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US in first air strike near Baghdad on IS: Officials

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 16 September 2014 | 08.20

WASHINGTON: The United States bombed the Islamic State near Baghdad, the first time the US has targeted the militants close to the Iraqi capital, US officials said Monday.

A US defense official told AFP on condition of anonymity that American warplanes carried out one air strike near Baghdad and another near Mount Sinjar, in the north of Iraq, in the past 24 hours.

The United States last month began a campaign of air strikes against IS positions in northern Iraq, but Monday's announcement that US warplanes had targeted the militants near Baghdad marks an escalation in the scope of the mission.

"US military forces continued to attack ISIL (IS) terrorists in Iraq, employing attack and fighter aircraft to conduct two airstrikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi security forces near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad," US Central Command said in a statement.

"The air strike southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense, as outlined in the president's speech last Wednesday."

The strikes destroyed six IS vehicles near Sinjar and an IS fighting position southwest of Baghdad that had been firing on Iraqi forces.

"All aircraft exited the strike areas safely," the statement added. "These strikes were conducted under authority to protect US personnel and facilities, support humanitarian efforts, and help Iraqi forces on the offensive against ISIL terrorists."

They bring the number of US air strikes across Iraq to 162. The news comes as the world's top diplomats pledged to support Iraq in its fight against IS by "any means necessary", including "appropriate military assistance."

The international community is scrambling to contain the IS jihadists, who have rampaged across Iraq and Syria and could number as many as 31,500 fighters, according to the CIA.

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Four dead in armed clashes at Bolivia prison

LA PAZ: Rival gangs armed with guns and knives clashed at an overcrowded prison in central Bolivia on Monday leaving four inmates dead and 11 others wounded, officials said.

The violence erupted overnight in the El Abra prison outside the city of Cochabamba and police lost control of the jail for several hours as inmates attacked each other after an alcohol-fueled party.

"So far we have counted four dead and 11 wounded. The dead have now been removed and the wounded taken to hospital," said Andres Cuevas, a regional government official.

Rivalry between Bolivian and foreign prison gangs was to blame, according to the regional police commander, Alberto Suarez.

"Because of these power struggles, fighting has broken out in which unfortunately people have been wounded by knives and firearms," Suarez told Radio Fides.

He did not name the nationalities of the foreign inmates. Bolivian media reports said they were Colombians jailed for drug trafficking.

The four dead were all Bolivian and included a prison gang boss named Ariel Tancara, whose throat was reportedly slit.

Bolivian TV channels showed images of his sister outside the prison screaming: "I want my brother's body! Give me my brother!"

Witnesses said the inmates had organized a party Sunday night that included alcohol and live music.

Inmates' family members condemned prison officials for allowing alcohol into the prison, accusing them of corruption.

It is the worst prison violence in Bolivia since August last year, when 35 inmates were killed in riots at Palmasola prison in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.

Bolivia's prisons are the most crowded in Latin America after El Salvador's, according to the Organization of American States.

Its jails have the capacity to hold 3,738 prisoners, but currently house 13,840, OAS reports.

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Domestic building of ships & dredgers to push "Make in India"

NEW DELHI: In an initiative to push the agenda of "Make in India", the government has decided that Cochin Shipyard will invest Rs 1,200 crore for facilities to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier ships. Two more such vessels will be made in other shipyards.

"This will be the first-of-its-kind to be made in India. Each of these LNG carrier ships will cost approximately Rs 1,500 crore," shipping and road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said. These vessels can be used by the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL).

Gadkari said the Cochin Shipyard will also undertake building of dredgers for Paradip port and Dredging Corporation of India in collaboration with foreign players. The first dredger would be around Rs 500 crore.

In another move to promote shipping industry, the ministry will come out with a comprehensive ship building scheme to encourage Indian shipyards to bag such orders and to meet domestic needs.

Highlighting the achievements of his ministry after 100 days of Narendra Modi government, Gadkari said India's waterways could contribute at least 2% cent to the country's GDP and a revolution is waiting happen in the next few years in this sector.

"We give subsidy to the polluting roadways and impose surcharges on the non-polluting water transport... developing the waterways is our top priority," he said. He said the government was planning to introduce sea-planes, water buses, hovercrafts and floating hotels and restaurants to connect coastal towns.

On the issue of sensitive Ram Sethu (Adam's Bridge) Gadkari said there is no question of breaking it and his ministry will take it to the Cabinet in the next one month.

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Islamic State group issues new curriculum in Iraq

BAGHDAD: The extremist-held Iraqi city of Mosul is set to usher in a new school year. But unlike years past, there will be no art or music.

Classes about history, literature and Christianity have been "permanently annulled."

The Islamic State group has declared patriotic songs blasphemous and ordered that certain pictures be torn out of textbooks.

But instead of compliance, Iraq's second largest city has a" at least so far responded to the Sunni militants' demands with silence. Although the extremists stipulated that the school year would begin September 9, pupils have uniformly not shown up for class, according to residents who spoke anonymously because of safety concerns.

They said families were keeping their children home out of mixed feelings of fear, resistance and uncertainty.

"What's important to us now is that the children continue receiving knowledge correctly, even if they lose a whole academic year and an official certification," a Mosul resident who identified himself as Abu Hassan told The Associated Press, giving only his nickname for fear of reprisals.

He and his wife have opted for home schooling, picking up the required readings at the local market.

The fall of Mosul on June 10 was a turning point in Iraq's war against the jihadi group that calls itself the Islamic State.

The US-trained Iraqi military, harassed for months by small-scale attacks, buckled almost instantly when militants advanced on the city. Commanders disappeared. Pleas for more ammunition went unanswered. In some cases, soldiers stripped off their uniforms and ran.

The city would come to represent the expanding power and influence of the extremist group, which was born in Iraq but spread to Syria, where it grew exponentially in the chaos of the country's civil war.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group's reclusive leader, made his first video appearance in Mosul in July to announce his vision for a self-styled caliphate an Islamic state of which he would be the caliph, or leader.

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Quake strikes northeast of Tokyo, no reports of serious damage

TOKYO: An earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 5.6 shook buildings in eastern Japan, including the capital Tokyo, on Tuesday but there were no reports of serious damage.

The earthquake was centred in Ibaraki Prefecture, just northeast of Tokyo, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. The depth of the earthquake was 50km and there was no risk of a tsunami, it added.

Japan Atomic Power Co and Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) reported no irregularities at their three nuclear plants in eastern Japan.

A Japan Atomic official said there have been no irregularities at the 1.1-gigawatt Tokai Daini plant, which has been shut since May 2011. A Tepco spokeswoman said there has been no irregularities at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant, wrecked by the March 2011 quake and tsunami, and Fukushima-Daini plant, which has been shut since March 2011.

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Bombay HC issues contempt notice to Maharashtra chief secretary

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 15 September 2014 | 08.20

MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Monday issued notice for contempt of court to the chief secretary of the Maharashtra government for failing to disburse compensation amount to the next of kin of four men who were killed in the 13/7 blasts.

A division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Girish Kulkarni were miffed when they were informed that despite the court's direction on August 12 to the government to authorize the Thane collectors to pay Rs 3 lakh each under a central scheme, the compensation was not paid. State's advocate Samir Patil informed that on August 31 a letter was written to the government referring to the order and direction of the court to issue authorization .''Not withstanding the said letter, the government has not issued the the authorization,'' said the bench. The judges directed that the state or the collector should ensure that the payment is made to the next of kin not later than 5 pm on September 17. The notice issued to the chief secretary is posted for hearing on October 6.

On July 13, 2011, three bombs exploded at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and a bus stop in Dadar, claiming 27 lives. Mira Road residents Himmatbhai Gadiya and Bhupatbhai Navadiya, Baburam Das from Bhayander and Lalchand Ahuja from Ulhasnagar died in the blast at Opera House. The issue of the 13/11 victims came up in a public interset litigation activist Prakash Sheth seeking immediate release of funds under the central scheme for assistance to civilian victims of terrorism/communalism/naxal violence to the kin of the four victims. Sheth's petition followed a pending PIL by advocate Rajeshwar Panchal stating that the compensation for terror victims is meagre.

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Senior IAS officer among three booked for violation of PC&PNDT Act in Madhya Pradesh

BHOPAL: A district court in Madhya Pradesh on Monday ordered the registration of a case against three top bureaucrats including state's principal secretary, secretary and former director of health for violation of Pre-Conception and Pre- Natal Diagnostic (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and 1996.

Judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) Gwalior K N Ahirwar registered a case against senior IAS officer Praveer Krishna, secretary Suraj Damor and Dr Ashok Sharma and issued summons. Next hearing has been posted for October 13.

Action comes in the wake of petition filed by an RTI activist Dr K K Dixit who accused these authorities of violating the Act, which subsequently has resulted in the cases of female feoticide in the Gwalior Chambal region.

"They have not conducted even a single meeting of the board as per the law," Dr Dixit told TOI.

As per the Supreme Court ruling, central supervisory board and the state and union territories supervisory boards, constituted under sections 7 and 16A of PC&PNDT Act, should meet at least once in six months, so as to supervise and oversee how effective is the implementation of the PC&PNDT Act.

Also the state advisory committees and district advisory committees should gather information relating to the breach of the provisions of the PC&PNDT Act and the Rules and take steps to seize records, seal machines and institute legal proceedings, if they notice violation of the provisions of the PC&PNDT Act.

Moreover, the committees mentioned above should report the details of the charges framed and the conviction of the persons who have committed the offence, to the state medical councils for proper action, including suspension of the registration of the unit and cancelation of license to practice.

These authorities should also ensure that all Genetic Counselling Centers, Genetic Laboratories and Genetic Clinics, Infertility Clinics, Scan Centers etc. using pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques and procedures should maintain all records and all forms, required to be maintained under the Act and the Rules and the duplicate copies of the same be sent to the concerned district authorities, in accordance with Rule 9(8) of the Rules.

States and district advisory boards should ensure that all manufacturers and sellers of ultra-sonography machines do not sell any machine to any unregistered centre, as provided under Rule 3-A and disclose, on a quarterly basis, to the concerned state/union territory and central government, a list of persons to whom the machines have been sold, in accordance with Rule 3-A(2) of the Act.

"Steps should have been taken by the state government to educate the people of the necessity of implementing the provisions of the Act by conducting workshops as well as awareness camps at the state and district levels, but nothing has happened in this state so far," said the activist.

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Vijayawada, Vizag to be developed as smart cities: Venkaiah Naidu

VIJAYAWADA: Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh would be developed as 'smart cities'.

He also said that Vijayawada, Guntur and Tenali would be provided metro rail services.

Notably, the state government had recently announced that the new capital of Andhra Pradesh would be located "around Vijayawada".

"As a part of the Centre's decision to develop 100 smart cities in the country for making urban life comfortable by improving living conditions there, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam in AP would get a chance to be developed as smart cities," Naidu said.

He was participating in a seminar on 'smart cities' conducted by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.

The smart cities would be required to provide round-the-clock drinking water, power, transport and health services at affordable prices to the public, he said.

The development of a smart city needs political will and guts to enforce proper taxation system, implement good governance, weed out corruption and check unauthorised constructions, he said.

He also appealed to the public to pay taxes properly to avail the amenities and services.

The Centre has so far not decided on the places for the smart city project. The state governments have to propose the names for it, he said.

However, the four metros, the capitals of states and major cities and their surrounding areas would be developed as smart cities, he said.

Lok Sabha MP G Ganga Raju and Andhra Chamber of commerce and industry president M Murali Krishna were among others present on the occasion.

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Police have detained 81-year-old Chinese writer Huang Zerong, wife says

BEIJING: A well-known 81-year-old Chinese writer was taken from his Beijing home and detained by police after he wrote several articles critical of a senior politician, his wife said on Monday.

Police took away Huang Zerong, better known as Tieliu, on Sunday and issued a notice later that he had been detained on the vague charge of causing trouble, his wife, Ren Hengfang, said.

She said police also detained Huang's medical caregiver on the same charge on the same day. There was no explanation of why the caregiver was detained.

Beijing police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Huang's wife said he recently wrote several articles criticizing Liu Yunshan, a member of the powerful Politburo standing committee and the ruling Communist Party's propaganda chief, for tightening controls over the news media.

She said the articles appeared on overseas websites. China's leadership has become less intolerant of criticism, and authorities are increasingly using coercion and detentions to suppress dissent.

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Ananth Kumar takes chartered jet, Amit Shah awaits delayed flight

BHOPAL: Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah asked Union ministers and party leaders to travel by regular airlines so they can stay connected with the common man. But ministers who visit Madhya Pradesh do not seem to have comprehended that message correctly.

On Sunday, Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar was here to attend various functions ranging from a cardiologists' seminar, a felicitation at the state BJP office to a religious programme at the CM House - the official residence of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. At the end of his one-day visit, Ananth Kumar took a chartered flight from Bhopal to Bangalore. Sources at the Raja Bhoj International Airport said Ananth Kumar flew out in a Simm Samm Airways small jet at 9:30 pm. Sources also said that two other Union ministers who also made short trips to the state recently took the chartered flight return trip.

In sharp contrast, however, was BJP national president Amit Shah who visited the state for a day. Shah landed in Indore airport by a regular morning flight on Saturday morning and headed to Mandleshwar, a distance of 80 kms by road, to meet bereaved family members of RSS functionary Bhiayyaji Joshi who lost his brother Gajanand on September 1. From there he travelled to the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain travelling for 132 km by road. In the evening, he was scheduled to return by the Mumbai-Bhopal-Delhi Indian Airlines flight.

The flight was delayed by two hours and the BJP national president waited in the airport VIP lounge meeting state party leaders there. The flight's scheduled arrival was at 3:30 pm but landed at 5:40 pm. It finally departed at 7:20 pm. BJP president Amit Shah had two tickets on the flight—one for himself and the other for his PA.

In mid-August, Amit Shah had asked party leaders to follow PM Modi's instructions of regular flights travel instead of chartered aircrafts. The party has decided to keep only one chartered plane which is to be used under emergency situations. When veteran leader LK Advani demanded a chartered flight for his travel last month, the party offered him a regular flight ticket.

When TOI asked state BJP spokesman Brijendra Singh Sisodiya why Union minister Ananth Kumar took the chartered flight despite strict party directions against it, he said, "I don't know if he travelled by chartered flight. The party gave him a routine flight ticket. I did not go to see him off at the airport but I think he took a regular flight."

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