The Syrian army has launched a threatened counter-offensive against rebel fighters in the country's largest city, pouring troops into the south-west of Aleppo, even as pressure from govts worldwide, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad refuses to stand down.Four helicopters launched salvoes of rockets before the rebel-held district of Salaheddin, which has been surrounded by president Bashar al-Assad's forces, was bombarded by artillery and tanks.Families fled the fighting, clutching jars of food and bottles of milk and water amid food shortages.The fighting between rebel forces and those loyal to the Syrian government has intensified in recent days.There are reports that the Syrian army has Aleppo surrounded by troops, tanks, and helicopter gunships.The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "the fightback has begun"."The fiercest clashes of the uprising are taking place in several neighbourhoods of the city," the Observatory's head, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.Activists said bombardments on the city intensified in the early morning on Saturday and said a military jet was spotted flying over the city at low altitude.
Eight people were killed and four others are still missing after a rainstorm hit China's Shanxi and Gansu Provinces.Five people were killed and three were missing in Linxian County on Friday after torrential rain with a precipitation of 197 millimetres hit the county.Another worker at a highway construction site was also killed and one was missing in the rainstorm, according to the Shanxi Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.Two villagers were drowned in a flood at Heisongyi Town, Gulang County of Gansu Province last night.Their bodies were found this morning, according to the provincial government.Nineteen work teams have been sent by the Shanxi provincial government to the cities along the Yellow River, the second largest river of China, to prepare for potential floods, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.Seventy-seven people were killed in Beijing in the recent rains, regarded as the worst in six decades.China's meteorological authorities meanwhile forecast rainstorms for the country's northern areas over the
Republicans and Democrats are pressuring congressional negotiators to produce legislation imposing the severest penalties on Iran, targeting its energy sector and financial institutions.With just one week before Congress' August break, proponents of tough sanctions see this as their last, best chance for far-reaching, crippling penalties as recent high-level talks between world powers and Iran have failed to curb its uranium enrichment. Iran insists that its program is solely for peaceful purposes. "Now isthe time to ratchet up the pressure," Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, said in an interview this week. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Tim Johnson, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, have been negotiating behind closed doors for several weeks to reach consensus on sanctions legislation that the House passed in December and the Senate approved
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that an inquiry would be made into the circumstances leading to the violence in BTAD and Dhubri districts in Assam and unveiled a special package for the affected people.Making a brief statement before the media at the Circuit House on a visit to Kokrajhar on Saturday, Prime Minister said "We will initiate an inquiry to find out the causes that led to violence."ingh declared that Rs 100 crore would be given for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people, while another Rs 100 crore would be released as Special Plan assistance for development programmes in the affected areas.Another Rs 100 crore would be released under the Indira Awas Yojana, while Rs 30,000 each would be given to those whose houses were completely damaged.Rs 20,000 under the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund would be given to those whose houses were partially damaged, he
Banks "beyond Vindhyas" and Eastern states are a laggard lot in extending credit to Women Self Help Groups (SHGs), while those in the South come out with flying colours, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in New Delhi.He was making a strong pitch for banks in north and east Indian states to be proactive in addressing linkage problem and releasing funds for such self help groups which help rural poor as also promote social development."Today, SHG movement is very much a part of the banking network. Last year, banks lent Rs 17000 crore loans to all the SHGs across the country though 80 per cent of the 17000 goes to the inevitable gang of four--Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala," Ramesh said at a conference attended by top officials of the major nationalised banks on Saturday. "Now, the picture has to change. Because we are expanding the SHGs in Orissa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and we are finding that the biggest constraint in the SHGs movement today is linkage
Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has said the proposed Higher Education and Research Bill 'intended solely to strengthen the higher education system' and for prescribing minimum standard of education for grant of degree.
The proposed bill aims to subsume the functions of the UGC, AICTE, AICTI, NCTI and DEC, he said in a letter to Bihar State Bar Council.The bill, Sibal said, will not be in the way of the Bar Council of India or the State Bar Council, which will continue to exercise its powers of inspection of law institutions awarding LLB degree for maintaining the standard of legal education.The bill will also not interfere in the regulation of disciplinary powers of these bodies, Officiating Secretary Ashok Kumar said quoting letter from Sibal.He also offered to discuss the matter with the representative of the Bar Council of India and its state bodies and explain the issues relating to the proposed bill.Baleshwar Prasad Sharma, Chairman of Bihar State Bar council said the letter bears Sibal's signature but it
HOSHIARPUR: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Government to give a special economic package to all the agricultural states of the country in general and that of Punjab in particular for tackling the drought like situation, due to scanty rainfall. Talking to the media persons here on the sidelines of the second day of his Sangat Darshan program during thanks giving tour of the Dasuya assembly segment, the Chief Minister said that due to the deficit rainfall an emergency like situation has been created in the food producing states of the country as they were not able to cope up with the demand of power for supplying it to the farmers in the ongoing paddy season. He said Punjab was also facing a similar sort of crisis due to which he had already met the Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde at his office in New Delhi, a few days back and had asked him to allocate 1000