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Pakistan prime minister condoles Gujral's death

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November 30, 2012

23:58  US Senate approves new sanctions on Iran:  AP reports: The US Senate unanimously approved new economic sanctions today aimed at further crippling Iran's energy, shipping and port sectors, a year after Congress passed tough restrictions against Tehran.

The amendment, tacked on to a sweeping defense spending bill being debated by the chamber, passed 94-0, and should sail through the House of Representatives.

It was introduced by Senator Robert Menendez out of concern that Iran was pressing ahead with its nuclear weapons drive despite earlier sanctions that had been hailed as the toughest-ever against the Islamic republic.
23:21  Pakistan prime minister condoles Gujral's death:  Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf today condoled the death of former Indian premier I K Gujral, saying he had played an 'admirable role' for bringing the two countries closer.

In a message to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Ashraf said Gujral would be remembered for the 'admirable role that he played to bring India and Pakistan closer'.

Describing Gujral as a man of extraordinary abilities and a visionary leader, he said the region has lost 'a noble and distinguished politician'.
22:27  Saina, Mary Kom to be EC's 'national icons' :  London Olympic medallists SainaNehwal and M C Mary Kom have been designated as 'national icons' by the Election Commission to help promote voter participation in polls.        

The poll body already has former President A P J Abdul Kalam and Indian cricket captain M S Dhoni as its other 'national icons'. 

Sources in the Election Commission said 22-year-old Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom, 29, who had won bronze medals in the London Olympics in badminton and boxing respectively, will help in boosting women's participation during the forthcoming Gujarat assembly elections.
22:26  SpiceJet rejects charges of mid-air argument:  Refuting charges that pilots of two flights had an argument in mid-air over landing, SpiceJet today said at no point was any rule or procedure violated or safety compromised by the two aircraft.        

"The pilots in command of the two flights meticulously followed the instructions of the Air Traffic Controller and safety was not compromised. The pilots of these flights were never engaged in any argument or discussion to claim priority landing as alleged," a SpiceJet spokesperson said in a statement.
22:24   Indian Consular officer meets couple held in Norway:  An Indian Consular officer in Norway has met Chandrashekar Vallabhaneni, who was arrested along with his wife for allegedly trying to discipline their 7-year-old son.
22:23  NHRC registers case about Savita's death:  The National Human Rights Commission today registered a case on the death of dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died in October in Ireland after doctors refused to terminate her miscarriage on the ground that Ireland was a Catholic country.       

"Acting on a complaint filed by Odisha based organisation India Media Centre, the NHRC has a registered a case on the matter," a statement from the Commission said.        

The right's body said that the Irish Human Rights Commission in Dublin also took up the issue for its attention.
19:44  Govt declares 7-day national mourning for Gujral:  The government has declared seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect to former Prime Minister I K Gujral, who passed away on Friday.
19:40  Cash-for-subsidy won't wipe out corruption: Roy:  

Ruing that Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council has been "bureaucratised", activist Aruna Roy today sought to pick holes in the UPA government's decision on cash-for-subsidy scheme alleging it will not wipe out corruption.        


Roy alleged that the government was going ahead with such programmes and is not bothered about the increasing level of inequality and injustice in the country.        


"What does government want from cash transfers? The scheme is just an excuse and will not wipe out corruption. Cash transfers are okay for salary or pension accounts, but it is not good for services or in public distribution system," she told reporters at the conclusion of 'Jan Sansad' in New Delhi.        


Asked whether the scheme was discussed in NAC, she said it was not discussed in the panel and alleged NAC has been bureaucratised to an extent. "We have to take permission to discuss issues."

19:38  EGoM on telecom deferred again:  

The Empowered Group of Ministers on Telecom, which was scheduled to meet today to work out the roadmap for spectrum that was unsold in the recent auction, has been deferred.        


The meeting was deferred following the death of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, sources said.        


The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was scheduled to meet today after it was deferred from November 29 as the key ministers who are part of this panel were engaged in Parliament.        


The high-powered panel was to discuss the road-map for auction of unsold GSM spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Karnataka.        


The EGoM has to decide on reserve price that should be fixed for these service areas. It also has to decide on CDM spectrum which had no takers. The recent auction of GSM spectrum attracted bids worth only Rs 9,407 crore, as against minimum expected amount of Rs 28,000 crore.

19:37  Strauss-Kahn, housekeeper agree to settle lawsuit?:  

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is understood to have reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit with a housekeeper, who had accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan hotel last year, a media report today said.        


Nafissatou Diallo (33) had filed a civil lawsuit against the one time French presidential hopeful accusing him of sexual assault during his stay at the Sofitel Hotel in New York in the summer of 2011.        


Strauss-Kahn (63) was arrested and indicted on charges including attempted rape and sexual abuse but the criminal case against him was dropped after prosecutors said they doubted the credibility of Diallo.

19:11  'Why Cong not declaring Ahmed Patel as CM candidate?':  

"Why are they not declaring that they have decided to make Ahmed Patel the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Why all these games behind the scenes. They should declare all these things," Modi said before filing his nominations from Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad, targeting the political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for backroom deals.


Read the full story on India Today

19:00  Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom are EC national icons :  The Election Commission of India makes sportswomen Saina Nehwal and MC Mary Kom as its "national icons". The Olympic bronze medallists are first women to be selected as the National Icon of the ECI. Up till now, the ECI has appointed two national icons -- former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam Azad and Cricketer MS Dhoni.

As national icons, Kom and Nehwal will have two responsibilities -- to create awareness among the youth including women of the country to register themselves in the photo electoral rolls and second, would be to spread the message to the general public for exercising their franchise.
18:52  Andhra Pradesh's rocketeer commandos :  It may seem straight out of a James Bond or Batman action thriller but, if the Andhra Pradesh police department has its way, the commandos of its elite anti-terrorist wing Octopus will soon be able to fly in the air during anti-insurgency operations. Read more.
18:50  Chemical bubble bath, anyone?:  River in India that is so polluted it's become a sea of foam (and pilgrims are STILL swimming in it). Read more 
18:47  Omar: PDP luring women with make-up kits:  Opposition PDP today lashed out at Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for his remarks that women Panchayat members were being lured with make-up kits to vote in upcoming elections, saying the NC was trying to discourage women from being empowered.

"Omar Abdullah's reference to women being bribed with make up kits and his attempt to cast aspersion on our sisters and mothers' integrity shows that NC, through such statements, intends to discourage women of the state from being empowered and assigned the much-deserved political space," PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar said.

Ahead of polls to four seats of Legislative Council from Panchayat quota scheduled for next month, Abdullah had said yesterday, "PDP leadership is luring Panchayat members through various tactics and money power. Women Panchayat members are reportedly being presented make-up kits to tempt them to vote for PDP candidates."

The PDP spokesperson said that the chief minister's remark was not only sexist but also gravely anti-woman.
18:14  Sanjiv Bhatt's wife: Not a proxy candidate for him:   Anti-Modi IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt's wife Shweta Bhatt tells CNN IBN that she is not a proxy candidate for her husband. Bhatt says that even he could have contested the elections, but it was his wife's decision to contest against Modi.

Shweta Bhatt, the wife of suspended Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt, announced today that she would contest the state assembly elections on a Congress ticket against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad.   More on that candidature
18:08  Why US, Israel should welcome Palestinian move at UN:  Israel's security can only be assured when its neighbors believe that it is no longer oppressing the Palestinian people but instead living in peace and harmony with them, says Rabbi Michael Lerner. Read
18:04  GMR vs Maldives: Indians get threat text messages:  The GMR versus Maldives government saga threatens to blow up into a major fracas. The Waheed government has given GMR 30 days to wind up its $500 million operations for the upgradation, modernization and management of the airport in the capital, Male.

The official reason given for the cancellation of the contract was the airport development charge of $25 charged by GMR, which was not authorized by the parliament.

GMR meanwhile says it is going nowhere and will not leave before its contract of 25 years is not complete. "Twenty-three years are still left," said Mr. Arun Bhagat, a senior GMR official. Meanwhile, according to a source some GMR employees of Indian origin received threatening text messages in Maldives.

There are even reports that the Waheed government may cancel visas of Indians working for GMR in Male, as a pressure tactic to make them shut shop by mid-December.  
18:00  Is five-point-something growth the new normal?:  The Indian government's dream of achieving double-digit growth seems as distant as ever. In early 2011, New Delhi was confident the economy was on track to expand 9% that year. It didn't happen, and now we're getting used to five-point-something growth rates. Read
17:54  Maha: Unity Infraprojects bags Mantralaya renovation project:  Nearly five months after a fire ravaged the state secretariat building here, the Maharashtra government today awarded a renovation contract for the building to Unity Infraprojects. The project, worth Rs 138 crore, was awarded by the public works department. It has time frame of eight months.
17:52  SAD to vote against FDI in Parliament: Badal:  Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said today that SAD will vote against the UPA government's decision to introduce FDI in retail as the move is aimed at benefiting the MNCs and ruining the petty traders and distressed farmers in a "clandestine" manner. "The move of opening multi-brand retail for foreign investment is aimed at benefiting the MNCs and ruining the petty traders and distressed farmers in a clandestine manner," Badal said.

There will be debate in Parliament on FDI in retail next week; Lok Sabha on December 4 and 5 and in the Rajya Sabha on December 6 and 7.. 
17:37  The Talibanisation of Pakistani women:  It is not surprising then to find some 'modern' Pakistani Muslims coining contradictory catchwords like 'Muslim Feminists' or 'liberal Hijabi' to explain or perhaps justify their preferred social and religious behaviour. Read
17:36  China's military crossroads:  China is at a turning point, and the next decade under the new leadership of Xi Jinping is likely to decisively shape the country's trajectory. Read Brahma Chellaney's column here.
17:24  Varun was harsh, but so is truth, the March 22, 2009 column by Kanchan Gupta published in the Pioneer. Read
17:14  UN commits biggest typo on history of international relations:  The United Nations -- or perhaps more accurately, someone on the U.N.'s social media team -- briefly slighted the entire Palestinian people with a typo in a tweet sent Thursday. 

United Nations: On Day of Solidarity w/ Palestinians, Ban Ki-moon stresses urgency of reaching 2-state solution  (corrected tweet).

The earlier tweet read "1-state solution" which means implied that the UN does not want Palestine to establish itself as its own state recognized by the international community -- which of course includes the U.N.

Read more
17:07  Varun Gandhi to face trial for 2009 hate speech :  Varu Gandhi had recently written to the Akhilesh Yadav government requesting them to withdraw the cases in public interest. This is the second hate speech case against him. Gandhi has two other cases against him. One for another alleged hate speech that he made in the Barkheda area and the third case is of an attempt to murder that was lodged against him for the violence that happened soon after his arrest. The trial has already begun in the Barkheda hate speech case, but is yet to start in the case of attempt to murder. -- NDTV.
17:03  Varun Gandhi to face trial for 2009 hate speech :  Varun Gandhi (32) has been charged with promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, making statements or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes and deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings. These offences are carry a maximum punishment of three years imprisonment and fine.
17:02  Varun Gandhi charged for 2009 hate speech :  Just in: Charges have been framed against BJP's Varun Gandhi for his hate speech during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The charges were framed in the Pilbhit court.

This is what Varun Gandhi said in 2009: "Agar koi Hindu ke khilaf ungali uthaiga, ya sochega ki Hindu kamzor hai. to main Gita ki kasam khata hoon main unke haat kaat doonga (If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand)."
16:42  Cash transfer good in principle but bad in form: Nitish:  Describing the direct cash transfer scheme of the Centre as "good" in principle but "bad" in form as it excludes food and fertiliser, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he would take up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The cash transfer scheme brought by the Centre is good in principle as Bihar has already successfully experimented this," Kumar told reporters here. He, however, said the form in which the Centre had decided to launch it from January one next year was "bad".

He said the scheme which the UPA government was terming as "game-changer" did not include transfer of cash to beneficiaries of food and fertiliser subsidy.
16:39  Another read on cricketing great Ricky Ponting: The last of Australia's dominant generation leaves the game. Read

16:32  Parliament adjourns for the day after Gujral's death:  Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned today after news came in about the demise of former Prime Minister I K Gujral.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde made the announcement in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that Gujral (92) passed away in Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon at 3.31 pm after a multiple-organ failure. After the announcement, the two Houses adjourned for the day as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

Gujral's funeral will be held tomorrow.
16:05  Jindal extoriton: Zee editors sent to Tihar jail for 14 days:  Just in: Zee News head Sudhir Chaudhry and Zee Business head Samir Ahluwalia, have been sent to judicial custody (jail) till December 14. The were produced in a local court today after their two-day police remand ended. The two were arrested two days ago following investigations into a complaint filed by Congress MP Naveen Jindal's group alleging that they had demanded Rs 100 crore for not airing negative news on coal blocks allocation linking his company.
15:55  Lot of RIP messages for IK Gujral this morning when the former PM was in fact critical, but alive.

Vir Sanghvi tweeted his aplogies: Have deleted the tweet about IK Gujral. Sorry, but when a news organisation flashes something, one tends to believe it.
15:53  "He had rivals, but no enemies. He was a rare gentleman inpolitics."
-- Kuldip Nayyar on IK Gujral.
15:50  Former PM IK Gujral passes away at 92:  Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral passes away. He as 92. Gujral had developed a lung infection that had been troubling him for some days. He was also on dialysis for over a year.

A two-time Foreign Minister, first in the VP Singh government and then the United Front government, Gujral became Prime Minister in 1996 for a year, at a time India was still getting used to the chaos of coalition politics and governments.

The Congress withdrew support to the United Front government, agreeing to prop it up only after Mr Gujral replaced H D Deve Gowda as the PM, averting a mid-term poll. Read more
15:45  Big three of domestic violence: TN, Gujarat, Bengal:  Tamil Nadu has got the dubious distinction of having the highest number of domestic violence cases in the country with the state recording 3,983 such cases last year, the government said today.

According to the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 9,431 domestic violence cases were reported across the country during the period, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath informed the Lok Sabha.

Tamil Nadu reported the highest number of such cases against women with 3,983 cases followed by Gujarat with 3,266 and West Bengal with 1,661. In 2010, 11,718 cases were registered under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act while in 2009, 7,803, cases were registered.
15:37  Why UNs 'yest' to Palestine will affect peace efforts:  The UN has cast a historic 'yes' vote on Palestine today, but its consequence may be a big 'no' for peace in the long-festering Arab-Israeli dispute. Read
15:34  The reason why Obama can swim like a fish:  That's because there is a fish named after the US president and it's called Obama. And much like its namesake, it's handsome. Read
15:27  Why Tolkien was a fine modern artist:  The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit author was also a gifted illustrator, creating abstract and subtly beautiful works of art. Read
15:24  Read this if you've stashed away billions in Swiss banks: Swiss fear role as haven for secretive resource traders will cost the country. 
15:19  My friend, Raj:  Well-known journalist and political analyst Raju Parulekar uncorks the mystique of his friend, Raj Thackeray. Read
15:15  Who is Shreya Singhal?:  The21-year-old girl who filed a PIL against the IT Act calling it 'unconstitutional', in the wake of Facebook arrests row, has the makings of a winner. Read
15:11  Norway baby row: Indian embassy steps in :   The Ministry of External Affairs has stepped in offering consular assistance to the Indian couple in Norway who were arrested yesterday for scolding their child. A couple from Andhra Pradesh, Chandrasekhar and Anupama Vallabhaneni, were arrested for apparently scolding their seven-year-old son Sai Sriram for bed wetting and threatening to send him back to India in a bid to discipline him, the couple's family has claimed. Read more
15:03  IAF Jaguar crash: Pilot safe, but hand broken:   Update on the Indian Air Force Jaguar crash. It's the now confirmed that the pilot has indeed ejected to safety, but has broken his hand. A IAF chopper is on its way to pick him up. The aircraft was on a routine sortie near Mangan in the border area of Sikkim, when the crash occurred. .
14:50  New leadership in China faces new challenges :  The road to China's success lies through the tiny house of a man named Liao Dan. Fascinating read on the Telegraph.
14:47  OMG! First use of abbreviation found in 1917 letter to Churchill:  This one's for all you amateur internet archaeologists out there: The first recorded use of the ubiquitous texting abbreviation OMG wasn't uttered by a precocious tween in the 1990s, but by one Lord Fisher in a letter to none other than Winston Churchill. Read
14:37  Aamir Khan opens up on Talaash:   Aamir Khan on his measure of success for films. "If a film's done more than 100 crore but eight out of 10 people haven't liked it, is it a successful film? Not for me," says the actor, whose film Talaash releases today. Read his interview with Anupama Chopra.

Read Sukanya Verma's review: Talaash tells a fascinating story
14:28  IAF Jaguar crashes in Sikkim, pilot ejects to safety:   An Indian Air Force Jaguar has crashed in Sikkim. Early reports indicate that the pilot has ejected to safety. The aircraft was on a routine sortie near Mangan in the border area of Sikkim.
14:27  Pak allows detained Taliban leaders to contact families: Report:   Pakistan has granted some concessions to key Afghan Taliban leaders in its custody, including Mullah Omar's deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, shifting them to "roomier facilities" and allowing them to make telephonic contact with their families.

Baradar and about 10 other important Taliban commanders, including former Justice Minister Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, have also been allowed visits by a few persons like their relatives, the Pakistan Today daily reported quoting its sources. The detained Afghan Taliban leaders have been shifted to "roomier facilities" from different detention centres and are now at "somewhat comfortable places," the report said.

The move comes close on the heels of the release of around a dozen mid-ranking Afghan Taliban leaders by Pakistan during a recent visit to Islamabad by the Afghan High Peace Council.

Also read: 26/11 plotter Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi fathers kid in jail
14:20  PMO directs ministries for operating Direct Cash Transfers:  The Prime Minister's Office has written to various ministries and departments to take up immediate tasks in operationalising on priority the Direct Cash Transfers for delivery of services to beneficiaries of social entitlements. This move follows the first meeting of the National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers chaired by the Prime Minister on November 26th, 2012. Here's the press release.
14:08  Two disparate but interesting reads...

The man across the net: Better to marry an inconvenient woman, than to have an inconvenient tennis partner, as your regular opponent. Read

... and

Despite setbacks, investor is bullish on clean technology. Read
14:05  Parsis make it to Page 1 of the New York Times :   Fifteen years after vultures disappeared from Mumbai's skies, the Parsi community here intends to build two aviaries at one of its most sacred sites so that the giant scavengers can once again devour human corpses. Read
14:04  Maldives upsets Big Brother India:  The government of the Maldives' cancellation of a multi-million dollar airport management contract with a consortium led by India's GMR hasn't gone down well with India, its biggest ally. Read
13:50  Two-state solution on the line:  Masterpiece of a column by Gro Harlem Brundtland and Jimmy Carter on the Hindu. Brundtland was Prime Minister of Norway when the Oslo Peace Accords were signed in 1993. Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States and negotiated the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Read
13:44  Battle for Guj begins: Modi files nomination papers:   Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi files nomination papers from Maninagar constituency for Assembly polls.

Also read: While Gujarats GDP growth in the last two decades has been notable, it is not reflected in employment, wages, health or education
13:29  Indian couple in Norway arrested for scolding son:   Norwegian authorities have reportedly arrested a couple from Andhra Pradesh, Chandrasekhar and Anupama Vallabhaneni, for apparently scolding their seven-year-old son Sai Sriram for bed wetting and threatening to send him back to India in a bid to discipline him, the couple's family has claimed. Read more on

Remember this story? Norway kids row: Couple to split, mother blamed
13:16  Look where India's elite anti-terror force, the NSG, lives:  For almost two years, National Security Guard (NSG) commandos lived in 225 square foot rooms in suburban Mumbai. It was no consolation that the 241 commandos were treated at par with slum dwellers - the 19 buildings in which they lived in were temporary dwellings used to house slum dwellers. Read more here.
13:05  Cong sorry for MS Aiyar's 'MPs are animals' jibe:  The BJP has meanwhile criticised Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for comparing Opposition Members of Parliament with animals.

Spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, "Mani Shankar Aiyar has made a comment in television interview calling members of parliament as animals. Well we absolutely agree on one thing that parliament should not be obstructed, but does this give right to Mr. Aiyar to call members of parliament as animals," Rudy asked.

"Who is Mani Shankar Aiyar?...Mani Shankar Aiyar  is a member of parliament who has been nominated to Rajya Sabha and not even elected.   He subsequently joins the Congress Party. I believe he has been a foreign diplomat. He served in the Indian Foreign Service for over 25 years," he said.

"I am just amused and shocked what he   must have contributed in his 25 years as Indian Foreign officers, the language, which he uses, the behavior which he exhibits especially in the back drop when the Congress party is all being charged with corruption, 2G scam, coalgate and commonwealth games etc.... I think its shocking," he added.

In a television debate on Parliament deadlock over Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, Aiyar said, "There is a decent and respectable way to express one''s point of view. This behavior of the MPs reminds me of animals screaming in a well."

Rajiv Shukla has apologised on Aiyar's behalf in Parliament today. 

12:57  BJP has assaulted me, but cannot kill me: Yeddyurappa:  Back to Freedom Park, Bangalore, where BS Yeddyurappa is concluding his speech.

"Forty years ago when I was part of the Town Municipal Council, an opponent. assaulted me. I was taken to hospital and when I woke up, I told my wife that from now on, I would live for the people of Karnataka.
"But today, I feel assaulted by my party men. But they cannot kill me and today,  I say the same thing -- I will live for the people of the state," he says.

Yeddyurappa also defended himself in the mining issue. "I am not a criminal. I was the one who banned illegal mining. I will come out clean and prove my innocence. "I will write it in blood and assure you of a great state.

"Please join me in my rally. I will go directly to Vidhan Soudha now, but don't follow me all the way and let us not shout anti-BJP slogans and let us not trouble the police. There should not be any traffic jams," he said.

Yeddyurappa has begun his march to the Vidhan Soudha where he will give in his resignation to the Speaker. -- Vicky Nanjappa
12:48  Congress ka haath Sanjeev Bhatt ke saath, claims BJP:  The BJP today slammed the Congress for fielding suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife against Narendra Modi, saying the party stood "exposed" by using Bhatt as a "major pawn" for sponsoring a hate campaign to defame Gujarat.

"Congress is exposed thoroughly today. In the last 10 years, they carried out a hate campaign...They defamed Gujarat to the hilt. And Sanjiv Bhatt became a major pawn in the hands of Congress," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

By fielding Bhatt's wife Shweta in the Gujarat assembly polls, he said, "It is clear today which forces are working behind Sanjiv Bhatt, after his wife became a Congress candidate." Javadekar said whatever Bhatt did in last 10 years, the "whole architect, script writers and directors were the Congress". "It was Congress-sponsored hate campaign to defame Gujarat and Gujarati voters will definitely teach a bitter lesson to Congress," he said.
12:40  Rupee continues to rule firm vs dollar in late morning:  While Yeddyurappa continues with his emotional atyachar, other news...

This could well be the right time to take a holiday abroad. The rupee continued to rule firm against the American currency in late morning trade today on persistent selling of dollars by banks and exporters in view of sustained capital inflows from foreign funds into equity market.

Lower dollar in the overseas market also boosted the rupee value, a forex dealer said. The rupee resumed higher at 54.56 as against the last closing level of 54.84 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) Market and hovered in a range of 54.35 and 54.66, before quoting 54.64 per dollar at 10:50 hours. 
12:31  Give me your money, join my party: Yeddy pleads:  Yeddyurappa continues to make an emotional appeal to join his party -- the Karnataka Janata Party. "Please come to Haveri in December when I launch my party on the 9th. Spend your money and give me your time and come and join me at the launch of my party," he pleads. Yeddyurappa then begins a litany of his achievements as chief minister. 
12:27  Yeddy compares ouster from BJP to Hiroshima bombing:  BS Yeddyurappa begins his speech at Freedom Park, Bangalore.

A composed Yeddyurappa starts off by thanking all the people gathered there. "This is the most unforgettable moment of his life. My 40-year association with the BJP comes to an end today, but  I have 40 persons sitting here who will win the election under the KJP banner.

"Since the past one month I have been touring the state and people have shown me support and love. People address me as 'their' Yeddyurappa. I have got the blessings of both the young and the old.

"I started off from a worker in the party and reached the top. I became CM with your blessings. But I have been backstabbed. My partymen made me a criminal. They bad mouthed me with the party senior leaders.

"I quit the CM's post with the support of 75 MLAs. I could have bargained. I said I will come back with support of people. I was an honest leader. I was under immense pressure not to quit. But I did it for the people.

"I want to tell you that I not happy today, but I have a responsibility to the people. I have to serve the people.

"I was at a temple earlier where I sought forgiveness. I told God, 'bless me, please help me serve the people'. I broke down very badly today. But I mustered up courage to come here and speak before you.

"When Hiroshima was bombed, people said nothing would grow there. But it flourished. I have been let down and destroyed like how Hiroshima was, by my own party men. But like Hiroshima I shall flourish and Karnataka will grow under me.

"I appeal to all religions to join me. I have not differentiated between Muslims, Christians and Hindus. I have been secular always." -- Vicky Nanjappa from Freedom Park, Bangalore 
12:21  KFA reneges on May salary promise: Pilots approach DGCA:  Having failed to receive their May salary as assured by the Kingfisher management, the airline pilots have now threatened to approach DGCA if they did not meet the commitment by today even as the regulator maintained that the issue is out of its purview.

"We have written to the airline's chief executive that if our salaries are not paid by today we will approach the Director General Civil Aviation to intervene in the issue," airline sources said.

The airline has not paid salary to most of its 4,000 employees since May. The pilots' threat comes after the management, which had assured the employees that their three months' salaries, out of the seven months, will be paid in tranches by Diwali.
11:59  Parliament packs it in: FDI debates from Dec 4 to 7:  The dates for the debate on FDI on retail in the Rajya Sabha are in: December 6 and 7. The Lok Sabha has decided to debate FDI on December 4 and 5. 
11:51  And here it is... Yeddy's resignation letter :  "I am writing this letter amidst a lot of pain. I am saddened by the fact that I am resigning from a party of which I was part of for the past 40 years and the party which I built in the state of Karnataka with my very own hands.

"My resignation is not due to any other reason but due to my own party members. Many in the party thought that putting me down was the only way to secure their future in the BJP. They thought by sidelining me, they would grow in the party. Hence I have decided to resign from the party.

"I have decided to form a new party. I am not power hungry. I want to remind you that when we were in a coalition with the JD(S) and they refused to hand over power to us, my own party leaders had told me to give in to their demands.

"I had flatly refused to do so and decided that we should contest the elections which we did and I ensured that we won.I will now form a new party and work for the development of Karnataka."

Thanking you,
BS Yeddyurappa
11:44  Sahara group moves SC against SAT order:  More updates on the Facebook arrests/IT Act stories in a bit.

The Sahara Group today moved the Supreme Court against the order of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) dismissing its appeal against market regulator SEBI in a case involving refund of about Rs 24,000 crore with interest to about three crore investors. A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir listed the matter for hearing on Monday. The counsel for Sahara told the bench that the company was ready with a draft of Rs 5,100 crore for deposit in the apex court's registry.

Also read: How did Rs 24,000 cr Sahara dues become Rs 5,120 cr?
11:41  SC to Maha govt: Explain arrests of Facebook girls:  The Supreme Court has slapped notices on the Maharashtra government, the Centre and four other states over the Facebook arrests. The Supreme Court has also issued notices to Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Delhi and Puducherry on the basis of a PIL.

The SC has issued the notices on the basis of a PIL filed by 21-year-old Shreya Singhal, an astrophysics graduate from University of Bristol in the UK.

The Supreme Court yesterday said it disapproved of the arrests of the two youngsters in Palghar for questioning in their Facebook posts, the Mumbai shutdown of November 18 for Sena chief Bal Thackeray's funeral. It then heard the PIL seeking scrapping of section 66A of the IT act used for the arrests of Shaheen Dhadha, 21, and her friend, Renu Srinivasan,.

Also read: SC to hear PIL to amend IT Act
11:29  Document leak case: CBI arrests retired Wing Commander:  The CBI has arrested a retired Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force for his alleged involvement in leaking confidential documents, which were later provided by estranged associate of arms dealer Abhishek Verma to the agency. CBI sources said the retired official of IAF was taken into custody late last night in connection with leaking the documents related to the force. The agency sources said the retired officer is being questioned with regards to his association with Verma and his partners.
11:25  Just in: Economic growth declines to 5.3 per cent in July- September this fiscal, from 6.7 per cent in the same period a year ago.
11:24  'Two or three chief ministers are quite good':  Ramachandra Guha, a prolific and eloquent chronicler of Indian history and the current state of the world's largest democracy, recently launched a new book: Patriots & Partisans. In this interview with the the Wall Street Journal he talks about Arvind Kejriwal, democracy and well, the state of the nation. Read
11:19  A few more things Kejriwal wants:  An update on the Arvind Kejriwal's brand new baby -- the Aam Admi Party.

A party pamphlet distributed at the launch offered a glimpse of what stand it would take on matters other than tackling corruption. Here are some of them. Read
11:10  It's official: Yeddy faxes resignation to Gadkari :  Vicky Nanjappa reports from Freedom Park, Bangalore: BS Yeddyurappa has reached Freedom Park. Standing on top of his vehicle, he flashed his trademark victory sign at the crowd... and smiled. That's worth a mention, because the former chief minister spent much of the morning weeping before the cameras as he recalled with bitterness how the BJP treated him. Yeddyurappa is seated next to former MP Dhananjaya Kumar.

We've just been told that Yeddyurappa has faxed his resignation to party president Nitin Gadkari -- Yeddyurappa is now officially out of the BJP and no longer a primary member of the party. He faxed his resignation just before leaving for Freedom Park.
11:05  What's on the agenda at Freedom Park:  Vicky Nanjappa reports from Freedom Park, Bangalore: This is what is going to happen in a bit. BS Yeddyurappa will address his followers and then quit from the BJP. Yeddyurappa is accompanied by his son, Raghavendra, in a Toyota Fortuner. Over 10,000 supporters, who were outside his residence, accompanied him to Freedom Park.

If you're in Bangalore, and don't want to attend the rally, avoid the area. Massive traffic jams predicted.
10:59  Govt will miss Sachin Tendulkar in retail FDI test:  Big week ahead for the Congress next week. As party managers do their arithmetic -- counting UPA's vote in the Rajya Sabha -- they would dearly wish cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar sits out the Kolkata test beginning next week. Read
10:52  Vicky Nanjappa reports from Freedom Park, Bangalore: Yeddyurappa's supporters are increasing by the minute. The park has mammoth cutouts of Yeddyurappa, and his supporters are wearing masks of their leader, who is expected to arrive in less than 15 minutes. 
10:37  BJP mistook my goodness for weakness: Yeddy:  Yeddyurappa said he resigned as Chief Minister following the direction of the party high-command last year as the "disciplined soldier" of the party. "They mistook my goodness as a weakness".

He said he would formally join the Karnataka Janatha Paksha at a public rally in Haveri on December nine. Yeddyurappa urged MLAs and Ministers in the Jagadish Shettar Cabinet supporting him not to resign as he wants the Government to complete its full term and he does not want to rock the boat. "I have asked them not to resign for the time being", he said.

Yeddyurappa said he is not leaving BJP for any selfish reason. He wants to develop Karnataka as a model and welfare state.

The 70-year-old Lingayat leader is credited with bringing BJP to power in Karnataka, making it the first ever party government in the south. Efforts by top BJP leadership to prevent the exit of Yeddyurapa have failed.

He turned more belligerent after BJP rebuffed his repeated attempts to regain Chief Ministership and refused to at least make him the state unit party chief.
10:35  Made a mistake quitting CM's post, weeps Yeddy:  The estranged Karnataka BJP strongman B S Yeddyurappa, who is set to resign from primary membership of the party, today became emotional as he recalled his long association with the party even as he trained his guns at BJP leaders for hatching a "conspiracy" against him.

"The party has given everything to me. And I have sacrificed my life to build my previous party (BJP)", he said, fighting back tears. Yeddyurappa said he is leaving the party "because of our own (BJP) people. They don't want me to continue in the party; that's why I am resigning from the primary membership as also MLAship".

He is slated to tender his resignation to Speaker K G Bopaiah this afternoon. Yeddyurappa would also fax his resignation from the primary membership, sources said. "Some people (in BJP) did not want to me to continue as Chief Minister. They tried to put me in the dock. I tolerated in the past one year with a lot of patience", Yeddyurappa said.

"I am leaving the party with deep sadness". Without naming anybody, he said some state leaders "stabbed me in the back".
10:33  BJP used my weakness against me: Yeddyurappa:  Ahead of his rally former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa seemed in a contemplative mood. He said, "I made a mistake by quitting the post of Chief Minister. I kept the image of the party in mind, but the BJP leaders thought I was weak. They used my weakness against me. And I had no option but to quit."
More reports from Vicky Nanjappa soon.
10:20  Bangalore police divert traffic ahead of BSY's rally:  Police have been diverting traffic ahead of the major rally to be held by B S Yeddyurappa today. The rally will be held at the Freedom Park and he will lead his supporters to Vidhan Soudha where he his expected to submit is resignation, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

Major traffic jams are expected in Bangalore today.
09:52  BJP unit from BSY's constituency quits, to join his new party :   The entire unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party in former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa's constituency Shikaripur quit today. They will join Yeddyurappa new party.

Yeddyurappa is all set to resign from the BJP today, severing his 40-year-old association with it.

"I will go in a march along with my supporters to Vidhana Soudha (Assembly) at noon and submit resignation to my assembly membership", Yeddyurappa, who has rejected calls to remain in the BJP, told reporters at Shikaripura, his home town in Shimoga district.

The 70-year-old Lingayat leader is credited with bringing BJP to power in Karnataka, making it as the first ever party government in the south.    
09:16  Fire in Chennai-Delhi GT Express, 1 dead :  A fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the Chennai-Delhi GT Express near Gwalior today. One passenger travelling in another coach is believed to have suffered a heart attack on seeing the flames and died, reports NDTV.

The passengers were evacuated at Sitholi station, some 20 km from Gwalior.
08:51  Cong fields Sanjiv Bhatt's wife against Modi:   Suspended Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta will contest elections against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.  

She will contest on a Congress ticket from Maninagar, Ahmedabad.

Shweta will file her nomination at noon today.  
08:30  Plea against law used in FB arrests in SC today:  The Supreme Court will today take up a Public Interest Litigation filed by a Delhi law student against a controversial law that was used to arrest two young women recently in Maharashtra for their posts on Facebook, reports NDTV.

Shreya Singhal's PIL describes Section 66(A) of the Information and Technology Act as unconstitutional -- it allows for arrests based on messages that are offensive or annoying and are sent electronically. "I feel it is a violation of free speech; it hasn't been updated, and people are using it wrongly," Singhal told NDTV.
08:27  And while on Ibrahim's appointment...:  Don't miss Sheela Bhatt's analysis on and Mr B Raman's perceptive analysis on
08:24  Ibrahim breaks IB barrier - Opinion divided on first Muslim head:  High praise for Asif Ibrahim's appointment as Director of the Intelligence Bureau from one of his distinguished predecessors. Speaking to The Telegraph, 'Former IB director Ajit Doval said Ibrahim was the best officer in the national interest and it was just a coincidence that he was a Muslim, but added a word of caution for the new chief. As IB chief he will have to prove himself as it is a highly sensitive posting. The political system in our country will always try to manipulate and take political advantage from him, Doval said.' Please read the report here:
08:19  The police gap:  The Telegraph newspaper notes: Bengal is one of the worst sufferers from a shortage of Indian Police Service officers, with only a couple of northeastern states, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab faring worse. Please read the story here:
08:09  Cashing in on schemes for the poor:  Any political benefit the Congress hopes to reap in 2014 will come at the cost of reducing the effectiveness of social welfare schemes, says Narendar Pani in The Hindu. Please read it here:
03:58  UN recognises Palestine as observer state:  CTV News reports: The United Nations General Assembly has voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.

The historic vote came after impassioned speeches from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who asked the UN to 'issue the birth certificate of Palestine',and Ron Prosor, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, who said a vote in favour of Palestinian statehood will be detrimental to peace in the region.

Read the full story here
03:17  Palestinian crowds watch UN statehood vote:  Mercury News reports: Jubilant Palestinians crowded around outdoor screens and television sets at home Thursday to watch the United Nations vote on granting them, at least formally, what they have long yearned for a state of their own.

A general assembly vote to accept 'Palestine' as an observer state won't immediately change lives here, since much of what the world body is defining as the territory of that state'"the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem remains under Israeli control.

Read the full story here
02:23  Man held after approaching Romney at White House:  US Secret Service officers arrested a man who became 'combative' today after approaching a motorcade carrying defeated Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney to the White House.

The incident happened as Romney arrived at a security checkpoint before entering the White House complex for his first meeting with President Barack Obama since the end of their bitter election campaign.

"An individual interfered with a motorcade as it was entering a checkpoint at the White House," said Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary.
02:22  Arafat's widow calls his death a mystery :  The widow of Yasser Arafat says she sees a spiritual significance in the timing of her late husband's exhumation, which came just two days before a UN vote on whether to recognize a Palestinian state.

Suha Arafat told The Associated Press today at her home in Malta that the exhumation to determine whether Arafat had been poisoned 'was as if his soul was resurrecting' ahead of today's vote in the General Assembly.

Mrs Arafat called the former Palestinian leader's death in November 2004, a month after suddenly falling ill, "The most important mystery of the Middle East." 
Arafat's remains were exhumed in the West Bank on Tuesday in a renewed investigation into his death. Palestinian officials claim he was poisoned by Israel, which has denied the allegations.
01:58  Michael Jordan banned from golf course:  The greatest basketball player of our and any time (Sorry, LeBron) was hauled off a golf course. Because he was wearing cargo shorts! Michael Jordan refused to wear the suggested Bermudas and will no longer be welcome at the La Gorce Golf Club in Miami Beach, Florida.
01:53  'Hold on to your penis!':  The Daily Beast has a review of Vinod Mehta's 1978 biography The Sanjay Story, 34 years after it was published in India. Is some publisher bringing out the book again? Read David Frum on Sanjay Gandhi here:
01:46  Cops can be humane too:  Meet Larry DePrimo, an officer in the New York Police Department, whose kindness to a homeless man has resonated around tne world. Please read this heartwarming story here:
01:42  Obama, Romney meet, have lunch:  President Barack Obama and his recently vanquished Republican party adversary Mitt Romney met this afternoon for 70 minutes. Dunno what they discussed over lunch. But could a cabinet post be coming Romney's way? Secretary of Commerce? Treasury seems unlikely. Will the man who saved the Salt Lake Winter Olympics return to government, under a Democratic President?
01:35  What Ratan Tata for 26// victims:  In a month from now, Ratan Tata will no longer be Chairman, Tata Sons. He retires from his job on December 28. A blog post hailing his work for the victims of 26/11:
01:26  US threatens Iran with UNSC referral :  AP reports: The United States today threatened to take the rare step of referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council if the country does not cooperate with the UN atomic agency by March.

"If by March Iran has not begun substantive cooperation with the IAEA, the United States will work with other board members to pursue appropriate board action," said Robert Wood, US envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
01:21  The World's 10 Most Responsible Governments:  Forbes lists its Ten Most Responsible Governments. You can read it here and find out if India is on the list.
01:15  Ravi Somaiya returns:  Ravi who? Apparently, the return of New York Times reporter Ravi Somaiya back to the newspaper's headquarters from His Lindon assignment was important enough for the New York Observer to take notice:
01:08  Genelia, showstopper for Neeta Lulla at India Resort Fashion Week:  Genelia Deshmukh was the showstopper for Neeta Lulla's collection at the India Resort Fashion Week in Goa on Thursday. Doesn't she look pretty!!!
00:56  Who spends more on marketing than Apple and Microsoft combined?:  Actually, it is more than Apple, Coca-Cola, Dell, HP and Microsoft combined. What all these companies spend on marketing all their products is not equal to what Samsung spends every year to promote its mobile products, which is $12 billion. Check out the chart here:
00:53  No return to Assad's old Syria: UN envoy:  AFP reports: The old Syria ruled by President Bashar al-Assad's family is finished and the "new Syria" will never be the same, the UN special envoy said today, in a strong hint that Assad will have to step down before a civil war can end.

Speaking to reporters after briefing the UN Security Council on what he said was the deteriorating situation in Syria, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi did not mention Assad by name.
00:52  David Headley's Web of Betrayal:  The documentary goes interactive with a feature on the Lashkar terrorist who surveyed targets for the 26/11 attacks. Please read the story here:
00:44  'Left and Liberals have allowed Hindu Right to hijack patriotism':  Historian Ramachandra Guha in full flow in Tehelka magazine. Please read the interview here:
00:39  Poverty amidst prosperity:  'While Gujarats GDP growth in the last two decades has been notable, it is not reflected in employment, wages, health or education,' Atul Sood writes in The Hindu. You can read it here: For a different take on Gujarat's economy, please read economist Bibek Debroy's interview with's Sheela Bhatt here:
00:32  India's Gilded Destruction:  India needs more Ratan Tatas, not fewer Ponty Chadhas, Sadanand Dhume writes in The Wall Street Journal. Read his column here:
00:28  Warrant needed to access e-mail, Facebook posts in US:  The United States Senate has just passed legislation that will require law enforcement agencies to secure a warrant to access e-mail as well as Facebook posts.Read more here:
00:25  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  
The five things in Narendra Modi's favour

'Mamata intolerant, whimsical, won't be CM for long'

'Poll Tourism' set to make entry in Gujarat

PICS: Srinagar curfew to continue until Friday

Ponty's aide Namdhari booked on murder charges

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What was Arjun Rampal doing in London?
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