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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ICC World Cup : New Zealand thrash Pakistan by 110 runs

Ross Taylor
PALLEKELE (Sri Lanka).
Ross Taylor celebrated his 27th birthday with a career-best unbeaten 131 to help New Zealand beat Pakistan by an emphatic 110-run margin at Pallekele stadium on Tuesday.
Taylor benefitted from two let-offs by wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal to guide New Zealand to an imposing 302-7 before Tim Southee (3-25) restricted Pakistan to 192 in the World Cup Group A match at the newly-built stadium.
Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals and suffered their second biggest World Cup defeat, leaving a packed 30,000 crowd disappointed.
Scott Styris (2-17), Nathan McCullum (2-28) and Kyle Mills (2-43) also chipped in with useful bowling to halt Pakistan's unbeaten progress in the tournament.
The win gave New Zealand -- six points from four matches -- top position in Group A on a better run-rate.
Pakistan also have six points from four matches, followed by Sri Lanka (five from four) and Australia (five from three).
Abdul Razzaq (62), Umar Akmal (38) and Umar Gul (34 not out) put up some resistance.
But it was never threatening for New Zealand who didn't miss skipper Daniel Vettori, who was forced to leave the field after injuring his knee.
Pakistan's worst World Cup defeat was by 112 runs, against England at Cape Town in 2003.
Razzaq, when he reached 22, became the fourth player behind Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis to score 5000 runs and take 250 wickets in ODIs.
But it was Taylor's day as he hit eight boundaries and seven sixes during his 124-ball knock, peaking in the final 10 overs in which New Zealand collected 139 runs -- 100 in last five.
Taylor could have been out for nought, had Akmal not missed a regulation edge in paceman Shoaib Akhtar's second spell.
He also dropped Taylor in the same Akhtar over when he had made just eight.
Taylor made the most of his good fortune and ran riot in the 47th over of the innings, hitting Akhtar for two boundaries and three sixes -- 28 runs in all -- to reach his first World Cup hundred off 117 deliveries.
He then hit two boundaries and three sixes to take 30 off Abdul Razzaq's 49th over.
Taylor added a blistering 85 for the seventh wicket with Jacob Oram (25 off just nine balls, with three sixes and a boundary) off just 22 balls to punish a hapless Pakistan bowling attack.
Taylor's previous best of 128 not out came against Sri Lanka at Napier in 2006.
This was his first ODI hundred since his three-figure knock in Bangladesh in October 2008.
Taylor added 57 for the third wicket with Martin Guptill (57) and 62 for the fifth wicket with Scott Styris (28).
Pakistan, who opened the bowling with left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman -- the first time they opened with a spinner since April 1998 -- got dangerous Brendon McCullum in the first over, bowled by Akhtar for six.
Gul, the pick of Pakistan bowlers with 3-32, dismissed Jamie How (four) to make it 55-2, leaving the repair work to Taylor and Guptill.
Akhtar conceded 70 in his nine overs, while Razzaq was clobbered for 49 in four.
Pakistan next face Zimbabwe here on Monday, while New Zealand travel to Mumbai to face Canada (March 13) and Sri Lanka (March 18) in their last two matches.
Pakistan wrap-up their group matches against defending champions Australia in Colombo on March 19
New Zealand : Daniel Vettori (captain), Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Marton Guptill, Jamie How, Ross Taylor, James Franklin, Scott Styris, Niall McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Jacob Oram.
Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar.
Umpires: Daryl Harper (Aus) and Nigel Llong (Eng)
Third Umpire: Ian Gould (NZ)
Match Referee: Chris Broad (Eng).
score card 

New Zealand innings (50 overs maximum) R B 4s 6s SR
MJ Guptill b Shahid Afridi 57 86 6 0 66.27
BB McCullum† b Shoaib Akhtar 6 3 0 1 200.00
JM How lbw b Umar Gul 4 29 0 0 13.79

LRPL Taylor not out 131 124 8 7 105.64
JEC Franklin lbw b Mohammad Hafeez 1 2 0 0 50.00
SB Styris lbw b Umar Gul 28 37 1 0 75.67
NL McCullum b Umar Gul 19 10 1 2 190.00
JDP Oram c Umar Gul b Abdur Rehman 25 9 1 3 277.77

KD Mills not out 7 3 1 0 233.33

Extras (lb 10, w 11, nb 3) 24

Total (7 wickets; 50 overs) 302 (6.04 runs per over)
Did not bat DL Vettori*, TG Southee
Fall of wickets1-8 (BB McCullum, 0.4 ov), 2-55 (How, 12.3 ov), 3-112 (Guptill, 28.5 ov), 4-113 (Franklin, 29.1 ov), 5-175 (Styris, 41.6 ov), 6-210 (NL McCullum, 45.5 ov), 7-295 (Oram, 49.3 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

Shoaib Akhtar 9 0 70 1 7.77 (3nb, 3w)
Abdur Rehman 10 0 60 1 6.00 (1w)
Umar Gul 10 1 32 3 3.20 (2w)

Abdul Razzaq 4 0 49 0 12.25 (4w)
Shahid Afridi 10 0 55 1 5.50

Mohammad Hafeez 7 0 26 1 3.71 (1w)

Pakistan innings (target: 303 runs from 50 overs) R B 4s 6s SR
Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Southee 5 6 1 0 83.33
Ahmed Shehzad lbw b Mills 10 16 1 0 62.50
Kamran Akmal† c Taylor b Southee 8 16 1 0 50.00
Younis Khan b Mills 0 3 0 0 0.00
Misbah-ul-Haq c Styris b Southee 7 31 0 0 22.58
Umar Akmal c Oram b NL McCullum 38 58 3 0 65.51
Shahid Afridi* b Oram 17 9 2 1 188.88
Abdul Razzaq c Oram b Styris 62 74 9 0 83.78
Abdur Rehman lbw b NL McCullum 1 10 0 0 10.00

Umar Gul not out 34 25 3 1 136.00
Shoaib Akhtar c NL McCullum b Styris 0 2 0 0 0.00

Extras (lb 6, w 4) 10

Total (all out; 41.4 overs) 192 (4.60 runs per over)
Fall of wickets1-5 (Mohammad Hafeez, 1.2 ov), 2-23 (Ahmed Shehzad, 6.1 ov), 3-23 (Younis Khan, 6.4 ov), 4-23 (Kamran Akmal, 7.1 ov), 5-45 (Misbah-ul-Haq, 14.4 ov), 6-66 (Shahid Afridi, 17.1 ov), 7-102 (Umar Akmal, 28.3 ov), 8-125 (Abdur Rehman, 32.4 ov), 9-191 (Abdul Razzaq, 41.1 ov), 10-192 (Shoaib Akhtar, 41.4 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

KD Mills 8 1 43 2 5.37

TG Southee 8 1 25 3 3.12

JDP Oram 10 1 47 1 4.70

JEC Franklin 5 0 26 0 5.20

NL McCullum 6 0 28 2 4.66 (1w)
SB Styris 4.4 0 17 2 3.64

Don't care if govt lives or goes, Sonia told DMK

The DMK blinked on Tuesday, giving in to the Congress's demand for 63 seats hours after Sonia Gandhi stunned the Dravidian partner into submission by shrugging off its threat to withdraw from the government with a bluntspeak on coalition dharma.
"I don't care whether this government lives or goes," the Congress chief is learnt to have told DMK ministers M K Alagiri and Dayanidhi Maran late on Monday night, making it clear that she was not fazed by Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi's threat to pull out. The rebuke, reported by TOI on Monday, cleared the way for the DMK's climbdown.
With the two sides engaged in tough bargaining, Karunanidhi suddenly ramped up the pressure on Saturday, accusing the Congress of trying to push his party out of the UPA. He said the six Union ministers from the DMK would put in their papers on Monday. If it was meant to be a pressure tactic, the resignation threat seems to have boomeranged—it only provoked Sonia's ire.
"It is not a question of seats. It is not a question of my prestige. The prestige of the Indian National Congress has been hurt," the Congress chief is learnt to have told Karunanidhi's interlocutors on Saturday.
She wondered how an ally could be so rude to a party which has always played fair. She also told Alagiri and Maran, as reported by TOI on Monday, that the DMK's conduct was violative of coalition manners, stressing that the Congress had all along been accommodative of the southern party's political demands. Further, she is reported to have said the fact that the DMK was back at the negotiating table underscored the futility of Saturday's aggression.
Sonia's toughness defined her party's stance during the "seat-to-seat" combat between the allies on Tuesday, with the Congress refusing to yield on its demand for 63 seats. It did not relent even when the DMK pointed to its compulsion of having to accommodate other allies like the PMK and the Muslim League. The Congress side, represented by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sonia's political secretary Ahmed Patel, is learnt to have shrugged it off as the DMK's concern. The two sides, however, agreed to mutually identify the seats the Congress will contest. On the issue of power-sharing, the Congress agreed that a formal announcement could be made after the polls.
Sonia's assertiveness—a stark contrast from PM Manmohan Singh's recent invocation of coalition compulsions—must have come as a shock to the DMK. The Congress chief rarely gets into the complexities of seat-sharing, leaving the task to her trusted colleagues. So, when she agreed to meet the DMK ministers, particularly Alagiri who had taken a hard line on Congress's demand, they must have felt that the Congress may have softened on its initial resoluteness. They certainly would not have bargained for the bluntspeak on coalition dharma.
Not that all of the "we don't care" attitude was plain death-over-disgrace machismo. The Congress realized that the DMK was vulnerable to counter-aggression. Also, the party would be loathe to go without the Congress, which has a good 8% vote, against the AIADMK-Vijayakanth combo in the wake of the 2G spectrum controversy. Moreover, allies like the PMK and the VCK would also see the DMK alliance as weak without the Congress and prevail upon the DMK to keep the national party in. The increase in the Congress tally of three seats will be compensated by one each from the kitty of the DMK, PMK and the Muslim League.

Going with the flow

New 3-D microfluidic system offers greater control over production of drug-delivering nanoparticles.
Anne Trafton, MIT News
Cambridge (Massachusetts).
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a new way to produce nanoparticles that can deliver drugs for cancer and other diseases. The new production system offers greater control over the size and composition of the particles, allowing large quantities of homogenous particles to be rapidly produced.
The particles are formed from a commonly used biodegradable polymer that can carry a large number of drug molecules and release them in a controlled fashion while evading the body’s immune system.
In the new production system, a stream of the polymer flows through a microfluidic channel that focuses it three-dimensionally, isolating it from the channel walls and allowing spherical nanoparticles to form when the polymer contacts water side streams. In traditional two-dimensional systems, polymers often clump along the top and bottom walls, clogging the device. The new system uses streams of an organic solvent called acetonitrile to keep the polymers away from the top and bottom walls and prevent such clumping.
The researchers reported their new system in the Feb. 22 online edition of the journal Advanced Materials. Authors are Minsoung Rhee, postdoctoral associate at MIT and Brigham and Women’s; MIT graduate student Pedro Valencia; MIT senior Maria Rodriguez; Institute Professor Robert Langer; Omid Farokhzad, director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and MIT assistant professor of mechanical engineering Rohit Karnik.

Rajat Gupta resigns from three corporate boards

Indian-American Rajat Gupta, the former McKinsey head accused of passing insider tips to Galleon Group's billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, has resigned from three corporate boards, including American Airlines.
In a filing to US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission, AMR Corp, the parent company of American Airlines, yesterday said that 62-year old Gupta "voluntarily resigned from the boards of directors of AMR Corporation and its subsidiary, American Airlines, effective immediately."
The ex-director of Goldman Sachs also resigned from the board of outsourcing company Genpact Ltd, according to a separate regulatory filing.
Gupta notified Genpact of his resignation as non-executive chairman of the board of directors and as a member of the board of directors, the filing said.
The company received his formal resignation letter today. Prior to his resignation, Gupta had also served as a member of the board's nominating and governance committee.
The IIT, Harvard Business School and MIT alumnus also resigned as director from the board of Connecticut-based electronic systems manufacturer Harman International Industries.
Last week, Gupta had resigned as a director of Procter & Gamble.
The SEC had last week accused Gupta of insider trading, alleging that he passed information to Rajaratnam on companies including Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble.
The Indian-American is also accused of sharing information with Rajaratnam about a USD 5 billion investment by Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway in Goldman in 2008.
Rajaratnam goes on trial in New York on Tuesday on charges of insider trading.
Gupta has denied wrongdoing and called the SEC allegations baseless, saying the case against him is based on speculation and hearsay.
In a statement last week, Gupta's lawyer, Gary Naftalis, had said, "There is no allegation that Gupta traded in any of these securities or shared in any profits as part of any quid pro quo. In fact, Gupta had lost his entire USD 10 million investment in the GB Voyager Fund managed by Rajaratnam at the time of these events, negating any motive to deviate from a lifetime of honesty and integrity."

Fatal shooting prompts outcry among Sikhs, Muslims

The daily stroll had become routine for two elderly Sikh men in a Sacramento suburb, as well as for neighbours and friends accustomed to seeing the men walk by with their long beards and turbans.
But the traditional headwear might have singled them out late last week when they were gunned down, one fatally, in what police are investigating as a suspected hate crime. On Monday, local religious leaders pleaded for the community to come forward with leads but also said they will not be deterred by violence.
"Our community will continue to wear our turbans proudly," said Navi Kaur, the granddaughter of Surinder Singh, 65, who died from his wounds.
His friend, 78-year-old Gurmej Atwal, remains in critical condition.
They were walking through their neighborhood in Elk Grove, just south of the capital, Friday afternoon when someone in what witnesses described as a pickup truck opened fire. Police said they have no suspects nor evidence the shooting was a hate crime, but said the turbans could have made the elderly men a target of extremists.
During a news conference Monday at a Sikh temple, a spokesman said the recent violence has scared some temple-goers into concealing any indicators of their religion.
Sikhs often are mistaken for Muslims and have been the subject of occasional violence across the country since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"The enemies of the United States don't wear turbans in the United States," said Amar Shergill, a Sikh leader and attorney. "They don't want to be singled out. The result is that Sikh Americans since 9-11 have borne the brunt of violent hate crimes."
Sikhs draw particular attention because of their traditional beards and turbans, which are mistakenly associated with Islamic terrorists.
Shergill said Monday also marked the start of a trial involving a confirmed hate crime against a Sikh.
He is the attorney for a Sikh cab driver beaten four months ago by passengers who shouted anti-Islamic slurs at him in West Sacramento, which sits across the Sacramento River from the state capital. The two defendants pleaded no contest Monday to felony assault.
As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, several people at Monday's news conference drew links between the Sacramento-area crimes and national and international developments. From unrest in North Africa to congressional hearings on radicalization of Muslims in the U.S., speakers warned of an increasingly hostile climate.
"It is getting ugly," said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "And like I said, who suffers the most is the Sikh community because of unfortunately people's ignorance."
The Elk Grove police department said last week's shooting would be the first targeting Sikhs in the city if it turns out to be a hate crime. Police also said they would meet with FBI officials, a routine move when a hate crime is suspected.
On Monday, they said they are looking for a tan or beige Ford F150 pickup truck made between 1999 and 2003. Meanwhile, a dozen groups have collected nearly $30,000 in reward money for information about the shooting.
Singh, a truck driver, had worked in India and Libya before moving to the United States about five years ago, The Sacramento Bee reported. Atwal, the other victim, is a retired civil servant who worked in the revenue department of northwest India's Punjab state before moving to the U.S. in 2001.
The two were neighbors who became friends when Singh moved to Elk Grove three years ago. They would have tea in the morning, set out for a walk, return for lunch, and then go out again. They knew just enough English to say, "Hi," to passersby and met other retired Sikhs at a nearby park."They were total gentlemen," said Lakhvinder Singh, a family friend.

China enforces ban on travel to Tibet on riots anniversary

Ahead of the third anniversary of the bloody riots in Lhasa next week, China today enforced restrictions on the entry of foreign tourists, citing the bitterly cold winter weather in the Himalayan region.
Even as Jiang Yu, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, declined to react to reports that the travel agents have been asked not to make bookings for visiting Tibet, officials said the curbs were due to heavy wintry weather.
Asked during the media briefing here today about reports quoting travel agents in this regard, Jiang said the question should be directed to local authorities.
Confirming the curbs, Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party of China (CPC) chief for the Tibet, said at the parliament session here that the "temporary measures" on restricting foreign tourists to the region were mainly due to the current cold winter weather, limited accommodation capacity and safety concerns.
"The plateau region is still in deep freeze in March and lots of religious activities will be held. Local authorities do not hope there is something wrong with foreign tourists," Zhang who is attending the ongoing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency today.
Travel to Tibet is already restricted and foreign media has to take obtain special permission to visit the region.
Zhang defended the curbs on foreigners, saying many people are visiting Tibet to attend a grand ceremony being organised to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the "liberation" of Tibet by the Chinese Army.
As a result there is great pressure to the limited number of hotels in the region, Zhang said.
Ahead of the March 14 anniversary of the 2008 riots in which 18 people were killed and 400 wounded, Chinese officials have stepped up attack against the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama.
Dalai Lama is a "wolf in monk's robes", Zhang said, as he yesterday accused the 76-year-old exiled Buddhist leader of seeking separation of Tibet from China.
Underplaying the importance of the 1989 Nobel laureate, former Tibet Governor Qiangba Puncog told the media in Beijing that when Dalai Lama dies, it will trigger small shock waves in Tibet but won't result in serious instability.
The exiled spiritual leader still has religious clout but no political influence in China, he added. China has accused the followers of Dalai Lama for instigating the the 2008 violence, a charge the exiled leader has denied.

Royal mess : Andrew linked with sex offender, teenage call girl

prince Andrew
Less than two months before a fairytale wedding anticipated by much of the world, Britain's royal family finds itself fighting an inconvenient distraction: revelations that prince Andrew, the queen's second son, is friends with a convicted sex offender, was photographed with a teenage prostitute, and has been accused of ties to Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime.
The duke of York also hosted son of the Tunisian dictator before a popular uprising drove him from power — and the buildup of embarrassment has sparked calls that he be stripped of his role as special UK trade representative.
Buckingham Palace is in damage control mode as it attempts to keep the public's focus on the April 29 wedding between prince William and tabloid favorite Kate Middleton. British officials have rallied to Andrew's defense. But pressure is mounting and there is growing speculation over how long Andrew can hang on to his post.

Pakistan Navy ad features images of Indian warships

An advertisement issued by the Pakistan Navy on Tuesday for a multi-national exercise prominently featured images of Indian Navy warships even though India is not among the countries participating in the manoeuvres being held in the Arabian Sea.
The full-page advertisement for the Aman-11 exercise, which appeared in The Nation and Nawa-e-Waqt newspapers, featured images of the Indian Navy's Delhi, Godavari and Talwar-class warships.
It also featured images of US warships under the slogan: "Together for peace".
Warships, aircraft, Special Forces and representatives from 39 countries are participating in the manoeuvres aimed at fostering peace in the region and enhancing cooperation to counter maritime threats like piracy.
Pakistan has not invited India to participate in the exercise due to the strained relations between the two countries.
Within hours of the Pakistan Navy's advertisement being posted on the websites of newspapers, blogger Shahid Saeed posted the original image of American and Indian warships from the Malabar 2010 exercise that was used in the advertisement.
There was no official word from the Pakistan Navy. This was not the first time that such a mistake has crept into advertisements issued by government agencies in India and Pakistan.
In March last year, an advertisement issued by the police force in Pakistan's Punjab province featured the logo of its counterpart in India's Punjab state.
In January last year, an Indian government advertisement pictured former Pakistan Air Force chief Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed alongside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and cricketer Kapil Dev.

Obama restarts Guantanamo trials

President Barack Obama reversed course on Monday and ordered a resumption of military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making his once ironclad promise to close the isolated prison look even more distant.
Guantanamo has been a major political and national security headache for the president since he took office promising to close the prison within a year, a deadline that came and went without him ever setting a new one.
Obama made the change with clear reluctance, bowing to the reality that Congress' vehement opposition to trying detainees on U.S. soil leaves them nowhere else to go. The president emphasized his preference for trials in federal civilian courts, and his administration blamed congressional meddling for closing off that avenue.
"I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system — including (federal) courts — to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened," Obama said in a statement.
"Going forward, all branches of government have a responsibility to come together to forge a strong and durable approach to defend our nation and the values that define who we are as a nation."
The first Guantanamo trial likely to proceed under Obama's new order would involve Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Al-Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2006.
Defense officials have said that of around 170 detainees at Guantanamo, about 80 are expected to face trial by military commission.
On Monday, the White House reiterated that the administration remains committed to eventually closing Guantanamo — which is on a U.S. Navy base — and that Monday's actions were in pursuit of that goal. But the outcome Obama wants seemed even more distant.
Critics of the military commission system, which was established specifically to deal with the detainees at Guantanamo, contend that suspects are not given some of the most basic protections afforded people prosecuted in American courts and that serves as a recruitment tool for terrorists.
Obama's administration has enacted some changes to the military commission system while aiming to close down Guantanamo.
More than two dozen detainees have been charged there, but the charges against a number of them were dismissed in the wake of Obama's order in January 2009 to halt the commission process.
So far six detainees have been convicted and sentenced, including Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, Osama bin Laden's media specialist who told jurors he had volunteered to be the 20th Sept. 11 hijacker. He is serving a life sentence at Guantanamo.
Meanwhile, the first Guantanamo detainee tried in civilian court — in New York — was convicted in November on just one of more than 280 charges that he took part in the al-Qaida bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. That case ignited strident opposition to any further such trials.
Another case is that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, who had been slotted for trial in New York before Obama bowed to political resistance and blocked the Justice Department's plans. With the military tribunals set to restart, it's likely Mohammed will be put back in that system to face trial alongside other admitted 9/11 conspirators.
Under Obama's direction Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued an order rescinding his January 2009 ban against bringing new cases against the terror suspects at the Cuba prison. Gates said the U.S. must maintain the option of prosecuting alleged terrorists in U.S. federal courts, but in his order Monday he also said the review of each detainee's status had been completed and the commission process had been reformed to address legal challenges.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., said he was pleased with Obama's decision to restart the military commissions. But he said the administration must work with Congress to create a trial system that will stand up to judicial review.
Monday's announcement also included a process for periodically reviewing the status of detainees held at the prison. That's an effort to resolve one of the central dilemmas at Guantanamo Bay: what to do when the government thinks a prisoner is too dangerous to be released but either can't prove it in court or doesn't want to reveal national security secrets by trying to prosecute him? The answer, the White House said, is that the U.S. will hold those men indefinitely, without charges, but will review their cases periodically. However, if a review determines that someone should be released, there's no requirement that he actually be freed.
That decision on such a process had been expected for some time and was roundly criticized by rights groups. Tom Parker, a policy director at Amnesty International, condemned Obama's new order as reinstating a much discredited commission system that will rely on periodic reviews similar to what was done during the Bush administration.
The reviews, he said, "fall short of offering detainees an opportunity to mount a robust defense and to challenge the government's position regarding their detention."
Gates' order also does little to resolve the dilemma posed by many Yemeni prisoners who, for years, have been cleared for release. Their country is a hotbed of terrorism, and the U.S. does not trust the government to monitor former detainees. The order allows the U.S. to hold those men indefinitely, until the security situation in Yemen improves or the U.S. can find somewhere else to move them.
The administration also announced support for additional international agreements on humane treatment of detainees. The White House said that would underscore to the world its commitment to fair treatment and would help guard against the mistreatment of U.S. military personnel should they be captured.
Congress hardened its objections to trying detainees on U.S. soil by including language in legislation signed by Obama in January that would block the Defense Department from spending money to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S. for trial. The legislation also set up new rules for moving detainees elsewhere, and as a result Gates has told lawmakers that it has become very difficult for the government to release detainees to other countries because he now has to certify they will pose no danger. Officials have said that about one-quarter of those released so far have returned to battle.
The White House said on Monday that it would continue to work to overturn those congressional prohibitions.

Arab media says Gaddafi looking for exit deal

Two Arab newspapers and al Jazeera television said on Monday Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was looking for an agreement allowing him to step down, but there was no official confirmation of the reports.
Al Jazeera said Gaddafi had proposed to Libyan rebels to hold a meeting of parliament to pave the way for him to step down with certain guarantees. It said Gaddafi made the proposal to the interim council, which speaks for mostly eastern areas controlled by his opponents. It quoted sources in the council as saying Gaddafi wanted guarantees of personal safety for him and his family and a pledge that they not be put on trial.
Al Jazeera said sources from the council told its correspondent in Benghazi that the offer was rejected because it would have amounted to an "honourable" exit for Gaddafi and would offend his victims.
The London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat and the daily al-Bayan, based in the United Arab Emirates, also cited unnamed sources as saying Gaddafi was looking for an agreement.
A source close to the council told Reuters he had heard that "one formula being proposed by the other side would see Gaddafi hand power to the head of parliament and leave the country with a certain guaranteed sum of money."
"I was told that this issue of money is a serious obstacle from the national council's point of view," he said, adding that his information came from a single source close to the council.
Essam Gheriani, a media officer for the council, said: "No such offer has been been put to the council as far as I am aware."
Jadallah Azous Al-Talhi, a leading member of the ruling establishment and a prime minister in the 1980s, appealed to rebel leaders for dialogue on Monday, in the clearest sign yet Gaddafi may be ready to compromise with opponents challenging his four-decade rule.
The fact that state television screened Talhi's appeal indicated that it was officially endorsed.
But the council said there was no room for broad dialogue with Gaddafi and any talks must be on the basis that he quits.
Asked about Talhi's address, rebel official Ahmed Jabreel told Reuters: "Talhi is a close acquaintance of mine and he is widely respected in Libya as a man who stood up to Gaddafi.
"But we have made it clear all along that any negotiations must be on the basis that Gaddafi will step down. There can be no other compromise."
Asharq al-Awsat, citing "informed Libyan sources" in Benghazi, said Gaddafi sent a negotiator to the rebel council with an offer to step down provided he had guarantees for his personal safety and that of his family as well as his money.
Al Bayan quoted a source close to Gaddafi's inner circle as saying the Libyan leader had begun looking for a safe haven outside Libya.
"He has begun making contacts with African and Arab states in search for a safe haven that will allow him to leave Libya in a way that suits his position and would not infringe on his dignity," it quoted the source as saying.
The source said that "great divisions" within the Libyan army had caused Gaddafi to lose control of large parts of the country to rebels, according to an advance copy of the article.
One of Gaddafi's sons, Saadi, said Libya would descend into civil war if his father stepped down, Al Arabiya television reported on Monday.
"The situation is very dangerous. From the perspective of a civil war, the leader must play a very, very big role in calming Libya and convincing people to sit together," Saadi Gaddafi said in an interview with the Arabic satellite channel. "If something happened to the leader, who would be in control? A civil war would start," he added.

Bangladesh HC upholds sacking of Yunus from Grameen Bank

Muhammad Yunus
In a major setback to Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladesh high court on Tuesday upheld his dismissal from the Grameen Bank he founded nearly three decades ago.
The petitions by 70-year-old Yunus challenging legality of a Central Bank order removing him as Managing Director of the Grameen Bank "are rejected," said justice Momtaz Uddin Ahmed, the senior member of a two-judge bench which delivered a lengthy judgement after three days of hearing on his writ.
The bench, which had Gobinda Chandra Thakur as the other judge, said that despite being a mandatory provision, the prior permission of the Bangladesh Bank was not obtained when the Grameen Bank Board appointed Yunus as the executive chief of the pioneering micro-lending agency, which Yunus founded in 1983.
At the crowded courtroom, Yunus was represented by only one of his junior lawyers Sara Hossain, who said "what we had apprehended appeared true."
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and the Central Bank lawyers, however, were present as the judgement was passed.

Hasan Ali produced before court, claims he is innocent

Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, arrested in connection with alleged massive money laundering, was today produced before a court which remanded him in Enforcement Directorate's (ED) custody for a day.
Principal Sessions Court Judge M L Tahaliyani Khan before whom 53-year-old Khan was produced this afternoon adjourned the proceedings till tomorrow following differences over the issue of his jurisdiction. Khan was arrested by ED sleuths around midnight last night under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Khan told waiting reporters while he was being taken to court that he was "innocent."
"I am innocent...They are just putting me in trouble. I don't understand why," he said.
As soon as the court proceedings began, Tahaliyani raised the issue of jurisdiction, saying the matter should have been brought before a magistrate.
Public Prosecutor N Punde said under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, a special court was empowered to conduct the proceedings and hence he had the jurisdiction.
Defence counsel I P Bagadia too concurred with this view, but the Principal Judge adjourned the hearing till tomorrow after handing over Khan's remand to the ED. He will take a view on the issue of jurisdiction to hear the case tomorrow.
Khan, who is also a real estate consultant, earlier in the day pleaded his innocence and filed an application through his counsel who said he wanted to retract his confessions made before ED investigators yesterday. Details of his confessions were not known immediately.
Khan, accused of stashing huge sums of black money in foreign banks including USD 8 billion in UBS in Switzerland, was arrested after prolonged searches at his Pune and Mumbai residences and sustained grilling for several hours.
He was taken to the state-run JJ hospital for a routine medical check-up at around 7 am just hours after his arrest and all medical tests conducted on him showed he was in normal health.
After the series of medical tests that lasted over four hours, doctors have advised the investigators to take Khan back.
"Cardiology and nephrology tests were conducted on the patient. Surgical examination for the abdominal pain was also conducted after which it was found that Ali is fine," T P Lahane, Dean of the hospital, told PTI.
"After the tests that lasted for over four hours, it was found that all the parameters, blood pressure and ECG of Ali are normal. We have advised the officials to take him back" Lahane said.

Tri-Valley fallout: US Senators ask for crackdown of illegal use of student visas

Invoking the Tri-Valley University episode in California in which hundreds of Indians were caught up in a visa scam, four American Senators have called on U.S authorities to launch an "immediate crackdown" on illegal use of student visas by foreign nationals to attend sham universities.
While many in India believe the students were victims, the U.S lawmakers said in a letter to immigration authorities that universities which exist solely to allow any foreign national with sufficient resources -- including potential criminals and terrorists -- to unlawfully enter the United States could endanger American national security.
"These so-called schools not only defraud students and violate immigration laws, but they pose a real threat to our country," said Dianne Feinstein, Senator from California. "Sham universities are a huge problem in California – the latest example this year coming from Pleasanton, another from 2008 in Los Angeles, and two cases before that in San Diego." Other signatories to the letter are Senators Charles Schumer, Claire McCaskill, and Jon Tester.
"Sham universities are not real institutions of higher learning, but rather, operate solely for the purpose of manipulating immigration law to admit foreign nationals into the country," the Senators wrote, adding, "When the student visa program can easily be manipulated by bad actors, it threatens the viability of the entire program for the large majority of bona fide participants." They pointed out that "fraud in the student visa program is especially troubling given that several of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country using the student visa program."
The Senators said recent examples of such fraudulence include Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, California where over 1,500 students from foreign countries (mainly India) obtained student visas to enroll in an unaccredited school that did not meet standards required under student visa laws. In 2008, ICE officials in Los Angeles, California busted two English-language schools for being fronts that provided student visas to Russian prostitutes and other ineligible foreigners, they added.
The senators put forth what they called a "common-sense plan" to crack down on sham universities and the recurring problem of illegal student visas. Elements of this plan include:
• Urging USCIS and ICE to formulate a list of high-risk factors for fraud within 90 days and then conduct site-visits to every Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified institution that exhibits those high risk factors within the next year;
• Urging greater information sharing between USCIS, ICE, and the U.S. Department of State regarding schools granting student visas;
• Heightening the penalties for principals who operated sham universities to engage in student visa fraud.
The proposals come even as the Indian government and the U.S administration are struggling to resolve the Tri-Valley issue which resulted in some 1500 Indian nationals caught up in a visa limbo with some of them radio-tagged for violating terms of the visa. Strong intervention by the Indian foreign office resulted in a U.S assurance of a "fair and appropriate" treatment of those caught in the muddle. As of last week, the Indian Embassy in Washington said it had been informed by US authorities that more than 50% of the students were at various stages of processing for reinstatement.

Two more pilots land in trouble for fake licences

Fasten your seat belts, the captain of your plane may have fudged his papers to get a flying licence. Investigations by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), initiated after a woman pilot was found repeatedly landing wrongly on the nosewheel of the plane, have thrown up two more pilots who forged their qualifying papers. Fake captains are fast emerging as the biggest threat to safe flying in India.
The duo was commandeering aircraft after allegedly forging papers that showed they had cleared the tests to graduate from co-pilot to the captain's seat. One of the allegedly fake commanders, Meenakshi Sehgal, was flying with IndiGo, which has since grounded her. The other, Swaran Singh Talwar, was a commander with MDLR, an airline that has not been operational for months now.
What's worrying the aviation industry is that the new cases have tumbled out within a week of DGCA chief Bharat Bhushan ordering an unprecedented drive to verify pilot licences.
The action was sparked by suspicions about a woman commander of IndiGo who often landed the aircraft with the nosewheels touching down before the belly tyres.
The pilot, Parminder Kaur, was grounded for refresher training as per rules, but alongside a regulatory probe of her papers revealed that she had allegedly become a commander by giving fake marksheets of the airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) exam, which is mandatory for co-pilots to clear to become commanders. The DGCA issues this licence only after co-pilots complete 1,500 hours of flying, irrespective of when they clear it. And airlines consider even those who clear ATPL for command only after they fly for 2,000-3,000 hours as co-pilots.
The discovery of fake ATPL commanders has left the aviation ministry deeply worried due to its immense safety implications. "We are examining pilot licences and have found two more cases (of fake ATPL papers). While the licences have been revoked, these cases have also been referred to the police for further action," Bharat Bhushan said, adding that there would be no compromise on safety. Airlines share this concern as they rely only on DGCA papers to employ co-pilots and commanders.
"We have off-rostered her (Sehgal) since Sunday. We are very happy that the DGCA is investigating all its past licences. There should be a thorough check of all licences given by the DGCA, irrespective of which airline someone is working with. There can be no compromise on safety. Unfortunately, airlines can only rely on the authenticity of DGCA documents," IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said.
Industry sources say such fudging of DGCA marksheets is unlikely to happen without insider help. It is learnt that some sections within the DGCA wanted only the fake licences to be cancelled and were opposing the move to refer the matter to police. The reason: a police probe might lead right up to them. But with no-nonsense bosses such as aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi and Bharat Bhushan, this request fell on deaf ears.
"Having a fake commander in a flight is like having a quack heading the team of doctors performing an operation," said a senior commander. What will such a person's knowledge or experience be? God save such flyers. This is as big a safety issue as can be."