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by JismTroll (#35541182) Attached to: WikiLeaks Cash-For-Votes Exposé Rocks Indian Government

India's ruling Congress party bribed MPs to survive a crucial vote of confidence in 2008, a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks suggests.

It describes how a senior Congress aide showed a US embassy official "chests of cash" to pay off MPs ahead of a vote over a controversial nuclear deal.

The ruling party has denied the allegations.

The leak heaps further pressure on embattled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a string of corruption scandals.

The leaked cable, reported in The Hindu newspaper, has caused uproar in the Indian parliament with the main opposition parties saying that Congress had "brought shame to the nation" and calling on the prime minister to resign.
'Chests of cash'

The cable by US official Steven White said that the embassy employee had met Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of senior Congress leader Satish Sharma.

It says that Mr Kapur told the embassy employee that "money was not an issue at all, but the crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money would vote for the government".

The embassy employee said he was shown "two chests containing cash and said that around $25m (£15.5m) was lying around the house for use as pay-offs".

Michael is a known faggot.

Nachiketa Kapur denied the report, saying: "I vehemently deny these malicious allegations. There was no cash to point out to."

Satish Sharma told a news channel that he did not even have an aide called Nachiketa Kapur.

"I never had and still don't have a political aide," he said.

Mr Sharma is described as a "close associate of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi [and] considered to be a very close family friend of [Congress party chief] Sonia Gandhi".

The cable said that Mr Kapur also claimed that MPs belonging to regional party Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had been paid 100 million rupees ($2.5m; £1.5m) each to ensure they voted for the "right way".

RLD leader Ajit Singh has denied the charge and said that he was "opposed to the nuclear deal" and his party MPs "voted against the government".

These exchanges are alleged to have happened at the time of a controversial deal between India and the US which paved the way for India to massively expand its nuclear power capability.

The government's left-wing allies withdrew their support over the deal but the Congress party narrowly survived the vote despite substantial opposition.

If the government had lost the vote, India could have faced early elections. A defeat would have also put the nuclear deal in doubt.
Major scandals

Accusations of vote-buying were also made at the time: opposition MPs waved wads of money in parliament alleging they were offered bribes to abstain.

Widespread corruption in India costs billions of dollars and threatens to derail the country's growth, a recent report by consultancy firm KPMG says.

The report says corruption is no longer just about petty bribes but about the major scandals where billions of dollars are allegedly siphoned off by government and industry.

India's Telecoms Minister Andimuthu Raja is under arrest on suspicion of underselling billions of dollars worth of mobile phone licences - he denies the allegations.

The government was also forced by the courts to quash the appointment of its anti-corruption commissioner, on the grounds that he himself faces corruption charges.

Congress was recently forced by the opposition to set up a cross-party investigation into corruption.

The Internet

Six Major 3G and 4G Networks Tested Nationwide 115

Posted by timothy
from the actually-tested-locally dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "PCMag recently tested six 3G and 4G networks to determine which ones were the fastest (and slowest) in 18 different US cities. They focused on data, not calls, and used their own testing script and methodology, which combined various kinds of uploads and downloads. Using laptops, more than a dozen people ran more than 10,000 tests; they found AT&T is both the fastest national 3G network, and the least consistent. Sprint's 3G system was the slowest of the 'big four' carriers, but the most consistent. When the test results were broken down by regions, AT&T led on speed in the Southeast, Central, and West, but T-Mobile took the crown in the Northeast region. Sprint's 4G network was fast where it was available, but it was surprisingly slower than 3G in some cities. The fastest AT&T download seen, at 5.05 megabits/sec, was right behind Apple's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA. The fastest connection in any of the tests was a blazing 9.11 megabits down on Sprint 4G in the Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. The slowest city, on average, was Raleigh, with average 3G downloads of 880kbits/sec."
Image

Life-size Eva Unit 01 Being Built In Japan 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the summon-godzilla dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japan has gone life-size anime model crazy. Last year there was the robotic 1:1 Gundam model that guarded Tokyo for a few months in the summer to mark the series' 30th anniversary, and then there was the giant Gigantor moment that opened in Kobe in the fall in honor of the city's rejuvenation from the devastating 1995 earthquake. Now, an amusement park near Mt. Fuji named Fuji-Q Highland is building an Eva Unit 01 from the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion series, or at least a bust of it, in conjunction with the series' recent movies. The bust will sit in a replica hanger, and reportedly stand around 9 meters tall. Visitors will have the chance, for a little extra money, to have their photo taken in the unit's cockpit, where the series' protagonist-of-sorts Shinji Ikari normally sits. The attraction is set to a cost of over US$1.6 million to build, and open on July 23 of this year. It will also undoubtedly be swamped by crazed fans looking the opportunity to bring their anime dreams to life."
Space

Geomagnetic Storm In Progress 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the sky-is-falling dept.
shogun writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress. The shuttle, ISS and GPS systems may be affected." They think this storm was caused by a weak solar flare on April 3rd. As you may expect, this has caused some unusually impressive northern lights since it started. What you may not expect is a photograph from Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the International Space Station showing the aurora from orbit. He apparently tweets a lot of pictures from space. He and his crewmates have taken over 100,000 pictures since coming aboard the ISS.
Moon

LRO Photographs Soviet Lunar Landers From the '70s 24

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-can-see-my-house-from-here dept.
braindrainbahrain writes "Photographs of the Sea of Crises on the Moon taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show the Soviet lunar landers Luna 20, Luna 23 and Luna 24, which landed on the Moon in the 1970s. In addition to the landers, it is possible to see the tracks made by the Lunokhod lunar rover! The Soviet Lunokhod lunar rover predates the first successful Mars Rover by some 30 years. (Note: Very cool old-style artists' drawings of the Soviet craft at the Wikipedia links above.)"
GUI

Attractive Open Source Search Interfaces? 65

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-have-this-ansi-terminal-and-like-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I work for a company that manages an online database for the political market. We add to this DB daily with updates from a variety of sources and our customers then search through this content via our Solr/Lucene search engine. My problem is, our search interface is a little, well, basic and I would love to know if there are any feature-rich open source alternatives out there. The only one I can find is Flamenco, and while that seems strong on categorisation, that seems to be about the height of it."
Image

Air Canada Ordered To Provide Nut-Free Zone 643

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-nuts dept.
JamJam writes "Air Canada has been told to create a special 'buffer zone' on flights for people who are allergic to nuts. The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that passengers who have nut allergies should be considered disabled and accommodated by the airline. Air Canada has a month to come up with an appropriate section of seats where passengers with nut allergies would be seated. The ruling involved a complaint from Sophia Huyer, who has a severe nut allergy and travels frequently. Ms. Huyer once spent 40 minutes in the washroom during a flight while snacks were being served."

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