The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

9/11 Indian detainee freed

new york (AFP): An Indian arrested en route to Texas on an Amtrak train a day after the September 11 attacks on the US will be released after a judge sentenced him to time served.

Thirty-six-year-old Mohammed Jaweed Azmath of Hyderabad was arrested a year ago on a train heading for San Antonio, Texas, along with another Indian, Ayub Ali Khan, identified by the government as Syed Gul Mohammed Shah.

Federal agents detained them as the train neared Fort Worth, Texas, on September 12, 2001, demanding they show identification and ordering both to open their luggage. Box cutters similar to those used by the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks were found inside, plus $5,500 in cash.

Both men were eventually charged with operating a credit card fraud scheme, though authorities failed to bring them before a judge until November 8, 57 days after their arrest, with charges finally brought in December.

Yesterday, US district court judge Shira Sheindlin said the nine months in which Azmath was held in jail while authorities investigated if he had ties with terrorism had been sufficient sentence. Sheindlin also ordered Azmath to pay back $76,000 in restitution for money he stole.

Federal prosecutors in New York held Azmath in solitary confinement in a high-security wing of the federal jail in Brooklyn, New York. But he was never charged with any terror-related crimes.

Jaya unveils IT policy

Chennai (PTI): State-craft may never be the same again in Tamil Nadu — all MLAs and panchayat chairpersons are to be trained in the use of computers and the art of communicating through e-mails, reports our special correspondent.

The new information technology policy unveiled by chief minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday at Connect 2002, an annual global IT-related event, has given a thrust to the introduction of electronic delivery of services by various departments. The event was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the state government.

The state government is planning to make “knowledge of computers” an essential qualification for recruitment and promotion, the policy document said. A special IT cell will be created which would prepare an overall IT strategy for a four-year period for the different departments.

The policy, which has offered significant concessions to IT industries and software companies, has proposed to integrate computerisation projects taken up in departments like transport, sales tax and education.

A special working group on e-governance will be created to facilitate inter-departmental e-governance activities.

Charges waived for disabled

madurai (PTI): The railway ministry has decided not to collect luggage charges for three-wheelers used by physically-challenged persons, CPM MP P. Mohan has said.

Mohan said the railway minister had communicated to him that the ministry had decided to issue a circular, which would facilitate physically-challenged persons carry their specially-designed vehicles, including tricycles and wheel chairs, free of cost.

Pay protection

new delhi (PTI): Delhi High Court has held that a person cannot be superannuated on the ground of medical invalidation and would be entitled to all service benefits. “... once he (disabled) is not found to be suitable for the post he was holding, he can be shifted to some other post but his pay and other benefits need to be protected,” a bench said.

Children rescued

chennai (PTI): Railway police on Thursday rescued 42 children who were being taken to Porbandar for employment. A police official said a police party intercepted the children at Central railway station and rescued them.

Flat-entry fee

New Delhi (PTI): Delhi High Court has held it illegal to charge “entry fee” by housing societies from those members who have purchased flats from the original allottees. Directing the registrar of co-operative societies to make sure that group housing societies do not charge any levy or fee from purchasers of flats of original members, the court said such “entry fees”, already paid by the first allottee, had “no sanction of law behind it”.

Indian assaulted

Moscow (PTI): An Indian youth was assaulted by three Russians in the age-group of 19-29 at a metro railway station here. Police rescued Harbhajan and detained them, the Itar-Tass news agency said.

8 students saved

patna (PTI): Eight minor students were rescued while their abductors were trying to flee with them. Police arrested the driver and his associates when their Maruti was stopped for a routine check.

The second Marrakesh film festival, which started in Morocco on Wednesday, will pay a special tribute to Aamir Khan, whose Lagaan is being screened as part of a view on Bollywood events. The festival will also pay tribute to Iranian cinema.

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