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01=08=2008 Fresh news

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  • Sanjaykumar Kakkad
    01=08=2008 Fresh news Top stories   IAEA approves safeguards pact,  Indo-US nuke deal moves forward Train fire kill 32 passengers in sleep in Andhra Rlys.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2008

      01=08=2008 Fresh news

      Top stories

       

      IAEA approves safeguards pact,  Indo-US nuke deal moves forward

      Train fire kill 32 passengers in sleep in Andhra

      Rlys. order probe into Gouthami Express train fire

      People turn out to watch eclipse

      Global wheat output to rise up to 662 mn tons in 2008-09

      Ashwani Kumar to take over as CBI Director tomorrow

      CBI not a tool in hands of govt: Ashwani Kumar

      CBI Special Directior Sharma proceeds on indefinite leave

      Surjeet to be cremated on Sunday

      Basu says Surjeet's death a tremendous loss

      Leaders across party lines condole Surjeet's death

      BJP announces 'boycott' of CNN-IBN

      Now, $10 Laptop For Pupils!

       

       

      IAEA approves safeguards pact,

      Indo-US nuke deal moves forward

       

      The India-specific safeguards agreement was approved by the Board of Governors of the IAEA by consensus in a key step to implement the Indo-US atomic deal and bringing India closer to ending nuclear isolation.

      The agreement that will open India 's 14 of the 22 existing and future nuclear reactors for inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog got the green signal from the 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) after a three-hour meeting.

      With the landmark nuclear deal having passing the first international test, India still needs a waiver from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for resumption of nuclear trade and approval by the US Congress before the deal can come into force.

      In the first reaction from the Indian government, Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal voiced optimism that New Delhi will get a "clean and unconditional" exemption at the NSG which is likely to meet around August 21 in Vienna .

      With India and the US on an overdrive to fast track the deal, the nuke accord may come before the US Congress for ratification sometime next month once the NSG clearance is obtained.

      After its meeting, the Board of governors authorised IAEA Director General Muhammed ElBaradei to conclude with the Indian government and subsequently implement the India-specific safeguards pact.

       

       

       

      Train fire kill 32 passengers in sleep in Andhra

       

       At least 32 passengers were charred to death, most of them in sleep, and eight injured when the speeding Secunderabad-Kakinada Gouthami Express train caught fire in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours on Friday.

      The fire broke out in a sleeper coach at 0115 hours near Kesamudram railway station, about 200 km. from Hyderabad , and soon spread to four other bogies leading to heavy casualties, Chief PRO of South Central Railways P Krishnaiah told reporters. With the train moving at a speed of 100 km. per hour, the fire, which broke out in S-9 coach spread rapidly billowing out large plumes of smoke.

      The tragedy struck when the passengers were fast asleep making it impossible for many of them to escape from the blaze. Such was the impact of the raging fire that the bodies of some of the passengers were charred beyond recognition, making it difficult for authorities to ascertain the exact number of casualties. Some passengers died due to suffocation.

      As forensic experts inspected the badly-mangled coaches, there are fears that the toll may go up as a heap of skeletons, skulls and burnt flesh still remained to be cleared.

      The dead included a pregnant woman and three physically-challenged persons who could not escape the blaze even as many others jumped out of the running train. According to preliminary investigation, an electric short-circuit could have led to the fire.

      Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced an inquiry into the incident by the Commissioner of Railway Safety to establish the cause of fire. the Commissioner would submit a report at the earliest. Forensic experts are also examining the cause of the fire, he said. "Till now no proof of sabotage or use of explosive has come to our notice. However, the inquiry report will establish the cause of the fire", he said.

      The Railway Minister announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs and a job to the next kin of each victim killed. Those seriously injured will get Rs one lakh each, he said. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy announced a compensation of Rs one lakh to the kin of those killed.

      The charred bogies have been brought to Kesamudram railway station where forensic experts examined them. DNA tests would be conducted on the charred remains of the passengers to ascertain their identity.

      Passengers said a plume of smoke engulfed the affected coaches and scenes of chaos prevailed. Some people did manage to jump out of the running train. "We were fast asleep. Suddenly we heard a commotion and I saw people running helter skelter. There was fire in the bogie and it was spreading fast," a woman passenger said, recounting the ordeal.

      While many passengers jumped to safety, three among a group of six physically-challenged persons from East Godavari district, who were returning home after attending a training camp in Hyderabad , could not.

      In all, five bogies were burnt. The worst affected coach was S-10. Rescue teams from Secunderabad, Kazipet and Vijayawada had a tough time reaching to the site in the deep forest area.

      Rlys. order probe into Gouthami Express train fire

      The Railways Ministry on Friday ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of fire in Gouthami Express train in Andhra Pradesh.

      The Commissioner of Railway Safety will hold the inquiry and submit the report at the earliest. Forensic experts are also examining the cause of the fire, said Railways Minister Lalu Prasad.

      "Till now no proof of sabotage or use of explosive has come to our notice. However, the inquiry report will establish the cause of the fire," Prasad said. Several passengers, including a pregnant woman, were charred to death and many others seriously injured when a fire broke out in the Gouthami Express train early morning. Terming the incident as very "sad and unfortunate," Prasad said announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs and a job to the next kin of each victim killed. Those seriously injured will get Rs 1lakh each, he said. Since bodies are burnt beyond recognition, DNA tests will be conducted for identification.

      Prasad said the train staff did not hear any explosion sound. "They only saw thick smoke emerging out of the coach suddenly."

      Minister of State for Railways Naranbahi Rathwa, Railway Board Member Electrical Sukhvir Singh and senior RPF officials have left for the accident site to coordinate the relief and rescue work. The mishap occurred in a forest area of Waranagal district, about 250 km from the state capital.

      Railway staff disconnected 10 coaches from the front portion and nine coaches from the back, preventing the fire to spread further.

      "The toll could have been higher if passengers had not alighted from other compartments after the train was stopped," said Prasad.

      A special accident relief train reached the site and doctors give first aid to the injured before rushing them to hospital.

      After the accident, several trains on Hyderabad- Vijaywada section were cancelled and some others diverted.

       

       

      People turn out to watch eclipse

       

      A large number of people on Friday witnessed a partial solar eclipse in the capital while the faithful thronged places of religious importance and took dips in rivers.

       

      Amateur astronomers and students viewed the celestial event, when the moon came between the earth and the sun, and used it as an occasion to know more about the universe.

       

      In the capital, the partial eclipse started at 4:03 pm and ended at 5:57 pm but the clouds played spoilsport in the last 45 minutes.

       

      A number of students thronged the Nehru Planetarium and Jantar Mantar, where arrangements were made to view the eclipse.

       

      Screens were put in place at both the Planetarium and Jantar Matar for easy viewing of the event, Rathnasree, Director of Nehru Planetarium said.

       

      Many amateur astronomers were seen helping people to view the eclipse.

       

      "People were delighted and happy to view the eclipse. However, not may people choose to view it directly because of fear. It is totally healthy and no side effect is there on one's health if seen in a proper way," she added.

       

      A total eclipse will be visible in Canada extending across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia , Mongolia and China .

       

      The next solar eclipse -- a partial one -- will occur on January 26, 2009, but the phenomenon will be marginally visible from eastern and southern India .

       

      Global wheat output to rise up to 662 mn tons in 2008-09

      Favourable weather condition in the wheat growing nations like the European Union and the US is likely to boost the global wheat output up to 662 million tons in 2008-09, slightly better than last year 658 million tons, International Grains Council said on Friday.

      "Improved prospects in the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the US , and Australia raise the production forecast by 54 million more than 2007," International Grains Council (IGC) said in its latest grain market report.

      The London-based organisation said that rains benefited crops in key producing areas but delayed harvesting may put quality at risk in parts of the EU, Ukraine and the US .  "Sown areas in Australia , encouraged by timely showers, are at a record high," IGC said.

      Wheat production in India , world's second biggest producer, stood at 78.40 million tons during 2007-08..  According to IGC, global consumption is projected to rise to 639 million tons from previous year and trade would also increase to 114 million tons. "Food use of wheat in developing countries has improved resiliently in the face of high prices, and is likely to increase further in 2008-09," it noted.

      Meanwhile, international wheat prices registered significant losses as harvesting of bigger than anticipated northern hemisphere crops gathered pace and the outlook improved in Australia .

      In the US , export quotations dropped by over 40 dollar per tonne as world buyers turned to competitively-priced alternative suppliers.

      The biggest fall was in feed wheat due to quality downgrading, especially in Ukraine , IGC said.

       

      Ashwani Kumar to take over as CBI Director tomorrow

      CBI not a tool in hands of govt: Ashwani Kumar

       

      A 1973 batch IPS officer, Kumar has worked in the CBI as Joint Director and later as Additional Director. He also had a stint in the elite Special Protection Group.Director General of Himachal Pradesh Police Ashwani Kumar will take over as the new CBI Director on Saturday after the post fell vacant following superannuation of Vijay Shanker on July 31.

      The 58-year-old Kumar, an IPS officer of 1973 batch of Himachal cadre, was appointed for the coveted post on Friday night by the government..

      Kumar has served in the investigating agency as its Joint Director (Policy) and also as Staff Officer to the then agency Director P C Sharma.

      He also had a brief stint as the CBI's Additional Director before he was appointed as the Director General of Himachal Pradesh police.

      He has also served in the elite Special Protection Group (SPG).

       

      Rubbishing allegations that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has turned into a "tool in the hands of the Centre to browbeat political rivals", new CBI Director Ashwani Kumar on Friday said it was a professional organisation and enjoyed functional autonomy.

      "It is wrong to say that the CBI is a tool in the hands of the Central government. It is a professional organisation with professional autonomy enjoying good reputation world over," Kumar, the Director General of Police of Himachal Pradesh, has been named as new Director of the agency, told reporters.  However, the new CBI director defended "legitimate interference" of the government, but said officers should guard against "illegitimate interferences".

      Asked to elaborate, Kumar who was Joint Director in the CBI before becoming Himachal DGP on August one, 2006, said that by "legitimate interference" he meant directions from the government, to expedite investigation and go deep into the truth of any matter.

      Asked about the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad and the concept of a federal police agency, the new CBI Director, who is a Himachal cadre IPS officer of 1973 batch, said the agency was well equipped to take on new challenges.

      "The CBI is a government agency tasked with investigation of police cases. If the government, Parliament, Judiciary and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) charts out some new role for us we will be glad to perform those duties," the 58-year-old IPS officer who is a resident of Sirmour district of Himachal, said.

       

      CBI Special Directior Sharma proceeds on indefinite leave

       

       

      After being superseded for the post of CBI Director, senior IPS officer M L Sharma, Special Director in the agency, has proceeded on indefinite leave.

       

      Sharma, a 1972 batch IPS officer from Rajasthan cadre, went on leave after it was conveyed to him on Thursday evening that the post was being given to Ashwani Kumar, Director Gneral of Police of Himachal Pradesh.

       

      Sources in the agency said Sharma had applied for leave late in evening amid speculation that he may opt for premature retirement. It is believed that he was told he might be considered for some other post.

       

      59-year-old Sharma, who is due for retirement in April next year, could be offered the post of Secretary (Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs as its present incumbent M L Kumawat may be shifted as BSF Chief by the end of next month.

       

      There was also a talk in the corridors that he may be shifted to Central Information Commission as an Information Commissioner.

       

       

      Surjeet to be cremated on Sunday

      Veteran Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who died on Friday, will be cremated on Sunday.

      Surjeet's body would be kept at his Teen Murti Marg residence from 0700 to 0930 hours on Sunday, after it is embalmed at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday, party sources said.

      It would be brought to the AKG Bhavan, the CPI(M) headquarters, later and kept there till 1430 hours.

      Basu says Surjeet's death a tremendous loss

       

      The cremation will take place at the Lodi Road Electric Crematorium on Sunday afternoon, the sources said.Expressing deep shock at the death of his long-time party colleague, veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu on Friday said the party lost a 'pioneering leader' and the Left and democratic movement in the country suffered a 'tremendous loss'.

      In a message, Basu, who turned 95 on July 8 this year, said "I have heard that Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet is no more. It is extremely shocking to me. We have worked for a long time as colleagues. He was younger than me by two years though in the past two years he was very much unwell and his voice became feeble, which was becoming difficult to accept".  "Therefore at his (Surjeet's) loss, I have become somewhat lonely," the nonagenarian leader, who is also not keeping well for quite sometime, said.  The last party Congress of the CPI(M) held at Coimbatore in April this year saw the exit of veterans Basu and Surjeet from the party's Polit Bureau.  Basu, however, remained a special invitee to the 15-member reconstituted Polit Bureau while Surjeet became a special invitee to the central committee. The two leaders were members of the Polit Bureau for 44 years since 1964 when the CPI(M) was formed after the split in the Communist Party of India.

       

      Leaders across party lines condole Surjeet's death

       

       

      A host of leaders from across the political spectrum, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, on Friday condoled the death of veteran Marxist Harkishan Singh Surjeet and hailed his contribution to Indian politics.

      In a condolence message, Gandhi said Surjeet's death was a loss not only to the Communist movement but to the entire country. Describing his death as a personal loss to him, Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) Chief Ram Vilas Paswan said, "Surjeet was a trouble-shooter at times of crisis.

      "He was a veteran secular leader and his death is a jolt to secular forces," he said noting that he had a 30-year long association with the Marxist leader. Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat reached the Metro hospital, where Surjeet was admitted, and paid tributes to the departed leader.

      "Surjeet had made significant contribution to the evolution of Indian politics and the Communist movement in India . He would be missed dearly," Yechury told reporters.  Former Prime Minister I K Gujral paid floral tributes to the Surjeet's portrait at the CPI(M) office here and said it was a "grievous loss of a life-long friend."

      "My association with Surjeet began when we became friends in 1936 when I joined college. He was already a stalwart by then. I distinctly remember that my parents met Surjeet for the first time in the Jalandhar party office when they came to India after partition," Gujral said.

      Describing Surjeet as a "great patriot" and a "great communist revolutionary", CPI leader D Raja said "his contribution in setting the country's political course was immense."

      "He was a great strategist, a man with great political acumen and as one could see, at the time of the United Front government and also at the beginning of the UPA government, he played an important role," Raja said.  Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said, "I have come here to pay respect to my leader who fought for the common people. He was a leader of the masses. His demise is a great loss".  Party General Secretary Prakash Karat said it was a great loss to the nation.

      CPI(M) Central Committee member Nilotpal Basu said "Surjeet was a product of the freedom struggle. His death is not a loss for the party or the Left movement alone but it is a loss for the whole nation. Protecting democratic ethos of the country, he fought like a true patriot".

      Condoling the death of Surjeet, Defence Minister A K Antony said "the country has lost a great statesman who believed in pragmatic politics."

      "He was a grassroots political leader and played a pioneering role in empowering the peasants in Punjab . As a leader of the Communist Party of India and later the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he played a vital role in defining and shaping their role in the politics of the country for nearly seven decades," he said.  "His pivotal role in the formation of the United Progressive Alliance will be remembered for long," Antony said.

      Meanwhile, Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir and West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi also condoled the death of the veteran leader.

      "A freedom fighter, farmers' leader and an organisation man, Surjeet remained committed to the ideals and philosophy of Communism all his life. As General Secretary of CPI(M), he was instrumental in the formation of various coalition governments at the Centre. In his demise, the nation has lost a grand patriarch of national politics," Jamir said in his condolence message.

      Gopalkrishna Gandhi mourned Surjeet's demise and said he would be remembered by a "great plurality of fellow-citizens". Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh described Surjeet as a veteran Communist leader who played a major role in national politics. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati expressed profound grief over death of Surjeet.

      In her message, Mayawati said that Surjeet always fought for the rights of workers, labourers, farmers and other deprived sections of the society.

      Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi expressed shock over the death of Surjeet and said his demise was an irreparable loss to the nation.

      Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar condoled the death of the veteran Marxist leader and said, in his death the country lost a leader who made significant contribution to the evolution of Indian politics.

      Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda expressed grief over the demise of the Communist leader and said his death has created a void which could never be filled. MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, in his message, said the late leader had dedicated his life to the nation and was a great orator.  Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, CPI-M state Secretary Pinarayi Vijyan and other party leaders expressed grief over the demise of Surjeet.  Achuthanandan said Surjeet played a vital role in the party's growth in the country.

      Vijayan remembered Surjeet as the architect of major political changes at the national level by bringing together secular forces under the left fold as an alternative to the Congress and BJP.

      In his condolence message, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said Surjeet always fought for the cause of farmers and working class.

      "Surjeet's death is a great loss to the communist movement," Bardhan said in his condolence message.  Condoling the death of Surjeet, the ruling CPI-M in Tripura today deferred it's state committee conference.

      Party's state secretary Baidynath Majumder expressed deep sorrow at the demise and said the Tripura unit of the party would observe three day mourning and lower party flags all across the state.

      Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, a Polit Bureau member, would participate in the cremation in Delhi on August 3, he said.

      Paying rich tributes to the departed leader, AIADMK leader J Jayalalitha said, Surjeet had played the role of kingmaker in Indian parliamentary politics. He had the ability to mend and assemble broad coalitions and was known for his steadfast opposition to Communalism, she said.

      "His passing away is an irreparable loss to the farmers and working people of the nation. In his passing away, the people of India have lost an illustrious parliamentarian, a great humanist and a true patriot, who untiringly served the nation," she said.

       

       

      BJP announces 'boycott' of CNN-IBN

       

       

       

      The BJP on Thursday announced "boycott" of the CNN-IBN and its affliated channels, saying it was "deeply dismayed" over its decision not to telecast the sting operation on the 'cash-for-vote' scandal..

       

      "The BJP has been compelled to decide that it will boycott CNN-IBN and channels related to it till such time as the unedited tapes of the 'notes-for-votes' scandal are telecast," senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu announced here.

       

      He said till the tapes are telecast, no BJP functionary in Delhi or in the states will appear on the CNN-IBN programmes, whether in the studios or outside.

       

      "The BJP believes that the channel's decision to withhold the tapes from the public seriously compromises the freedom of press," he said and regretted that instead of upholding the right to information, "CNN-IBN has resorted to the suppression of truth".

       

      Now, $10 Laptop For Pupils!

       

      India is all set to introduce world’s cheapest laptop after proposed Now, $10 Laptop For Pupils!cheapest car nano by TATA. The new laptop will cost around $10 only. It will be 10 times cheapest than already present cheapest laptop in the market. Massachusetts-based non-government organization is selling laptop for $188 at present which is considered as the cheapest laptop in the market. It is aimed toward spreading technical education in India .

      Minister of State for Human Resource Development D Purandeswari has confirmed that research work is being done at technology institutes to fulfill this dream project. It will be useful for students for educational activities. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras are working on trail version of the cheapest laptop. OLPC laptop for $50 price tag is also expected to come in the market by 2010. Earlier in the year, the Indian government has rejected the plan of providing OLPC laptops to students as it found this laptop expensive and experimental.

      The HRD minister expressed hope that the upcoming laptop will help in computer education and e-learning in India and the world as well. The government is also planning to provide free educational bandwidth for spreading online education in rural India .



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