Monday, December 15, 2014
Green signal for irrigation scam probe: Aam Aadmi Party welcomes move, demands inquiry to be impartial and free of external pressures
Aam Aadmi Party welcomes Maharashtra CM – Devendra Fadnavis’s move to give permission to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to proceed with investigation into the ‘Irrigation Scam’ and the role of former Deputy CM - Ajit Pawar and Irrigation Minister - Sunil Tatkare in it.
The Aam Aadmi Party has played a major pivotal role in unearthing the irrigation scam. The Party has always been in the forefront in the fight to nail the culprits of irrigation scam. While welcoming the CM’s stand on this issue party feels the government needs to clarify its stand on certain related aspects.
The government needs to take a more clear as well as stringent stance on the Chitale Committe report about corruption in Vidharbha Irrigation development Corporation (VIDC) & Konkan Irrigation development Corporation (KIDC). In the above context, AAP has already filed two Public interest Litigations (PILs) in the Bombay High Court. AAP also strongly feels that this inquiry should be handed over to a HC monitored Special Investigation Team.
It may also be noted that the state govt has till date not submitted an affidavit on it’s stance as regards the action already taken by it as well as action that is intends to take on the findings of the Chitale committee report. Aam Aadmi Party demands that the government clarify its stance to the people of the state & immediately submit an affidavit in the HC.
Even in the new government, it appears that a few ministers are trying to obtain government sanction for few projects in absolute haste without following due process & by showing utter disregard for requisite rules. AAP feels that the government should immediately formulate an appropriate policy in this regard.
The irrigation scam is an issue of utmost importance to not just Maharashtra’s farmers but to millions of common people of the state. To ensure that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) completes it’s investigation without any undue pressure and duress, AAP assures the State Govt and the ACB of it’s complete co-operation.
Nearly forty hostages are being held by an unknown individual at a café in central Sydney, Australia. A black jihadist flag was reportedly spotted at the site. Authorities have cleared the airspace over the city center to make way for police helicopters.
Further Australian Muslim Community has issued a statement, saying that it "shares with fellow Sydneysiders their utter shock and horror at the unprecedented scenes emerging from the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place this morning.” "We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instill fear and terror into their hearts,” the statement adds. "Any such despicable act only serves to play into the agendas of those who seek to destroy the goodwill of the people of Australia and to further damage, and ridicule the religion of Islam.”
Police reports, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione delivered a message to all the hostages kept at the café: "We are doing all we can to set you free." He added that he doesn’t think there are other locations involved at the moment. :"My call goes out to the state to pray for them [hostages], to pray for their families," the premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, told journalists. “We have the very best negotiators in the world working on this right now,” NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told journalists.
But he couldn’t confirm whether the five hostages escaped or were released by the gunman. “I want to praise Sydneysiders for what they've done today,” he added, “There's no need for people to be in and around that area.” “Our plan and only goal is to get those people out of that building. We have got contact with him [the gunman].”
France to ban UberPop service next year
The UberPop transport service will be forbidden in France beginning January 1, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told iTELE: “Not only is it illegal to offer this service, but additionally for the consumer there is a real danger.” Taxi unions called a one-day action to protest San Francisco-based Uber, vowing to block 260km of roads around Paris with slowly moving taxi motorcades during the morning rush hour, Reuters reported.
Philippines prosecutors charge US Marine with murder of transgender
Philippine government prosecutors charged a US Marine with murder Monday in the killing of a Filipino transgender person, AP said. There was “probable cause” that Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton killed Jennifer Laude, whose former name was Jeffrey, in October in Olongapo city, northwest of Manila, according to Prosecutor Emily de los Santos. The prosecutor had filed the non-bailable charge against the 19-year-old Pemberton before a regional court, saying that “it was aggravated by treachery, abuse of superior strength and cruelty.”
Netanyahu vows to fight Palestinian UN bid
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to “fend off any attempts to dictate unilateral moves,”referring to a Palestinian UN proposal that sets a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, Haaretz daily said. The Palestinian leadership on Sunday said it planned to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council setting a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation, AFP reported. A draft UN resolution will be presented Wednesday on ending the Israeli occupation by late 2016, senior Palestine Liberation Organization member Wassel Abu Yussef said.
Russian Proton-M rocket blasts off from Baikonur
Russia’s Proton-M rocket with a Yamal-401 satellite of JSC Gazprom Space Systems on board has been launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. The rocket was successfully launched at 3:16am Monday as scheduled, Roscosmos space agency told TASS. The satellite will allow for the incessant retransmission of telecommunications from Russia, covering Europe and Asia.
Thousands flood Cologne streets in protest against racism
Some 15,000 people marched through Cologne on Sunday afternoon under the motto “You are Cologne, no Nazis here,” Deutsche Welle reported. The demonstrations, organized in response to the recent spike in anti-Muslim and anti-immigration protests staged by far-right groups across the country, called for tolerance and an end to anti-Islamic sentiment. Various groups in cities such as Dresden and Dusseldorf held rallies against the “Islamization” of Europe throughout the fall. In October, a far-right protest against Islamic fundamentalism degenerated into a riot in Cologne, leaving 49 police officers injured.
Libya’s two largest oil ports shut down due to militant clashes
The Tripoli-based National Oil Corps (NOC) has announced that Libya's two biggest oil export ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, will be granted force majeure – a legal waiver freeing the ports from obligation and liability – due to fighting between rival militant factions representing the country’s dueling governments. The NOC declared that oil production flowing to the ports is to be slowly phased out, and that the ports' staff will be reduced to a minimum.
250 protesters march in Moscow against education, medical reforms
Some 250 protesters took to the streets in the Russian capital to demand a stop to education, medical and public utilities’ reforms, which would make these services less affordable. The figures outlined by protesters were presented by Russia’s Interior Ministry in a statement on Sunday. The rally was scheduled for November 30, but was postponed as the city’s authorities authorized only 700 participants instead of the 7,000 requested. In November, at least 1,500 protesters rallied against the reform of the capital's medical care system, which seeks the closure of some hospitals and that doctors re qualify.
129 feared dead after boat sinks in DRC
At least 129 people have drowned after a boat overloaded with passengers and freight capsized on Lake Tanganika in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), AFP reports. The vessel was travelling from Kalemie in the Katanga province to Uvira in the South Kivu province when it sank in the early hours of Friday, survivors speaking by telephone told AFP. 221 passengers have been rescued, according to Katanga’s transport Minister Laurent Kahozi Sumba, who said the boat was carrying excess weight when it sank.
Clashes close largest Libya oil export port
Libya’s eastern Es Sider oil export terminal has been shut this Sunday due to fighting between forces representing the country’s two governments, according to an oil official, Reuters reports. Air strikes on Saturday, launched by forces loyal to Libya’s recognized government, hit targets at the port in an attempt to stop an advance by troops of the rival administration in Tripoli, who want to take control of the oil facilities. Libya’s recognized prime minister has been forced into the East of the country since the Libya Dawn militia seized Tripoli in August.
Japan’s Abe re-elected with two-thirds majority – exit polls
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comfortably secured re-election on Sunday, according to exit polls. He called the snap election, which he billed as a poll on his economic policies. Media exit polls showed his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito had swept the ballot with a two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament. A low turnout, partly due to heavy snow across the country, will cast doubt on Abe’s claim that the win is an endorsement for his economic policies, which have not been as successful as earlier thought.
US Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill
A $1.1 trillion government funding bill has been passed by a 56-40 vote in the US Senate. The bill would provide financing for most US government agencies through September 30, 2015. The exception is the Department of Homeland Security, which only gets money through February 27. The approval of the 1,603-page, long-term bill comes hours after the Senate voted for a short-term one, funding the government only through Wednesday night. The $1.1 trillion spending bill now needs to be signed by President Barack Obama.
US Senate passes short-term spending bill to avert govt shutdown
The US Senate gave the green light to an extension of federal spending authority through midnight on Wednesday, preventing a government shutdown from taking place early on Sunday, Reuters reported. The Senate still needs to decide whether it will be accelerating the vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill which would fund all government agencies until September 2015, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security.
Wife of Thai crown prince relinquishes title over corruption allegations
Thailand's Princess Srirasm, the third wife of the current heir to the throne, Prince Vajiralongkorn, has asked to give up her royal status, according to a statement released by the palace’s Royal Gazette on Friday. The princess, 43, is the mother of Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, next in line to the throne after his father. The request comes in the wake of revelations that members of her family were arrested amid corruption allegations. At least six of the princess’ relatives have been charged with bribery, extortion, and using the monarchy’s name for personal gain. Last month, they were stripped of their royal titles. The scandal comes amid anxiety over 87-year-old King Bhumibol’s deteriorating health. Following medical advice, the king canceled his annual birthday address last week.
Russia to take counter measures if US imposes new sanctions
Russia will have to take counter-measures if the US adopts new sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said. US lawmakers have prepared new round of sanctions on Russian weapons companies and oil-industry investors. "We will not be able to let that go without an answer," Ryabkov stated, without indicating the possible form of counter-measures. The Ukraine Freedom Support Act passed by the Senate, which includes further sanctions, came under fire from Moscow on Friday. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Washington of doing everything possible to destroy the foundation of cooperation between the countries.
Suicide bomber kills 6 near Kabul
A suicide bomber has killed six and wounded 14 in an attack on a bus carrying Afghan army personnel on Saturday afternoon, according to a senior defense official, as cited by Reuters. The Taliban has taken credit for the strike, which comes amid surging violence weeks after the bulk of international combat forces withdrew from the country. Earlier on Saturday, Afghan Supreme Court official, Atiqullah Rawoofi, was assassinated by Taliban militants near his home.
Man arrested after shooting outside Portland high school
Police have arrested a 22 year-old male in connection with a shooting that injured three people outside an alternative high school in Portland, Oregon. Law enforcement officers say they stopped a vehicle and found a hand gun inside. A 16 year-old girl is in a critical condition in hospital while two males are stable. "Based on the investigation thus far, the shooting appears to be gang-related," Sgt. Pete Simpson said on Friday night in a statement, which was reported by AP.
Taliban kills 12 demining workers near former UK base
At least 12 workers clearing mines have been shot dead, another 12 wounded by Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, local police said, according to AP. The attack happened near Camp Bastion, a former British base in Helmand province. Police spokesman Farid Ahmad Obaid said Afghan forces launched a counter attack, killing four of the Islamist militants and capturing three, Reuters reported. It comes after a series of attacks on Friday and Saturday that killed two NATO soldiers and a top Afghan court official.
Indonesia landslide death toll rises to 17, dozens missing
The death toll in the Indonesian landslide has risen to 17, with 91 people still missing, according to officials, AFP reported on Saturday. "The rescue team have found 17 bodies," said the national disaster agency’s spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, adding that 11 others were badly injured. The country’s main island, Java, has seen torrential downpours that have hampered rescue efforts since Friday, as well as sparking fears of new landslides.
2 pilots killed as ISIS shoots down Iraqi helicopter
A shoulder-fired rocket launched by Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants shot down an Iraqi helicopter near the Shiite city of Samarra, killing 2 pilots, a senior official at the Iraqi Defense Ministry told AP on Saturday. In recent months at least two military helicopters have been shot down near the northern city of Beiji, where the country’s biggest oil refinery is situated. The US-led coalition commenced air strikes on Iraqi territories held by Islamic State militants in August.
2 ISAF soldiers, court official killed in Afghanistan
Two foreign soldiers, reportedly from the USA, were killed in a NATO convoy near Kabul by a Taliban bomb in a Friday-night attack, according to AP. "Two International Security Assistance Force service members died as a result of an enemy forces attack in eastern Afghanistan on December 12, 2014," a coalition press release said, without naming their nationalities. The number of international troops killed in the country this year is 65, 50 of them Americans.
Early on Saturday, a top court official in Kabul's northwestern suburbs, Atiqullah Rawoofi, was shot dead, said police chief Farid Afzali. Security in the capital has been recently reinforced amidst Taliban warnings of continuing attacks.
Kiev bans flights to three Ukrainian metropolitan cities
Ukraine’s State Aviation Service has banned all flights to Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye airports, reported national media, quoting the head of SAS Denis Antonyuk. The flights were suspended starting from midnight, December 13. “Safety considerations” were cited as the reason, but no details were given. In May, all flights were suspended to the city of Donetsk. Also in May, the service stopped air communication between the Russian capital and the cities of Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk.
7 killed, 108 missing in giant Indonesia landslide
At least seven people were killed and 108 others are missing after a flood of mud and water rushed down on dozens of homes from a mountain on the central Indonesian island of Java, Reuters reported, citing local TV. At least 105 homes were destroyed by the landslide in a wooded area of Banjarnegara on the densely populated island. Some 380 people were evacuated, a local spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said, adding that rescuers are now struggling to find more victims and clear the evacuation route.
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