Saturday, January 4, 2014

PRESIDENT SEIN FOR CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION

4 01 2014
President Thein Sein has expressed support for amendments to the constitution that could result in opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi being eligible for the presidency.
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In  televised address on January 2, President Thein Sein said he wanted the removal of all restrictions that forbade any Myanmar national from taking office.
Article 59 (f) of the constitution bars Myanmar citizens married to foreigners, or who have children with foreign citizenship, from becoming president.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s late husband was a Briton and her two sons are British nationals.
President Thein Sein said constitutional changes needed to be made with consideration of democratic principles, but national interests should remain the top priority. He added that amending the military-drafted constitution could help to achieve national reconciliation.
Opinion has been divided among conservative political parties about amending Article 59(f), although the proposed amendment has been widely supported by the public.


International Newshot

4 01 2014

Cambodian security forces clear opposition protesters

Security guards, police in plainclothes and riot police, armed with batons and metal pipes, on Saturday forcibly cleared hundreds of pro-opposition’s demonstrators from the capital Phnom Penh’ s Freedom Park, where they have been protesting for three straight weeks against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said that the authorities just chased protesters away from the park and no one was injured or arrested.
“Now, we take control of the park, no more protest is allowed,” he told media.
The crackdown came after Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Pa Socheatvong on Saturday banned the country’s main opposition party from holding any protests in the capital since a garment strike on Friday turned violent, leaving four strikers shot dead, 26 injured and 11 arrested.
“To ensure social security and public order, the Phnom Penh Municipality decides not to allow the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to continue holding demonstrations at the Freedom Park and marching through streets in the city from Jan. 4 onwards until the security situation has returned to normal,” Pa Socheatvong said in a letter to opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
He said in recent days, inciting activities have led to violence that claimed lives and caused severe destruction to public and private properties.

At least 16 die in severe US snowstorms


At least 16 deaths have been blamed on a snowstorm as it swept through the northeastern US. At least three people died partly because of the extreme cold, officials said. Meanwhile, slick roads were blamed for traffic deaths in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency, while hundreds of schools were shut down in Boston and New York. Around 1,900 flights have been canceled across the country.


​Putin lifts ban on protests at Sochi Olympics

Vladimir Putin signed a decree partially lifting a ban on all political protests at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Kremlin’s press service has announced. The decree allows demonstrations and marches not connected with the Sochi Olympics to be held at locations that must be agreed with Sochi officials, along with regional police and security forces. The restrictions will take effect from January 7 to March 21.


Germany to have NSA inquiry


German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has agreed to a public inquiry into NSA’s spying activity. A parliamentary probe will have the authority to subpoena evidence from German intelligence agencies, but no power to summon data from the US government. The initiative for the investigation came from Hans-Christian Stroebele of the German Green Party who last year traveled to Moscow to meet whistleblowing fugitive Edward Snowden. Green spokeswoman Britta Hasselmann called on the German government to grant Snowden a safe passage to testify in Germany.



5 dead from H1N1 virus in Alberta


Residents of Alberta, Canada are being urged to take flu shots after 5 people died from the H1N1 virus outbreak, with 270 more hospitalized in the province as 950 H1N1 cases have been confirmed so far. Mass immunization clinics have been opened. Free flu shots are also available at doctors’ practices and most drug stores. The H1N1 flu virus caused a world-wide pandemic in 2009. It is now a human seasonal flu virus that also circulates in pigs.



​Pentagon reduces danger pay locations for troops by a third


The Pentagon announced Friday it has cut by about a third the number of places US troops can get imminent danger pay in a move to reduce costs by about US$100 million per year. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan were among the 20 locations dropped from the list. “The imminent threat of physical harm to U.S. military personnel due to civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions has been significantly reduced in many countries. As a result, IDP will be discontinued in those areas,” the Pentagon said in a statement, according to media. The danger pay still applies to places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Somalia, Israel, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the city of Athens, Greece.

​Obama administration proposes new gun rules for mentally ill

The Obama administration announced Friday two new federal gun control proposals guiding how much information on the mentally ill is supplied to background check databases. The suggested rules, offered by the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice, would allow access to some mental health records for use on the federal background check database, based on an exemption in current privacy law. In addition, the Justice Department proposes to “clarify” that those involuntarily held at inpatient or outpatient institutions should not be allowed to buy guns. The White House has renewed its call for stronger gun control after its push for enhanced background checks on gun buyers and a ban on assault-style rifles failed in the US Senate in April.

9 people killed in Mexico jail shooting


At least nine people have been killed in a shootout between gunmen and prisoners in the Tuxpan jail, Iguala, about 200 kilometers to the southwest of Mexico City. The gunfire happened early in the morning. Six armed men entered the facility, pretending to be public officials bringing a new prisoner inside, but started to fire at inmates and jail guards. Five of the attackers and four prisoners were killed in the assault. The motive behind the incident is not known yet.



Second chance for Puerto Rico pot reform


The reform aimed at decriminalizing marijuana in Puerto Rico gets a second chance, as the island’s lower house prepares to debate a bill that would get rid of jail penalties for possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana. The discussion is to take place in mid-January, according to the local daily El Nuevo Día. The measure was passed by the Puerto Rican Senate last year, but failed to make it through the House.



US fighter jets to patrol Baltic states for 4 months


Four American F-15C fighter jets have started patrolling the airspace of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The US pilots have arrived along with other US military from the UK-based RAF station Lakenheath, replacing Belgian Air Force pilots, and will be will be using a Lithuanian air base during their four-month mission. The Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Juozas Olekas, on Friday welcomed the pilots, thanking NATO for “guarding our borders” for 10 years.



Five Medecins Sans Frontieres staff missing in Syria


Five staff from the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were taken from their house in northern Syria Thursday evening, the medical group said in statement Friday. MSF did not say which group in Syria had taken them, their roles or their nationality but said it was “in contact with all relevant stakeholders”. The five staff have allegedly been taken for questioning. The Syrian government still controls a few pockets of land in northern Syria but the rebels, including hardline Islamists, have taken vast swathes of territory.



Spanish minister to visit Panama this weekend over canal dispute


The President of Panama says the Spanish public works minister and the chairman of the Spanish builder Sacyr, which is managing the project to expand the Panama Canal, are visiting Panama this week as a row escalates over $1.6 billion cost overruns to expansion work.The Spanish-led construction group has threatened to halt the massive project within three weeks unless the Panama Canal Authority agrees to pay for extra costs. However, Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli said that the cost overruns are irresponsible and a company should not be able to add on huge extra expenses.


Israel former PM Sharon’s condition more critical, deteriorating

Doctors treating former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon say his condition is continuing to decline and he is close to death. The 85-year old has been on life support since suffering a stroke in 2006 and his condition has deteriorated sharply this week as his vital organs failed. Sharon left his mark on Israel and the region through his military invasions, Jewish settlement building and a unilateral decision to pull Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza strip in 2005.


National Executive Meet of AAP

4 01 2014
National Executive Meet of the Party is underway in New Delhi. Speaking to reporters this morning, Party leader Yogendra Yadav said AAP would review the results of Delhi Assembly polls and discuss party’s strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to be held in May.
Over 35 party members from across the country are attending the meet.


National Archives of India to Collaborate with State Archives of Turkey,Oman

4 01 2014
National Archives of India to Collaborate with State Archives of Turkey and the National Records and Archvies Authority of Oman
The National Archives of India has successfully collaborated with the State Archives of Turkey and the National Records and Archives Authority of Oman in a series of meetings in Ankara and Muscat during this week. The Director General National Archives of India V. Srinivas met the Director General State Archives of Turkey Dr. Ugur Unal in Istanbul on January 2, 2014 and the Chairman of the National Records and Archives Authority of Oman Dr. Hamad Mohd Al Dhawiani in Muscat on December 31, 2013. The protocol for collaboration in Archives was signed between India and Turkey during the visit of the President of India to Ankara on October 7, 2013.The Ambassador of India to Turkey Smt. Susmita Gongulee Thomas and the First Deputy Minister of Archives of Turkey Mr. M. Abdullah Canbek were present on the occasion in the State Archives of Turkey at Ankara when the Hindi and the Turkish Texts of the Protocol were signed and exchanged. The protocol allows National Archives of India to access ancient Ottoman Archives records amounting to 12 million documents with considerable historical importance in the year 2014. In the bilateral meeting both sides recognized the benefits from the collaboration in the field of archives and agreed on the need for deeper collaboration in the coming years to develop strong institutions and improved record management practices. India and Turkey agreed on the following road-map for future collaboration: (a) Identifying Archival Material of Mutual Interest: The National Archives of India agreed to host a delegation of Archivists from the State Archives of Turkey at the National Archives of India for a period of 5 days to identify documents which are of interest to the State Archives of Turkey. The State Archives of Turkey agreed to provide a catalogue of reference material available with the State Archives of Turkey for National Archives of India to identify areas of mutual interest; (b) Exhibition of Ottoman Archival Records in National Archives of India: The National Archives of India agreed to host a one week exhibition from the State Archives of Turkey in New Delhi at a time of mutual convenience in 2014. It was also agreed that an advance team from State Archives of Turkey could be deputed to National Archives of India to work out the logistical arrangements. (c) Collaboration in Training Programs: The National Archives of India agreed to build collaboration with the State Archives of Turkey in development of training programs through a Technical Assistance Program. (d) Collaboration in Digitization of Records: the National Archives of India agreed to explore possible areas of collaboration with the State Archives of Turkey in the exchange of digital copies and share experiences in this regard.
In the bilateral meeting between Dr. Hamad Mohd. Al Dhawiani Chairman National Records and Archives Authority, Sultanate of Oman and V. Srinivas, Director General National Archives of India which was attended by the Ambassador of India to Oman Shri J.S. Mukul, the following areas of collaboration were identified (a) The National Archives of India will host an Omani delegation of Archivists at New Delhi to prepare proper reference media for the archival documents collected from Indian side; (b) The National Records and Archives Authority will hold an exhibition at New Delhi on Omani and Ottoman Archival records along with a seminar of Arabic Scholars from both sides participating in the deliberations. (c) A technical assistance program for development of training programs would be developed between the 2 institutions; (d) Both sides would seek to explore collaboration in digitization of archival records; (e) Both sides agreed to work on exchange of archivists to develop archival records in both countries; and (f) The National Archives of India would facilitate interaction with State Archives and Grant in Aid institutions associated with Portuguese history in India. Oman has hitherto accessed 73000 documents of historical importance from National Archives of India for building an international records section in the National Records and Archives Authority.


Hike in Petrol and diesel prices

4 01 2014

Another hike in Petrol and diesel prices
Petrol price was on Friday hiked by 75 paise and diesel by 50 paise a litre as rise in global oil rates and fall in rupee value increased the cost of production.
The revised prices, which will take effect from Saturday, are excluding local sales tax or VAT and actual increase will be higher and vary from city to city.Petrol price, which was last hiked by 41 paise excluding VAT on December 21 as government raised commissioned paid to petrol pump dealers, will cost Rs. 72.43 a litre in Delhi from midnight tonight, up 91 paise from Rs. 71.52. The price of diesel in Delhi will be hiked by 56 paise, including tax, to Rs. 54.34 per litre, while it will cost Rs. 61.42 a litre in Mumbai, as against Rs. 60.80 until now.
Diesel price increase is in line with the January, 2013 decision of the government to raise rates by up to 50 paise per month till such time that the entire losses on the fuel are wiped out, and prices made market determined.
Announcing the price hike, Indian Oil Corp, the country’s largest fuel retailer, said that even after the 12th price hike since last January the oil companies are incurring Rs. 9.24 per litre loss on sale of the fuel.
Officials said the price revision was due on January 1 but the oil companies did not change rates as they were wary of the decision being dubbed as ‘New Year Gift’ to consumers.
The diesel price was last hiked by 10 paise on December 21 when the commission paid to petrol pump dealers was increased by the government.


Indonesian volcano erupts 30 times as 20,000 displaced

4 01 2014
Indonesian volcano erupts 30 times as 20,000 displaced

Indonesian volcano that has erupted relentlessly for months shot volcanic ash into the air 30 times on Saturday, forcing further evacuations with more than 20,000 people now displaced, an official said.
Mount Sinabung on the western island of Sumatra sent rivers of lava flowing through an evacuation zone and columns of volcanic cloud up as high as 4,000 metres (13,000 feet), National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. “Hot lava spewed from the volcano some 60 times, reaching up to five kilometres (three miles) southeast of the crater. This outpour is the biggest we´ve seen in all the recent eruptions,” Nugroho said. Authorities had already told residents in a five-kilometre radius of the volcano to evacuate, and Nugroho said an expanded evacuation zone may be considered.
The number of people who have now fled the rumbling volcano since it began erupting in September last year has risen to 20,331, Nugroho said.
Mount Sinabung is one of dozens of active volcanoes in Indonesia that straddle major tectonic fault lines, known as the Ring of Fire.
It had been quiet for around 400 years until it rumbled back to life in 2010, and again in September last year.
In August, five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a tiny island in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted.
The country´s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions in 2010.


One dead, dozens of voting booths attacked in Bangladesh

4 01 2014
One dead, dozens of voting booths hit in Bangladesh 
An opposition activist was killed and dozens of voting booths were attacked in Bangladesh Saturday on the eve of elections which have been hit by a mass boycott, officials said.
Police said the protester was killed in clashes with supporters of the ruling Awami League in the northern town of Patgram as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party enforced a nationwide strike to resist what its calls a “farcical” election on Sunday.
“We don´t know his identity but he is from either the BNP or Jamaat-e-Islami party,” a police chief in Patgram told, referring to the opposition´s main ally which is banned from the election.
BNP is the largest of 21 opposition parties which have refused to take part in the parliamentary election, which is certain to be won by the Awami League.
Around 150 people have been killed in political violence since October and a mass military deployment ahead of the polls has failed to halt the unrest. Police and election officials said Saturday that protesters had set fire to or attempted to torch 34 polling booths during the first day of the strike.
Officials said the attacks would not derail the eleection and that alternative arrangements had been made for voters to cast ballots in the affected areas.
“There won´t be any cancellation of polls in my region,” Mohammad Abdullah, government administrator in the southeastern Chittagong region, told.
“We´ve already made move to shift three polling centres which have been torched by protesters.”
Two of the polling stations that were attacked were in the capital Dhaka, while nine were hit in the troubled southern Khulna district. media agencies

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