Thursday, March 3, 2011

Duraimurugan denies making funny remarks against Cong leaders

Updated on Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 14:10
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Minister and senior DMK leader Duraimurugan, a member of the party's poll panel involved in seat-sharing talks with Congress, on Wednesday denied reports that he had made some remarks which had infuriated Congress leaders.

"A section of media has reported as if I made some funny remarks (on Congress' demand for increased seats) during the (second round of) seat-sharing talks with Congress following which they got furious. There is no truth in this and no such incident took place," the law minister said in a statement here.

He said members of the Congress delegation were also "well-aware" of it and added that no person other than the delegation members were present during the parleys.

The Congress is represented by senior leaders, including Union Ministers P Chidambaram and G K Vasan, while the DMK panel comprises of party Treasurer and Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin and Duraimurugan among others.

"Section of media is writing conjured up stories which are just figment of their imagination. They are doing so only to create confusion in the alliance to please AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa. But their efforts will not fructify," he said.

Duraimurugan said he was issuing the clarification in order to scotch doubts in readers' minds whether such reports were true.

Cortesy: PTI 

Seat sharing between Cong, DMK to be finalised tonight

Updated on Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 20:55

Seat sharing between Congress and DMK for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections is expected to be finalised tonight during a meeting between AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and DMK supremo and state Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. 

Congress sources said Azad has left for Chennai from Mumbai and would hold talks with Karunanidhi amid indications that the party could settle for around 60 seats for the elections scheduled for April 13. 

Congress had began the negotiations with a demand of 80 plus out of the 234 seats in the state. 
Azad, along with other members of the party panel to finalise seat sharing in the state, had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi yesterday. 

The two parties are now finalising the seat sharing at breakneck speed after yesterday's announcement of the election schedule and rival AIADMK having formalised its tie-ups. 

There are only 17 days left for the filing of nominations to begin and the poll schedule announced by the Election Commission has given parties lesser time for campaigning as compared to earlier elections. 

The DMK has completed the seat sharing exercise with minor allies like PMK, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, IUML and Movendar Munnetra Kazhagam. 


Postpone polls, urge Tamil Nadu parties

Chennai: Various political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the ruling DMK, Wednesday objected to the assembly election schedule announced by the Election Commission (EC) and sought its postponement. 

The parties opposed the present poll schedule citing short time for campaigning, school examinations, festivals and the one-month gap between voting and counting. 

The EC Tuesday fixed April 13 for the single-phase poll in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and May 13 for counting of votes.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, in his letter to party cadres, wondered about the reason for the long gap between the polling date and counting. 

Stating that his government was not consulted on the poll schedule, Karunanidhi said the term of the current assembly ends May 16 thereby leaving just three days for government formation. 

G Ramakrishnan, state secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), said: "The chief election commissioner earlier announced that the poll date will be fixed taking into account school exams and the festivals. It seems he did not take these aspects into consideration." 

He said in a statement here that the campaigning will distract around 900,000 students preparing for their Class 10 final examinations.

The Class 10 state board exams are to begin March 28 and end April 11. 

Bharatiya Janata Party's state chief Pon Radhakrishnan told IANS: "World over Tamilians celebrate Tamil New Year April 14 and people will be busy preparing for the festival at least a week in advance. April 13 is not an apt date for the polls." 

According to him, the one-month gap between voting and counting was unwarranted. 

He said that it would be ideal if the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry elections were held along with polls in West Bengal, where six-phased voting is to be held between April 18 and May 10. 

At a time when political parties were still apprehensive about electronic voting machines and their tamper-proof qualities, the one-month gap between voting and declaration of results was not a right decision, he added. 

The election schedule, however, appeared alright to DMDK chief Vijayakant who, while pointing out that "13" is the number for evil spirits, hoped the number (April 13) would be helpful in removing the evil spirits of corruption and inflation in Tamil Nadu. 


Haj forms available from March 16

  2/3/2011 2:32:52 PM


Srinagar: Application forms for the annual Haj pilgrimage will be available from March 16, Jammu and Kashmir government said here.

"The application forms for the Haj will be issued from March 16," an official spokesman said. He said that the forms would be available at Haj House Bemina.

The pilgrims who had been applying for the last three years and were not selected through draw of lots have been asked to register their claims with the State Haj committee by or before March 15, he said. No claim shall be entertained after the expiry of the said date, he said. 

Plea for allowing mercy killing

 2/3/2011 6:15:06 PM

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on a plea for mercy killing of a Mumbai nurse on Wednesday. She has been living a vegetative existence in the hospital for the last 37 years after she was violently attacked by a hospital sweeper who also sexually abused her.

A bench of justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra reserved the verdict after hearing detailed arguments by various parties on the question of allowing euthanasia for nurse Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, who slipped into coma after the brutal attack on her at Mumbai's King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Several counsel who made submissions on the controversial issue of permitting mercy killing includedAttorney General G E Vahanvati, amicus curiae T R Andhyarujina, Ballabh Sisodia for the hospital and Shekhar Naphade appearing for the petitioner and author Pinky Virani, who had sought permission for Aruna's mercy killing.


A World without Islam:By Graham E Fuller : Book Review

When Graham E. Fuller imagines what the world would be like if Islam had never existed, he sees pretty much the same world we live in today.  Fuller believes that the current East vs. West conflict would exist even if religious differences had not been used over the centuries to motivate the common man to fight for his own particular version of heaven.  He, in fact, sees numerous factors, none of them having anything to do with Islam, which would have led to the tensions between the West and the Middle East.
Fuller cites “economic interests, geopolitical interests, power struggles between regional empires, ethnic struggles, nationalisms, even severe clashes within Christianity itself” (between the churches of Rome and Constantinople) as important factors.  A World without Islamexplores these conflicts, many of which actually predate the birth of Islam, as Fuller tries to explain how we arrived in this post-911 world.

  The author recognizes that Islam serves as “a flag or banner” behind which millions of people unite, but he believes that, if not behind Islam, the same people would unite under some other “flag.”  Islam, to Fuller’s mind, happens to serve that purpose better than any of today’s alternatives.
A World without Islam begins with a chapter devoted to reminding the reader just how closely related are the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Despite the obvious differences between the three, each is a monotheistic faith recognizing the input of the prophet Abraham.

  As Fuller sees it, much of the antagonism between the religions is caused by the way politicians stress differences for their own purposes.  Fuller goes on to explore the early conflict between Rome’s Western Christianity and that of Constantinople’s Eastern Christianity, a dispute he views as having been one of the early building blocks in the tensions between East and West still felt today.

After a chapter on the Great Crusades (1095-1272), wars that were often as much about expanding Western territory and influence as they were about wresting the Holy Land from Islamic control, Fuller moves on to Islam’s relationship with three of the West’s natural rivals: India, China and Russia.  As the author points out, these seemingly natural allies against Western expansion have not always had an easy relationship within the borders of those three countries.  

UN suspends Libya from Human Rights Council

Written by Breaking News Online Team
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 10:50
Breaking News! After the US imposed sanctions on Libyan government, the United Nations General Assembly hassuspended the country from its Human Rights Council for the continuous attacks by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on pro-democracy protesters.

Concerning over the human rights situation in the political and social unrest Libya, the UN decided to suspend the rights of Libyan members in the Human Rights Council. For the first time the UN has suspended a country from the General Assembly of the Human Rights Council.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said that the move is a big blow to 41-year rule of Gaddafi. The leader must step down as his regime has failed to protect his own citizens in the country. 

As the Libyan strongman Gaddafi seems adamant saying his people love him and neither he will quit the power nor the country, the anti-government protesters are being killed brutally. The situation is getting worst day by day in the country.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva had decided to suspend Libya’s membership from the 47-nation body in the wake of human right violations in Gaddafi's regime.

Along with the US, the UK has also banned the assets belonging to Gaddafi, his family and his loyalists in the country condemning the attacks on the protesters.

CartoonSpeaks:Khadafi More Blood in Libya:

Here's my new cartoon about Libyan President Moammar Khadafi, who has not stepped-down amid protests for his resignation and turned to violence to defend his power. Fighting so far has claimed over 1,000 lives, and as both sides dig in, it doesn't seem as though the conflict will end quickly... or with an end to the bloodshed.




TAMIL NADU     234                                     4.50 Cr.      WED. APRIL 13

PUDUCHERRY     30                                      8 LAKH     WED. APRIL 13

KERALA               140                                      2.29 Cr.      WED. APRIL 13

ASSAM                  126                                      1.81 Cr        APRIL 4 &11

WEST BENGAL   294                                      5.6   Cr         APRIL 18, 23, 27 & MAY 3,7,10

Poll counting (Results) May 13 Friday.


Tamil Nadu

Location: Southern India
Capital: Chennai
No. of districts: 32
Ruling Party: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
Chief Minister: M Karunanidhi
Governor: Surjit Singh Barnala
Official Language:Tamil 


Location: Southern India
Capital: Thiruvananthapuram (commonly known as known as Trivandrum)
No. of districts: 14
Ruling Party: Left Democratic Front
Chief Minister: V.S. Achuthanandan
Governor: R.S. Gavai
Official Language:Malayalam 

West Bengal

Location: Eastern India
Capital: Kolkata
No. of districts: 19
Ruling Party: Left Front
Chief Minister: Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Governor: Gopalkrishna Gandhi
Official Language: Bengali


Location: North Eastern India
Capital: Dispur
No. of districts: 27
Ruling Party: Indian National Congress
Chief Minister: Tarun Gogoi
Governor: Shri Shiv Charan Mathur
Official Language: Assamese

Pakistan's only Christian cabinet member assassinated

Shahbaz Bhatti, the minority affairs minister, is the second top official to be killed after opposing a blasphemy law.

By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
March 2, 2011, 3:40 a.m.

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan

Gunmen killed Pakistan’s only Christian cabinet member Wednesday in a hail of bullets outside his house in Islamabad, the second assassination this year of a top Pakistani official who had opposed the country's controversial blasphemy law.

The assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the country's minority affairs minister, underscored the reach of extremism in a Muslim, nuclear-armed country founded on the principles of minority inclusion, as well as the government's inability to protect its minorities.

Bhatti was an outspoken opponent of Pakistan's blasphemy law, which makes it a crime to utter any derogatory remarks about, or insult in any way, the prophet Muhammad, the Koran or Islam. Critics of the law say it can be exploited as a means to settle scores against adversaries or persecute minorities.

Ali Dayan Hasan, South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, called Bhatti's slaying "a grave setback for the struggle for tolerance, pluralism and respect for human rights in Pakistan."

Bhatti was leaving for work when the midmorning attack took place. Witnesses and police said three or four gunmen in a white Suzuki car drove up and sprayed Bhatti's black sedan with bullets. The attack lasted several minutes, and witnesses said more than 50 shots were fired.

Before escaping, the gunmen scattered pamphlets on the wet pavement that stated Bhatti was assassinated because of his opposition to the country's blasphemy law. The pamphlets said the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda were responsible for the slaying.

The driver survived and rushed Bhatti to Shifa Hospital, just minutes away from the minister's house, but he died before reaching the hospital, authorities and witnesses said.

Wajid Durrani, inspector general for Islamabad police, said the federal government had assigned a squad of bodyguards to protect Bhatti, but the minister did not have the guards with him at the time of the attack.

On Jan. 4, Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was assassinated in Islamabad by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a 26-year-old police commando assigned to guard him. Qadri admitted killing Taseer because of Taseer's opposition to the blasphemy law. When he appeared in court, lawyers showered him with flower petals and kissed his cheeks, a reaction that caused many liberals in Pakistani society to worry that support for extremism had begun to seep into mainstream society.

Robinson Asghar, a close friend of Bhatti's, said Bhatti had repeatedly asked the federal government for a bulletproof car after the Taseer assassination, but was never given one. Asghar, whose office is across the street from Bhatti's house, rushed out of his building when he heard gunfire and found Bhatti slumped in the rear seat of the car, covered in blood.

"This is something our minority community never deserved," Asghar said. "This event today has brought shame upon the whole nation."