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December 21, 2012

23:34  AAP activists protest outside Sonia's residence:  Around 60-70 activists of Aam Aadmi Party today held a protest before the residence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi demanding hanging of the alleged rapists of a 23-year-old girl in the capital. The protesters marched to 10, Janpath -- Gandhi's residence in New Delhi-- from Jantar Mantar after a demonstration there and sat holding candles and shouting slogans against the government and demanding immediate action in the rape case.

Around 7:30 pm, police tried to clear the place by detaining some of them, but others managed to free themselves and get away from a bus for those detained.
23:22  INS Ranvijay completes 25 years of service:  INS Ranvijay today completed 25 years of its service in the Indian Navy, an official release said here.

It is the fifth and the latest ship of the Rajput class Guided Missile Destroyers and was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 21, 1987 at Poti, in the erstwhile USSR, it said.

Equipped with the Brahmos missile, the ship was one of the most heavily armed warships of the Indian Navy and was frontline unit of the Eastern Fleet.
23:14  UK man jailed over forged Churchill signatures:  A British antiques dealer has been jailed for 10 months for forging the signatures of Winston Churchill and other famous figures in books he sold as collector items. 

Prosecutors say Allan Formhals bought books at recycling centers and junk sales and made thousands of pounds selling them on eBay after adding the bogus autographs.
22:51  Modi thanks Maninagar voters for big win:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today thanked the voters of Maninagar for electing him for the third consecutive time. "The people of Maninagar were never voting to elect an MLA from Maninagar. They knew they were voting to secure their future," Modi said addressing a rally organised in his constituency following his victory with a margin of 86,373 votes, defeating Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt.

He also thanked his party workers for the win. "I want to congratulate the BJP party workers of Maninagar for their hard work to ensure the victory of the party. There was not a single complaint of indiscipline within the party and everyone worked for the victory of the party here," Modi said.
22:26  I personally favour gallows for rapists: Dikshit:  Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today termed the "horrific assault" on the 23-year-old girl as "most painful" incident for her since she assumed the top post in the capital and said she personally favoured death penalty for rapists.

She said she hated Delhi being called "rape capital" of India and stressed that "something concrete" must be done to instill confidence among women in the city against the growing fear of insecurity.

"Yes, personally I favour that (death penalty) for rapists. We must ensure stringent punishment for perpetrators of such henious crime so that it acts as a deterrent," Dikshit told mediapersons when asked whether she personally supported gallows for rape convicts.
21:57  Obama to nominate John Kerry as secretary of state:  US President Barack Obama will nominate veteran Senator John Kerry, known for his relationship-building skills, as the next Secretary of State, a senior administration official said today.

Sixty-nine-year-old Kerry, currently the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a close confidant of Obama on foreign policy issues.

President Obama will announce Kerry's nomination later today, the official said. Kerry has decades of foreign policy experience, which has very often been praised by opponents Republicans. If confirmed, he would replace Hillary Clinton as the secretary of state.
21:17  Obama on gun violence: 'We hear you':  President Barack Obama says his administration has received an outpouring of support for stricter gun laws following last week's school shooting in Connecticut, telling respondents to an online petition, "We hear you." The president said in a video released today that he is encouraged that many gun owners have said there are steps the nation can take to prevent more deadly shootings, "steps that both protect our rights and protect our kids." 

"I will do everything in my power as president to advance these efforts, because if there's even one thing we can do as a country to protect our children, we have a responsibility to try," Obama said. Obama was holding a moment of silence today morning at the White House marking one week since the shooting killed 20 children and six adults. The shooter also killed his mother and himself.
21:14  All pubs, discotheques in Delhi to close by 1am: Govt:  The government today ordered closure of all pubs and discotheques in the capital by 1 am as part of security measures in the backdrop of rape of a young student in a moving bus last Sunday. 

This was announced by Union Home Secretary R K Singh. The move came as part of steps taken by the government to ensure safety of women in the capital.
20:54  Moments of silence, bells mark US school shooting:  President Barack Obama joined a nationwide moment of silence today to mark the passing of one week since the Newtown school massacre. Obama took part in the unofficial national day of mourning at the White House and his wife, Michelle Obama, sent an open letter of support for the survivors. 

Connecticut State Governor Dannel Malloy first called on residents to stop and reflect in silence at 09:30 am (1330 GMT), the minute on December 14 that 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and began slaughtering 20 six- and seven-year-old children and six staff.
20:47  Mayan 'doomsday' sweeps across the world, no casualties:  Diehard doomsayers hunkered down to await the apocalypse today, but most took a lighthearted view of the Mayan "prophecy" of the world's destruction, laying on stunts and parties to while away the end. "If you're in an underground bunker with a lifetime's supply of baked beans how stupid do you feel now?" asked one person on Twitter, which saw dozens of posts every minute joking about the failure of the world to end. 

In the southern French village of Bugarach -- rumoured to be one of the few places that will be spared when the end comes -- dozens of journalists from across the world were bitterly disappointed at the lack of New Age fanatics to interview.
20:45  Delhi rape: Missing sixth attacker arrested in Bihar:  The police said that sixth accused person, who was on the run, was on Friday arrested in Bihar. They had earlier in the day arrested one of the accused who were on the run. He is a minor. 

Four of the six men accused of raping the woman - the bus driver Ram Singh, his brother, Mukesh, Vinay, a gym assistant and Pawan or Kalu, a fruitseller - had been arrested earlier in the week. They have been also been charged with attempt to murder among other things.
19:46  Hate Delhi being called rape capital', but it's become one: CM:  Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit describes Sunday night's gang-rape as "unforgivable and unforgettable" in an interview to NDTV.

"Hate Delhi being called 'rape capital', but it's become one," she said.

Read the interview here
19:04  61% of Mumbai's police force for VVIP duty:  Sixty-one per cent of the Mumbai's 46,000-strong police force has been assigned the job of protecting VIPs and VVIPs in the metropolis that has a population of over 1.25 crore, a whopping 1,184 per cent jump in deployment since 2007.

In 2010, nearly 13,010 cops were assigned for VIPs and VVIPs protection duty while the number rose by 48 per cent to 19,349 the next year. As on November 30 this year, 28,420 policemen were protecting VIPs, a 46 per cent jump since last year, an RTI reply received by activist Chetan Kothari said. In 2007, there were only 2,213 cops performing such duties.
19:00  Malala asks for Pak college not to be named after her :  Malala Yousafzai @Yousafzai MalalaGovernment must reverse their decision to name college after me as it would make students a target for militants.

The 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls' education has urged Pakistan to reverse a decision to rename a college in her honour to avert militant attacks on students, according to an official. Read more
18:56  Manipur actress alleges molestation by militant:  A Manipuri actress has alleged that she was molested by a cadre of the rebel Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), sparking outrage in the state. Locals took to the streets in Imphal on Friday, demanding immediate arrest and strict punishment for Livingstone Anal, who is said to be an NSCN-IM cadre.

Film actress Momoko alleged that Anal molested and assaulted her, while she was anchoring a music concert on December 19. Momoko told mediapersons on Friday that she was molested in presence of the security personnel, who did not take any action to help her.
18:31  17 per cent rise in rape cases in Delhi: Police chief:  The national capital has registered a whopping 17 per cent rise in rape cases this year with 661 such incidents being reported till December 15 compared to 564 during same period last year. The figures indicate that more and more women were reporting incidents of crime against them with the police, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said here today.

"These numbers are high. (But) contrary to popular belief, more and more women are becoming empowered to lodge or report (such matters)," he told a press conference also attended by Union Home Secretary R K Singh.

In 2010, 489 rape cases were reported while for 2009 the figure was 459, which showed that such cases were on the rise in the past couple of years. The rise in population also should be taken into account in this regard, Kumar said.
18:23  Protests erupt ACROSS Delhi over gang-rape:  Update on the protests over the Delhi gang-rape. The streets of Delhi today witnessed an outpouring of anger over the December 16 night gang-rape of a para-medic student in a moving bus. With slogans like "we want justice, we want justice',' hundreds of angry women activists and students marched up to the Raisina Hill, demanding that justice be delivered to the girl who is fighting for her life in Safdarjang Hospital.

The protesters, who had gathered under the aegis of AIDWA, YWCA and JNUSU among others, started their march from Rajpath, reached Vijay Chowk, went past security barricades erected at the entrance of Raisina Hill and moved towards Rashtrapati Bhavan and South and North Blocks.

Policemen said the crowd attempted to force its way into Rashtrapati Bhavan, but was diverted back to India Gate. A girl later identified as Swati even managed to go near the Rashtrapati Bhavan but was escorted back.
17:54  MHA promises STRICT laws:   Home secretary RK Singh says every driver must be verified, every bus checked and any misbehaviour must be reported and immediate action will be taken.
Illegal buses will be impounded, fresh driving test for drivers with outstation licences. There will be GPS in all buses, all autos. All vehicles with tinted glasses will be impounded.  
17:19  Fifth accused claims he's minor, will check: Delhi CP:  Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar who is at the joint presser says all the forensic evidence had been collected. It may be recollected that the accused had tried to wash away all evidence from the bus when the rape was reported across TV channels on Tuesday. "The fifth accused who was arrested today says he is a minor, which will have to be checked,"says the police commissioner.
17:11  MHA: Will seek maximum punishment -- life sentence:  Union Home Secretary RK Singh gives an update on the Delhi gang-rape case. One person is still absconding, while the five others are arrested. "We will seek life sentence for all the accused," says Singh and gives a pat on the back for the Delhi police saying it arrested the accused with minimum clues. A charge sheet on the case will be filed soon. "Our intention is to see that such crimes go down. We are confident the accused will be given maximum penalty, which is life sentence," says Singh.  
16:56  Victim off ventilator, liver not good: Docs :  Just in: Doctors at Safdarjung hospital treating the gang-rape victim say she's better, off the ventilator and the infection has been contained. "Her pulse rate is normal, but the condition of her liver is not good. We also request that there are no protests outside the hospital."
16:48  Delhi gang-rape case to be heard on January 9 :  Just in: The Delhi High Court will hear the gang-rape case on January 9. The Delhi police have submitted a report to the court on the case, but the court says it is not satisfied with the details.

The high court on Wednesday cleared the state government's proposal to set up five fast-track trial courts for speedy trial in rape cases, even as it made it clear that it would continuously monitor the gang-rape case and gave the police two days (Friday) to furnish a status report on the probe. Taking suo moto cognizance of the incident, the bench said it would clear the charge sheet to ensure police investigations are of a "high standard." 
16:39  Democracy not in our blood:  On slender historical foundations we are trying to create a modern republic, one reason why the task seems so difficult, at times almost insuperable. Our memories are of warrior-kings: Mahmud, Aibak, Babar, Akbar and, a bit later, Abdali, not of law-givers or philosopher-kings. Read
16:38  Russian parliament approves ban on U.S. adoptions:  The Russian parliament overwhelmingly approved on Friday a ban on Americans adopting Russian children in retaliation for a US law that will punish Russians accused of human rights violations. Read
16:35  Two takes on the same interview:  Barkha Dutt: Sheila Dixit on the Delhi Rape "unforgettable, unforgivable, shaken us all up". Breaks down in intw on why she couldn't meet the young young.

Kiran Bedi: CM being interviewed by Barkha/NDTV. Appearing very helpless,rather ignorant of what can be done! No wonder situation has not altered yet!
16:32  India: Narendra Modi is nothing to fear:  By winning a third consecutive term as Gujarat's chief minister, the controversial Narendra Modi has boosted his chances to become the BJP's candidate for prime minister. Here's why you needn't worry. Read
16:01  Delhi rape: Par panel calls Union Home Secy, Delhi Police head:  A Parliamentary panel has issued summons to Union Home Secretary R K Singh and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar in connection with the recent gang-rape and brutal assault of a paramedic student in the national capital.

The Parliament's Standing Committee on Home Affairs has sent notices to both to be present at its meeting on December 27, where the security situation in the country, and Delhi in particular, will be discussed in the wake of the recent rape incident.

The Committee chaired by BJP Rajya Sabha member M Venkaiah Naidu will also discuss setting up fast-track courts to try perpetrators of such heinous crimes and granting of exemplary punishment to them.
15:58  Only six per cent of the Delhi police force is female. The all-India figure is lower, between three and four per cent. Read
15:50  Rape victim has had five operations already:  The 23-year-old paramedical student, who was gang-raped and tortured in a moving bus on Sunday night, has undergone a fifth surgery and "continues to be critical but stable", doctors attending on her said.

Doctors at the Safdarjung hospital where she is undergoing treatment performed an elective abdominal surgery --gastronomy and duodenustromy -- and surgeons had to remove her gangrenous small intestine. They said she has lost most of her intestine.

And the real extent of her assault

15:45  Gang-rape victim's family begs media to let them be:  State BJP presdient, Vijender Gupta who has apparently met the Delhi gang-rape victim's family says they have asked him to beg the media to leave them alone. They feel hounded by the media's attempts to look for them in their village, asking their relatives for information, especially a time when their spirit has been broken by the heinous crime. "Do not look for us, do not seek us out, please leave us alone," is what the 23-year-old victim's family says.
15:35  The most important scientific discovery of 2012 is...:  The observation of an elusive sub-atomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, has been hailed as the most important scientific discovery of 2012 by the journal Science. This particle, which was first hypothesized more than 40 years ago, holds the key to explaining how other elementary particles (those that aren't made up of smaller particles), such as electrons and quarks, get their mass.
15:05  Making nice-nice: Modi meets Gujarat governor:   Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who silenced his critics to register a third successive win in the recently held two-phased state assembly polls, met Gujarat Governor Dr Kamla Beniwal here on Friday. Modi, who will be sworn-in as the chief minister of Gujarat for the third time on December 25, exchanged pleasantries with Dr Beniwal.

Read: Modi's war with Kamla Beniwal.
14:56  Gang-rape victim could be sent abroad for intestines transplant:  Update on the Delhi gang-rape: The Health Ministry today assured all possible help to the 23-year-old victim for her advanced treatment, including organ transplant. "The girl is surviving as all her vital organs are functioning normally. A team of doctors has been formed to take care of her health. The only worry is that she does not catch any infection," Director General of Health Services, Jagdish Prasad said.

Once the girl comes out of trauma and does not contract any infection, the government will then explore possibilities of transplant of her intestines, he said.

"Transplant of intestines is not possible in India. But we have heard of such transplants being carried out in England. We will explore such possibilities. But the immediate worry is that she does not catch any infection and comes out of trauma," Prasad said.
14:48  BJP: Smriti to file defamation case against Nirupam:  Just in: Smiriti Irani will file a defamation case against Sanjay Nirupam, says the BJP. The Congress spokesperson said, "Aap to paise ke liye thumke lagati thi, aaj chunavi visleshak ban gayi!" (You used to charge money to perform dance shows on TV, and now you have become a psephologist) on a TV debate on ABP News.
14:44  Bharti, Vodafone, Hutchison Max in CBI charge sheet:  CBI has filed charge sheet in a Delhi court on the allocation of additional spectrum during the NDA regime. The CBI names ex-DoT Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms as accused in the charge sheet. Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd and Hutchison Max & Sterling Cellular named as accused in CBI charge sheet. All the accused have been booked for criminal conspiracy and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
14:40  Why do groups of men attack lone women:  The psychologist David Lisak, an expert on violent crime, including murder and rape, talks about the Delhi gang-rape. Read  
14:30  Salman Khan: The Anatomy of a Superstar:  And a read on Salman Khan, whose film Dabbang 2 has just released. The WSJ writes: "In India, he is a cultural force, with many trying -- and failing -- to emulate his style. There are always people swarming around his Mumbai home, with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Bollywood star." Read
14:25  People write crap on Twitter: Priyanka:  The Congress has maintained a studied silence on the Nirupam's comments to Smriti Irani -- and so has the BJP.

Moving on... Priyanka Chopra tells Anupama Chopra about her tough year, her achievements, and how she handles the glare of unwelcome publicity. Read
14:14  ABP News 'expresses regret, stopped the show':  And this is what ABP News tweets on the subject: @abpnewstv: ABP News stopped the show and expresses regret that Sanjay Nirupam made such comments on the show.
14:11  Payal Rohatgi: Aap bhi toh paise ke liye Bigg Boss mein aaye:  Bollywood actor Payal Rohatgi criticised Nirupam on Twitter saying: "aap bhi to Paise ke liye bigg boss season 2 mein aaye & were kicked out because of your pathetic approach in 1st week :-)".

A Sangh Parivar tweet said: Sanjay Nirupam's sick/pervert comments are just another example of what Congress really is!".
14:08  Outrage over Nirupam's 'thumka' remark to Smriti:   Congress party national spokesperson Sanjay Nirumpam has created a new controversy by using foul words on TV-actor-turned politician Smriti Irani. During a TV debate on ABP News, Sanjay Nirupam said, "Aap to paise ke liye thumke lagati thi, aaj chunavi visleshak ban gayi!!!" (You used to charge money to perform dance shows on TV, and now you have become a psephologist). The talk show was on the Gujarat election and Narendra Modi's hat-trick win.
14:00  And more rage on Nirupam's uncouth remark:  Rahul Pandita @smritiirani. You should've told Sanjay Nirupam that it is he who gyrated from one political party to another for personal gains.

Pritish Nandy: Sanjay Nirupam is serious bad news... till I guess something worse comes along.

Netra Parikh: I feel Sanjay Nirupam shd apologise Smirti Irani - where is the respect, humanity for women...

calamur: Members of Parliament like Sanjay Nirupam say things that demean women, what can you expect from their constituents
13:57  Nirupam: Aap toh paise ke liye thumke lagati thi:  This is the YouTube video when Sanjay Nirupam reveals his inner self. Watch

And outrage on Twitter:
Pawan Durani: ‏So .... most of the elders & youth in Congress are maintaining silence on Sanjay Nirupam 's degrading comments , for obvious reasons ...

Manoj Dhadwal:
Sanjay Nirupam has a sick mind. I have seen him many times on TV debates. He just talk filth all the time. No substance !!

Aarthi parthasarathy:
Would this scum Sanjay Nirupam have the guts to say that to MGR, Chiranjeevi, N T Ramarao, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Sunil Dutt?

Now we are talking! Shaming Sanjay Nirupam instead of the world ending. Little #proud is coming.

lindsay pereira:
As a child, Sanjay Nirupam could never get over the fact that all the girls in his class, and his city, were smarter than he was.

Pritish Nandy:
Best thing about TV debates is they reveal more about those on screen than the subject discussed. Case in point: Sanjay Nirupam.
SUHEL SETH #JustSawTheWorldEnd : Sanjay Nirupam the dolt was being respectful towards women...
13:47  Nirupam: Aap toh paise ke liye thumke lagati thi:  Twitter is abuzz with Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam's remarks to BJP MP Smriti Irani doing a talk show yesterday on ABP News, where he said, "Aap toh paise ke liye thumke lagati thi." Read the open letter to Nirupam. 
13:34  AP governor in Delhi to attend IB lecture:  Andhra Pradesh governor ESL Narasimhan reached New Delhi today, his second  visit this fortnight -- to meet central leaders. The governor is expected to stay in Delhi for two days to attend a Intelligence Bureau lecture by Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw tomorrow. The governor is also expected to meet the Prime Minister and other Union Minsters.
13:26  Modi versus the Mahatma: What is Gujarat's message to India?:  'Unless he engages with the darkness within, unless there is remorse for what happened within his rule, I don't think he is going to be my leader,' says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt in his forthright style. Read
13:20  Chalo Dilli: Modi to meet Atal, dinner with Jaitley:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will head to Delhi to meet Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani and other senior BJP leaders on December 27. He will then head to 11 Ashok Road, the BJP national headquarters.

Modi is expected to speak at the National Development Council, which will approve the 12th five year plan on December 27. And then, of course, there's dinner Arun Jaitley's residence. 
13:05  NASA: World will not end in 2012:   In a rare campaign to dispel rumours fuelled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie titled 2012-, NASA officials has said that the world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012. The latest big screen offering from Sony Pictures, 2012, shows the end of the world, supposedly based on theories backed by the Mayan calendar. The doomsday scenario revolves around claims that the end of time will come as an obscure Planet X -- or Nibiru -- collides with Earth.
13:03  Ex-army chief: Cops are security agencies of VVIPs:  Former Army chief Gen V K Singh has joined the chorus of  voices against the Delhi gang-rape.

Calling the gang-rape of the young student in a moving bus indicative of the "complete collapse of governance", the former Army chief today accused the police of becoming "nothing more than security agencies" of VVIPs in the capital.

Singh said the system stands "completely exposed and defanged" as not just one daughter on the ill fated bus was at the mercy of this system, but hundreds others are equally vulnerable to predators in the face of "growing impotency" to take any action.

"The brutal assault and the heinous gang-rape of a 23-year-old in a bus moving around the city with impunity is indicative of the complete collapse of governance...This case has to be a watershed," he said. 
12:52  Delhi gang rape case: 'she deserved it' is not a good argument. Read
12:48  207 Mumbai women raped, 552 molested in 2011-12:  In 2011-12, our 'safe' city has seen a rise of 15% and 14% in cases of rape and molestation respectively, as compared to the previous year; 430 women registered cases saying their modesty was outraged. Read
12:45  Halfway to paradise:  A half-built bridge symbolises the urgency and the frustrations of improving India's infrastructure. Read the report on the Economist. 
12:44  Delhi gang-rape case: Farhan Akhtar's hard-hitting poem. Read
12:43  Father of gang-rape victim sold field for her education':  "Our daughters, our sisters, our mothers are not safe in the society and as I said we should hang our heads in shame and specially in a country like India, where we have always said that  women should be worshipped, mothers should be worshipped, womanhood should be respected. This is the kind of culture and thoughts that we talk of and then just like a paradox, it is such an irony that in a country where a thing like this happens, we are behaving differently."

Speaker Meira Kumar's interview with NDTV on the Delhi gang-rape. Read
12:41  WB governor's car gheraoed outside Rashtrapati Bhawan:  West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan's car was gheroed near Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi this morning by women protestors seeking justice for the gang-rape victim. A breach of security was reported when a young student called Swati entered the President's home raising slogans that she would not leave till she met Pranab Mukherjee. The police however moved in and got the protest venue moved to Rajpath. 
12:35  Kiran Bedi tweets: Urge all commuters to photo vehicles with tinted glasses and curtains and tweet d pics to police Commissioner for immed action@delhipolice2
12:16  Gang-rape: Protestors try to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan:  Meanwhile, in the capital, protestors attempt to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan following outrage over the gang-rape of the 23-year-old student in Delhi on Sunday night.
On Wednesday, the Delhi police had to use water canons to disband protestors who tried to barge in to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's home.
12:13  'Death penalty for rapists not the final solution':  Holding that death penalty to rapists was not the "final solution", former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari today said sensitising people about sexual abuse and violence was essential to curb such heinous crimes rather than making "strong" demands.

"Normally this (demand for death penalty to rape accused) is in anguish. Anger of the people makes them speak of death penalty. It is an immediate reaction and such reactions are very strong," the (Retd) Justice told PTI. "Death penalty is not the final solution. The solution is to spread more awareness among people about the whole problem.
12:09  115 seats. Is this the best Modi can do?:  Now that the numbers are out and it is nowhere near as spectacular as expected/feared by some or hyped by many -- it is Narendra Modi's lowest in three elections -- it is a sobering thought. Is this the best he can do, wonders Saisuresh Sivaswamy. Read the column on 
12:08  Narendra Modi, smart politician and average poet:  What's with Hindutva leaders and their poetry? Why is it such rubbish? It is a two-pipe problem for Sherlock Holmes, but let's examine it because Narendra Modi fancies himself as a poet. His website refers to this as one of his talents. Read Aakar Patel's blog
12:05  No cheering in the ghettos:  Has the BJP finally managed to break into the Muslim votebank? Or doesn't the 9% Muslim population of Gujarat carry any weight any more? The 2012 assembly polls, which have given a third term to chief minister Narendra Modi, saw a slight blurring of communal lines, with the BJP winning chunks of minority-dominated areas. Read
12:03  From a tough to a mature Modi?:  Narendra Modi winning a third term in Gujarat does not come as a surprise. The more significant topic engaging Modi-watchers has been the role of Modi beyond Gujarat-2012. The question is whether and under what conditions Modi will be able to go beyond being the supreme leader of Gujarati Hindus and emerge as a national leader. Read
11:59  Mandate for change:  In politics, you sometimes owe your success to your opponent. The Congress returned to power in Himachal Pradesh on a strong negative vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party government of Prem Kumar Dhuma. Read
11:57  King of his jungle:  Every paper worth it's circulation has several opinion pieces on Narendra Modi's hat-trick win at the Gujarat polls yesterday. This is a piece from the Hindu.

"There was never an iota of doubt about Narendra Modi being able to pull off a third straight Assembly election victory in Gujarat. In a State where Narendrabhai, or NaMo, as his frenzied fan following called him, was reputed to be master of all he surveyed, the verdict had necessarily to have a scripted feel to it."  Read
11:54  Brooklyns Mayans pretty sure world wont end today:  If you haven't made out your will, don't bother. The world as we know it will end today. Or is supposed to according to the Mayans.

Yet, there were no signs of panic, prophesying or much else out of the ordinary on Thursday on the streets of New York's most densely Mayan neighborhood, Bath Beach in Brooklyn. Read
11:50  Why Indian men rape:  Strange theories are floated to explain the depravity of Indian men '" from greater access to pornography (that would have made Holland very unsafe for women) to a growing inclination towards noodles (think Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong) '" but the truth is that at the root of it all lies a culture built around hierarchies, of gender, faith, colour, caste, region. Read
11:49  Digvijaya granted bail in defamation case filed by Gadkari:  A Delhi Court on Friday granted bail to Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in connection with the defamation case filed by BJP President Nitin Gadkari. Singh appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar in pursuance to the summons issued against him by the court on November 17 and the judge granted bail to him on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of the like amount.

Gadkari had filed the criminal defamation case against Singh, who has accused him of having business links with his party MP Ajay Sancheti who allegedly pocketed a huge sum in coal block allocation.
11:40  Gang-rape: Sadistic retribution is not the way ahead:  If what the six rapists did to the woman was the very worst kind of sadism and savagery, the good folks who are outraged by the incident have been scarcely less vicious. From public disembowellment and hanging to castration '" chemical or surgical '" and flogging, urban India has been displaying an amazingly atavistic instinct when it comes to punishment. Yet most of them would nod sagely when reminded that Mahatma Gandhi did not think much of this eye-for-an-eye form of retribution or action. Read the blog
11:38  Positive identification by rape victim's friend will help case:  The 23-year-old victim's male friend, an engineer in a software company, identified Mukesh during TIP, a senior police official said. Out of the four accused, only Mukesh had agreed to TIP when he was produced before a court here yesterday.

Other accused -- Ram Singh, Pawan and Vinay -- had refused to undergo TIP. According to the official, the positive identification of Mukesh by the friend, who was also beaten up by the gang before the men allegedly raped the girl, is a shot in the arm of the prosecution as it would help them nail the other culprits.

Police have invoked the stringent charges of attempt to murder and destruction of evidence against the accused. Investigators had earlier pressed charges against them under sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting), 376 (2)(g) (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 394 (hurting in committing robbery) and 34 (common intention) of IPC.
11:33  Hat-trick to reverse wests pariah status for Narendra Modi?:  So, Gujarat decided yesterday that it wants Narendra Modi as chief minister. Point is, whether Modi wants to stay in the state or head north to Delhi. While the media searches for clues in yesterday's victory speech, what will probably change is that the hat-trick in the assembly polls could be a cue for many western countries, who had kept their doors shut to the Gujarat politician since the 2002 riots, to rethink their strategies. Read
11:22  Gang-rape victim's will to live amazes doctors:   The gang-rape victim's sheer will to live has left doctors amazed. Although the victim of Sunday's brutal gang-rape continues to be critical, doctors said she has responded well to the second surgery on Wednesday in which her entire intestine was removed as it had turned gangrenous. Despite the serious injuries and two major surgeries within days of each other, the girl was hanging on tenaciously and even attempting to breathe on her own. Read
11:19  Fifth accused Raju arrested from UP:  Just in: The fifth accused, Raju, in the Delhi gang-rape case has been arrested. He had been detained on Wednesday in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Of the six men who raped the 23-year-old paramedical student, four men, were arrested earlier. Yesterday, the male friend of the victim, who was also beaten up and thrown out of the moving bus, identified one of the three accused -- Mukesh Singh -- in Tihar jail. 
11:13  Why Australia, Sweden have more rapes:  If we were to go only by numbers, Australia and Sweden would seem to be the rape capitals of the world, with women being most unsafe in these countries. Of course, the definition of rape differs from country to country and that, coupled with how well the crime is reported and recorded, determines what the numbers are finally going to look like. Read
11:08  CWG case: Chargesheet filed against Kalmadi:  Just in: A Delhi court has ordered the framing of charges against against former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi and 10 others in a games-related graft case.

Special CBI judge Talwant Singh had on November 21 slated for Decenber 21 the pronouncement of order on charges in the case also involving former CWG OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot as an accused in the case. All have been charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.
11:01  Ten months on chargesheet filed against Saif in hotel brawl case:  Ten months after Saif Ali Khan allegedly assaulted a South-Africa based businessman Iqbal Mir Sharma and his father-in-law at a luxury hotel in Colaba, the Mumbai Police has filed a charge sheet against the Bollywood actor and his two associates in the case.

"Colaba police station filed the charge sheet against Saif in a metropolitan magistrate court on Thursday," Zonal DCP Ravindra Shishwe told PTI today. Saif and his two friends -- Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi-- have been charge sheeted under section 325 (assault) of IPC. The police have also added the statement of 29 persons in the charge sheet, sources said. Saif and his friends were arrested following a complaint filed by Sharma after the two got into a fight at the Wasabi restaurant in Taj Hotel on February 22. The trio was later released on bail.
10:47  Digvijay gets bail in Gadkari defamation case:  
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh was on Friday granted bail by a Delhi court in connection with a criminal defamation case filed against him by BJP President Nitin Gadkari.

Singh appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar in pursuance to the summons issued against him by the court on November 17 and the judge granted bail to him on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of the like amount. 

Outside the court, Singh told reporters that he will now prove all his charges against Gadkari.

"Now I can say everything in front of the court the way Gadkari has worked as a businessman and how he has links with various other businessmen, which all companies of his were fake and how he earned profits," he said. 

The court after finding "prima facie" evidence against Singh had directed him to appear before it to face trial for the offence punishable under section 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the IPC.

The defamation case was filed by Gadkari against the Congress general secretary who had allegedly accused him of having business links with his party MP Ajay Sancheti. 

It was also alleged in the complaint that Singh accused Gadkari of pocketing huge sum to the tune of Rs 490 crore in the coal block allocation to Sancheti. 
10:16  Rupee breaches 55-level against Dollar:  
The rupee lost 35 paise to trade at nearly one-month low of 55.20 against the US dollar in early trade on Friday at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market on continued demand for the American currency from importers.

Forex dealers said besides dollar's gain against the euro in the overseas markets, increased demand for the American currency from importers and a lower opening in the stock market also put pressure on the domestic currency.

The rupee had lost 30 paise to close 54.85 against the US dollar on Thursday due to fresh demand for the US currency and some weakness in equities.
10:15  Sensex down 115 pts in early trade:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday fell over 115 points in early trade on selling by funds amid a weak trend in the Asian region. 

The 30-share index fell 115.50 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 19,338.42.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty moved down by 38.80 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 5,877.60. 

All sectoral indices led by realty and metal were trading in the negative zone with losses up to 1.06 per cent. 

Brokers said sustained selling by funds amid a weak trend in the Asian region largely in line with overnight losses on the US market as uncertainty grows over fiscal cliff mainly influenced the trading sentiment.

Meanwhile in Asia, Japan's Nikkei index fell by 0.71 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined by 0.42 per cent in early trade today. 
08:53  Delhi gang-rape accused have shown no remorse:  
The four men arrested here for allegedly having tortured and gang-raped a 23-year-old physiotherapist who now battles for life, have shown no remorse. Investigators said Thursday that they behaved like hardened criminals.

"None of the accused have shown even an iota of remorse or any kind of regret for what they have done," a senior police officer interrogating the four men told IANS.
08:50  Delhi gang-rape accused forced to eat excreta by Tihar inmates:  
Here's some bizarre news.

As the young paramedical student battles for life bravely four days after her brutal gang-rape, the inmates of Tihar jail, where the rape accused have been lodged, are also giving the main accused a hard time.

India Today cited a source that revealed that the main accused in the Delhi gangrape case was not only beaten up by the jail inmates but was also forced to consume human excreta and urine. 

Post the attack on rape cases main accused, Mukesh, the jail authorities are planning to shift him to a separate cell.
08:38  Delhi gang-rape: 'She deserved it' is not a good argument:  
The gang rape of a 23-year-old woman and the beating of her male friend on a moving bus in New Delhi Sunday night has produced debates about womens rights in India and about whether the death penalty -- or castration -- are suitable remedies for the situation. 

It has not prompted any speculation that the woman got what she deserved because she was dressed like a slut... until today.

Click HERE to read further...
08:30  Will bus gang-rape change India's culture of rape?:  
The Delhi bus gang-rape knocked India's entrenched blame-the-victim mentality off its footing. How to demonise a girl who dared watch a film with a male friend before boarding a private bus in a relatively affluent neighborhood around 9 pm, before most Indians even sit down for dinner? 

What did she do to invite the next 90-minutes of torture, as six drunk men on board (including the driver, who passed the wheel to a friend so as not to miss his shot) raped her in turn before beating her so badly with an iron rod that medical staff described the site of her naked body, which had been dumped with her friend's alongside the highway, as horrifying? 

Could this possibly mean that India's pervasive rape culture can't be blamed on women after all?

Read about it HERE
03:03  China video reveals school knife attack:  AFP reports: A newly released video of a knife attack at a Chinese primary school shows a man slashing at a little girl and causing her to fall to the ground, horrifying web users in the country.

A total of 22 children were stabbed in the attack last week in the central province of Henan.

The grainy footage, released by police and broadcast on Chinese television, shows a crowd of panicked children fleeing the school before broom-wielding adults chase the attacker back into the street through the school gate. No guards are visible nearby.
02:45  Michigan schools close over Friday doomsday rumors:  AP reports: Mayan doomsday jitters and fears of violence after a horrific school shooting in Connecticut prompted officials in Michigan to send thousands of students home early for the Christmas break.

All five school districts in Lapeer County decided to cancel classes today and tomorrow after rumors of copycat violence swept through the rural area, Lapeer Community Schools superintendent Matt Wandrie said.

"Additionally, rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world on Friday have also surfaced," Wandrie wrote in a notice to parents posted on the district's website.

While the rumors were "thoroughly investigated and determined to be false" they have been "a serious distraction for students, teachers, administrators, and parents" and have been a "significant disruption to the teaching and learning process," he wrote.
02:21  Pakistani polio workers get police protection:  AP reports: Under police guard, thousands of health workers pressed on with a polio immunization program today after nine were killed elsewhere in Pakistan by suspected militants who oppose the vaccination campaign.

Immunisations were halted in some parts of Pakistan and the UN suspended its field participation everywhere until better security was arranged for its workers. The violence risks reversing recent progress fighting polio in Pakistan, one of three countries in the world where the disease is endemic.

The Taliban have denied responsibility for the shootings. Militants have accused health workers of acting as spies for the US, alleging the vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.
01:53  Ravi Shankars ashes to be taken to Varanasi:  The ashes of noted sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar, the who passed away last week, will be taken to Varanasi for the final rites, Lakshmi Shankar, the musician's sister-in-law, told at a memorial service held at the Self Realisation Fellowship Ashram Center in Encinitas, Southern California.

Shankar passed away on December 11 near his home in Encinitas, California. He was 92. His health had been fragile for several years.

He had undergone a surgery to replace a heart valve at the Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he passed away.
01:29  Nearly 50 people die of cancer in Jalandhar every month:Survey :  Nearly 50 people die due to cancer every month in Jalandhar district of Punjab's Doaba region, according to an ongoing survey of the state health department.

"We have completed 80 per cent of the survey. As per the latest data available, 2,955 people have lost their lives to cancer in past five years," said Shiv Dayal Mali, nodal officer in charge of the project.

"We have identified 1,581 persons suffering from cancer and 7140 people with symptoms of cancer have also been identified," he added.
01:07  Mother of Samjhauta blast accused moves MP high court :  A habeas corpus petition was today filed in the Madhya Pradesh high court in Indore by the mother of an accused in 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, questioning the "illegal" detention of her son by the National Investigation Agency.

In her petition, Buli Bai, 66 has claimed her son Dhan Singh was illegally arrested on December 17 by officials of  the NIA.

She has named the investigating agency along with both central and the state governments as respondents in the case. Buli Bai's lawyer Dharmendra Chelawat told reporters here that he will make a plea in the court tomorrow for early hearing of the petition.
01:03  Italy eager to welcome home marines held in India:  Italian President Giorgio Napolitano today spoke to two marines from his country facing criminal trial here on charges of killing two Indian fishermen, who were permitted by the Kerala high court to go home to celebrate Christmas, subject to clearance from the Centre. 

The Italian President spoke to Massimiliano Latore and Silvatore Girone through video conferencing at around 9 pm, sources said. The marines told the President that they hoped to meet him directly in Rome to exchange greetings for Christmas, the sources said.
01:02  Queen records Christmas Day broadcast in 3D:  BBC reports: The Queen has recorded her Christmas Day broadcast to the UK and Commonwealth in 3D for the first time, Buckingham Palace has said.

Her use of the technology comes 80 years after George V first broadcast a Christmas speech on the radio and started the December 25 tradition.

A spokesman said the Queen has watched the 3D message, produced by Sky News, and thought it "absolutely lovely".

Read the full story here
01:00  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  
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