23:50 CPI criticises Centre for FDI vote:
The CPI on Tuesday alleged that the government has kept aside important issues like women's reservation bill, promotion of SC/STs and Telangana for lack of consensus but prioritised FDI in retail trade despite stiff opposition from parties.
"It was opportunism on the part of the parties which came to the rescue of the ruling coalition during voting in Parliament," party General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said without naming SP and BSP.
23:12 Tarigami hits out at Shinde on AFSPA:
The CPI-M in Jammu and Kashmir today took exception to the government's contention that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act will not be withdrawn from the state until the situation is completely peaceful and demanded that it should be immediately scrapped.
State party secretary M Y Tarigami also wondered over Sushilkumar Shinde's statement on the withdrawal of AFSPA from Kashmir, saying that the Union Home Minister should "explain what he perceives from the criteria 'complete peace, quite and calm' in Kashmir?"
22:32 Didn't say Guj safer than Maha: Father of girl held for FB post: NDTV
reports: Farukh Dhada, father of Shaheen Dhada, the girl who was arrested last month by Mumbai police over her Facebook post, has spoken out against what he says is Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's misrepresentation of their views on comparative law and order in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Dhada says he and his family never said Gujarat was better off than Maharashtra and that the family felt perfectly safe in Palghar area of Thane where they'd lived for decades.
21:50 India faces one-in-three chance of rating downgrade: S&P:
India faces one-in-three chance of rating downgrade in the next two years in case the government fails to push reforms in view of the political gridlock and general election in 2014, Standard & Poor's said today.
The problems being faced by the economy include soaring fiscal deficit and high inflation, S&P said while retaining India's rating at 'BBB-', lowest in the investment grade. Any further downgrade will push India's rating to the junk status, making it difficult and costlier for Indian entities to borrow funds overseas.
"The negative outlook signals at least a one-in-three likelihood of a downgrade within the next 24 months. A downgrade is likely if India's economic growth prospects dim, its external position deteriorates, its political climate worsens, or fiscal reforms slow," S&P said.
High fiscal deficit and a heavy debt burden would remain the most significant rating constraints, it said, adding that things could improve with government initiatives to reduce the deficit and improve investment climate.
21:40 Nelson Mandela suffering from lung infection:
South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela is being treated for a lung infection, the president's office has said, reports BBC.
This is the first time officials have revealed why Mandela, 94, was rushed to a military hospital in the capital, Pretoria, on Saturday.
Tests showed a "recurrence of a previous lung infection", presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.Read the full report here
20:56 Modi takes on 'Rahul baba': Sheela Bhatt
reports: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has taken every little allegation, every expose and ridicule by Congress leaders during the ongoing election campaign seriously.
As soon as Rahul Gandhi leveled his allegations against Modi, the latter rebutted it strongly.
Rahul said, in his speech in Amreli, "The Congress got you mobile phones." He credited Sam Pitroda, a Gujarati for it too.
Modi, in his rebuttal, said, "To run a mobile phone, you need to charge it."
Gujarat had round-the-clock electricity, while recently 70 crore people in rest of the India were in darkness for 24 hours. He threw a counter-question, "How many cities and towns in India are getting electricity round the clock after so many years of Independence?"
Modi said,"The Nehru family will not be able to root out Gujarat, because this Gujarat belongs to Sardar Patel."
Modi said," Rahul baba, who complaints that there are one million unemployed in Gujarat doesn't know that thr Central government's report has claimed that Gujarat has the least unemployment."
Modi ridiculed Rahuls assertion that Gandhiji is his guru, Modi said, "He should follow Gandhi's advice, which was given after Independence, that the Congress should be disbanded."
20:06 Will NOT allow Walmart stores in India: CPI-M:
CPI-M leader Prakash Karat today said his party would not allow retail giant Walmart to open stores in India.
Karat also referred to the Walmart lobbying issue as he slammed the government's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
20:04 BJP targets Ajit Pawar :
Opposition BJP today led a massive march to Vidhan Bhawan in Nagpur where the winter session of the Maharashtra legislature is underway.
The morcha was organised to highlight current issues including the re-induction of senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister, the irrigation scam in the state and FDI in retail.
Thousands of party workers participated in the march that started from Reshimbagh Ground and culminated at the Vidhan Bhawan.
20:03 LPG cylinder cap: EC seeks answers from Moily:
The Election Commission has sought Union Oil Minister Veerappa Moily's explanation over the government's announcement about raising the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine.
19:40 No early hearing on Wal-Mart lobbying issue: SC:
The Wal-Mart lobbying issue was today raised in the Supreme Court, which said it cannot give an early hearing to a plea seeking direction to the government for placing before it copies of reports filed in the US Senate by the retail giant, which lobbied with lawmakers in that country to gain entry into India.
"This is not a matter which should be given priority now.We won't pass any orders. You may make an application," a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said.
The observations were made by the bench when an advocate mentioned the matter and sought a direction for early hearing.
19:39 Oppn parties slam Congress over Telangana issue:
Principal opposition Telugu Desam Party today dubbed the Centre-convened all-party meet on the Telangana issue on December 28 as a "political drama".
"The all-party meet is a political drama by the Congress.It is trying to trouble other parties by not resolving the statehood issue," TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said .
He came down heavily on the Centre for prolonging political uncertainty in Andhra Pradesh and demanded that it come out with an immediate solution to the issue.
19:37 No resolution for Sena's no-trust move:
The fate of the no-trust motion moved by Shiv Sena against the Congress-NCP coalition government in Maharashtra hangs in balance on the second day of the winter session in Mumbai.
The motion, submitted by Shiv Sena to the Speaker on November 27, came up for mentioning today but the party failed to pursue it, which virtually amounted to the motion getting lapsed.
As per Rule 95 of the State Legislature, the no-confidence motion needs to be mentioned in the Lower House within two days and accordingly, Speaker Dilip Walse Patil asked the Opposition, particularly Shiv Sena group leader Subhash Desai, whether to take up the motion today.
19:34 Stop increase in subsidised LPG cylinders: EC:
The Election Commission has taken note of the government's move to increase subsidised LPG cylinders, two days before Gujarat goes to polls, and directed it to stop it forthwith.
19:06 Kingfisher denies deal with Ethihad:
Kingfisher Airlines today said it is in discussions with several investors for equity partnership, including Gulf-based Etihad Airways, but denied any deal with any of them, even as it lost five more aircraft due to non-payment of lease rentals and tax dues.
"We would like to clarify that the company is in discussions with various investors, including Etihad Airways, for equity investments," Kingfisher said in a filing to BSE.
"However, no agreement has been reached either with Etihad or any other airline and the matters are merely at negotiation stages," the statement said.
19:05 Sports ministry asks Athletic Federation to hold re-election:
The sports ministry today gave the Athletic Federation of India two months time to amend its constitution and hold re-elections for the post of president, secretary and treasurer.
In a letter to the AFI, the ministry had drawn its attention to a few contentious clauses in its constitution and asked it to hold re-elections for a few particular posts.
The ministry also instructed the federation to carry out the elections within the period of 60 days.
19:03 Centre summons Andhra Pradesh governor: A correspondent from Delhi reports:
The government has summoned Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan on Thursday to discuss the forthcoming all-party meet on Telangana.
Congress leaders may also discuss with Narasimhan the possible political scenario in the wake of the rise of Jagan Reddy and YSR Congress.
The governor is scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
On Saturday, the governor may pay a courtesy call to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
18:37 'Rahul's 'leaderless' campaign relies on factual errors':
Asserting that Rahul Gandhi''s campaign in Gujarat was based on misinterpretation of facts, half-truths and aimed at misleading the people, BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Congress General Secretary has to rethink the kind of model with which he wants to lead his party or influence the Central Government''s decision.
"Rahul Gandhi also spoke about ''Har Vyakti Ke Liye Bhojan Denge''. Gujarat Developmental Model looks for ''Har Vyakti Ke Liye Rozgaar Denge'' so that the individual's self-respect is held high and the family can proudly live on its earned income," said Sitharaman.
"So, if the attitude of the Congress is to make ''a beggar of every individual'', he has to rethink the kind of model with which he wants to lead his party or also influence the government's way as their party is ruling," she added.
18:36 Advani: Modi will strike hat-trick on December 20:
BJP veteran LK Advani today lauded Narendra Modi for his effective administration, saying it will be
a hat trick for the Gujarat Chief Minister on December 20. Advani said that it was for the first time that he has witnessed such interest in the assembly polls.
"I have taken part in all Lok Sabha elections. I want to tell
Gujarat, through you, that the world and the whole country is watching
the Lok Sabha polls usually. This is the first time I have seen such
interest in assembly polls," Advani told a gathering.
18:31 Liquor shops to remain shut till Dec 17 in Gujarat:
The few authorised liquor shops in Gujarat selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) to those holding permits have been asked to remain shut till December 17 in view of the assembly elections, official sources said. Though Gujarat practices prohibition, there are 30 odd liquor shops located in different cities where those issued liquor permits on health grounds as also foreigners are allowed to buy IMFL, sources said.
18:26 Father-son injured in shootout at Gurgaon hospital:
CNN IBN reports that there's been a shootout in Gurgaon. Six men open fire in the ICU of a hospital in Gurgaon and attacked attacked a father-son duo. A total of 12 men went to the hospital, but six men carried out the attack.
17:41 Meanwhile, in West Bengal, MoS for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has dismissed all the railway committees set up by CM Mamata Banerjee.
17:25 Govt sets aside AFI polls with immediate effect :
The Government today set aside the elections to the post of President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI). It was found that Clause XIV(b)(1) of the Constitution of AFI required that a person must be an existing member of the Executive Committee of the AFI for seeking election to the post of President/Secretary. Read more
17:12 UK army to send 4,000 troops to India for meditation:
Tthe British army has approached the Bihar tourism board with a proposition to allow 4,000 of its battle-fatigued troops, all practicing Buddhists, to visit Bodh Gaya so they can de-stress via meditation under the holy 'Mahabodhi' tree at the ancient haven of Buddhism. Read more
16:58 Have Pakistanis forgotten Kashmir?:
Pakistani journalist Yaqoob Khan Bangash's column on Pakistani's wanting to leave the issue of Kashmir behind. "Last year, I wrote an article in this newspaper arguing that Pakistan should change its stance on Kashmir, not only for the sake of Kashmiris -- who have fared well compared to Pakistanis lately -- but for the sake of Pakistan itself. Arguably, Pakistan would be a much secure, stable, democratic and developed country if it were not for the Kashmir issue. Read
16:55 Modi vs Rahul: Youth want jobs, not mobile phones :
Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's rebuttal to Rahul Gandhi's speech in Gujarat on his website.
"Rahul says he is walking on Mahatma Gandhiji's path but if he is actually walking on Gandhiji's path then one wish of Mahatma Gandhi would not be left incomplete -- which was to disband the Congress after Independence. Do the youth want jobs or mobile phones? Do the women want to see prices come down or they want mobile phones? In any case, if half the nation is under darkness under your rule, where will we charge these mobile phones?" asks Modi.
"Rahul Gandhi talks of respect for the Vidhan Sabha but from May 2011 to May 2012 Rahul Gandhi's attendance in the Lok Sabha was 24 out of 85 sittings. From 2010 to 2011 it was 19 out of 72 sittings," says Modi.
16:45 Hold the champagne: NO deal with Etihad, says KFA:
Reuters: Kingfisher Airlines says no agreement has been reached either with Etihad or any other airline. This is in response to the Mumbai Mirror story that the king of good times, who has had a miserable 2012, is all set to give himself a big birthday gift before the year ends.
Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines, grounded for over a month and a half now for want of cash, has finally found a saviour in United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airways.Etihad, which was also in talks with Jet, has agreed to pick up a 48 per cent stake in Kingfisher for a little over Rs 3,000 crore. Read more
16:16 Opposition wants JPC probe on Walmart lobbying allegations :
The demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into disclosures by retail giant Wal-Mart on lobbying in India was made by several members in the Lok Sabha today. SP, which had bailed out the government during the vote on a motion against FDI in multi-brand retail, also pressed for a judicial probe into the issue. RJD, which also supported the government on FDI issue, demanded a JPC probe into Wal-Mart's disclosure.
16:11 The day my husband was abducted:
It was like any other Friday night. My husband and I were contemplating dinner plans. Before we went out, Hasan decided to run a few errands, while I took my time getting ready before our date. Half an hour went by and I decided to call him, "Where are you?" Read more
on the Express Tribune, Pakistan.
15:53 Life after escaping an Indian brothel:
Minati, 19, was never meant to be rescued from a brothel here in the red light district of Kolkata, India. When Nick Kristof accompanied the International Justice Mission and the police on a raid in a brothel in the Songachi district last year, they were looking for a girl much younger than Minati. Read
15:51 Indias real estate developers predict new construction boom:
The sight of a construction crane looming on the horizon has become ubiquitous in most large cities across India -- and may become even more so in the near future.The introduction of large foreign retailers like Wal-Mart into the country is eagerly awaited by many industrialists, particularly in the real estate sector, where builders and developers hope to benefit from an increased demand for retail spaces. Read more
15:45 A rare view inside Delhis royal court:
Centered on the tumultuous years between 1975 and 1991, Durbar, serves up Tavleen Singh's recollections of hobnobbing with Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi and their friends, including assorted scions of influential families who went on to wield considerable power in later decades. Read
the interview on the New York Times blogs.
15:36 Rahul Gandhi's chai-pakoda moment in Imphal:
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had his "aam aadmi (common man)' moment yesterday, when he stopped at a roadside stall for tea and pakoras on his way back to the airport after taking part in a public rally in Manipur. Much to the consternation of his security personnel, Rahul sampled tea at the dingy stall sitting on a plastic chair near the Iskcon temple, which is about 6km from the state capital, Imphal. Read
15:28 India far from overtaking China:
Before we get too excited about reports in the local media today about India's economy outpacing China by 2030, let's take a closer look at the document that spurred these articles. Read
15:23 Torture death: Capt Saurab Kalia's father reaches UN:
CNN IBN: Kargil war hero Capt Saurabh Kalia's father reaches the UN. Kargil War hero Capt Saurabh Kalia's family want India to take up his death-by-torture in 1999 with Pakistan. Source said that while the government sympathises with the family, the case to drag Pakistan to an international body is a non-starter. India is not a member of the International Criminal Court and therefore does not recognise its jurisdiction, the sources said. Even if India does move the court, going by precedents, it is most likely that the court will throw out the case if Pakistan does not agree to become a party. For the record, Pakistan has denied its Army tortured the officer and Indian jawans. Sources said that moving the United Nations could prove counterproductive as Pakistan can raise India's human rights record on Kashmir.
15:03 RJ hoax call nurse's family to receive Rs 2.7 cr compensation:
The family of the nurse whose death has been linked to a prank call from an Australian radio station are to receive at least $500,000 from the stations owners. Southern Cross Austereo said today that it was to resume advertising on its 2DayFM station and that all profits from the advertisements would be donated to a fund that would directly benefit the family of Jacintha Saldanha. It said $500,000 would be the least the family would receive. -- The Times, London.
14:57 GMR Maldives: Indias Enron?:
Will cronyism dictate our attitude to our tiny neighbours (Maldives), while we are pressured by rich nations to open up our markets? Read
Amitabh Bachchan tweets: The gentle smile from the 'little one' and life is worth living once again .. !!
: Dont understand the obsession about Aaradhya: Ash
All that you wanted to know about the SC/ST amendment bill. Read
14:41 Guj: Rahul's potato chips' speech rouses the rabble:
Addressing his second rally in Gujarat today, Rahul Gandhi's otherwise unremarkable speech Here's what Firstpost.com has on the speech. He asks the crowd.
"How much is a kilo of potatoes selling for?"
"Rs 3!" says the crowd.
"Then how is a packet of potato chips Rs 10? Who is it who loses ultimately?"
"Do you get ration cards? Do you get water? You only get marketing. The marketing is very good," he says to loud cheering.
14:21 Anna to press for Right to Reject button :
Anna Hazare will visit the office of the Election Commission of India at 3 pm today to press for the provision of 'Right to Reject' button in EVMs and other electoral reforms. Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi has said that Anna's demand for incorporating Right to Reject a candidate in
Parliament and assembly elections is an "interesting possibility".
14:16 West Bengal Assembly plunges into bedlam as Trinamool Congress and Left MLAs came to blows. Details awaited.
It is impossible to read Naipauls tremendous body of work without becoming entranced by the man himself: irascible, inquisitive, and acutely attuned to the ways in which his own background has shaped his outlook. V.S. Naipaul on the Arab Spring, authors he loathes, and the books he will never write. Read
13:57 Industrialist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who heads Biocon, will deliver the annual lecture for the Intelligence Bureau. She will focus on the emerging corporate world and the security risks involved in it. The lecture will be delivered at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi.
13:53 2014 polls: Cong war room meets every Saturday:
After two meetings in Delhi, the Rahul Gandhi-headed committee for Election Coordination has identified six important areas where coordination is necessary. The committee meetings will be held on every Saturday at 15, Gurudwara Rekhab Ganj Road near Parliament House. This is a secluded Bungalow where AICC has opened up a War Room of sorts with graphics and profiles of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies with maps.
The other Congress leaders in this Sonia Gandhi appointed committee include Ahmed Patel, Digvijaya Singh, Madhusudan Mistry and Jairam Ramesh.
13:32 On Walmart, the BJP, and bribery:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of the US already has flagged that it is investigating possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act -- a US anti-bribery law -- in India, among other places. So it was perhaps not surprising to see the BJP India's main opposition, seize on Wal-Mart's US lobbying disclosures in a bid to allege that the company had paid bribes to Indian officials. Read more
13:19 Why are Indian businesses facing trouble overseas:
When an Indian businessman bought the British carmaker Jaguar four years ago, the deal was heralded as the beginning of the era of the Indian multinational company. Many Indians cheered as domestic business barons acquired companies, set up factories and bought mines across the world. For India, once colonized by the British East India Co., these were milestones in the nation's journey since independence. But as Indian businesses abroad have suffered recent setbacks, the swagger of many here has been diminished. Read more
13:15 Cong to issue statement on Rahul today :
In a signal indicating that Rahul Gandhi is the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress party in all but name, Congress spokesperson PC Chacko declared that Rahul would lead the UPA's campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and take up an 'important responsibility' in the party very soon. Chacko's statement echoed in Central Hall today as senior Congress leaders quipped that the spokesperson of the AICC had exceeded his brief. It is believed he will correct himself during a media interaction today.
12:55 No choice but to accept Chinas new reality: Khurshid:
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid today said that to have a "meaningful partnership' with China, India needed to accept the "new reality' of Beijing's presence in areas that New Delhi considers exclusive to India and its friends. Khurshid added that no immediate result could be expected on the India-China border dispute but the two neighbours were moving in the right direction, which was 'comforting for both the sides'. Read more
12:52 Maximum army, navy, air force men from UP:
Uttar Pradesh is the largest contributor to each of the three services: the army, navy and the air force. Bihar is the third and Bengal the sixth largest annual contributor of soldiers to the Indian Army, according to the latest available statistics. Read more
12:22 Government agrees to probe on Walmart lobbying :
Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath says the government is worried and concerned about the Walmart lobbying allegations and has therefore agreed to a probe. "I have no hesitation in ordering an inquiry," says Kamal Nath amid uproar in the Lok Sabha, which has now been adjourned till 2 pm.
12:19 Govt agrees to probe on Walmart lobbying :
Both houses of Parliament have resumed after a brief adjournment. The government has agreed to a probe into allegations that Walmart spent Rs 125 crore to gain entry into India. The decision was taken after the PM met Sonia Gandhi over the Walmart logjam in Parliament.
The BJP today raised the matter in both Houses of Parliament and sought the suspension of Question Hour.Yashwant Sinha raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, while M Venkaiah Naidu raised it in Rajya Sabha today. The BJP wants an independent probe into the whole affair to ascertain the facts as to who were the beneficiaries of the amount spent by Walmart on lobbying for entry into India.
Yashwant Sinha says Walmart has bribed Indian lawmakers and policy makers to get into India and it will not allow the company to operate till a probe is conducted.
Walmart spent nearly Rs 125 crore for lobbying with legislators to
get access to the Indian market. The US has said the global retail
giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is
12:09 Rahul in Guj: Modi only thinks of his own dreams:
Rahul Gandhi is in the Narendra Modi-run state to campaign for the first time today. He will head to Sanand in Ahmedabad in central Gujarat and then address meetings at Jamnagar and Amreli in Saurashtra regions. Addressing a meeting at Jamnagar, Rahul says that the Gujarat CM only thinks about his own dreams, a true leader should think of his people. Questioning the development platform, Modi is running on, Rahul says unemployment is rife in Gujarat.
12:04 Kapil Sibal gives away Web Ratna Awards 2012 :
Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Communications and IT, has announced the Web Ratna Awards acknowledging the exemplary initiatives in e-governance using the medium of World Wide Web in different categories. Read
12:00 Boy dies after being beaten up by teacher:
In a case of brutal corporal punishment, a 10-year-old boy died allegedly after being beaten up by his teacher in Bilsahaiganj area in the district. Sajid, a Class V student at Lakhi Public School in Azad Nagar, was allegedly beaten up by his teacher Rahul over some issue yesterday, police said today. Later the teacher took Sajid to his home after which the boy was admitted to a private hospital where he died. On the complaint of Sajid's father, a case has been lodged.
11:54 What do we really know about Jesus?:
A recent papyrus that referenced Jesus' wife caused an uproar. It may be a hoax, but what do we really know about the historical truth of the early life of Jesus? Even the gospels disagree. Read
11:50 DJs broke 'Do No Harm' rule:
Australian disc jockey Michael Christian told an interviewer that "Prank calls are made every day on every radio station in every country around the world, and they have been for a long time, and no one could have imagined this to happen." Read
11:41 Wanted a batsman who can stand and defy:
V.V.S. Laxman was a cricketer's cricketer; Rahul Dravid a captain's. When Laxman batted, cricketers set work aside and watched. The Hindu on how the retirement of Dravid and Laxman has created a void in the dressing room. Read
11:26 RJs did not seek permission to air hoax call: Hospital :
The London hospital at the centre of the Australian hoax call controversy on Monday denied that the Sydney radio station behind the prank made any contact with it before airing the call.
It followed claims by 2DayFM that at least five attempts were made to obtain the permission of the two nurses involved in the incident before the taped conversation was broadcast.
One of the nurses, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead three days after she an answered the call from Mel Greig and Michael Christian who posed as the Queen and Prince Charles in order to obtain confidential medical details of Kate William, the Duchess of Cambridge.The hospital said it had offered to provide whatever assistance and support it could to Ms Saldanha's family. Read more Also see
: Nurses family says she 'died of shame'
11:22 Facebook shuts down Pak Taliban 'recruiting page':
Facebook has shut down an account by the Pakistan Taliban that the militant group created to recruit people to write for a quarterly magazine and to edit videos.
According to a report by Los Angeles Times, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan page was recruiting contributors for a new quarterly magazine called Ahyah-e-Khilafat.
It had 281 'likes' as of Friday evening and included posts in English, mostly bland, PG-rated job postings for positions like video editor, translator and writer of "jihadi current affairs' and Islamic movements, the Washington Post reports. A post on the social networking site gave an email address and asked readers to ''plz spread' the message.
11:19 Indian woman sentenced to 20 years for healthcare fraud:
An Indian-origin woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay a penalty of over USD 14 million on charges of healthcare fraud. Meera Sachdeva, 50 of Mississippi was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on charges that she defrauded federal insurance programme Medicare by submitting false claims for chemotherapy services, US Attorney Gregory Davis said in a statement.
11:15 The Male takeaway:
In other reads: Delhi may have good reason to downplay last week's ouster of GMR from the Maldives. That a small neighbour has targeted a major investment by an Indian company has surely set teeth gnashing in South Block. But anger management is one of the first principles of diplomacy.India, which has many other interests in the Maldives besides the GMR investment in Male airport, does not want to make the situation any worse by reacting aggressively. Read more
11:12 Disclose names of recipients of Walmart lobbying money: BJP:
The BJP yesterday demanded a fair probe to find out the names of recipients and insisted that till this is done Walmart should not be allowed to set up shop in India. "The cat is out of the bag and the proof is properly documented. Walmart has said in its lobbying disclosure report that it has been paying since 2008 for access for favourable market condition in India and Rs. 125 crore has been spent," Deputy Leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
11:07 Walmart lobbying report derails Parliament again:
Uproar in Lok Sabha over Walmart. And yes, the Speaker has adjourned the house till noon. BJP has given a notice for the suspension of Question Hour. In the Rajya Sabha, the BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad says the party demands an explanation and an inquiry into the report that Walmart paid Rs 125 crore for lobbying in India. The Rajya Sabha has also been adjourned.
11:03 Money laundering: 'HSBC to pay $1.9 bn to settle US claims':
US authorities plan to announce a record $1.9 billion settlement with British bank HSBC to end allegations of money laundering, The Wall Street Journal reported on its website.The deal could be announced as early as on Tuesday in New York, officials told the Journal.Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said on Monday that the figure includes nearly $1.3 billion, a record amount for a bank, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement. Read more
10:58 Eve-teasing: HC says womens dignity at stake:
Exactly a week after a 19-year-old youth was killed in Dombivli by a group of boys after he took them on for passing lewd comments on a girl, the Bombay high court on Monday said eve-teasing needed to be redressed as the question of women's dignity was at stake. Read more
10:56 No violation of American laws in lobbying by Walmart: US:
Proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were derailed yesterday after reports that Walmart had spent nearly Rs 125 crore for lobbying with lawmakers to get access to Indian market. The US has now issued a statement saying that the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned.
"On the US side, I don't have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I'll refer you to them," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Monday, categorically dismissing allegations by Indian opposition parties in this regard.
10:50 India to outpace China by 2030: US intelligence report:
It might be hard to visualize or believe in today's messy, gridlocked, turmoil-ridden subcontinent, but the US intelligence community in a new report released on Monday says by 2030, a surging India, along with decelerating China, will straddle global commerce and dominate the world economy amid the gradual decline of the west. Read more
10:41 Gujarat polls: Campaigning for first phase ends today evening:
Campaigning for the first phase of Gujarat assembly elections has reached its peak as campaigning for this phase comes to an end this evening.
A total of 87 constituencies spread over 15 districts from Saurashtra and south regions of the state will go for poll on December 13.
Political fate of 846 candidates including 46 women, will be decided by over three crore, 80 lakh voters.
Adding glamour to campaigning, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has put several Gujarati film and TV artists to canvassing for party candidates.
10:22 Bomb threat at Kochi airport:
Police and Central Inndustrial Security Force personnel are on high alert at the Kochi airport at nearby Nedumbassery following an anonymous call on Tuesday morning that a bomb had been planted there.
The call was received at the Air India office at the airport around 6.45 am.
No specific area or location was mentioned, Airport Director A K C Nair said.
The airport area was thoroughly checked by bomb and dog squad but nothing has been found so far, he said.
Nair said the call was made from a BSNL mobile phone.
All flights were checked thoroughly and this would continue through out the day, he said.
09:47 Sensex up 194 points in early trade:
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Tuesday recovered by over 194 points in early trade on fresh buying by funds and retailers on expectations of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank in its monetary policy review next week.
The 30-share barometer, which has lost over 77 points in the past two trading days, rose by 194.08 points, or 1 per cent, to 19,603.77, led by gains in stocks of healthcare, consumer durables, banking and realty sectors.
Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 31.10 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 5,940.00.
Brokers said fresh round of buying by major players on hopes of an interest rate cut by RBI in its December 18 mid-quarter monetary policy review amid a mixed trend in Asian markets buoyed the trading sentiment.
Meanwhile in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.37 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.22 per cent.
09:44 HSBC to pay $1.9 billion to settle probe:
HSBC, the British banking giant, will pay $1.9 billion to settle a money-laundering probe by federal and state authorities in the United States, a law enforcement official said on Monday.
The probe of the Europe's largest bank by market value has focussed on the transfer of billions of dollars on behalf of nations like Iran, which are under international sanctions, and the transfer of money through the US financial system from Mexican drug cartels.
According to the official, HSBC will pay $1.25 billion in forfeiture and pay $655 million in civil penalties. The $1.25 billion figure is the largest forfeiture ever in a case involving a bank.
Under what is known as a deferred prosecution agreement, the financial institution will be accused of violating the Bank Secrecy Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorised to speak about the matter on the record.
Under the deferred prosecution arrangement, HSBC will admit to certain misconduct, the official said, but the details of those admissions to be made in a New York court were not immediately available late Monday.
Nevertheless the deferred prosecution agreement means the bank wont be prosecuted further if it meets certain conditions, such as strengthening its internal controls to prevent money laundering. The Justice Department has used such arrangements often in cases involving large corporations, notably in settlements of foreign bribery charges.
09:42 Rahul Gandhi to campaign in Gujarat today:
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi hitting the campaign trail in Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi will be addressing rallies in the Narendra Modi-run state for the first time from Tuesday, the last day of canvassing for the first phase of polls.
The Congress leader will address meetings at Sanand in Ahmedabad in central Gujarat and at Jamnagar and Amreli in Saurashtra regions.
Sonia and the prime minister have already campaigned in the state where the party is out of power for two decades.
Rahul, who has been the "number two" in the Congress, will soon take up an important responsibility in the party and the AICC has declared that he will lead UPA's campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
09:05 North Korean missile launch deferred until Dec 29:
North Korea is pressing ahead with preparation for a long-range rocket launch after extending its liftoff window by another week until December 29 because of technical problems.
An unidentified spokesman for the North's Korean Committee of Space Technology told state media on Monday that scientists found a "technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket."
The statement didn't elaborate but said technicians were moving ahead with final preparations for the liftoff from a west coast launch site.
The second day of North Korea's extended 20-day launch window began on Tuesday morning without signs of a liftoff.
The specifics of the rocket's technical problems aren't clear, but state media put out an overnight dispatch detailing the unusually cold weather and heavy snow hitting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.
It's North Korea's second attempt of the year, and the fifth since 1998, to launch a rocket that the United Nations, Washington, Seoul and others call a cover meant to test technology for missiles that could be used to strike the United States.
08:42 Strauss-Kahn, NYC hotel maid settle suit:
Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a New York City hotel maid have signed a settlement of her sexual assault lawsuit, a judge has announced, saying that terms of the deal were confidential.
The lawsuit stemmed from a May 2011 hotel suite encounter. It also spurred criminal charges, forced Strauss-Kahn's resignation from the IMF and cut off his potential candidacy for the French presidency.
The criminal case was dropped after prosecutors said his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, had credibility problems. She said she always told the truth about the encounter.
Strauss-Kahn called her suit defamatory and countersued for $1 million.
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers acknowledged late last month there had been settlement talks, though they dismissed as "flatly false" a French newspaper report that Strauss-Kahn had agreed to pay $6 million. Diallo's lawyers declined to comment.
08:41 US brands Syrian rebel group as terror outfit:
The Obama administration is declaring a Syrian rebel group with alleged ties to Al Qaeda as a terrorist organisation. It is an effort to blunt the influence of extremists as the US steps up cooperation with the Syrian opposition.
The State Department's action blocks Jabhat al-Nusra's assets in the US and bars Americans from doing business with the group.
The move hasn't been announced officially but was included in the Federal Register today. The department said the group was part of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Jabhat al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings on Syrian government targets, raising fears of growing Islamic extremism among the opposition.
08:40 Marijuana legalised in Colorado:
A voter-approved marijuana legalisation amendment in Colorado, US, has been endorsed by Gov John Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper's declaration, a procedural step, means that marijuana is effectively legal for recreational use in Colorado.
The drug became legal in Washington state last week.
Hickenlooper said voters were "loud on clear" when they voted last month to make pot legal without a doctor's recommendation.
Adults over 21 may now possess up to an ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, or six plants.
Colorado and Washington officials both have asked the US Department of Justice for guidance on the laws that conflict with federal drug law. Neither state will allow commercial sales for a year or more
08:39 US report faults Pakistan over Afghan war:
Despite an easing of tensions with the United States, Pakistan is persistently undermining security in Afghanistan by permitting safe havens for insurgents, a Pentagon report has said.
In a twice-a-year war assessment mandated by Congress, the Defense Department said that the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan and their allies had succeeded in preventing Taliban advances while limiting civilian casualties.
But Taliban havens across the border in Pakistan, the limited capacity of the Afghan government and "endemic corruption" pose the greatest risks as the United States prepares to pull out troops by the end of 2014, the Pentagon said.
The report noted the better US relations with Pakistan, which agreed in July to reopen Western forces' supply routes into Afghanistan. Pakistan had refused access after a US border strike killed 24 of its troops in November 2011.
03:48 Chavez faces new cancer battle, another operation:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba on Monday for a fourth cancer-related operation after designating the vice president as his political heir.
Chavez was greeted warmly by Cuban President Raul Castro in the early morning darkness after his plane touched down at Havana's Jose Marti Airport. The men hugged and smiled for the cameras but made no comments about the visit or the Venezuelan leader's condition.
03:46 Jihadists seize key north Syria army base:
Jihadists led by the radical Al-Nusra Front seized a strategic army base in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo today, in a fresh setback for President Bashar al-Assad's regime, a watchdog said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported clashes in a northern Damascus district, the fiercest in the area since a revolt against Assad broke out in March 2001.
On the political front, the EU gave a vital boost to the newly-formed Syrian opposition coalition, describing it as the "legitimate representatives" of the Syrian people following talks in Brussels with its leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.
03:45 Sick Chvez seeks to buy time:
When Hugo Chvez announced the return of his cancer over the weekend he did his best to quash any question of a power struggle in his ruling party by explicitly anointing a successor for the first time.
"Although I am not handing over the political high command, I am delegating it and it is in the good hands of [vice-president] Nicols Maduro,' the Venezuelan president said before flying'to'Cuba'for'treatment.
02:35 Sick Chvez seeks to buy time:
When Hugo Chvez announced the return of his cancer over the weekend he did his best to quash any question of a power struggle in his ruling party by explicitly anointing a successor for the first time.
"Although I am not handing over the political high command, I am delegating it and it is in the good hands of [vice-president] Nicols Maduro,' the Venezuelan president said before flying'to'Cuba'for'treatment.
01:46 Judge: Strauss-Kahn, NYC hotel maid settle suit:
A New York hotel housekeeper and former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn have reached a settlement in her civil lawsuit against him over an alleged sexual assault, a judge said Monday.
Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty in June to the charges that prompted him to resign from his post as managing director of the IMF. Prosecutors have recently disclosed credibility issues regarding the hotel maid.
01:25 Navy identifies SEAL killed in Afghanistan rescue:
The U.S. Defense Department on Monday identified the SEAL killed during a successful raid to free a captive doctor in Afghanistan.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, died Saturday during the effort to free Dr. Dilip Joseph, the Navy said. NATO commanders believed Joseph was in imminent danger from his captors when the raid took place.
01:24 Four killed in Pakistan violence:
Four people, including two security personnel, were shot dead while three traffic wardens injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen as violence and target killings continued in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi today.
Police said the two soldiers of the paramilitary rangers were killed while on duty at a checkpost in Sohrab Goth. "Armed men on motorcycles fired on the rangers killing them instantly and also injuring the traffic wardens who were on duty nearby," a senior police official said.
01:07 Desmond Tutu takes UNESCO human rights prize:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was today awarded the UNESCO/Bilbao human rights prize for "his exceptional contribution to building a universal culture of human rights at the national, regional and international levels."
The jury highlighted the role he played in building the new non-racial South Africa and his contribution as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to national reconstruction which became a model for other post-conflict societies, UNESCO said in a statement.
00:41 Mangalore Diocese seeks probe into Indian nurse death:
The Mangalore diocese today urged the Centre to prevail on authorities in London to thoroughly investigate the mysterious death of Indian-origin nurse Jacintha Saldhana in that country.
Monsignor Denis Moras Prabhu, Vicar general of the diocese, told reporters here they have urged External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and former minister Oscar Fernandez to pressurise authorities in London to investigate the case thoroughly.
"London police have not allowed Jacintha's husband to make a telephone call and her mortal remains were not shown to him or the children. Government of India must look into this matter seriously," he said.
00:39 European Union officials accept Nobel Peace Prize:
Hailing the European Union as "the most dramatic example in history that shows that war and conflict can be turned into peace and cooperation," Nobel committee chairman Thorborn Jagland presented the Nobel Peace Prize to top EU officials at a ceremony Monday in Oslo.
The award to the 27-nation EU for advancing peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights, was handed to its three leaders, Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council; Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission; and Martin Schulz, president of theEuropean Parliament.
An appreciative audience on hand included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French PresidentFrancois Hollande, and leaders of European member states and institutions along with the Norwegian royal family.