Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cambodian PM visits Vietnam

26122013
CAMBODIA-PHNOM PENH-PM
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) and his wife Bun Rany gesture as they leave for a visit to 
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen left here Thursday for a three-day visit to Vietnam to boost ties as the opposition’s protests to demand his resignation and a re- vote has entered the 12th day.
The prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol, Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth, Chief of Border Affairs Var Kimhong, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, and Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, as well as other senior officials. “During the visit, Prime Minister Hun Sen will hold a bilateral talk with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung,” Sry Thamarong, minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told reporters at the Phnom Penh International Airport before departure. “The two premiers will also witness the signing ceremony of nine agreements including a treaty on extradition as well as those on cooperation in public security, trade, bridge construction, education, and information,” he said.
Besides, the prime minister will pay separate courtesy calls on Nguyen Sinh Hung, president of the Vietnamese National Assembly, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, and Nguyen Phu Trong, secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Hun Sen makes the visit to Vietnam as political dispute at home remains tense. Since Dec. 15, the country’s main opposition party has launched a new round of daily protests in the capital to demand his resignation or a re-election following allegations of serious fraud during the July’s election.
The July’s poll results showed that the Hun Sen’s ruling party won a majority of vote with 68 parliamentary seats against 55 seats for the Sam Rainsy’s opposition party, but the opposition refused to accept the outcome and has boycotted parliament since then.
Hun Sen said on Friday last week that he would neither step down nor call a re-vote because he has done nothing wrong.
He also warned the opposition of its outlawed protests, saying the government would take legal action against protesters if they try to block highways or capture government buildings.


 

Fumio Kishida : Japan, Russia to meet on territorial issues

26122013
Japan and Russia will meet on territorial issues here on Jan. 31 in an effort to resolve the deadlock of the issues between the two countries, said Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida Thursday.
The meeting, which will involve Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and his Russian counterpart Igor Morgulov, is also expected to cover bilateral economic cooperation.
Kishida told a press conference that he hopes the meeting could shore up Japan-Russia relation as a whole and could be conducive to help the two countries to conclude a peace treaty.
Japan and Russia are at odds over a series of islands north of Japan’s Hokkaido. The islands, which are known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, prevent the two countries from signing a peace treaty since the end of World War II.



 

U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan

26122013
At least four people were killed and several others injured in a U.S. drone strike late Wednesday night in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan, reported local Urdu TV channel ARY on Thursday.
According to local media reports, U.S. unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a militant hideout in Miranshah, a main town of North Waziristan which borders Afghanistan.
Identities of the killed and wounded and other details are not immediately available.
The U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan is the 26th of its kind (counted on daily basis) in Pakistan since this year. At least 166 people have reportedly been killed in such strikes so far this year.
While most of the victims are believed to be suspected militants, the U.S. drone strikes do often kill innocent people.
Late last month, U.S. drones launched an attack on a religious school in Pakistan’s northwest district of Hangu, killing at least 15 people including many students.


 

Snowden call to mass data collection

26122013

 
Former US security agency contractor Edward Snowden has urged governments to stop collecting personal communications data.
Snowden has warned about a loss of privacy in a message recorded in Moscow by Britain’s Channel 4.
He said people have sensors in their pockets that track them everywhere they go. He added that a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all.
The former National Security Agency contractor said the ongoing debate on data collection will determine the amount of trust in technology and the governments that regulate it.
He said if governments really want to know how people feel, they should ask them instead of spying on them.


 

Serial bombings in Iraq Christian area

26122013
A series of bombings killed at least thirty eight  people in a Christian-populated district in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Wednesday.
AS per the Police say a car bomb exploded near a church in the south of the city after Christmas mass.
The police add other bomb attacks occurred elsewhere in the district on the same day.
At least 38 people were killed and 70 wounded, most of them Christians.
Iraq is estimated to have around 300,000 Christians with the vast majority of the citizens Muslims.
On Christmas Eve, a mass was held in another church in Baghdad where Muslim leaders attended in a move to overcome religious differences.
No one has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks.


 

Christmas message at the Vatican

26122013

Pope Francis has prayed for an end to the conflict in Syria, while calling for social harmony in South Sudan.
The pontiff delivered his Christmas message to the tens of thousands of Catholics that gathered at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Wednesday.
The pope noted that too many lives have been shattered by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance. He prayed that peace be granted to the country and to the whole world.
The pope also reflected on South Sudan, where thousands of people have died recently after troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with forces supporting former vice president Riek Machar.
He prayed for social harmony to be fostered in the country.


 

South Sudan president calls for dialogue

26122013

The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has called for dialogue to end the tribal-based armed conflict between his supporters and backers of the African country’s former vice president, Riek Machar.
Fighting between the two different ethnic groups erupted in the capital Juba on December 15th and has spread to other parts of the country. At least 500 people have died and 80,000 have fled their homes.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, Kiir said innocent people have been wantonly killed and people are targeting others because of their tribal affiliation. He added that this is unacceptable and these atrocities have to cease immediately.
International efforts are continuing to mediate a ceasefire. The US government has sent a special envoy to urge both sides to end the hostilities.
Media  reports say government troops clashed on Wednesday with supporters of the former vice president in an oil-producing city in the north of the country.  Media agencies 


 

Kim urges military to increase combat readiness

26122013

 
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has urged the military to step up combat readiness. His remark comes as tension is rising on the Korean Peninsula.
The North’s state-run television on Wednesday reported, with many photos, that Kim visited the command of an army unit in charge of the country’s west.
The visit was made on Tuesday, the anniversary of his late father Kim Jong Il’s assuming supreme commandership of the Korean People’s Army.
Kim reportedly instructed the unit to be prepared to the utmost in combat readiness and to bear in mind that war breaks out without prior notice.
Kim was accompanied by 3 top military leaders: the head of the military’s political department Choe Ryong Hae; Chief of General Staff Ri Yong Gil; and defense chief Jang Jong Nam.
Observers say his remark is intended as a threat to the South, indicating the possibility of military provocation from the North without notice.


 

Opposition rejects Thai PM’s proposal on national reform council

26122013

 


Thailand’s prime minister proposed a “national reform council” on Wednesday, following weeks of mass street protests against her government. Yingluck Shinawatra said the body would be set up in parallel with a February-2 general election, AFP reported. The council would recommend constitutional amendments, economic and legal reforms and anti-corruption measures. Protest leaders immediately rejected the plan, reiterating that reforms should go before elections, in a bid to curb the political influence of the prime minister’s family. She can “show her responsibility and sacrifice by stepping down so that the reform process can begin”, said a spokesman for the protest movement, Akanat Promphan.



 

Militants killed in Pakistan by US drone strike

26122013

 

A suspected US drone fired two missiles at a home in a northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing at least three foreign militants, according to Pakistani intelligence officials. The strike took place just before midnight on Wednesday in the village of Qutab Khel in North Waziristan, AP said. Initial reports suggested the slain men were Arabs.


 

Deepika Kumari creates national record in women’s 50 m archery

26122013


Top ranked women recurve archer Deepika Kumari has created a national record in women’s 50 metre round in the 34th Senior National Archery Championship in Jamshedpur. World Cup silver medallist Deepika shot 346 points breaking the previous record of 333 points held by Olympian L Bombayla Devi. Former Olympian V Praneetha finished second in the event with 332 points while Reena Kumari scored 322 to clinch the bronze.
In the Men’s section, Atanau Das emerged winner in the individual Olympic round. Olympian pair of Jayanta Talukdar and Deepika Kumari won the recurve mixed team event.


 

Bangladesh polls:

26122013

In Bangladesh, the armed forces personnel are being deployed from today to help the Election Commission maintain law and order in the 10th parliamentary elections scheduled for January 5, amid a boycott by the BNP-led Opposition. Election Commission sources say around 50,000 armed forces personnel will be deployed for a period of 15 days till January, 9 2014, who will assist regular law enforcing agencies in election-related works.
Voting will take place in 146 out of 300 constituencies, as 154 single candidates stand elected unopposed. There is no army deployment is 5 districts where candidates in all constituencies have been elected unopposed. Army has been deployed during all parliamentary elections in Bangladesh from 1973 to 2008. Security in Election Commission Secretariat has been strengthened with the installation of several closed circuit cameras inside and outside the buildings.
Meanwhile Opposition BNP has announced ‘March to Dhaka’ on December 29th, urging all Bangladeshis to join the movement to resist the elections and protect democracy. 


 

Egypt declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

26122013


The Egyptian Government has officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. Deputy Prime Minister Hossem Eissa announced the move which will give the authorities more powers to crackdown on the Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood has denounced it as an illegitimate act to frame Brotherhood and said its protests would continue. Our West Asia correspondent reports that the Muslim Brotherhood has been blamed for the deadly attack on the Police Headquarters in Mansoura on Tuesday as well as attacks on churches and other violent incidents across the country. The Cabinet orders mean more powers to the Government for crackdown on Brotherhood. A Cairo court has already banned activities by the Muslim Brotherhood , issued orders for dissolving it and frozen its assets. Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi and the eviction of pro Morsi sit ins in Cairo ,a massive crackdown is on by the security forces.
Entire top brass of Muslim Brotherhood including the ouster President Mohammed Morsi and its supreme Guide Mohamed Badie are now behind bars facing several charges of inciting violence, propagating attacks on security personnel and the killing of protesters. 
However experts say that the decision may face serious legal challenges and raised apprehensions that it can be used to silence any opposition voice against the Government.


 

Turkey PM reshuffles cabinet amid graft charges

26122013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has reshuffled his cabinet amidst graft charges. He has replaced nearly half his cabinet bringing in 10 new faces. Erdogan has replaced three resigning ministers and his EU affairs minister, while reshuffling the justice, transport, family, sports and industry portfolios, and one of his four deputy prime ministers’ posts.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a major cabinet reshuffle, replacing 10 key ministers amid a widening high-level corruption scandal rocking his government.
The move came late on Wednesday, shortly after the resignation of interior, economy, and environment ministers. Each of them had a son detained on December 17 in a long-running investigation into graft allegations involving state-run lender Halkbank.
After a closed-door meeting with President Abdullah Gul in Ankara, Erdogan has named 10 new ministers.
The move follows the resignation of three Ministers yesterday in the wake of a probe into a corruption case. The Minister for the Economy, the Interior Minister and the Environment Minister had to resign on charges that they along with their sons, have been involved in a high level fraud involving illicit money transfers to neighboring Iran and bribes for construction projects. Last weeks dozens were arrested including the sons of the Ministers who have resigned and millions of dollars were found in one of their homes.


 

Swami Haridas-Tansen Sangeet – Nritya Mahotsav

26122013
Swami Haridas-Tansen Sangeet – Nritya Mahotsav to be held on 16th, 17th & 18th January 2014 at 6:45 P:M at Shankar Lal Hall, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi.

 I shall be grateful if you can cover this news item, viz “Swami Haridas-Tansen Sangeet – Nritya Mahotsav” in your Newspaper/ Magazine/ TV Channel. Looking forward to receive you at the MAHOTSAV and with kind regard.
Encl: Letter to editor and group photograph of artists.
Thanking you,
With Best Wishes,
Uma Sharma

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