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7.1-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia

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December 10, 2012

23:07  7.1-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia:  A 7.1-magnitude earthquake has been reported off the coast of Indonesia.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck offshore, with the epicenter 147 miles (236 kilometres) northwest of the city of Saumlaki. The quake was reported at a depth of 96 miles (155 kilometres).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has no immediate tsunami warning.The quake hit shortly before 1700 GMT.Indonesia is located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.
22:51  Egypt army given temporary power to arrest civilians:  Egypt's Islamist president has given the army temporary power to arrest civilians during a constitutional referendum he is determined to push through despite the risk of bloodshed between his supporters and opponents accusing him of a power grab.

Seven people were killed and hundreds wounded last week in clashes between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and their critics besieging Mohamed Mursi's graffiti-daubed presidential palace. Both sides plan mass rallies on Tuesday.
22:09  Putin slams US claims of 're-Sovietization':  Russian President Vladimir Putin today denied that he is trying to reinvent the Soviet Union, dismissing as 'rubbish' accusations by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton last week called Putin's initiative to unite former Soviet countries into a Eurasian Union and Customs Union "a move to re-Sovietise the region.

" While meeting top activists in his presidential campaign today, Putin dismissed such comparisons, saying there are economic rather than political reasons for uniting the former Soviet allies.
21:33  No idea why Hazare changed stand, says Kejriwal:  After Anna Hazare said he would not vote for the newly-launched Aam Aadmi Party, its leader Arvind Kejriwal was today at a loss to explain what had made the anti-corruption crusader change his mind.

"Earlier, he had supported our party. But I don't know what happened in two days. He did not remain with us. If we have erred, we are ready to rectify our mistakes," Kejriwal said.

He was talking to reporters after addressing a farmers' rally with independent MP Raju Shetty in Sangli district of western Maharashtra. "Anna is our moral strength. He would always exert pressure for our good work. I hope he comes with us in future," Kejriwal said.
21:28  Indian-American doctor rescued from Taliban:  In a daring rescue operation, elite American commandos have rescued an Indian-American doctor who was in the custody of the Taliban in Afghanistan, losing one Navy SEAL and killing seven insurgents.

Colorado-based Dilip Joseph had been abducted on December 5 along with two Afghan colleagues as they left a rural medical clinic in Sorobi district in Kabul province. He was rescued in an early Sunday morning operation ordered after intelligence showed that the doctor was in imminent danger of injury or possible death, according to a statement.

"This was a combined operation of the US and Afghan forces," said 1st Lt. Joseph Alonso, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan.
21:11  Azad Maidan riot: Amar Jawan vandal gets bail:  A sessions court today granted bail to two accused in custody for the August 11 Azad Maidan violence, including Shahbad Abdul Kadir Shaikh who allegedly damaged the Amar Jawan memorial.

The other accused granted relief today was identified as Niyaz. Police had on November 9 filed a 3,384-page chargesheet in a local court against 58 accused in connection with the violence in which two persons died and 92 injured when a rally at Azad Maidan in South Mumbai, being held to protest alleged atrocities against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, turned violent.
20:46  Political storm over Walmart lobbying:  The disclosure that global retail giant Walmart had spent about Rs 125 crore in the last four years to lobby with US lawmakers kicked up a political storm here with Opposition creating pandemonium in the Rajya Sabha and promising to create further trouble tomorrow.

The BJP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the SP, JD-U, the Trinamool Congress, the AGP and the AIADMK used the issue to target the government over its decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail as they pressed for a probe into "illegality" and a statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In its disclosure filed with the US Senate, Walmart has said it spent close to USD $25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to 'enhanced market access for investment in India'.
19:03  Read Kamal Nath's body language:  So, why did we bring up the SC/ST reservations bill? Because the bill is now taking up almost as much time in Parliament as the FDI debate and bill did, last week.

Today, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath was seen talking to Naresh Aggarwal of the Samajwadi Party in Central Hall, for more than 30 minutes.
If any of you can read body language, have a go. Kamal Nath was standing, bracing himself against the wall. His other hand rested on the Aggarwal's shoulder.  The interlude did not go unnoticed by BSP MPs.
A little later, Congress MP Rajiv Sukhla and the SP's Ramgopal Yadav joined Kamal Nath. Nobody else ventured close to the four and the buzz among MPs was that they seemed to be discussing state secrets. 
18:53  SC/ST bill may get stuck in Congress' throat:  Buzz in the Central Hall of Parliament is that the Congress may be unable to resolve the SC/ST reservations bill. The MPs discussing the issue were wondering whether the party would go with Mayawati or Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Well, the Congress has two options.
One strategy is to bail out the Samajwadi Party and suspend nine MPs from the Rajya Sabha and get the Constitution Amendment bill passed. 
The second option is difficult to put into practice and they will have to tread cautiously. The Congress has to put the proposal before Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari. 
18:50  Will Modi win 135 seats or 140 seats in Gujarat?:  Attendance of MPs in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were very poor today. In the Central Hall, the focus of attention and discussion, was quite obviously, the upcoming polls in Gujarat. Most Union Ministers and Congress MPs are campaigning in Gujarat, where polling ends tomorrow. MPs believe the Narendra Modi will win between 135 and 140 seats in Gujarat. Congress leaders feel that Sonia Gandhi's campaign has really helped party workers cheer up and believe that the party will get between 35 and 40, up from 30 to 35 in an earlier forecast. 
18:45  Which Parliamentarian's name is Rolly?:  Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath, who is from the elite Doon School was apparently called Rolly in school. In Central Hall today, a senior Congress leader affectionately addressed him as Rolly. Many MPs do not know that even the late Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi used to address Kamal Nath as Rolly. Both the Gandhis were from Doon school as well. 
18:41  Jaya sweetens colleagues with toffees and elaichi :  The inside story from Parliament today...
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan was seen distributing toffees and mouth freshners to colleagues Ramgopal Yadav and NK Singh in the Rajya Sabha when her party MPs were seen shouting near the Speaker's podium. Many MPs were surprised to see Jaya opening her bag and generously distributing the toffees. Interestingly, Jaya gave Ramgopal Yadav an elaichi (cardamom) instead of a toffee. 
18:04  The ashes of Dharampuri:  Rajamma, a resident of Natham, looks at her burnt house with vacant eyes. The more she looks at it, the harder the tears fall. Every part of her house '" each brick painstakingly collected -- is a small fountain of memories for her, reminding her of the backbreaking work done by her late husband at the local landlord's house. Now, all that is in the past. Read

Also read Meena Kandasamy's piece for Why I want to ask disturbing questions and say the unsaid.
17:58  'Stressed' Anna Hazare discharged from hospital:  Social activist Anna Hazare, who was admitted to a hospital here on December 7 with complaints of acidity and stress, was discharged this afternoon. According to the doctors of Medanta Medicity Hospital attending on Hazare, he was under stress and was suffering from acidity and weakness. A team of doctors led by Dr Naresh Trehan treated him.
17:55  Hey! Tiny spender: Monkey found roaming Toronto Ikea store:  Pet primate dressed in 'smart' coat visits Ikea store in Toronto after losing owner. Yes, it's true. Read
17:45  BSP to take 'tough' stand if SC/ST bill not passed: Maya:  The BSP today threatened to take a "tough stand" in case the government does not help bring order in the Rajya Sabha and get passed a bill providing for reservation to SCs/STs in promotion in government jobs. BSP also charged BJP with deliberately stalling the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha and accused SP of acting at its behest to stall the bill.

"We will see for two-three days more. We will see government's stand on the issue. What they do and what the Chairman of Rajya Sabha says. Then, we will decide and a take a tough stand. The SC/ST bill is a very serious issue for us," BSP chief Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament House.
17:42  Indian text pest bombarding Britain with 500,000 spam messages :  Meet the Indian who plagues half a million Britons a day with illegal spam texts telling them they are entitled to a refund for mis-sold payment protection insurance. Read more.
17:21  Cops want Zee editors to take lie detector test:  Just in: Police want Zee editors to take lie-detector tests. Zee Editors Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia, who had been remanded to two-day police custody by a court, were brought to the crime branch office on Saturday night where Zee boss Subhash Chandra and his son were being questioned. Chandra had secured an interim protection from arrest till December 14 from a Delhi court.

In a late night statement on Saturday, Zee Group said both Chandra and Puneet extended fullest cooperation to the Delhi Police so that truth emerges.
17:16  Sheikh Abdullah's burnt-out mansion is in dire need of attention :  This week, the ruling National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir observed the 107th birth anniversary of its founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, with tributes pouring in from all quarters. But a derelict house in village Soura, on the outskirts of capital Srinagar, continues to stand testimony to a legacy perishing in dire neglect.  Read more.
16:54  Athletics Fed denies suspension by sports ministry:  The Athletics Federation of India has denied that the sports ministry has derecognised it. The federation president Adille Sumariwalla speaking to CNN IBN says there is no reason for the government to derecognise it as elections were held as per the IOC guidelines. "Sportsman run AFI, we have implemented age and tenure guidelines, there is no reason for us to be derecognised," he says.
16:39  China in transition: From dogmeat to pets :  From prized mastiffs to dogmeat as wintertime dish, attitudes towards pets are changing in China, but animal cruelty is still widespread. Read
16:35  Brit Indians largest ethnic minority group in UK: Report:  Indians are expected to rank as the largest ethnic minority group in the UK, in the latest results from the 2011 census, according to a media report. Data from the 2011 census, to be released tomorrow, will suggest there are now more than one million people born to parents in interracial relationships, the Daily Mail reported. The mixed-race population is among the fastest growing in Britain and is already the largest ethnic group among under-16s. 
16:32  NIA case: Judicial custody of Abu Jundal extended till Dec 22:  The judicial custody of LeT terrorist and 26/11 Mumbai attack key handler Abu Jundal was today extended by 12 days by a Delhi court in a case lodged by the NIA against him for allegedly conspiring to launch terror strikes across the country. Jundal was produced before District Judge I S Mehta in an in-chamber proceeding and the court extended his judicial custody till December 22 after National Investigation Agency said its probe into the case is still going on, the court sources said.
16:27  Sports min to derecognise Athletics Fed of India:  Just in: The sports ministry is set to derecognise the Athletics Federation of India.  After taking action against the Boxing and the Archery federation in the country, the Sports Ministry is ready to suspend the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for violating the sports code on a number of clauses.

Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, who has been insisting that the sports code has to be adhered to, is expected to take stern action against AFI as the body is believed to have violated three clauses: 1) No electoral college before elections in the federation, 2) Clause 14B of the AFI constitution states officials part of last executive can be part of fresh executive which means fewer fresher faces and 3) sports code says president can be nominated by one and seconded by one but AFI constitution has provision for three proposers for the same name/post and three seconders. Read more on
16:09  The Rediff Election Chat: Which way will Gujarat vote?:  Zafar Yunus Sareshwala, CEO and MD, Parsoli Corporation Ltd, is a strong supporter of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. He was instrumental in initiating a dialogue between Modi and the Gujarati Muslims. Sareshwala is on the ZaraBol chat now. Please click here to read his interview. Click here for the live chat
16:00  Santas remain unemployed:  The holiday season may be upon us, but Santa Clauses around the nation aren't feeling the holiday cheer as many remain unemployed. Read
15:54  Press council chief sued for 90% Indians idiots remark:  Two youths from Lucknow have sent a legal notice to chairperson of Press Council of India Justice Markandey Katju for his remarks that 90 per cent of Indians were idiots. Tanya Thakur, first year law student, and her brother Aditya Thakur in their notice have asked Justice Katju to issue a public apology and in case this does not happen within a period of 30 days they would move to the court. Read more
15:51  The Villain Nobody Knows:  Read about the Indian Civil Service officer who helped the Hindu Mahasabha lay claim to the Babri Masjid. Here you go.
15:30  Decision on Afzal Guru mercy plea after Dec 20:  Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will see files pertaining to mercy petitions of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and six others in death row after the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. "It is not only (that of) Afzal Guru. I have seven files (of mercy pleas) to see. I will see the files after Parliament Session," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a function today. The Winter Session of the Parliament will conclude on December 20.
15:16  India must transform its administrative mindset and function:  Mumbai is no more the welcoming melting pot for people from all over India. Migration to Mumbai continues, with migrants seeking employment and incomes, but they do so in some fear. This will happen in more cities and towns. Read
15:15  A severed head:  It is not often that a man walks into a police station in greater Calcutta wielding a bloody sword, and places the severed head of his sister on the duty officer's table as evidence of his own outrage at his sister's adultery. But this is what happened in the outer fringes of the city on Friday. Read
15:13  PM needs a door to visit Pakistan: Salman Khurshid:  Prime minister Manmohan Singh is still keen to visit Pakistan, but he "needs a  door not a window for making the visit purposeful," says  external affairs minister Salman Khurshid tells Hindustan Times. Full text of the interview with Jayanth Jacob where talks on a host of foreign policy. Read 
15:06  Kundankulam: Cops blink, withdraw from village :   Ganesh Nadar reporting from Kudankulam says that in the face-off between the the police and the anti-nuke activists, the police have blinked first. They have withdrawn from the gate of the Idinthakarai village.

Pic: Ganesh Nadar
15:04  Australian radio show whose RJs made prank call to Duchess of Cambridge's hospital is shut down, station announces. -- CNN.
14:52  Ethically wrong for Gopichand to run pvt academy: HC:  Observing that "ethically" it was wrong for the Badminton Authority of India's (BAI) chief national coach and selection panel head Pullela Gopichand to run a private training academy, the Bombay High Court today said it was not in the best interest of justice.

"Ethically, coach who also heads the selection panel should not run a private academy. He may be a good coach. We are not saying otherwise. But in the interest of justice and fairness, a national coach, also part of the selection panel, should not run a private camp," Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A V Mohta said.

The court observed this while hearing a petition filed by 19-year-old Prajakta Sawant, who had alleged mental harassment by Gopichand after she was refused entry to the All India National Coaching Camp in Hyderabad.
14:32  'Shattered' RJs say prank worst call of their life :  The Australian radio presenters, who made a prank call to a London hospital treating pregnant Princess Kate, today sobbed and spoke of being "shattered, gutted, heartbroken" on hearing the news of the death of an Indian-origin nurse and apologised for their actions.

Radio station 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian said they were devastated by the news of 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha's death, according to media reports here.

When asked how they reacted when told of the death of Saldanha, the mother of two, both DJs broke down in tears. While Christian said he was "shattered, gutted, heartbroken", Greig replied it was "gut wrenching", the worst phone call of her life.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the family and the friends (of Saldanha)," Christian said. "It came into my head that I just wanted to reach out to them (the family), give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're OK, I really do," Greig said.

The two presenters were interviewed by Channel Nine and the Seven Network. Greig and Christian posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles made the call which was received by Saldanha at London's King Edward VII Hospital. She put them through to a colleague who divulged details of the pregnant Kate's health conditions. Saldanha was subsequently found dead under mysterious circumstances.
14:28  16-yr-old Tibetan self-immolates in China, dies:  AFP: A 16-year-old Tibetan girl has died after setting herself on fire, Chinese state media said on Monday, in an area that has become a flashpoint for protests against Beijing's rule. The school pupil self-immolated in the village of Dageri in China's northwestern province of Qinghai, an area with a high population of ethnic Tibetans, just before 7pm on Sunday, Xinhua said. Her body was cremated four hours later and returned to her family, the news agency said, adding that local government officials were investigating.
14:21  Bacon sandwich bonus at Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover:  Workers at one of the largest car manufacturers in the UK were given just a bacon or sausage sandwich as their Christmas bonus. The miserly 'bonus' is part of a tradition served up to employees of International Automotive Components, which fits trim to Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover, every year. Read
14:17  100,000 Indians sind national anthem together:  More than 100,000 Indians have sung the national anthem together in an attempt to break a world record which is currently held by Pakistan. Residents of Kanpur  gathered at a stadium to sing the anthem on Sunday in the presence of representatives from Guinness World Records. Read
14:09  Nizam's kin goes to Ghulam Nabi Azad to resolve property issue:  A kin of the late seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan met with the Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in New Delhi and sought his help in resolving the disputes involving the ownership of properties left behind by the former ruler of Hyderabad State. Read more
14:07  Army losing firing ranges to housing projects:  Almost half of the firing ranges of our military jawans have vanished due to urban encroachments in the country, say media reports. According to a BBC report, the number of ranges at different locations across the country to the army, has gone from 106 to 51. Read more
14:03  Not a Good Week for Speech:  Anyone reading the Nobel Prize acceptance lecture of this year's literature laureate could be forgiven for thinking that the writer is a bit of a mush-pot, so full is it of tear-jerking, almost schmaltzy anecdotes about his late mother. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mo Yan -- or Don't Speak, the pen name by which the Chinese novelist goes -- may be a mama's boy, but he's no dewy-eyed sentimentalist. That's Tinku Varadarajan's piece on Newsweek. Read
13:49  A conversation with human rights activist Binayak Sen:  Binayak Sen, 62, is no ordinary doctor. Few doctors, after all, spend three decades working in a region threatened by what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the "single biggest internal security challenge ever faced' by the country. And that was before Dr. Sen was jailed on charges of "waging a war against the state,' which prompted a group of Nobel laureates topetition for his release. Read the interview here. 
13:36  Guj riots: SC bench refuses to go into Zakia Jafri's plea:  A Supreme Court bench today said it cannot go into the issue of supplying Special Investigation Team documents relating to the Gulburg Housing Society riot case in Ahmedabad in 2002 to the widow of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri. A bench of justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur refused to examine the issue on the ground that the previous order concerning it was passed by a larger bench. The bench said the matter has to be referred to a larger bench of three judges which on September 12, 2011 had passed the order relating to supply of documents to Jafri's widow, Zakia Jafri.
13:09  Amitabh does not want me to contest polls: Jaya:  Actor and Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan has said that she would never contest Lok Sabha elections as her husband megastar Amitabh Bachchan does not want her to do so.

Asked whether she plans to contest 2014 Lok Sabha election from Bhadoi, which she has announced to develop as a model district, Jaya told reporters last evening that she would not contest election from anywhere because her husband Amitabh does not wish her to do so.

She said that if such a situation arises then he would ask her to sit at home. On being asked about Amar Singh's re-entry into the SP, she said that it was a closed chapter, a star which has vanished.
13:03  Contesting power, contesting memories:  Examining continuity and change in the commemorative history of an imperial war memorial, this paper shows that the contestations for hegemony in the present often take the form of contestations about memories.

The Koregaon Bheema obelisk near Pune, which was built to reconfirm the belief of the British in  their own power, today serves much the same function  but for a different group of people former untouchable  Mahars who had no choice but to collaborate with the colonisers against a tyrannical native regime.  Read more
12:53  Skyfall copter for VVIPs:  In about a month from now, an AN-124 aircraft that carries oversized cargo is expected to take off from Yeovil, southwest England, and land at Hindon, just east of Delhi.At Hindon, the AN-124 will 'kneel' and open up for its onboard crane to move parts of the oversized cargo to the ground.

The cargo will be reassembled and formed into two AW 101 VVIP helicopters that will ferry the President, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries.The helicopters, which have also featured in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, will join the Air Headquarters Communication Squadron after defence minister A.K. Antony ruled out cancelling the contract despite an investigation in Italy.
Read more
12:50  A chance to clean the Olympian stables:  Every Indian has the right to feel outraged at the latest decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which denies one-seventh of humanity the right to participate in the Olympic movement. Can the IOC justify penalising the nation and its athletes for no fault of theirs? Certainly not. Read more
12:48  Lose-lose deal:  Resisting the seductive pull of jingoism, India has adopted a prudent approach to the Maldives government decision rescinding GMR's contract for operating and maintaining Male airport. Read
12:45  For a moratorium on the death sentence:  The Supreme Court's five-judge Constitution Bench judgment in Bachan Singh (1980) is the source of contemporary death penalty jurisprudence in India. Its major contribution was to limit the imposition of death penalty to the rarest of rare crimes, and for laying down the principle that the courts must impose the death sentence on a convict only if the alternative sentence of life imprisonment is unquestionably foreclosed. Read
12:43  Fardeen Khan's wife Natasha suffers miscarriage:  Bollywood actor Fardeen Khan's wife Natasha, who was expecting twins, has suffered a miscarriage. "As delighted as we were to announce Natasha's pregnancy, I am equally saddened to say she had a late miscarriage," Fardeen posted on Twitter. The 38-year-old had announced the happy news on Twitter back in October. Fardeen also said that his wife is a strong woman, and they will try again for a baby. "Most importantly Natasha is in good health and can try again. This half-pint I married is a warrior in every sense," he added.
12:42  Former ICC prez says Pak should not tour India:  Former ICC president Ehsan Mani has criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for agreeing to tour India for a short one-day series later this month."I think the PCB is wrong to have agreed to this. If it is a political decision, then the PCB should have asked the politicians to make sure that India reciprocated by coming and playing against Pakistan even if it was at a neutral venue," Mani said in an interview on website.
Mani said he couldn't understand how the PCB agreed to play in India when the nation owes Pakistan two series, which it has cancelled out on.
12:21  BJP: Lobbying in India a crime, Cong must explain :  The BJP says that lobbying is a crime in India and the government must conduct an inquiry and explain the matter. Global retail giant Walmart -- waiting for years to open its supermarkets in India -- has been lobbying with the US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the highly lucrative Indian market.
12:19  26/11 case: India welcomes presenting of evidence in Pak court:  India today welcomed presenting of evidence in a Pakistani court conducting trial of seven accused in 26/11 Mumbai attack case but said it will get a sense of relief and satisfaction only when they are convicted.

"It is certainly welcome but it needs to be accepted by the court. Once it is accepted and there is conviction, we will have some sense of relief and satisfaction," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said today.

He was responding to a question whether he sees as a forward movement by Pakistan in presenting evidence by its Federal Investigation Agency on 26/11 Mumbai attack to the court there.

Photographs of Lashkar-e-Taiba training camps in Sindh and motorboats used by the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai are among evidence presented to a Pakistan anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Pakistanis charged with involvement in the 2008 strikes.

"India has noted this week that it has happened. It seems that the evidence been provided has been shared by the media, there must be some good reason," he said.
12:17  Walmart lobbying bill hits Rs 125 crore on India entry:  Uproar in the Rajya Sabha over reports that global retail giant Walmart -- waiting for years to open its supermarkets in India -- has been lobbying with the US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the highly lucrative Indian market. According to lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to $25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India". Read more
12:13  Ganesh Nadar reporting from Kudankulam says four women cops have been sent back from the confrontation area. 
12:07  Case against dad for fake gold gift:  In other news: When it comes to the bridal trousseau most Malayali women would like to insist that what glitters is indeed gold. With the yellow metal's price hovering at Rs 23,000-plus for eight grams, a father gifted his daughter 'rolled' gold for her wedding - with predictable results. Read
12:03  Cops enter Kudankulam village :  Around 200 cops have entered Idinthakarai village near Kudanakulam where thew are set to face at least 2000 angry villagers, reports Ganesh Nadar. 
12:00's Ganesh Nadar reporting from Kudankulam says that police presence is increasing and a face off is imminent.  
11:58  Modi govt only favoured bunch of crony capitalists: Tewari:  Campaigning for the Congress party, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today criticized Chief Minister Narendra Modi for giving false record on the development of the state, saying that the BJP leader has created "a bunch of crony capitalists."   

The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will take place on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17. Counting of votes will take place on December 20.  

Narendra Modi is seen as the strongest candidate of BJP during general elections, thanks to rapid growth and a perception of corruption-free governance in his state, which has five percent of India''s population but contributes 16 percent to national industrial output.
11:53  Cong is clear about Rahul's capability for PM post: Shinde:  Congress is clear about the capability of Rahul Gandhi for the post of the Prime Minister but BJP is still undecided over its candidate, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said.

"Congress is clear on the suitability and capability of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister. Senior and young party leaders have been projecting him for this post," Shinde had said yesterday.

"However, BJP is undecided about its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 General elections. BJP keeps on talking about L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi for the post," he said.
11:49  Kudankulam: Cops, anti-nuke activists face off :'s Ganesh Nadar reporting from the thick of action in Kudankulam says Tirunelveli SP Vijayendra Bidari is personally leading the police on foot in riot gear, but no guns... so far. The situation is extremely tense and confrontation between protestors and the police is imminent.
Earlier, the Anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Struggle Committee convener S.P. Udayakumar escaped in a fishing boat. The Nuclear Energy Generation and Protection Committee in September had demanded the arrest the anti-nuclear activist and urged the government to implement the High Court order to commission units I and II of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli. Church bells had been ringing to get the villagers to assemble and chart out the next course of action.
11:37  The Madras High Court grants anticipatory bail to Union Minister M K Alagiri's son Durai Dayanidhi in alleged illegal granite quarrying scam
11:29  Khurshid: Katju should not raise people's emotions :  Days after PCI chief Markandey Katju favoured reunification of India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has cautioned against picking up issues which may raise people's emotions unnecessarily.

"Justice Katju has freedom to say a lot of things but I don't have. We cannot talk about something like reversing history because that can only be done if everyone speaks that way...We should not pick up something that once again raises people's emotions unnecessarily," he said.

"But he is a visionary and he is a person who has his own ways and it's interesting to hear what he says," Khurshid told said yesterday on the sidelines of a function when asked to comment on Katju's views.
11:26  IAF corporal commits suicide in Jodhpur:  An Indian Air Force (IAF) corporal on Sunday committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in the barracks in Jodhpur air base in Rajasthan, police said. Corporal Rahul Singh, 24, committed suicide in Jodhpur, over 340 km from here, said a police official.

"He was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the barracks of air force station, Jodhpur, in the afternoon," he said. Rahul Singh joined the IAF six years ago.

"A court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident and we have assured police of full cooperation," Colonel S.D. Goswami, spokesperson for the defence ministry posted in Jodhpur, said.

On Nov 28, Squadron Leader Anandita Das, 29, a native of West Bengal, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in Jodhpur. -- IANS
11:24  Ash follows in Bachchan's footsteps, praises Guj:  Days before the assembly elections in Gujarat, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on Sunday praised the growth witnessed by the state in the past years under Chief Minister Narendra Modi's government. Read
11:20  Pakistans tarred reputation:   While Pakistan's dependence on the West for capital and also on receptive markets for its exports continue to increase, the West '" in particular the United States '" is becoming wary of Pakistan. In a democratic system, what people feel about a country with which it has relations matters. In this context, how Pakistan is viewed by the citizens of the United States acquires considerable importance. Read the opinion piece on the Express Tribune, Pakistan.
11:16  Indias Shameful Day: Dec. 6, 1992:  In other reads: Every year on Dec. 6, India is divided between those who are ashamed and those who are proud of 1992 massacres that tore the country apart. Dilip D'Souza on the complicity of the recently deceased Bal Thackeray in this terrible day. More
11:13  Sonia to address two rallies in Guj today:  With Gujarat going to the polls on Thursday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to address a rally in the state today. According to reports, Gandhi will speak at a rally in Sidhpur in North Gujarat. During her whirlwind tour of the state last week, Gandhi had sharpened her attack on Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is seeking a third consecutive term in office.

She had accused Modi and his BJP-led government of failing to meet the aspirations of the people of the state. "They (Modi and BJP) have no interest in poor and common people but its only interest is development of its own and a select few people."

Also read: Modi to address 53 rallies today. 
11:09  Anti-nuke activist Udayakumar escapes in fishing boat :'s Ganesh Nadar reporting from Idinthakarai village near Kudankulam says the protestors are getting ready for a pitched battle with the police. Earlier, the Anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Struggle Committee convener S.P. Udayakumar escaped in a fishing boat.
The Nuclear Energy Generation and Protection Committee in September had demanded the arrest the anti-nuclear activist and urged the government to implement the High Court order to commission units I and II of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli.
Ganesh Nadar reports that the church bells are ringing to get the villagers to assemble and chart out the next course of action.
11:04  Zardari visits recuperating Malala in Birmingham hospital:  In other news: Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday met Malala Yousufzai, the teenaged schoolgirl who was shot by a Taliban gunman and is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

He said Malala represented the "resilience" of Pakistani women and had become a symbol of Pakistan's fight against extremism. Taking care of her was a national responsibility, he said, and assured his government's continued support to her.  Read more
10:56  Kejriwal lists Ambanis' Swiss bank account numbers:  Ignoring denials issued previously by the Ambanis, Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday reiterated allegations that they held Swiss bank accounts. Read
09:55  Sensex up 45 points in early trade:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Monday recovered by over 45 points in the opening trade on fresh buying by funds and retailers driven by a firming trend in the Asian region.

The 30-share barometer, which had shed 62.70 points in the previous session on Friday, rose by 45.16 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 19,469.26, led by gains in stocks of consumer durables, realty and capital goods sectors.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 8.95 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 5,916.35.

Brokers said fresh round of buying by major players largely in line with a firming trend in Asian markets boosted by gains on the US markets on Friday on positive economic data, influenced trading sentiments.

Besides, expectations of an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank also supported the recovery move, they said.
09:30  Nurse's death: Aus FM channel defends itself:  
An Australian radio station, whose broadcasters made a prank call to a London hospital, on Monday defended its staff, saying it tried to contact the hospital nurses at least five times before airing the interview.

According to an ABC report, the parent company of the radio station Southern Cross Austereo defended its staff, saying its presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian followed proper procedures.

"It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people [the nurses] on multiple occasions," company's chief executive Rhys Holleran said. 

"We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. Before it went to air? Absolutely, we attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions," he said. 

The statement came after widespread criticism over death of Indian-origin nurse 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, who was found dead three days after putting through the call that gathered details of the pregnant Kate, Duchess of Cambridge's condition.
09:28  West Bengal: Eight killed in mishap on NH-34:  
Eight occupants of a car were on Monday killed on the spot and two others injured after their vehicle hit a lorry on NH-34 in Nadia district of West Bengal, police said. 

The incident occurred at Dhugulia area when the SUV was returning to Krishnagar and hit the lorry, district SP Sabyasachi Raman Mishra said. 

Eight passengers, including the driver of the car, died on the spot while the two injured were taken to a local hospital,
police said.
08:49  Women shouldn't wear jeans, use mobiles: Bijnor DM:  
CNN-IBN reports: A regressive and strange diktat has ruffled feathers in Uttar Pradesh. Muslim woman students in Bijnor cannot wear their black burkhas as woman students have been barred from wearing any clothing of black colour. Reports say women have also been barred from wearing jeans and using mobile phones.

This order has come not from any religious body, but the district magistrate of Bijnor who is a woman herself. Locals in Bijnor are up in arms against the DM's absurd diktat.

However, the district magistrate has denied forcing it upon anybody. 

"There is no such ban. We have just asked them to wear sober clothes. Our directive to the girls is being misinterpreted. No one has been forced to do anything," District Magistrate Sarika Mohan said
08:47  Sonia to address rally in north Gujarat today:  
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is on her third round of campaign at Patan district in north Gujarat today. 

She is expected to address a rally in Sidhpur, north Gujarat. 

During her whirlwind tour of the state last week, Gandhi had sharpened her attack on Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is seeking a third consecutive term in office. 

Rahul Gandhi is expected to campaign at Sanand, Jamnagar and Amreli in Gujarat this week.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Manmoahn Singh campaigned in Gujarat. Addressing a rally in Vansada, Dr Singh appealed to the voters of Gujarat to get rid of politicians indulging in divisive politics.
08:45  5.6 quake shakes Philippines' Mindanao:  
A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake shook the typhoon-hit southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Monday, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. 

The quake struck at 5.45 AM (3.15 AM IST today) around 73 kilometres (45 miles) southeast of the city of Davao at a depth of 56 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said. 

The USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage. 

The Hong Kong Observatory measured the tremor at a stronger 6.0. 

Mindanao is still clearing up after powerful Typhoon Bopha hit the southern Philippines last week killing at least 548 people, most of them on the island. 
08:40  US commando killed in Afghanistan killed during rescue op:  
A US special forces commando was killed during a mission in Afghanistan that succeeded in rescuing a kidnapped American doctor, the White House has said.

President Barack Obama said that in carrying out the raid in eastern Afghanistan the commando team had shown "the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free."

The US soldiers killed seven Taliban insurgents in the pre-dawn raid Sunday, launched when intelligence showed that the hostage, Dilip Joseph, was in "imminent danger of injury or death", NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. 

Joseph had been abducted on December 5 by Taliban insurgents in the Surobi district of Kabul province.
08:34  Top headlines at this hour:  PM playing vote-bank politics with minorities: Modi

Nurse's death 'tragic', 'unforeseeable': Aus radio station

Tatas won't get into airline business: Ratan Tata

Zaheer's axe expected; Yuvi, Bhajji made scapegoats: Gavaskar

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