KC Agrawal :Apex Court view on tainted Legislators

24 02 2015

 Supreme Court view on tainted Legislators is disheartening. I can understand, there may be some limitations, but in the broader perspective, the view should have expressed the concern of the apex court for the nation and the welfare of the people. This perspective is conspicuously overlooked by the learned apex court and issue of national importance has remained an issue between the Parliament and the Judiciary. I suppose the present view of the apex court is based on an earlier verdict by one of its Constitutional bench. Sir, Judiciary, Parliament and State Assemblies are meant for the welfare of the people of the land. People look in them the wisdom of a prudent father and love of a doting mother.
The Judiciary is the custodian of the Constitution and responsible for overseeing that the same is being truly implemented by the Parliament and State Assemblies. The tainted Legislators have been a compelling issue for long and a great deterrence in prudent governances. They are a conspicuous cause of the sufferings of our large populace. The bench of the apex court seems to have overlooked this vital aspect.
It is quite possible that some of the tainted Legislators may come out to be innocent. But it shall not be logical to hand over the fate of a massive nation such as India in the hands of such dubious characters until they are found innocent. Therefore let them enjoy a free life as a free citizen till they are found innocent under judicial impunity. Why permit them in the Parliament or State Assemblies? Our country is already pushed to the present tatters due to such incongruous and unmindfulpersonal rights. As I said before, in such cases we may apply the ‘law of maxims’ that says, ‘in the larger public good, individual rights can be sacrificed’. Good governance surely demands for this law to prevail.

I therefore pray the learned Judiciary to play the role of a watch dog for the Parliament and the State Assemblies, a responsibility that all the worthy Constitutions of the world have bestowed on their learned Judiciaries.

Supreme Court in its verdict has said that Political parties know the best about a suitable candidate because they have to run the governments. Sir, as far as we have witnessed, they just know how to manipulate vote politics and win the elections for their self seeking overtures. My statement is conspicuous and my book narrates this fact in abundance. The SC has assumed that the conscious of the Prime Minister or the Chief Ministers is enough to judge the repercussions of such dubious characters in the governments. But such assumptions are misplaced and have been largely responsible for India’s present dilapidation. Similar assumptions were made by our founding fathers when they were drafting the Constitution as discussed in my analysis and presented through the book. All such assumptions have failed us. Sir, our Parliament and State Assemblies have made mockery of elections and governances. For them Constitution is of little relevance and is generally used as an instrument for their own protection rather than any incumbency. The utter shambles of our country is a proof.
Sir, I may like to emphatically submit and pray that the time has come for the Judiciary to take some hard decisions for the sake of the nation, multitudes of perennially suffering people and the implementation of the Constitution. As the ultimate saviour of the people of India, Sir it is your turn now to set all wrongs right ‘within and outside’ and make all functionaries responsible and accountable, Parliament, State Assemblies or any other to uphold the dignity and reverence of our Constitution.
K C Agrawal                              

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Tony Abbott PM OZ on security & safety

24 02 2015

Today, I want to speak to you about keeping our country safe.

I want to speak to you about the threat that we face; the work done already to keep you as safe as we humanly can; and the things still needed to prevent further terrorist attacks.
Today, my colleagues and I are joined by representatives of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Defence Force, ASIO and agencies like Crimtrac – which helps police and other law enforcement bodies share information.
The men and women in this room are on the frontline of Australia’s fight against terror.
There is no greater responsibility – on me – on the government – than keeping you safe.
This is the responsibility that’s discharged by the men and women in this room.
We know that these are testing times for everyone here – and for everyone sworn to protect democratic freedoms.
The terrorist threat is rising at home and abroad – and it’s becoming harder to combat.
We have seen on our TV screens and in our newspapers the evidence of the new dark age that has settled over much of Syria and Iraq.
We have seen the beheadings, the mass executions, the crucifixions and the sexual slavery in the name of religion.
There is no grievance here that can be addressed; there is no cause here that can be satisfied; it is the demand to submit – or die.
We have seen our fellow Australians – people born and bred to live and let live – succumb to the lure of this death cult.
We have heard the exhortations of their so-called caliphate to kill all or any of the unbelievers.
And we know that this message of the most primitive savagery is being spread through the most sophisticated technology.
By any measure, the threat to Australia is worsening.
The number of foreign fighters is up.
The number of known sympathisers and supporters of extremism is up.
The number of potential home grown terrorists is rising.
The number of serious investigations continues to increase.
During 2014, the Government consulted with our experts – many of whom are in this room today; we talked with our allies; and we worked with the Opposition, to improve Australia’s preparedness for any eventuality.
Last September, the National Terrorist Threat level was lifted to High, which means a terrorist attack is likely.
Critics said we were exaggerating.
But since then, we have witnessed the frenzied attack on two police officers in Melbourne and the horror of the Martin Place siege.
Twenty people have been arrested and charged as a result of six counter terrorism operations conducted around Australia.
That’s one third of all the terrorism-related arrests since 2001 – within the space of just six months.
The judgment to lift the Threat Level was correct.
In proclaiming a caliphate, the Islam-ist death-cult has declared war on the world.
Not only has Australia suffered at the hands of terrorists – but so have Canada, France, Denmark, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Japan, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
We have seen the tactics of terrorists evolve.
In the decade after 9/11, our agencies disrupted elaborate conspiracies to attack our electricity supplies, the Grand Final at the MCG and the Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney.
Now, in addition to the larger scale, more complex plots that typified the post 9/11 world, such as the atrocities in Bali and London, sick individuals are acting on the caliphate’s instruction to seize people at random and kill them.
Today’s terrorism requires little more than a camera-phone, a knife and a victim.
These lone actor attacks are not new, but they pose a unique set of problems.
All too often, alienated and unhappy people brood quietly.
Feeling persecuted and looking for meaning, they self-radicalise online.
Then they plan attacks which require little preparation, training or capability.
The short lead time from the moment they decide they are going to strike, and then actually undertake the attack, makes it hard to disrupt their activities.
Police do not have the luxury to wait and watch.
They apply their best judgement – and they do so, fully aware that armchair critics, will find fault.
Still, police act because they have enough facts to make an informed judgement.
Some of these raids may not result in prosecution.
But frankly, I’d rather lose a case, than lose a life.
The protection of life must always rank ahead of the prospects of a successful prosecution.
The arrest of two men in Sydney earlier this month, who’d already recorded a pre-attack message, is just one example of how quickly a threat can develop.
I should add that without our Foreign Fighters legislation, it is highly unlikely that these arrests could have been made.
This new terrorist environment is uniquely shaped by the way that extremist ideologies can now spread online.
Every single day, the Islam-ist death cult and its supporters churn out up to 100,000 social media messages in a variety of languages.
Often, they are slick and well produced.
That’s the contagion that’s infecting people, grooming them for terrorism.
Already at least 110 Australians have travelled overseas to join the death cult in Iraq and Syria.
At least 20 of them, so far, are dead.
Even if the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq stopped today, there’s an Australian cohort of hardened jihadists who are intent on radicalising and influencing others.
The number of Australians with hands-on terrorist experience is now several times larger than those who trained earlier in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Of that group, two-thirds became involved in terrorist activity back here in Australia.
The signs are ominous.
ASIO currently has over 400 high-priority counter-terrorism investigations.
That’s more than double the number a year ago.
We are not alone in facing such challenges.
The same phenomenon is evident across Europe, in the United States and in South East Asia.
Many of those involved in anti-Western attacks in Indonesia over the last decade are now being released from prison—some neither reformed nor rehabilitated.
Australian and Indonesian agencies will continue to work closely together to tackle extremists – because it is in both our interests to do so.
In Australia and elsewhere, the threat of terrorism has become a terrible fact of life that government must do all in its power to counter.
So far, this is what we have done.
Within weeks of taking office, I asked the Attorney-General to develop a government response to foreign fighters.
Last August, the Government invested $630 million in a range of new counter-terrorism measures.
This funding gives our security agencies the resources they asked for to combat home-grown terrorism and to help prevent Australians participating in terrorism overseas.
The effect of these new measures has already been felt.
·Counter-Terrorism Teams now operate at all eight major international airports;
·sixty-two additional biometric screening gates are being fast tracked for passengers at airports to detect and deal with people leaving on false passports;
·forty-nine extra AFP members are working in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on the Foreign Fighter threat;
·seven new financial analysts have been engaged to help crack down on terrorist financing;
·a new “violent jihadist network mapping unit” in ASIO has been created to improve intelligence agencies’ understanding of the threat facing Australia;
·a Foreign Fighters Task Force has been established in the Australian Crime Commission with access to the commission’s coercive powers; and
·Last Thursday, the Attorney-General announced a series of measures designed to combat terrorist propaganda online.
We have legislated to cancel the welfare payments of individuals assessed to be a threat to security.
This is not window dressing – as of last September, 55 of the 57 Australian extremists then fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq had been on welfare.
We have made it easier to ban terrorist organisations which promote and encourage terrorist acts.
We have strengthened the offences of training with, recruiting for and funding terrorist organisations.
We have made it easier to prosecute foreign fighters by making it illegal to travel to a declared area overseas.
Last December, we proscribed travel to Syria’s Al Raqqa province – where the death cult is based – without a legitimate purpose.
We are now looking at listing Mosul district in Ninawa Province, in Iraq, which the death cult also controls.
And we have given ASIO the further power to request an Australian passport be suspended, pending further security assessment – that’s happened eight times so far.
This year, we will consider what further legislation is needed to combat terrorism and keep Australians safe.
But we cannot do it alone.
The Government is working with local communities to counter violent extremism.
I acknowledge the readiness of parents, siblings and community leaders to let the police know about people they think are falling under the death cult’s spell.
Our law enforcement agencies could not operate without their help.
I acknowledge the cooperation the Commonwealth enjoys with all States and Territories on counter-terrorism issues.
That cooperation was highlighted by the Martin Place siege.
Yesterday, Premier Mike Baird and I released the Martin Place Siege Joint Commonwealth – New South Wales Review.
What we learnt from that Review was that there were no major failings of intelligence or process in the lead up to Martin Place.
Everyone did their job as required by law.
But now, there’s more to do.
It’s clear that in too many instances the threshold for action was set too high – and the only beneficiary of that was the Martin Place murderer himself.
For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt.
The perpetrator was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for a visa.
He was given the benefit of the doubt for residency and citizenship.
He was given the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink.
He was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for legal aid.
And in the courts, there has been bail, when there should have been jail.
This report marks a line in the sand.
There is always a trade-off between the rights of an individual and the safety of the community.
We will never sacrifice our freedoms in order to defend them – but we will not let our enemies exploit our decency either.
If Immigration and Border Protection faces a choice to let-in or keep out people with security questions over them – we should choose to keep them out.
If there is a choice between latitude for suspects or more powers to police and security agencies – more often, we should choose to support our agencies.
And if we can stop hate-preachers from grooming gullible young people for terrorism, we should.
We have already made a start on removing the benefit of the doubt for people who are taking advantage of us.
We’ve introduced legislation to refuse a protection visa to people who destroy evidence of their identity.
And the same applies if you present a bogus document.
This Bill is currently stalled in the Senate.
It’s reasonable.
It’s in our country’s interest.
And I call on all senators to support it.
The Government’s Data Retention Bill – currently being reviewed by the Parliament – is the vital next step in giving our agencies the tools they need to keep Australia safe.
Access to metadata is the common element to most successful counter-terrorism investigations.
It’s essential in fighting most major crimes, including the most abhorrent of all – crimes against children.
Again, I call on Parliament to support this important legislation.
We need to give our agencies these powers to protect our community.
Today, I am releasing the Counter Terrorism review that the Government commissioned last August.
The Review finds that we face a new, long-term era of heightened terrorism threat, with a much more significant ‘home grown’ element.
While the Review did not recommend major structural changes, it did recommend strengthening our counter-terrorism strategy and improving our cooperation with at-risk communities.
The government will carefully consider the findings and act as quickly as possible.
In fact, some recommendations have already been acted upon:
We will ensure returning foreign fighters are prosecuted or closely monitored using strengthened control orders.
We will appoint a National Counter Terrorism Coordinator.
We want to bring the same drive, focus and results to our counter terrorism efforts that worked so well in Operation Sovereign Borders and Operation Bring Them Home.
Over recent months, I spent many hours listening to Australians from all walks of life.
Clearly, people are anxious about the national security threats we face.
Many are angry because all too often the threat comes from someone who has enjoyed the hospitality and generosity of the Australian people.
When it comes to someone like the Martin Place murderer, people feel like we have been taken for mugs.
Australian citizenship is an extraordinary privilege that should involve a solemn and lifelong commitment to Australia.
People who come to this country are free to live as they choose – provided they don’t steal that same freedom from others.
We are one of the most diverse nations on earth – and celebrating that is at the heart of what it means to be Australian.
We are a country built on immigration and are much the richer for it.
Always, Australia will continue to welcome people who want to make this country their home.
We will help them and support them to settle in.
But this is not a one-way street.
Those who come here must be as open and accepting of their adopted country, as we are of them.
Those who live here must be as tolerant of others as we are of them.
No one should live in our country while denying our values and rejecting the very idea of a free and open society.
It’s worth recalling the citizenship pledge that all of us have been encouraged to recite:

 I pledge my commitment to Australia and its people; whose democratic beliefs I share; whose rights and liberties I respect; and whose laws I will uphold and obey.

This has to mean something.
Especially now that we face a home-grown threat from people who do reject our values.
Today, I am announcing that the Government will look at new measures to strengthen immigration laws, as well as new options for dealing with Australian citizens who are involved in terrorism.
We cannot allow bad people to use our good nature against us.
The Government will develop amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act so that we can revoke or suspend Australian citizenship in the case of dual nationals.
It has long been the case that people who fight against Australia forfeit their citizenship.
Australians who take up arms with terrorist groups, especially while Australian military personnel are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, have sided against their country and should be treated accordingly.
For Australian nationals, we are examining suspending some of the privileges of citizenship for individuals involved in terrorism.
Those could include restricting the ability to leave or return to Australia, and access to consular services overseas, as well as access to welfare payments.
We will also clamp down on those organisations that incite religious or racial hatred.
No-one should make excuses for Islam-ist fanatics in the Middle East or their imitators here in Australia.
For a long time, successive governments have been concerned about organisations that breed hatred, and sometimes incite violence.
Organisations and individuals blatantly spreading discord and division – such as Hizb ut-Tahrir – should not do so with impunity.
Today, I can confirm that the Government will be taking action against hate preachers.
This includes enforcing our strengthened terrorism advocacy laws.
It includes new programmes to challenge terrorist propaganda and to provide alternative online material based on Australian values.
And it will include stronger prohibitions on vilifying, intimidating or inciting hatred.
These changes should empower community members to directly challenge terrorist propaganda.
I’ve often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’.
I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.
I have often cited Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, who has described the Islamist death cult as ‘against God, against Islam and against our common humanity’.
In January, President al Sisi told the imams at Egypt’s al Azhar university that Islam needed a ‘religious revolution’ to sweep away centuries of false thinking.
Everybody, including Muslim community leaders – needs to speak up clearly because, no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents must surely be a blasphemy against all religion.
I can’t promise that terrorist atrocities won’t ever again take place on Australian soil.
But let me give you this assurance:
My Government will never underestimate the threat.
We will make the difficult decisions that must be taken to keep you and your family safe.
We have the best national security agencies and the best police forces in the world.
Our agencies are working together.
All levels of government are working together.
We are doing our duty.
That is what you have a right to expect – and to demand of me and of us.

India wants to create 100 smartcities

24 02 2015

India wants to create 100 . What are they, exactly?
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Met Police arrive in Turkey as search continues for three missing schoolgirls

24 02 2015

Met Police arrive in Turkey as search continues for three missing schoolgirls from east London
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Government seeks to get 6 important bills passed

24 02 2015

Travel at ease with the AirAsia Asean Pass!

24 02 2015

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Travel at ease with the AirAsia Asean Pass!Highly anticipated AirAsia Asean Pass is now available for sale on www.airasia.com

BANGKOK, 23 February 2015 – AirAsia introduced the “AirAsia Asean Pass” and the “AirAsia Asean Pass+” in an effort to boost travel by making traveling within the region a seamless experience. The passes are available from today at www.airasia.com, with the AirAsia Asean Pass retailing at RM499 for 10 credits and AirAsia Asean Pass+ for RM888 with 20 credits.
The co-founders of AirAsia; Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun announced the  development of this product at the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia Conference held in Kuala Lumpur in November last year.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “As a truly Asean airline, we are extremely proud to introduce the AirAsia Asean Pass, which is a product specifically designed to further liberalize and encourage travel among the Asean community. The pass allows us to bridge communities and attract more foreign tourists to the region- it’s the perfect instrument to promote Asean integration.”
“We are constantly enhancing the way guests fly with us and the AirAsia Asean Pass is another innovation that we have put in place to make flying more efficient and enjoyable. We are working on additional enhancements that will further benefit guests traveling from non Asean destinations.”
Holders of the AirAsia Asean Pass and the AirAsia Asean Pass+ can enjoy flights at a fixed-rate to over 148 routes across all 10 Asean countries. Acting like a single currency, it diminishes the hassle of different foreign exchange rates as flights are valued according to credits, allowing guests to be creative in planning their ideal trip through Asean.
Flights with duration of below two hours are valued at 1 credit, while flights of two hours and above are valued at 3 credits. No processing fee applies for flight redemptions using the AirAsia Asean Pass and Asean Pass+. Airport charges/tax and other fees will be payable separately. The pass can also be purchased as a gift for another traveller.
The AirAsia Asean Pass and Asean Pass+ credits are redeemable for travel with AirAsia Malaysia (AK), Thai AirAsia (FD), AirAsia Indonesia (QZ) and Philippines AirAsia (Z2) to Asean destinations only.
For a detailed list of flights redeemable with the AirAsia Asean Pass and Asean Pass+ and other applicable terms and conditions, guests may refer to the airline’s website at www.airasia.com.    
Keep updated with AirAsia’s latest promotions and activities via Twitter (twitter.com/AirAsia) and Facebook (facebook.com/AirAsia).

Center’s policy of “less work, more talk”: Mayawat

24 02 2015

President’s speech reflects Center’s policy of “less work, more talk”: Mayawati
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Taliban leadership ready to peace talks with Afghan govt’

24 02 2015

‘Taliban leadership gives nod to peace talks with Afghan govt’


The top leadership of Afghan Taliban has given an approval to begin a brand new round of peace negotiations with the Afghanistan government, sources told BBC on Sunday.
The report surfaced days after Pakistani officials reportedly contacted Afghan Taliban suggesting them to engage in peace talks with the government.
Afghan Taliban leadership, however, has not officially confirmed the initiation of stalled peace process.
Meanwhile, a delegation headed by Taliban representative in Qatar Qari Din Mohammad is likely to visit Pakistan soon.
According to sources, Qari Din had visited Islamabad a few days ago as well and returned to Doha after important consultations.
Key Taliban leader Abbas Stanekzai is also likely to accompany Qari Din during the trip.
A Pakistan Army spokesman had said after reports of these developments last week that Pakistan supports ‘absolutely transparent, Afghan owned and Afghan led’ peace process.
Afghan Taliban’s central spokesman had, however, denied the reports.

Anirban Lahiri win Indian Open trophy

24 02 2015

Anirban Lahiri etches his name on Indian Open trophy with playoff win over SSP Chawrasia

Lahiri’;s 2nd European Tour win in three weeks could take him close to top-30 in the world

New Delhi, February 22, 2015: India’;s Anirban Lahiri sealed his second European Tour title in three weeks as he defeated compatriot SSP Chawrasia in a playoff at the Delhi Golf Club to etch his name on the coveted Indian Open trophy. Anirban came home the winner after sinking a long birdie putt during the playoff. Lahiri and Chawrasia had earlier ended the regulation 72 holes with identical totals of seven-under-277.

Anirban’;s win, the first by an Indian at the Indian Open in six years, is likely to propel him from his current world ranking of 39 to somewhere close to the top-30. The prolific Lahiri became the eighth Indian winner of the Indian Open and it was the 11th occasion that the tournament was won by an Indian. It was also the 68th international title won by an Indian.

Lahiri (73-65-70-69), who was overnight tied sixth, posted a tenacious two-under-69 on a high-scoring day even as overnight leader Chawrasia (65-67-69-76) struggled in the blustery conditions to return with a disappointing five-over-76.

Lahiri, who started the day seven shots behind Chawrasia, took advantage of the latter’s stuttering form when he turned in 34 before trading one birdie against one bogey on the back nine. But it was a magical chip-in par on the 17th hole which kept him in the title race.

Chawrasia scrambled through the day as a result of the blustery conditions. He found the bushes on two occasions and also missed the greens a few times that led to his five bogeys and a double-bogey. He could only manage two birdies in the final round.

Both players finished on seven-under-277 in regulation play and returned to the 18th hole for the playoff where Lahiri sealed the win with a birdie from inside 10-feet. Chawrasia’s title hopes faded when his tee shot landed under thick branches.

The victory accounted for Lahiri’s seventh Asian Tour title and second European Tour win. The 27-year-old from Bangalore playing in his rookie season on the European Tour, who had just two weeks back lifted the Maybank Malaysian Open trophy, is now ranked second in the European Tour Race to Dubai. Anirban’s 15th career title also made him the second Indian to record multiple victories in the same European Tour season following Jeev Milkha Singh in 2006.

“The new Hero Indian Open winner? That has a nice ring to it. I’m shocked. I really didn’t think that I will be in this position considering the way S.S.P. and Siddikur have been playing. I thought all of us were playing for third,” said Lahiri, who registered his fourth playoff win at the DGC.

“This has been a childhood dream so it is very special to keep the Indian Open trophy at home. Every Indian puts winning the Indian Open on their bucket list. I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” smiled Lahiri, who is the first local to win the Indian Open since C Muniyappa’s victory in 2009.

“It was a tough day with the wind switching its direction and the tricky pin positions. But that chip-in was crucial. I didn’t want to come down 18, needing to eagle it. Even when I played 18 in regulation play, I thought I needed to birdie it. That chip-in was easily the shot of the day. It was magical when it went in,” said Lahiri.

He added, “This win will boost my world ranking and open a lot of doors for me. I have a very good chance of playing The Masters now.”

Chawrasia, a two-time European Tour winner, was gracious in defeat despite finishing second for the fourth time in his National Open. He settled for runner-up in 1999, 2006 and 2013.

“It’s been a great week and I played well for three days and had some bad shots in the final round but it’s ok. The problem today was the wind. It was gusting a lot and made it very difficult,” he explained.

“I am proud of myself for hanging in there to make the playoff and there is always a next time. Anirban is a great friend and he played well to win the playoff. I’m playing well and hopefully it continues like this.”

PGTI member Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka enjoyed his best result in 2015 when he posted a 69 to share third place alongside Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng (71), Marcus Fraser (72) of Australia and Joakim Lagergren (69) of Sweden at six-under-278.

Md Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh made it four PGTI members in the top-10 as he claimed tied seventh place at five-under-279. He had a final round of five-over-76.

Among the other Indians in the field, Shubhankar Sharma and Jyoti Randhawa finished tied 17th at one-under-283, while Rashid Khan, Manav Jaini and Jeev Milkha Singh were a further shot back in tied 24th.

Arjun Atwal and Chikkarangappa shared 31st place at one-over-285. Mukesh Kumar was in joint 35th at two-over-286 and Amardip Sinh Malik, Kapil Kumar and Chiragh Kumar were a shot behind in tied 39th.

Om Prakash Chouhan was tied 50th at five-over-289, Angad Cheema was tied 63rd at eight-over-292 and Shiv Kapur ended in 68th place at 10-over-294.

Preview Invitation: 3rd edition of Transmissions – The Festival of Independent

24 02 2015

Cinema From Around The World.

Dear Friends from the Media,
We are happy to invite you to  the 3rd edition of Transmissions – The Festival of Independent Cinema From Around The World.  The film festival is scheduled from the 26th February to the 1st of March, 2015 at Instituto Cervantes ( Spanish Cultural Center ), 48, Hanuman Road, Connaught Place New Delhi 
The Festival will also host, for the first time, an exhibition of art works / photographs from imminent independent artists from across the world and a tribute to the eminent film programmer Late. Mr. Peter Von Bagh from Finland during the festival.
I invite you for an exclusive press preview of the exhibition and the formal launch of the festival on the 24th of February, 2015 at 5 pm at Instituto Cervantes Auditorium.
The Preview will be addressed by Cultural Ambassadors of the supporting Embassies, Artists and Founders of Lightcube Film Society.

Zarif on nuclear talks with Kerry

24 02 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has concluded his two hour meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry in Geneva on Sunday. Zarif told Iranian state media that the talks produced “good discussions but no agreements”, and some differences remained. The talks are set to resume on Monday to try to narrow some of the gaps before the March 31 deadline to reach a political agreement.

Polish movie Ida wins Oscar for best foreign language film

24 02 2015

The Polish film Ida, directed by Poland’s Paweł Pawlikowski, has won best foreign language film at the Oscars, defeating the Russian entry Leviathan, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. It is the first Polish film to win the world’s most prestigious movie award. The movie, set in Poland in the 1960s, is about a young woman who discovers she is Jewish just before she becomes a nun. “We make a film about silence and withdrawing from the world and the need for contemplation – and here we are, at the epicenter of world noise and attention. Fantastic – life is full of surprises,” Pawlikowski said while accepting the award

Over 100,000 books burnt by ISIS in Anbar: Iraq

24 02 2015

The Islamic State extremist group (IS, formerly known as ISIS, ISIL) has burnt more than 100,000 books, including rare and important manuscripts, across the parts of the Anbar region in Iraq they control, according to Anbar provincial council member Amal Fahadway, cited by London-based Arabic language website Elaph, Sputnik news agency reports. The director of Mosul’s public library said in a statement that a library in the Faisaliah area east of Mosul was bombed by IS on Saturday. IS has been notorious for ransacking libraries and destroying books. UNESCO exepressed its alarm at the beginning of February over reports of massive destruction of books in Mosul, saying that these actions seek “to wipe out the cultural diversity that is the soul of the Iraqi people.”

‘Flagrant aggression:’ Damascus

24 02 2015

Syrian government has said a Turkish incursion into the north of the country was an act of “flagrant aggression.” Damascus said it would hold Ankara responsible after they went into Syria to evacuate personnel and relics from a holy tomb. Syria said the Turkish government had informed the Syrian consulate in Istanbul about its plans regarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah in northern Syria.Shah was the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire However, Turkey didn’t wait for permission from Damascus and mounted a rescue operation to the tomb, to salvage its relics and evacuate 40 Turkish soldiers who had been guarding it.>Damascus says the maneuver was in violation of an agreement signed in 1921. Syria also stated that Anakara would be responsible for any repercussions that could take place as a result of the incursion.

The military operation launched to rescue the holy place was coordinated with the Kurds. The only casualty was a Turkish soldier.
The task force of approximately 100 military vehicles, including 39 tanks, crossed the Syrian border to a territory controlled by Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters and passed through the city of Kobani, recaptured by the YPG from the Islamic State in January.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a media briefing in the capital, Ankara, reporting that 38 soldiers had been brought back safely to Turkey.  Syria accuses Turkey of supporting insurgent groups that have seized control of wide areas of northern and eastern Syria, including the Islamic State militant group.  The Syrian government statement said the fact that the Islamic State had not attacked the tomb “confirmed the depth of the ties between the Turkish government and this terrorist organization,” according to Reuters.  Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad accused Ankara of violating Syrian sovereignty and warned that his country has the right to defend itself.  “Damascus reserves the right to defend our land and properly respond to this aggression at the right time,” he told pan-Arabist satellite TV channel Al Mayadeen.

4.5-magnitude quake hits eastern Japan

24 02 2015

An earthquake measuring 4.5 has shaken eastern Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, as quoted by Reuters. There were no immediate reports of damage, and no tsunami warning has been issued. The epicenter of the tremor was in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo.

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