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Major News and Events of 14 February 2013

What Happened on 14 February 2013


Chopper deal: India issues warning to Italian firm of blacklisting

 India on Thursday issued warning to the Italian firm Finmeccanica of legal action, that includes blacklisting, over allegations for corruption in the VVIP chopper dealing and sent a query whether any the money paid to fix the deal was part of a slush fund which resulted in political uproar.The ministry of defence two days after a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe started into the bribery charges released a detailed statement on the process of the $750 million deal.The statement specified that the mandatory technical requirements of the chopper were modified in the tender during the Vajpayee government in 2003, with the central role being played by the then national security adviser Brajesh Mishra. The defence ministry has sent a query to the chief of AgustaWestland to "categorically state the clear position in view of the current developments indicating specifically if any financial transaction has taken place with any Indian individual/entity which would be violative of the integrity pact or any other terms and conditions of the contract". It also specified the clauses of the integrity pact bringing to focus that the contract prohibits paying of bribes or involvement of middlemen. The clause  had warning that "strict action including cancellation of contract, recovery of payment, blacklisting and penal action" against the vendors. 

Government tries to play down sexist comments of Vayalar Ravi

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari tried to underplay the issue of Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi’s sexist remark and stated that since Ravi had apologized for his sexist comments the matter should be put to rest. He also stated that this type of remark was not desired from someone working in the public sphere. Ravi when asked by a women journalist in Kerala about his reaction in making the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien face trial in the Suryanelli sex case. Vayalar had blatantly made a personal swipe at the reporter and said, "Do you have anything personal against Kurien? I am sure you do. Has something happened between you and him in the past?” Tewari on the other hand stated that Suryanelli sex case was being sensationalized and legal process should be followed in the matter.

The Suryanelli sex scandal is named after the place in Idukki district where the victim belonged. In Jan 1996, a 16-year-old girl was threatened, kidnapped and abused by a bus conductor. She was taken to places and sexually abused for 45 days by 42 men. The case got focus when the Supreme Court on Jan 31 ordered a retrial in the high court, keeping aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused. The victim who is now 32 years old and is an employee of the state government, has maintained that Congress leader P.J. Kurien should stand trial in the case, as he also exploited her. She and her family claimed that Kurien was protected from the law because of his political clout.

Oil firms will review prices on Feb 15

State-run oil companies will evaluate the fuel prices on Friday and then zero in on a probable price hike as per Indian Oil Corporation chairman R.S. Butola. He further added that this matter was under a review and a decision will be taken after consultation among the companies. According to a top industry source though petrol price hike is imminent on Feb 15 and subsequently there can be a diesel price hike as well. The government had deregulated diesel prices on a partial basis last month by giving the oil retailers options to raise the price of subsidized diesel by up to 50 paise per litre every month. Petrol prices were revised on Jan 18 when the price was cut by 30 paise to Rs.67.26 per litre in Delhi.

Gulzar not happy with rumours about Pakistan trip

Gulzar is very upset with the rumors that he and Vishal Bharadwaj when they went to Pakistan were asked to return to the country by the Indian High Commission. They had gone for a recording of Qawwali song for the movie 'Dedh Ishqiya' which is a sequel to the movie 'Ishqiya'. Gulzar said he had gone to Lahore with Vishal where his father stayed and had died some time back. He said he returned to his home town which was Dina in Jhelum District of Pakistan after 70 years. He added they got love from the artists and the musicians there and there visa was arranged in two days. He also stated that when he went to his father's grave there he started feeling uncomfortable and that is why they returned as he was not keen on getting hospitalized there. 

Snooker: Advani gets into last 8 of Welsh Open, first Indian to achieve this

World billiards champion Pankaj Advani became the first and only Indian to get into the top eight on the professional snooker circuit as he comfortably defeated Scotland's Graeme Dott 4-1 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open tournament at Newport on Thursday. Advani while facing World No.4 Shaun Murphy in the pre-quarterfinals, began emphatically with a 63 break for a 1-0 lead and followed it up with a run of 73 to go 2-0 up. Advani, will now face the winner of World No.2 Judd Trump vs Andrew Higginson match "Bei, He considers this moment as a big one where he is now the only Indian to make it to the quarters of any professional snooker ranking tournament.

Samsung launches feature phones; prices start at Rs 4280

Samsung will launch its new range of smart feature phones under the Samsung Rex series. The four new phones are the Rex 80, Rex 80, Rex 70 and Rex 60. The price range is from Rs 4280 to Rs 6490. They are being launched globally from India. Developed in India they will be introduced across a number of markets. The Rex 90 features include a 3.5-inch capacitive display, with dual-SIM support, a 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi with up to 15 hours of talktime. The dual-SIM Rex 80 has a 3-inch capacitive screen, WiFi support and has a 3 megapixel camera. The Rex 70 has a similar screen like Rex 80 but has a 2 megapixel camera. Rex 60 has a 2.8-inch display (not capacitive) and a 1.3 megapixel camera.The Rex 90 has 7 customizable home screens while the other models have 8.