Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Authors Posts by Thana Laxmi

Thana Laxmi


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Kathmandu, May 8 (PTI) Two fresh tremors were felt in Nepal today, triggering panic among the people still reeling from the impact of the devastating earthquake that has claimed nearly 8,000 lives.

Aftershocks continued to rock Nepal with two more mild tremors being felt in central Nepal this morning. The epicentre of the tremors being Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha districts, east of Kathmandu.

A 4-magnitude tremor was felt at 2.19 AM this morning with the epicentre at Sindhupalchowk district, according to National Seismological Centre.

Another tremor measuring 5 on the Richter scale was felt at 6.17 am with the epicentre being at Dolakha.

However, no damage was reported from the tremors.

About 150 aftershocks measuring 4 or more on the Richter scale have been reported after the April 25 quake.

The death toll due to the earthquake has reached 7,885 so far while the number of injured has shot up to 16,390, officials said.

Sindhupalchowk is the worst-hit district with nearly 3,000 people dead while 1,209 have been killed in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy here strongly refuted a media report in a national daily that said all the rescue and relief operations carried out by the Indian Air Force were not done in coordination with Nepal authorities.

“The fact of the matter is that the Indian military aircrafts are operating in full coordination and consultation with the Nepalese Army. A Liaison Officer of the Nepalese Army accompanies each flight,” the Indian Embassy spokesperson said.

“All Indian Air Force flights take place in accordance with the decision of the Nepalese Army. Indian Air Force and Army do not have any direct linkage with Chief District Officers and District Authorities,” the spokesperson added.

Indian helicopters carry relief material of various countries including India, handed over by the Nepalese Army, the Embassy stated.

“So, the presumption in the news report that the Indian helicopters are carrying relief material without coordinating with the Nepalese authorities is completely baseless,” it said.

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Mumbai, May 8 (PTI) In a huge relief to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, the Bombay High Court on Friday suspended his 5-year sentence in the 2002 hit-and-run case and granted him bail pending his appeal against conviction.

“He has been on bail for a long time and his liberty was not curtailed. Normally, in such cases, the appeal is admitted and an accused is granted bail,” Justice Abhay Thipsay said, while staying his conviction and granting him bail.

The judge directed him to surrender before the trial court and furnish a fresh bail bond of Rs 30,000.

Thipsay had on May 6 granted 48-hour interim bail to the actor, hours after he was convicted and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by the trial court on the ground that he had not been supplied with a detailed order explaining the reasons for his conviction.

The term of interim bail was to expire on Friday.

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Mumbai, May 8 (PTI) In a major reprieve for Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, the Bombay High Court today suspended the five-year sentence awarded to him in the 2002 hit-and-run case, admitted his appeal against conviction and granted him bail.

Justice Abhay Thipsay directed Khan to surrender before the trial court forthwith and execute a fresh bail bond of Rs 30,000. The interim bail granted to the actor hours after his conviction and sentencing on Wednesday was to expire today.

While admitting the 49-year-old actor’s appeal, the HC said it will expedite the hearing on it and posted the matter for June 15.

“This is not a case where I should keep him (Khan) in jail till his appeal is heard and decided. Why his right should suffer when his appeal is admitted and kept pending? In many cases people have suffered and spent their entire prison term only to be acquitted later by the High Court,” Justice Thipsay observed.

“The normal rule is that when an appeal is admitted and the sentence is under seven years, it (the sentence) is suspended. Why do you (prosecution) want to depart from this norm?” the court said.

Justice Thipsay noted that Khan has been on bail throughout the trial even after being slapped with the serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

“There are a number of arguable points raised about whether or not Khan was driving the car. It is also nobody’s case that Khan will abscond if he released on bail, pending appeal,” he said.

Justice Thipsay directed Khan to seek court’s permission before travelling abroad.

Soon after the high court’s order, a visibly relieved Salman, dressed in casuals and sporting sun glasses, left his Bandra residence for the sessions court in the Fort area of south Mumbai to execute the fresh bail bond.

Jubilant fans and well-wishers, who had gathered outside his residence since morning, erupted in joy when the news reached them. .

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Mumbai, May 8 (PTI) Salman Khan will not have to go to jail pending disposal of his appeal against conviction in the 2002 hit-and-run case after the Bombay High Court suspended his sentence and granted him bail, in a huge relief to one of the reigning superstars of Bollywood.

“This is not a case where I should keep him (Khan) in jail till his appeal is heard and decided. Why his right should suffer when his appeal is admitted and kept pending?

“In many cases people have suffered and spent their entire prison term only to be acquitted later by the High Court,” Justice Abhay Thipsay observed, before staying execution of the 5-year jail sentence awarded to Khan by the trial court on Wednesday and ordering that he be enlarged on bail.

Justice Thipsay had granted interim bail to 49-year-old Khan hours after his conviction and sentencing by sessions court judge D W Deshpande on the ground that the actor had not been supplied with a detailed and reasoned order. The tenure of the 48-hour interim relief was to end today.

A man was killed and four others were wounded when Khan’s Toyota Land Cruiser ran over them while they were asleep on a pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.

“The normal rule is that when an appeal is admitted and the sentence is under seven years, it (the sentence) is suspended. Why do you (prosecution) want to depart from this norm?” Justice Thipsay said, rejecting prosecution’s contentions against the suspension of sentence.

Since the term of the interim bail was to expire this evening, the judge asked Khan to surrender before the trial court, execute a fresh bond of Rs 30,000 and furnish a surety of the like amount for obtaining regular bail.

Anywhere between Rs 200 crore and Rs 250 crore was said to be riding on the popular actor and the court’s order would come as a huge relief to the jittery Hindi film world, which kept its fingers crossed since Wednesday’s judgement of the trial court.

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download (3)Melbourne, May 9 (PTI) Australian police today said it had foiled a terror strike planned for Mother’s Day tomorrow and arrested a 17-year-old for plotting multiple bomb attacks in the heart of Melbourne.

Police said they seized three pipe bombs from the boy’s bedroom during a raid at the Greenvale family home after learning an attack was allegedly planned for Sunday.

They bombs were taken to a nearby park and detonated by the Victoria Police Bomb Squad, according to media reports.

Police said that the teenager was charged with engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.

“It will be alleged the teenager was undertaking preparations for planning a terrorist act in Australia.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government knows there is a very serious threat.

“There have been some raids over the last 24 hours in Sydney and Melbourne. There’s been at least one arrest,” he said. “There is evidence of a bomb plot that was in a reasonably advanced state of preparation and the police will have more to say about this.”

Victorian acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill said this case had been subject to an intense investigation “especially over the last nine days”.

“The facts are this: As a male was leaving that address in a motor car with a female he was intercepted by our specialist police,” he said.

“The 17-year-old male was taken into custody. The female was secured.”

The teenager is expected to appear in court on Monday and his identity will not be disclosed.

Police said there was no longer an imminent threat.

It was said the police officers found three suspected improvised explosive devices that they ‘rendered safe’ during the course of their investigation of the Greenvale house.

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan said their number one priority was public safety so their risk tolerance was ‘extremely low’ and they don’t always have a lot of information before they decide to act.

“We’re sifting through a lot of information…we can’t confirm exactly when any event was going to take place,” Phelan said.

The boy is believed to have been radicalised quickly, having recently dropped out of school and spent increasing amounts of time in his bedroom on the internet, reports said.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports said there was another raid in Sydney, where a 14-year-old boy was arrested.

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Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), May 9 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today advised students to remain focused on their goals and not to judge their life through the prism of success or failure.

Interacting with school students at Education City in the naxal hub, Modi told them that he saw 125 cr Indians as his family members and working for them never tires him.

While answering a student’s question on how he dealt with stress after working for 18 hours a day, he said he never counts the number of hours he works.

“I never calculate how many hours I work because the moment one does that it is not so enjoyable. One can never get tired while working, what tires a person is not being able to work. The more one works the better it is. When you finish your homework, don’t you feel happy and satisfied?

“When we live for our own people one cannot get tired.

The people of India are my own. Won’t I feel happy to work for them,” he told them while taking their questions.

Asking them not to judge their life through the prism of success and failure, he said, “What is most important how much you learn from your failures. If you are focused on your goal and working to achieve it, these things do not matter.”

On a visit to Chhattisgarh, Modi asked students to take interest in sports even if they want to be IAS officers or doctors and gave them example of tribal girls from Jharkhand who have done well in sports at the international level.

Asked what he would be if not a politician, he said he would like to be a child.

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Raipur, May 9 (PTI) Around 500 villagers have been held hostage by Naxals, who were apparently angered over their support to the construction of a bridge in Tongpal area of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, police said.

The Naxal action comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to insurgency-hit?Bastar region today.

“Large number of armed cadres stormed into Marenga and adjoining villages under restive Tongpal police station limits late last night and took away 400-500 villagers, including women and children, along with them,” Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police, Harish Rathore told PTI.

Maoists were opposing the construction of a bridge on a local river near Marenga village and were apparently angered over the villagers’ support to the development work following which rebels held them captive, Rathore said.

Some workers involved in construction of the bridge are also among those held captive, he said.

After getting information about the incident security personnel were mobilised in the dense forests of Tongpal for search operations, he said, adding efforts are on to trace their location.

Meanwhile, R P Kalluri, I G Bastar Range, said, “The hostage situation is a fiction created by the media….Yesterday, some Maoists came to the village where bridge construction is underway and they have taken five-six labourers who were working on the bridge.

“As a usual practice, some villagers of Marenga and nearby villagers have gone to the jungle to speak to the Maoists, negotiate and bring these five-six labourers back…but reports of 500-600 villagers held by Maoists is total fiction,” he said.

? The PM during his day-long visit in Naxal-hit Dantewada in South Bastar will attend a slew of programmes.

Two mega projects for setting up of ultra mega steel plant and second phase of Rowghat-Jagdalpur railway line will be inaugurated by Modi during his visit.

Also, he is scheduled to visit an education city, aimed at providing education to under-privileged children living in the area and will be interacting with students there.

A MoU for setting up ultra-mega steel plant at Dilmili village in Dantewada, with a capacity of three million tonne every year, will be signed during Modi’s visit. Over 10,000 people in the region are expected to get direct and indirect employment opportunities through this project.

The 140-km rail link, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 24,000 crore, will connect Bastar region with important cities of the state like Raipur, Bilaspur and Durg. The rail link will also help in easy and cheaper transportation of iron ore for industries.

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Dantewada, May 9 (PTI) The first Prime Minister to visit this Maoist hotbed in three decades, Narendra Modi today asked Naxals to abjure gun and allow peace so that the macabre drama of death will end to pave the way for development.

On a short visit here, Modi initiated welfare schemes worth Rs 24,000 crore for the Maoist hotbed of Bastar region which include setting up Ultra Mega Steel Plant, a railway line, slurry pipeline and pellet plant.

“Only plough on the shoulders and not guns can bring development. And this will bring everyone to the mainstream of the country. There is no future for violence. The future is only of peaceful means.

“The birth place of Naxal movement Naxalbari has already given up this violent means. Don’t get disheartened. The macabre drama of death will end,” he said.

Dantewada in tribal Bastar region is rich in mineral resources especially iron ore. The area has witnessed a string of Naxal attacks in the past, with the worst being the 2010 assault that left 76 security personnel dead.

The Prime Minister asked the ultras to shun the gun for a few days and visit the families affected by their violence.

“This experiment will force you to change your heart and make you shun your violent means,” he said.

He said Dr Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, has already given pen and computer in the hands of children whose families were eliminated by bombs and bullets.

Modi said a lot of people have been killed by “mad men on the path of violence” and after meeting the families of victims he could say that they are fraught with many challenges and problems in their lives.

“Perhaps it is for the first time that in a programme like this MoUs worth Rs. 24,000 crore have been signed. This rail link will connect you to the mainland and mainstream of India…Send iron out and get steel from outside. This would go on but now this has to stop. We will make steel from the iron ore,” Modi said.

He said wherever one goes, people will say do anything but ensure that our children get jobs.

Modi said fruits of development must reach the poorest of the poor with employment for the youth are at the priority of government policies.

Taking a dig at Congress, Modi said those who could not digest victory in 60 years cannot also accept defeat.

“Those who have been disregarded by the people in elections are spreading canards about the government’s work.

Last year when I visited this region, papers were full of stories of corruption.

“We have changed that. No such news has appeared in the last one year. We have shown government can be run with honesty,” he said.

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Singapore, May 7 (PTI) Although India’s near-term growth outlook has improved, its medium-term prospects remain constrained by longstanding structural weakness, the IMF today said, describing the country as a new bright spot in Asia.

With higher political certainty improved business confidence, reduced external vulnerabilities and lower commodity prices, real GDP is forecast to rise to 7.2 per cent in FY 2014/15, accelerating to 7.5 per cent in 2015/16.

“While several recent policy measures have helped eased supply-side constraints, further measures are needed in the energy, mining and power sectors,” it said.

Reforms to streamline and expedite land and environmental clearances, increase labour market flexibility, and simplify business procedures should continue to improve India’s business climate which is crucial for sustaining faster and more inclusive growth, the International Monetary Fund said.

Its key policy recommendation encompasses the following: Durably meeting the inflation target calls for maintaining a tighter monetary stance together with supporting structural reforms. Fiscal consolidation should continue. Enhancing financial sector supervision and monitoring is warranted given the rise in corporate and financial sector strains.

Overall, the?IMF said India was a bright spot in the global economy and was the fastest growing economies in the emerging markets.

“India a new bright spot in Asia, and its growth is expected to strengthen to 7.5 per cent in 2015 and also 2016, benefitting from the recent policy reform announcements and lower oil prices. Early implementation of the reforms will reinforce confidence and increase potential growth,” said the IMF in?its report on Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and Pacific.

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Mumbai, May 7 (PTI) The benchmark BSE Sensex rebounded from its early losses in late morning trade to rise by 98 points led by buying in technology, auto and realty sectors.

However, the broader markets remained under pressure with the BSE midcap and smallcap indices falling on the back of lower overseas cues.

The 30-share index resumed slightly higher by 26,721.34 and hovered in a range of 26,850.37 and 26,570.56 before quoting 26,815.23 at 1035 hrs, showing a rise of 97.86 points or 0.37 per cent from its last close.

The NSE Nifty was also quoted higher by 15 points or 0.19 per cent to 8,112.00 at 1035 hrs.

Major gainer were TCS with a rise of 2.73 per cent, Bajaj Auto 2.43 per cent, Infosys 2.21 per cent, Bharti Airtel 1.81 per cent, Hero MotoCorp 1.25 per cent and BHEL 1.07 per cent.

However, Hindalco fell by 2.98 per cent, followed by RIL by 1.01 per cent, ICICI Bank 0.87 and GAIL 0.85 per cent.

Foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth Rs 1,699.60 crore and Domestic institutional investors bought shares worth Rs 1,454.97 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.

Overseas, Asian stocks edged lower in early trade, taking the lead from overnight losses in US stocks. Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea shed between 0.18 per cent and 1.41 per cent.

In the New York, US stocks ended lower yesterday, after US Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen warned of high share valuations, adding to anxiety about future interest rates.

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