Thursday, June 27, 2013

Edward Snowden: a timeline of events

Edward Snowden: a timeline of events:-

May 20, 2013
Edward Snowden, an employee of defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency, arrives in Hong Kong from Hawaii. He carries four laptop computers that enable him to gain access to some of the U.S. government’s most highly-classified secrets.
June 01, 2013
The Guardian's journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill and documentary maker Laura Poitras fly from New York to Hong Kong. They meet Snowden in a Kowloon hotel after he identifies himself with a Rubik’s cube and begin a week of interviews with their source.
June 05, 2013
The Guardian publishes its first exclusive based on Snowden’s leak, revealing a secret court order showing that the U.S. government had forced the telecom giant Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans.
June 06, 2013
A second story reveals the existence of the previously undisclosed programme Prism, which internal NSA documents claim gives the agency “direct access” to data held by Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants. The tech companies deny that they have set up “back door access” to their systems for the U.S. government.
June 07, 2013
Barack Obama defends the two programmes, saying they are overseen by the courts and Congress. Insisting that “the right balance” had been struck between security and privacy, he says: “You can’t have 100% security, and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience.” The Guardian reports that GCHQ has been able to see user communications data from the American internet companies, because it had access to Prism.
June 08, 2013
Another of Snowden’s leaks reveals the existence of an internal NSA tool — Boundless Informant — that allows it to record and analyse where its data comes from, and raises questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.
June 09, 2013
Snowden decides to go public. In a video interview he says: “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
June 10, 2013
Snowden checks out of his Hong Kong hotel
June 12, 2013
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post publishes the first interview with Snowden since he revealed his identity. He says he intends to stay in the city until asked to leave and discloses that the NSA has been hacking into Hong Kong and Chinese computers since 2009.
June 14, 2013
The Home Office instructs airlines not to allow Snowden to board any flights to the U.K.
June 16, 2013
The Guardian reports that GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at the 2009 G20 Summit.
June 20, 2013
Top secret documents published by The Guardian show how U.S. judges have signed off on broad orders allowing the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
June 21, 2013
A Guardian exclusive reveals that GCHQ has gained access to the network of cables which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and is processing vast streams of sensitive personal information it shares with the NSA.

The U.S. files espionage charges against Snowden and requests that Hong Kong detain him for extradition.
June 23, 2013
Snowden leaves Hong Kong on a flight to Moscow. In a statement, the Hong Kong government says documents submitted by the US did not “fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law” and it had no legal basis to prevent him leaving.
June 24, 2013
Snowden, who has been expected to fly to Cuba on the only direct flight to Latin America from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, fails to take seat booked in his name.
June 25, 2013
Russia rejects U.S. demand for Snowden extradition
June 26, 2013
China hits out at U.S. accusations on Snowden

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Edward Snowden: a threat to U.S.?

Edward Snowden (29 years old), a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, who leaked secret documents detailing a widespread surveillance programme, is reported to be hiding out in a Hong Kong five-star hotel as the U.S. considers launching a criminal case against him. Mr. Snowden’s decision to flee to Hong Kong from Hawaii, where he was employed by the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, has come as a surprise, given that Hong Kong and the U.S. have, in the past, worked together closely on criminal cases under an extradition treaty Hong Kong signed with Washington shortly before the territory returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Mr. Snowden told The Guardian that he chose Hong Kong because they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent. Should the U.S. eventually choose to extradite Mr. Snowden as it begins a criminal prosecution, his fate will rest in the hands of Hong Kong’s courts, and on the possibility — however unlikely — of intervention by Beijing.
As a ‘Special Administrative Region’ of China, Hong Kong enjoys freedoms that the mainland does not have, such as a free press and an independent judiciary. Hong Kong also has its own Constitution — known as the Basic Law — although Beijing controls foreign policy and defence matters.
While the extradition treaty does make an exception for political cases, there is no recent record of Hong Kong refusing an extradition request from the U.S. It could, however, take months — if not years — for the Hong Kong courts to decide whether the case is political or criminal, if and when the matter comes before them. And, given the recent history of close cooperation on criminal cases, many Hong Kong lawmakers themselves see little likelihood of the territory openly defying on the U.S. on this case.
That the former CIA employee fled the U.S. for the Chinese territory has also raised some eyebrows, particularly in the wake of heightened tensions between both countries over cyber security and hacking attacks, an issue that figured prominently during the recent talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.
Snowden enrooted from Hong Kong:- Rejecting requests from the U.S. for Edward Snowden’s extradition, the Hong Kong government allowed the whistleblower to board a flight to Moscow. The former CIA employee arrived Moscow and was said to be headed to a third country, where he is likely to seek asylum.
            WikiLeaks, the whistle blowing website, had been closely involved in facilitating his ‘safe exit’ from Hong Kong and was helping him find ‘asylum in a democratic country’.
            The Hong Kong government in a statement said it could not stop          Mr. Snowden from leaving because there was ‘no legal basis’ for it to do so. Explaining their decision, authorities said documents provided by the U.S. seeking Mr. Snowden’s arrest did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law. U.S. officials said they were puzzled by how            Mr. Snowden had been allowed to travel to Moscow as they had revoked his passport earlier.
{Earlier, Russia said it is willing to consider granting asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden if he applies, the Kremlin has said.  The Kremlin offer came as Mr. Snowden checked out from a five-star hotel in Hong Kong and disappeared. He had fled to Hong Kong from Hawaii after leaking top secret documents about a U.S. global electronic surveillance programme. Experts said Hong Kong was not a very safe place for                      Mr. Snowden to hide from American authorities as it has an extradition treaty with the U.S.
Russia has a consulate in Hong Kong. There is no extradition pact between Russia and the U.S. and the Kremlin may be all too happy to thumb its nose at America. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. rejected several Russian requests to extradite businessmen accused of economic crime. Moscow was also infuriated by what it called the “kidnapping” and conviction in the U.S. of Russian nationals, Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, accused respectively of arms and cocaine smuggling. A senior Russian parliamentarian said Russian asylum for Mr. Snowden would send a signal that, “Moscow takes under its wings victims of political persecution.”}

U.S. certain Snowden in Russia, Moscow pleads ignorance:- The United States has warned countries against giving shelter to fugitive Edward Snowden, or letting him travel internationally, as the former CIA contractor landed in Moscow and is said to be on his way to the South American country of Ecuador through Havana and Venezuela. The United States has been in touch via diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries in the Western Hemisphere through which Snowden might transit or that could serve as final destinations.
The US is advising these Governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States. Meanwhile, top US lawmakers doubted the intentions of both China and Russia in the latest unfolding development regarding Snowden, who flew from Hong Kong to Moscow.

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Edward Snowden: a timeline of events

Tamil Nadu: Rajya Sabha Elections 2013

The DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Ms. Kanimozhi was re-elected to Rajya Sabha with Congress support from Tamil Nadu after a contest with actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK candidate. Four AIADMK candidates, including the party leader in Rajya Sabha V. Maitreyan and CPI’s D. Raja, however, registered comfortable wins as expected in the elections for which voting was held for the first time in 17 years.
The 45-year-old Ms. Kanimozhi, an accused in the 2G scam, sailed through the contest for a second term with 31 votes after five Congress’ MLAs voted in her favour along with two votes each from two smaller parties -- Puthiya Thamizhagam and Manithaneya Munnetrak Katchi. One vote of the DMK combine is understood to have been held invalid.
The Congress decision came as a surprise against the backdrop of the bitter separation between the two parties after nine years of friendship in the UPA coalition earlier this year.
The CPI leader D. Raja, for whom AIADMK had extended support, won with 34 votes. He has also been re-elected for a second term to the Rajya Sabha. The Four AIADMK candidates were elected comfortably.
Mr. Maitreyan with 36 votes gets a third term with his election while his other party colleagues Mr. Ratnavel and Mr. Arjunan (36 each) and Mr. Lakshmanan (35) are new entrants to the Upper House of Parliament.
The DMDK, which has suffered dissidence, lost in the elections when its candidate A.R. Elangovan got only 22 votes. Seven dissident DMDK MLAs voted for the ruling AIADMK and its supported candidates.
In the 234-member House, a candidate has to get 34 first preference votes. Three MLAs of PMK boycotted the elections. While the four AIADMK candidates and CPI’s Mr. Raja got elected on the basis of first preference votes, Ms. Kanimozhi won on the basis of counting done by elimination method.

TN Rajya Sabha election -2013
Total strength: 234
As PMK boycott the election, the strength of the vote reduces to 233
Each candidate securing 34 will be considered won
Also the one who score least will be eliminated in first round
As none of the voters, voted their second preferential votes, voting is purely based on first preferential votes
All the 7 rebel DMDK MLAs voted (4 voted for AIADMK and 3 voted for CPI)
One vote casted by Congress MLA is invalid (for Kanimozhi)
(1) Maitreyan (AIADMK) – 36 #
(2) Arjunan (AIADMK) - 36
(3) Lakshmanan (AIADMK) – 35
(4) Rathinavel (AIADMK) - 36
(5) D. Raja (CPI) – 34 #
(6) Kanimozhi (DMK) – 31 #
(7) Elangovan (DMDK) – 22
First 6 candidates won the election
# à sitting Rajya Sabha MPs

Elected Members: 18   
Term of Office: One third of the Members retire on the expiration of every 2 years

Name of the Member
Party Affiliation
Date of Expiry

Tmt. Kanimozhi
24. 07. 2013

Thiru Tiruchi N. Siva

Thiru A.Elavarasan

Dr. V.Maitreyan

Thiru B.S. Gnanadesikan

Thiru D. Raja
Thiru. S. Amir Ali Jinnah,
02. 04. 2014
Tmt. Vasanthi Stanley
Thiru G.K. Vasan
Tmt. Jayanthi Natarajan
Thiru. T.K. Rangarajan 
Thiru. N. Balaganga
Dr.K.P. Ramalingam
Thiru S. Thangavelu
Thiru T.M. Selvaganapathi
Thiru Paul Manoj Pandian
Thiru. E.M.Sudarsana  Natchiappan
Thiru. A. William Rabi Bernard
Tmt. Kanimozhi

Dr. V. Maitreyan

Thiru. Ratnavel
24. 07.2 019
Thiru. Arjunan

Thiru. Lakshmanan

Thiru D. Raja

Strength of TN Political parties in Rajya Sabha after the 2013 RS elections:-

C.P.I. (M)

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U.S. Supreme Court ruling brings cheer to gay couples

By a 5-4 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated ruling that determined as unconstitutional the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal government benefits to legally married same-sex couples, on the grounds that it violates the Fifth Amendment, which protects against abuse of government authority. Linked to the framework of the DOMA decision, the court also declined to issue a ruling on Proposition 8, the State of California ban on same-sex marriages, and this is likely to open up channel for such unions there going forward.
However, the court has held back from any sweeping decision on gay marriage per se and thus ruling will not affect state laws governing whether same-sex couples can marry. Instead it will ensure that same-sex couples who are legally married under state law receive federal benefits, delivered by more than 1,000 programmes, on par with heterosexual married couples.
In striking down DOMA, which was signed into law by the former President, Bill Clinton, at a time when gay marriage was widely opposed by the American public, the Supreme Court said in its majority opinion, “The federal statute is invalid for, no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
Obama hails decision:- President Barack Obama welcomed the decision saying in a statement that DOMA was “discrimination enshrined in law,” and that the Supreme Court “has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.” While he conceded that same-sex marriage was still a “sensitive” issue and “How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions,” Mr. Obama said his administration would seek to “review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

The ruling will also matter to the ongoing visceral debate on immigration reform, particularly to the approximately 24,700 bi-national LGBT couples in the U.S., from among whom U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may now be able to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Japan - an important funding for India

            Japan, an important funding source for India’s growth story, has urged New Delhi to unravel the red tape holding up big-ticket infrastructure projects that it is ready to fund. Akihiko Tanaka, president of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that he has urged finance minister                        P Chidambaram to speed up project approvals, as their execution cannot start without paperwork. .
Japan has extended Yen 2,065 billion or $21 billion (at today's exchange rate) in aid to India over the last 10 years since 2002, helping put on track a host of infrastructure projects such as Delhi’s showcase metro rail. Among the projects now being funded by the country are:
·        Western freight and Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridors
·        Line-3 in Mumbai Metro's first phase
·        Development of highways in Bihar
·        A $137-million investment promotion in Tamil Nadu
·        Development of IIT-Hyderabad campus through $186 million loan
Tanaka said that, Japan cannot start a project without signing the loan agreement and hence asked the finance minister to make necessary arrangements so that the loan agreements for the four major projects can go on in a timely manner. Tanaka’s comment assumes significance in the backdrop of the recent meeting between Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, at which Japan committed $747 million for the Mumbai Metro line and extended a yen loan equivalent of $3.7 billion for eight other projects.
 Japan has often voiced concern over the tardy pace of pace of approvals. JICA’s chief representative in India Shinya Ejima, had earlier said that going forward, the agency would only sign loan deals if approvals, such as environment clearances and most of the land acquisition, are in place.
Tanaka said he expected better progress on the $90-billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which was reviewed by the two PMs. The national highway improvement plan for Bihar involves widening of the NH 82 along the Buddhist circuit. JICA has been ready to fund these projects since 2010, but they are yet to get Cabinet clearance. The bulk of JICA’s aid to India so far has been for the infrastructure sector—about 49% of its assistance since 2002 has gone into transportation projects and 20% to power sector.

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