NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 

Deadly bombing hits Syria interior ministry

Write a comment

December 12, 2012

23:32  Deadly bombing hits Syria interior ministry:  Three bombs struck outside the interior ministry in Damascus today leaving dead and wounded, state media reported, without giving a precise breakdown of the casualties. 

"Three terrorist explosions, including one caused by a car bomb, struck the interior ministry in Kfar Sousa" in the southwest of the capital, the official SANA news agency reported. "Several people were killed and injured." 

Images from the scene broadcast by the pro-government Al-Ikhbariya television channel showed piles of rubble, and blood on the ground.
22:53  Panetta in Afghanistan to meet with Karzai:  President Barack Obama will decide shortly how many US troops he wants to keep in Afghanistan after the US-led coalition military mission ends in December 2014, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said today as he opened two days of consultations with top US commanders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Panetta offered no clues to what Obama may decide, but other officials have indicated the White House is considering plans that call for between 6,000 and 10,000 US troops to stay for several years after 2014 in order to keep Afghanistan on a path toward stability and to prevent Al Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups from re-emerging as a significant force here.
22:37  NATO sets up new HQ for allied special forces:  NATO opened a new headquarters complex for its special forces today as part of a larger move aimed at offsetting the effects of deep defence cuts and better coordinating the elite military units. 

In a ceremony in Mons, Belgium, NATO's supreme commander Adm James Stavridis said the new command center will ensure that the national contingents continue to develop their capabilities by training together. The move comes as NATO is reforming its forces across the alliance. NATO's new philosophy of "smart defense" calls on members to share resources and equipment in order to reduce duplication.
22:33  Mali gets new prime minister after forced ouster:  Mali's interim president has named a replacement after soldiers behind a coup earlier this year forced out the prime minister and placed him under house arrest, provoking international condemnation. 

The political turmoil has deepened concerns about Mali's stability at a time when the international community is considering backing a military intervention, including Malian soldiers, to oust the country's north from the hands of radical Islamists.
22:04  Sangma's plea needed regular hearing: SC judge:  Justice J Chelameswar of the Supreme Court, who had dissented with the majority order dismissing P A Sangma's plea against Pranab Mukherjee's election as President, today said allegation of holding an office of profit by the senior Congress leader needed a regular and detailed hearing.

Justice Chelameswar's minority view was shared in the December 5 order by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who had said Sangma's allegation that Mukherjee had held an office of profit as chairman of Kolkata's Indian Statistical Institute can be resolved only on the basis of evidence presented by the parties.

The majority order by three-judge, however, had held that Sangma's plea has to be dismissed at the preliminary stage as it has no substance and does not deserve a full and regular hearing.
21:44  PMO rejects Modi's claim on Sir Creek:  Prime Minister's Office today rejected a claim by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that Sir Creek was being "handed over" to Pakistan, terming it as"mischievous" and questioned its timing.

Responding to a letter written by Modi to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, PMO said, "Allegation in the letter that SirCreek is about to be given to Pakistan is untrue... The other conclusions drawn by Shri Modi on this alleged fact are also not real."

Raising question over timing of the letter, PMO said, "The contents of the letter and the timing of its release to the public raise questions about the motives behind its issue...The writing and release of this baseless letter by the CM of Gujarat in his "personal" capacity, a day before elections, is mischievous."
19:49  Sir Creek not to be handed over to Pak: PM :   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh replied to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's letter on Sir Creek. "Allegations that Sir Creek will be handed over to Pakistan are untrue," he added.

Modi on Thursday asked Dr Singh to stop dialogue with Pakistan at once on the Sir Creek issue and demanded that it should not be handed over to the neighbouring nation.

"I am writing on a serious issue of talks being held on Sir Creek being handed over to Pakistan. Any attempt to hand over Sir Creek to Pakistan would be a strategic blunder considering the history and sensitivity of the region," Modi has written in a letter to the PM.

"I would earnestly request you to stop this dialogue with Pakistan at once and Sir Creek should not be handed over to Pakistan," Modi further wrote in the letter.

"Due to the election code of conduct, Modi wrote the letter as a concerned citizen and not as a chief minister of a state," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman said while giving details of the letter at a press conference in Ahemedabad.
18:57  Mulayam assets case: SC verdict tomorrow :  The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its judgement in the disproportionate assets case against Samjwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh at 10 am.
18:52  PM calls Hamid Ansari over Maya's remarks in RS:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari over Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati's remark on him.

"I am not ready to listen to anything. We have seen in the last few days that every day the House is not allowed to function after 12 pm, It is your responsibility to ensure that it functions. Who will ensure that it functions," she told the chair from the Well as also from her seat.
18:06  Trinamool MLA Sikha Mitra suspended from party:  Trinamool Congress MLA Sikha Mitra, the wife of party MP Somen Mitra, was suspended today. Mitra told that she has not got any official letter as yet.

Trinamool sources say Somen Mitra has been instigating his wife to violate the party line. After Sikha Mitra's suspension, her husband too is likely to quit TMC, the source added.

Today, Sikha Mitra said she was scared to enter the Assembly after yesterday's violence. "The violence is condemnable whoever is involved in it. I was not in the House yesterday. I have no idea who sparked off the violence," Sikha Mitra said. "Those who sent MLAs as their representatives, will think otherwise now," she said.   

Sikha Mitra was in focus recently after she openly criticised the Trinamool Congress leadership and earned the wrath of the party for attending a function presided over by PCC president Pradip Bhattacharya.
18:02  Hospital shooting: Son dies, key accused arrested:  A day after over seven persons brazenly opened fire in an ICU of a private hospital here, one of the injured persons today succumbed to his injuries while his father was battling for life, even as police today claimed to have arrested the key accused. The father-son duo, Satveer and Joginger, were seriously injured in the attack yesterday, allegedly over a property related dispute. They were later shifted to Medanta Medicity hospital after the attack inside Sunrise hospital yesterday.
17:44  EC rebukes Moily on LPG quota: Be circumspect:  Just in: The Election Commission strongly disapproves of petroleum minister Veerappa Moily's announcement of raising subsidised LPG quota and asks him to be circumspect in future.
17:27  Ravi Shankar's oldest student: He was the greatest:  Pandit Kartik Kumar, an acclaimed sitarist and Pandit Ravi Shankar's oldest student speaks to Pandit Ravi Shankar.

"Panditji is not dead. For, such a great soul never dies. To me, my Guru was not only a musician -- he was music personified. He was like my teacher, my guide -- a father figure. Though I am 75, I was a kid to him, always.

His music transcended excellence -- it was a unique blend of skill and spirituality. It was simply divine. I have been associated with him since 1958 and during these years, I listened to him with rapt attention, worshipped him like God. In fact, I think Panditji was a part divine -- Shiva, Krishna and Saraswati were parts of him.

I played with him during his collaboration with George Harrison and travelled widely for six long months. It was the best experience of my life. There are so many musicians in this world. But none can be compared to him. For, none have a soul as great as Guruji's.

When his fingers touched the sitar, they always struck the innermost chords of his audience's hearts. He reached out to them through his ragas, his tals. One needed a celestial power to reach that point. And Panditji had that in him. That is why his music was so special, so exclusive.

I spoke to him over telephone about a fortnight ago. On the phone, Guruji blessed me and told me 'keep serving music'. It shocks me when people compare him to Nikhil Bandyopadhyay. I am not saying that Nikhil was a bad sitarist, but there can be no comparison between him and Guruji. In fact, there is no other musician who can be at par.

Guruji was the tallest tower in the musical arena. Those who try to draw comparisons are ignorant. It's a sad day for me and for the world of music, but I am not missing him. He has died a physical death, but his works remain -- they are immortal. His music will rule for a thousand of years. He would often tell me, "Kartik, I want to die on stage."

Alas, that couldn't be. I won't say, may his soul rest in peace. For, I know though his soul may have left his body, it is still with us reverberating with his unforgettable creations."

As told to's Indrani Roy
17:13  Jasraj: Our world has plunged into darkness:  More reactions: Veteran vocalist Pandit Jasraj said that Ravi Shankar's exploration of the 'ragas' was of distinctive nature, which helped spread awareness and understanding of the depth of Indian classical music.

"The news has brought gloom to the world of music... it's like the heavens have fallen for the community of musicians. Our world has been plunged into darkness," he said. "He was born to only give the very special gift which he was blessed with... his music. He is no longer with us, but his gift to the world - his music, will remain eternally with us," he added.

Singer Shubha Mudgal said, "There is a sense of great loss among all of us because when we travel across the world and I put in my tanpura for security checks, the security officer will look up and smile and say 'Ravi Shankar'. This is the respect he created internationally for Indian music."
17:00  Hoax call nurse's husband wants body sent to India:  The husband of Jacintha Saldanha, who allegedly committed suicide after becoming a victim of a hoax from Australian radio presenters, has informed the Indian mission in London that he would like the body to be sent to India.

"Our Mission is in touch with Saldanha's husband and is assisting in smooth completion of various formalities involved in it," official sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

46-year-old Jacintha, a mother of two, was found unconscious last Friday in the quarters of the King Edward VII Hospital in central London where she was working as a senior nurse. She was pronounced dead when rushed to the hospital.

Jacintha had answered the hoax call at 5.30 am on December 5, and was helping out on the reception at the time of the prank call. Giggling DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian were pretending to be the British Queen and Prince Charles and asked her if they could be put through to Kate. Then she connected them to another nurse who gave out details of the condition of 30-year-old Kate who was suffering from acute morning sickness at the London hospital. The exact cause of the death remained unclear.
16:57  'Narendra Modi is a politician not a saint':  As the phase one of the Gujarat polls begins tomorrow,'s Sheela Bhatt speaks to the popular Gujarati writer Gunvant Shah, who holds some strong and firm views on Narendra Modi. Read
16:56  Ravi Shankar was worried about classical music scene in India:  Having put Indian music on the world map, sitar legend Ravi Shankar was worried about the future of classical music back in his native country. Few months before his sad demise, Ravi Shankar enquired about the classical music scene in India while he was in the US, said santoor player Pt Satish Vyas.

"I met him exactly two months back in the US and spent an evening with him. He was keen to know about the Indian music scene. He asked me whether concerts are being held here and classical music is getting corporate support," Vyas said.

"He was concerned that classical music should continue in a big way in India. He still wanted to do something valuable for classical music," Vyas added. Vyas was closely associated him for many years after meeting Ravi Shankar first in 1980 to ask him to perform at the Gunidas Sangeet Sammelan.
16:28  Why people burn themselves to death:  A teenage girl set herself on fire last weekend to protest Chinese occupation of Tibet. Here's looking at the centuries-long practice of self-immolation -- and why it persists from India to Vietnam to Iran. Read
16:24  Couples flock to tie the knot on 12/12/12:   12/12/12, the century's last repeating date, has triggered thousands of marriages in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and a host of other Asian nations with people rushing to tie the knot believing the day would bring good fortune through matrimony. Love lorn couples formed massive ques outside marriage registration offices in almost all Chinese cities to get their marriage certificate registered on 12/12/12, which sounds like "will love/will love/will love" in Chinese, state news agency Xinhua reported.
16:20  I want to pass away while I'm playing: Ravi Shankar:  Pandit Ravi Shankar took Indian music global and wrote the rules of the modern Indian classical performance.'s Sumit Bhattacharya pays personal tribute to the legend. Read
16:17  Outside India, Shankar fascinated generations of fans:  Ravi Shankar's career was followed closely in the pages of The New York Times for  more than 50 years. The classical Indian musician, who died on Tuesday at age 92, spent much of his adult life outside India, earning generations of fans in the United States and Europe, where he inspired musicians, sparked movements and won adulation. Read what the NYT has to say.
16:07  Irfan Pathan supports Narendra Modi:  Cricketer Irfan Pathan today shared the stage with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the campaign rally of BJP, the party which is trying to appease minority community voters in the state.

During the rally for the second phase polling in the state, Irfan was seen standing besides the Chief Minister on the huge stage. Irfan, who belongs to Vadodara and has been forced out of cricketing action by an injury, waved his hands to a huge gathering of supporters, who had come to listen Modi's speech.
15:58  Split in Trinamool, Subrata Mukherjee WB CM?:   After Tuesday's scenes in the West Bengal Assembly, rumour mills are working overtime in Kolkata. It is being heard that there could be a split in the Trinamool Congress soon. Once one third of the TMC MLAs walk out of the party, the rumour mills say, they will elect Subrata Mukherjee as the new chief minister with the backing of the Congress and/or the Left.
15:44  As the disadvantaged rise, those above push back:  A study shows that there's been significant convergence between SCs/STs (as they are widely known) and everyone else, both in educational attainment and occupational choice. This manifests itself in wages paid to SCs/STs catching up. Read
15:40  When Ravi Shankar Met George Harrison:  One of the enduring legacies of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, who died Tuesday in the U.S. at the age of 92, was that he successfully broadened the appeal of Indian classical music abroad. But Mr Shankar himself was ambivalent about this achievement. Read what the WSJ has to say.
15:35  Russia 'deeply regrets' North Koreas long-range rocket launch:  Russia has said that it deeply regrets North Korea's long-range rocket launch, and warned that it would do nothing to help regional stability. "Russia deeply regrets the new rocket launch undertaken by North Korea in defiance of international opinion, including calls by Moscow," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The launch would not help the strengthening of stability and would have a negative effect on the situation in the region," it added.
15:08  Zee Group boss willing to undergo lie detector test:   Zee Group chief Subhash Chandra tells a Delhi court that he will undergo lie detector test in the alleged Rs 100 crore extortion bid case. Zee editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary were sent to judicial custody till December 22 after their two-day police custody ended on Monday. The Crime branch on Monday, moved applications seeking lie detection and voice samples tests to be conducted on the editors and its head Subhash Chandra. Police claim that scientific tests were required as they have all given conflicting versions of the story.
15:02  Get a piece of Sonam Kapoors wardrobe:  If you've always cast an envious eye to actress Sonam Kapoor's sumptuous wardrobe, you're in luck. Starting Monday, December 24,, the e-commerce website run by Kapoor's go-to-stylist Pernia Qureshi, will put up 60 pieces from Kapoor's wardrobe on the site.

They include labels like Diesel, Topshop, French Connection, Manish Arora, Alexander McQueen, Ayesha Depala, Alice + Olivia, Anamika Khanna (see dress in image), All Saints, Halston, Amit Aggarwal, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Nikasha, Missoni, worn to, among other events, fashion shows, movie premieres and red carpet events.

All proceeds from the sale will go to The Smile Foundation, which helps under priveleged children across India. Prices will range from Rs1,500 and Rs 40,000. More
14:58  'Dhoni miffed with Gambhir's attitude and on-field ethics':  Under fire after back-to-back defeats in the home series against England, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is unhappy with Gautam Gambhir's "attitude and on-field ethics" and has lodged a complaint to the BCCI against the left-hander, a media report claimed today.

Dhoni feels that Gambhir puts his interest above the team and has become too self-centred. The Indian captain has gone to the extent of lodging a complaint to the BCCI tagging the opener's approach as "selfish" and "hurtful to the team", 'cricketnext' website reported, quoting an Indian player who pleaded anonymity.

"Of late Gambhir has gone into a shell and focusing on just to save his place in the team. His prolonged poor form has resulted in low self-esteem and he's cut off from other issues pertaining to the team," the player was quoted as saying.
14:53  YOUR responsibility to see that RS functions: Maya tells Ansari:  Earlier in the day, BSP chief Mayawati shocked the Rajya Sabha by telling Chairman Hamid Ansari that he is "not seen" in the House in the afternoon after which the House is not allowed to function.

"I am not ready to listen to anything. We have seen in the last few days that every day the House is not allowed to function after 12 pm. It is your responsibility to ensure that it functions. Who will ensure that it functions," she told the Chair from the Well as also from her seat.

"You are not seen here after 12 pm. What kind of House is this? You have to take decision that what has to be done for this (ensuring the functioning of the House)," the BSP chief said.

She was protesting against the frequent disruption over a bill for providing reservation in promotion to SC/STs in government jobs, an issue that has seen the party at loggerheads with the Samajwadi Party, its arch detractor in UP politics. The protest by the BSP on the quota issue saw the House being adjourned twice before lunch.
14:42  Maya warns of 'next step' after unseemly RS uproar:   Mayawati's party colleagues started shouting 'dalit virodhi ye sarkar nahi chalegi' (anti-dalit government is not acceptable). A visibly upset Ansari adjourned the House till noon. When the House reassembled, BSP members again trooped into the Well shouting anti-government slogans.
14:41  Maya warns of another step after RS outburst today:  Proceedings in Parliament touched a new low today with BSP chief Mayawati stunning the Rajya Sabha by her outbursts against Chairman Hamid Ansari over its frequent disruptions, because of which both Houses could not function for the third consecutive day. Mayawati, agitated over delay in consideration of a bill for providing quota for SCs/STs in government job promotions, targeted Ansari over disorder in the House for several days.

While she shocked Rajya Sabha, her party MPs paralysed Lok Sabha demanding clarification on coal block allocation. Mayawati's outburst in the Upper House came at around 11:30 am when Question Hour was in progress and Commerce and Textile Minister Anand Sharma was replying to queries. She, along with her party colleagues, rushed into the House and started venting her ire even before taking her seat.

"We have seen in the last few days that every day the House is not allowed to function after 12 pm. You are Chairman of the House. It is your responsibility to ensure that it functions," the BSP supremo said addressing Ansari.
Mayawati says outburst in Rajya Sabha was the first tough step, next step will be decided at an appropriate time.
14:34   A stunning slide show of Ravi Shankar from 1920 to 2010, on the LA Times. Watch

And the obituary, also on the LA Times. Read
13:46  Ravi Shankar 'fell in love' with California:   Ravi Shankar discusses his show at Long Beach's Terrace Theater, George Harrison, daughter Norah Jones, Philip Glass and more. Readthe March 2012 interview on the LA Times.
13:37  'He left us to make heaven a better place, safe travels, uncle':  Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain on Ravi Shankar's death: Today he left us to go make heaven a better place. Beings like him just go back to heaven to take their place amongst gods. Safe travels, Uncle
13:36  Many were hurt that I was becoming pop music: Ravi Shankar:  Catherine Nixey's interview with Ravi Shankar on August 16, 2011 on the Times, London.

"Brilliant though his career has been, there is a slight sense that circumstances have in some ways circumscribed his own reputation: that Shankar the sitar player is too often known as Norah Jones' father or The Beatles' Indian accessory. I ask if he fears that in popularising his music, he cheapened it?

"That's what people in India, who loved my music for what it was [thought]. Many were hurt that I was becoming pop music; many people thought I became the fifth Beatle. But I kept my music as it was."

Despite his influence on The Beatles, he seems underwhelmed by them. "I knew very little about them,' he says, "but some of Paul McCartney's singing, or John's, was fantastic."

Shankar is much more enthusiastic about Otis Redding ("beautiful') and Janis Joplin ("though she was crazy"). He also stresses his love for the "fantastic' young people who liked his music then. Still, he is much keener to speak about his classical work, volunteering mentions of connections and collaborations with Mehta and Menuhin, as well as Andr Previn, Isaac Stern and "many very world famous musicians."

Pic: Ravi Shankar with George Harrison
13:15  Ravi Shankar wore oxygen mask during last concert:  Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar wore an oxygen mask for his last public performance at the California State University at Long Beach in the US on November four as he was suffering from respiratory problem.

"Panditji had his last public performance with an oxygen mask on before a select audience at the Performing Art Centre of the University on November 4 with daughter Anoushka," his one-time secretary and close associate Rabin Pal told PTI. The legendary sitar artiste died today at a hospital in San Diego in the US. "Despite his serious respiratory problem, Panditji hardly refused request for performance. So he had to put on an oxygen mask before the performance," Pal said, adding the California programme had been cancelled thrice earlier due to his poor health condition.

Pic: A photograph of Pt Ravi Shankar from the seventies
13:12  Me and Norah Jones:  Anoushka Shankar on Norah Jones. Read the story of Pt Ravi Shankar's daughters on the Daily Mail. 
13:09  I talk to my dad every five months: Norah Jones in 2003:  Oprah Winfrey's 2003 interview with Norah Jones, Pt Ravi Shankar's daughter, after her Grammy win. 

Oprah: Much ado was made about the fact that at the Grammys, you didn't thank your father. I completely understand thatbut can you explain?

Norah: I thanked everybodymy mom and my entire family. My dad is included in that. My mom was involved in the daily stress of making this record. We talk every day on the phone, no matter what. I talk to my dad every five months, so it's not like I dissed him by not singling him out. I didn't think it was appropriate for me to thank him, because he didn't help me with the record. It's not that he isn't supportiveit's just that I don't talk to him that often.

Oprah: Was he a big part of your life growing up?

Norah: He wasn't, though we've gotten close in the last five years and I love him very much. The fact that people made such a big deal of me not thanking him is ridiculous. The press in India had a heyday. They used words I've never used, like "deadbeat dad." It's sad.

Oprah: How does it make him feel?

Norah: Pretty bad. But I haven't said any of those thingsthe press just twisted it all.

Read the full interview here.
13:05  SC acquits Chishti of murder charge, allows him to return home:   So, Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti was today acquitted by the Supreme Court of the murder charge in a 20-year-old criminal case and was allowed to return home without any restriction.

However, the apex court declined to interfere with his conviction for voluntarily causing hurt under section 324 of the Indian Penal Code and served him with the sentence already undergone by him in prison.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi noted that 82-year-old Chishti was in the jail for almost one year during his stay in the country and "ends of justice will be met by serving him with the period of imprisonment already undergone".

While clearing him of the murder charge, the bench said there was no scope for applying section 34 of the IPC which deals with the offence of common intention.
12:59  Bickram Ghosh: NOBODY as dedicated as Ravi Shankar :   Pandit Bickram Ghosh, tabla player, fusion artiste and a long associate of Pandit Ravi Shankar speaks to

"My heart is too heavy at the moment. I am yet to come to terms with the fact that Panditji is no more. For, he was a part of the family, if not more. My father, tabla maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh, was very close to Panditji. I have seen him since birth. In a way, I grew up on his music.

Panditji was a pioneer. He was the Alexander Graham Bell of Indian music. He experimented with the genre with an effortless ease and achieved for Indian music a permanent place on the global map. Now, people like us are touring the world, coordinating with our foreign counterparts, and carrying our creativity to every corner. But we should never forget that it is possible only because of Panditji. His was an insatiable thirst for perfection. I am yet to come across any musician who is as mesmerizing and as dedicated as him. He did not only play the Sitar -- the instrument kind of grew on him.

Panditji was an iconoclast. He never walked the old path. Rather, he paved new ways for Indian music by introducing a number of ragas and tals. I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed a long 11 years of professional relationship with him. And all those years will be treasured in my heart as long as I live.

As I played with him, I was floored by his simplicity and humility. Perhaps, such virtues are essential for a man of his stature. Today, the world lost one of its brightest musical stars. Indian music should observe silence for some time today to pay tribute to Panditji."

Pt Bickram Ghosh spoke to's Indrani Roy.
12:59  Birju Maharaj: He was the KING of rhythm and tune:  Kathak exponent Pt Birju Maharaj said: "He was the king of tunes and rhythms. I am in Los Angeles and wanted to meet him. He said a few days ago that he was not well. I'm really sad after hearing this. We have lost a big star. There are a lot of memories attached to him. I used to play tabla with him at his Feroze Shah house. His blessings were always with me."
12:31  Chaurasia: I remember every moment spent with him:  Flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia remembered the times he performed with Shankar at concerts. "I started crying when I heard the news. I am still learning music under Annapurna Devi, who was Shankar's first wife. I was also associated with Allauddin Khan, who taught Shankar as well. "He and I used to work in the film industry and outside. We did 55 concerts together. I remember each and every moment spent with him. I learnt so much from him also. His hard work and love for Indian culture have made him a legendary musician," Chaurasia said.
12:24  And the tributes pour in for Panditji:  Mourning Pt Ravi Shankar's death, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said India has lost a distinguished son.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, "With the death of Panditji, an era in classical music has come to an end. He was truly a multi-faceted personality. Through his passion for music, he linked generations together and taught the world the role and relevance of music in our lives. "Through the strings of his sitar he presented to the world, the richness of Indian classical tradition in music. His innovations gave us a perfect blend of jugalbandi of different musical traditions, he said.

Lata Mangeshkar said, "He was a worshipper of Lord Krishna and was like the lord for us. We used to talk about everything. The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world. He was unique and was a blessed soul."

Classical musician Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who was a disciple of Ravi Shankar, told PTI, "This is the saddest day of my life. I was one of his closest... he was a fatherly figure to me and took care of me. He was one musician with whom every artiste wanted to collaborate. He was so energetic and enthusiastic about life."

Santoor player Shivkumar Sharma said, "It's a loss for the whole world. He was a global musician. Musicians like him are rarely born. I am very fortunate that I know him from half a century."
12:21  Pop changes week to week, month to month. But great music is like literature, Ravi Shankar famously said. 
12:16  Pt Jasraj's discordent note on Pt Ravi Shankar:  When Pandit Ravi Shankar received the Bharat Ratna in 1999, Hindustani vocalist Pandit Jasraj had criticised him saying the sitarist had lobbied to get the award.
This is a reaction to that story. Read
12:09  Doordarshan's signature tune composed by Pt Ravi Shankar:  It seems so long ago that television stations began their day at a particular hour in the morning and ended it at a particular hour in the evening allowing us to go to sleep peacefully. Back in the days before satellite TV, Doordarshan began its proceedings at 6 am with this signature tune, a variation of  Iqbal's Saare jahaan se achcha, composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar with Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan.
12:07  Twitter tributes pour in for Pt Ravi Shankar:   Dr Manmohan Singh:  Prime Minister condoles the passing away of Pandit Ravishankar - A national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage.

Michael Fisher: #RIPRaviShankar. Father of #NorahJones, influenced #TheBeatles, Indian music superstar passes at 92

Purba Ray:  Anyone who can spell sitar, will now have an opinion on Pandit Ravi Shankar and his music.

Uaaau: Yes he gave us Norah Jones.But you shall be kicked in the face if you eulogise him like that.RIP Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Ambassador Rao:  Pandit Ravi Shankar.Mourn passing of a musical genius and gentle soul. Attended his last concert Nov in Calif. He played with such passion.

Milind Deora:  Being a maestro wasn't his only achievement. Pandit Ravi Shankar sold Brand India better than anyone else. RIP

A.R.Rahman: Indian Classical Music has lost it's chief ambassador & India has lost it's Bharat Ratna..May God bless his soul !

Shobhaa De: The sitar silenced.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Pandit Ravi Shankar was a legend in music and he took classical music to new heights.
12:01  Just in case you wanted to know: Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till noon after uproar over the BSP's charge that Chairman Hamid Ansari remains absent from House after Question Hour.
12:00  Ravi Shankar wanted to be a dancer :  More on Pandit Ravi Shankar: The Bharat Ratna awardee started as a dancer with the group of his brother Uday Shankar but gave it up in 1938 to learn sitar under Allauddin Khan. During the tour of Uday's dance group in Europe and America in the early to mid-1930s, Shankar discovered Western classical music, jazz, and cinema, and became acquainted with Western customs.

The music doyen composed his first raga in 1945 and embarked on a prolific recording career. In the 1950s and 1960s, he became the unofficial international ambassador for Indian music, enthralling audiences in the USSR, Japan, North America.

However, it was his association with Harisson that got him international stardom. In the 1970s, they collaborated on two albums and toured the USA together.
11:58  In pictures: George Harrison: Living in the Material World:  Martin Scorsese's George Harrison documentary is in cinemas for one night only on Tuesday 4 October. Here is a selection of images from the accompanying book by Olivia Harrison, published by Abrams. Read
11:57  Musician Kabir Suman tells a Bengali channel that when he was in New York, a black taxi driver refused to take money from him saying, he couldn't ask money from a person who came from Pandit Ravi Shankar's country. 
11:47  And here is the YouTube video of George Harrison's sitar lessons with (a very young) Pandit Ravi Shankar. Watch
11:44  Pandit Ravi Shankar's title music for Satyajit Ray's debut film Pather Panchali. Listen
11:36  Wish I was with Ravi at the end: Amala Shankar :  Amala Shankar, dancer and wife of the late Uday Shankar, sister-in-law of Pandit Ravi Shankar speaking to Indrani Roy of

"I lost my brother this morning. Ravi was a caring friend, a loving brother, a compassionate musician and our competent dance partner. Life is so unjust. How can he die before me? He was younger to me by a year. 

"It was because of the affection showered on me by Ravi and my mother-in-law Hemangini Devi that I could adjust easily at my in-laws' place. Ravi had a beautiful mind. He was a patient observer and had a keen soul for music. I think he understood only language -- that of music.

"With his demise, music has lost one of its most dedicated servants. Today is the saddest day of my life. Wish I were with Ravi in his last moments. My heart goes out to his family. May his children carry his legacy with full fervour."
11:32  Listen to Pt Ravi Shankar :   Listening to Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, more popularly known as Pandit Ravi Shankar, has always been an ethereal experience. Listen to Panditji playing for an incredibly lucky audience in Bengaluru with his daughter, Anoushka.
Here you go.
11:28  We'll get back to more updates on Pandit Ravi Shakar in a bit, but first, in other news...  

-- Irfan Pathan joins Gujarat CM Narendra Modi at his rally in Kheda

-- SC acquits 82-year-old Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti of murder chargeSC directs authorities to return all documents, including
passport to Chishti who is free to return to Pakistan without any restriction.

-- Oil minister Veerappa Moily says the government is yet to take a decision on raising the cap on supply of LPG. "Nothing will be done behind the back of the EC," says Moily.
11:21  Panditji's 2013 Grammy nomination pits him against Anoushka :  Pandit Ravi Shakar is a three-time Grammy award winner, and last performed in California on November 4 along with his daughter Anoushka Shankar. Shankar has also been nominated for the 2013 Grammys for his album "The Living Room Sessions Part-1" and was pitted against Anoushka in the same category.

He developed a characteristic sitar sound, with powerful bass notes and a serene and spiritual touch in the alap movement of a raga. The sitar virtuoso was responsible for incorporating many aspects of Carnatic (south Indian) music into the north Indian system, especially its mathematical approach to rhythm. He also gave a new prominence to the tabla player in concert.

He was appointed Director of Music at the Indian People's Theatre Association, and later held the same position at All India Radio (1949'"56). He composed his first new raga in 1945 (30 more would follow) and began a prolific recording career. The music doyen wrote a new melody for Mohammed Iqbal's patriotic poem 'Sare Jahan Se Accha'.
11:18  A lifetime of accomplishments :  Pandit Ravi Shankar has authored violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita - Koto virtuoso, and has collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages).

Harrison produced and participated in two record albums, "Shankar Family & Friends" and "Festival of India" both composed by Shankar. Shankar also composed for ballets and films in India, Canada, Europe and the United States. The latter of which includes the films "Charly," "Gandhi," and the "Apu Trilogy". A Magsaysay award winner, Shankar was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1986.

Pic: The Washington Post page 1 today.
11:10  World mourns as the Godfather of World Music passes away :  Tributes to Pandit Ravi Shankar from across the world.

This is what the New York Times says on its front page.  Read

The Guardian, London, calls him the Godfather of world music (which is actually what George Harrison had labelled him). Read

And the Washington Post's front page story: Sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar dies at 92. Read
11:01  Sukanya and Anoushka Shankar's joint statement:  Sukanya and Anoushka Shankar's joint statement:

"As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life.

"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away.

"We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music."
10:56  And another icon has passed away, classical vocalist Manas Chakraborty passes away at 71. 
10:54  It is with heavy hearts we write... Anoushka, Sukanya statement:  Pandit Ravi Shankar, whose health had been fragile for the past several years, underwent a surgery last Thursday at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California where he breathed his last.

The music icon was admitted to the hospital last week when he complained of breathlessness. "It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today," his wife and daughter, Sukanya and Anoushka Shankar, said in a joint statement.

A recipient of the Bharat Ratna in 1996, Shankar maintained residences in both India and the United States. He is survived by his wife Sukanya; daughter Norah Jones; daughter Anoushka Shankar Wright and husband Joe Wright; three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
10:48  Niece Mamata Shankar: I have lost my father again:  Pt Ravi Shankar's niece (elder brother legendary dancer Uday Shankar's daughter) Mamata Shankar was sobbing uncontrollably when spoke to her this morning. "I am shocked. The idea is yet to sink in. I would have liked to see him once, but that is not possible. His death created a vacuum that can never ever be fulfilled. It feels like I lost my father again this morning..."

-- Mamata Shankar spoke to's Indrani Roy.  
10:43  Portrait of the artist: Ravi Shankar, musician:  "I saw some music videos by Lady Gaga recently. I admire her theatricality -- she is a very intelligent performer," said Pt Ravi Shankar in an interview to the Guardian newspaper last year. Read
10:14  India test fires Agni-I ballistic missile:  
Sharpening its missile prowess, India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile with a strike range of 700 km from a test range off Odisha coast.

The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher at about 0830 hrs from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from Balasore in Odisha, defence sources said.

Describing the test as successful, ITR Director MVKV Prasad said, "It was a practice trial conducted by the Strategic Force Command of the Indian Army."

Agni-I, a single-stage missile powered by solid propellants, has a specialised navigation system which ensures that it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision, a defence scientist said. 
10:07  Sensex opens on a positive note:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday gained by nearly 92 points in early trade on fresh buying by funds and retailers ahead of industrial output data amid a firming trend in other Asian bourses.

The 30-share barometer rose by 91.65 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 19,478.79. It had lost nearly 100 points in the past three sessions. 

All the sectoral indices, led by IT and interest-sensitive auto, were trading with gains up to 1 per cent.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 25.80 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 5,924.60.
Brokers said expectations of better industrial output data for October to be released later today and a firming trend on the Asian markets mainly triggered buying by funds and retail investors.
09:52  Pt Ravi Shankar's demise: 'The music just died':  
Here's how personalities responded to Pt Ravi Shankar's death, on Twitter: 

@NMenonRao: Pandit Ravi Shankar: his last concert was particularly poignant. Anoushka and he played together in perfect unison. A torch was passed

@Quiz Derek: The Music just died...Pandit Ravi Shankar

@SriSriSpeaks : Pandit Ravi Shankar was a legend in music and he took classical music to new heights.
09:42  Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar passes away:  
Just in: Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, who had been unwell since some time, passed away in San Diego, US on Wednesday

He was 92.

The maestro at his best

When Pandit Ravi Shankar was beckoned to the West thanks mainly to The Beatles in the 1960s, many purists in India thought he had betrayed his musical heritage. But the sitarist and composer proved them wrong as his reputation grew steadily. 

He was perhaps the first Indian to realise music had become globalized, and that a classic musician from one country could do profound work joining hands with someone like renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin.

The maestro, who has also scored music for several Hollywood films including Charly and the British epic Gandhi, has also successfully launched the musical career of his daughter Anoushka.

In India, he composed the music for Satyajit Ray's landmark films comprising the Apu trilogy in the 1950s.

Even while living in the West, he made time to compose music for a handful of Indian films, like the Gulzar-directed Meera. He has also remained the voice of reason in the Indian community, decrying the efforts of fundamentalists in India.

Shankar was much more than a celebrated musician. He backed many progressive causes, and his concert for not-yet-born Bangladesh, along with George Harrison at Madison Square Garden in New York, helped raise the consciousness of the world at large to the plight of ordinary people in that country.
09:14  Japan avoids targetting North Korean rocket:  
Japan did not try to shoot down a North Korean rocket as it passed over its southern island chain of Okinawa, the government said today, strongly condemning the launch. 

Tokyo confirmed the launch had taken place and that said it believed parts of the rocket had fallen into the sea off the Korean peninsula, with another part dropping into the ocean near the Philippines.

"Launch time was around 9:49 AM (local time). The missile that North Korea calls a satellite passed over Okinawa around 10:01. We launched no interception," a government statement said.

Japan had been on high alert since the 13-day lift-off window opened, despite a suggestion from Pyongyang that it could delay the much-criticised blast-off. 

The impoverished but nuclear-armed nation insists the long-range rocket launch -- its second this year after a much-hyped but botched mission in April -- is for peaceful scientific purposes.
08:42  Defying the world, N Korea fires long-range rocket:  
North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday, in defiance of UN sanctions threats over what Pyongyang's critics insist is a disguised ballistic missile test. 

The Yonhap news agency, citing a government source, said the rocket had taken off from the Sohae satellite launch centre at 9:51 AM (6:21 AM IST) and was immediately detected by navy vessels deployed by Seoul in the Yellow Sea.

There was no immediate report on the success of the launch, but the Japanese government said the missile had passed its southern island chain of Okinawa around 12 minutes after take-off.

Yonhap said the three-stage rocket's first stage had separated as scheduled and splashed down in the sea off South Korea's southwest coast. 

A successful launch this time would carry profound security implications, marking a major advance in the North's bid to mate an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability with its nuclear weapons programme.
08:37  Two dead in US mall shooting: reports:  
Two people were killed when a gunman wearing body armor opened fire at a mall in the western US state of Oregon, witnesses and local media have reported. 

At least one other person was shot in Clackamas, south of Portland, according to The Oregonian newspaper, reporting a man brandishing a semiautomatic rifle near a branch of Macy's department store.

It cited one of its staff, sports columnist John Canzano, as reporting that as many 60 shots fired while he was shopping 
at the mall. Live TV pictures showed a large number of emergency vehicles converging on the scene.
03:40  UN Security Council condemns Mali PM arrest :  The UN Security Council today condemned the arrest of Mali's prime minister by the armed forces and renewed a threat to impose sanctions on those who threaten the country's "constitutional order." UN leader Ban Ki-moon is also "troubled" by the new turmoil in the African nation, where Islamist militants and rebels have taken over half the country, his spokesman said. 

"The members of the Security Council condemn the arrest, on December 10, 2012, of the prime minister of Mali, Mr Cheick Modibo Diarra, by members of the Malian Armed Forces," said a council statement.
03:10  Mali crisis deepens as PM quits under pressure:  Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra quit today under pressure from influential former putschists, a move slammed by the international community that urged the swift formation of a new government. 

The UN Security Council condemned the arrest of Diarra by soldiers on orders from former coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, which was followed several hours later by his resignation in what one analyst dubbed a "quasi-coup". 

The council joined calls from France and the European Union for the military to stop meddling in political affairs, and threatened targeted sanctions against those preventing the "restoration of constitutional order."
02:28  US man gets 10 years in suicide-bomber plot:  A Chicago man has been sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for plotting to attend a Somalia training camp with dreams of becoming a suicide bomber for al-Qaida and another terrorist group, al-Shabab.  

Shaker Masri's sentencing Tuesday came two years after his arrest that relied heavily on an FBI informant. He pleaded guilty in July to attempting to provide material support and resources to a terrorist organization.
01:57  HSBC broke sanctions on Iran, others: US:  British bank HSBC intentionally broke American sanctions on Iran and other countries while also laundering Mexican drug money, the US today said, as the banking major was to pay USD 1.92 billion to settle the allegations. 

A four-count felony criminal information was filed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York, charging HSBC with willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme and failing to conduct due diligence on its foreign affiliates.
01:27  US sends mystery mini-shuttle back into space:  A top-secret mini-space shuttle has blasted off from Cape Canaveral in the US The Air Force launched the unmanned spacecraft today aboard an Atlas V rocket. It's the second flight for this original X-37B spaceplane. It circled the planet for seven months in 2010. 

A second X-37B spacecraft spent more than a year in orbit. These mystery machines are about one-quarter the size of NASA's old space shuttles, and they can land automatically on a runway.
01:12  Israeli forces raid offices of West Bank NGOs:   Israeli forces raided the West Bank offices of three Palestinian non-governmental organisations overnight, confiscating computers and other material, one of them said today. "At 3:00 am (0630 IST) this morning, 11 December 2012, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office was raided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)," the group said on its website.

"Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken among other materials. The IOF destroyed the office," the group added, saying desks and "ransacked filing cabinets" were left scattered after the raid. "At this moment, we are not clear as to what has been confiscated," it said, adding the raid was the first time the group's Ramallah offices had been targeted by Israeli forces since 2002.
00:43  HSBC violated anti-money laundering norms: US:  British bank HSBC intentionally broke US sanctions on Iran and other countries and laundered Mexican drug money, the US today said, and assessed a whooping USD 1.9 billion in penalties on the banking giant. 

The bank's breakdowns in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance were particularly egregious because these failures allowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Mexican drug trafficking organisations to flow through accounts in the US, the Treasury Department said in a statement. 

Despite HSBC's extensive global operations and the substantial resources it had available to manage transnational risk, it failed to help secure the US financial borders and left dangerous gaps that international drug dealers and other criminals readily abused, the statement alleged.
00:41  Mandela responding to lung infection treatment:  Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is 94 and has been in hospital since Saturday for tests, has suffered a recurrence of a lung infection but is responding to treatment, the government said on Tuesday.

The revered anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace laureate is spending his fourth day in hospital in the capital, Pretoria.Known affectionately by his clan name "Madiba", Mandela remains a hero to many of South Africa's 52 million people and two brief stretches in hospital in the past two years made front page news.
00:38  Egypt army seeks national unity as crisis mounts:  Egypt's army chief called for talks on national unity to end the country's mounting political crisis after a vital loan from the IMF was delayed and thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators took to the streets.

The meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon was called in response to an increasingly destabilizing series of protests that has unfolded since President Mohamed Mursi awarded himself sweeping powers on November 22 to push through a new constitution shaped by his Islamist allies in a referendum on Saturday.

Read full story here
00:25  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  
War of words heats up as Modi takes on Rahul 'baba'

Modi only hears his own voice, not people's: Rahul

Reveal Walmart bribe list or Parliament won't work: BJP

HC to hear petition on constitutional validity of NIA

Link ration cards with Aadhar: HC suggests Maha govt

Stars spotted!  What's this?

What was Bobby Deol doing in the sugar fields?
Reader Amar KJ sends us a picture.

More stars spotted

Met a celebrity?
Email us photos & videos