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Chandy Unveils Action Plan For Development



Chandy Unveils Action Plan For DevelopmentThiruvananthapuram: After his 100-day programme launched soon after assuming office in May, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Thursday unveiled a year-long plan of action, focussing on infrastructure development for the state’s overall development. “What we lack is infrastructure and hence our thrust would be for this because if we achieve this, then it would put the state on a faster development on account of the otherwise overall advancement that we would have made,” Chandy told reporters here.

Among the main infrastructure development would be laying of world-class roads extending to 1,000 km across the state besides taking over 8,740 km of roads, currently maintained by the local bodies. “The other major initiative that would start during the coming one year would be going ahead with the 630-km-long Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore high speed rail corridor, the monorail facility in Thiruvanathapuram and Kozhikode and the Kochi Metro Rail project. All these projects are at various stages of being cleared and when complete, they would provide a face-lift for our state,” said Chandy.
Another major initiative is four new companies — the Kerala Bus Shelter Company, Drinking Water Distribution Company, Public Toilet Company and Clean City Company — to be set up for strengthening public utilities. “In each of these companies, the state government will hold 26 per cent share and the rest will have to be brought by these companies. They can earn revenue by advertisements and, if necessary, by collecting a user fee for providing the service. There are numerous successful models in this outside of the country. The aim is for overall improvement and providing quality services,” said Chandy.
Another major initiative that will be put into action would be to strengthen police for providing effective and efficient service to the citizen. “The Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act would be amended to make it more tough for the law breakers. A new agency called State Bureau of Investigation on the lines of the Central Bureau of Investigation would be set up because this has been a request from the centre to all states. A call centre that would exclusively deal with complaints of women would also be set up,” said Chandy.
He also announced that his government would undertake an initiative to reward those who provide vital clues or evidence of corruption in any area, besides protection to them. “An expert committee has been already formed for setting up the state Whistle Blower Protection Policy and soon this would become operational,” added Chandy.

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Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin



Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told




The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus



Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.




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