Al-Qaeda agent sentenced to more than 8 years

Peoria, October 31: A US judge sentenced Al-Qaeda sleeper agent Ali al-Marri to more than eight years in prison on Thursday, rejecting pleas from prosecutors for a much longer jail term.

Judge Michael Mihm expressed fears Marri could re-offend but said a “just sentence” must reflect the fact he was designated an “enemy combatant” and forced to spend more than six years in a US Navy brig without charge.

Marri, a 44-year-old dual Saudi-Qatari national, confessed in April to having trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan before being sent to the United States on a mission.

Swine flu panic grips Lebanon schools

Beirut, October 31: Alarm is spreading among Lebanese over fears of a large-scale swine flu outbreak in schools after the country’s first A(H1N1) death this week, but officials say there is no need to panic.

“People are panicking extensively, and most are focusing on schools, although the risk of catching the virus anywhere else is just as high,” said Father Marwan Tabet, secretary general of Lebanon’s Catholic schools.

Israeli defence minister cancels Spain visit

Madrid, October 31: Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak has cancelled a visit to Spain next week amid alleged disagreements between the two nations over the command of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Barak was scheduled to meet Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and Defence Minister Carme Chacon during his two-day visit which had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The visit will no longer take place due to “agenda reasons”, a Spanish foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday.

Turkish FM in Iraq’s Kurdistan

Arbil, October 31: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu arrived in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq on Friday, as part of Ankara’s efforts to end a conflict with Kurdish rebels based across its southern border.

Davutoglu’s visit to Arbil, the first by a Turkish minister to the region, will include talks with Kurdish president Massud Barzani, and follows a short trip to Iraq’s southern port of Basra, where he opened a new Turkish consulate.

US general warns of rise in Iraq violence

Washington, October 31: US forces expect insurgents to plan more spectacular attacks like massive bombings in Baghdad last week in the run-up to January polls and are braced for an upswing in violence, warned a senior general.

Major General John D. Johnson added that while he expected the security situation to stabilise by the middle of next year, politically motivated violence aimed at influencing the shape of the next government was a concern.

Migrant workers severely exploited in Israel

Tel Aviv, October 31: Migrant workers in Israel’s agriculture sector are among the most exploited, according to a 28 October report by Kav LaOved, an Israeli NGO campaigning for the rights of disadvantaged workers in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Ninety percent of such workers work more hours than allowed under Israeli law, without overtime payments, said the report, which has been presented to members of parliament.

History-sheeters held, ganja recovered

Hyderabad, October 31: Two history-sheeters were nabbed with three kgs of ganja and two daggers.

Task Force West Zone sleuths nabbed the duo near Mallepally while they were selling ganja and recovered the weapons.

The history-sheeters are Mohd Lateef of Mallepally and Mir Mudassir Ali of First Lancer.

More Andhra Pradesh Ministers mull over resignation?

Hyderabad,October 31: A day after Andhra Pradesh Women Development and Child Welfare Minister Konda Surekha tendered her resignation from the Cabinet, questions are being raised about the real reasons that prompted her to quit the Ministry.

While Ms. Surekha claimed that she was unable to continue in the post in the absence of YSR, loyalists of the former Chief Minister attributed her decision to ‘intensified efforts’ by a section of Congress leaders to keep Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy out of contention for the Chief Minister’s post.

Iraq war, torture return to haunt Blair

London, October 31: Tony Blair’s stance on the Iraq war, torture, relations with Bush and the euro may have blighted his chances of becoming the EU president.

The questions are key to discussions about whether he should take the new role of European Council president when the job comes into force under the Lisbon Treaty, expected to become law by December.

On Iraq, Blair put Britain’s ties with the United States above those with its European partners France and Germany, who strongly opposed the conflict.

Yadav challenges Girish’s appointment

Hyderabad, October 31: Former Director General of Police S. S. P. Yadav has filed a petition in the Central Administrative Tribunal challenging the promotion given to R. R. Girish Kumar and his appointment as DGP in violation of IPS Pay Rules.

Mr. Yadav, who was transferred and posted as Managing Director of A. P. State Road Transport Corporation, is learnt to have complained that the norms permitted only four DG rank posts in Andhra Pradesh.
Fifth rank post

Teacher killed in accident

Hyderabad, October 31: A schoolteacher died after his twowheeler was hit by a speeding lorry at Uppal Ring Road on Friday. The schoolteacher’s vehicle was burnt down in the accident as fuel from the tank spilled out and it caught fire due to friction.

The victim, G Kamesh (29), was a resident of Vasavi Colony near Kothapet.

Kamesh used to give private tuitions to students at their homes and was on his way to a student’s house at Ramanthapur on Friday morning at around 6.30 am.

Kamesh’s vehicle was hit by a speeding lorry coming from behind at Uppal Ring Road, police said.

BJP to contest from all 150 GHMC divisions

Hyderabad, October 31: The State BJP has decided to contest from all the 150 divisions in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) in the coming elections and will release the first list of candidates besides the manifesto on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference, State BJP president Bandaru Dattatreya and MLA, G. Kishen Reddy, said the party was confident of winning a majority of divisions as both Congress and Telugu Desam have failed to make any impact on the development of the city though they come up with tall claims.

CM to launch ‘Abhayahastham’ on November 1

Hyderabad, October 31: Former chief minister late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s pet scheme `Abhayahastham’ would be launched across the State on November 1, on the occasion of Andhra Pradesh Formation Day. Chief Minister K Rosaiah will formally launch the scheme at Chevella in Rangareddy district, while the ministers concerned will distribute the bonds and certificates to the beneficiaries in their respective districts.

Crowd watch as police ‘beat man to death’

Colombo, October 31: A Man who jumped into the Indian ocean to escape arrest drowned after being badly beaten by Sri Lankan police in the water in front of a large crowd and television cameras, police said.

The 26-year-old motor mechanic was pursued by a policeman after he pelted stones at passing trains in the seafront Bambalapitiya area of Colombo on Thursday.

”The victim had been beaten and prevented from reaching the shore, resulting in his drowning,” police spokesman Nimal Mediwaka said.

”The constable has been arrested by the Crimes Division.”

Monster great white shark caught in South Africa not yet fully grown

Johannesburg, October 31: Fishermen are asking if this is the massive great white shark that has been stealing their catch, breaching repeatedly within metres of one terrified man’s surf ski.

These photographs of the 4.3m monster have been circulating on the internet, but reports from the South African fishing town of Mossel Bay confirm they are no hoax.

Frighteningly, scientists who dissected the female shark say it was adolescent and not yet fully grown, The Daily Telegraph reports.

‘Congress in throes of internal strife’

Hyderebad, October 31: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has described Minister Konda Surekha’s resignation as a symptom of “internal war’’ in the Congress — between the the high command and the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy group, mentored by KVP Ramachandra Rao.

Surpass targets, CM tells Small Savings agents

Hyderabad, October 31: Chief Minister K Rosaiah has called upon the agents of Small Savings department to surpass their annual targets so that the State Government could tap the Centre for more funds.

Speaking on the occasion of World Thrift Day here today, he said that he was one of those who believed in the benefits of thrift. “Small savings immensely help the State Government to draw funds from the Centre which lends amounts equal to that deposited in Small Savings of the State concerned,’’ he said.

Camorra city residents caught on tape ignoring hit

Italy, October 31: Italian prosecutors have released a video of a mafia-style murder in Naples met with indifference by bystanders, hoping it would help break a wall of silence over the identity of the killer.

The video, shot by closed-circuit cameras, shows a man wearing a baseball cap shooting dead Mariano Bacio Terracino, a 53-year-old man with a mafia criminal record, in broad daylight on May 11 this year.

Watch the execution of mafia hood Mariano Bacio Terracino

Terracino is seen smoking a cigarette outside a bar in the central Sanita neighbourhood.

Jagan jingle rings again

Hyderabad, October 31: Even as the Congress leadership dismissed the resignation of Women and Child Welfare Minister K Surekha as a decision taken due to personal reasons, the move by her appears to have breathed some life into the dying movement to make YS Jagan Mohan Reddy chief minister.

Governor ND Tiwari, who received the resignation letter from Surekha last night, forwarded it to Chief Minister K Rosaiah today who in turn sent it back to the governor requesting him to accept it. Accordingly, Tiwari accepted her resignation.

Petrol pumps may be robbing you blind

Hyderabad, October 31: For consumers whose attitude towards filling up fuel at various bunks is ‘Fill it, shut it, forget it’, they better watch out.

Meters of petrol dispensers in several parts of the Twin Cities have been tampered with. So if you feel that your bike or car is just not living up to its promised mileage, perhaps a trip to the Legal Metrology Department would stand you in good stead.

Turkish PM rules out early election

Turkey, October 31: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out holding a general election before its scheduled date in 2011, dismissing media reports this week that he might bring the vote forward by one year.

Double-digit unemployment in Turkey’s deepest economic contraction on record has led the government to boost spending by about 10 percent this year, and analysts have said Erdogan could call a snap election if the economy begins to grow swiftly next year.

Date set for Berlusconi corruption trial

France, October 31: The corruption trial against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will take place on November 27, judicial sources say, after a high court stripped him of his immunity.

The trial was suspended last year after Italy’s parliament passed legislation giving the prime minister immunity, but the Constitutional Court struck down the law on October 7, paving the way for legal cases against Mr Berlusconi to resume.

Mr Berlusconi is accused of paying his British former tax lawyer, David Mills, $US600,000 ($654,950) to give false evidence in two trials in the 1990s.

Babu sounds poll bugle

Hyderabad, October 31: Eyeing mayor post, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu today tried to woo the settlers from Andhra, Rayalaseema and other states in view of the coming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls.

“TDP created lakhs of jobs in Hyderabad. As a result settlers from Andhra, Rayalaseema and other states, including Gujarat are living in the city,’’ Naidu said while sounding the poll bugle at the party office.

“TDP will protect the interests of all the settlers,’’ Naidu said in a bid to strike chord with settlers, who are in large numbers.

Mafia boss arrested in chicken farm raid

France, October 31: Italian police have arrested one of the country’s most wanted mafia fugitives after tearing down a wall in a dawn raid at a chicken farm where he had built a hideout.

Salvatore Russo, the 51-year-old head of a Camorra clan carrying his name, had been sentenced to life in prison for homicide and links to organised crime and had been on the run since 1995, Naples police said in a statement.

The arrest was made just after 7am yesterday at the farm near Naples after he returned from hunting, investigators said at a news conference.

TDP leader’s kins’ role suspected in Cong leader’s murder

Vijayawada,October 31: The role of the family members of deceased TDP leader Aluri Butchaiah Chowdary in the Congress leader Ginjupalli Veeraiah Chowdary’s
murder has come to light, giving a new twist to the case.

According to sources, police have seized records pertaining to the bank transactions of the main accused in Veeraiah’s murder, Chinta Venkateswara Rao. Apparently, Butchaiah’s family members deposited Rs 9.5 lakh in the bank account of Venkateswara Rao a few days before the murder of Veeraiah.