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November 20, 2012

23:22  India for peaceful resolution of South China Sea dispute:  With East Asian countries remaining locked in a tussle over mineral-rich South China Sea, India today said the dispute should not override the interests of the region and favoured an "open, inclusive and rule-based" architecture to govern the maritime region. 

India wants a peaceful resolution of the dispute, over which it also was involved in a tiff with China about a year back, and hopes the efforts to evolve legally-binding Code of Conduct for management of the region would succeed.
22:25  Gaza ceasefire to be announced:  A ceasefire between Hamas and Israel will be announced tonight, almost a week after the assassination of Hamas' top military commander led to the worst violence between Gaza and Israel in four years.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told ABC News the news would be announced at 8 p.m. in Cairo (1 p.m. ET), where Egypt has been trying to broker a peace deal. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian mediator would make the announcement, Barhoum said. Earlier, an Islamic Jihad website reported that the ceasefire would go into effect at 9 p.m. local time.

Read full report here
22:07  PM back after attending ASEAN, EAS summits:  

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight returned home from Cambodia after attending the ASEAN and East Asia Summits which provided India with an opportunity to enhance its economic cooperation with the region amid lingering financial crisis in the West.        


Singh was in Cambodia for three days during which he had met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the ASEAN and EAS Summits. New Delhi has maintained that India's partnership with the 10-nation ASEAN is an important component of the 'Look East Policy'.

20:57  High growth in a year or two: Chidambaram:  

Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said there was "no scope for gloom or despair" and expressed the confidence that the Indian economy will be back in high-growth trajectory in a couple of years.        


"The world economy slowed down in 2008 and the crisis continues and it is not clear (if) it would pick up in 2013. However, there is no scope for gloom or despair," he told office-bearers of Congress at Karnataka Pradesh CongressCommittee in Bangalore.         


Noting that the country registered about 5.5 per cent growth in the first quarter, he expressed the hope that GDP growth would improve in the second half.         


"We are one among the four or five countries that have had a decent growth rate. Other countries are China, Indonesia and to some extent Brazil and South Africa. No other country is growing at even 1 or 2 per cent. There are only four or five countries that are registering a decent growth of about five per cent," he said.         


Apparently referring to the decisions on fuel price and LPG price hike, Chidambaram said government had taken a number of decisions to revive growth, but some of them "are painful that must be shared by everybody."

20:25  Ex-UBS trader convicted of $2.3 bn fraud :  

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was convicted on Tuesday of one count of fraud related to a loss of $2.3 billion. Adoboli, 32, was a senior trader on the Exchange Traded Funds desk at UBS's investment banking arm in London and had worked for the bank for eight years.


He had denied two charges of fraud by abuse of position and four charges of false accounting. He bowed his head when the foreman of the jury at Southwark Crown Court gave the unanimous verdict of all 10 jurors.


The judge instructed the jury to keep trying for unanimous verdicts on the other five counts, but said that if they could not reach unanimity he would accept majority verdicts of 9-1.

19:29  FB row: 'Action may be taken against Mumbai cops':  Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that action may be taken against the police men who arrested two girls from Palghar for a Facebook post against the shutdown after Shiv Sena chiefBal Thackeray's death.

Chavan said that action will be taken based on the inquiry report ordered into the arrests by the Maharashtra government.

The government instituted an inquiry headed by the Konkan range inspector general into the matter on Monday and sought a report immediately. 
18:54  Maharashtra govt supporting fascist forces: Bhushan:  More on that Facebook story. Eminent Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday lashed out at the Congress Party and Maharashtra Government for not taking action against the police personnel who arrested the two girls for posting comments on their Facebook wall regarding late Shiv Sena patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray.

Bhushan said: "Despite it's lip service that the congress pays for secularism and liberalism, unfortunately even congress governments in some part of the country have come to support fascist forces."
18:51  Inquiry report in FB post case expected tomorrow: Maha govt:  The Maharashtra government today said the report of inquiry, ordered into the arrest of two girls from Palghar for their Facebook comments against the shutdown for Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray's funeral, is expected tomorrow. "The inquiry has begun and will look into whether the arrests were warranted and whether the sections applied were correct. Similarly, the probe will also investigate the incident of vandalism in the aftermath," Home Minister R R Patil said.
18:49  Abortion case: Savita's husband demands 'full public inquiry' :  The husband of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died in Ireland after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy despite miscarrying, has demanded a "full public inquiry" into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Praveen Halappanavar, Savita's husband, had no faith in Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), said Solicitor Gerard O'Donnell, who represents the Halappanavar family. Savita, 31, died from blood poisoning at University Hospital Galway on October 28 after doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion stating "this is a Catholic country".
18:48  Mid Day cartoonist Satish Acharya's take on the police crackdown against two girls for their anti-Thackeray Facebook posts. The 10 accused held for vandalising the clinic Shaheen Dhada's uncle have been given bail on a surety of Rs 7,500 each. The men had been sent to judicial custody by the Palghar sessions court for 14 days.
18:45  NDA to support no-trust motion against FDI in Parl:  The BJP has announced that the NDA will move a voting motion in Parliament against FDI in retail and explore the possibility of no-trust motion. This comes after indecision by the party today that it was not inclined towards supporting the no-confidence motion that the TMC has threatened to move against the UPA.

At the BJP Parliamentary Party Executive Committee today, the party decided to discuss the strategy for the forthcoming Winter Session. TMC's no-confidence motion and FDI in multi-brand retail, as well as issues related to coal allocation and other matters, were discussed.
18:37  Yashwant's public stand on Gadkari not correct: BJP:  Yashwant Sinha's open demand for Nitin Gadkari's resignation is not appropriate, says the BJP and appeals to him to reconsider his stand. The RSS wants Gadkari to continue as the party president.

The NDA will also move a voting motion in Parliament against FDI in retail and explore the possibility of no-trust motion, says the BJP. 
18:24  While on summits, UK will host the 2013 G8 Summit at Lough Erne on 17 & 18 June.
18:23  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the plenary of  the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh. He is flanked by Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee and industries and textiles minister Anand Sharma. Tweeted by MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
18:06  Inquiry into Savita's death will be fair, methodical: Ireland:  Ireland today unveiled a 7-member team that will probe the tragic death of an Indian dentist, who was refused termination of her pregnancy despite miscarrying, and promised that the official inquiry would be fair and methodical that will take into account all factors.

The Health Service Executive set up the inquiry team to be headed by Dr Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, a London-based obstetrician/gynaecologist, The Irish Times reported. 
18:03  Kudankulam: People's safety must not be compromised: SC:  The Supreme Court today made it clear to the government that all safety measures for handling disaster must be put in place at the Kudankulam power plant before it is operationalised saying there can be no compromise on it.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishanan and Deepak Misra also asked the government to submit disaster management plan before it and directed the Tamil Nadu government to carry out mock drills covering all the 40 villages situated within 16 Km radius of the plant. 
17:42  A Dharamsala taxi driver becomes a movie star:  A documentary about a taxi driver and his impending marriage to a girl he hardly knows sounds like the plot to yet another Bollywood flick. But "When Hari Got Married' is a laugh-a-minute true story culminating in the wedding of a cheeky, whip-smart Himalayan cab driver with an ever-ready opinion and worldly pearls of wisdom to spare. Read
17:38  Suu Kyi Offers Little Hope for Rohingya Refugees:  The first time that a leader of any consequence had spoken about the plight of the Rohingyas of Myanmar, considered one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, was when the Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited India last week.

She told an Indian news channel that the violence against the Muslim minority group was a "huge international tragedy" and that she would try her best to help the situation. Read
17:34  Obama's touchy-feely Asian tour:  Talk of PDA! Our own Prince Charming-politician Shashi Tharoor may have won some well-deserved acclaim from his wife Sunanda Pushkar recently for his very public display of affection with her, but Tharoor, it appears, has much to learn in the department of hands-on diplomacy from US President Barack Obama.
On, read.
17:30   Savita's case was not about abortion, says Ireland's bishops:  Amidst a raging debate on the country's strict abortion laws, Ireland's Catholic bishops have said that the church "has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother".

Reacting to the death of Savita Halappanavar, the standing committee of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference said last night that her passing, along with her unborn child, was "a devastating personal tragedy for her husband and family.

It has stunned our country". In light of the widespread discussion following the "tragic death of Mrs Halappanavar and her unborn baby", the committee wished "to reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching". The bishops said that a mother and her unborn baby were both sacred with an equal right to life.

According to The Irish Times, they said that "whereas abortion is the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby and is gravely immoral in all circumstances, this is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby.

"Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this vital distinction". They added: "Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby".

Savita, 31, died in an Irish hospital last month after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy despite telling her that she was miscarrying. She died of blood poisoning after spending three days in pain and agony.
17:26  Dont forget the heroes of Rezang La:  Few events in the annals of valour match the battle fought by 13 Kumaon's C Company to safeguard a Ladakhi village during the 1962 India-China war. Read the piece on the Hindu.
17:17  India is a BIG part of my plans: Obama tells PM:   As we tell you this, US President Barack Obama has met PM Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the East Asia summit in Cambodia and said "India is a big part of my plans." 

In Obama's first foreign trip since winning a second term, his Asian tour also underscores the main question about American policy in the region: Will the United States' "pivot' to Asia acquire concrete strategic content, or will it remain largely a rhetorical repackaging of old policies? Read more

MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweets this picture of PM Manmohan Singh meeting US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. 
17:13  Forty-eight hours on, Modi finally meets Thackerays:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today called on Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray to offer condolences on passing away of his father and Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

Modi was with the family at their residence 'Matoshree' for 40 minutes. Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Vinod Tawde and Mumbai BJP president Raj Purohit accompanied Modi.

Modi spoke to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief and Bal Thackeray's nephew Raj Thackeray over phone to offer his condolences.

Earlier, late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan's family including wife Rekha, daughter Poonam and son Rahul called on the Thackerays.
17:11  Gurumurthy: Charges against Gadkari in Purti matter are wrong:  This is what RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy says on Yashwant Sinha's demand for Nitin Gadkari's resignation as BJP president.

"TN asked for my reaction on Yashwant Sinha's statement I stand by what I have said The charges against Gadkari in Purti matter are wrong."

After the BJP core group met Nov 6, reading from a statement signed by Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad had said: "Shri Gadkari has no direct or indirect interest in the 18 investment companies which have invested in the Purti Group."

"S Gurumurthy, a chartered accountant and financial analyst, who has examined these documents and facts made a presentation to the party leaders. The meeting accepted the presentation of Shri Gurumurthy that there was no legal or moral wrong doing by Shri Nitin Gadkari," he said.

Gurumurthy is considered close to the RSS. Gadkari has enjoyed the backing of the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP.

17:02  Deora slams Mumb police for "acting in haste" in FB post case:  Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora today slammed the Mumbai police for "acting in haste" by arresting two young girls for their Facebook post questioning shutdown of the city for Bal Thackeray's funeral and called for checks to prevent misuse of the IT Act.

"Question isn't about amending 66A of the IT (Information Technology) Act, it's about preventing misuse by the police, who clearly acted in haste and applied wrong sections of IPC & IT Act," Deora wrote on Twitter.

Mumbai Police had on November 18 arrested 21-year-old Shaheen Dhada under section 66A of IT Act and section 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) for posting a message on Facebook questioning the shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's funeral. Dhada's friend Renu Shrinivas was also arrested for 'liking' the post.
16:56  The campaign against Gadkari had appeared to take a backseat after the party backed him in the wake of a clear chit given by auditor S Gurumurthy, who had gone into the balance sheet and accounts of the Purti group.

But its revival may have come at an inappropriate time when the party plans to corner the government on various issues, including alleged scams, in the winter session of Parliament beginning Thursday.

Sinha said he was issuing his statement for Gadkari's resignation with a "great deal of sadness and regret and after exhausting the forums available" for him in the party. "I am confident that the issue I am raising has merit and I have faith in the wisdom of the party to be able to deal with this issue.

"In fact, it is this faith which kept me from issuing this statement earlier. Unfortunately, despite my best effort the party has been unable to take a decision in the matter," he said.
16:40  Yashwant Sinha wants Nitin Gadkari's resignation:  Just in: Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has called for the resignation of party president Nitin Gadkari over the alleged irregularities in investments in the Purti Group. Sinha says it's not important whether Gadkari is guilty or otherwise, he must resign because those in public office must be beyond reproach.

If you recollect, earlier this month, BJP leader Ram Jethmalani had demanded the immediate resignation of the party chief and claimed Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha were with him on the issue.
16:34  FB: Sena vandals get bail within minutes of jail :   Update: The 10 accused held for vandalising the clinic Shaheen Dhada's uncle have been given bail on a surety of Rs 7,500 each. The men had been sent to judicial custody (jail) by the Palghar sessions court for 14 days by the order of First Class Magistrate RG Bagade. 
16:30  Green clearances: India Incs new bogey :  Auduth Timblo is the owner of Fomento Group, one of the largest mining and iron ore exporting corporations in Goa. Last week during a meeting in Lisbon to promote business relations between Goa and Portugal, Timblo blamed an "overworked and underpaid judiciary' and its "activism', and "green tape' in Indian governance for halting Goa's economic development. Read
16:22  Jail for Sainiks who vandalised FB girl's clinic :'s Ganesh Nadar reporting from Palghar says all the 10 men accused of vandalising the clinic of Shaheen Dhada's uncle have have been sent to judicial custody (jail) by the Palghar sessions court for 14 days. 
16:08  Sena: Vandalism sign of Sainiks love for Thackeray:'s Ganesh Nadar reporting from Palghar says the the 10 men accused of vandalising the clinic of Shaheen Dhada have been presented before the Palghar sessions court.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says the party supports action against the girsl saying it could have otherwise lead to a law and order situation. The Shiv Sena District President says the Palghar attack indicates the Sainiks love for Bal Thackeray.
15:50  The hills are alive ...:  A moment of calm, in the midst of anarchy. A photograph of Malshej Ghat by our Senior Art Director, Reuben NV on the National Geographic website. If you're unfamiliar with the place, it's a hill station approximately 150 km from Mumbai, best visited in the rains when the hills are green and waterfalls abound. Most tourists during winters are flamingos. 
15:40  Telecom minister Kapil Sibal has also sought a report on the arrest of the Facebook girls Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan.
15:29  NOT afraid of no-confidence motion, sneers govt:  In India, amidst talk of a no-confidence motion or a vote on FDI issue, Government today said that it was "not afraid" of facing any challenge in Parliament.

"We are not not afraid. We have the numbers", Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is also the Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, said, dismissing any threat to government in the winter session beginning Thursday.
14:57  Gaza ceasefire efforts stepped up:  Israel has put plans for a ground operation in Gaza "on hold" to give talks to secure a truce with Hamas militants a chance, officials say.It is understood Israel has set a Thursday deadline for the Egypt-brokered talks to succeed.The current conflict began last Wednesday when Israel killed Hamas's military commander, saying it wanted to end rocket attacks on Israel.More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed so far.-- BBC.
14:54  A fresh report from Reuter says that the attacker at the US embassy in Tel Aviv did not open fire, but stabbed a guard, who fired warning shots. 
14:53  Tel Aviv: Man shot after stabbing US embassy guard :  Tom Rayner from Sky News reports that a gunman has fired shots at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, wounding a guard. He has been apprehended by the police. Staff in the US embassy has been told to take cover following the incident, but officials have refused to confirm or deny the shooting.
14:49  Mamata: Prepared to support CPI(M)'s on No-Trust :   A day after CPI-M rejected her party's proposal to bring a no-confidence motion against UPA government, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today stuck to her gun and said she has no hesitation to support a left-sponsored no-trust move to bring down the government.

"If necessary, I am even prepared to go to CPI-M state party headquarters at Alimuddin street here and talk to its secretary Biman Bose on the issue," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

"My appeal to the CPI-M is not to do anything to bail out this minority government which is steeped in corruption and which has taken many anti-people decisions," she said.

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa has said the AIADMK will not support the TMC's No-Trust motion.
14:34  Why Cameron is doing business with India's 'modern-day Nero':   Britain has boycotted Narendra Modi for years, but now the government has brought him in from the cold. Here's why.
14:23  Indian Peeping Tom banned from all McDonald's in UK :  An Indian-origin man in Britain has become the first person to have been banned from all 1,200 McDonald's outlets in England and Wales after being caught spying on two women in the restaurant's toilets.

Thirty-two-year-old Sukhbir Singh sneaked into the ladies' toilets at a branch of the fast food giant in Birmingham city centre where he hid in the cubicles and watched the women in February this year.

Magistrates were told he was caught after being disturbed by a customer who then alerted staff, the Daily Mail reported.

Singh fled but CCTV operators tracked him from the restaurant and his image was passed to police officers. Police arrested Singh and charged with another offence in the restaurant chain against another victim on February 3.
14:16  BJP still undecied about backing no-trust motion :  This is what happened at the just-concluded BJP Parliamentary Party Executive Committee.

Realising that the numbers are stacked in favour of the government, BJP today appeared disinclined towards supporting the no-confidence motion that TMC has threatened to move against UPA but is gearing up to corner it on the FDI issue by seeking a vote on it.

The TMC's no-confidence motion and FDI in multi-brand retail, as well as issues related to coal allocation and other matters, were discussed. But the party leaders were tight-lipped about their future course of action as a common strategy is yet to be finalised with the other NDA partners in a meeting later this evening.

"We discussed in elaborate detail our strategy for the forthcoming Parliament session and have reached an opinion. We will share our views with our NDA partners and then convey the decision," BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Party sources said BJP is watching the developments but with not enough numbers to over-throw the UPA government, it may not support TMC's no-confidence motion.

However, on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP may have floor coordination with the Left as well as like- minded parties to press for a discussion under Rule 184, which entails voting, in Lok Sabha.

The meeting was attended by BJP President Nitin Gadkari, senior leader L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Ramesh Bais, Maya Singh, Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain, among others.
14:02  Outrage against Splendor bike 'Iyer':  This is a story of an ad campaign cast(e) in a different mould going awry.Put it down to thin skin, the hunger for publicity or our ever-expanding republic of hurt sentiments but Hero Motocorp Ltd, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India, finds itself defending an advertisement in which it called its popular Splendor bike 'Iyer' in Tamil Nadu.

A little known organisation from Coimbatore has lodged a complaint with the Commissioner of Police of that city, seeking action against Hero Motocorp, ad agency JWT which devised the campaign, and the newspapers that published the advertisement. Read
14:00  The selective politics of outrage: A response to Barkha Dutt. Read
13:55  Bill Gates on the 13 talks that expanded his worldview. Read and expand yours as well. 
13:52  One woman dies of abortion every 2 hours:  India, where a woman dies of unsafe abortion every two hours, may soon allow abortion services in its 25,000 primary health centres, which are the first points of care for India's rural population. Read
13:49  Prod for N-E border boost:  The defence ministry has asked its agencies to hasten work on building border infrastructure in the Northeast "in view of current security concerns', a senior official said today.The order was given by defence minister A.K. Antony after the ministry of environment and forests relaxed norms to allot land for strategic roads and installations to reinforce the infrastructure for the armed forces deployed on the frontier with China. Read more
13:47  PUCL distances itself from Nilekani's lecture:  Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI will deliver the Tarkunde Memorial Foundation lecture in New Delhi on November 23.

In the past, the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has been very critical of the UIDAI project and unequivocally opposed the project on grounds of being an unacceptable intrusion by the State into citizen's right to privacy, as having questionable motives and constituting a serious threat to human rights, amongst other reasons. The PUCL has also opposed UIDAI as being part of a larger corporate-centric and driven project seeking to push technocratic solution to critical issues of governance failures which cannot be rectified by UIDAI.

"The PUCL would like to clarify that it did not have any role or knowledge in the selection by the Tarkunde Memorial Foundation of Mr Nandan Nilekani as the speaker. The PUCL reiterates its opposition to the UID."

PUCL has lent its name to the Tarkunde Memorial Foundation.
13:29  The UP government has withdrawn all cases against slain liquor baron Ponty Chadha.
13:26  NO driving licence, passport for eve-teasers in MP :  In an important move, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that those indulging in eve-teasing will not be get a driving licence, passport and other government facilities.

The step is being taken to control eve-teasing in the state, Chouhan said during a function at a Gwalior trade fair last evening. Those found involved in eve-teasing would not be given driving licence, passport and character certificate, he said.

A database of eve-teasers and those indulging in similar offences would be prepared and appropriate action would be taken against them, he said. A toll free telephone number for registering complaints about eve-teasing and misbehaviour would also become operational soon, the Chief Minister said.
13:12  Sania Mirza-Malik tweets: After 20 years of playing tennis its amazing how much I still enjoy it :) the off season training has officially begun.

Read: I hope to improve upon my current rankings: Sania
13:05  Which party goes where in TN for the LS polls:  Efforts by the NDA and UPA to rope in new allies are running into rough weather. Top leaders of the DMK have revealed in private conversations that the DMK and the AIADMK will "dump" the Congress in Tamil Nadu "in the Bay of Bengal". 

The TNCC strategy is to rope in Vijaykant of the DMDK. But the DMK claims they have already stuck a deal with Vijaykant. So, the new formulations in Tamil Nadu for the Lok Sabha poll could be that the Congress would go it alone, the DMK will partner with DMKD, CPM, CPI and other smaller parties. 
12:54  Raja weeps: Who will compensate for Tihar days? :   Our Delhi sources tell us that former telecom minister A Raja is waiting for the moment when the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister will be summoned by CBI court as witnesses in the 2G case.

Raja apparently became emotional when he watched telecom minister Kapil Sibal, finance minister P Chidambaram and I&B minister Manish Tiwari saying the 2G scam figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore was a "myth".

Sources tell us that Raja was in tears when he was asked about his days in Tihar Jail. "Will the UPA2 or DMK compensate the loss I suffered," he asked. Raja however refused to elaborate since the issue is still sub-judice.

Raja has also been singing a new song in praise of the BJP. He said that unlike the Congress, the BJP leadership comprised 'decent and upright people'. He said he had spoken about his feelings with DMK chief M Karunanidhi.
12:31  FB girl's father, uncle summoned to police station :'s Ganesh Nadar, reporting from Palghar, where the incident took place, says that Shaheen Dhada's father and her uncle Abdul Dhada, whose clinic had been ransacked have been called to the police station for questioning. 

The story was first broken by the Mumbai Mirror yesterday. The girls were arrested over their post opposing the Mumbai shutdown but were granted bail after they furnished personal bonds, police said. So far nine persons have been arrested for ransacking the clinic. 
12:24  Anti-Thackeray post: Girls deactivate FB account:  Fearing the backlash and apologising for her comment, the girl who had questioned the shutdown in Mumbai for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's funeral on Facebook has deactivated her account on the social networking site. Her friend, who had commented and liked the former's comment has also deactivated her account. Two girls were arrested over their post opposing the Mumbai shutdown, but were granted bail after they furnished personal bonds, police said.-- DNA.
12:20  Majority of Americans think Israeli attacks in Gaza 'justified' :   A majority of Americans believe that Israel's latest military strikes against Gaza are justified, a new survey has revealed. A CNN/ORC International poll showed that 57 percent of the public said Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas.   According to the poll, one in four American said the attacks are unjustified.

Also read: Gaza ceasefire efforts stepped up
12:15  France ends combat mission in Afghanistan:  French troops today ended their last combat mission in Afghanistan by withdrawing from Kapisa province as part of an accelerated departure from the war-torn country.

The last 400 soldiers deployed to the volatile province started to leave Nijrab, the French base in Kapisa, at 10:00 am after a departure ceremony. Of the 2,200 French soldiers still left in Afghanistan, a military official said that about 700 would return to France by the end of the year.

Around 50 trainers will remain based in Wardak province, west of Kabul, and 1,500 would stay in the Afghan capital, where most will be tasked with organising the final departure of French troops by the summer of 2013. 
11:53  Pakistan drops blasphemy case against Rimsha :  A court in Pakistan has dropped a controversial blasphemy case against a Christian girl accused by her neighbour of burning pages from the Koran.The girl, known as Rimsha and aged 14, was held in a maximum security jail in July prompting international concern. Read more on the BBC
11:50  Congress faces a tough test on Thursday:  The month-long winter session of Parliament starting Thursday is crucial for the Congress party-led national government, which has been attempting to fast-track reforms while struggling to keep its alliance intact ahead of the 2014 general election. Read more
11:43  Gujarat Parsis being cremated as vultures dwindle:  When Dara Hakim, 89, a formerIndian Navy deep-sea diver and prominent member of Vadodara's Parsi community passed away recently, his family chose cremation for his last rites. Though he did not leave any specific instructions, his wife Roda Hakim arranged for a cremation instead of the traditional Tower of Silence. Read
11:40  BJP to meet today, decide stance over Mamata FDI hardline:  The BJP and the NDA will meet today to finalise the strategy for the session, including the no-confidence motion, but sources said they are not keen to follow Mamata Banerjee's hard line.

"We will take a decision on the issue tomorrow (Tuesday)," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. The meeting will take place at LK Advani's residence at 11 am.

Later, the NDA will also meet in the evening and strategise its plans for cornering the government in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament starting November 22.  Read
11:33  An authentic Indian fascism:  The Shiv Sena chief gave voice to a Nazi impulse in Indian politics -- one that poses an ever-growing threat to our Republic. Read Praveen Swami's piece for the Hindu. 
11:21  NSA meeting to discuss AFSPA:  National Security Advisory Board chairman Naresh Chandra today said a move has been initiated to gather the views of the public on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the Northeast where people -- like Manipur rights crusader Irom Sharmila -- have been demanding its repeal for years. Read
11:17  2 days to go: Mamata hunts for 'no-trust' props :  Mamata Banerjee called CPI veteran Gurudas Dasgupta and asked whether he could persuade the Left to move against the UPA a no-confidence motion she had been planning, reports the Telegraph, Kolkata.

Dasgupta neither confirmed nor denied either the call or the reported proposal, although the Left had earlier in the day virtually ruled out backing a no-trust motion at this juncture.

"I will not speak on this. Whatever I have to say, I will say tomorrow,' said Dasgupta who had yesterday spoken sympathetically of Mamata's plan to move a no-trust motion when the Lok Sabha convenes on Thursday.
11:13  The photo-op at the Asean that Indian cameramen missed:  The Indian photojournalists missed the moment of the day but their Chinese counterparts didn't.As Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao parted after a "fruitful and detailed' meeting this morning, the Chinese Prime Minister beckoned to his Indian opposite number and embraced him.

By then, the Indian shutterbugs had left. But the Chinese photographers had hung around and were able to snap up a moment that seemed straight out of the sepia-toned "Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai' era.To India-China watchers, the Singh-Wen "love fest' in the Hotel Intercontinental's Sihanoukville Room had more than an emotional underpinning. Read more

PM Manmohan Singh meets his Japanese counterpart in Phnom Penh ahead of the East Asia Summit. That's pic posted on Twitter by MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin
10:53  Ajay Banga in Fortune's 'best in biz' list:  MasterCard's India-born CEO Ajay Banga and ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar have been named by Fortune magazine among the '2012 Businesspersons of the Year', an annual ranking of 50 global leaders who are "the best in business". The list has been topped by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos with Apple CEO Tim Cook coming in at the second place. Read more
10:50  Rupert Murdoch 'Jewish press' comment stokes online row:  Media magnate Rupert Murdoch stirred an online row with a tweet complaining about the "Jewish owned" press and apologised again in a bid to calm the furor. Murdoch, whose News Corporation empire includes HarperCollins publishers, Fox television, BSkyB, The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, wrote Saturday on Twitter: "Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?" Read more
10:46  Were Ponty, brother shot by a third group?:  Were liquor baron Ponty Chadhaand his brother Hardeep shot by a third party? Preliminary postmortem findings, while putting a question mark on the police theory that the two were killed in a shootout following a heated argument, have also pointed to this possibility. Read more on the Times of India.

Meanwhile, four aides of Ponty Chadha have been held for trespassing in the farmhouse where the firing took place.
09:23   Thackeray FB post: 9 held for vandalising clinic:  
The police on Tuesday detained nine men for vandalising a clinic in Palghar, Maharashtra, after the niece of the clinic owner posted a comment on Facebook questioning the shutdown in the wake of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death.

The police had earlier faced flak for arresting the girl who had posted the comment and her friend who had 'liked' it.

The two girls were granted bail hours after their arrest.

It has not been ascertained if the detained men are members of the Shiv Sena.
08:56  Obama, Dr Singh go traditional in Cambodia:   Check out this very interesting photograph of the top leaders of Asia with US President Barack Obama, dressed in traditional attire at the ongoing ASEAN summit in Cambodia.

Seen in the photograph are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President Barack Obama, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak.

The photo was taken before the gala dinner for head of states participating in the 21st ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh.

Photograph: Courtesy:
08:52  Sunita Williams heads for Houston :  A warm reception is in the offing for record-setting astronaut Sunita Williams as the Indian-American, along with fellow cosmonaut Aki Hoshide, heads for Houston after completing her space voyage.       

While Williams will arrive in Houston with Hoshide today, her fellow cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko is returning to a Russian space facility outside Moscow.       

Her family has expressed gratitude for the encouragement and prayers by people in India for Sunita's safe return.        

"We are happy and thankful to Lord for her successful Mission. We are so very thankful to everyone in India for their encouragement and prayers for their daughter Suni," said Williams's father Deepak Pandya.
04:18  Gaza crisis: 'More than 100' killed in Israeli strikes:  At least 105 people have died in the Gaza Strip in six days of violence, Hamas officials say, as Israeli forces continue a bombardment they say aims to stop rocket attacks into Israel.

Monday's fatalities include a commander of the Islamic Jihad militant group.More than 100 rockets were fired on Israel by militants on Monday, but no casualties were reported. Last week, three Israelis died in one such attack.

The Israeli cabinet has been meeting to discuss an Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

Read full report here
03:11  Nigerian President to attend D-8 summit in Islamabad:  Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will arrive in Pakistan's capital Islamabad to attend the summit of Group of Eight Developing Nations (D-8) which opens tomorrow. 

On his trip, the President will be accompanied by his minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, his spokesperson Reuben Abati said. 

"Besides participating in the summit of the D-8 which was established in 1997 to foster developmental cooperation amongst member-countries, President Jonathan will also hold bilateral meetings in Islamabad with the Presidents of Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran and Egypt who are also the member countries," Abati said.
02:47  UN chief to meet Netanyahu, Abbas in Gaza ceasefire push:  UN chief Ban Ki-moon will this week meet Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas as part of a growing push for a Gaza war ceasefire, his spokesman said today. 

"The secretary general wishes to add his diplomatic weight to these efforts, which are considerable and extremely important," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters from Cairo, where Ban arrived today. Ban was to meet Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr tonight, and President Mohamed Morsi and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi tomorrow.
02:45  US sanctions Hezbollah chief for US deaths in Iraq:  The United States today slapped sanctions on a Hezbollah chief blamed for attacks against US forces in Iraq, after Baghdad authorities freed him from custody last week. The Treasury Department named Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior commander in Hezbollah, which the US considers a terrorist group, to its list of people subject to US sanctions. 

The action came after Iraq released Daqduq from detention due to lack of sufficient evidence for charges that he was behind a 2007 raid that led to the deaths of five US soldiers. Daqduq "is a dangerous Hezbollah operative responsible for planning and carrying out numerous acts of terrorism in Iraq," David Cohen, under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement.
01:36  Regional tensions flare at Asean summit:  
Efforts by south-east Asian leaders to agree a united front in their disputes with China have collapsed for a second consecutive summit, highlighting an increasingly assertive stance by Beijing.

Benigno Aquino, the president of the Philippines, dismissed a statement by Cambodia, the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an important China ally, which said the bloc had agreed not to raise the South China Sea disputes in international forums.

Read full report here
00:58  Hamas leader on truce prospects: "Maybe never":  U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo Monday to join Egypt-brokered talks between Hamas and Israel with a goal of agreeing on a cease-fire.

There's a real sense that with all the instability in the region - the civil war in Syria, protests in Jordan, militants in Libya - that an escalation in hostilities would have disastrous effects.

00:35  Top headlines at this hour:  

Patna: 10 kids among 18 dead in stampede during Chhath

Sibal slams arrest of girls over Facebook post

Won't back decision to allow FDI in retail: DMK

CPI-M not to back Trinamool's no-confidence motion

Left's opposition to FDI a sham, says Trinamool

PM Singh attends ASEAN-India summit in Cambodia

India asks Pakistan to defer Malik's visit

Death toll nears 100 in Israel's Gaza offensive

Modi to fight election from Maninagar constituency

Cong to move EC against Modi's 3D poll campaign

Ponty's men tried to grab another farmhouse: Police

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