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October 17, 2012

23:20  Rebels down Syrian army chopper:  Rebels downed a helicopter in fierce fighting today with troops seeking to retake a key Syrian town, a watchdog said, as peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned the conflict risks setting the region ablaze. 

The battle for the Damascus-Aleppo highway raged around the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan even as Brahimi appeared to have won tentative support for a ceasefire. The UN and Arab League envoy warned of the conflict spreading as he visited neighbouring Lebanon, the latest leg of a Middle East tour aimed at ending more than 19 months of bloodshed.
23:08  Israel counted calorie needs in Gaza blockade:  The Israeli military meticulously calculated the number of calories Gaza's residents would need to consume to avoid malnutrition during a sweeping blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010, according to a document the Defence Ministry released under a court order and that was made public today. 

The Israeli military insisted that it never used the 2008 guidelines to restrict the flow of food to Gaza. But critics disputed that, saying the calculations appear to have guided limits imposed on food imports at the time. They said the document provides further evidence that Israel used food as a weapon to put pressure on Hamas, the violently anti-Israel militant group that seized Gaza by force in mid-2007. 

The blockade was imposed shortly after Hamas took over Gaza. Israel declared Gaza a "hostile territory" in September 2007, following the takeover. Seeking to weaken the militants, it called for "severe restrictions" on civilians that included limitations on food.
22:47  Nike drops Armstrong over doping:  Lance Armstrong has had his contract with sportswear giant Nike terminated.

Nike stated  that "due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Armstrong participated in doping... we have terminated his contract".

Armstrong, 41, has also stepped down as chairman of his charity Livestrong.

The decisions come a week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a report containing accusations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams.
22:42  UN body lauds India's efforts to conserve biodiversity:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement of USD 50 million grant for strengthening institutional mechanism for biodiversity conservation and his idea of "GDP of the poor" are highly laudable, a top UNEP official said today. 

"The announcement by the Prime Minister on investing USD 50 million towards biodiversity conservation in India during its presidency (of CBD), I believe, is a tremendously important signal," United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner told reporters here.
22:15  I hang head in shame: Harayana CM's wife :  Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's wife Asha Hooda on Wednesday said her "head hangs in shame" when the state, a frontrunner in many areas, is pointed out for negative things that include adverse sex ratio and recent incidents of crimes against women.

Asha Hooda, who is also Vice President of Council for Child Welfare, Haryana, said that when people talk about the state having made rapid progress in various fields but at the same time point it out for adverse sex ratio and crimes against women, she feels ashamed.

"My head hangs in shame. I really feel ashamed when the state is pointed out (for negative things)...," Asha Hooda said addressing a seminar here on female foeticide and atrocities against women.
21:54  Gadkari, more a businessman than politician: Cong :   With activist Arvind Kejriwal targeting Nitin Gadkari, Congress leader Digvijay Singh saw vindication of his stand that the BJP president was "more a businessman than a politician".    

"I have been saying from the very beginning that Nitin Gadkari is more a businessman than a politician. What Kejriwal has said is nothing new", the Congress general secretary, who is a known detractor of the BJP chief, told reporters.
20:51  MP, who pulled out gun at toll plaza, refused bail:  Congress MP Vitthalbhai Radadiya, who pulled out a rifle at a toll plaza in Gujarat, had said that he had acted in self-defence. He repeated the same explanation today as he applied for anticipatory bail in a court in Vadodara, which was rejected, reports NDTV.

The court today upheld the police contention that since the Congress MP had a 16 criminal cases pending against him and could not be given the bail. A case has been filed against him for rioting and branding a weapon in public. Radadiya has also refused to apologise.

Read the full story here
19:28  IAC damaged credibility of civil society: BJP:  

BJP has come out in full support defending Kejriwal's allegations against party chief Nitin Gadkari.  


Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, while taking a dig at Kejriwal's 'sensational' allegations, said that land given tio Gadkari was a wasteland and not a farm land.  


Counter-alleging IAC's press conference as a publicity stunt, Swaraj, with senior party colleagues Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad by her side, said Kejriwal used the press conference as an election platform.

19:12  Laughable that I was called a businessman: Gadkari:  

Rubbishing all allegations of Arvind Kejriwal, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said that it was laughable that he was called a 'businessman.'"I'm a social activist. It's a pity people are trying to malign my image for the petty purpose of publicity for a political party," he added.


He added that all his firms were trying to ensure social upliftment. Countering Kejriwal-led IAC's allegations, Gadkari said that he was protecting the lives and interests of the farmers of the Vidarbha region.  


Emphasising that he was ready for any inquiry, he said Kejriwal was trying to malign BJP and help the Congress.  

18:40  There was a moment of drama when somebody in the crowd asks about the properties owned by Anjali Damania and Prashant Bhushan.

Kejriwal was quick to come to their defence by daring anyone (not just in the room, but in the country as well) to initiate a probe against IAC activists.
18:27  And yes, Mr Kejriwal has a sense of humour as well:  Kejriwal obviously has a sense of humour. A reporter asked him whether he will going to court against the people he has exposed. Kejriwal looks at the reporter and answers with a smile, "Why don't you people take it forward? You do something too! We are not going to be doing everything. But, yes, together we can take this forward."

Compared to the Vadra presser, this one has hardly been a revelation, but putting the muck unearthed from the two press conferences, he has enough to push his political ambitions. #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC
18:14  Gadkari: Have NOT grabbed land from farmers:   One of the case studies on the IAC website. The story of Gajanan Ghadge and other villagers

The first reactions from Gadkari: "The land is being used for the benefit of farmers alone. On this land I have enlisted 15,000 sugarcane farmers." Gadkari is likely to hold a press conference soon. #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC

And a reaction from CPM: A probe should be conducted on the allegations raised by Arvind Kejriwal on Nitin Gadkari. 
18:03  Khurshid mafia-ka-don, says Bhushan:  And quite naturally, IAC uses the forum to hit out at union law minister Salman Khurshid for his "ink to blood" threats against Kejriwal. Bhushan calls him mafia-ka-don and says Gadkari has been proved to be the BJP's Robert Vadra.

Tarring Nitin Gadkari, Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadra, Salman Khurshid, Mayawati with the same brush, Bhushan says, "They belong to one family. They have criminalised politics and all political parties are interlinked and work with each other. They put up a different face in Parliament fighting against each other, but they are in fact all hand-in-glove with each other." #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC

17:51  Month-long probe against Gadkari: IAC:  Kejriwal says the NCP ignored complaints against Gadkari. "We carried out a month-long probe against Gadkari. We know what we are talking about," says Prshant Bhushan. "Vadra looted land in Haryana, Gadkari in Maharashtra," now  Kejriwal thunders. 
17:45  Kejriwal: Gadkari, Vadra, Maya all family members :  IAC released documents pertaining to their press conference on Nitin Gadkari. It's a commendable thorough job with addendums of case studies of affected farmers and the damage to ecology.  And for good measure, a whole set of pictures of fallow land.

Kejriwal says Sharad Pawar, Robert Vadra, Ajit Pawar, Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, Nitin Gadkari, are all members of the same family. They all believe in looting the public, says Kejriwal. 
17:41  Oh to be a fly on the wall at Nitin Gadkari's residence. The BJP has every reason to worry.

Prashant Bhushan speaking now. Kejriwal, easily, is the better orator and clearly the man of the moment. #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC

Do-You-Support-Kejriwal. Tell us on Zara Bol
17:35  Kejriwal: Gadkari PLEADED not to expose him:  Kejriwal may be referring to his notes, but not once does he stumble or pause in his flawless oratory. It's obvious the IAC activist-cum-politician has come prepared.

Now, Kejriwal strikes an emotive note. "When land was being sold out to favorite industrialists, why was Nitin Gadkari silent? Why did he not raise his voice against it? When these plants come up, they will need 2049 million cubic meters of water per year due to which there will be not a drop of water for irrigation in a region where farmers commit suicide every day," he says. 

In a damning bit of information, but yet to be ascertained, Kejriwal says  Gadkari PLEADED to the IAC activist not to expose him this morning. 
17:28  Gadkari got 100 acres of excess land thanks to Ajit Pawar:  "Ek boond paani bhi kisano ko nahin mila," says Kejriwal, to a completely silent assemblage. "Gadkari's interests clashing with farmers in Vidharbha," says Kejriwal. Gadkari got 100 acres of excess land thanks to Ajit Pawar, says Kejriwal. #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC
17:24  Kejriwal: Gadkari grabbed land, water from farmers:  Kejriwal says that Gadkari has five power plants and two sugar plants in Maharashtra and the land given to him in Vidharbha is in violation of a government order.

"Despite requests from farmers, excess land was given to Gadkari. It is well known that farmers in this region have been committing suicides in large numbers. These dams have been constructed for providing water for irrigation to farmers in this region. However, almost the entire water is being diverted for power and sugar industry.

The water from these dams has not reached the farmers for irrigation. Instead, the entire water from this dam (
Lower Vena Vadgaon Dam) has been permitted to be used by Nitin Gadkaris firms and other industries in that area.  
17:17  Kejriwal: Anjali Damania has found proof against Gadkari:  Kejriwal talks about Anjali Damania, the Mumbai-based activist, who first set the cat among the pigeons in September 2012, when she claimed that Gadkari and NCP chief Sharad Pawar were hand in glove with each other.

Says Kejriwal, "Anjali learnt about the corruption going on in construction of irrigation dams in Maharashtra. She filed several RTI applications and exposed the scam. She filed a PIL in Bombay High Court in April 2012. Agitated by the scam, she met Nitin Gadkari on 14th Aug 2012 to request him to take up the issue strongly. She was completely shocked to hear Gadkari's response.

"He said '" "How could you expect us to speak against Mr Sharad Pawar? Chaar kaam wo hamare karte hain, chaar kaam hum unke karte hain."

17:13  And so it begins. Reading out from a document released to the media ahead of the press conference, Arvind Kejriwal asks, "Is there a conflict between the interests of Maharashtra farmers and Mr Nitin Gadkari's businesses? Is Mr Gadkari's business flourishing in Maharashtra at the cost of dying farmers?" Kejriwal asks, Is the BJP the opposition party or is it in fact, hand in glove with the party in power at the Centre?' he asks! #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC
17:08   Earlier in the day BJP's RS MP Ram Jethmalani said that if there was any truth in Kejriwal's allegations against Nitin Gadkari, the BJP president should quit. He also said he was with Kejriwal on this one. The presser is being held at the Constitution Club. #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC

Balbir Punj is also at Gadkari's residence.
17:03  Kejriwal's anti-Gadkari presser to begin shortly :   Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal at the packed press conference. The suspense or shall we say, the excitement, is tangible. Giving Nitin Gadkari company at his residence in Delhi, is Sushma Swaraj.  #LIVE-Kejriwal-PC
16:56  The Congress still mum on Salman Khurshid's 'blood instead of ink' rant says lamely, that if Kejriwal has a problem with anyone he can file an FIR.  
16:55  Kejriwal to address anti-Gadkari presser shortly:  India Against Corruption's Arvind Kejriwal to begin his expos on BJP president Nitin Gadkari in under 10 minutes. He is en route to the venue. Stay with us.  
16:45  Chinese like Indians less:  The views of Chinese people toward India are becoming more negative but they're not much keener on Pakistan, according to the results of a new report.The Pew Research Center report, released Tuesday, shows that two-thirds of Chinese respondents viewed India unfavorably and 23% favorably. By comparison, 43% of Chinese involved in the survey said they viewed the US favorably. Read
16:41  As Khurshid roars, Team Kejriwal faces reality check:  Every man is a lion is his own den. Salman Khurshid, newly woken up by a poke in the ribs by Arvind Kejriwal over the small matter of misappropriation of funds by the former's Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, was all vim and gusto as he took on India Against Corruption (IAC) on his own turf. Read
16:26  And here's the review of the test drive of the Mahindra SsangYong Rexton. Read
16:23  Carmaker Ssangyong aims to make India No. 2 export market:  South Korean carmaker Ssangyong Motor Co Ltd wants to make India its second largest export market, by taking advantage of parent company Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd's dominance of the country's booming SUV sector. Read
16:21  'Fast bowling is about imposing yourself on the batsman':   Getting swing while bowling fast - Waqar Younis knew how to do that. He talks us through the art and science of it. Read
16:20  Saudi textbooks incite hate:  Despite promises to reform their textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate children with hatred and incitement. Seven current and former heads of major publishing houses address the critical importance of words. Read
16:14  7 best moments from the second Presidential debate:  US President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney duked it out on the economy, energy, equal pay, and more in Tuesday's town-hall showdown at Hofstra University'"and pundits are handing the victory to the incumbent. Watch the debate's most memorable moments.
16:12  Obama's 'hope' message a mirage for hostile Pakistanis :  Pakistan's melodramatic response to American politics has been exclusive to that time. It was, and still is, an exception rather than the rule. Read
16:08  New planet discovered in Earth's backyard:  Astronomers have found a new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone's throw away at four light years. Read
15:50  Pak should stop ceasefire violations: Omar :   Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) as retaliation from the Indian side could lead to an unending exchange of fire between the sides.

"I request them (Pakistan) to respect the ceasefire. We also have guns and mortars. If we also start firing, where will this stop?" Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Kashmir University here. Omar said the intentions of people across the LoC do not seem to be good.

"When the ceasefire was going good, what is the need for violating it? Is it an attempt to increase infiltration or is part of attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue as was done recently?" he asked. He said only innocent people suffer due to the violation of ceasefire, "Three innocent persons were targeted without any reason."
15:37  Khurshid: Was quoted out of context:   Salman Khurshid reacts to his comments on Arvind Kejriwal with a not unexpected, "I was quoted out of context. I said I will fight back charges made by Kejriwal."

Khurshid is believed to have said that it was time to replace ink with blood.
15:20  Kejriwal reacts to Khurshid: Killing me won't help:  Arvind Kejriwal reacts to Salman Khurshid's threats.

@ArvindKejriwal7 Mr Salman Khurshid has threatened me. Jo bhasha unhone istemaal ki hai, wo bhasha iss desh ke kanoon mantri ko shobha nahin deti. Rather than threatening like this, it wud be better that Congress sensed the anger of people and took some concrete steps against corruption. Killing me won't help. Kyonki poora desh jaag gaya hai. Ek arvind marega to 100 arvind khade honge.
15:17  RTI activist reaches Delhi ahead of Kejriwal PC:  RTI activist Anjali Damanya, who had exposed an irrigation scam in Maharashtra recently and Nitin Gadkari's links, has reached Delhi to take part in today's press conference, thus giving further indication that Nitin Gadkari indeed would be targeted. Read more
15:08  BJP: Can't silence truth with threats :  BJP leader Mahesh Jethmalani reacts to Salman Khurshid's threat to Arvind Kejriwal -- "I will replace ink with blood. Let Arvind come to Farrukhabad, how will he go back" -- saying it amounts to criminal intimidation. Jethmalani says such comments coming from a law minister in unacceptable and cannot be defended by anyone. "You cannot silence the truth with threats," he added. 

14:58  Delhi, Mumbai half-way to achieving prosperity: UN:   Mumbai and New Delhi figure among 95 world cities identified by the United Nations as those moving towards prosperity, but the two Indian metropolis are just "half-way" to achieving it with the reasons being poor infrastructure and environment conditions among others.

'State of the World's Cities' report by the UN Habitat analyses the prosperity of the cities on various counts like productivity, quality of life, infrastructure, environment and equity and on all these five categories, the Indian cities are rated just above Dhaka, Kathmandu and Kampala.
14:44  Portraits on a fingertip: The Dalai Lama:  In other stories... Using his fingertip as a canvas, 33-year-old Italian art director has come up with an interesting series of portraits of famous personalities -- The Dalai Lama, Steve Jobs and Hitler, to mention a few.'s bring you the collection. See
14:39  A sad day for Salman Khurshid and India media:  October 14 was a sad day for Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and the India Today group, which owns a number of print journals and TV channels, says B Raman. Read
14:30  Kumar Vishwas, IAC aide says they want the President to intervene in the matter and take note of the threat, since the PM refuses to act.
14:28  Khurshid threatens Kejriwal: It's time for BLOOD!:  Just in: Union law minister Salman Khurshid threatens Arvind Kejriwal saying, "I have been weilding a pen for a long time, not it's time to replace ink with blood. Kejriwal says he will come to Farrukhabad (Khurshid's constituency) but how will he go back."

The IAC says they will go to Farrukhabad, Khurshid can do what he wants.
14:22  2G or not 2G? The Thirst for Indian Spectrum. Read
14:21  Gadkari: Meeting with Pranab purely courtesy :   BJP president Nitin Gadkari met President Pranab Mukherjee today but dismissed it as a mere courtesy call. "I have not met Mr Mukherjee since he assumed charge as president and so this was a courtesy call. We discussed different issues," he said. 
14:10  Jairam meets Sonia:  Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh called on AICC president Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath and discussed the National Advisory Council's pet project -- the Land Acquisition Bill and also the NAREGA implementations by his Ministry. 
13:54  Will Brooks Brothers invest in India? Decision on Friday:  India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board will on Friday consider an application from US luxury-clothing retailer Brooks Brothers Group Inc. to invest in a joint venture with Reliance Industries Ltd., a senior finance-ministry official said Wednesday. Read
13:45  Citi gets a new pandit:  News of Vikram Pandit's resignation as chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc. came as much as a shock to his fellow Indians as it did to Wall Street. Read

Also see: Pandit forced out at Citi
13:31  Gadkari cancels Guwahati trip, stays put in Delhi:  Nitin Gadkari, meanwhile, has cancelled his trip to Guwahati and will stay back in Delhi today. Arvind Kejriwal's press conference where he will expose the alleged graft by Gadkari is expected at 5 pm today.  
13:29  Jethmalani: Will support Kejriwal NOT Gadkari:  Ram Jethmalani, a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan has written a strong letter to party president Nitin Gadkari primarily saying he was dissatisfied with the way the party was run and said he was rooting for Narendra Modi's candidature for prime minister. He also said in the battle of Arvind Kejriwal vs Nitin Gadkari, he would support the IAC aide.

This is the second such letter Jethmalani has written Gadkari, the first being in May, a day before the BJP national executive meet began in Mumbai.
13:00  Will Rahul join government after meet with PM? :  This is what happened at Rahul Gandhi's meeting with the PM today. While there was no official word as to what transpired at the meeting, the Prime Minister has been time and again inviting the young leader to join the government.

There have been repeated demands from within the Congress that Gandhi play a "larger role" in the organisation and the government. The meeting comes a day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had separate meetings with President Pranab Mukherjee.

There has been speculation about a reshuffle in the Cabinet for quite some time now, especially after the exit of Trinamool Congress ministers both at the levels of Cabinet and Ministers of State levels.

There have been berths vacated by DMK representatives A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the last two years after their names cropped in the 2G scam. However, DMK President M Karunanidhi has recently made clear that his party will not not like to reclaim their lost berths.
12:53  Nitin Gadkari also wants to meet President Pranab Mukherjee today, even as Rahul Gandhi waits in the wings. Remember, Arvind Kejriwal has promised to Gadkari today.
12:49  Aus MP questions move to award Order of Australia to Sachin:   A day after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar would be conferred with 'Order of Australia', an Australian politician today questioned the decision, saying the rare honour should not be used for diplomatic gains.

"I love Sachin Tendulkar, I love cricket. but I just have a problem with soft diplomacy as you call it," federal Independent MP Rob Oakshott said He said the special award should not be used for diplomatic gains, adding that the Order should be focused on recognising Australians doing community work instead.
12:42  Andhra CM in Delhi to meet Rahul:  Delhi political circles are abuzz with the sudden arrival of Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy who is in the capital to meet Rahul Gandhi. He is also expected to meet other Congress leaders during his one-day visit. Speculation is rife that there will be a change who is heading Andhra Pradesh next month. AICC source says that Telangana is not the reason why the CM is in Delhi.
12:32  Rahul meets PM, Cabinet reshuffle after Dussehra?:  Rahul Gandhi has just finished his meeting with PM Manmohan Singh, his meet with the President is still pending. TV reports suggest a cabinet reshuffle is on cards, but probably after Dussehra. The final decision on that is expected today.
12:20  IPS officer probing multi-crore scam goes missing:  An IPS officer has gone missing from Tippi in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh when he was on his way to Tawang from Itanagar. Superintendent of Police of the Special Investigation Cell in the state police M S Chauhan went missing from Tippi yesterday at around 2.30 pm when he, along with two of his subordinate staff, was going to Tawang.

Chauhan asked inspector Mohan Kaye and constable Vikram Singh of the Special Investigation Cell, who were accompanying him, to drop him at Tippi market and wait for him at a nearby river where he would join them for lunch.

There was no information of his whereabouts since then, West Kameng SP T T Lama said. The SP, however, ruled out any possibility of his being kidnapped, arguing that the place where Chauhan got down from the vehicle was a busy area.

"We have launched a search since last night, but no clue on his whereabouts has yet emerged," Lama said. A case has been registered in the Bhalukpong police station.

The Gauhati High Court had appointed Chauhan as the special investigating officer of the multi-crore PDS scam in Arunachal Pradesh in 2008.
12:04  BJP lists 39 star campaigners for Gujarat polls :  The BJP has just submitted its list of 39 star campaigners for the Gujarat polls. Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Bihar's deputy CM Sushil Modi (who is vociferously anti-Narendra Modi) are not in the list of campaigners. There are no Muslims in the line-up. Details awaited.
11:56  Police officer goes missing in Arunachal Pradesh:  Senior Arunachal police officer M S Chauhan goes missing from Tippi in West Kameng district on his way to Tawang: Police. Details awaited.
11:37  Haryana horror: 20th rape in 39 days :   A 30-year-old married woman was allegedly raped in Lakhan Majra village under Meham sub-division in Rohtak in Haryana. The crime was committed on the night of October 13, but the victim lodged a complaint with the police in this regard yesterday. According to reports, the alleged rapists are close relatives of the victim's husband. The police has registered a case of rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the two youths and also arrested them. This is the 20th case of rape reported from Haryana in the last 39 days.

Also read: Haryana khap blames consumption of chowmein for rapes
11:30  Now in New York: Delhis Moti Mahal and a Dosateria:  Indian restaurant openings in New York City aren't always newsworthy, but the two new eateries this fall stand out -- they're neither the typical nondescript corner curry joint, nor are they the new breed of Michelin star-aspiring, high-end botes. Call them Indian food for every day. Read
11:19  It's Nitin Gadkari's turn to be exposed today:  Meanwhile, RTI crusader and India Against Corruption (IAC) Arvind Kejriwal, who has promised to expose five top politicians indulging in corrupt activities, is expected to target Bharatiya Janata Party President Nitin Gadkari.

India Against Corruption member Anjali Damania had earlier on Tuesday confirmed that Gadkari would be the next person to be exposed before the public. Reiterating her allegations on Gadkari, Damania said that Gadkari should have done something when she approached him regarding the Maharashtra irrigation scam.
11:15  Ashok Khemka: Victimized? 43 transfers in 19 years:  Update on the man of the moment, Ashok Khemka, the IAS officer who ordered a scrutiny of Robert Vadra's land records. Transferring an IAS officer may be the prerogative of a government but Haryana - irrespective of the party in power - has made a mockery of the system by deviating from all 'service' guidelines in the case of Khemka.

No officer of this elite service has ever been transferred so frequently by any state. The ministry of personnel - the cadre controlling authority of IAS officers - does not have other instance of similar transfers anywhere in the country.
11:04  Frenchman accused of raping daughter gets bail:  In other news, French consulate officer Pascal Mazurier gets bail. He was accused of raping his four-year-old daughter.

In his petition, Mazurier had pointed out that as per the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (Bangalore) test report, his DNA profile did not match with that of the child.

On July 27, the Fast Track Court-I had rejected his bail plea observing that "though DNA test has not tallied with the DNA profile of the accused, bail cannot be granted to him only on this ground."

Pascal was arrested on June 19 on a complaint by his wife alleging that he had raped his daughter.
10:59  Key moments from US presidential debates through the decade, including the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate. Read
10:53  Obama didn't make the same mistake again:  Obama, criticized by his own party for a lackluster debate performance two weeks ago, this time pressed an attack that allowed him to often dictate the terms of the debate. But an unbowed Romney was there to meet him every time, and seemed to relish the opportunity to challenge a sitting president. Read
10:50  All guns blazing Obama attacks Romney's integrity:  Two weeks ago in Denver, Barack Obama appeared content to tackle Mitt Romney in the abstract, musing directly to the American people almost as if his opponent was not even in the room. It was a disaster, and he didn't make the same mistake twice. Read
10:47  Round 2 goes to Obama, rips Romney on outsourcing :   So a combative Barack Obama today hit back at Mitt Romney, retrieving lost ground in the second of the three high-stake presidential debates, saying his Republican rival's plans on outsourcing will only result in more jobs in China and India.

Obama, who drew flak from his own party for a lacklustre performance in round one two weeks ago, this time often dictated the terms of the debate questioning Romney's approaches towards China, immigration, taxes, unemployment, gun laws and other domestic and foreign issues.

During the 90-minute face-off at the Hofstra University for a town hall style debate, Romney retorted claiming US has been losing manufacturing jobs to China as enterprises feel it is "more attractive" to go offshore than to stay here.

A snap CNN/ORC International poll showed 46 per cent of respondents thought 51-year-old Obama won, compared to 39 per cent for 65-year-old Romney.

The result was within the survey's margin of error. Both Obama and Romney fielded questions also on topics like gas prices and Libya from members of the audience, a group of 82 undecided voters from New York's Nassau County. 
10:43  Obama 46%, Romney 39%:  CNN has 46 per cent saying Obama won compared to 39 per cent, just outside the four-point margin of error, says the Telegraph, UK. CBS also has him up by a seven-point margin, 37-30. It's a clear win but it's nowhere near the blowout victory Romney scored in Denver. That time around 67 per cent said Romney was the victor compared to only 25 for Obama.Will Obama's narrow win tonight have a real impact on the polls?
10:29  Obama gets tough on Romney in debate rematch:   LA Times reports: A newly energetic and aggressive President Obama went directly after his Republican challenger starting with the first minutes of their second presidential debate Tuesday night, attacking Mitt Romney's business record and accusing him of offering a meek 'me, too' to conservative Republicans in Congress'.

Gov Romney says he's got a five-point plan. Gov. Romney doesn't have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan,' Obama said during his answer to the debate's first question.

Read full story here
10:18  Maha govt finally wakes up to Dengue deaths:  With 18 people succumbing to dengue in Maharashtra this year including three from the metropolis,the state government has issued directives to authorities to take preventive measures to stop its spread.

According to officials in the health department, 762 persons tested positive from January to September 2012 for the disease.

As many as 139 localities especially in urban and semi-urban areas were affected. There were 7,608 suspected cases and 6,195 serum samples were examined.

The most affected was Mumbai where 504 patients tested positive and three deaths were reported. Whereas in Kolhapur district, there were 35 positive cases out of which two deaths were reported. Raigad district saw 26 positive cases and one death.
09:40  EU health commissioner steps down:  The European Union's commissioner for health John Dalli stepped down over allegations that he attempted to influence EU legislation on tobacco products.

Dalli, a former Maltese businessman, announced his resignation with immediate effect following an investigation by the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF into a complaint made in May 2012 by the tobacco producer Swedish Match, the European Commission said.
09:03  Delayed 9/11 case: Lawyers question secrecy:  AFP reports: Defense lawyers for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators questioned the extreme secrecy imposed on pre-trial hearings in the case.

This week's hearing at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp at a US base in Cuba is the latest stage in Sheikh Mohammed's long and meandering journey towards an eventual trial over the attacks on US targets on September 11, 2001.

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04:06  Hilary Mantel makes history with second Booker Prize:  British novelist Hilary Mantel made literary history by becoming the first woman and the first British author to become a two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for fiction. 

Mantel picked up the prize, one of the highest profile awards in English-language literature, for part two of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, "Bring up the Bodies", at a ceremony at London's Guildhall yesterday. 

The 60-year-old won in 2009 with "Wolf Hall", the first of the historical fiction saga with King Henry VIII's chief minister as the protagonist. Accepting her prize, the winner said: "Well, I don't know, you wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and two come along at once." 

She called the award an "act of faith and a vote of confidence." "I know how lucky and privileged I am to be standing here tonight," she told the audience.
03:51  Citigroup turns to veteran hand:  In 2009, as Citigroup Inc. began to dig out of the worst financial crisis in decades, the bank handed Michael Corbat the task of overseeing a jumble of unwanted businesses and securities deemed too risky or unconnected to hold.

Now Mr. Corbat, 52 years old, is getting the chance to run the side of Citi worth keeping.Citi named Mr. Corbat chief executive on Tuesday, succeeding Vikram Pandit. The appointment follows Mr. Corbat's run as head of Citi Holdings, an operating unit the New York-based bank formed to house businesses slated for disposal.

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03:47  Stakes huge in US election debate round 2:  The expectations are very different for Obama vs. Romney, Round 2. And the stakes are enormous. 

Democrats are nervous. A race many of them thought was a lock just a few weeks ago is now a dead heat, the momentum with the other side.

Republicans are upbeat, seeing a chance to not only build on the battleground state progress made as a result of the first debate, but also possibilities to expand the fight into states long thought safe in the Obama basket, Michigan and Pennsylvania chief among them.

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02:28  Israeli parliament dissolves, schedules early election:  Israel's parliament has voted to dissolve itself and schedule an election in January, setting the stage for the beginning of an intense political campaign in the Middle Eastern nation.

The election is set for January 22, moved up from October 2013, according to a statement on the Knesset website Tuesday.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the early election after failing to agree on a budget with his coalition partners, saying the vote should be held "as soon as possible" for the good of the country.

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02:07  British man charged over Syria journalist kidnappings:  British police today charged a man with kidnapping two Western journalists in Syria, one week after he was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport, Scotland Yard said. Shajul Islam, 26, is alleged to have "unlawfully and injuriously imprisoned" photographers John Cantlie from Britain, and Jeroen Oerlemans from the Netherlands, between July 17 and 26, it said in a statement. 

Islam, who is a British national, acted "together with others," it said. He will appear in court tomorrow. A 26-year-old woman who was arrested at the same time has been released without charge. She has not been named. The man and the woman were detained by officers from the counter-terrorism command on October 9 after arriving on a flight from Egypt. Officers also searched two homes in east London.
01:51  90 dead in Syrian regime attacks on rebel areas Beirut:  The Syrian military unleashed heavy airstrikes and artillery bombardments targeting rebel strongholds in the north today, killing at least 90 people according to activists. 

The barrage came as the UN food agency warned that more and more Syrians are depending on assistance from the World Food Program to stay alive with the civil war worsening. The airstrikes hit northern Idlib and Aleppo provinces, both bordering Turkey. 

Activists described them as some of the worst since rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad took over the key city of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib on October 10. The city lies along the main highway connecting Aleppo with the cities to the south, including Homs and the capital Damascus. 

Assad's regime has increasingly relied on warplanes in its struggle to crush rebels who have taken over large swathes of territory in the north.
01:49  Picasso and Monets are stolen in Netherlands:  With impeccable timing and taste, thieves on Tuesday morning plundered a Rotterdam gallery that was celebrating its 20th birthday and made away with seven borrowed masterpieces that included artworks by Picasso, Monet, Gauguin, and Matisse as well as Lucian Freud's haunting portrait "Woman with Eyes Closed.' 

The Kunsthal '" which was exhibiting a private collection owned by the Triton Foundation '" closed the gallery to the public, but the bare spaces on its walls were visible from its windows in the modern building between Rotterdam's museum park and busy Maasboulevard.
01:07  UK docs impressed by Malala's strength and resilience:  British doctors overseeing the recovery of a teenage Pakistani activist shot in the head by the Taliban were "impressed" by the girl's condition and said Tuesday that she "could make a good recovery," the hospital announced.

Malala Yousufzai's doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham described her condition as "stable" a day after arriving from a Pakistani military hospital where she had been receiving treatment, according to a hospital statement.

Malala's doctors had been "impressed with her strength and resilience," Medical Director Dave Rosser said.

"Her response to treatment so far indicated that she could make a good recovery from her injuries," the statement read.

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00:39  Britain nixes extradition of NASA hacker to US:  The British government today announced that Gary McKinnon, a British hacker diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, will not be extradited to the US. But while the decision is nominally about his human rights, it may also be a byproduct of a long-standing debate over the US-UK extradition treaty, which British critics say is weighted too much in favor of US interests. 

British Home Secretary Theresa May today told the House of Commons that she had withdrawn the extradition order against McKinnon after determining that extraditing him would violate his human rights, BBC News reports.

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00:16  Radovan Karadzic denies Bosnia war crimes:  Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has said he should be rewarded for "reducing suffering", not accused of carrying out war crimes.

Beginning his defence at his trial in The Hague, he said he was a "tolerant man" who had sought peace in Bosnia.

Mr Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in 2008 after almost 13 years on the run.

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00:12  35 killed in Nigeria violence:  More than 35 people were killed overnight following a series of bomb blasts in the northeastern Nigeria by the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, multiple bombing that rocked the city on Monday killed 10 civilians while in Benue state, herdsmen believed to belong to Fulani community killed 25 persons in Yogbo. 

Eyewitnesses said those killed in Benue were mostly children and women. Residents of the town said more than sixteen explosions punctuated by gunfire echoed Maiduguri, Boko Haram's home state.
00:10  Top headlines in the past 24 hours:  
Pak announces $1 million bounty for Taliban leader

Next on Kejriwal's list: BJP president Nitin Gadkari!

Probing Vadra deal in Haryana gets IAS officer his 43rd transfer

Kashmir: Pak violates ceasefire, kills 3 Indian civilians

PM, Sonia's visit to Rashtrapati Bhawan sparks speculation

Mamata's Ma, Maati, Manush slogan echoes at UN

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