20:54 Khurshid dismisses Malik's remarks on Jundal:
India today dismissed Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's controversial remarks during his visit to New Delhi, saying they cannot be taken as a formal policy statement of his country.
Malik had made several contentious remarks during his visit, including equating Mumbai terror attacks with the Babri Masjid demolition and describing Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist Abu Jundal as an Indian intelligence operative.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that Malik's remarks did not appear to be carefully worded or well-discussed.
20:53 Delhi CM defends 'Rs 600 for family of 5' comment:
Facing flak for her suggestion that a family of five can get rice, wheat and daal
for Rs 600 per month, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today rejected the criticism, saying those attacking her for the remark have not understood the concept of the ambitious food security programme of her government.
"Those who are criticising me have not been able to understand the concept of the scheme," Dikshit said when her reaction was sought on the criticism of her comment.
She also said her comments were taken out of context as she was explaining the broad contours of the scheme, under which a monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600 will be transferred directly into Aadhaar-linked bank account of the senior-most female member of two lakh poor families.
20:27 Political parties exploiting SC/ST reservation issue: AAP :
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party today criticised political parties for exploiting the issue of reservation in promotions in government jobs and putting their partisan interests above national interests.
"Instead of taking a principled stand on this question,the Congress has dithered and allowed itself to be blackmailed while the BJP has maintained a strategic silence. Parties like the BSP and the SP have merely acted as pressure groups on behalf of one caste group or another," AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said in a statement.
This is one more instance of how political establishment puts its partisan interests above national interests, he added.
AAP takes exception to the cynical manner in which the issue of reservation in promotions in government jobs is being exploited by various political parties to pit one section of society against another, Sisodia said.
20:26 Stay indoors: Trinamool to CPI-M leaders:
Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra today asked CPI-M leaders not to venture out of their homes to avoid facing people's wrath against their 'misrule'.
"CPI-M leaders should not come out of their homes because they may face public anger for their misrule in West Bengal for 35 years," said state Sports Minister Mitra.
"Instead, they should keep in touch with people through letters," Mitra suggested.
20:25 Modi govt gave land in Sir creek area to corporates: GPP :
Gujarat Parivartan Party leader and former minister of state for home Gordhan Zadafia today alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government had given away land near Sir Creek to private companies at a cheap rate.
"If Sir Creek is the issue of patriotism, then Modi should clarify why his government gave away 40,000 hectares of border area land near Sir Creek in Kutch," Zadafia said.
The BJP government gave away the land at "1.5 paisa per meter square" rate, he said.
"The BJP has given away the land at a throw-away prices to Solaris and Archean Chemicals, that too in an area which is considered very sensitive from security point of view. Modi should answer why his government put national security at risk," he said.
19:46 Ireland abortion row: Husband of victim speaks up:
Praveen Halappanavar, whose wife Savita died in a hospital in Ireland after her requests for an abortion were denied by the doctors in the Catholic country, talks about the traumatic ordeal.
19:44 Royal hoax call: Nurse blames DJs for death:
An Indian-origin nurse, who was found dead after a hoax call to a UK hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate, left a note blaming the two Australian DJs behind the prank for her tragic death.
In one of the three apparent suicide notes left by 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse expressed her deep anger at Australian radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian and blamed them for her death, Daily Mail reported today, quoting sources close to her family.
19:42 Malik's statement on Jundal ridiculous: India:
Pakistan Minister Rehman Malik's three-day India visit may be nearing its end, but the furore over his controversial statements seem unlikely to die down anytime soon.
Malik's statement -- that Abu Jundal was an operative of an Indian agency -- is ridiculous, said Home Secretary R K Singh.
19:40 Israeli foreign minister resigns:
Israel's ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today resigned over prosecutors' decision to charge him for fraud and breach of trust.
Lieberman's resignation would go into effect on Tuesday but he hasn't resigned from his Knesset (Israeli parliament) seat.
Lieberman, also the deputy prime minister, announced on Friday that he would quit to fight the charges leveled against him.
19:39 Nitish Kumar supports promotion quota :
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today favoured the bill seeking quota in promotion for SC/ST employees in government offices, but said other political parties have the right to differ.
"JD-U favours the Bill as the community's socio-economic and political condition has not reached the standard where the incentive cannot be considered for them," Kumar told reporters.
"All political parties have a right to take their own line and one need not interfere in other's decision," he said to a question on his stand on SP chief Mulayam Singh's opposition to the Bill.
19:37 No infiltration in Jammu region this year: Army:
The army has not allowed any cross-border infiltration in Jammu region this year despite an increase in the number of attempts along the Indo-Pak border as compared to the previous year, a senior official has said.
"In Jammu region, estimates by various security agencies reveal that no militant crossed over to J&K from across the Line of Control," General Officer Commanding, 16 Corps, Lieutenant General D S Hooda said.
Speaking during an Army function, he said infiltration attempts being made from across the border have slightly increased as compared to last year.
18:21 Jammu-Srinagar National Highway reopens:
Over 2,000 vehicles, which were stranded for the last three days on the 300-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway due to snowfall and landslides, were cleared as the route was reopened for one-way traffic movement today.
"The highway has been reopened for one-way vehicular traffic in view of the improvement in weather condition's, vehicles moving from Jammu to Srinagar were cleared today," said Deputy Inspector General (Traffic) Shakeek Baigh.
He said that all the vehicles stranded on the highway have been cleared.
18:01 Law will take its own course: Cong on Walmart issue:
The government today said that the law will take its own course if investigations establish that there has been a violation by global retail giant Walmart in its attempts to gain entry into the Indian market.
It also said that it was not proper to make any judgement one way or the either before the probe is completed.
"If at all any investigation does conclusively establish that there has been a violation of the Indian laws. The law will take its own course," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
17:05 Six Indian soldiers killed in Siachen avalanche:
Six Indian soldiers have died and one is missing in an avalanche in the Siachen Glacier area, according to army sources.
The avalanche took place in Hanief sector in Turtuk, Siachen on Sunday morning, according to media reports.
Further details are awaited.
16:36 'Sunburn fest to be stopped if drugs are found':
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikarhas said that the Sunburn musical festival, scheduled in Goa, will be stopped if it is found to be violating laws including use of drugs.
"If Sunburn is found playing loud music after 10 pm or if there is any consumption of drugs, we will stop the event immediately," said Parrikar.
The Sunburn 2012, an electronic dance music festival, is scheduled to be held from December 27-29 in Goa.
Parrikar said he will also suspend the police officials if they are found not to be taking action against the use or sale of narcotics.
16:34 Avalanche warning in Kashmir Valley :
A medium danger avalanche warning was today issued for an area close to the Line of Control in Kashmir and Banihal town on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, even as one-way traffic was restored on the arterial road connecting the valley with rest of the country.
"A medium danger avalanche warning has been issued for Keran Machil, Gurez, Chowkibal, Uri and Tangdhar areas where moderate to heavy snowfall was witnessed earlier in the week," said Coordinator Natural Disaster Management Cell Aamir Ali.
The avalanche warning has also been issued for north Kashmir's ski resort of Gulmarg, Jawahar Tunnel in south Kashmir and Banihal town.
16:30 No need for BJP to project PM candidate: Chouhan:
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that there is no need for the BJP to project anyone as the prime ministerial candidate as of now for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"There are many capable leaders in the party and when the time comes, any one of them can become the prime minister," said Chouhan.
Asked who will make the best prime ministerial nominee, Chouhan said he had "no view on this" and added that he will go by the party's thinking in the matter.
16:28 Mandela undergoes surgery, is 'recovering':
Former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones and is recovering well, a Presidential spokesperson said today.
"This morning (Saturday) the former president underwent a procedure via endoscopy to have the gallstones removed," President Jacob Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
The 94-year-old leader was hospitalised in Pretoria on December 8 for a lung infection.
15:35 Jacintha Saldanha's body arrives in Mangalore :
Vicky Nanjappa reports:
The body of Jacintha Saldanha arrived at Mangalore today.
The body will be taken to her maternal home in Mangalore and then kept at a local hospital overnight.
It would be then taken to Shirva in Udupi, where the funeral service and the memorial service will be held on Monday.
The family members are making arrangements for an elaborate funeral.
The body arrived at the Mangalore airport on Sunday afternoon and was accompanied by her family members.
Father Stany Tauro informed rediff.com that Jacintha's body will be brought to the church in Udupi at 3 pm on Monday. A funeral mass will be held at 4 pm by the Bishop of Udupi.
15:22 Number of casualties in Naxal violence sees decline:
The number of casualties in Naxal violence has shown a decline in the past one year, compared to 2010 and 2011.
According to official statistics, Naxal violence claimed the lives of 287 civilians and 113 security force personnel this year till November 30. In 2011 and 2010, the casualty figures were 611 and 1,005 respectively. Incidentally, West Bengal, which had 223 civilian casualties in 2010 and 43 in 2011, reported no civilian deaths in 2012, the home ministry said.
Thirty-five security personnel were killed during 2010, two in 2011 and none in 2012 in the state.
The CPI-Maoist was said to be the largest Left-wing extremist group operating in India and responsible for almost 80 per cent of the total Naxal violence reported during the current year.
15:01 India Gate right place for war memorial: Antony:
India Gate is the right place to build a national war memorial, Defence Minister A K Antony has said, against the backdrop of opposition by Delhi Chief
Minister Sheila Dikshit to the proposal.
"As far as we are concerned, this (India Gate) is the place to have a war memorial. We are very clear," he told reporters after laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Indian victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
The defence minister was asked to react to the separate letters written by the Delhi chief minister opposing the construction of the war memorial at India Gate.
14:24 IAF gears up for war-game exercise:
All the operational commands of the Indian Air Force will come together for the first time next year to participate in a war-game exercise called Livewire.
14:22 India to open consulate at Sittwe:
India is all set to open a consulate at Sittwe, a port city in Myanmar, thus becoming the first country to have three missions in that nation.
14:20 Singur a great disappointment: Ratan Tata:
Singur was a great disappointment but the Tata Group may still go to West Bengal, hints outgoing chairman of the group Ratan Tata.
"Need not be Tata Motors. We have until the court decides this, the plant is still there. Whether it is Tata Motors or something else," he said.
He was asked about his recent statement that some day Tatas will go back to West Bengal considering the fact that Tata Motors had to shift to Gujarat after a bitter experience in Singur.
12:42 'Limousine Liberals' and Narendra Modi:
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will come back for a third term but the 'Limousine Liberals' will continue to dislike him. Swapan Dasgupta explains why.
12:37 Rehman Malik's comments were not for Indians:
Rehman Malik's controversial comments during his visit to India were not aimed at building goodwill with the neighbouring nation, but at winning the next general election in Pakistan, says M J Akbar.
12:34 School shooting: Obama to meet victims' families:
US President Barack Obama is set to travel to Newtown in Connecticut to meet the families of the victims of a deadly shooting at an elementary school that left 20 young children and six adults dead.
The President will visit Newtown to "meet with the families of those who were lost" and thank the first responders,White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
"The President will also speak at an interfaith vigil for families of the victims as well as families from the Sandy Hook Elementary School," Carney said in a statement.
12:32 Antony orders study to check stress level among officers:
Against the backdrop of suicides and face-offs between officers and jawans, Defence Minister AK Antony has ordered a study into the stress level encountered by young officers of the army and has asked the DRDO to develop methods to mitigate it.
The defence minister has instructed that the study, along with its results on the stress profile of young officers in the army, should be presented to him in January, said DRDO Chief Controller of Life Science W Selvamurthy.
12:31 Mubarak suffers head injury after fall:
Hosni Mubarak, the ousted Egyptian president who is serving a life sentence, has suffered a head injury and bruising after he fell in the bathroom.
Mubarak, 84, fell in the bathroom of his hospital room, state-run MENA news agency quoted a security source as saying.
A medical team supervising his condition attended to him immediately, the source said, adding that Mubarak has suffered a head injury and bruising.
11:58 4.5 lakh women were raped during Bangladesh Liberation War: The War Crimes Fact Finding Committee, which is doing research work about the 1971 War of Liberation in Bangladesh, has revealed that nearly 4.5 lakh women were raped by Pakistani Army and their local collaborators during the war.
11:54 Obama likely to nominate Kerry for Secretary of State:
US President Barack Obama is likely to nominate Senator John Kerry as his next Secretary of State, according to media reports.
Kerry, currently the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations committee, has been a close confidant of Obama on his foreign policy issues.
Kerry has come to the rescue of the Obama administration many times, especially when it came to US ties with Pakistan, wherein he traveled several times to the troubled nation to soothe its frayed nerves, including in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
11:49 Enos Ekka, Harinarain Rai released from jail :
Former Jharkhand ministers Enos Ekka and Harinarain Rai were today released from the Birsa Munda Central jail, two days after getting provisional bail from the Supreme Court.
"Both of them were released during the day," said a senior official.
The two, arrested in 2009 for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, were ministers when Madhu Koda was the chief minister in the UPA government between 2006 and 2008.
11:48 Japan goes to polls:
The Liberal Democratic Party is likely to win elections in Japan that started on Sunday. Exit polls have indicated that the government led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is likely to face an embarrassing defeat.
11:46 FIIs inflow touches $22 billion in 2012:
Overseas investors have made net investments of $2.44 billion in the Indian equity market in just a fortnight, taking the total inflow for 2012 so far to a
staggering level of over $ 22 billion.
During December 3-14, Foreign Institutional Investors were gross buyers of shares worth Rs 39,435 crore and sellers of equities worth Rs 26,157 crore -- translating in to a net inflow of Rs 13,278 crore ($ 2.44 billion), according to Sebi data.
This takes the net investment by FIIs to $22.22 billion (Rs 1,16,550 crore) so far in 2012, making it the second highest net inflow in a single calendar year since their entry into Indian capital markets in 1992.
00:04 US school gunman forced his way in, police say:
The gunman who killed 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, forced his way into the building, police say.
The suspect, named in media reports as Adam Lanza, was not "voluntarily let in", said Lt Paul Vance. He said police had found "very good evidence" which would help them establish a motive.
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