June 13, 2012
The BJP has not issued a reaction as yet. Remember the PMO had called Mamata Banerjee for a meeting with the PM. Now that Manmohan Singh's name comes up as a presidential candidate, hugely embarassing for him, will the meeting still happen? Stay with us.
Incidentally, the Left has said that both Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari are unacceptable to them. The NCP says it will go with whoever the UPA chooses as a nominee.
In other news, the BJP today said the Congress-led dispensation is playing "appeasement politics" and attempting to fool the people despite knowing
well that the Constitution does not permit religion-based reservations.
"The Congress has repeatedly misled the people, particularly the minorities, by playing the reservation card, whilst all the while knowing that religion-based reservation is not envisaged by the makers of our Constitution," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She alleged that there has been a "certain brazenness" about the way in which the Congress-led UPA alliance, and Law Minister Salman Khurshid in particular, have gone about "attempting to fool" the people.
Neither Pranab Mukherjee nor Hamid Ansari, who are the Congress candidates have figured on their list. Point to be noted is that Mamata hasn't let go of the possibility of a Bengali as president with Somnath Chatterjee.
Mulayam Singh Yadav says after a discussion with Mamata Banerjee they have come up with three choices: APJ Abdul Kalam, PM Manmohan Singh and
Mamata Banerjee says she supports what Mualayam Singh says. "The candidate has to be honest, a unanimous choice and respectable. One who works well. There are no priorities."
North India sweltered under extreme heat as maximum temperatures soared at most places of the region.
The capital Delhi recorded a maximum of 43.2 degrees celsius, four notches above normal and a minimum of 30.4 degrees celsius. People got no respite from the scorching sun in Uttar Pradesh as eastern parts of the state continued to reel under intense heat with Allahabad recording a maximum temperature of 45.8 degrees celsius.
The weather remained dry over the state, with mercury remaining variably above normal in Faizabad, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Bareilly, Lucknow, Meerut and Agra divisions, the Met office said. Heat wave conditions are likely to prevail over parts of eastern UP during the next 48 hours.
CPI's D Raja says he has no idea what first choice or second choice for president means. He says the Left parties are united in their choice for the presidential candidate but will reserve their announcement till the Congress makes a formal statement.
Mamata is in a meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav now. While the SP has been vocal about not wanting a bureaucrat, the party has never said Hamid Ansari, who is the Cong's second choice, is a bureaucrat.
With zero growth facing Indian industry and the strong possibility of a bleak financial future ahead, the Congress's managers have to show that Sonia Gandhi's authority and charm are not on the wane. Which is why the election of the 13th President becomes crucial, says rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt.
It is no secret that Mamata Banerjee is no great fan of Pranab Mukherjee, which is the reason why the Congress has so far hemmed and hawed over naming the finance minister as its nominee for President. But the thing is, how do you nix him without hurting your Bengali constituency?
It is no secret either that Mamata has strong feelings towards her political rivals in Bengal. Nixing Pranab would give a handle to the Marxists to beat her with, so what will the Trinamool Congress chief do?
Simple, say sources in New Delhi, pull out former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee's name.
The lifelong Marxist, if you recall, fell foul of his party colleagues over what they felt was his partisan approach to the UPA government, and was removed from the CPM.
Now, Mamata gambles, how about nominating Somnath in place of Pranab? It helps her retain her Bengali card, as well as score over her Communist rivals who will be hard put to explain their vote against a son of Bengal.
Of course, sources also add that all this is part of the miasma of speculation that is wafting up from the corridors of power in New Delhi, in which it is very difficult to sift the truth.
CPI(M) today said it was in favour of a consensus candidate for Presidential poll and would disclose its stand on support only after the UPA announced its nominee. Congress has not taken any initiative so far to discuss either with the CPI(M) or other Left parties on the Presidential candidate, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said today.
To a question on his party's stand in case Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee emerges as the Congress candidate, Yechury asked them if anyone of them had written five years ago that the present incumbent Pratibha Patil would be the Congress nominee for the top post. Asked about the possibility of nominating Defence Minister A K Antony as the presidential nominee of the UPA, Yechury declined to comment.
Mamata Banerjee has reached 10 Janpath for her meeting with Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, LK Advani is at the Delhi airport on his way to Chennai. This means he will be skipping the BJP core committee meet on the presidential polls.
Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference in New Delhi ahead of her meeting with Sonia Gandhi. With her usual grace she said, "I am here to meet Shonia Gandhi. There is always rumour and gossip whenever I come to Delhi. We have only asked for a three-year moratarium, but it is not our fault, it is the fault of the Left government. We have never asked for a Bengal package. It is wrong to mix up issues -- the issue (president poll) is continuing. If the PM calls me, if Soniaji calls me, I will meet. That is decorum.
She called the linking of aid for vote as "Valueless, careless decoration and a plantation of rumours."
Decipher at leisure.
Kate Moss has given out fashion advice to British females by urging them to stop flashing so much skin during summer. The supermodel thinks that people in Britain do not how to dress properly in summers, as they are not used to the heat.
"When you're driving down the road in the summer, the English people... It's not our natural thing, no. So it's 'put it awaaaaaay!'' the Daily Mail quoted her as telling Grazia magazine.
The 38-year-old claims to have set some limits for herself, admitting that she draws the line at clothes that are too short, show too much flesh or have too much colour. "I mean, there''s things I can''t wear, that I''d like to. There has to be limits. Too short. Too much flesh. Too much colour,' she said.
Keen to ramp up nuclear energy production, the government today favoured allowing foreign direct investment in the atomic power sector, a view that was
welcomed by the industry. "We should agree for FDI here (nuclear sector). We should open up," Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said addressing an International Conference on Nuclear Energy. However, he said the prevailing environment was not conducive for such a step.
"We have to go step-by-step. That is what we are doing. It should not be taken that our government is slow. Atmosphere has to be created. That is what we are doing," he said.
The government's economic reforms agenda appears to have gone on the backburner in the face of political opposition, including from key alliance partners like the Trinamool Congress.
Nithyananda, a self-styled godman faced arrest after the Karnataka High Court adjourned his plea for quashing the FIR against him to Friday. Had Nithyananda visited his ashram today, he was likely to be arrested, reports NDTV.
Nithyananda's ashram had issued a press release today saying he would be back at his ashram tomorrow. The police are expected to arrest all those named in an FIR filed after an altercation between the media and his followers.
Nithyananda is facing criminal charges, including rape, after a slew of complaints were filed against him in 2010 after some local TV channels telecast purported videos of the self-styled godman in a compromising position with an actress. Nithyananda was arrested and later released on bail.
On June 8, the police had lodged criminal cases against Nithyananda and his followers for allegedly assaulting a mediaperson during a press conference at his ashram on complaints from a regional TV channel reporter and activists of local group Nava Nirmana Sene in connection with an altercation at the ashram.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will meet important Mamata Banerjee at 4.30 pm today to and with much pressure on the Congress to name its nominee for President, likely candidates are expected to be discussed.
The Prime Minister's Office too had called to inquire how long the West Bengal Chief Minister was in Delhi as the PM would like to meet her. Last night, immediately after she arrived from Kolkata, she met Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav and, in a signal that the two crucial regional parties are aligned on the Presidential election issue. Yadav said today, "I will discuss with Mamata Banerjee before deciding our choice of presidential candidate." Mamata is expected to meet him again today.
Just a few days to go before the monsoon begins in full earnest in India, the Guardian on hotels, guesthouses and villas you can escape to.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today charged the Congress-led UPA with indulging in 'give and take' with its allies saying it was evident in the delay over
announcement of its Presidential candidate.
Kumar was responding to a query on whether the UPA was delaying announcement of its Presidential candidate in a bid to secure the support of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has been bargaining for a financial package to the cash-strapped state.
The UPA, he said, should first announce its Presidential candidate and then seek consultations with other parties for a consensus. It would not be appropriate for him or others to air views on Presidential polls till clarity emerged on the name of the candidate, Kumar said.
As speculation about candidates for Presidential poll intensified after Election Commission announcing July 19 as the poll date, NDA convenor Sharad Yadav
today said the Opposition alliance has not zeroed on names for the posts of President and Vice President so far.
"People meet each other. We have not decided for any name in any meeting of NDA. Only Jaswant Singh can tell whom did he meet and why did he meet. It is normal. We keep meeting," he said when asked whether NDA could propose Singh's name for Vice President's post.
Singh had yesterday met Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav triggering speculation within the BJP that its leader could be lobbying for the Vice President's office.
Tata Group Chairman designate Cyrus Mistry met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, with a motive to discuss the progress of the six million-tonne plant in the state.
The first phase of the Tata project at Kalinganagar in Odisha will be completed by March 2014, and the second phase will end by 2015. In addition, they would set up a ferrochrome plant and a steel rolling mill Patnaik said that they discussed the expanse of the plant, which is going to be extended to several districts.
After sympathising with Sanjay Joshi following his "forced" exit from BJP, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has likened Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to demon king Ravan, asking him to shun vanity.
"If you see Ravan, he had also a good track record of development, he had made (Sri) Lanka of gold. But what end he met with lot of pride and ego everybody knows," Digvijay Singh said on a question of Modi being projected as 'Vikas Purush'.
"In the same way Modiji should somewhat understand these things," Singh told reporters at the city airport last night during a private visit. "He should shun pride and ego and the picture for him will get clear," the Congress leader advised Modi.
Top business leader N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder of home-grown global IT giant Infosys, said today, "Over the past 3-4 months, India's image seems to have suffered. As an Indian, I feel very sad that we have come to this state." Another IT major Wipro's Chairman Azim Premji has said that "we are working without a leader as a country. If we do not change, we would be down for years."
The comments from the two leaders come amid warning from the global agency Standard and Poor's that India risks losing its 'investment grade' rating due to "slowing GDP growth and political roadblocks to economic policy making".
In an interview published by global investment banking giant Morgan Stanley on Monday, Murthy also said that India was suffering from challenges that were self-inflicted.
@AnupamPkher Very saddened to hear about my fav Gazal Singer Mehdi Hassan's demise. As a student had gate crashed into Pak Embassy to listen to him. RIP.
@anuragkashyapFC RIP Mehdi Hassan !!! Ghazal maestro passes away.
@Mrityunjoykjha Lata once had said abt #MehdiHasan: Unke gale mein toh bhagwan basate hain..#true
Just in: PM Manmohan Singh to meet West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee either before or after the meeting with Sonia Gandhi. The meeting with Sonia is scheduled to be held this afternoon and a second round of talks might be held on Thursday.
Update on Mehdi Hassan's death.
Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani expressed grief and sorrow at the death of Hussan. In a message, he said Hassan was "an icon who mesmerised music lovers not only in Pakistan but also in the subcontinent for many decades."
Hassan, who last performed in India in 2000, wanted to visit the country again, a dream which remained unfulfilled. Arif, his son, said he had even received the visa in April for Hassan's treatment in an Indian hospital but they could not travel as singer's condition deteriorated.
In other news, a string of car bombs exploded in central Iraq Wednesday morning, killing at least 57 people and wounding 137 others, police officials said. Most of the victims were Shiite Muslim pilgrims, police said. The attacks Wednesday come after mortar rounds landed on pilgrims in northwestern Baghdad's Kadhimiya Shiite neighborhood Sunday leaving at least seven people dead and 20 others wounded.
Mehdi Hasasn was trained in classical music by his father Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both well respected classical musicians.
Hassan tried different styles of music and there was a time in Pakistan's film industry known as Lollywood when a production was considered incomplete without his voice. Due to his remarkable commercial and artistic success he was titled ShahenShah-e-Ghazal (The King of Ghazal singing). He also played the role of a cultural ambassador and visited India several times.
Just in: Ghazal king Mehdi Hassan passes away in Karachi. The ailing ghazal legend was admitted to the ICU of a private hospital in Karachi after suffering from multiple health problems, his son Arif Hassan had said yesterday.
"My father has been ill for the last 12 years but this year his condition has deteriorated significantly and in the last one month he was released from hospital for just one day before being admitted again," Arif said.
'Hassan has multiple lung, chest and urinary tract ailments which were being treated by specialists. "He is admitted in the ICU of Aga Khan hospital for last one week but he is not on a ventilator," he added.
Hassan, 84, was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village, Rajasthan, in 1927 before his family migrated to Pakistan after 1947.
Blasting Standard and Poor's (S&P) for threatening to downgrade India's credit rating to below-investment grade, Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar has said the global rating agency is not objective in its analysis and not fair to the country. Given India's strong economic fundamentals, it "raises serious doubts on the objectivity" of S&P ratings, said Kumar, who is visiting the US as part of the Indian delegation for the US-India Strategic Dialogue.
"I personally think that an S&P rating is not being fair to India," Kumar said. "I am appalled by the findings of Standard and Poor's and am certainly disappointed that S&P has chosen to club India with some of the countries with which there can be no reasonable comparisons," he said.
The Opposition leader will accept the Nobel prize and address the British parliament during her first visit to the west since 1988.
Read the report on the Guardian.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has assured American business that India will restore investor confidence and regain economic momentum and growth.
"In an era of global inter-dependence, not everything is within the powers of national governments. But we are confident that we will restore investor confidence and regain economic momentum and growth," Krishna said in a keynote address at 37th US-India Business Council (USIBC) Leadership Summit in Washington.
While on Pakistan, almost everyone in Karachi has story to tell about a mugging or a burglary. Usually the bandits take away cash, cell phones or any other valuable item that they get hold of, but a new trend is emerging. The thieves are not even sparing the pets now.
A cleric in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh has declared the polio campaign ''un-Islamic'' and announced at the local mosque that Jihad should be carried out against the visiting polio vaccination team.According to The Express Tribune, the local polio team entered Muzaffargarh''s rural area and asked local families to cooperate with the campaign.
When the local cleric, Maulvi Ibrahim Chisti found out about the campaign, he immediately went to the biggest mosque in the area and declared that polio drops are ''poison'' and against Islam. He added that if the polio team forced anybody to partake in the vaccination campaign, then Jihad was ''the only option''.
Residents said the cleric had tried to convince them that the polio campaign was a ''western conspiracy'' to render the population impotent.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the Uphaar cinema fire in which 59 persons lost their lives.
Family members of the victims held a prayer meet in their memory and urged the government to bring in a legislation to deal with such man-made disasters.
Association of Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), which is fighting legal battles, said nothing concrete has happened in the last three years after the government proposed to bring a law for prevention of such tragedies in public
"The collusion of callous and greedy officials, big business houses and an apathetic system flourishes. We once again appeal to the policy makers to implement stringent laws to deter and avert such man-made tragedies so that in future, precious human lives are not lost," AVUT president Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost her two children in the tragedy, said.
The Delhi High Court had on December 19, 2009, sentenced the owners of Uphaar Cinema -- Sushil and Gopal Ansal and former Delhi Fire Service staff H S Panwar to one year jail term. Three others -- gate keeper Manmohan Unniyal, Delhi Vidyut Board employees Brij Mohan Satija and Bir Singh -- were awarded two-year jail term.
The appeal against the high court's judgement is pending in the Supreme Court. The 59 victims had died of asphyxia on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Hindi blockbuster movie Border.
While on food, here's something you can stomach. Even a decade ago, Indian restaurants in the US would serve no more than greasy, creamy, rich dishes like palak paneer, malai kofta, butter naan, paneer butter masala, and other tandoori items. Not really authentic home cooking.
Now though, Indian chefs are gaining a reputation as connoisseurs in their own right, popularizing Indian food that is more traditional, closer to the real food made at home, while at the same time experimenting with different versions of these flavors.
Read the WSJ story.
In places like Columbia, Korea, and the Philippines, eating insects as a snack or with a meal is no big deal, but in Europe and the United States, the idea of chomping down on a crunchy critter makes many people squeamish.
A few ambitious chefs are determined to change all that.
Read if you can stomach it.
In one of the best ever war finds, the intact remains of a young British soldier have been discovered at Waterloo, almost 200 years after Prussian
and English troops defeated Napoleon. The bones of the soldier, believed to have died on June 18, 1815, were found buried 15 inches below thick mud in the battlefield, Daily Mail reported.
The skeleton of the young trooper, who is likely to be from one of the Duke of Wellington's regiments, was unearthed lying on his back with the musket ball that killed him still between his ribs in the Belgian battlefield. Archaeologists hope his possessions, including coins, a spoon, a leather strap and a piece of wood possibly a rifle butt - carved with the initials CB, might help them identify the skeleton.
Ann Rutherford, best known for playing Scarlett O'Hara's youngest sister Careen in Gone With the Wind, has died aged 94. The actress also starred as Mickey Rooney's girlfriend, Polly Benedict, in MGM's long-running Andy Hardy series.
Mamata Banerjee's sudden flight to Delhi last night has made it clear that she is a key factor in determining the presidential candidate. Congress had wanted that Mamata should support Pranab Mukherjee, but for some reason or the other Mamata is not convinced to support the Union finance minister.
Mamata had said that she is in favour of candidates like former Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi or Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar.
On Sunday Manas Bhuniya, who is irrigation minister in Mamata's cabinet and a senior Congress leader in Bengal had appealed to her to support ''Pranabda", as he hails from Bengal. But top Congress leaders are still not convinced that Mamata will support Pranab Mukherjee and for that as a last effort Sonia Gandhi wants to have one to one with Mamata.
The meeting is scheduled to be held this afternoon and a second round of talks might be held on Thursday.The Congress has also fielded former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee for the post.
The possibility of Pranab Mukherjee as the next President of India appears to have energised the next rung in government into positioning themselves for a potential rejig that may be prompted by the finance minister's exit.
On paper, there are many contenders -- among them, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and former RBI governor C Rangarajan. But the latter two are seen as "outsiders' not quite acceptable to the party. There is also talk that the Prime Minister could keep the portfolio to signal a renewed thrust to economic policy.
An estimated 80% of the 46 lakh voters across 18 assembly constituencies cast their franchise on Tuesday in a poll that is being watched nation-wide. Barring sporadic incidents of stone-pelting and group clashes reported from Railway Kodur, Parkal, Macherla and Payakaraopeta seats, the polls which saw an unprecedented display of money power ended peacefully. Angry voters damaged a police jeep in Durgampeta village in Parkal constituency after the cops beat them up.
More on the TOI
A day after state Finance Minister Amit Mitra met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to seek a financial package for West Bengal, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday night.
Sources in the Congress said party president Sonia Gandhi had invited her on the phone to discuss the presidential elections. The meeting between the two leaders is scheduled for Wednesday evening as part of Gandhi's efforts at clinching a political consensus on a candidate.
More on the Hindu.
A sarcastic US President Barack Obama today said his rival Mitt Romney's presidential campaign theme could fit on a tweet with letters to spare -- "it's Obama's fault."
Obama told supporters in Maryland that his policies at a time of economic misery had been able to "right the ship a little bit" but that he needed a second term to "lock in" progress and growth.
"The good news is, the American people generally agree with our vision," Obama said.
The Barack Obama administration has said that Russia is sending attack helicopters to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and is warning about a dramatic escalation in the Arab country's 15-month conflict.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said the delivery represents the "latest information." She said the US is concerned as the helicopters "will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."