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Saturday 14 January 2012

Nod to prosecute websites - Centre says sufficient material to prove charges

Nod to prosecute websites
- Centre says sufficient material to prove charges

New Delhi, Jan. 13: Facebook, Google and 20 other social networking sites face legal action after the Centre today sanctioned their prosecution for promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration.
The government itself brought the further charge of outraging religious beliefs against the sites after asking them for months to screen “objectionable” content.
A Delhi magistrate’s court, hearing petitions from individuals, had on December 23 found the accused companies prima facie liable. However, in cases of promoting enmity between classes, prosecuting agencies need government sanction.
The Centre gave it today, telling the court it had sufficient material to prove the charges. The court then directed the foreign ministry to serve its summons on 10 administrators of these sites based abroad.
“Let the process (of serving summons) to accused be sent through the MEA (ministry of external affairs) as per the process,” metropolitan magistrate Sudesh Kumar said.
He then listed the matter for further hearing on March 13 and directed the accused based abroad to appear in person on that date.
Foreign ministry sources said Indian missions and consuls-general abroad, particularly in the US where most of these websites are headquartered, would serve the summons as directed by the court.
On December 23, the court had issued summons to these websites on criminal conspiracy and obscenity charges, but they were served on the companies’ Indian subsidiaries.
These subsidiaries had then moved Delhi High Court for a stay on the lower court’s hearings, arguing they were not liable for actions of their holding companies based abroad.
But Justice Suresh Kait refused a stay yesterday, warning that “like China, we (India) will block all such websites” if they failed to screen and remove objectionable material.
The Centre’s two-page report to the magistrate, prepared by the information technology department, said: “The sanctioning authority (Centre)... is satisfied that there is sufficient material to proceed against the accused persons under Sections 153A, 153B and 295A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code).”
Of these sections, the first deals with promoting enmity between groups, the second with assertions prejudicial to national integration, and the third with deliberate or malicious acts intended to outrage the religious beliefs of any class. They carry jail terms of up to three years.
The Centre said it had gone through documents provided by the station house officer of New Delhi’s Tughlak Road police station and was satisfied that some of the websites’ content violated the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.
On December 20, another court had, in a civil case, restrained some sites ---- including Facebook, Google and YouTube ---- from webcasting any “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content that promoted hatred or communal disharmony.
The Centre had directed the IT department to monitor social networking sites after several MPs complained they were being maligned on these sites in the wake of Anna Hazare’s movement. India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) has been doing so for several months now. Eleven Indian websites have already been blocked by a government order.
Officials, however, say it is difficult to monitor content and that much of the evidence has come from complaints filed by individuals. They add that there are many legal challenges to monitoring these websites or to acting against them.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and Google+ are popular in India. Facebook has nearly 3.1 crore users, Orkut has 1.8 crore while Google+ has around 2 crore.


The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed el-Beltagy addressing protesters at Tahrir Square in February
Now, The Summer
Will Radical Islam hijack what has been a democratic Spring?
The Theocracy Threat
  • Post-Spring, it’s war of ideas between liberals, Islamists
  • Islam rich with alternatives to hardline ‘Shariah polity’
  • Greater conflict with Israel a real likelihood. Anger cuts across ideological shades.
Am I allowed to wear a necktie? I was a 17-year-old Muslim growing up in England in the early 1990s, and questions like this dominated my daily life. Born and raised in London, I was British. But my parents were from India and I looked different: brown skin, black hair. At the same time, thousands of blond, blue-eyed Europeans were being killed for being Muslim in Bosnia.
During that teenage identity crisis, an older friend I had met at a mosque gave me a magazine with a picture of an Egyptian imam from the 1940s, wearing a tie and jacket, albeit with a traditional fez! All the imams I had seen in London mosques wore flowing Arabian robes. On television, representatives of the “Islamic Republic of Iran” refused to wear ties and Saudi kings never wore western clothes.
Looking at that picture of a kindly, smiling schoolteacher, I could not know how deeply he would influence so many of us. Even today, few outside the Arab world would know of him, yet Hassan al-Banna may just be the most influential Arab of the past century. I began to read his writings: he spoke out against British and European influences on Muslim life in Egypt; he sought to return Muslims to a form of puritanical Islam, free from the influences of secularism; his own life was an example of resistance, rebellion and activism. His legacy was the Muslim Brotherhood, the precursor of virtually every Islamist movement in the Middle East today. It is the most enduring and effective political force in the Arab world.
For five years, I became a fervent Islamist, moving up the ladder of increasingly radical organisations. All strands of this movement descend from the teachings of Al-Banna. He fought against the British in Palestine, trained a paramilitary organisation and his members killed Egypt’s prime minister in 1948. In response, the Egyptian state had him assassinated a few months later.
Yet I learned, through bitter experience, that Islamism is far from unitary or coherent. In the end, I quit what’s called “the Islamic movement” because I found it too controlling of my life—but also because I no longer wanted to be in a perpetual state of confrontation with the west. Yet it took me several years of travel and study in the Middle East before my mind was free of Islamist influences. I remain a follower of Islam, the religion, but not of Islamism, the political ideology.
Because I was once a part of this global movement—whose primary goal has been the creation of Islamic governments—and then established the world’s first counter-radical think-tank, Quilliam, in London to oppose their ideology, I have been following the Arab uprisings with more than a passing interest.
There is a widespread fear in the west that Islamists will seek to hijack the revolutions. On February 12, the morning after the Mubarak regime fell and the largely secular, youthful revolutionaries celebrated on the streets of Egypt with fireworks, music and dance, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was quick to note that this was the date on which Al-Banna was assassinated in 1949 (secular liberals retorted by noting that February 11 was the date on which Nelson Mandela was released from prison). Where some saw hope for a free and secular Egypt, the Brotherhood saw the hand of God and an opening for an Islamic state.
In coming months, not only in Egypt but in other countries across the region, the war of ideas between liberal secularists and Islamists will rage about their visions for how to succeed the fallen, secular dictatorships.


What struck the world about the Arab uprisings was that burning of US and Israeli flags was not a central display. The protesters wanted focus on national issues.

But exactly what does an Islamic state look like? What does it mean, in real terms, for the countries of the Arab Spring, such as Egypt, Libya or Tunisia?
I went to Egypt after the revolution to put these questions to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many had served prison sentences for their cause. I spoke with old-school hardliners within the Brotherhood, such as 83-year-old former leader Mehdi Akef. I also spoke with the renowned liberal Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh (now an independent presidential candidate in Egypt). I met with younger members of the Brotherhood and its parliamentarians such as Mohammed el-Beltagy.
I asked each of them, “What is an Islamic state?”. The answers differed widely. For Akef, it was about Shariah becoming state law; for Abou el-Fotouh, it was vaguely about social justice; for Beltagy, it was responding to the needs of the people. For younger members, it was a liberal state reflective of Islamic values. When pressed, however, none of them could articulate what this new society might look like.
In some ways, this is good news because it means some Islamists are open to persuasion and influence. In other ways, I thought, it was this very intellectual inconsistency that had led me to leave the Islamic movement; this incoherent and muddled worldview for which they expected me and other members to give their lives. Like Marxists, they had all sorts of criticism of state and society, but when pressed to provide policies for alleviating poverty in Egypt, they had no answers. To my mind, they were clutching at straws, because Islam has no specific prescription for government.

Gamal al-Banna, an advocate of liberal Islam, whose brother Hassan founded the Muslim Brotherhood. (Photograph by Thomas Hartwell)
In Hassan al-Banna’s emotional response to the British empire, and his desire to differentiate his ideas from capitalism and communism, he helped birth a modern ideology, ‘Islamism’, which tried to politicise Islam. But he found very little in that ancient religion that spoke to the economic and political needs of a modern world. Abou el-Fotouh and other leaders of the Brotherhood insisted that the Brotherhood believed in human rights, and therefore the west had no cause for concern about Brotherhood-led governments. In some ways, this was their response to being imprisoned under Mubarak in harsh, inhuman conditions, as thousands of them were. But I knew that Abou el-Fotouh was not transparent on this. In the same breath as his advocacy of human rights, he said to me that if the Egyptian Parliament passed Islam-based laws that called for amputating thieves’ hands, stoning adulterers, or beheading murderers, then what was wrong with that?
And he was the liberal. To his credit, unlike the others, he engaged me in conversation to challenge his views. I raised with Abou el-Fotouh the 800-year-old debate within Islam about what is called the maqasid, or aims, of the Shariah, which are to preserve life, property, religious freedom, family and knowledge. The Shariah is not about stoning and killing, I argued, but about upholding the preservation of these five things. As early as the 1350s, the prominent imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi had articulated this argument, essentially saying that any society that preserved these five things was, in effect, an Islamic society.
What stops today’s Arab Islamists from taking this approach to an Islamic state instead of outdated, cruel punishments and the denial of rights to women?
I know from my time inside the Muslim Brotherhood that it spent five decades trying to survive, to escape the crackdowns of military dictatorships in the Arab world. Its members have not had the time and leisure to think and develop in the real world. Where they have had opportunities for both, as in Turkey for example, they have tended to become centrists and realists.
Islamism and the meaning of an Islamic state, therefore, is a work in progress. Islam is rich enough to offer alternative readings of scripture to undermine the claim of the hardliners that Shariah must necessarily mean barbaric punishments. Indeed, most Muslim-majority nations have moved beyond such practices.
While the Brotherhood might be deeply divided on almost every question of the day, there is one question on which it has an almost unified, hostile response: Israel. Across the Islamist spectrum in Egypt, I heard no conciliatory language toward the Jewish neighbour.
This dark cloud is a real cause for concern. Egypt, like other Arab nations, continues to feel humiliated by perceived Israeli injustices. Unless there is a palpable movement to grant justice to the Palestinians and bring about an end to Israeli occupation, the urgent need to push for Israel’s integration among Arab nations cannot hope to begin. With the strong likelihood now that Islamists will assume positions of power in Arab countries, there is a real chance of greater conflict, and thus further radicalisation, in the region. The conflict with Israel does not only rile Islamists, but liberals too.
In the lively mix of Egyptian and Arab public figures is Hassan al-Banna’s younger brother, Gamal. I met the 90-year-old Gamal two years ago. Those of us who left Islamist movements see in him something of ourselves: the ability to think freely and to defy the diktats of the Islamist movement. But even Gamal, a thorough liberal on everything from gender equality to religious pluralism, spoke out in support of suicide bombers who attack Israelis. He is not alone in abandoning reason and logic and embracing emotion and anger when it comes to the conflict of Arabs and Jews.
Ending that conflict, or at least the violent solutions to it, is the real challenge. The world was struck by Arab uprisings in which the burning of American or Israeli flags was not a central display; instead, the protesters focused on internal, national problems. And that is how they must continue. Given time, the Islamists, too, can be steered toward a Turkey-style combination of Islam and secular democracy. But the journey risks being derailed by a flaring up of the Arab-Israeli conflict, turning young minds away from seeking answers to pressing questions of development and democracy and toward war and vengeance.

Ed Husain, Sr fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, author of The Islamist
This special commemorative issue was brought out as a stand alone publication

Borderless instability in New Guinea

Jan 13, 201

Borderless instability in New Guinea 
By Jacob Zenn 

The year 2011 was a tumultuous one for the island of New Guinea, the world's second-largest and perhaps most politically divided island. Papua New Guinea (PNG), the independent country on the island's eastern half, suffered from a four-month political standoff that was at least temporarily resolved in late December. 

On the island's western half, consisting of two Indonesian provinces, what started out as a strike over wages at the Grasberg mine spiraled into four months of protests which fueled a revival of the Papuan independence movement. While relative peace had been restored on both sides of the island by year's end, lasting stability will depend on a number of mutable factors in the year ahead. 

The key figure in the PNG political crisis - and also the key figure in the country since its independence - is Sir Michael Somare. Somare headed the first "indigenous" government from 1972-1975 before PNG acquired official independence from Australia in 1975. He was then PNG's prime minister from 1975-1980, 1982-1985, and again from 2002 until June 2011. Somare's family announced his retirement from politics last June due to ill health and he left the country for Singapore for three months to recover from heart surgery. 

Sam Abal became the acting prime minister while Somare was recuperating out of country, but was ousted on August 2 in favor of Peter O'Neill, the head of the opposition People's National Congress Party, when 73 pro-O'Neill members of the 109-member parliament declared the government legally vacant and elected O'Neill as prime minister. Parliament then passed retroactive legislation formally recognizing O'Neill as the premier. 

After returning to PNG, Somare challenged the legality of what he termed a "bloodless coup" to the Supreme Court. The court then had to decide which of the two competing prime ministers - Somare or O'Neill - had the right to power and whether Somare's or O'Neill's governor general, police commissioner, and cabinet could rightly rule. In a hotly contested 3-2 decision, the court held that the election to install O'Neill as prime minister was unconstitutional. 

On December 14, Governor General Michael Ogio swore Somare and his cabinet into power, but in response the O'Neill loyalist dominated parliament voted to suspend Ogio and chose Speaker of Parliament Jeffrey Nape as his replacement. Nape swore in O'Neill in as prime minister later in the day of December 14. O'Neill had extra police flown into the capital of Port Moresby to take control of government assets, including the Government Printing Office, Treasury, and Government House while Somare's faction occupied other government offices. 

The stand-off and potential for violence threatened to spark a crisis, one with geostrategic implications in light of intensifying competition between Chinese and American companies interested in PNG's resources. In March 2011, for example, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accused China of trying to "come in behind" the US and undermine Exxon Mobil's US$15 billion liquefied natural gas project in PNG. 

An autocratic turn in PNG could have played favorably into China's position, especially if PNG followed the way of nearby Fiji. A 2006 military coup there led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama undercut Fiji's civil society and established a new military dictatorship that has engaged China as its new patron. The Commonwealth banished Fiji from its membership in 2009, but that only pushed the country further into China's orbit. 

Different dynamics are in play in PNG, however. Ogio, who is also the Queen's envoy for PNG in the Commonwealth, declared the swearing in of Somare "wrong and invalid" on December 20, thus paving the way for O'Neill to ascend to the premiership. While it is unclear what internal discussion the British Crown and Ogio may have held, the final result was that Somare, despite his insistence that he was the country's rightful leader, lost significant international support. For the time being, political stability has returned to PNG under O'Neill's leadership. 

Political strikes 
While PNG was embroiled in a potentially volatile political dispute, its neighbor, Papua Indonesia, was rocked by an intensifying labor dispute that acted to galvanize a long simmering insurgent movement. A workers' strike at the Grasberg mine over wages and other issues that started on September 15 evolved into a four-month standoff pitting at least 8,000 Indonesian miners, most of whom were indigenous Papuans, against the Indonesian subsidiary of the US mining company Freeport-McMoRan. 

One month into the strike, Freeport was forced in October to declare force majeure when it could not meet its contractual obligations on shipments of copper and gold concentrate under sales agreements from its Grasberg mine. Grasberg had been operating at only 5% capacity because of the strike and the workers were blocking off main roads from Porsite Harbor to the towns of Timika, Kuala Kencana and Tembagapura, which cut off food, production equipment, medicine and other supplies needed for the mine's operations. 

The strike led to protests and violence between the miners and Indonesian security forces which came down on the side of Freeport. Indonesian police and paramilitary fighters opened fire at a large demonstration in Timika, the town nearest to the mine, killing two at least strikers in October. As the violence escalated and the acrimony between the miners and the Indonesian government intensified, decades-old Papuan resentment over heavy-handed Indonesian rule boiled to the surface. 

On November 31, hundreds of Papuans converged in a rally in Timika where groups of indigenous Papuans hoisted the flag of Papuan independence, a move that had provoked violent security force responses in the past. After allegedly shooting warning shots, the police then fired on the crowd, killing at least four people. Smaller rallies then broke out throughout cities in Papua in which at least one more Papuan was killed. 

In total, eight people were killed in protests during the four months before a deal to settle the strike was reached on December 13. The agreement led to a 40% wage increase over two years for the miners, improved benefits, and a promise by Freeport to base future wage negotiations on cost of living and competitor benchmarks. In addition, workers were reimbursed for lost wages during the strike by a one-time three month "signing bonus". 

Unlike in PNG, however, the deal the deal between Freeport and the miners failed to contain the protests for Papuan independence or settle the wider crisis. Less than a week after the deal was reached, a helicopter flying at 600 feet over the Grasberg mine site was shot at allegedly by Papuan independence fighters. One of the 23 passengers was injured and the helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in Timika. 

The rebel Panai Free Papua Liberation Army (TPN-OPM) justified the attack by claiming that the helicopter was on the way to carry out attacks on Papuan villages in areas the group controls. In a December 16 report by the West Papua Media group, it was claimed that over four full strength combat battalions of the Indonesian army, paramilitary police and the elite counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88 launched an offensive where villages, schools and other buildings were burnt down in a bid to surround the TPN-OPM's headquarters under the command of General Jhon Yogi. The news group claimed at least 18 people were killed in the government assault. 

Whether the rebels' claims are more propaganda than truth could not be independently corroborated, but the messaging shows how Papuan fighters have exploited the Freeport issue for their political purposes. 

Despite New Guinea island's vast untapped resources and economic potential, PNG has struggled to chart a stable path as an independent country, while Papua remains pitched in a struggle against Indonesian rule. The tentative resolution of PNG's political crisis and the Papuan miners' strike brought both sides of the island back from the brink, but there is still unfinished business in both geographies. 

Papuan independence fighters are now more active than before the Freeport strike and PNG is on guard against a potential sudden attempt by Somare to retake political power by force. If both PNG and Papua can accommodate the different political, labor, and cultural interests within their respective borders, 2012 could present both parts of the island with opportunities for peace and development. However, recent history shows reaching such a complex accommodation will be difficult and new bouts of instability can not be ruled out. 

Jacob Zenn is a lawyer and international security analyst based in Washington, DC. He was also a US State Department language scholar in Indonesia in 2011. He runs an open-source intelligence, due diligence, and translations team at 

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing )

Coup in Pakistan could mean a war with India again

Coup in Pakistan could mean a war with India again

Sunil Rajguru  | 2012-01-13 00:59:02

Pakistan has a history of alternating between civilian and military rule.

There is a lot of buzz in international circles of an impending army coup in 2012.

If that happens, then India should be very worried.

For every Pakistani dictator has been involved with at least one conflict with India.

A look at all their dictators and Indo-Pak conflicts …

Ayub Khan: 1965 War

General Ayub Khan became President of Pakistan in a bloodless coup. He decided to make the most of India’s 1962 war loss with China. He was emboldened by the death of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and at that time soft image of his successor Lal Bahadur Shastri.

In 1965, border skirmishes saw Pakistan getting about 10% of the Rann of Kutch. This minor victory along with India declaring peace saw Ayub Khan eying Kashmir. Operation Gibraltar was launched in the same year to spread insurgency in the state and that led to the Indo-Pak war of 1965.

Yahya Khan: 1971 War

A combination of circumstances led Ayub Khan to hand over power to General Yahya Khan in 1969. Yahya Khan launched Operation Searchlight with the aim of suppressing the Bengali nationalist movement in East Pakistan.

These events led to the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and Yahya Khan was forced to hand over power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the end of the war.

Zia-ul-Haq: Siachen Conflict

General Zia-ul-Haq toppled Bhutto in 1977 and took charge of Pakistan. The 1980s was a very happening decade with the CIA and ISI becoming very active in Afghanistan and the effects of that are still being felt way into 2012.

But Indian and Pakistani forces clashed in what has been called the highest battleground on Earth in 1984 and India wrested control of the entire Siachen Glacier.

Pervez Musharraf: Kargil War

General Musharraf changed the script a bit. He orchestrated the Kargil War and then used it as a launch pad to stage a coup and come to power. The Kargil war of 1999 saw more than 500 Indian casualties.

This is the first time that two nuclear powers directly went to war.

Major General Akbar Khan: Kashmir War

One war that has been left out is the Kashmir War of 1947-48. It broke out immediately after Independence over the accession of Kashmir. But interestingly the Brigadier-in-Charge of Kashmir from the Pakistani side was Akbar Khan.

Akbar Khan later became Major General and was the main conspirator of Pakistan’s first (and botched) coup attempt of 1951. He failed in something which Musharraf succeeded years later.

So it would be safe to say that most Indo-Pak conflicts have either been preceded or succeeded by a coup attempt.

Civilian Turmoil

Of course that's not to say that civilian rule has been peaceful for India. Civilian leaders while not waging war outright have been involved in a lot of hectic behind the scenes activities.

In 1965 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (then Foreign Minister) famously declared…

“Pakistan will fight, fight for a thousand years. If.. India builds the (Atom) bomb.... (Pakistan) will eat grass or (leaves), even go hungry, but we (Pakistan) will get one of our own (Atom bomb).... We (Pakistan) have no other Choice!...”

So in the 1970s, Bhutto became the father of the nation’s nuclear weapon programme.

The 1990s civilian rule saw the ISI get really busy fomenting militancy in Kashmir and creating the Taliban.

Coup in 2012?

So that brings us back to the present. Pakistan is seeing instability once again. President Asif Ali Zardari is looking beleaguered. Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani has been censured by the Supreme Court. US-Pak ties have reached a new low.

General Ashfaq Kayani is undoubtedly the most powerful man in Pakistan and can easily stage a coup. Whether he does that or not remains to be seen.

Another compromise appearing to be on the cards will be the return of Musharraf, another ole dictator.

Either way India should be worried.

Just look at the years of all the conflicts: 1947-48. 1965. 1971. 1984. 1999.

Going by the above, some sort of military conflict takes place between India and Pakistan every 6-17 years.

It’s been more than 12 years since Kargil and a coup in Pakistan will test that peace to the limit.

One hopes that the era of Indo-Pak conflicts is over, but 2012 will be a year watched with nervousness from both sides of the border.

The Real Reason Israel Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientists?

The Real Reason Israel Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientists?

By Robert Wright
Jan 11 2012, 6:05 PM ET
  With yet another Iranian nuclear scientist freshly assassinated--presumably by Israel--Jeffrey Goldberg asks a good question: Why is Israel doing this?
Goldberg thinks the most common answers are less than compelling. It's unlikely, he says, that "Iranian nuclear knowledge is so concentrated in the minds of a few scientists" that these killings are a major setback to the nuclear program. And he doubts that the killings will scare much Iranian talent out of the nuclear science business, since the Iranian government wouldn't tolerate such an exodus.
But there's a third option that Goldberg doesn't consider: Israel is trying to start a war with Iran. The more Iranian scientists it kills (and the more missile testing facilities it blows up), the more likely Iran is to retaliate. And things have a way of escalating, which would pave the way for military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Obviously, Israel could bomb Iran's facilities even without such escalation. But escalation offers two advantages:
1) Israel gets less blame, because it isn't accused of starting things. Of course, from Iran's point of view, Israel did start things by assassinating Iranians and blowing up Iranian stuff. But whether assassinating foreigners is bad depends on your point of view. In the eyes of the west and especially the United States, it's terrorism when Iran does it but not when Israel or America does it.
2) The United States is more likely to get drawn into the war. Israel presumably prefers that America do the lion's share of the bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities, since the U.S. has deeper strike capabilities. If Israel launched strikes on Iran out of the blue, while the U.S. still considered a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff possible, Israel couldn't count on the U.S. joining in. But America would certainly spring to Israel's defense if Israel found itself in an escalating war with Iran that Iran was blamed for starting. And once America was involved in hostilities, it would probably take the opportunity to set back Iran's nuclear program.
Personally, I don't find the Israeli assassinations as perplexing as Goldberg seems to. Though bomb-building knowledge per se can't be extinguished by killing a few scientists, talent is always a scarce commodity, and removing key talent from any enterprise can set it back significantly. So I don't think Israel is assassinating scientists just to draw America into a war. But it wouldn't surprise me if, from Prime Minister Netanyahu's point of view, that prospect isn't exactly a deterrent.

Govt sanctions prosecution of Google, Facebook over objectionable material!Govt puts Aakash tablet deal on hold!US looking into claims of Indian agencies intercepting emails!India Replicates Pentagon!Brahamin Bania Raj and LPG Mafia Rule in India is

Govt sanctions prosecution of Google, Facebook over objectionable material!Govt puts Aakash tablet deal on hold!US looking into claims of Indian agencies intercepting emails!India Replicates Pentagon!Brahamin Bania Raj and LPG Mafia Rule in India is Glorified with Manusmriti Nationalism justifying Exclusion and Ethinic Cleansing!On the other hand,Govt to launch Web service for farmers!It reminds DOORDARSHAN Monopoly and News agency Monoply Samachar Bharati days of Emergency. Complete Anesthesia for Complete Mind control!Kolkata woman gives birth on road, dies after no admission by hospitals!Myth of Mamata Magic wanes so miserably!SEBI calls for MF pension plans!

Denied admission by two government hospitals, a woman died on Friday after giving birth to twins on the pavement, bringing the state-run medical setup under the scanner yet again for alleged negligence.

The West Bengal government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

It was a
night of horror on Thursday for the 40-year-old pregnant woman who was refused admission despite possessing health cards.
The woman met a tragic end in the wee hours of this morning shortly after delivering the second baby on the roadside near the Maidan area after she was made to travel back and forth between the two hospitals with her husband.
The first of the twins born outside Chittaranjan Sevasadan was also with the couple when they approached the Sambhunath Pandit Hospital for help. The second baby was delivered on the pavement outside Sambhunath hospital 90 minutes after the first child was born.
The Chittaranjan Sevasadan allegedly refused to admit the woman and later the Sambhunath Hospital also turned her away saying she should go to the first hospital where she had visited. An official of one of the hospitals said no case of a woman being denied admission has come to their notice.
West Bengal health director Biswaranjan Satpathy said a three-member inquiry committee had been formed to look into why the woman was denied admission to hospitals.
"The patient should have been admitted in the hospital and the incident will be inquired into," he said.
A relative of the woman said she delivered the first baby immediately after developing labour pains around 11-11.30pm on Thursday night. The second child was delivered 90 minutes later.
Leader of Opposition Suryakanta Mishra, who was health minister in the erstwhile Left Front government, condemned the incident and demanded that chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who holds the health portfolio, give the responsibility of the department to some other person.
Recently, Banerjee had directed the health department to revamp the state-run hospitals following the death of a large number of children, mostly at the BC Roy Memorial Children's Hospital in the city.
An expert committee had also been set up by the chief minister to look into the infrastructural deficiencies of government hospitals.

Say goodbye to some senior players, says Sunil Gavaskar!Well Said! Why NOT to Say Goodbye to the Brahaminical Political Class Zionist!

Cong disowns quota, Batla remarks of Salman, Digvijaya

Muslim body slams Salman Rushdie's visit, calls him apostate

The Economists and the Media have joined hands to push hard for Reforms Drive in India which is Systematic Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Destruction of the Excluded Communities, the Mulnivasi Bahujan who not only lose land, home, jof, livelihood but are selected to be killed.
Govt may slash subsidy on DAP, potash fertilisers

New round of reforms like GST, FDI in retail, land acquisition, others can restore economic growth

Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams ,Chapter 730

Palash Biswas

Say goodbye to some senior players, says Sunil Gavaskar!Well Said! Why NOT to Say Goodbye to the Brahaminical Political Class Zionist!

Ind vs Aus 3rd Test: Australia humiliate India on 1st day

Economic Times - ‎36 minutes ago‎

PERTH, Australia: Opener David Warner smashed the fourth fastest test century off 69 balls to put Australia in control of the third cricket test after India was shot out for 161 on the opening day Friday at the WACA ground.

Kolkata woman gives birth on road, dies after no admission by hospitals!
Myth of Mamata Magic wanes so miserably!

Govt sanctions prosecution of Google, Facebook over objectionable material!On the other hand,Govt to launch Web service for farmers!It reminds DOORDARSHAN Monopoly and News agency Monoply Samachar Bharati days of Emergency. Complete Anesthesia for Complete Mind control!

US looking into claims of Indian agencies intercepting emails!

The US is investigating into claims that India's military intelligence intercepted its emails of a commission that monitors economic and security matters with China, with the help of mobile service providers.

"We are aware of these reports and have contacted relevant authorities to investigate the matter," said US-China Economic and Security Review Commission spokesman Jonathan Weston.

"We are unable to make further comments at this time," said Weston, who was responding to questions about an alleged memo from the Director General of Military Intelligence, Foreign Division appeared in the cyber world, according to which Indian officials discuss plans to target the US-China commission.

According to the memo stated that the Indian military used "backdoors" provided by RIM ( Research in Motion), Nokia, Apple and unspecified other mobile service providers.

Officials in Delhi did not comment on the report.

Days after the big bang launch of the Aakash tablet, the government may refuse to extend the letter of credit to Montreal-based DataWind, the makers of the world's cheapest computer tablet.

As per reports, the HRD ministry may not extend the letter of credit to Datawind after a series of faults were detected, owing to which buyers have largely dumped the product.

The ministry is also looking for vendors other than Datawind, reports added.

If experts of the industry are to be believed, technical flaws, no hands-on experience, and the total cost of procuring it make the much-hyped gadget a disappointment for the buyers.

The after-sales reports of the Aakash Tablet are extremely disappointing and those who have bought the low cost gadget have only one reason to be happy- they are the privileged early users of the gadget.

According to experts, the new version will have a look similar to the Chinese tablets and have the SIM card option.

Cong disowns quota, Batla remarks of Salman, Digvijaya!

Pentagon is NOT ashamed of Ethnic Cleansing . The Brahamin Bania Raj and LPG Mafia Rule in India is Glorified with Manusmriti Nationalism justifying Exclusion and Ethinic Cleansing. DNA report has exposed the Zionist link of the Brahamin Aryan Invaders and they do everything to be coupled with the Global Zionist Imperialist Order of Racial Discrimination. National President Mulnivasi Bamcef Waman Meshram has explained it very clear that the Brihmins practice Racial Discrimination againstthe Excluded Mulnivasi Bahujan And see what the racial Discrimination is all about if you fail to understand it in Indian South Asian Geopolitics.

The Economists and the Media have joined hands to push hard for Reforms Drive in India which is Systematic Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Destruction of the Excluded Communities, the Mulnivasi Bahujan who not only lose land, home, jof, livelihood but are selected to be killed.
Individual foreign investors will be allowed to directly buy up to 5 percent of an Indian company, or 10 percent in aggregate, the Reserve Bank of Indiasaid on Friday, adding details to an announcement the government made in early January.

9 JAN, 2012, 04.19AM IST,

New round of reforms like GST, FDI in retail, land acquisition, others can restore economic growth

By Ajay Chhibber


India faces a Trifecta: slowdown in GDP growth, high inflation and a weakening rupee. Some of this can be attributed to external factors such as the financial crisis in the western world. China and Brazil are also slowing down. But in the Indian context, we must also look at domestic factors as the main reason for the macroeconomic problems.

Global risk aversion and outflow of funds from emerging markets is affecting countries with weaker fundamentals. As a result, net inflows in India have declined to $0.6 billion during April-October 2011-12 from $27.5 billion in the corresponding period in 2010-11. There can be no doubt that slower growth, high inflation and a weakening rupee are signs of weak fundamentals. They are inter-related and require a coherent and coordinated policy response. The RBI alone cannot be blamed or solve these problems.

The weakening rupee comes as no surprise. If India's inflation is higher than world inflation for a persistent period of time - as has been the case since 2008 - at some point, the rupee must fall to maintain the real exchange rate. The rupee can remain strong only if India continues to attract net foreign inflows in sufficient quantity. If India did not hold large reserves, the panic on the rupee would be even greater. If India had backup arrangements with other central banks - say, by joining the east Asia reserve pool or by having arrangements with major central banks - it could hold fewer reserves. But that is for the future.

The main reason for the lack of confidence is the economic slowdown and the lack of political cohesion to continue with badly-needed reforms to revive it. The recent controversy over foreign direct investment in retail was a clear signal that political deadlock will not allow reforms to go through.

With key reforms in insurance and land acquisition held up in Parliament, the GST stuck in the states and no prospects of any labour reform, it is hard to see how to revive growth prospects. A weakened rupee encourages exports and discourages imports and may be the best hope for some revival, but with balance sheets of major corporates affected by a weaker rupee, the ensuing exchange rate uncertainty will hurt investment.

With a weaker rupee, the fight against inflation becomes more difficult. The pass-through effects of fuel prices and other commodity prices will be felt either on more inflation or a larger fiscal deficit. Inflation was a problem even before the weakening rupee; in fact, the latter is a result of persistently high inflation and not its cause.

A key factor behind inflation is that India has run a very large fiscal deficit and a very loose monetary policy for a long time as part of a stimulus package following the 2008 global financial crisis. This helped prop up growth artificially at over 8% between 2009 and 2011 but led to inflation as supply bottlenecks meant demand outstripped supply.

Foreign retail investors will also be able to participate in share splits, consolidations, mergers and other corporate actions, the RBI said.

The government has said that foreign retail investors will be allowed to invest directly in Indian shares from Jan. 15. Previously, they were required to invest through mutual funds.

Attributing slowdown to global factors,Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu today said economic growth in the current fiscal could be around 7-7.5 per cent, down from 8.5 per cent a year ago.

"What looked like a 9 per cent growth year, now we are projecting somewhere between 7 to 7.5 per cent," Basu said while addressing an event of Global Development Network.

Indian economy registered a growth of 7.3 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal.

The economy grew by 8.5 per cent in 2010-11. As per the Reserve Bank projection, the growth rate in the current fiscal would slow down to 7.6 per cent from earlier projection of 8 per cent.

"When we began our Budget exercise in January 2010, we thought we will grow by 9 per cent (2011-12). But oil prices went up from USD 90 to USD 110 and not really coming down the way we were expecting," he said.

"A bit of this to my mind is to do with major change in global scenario...what is happening in the world you get one crisis after another. 2008 and now we are standing on the brink of another one 2012," he said.

"Europe began to be tottering on the brink of crisis. Over the last two months our exports have begun doing badly and over the year we are seeing directly it is the international demand which is tanking and beginning to affect us," he said.

With Germany's growth figure being downgraded, he said, "we are really worried about Europe. Whether Europe is going to go into negative growth".

Two quarters of negative growth will be officially described as recession, he added.

Soon farmers across the country can get their agriculture and weather-related queries answered quickly. The Indian government is planning to launch a spoken web service that will provide an interactive medium for the farming community.

On the one hand, Congress offers Halua of quota within OBC Quota for the segregated Muslim communities not implementing parliamentary consensus for OBC Headcount or the much hyped Sachar Committee report.Resrvation is nullified already implementing LPG. simply Caste Certificate is denied or like the Dhangar, the Majority OBC  community in Maharashtra, reservation is denied with techncal default. Communities like Meena and Gujjar are put on War.On the other hand, Indian ruling hegemony is pleased Ga Ga to couple itself with Israel. Muslim Hatred and Anti Pak Campaign is the infinite Bank Account for Brahaminical Nationalism.President Asif Ali Zardari's ruling party, facing intense pressure from Pakistan's powerful generals, lobbied its coalition partners Friday for support as tension raised fear over the stability . It is celebrating time for Indian Brahamin Bania media which intensify the Muslim Hatred campaign as never before.

However,In a surprise move, the Congress on Friday disowned controversial statements of union minister Salman Khurshid and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh on minority reservation and Batla House encounter.
SEBI calls for MF pension plans
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 13, 2012

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Friday said that asset management companies (AMCs) should launch pension products in order to increase households' participation in the market. "Compare to any part of the world, the level of participation in the Indian market by
households is very low," said UK Sinha, chairman, SEBI. "One reason is that retirement or pension money is not coming into the market."
Fund houses should launch retirement products since mobilisation of money on voluntary basis for long-term purposes was allowed legally, he said.
"It is legally possible that retirement money can be invested in the markets ... why are AMCs not able to launch pension funds?" said Sinha.
On the issue of regulating alternate investment funds, Sinha said the step aims at investor protection. "It is risky for any regulator to let a pool of fund remain unregulated."
SEBI last year proposed regulations for alternative investment funds under the title SEBI (Alternative Investment Fund) Regulations. The funds, which would come under the proposed regulation include venture capital funds, PIPE (private investment in public equity) funds, private equity fund, debt funds, infrastructure equity fund, real estate fund, SME fund, social venture funds, strategy fund.

Facing a barrage of questions at the AICC media briefing, party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters that Khurshid's promise of 9% sub-quota for OBC Muslims in Uttar Pradesh was his "individual" view.

Seeking to disapprove of Digvijaya Singh's claim that the 2008 gun fight of Delhi Police with suspected terrorists was 'fake', Alvi said the Congress supports government's stand on Batla House encounter.
On his part Khurshid, who is law and minority affairs minister, maintained he had no regrets on what he had said on the sub-quota for OBC Muslims.  He also said he has not done anything unlawful by his statement on granting 9% quota for minorities.
Alvi merely said that there was "inner party democracy in our party".
"It is an individual view. It would be better if you ask Khurshid for his reaction in the matter. There is inner party democracy in our party", was Alvi's response to a host of questions including whether the party saw nothing wrong with the Minister's statement.
Signalling that the party was not happy with Singh again speaking on the Batla House issue, Alvi said that there had been a nationwide debate after the 2008 incident, which is a "very sensitive matter"
"People have different opinions on the issue and no one should do politics on the matter", he said evading direct replies to several questions a day after home minister P Chidambaram's assertion that the encounter was "genuine".
The remarks came amidst report that chief election commissioner SY Quraishi had complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about Khurshid's earlier statement suggesting the Law Ministry's control over the Election Commission.
Khurshid made the promise of nine% sub-quota for Muslims within the existing 27% OBC quota in Farrukhabad Assembly Constituency in Uttar Pradesh where his wife Louise is in the fray.
He was slapped with a notice on Tuesday by the Election Commission which held that prima facie his promise on sub-quota for backward Muslims within existing 27% OBC quota was "serious violation" of the model code of conduct.
He replied to the notice on Thursday, defending his statement by citing the 2009 Congress poll manifesto in which the party had promised to provide for a sub-quota for minorities.

Govt may slash subsidy on DAP, potash fertilisers
The government may substantially slash the subsidy it offers on non-urea fertilisers like di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MoP).

Retail prices of phosphatic and potassium fertilisers like DAP and MoP were freed from the government control in April 2010, but the government continues to offer subsidy to keep the prices down.

"There is a strong case for subsidy reduction on non-urea fertilisers because their retail prices have shot up and global rates are also expected to decline," a senior government official said. The subsidy is benchmarked against the global prices. So, if international rates are coming down, subsidy too have to be cut, the official said.

The Fertiliser Ministry is considering to cut subsidy on DAP by Rs 4,500 per tonne and on MoP by Rs 1,054 per tonne, that could be effective for the 2012-13 fiscal, the official said.

The government gives a subsidy of Rs 19,763 per tonne on DAP and Rs 16,054 a tonne on MoP. India imports almost half of its requirement of DAP and almost entire requirement of MoP. The final decision on this issue would be firmed up in the inter-ministerial meeting to be held on January 17.

The official further said the government will also make the existing retail prices of these fertilisers as the benchmark to formulate subsidy levels. Retail price of DAP is ruling at around Rs 20,000 per tonne and MOP is available at Rs 12,000 per tonne.
Jan 12, 2012 11:00 pm

Google, Facebook Appeal in India After Ordered to Remove Content

By John Ribeiro, IDG News
Google and Facebook filed petitions before the Delhi High Court after a lower court asked them and other Internet companies to remove certain objectionable content from their websites.
Google has stated to the High Court that the Indian operation cannot be held responsible for its websites, which are run by the parent company in the U.S., said SPM Tripathi, lawyer for Vinay Rai, the petitioner before the lower court.
Rai, who is the editor of a newspaper called Akbari, said that he is opposed to inflammatory religious content on some Internet websites.
Google confirmed that it filed a petition before the High Court. "We can't comment further at this stage," it said in a statement. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Google's petition is in line with the stand often adopted by Internet companies when sued in Indian courts over online content: they pass the responsibility to their parent companies in the U.S., saying that they run the websites.
The company also argued before the High Court that it was not physically possible for all the content that is posted on websites by third-parties to be monitored, Tripathi said.
India's Information Technology Act requires intermediaries like ISPs to remove content that is found objectionable within a period of 36 hours of being notified of the content. Intermediaries are also required to warn users against posting or uploading a variety of objectionable content in their user agreements and other rules and regulations.
India's Minister for Communications and IT, Kapil Sibal, said in December in interviews to local TV channels that requests by his ministry for removal of content from some websites have gone unheeded by Internet companies. These companies also declined to provide information on who had posted the content.
Sibal was responding to newspaper reports that he had asked Internet companies to pre-screen objectionable content before it was posted online. The minister denied that he had expected that, but wanted the Internet companies to evolve a framework whereby content that was objectionable or inflammatory could be quickly removed. Some of the Internet companies were allowing content that would fail to live up to the laws that they are enforcing in their own country by their own community standards, he said.
The High Court on Thursday asked Google and Facebook to respond to the summons by the lower court, and fixed the next hearing for Monday, Tripathi said. "Like China, we will block all such web sites," High Court Judge Suresh Kait said while asking counsel for Facebook and Google India to develop a mechanism to keep a check and remove "offensive and objectionable" material from their web pages, reported news agency, Press Trust of India.
John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address

Govt grants sanction to prosecute Google, Facebook and 19 other social ...

Economic Times - ‎13 minutes ago‎
NEW DELHI: Google, Facebook and 19 other social networking sites faced legal action for offences of promoting enmity between classes after the Government granted sanction to prosecute them. The Government today told a Delhi court there is sufficient ...

Court orders executives of websites to appear personally

Tehelka - ‎19 minutes ago‎
A local court in Delhi asked all executives of the 21 social networking sites, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo India and Microsoft, on Friday to appear personally before it on 13 March in the criminal case against them for posting 'objectionable ...

Vinay Rai vs Facebook: Govt uses courts to censor the Internet

Firstpost - ‎27 minutes ago‎
New Delhi: The government is back to curbing online portals and social networking sites; this time, via the judiciary. Today, the Centre has given sanction to a Delhi court to prosecute the executives of 21 companies, including Google and Facebook, ...

Govt sanctions prosecution of Google, Facebook over objectionable material

Times of India - ‎2 hours ago‎
NEW DELHI: A day after Delhi high court warned social websites to devise mechanism to check and remove objectionable content or face action like in China, there was more trouble for them. The government on Friday told a Delhi trial court that there is ...

Sanction to prosecute FB, Google likely - ‎2 hours ago‎
New Delhi: The Government has given sanction for the prosecution of 21 social networking sites like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo India in the ongoing spat between the companies and the Government of India over content regulation. ...

Govt sanctions prosecution of Facebook, Google

Hindustan Times - ‎2 hours ago‎
PTI The Centre on Friday told a Delhi court that there is sufficient material to proceed against 21 social networking sites, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, for offences of promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to ...

The Delhi High Court won't come between users and their Facebook

Firstpost - ‎1 hour ago‎
The Delhi High Court is taking up Kapil Sibal's mission to rid the internet of "offensive and objectionable" by bringing 21 companies, including Facebook and Google, up on charges and threatening to censor the web if a way to pre-moderate content ...

Pre-screening posts on sites a technological issue: NASSCOM - ‎10 minutes ago‎
The government has sanctioned the prosecution of several websites including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube amongst others. The Delhi High Court had earlier refused to squash proceedings against Google and Facebook. The court had issued a summons ...

Govt grants sanction to prosecute internet cos

Hindu Business Line - ‎1 hour ago‎
The Department of Information Technology (DIT) has given its sanction to prosecute internet companies such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, Yahoo, Microsoft and Orkut on a complaint against them for allegedly allowing objectionable contents on their ...

India agrees to prosecute Google, Facebook

AFP - ‎2 hours ago‎
NEW DELHI — India's government on Friday authorised the prosecution of 21 Internet firms including Facebook and Google in a case over obscene content posted online, two sources told AFP. The approval could lead to company directors being called to a ...
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India and Israel have decided to step up the counter-terrorism strategy besides boosting agriculture cooperation through technology. SM Krishna, the first Indian external affairs minister to visit Israel in over a decade, met Israel's top leadership on Tuesday.The two countries also signed an extradition treaty and a pact on transfer of sentenced prisoners as Krishna wound up his two-day visit here.

A day after Delhi high court warned social websites to devise mechanism to check and remove objectionable content or face action like in China, there was more trouble for them.

Objectionable content: Govt files reply against FB, Google

The government on Friday told a Delhi trial court that there is sufficient material to proceed against 21 social networking sites for offences of promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration.

"The sanctioning authority has personally gone through the entire records and materials produced before him and after considering and examining the same, he is satisfied that there is sufficient material to proceed against the accused persons under section 153-A, 153-B and 295-A of the IPC," the Centre said in its report placed before Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar.

The list includes Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

The matter will now come up for hearing on March 13 and the court has directed the accused to appear in person on the next date.

The two-page report was placed after the court directed ministry of external affairs (MEA) to get the summons served on over ten foreign-based companies. The summons were issued on December 23 last but they remained unserved.

The court had on December 23 issued summons to 21 social netorking websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and sale of obscene objects to young persons.

It had said prima facie the accused companies were liable to be summoned for promoting enemity between classes, causing prejudice to national integration and insulting religion or religious belief of any class, but it could not summon them without having prior sanction of central or state government or the district magistrate.

The department of information technology, in its report, granted saction to proceed against the 21 companies for allegedly promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration.

The report said, "The documents and contents therein are in the nature to instigate enimity between different groups on the ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and doing acts prejudicial to the maintainance of harmony...."

It said the contents were provocative and were prejudicial to national integration.

The report said in view of the documents and confirmation of availability of such contents on the website/ search engines as reported by station house officer of Tughlak Road police station, the sanctioning authority, Government of India, was satisfied that such content was violative of the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.

It said after due application of "judicious mind", it was found appropriate to grant sanction under section 196 of CrPC to proceed against the accused persons in the aforesaid complaint keeping in view national harmony, integration and national interest.

The report said that they had held four meetings with the representatives of social networking sites and search engines Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft.

"The availability of objectionable content on their websites and their search results through the search engine was brought to their knowledge. The objectionable and defamatory content was also shown to them and they were requested to take appropriate action in the public interest, national harmony and integration....," it said.

The report said even in August last year, the availability of similar content on such websites was brought to the notice of the Department of Information Technology.

Meanwhile, the court on Friday issued directions to the MEA after the counsel appearing forFacebook India said over ten out of the 21 companies were foreign based and the court would have to issue process to serve the summons to them.

The magistrate directed the MEA to get the summons served saying, "Let the process (to serve the summons) to (foreign based) accused be sent through MEA as per the process."

The court's order came after advocate Shashi Tripathi, appearing for complainant Vinay Rai, said he would file a fresh list of addresses of these foreign-based sites in the court.

During the hearing, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Facebook India, sought adjournment for the day saying the matter is pending before the Delhi high court and the case file is also in the high court.

He said that one of the accused, who is chairman of the Facebook, is based in California in USA and the court will have to direct the MEA for serving summons on him.

The counsel for Google India Pvt Ltd also asked the court to adjourn the matter today. He said that summons issued to accused companies Orkut, Youtube and Blogspot have been mistakenly served at their premises here.

Some of the accused companies had also moved the high court against the summons issued to them.

The magistrate's December 23 order had come three days after another court in a civil case had restrained these sites including Facebook, Google and Youtube from webcasting any "anti-religious" or "anti-social" content promoting hatred or communal disharmony.

In a country where close to 60 percent of the 1.21 billion population still depends on agriculture for a living, the spoken web service can be a boon to farmers in distant areas.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences has approached IT giant IBM to design a dedicated agromet (agriculture meteorological) service for farmers. The company has recently launched a similar service for farmers to connect them to Amul Dairy.

The ministry already provides SMS and an Integrated Voice Response System (IVRS) service to farmers, giving them farming information, weather and climatic details to help them meet agricultural targets.

The need for the spoken web service was felt to provide information in an interactive mode. "Through SMS and IVRS service, farmers only get updates but through spoken web service they can ask questions and get answers for their queries related to agriculture," Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the ministry, told IANS.

Nayak said the ministry has approached IBM for developing the dedicated service for farmers.

However, IBM denied any information on the project.

Spoken web is a project where people can speak and interact with web information through voice. Farmers can dial a toll-free number and ask questions and get them answered. Specific questions would be recorded and later answered by experts.

"Spoken web service will be of great use to illiterate farmers who are not technologically equipped," he said.

The SMS and IVRS mode were launched in 2009 covering 5,000 farmers. It now covers 2.8 million growers and by 2017 the method would cover 20 million.

While the India Meteorological Department (IMD) dishes out the weather report, the Integrated Agromet Advisory Service -- involving organisations like the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture (Central and State) and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) -- gives weather-based agro advisories specifically meant for the farming community.

The SMSs are being sent to farmers in their regional language on their mobile phones. The IVRS was developed keeping in mind illiterate people as they can listen to an automated message and get farming information.

The short and timely alerts to farmers about the weather have led to economic benefits worth a whopping Rs.50,000 crore annually.

According to a National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) report, roughly 24 percent of farmers in over 550 districts are either aware or using the Agromet services, while two million farmers are availing themselves of the mobile SMS service which started over a year ago.

The report says the Rs.50,000 crore figure could rise to Rs.211,000 crore if the entire farming community in the country was to judiciously use the Agromet information and apply it to agricultural activities.

With India's Test tour of Australia heading towards a disaster, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar called for axing of some of the senior players in the side and bring in young blood to take the team forward.

"What India now need to do very, very quickly is to look forward and not backward. If it unfortunately means that we have to say goodbye to some of the players who have served the country for so long and so wonderfully, that we have to do," Gavaskar said when asked where Indian cricket was going after the team was bundled out for 161 in the third Test against Australia in Perth on Friday.

"Because, if the team is going to get out for 160-odd it's better to do with young players so that they can learn from experience and serve the country better in future rather than with those who have been there, seen it and done that but who are not being able to do it now," he said.

Gavaskar, however, made it clear that he was not suggesting axing of all the senior players nor was he calling for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's removal from captaincy.

"I am not saying that the whole team should be disbanded and not suggesting all the senior players should go. Lots of people are suggesting to drop Dhoni from captaincy, I am not saying that. I am saying that we have to bring in new players who have not been affected by the happenings since England tour," said Gavaskar,

"I think the selectors are capable of taking hard decisions and if hard decisions are to be taken for the Indian team they have to take it," he told 'NDTV'.

The former captain also expressed disappointment that the Indian bowlers were outperformed by their relatively inexperienced Australian counterparts.

"It's very disappointing because it is a series of high hopes when we all of us cricket fans know that India had a wonderful opportunity to win the series in Australia for the first time," he said.

"It's disappointing that Indian bowlers were clobbered all over the park by a relatively inexperienced Australian opening pair. On the other hand, a relatively inexperienced Australian bowling attack shot out the Indian top-order batting line up who have scored more than 50,000 Test runs together for just 161," said Gavaskar.

"Things are not clinking for the team and we have to see how it will be rectified," he added.

For years, India has conducted its relations with Israel almost covertly, as if trying to hide from the Arab world, where its traditional friends lay. But an official who was part of Krishna's meetings in Israel observed, "This visit proved that at the highest levels, India and Israel can openly discuss issues of interest and concern with each other like other normal partners, without inhibitions ."

That, in essence was the greatest strategic takeaway from Krishna's visit to Israel, the first in over a decade, with a country that has rapidly become one of India's most important partners , particularly in critical areas of security, defence and what matters to Indians most, agriculture. In his public interactions, Krishna unhesitatingly detailed counter-terrorism, security and defence as the big areas of connect with Israel.

Interestingly, while Krishna was being presented with a specially signed tennis racquet as an acknowledgment of his love for sports, premier Israeli business media Globes reported that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was signing its largest-ever defence deal with India, over $1.1 billion worth of missiles, anti-missile systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), intelligence and other systems. According to estimates, defence trade between India and Israel amounted to almost $9 billion.

Pentagon officials worry that outrage over a video purporting to depict Marines urinating on Taliban corpses will tarnish the reputation of the entire military. Some also fear it could undermine prospects for exploratory Afghan peace talks.

After roundly condemning the Marines' alleged behavior, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and top military leaders on Thursday promised a full investigation and sought to contain the damage at home and abroad.

According to professor Rajesh Mishra, head of the sociology department in Lucknow University, as they grow in stature, emerging politicians start having economic interests of their own that goes beyond funding elections.

"This leads to active collaboration with particular business houses for whom they tweaks policies, manages bidding processes and contracts, and facilitate all direct clearances," he says. It's a symbiotic relationship, adds Professor DS Sengar of Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. "A businessman needs certainty to function and expand."

In UP, if the Jaypee Group and Ponty Chadha have prospered under Mayawati, Anil Ambani and Subrata Roy have endured body blows. Mishra describes it as a "fi ght of the foxes". "When a certain political party assumes power, it goes out to hurt the interests of those who are seen close to the previous regime," he says.

"Corporate groups are ready for such periods of victimisation. It becomes a part of their risk-management strategy, where they multiply fast during one period and then try to preserve during an adverse regime."

Panetta also said the incident could endanger the outlook for peace talks, although the Obama administration and the Taliban each voiced readiness Thursday to try peace talks while pledging to carry on the military conflict until their rival objectives are met. The separate statements by senior American and Taliban officials illustrated the improved environment for Afghan reconciliation efforts as well as the daunting task ahead.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the law enforcement arm of the Navy, is heading the main inquiry, which is expected to weigh evidence of violations of the U.S. military legal code as well as the international laws of warfare. Separately, the Marine Corps is doing its own internal investigation.

By Thursday evening, the NCIS had interviewed two of the four Marines appearing in the video. At the time they were filmed urinating on the bodies, the four were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which fought in the southern Afghan province of Helmand for seven months before returning to their home base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, last September.

Two of the four, plus the commander of the battalion, had moved on to other assignments before the video appeared on the Internet, according to Marine Corps officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss an active investigation.

Even Thursday's emergence of the Internet video depicting Marines urinating on what appear to be Afghan corpses didn't seem to immediately set back movement toward exploratory negotiations with the Taliban. Asked about possible implications for peace talks, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. remained strongly committed to supporting Afghan efforts.

Panetta, however, said the incident could endanger the talks.

``The danger is that this kind of video can be misused in many ways to undermine what we are trying to do in Afghanistan and the possibility of reconciliation,'' Panetta said at Fort Bliss, Texas, adding it's important for the U.S. to move quickly to ``send a clear signal to the world that the U.S. will not tolerate this kind of behavior and that is not what the U.S. is all about.''

Before he left Washington for his troop visit to Fort Bliss, Panetta called President Hamid Karzai to promise a full investigation of the video affair and condemned the Marines' behavior as ``entirely inappropriate.''

As the video spread across the Internet in postings and re-postings, U.S. officials joined with Afghans in calling it shocking, deplorable, inhumane and a breach of military standards of conduct. It shows men in Marine combat gear standing in a semicircle urinating on the bodies of three men in standard Afghan clothing, one whose chest was covered in blood.

It's not certain whether the dead were Taliban fighters, civilians or someone else.

The incident will likely further hurt ties with Karzai's government and complicate negotiations over a strategic partnership arrangement meant to govern the presence of U.S. troops and advisers in Afghanistan after most international combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

Anti-American sentiment is already on the rise in Afghanistan, especially among Afghans who have not seen improvements to their daily lives despite billions of dollars in international aid. They also have deplored the accidental killing of civilians during NATO airstrikes and argue that foreign troops have culturally offended the Afghan people, mostly when it comes to activities involving women and the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

Muslim body slams Salman Rushdie's visit, calls him apostate

Expressing displeasure over granting of visa to controversial writer Salman Rushdie by the Indian government, a Jammu and Kashmir-based Muslim body today said the author is an "apostate" and liable to be "killed".
"A meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Personal Law Board was held today to discuss the issuance of visa to Salman Rushdie and extreme displeasure and anger was expressed on the issue because Rushdie has already been found involved in apostasy and Islamic scholars have unanimously passed death edict against him as per Shariah law," JKMPLB said in a statement here.
"Rushdie's entry into India will naturally hurt the sentiments of 22 crore Muslims including those in Jammu and Kashmir," it said.
Accusing the Congress of exploiting Muslims for electoral gains, the organisation said the Centre should have been sensitive to the sentiments of the community but it is being felt that they are more interested in patronising the entry of Salman Rushdie into the country.
Several Islamic religious bodies have demanded cancellation of Rushdie's visa even as the controversial author said he does not need a visa to come here.
The 65-year-old Rushdie had earned the wrath of Muslims worldwide due to the alleged blasphemous content in his novel "The Satanic Verses", published in 1988.

The Economists and the Media have joined hands to push hard for Reforms Drive in India which is Systematic Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Destruction of the Excluded Communities, the Mulnivasi Bahujan who not only lose land, home, jof, livelihood but are selected to be killed.

Globalization's poster child to a laggard among major economies, India isn't shining any more

Globalization's poster child to a laggard among major economies, India isn't shining any more. Not ours, it is the conclusion of Amreican Media. New York times puts the Truth in its right prospect which is  denied by Reputed Economist who promote the LPG  Mafia Rule in india.

Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz on Friday said that India's growth at 7% is a mark of achievement in the current global scenario. Speaking to ET NOW, he said that India can afford a high deficit if invested for larger capex. On the other hand New York Times says that It's a testimony to the lingering effects of a four-decades-old socialistic economy: Each time India makes a policy move toward creating wealth, it does so with a grudging sense of sacrifice and an insistence that it's doing the world, and specifically the United States and the West, a favor.

The Economists and the Media have joined hands to push hard for Reforms Drive in India which is Systematic Ethnic Cleansing and Mass Destruction of the Excluded Communities, the Mulnivasi Bahujan who not only lose land, home, jof, livelihood but are selected to be killed.

New York Times says that the most recent example came in November, when the coalition government, headed by the Congress Party, attempted to liberalize rules governing investment by foreign companies in organized retail. Protests from the opposition soon had the government retracing its steps.

Such backtracking, along with a logjam on reform, explain how India, in three years, has gone from being globalization's poster child to becoming the laggard among the major emerging economies. In 2008-2009, India and China were the standout survivors of thefinancial crisis, invited to the Group of Twenty high table and expected to steer the course for 21st-century commerce. As the sun set on 2011, however, key stakeholders in the Indian economy were contemplating rough, cold nights ahead.

New York Times says that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government had proposed that 51-per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) be allowed in the multi-brand retail space. This would have let companies such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour, banned from investing even a dollar in front-end retail stores in India, set up shop in Asia's third-largest economy. The Singh government also announced a decision to enhance permissible FDI in single-brand retail to 100 per cent from the previous 51 per cent. With the government's retreat, however, the multi-brand decision is off, though the single-brand policy change will go ahead.

The FDI-in-retail controversy is telling for three reasons.

First, it's a reminder that, despite the country's having been among the biggest beneficiaries of the globalization process during the past two decades, significant sections of Indian society remain deeply suspicious of foreign investment.

Second, the outcry has underlined the difficulties of pursuing even fairly obviously needed economic reform and policy change in India's extraordinarily competitive and fractious democracy. Limits to foreign equity in retail are decided by executive order and do not require parliamentary approval or changes in legislation. Nevertheless, facing broad opposition and blackmail by junior parties in the ruling coalition, the government had to capitulate.

Finally the episode renewed pressure on the Singh government to restore India's momentum. Growing at close to 10 per cent three years ago, the economy is showing alarming signs of slowdown. GDP growth in 2011-2012 - the financial year runs from April to March - is likely to fall below 7 per cent, against the government's target of 9 per cent. The fiscal deficit is certain to overshoot the 4.6-per cent figure promised in the 2011 budget, and could be closer to 6 per cent. The rupee is sliding toward historic lows compared to the dollar.

Statistics released by the government report that in October 2011 industrial production declined 5.1 per cent, compared to the same month in 2010. The contraction in the capital-goods sector was an astonishing 25.5 per cent, indicating business pessimism and wariness in investing in new capacity.

Declining FDI and investor confidence in India's capital markets are also causing concern. Unremitting inflation and the government's use of fiscal measures to check it have created a vicious circle.

To optimize the advantages of an interlinked economic system, a country needs to keep its eyes not only on globalization, but also on another ''g'' word: governance. This is where India has faltered. Complacent about the inevitability of rapid growth, the Congress-led government has an internal division as to the necessity and political legitimacy of deregulation, decontrol and market-friendly reform.

While Singh is clearly a believer, his party president and political boss, Sonia Gandhi, does not see growth as an overriding priority - and the mounting bill of a range of welfare programs she favors has had a devastating impact. Paradoxically, it is the rural constituency she is keen to protect that would have benefited most from the now-botched reform.

Stiglitz said that India's knowledge, economy and democracy is its strength. Commenting on the economic growth, he said, "Today, we look with amazement at some of the rates of growth in theemerging markets. That growth is not small measure because these countries have learned how to close the knowledge gap."

He also said the emerging countries have learnt to close the knowledge gap with the developed countries. The economist also cautioned India that it cannot afford to waste its resources to mitigate the impact of economic crisis.

He said that the US economy is far from being completely healthy, and the government had 'wasted' resources to mitigate the scale of devastation in the country's financial sector brought about by the recession.

"Let this be a warning for India. America is a rich country that can, perhaps, afford such waste. India is not," he said.

US should clear stand on Pak-sponsored terrorism: Narendra Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today told the US Republican Party delegation that their country should make its policy clear on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism against India.
A seven-member delegation of the Republican Party of the US, led by Paula Dobriansky, also discussed the issue of Indo-US relationship and that between Gujarat and China.
"Indo-US relations have been cordial. But since both--India and the USA have been victims of terrorism and India faces it from across the Pakistan border, the latter (the US) should clear its stand on the issue," Modi told the delegation.
"India is not expecting the USA to publicly condemn Pakistan-sponsored terrorism towards India, but can change its attitude towards the problem," Modi said. The US has denied visas to Modi on the issue of 2002 riots. Modi had recently visited China along with a delegation of business heads.
On the relations between Gujarat and China, Modi said, "Cooperation between Gujarat and China in development is on the rise and Gujarat is capable of competing with China in the manufacturing sector".
On a question of pending boundary dispute between India and China, Modi said, "The border issue comes under the purview of the foreign policies of Government of India."
The Chief Minister pointed out that the contribution of America, Britain and Europe in industries in Gujarat was the highest.
Other members of the delegation were Constance Newman, Maria Cino, Lorne Craner, Judy van Rest, Tina Mufford and Johanna Kao.
Modi briefed the delegation about Gujarat Government's development of the automobile sector, revolutionary results in agriculture and in setting up specialist universities in the state for human resource development, besides creating a separate government department to contain the effects of Climate Change through convenient action plans.

Sanjiv Bhatt approaches SC against HC order denying stay in 1990 case

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has approached the Supreme Court, challenging a Gujarat High Court order denying him relief by way of stay on criminal proceedings against him in a 1990 case of alleged police atrocity which had resulted in the death of one person.
Bhatt's lawyer IH Sayed confirmed that they have filed a special leave application (SLP) in the apex court against the high court order, which was due to be heard in the last week of this month.
In December last year, Justice M R Shah had rejected Bhatt's petition seeking quashing of the order of Jamnagar court refusing to defer framing of charges against him in the two-decade-old case.
The high court had said that there was no need to restrain the court from framing charges against Bhatt in the 21-year old case.
The high court while refusing to stay the criminal proceeding against Bhatt, however, observed that the framing of charges against Bhatt would be subject to outcome of his criminal revision application which the Jamnagar court would decide upon after hearing Bhatt and the prosecution.
On December 9, 2011, a fast track court of Jamkhambhalia taluka in Jamnagar rejected Bhatt's application seeking deferment in framing of charges against him.

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January 13, 2012 7:17 am

Apple halts iPhone 4S sales in its China shops

By Kathrin Hille in Beijing
Apple's strategy of fanning Chinese consumers' desire for its products backfired as a riot at its flagship store in Beijing prompted police action.
The company stopped sales of the iPhone 4S in its shops in China on Friday and the Apple store in the Sanlitun district in central Beijing stayed closed after a crowd waiting to buy the model on its launch in the country pelted the shop with eggs and started fighting with security guards.





Many people had been queueing all night in freezing temperatures outside the shop in an upscale shopping mall. But at sunrise, a guard told them sales would not start after all.
"Stores in China have already sold out," said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu. "Unfortunately, we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun [in Beijing] due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, [iPhone 4Ss] will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being."
Customers can still order the devices from Apple's online store and through China Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile operator and the only official channel through which Chinese consumers can buy the iPhone 4S apart from Apple itself.
Chinese consumers have proved as eager for Apple's gadgets as their counterparts in most Western markets. Apple accounted for 10.4 per cent of China's rapidly growing smartphone market with 5.6m iPhones sold in the first nine months of 2011, according to Gartner, the research firm.
But sentiment against foreign brands can turn sour very quickly in China. Hundreds of protesters besieged a Porsche store in Shenzhen earlier this month after a customer said the foreign company had insulted him. Some internet users criticised Apple on Friday for making its Chinese customers "freeze and hunger".
Apple has moved much more slowly than other multinational brands to build a distribution and retail network in this market and launches most of its products in China several months after they go to market in the US. It has lost control over much of how iPhones, iPads and other popular gadgets are marketed here.
Through a vast grey market, fed by parallel imports, the products are normally available in China immediately after their US launch. Upon the official China launch, most iPhones and iPads are snapped up by black marketeers, who resell them with a hefty mark-up.
It was such people who turned violent on Friday morning, said witnesses. A middle-aged woman was still arguing with the guards at noon, saying she needed to "deliver the merchandise".
The launch of Apple's iPad 2 tablet computer triggered similar violence in May last year. Back then, the same Sanlitun store saw a fight between queueing customers and security staff, which left four people injured and a glass pane smashed.
Apple's sales in China have grown at a rapid rate during the past few years, jumping more than fourfold to $12.5bn, including Hong Kong, in the year ended September 24.
Despite the surge, China accounts for just 12 per cent of the company's total sales, with the US making up 39 per cent.
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Most popular in Companies

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