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Drug fraud NHS

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on February 25, 2014 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (1)

25  feb  2014

 

UK Serious Fraud Office brings charges of conspiracy to defraud the NHS over drug prices and supply against 5 drugs companies and 9 individuals

The UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into price fixing and market sharing by suppliers of generic drugs, specifically, warfarin and penicillin based antibiotics (amoxicillin, ampicillin, flucloxacillin, phenoxymethylpenicillin) has led to criminal proceedings being brought.

 

Goldshield reported that interim sales for the period ended Sept 30, 2005 were £39.9 million (2004: £39.2 million) and profit before tax at £3.2 million.

 

 

On Wednesday, the Serious Fraud Office begins criminal proceedings against nine individuals and five companies alleging conspiracy to defraud in relation to the pricing and supply of warfarin, the branded drug Marevan, and penicillin based antibiotics between January 1996 and December 2000.

 

 

anil Kumar, Ajit , Kirti 

 

 

 

Summonses issued by Bow Street Magistrates on Monday 3 April 2006 were also served upon the following five companies and their legal representatives:

 

 


 

Goldshield Group PLC [formerly Goldshield Pharmaceuticals (Europe) Limited]

 

The individuals will be bailed following charge to attend Bow Street Magistrates Court on 27 April when the companies are also required to be represented.

 

The Case Controller, Assistant Director Philip Lewis, says: “This important case involving an allegation of dishonest price fixing by companies is likely to have a significant impact upon the business culture of this country”

 


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sanjay kumar cardiac surgeon 

Assembly election 2013: 'Bewakoof hain na', says upset Sheila Dikshit after losing Delhi - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on December 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

08  dec  2013

Assembly election 2013: 'Bewakoof hain na', says upset Sheila Dikshit after losing Delhi


New DelhiSheila Dikshit resigned as chief minister of Delhi after her party's scorching defeat this morning. "Bewakoof hain na (we are idiots, right?)" she snapped at reporters who asked if the Congress had failed to read the mood of the city it has governed for 15 years.

Voters turned away from the Congress and to the newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party (AP), headed by Arvind Kejriwal, a former tax inspector and anti-corruption campaigner.   

Ms Dikshit, 75, had sought a fourth straight term as chief minister. Her party was left with barely 10 of the city's 70 assembly seats; Ms Dikshit lost to Mr Kejriwal, 44, in her constituency of New Delhi.

Just days before, Ms Dikshit had denounced the AAP as "a group of broom-wielding men from Ghaziabad."

That proved to be a gross miscalculation.

The record 65.86 percent turnout in Delhi was driven considerably by an enthusiasm for the entry of a new party, analysts said, one that connected with voters through its promise to reboot politics to delete corruption and deliver accountability.

A man blew ?19 MILLION to fund his chronic gambling addiction - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on November 29, 2013 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

27  nov  2013

A man lost £19 MILLION to fund his chronic gambling addiction has been jailed for seven years.

A court heard he made a profit of £5.6 MILLION from the scam while working at an energy company based in Leeds and blew most of it betting online.

He was able to pay cash for his £500,000 home in West Yorkshire and would gamble as much as £300,000 on a single sporting fixture.

After being arrested and released on bail over the deception, the father-of-one accessed more than £20,000 from his betting account and lost it all during one evening.

His wife and child knew nothing of his secret addiction until he was arrested and they learned they would lose their home.

He pleaded guilty to four offences of fraud and one of transferring criminal property when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting, said Revill stole the money from GDF SUEZ, one of the world’s largest companies.

The offences were committed while he worked as a service delivery systems manager at the company’s subsidiary business, GDF Suez Energy, based in Leeds.

The Leeds office alone has an annual turnover of £1 Billion.

His annual salary was £55,000 plus bonuses and he received a £400-a-month car allowance

Over a period of more than three years Revill faked signatures to order £18,976,062 worth of computer equipment from a supplier.

He then arranged for the equipment to be delivered to his home in Huddersfield or to a storage unit which he then sold on to other companies or on eBay.

The cash was then paid into his bank account. Revill submitted 104 invoices for equipment before the deception came to light in May this year after a financial audit.

After his arrest  was granted bail on the condition that he stopped gambling and sought immediate help for his addiction.

However, on June 2 he accessed cash in an Isle of Man-based account and gambled it in a single evening.

Benjamin Hargreaves, mitigating, said he had placed a bet for £11,200 on a tennis match and £13,000 on a football match during the betting spree.

He added: “Winning or losing didn’t matter.”

The barrister said that he had £3 million sat in his account at one point during the deception.

He added: “He accepts that over the last ten years a gambling problem has got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

50 per cent of Hull people facing 'downward spiral of debt' - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on November 29, 2013 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

27  nov  2013

50 per cent of Hull people facing 'downward spiral of debt'

By Hull Daily Mail 

PROBLEMS:  Keith Wardale, manager of the Hull Families' Project.   Picture: Kate Woolhouse

PROBLEMS: Keith Wardale, manager of the Hull Families' Project. Picture: Kate Woolhouse

IT IS the unenviable crown Hull certainly did not want after the euphoria of landing UK City of Culture 2017 exactly a week earlier.

Hull was put in the spotlight again yesterday after being placed at the top of the debt league table.

A report by the Government- backed Money Advice Service (MAS) reveals 43 per cent of adults in the city are struggling to make ends meet.

As city leaders seek to promote cultural assets, debt charities report a surge in desperate families, many of whom have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy, asking for help.

Anne-Marie Benson, projects manager at Hull and East Yorkshire Citizens' Advice Bureau, says the type of clients coming to them with money worries has changed dramatically in the past few months.

She said: "We are now seeing older people come to us for help after they've taken out loans to help their struggling families. That's not something we used to see.

"A lot of young people are asking for help. They're moving into new housing, not fully realising the costs involved.

"Families are getting into debt as a result of losing their jobs or their hours being reduced.

"On top of this, many people are being hit by changes to the welfare state, including the introduction of the 'bedroom tax'."

Keith Wardale, manager of The Hull Families' Project, warns soaring debt levels are having a catastrophic effect on family life in the city.

He said: "The fabric of family life is slowly being undone for those hardest hit by the economic downturn and the benefit changes taking place at the same time.

"The chance for recovery is slow, leading many to get into unwanted debt."

Mr Wardale, whose organisation is based in north Hull – which has been labelled as one of the most-deprived areas in the country – says there has been a "considerable increase" in referrals.

"Many families are facing a downward spiral of debt, which is affecting those in low-paid and part-time work as well as on benefits and struggling to overcome their problems," he said.

Earlier this month, rent arrears among council housing tenants in Hull topped the £2m mark for the first time.

According to the latest figures, 9,092 council tenants were in arrears with their rent at the start of November – 2,000 more than in March.

However, the full scale of the crisis is unlikely to ever be known, with the MAS report stating just one in six of the 8.8 million people said to be "over-indebted" in the UK seek help.

An unknown number are suffering in silence.

Researches use the term "over- indebted" to describe someone who has fallen at least three months behind with their bills in the past six months or who feels their debts are a heavy burden.

About two-fifths (40 per cent) of this group said they did not feel able to talk to their creditors and 44 per cent did not know where to turn for advice.

Caroline Rookes, chief executive of MAS, said it commissioned the report to better understand the lives of people with serious debt problems.

She said: "This is the first time we've had such a detailed understanding of the complexity of their lives."

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of the estimated 8.8 million people with severe debt problems are under 45 years old and almost two-thirds (64 per cent) are women.

The report used information from credit checking company Experian to build a profile of those who have sunk badly into debt.

Families dependent on benefits made up about one fifth (20.2 per cent) of those who are over- indebted, while "worried" working families who find being in debt a constant burden accounted for a similar proportion (19.4 per cent).

At the other end of the spectrum, Richmond upon Thames in south London has just 1.2 per cent of its population struggling with debt, the report found.


The hospital where the NHS began will lose its A&E department - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on November 29, 2013 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

27  nov 2013

The ultimate indignity of the A&E closures: The hospital where the NHS was born is losing its casualty ward but not a penny of the £12m promised to help a nearby unit cope with the extra patients has arrived

The hospital where the NHS began will lose its A&E department this week – and campaigners fear its closure will lead to a ‘chaotic and worrying’ winter for patients.

Trafford General Hospital, where Health Minister Aneurin Bevan officially launched the NHS in 1948, will shut its 24-hour A&E on Wednesday. About 8,500 seriously ill or injured patients will have to be dealt with by Manchester’s other busy hospitals each year.

Doctors behind the reorganisation, dubbed the New Health Deal For Trafford, describe it as ‘a blueprint’ for hospital care across the country.

The hospital where the NHS began will lose its A&E department this week ¿ and campaigners fear its closure will lead to a ¿chaotic and worrying¿ winter for patients

The hospital where the NHS began will lose its A&E department this week and campaigners fear its closure will lead to a 'chaotic and worrying' winter for patients

But The Mail on Sunday has discovered that a £12 million plan to enlarge neighbouring Wythenshawe A&E so it can cope with the expected surge in numbers has barely got off the ground. Not a penny has yet arrived.

Local councillor and A&E campaigner Jo Harding said: ‘We are potentially heading to a very chaotic and worrying winter. These extra resources are not only to cope with Trafford A&E closing, but also due to the fact that Wythenshawe is already overcrowded.’

She said last winter’s A&E waiting time figures for the South Manchester hospital, eight miles from Trafford, were ‘incredibly worrying’.

NHS bosses had been unable to guarantee it would cope better in the coming months.

‘Why close Trafford A&E right now, when the NHS is predicted  to have one of the worst winters ever?’ she asked.

Wythenshawe’s A&E is expected to bear the brunt of the closure, with almost 5,000 more patients a year predicted. Ministers were first warned of the urgent need to upgrade Wythenshawe’s A&E if Trafford’s closed, two years ago.

 

Last December, hospital bosses submitted a bid to the Department of Health for £12 million extra funding, warning that the ‘planned closure’ meant that ‘further A&E pressure is likely’. 

For the last year they have also been warning A&E overcrowding is a ‘significant risk’. But the Department of Health has only recently agreed to the cash injection – and it will be next April before a planning application for the upgrade is submitted.

Ministers were first warned of the urgent need to upgrade Wythenshawe¿s A&E if Trafford¿s closed, two years ago

Ministers were first warned of the urgent need to upgrade Wythenshawe's A&E (pictured) if Trafford's closed, two years ago

Labour MP Kate Green, whose constituency includes Trafford General, last night criticised how long it had taken to get the £12 million approved.

She and neighbouring MP Paul Goggins had been trying to raise the issue with Ministers ‘ever since these proposals first appeared in 2011’, said Ms Green, first with Andrew Lansley and then Jeremy Hunt, who replaced him as Health Secretary.

‘They’ve had a long time to work this out – they should have got on with it,’ she said. ‘The timing of this closure is very worrying, particularly as we head into an uncertain winter season.’

Mr Hunt rubber-stamped the closure plan this July. It will see Trafford’s A&E downgraded to a consultant-led Urgent Care Centre, open 12 hours a day.

The hospital will also lose intensive care and acute surgery, so patients such as those with suspected broken hips, severe abdominal pain, or the acutely ill, will have to go elsewhere.

Eventually Trafford will lose all its emergency facilities bar a nurse-led unit for minor problems, meaning tens of thousands more will be pushed into Manchester’s other hospitals.

BEVAN'S GIRL: THE HEALTH MINISTER'S FIRST NHS PATIENT, A 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL WITH A LIVER CONDITION

On July 5, 1948, Health Minister Aneurin Bevan visited Park Hospital in Davyhulme, Manchester – later renamed Trafford General – to accept the keys in a symbolic ceremony to launch the NHS.

There he spoke to Sylvia Beckingham, a 13-year-old girl with a liver condition, who became the first person to be treated under the National Health Service.

Aneurin Bevan (second left) talking to the NHS' first patient Sylvia Diggory, 13, at Trafford General

Aneurin Bevan (second left) talking to the NHS' first patient Sylvia Diggory, 13, at Trafford General

Bevan, a coal miner’s son who had fought hard to establish the NHS against bitter opposition, told her that  the birth of the service was ‘a milestone in history – the most civilised step any country has ever taken’.

On that day, the NHS took control of hundreds of hospitals across England and Wales, containing 480,000 beds.

Ms Green said nobody could ‘rely on history’ to keep Trafford’s A&E open. But she added: ‘The loss is symbolic and people are anxious history should be recognised and high-quality medical facilities should remain on the site.’

Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed how A&E waiting times at Slough’s Wexham Park Hospital soared last winter, after bosses failed to spend £2.5 million earmarked to upgrade the department in light of a nearby closure.

But doctors behind the Manchester changes insist they are for the best. Dr George Kissen, Trafford’s clinical director, said the hospital was ‘too small to be able to guarantee quality in the future’.

It serves just 100,000 people – a quarter the recommended catchment for a district general – and its A&E is one of the smallest in the country. 

Ebbing away: Britain's A&E doctors are quitting for Down Under

Ebbing away: Britain's A&E doctors are quitting for Down Under

The ‘vision’ for South Manchester is  to create what NHS managers call an ‘integrated care system’, keeping more patients out of A&E by boosting GP surgeries and care in people’s homes.

Trafford’s emergency doctors and nurses will be redeployed in Manchester’s other hospitals, raising staffing levels, particularly at nights and weekends.

Trafford will specialise in diagnostics, outpatient appointments and pre-planned operations, with the hope it will become a ‘centre of excellence’ for orthopaedic surgery.Medical director Dr Bob Pearson said: ‘Trafford General Hospital is a blueprint for the new model of local hospital care proposed nationally.

'It now has a secure and viable future and services can continue to be provided safely and to a high standard.’ A Wythenshawe hospital spokesman said 13 more patients were expected to attend its A&E every day as a result of ‘imminent changes’ at Trafford, or 4,745 a year. 

She said the £12 million funding would ‘deliver additional ward capacity, increase the number of resuscitation bays and address the overall capacity of the department’, but added: ‘The scheme is still within the initial planning stages and will be a two-year programme.’

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘There is clear clinical evidence that the changes to Trafford A&E, one of the smallest and least attended in the country, will benefit patients in the long term.’

Meanwhile, managers are playing 'video game' to help make cuts

Hospital bosses are playing  The Sims-style computer games  to help them redesign A&E departments – but campaigners fear the virtual-reality software could be used to justify cuts to services. 

NHS managers are using the technology to predict the impact on patients of reorganising wards or numbers of staff.

Sick Sims: Scenes from the 'virtual reality; software being used to reorganise hospital A&E departments
Sick Sims: Scenes from the 'virtual reality' software being used to reorganise hospital A&E departments

Sick Sims: Scenes from the 'virtual-reality' software being used to reorganise hospital A&E departments

Computer modelling firm Simudyne created the 3D A&E simulation to represent how doctors, nurses and patients interact.

The company says  it also helps organisations plan for nightmare scenarios such as buildings being blown up or cargo ships sinking.
Justin Lyon, chief executive of Simudyne, argued that virtual reality should be at the forefront of planning when hospital services are changed.

'People’s lives are fundamentally changed by these decisions,’ he said. ‘We should be testing them in a simulated environment. After all,  if you kill an avatar, you just hit the Restart button.’

But Dr Onkar Sahota, chairman of the Save Ealing Hospital campaign, warned: ‘What happens in reality can be totally different to what a model says.’

He said A&Es are hard to predict as viruses, the weather and other random factors often drive demand. ‘You need to have capacity to respond if the unpredictable happens,’ he added.

Mr Lyon has been working with Watford General Hospital to improve its A&E, allowing managers to predict the impact of changing factors like staffing rotas.

Last month, doctors had to turn away ambulance patients because the department was so crowded.

Modelling identified ‘a potential bottleneck as patients exit A&E and go on to the wards’, he said.

A Watford hospital spokesman declined to comment.

How we have lost 1 in 4 vital A&E staff... to Australia

Almost one in four young  A&E doctors who trained in Britain have left to work in Australia or New Zealand, amid fears of a growing staff shortage in emergency care.

Medics warn the mass exodus of junior and middle-grade doctors, which has gathered pace in recent years, threatens the future of the A&E network.

It is not only the beaches and blue skies that attract our highly skilled medics, who cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to train. They are also being drawn by better working conditions and higher pay.

A JUNIOR DOCTOR ON WHY HE'S LEF THE UK:  'I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF LEAVING THE SICK TO WAIT IN CORRIDORS'

I qualified seven years ago and arrived in Australia specifically wanting to work in emergency. Why did I come here?

In England, there would regularly be queues in the corridors. That’s stressful and limits the skills you develop. 

Because of that pressure, and  a target to get patients out of the department in four hours, I’d sometimes refer patients to a specialist without even seeing them, knowing they had a given problem. 

But this has huge failings: incomplete assessment of the patient, and significantly less experience for me.
Australian emergency departments seem to be under less strain.

Here you get to do more of those ‘specialist’ procedures yourself, so you become a more competent and complete doctor. In the NHS, I’d work a 94-hour fortnight, which can leave you with a permanent feeling of jet-lag.

Here it’s a strict 80-hour fortnight and shifts are more flexible. 

Australia pays significantly more, plus you get compensated for those anti-social hours and overtime. 

In short, for someone who loves emergency medicine, life here is better balanced, better paid, and will make me a much better doctor.

I plan to return to the UK one day. I love the job there, but the stresses are huge.

Nearly 500 sub-consultant grade A&E doctors who undertook basic medical  training in Britain or Ireland  are now working in Australia or New Zealand.

The number has nearly doubled since 2008,  said Dr Andrew Gosbell of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.

It means there are only about 1,800 A&E doctors of that grade now working in the UK.

Emergency departments in Britain face a critical shortage of A&E doctors, with up to half of advertised junior posts remaining unfilled.

The British College of Emergency Medicine has calculated there is now a shortfall of 368 A&E registrars – almost two per department.

Dr Cliff Mann, its president, said: ‘We need to make coming home a more attractive option.’

While some just go for a year or two’s experience, he said:  ‘The longer they stay, the more likely they are to set down roots.’

Britain cannot match Australian A&E salaries, which he said are up to twice NHS pay. But Dr Mann added: ‘Most people don’t emigrate for the money.’

He claimed junior doctors’ training had suffered because consultants like him ‘spend most of our time dealing with the large number of patients coming through the doors’.

He argued that A&E doctors fully expect to work many nights and weekends, but anti-social hours should be recognised with more annual leave.

Dr Mann warned that a major long-term problem was developing, with the prospect of too few senior A&E doctors to run departments in the future. ‘The problem is there are rather fewer people like me coming through the system,’ he added.

Uphold esteem, credibility of judiciary: CJI - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on August 17, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

17 aug  2013


Guwahati, Aug 17 (IANS) Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Sathasivam Saturday expressed concern over the decline of the peoples' faith in the judiciary and appealed to the members of the legal profession to uphold and preserve its public esteem and credibility.

The CJI, who was here to inaugurate a building of the Gauhati High Court, stressed on the need to render service to the disadvantaged sections of the society and said that he would ensure that the judiciary lays topmost priority to dispose of pending cases, especially those involving women and juveniles.

"There's unfortunately, a growing crisis within the judiciary. The manifestation of this crisis lies not only in the ever-increasing arrears of cases in courts and the consequent delays in our justice delivery system but also in the steady decline in the reputation of the judiciary as also of the legal profession," he said.

"This institution unlike others in the democratic set up thrives only on trust and confidence reposed by the people. So, we should conduct ourselves befitting to the status we hold," Sathasivam said.

No power can stop Congress government in Delhi from losing the election - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on August 11, 2013 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

11  aug  2013

No power can stop Congress government in Delhi from losing the election: Rajnath Singh at rally


No power can stop Congress government in Delhi from losing the election: Rajnath Singh at rally

New DelhiThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) virtually kick-started its election campaign with a rally in Delhi today in which its top leaders launched a scathing attack on the Sheila Dikshit government on a range of issues including power tariff hikes.

The BJP also unveiled a "formula" to cut the power rates by 30 per cent hoping to return to power in Delhi after 15 years.

"This huge, very huge rally at Ramlila Maidan has sent a strong message that now no power in the world can stop the current government in Delhi from losing the election," BJP president Rajnath Singh said.

Apart from Mr Singh, Delhi election in-charge Nitin Gadkari and other senior leaders of the party's state unit were also present.

Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel alleged a "massive scam" in the power sector in the state and claimed that consumers are being "fleeced" by the private power distribution companies in cooperation with the state government.

"To pay electricity bills, you will soon have to take loans from banks. It's not a BJP rally, it is an 'aakrosh rally'. It is a movement against the exploitation. If voted to power, we will reduce the tariff by 30 per cent. If my formula is followed, the Chief Minister can cut tariff from tomorrow onwards," he said.

Explaining his formula, Mr Goel compared the power sector with telecom sector and wondered why the electricity tariff cannot be brought down if competition is encouraged among various discoms.

"In 1996, mobile rate for incoming and outgoing was Rs. 16 and now it is 30 paisa. Because of competition, the rates came down. The day we come to power, we will make the discoms compete with each other. We will cut tariff by 30 per cent if we come to power," Mr Goel said.

Pakistan violates ceasefire again, 7000 rounds of ammunition fired on Indian posts in 7 hours - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on August 10, 2013 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

10 aug  2013

Escalating the tension between India and Pakistan over the killing of five Indian soldiers at the Line of Control in Kashmir earlier this week, the Pakistani army violated the ceasefire yet again on Friday.

According to reports, Pakistani troops opened fire on several posts of the Indian army in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir around midnight, forcing the Indian side to retaliate.

Heavy exchange of fire continued for over seven hours. "Pakistan fired over 7000 rounds of heavy ammunition besides mortar shells on Indian posts during the seven-and-a-half-hour firing in Poonch," a Defence spokesperson said adding that it was "biggest ceasefire violation" in recent times. No causalities were however reported.

The sound of heavy firing and mortar blasts was heard in Poonch town. The exchange of fire triggered panic among the people living in the area.Three days ago, heavy exchange of fire was reported from the Uri sector of Kashmir.On Tuesday, five Indian soldiers patrolling the Line of Control in Poonch were ambushed by terrorists backed by the Pakistani Army. They had entered the Indian territory after crossing the border in Poonch, 200 km from Srinagar.  Following the killing of the soldiers, India had warned Pakistan that "our restraint should not be taken for granted".  The incident has cast a shadow on a meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries scheduled for next month. Though the Indian government has not yet officially commented on whether the assault on the jawans will alter the meeting plan, sources say it is clear that "business as usual" will not continue with Pakistan and that the neighbour will have to effectively demonstrate its commitment to curbing attacks in India.

On Thursday, newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to ease tensions by urging both sides to work swiftly to shore up a 10-year ceasefire. Mr Sharif expressed his sadness over the loss of life and said it was "imperative" for India and Pakistan to take "effective steps to ensure and restore" the truce.But the latest ceasefire violation, despite Mr Nawaz Sharif's statement, is bound to further strain the ties.

Taliban opens office in Doha to hold talks - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on June 18, 2013 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

18  june  2013

Taliban opens office in Doha to hold talks

In a major breakthrough, the Taliban today announced the opening of its office in Doha, which would hold peace talks with the Afghan government and separate direct parleys with US that could boost Afghan reconciliation process after 12 years of war.

The Obama Administration, however, adopted a cautious approach, given its bitter past experience and well aware of the tough negotiations and the "long road" that lies ahead, and termed it as a "significant first step" in the overall goal of achieving peace in the war-torn country.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, senior administration officials appreciated the "constructive" role played by Pakistan in bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table, noting that over the years Islamabad has realised that peace and stability in neighbouring Afghanistan is in their national interest.

The US would have first talks with the Taliban within the next couple of days, and this to be followed by the one between the Taliban and the High Peace Council, officials said.

While there has been no transfer of Gitmo detainees, which was one of the conditions, set earlier by the Taliban for the peace talks, senior administration officials insisted that the outcome of talks should be that Taliban agrees to shed its relationship with al-Qaeda, stop violence and agree with the Afghan Constitution.

"Today is an important first step in the peace process," a senior Administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the press before the release of a Taliban statement in Doha stating that they oppose the use of Afghan soil that threaten other countries and that they support the Afghan peace process.

This is an indicator that "we are moving in the rightdirection" the senior administration official said, but noted that given the "low level of trust" among Afghans themselves, they are a bit cautious and are well aware of the tough days ahead.

"There is no guarantee that it would happen quickly. The core of these talks is not going to be US Taliban talks, but the core of this is going to be direct negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghans.

The level of trust on both sides is extremely low as one would expect. It is going to be a long hard process, if indeed it advances significantly," the official said, adding that this is the beginning of a difficult road.

"I would not be looking for early results," another official said. "We welcome them," another senior administration official said referring to the announcement of the opening of the Taliban political office in Doha to hold peace talks with the Afghan government.

At the same time the official said after 30 years of civil war in Afghanistan, they expect this peace process to be complex long and messy, but nonetheless this is an important first step.

"The outcome of the process, must be the Taliban and other insurgent groups meet three conditions, first they break ties with al Qaeda, they end the violence and accept the Afghanistan constitution, including protection of women and minorities," the senior administration official said.

Further recognising that the opening of the Taliban office in Doha is the first significant milestone towards peace, the United States called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to begin direct negotiations soon.

The US, the official said, would continue to support these critical efforts.

Officials, insisted that there has been no change in its core goal in Afghanistan that is to defeat al-Qaeda, to ensure that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for international terrorism.

"While the peace process is beginning in earnest today with the opening of the Doha office, our troops continue to serve alongside Afghan troops in Afghanistan," he said.

The official said in recent months, the Government of Pakistan has been helpful in urging the Taliban to come forward and join the peace process.

"I think, Pakistan has been genuinely supportive of the peace process for Afghanistan. There has been in the past skepticism about it support, but in recent months, we have seen evidence that there is genuine support and they employed their influence they have to encourage to engage in this particular format," the senior administration official said.

"Pakistan leaders have made it clear for several years now that there is no stability in Pakistan, without stability in Afghanistan. So they understand that the security situation in the two countries are linked very tightly.

"So their support (to the peace process) is very much in keeping their own national interest," another senior administration official said.

Law Ministry proposes controversial change in how judges are appointed - India

Posted by Dr Sanjay Kumar Cardiothoracic Cardiac Heart Surgeon India on April 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (0)

16  apr  2013

New DelhiThe Law ministry has proposed to change the current system of appointing judges for what it calls more "participatory process where both the Executive and the Judiciary contribute" effectively.
 
This is being seen as a significant move given the government's troubles with the judiciary over the 2G issue.
 
A strongly worded cabinet note, that is expected to be taken up on Thursday (April 18), says the present system has been questioned at "several fora including the Law Commission." 
 

The note says, "the present system including initiation has remained with the judiciary. It is felt that judges cannot be their own appointees which isn't the case in countries with a substantially similar legal and political framework.
 
The ministry has proposed the setting up of a Judicial Appointments Commission,  on the lines of what's followed in United Kingdom, to replace the existing the current "collegium" system to appoint judges to higher judiciary. A collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises of five senior judges. It considers the elevation of Chief Justices and High Court Judges to the Supreme Court and the elevation of High Court Judges as Chief Justices.
 
The proposed Judicial Appointments Committee (JAC) will be presided over by the Chief  Justice of India. Other members in the JAC will include - two sitting Supreme Court Judges, two eminent jurists appointed by the President of India, the Union Law  Minister and Secretary - Department of Law and Justice.
 
The cabinet note says the inclusion of the Leader of the Opposition  on the JAC  can also be considered. Opinions of Chief Ministers, Governors and Chief Justices of High Courts will be taken  the appointing judges to High Courts will be taken to appoint high Court judges.
 
The cabinet note points out that the present system creates a situation where 30 per cent posts of judges are always vacant.


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