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November 29, 2012


23:59  846 candidates in first phase of Gujarat elections:   The 87 assembly seats, spread across Saurashtra, South Gujarat and four tehsils of western Ahmedabad, have a total of 846 candidates in the fray.

Additional chief electoral officer Ashok Manek told PTI that 846 candidates were in the fray for the first phase after withdrawal of nomination forms.

The Limbayat constituency in Surat district has the highest number of candidates -- 20.
23:39  Former President George H W Bush hospitalised:  AP reports: Former President George H W Bush has been hospitalised in Houston for treatment of a lingering cough.

Bush's chief of staff, Jean Becker, says the 88-year-old former president is being treated for bronchitis at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

She says he was admitted last Friday and is expected to be released by the weekend.
23:09  SpiceJet pilots aruged over who should land first:  Putting the safety of around 160 passengers at risk, two SpiceJet pilots allegedly got into a verbal fight over who should land first, sources here said.

The incident had occurred yesterday at around 7 pm when the Indore ATC cleared the Delhi-Indore flight of SpiceJet for landing. Around the same time, the airline's flight SG 1053 Hyderabad-Indore was also on the approach but was to land after the Delhi flight.

"However, the pilot of the flight from Delhi contacted the ATC, saying the Hyderabad flight pilot was arguing with him over landing. In the process, the two aircraft came at a distance of 3,100 feet though they were in the required vertical separation limit," sources added.

There were around 160 passengers on-board at the time. The SpiceJet spokesperson was not available for comment.
22:30  Palestinians rally for vote on UN status upgrade:  AP reports: Waving their national flag and expressing hope for a new voice on the international stage, Palestinians rallied today in the West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of their new UN bid.

Thousands gathered at celebratory demonstrations across the territories in the hours before Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to address the General Assembly on the bid for enhanced UN status.
22:14  Women activists hold protest before IIM-B:  Women activists of an NGO today staged a protest in front of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, demanding action against an official against whom a complaint of harassment has been filed by a woman medical officer.        

The protesters slammed the delay in initiating action against the administrative official, police said.        

The officer had lodged the complaint in 2010 and the National Women Commission had directed the IIM-B to enquire into it.
22:03  Cash transfer benefit will be available by Feb-March: Montek:  The benefits of the cash transfer scheme -- to be rolled-out from January 1 in 51 districts -- will reach the intended beneficiary only by February-March, said Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahlwualia.       

In an interview, Ahluwalia also dismissed the criticism that the government's ambitious cash transfer scheme would fuel inflation.        

He favoured the suggestion that the subsidy meant for families should be transferred into the account of women of the household.
21:27  Police-teachers clash in Odisha, 30 injured :  More than 30 people, including 10 security personnel, were injured when police and teachers of government aided schools, who were agitating over the mode of payment, clashed in front of the assembly today.        

Teachers of nearly 1,500 schools in the state had assembled in front of the assembly from different parts of the state demanding abolition of block grant mode of payment and implementation of the grant-in-aid for them, Director General of Police Prakash Mishra said.        

The Mahatma Gandhi Marg in Bhubaneshwar virtually turned into a battle field after security forces prevented about 20,000 block grant teachers and employees from entering the prohibited zone after breaking the barricade.
21:26  Maharashtra to face severe water crisis: Minister:  Many parts of Maharashtra would face severe water crisis by the months of May and June next year due to deficient rainfall, Water Supplies and Sanitation Minister Laxman Dhoble has said.     

Voicing concern over the availability of water in the state, he criticised the administration for not taking required measures to tackle the problem.
21:14  Gadchiroli: Naxals burn vehicles to stop road work:  Alleged Naxals burnt down six vehicles on the under-construction Venkatapur-Dewalmar road in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra on Wednesday night, said the police.

A group of ultras set fire to three tractors, a road roller, a tanker and a JCB  machine after breaking open their diesel tanks and using the fuel to torch them.
21:13  Will step down if Oppn charges are proved: Omar:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said he will step down from the top post if the opposition proves the allegation that his National Conference is misusing money to buy the votes of Panches and Sarpanches for the forthcoming Legislative Council polls.               

"I swear before God that I will resign if they (opposition PDP) can even bring one Panchayat member who has been paid by NC to vote for our candidates," Omar said while addressing Panches and Sarpanches in Ganderbal, his home constituency, in central Kashmir.              

He said that the NC believed in the power of the people and did not need money to buy their support.
21:10  Menon to visit China to meet new leaders:  India's formal contacts with China's new leadership would begin when National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon arrives in Beijing to hold wide-ranging talks with Chinese officials over two days from December 3.               

Menon's visit mainly focuses on bilateral issues, during which he will also meet his Chinese counterpart on border talks Dai Bingguo, who is set to retire next March.               

More importantly, the top Indian official would also be meeting Vice Premier Li Keqiang, the new No. 2 leader who is set to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao.
21:08  Aggression mindset MUST against India: Misbah:  Pakistan one-day captain Misbah-ul-Haq has vowed to play aggressive, positive and hard cricket in the upcoming series in India scheduled to be held at the end of December.     

"Whenever we play India, the pressure and tension is different and the only way to overcome the pressure is with aggression and a positive mindset," Misbah said.

Pakistan Twenty20 skipper Mohammad Hafeez also said that he was looking forward to the bilateral series not only as a player but also as a captain.
20:38  Waiting for Centre's bill on land acquisition: Mamata:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said she was waiting to see what shape the Centre's controversial bill on land acquisition takes but remained firm on her stand against forcible acquisition of land.       

"We are against forcible acquisition of land (for industries) and we continue to maintain our stand. The government cannot act as brokers or looters of land. Those industrialists who want to set up industry should buy land through peaceful negotiations directly," she told reporters.
20:37  Top Taliban commander injured in Pak suicide attack:  Pro-government Taliban commander Mullah Nazir was injured when a suicide bomber targeted his vehicle in South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan today, killing seven people and injuring 14 more, officials said.        

The bomber detonated his explosives when Nazir's car was passing through a market in Wana, the largest town in South Waziristan Agency.        

Assistant Political Agent Shahid Ali Khan, a senior official of the local administration, said three of Nazir's bodyguards and two children were among the dead.
20:09  No info on Taliban planning attacks in India: Cops:  Hyderabad police today said they had received no alert about any faction of Pakistani Taliban planning to carry out attacks in the city as well as in Amritsar to avenge 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab's execution.       

"I would like to clarify, we have not got any such report, either from local, state or any other intelligence agency. However, it does not mean we are not alert. We are alert to any such threat," Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said.
20:04  Delhi CM discharged from hospital:  Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who underwent an angioplasty procedure following blockage in one of her arteries, was discharged from the hospital today. She has been advised rest for a few days by doctors.        

Dikshit, who was admitted to the hospital on Monday night following uneasiness and throat infection, left the hospital for home today late evening.        

Dr Ashok Seth, chairman of Cardiac Sciences at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, said Dikshit has made 'good progress' after the angioplasty procedure.       
20:02  B'desh starts inspection of factory safety measures:  Bangladesh, the world's second largest garment exporter, today launched nationwide checks at its garment factories as thousands of workers staged protests after 112 people were burnt to death last week.        

"Fire officials in 15 groups began the inspection in the morning at Ashulia (industrial zone). They will review the existing safety systems at all the factories (at the industrial hub)," a fire service spokesman said.

He said the teams would particularly review evacuation arrangements and workers' training alongside inspecting if the 'units properly kept the fire-fighting equipment in place.'
20:01  Heavy snowfall in higher reaches of Uttarakhand:  The higher reaches of the mountains in Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand today received the season's first heavy snowfall even as icy winds swept the plains.       

Incessant rains made way for heavy snowfall in Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamnotri, Auli and Harsil in Garhwal and Dharchula and Munsyari in Kumaon.
19:06  'SA govt deliberately delayed visa to Dalai Lama':  

A South African court today blamed the government for "deliberately" delaying a visa to the Dalai Lama last year, that led the Tibetan spiritual leader to call off his visit to the country and prompted allegations that Chinese influence prompted the decision.         

 

The Dalai Lama was invited to deliver a lecture at the 80th birthday celebrations of anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu on October 4 last year but his application for a visa did not get any response from authorities on time.  

 

The delay led him to cancel his trip while an outraged Tutu had lashed out at the government calling it worse than the apartheid-era dispensation.

19:03  Malda crib deaths: 4 more kids die; toll 31:  

Four more children died at the Malda College and Hospital in Malda, taking the total number of crib deaths to 31 since Saturday even as a Health Taskforce claimed the situation is not alarming.        

 

Hospital authorities said four children died since Wednesday.        

 

"The situation is not as alarming as it is made out in the media. The infrastructure at the paediatric and the sick neonatal care Unit in the hospital has improved," Dr Tridip Banerjee, the chairman of the state appointed taskforce said.

18:34  J&K skipper accuses coach Bishan Bedi of bias:  The crisis in Jammu and Kashmir cricket deepened today with senior state team skipper Samiullah Beigh blaming coach Bishan Singh Bedi for "creating rifts" among players.

Amid much fanfare the former India captain was last year appointed as coach of the Jammu and Kashmir senior state team. "Since he came the situation has worsened. He has created rifts in the team, he has done a lot of harm to the team," Beigh said.

According to a report, 12 Kashmiri players boycotted the round-four Ranji Trophy fixture against Andhra Pradesh alleging biased selection. Beigh accused Bedi of preferring players from Jammu region over Kashmir.

"Let me tell you frankly with a heavy heart that I respect his stature, but he wants only Jammu players in the side," he told 'Times Now'. "In the last match nobody has scored even 10 runs except one guy. There is a guy who has scored 10 successive ducks but I guarantee you he will be there in the side for the next game," he said.
18:25  CAG criticises Defence Ministry's offsets policy:  A Defence Ministry policy to promote military industry in the country has come in for criticism by the CAG, which also questioned the waivers given to foreign defence firms for fulfilling their offset requirements.

Under the offsets policy, foreign vendors bagging deals worth over Rs 300 crore have to invest at least 30 per cent of the worth of the deal back in Indian defence, homeland security or the civilian aerospace sectors.

In its report tabled in the Parliament today, the CAG pointed out that monitoring mechanism of the Defence Ministry for offsets was "ineffective as it was created without a clear definition of its objectives and role. It has remained only a paper exercise."
18:24  Cong violating poll code, BJP to complain to EC:  The BJP says it will complain to Election Commission tomorrow against the government's announcement on direct cash transfer as it "violates the code of conduct for the Gujarat polls."
18:20  DISMISSED! Sahara's plea against refund Rs 24000 cr:  The Securities Appellate Tribunal dismisses the Sahara group's appeal against market regulator Sebi on refund of Rs 24,000 crore to investors. Sebi has moved a local court to initiate criminal proceedings against Sahara chief Subrata Roy and directors of two unlisted group firms for allegedly violating certain regulatory orders.

According to a Supreme Court order on August 31, the firms concerned - India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara India Housing Corporation - have to refund close to Rs 17,400 crore that was mobilised from 3 crore investors subscribing to optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) along with 15% interest. Read more
18:01  Mamata to Katju: Nobody can make us work by threats:  Asked to comment on Katju's letter, Mamata Banerjee said: "I have not received any letter. This (state) government will not function at anyone's diktat. If someone thinks that he will make us work by force and threat, it will not be done.

"The 'government is for the people, by the people and of the people', she said adding "my government will function according to convention and constitution. My government is for democracy and will be for democracy. We even took action against our own partymen."

Katju also advised Mamta to apologise to all those against whom action was taken for voicing opinions against her. "We are all human beings and we all make mistakes but a gentleman is one who realises his mistake and apologises.
You should also apologise to Tanya Bharadwaj whom you insulted on the CNN IBN show," he wrote referring to the student who questioned the chief minister.
17:51  Katju to Mamata: You terrorise your ministers :  Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju today slammed Mamata Banerjee for being "increasingly intolerant and whimsical" and asked her to mend her ways but the West Bengal Chief Minister hit back by saying her government would not function at anyone's diktat.

"From what I could gather during my visits to Kolkata, your ministers and bureaucrats are afraid to speak out their minds fearlessly before you and are terrorised by your unpredictable and whimsical behaviour. ... This is a very unhealthy state of affairs and you will not be able to remain as Chief Minister for long unless you change your ways and become more tolerant," Katju said in a letter to Banerjee which was posted in his blog.

Describing himself as her well wisher, the former Supreme Court judge pointed out that he had praised her at one time. "But of late you seem to have become increasingly intolerant and whimsical, which is only going to land you in big trouble. It is still not too late for you if you listen to my advice and change your ways," he said.
17:47  India tightens rules on hate speech law:  India's telecom ministry plans to make it harder for police to register cases against people accused of online hate speech, a move that follows criticism the law was being misused to stifle freedom of expression.

That's the Wall Street Journal's take on the modifications made to the IT Act. Read
17:37  Ricky Ponting: The winning machine:  A perspective of exactly how great a cricketer Ricky Ponting is.

For most players, playing 100 Test matches is a huge achievement - only 50 have achieved it in the history of Test cricket. However, with this victory against Sri Lanka in Galle, Ricky Ponting became the first player to be a part of 100 Test victories. It's a huge achievement, and a telling commentary on the quality of the player and the team he has been a part of.  That's the 2011 story on Ponting. Read

17:34  Our prayers are with the very talented and gorgeous Manisha Koirala. 
17:28  Manisha Koirala diagnosed with cancer:  Manisha Koirala has been admitted to Mumbai's  Jaslok hospital and has reportedly been diagnosed with cancer. "Manisha Koirala was admitted to our hospital on November 28," Jaslok Hospital spokesperson Krishnakant Dasyam said. "She is undergoing some medical tests and will be in the hospital for some time," Dasyam, who is also Head Marketing at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, said. More
17:16  SS Namdhari has been sent to three days police custody and has been booked under Section 302 of the IPC (murder).
17:15  Namdhari booked for Ponty's brother's murder:  Sukhdev Singh Namdhari has been booked for liqour baron Ponty Chadha's brother Hardeep's murder.

The probe into the shootout that killed Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep has revealed that Sukhdev Singh Namdhari had fired the bullet lodged in the bonnet of the liquor baron's SUV.

Sachin Tyagi, Namdhari's PSO, said that the bullet that hit the Land Cruiser's bonnet was fired by the sacked Uttarakhand minority panel chief to scare off Hardeep.

Tyagi told the police that Hardeep came to the spot and started abusing Ponty's manager Narender and got into a scuffle. Hardeep then shot Narender in the thigh and then moved towards the SUV to see who was inside.

As Hardeep came near the vehicle, Ponty forcefully opened its door to knock him down. This is when Namdhari fired at the bonnet. When all this was going on, Tyagi disembarked from the vehicle, took cover and fired at Hardeep, Tyagi said. He added that Namdhari fired three bullets at Hardeep. Read more
17:11  BJP releases fourth list of candidates:   There is not a single Muslim name in all the three lists of candidates released by the BJP for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections. The fourth list was released today. This is the first list, and the second list and the third list.
16:55  Lal Singh Choudhary, the Congress MP from Jammu created a flutter provoking Jyotiraditya Scindia. Choudhary said that his consitutency in Jammu is not in the list of new power projects under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyut Yojana. 
16:53  MPs stare as cousins clash in Parliament:   Inside Parliament: The BJP today greeted and congratulated Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia in the Lok Sabha during Question hour. BJP senior leader Yashwant Sinha and leader of the opposition in the LS Sushma Swaraj praised Scindia for getting independent charge of the power ministry though they believed he deserved elevation to the Cabinet. The MP from Madhya Pradesh has been appointed as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power.

And then it happened... Dushyant Singh, the BJP MP from Rajasthan was seen shouting at Scindia during Question Hour in Lok Sabha. Singh said the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyut Yojana was not being implemented in Rajasthan and that the minister had not bothered to visit Rajasthan.

Dushyant Singh is the son of Vasundhara Raje Scindia, the former CM of Rajasthan and the sister of Madhavrao Scindia, Jyotiraditya's father. Which makes the two cousins. 
16:37  Cauvery talks fail: K'taka won't give water, says Jaya:  Talks between Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery water row failed to break ice. Karnataka has flatly refused to release any water to Tamil Nadu, says TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa after meeting her counterpart Jagadish Shettar. "We will go back to Supreme Court and inform it about the outcome of today's meeting," says Jayalalithaa. The Supreme Court had suggested on Monday that the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka meet to find a political solution to the Cauvery dispute in the interests of farmers.
16:34  PVR buys Cinemax promoters' entire stake for Rs 394.98 cr:   Multiplex chain operator Cinemax today said its promoters will sell their entire stake of 69.27 per cent in the company to PVR Ltd for Rs 394.98 crore. PVR will also purchase additional up to 26 per cent stake from public shareholders through an open offer.
16:33  Cops should be trained for hostage-like situations: Maha CM:  Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today highlighted the need for specialised training to policemen for hostage-like situations and upgradation of police voice communication network.

Addressing policemen from different states at the second National Seminar on Counter Terrorism 2012, Chavan said, "There is a need for standardisation of equipment across the country, upgradation of police voice communication network and specialised training for hostage-like situations."

He stressed on balancing tough legislations with human rights to successfully fight terrorism. "Better security of vital installations and important personalities and a more responsible and efficient media role for better dissemination of information is also required," he said.
16:08  Jaw-Jaw with Jarawas:  Pramod Kumar is one of the few researchers in the world who has interacted with the Andamanese tribe, the Jarawas. He recently completed a PhD thesis on the grammar of their language. Read
15:57  Wonder why nobody has challenged IT Act: SC:  Concerned over recent incidents of arrest of people allegedly for posting offencive messages on social networking sites, the Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea to amend the Information Technology Act and sought Attorney General G E Vahanvati's help in deciding it.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, however, refused the petitioner's plea that no coercive action should be taken by the government authorities against people for posting such messages on websites during pendency of the case. The court posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow.

While agreeing to hear the case, the bench said it was considering to take suo motu cognisance of recent incidents of arrest of people and wondered why nobody had so far challenged the particular provision of the IT Act.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by Delhi student Shreya Singhal, who contended that "the phraseology of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 is so wide and vague and incapable of being judged on objective standards, that it is susceptible to wanton abuse and hence falls foul of Article 14, 19 (1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution."

She submitted that "unless there is judicial sanction as a prerequisite to the setting into motion the criminal law with respect to freedom of speech and expression, the law as it stands, is highly susceptible to abuse and for muzzling free speech in the country."
15:47  Afghanistan: Teenage girl killed by spurned suitors:  A 15-year-old girl in Afghanistan had her throat cut after her father refused a marriage proposal from relatives. Read
15:38  Tracing the roots of Bollywood stars to Peshawar:  Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan, Dilip Kumar and the Peshawar club. Read
15:36  Same town, same tactics, another sena:  After the Shiv Sena, its offshoot led by Raj Thackeray seeks the arrest of a citizen for criticizing the leader. Another take on the Union of Palghar arrests. Read
15:22  CJI on FB arrests: This should not happen again :  Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir says, "The arrest of children outraged sentiments in the country. We need consideration so that this does not happen again."

Also read: FB arrests: Police decides to drop case against girls
15:12  Mayawati yet to spell out party's strategy on FDI voting:  BSP leader Mayawati today refused to spell her party's strategy on the issue of FDI, saying it will be "disclosed on the floor of the House." "It (debate on FDI) has been admitted in Lok Sabha. The Speaker has taken the decision. It is under Rule 184 in Lok Sabha. In Rajya Sabha, the presiding officer has to decide on it. So under which rule it will be decided, we will disclose our strategy on the floor of the House only." Pressed further on the issue, she said, "We will disclose it on the House. House is functioning." However, TV reports say that the BSP will vote, while the SP will abstain. 
14:52  SC asks Attorney General to help amend IT Act 66A:  The Supreme Court asks Attorney General G E Vahanvati to help it in deciding a plea for the amendment in the IT Act. The SC will hear the PIL for changes in the IT Act to bar police from arresting a person without court order for offensive messages online.
14:47  Rashmi Bansal, Ajit Balakrishnan discuss the Information Age:  Watch bestselling writer Rashmi Bansal discuss the Information Age and its many challenges with Rediff.com CEO Ajit Balakrishnan, author of the acclaimed new book, The Wave Rider. The event will be live streamed at 3 pm. Here's where you go 
14:44  Malala's wounded classmates return to school:  Two Pakistani girls shot by a Taliban hit squad trying to kill their classmate, Malala Yousufzai, returned to school on Thursday under tight security. Read
14:40  Dismiss Saeed's plea against US drone strikes: Pak govt to LHC:  The Pakistan government has asked a court to dismiss LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed's petition against US drones attacks on the Pakistani soil for being "not maintainable."

The Foreign Ministry, in a reply submitted to the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial yesterday, said Saeed had approached the court under Article 199 of the Constitution, which allowed only an aggrieved person to file a petition.

"Public interest litigation falls within the purview of Article 184(3) of the Constitution, which is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court," it stated.
14:37  Why govt's move to amend draconian IT Act isn't enough:  A noted cyber law expert feels that the government's proposal to set new guidelines under Section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act won't help the cause a bit. Vicky Nanjappa reports on Rediff.com. Read
14:25  Obama urges Americans to use Twitter:  Letter-writing campaigns are officially a thing of the past. President Obama is calling on Americans to use Twitter as a device to pressure Congress into saving middle-class tax cuts. "If there's one thing that I've learned, when the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens," he said yesterday. Read
14:21  Hints that Guantanamo Bay may finally close down:  Could US President Barack Obama be moving toward closing Guantanamo Bay after all? A new government report shows that the 166 prisoners currently held in the prison could be absorbed by facilities inside the United States. Read
14:18  ICC tweet on Ricky Ponting's retierement: Did you know Ricky Ponting is the only man to have participated in more than 100 Test Match victories for his side.
14:15  US had plans to nuke the moon:  You could easily skip by it in an archive search: a project titled A Study of Lunar Research Flights. Its nickname is even more low-brow: Project A-119. But the reality was much more explosive.It was a top-secret plan, developed by the U.S. Air Force, to look at the possibility of detonating a nuclear device on the moon. Read
14:11  The real reason why Ricky Ponting retired:   Ricky Ponting announced his retirement from international cricket today. What prompted the Australian batting legend to call time on his career when he was arguably only an Indian series away from returning to form? The inside story, in pictures. See

Also read: In Pontings imperfections, lie his greatness
14:08  Indian Army backs Kargil martyr's case:  Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh today said that Captain Saurabh Kalia was a very brave officer and the Army had written to the Defence Ministry and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conveying its concern over the brutal treatment accorded to him after capture by the Pakistan Army.

"In Kargil war, he made the ultimate sacrifice in the best traditions of the armed forces in the line of duty. We have written our concerns regarding this case to the Ministry of Defence. We have also written to the National Human Rights Commission. We will fully support the parents of Captain Kalia," he told mediapersons on the sidelines of the 123rd passing-out parade of the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla in Pune.

Read our story: Kargil's first hero
13:59  The other side of the Shiv Sena:   "We have all often denounced the Shiv Sena for its violence, and some of us have been its victims as well. But if we have never stinted on blaming the party for its controversial ways, there is no reason to stint on praising Shiv Sainiks for their exemplary conduct during Bal Thackeray's funeral  procession from Matoshree to Shivaji Park and then at the funeral at the maidan."
Read the opinion piece on the Hindustan Times. 
13:53  Perfect seat on the plane is 6A: Study:  The perfect seat for passengers on a plane is 6A , as it combines maximum comfort with convenience, a new survey has found. The poll of over 1,000 airline passengers questioned respondents on their seat preferences, including which section and whether they chose window, middle or aisle seats.

The poll also delved deeper to find out if choices were influenced by lucky numbers as well as odd or even row numbers. Combining these responses, flight search engine 'Skyscanner' found that the most sought after seat on a standard aircraft is seat 6A.

More surprising is the number of passengers who prefer the window seat almost 60 per cent - compared to just 40 per cent who opt for the aisle, with less than 1 per cent choosing the middle seat.
13:51  Govt modifies Sec 66(A) of IT Act after Facebook controversy:  Here's the takeaway from the modifications on the IT Act 66A

The government has modified rules under the controversial Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act in the wake of its alleged misuse in recent few cases.

This comes a day after a 19-year-old boy was questioned by the police in Palghar over an alleged Facebook post against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray. This also comes amidst the row over the arrest of two girls in Palghar over a Facebook post on late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

The government has issued an advisory to states on how to implement the controversial Section 66(A) of the IT Act. Government sources say that a prior approval from the Deputy Commissioner or IGP level officers is needed before the Station House Officer can register such complaints.

Government sources also say that the Maharashtra incident was not justified. Sources say the government acted on civil society fears that Section 66(A) was unconstitutional and open to misinterpretation.-- IBN Live
13:44  A piece of sky at the UN: Secretary General unveils Aakash:  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised India as a "super-power" in the field of information technology as he unveiled the country's first indigenously created low-cost Aakash 2 tablet here.

The tablet was showcased at the UN headquarters yesterday on the occasion of the India's current Presidency of the UN Security Council. CEO of Datawind, maker of the Aakash tablet, Suneet Singh Tuli, presented the device to the UN Chief who voiced appreciation for the tablet for being "small and handy."


It's entirely possible the UN Secretary General hasn't read this: Aakash Tablet: Why I REGRET buying it! Here you go
13:39   FDI discussion will be held on December 4 and 5 in the Lok Sabha. 
13:26  End of Parl logjam: Govt nod to FDI vote in LS, RS :  That's that then. The government agrees to a debate and vote on FDI under rule 168, in the Rajya Sabha as well. The Samajwadi Party throws the spanner: "Will oppose FDI vote in the Rajya Sabha."
The government has agreed to a debate being held under Rule 184 which may now be held on any two days between Monday and Wednesday next week. This came as the UPA was confident of its numbers in case of a vote on FDI in multi-brand retail.
13:17  Barkha Dutt tweets: New guidelines states that an IG or DCP level police officer will now have to process any complaints under 66A. Better, but not enough
12:53  One year after Kishenji:  The first death anniversary of the senior Maoist leader Mallojula Koteshwara Rao (Kishenji), killed in an encounter with security forces on 24 November in West Bengal last year, passed off peacefully. Intelligence agencies had sounded an alert that Maoists might launch big attacks around this time in their area of influence. No such thing has happened so far. But this is no indication that their days are over. Read more 
12:47  Leaders of all parties to meet at 1 pm today:  Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari has called all party leaders for a meeting at 1 pm in his chambers to discuss the running of the House. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury created a ruckus today asking that if the Lok Sabha was functioning, why wasn't the Rajya Sabha functioning. Shortly after, the LS has also been adjourned till 2 pm.  
12:43  'Rising Star' Leila Janah on fighting poverty:  Leila Janah is trying to find a way to connect women and young people living in poverty to dignified work via the Internet. Her company Samasource,which she founded in 2008, provides free, specialized technology training via 16 centers in nine countries, including India, Pakistan, Kenya, Haiti and Uganda.In December, Janah was chosen by Forbes Magazine as one of 30 Rising Stars under 30. Read
12:37  India, China Sukhois almost faced off in North East:  The battle games between India and China continue on the disputed boundary between the two neighbours, with the two sides flirting dangerously close to an accidental conflict on the 50th anniversary of the 1962 War. Read more.
12:33  FB case: Govt modifies draconian 66A of IT Act:  The government has modified rules under the controversial section 66A of the IT Act in the wake of its alleged misuse in recent few cases. Section 66A treats sending information through a computer or communication device as having committed an offence if the material is "grossly offensive, has menacing character, is sent to cause annoyance, insult and enmity or for criminal intimidation.

This is the section of the IT Act under which the Palghar girls Shaheen Dhada and her friend Renu Srinivasan were held.
12:29  Rajya Sabha adjourned:  The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for the day after uproar on the issue of SC/ST quota in promotions in government jobs.The RS chairperson has now called a meeting of all party leaders on the FDI logjam. The Lok Sabha has been adjourned as well. The government has said it is ready for a discussion on FDI issue under any rule. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath informs Rajya Sabha Chairman that the government was willing to accept the chair's decision on FDI. Earlier in the day, LS Speaker Meira Kumar said she will allow voting on FDI in retail.
12:25  100-yr-old dress code for nurses in Kerala changed:  In other stories: A radical departure for nurses in Kerala. The century-old dress code for female nurses in government hospitals in Kerala has been amended. They can now wear a churidar and overcoat as their uniform instead of the sari. Considering the 'inconvenience' of the sari, the Health Department has decided to allow nurses to wear the "more convenient" churidar and overcoat. However, the traditionalists could continue to wear sari and the new dress code would not be imposed on them.
12:09  FB girls: Cops likely to file closure report :  Maharashtra DGP hints at dropping charges against Shaheen Dhada and her friend Renu Srinivasan, both aged 21, from Palghar, who were arrested on Novmber 19 after Dadha posted a Facebook status protesting the Mumbai shutdown after Thackerays death and Renu 'liked' it.

A national outrage prompted an inquiry and forced the suspension of two police officers, Ravindra Sengaonkar and Shreekant Pingle. They were indicted for having applied wrong charges on the women, including the controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act.

An online signature campaign petitioning the director general of police, Maharashtra to drop the charges against the girl is also steadily growing in numbers.

For now, police say they will not file a chargesheet in the case and instead go for a closure report. 
11:59  The Rani Mukherjee interview:  Rani Mukherjee is known for her versatile acting ability, starring in a range of Bollywood blockbusters from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Ghulam and Black. After appearing as the bubbly and loveable Meenaxi Deshpande in Aiyyaa, Mukherjee returns to the silver screen on Nov. 30 in director Reema Kagti's Talaash alongside fellow stars Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Read the interview here.
11:54  How the US election and Chinas new leadership affect India:  Earlier this month, we witnessed the outcome of presidential elections in the United States of America, the preeminent global power and the world's oldest democracy, and the change of leadership in China, the foremost rising global power which is poised to emerge as the world's largest economy.

From India's perspective, these developments involve our most important and broad-based strategic partnership, and our evolving relationship with our largest neighbour in which we have very high stakes. Read  the column by Ronen Sen, the former ambassador to the US.


11:48  SC accepts petition challenging offensive messages:  The arrest of two young women from Maharashtra for their Facebook posts has led to a national debate over Section 66(A) of the IT Act. The Supreme Court today will hear a public interest litigation (PIL) that challenges this portion of the Act, which deals with punishment for sending "offensive messages" through a computer or communication device.The case has been filed by a student named Shreya Singhal.

She alleges that Section 66(A) is unconstitutional because of its wide powers. The Chief Justice of India, Altamas Kabir, accepted her petition and listed it for hearing immediately.

He said in court, "We were wondering why no one has approached the Supreme Court (over this) and even thought of taking up the issue suo moto."After Shiv Sena president Bal Thackeray died earlier this month, a woman named Shaheen Dhada posted a message on Facebook criticising the shutdown in Mumbai for Thackeray's cremation. The city's shops closed and streets were deserted; thousands of policemen guarded the financial capital in anticipation of violence by Shiv Sainiks.-- NDTV
11:42  President's blink-and-miss visit to Chennai tomorrow :  Our Delhi sources tell us that President Pranab Mukherjee will be in Chennai. on Friday. From Chennai airport  he will head to the 60th year celebrations of the Tamil Nadu assembly and then head back to Delhi without any other stopover.

The President has committed to two functions in Delhi, which means his Chennai visit is for two hours only. 
11:34  The Supreme Court will hear a PIL for changes in the IT Act which will bar the police from arresting a person without a court order for offensive messages online.
11:28  US woman with sons cannot adopt abandoned girl:  The Supreme Court has dismissed a wealthy American single woman's plea to adopt a girl found abandoned in Delhi, upholding a high court's apprehension that it would not be "appropriate' for the pre-teen girl to live with the lady's two teenaged sons. Erin Jennifer Hawk, a 37-year-old California-based property manager who estimated her income at $323,000 (Rs 1.78 crore), sobbed inconsolably outside the court hall after the verdict was delivered yesterday. Read
11:22  Keeping e-mail private:  And a read on America's privacy laws (or the lack of it). If you left a letter on your desk for 180 days, you wouldn't imagine that the police could then swoop in and read it without your permission, or a judge's. But that's just what law enforcement officers can do with your e-mail. Read
11:19  Stressed after arrest, Facebook girl leaves Maharashtra:  Unable to put behind the ordeal of her illegal detention and arrest thanks to the public attention the case has received, 21-year-old Shaheen Dhada has left Palghar for Gujarat with her family. "We left for Gujarat on Sunday and have been here ever since. Read

Read our 10:35 am post for an update of the other Facebook arrest at Palghar. 
11:17  Ricky Ponting announces retirement from Test cricket:  Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting on Thursday announced his retirement from Test cricket with this week's Perth Test against South Africa to be his last. Read
11:17  Israel pips US in anti-tank guided missile supply to India:  In other news, Israel has upstaged the US in the ongoing race to bag the huge deal to supply third-generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to the Indian Army, in a project which could well be worth $1 billion eventually. Read more
11:14  Rajya Sabha adjourned over FDI on retail:   The government has agreed to a debate being held under Rule 184 which may now be held on any two days between Monday and Wednesday next week. This came as the UPA was confident of its numbers in case of a vote on FDI in multi-brand retail.

The Rajya Sabha has however been adjourned till noon over FDI. The BJP wants debate with voting in the Rajya Sabha as well. Which means for now, the voting on FDI will take place only in the Lok Sabha.
11:08  Parl logjam ends: Speaker allows voting on FDI:  Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has said that she will allow voting on FDI in retail. This means that the government has agreed to a discussion on FDI on retail with voting. Sushma Swaraj says the Opposition will let the Parliament function.

Before the Parliament convened, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Home Minister and Leader of the House Sushil Kumar Shinde and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on FDI in multi-brand retail.

The Speaker is now likely to announce the date for a discussion on FDI. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the BJP won't let the House function till there is voting on FDI. 
11:02  After a holiday yesterday, Parliament is set to convene now.

In the LOK SABHA this is the agenda:
1. Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011
2. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2011
3. Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisation Bill, 2011

RAJYA SABHA
1. Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012
2. North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Amendment Bill, 2012
3. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2011.
10:58  Hyping one threat to hide another:  The US and dominant global Internet companies fear regulation because it will adversely affect their control over the communication realm. Read more
10:54  SP stops construction of temple for Mulayam Singh Yadav:  For Samajwadi Party workers in Aligarh, politics is their religion and Mulayam Singh Yadav is God. And the latest example of sycophancy was a temple dedicated to the SP chief coming up in the city, until the party put a stop to it. Measuring 10X12 feet, the temple was to have a five feet tall statue of Mr Yadav in stone and cost a little over Rs 10 lakh. Read
10:46  Haren Pandya's wife will contest Guj elections :  Jagriti Pandya, the wife of slain BJP leader Haren Pandya, is likely to contest the Gujarat Assembly Elections on a Gujarat Parivartan Party ticket from the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad, reports said today.. 

The Gujarat Parivartan Party was floated recently by former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel. Haren Pandya was Gujarat's home minister and was shot dead in 2003. His kin had claimed that the murder was a political assassination carried out at the behest of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing a press meet, Jagriti said she has received no support from the BJP. She said she was contesting the polls as she wanted to take her husband's work forward. 
10:35  Boy held over FB post on Raj let off, account fake:  A 19-year-old boy from neighbouring Thane district, detained on suspicion of posting an "objectionable" Facebook comment against MNS chief Raj Thackeray, was let off after police found that a "fake account" was used by some persons in the teenager's name.

"Sunil Vishwakarma is cooperating with us in the case and was allowed to go last night after initial questioning. He is nowhere involved in the case," a senior police officer said.

Police in neighbouring Thane district had picked up the boy after receiving a complaint alleging that he had posted some "objectionable" comment on Raj Thackeray on the social networking site.

According to police, a "fake account" was used by unidentified person or persons in the teenager's name and a case was being registered in this regard.

Police are treading cautiously in the matter against the backdrop of suspension of two senior officers from Palghar for arresting two girls in connection with a Facebook post lamenting the shutdown of Mumbai in the wake of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's funeral on November 18.
10:16  Sensex crosses 19K level on firm global cues:  Indian equities, the Sensex and the Nifty, were trading higher by about 0.8 per cent in the morning session on Thursday on fresh buying by funds and retail investors on firm Asian cues.

The 30-share BSE index Sensex was up 177.09 points (0.94 per cent) at 19,019.17 and the 50-share NSE index Nifty was up 50.95 points (0.89 per cent) at 5,778.40.

Volume toppers were ICICI Bank, SBI, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel and HDFC. Top five Sensex gainers were Tata Motors, Cipla, HDFC, Dr. Reddy's and Bajaj Auto, while the top five losers were Infosys, Maruti, BHEL, NTPC and Sterlite.
10:04  Jindal extortion case: Zee chairman may join probe:   A Delhi court on Wednesday sent two Zee News journalists to two days' police remand even as Delhi Police asked Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra to join the probe into the extortion claims made against the channel by Jindal Group. 

The channel said the arrests were "illegal' and done under pressure from the industrial group owned by Congress MP Naveen Jindal.Metropolitan Magistrate Gaumti Manocha sent the two journalists '" Sudhir Chaudhary, head of Zee News, and Samir Ahluwalia, head of Zee Business, to two days custody of Crime Branch of Delhi Police and dismissed their bail plea.

Read full report here
09:40  Egypt judges on strike against Mursi power grab:  The discord between Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and the country's judiciary seems to intensify as top courts' judges went on strike Wednesday, protesting against the decrees that grant the President sweeping powers, putting him above judiciary. 

As per a BBC report, the nation's Appeals courts and the Court of Cassation will halt work until the decree is revoked, said the judges. The high court of appeal is led by Mohammed Mumtaz Metwali, who also chairs the Supreme Judiciary Council, which oversees the nation's court system. 
09:25  Ricky Ponting to retire after Perth Test:  Ponting is set to announce this afternoon that he will step aside following his 168th Test, at the WACA starting tomorrow.

The former Test skipper has often spoken of his desire to return to England next year for the Ashes but is understood to have reconsidered after failing in both innings in Adelaide.

Ponting will hold a press conference at the WACA to announce his decision.

Read more about it here
09:22  India throws $15 bln lifeline to world's iron ore miners:  Steps taken by central and state authorities to clean up the mining and export of iron ore have shut down output in two key producing states, slashing shipments and forcing steel mills to import a raw material the country has in abundance.

Now the Shah Commission, whose report on top exporter Goa led to the state government's ban on mining in September, has turned its attention to the last major iron ore producing state of Odisha.

Read full report here
08:28  Kosovo ex-PM faces war crimes verdict at UN tribunal:  The UN's Yugoslav war crimes court will today hand down judgement for Kosovo's ex-prime minister and former freedom fighter Ramush Haradinaj and two comrades in arms who were retried because of witness intimidation.

Haradinaj, 44 and Idriz Balaj, 41, face six war-crime charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for allegedly murdering and torturing Serbs and non-Albanians during Kosovo's brutal 1998-99 war for independence from Belgrade.
08:25  FB row: Officials to meet to review IT Act:  Amid the raging debate over freedom of expression in the social media and instances of arrests of people, officials are meeting in Delhi today to review a controversial section in the Information Technology Act.

The Cyber Regulation Advisory Committee will be meeting to consider if section 66A of the Act is too draconian in the age of social media. 

Read full report here
08:21  Headley, Rana to be sentenced in Jan next year:  The sentencing of American-born Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley, accused of involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has been fixed for January 17 next year while that of his accomplice Tahawwur Rana has been rescheduled for January 15 from December four. 

According to Chicago court spokesperson Randall Samborn, US District Judge Harry Leinenweber will announce the sentence of the two accused, who have been charged with conspiracy of 2008 Mumbai attack and plan to attack a Denmark newspaper. 

The sentencing date for Tahawwur Rana has been rescheduled from December 4, 2012, to January 15, 2013, and the sentencing of David Coleman Headley has been scheduled for January 17, 2013.
08:20  Hyping one threat to hide another:  A lot of global attention right now is focussed on the World Conference on International Telecommunications of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which will get under way in Dubai next week. This meeting is taking up a review of International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). 

When the ITRs were last reviewed in 1988, the Internet was not commonplace and, therefore, did not find mention. In 2012, it is difficult to think of global communication without the Internet. The key question today is whether the remit of the ITU should extend to the Internet or not, and if indeed it should, to what parts and aspects of the Internet, and in what manner.

Read full report here
02:17  Muslim Brotherhood to rally in support of Mursi:  Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has said it will rally nationwide next Friday in support of President Muhammad Mursi, who is facing opposition's ire over recent constitutional declaration expanding his power.

Party spokesperson Mahmud Ghozlan said the Brotherhood will be joined by supporters in massive protests in support of the recent constitutional declaration by President Mursi.

The brotherhood has so far cancelled such planned supportive protests twice.
01:46  Deadly car bomb blasts kill 54 near Damascus:  The News reports: Simultaneous car bombings in a mostly Christian and Druze town near Damascus killed over 50 people on Wednesday, as rebels downed a military aircraft for the second successive day.

The blasts occurred when explosives-packed cars were detonated at daybreak in a pro-regime neighbourhood of the town of Jaramana, residents, state media and a rights watchdog reported.

They were the fourth bomb attacks since August 28 to rock Jaramana, home to predominantly Christians and Druze, an influential minority whose faith is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Read the full story here
00:33  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Palghar photos: Sena bandh over cops' suspension

I'm not here to replace Jagan: Y S Sharmila Reddy

Is Lashkar commander Lakhvi enjoying prison stay?

Rule of Law Index: India ranks poor 78th in 97 nations

Boy detained over Facebook comment against Raj Thackeray

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