Jethmalani refuses to apologise for Ram remark
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and legal luminary Ram Jethmalani on Friday refused to apologise for the comment he made on Lord Ram.
Jethmalani on CNN IBN show Devil's Advocate said: "I have no obligation of any kind of apology to anyone. The Press has lost its sense of humour."
He said he had no intention of 'embarrassing' the party by making the comment.
"I have no motivation to embarrass BJP, I want to strengthen the party," the senior BJP leader said.
Kejriwal charges baseless: Anu Tandon
Congress MP Anu Tandon on Friday said the charges levelled against her by social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal were 'rubbish' and 'baseless'.
Kejriwal in his latest exposure named Tandon, who is close to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, as one of the Swiss bank account holders along with names of Reliance brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani and Jet Airways owner Naresh Goyal who he claimed operated through HSBC Bank which is "facilitating hawala transactions and money laundering in India."
Reacting to the charges made against her, Tandon told media: "Allegations against me are absolutely baseless and malicious."
BJP distances itself from Jethmalani's comments on Ram
BJP today distanced itself from the controversial comments of its Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani on Lord Ram and said the party does not agree with his views.
Jethmalani had said yesterday, "Ram was a bad husband."
Asked about BJP's views on the issue, party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, "We believe in Ram. We do not agree with what Jethmalani has said."
The spokesperson said these were the personal views of Jethmalani and did not reflect BJP's stand.
BJP had spearheaded the Ayodhya Ram Temple movement and Hindutva agenda when L K Advani took out a Rath yatra in 1989. It had helped the party gain electorally in the 1989 elections when it got 89 seats from just two in 1984.
The Allahabad High Court has in its verdict trifurcated the disputed area in Ayodhya and given one portion for Ram temple. This was hailed by BJP as a vindication of its stand on the issue.
SC pulls up government for not auction 2G spectrum as per its February 2 directions. The Court stays proceedings on all pending petitions relating to 2G spectrum scam case in the Delhi High Court.
One man who was not been named in Kejriwal's list today was Vijay Mallya. But he too has made news during the revelations. It is now confirmed that world's largest producer of spirits Diageo is set to acquire a 53.4% stake in United Spirits. The deal is said to be worth more than $2 billion.
Kejriwal has appealed to the Indian employees of HSBC to resign, keeping in mind the activities of the bank in India.
The top officers in HSBC can be booked for waging a war against India according to Kejriwal.
HSBC is encouraging terrorism, corruption and kidnapping in India, says Kejriwal. This despite the fact that the US government had warned India of HSBC's activities.
This was the government's statement on the 700 Swiss accounts Kejriwal has highlighted on Friday (as reported by the Press Trust of India in March 30, 2012):
Minister of State for Finance SS Palanimanickam was asked in the Lok Sabha then if the government was able to receive taxes on cash deposits by the 700 Indians who had unreported accounts with HSBC bank Geneva.
"An amount of about Rs 181 crore has been realised," he had told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Kejriwal's riposte to this on Friday: Rs 181 crore on Rs 6000 crore worth of deposits! What a travesty.
The government believes that the money in Swiss Bank accounts is not black money, says Kejriwal. He has ridiculed the government's attitude.
Why were the Ambanis, Naresh Goel, the Dabur family and the Birlas not raided?, asked Kejriwal.
Kejriwal says his sources tell him that the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme was launched just to help these 700 people.
'Are the Ambani brothers, Naresh Goel, the Dabur family and Birlas involved in hawala if their money landed in Swiss accounts? If so, then it is a grave crime,' says Kejriwal.
Kejriwal has accused HSBC of money laundering in India.
A senior Congress leader is the source of today's expose says Kejriwal.
The late Sandeep Tandon's wife Anu, a Congress MP from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh now and member of Rahul Gandhi's core group too, had Rs 125 crores then.
The list of people who possess a Swiss Bank account according to Kejriwal:
Former ED official Sandeep Tandon has 125 crore
Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani Rs 100 crores
Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Rs 100 crores
Motech Software Private Ltd (Reliance Group company) Rs 2,100 crores
Reliance Industries Ltd Rs 500 crores
Sandeep Tandon Rs 125 crores
Anu Tandon Rs 125 crores
Naresh Kumar Goyal Rs 80 crores
Burmans (3 family members) Rs 25 crores
A total of Rs 6000 crores is in Swiss Bank accounts in Geneva, according to Kejriwal.
The government, though, instead of pursuing the information which reached them in July 2011 was looking to let them all go scot-free, Kejriwal alleges.
Jet Airways' Naresh Goel had Rs 80 crore and the Dabur family had Rs 25 crore then, he says.
The late Sandeep Tandon, who was with the Enforcement Directorate and whose both sons are with Reliance, had Rs 125 crore against his name, Kejriwal goes on to allege. He highlights the fact that Sandeep Tandon had launched a raid on Reliance.
Kejriwal says this after alleging that government is helping those with black money.
Our government had got the list of 700 people and their account details in HSBC Geneva as of December 2006, he says. Mukesh Ambani had Rs 100 crore and Anil Ambani Rs 100 crore in their respective accounts then.
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Swiss bank accounts of politicians and how this compromises the country's economic sovereignty will be the agenda of the meeting today according to Kejriwal.
Kejriwal has begun the conference by accusing the BJP and Congress of rampant corruption.
Arvind Kejriwal is currently getting ready to address the media. He is accompanied by Prashant Bhushan.
Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal is expected to make another revelation today, said reports.
The India Against Corruption leader, who parted ways with activist Anna Hazare and launched his own political party, is scheduled to hold a news conference on Friday afternoon.
Arvind Kejriwal created a storm in the political paradigm of the country when he levelled 'corruption' charges against several political personalities and businessmen including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari.
He "exposed" the business dealings of Gadkari and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra who they alleged benefited from the Haryana government favours to realty firms like DLF at the expense of farmers whose lands were acquired by force.
He has also targeted external affairs minister Salman Khurshid in an alleged embezzlement case.
In his last revelation, Kejriwal attacked corporate giant Reliance and accused the government of crony capitalism.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited UPA allies for dinner on November 11th.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said that the policies mentioned in the manifesto have to be implemented.
Speaking at the Congress's conclave at Surajkund, Sonia has said that the Prime Minister's leadership has helped in the economic difficulties faced by the country.
She has also said that UPA government and the Congress party need to have a dialogues.
Obama to make first post election comments on economy, fiscal cliff at the White House today.
Caste Hindus torch huts of 285 Dalits in TN
Angered by a man committing suicide over his daughter marrying a Dalit boy, a crowd of caste Hindus torched 285 huts in three Dalit colonies in the Dharmapuri district, but there were no casualties as all the people had fled to neighboring areas, police said.
They said the crowd first targetted Natham, the boy's village and two other Dalit colonies Kondampatty and Anna Nagar on November 7 night, using petrol bombs to set ablaze the huts. The villagers had got wind of the impending attack beforehand and fled, they said.
The couple had got married on October 14.
Pope to join celebs, presidents with Twitter feed
Celebrities do it. Presidents do it. Now even the pope will do it.
The Vatican spokesman said Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI will start tweeting from a personal Twitter account, perhaps before the end of the year.
The 85-year-old Benedict sent his first tweet from a Vatican account last year when he launched the Vatican's news information portal. The new Twitter account will be his own, though it's doubtful Benedict himself will wrestle down his encyclicals, apostolic exhortations and other papal pronouncements into 140-character bites.
Benedict, who writes longhand and doesn't normally use a computer, will more likely sign off on tweets written in his name.
Spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says details about Benedict's handle and other information will come when the Vatican officially launches the account.
The Supreme Court has quashed criminal proceedings against former Union Minister C K Jaffer Sharief in an alleged corruption case. "No evidence to prove that Sharief got pecuniary advantage by taking four staff members on an official trip to London," said the top court.
Dhanush confirms cameo in Malayalam!
Its official that Dhanush is doing a cameo in Kammath & Kammath, his first appearance in a straight Malayalam film.
Confirming the news to sify.com, director Thompson said: “I narrated the entire script and Dhanush agreed to do this cameo which is very crucial to the story in the climax.”
Congress meet at Surajkund today
The Congress leadership is meeting at Surajkund today to chalk out the future path of the criticism-hit party.
Reports said the current political scenario, economic issues and implementation of the party's manifesto would be discussed at the meet.
All the leaders met at 24, Akbar Road, the Congress headquarters, on Friday morning and left for the meeting venue in a bus. Seventy delegates are attending the meeting.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will begin the proceedings with her opening remarks and a debate on the political situation will follow. Then, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will start a discussion on the state of the country's economy. Thereafter, finance minister P Chidambaram will start a debate on the economic situation.
Malala making steady recovery, begins to walk, talk
The 15-year-old girl activist shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan last month is making a steady recovery and is starting to walk, talk and read.
Malala Yousufzai, who is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, was photographed on Wednesday sitting up and looking through books and greetings cards,
Malala was brought to Britain by an air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates on October 15 after escaping death by a hair's breadth when a bullet "grazed" her brain in the attack on 9 October.
She was targeted by the Taliban after fighting for education for girls in Pakistan.
Britain's Press Association is reporting that more than 60,000 people have backed a petition calling for Malala to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Iranian fighter jet attacked US drone, says Pentagon
Iranian fighter jet had attacked a US drone but missed it, the US Defense Department has confirmed.
In an announcement, Pentagon press secretary George Little said the Iranian aircraft fired at the US drone and followed it as it flew over the Arabian Gulf last week, Xinhua reported Friday.
"I can confirm that on November 1, at approximately 4.50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, an unarmed, unmanned MQ-1 US military aircraft conducting routine surveillance over the Arabian Gulf, was intercepted by an Iranian SU-25 Frog-foot aircraft and was fired upon with guns," he said.
Little said the incident occurred over international waters, approximately 16 nautical miles (about 30 km) off of the Iranian coastline, emphasing "the MQ-1 was not hit, and returned to its base safely."
'52 killed, 1.2 mn affected by Guatemalan quake'
At least 52 people have been killed, 22 missing and 1.2 million others affected by the 7.4-magnitude earthquake which hit the country's Pacific coast Wednesday, said Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina.
The temblor also jolted Mexico and El Salvador.
"The number of people (dead) is rising, officially we have 52 dead, 22 missing, and rescue workers are searching the rubble," Xinhua quoted the president as saying in a press conference Thursday. He also announced three days of national mourning for the victims.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's pledge comes amid international criticism that he has failed to devolve power to the northern region since the nation's quarter-century civil war ended in 2009. The majority of the region's population are minority ethnic Tamils.
While presenting the government's annual budget in parliament Thursday, Rajapaksa said the government remained "firmly committed to conduct (northern) provincial council elections next year, to facilitate democratic representation to promote peace and development."
Sri Lanka has faced international criticism for failing to hold provincial elections in the north despite Rajapaksa telling visiting dignitaries that the polls would be held and that the region would be given more autonomy. International rights groups and foreign countries have also urged the government to demilitarize the north now that the war is over.
The war ended after government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were fighting to create an independent Tamil state in the country's north and east.
In his budget speech, Rajapaksa said "the government has implemented many development initiatives" in the north, where "access to electricity, education, water and health facilities is improving rapidly."