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Siddaramaiah New Karnataka Chief Minister





Bangalore: The Congress High Command Friday named 64-year-old Siddaramaiah as Karnataka’s new chief minister.

“Siddaramaiah is the choice of the party’s high command for the chief minister’s post,” the party’s central observer, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, told reporters at the party’s office in the city centre.

Within minutes of the much-awaited announcement, wild celebrations broke out at the party office, with hundreds of party cadres and Siddaramaiah’s supporters cheering, screaming, hooting and dancing.

“Siddaramaiah has been unanimously selected as our legislature party leader and he will be chief minister,” state leader and former minister R.V. Deshpande told reporters even before Antony formally announced the high command’s decision.

This was among the quickest decisions taken by the Congress in recent years.

Earlier, all the 121 newly-elected Congress legislators authorised the high command, which includes party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, to decide on the name for the coveted post.

“All the legislators have authorised our high command to name the chief minister through a one-line resolution after they expressed their opinion through a secret ballot to the central observers,” another party leader, D.K. Shiva Kumar, told reporters.

Besides Antony, the high command had deputed the party’s senior leader from Goa, Luizinho Faleiro, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh as observers to seek the legislators’ opinion for the chief minister’s post.

Madhusudhan Mistry, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka was also present at the three-hour-long meeting.

Asserting that there were no differences among the elected members and they were united on who should become the chief minister, Shiva Kumar said legislators had given their opinion to the observers in writing and left the decision to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

“All the legislators have expressed their opinion in writing to the observers in the form of a secret ballot, authorising the party high command to decide. Later, a resolution was unanimously passed to leave the decision to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” Shiva Kumar added.

The one-line resolution was moved by Siddaramaiah and seconded by the state party leaders Roshan Baig, H.K. Patil and R.V. Deshpande, who were elected to the assembly in the May 5 poll. The counting was on Wednesday.

With a comfortable majority of 121 seats in the 225-member assembly, including one nominated member, the Congress returned to power on its own after a gap of nine years.

Polling for one assembly seat – Periyapatna in Mysore district – was postponed to May 28 following the death of the BJP candidate.

The outgoing ruling party, the BJP, secured 40 seats, as did the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

Of the remaining 22 seats, newly-floated regional outfits the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and BSR (Badavara Shramika Raithara) bagged six and four respectively. Twelve independents were also elected.


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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