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Pak releases cleric in blasphemy case

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October 12, 2012

23:32  Pak releases cleric in blasphemy case:   A Pakistani cleric who falsely accused a minor Christian girl of blasphemy by framing evidence against her was freed from jail on Friday after he was granted bail by a court in the federal capital.

Khalid Chishti was detained on September 1 on a charge of blasphemy for desecrating the Quran and planting evidence that was used against the girl Rimsha Masih.
23:10  Germany non-committal on ending Modi boycott:  Germany on Friday remained non-committal on whether it would follow Britain in resuming engagement with Gujarat but said it was kept informed by the UK before the announcement of the decision. 

"There is nothing for us to comment. We, Germany, do not have the intention to interfere in the ongoing election campaign in Gujarat elections," German Ambassador Michael Steiner said.

His response came when asked to comment on Britain's announcement yesterday to resume engagement with Gujarat, ending a 10-year boycott of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and whether Germany would follow suit.
21:26  UNDP to help in implementation of MNREGA:  The United Nations Development Programme will help in effective implementation of rural development flagship programmes like MNREGA, especially in Naxal-hit states, over the next five years. 

The Ministry of Rural Development and UNDP today signed a letter of collaboration to this effect for implementation during the twelfth five year plan.

The MOU was signed by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Lise Grande, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator.
21:25  S&P will look at reforms before action:Fin Min:  Global rating agency Standard and Poor's will look at economic reforms being undertaken by the government before taking any rating action, said a top finance ministry official. 

"Reform is a continuous process. We are moving ahead with several reforms. You have heard about reforms regarding urea price recently. Reforms are on the way and many more will be coming. And I am confident, Standard & Poor's will look at them and then make an assessment," said Arvind Mayaram, secretary, department of economic affairs.
20:32  Cauvery River Authority rejects K'taka review petition:  The Cauvery River Authority has rejected the review petition filed by Karnataka, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

Karnataka had sought a review of the CRA order which orders the release of 9000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

However, in the Supreme Court today, Karnataka filed an affidavit stating that 9000 cusecs of water had already flown into Tamil Nadu. Although the entire 9000 cusecs of water was not released physically to Tamil Nadu as per the order of the CRA, water had flown into TN as part due to excess water from the northeast rainfall.
20:30  Kejriwal likely to traget Gadkari on Oct 16:  Arvind Kejriwal has so far launched an attack on Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra.

And his next disclosure, which he has announced for October 16, is likely to focus on BJP president Nitin Gadkari, according to a report on NDTV.  

Read full report here
19:41  Kingfisher extends lockout till Oct 20:  Kingfisher Airlines has extended its lockout till October 20, apparently after failing to convince its striking staffers, protesting delay in salaries, to return to work.

Airline sources said the airline management, in an internal mail, has said that due to operational reasons, all flights across its network would be cancelled till October 20.

The mail came a day after Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal appealed to all employees, striking over non-payment of salaries for seven months, to return to work to resume flight operations soon. The employees are insisting that the salaries be paid first before they resume duty.
19:15  Defence ministry allows army to have own attack choppers:  Overruling stiff opposition by the Indian Air Force, the government has allowed the army to have its own attack helicopter units, meeting its long-time demand.   

The defence ministry has also decided that all future acquisitions of attack helicopters will be made for the army while the IAF can retain its two squadrons of Mi-35 attack helicopters along with the soon-to-be-procured 22 Apache choppers.   

"We have received a letter from the defence ministry and we have been given the attack helicopters by the government,"said Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh.
19:06  Cops' action to detain us unexpected: Kejriwal:   Arvind Kejriwal said today that the move by the police to detain us was unexpected. "I will continue protests at Parliament street if released," he told CNN-IBN.

Kejriwal was arrested this afternoon in Delhi with his supporters, including some with special needs, as they marched towards the Prime Minister's house.  Kejriwal's supporters punctured a tyre of the bus that was leading him away, prompting his transfer to another vehicle.

Kejriwal wanted the PM to meet differently-abled people today, but was refused an appointment. Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that the request for the meeting was made this morning, and that Dr Singh had a full day.
18:38  Arvind Kejriwal has asked for Salman Khurshid's resignation and arrest saying he and his wife, Louise, were powerful enough to tamper with evidence. Kejriwal and key IAC aides were arrested today for blockading the road at Janpath, New Delhi. 
18:35  'Stung' Khurshid slaps defamation case on TV Today:  Union law minister Salman Khurshid files defamation case against TV Today group. Khurshid landed in controversy after TV news channel Aaj Tak exposed financial impropriety in an NGO run by him and his wife.

The channel, in a sting operation, said the NGO, Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, run by Khurshid and his wife Louise forged signatures of senior officials in several districts of Uttar Pradesh depriving the physically challenged who were eligible for grants under a scheme.

Louise Khurshid, however, has denied the allegations and said it was "devoid of any merit, and is false, malicious and baseless".

Read more here
18:31  And a feel-good piece on Rohini Nilekani (ex-Infosys boss Nandan Nilekani's wife) on how she pours her wealth into getting books to India's poorest children. Read
18:24  Gun-totting MP: Wasn't going to shoot anyone:  A police case has been registered against Congress MP Vithal Radadiya.
An unrepentant Radadiya says, "I was never going to shoot anyone. I took the gun for my own protection." The party has also served a disciplinary notice against the MP. 
18:14  Weekend reads when you don't want to be a spud on the couch.

Written through Tears: The Millions Interviews Katherine Boo

Frogs (That's a story by this year's Nobel Literature winter)

18:02  Dolly the sheep scientist Keith Campbell dies:  Biologist worked on controversial cloning that captured public imagination in mid-90s but outraged animal rights campaigners passed on. Read
17:51  Merkel says Nobel Prize a personal spur to action on Europe:  If you've just joined us, the European Union has won the Nobel Peace Prize. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the awarding as a "wonderful decision" and said it would inspire her personally to press ahead with closer integration, reports Reuters. "The fact that the Nobel Committee has honored this idea is both a spur and an obligation, also for me in a very personal way," she said in a short statement to reporters at the chancellery. 
17:46  Rs 10.5 cr cheques bounce, NBW against Mallya:  A Hyderabad court today issued a non-bailable warrant against crippled Kingfisher Airlines, its chairman Vijay Mallya and four of its directors after the GMR-run Hyderabad airport dragged them to court when a payment of Rs 10.5 crore could not be honoured.

"We had filed four cheque bouncing cases, totalling Rs10.5 crore against KFA, Mallya and four directors of the carrier a couple of months back. As they failed to appear for hearing today, the magistrate issued an NBW against them," an airport official said from Hyderabad.

The spokesperson also said that the money was to be paid towards airport charges and the airline had not been paying it for months. 
17:16  Deccan Chargers axed: Only eight teams at IPL:  The deadline for Deccan Chargers to deposit the bank guarantee ended at 5 pm today. This means that there are only eight teams at IPL this year. The 6th edition of the IPL is expected to be played out in April-May next year.
17:12  Deccan Chargers terminated from IPL :  Just in: Deccan Chargers has been terminated from IPL. This comes after Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) failed to cough up the Rs 100 crore bank guarantee to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The The Bombay high court today refused to give DCHL owner of Indian Premier League Hyderabad franchise Deccan Chargers, an extension to submit a Rs 100 crore bank guarantee.
17:09  Cornered Cong asks gun-brandishing MP to explain:  A presumably embarrassed Congress says they have asked MP Vithal Radadiya for an explanation. Scroll down for the story. 
17:00  Who to believe: Vadra's bank or balance sheet?:  The curious dealings of Robert Vadra have become even more curious, with a bank mentioned in the balance sheet of one of his companies denying it ever undertook a transaction clearly stated in the firm's auditor's report. Read
16:45   Read the Malala Yousufzai story here.

Pakistani police say they have arrested 3 suspects in the attack on 14-year-old peace activist.
16:38  Malala wont change anything:   Analysts doubt Pakistan will strengthen fight against extremism, as it is used as instrument of state policy. Read
16:15  Happy 80th birthday, Air India:  In a manner of speaking, Air India, India's foundering national airline, turns eighty on Monday  -- an octogenarian that started life with a spry hop from Karachi to Bombay. It should be a proud moment, except that it serves only to remind us of the irony that one of India's most dilapidated public-sector companies was launched by -- and then wrested away from -- one of India's most successful private corporations. Read
16:11  I acted in self defence: MP brandishes gun at toll operators:  More on Congress MP who threatened toll booth operators with a gun.

The incident happened near a toll plaza at Karjan village last night, when the politician's car stopped at the toll booth. In a police complaint, the toll booth employees have said that the attendant asked for the MP's identity card and the driver showed him a photocopy, reports NDTV.

When the toll attendant asked for the original, they said, Radadiya angrily stepped out of the car with the gun in hand and pointed it at the attendant, even allegedly threatening to kill him.

Footage from a CCTV camera installed at the toll plaza corroborates this. On camera the bearded MP, dressed in white, is seen strutting around the car with the gun, occasionally raising it and pointing it at people, clearly agitated.

Other commuters passing through the toll plaza were reportedly too afraid to step out of their cars.

Radadiya denies none of this. Except that he claims that about 15 people had surrounded his car and so he had to grab the gun for self defence. "Are people free to attack us? I acted in self defence. Where is the police on a highway?" he asked.

With an injured air he recounted to NDTV how his car was stopped at the plaza despite him being an MP. "MPs don't have to pay toll," he said, clearly astonished that he was stopped. The attendant's due diligence also did not  agree with the MP, who said indignantly, "When I got down I was called a bogus MP. If a person calls me a bogus MP, they say my card is false, what do I do?"

He soon slammed the phone down on NDTV.
15:58  On a lighter note: @ANI_news: Bus carrying Arvind Kejriwal stops mid way to prison. Flat tire stopped the bus, policemen try to push it along.
15:55  MP brandishes gun at toll booth operators:  All MPs and MLAs are exempt from paying toll, provided they can show a valid ID. In this case, the MP Vithal Radadiya, had a photocopy of his ID, prompting an argument between them and Radia's driver. That is when Radia got out of his car holding his gun aloft and tapped on the glass windows of the poll booth in an attempt to threaten the toll operators.

Also read: Police arrest two in Gurgaon toll shooting case
15:33  Gujarat Cong MP threatens toll operators with gun :  Shocking news coming in on NDTV says a Congress MP from Porbandar, Vithal Radadiya, pulled out a gun at a toll plaza near Vadorara and threated the employees there. The politician was apparently angry after being asked for his identity card in original. What the Congress MP had was a photocopy.
In his defence, the MP told NDTV that he was angry after the toll attendant called him a bogus MP and told him that his ID was a fake and had allegedly threatened him. 
15:28  Kejriwal, Sisodia taken to undisclosed location:  Both Kejriwal and Sisodia have been taken to an undisclosed location. Kejriwal had told protestors that they would make Janpath another Tahrir Square (centre of anti-regime protests in Egypt). "Now people should take leave and join the protest. Now it's a fight to finish. Prime Minister will have to meet us and accept our demands. Mr Khurshid has to resign. He should be arrested,' he said.An IAC spokesperson said they would continue their dharna till the PM meets them or Mr. Khurshid resigns."
15:19  Hum jail se bahar nahin niklenge, says Kejriwal:  Arvind Kejriwal says he will stay inside jail, "Hum bahar nahin niklenge" from inside the police van. There were about 250 supporters at Janpath since 11 am demanding a probe against union minister Salman Khurshid. The march was organised by Rashtriya Vikalang Party and supported by Kejriwal-led IAC.

The march started from Janpath but was prevented by police after 100 metres at the Rajpath crossing.

Mr Khurshid has insulted the office of Law Minister BR Ambedkar was once in this seat. A case should be registered against Mr Khurshid and his wife. Till he is declared innocent, he should be out of the Cabinet," he said.

Both Mr. Khurshid and his wife are very powerful people. They will be able to cleanse the evidence. They can put pressure on witnesses. They should be arrested to prevent this," Kejriwal said.

15:13  Arvind Kejriwal, Sisodia force-lifted, arrested:  Moving on from the Nobel Peace Prize... IAC key member Manish Sisodia has been arrested for protesting against Salman Khurshid's NGO. They were allegedly blocking the road at Janpath and despite warnings by the police, refused to move.

News just coming in says Arvind Kejriwal has also been arrested.

Arvind Kejriwal along with disabled people had marched towards the Prime Ministers residence demanding dismissal of Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his arrest following allegations by India Against Corruption (IAC) of financial irregularities in a trust run by him.

The activist had sought time from the Prime Minister but his office refused to give him and the disabled people an appointment, Kejriwal said.

The main road had been blocked for the last few hours and the police said despite repeated requests asking the IAC volunteers to move, they said they would rather court arrest. Consequently, they were force-lifted and arrested.

15:06  And a case for the EU:  The award comes at a surprise at a time when European solidarity is facing its most daunting challenge in decades amid deep rifts between a south drowning in debt and a wealthier north, led by Germany, only reluctantly coming to the rescue.

Whether or not that begrudging assistance will keep the European project afloat remains to be seen, but the deep crisis has broadened the gulf already felt between citizens in the different member states and a Brussels long seen as too distant and bureaucratic.

But the creation of the organisation is credited with helping to bring peace and stability to the war-torn continentby bringing together arch-enemies France and Germany and herding them down the same path. Despite recurring difficulties, the EU has become the biggest common market in the world, allowing free circulation of goods, people, services and capital.

Over the years, the pioneering project has swelled toencompass 27 countries which not long ago sat on either side of the "Iron Curtain".
15:03  Most bizarre decision in history of Nobel Peace awards?:  Giving the Award to an organization is not unprecedented. Something called the International Peace Bureau won all the way back in 1910, and other past recipients include the International Red Cross, Doctors With Borders, and UNICEF.

However, the 2012 award is likely to go down as one of the questionable choices, like the awards for Yasser Arafat, Henry Kissinger, the International Atomic Energy Agency (after the the US had already gone to war in Iraq), and Barack Obama, who won after less a year in office as President. More
15:00  As expected Nobel Peace Prize is trending on Twitter -- snorting disbelief on most tweets.

@mathieuvonrohr Seriously: Awarding the Nobel peace prize to the EU, who actually secured peace, certainly a much better than idea than giving it to Obama.

@AsmaIMalik Next year, the Nobel peace prize will be awarded to planet earth for not self-imploding #NobelPeacePrize
14:54  @benedictbrogan I suppose could have been even sillier: they could have awarded EU the Nobel for economics #saynotonobel
14:47  The EU was picked from 231 different nominations, 43 for organizations and the rest for individuals, the five-member Nobel committee said. The names of the nominees are not revealed.
14:45  Here's the full press release on the Nobel Peace Prize:  The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU). The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France. Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars.

Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners. In the 1980s, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the EU.

The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership. The fall of the Berlin Wall made EU membership possible for several Central and Eastern European countries, thereby opening a new era in European history. The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled. The admission of Croatia as a member next year, the opening of membership negotiations with Montenegro, and the granting of candidate status to Serbia all strengthen the process of reconciliation in the Balkans. In the past decade, the possibility of EU membership for Turkey has also advanced democracy and human rights in that country.

The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.

The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.
14:40  The Nobel Peace Prize for EU was anticipated by many, with a Norwegian broadcaster even reporting the announcement an hour before it was officially made. The EU has been nominated several times for the award in the past. Six nations were founding members of the EU and has since expanded to 27 nations.
14:36  The Nobel Peace Prize 2012 was awarded to European Union (EU) "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".
14:35   Again, there were no recipients of the Peace Prize during almost the entire WWII years  -- 1939 to 1943. Again, the Nobel went to the Red Cross in 1944. 
14:25  The official announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize will be made shortly.
14:23  No Peace Prize during WWI:  Tellingly, during the WWI (1914 to 1918, except for 1917) nobody -- whether individual or institution -- received the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1917, the Peace Prize went to International Committee of the Red Cross.
14:20  The latest from NRK, the Norway state broadcaster: "We have had confirmation from people whom we trust who say that it is the EU that will get the prize," NRK radio said.

Founded with the Treaty of Rome in 1957 with a community of six nations seeking greater economic integration, the bloc has expanded to 27 including east European states added since the Cold War.

Norway is not a member, having decided against it in the early days and then had a subsequent attempt to join rejected by the electorate. It is not quite clear what the Nobel award committee will say about the cris affecting the 17-nation eurozone at the heart of the EU.
14:17  EU gets Nobel Peace Prize for uniting continent:  The EU has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in uniting the continent. The award will play down the debt crisis, Norwegian public radio says. 
14:14  European Union wins Nobel Peace Prize :  And the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 goes to the European Union. Details awaited.
14:11  Nobel Peace prize winners - the full list:  As we wait for the Nobel Peace Prize announcement, see how the full list of Nobel peace prize winners from 1901 to 2011 breaks down. Read
14:08  Cong raps Goyat for 'consensual rape' statement :  Congress spokesperson Dharambir Goyat today blamed women over the increasing incidence of rape in Haryana and said that 90 per cent of rapes happen due to consensual sex having gone wrong.

In a shocking and bizarre statement, the Congress leader said, "I don't feel any hesitation in saying that 90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don't know that they would be gang raped further as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead."

The Congress has now sent a disciplinary notice to Goyat to explain his statement and has also distance itself from him. More on CNN IBN. He has also be cautioned against making any statement.
13:57  Is it a good time to be a girl in India?:  It's one of the best times to be a girl in India's history, according to a government release earlier this year. The number of girls in schools has increased. The maternal mortality ratio has dropped.

The government has carved out more money for women's welfare measures in the budget. And for the first time, women outnumbered men in the number of literates added to the country in the last decade.  

And yet, as the first International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated on Thursday, news of a string of rapes in a northern state. Read
13:50  Deccan Chargers sold to real estate firm Kamala Landmarc:  IPL cricket team Deccan Chargers sold to Mumbai-based Kamla Landmarc Real Estate Holdings for undisclosed sum. In a missive to the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange Deccan said: "This is to inform you that pursuant to its Meeting of the Board of Directors held on October 11, 2012, it was resolved to authorize the Board of Directors to sell, transfer/dispose off the Deccan Chargers Franchise business undertakings/business division of the Company to Kamla Landmarc Real Estate Holdings Private Limited," the letter said.

Read more
13:46  Restaurant serves toddler whisky instead of juice:  A restaurant in Wales has apologized for serving whiskey instead of fruit juice to a 2-year-old child who allegedly became intoxicated after drinking the alcoholic beverage. Read
13:41  China Nobel winner Mo Yan hopes for jailed laureate's freedom:  Chinese Nobel Literature Prize winner Mo Yan said on Friday he hoped jailed compatriot Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, would be freed soon. Read
13:37  Home minister on three-day visit to Kashmir :  Union Home Minister Sushil KumarShinde today began a 3-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir fromPoonch district to review the security situation along theIndo-Pak border and hinterland as well as cross LoC trade.
13:33  Chinese parents sue consultant after sons are rejected by Harvard. Read
13:14  The Front Row: Karan Johar on his protgs:  Not a single A-list Bollywood actor is starring in Student of the Year. This is an unusual choice for film director Karan Johar, who admits being 'unabashedly in love with big, mainstream actors'. Read
13:11  RTI MUST end where privacy begins:  Voicing concern over frivolous and vexatious use of Right To Information Act, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if it encroaches on an individual's privacy.

"There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the right to information and the right to privacy, which stems out of the fundamental right to life and liberty. The citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy. But where to draw the line is a complicated question," he said.

Readthe report on
12:50  Why Indians are getting poorer:  Feeling cash-strapped? When Credit Suisse mapped global wealth last year, most of Asia was mustard green. The biggest difference in the way the map looks this year is that India is now blue.That's not good news.It indicates that the average wealth in the country has dropped to below $5,000 per person, above that being mustard green, below that blue. Read
12:48  Swapan Dasgupta @swapan55 BJP top brass owes explanation why it prevented Jaitley & Yashwant Sinha from pursuing Vadra case in 2011. As Mao said, "Bombard the HQ"
12:44  Who will walk away with this year's Nobel Peace prize?:  This year's winner (or winners) will be picked from 231 different nominations, 43 for organizations and the rest for individuals, the five-member Nobel committee says. The names of the nominees are not revealed.

Last year's prize came as a surprise to many observers, split as it was among three women: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and grassroots activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni media freedom campaigner Tawakkul Karman, a symbol of the Arab Spring. Will this year's winner of the coveted prize also come out of the blue?

Read the report on
12:42  Nobel Peace prize expected to stir debate:  Up ahead today is the announcement of the most important Nobel -- The Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee will announce its 2012 winner with prize watchers favoring dissidents from Russia and Belarus or religious leaders working on Muslim-Christian reconciliation.

But the prize has already stirred up debate. Read the report on Reuters.
12:33  Deccan Chargers sold to real estate firm Kamala Landmarc:  Incidentally, the Deccan Chargers team has been sold to Mumbai-based Kamala Landmarc owned by Jitendra Jain by the Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited. In a missive to the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange Deccan said: "This is to inform you that pursuant to its Meeting of the Board of Directors held on October 11, 2012, it was resolved to authorize the Board of Directors to sell, transfer/dispose off the Deccan Chargers Franchise business undertakings/business division of the Company to Kamla Landmarc Real Estate Holdings Private Limited," the letter said.

Read the report on the Indian Express.
12:27  HC denies extension to Chargers to pay guarantee:  Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL), is now under the risk of losing its IPL franchise if it fails to cough up the Rs 100 crore bank guarantee to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said a banker close to the development, reports Indian Expess.

This is an irrevocable and unconditional bank guarantee towards the expenses for IPL series-6 including making payments to BCCI to players and support team costs. If DCHL fails to come up with the guarantee its IPL contract could be revoked, said the banker. The 6th edition of the IPL is expected to be played out in April-May next year.

12:20  Chargers fails to give Rs 100-cr bank guarantee:  The Bombay high court has refused to give Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd (DCHL), owner of Indian Premier League Hyderabad franchise Deccan Chargers, an extension to submit a Rs 100 crore bank guarantee. 
11:56  Mum police on alert after threat to blow up Secretariat:  The Mumbai Police has stepped up vigil after an anonymous letter sent to the state Secretariat Mantralaya threatened to bomb important government installations in Mumbai and Nagpur.

The letter, received yesterday, specified timings atwhich the places will be bombed, sources said, adding that it mentioned Mantralaya, Vidhan Bhavan, MLA hostel, Manora Hostel and Nagpur Vidhan Sabha as the targets.

The state secretariat officials informed about the threat letter the police, who sounded a high alert in south Mumbai. A check was carried out all important places and vehicles, including those parked at the places mentioned in the letter, were thoroughly checked, police said.

As the timings mentioned in the letter for the attacks passed by, police said it appeared that the letter was a hoax. However, checking has been stepped up and the letter would not be taken lightly, police said.

Pictured: The Secretariat in flames in June 
11:46  Sedition charges against cartoonist Trivedi dropped:   Just in: The sedition charges against cartoonist Assem Trivedi have been dropped. The Maharashtra government decided to drop the charges against the Kanpur-based cartoonist and conveyed the decision to the Bombay high court today. Accordingly, the police have been instructed to make the changes in Trivedi's case and he will now be chargesheeted for dishonoring the national symbols, emblem and parliament.

In September, he was charged under the sedition law, for sending offensive messages under the Information Technology Act and under the law for Prevention of Insults to National Honour. The complainant took particular exception to Trivedi's cartoon showing the national emblem with three wolves instead of lions and the words Bhrashtameva Jayate (only corruption triumphs) instead of Satyameve Jayate.

11:36  Sheila Dikshit to appear in court in defamation case:  A Delhi court has directed CM Sheila Dikshit to appear in person before it in a defamation case filed by her against city BJPchief Vijender Gupta. Dikshit filed the case against Gupta for allegedly using "uncivilised" language in hoardings put up prior to the civic polls. She told the court that she had sent legal notices to Gupta after the civic polls, but the BJP leader did not apologise.
11:30  Wedding food worth Rs 339 crore goes waste:  After the big fat wedding is done with and the guests have gone home, what remains is the litter, dirty dishes and piles of excess high-calorie food. Enough to feed lakhs of children, in a country where malnutrition has been termed a "national shame" by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Statistics show that every third malnourished child in the world is an Indian. Read
11:29  As expected Rahul Gandhi is trending -- #YoRahulSoDumb. Most of the tweets have ripped him apart. 
11:25  Akalis call Rahul national joke for drugs comment:  Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh may be going to polls, but it's Punjab where Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has created a political storm. Reacting to his remark that "seven out of 10 youth in Punjab are addicted to drugs," the Punjab government hit back saying, "Rahul is a national joke" and sought an apology from him. Read
11:13  Just in: Industrial production growth slows to 2.7 per cent in August, compared to 3.4 per cent in the same month last year
11:07  UP minister resigns, but wants probe on CMO:  Vinod Singh says he has resigned on moral grounds, but said the role of the Gonda CMO SP Singh should be probed on moral grounds. 

Meanwhile, the CMO continues to be in hiding. While speaking to CNN-IBN from an undisclosed location, he said the situation was still the same and that he was under a threat. "The situation is the same as earlier. They came at night. They were trying to kill me and pressuring me to change the report," he said. 
11:00  UP minister accused of abducting CMO resigns:  

Uttar Pradesh minister Vinod Kumar Singh has resigned from his post after it was alleged that he was instrumental in the abduction of the district chief medical officer of Gonda.  

After remaining silent on the issue for more than 24 hours, the ruling Samajwadi Party was forced to act, and has now asked the minister to quit. However, Vinod Kumar Singh told CNN-IBN that he reisgned on moral grounds.

10:07  Sensex down 66 points in early trade:  

The BSE benchmark Sensex today fell by nearly 66 points in early trade as Infosys' second quarter results failed to cheer the market. The 30-share index, which had gained 173.65 points yesterday, fell by 65.90 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 18,738.85 with stocks of IT, capital goods and power sectors leading the fall in first five minutes of trade.        


Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty declined by 13.20 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 5,694.85. Selling pressure sparked after below-market-expectations September quarter earnings by IT major Infosys, mainly influenced the trading sentiment, brokers said.        


Funds and retail investors booking profits at prevailing higher levels also aided the fall in Sensex.

09:51  UK Marines held over Afghan murder:  

Seven Royal Marines have been arrested on suspicion of murder, the Ministry of Defence has said. The arrests by the Royal Military Police related to an incident in Afghanistan last year, when 3 Commando Brigade was based in Helmand.


The MoD said the incident followed an "engagement with an insurgent" and no civilians were involved.


Read more on BBC

09:38  Infosys Q2 net up 24.29 per cent at Rs 2,369 cr:  

IT major Infosys today reported a 24.29 per cent jump in consolidated net profit to Rs 2,369 crore for the second quarter ended September 30. The company's revenues were up 21.7 per cent to Rs 9,858 crore in the second quarter from Rs 8,099 crore in the year-ago period, Infosys said in a BSE filing.         


Company CFO V Balakrishnan will be giving up his position as CFO from October 31, after six years at the helm of the company's finances. However, he will continue as a member of the board and will be responsible for three key businesses -- Infosys BPO, Finacle and the India Business Unit.         


The company had posted a net profit of Rs 1,906 crore for the July-September quarter of the previous fiscal (2011-12). For FY2012-13, the company said it expects its rupee revenue to be at least Rs 39,582 crore (a year-on-year growth of 17.3 per cent).

08:17  6.7 magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia's Papua:  

AFP: A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua today, the US Geological Survey said, but there was no immediate tsunami alert issued.         


The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 0701 IST, was 247 kilometres southwest of Nabire in Papua and 108 kilometres north of Dobo in the Aru Islands, USGS said. It hit at a depth of 24 kilometres.         


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website said there was no current warning or advisory in effect. "There is no tsunami potential. The quake was felt in towns of Nabire, Wamena in Papua and the city of Ambon in Maluku islands," Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology andGeophysics Agency duty officer, Fauzi, told AFP.

04:05  Turkish PM lying about intercepted plane: Syria:  
Syria has accused Turkey of hostility and "lying" after it intercepted a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow which Ankara said carried military equipment and ammunition for Damascus.

As Damascus accused Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "lying," France warned of the risks posed by the rising tensions between the two neighbours. 

"The Turkish prime minister continues to lie in order to justify his government's hostile attitude towards Syria," the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement. 

The information ministry challenged Erdogan to show the alleged weapons seized.

"The plane did not carry ammunition or military equipment and Erdogan's comments lack credibility and he must show the equipment and ammunition at least to his people," it said.

Erdogan earlier said the plane carried "equipment and ammunition shipped to the Syrian defence ministry" from a Russian military supplier.
01:15  Powerful blast rocks Damascus military justice building:  
A powerful blast rocked the military justice building in Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, as state television spoke of a terrorist attack.

The Observatory said the blast in the western Mazzeh district of the capital occurred in front of the military justice building which is near the ministry of higher education.

State television said "a bomb exploded near the ministry of higher education" and that two people were wounded in the "terrorist attack."

The Syrian capital has been rocked by a string of bomb blasts, including suicide bombings, mostly targeting government buildings, since the March 2011 outbreak of an anti-regime revolt.
01:13  Earthquake shakes Chilean capital:  
An earthquake has shaken the Chilean capital, causing people to flee into the streets, but there are no initial reports of damage. 

The University of Chile says the quake had a magnitude of 5.7 and took place at 2:22 pm (1722 GMT). 

It was centered about 84 kilometres from Santiago and 6 kilometres from the city of Los Andes.

A magnitude-8.8 quake and tsunami in central Chile in February 2010 killed more than 500 people
00:59  US Dy Secy of State Burns to travel to India next week:  
US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns will travel to India along with four other Asian nations, including China, next week as part of America's continued dialogue with these countries on a range of bilateral and regional issues.

On the last leg of his week-long trip, Burns would arrive in New Delhi on October 18.

During his India visit, Burns would met with "senior Indian government officials to discuss regional priorities and review progress across the breadth of the strategic partnership, including measures to strengthen our bilateral economic engagement, and deepen our security and defence cooperation," the State Department said.

"He is going to review the full range of issues that we have with India: our bilateral issues, our regional issues. As you know, we try to maintain a regular pace of high-level diplomacy with India.The Secretary (of State) saw Foreign Minister (SM) Krishna just recently at the UNGA (UN General Assembly); Treasury Secretary (Timothy) Geithner was out there, so this is part of our regular deepening and broadening of that relationship," Victoria Nuland said in response to a question. 
00:52  Chemists in Mumbai on strike from October 16:  
Just In: All chemists in Maharashtra are going on strike from October 16 to 18. 

Please stock up medicines. 
00:50  Top headlines at this hour:  Kejriwal, supporters to march to PM's residence on Friday

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