Home » Catch Wire » Your news wire on 22 July: Parliament logjam, VHP's blunders, BRICS bank launched for developing countries, Geelani gets an Indian passport and more

Yakub Memon will not be hanged on 30 July

Yakub Memon

Photo: Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has rejected the final mercy petition of Yakub Memon on Tuesday, the lone death row convict in Mumbai's 1993 serial bomb blasts case. Latest reports in Hindustan Times point to a delay in the date of execution. According to a new ruling by the Supreme Court, an execution can only be conducted 14-days after the rejection of a curative mercy plea. Since the plea was rejected on 21 July, the execution date will be pushed to a later date than 30 July.

This will be the first execution related to the 1993 serial blasts in which over 250 people were killed. Memon was found guilty of financing the 13 serial blasts that shook India's financial capital. Memon's earlier appeals against his execution have been rejected by the Supreme Court and also by the President. His brother and underworld don, Tiger Memon, one of the main accused in the case has been missing since 1993. According to laid out procedures, Memon's family members too have been informed about the execution.

Hurriyat's Syed Ali Shah Geelani is Indian, gets a passport finally

Syed Shah Geelani -(Photo: Sunil Saxena/Hindustan Times)

Photo: Sunil Saxena/Hindustan Times

A passport, with a nine-month validity, has been issued to Hurriyat's Syed Ali Shah Geelani. A controversy had raged for months after Geelani had refused to fill up the column for nationality, saying: "I am not Indian by birth. It's a compulsion that we have to travel with an Indian passport." His reason for applying for the passport was to meet up with his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia. He eventually completed the formalities on 5 June after he reportedly wrote 'Indian' under the column for nationality. At the time of controversy, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said the Centre would consider Geelani's application only after he completed the formalities.

Rajasthan makes toilets compulsory for contesting local body elections

Toilet Festival_Subrata Biswas/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Old women carry toilet pot replicas on World Toilet Day on November 18, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Photo: Subrata Biswas/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

After adding a minimum qualification of Class X, the Rajasthan government has made it mandatory for contestants in the upcoming local bodies to have a toilet. The candidates will now have to produce an affidavit stating that they have a toilet at home. An ordinance to this effect was cleared by the cabinet and sent to the Governor. The state goes to elections for 129 local bodies next month. The eligibility criteria of Class X, imposed in the panchayat polls in January 2015 had met with opposition from candidates as well as the Congress. Police complaints were filed against some of the elected representatives alleging submission of fake certificates.

DoT wants telecom companies to submit action taken report on call drops by 31 July

With increasing complaints of call drops by users on mobile phones, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked telecom companies to ramp up their infrastructure and submit an action taken report by 31 July. In a notice to telecom companies, DoT has asked them to undertake a special drive for radio frequency optimisation, analyse the reasons for call drops and take appropriate steps. The companies are reportedly not very happy with the DoT instructions and say that call drops happen due to two reasons - lack of enough spectrum to support the growing subscriber base and insufficient number of towers.

Curfew imposed in Rajouri town after VHP burns Islamic State flags

ISIS Flags in Kashmir_Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Kashmiri protesters displaying the flags of ISIS during a protest in Srinagar, India (file photo). Photo: Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times/ Getty Images

Curfew was declared in Rajouri and the army had to hold a flag march after people protested over Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) burning flags of the Islamic State - the terror group causing havoc in Iraq and Syria. Protesters said that VHP burnt flags that bore Quranic verses and wanted the persons to be arrested. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh ruled out the arrest of VHP activists, saying that "burning the symbol of terrorists and anti-national elements is the work of nationalism." State VHP patron Ramakant Dubey said it had no intention to hurt religious sentiments, and said: "We had burnt the IS flag. We did not know what was written on it in Persian."

Mamata Banerjee uneasy with Trinamool's involvement in sand mining and syndicates

Mamata Banerjee

Photo: Getty Images

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her concern over reports of Trinamool's involvement in syndicates, illegal sand mining, campus violence and factionalism. Speaking at the martyrs' day rally at Esplanade, she pledged to remove partymen lacking discipline. "Those who participate in syndicates, in (illegal) sand mining, please do not be in this party. I plead with you with folded hands, leave the party. I will not tolerate infighting. I am not going to tolerate indiscipline," she said and added that she wants her party to uphold five Ds - discipline, dedication, devotion, determination and development.

Sushma Swaraj tweets about making a disclosure on Congress leader in Parliament

Sushma_Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via  Getty Images

Photo: Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Taking the fight into the opposition camp, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj issued a series of tweets that she will disclose the name of a senior Congress leader who allegedly approached her to give a diplomatic passport to Santosh Bagrodia, an accused in the coal scam case. Her tweet says: "A senior Congress leader was pressing me hard to give diplomatic passport to coal scam-accused Santosh Bagrodia." Former minister of state for coal, Santosh Bagrodia has been summoned by the special CBI court as an accused in connection with the allocation of Maharashtra's Bander coal block to AMR Iron and Steel.

Microsoft reports $3.2 billion quarterly loss, its biggest ever due to Nokia and declining sales

Windows 10

Photo: Getty Images

Microsoft has reported its biggest ever quarterly net loss at $3.2 billion as it wrote down the Nokia phone business and as sales for its Windows operating system slipped. Sales of Windows to computer manufacturers who install it on new PCs fell 22 per cent while sales to businesses fell by 21 per cent. On the positive side, revenue from its commercial cloud business, which offers Office P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } 365 and Azure, rose by 96 per cent. It had announced earlier this month that it would cut down nearly seven per cent of its workforce, or nearly 7,800 jobs.

Another Vyapam in the making as PIL alleges UP magistrates selected on the basis of caste

A PIL filed in the Allahabad High Court says that of the 86 subdivisional magistrates selected by the UP Public Service Commission (UPPSC), 56 belong to a particular caste. The petitioners, unsuccessful aspirants for the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Civil Services (UPPSC), have sought an investigation by the CBI, alleging that UPPSC chairperson, Dr Anil Yadav is favouring candidates from his own caste. The PIL says that 72 of the 389 PCS officers selected in 2011 were from this caste. Of the 111 OBC candidates, 45 again belonged to this caste. This was besides the 27 successful candidates of the same caste in the general category. The petitioners say that this racket is bigger than Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam.

Source: Mail Today

Both Houses adjourned, BJP and Congress clash over Lalit Modi and BJP chief ministers


Photo: Getty Images

The face off between the BJP and the Congress over the Vyapam recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh and the Lalit Modi scandal involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje escalated further. Even though the Congress postponed its planned protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue, it was able to stall the proceedings in both the Houses. The Rajya Sabha, where the Congress has a majority, was adjourned for the third time while the Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pulled up the Opposition for entering parliament wearing black bands. Taking on the Congress, Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu said: "There are charges against ministers and leaders of seven Congress ruled states, are they going to resign?"

LG and Delhi government rift widens as Jung rejects appointment of DCW chief Swati Maliwal

Arvind Kejriwal, LG, Delhi statehood

Photo: Getty Images

Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has rejected the appointment of Swati Maliwal as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief by Arvind Kejriwal Government on grounds that his approval had not been sought. The LG has declared the appointment as 'ultra vires'. However, Maliwal said that she will continue to do her work as she has not received any communication from the LG's office. Delhi Chief Minister and the LG have been engaged in a continuous confrontation over appointments and transfers of officials over the past couple of months.

Gujarat Police says Teesta Setalvad and husband misappropriated funds, opposes bail plea

Teesta Setlavad_Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The Gujarat Police has opposed the anticipatory bail plea of Teesta Setalvad in the Supreme Court, saying that Setalvad and her husband "misappropriated" funds by buying wine, earbuds, mobile phones, movie CDs and eating out at restaurants. The police has said in its affidavit that the couple is not cooperating in the investigations. Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, who have been fighting for justice for the victims of the riots, have denied all allegations saying that they have been implicated in the case and are victims of a political vendetta. Just a few days back, the CBI had raided her home and office in Mumbai for alleged FERA violations.

Sorry no human beings allowed, a city for test cars but no drivers

Google Driveless cars

Photo: University of Michigan

It is a complete urban city - with a network of good roads and sidewalks, streetlights, stop signs and traffic signals that work. The city even has a complete downtown area with fake building facades and outdoor dining areas. However, one characteristic that defines the city is that humans are not allowed, at all. The Mcity is a fake 'town' built by researchers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who are testing driverless cars of the future. The idea is to test out innovations in the field of driverless car in a human-free environment. So, not even drivers are allowed into the city, which is 32 acres - the size of about 24 football fields.

AP offers Rs 5,000 to wean away beggars from the Mahakumbh ghats, unsuccessfully

Beggar woman_Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola/LightRocket via Getty Images

Photo: Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola/LightRocket/Getty Images

The Andhra Padesh government is offering Rs 5,000 each and food to beggars to make them stay away from the ghats of river Godavari where the Pushkaralu festival is being held. The announcement has resulted in large numbers of people turning up for the money, and not all of them are beggars. The scheme is, however, applicable only to those people who do not have access to ration cards, the pension scheme and other welfare schemes. The once in a 144-year event began on July 14 and over a thousand beggars have been seen at the ghats since then.

Cyber security researchers turn the screws on connected cars by taking control of running vehicle

Putting the spotlight on the oft-discussed topic of connected cars and trucks, a pair of cyber-security researchers have taken control of a running car using the Internet and also switched off its engine. In a controlled test, former National Security Agency hacker Charlie Miller, now at Twitter, and IOActive researcher Chris Valasek, broke into a car's radio and activated other inessential features before rewriting code embedded in the car's entertainment system to issue commands to the steering, brakes and the engine. Miller and Valasek had earlier warned that remote hacking of cars was inevitable. Automobile manufacturers are trying to put in added measures to save cars from getting hacked.

From darkness to light, India's first solar village completes one year of being powered by the sun

Solar Panels

Photo: Getty Images

Dharnai, a small village near Bodhgaya in Bihar, achieved access to electricity for the first time in 30 years. And the energy that is sustaining the 2,000 people of the village is solar. The micro-grid, put up by Greenpeace has changed the life of people completely. Lighting up the village means that children study late into the night and women no longer have to finish preparing meals before the sun sets. The people, particularly women and girls feel safer and the provision of street lights mean that people now put up make-shift shops often. One year of successful solar-based lighting means that many people have found sustainable livelihood while others find themselves more productive.

Nine snake catchers arrested in Nagpur for transporting snakes illegally

Snakes_Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

The Maharashtra forest department arrested nine people for trafficking serpents from Pune to Nagpur. The arrested people, called sarpa-mitras (friends of snakes), were transporting a Bamboo Pit Viper, Indian Cobra, Russell's Viper, Indian Rock Python and snake eggs, besides three Deccan Geckos. The forest department often hires sarpa-mitras to catch snakes from human habitats, however, some of these have been found to be indulging in illegal activities. Trafficking of snakes has been taking place nationally and globally due to demand for its skin and venom.