18:17 Chile prizon fire kills 81:
Breaking news. The bbc reports that a fire in a prison in the Chilean capital Santiago has left at least 81 people dead.
The blaze broke out in the San Miguel prison. TV pictures show smoke billowing from the building, but it is still not clear whether all of those killed were inmates of the jail. At least 19 people were injured in the fire.
Reports said the fire broke out after a fight between rival gangs, who set mattresses on fire.
18:10 DMK MPs meet PM: Talk floods, not Raja:
Question: Which top agency in the news today has been working non-stop from 7 am?
Answer: The team of CBI sleuths raiding residences of former telecom minister A Raja, his relatives and aides.
At 11 am today, DMK MPs said they would be going to A Raja's residence to express their support. But hours on, they seem to have backtracked. Reports came in that the DMK may be distancing itself from the tainted former minister.
Now news comes in that DMK MPs did meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But they met him (and here'sa clue ofwhat lies ahead for Raja)over flood relief in Tamil Nadu (150 dead). They were with the PM for a minute, but not a second was spent on talking about Raja.
17:56 Cong gives in: Judicial probe into Adarsh:
Just in: The Maharashtra government has agreed to a judicial probe into into the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Patilmade the announcement in the state assembly today. The Assembly was disrupted yesterday over the issue.
A lesson for the Congress here?
17:49 J-K central projects to be reviewed in Jan:
Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar will be in Jammu and Kashmir in mid January next year, to monitor central projects and review the implementation of the schemes.
Ajit Seth, Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, has also sent a circular to 27 secretaries of the central government seeking details of pending projects.
Recently, the Dr C Rangarajan committee had an interaction with state government officials in Srinagar on upping employment opportunities for the youth.
17:25 Kings XI has to pay bank guarantee of Rs 36 cr:
Bombay HC orders interim stay on Kings XI consortium, provided it meets certain financial conditions.This includes a bank guarantee of Rs 36 crore and that all shares have to be transferred to Mohit Burman without sale.
Kings XI Punjab, owned by a consortium led by actor Priety Zinta and industrialist Ness Wadia, had filed an arbitration petition in Bombay High Court challenging Cricket Board's decision to terminate their IPL franchise contract.
Apart from Zinta and Wadia, co-owners include Mohit Burman and Karan Paul. BCCI had terminated the franchise agreement of Kings XI on the ground that it was signed by different persons and not by the members of the consortium that had bid.
Kings XI has sought a stay on the BCCI's decision to terminate the contract. It has also prayed for revocation of the termination of the contract by BCCI saying it would hurt the interests of young players.
17:10 Ban entry of non-Hindus to Varanasi temples:
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad comes up with a 'unique' plan to prevent bomb blasts in the future.
Calling the Varanasi blast as a "demonic face of Jehadi terrorism," the VHP said entry of non-Hindus into the temples of Kashi should be banned. "The blast establishes that terror activities are constantly rising in the country, which is a matter of serious concern to all," VHP Joint General Secretary Vinayak Rao Deshpandey said.
16:42 Why does IM use Mumbai servers?:
Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa has an interesting take on the Varanasi blast that killed one and injured 37.
He asks why the Indian Mujahideen use servers based in Mumbai.
He says, "An interesting aspect that came to light following the Varanasi blast that occurred yesterday, was that the mail sent by the Indian Mujahideen was yet again sent out from Mumbai.
"Even as the Mumbai ATS orders a parallel probe into this aspect, the question now is whether there still exists a strong technical cell of the IM and also whether operatives of the IM continue to use servers in Mumbai and bounce their mails from other places."
Read the full story shortly on rediff.com
16:23 Suicide bomber kills 16, injures 31 in Pakistan:
As India resigns itself to the Varanasi blast, across the border in Pakistan, another bomb blast kills 16.
A suicide bomber today targeted a crowded bus terminal at Kohat in Pakistan's restive northwest, killing 16 people and injuring 31 others in the latest in a string of deadly terrorist attacks. The attacker blew himself up close to a bus in the terminal.
16:19 'A Raja's name not in letter':
Just in: Former CJI Balakrishnan says there was no Union Minister's name in the letter written by the Madras High Court Chief Justice on the Justice Reghupati episode.
Here's the background: The Madras High Court yesterday suspended from the bar a top lawyer --R K Chandramohan -- who was allegedly involved in an attempt to influence a judge taking the name of the minister.
The Bench appended a portion of a letter written by a former judge of the court Justice S Reghupati, who had reported that Chandramohan had entered his chamber last year and pleaded that the case of a father and a son, accused in a marks scandal case in Puducherry, for anticipatory bail be considered favourably as they were "family friends of a Union Minister by name Raja".
The lawyer handed over his mobile phone to the judge saying that the "union minister is on the line to have a talk with me".
16:13 'IM's Bhatkal brothers behind Varanasi blasts':
Just in: Mumbai police commissioner Sanjeev Dayal names Indian Mujahideen's Bhatkal brothers to behind the Varanasi blast. Dayal said intelligence inputs, suggest Iqbal Bhatkal and Riyaz Bhatkal, founders of IM are responsible.
Investigations into the Varanasi blast, which killed a 2-year-old girl and injured 37 others yesterday, also point to the involvement of Dr Shahnawaz, the founder member of the IM. Investigators now suspect that Shahnawaz, who is on the run since the Batla House Encounter of Sept 2008 in Delhi, is now controlling the remnants of the banned IM.
15:59 Bully China will give out its own Peace prize:
Meanwhile, China is all set to give out its own first-ever peace prize tomorrow, a move apparently to counter the Norwegian Nobel committee's choice of imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo as this year's laureate.
Organisers told CNN they will present the Confucius Peace Prize -- which comes with an award of $15,000 -- in Beijing to promote the ancient sage's philosophy, a day before the Nobel committee honors Liu in Oslo.
The recepient has still not been announced.
15:57 It's official: India will attend Nobel ceremony:
We told you earlier, but here's the official confirmation. India will attend the ceremony for the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo, Norway on Friday. New Delhi does not see the attendance as a bilateral issue between it and Beijing, which has called upon all countries to boycott the ceremony, say official sources
venkatananth(Venkat Ananth) tweets:Mayawati vs Chidambaram now. Story of this country, sadly.
Well said, Ananth.
15:47 Mayawati govt slams centre for remarks:
UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh says there was no specific actionable input on the terror strike in Varanasi.
The comment comes in the wake of home minister P Chidambaram's statement this morningat thesite of the terror attack, that the UP government had ignored specific terror strike inputs.
The UPgovernment says the state cannot be blamed if terror strikes like this take place and the state needed more help from the centre. The Mayawati government also said everything was being done to maintain peace.
The terror strikessaw one dead and 37 injured.
Hello and welcome back.
Sudden, unexpectedtechnical problem threw Live! out of sincfor a while, but we're back now.
13:45 Technical error stalls Ahmedabad-bound flight:
ACoimbatore-Ahmedabad SpiceJet Airlines flight with 50 passengers on board made an unscheduled landing in Chennai today following a "technical error". All passengers are safe
13:38 First blood? India will attend Nobel Peace event:
India's attendance at the Nobel Peace prize ceremony in Oslo has been confirmed. After dithering over whether it should shun the ceremony in the run up to Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's state visit to India from 15-17 December, the Indian government will in fact attend.
Suhasini Haidartweets: Ans to yday qn: India will attend Nobel Prize ceremony fr Liu Xiaobo. 'Gov aware of China's concerns bt respects Nobel institn'say sources.
13:28 Dhoni signed deal for 7 yrs at 7 am on Dec 7:
Just in: Indian cricket team captain M S Dhoni signs Rs 29-crore endosement deal with Maxx Mobile for 7 years.
Vijay Tagore from the DNA has an interesting take to the whopper of a deal. He writes, "Dhoni chose to ink the contract on December 7. The dear skipper insisted that the deal would be signed at 7 in the morning. Oh yeah, the deal is for 7 years."
Tagore says Dhoni is superstitious about the numeral seven. Read more.
13:16 Aus blames US for WikiLeaks, not Assange:
Australia's foreign minister has said the US is to blame for the release of thousands of diplomatic cables on Wikileaks, not its Australian founder, Julian Assange.
Reports bbc.co.uk, Kevin Rudd said the release raised questions about US security and he did not "give a damn" about criticism of him in the cables. Assange, arrested in the UK over sex crime allegations in Sweden, has accused the Australian government of "disgraceful pandering" to the US.
13:07 Empty chair will mark Nobel Peace ceremony:
As India still dithers on whether it will attend the Nobel Peace prize ceremony in Oslo on Friday, the ceremony itself has made history of sorts.
The Nobel for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, will mark only the second time in the prize's history that neither the laureate nor a representative will be able to come accept the award.
Three famous laureates, Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov and Polish trade union activist Lech Walesa, were all unable to attend their ceremonies, but they each had family members pick up their award for them.
The only true precedent for this year's event, when Liu's chair will symbolically be left empty and no award will be handed over, was when German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky won the 1935 prize. Imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Ossietzky was unable to make the trip to Oslo when his prize ceremony was held in 1936.
12:40 No arrests have been made: CBI director:
Just in: CBI Director A P Singh says, "We have raided premises of five persons. The raids are still on. No arrests have been made."
The CBI today carried out raids at his residences in Delhi and Chennai besides carrying out raids at the premises of four Telecom officials, including his personal secretary R K Chandolia. A team of about 80 CBI sleuths began the operations at 7 am in Delhi and Chennai.
12:34 US offers to help in Varanasi blast probe:
Just in: Ambassador Timothy Roemer says the US has offered tohelp in investigating the Varanasi blasts after meeting with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.
12:30 Chidambaram takes stock in Varanasi:
Home minister P Chidambaram reaches Varanasi to take stock of the law and order situation, a day aftera bomb blast killed one and injured 37. The Indian Mujahideenhas takenresponsibility for the blasts.
12:07 DMK wants to keep alliance with Cong intact:
Just in: Reports coming in from TV news channels say the DMK may revisit their strategy on former telecom minister A Raja.
Early this morning as the CBI began raids, at 7am, in eight places in New Delhi and two in Tamil Nadu -- Raja'sresidences, homes of four aides, and his relatives, DMK MLAs were on their way to his home in a show of support.
But news just in says Raja may be getting too hot for the party to handle and pending probe, the DMK may relieve Raja from his posts in the party.
Sources say the DMK is considering distancing itself from Raja and a decision to the effect is expected to come in after the Parliament session today.
The move is aimed at keeping the alliance with the Congress in tact.
11:54 Mumbai police question Malad Airtel office:
Rediff.com's Prasanna Zore calls in to say that the Mumbaipolice are conducting enquiries at the Airtel office in Malad. An inspector on the scene said that they are investigating a message sent from an Airtel number about the Varanasi blast. Prasanna will send a detailed report soon.
Here's why this is important. The email claiming responsibility for the blast wastraced to Malad.
11:46 China coal mine explosion kills 26:
The death toll in the Varanasi blasts last evening stand at one, but four are said to be critical. At least 25more are injured.
Meanwhile, an explosion at a coal mine in central China has killed 26 miners who were working despite an order to halt production. A mine tunnel collapse elsewhere left four dead in the latest accidents to strike the country's mining industry.
11:37 DMK MLAs rush to Raja's home in support:
Even as the CBI began raids at eight different residences in Delhi and two in Chennai -- homes of A Raja, his aides and relatives --DMK MLAs are on their way to A Raja's residence in Chennai in a show of strength and support.
As the DMK continues to back Raja, the AIADMK said Raja must be tried under the Prevention of Corruptuon Act.
Meanwhile, CBI boss AP Singh begins emergency meet on the raids, which continue five hours after it began.
11:16 Army officer injured in Sopore encounter dies:
Tragic news for the family of an as yet unidentified Indian Army captain. The officer, who was injured in an encounter with militants in Sopore town of Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir, succumbed to his injuries today. The army officer was injured when militants opened indiscriminate firing on security forces, who had launched an operation in Model Town area of Sopore, last evening.
The Army is yet to identify him. The encounter is still on and at least two Lashkar militants are suspected to be hiding in a house in the area.
11:03 Day 19: Parliament adjourns till noon:
On the 19th day of the winter session of Parliament, the Lok Sabhaobserved a minute's silence for thedead and injured in the Varanasi blastlast evening.
Exactly seven minutes after it opened, both houses adjourned till noon, after ruckus over the demand for a JPC probe on the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
10:58 What the BBC says on A Raja...:
This is what the BBC says onthe CBI raids on A Raja.
"India's top investigation agency has raided houses owned by a former telecoms minister allegedly involved in a corruption scandal, reports say. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches on A Raja's houses in Delhi and Chennai. Mr Raja quit last month, denying allegations that he had undersold mobile phone licences."
10:54 Australia providing consular support to Assange:
The CBI has finished conducting raids at places in Delhi and two places in Chennai -- homes of former telecom minister A Raja, his relatives and aides. The CBI began the raids at 10 am.
With that done, let's get go to the big international news yesterday -- the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now in jail, without bail.
It can now be said that Australia was providing consular support to Assanage, who was arrested in London on allegations of sexual assaults in Sweden. Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said today that the country offered consulate support to Assanage despite a leaked US diplomatic cable that revealed Rudd being criticised as 'abrasive, impulsive control freak'.
"I'm the foreign minister of Australia, responsible for the consular well-being of all Australians and therefore I just want to make it absolutely clear that first of all Assange has contacted the Australian consul-general in London and asked for consular support," Rudd said.
For a complete, minute-by-minute coverage of what happened last night, click here.
10:32 Varanasi blast: Navi Mumbai duo questioned:
More news coming in on last evening's blast at Varanasi. A father-son duo were picked up for questioning in Mumbai in connection with the email sent by banned terror group Indian Mujahideen to several media houses claiming responsibility for the blast.
The terror mail traced to a residential complex in Navi Mumabi had claimed responsibility for the blast at a crowded bathing ghat in Varanasi that left a child dead and 37 others injured.
The five-page e-mail sent by the Indian Mujahideen has been sent using an unsecured WiFi of Airtel Broadband.
10:22 Early morning shocker for A Raja:
More details coming in on the CBI raid on the residences of A Raja and his aides.
It's been a nightmare of a morning for former telecom minister A Raja. Early this morning, CBI sleuths raided Raja's residences at Delhi and Chennai.'
Raids were also carried out at the residences of former Telecom Secretary Siddarth Behura, Chandolia, Member Telecom Commission K Sridhar and Deputy Director General in the Department of Telecom A K Srivastava, CBI sources said.
CBI sources said that the former Minister would also be questioned during the process of searches.
The Supreme Court had come down heavily on the CBI on November 22 for failing to question Raja and the Telecom Secretary in connection with the scam, saying it was "beating around the bush".
08:30 The Central Bureau of Investigation raided former Telecom Minister A Raja's houses in Chennai and Delhi.
08:24 Dubbing the explosion in Varanasi as "a heinous act of Jehadi terrorism", Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Tuesday demanded the holy city of Kashi be accorded the status of a "protected heritage site" and entry of non-Hindus into it be banned.
02:51 Centre should strengthen UP's security: Maya:
Mayawati, on reaching the blast site, said the Central government should make security forces and equipment available to Uttar Pradesh, especially for Varanasi, the way it had done after the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai.
She will write a letter to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in this regard on Wednesday.
02:12 Mayawati reaches blast site:
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati reached the bomb blast site in Varanasi late on Tuesday night. She will meet the injured in different city hospitals, reports claimed.
02:06 Six foreigners among 37 injured in UP blast:
Officials in Varanasi said that 37 people, including six foreigners, were injured in Tuesday's bomb blast in the holy city.
Swastika Sharma, an infant girl, lost her life in Marwari hospital after sustaining injuries in the blast, who was with her mother at the ghat.
Officials said 20 injured were admitted to BHU Hospital, 13 in Kabir Chaura Hospital and four in Heritage Hospital.
Among the injured foreigners was an Italian, Alexandeo Mantello, who was now out of danger, police said.
According to hospital sources, the others were French national Rachael, Ki Taro from Japan, South Korean Wan Sen Kim, Italian national Lydia de Mayo and German national Ozel.