1 The News Tribe



S&P lifts Greece from selective default rating
School restarts in Newtown, but not for survivors
Low turnout for Egypt protests ahead of referendum
Akshay Kumar leads Bollywood as top earner in 2012
Facebook post on Thackeray death: Indian police drop charges against Shaheen Dhada, Rinu
Psy’s ‘Gangnam style’ gaining popularity among British soldiers in Afghanistan
Hundreds protest draft charter in Cairo
Stupid errors must stop, says Grosjean
Six polio workers shot dead in Pakistan
Mother helps landlord to rape daughter in India; Police refuse to register case


S&P lifts Greece from selective default rating

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 03:17 PM PST


Paris: Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s raised Greece’s sovereign debt rating by six notches on Tuesday encouraged by a burst of support for Athens from eurozone partners.

The upgrade from selective default to B-/B “reflects our view of the strong determination of European Economic and Monetary Union (eurozone) member states to preserve Greek membership in the eurozone,” an S&P statement said.

The outlook for Greek public debt was stable because of the government’s committment to fiscal and structural adjustments, it added.

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the decision “was a very important one that created a climate of optimism.”

“But we know that the road is still long and hard, the hour is not one for easing up,” he said.

The upgrade came after Greece completed a debt buyback programme and eurozone finance ministers approved fresh loans under a second bailout.

S&P had placed Greece in selective default earlier this month, pending the result of the buyback.

“We view the eurozone member states’ decision to provide material cash flow relief to Greece as indicative of their determination to restore stability to Greek finances, and to preserve Greece’s eurozone membership,” S&P said.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have provided most of the emergency relief for Greece, via two rescue packages.

S&P said: “We could raise our long-term rating on Greece if the government follows through fully on its steps to comply with the EU/IMF program, thereby restoring predictability to its policymaking as well as contributing to a sustained economic recovery and improved prospects of sustainable debt-servicing.

“We could lower the ratings if we believe that there is a likelihood of a distressed exchange on Greece’s remaining stock of commercial debt,” it also warned.

In Washington meanwhile, the international bank lobby IIF said Tuesday that Greece’s newly revamped bailout programme still faced large risks as long as the national economy continued to contract sharply.

“With real GDP (gross domestic product) likely to decline another 4-5 percent next year after falling 6 percent this year, and further austerity testing social cohesion, risks to the EU-IMF program will remain substantial,” the Institute of International Finance said.




School restarts in Newtown, but not for survivors

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 03:09 PM PST




Connecticut: Most children in Newtown returned to classes Tuesday for the first time since last week’s massacre, but survivors of the shooting stayed home and their school remained a crime scene.

Four days after a disturbed 20-year-old shot his mother, then 20 first-graders and six staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the debate over America’s lax gun laws hit a new pitch with President Barack Obama coming out in support of a new bill that would ban assault weapons.

Adam Lanza’s principal firearm in Friday’s massacre was a military grade Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle, exactly the kind of gun that would be banned if the Obama-backed bill gets past Congress — something far from guaranteed.

But in Newtown, there were more immediate worries, as yellow school buses rolled through thin drizzle at the delayed start of the school week.

It was only a baby step back toward normality in a town that had been known for low crime and a tight sense of community until the shootings.

Classes began with up to two hours delay and extra security was posted outside buildings.




The casket for the funeral service of James Mattioli, 6 is carried into Saint Rose of Lima Church on December 18, 2012
© AFP

At Hawley Elementary School, a couple accompanying their young son held hands and hugged the policeman at the entrance.

“He was very happy to get back with his friends,” one mother said, declining to give her name. But the father said he could not describe his emotions on what should have been an ordinary school run.

“There are no words. Just tears,” he said.

Survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre stayed at home, and were expected to return to classes later this week in a spare school near Newtown. Detectives and forensic scientists continued to pore over their school building in a painstaking attempt to piece together what happened when Lanza opened fire.

In a sign of the heavy hearts in this picturesque New England town, the front grills of all school buses were decorated with green-and-white bows, the colors of Sandy Hook school. “The bows were hand-made overnight by the company’s owners and employees,” said Joan Baumgart of All-Star Transportation, which runs 50 school buses in Newtown.

Burials, which started Monday with two boys laid to rest, were continuing all week.

On Tuesday, funerals were being held for a young girl and boy, and wakes were scheduled for another boy and girl, as well as one of the teachers shot dead. They were to be buried Wednesday.

Meanwhile, police remain tight-lipped about what they’ve found that might explain why Lanza, who had no history of violence, snapped.

Searches have concentrated on the school, but also the house were Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy lived — and where he shot her at the start of his spree.

Among the items being examined are the rifle and pistols that Lanza carried and which were owned by his mother. There have also been reports that the hard drive to his computer is getting close attention.

Bit by bit, a picture is emerging of a boy whom no one knew well and a mother who did everything to care for him, but, fatally, introduced him to her passion for target shooting at ranges.

Former schoolmate Alan Diaz told CNN that Lanza was “a very intelligent person” who had the “stereotypical nerd look” and unlike the backpack-toting classmates, always carried a computer bag.




Police outside the home of Nancy Lanza December 18, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut
© AFP

“We all kind of knew that, like, he had problems socially and we kind of had a feeling that he might have had something wrong with him,” Diaz said.

He recalled playing violent computer games with Lanza, but said he was surprised to hear that his friend was going shooting with his mother.

“I never really imagined Adam wanting to hold a gun,” he said. “I don’t imagine shy, quiet people going to a shooting range.”

Reflecting the general mystification over Lanza’s meltdown, Diaz said: “At one point he was a good kid. The events he did that day may have been evil, but before then he was just another kid.”






Low turnout for Egypt protests ahead of referendum

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 03:00 PM PST


Cairo: Egypt’s opposition mustered only a low turnout for protests late Tuesday against a draft constitution backed by Islamist President Mohamed Morsi that looks likely to be adopted in a weekend referendum second round.

But analysts cautioned that adoption of the proposed charter would not heal the deep divisions gripping the Arab world’s most populous country.

Up to 2,000 people rallied outside the presidential palace and a few hundred more in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, AFP correspondents said. That was far fewer than joined previous anti-Morsi protests over the past three weeks, some of which drew tens of thousands of demonstrators.

The demonstrations came ahead of Saturday’s second round of voting in the referendum. In last weekend’s first round, held in half the country’s provinces, including the big cities of Cairo and Alexandria, 57 percent of voters backed the draft charter, according to unofficial tallies.

While that was less than Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had been hoping for, the margin was expected to grow when more conservative, rural voters cast their ballots in the second round.




Egypt’s landmark Tahrir Square is seen as hundreds of opposition protesters gather on December 18, 2012
© AFP

Some protesters on Tuesday said they would not accept the results of the referendum even if official results showed a majority backed the charter.

“We do not agree with this constitution. We don’t recognise the referendum as valid,” said one opposition protester near the palace, Ayyoub Laouindi.

“The constitution is void, the referendum is void. Egyptians’ voices have been falsified and the ballot boxes been stuffed,” said another, Suzanne Esmat, a tourist guide.

Morsi’s camp argues the new charter is needed to bring stability to Egypt after months of turmoil since the early 2011 ouster of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak.

But the opposition is scathing of the document, which was written largely by Islamists, believing it weakens human rights protections, particularly for women, and sets the stage for a creeping advance towards Islamic sharia law.




Election officials count ballots at a polling station in Cairo on December 15, 2012
© AFP

Divisions over Morsi’s rule and the draft constitution spilled over into vicious clashes between supporters and opponents of the president, with eight people killed and hundreds injured outside the palace on December 5.

The head of the military, Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, warned against the polarisation of the nation.

“The divisions are affecting the economy and threaten social peace, requiring of us solidarity, renouncing differences and putting public interests first,” Sissi was quoted as saying.

The justice ministry responded to the opposition’s fraud allegations by saying it was appointing judges to investigate.

Many of Egypt’s 21,000 judges were keeping up their pressure on Morsi, charging that he was trying to undermine their independence. More than half are refusing to supervise the second round of the referendum.




Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi casts his vote in Cairo on December 15, 2012
© AFP

Hani Sabra, an analyst at Eurasia Group, said while the draft constitution would be adopted, the Muslim Brotherhood was “surprised and unsettled” at the low margin and the meagre 31-percent turnout in the first round of voting.

“This is likely to push the Brotherhood to take a less conciliatory approach to governing in the short term, as it will scramble to maintain its advantage,” he predicted.

“The referendum results will also fuel the confrontation between the Brotherhood and the non-Islamist opposition,” making it more difficult for Morsi to govern, Sabra said.

The uncertainty is already hurting Egypt’s economy, which is heavily dependent on foreign credit, investment and tourism.

The International Monetary Fund has put on hold a $4.8 billion loan, and Germany has postponed indefinitely a plan to forgive up to $316 million of Egyptian debt.

Egypt needs the IMF loan “to stave off an unmanaged currency devaluation, which could have a devastating effect on the economy,” Sabra said.




Akshay Kumar leads Bollywood as top earner in 2012


Posted: 18 Dec 2012 02:20 PM PST


Mumbai: Seemingly Salman Khan rules the Bollywood but Akshay Kumar has certainly proved himself "Khilari of the year" as he has earned and scored grand success for all his films.

Akshay made a massive Rs. 4-billion in a calendar year with back to back hits for all his films at the box office. Currently he is surely top celebrity at the box office as he worked in only four films and earned the maximum with compared to other big hits.

Rowdy Rathore was blockbuster hit and earned Rs. 1.35-billion. Housefull-2 and OMG (Oh My God) were super hit earlier this year while Khiladi 786 is still running successfully at the box office.

Salman Khan is on second number as only "Ek Tha Tiger" earned more than Rs. 2-billion. His upcoming "Dabang-2" is also being expected as a big success.




Facebook post on Thackeray death: Indian police drop charges against Shaheen Dhada, Rinu


Posted: 18 Dec 2012 01:43 PM PST




Mumbai: Indian police on Tuesday dropped all charges against two girls, Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, whose Facebook post against shutdown of Mumbai city after the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray sparked an uproar.

A closure report was filed before a court in Palghar town in Thane district, dropping all charges against the girls.

Both were arrested by the police on November 19 on a complaint lodged by a local Sena leader. They were produced before a court in Palghar, which granted them bail.

They were booked under IPC Sections 295 (A) deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and also IT Act.




Psy’s ‘Gangnam style’ gaining popularity among British soldiers in Afghanistan

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:26 PM PST




Kabul: Gangnam style has gained unexpected popularity among the world within a short period of time and now the style has become popular among the British soldiers based in Afghanistan.

According to British media reports, the troops released their version of the ‘Gangnam Style’ hit song to raise money for charity.

The soldiers from 7 Headquarters and Support Squadron were fundraising for the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team.

The original version of Psy’s song has been viewed over 970 million times on YouTube and the video-sharing website has been named it as the video of the year.

It has subsequently been copied in many guises – including Farmer Style and Eton Style – and celebrities have been falling over eachother to perform the eccentric dance.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hailed the song as a “force for world peace”, while David Cameron and Boris Johnson are also known fans.




Hundreds protest draft charter in Cairo

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:26 PM PST


Cairo: Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in front of the Cairo palace of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi late on Tuesday in a last-ditch bid to scuttle a draft constitution being put to a referendum.

The rally, of up to 2,000 people according to AFP correspondents, was smaller than previous anti-Morsi protests held over the past three weeks.

It was called by the opposition National Salvation Front to urge a “no” vote in Saturday’s second round of polling in the referendum.

The Front was also protesting alleged fraud in the first round last weekend, unofficial results of which suggested the proposed constitution would be adopted.

Tallies by state media and Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood showed 57 percent support for the text — less than Egypt’s ruling Islamists had hoped for, but enough to secure victory without a major upset in the second round.




A general view of Egypt’s landmark Tahrir Square is seen as hundreds of opposition protesters gather December 18, 2012
© AFP

Some protesters on Tuesday said they would not accept the results of the referendum even if official results showed a majority backed the charter.

“We do not agree with this constitution. We don’t recognise the referendum as valid,” said one opposition protester near the palace, Ayyoub Laouindi.

“The constitution is void, the referendum is void. Egyptians’ voices have been falsified and the ballot boxes been stuffed,” said another, Suzanne Esmat, a tourist guide.

Morsi’s camp argues the new charter is needed to bring stability to Egypt after months of turmoil following the early 2011 revolution that toppled veteran leader Hosni Mubarak.

But the opposition is scathing of the document, which was written largely by Islamists, believing it weakens human rights protections, particularly for women, and sets the stage for a creeping advance towards Islamic sharia law.




Election officials count ballots at a polling station in Cairo on December 15, 2012
© AFP

Divisions over Morsi’s rule and the draft constitution spilled over into vicious clashes between supporters and opponents of the president, with eight people killed and hundreds injured outside the palace on December 5.

The head of the military, Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, warned against the polarisation of the nation.

“The divisions are affecting the economy and threaten social peace, requiring of us solidarity, renouncing differences and putting public interests first,” Sissi was quoted as saying.

The justice ministry responded to the opposition’s fraud allegations by saying it was appointing judges to investigate.

But the secretary general of the electoral commission, Mahmoud Abu Shousha, vehemently rejected the opposition’s claims that fake judges oversaw voting in some polling stations.




Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi casts his vote in Cairo on December 15, 2012
© AFP

Many of Egypt’s 21,000 judges were keeping up their pressure on Morsi, charging that he was trying to undermine their independence.

On Monday, the State Council Judges Club grouping nearly 2,600 top judges announced it would boycott supervision of the second round of voting. It joined an estimated 12,000 judges who already boycotted the first round.

And a protest by hundreds of prosecutors the same day forced the resignation of the prosecutor general, Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah, appointed less than a month ago by Morsi.

“This is undoubtedly a new crisis for Mohammed Morsi, showing that his decisions are not accepted by large sectors of the state system,” a political science professor at Cairo University, Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed, told AFP.

A commentator in the newspaper Al-Masri al-Youm, Hassan Nafaa, wrote that Morsi’s drive to hold the referendum “has managed to do just one thing: solidify and deepen the division between Egyptians to a dangerous and worrying degree”.




Stupid errors must stop, says Grosjean

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:12 PM PST


Paris: French Formula One driver Romain Grosjean said on Tuesday he would repay the Lotus team’s faith in him by cutting out the reckless mistakes that cast a shadow over a largely successful season for him in 2012.

Lotus, who finished an impressive fourth in the constructors championship as the duo of former world champion Kimi Raikkonen racked up some impressive performances, signed up the 26-year-old Swiss born driver for the 2013 campaign on Monday.

However, as Grosjean revealed he had had some sleepless nights after the curtain came down on the season in Brazil last month and talks went on over his future to the extent he feared that the race had been his last in Formula One.

“There were some tough moments, some sleepless nights,” said Grosjean, who made his Formula One debut in 2009 when he raced seven times for Renault before a three year hiatus prior to driving for Lotus last term.

“I had a lot of discussions with the team’s owners, which were constructive and allowed us to make progress. Today I am happy to have their confidence, to be able to carry on with them, and I am really going to try and create something special.”

Grosjean, who recorded three podium finishes last season to finish a respectable eighth in the championship with 96 points, accepted, though, that he had to erase the wild charges he made from the grid and which earned him not only a suspension but also angered several of his rivals.

The most notable and perhaps costly one was at the beginning of the Belgian Grand Prix which claimed among its victims Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who was to go on and finish second in the world title race, just three points behind Sebastian Vettel.

Grosjean’s recklessness in that collision resulted in a one race suspension – however, he was to go on and take Australian Mark Webber out of the Japanese Grand Prix at the start although this time he escaped censure.

“We have been working together since September in order to make progess because I did not want to wait till the end of the season,” he said.

“There are lots of things that I am trying to improve on, because I am no longer a rookie, I no longer have the right to make clearly stupid mistakes, which were 100% my fault.

“I want to be more consistent, while remaining as quick as before.”

Grosjean, who was unable to match Raikkonen’s Grand Prix victory in Abu Dhabi, said that his ambitions matched those of Lotus.

“My ability to drive fast weighed in my favour for being retained, the talks as well, and the fact that we (he and Lotus) both are hungry to be world champions together.

“If we sort out some concerns, we will succeed.”

Grosjean, though, was delighted that being re-signed by Lotus he could put off to another time his other favoured ambition which is to open a restaurant.

“I do not know whether I would have, if I had been let go, thrown myself immediately into opening a restaurant,” he said.

“I had already looked elsewhere, in order to continue what I do best, to drive a car, but the idea is still in my head.”




Six polio workers shot dead in Pakistan

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:04 PM PST




Karachi: Gunmen in Pakistan have killed six health workers at the start of a nationwide polio vaccination drive, officials said Tuesday, highlighting resistance to a campaign opposed by the Taliban.

Four women were killed in less than an hour in seemingly coordinated attacks in Karachi on Tuesday, a day after a man working on a local government-World Health Organization (WHO) project was also shot dead in the city, police said.

A sixth worker, also a woman, was killed on Tuesday in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which lies close to the tribal areas, a haven for the Taliban and other militants who ordered a ban on polio vaccinations in June.




A Pakistani mother mourns the death of her daughter at a hospital morgue in Karachi on December 18, 2012
© AFP

The WHO and UNICEF condemned the attacks and expressed their commitment to supporting Pakistan in its efforts to rid the country of polio and other diseases, while the United Nations called the killings “senseless and inexcusable”.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, but efforts to tackle the highly infectious crippling disease have been hampered over the years by local suspicion.

The Taliban banned immunisations in the tribal region of Waziristan, condemning the campaign as a cover for espionage after the jailing of a doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme.

Sagheer Ahmed, the health minister for Sindh province, of which Karachi is capital, said he had ordered a halt to the anti-polio drive in the city following Tuesday’s shootings.

Senior police officer Shahid Hayat blamed “militants who issued a fatwa against polio vaccination in the past” for the Karachi killings.




A Pakistani mother mourns over the loss of her daughter who was killed in Karachi on December 18, 2012
© AFP

He said one polio vaccination team was attacked in the eastern Karachi neighbourhood of Gulshan-e-Buner.

“They were fired upon by unidentified gunmen who rode away on motorcycles. Two women members suffered multiple gunshots and died on the spot,” he said.

Two women and a man were wounded in two separate incidents in the city’s west, Hayat said, adding that all of the victims were part of WHO-supervised polio vaccination teams. The two women died of their injuries.

In a Peshawar suburb, two attackers on a motorbike fired on two sisters working on vaccination, killing one, senior police official Javed Khan told AFP.

A joint WHO-UNICEF statement said such attacks “deprive Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations — especially children — of basic life-saving health interventions”.

“We call on the leaders of the affected communities and everyone concerned to do their utmost to protect health workers and create a secure environment so that we can meet the health needs of the children of Pakistan,” it added.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the “senseless and inexcusable attack on health workers” and was to meet Pakistan’s UN ambassador Masood Khan on Tuesday over the issue.

In Waziristan, a hub for Islamist militants, the Taliban ban — to protest against US drone strikes and because they allege that the polio campaign is a cover for espionage — risks the health of 240,000 children, officials say.

Launching the polio drive on Monday, Pakistani authorities threatened to punish tribesmen who refuse to allow their children to be inoculated.




A Pakistan health worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Peshawar on September 11, 2012.
© AFP

Siraj Ahmad Khan, the top official in North Waziristan tribal area, said the punishments would include a ban on monthly stipends to tribal elders, development work, civil service recruitment and issuing ID cards and passports.

Tuesday’s killings in Karachi took place in parts of the city dominated by Pashtuns, Hayat said. Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic group in northwest Pakistan and have a sizeable migrant population in Karachi.

WHO, a partner in government efforts to eradicate the disease, suspended vaccination activities in part of Pakistan’s largest city in July after a spate of shootings.

A UN doctor from Ghana working on polio eradication and his driver were shot in Karachi and three days later a local community worker who was part of the same campaign was shot dead in the same area.






Mother helps landlord to rape daughter in India; Police refuse to register case

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:00 PM PST




Mumbai: An Indian teenage girl on Tuesday alleged that she was repeatedly raped by her landlord, who was aided in the act by her mother.

According to Indian media reports, the 17-year-old alleged that the accused first raped her in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh early this year when she had gone to attend a marriage function.

She told police that the landlord, who had accompanied the family to Bijnor, raped her in presence of her mother after giving sedative-laced food, Kumar said.

He then repeated the act several times in Faridabad by threatening that a video clip of the act has been made and he would post it on internet if she revealed the matter to anyone, Kumar said.

She also told police that her mother was into an illicit relationship with the landlord and thus, aided him in the act, Kumar said, adding that the girl told the matter to her maternal uncle after the landlord started targeting her younger sister also.

The Indian police refused to register any case in this connection, saying that the crime was first committed in Bijnor and they would first investigate the matter.




1 comments:

Please Comment Your Feelings About This Post , Saba Khan Like People They Are So Social And Well Thinking ...♥