‘Most private colleges are money-spinning factories’

Bangalore, July 01: The proposed oversight body for higher education is a “welcome development”, says Pushpa Bhargava, former vice-chairman of the Knowledge Commission. According to him, the present regulatory system is so inept that it is easy for anybody to set up a private professional college in India and fool regulators by hiring professors for three days.

I am honestly looking for a partner: Rakhi Sawant

New Delhi, July 01: Rakhi Sawant went overboard when she announced that she would find her life partner through a reality show “Rakhi Ka Swayamvar”. But now the outspoken actor, renowned more for her voluptuous looks than acting skills, says she is not doing it to hog the limelight.

“This (show) is not a publicity stunt or an entertainment show. All I can say is I am honestly looking for a partner with whom I can spend my life and who will love me for what I am,” Rakhi told IANS in an e-mail interview.

Shiv Sena upset as Govt names sea link after Rajiv Gandhi

Mumbai, July 01: India’s first sea bridge in this financial capital will be named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan announced in Mumbai. But this has upset several Opposition parties in the state.

The move to name the sea link between the main island and its suburbs after Gandhi came in response to a surprise demand to this effect by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). However, state opposition parties thought they should have been consulted on this.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link named Rajiv Gandhi Setu

Mumbai, July 01: The Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which was inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Mumbai on Tuesday, will be named as ‘Rajiv Gandhi Setu’.

The proposal for the same was mooted by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar after the formal inauguration and immediately accepted by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

Recalling the late Prime Minister’s contribution in India’s progress as an Information Technology giant, Pawar said it was Rajiv who infused scientific temper in the new generation.

Suppressed, looted and raped Iraq withstands all woes

US cruise missiles lit up the skyline of the Iraqi capital with fire. Special operations commandos from the US Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division from the Northern Iraq Liaison Element had entered Iraq and directly called for the air strikes. The US had invaded Iraq. Why? In the words of an American soldier who was interviewed a day after the invasion, “I wanna take revenge for 9/11.”

Babri report ‘indicts’ BJP

New Delhi, July 01: Seventeen years after it was set up, the Liberhan Commission of Enquiry, probing into the circumstances leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, submitted its final report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The report is believed to have indicted some of the key BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal functionaries for their roles on December 6, 1992, the day the masjid was razed to the ground by a frenzied mob of kar sevaks, sources said.

Sonia calls on Dilip Kumar at Lilavati

Mumbai, July 01: Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday paid a visit to veteran actor Dilip Kumar at the Lilavati Hospital. According to sources, she had earlier planned her visit to the actor who is recuperating at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the sixth floor of the Bandra-based hospital.

Nirupama Rao will be next Foreign Secretary

New Delhi, July 01: India’s Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao was named as the next Foreign Secretary to succeed Shivshankar Menon who will be retiring on July 31 after an eventful three-year stint as the top diplomat.

Rao, a 1973-batch IFS officer who has served in a number of key positions, will be the second woman Foreign Secretary of India after Chokila Iyer.

Prior to her posting in Beijing as Ambassador in October 2006, the 58-year-old seasoned diplomat had served as Indian envoy to Sri Lanka and the country’s first woman spokesperson.

New Delhi, Patna best cities for business: World Bank

New Delhi, July 01: Patna is ahead of Mumbai but second only to New Delhi in terms of ease of starting a business, according to a World Bank ranking announced.

Of the 17 cities figured in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s “Doing Business In India 2009” report, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bhubaneshwar are the other cities where it is easier to start a business.

Company threatens legal action on China Web filter

Beijing, July 01: A California company that says its software was illegally used in Beijing’s new Internet filter threatened unspecified legal action as PC makers faced a Wednesday deadline to supply the system with computers.

Solid Oak Software Inc. of Santa Barbara says it has written to Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Inc. and other producers calling on them not to use China’s Green Dam software on the grounds that it contains illegally obtained intellectual property.

Month after first patient admitted in RML, how is Delhi fighting the flu?

New Delhi, July 01: The Delhi government has decided against sending samples of H1N1 influenza cases to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, as the institute takes up to 48 hours to report back.

Experts say test results should not take more than six hours. Officials say since suspected patients are kept in the same wards as patients confirmed with H1N1 flu, it increases chances of getting infected. Now, the government will send samples only to the Delhi-based National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Monsoon rains bring relief; farmers rejoice too

New Delhi, July 01: Monsoon rains on Tuesday cooled several parts of the country, including the national capital, bringing smiles on the faces of people who were reeling under the unbearable heat wave.

People rejoiced and many of them did not miss the opportunity to drench themselves in the welcome showers. “The monsoon has reached Delhi and has also covered almost the entire country,” Ajit Tyagi, director-general of India Meteorological Department, said.

“But for parts of northwest Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, monsoon has covered the entire country,” he said.

Govt defers new tax number for TDS assessees

New Delhi, July 01: Assessees whose tax is deducted at source now can file their returns in the current assessment year without quoting a proposed tax number, UTN, as the government today deferred its introduction.

“Taxpayers filing their income tax returns for assessment year 2009-10 or any other earlier AY, may continue to file their returns without mentioning the Unique Transaction Number (UTN),” the Central Board of Direct Taxes said in a statement issued here today.

Gurdwara head attacked by masked man in UK town

London, July 01: The head of a Sikh Gurdwara in England’s Coventry town was attacked by a masked man who hit him with an iron bar several times, leaving him bruised.

Gian Singh, 72, had left the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash in Foleshill area and was walking towards a nearby bus stop when he was approached by his attacker.

The incident took place last Tuesday night but came to light only now.

Michael’s will surfaces, snubs father

Washington, July 01: A 2002 will of Michael Jackson grants the custody of his estate to his mother, Katherine and his three children but excludes his father, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, pop star’s family has not seen the document, the Journal said quoting family lawyer L Londell McMillan.

“No will has been presented to family or us. We will review any will when we see it,” McMillan said.

PC opens first promised NSG hub

New Delhi, July 30: India got its first hub of National Security Guard commandos after government promised four such centres as a result of the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008.

After the Mumbai terror attacks, the cabinet had approved setting up of NSG hubs in the metropolitan cities to quickly mobilise commandos in case of a terrorist strike. Home Minister P Chidambaram today inaugurated the first of the promised centres in Mumbai’s Marol suburb.

Cousin, call centre man held for bank exec’s kidnap

New Delhi, July 01: Two men, an exporter and a call centre employee, have been arrested on charges of abducting a manager of the HDFC Bank in Vasant Kunj, the police said on Tuesday.

Among the abductors is a distant cousin of the victim, identified as 25-year-old bank manager, Rahul Kumar. Officers said the ransom demand was for Rs 25 lakh.

Officers said both kidnappers, Rahul’s exporter cousin Naveen, 25, and his friend, the call centre employee, Kuldeep, 26, were heavily in debt and Rahul was their ticket to easy money.

Failed in SSC? Could get another chance soon

Pune, July 01: Those who have failed in two subjects in the SSC or HSC examinations this year may not lose the whole academic year. The government is keen on conducting early supplementary exams for Classes X and XII from this year itself.

“The government has conveyed its intent to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) to conduct early supplementary exams from this year,” Education Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe- Patil told Newsline on Tuesday.

Elderly asked to skip Haj

Jeddah, July 01: A workshop on precautionary health measures during Haj and Umrah recommended that the old, the infirm, pregnant women and children not perform Haj and Umrah this year in view of the global swine flu pandemic.

Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said at a press conference following a workshop in Jeddah yesterday that the World Health Organization (WHO) experts who participated in the conference were satisfied with the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom to prevent the spread of the virus among pilgrims during the Haj season.

Sharia courts operating in UK incompatible with Western legislation

Jerusalem, July 01: Islamic Sharia courts operating in the United Kingdom are seriously out of step with trends in Western legislation, according to a report.

At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are currently operational across the UK, a new probe by London based think tank Civitas has revealed.

The Civitas found that Muslim clerics have been handing out hundreds of Sharia judgments known as fatwas through mosques around the country.

Pose with SRK for Rs 12,000 only

Mumbai, July 01: Don’t mistake it for any exciting offer that you can avail in India. This price tag has been imposed by the management of a well known hotel in New York to cash-in and control the number of fans who throng to catch a glimpse of their superstar.

It’s known that the management of the hotel wants to make the most of the superstars stay at the hotel. The price tag is a way to streamline the ever-growing fan frenzy.

For diehard fans, the management has also planned to organize a dinner with the superstar but the fee will be different in that case.