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May 21, 2012


23:00  Mamata not to attend PM's dinner on Tuesday:  Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will not attend the dinner tomorrow to be hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for UPA-II MPs and leaders to mark the coalition's three year in office at the Centre. 

Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress all-India general secretary Mukul Roy told PTI that though a "personal invitation" has been extended to her to attend the dinner, Banerjee, also West Bengal Chief Minister, would not be able to make it because of her "pre-occupation" in the state. 

Roy, a close aide of Banerjee, said he is likely to attend the dinner with some other party MPs. "It is basically a dinner extended by the Prime Minister every year to all MPs of the UPA and Banerjee is not an MP now," he added. 
22:42  Webcam case: Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days in jail:   A New Jersey judge on Monday refused to toss out the conviction of Indian student Dharun Ravi convicted of hate crime charges for spying over a homosexual roommate who later committed suicide and sentenced him to 30 days in jail.

Ravi, 20, was found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias, intimidation for pointing a webcam at his roommat's gay tryst with an older man.Prosecutors had said that Ravi deserves jail time. The defence plans to appeal the conviction.
22:08  Reactor Pressure Vessel opened in KNPP:  The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant today achieved an important milestone when the Reactor Pressure Vessel was unsealed paving the way for removal of dummy fuel and inspection of the vessel, moving closer to filling real fuel in the reactor. "...An important milestone of unsealing of Reactor Pressure Vessel is achieved today. 

During early hours, the equipment known as "Multiple Stud Tensioner" was lowered on the top of the sealed reactor pressure vessel to loosen all the studs which are used for sealing the vessel," a KNPP release said. This would facilitate removal of dummy fuel assemblies from the reactor pressure vessel.

Subsequently reactor pressure vessel inspection would be taken up, KNPP Senior Manager (HR) K Anbumani said in the release. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had on May 10 permitted KNPP to open the Reactor Pressure Vessel Top Head, Dummy Fuel Assembly removal and the vessel inspection, one step short of filling enriched uranium.
21:21  Sangma meets D Raja, seeks support:   Nationalist Congress Party Leader P A Sangma, whom the AIADMK and BJD has floated as a Presidential candidate, today met CPI leader D Raja seeking Left parties' support in the July elections to the top post. Raja said Sangma met him and handed over a letter signed by tribal MPs who is canvassing for a tribal leader to be elected as President. 

"He told me that he is meeting leaders of several parties. He sought our support. Left parties are meeting on Wednesday. Let us see," Raja told PTI. In a coordinated move, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Navin Patnaik had on May 17 announced their joint support to Sangma.
20:59  Insider trading: Rajat Gupta's trial begins in US:  

The trial of former Indian-American Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta began in New York on Monday in what is the most high profile case of insider trading in US history.

 

The trial began at US District Court, Southern Disctrict of New York with the judge Jed Rakoff meeting defence and procecution and sorting out routene issues and is expected to last for three weeks.

 

Gupta, 63, was also present in the cortroom. He appeared composed and was seen talking to his lawyers and taking down notes.

 

Gupta's lawyer Gary Naftalis told the judge that he would be making "three or four sentences about Gupta's charitable work in his opening remarks". The judge agreed to that.

 

The jury selection process is on. About 100 people have been called and jurors will be selected from them.

 

Gupta is the most high profile Wall Street executive to be charged in the government's crackdown on insider trading.

 

Opening remarks are expected later in the day. Gupta's wife and eldest daughter are also expected to be present during the trial, Naftalis informed the judge.

19:56  30 more Air India pilots axed:  PTI reports that 30 more striking Air India pilots sacked, according to an AI spokesperson.
19:51  Anand beats Gelfand in 17 moves to draw level:  

Vishwanathan Anand hit back strongly in game 8 to restore in his 12 match world chess championship match against Boris Gefland of Israel.

 

Anand, who has lost game 7 to trail in the match, destroyed Gefland in 17 moves to draw level with four matches to play.

19:44  Didi backing Meira for Prez: Cong non-committal:  

Congress today steered clear of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee remaining non-committal on Pranab Mukherjee as the next President but strongly backing Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for the post.

 

"I have not heard or seen the statement", party spokesman Rashid Alvi told reporters.

 

He was asked to react to Banerjee's remarks that she would be "very happy" to see Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi or even A P J Abdul Kalam as the next President.

 

Alvi said Congress will hold consultations with all concerned on the issue of next President.

19:23  Facebook shares tumble in early trade:  Facebook shares today saw a downtrend with the shares of the social networking website losing more then 10 percent in the early trades on NASDAQ stock exchange. The stock tumbled to touch a low of 34.13 dollars.
19:13  England win first test against West Indies:  

England have won the first Test of their series against the West Indies at Lords by five wickets.

 

Scores: West Indies 243 & 345, England 398 & 193/5 (A Cook 79, I Bell 63 no, K Roach 3/60)

19:01  Molestation case: Pomersbach furnishes bail documents :   Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach, accused of molesting an American woman in a hotel in New Delhi, today submitted to a Delhi court his bail bond and other relevant documents to meet the conditions on which he was granted bail on Saturday.
18:52  Aarushi-Hemraj case: Framing of charges tomorrow:  In other news: A Ghaziabad court has deferred till tomorrow the framing of charges against dentist couple Nupur Talwar and Rajesh Talwar in the case relating to the murder of their teenaged daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj after the accused pleaded lack of preparation for arguments.
18:50  So, the bottom line is that the bill has been delayed yet again. The Select Committee will present its report in the monsoon session of Parliament, while Team Anna (not Hazare) will begin an indefinite fast from July 25 in Delhi. 
18:49  Sitaram Yechury introduced a light moment, (though nobody laughed) saying,  "Don't let the government come up with loose motions."
18:47  It's taken approximately an hour for the House to sign off on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill to be referred to a Select Committee. What held up the House was procedural matters. Professor PJ Kurien, the Chair, was shouted down by members saying he allowed MPs to air their opinions. Dr Kurien said any member of the House can introduce a motion. Opposition benches created an uproar when the names to be part of the Committee were suggested by the Samajwadi Party's Naresh Agarwal. Agarwal had moved the motion for Bill to be referred to the Committee.
18:42  The Select Committee is now expected to submit its report on the  first day of the last week of the Monsoon Session.
18:40  Lokpal Bill is now referred to Select Committee:  Motion to propose the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill to a Select Committee was put to vote. The ayes win and the House is adjourned for the day.  
18:37  Chaos continues in the Rajya Sabha with the Chair beseeching/shouting for MPs to take their seat. Rajiv Shukla probes his nose, while MPs squabble over why their party is not represented in the panel. Women MPs want representation as well. 
18:32  Samajwadi Party's Naresh Agrawal speaking again. He was the first MP to stand up and propose six names for the Select Committee where the Lokpal Bill will be sent for approval. 
18:29  Anna Hazare announces fast from July 25:  MoS for Personnel V Narayanasamy says the 15-member Select Committee may submit report by the first day of last week of the Monsoon Session.

Outside Parliament, Team Anna does what they do best -- announces a fast. Anna won't fast, but other members will, beginning July 25.
18:23  Maya: Don't pass Lokpal Bill in a hurry:  BSP leader Mayawati says the matter should be placed "properly" before Parliament. She says she doesn't want it passed in haste and supports the government in its move to present the bill before the Select Committee. She also slams the government for making an SP MP move the motion first.


CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury says the government must move a motion to send bill to the Select Committee.
18:20  Jaitley on Lokpal: Govt playing games again:   BJP's Arun Jaitley says the Prime Minister should be clear whether he wants the Lokpal Bill at all. He says the government is playing games like it did during the last session.

Narayanaswamy says the panel can submit the report in the monsoon session. In other words, dead end in the budget session as well, unless it is extended.
18:10  Anna Hazare pipes in to say neither the government nor the opposition wants the Lokpal Bill to be passed. Delay in Lokpal Bill is an attempt to kill time.

BJP's Arun Jaitley says the credibility of the Parliament is at stake.
18:05  BJP wants discussion on Lokpal Bill first:   Congress MP Naresh Aggarwal moves motion for Bill to be presented before the Select Committee. In the Chair, Prof PJ Kurien tries his best to restore order.
The government and the opposition, quibble over rules. Ravi Shankar Prasad reading from the rule book. The BJP wants the motion to be moved by a minister and not an MP.
17:58  The BJP wants a discussion on the bill before it is presented to the Select Committee. 
17:56  This is the first time the Lokpal Bill has been tabled in the Budget session of Parliament. It was earlier tabled during the winter session but the house was adjourned sine die.

The government and the opposition spar over referring the bill to the Select Committee.  
17:54  Uproar in Rajya Sabha as govt tables Lokpal Bill:  BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy wants to why the differences have not been ironed out. The government says the differences have been narrowed down. Parliamentary Affairs minister PK Bansal says procedures have been followed. The bill is likely to be sent to a select committee after a motion to the effect is passed.
17:50  Even though there is no consensus on the bill as yet, the bill was added to the scheduled business for the day in a supplementary list. Even after amendments were made in the bill, several points of contention remain.


The opposition BJP still objects to the CBI not being made independent of the government. According to sources, Minister of State for Personal and Public Grievances V Narayanasamy and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla met Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley this morning in an effort to develop a consensus on the bill, but the meeting remained inconclusive.
17:46  Lokpal Bill tabled in Rajya Sabha:  Just in: The MoS PMO Narayanaswamy tables the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha. 
17:41  Visiting the UK? Indians will be screened for TB :  Indian citizens besides those from 66 other "high risk" countries seeking to enter Britain for over six months will need to be screened for tuberculosis before they are granted a visa, the Home Office announced today.

The costs of screening and subsequent treatment will be met by those people applying to come into the UK, the Home Office said, and added that the screening is specifically targeted at migrants from India and 66 other "high risk" countries. The tuberculosis screening programme will be rolled out in the countries over the next 18 months from July.
17:38  IIT JEE topper reads organic chem, not fiction; doesn't party:  While Arpit Aggarwal never attended a social gathering for two years and is grateful to his parents for helping him study with no distractions, he says it is equally important to take short breaks while preparing for a competitive exam. Arpit, 18 has achieved what is the dream of every IIT aspirant  -- he holds the all-India Rank One in IIT-JEE 2012. Meet him on rediff.com
17:28  The Italians are coming: Fiat plans India offensive :   Fiat SpA is planning a major product offensive in India -- bringing in brands including Chrysler's Jeep and Dodge -- as it attempts to catch up with well-entrenched players such as Suzuki Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. Read
17:26  Guptas Davos-worthy friends praise other Rajat online:  To US prosecutors, former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director Rajat Gupta is a Wall Street insider who fed secret tips to his business partner Raj Rajaratnam so the fund manager could reap millions in illicit profits.


Rajat Gupta's trial begins today.


Read
17:17  Two years after her nose was chopped off...:  She came to America after the Taliban hacked off her nose and ears, a symbol of the oppression of women in Afghanistan. Since then, she's been passed around by well-meaning strangers, showcased like a star and shielded like a fragile child. The fairy-tale ending everyone hoped for has remained elusive.

Read Aesha's story on cnn.com
17:11  Bangalore whistleblower pays with life:  Five days after a murderous attack by unknown assailants in the heart of Bangalore, SP Mahantesh, 48, an auditor and whistleblower on irregular land allotments in the State, died of his injuries.Doctors at the private hospital where he was treated said his heart stopped beating at 5.30 am on Sunday.

More
17:09  Subramanian Swamy '@Swamy39Vadra has migrated to Dubai and settled in a Rs 50 crore house. Exodus has started.


Must-read story on Subramanian Swamy on the Caravan magazine.
17:05  Yuvi goes to gym after 4 months: Aching, felt good:  yuvraj singh '@YUVSTRONG12 Did my first gym session today! And my body is aching shaking !! Felt good thou aftr 4 months
17:04  Sorry, Aamir Khan, kal baat nahin bani:   We should have seen the depths of horror that the greed for dowry can plumb to. What we saw, and heard, on Satyamev Jayate should have been seared in our eyes, and hearts, never to be forgotten. That didn't happen, says Savera Someshwa on rediff.com. Read

16:57  After Osama bin Laden:  The 9/11 attacks had turned the world upside down but the death of the architect of those attacks have not evoked a response even remotely comparable to the US attacks in September 2001.

Read the report on the Dawn
16:56  Our favourite wit on Twitter: Ramesh Srivats @rameshsrivats: 55 is a heptagonal number, a square pyramidal number, and a Fibonacci number. It's also the number of Rupees you now need to buy a dollar.
16:52  Yoga, Sanskrit and the Facebook connection:  Facebook founder Dustin Moskovitz, who was responsible for making sure the computers straining to run Facebook's expanding network never went down, has designed a new workplace management software, Quentin Hardywrites for The New York Times. The software's name? Asana, after the Sanskrit word meaning "easeful posture,' Hardy writes. Read
16:43  Ajit Singh chairs Air India unions meeting, result a dud :   Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh today chaired a meeting with unions from Air India, as the strike by pilots entered its 14th day. Members of 13 unions of Air India were called for the meeting. Appealing to the striking pilots to return to work, Singh had earlier said that the strike by pilots was illegal, and they should come back to work in the larger interest of the passengers.He assured that there will be no victimization by the government and management will look into the problems of the pilots.
16:38  Saturday Night Fever no more:  Everything that you wanted to know about Robin Gibb, pioneer of disco, who died of cancer at 62. Read
16:32  The CNN IBN show that Mamata Banerjee walked out of calling a student, Maoist. Watch
16:27  Family comforted Gibbs with music during bedside vigil :  Friends, family and fellow musicians have been paying tribute to Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, who died yesterday aged 62. The singer, who sold more than 200 million records and notched up dozens of hits with brothers Maurice and Barry, had undergone intestinal surgery and fought a long battle with cancer.

Read more
16:23  I will fight for my husband's honour: Vinita Kamte:  For Vinita Kamte, wife of the late Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte who was gunned down during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the battle has been a long one. Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa talks to Vinita, who in her book 'To the Last Bullet', has pieced together information about the sequence of events that preceded her husband's death at the hands of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists.

Read
16:21  Lone MP who stood by the cartoons in Parl (pun not intended):  Educationalists and eminent cartoonists described it as a sad day for Indian democracy when when members of the Lok Sabha flashed photocopies of a cartoon from Class XI textbooks, and argued that the cartoon hurt the sentiments of the Dalits and showed dalit leader B R Ambedkar in bad taste.


Read the report on rediff.com
16:04  The lonely job of guarding a busy highway in Taliban country:  Haunting photos of the young Afghan recruits charged with guarding one of the country's -- and the Taliban's -- crucial supply routes. See
15:59  Stay-at-home moms suffer more sadness:  A report says that stay-at-home moms struggle with sadness, depression, and anger more often than employed mothers do, according to a sure-to-be-controversial new Gallup poll.


While 26% of stay-at-home moms reported feeling sadness much of "yesterday," that figure was just 16% among employed moms. Some 28% of stay-at-home moms said they have been diagnosed with depression, an assertion made by just 17% of employed mothers.


More
15:52  Strauss-Kahn faces 'gang rape' inquiry:  A French prosecutor has ordered an initial inquiry into claims that ex-IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was involved in "gang rape" in Washington.The allegations come from a Belgian prostitute who said she was at a hotel sex party in the city in December 2010.

More
15:47  170 Zimbabwean MPs to be circumcised to fight Aids:  In other news: In an unprecedented move, more than 170 Zimbabwean MPs and parliamentary workers have come forward to get circumcised to set a public example and defend themselves against catching HIV/Aids. As part of the unique HIV/Aids campaign, the politicians will also be tested for the disease and offered counselling if the results come back positive, the Daily Telegraph reported.
15:39  IPL molestation victim's fiance out of hospital:  Sahil Peerzada, the man at the centre of one of IPL Season 5's biggest controversies -- molestation of aspiring actress Zohaila Hamid by Aussie cricketer Luke Pomersbach in Delhi on Thursday night -- is a bit of mystery in Mumbai.

In fact, it turns out that Sahil Peerzada is not even his real name. He is Sajjid Peerzada, 33, a Kashmiri model-turned-businessman.Good 48 hours after his name hit the national headlines as Zohaila's fiance and as the man at the receiving end of Pomersbach's booze-induced rage, there is little clarity over what kind of influence his wields in IPL's party circles. world.


Read the full report on Mumbai Mirror
15:35  Molestation victim's fiance discharged from hospital:  Sahil Peerzada, the fiance of alleged molestation victim Zohail Hameed has been discharged from hospital. Zohail, in her mid-20s, was allegedly molested at the ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi on Friday morning by Pomersbach, 27, a Royal Challengers Bangalore team's Australian player.


Peerzada was admitted to the hospital with injuries to his ear that had left him hearing impaired for two days.
15:21  $19.23 billion this minute: Track Zuckerberg's moolah:  If you have the time, and the inclination, watch Mark Zuckerberg's wealth grow.

Here you go
15:16  Pomersbach confesses: I was drunk, touched the woman:  Investigators today claimed that Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach, arrested on charges of molesting an American woman, had told them that he inadvertently touched the victim and was under the influence of alcohol when the incident took place.


Police sources also said that the name of Royal Challengers player K P Appanna has cropped up in the case after he was identified in a CCTV footage.


He was allegedly seen accompanying Pomersbach to the room of the victim. Pomersbach was arrested on Friday after Zohal Hamid alleged that he molested her and hit her fiance Sahil Peerzada when he objected to the cricketer's behaviour.


Peerzada was punched in his ear following which he had to undergo a surgery. Sources claimed that the Australian cricketer, who is playing for Royal Challengers in IPL, has confessed to the crime.


They said he told investigators that he was under the influence of alcohol and inadvertently touched the victim. Pomersbach or his lawyer could not be contacted for comments.
15:10  Nupur Talwar wants to adopt girl child from jail :  Dentist Nupur Talwar, mother of murdered teenager Aarushi has expressed her desire to adopt a girl child of a fellow inmate of the Dasna jail, where she is currently lodged.


Talwar, who is lodged in the barrack 13 at Dasna Jail since April 30 in connection with the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case, has asked for permission from Dasna Jail Superintendent Dr Virash Raj Sharma to adopt a little girl named Ravina Khan, who is also lodged in jail with her mother Sakina.


The permission to adopt the girl has, however, been denied by Sharma. There is no provision in jail manual for granting permission to adopt a child in prison.
15:07  Megrahi is dead. Now we'll never know the truth about Lockerbie:  So the old scoundrel has died. Midday Tripoli time, at his home, peacefully, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, after a long struggle with cancer, "bravely borne" no doubt. But "scoundrel", nonetheless, not because he arranged the Lockerbie bombing '" many have the gravest doubts he ever did '" but because he was a member of Gaddafi's intelligence services and no-one who served the Great Leader as a "mukhabarat" agent had clean hands.


Read Robert Fisk in the Independent
15:04  Mamata personifies populist force in Indian politics: WaPo:  Even as she is lambasted in Indian media, Mamata Banerjee makes it to the Washington Post front page. Read
14:59  We were at wrong place, wrong time: IPL Pune player:  South African cricketer Wayne Parnell today claimed that he and fellow Pune Warriors team-mate Rahul Sharma were innocent and that they were "at the wrong place at the wrong time" after the duo were detained during a raid on a rave party in suburban Juhu here.

Although Parnell admitted that both the players were present in the party at the Oakwood Premier Hotel, they said they were unaware of any drugs being supplied there last night.

"Rahul and I were invited to someone's birthday. We got there about 5 pm and by 7 pm, the police officers were there. Obviously, once we were inside we got caught indoors," he said. "It is unfortunate we were there. But at the end of the day, it was just a simple case of being at a wrong place at the wrong time," Parnell said.

"We weren't aware of any drugs there or any rave party. It was out on a pool terrace," he told 'Times Now'. In their defence, Parnell said both he and Rahul are teetotalers. "People who know me know that I don't drink or smoke. We both were just drinking water and dancing," he said.
14:50  Evangelist K A Paul arrested in murder conspiracy case:  Andhra Pradesh police today arrested evangelist K A Paul for allegedly conspiring to kill a person. Raghurami Reddy, Superintendent of Police, Prakasam, said that Paul was charged under IPC sections 120 B (for hatching criminal conspiracy to abduct) and 307 (attempt to murder).

In addition, he is facing a charge under Prevention of Corruption Act too. According to the police, Paul tried to eliminate Koteswara Rao, the main accused in the case related to murder of Paul's brother, Daniel. Daniel was found dead on a highway in 2010 under mysterious circumstances.
14:49  Liked/hated RGV's Department?:  Ram Gopal Varma's Department -- starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rana Daggubati and Sanjay Dutt -- released on Friday, May 18. Think RGV's latest is a film well worth it, or has he embarrassed himself with yet another assembly line flop? Discuss Department with Sukanya Verma on Rediff Zarabol Chat at 3 pm. Enter
14:43  If you're happy you may be nuts:  This is believe it or not: There is a proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder. Read
14:41  Read: Why are capital controls so popular?
14:40  Ring of fire lords it over the world :  The celestial weekend spectacle when the shadow of the moon swept across the globe from Hong Kong to the Texas Panhandle as a rare annular solar eclipse began Monday morning in Asia and traversed the Pacific.

See
14:33  I am ALWAYS outspoken, that's my minus point: Mamata:  In an interview with CNN-IBN, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seemed reluctant to embrace Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as her party's choice for the post of the President. Who does the Trinamool Congress chief favour for the top post? Find out
14:30  I have few seconds role in The Great Gatsby: Bachchan:  Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has downplayed his debut appearance in Hollywood movie "The Great Gatsby" by calling it a blink-and-miss role. The 69-year-old says he doesn't mind the short role in the film because he is happy to have shared the screen with Hollywood superstars Leonardo Di Caprio and Tobey Maguire.


"I play Meyer Wolfshiem for about a few seconds... yaa... by the time you look down on your popcorn to pick another morsel, I'd be gone from the film... he he... kinda short service (sic)," Bachchan wrote on his Blog. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie is based on American author F Scott Fitzgerald classic of the same name.


Compare this to what Anil Kapoor said after his 'Hollywood career' was launched. All the producers, directors and actors there know me. There is no identity crisis. They know that this guy is from Slumdog Millionaire, 24 (TV series), and he was also in Mission: Impossible 4. They are like my visiting cards there."

In fact, Kapoor had a blink and miss role in MI4
14:25  I came for birthday party, not rave party: Sharma:  India and Pune Warriors cricketer Rahul Sharma today refuted allegation that he was prsent at a rave party at a Mumbai hotel, claiming that he had gone there to attend a birthday celebration.


"I was invited to a birthday party. Wayne Parnell was with me, I did not know that there was a rave party at the hotel," said the spinner, who along with his Pune Warriors teammate, was detained by the police after a raid at the Hotel Oakwoods in Juhu.


"We reached there at around 7 pm and all of a sudden within half an hour of us reaching there, the police raid happened. We didn't know what was happening, I asked the police officers and they told me that a raid was in progress," he said. Sharma said he has been cooperative with the police and claimed that he has never touched alcohol.
14:22  'I am not ready for social media':  As Facebook mulls allowing under-12s to sign up, an award-winning author dishes out tough love to 12-year-old daughter for posting photos with alcohol.
Read more
14:01  Jitters over Army chief's send-off party:  

Army chief General V.K Singh's farewell function on May 31 has the organisers defence ministry on tenterhooks -- his date of birth will be read out.

Read the report on the Daily Mail.

13:56  Why Pranab-da's 'austerity' cannot fix UPA govt's economic sins. Read more on Firstpost.com
13:54  How lingerie changed lives in rural Tamil Nadu:  

In 2009 a recruiting team from Intimate Fashions, a Tamil Nadu manufacturer that makes bras for the American lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, came to the Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu and changed lives.

Read

13:48  @Chachachowdhary Pratibha Patil has done equal state visits in 5 years that Queen Elizabeth did in 60. 96 state visits for both! Bravo 
13:47  Sports Min to probe charges of black money in IPL:  

Amid charges of black money playing a part in the IPL, Sports Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to order an expeditious probe into it. 

 

Sports Minister Ajay Maken told the Lok Sabha today that the Sports Secretary has written a letter last week in this regard to the Revenue Secretary and has sought the inquiry to be conducted in an expeditious manner by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department. 

 

Maken also said that 19 notices have been issued to IPL and BCCI for FEMA violations to the tune of Rs 1,077 crore and Sports Ministry Joint Secretary has also written a letter to the ED on May 17 seeking expeditious probe into the matter. 

13:42  On its 8th birthday, policy paralysis continues to dog UPA-II:  

When Manmohan Singh took over for his second term as Prime Minister, the tablet was an underpowered computer, open source was for geeks and A. Raja was the telecom minister. Read more on the Daily Mail.

13:38  The austerity of the affluent:  

Another must-read piece from P Sainath on the goverment's austerity drive.

Rrural Indian spending Rs. 22.50 a day would not be considered poor by a Planning Commission whose Deputy Chairman's foreign trips between May and October last year cost a daily average of Rs. 2.02 lakh Pranab Mukherjee's stirring call for austerity tugs at the national tear ducts.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pleaded for it in the past and watched his flock embrace it creatively. With the Finance Ministry even acting on Dr. Singh's call in 2009 (economy class air travel, spending cuts), we are now in the fourth year of our noble quest.

More 

 

Also read Sainath's columun last week on BT cotton and the Times of India.

13:25  

The finance minister also said that PAN card was mandatory for buying gold above Rs 5 lakh.

13:24  Stronger punishment for financial offences: Pranab :  

The White Paper bill also says:

 

-- Lokpal and Lokayuktas will be put in place at the earliest to expedite investigations into corruption cases.  

 

-- All financial offences should be tried through fast track courts and punishment be made more stringent.

13:13  Under-13 ban for Facebook may be lifted:  

Facebook plans to relax a ban on children under the age of 13 joining the website, according to a report.  

According to a senior Facebook employee, the decision to lift the restriction came after finding that many kids, some with their parents' permission and help, were already signing up.  

If the decision to lift the ban is implemented, a flood of new users are likely to sign up to the site, which currently has nearly 900 million active users, The Daily Mail reports.

13:10  PV Narasimha Rao reinvented India -- so why is he the forgotten man? Read the report here
13:01  Black money has fallen, says Pranab's White Paper :  

Early feeds on what the White Paper on black money holds:

 
-- Multi-pronged strategy needed to deal with generation and transfer of black money.

 

-- Vodafone tax case provides instance of misuse of corporate structure to avoid payment of taxes.

 

-- Five-pronged strategy adopted by government to deal with menace of black money yielding "good results".

 

-- To check black money, government may provide tax incentives on use of debit/credit card as it leaves audit trail.

12:58  NO black money amnesty, says Pranab's White Paper :  The paper also says there is no legal provision to bring black money back.

The government had last year formed a committee to examine the black money issue. The report was submitted to the finance ministry earlier this year. The reports say it will provide information about the steps that the government has taken to tackle the issue but may not divulge estimates of the black money stashed abroad, as expert committees are yet to submit their reports.

12:56  NO black money amnesty, says Pranab's White Paper :  The White Paper report on black money says there will be no amnesty schemes since there is no need for it any more. Black money has come down in Swiss accounts after protests, says the paper. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today tabled the White Paper on black money in the Lok Sabha.
12:54  On Granta: The politics of grief in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war.  Read
12:51  A great take on Satyamev Jayate and the bleeding heart viewer. See
12:48  Humiliated Zardari set to return empty handed from Nato:  

The deal to reopen the NATO supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan fell apart after U.S. President Barack Obama remained at loggerheads with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, refusing even to meet with him without an agreement on the supply routes.

 

Zardari, who flew to Chicago for a two-day NATO summit with hopes of meeting with Obama, is prepared to leave empty-handed, reports the New York Times. Pakistan had closed the NATO routes into Afghanistan after an US air raid last November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, for which Obama has offered condolences but no apology.


"This breakdown in the U.S. and Pakistan relationship has come down to a fixation of this apology issue," said Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser on Pakistan.

12:38  All the world is staged:  In the backdrop of the IPL spot-fixing scandal, read this story on Espn.com.  
12:37  The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for 15 minutes. In the Lok Sabha, the 100-page White Paper on black money  has been tabled.  
12:35  Framing of charges in Aarushi trial begins:  

The Ghaziabad special CBI court has begun arguments for framing of charges against dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar in the twin murders of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

 

"The CBI has relied on 141 documents in the case but now they are saying that they are not relying on more than 96 documents. The court has directed them to provide all the documents by 8.30 p.m. tomorrow,' Talwars' counsel Manoj Kumar Sisodia said. 

12:23  ND Tiwari has to give blood sample by May 26: Court:  

Just in: The Delhi High Court has directed ND Tiwari to give his blood sample by May 26. The Delhi high court last weekn had ordered its registrar to take police assistance for bringing the defiant veteran Congress leader for taking his blood sample to decide the paternity suit of a man claiming to be his son.

 

The court fixed the matter for further hearing today before the Joint Registrar, who in turn fixed the date for collection of the blood sample from Tiwari as May 26.

 

The court made it clear that the process of collecting the sample would be initiated within a week after the joint registrar receives the DNA sample kit from Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics.

 

The court in its order said that considering the age of Tiwari, the order of taking the blood sample is required to be implemented "as expeditiously as possible otherwise an irreparable loss is bound to visit the plaintiff".

 

The court's directions came on the plea of 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar seeking to compel Tiwari to furnish his blood sample at the earliest to decide the four-year-old paternity suit. He has sought a judicial declaration that Tiwari is his biological father.

12:15  Pranab tables White Paper on black money in Parl:  

Just in: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has tabled the White Paper on black money in Parliament just now.

 

The paper is likely to give a comprehensive strategy on bringing back black money stashed abroad. It will also focus on bullion, gold jewellery and the real estate sector and is likely to recommend more transparency in land dealings and regularisation of land registration.

 

The government had last year formed a committee to examine the black money issue. The report was submitted to the finance ministry earlier this year. The reports say it will provide information about the steps that the government has taken to tackle the issue but may not divulge estimates of the black money stashed abroad, as expert committees are yet to submit their reports.

12:10  14th day of Air India strike: Ajit Singh to meet pilots today :  Update on the Air India strike which has entered its 14th day today. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said he would meet the pilots with an aim to resolve the crisis plaguing the national carrier. The meeting is likely to be attended by representatives of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, cabin crew, ground handlers and other employees.

Appealing to the striking pilots to return to work, Singh had earlier said that the strike by pilots was illegal, and they should come back to work in the larger interest of the passengers.

"When the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee Report is expected, there is no reason for the strike and the pilots should come back to work," he added. He assured that there will be no victimization by the government and management will look into the problems of the pilots.

12:06  Kirti Azad's 20-20 fast:  

Former India cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad is trending for his Sunday fast. He demanded that the Indian Premier League, which has been a hit by a series a controversies, be scrapped. What the tweets say.. 

 

@sardesairajdeep Kirti Azad today showed what a 20-20 fast is like! Started at 12.30 and over by 3.30!  

 

@smitaprakash *facepalm* RT @ANI_news The behavior of the people in the IPL is similar to that of Somalian pirates: Kirti Azad    

 

@LalitKModi RT @nitinjchavan: @LalitKModi Kirti Azad just bowled fastest FAST in d world!!    

 

@veeraa1410 His own partymen r ignoring Kirti Azad So what is the political motive for so called fasting which lasted for 3 hrs Pl tell us Mr Azad

 

Read the report where Kirti Azad compares the IPL to pirates 

11:57  Iran, Pakistan, Israel most negatively rated countries: BBC poll:  

Pakistan was ranked second in the list of most negatively rated countries in the world by a global poll for BBC World Service, which surveyed 24,090 people around the world. 

Read

11:54  Obama sunbs Zardari at Nato meet:  

US-Pakistan rift widens over supply lines into Afghanistan as Obama refuses bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, who wants demands met before roads reopen.

More

11:52  Pranab to present White paper on black money in Parl:  

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherje is likely to present a White Paper on black money in Parliament today, as promised to the House during a debate on the Finance Bill last week.

 

"I will try to give all the relevant and possible information," Mukherjee had said in the Lok Sabha,while promising to bring the White Paper in the on-going Budget Session. The Opposition, led by the BJP has been accusing the government of going slow on the black money probe.

11:45  Rave party organiser arrested:  

Update on the Mumbai rave party.

 

Vishay Handa, director of a city-based hotel where a rave party was held last night at which two IPL players were present, was today arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. 

 

"Handa, organiser of the rave party and director of Oakwood Premier Hotel, has been arrested under NDPS Act... as charas and cocaine were found at the venue. He has been booked under the Act," said a police officer.

 

Police had said last night that two IPL players from the Pune Warriors team, one of them a foreigner, were among the 96 persons who were detained following a raid. The police have not yet disclosed the identity of these two players. 

 

"Approximately 110 grams of cocaine along with MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy, and charas were seized," Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nagre Patil had said. At least 58 boys and 38 girls were taken to Cooper hospital here for a blood and urine test, and cases would be registeredagainst those who tested positive, he had said.

11:40  BCCI chief goes after gay son with a straight bat:  

A must-read on the DNA:

 

Ashwin, son of BCCI president N Srinivasan, has accused his father of homophobia and of using his clout to unleash a cycle of violence against him and his partner Avi Mukherjee in order to 'cure' him of homosexuality.

 

Ashwin, 43, says he and his partner have been subjected to physical and mental torture at Srinivasan's behest for years. He says the latest incident took place on April 30, when the police picked up the couple from an upmarket Bandra restaurant-pub Escobar and beat them with iron rods.

 

Read

11:33  So who is Mrs Zuckerberg?:  

She likes Target, the Food Network and sun-dried tomatoes. She loves taking pictures of her dog Beast, and admits to checking her phone "every five seconds." Priscilla Chan vaulted into the spotlight on Saturday when it was revealed she had married longtime boyfriend Mark Zuckerberg -- billionaire and Facebook founder. 

 

Read

11:29  Sanskrit makes a mini-comeback in the US:  

From seven-year-olds to 70-year-olds, people in Boston, New York, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities over the US are attending Sanskrit classes, not just to chant shlokas but also to learn to speak, read and write this ancient language. A revival is brewing.

 

More on the WSJ

11:27  Can restaurants in India legally serve beef?:  

Several states in India are ramping up legislation to protect cows, and maybe even buffaloes, in many cases making it harder to buy or sell their meat.

And yet it's increasingly common to find restaurant menus in major Indian cities that feature dishes described as 'tenderloin' or 'filet mignon'. But what is this mystery meat? And is it even legal for it to be on the menu?

 

Read

11:25  Rajat Gupta to face US jury in insider trading case today:  

Barely a day went by at the insider-trading trial of multimillionaire hedge-fund founder Raj Rajaratnam a year ago without mention of Rajat Gupta, a boldface name in business and charity circles.

 

On Monday in the same federal court in New York, it will be Gupta's turn to go on trial. The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Procter & Gamble board member is accused of leaking stock secrets to Rajaratnam, his erstwhile friend and business associate who was convicted and is now in prison.

 

More on Reuters

11:19  Lokpal Bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha today:  

Even if the Lokpal Bill is to be tabled today, a lack of consensus on key provisions of the Lokpal Bill, including the one dealing with superintendence over CBI, appears to be major road blocks.

 

Though the original plan was to move official amendments to the Lokpal Bill and bring it for passage in the Rajya Sabha on May 21, the reluctance of BJP and other parties to soften up on other amendments, sought by them, seems to have come in the way of government's consensus-building exercise, reports ET.

11:13  Lokpal Bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha today:  Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee speaking to NDTV says the Lokpal bill will be taken up in Rajya Sabha today. Though the government and the Opposition have agreed over the provision of Lokayuktas in the state, differences persist on the issue of who controls the CBI.
11:08  Sorry Maam, but I am not a Maoist:  

Question Time Didi, organised by CNN-IBN at the Town Hall on Friday evening, was meant to be a platform for Mamata Banerjee to field questions from a cross-section of Calcuttans on the eve of her completing one year as chief minister.

But less than 12 minutes and five questions into the event, Mamata stormed off, accusing some students of being "Maoists and CPM cadres'.

Taniya Bhardwaj, a Presidency University student whose question about the conduct of some of her ministers prompted Mamata to take off her lapel microphone and leave, writes a letter to her chief minister via The Telegraph..

 

Read

 

@sardesairajdeep: CNN IBN exclusive: Mamata breaks silence on President issue. Kalam, Gopal Gandhi, Meira Kumar her choices, refuses to endorse Pranab."

10:59  The Aamir Khan Column on mariagee: It's not just an event:  

If you've missed yesterday's India and dowry episode on Satyamev Jayate (didn't miss much, honestly), this column on the Hindu, should give you a feel Aamir Khan's take on the issue. Read

(The column is by Aamir Khan and will be published in The Hindu every Monday.)

10:51  2 IPL players among 96 detained in Mumbai rave party:  

Meanwhile, Mumbai police last night busted a high-profile rave party at a plush hotel in Juhu and rounded up 96 partygoers, including two IPL players.  Additional commissioner of police, west region, Vishwas Nangre Patil confirmed that two IPL players were at the party. He, however, said no one would be arrested until the medical tests proved they had consumed drugs.

 

Read the report on the HT

10:46  'Man who accompanied Pomersbach is RCB player':  

Royal Challengers player K P Appanna's name has cropped up in the investigations into the molestation case. Investigators claimed that Appanna was the person who accompanied Pomersbach when he went to the victim's room for the second time. 

 

Pomersbach was arrested on Friday after Zohal Hamid alleged that he molested her and hit her fiance Sahil Peerzada when he objected to the cricketer's behaviour. Peerzada was punched in his ear following which he had to undergo a surgery. 

 

"We have examined the CCTV footages and identified Appanna. We have spoken to him. We are yet to formally question him," a senior police official said. Appanna, a leg spinner who plays for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy, could not be contacted for his comments.

10:42  IPL 'rape victim is my rakhi sister, says defence agent:  

Update on Friday's molestation story. Zohal Hamid, the victim of the alleged sexual molestation attempt by Bangalore Royal Challengers player Luke Pomersbach is arms trader Abhishek Verma's "rakhi" sister, and a veritable part of his "extended family", a relationship confirmed by Verma to The Sunday Guardian.

 

Read more

10:39  Maoist leader accuses Orissa of not keeping promises:  

Accusing Odisha Government of failing to fulfil promises made during recent hostage crisis, top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda today said rebels may turn violent if the administration resorted to suppression.

 

In a fresh audio message to a section of the media, the top leader of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) alleged that the state government had failed to keep its commitment made during the hostage crisis.

 

Claiming that his wife Subhashree Das alias Mili Panda was falsely implicated in Nayagarh attack case, the Naxal leader rued woman rebel Arati Majhi was yet to be freed.Panda criticised the statement made by Odisha Home Secretary U N Behera on May 15 that the state government had been following the commitments made during hostage crisis involving two Italian nationals and an MLA.

Read more on the Outlook.

10:34  PM, Sonia visit Rajiv's memorial on death anniversary:  
The nation today paid homage to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack on this day 21 years ago.President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the departed leader's wife and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi went to the late leader's memorial Vir Bhumi in Delhi and paid their respects.

Rahul and Priyanka also paid floral tributes at the memorial of their father, who was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu during a poll campaign.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal and Urban Development also paid homage to Gandhi. Priyanka's husband Robert Vadra was present on the occasion.
10:20  'Iran President should open nightclubs':  
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's refusal to impose an Islamic dress code for women has earned him some flak from the country's conservative Parliamentarians.

One of them, member of Parliament Ali Motahari, slammed the President for his 'lax' dress code for women and suggested that it will allow women to dress in a "sexually provocative' way.

"They should think of opening nightclubs and cabarets," he said.
10:07  Historic Hindu temple vandalised in Pakistan:  Unidentified men today vandalized a historic Hindu temple in Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan that was reopened on the orders of a court last year, police officials and local residents said. 

The attackers burnt pictures and damaged a shivling inside Gorakhnath Temple and took away idols from the shrine located within an archaeological complex in Gor Gathri area, leaders of the Hindu community said. 

The shrine's custodian told the media that this was the third attack on the temple in the past two months
10:05  NATO summit to chart the next phase of Afghan transition:  The NATO Summit in Chicago will chart the next phase of transition in Afghanistan, United States President Barack Obama has said.

"Over the next two days, we will meet -- first as allies and then with (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai and our international partners -- to chart the next phase of the transition in Afghanistan," Obama said in his address to the NATO leaders during the inaugural session of the meeting on Sunday.

"Just as we have sacrificed together for our common security, we will stand together, united, in our determination to complete this mission," Obama said.

Leaders of more than 60 countries are attending the two-day NATO Summit.

"I look forward to our meeting with NATO's neighbours and our partners around the world who have been so critical of NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya. It will be another reminder that NATO is truly a hub of a network of global security partners. There is nothing else like it on Earth," he said.
09:58  Govt SHOULD take tough decisions: Montek:  
Dismissing the perception of policy paralysis surrounding the Union government, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has stated that the government should raise petroleum prices as part of tough decisions on reforms and to attract international investment.

He feels people must be educated on the importance of raising fuel prices so that the petroleum sector does not go bankrupt.

"I would certainly hope so. Certainly all the advice that we would be giving (to the government) is that India has tremendous opportunity to look good and to attract investment in a world which is very uncertain and we should not miss that opportunity," Ahluwalia said.

He was asked whether the government would be willing to take tough decisions to put its economy on the path of high growth.
09:20  Three years after he walked free, Lockerbie bomber dies:  
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, better known as the Lockerbie bomber, is dead.Megrahi was the only man found guilty for his role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Megrahi was found guilty of masterminding the explosion, which killed 270 people, and sentenced to life imprisonment. 

But he was released eight years later by the Scottish government when he was found to be suffering from metastatic prostate cancer.Megrahi was a former undercover Libyan intelligence officer.
09:14  We will not walk away from Afghanistan: NATO:  
Member nations of the powerful NATO, including the United States and its other international partners, will not walk away from Afghanistan after 2014 whenall the international forces withdraw from this war-torn country, the NATO chief has said.

"Once the Afghans have full responsibility by the end of 2014, our combat mission will come to an end. But we will not walk away. Once transition is completed, NATO will lead a new mission, to train, advise and support the Afghan security forces," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters at a news conference in Chicago.

Addressing a news conference at the end of the first day of the NATO Summit in Chicago, he said that the discussions would focus on Afghanistan, adding the meeting, attended by 60 world leaders, will send a strong signal of commitment to the Afghan people.
09:14  Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb passes away:  
Robin Gibb, one of the three brothers who comprised pop group Bee Gees, has died at the age of 62.Robin, who had been fighting colon cancer since a long time, finally lost the battle.

The other two brothers were Maurice Gibb, who died in 2003, and Barry Gibb.
09:14  I am NOT the wealthiest rock star: Bono:  
U2 frontman Bono has dismissed reports that claim he has become the world's richest musician, insisting that he is not richer than any of the Beatles.Bono, who owns 2.3 per cent of the shares of the social networking site Facebook, is setto earn more than $1.5 billion as the site's stocks hit the market for the first time, reported Access Hollywood.

"Contrary to reports, this boy is not a billionaire or going to be richer than any Beatle... that's just a joke," he said.

It was also reported that the Facebook deal would make Bono the richest rocker on the planet, wealthier than Paul McCartney.
09:05  Over Rs 2,500 cr sanctioned for cleaning Ganga: Govt:  
Amid growing clamour to protect the Ganga, Union Minister for Environment Jayanti Natarajan has said the Centre has sanctioned projects worth more than Rs 2,500 crore to save the river.

"The Centre is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a clean Ganga. Projects worth Rs 2,677 crore have already been sanctioned for the purpose. Of these projects, Rs 1,342 crore has been earmarked for setting up of sewage treatment plants and other related works in Uttar Pradesh," Natarajan said.

She said that her ministry would launch a public awareness campaign for a pollution-free Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela.
09:02  Two IPL players detained at Mumbai rave party:  Yet another controversy struck the Indian Premier League on Sunday night when two of its players were detained after the police busted a rave party in a hotel in Juhu in suburban Mumbai. 

Top police sources said that both IPL players belong to the Pune Warriors team. They declined to identify the players, saying their identity could be disclosed only after medical tests were conducted. 

"Approximately 110 grams of cocaine along with MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy, and charas were seized," Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nagre Patil said on the raid conducted at Hotel Oakwoods in Juhu.

 A case will be registered against those who test positive, he said.

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