June 16, 2019
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Delhi - page 12625

Al-Qaeda ally releases video showing Swiss hostage alive

in Delhi/India/Politics/World by

WASHINTON: Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa released a new proof-of-life video of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, held hostage in Mali by the group since last January, US-based monitoring group SITE said.

The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) video, which lasts two minutes and 17 seconds, was posted on social media sites Telegram and Twitter yesterday, according to SITE.

In the clip a woman whose head is covered by a black veil identifies herself as Stockly. She says the date of the recording is December 31, 2016, and that she has been held hostage by AQIM for 360 days.
She spoke in French, with her weary voice barely audible and her face blurred out.

Stockly greeted her family and thanked the Swiss government “for all the efforts they have made.”
“I am in good health,” she added.

In late January 2016, AQIM claimed responsibility in a video for Stockly’s kidnapping, which it said took place on January 7.

The group said it would free her in exchange for a number of AQIM fighters jailed in Mali and one of their leaders held in The Hague.

Switzerland has demanded her release without conditions.

AQIM released a second similar video in mid-June aimed at proving she was still alive.

Stockly, who is in her 40s, is a Christian missionary who was previously abducted by jihadists in northern Mali’s Timbuktu in 2012. On that occasion, she was freed about two weeks later, and opted to keep living in Mali.

Stick to rules and keep expenses in check, state warns PWD

in Delhi/India/Politics by

The Finance Department of the Delhi government has warned the Public Works Department (PWD) against procuring items or hiring service providers without proper approval, in the wake of certain dubious decisions. The department communication, accessed by DNA, stated that certain PWD divisions were not following its orders.

“It is, therefore, advised that instructions may be issued to all Divisions under your control to strictly follow the instructions/orders issued by the Finance Department, Government of NCT of Delhi from time to time, on procurement of store items, hiring of vehicles, manpower etc. Whenever the approval of the Finance Department is required, the same may be obtained invariably in all cases,” the letter read.

It added: “Any lapse on this account would be reported to the Finance Department for appropriate action.”

Talking about the issue, a Finance Department official said: “The Delhi government has delegated financial powers to various HoDs and principal secretaries to incur expenditure on procurement of certain store items and services. At the same time, however, it has also imposed a ban on procurement of certain other store items, creation of posts, hiring of services, and so on. Several irregularities in this regard have come to light, which suggests that PWD did not adhere to the rules.”

Two held in first fake currency case after note ban

in Delhi/India/Politics by

In the first case of fake currency since the demonetization drive was launched, the Delhi Police arrested two persons and recovered nearly Rs 6 lakh, in the form of new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes, from their possession on Tuesday.

Mastermind Aashish alias Keju, 23, used to run a mobile shop while co-accused Krishan Bhardwaj alias Netaji, 25, is a graphic designer. The two are suspected to belong to a larger syndicate.

The total amount of fake currency seized was Rs 610,500.

According to the police, the duo printed fake currency with the help of a high-quality scanner and printer. They would then give them to unsuspecting vendors in weekly bazaars. Police said the accused were very active in various areas of west Delhi, including Uttam Nagar and Dwarka.

“Prime accused Aashish saw in the demonetization drive, an opportunity to make a quick buck. He wanted to make a bungalow at his native place in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, and also had political ambitions,” said DCP Surendra Kumar (South-West).

Aashish had done a mobile repair course and even opened a shop but it shut down within just three months. At the same time, Krishan had pursued various courses, including desktop publishing, and had mastered many software, such as Photoshop, Corel Draw and Page Maker. He opened a printing press that shut down soon. Then he worked at a call centre, a mobile company, and an automobile company, but quit all these jobs to make quick money.

During interrogation, the duo confessed that they had earlier printed fake currency notes of Rs 100 denomination two years ago and circulating them was easy. Soon, however, a dispute over the distribution of earnings arose and they parted ways.

A case under sections 489B (counterfeit currency notes), 489C (possession of forged currency), and 34 (several persons of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered in the Bindapur police station in this regard, and further investigation is underway.

Eye on Swachhta rank, south civic body gets serious about waste management

in Delhi/India/Politics by

In view of the upcoming municipal polls and the ongoing Swachhta Survey, the south civic body seems to be taking the issue of waste management seriously. The municipal corporation is also trying to ensure community participation for a cleaner city.

In a workshop organised earlier this week, the civic body had invited members of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) of different areas to give suggestions and participate in the plan of solid waste management.

As part of the initiative, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) plans to segregate waste collected from households and then recycle it. The collected waste can be segregated in three categories — biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and domestic hazardous. The areas under the civic body’s jurisdiction generate nearly 2,700 metric tonnes of solid waste daily.

Many RWAs, however, are not convinced about the plan. “Several localities, including Vasant Kunj, had started segregating the waste on their own. But the waste collectors dumped it together. There is a lack of both clarity and policy on the issue. Either the MCD must provide suitable bins for the process or allow this to be done at the RWA level,” said Atul Goyal, Convenor, United Residents Joint Action (URJA), an umbrella body of over 3,000 RWAs in the Capital.

Echoing Goyal’s sentiment, Ajay Mittal, a member of the Green Park RWA, said the corporation had installed different-coloured bins for waste segregation but the practice was not followed.

“Managing waste is a big issue and must be turned into a mass movement. The problem with the civic agency is poor coordination between its own agencies and the contractors. Also, they have not been able to reach out to people completely. If they plan to do this now, they must make everyone a part of it,” Mittal said.

Meanwhile, addressing the participants, south corporation Mayor Shyam Sharma said the workshop was aimed at making people aware of the solid waste management rules. “Keeping the city clean needs a concerted effort. We want people’s participation to make the place garbage free. If everyone is aware of the rules of waste management, it will help us in clearing the waste in an organised manner,” he said.

The corporation has deployed a number of fixed compact compressors as well as wood chippers to manage green waste. Besides, it is also coming up with a bio-gas plant in the Najafgarh zone for effective management of cattle dung. The area has a number of dairies, farms, and villages, and needs an organised set-up for dung disposal.

The officials also exhorted the RWAs to participate in the waste management programme to improve the rank of the city in the Swachhta Survey, being conducted under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

The rank will depend upon the status of sweeping, transportation of garbage and management of all types of waste and garbage (45%), appraisal by the Quality Control Council of India (25%), and response of citizens (30%).

Bihar MLA’s questions on gang-rape, murder leave girls uncomfortable

in Delhi/India/Politics by

Image for representational purpose only.

PATNA: An Opposition MLA in Bihar on Tuesday made teenage girl students of a residential school for Scheduled Caste communities cringe as a result of his probing questions about the alleged gang-rape and murder of one of their schoolmates.

Most girl students at Ambedkar Government Girls High School at Dighi Mazirabad in Vaishali district were lost for words to answer questions asked by Lallan Paswan, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) legislator from Chenari. The girls, already shocked after the mysterious death of a class X student on the residential school premises three days ago, were visibly upset by the way Paswan, himself from an SC community, worded his questions and persisted to elicit their answers.

“Which part of her (dead girl) body was full of blood? Was it the lower half of the body?” asked Paswan to about three dozen girls, aged between 10 and 15, during his visit to the school. When one girl answered “yes,” he said: “This means she was gang-raped before being murdered. Why are you afraid of speaking up the truth? If criminals enter the hostel and into your room and this happens to you, what will you do if you do not speak now?”

Paswan then went on to ask several other questions to the girls regarding the death of Dika Kumari, whose body was found lying in a pool of blood close to a drain near the main gate of the school-cum-hostel campus on Sunday. Local residents staged violent demonstrations outside the school on Monday demanding suspension of senior officials of the district welfare department.

Although it was alleged that Kumari was gang-raped before being killed, Vaishali SP Rakesh Kumar said on Tuesday, citing the report of a post-mortem conducted by a panel of four doctors, that she was not raped and the cause of her death would be known after examination of the viscera.

Even while the MLA’s controversial role as an investigator and his insensitivity in speaking to young girls were widely criticised, he boasted of his ability to detect criminals. “No criminal can stay unknown for long if I am allowed to interrogate. Even Osama bin Laden was found out and killed,” he said.

Sources said RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha berated Paswan for his action. Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav demanded Paswan’s arrest for “asking questions to girls that one cannot ask one’s daughters”.

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