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April 05, 2012

18:44  Tourists barred from going on road passing through Jarawa:  

In the backdrop of the outrage over videos showing Jarawa women dancing before foreign visitors, tourists have been barred from going on Andaman Trunk Road that passes through Jarawa tribal reserve in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, official sources said here today. A nodal officer has been designated to monitor day-to-day activities on the Andaman Trunk Road, the sources said. 


The number of convoys passing on the road has also been reduced from eight to four on each side, they said. The staff members of the tribal welfare department and Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti posted in the Jarawa Reserve were also asked to keep a vigil on convoys passing through
the reserve. 


In January this year, video footage of Jarawa women dancing for tourists had appeared in the electronic media, triggering an outrage.

18:29  CBI files chargesheet against BJP MLA Rajindra Rathore in the Dara Singh fake encounter case within hours of his arrest.
18:24  VK Singh anticipated troop movement story...:  Army Chief Gen VK Singh had anticipated that such a story more than 3 weeks ago. In an interview to The Week magazine, the army chief had said our exercises are also being seen as suspicious now. Watch the interview on NDTV.
18:21  And this awesome one on the Last Supper
18:19  On Twitter:  Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep  India at 9: Anubha Bhosale' spl report exposes the state of defence preparedness. Its the key issue lost in the 'fog'!
18:18  Shashi Tharoor @ShashiTharoor  Launching new literary webzine, Outre, jointly produced by students from the Univs of Kerala & Florida 
17:56  And what is Project Glass?:  

If you still don't have a clue about Project Glass, but have been hearing about it... read this.   Google unveiled a YouTube video teasing its augmented reality eyeglasses, a pair of spectacles that interacts with what you're seeing and acts as a smartphone, day planner, turn-by-turn navigation system, camera and more.



17:53  I knew Buddhadeb wouldn't attend meet: Karat:  

Seeking to play down the absence of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat today said the politburo member and former West Bengal Chief Minister had written to the leadership conveying his inabilityto participate in the party Congress owing to ill-health. 


In the letter addressed to him, Bhattacharjee expressed regret at his absence due to his continuing ill-health. "There was nothing else in the letter as is being speculated by the media," Karat said.


The central committee, which met here on April 3, had considered his request and given permission for the absence, he said. He denied reports that Bhattacharjee had asked the central leadership to exclude him from the politburo and the central committee.

17:49  Zardari-Singh meeting will help regional peace: Pak:  

Pakistan today said the upcoming meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will contribute to intra-regional peace though there would be no compromise on the "core issue" of Kashmir or
maintaining a credible nuclear deterrence. 


"We are of the view that the upcoming meeting between the President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch will contribute towards achieving the President's vision to promote intra-regional peace and prosperity in this part of the world," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing.


He said Pakistan is looking forward to a "constructive engagement between the two leaders" when Zardari travels to India on April 8 for a day-long private visit to the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer. Before travelling to Ajmer, Zardari is scheduled to meet Singh over lunch in Delhi.

17:31  On Twittter: Patna District Administration passes an order wherein bikers, scooterists without helmets will not be allowed to buy petrol.
17:26  Another emergency landing in Pak:  

A hat-trick for Pakistan: Interior Minister Rehman Malik's helicopter makes emergency landing at Dera Allah Yar. All on board safe.

Pakistan PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, several ministers and a senior army general had a narrow escape on Tuesday when their aircraft made emergency landings in two separate incidents, causing a minor scare. A special aircraft carrying Gilani and other federal ministers made an emergency landing shortly after taking off from a military airbase in Rawalpindi.  

17:20  Who is I-T's phone-a-friend?:  

It's a question worthy of a whodunit. Who made that famous Rs 2.15-crore call? An unidentified -- or at least confidential -- telephonic tip-off to income tax authorities on March 30 led to the seizure of wads of cash inside a luxury vehicle near Ranchi. The discovery -- and subsequent drama -- led to the countermanding of Jharkhand's biennial Rajya Sabha elections and the (temporary?) end of Independent candidate and businessman R.K. Agrawal's political ambitions.


Read the Telegraph story. Also see our 17:13 pm post for the latest on the story

17:17  On Twitter:  

barkha dutt @BDUTT  We just got an offer of an "exlcusive" interview with Hafiz Saeed. Refused. Will not legitimise an extremist by putting him on mainline TV.    


barkha dutt  @BDUTT  Never surprised by some! RT@Raheelk Thank you. Wise decision. Don't be surprised to see it (Saeed) on you know where? ;)

17:13  CBI probe into horse trading in Jharkhand RS polls:  Just in: The Jharkhand HC has orderd the CBI to conduct a probe into the alleged cash dealings during the Rajya Sabha polls. The Election Commission had countermanded the Rajya Sabha polls in the state on March 30 in the wake of allegations of horse trading, saying the election process "has been seriously vitiated". The EC's move came after seizure of Rs 2.15 crore in cash from a car owned by the brother of an independent Rajya Sabha candidate, hours before the start of RS polling. 
17:05  'Fai supporters should apologise to victims of terrorism':  

Hailing the US court's decision of convicting Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, Panun Kashmir today said all those Indians who had "sent letters of support
to the US court for being lenient to Fai, owe an explanation to the country."

"All those people, who sent letters of support to the US court for being lenient to Fai, owe an explanation to the country and in particular to the victims of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir," Panun Kashmir president Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo said at a conference here. 

Fai was sentenced to two years in prison by a US court on March 31 for conspiracy to defraud Washington by concealing the transfer of at least USD 3.5 million from Pakistan's ISI to fund his illegal lobbying efforts on Kashmir.

16:59  Walk the Crap:  

Read blogger Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's take on the Indian Express report.

16:55  The positive fallout of the Army vs Govt war: Modernisation:  

Against the backdrop of concerns voiced by Gen V K Singh over deficiencies and shortages, the Army has laid thrust on modernisation with air defence topping the list of allocations earmarked for the current financial year.


The Army's emphasis on upgradation is in view of "threat perspective" visualised by the force because of China's military modernisation and its continued support to Pakistan, including infrastructure development in Northern Areas. 


The Army has allocated 21 per cent of the Rs 18,828 crore funds for capital acquisition for the Army Air Defence while 17 per cent and 15 per cent have been earmarked for Artillery and Infantry, respectively.

16:52  Parrikar boots out offensive Airtel Goa ad:  

And talking of ads, a new television advertisement released by Airtel that reportedly maligned the image of Goa has been booted off air by chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

The advertisement markets the latest service introduced by the company of sending money via mobile phones. The ad shows a man wearing nothing, but a towel wrapped around his waist, claiming to have had a one-night stand with a woman on a beach in Goa, and the woman had robbed him of his belongings leaving him with just a towel.

Ironically, the woman leaves the man's mobile phone untouched through which he makes a call to his friend asking for help. The advertisement raised the ire of Goans who saw it as yet another attack on the character of Goa and its people by the media.

The fury was not restricted just to its people, but also echoed in the corridors of power with the new BJP-led government taking over the reins less than a month ago. "The chief minister was fuming at Goa's character being maligned once again and decided not take things lying down any more," a source at the secretariat said.


Read the TOI report.

16:44  Zardari's lottery in visiting Ajmer :  

Pakistan president Zardari has been to Ajmer before. In 2005, he prayed there with his wife. In 2003, Benazir Bhutto prayed there alone for his release from prison. But does it really matter? It is a bit of a lottery, isn't it, these visits to holy shrines.

Ask Dr Khaleel Chishty from Pakistan whose Indian family is involved in the management of the shrine in Ajmer. Now in his 80s he is a serving a prison term that nobody even in India feels good about.


On the Dawn

16:34  Outrage over fairness product for private parts :  

Advertisement for a new skin whitening product for private parts has sparked outrage on the Internet with people blasting the commercial as an "ultimate insult to women," reports CNN IBN.


This is the latest in a long list of skin whitening products to have earned the wrath of women including a wide range of fairness creams. The television commercial for the "intimate" product promises its "special pH-balanced formula cleans and protects the affected area, and even makes the skin fairer."


Fairness products are regularly endorsed by film stars and celebrities in India despite protests from feminists that they promote insecurity and discrimination amongst women. More

16:23  Anna's anniversary mantra: Lokpal lao nahi to jao :  

Lokpal lao nahi to jao" will be the refrain for the next phase of social activist Anna Hazare's agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill, till the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. 

"We will wait for the passing of the bill till the current session of Parliament comes to an end in May. If it does not happen we will have another one and half year before the next general elections are held." "I will sit at Ramlila maidan once the 2014 elections are declared with a slogan 'Lokpal lao nahi to jao'.

"As I start my agitation, people will pour in before me holding the tricolour," he told reporters at Ralegan-Siddhi today, marking thecompletion of one year of the anti-corruption movement launched by him in the capital. 

16:09  DNA test confirms parentage of abandoned baby girl:  

The mystery over the parentage of a new-born girl, who lied abandoned in a hospital here as two couples staked claim over a boy born on the same day, was solved today with a DNA test confirming Poonam Kanwar as her biological mother. 


The DNA report was produced by police in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate which was read by the Magistrate in the presence of Poonam's husband Chain Singh and hospital Superintendent Dr Narendra Changani.


Accepting the report, Singh agreed to take possession of the girl who was under the supervision of the hospital's nursery unit soon after her birth. After this development, he told reporters outside the court that he was interested in knowing the result of this DNA report in order to avoid any confusion.


The girl was mistakenly exchanged with the boy by the hospital staff on March 25. After delivery, the hospital staff gave the boy to Poonam but after around two hours, they said that the boy was mistakenly handed over to her and took him back. The staffers then gave her the girl saying she was born to her.

16:03  Senior minister sutradhar of coup report? :  

Sources involved in tracking sensitive developments claim that a senior minister of the UPA government was the mastermind of the April 4 front page item in a daily newspaper about a suspected coup attempt.


The sources claim that the minister is connected - through his close relative - with the defense procurement lobbies gunning for Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh,and that the decision to "trick the newspaper into running a baseless report was to drain away support for General Singh within the political class", who could be expected to unite against any effort at creating a Pakistan-style situation in India. However,the minister in question appears to have miscalculated  the response of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defense Minister to the report.


"The minister assumed that both would decline comment on the report, in view of their strained relations with the Army chief, but instead both came out foursquare against the newspaper.This surprised both the minister as well as journalists who relied on him for the initial information," a source claimed.


More on the Sunday Guardian.

15:49  Maoists, J-K, N East: India's triple terror threat :  

Maoists violence, militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency in the Northeast continued to be the top areas of concern for the country's internal
security in 2011 with Left wing extremism claiming the most lives.

According to the annual report of the Home Ministry for 2011-12, terrorism in the hinterland and communal situation remained by and large under control, except for the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in July 2011 and bomb blast in Delhi High Court in September last year. Level of infiltration from across the borders and the resultant terrorist activities in the Kashmir Valley showed
significant decline in 2011.


Since outbreak of militancy, more than 40,000 people have lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir of which 13,846 were civilians and 4,807 were security personnel.

15:46  Car exports may decline this fiscal, says Maruti Suzuki:  

The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India today said its exports in the ongoing fiscal may decline as global markets continue to be sluggish.
"Export will not be better in this fiscal. It will remain more or less the same as last year or may be even worse. Situation in many global markets has not improved yet," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman R C Bhargava told reporters on the sidelines of Hero Mindmine Summit here.

In the fiscal ended March 31, 2012 the company's exports stood at 1,27,379 units - a decline of 7.9 per cent from the previous fiscal. The company's export markets include Europe, Latin America, Middle East and South East Asian countries.

It may be recollected that Maruti hiked its prices up by Rs 17,000 immediately aftter the Union budget.

15:37  What did JD Salinger and Leo Tolstoy have in common?:  

By the late 1960s, the most famous writer in America had become a recluse, having forsaken his dazzling career. Nevertheless, J.D. Salinger often came to Manhattan, staying at his parents' sprawling apartment on Park Avenue and 91st Street.

While he no longer visited with his editors at "The New Yorker," he was keen to spend time with his spiritual teacher, Swami Nikhilananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, located, then as now, in a townhouse just three blocks away, at 17 East 94th Street.


Read the WSJ story

15:22  Could the Web generation uncover a Watergate? Here's what the Washington Post says. Read
15:10  After Maha land deal, Ghai faces trouble in Andhra:  

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods International Limited is facing trouble in Andhra Pradesh as well with the Comptroller and Auditor General rapping the state government over allotment of 20.10 acres of prime land to the institute in total violation of the rules. 


Ghai, who suffered a setback in the Supreme Court over a similar land deal in Maharashtra, is locked in a legal tangle in the AP High Court as well over the land allotment.


The CAG in its latest report on land allotments in AP, related to the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government tenure, found fault with the allotment of land for WWIL "in violation of AP Ancient and Historical Monuments and archaeological Sites and Remains Rules 1960," which prohibits alienation of lands forming part of historical sites. 


Based on a writ petition filed by a private person, the AP High Court had in January 2010 suspended the state government's order (dated August 19, 2009) virtually gifting 20.10 acres of land to Ghai.

15:04  Bachchan wants Katy Perry's autograph:  

Amitabh Bachchan, who performed at IPL opening ceremony besides various artistes, says he is trying to get American pop star Katy Perry's autograph for granddaughter Navya Naveli. Perry, 27, was the star performer at the glamorous show at the YMCA college grounds on April 3. 


"The grand-daughter has a fancy for the singer Katy Perry. I hope I have the name correct... She had performed along with several others at the opening of the IPL last night, and now Navya wants her autograph for she loves her. So efforts are on to make that happen!!," Bachchan posted on his blog.

The 69-year-old actor said he did not know about the international singer earlier and reminisced his days of listening to Beatles. "I would probably get killed for this, but I had not heard of her till last night. The age difference is playing havoc!," he said.

14:58  Bounty is info that could lead to Hafiz arrest: US :  

And America redifines the word bounty.


Hours after LeT founder Hafiz Saeed mocked the US over the USD 10 million bounty put on his head, a senior American official said the reward was not for
finding his location but for information that could lead to his arrest and conviction in a US or foreign court. 


"We all know where he is, every journalist in Pakistan and in the region knows how to find him, but we're looking for information that can be usable to convict him in a court of law," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said yesterday, adding that his conviction could be in any US or foreign court of law. 


"We're looking for, which is, people to step forward that provide that kind of evidence that the Pakistanis can then arrest this individual and try him," he said when asked about the statement from Pakistani officials that the US should provide concrete information on Saeed.

14:52  CAG indicts Vilasrao Deshmukh in land scam :  

A leaked report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has reportedly indicted Science and Technology Minister and former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in connection with a land scam. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja said the issue had been raised in parliament earlier and investigative agencies should take the matter up very seriously.


"Definitely, the issue was raised in parliament also. In fact, there was a demand at one point of time that there should also be one joint parliamentary committee to go into the Adarsh Housing scam. But now the CAG report has indicted a former chief minister for allotting flats or lands in such a way,' said Raja.

14:44  Sam Pitroda for Prez?:  Techie Sam Pitroda has emerged as a dark horse in the race to become India's next President. The nation has to elect its 16th president in July 2012 and Pitroda's is the latest name to emerge from a plethora of other stronger contenders. The front-runners include vice-president Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and statesman Dr Karan Singh. Ansari is considered to be the obvious choice for this position. 
14:37  SC tells SpiceJet to explain deplaning of CP woman:  

The Supreme Court has issued notice to SpiceJet on the plea by a cerebral palsy-afflicted woman, accusing the airline of forcibly deplaning her from a flight
to Goa from Kolkata and seeking compensation for it.


The court sought replies from the Centre and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to the plea of Jeeja Ghosh, a teacher at Kolkata's Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, who had been deplaned on February 19 from the flight. 


Ghosh also sought apex court's  direction to the DGCA for enforcement of regulations pertaining to "carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and Persons with Reduced Mobility." 


She also urged the apex court to direct the airline to adequately compensate her for loss of money and wastage of time, besides the humiliation and the trauma that she suffered in the unsavoury incident.

14:23  How much is an Olympic gold medal worth?:  

While on the Olympics, here's another story: The gold medals that will be awarded in London this year will be the biggest and heaviest handed out at any summer Olympics. At 400 grams (14 ounces), the equivalent of having a large tin of baked beans hanging round your neck, they will be more than twice as heavy as the average of the previous five games, and almost 17 times heavier than at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.


Read the report on the Economist

14:21  What is the real price of the London Olympics?:  

The 2012 Olympics glimmer on London's horizon, but the Games are more than a smiley-faced sportstopia. The cost of hosting the Olympics has skyrocketed while private funders have evaporated, leaving the government holding the fiscal bag.


Read the report on the Guardian.

14:19  Indo-US naval exercise Malabar from April 7:  The 15th edition of Exercise Malabar, the annual military exercise between the navies of India and the United States in the Bay of Bengal, will commence from
April 7. The 10-day long exercise, to conclude on April 16, would take place in the sea stretch off Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
14:14  What do N Korea's buildings tell us about the totalitarian state?:  The country has some of the world's biggest -- and most bizarre -- buildings and landmarks. See the Independent report.
14:03  Hawala CM Madhu Koda gets bail after 2 years:  

Jharkhand High Court today granted bail to former state Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who was in prison for over two years in connection with illegal
investments and hawala transaction case. Koda, who was in judicial custody since November 30, 2009, was granted bail by the single bench of H C Mishra.

Koda, who ruled the state between 2006 and 2008, was arrested by the officers of Jharkhand Vigilance Bureau from Chaibasa after the October 2009 countrywide raids by Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate in 69 premises.


The IT had alleged that documents relating to illegal investments and hawala transactions worth Rs 2,500 crore were seized during the premises of Koda and his alleged associates.

13:59  Navy sails into nuke club atop Chakra:  

The Indian Navy today announced that it has gone nuclear with the INS Chakra berthed at the "Jetty X' here after a 40-day voyage from Vladivostok in Russia. The nuclear-powered Akula II class INS Chakra has been leased from Russia for 10 months for an estimated $1 billion.

Originally known as the K-152 Nerpa, it has been re-christened Chakra after the first nuclear submarine that was also leased from 1987 to 1990. The name has been invoked from the Hindu god Vishnu's Sudarshan Chakra, a spinning disk used as a weapon in Hindu mythology.

Read the report on the Telegraph, Kolkata 

13:52  Want to buy Mahatma Gandhi's blood?:  

Steel-rimmed spectacles, a bunch of handwritten letters, and a yarn-spinning wheel are among the 28 items that belonged to Mahatma Gandhi that are set to go under the hammer in the U.K. on April 17.

Mullock's Auctions 2012 This in itself is enough to stir controversy in India. But there's more: also for sale is a soil sample that the original owner claimed was collected on the site of Gandhi's assassination and that may include a drop of his blood. The auction is organized by Mullock's, a UK-based firm that specializes in selling memorabilia.


Read the WSJ report

13:48  Indian civilian-military distrust is nothing new:  

The Indian Express has reported that unexpected troop movements around Delhi, on the same January day that the army chief took his political masters to the Supreme Court, "spooked [the government] as never before in peace time.'


That's the report on the Wall Street Journal.

13:42  Orissa govt yet to give names of those to be released:  

The Orissa government, which announced that eight Maoists and 19 others would be released from jail for freeing an abducted legislator and an Italian
after pressure from the ultras, is yet to announce their names.


"We are waiting for a response from the Maoist groups holding the BJD legislator from Laxmipur, Jhina Hikaka and Italian Paolo Bosusco after it was announced that the state government will facilitate release of 27 persons from jails," the official said.

13:38  On Twitter:  Sagarika Ghose @sagarikaghose  Wonder how chest-thumping uber nationalist army fans on Twitter wld react if military service made compulsory.Wld they leave theirkeyboards?
13:27  VK Singh: Making up stories against me deplorable:  

Gen VK Singh said such reports show that people were unnecessarily trying to throw muck at the government and the army and they need to be taken to task.

"This is absolutely stupid," he told PTI when asked to comment on the report in the Indian Express yesterday that said the government was "spooked" on the night of January 16-17 because of the movement of a mechanised infantry
battalion from Haryana's Hisar and a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade.

"Whosoever is trying to make stories against the army chief is deplorable.
"And what it shows is that people are unnecessarily trying to throw much at both the government and the army and such people should be taken to task," he said. 

13:06  VK Singh: Making up stories against me deplorable:  Gen V K Singh tells PTI, in his first statement since the Indian Express report that whoever is trying to make up stories against me is deplorable. He says people are unnecessarily trying to throw muck at both the government and army.
13:03  What the NYT said on the Indian Express story. Read
12:57  US to host G-8 Foreign Ministers meeting next week:  Foreign Ministers of the G-8 nations will meet next week in Washington to discuss a range of country-specific, regional and transnational topics, the USState Department has said. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would host the  meeting on April 11 and 12. "The Foreign Ministers will discuss a range ofcountry-specific, regional, and transnational topics," it said. The Group of Eight comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
12:38  Ground handlers' stir hit AI flights at Mumbai airport:  

Two Air India flights were affected today after a section of ground-handling workers did not report to duty at the international airport in the protest
against delay in salary disbursal, sources said. 

"Around 100-odd contract workers did not report to duty today to protest against the delay in  disbursement of salary which has not been paid for the past two months," Airline sources told PTI here. Some contract workers are currently staging a dharna at the airport, they said.

12:33  Wills and Kate display model behaviour:  Duke and Duchess preserved in wax. Is the likeness good? Read
12:26  Hafiz Saeed: The ugly fly in the soup at Singh-Zardari lunch:  

It will be absolutely astounding if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doesn't breathe a word about Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group founder Hafiz Saeed, who is wanted for fomenting the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when he meets President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday. Home Minister P Chidambaram has welcomed the $10 million US bounty on Saeed's head and said it might galvanise Pakistan to take action against Saeed, who excels in hate-mongering against India. 


Read the Firstpost report

12:16  Dress that goes transparent when youre turned on :  

A dress, which is made of a special fabric and turns transparent when the wearer becomes aroused, may soon be seen on the high street. The dress, called Intimacy 2.0, is made of smart fabrics which become clear when electrified by a quickening heartbeat.

Award-winning Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde created the dress out of leather, and smart opaque e-foils. It also uses wireless technologies, electronics, LEDs, copper and other media.

12:12  CBI arrests BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore in the Dara Singh fake encounter case in Rajasthan. He was a former aide of Vasundhara Raje Scindia.
12:07  Govt looking for 'mad man' to fill President's post:  

During the commissioning of the India's first nuclear submarine INS Chakra at Visakhapatnam yesterday, Defence minister AK Antony when asked whether he was a candidate for the Presidential elections, said, "I am not a mad man. I am a realist and I know my limitations.

"There should be a limit to ambition ... That is madness," he said, virtually ruling himself out of the race for elections in July when the tenure of President Pratibha Patil ends. No names for Patil's successor have emerged yet. 


This is what Arvind Kejriwal had to say on the IE report:

'"A very ugly and dangerous attempt by Indian Express to discredit Indian Army and its chief. Was Indian Express influenced by arm's lobby? Indian Express shud not be let off without a thorough investigation of their motives and agenda. Who's agenda are they pursuing?"

11:44  Army chief calls IE report ABSOLUTELY STUPID:  

Army Chief Gen V K Singh's first reactions to the Indian Express 'January Night that Raisina Hill was spooked' report.

The VK Singh today dismissed as "absolutely stupid" a report that the Indian government panicked for several hours in the face of unexplained troop movements near Delhi in January. 

"This is absolutely stupid," Singh said when asked to comment on the report. The report in Indian Express that said the government was "spooked" on the night of January 16-17, because of the movement of a mechanised infantry battallion from Haryana's Hisar and a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade created a storm in the government.

In New Delhi yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the defence establishment dismissed as "alarmist" and "absolutely baseless".  The Army Chief is in Nepal to attend the three-day Regional Seminar on Natural Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

11:37  Did the Ku Klux Klan kill Martin Luther King?:  Many think that the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. is a closed case, but The Awful Grace of God contends that James Earl Ray may have been part of a wide conspiracy. Read
11:35  Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 9/11 mastermind, to get new trial:  

More on the 'trial of the century'.

The long-delayed trial of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed is set to resume in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, according to a Pentagon official.

The trial began under the Bush administration, but was suspended when Obama was elected amid the administration's plans to shut down the Guantanamo detention center and hold the trial in New York.

After that effort floundered in the face of congressional opposition, Attorney General Eric Holder turned the case back over to the military, where the charges against Mohammed and four other accused hijackers were reinstated.


11:30  Trial of century: Will 9/11'mastermind' get death? :  

Self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed faces a potential death sentence after being charged with the murder of thousands of US citizens.  

In what has been trailed as 'the trial of the century', Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators will soon stand accused of committing multiple counts of terrorism, hijacking and murder in violation of the law of war by devising the era-defining attacks on the US soil.  

They will be tried by military tribunal at the Guantnamo Bay naval base in Cuba, The Telegraph reports.  

11:25  Jaya cautioned me about Vidhu Vinod Chopra's temper: Big B:  

Amitabh Bachchan has revealed that he was "cautioned" by wife Jaya about "volatile temper" of producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra when he was signed up
for 2007 film 'Eklavya'. 


"When I told Jaya I was working with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, she nodded silently, which is an indicator of things to come. When the time came for me to go for outdoor shoot, I told Jaya I am going, she asked how long I will be away, I said, a month. She said, I will see you back in three days.


"She told me he (Chopra) abuses, shouts and screams...this is not going to suit your temperament, and that I will be back in three days," Big B said in a lighter vein on the concluding day of the Vidhu Vinod Chopra festival here last evening. The festival was held to mark 30 years of Chopra in the industry.

11:22  Kids pizza sketch 'solves' Euro crisis :  

Jurre Hermans, the 11-year-old Dutch boy who entered the 250,000 ($400,000) Wolfson Economics Prize with a pizza-based plan for saving the eurozone, did so because he had an idea and the winnings sounded "very attractive," he told CNN.

Jurre received a 100 ($131) gift voucher and special mention when the prize shortlist was announced Tuesday for his detailed entry -- including a picture, below -- showing how debt can be exchanged for slices of pizza.


11:20  North Korean 'poisoned needle assassin' jailed in Seoul:  Also on the bbc: A North Korean defector has been jailed in South Korea for plotting to kill a high-profile activist with a poison-tipped needle. The defector, named only as An, was sentenced to four years' imprisonment by the court in Seoul. Read
11:18  '9/11 planners' set for Guantanamo Bay trial:  

On the bbc: The US has formally sent to trial five suspected al-Qaeda militants believed to have planned the 9/11 terror attacks. The five Guantanamo Bay inmates, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be tried by a military commission. They will face charges including terrorism, hijacking, conspiracy, murder and destruction of property.


11:10  Shekhar Gupta's column on the Indian Express:  

To see our armed forces as a school of scandal is doing disservice to the nation and to the facts Is ours an army of thieves? Or, more specifically, is it officered by people who are only interested in manipulating weapons systems trial to make big bucks on the side, selling the national interest to the highest bidder and spending most of their time in their respective offices badmouthing their superiors, back-stabbing their peers and crushing the toes of their juniors?



11:07  Holidaying doc couple/starving maid story on the NYT:  

"The girl's screams were brittle and desperate."

Residents in the suburban housing complex of Dwarka, New Delhi, looked up and saw a child crying for help from an upstairs balcony, Jim Yardleywrites in The New York Times.



11:03  Twitter on Shekhar Gupta:  

Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep  Good to get Shekhar Gupta's side of the story. After that, it's for the viewer/reader to judge.


Lt Gen Sampath Kumar @LtGen_SampathK  If we have friends like #Shekhar Gupta we do not require enemies from outside.All the martyrs of Indian Army must be shedding tears today


Taslima nasreen @taslimanasreen  Shekhar Gupta wanted to interview me for Walk The Talk. I refused. He took revenge.He stopped publishing my popular column in Jansatta.

10:56  What other papers say of the IE C-word report:  

This is what the Hindu says: The Indian Express's expos of Raisina Hill getting "spooked' by the supposedly unexplained movement of two army units earlier this year has generated such a furious debate that it is best to get two toxic notions out of the way right at the start.

The government may or may not have panicked but there was, in fact, nothing unusual or suspicious about the movement of two Indian army units towards Delhi on January 16.

Second, the Indian Express is entirely within its rights to write about a sensitive matter like this, even if its treatment was overblown. 


10:55  Read: What the Washington Post says on the Rediff report:  

A front-page article in the Indian Express on Wednesday had all the hallmarks of a juicy scoop, but appears to have been more theater than truth. The story claimed that two units of mechanized infantry and paratroopers marched towards the Indian capital through thick night fog in January without informing the government. The troop movement "spooked' top officials, the newspaper said.


10:52  Bounty on Saeed: US killing two birds with one stone?:  

Update on the other big story this week: The $10 million bounty on LeT boss Hafiz Saeed.

Tahir Ali, writing for says that while holding an open press conference under the umbrella of Defence Council of Pakistan in Rawalpindi, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat ud Dawa, has not only mocked the United States, but the DCP in a joint declaration termed the Americans as 'slaves of Indian government' that acts in accordance with the second's vested interests.


Read the rediff report.

10:48  Orissa: 27 Naxals for one hostage swap soon:  In real news, the Orissa government hopes to swap the hostages today, after it decided to free 27 Naxals.The names of the Naxals will be released today. 
10:48  The Maharashtra government once again recommends Sachin Tendulkar for the Bharat Ratna.
10:38  A day after the Indian Express report:  

Good morning. A day after the Indian Express story on the troop movement on the night of January 16, the newspaper, not surprisingly, stands by its story. But as the editorial in the Hindu says, the government may or may not have been spooked, but there was, in fact, nothing unusual or suspicious about the movement of the two Indian army units towards Delhi on January 16. 

In fact, carried the same story without, what the PM calls, the alarmist inuendoes. On March 13, three weeks before The Indian Express published its front page story on mysterious army movements, we said that the elite Parachute Brigade, based in Agra has of late practised two quick manoeuvres designed to test its readiness for quick armed intervention in India's immediate neighbourhood. Read.

As Vinod Mehta put it yesterday on CNN IBN, the Express report was little more than a nudge-nudge wink-wink story.

10:28  Headlines this morning:  

We stand by army movement report, says Indian Express (Hindustan Times)
The Indian Express, which reported a "curious" movement of two units of Army towards Delhi in mid-January that created a storm, said it stands by the report that came after investigation over six weeks. Read



As journalists, we check facts, and then put them out in public domain: Shekhar Gupta (Indian Express)
In conversation with NDTVs Sonia Singh, Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta responds to the debate triggered by this paper's report on Army troop movement towards the capital one foggy January night. Read


Manmohan blasts troop movement story (The Hindu)
The report claims government feared military was acting in support of Army Chief; Army says units were on routine exercise. Read



Keep off South China Sea, India warned (The Times of India)
India will pay a heavy price for exploring oil in the disputed areas of South China Sea, said a leading Chinese official. Read



Odisha govt offers to swap 27 Maoist prisoners for kidnapped MLA, Italian (The Times of India)

The Naveen Patnaik govt blinked and agreed to release 27 people in various Odisha jails in exchange for Hikaka as well as Italian Bosusco Paolo. Read

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