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NDA yet to decide strategy on Presidential election: Nitish

News4u-News Desk- NDA would decide its strategy on the election of the new president when the presidential election draws nearer, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said, the Presidential polls will be held in July.

“We have not yet mulled over candidates for the election,” Kumar said on his return fromNew Delhi late Sunday evening.

“NDA leaders will meet when the Presidential election draws closer,” he said.

Referring to his meeting with Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal inNew Delhi after a prolonged spell of uncertainty over the location of the proposed Central University of Bihar (CUB), he said the talks were ‘fruitful’.

“There has been some agreement and we will talk further over the issue.”

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SC notice EC, Centre on Swamy’s plea on EVMs

News4u-News Desk-The Supreme Court has sought the stands of the Centre and the Election Commission of India on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea to incorporate either paper printouts with EVMs or restore paper balloting as the electronic machines are not tamper-proof.

Issuing notices to the Centre and the poll panel on Monday, a bench of justices P Sathavisam and J Chelameswar sought their replies on Swamy’s plea, which challenged the Delhi High Court’s order dismissing his petition on the issue earlier.

Swamy also submitted a list of several western and European countries where similar methods for printouts for EVMs are being used during elections in those countries.

The Delhi High Court had on 17th January refused to issue directions to the Election Commission on Swamy’s plea.

The high court had said, “It is difficult for this court to direct the Election Commission to have a paper trail of elections conducted through EVMs.”

The bench, however, had suggested that the Commission could hold wider consultations with the executive, the political parties and other stake holders on the matter.

The high court had disposed of the plea, saying Swamy has himself not alleged any misuse or tampering of current system but maintained that the possibility of such an incident cannot be ruled out.

Swamy had sought directions to the Election Commission that paper trail be incorporated to record the votes cast through EVMs or old system of paper ballots be brought back.

He had claimed that EVMs were not tamper proof and lacked transparency. European countries like the UK and the US andJapan had rejected EVMs due to their failure and that they had preferred paper ballots for their elections, he had said.

The EC had opposed the plea, saying returning to the paper ballots would not be feasible as it would require immense expenditure as there were over 73 crore eligible voters in the country.

 

EVM

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No proposal for privatisation of water resources: Govt

News4u-News Desk-The government on Monday said there was no proposal for privatisation of water resources, but would encourage public-private partnership (PPP) mode for effective utilisation of the scarce natural resource.

“Privatisation is not being done and it cannot be done,” Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour and added that a river cannot be given to a private party.

In the proposed new water policy, the Centre would emphasis that states should adopt PPP mode to ensure effective use of water available.

“PPP doesn’t mean privatisation of water sector,” he said, adding the intention is to use the private resources for public purpose.

Bansal said the PPP mode for distribution is being effectively used in several parts of the country, including Salt Lake (Kolkata), Mysore, Hubli, Latur, Haldia and Kolapur.

Though water is a state subject, the proposed policy would act as guideline for state governments to follow, he said.

Clean Ganga campaign launched in Utt’khand

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Tatra deliveries as per NDA contract: Antony

News4u-News Desk- Defence Minister A K Antony has said the present government has not purchased a single new Tatra truck and the current deliveries were being made as per the contract signed in 2003.

Taking on the Opposition during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Antony said the government has continued with the procurement norms established as per General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) of 1986.

 

“We have nothing to hide. So I can answer very boldly,” he said, as BJP members tried to disrupt his reply.

He said no new order has been placed for Tatra trucks since the GSQR was changed in 2008 as per the request of the army headquarters.

Antony said India has been procuring trucks from Tatra since 1973 and after the break of the Czechoslovakia into Czech Republic and Slovakia, the then Indian government renewed the contract with the company in 1997.

“In 1997, the then government decided to have a new contract with Tatra. Again in 2003, another contract was signed. Again on record I can show you that it was given to Tatra. This contract continues,” Antony said.

The Defence Minister pointed out that 2,950 Tatra trucks were procured between 1999 and 2003 by the then government, quoting special circumstances and requirement for troop movement for Operation Parakram.

“Between 1986 and 2012, we have procured nearly 6,500 vehicles from Tatra. Quoting special circumstances, in 1999, 2001 and 2002-03, 2950 vehicles were procured by the government of that day from Tatra for Operation Parakram. This has been going on like this,” he said.

Antony said the government goes by the demands put forward by the defence forces while buying equipment.

“Government always procures as per the requirement of the army. We are not imposing on them. The army headquarters wanted to change the GSQR as the present one was of 1986,” he said.

A meeting of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) was subsequently called on 26th September 2008, which was attended by the three defence chiefs.

“After change of GSQR even till today we have not procured a single truck from Tatra,” he said.

Antony said trials are going on in which six Indian and 14 foreign companies are participating.

“Don’t try to create a doubt,” Antony told the Opposition members.

He asked the members to understand the background of how Tatra trucks have been bought by the army.

“Please understand the history of Tatra. Government of Indiaand Armed Forces are not procuring or purchasing from Tatra for one year, or two years or seven years… Indian Army is procuring Tatra since 1973. Then Czechoslovakia was one country,” Antony said.

Tatra Truck

 

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ICC feels for PCB, but cannot interfere in bilateral ties

News4u-News Desk- While expressing its sympathies with the Pakistan Cricket Board over the postponement of the Bangladesh’s tour to Pakistan, the ICC has made it clear that it cannot interfere in any bilateral arrangement between two member nations.

The PCB chairman and chief operating officer discussed the issue with ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat and other officials during a meeting earlier this week in Dubai.

“The PCB officials apprised Lorgat and ICC officials of the situation and pointed out that it was perhaps for the first time in cricket history that a team had postponed a tour to another country because of a court order,” a well informed board official said.

“Lorgat was briefed that the PCB’s legal team had gone through the order of the Dhaka High Court restraining the Bangladesh team from touring Pakistan due to security concerns and noted that the petition on the basis of which the court gave the injunction didn’t have enough merit,” he said.

He said Lorgat and other ICC officials had expressed sympathy with PCB’s position but made it clear they cannot interfere as it was a bilateral matter.

“But the ICC’s outgoing CEO agreed that it was imperative that Pakistan needed to resume intentional cricket at home.”

The official said PCB had also apprised the ICC about their plans for the Pakistan Premier League T20 competition.

“The ICC officials agreed that the PPL, if held successfully with the participation of some foreign players, could go a long way in reviving international cricket in Pakistan,” the official said.

A source within the board said that the PCB was looking towards the ICC to provide some assistance in convincing some foreign players to take part in the proposed league.

ICC

ICC

 

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Clinton visit: India to discuss nuclear cooperation, Iran

News4u-News Desk- Civil nuclear cooperation, regional security and Iran are among the key issues that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to discuss with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during their meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

 Clinton arrived in Kolkata on Sunday in the first leg of her three-day visit to the country.

During her two-day stay in the city, she will meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee among other engagements.

During her stay in the national capital, she is expected to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apart from holding talks with Krishna, during which they will also review progress made in their countries’ strategic partnership ahead of the India-US strategic dialogue to be held in Washington on June 13.

The meeting between Clinton and Indian leaders gains significance as it comes immediately after her high-level talks in China and ahead of the crucial NATO summit in Chicago, where some important decisions are expected to be made on Afghanistan.

“The entire gamut of bilateral relationship apart from all those issues which impinge on the Indo-US partnership will be discussed,” an official source said in New Delhi.

Both sides will discuss civil nuclear cooperation and regional security situation with New Delhi expected to brief the US Secretary on its proposed regional investors’ meet here to discuss economic development of Afghanistan, sources said.

Though admitting that the US and India were not on the same page on Iran, they said both sides are expected to discuss the issue and put forth each other’s positions.

The US, which has imposed sanctions against Tehran, has been asking India to restrict its import of crude oil from Iran but New Delhi has been maintaining that it only accepts sanctions which are made by the United Nations and not unilateral sanctions.

Senior officials in the US administration have maintained that discussions over India-Bangladesh ties and trade ought to come up in the discussions between Clinton and Banerjee.

The Indo-Bangla Teesta Water Treaty, which is being opposed by the West Bengal Chief Minister, is also expected to be discussed during their meeting.

The issue of FDI in multi-brand retail and other economic reforms are also expected to be discussed.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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AB assaulted Deccan ; snatched victory for RCB

News4u-Sports Desk- A B de Villiers produced a stunning late assault as Royal Challengers Bangalore powered past Deccan Chargers to revive their challenge in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

The Challengers needed a robust effort against Chargers to get a move on after two defeats in a row, and with De Villiers showing them the way with a whirlwind unbeaten 47 off just 17 balls, they managed just that at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Asked to bat first, Chargers made 181 for two with Shikhar Dhawan (73 n.o., 52b, 10×4, 1×6) and Cameron White (45, 24b, 2×4, 4×6) driving them forward with forceful knocks. A strong beginning was mandatory for Challengers to chase down a target of that magnitude, a task they accomplished with five wickets to spare, thanks to the brilliant endgame innings by De Villiers who slammed five fours and three sixes in his cameo.

A strangely subdued Chris Gayle, who struggled to force the pace, and an ultra-aggressive Tillakaratne Dilshan (71, 54b, 8×4, 2×6) ensured the home side got a positive start, with the Sri Lankan doing the bulk of scoring through a few trademark shots through point and mid-wicket areas.

Despite Gayle’s slothfulness, Royal Challengers reached 91 in just over 10 overs, courtesy Dilshan’s aggressive methods. Just when Gayle began to shift the gears, Anand Rajan managed to slip in a yorker to rattle the West Indian’s timber, silencing the stadium that had begun to chant the Jamaican’s name.

From that point, Royal Challengers chase appeared to have derailed as they lost Dilshan, Virat Kohli, Asad Pathan and Mayank Agarwal at regular intervals but Chargers’ joy was shortlived as de Villiers played an incredible innings. The South African smashed his compatriot Dale Steyn for 23 runs in the 18th over (6, 2, 4, 6, 4, 1) to tilt the balance in favour of RCB, under pressure till then to score 39 runs off 18 balls. He carried on in the same way in the next over, bowled by Anand Rajan, and the home team romped to victory with seven balls to spare.

The win helped the Challengers to move to fifth spot on the table, with 11 points from 11 games while Chargers stayed at the bottom of the pack.

Earlier, the Chargers paced their innings to a nicety to reach a formidable total. The Hyderabad outfit raced off the block scoring 22 runs in the first two overs bowled by Zaheer Khan and Abhimanyu Mithun. Chargers’ opener Daniel Harris has wonderful memories of this ground, having smashed an unbeaten 108 against Royal Challengers for South Australia Redbacks in the Champions League last year.

Turning out for Chargers now, Harris wasn’t as brutal as he was on that night but still helped his partner Dhawan to raise 86 runs for the first wicket in 11.5 overs.

Special mention has to be made about Dhawan, one of the top run-getters in this edition of the IPL. The left-hander from Delhi is not quite the power hitter, but he has exquisite timing that can courier the ball to the fence regularly. Just when the Chargers seemed to take full command of the proceedings, RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who took charge of the team after regular captain Daniel Vettori opted out of the match, introduced Muttiah Muralitharan and he made a sudden impact, tying Harris down with an impeccable first over. Muralitharan’s bag of tricks was too perplexing for the Australian, who was reduced to a bat-wafting amateur. But unfortunately, none of the other Royal Challengers bowlers, barring occasional sparks of brilliance by Zaheer, couldn’t offer meaningful support to Muralitharan.

The dismissal of Harris, run out after a moment of confusion with Dhawan, brought only more misery to Royal Challengers as Cameron White and Dhawan milked 82 runs off 7.2 overs, 54 off them coming in the last five overs. But they just didn’t have an answer to a man called De Villiers.

Score board

DECCAN CHARGERS: Daniel Harris (run out) 47 (41b, 2×4, 4×6), Shikhar Dhawan (not out) 73 (52b, 10×4, 1×6), Cameron White c&b Parameshwaran 45 (24b, 2×4, 3×6), Kumar Sangakkara (not out) 13 (3b, 1×4, 1×6); Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-3) 5, Total (2 wkts, 20 overs) 181

Fall of wickets: 1-86 (Harris), 2-168 (White).
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 4-0-32-0 (w-1), A Mithun 3-0-33-0 (w-1), Prasanth Parameshwaran 4-0-45-1 (w-1), Muttiah Muralitharan 4-0-18-0, Tillakaratne Dilshan 1-0-17-0, Syed Jamaluddin 3-0-27-0, Chris Gayle 1-0-6-0. Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 46/0.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS: Tillakar­atne Dilshan b Veer Pratap 71 (54b, 8×4, 2×6), Chris Gayle b Rajan 26 (22b, 1×4, 2×6), Virat Kohli c Steyn b Mishra 9 (9b, 1×4), Asad Pathan c Pathan b Mishra 4 (4b), AB de Villiers (not out) 47 (17b, 5×4, 3×6), Mayank Agarwal lbw Ashish 18 (6b, 1×4, 2×6), Syed Jamaluddin (not out) 4 (1b, 1×4), Extras (LB-2, W-4) 6, Total (five wickets, 18.5 overs) 185

Fall of wickets: 1-91 (Gayle), 2-102 (Kohli), 3-106 (Pathan), 4-117 (Dilshan), 5-143 (Mayank).
Bowling: Shikhar Dhawan 1-0-11-0, Dale Steyn 3-1-30-0, Veer Pratap Singh 3-0-34-1 (w-1), Anand Rajan 3.5-0-44-1 (w-2), Ashish Reddy 4-0-36-1 (w-1), Amit Mishra 4-0-28-2.
Runs during Power Play: 46/0. PTI

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Son held in foster care: Swede seeks Indian citizenship

News4u-News Desk- KOLKATA: The Swedish father of an 11-year-old boy of Indian origin being held in foster care in Sweden for the last three years has expressed willingness to apply for Indian citizenship. 

The boy, Domenic Samuel Johansson, was born of an NRI mother Annie, formerly known asNirmalkumar Bharos from Pune.

Annie had earlier appealed to Sagarika Bhattacharya, who was recently reunited with her infant son and daughter Abhigyan and Aishwarya after the children were released byNorway’s Child Welfare Services, for securing release of her son.

The child’s father, Christer Johansson, a resident of Visby in Sweden, has applied to the Indian embassy in Stockholm for Indian citizenship.

A Kolkata-based NGO, Smile India, which first brought to light the Norwegian custody row, quoting Christer’s application said, he wished to apply for Indian citizenship or dual passports for himself, his wife and son.

The Indian embassy in Stockholm, however, has turned down his plea for Indian citizenship and has told him that since he was married to an Indian woman, he and his son could apply for Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards, India’s Smile secretary Trustee Rajeev Sarkar told PTI.PTI

Swede seeks Indian citizenship

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UK may allow body scanners at airports

News4u-News Desk-LONDON: ‘Naked’ body scanners , whose use has been debated world over for health and privacy concerns, may be introduced at all UKairports after an European Union study declared them to be safe. 

Manchester Airport has been trialling the device, known as back scatter scanner , since 2009, but the European Commission halted new trials last year amid concerns there was a risk to passengers’ health from high levels of radiation.

Now an EU study has decided that the risk from the scanners, which use X-rays to scan through clothing to produce images of passengers, is “close to zero” and no greater than other factors, the Daily Mail reported. The report said the radiation from a single passenger scan is ‘equivalent’ to the natural background radiation received within an hour on the ground or during ten minutes on a flight.

It added that the doses per scan were “well below the public dose limit” , although the long-term effects, such as cancer risks, could not be dismissed entirely. The European Commission is now expected to approve the technology. Extensive tests by the UK Health Protection Agency and US health authorities had already confirmed the scanners pose a negligible risk to human health.PTI

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Mumbai Indians clinch last ball thriller over Chennai Super Kings

News4u-Sports Desk- MUMBAI: Dwayne Smith emerged as an unlikely hero for Mumbai Indians as he smashed a six and two fours off the last three balls to secure a sensational two-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League match on Sunday. 

Chasing 174, Mumbai needed 16 runs off the last over, bowled by pacer Bel Hilfenhaus, and equation became 14 off the last three balls as the Australian castled Lasith Malinga off the second ball and conceded one run in the next ball.

Smith hit a towering six over long-on in the fourth ball and reeled off two conseutive fours to snatch the win for the hosts in a match, in which fortunes fluctuated like a pendulum.

Sachin Tendulkar (74) slammed his first half-century of the season and shared a 126-run stand with Rohit Sharma (60) to lay the foundation for the win but regular strikes brought Chennai back in the match.

Chennai had put up a challenging 173 for eight after being invited to bat as their top and middle-order batsmen batted superbly with Murali Vijay top-scoring with his 41.

Mumbai were handsomely placed at 144 for one in the 16th over before Chennai stormed back in splendid style to reduce the home team to 159 for 8 with four balls left.

The wicket of Tendulkar, who struck 11 fours and a six in his excellent innings, triggered the collapse as seven wickets fell for just 15 runs which almost put Mumbai on the brink of defeat.

West Indian Smith pulled it around with his splendid, unbeaten 24 in 9 balls, that included 2 sixes and as many fours.

Tendulkar and Rohit’s partnership had virtually looked to have sealed Chennai’s fate on a splendid batting track before the sensational collapse.
The duo had cut to size the Chennai attack that looked clueless on how to stop the rampaging second wicket pair. Rohit hit eight boundaries, including two sixes.
Tendulkar departed in the 16th over, caught brilliantly at short extra cover by Francois du Plessis off R Ashwin when 30 runs were needed and what appeared to be a comfortable task became difficult with a spate of wickets including that of Rohit in the 18th over.
The mayhem began when Dwayne Bravo castled Dinesh karthik (11) and Ravindra Jadeja struck twice in the 18th over to remove Ambati Rayudu (0) and Rohit.
In the end their third straight victory boosted Mumbai’s tally to 14 and placed them one point adrift of second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.
Earlier, a flying start by Murali Vijay and some commendable knocks from the middle order steered Chennai Super Kings to a challenging 173/8 against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

Vijay hooked Munaf when the bowler pitched it short for a six over square leg. He later smote the bowler for a lofted four and then two successive sixes over the mid-wicket region with utter disdain.

His belligerence helped the visitors race to 46 in five overs with Plessis playing second fiddle.

A terrible piece of misunderstanding between the Chennai openers helped Mumbai dismiss Plessis when he was sent back by Vijay following a push to mid-on but was beaten by RP Singh’s direct hit at the bowler end stumps.

Singh thus made amends for a terrible piece of fielding earlier when he dropped a sitter off Plessis off Munaf Patel.

Chennai then lost Vijay to a piece of indiscreet shot-making. The opener tried a heave Singh when he came back for a second spell and was bowled comprehensively off the fourth ball after the end of power play.

Harbhajan brought himself on into the attack soon after the fall of these two wickets in the space of 9 balls and restricted the run-scoring along with R P Singh.

Super Kings could add only 30 runs between the sixth and tenth overs to be 72 for 2 after ten.

Raina ran quick singles with his partner Bravo during the 62-run partnership for the third wicket, and also struck a few lusty hits to pep up the scoring rate. He slammed West Indian Dwayne Smith for two sixes over the long on region.

But the left-handed batsman departed to a poor shot, slashing the first ball bowled by left-armJames Franklin to backward point where Singh took a splendid catch.

At the end of the 15th over the Super Kings were 123 for 3 before Dhoni took 15 runs off the next over from Peterson, that included a six over long on which struck the glass pane of the press enclosure and a four.

Bravo carted Munaf for a huge straight-field six into the packed stands before losing his stump to a Malinga swinging Yorker in the 18th over.

Dhoni was dismissed via a catch just inside the rope by Rohit Sharma off R P Singh in the penultimate over and Albie Morkel too fell to the left-arm pacer off the last ball of the same over.

Malinga then applied further brakes with the wickets of Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin in the last over of the innings. PTI

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