L A T E S T      N E W S

No change in BJP's stand on PM's resignation: Sushma

MUMBAI: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said her party was sticking to its stand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign in the alleged coal scam.

But the BJP would allow Parliament to function if the controversial coal block allocations were cancelled and an independent inquiry was ordered, she told the media here.

She said the interpretation that the BJP had given up on the Prime Minister's resignation was wrong. The party has only given the government a window so that parliament could function, she added.

"(Congress President) Sonia Gandhi called me three days back and asked if a debate could take place in Parliament. I said they should cancel the allocations and order a fair probe. She said she would get back to me, but the talks remained inconclusive," she said.

"However, the interpretation that the BJP has given up the demand for the prime minister's resignation is wrong. 

"We have put these two conditions so that Parliament can function. Even in the debate we would take the stand that the Prime Minister, as the then coal minister, should resign," she said.

Gandhi had telephoned Sushma Swaraj on Thursday.

The BJP leader also said that her party would take to the streets after Parliament's monsoon session ends on September 7 to demand Manmohan Singh's resignation. — IANS



One more youth arrested in terror modules case

BANGALORE: Bangalore police have arrested one more youth with alleged links to Lashkar and HuJI as it intensified investigation into terror modules busted in the state, taking the number of those detained in this connection to 13.

City police commissioner BG Jyothiprakash Mirji on Sunday
said the Central Crime Branch wing of the city police arrested 22-year-old Mohammed Akram o Saturday night near Majestic area of the city while he was trying to flee from Bangalore.

"One foreign-made 7.65 mm pistol along with 16 cartridges and other incriminating articles have been recovered from his possession," Mirji told reporters.

During preliminary inquiry it was learnt that he hails from Maharashtra's Nanded district. He had been to Saudi Arabia for a year and returned to India, he said.

"It is also learnt that he was taking shelter in Bangalore city for past several days and along with other arrested accused, he was hatching a conspiracy to execute target killings in Bangalore and elsewhere," he said.

However, after the arrest of the other accused, he had gone into hiding and was trying to escape from the city when the police apprehended him.

The team constituted to investigate this "terrorist case" registered in Basaweshwaranagar police station here is continuing with thorough investigation at an undisclosed place and the investigation is in progress, police officials said.

With this, the number of arrested in connection with the case has gone up to 13.

Obedulla-Ur-Rehman (21) was arrested in Hyderbad on Friday on the basis of information given by the 11 terror suspects taken into custody in Hubli and Bangalore earlier last week.

Rehman along with others had conspired to kill two corporators and one prominent leader of a Hindu organisation of Hyderabad, police said yesterday.

City police on August 29 arrested the 11 persons -- six from Bangalore and five from Hubli -- with alleged links to Lashkar-e-Taiba and HuJI and claimed to have foiled their plan to target MPs, legislators and mediapersons besides leader of a Hindu outfit.

The 11 arrested included a journalist, a doctor and a Junior Research Fellow with Defence Research and Development Organisation. — PTI




China Defence Minister in India on a rare visit

NEW DELHI: A rare visit to India by China's Defence Minister should help avoid flare-ups along the border between the nuclear-armed Asian giants at a time when Beijing is grappling with a change of leadership and friction in the South China Sea. 

But General Liang Guanglie's trip — the first by a Chinese Defence Minister in eight years — also highlights growing competition between the two emerging powers as they jostle for influence and resources across Asia. 

Liang is due to arrive in Mumbai on Sunday after stopping in Sri Lanka, the island nation off the south coast of India that sits on vital ocean trade routes. 

There he sought to play down Indian fears that China is threading a "string of pearls" — or encircling it by financing infrastructure and military strength in neighbours stretching from Pakistan to the Maldives. 

"China attaches great importance to its relations with the South Asian nations, and commits itself to forging harmonious co-existence and mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with them," he said in speech to Sri Lankan soldiers. 

"The PLA's (People's Liberation Army) efforts in conducting friendly exchanges and cooperation with its counterparts in the South Asian nations are intended for maintaining regional security and stability and not targeted at any third party." 

As neighbours and emerging superpowers, India and China have a complex relationship. Trade has grown at a dizzying rate but Beijing is wary of India's close ties to Washington and memories of a border war with China half a century ago are still fresh in New Delhi. 

Despite 15 rounds of high-level talks to resolve the dispute about where their Himalayan border lies, neither side is close to giving up any territory. Liang is not expected to broach the territorial issue on his trip. 

Analysts say Liang's India tour will demonstrate that Beijing is managing the often twitchy relations with its neighour just ahead of its once-in-a-decade leadership transition. 

"China's leadership has one primary objective: how do we continue without any convulsions," said Uday Bhaskar, director of the National Maritime Foundation, a New Delhi think-tank. 

"You do not want to have anything to do with India just now which is rocking the boat, as it were," he said. 

In Sri Lanka, Liang pledged $12 million in military aid, adding to billions of dollars spent helping President Mahinda Rajapaksa win a 25-year-old civil war and rebuild his ruined nation's ports and roads. 

Emphasising China's growing clout in the region, President Mohammed Waheed of the Indian Ocean archipelago nation the Maldives left for Beijing on Friday to arrange $500 million in loans, partly for infrastructure. 

In turn, India courts close ties with Vietnam. Its exploration of an oil block in the South China Sea has needled Beijing, which claims the sovereignty over almost all of the sea and has stepped up its military presence there. 

Both China and India say they are committed to attaining prosperity through peaceful means. Business relations are booming and trade flows have reached an annual $75.5 billion, up from just $3 billion a decade ago. Trade is skewed in China's favour. 

During the four day trip to India, Liang will talk about border security with his counterpart Defence Minister A.K. Antony, India said this week, and they may announce a new round of joint military exercises — following on from a recent joint naval practice in Shanghai. 

No more details have been announced, but the two sides are expected to discuss their mutual neighbours Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the security challenges they face when NATO forces start leaving the region in 2014. 

Liang's delegation includes Yang Jinshan, commander of the Tibet military district — on the vast and troubled Himalayan plateau bordering India. China and India fought a brief border war in 1962, two years after India gave asylum to the Dalai Lama, who Beijing considers a separatist. 

The last time a Chinese Defence Minister visited India was in 2004. Since then, Beijing has spent billions of dollars on train lines, roads and military hardware in Tibet. India has also spent heavily to strengthen its defences along the frontier, which the two sides dispute, despite years of talks. 

Minor incidents of both nations' troops crossing the border are common, but major flare-ups are avoided through meetings of low and mid-rank officers, as well as senior military delegations and a cabinet-level hotline. 

Instability has increased in Tibet in the lead up to the Chinese leadership change, with 51 Tibetans setting fire to themselves in gruesome protests against Beijing's heavy-handed rule in the region. 

Liang's visit follows a number of high intensity unilateral military exercises by both countries in the border region in the past year. 

More recently, India's ambassador to China was allowed to tour Tibet, a rare occurrence, and an Indian military delegation was taken to the region's capital Lhasa. 

Jayadeva Ranade, a retired Indian senior civil servant and China expert, said China's recent warmth toward India reflected its concerns about military escalation in the South China Sea, and perception that India is being drawn into the US "pivot" to Asia, which Beijing sees as containment. 

While he welcomed Liang's trip, Ranade said India was disappointed China's next president had not yet visited. 

"It's a tepid gesture — earlier they were expecting a higher level visit, Xi Jinping was expected to come. That would have been something," Ranade said. — Reuters




US Open: Sania-Bethanie in women's doubles third round

NEW YORK: Sania Mirza and her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands entered the women’s doubles third round with a straight set win on a mixed day for the Indians in the US Open here. 

The 13th seeded combination of Sania and Bethanie got the better of Croatian Darija Jurak and Hungary’s Katalin Marosi 6-4, 6-2. 

The Indo-American pair now has a tough match on hand as it will take on second seeded Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. 

Sara and Roberta outplayed American Jill Craybas and South African Chanelle Scheepers in their second round match. 

Another Indian who enjoyed a winning day at the event was Leander Paes. The veteran and his Russian partner Elena Vesnina, who are seeded third, defeated the American-Filipino combine of Raquel Kops-Jones and Treat Conrad Huey 6-4, 7-5. 

They will face another unseeded pair in Abigail Americans Spears and Scott Lipsky, who eased past the Czech-Austrian pair of Iveta Benesova and Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 6-3. 

But there was disappointment for Rohan Bopanna, who, along with his Chinese partner Jie Zheng, bowed out of the mixed doubles event after losing 2-6, 5-7 to the Australian-Dutch duo of Anastasia Rodionova and Jean-Julien Rojer. — PTI




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |