16 more swine flu cases, India’s tally now 525

New Delhi, July 31: Sixteen new cases of swine flu, including 11 children, were reported Friday, taking the total number of people infected with the virus to 525 in India, health officials said.
Acording to a health ministry statement, the new cases were reported from Pune (10), Hyderabad (2), Delhi (1), Gurgaon (1), Chandigarh (1), and Imphal (1).

47 arrested in anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow

Moscow, July 31: At least 47 people were arrested in Moscow Friday shortly before the start of an unauthorised demonstration against the policies of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Among the protesters arrested was opposition politician Eduard Limonov, the Interfax news agency reported, citing official sources.

Moscow human rights activist Lev Ponomarev called the actions by the security forces, who were present in great numbers, as “completely disproportionate”.

Musharraf acted extra-judicially, illegally

Islamabad, July 31: Holding that then president Pervez Musharraf had acted extra-judicially, illegally and unconstitutionally in imposing an emergency and sacking Supreme Court judges two years ago, Pakistan’s apex court Friday termed as null and void the steps he had taken Nov 3, 2007.

A 14-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry, however, stopped short of censuring Musharraf as had been demanded in a petition the court was hearing against the declaration of the emergency.

‘Poverty, patriarchy make women vulnerable’

Hyderabad, July 31: Beauty parlours and massage centres in the Old City are becoming belts for prostitution and sexual abuse for hapless women forced into the trade, said activists from a Women’s Resource and Welfare NGO in the Old City on Thursday.

Gas connection with health benefits

Hyderabad, July 31: The Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) on Thursday initiated a consumer benefit plan, whereby domestic gas consumers of the corporation can avail a 50 percent discount on certain cardiac health checkup packages from Wockhardt Hospitals.

Announced at a memorandum signing event at the hospital premises, the scheme is expected to reach out to a city-wide consumer base of around 6 lakh consumers.

Rahul Bose Starts blogging for creating awareness!!!

Mumbai, July 31: Rahul Bose in association with Bigadda.com, a networking site from Reliance ADA Group, and Planet Alert, an initiative by Gyaan and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in India, has volunteered to pen down his activities to bring environmental awareness.

“There are many things that India should know about the dangers in climate change and the initiatives that should be taken to combat it,” Rahul Bose said.

Sensex closes at highest point in over 13 months

Mumbai, July 31: Strong corporate earnings and encouraging cues from Asian markets prompted investors to come back to the buying table at Indian equities markets Friday as a key index closed 282 points up from its last closing figure.

The 30-scrip benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the Sensex, which opened lower at 15,449.47 points, shut shop at 15,670.31 points — 282.35 points or 1.83 percent higher than Thursday’s closing figure.

Friday’s close is the highest for the Sensex in 2009.

Bombings at Iraqi Shia mosques kill 30

Baghdad, July 31: At least 30 people were killed and 37 injured Friday in a series of attacks targeting five Shia mosques in Baghdad, Iraqi security sources said.

Police forces cordoned all the areas around the mosques in al-Shaab, al-Zaafaraniya, al-Kahira and al-Kamaliya districts.

Later, a fifth explosion took place near Diyala bridge in the city’s south. The blasts took place right after the Friday prayers.

According to the Voices of Iraq news agency, a car bomb that went off near al-Shroufi mosque in the northern district of al-Shaab left 15 civilians killed and 40 wounded.

Parents protest ‘forcible’ hair-cutting of students

Chandigarh, July 31: Parents of six students of a government school here on Thursday accused teachers of the school of allowing adult education students forcibly cut the hair of their wards.

Taking a serious note of the issue, officials of the Chandigarh education department said they would look into the case and take action against the guilty.

Vedanta row, BJP sees danger to wildlife

Bhubaneswar, July 31: The opposition BJP today voiced concern about the fate of eco-fragile sensitive zone around Balukhand-Konark sanctuary, located barely few meters from the proposed Vedanta University near Puri.

Raising the issue during the debate on the bill in the assembly, BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo said, “boundary of the proposed varsity is touching the sanctuary.”

British soldier protests Afghan war to PM

London, July 31: A soldier facing a court martial for refusing to serve in Afghanistan urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown Thursday to withdraw Britain’s troops, saying they had become “a tool of American foreign policy.”

Delivering a letter to Brown’s Downing Street office, Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, 27, said the NATO-led mission there was bringing “death and devastation” to the Afghan people and would ultimately fail.

“It is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy,” he wrote.

Butt should retire now: Dasti

Karachi, July 31: Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ejaz Butt was asked to retire by Parliamentary Committee chairman Jamshed Khan Dasti during a hearing on cricket affairs at the Parliament house.

In an interesting exchange of words between Butt and the Chairman of the parliamentary committee, Jamshed Khan Dasti, the former was reminded that even for government servants the retirement age was 60 years.

“Butt sahib even government employees retire at 60. How old are you,” Dasti asked Butt.

“I am 70,” replied Butt at the hearing on cricket affairs at the parliament house.

Expelled AIADMK member resigns assembly seat

Chennai, July 31: A day after he expressed his willingness to join DMK, expelled AIADMK member Anitha R Radhakrishnan today resigned as MLA of Tiruchendur.

Radhakrishnan submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker R Avudaiyappan who accepted it, official sources said.

The former Minister was expelled by AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa for alleged anti-party activities along with fellow partyman and Mylapore MLA S Ve Shekher two days ago.

Radhakrishnan had called on Karunanidhi yesterday and expressed willingness to join the party.

After Dhoni, Bhajji also buys a hummer

Jalandhar, July 31: After skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh has become the latest Indian cricketer to buy the Hummer and the feisty off-spinner says the American SUV is the dream car he has always wanted to possess.

Harbhajan imported the car from England, which costs about Rs 70 lakh in India. After paying the duty, the cost of the vehicle has come to Rs one crore.

While Dhoni’s Hummer is of silver colour, Harbhajan has opted for a “Black Beauty”.

Harbhajan is planning to first visit some religious places with his new car before showing it off to the media.

India, Pak leaders must build bridges, not walls: Gilani

Islamabad, July 31: The political leaders of India and Pakistan should build “bridges and not walls” as talks are the only way forward for the two neighbouring countries, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said today.

“Talks (between the two countries) are imperative and politicians should build bridges and not walls,” Gilani told reporters here on the sidelines of a function marking the inauguration of the new stock exchange.

Dipika two matches away from world junior title

Chennai, July 31: Top seed Indian Dipika Pallikal today brushed aside the challenge of Nouran El Torky of Egypt to advance to the semifinal of the 13th World Junior (Men and Women) Squash Championship here today.

Playing before a cheering crowd, Pallikal beat the fifth seeded Egyptian opponent 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-6 in 37 minutes.

Pallikal faces 13-year-old and fourth seed Nour El Tayeb of Egypt in the semifinals tomorrow. Tayeb, who recently became the youngest ever player to reach the final of a WISPA event, eliminated her compatriot Salma Hany 11-7, 11-6, 11-1 in 21 minutes.

CPIM demands assessment into windstorm damage

Srinagar, July 31: The CPIM today demanded immediate assessment of damage caused by windstorm that hit parts of Kupwara early last week.

“There is an immediate need for damage assessment and relief for the cyclone hit families in Handwara and Langate areas of Kupwara,” secretary of Jammu and Kashmir unit of CPIM MY Tarigami said today.

A woman was killed and 65 others were injured, while 1,300 structures including residential houses and shops were damaged, when windstorm with a speed of 34 kilometre per hour swept Kupwara on Sunday.

Rahul promises aid to Bundelkhand region

New Delhi, July 31: Rahul Gandhi today said Congress will do whatever that is required for the people of Bundelkhand.

AICC general secretary, who recently a led delegation of MPs from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a package for Bundelkhand, said his concept is clear that no region from both the states or for that matter any other region of the country should be left lagging behind.

Krishnam Raju quits Chiranjeevi’s party

Hyderabad, July 31: Veteran actor and former union minister U.V. Krishnam Raju Friday quit Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP).

Raju, who had left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for PRP, is the second key leader to quit the party after its disastrous performance in the simultaneous polls to the Andhra Pradesh state assembly and the Lok Sabha.

Raju told a Telugu television channel that he quit the PRP as it had failed to reach out to the masses and use his services. He said he would not join any party.

Nandita Das new head of Children’s Film Society

New Delhi, July 31: Actress-director Nandita Das has been appointed the new chairperson of the Children’s Films Society of India (CFSI).

‘The tenure of her appointment … shall be for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier,’ read an official statement.

Earlier, the post was held by actress-social activist Nafisa Ali. It fell vacant when she resigned to contest the Lok Sabha election from Lucknow on Samajwadi Party ticket this year.

Car made by Indian students wins first prize in US

Chandigarh, July 31: A car designed and built by engineering students from a Punjab town has won first prize in the perseverance category at an international competition, held in the US.

The car won first prize at the ‘International Car Fiesta Shell Eco Marathon’ held at Fontana, California April 15-18.

Ankit Khurana, team leader of the project, said here Friday: ‘Around 32 teams from different countries participated in this competition. We were the only team from Asia. We named our car Stealth and christened ourselves Team Stealth.’

Iranian police arrested 50 commemorating post-election victims

Tehran, July 31: Iranian police arrested 50 people after breaking up demonstrations commemorating the victims of the country’s post- election clashes, the semi-official news agency ILNA reported on Friday.

Police and security forces on Thursday broke up memorial services in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran and other districts in the capital city that were held to remember those killed in demonstrations against alleged fraud in the June 12 presidential election.

Australian court brands Muslim leader a racist

Sydney, July 31: Australia’s best-known Muslim leader “holds views which can properly be described as racist,” a Supreme Court judge said Friday when deciding against him in a defamation action he brought against a Sydney radio station. Keysar Trad, head of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, is the spokesman for Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the mufti of Sydney’s biggest mosque.

He sought damages from 2GB radio station for its description of him as a dangerous individual who incited violence, hatred, and racism.

Pakistani boys recall ordeal at suicide training centre

Islamabad, July 31: Four boys from Swat in Pakistan’s restive northwest who were kidnapped by militants to be trained as suicide bombers have narrated harrowing tales of their ordeal in captivity, saying they were told to target their families if prevented from joining the jihad against security forces.

They said militants had taken them by force from their villages to training camps in different parts of the Matta sub-district where a large number of other boys were being trained as suicide bombers, Dawn reported Friday in a dispatch from Swat’s largest city of Mingora.