Punishing child rapists as adults will not make India safer - experts

News4u-News Desk- Indian parliamentarians must reject proposed changes to a law that would allow children accused of crimes such as rape to be tried and punished as adults, activists said, adding that the amendments violated child rights and would not stem sex crimes.

The Juvenile Justice Act, the country’s primary legal framework for minors, defines a person under 18 as a juvenile and caps punishment - no matter what the crime - to three years in a correctional home.

The law has come under scrutiny since the 2012 fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a Delhi bus by six assailants, one of whom was 17.

While one perpetrator committed suicide in jail and four others were sentenced to death, the teenager was given the legal maximum of three years in a juvenile home, sparking outrage and debate over whether India is soft on young offenders.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government wants to amend the law, so that a juvenile justice board can determine whether a person between 16 and 18 accused of crimes such as rape or murder should be tried as an adult or a child.

The government claims this would act as a deterrent and make society safer for women, but critics say it is a “knee-jerk” reaction to the high profile gang rape, which triggered public protests and calls for the death penalty for the juvenile.

“Since the December 2012 incident we have been divided into two camps: Some of us who believe in rule of law and some of us who are ruled by our emotions,” Ved Kumari, a law professor at Delhi University, told a news conference late on Monday.

“Are we really talking about safety of society, or are we talking about a political response to an emotional frenzy created in the wake of one incident? I don’t think we should be a country which responds to emotions alone.”

Kumari said the amendments violated the rights of children, many of whom are poor and have suffered neglect and abuse.

India’s lower house, where the government has a majority, passed the amendments on Thursday. The upper house is scheduled to consider them on Tuesday.


According to the National Crime Records Bureau, juveniles committed 31,725 crimes - 1.2 percent of the total number of serious crimes - in India in 2013.

By comparison, in the United States, juveniles were responsible for 25 percent of violent crimes in the same year.

The NCRB data said there were 17,795 cases of theft, burglary and physical assault by juveniles, and 2,074 rapes. The total number of rapes in 2013 was 33,707.

Child rights activists say judging the maturity of a juvenile is difficult as their brain is different in structure and functioning than that of an adult, and that conclusions drawn would be “unscientific” and “arbitrary”.

They say authorities should look at the profile of juvenile offenders - many are poor, uneducated and abused - and give them the chance to reform, rather than punishing them blindly.

According to NCRB data, 77 percent of children apprehended were from families earning less than 50,000 rupees ($780) per year.

“There are millions and millions of children who are out of school, with no job, no future and no hope,” said Colin Gonsalves, a Supreme Court lawyer and director of the charity, the Human Rights Law Network.

“If there are children engaging in violence, it is the fault and failure of the state. The state must respond to the violence of young people with kindness.” Reuters

Punishing child rapists as adults will not make India safer

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The new U.S. office politics: funding your boss’s political causes

News4u-News Desk- It wasn’t long ago that politics, like religious affiliation or sexual orientation, was a taboo topic in the American workplace. Political beliefs were considered a private affair - off limits to the boss.

But today employers are increasingly approaching workers to fundraise, lobby and campaign in ways they never have before, according to a Reuters analysis of FEC filings and data compiled by the Business Industry Political Action Committee. The Washington trade group, which has offices across the street from the White House, helps firms such as Wal-Mart[WMTST.UL], Halliburton and Lockheed Martin mobilise employees on policy issues important to the companies.

BIPAC is working with top U.S. companies on a massive employee voter registration drive in September in preparation for the 2016 Presidential election.

For years it was unions and trade associations that were the politically powerful workplace players, operating political action committees (PACs) that raised millions of dollars to support their preferred candidates. But since a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed for unlimited political spending by corporations, the number of companies engaged in this sort of activity - be it nudging employees to write letters, donate, campaign or vote - has risen 45 percent to 7,317, according to BIPAC’s internal research, seen by Reuters.

The new approach to workplace giving is called “E2E,” or employer-to-employee outreach. These PACs donate to both Democrats and Republicans, depending upon who supports policies and issues favourable to the business interests of the corporation.

“When you compare the amount of money the Wal-Marts and McDonald’s and their employees have, compared to even the largest American unions, it’s peanuts and watermelons,” said Phil Smith, spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America.

Employees at the nation’s top firms are contributing more money than ever before to company PACs controlled by CEOs and senior management, according to April 2015 quarterly fundraising and spending documents disclosed to the U.S. election regulator, the Federal Election Commission.

An analysis of FEC filings of 122 of the top company PACs shows employees raised a median 25 percent more in the first quarter of 2015 versus the same period four years ago. For the PACs analysed, the median amount of contributions collected was $130,842.


To encourage this sort of donation, some companies are attaching perks to the giving.

BP, for example, says employees who donate at least 2.5 percent of their salary to the company PAC get choice parking spots in the company lot. At Wal-Mart, the company gives employees who donate to the company PAC a two-for-one match to Wal-Mart’s in-house charity for associates in need.

A BP spokesman said federal law permitted “recognition gifts” such as preferred parking. Wal-Mart said it only asks salaried employees to give, not hourly ones, and that workers are free to stipulate whether their contributions go to Democratic or Republican candidates.

At companies that depend heavily on government contracts, the giving is especially high. For example, employees of Honeywell International, a major manufacturer of aircraft electronics, gave more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2015 - up 52 percent since the same period in 2011.

Honeywell, along with Lockheed Martin, BP and Halliburton, says its employee contributions are 100 percent voluntary and legal and that no pressure is put on employees to become more politically active.

“Honeywell’s PAC supports those who support policies that are good for our business and help to create jobs in the United States,” company spokesman Rob Ferris said.


This sharp increase in political donations by employees is fuelling concerns among some campaign finance watchdogs, ahead of the November 2016 elections, that workers may feel pressure to donate to candidates they do not support or to lobby on issues they don’t agree with.

“What I worry about is the inherently coercive nature of these workplace situations,” Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said.

“Let’s say an employer decides to throw corporate resources behind a candidate and sets up a phone bank, asking employees to get on the phone to get people to support candidate Jones. It’s very hard to say no to your employer. It puts the employee, especially the low-level employee, in a very difficult position.”

Weintraub and FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel, also a Democrat, said they were not allowed to comment on any cases before the commission that may be related to this issue.

The top Republican on the FEC, Lee Goodman, did not echo his Democratic colleagues’ concerns and noted in an email that the law prohibits employers from coercing employees to make political contributions.

Supporters of the employer-to-employee outreach say that it performs an important civic function by educating workers and turning them into active political participants. BIPAC says its research shows that many workers rate their employers as more credible information sources about politics than political parties, labour unions or the news media.

“If it’s done right, there’s nothing illegal about it,” said Greg Casey, president of BIPAC. Some 89 percent of the candidates its PAC supports are Republicans.


The practise drew mixed reviews among a dozen employees at five companies interviewed by Reuters.

“The legislators that would support the company are absolutely the ones I would never support,” said one global director at Pfizer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

An email sent to staff in April noted that Pfizer’s employees had sent more than 8,000 emails to politicians about healthcare and patent legislation favourable to Pfizer.

The Chairwoman of Pfizer’s employee PAC, Sally Susman, said that, “while strictly voluntary, we encourage colleagues to raise voices on behalf of the patients we serve on important issues.”

Some companies go further. Before the 2012 presidential election, Koch Industries sent its employees a voter packet informing them which candidates, including Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the company supported, as well as an editorial knocking President Barack Obama. Campaign finance reformers said at the time that Koch’s actions crossed the line, while Koch Industries defended its actions as “nothing unusual” and the type of thing unions did all the time.

Some employees allege they have suffered retribution as a result of not supporting a CEO’s politics.

At Ohio-based Murray Energy, a coal mining company, plant shift forewoman Jean Cochenour said in a 2014 lawsuit that she was fired in retribution for not responding to letters she received from the company’s CEO, Robert Murray, that began: “Dear Jean: The coal industry and our jobs are being destroyed by President Barack Obama. Our only hope to stop them is by electing friends of coal.”

The letters, samples of which were included in the pending lawsuit, identified the Republican candidates employees should donate to, and vote for, like New Hampshire Senate hopeful Scott Brown. Murray requested employees make a $200 donation to each candidate and included a self-addressed envelope for the donations, according to court documents.

Cochenour also alleged that managers were required to donate at least 1 percent of their salaries to Murray’s candidates. And vendors and suppliers were also required to give - lest they lose the company’s business.

In an emailed response to these allegations, Murray Energy spokesperson Gary Broadbent said Robert Murray never knows who gives to his personal fundraisers. He called Cochenour’s statements “blatantly false and totally concocted.”

There are, of course, limits to what money can buy. Of the four Senate candidates Murray asked employees to support in the 2014 mid-term election, all lost.Reuters

The new U.S. office politics: funding your boss’s political causes

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Strong earthquake rattles Nepal; Tremors Felt Across India

News4u-News Desk- Four earthquakes hit devastated Nepal in quick succession today, sending terrified residents running onto the streets in the capital of Kathmandu; large tremors were felt across Northern India, including Delhi at about 12.35 pm.

Home Ministry spokesperson K S Dhatwalia said that two near-simultaneous earthquakes struck India with epicentres in Nepal and Afghanistan.

In Delhi, buildings shook and office workers were evacuated. People rushed out of their homes and offices in cities like Patna in Bihar and Gurgaon near Delhi. The metro service in the capital was halted for a few minutes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with top officials to review the situation.

Four people are reported dead in the Nepali town of Chautara, capital of Sindhupalchowk district, which suffered the heaviest death toll in last month’s 7.9 magnitude quake which killed 8,000 people. Several buildings have reportedly collapsed in Kathmandu.

The largest of the four quakes that shook Nepal today was measured at 7.4 on the Richter Scale; its epicentre was between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, according to the US Geological Survey. The airport in Kathmandu was shut down.

Whole villages were destroyed in the April 25 quake in Nepal while large parts of Kathmandu were destroyed, leaving nearly 18,000 people injured and tens of thousands homeless. Nearly 50 people had died in Bihar, which borders Nepal.

Like April’s earthquake, today’s was shallow - 15 km deep. Shallow quakes are more deadly because the amount of energy released is focused over a smaller area.Agencies

Strong earthquake rattles Nepal; Tremors Felt Across India

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Hundreds of refugees arrive in Malaysia and Indonesia after Thai crackdown

News4u-News Desk- Malaysia has detained more than a thousand Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees, including dozens of children, police said, a day after authorities rescued hundreds stranded off Indonesia’s western tip.

There has been a huge increase in refugees from impoverished Bangladesh and Myanmar drifting on boats to Malaysia and Indonesia in recent days since Thailand, usually the first destination in the region’s people smuggling network, announced a crackdown on the trafficking.

Over 100 refugees from these countries were found wandering around in southern Thailand last week, apparently having been abandoned by smugglers.

An estimated 25,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar boarded rickety smugglers’ boats in the first three months of this year, twice as many in the same period of 2014, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has said. Most land in Thailand, where they are held by the smugglers in squalid jungle camps until relatives pay a ransom.

Police on the northwest Malaysian island of Langkawi, close to the Thai border, said three boats had arrived in the middle of the night to unload refugees, who were taken into custody as they came ashore. One boat was discovered after it got stuck on a breakwater, but the other two vessels escaped. There was no immediate word on the crew.

The boats contained 555 Bangladeshis and 463 Rohingya, who were being handed over to the immigration department, local police chief Harrith Kam Abdullah said.


Malaysia, one of Southeast Asia’s wealthier economies, has long been a magnet for illegal immigrants.

On Sunday, nearly 600 migrants thought to be Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis were rescued from at least two overcrowded wooden boats stranded off Indonesia’s Aceh province, believing they had landed in Malaysia, authorities said.

The boats were towed to shore by fishermen after running out of fuel. Among the refugees were nearly 100 women and dozens of children.

Thai police spokesman Lieutenant General Prawut Thawornsiri said the crackdown in people smuggling had prompted the rush of arrivals elsewhere.

“Yes, our crackdown is affecting the boats,” he told Reuters in Bangkok. “They are going to Indonesia. Why else would they go to Indonesia? It is so far … Our job is to block the boats and not let them land on our shores.”

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered a clean-up of suspected traffickers’ camps after 33 bodies, believed to be of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, were found in shallow graves in the south, near the Malaysian border.

Of those rescued off Indonesia, around 50 were taken to hospital. “In general, they were suffering from starvation and many were very thin,” said North Aceh police chief Achmadi.

The refugees were being held in a gymnasium in the town of Lhoksukon, about 20 km (12 miles) from where they were brought ashore.


“We are hearing the passengers were left close to shore and were told that this is Malaysia and you got what you paid for,” said Mark Getchell, head of the International Organization for Migration in Indonesia.

“They came onshore and found out it wasn’t Malaysia.”

An agency official estimated that around 300 people had died at sea in the first quarter of this year as a result of starvation, dehydration and abuse by boat crews.

Mohammad Kasim, a 44-year-old Bangladeshi migrant on one of the boats, told Reuters that each passenger paid 4,400 ringgit ($1,200) for the journey. Three people died on the way and were dumped in the sea.

“I worked in Malaysia for three years in construction when I was 16. I wanted to go back because it is very difficult to find work in Bangladesh,” he said, speaking in Malay.

Kasim said he had left the Bangladesh town of Bogra a month ago on a small boat with 30-40 others in the hope of finding a job in Malaysia. An agency in Bogra helped arrange the trip.

They group landed on a beach in Thailand, where they stayed for 21 days before leaving on a larger ship with hundreds of passengers.

In Bangladesh, where the authorities are trying to stamp out the crisis at its source, police say they have arrested more than 100 people traffickers in recent months.

Mohammad Ataur Rahman Khandaker, a senior police officer in Teknaf, close to the Myanmar border, said that on Friday and Sunday, four “notorious” traffickers had been killed in gun fights with police. He also said three people suspected of smuggling thousands of people had been arrested in the town.Reuters

Hundreds of refugees arrive in Malaysia and Indonesia

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Al Jazeera journalist sues employer for negligence

News4u-News Desk- An Al Jazeera television journalist on trial in Egypt has filed a lawsuit in a Canadian court accusing his employer of negligence and has demanded $100 million in compensation, his lawyer said on Monday.

Mohamed Fahmy, who spent more than 400 days in a Cairo jail on charges of aiding a terrorist organisation, suggested Al Jazeera’s actions landed him in jail. Al Jazeera had no immediate comment.

Fahmy and another Al Jazeera journalist, Baher Mohamed, were originally sentenced to seven to 10 years in prison on charges that included spreading lies to help a “terrorist organization”, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Peter Greste, an Australian colleague who was sentenced with them, was freed and deported earlier this year. All three denied the charges. In January, a court ordered a retrial, citing procedural flaws.

Fahmy is a naturalised Canadian who gave up his Egyptian citizenship.

At a news conference in Cairo, Fahmy’s lawyer, Joanna Gialason, said the lawsuit asks the court to declare Al Jazeera negligent in its conduct towards Fahmy. It says the network should pay $100 million in punitive and remedial damages for its role in Fahmy’s conviction and subsequent imprisonment.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s human rights record has come under scrutiny since he, as army chief, toppled the Islamist Mohamed Mursi as President in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

A crackdown launched thereafter resulted in hundreds killed and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members put in jail.

Sisi has said that he wished the Al Jazeera journalists had been deported and not put on trial.Reuters

Mohamed Fahmy

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Facebook may sue lawyers over fugitive’s lawsuit - N.Y. judge

News4u-News Desk-Facebook Inc (FB.O) may pursue a lawsuit against law firms that represented a New York man who recently turned fugitive rather than face federal charges that he tried to defraud founder Mark Zuckerberg out of half of the company, a judge ruled on Monday.

New York Supreme Court Justice Eileen Rakower said Facebook and Zuckerberg could move forward with a lawsuit alleging law firms, including DLA Piper LLP and Milberg LLP, maliciously prosecuted claims by Paul Ceglia that were based on forged documents.

Rakower said that, accepting Facebook’s claims as true, its complaint adequately alleged the law firms “knew there was no basis - and therefore no probable cause- for Ceglia’s claims.”

Facebook in statement said it was pleaded with the ruling and would “continue to hold accountable DLA Piper and the other firms who pursued Paul Ceglia’s fraudulent claims against Facebook.”

A DLA Piper spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Milberg’s lawyer declined comment, and a lawyer for a third firm, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, did not respond to a request for comment.

The ruling came a week after what would have been the May 4 start of a criminal trial in Manhattan federal court of Ceglia, a 41-year-old wood pellet salesman from Wellsville, New York.

Instead, Ceglia removed his electronic ankle bracelet in early March and disappeared, along with his wife, two children and a dog. His whereabouts remain unknown.

The criminal case arose from Ceglia’s June 2010 civil lawsuit in upstate New York against Menlo Park, California-based Facebook and Zuckerberg.

Ceglia alleged that a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman who had done programming work for Ceglia’s StreetFax.com, entitled him to half of Facebook.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York last month upheld the dismissal of that lawsuit, saying “overwhelming forensic evidence” showed the contract was forged.

Over the years, the lawsuit was handled by several prominent law firms, including DLA Piper, one of the largest firms in the world.

Facebook sued those firms in October, saying they knew or should have known Ceglia’s lawsuit was a fraud, but plowed ahead “for the purpose of extorting a lucrative and unwarranted settlement.”

Facebook also said those lawyers stayed with the case even after a lawyer at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, who also represented Ceglia, warned he had found “smoking-gun” evidence of fraud. Kasowitz Benson soon withdrew from the case.

The case is Facebook Inc v. DLA Piper LLP, New York Supreme Court, No. 653183/2014.Reuters


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Greece referendum on bailout ‘not on radar screen’, Varoufakis says

News4u-News Desk-Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Monday that a referendum on Greece’s bailout is not planned for the time being, saying that the country’s liquidity situation is a more pressing matter.

He said differences with creditors are narrowing on VAT reform, privatisation and non-performing loans, but that labour reform was still a difficult issue.

“A referendum is always available … in order to elicit the support of the people,” Varoufakis told a news conference

“It is a tool available to the Greek government. At the moment its not on the radar as far as we are concerned.” reuters

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

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Convicts in Satyam Computers accounting fraud case get bail

News4u-News Desk-Convicts in the multi-crore rupee Satyam Computers accounting fraud case get bail from the Hyderabad Sessions court on Monday and appellate Court also suspends their 7-year rigorous imprisonment including that of the main convict Ramalinga Raju.

Hyderabad court Monday granted bail to all 10 convicts in Satyam Computers multi-crore rupees fraud including its founder Ramalinga Raju and his brother.

The local court granted bail to Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each.

Other 8 convicts have been granted bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 each.

Disposing a petition seeking suspension of the sentence and fine imposed by a special court, the local court has given orders to this effect.

The Additional Chief Metropolitan Court last month had sentenced Ramalinga Raju and nine others 7-year imprisonment while fining Raju brothers Rs 5 crore each.

Ramalinga Raju

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National Technology Day being observed; PM greets nation

News4u-News Desk-National Technology Day is being celebrated today. The day commemorates the anniversary of Shakti, the Pokhran nuclear test, conducted on May 11, 1998.

The day glorifies the importance of science in day-to-day life and motivates students to adopt science as a career option.to honour technological innovations and their successful commercialization.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people on this occasion and highlighted the importance of technology in transforming the lives of common people.

He underscored its significance in various areas from mitigating poverty to ending corruption.

The PM also said government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that technology becomes a big part of our lives.

National Technology Day being observed; PM greets nation

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India post now available as app on android

News4u-News Desk- Now post office is just an app away. India post app is now available on android platform.

To cash in on growing online shopping trend, India Post Delhi circle has started its e-commerce centre.

The centre is capable of handling 30,000 parcels or articles per day and parcels collected from the e-commerce customers, processed and dispatched within 24 hours to respective destination through quickest available flight or train.

The app provides a number of facilities like


-post office search

-postage calculator

-insurance premium calculator

-interest calculator

But that’s not it. India post most wants to use its vast infrastructure to become past of e commerce supply chain.

Govt believe that this will benefit the every section of society -from weavers to sari makers to amm admi.

For this, the Delhi postal circle’s e commerce center was inaugurated at safdarjang.

The processing centre will handle e commerce business with its state of the art technology.

The e commerce center is capable of handling 30,000 parcels or articles per day.

Leading e commerce customers like amazon, paytm, yepme, snapdeal and others are already availing the benfits of fast, reliable and safe processing at the e commerce center and India post has a huge infra to give a boast to the e-commerce sector.

India post has more than 1 lac 50 thousand with 89% post offices in rural area. It handles more than 605 articles per annum.

The key features of India Post App


-Post office search

-Postage calculator

-Insurance premium calculator

-Interest calculator

Fact File of India Post

-It has 1,54,856 post officies

-over 89% post offices

-Over 605 cr mail articles handled per annum

India post now available as app on android

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