Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Fresh Enquiry about Courses
Student Resources Centre
(for PTzens only)
Purchase SRC login ID? Click here!

PT Franchisee

Today's Hot Stories - July 21, 2009

10 Headlines for Today

(1) India and US have finalised the End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) to govern arms supplies to Indian armed forces
(2) The government has admitted that the mammoth Rs 18,798-crore project to construct six Scorpene submarines had been hit by slippages, which in turn would adversely impact the Navy's underwater combat capabilities
(3) A key report on the detention of terrorism suspects ordered by US President Barack Obama will be delayed by six months
(4) United States Securities and Exchange Commission has sought India’s permission to probe the multi-million dollar Satyam fraud case
(5) Kingfisher owes Rs 950cr to PSU oil firms
(6) US bank CIT gains a $3bn rescue loan from bondholders, removing the immediate threat of bankruptcy protection
(7) Andrew Flintoff took five wickets as England finally ended their 75-year wait for an Ashes victory at Lord's with a 115-run win over Australia
(8) Captain Shakib Al Hasan hit an unbeaten 96 to steer Bangladesh to a four-wicket victory over the West Indies and secure the nation's second-ever series win
(9) Four-time world champion MC Mary Kom is all set to get the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, after getting selection committee's unanimous vote
(10) Israel has accused the Indian troops as part of the UN peacekeepers along its border with Lebanon - of doing nothing to prevent the infiltration of Hezbollah supporters into its territory but on the contrary cooperating with them

5 Stories for Today

(1) Ajmal admits to crime
(2) Japanese PM dissolves parliament
(3) Railways' earnings up by 8.41% in July
(4) Obama on US economic crisis: 'The fire is now out'
(5) India to get $4.5 bn from IMF to battle slowdown

(1) Ajmal admits to crime

In a shocking turn to the Mumbai terror attacks case, Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ confessed to his crime before the Special Sessions Court at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.

“Mujhe gunha kabool hai [I admit to the crime]. I want to confess.” The lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks stunned the courtroom with these words, uttered just as the court was preparing to record the evidence of a witness.

Ajmal also mentioned the name of an Indian. He said an Abu Jundal “taught us Hindi.”

Calm and composed, betraying no emotion or signs of agitation, Ajmal spoke for about four hours about the carnage, his training and his first encounter with the Mujahideen in Pakistan.

He began his testimony with a description of his attack at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) along with his partner Abu Ismail. He traced their journey to the Cama Hospital and narrated the encounter at Girgaum Chowpatty.

Ajmal did not mention Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, but he spoke of a ‘Saeed bhai,’ whose office instructed him to go to Shawai Nullah near Muzaffarabad.

The confession shocked the investigators, lawyers and the media alike.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said outside the court that it was the first time that Ajmal had named ‘Jundal’. The police would investigate into it. Calling Ajmal’s U-turn another ploy to mislead the court, Mr. Nikam said it was his ‘intelligence’ training at work.

“Kasab did not name Hafiz Saeed. He confessed because the testimonies and the electronic evidence left him with no choice. However, he did not tell the whole truth; he hid certain offences and pleaded guilty to reduce his sentence. Tomorrow [today], the court will decide whether to accept or reject his plea of guilt,” Mr. Nikam said.

When Judge M.L. Tahaliyani asked him why he wanted to confess after all these days, Ajmal said: “I wanted to confess earlier. But, since Pakistan was disowning me, I was not confessing. I have learnt that Pakistan has accepted that I am a Pakistani national and that they are ready to prosecute the offenders. I am [therefore] voluntarily confessing to the charges.”

The confession comes just two days after Pakistan filed a charge sheet against five Lashkar leaders in the 26/11 case. At the end of his testimony, Ajmal said: “It is my request that the sentence is pronounced and the trial concluded.”

Pakistan said Ajmal’s statements were “one-sided” and it could not take any action based on the confessions of a person who was “under pressure.”

Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhary A. Mukhtar said: I don’t know how much one can value them [statements] in the court of law.”

“The statements … were made by a person who is under the custody of Indian jail authorities. If he has stood up and given this statement I don’t know under what pressure he was,” he said.

(2) Japanese PM dissolves parliament

Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso has dissolved parliament and called a national election on 30 August, after gaining official cabinet backing.

Mr Aso called the elections early after his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost control of Tokyo's municipal assembly.

Opinion polls suggest that the LDP could lose heavily to the opposition Democratic Party in the upcoming vote.

A win for the Democratic Party would end five decades of almost uninterrupted rule by the LDP.

Japan is in a deep recession and correspondents say that at times the prime minister has appeared indecisive.

Last week, Mr Aso survived a no-confidence motion put forward by the opposition in the lower house. But the upper house, which is dominated by the opposition, passed a similar motion.

Mr Aso's position had been further weakened after the LDP lost control of Tokyo city council in elections on July 12.

LDP rebels had sought to remove him before he could dissolve parliament, believing he is leading them to an historic defeat.

Polls published by the Asahi and Mainichi newspapers on Monday suggested that support for Mr Aso had continued to decline since previous surveys last month. They show him trailing Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama.

Correspondents say the Democratic Party favours more independence from the US, a greater Japanese contribution to peacekeeping missions, and a smaller role for government.

Mr Aso is the fourth prime minister since the party won the last election to the more powerful lower house of parliament in 2005.

(3) Railways' earnings up by 8.41% in July

Beating the slowdown, Railways have registered more than eight per cent increase in its earnings during the first 10 days of this month.

Railways earned Rs 2,194.82 crore during the July 1-10 period as against Rs 2,024.51 crore in the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 8.41%.

Total goods earning has gone up from Rs 1,360.48 crore during July 1 to July 10 last year to Rs. 1,445.45 crore during the same period this year, showing an increase of 6.25%.

The total passenger revenue earned during the period this year was Rs 671.03 crore as against Rs 594.26 crore during the corresponding period last year, reflecting an increase of 12.92%.

Revenue earning from coaching amounted to Rs 56.48 crore during this period compared to Rs. 47.29 crore during the same period last year, showing an increase of 19.43%.

Approximate overall number of passenger bookings during the period was 211.01 million as compared to 203.12 million during the same corresponding period last year, showing an increase of 3.88%.

In suburban and non-suburban sectors, the number of passenger bookings during July 1-10, 2009 was 111.48 million and 99.53 million compared to 112.63 million and 90.49 million during the same period last year, registering a decrease of 1.02% and an increase of 9.99% respectively.

(4) Obama on US economic crisis: 'The fire is now out'

US President Barack Obama has defended his administration's response to the economic crisis over the last six months, declaring:

"The fire is now out."

"I think that we have stepped back from the abyss. I think we've put out the fire," he said in an interview with PBS, according to a transcript released by the TV station.

But Obama, who is facing declining popularity ratings for the first time in his presidency, said a lot remains to be done to fix the recession-mired US economy.

"The analogy I use sometimes is, we had this beautiful house. And there was a fire. We came in and we had to hose it down. The fire is now out, but what we've discovered is, we need some new tuckpointing, the roof's leaking, the boiler's out, oh, and by the way, we're way behind on our mortgage," Obama said

The work that remains will be undertaken with "the limited resources" that are available, and will take time, Obama said.

"Nobody's more mindful than I am of the difficult, difficult times that people are feeling right now," he said.

In touting his administration's response to the crisis, the president pointed to the financial regulation he hopes to impose to prevent some of the unchecked activities that contributed to the economic freefall.

"The problem that I've seen, at least, is you don't get a sense that folks on Wall Street feel any remorse for taking all these risks; you don't get a sense that there's been a change of culture and behavior as a consequence of what has happened.

"And that's why the financial regulatory reform proposals that we put forward are so important," Obama said.

But he added that he did not regret his administration's decision to fund loans to a number of big financial firms deemed too important to the functioning of the financial system to be allowed to collapse.

"If we didn't stop the bleeding in the financial system, then it would have been even worse for everybody... That I don't have second thoughts about," he said.

(5) India to get $4.5 bn from IMF to battle slowdown

India would receive about USD 4.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to battle economic slowdown.

This is part of the about USD 250 billion allocation of SDR by the IMF to provide liquidity to the global economic system by supplementing IMF's 186 member countries' foreign exchange reserves.

The funds would be available at the end of August, IMF officials said.

The equivalent of nearly USD 100 billion of the new allocation will go to emerging markets and developing countries, of which low-income countries will receive over USD 18 billion, IMF officials announced during a conference call after a decision in this regard was taken by the IMF Executive Board.

"The SDR allocation is a key part of the fund's response to the global crisis, offering significant support to its members in these difficult times," IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said.

The officials added that India's allocation of about USD 4.5 billion is based on its IMF quota. The money could immediately boost its foreign reserve. If India does not need this money, it has the option to trade the money with other countries, which are in need of international fund to boost their economic condition.

The SDR allocation was requested as part of a trillion dollar plan agreed at the G-20 summit in London in April and endorsed by the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) to tackle the global financial and economic crisis by restoring credit, growth and jobs in the world economy.

If approved by the Board of Governors with an 85 percent majority of the total voting power in a vote scheduled to close on August 7, the SDR allocation will be in effect on August 28.

"The allocation is a prime example of a cooperative monetary response to the global financial crisis," the managing director said.

The SDR allocations are being made to IMF members in proportion to their existing quotas in the fund, which are based broadly on their relative size in the global economy.

The operation will increase each country's allocation of SDRs by approximately 74 per cent of its quota, and fund members' total allocation to an amount equivalent to about USD 283 billion, from about USD 33 billion (SDR 21.4 billion).

SDRs allocated to members will count toward their reserve assets, acting as a low cost liquidity buffer for low-income countries and emerging markets and reducing the need for excessive self-insurance, the IMF said in a statement.

© Copyright. All Rights reserved. PT Education and Training Services (Pvt) Ltd. 2017-19 For PT staff : WebMail | DPR