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Major News and Events of 09 January 2013

What Happened on 09 January 2013

India expresses anger over Pakistani beheading of Indian soldier

India on Wednesday registered a "strong protest" with Pakistan after Pakistani soldiers shot dead and beheaded two of its soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army also confirmed that the head of one of the soldiers, Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh, was taken away by the soldiers dressed in black who officials stated may belong to the 29 Baloch Regiment. The other dead soldier was Lance Naik Hemraj. New Delhi has asked Islamabad to investigate the killings, violated "all norms of international conduct". Pakistan has dismissed the charges as "baseless and unfounded" and has requested for a third party probe by the UN. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that she "absolutely rejects that any such incident took place" in Poonch district. She further added that UN can do the  enquiry. She also dismissed the fact that this was in retaliation to the killing of a Pakistani soldier on June 6. Tuesday's incident can be termed as the worst violation of the ceasefire that was in vogue since 2003 on the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.Indian leaders expressed their disgust over the incident. Defence Minister A.K. Antony spoke about the Tuesday killings as "highly provocative. The way they have treated the body of the Indian soldiers, it is inhuman". External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid stated that the mutilation of the soldiers was "an extremely sensitive matter". Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Salman Bashir and expressed a strong protest. The matter was discussed  by the Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, with his Pakistani counterpart, Lt Gen Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed. 

Allow media to cover gang-rape case, journalists request the High Court

A city court ordered in-camera hearings and restricted media to attend and report the proceedings of the Dec 16 gang-rape case. The journalists requested the Delhi High Court to give them the permission to cover the case. Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi representing legal journalists, stated that freedom of speech and expression,a fundamental right should not be restricted. She said, "It's their (journalists) duty to report the case, as now, it's not the gang-rape case. It's a case of murder." She further added that the media has been showing the case "responsibly" from the first day and did not reveal the name of the victim.The trial court on Jan 7 ordered in-camera trial of the case after chaos prevailed there that prevented the accused from being led into court. It also directed the media not to report any news connected to the case without its permission. Lekhi specified that since this was a sensitive case and people have right to know about it. 

After 10 years train fares hiked across the board

 Indian train fares were increased across the board for the first time in the span of 10 years. Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal specified this was needed to sustain the world's second-largest rail network. The opposition said the move as "unacceptable" and "atrocious". The new fares will be effective from Jan 21 midnight. Bansal further added that the focus would be on improving services and safety from the Rs.6,000 crore that is the projected earnings from the fare hike. Also he gave assurance that fares would not be touched during the annual railway budget to be presented in February. The fare hike varied from two paise per kilometer on second class suburban trains, six paise per kilometer on sleeper class to three, six and 10 paise per kilometer on air-conditioned III, II and I classes respectively.

Saina, Kashyap, Sindhu get ahead in Korea Open

 It was a good day for the Indian shuttlers as Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and P.V. Sindhu reached the second round of the $1 million Korea Open Super Series Premier in Seoul. Saina, seeded third, was on top after a tough 58-minute tussle with Thailand's Sapsiree Taerattanachai 17-21, 21-9, 21-19 to get to the women's singles pre-quarter-finals. This was her fourth consecutive win over the World No.22 in as many matches. The London Olympics bronze medallist will now meet World No.41 Mingtian Fu of Singapore for a place in the quarter-finals at the S.K. Handball Stadium. She holds a 3-0 record against Mingtian.  17-year-old Sindhu  World No.19, defeated Indonesian opponent Lindaweni Fanetri in straight games and this can be termed as a revenge for her defeat to Lindaweni in the final of the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in December.

Big B will start shooting by January end

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, last seen on the big screen in Ram Gopal Varma's "Department" in May 2012, will start shooting for his films by January-end and he is hopeful that by the year end people will be able to see him on the big screen. He did some  guest appearances in "Bol Bachchan" and "English Vinglish", as he wanted to go a bit slow after his abdominal surgery in February 2012 and was appearing only on KBC ('Kaun Banega Crorepati 6')that will also end in a few days.  The films lined up for release include Prakash Jha's "Satyagraha - Democracy Under Fire" and the Hollywood film "The Great Gatsby".

Smart card driving licence scheme launched in UP

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday released an ambitious smart card driving licence scheme in 10 transport offices in the state. The scheme, which uses the National Informatics Centre-developed software Saarthi, was first launched at transport offices in Lucknow, Agra, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Meerut, Jhansi, Aligarh and Barabanki districts. As per the transport officials the scheme would be extended to all the transport offices in the state by April 2013. The first smart card driving licence was given to the chief minister. For the new scheme, driving licence applicants will have to be there in person before the authorities to furnish their thumb impression, photo and signature. Duplication of such licences cannot be done as for each smart card two secret keys would be generated and it would be with the  two transport officials who would be encrypting it to check any duplication.  The data compiled at all transport offices would create a state-level data base and this will be incorporated in a national-level register. A micro-chip on the driving licence will include all personal details of the holder and officials will get to see the required information through a smart card reader. Rs.200 for each smart card driving licence and additional Rs.50 per vehicle has to be paid by the applicant.

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