Three car bombs in the Iraqi capital killed at least 30 people and wounded 168 on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said.
The bombings took place near the German, Iranian and Egyptian embassies. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
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Three car bombs in the Iraqi capital killed at least 30 people and wounded 168 on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said.
The bombings took place near the German, Iranian and Egyptian embassies. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
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Kuala Lumpur, Sep 19 (ANI): Rejecting former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s demand to immediately step down as the Malaysian Indian Congress Chief, S. Samy Vellu has said that he would stick to his original plan and resign in 2012.
“He (Prime Minister Najib Razak) is aware of my retirement plan. I will keep to my word to the prime minister and I will not change (my plan),” the New Strait Times Online quoted him, as saying.
Earlier, Dr Mohamad had warned that Samy Vellu would become a liability to the Barisan Nasional in the next general election since his leadership has failed.
Mohamad suggested that Samy Vellu should step down and take responsibility for the party’s failure in the last general election.
Reacting to Dr Mohamad’s statement, Samy Vellu said the former prime minister who is now calling him a liability had labelled him an asset “when we were winning.”
“His comments are like telling a young wife that she is beautiful and an asset, but when she becomes old, she is branded a liability,” he said.
“I am not at all surprised. But I think he refuses to understand that the BN losses in the last general election were not because of me. An experienced man (politician) like him should understand that,” he added.
MIC vice-president Dr S. Subramaniam said the leadership of any political party was decided by its members, and it should be respected by the other BN component parties.
“The members decide whether to give or withdraw the mandate and if a decision is made by the members, it should be respected by the other BN component parties.
It will be better if all BN leaders avoided commenting about other parties,” said Subramaniam. (ANI)
Peshawar, Sep.18 (ANI): The death toll from a suicide car bomb blast that tore through a bazaar and gutted shops in Ustarzai, a small mainly Shia northwest town which lies between the garrison city of Kohat and Hangu, has risen to 33. Police sources also confirmed injuries to 56 others.
The little known Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al Almi militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
“There are 33 dead and more than 50 injured. Twenty-five have been identified while the rest are in a very bad condition. The bodies have been completely damaged,” a foreign news agency quoted a North West Frontier Province police spokesman, as saying.
Police and witnesses said that soon after the blast, Shiite youths took control of the bazaar and attacked two police vehicles with sticks and chanted slogans condemning the Taliban and the Pakistani government.
Shias account for about 20 per cent of Pakistan’s mostly Sunni Muslim population of 167 million. More than 4,000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence since the late 1980s. (ANI)
Washington, Sep 17 (ANI): It seem that Megan Fox is tired of her fame and sexiness, for she doesn’t want to let people know more about herself.
The 23-year-old actress is currently promoting new film ‘Jennifer’s Body’ at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Although the ‘Transformers’ star never complains about being the hottest female star in Hollywood, she does seem a little tired of all the attention she is getting.
Asked whether playing a high-schooler made her nostalgic for her own high school days, Fox dodged the question saying that she’d instead like to “go back to a time where I didn’t have any responsibility.”
In fact, she seemed wary of the exposure she has had recently.
“I feel like I cling to my privacy and I don’t need to expose myself further to people,” Fox News quoted her as saying. (ANI)
New Delhi, Sep 14 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday asked the State Governments to adopt new, time bound and transparent selection process for the state police forces on the lines of the Central Police Force selection procedure.
Addressing the three-day long conference of the Directors Generals and Inspectors Generals of state police forces organized by Intelligence Bureau, Chidambaram said: “Revamp the recruitment procedures and make them quick, time bound and transparent. We have introduced a new recruitment procedure in the CPMFs that is based on technology, objective assessment and transparency. I would take this opportunity to urge State Governments to immediately adopt the new procedure.”
Chidambaram expressed concern over the way police officers are treated and asked states to constitute the police establishment boards as the earliest.
“Constitute a Police Establishment Board that would decide on transfers and postings. It is a matter of deep regret that many police officers have been reduced to a football, to be kicked here and there, from one post to another, without regard to the damage done to the job as well as the officer,” he said.
Expressing concern over the non providing of funds to the police forces by some of the states, Chidambaram said: “I am also concerned about the attitude of some State Governments to providing funds for the police. Let me remind you that Police and Public Order are State subjects. States are right in zealously guarding their turf. The Central Government has no desire to encroach upon the jurisdiction of the State Governments. Given the Constitutional responsibility, State Governments must provide adequate funds for the State Police. “
The Home Minister appealed to the state governments to change the practice of allotting the residue – after providing funds for other Plan and Non-Plan Schemes to the head of Police.
The Central Government increased over Rs.13, 000 crore in the budget of the current fiscal to strengthening the CPFs, and for Modernization of Police Force, CCTNS, Strengthening of Fire and Emergency Services, Scheme of ICP, etc.
Chidambaram called on the conference to mark the beginning of a process of reinventing the security system in the country.
“We must learn from our past mistakes. We must also learn from the experience of other countries. It is the neglect of tried and tested methods that has led us to a situation where we seemed unequal to the challenges that face the internal security of the country,” he said.It is not enough to walk with firm steps on the path that is known. We must also lay out a path forward that will draw heavily upon technology and innovation,” Chidambaram added.
He said once the ambitious projects of CCTN and NATGRID are fully rolled out and implemented, it would mark a quantum jump in our ability to counter the challenges that we face.
Chidambaram also stressed on the creation of a first rate National Counter Terrorism Centre.
“It is also my desire that once the Police Mission submits its report, we should implement the recommendations in a time-bound manner. There is the need to enact a “Model Police Act”. Mega-city policing is a new requirement, and there is much to learn from the experiences of other mega-cities,” Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram also asked the state police chiefs to sharply upgrade our Forensic Science Laboratories and make them among the best in the world. (ANI)
London, Sep 12 (ANI): Old Trafford Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has said that ace striker Wayne Rooney is unlikely to captain Manchester United.
Rooney has spoken of his desire to be skipper, but Ferguson prefers defenders or midfielders to lead his side.
“It’s difficult for a forward to be captain. Eric Cantona was because he was such an influence to young players, they idolised him,” The Sun quoted Ferguson, as saying.
“But normally you look at midfielders or defenders. Wayne will always take responsibility, he has a natural desire for that and will always give 100 per cent,” he said. Ferguson insists “we have yet to see the best of Rooney.”
“When players reach 25 they play with authority and bring calmness to their game,” he added. (ANI)
London, Sep 11 (ANI): Indian origin England Batsman Ravi Bopara and his teammate Owais Shah have been accused of playing for their places rather than for the team, as the team trails Australia 0-3 in the seven match ODI series.
Gloucestershire coach John Bracewell, who is the game’s most sought-after one-day theorists, questioned the tactics applied by Bopara and Shah.
“I don’t think that either Bopara or Shah are playing to the talent that got them selected,” The Telegraph quoted Bracewell, as saying.
“They’re playing for their places. And I think they’re playing with too much responsibility on batting for too long. They should be getting as many as they can as quickly as they can for as long as they can. It’s as simple as that.
“They look as though they’re trying to build an innings and through that they’re missing opportunities and applying pressure to their own team,” he said.
“When you analyse their individual skills they’re a pretty good team. But I don’t think they play to a selfless pattern. I think they play to a reselection pattern. If I do all right today I’ll get picked tomorrow,” Bracewell added.
Bracewell believes that England’s conservative batting has allowed Australia to seize the initiative in this series.
If it is to be wrested back, he argues, Andrew Strauss and his men need to “take a punt” whether that means using their power play earlier in the innings or rethinking their whole approach to batting. (ANI)
Amritsar, Sep.10 (ANI): An endeavour is underway to preserve various heritage buildings of Punjab State in a bid to treasure the cultural heritage including historical monuments, which can help in boosting tourism in Punjab.
The palaces and Havelis across Punjab bespeak glorious heritage. These historically important buildings include religious places belonging to different faiths and can attract tourists to Punjab.
The Sheesh Mahal and Qila Mubarak at Patiala, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s summer palace at Amritsar or ancestral home of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Khatkar Kalan – they are important sites that need to be preserved for the coming generations.
“Every community, society has a very precious heritage which has to be and can be transferred to the next generation and this is the responsibility of any civil society to transfer that heritage to the coming generation if you don’t perform that duty, that is a sin, that’s crime,” said Dr. Sukhdev Singh, Punjab State convener, Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
To spread awareness about preservation of these heritage sites, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage recently organized a workshop on the theme ‘Cultural Heritage and Media’ in Amritsar.
The event highlighted the fact that popularizing existing heritage buildings and protecting sites of cultural importance, presently in ruins due to negligence and development activities, ought to be the main priority.
There were proposals to convert heritage sites into museums and heritage hotels for tourists to get a glimpse of Punjab’s rich cultural heritage.
It was suggested that the restored monuments could be commercially used on public-private partnership basis.
“Nuclear families have become more common than joint families and it has resulted in a big change in the whole system. Like in our system, the kids are taught to respect elders and follow the path of honesty. People get equal share in all institutions like in home, office and agriculture but today they are aware of especially one aspect of their lives,” said Paramjeet Singh , Prof. Of Architechture, Gurunanak University, Amritsar.
“There is a significant relation between tourism and the heritage sites because some tourists surely have some interest in what’s the history of people and what’s the culture of people. They don’t come here just to see the huge marble buildings. They don’t want to see the modern architecture, which infact is mostly western, they come here to know about the past of this place, so it surely encourages tourism,” said Dr. Sukhdev Singh.
Amritsar is the heritage city of Punjab. The city is known globally for the revered Golden Temple, one of the pilgrimage centers, which stands intact and was built nearly 400 years ago.
The heritage tour in Amritsar remains incomplete without visiting the old city, known for its traditional market and centuries old residential houses.
Be it the historic Jallianwala Bagh or the Summer Palace, the royal residence of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, they take every visitor here to the era they stand testimony of. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)
New Delhi, Sep 10(ANI): Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday urged cooperative sugar factories to play a more pro-active role and shoulder the responsibility of importing more raw sugar, not only for better utilization of their processing capacity, but also to fulfill their obligation of providing adequate and affordable sugar to the nation.
Addressing the 50th Annual Meeting of the General Body of National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd. here, Pawar said the government has already taken steps to assist sugar factories to further help sugarcane farmers to improve productivity as well as sucrose content in sugarcane by way of soft loans at four per cent per annum from SDF.
Pawar said that in view of the significant drop in sugarcane production, there isn’t for increasing sugarcane producing area immediately. The Central Government has also decided to give a one time short term loan assistance from SDF at four per cent per annum for the purchase of inputs like seed, fertilizers and pesticides.
“The loan given to the sugar factories has to be passed on to the farmers at not more than four per cent interest in cash or kind, before March 31, 2010,” Pawar added.
Pawar also requested the delegates to assess their individual capability and capacity to pay during 2009-10 sugar season and give remunerative price to the farmers, keeping in view the long term requirement of sugarcane.
This will encourage them to increase acreage under sugarcane as well as invest more in the sugarcane crop by way of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, he added.
Pawar further requested the sugar factories to utilize modernization and expansion loans before investing in projects for utilizing the by-products.
The minister also talked about two important aspects -increased availability of sugarcane by way of improvement in productivity as well as recovery of sugar and controlling the cyclical nature of the sugarcane and sugar economy- which need to be addressed not only by the Government, but also by the sugar factories as well as the sugarcane farmers.
Stating that the country is reeling under pressure of high sugar prices along with lack of availability of sugar, not only in the domestic market, but also in the international market, Pawar discussed some unprecedented steps taken by the Government to supplement the domestic production of sugar and also ensure availability of sugar to the more vulnerable sections of the society.
He expressed hope that these steps would not only increase availability of sugar in the market within September, 2009, especially during the festival season, but also have a positive impact in controlling the sugar prices. (ANI)
New York, Sep.9 (ANI): British tennis star Andy Murray has said that he will come back a better player following his fourth-round straight-sets thrashing by Croat ace Marin Cilic.
“It’s the biggest disappointment of my tennis career. As an individual sportsman you have to take responsibility. I played poorly. I wasn’t myself and I’m disappointed I could not find a way back,” The Sun quoted Murray, as saying.
“I allowed him (Cilic) to dictate the play. Normally the return is the one part of my game which is always strong. I don’t know how long it will take me to get over it. I played well in the summer,” he added. (ANI)
London, Sep.9 (ANI): A top Pakistani diplomat has reacted strongly to Britain’s accusations regarding Pakistan harbouring extremists plotting to attack the UK.
The diplomat charged Britain of not doing enough to tackle home grown terrorists and treating Pakistan as a “whipping boy”.
“Sometimes for our British friends the truth is bitter. We have somehow turned out to be a ‘whipping boy’, there is a long history to that. The British need to search their own house. Britain has to take responsibility and they have to look into the issues which are driving these youth to extremism, which is the third-generation British – they weren’t born and bought up in Pakistan,” The Guardian quoted the diplomat, who refused to be named, as saying.
Referring to the massive airliners bombing plot, he said the terrorists who were nabbed and convicted were ‘born and brought up’ in Britain, and not in Pakistan.
The diplomat underlined that it was the Pakistani intelligence agencies that had tipped Britain regarding the plot following which it was unearthed.
He said the plotters would have succeeded in their plans if the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had not shared reports with London.
“It was Pakistan that informed Britain about this plot. We tipped them off, it was our security agency that tipped off the British … the British authorities were very much indebted to Pakistan. We had a major role in unearthing this plot. Had it not been for Pakistan (it) would not have been unearthed,” he said.
It may be recalled that Prime Minister Gordon Brown, during his Islamabad visit earlier this year, had said: “Three-quarters of the most serious plots investigated by the British authorities have links to Al-Qaida in Pakistan.”
Brown’s statement had angered Pakistani leadership and strained relationship between two countries, but things normalized later with President Asif Ali Zardari visit to the UK. (ANI)
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Sep 7(ANI): Argentina coach Diego Maradona, who faces the axe if his team fails to qualify for next year’s World Cup in South Africa, has said that he will not quit rather he would “work hard like crazy”.
The two-time World champions was beaten by South American rivals Brazil, and are currently fourth in their group, just two points ahead of Ecuador and Colombia.
“This won’t break me. I will work hard like crazy. To lose to Brazil is always ugly. We were very motivated about winning and moving closer towards the World Cup. But now we can’t sit back because qualifying will be tough,” The Sun quoted Maradona, as saying.
Maradona further accepted to take the responsibility of defeat against Brazil, and said that Messi should not be blamed for it, as he wasn’t the only on playing.
“I won’t complain about my players, because I threw everything at Brazil. Unfortunately we just couldn’t turn the game,” he said.
Maradona also said that there was now huge pressure on the team ahead of the next qualifier, which will be played against Paraguay on Thursday. (ANI)
Sydney, Sep. 6 (ANI): The Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) on Sunday urged the Australian Government to take steps for the welfare of students who are stranded after the closure of private colleges.
The FISA blamed Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard for failing to stop “the spin on the state of affairs” within her portfolio of Education.
“It is unfortunate that someone in the position of Deputy Prime Minister will lie in public. Her actions are causing great despair amongst students and eliminating their faith in the institutional robustness of Australian governance,” Hardeep Kaur student of an affected college (Sterling College) and a FISA Representative, said.
The FISA is providing support to students of the collapsed Australian educational institute that has left hundreds of students stranded.
According to the organization representing Indian students, the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) and the NSW government authorities had repeatedly assured the students of organising alternate arrangement within 28 days, but nothing had happened.
Kaur said ACPET CEO Andrew Smith had told them that the case of 300 Community Welfare students of Sterling College is now being dealt by the Education Services for Overseas Students Act.
She said FISA sent an email to DEEWR authorities but they were still waiting for any response.
“The level of frustration amongst student is high. Many students are facing double jeopardy in that their visas and medical insurance have expired,” she said.
Kaur also called on the government to consider human rights as a vital component of society.
“Any student death will be the direct responsibility of the negligence of the Deputy PM and her ineffective structures such as DEEWR and ACPET. All deaths that are avoidable must be avoided or they should be treated as killings,” she said. (ANI)
Chennai, Sep 4 (ANI): Cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Friday said that swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag, who is sidelined due to injury, will be desperately missed by the team during the tour of Sri Lanka as well as the Champions Trophy.
“Any team will miss Sehwag (Virender Sehwag) because he was in such a form, that would have been a great advantage for any team,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir said this on the sidelines of ceremony held in Chennai, where he was appointed the brand ambassador of MRF.
India has announced the squad for the Sri Lanka tri-series followed by the Champions Trophy, in which they have recalled Rahul Dravid and left out Sehwag due to his shoulder surgery.
Gambhir further sad that international cricket was all about handling pressure, and you have to continuously deliver for the team.
“When you are playing international cricket it’s all about the pressure. You should know how to handle it and you should be able take that responsibility, which is very important and the responsibility only comes when the team starts expecting that you can deliver,” he said.
The series in Sri Lanka, which also involves New Zealand, will be held from September 8 to 14. (ANI)
London, Sep 4(ANI): Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has expressed confidence about handling the intense pressure at Manchester United as well as handling responsibilities of the national squad.
At the club level, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit, his responsibility at Old Trafford has doubled, while hopes and aspirations of the nation are on him to lead England to World Cup success.
“I started playing when I was 16 and there has always been expectation and pressure. I have no problem with that. I see it as a challenge,” the Daily Express quoted Rooney, as saying.
“I hope I can be the main man. I am probably playing the best football I have played for England, certainly over the last year. I am really enjoying myself with Manchester United,” he added.
The 23-year-old also said that Man U reckons Cristiano and Tevez’s exit as a big challenge to retain the league title and, personally it is a better opportunity for him to score more goals.
“I want to score more goals. I should be scoring more goals,” Rooney said.
Rooney further said that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, will definitely be the biggest challenge in his career. (ANI)
Jerusalem, Sep. 4 (ANI): A senior FBI agent has claimed that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi must have personally okayed the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people.
Richard Marquise, an FBI veteran who led the US task force probing the December 1988 blast, said it is unthinkable that such a major terrorist attack in a regime like Libya could have been authorized without Gaddafi’s approval.
“If you were a senior minister, would you do this without telling the boss? I doubt it. I have to think [Gaddafi] knew something was going to happen, something that the US would be pissed about, and he said OK,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Marquise, as saying.
He said investigators had tried to pursue the chain of responsibility up through the Libyan hierarchy, but had been unable to muster the necessary evidence.
“We couldn’t make the connections… A lot of names came up… We had names of people in the Libyan hierarchy, buying radios, making inquiries about putting bombs in radios,” Marquise said.
The bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103 was hidden in a Toshiba radio cassette player.
“But there was no real overt act [that could serve as the basis for an indictment. It would have been nice to indict the entire Libyan regime, but our system wouldn’t allow for it. It would have been a real struggle to show Gaddafi and others in the chain,” he said.
Marquise said he was also convinced that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer who is the only man ever convicted in the attack, was no “rogue” agent.
“It had been hoped that Megrahi would give us the whole story, and go up the chain. That didn’t happen. And Megrahi never talked. He did everything for his leader,” he said. (ANI)
Wellington, Sep 2 (ANI): New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Mills doubts that skipper Daniel Vettori’s new role as a national selector will harm his relationship with the players.
Vettori and head coach Andy Moles officially became members of the four-man selection panel on Tuesday after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) heeded the duo’s desire for a more hands-on role in team selection.
Mills has already had the dreaded talk with Vettori and suggested the skipper’s standing among the group would not create problems when the axe fell.
On the eve of the first test against Australia in Brisbane last November, the fast bowler was told not only did he miss the team, but he was also being sent back to provincial cricket.
“I think that’s the hardest thing as a captain. I’ve been given the word by Dan before on previous tours. In Australia, he came up and told me I’d been dropped from the test side so he’s made those gutsy conversations,” Stuff.co.nz quoted Vettori, as saying.
“At the end of the day, I’d probably rather hear it from him than someone else I’ve played a lot of cricket with him from a young age, he’s a mate of mine and we still go for a beer,” he added.
Mills was also happy the tour finally had two selectors on board.
The NZC decision to appoint Vettori and Moles alongside convener Glenn Turner and Mark Greatbatch has been highly scrutinised since the announcement on August 23.
Concerns over Vettori’s new role centred on how his working relationship might change with players now he has an official say in their selection or demotion, Stuff.co.nz reported.
There were also fears about how the added responsibility would affect his workload and performance.
When he was appointed, Vettori admitted it could be difficult when he or Moles had to convey bad news. (ANI)
Washington, September 1 (ANI): Singer Chris Brown has said that reports on the net claiming he has forgotten what happened the night he assaulted his ex-girlfriend/singer Rihanna are false.
The Kiss Kiss hitmaker has called reports based on a clip of an interview with Larry King misleading.
“There have been reports on the Internet that I didn’t remember what happened that night with Rihanna. I want to try and set things straight,” People magazine quoted him as saying.
He said: “That 30 seconds of the interview they used of me was taken from a one hour interview during which that same question was asked something like four or five times – and when you look at the entire interview you will see it is not representative of what I said.
“The first four times – or however many times it was – I gave the same answer – which was that I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to talk about what happened that night. I said it was not right for me and it really wasn’t fair to Rihanna. The fifth time or whatever it was – I just misspoke. I was asked, ‘Do you remember doing it?’ and I said, ‘No.’
“Of course I remember what happened. Several times during the interview, my mother said that I came to her right afterwards and told her everything. But it was and still is a blur.
“And yes, I still can’t believe it happened because it is not me or who I am, nor is what happened like anything I have ever done before.
“As I have said several times previously, I am ashamed of and sorry for what happened that night and I wish I could relive that moment and change things, but I can’t. I take full responsibility for my actions.
“What I have to do now is to prove to the world that this was an isolated incident and that is not who I am, and I intend to do so by my behavior now and in the future.”
Brown has been ordered 180 days community labour and five years probation for assaulting Rihanna. (ANI)