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Chandrababu escapes unhurt in stage collapse

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October 26, 2012

23:51  Chandrababu escapes unhurt in stage collapse:   Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu escaped unhurt when the dais from which he was addressing a gathering collapsed suddenly at Gadwal in Mahbubnagar district tonight.

The make-shift dais collapsed at the end of the publicmeeting, which Chandrababu addressed as part of his ongoing 'Vastunna Meekosam' padayatra (foot march) in Gadwal, as partyworkers tried to climb onto it en masse.

Chandrababu had just then finished his speech and wasabout to leave when the incident happened.

The former chief minister was immediately rescued by alert security personnel.
23:24   Missing Indian toddler in US found dead:  
The body of missing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna has been found at the King of Prussia apartment complex where she was snatched as her grandmother tried to save her life, authorities said today.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman said the body was discovered at 4:30 a.m. in a basement apartment.

Read the full story here
22:32  We are complying with all laws: Gadkari's company:  BJP president Nitin Gadkari's company Purti Group, which is facing a government probe into allegations of dubious funding, tonight claimed it has been complying with the requirements of laws from time to time.

A statement issued by the Purti Power & Sugar Ltd said it expected 'fair investigation' from the ministry of corporate affairs in such a way that 'baseless allegations making rounds by media' should not prejudice the inquiry proceedings.
21:32  Damascus car bomb shatters Syria truce:  A powerful car bomb exploded in Damascus on Friday, inflicting many casualties and buffeting a shaky temporary truce in the Syrian conflict on the occasion of a Muslim religious holiday.

State television said the "terrorist car bomb" had killed five people and wounded 32, according to "preliminary figures".Opposition activists said the bomb had gone off near a makeshift children's playground built for the Eid al-Adha holiday in the southern Daf al-Shok district of the capital.
21:30  Gadkari should listen to his conscience and resign: CPM:  In the wake of several charges of corruption being levelled against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, he should listen to his conscience and step down from his post, CPI(M) leader Subhasini Ali today said. 

"Gadkari should listen to his conscience and resign from the party post in the wake of charges of corruption levelled against him by activist Arvind Kejeriwal," said the former MP. Talking to media persons here she said that leaders of both the major parties -- Congress and the BJP '" were facing serious corruption charges and the people have no faith in these parties and are looking for an alternative. 
21:16  IAC to field candidates in Odisha:  The Arvind Kejriwal led India Against Corruption (IAC) today announced its plan to field candidates for all the 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

"While the ruling BJD has turned out to be a 'dalal' of capitalists, both Congress and BJP have failed as the opposition. IAC will emerge as an alternative for the people of Odisha," Manish Sisodia, a core committee member of the IAC, told reporters here. 

He said the IAC would field candidates in all the 147 and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state in the next elections.
21:04  Nitish not to campaign for JD-U in Gujarat polls:  Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he would not go to Gujarat to campaign for JD(U) for coming assembly elections there due to his 'excessive engagements'. Kumar said he had canvassed for JD(U) in Gujarat in 2007 but would not be able to make it for the campaigning for the December polls. 

"I am busy with Adhikar rally in Patna on November 4 and I have to go to Pakistan on a goodwill visit for a week in the first week of November," he told reporters after a state cabinet meeting here.
20:56  Cong seeks probe into RSS HQ work during Gadkari's tenure:  Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) today demanded a probe into the expansion and other construction activities carried out at RSS headquarters when the present BJP chief Nitin Gadkari was the PWD minister in Sena-BJP rule in the state between 1995 and 1999. 

"The Chief Minister should order an inquiry into the huge construction activities at RSS HQ in Mahal and also in Smruti Mandir in Reshimbagh here in the city. There should be an inquiry into the role of contractors, who were benefitted in the due course," MPCC chairman Manikrao Thakre told a group of reporters here today.
20:32  Former Italian PM Berlusconi jailed for tax evasion :  A court in Italy has convicted former Premier Silvio Berlusconi of tax fraud and sentenced him to four years in prison.

In Italy, cases must pass two levels of appeal before the verdicts are final. Berlusconi is expected to appeal.The conviction Friday was the media mogul's first; other criminal probes and trials had ended in acquittal or were thrown out for statute of limitations. 

Earlier in the week, Berlusconi had announced he wouldn't run for a fourth term. The 76-year-old media mogul wasn't in the courtroom for the verdict on the case stemming from dealings in his Mediaset business empire.
20:09  RSS distances from Gadkari issue:  Amid allegations of dubious funding for companies run by BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh today distanced itself from the controversy saying it has nothing to do with the controversy surrounding him. 

Issuing a statement on the controversy, RSS said it is "saddened" by efforts to drag the organisation into the row. "We are deeply saddened by the efforts to drag RSS' name into these allegations and cast aspersions on an organisation of Sangh's stature," RSS Sarkaryavah Bhayyaji Joshi said in the statement.
20:08  India-US-Japan trilateral meet on Monday:  The US' 'pivot-to-Asia' policy, Iran, China-Japan maritime dispute and South China Sea will be among the issues to be discussed during the 3rd round of India-US-Japan Trilateral dialogue here on Monday apart from finding areas of cooperation between the three countries. 

According to official sources, the US is expected to brief about its much-talked about policy of 'pivot to Asia', an American move driven by the allure of emerging Asian economies, especially China and India. 

Another reason includes the draw-down of US forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which enables the US military to concentrate more resources on the Asia-Pacific. The US is also expected to talk about Iran's contentious nuclear programme.
20:07  BJP asks Virbhadra to disclose source of income:  Mounting attack on Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, BJP today asked the Himachal Pradesh Congress chief to disclose his source of income as there was a whopping increase in his I-T returns. 

"Virbhadra Singh should explain the huge variation in declaration of assets at the time of Lok Sabha polls in 2009 and the affidavit filed by him alongwith nomination papers for Assembly polls," BJP leader Satya Pal told reporters here. 

"The difference in value of assets is very wide and Singh must explain the reasons for steep rise in his income," he said, adding that the Election Commission should also ask the members to give details of increase in income and assets for the benefit of the voters.
20:06  Minister's letter to biz houses could embarrass govt:  Congress leaders are apprehensive about a possible leak of a personal letter by a Union minister to many business houses seeking favours for his brother's company.   
The buzz in Delhi is that this letter, if it came out in the open, would put the Union government in a tight spot, especially since this Union minster belongs to a state where the assembly poll are scheduled next month.
19:51  China blocks New York Times websites after article on premier:  China today swiftly blocked access to the English and Chinese-language websites of The New York Times from computers in the country in response to an article claiming that the family of Premier Wen Jiabao had amassed assets worth at least USD 2.7 billion. 

The authorities were also blocking attempts to mention The Times or Wen Jiabao, in postings on Sina Weibo, a popular mini-blogging service in China that resembles Twitter, The New York Times reported.
19:27  BJP does not want Gadkari to campaign for HP polls:  An effort is on to impress upon BJP president Nitin Gadkari to not campaign for the party for the up coming Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.  

The BJP had had gone all guns blazing against Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Virbhadra Singh making allegations of forgery, money laundering and income-tax evasion against him. They feel that if Gadkari went to Himachal Pradesh, the Congress will make the best of the situation to attack the party.        

In order to corner Nitin Gadkari, the BJP will try to ensure that Gadkari will step down himself to allow LK Advani to step in as the temporary party chief till January 2013. 
19:08  Phone calls to new council of ministers today:  Buzz doing the rounds in Delhi is that the main topic of discussion between the PM and Sonia Gandhi today, ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle, is Jairam Ramesh, Gulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid and Ambika Soni's apparent desire to move to organisational assignments in the party. Speculation is also rife that Sonia and the PM have given the final touches to the inductions to the Union Cabinet and that tonight the telephone calls will be made by to the new entrants council of ministers.

Rahul Gandhi is expected to participate in the high-level Congress general secretaries' meeting to be held at 7 pm at 15 Gurudwara Rekhab Ganj Road in Delhi. 15 RGR is called the War Room of the AICC. In other words, Rahul Gandhi heads the War Group, where all general secretaries are members.
18:57  PM accepts SM Krishna's resignation :  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has accepted SM Krishna's resignation as external affairs minister. 
18:50  Malala walking, talking - and studying:  The father of Malala Yousafzai, the girl shot by the Pakistani Taliban for wanting to go to school said his daughter would "rise again" and has started walking and talking after asking for schoolbooks to be brought to hospital in Birmingham. Read
18:40  With 7000-cr debt, banks will collectively decide on KFA:  Even as Kingfisher lifted its lockout, questions remained over whether the lenders will restructure the beleaguered airline's over Rs 7,000 crore loans, with the Punjab National Bank today saying that all banks will have to take decision on it collectively.

"The group of banks will take a call on Kingfisher account as to how to go about it ... It will be a collective decision of all banks. Date of the meeting will be decided by the State Bank," PNB Chairman K R Kamath told reporters here.

The 17-bank consortium has total exposure of over Rs 7,000 crore to the airline. SBI, the lead banker in the consortium, has over Rs 1,500 crore of exposure to the company.
18:30  Alagiri has only endorsed my stand, says Stalin:  A day after Union Minister M K Alagiri, elder son of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, expressed his unhappiness over neglect of his supporters in organisational posts, especially Youth Wing, his brother and DMK Treasurer M K Stalin said it only proved his oft-repeated stand that there was no space for influence in such appointments.

"I have said several times that there is no (scope for) recommendations in the selection of party youth wing office-bearers. The selection was held in a proper manner... Alagiri's views only endorses my stand," Stalin, who heads the Youth Wing, said.
18:02  BSP to contest all 182 assembly seats in Gujarat:  The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today said it will put up candidates in all the 182 constituencies in Gujarat for the Assembly polls. "Our leader Mayawati has decided that the party will contest from all the seats in Gujarat on its own and will not to have seat adjustments with any political party," Member of Legislative Council (UP) Dharmaprakash Bhartiya said. The party also declared the first list of 50 candidates.
17:54  Krishna wants to work for party:  External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has reportedly sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and expressed his desire to work for the Congress without any post.  

Krishna also wrote to party president Sonia Gandhi, and emphasized on working for the party.   According to reports and sources, Krishna, one of the senior members of the present Union Cabinet, reportedly indicated that he would like to give the Prime Minister a free hand in deciding whom he would like to chose as the next Foreign Minister of the country during the expected reshuffle of cabinet over the weekend.
17:50  PM meets Sonia ahead of Sunday's Cabinet reshuffle:   Just in: PM meets Sonia Gandhi ahead of Sunday's cabinet reshuffle.
And... the BJP core group is meeting now to discuss Nitin Gadkari's future
17:48  Iranians build up Afghan clout:  Iran is funding aid projects and expanding intelligence networks across Afghanistan, moving to fill the void to be left by the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, according to U.S. and Afghan officials. Read
17:19  BSP Takes on Gandhis in Rae Bareli:  This week, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party announced it would put up a candidate to fight Sonia Gandhi in her parliamentary seat of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, according to local media reports. Read
17:13  Raj Thackeray meets 'physically collapsed' uncle:   Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray met his uncle and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray here today and enquired about his health.

The 86-year old Sena patriarch has been ailing for some time and sources say that Raj enquired about his health.

This was Raj's third meeting with his uncle in four months.

The MNS president visited his uncle's residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra. The meeting comes after MNS chief's visit to Matoshree in July after cousin Uddhav's angioplasty. Raj had met his uncle then and also earlier this month.

At the Sena Dussehra rally here on Wednesday, ailing Bal Thackeray had virtually announced his retirement from public life and urged his followers to stand by son Uddhav and grandson Aditya. "I have collapsed physically' I can't walk... I am tired," Thackeray had said in a video-recorded address.
16:58  Gopal Kanda gets bail in cheque bounce case, to remain in jail:  Former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda has been granted bail by a Delhi court in a case registered against him and his brother Govind for allegedly evading court proceedings in a 14-year-old cheque bounce case.

Gopal Kanda, however, would continue to be in jail under judicial custody in the case lodged against him for allegedly abetting the suicide of 23-year-old former air hostess Geetika Sharma.
16:47  Developed country Is one in which the rich use public transport:  In a landmark ruling that overturns conventional traffic engineering approaches, the Delhi High Court last week advanced the idea that transportation facilities are for moving people, not cars, and should favor all users, not just the minority fortunate enough to use private cars. Read
16:46  Women fight back against witch-branding in Rajasthan:  For generations, women have been frequently branded as witches in villages spread across the dusty Aravalli hills and elsewhere in rural parts of India, blamed for unexplained or incurable illnesses among villagers and livestock. The lack of medical facilities near remote villages allows these superstitious beliefs to prevail.
16:39  North Korea's Air Koryo world's worst airlines:  North Korea's national carrier Air Koryo, which has the lowest airline rating on Skytrax, has discovered the Internet.The state-owned company -- regarded by some as the "world's worst airline" -- recently launched a bilingual website ( to provide travelers with "easier, quicker, reliable booking and ticketing services," according to Air Koryo. Read
16:24  Krishna to submit resignation to PM on Saturday:  Indications are that with the Assembly elections due before next May in Karnataka the former Chief Minister may be given a party assignment in the state.

The resignation is also a clear indication that the Union Council of Ministers is set for a revamp on Sunday with the induction of new faces considered close to Rahul Gandhi and elevation of some young ministers of state.

Whether Gandhi himself would join the government or not was still a matter of speculation though sources say that sometime back he was inclined towards such a possibility.

Krishna was made the External Affairs Minister immediately after the elections in 2009 when UPA came back to power for the second time. His name has been part of the speculation whenever there was speculation about a Cabinet reshuffle.
16:18  SM Krishna RESIGNS ahead of Cabinet reshuffle:  It's confirmed. External Affairs minister SM Krishna has put in his papers ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. There was speculation he would be dropped. He will submit his papers to the Prime Minister over the weekend.  
16:16   SM Krishna may put in his papers as early as today and may join party work in Karnataka.
15:56  Krishna offers to quit ahead of Cabinet reshuffle?:  Just in: TV reports say that external affairs minister SM Krishna has offered to resign ahead of the cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. Krishna is likely to be eased out of the cabinet.
15:53  Suicide bomber kills 41 in Afghan mosque:  The toll in the Afghan mosque bombing has gone up to 41. A suicide bomber killed at least 41 people, including five children, when he struck the mosque in northern Afghanistan after Id prayers today.
15:31  Beleaguered by corruption charges, Gadkari heads to Himachal :  BJP president Nitin Gadkari, beleaguered by corruption charges, will leave Nagpur this evening to campaign in BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh, which votes for its next government in November, reports NDTV. Gadkari cancelled a trip to Delhi yesterday, as new media reports focused on the insalubrious credentials of his vast business empire, and the companies that have invested in it. More

Pictured: Nitin Gadkari in his RSS togs in Nagpur recently. Sharon Stone, we believe, is squirming at the comparison.
15:08  Just in: President Pranab Mukherjee's wife, Shubhra, has been admitted to hospital after she complained of acute stomach pain.
15:05  AP TV actress runs over kids; 1 dead, 1 injured:  Just in: A TV actress in Hyderabad runs over two children, killing one and injuring the other. The accused actress, who was behind the wheel, did not have a driver's licence and neither did the crew have permission to shoot in the area.  The accident happened in Cyberabad in Andhra Pradesh. A case has been registered against the actress. 
15:01  FI is apolitical, Bernie on Ferrari flag controversy:  Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone has distanced himself from the storm kicked up by Ferrari's decision to have the Italian navy's flag on its cars during the Indian Grand Prix, saying the national association should look into such "political matters".

Ferrari has decided to carry the Italian navy's flag on its cars during practice for the race to show solidarity with the country's two navy marines who are facing trial here for shooting two Indian fishermen in the Indian Ocean.

Asked to react on the matter, Ecclestone said the sport has nothing to do with any "political" issue. Ecclestone said as the supremo of the sport, he would leave such political matters on national associations, in India's case, the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India.
14:51  Mumbai: Stolen baby's dad threatens suicide:  Just in: The father of the baby stolen from a Mumbai hospital has threatened to commit suicide. He says he will not leave Wadia hospital till the baby is found.

A one-day-old baby boy was stolen on Wednesday evening from B J Wadia Hospital in Central Mumbai. Jasmine Naik, was admitted to the hospital on Monday. She delivered a baby boy next evening. On Wednesday, the mother stepped outside her ward to take a small walk when the baby disappeared.

Read more
14:31  BCCI downgrades Bhajji, upgrades Yuvi, Kohli :  Rising off-spinner R Ashwin today replaced out-of-form senior tweaker Harbhajan Singh in the top bracket of BCCI's list of central retainership contracts, while struggling pacer Ishant Sharma was also demoted from Grade A to B.

Harbhajan and Ishant have spent the better part of this year out of the team struggling for form in whatever chances they have been handed. The 26-year-old Ashwin, on the other hand, has played eight Tests since making his debut in November last year, grabbing 49 wickets.

In the recent home series against New Zealand, he had taken 18 wickets in two Tests. In the ODIs, he has scalped 56 wickets in 40 matches. The Chennai-bowler has 12 wickets from his 15 Twenty20 International appearances.
14:27  Jab Tak Hai Jaan to be banned in Pakistan?:  Director Yash Chopra's last film, Shah Rukh Khan starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan may not release in Pakistan since it will see the superstar play the role of an armyman involved in an operation in Kashmir. The trailer of the film has already been stopped from being screened on various Pakistani TV channels, the Express Tribune reported. The Ministry of National Regulation and Services has denied reviewing any content related to the film.
14:20  The karmic quality of Rajat Guptas apology:  If there is one lesson that all of us can learn from the rise and fall of Rajat Gupta, it is the art of the apology. Read
14:19  Interesting read on the WSJ: Buying a goat for Bakri Id
14:09  New-born thrown from third floor, dies:  A new-born baby boy today died at a hospital here after he was thrown out from the third floor of an apartment by his mother in Puna locality, police said. The incident took place last night at 11:30 pm when Pooja, mother of the child, flung the baby soon after she delivered him at her home in Ajmal Palace, they said.

The accused was married to a diamond worker Jignesh Shapariya in February this year. Police Inspector M N Parmar said that probably Pooja threw the baby boy because she didn't want a child within a year of marriage.

Complainant Vasubhai Sabalpara, one of her neighbours, brought the incident to light. However, it is unclear why she threw the child. According to police, neighbours and eye-witnesses called the ambulance service and admitted the new-born to SMIMER hospital, but the child died. Police have registered a murder case under Sec 302 of the Indian Penal Code and are investigating the exact reason behind the step taken by the mother.

Also read: One-day-old baby boy stolen from Mumbai hospita
14:02  BCCI downgrades Harbhajan, upgrades Yuvi, Kohli :  BCCI has announced its new contracts for players. Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and R Ashwin have been upgraded to Grade 'A', while Harbhajan Singh's BCCI contract has been downgraded from Grade 'A' to Grade 'B'.
13:57  Also read: Preet Bharara vs Rajat Gupta: An Indian-American saga
13:52  Bo Xilai: China parliament expels disgraced politician:  Chinese lawmakers have formally expelled disgraced politician Bo Xilai from the top legislature, state media has announced. Read more
13:49  Were wiretaps properly authorised in Galleon case?:  Did US Attorney Preet Bharara rely too much on evidence collected from unauthorised, cloak-and-dagger telephone tapping in the Galleon insider trading trial? The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals will tell us through a decision in coming months. Read
13:46  What lies ahead for Rajat Gupta:  Here's what lies ahead for Rajat Gupta, reports the Economist. Gupta was handed out a two-year jail term and a fine of US$ 5 million for insider trading.

In terms of Mr Gupta's immediate fate, an appeal will be filed on four grounds, three tied to testimony that Judge Rakoff blocked from being heard, and one stemming from wire-taps that Mr Gupta's legal team claim were inadmissible.

The missing testimony encompassed character witnesses, information about Mr Gupta's soured relationship with Mr Rajaratnam, and, most intriguingly, the potential role of another person at Goldman who could have provided insider information.

None of the claims, ruled Judge Rakoff, were strong enough to delay incarceration, which he scheduled for January 8th. Delays in the appeals court makes it highly unlikely that the case will be heard before Mr Gupta's time is served. 
13:39  Gujarat is not done with its Caesar:  Aakar Patel lets rip on Narendra Modi. Read
13:30  KFA to submit its revival plan soon:  News breaking right now says KFA will announce its revival plan soon. DGCA says it's looking forward to the plan. The airline's CEO Sanjay Aggarwal is set to meet Arun Mishra, the director-general of civil aviation, today to submit a new flying schedule and seek a revocation of its licence suspension, sources have said.  Mallya himself is expected to return to the country for the Formula One Indian Grand Prix that begins today. He co-owns the Force India team which is racing.
13:25  Thanks! Forbes has removed me from billionaire list: Mallya:  Vijay Mallya has lost his billionaire tag and he acknowledged that with a tweet this morning. "Thanks to the Almighty that Forbes has removed me from the so-called Billionaires list' less jealousy, less frenzy and wrongful attacks,' the liqour baron has tweeted after Forbes magazine announced its list of India's richest. 

Actually Mallya should thank himself for dropping off the list. And, um, jealousy, with debtors knocking at his door? Reality check, Mr Mallya. Read more
12:52  Cabinet reshuffle: 4 new faces, 3 ministers dropped:   The Cabinet reshuffle will take place at 11.30 am on Sunday. Our sources in Delhi say four new faces are expected, six ministers will be moved to new portfolios and three ministers will be dropped. While the names will be known only on Sunday, the ministers involved are being informed about inductions and expulsions.

Congress may opt to give party MPs such as Meenakshi Natarajan, Manicka Tagore and Pradip Majhi minister of state ranks. Natarajan, a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, is one of the secretaries involved with Rahul Gandhi's organisational works
12:45  Obama calls Romney 'bull####er':  While presidential battles are never fought with sweet talk, Barack Obama took his opponent bashing to a new level when he termed his Republican challenger Mitt Romney a "bullshitter".

The remarks that came in an interview to Rolling Stone magazine were essentially a light hearted aside, but led to many a raised eyebrow. Obama has repeatedly called Romney untrustworthy for his changing positions on major issues and even coined a whole new term for his condition -- Romnesia.

This time, however, the President took it a notch higher when responding to a suggestion on his popularity in kids, he said the young ones could see who was a 'bullshitter'.

"You know, kids have good instincts," Obama offered. "They look at the other guy and say, 'Well, that's a bullshitter, I can tell," the US President said. Obama said this when the editor interviewing the President told him that his six-year-old had asked him to convey to Obama that 'You can do it'.

"That's the only advice I need," he said. "I do very well, by the way, in that demographic. Ages six to 12? I'm a killer," he joked. Obama also said that by the next Halloween he hopes Romney will be an ex-presidential candidate.
12:36  'Leave no trace of him behind, down to the hair':  In case you've missed this bizarre piece of news, here it is again. A North Korean army minister has reportedly been executed after drinking during the mourning period for Kim Jong-il. Read
12:29  Afghanistan mosque suicide bomb attack kills 32:   A suicide bomber killed at least 32 people and wounded 34 when he struck inside a mosque in Maymana city in northern Afghanistan during Eid al-Adha prayers today, officials said.

The attacker was wearing a police uniform when he blew himself up in the crowded Eid Gah mosque in the provincial capital of Faryab province, deputy provincial governor Abdul Satar Barez told AFP.

"As a result of the explosion, 32 people are dead, 17 civilians and 15 police and intelligence agents. The provincial police chief, Abdul Khaliq Aqsai is among the wounded," he said.

Most provincial government officials were also at the mosque, which was crowded on the first day of the four-day holiday for Id. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings are a favourite weapon of Taliban Islamists trying to topple the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
12:15  Chetan Bhagat turns film writer:  First, he persuaded close buddy Sajid Nadiadwala to take over as director of the Hindi adaptation of the Telugu blockbuster Kick (2009). And now Salman Khan has convinced author Chetan Bhagat to write the film's screenplay. Read

And this is what Mr Bhagat tweets:
@chetan_bhagat Have known both Salman and Sajid Nadiadwala for a while and been wanting to work with them.Couldn't have asked for a better screenplay debut

@chetan_bhagat Kick is a about a guy who lives life only for his kicks, a powerful concept and a perfect recipe for a Salman-Nadiadwala blockbuster
12:11  There are black sheep in all parties :  For the people, Robert Vadra and Nitin Gadkari symbolize the political class. Read Swapan Dasgupta's column for for the Telegraph, Kolkata. 
12:04  High-level RSS meet in Nagpur to decide on Gadkari :  Just in: RSS functionaries meet in Nagpur to decide BJP president Nitin Gadkari's fate. The RSS says that Gadkari is being targetted and will "stand by him."

This comes two days after BJP patriarch LK Advani backed him. The RSS top brass firmed up that line after a series of confabulations with Gadkari.

As other BJP leaders watched charges flying thick and fast against the party chief, RSS leaders led by Mohan Bhagwat and Bhaiyya Joshi apparently advised Gadkari to hold on.

On his part, he too would rather dig in his heels, put up a "brave front" to fend off charges against him till any official probe actually established his guilt. Gadkari stayed put in Nagpur for an extra day, cancelling his appointments in Delhi, talking to RSS heads at length since Wednesday night. More
11:56  Reward for missing Indian toddler increased to $50,000:  The reward for information on a kidnapped Indian toddler in the US has been increased to USD 50,000 as investigators look for clues to find the 10-month old girl who went missing early this week.

The reward is being offered by the Telugu Association of North America, the Citizens Crime Commission of the Delaware Valley, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and the Upper Merion Township Police Department for information leading to the safe return of Saanvi Venna.

On Wednesday, the authorities had announced an award of USD 30,000. Saanvi Venna was kidnapped by unknown kidnappers in a Philadelphia township on Monday morning, and her grandmother Satyavathi Venna, 61, was killed. Pennsylvania State Police has issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert.
11:38  Penguin, Random House merger?:   Successful merger between Penguin and Random House would create world's largest book publisher out of two of the big six companies that dominate the industry. Read
11:33  German bank goes after Bernie Ecclestone:  In other news... Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has been asked to hand hundreds of millions of pounds in damages to a German bank that claims it was duped over the sale of the motor racing series. Read
11:11  Why Pranab may be going to Tamil Nadu next month:  Our Delhi sources tell us that Tamil Nadu speaker, the state finance minister and 12 ADMK MPs are likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee at 11:30 pm today at Rashtrapathi Bhavan. They want him to the chief guest on November 30 for the  assembly's golden jubilee celebrations. 
10:58  IAS officer Khemka rejects clean chit to Vadra:  IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who exposed the alleged scam between Robert Vadra-DLF and the Haryana government has rejected the report, which gives a clean chit to Vadra's deals. He said the mutation cancellation order on the Robert Vadra-DLF deals stands. Haryana's deputy commissioners have found no irregularities in Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's land deals.

A panel of four deputy commissioners has given Vadra's deals a clean chit, said reports. Four Haryana deputy  commissioners probed Vadra's deals after Khemka allegations that there were irregularities. "No transaction has been reported to be undervalued," Vijay Singh Dahiya Palwal, deputy commissioner, was quoted as saying by a newspaper about the land deals.
10:52  It's confirmed: Cabinet reshuffle is on Sunday:  It's now confirmed. The Cabinet reshuffle will indeed be on Sunday. Proteges of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi are hopeful of finding berths, but Gandhi, however, is unlikely to join the cabinet.

Congress may opt to give party MPs such as Meenakshi Natarajan, Manicka Tagore and Pradip Majhi minister of state ranks. Natarajan, a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, is one of the secretaries involved with Gandhi's organisational works. More
10:42  Obama goes for the jugular: Rape is rape!:  As expected US President Barack Obama chose to go full throttle against the Republicans over controversial rape remarks by a GOP candidate, contending that attempts to redefine rape make little sense and a predominantly male political class should not be making decisions for women.

Appealing to his women constituency, Obama said healthcare decisions for women was not something that politicians need get involved in. "These attempts to re-define rape in some way make no sense to me. And I don't think they make sense to the vast majority of women across the country," Obama said in an interview to NBC news.

"But more broadly, I think what these episodes point to is the fact that you don't want politicians, the majority of them male, making a series of decisions about women's health care issues," he said.
10:38  Kashmir can keep militants away: Omar :  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that his government and the security apparatus is ready to counter any militant activity in the state, and determined to keep separatists and insurgents at bay.

Abdullah said: "The state of Jammu and Kashmir is safe and secure. Time and again certain incidents of militancy have occurred in Srinagar and nearby areas; however we have faced them and are well equipped to deal with them. The state''s Inspector General of Police (IG), S. M. Sahai, said state agencies are ready to tackle any situation.
10:12  Vijayakant's DMDK suffers major setback:  
JUST IN: It seems there has been a split in the actor-turned-politician Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam.

DMDK leaders Madurai Central MLA R Sundararajan and Thittakudi MLA Alagarasan met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha at Poes Garden. 

Sources said that the duo offered Dussehra greeting and thanked her for a good governance.
09:58  Sensex down 75 points in opening trade:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday fell by over 75 points in opening trade due to profit-booking at higher levels amid a weakening trend on other Asian bourses.

The 30-share index, which had gained 48.61 points on Thursday, fell by 75.07 points, or 0.40 per cent, to 18,683.56, with stocks of oil and gas, IT and banking sectors succumbing to profit-booking.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty Index moved down by 23.20 points, or 0.40 per cent, to 5,682.10.

Brokers said apart from profit-booking by investors after Thursday's gains, a weak trend in the Asian region ahead of US economic growth figures to be released later in the day, mainly led to a fall in stock prices.
09:57  Why the Marxists are counting on Mamata:  Trinamool's break with the Congress is encouraging the Left in Bengal to finally bestir itself. But it may be relying too much on the Trinamool's weaknesses rather than its own strengths

09:44  'No undervaluation by Vadra firms in Haryana':  
The inquiry marked by IAS officer Ashok Khemka to look into alleged undervaluation of registered property by Robert Vadra, son-in-law of the Congress party chief, and his companies in Haryana has found no irregularities.

Khemka had on October 12, a day after he was controversially transferred from Director General, Consolidation of Holdings and Land Records-cum-Inspector General of Registration to head the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation, ordered a probe to check if any undervaluation of sale deeds was done by Vadra or his companies. The inquiry was marked to the deputy commissioners of four districts -- Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal and Mewat.
09:38  Bo Xilai expelled from Chinese legislature:  
Chinese lawmakers on Friday expelled disgraced leader Bo Xilai from the parliament, completing his extirpation from politics and stripping him of immunity from prosecution for a series of corruption charges.

The leader from Chongqing, who was once considered an emerging name, was expelled from the Communist Party last month after a political scandal involving his wife created much sensation.

Bo, who was believed to be a votary of Mao Zedong's policies, is accused of abuse of power, bribe-taking and violating party discipline.

The state media announced on Friday that Bo had formally been expunged from the top legislature, setting the stage for criminal proceedings against him.
08:52  The Gadkari-Vadra connection:  Just when you thought Nitin and his bizarre biz practices had wiped Bobby's even more bizarre biz deals off the front pages comes Venkatesh Vembu's commentary on
08:49  China will not accept LAC as boundary with India:  Fifty years after the war with India, China is still flexing its muscles as this commentary in a Chinese newspaper reveals: Good reporting in The Hindu
08:47  Obama 1st US President to cast his vote early:  
Barack Obama created history when he went to a polling booth in his home town of Chicago to cast his vote, over 12 days ahead of the November 6 elections, thus becoming the first US President to vote early. 

Amidst his hectic electioneering schedule, Obama flew in from Richmond in Virginia to cast his vote at the Martin Luther King Community Centre in his home town of Chicago.

08:42  Chinese Premier worth $2.5 billion:  The New York Times site cannot be accessed in China today. And this report about Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's wealth is the reason:
07:38  The Bo Xilai I met:  Rediff's Nikhil Lakshman first met Bo Xilai as Mayor of Dalian twelve years ago. This is his account of his encounters with the charismatic -- and now disgraced -- Chinese leader:
07:35  Bo Xilai expelled, yet again:  China's legislature expels former senior politician Bo Xilai, who has been accused of several crimes, including trying to cover up the murder of a British friend by his wife.
03:16  No reliable intelligence during Benghazi attack: US:  US military leaders ruled out sending in forces during the attack on an American consulate in Libya last month because of a lack of reliable intelligence, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today.

Although forces were on alert and ready to launch an operation if needed, the US military commander for Africa, General Carter Ham, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and Panetta all decided against any intervention as they had no clear picture of events unfolding in Benghazi, he said.
01:47  'Frankenstorm' threatens US east coast:  Reuters reports: An unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now calling 'Frankenstorm' is likely to blast most of the US East Coast next week, focusing the worst of its weather mayhem around New York City and New Jersey.

Government forecasters on Thursday upped the odds of a major weather mess, now saying there's a 90 percent chance that the East will get steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday. Meteorologists say it is likely to cause $1 billion in damage.

Read the full story here
01:21  NYT backs new CEO amid BBC scandal :  AP reports: New York Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr today reiterated the company's support for its incoming chief executive, who has been under scrutiny in England over the BBC's decision to cancel a news story about one of its hosts being accused of sexually abusing children.

In a letter to the staff today about the company's financial performance, Sulzberger said he was satisfied that Mark Thompson, who was the BBC's director general until last month, had no role in canceling a planned investigative segment about children's television presenter Jimmy Savile.
00:41  56 dead as ethnic violence erupts in Myanmar again:  WSJ reports: Myanmar is struggling to bring an eruption of sectarian violence in the country's west under control, with the latest surge resulting in more deaths and torched homes and challenging the reformist government and its ability to create a calm climate for investment.

Read the full story here
00:29  DreamWorks animation Chairman Roger Enrico resigns:  AP reports: DreamWorks Animation SKG says Chairman Roger Enrico has resigned, effective immediately. The movie studio is replacing Enrico, a former CEO of PepsiCo Inc who had served as chairman since DreamWorks went public in 2004, with board member Mellody Hobson. 

Dreamworks did not give a reason for Enrico's resignation in its release today.
00:25  US urges Syria, rebels to respect ceasefire:  AFP reports: The United States expressed hope today that Syria and rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad will respect a UN-backed ceasefire due to start tomorrow.

The state department said it was aware of statements from the government and the rebels pledging to observe a truce during the Eid al-Adha holiday period running Friday through Sunday.
00:16  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  
Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday; will Rahul be inducted?

The cause, not money, inspired 26/11 handler Jundal

Cabinet reshuffle: The two ministers who WILL be dropped

Seventh communal clash in Akhilesh Yadav's 7-month rule

Money is found in pockets of Congress leaders: BJP

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