US diplomat row: Zardari says court will decide issue

Islamabad, February 01:Amid growing pressure to release an American diplomat arrested for killing two Pakistanis in Lahore, President Asif Ali Zardari Monday said the US should wait for the court’s decision in the matter.

Zardari told a visiting US Congressional delegation, which raised the issue with the president, that it would be “prudent” to wait for the legal course, Geo News reported.

The president said that he appreciated their concern but the matter was already before the court. “It would be prudent to wait for the legal course to be completed,” he said.

Sripada Sagar contractor gets undue benefit

Hyderabad, January 31: Suspecting collusion between some irrigation officials and contractors in taking up irrigation projects under the Jalayagnam programme, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has decided to shortly have an exclusive day-long meeting on subjects relating to EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) system, release of mobilisation advances in projects like Pranahitha- Chevella and Polavaram and abnormal delay in project works etc.

The PAC has found that an undue benefit of about `14 crores was made to the contractor of Sripada Sagar project.

AP man gets life for killing girl’s parents

Hyderabad, January 31: A youth was Monday sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Andhra Pradesh for murdering a couple and injuring their daughter because she had spurned his advances more than a year back.

A local court in Rajhamundry town sentenced M. Rajesh after holding him guilty of murdering the couple Sep 17, 2009.

Rajesh had stabbed to death N. Srinu, an autorickshaw driver, and his wife N. Satyavathi as they tried to save their 17-year-old daughter Anusha, who was being attacked by Rajesh.

CM asks officials to process all applications

Hyderabad, January 31: Claiming that the ongoing Rachabanda programme was evoking good response than expected, minister for information and public relations DK Aruna today said that chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy instructed the district collectors and planning department officials to streamline and process all ‘Rachabanda’ applications for their proper redressal.

Missing PG student’s skeleton found

Kadapa, January 31: A Skeleton was found in the semi-constructed administrative block of Yogi Vemana University late last night. It is suspected to be that of a postgraduate student of the university who had gone missing about two months ago.

The student seems to have committed suicide by consuming pesticide or sleeping pills as bottles of both were found near the body.

Minority colleges threaten closure

Hyderabad, January 31: The managements of minority colleges including engineering, pharmacy, MBA and MCA colleges warned of closure of their institutions if the state government fails to pay the fee reimbursement arrears by February 15, 2011. It has said it would collect the fee from the students if the government fails to meet the deadline.

Jagan men, weavers try to disrupt CM’s speech

Anantapur, January 31: Chief minister N Kirankumar Reddy had a bitter experience at Garladinne in Anantapur district where he went to participate in Rachabanda programme today.

Right from the time he stepped out of the helecopter till he left the place, Jagan’s supporters and handloom weavers raised slogans against him. When he was addressing a public gathering, the protesters tried to disrupt his speech by raisng slogans ‘CM down down’ and demanded that he step down from the dais.

TTD mints 726-kg gold from 1,075-kg ornaments

Tirumala, January 31: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Specified Authority has decided to fill the Lord’s Treasury with all the accumulated wealth.

As a first step in that direction, the administration began strengthining the financial inflows by augmenting the revenue from permament assets and by halting withdrawal of funds from the fixed deposits.

The authority also fixed a target of depositing 3,000 kg of gold with banks.

Teacher beats student, breaks his wrist

Vishakapatnam, January 31: In yet another case of corporal punishment, a mathematics teacher of Sri Saraswathi Vidya Vihar at Sriharipuram in the city beat up a Class X student and broke his left wrist as the student had failed to secure more than 80 per cent marks in the examination. The incident occurred on Thursday but came to light today after the police took the teacher into custody today.

Stalker burns girl to death

Rajhmundary, January 31: In yet another case of a stalker taking the life of an innocent victim, a 14-yearold eighth standard student Hema Madhuri in Vetlapalem village in Katernikona mandal in the district was burnt to death. Balram, the stalker poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze this evening. Madhuri received 80 per cent burns.

According to the police, Balram had been harassing the girl for the past several days. When Madhuri informed her parents, they theatened Balram that they would lodge a police complaint against him if he did not mend his ways.

Somali pirates kill two Sri Lankan fishermen

Colombo, January 31:Two Sri Lankan fishermen were killed and three taken hostage by Somali pirates after their vessel went adrift, the ministry of fisheries said Monday.

The fishermen clashed with the pirates Jan 27, about two weeks after leaving port to fish off the south coast of Sri Lanka, according to information received by the ministry.

A ministry spokesman said the men’s family members had been informed, and diplomatic efforts were under way to trace the hostages.


Retired army captain held for alleged ISI links

Chandigarh/Shimla, January 31:A retired Army captain was arrested on Monday for his alleged links with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI and hawala agents.

The arrest of ex-armyman Shyam Sunder Guleria comes a few days after two alleged hawala operators — Amrik Singh and Bhagwan Dass — were apprehended by the Himachal Pradesh Ppolice, police sources said.

Guleria, a retired honorary captain, who was arrested from the transit area of the Western Command in Chandigarh, was handed over to the Himachal police for its ongoing probe into possible hawala racket in the northern region, they said.

India closely monitoring situation in Egypt, says Krishna

Kochi, January 31:India Monday said it was “closely” monitoring the situation in Egypt but sees the developments there as an internal matter of that country.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. The view of government of India is that developments in Egypt are an internal matter of that country,” External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said here.

Krishna said the government was willing to provide all help to Indians wanting to come back to India and he had spoken to the Indian ambassador in Egypt.

He said there were about 3,200 Indians in Egypt and all them were safe.

Muslim Brotherhood says it is only a minor player in Egyptian protests

Cairo, January 31: The Muslim Brotherhood found its first martyr in Egypt’s popular uprising Friday, when a teenager named Mustafa Sawi was shot dead in front of the Interior Ministry. But the country’s oldest and best-organized opposition group had to take a back seat at his public funeral the next day, as the Muslim Brotherhood insists it is little more than a bit player in the outpouring of resistance to the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt send tanks into Cairo square as 20,000 protesters gather

Cairo, January 31: The Egyptian army on Sunday blocked entry to a central Cairo square that has been a focal point for demonstrators over the past six days of protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. The move came, however, after some 20,000 people had already gathered there.

A row of advanced M1 tanks entered the central Cairo square Sunday afternoon with their cannons covered. It is unclear why such a large number of tanks were deployed. Despite this, tens of thousands of protesters have surrounded them, continuing to protest.

GOP hopefuls warn of an Islamist Egypt

Cairo, January 31: In marked contrast to President Obama’s carefully calibrated response to the protests wracking Egypt, several Republican presidential hopefuls are calling for the United States to stand with embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and are sounding alarm about the role of radical Islam in a future Egyptian government.

Obama Presses for Change but Not a New Face at the Top

Washington, January 31: President Obama’s decision to stop short, at least for now, of calling for Hosni Mubarak’s resignation was driven by the administration’s concern that it could lose all leverage over the Egyptian president, and because it feared creating a power vacuum inside the country, according to administration officials involved in the debate.

In recounting Saturday’s deliberations, they said Mr. Obama was acutely conscious of avoiding any perception that the United States was once again quietly engineering the ouster of a major Middle East leader.

In Yemen, calls for revolution but many hurdles

Sanaa, January 31: The pro-democracy protesters marched through the dusty streets of this Middle Eastern capital, voicing hope that the revolution unfolding in the Arab world would soon reach them.

“Yesterday, Tunisia. Today, Egypt. Tomorrow, Yemen,” they shouted, trying to make their way to the Egyptian embassy.

But the small march on Saturday never reached its intended target. A line of police stopped the protesters; then a loud, unruly crowd of pro-government supporters emerged, and the two groups clashed. The protesters soon vanished, their voices muffled by pro-government chants.

Is WikiLeaks leaking? Norwegian paper scoops Assange

Oslo, January 31: As if there isn’t enough intrigue around Wikileaks and its enigmatic founder, a Norwegian daily that laid hands on the same US classified documents says it has infuriated Julian Assange by playing his own game.

Since last December, the daily Aftenposten, the Nordic country’s paper of reference, has been “leaking” the Wikileaks diplomatic secrets but according to its own choice and pace — independent of the script set by Assange in a deal with five world-renowned papers.

Egyptians Improvise Security as Lawlessness Grows

Cairo, January 31: With the much reviled police virtually withdrawn by the government since Friday night, neighborhood vigilantes have taken up some of the slack, apprehending suspected thieves and criminals and handing them over to the military. But where do the prisoners go when the police aren’t there to throw the suspects in jail?

Pakistani Govt Rejects US Demands to Hand Over Consular Official Suspected of Murder

Islamabad, January 31: US Consulate official Raymond Davis is still in custody in the Pakistani city of Lahore awaiting murder charges tonight, despite US demands that he be immediately released on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Davis was charged with the murders after shooting two motorcyclists on the streets of Lahore, which he claimed was self defense. Police say they have no indication that the two cyclists were “trying to rob him” as Davis claimed and that neither had a criminal record.

Seizing on Egypt tumult, Kurdish splinter party calls on Iraqi regional govt to resign

Sulaimaniyah, January 31: An opposition party in Iraq’s Kurdish north is calling on the regional government to resign, saying protests in the Arab world should be a wakeup call for its leaders.

The reformist group called Gorran, Kurdish for “Change,” said Sunday that the ruling parties in the three provinces comprising the semiautonomous northern region are corrupt and don’t represent the people.

Iraqis watch Egypt unrest with sense of irony

Baghdad, January 31: Iraqis who have long suffered from high unemployment, poverty and endemic corruption — the catalysts of unrest spreading in the Arab world — called on their own government to take notice.

Many watched footage of riots and looting on the streets of Egypt, the region’s traditional powerhouse, with a sense of irony. The scenes brought back disturbing memories of similar mayhem in Iraq, but also admiration for an uprising that came from the streets rather than in the wake of a foreign invasion.

ElBaradei’s Stock Rises With Muslim Brotherhood’s Approval

Cairo, January 31: Ever since the end of his term as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reformists have been waiting for Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei to assert himself as a figure for change in Egypt. That moment seems finally to be coming.

Though something of a late-comer to the protest movement, ElBaradei has now been tapped to be the chief spokesman and negotiator for the nation’s opposition, and has been supported not just by his predictable reformist allies, but the Muslim Brotherhood as well.