Thursday, July 17, 2014

SC’s notice to states, UTs on plea on passive euthanasia


Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to states and Union Territories on a plea for legalising passive euthanasia by allowing a person in a vegetative condition to die by withdrawing life support even as the Centre strongly opposed the petition saying it is a form of suicide which cannot be allowed in the country.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, which agreed to examine the issue, said that states must also be heard as the issue pertains not only to the Constitution, it involves morality, religion and medical science.The Centre, however, strongly opposed the plea saying it cannot be legalised as it is a form of suicide which is an offence in the country.
It said that if euthanasia is legalised, then it will be misused. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the issue should be debated and decided by the legislature and that it is not a matter to be adjudicated by the court.
“We do not accept passive euthanasia. It is one form of suicide and suicide is an offence,” he said, adding, “It is a matter for legislature to decide.”
The bench, also comprising justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar, A K Sikri, and R F Nariman, during the hearing, raised the question on what safeguards should be put in place to prevent the misuse.
It asked the petitioner on what is least painful way to bring life to an end as there has been discussion going on across the world on the matter and there is no unanimous finding.
The bench said that the contention on the issue of misuse of the statute cannot be a ground for not legislating on euthansia.
It appointed senior lawyer and former Solicitor General T R Andhyarujina as amicus curiae to assist it in the case relating to legalising euthanasia.

Israel, Hamas agree on 5-hour humanitarian aid ceasefire

Israel, Hamas agree on 5-hour humanitarian aid ceasefire
Israel and Hamas on Thursday agreed to a five-hour ceasefire on humanitarian grounds at UN’s request after nine days of intense fighting in Gaza that has claimed 226 Palestinian lives, as hectic parleys were on in the region to broker a permanent truce.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry asked Israel for a humanitarian ceasefire following an incident in which four Palestinian children were killed on a beach in Gaza.”Factions of the resistance have agreed to accept the offer of the UN regarding a ‘field calm’ for 5 hours from 10 AM until 3 PM (local time) Thursday for humanitarian needs,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zhuri said in a text message.
Israel had already accepted the proposal, however, its military warned it would not sit idle if attacked.
“Should the humanitarian window be exploited by Hamas or other terror organisations for the purpose of launching attacks against Israeli civilian or military targets the IDF will respond firmly and decisively,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
An effort to permanently stop the killing was stalled when Israel resumed airstrikes following a brief, one-sided cease-fire brokered by Egypt. While Israel paused for six hours, Hamas leaders rejected the deal and continued firing rockets. They said they had not been consulted, and complained the deal did not address their demands for greater freedom for Gaza’s 1.8 million residents.
Ahead of Thursday’s temporary ceasefire, hostilities continued this morning with Israel’s airstrikes, taking the death toll to 226 killed and 1,678 wounded, Gaza medical services said.
The one fatality on the Israeli side so far was a man killed Monday after being hit by a mortar shell at the Erez border crossing. Meanwhile, hectic parleys were on in the region to broker a permanent truce between Israel and Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Cairo yesterday, as did Quartet envoy Tony Blair, in an effort to come up with a package that would be acceptable to both sides.
Abbas met with Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk, and Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, and even Tunisia and France were reportedly involved in efforts to quell the violence.
President Barack Obama also backed Egypt’s efforts to broker a ceasefire, offering US’ full diplomatic support

US drone attack kills 20 in northwestern Pakistan 


US drone attack kills 20 in northwestern Pakistan
At least 20 suspected militants were killed on Wednesday in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s troubled North Waziristan tribal region, where the military is mounting a major offensive to clear the area of the Taliban bases.
The unmanned aircraft targeted a suspected hideout of militants in Datakhel area of the district.A security official said that four missiles were fired from the drone which destroyed a compound.
“Initial reports show that 18 militants were killed. The identity of those killed is not known as yet,” he said.
It was second drone attack within week, after seven militants were killed in a similar strike in the same area on 10th July.
Pakistan first said that it was not aware of the attack but later condemned it, showing its tight policy position vis-a-vis drone campaign, as they target the same rebel Pakistan army is trying to wipe out.
The country terms these attacks as violation of its sovereignty.

Court nullify, WikiLeaks founder’s immunity on arrest warrant

WikiLeaks founder loses bid for scrapping of arrest warrant
Julian Assange lost a court bid to get an arrest warrant against him scrapped, leaving the WikiLeaks founder marooned in the Ecuadoran embassy in London where he sought refuge more than two years ago. The 43-year-old Assange fears extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual molestation, which he denies.
At the hearing in Stockholm District Court, prosecutors demanded that the warrant, issued in late 2010, should be upheld to secure Assange’s return to Sweden. They rejected Assange’s suggestion that they question him in London.
“It would involve questioning a number of people a second or third time, among them possibly Mr Assange. To what extent this questioning can be carried out with the help of judicial assistance from our colleagues in Britain is difficult to say,” prosecutor Marianne Ny told a press conference.
Assange’s defence team, which had maintained that the investigation had been unreasonably long, said it would appeal the ruling. “The last word hasn’t been said yet on this. We will appeal this, and we expect it to change,” said Thomas Olsson, a member of Assange’s defence team.
The WikiLeaks founder sought refuge with Ecuador in June 2012 after exhausting all legal options in British courts to avoid being extradited to Sweden. He has said he fears that his being sent to Sweden would be a pretext for his transfer to the United States, where WikiLeaks sparked an uproar with its publication of thousands of secret documents.
Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino called the ruling “bad news”. “The government of Ecuador will not abandon its commitment to defend Julian Assange’s human rights until he can get to a safe place,” he said on Twitter.
Assange supporters who had assembled outside the Ecuadoran embassy in London were disappointed, but some also said they were not surprised.

Syria’s President Assad sworn in for new seven-year term

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in on Wednesday for a new seven-year term in a red carpet ceremony in Damascus, after an election his opponents had slammed as a “farce”.
Assad swore by the Koran before the country’s parliamentarians in an extraordinary session, 40 months into a conflict estimated to have killed more than 170,000 people.”Syrians, three years and four months… have passed since some cried ‘freedom’,” he said, referring to the start of a March 2011 revolt that demanded his ouster.
“They wanted a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries. I congratulate you for your revolution and for your victory,” Assad told his supporters.
“Those who lost their way can now see clearly… the monstrous faces have been unveiled, the mask of freedom and the revolution has fallen.”
More than 1,000 people were invited to the inauguration ceremony, with Assad arriving at the presidential palace in a black sedan car before being met on a red carpet by a military band.
Parliamentarians and other guests cheered for Assad in the hall where Assad was sworn in and then gave a speech.
Assad won a June 3 election held only in regime-controlled territories by 88.7 percent, defeating two other candidates seen as figureheads, rather than genuine opponents.
The opposition National Coalition branded the election a “farce” even before it was staged, in a statement later echoed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Typhoon kills 20 in Philippines

Typhoon kills 20 in Philippines, spares Manila
A typhoon blew out of the northern Philippines on Wednesday after causing at least 20 deaths, knocking out power in entire provinces, damaging two parked jetliners and forcing nearly half a million people to flee from its lethal wind and rains.
The eye of Typhoon Rammasun made a late shift away from Manila, but its peak winds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour and gusts up to 185 kph (115 mph) forced down trees and electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital of 12 million people that largely shut down ahead of the deluge.Although Rammasun packed far less power than Typhoon Haiyan, haunting memories of last year’s horrific storm devastation prompted many villagers to rapidly move to safety at the prodding of authorities.
Of the half a million people affected by Rammasun, more than 423,000 fled to emergency shelters, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
In a shantytown at the edge of Manila Bay, hundreds of people fled when strong winds started to tear tin roofs off their shanties.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his city staged anti-disaster drills two weeks ago precisely to prevent massive deaths during a catastrophe and he was relieved that only a few residents sustained injuries on Wednesday.
While the low human toll has been attributed to the typhoon skipping Manila, Estrada believed the public’s higher awareness of anti-disaster manoeuvres saved many lives.
Officials reported at least 20 deaths elsewhere, mostly people pinned by falling trees and electrical posts.

Kabul airport under militant attack 

Kabul airport under militant attack
A militant attack was underway at Kabul airport on Thursday as explosions and gunfire rang out.
The interior ministry said a group of insurgents had opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades after seizing a building under construction at the airport.The attack began around 0530 IST but no casualties have been reported so far, the ministry said.
“The situation will be brought under control before long,” General Ayub Salangi, the deputy interior minister, said as security forces armed with automatic rifles took up position.
Civilian flights from the international airport north of Kabul have been suspended, another Afghan official said.
The airport lies next to a sprawling military base run by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, whose troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan after more than a decade of war, as the country lies in the grip of a power struggle following disputed presidential elections.
ISAF and Afghan military helicopters were seen hovering over the area during today’s attack, which came after a devastating suicide bombing at a busy market in southeastern Paktika province on Tuesday killed at least 42 people.

“A peek behind the Union Budget 2014


A peek behind the Union Budget 2014 – What shaped the thinking of the Finance Minister” – Pre

To Nafa NuksanNagaraja and 90 More…
Today at 1:12 PM
Ref. No.: 1675/1/35
               17th July, 2014
The Chief Reporter/ Photographer
New Delhi
Dear Sir,
Subject : “A peek behind the Union Budget 2014 – What shaped the thinking of the Finance Minister” – Press Conference to share some startling facts
In the Union Budget presented couple of days ago, the Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in Para 102 of the Budget made the announcement of forming a High level Committee for the creation of a new financial architecture for the non-corporate sector. This important announcement, if implemented and executed properly, is destined to change  non corporate sector of India.
What is the thinking behind this? What facts and figures have guided this thinking? Why is this vital?
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has the highlights of the information that has shaped the thinking of the Finance Minister and the new government. The CAIT is holding a luncheon Press Conference on Friday, the 18th July 2014 at 12.00 noon at Constitution Club, Deputy Speaker Hall , Rafi Marg, New Delhi to share this with you.
We shall be grateful if you will join us for this important meeting or depute a Staff Correspondent of your esteemed newspaper to cover the same and also join us at lunch after the Conference.
Thanking you.
With regards

Morning post


Thursday 17 July 2014
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Electricity tariff hike AAP reax + Arvind audio msg


From: Media Cell AAP  Thu, 17 Jul ’14 6:33p
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Show full Headers
1 attachment
Thursday, July 17
The Aam Aadmi Party condemns the unjustified electricity tariff hike announced on Thursday. This unreasonable hike is completely unnecessary and gives undue benefit to private power distribution companies.

The hike comes at a time when the people of Delhi are already facing acute hardships due to steep price rise, especially in LPG, diesel, petrol and food commodities like onions and tomatoes. The BJP has failed to deliver on its manifesto promise of reducing the electricity tariff by 30%, and has instead raised the electricity tariff by 8.32%. The citizens of Delhi feel cheated by yet another U-turn by this government.

The AAP began its silent protests against the hike this evening and party volunteers organized human banner protests on main flyovers and foot over bridges across the city. (Please find attached an audio file containing a message of former Delhi CM and party convenor, Arvind Kejriwal, against the hike. He has demanded 50% reduction in the electricity tariffs in Delhi)

The BJP government appears to be too keen to help the private power distribution companies (discoms) at the cost of heaping miseries on the common man one after the other. Hiking the tariffs when CAG audit of these discoms is going on is a betrayal with the people of Delhi, who have a right to know whether the tariff being charged from these is inflated or correct.

There is enough evidence on record to suggest that the discoms have siphoned off huge amounts by fudging their account books. On the basis of the evidence available in public domain, the AAP government had ordered a CAG audit of all the three discoms of Delhi to unearth the scam.

The CAG has been complaining that the discoms have not been cooperating with the auditors and have so far refused to make their account books available to them. Instead of forcing the distribution companies to comply with auditing norms, the government has come to their rescue by announcing this undue hike in electricity tariff.

The withdrawal of the Power Purchase Cost Adjustment (PPAC) charge announced today is a sham, as it has been put on hold only for three months. It also subsidizes private power distribution companies at the cost of government owned Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). So this withdrawal has also been done to help the discoms.

Today’;s announcement also exposes the Bhartiya Janta Party’;s hypocrisy. The party had organized a protest, just two days back, against a possible hike in electricity tariff. The BJP state unit leaders had also met Power Minister Piyush Goel and had demanded resumption of subsidy on electricity tariff given by the Aam Aadmi Party government. After fooling people by their street theatrics, the BJP once again sided with the big corporates and announced this hike.

AAP Media Cell

EconomyLead Newsletter


BSP Press release on state of affairs of UP

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