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US Defence Secy Leon Panetta is coming to India

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May 22, 2012

23:43  US Defence Secy Leon Panetta is coming to India:  
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta would travel to India in the first week of July, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.

The India trip, the first to the country by Panetta in his capacity as the Defence Secretary, is part of his week-long Asia trip during which he will participate in the Shangri-la Dialogues and travel to Vietnam.

"Developing the US-India relationship is a priority for the United States government, and our bilateral relationship is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century for the United States," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters at a news conference.
23:37  Google acquires Motorola Mobility, CEO Sanjay Jha quits:  Search engine Google Inc on Tuesday announced that Sanjay Jha has stepped down as CEO of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc.

He has been replaced by long-time Googler Dennis Woodside.

The announcement came after Google announced that the acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc has closed, with Google acquiring the firm for $40.00 per share in cash.

 The acquisition will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open.

 Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
21:52  Mulayam roots for Prez with political background:  Samajwadi Party today indicated its support to UPA candidate for President's post provided he is not a bureaucrat. "One condition, he should not be a bureaucrat," SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters here when asked whether SP would support a Congress candidate. 

Yadav replied in the negative to another query whether his party would join the UPA government. At the 3rd anniversary of UPA II function, outside supporters Yadav and RJD leader Lalu Prasad were seated on the podium along with senior ministers and leaders of parties which have representatives in the cabinet. Congress managers, however, sought to explain it saying since the leaders were early to arrive at the function, it would have been inappropriate to make them sit among the audience. 

"Nothing more should be read into that," they said. At the dinner, Yadav, Lalu shared the table with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Trinamool Congress' Saugata Roy, DMK leader T R Baalu and Congress veteran Karan Singh.
21:34  Italian marines move HC for bail:  Two Italian Marines, arrested for allegedly shooting to death two Indian fishermen off Kerala waters on February 15, today moved the Kerala High Court for bail. The Marines, Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone, contended they have not committed any offence as alleged by police and there was no justification in their remaining in custody. 

Justice M K Balakrishnan, before whom the matter came up, directed the petitioners to implead the central government in the case and posted it to May 25. They have moved the High Court after a Kollam court on May 19 rejected their bail applications observing that releasing them at this juncture might affect the conduct of the case which is set to enter the trial stage.
20:27  Pak violates truce again:  In yet another ceasefire violation, Pakistani troops today fired at forward Indian positions in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district disrupting border fencing repair work. 

No one was injured in the firing from across the border, an army official said. Pakistani troops fired Pika rounds targeting forward areas in Sabzian belt along the Line of Control at around 1050 hours, he said. "Our troops were carrying border fencing repair work at the time of firing. They fired six to 8 Pika rounds. The aim was to disrupt the repair work," the official said. 

The fencing repair work was disrupted for some time, he said. "This is also a case of ceasefire violation," the official said adding the army would lodge a protest with Pak authorities.
20:25  PM, Sonia release UPA II report card:  

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while addressing allies and MPs during a dinner to mark UPA II's third anniversary admitted although a lot of work has been done during the last year, still his government needs to do better.


He also said that the internal security situation in the country has improved, and also emphasised on the fact that the country has witnessed a record food-grain production.

PM Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi then unveiled UPA II government's report card.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi who spoke at the function said that the government was firm on its priorities. She said that the government was being run with determination.

The Congress president warned that the next election would be judged by their work and not by promises. Sonia Gandhi also hit out against the government's opponents, saying that they were targeting the UPA with baseless arguments.   

19:20  Cong, TDP plotting to get me arrested: Jagan:  

Kadapa MP and YSR Congress President Y S Jaganmohan launched a frontal attack on ruling Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party accusing them of hatching a conspiracy, in concert with CBI, to get him arrested in next 3 to 4 days in disproportionate assets case.


"It is being talked about that I will be arrested by CBI in 3-4 days. It's all part of a large conspiracy by Congress, TDP and CBI", he charged.


Addresing a byelection campaign rally in Jammalamadaka in Macherla assembly constituencies, Jagan alleged "their game plan is to get me arrested and create violence in the state and stop the by-elections (slated for June 12)".


Both Congress and TDP fear losing their deposits in the by-elections (to 18 Assembly constituencies and one Lok Sabha seat) and hence were trying to stall the bypoll process by fomenting unrest in the state, Jagan alleged.

19:07  Two British nationals go missing in Tamil Nadu:   Two British nationals who set out on a boat ride from Muthathi forest range in the district on May 19 have been reported missing since May 21, a top police official said.   

"Two British nationals Mike Eastern, 60, and Ian Turton, 45, set out on a boat ride in the Cauvery from Muthathi forest range on May 19 to Anchatti in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu. They were reported missing since the next day," Superintendent of Police Koushalendra Kumar said.   

He said, police, acting on a complaint by S Jayaprabha, Manager of TENNCO Automotive India Pvt., Ltd at Hosur in Tamil Nadu that the Britishers had gone missing for the past three days, had launched search operations.
18:28  Charges framed: CBI tells court Talwars killed Aarushi, Hemraj:  

Still no relief for Nupur Talwar who has been cooling her heels in Dasna jail since April 30. Nupur, is an accused in the murder of her daughter Aarushi and her servant, Hemraj, along with her husband Rajesh.


The CBI told a special court that the dentist couple themselves killed their daughter Aarushi and domestic aide Hemraj on May 15-16, 2008 night in their Noida flat. CBI counsel R K Saini made the allegation before Special Judge Shyam Lal during his argument on framing of charges against Talwars for their alleged roles in the sensational killings of their daughter and domestic aide.


Quoting from the postmortem report of the two, Saini said the Talwars killed them in quick succession one after one as there was not much gap between the timings of their deaths. He accused Talwar of slitting Aarushi throat to kill her.

18:18  Mulayam wants political person for President:  

Update on the Presidential polls. The CPI(M), which wants the President to be elected on the basis of "widest acceptability", today asked Congress and UPA not to delay any further the selection of their candidate for the top
constitutional post. 


"The more the delay, more names will be floated. It will be unfair to drag the names of people of repute into speculation. So, sooner it is (UPA decides on a name), the better," senior party leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters, just before NCP leader P A Sangma met CPI(M) General Secretary
Prakash Karat to drum up support for his Presidential ambitions.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh says he wants a political person as the president. Mulayam said he met Jayalalithaa over the issue, but refused to divulge the details.

18:05  Does the Andhra train accident confirm Trivedis fears?:  

"Everybody was telling me that if you don't increase the fares you are going to turn the railway coaches into coffins," Dinesh Trivedi, former railways minister, told India Ink in March, shortly after he was fired for proposing higher passenger fares in an effort to modernize and increase the safety of Indian railways.


17:59  35 sittings, 165 hours: RS adjourns till monsoon:  

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die today after a three-month long Budget Session with Chairman Hamid Ansari expressing happiness that the House
worked to its "optimal capacity". 


Ansari, however, regretted that some time was lost in disruptions and many starred questions could not be taken up. "We need to introspect on the distinction between dissent, remonstration, agitation and disruption," he said in his valedictory address.


The session had 35 sittings, including the Special sitting on May 13 to celebrate 60th anniversary of the sitting of first Lok Sabha in 1952. 


The House sat for more than 165 hours during which more than 22 hours were lost on issues like alleged atrocities committed on Tamils in Sri Lanka, alleged scam in coal block allocation, allegations by the Army Chief on the report of bribe to him and creation of Telangana. 


The House bade farewell to 58 members, including Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan, whose term of office ended in April. Sixty-one new members joined the Upper House during the session.


In all 22 Bills were passed or returned during the session. A unique feature of this session was discussion on two statutory motions, a device which was used after a very long time, the Chairman said. 

17:48  Immediate need to hike fuel prices, warns govt :  

With rupee depreciation leading to a jump in oil import bill, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy today said there is an immediate need to raise fuel prices, but refused to say when the hike will actually take place. 


"It (price increase) is very essential but (before hiking rates) we have to talk to political parties," he told reporters here on way to Ashgabat for signing of the agreement for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.


The government had decontrolled petrol price in June 2010 but rates were last increased on November 4 last year. This despite oil price rising by 14 per cent and 7 per cent fall in value of rupee against the US dollar.

17:45  Just in: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and SP MP Shailendra Kumar are new members of the Joint Parliamentary Panel.
17:34  After the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha adjourns sine die after three-month long budget session.
17:29  Reopen NATO routes so we can leave Afghanistan, US tells Pak :  

The declaration by US President Barack Obama at the NATO Summit clearly states that Pakistan should help the US withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by reopening the supply routes.


NATO officials and some diplomats have said Pakistan should understand that by reopening the border, it will facilitate the departure of U.S. and other combat forces from Afghanistan- a move which Pakistan's political forces desire.In the declaration, Russia and Central Asian countries received kudos for cooperating on supply routes for NATO's Afghanistan campaign, while Pakistan got a cold shoulder, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

17:25  Dalai Lama blesses British cancer girl:  

A child terminally-ill with a brain tumour has been blessed by the Dalai Lama. Maya Skippen, 11, met the Tibetan spiritual leader after her shoeshiner dad Steven told a client of her devastating illness.


17:21  New cancer fighting strategy discovered :  

Researchers have come up with a promising cancer-fighting strategy for 'reactivating' genes that cause cancer tumors to shrink and die.  The discovery by research team at Penn State University may aid in the development of an innovative anti-cancer drug that effectively targets unhealthy, cancerous tissue without damaging healthy, non-cancerous tissue and vital organs.


The researchers hope that their discovery will aid in the development of an innovative anti-cancer drug that effectively targets unhealthy, cancerous tissue without damaging healthy, non-cancerous tissue and vital organs.

17:20  Kids of over 40 mums 'healthier and brighter :  Children born to mothers over 40 are less likely to have accidents or need hospital care and more likely to have been vaccinated early, as compared to those of younger women, a study has found. They will also develop a broader vocabulary from a young age and achieve higher scores in IQ tests in a range of measures up to the age of five. The research is good news for the rising numbers of mothers who are delaying motherhood.
17:15  Simple 10-min test can spot Alzheimers :  

A couple of health stories coming up...

A  simple ten-minute memory test will effectively screen patients for early signs of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia, allowing faster treatment.

The CANTABmobile test distinguishes between normal forgetfulness and the more dangerous memory lapses that can signal dementia.

The test has been made available for use in GPs surgeries, according to the Daily Mail. Early diagnosis would allow patients to receive drug treatment when it would help them the most, letting them work and live independently for longer.

17:02  Bar Refaeli tops Maxim Hot 100 list:  

Leonardo DiCaprio's supermodel ex-girlfriend Bar Refaeli has topped the 2012 Maxim Hot 100 list. For the first time in the magazine's history, readers
were allowed to vote for the hotties, and there was overwhelming support for the 26-year-old Israeli stunner, reported Daily Star. 


"Every year, it's a different girl that I look up to. For me to be among them, it's an honour," Refaeli said. The single model is hoping the honour will help her find a mate she can settle down with and start a family. "I'm looking for a friend that will make me laugh, that will teach me every day - that I can learn from, and that has the same values as me. It sounds very simple but it's very hard to find," she added.

16:51  Rajya Sabha adjourns sine die after a three-month long budget session. It will reconvene for the monsoon session.
16:50  Sibal has peformed raj dharam, praises Swaraj :  

Appreciating Kapil Sibal for bringing the bill, Swaraj said he had performed his "rajdharam (duty)" by according the deserved dignity to the artistes.    She noted that several great lyricists, including Kuldeep Singh who penned the famous song 'itni shakti hamen dena daata, mann ka vishwas kamzor na ho', were living in bad conditions.

Noted lyricist and Rajya Sabha member Javed Akhtar, who has been spearheading the campaign for such a measure, was in the Rajya Sabha gallery as Swaraj said she was supporting the bill despite being told that film producers would be unhappy with her if she did so.

16:44  Parl nod to Copyright Act amendments:  

Song writers, artistes and performers, deprived of their dues so far, can now claim royalty for their creations with Parliament today approving a law to provide much-delayed justice to them. The Copyright Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012 was passed by the Lok Sabha, which witnessed unusual unanimity on the matter with members from all parties supporting the measure for creative artistes whose benefits are cornered by producers.


The bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha on May 17, declares authors as owners of the copyright, which cannot be assigned to producers as was the practice till now. 


Noting that poor artistes had been left in the lurch as producers cornered all royalties, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the new law will help them live a good life even in old age as they would continue to get their dues for their work during their heyday.

16:40  Nato summit very very successful: Khar :  

Despite the bad press that has dogged the Pakistani delegation during their trip, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar appeared upbeat and sounded positive about the outcome of the attendance of the Pakistani delegation, headed by President Asif Zardari, at the Nato Summit in Chicago.

More on the Tribune

16:30  India Inc praise insider trading defendant Rajat Gupta:  

Scores of India's top businessmen have submitted testimonials to the Web siteFriends of Rajat, dedicated to correcting what it calls "a greatly unfair and incorrect caricature of the real Rajat Gupta" presented by the press.


Read the report on the New York Times

16:26  Pak govt slaps FIR against Facebook for blasphemous content:  A day after the authorities in Pakistan briefly banned access to microblogging website Twitter due to 'blasphemous' material, the city capital police on the orders of a city court on Monday registered a case against social networking giant Facebook. Read the report on the Tribune.
16:19  What are people who prepare mayonnaise called, shrieks Didi:  Mamata Banerjee storms out of Subway, calls workers Maoists after discovering mayonnaise in her sub. Read
16:14  'Everybody rescued, fire under control':  The extent of damage is yet to be ascertained, but early reports say a short-circuit led to the fire. Fire department officials who are at the site confirm that everyone has been rescued and the fire is under control.  
16:11  Fire at commercial building in Vadodara, all safe:  A five-storied commercial building -- Racecourse Tower -- in Vadodara is on fire. TV images show smoke bellowing out of the building. No casualties are being reported. Fire engines are already at the spot, rescuing people. Early reports say everyone has been rescued.
16:04  South Africa president's genitals painting vandalised:  A controversial painting showing South Africa's President Jacob Zuma with his genitals hanging out has been vandalised in an art gallery. (Is that good or bad?)Read
16:03  China fake parts used in US military equipment:  Vast numbers of counterfeit Chinese electronic parts are being used in US military equipment, a key Senate committee has reported. A year-long probe found 1,800 cases of fake parts in US military aircraft, the Senate Armed Services Committee found. Read the bbc report.
16:01  CPI(M) fails UPA-II on "all fronts":  

The CPI (M) today did not mince words when asked about its views on the performance of the UPA-II government. The party lambasted the government for "failing on all fronts" saying it has not fulfilled any promise to bring succour to the people, reeling under price rise, unemployment and corruption, and soughtconfiscation of illicit funds stashed by Indians abroad.


"In the three years of UPA-II rule, not a single step has been taken on any front to alleviate the burden of the people. The government is in a state of drift," senior party leaderSitaram Yechury said.

15:36  Rupee 55.32 to a dollar, Sensex 140 points down:  If you're headed for a holiday abroad, it'll turn out to be more expensive than you've bargained for. The Rupee hit a new low of 55.32 to a dollar, with the Sensex 140 points down hovering just above the psychological 16,000 mark.  
15:34  BJP on Lokpal: Govt only knows how to show off:  

A day after the Lokpal Bill was tabled in Parliament, the BJP today said that it will make every effort to get the anti-corruption legislation passed. The party discussed the issue at a meeting of its Parliamentary Party during which it also criticised the government's White Paper on Blackmoney, which, it said, was "blank" and hid more than it revealed. 


"The government has run away on Lokpal issue. It wants to delay the Lokpal issue," it said while taking strong objection to the government's handling of the issue. "Both the intention and policy of the government are not right on the issue. It only knows how to show off. Last time it got a copy of the Lokpal Bill torn and this time it got a resolution from another party. The government intends to delay the Lokpal Bill somehow," party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters after the meeting.

15:18  Rajat: Hey Raj, How is working from Connecticut?:  

On the Wall Street Journal, the call transcript between Raj Rajaratnam and Rajat Gupta. The former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta has been accused of "throwing away his duties' when he passed confidential company information to hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, a prosecutor told a US. court, even as defence argued that the Indian American was not an insider trader and "does not belong in this courtroom".



15:11  2.85 lakh refugees in India, Tibetans largest group:  

India is home to nearly 2.85 lakh refugees, including 1.05 lakh state-less people, the government today said. Of the 2,84,746 refugees taking shelter in India, 1,05,634 are state-less people, including Tibetans, Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh said told Lok Sabha. 


The country is home to 83,484 refugees from Bangladesh, 69,544 refugees from Sri Lanka and 19,115 from Afghanistan. Apart from 6,887 refugees from Myanmar, India is also home to 12 refugees from the United States, six from United Kingdom, 25 from Iran, 8 from China and 6 from South Korea, Singh said.

15:07  Dharun Ravi's 30-day sentence too lenient?:  Dharun Ravi was visibly relieved by the sentence handed down against him by a US court on Monday. Ravi, who was accused of gay bias crimes for spying on his college roommate, faced up to 10 years in jail. Read more
15:03  'PM forced to choose inertia over high drama':  

It is unlikely that the prime minister will be in any mood to celebrate the completion of the third year of his government. Manmohan Singh's second innings as prime minister of the United Progressive Alliance government has not brought either him or the country any joy. 


The editorial on the Telegraph, Kolkata.

14:59  Superstar Mohanlal grieves for two mothers :  

In an emotional post on his blog on his birthday, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal has said he feels scared to live in a place where people kill or "hire goons" to eliminate fellow-beings. 


Referring to the brutal murder of Revolutionary Marxist leader T P Chandrasekharan at Onchiyam in Kozhikode district on May 4, he wondered if Kerala was turning into an asylum. In the note titled 'Ormayil Randu Ammamar (Thinking of two mothers)' posted yesterday, Mohanlal says he was not really happy on his 52nd birthday thinking and grieving about two mothers. 


"My mother is in hospital for the last three months aftera brain stroke. And I think of the mother of Chandrasekharan who was brutally hacked to death. I can fathom the sea of grief in the mother's mind when she learns that her son ischopped to death," Mohanlal wrote in the blog.

14:56  Karunanidhi refuses to criticise or rate UPA II :  DMK Chief M Karunanidhi today refused to rate the three year performance of the UPA-II government, saying there are "ups and downs" for every
government. "Every government has its ups and downs, how can I rate
them?" Karunanidhi, whose party is a key ally of the ruling UPA at the Centre, said when reporters asked him to rate the Manmohan Singh government.
14:52  Delhi court wants action taken report against Ramdev:  A Delhi court seeks action taken report from police on a complaint against Baba Ramdev for his offensive remarks against Parliamentarians. Earlier this month, Ramdev Ramdev, while addressing the media in Chhattisgarh had commented on the Parliamentarians saying: "There are dacoits, murderers, illiterates among them. We have to save Parliament. We have to remove corrupt people."
14:37  Railway jobs for kin of deceased: Mukul Roy:  

Update on the AP train accident: Railway Minister Mukul Roy today said the railways was ready to provide employment to the next of the kin of those killed in the rail mishap at Penakonda in Andhra Pradesh. 


"It is a very sad incident. Life is very precious. If anybody (kin) wants to join the railways, we will provide him or her with jobs," he said at Bengaluru International Aiport en route to the accident spot.

14:25  Get ready to get high: Cops to decode rave invite:  

The two disc jockeys who played music at the rave party in suburban Juhu hotel were today called to police station for the second consecutive day for probe into the matter even as the investigators are trying to decode the language used in the invitation, police said. "DJ brothers Romeo and Deepesh Sharma of Designer Hippies were today called to the station for the second day
and their statement is being recorded," a police officer at Juhu police station said. 

 Expressing suspicion on the language used in the invite, police are taking the help of various party organisers to decode the communication. The invite says:  "DESIGNER HIPPIES (United Beats Records, USA) ARE bringing the SUN "DOWN". Lets rock this town- so get ready to get high. Please do not try to FLY. Because Flying is an illusion not a Reality, come with us and we'll make you feel Gravity." 


"By using such language, the organiser tried to indicate the patrons about the availability of the drugs in the party?" asked the officer. On May 20 night, police busted a rave party at Oakwood Premier hotel and rounded up 91 persons, including IPL players Wayne Parnell, Rahul Sharma and 19 foreign nationals.

14:15  The Ten Worst Films Of Ram Gopal Varma:  

From sly genius to unintentional spoofs, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma s creativity has deteriorated from astounding to appalling. But the spirit and steadiness he demonstrates in doling out these monstrosities one after the other makes the man once responsible for films like Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Kaun? and Company impossible to stay indifferent to.  


More on

14:04  Prez polls: Sonia snubs Sangma, refuses to meet him:  

Presidential hopeful PA Sangma has been allegedly snubbed by Sonia Gandhi. The UPA chairperson has refused to grant him a meeting on the presidential polls. However, 10 Janpath has denied that Sangma has sought a meeting with Sonia. Sangma had in the past, brought up Sonia's foreigner status.


NCP leader PA Sangma today met Naveen Patnaik and thanked the Odisha chief minister for supporting his candidature as the race to the Presidential election is heating up. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and Patnaik has rooted for PA Sangma as a Presidential candidature. Sangma says he has appealed to all parties as the NCP does not have the numbers to go it alone. 

13:57  Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest tower, opens to the public:  Japan's biggest new landmark, a broadcast tower for TV and radio, expected to draw 8,000 visitors on first day. See
13:51  You're NOT a rape victim unless the police say so:  If you think police in India are insensitive to rape victims, it's no different elsewhere. Read this
13:48  Meira Kumar took trips abroad every 37 days:  

Will Mamata Banerjee rethink her nod for Meira Kumar's candidature for Presdient after she reads this?

The Lok Sabha Speaker has undertaken as many 29 foreign trips in 35 months since assuming the high office which means she has gone on a trip nearly every 37 days.The former IFS officer has visited 28 countries accompanied by MPs belonging to various parties as well as senior officials of the Lok Sabha secretariat incurring a total expenditure of nearly Rs 10 crore, according to information given to activist Subhash Agrawal under RTI Act.



13:40  Anna Hazare's letter to Arvind Kejriwal on the money collected in his (Anna's) name. Read
13:34  MNS to felicitate Wankhede security guard :  

Look who jumped into the fight between the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and Shah Rukh Khan -- the MNS of course. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has decided to felicitate Vikas Dalvi, the security guard who took on SRK when he didn't allow the latter and his children to use the Wankhede ground after the match was over.


More on India Today.

13:32  I had the most horrible time working with Sanjay Dutt: RGV:  

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma today said that he does not want to see Sanjay Dutt's face for the rest of his life as he had a "horrible time" working with the actor on Department.


The recently released film starred Sanjay Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan and Rana Dagubbati in the lead besides Anjana Sukhani and Abhimanyu Singh in pivotal roles. The film released on May18 and was panned by critics.   


"Whatever else happening to Department I am supremely happy that I don't want to see the faces of Sanjay Dutt and Dharam Oberoi (CEO of Sanjay Dutt Productions) for the rest of my life," Varma wrote on Twitter.   


While the shooting of the film was going on, there were reports that both Varma and Dutt were at loggerheads but they had denied differences while promoting the film.


Now, Varma has claimed that the actor kept bothering him with demands of script change. "From forcing me to take Kangana (Kangana Ranaut) out of the film to constantly cornering me to change screenplay, I had the most horrible time working with Dutt," Varma said.   


"If Dutt and Oberoi think I am the bad in 'Department' lets wait for 'Zilla Ghaziabad' and Soham's film where I am not there to spoil their creative inputs," wrote Varma.

13:18  Prez polls: Desperate Sangma may go Independent:  

NCP leader PA Sangma on Tuesday met Naveen Patnaik and thanked the Odisha chief minister for supporting his candidature as the race to the Presidential election is heating up. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and Patnaik's decision to root for PA Sangma as a Presidential candidature.

"If necessary, I'll contest as an independent: Sangma poll candidate was prompted by their "understanding" that Sonia Gandhi would eventually pick a tribal leader as the UPA nominee.

13:08  AP train accident: Toll goes up: 24 dead, 40 injured :  

Update on the AP train disaster. Twenty-four people were killed and over 40 injured when the driver of the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express apparently overshot the signal and rammed into the rear of a stationary goods train in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours today.


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today expressed grief over the train mishap at Penukonda in Anantpur district and asked officials to
expedite relief measures  The Chief Minister would be leaving for the accident spot soon and meet the injured persons in hospitals.

Of them, 11 were charred to death in the first coach, which caught fire, while the rest were trapped to death in the third coach of the express train coming from Hubli in Karnataka which derailed at around 3:15 am at Penukonda
railway station. The first three coaches of the express train had derailed
due to the impact of the collision.

13:00  I say poh-ta-toe, you say potato:  How pronounciation and English language skills have become a major concern as global aviation grows. On the NYT.
12:57  Could Superman be gay?:  

Honchos at Superman's comic book home, DC Comics, said this weekend that one of their most identifiable (but as of yet unnamed) straight characters will soon be coming out of the closet, according to a report.

Read more
12:55  This day, 50 years ago, a Pakistani newspaper reads... :  

Little seems to have changed in international diplomacy. This is what the Dawn, Pakistan has from its archives, 50 years ago.


Official sources confirmed yesterday that Pakistan has conveyed its views to America on its reported race with Russia to be the first to give latest military equipment and aircraft to India, but said that no protest had yet been made. No protest or representation has been made to Britain or the Soviet Union, they added.


(This was when JF Kennedy was the President of the United States)

12:52  This is the inaugural Address by External Affairs Minister at the 28th All India Annual Conference for Haj 2012. Read
12:36  BJP prophecy: Government will fall anytime:  

As UPA completes three years in office, BJP today claimed the government may fall anytime as coalition partners were unhappy and were not even ready to
break bread together. 


During a discussion on the issue at the party's Parliamentary Party meeting in New Delhi, the BJP while referring to Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee refusal to attend a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the three years of UPA regime would be written in "black letters." 


"Its allies are not happy with it. A leader of the ally party does not even want to eat food together. You can imagine the state of affairs... The UPA is not even in a position of eating snacks. "I wonder what would be the flavour of the dinner hosted to celebrate the three years of completion of government," said BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain after the party's  meeting. He said, "The completion of three years of UPA regime will be written in black letters."

12:28  Man in the morning, hijra at night...:  

Hardeep Singh, a father of two, leaves his home in west Delhi every day at around 2 pm. Dressed in a pair of light trousers and a shirt, he reaches a local charity, where he undresses to reveal his female clothes underneath and transforms into Seema.


See the amazing photo-essay on reuters

12:22  Karachi airbase attack: 3 Pak naval officers punished:  Three senior officers of the Pakistan Navy have been penalised after a court martial found them guilty of negligence and dereliction of duty during adeadly Taliban attack on a key naval airbase in Karachi last year which also destroyed two US-made surveillance aircraft. The navy's media arm confirmed that the three officers were tried "under the naval law and were accordingly penalised." It did not identify the officers or give details about the punishment.
12:20  Premji says son Rishad may succeed him eventually:  

In a first definite indication of his son's future entry into the corner office, Wipro chairman Azim Premji has said his son Rishad Premji may succeed him as the non-executive chairman of the Bengaluru-based company.


In a recent interview with Bloomberg in New York, Premji, who with his family controls about 78 per cent of Wipro, said 'it would make sense' for Rishad to succeed him eventually.


More on

12:17  Parents murder Westernised daughter :  

On the Daily Mail: A teenager was killed by her Pakistan-born parents because they believed her Westernised lifestyle had brought shame on the family, a court heard yesterday.

Read more

12:14  A law for those who speak up:  

The murder of SP Mahantesh, who succumbed to injuries five days after he was brutally attacked, is a gloomy reminder of the risks of being upright in an environment that stinks of corruption. It also reinforces the need to push through with the long delayed legislation to protect whistleblowers, who often reveal information in the public interest at great personal risk. 


Read the editorial on The Hindu

12:12  Thou shalt not ask questions:  

What happens when shocking behaviour is almost predictable? The shock value diminishes? Not in the case of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who brought drama and excitement to a television news channel last week by walking out in the middle of a shoot after describing members of the invited studio audience as Maoist and CPI (M) cadres.


Worse, and more shockingly, she ordered police investigations against the students among the audience who had raised uncomfortable questions during the event.


Read the opinion piece on the Hindu

12:08  Obama meets Zardari at Nato, diplomatic standoff remains:  

Barack Obama met Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Chicago on Monday, but made no attempt to end a diplomatic standoff over Afghanistan supply routes -- a standoff that has cast a shadow over the meeting of world leaders.

On the Guardian

12:01  Ravi has already suffered enough: Parents:  

Update on the Dharun Ravi trial.

The distraught parents of Dharun Ravi, sentenced for a month in prison for spying on his gay roommate, said he has suffered "enough" while the mother of
his roommate who committed suicide said her family has never heard an apology from the Indian-origin young man. 


Ravi, 20, was sentenced yesterday in a New Brunswick court by Judge Glenn Berman in Superior Court in Middlesex County. In addition to 30 days in jail, set to begin May 31, Berman also sentenced Ravi to three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and counseling regarding cyber bullying and alternative lifestyles. 


Ravi must also pay a USD 10,000 fine, which will go to a facility dedicated to victims of bias crimes. "I heard this jury say guilty 288 times 24 questions, 12 jurors, that's the multiplication," the judge told Ravi, referring to the questionnaire jurors filled out in arriving at the verdict. 


"And I haven't heard you apologise once". "I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi," the judge told a courtroom packed with supporters of Ravi as well as with the Clementi family.

 "I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity". During the sentencing hearing, Ravi's father Ravi Pazhani said for the past 20 months "we have witnessed several chapters of vengeful, malicious, selective prosecution filled
with lies and injustice".


On Ravi did NOT commit hate crime, says judge

11:53  Smoking row: Rajasthan govt slaps SRK with notice:  

The Rajasthan Police today served summons on superstar Shah Rukh Khan to appear in a Jaipur court on a complaint that he was seen smoking in public. SRK was seen on camera smoking during an IPL match at Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh stadium in April this year.

Just last week, the popular Bollywood actor was issued a five-year ban from entering Mumbai's Wankhede stadium after an alleged scuffle and exchange of words wth stadium staff and officials of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The Board of Control for Cricket in INdia is still looking into that matter. More on NDTV

11:44  'I would like to be remembered as one who tried to change things':  Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh will retire on May 31. In this interview with Kalyani Shankar for, he speaks about the age row, the Tatra issue, the letter leak, and his plans for the future. Read
11:39  Indian women turn to firearms against threat of violence:  

Guns are increasingly popular with well-off Indian women who feel that they should be able to defend themselves against crime. Read Jason Burke's report on the Guardian.

11:37  Air chief visits France, Rafale Squadron:  

Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne is on a four day goodwill visit to France. He would be visiting the Rafale Squadron to get an first hand impression of the MMRCA, selected by the IAF, as also to see Rafale's Production facilities at Mrignac, besides overseeing the progress of the various projects being carried forward as joint ventures between the two countries.

He would also be interacting with the IAF's Project Management Team members for the Mirage- 2000 Upgrade Project. The visit is significant, as it is the first high level official visit from India to France after the new government has taken office.

11:32  Facebook shares lose 10 billion on first day of trading:  

The much-hyped Facebook shares slumped to more than ten percent below their float price over the first hour of trading, as shareholders scrambled to sell shares in what had been pitched as the greatest growth story of the decade.   Over 10 billion dollars was wiped off Facebook's value on its first full day as a public company.  


The company's founder saw the value of his fortune drop by more than 2 billion dollars to just under 17 billion dollars, as the shares closed down 11pc, at 34.03 dollars.

11:27  Sorry, guys, Sonakshi won't kiss, wear a bikini:  

Just in case you were keeping your hopes up, here's a dampner.

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha has laid down some rules for herself and is clear about what she will never do in movies. The Dabangg star has maintained that she will not do any intimate scenes and also won't sport a bikini on screen
ever. Yet she has been getting plump Bollywood offers. 


"I am not open to wear a bikini. I don't see any reason to change it because if audience has accepted me fully clothed then why will I resort to it. It ( kissing and getting intimate) is a complete no.. I am not that kind of a person. I have been brought up in certain way, I have certain restrictions that I follow," Sonakshi. 

11:22  LS, RS adjourned till noon:  Lok Sabha has adjourned till noon after Opposition uproar over the train mishap in Andhra Pradesh and the alleged scam over coal block allocation. Rajya Sabha follows. The upper house has also been adjourned for 15 minutes after Opposition uproar over CAG reportedly pointing to Rs 1,80,000 cr loss in coal block allotment.
11:20  Opening salvos fired at Gupta trial:  

Prosecutors told jurors that former Goldman Sachs Group Inc director Rajat Gupta repeatedly broke the law by leaking inside information to a close friend and business partner, while his defense lawyer blasted a criminal case he said was based on guesswork.


Read the WSJ report

11:12  What makes Manmohan a flop and Rahul the big hope:  

In his time in office as Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh has borne many a political slight with great equanimity. From being taunted by BJP leader LK Advani as India's "weakest Prime Minister' to being dismissed as a political lightweight for not being popularly elected to being the target of much online satire for the thunderous silence he maintains at critical moments on issues of grave national importance, 'Maunmohan Singh' has been at the receiving end of the slings and arrows of venomous criticism. 


More on

11:03  AP train accident: 16 bodies charred to death:  However, the DIG Anantpur tells CNN IBN that the toll is 16, and all the bodies were charred to death. At least four bodies are still stuck under the debris. Railway minister Mukul Roy is on his way to the site.  
11:00  All those trapped in the train have been rescued, even as an enquiry has been ordered into the incident.  
10:58  AP train accident toll up to 15 dead, 70 injured:  

The toll in the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express accident has gone up to 15 people dead and 70 injured. The train overshot a signal and collided with a stationary goods train at Andhra Pradesh's Penneconda station.

The railway ministry has announced a Rs 5 lakh compensation for the dead.

10:55  Meira Kumar a costly globe-trotter, but Somnath worse:  

Speaker Meira Kumar is trending on Twitter. Meira Kumar, who was elected as Speaker of the Lok Sabha in June 2009, has visited close to a dozen countries since her term began with most of the trips being made in connection with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Times of India reported today.  


Nearly Rs 10 crore has been spent on her travel to various countries in the last three years that she has been in office and she had spent a little more than Rs 11 lakh on gifts for her hosts. More on

10:50  Large footprint in Afghan can be counterproductive: Obama:  

US President Barack Obama today said having a large footprint in Afghanistan can be "counter-productive" in the long run and that it was time to pull back
troops and turn attention to domestic woes, as the NATO alliance agreed on a 2014 end to the Afghan mission.

10:42  How to make China lend quicker, in secrecy:  

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the prestigious American think tank Council of Foreign Relations wrote last week that the Barack Obama administration has quietly "altered its plans to move some US security resources from an unthreatened Europe to an uncertain Asia' administration leaders realized they had gratuitously offended European allies and gratuitously provided Beijing's hawks with ammunition to argue that America was formally and openly instituting a policy of containing China.


More on MK Bhadrakumar's blog

09:51  Rajat Gupta threw away his duties: Prosecution:  Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta "threw away his duties" when he passed confidential company information to hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, a prosecutor told a US court, even as defence argued that the Indian American was not an insider trader and "does not belong in this courtroom".

The trial of Gupta, one of the most high profile Wall Street executives to be charged with insider trading, began in US District Court, Southern District of New York yesterday amid intense media glare.

In his opening remarks to the 12-member jury, Assistant US Attorney Reed Brodsky said Gupta "threw away his duties and responsibilities and broke the law," by sharing insider tips with Rajaratnam, who is currently serving an 11 year prison sentence on insider trading charges.

The case of illegal insider trading "is about this man," Brodsky said facing the jury and pointing his hand toward Gupta "and how he violated his duties and abused his position as a corporate insider".
09:34  UPA 2 anniv: Mamata, Karuna to skip PM's dinner:   Two key allies Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK supremo K Karunanidhi will not be attending Tuesday's dinner that is being hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to celebrate the tird anniversary dinner of the United Progressive Alliance-II.

While Karunanidhi has cited poor health, the West Bengal Chief Minister's decision comes at a time when there is growing uneasiness between her party and the Congress following the Centre's reticence on her demand for a special financial package for the state, reports NDTV.

The government will also release a report card later today to mark the occasion.   
09:22  13 dead, 30 hurt as trains collide in Andhra :  At least 13 persons were killed and around 30 injured when Bengaluru-bound Hampi Express collided with a stationary goods train at Penneconda station of Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district early on Tuesday morning, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

As a result of the collision the train derailed and two coaches caught fire. While the fire has been brought under control, rescue operations are still on.The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals.
04:13  Obama met Zardari twice, no snub: White House:  
US President Barack Obama met his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari twice, including a brief one-on-one conversation, on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Chicago, the White House said.

"The President spoke briefly with President Zardari twice. First, they had a brief one-on-one conversation as they made their way into the ISAF meeting on Monday morning," the White House said.

Later this afternoon, President Obama had the chance to briefly speak with President Zardari and (Afghanistan) President (Hamid) Karzai, underscoring their shared commitment to an Afghan-led reconciliation process to bring the war to a responsible end, the White House said.

The meeting occurred shortly before the family photo, the statement said. 
04:07  Gangs of Wasseypur opens at Cannes:  
Director Anurag Kashyap is creating waves in India all the way from France. 

His latest movie, Gangs of Wasseypur, is India's first mainstream film to be screened in the Director's Fortnight section at the Cannes Film Festival.

The epic follows a feuding family over 60 years in the rural eastern coal district of Dhanbad. It stars Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Richa Chadda.
03:03  Obama meets Zardari at NATO summit:  
US President Barack Obama met briefly on the sidelines of the NATO summit with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. 

The meeting comes amid tensions over Pakistan's closure of key transit routes used by NATO to send supplies to troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan closed the routes in November in response to a US airstrike that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

The three leaders met after a larger meeting focussed on Afghanistan's future.

US and Pakistani officials have been in talks to reopen the supply lines, but the negotiations are stalled. US officials say that while they expect the issue to be resolved, they did not believe that would happen while leaders were gathered in Chicago for the NATO summit.
03:02  Nigeria: Plot to bomb police HQ foiled, 2 held:  
Two men who were about to bomb the police headquarters and Radio House which houses several government broadcast stations in Nigerian capital Abuja, were arrested on Tuesday, Nigerian police said.

They were said to have been apprehended moments before they were about to carry out suicide bombings.

The man arrested at the police headquarters was said to have laced his body with some explosives and hand grenades but was detected through some security gadgets. 

"As soon as the terrorist, Abdulsalaam Salihu, alighted from the vehicle that brought him nearby the premises, the gadgets beeped and alerted the security operatives," police said.

He was arrested and was later taken to the intelligence unit for questioning.
03:00  NATO will have new role in Afghanistan: Rasmussen:  
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the organisation will have a new mission and role in Afghanistan after all the international forces withdraw from the war-torn country.

"Let me be clear: this will not be ISAF under a different name," Rasmussen told media persons at a Chicago news conference after a meeting of NATO-led ISAF countries.

"It will be a new mission, with a new role for NATO," he said, adding, "The decision was taken at the invitation of the Afghan government."
01:35  Zardari absent from NATO photo session:  Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was conspicuously absent from the photo session of leaders of about 60 nations who participated in NATO Summit in Chicago on Afghanistan.

The meeting was attended by not only leaders of NATO members, but also those contributing troops to International Security Assistance Force.

No immediate reason was given for the absence of Zardari from the photo session, in which all the leaders participated. 
00:11  Never felt so powerless in my entire life: Ravi's father:  Moments before his son was sentenced to jail, Indian student Dharun Ravi's father Ravi Pazhani pleaded to Judge Breman that the truth had been compromised in his son's case.

In the statement before the New Jersey court, Pazhani said:

"My name is Ravi Pazhani, father of Dharun, a long time New Jersey resident, a 1st generation immigrant and more importantly a proud Citizen of the United States. I stand by what this nation stands for and its beliefs, core principles and I will never compromise that position even if it means to sacrifice everything I have. This is my country and Home. Don' t force us to go back."

"For the past 20 months a history has been in the making and we have witnessed several chapters of vengeful, malicious, selective prosecution filled with lies and injustice. Now it is time for the final chapter, honorable judge we all know you have the power and final say but please show heart today, to make sure the last chapter is all about truth, justice and preserve the sanctity of American judicial system which is widely believed to be the best in the world."

Click HERE to read the entire text 
00:08  Top news stories in the last 24 hours:  Webcam case: Dharun Ravi gets 30-day jail term

Narendra Modi most popular national leader: Survey

Organiser of rave party arrested in Mumbai

Kalighat temple entry: SC stays HC ban

Nupur Talwar wants to adopt fellow inmate's daughter

Obama omits Pak from NATO speech, snubs Zardari

Insider trading: Rajat Gupta's trial begins in US

Fonseka finally walks free from Lanka prison

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Spotted: Shankar Mahadevan and Shaan in New Jersey
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