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May 30, 2012


23:55  Yemeni forces pressed an offensive against Al Qaeda loyalists in the south on Wednesday, leaving sixsoldiers and 22 militants dead, as clashes elsewhere killed three people, officials and tribal sources said.

Troops backed by local militiamen renewed their assault onthe town of Jaar, a jihadist stronghold north of the Abyan provincial capital Zinjibar, a senior commander in the south said.
23:34  Telegraph reports that a British aid worker abducted by gunmen in Sudan's western Darfur region has been released after 86 days in captivity.

Read the story here.
23:12  US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called Mitt Romney after his foe locked down the Republican nomination to take him on in November's election and called for a healthy debate on America's future.

Read the full story here.
22:53  US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called Mitt Romney after his foe locked down the Republican nomination to take him on in November's election and called for a healthy debate on America's future.

Read the full story here.
22:43  Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on her first foreign trip in nearly aquarter-century, offered encouragement on Wednesday to impoverishedmigrants whose flight from their homeland is emblematic of thedevastation wrought there by decades of misrule.

Read the story here
21:37  Pakistan's supreme court on Wednesday gave Interior Minister Rehman Malik a day to submit documents to back his claim that he had renounced his British nationality. 

A three-Judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry issued the order while hearing a petition challenging the dual nationality of some members of the two houses of parliament.
21:06  Striking Air India pilots on Wednesday suffered another blow with the Delhi high Court holdingthat the protesters' view on the issue of training on Boeing 777 to be used in international flights will be heard only after they call off their over three-week agitation.

"Let them call off the strike, we will then hear the matter," a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw on an appeal by Air India against a stay order on the training of more pilots on Boeing 777.
21:01  Faced with criticism for hiscomment that there was true 'poribortan' (change) in WestBengal during the felicitation of the Kolkata Knight Riders,West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan today said he did not makeany reference to political change in the state.

"It (KKR team's victory) happened after they attempted IPL 4-5 times. That means change and that is 'poriborton'. Iam not talking of the government," Narayanan told a local TVchannel.
20:56  Faced with criticism for hiscomment that there was true 'poribortan' (change) in WestBengal during the felicitation of the Kolkata Knight Riders,West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan today said he did not makeany reference to political change in the state.

"It (KKR team's victory) happened after they attempted IPL 4-5 times. That means change and that is 'poriborton'. Iam not talking of the government," Narayanan told a local TVchannel.
20:39  Faced with criticism for hiscomment that there was true 'poribortan' (change) in WestBengal during the felicitation of the Kolkata Knight Riders,West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan today said he did not makeany reference to political change in the state.

"It (KKR team's victory) happened after they attempted IPL 4-5 times. That means change and that is 'poriborton'. Iam not talking of the government," Narayanan told a local TVchannel.
20:18   AFP has reported that Australia has said that it would closely monitor the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a British court ruled he can be extradited to Sweden, but that it would not interfere.

Read the full story here.
20:01  Daily Mail reports that former Liberian President Charles Taylor was today jailed for 50 years for his part in 'some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history'.
19:52  Daily Mail reports that former Liberian President Charles Taylor was today jailed for 50 years for his part in 'some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history'.
19:51  Double whammy: No bail, CBI chargesheet for Reddy:  The CBI today filed a charge sheet against former Karnataka Minister and mining baron GJanardhana Reddy and six others in an illegal mining scam, involving a firm owned by him that allegedly caused a loss of Rs 480 crore to the state exchequer.

The seven accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, theft, forgery, falsification of accounts and section 13 1(D) of Prevention of Corruption Act, among other crimes. In the 28-page charge sheet filed along with over 18,000 supporting documents before a CBI court here, Reddy owned Associated Mining Corporation has been accused of carrying out illegal mining activities.
19:08  Double whammy: No bail, CBI chargesheet for Reddy:  The CBI today filed a charge sheet against former Karnataka Minister and mining baron GJanardhana Reddy and six others in an illegal mining scam, involving a firm owned by him that allegedly caused a loss of Rs 480 crore to the state exchequer.

The seven accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, theft, forgery, falsification of accounts and section 13 1(D) of Prevention of Corruption Act, among other crimes. In the 28-page charge sheet filed along with over 18,000 supporting documents before a CBI court here, Reddy owned Associated Mining Corporation has been accused of carrying out illegal mining activities.
18:37  Proudest moment of our lives, say Vishy's parents:  

Viswanath Anand's parents say this is the proudest moment of their life.  42-year-old Anand won  the World Championships title and fourth crown in a row today. The Indian chess wizard bagged his first world title in 2000 before winning three in a row in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

 

He has been the world champion since 2007. Anand will pocket approximately USD 1.4 million -- 55 per cent of the total prize fund of USD 2.55 million -- while Gelfand will get the remaining amount.

18:33  No bail, it's still jail for mining baron Janardhan Reddy:  

Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa reports that the special CBI court today rejected the bail plea filed by mining baron Janardhan Reddy.

Reddy, who is facing charges of illegal mining, had moved the court seeking bail for two separate cases in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. He is considering moving the high court in the case.

 

The CBI court in Hyderabad had granted bail in the cases in Andhra Pradesh, 20 days ago. However, the CBI had challenged it and obtained a stay on the order. Reddy is at the Bangalore jail, which is where will remain till he gets bail.

18:30  Match was very even, I am relieved, says Vishy:  Anand says the match was so even that he didn't know what shape it would take. "At this moment, all I feel is relief," says Anand.
18:24  Viswanathan Anand wins World Chess championship:  Viswanathan Anand wins World Chess Championship in Russia after beating Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in the Rapid tie-breaker.
18:20  The rupee: a reality check:  The fall in the rupee is not a morality play but a welcome adjustment in an economy living beyond its means. Read more
18:18  Rajasthan gets a heat stroke :  If you're planning to holiday in Rajasthan, think again. Mercury soared in the desert state with Sriganganagar recording 47.4 degree celsius followed by Churu at 47.2 degrees. Bikaner, Kota, Jaisalmer and Barmer recorded maximum of 46.3, 45.7, 45.4 and 45 degrees respectively while Jaipur also recorded 44.2 degrees, highest in the season, according to Met department.
Other places also recorded day temperature around 43 degree Celsius.
18:08  Wannabe Hulk paints himself green, but it won't come off!:  

It's not easy being green - as one Brazilian man proved when he painted himself to look like the Incredible Hulk - and found the colour wouldn't wash off.

Read more 

18:05  Vivek takes a dig at Salman: Sher bigger than Tiger:  

Taking a dig at Salman Khan, actor Vivek Oberoi today said that 'Sher' is bigger than 'Tiger', referring to the titles of their upcoming movies. Salman and Vivek are gearing up for their forthcoming projects 'Ek Tha Tiger' and 'Sher' respectively. 

 

Vivek said, "We are all wild enthusiasts. And as far as my knowledge goes, I think 'Sher' is bigger than 'Tiger'." Salman would be seen playing the role of a RAW agent in the Yash Raj film. The theatrical trailer is out and has garnered positive response. The movie is directed by Kabir Khan is slated to release in August. Vivek's 'Sher' is an action-thriller directed by Soham Shah.

18:02  Viswanathan Anand, who has been the World Chess Champion since 2008, is now leading the four match tie breaker at 2-1 and nears his fifth title.
17:50  Autos, trains, buses, cabs won't ply tomorrow: Shiv Sena:  Though the city's systems are willing to go to work as usual, participating political parties will try their best to ensure a '100 per cent successful' closure on Thursday. Rediff.com's Vrushali Lad reports.
17:46  Fire at Safdarjung Hospital, nobody injured:  

While SRK takes a break, heres' news.

A minor fire broke out in the operation theatre of Safdurjung Hospital, New Delhi, this evening but no one was injured in the incident, fire brigade officials said. The incident was reported at 4:10 pm.

17:44  SRK waits for a mike and leaves the room for a cigarette break. Asks: cigarette break le loon? Will that statement get him into trouble?
17:41  SRK on KKR win: It's been a good ride :  Shah Rukh Khan to address a press meet in Mumbai any time now, on the KKR IPL win.
17:38  US zoos give up on Indian macaques:  

"With fluorescent yellow eyes and tufts of hair sticking straight up behind their ears, Bonner and Etienne look like slightly crazed old men,' Leslie Kaufman writes in The New York Times.

Read

17:36  Hairy tales: Cambodia is India's biggest competitor:  

"For an Internet start-up, Arjuni faces more challenges than usual,' Ron Gluckmanwrites in the Deal Book blog of The New York Times. "The e-commerce site that sells hair extensions operates out of a five-story building here that lacks elevators and, sometimes, power.'

 

Read

17:20  Anand leads 2-1 in World Chess Championship:  

Vishwanath Anand leads 2-1 in World Chess Championship in Russia. He is one step away from winning the title. The third game was a draw, but Anand needs a draw in game 4 to win the title. 

 

There will be four games under rapid chess rules with 25 minutes to each player and a ten seconds increment after every move is made. In case of a 2-2 result, the two will play two blitz games with five minutes each with a three seconds increment. There will be five such matches if the tie persists and finally an Armageddon game will be played with five minutes to white and four to black, and white will be forced to win should this arise.

Anand plays Boris Gelfand.

17:09  'Team Anna's remarks against PM need to be treated with contempt':  

Terming the corruption charges levelled by Team Anna against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as "reckless", Minister for Planning Ashwini Kumar today said the insinuations deserved to be treated with contempt. 

 

"I would only like to say that even to rebut these disgusting insinuations is in a way giving respectability to those allegations. I would like, as a responsible citizen, to treat them with the contempt they deserve", Kumar said on the sidelines of a function here.

 

Team Anna, for the first time last Saturday, had clubbed the Prime Minister with 14 of his Cabinet colleagues, calling them corrupt and demanded an enquiry.

17:03  Suu Kyi will meet Bono on first trip abroad in 24 yrs:  It's amusing that Aung San Suu Kyi's first foreign trip in 24 years will feature an audience with Bono. God knows why. No, literally, God knows why. Read the blistering comment on the Independent.
16:59  Oz women suffering from Desperate Housewives Syndrome :  

Australian women are suffering from an eating disorder in middle age, dubbed as 'Desperate Housewives Syndrome', which is driven by the desire to look as thin as celebrities in TV shows. All the TV shows and Hollywood celebrities seem to convey the message that thin is beautiful. Experts agree that the way celebrities portray themselves on screens is putting pressure on ordinary older women to look just as good.

 

Unfortunately, that's true for a lot of women all over the world. In India it's called the Size Zero syndrome.

16:57  361 military cadets pass out of NDA :  

A total of 361 cadets participated in the Passing Out Parade (POP) after successfully completing their stint at the National Defence Academy in Khadakvasla today.

Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh was the guest of honour and took the salute at the POP. Among those present were the parents and guardians of the cadets as well as top brass of defence units based in and around Pune and other dignitaries.

General Singh congratulated and felicitated the outgoing cadets and wished them luck ahead of commencement of their service to the nation.

 

Also read: Abhishek Mande's story on Krishnant Gholap is an autorickshaw driver's son, who after two failed attempts, made it to the NDA. He graduated two years ago.

16:45  Friend in deed:  India finds itself on the right side of history in Myanmar. Now it must build on PM's visit. The Indian Express editorial
16:43  A cheap shot:  From 'sab chor hain' to 'PM is Shikhandi', Team Anna's desperation is showing. Read
16:35  On the New York Times: India's Economy slows and its global implications. Read
16:32  Anand Mahindra to head M&M, Keshub retires:  

Mahindra & Mahindra today said its Chairman Keshub Mahindra will retire in August and his nephew Anand Mahindra will take over as Chairman and Managing Director of the USD 15.4 billion conglomerate.  

 

Keshub, who informed the M&M Board about his intention to retire at the conclusion of the forthcoming Annual General Body Meeting scheduled on August 8, 2012, will become Chairman Emeritus of the firm.  

 

Keshub said: "I am deeply touched by this gesture of the Board, whose wisdom has guided me and the company over the years, and whose trust and friendship have enriched me personally. It is gratifying to be able to hand over to the next generation at a time when the company's performance is at its best."

16:28  2G accused can go abroad, travel normal in life: Judge:  

A Delhi court has allowed 2G accused Karim Morani, Vinod Goenka
Shahid and Asif Balwa, Sanjay Chandra and Sidharth Behura to travel abroad. Delivering the order, Judge OP Saini said today that six applications have been received from the 2G accused facing trial.

 

He said while their presence for the trial is important, travel is natural in human life and should not be normally denied. Balancing the two requirements, the judge allowed the applications, but with conditions.

 

Morani will travel to London and Amsterdam between June 11 and 29 for medical reasons. The judge said that Behura has to furnish a surety of Rs 5 lakh, while it's Rs 20 lakh for the other accused. Shahid and Asif Balwa will be going to Mecca between June 9 and June 30.

16:08  Victoria Beckham defends her miserable persona:  

Behind her generally glum expression, Victoria Beckham insists she is in fact very happy - she just doesn't feel the need to scream and shout about it.

Read

16:03  Sachin to take Rajya Sabha oath on June 4:  

Sachin Tendulkar will take oath as member of Rajya Sabha on June 4. Tendulkar, who turned 39 recently and was nominated to the Upper House in April, is scheduled to take oath as member in the chamber of Chairman Hamid Ansari,  Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said today. 

 

Two others -- actress Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga -- who were nominated to Rajya Sabha along with Tendulkar had already taken oath earlier this month when the House was in session. Tendulkar was busy with the IPL season, which had just ended earlier this week.

15:52  Obama's Polish death camp comment causes furore:  

President Obama used the term "Polish death camp' in a speech Tuesday honoring Polish resistance hero Jan Karski at a ceremony awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, setting off a firestorm of angry retort from Polish dignitaries abroard.

 

A White House spokesman said the president "misspoke." Polish officials have long been trying to get foreigners to stop using that particular phrase when referring to Auschwitz and other Holocaust death camps, since they were created by the Germans in Nazi-occupied Poland.

 

Read

15:47  Just in: A Delhi court dismisses Facebook India's plea for dropping its name from a civil suit against websites for hosting alleged objectionable content.
15:40  Prince William lets on about Diana heartache:  I struggled not to cry about mum as I married Kate. Didn't want any wobbly lips going on... Read
15:34  PIX: Veena Malik's HOT Salsa moves:  

After stripping for a photoshoot for her first film, actress Veena Malik is brushing up her salsa skills with choreographer Longines Fernandes. Dressed in a sexy red dress, the actress strikes several poses for the camera. Take a look!

 

On Rediff.com

15:30  Dr Afridi jailed for helping militants, not CIA, claims Pakistan:  

The case of Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi took a new twist on Wednesday when a detailed order about his arrest and conviction stated that he has been punished for his links with a militant outfit, not for working with the Central Intelligence Agency and helping it locate Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

 

Read Tahir Ali's report from Islamabad.

15:24  Bloodsucking insect that can cause your heart to burst:  

A little-known life-threatening illness caused by blood sucking insects has been labelled the 'new AIDS of the Americas' by experts.  The parasitic illness called Chagas Disease has similarities to the early spread of HIV, according to a new study.

Read more 

15:15  'History will NOT spare General VK Singh':  

What the armed forces think of the controversial army chief Gen VK Singh, who is retiring tomorrow.

Retired Lt Gen Shankar Prasad: "History has not spared Jawaharlal Nehru, it did not spare Winston Churchill either. History will not spare even Gen V K Singh either.

"I think it will take 26 years to get things back on track after the 26-month tenure of Gen V K Singh comes to an end. I think the best thing to do at this moment would be let the man retire and say goodbye and farewell to him," Lt Gen Prasad said.

 


Gen Singh's predecessor Gen Deepak Kapoor: The next incumbent will have to work "very hard" to restore functional relationship between the Defence Ministry and the Army Headquarters. Along with this the next Army Chief will have to improve the morale of the troops and the preparedness of the armed
forces.

 


Former Western Air Commander A K Singh: "His biggest achievement has been highlighting the rampant corruption in the military and the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). If I have to underline his negative sides, I would say that his strong stand on his date of birth was not justified. He forgot that he had accepted 1950 earlier as the date when he was taking benefits. This was the biggest blot on his tenure."

15:05  HC tells Centre to file affidavit on PIL against petrol hike:  

The Bombay High Court today directed the Centre, the Petroleum Ministry and the Finance Ministry to file an affidavit by June 20 in response to a petition which claimed that the recent petrol price hike was "illegal" as it lacked Parliament's approval and violated the Constitution. 

 

Apart from the Central ministries, other respondents include oil marketing companies, Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

 

The PIL, filed by Rajendra Phanse, General Secretary of 'Dharmarajya Paksha', submitted that the petrol prices were hiked "abruptly" by Rs 7.50 on May 23 at the stroke of midnight after the conclusion of budget session of Parliament.

14:56  The story of the dinosaurs and the princess:  

Meet Aaliya Sultana Babi, the Dinosaur Princess. This 30-something princess of the former princely state of Balasinor (about 80 km from Ahmedabad in Gujarat) is the woman behind the preservation of the rare dinosaur fossil site in Raioli village of Balasinor. 

Read more on the Daily Mail.

14:49  What Indian MPs could teach Myanmar lawmakers:  

India says it is serious about helping Myanmar democratize.

During his three-day trip to Myanmar, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met pro-democracy activist and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and offered his government's assistance to speed up political reform in the country.

Here are 10 lessons Indian parliamentarians could teach their counterparts in Myanmar.

 

On the WSJ

14:46  Inside North Korea :  

Sun reporters trick way into secretive state where lights go out at 11pm, gum is given as change and no one knows Jacko's dead... among other things. Read

 

Also see: Defectors describe horror, heartbreak in North Korea's labor camps. That's on cnn.com

14:35  Cop, militant killed in encounter in Meghalaya:  Two persons -- a policeman and a militant -- were killed in a fierce encounter between Meghalaya Police and militants belonging to Garo National Liberation Army at Ghasuapara in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. Four policemen and two militants were injured in the encounter, reports rediff.com's K Anurag from Guwahati. Police have recovered one 9 mm pistol and live ammunition from the slain militant.
14:22  Italian marines get bail in fishermen killing case:  

Just in: The two Italian marines get bail in fishermen killing case. The Kerala High Court granted bail tot he marines on a surety of Rs 1 crore each.

 

The Kerala government had opposed the bail pleas of two Italian marines, accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15.

 

The Government counsel informed the court that if the accused were released on bail at this stage, their presence could not be procured.

 

The marines -- Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone - had contended that they had not committed any offence as alleged by the police and that there was no justification in continuing their custody.

14:19  Kejriwal: Why is PM against a probe?:  

Right now in New Delhi, Team Anna is holding a press meet on the charges they have levied against the PM. Arvind Kejriwal said the PMO caused losses in coal block allotments and wants to know why the PM is refusing a probe.

Kejriwal says Team Anna has no axe to grind with the PM.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi today criticised Team Anna members for levelling corruption charges against Dr Manmohan Singh.

"It's very unfortunate that allegations have been made against the Prime Minister. Even Prime Minister's enemies will not accuse him of being corrupt," Alvi said.

Justice Santosh Hegde distanced himself from corruption allegation against Dr. Singh, and said: " I myself find it very difficult to believe that there could be any charge or allegation of corruption against Manmohan Singh".  

14:11  

Lawyers for Julian Assange say they will appeal the UK Supreme Court decision to allow extradition to Sweden.

 

Read: The Wikileaks Files Cables

14:01  Assange's bail plea rejected, to be extradited to Sweden :  

The Wikileaks founder will now be extradited to Sweden. He had denied the claims and has said his European arrest warrant was "invalid and unenforceable".

 

In February, his lawyers told the Supreme Court judges that the Swedish prosecutor who had issued the warrant did not have the authority to do so.

 

The 40-year-old Australian has been on conditional bail in the UK. Mr Assange is accused of raping one woman and "sexually molesting and coercing" another in Stockholm in August 2010 but he claims that the allegations against him are politically motivated.

13:58  UK SC: Julian Assange to be extradited in sex case:  The UK Supreme Court has rejected Julian Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex offences.
13:55  Striking Air India pilots have no rights to be trained: HC:  

Update on the 23-day Air India strike.

 

The Delhi High Court today said the striking pilots of Air India have no right to get training on advanced Boeing 777 to be used in international flights. Refusing to hear an Air India appeal against the single judge's May 11 order which had stayed the training of more pilots till the implementation of the Justice Dharmadhikari panel recommendations on the issue, the court said "let them call off the strike, we will then hear the matter."

 

The high court, however, refused to disturb the ongoing training of the Air India pilots. "So long as they (Air India pilots) are on strike, the court is not inclined to hear the matter. They cannot go on strike as well as get training simultaneously," the bench said pulling up the Air India management for seeking court's intervention for training to the pilots who are on strike. 

13:48  Maken wishes Vishy:  

Ajay Maken @ajaymaken RT "@IndiaSportNews: @ajaymaken Best wishes to Vishy Anand as he tries to retain World Championship in Moscow today."

 

Maken is the union sports minister.

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand is set to fight it out in a Rapid chess tie-breaker against challenger Boris Gelfand after a tied 6-6 result in the World Chess Championship match in Moscow today. The match is on right now.

13:46  TR Baalu met PM this morning:  

Before Karunanidhi made his U-turn, DMK leader TR Baalu met PM Dr Manmohan Singh this morning and expressed the party's concern over the petrol price rise. He requested a rollback as it affected all sections of people.

 

Baalu said the matter needed urgent consideration given the state-wide agitations tomorrow and because Karunanidhi was very upset.

 

The PM responded that the government is working out ways and means to resolve the price hike and reduce the burden on consumers.

13:37  Dump Naxal-minded crazies and join us: Swamy to Anna:  

With Team Anna under attack for levelling allegations against the Prime Minister, Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy today asked Anna Hazare to leave the group which is in the grip of "Naxalite minded crazies" and join him and Ramdev in the fight against graft. 

 

"Team Anna has always been in the grip of Naxalite minded crazies. It is time Anna Hazare dump most of Team Anna and join Action Committee Against Corruption in India (ACACI) and Ramdev for nationalist approach to fighting corruption," Swamy said. 

 

He said Team Anna has accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of corruption and want him to be prosecuted but alleged that they have not specified under which section of Prevention of Corruption Act is he prima facie guilty. He alleged the "glib accusations" appear to derail the legal steps to bring the corrupt to book which ACACI was undertaking.

13:29  Myanmar's Suu Kyi gets hero's welcome in Thailand:  

Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi received a rapturous reception in Thailand today from crowds of cheering compatriots who flocked to celebrate her first trip outside Myanmar in nearly a quarter of a century.

Read the report on Reuters.

13:20  Karuna U-turn: Never said we will pull out of UPA:  

DMK chief Karunanidhi does a quick U-turn hours after he threatened to pullout of the UPA if there was no rollback on fuel prices. He now says: I never said we will come out of the UPA. We don't wish to weaken the government. We will not leae the UPA. If we pullout the Centre will become weak and we don't want that."

 

Phone call from 10 Janpath? 

13:06  Will quit if found guilty: PM:  Listen to the PM's reponse to Team Anna's charges against him in coal scam. Watch the video on rediff.com
13:03  Do celebrities really make a difference?:  

Whether it's George Clooney on the crisis in Sudan or Angelina Jolie on the Millennium Development Goals, international celebrities aren't shy about weighing in on pressing social issues close to their heart. That phenomenon now seems to have come to India too, in a big way.

 

On the Wall Street Journal.

 

Read: Aamir Khan's column on The Hindu

12:51  Smoking single most important cause of premature heart attacks:  

Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day. And here's something that should make you sit up and listen or stub the butt. Smoking is THE most important cause of premature heart attacks, with India having about 4.5 crore patients with ischemic heart disease, doctors warned today. 

 

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats worldwide which kills nearly six million people a year of whom about 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. 

 

And the situation in India is very alarming as around 10 lakh deaths are caused by tobacco every year, with the WHO 2012 Global Report on Mortality claiming seven per cent of all deaths for people aged 30 and over in India are attributable to tobacco. 

 

It is widely believed that tobacco use, especially smoking, causes chronic bronchitis and lung cancer, but many may not know that it is actually the most important cause of premature heart attacks. 

12:44  Karuna: Jaya hasn't explained reason for supporting fuel hike :  

This is what Karunanidhi said on Jayalalithaa during the fuel hike protest rally this morning. "The Centre had at least explained the reason for the fuel
price hike but Jayalalithaa had not come out with the genuine reason," he said.
Jayalalithaa had justified the hike, saying government was forced to take the step due to the weak financial situation of the loss-making state government undertakings. 

 

The DMK chief also attacked her for spending "huge"  taxpayer money on newspaper advertisements following completion of one year in office. Besides Karunanidhi, senior party leaders, his son and DMK treasurer MK Stalin and general secretary K Anbazhagan led the protests elsewhere in the state.

12:35  'No threat to Patnaik, I won't topple BJD govt':  

A day after triggering speculation of cracks in ruling BJD in Odisha by holding a
meeting of a group of MLAs, party MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra today ruled out any threat to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and said he had no plan to topple the government. 

 

"There is absolutely no threat to Naveen Patnaik from me. He is completely safe as chief minister as he is the leader of the BJD," Mohapatra, who is regarded as chief adviser and strategist of the ruling BJD, said scotching speculation about possible revolt in the party.

 

Claiming that he had no aspiration to become Chief Minister, Mohapatra said there was no move at all to topple the government headed by Patnaik. "Had I wanted to become Chief Minister I could have tried long ago instead of waiting for so many years ... I could have tried in 2009 also," the former bureaucrat turned Rajya Sabha MP said.

12:28  Will quit if found guilty in coal scam: PM:  

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on board Air India One, declared he will quit public life if the charges on coal block allotments are proved.

 

Rejecting Team Anna's allegations of corruption against him, the PM who is on his way back from a two-day visit to Myanamar said, "There have been reports about the allocation of coal blocks based on leaked portions of a draft CAG report. It is unfortunate that irresponsible allegations relating to irregularities in allocation of coal blocks are being made without confirming facts.

 

"I will give up my public life if allegations are proved against me. My long public career as finance minister, as leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and now as prime minister has been an open book. If found guilty in the coal scam I will quit."

12:23  Also in the running or an also ran?:  

Our Delhi sources tell us that V Kishore Chandra Deo, the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, is also in the race for the first citizen of India.

 

A long time Charan Singh confidante, Deo was minister in 1982 in his cabinet. He missed the position as Speaker of Lok Sabha as he was considered to be too close to Dr YS Rajasekara Reddy.

 

But now to show loyalty to 10 Janpath, Deo has been issuing daily statements against Jagan Reddy -- but only in Telugu daily newspapers -- and not national dailies.

12:16  DMK threat well-timed:  Our sources in Delhi tell us that a senior DMK MP today said that if he revealed details of the recent scams the UPA2 regime would be in trouble. Given that DMK boss Karunanidhi has threatened to quit the UPA over the petrol price hike, these two threats cannot be seen in isolation and are not empty threats.
12:06  SRK stands by Didi: Nothing political about celebrations :  

Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, also the state's brand ambassador, said there was "nothing wrong" in the grand felicitation organised by the state government for his IPL-5 winning team.

 

As chief minister Mamata Banerjee organised the fete involving Governor M K  Narayanan and spent lavishly on the champions KKR side by giving them golden lockets, many ridiculed the move as it had been organised for a club team.

 

The team members were also showered with gifts from the hosts Cricket Association of Bengal who gifted the 17 members with 10-gram gold chain each including mememtos.

 

Shah Rukh, however, stood by Banerjee and said there was nothing wrong in it. "There is no harm in being happy and sharing happiness. Nobody should criticise it. It's alright to be happy. "Let's not be political. It has been done because we all are happy. There is nothing wrong if we bring a bit of happiness to the city of joy," he said. Shah Rukh said their celebrations were befitting as they had waited long for the moment.

11:54  Tata Motors stock tanks in morning trade :  Shares of Tata Motors got battered today because of lower Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) margins even as the company posted over two-fold jump in consolidated net profit at Rs 6,234 crore for the quarter ending March 31. The standalone numbers for Tata Motors India were disappointing with net profit sliding 1.4 per cent to Rs 565 crore in the March quarter from Rs 573 crore a year ago.
11:42  Karuna: DMK will sail with UPA as much as we can, but...:  

Karunanidhi at the protest rally in Chennai said the DMK has been a part of a coalition earlier as well, but the party has never hesitated in opposing anti-people policies. He said the DMK would sail with the UPA as far much as we can.

11:31  DMK threatens to pull out of UPA over petrol hike:  

DMK boss M Karunanidhi says the party may pull out of the UPA on the petrol price hike. At a protest meeting in Chennai, Karunanidhi, whose party is a key ally of the UPA, said he would never shy away from speaking on the people's welfare and his duty to the people of Tamil Nadu.

He said he will hold discussions with the UPA, and will leave it to uphold necessary policy decisions, but if a rollback doesn't come through, he may be left with no option but to pull out. He said he hoped the Centre AND the state does not force him to pull out of the UPA.

11:21  The side cleavage: a new trend is born:  Some might say it's a dangerous fashion to follow, but dresses that reveal flashes of breast are the latest trend. Read
11:17  As last 48 hours tick, govt cant take eyes off chief:  

The defence ministry and the Centre are watching the angry army chief who is capping his eventful tenure with decisions that threaten to upset plans that may impact the institution he headed for months after he demits office.

On the Telegraph, Calcutta. Read

11:14  Facebook worst performing IPO in decade!:  

Facebook shares have dropped below the 30 dollar mark, in what has been dubbed as the worst-performing Initial Public Offering of any major floatation in the last decade. 

 

After placing at 38 dollars, Facebook's shares briefly peaked at 45 dollars before sinking back to 38.25 dollars on their first day of trading.   They have fallen every day since then, and today plummeted nearly ten percent to a low of 28.84 dollars at the close in New York, The Telegraph reports.  

 

According to the report, most of the brokers are expected to cut their losses now that Facebook shares have passed the important psychological thresholds of 30 dollars a share and a 20 percent drop in value.

11:11  Army chief: Whatever we say is heard, everybody listens to us :  The Army chief says, "Whatever we say it is heard. The procedures are there. Sometimes you probably think that things are getting delayed because nobody is listening. That it not true."
11:07  VK Singh: Army is apolitical, secular:  Army Chief Gen V K Singh retires tomorrow and today is his last day in office. At the Army passing out parade in Khadakvasla where he is the chief guest, VK Singh says that he has good relations with the Defence Ministry. "Modernisation of the Army is taking place. It can face any challenge. There is a need for us in the future to be ready to be relevant (and) to be able to ensure we can look after the interest of the nation."
11:04  Didi will dance at our next win: SRK:  

Telegraph, Calcutta, reports the Shah Rukh Khan spectacle in the city yesterday. Read

10:50  Why Antony should observe a vow of silence:  

May 31 should be the day that India's Defence Minister observes mauna-vrata -- the profound vow of silence. A day of deep introspection through which he could take stock of past life and realise where he may have gone wrong. But the incumbent Defence Minister A K Antony can't oblige, as he iscaught up in street-fighting for his party in a remote corner of India.

 

Read MK Bhadrakumar's blog

10:45  Bharat bandh tomorrow, but no joint rally by Opposition :  

Rediff.com's Onkar Singh reporting from New Delhi says the BJP, left parties and the Samajvadi party have decided to protest against the steep hike in the price of petrol with countrywide demonstrations, dharnas and will also court arrest to register their anger against the the Rs 7.50 hike in petrol prices.

 

"The members of parliament, state legislators have been asked to go to their respective constituencies and lead their electorate against the sheepest hike in history. At the moment no joint rally is being planned," Rajeev Pratap Rudy told rediff.com. 

 

Full story in a bit.

10:38  Clementi's parents weep :  

Clementi's parents had become tearful as they read statements during his sentencing on May 21, saying Ravi had never shown "a lack of remorse" for spying on Clementi, who had jumped off the George Washington bridge after he found out that Ravi had seen him kissing another man. After a three week trial in March, Ravi was convicted on 15 counts of hate crime and bias intimidation charges. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years probation, 300 hours
of community service and ordered to pay a fine of more than USD 10,000.

On rediff.com: 'Dharun Ravi's sentence is balanced'

10:33  Dharun Ravi apologises, does not hate gay roomie:  

Indian student Dharun Ravi, convicted of spying on his gay roommate who later committed suicide, has publicly apologised for the first time for his "insensitive and immature" actions, saying he will surrender this week to begin his month long jail term. Ravi said he regretted his "stupid and childish" choices when he set up a webcam to view the sexual encounter of his roommate Tyler Clementi with another man on two occasions in September 2010 but said he did not act out of hatred. 

 

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless,insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices... My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. 

 

"I apologize to everyone affected by those choices," 20-year-old Ravi said in a statement released by his lawyer Steven Altman yesterday. The apology by Ravi is the first time the former Rutgers University student has publicly said sorry for his actions. Ravi had come under sharp criticism for not apologising during his trial for spying on Clementi and then inviting his other friends to view the sexual encounter through a webcam.

10:01  Want to be remembered as a soldier: Army chief :   Addressing the media at the National Defence Academy's passing out parade in Pune army chief Genral V K Singh said, "There is no misunderstanding between army and the ministry of defence.'"

"The army is apolitical, secular and impartial. I have always wanted to uphold want army stands for. I want to be remembered as a soldier," the chief said a day before his retirement.  

"Raising voice against graft is everybody's movement," he added.   
09:51  There is no dissidence in BJD: Pyari Mohan :   There is no dissidence in the party. Naveen Patnaik will be the leader of the BJD, said MP Pyari Mohan.

His remarks came after there was speculation of cracks within the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha.

Two groups held separate meetings on Tuesday night at the houses of party member of Parliament Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is on a London visit.

At least 21 BJD legislators, including three ministers met at the house of Mohapatra with some leaders terming the exercise as a "pressure tactics" by one group close to the Rajya Sabha member at a time when Patnaik is away.

Patnaik is expected to cut it short and return home, said sources.  
09:14  Srinagar: 7 CRPF men injured in militant attack :   Seven CRPF troopers were injured in a militant attack in Rainawari in Srinagar this morning.

A senior police officer said, "Militants fired indiscriminately at the CRPF vehicle in Rainawari chowk."  

Seven CRPF jawans have been injured in the firing of which two are critical. The injured have been taken to a hospital, a CRPF spokesperson told rediff.com's Mukhtar Ahmad.  

The area has been surrounded for searches.       
03:40   AFP has reported that Belgium declared the Syrian ambassador and two diplomats "persona non grata" on Wednesday to protest the Houla massacre while raising the prospect of "a military presence" that was short of intervention.

Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said however that Syria'sambassador -- Mohammad Ayman Jameel Soussan -- could not be expelled immediately as he was also ambassador to the EuropeanUnion.
03:10  AP reports that French President Francois Hollande has said that the use of armed force could be possible in Syria following the Houla massacre, but that it had to be carried out under United Nations auspices.

"An armed intervention is not excluded on the conditionthat it is carried out with respect to international law,meaning after deliberation by the United Nations SecurityCouncil," Hollande said in a television interview.
01:51  AP reports that French President Francois Hollande has said that the use of armed force could be possible in Syria following the Houla massacre, but that it had to be carried out under United Nations auspices.

"An armed intervention is not excluded on the conditionthat it is carried out with respect to international law,meaning after deliberation by the United Nations SecurityCouncil," Hollande said in a television interview.
01:40  AP reports that French President Francois Hollande has said that the use of armed force could be possible in Syria following the Houla massacre, but that it had to be carried out under United Nations auspices.

"An armed intervention is not excluded on the conditionthat it is carried out with respect to international law,meaning after deliberation by the United Nations SecurityCouncil," Hollande said in a television interview.
00:39   9News has reported that rescue workers combing through the rubble of Italy's latest deadly quake say they have found the bodies of two workers in a collapsed factory, raising the death toll to at least 17.

Read the full story here
00:28  9News has reported that rescue workers combing through the rubble of Italy's latest deadly quake say they have found the bodies of two workers in a collapsed factory, raising the death toll to at least 17.

Read the full story here
00:26  A special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Tuesday extended till May 31 the judicial custody of former UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, Bahujan Samaj Party Member of legislative Assembly Ram Prasad Jaiswal, and seven others in connection with the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission scam.

Special CBI judge A K Singh extended the judicial custody of the accused.  
00:15  A special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Tuesday extended till May 31 the judicial custody of former UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, Bahujan Samaj Party Member of legislative Assembly Ram Prasad Jaiswal, and seven others in connection with the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission scam.

Special CBI judge A K Singh extended the judicial custody of the accused.  
00:06  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  'The Indian media has been a spectacular failure'

Army chief was BIASED, vindictive: Sukna scam convict

Why India NEEDS to build on its naval advantage

Bofors scam: Classic case of chor machaye shor!

'Made in China' syndrome plagues US, India militaries

Jagan, Qaidi Number 6093, skips dinner and breakfast

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Spotted: Tamil actor Vikram at Hyderabad airport
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