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Arafat exhumation 'painful but necessary': widow

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November 22, 2012


23:30  Arafat exhumation 'painful but necessary': widow:  Yasser Arafat's widow today said that next week's exhumation of the late Palestinian leader was "very painful" but also necessary because of suspicions Israel poisoned him. 

"It is very painful. It is a shock, and it is not easy for myself or my daughter," Suha Arafat told AFP in the West Bank capital of Ramallah from where Arafat governed until his death in a French hospital in November 2004. 

"But if you must know the truth, it is necessary for our people, for the families of the martyrs of Gaza," she said in reference to the 163 Palestinians who died in the course of Israel's week-long Gaza air campaign.
22:59  For Netanyahu, cease-fire has benefits and risks:  The domestic criticism started pouring in almost as soon as Israel's cease-fire with Hamas was inked Wednesday night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had waved a white flag and left the job unfinished, the opposition howled. A television snap poll found a large majority of the public did not support the Egypt-brokered truce.

Even so, many Israeli analysts said that for Netanyahu, a hawkish and shrewd politician who is seeking reelection in two months, the abrupt end to the eight-day hostilities in the Gaza Strip carried as many political benefits as risks. Although he has long vowed to safeguard Israel from terrorism, Gaza was never Netanyahu's battle. If the cease-fire holds '" a major if '" Netanyahu now has several weeks to turn domestic and international focus back to his signature security issue: Iran.

Read full report here
22:34  PM dinner: Govt, BJP don't come to an agreement:   Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's dinner with Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley was not very fruitful.

There was no agreement between them, as both sides did not budge from their stand.     

They, however, discussed political angles of crucial issues. "We heard the government's views, while we put forth our points," said a BJP participant. "We agreed to meet again."   

Finance Minister P Chidambaram is said to have agreed to certain proposals on bills and Foreign Direct Investment too figured in the discussions.   

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath too were present at the dinner.   
21:54  India, China back to sparring over borders:  

India and China are back to sparring over territorial claims involving Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin.        

 

It all started with the Chinese government showing Arunachal and entire Aksai Chin as part of its territory in maps of the country on their new e-passports.        

 

Unhappy at this, the Indian embassy in Beijing is said to be issuing visas to Chinese nationals with a map of India showing Arunachal and Aksai Chin as its territories.        

 

After the water marks in the new Chinese e-passports showed Arunachal and Aksai Chin as part of China, the Indian mission started issuing visas with Indian maps including these places as part of its territory.

21:05  Will resign from BJP by month end: Yeddyurappa:  

Stating that he would resign as BJP legislator from the assembly by the month end, former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today said he would focus on building his new party.   

 

"By month end I will tender my resignation as BJP legislator in the state assembly and focus on building my new party," he told reporters after worshipping at Yedyur Siddalingeshwarswamy Temple in Kunigal. Yeddyurappa said BJP ministers and MPs need not attend his rally at Haveri, but interested legislators could attend it.

20:23  Ranjit Sinha is likely to be new director of CBI :  The government is understood to have cleared the name of  Ranjit Sinha as the new director of country's premier investigation agency the Central Bureau of Investigation, reports our correspondent from New Delhi.A formal announcement is expected anytime.

This may bring down the curtain on the most-sought after appointment as all eyes are set on the successor of A P Singh who demits office on November 30.

Ranjit Sinha is the 1974 batch of the Indian Police Service and belongs to the Bihar cadre. He is currently the director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the seniormost in the panel of three officers, who were under  consideration. S C Sinha, director, National Investigation Agency and Atul Gupta, former director general, Uttar Pradesh were the other two contenders for the director's post.
19:53  St Stephen's allows 'Life of Pi' actor to write exams:   After much anxiety over his fate as he fell short of attendance, St Stephen's college today allowed "Life of Pi" actor Suraj Sharma to write his exams.

Nineteen-year-old Sharma, who apparently submitted written assignments to make up for his lost attendance, will be allowed to write his exams from tomorrow after he missed his first paper on Wednesday. "Yes, he will be writing his exams," St Stephens college's Bursar K M Mathew told PTI when asked if the teenage star of Ang Lee's much-talked about film had been provided his examination admit card.

An international tour to promote the film cost the first-year Philosophy student much of the academic action at his college St Stephens. And lack of attendance and apparent failure to produce his assignments instead of attendance meant he could lose a year.
19:16  Kasab's hanging: Security up at Indian embassy in Pak :  Pakistan has tightened security at the Indian embassy in Islamabad following a 'note verbale' by New Delhi asking for greater security for the mission and its staff in view of Ajmal Kasab's hanging.   

Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay met his counterpart in the Pakistan Foreign Office Zohra Akbari, DG, South Asia, a day before the hanging of the lone surviving terrorist who carried out the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008and gave the 'note verbale'.   

"There was a possibility of some disturbance in that country due to the hanging, so New Delhi asked for additional security for its mission and the staff," official sources in New Delhi said, adding that it also had a small reference to Kasab's hanging.
18:47  Kasab hanging sparks debate on death penalty:  While India backs the death penalty, it's a sentence that is rarely implemented.Over the past 20 years, only three people have been executed in India, although the list of those of death row is at least 435, according to Amnesty International. Read
18:44  SC issues notice to two firms on Swamy's plea:  The Supreme Court today issued notices to Chennai-based Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd and its offshore sister concern on a plea of Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against them for filing a defamation suit in Singapore against him.

"We will issue notices to two companies to seek their responses... returnable within 12 weeks," a bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said, moments after Swamy rose to advance his arguments on his contempt petition.
18:34  1st day, flop show: Fissures in Opposition over voting on FDI:  Fissures were apparent in the Opposition when the FDI in retail came to the government's aid today in Parliament. At the end of the day, the government convened an all-party meeting to break the deadlock as BJP and the Left parties insisted on a discussion in Parliament on FDI issue under voting provisions.

BJP and the Left also snubbed former Congress ally Trinamool Congress whose motion fell in the Lok Sabha for want of numbers. Trinamool has only 19 MPs and for a no-confidence motion to be admitted a minimum of 55 MPs have to raise in support of it in the House.

SP and BSP, whose members disrupted both the houses by rushing to the well protesting against the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and SC/ST reservation issues, refused to play ball with the rest of the Opposition.
18:17  Kejriwal: Govt gave NSG commando's pension now:   This is what Arvind Kejriwal tweets in response: Army accepted all our allegations in a statement issued just now. Pension has been sanctioned just now. So he was not getting it till now. What about other 10 commandos. 9 are still in job. They are scared of speaking up. Who would speak for them? Army accepts that medical card was made in Oct 2012. This means he was getting treated from his own money so far.
18:07  'Allegation of non-payment of pension to NSG commando incorrect':  In a press conference today, retired Nk Surender Singh of 2 Grenadiers  and an ex NSG Commando expressed some grievances against the government.

These pertained to alleged lack of adequate compensation and financial benefits to those who were killed/injured in the 26/11, Operation Black Tornado in Mumbai. Response with respect to the issues raised is enumerated in succeeding paragraphs.
Read
18:02  NDTV's Nitin Gokhale tweets: India is short of 1777 IAS and 1255 IPS officers, government tells Rajya Sabha.
17:50  JFK assassinated today:  Mohd Ajmal Kasab was executed at 7.30 am yesterday. On this day in 1963, John F Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas.
17:43  Decision to raise FDI issue in Par taken at NDA meeting: BJP:  BJP today raked up the issue of FDI and insisted on discussion in Parliament under a rule that entails voting, apparently wary of raising the corruption issue as its President Nitin Gadkari is facing charges of dubious funding of his Purti Group.

The party cited a bigger Opposition unity on the FDI in retail issue as the reason for its preference to the matter over supporting the no-confidence motion that was moved by the Trinamool Congress.
17:37  Pakistan military adversary recounts violent backlash:   Inam ul Rahiem has made himself a nettlesome adversary of Pakistan's powerful military. The lawyer and retired army colonel has represented families who claim their loved ones have been secretly abducted by security forces. More recently, he has taken on Gen. Ashfaq Kayani with a legal claim that the army chief must step down because he has reached retirement age. Read
17:12  UPA govt in ICU: Nitin Gadkari:  BJP President Nitin Gadkari today said the UPA government at the Centre is in "intensive care unit" and claimed that his party would form government in the next elections.

"The UPA government is in ICU. Time has come for the BJP to form a government at the Centre," Gadkari said while addressing a public meeting here. He alleged that the Congress-led UPA government had failed to work for people and asserted that the BJP-ruled states in the country were "pro-active" and had shown examples of "good governance".
17:10  In 2011-12, India was the largest exporter of beef :  It has never happened since Independence. May be not even in the last 1,000 years what happened during October 2011-September 2012. India exported 10 million tonnes of rice, valued at around $6 billion, becoming the largest exporter of rice, replacing Thailand and Vietnam, generally the two largest exporters of rice. Read
17:02  Five myths about sleep:  You need eight hours of sleep per night. That's the cliche. Napoleon, for one, didn't believe it. His prescription went something like this: "Six hours for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool." But Napoleon's formula wasn't right, either. The ideal amount of sleep is different for everyone and depends on many factors, including age and genetic makeup. Read
16:49  Israel dominates the new Middle East:  In other news: As missiles and rockets exploded in Israel and Gaza, television news was dominated by the tragic violence, and we were warned that the battle between Israel and the Palestinians might spread because we are in a new and much more dangerous Middle East.

Islamists are in power, democracies will listen to their people. In fact, as the relatively quick cease-fire between the parties shows, there is a very low likelihood of a broader regional conflict. It's true that we're in a new Middle East, but it's one in which Israel has become the region's superpower.
Read Fareed Zakaria's piece on the Washington Post.
16:43  Kasab's Yerwada jail once housed Gandhi, Patel, Nehru:   And another one on Kasab:  If the sepia-tinted record books at Yerwada Central Jail offer snapshots of half a century of India's freedom struggle, a one-day old entry on the prison register bears testimony to the battle to protect that freedom. Tuesday's entry is in the name of Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was hanged in the prison today. Read
16:35  Was rope to hang Kasab made in Buxar jail?:  As secrecy shrouded the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, inmates and authorities of Buxar prison believe that the rope used for the purpose was manufactured by the jail.

Buxar central jail is the sole provider of rope for capital punishment in north and eastern India, its superintendent Surendra Kumar Ambastha said.

"We had supplied a special rope for hanging Afzal Guru to Delhi's Tihar jail on order in 2007," Director, Bihar Prison Department, S B P Singh told PTI.

This rope was, however, not used because of the stay on Guru's execution and might have been used for Kasab, the authorities and inmates of Buxar prison feel.

"Since no requistion had been sent for preparing rope for Kasab, it cannot be said with authenticity if it is the same rope the Buxar jail had supplied to Tihar for Afzal Guru," Singh said. Buxar jail had also provided the rope for the execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee in Kolkata in 2004, he said.
16:28  Scorned Mamata slams 'saviour of government':  Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee slams "saviours of government" after rejection of no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha.

In Parliament today, Trinamool Congress's attempt to bring a no-confidence motion against the government over FDI in retail failed today in the Lok Sabha for want of requisite numbers. Mamata Banerjee's party moved the motion as soon as Parliament met for the Winter Session, but Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed it as it could not muster the required support of 50 members.

The motion, first in the current Lok Sabha, was moved by Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay and was supported by BJD. However, it lacked the support of the required 50 members as only TMC's 18 members and BJD's three members supported.
16:22  ITBP chief Ranjit Sinha is new CBI chief :  Just in: Indo Tibetan Border Police chief Ranjit Singh is the new head of the CBI. Notification on the appointment will be made next week. 
16:20  China, America will benefit from FDI in retail: Jaitley:  Arun Jaitley said that small traders buy locally, while big chain shop wherever the cheapest product is available. "Obviously China will benefit, where things are low cost and labour is cheap. Shops will be owned by Americans, but the product will be China's and the sales staff will be Indian. 
16:14  UPA doesn't want Parliament to function: Jaitley:  

Sheela Bhatt reports from New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, while addressing a seminar organised by the Confederation of All India Traders, said that the UPA government doesn't want Parliament to function.  

 

The government stand that policy decision cannot be debate is an illogical argument, Jaitley said. Voting is not alien to democracy, Jaitley added.  

 

How can government say the issue of FDI in retail is cast in stone, Jaitley wondered, adding, some mysterious pressure is working on the government.

15:59  Walmart can't make our mithai: Sharad Yadav:  

Sheela Bhatt reports from New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders organised a seminar on Thursday in New Delhi protesting government's move to bring FDI in retail.  

 

JD-U leader and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechuri are attending the seminar.  

 

Yadav said while protesting FDI in retail, "Walmart ke samose me Indian thelewale samose ka swad nahi. Hamari mithai Walmart nahi bana sakta (Walmart's samosa doesn't taste as good as the samosas sold in small shops. Walmart cannot make our sweets.)

15:48  Could North Koreans ever really invade America?:  In the 1984 film Red Dawn, the Soviet army destroys Washington DC. Cuban spies, posing as immigrants, cross in from Mexico and disable America's strategic air command; Russian paratroopers occupy the town of Calumet, Colorado, and a group of patriotic high school students enact guerilla warfare against the invaders. While not plausible, it at least existed within the realm of possibility. Read
15:44   Crackdown on sham marriage scheme involving Indians in Aus:  Authorities have cracked down on an alleged immigration racket in Queensland under which sham marriages were organised between Indian men and Australian women to obtain visas.

Authorities have estimated that upto 50 visa applications could have been used for such weddings. A probe into the allegations against a Queensland couple for allegedly running the scam led to search operations by Australian Federal Police and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship at a few properties.
15:39  What the fiscal cliff means for India:  "Fiscal cliff' must be one of the most heard phrases globally right now. A Google search for the term produced 650 million results, as of Tuesday morning, more than for US Presidential Election. Here's what it means for India. Read
15:37   Dont ask? Internet still tells:  Search engines have long provided clues to the topics people look up. But now sites like Google and Bing are showing the precise questions that are most frequently asked, giving everyone a chance to peer virtually over one another's shoulders at private curiosities. And they are revealing interesting patterns. Read
15:34  Pak beefs up security for summit of Islamic leaders:  Pakistani authorities put in place an extensive security blanket for a summit of Islamic leaders here today, a day after a Taliban suicide bombing and other incidents of violence left over 30 people dead, majority of them Shias, and scores injured across the country.

Thousands of additional police and paramilitary forces were deployed to protect the leaders attending the Developing Eight (D-8) Summit as the government declared a public holiday in Islamabad today as part of security. Leaders from Iran, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey, Bangladesh and Indonesia are attending the meet, which Pakistan is using as an event to position itself as a key player in the Islamic world.
15:26  Lajpat Nagar blasts: Two acquitted, lifer for one:   The Delhi High Court commutes to life imprisonment the death sentence of a JKIF militant in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blast case. The men killed 13 shoppers in a bomb blast at the Lajpat Nagar market, New Delhi. The three J&K-based terrorists had been handed the death penalty, but the ourt has now commuted the sentence of one to life and acquits two others. 
15:10  Plot to abduct Thailand PM?:  The Thailand national police chief claims there is a plan to take Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra hostage, and cites this as one reason for imposing the Internal Security Act in three districts of Bangkok.

Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew said the cabinet decided to impose the Internal Security Act (ISA) in three districts of Bangkok from today until Nov 30 after security agencies reported receiving information there could be attempts to raid government premises and a plan to take Prime Minister Yingluck hostage.

He said using the ISA would help security forces contain the anti-government protesters. A large turnout is expected at the Pitak Siam rally at the weekend, the police chief said. Read more
14:55  Kejriwal to contest 2014 polls:   An important member of Arvind Kejariwal's team Kumar Vishwas has said that their new political party would contest Lok Sabha elections slated in 2014 on all seats.

"The list of party candidate's would not be released from Delhi or Lucknow, but it would be decided by the people," Vishwas said last night.

On being asked about lack of organisation, he said that in 1977 Janata Party came to power within two months and the organisation has been raised in 17 states. Reacting to differences between Anna Hazare and Kejwariwal, Vishwas said, "both were one and their objective was same -- to make people aware on the issue of corruption".
14:45  Osama death: Secret emails give details of burial at sea:  Osama's body referred to as Fedex package in cryptic military dispatches arranging disposal of al-Qaida leader's remains. Read

Yesterday Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said India was better than the US in following the rule of law because we ensured Kasab was given a full trial, while Osama was simply shot dead.
14:24  Just in: All-party meeting on FDI in retail will be held on Monday. 
14:22  Pak Taliban to India: Give us Kasab's body or else!:  Pakistan's Taliban movement threatened today to attack Indian targets to avenge the country's execution of Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the militant squad responsible for a rampage through Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008.Kasab was hanged on Wednesday amid great secrecy, underscoring the political sensitivity of the November 26, 2008, massacre, which still casts a pall over relations between nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India.

"We have decided to target Indians to avenge the killing of Ajmal Kasab," said Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan by telephone from an undisclosed location.Ehsan demanded that India return Kasab's body.

"If they don't return his body to us or his family we will capture Indians and will not return their bodies," he said, adding that the Taliban will try to strike Indian targets "anywhere". Read more
14:14  Sohrabuddin case: Nine accused sent to Mumbai:  Nine accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, who were lodged in a city jail, were today sent to Mumbai under heavy security for their production before the special court there on November 23.

Later, they all will be sent to a jail in Maharashtra, as per the decision of the special CBI court in Mumbai, before which they will be produced. The nine accused, including suspended IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N, were this morning taken under heavily armed security escort, ending uncertainties surrounding to the issue of their transfer to Mumbai jail, following the Supreme Court order to shift the trial in the case to Maharashtra.
14:11  India: six great hidden gems by train:  Monisha Rajesh, author of Around India in 80 Trains, spent four months travelling the country's railways. Here she selects six great places to visit by train, from idyllic hill stations to coastal towns, beyond the main tourist hubs. Read
14:06  Review: Life of Pi is bold and wondrous:  There are several reasons why Yann Martel's Man Booker prize-winning novel Life of Pi was considered unfilmable when it was published in 2001.That most of the story takes place on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean surely didn't help. Well, it's amazing what they can do with special effects these days: Richard Parker is such a fabulous and fully realized creation, perhaps nothing is unfilmable now? Read
14:05  The Lok Sabha has been adjourned for the day over FDI on retail. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day as well over the SC/ST quota bill.
13:59  Mamata's no-confidence bid flops miserably:  So Mamata Banerjee's bid to take down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government fizzled in just a few minutes today, signaling that her supposed clout in New Delhi may be diminishing. Read
13:57  MoS HRD, Shashi Tharoor tweets: Prime Minister introduced new Ministers to the Rajya Sabha this morning. Felt good to be back -- until the inevitable disruption & adjournment.
13:55  Pakistan is one of the deadliest places for journalists, second year running. Read the report.
13:47  We would have wanted to be present to see him go:  The wife and daughter of the former Yes Bank chairman, killed in the Mumbai terror attacks, say Mohammed Ajmal Kasab's execution has brought joy but not closure. Read
13:39  In Bangalore, a 'What Not to Wear' for Teachers:  When a Bangalore school, part of India's largest school chain called Delhi Public School, or D.P.S., recently surveyed 300 teenage students in an anonymous review called Loving Your Teacher, the authorities were staggered by the barrage of criticism about teachers' appearances. Read
13:36  Keeping the nation in the dark:  By not publicly disclosing the reasons for rejecting Ajmal Kasab's mercy petition, Pranab Mukherjee missed an excellent opportunity to contribute to the rule of law. Read
13:30  The grouse in the heart of Mumbai:  A misfortune of Mumbai is that its politicians have always had a better understanding of the great city than many of its elite writers, who have long described the city by its most vacuous quality -- cosmopolitanism. Manu Joseph on Bal Thackeray. Read Read
13:25  Rajya Sabha paralysed on day one of Winter Session:  Update on what happened in Parliament today: Rajya Sabha could not function on the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament with issues like FDI and reservation to SCs/STs in promotions triggering uproar that led to its adjournment for the day.

Trinamool Congress and AIADMK raised the issue of FDI in retail when the House met at noon after the first adjournment, while BSP members rushed to the well raising slogans and created uproar over the issue of reservation to SCs/STs in promotions.

With appeals by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien going unheeded, BSP members kept raising slogans forcing him to adjourn the House for the day. As Mayawati stood up, her BSP colleagues led by Brajesh Pathak raised slogans demanding a bill for reservation to SCs/STs in promotions.

At least six Trinamool Congress members also entered the well raising the issue of FDI in retail but lodged their protest silently.
13:04  First things first:   There are no two opinions about the need and desirability of peace between India and Pakistan. It is the attainment of this that is the problem. Different panels, groups and Track 2s and Track 3s have, over the years, discussed all that can be done to lead to peace and normalcy. But nothing substantial has emerged from such endless talks at various venues. That's the opinion piece on the Hindustan Times. Read
12:58  All that you wanted to know on the Pension Bill:  As India's winter session of Parliament kicked off to a disorderly start on Thursday, here is the fact sheet on key bills that lawmakers are likely to consider for approval. Read
12:54  A tale of two villages:  As Parliamentarians enjoy their hour away from work, other stories: In rural India there is hope that the worst policies can be improved. Read the story on the Economist.
12:51  TMC does not figures for No-Trust motion: Speaker:   The TMC, which broke away from the UPA2 in September, has 19 members in the Lok Sabha, and Mamata has been harnessing support (even with her arch rival the CPI(M)) for a no-trust motion on FDI in retail. The Speaker says the TMC does not have the numbers. The TMC needs 50 MPs to move the no-trust vote. 

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm. This is the third time that the Lok Sabha has been adjourned today. The BJP demands discussion on FDI in retail in Lok Sabha under rule which entails voting.
12:44  TMC moves No-Trust motion, Speaker rejects it :   TMC moves No-Trust motion against UPA government, Speaker Meira Kumar rejects the motion, saying the TMC lacks numbers to move the motion. The moment she says it, slogans begin from the TMC and BJD MPs.  
12:35  In Parl: Mallya's black arm band, trio MPs avoided :   Gossip from inside Parliament from our man in the know:

Dr Vijay Mallya wore a black band on his right arm. Obviously, MPs asked him what it was about, but Mallya refused to comment. The MPs then twittered amongst themselves that Mallya was probably mourning for the sad end of Kingfisher Airlines.

In Central Hall of Parliament, all the BJP MP steered clear of a bench where their senior colleagues Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Jaswant Singh were seated. But former home minister and now finance minister, P Chidambaram strode right up shook hands with them and then walked away. Bonhomie in evidence before the session.

The ADMK MPs in the Rajya Sabha were surprised to see people carrying a huge poster depicting Barack Obama and PM. The BJP MPs have taken the poster and want more copies.

Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath is seated next to the PM. Earlier Pranab Mukherjee and the PM used to sit together. Salman Khushid and P Chidambaram look uncomfortable together.
12:18  My police background helped secrecy: Home minister:  A day after Ajmal Kasab's execution, an update.

Yesterday, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde wasn't willing to share his hour of glory with anyone -- not even UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Shinde claimed that his "police background" helped him keep information about Ajmal Kasab's hanging from not only all his cabinet colleagues but also the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson. Read more here
12:09  RS adjourned till tomorrow, LS till 12.30 pm:  Within minutes, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for the day over the SC/ST quota bill.
In the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj braves on amid continued din over FDI on retail. The Speaker requests that the House come to order. Swaraj braves on. TMC and BSP MPs storm into the well of the House. Meira Kumar says she has received the no-confidence motion over FDI, "The House has to be in order, right," she beseeches. The BJP also moves Privilege Motion against industries minister Anand Sharma.
When the MPs don't relent, the LS is adjourned till 12.30 pm. 
12:03  Parliament reconvenes: BJP, Left seek IMMEDIATE discussion on FDI on retail.
11:38  Stephens set to say bye-bye Mr Pi, refuses exam ticket:  As we wait for Parliament to resume, here's other news.

On the face of it, it's a replay of Unmukt Chand, the India under-19 cricket captain who made a century in the World Cup final but was yorked by shortage of attendance. This time it is Suraj Sharma Churai, India's latest Hollywood sensation, who has been dunked by cold reality. Read
11:35  Thirty minutes on Parl adjourned over FDI in retail:   Just before the Parliament was adjourned, in the Rajya Sabha, chairperson Hamid Ansari said Bal Thackeray's death the "loss of a charismatic personality for Maharashtra and India".

The PM then took over introducing the new cabinet ministers, but the moment he got done, the Opposition took over and raised slogans over the FDI in retail issue. The TMC has called for a no-confidence motion over FDI, but the Left wanted and the BJP wanted the suspension of Question Hour as they wanted to discuss the issue. 
11:28  RS, LS adjourned till 12 pm over FDI in retail:  In the Lok Sabha, Parliamentarians raise a din over the FDI in retail. Leader of the Opposition in the LS, Sushma Swaraj

In the Rajya Sabha, the PM goes through the motion of introducing the new ministers. The cabinet reshuffle took place on October 28.
And yes, the Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 12 pm, as is Rajya Sabha. Both over FDI in retail.
11:20  Parliament pays tribute to Bal Thackeray:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited senior BJP leaders for dinner tonight in a bid to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament during its winter session. 

Whatever be the menu at 5 Race Course Road today, the list of Opposition demands are more than the menu, a senior BJP leader commented. In fact, much more than the menu, it is the chaste Punjabi which will be the flavour in use by LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely will use. Kamal Nath and Sushil Kumar Shinde will be part of the PM's dinner as they are key personalities on the Lok Sabha floor. Shinde is the leader of Lok Sabha while Kamal Nath is Parliamentary Affairs minister.

Parliament has paid tribute to Bal Thackeray.
11:13  Confident TMC hands over no-condience motion :  Just before the session opened, the TMC handed over a no-confidence motion against the UPA regime to Speaker Meira Kumar. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has asked all her party MPs to be present in the Lok Sabha.

The TMC, which broke away from the UPA2 in September, has 19 members in the Lok Sabha, and Mamata has been harnessing support (even with her arch rival the CPI(M)) for a no-trust motion on FDI in retail. 'I am prepared to go to the CPI-M state party headquarters in Alimuddin Street and talk to their secretary Biman Bose,' she had said in Kolkata yesterday.

However, the government is confident that she will not get the numbers. The UPA2 has just 18 months left in office.The Lok Sabha polls are in 2014.
11:08  Obituary references being read out:  This is the Parliament schedule today.

LOK SABHA
1. Oath
2. Obituary References
3. Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Amendment Bill, 2012
4. Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011
5. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2011

RAJYA SABHA
1. Obituary References
2. The North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Amendment Bill, 2012
11:06  New MPs take oath:  The Winter Session of Parliament will begin shortly. The BSP won't support no-confidence motion on FDI.

IN the Lok Sabha, the new ministers take oath. Abhijit Mukherjee, President Pranab Mukherjee's son, takes oath. 
10:59  PM appeals to all parties to 'join hands in endeavour':   Noting that Parliament had a very heavy legislative agenda during the Winter Session, the Prime Minister said, "I seek cooperation from my collegaues in the House to come together and address the issues and challenges that we face as a nation.

"We all have an obligation, in Opposition as well as in government, to work together to enable our parliamentary democracy, of which we are genuinely proud of, to grapple with the formidable challenges facing our country," Singh told reporters outside Parliament House.

He said the country was faced with many problems on the economic front arising out of the consequences of global economic slowdown. "We need to create new jobs on a large-enough scale to provide gainful employment to our youth. We need to increase investments in infrastructure sectors and social services like health and education to accelerate the tempo of economic growth," he said.

The Prime Minister said the government was committed to these tasks but its success required cohesive collective action on the part of all segments of polity. "I invite all political parties to join hands in this vital national endeavour," Singh said.
10:49  TMC hands over notice of no-confidence to Speaker:  In less than 15 minutes, the Parliament will meet for the winter session. The  Congress faces an array of opponents keen to corner it over its decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail raising the possibility of raucous disruptions as the winter session of Parliament gets underway today.

The bone of contention is the Opposition's demand that the FDI policy be discussed under a rule that entails a floor test and the government's determination not to accept such a motion on the grounds that an executive decision should not be subject to a vote in Parliament.

Another reason for Parliament not functioning on Thursday could be Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete's demand for a day's adjournment as a mark of respect for the passing away of Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray.

United in their opposition to FDI in retail, BJP, Left and regional parties are gearing to take on the government with even some of Congress's allies and outside supporters demurring over letting global retailers into the domestic market.

With the Opposition sensing an opportunity for all UPA opponents to gather under one tent, BJP and Left members are planning to vociferously press for the acceptance of their motions, a move that can result in a stalemate in Parliament.

It remains to be seen whether the government can break the ice and persuade the Opposition to accept a discussion under a non-voting rule.

Meanwhile, the TMC has handed over the notice of no-confidence to Speaker Meira Kumar.
10:43  Cong MPs angry as stormy Parl session set to begin:  Buzz in the Central Hall of Parliament amongst Congress MPs is that they will stay put in the Central Hall itself and not be present in the Lok Sabha when the Prime Minister introduces the new council of minsters.

Three Congress MPs who are upset with the induction of their rivals in Cabinet, wanted to show their protest by keeping away from the the proceedings. Another Congress MP was heard saying in Parliament, "My rival comes to Rajya Sabha with the patronage of the political leadership, whereas I have won five times as an MLA and one time as an MP."

Is the Congress totally unaware of the brewing anger? 
10:35  Ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, the PM tells MPs, "Come together and discuss all issues and challenges facing the nation. We are ready to discuss all issues on the floor of both the Houses."
10:22  PM invites BJP top brass for dinner :  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for dinner tonight in a bid to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament during its winter session. 

BJP Parliamentary Party Chief L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley had earlier been invited for a dinner at the PM's residence on November 17, but the event was cancelled following Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death. 

According to sources, all three BJP leaders have been invited again for dinner today at the prime minister's official residence at 7, Race Course Road.    
10:10  PM speaks up: Govt, Oppn MUST work together:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday appealed to opposition parties to ensure that the Parliament's winter session, which starts today, functions smoothly.

Dr Singh stated that the ruling UPA is ready to discuss all issues with the opposition, adding that a lot of legislative work was pending.

"I seek the cooperation of all parties. The government and the opposition must work together," he said.

The winter session is expected to be a rough one for the UPA, which may face a no-confidence motion from former ally Trinamool Congress and voting on the issue of FDI in retail.
09:51  Kamal Nath braces for stormy Parliament session:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, who has served as a Member of Parliament for seven terms, has witnessed several tense moments in the House.

He has now appealed to the opposition leaders to ensure that the winter session, which starts today, does not end in a wash-out. 

"This winter session is a test case for me. Resort to dramas, but debate each issue and let the Parliament function," is his message to the opposition.
09:47  DMK to abstain from voting on FDI in retail:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: DMK has reportedly decided to abstain from voting in Parliament on the issue of FDI in retail. This comes as a huge relief to the UPA, which had feared that its major ally may vote against it.

Incidentally, a senior emissary from UPA spoke to DMK leaders in Chennai on Wednesday evening to sort out the matter.
09:42  Regional parties to gang up against UPA?:  
A correspondent from Delhi reports: Rajya Sabha is all set to witness a lot of fireworks and immense political drama today, especially from regional political parties.

Strategies have been drawn to force the government to bend, say sources.
09:40  Dr Karan Singh resigns from Ethics Committee:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Dr Karan Singh on Thursday resigned as the chairman of the Ethics Committee.

His resignation came as a surprise not only to the chairman of Rajya Sabha but even to the leaders of the UPA. 

The reason behind his decision to resign is not known. 

Experts are wondering whether his resignation is a political move or if he is upset with the functioning of Members of Parliament.
04:32  Oil price rises after Israel-Hamas truce is announced:  The price of oil rose today afternoon following the announcement of a cease-fire agreement to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants. Benchmark oil rose 33 cents to USD 87.08 a barrel in New York. 

It climbed as high as USD 87.89 in the morning. Oil fell nearly 3 percent yesterday. The truce was announced by Egypt's foreign minister and confirmed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The deal is to end a week of fighting that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.
04:29  China stamps passports with sea claims:  Beijing has included its South China Sea territorial claims on maps printed inside new Chinese passports, infuriating at least one of its neighbours.

Vietnam has made a formal complaint to Beijing about the new passports. "The Vietnamese side has taken note of this matter and the two sides are discussing it, but so far there has been no result,' said Vietnam's embassy in Beijing.

Read full article here
04:26  Dozens of casualties in air raid on Syria's Aleppo: NGO:  Syrian warplanes today bombarded a rebel-held district of the city of Aleppo, causing dozens of casualties, as soldiers repelled an attack on a nearby army base, a monitoring group said. 

"Dozens of people were killed or injured by an air strike on a building in the district of Shaar" in eastern Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, without giving a precise toll. 

"The field hospital was badly damaged by the strike," the Britain-based monitoring group added. Amateur video filmed in Shaar and distributed by the Observatory showed people gathering around the destroyed building, which was reduced to a mountain of grey rubble.
04:25  EU ministers fail to reach Greece rescue deal :  A crucial meeting of the euro group broke up in Brussels today without reaching an agreement on releasing a long-awaited 31. 5 billion euros (USD 39.3 billion dollars) emergency assistance for debt-stricken Greece and postponed a decision till next Monday. 

President of the euro group Jean-Claude Juncker said the failure of the meeting to wrap up a deal was not because of Greece. The Greek government has delivered what it had promised, he told media persons as he left the conference venue after a marathon 12-hour session.
02:51  Kasab execution: Mostly thumbs-up on foreign sites:  A foreign news agency story headlined 'Mumbai attacks gunman Ajmal Kasabhanged' drew over 150 comments by 7pm on Wednesday on the web site of prominent Pakistandaily Dawn. 

Interestingly, several of the comments were posted by Indians, or so they claimed. Most, cutting across borders, appeared to be on the same page on the hanging. Many felt a terrorist deserved the harshest punishment. 

Click here to read full story
01:22  Pakistan to host Muslim leaders in rare summit:  Muslim leaders gather Thursday for a rare summit in Pakistan designed to increase trade and investment but likely to be overshadowed by the Gaza conflict.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, players in West Asia, are scheduled to attend the Developing Eight (D8) summit.
00:54  Obama commends Netanyahu on ceasefire pledge:  US President Barack Obama today spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and commended him for agreeing to the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire with the Hamas. 

"The President expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister's efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem," the White House said in a statement after the telephone call between the two leaders. 

During the call, Obama said that the US would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.
00:53  Four killed, several injured in Rawalpindi blast:  Four persons were killed and several others injured when a powerful bomb went off near Shia prayer hall in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi tonight, hours after one person was killed and 15 injured by two blasts outside an Imambargah in Karachi. 

Witnesses and police said the blast occurred outside Qasr-e-Shabbir Imambargah on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, while hundreds of people were attending a 'majlis' or religious gathering to mark the Islamic month of Muharram. A large procession had reached the Imambargarh from another nearby prayer hall when the explosion occurred.
00:51  Top headlines in the past 24 hours:  
Ajmal Kasab hanged at Yerwada Jail at 7:30 am

Better late than never: BJP on Kasab hanging

Alert sounded after Kasab's execution

Wisconsin gurdwara shooter acted alone: FBI

Sibal to convene meeting for discussing Mum girls' arrest

Blast in Tel Aviv, peace remains elusive in Gaza

TMC to move no-confidence motion on Thursday

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