Court orders release of Irom Chanu Sharmila from jail

News4u- News Desk- A local court on Tuesday ordered the release of rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila, under detention for attempting to commit suicide by fasting for nearly 14 years demanding withdrawal of a tough law that gives sweeping powers to armed forces from Manipur.

Absolving her of the charge of attempt to suicide, sessions judge (Imphal east) A Guneshwar Sharma said, “The petitioner (Sharmila) be released from custody if not required in any other case.”

The prosecution, he said, had “failed miserably” to establish her intention to commit suicide by fasting unto death and evidence of the alleged offence, which is punishable under Section 309 of the IPC, was lacking.

42-year-old Sharmila’s agitation was a political demand through a lawful means of repealing a valid statue - Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 - and from her past conduct it seems she may continue with her fast till her demand is met politically by the government, the court said.

In the circumstances, the state government may take up appropriate measures for her health and safety such as nose feeding in case she decides to continue with her fast, the judge said.

She was being kept at the government hospital at Porompat here where a room was converted into a jail. She is being fed through her nose.

She is released and re-arrested every year as the law allows detention only for 364 days.

The state police had earlier filed cases under different provisions of CrPC stating that Sharmila was attempting to commit suicide by fasting for more than 13 years. While Y Indira represented the government, Sharmila was represented by senior advocate and well-known human rights activist Khaidem Mani.

The activist had launched her fast after the killing of 10 people allegedly by Assam Rifles in a suspected encounter with insurgents at Malom near Imphal airport in November 2000. She has been under arrest since then and has been released from time to time but continued her fast for the past more than one decade.


Irom Chanu Sharmila

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Assange won’t leave embassy without US extradition guarantee

News4u- News Desk- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not leave the Ecuador embassy in London, where the whistleblower was holed up for over two years, without getting a guarantee that he will not be extradited to the US, his lawyer said today.

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson comments came after Assange last night said that he would soon leave the embassy as he is suffering from a heart condition and other ailments.

Robinson, in a radio interview, said that the two-year stay in the embassy had had a “significant” impact on Assange’s health.

“[He will leave] as soon as conditionscan be negotiated thatallow Julian to leave theembassy while his political asylum, to protect him from therisk of extradition to the US,[is] respected.

And we haven’t seen that happen yet,” she said.

“He’s been in there more than two years and the circumstances and the conditions inside the embassy aren’t great,” she said, adding there’s nowhere for him to exercise and that’s having significant impacts on his health.

“We have been asking that there be assurances given that he will not be extradited to the US, that is and has always been his main concern, and indeed is the reason for the grant of asylum that’s seen him remain inside the embassy,” Robinson said.

“It’svery difficult to put a timeline to this.”

Assange, 43, sought asylum at the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual molestation.

He fears extradition to Sweden could lead to him being transferred to the US to face trial over WikiLeaks’ publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents.

“As Julian said, he’d like to be leaving the embassy soon, we’d all like to see that happen, but there are a complicated numberof legal cases that are ongoing both in Sweden, and the ongoing grand jury investigation in the US which is reason for his asylum,” Robinson said.

Robinson said she does not understand why a Swedish prosecutor is refusing to come to London to interview Assange so the case can proceed. “Julian’s remarks also last night refer to the fact that there’s an ongoing appeal in Sweden that will be heard at the end of the European summer in which we’re challenging his arrest warrant,” she said.

She further said Assange had been refused permission to travel to hospital to seek treatment for his medical conditions.

“If he is required to leave the embassy for hospital treatment he would be arrested,” she said, adding “This is avery serious situation and is the reason that this case has been taken up at the UN by more than 60 human rights groups around the world.”


Assange

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Army Chief dismisses reports of Chinese intrusion

News4u- News Desk- Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on Tuesday dismissed reports that Chinese troops had entered 25 to 30 km deep into Indian territory in Burtse area in Ladakh.

“There is nothing like that,” he said in reply to a question.

Chinese troops were reported to have entered 25 to 30 km deep into Indian territory in Burtse area, which is located at an altitude of 17,000 feet.

Last year, they had pitched tents in the area leading to a tense three-week standoff.


Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag

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PM invites ideas from people on new plan body

News4u-News Desk-Taking a step further towards scrapping the Planning Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invited ideas from the people on the new institution to replace the plan body.

The government also announced creation of a special open forum on the website mygov.nic.in for suggestions on the new institution.

In a statement, the Prime Minister said “We envision the proposed Institution as one that caters to the aspirations of 21st century India and strengthens participation of the States…. Let the ideas flow”.

It said, “The Prime Minister has invited ideas from people on what shape the new institution to replace the Planning Commission can take.” Addressing the nation from the Red Fort on Independence Day, Modi had said that the 64-year old Planning Commission, a vestige of socialist era, would be soon replaced with a new institution to address the current economic challenges and strengthen the federal structure.

“We need a new body with a new soul….We will have to think about giving a new shape to the Planning Commission…. Very soon this new institute will start working in place of Planning Commission,” Modi had said.

He had said that it was set up to cater to the needs of earlier times and has participated in its own way in the development of the country.

“The internal situation of the country has changed, global environment has changed. Government is no longer the centre of economic development. Economy is much more broadbased now. “State government is also a centre of development. I feel it is a good sign. If we have to take India forward, then states have to be taken forward,” the Prime Minister had said.

Justifying the need to replace the Commission, he had said, “Sometime it becomes necessary to repair a house. It costs a lot of money. But it does not give us satisfaction. Then we feel it is better to make a new house.”


PM invites ideas from people on new plan body

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New algorithm detects gene mutations linked to autism, OCD

News4u-Features Desk-Scientists have developed a new algorithm that can detect gene mutations involved in diseases such as autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

With three billion letters in the human genome, it seems hard to believe that adding a DNA base here or removing a DNA base there could have much of an effect on our health, researchers said.

But such insertions and deletions can dramatically alter biological function, leading to diseases from autism to cancer.

Still, it has been difficult to detect these mutations. Now, a team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has devised a new way to analyse genome sequences that pinpoints so-called insertion and deletion mutations (known as “indels”) in genomes of people with diseases such as autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome.

The letters in the human genome carry instructions to make proteins, via a three-letter code. Each trio spells out a “word;” the words are then strung together in a sentence to build a specific protein.

If a letter is accidentally inserted or deleted from our genome, the three-letter code shifts a notch, causing all of the subsequent words to be misspelled.

These “frameshift” mutations cause the protein sentence to become unintelligible. Loss of a single protein can have devastating effects for cells, leading to dysfunction and sometimes to serious diseases.

DNA insertions and deletions vary in length and sequence. Each indel can range in size from one DNA letter to thousands, and they are often highly repetitive.

Their variability has made it challenging to identify indels, despite major advancements in genome sequencing technology. A team of CSHL scientists, including Assistant Professors Mike Schatz, Gholson Lyon, and Ivan Iossifov, and Professor Michael Wigler, has devised a way to mine existing genomic datasets for indel mutations.

The method, which they call Scalpel, begins by grouping together all of the sequences from a given genomic region.

Scalpel - a computer formula, or algorithm - then creates a new sequence alignment for that area, much like piecing together parts of a puzzle.

In work published in the journal Nature Methods, the team used Scalpel to search for indels in patient samples.

Lyon analysed a patient with severe Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, identifying and validating more than a thousand indels to demonstrate the accuracy of the method.

The CSHL team performed a similar analysis to search for indels that are associated with autism.

Researchers discovered a total of 3.3 million indels across 593 families, but most appeared to be relatively harmless. Still, a few dozen mutations stood out to be specifically associated with autism.


New algorithm detects gene mutations linked to autism, OCD

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Saradha scam: ED questions WB Textile min, Aparna Sen

News4u-News Desk-West Bengal Textiles minister Shyamapada Mukherjee and actor Aparna Sen were questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Kolkata on Monday in connection with its money laundering probe in the multi-crore Saradha chitfunds scam case.

The first to arrive at the Salt Lake office of the central probe agency here was the award wining actor and director Sen whose statement was recorded by ED which is probing her role as the Editor of a magazine brought out by the now defunct group.

“Sen’s statement was recorded under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). She replied to all the queries the sleuths had and has assured she would cooperate with them in future with regard to this case,” sources privy to the development said.

She is understood to have told the ED officials that she knew nothing of the business investments and other ponzi schemes run by the group.

Sources said Sen was associated with the magazine that was brought out by the Sudipta Sen-promoted group which is under the scanner of multiple-probe agencies after a large number of depositors last year alleged they have been duped of their hard-earned money through fraud ponzi schemes.

The second to be questioned during the day by the ED was Mukherjee about a property sale in 2009.

“An allegation was raised against Mr Mukherjee that he has raised some capital by way of transfer of some assets. All the allegations against him of illegal dealings are baseless and today he has come to give all relevant details and bank statements in this regard to the ED,” Joydeb Das, a lawyer accompanying the minister, told the news agency.


Aparna Sen

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Candidates for CS prelims cannot attend foundation course:Govt

News4u-News Desk-Candidates who have been allocated IAS, IFS and IPS among others and are also appearing for this year’s civil services preliminary examination cannot attend Foundation Course, the government has said.

A candidate has to attend a Foundation Course after his or her selection in the civil services. Candidates who have been allocated IAS, IFS, IPS, and central services, Group-’A', on the basis of civil services exam 2013, may note that they have to report for the mandatory Foundation Course (FC) from September 1, 2014 to institutes to be indicated to them, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said in an order.

“The candidates are hereby informed that all those who are appearing in the civil services (preliminary) examination 2014 on August 24, 2014 would not be allowed to join this Foundation Course,” it said.

If a candidate has already done FC in earlier years, he or she may also seek exemption from the course from the DoPT, the order said. Civil services examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to select IAS, IFS and IPS among others.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated services to candidates on the basis of last year’s civil services examination.

UPSC has recommended names of 1,122 candidates who had successfully cleared the civil services examination. Service allocation has been done in respect of 981 candidates.

In respect of the remaining 141 candidates service allocation has not been done due to some reasons, it said.

“Some candidates have indicated preference only for limited number of services. As per rules they may be allocated to a service only after service allocation has been done to all candidates from the main as well as the reserve list is complete”.

“OBC status of some candidates is under verification. Candidature of some candidates has been kept as provisional by UPSC due to non-submission of some essential documents by them. In respect of some candidates their medical examination is not final. These candidates would be considered for service allocation after verification of their status,” the DoPT said citing some of the reasons for non-allocation of services.

While every effort is being made to resolve the issues for clearing provisional allocation in time bound manner, the candidates are instructed to get the pending medical examination completed immediately without any further delay, it said.

The reasons for non-allocation of service to candidates are also being uploaded on the department’s website, which can be accessed through the web authentication code provided to them, the DoPT said.


UPSC

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18 militants killed in Pakistan airstrikes

News4u-News Desk-At least 18 militants were killed on Tuesday in airstrikes by Pakistani fighter jets in the country’s troubled northwestern tribal region.

The hideouts of militants in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas were targeted in the fresh air strikes.

Five hideouts were wiped out in Khyber while seven in North Waziristan.

Eighteen terrorists were killed in aerial strikes at both places, a military spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said terrorists’ command and control systems were also eliminated.

Pakistan had launched operation in North Waziristan in June after militants attacked Karachi international airport.

More than 600 militants have been killed so far in the operation.


18 militants killed in Pakistan airstrikes

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Individuals pay more tax than corporate

News4u-News Desk-Corporate escape inflationary impact where as individuals feel the pinch as Inflation has an adverse effect on every individual.

The tax collected during 2013-14 showed that income tax paid by individuals was nearly twice than that of corporate tax collected.

An individual has to pay tax on the total earning irrespective of personal expenditure.

However such is not the case with restaurants as they can show how inflation has a direct impact on their business and are accordingly taxed, but an individual has no such relief irrespective of inflationary impact.

For instance a tomato or onion price has an impact on the menu price of a restaurant, and accordingly the business and hence taxed as per the profit or loss made by the restaurant.

Therefore the corporate lagged behind in paying tax in comparison to individuals.

Whereas an individual household is taxed on the salary earned irrespective of the number of dependents as well as expenditure.

According to Finance Ministry data individuals paid 20.51 per cent more income tax in 2013-14 than in the previous financial year.

Whereas the rate of growth in the case of corporate income tax payers remained at 10.76 per cent, failing to keep in tandem with the 12.3 per cent rate of growth of the ‘nominal’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


Individuals pay more tax than corporate

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HRW says Iran imprisoning dozens unlawfully

News4u-News Desk- Human Rights Watch Tuesday urged authorities in Iran to release immediately and unconditionally dozens of prisoners jailed in a northern city “for exercising their basic rights”.

In a lengthy report, the New York-based body studied the cases of 189 people locked up in Karaj, 50 kilometres west of the capital Tehran.

HRW said that in 63 cases prisoners had been arrested, convicted and sentenced “solely because they exercised fundamental rights such as free speech and rights to peaceful assembly or association”.

In 35 other cases, in which prisoners had been sentenced to death for terrorism-related offences, the group said it suspected “egregious” due process violations that may have tainted the judicial process.

“The election of a new, avowedly moderate president a year ago raised hopes that many of Iran’s political prisoners would soon walk free, but many remain behind bars,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

“The lion’s share of responsibility for releasing these prisoners rests with the judiciary, but President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet should be doing more to press for their release,” he added in a statement.

HRW said several dozen members of the Baha’i community, Iran’s largest non-Muslim minority, were serving sentences for charges including “spreading corruption on earth”.

The body also said two Christian pastors and two Christian converts were being held, as were nine journalists and bloggers and seven human rights lawyers including Mohammad Seifizadeh who is close to Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.

United Nations human rights experts have expressed alarm at a recent flurry of arrests and harsh sentences inflicted on journalists in Iran.

Last month, three journalists - including the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent were arrested.

Monday, an official said they were being held for security reasons.

Observers say they fear the journalists’ arrests could undermine the thorny negotiations between Iran and the West for a comprehensive nuclear deal that world powers are seeking to reach by November 24.


President Hassan Rouhani

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