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IAEA chief urges Iran to sign nuclear deal as new talks set

News4u-News Desk-  The head of the UN nuclear agency called on Iran on Monday to sign a deal giving greater transparency on its nuclear drive and announced that new talks with Tehran would be held this week.

At the opening of a week-long meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board in Vienna, Yukiya Amano also urged Tehran to allow access to a suspect military site near the capital.

“I invite Iran to sign and implement… as soon as possible” an agreement that would allow access to sites, documents and people related to its nuclear programme, Amano said.

Announcing a new round of talks between the IAEA and Iran in Vienna on Friday, Amano said Tehran needed to do more to alleviate Western fears it is developing a nuclear bomb by complying fully with international obligations.

“Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he told the board of governors.

Amano also urged Iran “to provide early access to the Parchin site,” a military base near Tehran where the IAEA believes suspicious explosives testing has been carried out.

After a visit to Tehran on May 21, where he met Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, Amano had said an accord could be signed “quite soon,” but there is still no sign of any deal two weeks on.

Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh nevertheless noted that after Amano’s visit, “a new chapter of cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the agency has started”.

The accord with the IAEA would allow agency inspectors to go to Parchin, which the agency has been trying to visit for months.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano

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Oppn, civil society leveling baseless allegations: Sonia

News4u-News Desk-  Congress President Sonia Gandhi attacked the opposition and civil society for leveling baseless allegations against the Prime Minister and the party, saying it was part of a conspiracy and told partymen to fight back.

“In a democracy, it is the job of the opposition to oppose but the manner in which opposition and some anti- Congress elements are, as part of a conspiracy, levelling baseless allegations against the Prime Minister, the UPA government, the party and some of our colleagues, is a matter of regret,” she said in her opening remarks at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Monday.

“We will have to fight fiercely against such allegations at the party and the government levels,” Gandhi said with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side.

Without referring to the petrol price hike, she said there have been economic challenges too that are impacting the common man.

“The whole world was passing through a difficult phase and we have to face it and we are facing it”.

She said the report to the people brought out on the third anniversary on the UPA government was a document of success inspite of the difficulties.

Without directly referring to any particular issue, she utilised the occasion to criticise non-Congress governments in the states alleging that they are not cooperating as is expected in a democracy in implementing the policies made by the Centre.

Gandhi said that the party has to be strengthened at all levels ahead of a series of state elections as also the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

“And for this, the most important thing is that we all work unitedly,” she said.


PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi

PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi

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I did not write Satanic Verses for mullahs, Salman Rushdie says

News4u – News Desk - LONDON: Over two decades after Satanic Verses sparked a never-ending controversy and provoked a ‘fatwa’ for his head, author Salman Rushdie has only one thing to say to his detractors: ‘I did not write it for the mullahs’.

The India-born controversial writer who has lived for years under the shadow of his 1988 book, now liberally jokes about the whole issue.

Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Art in Wales, the 64-year-old author said books are intended for people who like them.

Joking about the ‘fatwa’ issue during an interaction, he said he did not write it “for the mullahs. I didn’t think they were my target audience”.

“The only thing worse than a bad review from the Ayatollah Khomeini would be a good review from the Ayatollah Khomeini,” he remarked.

The author, who is best known for his memorable Booker winning marvel ‘Midnight’s Children’, said the reason why books endure is not that people dislike them or that there is a controversy around them.

“The reason why books endure is because there are enough people who like them. It’s the only reason why books last. It’s the people who love books that make them last, not the people who attack them”.

Satanic Verses sparked widespread outrage among Muslims and even led to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issuing a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.

However, controversy over the book has never died down. In January this year, Rushdie’s presence at India’s most prestigious literature festival at Jaipur was objected upon by a section of people, preventing him from making it to the event.

Later in the well-attended interaction, he said: “I don’t read my books, I write them. Once I’ve finished the many years it usually takes me to write them, I can’t bear to read them, because I’ve spent too long with them already. I’m not advertising them very well, am I?”PTI

Salman Rushdie

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Indian economy facing difficult times: Manmohan Singh

News4u-News Desk-  NEW DELHI: Citing uncertainties in global economy and rising oil prices due to tensions with Iran, Prime MinisterManmohan Singh today said India is facing “difficult times” but exuded confidence that the “testing” period would be overcome.

Addressing the Congress Working Committee ( CWC) meeting here, he said that despite the international slowdown, India’s growth was 7% in 2011-12 which was “one of the highest in the world”.

Referring to the challenges facing the government, he said there were uncertainties in global economy and commodity prices like that of oil were rising due to “uncertain prospects” in West Asia.

“These are difficult times for our country and for our economy, caused to a very large extent by circumstances over which we have little or no control,” Singh said.

“These are times when our will and determination are being tested,” he said, adding “we must stay the course” and “have faith in ourselves”.

He expressed confidence that “we will emerge stronger from these testing times”.

His statement assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of the GDP growth falling to 5.3 per cent in the last quarter of the 2011-12, the lowest in nine years.

Singh said the UPA government had made every effort to fulfill the promises made to the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) by delivering high growth rate, implementing programmes for social and economic inclusion on “a scale never seen before” and taking “unprecedented” steps to empower the citizens.

Listing out various achievements of the government, he said poverty is declining faster than it did before UPA took charge, real wages are increasing, agricultural growth has accelerated and economic security has been ensured. PTI


Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh

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Tiger wins Memorial to match Nicklaus on 73 wins

News4u-Sports Desk-DUBLIN ( Ohio): Tiger Woods birdied three of the last four holes, one with an amazing chip shot, to win the PGA Memorial tournament on Sunday and match host Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time victory list.

Woods captured his 73rd career title with a five-under par 67 final round, putting him on nine-under par 279 after 72 holes, two strokes ahead of South African Rory Sabbatini and Argentina’sAndres Romero.

“I hit it good today,” Woods said. “That was some good stuff out there. I never really missed a shot. I hit it great. I had the pace of the greens really nice and I made a few putts.”

Added to the legend of Woods was another spectacular shot — the superstar blasting out of the rough for a 48-foot chip-in birdie on the par-3 16th hole to seize a share of the lead.

“That was one of the most incredible golf shots I think you will ever see played,” said Nicklaus, serving as a US television commentator.

“That was an unbelievable shot. That was the most unbelievable gutsy shot I’ve ever seen. If he hits it long the tournament is over. If he hits it short the tournament is over. He puts it in the hole.”

Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 major titles won by Nicklaus, pulled even with the legend in all-time US PGA wins, both now nine adrift of Sam Snead’s record 82 triumphs.

“It has been a pretty nice run since I turned pro,” Woods said. “To do it at age 36, that’s not too shabby. I have been very proud of what I have done so far. I have a lot of good years ahead of me.”

The victory comes two weeks before Woods will try to move closer to Nicklaus on the major win list at the US Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

“At Olympic, we’re all going to have to hit the ball great,” Woods said.

Nicklaus, who won the last of his titles at the 1986 Masters at age 46, designed the Muirfield Village course where Woods has won five Memorial crowns — in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009 and this year.

But nothing in any of them was like the birdie Woods sank at the 16th, when he blasted the ball high out of the rough, landing it just on the green, and then watched it roll into the cup.

Woods reacted with a right fist pump, a double downward fist pump and another right fist pump, all while screaming with joy as the crowd roared in delight.

“I just hit it perfect,” Woods said.

As Woods walked off the course, Nicklaus told him, “That shot at 16 was the best I’ve ever seen here.”

Woods had snapped a 17-month win drought at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March at Bay Hill, but was lackluster since then, sharing 40th at the Masters and Players Championship and missing the cut at Quail Hollow.

Woods, who last won a major title at the 2008 US Open, had not won an event in which he was not the 54-hole leader since 2009.

Woods birdied the par-4 second and ran off three birdies in a row starting at the par-5 fifth and ending at the par-5 seventh, but stumbled with bogeys at the par-3 eighth and par-4 10th, stalling him two strokes off the pace.

But 54-hole leader Spencer Levin stumbled with bogeys at the 10th and 12th holes and a double bogey at the par-4 13th.

Sabbatini charged to the top at eight-under with birdies at the par-5 11th and par-3 12th and Romero added to the pressure with an eagle at the par-5 15th and a closing birdie to reach the clubhouse on 281.

That’s when Woods charged. He missed a 43-foot eagle putt at the 15th but tapped in for a birdie to pull within one of Sabbatini.

Then came his amazing shot at the 16th, but that only put him level with the South African. Sabbatini followed, however, with a bogey at the 16th to give Woods the lead alone and Woods followed with a nine-foot birdie putt at 18.

When Sabbatini failed to hole his approach shot at the 18th, the last hope of denying Woods was dashed.AFP

Tiger Woods

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Foreigners to blame for Syria ‘war’, says Assad

News4u-News Desk-  BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar Assad denied on Sunday that his government had anything to do with last week’s gruesome Houla massacre , saying that not even “monsters” would carry out such an ugly crime. 

In a televised speech to parliament , Assad saidSyria is facing a “real war” and blamed foreign-backed terrorists and extremists for thebloodshed . He pledged to press ahead with his crackdown. The president’s first comments on the massacre expressed horror over the deaths of more than 100 people, nearly half of them children.

UN investigators say there are strong suspicions that pro-government gunmen carried out the killings, but Assad denied that.

Although his words reflected many of the same general points of his previous speeches, his comments on Houla were widely anticipated . “Not even monsters would carry out (the crimes) that we have seen, especially the Houla massacre… There are no Arabic or even human words to describe it,” he said.

The Syrian opposition brushed off his comments as lies. “It is a desperate and silly speech that does not merit a response,” said Adib Shishakly, a Saudi-based member of the country’s main opposition group.

Assad said his opponents have ignored his moves toward reform, including a referendum on a new constitution and recent parliamentary polls. He suggested this meant that the call for democracy was not the driving force of the revolt.

Assad defended his regime’s crackdown against the opposition, saying, “When a surgeon in an operating room… cuts and cleans and amputates, and the wound bleeds , do we say to him, ‘Your hands are stained with blood?’ Or do we thank him for saving the patient?”A

Bashar al-Assad

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4 Pakistani women killed for dance with men

News4u-News Desk-ISLAMABAD: Four women condemned to death by a tribal jirga or council for dancing and singing with men at a wedding in northern Pakistan have been killed, TV news channels reported on Sunday.

However, senior officials refuted the news reports and described them as baseless. Interior minister Rehman Malik ordered a judicial inquiry into the reported killings.

There was confusion about the number of women reportedly killed. Geo News channel reported that four women were killed while The Express Tribune reported on its website that five women were killed. The fifth woman was the sister of one the women , the report said.

A jirga in Kohistan had also condemned to death the two men in the mobile phone video. Though a cleric was arrested in connection with the incident, he claimed he had not issued any fatwa to kill the women.

The two men condemned by the jirga have reportedly fled the region.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain described the news reports “totally wrong and baseless”.PTI

Pakistan Flag

Pakistan Flag

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Pakistan, India to talk Siachen on June 11, 12

News4u-News Desk- India and Pakistan will discuss the Siachen issue, which has been hanging fire for over two decades, on June 11-12 in Islamabad with an aim of demilitarising the world’s highest battle-filed.

Defence Secretaries of the two sides will hold talks for two days there in an attempt to find a solution to the vexed problem which is costing immensely to both countries in terms of monetary and human resources, officials said today.

The talks will be followed by a discussion on the Sir Creek issue on June 28. These talks were earlier supposed to precede the Siachen issue but the schedule was reversed reportedly at the behest of Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have held several rounds of talks to resolve the Siachen issue.

The two countries were close to an agreement a few years back on demilitarising the region but it failed to fructify as Pakistan refused to authenticate the current military positions of the two sides despite India pressing for it. During a visit to Siachen in 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that the two countries should work to convert the highest battlefield into a mountain of peace.

Recently Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had contended that India had hardened its position on the Siachen issue as compared to the 1989 stance it had adopted, saying that it “takes two hands to clap”.

Reacting on Kayani’s suggestion, former Army Chief Gen VK Singh had rejected Pakistani counterpart’s proposal to demilitarise Siachen, dubbing it as a “gimmick”.

The armies of the two countries have lost more soldiers to hostile weather than in actual combat since April 1984 when Indian Army occupied the icy heights for the nation’s strategic defence.

Defence Minister A K Antony had recently said in Parliament that no one should expect any “dramatic” results from the Defence Secretaries’ talks.

The Siachen troop withdrawal issue gained prominence in Pakistan following a massive avalanche burying a Pakistan army camp there on April 7, resulting in the death of 129 soldiers and 11 civilians.

Just after the incident, Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari advocated troop withdrawal from Siachen during his informal meeting with Prime Minister Singh in April.PTI

Indo-Pak flag

Indo-Pak flag



Big B, Jaya celebrate 39th wedding anniversary

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan celebrated their 39th marriage anniversary on Sunday. Big B says it has brought the memories of their wedding day flooding back, Zee News reports.

The couple got married on June 3, 1973 and have two children – son Abhishek and daughter Shweta. “39 years! And just made it to the blog in time to write. A minute more and all the headers would have had to undergo change. Greetings have been exchanged, family has gathered round with wishes and dear occupy most of the space in the house…Now .. a time to reminisce, to go back and relive those moments, to remember all that transpired,” the 69-year-old posted on blog

Amitabh says he and Jaya had planned a holiday in London to celebrate ‘Zanjeer’ success, but his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan wanted them to get married before going on the vacation.

“`Zanjeer` had just released. And Jaya and I and a few dear friends had decided that if the film did well we would all go to London for a holiday. After a few anxious days on the results of the box office, it was time to put our decision `in line`. So I told my parents, who I had now invited to come and live with me, as is the culture in our land, about our decision. And my Father came down heavily on me - `If you are planning a holiday with this girl, you will have to marry her and go, else your decision is denied.` I was an obedient child! I got married the very next day in a quickly organized wedding with family and some dear friends, without any fanfare, and left for the holiday that very night,” he further posted.

Big B says that his marriage was not a lengthy affair.

“Marriages and weddings entail great amount of ritual and protocol and decorum and priests and pundits and maulvis. They last for days with great fanfare. Ours was a simple Bengali pundit wedding, exchange of flowered garlands, the mangal sutra, the sindoor and it was all over before the women from Jaya`s side could stop their finger in mouth screams of `odododooooo` … or words to that effect,” he added. PTI

Amitabh Bachchan & Jaya Bachchan

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Delhi University admission process kicks off today

News4u-News Desk- The rush for admissions at the prestigious Delhi University begins from Monday with the common pre-admission forms being made available for aspiring students both online and over the counter.

The University offers 54,000 seats in over 60 colleges spread across the capital but the spectacularly high cut off rates in recent years tend to make the students nervous.

The common pre-admission forms can be availed both online and offline from tomorrow till June 18 for General and OBC candidates, following which the students will wait for the college’s announcement of cut-off lists.

The forms will be available at head post offices and at 10 colleges of the University and can be submitted back at them.

For SC/ST candidates, meanwhile, four centres have been marked to accept their registrations during this period.

The aspiring candidates in the reserved category are required to register themselves at the Arts Faculty in the North and South campuses or Rajdhani College or Shyam Lal College from 9.30 AM to 2.00 PM.

The candidates in the Physically Handicapped category have also been given 15 days from June 4 to 18 to register at the office of the Dean, Students Welfare.

Before the beginning of the process, the University has already held a series of counselling sessions for students to clear their doubts and start the exercise on an informed note.

The first cut off list will be displayed by the colleges on June 26 followed by similar lists on June 29, July 3, July 6 and July 10.

Further lists and conversions of OBC seats, if required, will be notified later, the University said.

The 100 per cent cut off percentage announced last year by SRCC had set off a major debate in the country, but University officials have sought to assure students that there were plenty of seats and colleges in the varsity.

“We always tell students that they should not be obsessed by a few colleges. They should rather go for the subjects of their choice and the college that is locationally convenient for them. All colleges of the University have same syllabi and the teachers too are of comparable calibre,” said an official.

Origin of Cobalt-60 traced to Delhi University

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