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Hong Kong ferry collision toll rises to 39

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October 05, 2012

23:22  Hong Kong ferry collision toll rises to 39:  The death toll from a ferry collision off Hong Kong rose to 39 today, as the search for survivors was formally called off four days after the accident, the government said. 

The toll rose by one as all of the passengers and crew of the two boats involved in Monday night's collision were accounted for, an official statement said.

 "Among the 124 passengers and three crew members on board 'Lamma IV', 39 passengers died and 87 sustained injuries," it said, referring to the vessel that suffered the worst damage in the collision with a high-speed ferry.
22:30  Prashant Bhushan wants SIT to investigate Vadra:  Prashant Bhushan said that there was an obvious case against Robert Vadra which needs to be investigated by authorities. 

The government should appoint an SIT headed by three former Supreme Court judges to probe the issue, he said.

"It's not a question of getting an unsecured loan but its also about him acquiring Rs 300 crore worth property from the same business house,' Bhushan said in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN.
22:25  Kingfisher to send detailed response to DGCA:  In response to the show cause notice issued to Kingfisher airlines by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday, the airline has said it will send a detailed response to the DGCA. 

"We have received a show cause notice from the DGCA which we have to reply to within 15 days. We will send a detailed response to the DGCA well in time. We will also submit a comprehensive plan for restoration of services after negotiations with our employees," said the press release from the airlines.
21:32  Allegations against Vadra: BJP demands probe:  The BJP has demanded a judicial probe into allegations by civil society activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan that Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra had been hugely favoured by realty major DLF.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that these are "baseless,  and utterly irresponsible" allegations.

"Coming ahead of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, it shows that the so-called civil society groups are morphing themselves as a political party but it is nothing more than a B-Team of the BJP," he told reporters.
21:27  Ajit Pawar meets Maharashtra CM:  NCP leader Ajit Pawar called on Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in Mumbai last night, the first time after Pawar quit as deputy chief minister last week. 

The nearly two-hour-long meeting took place at ChiefMinister's official bungalow `Varsha'.    

Chavan confirmed today that Ajit Pawar met him, and termed it a courtesy call.    

Pawar had called a meeting of NCP ministers yesterday. Hewent to meet Chavan after that meeting.    

Sources said some bureaucrats were also present at the meeting between Chavan and Pawar, and later the two leaders had one-on-one talks.    

On Sunday, at a public function, Pawar had criticised Chavan's style of functioning, but clarified later that he did not mean to attack the CM. 
20:41  Kejriwal is a blackmailer, says Khurshid:  Defending Robert Vadra, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, "(Arvind) Kejriwal and (Prashant) Bhushan are blackmailers."

Nothing in allegations made by them that need probe, he said.

"Robert Vadra has been targetted for personal and political reasons," he said.
19:42  Sonia Gandhi defends Robert Vadra:  

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday defended her son-in-law Robert Vadra, against whom charges of corruption were leveled by IAC on Friday evening.  


Meanwhile, Union minister Ambika Soni also stated that the allegations were baseless, adding that Vadra is a businessman.  


The DLF has also reacted to the allegations, stating that relations with Vadra are totally transparent.

19:27  Two ships collide in China: Five killed, seven missing:  

At least five people were killed and seven others remained missing after two ships collided today on the Yuanjiang river in central China's Hunan Province.        


Twenty-two people fell into the river in Yuanjiang city after two ships collided with each other.        


Rescuers have rushed to the accident waters and salvaged 15 people, among whom 5 people have been confirmed dead, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.        


Search operations for the missing people are going on. The accident took place two days after a similar mishap in Hong Kong where 38 people were killed when two vessels collided.  

19:15  Govt to review security of Op Bluestar officers:  

Government has convened a high-level meeting next week to review the security of Lt Gen (Retd) K S Brar and others who were involved in the 1984 Operation Bluestar against Sikh militants in the Golden Temple in Amritsar.    


The meeting, to be chaired by Union Home Secretary R K Singh and to be attended by Army, Maharashtra Police and others, will also review whether there was any security lapse anywhere leading to the assissination attempt on 78-year-old Brar on Sunday.    


There will be a thorough stock-taking to find out whether any communication gap led to the attack on Brar as he had claimed that he had informed local military officials about his travel plan. The Home Ministry denied receiving any such communication.   


The government had decided to continue the 'Z' category security being provided to Brar at a review meeting held on June 6.    Security of other Army officers, who were involved in the operation to flush out militants hiding in Golden Temple, will also be reviewed in the meeting.

19:14  PMO calls meeting of coal, power min officials on Oct 10:  

The Prime Minister's Office has called a meeting of officials of coal and power ministries on October 10 to discuss various issues, including single window clearance for coal projects.        


The meeting comes in the backdrop of acute fuel shortages hurting electricity generation and upcoming power projects.     


"PMO is holding a meeting on October 10 to discuss various issues, including price pooling mechanism, coal linkages for power projects and single window clearances for coal projects, among others," a Coal Ministry official told PTI.        


The meeting will be chaired by Pulok Chatterji, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. Coal Secretary S K Srivastava and Power Secretary P Uma Shankar, among others, will attend the meeting.

19:08  Just In: DGCA issues showcause notice to Kingfisher Airlines as to why its flying license should not be suspended or cancelled.
18:48  Cong intentionally raising bogey of militancy: Sukhbir:  

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today accused the Congress of intentionally raising the "bogey of militancy" ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.         


Addressing media persons, Badal said as home minister, he was fully committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the state and would not allow Congress to "vitiate" this.         


"Raising the issue of militancy especially before any elections is the old experiment in the political laboratory of Congress party," he alleged.

18:32  Banks to release funds to KFA on humanitarian grounds: SBI :  State Bank of India today said Kingfisher lenders have decided to release funds to the debt-ridden airline on "humanitarian grounds" considering that its employees have not been paid fpr the past seven months.

"The money that has been released by the tax authorities, 80 per cent of that will be made available to the company on humanitarian grounds, specifically to pay salaries of the employees," SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri said.

Sources had said bankers after an emergency meeting yesterday had agreed to release funds from escrow accounts, which is likely to fetch up to Rs 60 crore for the carrier.

SBI heads the consortium of 17 lenders to the crippled carrier. Chaudhuri, however, did not divulge the total quantum of the money banks were having. Collectively, the 17-bank consortium has Rs 7,000-crore outstanding to the Vijay Mallya-promoted airline.
18:30's Ganesh Nadar says there has been no power in rural south Tamil Nadu since 8.30 am. The Tamil Nadu electricity board has no clue.
18:25  NSE crash erases Rs 10 lakh cr investor money... briefly:  A flash 900-point crash in the National Stock Exchange's index Nifty this morning eroded an estimated Rs 10 lakh crore of investor wealth, though for a brief period.

The Nifty showed a sudden fall of nearly 900 points, or over 15 per cent within seconds, triggering the circuit filter (maximum permissible limit of movement in the index), halting the trade at 0950 hrs for 15 minutes.

During the period, the investor wealth slumped by nearly Rs 10 lakh crore. The Nifty finally closed the day at 5,746.95, down 40.65 points or 0.70 per cent, recovering most of the initial losses. On the other hand, the Sensex ended 119.69 points lower at 18,938.46.
18:18  Cong: Allegations against Vadra are BJP's handiwork:  No evidence to suggest that any Congress-ruled state favoured DLF, says party spokesperson Rajiv Shukla. "The allegations are baseless, there is no substance, and has been politically motivated. It's clearly BJP's handiwork," he says. "Robert Vadra has not hidden anything," says Shukla. 
18:14  Brar's no to relocation, says he is not a 'football':  Lt General K S Brar, the Operation Bluestar hero who survived a bid on his life in London on Sunday, will resist any move by the government to relocate him, saying he finds Mumbai -- his home of 20 years -- "absolutely safe" and he cannot be treated like a "football".

The 78-year-old former General of the Indian Army does not want to lead the "life of a prisoner" and feels relocation is no answer to the threat to his life. "Yes, I will resist any attempt to relocate me. I cannot be treated like a football. I have been here for the last 20 years. I am 78 now and have few more years left. I have friends and family here," Brar said in an interview while responding to media reports that the Centre was planning to shift him to an undisclosed location.

Nineteen people have been arrested so far in the case.
18:05  Away from scams and such like, here's a story worth a read:Jayawardene: a man who speaks for a nation.
18:00  PMO denies Modi's claim of Rs 1880 cr expense on Sonia visit:  Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office today rubbished the claim by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that Rs 1,880 crore were spent on overseas visits of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, saying it was "untrue and misleading".

The PMO underlined that the government had spent no money on Gandhi's overseas visits or her medical treatment abroad or in India. "Media reports quoting certain quarters about massive expenses from the exchequer on UPA Chairperson's overseas visits have been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister's Office.

The reports quoting an expense of Rs 1,880 crore are untrue and misleading," the PMO said in a statement. It did not name Modi who had raked up the claim but was clearly referring to it.

"The Central Information Commissioner has already denied these reports and made a statement," the statement said. "The Prime Minister's Office would like to put on record that the Government has incurred no expenses on UPA Chairperson's visits abroad. Expenses for her security contingent are borne by the Special Protection Group," it said.

The PMO said that during the last 8 years, only one trip to Belgium undertaken at the invitation of the Belgian Government to receive a national honour was paid for by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The total cost was less than Rs 3 lakhs.
17:52  If you remember, Robert Vadra had hit the campaign trail during the UP polls and had indicated that he was not averse to joining politics. When asked whether he would join politics during an informal chat with reporters, Vadra said, "I would definitely contest if the people so desired". He stressed that he is lending support as a family member to take forward Rahul's message, though both Rahul and Priyanka do not require any help.
17:50  Cong: Wrong to target Vadra; not in public life:   Congress reacts to the IAC press conference saying "It is wrong to target a person who is not in public life" and alleges a conspiracy behind the press conference.

The BJP reacts: This loot has been allowed by Sonia Gandhi. 10 Janpath has become a place for property deals.
17:39  This will be called the Robert Vadra scam: Bhushan:  Eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan (who is Prashant Bhushan's father) calls this the "Robert Vadra scam". He says Robert and his mother are the participants of this scam.

So, what's your take on the 'Robert Vadra scam'? Write in and tell us on Zara Bol.
17:33  'Vadra received kickbacks from DLF, income rose to Rs 300 cr':  To cap it, Kejriwal says IAC has evidence that Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra received kickbacks from DLF whereby his income rose from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 300 crore only due to land allotments. IAC wants cases to filed against Vadra under the Anti-corruption Act and the Income tax act. 
17:31  Transactions took place in Cong-ruled states: Kejriwal:  The questions are being handled by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan together.

Prashant Bhushan says, "Vadra got a 10,000 sq foot penthouse in DLF Aralia for Rs 85 lakh. The market value when he bought the property was Rs crore. The market value of the property now is Rs 40 crore. What did DLF gain by this deal? Why did it sell properties at below market prices, for a song?"

Prashant Bhushan answers the question saying Vadra got benefits for DLF via governments in Delhi and Haryana. "The transactions have taken place in Congress-ruled states," points out Kejriwal.  
17:22  Bhushan: This is open loot by Sonia's son-in-law:  Bhushan says the documents were accessed from the registrar of compaines and wants the 'scam' probed under the Anti-corruption act. Is there a quid pro quo between Robert Vadra and DLF, asks Kejriwal?

"This is an open loot by Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law, says Bhushan, and "has been happening openly." The Congress must answer these charges. "Are illicit funds from the Congress being used in these companies," asks Kejriwal. He adds that Vadra bought bulk of properties at well below market prices.
17:15  Bhushan asks if it is actually possible to find out the truth considering who Robert Vadra's mother-in-law is. 
17:14  'Vadra's income grew from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 300 cr':  Bhushan says Vadra's income grew from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 300 crore as a result of these ventures. In fact, DLF gave an unsecured loan worth Rs 65 crore to Vadra and his mother and him are direct beneficiaries from income generated from the purchase of five firms. 
17:11  Bhushan, reading out from the docket, says that DLf gave an interest-free loan to Robert Vadra. 
17:09  Prashant Bhushan says Robert Vadra bought property worth Rs 300 crore at just Rs 50 lakh. Vadra acquired most of the properties from unknown sources.
17:07  Bhushan: DLF gave property at low rate to Vadra :  Arvind Kejriwal begins press conference. Prashant Bhushan says DLF gave property to Robert Vadra at a very low rate.

India Against Corruption has released a list of 31 properties allegedly owned by Priyanka Gandhi's husband Robert Vadra said to be worth hundreds of cores of rupees at a press conference in New Delhi.

Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan released the list to journalists and said that Vadra had acquired properties worth Rs 300 cores from an investment of just Rs 50 lakhs. Bhushan estimated the value of the properties to be worth Rs 500 crores.
17:02  The press conference is being held at New Delhi's Constitution Club. The conference will 'expose the corruption of one of the powerful persons of the country', promised Kejriwal.

The buzz in the capital is that it will expose  Robert Vadra's  involvement  in real estate deals, and naturally the political set-up in the capital is both nervous and wary.
17:00  Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant and Shanti Bhushan are set to hold a press conference right now on what they say is an expose on corruption.  
16:41  The Congress wants to know if Gadkari had written similar letter for other projects as well. In the letter written on July 30 to Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Gadkari asks for Rs 400 crore to be released to the contractors hired for the Gosikhurd dam in Vidarbha. The main contractor is Ajay Sancheti, a BJP member of the Rajya Sabha.
16:37  Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi takes on BJP president Nitin Gadkari over the letter written by him lobbying for contractors building a mega-dam project in Maharashtra. 
16:28  Sahara wants review of 'Rs 24,000 cr refund' verdict:  Sahara group moves Supreme Court seeking review of the verdict asking it to refund Rs 24,000 crore to investors. The Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group had assured the Supreme Court that its two unlisted companies-- Sahara India Real Estate Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp -- will refund Rs 24,000 crore to the investors with interest within three months.
16:10  Angry J-K sarpanchs walk out of Rahul meeting :  Backing the Centre's decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said the decision will help farmers prosper by removing middlemen from the supply chain and generate new jobs.

However, sarpanchs in J&K walked out of a meeting with Rahul saying he did not offer them anything new.

The 42-year-old AICC general secretary, who is in Srinagar on a two-day visit, said around 60 to 70 per cent of all perishable products in the country eventually rot due to lack of proper storage facilities.
16:06  Absconding Naroda Patiya convict gets 31-yr term:  A special court in Ahmedabad today awarded 31 years rigorous imprisonment to a convict of the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, who was produced in the court after he jumped his bail.

Terming Suresh alias Shehzad Netalkar as one of the main conspirators, special judge Jyotsana Yagnik sentenced him to 21 years life imprisonment after serving 10 years under section 326 (voluntary causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC.

On August 29, 2012, Netalkar was held guilty of murder (section 302), conspiracy and other sections of the IPC among 32 accused, including BJP MLA and former minister in Narendra Modi government, Maya Kodnani.

Also read on Naroda Patiya ruling shows the system works in India
16:02  Arun Jaitley's wife unwell:  Arun Jaitley's wife Sangita has been admitted to AIIMS, Delhi. The senior BJP leader has therefore been compelled to cut short his poll campaign in Gujarat and return to Delhi. 
15:58  Damaging secret documents on CM probable :  There is a set of documents in circulation in political circles about a former Union Minister who recently quit, say our sources in Delhi. Perusal of this high voltage document gives the reader an inkling about the damage these papers would do to his image in the event of a possible elevation as chief minister in December 2012.
15:46  Names in the fray for new SEBI chief :  North Block which houses the Finance ministry is agog with speculation that Dr K P Krishnan, an IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre and S Krishnan, an IAS of the Tamil Nadu cadre and formerly the private secretary to the finance minister are in the run for the post of SEBI chief and the government may now empanel these names.
15:43  Mamata plans to create havoc during winter session :  Our Delhi sources tell us that political circles in the capital are agog with speculation that Mamata Banerjee is in touch with four regional parties who have a strength of 25 MPs. Mamata's prime intension is to topple the UPA2 in the winter session and insiders in the TMC privately say that Mamata has come up with an action plan that will create havoc during the winter session.
15:36  Three injured as CPM-TMC workers clash in Bengal :  Just in: Three injured as CPM-Trinamool workers clash in Nandigram, West Bengal. 
15:27  The all-time top 10 debate moments on foreign policy:  From Soviet gaffes to talking snowmen, the highlights from presidential elections past. Read
15:22  You can now stay at the Taj Mahal (replica) in Dubai:  Dubai already boasts palatial hotels, sweeping desert and its very own city of Atlantis complete with dolphins. Now the opulent emirate is about to gain another tourist attraction - and it may look familiar. The latest development is a $1billion replica of the Taj Mahal. See (Keep the barf bag ready).
15:14  Death sentence for 5 for 'barbaric' honour killing :  Five members of a family were today awarded death sentence for killing a teenaged couple for honour in 2010 with a Delhi court saying the "savage nature" of the crime has shocked the judicial conscience and falls in the category of "rarest of rare cases".

Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar Singhal handed down death sentence to the five persons, who had mercilessly, tortured and then electrocuted their daughter and her lover as they were opposed to her plans to get married to the boy belonging to a Scheduled Caste.

"Keeping in view the medical evidence and the state in which the bodies of the deceased person were found, it is obvious that most heinous type of murders were committed in the present case. Both the deceased were electrocuted by the convict.

"The offence was not only inhuman and barbaric but the savage nature of the crime has shocked the judicial conscience.

In the case in hand, cold blooded, brutal murders through electrocution have been committed even as there was no provocation on behalf of the victims, making it a rarest of rare case, which calls for no punishment other than capital punishment, ASJ Singhal said.
15:10   There was a massive flash crash in the Nifty today. Here's what happened. Read
15:01  Shiv Aroor of Headlines Today tweets: Quote Of The Day: "If we had used air power in 1962, the result of the war would've been very different." ~ IAF chief NAK Browne.
14:59  The Good Life in the World's Most Violent City -- vignettes from Karachi. Read
14:55  Rahul pledges long-term relationship J-K youth:  Enthused with the wealth of human capital in Jammu and Kashmir, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi today pledged to do his bit in building a long-term relationship with the youth of the state and fulfil their aspirations.

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said he was feeling very emotional in saying that, "it has been a real step forward to be able to have a conversation with a great wealth of human capital that exists in Kashmir".

Gandhi told reporters after an interactive session with students of Kashmir University, "I think we have some of the brightest children in the room behind us. We need to work together with them and with other youngsters like them in Jammu and Kashmir to show them what can be achieved (and) what the future is and that they should take part in it".

Meanwhile, his brother-in-law is probably going to be up for discussion by Kejriwal and Bhushan at 5pm today.
14:28  Sebi initiates probe into 900-point Nifty flash crash:  Market regulator Sebi has begun initial probe into the 'flash crash' of NSE index Nifty, which fell by nearly 900 points this morning, halting the trade on the exchange for about 15 minutes.

While the National Stock Exchange (NSE) blamed "abnormal" orders placed by stock broker Emkay Global in multiple trades of various stocks at low prices for the crash, sources said that regulator is looking into all aspects of the incident.

NSE has claimed there were no technical glitches in its system and the crash was due to 'erroneous' trade orders worth over Rs 650 crore by Emkay Global, which has been now disabled by the bourse for trading.
14:27  US tourist opens fire in Israeli hotel, one dead:  A US tourist opened fire in an Israeli hotel in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat today, leaving one person dead and three others suffering from shock. The incident reportedly began with an argument between the man, who works in the kitchen at the Leonardo Club hotel of Eilat, and another employee. The victims were evacuated to Eilat's Joseftal Medical Center.
14:26  Five more international airports?:  What does it mean to be an international airport? At a wide-ranging government press conference Thursday, three big announcements were made by Finance Minister P Chidambaram about highways and airports. Read
14:18  Police, paramilitary bands to liven up India Gate this Sunday:  If you're in Delhi this weekend head to India Gate. Top police and paramilitary bands of the country will enthral the public this Sunday as they play some of the choicest martial music at India Gate.

The bands, including brass, pipes and buglers, are coming down to the national capital from various parts of the country as part of the 'All India Police band competition' organised by the border guarding BSF here. Union Home Secretary R K Singh will inaugurate the competition on October 7 at India Gate after which the contest will be conducted at a BSF camp in south Delhi.
13:55  Just in: Supreme Court seeks help of top law officers in hearing a plea against opening of FDI in retail sector.
13:45  And this is what Wordpress has on Robert Vadra: An explosive story on corruption.
13:43  Kejriwal, Bhushan to target Robert Vadra?:   Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan are slated to address a press conference in New Delhi's Constitution Club this evening at 5 pm to 'expose the corruption of one of the powerful persons of the country'.

Now who could it be? The buzz in the capital is that it will expose  Robert Vadra's  involvement  in real estate deals, and naturally the political set-up in the capital is both nervous and wary.

Vadra, of course, is married to Priyanka Gandhi, Congress party President Sonia Gandhi's daughter.

Watch this space!
13:40  NO bail for Jagan Reddy:  The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy. The apex court said that it can't grant bail to Jaganmohan at this juncture. Reddy is at the Chenchalguda central prison in Hyderabad under the judicial custody of CBI which is probing him and others in an alleged corruption and cheating case during the reign of his father and the then Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
13:32  @hormazdsorabjee: Porsche begins selling cars through new dealer network in Mum & Del. First 911 delivered in Mum. Owner driving it back home to Pondicherry!

Mr Sorabjee is the editor, Autocar India and a self-confessed car nut.
13:30  Shiv Aroor of Headlines Today tweets: IAF chief confirms that the @BoeingDefense Apache will be its next attack helicopter. Contract for 22 to be negotiated by MoD.

Read the November 2011 report
13:25  Nothing can prevent Modi's hat-trick in Gujarat: Thackeray:  Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has said Gujarat Chief Minister would lead his party to a third consecutive victory in the December Assembly elections.

"Modi has shown his grip on Gujarat and is going to win the polls for the third time in a row," Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

"This is because of the pace of development in Gujarat in last 10 years under Modi's leadership. It won't be easy for anyone to stop the victory march of Modi," he said. "A picture is painted on TV channels that Modi is some sort of demon and that he is going to gobble up all Muslims in the country," Thackeray said, adding that it was wrong.

"After the Gujarat riots, Congress labelled Modi as "merchant of death" but look what happened. Congress managed only 55 seats but the Modi-led BJP got 121 seats," the Sena chief said.
13:21  Farah Khan '@TheFarahKhan Am I the only idiot who went 2 juhu Pvr last nite 4 english vinglish premiere?whn it was at goregaon Pvr!!

Read the review here.
13:16  Jackie Collins comes out with another racy novel:  If you've learned about the birds and the bees and such like from Jackie Collins' books, here's another for nostalgia. The top-selling novelist's new offering The Power Trip, tells about the voyage of a Russian billionaire in his state-of-the-art yacht along with five powerful couples. The book, published by Simon & Schuster, is set on the luxury yacht off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. It's a tropical getaway with a cast of global power-hungry elites that turns sour when they find out they don't control as much of the world as they thought.
12:55  Bollywood gives a thumbs up to Sridevi:  Bollywood celebrities have praised Sridevi on her return to Bollywood after 15 years with film 'English Vinglish' and wished her good luck. Amitabh Bachchan, who came to the premiere held in Mumbai last night along with wife Jaya, said, "I am very happy to have worked with her earlier. My association has been very good and I wish her all the luck."

Actress Madhuri Dixit, who also came for the premiere, said, "I wish her all the best."

Shilpa Shetty heaped praise on the actress saying, "I am a big fan of Sridevi. She looks very nice in the movie. I am looking forward to see it."

Sridevi graced the premiere with her family members including Boney Kapoor, daughters Jhanvi and Khushi, brother-in-law and actor Anil Kapoor and others. "I am not at all nervous. I am just excited...feel like I am on top of the world. It is a special day. I thank all of them for the love and affection," an excited Sridevi told reporters.
12:53  English Vinglish is a winner all the way:  Excerpt from the review by Raja Sen ...

Shashi, the devastatingly unassuming heroine of English Vinglish, is a homemaker and crafter of much-adored laddoos, a fledgling entrepreneur doing what she does because its the only thing she's applauded for. Not knowing English, however, cripples her at nearly every turn, till the fact that she can't speak the language becomes her not-so-secret shame, not unlike Kate Winslet's illiteracy in The Reader. And here's the thing: Sridevi does far better.

Read the full review on
12:49  And there you go... Raina is trending on Twitter.

Faking News '@fakingnewsPriyanka Gandhi's kids have issued a statement that they don't want to take any blame for Rahul Gandhi's statements. #Raina

Sair Mir ‏@sairmir So apparently #Raina's nephew made a 'Maamu' out of him!
12:41  Congress and its ally, the DMK nominated three lawmakers -- Suresh Kalmadi, A Raja and K Kanimozhi -- all of whom have spent time in jail -- to prestigious posts on parliamentary committees. Read 
12:38  Couple of other reads from the Wall Street Journal: From Toilets to Phones, Dalits Lag Other Indians. Read
12:37  N-capable Dhanush has strike range of 350 km:  Update on the Dhanush missile.
India successfully test-fired nuclear capable Dhanush, the naval version of Prithvi short-range ballistic missile, from a warship off Odisha coast today. The indigenously developed naval version of the Prithvi short-range ballistic missile has a strike range of up to 350 km and can carry 500 kg of conventional or nuclear warhead, a DRDO official said.

Ravi Kumar Gupta, Director in the Directorate of Public Interface in Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the test was conducted by the strategic force command of the Indian Navy. "The trial was a complete success and all the mission objectives were accomplished," he said.
12:34  And Suresh Raina's nephew has a Twitter handle now!
12:30  And Ramesh Srivats on Raina's tweet: @rameshsrivatsSuresh Raina's favorite mythological character must be Kamsa. He also had big problems with his nephew.
12:29  Raina 'tweets': Besharam ki tarah gaye. Bye Pak!:  Suresh Raina is yet to trend on Twitter, but this story has all the elements that will get him there.

Disappointed with India's ouster from World T20 as they failed to make it to the semi-finals, Raina tweeted after Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan on Thursday, reports

Raina, following the match at home, tweeted that Pakistan would also return to their respective homes in a matter of two days after India failed to qualify for the semifinals. According to a report on Mid Day, the tweet which had strong words against Pakistan players, was removed later, as it would lead to a controversy.

"Ek do din late gaye ghar !!!! Woh bhi besharam ki tarah Gaye... Bye bye Pakistan!" Raina tweeted.

Raina also tweeted that he is happy being back after a long time and was excited to join his IPL team for the Champions League T20 which starts from Oct 13.

Raina, however clarified saying, "Smart phones r dangerous. Discovered it last night after my nephew posted random tweets. I'm a sportsman and would never disrespect. Though I already deleted it, I felt its better to clarify. To all those who r upset, I'm sorry. I'm not one to show disrespect."

12:15  India test-fires nuke-capable missile Dhanush:  Just in: India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Dhanush, the naval version of Prithvi ballistic missile, from a warship off Odisha coast.
12:03  Anti-nuke activists want Mamata's support :  The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) seem to have tied their fortunes on to a new star. After launching a series of agitational programmes against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, the anti-nuclear activists have now sought the support of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying she took "bold and courageous stand" against the Haripur nuclear project in her state.

"After all, you are the only leader who has taken a bold and courageous stand against the Haripur nuclear project in Purba Medhinipur district in West Bengal," PMANE, sprearheading the stir said in a letter to Banerjee.
11:52  KF must satisfy DGCA before resuming operations: Ajit:  As Kingfisher Airlines extended its partial lockout by a week till October 12, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today said the debt-ridden company will have to satisfy airline regulator DGCA on safety before it gets permission to fly again.

"There are a lot of factors involved in it. That includes the salaries of the employees, their disgruntlement issues and others. If the employees are disgruntled there is an issue of safety.

"In order to give them permission to fly, they have to satisfy the DGCA on all these issues. The rest is if the law allows or...if we want to suspend their licence or revoke it, we have to see if the law permits," Singh said.

Also read: How Vijay Mallya's bird fell sick
11:42  While on Mr Chadha, read this report on Forbes: Why Ponty Chadha's Time Could Be Up in Uttar Pradesh 
11:36  Firing at liquor baron Ponty Chadha's bungalow:  Remember Ponty Chadha, the liquor baron who was recently in the news when the Supreme Court issued a notice to the UP government challenging the allotment of land to his realty project in Noida.

There was a firing at his residence this morning, at around 8.30 am at his bungalow in Moradabad. The firing went on for almost 15 minutes followed by sounds of someone screaming. The police are yet to share details of the incident, but it is believed that family members were inside the house when the firing happened. 
11:25  Cauvery protests gain momentum in Karnataka:  
Protests over the Cauvery water dispute gained momentum on Friday with Kannada outfits planning several high-voltage rallies in Bengaluru even as the state government briefed a Central team on the water storage levels in reservoirs.

Former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is scheduled to begin a day-long dharna against the Prime Minister-chaired Cauvery River Authority's order to Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu daily.

The state government this morning briefed a central team that has arrived to assess the ground realities.

Chief Secretary S V Ranganath and senior officials of Water Resources and Agriculture Ministries explained to the four-member team on the water storage levels in reservoirs in the backdrop of deficient rainfall and drinking water requirements of Bengaluru.
11:17  1 billion Facebook users 'incredible': Zuckerberg:  
Facebook now has more than one billion people using it every month, the company has said.

The passing of the milestone was announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday whose company was launched just eight years ago.

Speaking on NBC TV, Mr Zuckerberg said that if his company continued to "build the best products", they could dominate the social networking market for "a long time".

The site, which was launched in 2004, is now looking towards emerging markets to build its user base further.
10:50  Nitin Gadkari in yet another controversy:  
BJP president Nitin Gadkari has landed himself in trouble by seeking release of funds to contractors, one of whom is considered to be his close aide, engaged in a Maharashtra irrigation project which has been under the scanner.

The Gosikhurd project is embroiled in an alleged scam involving NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who recently resigned as the Deputy Chief Minister of the State, in the wake of charges of corruption. The BJP had mounted an aggressive campaign demanding probe into the scam.

In a detailed letter in July addressed to Union Water Resources Minister P K Bansal, Gadkari batted for the contractors and sought disbursal of Rs 400 crore dues to them.

Read more about it HERE 
10:34  Rupee rises to near 6-month high against dollar:  
The rupee on Friday gained 33 paise to nearly six-month high of 51.41 against the dollar in early trade on strong capital inflows and a firming trend in the equity market after the government unleashed second wave of reforms on Thursday

Forex dealers said persistent dollar selling by exporters and banks and weak American currency against the euro also kept rupee strong. 

The BSE benchmark Sensex rose for the fifth day in a row to fresh 15-month high of 19,086.11 in early trade on Friday after the government on Thursday decided to open the pension sector to foreign investment and raising FDI cap in insurance to 49 per cent from 26 per cent.

The rupee had gained 42 paise on Thursday to close at over 5-1/2-month high of 51.74 against the dollar.
09:39  Markets respond to reforms; Sensex above 19K mark:  
The 30-share BSE Sensex opened higher and stayed above the 19,000 mark on Friday and the 50-share Nifty opened above 5800. 

While, the BSE opened at 19110, 50 points higher, the Nifty opened at 5815, 27 points higher. 

On Thursday, ahead of the Cabinet meeting on foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance and pension, the market closed at its highest level in 17 months. 

While the BSE Sensex managed to end the day above the 19000 mark, the Nifty closed at 5787.

The government's reforms juggernaut rolled on in style. The Cabinet approved insurance and PFRDA bills. 

It proposed foreign equity cap in both sectors be hiked to 49 per cent. 

It also approved amendments to the Companies Bill 2011. Parliament will take up bills in winter session. Infrastructure too got its due. 

The Cabinet approved draft 12th Five Year Plan document which envisages the removal of bottlenecks for the sector.
09:30  No Kingfisher flights till Sunday:  
The partial lock-out declared at the Kingfisher Airlines has now been extended till October 7 after the second round of talks between the striking employees and the management held in Delhi failed on Thursday, sources said.

The lock-out was declared on Monday after majority of the employees went on strike protesting the non-payment of salaries for the past seven months and was expected to be lifted on Friday.

On Thursday, the top management of the beleaguered airlines met with the striking employees in Delhi. However, the deadlock continued because the employees demanded full salary payment of the past 7 months, while the management said that they will be unable to pay.

Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Agarwal and other top officials of the carrier held a meeting with engineers and pilots in Gurgaon to convince them to resume duty. Sources said the management offered March salary to the employees and promised to pay the remaining six months salary once the airlines is recapitalised. This offer was rejected by the engineers and pilots
08:38  American funded al-Shabab terror recruit!:  
An American who traveled to Somalia to train with the terror group al-Shabab testified against a man accused of helping arrange the travel.

Abdifatah Yusuf Isse told jurors that he saw Mahamud Said Omar hand $500 in cash to another al-Shabab recruit and wish him good luck during a meeting at a Minneapolis pizza parlor in 2007. The meeting occurred before Isse and several other men departed for Somalia, said Isse, who said the cash was pocket money.

Isse testified that the pizza parlor meeting came near the end of a string of private meetings at a Minneapolis mosque in which participants discussed traveling to Somalia and waging "jihad" against Ethiopian soldiers seen as invaders of their homeland.

Omar, 46, is charged with five terror-related counts in a federal trial that is part of a broader investigation into recruiting by al-Shabab, a US-designated terror group linked to al-Qaida at the center of much of the violence in Somalia. Prosecutors say Omar helped acquire airline tickets, helped pay for weapons and encouraged men to join.
08:37  Spain holds bailout at bay after debt test:  
Spain has fended off pressure for a full bailout to end its financial crisis, its economy minister insisting it did not need rescuing "at all". 

The eurozone's fourth-biggest economy yesterday passed a key test of confidence when its borrowing costs mostly eased in a bond auction, and won praise from the European Central Bank for its crisis reforms.

In a speech in London, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos insisted that Spain "does not need a bailout at all," and is "a competitive and sustainable country". 

Earlier in the bond sale, Spain showed it can still tap the markets for financing, raising 3.99 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in two-, three- and five-year bonds, at interest rates that were mostly lower.

Pressure remained however, with analysts warning that financial markets were counting on a bailout and the governor of the Bank of Spain casting doubt on Spain's fiscal targets and economic outlook.
03:55  Obama fights back after debate setback:  A day after a muted performance in a presidential debate, President Barack Obama fought back against Republican rival Mitt Romney on Thursday and the Democrat's re-election campaign vowed to learn lessons from the setback.

A feisty Obama told a rally of some 12,000 people that the former Massachusetts governor was untruthful during Tuesday's 90-minute debate in Denver, which most observers reckoned the Republican won."When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama said.

Read full story on
02:45  IMF warns Pakistan economy deteriorating:  The International Monetary Fund said today that Pakistan's economic situation was worsening and faces a return to double-digit inflation as the government prints money to finance its deficit. 

In a mission report, the IMF said Islamabad urgently needed to address deep problems in its energy sector, including costly subsidies and poor distribution, while boosting growth to meet a rapidly growing population. 

"Pakistan faces a challenging economic outlook. GDP growth in 2012/13 is projected to be in the 3-3.5 per cent range, which needs to accelerate in order to absorb the growing labor force," the IMF said.
02:21  4 arrested in the stabbing of Lt Gen K S Brar in London:  Four persons, including a woman, have been arrested here in connection with the stabbing of retired Lt Gen K S Brar, who had led 'Operation Blue Star' 28 years ago to flush out pro-Khalistani militants from the Golden Temple. 

The four persons, including a woman, were arrested this evening by the Metropolitan Police in connection with the conspiracy to murder Brar, a spokesman of Scotland Yard told PTI. Brar, 78, was attacked by four men in Old Quebec Street, near Oxford Street, on Sunday night.
02:07  Bin Laden: Dead or alive:  Book review of  No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden.

The essential facts of Osama bin Laden's demise'"that he was shot dead by US Navy SEALs in a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the early hours of May 2, 2011, local time'"have been reliably established and stand beyond reasonable doubt. For many Americans and victims of al-Qaeda's violence worldwide, they are the only facts that will ever matter. Bin Laden planned and funded terrorism operations that killed many hundreds of civilians not only in New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, but also in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Read full article here
01:53  Turkish PM doesn't want war with Syria:  Turkey doesn't want war with Syria but it's determined to protect its borders and its people, the country's prime minister declared today. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at a news conference hours after Turkey's Parliament approved a bill authorizing military operations against Syria. 

Earlier, Turkey fired on targets in Syria for a second day following a Syrian shelling that killed five civilians in the Turkish border town of Akcakale. Erdogan suggested that the Syrian shelling was not accidental, saying such shells had fallen on Turkish territory on seven previous occasions since Syria's civil war began last year.
01:11  The Obama, Romney dance on debt in the debates:  Viewers of Wednesday night's presidential debate could be excused for feeling lost in a thicket of numbers. Yet both Mitt Romney and President Obama had clarity on one economic topic: a duty to bring down the $16 trillion national debt. 

 Mr. Romney framed it as a moral issue. The baby-boomer generation, he said, keeps "spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation.' With Mr. Obama in agreement, the two then split over how to cut the debt '" by entitlement cuts or higher taxes? '" while trying to end conflict between generations over financial obligations.

Read full story on
00:47  Russia dismisses talk of new spy scandal with US:  Russia said on Thursday the Kremlin had nothing to do with a network alleged by the United States to be smuggling military technology to Moscow.

The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it had broken up an elaborate network aimed at illegally acquiring U.S.-made microelectronic components for Russian military and spy agencies. 

It charged 11 people with taking part. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed surprise at the allegations.

Read full story on
00:27  Slight intensity quake hits Himachal again:  A slight intensity quake tonight hit Dharamsala region in the northern hill state of Himachal Pradesh. The tremor, measuring 3 on Richter Scale, occurred at 8:30 PM, the IMD said here. 

There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage. Yesterday, Himachal Pradesh was rocked by two slight intensity earthquakes within a span of 45 minutes. Both the quakes struck the Chamba-Lahul Spiti region.
00:17  16 children killed, 3 missing in landslide in China:  Sixteen children were killed while three others still missing after a huge landslide engulfed a primary school in south China's Yunnan Province on Thursday.   

The landslide hit the village of Zhenhe, Yiliang County of Zhaotong City trapping 19 villagers, the county government said.   

Sixteen people were killed and three others still missing, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.  
00:16  Top headlines in the past 24 hours:  Prithvi II ballistic missile successfully test fired

Yeddyurappa to float new party on November 19?

Malegaon blast: SC denies interim bail to Purohit, others

Murder case registered in baby Ahuti's death

Wife of Kingfisher employee commits suicide

Kudankulam suffers from serious issues: Activists to SC

Gadkari in soup over letter on Maharashtra irrigation project

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