Three killed in US shooting

Three people were killed and six others injured in a shooting at a barber shop in Detroit in the US.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told the media that all the victims were male but he disclosed no age or name, Xinhua reported.
Police said the shooting happened at about 6 pm at the shop known for gambling. But it was not known if the shooting was related to any gambling debt.
(Source: IANS)

Uttar Pradesh gets new advocate general

The Uttar Pradesh government late Wednesday appointed V.C. Mishra, 83, as the new advocate general, an official said.

Governor B.L. Joshi approved Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s recommendation of appointing him, and also accepted the resignation of S.P. Gupta for the post.

A notification of the appointment was issued.

Gupta had earlier quit citing personal reasons, but sources said the state government was miffed with the him because of the continued legal wrangles it had to face in different courts over the laxity of government law officers.

Mishra comes from Etawah, the home town of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and has held key positions in the Allahabad High Court in the past.

He has been Allahabad High Court Bar Council’s president seven times, and thrice the chairman of the Bar Council of India. He was a student leader in his college days and was involved in the freedom struggle. He is also known for his proximity with the ruling SP.

(Source: IANS)

South Africa against trial of sitting leaders

South African President Jacob Zuma said Wednesday that sitting African heads of state should not stand trial.

“What we are guarding against is the situation where countries that had moved to a semblance of stability suddenly regress due to a vacuum that would be created when leaders are taken away to stand trial,” Xinhua quoted Zuma as saying in parliament.

The president was answering a question about the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s attempt to try certain African leaders.

The ICC is seeking to bring to trial Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for allegedly instigating violence during the country’s 2007 general election in which more than 1,000 people died.

Some African countries have threatened to pull out from the ICC, accusing the tribunal of unfairly targeting Africans, including Kenyatta and Ruto.

The African Union (AU) has asked the UN Security Council to urge the ICC to defer the case against Kenyatta and Ruto until they finish their terms.

The AU, Zuma said, is committed to equality before the law and to fighting impunity, hence the process of expanding the mandate of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, which would help find African solutions to African problems.

“The recommendation that sitting heads of state should not stand trial in a manner that would disrupt governance in their countries will not necessarily result in heads of state extending their terms of office,” Zuma said.

The AU has its own instruments for promoting the adherence to democratic principles, such as the Charter on Good Democracy, Elections and Governance and the peer review mechanisms, according to Zuma.

African countries account for 34 of the 122 parties to have ratified the Rome Statute, the court’s founding treaty, which took effect July 1, 2002.

(Source: IANS)

NHRC chairman favours health as fundamental right

National Human Rights Commission chairman KG Balakrishnan on Wednesday advocated for the inclusion of the right to health in the list of fundamental rights.

“Making the right to health a fundamental right in the constitution would be an important way forward in improving the overall health services scenario and providing universal healthcare in the country,” an NHRC statement quoted Balakrishnan as saying.

The chairman was speaking on the last day of the two-day conference on “Healthcare as a Human Right,” organised by the NHRC.

(Source: IANS)

Bill drafted to regulate placement agencies, HC told

The city police Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that the Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill has been drafted to regulate placement agencies here.
The government filed a status report before the court that 1,754 placement agencies have been registered under the Delhi Shops and Establishments Act. It told the division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan that “the Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill has been drafted after incorporating suggestions of various stakeholders”.
The status report said: “The bill was also sent to West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa for their views as a lot of domestic workers come from these states. The bill would be placed before the cabinet after the Delhi assembly elections.”
The bench earlier asked the state government on compliance of its earlier directions on compulsory registration of placement agencies within a month. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a voluntary organisation.
The high court held in March last year that the bill should be enacted within two to three months but nothing has been done till date, the plea said. “In two sessions and nearly 25 sittings of the assembly, the bill has not even been tabled.
The government is completely non-serious about the bill,” said the NGO. The petitioner sought immediate registration of all placement agencies operating in the capital to prevent alleged trafficking of women and minors by unregistered and unregulated placement agencies.
(Source: IANS)

Order reserved on charges in cash-for-vote scam

A Delhi court on Thursday reserved its order on framing of charges in the 2008 cash-for-vote-scam involving former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and two BJP MPs.

Special Judge Narottam Kaushal reserved for October 19 order on framing of charges “October 19 for orders,” the judge said.

During the arguments on framing of charges, Amar Singh had sought discharge from the case, saying there was no evidence to show that he had induced BJP MPs to cross vote in the trust vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008 in return for money.

The Delhi Police, in its first charge sheet filed in August 2011, had accused Mr. Singh and L K Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni of “conspiring” and “masterminding” the cast-for-vote scam to bribe some MPs ahead of a confidence vote in Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

Besides Mr. Singh and Mr. Kulkarni, BJP MPs Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste and former MP Mahabir Singh Bhagora Sanjeev Saxena, Mr. Singh’s former aide and BJP activist Sohail Hindustani are accused in the case.

The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation by a parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.

All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

During the arguments, police had rejected the claim of the accused that it was a whistleblowing operation or a sting and said that this plea was rejected by the Parliamentary inquiry committee.

Mr. Argal, Mr. Kulaste and Mr. Bhagora had earlier claimed it was a sting operation to highlight horse trading in Parliament ahead of the July 22, 2008 trust vote.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh was also made an accused in the case by the trial court which had said there was sufficient material to show that he was part of the alleged criminal conspiracy.

The Delhi High Court, however, had quashed the trial court’s order making Mr. Singh an accused in the case.

The order of the high court had come on Mr. Singh’s petition challenging the special court’s order making him an accused in the case and issuing summons against him despite a clean chit given to him by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.

(Source: IANS)

Woman sentenced to death for arson in China

A Chinese woman was sentenced to death Wednesday for arson which caused the death of three firefighters on New Year’s day this year, according to a court ruling.

Li Lijuan, 49, a ,former employee of the Hangzhou Yusei Machinery Co Ltd set fire to a company warehouse at 2 a.m. Jan 1 when 193 workers were on duty, reported Xinhua citing the ruling of the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China’s Zhejiang province.

Three firefighters died in the rescue and another three were injured. It took nearly 400 firefighters about nine hours to bring the fire under control.

The fire caused direct losses of more than 60 million yuan ($9.76 million).

Li started the fire in revenge after she was transferred to another post and had conflicts with her colleagues in December 2012.

(Source: IANS)

CBI should appeal in Lavalin case, says Congress

While the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here Tuesday gave a clean chit to CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and six others in the SNC Lavalin corruption case, the Congress party in Kerala expects the CBI will go in for an appeal.

Reacting to the verdict, Congress state chief Ramesh Chennithala expressed surprise at the clean chit given to Vijayan.

“The verdict is quite unnatural and since this is a corruption case, those concerned should go in for an appeal because corruption cannot be buried,” he said.

The CBI filed charge sheets against nine accused in the Rs.374-crore scam related to the Canada-based SNC Lavalin company in June 2009.

CBI Special Court Judge R. Reghu termed the CBI’s charge sheet baseless and accepted Vijayan’s discharge petition.

Vijayan was on bail when the court order came.

Vijayan, as the state power minister in the Left Front government, inked the final agreement with SNC Lavalin in 1997 for renovating three power plants in the state.

He was arraigned as the seventh accused in court. He, however, approached the CBI court with a discharge petition, saying he has done no wrong.

In its statement to the special court, the premier investigating agency said Vijayan made a trip to Canada to finalise the agreement but no expert accompanied him.

The CBI also pointed out that Vijayan went ahead with the agreement despite being cautioned against doing so by the then power secretary.

Vijayan’s arch rival in the party, V.S. Achuthanandan, however, said with the court now clearing his party colleague, all what he said earlier on this issue is no longer valid. Achuthanandan lost his party politburo seat on account of the open tiff he had with Vijayan on the Lavalin case by going public against his party’s stand on the case.

“I accept the verdict of the court,” said Achuthanandan to reporters here. State Bharatiya Janata Party president V. Muraleedharan said this verdict was obtained through a joint operation between the Congress and the CPI-M, as the Lok Sabha polls are round the corner.

As soon as the verdict came out, the CPI-M state party headquarters looked a crowded place and Vijayan said finally the organised haunting against him has come to an end.

“The truth has finally come out and truth alone will triumph,” said Vijayan. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he would react to this later.

(South: IANS)

Public awareness key to Lokayukta success, say judges

The institution of Lokayukta can function effectively only if there is an awareness in public of its role, judges said. “There has to be a proper and broader understanding of the office of Lokayukta” and its “evolving jurisdiction has to be settled by the High Courts and the Supreme Court”, said Justice Manmohan Sarin at a function here Tuesday to release the Compendium of the 11th All India Lokayuktas Conference.
“It is for the judiciary to innovate the expansion of the institution of Lokayukta in a bonafide and legal way coupled with the backing by credible media,” said Justice Sarin, who Tuesday demitted office as Lokayukta of Delhi.
Observing that there has to be an awareness about the Lokayukta and credible media could immensely contribute in that endeavour, Justice Sarin said: “Once the recommendations are made (by Lokayukta) and media, after properly analyzing, put it before the people, then no government worth its salt can ignore it.”
Advocating a “deep introspection” and the cleansing of the system, the apex court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur said: “We need to introspect whether institutions have failed us or we have failed the institutions.” Justice Lokur called for clearing the institutions and squarely facing the problems.
He praised Justice Sarin for his initiative in organising the conference and meticulously conducting its proceedings. Another apex court Judge, Justice A.K. Sikri said: “There can’t be economic growth and good governance unless we have a corruption free society and the institution of Lokayukta has an important role to play in this direction.”
Underlining the importance of public awareness, Justice Nandrajog said: “It is a public shame (that can make people in position to mend their ways) and if public shame does not work (in democracy), then possibly nothing else would work.” This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.(Source: IANS)

Court orders Musharraf’s release

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Thursday issued orders for the release of former president Pervez Musharraf a day after he was granted bail in the murder case of a tribal elder, Xinhua reported.

Musharraf has already got bail in two other cases including the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The court Wednesday granted bail to Musharraf with the judges observing that substantial evidence was not available to implicate the former president in the criminal conspiracy regarding Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder during a military operation in 2006.

Musharraf’s lawyers Thursday deposited two bail bonds of one million rupees each on the court’s orders.

The bail has fuelled speculation in the Pakistani media that Musharraf could leave the country.

The former president also faces high treason charges for suspending the constitution.

That the government is not actively pursuing the case is seen as an indication of a change in the government’s approach.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan in March after a self-imposed exile to take part in elections but the courts barred him because of his ousting an elected government and abrogating the constitution.

He was arrested in three cases and detained at his Islamabad farmhouse for security reasons following threats from the Taliban.

(Source: IANS)