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Satyamev Jayate: Aamir to meet Raj CM tomorrow

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May 08, 2012

23:30  Satyamev Jayate: Aamir to meet Raj CM tomorrow:  Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan will meet Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Jaipur on Wednesday in connection with his plea for speedy trial of female foeticide cases, official sources said.

Khan had said in his television programme Satyamev Jayate aired on Sunday that he would request the CM to set up a special court for speedy trial of such cases in the state.

The show highlighted the story of a sting operation done seven years back by two journalists to expose increasing female foeticide cases in four states -- Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

22:53  Lokpal Bill to come up in Rajya Sabha next week:  The much-debated Lokpal Bill, which seeks to create an anti-corruption watchdog, is likely to come up for discussion and passage in the Rajya Sabha next week.

Heeding demands from opposition parties and allies, the clause on setting up a Lokayukta in the states is likely to be removed, sources said.
In December last year, the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with certain amendments.

The government had failed to get a constitutional amendment cleared which sought to give constitutional status to the ombudsman.
21:31  Libya PM office attacked by gunmen:  

At least two security officials have been killed after ex-rebels attacked the office of the Libyan prime minister in the capital, Tripoli.


Read the full story on BBC

20:45  CBI freezes bank accounts of Jagan's publications:  The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday froze bank accounts of publications owned by YSR President Jaganmohan Reddys publications. The SBI and OBC accounts of Sakshi, Jagathi publications and Indira TV were frozen.

The CBI special court in Hyderabad issued summons to Jagan in connection with his alleged disproportionate assets case.

The CBI has so far filed three chargesheets in the special court in connection with the case, naming Jagan as accused no 1, and the court took cognizance of the first chargesheet to issue summons to Jagan, asking him to appear personally before the court on May 28.
20:31  Air India can be shut down very easily: Ajit Singh:  Air India can be shut down very easily. However, there will be repurcurssions to the shut down, said Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in an interview to NDTV as he spoke about the ongoing pilots strike.

The pilots job depends on Air Indias performance. They must realise that it is their airline. Employees will have to decide the future of Air India, he added.

Over a 100 Air India pilots have gone on strike since Monday night, and more are likely to join in. This has led to disruptions in Air India's international operations with five flights cancelled.
19:04  Centre withdraws review petition in 2G case:  In yet another twist in the 2G scam probe, the Centre has withdrawn the review petition it had filed in the Supreme Court in connection with the case.

The petition had sought clarification in the apex court's verdict in the 2G case.
18:46  I accept I did NOT take action on Tatra bribe: Antony:  

Under attack for delaying action for two years on the alleged bribe offer to Army Chief Gen V K Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony today said he had ordered a CBI probe as soon as the matter came into public domain without anybody demanding it. Antony said he had not taken any action when the Army
Chief told him about the bribe offer in 2010 as he had told Gen Singh to do so but he had refused to pursue the matter then. 


"That day I did not do anything...I accept that day I did not take action. I am not denying that," he said, replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the functioning of the Defence Ministry. As Opposition members sought to corner him over his inaction leading to an uproar, Antony said the Army Chief did not want to pursue it "so I did not take action".

18:37  China to probe claims of human flesh in capsule:  

China today said it would further investigate reported claims of South Korean authorities that they have seized Chinese-made capsules containing powdered
remains of dead babies. 

Medications made of human remains were not found in China, but further investigation into the matter would be launched, Chinese health authorities said in reply to media reports that "health capsules" made with aborted fetuses were smuggled into South Korea from China.

Watch the video of the capsules being emptied here.

18:20  Orissa CM firm Jhina Hikaka should NOT resign:  

With the deadline by Maoists to Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka, who had been held captive by them for over a month, to resign ending on Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said today that he should not quit under pressure from 'illegal' forces. 


"Any elected people's representative, including Jhina Hikaka, should not resign under pressure from illegal and unconstitutional forces", Patnaik told reporters here on his return from New Delhi. Stating that the job of MLAs and MPs was to serve their constituencies, the chief minister said that they should continue to work for the people.


This statement, of course, came before Naxals in Odisha killed the ASI they abducted today to protest combing operations.

18:11  Mr Right is not online:  With her friends all paired up, internet dating seemed the perfect way to find love. But Pippa Wright soon learned ticking all the boxes is the worst possible way to choose a partner.  A nice read on the Independent.
18:09  Chomsky: Jobs arent coming back:  

Wealth is concentrated with the 1 percent because America no longer makes things: Financiers just manipulate money.


Read it on the Salon

18:04  Pak PM Gilani may be disqualified for 5 years: SC:  

Just in: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani faces the possibility of being disqualified for five years, says the Pakistan Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court today issued the detailed verdict in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, DawnNews reported.  The verdict, comprising 77 pages, was authored by Justice Nasirul Mulk. Regarding the argument that the letter to Swiss authorities could not be written as President Asif Ali Zardari enjoyed immunity, the order said.

17:53  Aamir Khan's Satyameva Jayate played it safe:  

Did you see the first episode of Aamir Khan's Satyameva Jayate on Sunday?

Did you miss anything when the superstar with a conscience launched himself on the small screen with a multi-million publicity blitz?

Was Aamir's debut performance fiery enough to rekindle the hearts of television viewers thoroughly degenerated by the Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi genre of programming?

The answer is in between 'yes' and 'no.'


Read Sheela Bhatt's column on, one of the few to offer an intelligent criticism of the show.  

17:44  Mango donuts anyone?:  Just so you know, Dunkin' Donuts, has officialy launched in India today. Read the report on the WSJ.
17:40  Is there a plan to bring the last Mughal Emperor back to India?:  

Following the Indian uprising against the British of 1857, in which the rebels made Bahadur Shah II their nominal leader, the emperor was convicted and dispatched to live out his years in sad exile in Rangoon. He would die there in November 1862, the last of the once mighty Mughuls.


Read Andrew Buncombe on the Independent.


Also read William Dalrymple's masterful book: The Last Mughal, which traces Bahadur Shah Zafar's story.

17:34  Centre asks Maha to get its act together, no relief package :  

Drought-hit Maharashtra was today virtually left high and dry after it demanded a Rs 2,200-crore relief package from the Centre with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking it to exercise fiscal discipline, giving fodder to the opposition Shiv Sena to hit out at the ruling Congress. 

An all-party delegation of MPs and MLAs from Maharashtra, led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, which met Singh was told by the Prime Minister to exercise fiscal discipline through proper use of allocations made by the Planning Commission, state leaders said.

17:21  Derek O'Brien @quizderek Defence Minister Antony is a soft-spoken man but delivering an earnest,solid one hour+ speech in Rajya Sabha. 
17:16  Hilary Clinton experiences a Mamata Banerjee tantrum :  

Hilary Clinton has just had first-hand experience of  the problems that the Indian government regularly faces with its unpredictably irascible -- and it now appears maybe untruthful -- coalition partner, Mamata Banerjee.


Read John Elliott's blog

17:11  When in London, watch Shakespeare in Gujarati:  

If you're in London, and so desire, watch Shakespearean plays in Gujarati.

This is what the festival promo says: The Globe to Globe festival brings together artists from all over the globe, to enjoy speaking these plays in their own language, in our Globe, within the architecture Shakespeare wrote for. The artists will play the Globe way -- telling stories through the word and the actor, complemented by costumes, music and dance -- and will complete each play within two-and-a-quarter hours (we hope).


More  (We aren't sure if you can carry your theplas with you)

16:58  TMC to Pranab: You are smiling, give us a chance to smile:  Kalyan Banerjee asked the Finance Minister to "reconsider" the demand of the West Bengal government for a moratorium. "You are smiling. We will smile if you reconsider our demand ... give us a chance to smile," he said looking at Mukherjee. Noting that governments should not "run after industrialists" as people run the country and not them, he said the land acquisition laws should favour agriculture. He wondered why formulating laws relating to land acquisition was taking such a long time.
16:56  TMC rages: Centre gets lion's share, WB nothing!:  

Pressing its demand for three-year moratorium for West Bengal on repayment of loans, key UPA ally Trinamool Congress today slammed the government on various policy issues including land acquisition, Right to Education and taxation.


Participating in the debate on Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Trinamool member Kalyan Banerjee asked the Centre to immediately consider the West Bengal government's demand for moratorium on loan repayment for the state on the lines of Punjab.


"Our leader Mamata Banerjee has been repeatedly requesting (the moratorium), please give it to us," the Trinamool member said passionately. "You (Centre) get the lion's share...states are facing financial take the benefit of are not heeding to states facing problem. You are doing it at the cost of people coming from states," he said.


Referring to the Centre's decision to set up a committee to consider the state's demand, he said, it was stated a month back but "where is the result? Where is the effect?...there is no output".

16:51  Opposition is essential to getting laws passed:  

In Parliament, Pranab Mukherjee pushes for goods and services tax. He says we cannot check fiscal deficit without Opposition help and that the Opposition is essential to getting laws passed.

16:37  Oil companies lose crores because of oil subsidy: Pranab:  Back to Pranab Mukherjee's speech in Parliament. The finance minister says India is not insulated from the world and one cannot afford to ignore what is happening around the world. Addressing the oil subsidy, the government says oil companies are losing crores because of the subsidy. Rising oil subsidies need to addressed. 

Baijayant Jay Panda @Panda_Jay Terrible news, cowardly act, not killed in shootout but aftr being abducted RT @otvnews: Maoists kill police ASI (Kruparam Majhi of Odisha)


Panda is a BJD MP from Kendrapada, Orissa.

16:30  Ministers, VVIPs tour expenses rise 10 fold:  

Meanwhile, expenses on foreign and domestic tours of central ministers and VVIPs rose by more than ten times to Rs 678.52 crore in 2011-12, up from Rs 56.16 crore in the previous year. 

The tour expenses was increased from Rs 46.95 crore in the budget estimates of 2011-12 to Rs 499.89 crore in the revised estimates, due to payment dues to Air India for VVIP travels and maintenance of aircraft, etc., government informed the Lok Sabha today.

16:27  While on Pranab Mukherjee, read this piece on the Hindu: So is Pranab unfit to be President?

Mukherjee says the global economy is changing and we have to build a consensus to ensure economic growth.

For once, the opposition benches are silent.

16:17  Mukherjee says coalition consensus is needed for reforms and that the government has the capacity to respond to any challenge.
16:14  In the Lok Sabha, Pranab Mukherjee says the government and the opposition must work together to ensure economic liberalisation and growth.
16:13  SC quashes big-cat plan to bring cheetahs from Namibia:  Just in: The Supreme Court has quashed the proposal to bring in cheetahs from Namibia saying it will not help in conversation. The case for taking some lions from Gujarat - home to the last remaining wild population of the grassland big cat -- to Palpur-Kuno in Madhya Pradesh has been hanging fire in the apex court for seven years now. The issue has got muddled further with the Union government deciding to import the cheetah from Namibia and attempt to make the same forest patch a home to the animal that went extinct in India in 1947.

Updates on that very tragic story in a bit.  


Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, finance minsiter Pranab Mukherjee responds to the debate on the Finance Bill.

16:08  Professor Hargopal who was the Naxal mediator during the release of Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon says the killing is in retaliation to the combing operations in the area.

Krupa Ram Majhi was abducted when he was escorting a water tanker to a CRPF camp in the Nuapada area.


ASI Kruparam Majhi, who was abducted around 11 am today, was shot dead near the Dharambandha police station at Nuapada. It is believed that the killing was in retaliation to the combing operations in the area.

The ASI's body has been recovered by the police.


Just in: The abducted ASI has been shot dead. Police have just recovered the body.

15:28  Omar Abdullah @abdullah_omar A 12 year old boy was killed by a militant grenade last night. Seems the manufactured outrage on my time line is purely one sided.
15:23  Satyamev Jayate mums should have gone on a 'sex strike':  

That's what Venky Vembu says on Read

15:22  Orangutans apes London mayor:  

The story that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee probably needs to have a look at to get a reality check and a better world view. As Hillary Clinton said yesterday, women in politics should have the hide of a rhino and criticism should not be taken personally.


15:14  Air India sends doctors to 'ill' pilots' homes:  

Cracking the whip, national carrier Air India has sacked 10 pilots from the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) who went on mass sick leave against the plan to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to those from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

"We have sacked 10 pilots who are first officers. IGP has been derecognised and its Mumbai office will be seized,' senior Air India official told IANS here. "We have sent doctors to the houses of pilots who have reported sick and are monitoring the situation closely. No international flight operations have been affected in any way."

IGP is the union of pilots of Air India prior to its merger with Indian Airlines. The pilots have been agitating since midnight on the flag carrier's plans to provide training to Indian Airlines pilots on the Boeing-787 Dreamliner which are to be inducted.

15:06  President Patil returns home after two-nation visit:  

Wrapping up the last foreign tour before her tenure comes to an end on July 25, President Pratibha Patil returned here today after a nine-day visit to the South Africa and Seychelles. Patil's Seychelles trip, where she arrived on April 29,was marked by key developments that included India's support  to the island republic in tackling with the menace of piracy, apart from a USD 75 million financial package to it. 


During what came as the second Presidential visit from India to the country after 22 years, India inked two key MoUs with Seychelles. 


Also see: President Patil defends her foreign tours again

14:58  Must read: Is Rabindranath Tagore relevant today?
14:51  Rabindranath Tagore's home to be a museum:  The West Bengal government is planning to convert the Jorasanko Thakurbari, the ancestral house of Rabindranath Tagore in north Kolkata, into a museum. While kicking off the bard's week-long 151st birth anniversary celebrations in Kolkata on May 1, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said they were mulling over how to convert the mansion, where Tagore was born and spent most of his childhood, into a museum. "This (Tagore's house) should be converted into a museum to preserve our cultural heritage for the coming generations," Mamata said.

On Rabindranath Tagore's 151st birth anniversary watch this documentary made in 1961 directed by Satyajit Ray. Watch

14:37  Govt waives Meira Kumar's Rs 2 crore bill :  

Details of that abduction in a bit.

Meanwhile, the government has waived almost Rs. 2 crore, allegedly owed by Speaker Meira Kumar for use of her father Jagjivan's Ram residence in Delhi.

An RTI query has revealed that Meira Kumar, on getting the bill, said she had vacated the house number 6 at Krishna Menon Marg in November 2002 and so the government decided to withdraw the recovery notice.

Read the report on

14:27  Naxals abduct ASI in Orissa, driver let off:  

The cop was on his way to a CRPF camp with a water tanker when the abduction happened in the Naxal dominated Nuapada district of Orissa.

NDTV reports, however, say the cop is missing and not abducted. Maoists have called for a bandh in seven states including Andhra Pradesh, Orissa.

This abduction comes less than a week after Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon was released by Naxals.

14:15  Yet again, Naxals abduct ASI in Orissa :  Just in: Another cop has been abducted by Naxals in Orissa. ASI Krupa Ram Majhi was abducted two hours ago. The constable accompanying him was let off.  Early reports on CNN IBN says there were 10 Naxals who abducted the officer. 
14:08  Responding to the termination of services of the 10 striking Air India pilots, the Pilots' Guild says that the sacking is undemocratic.  
14:05  I don't owe Rahul a film: Mahesh Bhatt:  

For those of you waiting with baited breath to see Rahul Bhatt (Mahesh Bhatt's son and a housemate on Bigg Boss) on the big screen, the wait will get longer.


When Mahesh Bhatt was asked whether it was a deliberate decision not to launch his own son and daughter, he said, "No, it is not like that. There is no strategy or plan behind this." "The doors aren't shut on Sunny (Rahul Bhatt). It is
just that he is too fussy. He was offered 'Kalyug' and he said no to it. He was also offered a film by Pooja, he said no to that as well," he said. "There is no need to obsessively weave a film only for him. I don't owe him a break. If he gets a break outside, so be it," he added.


Rahul, an aspiring actor, was in news in 2009 following revelations that David Headley, an accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, had befriended him.


Some of us can count our blessings Rahul is picky.

14:01  Army prepared to meet any contingency: VK Singh:  

Here are the details of what Army Chief Gen V K Singh said today on defence preparedness.

The General said the force was operationally prepared to meet any contingency, days after he highlighted major "shortcomings" in the country's defence preparedness. On corruption in defence deals, he said it was important
to ensure probity and transparency. 

Speaking about defence preparedness of the country, the Army Chief said, "With great confidence, I can say that operationally we are prepared to take on any contingency that can arise." Singh said defence preparedness was a large field that comprises training of troops, morale of the troops and the type of equipment and other things.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on March 12, Gen Singh had complained about lack of defence preparedness and ammunition. He had also pointed out the obsolescence of air defence systems in the force.The leakage of the letter in the
media had triggered a controversy.

VK Singh retires on May 31.

13:55  Google's ad business faces antitrust inquiry in India :  

India has launched an antitrust probe of Google Inc's online advertising business to investigate potential anticompetitive practices, government officials familiar with the matter say, marking the latest setback for the Internet company in an emerging market where it has lofty ambitions.  


Read more on that here

13:49  Indian prisoner to be released from Pak jail after 30 yrs:  

In other news, Indian national Surjeet Singh, who has been languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail in this eastern Pakistani city for over 30 years, is expected to be freed within three months, his lawyer has said. The Punjab government yesterday told the Lahore High Court that Surjeet had completed his term and would be released.

Through a written report submitted in the court of Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, the government said Surjeet was given the status of an internee last month. The judge was hearing a petition seeking the release of Surjeet filed by his Pakistani lawyer Awais Sheikh, who is also counsel for Sarabjit Singh, an Indian on death row after his conviction for alleged involvement in bomb blasts in 1990. 

13:42  Four Air India international flights were cancelled today after about 100 pilots called in sick. Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh termed the strike as "illegal" and said the management of the national carrier would take appropriate action against those involved in the stir.
13:38  AI sacks 10 striking pilots, derecognises guild:  

The Air India management has derecognised the Indian Pilots Guild and terminated the services of 10 pilots who went on strike today. Earlier in the day, the management had warned that the striking pilots must return to work by 6 pm today or face action.

13:38  Amazing photographs depicting life in India a century ago:  

If you're big on nostalgia, read this. A tennis party pose among tea trolleys: full-length dresses and sun hats for the ladies; shirt-sleeve order, neat moustaches and optional pipe for the men. This is just one of many photographs showing life in India at least a century ago - and they were all found in a shoebox.



13:34  The real reason why Sarkozy lost France:  

As France's veers left with Franois Hollande's win, a report of how Nicolas Sarkozy lost the elections because of his personality and not economics.

Read the report on CNN.

13:24  The Crime Branch officials say that Syed Abdul Rehman was in touch with his handlers in Pakistan. Details awaited.

The two men are believed to be Kafil Akhtar and Syed Abdul Rehman are now being interrogated by Crime Branch officials and belong to the IM and LeT respectively.

13:05  Key IM, LeT men arrested in 2010 Chinnaswamy blast:  Just in: Two people have been held for their alleged involvement in the 2010 Chinnaswamy blast in Bangalore. The men are being interrogated by crime branch officials and are believed to belong to the Indian Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Two low-intensity explosions near a packed Chinnaswamy cricket stadium less than an hour before an IPL match left 15 persons, including five security men injured.
13:01  B'desh happy with Pranab's take on river linking policy:  

One of the issues that came up during the Clinton visit was the Teesta water dispute. Today, former Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shamsher M. Chowdhury said the recent statement issued by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Dhaka on the bilateral water disputes, is encouraging.


The two countries recently decided to re work the water sharing agreement on the River Teesta, which is the fourth biggest cross border source of water between India and Bangladesh after the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.


As per a bilateral agreement of water sharing signed in 1983, 36 percent of water from the river goes to Bangladesh while 39 percent is retained by India. Now, both countries want to modify the sharing rules, and experts believe that Bangladesh could demand 55 percent of water for itself and allow India to claim the remaining 45 percent.

12:56  India vows cuts in Iranian oil imports as Clinton visits:  

India will curtail its imports of Iranian oil by 20 percent, officials said, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks in New Delhi to enlist India's help with sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran over its nuclear program.


More on this story on Bloomberg

12:53  Muslim MPs welcome SC order on Haj subsidies:  

Welcoming the Supreme Court order to strike down the Centre's policy of giving Haj subsidies, Muslim Members of Parliament today sought an arrangement which will directly benefit the pilgrims and improve standards of
the minority community. 


"The Haj subsidy of Rs 600 crore is given to Air India and not pilgrims... Under this garb of subsidy, it (money) is going to Air India which is a sick airline," Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi told reporters outside Parliament. Reacting to the apex court order, Owaisi said, "This Rs 600 crore should be invested in education of minority girls because their education standards are very very low."

12:44  Doctors without borders pull back in Kashmir:  

Mdecins Sans Frontires shut down its operations in the Kupwara district of Kashmir last month and will significantly reduce its activities in the valley as a whole, cutting a staff of 100 by more than half.


Read the blog on the New York Times.

12:41  Slum scenes in The Avengers criticized in India:  

On the New York Times' India blogs: The Avengers may have left comic-book fans salivating and Hollywood studio executives happily counting their box-office receipts,' but the hit superhero movie has taken some criticism in India where audience members have "objected to scenes set in a slum", Dave Itzkoff writes in Arts Beat blog of The New York Times.


Read more

12:33  Salmanbhai doesn't need to patronise me on Twitter: Arjun Kapoor:  

Arjun Kapoor, who came under the scanner when heavyweight Salman Khan allegedly refused to promote the actor for his upcoming flick Ishaqzaade on Twitter, has slammed reports of a cold war between them.

According to rumour mills, the snub was a consequence of Kapoor's fall-out with Khan''s sister Arpita on the dating front. However, this development comes as a shock because Kapoor considers Khan his mentor who nudged him to shed 50 kilograms so that he could try his hand at acting.

Till then, Kapoor was satisfied making things happen by assisting directors and producers. "He doesn't need to patronise me on Twitter. I don't think Salman Khan needs to come to me and subscribe to me on a social medium. Today Yash Raj production is the biggest in Bollywood and he [Salman Khan] is doing Yash Raj's next film with them,' Gulf News quoted Kapoor as saying.

12:27  Is this the world's toughest 10-year-old? :  Indian boy loves having coconuts smashed on his forehead with a baseball bat. Read more on the Daily Mail.  
12:21  US foils al-Qaeda's bid to bomb American passenger plane:  

In other news, the US has foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to blow up a passenger plane and seized a sophisticated explosive device bearing the "hallmarks" of the 2009 underwear bomb, officials said. The plot was foiled before it threatened any Americans, and no airliners were at risk, a US official said.  

A non-metallic explosive device that could have passed through airport security unnoticed like the one used in the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound jet in 2009 by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was recovered, the
official said. It was meant for use by a suicide bomber, he said.


No sniggers on Twitter as Krishna, Clinton pump hands, unlike the Hina Rabbani Khar visit.

12:05  The Krishna-Clinton joint press meet ends:  The US secretary of state will now meet leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, before heading back home. Clinton, who is on a three-day visit, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday. In the morning yesterday, she also met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.
12:00  Krishna: Iran oil imports not a source of discord :  

The Iranian issue is not a source of discord between India and the US, affirms Krishna, even as Clinton says she hopes India will reduce Iran oil imports. Krisha says the Iran issue should be seen beyond the issue of energy

Krishna says India will provide level playing fields to the US as per law.

11:53  Govts must do more on terror: Hillary:  

US has reasons to believe that Hafiz Sayeed is one of the principal architects in the Mumbai attack."We want to make it visible to the world that Saeed is resposible for the deaths of 166 people, including six Americans. And that he masterminded the 26/11 terror attacks."  

11:49  Hillary: Pak must do much more to stop terror:  

Hillary says Pakistan needs to ensure that its territory is not used to further terror attacks.

She is now taking questions from the media, most of which are about terrorism and Hafiz Saeed (the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks).

Clinton says the US is committed to acting against terror threats in Pakistan, Afghanistan and those that threaten to destroy their allies. She says governments need to fight stronger against terrorism.

11:42  India, US should be largest trade partners: Hillary:  

Hillary says the US believes there needs to be greater trade transit between Indian the rest of South-east Asia. (This is what she had also brought up during the interactive session at La Martiniere school in Kolkata yesterday). And that Indian must build trade and transit to Bangladesh and Myanmar.

She says we should be working to have the largest trade relationship with each other.

She also says terrorism issues were discussed and reiterated that Pakistan needs to act on terror.

11:38  Hillary: Hope India reduces Iran oil imports :  

Krishna says both India and the US believe that Pak needs to act on terror.

He says India is optimistic about the future relations with the US and conveyed India's concerns about the mobility of IT professionals.


Secretary Hillary Clinton now speaks. "We discussed civil-nuclear agreement. We need to expand trade ties with India and at the same time hope to see India reduce imports of Iranian oil.

11:34  Krishna-Clinton talks end:  

SM Krishna-Hillary Clinton address the press after their meeting this morning. Key issues discussed were:

Krishna says:

-- Visa problems of Indian students were discussed.

-- Bilateral relations are on track and we are satisfied with our relationship with the US.

-- Need to eliminate terror sanctuaries in Pakistan

-- Discussed peaceful settlement of the Iran nuclear issue.

11:29  Excellent, well done, Air India: Omar tweets:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the cancellation of flights by Air India due to pilots' stir will not help the carrier in dealing
with its troubles. Here's what his tweet says: "Excellent, well done, Air India. This is just the way you drag yourself out of the hole you find yourself in, cancel
more flights."
11:23  US says Mamata-Hillary discussed FDI, Teesta:  

Incidentally, the US says that Mamata Banerjee and Hillary Clinton did discuss FDI on retail and the Teesta water issue. Yesterday, at the press conference immediately after the two met, the West Bengal CM categorically denied the issues were brought up.

11:20  Lok Sabha has been adjourned till noon, and the Rajya Sabha for 10 minutes after uproar over the alleged role of Home Minister Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
11:18  Right now, Hillary Clinton is still in a meeting with External Affairs minister SM Krishna after a sleep-inducing South Indian breakfast of Rawa Upma, Medu Wada and Podi with ghee.
11:12  The SC says it will examine the functioning of the Haj Committee of India and its selection process for sending pilgrims for the Haj.
11:11  SC to Centre: Haj subsidies have to go in 10 years:  This is what the SC said in its judgment today: "We hold that this policy (giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims) is best done away with. The Centre has to eliminate the policy of Haj subsidies over a period of 10 years. The Centre has to reduce the number of its representatives to be sent along with Haj delegations.
11:04  SC to Centre: Haj subsidies have to go:  

Just in: The Supreme Court strikes down the Centre's policy of giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims. The SC asks the Centre to do away with the policy in 10 years or in effect, phase it out in 10 years.

The Centre had informed the Supreme Court that it had decided to restrict Haj pilgrimage at government subsidy to Muslims only as a "once in a lifetime" affair as against the existing policy of "once in five years".

In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the government said the new guidelines have been framed to ensure that priority is given to those applicants who have never performed Haj.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging a Bombay high court judgement which had directed the Ministry of External Affairs to allow certain private operators to operate the services of 800 of the 11,000 pilgrims earmarked under the VIP quota subsidised by the government.

Earlier, the bench had pulled up the Centre's practice of "politicising" the annual Haj pilgrimage by permitting official delegations to accompany the pilgrims, for which the government offers huge subsidy, saying, "It's a bad religious practice."

10:57  Army chief echoes Antony: Defence forces ready for contingencies:  

Echoing Defence minister AK Antony's statement in Parliament yesterday, that India was battle ready, Army chief General VK Singh says today that defence forces are operationally prepared to meet any contingency.


Read what Antony said in Parliament yesterday.

10:51  Pilots not helping by reporting sick: Ajit Singh:  

Ajit Singh said the pilots are not helping by reporting sick. "It has disrupted flights, people are stranded and being put up in hotels. The management will look at the rules of Air India and decide what action is to be taken. There are many methods to deal with their demands but going on strike is not one of them, he said.

The pilots guild however says the strike is not indefinite and they were ready to join back if the management agreed to two among their 10 demands.

10:45  Air India strike illegal, storms aviation minister:  

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today called the strike by Air India pilots as illegal, and said the management of the national carrier would take appropriate action against those involved in the stir. 

Singh said the pilots went on sick leave in the midst of their talks with the management of Air India which has led to cancellation of flights. Four Air India international flights from New Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled this morning after about 100 pilots refused to join work. "They are reporting sick. They have not given any notice for any strike. So whatever the Air India management rules and regulations, action will be taken accordingly," Singh said.

10:42  4 AI flights cancelled, 100 pilots refused to join work :  

Apart from that bomb threat, it will be a taxing day for flyers with four Air India international flights cancelled from Delhi and Mumbai today after about 100
pilots refused to join work. The airlines domestic operations, however, were
unaffected. "Four flights - Delhi-Toronto, Delhi-Chicago, Mumbai-Newark and Mumbai-Hongkong via Delhi have been cancelled due to unavailability of pilots," an Air India spokesperson said here. About 100 pilots have so far not reported for duty, the spokesperson said.

A section of Air India pilots owing allegiance to Indian Pilots Guild are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training. A section of Air India pilots had yesterday threatened to strike work following the failure of talks with  the Air India management.

10:36  Human bomb threat, all Indian airports on alert:  

Indian airports have been put on high alert after reports of a sabotage attempt by a human bomb. While the CISF, NSG teams have been alerted, the threat is not specific, but general in nature. Which means the airport supposedly targetted by the human bomb has not been mentioned.

10:30  Hillary and PM discuss nukes, FDI, Afghanistan:  

Last evening, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed key strategic issues, including civil-nuclear cooperation, terrorism, the situations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Read the rediff story here

10:25  Hillary came, saw and conquered Kolkata:  

Yesterday in West Bengal, Hillary Clinton came, Hillary Clinton saw (mostly NGOs) and now it's up to Mamata Banerjee to decide if the chief minister can conquer the urge for distractions and use the opportunity to turn the tide. "US investment was not possible because of the political situation (earlier). Now their (the US establishment's) views are favourable for investment,' the chief minister told a 20-minute news conference at Writers' Buildings after meeting the US secretary of state.


Moreon the Telegraph, Calcutta.

10:16  Al-Jazeera shuts down Beijing bureau:  
Al-Jazeera English has closed its Beijing bureau after the Chinese authorities refused to renew the press credentials of its correspondent or grant a visa for a replacement, the TV station said on Tuesday.

Journalist groups said the expulsion of Melissa Chan - who has been reporting from Beijing for five years - is a grave threat to the ability of foreign reporters to work in China.

The Chinese authorities have yet to make a statement about the closure of the bureau, but immigration officers say privately that Chan's visa has not been renewed because she violated regulations. 

Read further HERE
09:59  South Indian treat for Hillary in New Delhi:  
It will be an all-South Indian fare comprising Rawa Upma with cashew nuts and fresh coriander, Medu Wada and Podi with ghee for Tuesday's breakfast for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna. 

Apart from this, there will be Kesari Bhaat, Oothappam (Masala/Plain), Dosai (Masala/Plain), steamed Idlis and drumstick sambhar. Coconut and tomato chutneys will complete the sumptuous South Indian Thali, according to officials in New Delhi.

The leaders will also be served Masala Tea and South Indian Coffee, officials said, adding the choice of breakfast was a departure from tradition.
09:15  US foils Al Qaeda suicide bombing on airline:  
The United States has foiled a plot by Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen to blow up an airliner and recovered an explosive device, officials have said, stressing the public was never in danger.

"The device was for use by a suicide bomber on an airliner," a US counter-terrorism official told AFP on condition of anonymity. 

The plot hatched by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was uncovered at an early stage and represented a "success story" for US authorities working closely with allies, he added.

"At no point were any airlines at risk," the official said, as news of the plot was revealed just days after the first anniversary of the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by US commandos at his Pakistan hideout.

Read more about it HERE
08:20  AI pilots strike work; ministry may shut Intl ops:  
A section of Air India pilots have refused to turn up to work citing health concerns. Nearly 100 pilots in Delhi and Mumbai, who are associated with the Indian Pilots Guild, failed to report to work on Monday night and the number is expected to go up to 250 on Tuesday.

The pilots had threatened to go on strike from Monday night, minutes after their talks with the airline management and aviation ministry failed on the issue of training for the Boeing-787 Dreamliner.

Four international flights were cancelled so far on Tuesday. These include flights from Delhi to Chicago, from Mumbai to New Jersey, from Delhi to Toronto and from Delhi to Hong Kong.

The aviation ministry, however, toughening its stand, has warned that it will shut international flights of the airline if the strike snowballs and will take strict action against the agitating pilots. 

This stir could cripple AI's international operations just ahead of the peak summer holiday season that begins this weekend.
08:15  We want to see Hafiz brought to justice: US:  
The United States has said that it wants to see Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Tayiba, brought to justice and this is the reason why it recently announced a reward of $10 million to anyone for information leading to his trial in a court of law. 

"We have been very clear why this programme, particularly our Rewards for Justice programme, was put in place. We want to see this individual brought to justice," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

"As you remember at the time, there was a lot of speculation of why we did this because everyone knows he's in Pakistan. What we want to do is give the Pakistani authorities the judicial wherewithal to bring this guy to justice," he said.

At the time we used the phrase, and continue to use, evidence that can withstand judicial scrutiny.

"Whether he is tried in a Pakistani court or in a US court or wherever, we want to see him brought to justice," Toner said.
08:12  US, China join hands against cyber terror:  
The US and China have agreed to work together on countering cyber threat.

"Because the US and China have developed technological capabilities in this arena, it's extremely important that we work together to develop ways to avoid any miscalculation or misperception that could lead to crisis in this area," Leon Panetta, US Defense Secretary, told reporters at a joint Pentagon news conference with his visiting Chinese counterpart General Liang Guanglie.
03:40  Hollande to reveal PM choice on inauguration day:  French president-elect Francois Hollande said today that he would reveal his choice for prime minister on May 15 when he is due to be inaugurated. "You will have the name of the prime minister on May 15," Hollande told reporters as he left his election headquarters. 

The 57-year-old Socialist said that he was focusing on international affairs for the moment. "During the upcoming days I am primarily focusing on international briefs because there are a lot of heads of state and governments who want to present me with a certain number of questions dear to them. I have to listen to them," he said. When asked if he had thought about the make-up of the new government, he said "not yet".
02:33  5 charged in US bomb plot plead not guilty:  Five men described by the government as self-proclaimed anarchists entered not guilty pleas today to charges that accuse them of plotting to bomb a highway bridge near Cleveland. The five will remain in jail until their next hearing, a federal magistrate said. A detention hearing scheduled for today was postponed. 

The men were arrested last week when they allegedly tried to detonate what turned out to be a dud bomb provided by an FBI undercover informant. The five had been associated with Occupy Cleveland, but organizers of the movement have tried to distance the group from the men. They say the five didn't represent it or its non-violent philosophy.
02:32  Qaeda kills 22 Yemen troops after death of leader:  Al-Qaeda gunmen today launched spectacular attacks on two army posts in south Yemen, killing at least 22 soldiers, to avenge the death of a top militant in an air raid, a military official said. 

Jihadists attacked the military posts outside the city of Zinjibar, which they have controlled since May last year, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Four officers were among those killed, he said. The attacks came after Yemeni al-Qaeda leader Fahd al-Quso, who was wanted in connection with the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, was killed in an air strike in eastern Yemen yesterday. 

"They attacked our positions in retaliation for the killing of Fahd al-Quso," said a military official, adding that a total of 22 soldiers were killed in the attack. He said the army had been anticipating al-Qaeda retaliation for the killing of Quso, saying that an alert was sent out to all units to expect an attack by the "enemy" following yesterday's air raid.
01:08  Alliance with France is strong as ever: White House:  Asserting that United States' alliance with France was as strong as it had been before the election of a new socialist president Francois Hollande, the White House today said US President Barack Obama has proposed to meet him before the G-8 and NATO summits. 

"Obama and President-elect Hollande each reaffirmed in that phone call the important and enduring alliance between the people of the United States and France. That alliance is strong and as strong today as it was last week," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference. "President Obama looks forward to welcoming President-elect Hollande to Camp David for the G-8 and then to Chicago for the NATO summit. He proposed that the two men meet beforehand at the White House," he said. 

During their talks yesterday, Carney said, Obama indicated that he looks forward to working closely with Hollande and his government on a range of shared economic and security challenges. Responding to a question on the situation in Europe, Carney said, the US President said just the other day, the US economy continues to face some headwinds, and the eurozone crisis is one of them.
00:37  Cleric indicted by Pak court for kidnapping policemen:  An anti-terrorism court in northwest Pakistan today indicted hardline cleric Sufi Mohammad and 19 others accused of kidnapping policemen and challenging the government's writ in 1995. 

Sufi Mohammad, the chief of the banned Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammedi, and his aides Maulana Khalid and Maulana Safiullah were among those indicted by Judge Syed Asim Imam. After framing formal charges against the accused, the judge adjourned the case till May 15. Police in Khwazakhela area of Swat valley had accused the 19 people of abducting policemen and challenging the government's writ in 1995.
00:10  Taliban kill 14 Pak security personnel, hang up heads:  The Taliban killed 14 security personnel and beheaded all but one of them before displaying the heads of two soldiers on wooden poles in the lawless North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, security officials said today. Nine soldiers were beheaded yesterday when militants overran a security picket in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency. 

The Taliban had been firing at the picket for the past few days, the military said. Authorities later found the beheaded bodies of the soldiers, security officials were quoted as saying by the local media. Five soldiers were captured by militants when the military raided a house in Miranshah last night. They were later killed and four of them were beheaded. The heads of two soldiers were hung on poles in Miranshah and the bodies were dumped in the local market.
00:08  Yesterday's live commentary
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