23:47 Bombs kill at least 46 in Afghanistan:
Suicide attacks involving as many as 14 bombers struck an Afghan city today, and a motorcycle bomb exploded in a busy market in blasts that killed at least 46 people altogether, the year's deadliest day for civilians in Afghanistan.
Most of those who died were out shopping for food to break the daily fast of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The attacks in Nimroz province in the southwest and Kunduz in the north came during a campaign by Taliban insurgents and their allies to step up attacks as international troops hand over security responsibility to Afghan forces.
NATO plans to withdraw most of its troops by the end of 2014. There were no claims of responsibility for any of the blasts. At least 25 civilians and 11 police were killed in Nimroz when several men wearing suicide bomb vests detonated their explosives in different areas of the provincial capital of Zaranj, provincial police chief Musa Rasouli said.
23:04 12 hurt in Pakistan bomb blast: Police:
At least 12 people were wounded when a bomb hidden under a cot exploded near a restaurant where people had gathered to celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day in Baluchistan, Police said.
The explosive device, fitted with a timer, was placed outside the restaurant in the southwestern province's capital Quetta, local police police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood said.
It was timed to explode late in the night yesterday when people had gathered on the eve of Pakistan's 66th Independence Day being observed on Tuesday, he said.
22:33 Slight intensity quake in Assam:
A slight intensity earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter Scale jolted Assam tonight. The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 8:47 PM, was Karbi Anglong region of Assam, the Meteorological Department here said.
21:50 Pak I-Day: India, Pak troops exchanges sweets:
Indian and Pakistani troops today exchanged sweets on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.
Pakistani Rangers led by Lt Col Javed handed over packets of sweets to his Indian counterpart Major S Manhas on the Line of Control at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point, officials said. Pakistan today celebrated its 65th Independence Day.
The Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point was opened at 0950 hours to 1010 hours, they said. "We are praying to Allah in this holy month of Ramdan for peace and prosperity of the two nations," Lt Col Javed told reporters.
21:09 PM, Sonia to attend Deshmukh's funeral:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will attend the funeral of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Wednesday.
Union ministers Sharad Pawar and Sushilkumar Shinde will also be present, sources said. AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi confirmed the visit of Gandhi. The sources said that Singh will also visit Deshmukh's native place Babhalgaon in Maharashtra, where the cremation will take place.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by the prime minister this evening passed a resolution condoling Deshmukh's death and hailing him as a "grassroots political leader" with extraordinary sensitivity to the people's needs.
20:04 'Maharashtra's tiger Vilasrao has gone':
Vilasrao Deshmukh's long-time friends -- and rivals -- in the Maharashtra politics today expressed shock over the senior Congress leader's demise.
Deshmukh, a former Maharashtra chief minister, died at a Chennai hospital today. "Maharashtra's tiger has gone," Legislative Council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh said in his condolence message. "In 1983, we were colleagues in the state ministry and I knew him for the last 35 years. People of the state will not forget his contribution," he said.
NCP state unit president Madhukar Pichad said that Deshmukh worked for farmers and labourers, and his death had left a void in the state's political arena.
Union minister Milind Deora described Deshmukh as a great leader. "He had his ups and downs, and perhaps made some political errors, but then who doesn't. He was someone who could cut across all lines and was a great campaigner."
Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, whose father S B Chavan was considered to be Deshmukh's political mentor,mourned the demise, saying "he groomed a new leadership in the state. I saw his career at close quarters and was amazed by his political acumen".
NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said, "We all are in a greatshock."
19:16 Pranab: India needs 2nd freedom struggle:
President Pranab Mukherjee today called for making Indian economy a launching pad for the "second freedom struggle" to eradicate hunger, disease and poverty.
In his first address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day, he also said that inflation, particularly high food prices, remains a cause of worry and several gaps are yet to be bridged in this growth story, including in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture.
Mukherjee said there is a need to fast-track the creation of high quality infrastructure and to extend green revolution to across the country. "Notwithstanding the tremendous pressure of an adverse external environment, our economy today is more resilient and confident. Yet there are several gaps that need to be bridged.
"Green revolution has to be extended to the eastern region of our country. Creation of high quality infrastructure has to be fast tracked. Education and health services have to reach the last man at the earliest. Much has been done, a lot more remains to be done," he said.
President Pranab Mukherjee delivers his maiden address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day. Watch
the live telecast
Garga Chatterjee on the Hindu, how Bengal's government is sucking up to Islamic religious reactionaries. Read
18:26 We could play just 30-35 per cent of our potential: Chetri:
As our Olympics' heroes and otherwise return to India, hockey captain Bharat Chetri doesn't want to point fingers at any individual for the team's disastrous outing at the Olympic Games, instead he is forthcoming in accepting the blame and said the former champions could only play up to "30-35 per cent" of their potential in London.
Eight-time gold medallist India touched a new low by finishing last in the 12-team men's hockey competition in the just-concluded London Olympics, prompting the Indian skipper to apologies to the countrymen.
"Hockey is a team game. So, we can't blame any individual. We failed as a team. On behalf of the team, I would like to say sorry to all hockey lovers of the country for disappointing them," Chetri said after returning to Delhi today.
18:17 Actress Raveena Tandon reached out to both Riteish and his actress wife Genelia D'Souza on twitter. "Rest In Peace Vilasrao Deshmukh. Condolences to the bereaved family, @Riteishd and @geneliad, words cannot express the shock nd grief we are feeling," she wrote.
Veteran actress Shabana Azmi offered her condolences, saying he was too young to die. "Vilasrao Deshmukh no more. Too young to die. As CM he gave Nivara a lot of support for our slum rehabilitation project. Condolences to the family.
18:07 The last temptation of mooseheads:
More gawping on Fareed Zakaria's plagiarism taint. Time suspended Zakaria for a month, CNN suspended him from his GPS hosting duties pending further review, and the Washington Post is looking into his work there. Read
17:55 So tomorrow, for the first time on Independence Day, the national flag will fly at half mast.
17:43 Akshay Kumar tweets: The man who had Mumbai's Shanghai dream is no more. RIP Vilasrao Deshmukh ji, a visionary and the father of my dear friend @Riteishd. May God give you strength.
17:35 PC's austerity move for govt: Don't invite foreign delegates:
Moving on from news of Vilasrao Deshmukh's death... Finance minister P Chidambaram has directed ministries not to invite foreign dignitaries without prior approval. The move is another austerity measure to cut expenditure on hosting foreign delegates. Chidambaram passed this directive six days after he took charge of the finance ministry.
17:28 SRK speaks to Riteish after Vilasrao's death:
At a press conference in Mumbai for a white goods manufacturer, Shah Rukh Khan paid tribute to Deshmukh saying, "I am very sad to hear the demise of Vilasrao Deshmukh. My prayers are with his family. I have known him for years. Riteish is a close friend of mine and I spoke to him. Apart from being the CM, he was a very wonderful person."
17:24 Vilasrao's health deteriorated rapidly: Hospital:
The spokesperson of Global Hospital in Chennai where Vilasaro Deshmukh was admitted says he died of multiple organ failure.
Deshmukh had responded initially to the treatment, which is why they decided to get a cadaver liver transplant -- a full liver transplant -- since he was suffering from complete liver failure.
"Last morning he deteriorated very fast and his oxygen saturation fell. His heart stopped at 1.40 pm," says the hospital spokesperson.
He adds that unfortunately Deshmukh couldnt get the liver on time. "Very sick patients rarely give doctors enough time. If the donor liver had been found on time, he would have had a chance," he says.
Every state government was willing to help, but there were no donors. "Today, after he passed away, there were two donors available, but it was too late. That is how life is," he says.
17:07 Tributes pour in for Vilasrao across party lines: PM
: He was a valued colleague and an able administrator, we will miss him in Parliament. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kuma
r: His death has caused irreparable loss to politics and society. I pray that God will give enough strength to his family and followers in this hour of sorrow. BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad
: He was a great person with a warm personality. Congress MP Milind Deora:
He was a close friend and a mentor.BJP's Prakash Javdeka
r: Big loss for MaharashtraNCP's Praful Pate
l: He had immense knowledge
Reactions yet to come in from Vilasrao Deshmukh's hometown Latur. When the former CM was hospitalised, the district held community prayers for his well being. Read
: Latur prays for Vilasrao
Karan Johar @kjohar25 RIP VILASRAO SIR.... thoughts and prayers with the family....love u riteish... all the strength...and all the courage...
16:39 Shiv Aroor @ShivAroor Someone, somewhere is already thinking about how to bury the Adarsh Scam with Mr Deshmukh. Two RIPs with one stone. Wouldn't surprise.
Derek O'Brien @quizderek An eerie silence in RajyaSabha when Vilasrao Deshmukh's passing was announced. Someday we'll all be on that highway to heaven
16:38 In the wake of Vilasrao Deshmukh's death, Independence Day celebrations at Rashtrapati Bhavan have been cancelled.
16:31 From sarpanch to union minister: The rise and rise of Vilasrao:
As tributes pour in (we'll tell you who said what in a bit) here's a portrait of the former Maharashtra chief minister.
Deshmukh began his journey as an obscure village sarpanch to a powerful chief minister and Union minister and was a political craftsman adept at turning challenges into opportunities.
Beginning his political journey as sarpanch of Babhalgaon village panchayat in 1974, Vilasrao Dagadojirao Deshmukh (67), negotiated the choppy political waters of Maharashtra with elan, becoming chief minister twice before moving over to Delhi as a member of the Union cabinet.
Hailing from the politically dominant Maratha community, Deshmukh, a graduate from the ILS Law College, Pune, was a grassroots Congress worker, who proved his mettle at all stages in his impressive political career.
Deshmukh was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1980 and followed it up with victories in 1985 and 1990. He held important portfolios of revenue, cooperation, agriculture, home, industries and education as a minister in the state between 1982 and 1995.
Deshmukh received a big setback when he lost the elections in 1995 to Shivajirao Patil Kavhekar but came back with a resounding triumph in the 1999 poll when he won by a margin of over 90,000 votes.
His political sagacity landed him the coveted chief minister's chair for the first time in October, 1999. He continued in the post from October 18, 1999 to January 17, 2003, when he had to make way for Sushilkumar Shinde, amid growing factionalism in the state Congress.
Never known to sulk in a quiet corner, the hard-boiled politician from Latur won the Legislative Assembly polls in October 2004 and was sworn in as chief minister for the second time on November 1 that year.
16:26 Dr Manmohan Singh @PMOIndiaPM: Mr Deshmukh was a trusted colleague and an able administrator who worked at Panchayat, State and Central levels with admirable dedication.
16:25 Body will lie in state from 9 am to 3 pm tomorrow:
The mortal remains of Vilasrao Deshmukh will be brought to Latur tomorrow and kept at his house in Babhalgaon from 9 am to 3 pm for people to pay their last respects, his brother Dilip Deshmukh, said.
16:20 State funeral for Vilasrao at 4pm in Latur tomorrow:
Earlier in the day, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned after news of his death came in. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde informed the Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid his condolences as well.
Jaya Bachchan pays her condolences outside Parliament House saying Riteish is a good friend of the family and in Deshmukh's death, the nation has lost a promising leader.
16:14 Deshmukh's funeral in hometown Latur at 4 pm :
Vilasrao Deshmukh's funeral will be held at his hometown in Babhalgaon in Latur. The Funeral procession will begin at 3 pm with the last rites at 4 pm. The flag will be flown at half mast. Deshmukh passed away at 1.40 pm at the Global Health City super-specialty hospital where he was to undergo a liver transplant.
16:07 The first tweets on Deshmukh's passing:
Farhan Azmi @abufarhanazmi RIP Vilasrao Deshmukh Ji.. An extremely sad day.. May God give the family, courage & patience to bear this huge loss :(
His father, Abu Azmi is the Maharashtra chief of the Samajwadi Party.
Vijay Mallya @TheVijayMallya Very sorry to hear about the sad passing away of Vilasrao Deshmukh. He was an outstanding leader and a friend.
Narendra Modi @narendramodi Sad to know about the demise of Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to his family.
16:03 Vilasrao Deshmukh's death huge loss to party: Sonia:
Sonia Gandhi says that Vilasrao Deshmukh's death is a huge loss to the party. In fact, the central government was planning to give Deshmukh bigger responsibilities on matters related to the state ahead of the 2014 elections.
Deshmukh always shared cordial equations with alliance partners. This often helped in resolving the crisis without stretching the matter too far.
Deshmukh will be remembered recently during the the controversial issue of the Lokpal Bill last year, when the Congress core group reaffirmed their faith in his ability to resolve the crisis, by making him an intermediary to engage in talks with Anna Hazare and his team.
15:57 When news first broke that Vilasrao Deshmukh was critically ill in hospital two weeks ago, the government transferred his portfolio -- Science and Technology Minister -- to Vayalar Ravi, who also handles the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry.
15:53 Tributes pour in for Vilasrao Deshmukh:
Reactions coming in on Vilsarao Deshmukh's death... He passed away at around 1.30 pm.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi says she is shocked to learn of his demise.
Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan says his loss will be deeply felt.
Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan says he was known as a great leader and he was a great strength to the Congress. "He was very witty, could handle the opposition, his loss will be deeply felt," says Chavan.
Ironically, just today, the 31-year-old school van driver, who was declared brain-dead and whose liver and kidney were to be transplanted in Deshmukh, died at 2.45am ahead of the transplant. Doctors at the Government General Hospital said he suffered a cardiac arrest. Although his family had agreed for organ donation at 9 pm yesterday, they later refused by the time the police arrived at the hospital a little after midnight.
Vilasrao Deshmukh was admitted to the Global Hospital in Chennai with a liver ailment a week ago. Deshmukh, 67, was suffering from multiple organ failure, had cirrhosis of liver and had dysfunctional kidneys,
He had been hospitalised in Mumbai's Breach Candy hospital but when his condition deteriorated further, he was put on life support systems and it was then decided to shift him to Chennai in an air ambulance.
Dr Mohammed Rela, a renowned liver transplant specialist, was attending to him. Deshmukh's liver ailment was detected during a routine medical check-up over a year ago. Since then his family has been examining all options, including a liver transplant either abroad or in Chennai or New Delhi
15:35 4 Congo Olympic athletes go missing after Cameroon boxers:
Four members of Congo's Olympic team are believed to have gone missing in London, as their fellow London 2012 athletes and officials flew home. Their disappearance took the number of missing or untraced African athletes and delegates to 15.
According to the Daily Mail, details of the apparent Congo defections came, as it emerged that at least five members of the Cameroon team have pleaded to be allowed to stay in Britain rather than return with their teammates. The British Home Office refused to say whether the five, all boxers, were seeking asylum, the paper said.
15:25 Huffington Post launches social streaming video:
If you're a Huffington Post regular, read this. the Huffington Post is launching HuffPost Live, a streaming video network with a heavy emphasis on user participation via webcam, smartphone or tablet. "From the beginning, one of our goals has been to try and create the most social video experience possible,' said Huffington Post founding editor and HuffPost Live president Roy Sekoff.More
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was on Sunday widely criticized for sending a farmer, Shiladitya Chowdhury, she alleged was a Maoist to jail for asking her an uncomfortable question at a rally in Belpahari, Midnapore. While the CPM was predictably scathing with senior leader Nilotpal Basu saying the arrest amounted to autocracy, BJP, which usually refrains from being critical of Banerjee, said political parties can't run away from answering questions. More
15:16 Mamata: Court verdicts are purchased :
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee steps into a mine field. Slamming the judiciary, she says, "At times court verdicts are purchased." She made the comments in the state assembly today.
15:13 Security tightened across Assam on Independence Day eve:
Security has been tightened across Assam on the eve of Independence Day with additional forces deployed at sensitive locations to foil any attempt by militant outfits to create disturbances.
"We have deployed additional forces...There is some intelligence feedback about attempt by anti-talk faction of ULFA to trigger blasts in upper Assam districts," DGP J N Choudhury said here today.
The state police is coordinating with other security agencies to maintain peace and thwart attempt by militant groups to disrupt peace on the day. A 'red alert' has already been sounded across the state, which witnessed a few IED blasts targeted at security personnel during the past couple of weeks, particularly in Goalpara district. The anti-talk faction of ULFA has called a customary state-wide bandh on the day.
14:46 Bangalore couples turn to cops for counseling:
As the three stars with a red-and-blue ribbon on his shoulder strap will tell you, M.L. Purushotham is a police inspector. But here's his unofficial job description: redeemer of relationships and savior of marriages. Read
14:43 Paan stains dot the sidewalks of Queens, NYC:
"On a stroll through the busy streets of Jackson Heights, Queens, Sahadev Poudel kept gesturing at the ground with disgust," Nicholas Hirshon wrote in The New York Times. "He stopped on the sidewalks in front of sari boutiques and Indian grocery stores, pointing out stains that looked like dried blood."Read
14:32 VK Singh may enter politics 'if it benefits nation':
Former Army Chief General VK Singh today said that he was ready to venture into politics if it is in the interest of the nation, and added that this did not mean that he had already made his foray into politics.
"It is said that ''cross the bridge, when it comes''. So, I will cross the bridge, only when it comes. First, let things happen, then we will see. See, there are a lot of options in this country. I have said that if anything happens which would be in the interest of the country, then I am ready to venture into that territory. That does not mean I have made my foray into politics or I am joining a political party," General (retired) Singh said.
There have been speculations in the media that the former army chief has plans to join politics, after he shared the dais first with anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare and then yoga guru Baba Ramdev. General (retired) Singh, however, denied that politics is always dirty and stated that there are some honest politicians as well, but unfortunately they are not in the limelight.
14:26 Did Sushil Kumar really bite opponent's ear?:
India's Sushil Kumar, who won silver in the final of the men's freestyle 66kg event on the final day of the 2012 London Games, could find himself in the eye of controversy after video analysis indicates he bit the ear of his opponent in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Backed by vociferous Indian spectators, Sushil wrapped up the first period against the Kazakh wrestler 3-0 in the high-voltage semi-final clash, but lost the second by an identical score. In the crucial third round the 29-year-old was lagging 0-3 behind but with 34 second left, Sushil pegged Tanatrov down to score two more points and move to 5-3.
Read more here.
: Sushil: I'm vegetarian!
14:18 Maha CM meets PM on Saturday's Mumbai riots :
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to brief him about the violence in Mumbai following protests against Assam riots.
Chavan met the PM at his office in Parliament to explain the steps taken by his government to control the violence that broke out in Mumbai after a rally by Raza Academy on Saturday to protest the killings of Muslims in Assam.
"I met the Prime Minister to brief him about the violence in Mumbai and the action taken by the government," he said. Chavan had reportedly sought an intelligence probe to ascertain the conspiracy angle in Saturday's rioting in Mumbai which claimed two lives and left 54 people injured.
He will also meet Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and other Central leaders during his visit here. Chavan appeared dismissive about opposition demands for removal of Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil
14:15 Std VIII student commits suicide after being heckled by villagers:
CNN IBN reports that a 13-year-old girl has committed suicide in Asansol near Kolkata after being heckled at a village meet. The girl's father has lodged an FIR against nine people, he says were complicit in her suicide. The girl who is a student of Std VIII set herself on fire as she felt humiliated at the meet. The girl was allegedly molested and she and her parents had approached the village elders for justice. However, the elders dissuaded them from filing the complaint and her parents said she was heckled at the meet.
13:49 Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown dies at 90:
In other news, Helen Gurley Brown, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and author of Sex and the Single Girl, has died at 90, magazine publisher Hearst says.Brown died in New York shortly after being admitted to hospital. Read
13:46 Kanda's lawyer says that the minister has been absent from investigations (another way of seeing absconding, we presume) because he fears arrest. Kanda moved the Delhi high court for anticipatory bail for the second time yestereay. The case will be heard today. Police said the MLA was buying time to destroy every piece of evidence -- computers and hard disks have been reported missing from the MDLR office.
13:42 Lawyer: Bold Geetika wanted relationship with Kanda:
Gopal Goyal Kanda's lawyer says that Geetika "probably wanted a relationship" with his client. "She was a bold and ambitious person," he adds for good measure. The former Haryana minister continues to evade the police for the 10th day today with investigators raising questions about his role in his former employee Geetika Sharma's suicide, citing an unusual clause in her service contract.
Sources said Geetika may have been exploited by Kanda -- main accused in the suicide case -- and his associates in 'every possible way' with promises of a bright career. Geetika's appointment letter, they said, required her to report to Kanda, the MDLR Group managing director, 'every evening'.Read
more on the TOI.
13:37 Yale reviewing relationship with Zakaria:
Yale may review its relationship with university trustee and alumnus Fareed Zakaria, the Yale Daily News reports, after Zakaria was suspended from Time and CNN Friday for plagiarism. Read
13:32 Newsroom responses to Zakaria plagiarism :
And another one -- The Fareed Zakaria plagiarism scandal has an interesting unintended consequence: it highlights how media outlets respond differently to plagiarism and fabrication cases. Read
13:17 The Importance of Delhis Bus Corridor:
And news of another city -- the fate of Delhi's attempt to use bus corridors as part of its public transportation system will be decided by the city's High Court. If Delhi doesn't proceed, it would be among the minority of world cities without bus corridors. Read
13:15 Mumbai traffic gets more female cops:
Even as reports emerge that female constables in Mumbai were molested by the mob during Saturday's riots at Azad Maidan, the Mumbai's traffic police is likely to implement a nearly 20-year-old policy that says that at least 30% of the police force should consist of women. Read the report
on the WSJ blogs.
13:06 Inflation declines to 6.87% in July:
Inflation declined to 6.87 per cent in July as the rate of price rise of the food articles category eased a little, although pressure remained on potato, pulses and rice as well as manufactured items. Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 7.25 per cent in June. In July last year, it was 9.36 per cent. Overall, food inflation declined to 10.06 per cent in July, from 10.81 per cent in June.
12:58 Shooting near the outskirts of Bangalore:
Reports of shooting on the outskirts of Bangalore near Ram Nagar, reports NDTV.com. Three boys on bike shot at the Bank manager of Muthoot Finance and fled. The manager has been shifted to a hospital near by. Police verifying if it is personal rivalry or whether they were attempting to loot the bank. Details are awaited.
12:48 Olympics closing ceremony attracts record 26 million TV viewers :
The closing ceremony of the London Olympics attracted a record 26 million viewers in the UK, the biggest audience compared to any other previous Olympics closing ceremony.
It almost equaled the number of viewers, who watched the opening, according to a report. According to The Telegraph, the BBC said the audience peaked at 26.3 million at 9.35 pm, as thousands of Olympic athletes from around the world streamed into the stadium while Elbow performed live.
12:32 Driver who was to donate liver, kidney to Vilasrao Deshmukh dies:
The 31-year-old school van driver, who was declared brain-dead and whose liver and kidney were to be transplanted in Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, died at 2.45am ahead of the transplant.Doctors at the Government General Hospital said he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Although his family had agreed for organ donation at 9 pm on Monday, they later refused by the time the police arrived at the hospital a little after midnight. An ambulance from the Global Hospitals was stationed outside the GH's casualty ward.Full story
on the Times of India.
12:29 Inflation declines to 6.87 per cent in July, from 7.25 per cent in June.
12:22 Olympic flag reaches Rio -- host of 2016 Games:
Moving on to other news now, the Olympic flag arrived in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the 2016 Summer Games -- a challenge which authorities in Brazil say the city is prepared to conquer.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes stepped off a plane carrying the flag, accompanied by Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the 2016 Games Organising Committee and Rio Governor Sergio Cabral. "The arrival of the Olympic flag marks a period of transformation in the city," Paes told reporters. "This is a unique opportunity for Brazil -- a time of great celebration."
12:20 People disperse from the maidan even as Ramdev addresses an impromptu press meet saying much of the same thing -- "War is won, but the battle is on," he says. He says the success of a revolution is decided by the people.
12:13 Thanking the crowd for their continued support, he takes the mike and sings (that's an euphemism) Vande Mataram. That's followed by chants of Bharatmata ki jai.
Now, an elderly woman, bent over and barely able to stand on her feet, showers rose petals on Ramdev. Looks uncannily like pictures of Shabari (the woman who offer Lord Ram, bor fruits after tasting each one) in Amar Chitra Katha. Whoever has written the script the Ramdev drama has done a good job.
12:05 Only the confetti is missing as Ramdev and his aides sip on nimbu paani amid a shower of rose petals. He tells the the crowd that he will now go to Haridwar and bathe in the Ganges and eat a meal. He has not eaten for six days or bathed either.
As far as more agitations go, he says it will be nearer the Lok Sabha polls.
12:02 Children offer nimbu paani, Ramdev breaks fast :
Ramdev breaks his fast by accepting a glass of lime juice at the hands of two children from the Balmiki community. Taking a sip, he also offers the glass to his aides on the stage.
11:58 Utho, jaago, time for sitting is over: Ramdev:
Incidentally, every single person at the stadium is on their feet, some waving flags, but most just listening to Ramdev and cheering when he says something rousing (which is fairly often). The reason why they are on their feet is because Ramdev urged them earlier on to stand up because "the time of sitting is over".
He then went to blame the Congress for all the ills in the country -- black money, corruption, inflation, among others. "Promise yourself," he roars, "that you will not allow a single corrupt member of the Congress to return to Parliament in 2014. You should vote only for those who are willing to tackle black money and corruption."
"The Congress has written its name on the top of the most corrupt list," he says.
11:43 Much like Anna Hazare, who broke his 12-day fast at Ramlila grounds in August last year at the hands of two little girls -- Simran (a Dalit) and Ikrah (a Muslim), Ramdev has announced that he will break his fast by accepting coconut water from somebody of the Balmiki community.
11:38 We are leaving because we have won: Ramdev:
Ramdev tells his supporters that the fast will end this afternoon. Remember he has been fasting for a week now. "We are leaving because we have won," he says. Loud cheers greet the announcement.
11:36 Ramdev: Fast to end, agitation will continue:
At the Ambedkar stadium, Ramdev says the NCP (an UPA ally) and the SP have supported his campaign against black money. He tells his followers -- exact numbers not available -- but TV reports claim they are between 7000 and 8000 -- that the fast may end, but the agitation will go on.
Earlier in the day senior BJP leader LK Advani had arrived at the stadium.
11:32 Ramdev to end fast, leave for Haridwar ashram soon:
Baba Ramdev is likely to vacate Ambedkar stadium by this afternoon. From Delhi, he is likely to leave for his ashram in Haridwar. In June last year, the police had escorted Ramdev to his ashram after the arrest and the midnight clampdown and lathicharge on his followers.
This time around, both Ramdev and the government have been careful to avoid clashes.
Yesterday, on the way from the Ramlila grounds to Parliament House, Ramdev repeatedly told his followers to observe peace and listen to police orders. The police on its part controlled the crowds without the use of force.
11:26 The prime target in Baba Ramdev's tirade at Ambedkar Stadium, underway now, is the prime minister, who he takes to task for not doing enough to curb corruption, all this said to rapturous sloganeering from the crowd.
11:24 Ramdev fast: Shinde talks to PM:
According to media reports, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has discussed the security situation -- in the wake of Ramdev and his supporters camping at Ambedkar Stadium -- with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
11:21 Baba Ramdev takes to the stage at Ambedkar stadium, it's an SRO affair, the crowd loving every single word he is uttering about his andolan. But the question on the police's mind: Will he announce an end to his fast and move out with his supporters? For, tomorrow is Independence Day, and the area needs to be sanitised in time for the prime minister's address.
11:16 Will NOT use force to evict Ramdev: Police:
The Delhi police have ruled out the possibility of using force to evict Ramdev and his supporters from Ambedkar Stadium.
The police have requested Ramdev and his supporters to leave the venue of their protest fast, stating that they have made arrangements for the crowd to leave peacefully.
11:12 Delhi police request Ramdev to leave, crowd in no mood to listen:
The Ramdev Lila is underway at New Delhi's Ambedkar stadium, where the yoga guru and his followers were confined last night. The Delhi police have repeatedly requested Ramdev to vacate the stadium along with his followers, and while his fan club there is clearly turning restive, the yoga guru is reported to be ready to break his fast and leave the venue for his base, Haridwar.
Right now maverick politician Ram Jethmalani is addressing the gathering.
Meanwhile, TV channels are reporting that the government has decided not to use force to evict the yoga guru from Ambedkar stadium. With Ramdev himself indicating that he will break his fast by noon today, things may not get out of hand. At least not yet.
11:04 Sensex down by 21 pts in morning trade:
In range-bound movement, the BSE benchmark Sensex today declined by nearly 21 points in early trade ahead of July inflation data amid profit-booking by speculators.
The 30-share barometer, which has gained 75.71 points yesterday, fell by 20.43 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 17,613.02, with stocks of realty, capital goods and healthcare sectors falling on profit-booking.
Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 8.30 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 5,339.60.
11:03 Re declines by 29 paise in early trade:
The rupee depreciated by 29 paise to 55.63 against the dollar in early trade today, extending losses for the third day in a row on the Interbank Foreign Exchange on continued demand for the American currency.
Besides increased dollar demand from importers, a lower opening in the domestic equity market put pressure on the rupee, forex dealers said.
11:02 Just In: India's exports in July declined 14.8 per cent to USD22.4 billion.
09:25 We averted '1992-like' situation: Mumbai top cop:
Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik has said that the city's police force managed to avert a "1992-like situation" by reacting promptly to the violence that broke out on Saturday during a protest rally.
Two people were killed when protesters, who were part of a rally against Assam violence, suddenly turned violent.
Patnaik added that the police will treat the probe into the incident with the same importance it would accord to a terror strike investigation.
09:22 Delhi police may evict Ramdev and his supporters:
The Delhi police may evict yoga guru Ramdev and his followers if they don't leave Ramlila Maidan, the venue of their protest fast, soon, according to media reports.
Earlier, Ramdev had stated that he would end his fast at 11 am on Tuesday, "but the movement will continue".
02:16 3 killed in shooting near Texas university:
Police say at least one law enforcement officer and one civilian have been killed in a shooting near Texas A&M University's campus. Assistant Chief Scott McCollum says the gunman also was shot today before being taken into custody.
McCollum say the officer killed was a constable with Brazos County. He says a College Station police officer and another woman also were injured in the shooting.
01:58 Russia slams new US sanctions on Iran:
Russia's Foreign Ministry has harshly criticized new US sanctions on Iran, calling them "undisguised blackmail" and warning that relations between Washington and Moscow will suffer if Russian companies are affected.
The US Congress on August 1 slapped sanctions on Iran's energy, shipping and financial industries as part of an effort to pressure Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. The new sanctions would hit foreign companies that mine uranium with Iran or help it export oil by providing tankers, insurance or banking services.
00:23 Wrestlers Sushil, Yogeshwar arrive to rousing welcome:
Wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt were tonight accorded a grand welcome as they returned after their historic exploits at the London Olympic Games.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to receive the star wrestlers along with the family members of the grapplers. The fans, who came with garlands, bouquets and sweets, danced to deafening drum beats while they waited for the wrestlers to come out of Terminal 3 of the airport.
Members of the Sports Authority of India were also there to receive the duo. While Sushil won a silver medal in the 66 kg freestyle wrestling category, Yogeshwar clinched a bronze in the 60 kg category.
00:16 US university: Shooter on campus apprehended:
Texas A&M University says a shooter has been taken into custody near its campus in College Station. The university issued a warning on its website just before 12:30 pm today warning of an active shooter near the campus football stadium, Kyle Field.
The warning tells residents and students to avoid the area. The university later said the shooter was taken into custody, but warned residents and students to still avoid the area. There was no immediate information on injuries. College Station lies about 144.83 kilometers northwest of Houston.