have lot more medals in future. I hope badminton becomes one of the most popular games, though may not be like cricket, in our country," Saina said. PTI





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