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Telangana Sees 72% Voting

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 Telangana Sees 72% Voting


Telangana Sees 72% Voting

Hyderabad: At least 72 percent turnout was recorded in peaceful polling for 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 state assembly seats in the first election in Telangana, which is set to born as India’s 29th state on June 2.

Officials said the turnout may go up to 73 percent as final reports were still awaited from some constituencies.

Barring minor incidents, balloting was peaceful amid tight security at 30,574 polling booths across 10 districts of Telangana including Hyderabad.

The turnout was higher than 67.71 percent recorded in the region in 2009 but fell short of 90 percent, the target set by the Election Commission

Nalgonda district recorded highest turnout – 81 percent – while Hyderabad witnessed the lowest turnout at 53 percent, said chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal.

He said 21 million out of 28.17 million electors cast their vote. “I thank them for coming out and casting their vote to strengthen democracy, despite the summer heat,” he said.

Despite the voter awareness drive by the poll authorities and NGOs, the poll percentage in Hyderabad slipped from 58 percent in 2009 to 53 percent.

The authorities had taken all measures to ensure the higher turnout. They had not only declared a holiday for all institutions, shops and companies including IT firms but also enforced ensured compliance of their orders.

Popular Telugu comedy actor Brahmanandam, seen exhorting voters in advertisements to go out and vote as a brand ambassador of the Election Commission, was in a shock when he found his name missing from the voters’ list.

The veteran actor and his wife Lakshmi Wednesday went to a polling centre in the posh Jubliee Hills but were surprised when the polling staff informed them that their names are not there in the voters’ list and had to return home diasappointed.

Meanwhile, the other brand ambassador from Hyderabad cast her vote. Badminton star Saina Nehwal exercised her franchise at a polling centre in Gacchibowli neighborhood.

Bhanwarlal said no incident of rigging or other malpractices was reported from any place. He has also not received any request for re-poll.

Polling in three Maoist-affected assembly constituencies ended at 4 p.m. and in 10 other constituencies at 5 p.m.

Clashes between workers of rival parties were reported from Mahabubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts.

A vehicle allegedly belonging to a Congress leader mysteriously caught fire in Suryapet in Nalgonda district. Bundles of currency notes of Rs.1,000 and 500 denominations, hidden in the engine, were found burnt. The driver escaped after the Innova vehicle caught fire.

The vehicle carried legislator sticker reportedly belonging to Telangana Congress committee’s working president Uttam Kumar Reddy, who is seeking re-election from Huzurnagar assembly constituency.

The CEO said the vehicle was carrying 2.5 crore cash. He, however, said the identity of the owner and other details would be known only after the driver is caught.

This was the first election in Telangana since parliament passed a bill in February for separate statehood to the region.

As many as 265 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha and 1,669 for the assembly constituencies.

Technical snag in electronic voting machines (EVMs) led to delay in start of the polling at some polling centres.

Prominent among the contestants for Lok Sabha elections include union cabinet Minister S. Jaipal Reddy (Mahabubnagar), TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao (Medak), his daughter K. Kavitha (Nizamabad), Lok Satta chief Jayaprakash Narayan (Malkajgiri) and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad).

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

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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

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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

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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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