Showing posts from August, 2008


Here is statement on the recent Supreme Court order on bauxite mining in Niyamgiri , Orissa. STATEMENT OF CONCERN ON NIYAMGIRI We the undersigned are deeply concerned over the recent order of the Supreme Court in T.N. Godavaraman Thirumulpad vs. Union of India and Others in the matter of M/s Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. This Order will pave the way for forcible displacement of thousands of adivasis for the mining of bauxite by Sterlite Industries Ltd., a frontal company of the notorious Vedanta Alimunium Industries, which is already tainted with its corporate malpractices. We note with deep anxiety that most of the inhabitants here are Dongria Kondhs who are classified as Primitive Tribes (which itself is a colonial construct) who know no other way of life hence need to be dealt with due sensitivity and precaution and who will be uprooted and marginalized once they are removed from their natural habitat. Today, where the UN bodies, all the governments, international and nationa

Supreme Court bench abandons hearing on Provident Fund scandal

New Delhi, Aug 7 (PTI) In an abrupt move, a Supreme Court bench today abandoned hearing on the controversial Uttar Pradesh Provident Fund (PF) scandal allegedly involving some judges. A three judge bench comprising Justices B N Aggrawal, V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi abandoned the hearing following "contemptuous" remarks made by former Union Minister Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant Bhushan. Justice Aggrawal, who wrote the order, observed that he was "recusing". The other two judges, however, did not concur or differ and hence the matter has been left to the Chief Justice of India for his decision. The unprecedented drama was marred by an acrimonious exchange of words between Justice Aggrawal and Shanti Bhushan culminating in the denouement. August 7, 2008 PTI Chief Justice withdraws from fund scam case Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan has withdrawn himself from the Ghaziabad provident fund scam case, allegedly involving some UP judicial officers,

Missing US Nuclear-bug a threat to the Ganges

On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, a climber has disclosed his role in a secret cold war mission to plant a nuclear-powered bugging device in the Himalayas to spy on China. Robert Schaller, an amateur mountaineer and hospital doctor, was part of a team recruited by CIA. He carried the 40-pound device on his back as he climbed Nanda Devi, the highest peak wholly inside India. The US spy agency hoped to use the device to monitor missile tests in China. The radioactive device was later lost in an avalanche. Even today, fears remain that it could break open and cause an environmental disaster by leaking radioactive material into the Ganga. Schaller, 73, believes radiation from carrying the device caused the rheumatoid arthritis that was to prevent him practising surgery. He says in an interview in the Mountaineer magazine that he was selected by CIA for his medical expertise as well as his climbing skills. Two Hollywood film companies are competing to be the first to make a movie base

Rescheduled monsoon session to be held in September

The monsoon session of parliament, earlier expected to begin Aug 11, will now be convened in the second of week of September, according to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi. The minister said this decision had been taken because the government was trying to focus on restoring peace in violence-hit Jammu region. "The government is keen to convene the session immediately to take up legislation to provide social security and other welfare measures to the unorganised sector. But the government wants to bring back normalcy in (the) troubled areas," the minister said. The parliament session was earlier expected to open Aug 11 but it is being delayed following troubles in Jammu and Kashmir following protests over the Amarnath yatra as well as back-to-back terrorist attacks in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. "The UPA government has full faith in parliament. But we do not want to be distracted in our attempts to bring peace," Vayalar Ravi added. A special two-day ses

$1 trillion laundered every year in India: Report

MUMBAI: Over $1 trillion is being laundered every year by drug dealers, arms traffickers and other criminals in India, according to a report by audit and consulting firm KPMG released here on Tuesday. The report comes close on the heels of the murky cash-for-vote controversy that erupted in parliament during the trust vote July 22, reflecting the country's parallel economy. Quoting from the 2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, prepared by the US Department of State, KPMG said India's emerging status as a regional financial centre and informal cross-border money flows are the main contributors to growing money laundering in the country. "Some common sources of illegal proceeds in India are narcotics trafficking, illegal trade in endangered wildlife, trade in illegal gems (diamonds), smuggling, trafficking in persons, corruption, and income tax evasion. India continues to be a drug-transit country," the US narcotics survey has said. KPMG feels that

Parliamentary probe begins into 'cash-for-vote' scam

My CD is authentic, says Uma Bharti NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janshakti Party chief Uma Bharti on Tuesday took strong exception to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s charge that she had acted as “an agent” of the Samajwadi Party when she agreed to release a CD relating to the cash-for-vote scandal. Insisting that the contents of the CD were “one hundred per cent authentic,” Ms. Bharti charged the BJP with attempting to destroy her reputation. “First they said the CD was fake, and now they are calling me an agent of the SP,” she said. The counter CD released by Ms. Bharti on Saturday is said to have images of an assistant of a top SP leader going into the office of a senior BJP leader and returning with a heavy bag. Ms. Bharti had claimed at the time of the CD’s release that the footage implicated the BJP in the cash-for-vote scandal because it showed collusion between the BJP and the SP leader’s assistant, the key accused in the scandal. The BJP launched a counter-attack on Ms. Bharti by poi

Even God cannot save this country: Supreme Court

Even God cannot save this country: Supreme Court "Even God will not be able to save this country," a fuming Supreme Court on Tuesday said while slamming the government for its refusal to amend the law for launching criminal prosecution against those who illegally occupy official houses. "We are fed up with this government," the apex court said, adding, "They don't have the guts to differ with the opinion of the clerks." "Even God will not be able to save this country. In India even if God comes down, he cannot change our country. Our country's character has gone. We are helpless," a bench of Justices B N Aggrawal and G S Singhvi said. The apex court said PILs are being filed before it by people who are vexed with the approach of the government on various issues. "You complain about judicial activism when you are in power. When you are not in power you come to us for remedy," the bench said. The bench gave vent to its anger

Broadcasters condemn BJP move to boycott CNN-IBN

The News Broadcasters Association(NBA) and the Editors Guild of India on 2 August slammed the BJP for its decision to boycott the CNN-IBN and its affiliated channels if it did not telecast the tapes of the sting operation carried out on July 22, saying the move was a new threat to the freedom of the press. In a statement NBA president G Krishnan said the step taken by the BJP was not in the interest of broadcasters and the media community, and set a bad precedent. ''Political parties must recognise that editors have the freedom to decide what to telecast and what not and cannot be subject to any interference. If it happens media organisation would lose its independence. A boycott of a network is not the way forward and suggests a new threat to the freedom of the press,'' he said. The NBA suggested to the BJP to review its stand and avoid a situation of confrontation which was not in the interests of a harmonious relationship between political parties and media profe

Why CNN-IBN did not telecast trust vote sting

Editors Guild Criticizes BJP's Boycott of CNN-IBN The Editors Guild of India has expressed shock at the pressure tactics being adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party against CNN IBN Television channel. Criticising BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu for declaring that his party would boycott CNN IBN, if the channel does not immediately telecast the tapes of the sting operation carried out in concert with the BJP MPs in New Delhi on Juy 22 in connection with the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, the Guild said: “The freedom of an editor to publish or telecast any news item cannot be subject to the approval or disapproval of a political party.” ” In the instant case, the editor of CNN IBN has made it oublic that the investigation into the bribery case is incomplete and only if all the facts are authenticated, the channel would telecast the tapes,” it added. It said that the Code of Practice of the Editors Guild of India also exhorts editors to check and verify facts before publication o

Protecting editors

Mr Akbar and Mr Kalbag did not formally represent their cases as perceived by them. Nor did the respective managements offer any explanation to the readers for the sudden editorial changes at the top. B G VERGHESEĆ¢€™s report for the Editors Guild The Role and Status of the Editor A meeting of The Editors Guild of India was held in Delhi on May 12, 2008 following the summary removal of Mr M.J.Akbar as Editor of The Asian Age. Prior to that Mr Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor-in-Chief of the Hindustan Times had found his services abruptly terminated. As an association of print and broadcast editors, Members of the Guild were understandably concerned at these developments and felt that the matter merited further study and deliberation. To this end it was decided to set up a committee consisting of B.G. Verghese, Kuldip Nayyar and Pran Chopra to report on the status, role and responsibility of the Editor. In order to elicit a wider and more considered range of views and experiences, a brief