L A T E S T      N E W S

We must build climate to attract investment, says PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today favoured building a climate that attracts investments and establish fair and effective regulatory institutions on legal processes.

Addressing a "Conference on Economic Growth in Asia and Changes of Corporate Environment", he said the government is bracing to meet international standards in corporate laws and will soon bring before Parliament the new Companies Bill.

"We must build a climate that attracts investment and encourages and rewards innovation, and establish fair and effective regulatory institutions and also legal processes.

Above all, we have the responsibility to ensure probity, transparency and accountability in processes of governance," he said at the conference.

In response to transformational changes of this century, the Prime Minister said government was examining many of the commercial and corporate laws to make them relevant to the challenges that lie ahead, particularly for ensuring distributive equities and empowerment of the marginalised sections of our society.

"Increasing use of this word inclusive is indication of this new emphasis on equity in economic and social processes." He said new laws in areas such as regulation of securities market, competition and limited liability partnerships have been put in place.

"We will soon bring before Parliament the new Companies Bill that has been in the making for quite some time now," the Prime Minister told the audience that included delegates from Korea, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia, CJI designate Altamas Kabir, Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

Earlier, a man shouted slogans as the Prime Minister got up to deliver his address at the conference.

"Prime Minister go back," the man shouted at Singh as he walked up to the rostrum to deliver his address.

The Prime Minister waited for a while at the rostrum as security officials took the lone protestor out of the plenary hall of Vigyan Bhawan.

Police officials said the protester has been detained for questioning.— PTI





Maa, maati, manush are assets of our democracy: Mamata

KOLKATA: In a veiled attack on the Congress, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said she would never bow to those who showed arrogance of power. 

"Maa, maati, manush (people, land and mother) are assets of our democracy. I will bow before them but I will never give in to those displaying arrogance power," she said here at a function. 

"There is no use threatening us, for we too can strike back," she added. 

Her comments come in the wake of the divorce between her Trinamool Congress and the Congress both in the state and in New Delhi. 

Trinamool ministers on Friday resigned from the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in protest against economic reforms. 

The Congress has also decided to quit the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal. — IANS





Kudankulam row: Activists try to lay siege to Tuticorin port

Tuticorin (TN): Scaling up their protest against loading of fuel at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, anti-nuclear activists and fishermen on Saturday tried to lay siege to the port in Tuticorin (TN) but work was not disrupted, officials said. About 3,000 fishermen and anti-nuclear activists in 500 mechanised and country boats tried to block the approach channel where ships enter the port but were prevented by Coast Guard and CISF personnel, CISF and port authorities said.

The protesters remained in the sea shouting slogans against central and state governments asking them to stop loading of fuel at the plant, which began on Wednesday, they said.

Port activities have not been disrupted, they added. Meanwhile, a group of anti-nuclear activists organised a human chain in Tuticorin town. The heightened protests come against the backdrop of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board giving its final clearance for loading of fuel in the first unit of the Indo-Russian joint venture on Tuesday.

Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy,' spearheading the over year-long stir, had given the call on September 20 to fishermen to stall port activities at Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram and Chennai today.

PMANE, whose leader S P Udayakumar is evading arrest with a non-bailable warrant against him in a case relating to the anti-nuclear stir, has also given a call to picket Central government offices in the state on September 25.

On September 10, the anti-nuclear stir took a violent turn leading to the death of a fishermen in police firing at Tuticorin. The first unit was earlier scheduled to be commissioned in December last year but the continuing protests delayed it. — PTI





Court stays AITA ban on Bhupathi, Bopanna

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday stayed the two-year All- India Tennis Association (AITA) ban on tennis players Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from representing the country till June 30, 2014, on disciplinary grounds.

Hearing a writ petition filed by the duo challenging the two-year ban imposed by the AITA, Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar ordered issue of emergent notice to AITA and the Sports Ministry.

The judge also stayed the impugned decision of the AITA.

Counsel Aditya Sondhi, representing the two players, submitted that the AITA decision was “arbitrary as it was taken without hearing them.”

Bhupathi had recently threatened to drag the AITA to the court for ousting him from India’s Davis Cup squad along with Rohan Bopanna, saying he was exploring if the national tennis federation’s move was legal.

The AITA had taken the decision hours after India’s young Davis Cup team took an unassailable 3-0 lead against New Zealand in Chandigarh on September 15.

Meanwhile, when asked about the decision of the High Court, Bhupathi’s father Krishna Bhupathi refused to react, saying “I will not comment as the matter is sub-judice”.

Sondhi told reporters that Bhupathi and Bopanna challenged the AITA decision on the ground they were not even served a notice before slapping the ban.

Both players in their petition submitted that the AITA did not hear their views and also failed to convey its order of ban.

The players contended that they came to know about the decision through media. — PTI




Pak grapples with fallout of violent protests that killed 23

ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis on Saturday grappled with the fallout of the violence that engulfed the country during protests against an anti-Islam film, resulting in the death of at least 23 persons and destruction of property worth billions of rupees in what is being described by the media as the day of "killer rage".

Violence erupted on Friday during government-sanctioned protests against the film 'Innocence of Muslims', which has triggered large-scale demonstrations across the Muslim world.

Two policemen were among the 17
persons who died in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, while six more were killed in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Over 200
persons were injured, some of them seriously, during protests in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and other cities across the country.

Throughout Friday, TV news channels beamed footage of rampaging mobs looting and burning private and public property.

Protesters torched or vandalised five cinema halls in Karachi, including one that was earlier owned by President Asif Ali Zardari's family, three other theatres and the chamber of commerce in Peshawar and countless banks and shops, and looted goods and cash from commercial establishments and ATMs.

The PPP-led government had declared yesterday the 'Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool' (Love the Prophet Day) in an effort to blunt efforts by hardline religious and extremist groups to incite violent protests against the anti-Islam film but observers said it had gravely miscalculated.

"The government probably thought it was taking the initiative away from the religious parties but it instead ended up emboldening them," said Omar R Quraishi, editorial pages editor of The Express Tribune, a newspaper based in Karachi, the city which witnessed more death and destruction than other places.

"The protesters must have thought that the government was not going to do anything to them as it had declared a national holiday," Quraishi told PTI.

Quraishi, like many other commentators, believed the government had ceded space on a sensitive issue and allowed radical elements to gain the initiative.

Pakistani dailies highlighted the death and destruction on their front pages.

"Day of reverence or killer rage," read the headline in the influential Dawn newspaper while The Nation headlined its report "Total chaos on Day of Love".

The frontpage report in the Dawn said: "Friday which was designated by the government to demonstrate love of the Holy Prophet and condemn the anti-Islam video ... was hijacked by our home-grown extremists who turned it into a day of unbridled violence, killings, arson and robbery."

About 25
persons have died so far since protests began earlier this week against the anti-Islam film. Apart from the 23 killed yesterday, two had died in Karachi and the country's northwest in recent days.

The government recently blocked YouTube so that people could not access clips from the film.

The Foreign Office yesterday summoned the acting US Ambassador to protest against the film and demanded that the US government take steps to have the video removed from YouTube.

The protesters have repeatedly attempted to target the US embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar during protests in the past two days.

The demonstrations in Islamabad have largely focussed on the diplomatic enclave, with hundreds of protesters fighting running battles with riot police while trying to march towards the US embassy.

The government has called in the army to guard the diplomatic enclave and stepped up security across the country as the protests are expected to continue. — PTI




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