L A T E S T      N E W S

Gujral cremated with full state honours

NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral was on Saturday cremated here with full state honours in the presence of the country’s top leadership, including President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Amid prayers and a 21-gun salute, his body was consigned to flames at Smriti Sthal on the banks of Yamuna, where Vice-President Hamid Ansari and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were also present.

The last rites were performed by his two sons, including Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral and his grandson, at 'Smriti Sthal', located between Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorial ‘Shanti Van’ and Lal Bahadur Shastri’s ‘Vijay Ghat.’

Ministers A.K. Antony, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Ashwani Kumar, Farooq Abdullah, Jaipal Reddy; BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley; Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal; Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda; INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala; LJP’s Ramvilas Paswan; JD(S)’ Danish Ali; Amar Singh and some senior bureaucrats attended the cremation.

Diplomats from various countries were also present.

The body, draped in Tricolour, was brought to 'Smriti Sthal' from his 5-Janpath residence in a flower-bedecked gun-carriage, accompanied by military personnel and close family.

Officers from the three armed forces carried on their shoulders the mortal remains of Gujral to the cremation ground as he was accorded a state funeral.

Gujral (92), who led a rickety coalition in late 1990s and was known for ‘Gujral Doctrine’ of five principles for maintaining good neighbourly relations, breathed his last at a private hospital in nearby Gurgaon on Friday afternoon.

He leaves behind two sons, one of whom — Naresh Gujral — is a Rajya Sabha MP and an Akali Dal leader, and brother Satish Gujral who is a prominent painter and architect.

His wife Sheila, who died in 2011, was a poet.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister and a host of leaders visited Gujral’s residence to pay homage to him.

In his message, Dr Singh said, “In the sad demise of Gujral, our country has lost a freedom fighter, a great patriot and a great scholar statesman. I join the nation in expressing our grief and sorrow at the demise of great son of India.” — PTI





'Child abuse' case: Norway seeks jail for Indian couple

OSLO: The Indian couple arrested here in an alleged child abuse case have been charged with "gross repeated maltreatment" of their child for which the prosecution has proposed a minimum sentence of one year and three months for the parents.

According to a statement by the Oslo Police Department, the couple have been remanded in custody, as there is reason to fear that they will evade prosecution by returning to India.

The Court of Appeals in process of hearing the defence's appeal amid the judgement will be pronounced in Oslo District Court on December 3.

"The couple have been charged with gross repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence or other wrong under section 219 of the Penal Code," the Police Department said.

"The prosecution proposed a sentence of one year and three months for the mother and one-year six months for the father. The judgement in the case would be pronounced on Monday, December 3."

Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a software professional from Andhra Pradesh, and his wife Anupama, an officer of the Indian embassy, were taken into custody by the police in Oslo.

The police arrested Chandrasekhar after his 7-year-old child complained to his school teachers that his parents were threatening to send him back to India for his acts, Chandrasekhar's nephew V. Sailender, who is in Hyderabad, claimed.

The boy was found wetting his pants in the school bus which was reported to his father, who in turn "threatened" the child that he would be sent back to India if he repeated that again, Sailender said, adding the boy was also found bringing toys from school.

The incident comes barely months after another row involving an Indian couple and their children.

Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (4) were taken away from their parents — Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya — by Norway's Child Welfare Society in May last year on grounds of "emotional disconnect". — PTI






Eden pitch row: Curator goes on medical leave

KOLKATA: The controversy surrounding the preparation of the Eden pitch took a dramatic turn on Saturday as veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee proceeded on a medical leave and termed the CAB's decision to sideline him for the third Test between India and England as an "insult."

Mukherjee, who has been preparing the pitch of the stadium since 1985, shot a letter to Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Saturday morning and sought a "medical leave". He also hinted that he may not re-join at all.

The development came less than 48 hours after the BCCI sidelined the 83-year-old and sent East Zone ground and pitch committee representative Ashish Bhowmick to prepare a customised wicket at the Eden.

"It was an insult for me," Mukherjee said referring to the appointment of Bhowmick.

Mukherjee is peeved at CAB's attitude and said president Jagmohan Dalmiya had even threatened to suspend him if he spoke about the pitch.

"Nowhere the president has the right to talk about pitches. But here they are threatening to suspend me if I talk about pitches. This is the treatment I get after more than two decades of my service at CAB," said Mukherjee, who is said to have differences with Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni had demanded a rank turner for the Kolkata Test and Mukherjee had said that such a demand was not logical as two pitches cannot be the same. That had apparently prompted BCCI to send Bhowmick to oversee the preparations.

"I expected some sort of protection from CAB thought that they would stand by me. Instead they are after me. My BP shot up 170/100 last night. After the check-up, the doctors have advised me a complete rest for a month. I've sent the medical report and request for a medical leave for a month to the CAB this morning," he said after sending his application to CAB.

"I don't make pitches to earn money. I had prepared pitches in Bangladesh for the U-19 World Cup (in 2004) and the ICC Cup without getting a single penny. Cricket is my passion that's why I'm associated with Eden for so long."

Mukherjee is coping with a mental trauma after loss of his 31-year-old daughter and 73-year-old wife in six days.

"My daughter died on May 25 and wife on May 31. Despite coping with terrible personal crisis, I did not take a single day's leave. The day after my wife's death, I was at the Eden Gardens. Nobody can question my commitment. But I am getting such a raw deal from the CAB," he said.

Asked whether he would like to come back to Eden after one month, Mukherjee was non-committal.

"I will see after that. You see, I'm old enough and the loss of my wife and daughter has made me really weak."

During England's last appearance here for an ODI in 2011, Dhoni had termed the Eden wicket as "ugly". However India had won that match for a 5-0 whitewash in the series.

Even after being thrashed by 10 wickets on a customised Wankhede track in the second Test, Dhoni had insisted for a similar rank turner for the Eden Test beginning December 5.

But Mukherjee had openly criticised Dhoni and said, "Two pitches can never be the same, logically. It's most unethical if the India captain makes such statements in public. He's passing such comments every now and then, which is really unfortunate." — PTI






Savita case may prompt new Irish probe into pregnancy care

LONDON: Ireland’s health information authority may pursue a further probe into the care of pregnant women in Irish hospitals if the inquiry into the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar finds that there may be “serious risks” to other women in similar situations. 

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which on Friday published the terms of reference for its investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar said if it emerged that there may be “serious risks” to any other women in a similar situations in the future, it may recommend “further investigation or… a new [one]”. 

Savita Halappanavar, 31, died on October 28, 2012, at Galway University Hospital. She had been 17-week pregnant and was found to be miscarrying. 

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, has said she asked repeatedly for a termination of the pregnancy but was refused on the grounds that the foetal heartbeat was still present. 

The HIQA investigation will be into “the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar,” according to The Irish Times. 

It will review the safety and quality of care provided at the hospital to deteriorating patients, including pregnant women and including the diagnosis and management of sepsis. 

The authority will also review the arrangements in place to ensure safe services including promptly identifying, reporting and managing clinically deteriorating patients. 

“If in the course of the investigation it becomes apparent that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there are further or other serious risks to the health or welfare of any person receiving similar services, the investigation team may recommend to the authority and/or the Minister for Health that these terms be extended to include further investigation or that a new investigation be undertaken, as appropriate.” 

Membership of the investigation team will be finalised next week and its work will begin immediately, said a spokesman. The draft terms of reference were sent to Mr. Halappanavar’s solicitor earlier this week. 

Halappanavar, however, has said he will not take part in it or the HSE inquiry. He will move to the European Court of Human Rights in his bid to have a sworn, public inquiry established. — PTI






Lakshmi Mittal signs deal with France

Paris/New Delhi: This comes as a big relief to steel giant Lakshmi Mittal as the French government has struck a deal which will allow his business in Florange keep going.

The French authorities entered a deal with ArcelorMittal which will allow it to invest 180 million euros ($234 million) in its Florange steelworks in Lorraine, allowing some 600 jobs at two shuttered blast furnaces to be saved.

However, the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that the two furnaces would not be restarted for now, given weak European steel demand.

ArcelorMittal would keep them in working order for future use in a test project for environmentally friendly steel production.

Earlier, France had threatened to nationalize a steel plant in the eastern part of the country unless the Indian-born billionaire owner of the firm agrees to sell it to a private buyer. ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel-maker, wanted to close or sell two blast-furnaces at Florange but to hold on to other profitable activities at the site.Back





ID proof must for rail travellers

New Delhi: It will be mandatory for sleeper-class train passengers to carry identity proof from Saturday.

The Railways has taken the steps to prevent misuse of tickets by touts and facilitate hassle-free travel by bonafide people.  From today (December 1), passengers failing to produce original identity proof in sleeper class, as and when asked for, will be treated as "without ticket" and charged accordingly, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The rule will apply for all forms of ticket, including those for sleeper class, issued by Railways through computerised passenger reservation system (PRS) or Internet.

The decision to introduce photo I-cards for sleeper class passengers is likely to deter touts from booking tickets under fictitious names and selling them to passengers at a premium, the official said.

In February, Railways had made it mandatory for AC-class passengers to carry identity proof with them. Passengers travelling on a Tatkal or an e-ticket are also required to carry I-cards while undertaking train journey.Back




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 |