Over hundred lawyers injured in lathi charge by Tamil Nadu police

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karunanidhiChennai, Feb 19 (ANI): Over 100 lawyers were reportedly injured outside the Madras High Court on Thursday after the police lathicharged them for attacking Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy.
The trouble began when advocates who had gone to the police station within the court premises to lodge a complaint against Janata party president Subramaniam Swamy.
They were then surrounded by the police in connection with the attack on Swamy in the court two days ago.

This led to heated exchanges between lawyers and the police, leading to lathicharge.
A division bench of the court had earlier ordered for an enquiry into the attack on Swamy by advocates.
The lawyers have been demanding the Central Governments intervention in stopping the war in Sri Lanka. (ANI)

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VHP in support of H1B Visa holders in U.S.A. : Boycott US Goods

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New Delhi: Terming as “discriminatory” the US move to bar firms receiving government bailout from hiring Indian and other foreign workers through the skilled worker visa (H1-B) programme, the VHP on Wednesday threatened to boycott goods of US-based MNCs in the country.

“The proposed discriminatory clauses that US companies employing H1-B visa holders will not be eligible to receive any sanctions from the USD 787 billion stimulus package are hurting Indians abroad. We are determined to take up this issue in a similar fashion by disallowing American products in India,” Togadia said.
If Green Card holding Americans-Indians think they are above all this and will not be hurt by the move, then they are living in fools paradise. Lakhs of Indians were thrown out without any mercy from Uganda, Fiji and most importantly in Kenya – the country of origin of new American President Barack Obama,” he added.

The VHP demanded immediate intervention of the Indian government on the matter.

The organisation will launch a movement against 14 US based MNCs marketing their products and services in India if the decision of the US government is not revoked, Togadia said.

Source: http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14858673&?vsv=TopHP1
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Gandhi’s teachings changed America: Martin Luther King III

The civil rights movement in the United States was effective in changing the nation and its citizens’ lives since it was based on the philosophy of love and non-violence taught by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King III said on Wednesday.

“We are thankful to Gandhi for what he inspires in us and our world,” King, the son of renowned civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr, said in Mumbai [Images].
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To make the planet a better one, it is necessary for the society to continue to embrace the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, he said.

King, a civil rights activist himself, is on his second visit to the country and said that the journey had been a pilgrimage for him and had made him more committed to the philosophy of the Mahatma.

“Our goal is to cure injustice and to make sure that justice is available for all,” King, who was attending a function at the Indian Merchants Chamber, said.

On the November 26 terror strikes in Mumbai, King said he would like to pay tribute to all the people in the city, who had come together as a community to say that terrorism could not destroy it.

“All of us grieved and prayed for you during the attacks,” King added.

Source: Rediff.com, Thanks

Infosys: Narayana Murthy withdraws from Sri Lanka

NEW DELHI: The chief mentor of Infosys Technologies, Narayana Murthy, has declined the invitation of the Sri Lankan President to become the country’s IT advisor.

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In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Narayana Murthy thanked him for the invitation to be the IT advisor to the Sri Lankan Government and for the courtesy shown to him during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Infosys said in a statement.

“He also communicated to the President that he has decided to withdraw from being the advisor due to personal reasons,” the statement added.

Initial reports suggested that Murthy had accepted the invitation. However, this did not go well with the certain sections in India who are feel that the Sri Lankan Government is persecuting thousands of Tamil civilians under the guise of fighting armed liberation fighters in the country. They urged Murthy not to accept the post.

Murthy had recently visited the island nation and the country’s Government, in a bid to increase investments into the IT sector, had decided to appoint him as the international adviser on information technology to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa made the appointment after inviting Narayana Murthy as the chief guest to the ceremonial launch of ‘2009-Year of English and Information Technology’ at the Presidential Secretariat here yesterday.

Speaking at the event, Rajapaksa said the great success of India in the field of Information Technology in the recent years has highly inspired Sri Lanka.

Source: http://infotech.indiatimes.com/News/Murthy_withdraws_from_Lanka_/articleshow/4150385.cms
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Tamil MPs want Indian intervention in Sri Lanka; Congress Party says “NO”

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New Delhi (PTI): Two Tamil parties, including a UPA constituent, on Wednesday created ruckus in Lok Sabha by seeking India’s intervention to stop the military offensive in Sri Lanka but the government rejected it even as it asked Colombo to seek a political settlement rather than military solution.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee made it clear in Parliament that India cannot force a sovereign government of another country to take a particular line.

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He denounced the LTTE, saying it had caused “much damage” to the Tamil community and asked it to lay down arms as there is a political opportunity after 23 years to restore normalcy in northern Sri Lanka.

Responding to concerns voiced by various Tamil members, Mukherjee said India is worried about the humanitarian situation and wants the conflict to end. He underlined the need for the government and LTTE to resume negotiations. He said India is ready to assist in reconstruction and development in north and eastern Sri Lanka even as he asserted that New Delhi has never given military hardware to Colombo.

Mukherjee made suo motu statements on the situation in Sri Lanka in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha but PMK, a constituent of UPA, and MDMK members expressed unhappiness over its certain contents and demanded its withdrawal.

“… Government of India has no instrumentality under which it can force a sovereign government to take a particular action. This is not simply possible,” Mukherjee said.

In the Lok Sabha, the PMK and MDMK members, wearing black shirts, forced two adjournments by vociferously raising their demands and rushing to the Well of House.

They finally walked out of the House to register their dissatisfaction even though Mukherjee expressed readiness to make “corrections” in his statement if there were any “discrepancies”.

In Rajya Sabha, Tamil members, including AIADMK’s V Maitreyan and CPI’s D Raja, sought certain clarifications on Mukherjee’s statement and asked the government to come clean on whether weaponry are being supplied to Lankan military.

Mukherjee responded by asserting that India has never given military hardware to Sri Lankan government and that it is buying it from elsewhere. He said India believes that there can be no military solution to the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka and a political settlement has to be found to it.

“Military solution is no solution. You have to seek political solution and to achieve this, you have to sit on the negotiating table,” Mukherjee said, adding this message has been conveyed to Sri Lankan government at highest level several times.

Mukherjee said Sri Lankan government should keep in mind the safety and human rights of Tamil civilians during its fight against “terrorists”, obviously referring to LTTE. “Fight against terrorists is one thing, but human rights cannot be denied,” the External Affairs Minister said.

Denying that India has given military aid to Sri Lanka, he said whatever assistance has been given was only for developmental work. He also said India cannot use “coercive” measures against another sovereign country. On the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, he said India has been in regular touch with the international community requesting it to “put pressure” on Colombo.

He stressed the need for shifting of Tamil civilians to safe zones and rehabilitation zones as soon as possible. The minister said that since the last 30 years, India has been telling Sri Lanka that political solution is a must for ending the crisis there. “Tamils in Sri Lanka have every right to live as free citizens and India has been working since last 30 years to see this achieved,” Mukherjee said.

‘Night watchman’-led Govt failed on every front: BJP

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New Delhi (PTI): Main Opposition BJP on Wednesday hit out at the UPA Government, stating that it has brought the nation to a pass where Taliban is at India’s door-step, economy “dressed up” in numbers and internal security compromised for “vote-bank politics”.

Describing the government report card in the President’s Address to Parliament as the “Dhobi’s list of achievements,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said Congress considered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “night watchman” batsman when the nation needed a “decisive” leadership in the hour of crisis.

Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, Jaitely said the government is functioning in a manner “where the Prime Minister is not the natural leader either of the (UPA) alliance or the (Congress) party. This one weakness has plagued this government”.

He said Singh was made to play a stand-by Prime Minister till the “heir apparent of a preferred family” is ready to occupy the highest executive chair in the country.

Jaitley said the government is in self-denial when the “worse is yet to come”. The Taliban, which have no respect for boundaries, are at a five-hour motorable distance from Amritsar, he said.

The government is in a denial mode on economic front as well, he said. The UPA which inherited a booming economy from the NDA has left the nation in debt and is dressing up the growth figures of seven per cent, Jaitley said.

India could be hit as foreign remittances dry up

BANGKOK: India would be among the hardest-hit nations as the remittances sent home by its people working in the Middle East begins to dry up following the economic downturn.

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There are an estimated five million Indian migrant workers in six Gulf nations, transferring more than one-fifth of India’s total overseas remittances.

While the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs insisted the situation is not alarming, there are reports of job losses and wage cuts in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain during the slump in oil prices and in the construction, real estate and tourism sectors because of the financial crisis.

“Remittances are a catalyst in India’s growth as they make up 3 percent of the country’s GDP,” a ministry official said. “A drop in the figures could act as a drag on the economy.”

The Indian consulate in Dubai has said construction firms there had bulk-booked planes next month to fly 20,000 to 30,000 workers home on long leave or to re-deploy them on projects in Gulf nations like Qatar.

An estimated $260 billion of real estate projects are reported to have been delayed or shelved in the Emirates alone. Dubai’s construction boom has crashed, sending thousands of workers back home and causing thousands of them to leave cars at the airport that they have stopped payments on.

Over the past three to four years, one of Asia’s fastest growing industries has been exporting workers, especially to the oil-driven, construction-crazed economies of the Middle East.

Remittances have become a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings and gross domestic products (GDPs), peaking at an estimated $116 billion in 2008.

This year, the money flows were expected to slow as construction projects are shelved and other jobs dry up in Gulf nations, such Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have employed up to 13 million foreign workers, 11 million of whom hailed from Asia.

The remittances have saved millions of families from impoverishment and boosted the region’s economies.

Last year, remittances to Asia amounted to $8.9 billion for Bangladesh, $27 billion for China, $30 billion for India, $6.5 billion for Indonesia, $2.2 billion for Nepal, $1.8 billion for Malaysia, $7 billion for Pakistan, $16.4 billion for the Philippines, $2.7 billion for Sri Lanka, $5.5 billion for Vietnam and $1.8 billion for Thailand, according to International Labour Organisation estimates.

The inflows accounted for 9.5 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP, 2.4 percent of India’s, 15.5 percent of Nepal’s and 11.6 percent in the Philippines, the UN agency said.

But recession and plummeting oil prices were expected to take a deep bite out of the remittance flow in 2009.

Source: Economic Times, Thanks

26/11: Pakistan seeks custody of Kasab

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Islamabad: Identifying Ajmal Amir Kasab as the “prime suspect” in the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has formally requested India to hand over the lone gunman captured alive during the terror strikes to facilitate “successful” prosecution of other accused arrested in this country.

“The government of Pakistan has formally requested the Indian government to hand over the custody of Ajmal Kasab because he is the prime suspect and the rest of these suspects, they are abettors, they abetted the crime,” Deputy Attorney General Sardar Mohammad Ghazi said.

H-1B visa ban for bailed out US firms is irrational: Montek

Press Trust of India / New Delhi February 18, 2009, 17:51 IST

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The government has termed as “economically irrational” the provisions that debar US companies from hiring people holding H-1B visas if they take help under $787 billion economic bail out package, which President Barack Obama has signed into law.

“I think it is an indication of protectionism and interestingly it is an extremely bad decision,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters last night even as several MPs demanded that the government take up the matter with Washington.

“The decision says that if you have a company that needs assistance it must not hire H-1B visa workers, which really means if you have a company that is weak and you want to assist it you are going to deny it the opportunity to hire cheaper labour. To my mind it is economically irrational,” Ahluwalia said.

“This is the beginning of what could be an irreversible slide into protectionism which happened in 1930,” he added.

Meanwhile, several parliamentarians led by MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry V Hanumantha Rao wrote to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee requesting that the government intervene to protect the interest of Indian non-immigrant workers in the US who go there on H-1B visas.

Rs.1-bn tax concession in Tamil Nadu’s deficit budget

Chennai, Feb 17 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan Tuesday offered Rs.1-billion value-added tax (VAT) concessions while presenting the state budget for 2009-10 with a total deficit of Rs.118.24 billion (Rs.11,823.64 crore).

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The government slashed the VAT rates to 4 percent from 12.5 percent for items like ghee, pickles, dried grapes, hand-made iron safe, bleach liquid, stapler pin, safety pins, paper pin, gem clip, rubber band, i-pod and MP3 and MP4 players.

“The total revenue receipts of the government for 2009-10 are estimated at Rs.58,270.93 crore (Rs.582.71 billion) and the total revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs.59,295.28 crore (Rs.592.95 billion). In addition, the total capital expenditure of the government including net of loans and advances is projected at Rs.10,799.30 crore (Rs.107.99 billion),” Anbazhagan told the assembly.

He attributed the revenue deficit, estimated at Rs.10.24 billion, to the decline in government’s revenue due to the slowdown and increase in employees’ salaries following the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

The minister said the fiscal deficit would be below 3 percent of the gross state domestic product, as stipulated in the Tamil Nadu Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003.

“Taking into account the net public account, the overall deficit will be Rs.6.36 crore (Rs.63.6 million). This deficit will be made good by economy in expenditure and better tax administration,” Anbazhagan said.

He said the government will constitute a committee to review the concessions given to the film industry – exempting entertainment tax on Tamil films named in Tamil and the reduction in outdoor shooting fees – as the benefits have not been passed on to the public.

A sum of Rs.2 billion has been allocated for providing health insurance for the poor for which tenders from non-life insurers have been called.

The minister also said 3,500 new buses would be bought during the current fiscal with the assistance of the state and the central government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

“A sum of Rs.250 crore (Rs.2.5 billion) has been allocated in this budget as financial assistance by the state government for this purpose,” Anbazhagan said.

He added that approach roads to industrial estates in the state would be developed at an investment of Rs.100 million.

A sum of Rs.30.87 billion has been provided for road development and bridge works, while Rs.8.80 billion has been allocated for road maintenance works.

The budget has proposed a sum of Rs.5 billion for distribution of 2.5 million TV sets free of cost.

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