22 January 2014

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calls off his Dharna; Two police officials asked to go on leave till completion of the probe.

  • Supreme Court rules that delay in deciding mercy plea can be ground for commuting death sentence; 15 death convicts gets life term.
  • Sub-Divisional Magistrate directs Delhi police to investigate murder or suicide angles of Sunanda Pushkar's death.
  • Rupee depreciates 26 paisa against the dollar at 61.88; Sensex gains 46 points.
  • Two months state of emergency imposed in Thai capital Bangkok.
  • Four-time champion Novak Djokovic makes exit from the Australian Open Tennis.
  • India take on New Zealand in the 2nd one dayer at Hamilton tomorrow.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called off his dharna after the Delhi police personnel against whom he had sought action were sent on leave. The standoff drew to a close following Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's appeal to Mr Kejriwal asking him to end his agitation in view of high significance of Republic Day and concerns of national security. Announcing the decision to end the stir, Mr Kejriwal termed it as a victory of the people pledging that he will continue to press for full statehood to Delhi and make Delhi police accountable to the city government.
Lt. Governor said that in view of the sanctity of the Republic Day and the challenge of the security of the country, Chief Minister should withdraw protest. He has agreed to our demands partially. We respect his appeal . In order to make the Delhi Police accountable to the elected government of Delhi, it is a concrete step.
In view of the agitation, metro stations in Central Delhi remained closed for two days, causing inconvenience to common people. All roads leading to the protest site were cordoned off. Our correspondent reports, people can now heave a sigh of relief with the standoff between the Centre and the Delhi government being over.
It was a day with unusual and dramatic developments unfolding with every passing hour. The second day of dharna commenced with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal holding a janta darbar from his own car to listen to grievances of the Delhiites. The first half of the second episode of dharna was a reflection of yesterday's events. But at around four in the afternoon, tension spilled at the venue as scuffles broke out between the Delhi Police and the Aam Aadmi Party workers. Later, in the evening, normalcy returned to the area with the prevailing impasse finally resolved and agitators moving back towards their homes. Zakir Malik AIR, News,Delhi
The agitation had evoked sharp criticism from various quarters.
Congress leader and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari criticized Kejriwal for threatening to lead his protest to Rajpath which he said could disrupt Republic Day celebrations. Talking to reporters Mr Tewari said, it is also the responsibility of Delhi Government to make the celebrations successful.
On the other hand, describing the protest as a joint operation of AAP and Congress, BJP leader Prakesh Javadekar said, Kejriwal has insulted the army jawans by his comments on Republic Day celebrations and the protest is an attempt to divert attention from corruption issues. He asked Kejriwal to apologise for his comments.
CPI(M) has also criticized Kejriwal for raising the issue of Delhi Police's accountability to defend his Law Minister and AAP supporters who targeted African women. The party Polit Bureau in a statement, said it is improper for the Chief Minister to cover up what it called illegal activities of the ministers by citing the wider problem of police accountability.
However, defending the agitation, the AAP leader Gopal Rai said, the protest was in the interest of the common man. He claimed that the Central Government caused inconvenience to the people by closing metro stations and creating traffic snarls by blocking important road crossings.
Home Ministry had asked Delhi Police to observe restraint while dealing with AAP workers. However,
scuffle took place between Police personnel and AAP supporters and police had to resort to lathicharge when they tried to break through barricades at Raisina roundabout in the evening. About a dozen people, including protesters, police and media personnel, suffered minor injuries.
Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi also had two rounds of meeting with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde at North Block to brief him about the situation. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also met President Pranab Mukherjee this evening.
Four metro stations in the central Delhi has been reopened after calling off the agitation by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The stations are
Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udhyog Bhavan and Race Course.
The Supreme Court today held that death sentence of a condemned prisoner can be commuted to life imprisonment on the ground of delay on the part of the government in deciding the mercy plea. Commuting death sentence of 15 death row inmates to life term, including four aides of forest brigand Veerappan, the apex court also ruled that a death convict suffering from mental insanity and schizophrenia, cannot be hanged.
We spoke to Supreme Court Senior Advocate Amit Khemka -
When we are talking about death convict, when we are taking about life imprisonment, when we are talking about punishment, convicting or sentencing somebody. There should be some mechanism when the Judge also takes into consideration as to what is going to happen to the family and Law also should take care of these people. You may convict a person, you may sentence a person but you have to take care of not only him. It is not enough that he is given the bread and butter. It is also the state responsibility that the kids and the family of these people are also taken care of so that they do not go wayward.
Today's judgement may have implications in various cases, including the petitions filed by three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who have challenged the President's rejection of their mercy plea less than three years ago.Framing guidelines on disposal of mercy petitions and execution of death sentence, a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam ruled that convicts given death sentence must be informed about the rejection of their mercy pleas and should be given a chance to meet their family members before they are executed.
The bench also said that execution of death sentence should be carried out only 14 days after rejection of the mercy plea.
Delhi Police was today directed to investigate murder or suicide angles in the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Union Minister Sashi Tharoor after the autopsy pin-pointed poisoning as the reason for her death.
The Sub-Divisional Magistrate Alok Sharma, who is handling the case, gave this directive to the police after considering the autopsy report. It also mentioned over a dozen injury marks on both her hands as well as a minor bruise on her left cheek. However, the report ruled out death due to these injuries. In a report to the police, SDM, who has recorded the statement of Sunanda's brother, son and Mr Tharoor, said that no family member is suspected of any foul play in the death.
Doctors at AIIMS who conducted autopsy on Sunanda had said her death was sudden and unnatural and it was caused by drug overdose which in other words could be called drug poisoning.
52-year-old Sunanda was found dead in a 5-star hotel in South Delhi on Friday night.
Congress has reconstituted its teams of spokespersons and television panelists in view of next general elections. Union Ministers P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and party general secretary Mukul Wasnik have been made senior spokespersons of the party. The party has also appointed a 13-member team of spokespersons which includes Union Ministers Shashi Tharoor and Jyotiraditya Scindia and party leaders Shobha Oza and Randip Singh Surjewala.Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi is back as spokesperson while Bhakta Charan Das has been dropped. Union Ministers Manish Tewari and Rajiv Shukla have been accommodated in the 24-member Congress team of television panelists.
Former Trinamul Congress MP Mr. Somen Mitra has joined Congress today. Mr. Mitra who was elected from Diamond Harbour Parliamentary Constituency of West Bengal in last Lok Sabha Election has tendered his resignation to the Lok Sabha speaker Mrs. Meira Kumar earlier this month. Mr. Mitra said that he will fight to regain the lost glory of the Party in the state.
Government will introduce the Inter-company LPG portability facility from tomorrow. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister
M Veerappa Moily on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi, said under the portability scheme, a consumer can opt for the distributor of his choice within a cluster of LPG distributors in his or her area. He also said the union Cabinet is likely to consider the decision on increasing the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from nine to twelve per household this week. Mr. Moily said, decision will cost 4000 crore rupees and the total subsidy will go upto 50,000 crore rupees per annum.
Earlier, Mr. Moily launched a scheme in New Delhi for sale of 5 kg LPG cylinder at market price. Cylinders will be made available at selected petrol pumps in the city.
The Reserve Bank today proposed that unclaimed bank deposits, estimated at over 3,500 crore rupees, be utilised for education and awareness of depositors.
As per the proposal, the banking sector deposits which have not been claimed for 10 years or more will be transferred to 'Depositor Education and Awareness Fund Scheme'.
Rising for the second straight day, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange gained 46 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 21,251, amid firm regional Bourses, today. The Nifty climbed 10 points, to 6,314.
Stock markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore rose between 0.2 percent and 1 percent. The rupee declined 26 paise, to a one-week closing low of 61.88 against the dollar.
Gold fell 20 rupees, to 30,180 rupees per ten grams in Delhi. Silver lost 350 rupees, to 44,900 rupees per kilo.
And Brent crude oil futures climbed above 107 dollars per barrel, but U.S. crude slipped 9 cents, to 94.28 dollars a barrel. Pradeep Kumar, AIR News.
7th Jaipur Literature Festival concluded today. About 240 writers from 15 countries including two Nobel Prize winners Amartya Sen and Harold Warmus participated in this 5 day event.
Festival concluded with a debate on Democracy Dialogue. Murli. Murli Manohar Joshi, Shazia Ilmi and S R Farooqi expressed their views in this session. Earlier a special session on Jaipur Gharana of music was also attended by music lovers of Pink city. Ashok Vajpeyi,and Madhu Bhatt Tailang participated in this session. Madhu Bhatt Tailang is associated with Jaipur Gharana. During the festival issues related to contemporary writing,fiction,history,cinema,art and writing for youth were widely discussed by eminent writers and thinkers. More than 2 lakh people visited literature festival during 5 days. Anurag Bajpayee, AIR NEWS, Jaipur.
The Thai government has imposed a 60-day state of emergency from tomorrow in Bangkok and surrounding provinces to help contain the protesters who have blocked parts of the capital. Anti-government protesters have stormed the streets of Bangkok to try and force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down.
The Stanislas Wawrinka ended the reign of four-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic with a stunning quarter-final victory. The Swiss eighth seed won 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7 to set up a semi-final against Tomas Berdych, and gain revenge for an epic five-set defeat by Djokovic in the fourth round last year. It was the first loss for Djokovic under the guidance of new coach Boris Becker and brings to an end a winning streak of 28 matches on tour and 25 matches over three years in Melbourne.
Second one dayer between India and New Zeland will be played at Hamilton tomorrow . The hosts are one - nil ahead in the five one day match series.
Meanwhile, New Zealand suffered a setback in the ongoing series after pace sensation Adam Milne was ruled out owing to a torn abdominal muscle. Medium-pacer Hamish Bennett has been called up as his replacement in the Black Caps' squad, which won the first ODI of the five-match series in Napier on Sunday.

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