Sunday, October 19, 2014

Advocate who threw ink on Sahara chief sent to Tihar jail

New Delhi: The lawyer, who threw black ink at Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy in the Supreme Court premises yesterday, was on Wednesday sent to Tihar jail by a Delhi court after he failed to get a surety for his bail.

Manoj Sharma was produced before Special Executive Magistrate Rai Singh Khatri who remanded him in judicial custody till March 11 after the police did not seek his custodial interrogation.

The police has booked Sharma under section 107 (abetment) and 151 (knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse) of IPC.

The magistrate granted bail to Sharma but he was sent in judicial custody after he failed to get surety on his behalf. Police also informed the magistrate that Sharma is facing trial in many other cases and is allegedly mentally unsound.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

IMG in trouble over IPL mess

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), keen to clear the mess thrown up in various financial dealings of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has decided to take UK-based event management honchos International Management Group (IMG) 'to task.' It is reliably learnt that the IMG deal will be under serious scrutiny during the IPL's governing council (GC) meeting on Sunday.

Senior members of the BCCI feel that suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi is not the only culprit in the financial bungling. The IMG, which had been hired for an annual fee of Rs 28 crore and were responsible for striking various IPL deals, has equally failed in its job. "The IMG should have been in the know of all these crucial issues. What is the point of paying them this kind of money if the basics have been sent for a toss. There are serious logistical and contractual flaws. The IMG is also to be blamed, not just Modi," said a top GC functionary.

Last year, some Board members had expressed their reservations to the governing council over the kind of money being paid to IMG. However, thanks to Modi's backing, the IMG stayed on board. Now, the heat is back on IMG.

The members will also discuss the ticket sales of the IPL-3 final held at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The role of Ticket Genie, a Bangalore-based company, who were the official ticketing agents for the final played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, is under the scanner.

Also on the agenda is the IPL awards contract, which was reportedly given to a leading television channel without floating any tender. "There is absolutely no paper work in this deal," remarked a senior board official.

The Board believes that IMG should be held accountable for the ticketing and IPL awards dealings. "It seems that there are issues that have been deliberately kept away from the BCCI," a GC member said. It is further learnt that the number of tickets that went for sale for the IPL final, as recorded in the IPL books, hovers around the 30,000 mark. That too when a sellout crowd had packed the 55,000-seater stadium.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Banks finally shamed into 1.5 per cent rate cuts

BRITAIN'S banks bowed to huge public and political pressure today to slash mortgage rates for millions.

After a tense meeting with Chancellor Alistair Darling, the high street's leading names agreed to pass on "all, or most" of the Bank of England's shock 1.5 per cent base rate cut.

Treasury sources said that the bosses from Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, LloydsTSB, HBOS, HSBC, Nationwide and Standard Chartered all caved in after being read the riot act by Mr Darling over their failure to respond swiftly to help hard-pressed homeowners.

Crucially, the move came as the three-month inter-bank lending rate, or Libor, fell by more than one per cent, from 5.561 to 4.496 per cent.

Until now, LloydsTSB and Abbey were the only lenders to drop their standard variable rates following the Bank of England's move yesterday to reduce the base rate to three per cent, the lowest in 53 years.

However, hundreds of thousands of people with tracker mortgages were warned today they will not benefit from any future rate reductions. Lenders can now use small-print clauses in contracts to stop passing on cuts.

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IMF consortium 'to wrap up £3.8bn rescue deal for Iceland

Iceland is to get its $6 billion rescue package from an International Monetary Fund-led consortium, according to Poland, one of the contributors.

The group includes the UK, Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Poland as well as the Faroe Islands.

The UK has already come up with £800 million to compensate British savers who lost everything when Icelandic bank Icesave failed.

The IMF executive board has postponed until Monday a meeting to sign off on its $2.1 billion contribution in the form of a loan to Iceland. But Poland says the deal has effectively been approved.

The global financial crisis has led to the collapse of three of Iceland's top banks, with government support for them alone to cost as much as 1.1 trillion Iceland crowns (£5.4 billion).

The collapses have led to chaos in Iceland, where the central bank has interest rates at 18% and warns that inflation could soar to 20% next year.

Iceland's economy is set to shrink 8.3% next year, from July's estimate of only a 2% contraction.

The country's three main banks, Kaupthing, Landsbanki Islands and Glitnir Bank have total debt worth $61 billion, equivalent to about 12 times the country's GDP. About 230,000 British depositors with Landsbanki's Icesave will receive compensation to replace all of their lost savings.

The IMF yesterday approved a 17-month standby loan of $15.7 billion for Hungary, a country hard hit by the financial crisis. That comes on top of a $16.4 billion loan to Ukraine.

The fund has released $6.3 billion to Hungary immediately, which says it will start injecting the money into its banking system.

"Hungary was hard hit by the global deleveraging," the IMF said, adding that it was "among the first emerging market countries to suffer from the fallout of the current global financial crisis" because of its very high levels of debt.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Korean Star’s Suicide Reignites Debate on Web Regulation

Choi Jin-sil, a movie star, was the closest thing South Korea had to a national sweetheart.

So when Ms. Choi, 39, was found dead in her apartment on Oct. 2 in what the police concluded was a suicide, her grief-stricken homeland sought an answer to why the actress had chosen to end her life.

The police, the media and members of Parliament immediately pointed fingers at the Internet. Malicious online rumors led to Ms. Choi’s suicide, the police said, after studying memos found at her home and interviewing friends and relatives.

Those online accusations claimed that Ms. Choi, who once won a government medal for her savings habits, was a loan shark. They asserted that a fellow actor, Ahn Jae-hwan, was driven to suicide because Ms. Choi had relentlessly pressed him to repay a $2 million debt.

Public outrage over Ms. Choi’s suicide gave ammunition to the government of President Lee Myung-bak, which has long sought to regulate cyberspace, a major avenue for antigovernment protests in South Korea.

Earlier this year, the Lee government was reeling after weeks of protests against beef imports from the United States. Vicious antigovernment postings and online rumors on the dangers of lifting the ban on American beef fueled the political upheaval, which forced the entire cabinet to resign.

In a monthlong crackdown on online defamation, 900 agents from the government’s Cyber Terror Response Center are scouring blogs and online discussion boards to identify and arrest those who “habitually post slander and instigate cyber bullying.”

Hong Joon-pyo, floor leader of the governing Grand National Party, commented, “Internet space in our country has become the wall of a public toilet.”

In the National Assembly, Ms. Choi’s suicide set the country’s rival parties on a collision course over how to regulate the Web. The governing party is promoting a law to punish online insults; the opposition parties accuse the government of trying to “rule cyberspace with martial law.”

The opposition says that cyberspace violence is already dealt with under existing laws against slander and public insults. But the government says that a tougher, separate law is necessary to punish online abuse, which inflicts quicker and wider damage on victims.

To battle online harassment, the government’s Communications Commission last year ordered Web portals with more than 300,000 visitors a day to require its users to submit their names and matching Social Security numbers before posting comments.

The police reported 10,028 cases of online libel last year, up from 3,667 reported in 2004.

Harassment in cyberspace has been blamed for a string of highly publicized suicides. Ms. Choi made headlines when she married a baseball player, Cho Sung Min, in 2000. But tabloids and Web bloggers were relentless in criticizing her when the marriage soured and she fought for custody of her two children.

TV producers and commercial sponsors dropped her. The general sentiment was that her career was over.

But in 2005, she made a comeback with a hugely popular soap opera called “My Rosy Life.” In it, she dropped her cute-girl image and played a jilted wife who throws a kick at her errant husband, but reconciles with him when she learns she has terminal cancer.

This year, she broke another taboo by successfully petitioning a court to change the surname of her two children to her own.

But in an interview with MBC-TV in July, which was broadcast after her death, she said she “dreaded” the Internet, where posters had insulted her for being a single, divorced mother. The police said she had been taking antidepressants since her divorce.

In South Korea, volunteer counselors troll the Internet to discourage people from using the Web to trade tips on how to commit suicide and, in some cases, how to form suicide pacts.

“We have seen a sudden rise in copycat suicides following a celebrity death,” said Jeon Jun-hee, an official at the Seoul Metropolitan Mental Health Center, which runs a suicide prevention hot line. Mr. Jeon said the hot line had received 60 calls a day, or twice the usual number, since Ms. Choi’s suicide

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Of Idi Amin’s son, Journalism and Journalists

If Milton Obote was known as the ‘ Blood Sucker’ of Uganda, Idi Amin was the ‘Biggest Clown’. Idi Amin also earned other names,-’Big Dada’ and ‘Butcher’, the former for the huge physique he possessed as an African, and the other for slaughtering human beings. But, it was no secret that his brain was too small for his body. Amin was a self proclaimed ‘Master of all Arts and Economies’, who would even disturb Presidents’ of the West, over the telephone to teach them how to run those countries.

Among those who were inconvenienced by Idi Amin’s knowledge at midnight, when Amin was in fine ‘spirits’, were the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Britain and, those who were in power at that time in Germany and France. Idi Amin was a telephone maniac, who always carried a few portable phones with him, whereever he went. Idi Amin once claimed he was a well read man, with a huge collection of books in his library, a comment he made at Universities as the self proclaimed Chancellor of all Universities in Uganda.

The introduction of the Uganda’s ‘Biggest Clown’ was done at the start of this column, to pen an interesting story about Idi Amin’s son, Taban, also known as the ‘Junior Clown’, who forced himself to become the ‘Editor’ of the popular, ‘The Nation’, an English weekly in Kampala, the Capital of Uganda. Like father, like son, Taban had nothing ‘upstairs’. The ‘Big Clown’ decorated himself with many top positions.

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Nature loss 'dwarfs the bank crisis'

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.

The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Darling blamed as Iceland’s bank troubles spiral

Iceland today turned on Britain's Chancellor Alistair Darling as a third bank was nationalised.

Kaupthing, which owned City investment bank Singer & Friedlander and UK internet bank Kaupthing Edge, said its board had resigned and handed control to the Icelandic Government.

The declaration came as the London stock market gave a half-hearted welcome to the Government's £500 billion bail-out plan for High Street banks and yesterday's emergency half-point cut in interest rates.

The FTSE 100 index of leading shares rose 67.62 points to 4434.31.

But in Iceland the crisis continued to spiral. Landsbanki was put into receivership earlier this week and Glitnir followed yesterday. Kaupthing had been offered a €500 million (£390.7 million) loan by the government, led by Prime Minister Geir Haarde.