North East »» Nagaland Minister hopeful of winning for third consecutive term•••Support for Sharmila gains momentum•••Agartala airport to be air hub•••State »» Kokrajhar to adopt PER•••ASEB’s negligence over meter reading•••Man jumps from moving car after alleged kidnapping•••National »» Court quashes summons against Yahoo for lack of evidence •••US special forces not stationed in India: Government•••Lawyers assault media persons, judicial probe ordered•••International »» US doesn’t support NGOs that oppose nuclear-power projects•••Israel to test next-generation missile defense system•••US and India working together to contain LeT•••    
  National News
 Court quashes summons against Yahoo for lack of evidence

New Delhi, March 2:  The Delhi High Court on Friday quashed the charge against Yahoo India of hosting objectionable content on its website, and set aside the summons issued to it by a trial court for initiating criminal proceedings.

Quashing the criminal proceedings against Yahoo India, Justice Suresh Kait accepted the company’s plea that there was neither any material on record nor any allegations in the complaint against it.

Setting aside the summons, the judge said, “There is no evidence on record against the petitioner.” Allowing the company’s contention that it only provides email and chat services, the court said, “Being intermediary, you are exempted.”

Yahoo was one of 21 websites facing criminal proceedings for hosting objectionable content. The metropolitan magistrate had Dec 23 summoned 21 websites, including Yahoo, Google and Facebook, to face trial for allegedly committing the offence punishable under Sections 292 (sale of obscene books) and 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, granting relief to Yahoo India, the high court also warned it that the case against it can come up again if any credible piece of evidence is filed against it. Yahoo India had told the court that the suit against it was motivated and should be dismissed.

The company said that there was neither any material on record nor any allegation in the complaint against it. The company also submitted that it could not be made a party in the case as the complainant did not disclose any cause of action against it.

Appearing for Yahoo, its counsel Arvind Nigam said it is not a social networking site like other accused in the case, and only provides email and chat services. Moreover, no objectionable material has been attributed to it and hence its case was different from others, he argued. The high court had earlier refused Yahoo India’s plea for staying a trial court’s proceedings against it.

Earlier, complainant Vinay Rai had approached the trial court to remove objectionable content from 21 websites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube. Among these, 12 websites are of foreign-based. The trial court had observed that the material submitted by the complainant contained obscene pictures and derogatory articles pertaining to Hindu deities, Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ. (IANS)


 US special forces not stationed in India: Government

 New Delhi, March 2:  India on Friday strongly denied the presence of US special forces teams on its soil, as claimed by an American commander.

The defence ministry said US Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard’s claim that US special teams were in India and four other South Asian countries was factually incorrect.

“The defence ministry has come across a report relating to remarks attributed to an US armed forces official on the positioning of US special forces teams in various South Asian countries, including India. “The report is factually incorrect in so far as the reference to India is concerned,” the defence ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

“US special forces teams have never been stationed in India in the past, nor are such teams stationed in the country presently,” he said. Admiral Willard was quoted as saying that the special forces were present in five South Asian countries including India.

He said the teams were deployed to help India in counter-terrorism co-operation. The US and India were working together to contain Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he said. (IANS)


 Lawyers assault media persons, judicial probe ordered

Bangalore, March 2:  A group of lawyers on Friday took law into their hands and thrashed media persons, stoned their vehicles, police and college students at a court complex injuring 30 policemen and 10 others from the media.

Chief Minister, D V Sadananda Gowda condemned the violence and announced a judicial probe into the incident. Troubled erupted when a large number of journalists had gone to the complex to cover the court appearance of former Karnataka minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy in an illegal mining case. At least two cameramen of two Kannada channels suffered bleeding head injuries while Deputy Commissioner of Police G Ramesh was hit on the head by a stone thrown by lawyers. One policeman suffered serious injuries, Bangalore Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothiprakash Mirji said reporters. He said seven lawyers were injured in the scuffle with police.

The ugly display of anger by the lawyers was apparently over media coverage of their January protest that had grid-locked traffic for seven hours in the city’s central business district. The lawyers’ assault was strongly denounced by Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju, retired Supreme Court judge, former Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde, political parties and media organizations.

Gowda told reporters after meeting Home Minister R Ashoka and senior officials that no mercy will be shown to the guilty whoever they may be. He said he was ordering a judicial probe by a retired judge of the high court as we are committed to bring out the truth. Have faith in us. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been clamped here and will be in force till Saturday, the chief minister said. He denied that some people had died in the incident. (IANS)


 UP polls almost over, BJP focuses on Karnataka mess

Bangalore, March 2: With the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls ending on Saturday, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) attention now turns to Karnataka where the party’s maiden rule has been marked more by rebellion and scandals than good governance.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari has summoned leaders of the warring factions of the Karnataka unit to New Delhi for a meeting on Saturday to end the tussle to control the government and the party in the State.

The meeting comes ahead of bypolls to the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat on March 18. Retaining it is of vital importance for the continuation of Chief Minister, D V Sadananda Gowda as he held the seat.

The by-poll follows Gowda quitting the seat after becoming chief minister on August 4 last year succeeding B.S. Yeddyurappa who quit on July 31 over corruption charges. Gowda’s stay is threatened by Yeddyurappa and his supporters who continue to flex their muscles despite Gadkari ruling out leadership change when he was here on February 24. Gadkari called Gowda, state unit chief K S Eshwarappa, Yeddyurappa and others to come to Delhi on Saturday for a meeting to find a solution to end factional battles. But a solution seems almost impossible given the desperation that Yeddyurappa and his supporters in the State are exhibiting.

BJP central leaders, particularly party veteran L K Advani, remain strongly opposed to reinstating Yeddyurappa or making him state unit chief till he is cleared of corruption charges. That will take years as there are around 10 cases of corruption and illegal land deals against Yeddyurappa. All are still in the trial stage. There is also a possibility of the Supreme Court directing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into charges that he took money from two companies to allow them to mine iron ore in the State. The apex court ruling on the issue is expected any time now. His supporters are also claiming that Gowda had promised to quit after six months of taking over as chief minister to facilitate Yeddyurappa’s return. The March 3 meeting in Delhi will be held in this backdrop of intensifying bitterness between the rival factions, leaving Gadkari and other BJP leaders little room for manoeuvring. With no end in sight for the mess, BJP’s rule in Karnataka may be remembered for scandals in the first four years and suicidal infighting in the fifth and last year as assembly polls are due April-may 2013. (IANS)


 Bigelow’s Osama film shooting gets hostile ride in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, March 2:  Anti-Pakistan and anti-Osama bin Laden slogans, a Hollywood film crew running for cover, police reinforcements rushing in this is not exactly what Oscar-winning Hollywood director Kathryn Bigelow had in mind while shooting for her film Zero Dark Thirty based on how the Al Qaeda chief was killed in his Abbottabad hideout.

Bigelow has re-created Abbottabad town in Chandigarh’s suburbs. While murmurs of protest against the shooting of the film in Chandigarh’s suburb of Mani Majra had started onThursday, Friday saw full-fledged protests by right-wing activists and traders, forcing the Hollywood crew to run for cover with their cameras and equipment as their Indian production unit members tried to save the situation from getting worse. Bigelow, who was on the sets canning her shots, was however not present when the trouble took place.

Hired bouncers could be seen trying to shield the film crew. Locals complained of rude behaviour by the bouncers. Protestors, claiming to be from the Shiv Sena and other right-wing organizations, shouted anti-Pakistan and anti-Osama slogans at the venue of the film shooting in a commercial area of Mani Majra. They were objecting to the film unit openly using Pakistani flags, Urdu signboards and other things to depict a Pakistani town environment.

Sensing trouble, the Chandigarh police rushed reinforcements, including a quick reaction team (QRT), to control things. Members of the film unit and the protesters, including the area traders association (Beopar Mandal) were taken to the area police station to reach a compromise. Police sources said the film production unit agreed to pay Rs.700,000 to the traders body as compensation for the loss of trade and other damage.

Traders in the area, some of whom had earlier willingly agreed to allow the film unit to change the signboards outside the shops to denote a Pakistani town, were on Friday seen complaining that their business was affected due to the shooting that has been going on for the last two days. They were also upset that the shooting had led to traffic blockade in the area.

Market welfare association vice chairman Subhash Saria said, “We were only aware that the shooting will take place for one day. However, this is the second day and these people have blocked our roads. They even stopped me today from entering the market. The bouncers are literally harassing us.”

Being the start of a new month, traders in the area say that their business is being affected by the film shooting. Locals said the bouncers created a fuss when people tried to take pictures of the shooting in progress.

Following the protests, the shooting of the film stopped for some time and the venue was changed for that duration. Bigelow, who hit a high in 2010 by becoming the first woman director to win the Academy Award for her film The Hurt Locker, depicting war-ravaged Iraq, has chosen locations in north India to shoot her movie on the elimination of bin Laden.

Bin Laden was hunted down by elite US Navy Seals in a midnight operation in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May last year. (IANS)


 Saeed Mirza unravels glory of lost Islamic civilization

New Delhi, March 2: Acclaimed filmmaker and television personality Saeed Akhtar Mirza, the author of a new book, The Monk, The Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun, said the clash of civilisations theory does not apply to the modern world. “What we are seeing now is use of political power (a power struggle), not a clash of civilisations. The entire edifice of the Western civilisation has its roots in all the other civilisations and the powers. The new university in Europe had been translating Arabic texts since the 10th century,” Mirza said. His new book, part-fiction, part analysis and part discovery, is about the untold glory of the Islamic civilisation. “The world was positioned both geographically and philosophically in a way where ideas moved from India, China, Egypt and Mesopotamia to Europe, prompting an incredible translation process. When the dark ages started in Europe, it was enlightenment for the rest of the world,” Mirza said. He said the medieval Islamic world was a flourishing nerve-centre of science and liberal arts, but it collapsed too soon to make any significant contribution to society. Mirza’s book was launched by Mushirul Hasan, the chief of the National Archives of India, and Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyer in the capital late on Thursday. Mirza said, “ His book was an attempt to regain the dignity of all the civilisations and regain the essence of those words like freedom and democracy which have been usurped and hijacked. “It is a journey in digging up the distorted past with parallel narratives - four students at the University of Berkeley in 2008 set out to discover the truths because they see how the past affects their life; the tale of Rehana, an Iranian from the 11th century and her teacher Abu Rehan Al Biruni who takes her on a tutorial journey, a place in Andalusia where Arabic texts are being translated to Greek and Spanish, and my soliloquies to put my point of view,” Mirza said. Mirza has used the eastern style of writing in small framed, barely 500-word chapters, with a sub-title for each like the ancient narrative Buddhist tales for younger generations to relate to. Some of them include Maria Rosa Menocal, Abbas Hamdani, Amartya Sen, Martin Bernal, George Saliba, Charles Burnett, Dick Teresi and Hamilton Morgan, he said. Mirza cites interesting examples to prove Oriental and Islamic influences in European thinking and literature. He said Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy was inspired by the myths surrounding Prophet Mohammed’s ascent to heaven. Mirza, known for his movies like Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon aata hain, Mohan Joshi haazir ho, Salim langde pe mat ro and the tele-serial Nukkad, is now writing a play which he will talk about later. He had earlier authored Ammi: Letters to a Democratic Mother. The launch of the The Monk, The Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun (Harper-Collins) was an extended event of the ongoing World Book Fair. (IANS)


 ‘Tagore poems influenced Ritwik Ghatak’s films’

Kolkata, Mar 2:  Some recurrent metaphors used by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in his poetries ended up inspiring the works of legendry Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak, said a new book. “From Tagore, the filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak got his sense of the landscape being not just a serene, indifferent, permanent background to human endeavour.But as a multi- vocal, orchestral entity actively involved in the desire for existence,” writes critic Amit Chaudhuri in his book On Tagore  Reading the Poet Today. Ghatak, who was viewed by a section of the film establishment as an eccentric iconoclast got critical acclaim only after he passed away at the age of 50 in 1976. He left profound influence on modern Indian cinema and is still remembered for meticulous depiction of social reality through his parallel films. Novelist Chaudhuri, who also teaches contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia, says that at different points of time in Ghatak’s films, the landscape appears to move and listen. “It is aware of the protagonist, just as the protagonist is partly conscious of it being conscious of him,” he writes. Published by Penguin, the book was released recently here at the Oxford Bookstore. It is a classic collection of masterly essays projecting a modern, path-breaking approach on Tagore’s work and how he is perceived today. (PTI)


 SC rejects Talwars plea to move trial to Delhi

New Delhi, March 2: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Rajesh and Nupur Talwar’s plea that the trial in their daughter, Aarushi Talwar’s murder be transferred from the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad to New Delhi. An apex bench of Justices B S Chauhan and E J S Khehar said the reason of inconvenience raised by the dentist couple for seeking the transfer of the trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi was not a valid ground. The order pronounced by Justice Khehar said that the security available to the Talwar couple was adequate. The court directed the trial court judge to ensure that only the parties in the case and their counsel would be present during the hearing of the case. The dentist couple had moved the apex court seeking the transfer of trial on the grounds of their personal security, and that a large number of witnesses in the case resided in Delhi. Aarushi, 14, was found brutally murdered in the Talwars’ Noida residence on May 16, 2008. The body of their domestic help Hemraj was found the next day from the terrace of the house. (IANS)


 Terence Lewis dances his way to Guinness record again

Mumbai, March 2:  It was a crowd of almost 4,500 people, who gathered here, danced together to the tunes of Salman Khan’s song Dhinka chika and broke the Guinness World Record for the largest Bollywood dance. Choreographed by Dance India Dance (DID) mentor, Terence Lewis, the three-minute song saw the huge crowd matching steps and creating history at KJ Somaiya College Grounds on Thursday. Choreographer Remo D’Souza, who is one of the mentors on DID, was also present to cheer the crowd. The previous record was 1,336 participants, set by Terence in Mumbai in 2011. This year it turned out to be three times more with 4,428 participants setting the record. And Terence is beaming with joy to have broken his own record. “This has been one of the happiest moments of my life. I feel like dancing. I did it again,” he said. “This time the record is 4,428 and as DID is becoming bigger and bigger we would want the entire country to dance on it,” Terence added.  “The last four films of Salman has been a huge hit and the reason behind this is he has reached the lowest common denominator. He has reached the masses. It’s the beautiful way of reaching the masses. It was an obvious choice to reach the masses because I totally believe in the philosophy of ABCD (Any Body Can Dance), ” Terence said. (IANS)


 Never in politics again, says Shekhar Suman

Lucknow, March 2:  Politics is a strict no-no for actor Shekhar Suman, who is coming back on the small screen with the new season of his popular satirical show Movers and Shakers. His first guest on the show on March 12 will be Anna Hazare. No, never again, was Shekhar’s response when reporters asked about his political plans. He was a Congress candidate from Patna in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls pitted against Shatrughan Sinha of the BJP. He had lost. Shekhar (52), promises a more refined, funnier Movers and Shakers, which will now come on SAB TV. “The show (first version) was path-breaking in many terms and we have only set tougher and higher benchmarks for us for the new innings,” he added. Suman, who was in Lucknow on Thursday to promote the show, said it would have a mix of new and old guests and that it would be shot only a day in advance to ensure it is as fresh and newsy as it could be. (IANS)


 Chitrangada looking forward to film on sexual harassment

New Delhi, MARCH 2: Everyone’s waiting for Chitrangada Singh’s first ever item number in Shirish Kunder’s Joker, but the actress herself is looking forward to her next film Inkaar on sexual harassment. The 35-year-old is re-teaming with ace director Sudhir Mishra in the film where Arjun Rampal plays the male lead. Chitrangada stars as a corporate woman who suffers sexual exploitation at the workplace. “I am really looking forward to `Inkaar`, the film is releasing in May. It is a superb script just like Sudhir`s other films. It`s about a love story stuck in a sexual harassment case. I am very excited about it,” Chitrangada said. At the same time she is also slightly anxious about her item number Kaafirana as it has already generated quite a buzz. Famous for intense roles in serious films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Chitrangada made her first commercial film Desi Boyz recently. The actress said that the film gave her the confidence to continue trying various genres.  (PTI)


 Obesity becoming an epidemic in India

Gurgaon, March 2:  India has 2.7 billion people suffering from nutritional disorders, out of which 50 billion suffer from morbid obesity, a leading surgeon said on Friday. But unfortunately there were few centres of excellence to perform demanding and highly technical operations to tackle obesity, Mahendra Narwaria said.He was speaking ahead of an event organised by the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) and the Asian Bariatric, Ahmadabad, starting on Saturday.Haryana Health Minister Rao Narendra Singh will inaugurate the conference. (IANS)


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