18:39 Nupur Talwar's lawyer: Don't know where she is:
Nupur Talwar's lawyer Mukul Rohatgi says his client is NOT running away. Speaking to a TV channel, he says, "She is not absconding and will appear in the Supreme Court tomorrow. But I don't know where she is. The CBI claim that Nupur has done some misrepresentation is wrong:
Neither the CBI nor her lawyers seem to know the whereabouts of Nupur Talwar, on whom a lower court issued a non-bailable warrant after she failed to appear before it on Wednesday. In fact, her husband Rajesh Talwar is missing as well. With the 'absconder' tag only working against Nupur in the eyes of the law, questions are being raised as to whether she should have been advised to skip court yesterday
18:23 Exclusive: The India-born family aboard the Titanic:
And on Rediff.com
, the exclusive story by Vaihayasi Pande Daniel
: The Titanic had an India connection. Allen Oliver Becker's family journeyed from Guntur to London and boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912. Read
the special story commemorating the Titanic centenary.
18:20 Why we love to hate Narendra Modi:
The announcement of another round of convictions in Gujarat's communal carnage of 2002 - this time at Ode - and the so-called "clean chit" to Narendra Modi in the Gulbarg Society case - has led to another feeding frenzy in the media.
R Jagannathan's piece on Firstpost.com. Read
18:14 Sanctions on Myanmar may ease: British PM:
On the eve of his historic visit to Myanmar, Prime Minister David Cameron today indicated that Britain would respond to pro-democracy changes in the country by easing sanctions against it.
Cameron, who is currently on a tour of southeast Asia, is scheduled to land in Myanmar tomorrow, in the first visit by a top Western leader since decades of military rule ended there last year.
"If Burma moves towards democracy then we should respond in kind, and we should not be slow in doing that. But first I want to go and see for myself on the ground how things are going," Cameron told BBC Radio 5 when asked if sanctions should be lifted.
18:05 A bridge across the nation:
First they sacked 'Red song' promoter Bo Xilai '" the high-profile party chief of Chongqing '" who had talked openly about the inequalities in China's rapid growth. Then they removed pictures of demonstrations in his favour from the internet.
The opinion piece on the Telegraph, Calcutta. Read
18:00 Justice will be done:
The conviction by a Gujarat Special Court of 23 men -- mostly Patels -- for the pre-meditated massacre of Muslims in Ode village is another significant milestone on the long road to justice for the victims of the 2002 violence.
On the Hindu
17:57 Fighting words with bans:
Here's what the editorials across the Indian media say today: On the Hindu:
Tel Aviv's decision to bar Nobel Prize-winning German author Gnter Grass from entering Israel is blinkered and lacking in all good sense. Read
17:45 Iran says 'won't retreat an iota' from atomic rights:
Iran today said it "will not retreat an iota" from its nuclear rights. Ahead of the weekend talks in Istanbul with world powers over Tehran's atomic activities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "The Iranian nation is standing firm on its fundamental rights and under the harshest pressure will not retreat an
iota from its undeniable right."
"On behalf of the Iranian nation, I advise the enemies and the arrogance (the United States) to change their behaviour towards our nation, and they should know that the Iranians are standing firm in defending their rights," he said.
His language indicated a defiant attitude by Iran as its negotiators go into the Istanbul talks on Saturday across from representatives of the so-called P5+1 group comprising the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.
17:20 Trainer chopper makes emergency landing on building:
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd trainer chopper makes an emergency landing on top of a building called Maitri Apartments, in Bangalore. Both pilots are safe.
Also read: Two hero pilots have been praised for preventing scores of potential deaths by dumping plane fuel as their doomed F-18 Navy fighter jet plummeted to the ground in Virginia Beach, Virginia - decisive action that authorities saved the craft from sparking a 'massive, massive fireball'. Read
17:08 Katju to challenge reporting ban on army troop movement :
Headline grabber Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju is back in the news.
Terming as "not correct" the Allahabad High Court order which prohibited all media reports related to troop movements, Katju today said that the Council
would soon challenge it in the Supreme Court. Katju said that "with great respect to the High Court, I am of the opinion that the order of the High Court is not correct."
He said that the Indian Army was not a colonial army, but the army of the Indian people who pay the taxes for the entire defence budget. Hence, the people of India have a right to know about Army affairs, except where they compromise national security.
He said that reporting troop movement near the Indian border or during war time should be prohibited as that may aid the enemy and cause harm to the armed forces by compromising national security. "However, in my opinion there can be no general prohibition of reporting of all troop movements," he said.
16:59 Registration of marriages to be compulsory soon:
So, that's that for Air India.
Meanwhile, if you plan to get married, get it registered. The government will bring in a bill in Parliament's Budget Session to make registration of marriages compulsory under a law for mandatory recording of births and deaths, notwithstanding one's religious affiliation, thereby providing legal protection
especially in cases of inter-religious matrimony.
The Union Cabinet today also approved introduction of the Anand Marriage Act, 1909 to provide for registration of marriages of Sikhs, fulfilling a long standing demand of the community.
16:56 Air India had ordered 27 Dreamliners in 2005 as part of its aircraft acquisition programme of 68 aircraft worth 30,000 crore. The aircraft was supposed to be delivered three years ago but technical problems delayed production and Boeing is beginning world-wide deliveries only later this year.
16:54 Govt will not, cannot continue to spend money on AI:
Back to the presser on AI revamp: Ajit Singh says restructuring of Air India is necessary, but the government will not and cannot continue to spend public money on it. The civil aviation minister also announced that AI will receive its first dreamliner aircraft in two weeks.
16:49 Marc Anthony files for divorce from JLo:
A break from Ajit Singh's presser to give you this:
Singer Marc Anthony has filed for divorce from his estranged wife Jennifer Lopez. The couple split last summer and both have moved on with other relationships.
Anthony filed papers Monday in Los Angeles' County Superior Court and he has requested for joint legal and physical custody of their four-year-old twins '" Emme and Max, reportscontactmusic.com. They wed in 2004 '" this was Lopez's third and Anthony's second marriage.
16:46 Rs 6,450 cr for AI this year :
More of what civil aviation minister Ajit Singh is saying at the press conference going on now.
- 7,000 subsidiary employees to be moved to transportation sector.
- 12,000 subsidiary employees to be moved to transportation
- AI to induct Boeing Dreamliners soon
- Centre to give AI Rs 6750 crore this year.
- Rs 7400 cr debt to be made into non-convertible debentures.
16:39 Govt injects life into AI: Rs 30,000 cr by 2020:
Civil Aviation minister Ajit Singh addressing the press conference on the Cabinet approving the restructuring of Air India.
To start with, two AI subsidiaries to be hived off.
Cabinet will decide on FDI on aviation next week.
Air India hasn't paid salaries for a very long time, says Ajit Singh.
It has debts to the tune of Rs 6400 crore.
Centre to invest Rs 30,00 crore in AI by 2020.
Centre to put in checks and balances in fund allocation.
16:32 Boyd, William Boyd, to write next Bond book:
Novelist William Boyd is to write the next James Bond book, with 007 set to return to a 1960s setting. The publisher will be Jonathan Cape. The novel is yet to be titled, but will be published in autumn 2013 by Cape in the UK and Commonwealth and simultaneously by HarperCollins Publishers in the USA and Canada. Both acquired rights through Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown, on behalf of Ian Fleming Publications.
16:30 Fit Mugabe back to Zimbabwe from Singapore :
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was believed to be fighting for his life in a Singapore hospital, has returned to his home country.
Speculation about Mugabe''s condition recently spread like wildfire after his absence forced the postponement of a cabinet meeting.
Mugabe's party, however, dismissed reports that he had been gravely ill as 'a lot of hogwash' from hostile Western media organizations, Express.co.uk reports.
16:29 Zomato: 20 seconds to a million contest:
Goes to show that anything can trend on Twitter. Now, it's something called Zomato. The ad says: Put your creativity and kickassery into action. Create a 10/20 second commercial for Zomato - two best commercials will be taken live on TV - creators get a cash prize worth Rs 5 lacs each (1 million in total).
16:26 Govt to set up committee to examine IIP: Rangarajan:
The government will set up a committee to examine the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and look into ways to "tighten" various sources of data
collection, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said today.
"....I think the Government is now setting up a committee to examine the Index of Industrial Production," he said when asked about concerns in some quarters about volatility of IIP data and whether the Government would address them. The IIP growth has been revised downwards to 1.14 per cent for January, from the provisional estimates of 6.8 per cent, according to the official data released today.
Incidentally, IIP was trending a while ago.
16:15 Govt drops Google from obscene websites suit:
The Delhi High Court today dropped Google India from the suit against social networking websites for allegedly hosting objectionable content.
Former Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Google India, had said in January that the postings of "obscene, objectionable and defamatory" articles and other things cannot be "filtered" or "monitored".
"No human interference is possible, and moreover, it can't be feasible to check such incidents. Billions of people across the globe, post their articles on the website.
"Yes, they may be defamatory, obscene but cannot be checked," he said.
Rohatgi tried to distinguish between Google India and its US-based holding company Google Inc.
"The US-based Google Inc is the service provider and not me (Google India) and hence, we are not liable for the action of my holding company. Moreover, it is criminal case where a vicarious liability can be fastened on a company which has no role, whatsoever, in the alleged offence."
16:02 Blast in market in Assam, no casualties :
Blast in market at Bordumsa in Tinsukhia district of Assam. Details awaited. No casualties as of now, but early reports say police suspect it was a grenade blast.
15:57 A Delhi court drops Google India from the suit against social networking websites for allegedly hosting objectionable content.
Tremors reported in Thrissur, says a former rediff staffer.
15:50 Prez asks EIGHT critical questions on 2G in SC:
The Centre has filed presidential reference in Supreme Court seeking its opinion on various issues arising from 2G judgement including whether all natural resources need to be mandatorily auctioned, reports the Times of India.
The 12-page reference signed by President Pratibha Patil raises 8 questions including one on the fate of those entities who have acquired 3G licences but their 2G licence have been cancelled by the apex court.
The President has also asked the SC's opinion on the permissible scope of judicial interference in policy domain of government including the methods of disposal of natural resources.
15:35 Sony confirms 10,000 job cuts :
And more people handed the pink slip.
Sony looks to mobile for revival and says it will chop 6% of its global workforce. Read the report on the Guardian.
15:32 A PTI newsflash says that the government has filed a presidential reference in the Supreme Court asking if its judgement in 2G case makes auctioning of natural resources compulsory. The President signed the 2G reference today.
15:30 On Imagine TV shutting down:
Sidin Vadukut @sidin Doesn't shutting down a company overnight and firing everybody violate any labour laws? Experts?
15:28 There seems to be a biggish agitation leading to a traffic jam at SV Road near Malad (west) because of a jeweller's murder. Find out before you head that way.
And the question that's doing the rounds everywhere since May 16, 2008.
Pritish Nandy on Twitter: Are the Talwars really guilty of murdering Arushi? Dont seem to get my head wrapped around that.
15:20 The rocket in Kim Jong Un's pocket:
The missile we should be worried about isn't the one North Korea is about to launch, it's the much bigger one that's hiding in plain sight.
Great read on Foregin Policy
15:11 Freed Italian hostage had malaria twice :
Rome today welcomed the release of an Italian hostage in India, hailing Indian authorities and its own diplomats for the freeing of the tour guide seized while
trekking nearly a month ago.
"I'm fine, I'm finally free," Bosusco told Italian news programme TG1 shortly after being released. "Don't worry, you know I'm strong," he said in a message to his relatives.
Asked by his interviewer why he was so thin, he said: "This is because of my 28 days of 'paid holiday'. Unfortunately the food was what it was. "The Maoists tried to give me what they could but unfortunately given the conditions in the jungle I could not eat very much. I also had malaria twice." Bosusco also called his father, Azelio, in Italy.
His father later told reporters: "I'm very emotional and now much calmer." The kidnapping was the first time the Maoists, who have waged a decades-long insurgency against India's state and national governments, have targeted foreigners.
14:55 Imagine on Twitter:
As expected Imagine TV is trending on Twitter.
Ankit @ankitnjoshi With Imagine TV shutting down, Veena Malik is probably the saddest person right now.
Against_Pseudos @Against_Pseudos When Swayamvars of Rakhi Sawant, Rahul Mahajan, Ratan & Veena Malik are lined up. Add creative consultant @kjohar25 ! Imagine TV had to shut
Nishi Bhardwaj @cutynish Plz dont shut down Imagine TV:( Where will I watch Sawaare Sabke Sapne Preeto:((
16m Rahul Deo @rahulrdeo So end all Swayamvars! RT @PritishNandy Imagine TV to shut down. Sad. The closing of any media is unfortunate. Diminishes choice.
Shiv Aroor @ShivAroor Imagine TV shuts? Kind of poignant when a channel shuts down, especially when you never watched it even once.
14:49 Imagine TV shuts shop, staff told to leave today:
This is what the Reuters report says:
US-based Turner Broadcasting System Inc, a Time Warner company, has decided to shut its Hindi general entertainment channel 'Imagine TV' in India as poor ratings hampered any further investment in it, a senior company official said. Turner had bought a majority stake in the channel from Indian broadcaster NDTV in 2009 for $117 million.
14:44 Turner shuts down Imagine TV, staff last day today :
Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific (Turner) has decided to cease business operations of its Hindi general entertainment channel 'Imagine TV', along with its international feed 'Imagine Dil Se' from today. As of now, the channel will continue to be seen on air, expectedly with content repeats, reports AFAQs.
However, once the official obligations are over, the channel will go off air. Says Siddharth Jain, Managing Director- South Asia, Turner International India Private Limited, "Imagine TV has not performed and grown as per expectations.
While some programmes delivered satisfactory ratings, overall the channel was unable to achieve the ratings consistency needed to sustain the business and support continued investment. As a result, Turner made the carefully considered decision to cease operations of the channel.
"We are grateful to the Imagine team, which includes some of the most talented and creative people in the Indian media industry. We will use our best endeavors to make this as smooth a transition as possible for them," he adds.
@MsMahaan: Just heard Imagine Tv shut down. Employees promised 3 months salary. But asked to vacate premises by 4pm today !
14:35 DON'T read this if you DON'T own a house in Mumbai:
How much would it cost for the average local to buy a luxury apartment in the world's most important cities? In Singapore, it would take four decades of income. In Shanghai, two centuries. And in Mumbai -- poor souls -- they'd be looking at a good three centuries of hard work. Read
the report on the businessinsider.com.
On the New York Times'
India blogs: India's heavy metal scene: From underground to mainstream. Read
14:26 Author Pankaj Mishra: India-Pak should choose cash over Kashmir:
Recently in Karachi, I dropped in on a talk by the Pakistani journalist and TV anchor Kamran Khan at a Rotary Club meeting. Describing relations between India and Pakistan at a "crossroads,' Khan exhorted his audience to feel shame about Pakistani involvement in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008 that killed 164 people and have frozen India- Pakistan relations ever since.
14:20 Army chief wants a ban on batmen, Antony agrees:
While on the army, Gen VK Singh (who needs no introduction any more) has recommended banning batmen -- or sahayaks -- in the force he heads. His recommendation is favoured by defence minister AK Antony who had promised earlier that he did not want to see soldiers functioning as personal servants of officers. It is little surprise that within the officer cadre of the army, the chief's reform measure is seen as too radical. The navy and the air force do not have such a system.
Read the report on the Telegraph, Calcutta.
14:17 To all the mothers who lost their sons for India:
On a more sombre note, if water wastage wasn't sombre enough: A story on Lieutenant Navdeep Singh, who sacrificed his life fighting a heroic battle against terrorists at the Line of Control.
Twelve terrorists were killed that night, four by Navdeep. The daring officer, who was just 26, was awarded the Ashok Chakra, the nation's highest gallantry award in peace time.
Every year soldiers die battling infiltrators on India's borders in actions that are testaments to military courage. How often are they remembered?
Rediff.com's Archana Masih tells his story. Read
14:14 Jamshedpur consumes maximum water in India:
Jamshedpur tops in respect of per capita water consumption in the country and the potable water wasted could cater to 20000 new households in the Tata
command area in the steel city, Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company Limited (JUSCO) managing director Manish Sharma said today.
JUSCO is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Steel and the survey for the report on the quality of life in Jamshedpur was done by AC Nielsen ORG Marg.
Referring the survey report, he said last night that awareness and cooperation from the people were needed to check wastage of water, which was among the most important factors along with power, healthcare and education affecting the
quality of life in the Tata command area.
Arnab Ghosh, Chief Network and Distribution Management (water division) of JUSCO, told PTI that per capita water consumption in Jamshedpur (Tata command area) was 235 litres against national average of 135 litres.
Ghosh said the treatment plant capacity of Tata Steel was 39 million gallon per day but the company produced 41 million gallon to cater households as well as Industries
14:01 Why Tibet is burning:
When Chinese Premier Hu Jintao flew into New Delhi for the Brics Summit recently, he careened onto unfamiliar terrain: a democracy with a free press, where a 27-year-old Tibetan refugee, Jampa Yeshi, walked to a public protest, poured kerosene over his body and set himself on fire whilst shouting for an end to Chinese atrocities in Tibet. The searing images from India of Jampa Yeshi's burning body exposed to the world the cost of China's reign of terror in Tibet, which has been well concealed for 61 years.
That's the editorial on the Deccan Chronicle
13:51 Is religion the cause of most wars?:
Heads up for a couple of interesting reads.
There are many common misconceptions about religion that are often taken as unquestioned facts, such as the idea that religious people are inherently anti-science, that a literal reading of holy texts is the "true" religious stance, that faith is incompatible with reason, and that all religions claim to posses sole and absolute truth. That's on the Huffington Post.
13:48 Yet again MoD denies rift with services:
Defence Ministry today (for the 6th time since the army vs army chief controversy broke) denied reports of any difference with armed forces and said the government is working in harmony with the three services.
Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju when asked whether there is any role of an insider behind the controversial leakage of Army Chief General V K Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said, "I do not want to speculate on speculative reports."
Replying to a question on rapid modernisation of military infrastructure by Chinese Army along its border with India, he said efforts are being made to upgrade Indian infrastructure there.
13:41 In Kolkata, right now, TMC men are doing what they know best: Heckling, beating up human rights activists.
13:35 New ISI chief to chill in Europe with predecessor:
Meanwhile, Pakistan spy agency ISI's new chief Lt Gen Zahirul Islam plans to visit some European countries with his predecessor Ahmed Shuja Pasha for exchanging views with intelligence and military officials on Pakistan's ties with the US and reopening of NATO supply routes. Pasha will accompany Islam to help him with the transition at the ISI, as the new chief familiarises himself with global and regional issues, the Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying. Islam took over as chief of the powerful spy agency last month.
13:33 Why SS Ahluwalia is listening to bhajans :
BJP leader S S Ahluwalia, who retired from the Rajya Sabha, is now actively lobbying for his return to the upper house from Jharkhand. Special prayers are being orgainsed by Ahluwalia at his residence. Visitors to his government bungalow in Gurudwara Rekhab Ganj Road in Delhi say the MP is playing kirtan bhajans from the Guru Granth Saheb and that hymns are now caller tunes on his landline and mobile phones.
13:30 All the gossip from the PM's lunch for Lanka's Kumaratunge:
The Prime Minister's lunch for former Sri Lanka president Chandrika Kumaratunge on Wednesday was memorable. Many Indian politicians who spent a few minutes with her got an earful of gossip about Lanka prez Manindra Rajapakshe and how Sri Lanka is governed.
Some of the senior opposition leaders went to a different table and discussed the upcoming elections for Rajya Sabha chairman and deputy chairman posts. BSP MPs were joking that the BJP and CPM have now come closer after Kozhikode CPM general council resolution. In other words, CPI(M) chief
Sitaram Yechury has been given blanket permission to woo the BJP and the
Shiv Sena to defeat the Congress candidate for Deputy Chairman.
13:10 Why Cong Core Committee is in a big hurry :
The Congress Core Committee is believed to have identified four names
for the Presidential nomination. The reason the Core Committee is in a rush is to ensure that the process of government clearances are obtained before April 24, so that the 'chosen ones' can take oath of affirmation. The other political reason for the rush is to ensure that a Congress candidate gets the post of Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha.
That's another news brief from our Delhi correspondent.
13:07 Jaya in Delhi on Monday for CMs meet on NCTC:
Our Delhi correspondent, always on the ball with insider stories, says Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha is arriving in Delhi on Monday to attend the chief ministers meeting on NCTC. She has prepared a strongly worded speech to be delivered at the meeting which will probably set the stage for a rainbow combination of all opposition parties.
On Tuesday, Jayalalithaa had telephoned Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar and
also Navin Patnaik -- the three Ns to formulate a plan of action on NCTC.
13:01 Calls increase for an end to the conflict in Siachen:
When President Asif Ali Zardari was on his day-long trip to Ajmer via New Delhi, news about his activities in India were competing for viewer attention with reports from the most unusual war theatre between the two countries - Siachen. Since Saturday morning, 124 Pakistan soldiers and about 15 of their civilian helpers have been buried in an avalanche in the freezing heights of the Siachen glacier, with little to no hope that anyone of them would be still alive.
Read more on the Daily Mail.
Also see on rediff.com: Siachen conflict: 'A struggle of two bald men over a comb'
12:57 Flying abroad cheaper this summer:
Jettison your Bharat Darshan plans this summer. Flying abroad will make a smaller dent in your pocket because the double whammy of the peak holiday travel season taking off and Kingfisher Airlines drastically curtailing its flights has propelled domestic airfares to stratospheric levels.
Read more on the Daily Mail
12:48 Cabinet nod for Rs 4000-cr AI restructuring :
News just coming in says that the Cabinet has approved the restructuring of Air India, though FDI in aviation has been deferred for a week..
In what comes as a big fillip to Air India, the government will approve the turnaround plan, including the issue of infusion of additional equity, in a bid to shore up the precarious financial position of the cash-strapped carrier.
As part of Air India's restructuring, the government has decided to infuse Rs 4,000 crore as additional equity during the current fiscal. This would raise the airlines' equity base to Rs 7,345 crore.
12:41 Starving in India: It isn't all about food:
At the entrance to this village in India's eastern state of Jharkhand, a large pond glistened under the bright autumn sun. Yellow and blue lilies surrounded it. A tailor was stitching clothes outside his shop while a few boys nearby were playing carrom on the lid of a rusted oil barrel.
Also on the WSJ
12:37 PM advisor criticizes Indias tax proposal:
By announcing plans to retroactively tax international mergers involving Indian assets, has India failed to show it respects the rule of law? An advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh certainly believes so.
Read the report on the Wall Street Journal.
12:28 Released Italian hostage: Naxals treated me well:
Meanwhile, Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte, along with the country's Consul-General, met Paulo Bosusco shortly after he was brought to the state guest house here.
Describing his nearly month-long stay in captivity of the Maoists as an "unforgettable" experience, Bosusco said he was treated well by his captors. "I am in good health. They did not cause any harm. I will never forget this experience in my life time," he said.
Bosusco's release came a day after Sabyasachi Panda in an audio message had welcomed the state government's decision to release some rebels from jails, giving the first indication that an early resolution of the Italian hostage crisis was in the offing.
12:24 And President Pratibha Patil and Nupur Talwar trending together.
12:23 Nupur Talwar still in India, passport with court:
Nupur Talwar has already been vilified by the public at large, who have held her guilty for murdering her daughter Aarushi. But some tweets stand out...
Patrick French @PatrickFrench2 To all the people writing horrible things about Nupur Talwar - name one journalist who has investigated this case and believes she's guilty.
Even as the CBI is looking for the absconding accused, the court said she was still in India as her passport is with it.
12:22 The Cabinet approves the Public Procurement Bill that seeks to regulate government purchases over Rs 50 lakh.
12:13 President grabs 2,61,000 sq ft of land meant for soldiers:
Vinita Deshmukh's exclusive story on Monelife.com begins with this telling para: An RTI activist from Pune, Col Suresh Patil (retd) remarked, "Dr Rajendra Prasad donated his land to Vinoba Bhave and here we have Pratibhatai Patil taking away the land for of her own men.
12:05 RTE architect Kapil Sibal 'happy' with SC verdict:
Back to India for a bit to tell you that HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today expressed happiness at the Supreme Court verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act of 2009 saying it has brought clarity and put all controversies to rest.
Sibal said the litigation in court should never be looked as a victory or defeat, especially when the government is involved because what government was looking for from this litigation was clarity because it has an impact on millions of people.
What the court has given us today is clarity on the issue so that all controversies are set to rest. When the controversies are set to rest, our vision of education moves forward. So we are very happy that all controversies are set to rest and there is a clarity," Sibal said.
12:00 Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass banned from Israel:
After the Nobel laureate published a poem suggesting that Israel might be plotting to destroy Iran, the state banned him for life. Several members of the country's literary establishment also condemned the poem, but some also say that Israel overreacted.
More on the Daily Beast
11:59 Don't-give-a -amn N Korea moves ahead with rocket launch:
Ignoring pleas from around the globe to halt the process, North Korea said Wednesday it would launch a rocket as weather allowed over the next few days. "We don't really care about the opinions from the outside. This is critical in order to develop our national economy," an official said.
More on the Daily Beast
11:56 Jackie Kennedy of China in murder probe:
As the drama surrounding one of the Chinese Communist Party's most powerful leaders, Bo Xilai, unfolds with all the twists of a soap opera, attention has now focused on his wife, Gu Kailai, the woman likened to the "Jackie Kennedy of China" and now at the center of a murder investigation.
11:55 China moves to contain Bo scandal:
For hours, China's micro-blogging community was abuzz with anxious tweets: an important announcement would be released at 6:30 or 7 p.m. on the official China Central Television.
The news release, sources said, would be about the latest development on Bo Xilai, the popular but controversial official who last month was sacked as Communist Party chief of Chongqing, China's biggest metropolis.
The 7 pm. bulletin passed and there was no news release on Bo.
Tune in at 10 pm, sources advised.
10 pm passed and still no news on Bo.
For what happened next read further
11:50 IMF agrees $987m Bangladesh loan :
The International Monetary Fund has approved a $987m loan for Bangladesh to help boost its foreign exchange reserves. Dhaka's currency reserves have declined after a rise in global oil prices boosted the cost of crude imports.
Read the report on the BBC.
11:49 New titles for North Korea leader:
In world news: North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un has been given two posts previous occupied by his late father, reports the BBC. State media said the younger Kim had been named chairman of the party's Central Military Commission and a standing member of the Politburo. The announcement came after North Korea held a rare party conference widely expected to see more power formally transferred to Kim Jong-un.
11:42 What the SC says on the RTE Act:
Details of the Supreme Court ruling on the Right to Education Act.
The SC today upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates 25 per cent free seats to the poor in government and private unaided schools uniformly across the country.
The apex court clarified that its judgement will come into force from today and, hence, it will not apply to admissions granted after the enactment of the legislation.
In other words, the apex court said the judgement will only have a prospective affect and not retrospective affect. Upholding the provisions of the law, the apex court said the impugned act should be construed as "child specific".
11:31 Gujarat riots: 18 get life term:
Eighteen of the 23 convicted were held guilty of murdering people, while four were held guilty of attempt to murder. One person - Atul Patel - has not been convicted for these two charges.
11:28 Ode massacre: 18 get life, five get 7-yr-term:
Sentencing in the Ode massacre case has just been passed.
Of the 23 convicted yesterday, 18 get life imprisonment, five get a seven-year sentence. The special SIT court in Anand awarded the punishment to the convicts on charges of murder, conspiracy, and rioting.
Special prosecutor P N Parmar had sought the death penalty for the convicts, arguing that this should be considered the rarest of the rare incident.
He contended that the court had upheld the prosecution's asserting that the act of rioting and murder of 23 persons, mainly women and children, was part of a conspiracy.
11:19 Industrial production growth slows to 4.1 per cent in February 2012, as against 6.7 per cent in the same month last year.
11:17 Maoists release Italian hostage, MLA still captive:
Maoists have finally released Italian hostage Paolo Bosusco who was in their captivity since March 14. According to TV reports, the Maoists relased Paolo in Mohona village of Odisha. Earlier, there were reports that the Maoists have set a new demand for the release of the Italian hostage. TV reports claimed that the Maoists wanted the release of Aarti Manjhi before freeing Paolo. Aarti Manjhi's bail plea is likely to come up for hearing in court later today.
However, the fate of Biju Janata Dal legislator Jhina Hikaka who has been in the captivity of another group of rebels since March 24 also remains uncertain as the rebels refused to release him unless their demands were met.
11:13 Rajesh Talwar also missing since yesterday:
It may be recollected that her husband Rajesh Talwar is also missing since yesterday. If Nupur is indeed arrested and jailed, this will be her first time behind bars, unlike her dentist husband who was jailed immediately after the Aarushi-Hemraj murders on May 16, 2008.
A new development yesterday in the case was that former solictor general Harish Salve is now the Talwars's senior counsel.
11:09 Why did Nupur Talwar flee?:
Neither the CBI nor her lawyers seem to know the whereabouts of Nupur Talwar, on whom a lower court issued a non-bailable warrant after she failed to appear before it on Wednesday. The Talwars are both missing: With the 'absconder' tag only working against Nupur in the eyes of the law, questions are being raised as to whether she should have been advised to skip court yesterday.
Read more on Firstpost.com:
11:05 The Supreme Court is expected to hear her plea on the arrest warrant tomorrow. The court refused to hear her plea today.
11:04 Absconding Nupur Talwar will be present in SC tomorrow:
TV reports coming in say Nupur Talwar, accused in the murder of her daughter Aarushi and servant Hemraj will be present in the Supreme Court tomorrow after the court refuses to hear her application challenging her non-bailable warrant. The warrant was issued last morning after she failed to appear at the Ghaziabad court for the hearing on the case. .
10:57 What is right to education act?:
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), was passed by the parliament on 4 August 2009, and describes the modalities of the provision of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.
10:49 Free education for all becomes valid from today:
The Supreme Court upholds the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act. The RTE is applicable from today. The SC also holds that 25 per cent of seats will be reserved for poor in government and private schools. However, the RTE is not applicable in private minority schools. It is also not applicable for boarding schools, but only day schools. More details in a bit.
10:45 CBI fans out in Delhi in search of Nupur Talwar:
Good morning. A day after the earthquake and tsunami that never happened, all is well around the world.
In Delhi however, murdered schoolgirl Aarushi Talwar's mother, Nupur, who faces arrest, is still absconding. A Central Bureau of Investigation team has fanned out all over Delhi after she was found missing from her homes in Noida and Delhi.
This follows a non-bailable arrest warrant against her for skipping the court hearing on the case. Special Judge Preeti Singh fixed April 18 as the next date of hearing.
10:35 Headlines this morning:
Govt goes into overdrive to buy ammunition for tanks (The Times of India)
The govt is fast-tracking orders to arm the T-90S tanks with missiles and specialized ammunition for a greater punch on the western front with Pak. Read
Odisha hostage crisis: Suspense over release of Italian Bosusco Paolo (The Times of India)
While some TV reports claimed that the Italian hostage Bosusco Paolo was released last night, some said the Maoists have raised new demand for his release. Read
Sentencing today in Ode massacre case (The Times of India)
After convicting 23 persons in the Ode massacre case, the special SIT court in Anand is to award punishment on Thursday to the convicts on such as charges of murder, conspiracy, and rioting. Read
Gen VK Singh says Vectra boss behind Rs. 14-cr offer (The Hindustan Times)
Army chief Gen VK Singh has in his formal complaint to the CBI named UK-based Vectra chairman Ravinder Rishi as the person on whose behalf retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh offered him a Rs. 14-crore bribe to clear a fleet of 600 "sub-standard" Tatra trucks in September 2010. Read
Indonesia assesses damage after Sumatra quake (The Hindu)
Life returned to normal in Indonesias Aceh province on Thursday, after a powerful earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami warning, sending residents fleeing to safety. Read
India one of the top performing clean energy economies: Report (Hindustan Times)
With India receiving $10.2 billion investments in clean energy, the country has emerged as one of the top performing clean energy economies in the 21st century, an eminent American non-profit organisation said in a report. Read