Govt toys with TV box options
New Delhi (PTI): With the government giving indications of a soft launch of the conditional access system from July 15 in which set-top boxes may not be mandatory immediately, serious reservations in the BJP on the issue led to a meeting between information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani.
After a 90-minute meeting, Prasad, who has had meetings with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee on the issue, declined to disclose any detail.
Union minister Sushma Swaraj, who initiated the access system, was also present at the meeting.
The meeting assumes significance in view of senior party leader and Delhi unit president Madan Lal Khurana voicing serious apprehensions over the implementation of the CAS, a view shared by Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
I&B secretary Pawan Chopra gave indications that July 15 may not be treated as a “sacrosanct” date for making mandatory set-top boxes for viewing pay channels.
“We will implement CAS on July 15. But we will be a little more imaginative and ensure no one is harassed,” he said.
He said the law will apply when there are enough set-top boxes and they can be made available immediately on demand.
Banker sorry for racial remark
Mumbai (PTI): A senior US banker, accused of making a racial remark against an Indian doctor following a minor traffic accident, has apologised unconditionally after the incident sparked protests in the city.
Brian Brown, managing director of the multinational firm Smith Barney, who was accused of calling the doctor “you bloody Indian” on June 15 after his car allegedly brushed against the dentist’s vehicle at Nariman Point, said he “has the highest regard for India and its people”.
Brown’s apology at a news conference in the bank’s office in south Mumbai came after BJP activists, led by the party’s city unit chief Vinod Tawde and MLA Mangalprabhat Lodha, staged demonstrations outside the Citigroup office on Wednesday. They painted the words “Brown racist” in the bank’s lobby.
“After getting reports of such racist remarks having been made, we took up the matter,” Tawde said.
e said Brown had released a statement saying: “I have respect for this great land of India and I and my wife respect and adore Indian culture. If I have hurt your feelings then I apologise and feel sorry.”
Brown did not confirm whether he had made the remarks or not.
Murder attempt on star witness
Mumbai (PTI): Arif Lakdawala, star witness in cases involving the murder of cassette king Gulshan Kumar and financier Bharat Shah’s alleged nexus with the underworld, was stabbed by two unidentified persons in south Mumbai on Friday night.
Lakdawala survived the assassination bid.
Lakdawala, allegedly having links with underworld don Abu Salem, was stabbed in the back as he was going towards a shop in the Pydhonie area, police said.
Bangalore (PTI): Activists of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals held a protest outside the Kentucky Fried Chicken’s outlet here, accusing the joint of cruelty in its methods of raising and slaughtering fowl. Demanding closure of the only remaining KFC outlet in the country, the protesters assembled on Brigade Road with placards saying “Go vegetarian”.
Travellers pass out
Kanpur (PTI): For the second time in two days, five passengers were found unconscious in the second class compartment of the Gorakhpur-bound Vaishali Express on Friday, Government Railway Police said.
Teacher gets death
Pune (PTI): A sessions court has sentenced to death a 52-year-old teacher on charges of raping and murdering a minor girl in Mumtajnagar village in Pune district. Additional sessions judge .S. Pavshe awarded capital punishment to the teacher, Shivaji Shankar Alhat. On January 14 last year, Alhat lured Hemlata to a nearby hill, promising to give her wood for fuel. He then took her to a secluded spot, raped and strangulated her with a rope. He also inflicted multiple stab wounds on her body to make sure she was dead. The judge observed that the accused did not deserve any mercy as he had committed an heinous crime.
New Delhi: Delhi High Court has ordered the release of about Rs 7 crore deposited by the Delhi power board, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi police to pay compensation to the victims of the Uphaar tragedy that claimed 59 lives in 1997.
In the first-ever attempt by a naval team in the world, a 10-member team from the Indian Navy will head to conquer Everest in June 2004. A team, headed by commander Satyabrata Dam, has already scaled Mt Kamet to sharpen their preparedness.