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UN Security Council postpones Syria sanctions vote

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July 18, 2012

23:52  UN Security Council postpones Syria sanctions vote:  UN Security Council has postponed till tomorrow a vote on a resolution on Syria amid efforts to get Russia and key Western nations to agree on measures required to end the violence and bloodshed in the troubled Arab nation. 

The 15-nation Council was scheduled to vote on the Syrian resolution later today. However, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan requested the Council to postpone voting on the resolution, which threatens to impose sanctions against President Bashar Al Assad's regime if it fails to take action to curb the escalating violence that has killed thousands.
23:40  US condemns Bulgaria attack on Israelis:  The United States condemned a deadly attack today on a bus packed with Israelis in Bulgaria that the government in Israel blamed on arch foe Iran. Four people were killed and many more wounded today in the blast at a Black Sea airport in the city of Burgas, the first attack against Israelis on Bulgarian soil.

About 30 people were also wounded, according to officials. "The United States condemns such attacks on innocent people, especially children, in the strongest possible terms," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. He said President Barack Obama's "thoughts and prayers" were with the victims. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "all signs point to Iran" after an official in Jerusalem said the bus carrying Israeli citizens was shot at and an explosive device thrown.
23:29  One dead, 40 injured in clash at Maruti plant :  One person was killed and at least 40 were injured today in a clash between workers and the managerial staff at the Maruti Suzuki India's Manesar plant here, forcing stoppage of work. 

"One person died of burn injuries in the incident," Gurgaon Police Commissioner K K Sindhu told PTI. In a statement, the company said the violence broke out in the evening when a worker beat up a supervisor on the shop floor. 

However, the employees union said "objectionable remarks" by the supervisor against an employee triggered the violence. "Work at the Manesar plant had to be stopped following the violence," the company said.
22:20  Olympics: Britain puts 2,000 more troops on standby:  AFP reports: Britain has drawn up contingency plans to deploy another 2,000 troops for the London Olympics after a private security firm said it could not provide enough guards, a minister said on Wednesday.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson said that the government would ensure security giant G4S would foot the bill for any further use of service personnel to guard the Games, which start on July 27.
21:37  Not trying to break Team Anna: Khurshid:  Law Minister Salman Khurshid, who met Anna Hazare recently, today rejected his charge that the government was trying to create a wedge between Team Anna members.

"No one is breaking Team Anna. You (media) don't break one is breaking Team Anna," Khurshid told reporters at the sidelights of a programme in New Delhi.
20:32  Blast kills core Syrian security officials:  President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and Syria's defense minister were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber attacked a crisis group of senior ministers and security chiefs meeting in central Damascus, according to state television and activists.

Read the full story here
19:17  Glad cricket matches will resume: Zardari to PM :   Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying, he was "glad that cricket matches will resume between us".

"Matches will be a strong confidence measure building," he said.

The BCCI announced recently that it had decided to resume cricketing ties by inviting the Pakistan cricket team for a short series in December 2012-January 2013.

Three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches have been planned.

Cricketing ties between the two countries were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
18:39  Anna to PM: Khurshid told me to keep meet secret:  Anna Hazare writes to the PM saying he met Salman Khurshid, but it was not a secret meeting. Hazare says Khurshid asked him to keep the meeting a secret during which he told him to not to participate in the fast.

Anna acknowledged the meeting at a press conference in his village of Ralegan Siddhi this evening, reports NDTV. Anna denied reports that the meeting was kept "secret" - he said he wanted to wait for the right time to talk about it, and that time is now. 

The activist said that Khushid  asked to see him and solicited his opinions on the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill that has been stalled in the Rajya Sabha. He claims that Khurshid asked him not to let the media know about their meeting, and said he would organize a meeting for Anna with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister.

Government sources say that when Khurshid returned to Delhi, he informed Prime Minister that he met Hazare informally.
18:31  Netas across parties condole Rajesh Khanna's death:  Which neta said what on Rajesh Khanna's death...

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar: Khanna's death was an irreparable loss for the Hindi cinema

Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan: Rajesh Khanna was a heartthrob of three generations. He had scaled unprecedented heights of popularity during his remarkable career. I join millions of his admirers in paying my respects to this great actor and this great human being.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan: Khanna entertained film buffs with his talent and would be remembered for his immense contribution to the film industry.

State PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal: An era has ended with Khanna's demise.

Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde: Not only me but my entire generation was crazy about his style, acting and even his kurta. I had seen all his films on the first day of their release. His presence on the screen has made a solid impact on the audience.

RPI leader Ramdas Athawale: An era has ended with the passing away of Khanna.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot: The film industry has lost a great actor who played important roles in the entertaiment field. He had also established his image as a public representative.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal: Khanna as a multifaceted personality. He said the veteran actor was the heartthrob of millions of his fans, adding the void created by his death would be difficult to fill. 
18:20  CPI to support Ansari's re-election as VP:  After having decided to abstain from voting in the Presidential poll, CPI today extended support to UPA's nominee Hamid Ansari for his re-election as Vice President.

"CPI will support Hamid Ansari in the Vice Presidential election," the party's National Secretary D Raja told PTI after a CPI Central Secretariat meeting here.

CPI has become the third among Left parties to back 75- year-old Ansari after CPI(M) and Forward Bloc extended support to him for the August seven poll. RSP has decided to abstain in both the elections.

CPI has six MPs in both Houses of Parliament. CPI(M) has 27 MPs, Forward Bloc three and RSP two. UPA is comfortably placed in the electoral college for the Vice Presidential poll comprising 790 MPs. Ansari has the backing of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and the support of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and others.
18:08  Unlikely support for UP panchayats diktats:  The unofficial village council in Uttar Pradesh that put restrictions on women's behavior that have been compared to the tactics of the Taliban has been widely criticized by the media and officials as retrograde.

18:05  India at the Olympics: Few highs, many lows:  With only nine days left before the London Olympics kick off, here's a look at the high points and low points of Indian athletes at the Summer Games over the years. Although India has been competing in the Olympics since 1900, when it was still a British colony, its medal tally has been somewhat disappointing.
Read more
18:04   Honesty...
@iDanPrakash RIP RAJESH KHANNA I never have watched a film of urs but i had heard of ur name.
17:39  Halle Berry rushed to hospital after nasty fall :  Hollywood actress Halle Berry was rushed to hospital in Los Angeles last night following an accident on the set of her latest movie, it has been claimed.It is believed that Halle hit her head on some concrete after taking a nasty fall while shooting The Hive in the city.

Read more on the Daily Mail
17:37  The Stardust magazine cover, probably from 1973, when Rajesh Khanna was already a superstar. The cover asks, Is Rajesh Khanna married?

Khanna was dating girlfriend of seven years Anju Mahendru. After the breakup Khanna married Dimple Kapadia before the release of her first movie Bobby, on the rebound. The story goes that he got his baraat to go in front of Mahendru's bungalow (which was actually Khanna's bungalow). They did not speak for nearly 17 years after his marriage.
17:27  Def ministry defends CBI probe in Adarsh scam:  In other news...

Terming the Maharashtra government's objection to a CBI probe into the Adarsh scam as "illegal and malafide", the Defence ministry today rejected the ruling by a state-appointed judicial panel that the land on which the controversial building stands belongs to the state.

In an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court, the ministry made it clear that it has not accepted the Judicial Commission's ruling settling the ownership of the plot in favour of the state governent, dubbing it as "completely flawed". "Dispute over the ownership of the land is not yet over.

The Commission's report is not binding on either the government or the court. The Ministry of Defence has not accepted the report.
17:25  Vijay, a close friend of Khanna who had been interacting with the media since his illness, said, "Kaka's food intake had gone down over the last few days making him very weak."

The news of Khanna's death this afternoon spread like wildfire and hundreds of teary-eyed fans descended at his bungalow 'Ashirwad' in Bandra.Several Bollywood celebrities including actors Rishi Kapoor, Prem Chopra and film maker Sahid Khan visited Khanna's home to pay homage to the actor.
17:00   @iamsrk Mom & me use to sit & watch Mr.Khanna's films back to back.Whenever life felt tough u made us feel how love could change it all. will miss u.

@ajit_ranade Dara Singh, Mrinal Gore, Rajesh Khanna...suddenly it's dark in Mumbai. The Stars have dimmed.

Narendra Modi tweeted: With his unique persona, Rajesh Khanna ji made a special & unforgettable place in the hearts of Indians! May his soul rest in peace

Sushma Swaraj tweeted: You rightly said 'Hum sab to rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain Goodbye Rajesh Khanna.
16:51  Court notice to Kalmadi to stop him going to Olympics:  Back and forth from Mr Khanna to tell you that ...

The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to scam tainted former CWG boss Suresh Kalmadi on a PIL seeking to stop him going to the London Olympics.

The Sacked CWG Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, accused in the games-related graft case, was allowed by a Delhi court to go to London for the 2012 Olympics. Special CBI judge Talwant Singh allowed Kalmadi's plea to visit London from July 26 to August 13, while ordering him to furnish a bond of Rs 10 lakh and a surety of the same amount. The court also made it clear that Kalmadi is allowed to visit London for the purpose of the 2012 Olympics only. 
16:42  Mamata: Rajesh Khanna and I would gossip in Parl:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pays homage to Rajesh Khanna.

She said he was a symbol of romance and in his death the film world has lost a "pole star". "Rajesh Khanna was always a symbol of romance. His smiling face and the ability to connect with people at ease had made him popular. We lost a big pole star in the film world today," Mamata said while paying tribute to the Hindi films' first superstar whom, she said, she knew personally.

The chief minister said, "Rajesh Khanna was a legend and his acting has delighted cinema-lovers across many generations. It's a very sad day and his demise is a colossal loss for the Indian cinema. May his soul rest in peace."

Recalling the days when the Bollywood superstar was an MP, Mamata said, "I had known him personally. We used to gossip in the Central Hall of Parliament. His smiling face is still fresh in my mind."

Reflecting on Khanna's lighter side, the chief minister said, "I had once invited him for a Trinamool Congress party rally in Kolkata. He had told me in a lighter vein 'I would go well-dressed.' The chief minister conveyed her deep condolence to Dimple Kapadia and other members in the departed actor's family.
16:40  Indian sand artist wins gold in Spain:  Other stories, then...

Odisha-based sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's sculpture of Hindu god Ganesha has won two gold medals at the just-concluded Solo International Sand Art Contest in Marbella, Spain, the artist said on Wednesday. Pattnaik's 3.5-metre sand sculpture bearing message - Save The Sea Life - won in 'People's Choice' and 'Best Positive' sculpture categories.

16:23  And another one... @iamsrk To live with intention & walk to the edge. Play with abandon, choose with no regret. Smile & made us do the same. Sir, u defined our era. RIP
16:22  RIP Rajesh Khanna, Babu Moshai, Amar Prem, Kati Patang and Pushpa -- trending on Twitter. That's 50 per cent of India trends are for Mr Khanna. And he's trending on worldwide as well.

But as said Tushar Gandhi (great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) tweeted, @TusharG: Rajesh Khanna does not need twitter to trend.
16:16  Returning to Rajesh Khanna, senior journalist Kanchan Gupta tweets...

@KanchanGupta: I interviewed Rajesh Khanna after famous New Delhi LS constituency election in which he contested against LK Advani, and lost narrowly. Rajesh Khanna said, with great flourish, "Kya kisi ko maloom hai Waterloo ke ladai may kaun jeeta aur kaun hara? Yeh bhi Waterloo tha."

That's why they call him India's original superstar.
16:13  NCW asks Gogoi 24-hr-helpline for women :  On to other news...

The National Commission for Women today submitted a list of  recommendations to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on the July 10 molestation of a girl in the city.

"We submitted a list of recommendations including steps for rehabilitation of the victim, punishment of the culprits and other related matters," NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma said after meeting Gogoi.

"The incident is not only a serious issue. The entire world is watching us. We have asked the chief minister to ensure that not even a single culprit escapes scot free. We have to ensure that such incidents are not repeated," Sharma said.

The NCW also asked for counselling and medical assistance to the victim, a government job for her and proper rehabilitation and fast tracking of such cases in court. It also asked the state government to install CCTV cameras near bars and monitor them and increase police patrol.

"We have also asked the chief minister to set up a 24-hour helpline and women cells in all police stations across the state," Sharma said.
16:07  "Aise attan button aate jaate rahenge, lekin Rajesh Khanna ko koi chhoo bhi nahi sakta. Main kya aise aire gaire logon se darr jaaunga?"

Rajesh Khanna on the new actor on the block -- Amitabh Bachchan -- after Zanjeer's release.
16:05  The man who believed he was God:  Success got into his (Rajesh Khanna's) head. And the first victim of this was his girlfriend of seven years Anju Mahendru. After the breakup Khanna married Dimple Kapadia before the release of her first movie Bobby, on the rebound. The story goes that he got his baraat to go in front of Mahendru's bungalow (which was actually Khanna's bungalow). They did not speak for nearly 17 years after his marriage.

More on
16:01  Rajesh Khanna: The superstar who could not handle success:  Sometime in March this year I was taking a Tamil aunt of mine around Mumbai.  As we went around on the Carter Road in Bandra I showed her Rajesh Khanna's bungalow, Aashirward.

"My sister even named her son after him,' she told me. "Such was his craze'.Rajesh Khanna died today after years of loneliness and a drinking habit he couldn't overcome.

More on
15:56  British broadcaster Jack Pizzey in a 1973 BBC documentary "Bombay Superstar' described Khanna as having the charisma of Italian actor Rudolph Valentino and the arrogance of Napoleon.
15:51  The 10 things you did NOT know about Rajesh Khanna:  The NDTV story...

1. Before he married Dimple Kapadia, Rajesh Khanna bought a lavish bungalow called Dimple from actor Rajendra Kumar and renamed it Aashirwad. The house had proved unlucky for "Jubilee" Kumar, but Rajesh Khanna delivered 15 hits in a row, a record still unbroken by any actor.

2. As a struggling actor, Rajesh Khanna drove himself to work and back in his own MG sports car.

3. Even though Rajesh Khanna had a 100% success rate with actress Mumtaz, delivering eight blockbuster films with her, Hema Malini was his heroine the most number of times. They appeared in 15 films together.

4. Rajesh Khanna was the highest paid actor from 1970-79 and shared the honour with Amitabh Bachchan from 1980-87.

5. His closest friends in Bollywood were singer Kishore Kumar and music director R D Burman.

6. Rajesh Khanna's debut film Aakhri Khat was India's official Oscar entry in 1967. It didn't make the final five cut.

7. Director Shekhar Kapur offered Mr India to Rajesh Khanna first, who turned it down because he couldn't relate to the invisible hero. The role finally went to Anil Kapoor.

8. Before he made it big, Rajesh Khanna was called the "faaltu hero" because of his unconventional features. With stardom came very different epithets - Superstar and Pasha Of Passion.

9. The "guru kurta" he made famous was originally the garment of choice of farmers and small time politicians.

10. The song Roop Tera Mastana from Aradhana starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore made Bollywood history as the first single take shot.
15:45  BJD Lok Sabha MP Jay Panda says it was Rajesh Khanna (the film Aradhana) who inspired him to become a pilot.
Condolences keep pouring in, his fan following remains unabated, it seems. And we're not talking of the Havell's ad. . 
15:37  Teacher beats, chops student's long hair :  A woman physical education teacher was sentenced to one month's imprisonment by a Coimbatore court on Monday for forcibly cutting the hair of a 10-year-old girl four years ago.
The teacher was enraged when she saw the girl's hairstyle, which was not in conformity with what was prescribed by the school. She beat her up before taking a pair of scissors and forcibly cutting her hair.

Read the report on the Times of India
15:27  Akshay: Rajesh Khanna has gone to heavenly place:  Rajesh Khanna's son-in-law speaking to the media confirms the death and says the actor has "gone to a very nice and heavenly place" and asks his fans to say their prayers for the star.
15:25  Girl told to lick urine joins another school:  Despite repeated requests from the Visva-Bharati university here to resume classes, the parents of the traumatised girl who was made to drink her own urine today got her admitted to another school.

The girl's father Manoj Mistry said the ten-year-old girl has got admission in Bolpur High School. "She would not have felt comfortable to study in the Patha Bhavan School, run the by university, after that incident. She also didn't want to study there anymore," Mistry said.

Late last week, the authorities had apologised to the class V student's parents for the incident and had allowed the girl to attend school as a day-boarder.
15:22   India staff under scanner in HSBC probe:  HSBC's staff in India have come under the scanner for deficiencies in their role as "offshore reviewers" of the global banking giant's compliance to safety mechanism against money laundering and terrorist financing.

A probe by the US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that HSBC's Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Department, which included employees in India, was highly inadequately staffed.

Besides, deficiencies were found in the quality of the work done by HSBC's "offshore reviewers in India", who were used for clearing a major backlog of suspected transaction alerts at the bank.
Read our 12:51 pm story for the context.
15:19  The area around Aashirwad, Carter Road, Rajesh Khanna's bungalow, has been cordoned off with people in their thousands thronging the place. The actor passed away this afternoon. He was 69. The cremation will take place at 11.30 am tomorrow.

Moving on from Rajesh Khanna to other news...
15:13  Rajesh Khanna's last role: The Havell's fan ad:  The Mint on the "utterly corny and weirdly feelgood nostalgia".

15:07   Dr Manmohan Singh '@PMOIndiaPM: I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and countless fans and admirers of Shri RajeshKhanna.

Derek O'Brien '@quizderekI bunked school for him.I bought 'dow ka char' tickets in black to see his films.Rajesh Khanna forever @4SalmanKhan RIP Superstar Rajesh Khanna

That's the picture Salman posted with Rajesh Khanna.
14:55  Inactivity 'killing as many as smoking':  If you've been reading everything there is to read about Rajesh Khanna, take a break. And here's why.

Lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths as smoking across the world, a study suggests.

The report, published in the Lancet to coincide with the build-up to the Olympics, estimates that about a third of adults are not doing enough physical activity, causing 5.3m deaths a year.

That equates to about one in 10 deaths from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.  Read

14:52  And more RIPs for Mr Khanna:  Karan Johar '@kjohar25the magic...the mannerism...the mania of RAJESH KHANNA is inscribed in every archive of indian cinema...forever....RIP SIR!!!

Anupam Kher '@AnupamPkherRajesh Khanna gave us a crash course in Romance. He introduced us to a special twinkle in the eye that made us feel good about ourselves.RIP.

Tushar A. Gandhi '@TusharGRajesh Khanna does not need twitter to trend.
14:36  Rajesh Khanna was in a long-term relationship with Anju Mahendru in the early '70s, and later went on to marry Dimple Kapadia, 15 years younger to him, in 1973. The couple split in 1984. Though they lived separately, the couple never completed divorce formalities. Khanna was also romantically involved with his "Souten" co-star Tina Munim (now Ambani). The pair starred together in films like "Fiffty Fiffty", "Bewafai", "Suraag", "Insaaf Main Karoonga" and "Adhikar"
14:33  Pay your tribute to Rajesh Khanna here.
14:31  The man who made the lines 'Pushpa, I hate tears' iconic:  kunal kohli ‏@kunalkohli
The word SuperStar was used first for Rajesh Khanna.His style.His Ada.His charm.His smile.His songs.His films. He.Will always live on

pankaj mani ‏@impankajmani
Rajesh Khanna-Mumtaz holds the record for being the only romantic on screen pair in Cinema to have had 100% success ratio at the Box Office

Ayesha Takia Azmi ‏@Ayeshatakia
So beyond sad 2 hear of the passing of Rajesh khanna ji. Let us all pray for his family,so they may get strength.RIP Rajesh Khanna ji.

nikhil wagle ‏@waglenikhil
Superstardom of rajesh khanna was a successful second innings for kishor kumar. Unforgetable songs. Young days. Emotions were supreme!

Sohaib ‏@sohaibgulbadan
Rajesh Khanna, Kishore Kumar, RD Burman - three top talents who always made filmi magic when they came together for a song.

Baijayant Jay Panda ‏@Panda_Jay
R.I.P Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood's 1st outlier suprstar, millions lvd yr movies! Confession: 'Aradhana' got me obsessed abt flying. U R missed
14:26  Remembering 'Jatin' Khanna:   Born as Jatin Khanna on December 29, 1942, he was adopted and raised by foster parents. He began taking interest in acting while in school and performed in a number of plays. It was his uncle who changed Khanna's first name to Rajesh when he decided to join films. In 1965, he won an all India talent contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare and as a result made his debut the next year in "Aakhri Khat", directed by Chetan Anand.

Rajesh Khanna, whose romantic persona in songs like 'Mere sapno ki raani', 'O mere dil ke chain' and 'Roop tera mastana' made many a young woman's heart skip a beat, was Hindi film world's first actor to attain superstar status.

His mannerism, his unique style of dancing, dialogue delivery and gestures added to his onscreen persona and have been imitated countless number of times.

The 69-year-old actor breathed his last at his Mumbai residence today. At the peak of his career, Khanna, popularly called Kaka, would be mobbed during public appearances as fans kissed his car, which would be covered with lipstick marks.

They lined the road, cheering and chanting his name. Female fans sent him letters written in blood. His predecessors Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar broke hearts in their time no doubt, but the hysteria connected with Khanna was unprecedented.
14:05  Scores of worried fans had gathered outside his Aashirwad home on Carter Road in Bandra today following the news that he was critical. Khanna was hailed as India's first superstar after 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972 including Aradhana, Haathi Mere Saathi, Anand and Amar Prem.

If you haven't watched the films do so now.
14:03   Also read: At his peak, Rajesh Khanna was a phenomenon unlike anything Indian cinema had seen. 
14:02  Rajesh Khanna's last rites will be tomorrow :   Read: The Loneliest Superstar Ever From the dizzying heights of stardom to the depths of despair, the Rajesh Khanna story is unsurpassable.

Rajesh Khanna's last rites will be held tomorrow.

13:57  Prashanth @itisprashanthRIP rajesh khanna. sorry for not even watching one of your films as i cannot understand hindi. thanks to karunanidhi!
13:52   His daughter Twinkle Khanna, who is pregnant, son-in-law Akshay Kumar and estranged wife Dimple were with him during his last hours. He passed away at his bungalow, Aashirwad at Carter Road, Mumbai. 
13:48  Critically ill Rajesh Khanna passes away at home :   Rajesh Khanna passes away. The yesteryear actor was discharged from hospital on Tuesday afternoon, his third hospitalisation since he was diagnosed with a kidney problem.

Sources said that the actor was not responding to medicines, and had been put on IV and had been grasping for breath since morning. He had been put on life support to the actor. His family was present with him and his doctor and physician are also next to him. He was 69.
13:39  Govt begins legwork on manual scavenging :  In other news, states have informed the Centre that they don't have the "problem" of manual scavenging, but the latest Census suggests otherwise and the Government is trying to find out their numbers, Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik said today.

Addressing an ASSOCHAM conference on Social Inclusion and Affirmative Action, he said around 50 per cent of Indians defecate in the open and there were around 13 lakh insanitary latrines of which some were serviced by humans and others by animals.

"All the state governments have informed us that none (of the manual scavengers) remain to be rehabilitated. The states don't have the problem but Census 2011 has given us some information. "...There are some insanitary latrines serviced by human being and others are serviced by animals. If such latrines are there, it means that there is bound to be manual scavenging. To what extent it is, we will have to go into that.Government is finalising its strategy in this regard," Wasnik said.

The Minister expressed concern over the fact that even after over 65 years of independence, the scourge of manual scavenging still exists and "problem of human scavengers still remains to addressed".

On the issue of open defecation, Wasnik said there were 24.66 crore households in the country of which over 12 crore don't have access to toilets. "49.8 per cent people of India defecate in open. Just imagine the situation that we are facing," he said.
13:13  Rajesh Khanna's health worsens, condition critical:  Khanna has been admitted to Mumbai'Lilavati hospital on Saturday evening due to weakness, a week after being released from there. Khanna's estranged wife Dimple Kapadia and daughter Rinkie were with him.

Earlier, on June 20, it was reported that Khanna had stopped taking food. But the next day, he emerged at the balcony of his home and waved to his fans. Soon after that, on June 23, he had to be admitted to the hospital due to exhaustion and weakness.

He was discharged on July 8. In April, he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital for three-four days after he complained of uneasiness and exhaustion. Khanna had recently appeared in his first TV advertisement for Havell's fan, directed by R Balki.
13:10  Rajesh Khanna's health worsens, condition critical:  Yesteryear superstar Rajesh Khanna's health worsens. The actor is at his residence in Mumbai and has not been admitted to hospital, but his condition is critical. 
13:06  Pak to ask India for questioning of 26/11 witnesses... again:  The Pakistan government will write to its Indian counterpart to allow the cross-examination of key witnesses in the Mumbai attacks case following a court's rejection of the findings of a judicial commission that visited India to gather evidence, a prosecutor has said.

Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry, a special prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency, said the Pakistan government will write to Indian authorities regarding the cross-examination of the Indian witnesses in order to fulfil legal requirements.

An anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with planning, financing and executing the 2008 Mumbai attacks yesterday declared as illegal the findings of the Pakistani judicial commission that visited India in March. 
13:00  In the backdrop of the HSBC story (see our 12:51 pm post) -- How London became the money-laundering capital of the world. Read
12:57  Hamid Ansari's daughter drives him to Parliament for nomination:  Mamata Banerjee and Dr Hamid Ansari have at least one thing in common -- both  used their own cars during important political events.  

Mamata shunned the government car when she drove to Writers' Building to assume charge as West Bengal CM, while Ansari's daughter, Dr Nurya Ansari got her car and drove her father to Parliament House today when he filed his nomination papers for Vice President. Dr Nurya stayed on and witnessed the event, standing shoulder to shoulder with top UPA2 personalities. 
12:51  HSBC conduit for drug kingpins, rogue nations :  HSBC provided a conduit for "drug kingpins and rogue nations", according to a US Senate committee investigating money laundering claims at the bank.Its report said suspicious funds from countries including Mexico, Iran and Syria had passed through the bank.

The president and chief executive of HSBC Bank USA, Irene Dorner, apologised to the committee for the behaviour which she said deeply regretted.

12:43  Why fishermen may NOT understand warnings:  After a U.S. navy ship fired shots at a small boat, killing one Indian fisherman and injuring three others, the US expressed its condolences. But the US, in a note from the embassy in New Delhi, also defended the decision to fire, saying "the vessel disregarded non lethal warnings and rapidly approached the US ship."

Moreon the Wall Street Journal.
12:41  Will our archers get a Ganguly moment at Olympics?:  India's male archers plan to do an action replay of Sourav Ganguly's torso-baring celebrations if they manage to notch up an Olympic medal at cricket's Mecca -- the hallowed turf of Lord's.

Veteran archer Tarundeep Rai is all excited about taking aim at the historic cricket venue which will host the archery competition during the Olympics.

"At this moment, we are not looking too far. I don't know what would it be like. But surely, we would celebrate like Ganguly (by baring torso and swirling the jersey) had done (in 2002)," Rai said.

Aiming a fourth straight Olympic title, the South Korean men archers maybe supremely confident but against the Indians, the world champions would surely find themselves jittery, felt Rai. Fresh from grabbing the quota places in the final Olympic qualification meet at the World Cup Stage III in Ogden this month, the resurgent Indians are yet to lose against the mighty Koreans, with a two out of two win record in one year.
12:35  Why Mukherjee is NOT good enough for the Presidents job:  "India will have a new president next week, after a complicated procedure of indirect elections that begins Thursday,' Hartosh Singh Bal wrote in the Latitude blog of The New York Times.

"Though the post is largely ceremonial,' he writes, "it matters sometimes, and these days it does: The ruling alliance led by the Congress party is in a precarious position, having spent its three years in government lurching from crisis to crisis."

12:30  Coca Cola sales up in India :  In other news... The Coca-Cola Co. says its global sales volume rose 4 percent in the second quarter. Here's a look at how that played out by region: Asia Pacific --  8 percent;  Europe -- down 4 percent;  India -- up 20 percent; Latin America -- up 3 percent; Middle East & North Africa -- up 20 percent.
12:26  Derek O'Brien: Mamata-di has a happy intuition:  According to Derek O'Brien, Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson, the party has always been a responsible ally of the UPA."We are voting for two reasons for Pranab Mukherjee, one is that we are a responsible, principled and dependable ally of the UPA,' said Derek O'Brien.

"Mamata-di has this happy intuition of getting things right. As the Chairperson of the party she has got it right this time too(in supporting the UPA),' he added.

Banerjee earlier had refused to support Mukherjee, UPA's candidate for the President, and had publicly displayed her displeasure on his nomination. Trinamool Congress leaders including O'Brien had publicly criticised Mukherjee while he was seeking support from legislators in the presidential poll.

However, when asked if the sudden change in stance would prove to be a political blunder, O'Brien said, "I strongly disagree with that. Its not a U-turn. We are absolutely cruising along in Bengal. There is so much of great work."

More on
12:18  The monsoon session of Parliament will begin on August  8 and end on September 7. Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal says the government will recommend the same to the President.
12:12  Mumbai mayhem: Rash driver kills senior citizen:  In Mumbai, a 74-year-old man died and two constables were seriously injured after being hit by a speeding car in Mumbai early this morning. The police are trying to ascertain if the young driver of the car was drunk and if he is underage. 

The accident happened around 7.30 am in the Marine drive area of south Mumbai. The car has been seized and the driver, Yash, has been booked for rash and negligent driving.

More on
12:05  Yuvraj Singh (30) was treated for a rare form of cancer, called mediastinal seminoma in the US last year. His health deteriorated during the World Cup last year.

That's the picture Yuvraj tweeted in January after he was discharged from hospital, celebrating with his mates.
12:01  Yuvraj makes a comeback: On T20 WC probables:   Others in the probables list include...

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Ajinkya Rahane , Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Mandeep Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar, L. Balaji.

Also read: Why Yuvraj Singh hates the colour red
11:50  Raise a toast! Yuvraj Singh in T20 probables:  Just in: Yuvraj Singh in India's preliminary squad of 30 for the ICC World Twenty20 Championships. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and batsman Ambati Rayudu also included in the preliminary squad for the World Twenty20
11:47  Only title that fits Manmohan is Super Bureaucrat:  After being called everything from Underachiever to Poodle, maybe it's time to give Manmohan Singh the one appellation that truly belongs to him: Super Bureaucrat.

Read the story on
11:44  Amartya Sen: Bengali angle for Prez unimportant :   When's Indrani Roy asked Professor Amartya Sen in Kolkata on Tuesday evening what he thought of a Bengali adorning the Presidency, this is what the Nobel Laureate said: "Bengalis are now adorning so many illustrious posts across the globe and, therefore, I don't think too much importance should be given to the Bengali angle. The post of the Indian President is the most prestigious one and one should hold it in high esteem. I offer my respect to whoever adorns this Chair." 
11:42  University textbook declares Pranab 14th President of India:  Though Presidential polls are yet to held, Gondwana University has already described UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee as "the 14th President of the country" in a just-published textbook.

The book, 'Democracy in India', has been prescribed for first year students of BA (Political Science) for the ongoing academic session of the newly-formed varsity.

Page number 84 under chapter 4 of the book, published under the heading 'Union Executive', has a chart of the Presidents of India in which Mukherjee has been mentioned as "the 14th President of India". More
11:35  How Mamata Banerjee helped Hamid Ansari:  Here's the inside story on the vice-presidential elections of how Mamata Banerjee is lending Hamid Ansari a helping hand. This, apparently, is how the saga unfolded. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is otherwise not known to assert himself, reportedly lobbied hard for Ansari's candidature. The Congress party, however, was less than keen. Until someone mentioned Sonia Gandhi's June 13 statement -- as quoted by West Bengal's chief minister -- where Madam (Sonia, not Mamata) named Ansari one of her choices for Presidential office.

The prime minister, apparently, drove the same point home. Now that Jaswant Singh is in the fray, Mamata may actually weigh in with much-needed votes. For those of you who came in late, the prime minister's ties with the vice-president date back to the time when Dr Singh was wetting his feet in Track II diplomacy and Ansari looked after West Asia at the external affairs ministry.

More of this on
11:29  Mamata blinks: TMC will attend Sonia's lunch today :   The TMC was absent at the show of strength for Hamid Ansari, but West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is sending her representative to a lunch being hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the MPs of UPA and supporting parties today. Mamata appears to be making a point by sending a relatively lightweight party leader KD Singh as her party's representative.

11:22  Hamid Ansari files nomination for vice-prez polls:  The UPA leaving Parliament House as Hamid Ansari finishes filing his papers. DMK's TR Baalu talking to Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Hamid Ansari says he is very grateful to all those who extended support to him.

The PM says, "We are delighted that there is such a massive support for the renomination of Hamid Ansari."  The elections for the vice-president polls are on August 7.
11:16  Show of strength for UPA as Ansari files papers:  Rahul Gandhi whispering to Sonia who sits next to Hamid Ansari. It's a show of strength for the UPA with most of the biggies present as Ansari files his papers for re-election. P Chidambaram, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Ram Vilas Paswan,
Farukh Abdullah, AK Antony. Point to be noted is that Mulayam Singh Yadav is sitting next to the PM.
11:10  Hamid Ansari files nomination for vice-prez post :   Vice president Hamid Ansari files his papers for renomination fore re-election. He is the UPA's candidate for the vice-presidential polls. With him are the PM, Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and others.
11:03  Man kept wifes private parts locked for four years:  In an unbelievable incident, a man has been arrested in Indore for reportedly keeping his wife's genitals locked for four years. The incident only came to light when the victim tried to commit suicide yesterday and was rushed to hospital.

Read the report on the Indian Express
10:58  PM's persistence wins Mamata over:  The big news yesterday, of course, was Mamata Banerjee's 360 degree turn over supporting Pranab Mukherjee's candidature. Apparently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh donned the troubleshooter's hat to secure Trinamool's backing for Pranab Mukherjee, a success that has suddenly made UPA look strong when it appeared to be disintegrating under corruption charges and coalition troubles.

Read more on the TOI.
10:40  Stallone's wife says son may have been on painkillers:  Sylvester Stallone's former wife Sasha Czack has said that her son Sage suffered from excruciating pain after having dental surgery weeks before his death -- and was likely taking powerful painkillers. 
The 36-year-old Sage had five teeth pulled two weeks before he was found dead in his Los Angeles home, heartbroken mum Czack said in her first public comments about the tragedy. She said she warned him against the procedure, but he went ahead with it anyway. 
"I told him not to do that. I've heard about people dying having multiple procedures done to your mouth. Do not have more than one tooth [pulled],' she told the New York Post
When asked if her son was on painkillers after the procedure, Czack said, "Wouldn't you be?" 
Investigators said that Sage's death might have been a result of an accidental overdose, although the medical examiner hasn't made a determination yet.
10:39  Tom Cruise meets daughter for first time since breakup:  Hollywood star Tom Cruise has been reunited with his daughter Suri for the first time since his divorce from Katie Holmes. 
The Mission Impossible star was pictured with the 6-year-old girl in New -- the first time they had been seen together since June 16, the Telegraph reported. She cuddled him with one arm and held a white cuddly toy in the other. 
Cruise had reportedly been speaking to Suri on the telephone and via Skype every day since Holmes announced the divorce on June 29. He flew in to New York overnight from Iceland, where he is filming his latest action film
10:36  Shatrughan Sinha undergoes bypass surgery:  Veteran actor and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha underwent a bypass surgery at a Mumbai hospital on Monday and will continue to stay there for a few days. 
The 66-year-old actor-turned-politician had been admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in suburban Andheri on July 2 after he complained of breathlessness due to some paint work at his residence. 
 "He was admitted to hospital for severe breathlessness. During investigations blockages were discovered in the coronary arteries. Based on medical advice he underwent bypass surgery," the hospital's COO Dr Ram Narain said. 
The surgery was conducted Monday morning by cardiac surgeon Dr Anvay Mulay.
10:32  North Korean strongman is supreme leader, army marshal:  North Korea has officially declared Kim Jong-Un its new "supreme leader", reports the official Korean Central News Agency. 
The announcement came after Kim Jong-Un reshuffled his top military leadership over the past few days, ousting a senior general. Kim Jong-Un was also named the marshal of the North Korean Army, reports KCNA
10:25  NDA allies find Jayalalithaa 'most inaccessible':  Talking of Jayalalithaa, the concern among senior leaders of the BJP, BJD and the JD-U is that she is not approachable at all. 
"She does not return our phone calls, in which case shouldn't she stay away from national politics,' said one leader. Even Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's phone calls were not answered, that too at the peak crisis period of PA Sangma's nomination. 
As among the few publications who have met her, what can we say except that such is the lady's style!
10:21  Jayalalithaa to meet party leaders on presidential poll:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is in Chennai today to interact with the AIADMK MPs and MLAs at 4 pm at the party headquarters about the presidential polls. Which way will her party swing?
Along with her decision on who to vote for, Jaya is also expected to announce her party's decision on the vice presidential election.
10:19  DMK MPs in Delhi for Sonia's lunch. Will they sit together?:  DMK MPs have descended on Delhi to attend Congress president Sonia Gandhi's lunch on Wednesday at Hotel Ashok, ahead of Thursday's presidential election. 
What is amazing is that while some are meeting at TR Baalu's bungalow, three or four are to gather at MK Alagiri's bungalow. The third group, which is unattached to the patriarch Karunanidhi's family and whose number is more, are meeting at a junior DMK minister's bungalow, one hears.
But the more interesting news to trickle out is that former minister A Raja '" remember him? -- is sulking. Possibly because he is keen to attend the Sonia Gandhi lunch but won't be.
09:00  Alagir to meet Ansari today:  Union minister M K Alagiri will meet Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday evening to convey the greetings over his candidature from DMK supremo Karunanidhi.  

He will be accompanied by DMK leader D Napolean.
08:57  Obama names new envoys to Afghanistan, Pakistan:  US President Barack Obama has nominated two veteran diplomats to be the US ambassadors to Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Almost two months after the incumbents resigned, Obama nominated James B Cunningham as the new US Ambassador to Afghanistan and Richard G Olson as the new envoy to Pakistan. The move comes at a time of transition in war-torn Afghanistan and Washington's ongoing friction with Pakistan.
03:52  Putin, Annan meet on Syria crisis:  Russia's foreign minister has said Moscow is ready to seek consensus in the UN Security Council on a new resolution aimed at ending Syria's civil war, but gave no indication how it would resolve a disagreement over a Britain-sponsored resolution. 

Moscow's draft resolution calls for the "immediate implementation" of a peace plan from Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy for the crisis, and the guidelines for a political transition approved at a meeting in Geneva last month, but it objects to the resolution that would be tied to Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which could allow the use of force to end the conflict in Syria.

Although Western nations appear to have little appetite for force, Russia adamantly opposes any prospect of international intervention in the 16-month-old conflict. China, another veto-wielding member of the Security Council, also has backed Syria.
03:02  Senator threatens to force vote on ending aid to Pak:  A key American Senator today threatened to force a vote on ending US aid to Pakistan unless a Pakistani doctor, who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden, is released from prison. 

Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate floor this morning announcing his intention to force a Senate vote that, if passed, would strip Pakistan of all US foreign aid until Dr Shakil Afridi's recent 33-year prison sentence is overturned and he is allowed to leave Pakistan. Afridi's appellate hearing is scheduled for July 19. "What I say to Pakistan is if you want to be our ally, act like it. 

If you want to be our ally, respect us. If you want to be our ally, work with us on the war on terrorism. But if you want to be our ally, don't hold Dr Afridi, don't hold political prisoners, don't hold people who actually are working with us to get bin Laden," he said.
01:04  US disbursed USD 2.8 bln in civilian aid to Pak:  The United States has disbursed USD 2.8 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan since the passage of the Kerry-Lugar Berman Bill in 2009, the State Department said today. 

"While figures for this fiscal are not yet available, since the passage of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation in October 2009, the US government has disbursed USD 2.8 billion in civilian assistance, including approximately USD 1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance," the State Department said in a statement.
00:15  PM condoles socialist leader Mrinal Gore's death:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed grief over the passing away of veteran socialist leader Mrinal Gore, who was also a former member of the Lok Sabha, describing her as an inspiration for many generations of social activists. 

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Shrimati Mrinal Gore who has been a zealous democrat, tireless worker for civic infrastructure and an inspiration to many generations of social activists," Singh said in his condolence message. 

"Her social reform oriented agenda and efforts showed the way for the independent Indian woman of today. Shrimati Gore's contribution to the Lok Sabha proceedings will be long remembered for the progressive vision she brought into several debates," he said.
00:11  Top news stories in the last 24 hours:  US regrets Indian fisherman's killing, assures full probe

Editor-in-chief of channel that recorded molestation quits

Will vote for Pranab for President, but with pain: Mamata

BJP takes a dig at Mamata for backing Pranab for President

Sonia meets party MPs ahead of Prez poll

Yesterday's Live commentary
00:00  Indian athletes lose doping case in CAS:  The six Indian women athletes, who were caught for steroid doping last year, lost their case in the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland as it upheld the IAAF's appeal to impose two-year ban on them. 

A NADA panel had handed a lenient one-year ban on the six quartermilers, including Asian Games double gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, on the ground that they did not know that the food supplement they have been provided by their coach contain prohibited substance. 

But the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) filed an appeal to the CAS against the NADA panel decision, stating that the athletes should not be given any lenient treatment and they should be banned for two years provided under the rules.

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