L A T E S T      N E W S

Food security scheme to be launched on August 20

NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asked the states ruled by the party to implement in “letter and spirit” the food security scheme, which it sees as a “game-changer” in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi held deliberations with Congress Chief Ministers on how to implement the food scheme seeking to provide cheap foodgrains to 82 crore people, for which an ordinance was promulgated last week.

Party sources said the Chief Ministers were told at the meeting to rollout the scheme in “letter and spirit”.

Delhi, where Assembly polls are due by year-end, will be the first state to roll out the scheme on August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Besides Congress Chief Ministers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Food Minister K.V. Thomas, and AICC general secretaries were present during the deliberations.

The aim of the meeting was to ensure that the scheme is implemented in the best possible manner with Congress-ruled States becoming role models in implementation of the food security measure. — PTIBack





Pakistani Taliban set up base in Syria: Report

LONDON: The Pakistani Taliban have set up a base in Syria to assess “the needs of the jihad” and at least 12 of its “experts” in warfare and information technology have visited the strife-torn country, a media report said.

Quoting a “senior Pakistani Taliban operative”, BBC Urdu reported that the base was set up with the assistance of ex-Afghan fighters of Middle Eastern origin who have moved to Syria in recent years.

At least 12 “experts” in warfare and information technology had gone to Syria in the last two months, he said.

Their presence in the country is likely to have a sectarian motive, the BBC report said, adding Taliban factions feel that Sunni Muslims, who constitute a majority in Syria, are being oppressed by Syria’s predominantly Shia rulers.

Thousands of people have died in the year-long armed conflict in Syria between loyalists of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and those who want to overthrow it.

Mohammad Amin, a senior Taliban operative and “co-ordinator of the Syrian base”, told the BBC that the cell to monitor “the jihad” in Syria was set up six months ago.

He said that the cell has the approval of militant factions both within and outside of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of militant groups fighting the Pakistani forces.

The cell sends “information and feedback” on the conflict in Syria back to Pakistan, he was quoted as saying.

“They were facilitated by our friends in Syria who have previously been fighting in Afghanistan,” Amin said.

Their job is to “assess the needs of the Jihad in Syria, and to work out joint operations with our Syrian friends“.

“There are dozens of Pakistani hopefuls in line to join the fighting against the Syrian army, but the advice we are getting at the moment is that there’s already enough manpower in Syria”. — PTIBack









Hemant Soren sworn in as Jharkhand’s ninth CM

RANCHI: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren, son of party chief Shibu Soren, was sworn in as Jharkhand’s ninth Chief Minister on Saturday.

The tribal leader was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Syed Ahmed at the Birsa Mandap situated on the premises of Raj Bhavan.

Rajendra Prasad Singh and Annapurna Devi, legislature party leaders of the Congress and the RJD, respectively, were also sworn in as ministers.

Earlier, the Governor invited Soren for the swearing-in ceremony late Friday night after Raj Bhavan received official communication about the Presidential assent on the Cabinet recommendation for revocation of Central rule in the state.

Soren had staked claim on July 9 for formation of a government in alliance with Congress, RJD, smaller parties and independent MLAs.

The alternative coalition comes nearly six months after the imposition of President’s rule, which was to end on July 18.

The Central rule was imposed on January 18 after the JMM withdrew support to the BJP-led government under Arjun Munda on January 8. — PTIBack








Family, fans bid adieu to Pran

MUMBAI: Family, fans and close friends on Saturday came together to give a final farewell to acting legend Pran, who passed away on Friday night.

The last rites of the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee were performed by his sons at Shivaji Park crematorium in Dadar at noon.

“It is indeed a very sad day for us. The last rites were performed by both the sons,” daughter Pinky told PTI.

Bollywood personalities, including Karan Johar, Shatrugan Sinha, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Gulzar, Raza Murad, Tinu Anand, Kiran Kumar were spotted at the crematorium but present-day celebrities of the tinsel town were conspicuous by their absence.

The veteran actor appeared in over 400 films between 1940s and 1990s and played both positive and negative roles with equal passion. — PTIBack










Don't 'divide the nation' on basis of religion: Digvijaya to Modi

NEW DELHI: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Saturday assailed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's remarks describing himself as a 'Hindu nationalist', saying "shouldn't we all be Nationalist Indians" and asked the BJP leader not to 'divide the nation' on the basis of religion.

A day after Modi's remarks sparked a political furore, Singh said on Twitter, "Shouldn't we all be Nationalist Indians rather than Hindu Nationalist or Muslim Nationalist or Sikh Nationalist or Christian Nationalist?"

In another tweet, he also took a jibe at Sangh Parivar saying, "Don't divide this Great Nation on basis of religion which Savarkar and Jinnah did. They were the original authors of Two Nation theory." 

Hitting out at fundamentalism in all forms, he said in another tweet that he heard Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived after being shot by the Taliban for supporting girl's education, addressing the United Nations.

"What a powerful condemnation of Taliban and all forms Fundamentalism. She has now become an Icon for World Literacy.

"Congratulations to her and let us resolve to fight for all that she stands for! May God give her a long life and the strength she deserves," the Congress general secretary said hailing the 16-year-old.

The tweets of Singh, a known detractor of the Gujarat Chief Minister, came close on the heels of Modi's attempts to defend himself against allegations of inaction during the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

"Even If I am in the back seat of a car and a puppy comes under the wheels, isn't it painful? It is. Whether I am a Chief Minister or not, I am a human being. I will be sad if something bad happens anywhere," Modi was quoted as saying in an interview.

The Gujarat Chief Minister said he had done "absolutely the right thing" during the 2002 riots and that his government had used its "full strength" to set things in order.

"I am nationalist. I'm patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I'm a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I'm a Hindu nationalist because I'm a born Hindu," he had said. — PTIBack









Master of sound Amar Bose dead

Washington: Amar G. Bose, the visionary Indian-American engineer and inventor, famous for making high-quality Bose audio systems bearing his name and speakers for home users, auditoriums and automobiles, is dead.

The billionaire entrepreneur and founder and chairman of the privately held Bose Corporation, died at his home in Wayland, Massachusetts on Friday, The New York Times reported. He was 83.

His death was confirmed by his son, Dr Vanu G. Bose.

As company, Bose focused relentlessly on acoustic engineering innovation. His speakers, though expensive, earned a reputation for bringing concert-hall-quality audio into the home, the Times said.

Though his first speakers fell short of expectations, Bose kept at it. In 1968, he introduced the Bose 901 Direct/Reflecting speaker system, which became a best seller for more than 25 years and firmly entrenched Bose, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, as a leader in a highly competitive audio components marketplace.

Later inventions included the popular Bose Wave radio and the Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which were so effective that they were adopted by the military and commercial pilots, according to the Times.

Bose’s devotion to research was matched by his passion for teaching. Having earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s, Bose returned from a Fulbright scholarship at the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi and joined the MIT faculty in 1956.

Amar Gopal Bose was born Nov 2, 1929, in Philadelphia. His father, Noni Gopal Bose, was a Bengali freedom fighter who was studying physics at Calcutta University, when he was arrested and imprisoned for his opposition to British rule in India.

He escaped and fled to the US in 1920, where he married an American school teacher.

At age 13, Bose began repairing radio sets for pocket money for repair shops in Philadelphia. During World War II, when his father’s import business struggled, Bose’s electronics repairs helped support the family, the Times said.

Bose and his ex-wife, Prema, had two children, Vanu, now the head of his own company, Vanu Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Maya Bose, who survive him, as does his second wife, Ursula, and one grandchild. — IANSBack









6 die in France train crash

Bretigny-sur-orge (France): At least six persons were killed and many injured after a speeding train derailed and hit the platform at a station just south of Paris, in France's worst rail accident in 25 years. Witnesses said the site of the crash resembled "a war zone", with one describing walking over a decapitated body to exit a carriage that had been thrown on its side.

Rescuers were searching late yesterday for passengers who may still be trapped inside overturned carriages.

The train, a regional service heading from Paris to the west-central city of Limoges yesterday, hurled off the line as it passed at high speed through the station at Bretigny-sur-Orge, about 25 km south of Paris.

The Interior Ministry said in an updated toll that at least six people had been killed, nine seriously injured and taken to hospital by helicopter and 17 lightly injured.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls had earlier spoken of seven dead and "dozens injured," warning that the death toll was likely to rise.

Some 300 firefighters, 20 paramedic teams and eight helicopters were deployed to the area. All Paris region hospitals were put on alert to deal with the injured.

In total, 192 people were treated by emergency services, officials said.

The head of the SNCF national railway, Guillaume Pepy, told reporters at the scene that six carriages had derailed during the accident. The train's third and fourth carriages derailed first and the others followed, he said.

A clearly emotional Pepy expressed the rail company's "solidarity with the victims and their families".

"Rail catastrophes are something that upset everyone and all of those who are committed to our national rail service," he said.

"We don't yet know the reasons for this derailment," Pepy said, adding that investigations would be carried out by the rail service, judicial authorities and France's BEA safety agency.

After travelling to the scene and meeting with officials, President Francois Hollande confirmed that three investigations had been launched "to determine what happened at this station".

"We should avoid unnecessary speculation, what happened will eventually be known and the proper conclusions will be drawn," Hollande said.

Passenger Marc Cheutin, 57, said he had to "step over a decapitated person" after the accident to exit the carriage he had been travelling in. — AFPBack



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 |