Tuesday, 22 April 2014

23-04-2014 NEWS

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Differences forgotten as Narendra Modi, Chandrababu Naidu put up joint show
In a show of unity, Narendra Modi shared the stage with 
N Chandrababu Naidu, leader of the BJP's latest alliance partner, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan at a rally held in Hyderabad this evening.
Gone was the rancour that had marked relations between the BJP and the TDP over the seat-sharing exercise in Seemandhra, and the two leaders sang paeans about the alliance's prospects in Andhra Pradesh. Mr Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, in a symbolic move, appeared on the stage flanked on the one side by Mr Naidu and, on the other, by Mr Kalyan, whose Jana Sena had offered unilateral support to the NDA in the Lok Sabha polls.
"Pawan, Modi and Naidu is not one plus one plus one is equal to three, but 111,'' said Mr Modi. "We are both in a win-win combination,'' added the TDP chief. Mr Kalyan singled out the BJP leader for fulsome praise, and said his new party was, in fact, a "Modi Sena".
In the public meetings addressed by Mr Modi at Nizamabad and Karimnagar earlier in the day, it was Mr Kalyan, the 42-year-old film star, who had earned Mr Modi's praise. The TDP leader failed to find any mention, setting off speculation about the strain in ties between his party and the BJP.
Of Mr Modi's four rallies in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh today, Mr Naidu attended only the ones held at Mahabubnagar and Hyderabad. Sources said the BJP's local leaders in Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Mahbubnagar opposed Mr Naidu sharing stage with Mr Modi at the rallies there. BJP leaders in Mahabubnagar finally relented after negotiations with the TDP brass.
The BJP and the TDP clinched their partnership after days of discussions last month, overriding protests from local leaders of both parties.
Last week, the freshly-minted alliance threatened to come apart over allocations of seats. The two parties are yet iron out differences over three seats in Seemandhra which had been allocated to the BJP, but are being contested by the TDP too. Tomorrow is the last date for withdrawal of nominations

Sunday, 20 April 2014


Car hits packed church on Easter, 
injures about 20
A car slammed into a packed Florida church just as its annual Easter concert was about to begin, barreling through its brick outer wall and several rows of pews and injuring about 20 people, authorities said.
The car struck the Second Haitian Baptist Church on Sunday night, when about 200 people were inside, Fort Myers police Lt. Victor Medico said. When officers arrived, church members were using car jacks to lift the vehicle off of people who were trapped beneath the vehicle, The (Fort Myers) News-Press reported.
"Everybody was sitting and the service started and then 'BING' the car came in," said Jean Corjeles, who was in the church when the crash happened.
"So many people are injured," he said.
Medico said the driver, a young Haitian woman, told investigators she was looking for a parking spot when the car malfunctioned and it drove "straight into the building," adding that she said the car's brakes malfunctioned.
Lee Memorial health System spokeswoman Mary Biggs said 18 people were taken to Lee County hospitals, including four trauma patients. One of those four was later discharged. At least three of those injured are children.

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Japan begins work on surveillance unit near disputed islands: report
 Japan broke ground today on a coastal surveillance unit near a string of islands at the centre of a bitter territorial dispute with China, a report said.
Radar equipment will be installed on Yonaguni island to monitor ships and aircraft in the East China Sea, the Kyodo News agency said. The island lies around 150 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of the Tokyo-controlled Senkakus, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyus.
The Ground Self-Defence Force surveillance unit comprising around 150 personnel will be deployed on Yonaguni by the end of March 2016, Kyodo said, citing Japan's defence ministry.
"It's very important to take a solid surveillance posture on remote islands," Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said after attending the ground breaking ceremony, Kyodo reported.
The unit will "fill a void of SDF (Self-Defence Forces) presence" in Japan's remote southwestern islands, Onodera said.
Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the disputed East China Sea archipelago -- thought to harbour vast natural resources -- after Japan nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest spate of incidents in a long-running territorial row.
The ceremony comes at a time when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to reconfigure Japan's role in the world, specifically that of its armed forces.
He wants to re-interpret a law to allow Japanese troops to take up arms to defend an ally under attack, so-called collective self-defence.
Beijing has sought to paint Abe's moves as a dangerous slide back towards its militarism of the last century.
Today some Yonaguni residents opposed to the new surveillance unit scuffled with officials connected to the defence ministry, Kyodo said, adding they were concerned the island could become a target in any future conflict between Japan and China.

Roger Federer beats Novak Djokovic, faces Stanislas Wawrinka in final

Roger Federer beat holder Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 to reach the final.
Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka will play the first all-Swiss final since 2000 as both won straightforward semi-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday.

Federer who has never won the trophy in the principality, beat Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 as the holder suffered with a right wrist injury which limited his serving to the 150 kph range.
Federer, who has lost three finals in Monte Carlo to Rafael Nadal, will be making his first title bid here since 2008.
Earlier Wawrinka, the Australian Open winner, booked his spot at the expense of David Ferrer 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) a day after the Spaniard stunned eight-time champion compatriot Rafael Nadal.
The last all-Swiss ATP final was in Marseille in 2000 when Marc Rosset beat a teenaged Federer.


Current search for Malaysian plane should be completed in 5-7 days: Australia
Australian officials supervising the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 told Reuters on Saturday that an underwater search for the black box recorder based on "pings" possibly from the device could be completed in five to seven days.
A U.S. Navy deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is scouring a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for signs of the flight, which disappeared from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board and is believed to have crashed in the area.
The current underwater search has been narrowed to a circular area with a radius of 10 km (6.2 miles) around the location in which one of four pings believed to have come from the black box recorders was detected on April 8, officials said.
The massive international search and rescue effort for any physical evidence of the plane's wreckage, now in its seventh week, has so far proved fruitless.
"Provided the weather is favourable for launch and recovery of the AUV and we have a good run with the serviceability of the AUV, we should complete the search of the focused underwater area in five to seven days," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre told Reuters in an email.

42 candidates in fray from Chennai South Lok Sabha seats

Forty-two candidates are in the fray from Chennai South Lok Sabha constituency, which has always witnessed maximum number of contestants for general elections.
While 43 contestants locked horns for the same seat in the 2009 polls, 35 crossed swords in the 2004 elections, the highest number both times for any Lok Sabha constituency in the country, according to Election Commission of India statistics.
"Chennai South generally receives lot of nominations. As of now, I can say it has 42 candidates, the maximum in the state. But the national scene will be known only after the last phase, since electoral process is still going on in other states," Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said.
Election Commission is planning to have one main control unit and three EVMs for each of the polling stations in Chennai South constituency, he said.
While two of the EVMs would have 16 candidates, one EVM would have names of 10 candidates and the None of the Above Option (NOTA),he said.
Chennai South has sent political icons like former Union Finance Minister T T Krishnamachari, DMK founder and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai and former President R Venkataraman to the Lok Sabha.
While former Union Minister and DMK leader T R Baalu has won this seat for four consecutive terms between 1996 and 2004, his party colleague Murasoli Maran won the seat twice in 1967 and 1971.
Former President Venkataraman won the seat twice in 1977 and 1980 once each from Congress and Congress (Indira) respectively while actress and danseuse Vyjayanthimala Bali won twice in 1984 and 1989.
Of the 15 times since 1952, the Chennai South constituency went for polls, DMK won the seat eight times, Congress four, AIADMK two and Congress (Indira) one.
According to the statistics of the ECI, the maximum number of candidates in any constituency for any election in the country was at Modakurichi Assembly Constituency of Tamil Nadu in 1996, in which 1,033 candidates contested and the Election Commission was forced to give the ballot papers in the form of a booklet.

Friday, 18 April 2014



With actions in Ukraine, Russians display new military prowess
Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Russia of behaving in a "19th century fashion" because of its annexation of Crimea.
But Western experts who have followed the success of Russian forces in carrying out President Vladimir V. Putin's policy in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have come to a different conclusion about Russian military strategy. They see a military disparaged for its decline since the fall of the Soviet Union skillfully employing 21st century tactics that combine cyberwarfare, an energetic information campaign and the use of highly trained special operation troops to seize the initiative from the West.
"It is a significant shift in how Russian ground forces approach a problem," said James G. Stavridis, a retired admiral and former NATO commander. "They have played their hand of cards with finesse."
The abilities the Russian military have displayed are not only important to the high-stakes drama in Ukraine, they also have implications for the security of Moldova, Georgia, Central Asian nations and even the Central Europe nations that are members of NATO.
The dexterity with which the Russians have operated in Ukraine is a far cry from the bludgeoning artillery, airstrikes and surface-to-surface missiles used to retake Grozny, the Chechen capital, from Chechen separatists in 2000. In that conflict, the notion of avoiding collateral damage to civilians and civilian infrastructure appeared to be alien.
Since then Russia has sought to develop more effective ways of projecting power in the "near abroad," the non-Russian nations that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has tried to upgrade its military, giving priority to its special forces, airborne and naval infantry - "rapid reaction" abilities that were "road tested" in Crimea, according to Roger McDermott, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation.
But the speedy success Russia had in Crimea does not mean that the overall quality of the Russia's army, made up mainly of conscripts and no match for the high-tech U.S. military, has been transformed.
"The operation reveals very little about the current condition of the Russian armed forces," McDermott said. "Its real strength lay in covert action combined with sound intelligence concerning the weakness of the Kiev government and their will to respond militarily."
Russia's operations in Ukraine have been a swift meshing of hard and soft power. The Obama administration, which once held out hope that Putin would seek an "off ramp" from the pursuit of Crimea, has repeatedly been forced to play catch-up after the Kremlin changed what was happening on the ground.
"It is much more sophisticated, and it reflects the evolution of the Russian military and of Russian training and thinking about operations and strategy over the years," said Stephen J. Blank, a former expert on the Russian military at the U.S. Army War College who is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.
For its intervention in Crimea, the Russians used a "snap" military exercise to distract attention and hide their preparations. Then specially trained troops, without identifying patches, moved quickly to secure key installations. Once the operation was underway, the Russian force cut telephone cables, jammed communications and used cyberwarfare to cut off the Ukrainian military forces on the peninsula.
"They disconnected the Ukrainian forces in Crimea from their command and control," the NATO commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, said in a recent interview.
As it cemented control, the Kremlin has employed an unrelenting media campaign to reinforce its narrative that a Russian-abetted intervention had been needed to rescue the Russian-speaking population from right-wing extremists and chaos.
No sooner had the Obama administration demanded that Russian pull back from Crimea than the Kremlin raised the stakes by massing some 40,000 troops near Ukraine's eastern frontier.
Soon, the Russians were sending small well-equipped teams across the Ukrainian border to seize government buildings that could be turned over to sympathizers and local militias. Police stations and Interior Ministry buildings, which stored arms that could be turned over to local supporters, were targeted, U.S. officials said.
"Because they have some local support they can keep leveraging a very small cadre of very good fighters and move forward," said Daniel Goure, an expert on the Russian military at the Lexington Institute, a policy research group.
While the Kremlin retains the option of mounting a large-scale intervention in eastern Ukraine, the immediate purposes of the air and ground forces massed near Ukraine appears to be to deter the Ukrainian military from cracking down in the east and to dissuade the United States from providing substantial military support.
The Kremlin has used its military deployment to buttress its diplomatic strategy of insisting on an extensive degree of federalism in Ukraine, one in which the eastern provinces would be largely autonomous and under Moscow's influence.
And as Russians have flexed their muscles the White House appears to have relaxed its demands. Crimea barely figured in the Thursday talks in Geneva that involved Kerry and his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union.
The Obama administration's urgent goal is to persuade the Kremlin to relinquish control over the government buildings in eastern Ukraine that the U.S. officials insist are held by Russian troops or the pro-Russian separatists under Moscow's influence. Despite the focus on the combustible situation in eastern Ukraine, the joint statement the diplomats issued in Geneva did not even mention the presence of Russia's 40,000 troops the border.
Military experts say that the sort of strategy the Kremlin has employed in Ukraine is likely to work best in areas in which there are pockets of ethnic Russians to provide local support. The strategy is also easier to implement if it is carried out close to Russian territory, where a large and intimidating force can be assembled and the Russian military can easily supply special forces.
"It can be used in the whole former Soviet space" said Chris Donnelly, a former top adviser at NATO, who added that Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Central Asia states were "very vulnerable."
"The Baltic States are much less vulnerable, but there will still be pressure on them and on Poland and on Central Europe," Donnelly added.
Stavridis agreed that Russia's strategy would be most effective when employed against a nation with a large number of sympathizers. But he said Russia's deft use of cyberwarfare, special forces and conventional troops was a development that NATO needed to study and factor into its planning.
"In all of those areas they have raised their game, and they have integrated them quite capably," he said. "And I think that has utility no matter where they are operating."