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Congress not to field candidate against Dimple Yadav

News4u-News Desk- NEW DELHI: Reflecting the growing bonhomie between the two parties, Congress has decided not to field any candidate against UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav, the Samajwadi Party candidate in theKannauj Lok Sabha byelection.

“We had not contested the seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha election and we are not contesting it now,” party General Secretary Digvijay Singhsaid, adding that besides Kannauj, the party had not put up candidate then from Mainpuri from where Mulayam Singh had contested.

The byelection, being held on June 24, has been necessitated following the resignation ofAkhilesh Yadav after his election to the legislative council.

Dimple Yadav is expected to file her nomination for the Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency on Tuesday.

The decision of the Congress this time is in sharp contrast to the 2009 byelection to the Firozabad Lok Sabha seat for which the party had fielded cine star Raj Babbar against Dimple, daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Babbar won the bypoll after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi campaigned against Dimple during her maiden entry into the political fray.

Congress and SP have been lately drawing close to each other.

Despite being an outside supporter of the government at the Centre, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s presence at the UPA’s third anniversary dinner last month was reassuring for the Congress which had been plagued by frequent tantrums of some of its allies, especially Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

At the dinner, Yadav had also declared support to the candidate which be decided by the Congress in the presidential poll on the condition that the nominee should not be a bureaucrat.PTI


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Only the Gujarat CM has the potential to be a PM candidate:Organiser

News4u - News Desk : NEW DELHI: Days after he was supposed to have been pulled up by BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh for being a man in hurry, Narendra Modi received a shot in the arm with anotherSangh Parivar publication, Organiser, saying that only the Gujarat CM has the potential to catapult the party to power single-handedly, just like Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in the 1990s.

An article in the latest issue of the RSS’ mouthpiece in English describes the controversial CM as “by far the most popular leader in the country”, who as BJP’s mascot for 2014 parliamentary polls has the ability to expand the BJP’s appeal and vote base across the country much like Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in the 1990s.

Although the write-up by psephologist GVL Narasimha Rao contrasts with the criticism in Kamal Sandesh as well as RSS’ Hindi weekly Panchajanya, sources in the Organiser said that the endorsement for the Gujarat strongman in its latest issue mirrors the official stance of the publication. “We have been consistently praising his achievements in Gujarat and the decision to publish the article should be seen in that light,” said a source.

The view is significant because BJP has shied away from spelling out its choice for PM, and because of the assessment in the political circles that the projection of Modi as the candidate for the top job is going to gain momentum and may become virtually unstoppable if he wins the assembly polls slated to be held later this year.
Will swing votes in BJP’s favour
The Organiser article takes head on all the arguments marshaled by those who feel that Modi’s projection will hurt the BJP; chiefly that tagging the hardliner as the prime ministerial candidate would further undercut its already restricted social appeal and putting off NDA allies like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who hope to win over the Muslim vote.

Rao builds his case by saying that while there is nationwide anger against Congress, this alone cannot guarantee BJP-led NDA’s return to power at the Centre. He stresses that NDA is a major political force only in 272 of the Lok Sabha seats, leaving Left and regional parties as the likely beneficiaries of erosion in Congress’s support in the rest of the 545 Lok Sabha constituencies.

He argues that the limitation can be overcome by projecting a strong leader “whose appeal transcends state boundaries” , and who “would give BJP’s campaign a nationwide momentum and help it make substantial gains even in non-BJP strongholds”.

Citing the successes of VP Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose leadership galvanized the anti-Congress mood and led the party to lose even in its stronghold, the advocacy for Modi in the RSSjournal says that the Gujarat CM as the leader of BJP would benefit the party in UP, and help it win seats even in states like Odisha and Haryana.

It also joins issue with the argument that Modi’s projection will scare away allies, channeling the view of the Hindutva hardliners in BJP that finding partners will not be a problem so long as the party is seen as a winning ticket. “The number of BJP allies grew between 1996 and 1999 principally because regional parties saw an accretion in their strength owing to the incremental role that Vajpayee had delivered to them. The same would work for the BJP at the helm,” it says.

The timing of the article is also significant, coming just after RSS decided to mend its rift with the Gujarat CM by giving into his demand to remove his bete noire from BJP’s national executive. As part of the bargain, Modi has come out in the support of BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, who is widely seen as the RSS appointee.Agencies


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NATO plans new Afghan mission after 2014

News4u-News Desk-MOSCOW: Afghanistan and NATO have agreed to develop a plan for a new international peacekeeping mission in the country after 2014 when Afghan forces take full control of the security, NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday.

The NATO-led mission will offer training and other assistance to Afghan security forces, he said.

NATO will provide funding for the mission at an estimated $4.1 billion a year.

“On Afghanistan, we set out a clear path from now until 2014 and beyond. And we sent out a clear signal to the Afghan people and the region that we will stay committed,” he said.

After the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan, security in the country will be enforced by over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, he said.IANS






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Nigeria jet’s engines failed; toll 193

News4u-News Desk- LAGOS: Nigeria plunged into a state of mourning on Monday after a horrific air tragedy saw a passenger plane crash into a residential area, killing all 153 people on board including an Indian co-pilot and over 40 others on the ground.

The pilot of the ill-fated plane had sent out emergency signals while nearing the runway indicating a technical problem but the Boeing MD-83 plane, belonging to Dana Air, an Indian-owned company, went down near the airport shortly afterwards. The flight reported both of its engines having failed before it went down, the country’s civil aviation chief Harold Demureen said on Monday.

Fears mounted on Monday that a large number of people may have been killed on the ground besides all 153 passengers and crew on board as rescuers still struggled to clear the massive wreck and pull out the bodies. The plane flying from the Nigerian capital Abuja to Lagos had an American pilot who was being assisted by an Indian co-pilot , aviation authorities said.

Rani Malik, the consular officer of the Indian high commission in Lagos said that the name of the Indian co-pilot was Mahendra Singh Rathore. A source said the plane had an Indonesian flight engineer on board.
Rescue workers on Monday recovered additional 40 bodies who were not in the aircraft but either in the building where the plane crashed or standing near the road. Demureen said that the cause of the fatal landing was yet to be known by his agency. The black box of the aircraft has been found and handed over to authorities for investigation.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning and ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash.

While there were no survivors on the plane, there was still no final account of how many might have died on the ground. Emergency officials said it was unclear how many people were inside the building and on the street outside at the time of the crash.

The Chinese embassy said six of its nationals were on the plane. Besides, two Major Generals, many members of staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and several top personalities were also on board.
Cranes cleared the stillflaming debris to allow rescue workers better access to the densely populated crash area.

Crowds of residents surrounded the crash site, delaying emergency services from searching for survivors. For hours, the area around the crash site was not cordoned off as the mass of people packed the area.

Nigeria has a poor aviation record, though Dana had been considered to be a relatively safe and reasonably efficient domestic airline. Sunday’s crash appeared to be one of the worst in the country.
The deadliest came in July 1991, when all 261 on board a Nigerian Airways airliner died after its landing gear caught fire shortly after takeoff in Saudi Arabia, and the plane went down.Agencies

153 feared dead as plane crashes in Lagos

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B S Rajoana to be honoured on Operation Bluestar anniversary

News4u-News Desk- JALANDHAR: Former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassin, Balwant Singh Rajoana, will be honoured by the Akal Takht — highest temporal seat of Sikhs — on the 28th anniversary of Operation Bluestar. 

Rajoana is on death row and currently lodged in Patiala jail. His execution was put on hold after a wave of protests swept Punjab in March. Rajoana’s foster sister Kamaldeep Kaur has been invited to accept the honour on his behalf by Akal Takht, which has already bestowed him with the title of a ‘living martyr’. Earlier, Rajaona had refused to file a mercy petition after being sentenced to death. Beant Singh was killed in August 1995 by a suicide bomber, Dilawar Singh. Rajoana was convicted for acting as a back-up suicide bomber if Dilawar failed.

The Akal Takht had issued a directive to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Daland Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to make efforts to save Rajoana from the gallows. They had even given a bandh call in Punjab.

Badal had called on President Pratibha Patil to plead for commuting the death sentence. The Union home ministry had then put the sentence on hold and now the case is being examined.Agencies



balwant singh rajoana

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India, Pakistan nuke arsenal growing, evolving: Report

News4u - News Desk :  LONDON: India and Pakistan are continuing to work towards developing new systems for delivering nuclear weapons and are expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes, according to an international think tank report.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said that Pakistan was developing a number of new short-range ballistic missiles which suggests that it may use ‘battlefield nuclear weapons’ resulting in these warheads being deployed on a “launch-ready posture”.

“India and Pakistan are increasing the size and sophistication of their nuclear arsenals. Both countries are developing and deploying new types of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles and both are increasing their military fissile material production capabilities,” the SIPRIyearbook said.

The report also claimed that in May last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened a meeting of the Nuclear Command Authority to assess progress towards the goal of achieving an operational triad including weapon delivery systems based in air, land and sea.

SIPRI claimed that the number of nuclear warheads with India and Pakistan have continued to be the same in comparison with last year with New Delhi having 80-100 such nukes in its arsenal while Islamabad has 90-110 of them.
The battlefield nuclear warheads, also known as tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs), were first reported to be with Pakistan during the Operation Parakram in 2001-02 . Traditionally it is believed that TNWs are not to be used against strategic targets and can be used to smoke out an armoured regiment or column advancing into a country.

The report also said Pakistan’s doctrine is based on the principle of minimum deterrence but does not specifically rule out the first use of nuclear weapons to offset India’s superiority in conventional arms and manpower. It said eight of the world’s nuclear powers together possessed nearly 19,000 atomic weapons.PTI


                                                                                                                   india & pakistan flags

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RBI hints at easing interest rates

News4u - News Desk : Ahead of its mid-quarterly policy review, the Reserve Bank on Monday hinted at cut in interest rates, saying moderation in inflation due to lower economic growth and cooling global oil prices provide room for easing monetary policy.

“.. the growth is somewhat lower than expectation and that may have positive, moderating impact on core inflation,” RBI Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn said on Monday.

“… oil prices have come off somewhat more than expected. Those are the two factors that suggest more room (for easing monetary policy),” he said.

The central bank is scheduled to announce its first mid-quarter review of monetary policy for 2012-13 on 18th June.

In its annual credit policy for 2012-13 on 17th April, RBI had slashed short-term lending rate or repo rate by 0.50 per cent to 8 per cent to prop up economy.

India’s economic growth rate slipped to 5.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011-12, the lowest in nearly nine years, following poor performance of the manufacturing and farm sectors.


The Reserve Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India

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PM initiates steps to boost economy

News4u-News Desk-In a bid to assuage investors and to stay course in difficult times, PM Manmohan Singh stepped in to form a ministers’ panel to thrash out problems in the coal sector and convened a meeting on Wed to review big-ticket infrastructure projects.

On its part, the Reserve Bank sent assuring signals to the market by indicating that it may further cut interest rates later this month.

While the Prime Minister said the country should stay course in difficult times, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee listed positives in the falling crude oil prices and expectations of a normal monsoon.

Addressing the tax officials on Monday, Mukherjee, however, said there is no headroom for fiscal support.

With projects worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore pending, the Prime Minister will review with senior Cabinet colleagues the status of the infrastructure sector.

Projects worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore are pending because of absence of regulatory clearances. These are in the sectors of power, steel, highways and cement.

The meeting assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of economic growth falling to nine-year low of 6.5 percent in 2011-12 and contraction of industrial output in the March quarter.

Singh has also approved formation of a nine-member ministerial panel to sort out differences over the draft Bill for setting up a regulatory authority for the coal sector.

“The Prime Minister has approved the formation of a Group of Ministers (GoM) (to look into the draft Bill). The government has notified the formation of GoM today,” a top Coal Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, citing uncertainties in global economy and rising oil prices due to tensions with Iran, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said India is facing difficult times but exuded confidence that the testing period would be overcome.

Addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi, he said that despite the international slowdown, India’s growth was 7 per cent 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,” Dr 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.

Dr 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.

rime Minister Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

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Monsoon to hit Kerala by Wednesday

News4u - News Desk :  South-west monsoon, the key to the agriculture driven trillion-dollar Indian economy, is on course and is expected to drench Kerala by Wednesday thereby bringing much-needed relief to farmers.

“Monsoon is round the corner. Parts of Kerala have been receiving rains since this morning. We may declare the onset of monsoon over Kerala coast by Wednesday,” Laxman Singh Rathore, Director General, IndiaMeteorological Department (IMD) said in New Delhi on Monday.

Kerala usually receives monsoon showers by 1st June, but Rathore said there was no need to paint a gloomy picture as the progress of the seasonal rainfall phenomenon was well with the forecast limits which have a model error of four days.

A unique feature of this year’s monsoon would be its steady progress along the western coast bring copious rains to coastal Kerala and leaving the peninsular region relatively dry.

Current observations show central and northern Kerala receiving rainfall while Thiruvananthapuram getting little rains.

Weather watchers attribute the slight delay in the onset of monsoon to Typhoon Mawar which was active in a western Pacific Ocean off the Philippines and sucking away moisture and wind currents to power itself.

“The typhoon has moved northward towards Japan and will no longer affect the progression of the monsoon,” Rathore said.

On the effect of El Nino conditions — warming of the Central Pacific — on the monsoon, he said it was too early to predict any adverse effect.

“At present, El Nino conditions are neutral,” he said indicating that it would not have much impact on the monsoon.

El Nino conditions could turn positive during August- September when the monsoon season draws to a close inIndia.

Scientists said sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific were expected to rise by 0.5 degrees Celsius to 0.7 degree Celsius.

However, they were quick to point out that there was no direct co-relation between El Nino and the monsoon.

“In 1997, El Nino was at its highest with central Pacific sea temperatures rising by four degrees but India had a normal monsoon,” Rathore said.

In 1997, the sea surface temperatures in the Indian Oceanwere favourable for the monsoon which negated the adverse impact of El Nino.

The IMD declares the onset of monsoon over Kerala when 50 percent of the 14 observation stations in the state andLakshadweep islands report rainfall for 48 hours.

Monsoon rains are crucial for agriculture as only 40 percent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.

The farm sector contributes about only 15 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it employs about 60 percent of India’s population.

Rathore said deviation of 3-4 days in arrival of monsoon rains would have no adverse impact on sowing of kharif crops.

“There is no concern for paddy sowing because seedlings are raised first in nursery through irrigation and then transplanted in the field much later,” he said.

There would be no impact on cotton and sugarcane crops as these long-duration crops are mostly cultivated in areas with irrigation facilities.

On the back of good monsoon in 2010 and 2011, the country harvested a record foodgrains production of 245 million tonnes and 252.56 million tonnes, respectively.


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Green economy is the mantra on World Environment Day

News4u-News Desk- The World Environment Day is being observed on Tuesday across the globe to raise awareness among people about the importance of clean environment in the human life, the theme for the Day is Green Economy: Does it include you?

On the World Environment Day today, the government will flag-off the ‘Science Express-Bio-diversity Special Train’ inNew Delhi.

The objective behind this is to create widespread awareness on the unique bio-diversity of the country.

Of the 16 coaches of the express train, eight are solely dedicated to immense bio-diversity spread across the bio-geograpical zones.

These 8 coaches highlighting the bio-diversity zones in the country will also focus on a range of Biological diversity and livelihood.

Rural Livelihoods Project implemented in nine tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh has enabled villagers to meet the challenges of climatic changes successfully.

Through the Rural Livelihoods project, villagers have learned techniques to counter challenges of climatic changes by adopting various means in Dhar, Jhabua, Barwani, Alirajpur, Sheopur, Mandla, Dindori, Shahdol and Anuppur districts.

As many as 1021 biogas plants have been set up in these areas under the project. Smokeless chulhas have been distributed to 16 thousand rural families.

In all, 3508 solar lanterns have been made available in 141 villages. As a result of these measures, more than 1294664 tonnes of carbon emission has been curbed.

World Environment Day

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