Saturday, May 17, 2014

AAP’s disappointing LS Poll 2014

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Arvind Kejriwal reacts to the Loksabha results!
Arvind Kejriwal reacts to the Loksabha results!
I have greatest respect for people’s mandate and congratulate Modi ji for his victory and wish the best for our nation. Though we are disappointed with our performance in Delhi, but really glad that the Punjab candidates of AAP performed so well and the state will be sending 4 AAP MPs to the Parliament. I congratulate all AAP MPs from Punjab who fought against all odds and won. Finally, I thank all supporters, volunteers, donors and candidates across the country who gave AAP a national platform. We will continue building on it with your support. Thank you.


Newsline global


Death toll in Turkey mine explosion rises to 292

The death toll in Turkey’s coal mine explosion rose to 292 after eight more bodies were discovered in the western town of Soma, energy minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday. The minister added that rescuers are working on saving ten additional miners who are still trapped. The fire in the mine, which was hindering rescue efforts, has been largely put out. The cause of the accident is still being determined, Yildiz stated, adding that it is likely that an electrical fault led to the explosion. The blast occurred about 1.9 kilometers below the surface and reportedly disabled an elevator in the mine shaft. The workers are trapped some four kilometers away from the exit. Earlier, Yildiz told reporters that 787 workers were in the Soma mine when the explosion occurred in the mine’s power unit.


Arkansas Supreme Court reverses move to grant same-sex marriage licenses

The state of Arkansas has capped off a chaotic week in legal wranglings regarding same-sex marriages with a Supreme Court reversal of a lower court judge’s ruling which had invalidated existing bans, the Arkansas Times reported. The court’s Friday ruling, handed down at 4:30 p.m. local time, restores existing Arkansas law, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. As recently as Thursday, the lower court judge’s ruling had been clarified to prompt hesitant county clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The latest development now leaves in doubt the legal status of some 500 same-sex marriages which have taken place since the May 9 ruling which had eliminated constitutional and statutory prohibitions in the state.


Top VA health official resigns amid growing hospital wait time scandal

Dr. Robert Petzel, the Department of Veterans Affairs undersecretary for health, resigned Friday amid allegations of deadly healthcare delays for veterans. Critics branded the resignation “damage control,” as Petzel already planned to retire later this year, Reuters reports. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki acknowledged the need to ensure more timely treatment of America’s military veterans while accepting Petzel’s resignation. The two men testified before Congress on Thursday about the growing scandal at the Veterans Health Administration’s facilities in Phoenix. The VA put three senior officials there on administrative leave after doctors at the facilities said they were ordered to hold veterans’ names for months on a secret waiting list until a spot opened on the official list that met the VA’s two-week wait-time goals. At least 40 veterans died while awaiting care at the Phoenix VA. There are similar allegations of cover-up schemes at VA facilities in at least seven other cities around the country.

TEPCO finds exact location of water leak in reactor 3 at Fukushima plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it has found the exact place where radioactive water is leaking from the primary containment vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima power plant. Using a camera survey, TEPCO managed to establish that the water is leaking near a pipe joint that penetrates the containment vessel. TEPCO said it assumes the leak occurred because the level of the water in the containment vessel is higher than the area where the pipe joint is. It will now focus on determining ways to stop the leak.

China jails US businessman for 20 year, denies torture accusations

Chinese-American businessman, Vincent Wu, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Chinese court, AP reports. He was found guilty of operating illegal casinos that raked in 48 million yuan ($7.8 million), getting an associate to throw acid at a judge and ordered thugs to use knives and bulldozers to threaten farmers. The court also denied that Wu and other defendants in the case were tortured during the investigations. The businessman’s family said that they are “devastated” by the ruling. Lawyers are preparing an appeal.

At least 13 killed in Libya clashes

At least 13 people have been killed and around 100 others wounded in fierce clashes between irregular forces of the self-declared Libyan National Army and Islamist militants in eastern Libya. Led by retired General Khalifa Haftar, the irregular forces shelled bases belonging to Ansar al-Sharia and another Islamist militant group in Benghazi “in order to purge the city from terrorists.” According to official LANA news, both light and heavy arms were used during the clashes.

No progress made at Iranian nuclear talks

Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, said that “no progress had been made” after the end of the fourth round of talks with six major powers (US, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia) to overcome their differences over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, Reuters reports. The sides, which have been in talks since February, planned to start drafting the text of a final agreement on the issue during the get-together in Vienna, Austria. However, Araqchi stated that “we haven’t reached the point” of being able to do that.

US won’t allow Iran to develop nuclear arms – Hagel to Israel

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has assured Israel that America “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, AP reports. He made the statement during talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called Iran “the foremost terrorist state of our time.” The conclusion of Hagel’s four-day Middle East tour coincided with international talks in Vienna aimed at drafting a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

US fines General Motors maximum $35mn for ignition switch recall delays

The US government has fined General Motors $35 million for delays in recalling small cars with faulty ignition switches, AP reported. The fine is the maximum allowed by law, but it’s only a fraction of the $3.8 billion GM made last year. GM has acknowledged knowing about the problem for at least a decade, and at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to it. However, the company didn’t recall the cars until this year. Automakers are required to report safety defects within five days of discovering them.


Russia starts to fill North Crimea Canal to solve peninsula water problem

The problem of water supplies to Crimea has been partly solved after water from the Biyuk-Karasu River was directed to the North Crimea Canal, RIA Novosti reported on Friday. Water delivery started on May 12, according to the Russian government. Also, at the beginning of May, the waters of the Taigansky and Belogorsky reservoirs were diverted to Biyuk-Karasu’s stream canal. Water supplies from the North Crimea Canal to Feodosiysky reservoir will start around May 23. On April 26, Ukraine shut the North Crimea Canal, by which Crimea receives 85 percent of the freshwater it needs. Crimea’s First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said on May 6 the region is now fully independent from the supplies of Ukrainian freshwater.

Blatter says World Cup in Qatar heat ‘a mistake’

It is “a mistake” to hold the World Cup in the searing summer heat of Qatar, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said. “The technical report on Qatar clearly indicated that it was too hot in summer,” Blatter told Swiss TV station RTS. “But the [FIFA] executive committee decided with quite a large majority that we are going to play in Qatar.” It is “more than likely” that the 2022 tournament will be moved to winter to avoid the extreme heat of June and July in the Gulf nation, Blatter said.

Uruguay to take 6 detainees from Guantanamo

Uruguayan President José Mujica said on Thursday that his nation will accept six detainees from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Obama administration should move fast, the Washington Post quoted Mujica as saying. “It can’t be too long,” he said, adding that he only has a “few months of government left.” Uruguay will accept a group of Arabs who have been cleared for release but can’t return to their nations, either because of war, fear of torture or security concerns about their home countries. The offer could free the last four Syrian detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a Palestinian and a Tunisian, the paper said. The White House has long pledged to close the 12-year-old military facility.

Death toll in Nairobi twin blasts rises to 10, scores injured

Two explosions that have struck the Gikomba market area of the Kenyan capital Nairobi killed at least 10 people and injured scores, the BBC reported. It is not clear what caused the blasts, but recent attacks have mostly been blamed on the al-Shabab militant Islamist group from neighboring Somalia.

WHO reports large gains in life expectancy

People are living longer, according to the “World Health Statistics 2014” published by the World Health Organization. A girl who was born in 2012 can expect to live to around 73 years, and a boy to the age of 68, according to global averages. This is six years longer than the average global life expectancy for a child born in 1990. Low-income countries have made the greatest progress. The top six countries where life expectancy increased the most were Liberia, Ethiopia, Maldives, Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Rwanda. Women in Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world at 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore. Life expectancy among men is 80 years or more in nine countries. The longest male life expectancy is in Iceland, Switzerland and Australia.

Colombian FARC, ELN rebels announce cease-fire for presidential election

Colombia’s leftist FARC and ELN rebels on Friday declared a unilateral cease-fire from May 20 to May 28, Reuters said. The period includes the May-25 presidential election, and the guerrillas and the government continued work toward a comprehensive peace plan in negotiations in Havana. “We are ordering all of our units to cease any offensive military action against the armed forces or the economic infrastructure as of 0000 hours on Tuesday, May 20, until 2400 hours on Wednesday, May 28,” rebel leader, Pablo Catabumbo, said in Havana.

Rebel rocket attack kills 13 people in Syria’s Aleppo

A rebel rocket attack killed 13 people Friday in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, AP said, citing Syria’s state media reports. The rocket attack in Aleppo also wounded 17 people in the city’s northern neighborhood of Achrafieh, according to SANA news agency. The shells also reportedly damaged two houses in the area. The attack came a day after similar shelling on the neighborhood killed three people and wounded 20.

Russian parliament ratifies prisoners transfer treaty with Egypt

The Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, on Friday ratified an agreement with Egypt that sets the rules for the mutual transfer of convicted prisoners, RAPSI said. The agreement, which was signed in Cairo on June 23, 2009, stipulated the requirements to requests for transfer of convicts, the conditions for transferring the convicts to serve their punishment in the other country, as well as a procedural guarantee of the transferred person’s rights. A convict can be transferred only with the consent of both countries, as well as the convict in question.

4 killed, several injured in 2 blasts in Kenyan capital

At least four people were killed and several injured after two explosions in the Kenyan capital, Reuters reported. One blast rocked the Gikomba market in Nairobi, according to the country’s National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC). “[The] first blast was from a 14-seater [minibus], second blast within Gikomba Market. Four fatalities,” NDOC tweeted.

Army battles 2 militias in Libya’s east

Fierce fighting broke out Friday in eastern Libya between two militia groups and army troops believed to be loyal to a rogue general at the center of recent coup rumors in the city of Benghazi, security officials said. Military aircraft and helicopters, apparently under the command of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, flew over Benghazi, AP reported. Hifter’s troops also besieged the bases of the Rafallah al-Sahati, which is led by an Islamist commander, and a militia known as February 17, according to the officials. The clashes reportedly wounded nine people and killed a colonel.

No final oil-for-goods deal yet with Iran – Moscow

Talks with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh in Moscow on Thursday did not produce a final agreement on a potential oil-for-goods deal, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Friday. “We did not reach a final agreement,” Reuters quoted Novak as saying. He hopes a deal could be agreed in time for an inter-governmental meeting in autumn. Reports in April said that Tehran and Moscow had made progress on a barter deal that could be worth up to $20 billion. Under the agreement, Moscow would provide Russian equipment and goods in exchange for Iranian oil.

Yemen security forces foil Al-Qaeda attacks in Sanaa

Yemen has foiled a number of Al-Qaeda attacks on government, military and diplomatic premises in the capital Sanaa, officials said. Several suspected would-be suicide bombers were arrested, Reuters reported. The Interior Ministry said security forces had thwarted “a number of cowardly terrorist operations that Al-Qaeda had planned in the capital” targeting “vital government establishments, security and military headquarters as well as some foreign embassies.”

Suspected gunmen from Liberia seize village in Cote d’Ivoire, kill 8

At least eight people, including five civilians, were killed when gunmen believed to have come from Liberia seized a border village in western Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Reuters reported. Heavily-armed fighters attacked the village of Fetai early on Thursday, after crossing the Cavally River, which forms the boundary between the two West African neighbors. “The information that I have for the moment is that five villagers were killed in Fetai,” Member of Parliament Yaya Coulibaly said from Grabo, a town 10km from Fetai. The fighting was reportedly continuing on Friday.

Turkish mine operator says 284 confirmed dead

The operator of the Turkish mine operator, Soma Holding, has said 284 people were confirmed dead, 18 are thought to still be trapped, and 363 were evacuated. “It was an unbelievable accident in a place where there have been very few accidents in 30 years,” Reuters quoted Chairman Alp Gurkan as saying. A fire had not been linked to an electricity sub-station as some reports initially suggested, but a build-up of heat had caused a partial collapse, the operator said. There was no negligence on the part of the company, it said, but the exact cause of the accident is still unknown. Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday that a maximum of 18 people are still in the coal mine.

Russia allows foreign personnel at Baikonur space center

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree allowing foreign personnel to participate in launches at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, RIA Novosti reported. Foreign specialists will be allowed to the sites at the Baikonur space center “where works primarily linked to ensuring the launch of spacecraft are carried out,” according to the decree published on the Russian government website on Friday. Russia has leased Baikonur from Kazakhstan since the collapse of the Soviet Union and pays annual fee of $115 million for the use of the space center.

UN ‘concerned’ over reports of Ukraine’s use of helicopters with its logo

A UN secretary-general representative, Stephane Dujarric, has said that the UN has voiced concerns to the Ukrainian Permanent Mission to the UN over reports of the use of helicopters with peacekeepers symbols in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine. At least three white helicopters with UN identification marks were reportedlyused in a military operation near the city of Kramatorsk. States that supply equipment for UN peacekeeping operations are obliged to “remove all logos and signs bearing the UN’s name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes,” RIA Novosti quoted UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq as saying. UN agencies are said to be “in contact with the Ukrainian authorities” on this issue.

Crashed Proton-M rocket, Express-AM4R satellite were insured for $224.8mn

A Russian Proton-M rocket and an advanced satellite on board, the Express-AM4R, which crashed outside of Kazakhstan’s territory on Friday, were insured for 7.8 billion rubles ($224.8 million). The launch and exploitation were insured by Ingosstrakh Insurance Company, the firm’s Vice-President Ilya Solomatin told ITAR-TASS. The Express-AM4R was considered Russia’s most advanced satellite. The toxic components of the rocket fuel remaining in the third stage of the Proton and the booster unit Briz-M reportedly burned up in the dense layers of the atmosphere.

Early count shows Modi wins landslide victory, to become next India PM

Opposition candidate Narendra Modi will be the next prime minister of India, Reuters reported, citing early counting results. The pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party headed for the biggest victory the country has seen in 30 years. The alliance led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was winning the vote count in 325 parliamentary seats, far more than the majority of 272 required to rule. The BJP was ahead even on its own – in 273 seats. The United Progressive Alliance led by the Gandhi family’s Congress party, which has ruled India for the last decade, was leading in just 67 seats – its worst-ever showing.

US identifies Boko Haram as top priority

The US State Department said it could have listed Nigeria’s Boko Haram militant group as a foreign terrorist organization sooner, adding that freeing the 276 kidnapped schoolgirls is the Obama administration’s top priority. The Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Thursday that the US is ready to help Nigeria battle Boko Haram, AP reported. The schoolgirls were abducted about two months ago by the militant group. At the same meeting, US officials questioned Nigeria’s capacity to combat the group. “In general, Nigeria has failed to mount an effective campaign against Boko Haram,” the Defense Department’s principal director for Africa, Alice Friend, said. “In the face of a new and more sophisticated threat than it has faced before, its security forces have been slow to adapt with new strategies, new doctrines and new tactics.”

Arkansas judge ruling opens door to same-sex marriage licenses

An Arkansas judge expanded his ruling on gay marriages on Thursday, striking down all state laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza originally ruled that the 10-year-old, voter-approved constitutional ban and a separate state law barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional. He refused to issue a stay as the state attorney general sought to appeal the ruling. Clerks in five counties issued marriage licenses to gay couples, and 456 of those couples had received their licenses, the Associated Press reported. On Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s request for a stay on the ruling, but still effectively halted the issuing of licenses by ruling that Piazza’s decision on gay marriage did not change the license law, according to the Washington Post. Piazza’s latest ruling expanded his previous one to strike down the prohibition on clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Ten Pakistani men released from Bagram prison

US authorities have released ten Pakistani detainees from the Bagram military prison in Afghanistan. The men had been incarcerated for years without a trial. US authorities insist that such detentions are necessary to keep potentially dangerous people off the battlefield. Authorities have not said why these men were released. Sarah Belal, a lawyer for Justice Project Pakistan, said that dozens of men remain in Bagram prison under US custody, Reuters reports.

US to ramp up support for rebels, accuses Assad of using chem weapons

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that the US may increase its support to the Syrian rebels, although he did not say whether this would include sending them weapons. Kerry said there has not been a decision on changing US aid strategy to Syria. He also said that he has seen raw data that suggests the Syrian army may have used chlorine gas on its own people. The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said that chlorine may have been used 14 times in recent months. Although Kerry stressed that the data has not been verified.

Serbia govt declares state of emergency after floods, asks Russia, EU for help

At least three people drowned in floods on Thursday as a storm with record rainfall and winds lashed Serbia and its neighbors, Alliance News said. Within a period of 24 hours, some 120 liters of rain fell per square meter, beating a record from 1897. The Serbian government declared a nationwide state of emergency and asked Russia, the European Commission and Slovenia for humanitarian and technical assistance. More than 180 liters of rain per square meter is expected to fall until Friday noon. The monthly average for May is 70 liters. In Bosnia, floods forced the evacuation of hundreds of people, and in Croatia, sections of the highway along the Adriatic coast were closed.

‘Friends of Syria’ to increase support for moderate opposition – UK

The “Friends of Syria” group of Western and Gulf Arab states has agreed to increase support for the moderate Syrian opposition, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday. “We’ve also agreed unanimously to take further steps together through a coordinated strategy to increase our support for the moderate opposition, the national coalition and for its supreme military council and associated moderate armed groups,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Miranda allowed to appeal against ruling on Heathrow detention

David Miranda, partner of the former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, has been granted permission to appeal against a ruling that he was lawfully detained under counter-terrorism powers at Heathrow airport, the Guardian wrote on Thursday. The case also involves a challenge to the police seizure of computer material related to the US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and will go to the court of appeal. In February, high court judges concluded that Miranda’s detention at Heathrow under schedule 7 to the Terrorism 2000 Act last summer was legal.

Ukraine court upholds suspension of Russian TV channels

Kiev’s Administrative Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of four Russian TV channels in Ukraine, the head of the National Council of Ukraine for television and radio broadcasting, Vladimir Manzhosov, said on Thursday. Four TV channels were suspended in Ukraine on March 25, including Channel One – Global Network, RTR-Planeta, Russia 24, and NTV Mir, RAPSI reported. A motion from the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, with a request to revoke the temporary suspension of the channels, was rejected a month ago. Late in April, Ukraine’s National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting asked the court to declare that the channels’ programs conflict with the European Convention on Transfrontier Television and the law of Ukraine. Moscow has called the suspension an infringement on the freedom of the media.

Turkish police deploy tear gas against thousands at mine blast protest

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters on Thursday, AFP reported. A 24-hour strike was underway over a mine explosion that reportedly killed 282 miners in the country’s worst ever industrial accident. Police intervened twice as around 20,000 protesters took to the streets in the western city of Izmir. The head of the leftist DISK union was hospitalized, media reports said.

At least 43 civilians killed by car bomb blast near Syria-Turkey border

A car bomb killed at least 43 civilians on the Syrian side of the Bab al-Salama border crossing with Turkey on Thursday, AFP reported quoting activists. Dozens more were wounded. Women and children were among the dead in the blast in an area used as a car park, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The area around the crossing has been targeted by car bombs before. The Syrian side of the crossing is under the control of Islamist rebels. They have been battling jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since early January.

Bangladeshi ferry capsizes with 200 people on board

A Bangladeshi ferry with around 200 passengers on board capsized in a river near the capital, Dhaka, on Thursday. At least six bodies have been recovered with a rescue vessel, Reuters reported, citing police. The MV Miraj-4 ferry capsized in stormy weather in the Meghna River at Rasulpur in Munshiganj district, 27km from Dhaka. The ferry had been going to Shariatpur from Dhaka as the accident occurred at around 3:30pm (09:30 GMT).

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes off Philippines

A strong quake struck at sea off a major island in the central Philippines on Thursday, AFP said. The 6.2-magnitude quake struck the Sulu Sea 38km off the southwest coast of Negros island at 6:16pm local time (10:16 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey. The earthquake hit at a depth of 53km. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. No tsunami warning was issued.

Thai Electoral Commission calls for election delay after new unrest

Thailand’s Electoral Commission on Thursday called for the postponement of key parliamentary polls due to be held on July 20 because of political unrest. “The election on July 20 is no longer possible,” AFP quoted Electoral Commission Secretary-General Puchong Nutrawong as saying. The appeal came after an attack on an anti-government rally in Bangkok the same day that left three people dead, AFP said. Hours later, opposition demonstrators stormed a meeting between the government and vote officials. The attack forced caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and other ministers to flee.

Ukraine’s Naftogaz expects to get 3.4bcm of gas from Gazprom in May

The Ukrainian national oil and gas company Naftogaz expects it will get around 3.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas in May from Russia’s Gazprom, according to Deputy Energy Minister Igor Didenko. Gas supplies in April amounted to 2.5-3bcm. The Ukrainian company is ready to pay $4 billion for the supplies by the end of May, only if the price is $268.5 per thousand cubic meters, he said. Naftogaz owes $3.5 billion to the Russian energy giant and refuses to pay $485 price per thousand cubic meters. On May 13, Gazprom switched to a pre-payment scheme for gas deliveries to Ukraine and sent $1.6 billion bill to Naftogaz for June.

Philippines to offer US naval base on western island

The Philippines wants to ensure US warships are closer to the disputed South China Sea by offering the US a naval base on a western island, Reuters reported. “Oyster Bay is still underdeveloped,” armed forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said, referring to a base on Palawan Island, to the west of the main Philippine islands. Bautista hopes the US will help develop it into a major operating base for the two navies. Oyster Bay is 160km from the disputed Spratly Islands, where China has been reclaiming a reef known as Johnson South Reef.

UAE has no plans for more financial aid to Egypt

The United Arab Emirates’ finance minister said on Thursday the country had no plan for additional financial aid to Egypt. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the deputy ruler of Dubai, said, “No plans for now,” Reuters reported. The UAE has been a major supporter of Egypt since the army removed former president Mohamed Morsi from power in July last year. Together with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, it has poured in billions of dollars in cash and oil products to support the Egyptian economy.

World Bank: 700mn women subject to conjugal violence

More than 700 million women worldwide are subject to physical or sexual violence from their husbands or partners, the World Bank said on Wednesday. The problem is worst in South Asia and Africa, where more than two women in five have experienced violence at the hands of a partner, AFP said, citing the bank’s new report, “Voice and Agency.” It described numerous ways in which women worldwide are denied “agency” – the ability to rise above their situation on their own efforts, and widespread conjugal violence against them is just one issue of deprivation.

Researcher urges to prevent possible Columbus wreck off Haiti from looting

The US marine archaeological researcher who believes he has found the flagship of Christopher Columbus, Santa Maria, has said that salvaging it was urgent to prevent looting, AFP said. “I think the ship needs to be excavated as quickly as possible, conserved and displayed to the world,” underwater explorer Barry Clifford told the Explorers Club. The flagship from the explorer’s first voyage to the Americas was found in the area where Santa Maria ran aground more than 500 years ago, Clifford said.

Thai protesters force PM to leave meeting over election date

Protesters broke into the grounds of air force premises where Thailand’s caretaker Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan was meeting the Election Commission on Thursday, forcing him to flee, Reuters said. “The meeting is over, the prime minister is leaving. We cannot continue today,” commission member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said after hundreds of protesters streamed through a side entrance of the compound. Protesters disrupted the February 2 election, which was later nullified by a court. They say they will accept a new general election only after political reforms are in place.

South Korea indicts 15 crew over ferry disaster

Prosecutors in South Korea on Thursday indicted 15 crew members over ferry sinking on April 16, which has left more than 300 people dead or missing, AP said. Homicide charges were brought against the ship’s captain and three other crew members because they failed to carry out their duties to protect passengers in need. If convicted, they could face the death penalty. Eleven others were indicted for alleged negligence and abandoning passengers in need.

Protesters clash with police in Caracas

Demonstrators clashed with members of the National Guard on the east side of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Wednesday, as they demanded the release of students who had been arrested in previous demonstrations, Ruptly reported. Over 100 people were arrested as tear gas was deployed, and numerous injuries were reported. Some journalists and cameramen were arrested during the protest, but were later released.

​1 Chinese worker killed, 90 injured as rioters storm Taiwanese plant in Vietnam

A top Taiwanese diplomat says rioters attacked a Taiwanese-owned steel mill in central Vietnam, killing at least one Chinese worker and injuring 90 others. According to AP, Ambassador to Vietnam Huang Chih-peng said the violence late Wednesday and early Thursday happened at a steel plant owned by Formosa Plastics Group. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that five Vietnamese workers and 16 other individuals described as Chinese died Wednesday night during riots in the central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh, according to a doctor at a hospital in the province. Early Wednesday, rioters attacked factory buildings in a southern industrial park which were believed to have Chinese owners but were, in fact, mostly owned by Taiwanese or South Koreans. China’s deployment of an oil rig in the South China Sea earlier this month has sparked public anger in Vietnam, as the nation claims the waters as its own.

​South Korea indicts 4 crew members of capsized ferry for manslaughter

South Korea has indicted four crew members of the ferry that capsized in April – killing more than 280 passengers – for manslaughter, a top prosecutor said. Eleven other surviving crew members of the Sewol ferry were indicted for negligence, Reuters reported. The crew has been under investigation since many of them reportedly escaped the sinking ship before passengers.


​Missouri lawmakers pass bill mandating 72-hour wait for abortion

The Missouri House of Representatives passed Wednesday evening a measure mandating a 72-hour waiting period before having an abortion in the state. With the 111-39 vote, the legislation, passed by the state Senate earlier this week, now goes to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Should Nixon veto the legislation, there is likely enough support for the measure in the Republican-dominated Legislature to override it. The state, which has only one clinic that provides abortion procedures, previously mandated a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion. Missouri joins South Dakota and Utah as the only states that require a three-day waiting period.

Nigerian president won’t trade imprisoned rebels for captured girls – UK minister

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan rejected an offer from the Islamist Boko Haram rebel group to trade imprisoned extremists in exchange for the approximately 200 still-missing schoolgirls of the 276 it abducted, British Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds told Reuters. The president, who initially said the government would explore all options that would lead to an exchange, is under pressure from the international community to crack down on the group and retrieve the schoolgirls. “What he also made very clear to me was that he wanted his government to continue a dialogue to make sure a solution could be found and that security and stability could return to northern Nigeria for the medium and the long term,” Simmonds said.

Media agencies


‘Modi Wave’ Prevails as BJP Sweeps Indian Elections; Congress Routed



India awoke amid an unprecedented buzz of excitement and anticipation today as the Election Commission began counting the 550 million votes cast in the recently concluded general elections. Millions of Indians tuned into TV debates and radio sets from early in the morning, looking into the various permutations and combinations of political equations as the latest updates on the counting process trickled in. Everything came to a screeching halt in offices, universities and neighborhoods, with the only important topic of discussion being the possible outcome of the polls.
Within a matter of hours, the trends were clear — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had swept the elections with a singular majority, decimating the ruling Congress party and other opponents.
In a historic climax to one of India’s most explosive elections in recent years, the BJP — led by its firebrand PM candidate Narendra Modi — is set to form the next government with a mandate of 280 seats (In India’s 543-seat parliament, a party needs to secure at least 272 seats to form the government). A thumping single party majority such as this also marks the end of India’s tryst with weak coalitions.
BJP seems to have successfully ripped into India’s voter base with Modi’s magnetic charisma and an agenda of hope, riding high on a wave of anti-incumbency against the government. The Congress too has acknowledged defeat, having clinched only 47 seats as per the latest count in an embarrassing rout. Several of its key leaders have lost the battle to BJP candidates, signaling a clear shift in voter inclinations.
The much-celebrated ‘Modi wave’ has penetrated and prevailed across the country, with a confident authority that is reflected in the BJP’s simple yet hard-hitting pitch,“Ab ki baar, Modi sarkaar” (This time around, go for Modi government). Despite misgivings of certain sections — Modi is yet to completely wipe off the perception of being a ‘divisive leader’ in the civil society — an overwhelming number of voters have extended strong support to the BJP. One of the reasons behind this has been the BJP’s ability of effectively communicating an infectious feeling of optimism and euphoria — the party’s poll slogan, “Acche din aane wale hain” (Good days are about to come), for instance, has captured public imagination across rural and urban Indian hinterlands.
Evidently, these efforts have struck a chord among voters frustrated with the 10 years of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime.
A nation, divided by caste, religious, regional and linguistic divides, seems to have united against brazen corruption, rising prices of essential commodities, underdevelopment, lack of job opportunities and perceived government apathy. The vote reflects a collective feeling of anger and pain over multi-billion dollar scams, misgovernance and policy rut, and indicates that the Indian voter can rise above petty politics and regional identity in the presence of a strong national leader. In a nutshell, the Indian mandate of 2014 is one of hope and expectations.
And this is a good trend, because at stake is India’s future. India’s 4.8 percent growth has been reminiscent of the slowdown witnessed in the 1980s. The country needs at least an 8 percent growth rate to create new jobs for the 10 million youth who are joining the workforce every year, claim experts.
Clearly, reviving economic growth, creating jobs, reining in graft, improving infrastructure and industrial production need to be on the agenda of the incoming government.
The onus now lies with Modi and the BJP to live up to popular expectations and drive Indian growth with inclusive policies.
(Samarth Pathak is a journalist and advocacy expert based in New Delhi. Views expressed are personal.)


Modi arrives. Parliamentary Board meets. MODI IN VARANASI

Modi arrives. Parliamentary Board meets.
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Bhuvnesh Mann to embark his journey in Ek Hasina Thi on Star Plus


Star Plus’s thriller drama Ek Hasina Thi is packed with men who have a lot of sinister elements about themselves like Shaurya Goenka (played by Vatsal Seth), Rajnath Goenka (played by Ayub Khan) and Akash (played by Mihir Mishra), etc. In the midst of all this darkness enters Bhuvanesh Mann who will strive to bring some light to the dark plot.
Like Vatsal and Mihir incidentally even Bhuvnesh makes his comeback to Indian Television with this show. He was last seen in a cameo role in Star Plus’ Maayke Se Bandhi Dor.’  However in Ek Hasina Thi he plays a very pivotal role which brings a very fascinating twist to the plot. He’ll be seen essaying the role of Dev Goenka who is the cousin of Shourya Goenka. He is elder to Shourya and technically the heir to the Goenka business empire. Unlike the other men on the show Dev is righteous, honest and courageous. Extremely qualified, Dev doesn’;t use his Goenka surname as a mark of privilege and entitlement. While he was away Nitya was mistreated and his concerns for Nitya made him guilty that he wasn’;t there for her is the driving force of his life.
Is he is determined to prove Nitya and Payal’s innocence and expose the real culprit? Will he recognize Durga Thakur’s true identity?

To find out if he will be able to do so please tune into Ek Hasina Thi on Star Plus Monday to Saturday at 8pm.


“Running is not just about the sport it is about the community”, says Lewis“

Carl Lewis-TCS World 10K Bangalore Event Ambassador with Anil Singh, MD, Procam International, Pramoter TCS World 10K Bangalore
Running is not just about the sport it is about the community”, says

“The running movement India is experiencing is remarkable. To see the progress that is taking place reminds me of the seventies in the United States when we had all those great runners. I can experience the same energy here. An event like this is so important because when you have a race with 25,000 runners, it is not just about the sport it is about the community. It means people in India are running”, said Carl Lewis, Sportsman of the Century and theInternational Event Ambassador of the TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014 at a Meet & Greet session at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, here, on Friday.

The star arrived in a BMW motorcade in the company of the event’s elite athletes Lucy Kabuu, Vincent Chepkok, Uwe Höfer, Director, Finance & Administration BMW Group India, and Anil Singh, MD, Procam International at the Stadium, the start-finish point of the 10K run. Lewis said he was amazed with the manner in which the running movement has caught up in the country. “15 to20 years from now, India will look back at its running heritage and say wow, today there are millions and millions of runners all around the country”, he exclaimed.
The winner of 10 spectacular Olympic medals that include nine incredible gold spoke about how his athletic career came to be and advanced, crediting his mother as the one person who pushed him to get involved in the sport. The 52-year-old former track and field star competed in four Olympic Games and won numerous medals after his breakthrough moment came when he was 16. “I was a very good sprinter and long jumper on the East Coast but at that particular meet in Memphis, I ran my personal best. I also jumped 25.9 for the first time. When I made that step, everything changed and I realized what I wanted to do”, he said.

Lewis stressed on the fact that running has the potential to transform one’s body and the fact that is it something anyone can do at his or her own pace. “It’s something that’s great not just for people but for families because everyone can do it together” said Lewis.

In his seventeen-year career, the dominant sprinter and long jumper often topped the world rankings in the 100-metre, 200-metre and long jump events beginning 1981 until the early 90s but still feels that the long jump was the engine of his international career and something that took him to the next level.

Even though Lewis won 10 spectacular Olympic medals, his last Gold stays closest to his heart. “I knew it was my last Olympic chance. It took a huge blessing and tremendous focus. I had a great coach, probably the greatest of the 20th century. It took all of that… every single person and every single ounce of energy to get that last one “said Lewis, one of the most renowned Olympians of all time, talking about winning his ninth and final Olympic Gold.

“I want to be remembered for what I stood for and not for what I ran”, said Lewis as he shared his thoughts about the running movement in India. Carl Lewis’ presence at the TCS World 10K Bangalore – as one of the most renowned Olympians of all time – will be a historic day for the Indian running community, that respects him as a great runner and a genuine human being.

The TCS 10K Bangalore has 50 per cent more female entries this time, proof of the fact that more and more individuals are taking up running in the country. “Running is important for the community and for the world. If you have a country this large, things that you do here affect the entire world. I think the movement is wonderful and I am happy to be here and think it is going to be a great race”, he said as he left.

The TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014, scheduled to be run on Sunday, May 18.


India withstands Nepal Challenge to go 3-0 in the 3rd SABA Championship 2014


Kathmandu, 16th May 2014: A determined India kept an inspired Nepal side at bay to emerge winners yet again in the 3rd South Asian Basketball Championship 2014 that is underway at the Dashrath Stadium complex, Tripureshwara in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Battling a hostile crowd, tournament favourites India beat hosts Nepal 74-41 to become the only side to enjoy a perfect 3-0 record. It will play minnows Maldives tomorrow morning at 11:00 am (Nepal time) in the final league match to complete the formalities of being declared the champion team in these SABA Championships and qualify for the Asia Cup in mid-July.
While an India win was never in doubt, thanks to its superior international experience at the elite Asia level, and its obvious height advantage through all five positions, today’s game against Nepal was tighter than expected. Buoyed by vociferous home support, Nepal managed to contain India to its lowest score of 74 points in this tournament and outscored India 17-15 in the second quarter, a feat no other team achieved prior to today.
India, though, kept its cool and relied on its excellent man to man defense and transition play to seal a commanding 74-41 win. While multiple Indian players contributed in the win, on the offensive end backup point guard Prakash Mishra’s outside shooting, power forward Amjyot Singh’s interior efficiency and Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi’s forceful layups despite contact stood out for India. Nepal was served by their emotional centre Ashim Shrestha and top scorer Binod Mahajan’s 13 points.
Detailed Results
India 74 (Prakash Mishra 17)bt Nepal 41 (Binod Mahajan 13) [Scoring in each quarter: 22-6; 15-17; 21-10; 16-8]
Upcoming Schedule for India matches
Saturday, 17th May 2014, 11:00 AM (Nepal time): Maldives vs India
About the 3rd South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championship 2014
The tournament, which began on 13th May will conclude on the 17th, and is being played on a round robin league format. Five South Asian teams— depending champions Bangladesh, hosts Nepal, Bangladesh and the island nations of Sri Lanka and Maldives are in the fray. The team with the best record at the end of this championship after four matches, will progress from the South Asian region to the Asia Cup tentatively scheduled for mid-July in Wuhan (China).

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