20:44 Four youths arrested for eve teasing in Bareilly:
Four jeep-borne youths, including a former student leader, were today arrested for allegedly eve teasing and attempting to kidnap four girls in Baradari area of Bareilly, police said.
The four accused, identified as Chattrapal Singh, Amjad Khan, Anup Mishra and Rohit, started eve teasing and attempted to pull the girls inside their jeep, they said.
One Mohd Arif informed the police that his two daughters along with his two nieces were returning from school after attending a Christmas programme, when the youths stopped to eve tease them on Stadium Road.
They even attempted to pull the girls inside the jeep, police said, adding that they were rescued by a passerby and police official.
Chattrapal was a former student leader of Rohilkhand University and already has eight cases against him, whereas Anup has 10 cases registered against him.
20:41 China's Xi for 'multi-party cooperation system':
The new leader of China's ruling Communist Party has pledged to work with the eight other non-Communist parties in the country to promote "multi-party cooperation system", hinting at political reforms in the tightly controlled one party nation.
59-year-old Xi Jinping, who was elected as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China last month replacing Hu Jintao met the non-Communist party leaders and "vowed to insist on the multi-party cooperation system" and support their role in political supervision.
Xi met the new leaderships of China's eight non-communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce on December 24 and 25, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"China will unswervingly insist on and improve multi-party cooperation and the political consultation system under the leadership of the CPC, supporting the non-communist parties to fully exert their advantages while participating in state affairs," Xi said.
CPC has over 80 million members. CPC with its absolute control on the state and the military retains control in China's power structure. It vigorously pursued economic reforms in the past three decades, but studiously kept away political reforms.
Image: Xi Jinping
20:13 8 dead, thousands homeless in Philippine fires:
AFP: Eight people were killed and thousands left homeless as two fires struck the Philippine capital on Christmas Day, with one of the blazes sparking a riot in a slum, officials said.
Seven charred bodies, all believed to be from one household, were recovered after a blaze razed a row of old apartments in northern Manila at dawn, fire officer Francisco Mabunga told AFP.
The cause of the blaze, which broke out as the metropolis of 14 million people held Christmas Eve parties that lasted until dawn today, is under investigation, officials said.
"They are all believed to be from a family that owned the apartment row and lived in one of the units where the fire was suspected to have started," Mabunga added.
A second blaze broke out at a sprawling shantytown, sparking riots that left one man dead and lead to two suspected rioters being arrested, said Manila fire marshal Santiago Laguna.
"They (residents) started grabbing hoses from our firefighters, who could not do anything as they feared for their own safety," Laguna said in a radio interview.
Image: A resident douses embers at his charred home after fire razed some 500 houses at a residential area in San Juan City, Manila
Photograph: Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters
19:16 5 Metro stations re-open in Delhi, 4 still shut:
After being shut for three days in the wake of protests against the 23-year-old student's gangrape, five key Metro stations in Central Delhi were opened to public this evening but remaining four stations close to India Gate are still out of bounds.
Rajiv Chowk, the busiest station that sees a footfall of 5 lakhs a day, Barakhamba Road, Pragati Maidan, Mandi House and Khan Market were opened at 5 pm this evening.
However, Central Secretariat, Patel Chowk, Udyog Bhawan and Race Course, continued to be closed.
All the nine stations, except Rajiv Chowk, had closed their doors for public since Sunday after Delhi Police asked the Delhi Metro to shut down operations in these stations. While Rajiv Chowk was open on Sunday, it remained shut yesterday and today.
18:03 4 CRPF jawans shot dead in sleep by colleague:
Four CRPF jawans were today shot dead and another injured in sleep by their "mentally disturbed" colleague in the Naxal-hit Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, police said.
"The shooting occurred last night at the camp of 111 CRPF Battalion in Aranpur area of the Naxal-dominated district, when the constable Deep Kumar Tiwari opened fire on the jawans who were sleeping," Dantewada SP Narendra Khare told reporters.
Inspector General, CRPF, Zulfiqar Hasan said a court of inquiry has been initiated into the case. While three jawans died on the spot, one succumbed while being taken to hospital, Khare said, adding that the injured trooper has been air-lifted to Raipur and admitted to MMI hospital in Raipur.
The exact cause of the shooting was being ascertained even as the preliminary investigation indicated that the accused constable had been going through some "mental problems", the SP said.
Those killed have been identified as -- head constable Chandan Singh (45) from Gujarat, constable Ramesh Kumar (29) from Haryana, constable Aniruddh Kumar (24) from UP and constable Purushottam Lal Sahu (29) from Raipur.
17:56 Seven killed in fresh Karachi violence:
Violence continued unabated in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi where seven more people, including a policeman, were killed and a well-known religious scholar was badly injured today, taking to 26 the death toll in three days of unrest.
Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi, who belongs to the Ahle-Sunnat Jammat, was attacked near Moti Mahal in the densely populated Gulshan-e-Iqbal area by unknown motorcycle-borne gunmen.
The religious scholar's driver and three security guards were killed in the firing, while he himself was admitted to hospital with serious injuries.
Taj Muhammad Hanfi, a spokesman for the Ahle-e-Sunnat Jammat, said the condition of Farooqi had now stabilised and urged his followers to maintain peace and calm in the city.
16:50 Rape survivor continues to be critical: Doctors:
In the latest medical bulletin, doctors at the Safdurgunj Hospital have said that the 23-year-old gangrape survivor continues to be critical, and is on partial ventilator.
The girl is psychologically stable, and hopeful of a good future, the doctors said, adding, she is conscious, alert and communicating. The girl has fever, but is relatively better than yesterday, doctors said.
16:41 Nitish asks girls to learn martial arts for self-defence:
With crimes against women on the rise, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today urged girls to learn martial arts along with education to defend themselves against eve-teasers.
"The girls should learn martial arts like Judo, Karate and Taekwondo to attain physical strength and alertness for self-defence when confronted with eveteasers," he said while inaugurating the 31st senior national Taekwondo championship.
He said with this end in view the state government had launched training in Judo and Karate in schools across Bihar a few years back. Over one lakh girls had learnt the martial arts through training programmes in their schools.
16:13 Now, minor girl raped in Karnataka's Gulbarga:
As the gangrape case in Delhi continues to hog national attention, the rape of a minor girl in a village in Karnataka's Gulbarga district came to light today, two days after the crime was committed.
The 11-year-old girl was raped in a farm field in Ainoli village in Chincholi taluk on December 22, police said. Though people from the girl's side approached the local police station to lodge a complaint, their plea was not entertained. The Child Welfare Committee of Chincholi taluk took up the issue and met District Superintendent of Police N Satish Kumar today to pursue the matter, police sources said.
A search had been launched to nab the culprit who fled the scene after committing the crime, they said adding there were definite clues. The girl is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Solapur in neighbouring Maharashtra. A police team as well as officials from its women wing left for Solapur to record her statement, police sources said.
16:12 13 injured as man drives car into students in China:
Thirteen middle school children were injured when an enraged man, upset by a court ruling in the murder of his daughter, rammed his car loaded with a gas tank and firecrackers into a group of 23 students in northern China, officials said today.
Divorced and without a stable job, the man, identified as 48-year-old Yin Tiejun drove his vehicle right into the group of students of Fengning No 1 Middle School at the Manchu Autonomous County of Fengning in Hebei Province, even though they had nothing to do with his daughter's murder. Of the 13 students were hospitalised with injuries that included skull fractures and crushed feet.
Police said after the accident Yin lit a bottle of diesel, trying to burn down the car after hitting the students. Police officers, who put out the fire, found a gas tank and firecrackers in the trunk of the car.
Yin claimed during interrogation that these were not meant for the attack. Police cleared Yin of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
They said he was upset with a court ruling that did not sentence all his daughter's murderers to death. Yin was detained on charges of endangering public safety.
16:09 Rare supercomet to outshine Moon in 2013:
A rare supercomet is rushing towards the Sun from the outer solar system and at its peak it may outshine the Moon in November, 2013, astronomers claim.
First spotted in September this year, the comet is known as C/2012 S1 (ISON), New Scientist reported.
Its closest approach to the Sun will be in November, when Timothy Spahr of the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University expects it to put on as good a show as Hale-Bopp did in 1997.
Hale Bopp is believed to be the most widely observed comet of the 20th century and one of the brightest seen for many decades.
16:08 Seven die due to cold in UP:
Seven persons died in the past 24 hours in different parts of Uttar Pradesh as cold wave conditions prevailed across the state.
While three deaths were reported from Barabanki district, two persons died in Muzaffarnagar and one each in Hardoi and Bijnor districts, official sources said in Lucknow today.
According to the Met office, maximum temperature was below normal by 5 to 12 degrees celsius in many parts of the state.
Cold conditions prevailed over some parts of the state, it said, adding, the weather was mainly dry over the state.
Night temperatures rose in Meerut division and fell in Varanasi division. The temperature was above normal in Bareilly, below normal in Meerut, Kanpur and Varanasi and normal elsewhere.
The lowest minimum temperature in the state was 3.4 degrees celsius recorded at Fatehgarh. The Met department said that the weather would be mainly dry over the state and fog would occur in many parts.
It has warned that cold conditions would continue to prevail over many parts of the state during next 24 hours and dense fog with visibility upto 100 metre or less would occur over many parts of UP during next 24 hours.
16:06 Five killed in blaze at cracker godown in Salem:
At least five persons were killed and as many injured when crackers stored in a godown in a village near Salem caught fire, leading to collapse of the building.
Mettur Deputy Superintendent of Police Gopal said that five persons were killed in the mishap that occurred at Parakallur, 42 km from Salem. The five injured have been rushed to hospitals in Salem and nearby Mettur.
The explosion was so powerful that the entire godown was razed to the ground, he said.
Thirty nine persons were killed on September 5 in a devastating blaze at a fireworks manufacturing unit near Sivakasi, a hub for crackers in Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu.
14:50 Delhi: Deceased constable's last rites performed:
The last rites of Delhi Police Constable Subhash Tomar, who died earlier today after getting critically wounded in Sunday's anti-gangrape protests at India Gate, are being performed at Nigambodh Ghat.
Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, MoS Home RPN Singh, Union minister Ajit Singh are present at the funeral among others.
14:34 Now woman gangraped in MP hospital:
A woman was allegedly gang-raped by three sweepers at the district hospital in Sagar where she had gone for treatment of her baby.
The incident, which occurred on Saturday, came to light when the woman along with her husband filed an FIR with Gopalganj police station. Police today said the three sweepers followed her when she went to the toilet and allegedly raped her after threatening to take her life.
The woman had gone to the district hospital for treatment of her baby. Sagar Superintendent of Police Pramod Sonkar said that all the three accused -- Rahul, Sunny and Sachin -- were arrested.
14:12 Mumbai girl stabbed by college mate dies:
A 19-year-old girl, who was critical after being repeatedly stabbed by her spurned lover at a college in suburban Bandra three days ago, succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Mumbai today, police said.
The victim died early this morning, Namdev Chavan Zonal Deputy Commissioner of police told PTI.
The girl, who was admitted in a critical condition to the Gurunanak hospital in Bandra, was on ventilator since December 22 after she was attacked by her college mate Nikhil Bankar several times with a knife, injuring her seriously in different parts of the body.
The 22-year-old boy also committed suicide after the incident that day. Nikhil and the victim were studying management at the college and recently had a break-up.
13:57 Maoist hideouts being busted in Koraput:
Recent seizures of landmines, explosives and arms during raids at Maoist hideouts in Odisha's Koraput district have boosted the morale of security forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations.
While policemen recovered at least seven landmines from Mankidi forest in Narayanpatna area on Saturday, two Maoist camps were busted earlier in the week, police said.
Four big iron pipes used for preparing claymore mines, 40 kg gun power and live wire were also seized from Salpaguda forest on December 18. Security personnel had recovered two powerful landmines each weighing 25 to 30 kg, two tiffin bombs and a country-made gun from Musulmunda forest the previous day.
"Security forces in Narayanpatna are on high alert. The counter-insurgency operations are being regularly assessed and changes incorporated accordingly. Maoists had dumped the explosives in forests for use in future. We expect more success in coming days," said Koraput SP Awinash Kumar.
13:08 Fans' support brought tears to my eyes: Tendulkar:
Overwhelmed by the tributes that have poured in ever since he announced his retirement from one-day cricket, senior Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar today said the "love and support" brought tears to his eyes.
The 39-year-old, who quit ODIs on Sunday, has been holidaying in Mussoorie after announcing his decision. Opening up on his Twitter page after the decision which left quite a few surprised, Tendulkar said the emotional reaction to his retirement left him overwhelmed.
"Words are not enough to express my thanks to each of you for all the love & support I have received over the years...& especially now in the last couple of days. Your expressions have brought joy to my heart...& at times a tear to my eye!" Tendulkar wrote.
"... Those magical moments of our ODI journey will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you so much :-)," he said. Tendulkar retired from the ODI format at the top of the run-getters' list with 18,426 runs which included 49 hundreds and 96 half centuries.
11:53 Virbhadra Singh sworn-in as Himachal CM:
Virbhadra Singh was sworn-in as Himachal Pradesh chief minister for a record sixth time in Shimla today. Nine other Congress MLAs also took oath as ministers.
11:49 Normalcy returns to Manipur valley:
Normalcy returned to Manipur valley today following suspension of ongoing 'indefinite general strike' till December 26 midnight, called against the alleged molestation of a film actress by a Naga militant and lifting of indefinite curfew in view of the Christmas festival.
Markets opened and transporters resumed their services as people in large number turned out to purchase essentials at various markets across the four valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishenpur and Thoubal.
The curfew was lifted at 6 am this morning and general strike suspended from midnight of December 24 to midnight December 26 in view of the Christmas festival, official sources said.
Large scale violence was reported yesterday in view of the confusion among some of the strike enforcers with a section maintaining the shutdown was on despite the President of the Film Forum Manipur and some other artists associations announcing the relaxation of the strike in view of the Christmas, the sources said.
05:01 Pope Benedict's X-mas call: Open the door to God:
To the sound of silver trumpets, Pope Benedict XVI entered St Peter's Basilica on Monday to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass and call for all people to make room for God in their heart.
As he did in 2011, the Pope, now 85, bent and waving slowly, arrived on a red rolling platform to negotiate the football-field length main nave of St Peter's.
Though his voice sounded thin, Benedict never hesitated as he led the prayers of the Christmas vigil to welcome the birth of the Christian saviour.
However soft his voice, Benedict's homily was a firm call for the world to open the door to God. He began with the Gospel lines about how Mary and Joseph could find no room In Bethlehem.
"Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking," said Benedict, he is often "made superfluous" in our thoughts, feelings and desires. "We are so full of ourselves that there is no room left for God" or the poor or the stranger.
Benedict called for prayer for "all who live and suffer in all the places where Christ lived," naming the Israelis and Palestinians, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.
02:06 S&P downgrades Egypt credit rating:
Egypt's long-term credit rating was today downgraded to the junk level by Standard & Poor's which warned it could be lowered further if deepening political turbulence undermines efforts to prop up the economy.
The country's rating was lowered by one level to B-, six steps below investment grade, with a negative outlook, S&P said.
The rating, which is also on par with Pakistan, may face more downgrades should political instability result "in a sharp deterioration of economic indicators such as foreign exchange reserves or the government's deficit," S&P said.
Egypt's benchmark bonds were little changed. S&P has reduced Egypt's rating five times since the start of a popular revolution almost two years ago.
The country's credit risk jumped this month before a constitutional vote that has intensified divisions in the streets.
The unrest led President Mohamed Mursi's government to ask the IMF to delay a decision on a $4.8 billion loan, after getting the initial go-ahead last month.
02:05 Fight against gender-based violence must go on: US:
The US today said the gang-rape of a student in New Delhi is a powerful and urgent reminder to continue fight against gender-based violence and for women's rights in India and around the world.
"Like so many in India, we were horrified to learn of the recent violent assault on a young woman and her companion in New Delhi," State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell told PTI.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family," he said.
"This incident is a powerful and urgent reminder that we must all continue the fight against gender-based violence and for women's rights in India and around the world," Ventrell said in response to a question on the Delhi incident.
00:51 US drone strikes kill six Qaeda suspects in Yemen:
Two suspected US drone strikes killed six Al Qaeda militants in Yemen today, including a Jordanian, government officials said.
The first "drone strike targeted a vehicle killing two Al-Qaeda members -- a Yemeni and a Jordanian" in Manaseh of central Bayda province, a local government official said, requesting anonymity.
A security official identified one of the militants killed as Abdullah Hussein al-Waeli, an Al Qaeda member from Marib province who was wanted after he escaped from prison two years ago. No details were given on the Jordanian.
Tribal sources said three other militants were wounded in the attack.
Three missiles fired at motorbikes in Hadramawt province killed four more Al-Qaeda militants, a local government official said.
The official, who requested anonymity, said the missiles were fired by "an American drone," and that the attack took place in the centre of Shehr, a town east of the provincial capital Mukalla.
00:49 Thousands enjoy merry Christmas in Bethlehem:
AP reports: Christians from the world over packed Manger Square in Bethlehem today to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the ancient West Bank town where he was born.
For their Palestinian hosts, this holiday season was an especially joyous one, with the hardships of the Israeli occupation that so often clouded previous celebrations eased by the United Nations' recent recognition of an independent state of Palestine.
In his annual pre-Christmas homily, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, said the road to actual freedom was still long, but this year's festivities were doubly joyful, celebrating "the birth of Christ our Lord and the birth of the state of Palestine."
"The path (to statehood) remains long, and will require a united effort," added Twal, a Palestinian citizen of Jordan, at the patriarchate's headquarters in Jerusalem's Old City.
Then he set off in a procession for the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Jesus' traditional birthplace. There, he was reminded that life on the ground for Palestinians has not changed since the UN recognised their state last month in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.