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Pak hikes defence allocation by 10 per cent

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June 01, 2012

23:48  Pakistan on Friday increased the defence allocation in its fiscal 2012-13 budget to Rs 545 billion (about $5.82 billion), marking an increase of 10 per cent over the outlay for the current fiscal.

The allocation for the defence services amounted to 18.4 per cent of the federal budget of Rs 2,960 billion for fiscal 2012-13.
23:37  Mohammed Siddique reports from Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh high court will give its verdict on Saturday on the Central Bureau of Investigation's petition seeking the custody of YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy.

The court will also pass its judgement on a quash petition, challenging his arrest by the CBI on charges of corruption and other economic offences.
23:37  AFP reports: The UN Human Rights Council ordered an independent probe into the massacre in the Syriantown of Houla in order to bring those responsible for the slaughter to justice.

Forty-one of the 47-member council backed a resolution urging an investigation by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria,set up by the council last year to gather evidence on alleged rights abuses there.
23:22  AFP reports: The UN Human Rights Council ordered an independent probe into the massacre in the Syriantown of Houla in order to bring those responsible for the slaughter to justice.

Forty-one of the 47-member council backed a resolution urging an investigation by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria,set up by the council last year to gather evidence on alleged rights abuses there.
22:57  According to the reports coming in, two persons have died in communal riots in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. More details are awaited.
22:55  The Pentagon has said there are no American trainers in Pakistan, and clarified that it was two liaison officers, who had returned to Peshawar for coordination purposes, after being removed following a deadly cross-border NATO raid.

"There are no US trainers in Pakistan," Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt, John Kirby, told reporters at a news conference.
22:05  Jkhand: Tata Chopper makes emergency landing :  

A Tata Steel helicopter carrying some company officials made an emergency landing at Situlata village in Seraikela-Kharswan district in Jharkhand due to bad weather this evening, company sources said.


The helicopter carrying personal executive officer to the Tata Steel managing director H M Nerurkar, Arun Mishra and four others including crew members made the emergency landing at a village about 50 km from Jamshedpur but all are safe, said Prabhat Sharma, head of corporate affairs of Tata Steel.

20:02  Publicise reports on YSR's chopper crash: TDP:  

The Telugu Desam Party today demanded that the state government immediately publicise the reports of the expert committees that probed into the helicopter crash, in which the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was killed on September 2, 2009.


The TDP found fault with both the Congress and the YSR Congress for indulging in a slanging match over the chopper incident and trying to create a confusion among people on the death of the chief minister.


"The government should order a fresh investigation by the CBI into the allegations and counter-allegations between Congress and YSR Congress leaders on the chopper incident. It is the responsibility of the government to bring out the facts," Leader of Opposition in the AP Legislative Council Dadi Veerabhadra Rao demanded in Hyderabad today.


Both Congress and YSR Congress were playing "cheap politics" over YSR's death and making irresponsible claims.

20:01  No bail for Jaganmohan Reddy:  

A special CBI trial court in Hyderabad has rejected the interim bail plea of arrested Kadapa MP and YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy.


Jagan was arrested the CBI in a disproportionate assets case last Sunday.

19:18  No bail for Jaganmohan Reddy:  

A special CBI trial court in Hyderabad has rejected the interim bail plea of arrested Kadapa MP and YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy.


Jagan was arrested the CBI in a disproportionate assets case last Sunday.

18:56  The KFC cookbook: a Colonel of truth?:  KFC's publication of Colonel Sanders' 'lost autobiography' shows how far the chain's food today is from the southern fare its founder knew. Read the blog on the Guardian.
18:53  Two ministers sacked, two MLAs suspended:  

Patnaik had in London deplored attempts to divide the party. "I understand that in my absence, an MP of my party was stirring trouble against my state government. And also trying to divide the Biju Janata Dal. This is deplorable."   MLAs Prabhat Biswal and Bibhuti Balabantaray were also suspended.


Also read: Why 'Chanakya' Pyari's attempt at toppling Naveen failed

18:38  Odisha CM suspends Pyarimohan for 'coup' attempt:  

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik suspends dissident BJD Rajya Sabha MP Pyare Mohan Mahapatra and two ministers Anjani Behera and Sanjiv Sahu from the party. Patnaik held a series of meetings with BJD leaders, some of whom claimed there was an attempt to topple the government during a meeting at party MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra's house when he was in London.

At least 21 BJD legislators, including three ministers, had met at Mohapatra's residence with some leaders terming the exercise as "pressure tactics" by one group close to the Rajya Sabha member at a time when Patnaik was away.

18:19  Vishy, an inspirational icon:  

By winning the world chess title for the fifth time, Viswanathan Anand has firmed up his place among the greats of the game. In his own assessment, the victory over Boris Gelfand was the toughest of his world-title battles.

That's the Hindu editorial today.

18:13  Delhi bakes at season's hotest: 44.4C :  Sizzling temperatures coupled with hot winds made life miserable for people in many parts of the country as two people succumbed to the extreme weather in
western Uttar Pradesh. Delhi recorded a maximum of 44.4 degrees celsius, four notches above normal and a minimum of 34.3 degrees, which is the highest this season. Two persons died due to the intense heat wave conditions prevailing in Western Uttar Pradesh.
18:02  Whatever Advanji says, I humbly accept: Rajnath:  

BJP veteran L K Advani, who yesterday made a thinly veiled attack on party president Nitin Gadkari, today received support from former party chief
Rajnath Singh. "Advaniji is the senior most leader of the party. Whatever
he suggested, whatever he said, I accept it humbly," Singh said.

He was talking to reporters in Srinagar during his visit to the state as part of a BJP delegation which is preparing the party's "vision document" for Jammu and Kashmir. Advani appeared to be hitting out at Gadkari when he said in his blog that the party's campaign against corruption had been "undermined" due to induction of an ousted BSP leader facing graft charges. 


The BJP stalwart had posted in his blog that the party had not risen to the occasion at a time when there was anger against the UPA government over various scams.

17:55  What our feuding netas can learn from Suu Kyi:  

India prides itself as a multi-party democracy -- the world's largest, no less. That even as a low-income country we embraced universal suffrage and empowered every adult citizen with the right to vote also occasions much chest-thumping.


Read the piece on

17:46  12-year-old rapes girl after watching porn:  A generation of youngsters may be developing a skewed view of sex from pornography, a court has heard, after a 12-year-old schoolboy raped and sexually assaulted a younger girl after copying a hardcore film he watched on the internet. Read the report on the Telegraph.
17:43  Talks with Shah Rukh progressing well: Dempo:  

Goan football club's chairman Srinivas Dempo said he was hopeful of sealing the deal. Dempo said that the talks with Shah Rukh Khan, who co-owns IPL-winning side Kolkata Knight Riders, were "progressing very well".   


"We are discussing with Mr Shah Rukh Khan on his possible investment in the club and the only thing I can say is that talks are progressing very well," Dempo said.       


"His response has been very positive. Mr Khan is very passionate about football and, apart from just involving himself in Dempo, he wants to do something for Indian football. He said that football was his first love even before cricket," Dempo added.

Media reports suggest that Shah Rukh Khan is likely to buy a 50 per cent stake in Dempo.


B.RAMAN @SORBONNE75 Used to have huge admiration for @BDUTT .Lays shattered after watching SRK interview.An unabashed white-washing exercise.




17:20  CII compliments Gujarat for attracting investments:  

Adi Godrej, President CII, complimented Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, saying the state seems to have mastered the art of attracting investments and Vibrant Gujarat has shown the way for other states to follow. 


17:17  India could be the next Indonesia, but...:  Indonesia could be on the way to becoming the next India, investors say. And that's not a good thing. Read
17:07  Nazi parents lose custody of kids Adolf Hitler, Aryan Nation:  

Story from the bizarre files.

A self-proclaimed Nazi father and his wife cannot have back their four children, three of whom have Nazi-inspired names, a court has ruled.


Adolf Hitler Campbell, six, and his younger sisters Joycelynn Aryan Nation, five, and Honszlynn Hinler, four, were taken into custody in January 2009. State officials also took another son, Hons Campbell, from his parents Heath and Deborah Campbell just hours after he was born in November.


A New Jersey Supreme Court judge has now ruled that the four children will not be returned to their parents, who have since separated.

16:53  Bush unveils his portrait at White House:  

Amid humour, tears and nostalgia, Former US President George Bush returned to the White House where his portrait along with that of former First Lady Laura was unveiled in the presence of Barack Obama. Welcoming his predecessor, Obama described the White House as a living museum and an enduring symbol of American democracy.


"But at the end of the day, when the visitors go home and the lights go down, a few of us are blessed with the tremendous honour to actually live here," he said. "I think it's fair to say that every president is acutely aware that we are just temporary residents. We're renters here. We're charged with the upkeep until our lease runs out.


"But we also leave a piece of ourselves in this place. And today, with the unveiling of the portraits next to me, President and Mrs Bush will take their place alongside the men and women who've built this country and those who worked to perfect it," Obama said. 


In the portrait, Bush is seen standing in the centre of the Oval Office, his right hand resting on an armchair made for the White House in 1818 by District of Columbia cabinetmaker William King, Jr.

16:42  SRK to buy 50% stake in football league :  

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is likely to buy a 50 per cent stake in Dempo of Goa, the champions in India's football league, the I-League. Dempo club owner Shrinivas Dempo was quoted as saying talks were on with Shah Rukh.


If the actor does invest in football, the game will win a major ambassador which could do wonders for the game, feel fans. Shah Rukh's Indian Premier League team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, won the fifth edition of the T20 tournament recently.


16:31  Anuj Bidve's parents come face-to-face with killer:  Anuj Bidve's parents, dignified in their tragedy, tell TV channels that it was the first time they came face-to-face with their son's killers. They said it has been an emotional time for them, but it was important to hear Kiaran Stapleton admit to killing Anuj.

Shobhaa De @DeShobhaa The reason why chess doesn't rock in India is because there are no cheerleaders,drugs, sex and sleaze.Plus, you can't fix matches!  


Viswanathan Anand successfully defended his World Chess Championship title after beating Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in the four-game Rapid Chess tie-breaker, in Moscow, on Wednesday.

16:22  UAE prince loses falcons, Pak to pay him Rs 36 million:  

Pakistan will pay a United Arab Emirates [ Images ] prince a whopping Rs 36 million as compensation for four of his falcons that flew away when customs officials mishandled them at the Rawalpindi airport causing him mental and emotional anguish.

Read the report on

16:19  CBI starts verifying complaint of coal block scam:  

The CBI has started verifying the allegations of irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks to private companies between 2006 and 2009 and their misuse by them. 


The agency received from the Central Vigilance Commission the complaint of BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir who had alleged that first-come-first-serve basis was adopted by the government to benefit some private companies. 


CBI sources said the complaint that has been received has general allegations in which names or individual companies are not mentioned.

16:17  Facebook on the blink for an hour:  

If you've had problem accessing Facebook today, you're not alone. Facebook said there was a problem and that it had been fixed. 


"Earlier today, some users briefly experienced issues loading the site. The issues have since been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologise for any inconvenience," Facebook said in a statement. Although it could not be ascertained as to how long did the outage last, blogs suggested that the website was not accessible for about an hour. The outage came against the backdrop of Facebook grappling with the fallout of its IPO.


The company's shares, which got listed on Nasdaq on May 18, have plummeted over 20 per cent from its IPO price of USD 38. The stock closed at USD 29.60 apiece on May 31. Facebook claims to have over 25 million users in India. It had 901 million monthly active users worldwide at the end of March 2012, according to the Wesbite.

16:06  Emotional time for us, say Anuj Bidve's parents :  

Anuj Bidve's parents say it was important for them to hear the accused admit to the murder. "It's an emotional time for us," the student's parents tell


Also read: The killer of Anuj Bidve, shot dead at point-blank range on Boxing Day, allegedly laughed as the Indian student collapsed with a gun wound to his head.

16:02  Chhattisgarh: 10 of marriage party killed in road accident:  

What is it with marriage parties and fatal accidents on highways?

Ten persons were killed as a truck carrying a marriage party fell off a bridge in Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh today.The truck was loaded with iron ore and 27 members of a marriage party were seated atop the ore heap when the vehicle ran into a tractor coming from the opposite direction on the bridge at Garka village, last evening.The truck driver lost control and it went off the bridge, said district police officials.


Also see: Ghastly accident on Mumbai-Pune Expressway kills 27

15:50  Briton pleads guilty to killing student Anuj Bidve:  

A man accused of murdering Indian student Anuj Bidve in Salford has pleaded guilty to his manslaughter. Kiaran Stapleton, 21, of Ordsall, Salford admitted shooting the postgraduate on 26 December 2011. Stapleton pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility at Manchester Crown Court. Mr Bidve, 23, was with friends in Ordsall when Stapleton walked up and shot him in the head at close range.

More on the BBC

15:47  Police nod for voice samples of Bhushan, Mulayam, Amar:  

Just in: Shanti Bhushan CD case: The Delhi court allows the police to take voice samples of Shanti Bhushan, Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The Delhi Police are investigating the contents of the controversial CD in which Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, lawyer Shanti Bhushan and politician Amar Singh were purportedly talking about managing a Supreme Court judge and a deal of Rs 4 crore.

Notices under section 160 CrPC would be sent to Mulayam, Amar Singh and Bhushan soon and they will asked about the conversation in the CD and their voice samples would be taken to match it with the voices in the CD.

Officials said if they came across any conspiracy in the talks between the trio, more stringent charges would be added in the case.

15:42  Myanmar's Suu Kyi says she's too busy for Facebook:  

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is bullish on democratic reform, but she's not so sure about Facebook. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was held under house arrest as a political prisoner for much of the past 22 years
without even a telephone, was asked today at the World Economic Forum on East Asia when she would join the 900-million member social network.

She said it was not an issue with adjusting to new technology, but a matter of finding the time. She said she will join when her schedule opens up. "Mind you, you never know what will happen with the technological revolution," she said at a news conference. "Facebook may be old hat tomorrow. In that case, I won't go on Facebook."

15:26  Mamata Banerjee's 'Bangladesh is the border of Pakistan' speech:
15:12  Team Anna's rebuttal to the attack by the PMO.:  

This is what Team Anna said in reply to the statement by the PMO.

Between 2004 and 2006 there was a series of communication that happened between the Ministry of Coal and Department of Legal Affairs. The MoC wanted DLA's views on the way in which competitive bidding can be introduced as the mechanism for allocation of coal blocks.


The Law Secretary repeatedly opined in July 2004, July 2006 and again in August 2006 that amendment to any existing Act (CMN or MMDR) is not a prerequisite to introduce competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks. Therefore, introduction of competitive bidding was legally feasible for MoC.


Despite this the MoC employed screening committee route to allocate coal blocks till 2009. Why? Moreover, why did it take 6 years to build consensus on the amendment to the Act and pass it. So many Acts have been passed in days. In fact, it was the PMO which shot down the proposal for issuing an ordinance saying that there was no urgency.

15:08  PMO launches fierce counter-attack at Team Anna :  

The 7-point rebuttal emphasizes that the government never intend to generate revenue for the allocation of coal blocs including that coal-bloc allocation was fair, just and equitable.


The statement further read that the government intend to achieve improved infrastructure including better power generation through allocation of coal bloc.


"The allocation of coal blocks was never looked upon as a potential source for generating revenue for the Central Government. The government was committed to developing infrastructure and industry," the PMO note said.  The PMO issues statement saying the leaked CAG passage is an 'unfortunate' incident. 


Full report here

14:58  Mamata wants parties to pay damages for bandhs :  

The West Bengal government is contemplating a legislation to claim damage from political parties and individuals for damage to government property during bandhs and agitations.


"Since we are in government we are accountable to the people. We can't tolerate loss of public property by any political party or individual," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters here today. She said that the opinion of legal and constitutional experts and senior politicians would be taken on the issue.


When the CPI(M) was in power and had it claimed damages for each time Mamata Banerjee's TMC went on bandhs and hartals, Bengal would not have been in the red.


14:34  BJP magazine calls Narendra Modi a man in a hurry:  

The BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh has described Narendra Modi as a 'man in a hurry' and blamed him for damaging the party's fabric. 


In its editorial on the recently concluded BJP National Executive that was held in Mumbai, it lamented the lacuna in organisation building and also slammed the top rung leaders for failing to address the demoralisation within the party. 


"As one ascends the ladder, his understanding should also elevate. But the irony is that it is always seen that on reaching the top even after knowing that a day will come when he has to come down he tries to belittle the one's below him. When we applaud a person more than required then we in fact ourselves open the door of his possible distraction. Similarly if one is criticized in extremity, we open the door for his possible exit, the Kamal Sandesh editorial said. 

14:24  Illegal trade in India's holy cows :  Andrew Buncombe reports from Kaharpara on a bloody war between rustlers and border guards. The Independent has the story.
14:22  New York mayor to ban super-sized sodas :  Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, has opened a new front in his personal crusade against obesity by proposing a ban on the sale of large-sized sugary drinks in restaurants, cinemas and other public outlets. Read
14:19  Maneka calls Jagan Reddy's mother:  Only a widow can understand the travails of another. This was the message sent across by senior BJP leader and former Union minister Maneka Gandhi when she reached out to Vijayalakshmi, widow of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Read more 
14:15  Air Indias Boeing showdown could be a mistake:  The Indian government's latest showdown with a foreign corporation pits the country's money-losing state airline against delay-plagued plane manufacturer Boeing. Read
14:10  'When I saw my new nose I just wept and wept':  A Pakistani woman has been given a new nose more than 32 years after she was attacked by her razor-wielding husband. Allah Rakhi, 48, has spoken out after successfully undergoing an operation to replace her nose, which was sliced off when she was just 16. Read more on the Daily Mail.  
14:02  You can know a woman's sex history from her walk: Study:  

They say having sex gives you a spring in your step - and it seems it's actually true. Belgian researchers watched videos of women walking, and were able to tell whether they regularly had orgasms from intercourse.

Read more on the Daily Mail

13:57  Never-before-seen pictures: Prince Charles when he was little:  

Holiday shot from 1957 comes from hours of family footage released by the Prince of Wales for television show to mark the Diamond Jubilee.


Read more 

13:54  Suu Kyi warns on Myanmar optimism:  

Myanmar's opposition leader and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi urged the international community today to exercise "healthy skepticism"about her country's reforms as it sheds a half-century of military rule.


It is not the first time that Suu Kyi has called for caution in the world's approach to Myanmar, but it is the first time the Nobel prize winner has uttered the sentiment on foreign soil in a speech that was broadcast live across several time zones. 


After 24 years of isolation in Myanmar, Suu Kyi received a standing ovation as she took the podium at the World Economic Forum in Bangkok.

13:45  Anna Hazare: I have lost faith in the PM :  

Anna Hazare has finally decided what his stand on the PM should be. Anna had distanced himself from key team members Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan when they had called for a probe against the PM over the 'coalgate' scam.

The anti-graft crusader said today that he has lost his faith in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


"I had a strong belief in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but now I do not have faith in him," Hazare said during his visit here. "We have to select persons having good character and send them to Parliament, then only the expected change will take place," he added. 


During the last 65 years, not a single law of public interest was passed in Lok Sabha or state Assemblies by the "members elected by public", he lamented. 


"Most of them are involved in corruption and taking undue advantage of lack of public information," the social activist said. He alleged that most of the public funds were used by leaders and government officials for corrupt activities and that only 10 per cent was used for developmental schemes. "In this situation, how can we expect national development?" he asked. Hazare has been on a tour of Maharashtra to campaign for a strong Lokpal Bill.

13:38  US liaisons are restored to outpost in Pakistan:  

 In a small step toward repairing the badly frayed relations between the United States and Pakistan, two American military officers have quietly returned as liaisons to a major Pakistani Army headquarters in Peshawar, the gateway to the country's restive tribal areas, American officials said Thursday.

On the NYT.

13:32  A king among princelings:  

China's princelings are running amok. And Bo Xilai is just the tip of the iceberg.


13:18  Awhad: Ready to resign if sacked pilots are reinstated:  

Jitendra Awhad of the Indian Pilots' Guild reacts to the report, saying pay parity was never the issue, reinstating sacked pilots remains one.

Ajit Singh says pilots have to join work, not talks before that.

Awhad says he is ready to resign if the sacked pilots are reinstate.

And the stalemate continues.

The strike has cost the debt-laden airline more than Rs 330 crore in revenues and is worsening an already difficult financial situation. Air India's losses stand at Rs 20,000 crore and it has a debt of over Rs 43,000 crore.

13:09  Ajit Singh makes Dharmadhikari report public:  

Five years after the merger of two state-run airlines, a report on integration of about 29,000 employees of unified Air India, including pilots, cabin crew and engineers, was submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry in January. Today, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh made the report public.  

Briefly, here's what Ajit Singh said at the press conference a while ago.

1. The Air India pilots' strike is illegal, there will be no talks without pilots joining work.


2. The Dharmadhikari Report is to be implemented with effect from April 1, 2007.

3. There will be a uniform policy for IA and AI staff on working hours.

4. A process of promotion will be initiated after 45 days.


5. There will be uniform pay scale for erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines staff.


6. The minister announced a four-member panel to examine the Dharmadhikari report. 

13:01  Ajit Singh announces parity in pay scales of AI, IA:  

Aviation minister Ajit Singh says there will be parity in pay scales between Air India and Indian Airlines, and an uniform working hours policy. Announcing the Dharmadhikari Report's recommendations, Ajit Singh says the pay and seniority levels will be fixed in 45-days time with April 1, 2011 set as cut off date for new pay sacales. He promises that senior employees won't be paid less than junior employees.

12:37  Aviation minister Ajit Singh addressing a press conference now. Details in a bit
12:37  Behind the Rupees fall: That symbol?:  

Just ignore all those articles about the state of the economy and policy paralysis because the real cause of the decline of the rupee has finally surfaced: It's the currency's new symbol that did it.

On the WSJ

12:31  Modi may contest next LS polls from Gujarat and UP:  

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is likely to contest the next Lok Sabha election from both Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, whenever the general election takes place, before 2014 or in the summer of 2014. An informed source in Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party felt the national media has no clue about the BJP's inner-working style.


"Modi is the general without whom one cannot go to war," the senior party leader told, on condition that he would not be identified by name for this report. "Modi has to lead the BJP. There is no alternative."


Read the exclusive story by Sheela Bhatt

12:27  BSP walks out, Akhilesh presents his first budget:  

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today presented his maiden state Budget for 2012-13 with no new tax and a provision of Rs 500 crore for waving farm loans. It also provides for unemployment allowance and giving
laptops to school students. For the first time, the state's Budget size has crossed
the figure of Rs 2 lakh crore.

It has projected a deficit of Rs 21,570.26 crore in the Budget while estimating total receipts of Rs 1,94,327.28 crore this fiscal. The total Budget size is Rs 2,00,110.61 crore. The Budget puts revenue receipts at Rs 1,58,847.86 crore
and capital receipts of Rs 35,479.32 crore. Presenting the Budget, based on the promises made in SP's manifesto, Yadav said that a provision of Rs 1,100 crore has been made for unemployment allowance to be given to people in the age group of 30-40 years.

12:25  Gen Bikram Singh has his work cut out for him:  

General Bikram Singh on the strain in civil-military relations in the recent past: "I have had five tenures in Army Headquarters and this will be the sixth one. We have had no problems in the past at least. Let me see what the problems are and we will take it forward. "I am certain that given the wisdom on both sides, given the commitment on both sides, I am sure that there will be no problems," he said.


The deficiencies pointed out by his predecessor and the army's readiness for operations: "It will be my endeavour that army remains operationally ready and worthy of expectations of our people and is able to fulfil its role in the correct manner. I would work towards this."


VK Singh's priority of improving the internal health of the force: "In any
organisation, it is an issue that its internal health should remain good and under this many things have been done and it will continue."


AFSPA revoked from areas in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states: "We have already given our views to the Government and it is for them to decide on them. The army shall continue to carry out its tasks, fulfil its constitutional obligations and perform its role as per desired norms and make sure it remains most accountable, most responsive and most disciplined and most worthy of national power."

12:09  Satellite photos said to show Iran nuke clean up:  

A US nonproliferation think tank today published commercial satellite images of an Iranian military site linked to suspected secret work on nuclear arms, saying they show that two buildings there were demolished as well as other activities that strengthen UN suspicions of a cleanup. 

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security provides consultancy services for US government agencies focused on nonproliferation and is considered an objective source of information on Iran's nuclear programme.

12:01  Tamil asylum-seekers to be forcibly deported:  Dozens of Tamil asylum-seekers will be forcibly removed from Britain on a secretive deportation flight today despite credible evidence that they face arrest and retribution on their return. Read
12:00  China urges Pakistan to act against Turkistan militants:  China has urged Pakistan to take effective measures to stop the activities of East Turkistan Islamic Movement militants present in Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Read the Tribune, Pakistan for the story.  
11:51  Dharun Ravi begins prison term, victim's family rejects apology:  

Indian student Dharun Ravi today began his 30-day sentence in a New Jersey jail, as the parents of his deceased Rutgers roommate rejected his apology as a
"public relations piece". 


Ravi (20) was sentenced by a US judge on hate crime charges for using a webcam to spy on his homosexual roommate Tyler Clementi who later committed suicide, terming his behavior "cold, calculated and methodically conceived." 


Convicted in March of spying on Clementi while he kissed another man, Ravi had for the first time publicly apologised for his "immature and insensitive" actions earlier this week. Clementi's parents, however, rejected his apology as they expressed disappointment over the short prison sentence imposed on him by Judge Glenn Berman. Clementi had committed suicide in September 2010, days after Ravi had used a webcam to watch him kissing another man. 


"As to the so-called 'apology', it was, of course, no apology at all, but a public relations piece produced by Ravi's advisors only after Judge Berman scolded Ravi in open court for his failure to have expressed a word of remorse or
apology," the Clementis said in a statement issued yesterday.

11:46  Can the US Work with India in Cyberspace?:  

Cyberspace is one of the arenas where India's pursuit of its own interests could result in policy stances that disappoint American policymakers. The natural assumption is that the two multi-ethnic democracies with independent, vibrant presses have much in common.



11:43  The CIA documents on 9/11 :  

The CIA has released nearly 800 pages of newly declassified documents on Al Qaeda and the September 11 attacks.


11:40  Clinton's $33m raid on Pakistan shows hypocrisy will win:  

While the BEML chief lets of steam, here's a story that merits a read.  Robert Fisk on the Independent: Are the Pakistanis being so dastardly when they lock up a national who has helped in a murder? Read

11:37  Fifth year in a row, a desi kid wins US spelling bee:  

That Indian American kids rule when it comes to the National Spelling Bee, particularly in the last two decades, was manifest on Thursday night when Snigdha Nandipati, a 14-year-old from San Diego, California, became the fifth consecutive Indian American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition and the tenth in the last 14 years.


Read Aziz Haniff's story on

11:30  BEML chief: VK Singh damaging our reputation:  

Natarajan says that BEML has not received a single letter saying the vehicles were substandard. He says the statements are damaging and defamatory and wrong and the charges made by V K Singh are false. "VK Singh is damaging our image and it is not expected from a man of his stature," said the CMD.


Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Natarajan said that Gen Singh had praised the vehicles after he took over as the Army Chief and there is no issue with either serviceability or availability of spares of Tatra trucks.


"We have supplied 7,000 vehicles in the last 26 years. For last 10 years, I have been the chairman of the company, not a single complaint has come from the Army Headquarters or any of the directorates.


"We never got complaints about Tatra vehicles that shows these vehicles are performing excellently...No complaint of any nature has come to us so far either directly or indirectly on performance," he said.

11:24  BEML chief: Will sue VK Singh if no apology is made:  

BEML CMD VRS Natarajan addressing a press conference today has alleged that retired Army chief VK Singh's remarks against Tatra trucks were damaging and defamatory.


Natarajan says that no letter was received that said the trucks are sub-standard. Natarajan has issued a defamatory notice against Singh. Natarajan said that the statements made by Retd General Singh are demeaning of his stature.


"I am puzzled abt Gen VK Singh's charges against Tatra trucks. It is demeaning of his stature. We have issued defamatory notice today, may file a suit against him if he does not apologise. I need to protect the honour and prestige of this company."

11:16  Mischief unlikely in Doon Express derailment: Mukul Roy :  

Railway Minister Mukul Roy today said an inquiry into the Doon Express accident would be conducted by the Commissioner Railway Safety and stern action would be taken against the guilty. 

The minister along with the senior officials visited the accident site where the Doon Express derailed yesterday killing five persons and met the injured at the district hospital.

Prima facie the accident is not the act of anti-social elements, he said, adding it was a subject of inquiry and truth would come to fore within a week. Former Railway Minister and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had yesterday demanded an inquiry into the derailment stating it should be probed whether it was an 'accident or an incident'. 

11:10  Army chief: No comments on worthy predecessor:  

General Bikram Singh took over as the 25th Chief of the Indian Army yesterday. This morning, he visited the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi and after laying a wreath at the memorial for Indian soldiers, he went to the lawns of the South Block where he was given a guard of honour.

He succeeds General VK Singh, whose 26-month tenure was mired in controversies. VK Singh retired yesterday.

Speaking to reporters this morning, the new army chief said, "It's better to leave baggage behind, what happened is in the past. When you drive a car, you look at the windscreen not at the rearview mirror."


Also read: General who conquers with love & poems

10:50  Army chief: Nothing will be brushed under carpet:  General Bikram Singh who formally took over as Army chief yesterday says nothing will be brushed under the carpet. Speaking on the recent controversies in the army, he said, "Let us continue to remain a secular, apolitical force and do our job the way it should be done."
10:46  Chetna raths for disaster management awareness:  

The Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) has directed all the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) in the state to take out Chetna Rath at block and panchayat level to create awareness about flood safety, disaster preparedness and risk management under the 'Observe Flood Safety Week' programme in the state from June 1.

Read the story on the TOI.

10:16  CBI to probe coal scam after CVC order:  
The Central Bureau of Investigation has decided to hold a preliminary probe into the controversial coal block allocations. 

The move could pose troubles for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the his office was the incharge of the coal ministry between the probe period of 2006 and 2009.

The CBI will be acting on an order by the Central Vigilance Commission. 

Sources say the CBI will initially register a preliminary enquiry into the case. 

The agency will complete the preliminary enquiry by mid August, according to sources.
10:09  Rupee opens stronger against dollar :  
The rupee on Friday strengthened by 23 paise against the US dollar to 55.85 in early trade on the Interbank Foreign Exchange market, on the back of euro gains against the American currency overseas.

Dealers said euro's gains against the US dollar in overseas markets and step taken by the RBI to stablise the rupee mainly influenced the trading sentiment. 

The rupee had recovered 16 paise against the dollar to close at 56.08 in Thursday's trade.
09:46  MS releases final test version of Windows 8:  
Microsoft has released the final test version of its next-generation Windows software crafted to power devices ranging from tablets to desktop computers.

"We're thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview," said Windows and Windows Live division president Steven Sinofsky.

The nearly finished Windows 8 software was available for download in 14 languages at 

Availability of Windows 8 Release Preview marks the final phase of development before the operating system becomes available to makers of computers and other devices.

A "consumer preview" version of Windows 8 was downloaded more than a million times in the 24 hours after its release in February, according to Microsoft.

Windows 8 allows users readily to store and share personal data among various devices under the "SkyDrive" cloud computing service. Rivals Apple and Google offer such services.

The new Microsoft system will support a wider range of devices, including touch- and stylus-based smartphones and tablet PCs as well as desktop and laptop machines, chief executive Steve Ballmer said.
08:52  Chief of upper caste militia shot dead in Bihar:  
Ranvir Sena Chief Brahmeshwar Singh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Bihar's Bhojpur district early Friday morning, police said.

Singh was on a morning walk when he was accosted by gunmen who pumped several bullets into him, killing him on the spot at Katira Mohalla under Nawada police station, 71 km from Patna, they said.

Singh alias Mukhiya ji, who was earlier facing life imprisonment in various carnage cases, was acquitted and released from jail in April this year. 

Ranvir Sena, a private militia of upper caste landlords, is allegedly responsible for perpetrating several killings including Laxmanpur Bathe massacre of 61 Dalits way back in December 1996.
00:53  The Pentagon has said there are no American trainers in Pakistan, and clarified that it was two liaison officers, who had returned to Peshawar for coordination purposes, after being removed following a deadly cross-border NATO raid.

"There are no US trainers in Pakistan," Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt, John Kirby, told reporters at a news conference.
00:37  AFP reports: Syria said on Thursday that it regretted Ban Ki-moon's warning of a "catastrophic civil war", saying the UN chief had become a "herald" of such a conflict.

"It is regrettable that the secretary general of the United Nations has departed from his mission of maintaining peace and security in the world to become a herald of civil war," foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi told a Damascus news conference.
00:33  NDTV reports that six explosions hit neighbourhoods across Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens more in the most deadly attacks on the Iraqi capital in more than a month.

The attacks - a truck bomb in a market, a car bomb and roadside explosives -- broke weeks of relative calm in Baghdad just as Iraq's government, shared among Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs, wrangles over a crisis that risks reigniting sectarian tensions.
00:02  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  
Exclusive: Modi may contest next Lok Sabha election from Gujarat and UP

Bharat Bandh: 'How easy it is to fool Indians'

BJP has let down people; party's mood not upbeat: Advani

The CBI's case AGAINST Jagan Mohan Reddy

India's MOST controversial Army chief takes last salute


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