Missing soldier’s body found after 18-yr in Siachen Glacier

News4u-News Desk-The body of an Indian Army soldier has been recovered from Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, 18 years after he was reported missing from the world’s highest battlefield.

Havaldar Gaya Prasad, a native of Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, had gone missing while on duty on Siachen Glacier in 1996, an Army official said.

“The body of the soldier was recovered last week. He went missing at Siachen Glacier 18 years ago,” the official said.

The soldier’s body will be flown to Chandigarh and from there to his native village in Uttar Pradesh by road, he said.

Although it was not immediately clear how the soldier had died, it is presumed that he might have been swept away by an avalanche, the officer said, adding, Prasad was posted with 15 Rajput unit of the Army when he had gone missing.

Siachen is known as the world’s highest battleground, situated at an altitude of 5,700 metres.

The extreme low temperature which can drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius during winter has caused thousands of deaths since 1984 when India and Pakistan stationed their troops on the Glacier.


Havaldar Gaya Prasad

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Over 415,800 people flee fighting in east Ukraine: UNHCR

News4u-News Desk-At least 415,800 people have fled their homes due to fighting in eastern Ukraine, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

About 190,000 have been displaced within Ukraine, while 197,400 have fled to Russia and others to Poland and Belarus, said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), adding that the figures could be higher since there is no centralised registration system.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s teetering economy continued to suffer with the national currency sinking to a record low against the dollar.

The Hryvnia stood at 13.22 against the dollar as urgent attempts by the central bank to stop the slide failed to calm nerves.

There seemed to be some signs of progress in the week-long saga that has seen some 300 Russian lorries with humanitarian aid parked up at the border with Ukraine’s Lugansk region.

Kiev fears that the convoy may be attacked if allowed to cross into rebel territory and could give the Kremlin a pretext to invade.

Russia on Wednesday said that it had agreed with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to “begin movement” of the convoy despite worries over safety guarantees.


Over 415,800 people flee fighting in east Ukraine: UNHCR

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WHO: West Africa Ebola death toll rises to 1,350

News4u-News Desk-The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has now risen to at least 1,350 people, World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The latest figures showed that the deaths are mounting fastest in Liberia, which now accounts for at least 576 of the deaths.

The UN health agency also warned in its announcement that “countries are beginning to experience supply shortages, including fuel, food, and basic supplies.”

This comes after a number of airlines and shipping services have halted transport to the worst affected capitals of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

In a desperate bid to halt the disease’s spread, authorities in Liberia have quarantined off a huge slum that is home to 50,000 people. Protests erupted in West Point today, where residents threw rocks at police.


WHO: West Africa Ebola death toll rises to 1,350

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Cabinet approves mobile phone towers in 10 extremist-hit states

News4u-News Desk-The union cabinet on Wednesday approved provision of mobile phone services at 2,199 locations in 10 states affected by Left-wing extremism.

The states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, an official statement said.

The establishment of mobile services would augment public communication facilities in backward regions and also provide a platform for mobile phone services including m-commerce, mobile based information dissemination and easy access to governance and policing, it said.

The project would be executed by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). BSNL has already installed towers at 363 locations.

The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) would fund the capital expenditure and operative expenditure net of revenue for five years.

The project implementation cost through the open tendering process is approximately Rs.3,568 crore against the revised cost estimate of approximately Rs.3,216 crore.

“A sum of Rs.3,216 crore has been allotted for installing 1,836 new base transmission stations,” Telecommunications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


mobile phone towers

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We will stage comeback: Sonia

News4u-News Desk-Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asserted that her party will stage a comeback as she attacked BJP, saying it had woven “false dreams” and people got caught in the “trap”.

She targetted the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of copying the schemes and programmes of the UPA dispensation and taking credit for the same.

Addressing a convention of ‘Mahila Congress’ in New Delhi, Sonia along with Rahul Gandhi sought to reach out to women by promising a larger electoral role for them at all levels and making a strong pitch for reservation for them in Parliament and state Assemblies.

They told the convention organised on the occasion of 70th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that women members of the Congress should become a “tsunami” and contribute actively in the battle between ideologies.

“We had done so much. Still some people laid a trap and people got caught in it. Our work, our achievements got ignored and those showing false dreams marched ahead,” she said, targeting BJP as she looked back at the Lok Sabha polls.

To buttress her point about performance of the previous Congress-led government, she listed a number of measures initiated for women empowerment and other reforms.

Targeting the Modi dispensation, Sonia said, “those who have come in government today are showing an altogether different picture to the nation in accordance with their habit.

They are implementing as their own schemes and plans, which were luanched by Congress.” At the same time, the Congress chief expressed confidence about staging a comeback.

“May be the path of our struggle is a bit longer and we may have to work a little more. But if all of us work hard and do it together, the day is not far when Congress will regain its peak.”

This was the first such party convention since the Lok Sabha polls in which Congress only got 44 seats.


We will stage comeback: Sonia

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NDFB-S ‘military secy’ among 5 militants killed in encounter

News4u-News Desk-Five NDFB-Songbijit militants, including its ‘military secretary’ have been killed in a shootout with security forces in Assam’s Chirang district on Wednesday morning, a top police officer said.

The Bodo extremists were killed during an operation in the forest areas of Raimati under Runikhata police station around 4.45 AM in a joint operation by police and 18 Mahar Regiment, CRPF’s Cobra regiment, IGP L R Bishnoi said.

The organisation’s self-styled military secretary and Irakdao ‘brigade commander’ Rwikha alias Rajiv Champagayary was among those killed.

Rwikha, accused in various cases of killings, kidnappings, extortion and other subversive activities, carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh.

A huge cache of sophisticated arms and ammunition, including one AK-47 rifle, two 9 mm pistols, two 7.65 mm pistols, five grenades, 10 magazines and 226 bullets, along with Rs five lakh in cash, bank account sheets, money receipts, 12 mobile phones and a pen drive were recovered from them, Bishnoi said.

Besides the top leader, Bengtol ‘section commander’ Rojong alias Roslin Mushahary, Chirang ‘platoon second-in-charge’ Raidwng, Rwikha’s bodyguard Debanand Islary and cadre Fwrmai were also killed, the IGP said. Rojong carried an award of Rs five lakh.


NDFB-S ‘military secy’ among 5 militants killed in encounter

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India, Pakistan only stakeholders on J&K issue: Govt

News4u-News Desk-India hit out at Pakistan on Wednesday for calling the separatists a stakeholder on the Kashmir issue and accused it of adopting an approach different to the one laid down by Simla Agreement.

Within hours of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit justifying his meeting with Kashmiri separatists, saying “We need to engage with all stakeholders”, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said as per Simla Agreement it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and any other approach will “not yield results”.

INDIA, PAKISTAN ONLY STAKEHOLDERS ON J&K: AKBARUDDIN

Asked about Basit’s remarks, Akbaruddin said, “After 1972 and the signing of the Simla Agreement by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, there are only two ‘stakeholders’ on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir the Union of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

“This is a principle which is the bedrock of our bilateral relations. This was reaffirmed in the Lahore Declaration of 1999 between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Vajpayee,” the Spokesperson said, asserting “that an approach that is different to the one laid down by the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration does not yield results”.

Asked why did India permit meetings between Pakistan and the Hurriyat in the past, the MEA Spokesperson said,”Pakistan assured us, at the highest level, that they were committed to a peaceful dialogue on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and would not allow Pakistan or territories under its control to be used for terrorism against us.

“We know now, particularly after the Mumbai terror attacks and the manner in which Pakistan has pursued subsequent investigations and trials, that this assurance had no meaning.”

The fresh round of sparring has raised doubts about the prospects of early resumption of the dialogue process for bringing the strained ties back on track.

India had called off the talks between Foreign Secretaries slated for August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.

“We need to engage with all stakeholders. It is not a question of either, or as far as we are concerned. We are engaging with India to find peaceful ways,” Basit said during an interaction with foreign journalists in New Delhi while reacting to India’s stand that Pakistan should either choose dialogue with separatists or Indian government.

Justifying his meeting with the Kashmiri separatists, Basit said, “We strongly believe that our interaction is helpful to the process itself. It is helpful to find peaceful solution to the problem. It is important to engage with all stakeholders. So that is the bottomline for us.”

Asserting that he has not breached any protocol by holding talks with Kashmiri separatists, Basit said, “This has been a long-standing practice. We have been meeting the Kashmiri leaders…It is important to engage with all the stakeholders to find a peaceful solution to the issue.”

MODI-SHARIF MEET AT UNGA NOT FINALIZED

Asked about the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA next month, Basit said that no meeting has been finalised so far.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has drawn a red line in diplomacy what remains to be seen is whether the government’s tough line will spell out a new doctrine for India’s foreign policy vis-a-vis Pakistan.


Basit - Akbaruddin

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Modi to dedicate super thermal power project to nation today

News4u-News Desk- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate NTPC’s super thermal power station at Mouda near Nagpur to the nation on Thursday.

Modi will be arriving in Nagpur on Thursday on a day’s visit for a couple of programmes in and around the city.

He would be accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues, including Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Minister (Independent) for Power and Coal Piyush Goyal, official sources said.

On his arrival at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, the PM will proceed to Mouda, about 30 kms from Nagpur, to dedicate the super thermal power station of NTPC to the nation.

He will later go to the Kasturchand Park ground to lay foundation stone of the Nagpur Metro Rail project and Pardi grade separator and flyover on National Highway no. 6.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for Modi’s maiden visit to the city after becoming the Prime Minister.


PM Modi

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Now invest up to Rs 1.5 lakh in PPF

News4u-News Desk-People can now deposit up to Rs 1.5 lakh annually in their Public Provident Fund (PPF) with the government notifying changes in the popular savings scheme.

The government has issued a notification raising the limit from annual PPF deposit limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh in pursuance of the announcement made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

PPF is a 15-year investment scheme under which an investor enjoys tax exemption at the time of deposit, accrual of interest and withdrawal.

The interest rate on deposit in PPF for 2014-15 fiscal is 8.7 per cent.

Jaitley had increased the PPF investment limit in line with the hike in cumulative tax exemption limit under 80C Income Tax Act from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh.

He raised the investment limits in tax saving schemes with an aim of encouraging household savings.

Among other things, the government had also proposed to introduced re-introduced Kisan Vikas Patra.

He has also proposed higher exemption limit for re-payment of interest on loans of self-occupied houses from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.

“To address the concerns of decline in savings rate and improving returns for small savers, I propose to revitalise small savings,” Jaitley had said in the Budget speech.

As regards the Public Provident Fund, an individual can invest up to Rs 1.5 lakh, as against Rs 1 lakh presently.

PPF is a 15-year investment scheme, which attracts tax exemption.

Government has also proposed to launch National Savings Certificate (NSC) with insurance cover to provide additional benefits for the small saver.


Arun Jaitley

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China slaps USD 201 mln fines on 12 Japanese auto makers

News4u-Business Desk-Continuing with its crackdown on multinationals over anti-monopoly violations, China today slapped USD 201 million fine on 12 Japanese auto parts suppliers accusing them of conniving to raise prices.

A total of 12 Japanese auto parts suppliers have been fined 1.24 billion yuan (about USD 201 million) due to a price monopoly, China’s price regulator, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said in a statement.

The Japanese auto parts suppliers punished include Hitachi, Denso, Aisan, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsuba, Yazaki, Furukawa, Sumitomo and bearing makers Nachi, NSK, JTEKT and NTN, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Hitachi and Nachi were exempted from the punishment as they took the initiative in collaborating with authorities in this regard, the NDRC said.

The fines to 10 other companies varied from 290 million yuan (about USD 48.5 million) to 29.76 million yuan (about USD five million), it said.

The eight Japanese auto parts suppliers were found to have frequently met bilaterally or multilaterally in Japan from January 2000 to February 2010 and later in Shanghai negotiating over prices and implementing agreements over quoted prices concerning orders from the Chinese market.

They discussed the timing and scope of price hikes for bearing products in the Chinese market and later raised their price according to their negotiations, the NDRC said.

Such moves by the 12 Japanese auto parts suppliers have violated the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law, excluding or restraining market competition and thus damaging the rights and interests of downstream manufacturers and consumers, it said.

The fines on Japanese firms followed similar action against several other multinational auto as software firms like Microsoft.

In the backdrop of investigations, several auto firms have slashed the prices of their auto parts. Those who faced fines included Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Mercedes was found guilty of fixing prices for car parts and after-sales services, antitrust authorities in Jiangsu province said. Last week, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China expressed concern over the series of antitrust investigations, saying Beijing was using strong-arm tactics and appeared to be unfairly targeting foreign firms.

China rejected the allegations and said all companies, local and foreign, were being treated the same under the law.

The NDRC said earlier this month that it would impose a penalty on Germany’s Audi and America’s Chrysler for price-fixing.

Audi said last week it would accept the penalty even though the investigation was not officially concluded.


China slaps USD 201 mln fines on 12 Japanese auto makers

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