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Wisconsins Baldwin becomes first openly gay US senator 

Milwaukee: Wisconsin Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin made history on Tuesday with her election to become the first openly gay US Senator,defeating former Governor Tommy Thompson in the most expensive Senate race in state history.
Between them,the two candidates raised at least $65 million.Thompson conceded the race at around midnight.
Baldwins victory is another blow to Republicans,who needed to make a net gain of four seats to take a majority in the US Senate.Instead,Democrats took over hotly contested Republican seats in Massachusetts and Indiana while holding on to most of the states they already had,including Wisconsin and Virginia,according to projections.
I didnt run to make history, said Baldwin in her victory speech.I ran to make a difference,a difference in the lives of families struggling to find work and pay the bills. 
Baldwin assumes the seat of retiring Democrat Herb Kohl,who is finishing his fourth term in the Senate.The 50-year-old Baldwin,first elected to Congress in 1998,also becomes the first woman senator from Wisconsin with her victory Tuesday.
Although historically significant,Baldwins sexual orientation never became a major topic on the campaign trail.
Tammy Baldwins victory showed what a majority of Americans already know: that candidates should be judged on their qualifications for the job and not their sexual orientation, said Herndon Graddick,president of the gay rights organization GLAAD.
Baldwin,who represents Dane County,a Democratic stronghold of the state,is expected to be replaced in the House by Democrat Mark Pocan,another openly gay politician.
Baldwin,one of the leading liberals in Congress,moved to the center during the campaign,promising to support investments in infrastructure,education and research to create jobs.She also painted Thompson as favoring tax cuts for the wealthy.
Thompson argued that lower taxes,fewer regulations,large spending cuts and entitlement reform will boost the US economy.REUTERS


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Tammy Baldwin 



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2 more US states legalize gay marriage,pushing total to 8 


Voters a continent apart made history on Tuesday on two divisive social issues,with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.
The outcome in Maine and Maryland broke a 32-state streak,dating back to 1998,in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that voted on it.They will become the seventh and eighth states to allow same-sex couples to marry.
For the first time,voters in Maine and Maryland voted to allow loving couples to make lifelong commitments through marriage - forever taking away the right-wing talking point that marriage equality couldnt win on the ballot, said Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign,a national gay-rights group.
Washington state also was voting on measures to legalize samesex marriage,while Minnesota voters were considering a conservative-backed amendment that would place a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution.
Maine's referendum on same-sex marriage marked the first time that gay-rights supporters put the issue to apopular vote.They collected enough signatures over the summer to schedule the vote,hoping to reverse the outcome of a 2009 referendum that quashed a gay-marriage law enacted by the state Legislature.AP


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Revellers kiss in Seattle as they celebrate early election results favouring a referendum which would legalize gay marriage in Maine and Maryland



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Two states OK recreational marijuana 


Colorado and Washington became the first US states to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday in defiance of federal law,setting the stage for a possible showdown with the Obama administration.
But another ballot measure to remove criminal penalties for personal possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis was defeated in Oregon,where significantly less money and campaign organization was devoted to the cause.
Supporters of a Colorado constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana were the first to declare victory,and opponents conceded defeat,after returns showed the measure garnering nearly 53% of the vote versus 47% against.
Colorado will no longer have laws that steer people toward using alcohol,and adults will be free to use marijuana instead if that is what they prefer.And we will be better off as a society because of it, said Mason Tvert,co-director of the Colorado pro-legalization campaign.
The Drug Policy Alliance,a national advocacy group that backed the initiatives,said the outcome in Washington and Colorado reflected growing national support for liberalized pot laws,citing a Gallup poll last year that found 50% of Americans favored making it legal,versus 46 % who opposed.
Supporters of Washington states pot legalization initiative declared victory after the Seattle Times and other media projected a win for marijuana proponents.
Early returns showed prolegalization votes led with 55% versus to 44% opposed with about 60% of ballots tallied in the states all-mail-in election system.
The outcomes in Colorado and Washington,which already have laws on the books legalizing marijuana for medical purposes,put both states in further conflict with the federal government,which classifies cannabis as an illegal narcotic.REUTERS


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WIN-DOSE : Supporters of President Barack Obama celebrate at the New York State Democratic headquarters 



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CIA boss quits over extramarital affair 

Michael D Shear 

Washington : David H Petraeus,the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and one of Americas most decorated four-star generals,resigned on Friday after an FBI investigation uncovered evidence that he had been involved in an extramarital affair with his biographer.
After being married for over 37 years,I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair, Petraeus said in an email after President Obama accepted his resignation.Such behaviour is unacceptable,both as a husband and astheleader of an organization such as ours. 
Government officials said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an inquiry into a potential criminal matter several months ago.In the course of their inquiry into whether a computer used by Petraeus was compromised,agents discovered evidence of the relationship.About two weeks ago,FBI agents met Petraeustodiscusstheinvestigation.
Administration officials identified the woman as Paula Broadwell,theco-author of AllIn:TheEducation of General David Petraeus,which waspublishedthis year.A graduateof the US Military Academy at West Point,Broadwell spent 15 years in the military.She worked closely with Petraeus in Afghanistan for the book.The mother of two,who has described Petraeus as her mentor,could not be reached for comment.NYT NEWS SERVICE


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BY THE BOOK: Paula Broadwell & Petraeus 



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Cheating case against actor Bhagyaraj 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: A printing press owner of Royapettah has lodged a complaint saying actor-director-producer K Bhagyaraj cheated him.He lodged another complaint saying Bhagyarajs nephew threatened him with dire consequences a few days ago.
The Nungambakkam police registered two complaints and issued separate community service registers,a prelude to filing an FIR.Gopinath,who once printed Bhagya,the magazine run by Bhagyaraj,said the actor-director owed him 8 lakh as printing charges.
A few days ago,he went to Bhaygyarajs office and was threatened by his nephew Sriram,he said.
When contacted,Bhagyaraj confirmed the dispute.He said,there was a misunderstanding and we changed the printer in 2008.A few days ago,he came to meet me with 10 advocates.As I wasnt there,they met my nephew.He asked them to meet me but they lodged complaints against us.We lodged a complaint against the printer and those accompanying him.


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Techies forced into SLAVE LABOUR 

In Mexicos badlands,being an engineer can be dangerous 


On January 25,2009 Jose Antonio Robledo Fernandez,a Mexican engineer working for ICA Flour Daniel,a construction company,was kidnapped by three armed men in the northern Mexican town of Monclava in Coahuila.Fernandez,who is still missing,is one of at least 36 engineers and technicians to have vanished in the past four years;kidnapped,not for ransom,but as slaves who run the high-tech systems of one of Mexico's infamous drug cartels.
In December 2011,the Mexican army found a clandestine radio network with 167 antennas,155 relay stations,1,300 cell phones and 1,350 Nextel devices,controlled by 70 computers.The antennas were installed in isolated locations at high altitudes.Since then,more than 400 antennas and relay stations have been destroyed by the Mexican authorities.Most of these antennas and stations were installed by the Zetas drug cartel for field communication.
The US government has called the Zetas the most technologically advanced,sophisticated and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico with good reason.The Zetas cartel was originally a part of the Gulf Cartel and were trained to be the bodyguards of Gulf Cartel head Osiel Crdenias Guilln.Many members of Zetas are elite Special Forces deserters,including members who had been trained by American and Israeli special forces.There were initially 31 Zetas responsible for Guillns security,but after Guilln was arrested in 2003,the Zetas became more and more independent,forming their own organization in 2010.Their operatives now include police officers and ex-Kaibiles,the special forces of the Guatemalan military.
Wired magazines Robert Beckhausen describes the technological sophistication of the Zetas.Since 2006 the cartels have created and maintained an encrypted doit-yourself radio network that stretches across Mexico and into Guatemala.According to Wireds Spencer Ackerman,The cartels divide up territory into plazas.The plaza boss has the responsibility for establishing nodes on the network getting the antennas in place,concealing them as necessary,making sure the signalboosting repeaters extend the networks reach,equipping cartel personnel with handheld radios,and replacing what the security forces destroy. 
The network is primarily an early warning reconnaissance system.Halcons or hawks holler on the handhelds when the federal police or soldiers roll through cartel territory.The bosses themselves do not use the system they prefer the internet.This extensive radio network is for the field workers and the flunkies,and it is maintained by hapless engineers and technicians who are kidnapped and used as slave labour.
Even the police are deeply implicated in the disappearances.In the case of Jose Antonio Fernandez,his parents were visited by two cartel members and the security chief of the ICA,the company where Fernandez worked.They were told that the cartel knew everything they had told the police and were warned not to go back to the authorities if they wanted their son alive.
The ICA security chief was to be their contact if they wanted their son to return.They are still waiting for their son.
For more: wired.com;insightcrime.org


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CRIMINAL NETWORK: Kidnapped engineers are forced to maintain the cartel's gadgetry



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For Silver,theres safety in numbers 


Nate Silver got hacked by Anonymous.Now he knows all their names and passwords. If you tweet about Nate Silver,your internet works faster. Results ask Nate Silver if theyre significant. Nate Silver knows when GRR Martin will finish Winds of Winter. In other words,Nate Silver is now the global Rajnikanth.
Obama may have won his second term,but the other big winner was arithmetic,embodied by nerdy,bespectacled number-cruncher,baseball fan and political junky Nate Silver,a statistician and political blogger of some repute.NateSilverFacts and DrunkNateSilver have been trending on Twitter every day since the US elections ended,and the man has turned into a meme.
Silver used to be a bored economic consultant with KPMG in Chicago who decided to combine two of his passions,baseball and statistics.In 2003,he developed a system called PECOTA,a statistical system for forecasting baseball player performance.In 2007,he became a member of the progressive website Daily Kos under the name poblano and soon developed a reputation for accurate analysis,setting up his own blog FiveThirtyEight.com.
In the run up to the 2008 US elections,Silver built his prediction model which he used to spectacular effect in predicting the way each state would vote.He also accurately predicted 34 Senate elections.This year,his projections based on polls accurately predicted Obamas win.His model always showed that Obama had a much higher probability of winning than the neck-and-neck race that political pundits prophesied.While right-wing commentators had sneered at his scientific gobbledygook,Silver won,and the internet celebrates the triumph of geekery by making a memetic mathematical badass.
For more: huffingtonpost.com


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MATH GOD: Accurate predictions have made Silver a revered figure in the Twitterverse 



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China mulling key land reforms 

Subodh Varma TIMES INSIGHT GROUP 


Whats going on behind closed doors in the 18th Congress of Communist Party of China (CPC) After the inaugural session on Thursday,the delegates broke up into panel discussions on Friday.
Senior party leaders attended separate meetings of state level delegations.
For example Xi Jinping,tipped to take over the general secretarys post from Hu Jintao,sat with the Shanghai delegates and Li Keqiang another emerging top leader attended the Shangdong delegates discussion.
Although not open to public,experience from such meetings in the past indicates that delegates would discuss Hu Jintaos report,with the senior leader in attendance explaining its key points and answering queries.
A crucial change which may have far reaching consequences in China was hinted at in Hus report on the opening day: the land tenure system.China has over 297 million persons employed in agriculture,more than industry or services.
Although down from 360 million in 2000,these numbers are still huge.Peasants have been the backbone of support for the CPC from before the 1949 revolution.
We should give more to farmers and take less from them and lift restrictions over their economic activities, he said in his report to the congress,indicating that the CPC is considering introducing ownership rights for the farmers.This would be one of the biggest changes in China since Mao Zedong led CPC confiscated all land from landlords after the coming to power.And,it would certainly be an issue of intense debate at the meet.
Hus concern derives from spreading discontent in the rural hinterland.The primary reason for this is the continuing chasm between urban and rural living standards.In 2011,rural families earned 6977 yuan per person,compared to 21810 yuan for urban households,according to the Beijing-based National Statistics Bureau.This threefold gap has persisted over the years although China has made remarkable progress in lifting people out of poverty.
After 1978,China started breaking collective farms into a household contract system,in one of the key policies of liberalization and modernization under Deng Xiaoping.Instead of the state owning land and farmers working on it for wage or share of produce,farmers were given 30 year contracts to grow and sell whatever they wanted although ownership of land continued to vest with the village council.
But,as China rapidly urbanized,land became a valuable asset.Since 2000,cultivated area has declined by 8 million hectares,most of it for real estate projects.The lucrative real estate market has attracted over $27 billion worth of foreign investment.
In 2011,410 million square meters of land was purchased for real estate development,for over $129 billion.
So,village councils started selling off the land to developers at enormous prices without giving adequate compensation to the farmers who were tilling it.This has led to hundreds of protests.
Now Hu Jintao wants to remedy this by increasing the farmers stake in land sales.
The unfair treatment farmers face in land seizures are now the primary source of complaints and social unrest in the country, said Wang Kaiyu,a sociologist who has conducted field investigations in rural China for a long time.
At the CPC congress,Hu also promised to protect farmers rights to farm the land they have contracted,to use the land on which their houses sit,and to share in the proceeds from rural collective operations.


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Heavy security at Lanka jail as riot toll goes up to 27 

Colombo: Heavily-armed troops guarded Sri Lankas lone maximum security prison Saturday after helping to crush the countrys worst jail riot in three decades,which left 27 people dead and 43 wounded.The toll rose after 11 bodies were found in the Welikada prison here on Saturday.
Sixteen bodies are at the hospital and another 11 were found in the prison today (Saturday ), prisons minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera told parliament.I have appointed a three-member committee to investigate the incident. 
Sri Lankan troops were engaged in gunbattles with inmates,who seized weapons during a police search for contraband,authorities said on Saturday.
Despite the widespread violence within the jail compound,none of the seven Indian prisoners was affected,officials said.
Sarath Dissanayake,the external affairs ministry spokesman,said he was informed by the ministry of prison reforms that prisoners of foreign nationalities had not been affected.
Secretary to the prisons ministry assured me that no foreigner was injured, Dissanayake said.
Fridays violence was the worst prison riot since July 1983 when more than 50 ethnic Tamil prisoners were massacred at the same jail by majority Sinhalese prisoners during anti-Tamil riots that gripped the country.
Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said soldiers recovered the bodies of inmates from the prison on Saturday morning after the army was called to bring the situation at the jail under control.
Police requested our assistance and we deployed troops..., Wanigasooriya said.We have recovered a large quantity of weapons from prison wards and search operations are underway. 
Witnesses reported intense gunbattles lasting several hours between rioting inmates and police Special Task Force (STF) commandos who carried out a search for drugs and smuggled mobile phones.Minister Gajadeera said inmates had seized 82 weapons,including automatic assault rifles,after storming an armoury.He said the prison head quarters had suffered extensive damage.Inmates have hidden some of the weapons inside their wards and we are now searching for them, prison commissioner PW Koddippili told reporters.


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Police officers in Colombo inspect on Saturday a bullet-ridden autorickshaw,which was used by the prisoners to escape 



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Thai govt seeks preferential access for massage parlours 

Sidhartha TNN 

New Delhi: For long,Indias trade negotiators have dealt with tricky issues such as cutting import duties on cars,spirits or farm goods or allowing foreign lawyers and auditors to practice in India.But they had never come across requests for massage parloursor spas.
Well,Thailand which is among a hostof countries negotiating a bilateral trade deal with NewDelhi hasdemanded justthat,andwalked intounchartered territory.The demand also includes allowing Thai restaurants preferential entry into India.In addition,Bangkok has asked for dropping conditions such as local sourcing and minimum investment that are prescribed for retail chains that use the India-Thailandtreaty.
Commerce department officialstoldTOIthatThai negotiators have demanded almost everything that Indians look out for when they go to Bangkok,a regular port of call for several locals,be they shopkeepers or law makers.
Officials said the issues were under active consideration and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been briefed aboutthe proposals.
The demand is two-fold : AllowThai chainstosetup Indian outlets,either directly or through joint ventures with local players.Given thatthere are no foreign investment restrictions on opening restaurants,massage parloursor spas,there is unlikely to be much trouble.After all,restaurants or spa chains can always set up shop throughfranchises in India.
It is the second demand which may create some concern as it involves the Indian government guaranteeing easy access for masseurs,therapists and chefs.In other words,India willhaveto givesomesortof an assurance that it will issue visas to professionals working in theseoutfits.
Butthere may besomeknotty issues to deal with before agreeing to the Thai demand.An official said that in almost all cases,the local industry is consulted to gauge its reaction and even provide some sort of level-playing field.It may be a tough task for officials given that restaurants,spas and massage parlours are largely in the unorganizedsector in India.
But the mandatory consultation process needs to be followed as the government believes that the early harvest scheme with Thailand,which was a precursor to a full-fledged trade pact,is heavily skewed in favour of the southeast Asian country.


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REJUVENATING TIES 



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QUESTION OF FAITH 
SC: Sikhs,Jains & Buddhists in fold of Hinduism 

Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN 

New Delhi: If Sikhism,Jainism and Buddhism are separate and distinct religions,can followers of these faiths be bracketed as Hindus under the Constitution and be governed by Hindu personal law,the Supreme Court asked before issuing notice to the Centre and attorney general G E Vahanvati.
Sikh scholar Birendra Kaur in her petition questioned the constitutional and past legislative attempts to obliterate identities of separate faiths by recognizing them under the broad religious connotation of Hindus.Classification of Sikhs,Buddhists and Jains as Hindus negated the constitutional guarantee to each individual to practice and propagate the religion of his/her choice,she said.
This petition is seeking to express and make clear the frustration and disappointment of a large part of the Sikh community who feels that their identity as Sikh is undermined by certain clauses and titles of certain statutes which club Sikhs under the definition of Hindu, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves argued.
Though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed Kaurs petition with caustic observations,an apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S S Nijjar and Justice J Chelameswar not only entertained her appeal but also framed the question for adjudication.
It said,Issue notice on the question as to whether the inclusion of people professing the Sikh,Jain or Buddhist faiths could be included in the enactments relating exclusively to persons professing the Hindu religion,within the ambit of Explanation II to Article 25(2) of the Constitution.Let notice be issued separately to the attorney general also,to be served both through the ministry of minority affairs as also through the central agency,returnable six weeks hence. 
Article 25 guarantees that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess,practice and propagate religions.
However,the petitioners said a constitutional mischief arose through Explanation II,which said,The reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh,Jain or Buddhist religion,and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly. 
The petitioner added,The Hindu Marriage Act,1955,the Hindu Succession Act,1956 and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act,1956,use the word Hindu to include Sikhs,Buddhists,Jains and others,even though it is clarified that these are separate religions. 
Would it be acceptable if the name of the Hindu Marriage Act was changed to Buddhist Marriage Act and made applicable to all four religions,the petitioner asked.
Persons from the majority religion will immediately perceive the title to be odd,some may even feel resentful.This perception is a sure indicator of the undermining of identity which is very critical to the individual as well as to communities and is part of Article 21, petitioner Birendra Kaur said.


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Golconda diamond fetches world record price

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Archduke Joseph Diamond
APArchduke Joseph Diamond
 

The rare 76 carat diamond mined from erstwhile Golconda kingdom, named after its first known owner Archduke Joseph August of Austria, was sold for a record price of €16.9 million (about Rs. 118 crore) at an auction in Geneva.

Christie’s, the auction house which conducted the sale, described the diamond as cushion shaped, colourless, internally flawless and of superb quality.

“It is a world record for a Golconda diamond and a world record price per carat for a colourless diamond”, said Francois Curiel, director of the International Jewellery Department at Christie’s.

The rare diamond was sold by American jeweller Black, Starr & Frost. However, the buyer remained anonymous. The auction house thinks it is on its way to a museum.

Archduke Joseph diamond shares the same lineage as the other two world famous diamonds: Koh-i-noor and Hope. The three diamonds were mined from Golconda or Kollur mines and left Indian shores many years ago.

“Some of the best diamonds of the world were mined in Kollur on the banks of Krishna river in the present day Krishna and Guntur districts that formed part of the Golconda Kingdom,” said Narendra Luther, who wrote a lot on Qutub Shahi kings, Golconda and city’s history.

Diamonds, Golconda and Hyderabad’s history had a special connection. Though only few were mined in Kollur, they were the best. They then were brought to Golconda city and cut and marketed. “Apart from mines Golconda was a big trading centre for diamond and gems in the east,” says Mr. Luther. With only India having such mines at that time, Europeans had this belief that diamonds were only found in Golconda mines. So much so that an entire class of precious stones that do not have nitrogen are described as Golconda diamonds. Some of the other famed diamonds excavated from the Golconda mines are Darya-e Nur ( the largest at 185 carats and the finest among the crown jewels of Iran), Nur-Ul- Ain, the Regent and the Wittelsbach.

It is not clear how the Archduke Joseph diamond reached Austria. Mr. Luther recalls how Archduke Franz Ferdinad had visited Hyderabad in 1893 and was a guest of the sixth Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan. A German diary, which he got translated, spoke of both playing a game of shooting.

The Christie’s website explains that the diamond was passed by the Archduke, first known owner, to his son and later deposited in the vault of Hungarian General Credit Bank in 1933. It resurfaced in London in 1961 and subsequently at Christie’s Geneva auction house in 1993 where it was sold for $6.48 million.

Koh-i-noor is among the British Crown Queen Jewels and the Hope diamond is displayed in the Smithsonian Institute in U.S.

(With inputs from PTI)



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 Stockguru fraudster made his mother believe he was dead 


Dwaipayan Ghosh TNN 

New Delhi: When it came to conning people,Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire,the alleged mastermind of the Rs 1,100 crore Stockguru scam,did not spare his own family.Police say Ulhas fooled his Nagpur-based mother into believing that he was dead to avoid being declared a proclaimed offender.
The 33-year-old master conman and his wife,Raksha Urs,30 both arrested from Ratnagiri,Maharashtra are accused of duping an estimated two lakh investors through their firm,Stockguru.India,which promised lucrative returns.The couple disappeared last year with hundreds of crores of investors money.
We have found out that Ulhas family,including his mother,sister and brother,had no clue of his movements and thought he was dead since he had not contacted them after 2004.That year,he fled Nagpur after being released on bail in a land fraud case in which he tried to cheat his business partner, said Sandeep Goel,joint CP (EOW).
Sources claimed that Ulhas even sent a photo of his dead body to his family,but senior Delhi Police officers deny this.Investigators have so far unearthed and frozen more than 100 banks accounts operated by Ulhas.Police claim Ulhas,under a new identity,was in the process of replicating the scam in Ratnagiri.For this reason,he was trying to revitalize two of his other companies,SGI Securities and Coppertrenz.
An economic offences wing team of Delhi Police is likely to go to both Nagpur and Ratnagiri to carry out more raids and question family members.On their radar will be at least two more directors of the firm who are already being probed by the EOW of Mumbai police.
We know that Ulhas was residing in a rented accommodation in Ratnagiri.We believe a director,who is wanted in a cheating case in Ratnagiri might have provided him protection, said an officer.
Meanwhile,questions are being raised as to how Stockguru managed to operate despite several financial security agencies sending out feelers to Sebi,questioning the companys promised returns and modus operandi.

CON GURU 


Stockguru scam accused Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire sent a picture of his dead body to his home in 2006,to make them believe he was dead Cops unearth more than 100 bank accounts used by Ulhas and wife



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ingle court order removed 360 items this year: Google 


India lacks a general privacy law that helps set guidelines for such user requests,despite privacy being a constitutional right as part of the right to life, said Prakash.
India also actively sends requests to take down content which it deems defamatory and against national security.While the number of court orders for taking down web content has remained almost stagnant over the years,there has been a rise in the number of requests by the executive and police.Between January and June this year,there were 20 court orders and 64 requests from executive/police that resulted in 596 items being taken down from the web.In comparison,there were only eight court orders and 22 executive /police requests in January-June 2010,resulting in 125 items being taken down.
The government does not always specify the reason for which they want access.They just want access,what they do with the information is not known to us, said a legal adviser to an MNC.These requests come with a threat to our continued operation in India. Falsified court orders are also being employed to seek removal of content.Three such court orders were sent to Google that demanded the removal of blog posts and entire blogs for alleged defamation. One order was said have been issued by a local court in Andheri,Mumbai while the other two by the Delhi high court.But all the three were found to be fake.
Google says a single court order was responsible for removal of 360 items this year as they contained adult videos that allegedly violated an individual's personal privacy. While such orders have a positive impact like curbing pornography and violent content,governments at every level have also tried to use these requests to take down unfavourable content or criticism.
In January-June 2011 period,Google received requests from state and local law enforcement agencies to remove YouTube videos that displayed protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders.Google rejected a majority of these requests.It also received a request from a law enforcement agency to remove 236 communities and profiles from Orkut that were critical of a local politician.Google did not remove them either.
Prior to 2009,government had limited powers of interception.However,after 26/11 they gave themselves huge powers to block and monitor content, said Supreme Court lawyer Pavan Duggal.Data privacy is non-existent in India. He said that the A P Shah Committee,which was formed to recommend principles for a privacy law,has submitted its report to the Planning Commission and now it is up to the government to take it to the next stage.
Both Prakash and Duggal said that technology companies in India,including telecom players,should come out with similar transparency reports as Google.A report by international watchdog Privacy International says that Bharti Airtel,in its 2010-2011 annual report,said it had received 422 appreciation letters from law enforcement agencies for assistance in lawful interceptions.The Indian IT Act requires electronic audit by firms but the law is silent on how this audit is filed, said Duggal.
Globally,Dropbox,LinkedIn,Sonic.net and Twitter release transparency reports apart from Google.



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Finders KEEPERS 
REWIND MODE 

Quirky,curious or commonplace anything can catch a collectors fancy and turn into a lifelong passion.V Sundaram has over 300 audio recordings of famous people 

Kamini Mathai | TNN 


Before he hits play,V Sundaram creates the setting The last time I played this audio clipping,M S Subbulakshmi was in my living room,listening to her voice as a 13-year-old, he says,as he proceeds to fill the room with a 1929 recording of the young MSs voice.She cried, says 71-year-old Sundaram,and adds that the late MS was friends with his late wife Padma.
This collection was my wifes idea, says Sundaram,adding,I just keep it going. 
Sundaram,a writer and retired IAS officer,has more than 300 recordings of voices that range from former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill to poet T S Eliot to his most recent acquisition the voice of the late actor Richard Burton reciting the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.He knows almost all the speeches and songs by heart,reciting them in tandem with the tape,following the same intonation as the original speaker or singer,whether it is Jawaharlal Nehrus Tryst With Destiny speech or D K Pattammals nationalist song from 1935 urging people to serve the country.
I belong to the 13th century, laughs Sundaram.I love literature and the arts and I have pages of prose and poetry in my head, he says,and adds that he plays the mridangam too.
Sundaram has categorised his recordings as nationalist songs and speeches and has converted some of them into the CD format to preserve them.The collection includes a range of voices from statesman Sir Ramasamy Mudaliar speaking at the second roundtable conference in 1931 to speeches of the member of privy council of the United Kingdom V S Srinivasa Sastri,referred to as the silver-tongued orator of the British Empire.
Most of Sundarams collection was sourced from Moore Market in the early 1970s.That was when 78 RPMs went out of fashion and people were selling them.I bought 3,000 records for Re 1 each, he says.There were literally being thrown away then.Today,they are heirlooms I will pass on to my three daughters, he says.
kamini.mathai@timesgroup.com 


(This is a weekly series that 
features the people who collect odds and 
ends,from stamps and coins to 
racing cars and rocks) 




VOICE OVER 


This tape contains speeches by former US president John F Kennedy and former British prime minister Winston Churchill.Kennedy declares Churchill as the first foreigner to get honorary US citizenship This cassette was brought out by the BBC in 1969 to mark Mahatma Gandhis birth centenary.It contains not just the voice of Gandhi but also tributes by several others.Among them is Robert Broomfield,one of the first judges to sentence Gandhi to a prison term


Pc0041800.jpg
FAMOUS WORDS: V Sundaram picked up most of his records from Moore Market in the 1970s 
Pc0041900.jpg 



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Defence consultant running tuition-for-sex website in UK 

Cahal Milmo,Charlotte Philby & Jonathan Brown 


The man revealed by The Independent to be running a website offering to pay the tuition fees of female students in return for sex can be named as a highly paid computer consultant who claims to have top-level ministry of defence (MoD) security clearance and access to top-secret data.
Mark Lancaster,39,who presented himself as an assessor for the website SponsorAScholar.co.uk,has worked as an IT contractor on a massive overhaul of the computer network used by UK armed forces,military sources have confirmed.He is also thought to have worked on computer systems used by British forces during the invasion of Iraq.
The Independent has now tracked down Lancaster,who is married and has two children,to his 460,000 home on the edge of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire,after he was filmed asking an undercover reporter to undergo a practical assessment with him to prove the level of intimacy she could provide for the websites claimed clients.
When confronted by The Independent Lancaster refused to comment on his involvement with the website,his conversations with the reporter or whether he had disclosed his activities to his employer or MoD.On his entry to the LinkedIn website,Lancaster describes himself as a DV-cleared consultant with proven extensive experience.DV is a reference to Developed Vetting,the highestlevel British government security clearance,which allows holders to read ultrasensitive documents.
The MoD declined to comment on the level of Lancasters security clearance.
The site,which was set up in June using a false company name and a VAT number belonging to the legitimate dating website Match.com,claimed to have arranged for 1,400 women aged between 17 and 24 to be funded through their studies by businessmen willing to pay up to 15,000 a year for discreet adventures.Students were offered up to 100% of your tuition fee in return for spending two-hour sessions with men up to four times per term.The sponsors,he told the reporter,have expectations of a high level of sexual intimacy with their chosen student'.
During the conversation with the reporter,the IT consultant described himself as the websites assessor and asked her to accompany him to a flat for the practical assessment,which he made clear was a condition of acceptance on to the sites roster of students.THE INDEPENDENT



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Nurse who fell for hoax call on Kate found dead 

London: A nurse who took a prank call at the London hospital treating Prince Williams pregnant wife Kate for morning sickness was found dead in a suspected suicide,reports said on Friday.
The death,which police said they were treating as unexplained,comes days after the King Edward VII Hospital apologized for falling for the call from an Australian radio station.It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff,Jacintha Saldanha, the hospital said.
We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital.The hospital had been supporting her, the hospital statement said.
Two presenters from Australias 2Day radio station had called the hospital on Tuesday,pretending to be Williams grandmother Queen Elizabeth and his father,Prince Charles.Saldanha reportedly gave details of Kates condition to the pranksters.However,another agency reported that Saldanha had merely received the call and transferred it to a nurse caring for the duchess,It was the second nurse who spoke freely about her 30-year-old patient.
Police said they had been called about a woman found unconscious at an address near the hospital around 9.25am.The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff.
William and Kate,who left the hospital on Thursday,said they were deeply saddened by the death.Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well... by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital,and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanhas family,friends and colleagues, a statement from Williams office said.AGENCIES


Pc0161700.jpg 
HALE AND HEARTY: Kate leaves the King Edward VII Hospital 



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It cant be a theft if woman didnt realize loss of ornament for long: SC 

Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN 

New Delhi: If a woman does not realize for a long time about loss of her ornaments which she wore,then it might not be a case of theft,says the Supreme Court.
Womans instinctive alacrity about the ornaments she wears was relied upon by a bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranajana P Desai to reject police theory about a theft.Interestingly,the trial court had convicted a person 12 years ago.It was affirmed by the district court as well as the Kerala high court on the claim of the police supported by the woman who had allegedly lost her gold chain.
The incident happened,as Kerala Police claimed,on November 12,1995,when three persons went into the house in Aduvathuruthu village and stole a gold chain weighing 14 gm valued then at Rs 7,500 from a sleeping woman.She did not realize theft of her gold chain and no police complaint was lodged.
The police arrested one Azeez on November 28,a good 16 days after the alleged theft,for moving suspiciously in the parking area of municipal building in nearby town Aluva.On questioning,he allegedly confessed about the theft and helped police recover the gold chain.
The police went with the gold chain to the village and showed it to the lady.Only then she realized that it was her ornament which was stolen.She identified the stolen property and the police prosecuted the accused along with his two alleged accomplices.
On December 15,2000,Azeez was convicted and sentenced to a two-year jail term.The trial court said since the gold chain was recovered on the confession of the accused,the only inference that could be drawn was that he had stolen it.But the court acquitted his accomplices as there was no evidence against them.
The bench of Justice Alam and Justice Desai found the prosecution story as well as the womans assertion that she realized about her stolen gold chain after 16 days when police showed it to her highly improbable.
Justice Desai,writing the judgment for the bench,said,The chain in question was worn by the woman.It is stated to have been stolen while she was sleeping.It is inconceivable that she would not realize that she had lost her chain.The incident in our view has not unfolded truthfully. 
The SC said the trial court rightly acquitted the accomplices,but failed to understand that Azeezs case is similar to theirs.Grave doubt is,therefore,created as to whether the appellant could be involved in the offence of theft.We are of the view that benefit of doubt must be given to the appellant and he must be acquitted, the bench said.
The apex court ordered the accused to be released from jail,where he had been put after the High Court affirmed his conviction.But,the process of clearing his name from the charge of theft took more than 17 years.


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Starving N Koreans eating own kids,corpses 

Shocking Reports Of Cannibalism Emerge From Famine-Hit Areas Of The Reclusive Nation 

Rob Williams 


Reports from inside the secretive famine-hit pariah state,North Korea,claim a man has been executed after murdering his two children for food.
Shocking reports claim North Koreans are turning to cannibalism including details of one man who dug up his grandchilds corpse to eat and another who boiled his child and ate the flesh.
Details of the incidents were reported by the Asia Press,and published in the Sunday Times.
They claim a hidden famine in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has killed 10,000 people,and there are fears that cannibalism is spreading throughout the country.
The reports come as sanctions are tightened against the backdrop of angry rhetoric over missile testing.
The litany of horrors were documented by Asia Press,a specialist news agency based in Osaka,Japan,which claims to have recruited a network of citizen journalists inside North Korea.
The reports are considered credible.
Interviews have led Asia Press to conclude that probably more than 10,000 people have died in North and South Hwanghae provinces,south of Pyongyang,the capital.
North Korea has not confirmed or denied any reports of the deaths.
One informant,based in South Hwanghae,said: In my village in May,a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and,because his son saw what he had done,he killed his son as well.When the wife came home,he offered her food,saying: We have meat.But his wife,suspicious,notified the ministry of public security,which led to the discovery of part of their childrens bodies under the eaves. 
Jiro Ishimaru,from Asia Press said: Particularly shocking were the numerous testimonies that hit us about cannibalism. 
Another of the citizen journalists,Gu Gwang-ho,said: There was an incident when a man was arrested for digging up the grave of his grandchild and eating the remains. A middle ranking official of the ruling Korean Workers Party said: In a village in Chongdan county,a man who went mad with hunger boiled his own child,ate his flesh and was arrested 
A new UN agreement,passed on Tuesday,extended sanctions already imposed on North Korea after it held nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The current rise in tensions and extension of sanctions follows Pyonyangs defiant decision to push ahead with a long-range rocket launch on December 12 insisting it was a peaceful mission to place a satellite in orbit.Despite the insistence of the regime that the test was peaceful the rest of the world saw it as a banned ballistic missile test.
The United States,supported by Japan and South Korea,spearheaded the new UN resolution.
This week North Korea once again raised the level of rhetoric over sanctions,threatening war with its neighbours in the south saying : If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the socalled UN sanctions,strong physical countermeasures would be taken, the Norts Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said.THE INDEPENDENT


Pc0111300.jpg 
WHATS COOKING Supreme leader Kim Jong-un in meeting with officials at an undisclosed location in North Korea 



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31_01_2013_106_01731_01_2013_015_02531_01_2013_015_02931_01_2013_015_024 31_01_2013_005_035Us Skih atempel 31_01_2013_001_010Thakarey Raj 31_01_2013_006_004TTD 20130131a_012101010 Chola Nandi 31_01_2013_003_002 Athi pagavan 31_01_2013_003_014 Alagiri 31_01_2013_005_01720130131aH011100002 20130131aA001100005   31_01_2013_254_002 20130131a_001107003 31_01_2013_251_008



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01_02_2013_003_032 01_02_2013_002_02201_02_2013_002_002 01_02_2013_002_00901_02_2013_001_01501_02_2013_001_01401_02_2013_001_005 Juvenitle20130201aH00910000720130201aH009100004 20130201aK012100002 20130201aD00510000420130201a_011101022 01_02_2013_015_01901_02_2013_010_013 20130201a_010101013 20130201a_001107008 01_02_2013_009_02901_02_2013_015_01801_02_2013_013_023 01_02_2013_012_033  01_02_2013_007_03901_02_2013_009_021 01_02_2013_005_008



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02_02_2013_007_020 02_02_2013_007_034  02_02_2013_006_03302_02_2013_006_004 02_02_2013_003_010

02_02_2013_008_017 02_02_2013_008_024  02_02_2013_010_00202_02_2013_012_006 02_02_2013_013_010 02_02_2013_013_015 02_02_2013_018_017 1837631_1 20130202a_006101007 20130202a_011101007 165215671 165420687 165442562 02_02_2013_001_001 02_02_2013_001_051 02_02_2013_001_027 02_02_2013_002_019 02_02_2013_002_020



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04_02_2013_007_050 04_02_2013_007_047  153961  20130203a_007100004  20130203a_008100003 20130203aE006100006  20130203aF009100004  20130203aF009100008  20130203aF009100010 20130203aI010100003  20130203aF009100009  15401242320130204a_005101010  154137313  153918392_1    bjp-bill1   Rape Bill 20130203a_001107002 04_02_2013_001_007  04_02_2013_001_010  04_02_2013_001_032  04_02_2013_002_011  04_02_2013_003_033   04_02_2013_005_023 04_02_2013_006_009 04_02_2013_006_049  04_02_2013_007_003 03_02_2013_405_006 



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05_02_2013_001_010 gasdf 172048828_1171520531171727437 20130205d_013101010 20130205a_012101014 20130205a_010101017 20130205a_01110101405_02_2013_001_01105_02_2013_001_050 (1) 05_02_2013_001_053 05_02_2013_001_059 05_02_2013_002_031 05_02_2013_003_007 05_02_2013_003_015 05_02_2013_004_002 05_02_2013_005_052 05_02_2013_006_023 05_02_2013_006_045 05_02_2013_007_030  05_02_2013_008_02805_02_2013_009_03205_02_2013_009_040 05_02_2013_012_033 (1) 05_02_2013_015_024 1653462_1 1718778 20130204a_00810000317183415 17729453  20130204a_00810000520130204aF00910000520130204aF00910000720130204aK015100006

20130205a_001101006 20130205a_005101010 20130205a_01010101720130205a_010101016



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09_02_2013_010_015 09_02_2013_013_019 17315678 20130206aI012100002 20130204a_008100006 20130205aA001100003 20130205aF007100003 20130205aN014100004  20130206aD00510000820130206aD005100005  20130206aF009100003   20130206aI01210000820130206aK013100007 

20130207a_006100003 20130207a_006100006 20130207a_013100001 20130207aA001100004 20130208aH009100015 20130207aI012100002 20130208a_011100003  20130208aA00110000420130208aE006100005 20130208aF007100003 20130208aH009100005  20130209a_00410101220130209a_007101006 

20130209a_00410101520130209a_004101013 20130209a_008100008 20130209a_011101021 

20130209aH01310000320130209aI014100002 20130209aI014100005 171946703 171954328 (1) 172150640_1 173413765  173459968_109_02_2013_001_003 09_02_2013_001_007 09_02_2013_001_027 09_02_2013_001_025 09_02_2013_002_003 09_02_2013_004_033 09_02_2013_004_03609_02_2013_005_034 09_02_2013_007_005

09_02_2013_008_052  09_02_2013_008_02709_02_2013_009_016 09_02_2013_009_022 09_02_2013_009_024 



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