Mumbai, July 9 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets was trading 147 points down Monday due to a sell-off in metal, power and realty stocks. The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,449.93 points, was trading at 17,373.93 points mid-day, down 0.84 percent or 147.19 points. The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange was trading 1 percent lower at 5,263.85 points. The BSE metal index was down 214.05 points, while the power index and the realty index were down 38.64 points and 32.37 points respectively. Major Sensex losers were Jindal Steel, down 3.11 percent at Rs.441; Bajaj Auto, down 2.89 percent at Rs.1,495; Tata Steel, down 2.57 percent at Rs.435.95; Maruti Suzuki, down 2.42 percent at Rs.1,187.20; HDFC Bank, down 2.28 percent at Rs.570. The only six Sensex gainers were TCS, up 1.10 percent at Rs.1,259.95; Tata Motors, up 0.42 percent at Rs.241.55; Dr Reddy's Lab, up 0.17 percent at Rs.1,636; ITC, up 0.08 percent at Rs.252.90; Hindustan Unilever, up 0.07 percent at Rs.445.50; Gail India, up 0.06 percent at Rs.357.05. The Asian markets were down on the back of disappointing US jobs data. Japan's Nikkei was down 1.37 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.72 percent. China's Shanghai Composite index fell 2.37 percent.
Moscow, July 8 (IANS) The US has offered help to overcome a devastating flood in Russia, RIA Novosti reported. At least 150 people died in floods triggered by heavy rains Friday in southern Krasnodar region. "The United States government is saddened by the loss of life, injuries, and devastation that resulted from flooding in Krasnodar region," the US embassy said Sunday. "Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims of this tragedy. "We stand ready to assist the government of Russia and the Krasnodar region should there be a request for such help," it said on its website. Several cities were affected. Over 5,000 homes were flooded. The floods have disrupted power, gas and water supply lines, automobile and rail communication.
Accra, July 8 (IANS) As Africa grows in strategic and economic importance for India, a three-day exposition showcasing Indian businesses and what they have to offer to this 54-nation continent opens in the Ghanaian capital Monday. It will be partnered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional grouping and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the support of the Indian government. "Over 100 business leaders, accompanied by the minister for commerce, industry and textiles (Anand Sharma) are expected to attend the show," a statement from the Indian high commission in Accra said. The business delegation will be led by Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Chairman and CEO of the Sun Group, and includes representatives from sectors such as agriculture and allied activities, including food processing, services including health, IT, ITES, telecom & financial services, value-added manufacturing, including mining and minerals, energy, infrastructure, construction, consumer durables, pharmaceuticals, science & technology, textiles and education. The three-day event comes on the back of India's increased trade with Africa. Trade has "risen from $25 billion in 2006-07 to $53.3 billion in 2010-11 due to rise in both exports to and imports from the African region. India's exports to Africa have risen from $10.3 billion in 2006-07 to $20.9 billion in 2010-11, primarily due to increase in exports of transport equipment and petroleum products," the high commission statement said. It said that even though India has signed trade agreements with almost all West African countries, "the quantum of trade and investments between India and these countries remains rather moderate". It attributed this to "lack of infrastructural facilities and other trade amenities". "With the unfolding of the new economic global landscape focussing on strengthening South-South synergies, West Africa with its strong economic fundamentals holds great promise for the future. West Africa constitutes 18.25 percent of Africa's total GDP and 30 percent of its total population," the statement said. The region is India's second largest trade partner in value terms amongst the five sub-regions of Africa. In addition, Africa's economy has expanded by 3.7 per cent in 2011-12 and is expected to grow by 5.5 per cent in 2012-13. Accordingly, the statement said, this would help create "new opportunities for trade and investment in sectors like mining and metals, oil and gas, hotels and tourism, consumer products, construction and telecommunication." The statement said the region's service sector has been performing well and has contributed much to GDP growth. "In the telecom sector, the penetration rate in some countries is even higher than India's. Rising income and adoption of modern technologies have given rise to demand of ICT and related services," it added. "India's commanding position in these sectors gives it the advantage over other players to engage with the West African states. The other upcoming sector is automobiles. Tata is an important player in a host of countries with its buses that have mass appeal. Indian autorickshaws are also becoming known as they are demanded as a means of transport to offset the lack of other public transport systems," the statement said. Noting that India has gone through a phase of broadening its industrial base, the statement said: "India has many lessons to offer countries in West Africa." "In fact conditions in the West African region are peculiar. Severely affected by climate change-related issues, it is important to take into account the environmental costs while looking at activities that will ensure economic as well as social returns. India has an opportunity to become a part of Africa's growth story by engaging in such sectors through innovations relevant to these countries," the statement added. It said that "the most important sector with assured social returns and equally good economic returns would be the agriculture sector", adding: "The wide range of activities provides a great opportunity for India to share its experience of the Green Revolution with these countries. "Other sectors with high social and economic returns are health and education. While telecommunication and ICT offer social returns, the economic benefits are much larger." The statement said that the choice of Ghana for this year's exhibition is due to the country's "economic and political stability, a fully liberalised economy with government commitment to private sector development and a rich natural resource base". Ghana is also gradually becoming a gateway to the ECOWAS with a strategic market of 240 million people and a central location in terms of sub-regional, regional and international trade. (Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Islamabad, July 8 (IANS) The Lahore High Court has asked the striking doctors at the city's government hospitals to end their protest. Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the high court Saturday suspended all government actions, including termination and show cause notices, issued against the doctors. The court ordered them to resume work from Monday, Dawn reported Sunday. The protest started after police registered a murder case against doctors in Lahore's Mayo Hospital following the death of a child during treatment. Faisal Zaman, additional advocate general, said the child died due to denial of treatment and was buried without an autopsy. The body will be exhumed to find out the cause of death. Advocate Azhar Siddique, who pleaded the cases against Young Doctors Association (YDA), said he will file a contempt of court petition if they did not obey the court order.
Darjeeling, July 7 (IANS) Candidates of the CPI-M, Trinamool Congress and Independents Saturday alleged they were forcibly prevented by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) from filing nominations for the July 29 polls of the proposed new development body in West Bengal's troubled Darjeeling district. One person was arrested and three cases were opened following the complaints, police said. The last date for entering the fray for the 45 seats of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in the state's northern hills in July 9. Former state minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya accused the GJM of beating up his party leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Saman Pathak in Kuseong subdivision when he was accompanying his party candidates to file their papers. "Saman Pathak was severely beaten up. As a result, four of our nominees could not file their papers. We have called a meeting to decide whether we will participate further in the polls," an agitated Bhattacharya said. In Mirik, Trinamool Congress leader Rajen Mukhia and some other party candidates were allegedly obstructed by GJM members. "The other party candidates were unable to file their nominations. But I have filed," Mukhia said. Independent candidate I.N. Pradhan alleged he was also not allowed to file his nominations while his election agent got beaten up by GJM activists. However, GJM spokesman and state lawmaker Harka Bahadur Chhetri denied the charges. "Our party is in a position to win all the 45 seats without even campaigning. Why should we try to prevent others from contesting? As for CPI-M, there are factional feuds in that party." Kurseong subdivisional police officer Nima Bhutia said: "One person has been arrested. We have started three cases. The situation is under control." Meanwhile, five parties including the All India Gorkha League and Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists have decided to boycott the polls because of the poor law and order and lack of a democratic atmosphere. The three picturesque Darjeeling hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseyong and Kalimpong have been on the boil for nearly three decades due to anti-government protests over the Gorkhaland demand. The hills had witnessed killings, police crackdowns and long shutdowns which severely impacted the hills' economic mainstays - tea, timber and tourism. On July 18 last year, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA, a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.
Panaji, July 7 (IANS) Bowing to diplomatic pressure, Goa Police have reopened the case of a British woman's mysterious death here in April 2010 to find out if she was murdered, an official said Saturday. Denyse Sweeny, 35, from Derbyshire, died at an Anjuna hospital after mysteriously falling ill at the Primrose nightclub near here in April 2010. Police had then said that she died of drug overdose. The mother of two was a volunteer at a veterinary clinic in Goa. A senior police official said the case was reopened following pressure from Britain. "We have been told to revisit the case and explore the murder angle after two years," the official said. The case has been reopened and registered under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder) on a complaint filed by the woman's sister, Maureen, who claimed Denyse was murdered, a police spokesperson said. The official said Denyse's autopsy report, forensic lab report and doctors' opinion could not ascertain the exact cause of her death. It remained doubtful and inconclusive. Denyse's sister said she was suspicious about the circumstances of her death, the official said. Denyse's family members had approached Britian's member of parliament from South Derbyshire Margaret Beckett seeking a criminal investigation into the death. Beckett later approached the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, asking him to take up the issue with Indian authorities. "The moment we read the words 'drug overdose', we said 'no'... We did not accept that at all. If we had known two years ago that whatever investigation was done by the police in India would have been so rubbish, we might have acted sooner. We thought the British Consulate would look after her," Maureen told the British media, after a second post mortem on Denyse said there was no trace of alcohol or drugs in her body. What added to the family's suspicion was that a friend Denyse had gone on record saying that she was in a casual relationship with a police official. The case is similar to the one involving 15-year-old British teenager Scarlett Keeling, who was sexually assaulted and left on the Anjuna beach to die. The police first called it a case of suicide, but a second probe revealed she was drugged.
New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The late Congress leader Arjun Singh wanted Sonia Gandhi to be made the prime minister after Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar says in a new book. Nayar makes the revelation in his autobiography, "Beyond the Lines" (Roli Books). According to him, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) held a hurried meeting to more or less endorse Rajiv Gandhi's candidature to succeed his assassinated mother. But there were two conscientious dissenters: Pranab Mukherjee and Arjun Singh, Nayar writes in his memoir. "One, Pranab Mukherjee said the senior-most person should be the officiating prime minister till Rajiv Gandhi was formally elected by the Congress Parliamentary Party. "Arjun Singh was on a different wicket. He insisted on having Sonia Gandhi as prime minister. "Rajiv Gandhi understandably did not include Mukherjee in the government he constituted. Soon he (Rajiv) resigned from prime ministership to hold early general election," Nayar writes. Nayar, the former resident editor of The Statesman and managing editor of UNI, also recalls the events around 'Operation Bluestar' in detail. He says that militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's aggressive posture suited the disgruntled Sikhs. "He believed himself to be above the law of the land ... who had been chosen by god for a mission. His ambition was to wield so much power that all the police and troops of India would not dare challenge him. That was his tragedy," Nayar says. Nayar says that it the was late Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of Indira Gandhi, who suggested that some 'sant' should be put up to challenge the Akali Dal government. Congress leaders Zail Singh, a former chief minister who later became president, and Darbara Singh, who later became chief minister, selected two men for evaluation by Sanjay Gandhi. "As Sanjay's friend Kamal Nath recalled, 'the first one we interviewed did not look a courageous type. "Bhindranwale, strong in tone and tenor, seemed to fit the bill. We would give him money off and on but we never thought he would turn into a terrorist'", Nayar writes. "Zail Singh too maintained contact with Bhindranwale, although he denied this after he became president," he said.
London, July 7 (IANS) Singer Cheryl Cole is all set to tell her life story through an autobiography. She has inked a deal with publisher HarperCollins for it, reports contactmusic.com. The book is expected to lift the lid about her marriage and split from her soccer player husband Ashley Cole. It will also give readers an insight into her childhood and her rise to fame through ITV talent show "Popstars: The Rivals". "Cheryl Cole is the nation's sweetheart. We are absolutely thrilled to be publishing her story. Cheryl's an amazing woman with a capacity to inspire everyone. She emerges from every challenge stronger and with more grace and good humour and beauty - inner and outer," said publisher Carole Tonkinson. "We're still pinching ourselves that Cheryl chose us as her publisher and we're going to do everything in our power to make this the Christmas number one," Tonkinson added.
Srinagar, July 7 (IANS) Five separatist guerrillas have been killed in a three-day long gun battle in Kashmir, an official said here Saturday. "Five terrorists have been killed in the (Zachaldara) Handwara gun battle that ended late yesterday night," J.S. Brar, spokesman for the army's Srinagar based 15th corps said. "Three houses were destroyed in the gunfight between the security forces and the terrorists. "The houses were used by the hiding terrorists as fortified bunkers from where they engaged the security forces in sustained automatic gunfire," the spokesman said. Four soldiers and a police constable were injured in the exchange of gunfire.
Cartagena (Colombia), July 7 (IANS/EFE) Colombian Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez suffers from senile dementia but still maintains his good sense of humour, joy and enthusiasm, his brother said here Friday. In remarks to participants in a cultural event at Cartagena's Inquisition Museum, Jaime Garcia Marquez said that "from a physical standpoint he's doing well, although he now has some memory lapses" aggravated by his long recovery from lymphatic cancer, first diagnosed in 1999. "Dementia runs in our family and he's now suffering the ravages prematurely due to the cancer that put him almost on the verge of death. Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defenses and cells and accelerated the process," he said. But Jaime Garcia Marquez said it was still possible to converse with the 85-year-old master of magical realism and author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude", fondly known as "Gabo", who is still filled "with tremendous joy and enthusiasm, as he always has been. Always full of humor". "When we speak to him, we are very concerned about his health but deeply happy in the end because he's still with us," he added. The brother of the 1982 Nobel literature laureate said he has tried to keep news about Gabo's health a secret, not because there is anything people should not know "but because it's his life and he's always tried to protect it". "The fact is there are lots of comments. Some are true but they're always filled with morbid (details). Sometimes you get the sense they'd rather he were dead, as if his death were some great news," he said. Jaime Garcia Marquez, who heads the Ibero-American New Journalism Foundation, founded by Gabo in 1994 in Cartagena, said it is regrettable that his brother is not in a condition to write the second part of his autobiography, "Vivir para contarla" (Living to Tell the Tale), nor any other work. "Unfortunately, I don't think that'll be possible, but I hope I'm wrong," he said. --IANS/EFE rd