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Trinamool govt encouraging communalism: Buddha

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December 06, 2012


23:20  Trinamool govt encouraging communalism: Buddha:  

CPI-M politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharya today alleged that the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal is encouraging communalism.         

 

"This government is mildly encouraging communalism. In the recent Jangipur Lok Sabha byelection, BJP received 10 per cent vote, while an Islamic party bagged 7 per cent. This is a dangerous trend. This has never happened in West Bengal," Bhattacharya told a convention to commemorate 'Babri Day' in Kolkata.         

 

Stating that his party did not believe in mixing religion with politics, the former chief minister alleged that some actions of the Trinamool government was inciting communal feelings among the people.

22:52  Ex-cop to Kejriwal: You need to come out clean:  

Former Maharashtra cop and RTI activist, YP Singh, who earlier compared IAC activist Arvind Kejriwal to Adolf Hitler, on Thursday challenged Kejriwal accusing him of sharing dais with people involved in frauds.

 

The former IPS officer took to social networking site Facebook asking the activist-turned-politician to come out clean on the charges.

 

Singh in an open letter on Facebook to Kejriwal wrote: "Your dais was shared by Jayant Patil of the PWP who controls a business empire of thousands of crore in Alibaug and is involved in several violations of laws including large scale destruction of mangroves much in violation of the High Court order. However, somewhat like other politicians of Congress and BJP, he has managed to escape from the strong arms of the law."

 

Read more on Hindustan Times

21:59  Nobel literature winner says censorship necessary :  

This year's Nobel literature winner Mo Yan, who has been criticised for his cozy relationship with China's Communist Party, compared censorship to airport security checks, suggesting today that it is sometimes necessary.

Mo said he doesn't feel that censorship should stand in the way of truth but that any defamation, or rumors, "should be censored." "But I also hope that censorship, per se, should have the highest principal," he said in comments translated by an interpreter from Chinese into English.

21:05  China omits India, Pak from 72-hour visa free travel:  

China today announced a 72-hour visa free stay in Beijing for travelers from 42 countries but India, Pakistan and the rest of South Asian nations were conspicuously missing from the list.

Beijing will start a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries from January 1 next year in a bid to increase the inflow of tourists to the Chinese capital, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Tourists holding third country visas and plane tickets can apply for a transit without visa (TWOV) in the capital city at Beijing Capital International Airport.

20:27  Afghan spy chief wounded in assassination bid: Officials:  

Afghanistan's controversial intelligence chief was wounded in an assassination attempt in Kabul today, officials said. Asadullah Khalid, who heads the National Directorate of Security, was injured in a grenade attack in a spy agency guesthouse, police said.

A former cabinet minister and a key anti-Taliban figure, he was nominated to head the NDS by President Hamid Karzai in August and approved by parliament despite objections from Western rights groups and accusations that he tortured detainees.

20:03  Ajit Pawar to be Maharashtra deputy CM once again:  Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar will rejoin the Maharashtra cabinet as deputy chief minister on Friday, days after he got a clean chit in the alleged irrigation scam in the state.

Pawar will be sworn-in at 9.30 am on Friday by Governor K Sankaranarayanan, a top Raj Bhavan official said.

Pawar, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, had quit in a huff September 25 after his name cropped up in the alleged scam
19:23  DON'T use musclemen for loan recovery: PC to banks:  
Finance Minister P Chidambaram has warned that severe action will be taken against banks if they employ musclemen or undesirable elements to recover loans.

"If there are specific instances of any bank employing musclemen or undesirable elements to recover loans, kindly bring it to my notice. The severest action will be taken," he said during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

Chidambaram said he has already told PSU bank chiefs that irrespective of non-performing assets (NPAs) going up or down, the loan recovery should be made in a respectful manner.

"We must respect the borrower; we must respect the borrower's circumstances and the recovery must be done in a respectful manner. NPAs rise or fall depending upon the economic conditions prevalent in the country. Today, the world over, all economies are challenged. The Indian economy also faces stress. It is the stress which is reflected in the rising NPAs. But when the economy does well,  NPAs will come down as they did between 2004 and 2008," he said.
19:00  FDI debate: Venkaiah calls Congress MPs bewakoof:   The FDI debate in Parliament continues. Venkaiah Naidu has long since finished his speech, with MPs from other parties saying their bit. Naidu ended his debate with a bang, just as he began with a bang. He calls a Congress MP 'bewakoof' for the continued ruckus in the House since he began speaking. There was an immediate uproar in the House with MPs rushing to the Well of the house. The Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien finally calmed down the MPs and had the word expunged.
18:39  The Guardian reveals that Duchess of Cambridge leaves hospital after treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum, saying she is feeling 'much better'. For what that means, go here.
18:37  How India moved on from Ayodhya:  Hindu extremism has failed to take hold in India, says writer and historian Patrick French, 20 years after the deadly riots that followed the demolition of the Babri mosque.When young men with saffron flags stood on the broken dome of theBabri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, looking exceptionally pleased with themselves, it appeared that Indian politics had changed. Read

Also see: Why Modi will never be Vajpayee for the Muslims
And another column: 20 Years After Ayodhya: India will go on. Read
18:15  Savita may NOT have been denied abortion:  The journalist who broke the story about Savita Halappananvar's tragic death now admits that the facts were "a little muddled".In an astonishing radio interview, Kitty Holland of The Irish Times admits that her report was based on the husband's version of events, but that in fact there may have been "no request for a termination". Read the startling report on the Telegraph.
18:03  BSP ally of Congress, shouts Venkaiah:   Venkaiah Naidu's is the first speaker since Mayawati who has livened up the deathly dull proceedings in the Rajya Sabha. In fact, he began with a bang, saying the BSP and the Congress are allies. On cue, Mayawati jumps up and yells something unintelligible to Naidu. Followed by the usual uproar. Naidu hammers on saying he is happy that the BSP disagrees that it is not an ally of the Congress, "but then what is their relationship?!" PANDEMONIUM. 
17:35  BJP: We lost 2004 polls when we proposed FDI:  In 2004, when the NDA said it would allow FDI, you know what happened. The NDA lost the elections. You won. Do you want this to happen to you," asks Naidu. This is the first time, that the BJP or any party for that matter, has brought up this point. 
17:32  "When parties have gone to the extent of calling for a Bharat bandh, or making their opposition to FDI public in Parliament, how can parties now say they will not support the motion put forth by the BJP because they don't want to be seen on the same side us? Don't forget, the BJP ran the government with a coalition of 23 parties," thunders Naidu. 
17:26   In the Rajya Sabha, BJP's Venkaiah Naidu speaking to nearly empty benches. "If the government does not have a majority, how can it take such a major decision?" asks Naidu, a statement repeated several times in both houses since the FDI debate began on Tuesday. 
17:23  Diwali from space!:  NASA, the national space agency of the US, today released a black and white satellite imagery of India this Diwali night, cautioning people against the fake image in circulation on the social media.Watch
16:38  Subhash Chandra, Chairman of Zee News, and Punit Goenka, MD of the channel, are co-accused in the case. According to the police, Chandra was complicit in the demand of money.
16:33  Interim bail for Zee boss Subhash Chandra Goyal :  A Delhi court says that Zee Group Chairman Subhash Chandra Goyal and his son cannot be arrested during interrogation in the alleged Rs 100 crore extortion bid case. The anticipatory bail hearing is on December 14. Both Goyal and another promoter Puneet Goenka have been granted bail till December 13.

Congress MP Naveen Jindal had filed a criminal case against Zee TV for a sting operation about his company's alleged involvement in the scam-tainted coal block allocations. Jindal alleged that he was asked for cash to stop the negative story on him. Jindal also released tapes showing the conversation between Zee Business Editor Sameer Ahluwalia and his team members.
16:29  FDI debate continues in the Rajya Sabha; a BJD MP is speaking. The BJD voted against the government in the Lok Sabha.
16:16  Govt confident of numbers in RS, SP not to back UPA:  Update on the FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha.

The government today said it is confident of a victory in Rajya Sabha as well though the numbers are close even as SP made it clear it will not support UPA during voting on the issue in the Upper House. "I am fully confident that BJP's politics will be defeated. Congress won in Lok Sabha and we will win in Rajya Sabha as well. Numbers are close but clear," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said outside Parliament House.

Asked how the government will manage the numbers in the Upper House with the Opposition having a majority, he said, "Let me handle it." Kamal Nath's views were echoed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram. "The debate will happen and the government will win the vote," he said.

Samajwadi Party, which had spoken against FDI in retail decision during the debate in Lok Sabha but staged a walkout before the vote, said its Rajya Sabha members will take a call on the issue when it is put to vote tomorrow in the Upper House.

"We will definitely not vote with the government, that much we can say," SP Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agrawal said NCP leader and party MP D P Tripathi said, "NCP is very sure that FDI in retail should be implemented. Our party is very clear on this issue. It is not divided and has no reservations as far as FDI is concerned. It is a Fair Direct Investment."
16:08  Why Modi will never be Vajpayee for Muslims :  Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf writes on why Narendra Modi can never be Vajpayee because the poet-prime minister had a heart. Modi doesn't. He only understands the language of business, of profit and loss. It is beyond his capacity to understand a complex country like India. Read
16:04  Thackeray's named struck off Babri Masjid case :  The Supreme Court today asked a Rae Bareily court to expeditiously hear the Babri Masjid demolition case of Ayodhya against senior BJP leader L K Advani and 19 others against whom the charges of criminal conspiracy had been dropped by the trial court.

Expressing deep anguish over non-appearence of the counsel for CBI, which has moved the apex court against dropping of conspiracy charges against the top politicians in the apex court, a bench of justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad directed the trial court to hear the demolitan case expeditiously. The bench, meanwhile, allowed the CBI to remove the name of Bal Thackeray from the list of accused persons as he died recently.
15:48  Maya's 'chhichhorapan' comment high-point in RS:  Derek O'Brien, came, spoke, and sat down after a lackluster speech. Mayawati's debate, so far, has been the most volatile, despite the long-drawn speech. Mayawati called the the BJP's comments on the BSP 'chhichhorapan' or cheap behaviour. Of course, it was met with roars of disapproval from the BJP members. Right now, Naresh Agrawal from the Samajwadi Party is speaking. The SP, like the BSP had abstained from voting in the LS, ensuring a win for the UPA. 
15:42  20 Years After Ayodhya: India will go on:  In other news, remember 20 years ago, on this day, the Babri Masjid was demolished. Twenty years later, India is in rebirth mode. Whether there is a Babri Masjid or a Ram temple or not in Ayodhya, India will go on. And it will see many tomorrows, says Syed Firdaus Ashraf. Read
15:34  ANI: I will be supporting the government, I don't want to be seen standing with the BJP: Amar Singh
15:32  Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien speaking now. He is TMC's chief whip in the Rajya Sabha.
15:27  FDI promises will NOT be met, warns Yechury:  Sitaram Yechury talks about the 2008 Indo-US nuclear deal. "At the time, the  advertisments that were used to push the government's agenda spoke about how the students in rural areas would be able study in the night without power outages and how farmers and shopkeepers in villages would benefit. But it's been four years since and there are 15-hour power cuts in villages. So, what happened to that promise? Nothing. Which is exactly what will happen when FDI becomes a reality in this country. Promises that FDI will generate more employment are an eyewash. It is always a fact that MNCs will think of their own profits, and not ours," says Yechury.
14:54  Maya: Will vote for govt, against communal forces:   Mayawati continues that FDI is important, "but allow it only in necessary areas." More or less an indicator which the BSP will go. And yes, she says it: "The BSP will vote with the government in the Rajya Sabha. Voting against the government will help communal forces." The BSP has 15 MPs in the Rajya Sabha.

CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury takes the floor.

14:47  Maya's FDI debate changes course to attack BJP :  Mayawati resumes her debate in the Rajya Sabha. The debate doesn't seem to have anything to do with FDI, but about the BJP's accusation of the BSP facing a CBI threat. "The detractors of the BSP, like the BJPL  always target me in the Taj Corridor case. But I will show you how the BJP misused the CBI against me. I am not scared of the BJP or the CBI and I will never let the BSP be painted in communal colours," she says.

Giving a hint where the BSP is heading on the FDI vote, Maya says FDI could be beneficial in certain sectors, but it has to be instituted carefully.

Dr Hamid Ansari is fidgeting in his seat as Maya continues relentlessly despite repeated reminders that she has overshot her time.
14:25  Maya: Sushma suffers from sour grapes syndrome:   Mayawati has taken over. She begins by attacking the BJP, saying Sushma Swaraj's comment yesterday was a case of sour grapes (khatti angoor). Taking a dig at the BSP chief Mayawati's decision also to walk out of the Lok Sabha ahead of the vote, Sushma Swaraj yesterday wondered if the Central Bureau of Investigation closer to the party's interest or FDI.

Mayawati says, "It has become fashionable to say we CBI is being used to influence us to go with the government on FDI."

Quite naturally, UPROAR in the House. Kamal Nath defends Mayawati's remarks on Sushma Swaraj.

Hamid Ansari, who is in the chair, looks annoyed and says nobody can make any personal remarks in the House." Maya says it was done in the Lok Sabha yesterday, to which Ansari replies that the rules of this house are different, and members have to abide by the rules.  "We cannot create a disruption in this house over something that was said in the other house. Two wrongs cannot make a right."

He then reads out a ruling which says that members cannot quote the proceedings of the other house in this house.

Mayawati resumes speaking, but BJP MPs continue a din. So, does this mean that the BSP will bail out the government and vote for FDI?

But Mayawati just can't seem to get off the subject of the BJP and now says the BJP has misused the CBI.

The House has been adjourned for 10 minutes over Maya's remarks. Hamid's "baith jaiye, baith jaiye" much firmer than Meira Kumar's leaves MPs unfazed.  
14:02  Practice what you preach, Jaitely tells undecided parties:  Jaitley continues, "The arrogance of power may prompt you (the government) to stand by it and pursue it (FDI) But I beseech you to reconsider and vote with your conscience. For our allies, I say, let us unify and vote against FDI."

And for those who were undecided, he said they may preach that FDI is harmful to the country, but they should practice what they preach by voting against it.

"We are the nominated members of Parliament, we represent the conscience of the nation, just because the government has accepted your nomination, doesn't 
mean it's time for thanksgiving."
13:51  Jaitley's remark that FDI would turn India into a nation of traders can be traced to Napoleon's disparaging comment on the United Kingdom that it was "a nation of Shopkeepers (une nation de boutiquiers). Napoleon used the remark to describe the United Kingdom as unfit for war against France.
13:48  Arun Jaitley pointed out that there was a huge difference between Walmart entering India and the company entering China. "At least 95 per cent of what Walmart sells in China is manufactured in China. But this will not happen in India because we will be working on a different model."

Jaitley also points out that he cannot fathom why the government says the decision to implement FDI can be left to the states, that there was no compulsion. "The decision to implement something as important as Foreign Direct Investment has to be vested with the Union government, how can states decide?"  Jaitley then quotes Kamal Nath's interview to the BBC, where he had said that FDI would lead to job loss.
13:38  BJP: FDI will condemn us to be a nation of traders:  Jaitley continues his debate: "Reforms are needed in the manufacturing sector, but FDI will destroy the manufacturing sector in India. We will become a nation of sales boys and sales girls. So, you have to first implement reforms in the manufacturing sector, without it, you are condemning us to become a nation of traders," says Jaitley.

"Yes, the government's argument is correct that will increase the choice available to consumers, but don't forget the stores will be owned by Americans and the French and the British, selling Chinese products. India will become a nation of sales boys and sales girls," he said.
13:21  Maldives can take back airport operation from GMR:  News flash: In a huge setback to GMR, the Singapore Court of Appeal rules that the Maldives government has the authority to take back the airport from GMR, says Maldives President's Press Secretary Masood Imad. "Maldives will go ahead with the transfer," says Imad. GMR says it is waiting for a copy of the judgment and will comment then. 
13:14  Jaitley: You are a lame-duck govt, ignorant of FDI:  Arun Jaitley. Supreme Court lawyer and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha argues his case against FDI.

Jaitley begins by attacking the 'minority government' a theme introduced by Dr V Maitreyan from the AIADMK earlier. "This is a lame-duck government, it was proven in the Lok Sabha yesterday. How can you run the government the way you want to, when you are short of a majority? Whenever you have needed help, you have always compromised have had to pay a price that has cost the nation."

"Yesterday, in the Lok Sabha, you [the government] said countries have allowed it and they have prospered, but this mean that it will work here as well? Does it mean we will also have to do it?"

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma then stands up to say that the government's stand has been consistent. Jaitley replies saying he has no problem with the stand Kamal Nath took as Commerce Minister, "but I have serious problems with Anand Sharma's stand. I will explain it,"

Jaitley says, "Since you are so ignorant on FDI, it is my duty to explain it to you. The manufacturing sector will be badly hit. Every change is not reform (reference to the Congress' statement yesterday that it was a victory of reform)." "Only 18 per cent have a structured job in this country, most others are unemployed," he points out.  
13:02  Jaitley: Compulsions prevented allies from voting :  The suave Ashwani Kumar, union law and justice minister begins the government's defence of FDI. "There are moments in the life of a nation where certain decisions are taken, which are taken on the basis of our conscience. It may be wrong, but it does not t mean we won't move forward or for that matter, take it forward. This is what the people of this country expect from the government," he says. His speech is refined, definitely not as fiery as Maitreyan (or even half as entertaining).

Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition takes over.
12:39  Kolaveri moment in RS as AIADMK goads DMK:  Dr Maitreyan then invokes popular culture and uses the word 'Kolaveri' (murderous rage in Tamil) to describe how terrible the effect of introducing FDI in India would be. He calls the government's assertions for FDI as "damned lies". "We don't want to learn from the mistakes of others."

Maitreyan criticises the 'double face' of people in TN. Arch rival, the DMK's Kanimozhi shouts him down. Maitreyan grins and says, "I did not mention any names. It is just their guilty minds." He concludes his debate and Law and Justice minister Ashwani Kumar takes over.  
12:33   Dr Maitreyan says that the government did not consult political parties, though it had promised to do so. Maitreyan also took the opportunity to slam the BSP and SP for bailing out the government in the Lok Sabha and read out an earlier statement from the BSP that had opposed FDI. "Please listen, Mayawatiji," he tells the BSP leader, who looks back stone-faced.

Maitreyan then makes a reference to how the Nadar community in Tamil Nadu has cornered nearly 80 per cent of businesses. DMK MP Kanimozhi jumps to her feet and accuses Maitreyan of casting aspersions on a community. The chair says any derogatory remarks will be expunged. Maitreyan says he did no such thing, merely made a statement based on facts.
12:23  PM made Sonia change her mind on FDI: AIADMK:   The chair warns Dr Maitreyan that his party's time is over, but he will be allowed a little more time, as mover of the motion. Dr Maitreyan points out that though Sonia Gandhi had earlier been against FDI, "our prime minister was so impressed by the US that he convinced Soniaji to change her mind about FDI and early this year, she said the party was for introduction of FDI in retail in India."

The PM allows himself a moment's shut-eye, while Mani Shankar Aiyar seems to be vastly amused by Dr Maitreyan's speech.
12:16  Dr Maitreyan begins debate in Tamil, uproar in House:  Huge ruckus in the Rajya Sabha as Dr Maitreyan begins the debate in Tamil. Dr Maitreyan continues regardless, but with the continued ruckus, Dr Maitreyan concedes and begins his debate in English. The AIADMK opposes the introduction of FDI in multi-brand retail in India.
12:10  FDI debate begins in RS, no lunch hour for MPs:  The FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha begins. Unlike the Lok Sabha, the government is short of numbers and may lose the vote. The SP has already said it will not vote for FDI, the BSP is noncommittal. The TMC has said that the match fixing that took place in the Lok Sabha will not be allowed to happen in the Rajya Sabha.

Chairperson Dr Hamid Ansari says the there will be no lunch hour and the discussion will be concluded today. Dr V Maitreyan from the AIADMK moves the motion against multi-brand retail and begins the debate. 
11:58  The making of Bombay Duck:  The first thing that might strike you as you enter Mumbai is the wafting smell of dried fish, which even for a fish devotee like me is horribly off-putting. But hidden in the awful smell is quite a delicacy. Read
11:57  To auction or not to auction, that is the question:  Auctions to distribute natural resources have drawn much attention and debate in India recently. Witness the uproar over 2G spectrum allocations, which finally reached a legal denouement earlier this year when the Supreme Court cancelled licenses issued to telecom companies in 2008. Read
11:54  Zee TV extortion case hearing begins :  The Delhi court begins hearing the case of Zee News editors, accused of attempting to extort Rs 100 crore from a firm of Congress MP Naveen Jindal.  Jindal has alleged that Zee News tried to extort Rs 100 crore in exchange for not airing stories linking him and his group to the coal blocks allocation scam.

Jindal had released a video-recording of meetings with executives of Zee TV and claimed it to be the proof that they were trying to extort money from him. Jindal said the news channel told his firm's executives that if they did not spend Rs. 100 crore on advertising, the channel would run negative stories on allocation of coal fields to his firm.
11:45  ED attaches Rs 884-cr assets of Janardhana Reddy:  Shares and assets worth Rs 884 crore have been attached under Prevention of Money Laundering Act in Obulapuram Mining Company case involving former Karnataka Minister G Janardhana Reddy, the Enforcement Directorate today said. "Investigations revealed that OMC has illegally mined iron ore valued at Rs 884.13 crore during 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10," an ED statement said here today. Read more on the Economic Times.
11:40  Sonia a heartless mother, cruel to poor: Modi:  Continuing his attack on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has described her as a 'heartless mother' for failing to express grief for the poor, hit hard by rising prices. Read
11:37  The promise of unconditional money:  Cash transfers limited to a few schemes and without strings attached make for a compelling election strategy. Read
11:36  The demolition that rebuilt a community:  The destruction of Babri Masjid bridged the class divide among Muslims, giving them a unitary identity and new political awareness. Read the column on the Hindu. 
11:33  FDI in Maha: NCP tells Cong to ask before it acts :  Ally NCP has asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan not to take any decision regarding implementation of multi-brand FDI in retail in the state without consulting it, even though the party voted in favour of the move in the Lok Sabha.

A letter signed by NCP State President Madhukar Pichad was delivered to Chavan by former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar last night.

The party has said the issue of implementation needs to be discussed in the co-ordination committee first. "We have issues which need to be discussed and clarified. There are Mathadi labour unions, Market committees and we have to ensure that their interests are not harmed while implementing FDI in retail," Pichad said. The coalition partner in Maharashtra government has told Chavan that no one-sided decision should be taken.
11:29  Babri Masjid demolition: Lest we forget:  Twenty years ago on this day, a frenzied mob of kar sevaks razed the Babri Masjid under the bemused, even jubilant, gaze of the leading lights of the sangh parivar while the central government, then headed by PV Narasimha Rao, appeared to be in deep slumber. The event unleashed a tidal wave of communal violence in several parts of the country and injected into the body politic a virus of polarisation along religious lines that has yet to be extirpated.
Read Dileep Padgaonkar's blog on the Babri Masjid demolition.
11:25  The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till noon over ruckus over the issue of the demolition of the Babri Masjid 20 years ago.  
11:24  Walmart's new health care policy shifts burden to Obamacare:  With the LS vote opening the doors for multi-brand retail in India, and possibly the likes of Tesco and Walmart, here's an eyeopener of Walmart as an employer. Read
11:14  After the UPA won the FDI vote in the Lok Sabha yesterday, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi smiled at the TV cameras saying, what is obvious. "I am happy with the outcome and I am not worried about the FDI vote in the Rajya Sabha." 
11:10  Question Hour in RS, FDI debate at noon:  It's Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha. The debate of FDI in multi-brand retail is expected to begin at noon. Before Parliament began, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien called the FDI vote in the Lok Sabha yesterday, 'match fixing.'
11:06  John McAfee arrested in Guatemala:  Guatemalan police arrested US software guru John McAfee on Wednesday for illegally entering the country and said it would expel him to neighboring Belize, which he fled after being sought for questioning over his neighbor's murder.Read
11:03  Ayodhya: A midnight raid that changed course of history:  On the night of December 22-23, 1949, an idol of Ram Lalla "mysteriously" appeared inside Ayodhya's Babri Masjid, setting in motion a chain of events that was to change the course of Indian politics in later decades.

Little is known about what happened on that fateful night. But a new book now reveals how the events unfolded and claims those who pulled the strings of the Ayodhya strategy were also those accused in the Mahatma Gandhi murder case. Read
11:00  Ayodhya, the battle for India's soul:  This day, 20 years ago, the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was destroyed. Readchapter four of the Wall Street Journal investigation.
10:52  Changes in AFSPA on cards, government tells SC:  The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it was considering amendments to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which provides sweeping powers to security forces in areas declared disturbed due to militancy. Read
10:49  Blow to Cong in Gujarat: Narhari Amin joins BJP:   In a fresh blow to the Congress in Gujarat, senior leader Narhari Amin joined the Bharatiya Janata Party today along with his 500 supporters.

Amin quit from the Congress after he was denied a party ticket to contest in the upcoming assembly elections.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said, "I welcome Amin and his party supporters to the BJP. I appreciate Amin for joining us. He has taken a difficult decision."

Taking a dig at the Congress he said, "Back stabbing has no place in the BJP. I will always keep the party in the loop on tough calls."

Amin was the former deputy chief minister of Gujarat.
10:48  SP swears it will NOT vote for FDI in RS tomorrow:   The Samajwadi Party says it will definitely NOT vote for the government on the FDI issue in the Rajya Sabha. The debate in Rajya Sabha takes place today, while the voting is tomorrow. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party played to the script by abstaining from the vote in the Lok Sabha on FDI in multi-brand retail, again triggering speculation about how the Centre manages to hold sway over the UP outfits despite their vociferous opposition on policy issues like foreign retail marts.
09:29  SAD leader held for killing Punjab cop:   Ranjit Singh Rana, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal's local unit, whoshot Assistant Sub-Inspector Ravinderpal Singh dead has been arrested.

The Punjab police officer was shot dead in full public view in Amritsar yesterday for protesting against his daughter's harassment by the politician and his associates.

Singh was rushed to a hospital with heavy bleeding and declared dead.
09:12  Forbes power list: Sonia ranked No 12, PM at No 19 :   A new Forbes ranking on Wednesday that found heads of state occupying six of the top 10 spots among the world's most powerful people, led by United States President Barack Obama.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi ranked 12th and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was 19th.

Obama was joined in the top 10 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The annual list selected what Forbes said were the world's 71 most-powerful people from among the roughly 7.1 billion global populace, based on factors ranging from wealth to global influence.

Read the full story here
08:46  FDI debate in Rajya Sabha today:  After two days of stormy debate over Foreign Direct Investment in Lok Sabha,
today the focus shifts to Rajya Sabha.

The Upper House will debate and vote on FDI over the next two days starting today; the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley will initiate the debate which will begin around noon.

Though the numbers are not in favour of the UPA government in the Rajya Sabha, it is hoping that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party will bail it out, reports NDTV.

Read the full report here
03:34  More than 200 injured in Egypt clashes:  

Rival protesters have clashed outside the presidential palace in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, as unrest grows over a controversial draft constitution. More than 200 people were injured as protesters threw petrol bombs and rocks - shots were reportedly fired.

 

Violence broke out when supporters of President Mohamed Morsi marched on his palace, confronting members of the opposition who were holding a sit in. The government says a referendum on the constitution will go ahead this month.

 

Read more on BBC

03:32  Iran quake kills five in rural area:  

AFP: Five people were killed and at least a dozen injured in a moderate earthquake that struck eastern Iran near the Afghan border, a provincial emergency official said.         

 

"Based on the latest reports from the scene, the quake killed five people and injured 12 others," said Mohammad Ali Akhoundi, head of South Khorasan province's crisis management service, told Mehr news agency.         

 

The quake, which registered 5.5 on the moment magnitude scale, hit at 8:38 pm (1708 GMT). Its epicentre was 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Zohan, a small town in the province, according to Tehran University's Seismological Centre.

03:31  200 prisoners break out of Libya jail: Officials:  

AFP: Almost 200 Libyan prisoners have escaped from a jail in the southern town of Sabha in unclear circumstances, officials said today.         

 

"One hundred and ninety-seven prisoners escaped the prison of Sabha yesterday (Tuesday)," a member of the security services told AFP on condition of anonymity.            

 

"Judiciary police, who control the prison, facilitated the escape of the detainees, the majority of them common criminals," said the source, a former rebel in Libya's 2011 revolution.            

03:30  UN chief calls for immediate end to Syria fighting:  

AFP: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today called on all warring parties in Syria to stop fighting immediately, saying there is no military solution to the conflict.           

 

"The military option cannot be a solution. The violence must stop immediately," Ban told reporters in Kuwait City after talks with Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah.

03:29  Reports: BBC radio presenter arrested on rape charges:  

AP: British media are reporting that police investigating rape allegations dating from years ago have arrested an 82-year-old BBC radio presenter.          Police, as usual, did not identify the man, but said an 82-year-old man was detained today in his home in northwest England's Cheshire on suspicion of "historic" cases of rape and indecent assault.         

 

British media, including the BBC and the Press Association, said he was Stuart Hall, a well-known sports and game show presenter. Hall has enjoyed a career spanning 50 years and was awarded an honor by Queen Elizabeth II last year for his services to broadcasting and charity.

03:27  Obama leads Forbes ranking of worlds most powerful:  

AFP: The US president leads it, of course, and then there's the Pope, and Angela Merkel, and Facebook's founder, and other global rainmakers on Forbes' ranking of the mightiest earthlings.            

 

But the magazine's 2012 list of the planet's most powerful people also features folks who might raise an eyebrow or two: a Mexican drug baron, and the pudgy-faced young leader of North Korea, a hermit state assailed for pursuing a nuclear program at the expense of feeding its very poor people. Last year's No 2 on the list, Chinese President Hu Jintao, is among the heavyweights off the list altogether this time. In Hu's case it is because he's on his way out of office.            

 

The ranking features 71 names, a figure Forbes said it set as a cutoff because there are an estimated 7.1 billion people in the world and thus the ranking works out to one very heavy hitter for every 100 million people.           

 

For the second year in a row, US President Barack Obama led the ranking, with Forbes noting that he won the popular vote, an electoral college majority, and seven of the seven toss-up states in the November election.

02:16  Ship 'sinking' after collision off Dutch coast:  

A cargo ship is sinking in the North Sea after colliding with a container ship, Dutch coastguard officials say. The accident is reported to have taken place around 100km (60 miles) off the coast of Rotterdam in an important shipping lane.

 

The cargo ship, the Baltic Ace, is reported to be sailing under a Bahamas flag. It is unclear if the crew of around 23 people are still on board.

 

Read more on BBC

01:00  Syria's Assad regime crumbling, says US:  

The defection of a spokesperson of the Assad regime is another sign that it is now crumbling, the US said today and asked Syrians to reject the horrific actions of the current government.         

 

"We are certainly aware of reports that Assad regime spokesperson Jihad Makdissi has defected and fled Syria. We understand that he's in London. If true, this is obviously another sign of the regime crumbling from within as those closest to Assad are realizing that the end is nigh," StateDepartment spokesman Mark Toner said.

00:20  Punjab: Eve teasers kill policeman in public view:  

A policeman was today murdered in full public view after he opposed to some men, allegedly including an Akali Dal activist, who were teasing his daughter.        

 

Assistant sub-inspector Ravinderpal Singh was shot dead from point blank range in Chehertha locality in Amritsar following an argument with the assailants, who later managed to escape from the spot in a car, Police Commissioner Ram Singh said.        

 

The key accused has been identified as Shiromani Akali Dal district urban Secretary Ranbir Singh Rana, Singh said, adding that a police team has been dispatched to arrest the accused.        

 

Ravinderpal was rushed to the hospital with heavy bleeding where he was declared brought dead, he said. He had reached the spot after being informed by her daughter, a bank employee, who had earlier also complained that she was chased and teased by these youths, he said.        

 

According to Singh, she had told her father that the group of youth would regularly intercept her while on her way to office and pass lewd comments.

00:19  Top headlines at this hour:  

Why UPA govt can't afford to celebrate FDI 'victory'

Govt wins FDI vote in Lok Sabha: UPA-253, Opposition-218

Results of JK panchayat polls to be declared on Thursday

China warns India against oil exploration in S China Sea

'Modi a political salesman, marketer and hypnotist'

Gujarat poll: Five factors that go against Modi

Cauvery dispute: SC directs K'taka to release water to TN

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