Paris Attacks Mastermind Dead

By Aglaia Staff

The suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, has been identified as one of those killed in a raid in Saint Denis, the Paris prosecutor says.

His body was found riddled with bullets and shrapnel in an apartment in the northern Paris suburb on Wednesday.

670px Porte Saint Denis 01 Paris Attacks Mastermind Dead

Visit Porte Saint-Denis in Paris, from the South. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Belgian national, 27, was identified from his fingerprints.

Friday’s gun and suicide bomb attacks in the French capital left 129 people dead and hundreds injured.

Eight people were arrested and at least two killed in the raid on the property in Saint Denis.

Heavily armed police stormed the building after a tip-off that Abaaoud was in Paris.

A woman at the flat – reported in French media to be Abaaoud’s cousin – blew herself up during the raid.

Investigators are still looking for Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to have travelled to Belgium after the attacks on Friday night.

He was high on French and Belgian wanted lists and yet managed to travel from Syria to the heart of Paris without ever leaving a trace.


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The SDM Is Right: Rahul No Son of Amethi

By Aglaia Staff

Rahul Gandhi is once again making news for all the wrong reasons. The latest gaffe is the embarrassing rejection of his application seeking proof of residence in Amethi. The sub-divisional magistrate damningly declared that the Gandhi scion didn’t qualify even as an “occasional resident” of the constituency.

Harsh words, perhaps, but not far off the mark. Here are five signs why Amethi is really Rahul Gandhi’s step-matra bhoomi. One, the no-to-MNREGA constituency. During each one of his campaign rallies, Rahul likes to tout the virtues of UPA’s flagship program and the many benefits it has showered on the citizens of India — but not apparently, the citizens of Amethi.

350px Rahulgandhi The SDM Is Right: Rahul No Son of Amethi

Visit English: , from a photograph showing a meeting between , , and Rahul. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

lthough there are 2,37,853 job card holders in Amethi and 84,734 families have got jobs under the scheme in 2012-13, only 1,250 families have got 100 days of work, according to a report of the rural development ministry of the Union government. The scheme promises 100 days of job in a year to its beneficiaries. The state government has spent about 76 per cent of the total fund sanctioned under the scheme in 2012-13, but in Amethi only 50 per cent of the fund has been utilised. The total budget for the job guarantee scheme for Amethi in 2012-13 was Rs 56 crore.

Ouch! Surely, any MP would first implement his pet project in his own constituency before spreading the love elsewhere. A priority that apparently didn’t occur to Rahul Gandhi. Two, worst performer in RTE. Rahul also did not find the time to ensure the implementation of that other pet UPA project in his constituency. According to Times of India, only 1 percent of schools in Amethi comply with the Right to Education Act, which is the lowest in a state that is already one of the worst laggards in legislating the new norms. Rahul apparently is all for universal access to education, except in Amethi. Three, Amethi’s road to nowhere. Unlike Narendra Modi‘s home state, there is no debate about the level of development in Rahul’s home base. Everyone, including its residents, agree: there is none. So abysmal is its state that even Congress insiders worry  that the natives may finally be getting restless: “Kumar Vishwas‘ charge that he sees no real development despite Rahul Gandhi’s claims of spending Rs.55,000 crore here is lapped up,” a party source told IANS.

There have also been street protests against a grim power scenario and poor roads in the Munshiganj, Injauna, Jagdishpur and Gauriganj areas. The Congress fears that slogans of “road nahin to vote nahin’ (no roads, no votes) that echoed in Karaundi village in Amethi earlier could revive. Four, no Congress bastion here.

Sure, Rahul Gandhi secured 71 percent of all votes in the last Lok Sabha election. But just three years later, Congress lost three out of the five assembly seats in Amethi. An MP who can’t deliver his own constituency must have a weak relationship with it, indeed. Let’s just say Rahul is less lion and more Bambi of Amethi.

Five, Who me? Represent Amethi?? A recent performance rating of Members of Parliament released by India Today ranked Rahul at the very bottom of the pile, or as the publication put it: “Among all Congress MPs, Rahul has the fifth worst report card and is placed 17th from the bottom in the overall MP rankings.” The reason for his failing grades: All through the five years of the 15th Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi did not ask a single question in Parliament. He attended only 42.61 percent of the sittings of the Lok Sabha. His attendance record in the standing committees of which he is a member is an abysmal 13.64 percent. Rahul has spent only 53.68 per cent of the MPLADS funds allocated to him. Even the respondents who were polled by ADR in Amethi have a very poor impression of the development work that has been done in the constituency. The Amethi MP has a perception rating of only 5.58 out of 10. Maybe that missing proof of residence isn’t all that surprising after all.


 The SDM Is Right: Rahul No Son of Amethi
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New FIR Vindicates AAP Claim On Night Raid

By Aglaia Staff

The accusations of thriving criminal activities in Khirki Extension area of south Delhi as claimed by Aam Aadmi Party gained further ground on Tuesday when three Ugandan women living there alleged of being wrongly confined and pushed into sex racket by drug mafia in the capital.

Even though Delhi Police has registered an FIR against unknown persons regarding the matter, AAP, claims it to be the vindication of what they had protested against last month.

The victims claim that a woman in Africa Eeram lured them into shifting to India promising jobs. When they reached here, their passport and other documents were snatched by the woman and her acquaintances. The trio claimed that they were forced into prostitution. They had arrived in India on January 17.

Aam Aadmi Party minister Somnath Bharti had led the infamous night raid in Khirki Extension area only alleging that drug and prostitution rackets thrive in the area. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also supported his minister and organised two-day protest after which two police officials including SHO of the area were send on leave.

The victims, with the help of Aam Aadmi party approached district commissioner of south Delhi and recorded the statement, after which police registered the case. The case has been registered under sections 366, 368, 384 of IPC — kidnapping, forced intercourse, extortion, wrongful confinement and section 4/5 of Immoral Trafficking Act. “We are investigating the matter and would record the statements of the victims as well,” said a senior police official.

Delhi Commission for Women have also forwarded a complaint to Delhi Police regarding the matter and they would be meeting the victims on Wednesday. As of now, the trio have been kept at Nari Niketan.

AAP also claimed to have been vindicated by the revelations made by the victims. “We have been saying this from Day One. Why was no action taken? The Delhi Police was hand in gloves with the traffickers,” said AAP spokesperson Ashutosh.

Meanwhile, Delhi government and the external affairs ministry are now trying to send the women back to their country. “Three Ugandan women have requested that they be sent back. We have written to the Ugandan embassy,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.


 New FIR Vindicates AAP Claim On Night Raid
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Stuck Between Arnab And A Hard Place: Rahul Gandhi

By Aglaia Staff

A very telling moment in Rahul Gandhi’s interview with Times Now’s Arnab Goswami was when Mr.-India-Wants-to-Know was pugnaciously grilling him about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.

Rahul: All I’m saying is there is a difference between the 1984 riots and the Gujarat riots. The difference is that the government of the day in 1984 was not aiding and abetting the riots. That is all I’m saying. Arnab: So you don’t need to apologise for the ’84 riots. If someone seeks an apology from you, will you give it? Your Prime Minister has apologised for the riots. Expressed deep regret. Will you do the same?

Rahul: First of all I wasn’t involved in the riots at all. It wasn’t that I was part of it. Everyone knows that the first statement is nonsensical. Congress leaders were very much part of the aiding and abetting in 1984. For Rahul Gandhi to just deny it baldly is rewriting history, especially since at some point of the interview he conceded that some Congressmen were “probably involved”. But then he can hardly be expected to go on national television and do a grand 1984 mea culpa either on behalf of his party. However, he could have said that unlike Modi, Manmohan Singh has specifically apologized for 1984. Instead it was left to Goswami to remind him of that.

The interview clearly shows how Rahul is in effect stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rahul is held accountable in the interview for all the sins of the Congress, even dating back to a time when he was not involved with the party. On one level that’s unfair. Modi is not called upon to defend everything the BJP/NDA has ever done. But the problem for Rahul is Modi has his own track record. Rahul does not. Rahul has created his own predicament.

After spending much of the last decade acting as some would put it as a glorified intern allegedly rebuilding his party, he has little record of his own. He could have been a union minister if he had so chosen but he did not.

If he had done that, Arnab could have talked about his achievements and failures there instead of attacking him about everything from the riots of 1984 to corruption scams under Manmohan Singh’s watch. Rahul’s response to all those charges was simply to duck and recite homilies about empowering women. He tried to set himself up as the outsider when in fact he is the prince, not the pauper. When Goswami asked how the party could preach about attacking corruption and contemplate an election alliance with someone like Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar, Rahul said, “These decisions of the Congress party are made by senior leaders.” 

If Rahul honestly thinks he is not a “senior leader” in his own party with little say in electoral alliances then someone should tell the party that before it goes to the polls. But in reality it’s a classic Rahul move to shy away from uncomfortable truths by pretending to be an outsider to the system. But as elections draw closer that is just not going to work.

The Congress, or any party for that matter, needs to be led from the front by someone who actually has a hunger for power. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided one’s hunger for power is about effecting change rather than lining one’s own pockets. Rahul thinks it’s a virtue to appear free from that hunger. As he told Goswami: I don’t get driven by the desire for power. I’m just not driven by it. For me power is an instrument that can be used for certain things. But for me, it’s not interesting to own it, to capture it or to hold it. The point is his party wants to capture it and hold it. And Rahul does it no favours by his act of half-abdication.

To his credit, Rahul for all his vague replies, put himself up for an Arnab Goswami inquisition though the editor held back on his usual incendiary fireworks. Perhaps Narendra Modi will do the same at some point but up to this point Modi has avoided the lengthy sit down television one-on-one. Modi is in reality quite inaccessible.

He is just very visible and his visibility gets mistaken for accessibility. Bashing Rahul is easy to do and a favourite political sport for commentators. But it’s also a fact that the man put himself through an interview that could not have been the most pleasant experience. At the end of it he emerged as someone earnest but vague, preferring to retreat to the safety of the broad stroke instead of answering the specific question put to him. He spoke about himself in the third person as if the whole interview was an out of body experience for him. In the end after some 100 questions, the nation got to know many things from Rahul Gandhi. It’s just that most of them were not answers to questions Arnab asked.



 Stuck Between Arnab And A Hard Place: Rahul Gandhi
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Modi Takes A Dig At Chidambaram For Ruining The Country

By Aglaia Staff

Sparring between Modi and Chidambaram has been on for some time. Modi had alleged at a rally in Jodhpur yesterday that Chidambaram feels buying gold causes inflation. The Finance Minister responded by saying that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is giving his “first lesson in economy” and rejected his contention.

An undeterred Modi continued the onslaught against Chidambaram and Dr Singh at his rallies in Delhi.
Taking a dig at the top leadership of the Congress, Modi said, “Our PM is a big economist. We never questioned that. Finance Minister is also very well educated. We never challenged that.”

“A top ranking minister in the central government, who considers himself to be all-intelligent, thinks he has got all the brains in the world and that the others are brainless… The same minister said prices are rising because poor, who were earlier only eating dry breads, are now eating two vegetables. Tell me, are prices rising due to this?” he asked.

Earlier, while addressing a rally at Shahdra, Narendra Modi said the party had lost people’s trust and this was the reason why its leaders were staying away from campaigning in Delhi.

“This government has lost the trust of people and that is why its leaders are not coming here to campaign. They know they can’t fool the people of Delhi with fake promises.”

The Gujarat Chief Minister said the Congress had no issues to speak on and no development work to show and that was the reason it was attacking him to divert people’s attention.

“They think that by attacking Modi, they will win elections but the fact is that they have not done anything for the people. They just don’t  have the will to work for the benefit of people,” he said.

Launching an attack on Arvind Kejriwal for the first time, Modi accused him of back-stabbing Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement for his personal political ends.

Without naming Kejriwal or his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), he cautioned the people against voting for the “newcomers”.
“Many years, after the JP movement, Anna Hazare blew the bugle against corruption. We were hopeful that people would get rid of corruption.

“But, some people back-stabbed such a sacred movement of Anna Hazare for their own personal political aspirations and the whole agitation came to an end,” Modi said at a well-attended BJP poll rally in Seemapuri, a Congress bastion.
The Gujarat Chief Minister said Congress displays one hand (its symbol) but loots with both hands while for the newcomers it seems even two hands are not enough.

“They are all for sweeping everything with the broom (AAP’s election symbol),” Modi said.
BJP had been terming AAP and its leaders Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and others as Congress’ agents and said they are only a “vote-cutter” party. 


 Modi Takes A Dig At Chidambaram For Ruining The Country
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Things Fall Apart; Shoma Chaudhury Resigns

By Aglaia Staff

Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, who came under heavy criticism for trying to “cover up” the alleged charges of sexual assault leveled by a junior colleague against the magazine’s founding editor Tarun Tejpal, resigned on Thursday.


In her resignation letter mailed to Tehelka editorial staff, Chaudhury wrote, “as a result of what’s transpired over the past few days my integrity 

has repeatedly been questioned by people from our fraternity and, in fact, by the public at large. I would like to take cognizance of this. I have worked hard for Tehelka for many years and what we have stood for is very dear to me and I hold it in high esteem. I do not want questions raised about my integrity to tarnish the image of Tehelka, which it has done in the past week. Therefore, I resign as Managing Editor with immediate effect.”
Chaudhury had to face the heat for the apology and the in-house probe route suggested by her to redress the victim’s complaint of alleged sexual assault instead of seeking a proper police investigation.

In her letter, the managing editor also denied charges of an alleged “cover up” and of not standing by her “feminist positions.”

“While I accept that I could have done many things differently and in a more measured way, I reject the allegations of a cover-up because in no way could the first actions that were taken be deemed suppression of any kind. As for my feminist positions, I believe I acted in consonance with them by giving my colleague’s account precedence over everything else,” she stated in her resignation letter.

Read: Full text of Shoma Chaudhury’s resignation letter

Chaudhury’s resignation comes after the National Commission for Women asked her to explain in detail the measures she took to redress the sexual assault complaint filed against Tarun Tejpal.

On Wednesday, the Tehelka managing editor had written to the victim accepting the latter’s resignation. The victim, who was a junior journalist in the magazine, had mailed her resignation to Chaudhary on Monday.

Chaudhury in her letter had said that she is “inexpressibly dismayed” by the complainant’s charges that she (Chaudhury) did not stand by her. “From the moment I received your complaint, my actions, were driven by outrage on your behalf, urgent concern, and a desire to assuage your sense of injury….. despite my immediate and assertive actions in support of you, I stand wrongly defaced,” the letter states.

Tejpal has to appear before Goa police in Panaji by 3pm on Thursday and could be arrested. The alleged sexual assault took place in a hotel in Goa.




 Things Fall Apart; Shoma Chaudhury Resigns
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