Youth shot dead by miscreants in Udupi’s Hanehalli

News Network
March 3, 2024

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Udupi, Mar 3: In a shocking incident, a home alone youth was mercilessly shot dead by unidentified miscreants under mysterious circumstances at Hanehalli near Barkur in Brahmavar taluk of Udupi district. 

The victim has been identified as Krishna (36), who was living alone in his home at Hanehalli. 

It is learnt that on at around 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 2, firing sound was heard by the local residents. However, they reportedly thought it to be a sound from firecracker and chose to ignore. 

Today morning (March 3), when one of the local residents went to Krishna’s house the incident came to light. Krishna was found dead with a bullet wound. 

Krishna was working in Manipal. It is learnt that he was shot dead while having his dinner. 

Udupi Superintendent of police Dr Arun K and team conducted the spot investigation. 

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News Network
April 3,2024

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Bengaluru: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress President D K Shivakumar on Wednesday said his party is in a comfortable position as there is no 'Modi wave' in the state.

He claimed that the BJP did nothing in the state during its four years rule and did not fulfill any of its promises.

"Congress is in a very comfortable position as far as Karnataka is concerned. There is no Modi wave in Karnataka because Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not left any footprint in Karnataka during the last 10 years of his rule," Shivakumar said in an exclusive interview to PTI.

He said while crores of rupees had been collected as taxes from Karnataka by the Union government, the state did not get anything in return, even during the severe drought being faced in 230 out of 236 taluks.

On BJP fielding noted cardiologist Dr C N Manjunath against his brother and three-time MP D K Suresh in Bengaluru Rural constituency, Shivakumar claimed that Congress will win with a victory margin of over two lakh votes.

Regarding the BJP-JD(S) electoral tie-up in Karnataka, Shivakumar said it is a failed alliance and the people will reject them.

"(H D) Kumaraswamy (JD(S) leader and NDA's Mandya candidate) and all the JDS candidates will lose," he claimed.

On Union Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly levelling corruption charge against him, Shivakumar said it was a political allegation against him.

"There is nothing against me, they can’t prove anything. These are baseless allegations against me," Shivakumar added.

Shivakumar denied any dissent in the party over ticket distribution for the Lok Sabha polls stating that the entire Congress party is united.

"There is no dissent and within 24 hours we will sort it out. But in BJP, the party is burning from within. The BJP workers are going to kill the BJP itself. The BJP has changed (candidates) in around 10 seats and they know that they are losing in the campaigns," he said.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Real estate tycoon Truong My Lan was sentenced Thursday to death by a court in Ho Chi Minh city in southern Vietnam in the country's largest financial fraud case ever, state media Thanh Nien said.

It's a rare verdict - she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime, i.e. looting one of the country's largest banks over a period of 11 years.

The decision is a reflection of the dizzying scale of the fraud. Truong My Lan was convicted of taking out $44bn (£35bn) in loans from the Saigon Commercial Bank. The verdict requires her to return $27bn, a sum prosecutors said may never be recovered. Some believe the death penalty is the court's way of trying to encourage her to return some of the missing billions.

The habitually secretive communist authorities were uncharacteristically forthright about this case, going into minute detail for the media. They said 2,700 people were summoned to testify, while 10 state prosecutors and around 200 lawyers were involved.

The evidence was in 104 boxes weighing a total of six tonnes. Eighty-five defendants were tried with Truong My Lan, who denied the charges.

"There has never been a show trial like this, I think, in the communist era," says David Brown, a retired US state department official with long experience in Vietnam. "There has certainly been nothing on this scale."

The trial was the most dramatic chapter so far in the "Blazing Furnaces" anti-corruption campaign led by the Communist Party Secretary-General, Nguyen Phu Trong.

A conservative ideologue steeped in Marxist theory, Nguyen Phu Trong believes that popular anger over untamed corruption poses an existential threat to the Communist Party's monopoly on power. He began the campaign in earnest in 2016 after out-manoeuvring the then pro-business prime minister to retain the top job in the party.

 The campaign has seen two presidents and two deputy prime ministers forced to resign, and hundreds of officials disciplined or jailed. Now one of the country's richest women has joined their ranks.

Truong My Lan comes from a Sino-Vietnamese family in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. It has long been the commercial engine of the Vietnamese economy, dating well back to its days as the anti-communist capital of South Vietnam, with a large, ethnic Chinese community.

She started as a market stall vendor, selling cosmetics with her mother, but began buying land and property after the Communist Party ushered in a period of economic reform, known as Doi Moi, in 1986. By the 1990s, she owned a large portfolio of hotels and restaurants.

Although Vietnam is best known outside the country for its fast-growing manufacturing sector, as an alternative supply chain to China, most wealthy Vietnamese made their money developing and speculating in property.

All land is officially state-owned. Getting access to it often relies on personal relationships with state officials. Corruption escalated as the economy grew, and became endemic.

By 2011, Truong My Lan was a well-known business figure in Ho Chi Minh City, and she was allowed to arrange the merger of three smaller, cash-strapped banks into a larger entity: Saigon Commercial Bank.

Vietnamese law prohibits any individual from holding more than 5% of the shares in any bank. But prosecutors say that through hundreds of shell companies and people acting as her proxies, Truong My Lan actually owned more than 90% of Saigon Commercial.

They accused her of using that power to appoint her own people as managers, and then ordering them to approve hundreds of loans to the network of shell companies she controlled.

The amounts taken out are staggering. Her loans made up 93% of all the bank's lending.

According to prosecutors, over a period of three years from February 2019, she ordered her driver to withdraw 108 trillion Vietnamese dong, more than $4bn (£2.3bn) in cash from the bank, and store it in her basement.

That much cash, even if all of it was in Vietnam's largest denomination banknotes, would weigh two tonnes.

She was also accused of bribing generously to ensure her loans were never scrutinised. One of those who was tried used to be a chief inspector at the central bank, who was accused of accepting a $5m bribe.

The mass of officially sanctioned publicity about the case channelled public anger over corruption against Truong My Lan, whose fatigued, unmade-up appearance in court was in stark contrast to the glamorous publicity photos people had seen of her in the past.

But questions are also being asked about why she was able to keep on with the alleged fraud for so long.

"I am puzzled," says Le Hong Hiep who runs the Vietnam Studies Programme at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

"Because it wasn't a secret. It was well known in the market that Truong My Lan and her Van Thinh Phat group were using SCB as their own piggy bank to fund the mass acquisition of real estate in the most prime locations.

"It was obvious that she had to get the money from somewhere. But then it is such a common practice. SCB is not the only bank that is used like this. So perhaps the government lost sight because there are so many similar cases in the market."

David Brown believes she was protected by powerful figures who have dominated business and politics in Ho Chi Minh City for decades. And he sees a bigger factor in play in the way this trial is being run: a bid to reassert the authority of the Communist Party over the free-wheeling business culture of the south.

"What Nguyen Phu Trong and his allies in the party are trying to do is to regain control of Saigon, or at least stop it from slipping away.

"Up until 2016 the party in Hanoi pretty much let this Sino-Vietnamese mafia run the place. They would make all the right noises that local communist leaders are supposed to make, but at the same time they were milking the city for a substantial cut of the money that was being made down there."

At 79 years old, party chief Nguyen Phu Trong is in shaky health, and will almost certainly have to retire at the next Communist Party Congress in 2026, when new leaders will be chosen.

He has been one of the longest-serving and most consequential secretary-generals, restoring the authority of the party's conservative wing to a level not seen since the reforms of the 1980s. He clearly does not want to risk permitting enough openness to undermine the party's hold on political power.

But he is trapped in a contradiction. Under his leadership the party has set an ambitious goal of reaching rich country status by 2045, with a technology and knowledge-based economy. This is what is driving the ever-closer partnership with the United States.

Yet faster growth in Vietnam almost inevitably means more corruption. Fight corruption too much, and you risk extinguishing a lot of economic activity. Already there are complaints that bureaucracy has slowed down, as officials shy away from decisions which might implicate them in a corruption case.

"That's the paradox," says Le Hong Hiep. "Their growth model has been reliant on corrupt practices for so long. Corruption has been the grease that that kept the machinery working. If they stop the grease, things may not work any more."

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News Network
April 13,2024

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New Delhi, May 13: Warmongering Israel is bracing for a potential direct attack by Iran as warnings grow of retaliation for the provocative killing last week of a senior officer in Iran's embassy in Damascus. US and other intelligence assessments have said the retaliation could come as soon as Sunday. The unprecedented attack could trigger an all-out regional war.

US President Joe Biden has also warned Israel that he expects a strike from Iran soon, but has warned the clerical state not to attack.

"I don't want to get into secure information but my expectation is sooner than later," Biden told reporters after an event.

Asked what his message was to Iran on striking Israel, Biden said, "Don't."

An assault from Iranian soil has emerged as one of the main scenarios expected by the Jewish state and its allies, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. A bombardment with drones and precision missiles could come within the next 24 hours, the reports said citing people familiar with the matter.

Any Iranian attack on Israel would likely be a combination of missiles and drones, based on current capabilities outlined in a new Defense Intelligence Agency Worldwide Threat assessment released late Thursday.

The regime "has a substantial inventory of ballistic and cruise missiles capable of striking targets as far as 2,000 kilometers from its borders," the agency said.

The US has rushed additional military assets to protect Israel and American forces in the region. The country has moved two Navy destroyers to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to a Navy official. One is the USS Carney, which was recently in the Red Sea performing air defence against Houthi drones and anti-ship missiles.

America has also doubled down its diplomatic efforts to rein in hostilities in the region, which has been on the edge since Israel launched a mega offensive on Palestine to destroy the militant organisation Hamas.

US officials have been working to send messages to Iran, including through an established Swiss channel, while talking to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other governments. Biden has also sent the head of US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, to Israel for urgent talks on the threat from Iran.

The 'shadow war' between the two Middle Eastern countries heated up when an Israeli airstrike hit the Iran consulate in Damascus, killing seven people, including two generals. Iran immediately issued a statement saying that it is prepared for war and will deliver a "slap" to Israel.

Israel has been on alert since then, canceling home leave for combat troops, calling up reserves, and bolstering air defenses. Its military scrambled navigational signals over Tel Aviv on Thursday to disrupt GPS-navigated drones or missiles that might be fired at the country.

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