18:48 Hamid Ansari to be chief guest at National Film Fest:
Another fallout of the President's visit to South Africa is that Vice President Hamid Ansari will be chief guest at National Film Festival, where Vidya Balan is expected to get an award for the Dirty picture.
18:45 BJP hawks keep an eye on babus who cosy up with UPA2:
Our sources tell us that the BJP's internal decision is to keep an eagle eye on existing top-ranking IAS, IPS and IFS officers, who have been toeing the UPA2 line of approach and have thereby NOT remained neutral. These officials are also criticising BJP-ruled states in their internal notes and in meetings to get cosy with UPA2 ministers. There are 16 officers in the list, which is being kept a closely-guarded secret.
18:41 RSS chief wants Gadkari to remain BJP party prez :
And talking about Sunday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will be in New Delhi for three days, beginning Sunday. The buzz at the BJP headquarters is that Bhagwat will ask the BJP national executive to amend its constitution to accommodate Nitin Gadkari for another term as BJP president.
18:39 Prez leaves for SA on Sunday, governors to be named tonight:
While we await the latest on the hostage situation in London, our sources in Delhi tell us that the Prime Minister's Office has sent three names for appointment as governors to the President. The communique is expected tonight.
President Pratibha Patil is leaving for South Africa on Sunday, which explains the urgency of the announcement. Apparently, the rush to nominate the three MPs -- Rekha, Sachin and Anu Aga -- was primarily because the president had to sign around 15 documents before she left for SA.
18:33 Armed police cordon off building, explosive experts summoned:
This is what the Guardian has to say about the hostage-like situation in London.
The Metropolitan police said they had thrown a 100-metre cordon around the area in Tottenham Court Road and were advising members of the public to stay away. A police negotiator was on the way to the scene, and armed police were in the area "as a precaution", Scotland Yard said.
The incident began at midday on Friday when the police received reports of a man throwing items out of a fifth-floor window.
Rumours that the man was holding hostages and that he had canisters strapped to his back were not confirmed by the police. Scotland Yard said the man had been moving about inside the building but was now located on the fifth floor. A spokesman said the police had received no reports of gunshots being fired in the area.
18:25 Man carrying bomb holds four hostage in London :
According to the Telegraph, an onlooker said the man, named as Michael Green, had walked into the offices of Advantage, a logistics company which offers HGV courses.
She said he had threatened to blow himself up before taking four hostages, including the company director.
One woman pleaded for her life, claiming she was pregnant in order to escape. It was claimed that Green had failed an LGV training course three times and stormed the builing to demand his money back.
18:23 Man carrying bomb holds four hostage in London :
Four people reportedly being held hostage in a building in London. The man is believed to be carrying a bomb. Police have surrounded the building. The Telegraph says there is a heavy police presence at the scene in Tottenham Court Road, where office buildings were evacuated after a man was reportedly seen carrying up to six canisters strapped to his back. Windows of an office block were smashed and computers and paper were being thrown from a fifth floor window.
18:15 Cong: Can't compare Bofors with Bangaru Laxman:
Congress reacts to Bangaru Laxman's arrest saying it cannot be compared to the Bofors case as no evidence of a scam was found in the Bofors scam. Today, former BJP president Bangaru Laxman was convicted for taking a Rs 1 lakh bribe in a sting operation conducted by Tehelka.com in 2001.
The BJP says Laxman was removed from his post the moment the sting was exposed.
17:52 Collector hostage crisis: Seven days on, no end in sight:
As the hostage crisis in Chhattisgarh entered the seventh day today, mediators of the state government and the Maoists failed to achieve any breakthrough to secure the release of abducted Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon after the second round of talks.
The former chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh Nirmala Buch, one of the two government mediators, said the talks were "positive", and hoped for a breakthrough soon. Next round of talks to end the deadlock will be held soon, she said.
G Hargopal, an academician named by Maoists as a mediator from their side, said that negotiations have moved forward and both sides are hopeful of reaching an agreement soon.
The talks were focused on the demands put toward by Naxals for the release of the 32-year-old IAS officer and the government's stand on them, Hargopal said.
17:34 Blind Chinese dissident flees house arrest:
One of China's best known dissidents, Chen Guangcheng, has escaped from house arrest and has released a video addressed to Premier Wen Jiabao.
In it he makes three demands, including one that Wen investigate what Chen, who is blind, calls the brutal beating up of his family members. Rights activists say Chen slipped out of his home in Dongshigu town in Shandong province on Sunday.
His whereabouts are unclear, but supporters say he is safe in Beijing. Unconfirmed reports say Chen may have taken refuge in a diplomatic mission. Chen, 40, had been under house arrest since he was released from a four-year jail sentence in 2010. Read more on the bbc.
Just in: A Pakistani marine opens fire on Indian fishermen near the international maritime boundary. One fisherman has been injured.
17:14 UPA govt hiding behind coalition politics: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw:
Government lacks political will to take hard decisions and is "hiding behind coalition politics", Chairman and Managing Director of biotechnology
major Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said today. "I think the Government has to wake up and the Government cannot keep hiding behind coalition politics", she said.
Asked to comment on general business sentiment in India, Mazumdar-Shaw said there is a lot of negative sentiments being expressed from outside the country, noting S&P (Standard & Poor's) lowering India outlook to negative and Macquaire shutting down India fund.
17:10 Chargesheet against Ramadoss in graft case:
The CBI files a chargesheet in a Delhi court against former Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss and nine others in a corruption case.
Ramadoss, health minister in UPA-I, has been under the CBI scanner after the arrest of former MCI chairman Ketan Desai in February 2010. The CBI had alleged that Ramadoss misused his position to give clearance to a medical college in Indore in 2008.
Officials said that the chargesheet would be filed before a special CBI judge in the Patiala House court. Ramadoss allegedly colluded with the management in granting affiliation to the medical college in Indore despite the institution failing the criteria.
16:43 Aiyar on Bofors: Accusing Rajiv is tantamount to treachery:
Congress member of Parliament Mani Shankar Aiyar says the Bofors case must be treated as closed and the BJP should learn that truth cannot be unveiled by resorting to "character assassination and downright lies".
Read the interview on rediff.com.
16:38 Mamata: Hillary welcome to visit Kolkata:
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said she welcomed the visit of Hillary Clinton to Kolkata, but would not comment whether the US Secretary of State was scheduled to meet her.
"If she comes to Kolkata we welcome her. When it will be finalised you will come to know. I am holding an official position and till the finalisation of the official information I cannot comment on this," Banerjee said when asked whether Clinton would meet her.
She said that leaders from China, Israel, Singapore and UK had earlier visited the state.
16:35 Girl left brain damaged by KFC chicken twister:
In pictures: Monika Samaan, now 14, got salmonella poisoning and fell into a coma for six months when she was aged just seven. After finally waking she was left suffering spastic quadriplegia, a condition that affects the movement of all four limbs, and is now wheelchair-bound. See
16:35 Girl left brain damaged by KFC chicken twister:
In pictures: Monika Samaan, now 14, got salmonella poisoning and fell into a coma for six months when she was aged just seven. After finally waking she was left suffering spastic quadriplegia, a condition that affects the movement of all four limbs, and is now wheelchair-bound. See
16:25 What's so wrong with eating alone? :
On the Guardian
: A new website allows women to pair up with friendly lunch dates -- but surely it would be better to stop stigmatising solitary types. Read
16:05 'RS for retired people, hope Sachin won't get bored':
Rajya Sabha is a place for retired people and one hopes that Sachin Tendulkar does not get bored with his new responsibility, actress and former MP Hema Malini said today.
"It is a very prestigious thing. I am happy for him. This(RS) is for retired people...and I suppose he is not retired yet. I just hope he doesn't get bored," Malini, whose term in Rajya Sabha ended recently.
e cricketer has been nominated to the Upper House along with Bollywood diva Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga.
Noted director Mahesh Bhatt hoped that glory will follow the 39-year-old star batsman in Parliament as well. "He is a legend. It is great that he has been nominated. Glory is his co-traveller. This (nomination) is just deepening of his halo," Bhatt said.
"Don't forget Sachin had taken on the Shiv Sena and said that Maharashtra belongs to every Indian not just to Maharashtrians," actress Shabana Azmi wrote in reply to a Twitter user, who said Sachin would never raise his voice against anything wrong.
Bandit Queen director Shekhar Kapur wrote, "I think its great that he goes to the Rajya Sabha. Better than many many that have gone before." Actress Gul Panag tweeted, "I am all for Sachin for RS. Better than a retired 60+ sports person no?"
16:01 Rahul at Chaiyabhoomi, Tilak Bhavan in Mumbai:
Rediff.com's Vrushali Lad who has been following Rahul Gandhi's tour of Mumbai, says after his meeting with the young guns of the Congress party delegates from the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Youth Congress at Bhaidas Hall in suburban Vile Parle, the Congress general secretary made his way to Dadar's Chaityabhoomi.
Gandhi spent a good 30 minutes at Chaityabhoomi, which houses the memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and is a pilgrimage site for scores of Buddhists on December 6 every year.
Gandhi said that he "liked being at Chaityabhoomi". He then made his way to Tilak Bhavan in Dadar, which is the headquarters of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, where he is scheduled to meet the district presidents and block presidents of the Congress party in Maharashtra.
15:38 Morphing an image on a CD is not easy, Mr Singhvi:
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi wears many hats. The 53-year-old is a Rajya Sabha member, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law, Justice, Personnel and Grievances, a leading Supreme Court lawyer, and a Congress spokesperson to boot, a loud and combative voice of the party on various English news channel chat shows.
More on Open magazine.
15:35 On Sachin's Rajya Sabha nomination:
Sucheta Dalal: We dont have to agree with the views of stars & personalities - we need to know they have strong views & will represent them in parliament!
Sucheta Dalal: Frankly Sunil Dutt, Nargis, Shabana Azmi have all been effective. lets have thinking stars by all means. Even Shatrugan Sinha welcome
Sucheta Dalal: Hema Malini only ever asked a question, we hear, about a water purfier company that she endorses. Is this what we want?
15:32 PIA flight makes emergency landing after hijack threat:
Details on the PIA 'hijack':
A Pakistan International Airlines flight today made an emergency landing at the Karachi airport after a passenger allegedly threatened to hijack the aircraft. PIA flight PK-586, which was flying from Karachi to Bahawalpur in Punjab province, turned back to the port city after an air hostess alerted the captain about the passenger's threat, TV news channels reported.
The passenger who made the alleged threat was arrested by commandos of the Airport Security Force at the Jinnah International Airport.
The aircraft was searched by security forces after being evacuated. Following his arrest, the passenger claimed he had made the alleged threat after a quarrel with the air hostess and that he had no intention of hijacking the aircraft. The number of passengers on the flight could not immediately be ascertained.
15:29 Our tribute to Zohra Sehgal on her 100th birthday :
On April 27, 1912, to be precise when a naughty little girl was born. She loved to climb trees and engage in all sorts of antics to amuse herself and anyone who'd bother to watch in her hometown of Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. Although she was one among six other siblings and her parents were fiercely conservative, her vivacity, candour, wit and spark made her both -- unique and agreeable. The one and only Zohra Begum Mumtaz-Ullah Khan.
15:24 SC refuses to stay arrest warrant against Nupur:
The Supreme Court directs dentist Nupur Talwar to surrender before the Ghaziabad trial court on Monday in the Aarushi Talwar murder case. The SC also refused to stay the arrest warrant against Nupur.
Nupur Talwar, an accused in the 2008 murder of her 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and their servant Hemraj. Her husband Rajesh Talwar is a co-accused. Nupur has also been charged with destruction of evidence in the case.
15:10 Bangaru stepped own as BJP prez after expose:
In 2001, Tehelka.com conducted a sting where a reporter posing as an arm dealer offered Laxman Rs 1 lakh as a kickback for a contract. Hidden cameras caught Mr Laxman accepting the bribe. Laxman accepted the money in return for hiring the company to supply hand-held thermal imagers to the Indian Army.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari reacted to the conviction saying, "The BJP should introspect about their six years in government... the conviction of their former president should show the BJP that those who live in glasshouses should not throw stones at others." Laxman can face a maximum of seven years in jail.
Eleven years later, Rs 1 lakh seems a pittance, as compared to the Rs 14-crore bribe allegedly offered by Lt Col (Retd) Tejinder Singh to Army Chief VK Singh.
14:59 A PIA aircraft lands at Karachi after a passenger threatens to hijack it; all passengers evacuated.
Journalist Aniruddha Bahl, who did the sting operation on Bangaru Laxman, says he is relieved that the story has been proved right.
14:48 Bangaru Laxman breaks down in courtroom after hearing the conviction. The former BJP president had stepped down from his post after the expose.
14:43 INS Teg to be commissioned in Indian Navy:
Armed with the surface-to-surface BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a medium range gun and anti-submarine rockets, guided missile frigate INS Teg will be commissioned into the Indian Navy today at the Yantar shipyard
in Russia. "INS Teg is a modern warship with advanced technologies to make it stable, fast and stealthy. The Teg class of ships have been built to meet specific Command and Control needs of Indian Navy for coordinated surface, air and underwater missions," Indian Navy officials said here.
14:41 Bangaru Laxman convicted for taking bribe:
Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman on Friday was found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act by a Delhi court.
He was found guilty in connection with the 2001 Tehelka sting operation case, during which he was seen taking a bribe of Rs one crore on camera by a reporter posing as a dealer.
He will be sentenced on Saturday.
14:04 Centre seeks more time to respond to Tejinder Singh's plea:
The Centre today sought more time from the Delhi High Court to respond to former Lt Gen Tejinder Singh's plea for directions to the Army HQs for withdrawal of its March 5 press release, which had alleged he offered a bribe to the Army chief to clear a defence acquisition deal.
Appearing before Justice Mukta Gupta, Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok sought a week to take a stand on the issue, saying all the files regarding various officers, named by Tejinder Singh in his petition, has not reached him.
Earlier, while hearing Tejinder Singh's plea, Justice Gupta had asked the Centre to clarify if the press release with allegations against him was issued by the Government or by the Army officials in their individual capacity. Accepting the ASG's submission, Justice Gupta asked the government today to respond to the issue by May 7.
14:02 Rahul at stock-taking meeting in Mumbai:
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will visit Amethi from April 30th to May 2nd, 2012 to interact with party workers from Amethi Parliamentary Constituency.
Today, however, he is in Mumbai, part of the two-day visit to Maharashtra, his first after the drubbing that the Congress party took in the recent state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
His first pit stop was at Mumbai's Bhaidas Hall at Vile Parle, where he met with the Mumbai unit of the National Students Union of India and Youth Congress workers in separate meetings.
The exercise was part of a broader stock-taking programme which included all cadres of the Congress in the state. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan and other senior Congress leaders were present at the meetings.
13:51 Govt will do everything to bail out debt-ridden WB: PM:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Trinamool Congress that the government would do everything possible to bail out debt-ridden West Bengal, as party MPs sought a three-year moratorium on interest payment.
A day after they placed their demands before Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee including restructuring of the "massive debt burden" faced by the state, a delegation of Trinamool MPs met the Prime Minister to raise the issue.
"The state is on the edge of a precipice. Its financial condition is very bad and the state government is facing grave difficulty," Minister of State for Urban Development Saugata Roy said after the 15-minute meeting at Parliament House.
Quoting the latest state budget, he said the state paid around Rs 18,000 as interest and Rs 7,000 crore as loan repayment last year. Bengal's total debt was around Rs 183,000 crore last year.
13:46 We want Ganguly's name for RS, says CPI:
And of course, this had to happen.
A day after cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, CPI today demanded that former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly's name should also be considered for the Upper House.
"I welcome the decision to nominate Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. But at the same time when Sourav is in his top form, his name too should have been considered (for the Rajya Sabha)," CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told reporter outside Parliament.
He also said that besides film stars, writers, people associated with culture and poets should also be sent to the Upper House. The communist leader said that since India "is a country of workers" industrialists should not be brought to the Rajya Sabha.
The government yesterday nominated Tendulkar to the Upper House along with actress of yesteryear Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga.
13:32 PM to Mamata: Will do everything possible for WB:
On Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had issued a 15-day ultimatum to the UPA government to accept her demand for a 3-year moratorium on the huge interest burden of the state on loans.
"I have made repeated appeals, my patience is running out.It will have to be done. We are unable to pay. I have waited for one year and I will wait for another 15 days and then....," the Chief Minister told a convention of WBCS officers but did not specify her course of action to press the demand.
She said if any effort was made to deprive the state would not be tolerated and would become 'a big issue'.
13:24 Just in: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assures Trinamool Congress that government will do everything possible for West Bengal.
And somebody is angry!
Amitabh Bachchan @AngryBombayBoy I do Gujarat tourism for free, for State/ Country..you doubling amount for me to stop, don't bother - keep the change !!
13:19 Kanchan Gupta on our star MPs :
On other hand, Rajesh Khanna tried to be a good constituency MP, but was bad at politics and ran out of money because he wasn't making any.
Don't forget the great and wise voters once elected Govinda to LS. He danced his way in; was utterly bored; and took off never to return.
For all his flaws, Sunil Dutt was admirable. And so is Jaya Bachchan though I wish she'd give up on the Socialists.
Frankly, if Mani Shankar Aiyar can be nominated as a 'writer', surely Sachin and Rekha can come in on their own strength.
Sachin can, if he wishes, robustly participate in RS proceedings. So can Rekha. As also other nominated members.
13:14 I was convicted for protecting Constitution: Gilani:
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was addressing a session of the National Assembly today, DawnNews reported. MNAs from the Pakistan Muslim League '" Nawaz (PML-N) staged a walk out from the assembly.
The prime minister rhetorically asked whether he was not an elected representative of the people. I have protected the Constitution of this country, he said, adding that he was convicted "for protecting the Constitution'.
He challenged the PML-N to "bring a vote of no confidence' against him. "I don't have ego issues, I am the longest serving prime minister of this country,' he said.
13:06 Sujata Anandan on Twitter: Got this sms from a Cong MP: Congress has managed 2 do what Amitabh Bachchan couldn't: put Jaya and Rekha in the same House!
13:04 India should do more to advance peace, security: UN Secy Gen:
More on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit to India. The Secretary-General today said hoped that India would find a way to build and strengthen partnerships of common ground with its neighbours and encouraged it to do "even more" in advancing peace and security.
He also told India that it was imperative for the country to tackle its own human rights challenge through legislation, policy and action to protect citizens regardless of gender, identity or social origin though every country faces such challenges.
12:58 Pak has the bomb, but where are the rest?:
An interesting blog on the Dawn, Pakistan
Yes we have the bomb, but where are the quality schools, hospitals, political stability and a life free of sectarian and religious bigotry, strife and hatred.Read
12:46 Chidambaram's son to sue Swamy over allegations:
Home minister P Chidambaram's son Karthi is likely to sue Subramaniam Swamy over his allegation that he made Rs 26 lakh out of a deal with Aircel. Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy had yesterday levelled fresh allegations against Chidambaram, accusing him of delaying permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis in 2006 when he was Finance Minister so that his son Karti was financially benefited.
Swamy says that in 2005, telecom company Aircel was verging on bankruptcy. Its then owner, C Sivasankaran, was approached by Maxis, which wanted to pick up 74% stake in Aircel for nearly 4,000 crores, according to Swamy. He says that this deal needed clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. "Chidambaram delayed the deal because he wanted a cut - this is my allegation," Swamy at a press conference yesterday. When the deal went through, Swamy says, Karti Chidambaram made considerable profits.
Read more NDTV.
12:39 US court denies images disclosure of Seals raid killing Osama:
A US judge has refused to release photographs and videos of the US NavySeals raid that had killed former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.
US District Court Judge James Boasberg rejected a lawsuit seeking to force disclosure of images and ruled that courts must defer to the conclusion reached by President Barack Obama and military leaders that releasing them could spur violence against U.S. troops and other Americans traveling abroad.
"A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama Bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more,' The Politico quoted Judge Boasberg, as saying.
Omar Abdullah: I can't think of a prettier location for a meeting with my party workers. See
12:25 Ban Ki-Moon's Indian connection:
@alltough Got to see UNSG Ban Ki Moon in person this morning. Did you know his son was born in India and his daughter is married to an Indian? #fact
Pictured: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off his visit to India by commending the country's progress on health, while highlighting the need to do more to promote the well-being of women and children. Seen here at a meeting with Union health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
12:21 LS adjourned till 2 pm, Opposition wants PC's head:
In palatable news, the Lok Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm today after Opposition uproar over demand for dismissal of Home Minister P Chidambaram in the wake of allegations against his son Karti's investments in a telecom company.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met, BJP members were on their feet demanding Chidambaram's dismissal. "Chidambaram has indulged in massive corruption. He should be dismissed as Home Minister immediately," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said.
The Home Minister was not present in the House. Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy had yesterday levelled fresh allegations against Chidambaram, accusing him of delaying permission for the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis in 2006 when he was Finance Minister so that his
son Karti was financially benefited.
12:17 Egypt husbands can soon have sex with dead wife!:
Egypt's new Islamist-dominated parliament is preparing to introduce a controversial law that would allow husbands to have sex with their deceased wives up to six hours after death.
Known as the "farewell Intercourse' law, the measure is being championed as part of a raft of reforms introduced by the parliament that will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 for girls.
Egypt's National Council for Women is campaigning against the changes, saying that 'marginalising and undermining the status of women would negatively affect the country's human development'. He also said that women have the right to have sex with her dead husband.
12:11 Beep! Beep! Here comes the Indian Vespa:
On the Wall Street Journal. Scoot over Bajaj, here comes the Vespa. With Piaggio & C. S.p.A. re-entering the Indian market, we'll soon see the iconic Italian two-wheeler cruising on Indian roads.
But it won't be identical to Vespas in Rome: Piaggio has developed an India-specific model. When it was still work in progress, Roberto Colaninno, the company's chairman and chief executive, informally dubbed it the "Indian Vespa.'
12:05 Five minors arrested sodomising boy, making MMS:
The story that's been doing the rounds on all TV channels.
A Class IV student was allegedly sodomised by five minors and a 19-year-old youth in the staff quarters on the Punjab University campus in Chandigarh. The accused, who have been arrested, also made an MMS of the boy, which they circulated and uploaded online.
As per the complaint of the victim's father, the incident occurred on April 11 when his eight-year-old son was playingoutside the house in the campus. Six persons known to him in the neighbourhood took him to the house of one of the accused on the pretext of giving him marbles to play, police said.
The accused then allegedly sexually assaulted the Class IV student and made an MMS, police said, adding that they also threatened him of dire consequences. The MMS was circulated and that was how the victim's father got to know of the crime.
12:01 Nutella pays $3 mn over false health benefits:
And another all-time favourite goes out of favour.
Nutelll, the manufacturers of the chocolate-hazelnut spread, Ferrero, have agreed to a $3 million settlement in a lawsuit calling foul on the product's purported health benefits. The suit, filed by California mom Athena Hohenberg, invites others who feel wronged by the sugary product to join along.
More on the Huffington Post.
11:57 Allahabad varsity shut till Monday in wake of violence:
The University of Allahabad has been closed till Monday in the wake of clashes between police and students agitating over the issue of eviction of hostelites that left several persons injured and the premises vandalised.
11:55 KFC gives girl brain damage, Au $8mn damages:
All KFC fans, heads up: An Australian court today ordered the fast food giant KFC to pay 8 million Australian dollars to the parents of a Sydney girl who was left paralysed and brain damaged after eating its chicken twister. Monika Samaan fell seriously ill with salmonella poisoning after eating at the Villawood KFC in 2005.
The then-seven-year-old was in a coma for six months and acquired spastic quadraplegia with severe brain damage. A New South Wales Supreme Court judge today ruled KFC will have to pay 8 million Australian dollars plus legal costs after the lengthy litigation case.
KFC denied it was responsible for the poisoning and said it will appeal the decision. In a statement, the restaurant said the case was clearly tragic but they were "deeply disappointed and surprised" by Judge Rothman's decision.
The family's lawyer George Vlahakis said the costs of caring for the severely disabled girl had already exhausted "the limited resources of the family".
He said they were relieved the court battle was over.
"Monika's severe brain damage and severe disability has already exhausted the very limited resources of the family," he said. "Monika is now a big girl and they are finding it increasingly difficult to lift her and to look after her basic needs as well as look after Monika's younger siblings." "The compensation ordered is very much needed."
11:49 Soon trains won't leave excretement on tracks:
The nightmare of using train toilets is set to be a thing of the past.
A deal with a Denmark-based firm and the Defence Research Organisation has been inked to develop 'green toilets' for railways in a bid to keep trains, platforms and tracks clean and free from filth and corrosion.
"Under the railways ambitious green toilet scheme two types of toilets based on vaccum and bacteria technology would be installed in trains in order to keep them green and clean," Daulat Ram Industries Chairman and Managing Director, Satish Sharma told PTI here today.
The toilets which will function on vaccum technology would be installed in Rajdhani and Shatabdi express trains as per the plan of the railways while biological (bacteria) based toilets would be installed in other trains, he said.
Vaccum toilets are like those at present operational in aeroplanes in which you need to collect the waste at terminal points and make arrangements for their disposal, Sharma said. "It is good for aeroplanes and AC trains but not for
the other types of trains for which the railways have decided to install biological toilets."
"The railways have made a provision of nearly Rs 800 crore for installing vaccum and biological toilets in trains in a phased manner," Sharma said.
11:40 Lok Sabha adjourned till noon after Opposition uproar over demand for Home Minister P Chidambaram's resignation and other issues.
11:35 This is the tweet from the UN: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off his visit to India by commending the country's progress on health, while highlighting the need to do more to promote the well-being of women and children.
11:30 PM meeting Moon:
Dr Manmohan Singh: Happening now: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Delhi.
11:27 Expert committe for identity verification for SIM cards :
The Supreme Court today set up an expert committee to look into the issue ofthe verification of identity before the sale of mobile SIM card. The committee will recommend the procedure to be adopted by telecom companies before issuing SIM cards. The committee comprising officials of DoT and TRAI will give its recommendations to the government within three months.
The Delhi HC also said that police help can be taken if ND Tiwari refuses to give his blood sample.
11:20 ND Tiwari has to give blood sample for DNA test: HC:
The Delhi High Court sets aside single judge's order that Congress veteran N D Tiwari cannot be forced to give a blood sample in a paternity suit. This basically means he has to give his blood sample for a DNA test. The plaintiff Rohit Shekhar claims to be the senior Congress leader's biological son had challenged the high court's order.
The Delhi high court had ruled that veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari cannot be compelled to give blood sample for his DNA test to determine a city youth's paternity but said his persistent refusal can lead to the presumption that he is his father.
11:12 'Rape, molestation in vehicles with tinted glasses' :
According to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, glasses of windscreen and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70% and for side windows -- 50%. Goenka said the police did not have enough lux metres to check visibility quotient of a windscreen and mostly depend on naked eye estimates, reports the TOI.
"Several incidents of rape and molestation have been reported in cars with tinted glasses, especially in Delhi and other metros where the police were expected to be the best equipped," he said.
11:09 SC bans tinted glasses in vehicles 'beyond a limit':
The Supreme Court asks state governments to frame guidelines for the use of tinted glasses for security purposes. Delivering the verdict, the apex court banned the use of tinted glasses in vehicles beyond a permissible limit under the Motor Vehicles Act.
The Supreme Court on Monday had reserved its verdict on a PIL seeking complete ban on the use of dark films on car windows, including the vehicles used by VVIPs, alleging that many crimes in cities were committed by people using such cars with tinted car windows.
A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar asked petitioner Avishek Goenka whether he had any statistics relating to the percentage of crimes committed by using cars with tinted windows.
This is what is expected to happen in Parliament today. (Adjournments not included.)
Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2012
Discussion and voting on the Demands for Grants (Railways) for 2012-13
Private Members' Bills
Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Bill, 2010 2.
Chemical Weapons Convention (Amendment) Bill, 2010 3.
Private Members' Bills
10:57 Namita Bhandare: To those wondering how Sachin will have the time for RS, pl consider: RK Narayan made 1 speech which we still remember. Quality not quantity
10:55 Regressive bill on legal age for sex gets Cabinet nod :
Yesterday, apart from a prolonged din over the Bofors issue in Parliament, the the Cabinet cleared a Bill that seeks to raise the age of legal sex from 16 to 18, provoking criticism from activists, who called it a regressive step. Read
10:47 Sukma abduction: Mediators- Maoists talk fail :
Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon remains abducted. The mediators and Maoists met for first time in a bid to end the six-day-old hostage crisis.
The talks were inconclusive when they met for the first time yesterday. The mediators of the two sides called the three-hour talks at the Pahuna guest house here "positive".
A panel of legal experts also assisted in the deliberations, officials said. Ahead of the three-hour meeting, a special emissary who had handed over medicines to the 32-year-old IAS officer, an asthma patient, said his condition was stable.
A government mediator and former chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh Nirmala Buch told reporters after the talks that the discussions were "positive" and though there was no outcome, the government was confident about a quick resolution of the hostage crisis.
10:36 Sachin's RS nomination doesn't get popular support:
The reactions varied to batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar's nomination to the Rajya Sabha, with some welcoming the move and others critical of his new role, which will deprive him from playing. Social activist Anna Hazare, who is in Mumbai for a two-day trip for consultations on the Lokayukta bill, welcomed the move.
However, he mentioned that he is more interested in a corruption-free nation more than anything else at this point.Information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni in New Delhi on Thursday hailed the nomination of Sachin Tendulkar for Rajya Sabha saying it was a "very good step".
10:27 And in Mumbai, ahead of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's arrival at the domestic airport abutting the Western Express highway, traffic seems to have gone for a toss. Rajesh Karkera smsed to say he's been stuck between Malad and Kandivili, down the highway, for more than an hour!
10:25 Drama as Pak sends off Osama's family to Saudia Arabia:
Pakistan today deported 14 members of Osama bin Laden's family, including his three widows, to Saudi Arabia, days before the first anniversary of the death of the Al Qaeda chief.
The family was taken amidst tight security at around midnight to Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi, where a special Saudi aircraft was standing by to fly out the women and children.
Security agencies sent a mini bus to the house in Sector G-6 of Islamabad where the family was being held to transport them to the airport.
The widows initially refused to enter the bus in the presence of large number of journalists who had gathered at the house and officials covered its windows with plastic sheets.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is expected in Mumbai today, and the last time he was here he played to the gallery by travelling in a crowded local train etc. What awaits him, and the city, this time round? Check out here
10:22 Indian in Dubai gets death sentence for murdering boss:
In Dubai, a 35-year-old Indian driver was sentenced to death for brutally murdering his former boss, also an Indian, by bludgeoning him with a hammer and stabbing him 30 times following a dispute over salary.
The Dubai Court of First Instance on Wednesday sentenced the driver, identified only as NK, to death. The verdict remains subject to appeal within 15 days.
The victim allegedly owed the accused 45,000 dirhams in salary. The murder took place in July last year, local media reports said.
10:21 Sensex gains in early morning trade:
Good morning and welcome to Friday's edition of Live! News As It Happens.
First the good news.
The BSE benchmark Sensex rose by over 105 points in early trade today on buying by funds and retail investors at existing lower levels amid a firming trend in Asian markets.
The 30-share barometer, which lost about 76 points in the previous two sessions, recovered by 105.15 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 17,235.82. All sectoral indices, led by power and auto, were trading in the positive zone with gains of up to 0.98 per cent.
The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty too moved up by 33.85 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 5,222.85.