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US President George W Bush gets ‘Farewell Boot’ in Iraq

US President George W Bush (In picture) faces the wrath of an Iraqi journalist who hurls his shoes at him during his final visit to Iraq

On his ‘farewell’ visit to Iraq as US President, George W Bush had an unusual ‘encounter’ when an
Iraqi scribe threw two shoes at him, but the agile American leader downplayed the incident, saying “it’s a sign of a free society.”

The journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, threw two shoes at Bush — one after another — during a joint news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Sunday (December 14, 2008) and shouted “it is the farewell kiss, you dog”.

“All I can report is a size 10,” the president joked. Bush, who ducked both throws, said he has seen a lot of weird things during his eight-year-long Presidency and that he would term the latest incident as “one of the weirdest”.

“And it was amusing. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of weird things during my presidency and this may rank up there as one of the weirdest. So this happens and it’s a sign of a free society,” Bush said. “But I’m not insulted. I don’t hold it against the government. I don’t think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don’t know what his beef is. But whatever it is I’m sure somebody will hear it,” the US President told ABC channel.

After the incident, Iraqi government said that the scribe, who works with Al-Baghdadia channel which broadcasts from Cairo, has been held for questioning by the Prime Minister’s guards and is being tested for alcohol and drugs. Meanwhile, the television channel demanded the immediate release of its journalist and called the scribe as a “proud Arab and an open-minded man.”

Bush shoe attacker ‘detested America’

The Iraqi journalist who caused a furore when he hurled his shoes at visiting US President George W Bush “detested America” and had been plotting such an attack for months, colleagues said on on Monday (Dec 15, 2008).

Muntazer al-Zaidi, 28, was being hailed as a hero by some after his action against the US President who ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and anti-US demonstrations were being staged in Baghdad and the holy shiite city of Najaf.

“This was a spontaneous action by an Iraqi citizen who was showing his dismay at seeing the President of the country which is occupying our nation,” said Liwaa Sumeissim from the anti-American Sadr movement.

The Iraqi government however branded Zaidi’s actions as “shameful” and demanded an apology from his employer Al-Baghdadia television, which in turn was calling for his immediate release from custody.

One of his colleagues in the Baghdad office of Al-Baghdadia said Zaidi had been planning to throw shoes at Bush if ever he got the chance. “When he said he was going to do it, we didn’t doubt him,” he said.

“Muntazer detested America. He detested the US soldiers, he detested Bush,” said another co-worker who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

An Iraqi lawyer said Zaidi risked a minimum of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state, but could face a 15-year term if he is charged with attempted murder.

In Cairo, Muzhir al-Khafaji, programming director for Al-Baghdadia television, described Zaidi as a “proud Arab and an open-minded man.” “We fear for his safety,” he told, adding that Zaidi had been arrested twice before by the Americans.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, USA, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India has no plans to attack Pakistan: Defence Minister

DEFENSIVE TALK? India’s Defence minister A K Antony has demanded sincere action by Pakistan against the terrorists.

DEFENSIVE TALK? India

India on Dec 16, 2008 said it is not planning any military action against Pakistan but stressed that the neighbouring country will have to take action against terrorists there for the relations to improve.

“We are not planning any military action but at the same time unless Pakistan takes actions against those terrorists who are operating from their soil against India and also against all those who are behind the Mumbai terrorist attack, things will not be normal,” Defence Minister A K Antony said.

He was talking to reporters on occasion of Vijay Diwas marking the 37th anniversary of India’s military victory on Dec 16, 2008 over Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war.

On the issue of troop deployment along the Indo-Pak border, Antony said the situation there was “normal” and armed forces were “always ready”.

“Everything is normal because our forces are always ready,” the Minister said.

The Minister denied that India was planning to call off the more than five-year-old ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).

“Nothing like that,” he stated when asked if India had any plans to call off the ceasefire with Pakistan.

Refusing to divulge India’s course of action in the present scenario, Antony demanded sincere action by Pakistan against the terrorists.

“I cannot say what course of action we will take but unless Pakistan shows sincerity in whatever they are saying through their actions, one thing is very sure that there is no question of things as usual,” he said.

The chiefs of Navy, Army and Air Force — Admiral Sureesh Mehta, General Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major — also attended the Vijay Diwas function.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, Politics, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superstar Rajnikanth to join BJP?

Tamil Nadu superstar Rajnikanth

He is South India’s biggest super star and for almost two decades now his entry into politics has been speculated. And, with the general elections around the corner once again there is strong buzz of Rajnikanth taking the plunge.

BJP prime ministerial candidate LK Advani’s visit to Rajnikanth’s house in Chennai has sent tongues wagging. Sources said that Advani wants Rajni to hop onboard and campaign for the BJP in the upcoming elections.

However, when both were quizzed about the same, they were tight lipped. Advani said, ” I had an invitation from him to visit his house for a long time and I used the opportunity since I was here in Chennai.”

“Rajnikanth had been pressing me for a long time to visit his place. Today I accepted the invitation. We discussed many things, including his latest film. It was a happy meeting with him and his family,” the BJP leader said.

Advani said that it was long standing desire of Rajanikanth and himself for a meeting. “It was fulfilled today,” he said.

Advani was in Chennai yesteday in connection with the release of the Tamil version of his autobiography.

Advani welcomed Rajnikant’s statement that he would come to politics if god asked him to do so.
“I had appreciated his decision that he will come to politics when god wills,” Advani said.

Following the meet, Rajnikanth also kept mum and said, “It was just a casual visit.”

And, with superstar Chiranjeevi having launched a political party recently, several Rajni fans want to see their favourite star do the same. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the demand by Rajnikant’s fans asking him to enter politics.

However, he had been resisting such demands but recently announced that he would undertake a tour of the state to meet his fans. He had also promised that he would be frequently meeting them.

Rajnikanth is not averse to the idea expect he says that he’s wating for a sign from the Gods to make the plunge. He had said, “No one can compel me. What has to happen will surely happen. God’s sign has to come. If God’s sign comes, I can even start a party tomorrow.”

During the run up to the 2004 elections Rajnikanth had declared that he will vote for the BJP, but stopped short of asking his fans also to support the party. The saffron party is hoping that this time too Rajni will indicate his support, even if he does not make a political plunge.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, India Related, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama finally calls Manmohan Singh, discusses Indo-US ties

Obama has already spoken to 15 world leaders, including the Pakistani President.

TIME FOR INDIA: Obama has already spoken to 15 world leaders, including the Pakistani President.

US president-elect Barack Obama called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday morning and discussed the Indo-US relationship.

Obama reportedly told Singh that the two countries can work together in many area.

“We need to give strength to Indo-US relations. The Indo-US strategic ties are very important,” Obama told Singh.

PMO sources said Singh congratulated Obama on his historic victory and said his success would be an inspiration for the oppressed people all over the world.

The Prime Minister also said that the relationship between India and the US was “very good” but “we should not be satisfied with the status quo”.

Singh conveyed his best wishes for the success of the Obama administration in meeting challenges that face the world.

The Prime Minister also invited Obama and his wife Mitchelle to visit India, the sources said.

Obama praised Singh’s contribution to the progress of India as Finance Minister earlier and the Prime Minister now.

Obama had reportedly called Singh on Saturday too but the Prime Minister could not take the telephone call from the US president-elect as he was travelling.

“I got a call on Saturday but could not take it as I was travelling,” Manmohan Singh had said on Monday on board his special aircraft while returning home from a two-nation visit to the Gulf.

Obama has already spoken to 15 world leaders, including Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, after his election.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Business, General, Politics, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chandrayaan-1 beams pictures of earth

The first image taken by Chadrayaan -1 shows the northern coast of Australia

India’s moon mission seems to be on track, now Chandrayaan-1 beams back its first pictures of earth.

The pictures were taken on October 29 by the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) on board the spacecraft after it was switched on.

The first image taken by the TMC at 8 am on October 29 from a height of 9,000 km shows the northern coast of Australia. The second image, taken at 12.30 pm from a height of 70,000 km, shows Australia’s southern coast.

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was yesterday shown the first pictures sent by India’s maiden unmanned scientific mission to Moon.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair met Singh in New Delhi yesterday afternoon and briefed him on the lunar mission launched on October 22.

Nair showed Singh the first pictures taken by the TMC, one of the 11 payloads on Chandrayaan,
depicting the northern and southern coasts of Australia.

During the meeting, Singh expressed happiness on the significant milestone in space programme and congratulated Nair and his team for the successful mission.

The TMC was successfully operated on Wednesday through a series of commands issued from the Spacecraft Control Centre of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bangalore.

The Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu on the outskirts of Bangalore received the first images which were processed by Indian Space Science Data Centre.

“The images confirm excellent performance of the camera,” a top ISRO official said.

Nair briefed Singh about the launch sequence and subsequent manoeuvering of the spacecraft to reach the final lunar orbit. The health of the spacecraft is good and all operations so far have been implemented as planned, he said.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | General, Science, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vaiko arrested for pro-LTTE remarks

This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group LTTE.
This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group LTTE.
MDMK chief Vaiko was on Thursday arrested for making ‘highly inflammatory speeches in support of the LTTE’, police said.Vaiko had at a public meeting in Chennai on Tuesday said a separate Tamil Eelam under the leadership of LTTE chief Prabhakaran would come into existence soon in Sri Lanka.

“LTTE and Sri Lankan Tamils could not be separated. Though we are against any violence, we should differentiate between violence and right”, he said.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had assured me no military aid would be supplied to Sri Lanka, had gone back on his word,” he alleged.

Vaiko said, “if the need arises, I will be the first man to take up arms in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. I will gather youths all over the country for this purpose”.The MDMK presidium chairman, M Kannappan, had told the meeting that time would come to demand for a separate Tamil Nadu. In that meeting, a two-hour film on Sri Lankan army’s alleged atrocities against Tamils was screened.

In a statement on Wednesday, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa had demanded that all LTTE supporters be booked.

Tamil Nadu government’s decision to arrest Vaiko was to make it clear that ruling DMK’s support was only for the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils and not for LTTE.

Vaiko, now an ally of Jayalalithaa, was detained under POTA by her Government in 2004 on his arrival from the United States after he had made a pro-LTTE speech at a public meeting in Tirumangalam in Madurai.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi had condemned Vaiko’s arrest at that time.

This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group, the earlier occasion being during the previous AIADMK government when he was held under POTA.

Vaiko was arrested under the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act, police said.

He was remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

Vaiko said soon after his arrest that his party was for India’s sovereignty. At the same time, it could not allow the Centre to provide arms and ammunition and logistics support to Sri Lankan government ‘to perpetuate war against Tamils’.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banks safe, but economy may slump: PM

Manmohan Singh says tackling inflation remains goverment's priority.

HIS ECONOMIC ADVICE: Manmohan Singh says tackling inflation remains goverment’s priority.

Indians banks are safe and depositors need not worry for their money, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told Parliament for the first time after the worldwide financial crisis.

“Our banks, both in the public sector and in the private sector, are financially sound, well capitalised and well regulated. There should be no fear of a failure of any bank,” Singh said in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

“I wish to assure depositors in our banks that their deposits are entirely safe.” Singh, however, warned that the economy might slow down.

“The financial storm has shaken confidence in the system and precipitated a steep decline in stock markets. It has produced a sharp slowdown in economic activity, with the prospect of a prolonged recession in industrialised countries,” he said.

There is enough capital, but “nevertheless, we must be prepared for a temporary slowdown in the Indian economy”.

Singh said the precise impact of the global financial crisis was difficult to estimate but the economic slowdown in developed countries is likely to have an “indirect impact” on the Indian economy.

Some estimates projected GDP growth to reduce to 7.5 per cent in the current year, but “our effort will be to minimise the negative effect of the financial crisis… to return to the growth trajectory of 9 per cent.”

The Prime Minister said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Government were carefully monitoring the flow of credit and would ensure that the additional liquidity infused into the system translated into actual credit.

“We will not hesitate to do more, if needed. While the capital adequacy ratios of all our banks are well above the Basel norm and above the RBI stipulated norm, government has promised that it will help banks, which have lower ratios, to access funds to increase the capital risk-weighted asset ratio to 12 per cent,” he said.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Business, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment