Archive for ‘News’

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.


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


September 7, 2011

Blast outside Delhi High Court

New Delhi: A blast was heard, Wednesday morning, outside the Delhi High Court, located in the heart of the capital.

Atleast 2-3 people are said to be injured. Amid pandemonium, they are being moved to nearby hospital.

Although it would be premature to term it as a bomb blast but eyewitnesses said that the blast was very loud.

The blast occurred near gate number 5 of the High Court. Police officials and forensics teams have rushed to the spot and are taking stock of the situation.

Blast outside Delhi High Court More details are awaited.


August 10, 2011

Lokpal Bill: Team Anna to meet Par panel today Delhi: Anna Hazare and his associates will meet a Parliamentary panel Wednesday to put forth their views on the Lokpal Bill.

Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan will meet the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice today evening to express their viewpoint on the issue.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had referred the Bill to the Standing Committee headed by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi and gave it three months time to give its report.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4 amid BJP’s objection over non-inclusion of the office of the Prime Minister under the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog.

A section in the government had earlier hoped that the Standing Committee examines the bill this month so that it could be taken up in the current session itself. No other bill in the recent past has evoked so much controversy as the Lokpal Bill.

Lokpal Bill: Team Anna to meet Par panel today The government for the first time constituted a Joint Drafting Committee consisting of five representatives each from the government’s side and the civil society represented by Hazare.


July 23, 2011

Now, farmers’ stir set to hit buyers in Noida

Noida: Encouraged by the Allahabad High Court verdict of halting the Noida Extension housing projects, farmers in Noida have now decided to move the judiciary for higher compensation for their land acquired in 2003.
The agitated farmers are demanding higher compensation for land acquired in Sector 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 and 128.

Kisan Sangarsh Samiti has decided to move the High Court against the Noida Authority on Monday demanding developed land as promised to them by the Noida Development Authority.

A panchayat is also scheduled for today to take a decision on halting the construction of several ongoing projects.

The builders who are likely to be affected are Jaypee Group, Unitech, 3C and Purvanchal Group. All these projects lie on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway.

Hundreds of villagers from Sultanpur on Friday blocked a road construction work to protest against the delay in return of 5 percent developed land as promised to them by the Noida Development Authority.

The villagers blocked the work that was being carried out at Sector 128.

Farmers continued with their agitation at Sector 74 despite authority officials requesting them for a fortnight’s time to work out a solution.

Now, farmers’ stir set to hit buyers in Noida The officials claimed that over Rs 4,500 crore was invested for development of the area that included the construction of Hindon bridge and a highway connecting Greater Noida to Ghaziabad.

It is learnt that farmers from several villages – Magroli, Chaproli, Shahdara, Sultanpur, Asgarpur, Bajitpur, Jhatta Badoli Bangar and Moiyapur – held a panchayat in Shahdara, in which they decided to give two days’ ultimatum to the builders in Sectors 45,46,48 and 93 to either stop work or face agitation.

The Allahabad High Court, on July 20, postponed its verdict on the legality of land acquisition in two villages of the Greater Noida area popularly known as Noida Extension.

The High Court will announce its verdict on July 26 on the plea of farmers and villagers from Roja Yaqubpur and Bisarakh Jalalpur villages, who went to court against the Greater Noida Authority’s decision to acquire their land.

The court has already cancelled land acquisition in some other villages of Greater Noida in earlier judgements.

Home buyers to hold protest rally today

Meanwhile, about 30,000 flat buyers affected by the court’s decision to quash 750 hectares of land acquisition in Noida Extension will hold a protest rally today seeking an immediate solution to their crisis.

They will demand from the local authorities a way out to address the issue.

“We shall give a memorandum to chairman, GNIDA (Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority) demanding an immediate solution to the Noida Extension issue,” Noida Extension Flat Buyers Welfare Association (NEFBWA) President RP Tyagi said.

Earlier this week, NEFBWA had filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court pleading it to hear them before deciding on the land acquisition issue.

At present some more petitions are pending in the High Court, which is likely to announce its decisions next week.

On July 6, the Supreme Court had struck down acquisition of 156 hectares of land by GNIDA in Shahberi village in the area, saying the authorities were “subserving” private builders in the name of public interest. This decision affected about 6,000 home buyers.

Following this, the Allahabad High Court quashed acquisition of 589.13 hectares of land in Patwari and Dewla villages, falling under Dadri tehsil of Gautambuddh Nagar district, by the GNIDA. Builders claimed that the order would affect 20,000 home buyers and 11 projects.

The Noida Extension area is spread over 4,000 acres and an estimated 2.5 lakh houses are being built there. Out of this, about one lakh units have already been sold by builders.

The farmers of villages in Noida Extension have also moved the Allahabad High Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the acquisition of their lands under emergency provisions by the state government.


July 14, 2011

Mumbai Bomb Blast Pics

Mumbai Blast

Policemen inspect the site of a bomb explosion at Zaveri bazaar in Mumbai.

Policemen surround a vehicle which was damaged at the site of a bomb explosion in the Dadar area of Mumbai.

Policemen inspect the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai.

Plain clothed police surround a vehicle which was damaged at the site of an explosion in the Dadar area of Mumbai.

A policeman controls the crowd at the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai.

Wreckage of motorbikes lie at the site of a bomb explosion outside Opera House in Mumbai.
A policeman questions a shopkeeper at the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai.

Policemen inspect the site of a bomb explosion at Zaveri bazar in Mumbai.

Police officers inspect the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai, India.

Police inspect the site of an explosion at Dadar in Mumbai. Three explosions rocked India`s busy financial capital at rush-hour Wednesday.
June 29, 2011

Mystery disease in Muzaffarpur continues to baffle doctors, toll rises to 44

Muzaffarpur:  The mystery disease in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district continues to claim more lives with the death toll now touching 44. Over the last 10 days, over 40 children have died due to this unknown virus.

The National Institute of Virology which is investigating the case has now ruled out encephalitis which it earlier suspected to be the disease. The symptoms though are similar in both cases.

The team will now take brain tissue samples to conduct further tests and identify the virus.

The only hurdle they faced was permission from the state health department, which has now been granted. Meanwhile, the medical team fears that there could be more unreported cases.


June 20, 2011

Indian-American doc couple killed in plane crash

Washington: An Indian American doctor couple from New Jersey were killed when their single-engine plane crashed into an Ohio cornfield and burst into flames shortly after takeoff Sunday.

Viswanathan Rajaraman, the 54-year-old pilot, and Mary J. Sundaram, his 50-year-old wife and the only passenger, were attempting to take off from Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus when the incident happened just before 9 am, reported citing Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Rajaraman, a leading New Jersey neurosurgeon, and his wife were returning to Essex County Airport in Fairfield, which they flew out of on Friday afternoon, according to the aviation website Flight Aware. It was not clear why they were in Ohio for the weekend.

The cause of Sunday’s plane crash is still under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration sent investigators to the scene, but the National Transportation Safety Board will be heading up the probe, said citing said Tony Molinaro, an FAA spokesman.

Rajaraman, one of the top doctors in New Jersey, specialising in brain and spine cancer, was co-chief of neuro-oncology at Hackensack University Medical Centre’s cancer centre. Sundaram was reportedly also a physician, but stopped practicing to raise the couple’s daughter, Kaavya Viswanathan, now 24.

Originally from Chennai, the family moved around the world. They spent some time in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States in the mid-1990s.

Kaavya Viswanathan made news in 2006 as a Harvard undergraduate when she published the novel “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” a story she wrote in high school. The book made the New York Times bestsellers list.

But she was accused of plagiarism shortly after publication and copies of her book were pulled from stores and destroyed by her publisher.


June 18, 2011

12 crores, 98 kgs gold found in Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s room

Puttaparthi:  It took twenty people 36 hours to count the cash recovered from the private chambers of Sai Baba at his ashram in Puttaparthi.

98 kilos of gold, 11.56 crore in cash, and 307 kilos of silver have been discovered in the Yajur Mandir.
The spiritual and religious guru of millions died on April 24.

Sai Baba’s chambers were locked up after he fell ill in late March and was moved to a local hospital.

The room was opened last evening by members of the Trust and Satyajit, who was Sai Baba’s personal assistant. Two senior retired judges were present.  An assessor approved by the Income Tax Department assisted in evaluating the gold, jewellery and silver, according to Trust member and Sai Baba’s nephew R J Ratnakar.

“The cash found in the Yajur Mandir has been deposited in the account of the Trust in State Bank of India, Prasanthi Nilayam,” Mr Ratnakar told reporters here.