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May 23, 2012


23:14  6.1 quake shakes northeastern Japan:  
A strong earthquake has struck off the coast of northeastern Japan, but no tsunami is expected.

The US Geological Survey says the magnitude-6.1 earthquake hit today and was centered about 107 kilometers northeast of Hachinohe at a depth of 40 kilometers.

Japan's Kyodo News agency says the quake shook Aomori prefecture (state) and other areas of northeastern Japan but no abnormalities were reported at nearby nuclear power plants. 

No tsunami warning was issued.

A massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan's northeastern coastline in March last year, leaving some 19,000 people dead or missing and badly damaging the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
22:20  Chaos at petrol pumps as motorists stock up:  With the steep fuel hike effective from midnight, petrol pump across Mumbai and Delhi are witnessing serpentine queues. 

Resultantly traffic at many places has come to a standstill.
21:34  Petrol price hike: LDF calls for hartal in Kerala tomorrow:  Opposition CPI-M led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala today gave a call for dawn-to-dusk hartal in the state tomorrow to protest the steepest ever increase in petrol price. 

"This (the price hike) is a cruel blow on the people of the country already reeling under the pressure of steep price rise," LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan said in a statement here tonight. He urged all sections of the society to support the protest. 

In a separate statement, the BJP also called a hartal in the state for tomorrow protesting the Rs 7.5 hike announced by the oil companies. Essential services like milk supply, media, hospital would be exempted from the hartal.
21:27  Are the fuel pumps pouring petrol or gold: Public:  This was among the many angry reactions from Delhiites to the government's announcement to hike petrol prices. Many of them contemplated shunning their cars and avail services of Metro so that their pockets are not hit hard. 

As the government announced a Rs 7.50 per litre hike in petrol price from midnight, anger was written on the faces of many faces. "Its not just about my car bills. What will be the effect of this hike? It will lead to price rise. Everything will now cost a bomb. Is it petrol or gold?" Jatin P A, a media professional, said.
20:44  Swamy asks Jaya to support Kalam for Prez post:  Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy today asked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to support A P J Abdul Kalam for the post of President instead of NCP leader P A Sangma whom she had already chosen. 

In a statement, Swamy said she should support Kalam for the post of president. "She should phone him up and persuade him to become her candidate. Sangma has lost all moral authority to be a non Congress candidate after apologising to (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi (for raking up her foreign origin issue)," he said.

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. Jayalalithaa had spoke to BJP leader L K Advani, Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and other non-Congress leaders, including Left parties, in support of Sangma. The NCP leader is also doing rounds of several parties,seeking support for his Presidential bid.
20:41  Woman who invited high profile guests at rave party identified:  Police today claimed to have identified a woman suspected to have invited high profile guests and IPL players at the rave party busted on Sunday night even as they initiated procedures to suspend the licence of the suburban Juhu hotel. 

"The lady who had invited guests at the hotel party has been identified and will soon be called for questioning," said a senior police officer of Juhu police station. However, he did not reveal the name of the woman. Meanwhile, two Disc Jockeys were grilled for the third consecutive day and their statements recorded. 

The Disc Jockeys of Desinger Hippies, Romeo and Deepesh Sharma, both brothers were again grilled today after which the police recorded their statements.
20:38  Jaya condemns petrol price hike, demands rollback:  Strongly condemning the steep hike in petrol price, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today demanded its immediate roll back, warning that otherwise people's agony would spell the doom for the 'anti-people' UPA government soon. 

"The hike of Rs 7.50 will affect the poor and the middle class. This is a gift given to the people by the UPA coalition government on its completion of three years in office," the AIADMK chief said in a statement. She said the hike in petrol price could have been avoided by reducing the profit of the government as well as private run oil companies, reducing the tax on petrol and checking the falling rupee value. 

Holding that the UPA government's 'wrong' economic policies were responsible for the price rise, steep rupee depreciation and economic slowdown, she said the latest petrol price hike had only added "fuel to the fire".
20:16  Will ask for rollback of petro price hike: Karuna:  

M Karunanidhi, chief of major UPA ally DMK, has criticized the government's decision to hike petrol prices by Rs 7.50 per litre.

The former Tamil Nadu chief minister also said that he will ask his party MPs to request PM Manmohan Singh for a rollback of hiked petro prices.

19:32  Won't topple govt on petro price hike: Mamata:  

West Bengal Chief Minister and chief of UPA ally Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, reacted sharply to government's decision to hike petrol prices, terming it as 'unacceptable.'

 

Petrol price hike is unjust and unilateral. It was done without our knowledge, she added.

 

However, she added, that Trinamool Congress won't topple the government 'like CPI-M', which will create economic and political instability.

19:08  UPA govt a burden for people: CPI:  

CPI leader D Raja while blasting the governments decision of hiking the fuel price hike of Rs 7.50 per litres, said that the Left parties will hot the streets while protesting against the failure UPA government.

 

People of the country are fed up with the government which has failed on all fronts, he added.

18:47  The CPM says the economy is in a state of ruin. What is awaited is Mamata Banerjee's reaction and for once, she won't be able to blame the CPM and Maoists 'peepol'.  
18:45  BJP reacts to petrol hike: People's reply in polls:  The opposition reacts to the petrol price hike. The BJP says it will launch a nationwide protest and says the government has become a burden on the people. "People will reply in the next elections," says Shahnawaz Hussain.
18:33  @ShivAroor One thing is for sure: from today, if a petrol pump attendant is caught shorting you on fuel, there will be blood.
18:31  Short circuit likely cause of Delhi fire :  

Update on the fire at the PNB head office in Delhi.

 

Some of the injured, who had trouble in breathing, have been taken to hospitals. Police and fire brigade officials suspect that a short circuit is the cause of the blaze. Thick plumes of smoke billowed out of the four-storey building.  

 

A large number of employees working in banks and customers were trapped inside. While some of them managed to get out of the building before the fire spread, a number of them were trapped as the exit was engulfed in smoke. Two hydraulic elevators were pressed into service by fire brigade officials who broke the window panes and rescued them from the top floor of the building.   

 

Police also had to block traffic on parts of Ashoka Road and Parliament Street as rescue operations went on. Anxiety gave way to emotional scenes outside the building as colleagues hugged each other after getting out. members of those working in the building also rushed to the spot after hearing about the incident.

18:24  IOC, BPCL, HPCL will hike the prices effective midnight. So, expect long queues at petrol stations. Will this be make or break from the UPA for Mamata Banerjee?
18:22  Petrol price hike steepest ever :  

Incidentally, the Rs 7.50 hike in petrol prices, is the steepest ever. At Rs 70.66 per litre (current prices), petrol prices in Mumbai is the highest and of course, Delhi, at Rs 65.64, is the cheapest.

The petrol prices were hiked after the record low of the Rupee, which fell to Rs 56 to a dollar today.

18:20  Jaipal Reddy warned of fuel hike on Tuesday:  

In fact, on Tuesday, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy said there was an immediate need to raise fuel prices.

 

"It (price increase) is very essential, but (before hiking rates) we have to talk to political parties," he told reporters in Amritsar on Tuesday, on the 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.

18:14  Petrol prices hiked by Rs 7.50/litre from midnight:  Just in: Petrol prices have been hiked by Rs 7.50 per litre with effect from midnight.
18:03  The CBI has summoned Jagan Reddy in the disproportionate assets case.
18:02  Inventor of TV remote control passes away:  Eugene Polley's Flash-Matic was considered a luxury when it debuted in 1955, but its popularity has been tied to the explosion in cable TV. Polley felt he did not receive proper credit for his invention. Read
17:59  BJP steers clear of Modi's absence at Mumbai meet :  

BJP today steered clear of questions whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the National Executive meeting of the party beginning in Mumbai tomorrow.

 

"We are hoping everybody will be there. Why are you asking specific questions? All are expected. Let us see...We dont know who is coming by which train. By tomorrow, we will know," was all that the party Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said while talking to reporters. 

 

He was asked if Modi, who had skipped the last National Executive meeting, would be attending the meet.

17:54  At the Delhi fire, an employee of PNB says they escaped by using the staircase. Other employees, all uniformly calm, say firemen rescued them.
17:47  Come back to work, all is forgiven: Ajit Singh to pilots:  In other news: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh says sacked pilots can be taken back on case-to-case basis. "Come back to work, there will be no victimisation," says the minister.
17:45  Most of the people being evacuated are employees of the Punjab National Bank. Some people are still stuck on the fourth floor of the building.
17:43  

Forklifts rescuing people in groups of four and five. Early, and therefore unconfirmed reports, say many more are trapped inside.

17:40  The area has been cordoned off. TV visuals show fire officials trying to break open the windows on the ground floor to allow the smoke to bellow out. The building houses the head office of the Punjab National Bank and a branch office of UCO bank and is on Parliament Street.   
17:32  

The UCO Bank building is metres away from Parliament House. Early reports say the fire began at the ground floor.

Some clarity: The PNB office is in the same building.

17:30  25 fire tenders at the spot:  

CNN IBN reports say the fire is at the UCO Bank building at Parliament Street in Central Delhi. According to fire parlance, if there are over 25 fire tenders at the spot, it is called a major fire.  

17:28  Major fire at bank in Delhi, people trapped inside:  There has been a fire at the Punjab National Bank in Central Delhi. Twenty-five fire tenders are at the spot. Fire officials say many people are believed to be trapped inside. Details awaited.
17:25  33-yrs in jail for doc who helped CIA find Osama :  

A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden has been sentenced to 33 years in jail, officials say. Shakil Afridi was charged with treason for running a fake vaccination programme to gather information, reports the bbc. The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton had called for his release on the grounds that his work served Pakistani and American interests. Bin Laden was killed by US forces in the north-western city of Abbottabad in May 2011.

 

17:20  Mother who has child in womb can't kill her: Nupur:  

Moving on to an update on teh Aarushi Talwar case (see our  16:27 post).

Outside the court, Nupur Talwar told media: "God will help us as we are innocent. A mother who keeps her child nine months in her womb, can never kill the living child whatever she does. A man cannot understand the agony of a mother in giving birth to a child."

17:16  News coming in now says Allahabad explosion was caused by a low intensity crude bomb, says the DSP of Allahabad. 
17:08  Bomb blast, gang war, claim officials:  

A report on Times Now says the explosion was caused by a bomb with unnamed officials saying it may have been caused by a gang war. Exact number of casualties have not been confirmed but Times Now puts the figure at four dead, 12 injured. 

 

Discuss the Allahabad explosion here

16:55  Explosion could be heard 500 m away:  

Eyewitnesses say they could hear the explosion from about half a kilometre away. Eyewitnesses say they saw children's bodies being carried out. Remember, still no confirmation whether it was a bomb blast.

 

That's the location of the where the explosion took place.

16:52  Forensics team rushed from Lucknow:  The incident is believed to have happened around 4 pm. A forensics team has been rushed from Lucknow. Still no confirmation on the number of victims which hover between five and six. The nature of the explosion is still unknown, with the Allahabad police refusing to speak to the media.
16:47  High alert across Allahabad:  

Reports say the victims were playing near the garbage dump when the explosion took place. The injured have been taken to hospitals and a high alert has been declared by the government.

16:42  

The death toll has gone up to six -- four children and two women. Fifteen people have been injured, seven critically.

16:41  

Early reports say seven people have been critically injured.

16:40  The police are at the spot and the area has been cordoned off, says NDTV.
16:37  Loud explosion was caused by a bomb: Eyewitness:  The slum is in an area called Kareli and most of the residents are ragpickers. There were only women and children at the slum with most of the men out at work  An eyewitness tells CNN IBN that the explosion was caused by a bomb. There was one loud explosion in a garbage dump in the slum. The eyewitness says at least six people are believed to be dead.
16:33  Most of the dead are believed to be children:  Many people have been injured, but no confirmed reports as yet of whether it wa a bomb blast. Early reports say 12 people have been injured. As of now, the five people killed are believed to be children, and one, a woman. Again, these are unconfirmed reports.
16:30  Explosion in Allahabad slum kills five people:  Just in: There has been a blast in Allahabad with five feared dead. The explosion took place in a slum. One woman is among the five dead, says CNN IBN. It is still not confirmed whether it is a bomb blast.
16:27  Aarushi in compromising position with Hemraj: CBI:  

Update on the Aarushi Talwar trial.

 

The CBI today told a special court that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar killed their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in a fit of rage after finding them in a compromising position, a claim strongly refuted by the dentist couple.


 

The Talwars contested CBI's claim, saying that sex is no big deal in elite society and does not entail murders. Resuming its argument on framing of charges in the May 2008 twin murder case, CBI counsel R K Saini told Special Judge Shyam Lal that on the fateful day Talwars had returned home late in the evening and not finding Aarushi and Hemraj in the living room went to their daughter's room.


 

Saini said the room was locked from inside but Talwars opened it from outside with another key and found their daughter and Hemraj in a compromising position and got infuriated.


 

An angry Talwar picked up a golf stick and repeatedly hit Hemraj and his daughter with it, Saini said. As the two fell unconscious, Talwars slit their throat
with a surgical blade, a work done with the precision expected of experts like them, he said.

 

Nupur, however, personally, dismissed the charge saying that they belong to elite class of society where one does not kill anyone for indulging in such sexual acts. She added that they dearly loved their daughter and there was no question of killing her even after finding her in a compromising position as the matter could have been resolved.

16:21  Buying land in India may get much tougher:  

Acquiring land in India isn't easy to begin with, especially if you are planning to build factories, power plants, special economic zones or highways. And it may get harder: If a parliamentary panel has its way, buying land for industrial and infrastructure projects may become close to impossible.

 

That's the report on the Wall Street Journal.

 

This is what the Land Bill that was tabled in Parliament says

16:16  FM is wrong, India has only itself to blame for market mayhem:  Ouch! What a painful day for the financial markets. It was like walking -- no, running -- on broken glass. Read
16:14  Running on empty: Why 8-9% growth isnt coming back:  

For a country that had for decades chugged along at a lowly 3-4 percent GDP growth rate, the frenetic 8-9 percent growth of some recent years made for a giddy experience.

 

While the economy was on an uptrend, largely on the strength of propitious global economic and liquidity conditions and the delayed effect of the reforms of the 1990s and the early 2000s, policymakers began talking up the prospect of India achieving double-digit growth rates.

Read the full report on Firstpost.com

16:09  Pak army helicopter crashes in the Chenab:  A Pakistan Army helicopter with two personnel on board crashed into the Chenab river in Punjab province today while on a routine flight, officials said. A pilot and a trainee pilot were aboard the helicopter when it came down at a spot located 100 km from Lahore. The helicopter was on a routine flight from a base in Gujranwala when it lost contact with the control tower, official said.
16:06  How Amazon is changing the rules for books and movies:  The online retail giant is tapping its huge customer base and vast technical underpinnings to reshape the way books, movies, and television programs are made. Read
16:04  Egyptians turn up to elect Mubarak's successor:  

Millions of Egyptians queued outside polling stations and cast ballots to pick their first post-Mubarak President today, in what marks the culmination of
a mass uprising that uprooted an entrenched autocratic ruler and inspired millions across the Arab world. 

 

The two-day exercise kicked off this morning amid tight security and is the final phase of a tumultuous transition overseen by the increasingly unpopular ruling military council. The historic presidential election is being contested by candidates with both Islamist and secularist leanings who have promised radically different futures for the country.

16:01  Jagan sighs with relief: HC defreezes Jagan's accounts:  

In a relief to Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh High Court today lifted the freeze on bank accounts of three firms -- Sakshi newspaper, TV channel and Janani Infra, owned by the YSR Congress chief. However, the court imposed certain conditions on maintenance of accounts saying that all transactions are to be through cheques and no property should be sold until the case is completed.  

 

On May 8, the CBI, which is investigating source of funds and other aspects of Jagan's business empire, had written to different banks ordering the freezing of all accounts in the name of Jagathi Publications, which runs Sakshi newspaper,Indira TV, which operates Sakshi TV, and Janani Infra.

15:51  Apple gets ready to go with new 'spaceship' campus:  

It will cover 2.8 million square feet and have its own power plant inside its massive, gleaming circular design. It will be covered in solar panels and house up to 13,000 people on a daily basis -- not to mention 6,000 trees.

Read

15:43  BCCI is boss: Kapil on being left out of payout :  

Even as uncertainty prevails over whether Kapil Dev has been left out of the list of former cricketers due to receive the one-time monetary benefit by the BCCI, the former India captain today said officials of the Cricket Board are the "boss" and it's their call. 

 

"They are the boss. Let them do whatever they want to do. What is the point about talking on this matter" Kapil said. The 1983-World Cup winning captain was not invited by the BCCI for the functions at the four IPL venues where it is set to honour former cricketers with cheques for their services to Indian cricket.

 

"I am a contented person and these things will not bother me. I enjoyed playing for India and that is it. I do not have to do anything more. I do not feel comfortable in talking negative. I am a very positive person and I do not have to talk about negatives." 

 

It is believed that Kapil was ignored by the BCCI as he had not accepted the amnesty offered by the board following his involvement in the Indian Cricket League -- the now-defunct Twenty20 league. 

15:38  Ageing cheetah, chetak choppers need to be replaced:  

From Nitin Gokhale's blog -- the NDTV strategic affairs correspondent -- on the chopper crash killing an Army pilot.

 

A young Army Aviation pilot died in Siachen this morning, trying perhaps to eke out non-existent power from the ageing Cheetah Helicopter.

His co-pilot is seriously injured and in hospital.

Despite this accident the brave pilots will continue flying on the World's most inhopitable and highest battlefield.

What went wrong, no one will know but the fact is the Cheetahs and Chetaks have far outlived their lifespan.

They were good machines when they were inducted. Not any longer.

We need replacement. As of yesterday.

As someone who tracks defence matters closely, it saddens me to report that almost 15 months ago, I had done a report on problems with the ageing fleet of Cheetahs and Chetaks.

But the defence minister and the defence ministry will continue to cite flimsy reasons to delay the procurement of helicopters to replace the ageing fleet. We will continue to lose young, brave pilots for no fault of their own.

RIP our brave warrior.

15:29  CPM, Naxals plotting to kill me with help from ISI: Mamata:  

The latest on Mamata Banerjee, who feels the world is out to get her.

 

The West Bengal CM launched a vitriolic attack on her Left opponents, saying how the CPM was plotting with the Maoists to kill her, in league with the ISI and financed by North Korea, Venezuela and Hungary. "They have given me the death sentence, and every day they are spreading this superimposed photo on Facebook, on Internet or the e-mail through some false, camouflaged name," she told Washington Post.

 

Read the report by Simon Denyer in the Washington Post

15:15  Swamy asks Jaya to support Kalam, ditch Sangma:  

In other news, Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy today asked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to support A P J Abdul Kalam for the post of President instead of NCP leader P A Sangma whom she had already chosen.
In a statement, Swamy said she should support Kalam for the post of president.

 "She should phone him up and persuade him to become her candidate. Sangma has lost all moral authority to be a non Congress candidate after apologising to (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi (for raking up her foreign origin issue)," he said.

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.

 

Swamy's tweet a while ago: @Swamy39 JJ will probably switch in few days to Kalaam.

15:12  Amazing pictures: Kayakers on the edge of Victoria falls:  

Adventurers Steve Fisher, 37, Dale Jardine, 33 and Sam Drevo, 33 paddled up to the lip of the mile-wide Victoria Falls -- the largest waterfall in the world -- a 350-ft drop.

See

15:07  Lindsay Lohan nips out without a bra ... again:  And another story on the same lines: Lindsay Lohan makes a fashion boob in this nude dress -- by forgetting to put on her bra. See
15:04  Cheryl Cole makes a boob on the red carpet:  Tabloid tales: How Cheryl Cole makes a glamour boob on the red carpet as a corner of her stick-on bra peeps out from her dress. See
14:55  Meet Jonathan Ive -- the design genius behind Apple products:  

Jonathan Ive, who receives a knighthood today for creating products such as the iPad, tells the Telegraph, UK, why the country's industrial heritage lies behind his success. Read

 

Also see: Simplicity isn't simple

14:47  Take back sacked colleagues, we will talk: AI pilots:  Striking Air India pilots are willing to talk if their sacked colleagues are taken back, says the Indian Pilots' Guild. The airlines has already sacked 71 pilots for participating in the strike, but has sent feelers about taking them back if they resumed their duty. Seven 'sick' pilots have resumed duty so far.
14:40  Army pilot killed in chopper crash over Siachen:  An Army pilot has been killed in a Cheetah helicopter crash over the Siachen Glacier. A NDTV report says the Cheetah Helicopter they were in was on a routine maintenance sortie. After unloading supplies at the Bheem post on the Northern Glacier, the helicopter took off and crashed within minutes.
 
Details awaited.

14:24  IPL has black money? Quit politics then: Diggi to MP CM:  

Taking a dig at Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's remarks on IPL who said that there was black money involved in it, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has said he should quit politics as it also has black money. 

 

Chouhan had recently said that he would not let any IPL matches to be held in Madhya Pradesh, as there was black money involved in it. "Since there is lot of black money in politics, it would be better if Chouhan leaves this field as well," Singh said while speaking to reporters here last night on his way to Raghogarh.

14:12  SRK shows his shoe to crowd at Pune stadium:  

Shah Rukh Khan courts controversy yet again it seems.  

 

Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan's antics after Tuesday night's Indian Premier League (IPL) match are all set to raise the hackles again. After KKR beat Delhi Daredevils in the play-off in Pune and stormed into the finals, the Bollywood superstar took a victory lap in the stadium waving at the crowd, reports India Today.
 

Just as an ecstatic SRK was soaking in the glory, he was seen gesticulating to some people in the crowd asking them to come on the ground. The next moment he pretended to take off his shoe as if to hurl it at someone in the stand.
 

The report adds that, an irked SRK was again seen daring some people in the crowd to see him on the ground. SRK has been involved in several controversies in the recent past.

 

The latest of those past incidents saw him banned from entering Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium for five years for an alleged scuffle and heated duel with Mumbai Cricket Association officials and security guards.

14:01  Zardari at NATO brought disgrace to Pak: Imran:  

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has said President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to Chicago to attend the two-day NATO summit has brought nothing but disgrace to the nation.  

 

Khan said that despite the death of 40,000 Pakistanis and the loss of Rs 70 billion in a "strangers' war", Pakistan's sacrifices are not being given due consideration.  

 

Addressing a press conference, he also questioned that why the resentment being faced by 48 countries was not being kept in mind while discussing the reopening of NATO supply routes in the parliament.   "This whole war is being done for the sake of dollars,' The Express Tribune quoted Khan, as saying.

13:42  The Rupee has breaches the 56-mark against US dollar to touch a new low -- 56.02 to a dollar.
13:41  In New Delhi be warned of monkey muggers:  

Gardiner Harris writes in The New York Times:

 

"The first interloper stepped in front of her on the sidewalk and silently held up his hand. The second appeared behind her and beckoned for her bag. Maeve O'Connor was trapped. Resistance would have been dangerous, so Ms O'Connor handed it over and the two then sauntered arrogantly away. The whole encounter lasted no more than 15 seconds -- just one more coordinated mugging by rhesus monkeys in a city increasingly plagued by them."

 

More

13:31  Hazare hospitalised for fatigue, weakness:  

Anna Hazare was today admitted to a local hospital for medical checkup after he complained of fatigue and weakness. The 74-year-old Hazare, who arrived in Nashik this morning from Dhule as part of his state-wide tour for strong Lokayukta Bill, has been taken to Saibaba Heart Institute and Research
Centre, where he is being examined by doctors, hospital sources said.


The Gandhian is scheduled to address a public meeting here tomorrow evening.
Hazare has been on a month-long tour of the state on the Lokayukta Bill issue from May 1.

Team Anna will begin its fast on July 25 over the Lokpal Bill, but Anna will not be fasting.

13:28  India-Pak Home Secy-level talks in Islamabad tomorrow:  

A 12-member delegation, led by Home Secretary R K Singh, today left for Pakistan for the Home Secretary-level talks beginning tomorrow where a relaxed visa regime is expected to be inked apart from New Delhi pressing for action against perpetrators of the 26/11 attack. 

 

The broad agenda of the two-day talks would focus on terrorism, fugitives from Indian law like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who are believed to be hiding in Pakistan, narcotics, fake Indian currency notes and humanitarian issues including Indian fishermen and civilians in Pakistan jails.

13:22  BCCI ignores Azhar for one-time payment scheme:  

Apart from Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin will also not be part of the BCCI's one-time payment scheme for former cricketers during Indian Premier League's play-off games.

Kapil led India to 1983 World Cup glory in England, and Azharuddin, who played 99 Tests for the country and one time was India's most successful Test captain, before Sourav Ganguly over took him.

These two stalwarts of Indian cricket have been ignored by BCCI for various reasons. Kapil, who was involved with the now defunct Indian Cricket League(ICL) and did not take the amnesty given by the Board, now finds himself out of the list drawn for the one-time benefit scheme.

 

Read the full story here

13:08  Azad: Not aware about BCCI pension:  

Azad was non-committal when asked whether he was getting monthly pension from the BCCI as a former cricketer. "I am not aware if I am getting the pension or not. I have to ask my CA as to whether I have been getting my pension. I am not aware," he said. 

 

Azad said he has written a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to take action against IPL for various financial irregularities. "I have already written a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee asking what action the government intend to take on the allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, foreign exchange violation by the IPL," he said. 

13:05  Kapil Dev, Kirti Azad will not get BCCI bonus :  

Kapil Dev was left out of the list of former cricketers due to receive the one-time monetary benefit announced by the BCCI for former national and domestic cricketers who retired before the 2003-04 season.

 

Kapil Dev told CNN IBN that it is BCCI's prerogative who they want to give the cheque to. Sources have revealed, the BCCI has scratched the name of former India player Kirti Azad from the list of beneficiaries for the one-time payment following his fast at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground in protest against the alleged financial irregularities in the IPL. There is no official word from the BCCI yet on this issue.

12:53  Moments before Dharun Ravi was sent to jail:  

Rediff.com's Rajendran P was at the Middlesex court as the parents of Dharun Ravi, convicted for webcam spying of his roommate Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide, and the latter's parents, took the stand before the judge sentenced Ravi to 30 days in prison.

Read the exclusive story, here.

12:51  US Senate panel punishes Pak, slashes aid by half:  

Sounding a fresh warning to Pakistan, a key Senate panel has voted to slash American assistance to Islamabad by more than half, approving only USD
1 billion in aid for fiscal 2013 and warned of further cuts unless it reopens NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. 

 

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which passes the budget for the State Department, yesterday approved only USD 1 billion in assistance to Pakistan, slashing nearly USD 900 million from the aid that
the country had been due to receive this year and next. 

 

The Senate action reflected growing American anger over a month-long standoff and comes just after a NATO Summit in Chicago where Washington had hoped to reach a deal with Islamabad on supply routes.

 

On the Dawn, Pakistan, read: Nato summit: what next?

12:44  All eyes on Naresh Chandra report on natl security today:  The Naresh Chandra report is the result of the first-ever focused exercise since the Kargil Review Committee, headed by the late K Subrahmanyam, of 10 years ago after which no such holistic review of all aspects of national security was taken up, reports Sheela Bhatt. Exclusively on rediff.com
12:42  

Sushilkumar Shinde has been asked to depose on May 25 and 26.

Meanwhile, read: Top ten facts facts in the Adarsh scam

12:39  Villagers pelt stones at Nitish Kumar's convoy:  

In Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar faced protests from angry locals who pelted stones at a couple of vehicles in his convoy during his 'Seva Yatra' at
Chausa in Buxar district today. 

The trouble started when a large number of villagers gathered alongside the road as they wanted the convoy of chief minister must stop at Chausa and listen to their grievances on electricity and water supply in the area. As the convoy did not not stop at the place, angry locals pelted stones damaging a couple of government vehicles. The chief minister's convoy, however, went ahead.

12:36  Adarsh: Former CMs Deshmukh, Shinde summoned:  Just in: The Adarsh judicial panel has summoned former Maharashtra CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde.
12:32  Why are fountain pen sales rising?:  

A report on the BBC says that fountain pen sales are rising. So is the fountain pen a curious example of an old-fashioned object surviving the winds of change? Read

 

12:26  Why Beijing isn't worried about India:  Sanjaya Baru's piece on how young and self-assured Chinese don't see India as a threat, or even a challenge. On the Indian Express.
12:21  Blame the Army's cover-up culture, not colonial-era institutions:  

The debate on The Hindu on Praveen Swami's Ladakh troop revolt underlines Army class tensions' (The Hindu, May 13, 2012) report. Manvendra Singh,  co-convener of the BJP's defence cell says Swami's interesting analysis of the indiscipline and disorder by personnel of the Ladakh-based 226 Field Regiment was based on two arguments.

Read

 

This is Praveen Swami's response

12:14  Kevin Pietersen to keep tweeting :  

There was good news and bad news for Kevin Pietersen as he attended a promotion for the Chance to Shine charity in central London on Tuesday. He will presumably be pleased to hear that Nick Knight, the former England opener and now Sky pundit, will not be in the commentary box for the second Test that starts on Friday at Trent Bridge, having tweeted that his involvement in the first Test at Lord's was "ridiculous" -- a comment that has landed him in trouble with his employers.

 

Read the report on the Guardian.

12:05  Petrol, diesel, LPG hike likely this week :  Just in: The government is likely to announce a fuel price hike this week. The Empowered Group of Ministers will decide hike in diesel, LPG, petrol prices and allies will be taken into confidence before the announcement is made. The Samajwadi Party is also being kept informed, while the Trinamool will be told the hike is unavoidable thanks to the falling rupee. .
12:01  FB IPO faces US regulatory probe as shares plummet 20pc :  

American authorities have reportedly launched an investigation into Facebook's multi-billion initial public offering, as the social networking giant rounded off the worst start for a major US flotation in five years.  

 

Facebook shares slumped 8.9 percent in the wake of reports that two of the banks that helped advise Facebook on the IPO cut their sales forecast for the company over the last fortnight.  

 

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the reductions from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs may not have reached all investors before they bought shares in the 104 billion-dollar float.

11:52  Sangma apologises to Sonia on foreign origin issue:  

Even if PA Sangma doesn't get to make Rashtrapati Bhavan his home, he will always be remembered as the man who desperately tried to get there. The NCP leader and former Lok Sabha speaker, in a bid to win over UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi apologised to her on the foreign origin issue of 1999. "I had apologised to Sonia Gandhi on the foreign origin issue," Sangma said.

 

This came after Sonia snubbed him denying him an appointment. Sangma's dream of becoming the next President of India suffered a major blow on Tuesday as Sonia Gandhi snubbed him. Sonia denied Sangma an appointment amidst reports that the Congress and his own party, the NCP, won't back his candidature for the President's post.

11:44  Google pays tribute to Robert Moog with interactive doodle:  If you haven't yet, go to the Google home page. Today's doodle is designed to commemorate Robert Arthur Moog, an American music enthusiastic and founder of Moog Music, who is widely known for his unique invention the Moog synthesizer. The interactive doodle celebrates the Robert Moog's 78th birthday and also pays tribute to the American pioneer of electronic music.
11:42  BJP slams govt over slip-sliding Rupee, 55.86/$:  

The BJP slammed the government today for the continuing decline of the Rupee. Continuing its sharp slide, the rupee tumbled 47 paise to a touch a new low of 55.86 against the US dollar in the late morning trade due to persistent
demand for the American currency from banks and importers amid its strengthening overseas against other currencies as well. 

 

The rupee has continued the fall for the sixth day in a row despite some steps taken by the Reserve Bank amidst capital outflows from foreign funds and weak stock market. The rupee resumed lower at 55.65/66 per dollar as against the last closing level of 55.39/40 per dollar and dropped further to an all-time low of 55.86 per dollar at 1100hrs.

11:33  Maharashtra issues shoot-to-kill order for poachers:  

The Maharashtra forest department has issued an order empowering guards to shoot poachers on sight in Maharashtra's four tiger reserves.

 

The order was issued after two tigers and three leopards were found killed in the last few weeks. Forest minister Patangrao Kadam on Tuesday said the high-powered committee of forest officers took the decision to empower the staff. He said the guards have been provided with logistic support as well.

11:27  Is Karisma Kapoor's husband seeing Priya Sachdev?:  Rumours about actress Karisma Kapoor and Delhi-based industrialist Sunjay Kapur's rocky marriage have hit the grapevine from time to time, but the recent buzz doing the rounds in the Capital is that the two might be heading for a split.  The buzz is that Sunjay, who has been rather close to socialite-entrepreneur Priya Sachdev for well over a year now, is keen to take the relationship to the next level. Read more
11:23  Egypt gears up for landmark presidential vote today:  

Big day ahead for Egypt as the county prepares to head to the polls in their first free presidential election, 15 months after ousting Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring uprising. Fifty million people can vote, and security is likely to be tight.

Read

11:21  Railways need to probe AP train disaster:  

The rear-end train collision at Penukonda of the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express at 3 am on Tuesday cannot certainly be dismissed as "yet another tragedy' on the tracks. The fact that over 25 precious lives were lost when the express train rammed into a stationary goods train raises several serious questions that the Indian Railways needs to answer.

 

Read the editorial on The Hindu

11:15  Using a mobile phone to curb domestic violence in India:  "In India, researchers are just beginning to study the effects that the explosive growth in the mobile phone market has had on women's lives,' Nilanjana S Roy writes in The International Herald Tribune's Female Factor column. Read
11:10  Cong may be ready to dump Mamata for Mulayam:  CNN IBN reports that the Congress may be ready to dump the Trinamool and join hands with the Samajwadi Party, but as of now, no talks have taken place. Last evening, SP strongman Mulayam Singh Yadav shared the stage with the PM and Sonia Gandhi where he was given a lot of "samman". 
11:03  Poverty tours: A learning experience or simply gawking?:  On a recent trip home to India, I heard a German man on my flight remark to another passenger that he'd taken his son on a tour of a Kolkata slum. For what happened next, go here
10:57  Why is India paranoid about privacy?:  Lack of effective legislation to protect personal data and the government's efforts to monitor communications contribute to rising unease. Read
10:53  SAP buying e-commerce vendor Ariba for $4.3 billion:  

The other big business story this morning is that SAP is buying cloud-based e-commerce vendor Ariba for $4.3 billion. Ariba's platform focuses on business-to-business commerce transactions. It makes a natural fit with SAP's "broad customer base and deep business process expertise," SAP said in a statement.

 

More

10:51  Mulayam gets 'samman', Cong makes a point, at UPA party:  

At the UPA anniversary dinner, Mulayam Singh Yadav said he was "given a lot of samman (respect)." The Congress is hoping that the message will get across to another M in Calcutta.

 

"Mulayam's presence and Mamata's absence made our day," a Congress leader could not help but blurt out, hastily "correcting' himself with the addition that the Bengal leader is still the UPA's most valuable ally.

 

More samman was served when Mulayam was seated next to Sonia Gandhi at the evening's high table with T.R. Baalu, Lalu Prasad, Rahul Gandhi and Trinamul's Saugata Roy. Sonia made it a point to ensure Mulayam's plate was full and conversed with him in snatches.

 

Full report on the Telegraph.

10:44  4-year-old on Goa holiday raped, murdered, 1 held:  

A four-year-old girl from Kurla, who went missing last week during a trip to Goa with her mother, was found murdered on Tuesday morning. The body was decomposed and the head severed. One person has been arrested.

 

A labourer had called up the police in Goa and informed them that a kid's body was found behind an abandoned under-construction building in Madgaon. Cops said they had received a missing complaint about the kid and identified the body from her clothes.

 

More on the TOI

10:40  Sonia tells UPA: Times running out, so perform:  

Marking the third anniversary of the UPA II government, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday put the ruling coalition in poll mode, warning her party and allies that they have two years to get their act together as UPA-2 can hope to renew its mandate in 2014 only on the basis of performance rather than promises. Her remarks came after Prime MinisterManmohan Singh in his speech acknowledged that people were angry and frustrated over corruption. 

 

More on the Times of India

10:34  CBI plotting to arrest me: Jagan:  YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy has alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation is "plotting to arrest' him.   

The CBI, which is probing a case of disproportionate assets against him, has already filed a charge-sheet against Jagan and his aides. The agency has also frozen the bank accounts of three firms owned by him.   

The CBI has accused Jagan of amassing disproportionate amount of wealth during the tenure of his father, late Chief Minister YSR Reddy.
10:28  Air India files contempt case against striking pilots:  Air India filed a contempt petition against its striking pilots in the Delhi high court on Wednesday, as the strike entered its 16th day.

The beleaguered airlines has already fired 71 pilots for participating in the strike, but sent feelers about taking them back if they resumed their duty. 
10:22  Rupee slides again, hits 55.8/US$:  
Continuing its free fall, the Rupee fell to 55.82 against the US dollar in early trade. For the sixth session in a row, the Rupee on Wednesday lost 43 paise to touch a fresh low.

The rupee has been one of the worst performing currencies in Asia and has been consistently hitting lows in the last fortnight, in spite of RBI interventions by selling dollars in the forex market.
09:48  Former MD, COO in the dock for Rs 8,700 cr Reebok scam:  Reebok India has accused former managing director Subhinder Singh Prem and former chief operating officer Vishnu Bhagat of being involved in a massive Rs 8,700 crore fraud.  

According to a report by CNN-IBN, Reebok has filed an FIR in this regard, alleging that the two senior officials had "stolen products, fudged accounts and indulged in fictitious sales'.     

Both Prem and Bhagat were fired after details of the scam surfaced in March. 
09:19  10 killed in truck mishap in Dhar:  
Ten people, including three women and three children, were killed and 60 others injured when a mini truck in which they were travelling collided with another truck near Bhalabhawri village in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district early on Wednesday morning, said the police.

The ill-fated truck, carrying about 70 people from Jhiri village of Jhabua district, was going to Shivbaba temple in Dharward district when the accident happened around 1 am, they said.

"Ten people, including three women and three children, have died while 60 others were injured. Five of the seriously injured have been referred to Indore for further treatment," said the police.
09:16  'Supply routes through Pakistan to be reopened soon':  
Pakistan will soon reopen the ground lines of communication to Afghanistan, which were shut down last November following the death of 24 soldiers in a NATO strike, the White House has said.

"We continue to work with Pakistan on this issue. We did not anticipate that the supply line issue was going to be resolved prior to the summit. And our teams continue to meet and we are making diligent progress," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

He said the US expects this issue to be resolved.

"We have said that, the government of Pakistan has said that and we expect it to happen," Carney said when asked if non-opening of the supply routes during the just concludedNATO Summit in Chicago was a failure of President Barack Obama.
09:08  US approves $1 billion aid to Pakistan for 2013:  
A key United States Senate sub-committee has approved $1 billion to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2013.

The $52.1 billion Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill for the year 2103 was passed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, during its meeting on Tuesday.

In a statement, the sub-committee said the bill includes a total of $ 1 billion for Pakistan, $184 million was for Department of State operations, $800.3 million for foreign assistance, including $ 50 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund.
09:04  Egypt heads for historical polls:  
Over 52 million Egyptians will vote to choose their president in the first-ever competitive elections to be held today.

The voters will have to choose from 12 candidates, Islamists and secularists, in the two-day elections. If no candidate gets an absolute majority, the top two vote-getters would compete in a runoff on June 16 and 17. 

The winner of the runoff would become Egypt's first president since Hosni Mubarak and will take office before July 1.
04:06  US Senate panel votes to cut aid to Pak:  
In a fresh warning to Pakistan, a Senate panel has approved a foreign aid budget for next year that slashes US assistance to Islamabad by more than half and threatens further reductions if it fails to open supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations also cut aid to Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan while adding $50 million for Jordan to help it handle the influx of refugees from a violent Syria.

By voice vote, the panel approved the overall bill totaling USD 52.1 billion, which is USD 2.6 billion less than what President Barack Obama requested for the 2013 fiscal year beginning October 1 and USD 1.2 billion below current spending. The full Appropriations Committee meets tomorrow to give its final approval to the bill.

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and the chairman of the subcommittee, and the panel's top Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, said money for Pakistan was cut 58 per cent as lawmakers question Islamabad's commitment to the fight against terrorism and as resentment lingers on Capitol Hill a year after Osama bin Laden was killed deep inside Pakistan. 
02:28  Get your act together, Sonia warns party, allies:  
Marking the third anniversary of the UPA II government, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday put the ruling coalition in poll mode, warning her party and allies that they have two years to get their act together as UPA-2 can hope to renew its mandate in 2014 only on the basis of performance rather than promises.

Her remarks came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his speech acknowledged that people were angry and frustrated over corruption. "We know there is public frustration and anger over the issue of corruption. I wish to assure our people that we are working sincerely to address the issue," the PM said in a candid acknowledgement of the problem which is seen as having sapped the goodwill for the government.

Sonia outlined the task ahead, saying, "We are aware that only two years are left when we will be seeking a new mandate from the people. We are fully aware that the result of that will not depend on our promises but on the nature of work done by us."
02:25  Iran nuclear inspections deal is not far off: IAEA:  
The head of the UN nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, has said an agreement would be signed "quite soon" with Iran to allow an investigation into claims it had tried to develop nuclear weapons.

Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was speaking on his return to the agency's Vienna headquarters after a day of talks in Tehran. He described the talks as an "important development" and said he and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, were determined to reach a deal, but it was also clear a final agreement had not been reached.

"The decision was made by me and Mr Jalili to reach agreement on the structured approach. An agreement will be signed quite soon," Amano said, but did not give a date.

Amano had flown from Vienna to Tehran at short notice on Sunday in the hope his presence would seal an agreement on a framework for a long-running IAEA investigation into evidence that Iran may have carried out research and development work on warhead design.
02:24  Russia: Ten jailed for Nevsky Express train bomb:  A Russian court has jailed 10 people, four of them for life, for the bombing of a high-speed train in November 2009 in which 27 people died.

Another 130 people were hurt in the blast which hit the last three carriages of the Moscow-to-St Petersburg Nevsky Express.Nine of the 10 convicted are from the same family.

They were arrested in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia.

Four were found guilty of murder. The others face 7 to 8-year jail terms.

The train was derailed by the blast.
02:23  A 'new era' in space exploration begins:  
NASA administrator Charles Bolden has hailed a "new era" in exploration after the launch of the first cargo delivery to the space station by a private company.

The Falcon rocket, topped by an unmanned Dragon freight capsule, lifted clear of its Florida pad at 03:44 EDT (07:44 GMT; 08:44 BST).

The launch system has been built by California-based firm SpaceX.

The initial climb to an altitude some 340km above the Earth lasted a little under 10 minutes.

Within moments of being ejected, Dragon opened its solar panels.

It also unpacked its navigation equipment.
02:11  Top headlines this hour:  

Top headlines this hour:

We achieved much but we need to do better: PM to UPA 

Mulayam roots for Prez with political background 

Rajiv Gandhi killers excel in Class XII exams

AP train mishap: 'Gory sight to see people aflame' 

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