23:22 Jazz great Dave Brubeck passes away:
Pioneering jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck has died, aged 91. The musician, whose recordings included Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk, was once designated a "living legend" by the US Library of Congress.
He died on Wednesday morning in hospital in Connecticut, his manager Russell Gloyd told the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
Read more on BBC
22:28 PM: Israel committed to Palestinian peace deal:
Israel remains committed to a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, despite worries among the Jewish state's European allies over its plans to build more settlements.
"We remain committed to a negotiated settlement between us and our Palestinian neighbors," Netanyahu said during a visit to Prague. "That solution is a two-state solution for two peoples, a peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognize the one and only Jewish state of Israel."
22:18 Human rights body seeks help to bring back convicted AP couple:
The Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission (APSHRC) today directed the state government to file a report before it by February 4 on a petition seeking its assistance for the release of the couple convicted in Norway.
In her petition, practicing advocate A Ramya Kumari said that the Norwegian authorities should consider the future of the couple's kids and requested the commission to take measures to bring back the couple home. "Taking children away or examining them on frivolous grounds would have psychological impact on the children," the petitioner said.
21:57 UN chief blames rich for warming:
Rich countries are to blame for climate change and should take the lead in forging a global climate pact by 2015, a deadline that "must be met," the head of the United Nations said today.
On the sidelines of international climate talks in Qatar, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was "only fair and reasonable that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility" in fighting the gradual warming of the planet.
Ban's comments echoed the concerns of China and other developing countries, which say rich nations have a historical responsibility for global warming because their factories released carbon emissions into the atmosphere long before the climate effects were known.
21:25 Abbas says new Israeli settlements 'red line':
An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated today. Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, and the Palestinian president said he would seek UN Security Council help to block the construction.
Israel is moving ahead despite mounting international condemnation of its settlement plans, some of them activated last week in retaliation for the UN General Assembly's acceptance of a state of Palestine as a non-member observer.
21:04 Crucial all-party meet on Telangana:
December 28 is going to be a decisive day for the three major political parties in Andhra Pradesh -- Congress, Telugu Desam and YSR Congress. With the Centre finally convening an all-party meeting in New Delhi on that day on the vexatious Telangana issue, these parties will now have to clearly spell out where they exactly stand on the state bifurcation issue.
The last meeting of eight "recognised" political parties from Andhra Pradesh on the Telangana issue was held long ago on January 6, 2011, a week after the Justice Srikrishna Committee submitted its report to the Centre. TDP abstained from that meeting while Congress did not spell out its stand.
20:38 Government is in a minority : Mamata:
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, commenting on the victory of the UPA government in the Lok Sabha by a slender margin of 35 votes on the motion on FDI today said that it was a minority government.
"The government is in a minority," Banerjee told reporters here. In a post on Facebook, she said "The mandate today proves that the UPA-II is a minority Government.
As against the majority figure of 271, based on the total strength of the House, the support was only 253, despite all attempts made by the selfish people.
19:29 More reactions: External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid says, "I believe this will change the face of the country. We won because of our confidence, not arrogance (alluding to Sushma Swaraj's remarks)."
MM Joshi says two parties (Samajwadi Party and BSP) staged a walkout which led to the defeat of the FDI vote. "Sarkar ne jugaad kiya," he says and is driven away in his car.
19:23 BJP: Victory smacks of arrogance of power :
More reactions: A grim Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath says FDI win is the defeat of BJP politics. Sushma Swaraj says: "The win smacks of arrogance of power. The government has won a technical fight, but has lost a moral battle."
19:19 FDI win is reform over ideological blinkers: Cong :
As expected, the Left hits out at the UPA after losing the FDI vote, saying a party with PM says FDI in multibrand retail has the approval fo the house.
The government on a high after winning the FDI vote. Manish Tewari calls it the victory of reform and pragmatism over ideological blinkers. A smiling Kapil Sibal says, "This is what a vibrant democracy can do. As the leader of the opposition said, the persons who speak on the floor of the house represent democracy. We are very happy today."
The Rajya Sabha debates FDI tomorrow, with the voting on Friday.
18:57 UPA wins FEMA vote in Parliament:
Only 471 in a house of 543 voted today. Now, the TMC motion on FEMA amendments goes like this: For: 254, Against: 224. So the UPA wins the vote on FEMA amendments as well.
The BJP's motion against FDI is defeated in the Lok Sabha. Here's the figure: 218 MPs vote for the motion (Sushma Swaraj's motion against FDI), while 253 vote against the motion. No 'abstain' votes, which is what won the day for the government.
18:46 Lok Sabha votes for FDI: 253 TO 218:
All arguments are over. The Speaker reads out Sushma Swaraj's motion against FDIs to a chorus of ayes and noes. The half-way mark is 251. The lobbies have been cleared. The automatic voting is to begin now.
This is how the voting will take place. Each MP is allotted a seat. Each
seat has four buttons: For, Against, Abstain, Present. When the bell
rings, the MP presses the initiation or present button and then the
button of his/her choice: For/Against/Abstain. The MP has to hold down
the button for 10 seconds till a bell is rung. If there is a mistake he
can correct it, by pressing the right button, but before the bell rings.
The result shows up on each seat.
TMC's Sougata Roy simply refuses to stop much like a Duracell battery. Meira Kumar says nothing will be put on record, but Roy cannot be stopped.
18:33 Swaraj blams Mulayam for FDI implementation:
Sushma Swaraj blames Mulayam Singh Yadav directly for the FDI vote. She uses the Muslim card (Muslims will be affected the most) and says the debate is not about communalism but business. "If Mulayamji hadn't walked out, the vote would not have been implemented," said Swaraj. She also takes a dig at Mulayam and Maya, saying the CBI is the reason for the walkout.
TMC's Sougata Roy holding forth now. MPs don't want to hear him, and neither does the Speaker and despite repeated requests to end his speech, he continues. "Madam, five minutes, please madam, five minutes," he pleads.
18:23 Swaraj: Muslims most affected by FDI:
Sushma Swaraj throws in the communal spanner. She says the community most affected by FDI will be Muslims, not Hindus. "The vote is not about voting with communal forces (alluding to BSP's statement that it would not vote with communal forces -- the BJP)." "Even Mulayamji requested Soniaji to withdraw from FDI," she says. Addressing the PM, she says the FDI debate is about "char crore logon ki roji, aur bees crore logon ki roti." The PM listens impassively.
18:14 Swaraj holds sway :
Outside Parliament Mulayam Singh Yadav defends the walkout by the SP saying the party had to do it since FDI was an insult to farmers and it was well thought out. Twenty-one MPs of the BSP walked out with 22 MPs of the SP.
The suave MoS HRD Shashi Tharoor pops up to ask Sushma Swaraj to retract her statement saying he had told her that the Congress did not allow him to speak. "I did not say it, and I respectfully ask you to retract it:" Swaraj ignores him.
18:09 Swaraj takes the floor for a final recap :
Sushma Swaraj gets the final slot to end the debate before the vote begins. With the BSP and SP staging a walkout the halfway mark comes down to 251. Swaraj rubbishes Sibal's debate saying he was forced to stand there and say something and it was obvious he did not come prepared. Sibal smiles and nods his head gamely.
To Lalu, she says, here's a couplet for you: "Aapko gaathen kholna nahin aata aur maskari ke elawa bolna nahin aata." That's the stinger of a reply to his Lalu's couple to Swaraj earlier.
18:00 How the voting happens :
This is how the voting will take place. Each MP is allotted a seat. Each seat has four buttons: For, Against, Abstain, Present. When the bell rings, the MP presses the initiation or present button and then the button of his/her choice: For/Against/Abstain. The MP has to hold down the button for 10 seconds till a bell is rung. If there is a mistake he can correct it, by pressing the right button, but before the bell rings. The result shows up on each seat.
17:56 FDI voting to place shortly: BSP, SP walkout :
The BSP's walkout brings down numbers needed by the UPA. This is how the numbers stack up. For: Congress: 201, DMK: 18, RJD: 4, NCP: 9, Others: 21
Against: NDA: 152, Left: 24, TMC: 19, ADMK: 9, BJD: 14.
SP MPs also walk out of Parliament.
17:47 BSP with 21 MPs walks out of LS before FDI vote :
Sharma argues the point of compulsion versus consensus. He says he had met former ally TMC chief Mamata Banerjee three times and discussed FDI with her, but she was insistent that she did not want FDI. "We respected her decision and took a decision ourselves that will not ask any state to comply with FDI in retail. It was left entirely optional -- whichever state wanted FDI could choose to introduce it. If the state did not want FDI, it was free to abstain. So, this allegation that we have been hearing from the Opposition since the debate opened yesterday that they were not consulted is a lie," says Sharma.
And yes, the BSP with 21 MPs has walked out of the Lok Sabha.
17:41 While uproar breaks out in Parliament as Anand Sharma debates his point, here's a news flash. The Supreme Court has directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water from the Cauvery River to Tamil Nadu.
17:40 Cong: BJP has repeatedly changed stance on FDI:
Sharma continues his debate. "There should not be any confusion between consensus and debate. We consulted 12 farmers' unions about FDI before we put forth our stance that FDI is required for India. It did not come out of the blue and was not taken overnight. Eleven chief ministers gave their nod for FDI, but the centre is not forcing any state to accept FDI. The NDA ruled states of Gujarat, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have not opposed FDI in writing. But the BJP has repeatedly changed its stance on FDI."
17:34 Commerce minister Anand Sharma debates FDI in retail :
Commerce and Industries minister Anand Sharma speaking now. It's basically a recap of what the Congress' arguments for FDI. He reiterates that wastage of farm produce is 35 to 40 per cent (as mentioned by Kapil Sibal) and not 10 per cent (as stated by MM Joshi). "About Rs 65,000 crore is lost per year. As an agrarian economy we have to ensure minimum wastage. Farmers suffer due to lack of food management," says Anand Sharma.
17:34 Hooda: Haryana farmers can produce 20 inch potatoes:
Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot seem to be using this moment to catch up each other. Milind Deora is with them as well.
Gowda is done with his speech. The House livens up as Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda speaks.
He is Harayana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda's son. Hooda brings up the size of potatoes argument that Sushma Swaraj had made yesterday -- that MNCs like McDonald's force farmers to dump produce since it doesn't match the requisite size. Hooda says Sushma Swaraj's statement that McDonald's procured potatoes from the US was wrong. "Their potatoes are procured from Gujarat. If Gujarat [a BJP-run state] can't produce the requisite size, farmers in Haryana can produce potatoes of any size," he grins.
He says every single time there is a move to modernise the country -- introduction of laptops, the metro rail, even toothpaste, the opposition is up in arms saying the livelihood of people are at stake. "Yet people haven't lost their jobs because of laptops, jobs have increased, auto rickshaws still ply the roads in cities that have metros, and people still use neem sticks to clean their teeth. So, what is this argument about?"
Speaker Meira Kumar, who is back in the chair, tells him to wind up. And after some empassioned arguments, Hooda concedes the floor to commerce and industries minister Anand Sharma.
16:52 And now, a dull moment as Deve Gowda speaks:
With few exceptions, most MPs would have a hard time getting the attention of the House after Lalu speaks. And Deve Gowda, a former PM, is anything but an interesting speaker. Mumble, stumble, some more mumble, the gist of which is farmer suicides. He asks, "Everyone knows there is wide-spread loot in this country, but where is the money going? I oppose FDI in multi-brand retail. We need to save our farmers." MPs seem to use Gowda's speech time as a breather after some exacting moments of debate by other members. No obvious shut-eye, but they seem to have tuned off.
16:45 Lalu lila: Dedicates a couplet to Sushma Swaraj :
Lalu then looks at Sushma Swaraj and says that he will dedicate a shayari to her. But he first clears the ground saying he respects her and considers her, his elder sister (didi). The couplet goes something like this: Mohabbat mein tumhe ansoon bahane nahi ata, Benares aake Benares ka paan khana nahin aata! Swaraj takes it in with a smile as do the rest of the members.
The Speaker hurries him on saying she has a long list of MPs waiting to be heard. Lalu obliges. The next one up is Deve Gowda.
16:36 Lalu always aware of his huge draw as a speaker keeps his speech direct this time, but as always entertaining. Indicating the opposition, he says, "These people drive around in Mercedes but they have the cheek to opposed foreign investment!" he thunders.
16:34 Murli Manohar Joshi rebuts Sibal's figures from yesterday. He has obviously done his homework well. China, which figured prominently during the debate yesterday, comes up again. Joshi said China has 6,000 manufacturing units run by Walmart. "They may have run into losses, but the fact remains that they have captured a huge chunk of China's markets," says Joshi.
Back to Lalu Prasad Yadav and entertainment.
16:07 Ex-BMC commissioner starts cleaning up corrupt Mumbai:
Mumbai, India's most densely populated city, may have lost potential revenue of as much as 200 billion rupees, or $3.6 billion, a year because of violations, says Subodh Kumar, Mumbai's former BMC commissioner. Read
the report on the NYT
16:01 Anni Dewani murder: Killer given life sentence:
In other news: A South African man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Swedish woman Anni Dewani on her honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.Xolile Mngeni, 25, was convicted by a court in Cape Town of firing the shot that killed her.
His co-conspirators said they helped kill Mrs Dewani, 28, on the orders of her husband Shrien Dewani, who is from the English city of Bristol.A British court has halted his extradition, citing his mental health.Mr Dewani denies plotting to kill his wife. Read more
15:52 BJP: Kapil Sibal's FDI statistics flawed:
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi rebuts Kapil Sibal's arguments yesterday that post-harvest wastage was just 10 per cent and not 40 per cent as Sibal mentioned. He says that the BJP's idea to bring in FDI in 2004 was wrong, but "we have rectified our mistake," he says. He says the government should not sacrifice India, "sacrifice yourself, not India," he tells the treasury benches.
RJD chief provides a break to Parliamentarians after a day and a half of unaccustomed hard work. He calls the BJP puppets of the UPA. Predictable chaos, uproar, baith jaiye after which the LOk Sabha ajdourns.
15:25 SAD speech raises Congress hackles :
Lok Sabha has been adjourned after uproar over Lalu's comments on the BJP.
Earlier, Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Akali Dal talks about how the government's FDI decision is a "kisano ke pet mein laath". Uproar as expected after Congress MPs from Punjab protest. Kaur is loud and shrill enough to make herself be heard above the ruckus. But her speech, post-ruckus is a bit of a mumble interspersed with references to potatoes, and the Speaker's Baith Jaiye.
14:59 Circular to UP cops in run-up to Dabangg 2:
Someone is running scared of Dabangg 2, and it's not any of the other Khans worried about Salman breaking box-office records again with the sequel to his 2010 blockbuster this Christmas. Uttar Pradesh police chief Ambrish Chandra Sharma last week issued a directive asking policemen across the state to improve their behaviour while dealing with the public and not be highhanded. Read
14:50 CPI tells Sonia: Madam, you don't know history:
Back to Gurudas Dasgupta's debate in the Lok Sabha. Dasgupta tells Sonia Gandhi that she should brush up on her history saying the Communists were part of the history of the Congress. "You don't know your history, Madam. The communists were part of the Congress. Your party could not have evolved without us," he said.
Industries and commerce minister Anand Sharma helps Sonia out saying that the communists were indeed a part of the Congress till 1920.
14:47 Defiant IOA holds meeting: We did nothing wrong:
The IOA meeting is over. Defying the ban imposed by the International Olympic Committee, the IOA today went ahead with its Annual General Meeting and elections, insisting that it had not done anything wrong.
"The house unanimously decided that we did not do anything wrong by going ahead with the election process. We had already communicated to the IOC that the IOA will have to go ahead with the elections under the sports code because of the Delhi High Court order," IOA acting President V K Malhotra said on the sidelines of the AGM.
"In spite of this the IOC decided to suspend us, but we will try our level best to get the suspension revoked as soon as possible," he said after the meeting which lasted just over an hour.
14:43 CPI: PM ready to sacrifice his govt for Walmart :
In the Lok Sabha Left leader Gurudas Dasgupta says that while he knows the outcome of the FDI vote, "we will not run away from it." Congress MPs protest as does a normally quiet Sonia Gandhi. Dasgupta retraces his steps to say that he did not mean the government had bought votes, but that it had used political clout and to ensure it would get a majority. Dasgupta says that the PM is even willing to sacrifice his government for Walmart.
14:38 'Online shopping is the real threat to small shopkeepers':
Faced with opposition from its own allies like Mamata Banerjee, the government has shelved its proposal to allow Walmart and other multibrand foreign retailers to have majority stakes in Indian hypermarkets. Critics have accepted the bogus claim that foreign retailers will kill small Indian shopkeepers.
SA Aiyar's masterful piece Read
14:29 The Prithviraj Chavan interview:
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's efforts have won him the respect and admiration of Mumbai's corporate and civic elite. But the real estate industry and many political leaders, including some of his allies, have criticized Chavan, who was formerly a national minister overseeing science policy, for taking too long to change policies and approve projects. Read the transcripts of his interview here
14:23 Delhi Metro suffers over Rs 5 crore loss due to missing tokens:
Delhi Metro commuters are so fond of their contactless tokens that they take them home without depositing them at the counter while exiting, resulting in a loss of over Rs 5 crore since 2009 to the new age transport system.
Though announcements are made regularly at stations that taking away tokens is a punishable offence, commuters continue to either carry them or lose them during their journey on Delhi Metro.
Union Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi told Lok Sabha today that Delhi Metro suffered loses of Rs 5.6 crore since 2009 due to lost or stolen tickets.
14:18 Pak MI gathering information on journalists: Report:
Pakistan's Military Intelligence has launched a nationwide drive to gather information on journalists and columnists, with operatives going from door- to-door to ascertain details about their religion, passports and bank account numbers as part of a "verification process".
The intelligence operatives have approached journalists with a two-page form in Urdu to gather information on them, The News daily reported today. The names of nearly 100 well-known media personalities, including women journalists who live on their own and a columnist who is a sitting member of Parliament, are on the list of persons on whom information is being gathered, the report said.
14:04 Praful Patel said that Indians are a part and parcel of the outsourcing culture. "If you look at the US, people there are protesting because it is us Indians who are being hired. This is what we are going to be doing here. We need to change too. Is there anyone here who will protest against Indians being outsourced?" The house remained silent.
13:50 NCP: Undecided about allowing FDI in Maharashtra:
Update on the FDI debate. NCP senior leader Praful Patel says his party backs FDI. "What is this debate about? Trade cannot be a one-way debate! And what is the Shiv Sena's problem with malls, their leaders own malls."
Patel however said that while the NCP is an ally, it is still undecided about allowing FDI in retail for Maharashtra.
13:36 Sharon Stone suffered near fatal brain haemorrhage:
"Basic Instinct" star Sharon Stone says she suffered a near-fatal brain haemorrhage in 2001. The 54-year-old actress was at that time still married to
ex-husband Phil Bronstein and says the experience made her appreciate her life much more, reported Showbizspy. "My head blew up. It was almost as if I was shot. I had two unbelievably painful shots in the left side of my head that physically knocked me over on to the couch. I called Phil and said, 'I think I've had a stroke.' I was haemorrhaging into my brain for 11 days before they found out what was going on," Stone said.
"Yes, I had a 'white light' experience. It was a very beautiful and illuminating experience. It was a very profound thing to come back," she added.
The star, who has three sons, Roan, 12, Laird, seven, and six-year-old Quinn, also said that her experience, as well as going through a divorce, made her brave.
13:34 DA case: Jagan's judicial remand extended till Dec 19:
A special CBI court here today extended till December 19 the judicial remand of YSR Congress Party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and other accused in connection with the alleged disproportionate assets case involving him.
Jaganmohan Reddy, arrested by CBI on corruption charges and presently lodged in Chanchalguda prison here, was produced under heavy security before the First Additional Special Judge for CBI cases, along with former AP minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao, industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and others.
13:28 Believe it or not, but Air India's performance has 'improved':
In what would come as a surprise to passengers, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told Lok Sabha today that Air India's performance standards have improved and promotions to its employees, which had been stopped recently, will be started from next month.
He said during Question Hour, that though Air India was still suffering losses, its performance has improved and it has returned some of the loans taken from banks. "An oversight committee looks at performance standards of Air India every six months. So far, Air India has improved its performance standards," he said.
The minister stated that most recommendations of Justice Dharmadhikari Committee on integration of erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines employees have been implemented.
13:23 IOA to hold elections at 2 pm :
Defying the IOC, a day after it was suspended, the IOA will hold elections at 2 pm today. The IOC has said the elections will not be recognised. See our 12:04 pm post.
13:09 Mayawati jumps into well of the house in RS:
High drama in Rajya Sabha as BSP chief Mayawati jumps into well of the House. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha has demanded that the PM be present in the house. Arun Jaitley says the government is using the BSP for diversionary tactics. Maya has asked for a Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills in Mumbai.
In the Lok Sabha, Sharad Yadav has ended his speech. He invoked the East India Company, Chandragupta Maurya in his arguments. Interesting speech and well debated.
13:02 Finally, Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills land :
Meanwhile, the Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale today welcomed the Centre's announcement regarding handing over the India United (Indu) Mill land in Mumbai for the construction of a memorial of Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Reacting to Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma's statement on the issue in Lok Sabha today, Athawale thanked the Centre and said, "The long pending demand of lakhs of followers of Ambedkar has been fulfilled."
The state government should now help expedite the process of actual transfer of the land, by April 14, a party spokesperson said, quoting Athawale. Scores of Ambedkar followers are expected to gather here tomorrow, the death anniversary of the architect of the Constitution.
Earlier, Athawale had threatened to forcibly take over land at the defunct Mill, located near the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, if the Centre did not announce handing over the mill land for construction of the memorial. The agitation has been called off following today's announcement in Lok Sabha, RPI said.
12:56 LK Advani covers his face and shuts his eyes as Sharad Yadav drones on. Kapil Sibal listens intently. Before Yadav took the floor, CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia argued the party's case in FDI on retail. He said that earlier instances where the government decided to opening up the economy has resulted only killing local manufacturers. Acharya had to be pleaded with and cajoled by an exasperated Speaker to end his debate, which had far exceeded the time allotted to him.
12:47 JDU: If FDI is not rolled back, we will roll back the govt:
FDI vote in Parliament: Sharad Yadav of the JDU equates the debate to the Indo-US nuclear deal. He says the JDU does not want the government to to fall, if it did, it would have backed the TMC motion. "But the fact remains that the government is concerned about markets not the country. If retail FDI is not rolled back, the people will punish you -- you will lose the polls," he prophesies. "If FDI in retail is not rolled back, we will roll back the government," says Yadav.
12:40 SC gives Sahara time till February to refund investors:
In a huge relief to the Sahara group, the Supreme Court today gave the company time till February next year to pay Rs.
17,400 crore plus interest.
The court has directed Sahara to pay Rs.
5,120 crore upfront, and allowed it to pay the balance in two installments one in the first week of January and the next in the first week of February. Read
12:21 PM on FDI debate: Won't react to BJP's speech :
In the Lok Sabha, the debate on FDI has begun after Question Hour ends. The CPM says it will welcome FDI if it leads to employment and productivity.
The PM says that if the UPA wasn't confident of numbers it would not have allowed a debate.
12:16 PM on FDI debate: Don't want react to BJP speech :
After a four-hour debate in Parliament yesterday, the PM has finally reacted saying the government does not want to react to what the Leader of the Opposition said in Parliament today.
12:04 IOC: IOA cannot hold elections until we say so :
A day after a decision was made at the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board meeting in Laussane, to suspend the the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for holding elections under a controversial government sports code, the IOC said today that the IOA cannot hold elections until it's been given the go ahead.
The suspension decision came after the IOC was rked by the Indian government's interference in the election process, the IOC took this step having already warned the IOA.
Earlier, a Delhi court had directed IOA to hold the elections under a controversial government sports code, while the IOC wanted it to go by its own constitution and the Olympic charter.
The IOA is holding an AGM today to decide the road ahead, which the IOC says it cannot hold until pending issues are resolved and the executive board gives the go-ahead. The IOC said that the IOA must wait until the executive board decides to lift the suspension.
11:52 McDonald's rubbishes Sushma's potato claims:
McDonald's has rubbished the Sushma Swaraj's claim, saying "they import only on rare occasions when local supplies run out".
"Before setting up its business in India, McDonald''s had made a commitment to Government on local sourcing of its entire raw material requirement. We confidently and proudly state that ingredients used in our products are sourced locally that includes the French Fries," said McDonald's India (North & East) Managing Director Vikram Bakshi in a statement.
"We, along with our supplier, McCain, have worked closely with farmers in India to produce process-grade potato varieties. We continue to contribute in the growth of these farmers. McDonald''s remains steadfast to its commitment of working with local suppliers and farmers to source all its requirements in India," he added.
Swaraj also pointed out yesterday that US-based retail giant Walmart needs 36,000 stores to create 40 lakh jobs "Government says that FDI will generate employment for 40 lakh people. But going by figures if we have to employ so many people, then all companies like Wal-Mart, Tesco and others coming to India need to open over 36,000 stores in 53 cities, which means over 600 stores in each city," she said.
Swaraj said that all around the world, large supermarkets tend to keep high profits while giving low prices to farmers and low wages to workers. The senior BJP leader at the end of her debate urged the government to rollback its decision of permitting FDI in multi-brand retail. "Hum aapko harakar jeet darj nahi karna chahte hain, manakar jeet darj karana chahte hain," she said
11:49 'Sushma's statement exposes BJP's floor strategy: Cong :
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today said that Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj's statement towards the end of her debate on FDI in multi-brand retail has exposed the BJP's floor strategy on this discussion.
"I think that became very clear towards the end of the leader of opposition's debate. When she conceded that the entire intent of seeking a 184 was to try and persuade the government and not defeat the government. So, if the intent was to persuade then why a 184, the persuasion could have been done under 193 also," said Tewari.
"I think the contradiction inherent in the leader of opposition''s statement towards the end of her long diatribe really exposed the BJP and what their floor strategy on this debate is," he added, when asked whether there was any substance in the allegations levelled by the BJP for McDonald's has refuted Swaraj's claims that they import potatoes.
Swaraj, who initiated the debate on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha yesterday, said the Congress-led UPA Government''s claim that foreign investment would benefit farmers, consumers and generate employment was a myth. The BJP leader said the government''s argument that FDI in retail will benefit farmers is flawed.
"Big retail chains have failed in several countries. Retail FDI will wipe out the options available to consumers. The retail in control of big firms will wipe out the small consumers FDI will not benefit farmers," she added.
"Ask McDonald's about their fries. They never buy potatoes from local Indian farmers, saying the potatoes are too small here," she said, while citing the instances of how potato farmers are forced to throw their potatoes away while McDonald's imports the potatoes it uses.
11:39 Secret warship base comes up on east coast:
The Indian Navy is set to partially commission a secretive new strategic base on its east coast next year that will be the home port for its warships that sail to South East Asia, the South China Sea and the Pacific. Read
11:38 Media needs to more accurately reflect ties: Govt :
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has said the media needed to more "accurately reflect' the reality of India-China relations rather than "manufacture' stories, a day after Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi said the Indian Navy was prepared to go to the South China Sea to protect India's economic interests. Read
11:36 Bihar village bans women, girls from using mobile phones:
A village council in the state of Bihar this week prohibited unmarried women and girls from using mobile phones, saying that they promote extramarital affairs and unsanctioned marriages and erode the moral fabric of society. Married women will be allowed to use them only indoors and in the presence of a relative. Read
11:27 FACTBOX - Key political risks to watch in India:
India's economy is likely to grow at the slowest rate in a decade this year despite a spurt of economic reforms, and a busy electoral calendar will make managing a gaping fiscal deficit increasingly difficult to manage over the next few months. Read
11:24 RS adjourned till noon:
Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 12 pm after the BSP creates an uproar demanding a memorial for Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar at Mumbai. Speaker Meira Kumar braves on in the Lok Sabha. Question Hour has begun. FDI is not being debated. The vote on FDI will take place at 6 pm in the Lok Sabha.
11:07 Full and final: SC rejects Sangma's anti-Pranab plea:
The Supreme Court today upheld the election of Pranab Mukherjee as President and dismissed former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader PA Sangma's petition against him. The judgment was delivered by a five-judge constitution bench.
10:49 Govt's last-ditch plea: Vote against BJP politics:
Another important and action packed day in Parliament today. Against the backdrop of BSP and SP keeping their cards close to their chest on voting in Lok Sabha on a motion against FDI, government today said it was in touch with various parties for their support.
"We are in touch with all (parties). We have requested them to support us. FDI will not hurt the interests of farmers or small traders. In fact it will help them," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shulka told reporters outside Parliament House.
His remarks come hours before Lok Sabha is to take up voting on a motion moved by opposition parties against government's decision allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail. While both SP and BSP had opposed FDI yesterday during a debate on the issue, they had not made it clear whether they will support the motion.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath has asked parties to vote against BJP politics.
10:44 Rajat Gupta to stay free on bail pending appeal:
Good news for all those upset about Rajat Gupta's impending incarceration. The India-born former Goldman Sachs director has won a major reprieve after an appeals court granted his request to stay out of prison on a USD 10 million-bond while he fights his conviction on insider trading charges.
Gupta (64), who was to begin his two-year prison term on January 8, had filed an appeal in the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals seeking stay of his surrender to prison and to remain free on a 10-million-dollar bond while he challenges his conviction.
A two-judge panel ruled in Gupta's favour at a hearing yesterday, saying "it is hereby ordered that the conditions of release imposed by the district court will be continued.
"Motion is granted," US Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes said in the ruling, allowing Gupta's motion to stay his surrender date and remain free on bond.
The court is expected to hear Gupta's appeal around April next year and it could be a year before his request to overturn his conviction is ruled upon. The bail conditions imposed by the district court since Gupta's arrest in October last year include the 10 million dollar-bond, surrender of his passports and travel restrictions.
10:41 Hearing in contempt of case against Mamata today?:
A correspondent from Kolkata reports:
Hearing for the contempt of court case against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to take place on Wednesday at the Calcutta high court.
Banerjee had stated in August that the "judiciary these days can be bought".
09:52 MP: Class 4 student dies after beating:
In a shocking incident, a student of class 4 died in Betul district, Madhya Pradesh after he was beaten up by his teachers.
The student sustained grave injuries when he was beaten up by his teachers and later succumbed to his injuries.
09:15 Blake to travel to Bhutan and Bangladesh:
Obama administration's point man for South and Central Asia would travel to Bangladesh and Bhutan, besides attending the ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Ireland this week, an official announcement said.
In Dublin, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake will meet with OSCE interlocutors on human rights, elections, border security, anti-corruption,and hold bilateral meetings with the heads of delegations of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
From Dublin, Blake will travel to Dhaka on December 8, where he will address the Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium, an official said.
03:33 Abbas says time for Palestinian unity with Hamas:
AFP: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said that it is time to seal a reconciliation with the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza and unite Palestinian ranks.
"It is time to seriously deal with reconciliation and for contacts with Egypt's mediation for a reconciliation," he said on Tuesday at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership attended by Nassereddine al-Shaer, a Hamas deputy premier.
"We hope to agree on a meeting and a meeting of the leadership in Egypt in order to finish with this question which has gone on for too long," said Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah party.
Hamas-Fatah tensions have been high since 2006, when the Islamists won Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas seized power in Gaza the following year, ending a power-sharing deal with the secular Fatah which holds sway in the West Bank.
02:48 Iranian TV shows off 'captured US drone':
Iranian state television has shown images of what it says is an unmanned US drone captured in its airspace. The Revolutionary Guards said they had brought down a ScanEagle - one of the smaller, less sophisticated drones employed by the Americans.
Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told the Fars news agency that the drone had conducted several reconnaissance flights over the Gulf in recent days.
Read the full story on BBC
01:05 US urges restraint in Egypt protests:
AFP: The United States today appealed for restraint on both sides in Egypt as supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi clashed during nationwide protests.
"We would simply urge that protesters express their views peacefully and that they be given the environment, if you will, to protest peacefully," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. Toner acknowledged that tensions were high Cairo, where thousands of people surrounded the presidential palace to denounce a decree expanding Morsi's powers and placing him beyond judicial oversight.
Riot police fire tear gas after protesters cut through barbed wire strung near the palace, but then retreated before the surging crowd, which surrounded the palace on both sides.
Image: Anti-Morsi demonstrators protest outside the Egyptian presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday
Photograph: Amr Darsh/Reuters
00:59 At climate talks, UN chief rejects warming doubts:
AP: Pointing to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy and other weather disasters this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an international climate conference today that it was time to "prove wrong" those who still have doubts about global warming.
Ban, addressing delegates at the annual UN climate talks, said time is running out for governments to act, citing recent reports showing rising emissions of greenhouse gases, which most scientists say are causing the warming trend.
"The abnormal is the new normal," Ban told environment ministers and climate officials from nearly 200 countries. "This year we have seen Manhattan and Beijing under water, hundreds of thousands of people washed from their homes in Colombia, Peru, the Philippines, Australia."
"The danger signs are all around," he said, noting that ice caps are melting, permafrost thawing and sea levels rising. Delegates at the two-week talks that are set to end Friday are discussing future emissions cuts and climate aid to poor countries, issues that rich nations and the developing world have struggled to agree on for years.
00:19 Typhoon Bopha kills at least 74 in Philippines:
AP: At least 43 villagers and soldiers drowned in a southern Philippine town Tuesday when torrents of water dumped by a powerful typhoon cascaded down a mountain, engulfing emergency shelters and an army truck, officials said. The deaths raised the toll from one of the strongest storms to hit the country this year to at least 74.
Gov Arturo Uy said rain from Typhoon Bopha accumulated atop a mountain and then burst down on Andap village in New Bataan town in hard-hit Compostela Valley province. The victims included villagers who had fled from their homes to a school and village hall, which were then swamped by the flash flood.
An army truck carrying soldiers and villagers was washed away, according to Uy and army officials. He said the confirmed death toll in the town was likely to rise because several other bodies could not immediately be retrieved from floodwaters strewn with huge logs and debris.
Bopha slammed into Davao Oriental province region at dawn, its ferocious winds ripping roofs from homes and its 500-kilometer wide rain band flooding low-lying farmland.
The storm, packing winds of 140 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 170 kph toppled trees, triggered landslides and sent flash floods surging across the region's mountains and valleys. Two entire provinces lost power and more than 100 domestic flights were canceled. About 60,000 people fled to emergency shelters.
Image: Residents saw an uprooted tree to clear the road after Typhoon Bopha hit Tagum City in Philippines