The problems for Yeddy are……………


The first Bharatiya Janata Party government in south India is in disarray yet again. This time Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa will have to prove his majority on October 12 with 21 MLAs tendering their resignation before the government and bringing the numbers down to 96 when the magic figure is 113.

In the past two years since the BJP came to power it has faced five major crisis and at least on three occasions it appeared as though the government would fall. Let us take a look at the five different crisis that this government has faced since it came to power in Karnataka.


The Reddy trouble:
Prior to the existing crisis, this was the biggest set back that Yeddyurappa had once he took over as the Chief Minister. Towards the later part of October 2009, the Reddy brothers started meeting with the BJP MLAs who had a grouse against the CM. The Reddys comprising,Karunakara Reddy, Janardhana Reddy, Somashekara Reddy and their family friend Shriramulu claimed that they had the support of 50 BJP MLAs and would bring the government down. The problem started with a housing scheme in Bellary which were to be constructed for flood affected victims. When the CM said that all such programmes had to be government sponsored and no such work can be carried out individually, the Reddy brothers were quick to react. A cold war broke out between the two camps and the Reddys put out a list of grievances. The first was to sack Shobha Karandlage, a close aide of the CM. They also demanded the head of V Baligar who was principle secretary to the CM stating that he was acting like a proxy CM. The matter reached Delhi and the Reddys got even more aggressive in their claim and started demanding for the head of the CM. However a compromise formula was arrived and Yeddyurappa announced in tears before the media that he had ahdered to their demands.

Justice Hegde’s resignation: The boat had sailed on peacefully for nearly a year before Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde tendered his resignation claiming that he was unable to work independently. He alleged that the government had reinstated corrupt officials despite them being pulled up for corrupt practises. He also said that the government had not given him suo motu powers as was promised. Further he also accused them of sheilding some members of the mining lobby and said he was unable to probe the matter independently. This resignation came as a major embarassment for the government since it gave the picture that it was protecting the corrupt. Several other political parties in Karnataka especially the Congress used this as a plank to embarrass the government. However after a week of remaining adamant, the high command headed by L K Advani stepped in and convinced Justice Hegde to take back his resignation. The CM promised action and acted on it. However the suo motu powers to try ministers has not been given as yet.

The Mining scandal: This particular epsiode disrupted the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for nearly two weeks. MLAs from the opposition sat in dharna and even slept over at the assembly. The entire issue commenced with the Chief Minister himself declaring before the assembly that several thousand crores worth of iron ore had been exported illegally. This was seen as a tactical move by the CM who wanted pressure building up on the Reddy brothers since it was expected that the entire nation would gun for their throat. The gamble paid off and the Reddy brothers eventually softened their stand against the CM, but the cold war continues till date. However things started getting out of hand and the opposition demanded a CBI probe and the centre was closely monitoring the situation. The government in the state was however adamant and said that a Lokayukta probe would be sufficient and there is no need to rope in the CBI. The focus then shifted to the streets with the Congress taking out a padayatra to Bellary which was again countered by the Reddy brothers who conducted their own rally headed by Sushma Swaraj in their defence.

The reshuffle crisis: After the mining scam and the softening of the Reddy brothers, Yeddyurappa announced that he would go in for a reshuffle. Many political pundits saw this as a move solely to bring Shobha back into the cabinet. However Yeddyurappa denied all such allegations and went ahead and brought Shobha back into the cabinet. In the bargain he left out independent candidates who had helped him form the government. One of the ministers, G Shekhar even threatened to commit suicide if dropped from the cabinet. However Yeddyurappa went ahead and dropped him. The disgruntled ministers did issue a couple of statements initially and even had the support of the Reddy brothers who threatened to take the matter to the high command. However this issue fizzled out and the government was back on track.

Reshuffle extended: The latest crisis is nothing but an extention of the earlier one. The MLAs who have been left out of the cabinet have joined hands and threatened to bring down the government. Around 20 of them are presently camping in Chennai and are threatening to bring down the government. 21 MLAs have even tendered their resignations to the Governor which in turn has made the latter decide to direct the government to prove its majority on the floor of the house. Even as Yeddyurappa continues to send emissaries to Chennai after assuring the rebels of a good deal, it would still be an acid test for him since he will have to prove his majority on October 12.

Stuxnet- the missile worm


In the month of June, a deadly worm called as the Stuxnet was discovered and as experts began studying this worm, they realised that it had the capabilities of a missile which could destroy a factory or even a nuclear plant.

Following the detection of this super cyber worm, there is a rumour afloat that it may have already reached its target and that is the Bushehr nuclear power plant at Iran. Cyber crime experts in India although Iran has pointed a finger at India and the US saying that this worm has generated from here, we do not agree since several of our own establishments face this risk.There is a need to be on guard since worm is extremely complicated and very highly encrypted and hence controlling it could be a problem. The Stuxnet takes control of a system and like in the case of other worms or malware there is no action required for the user to be taken. This means that it could enter into your system without you having done anything. The worst part about this worm is that it has been developed to hit at a physical target.

David Hall, Senior Manager, Regional Product Marketing, Symantec, Asia Pacific explains to rediff.com more about the Stuxnet worm. We’ve heard about the possibilities and it is like nothing we’ve seen before – both in what it does, and how it came to exist. Stuxnet is the first publicly known worm to target industrial control systems, often referred to as SCADA systems. W32.Stuxnet was first categorized in July of 2010. Stuxnet looks for industrial control systems and then changes the code in them to allow the attackers to take control of these systems without the operators knowing. Stuxnet was the first piece of malware to exploit the Microsoft Windows Shortcut ‘LNK/PIF’ Files Automatic File Execution Vulnerability (BID 41732) in order to spread. The worm drops a copy of itself as well as a link to that copy on a removable drive. When a removable drive is attached to a system and browsed with an application that can display icons, such as Windows Explorer, the link file runs the copy of the worm. Stuxnet uses two different and most importantly legitimate certificates signed by well-known companies to avoid detection by antivirus applications.

Stuxnet has been attacking industrial control systems across the globe. We’ve seen infections in 90 different countries with high numbers in Indonesia, Korea and India, apart from Iran where we saw 60 per cent of the infections. Like in other countries Stuxnet attacks in India target systems with SCADA software installed, mainly in factories and power plants.

This malicious threat is designed to allow hackers to manipulate real-world equipment, which makes it very dangerous. It is the first computer virus to be able to wreak havoc in the physical world. Stuxnet searches for industrial control systems and specifically targets systems with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software installed. If it finds these systems on the compromised computer, it attempts to steal code and design projects. It may also take advantage of the programming software interface to also upload its own code to the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), which are ‘mini-computers’, in an industrial control system that is typically monitored by SCADA systems. Stuxnet then hides this code, so when a programmer using a compromised computer tries to view all of the code on a PLC, they will not see the code injected by Stuxnet. Moreover, Stuxnet uses stolen legitimate certificates, which makes it difficult to detect it.

Stuxnet is a complex and impactful threat that is trying to make groundbreaking changes, which is a matter of concern. Earlier, a threat such as this might have been speculation, now it’s a real threat.

What’s worrying is that Stuxnet is one of the most complex we’ve seen and one of the most impactful. A worm that is trying to make these types of changes is groundbreaking and very worrying. What is even more worrying is that this threat exploits four zero-day vulnerabilities. A zero-day is a bug within software that the attacker knows about, but no one else does. Stuxnet is designed to manipulate real-world equipment. This malicious worm is a strong example of how sophisticated and targeted threats are becoming, which makes it extremely dangerous. To give you perspective, we saw 12 zero-day vulnerabilities in total in 2009. This further emphasizes the high level of sophistication of Stuxnet.

This is the first publicly widespread threat that has shown a possibility of gaining control of industrial processes and placing that control in the wrong hands. It also shows that in this interconnected world, security solutions and technologies such as reputation are more important than ever.

A cyber crime official in New Delhi says that Iran had pointed a finger at India saying that it had generated over here. However our investigations show that this particular worm is government backed and could have generated out of Israel. While intelligence reports point towards that angle there is also this name ‘Myrtus which is a referrence to a Hebrew word. However it is too early to come to any sort of conclusion. We have found during out investigations that some of our own systems have been affected, but no crucial installations have been targeted as yet.

This particular worm has been created and will be alternative for a full fledged war. There is a reason why they have targeted Iran since many countries feel that they are lying about their nuclear capabilities and hence they feel that this would be the best way to target them. He also points out that Iran has claimed that it has made a couple of arrests of nuclear spies who are responsible for infecting their systems. We are keeping a watch on the developments, but nothing really concrete has come out of this arrest as yet.

Moreover this is important to India since there has been talk that the same worm is what hit the Insat 4 B in the month of June, the same month this worm was discovered. This satellite which was responsible for the telecast of several channels shut down due to a power supply anomaly in one of the two solar panels that supplied power to the satellite. ISRO however says that they have not found any such traces to the worm and maintain that their ongoing investigation has not found anything in this regard as yet. Cyber security experts however maintain that this worm is perfectly capable of hitting even satellites and if not controlled it could erupt into a full fledged cyber war as has never been seen before. Although currently it continues to remain in the hands of government sponsored agencies, the worry will begin for India once the bad guys lay their hands on it which means it would be used to target defence installations and nuclear stations in India as well. We are in talks and also taking the assistance of various other experts in trying to ensure that our installations remain Stuxnet free

Grip of Death? Unboxing the iphone bumper


Want to know about Iphone 4, talk to me


check the comparitive pics- Iphone 3gs and Iphone 4 below

We have not grabbed any land: AOL


Amidst allegations of land grabbing, the Art of Living foundation has decided to come clean and explain in detail its land holding and how it came into their possession.

The AoL said that in the year 2005, preparations for the silver jubilee celebrations of the foundation were on. Many people from all over India and the world were expected at the ashram in Bengaluru for the event.

In light of this, the AoL purchased 14 acres of land from a person named Vijay. All the land documents were verified, a notice was issued in the newspapers calling for any objections.

After waiting for six months for any response, the land was bought from him at the market price. After AoL took legal possession of the land, a gentleman called Paul P challenged the sale claiming that Vijay’s father was his business partner and owed him money, the ashram authorities said in a statement.

“Agni Sridhar (an intermediary), recently alleged that the ashram had grabbed the land of the aforementioned Vijay, a dalit, who as it turns out is a Brahmin. Paul coming on TV and saying that ashram has grabbed his land is baseless. We had even requested Vijay and Paul to settle their grievances amicably. We will never agree to any unfair practices and we will follow the verdict of the court,” the statement added.

“Where is the question of land grabbing? We have always bought land at the current market value after checking all the legalities. Land laws in Karnataka [ Images ] are stringent and it takes a lot of time for the deal to become legal. By the time the land is registered, years pass and prices soar. After the deal is made, by the time you actually get possession, sometimes you pay ten times more. Nevertheless we have always paid the correct value for the land. Often we have lost land because we did not wish to indulge in bribery,” the statement also said.

“In recent years, when more people began coming to the ashram, more accommodation and facilities were required. Over the years we have acquired an additional 22 acres of land from Kashinath, 8 acres from Colonel Sobti, 16 acres from Madhusoodan Baliga, 13 acres from Shiva Kumar and 15 acres from various farmers,” the statement went on to say.

According to real estate experts, land costs around Rs 85 lakh per acre in the area where the AoL ashram is situated.

“Currently, we are in the process of acquiring few acres more of land for the proposed Ayurveda hospital and educational institutions,” the statement said.

The AoL also said that when it started out, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar started receiving invitations from different parts of the world to give lectures on Vedic knowledge. During a visit to the German university, he was asked to decode Sanskrit manuscripts. Ravishankar decided to do the same, and along with some eminent personalities such as Justice V R Krishna Iyer (former Chief Justice of India) and others, established the Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth in 1981.

“In 1985, VVMVP applied for 100 acres of fertile land close to a forest on Bannnerghatta Road in Bengaluru to build a Vedic academy. Gundu Rao, the then chief minister of Karnataka, agreed to allot the land. In the couple of years that followed, it transpired that the land to be given to them had been given to Islamia Institute. The CM then gave alternative land to VVMVP off Kanakapura Road. This was 60 acres of barren land covered with rocks where nothing grew. There was not a single tree,” the AoL stated.

“Although it was such arid land, VVMVP agreed to take it on lease for a period of 30 years. Even though the full amount was paid to the government at the time of the purchase, VVMVP had to wait an additional two years to take possession of it. By this time, locals had begun encroaching upon the land. When the officials gave VVMVP permission to take possession of the land, only 24 acres was available of the 60 acres, as villagers who had settled on the land had usurped the rest.”

“The land authorities were on the verge of removing the settlers when Sri Sri Ravishankar intervened and said that VVMVP would take only 24 acres and allow the villagers to remain where they were,” the ashram also stated.

“Subsequently, VVMVP approached the government to give the remaining land due to it somewhere else. It was in the mid nineties that the government allotted 19.5 acres on the opposite side of where the ashram now stands. This was also a barren hill. At present VVMVP still does not have all of 60 acres of land, which was allotted to it in the mid eighties and is still awaiting an additional 16.5 acres,” the statement said.

“Since some malefactors have come up with stories that the Art of Living ashram has grabbed land from poor people, the foundation felt compelled to present the truth behind each piece of land possessed by VVMVP. Then VVMVP bought another eight acres next to the lake near the ashram. This land was purchased from people around the lake, which was all set to be used for a poultry farm, the ashram said in the statement.

Sri Sri attack case solved: B’lore Police


The Bangalore police on Saturday claimed to have solved the mysterious attack on spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

On May 30, it was reported that an unidentified gunman had fired at the convoy of the spiritual leader while he was on his way to attend a programme near his ashram. One of his devotes had been injured in the incident.

The police claimed that one Dr Mahadev Prasad fired the bullet to chase away a stray dog.

Dr Mahadev Prasad, chairman of the Dr B R Ambedkar Medical College, owns a farm house 2,000 feet away from Sri Sri’s ashram. He fired three rounds of bullets to chase away a stray dog, and one of the bullets landed at the ashram, said the police.

The police, who had retrieved the bullet at the site, tracked it back to Prasad.

Prasad has a licensed firearm, said the police, adding that he hadn’t reported the incident fearing the repercussions.

Bangalore police baffled by attack on Sri Sri


Is there more than what meets the eye is something that Bengaluru police officers investigating Sunday’s incident at Sri Sri Ravishankar’s ashram near the city are trying to ascertain.
Investigations into the alleged shooting that occurred at the ashram, 25 km from Bengaluru, have so far not yielded any definitive information about the incident or its motive.

Police officers maintain it is a stray incident, not aimed at hurting anyone at the ashram.

Bengaluru Forensics Sciences officials say they have discovered nothing during their investigation to indicate that it was an attempt on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s life.

FSL officials say the bullet, which hit devotee Vinay Kollumath, was shot from a distance of about 800 feet and bears no trajectory mark. This, they say, indicates it is stray in nature and not targeted at anyone.

“Although we are still ascertaining the velocity with which it was fired, all leads take us to the fact that it is a stray bullet,” an FSL official told this correspondent.

A city police officer said that information from within the ashram is not forthcoming. “We have absolutely nothing left to investigate,” he added, speaking on condition that he would not be identified by name for this report.

The Art of Living organisation, which Sri Sri Ravi Shankar heads, has claimed that it was an attack on the guru who turned 54 on May 13. Sri Sri Ravishankar himself told the media on Monday that it may have been an attempt on his life, but added that he did not wish to enhance the security around his presence.

The police are intrigued that the complaint about the incident was lodged three hours after the alleged firing occurred. The incident occurred at 6.30 pm, but a police complaint was registered only at 9.30 pm.

A puzzled police officer added, “he is such an important person and if there was an attempt on his life, then it is very natural that they would want police protection and a proper investigation conducted as soon as possible.”

The police are also surprised that despite many people being present at the site of the incident, not one person spotted the alleged assailant. No attempt was made to apprehend the individual who allegedly fired the bullet either.

Kollumath’s trousers bear an L shape tear, FSL officials say. Had the bullet hit him as is being claimed by Art of Living officials, he would have suffered a deep injury.

Also, the bullet was fired five minutes after Sri Sri Ravi Shankar left the venue, indicating that the attack may have not been directed against the high-profile guru.

The AOL continues to maintain that the attack was directed at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, but refuse to comment further on the case, saying it is the job of the police to find out more.

‘Dinakaran cannot return till his name is cleared’


The Bangalore Advocates’ Association on Thursday took strong exception to the statements made by a group of lawyers, who had demanded that Justice Dinakaran should return to the seat and start hearing matters.

A group of lawyers had stated to the media that the Chief Justice of the Karnataka high court, who has been asked to take leave in the wake of corruption charges, should come back and start hearing matters.

The association took strong exception to the statements, and passed a resolution seconding their earlier one in which it was stated that under no circumstance will Justice Dinakaran come back to the court unless his name is cleared of the charges.

President of the association Putte Gowda told rediff.com that the they have not changed their stand on Dinakaran.

“The statements that have been issued seeking the return of the CJ are motivated, and have been issued by vested interests. I don’t want to go into the details as to why these people have issued such a statement, but would like to add that the association is going to initiate proceedings against them,” Gowda said.

“Further I also want to tell the media that no one, apart from either the Bar Council or the Advocates’ Association, is authorised to give such statements,” Gowda added.

Mass burial in Mangalore


The bodies of 12 persons who lost their lives in the horrific air crash at Mangalore on May 22, will be buried in the city in the presence of various religious heads.

Sources in Mangalore’s district administration told rediff.com that unfortunately, since the DNA tests conducted on these 12 bodies did not match with the samples given by the relatives, they have no claimants.

It was a heart-rending sight to see some of the family members — who have not been able to identify their loved ones — when they agreed to the mass burial. The ceremony will take place near Panambur beach at 3 pm.

The proposal was made by Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh to the four families which were claiming the bodies. Singh then stepped in and convinced the families not to pursue the claim as it could lead to further complications.

The families then requested that the funeral be conducted in the presence of priests from all religions. While agreeing to the same, the district administration said there would be no problem in issuing a death certificate to the family members.

A single window system has been set up at the Air India office in Mangalore for this purpose, which has already issued 60 death certificates so far.

Records would show that the bodies of Mohammed Zubair from Volakadu Udupi, his children Zainab and Ziad, Navid Ibrahim, Vaman Prabhu from Ashoknagar, Ignatius D’Souza from Shaktinagar, Mohammed Ismail Hassan Jeppu, K K Shetty from Kodialbail, Abubakker Siddiq from Uppala, Abdul Aziz from Uppala, Abdul Basheer K M Bekal, Sukumar Moilatti in Kerala, and crew member of the ill-fated aircraft, Sujata, have not been recovered.

Sri Sri Ravishankar attacked


Sri Sri wants the gunman to attend ‘satsang’

The day after an unidentified gunman fired at his convoy and injured a devotee, spiritual leader Shri Shri Ravishankar ruled out enhancing his security, saying it will block communications between him and the common man.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, Shri Shri claimed that the ‘divine intervention of a supernatural force and the vision of his driver’ saved him on Sunday.

The spiritual leader was on his way to attend a programme near his ashram on Sunday evening when an unidentified gunman fired at his convoy. The shot accidentally grazed the thigh of a devotee who sustained very minor injuries.

Shri Shri added that he wanted to invite the gunman to attend a satsang (spiritual discourse) with him. “If he meets me, he will correct himself. Those who indulge in such acts do so with the sole objective of spreading terror,” he said.

Shri Shri urged his followers to put the incident behind them and move on, adding that he had forgiven his attacker.
Shri Shri claimed that he had no enemies and didn’t understand why such an incident took place. “I am unhurt and safe. We need to look at this incident from a spiritual level. I have no enemies at all,” he said.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the bullet was fired from a pistol.

While the devotees at the ashram suspect that it could be a terror attack, the police have ruled out such a possibility. A senior police officer said that they are probing the matter and the unidentified gunman was still at large. “We have some clues as of now, but it will not be right to reveal all that right now as it may hamper the probe,” he said.

The police were informed about the incident nearly three hours later, he said.

At the spiritual leader’s ashram at Kanakapura, the day started with the regular rudra puja.

“All activities at the ashram will go on as usual. There will be no change in any of the programmes,” a spokesperson of the ashram told rediff.com.

Scores of policemen, security personnel and investigators probing the case have been deployed at the ashram.

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An unidentified gunman opened fire on the convoy of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar on Sunday. The spirtual leader was on his way to meet some delegates after a satsang at the ashram, which is 25 km Benguluru city.

A release from the ashram stated that one devotee sustained minor injuries when the bullet brushed past him. The incident took place at 1830 hrs on Sunday.

The police are investigating the matter but are still unsure about the motive.