Archive for August, 2012

August 4, 2012

‘I would have killed Osama myself if had a chance’

Islamabad: Pakistan’s top diplomat in the UK, High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan, has said that he would have himself assassinated former al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, if he had the chance to do so.

“We’re not opposed to eliminating these al Qaeda chaps. We were not opposed to eliminating Osama bin Laden, because he was declared an international terrorist. If I were there I would have killed him myself,” the Daily Times quoted Hassan, as saying.

Hassan said that his country remained committed to combat al Qaeda terrorists and extremism, as thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers had died in terrorist attacks since 9/11.

He also accused the United States of “talking in miles” when it comes to democracy but “moving in inches”.

“We are fully for democracy, we want democracy, we support the Arab Spring, we are opposed to military interference in Egypt. All of these things are very good. They are music to my ears. But when it comes to real politics they are different. [US Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton has really supported democracy. But she is one person,” he said.

‘I would have killed Osama myself if had a chance’ Hassan said that the American officials have always maintained a habit of dealing with ‘one man’ rather than institutions and never allow a matter to be debated in their Parliament, as they wish to abstain from being accountable.

“There are so many pillars of power in the United States, and they act differently. The United States, if you look at Pakistan’s 65-year history, has always preferred to deal with one man rather than with institutions. They would never like a matter to go to Parliament, to be debated there, for issues to be accountable to Parliament and the people, they don’t want that, they want one man,” he added.

Source: zeenews.india.com

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August 4, 2012

Home Minister Shinde to visit Pune today

Mumbai: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is scheduled to visit the blast sites in Pune on Saturday. Image

Shinde is likely to review the security situation at a meeting with top officials here.

Four low-intensity explosions took place in the busy J M Road area in Pune on August 1.

Shinde, who took charge as Union Home Minister the same day, was supposed to visit the city that evening, but the visit was cancelled.

Source: zeenews.india.com

August 4, 2012

Saina Nehwal loses in semis but still in hunt for bronze

LONDON: Outclassed by a clearly superior rival, Saina Nehwal on Friday tamely lost to the top-seeded Yihan Wang of China in the women’s singles semi-final of the Olympic Games, acknowledging later that the Chinese was “too fast” for her.ImageWorld No 5 Saina, the first Indian to reach the Olympic semi-final in the shuttle game, was beaten 13-21 13-21 by the world’s top women’s badminton player in a match that lasted 42 minutes before a packed Wembly Arena where Indian supporters outshouted the Chinese but that too did not help.

Saina can still hope to win an Olympic bronze in a play-off with yet another Chinese player Xin Wang, who was defeated by compatriot Li Xuerui in a closely fought second semi-final 22-20, 21-18, played immediately after Saina-Yihan clash. The Indian will meet the World No 2 Chinese in the play-off on Saturday.

Clearly off colour, the Hyderabadi girl was never in the match except for brief moments in the second set. She was unable to draw her rival into rallies and could not hold her service for long.

The taller Wang moved swiftly on the court, never allowing Saina to engage in rallies which is her strength. The longest rally of the match lasted 38 seconds and the average rally just 10 seconds.

Acknowledging the superiority of Wang, the disappointed Indian said later that she was too fast for her while she herself was not moving so well on the court.

“Wang was simply too fast for me. I was not moving well on the court and she exploited that. I made some errors in crucial stages which did not help me,” she said.

“I tried hard in some areas but she just did not allow me to settle down and engage in rallies. She was finishing off quickly and was coming upto the net to attack. I could not counter that kind of a game,” Saina expplained.

Asked if she had not had enough recovery time for the match after her yesterday’s quarterfinal win, Saina said that was not an issue at all and that she had had enough recovery time.

Up against the top seeded Chinese, Saina committed too many unforced errors to see her dream of winning an Olympic gold medal come crashing.

There was very little margin for error for Saina as Yihan was sharper, more accurate and also used her powerful smashes to outwit the Indian.

The 22-year-old committed too many unforced errors to lag 6-11 at the interval in the first game. Although Saina tried to come back with the help of some brilliant net play, the Chinese employed some immaculate placements and powerful smashes to lead 1-0.

In the second game, Saina tried to match her superior rival and did trouble her to enjoy a one-point lead at the break. But the tall Chinese used her height to advantage and was also very quick on the court.

She mixed her repertoire of strokes to incude the Indian to commit errors and moved ahead.

Yihan anticipated the shots and was better prepared and, with Saina hitting wide and long, the Chinese registered three straight points after moving into the match point to cement her place in the finals.

This was Yihan’s sixth victory over Saina in as many encounters.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

August 4, 2012

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers

New Delhi: It seems that Team Anna’s decision to enter politics has not gone down well with some of the supporters.

Reports claim that some supporters of Anna Hazare at Navsari in Surat have burnt posters of the social activist and India Against Corruption.

In fact, former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde also said yesterday that he does not support Anna Hazare and his team floating a political party, but would campaign for candidates who identify themselves with his movement against corruption.

There was a section of the volunteers of India Against Corruption at Jantar Mantar, who were cheering Anna Hazare during his fast, protested the team’s decision to take a political route.

Around 50 volunteers reportedly submitted their identity cards with the management of India Against Corruption and refused to turn up at the event.

Reports also said some of the volunteers were also beaten up for displaying placards requesting Team Anna not to join the politics.

However, Team Anna has given assurance to dejected volunteers that Arvind Kejriwal would meet them soon.

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers On Friday, Team Anna moved towards forming a party to fight the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but Anna Hazare made it clear that he will not launch a party or contest elections. Ending their ten-day fast at Jantar Mantar, the team declared that “people” will decide on their candidates and fund their elections.

“We will have to throw this government out. It is a long fight. This is not a party. It will be a movement from the streets to Parliament.”

“Parliament has to be purified. There will be no high command. People will decide the candidates and they will fund it,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal announced.

August 4, 2012

What did Anna Hazare’s Jantar Mantar fast achieve?

ImageTeam Anna’s latest fast at Jantar Mantar was initially greeted by a tepid response by the aam admi and the media. After the high-voltage show at Ramlila Maidan last year, the camera lights had dimmed. Adding to the concerns of the anti-corruption crusaders was the absolute thumbs down by the government; no one from Lutyen’s Delhi appeared to be interested in them anymore.

The same ruling establishment which had wooed and ‘saluted’ Anna for his indomitable spirit and called him too ‘valuable’ for the nation, completely ignored him, a year after Parliament adopting a ‘sense of House’ resolution on the Lokpal Bill.

Although, the movement did gain pace after Anna Hazare himself took to the stage and began fasting along with others, it is clear that the latest round of fast did not really have the kind of action that they had hoped for.

Fact is that Team Anna was on the backfoot and had no strategy to counter the Congress led UPA government’s wait and watch game. One could almost feel them rubbing their hands in glee. As they say – Time is a great leveller.

Given the above scenario, Anna called off his ten day fast on Friday along with his key aides Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai and made an announcement which has started off a national debate.

Just before breaking his fast, Arvind Kejriwal revealed what we all had anticipated. “We will form our own party, the name and the manisfesto of which will be decided by the people.” So finally Team Anna has taken the all important plunge.

The question is whether Anna and his men had any options left? With nothing much happening this time around, they could not have simply called off the fast without a face-saver. And this declaration of providing a political alternative was probably the best option left for them.

Critics of Anna and his team like senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh have maintained throughout that the movement had political aspirations. In fact it was also being said time and again that people like Kejriwal were using the diminutive man from Realegan Siddhi for their personal ambitions.

When Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that they always knew that Team Anna were inspired by politics and that it was good that whatever the intention was it had come out clear, one could almost feel the sense of victory for the Congress party. Also it may have given them a sense of confidence. After all political arena is the grand old party’s area of strength but appears to be completely alien territory for Anna’s motley group.

It’s not just the Congress, to take Team Anna on in their own turf and in their own background will be something parties cutting across political lines will not mind.

But the moot question is whether this experiment of Anna’s men will succeed or is it embarking on a path of destruction? Politics is a different ballgame altogether. And that too in a country like India where caste and religion play an important role in electoral politics.

However, Team Anna can take solace from the fact that the last couple of state elections have shown, albeit slowly but surely, that the voting pattern of the country is changing. The last elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh did bring to light the fact that people are voting on the plank of good governance and development. And if Team Anna can convince the electorate that they can clean up the system, the people of this country who are fed up with deep rooted corruption may give them a chance.

Will Anna be able to provide a formidable front in 2014 is a matter for posterity? However the immediate challenge that will confront them will be how to embark on the road to electoral politics. It will be anything but a smooth ride. It will be bumpy and pull of potholes.

The transition from being a pressure group to a political front will not be easy. What will the organisational structure of the front be? Questions will arise on ways to fund the elections and the task of finding more than 500 ‘clean’ candidates who can win. Also the team has to be prepared to take in criticisms just as any political outfit is criticised if they are found wanting. Apart from their views on corruption and Lokpal, the team will have to make their stand clear on a host of issues confronting the country. For starters, they have to start talking in one language and their intentions have to be pure.

Post Script: But as Ghalib said – Ek aag ka darya hai aur doob ke jaana hai. Likewise the team has to prepare themselves on a war footing to jump into the political cauldron of India. However, let us not be cynics and let us give Anna Hazare and his band of soldiers a chance. In a democratic country like ours everyone has the right to form a political party and fight elections. After all there are more than 60 political parties and seven national parties in India. There is surely space for one more, especially one which promises to be different.

Whatever the outcome or fate of Team Anna may be, one thing is sure – we are in for interesting times ahead

Source: zeenews.india.com