Inbrief | Indian protest rocks Malaysia before polls

Inbrief | Indian protest rocks Malaysia before polls

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s ethnic Indian community staged its biggest anti-government street protest on Sunday in which more than 10,000 protesters defied tear gas and water cannons to voice their protest against racial discrimination.

The sheer size of the protest, called by a Hindu rights group, represents a political challenge for the government as it heads towards a possible early election in the next few months. Ethnic Indians from around the country swarmed into Kuala Lumpur for the rally, despite a virtual lock-down of the capital over the past three days and warnings from police and the government that people should not take part. “Malaysian Indians have never gathered in such large numbers in this way," said P. Uthaya Kumar, of the Hindu Rights Action Force —the organizer of the protest. “They are frustrated and have no job opportunities in the government or the private sector. They are not given business licences or places in university," he said, adding that Indians were also incensed by some recent demolitions of Hindu temples. Riot police fired at the protesters with sustained volleys of tear gas and jets of water laced with an eye-stinging chemical, but it took more than five hours to finally clear the streets of downtown Kuala Lumpur, by then littered with empty gas canisters.

Journalists and analysts could not recall a bigger anti-government protest by ethnic Indians, who make up 7% of the population. Protesters complained about the preferential treatment of Malays, who comprise 60% of the nation’s population.Reuters

Commonwealth fails to agree on emissions cuts

Kampala (Uganda): Commonwealth leaders failed to arrive at a consensus to recommend binding emissions cuts ahead of next month’s climate conference in Bali, opting instead to send a “very strong political statement".

“There are clearly some (Commonwealth leaders) who are clearly not ready to use the term binding at this stage," Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon said following talks between the group’s leaders in Uganda on Saturday. The Bali international summit will see nations discuss a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on lowering harmful emissions. The protocol expires in 2012.

Countries such as the US and Canada oppose binding cuts if these do not include all countries, especially China.AFP

ADAG looks to raise power arm’s IPO value

Mumbai: Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) has sought the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) nod to float Reliance Power Ltd’s initial public offering (IPO) at a face value of Rs10 a share, instead of Rs2 proposed earlier, a move that could hasten the share sale.

The group wrote to Sebi earlier last week, seeking permission in connection with the IPO. The share offer by Reliance Power, which won the 4,000MW Sasan power project, is considered to be a part of revenue mobilization move for the firm’s estimated Rs1 trillion investment plans.PTI

‘Weather disasters have quadrupled in 20 years’

New Delhi:According to a latest report, released on Sunday, by Oxfam—a UK-based charity organization —weather-related disasters have quadrupled over the past two decades.

The report attributes this to global warming and recommends that countries reach an international agreement to provide assistance to developing nations in order to curb emissions and deal with such calamities.

Currently, on an average, the planet is experiencing 500 disasters annually, compared with just 120 disasters 20 years ago. The number of people affected by disasters have increased by 68%. Floods in South Asia, Mexico and Africa have alone affected around 250 million people. Padmaparna Ghosh

Ministry rapped for delay in e-stamping plan

New Delhi: A parliamentary committee has rapped the finance ministry for the inordinate delay in implementing the e-stamping project, which was sanctioned by the ministry in 2003 after the infamous Telgi scam, involving an estimated Rs30,000 crore.

Stamp papers are used for paying duty on various types of instruments, including documents by which any right or liability is created, transferred, limited, extended, or recorded.PTI

Saudi co to invest $3 bn in township project

Mumbai: Saudi Arabia-based realty firm Tanmiyat Group is planning an investment of nearly $3 billion (Rs11,850 crore) in a township project in India, a top company official said. The group has shortlisted Bangalore for the project.

“We are in the final stages of fine-tuning our plans for this township project," said Tanmiyat’s managing director Bharat Thakkar.

“We will be ready with the final blueprint within the next two to three months."

The company’s first township project would be a mixed-use venture and would be completed in phases over a five-year time period, Thakkar added.PTI