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Superstorm Sandy claims 29 lives in US

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October 30, 2012

23:27  Superstorm Sandy claims 29 lives in US:  
CNN reports: The US death toll from Superstorm Sandy has risen to 29, with another death reported in Pennsylvania and two in Virginia.

The toll includes 15 in New York; three in New Jersey; three in Pennsylvania; two in Maryland; two in Connecticut; two in Virginia, one in West Virginia, and one on the HMS Bounty.

One person was killed in Canada, and 67 were killed in the Caribbean, including 51 in Haiti.  The overall death toll stands at 97.
22:19  Hurricane Sandy leaves NYC, dangers remain:  
While Hurricane Sandy has officially left the New York City area, people are still advised to stay indoors as dangers still remain, said New York mayor Michael Bloomberg in a press conference in New York on Tuesday.

He said the superstorm has created havoc with 23 serious fires and has destroyed as many as 80 houses.

Our first priority is protecting lives. Our 76 shelter homes will be open till people find places to stay, the mayor said.

He said the storm has caused extensive damage across the city that cannot be repaired overnight, but he said the administration will do its best to restore power and get the mass transit system running as soon as possible.

He said that while 911 has been working without a hitch, it should be used only for life threatening situations.
21:50  Guj polls: BJP to announce candidates after Diwali:  BJP will announce names of candidates contesting upcoming Assembly elections after Diwali, a party leader said. This was decided in the Gujarat BJP Parliamentary Board meeting that began at Adalaj on the city outskirts today.

"The Board will finalise names of candidates in the next five days and their names will be declared after Diwali," BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said

Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other state leaders attended the meeting presided over by state unit BJP president R C Faldu.
21:37  Last day for digitisation deadline: 93 % switchover:  With a day left for cable TV digitisation deadline, the switchover in all the four metros today reached an overall 93 percent.

The government, meanwhile, said exclusive teams have been set up for physical verification of the progress made in digitisation and refuted charges about inaccuracies in the switchover figures.

A release issued by the information and broadcasting ministry tonight said the digitisation process in the four metros--Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai--had so far touched 89 per cent.
21:17  Hafiz Saeed offers aid to superstorm victims in US:  uD chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind and for whom the US has offered a bounty of $10 million, today said his organisation was ready to help Americans affected by the superstorm Sandy. 

"We are ready to send food items, medicines and doctors to the US for the people affected by the storm," Saeed said.

He said though the US had put a bounty on his head, it was the duty of Muslims to help fellow human beings, irrespective of their faith, during a natural catastrophe.

"It is our Islamic duty and the government of Pakistan should allow us to provide relief goods to the affected people in the US," Saeed said.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawah had provided relief to Hindus affected by floods in southern Sindh province in the past, he said.
21:09  Cong MLA to be inducted in TMC :  Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, Congress legislator from Englishbazar in Malda district who had joined the Trinamool Congress in 2001 and then swutched back to his parent party in 2006, will again join the TC.

After Chowdhury met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today, Industry minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters, "We have decided to induct him both in the party and the government with true honour to utilise his experience."
20:56  BJP, Congress hit out at Kejriwal:  Arvind Kejriwal today came under attack from both the BJP and the Congress with the Opposition party charging his NGO with having dubious foreign funding while the ruling party dubbed the activist and his team as 'frontmen' of anti-Congress forces.

Hurt by Kejriwal's allegations against party chief Nitin Gadkari, the BJP said they were at the behest of those who are funding him from abroad, a charge rejected by the social activist.

The editorial of the latest edition of Congress mouthpiece Congress Sandesh, as also BJP journal Kamal Sandesh, projected Kejriwal in poor light.
20:45  Andhra chief minister to be replace soon?:  Our correspondent from Delhi reports: New Delhi is agog with speculation about a possible change of the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.  This tip to the media has come from a Union minister. But he refuses to divulge the name of successor to Kiran Kumar Reddy.
20:44  Kejriwal to address media tomorrow in New Delhi:  Arvind Kejriwal will be addressing the media on Wednesday at 4pm at the Constitution Club in New Delhi. 

An element of surprise has set in among the politicians, both ruling as well as opposition parties -- expecting who would be Kejriwal's next target.

Ever since mediapersons received SMSs from the Kejriwal camp, speculations have been running high.
20:39  CVC shortlists three for CBI director post:  In a surprise move by the Chief Vigilance Commission panel, an Indian Police Service officer of the 1976 batch from Uttar Pradesh, Atul has been short-listed to become the Central Bureau of Investigation director on December 1.

Initially, there were 61 aspirants and the selection committee brought it down to six and on Tuesday, it picked up three in the following order; Director General of the Indo-Tibet Border Police Ranjit Kumar Sinha (1974, Bihar), National Investigation Agency Director Sharad Sinha (1975, Haryana) and Atul (1976, UP).
19:05  Thousands of Guardsmen are activated for Sandy:  The Pentagon has activated more than 7,500 Guardsmen to respond to Sandy across seven states, but mostly in New York and New Jersey, areas that have been crippled by the hurricane. Read
19:03  The perfect storm:  Storm Sandy could upend American politics -- if we're lucky. Read
18:39  Sandy leaves 145,000 Canadians without power, one dead:  Sandy toppled trees and power lines in the Canadian province of Ontario, leaving at least 145,000 people without power on Tuesday, including 55,000 in Toronto, the country's financial center.Strong winds whipped up debris, killing a Toronto woman on Monday. Read
18:34  Bigg Boss housemate calls Salman woman-beater:   Celebrity hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani locked horns with Bigg Boss 6 host Salman Khan by calling him a 'serial woman-beater' and admonishing him with cuss words. However, the producers decided to edit the portion from the episode.

In response to the claim that she was not on the show for money, the Dabangg Khan had said: "If you are not here to play the game, are you on a picnic at a resort?"

But Sapna is surely not the one to accept digs lying down. "Koi haq nahi banta har hafte sabki bezzati karte rahe. Kyunki aap mujhe paisa dete ho mai aapki bullshit sunti rahoongi har Friday," Mumbai Mirror quoted the hairdresser as saying.

"Sapna dared Salman to kick her out of the show, saying she was not someone the star could bully into submission. And to drive home her point, she called him a 'serial woman-beater' before letting off a volley of cuss words," reported the tabloid. More
18:29  Man held for offensive Tweets against Chidambaram's son:  A small scale industrialist in Puducherry was today arrested on the charge of posting "offensive" messages on social media targeting Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram but released on bail by a court.

Ravi, owning a plastic packaging material factory, had posted messages stating that Karthi Chidambaram had amassed wealth more than that of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
18:09  India Inc shuts offices as Sandy storms US:  As Superstorm Sandy wreaks havoc along the U.S. East Coast, Indian companies with operations in the affected areas have shut offices and advised their staff to stay indoors. Read
17:59  Congress party reshuffle on Friday:  Just in: As promised Congress President Sonia Gandhi will be reshuffling party posts. It's been fixed for Friday.
17:48  Salt water puts NY subway system in jeopardy:  The storm that has wreaked havoc along the East Coast struck a historic blow to one of New York City's most vulnerable'"and vital'"points: the subway system.A storm surge driven by the remains of Hurricane Sandy sent seawater pouring into at least six under-river tunnels of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's subway system Monday night, seriously threatening the goal to quickly restore vital mass-transit service in the city. More
17:37  16 killed in megastorm Sandy; Obama says it's a major disaster:  Update on Storm Sandy...

Sandy battered the US East Coast today with fierce winds and heavy rains, killing at least 16 people, plunging millions into darkness and leaving the New York Stock Exchange shut for two straight days for the first time since 1888, prompting President Barack Obama to declare it a "major disaster".

Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the US, slammed the coastline of New Jersey where a large number of Indian families reside, with 80 mph winds, pushing seawater up by an unprecedented 13-feet in New York City, bringing the Presidential campaign to a halt a week before the November 6 polls.

Obama, who took a day off from the campaigning yesterday to oversee from the White House the response to the megastorm, declared that megastorm Sandy had sparked a "major disaster" in the states of New York and New Jersey. He ordered release of federal aid for those who lost homes or businesses. Republican challenger Mitt Romney also cancelled some campaign appearances.
17:10  Why TN Cong is terribly upset with DMK's Baalu:  A few Tamil Nadu Congress leaders are upset that the Rajiv Gandhi memorial in Sriperumbudur is not getting the attention of the DMK's TR Baalu, who happens to be the MP from there.

In a communique to the AICC, these leaders have said that Baalu has never visited the constituency or bothered to spend time at the memorial. In fact, Baalu is grooming his son TR Raaja for the assembly constituency in Thanajuvr.

The TN Cong leaders have written about the building of a railway track and a sports stadium and the diversion of the National Highway through his son TR Raaja's assembly segments. TNCC leaders are also apprehensive of the conflict of interest in Baalu's actions.

In the event of Baalu deserting Sriperambudur and concentrating on the Thanjavur Parliament seat -- it is certainly likely that the two will take more interest in business and industrial houses situated in and near Thanjavur.

TNCC leaders have now decided to approach the Election Commission and DMK boss N Karunanidhi.  
16:54  Typhoon Son Tinh kills 7 in Vietnam, 32 in all:  Typhoon Son Tinh blew the roofs off thousands of homes in northern Vietnam, killing at least seven people and raising its death toll over the past week to at least 32. Vietnam's disaster agency reported today that the typhoon killed seven people, left five missing and injured 43 in the north.

The typhoon's center did not make landfall before dissipating at sea yesterday, but it blew roofs off more than 13,000 houses and damaged nearly 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) of rice crops. In southern China, the typhoon killed one person and left another five missing, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday.
16:39  Sunny Leone most DANGEROUS Indian celebrity:  Porn star and Bollywood actress Sunny Leone (yes, we've got your attention) has emerged as the most dangerous celebrity in cyberspace, ahead of Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor, as searching for her on the web is the most risky.

In a study conducted by McAfee, Leone topped the list with 9.95 per cent chances of luring people into clicking on malicious links. Katrina, who was the most risky celeb in 2011, held the second spot this year with 8.25 percentile. She was followed by Kareena Kapoor, with 6.67 per cent possibility of making users fall into a trap of malware laden websites.
16:26  I-T probes BJP Prez Gadkari's offices in Mumbai:  The income-tax department has conducted inquiries at 12 places in Mumbai where firms, which had invested in BJP chief Nitin Gadkari's company, had given their addresses. 

Gadkari is facing charges of impropriety over funding of Purti Power and Sugar Limited (PPSL) with media reports claiming that major investments and large loans to the company were made by Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999, when the BJP chief was PWD minister in Maharashtra. Both ministry of corporate affairs and income tax department are looking into the alleged irregularities involving Gadkari..
16:20  India-Pakistan cricket series likely in December:  An India-Pakistan cricket series may just be a reality soon. And that too this year itself.  According to NDTV, Pakistan will tour India in December. The likely venues for the matches are Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kolkata.

The nature of the series -- a Test, ODI or T20 -- is yet to be declared.

According to reports the security aspect is looked into for the high-profile as the respective cricket boards cleared it. England will be going back home for a Christmas break at the end of December, and that is the time
16:18  More support for Dr Tharoor on Twitter:  @irfhabib RT @seemagoswami Never mind the '50 crore girlfriend' Mr Modi, where is your humble school-teacher wife? And when did *you* last see her?

@IamDeepaMehta @ShashiTharoor Way to go Shashi . Good news is@narendramodi must feel very threatened by u to be reduced to such juvenile jibes.
16:16  Finally, 26/11 NIA team to visit Pak in December :   Pakistan has "in-principle agreed' to allow a team of Indian investigators to examine the evidence collected against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The NIA investigators would be allowed to visit Pakistan and examine evidence collected by Pak counterparts against arrested LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six others. 

"Pakistan has in-principle agreed to allow the NIA team to visit that country. We have already sent a formal request through the Ministry of External Affairs and we are awaiting intimation about the dates,' a Home Ministry official said.

The MEA meanwhile, has given its nod for the team's visit in December.
16:11  It's Art Deco and it's made in India:  Mumbai is famous for its Art Deco architecture. This style, which stands out for its geometrical ornamentation, was borrowed from 1920s Paris and still defines the city's south. The Art Deco movement, popularized by aristocrats who were exposed to contemporary Western culture, influenced building in the city through the 1950s. Read
16:08   Sonia hits out at BJP over corruption:  Unruffled by the BJP campaign against Congress on corruption, Sonia Gandhi today lashed out at the party accusing it of adopting double standards and not taking action against its own leaders facing graft charges.

"BJP will have to be answerable and accountable to people and tell what action it has taken against its own leaders facing charges of corruption," the AICC President said. Addressing an election rally at the historic Ridge Ground here, she said, "Congress is the only party which has taken strict legal action against corrupt leaders but the BJP is only talking about corruption and not taking any action against its own leaders".

Sonia claimed credit for bringing the Right to Information Act, which has proved an effective tool against corruption. "The BJP is not against corruption but against Congress and using it as a tool against the party," she said.

Suggesting that BJP's record on checking corruption was not bright, she alleged that the opposition party stopped the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha, despite the fact that the legislation was an important tool in the fight against graft. 
15:50  And Dr Shashi Tharoor is trending on Twitter :  Dr Shashi Tharoor trending on Twitter for taking on Narendra Modi's comments about his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Here's a look.

@suchetadalal Mastercard nxt campgn @waatho: Some things (like@ShashiTharoor wife) are priceless. For everything else, there is always her Mastercard.

@MasalaBai Now all @ShashiTharoor has to do is buy Sunanda Pushkar a pressure cooker. 'Apni biwi se kare jo pyar, woh Prestige se kaise kare inkaar?

I have to say I could care less what Narendra Modi told Shashi Tharoor or vice versa. Perhaps I should start unfollowing some folks?

All of Narendra Modi's one million fake followers will march to Jantar Mantar today to protest @ShashiTharoor's comment.

Hope the war between @ShashiTharoor and @NarendraModi stays on Twitter. In real life neither will be able to understand the other

Can we all pause Twiiter for a while and give a standing ovation to @ShashiTharoor to standing up for his wife so magnificently?

‏@vinseb @ShashiTharoor Super sashi. U have given it where it hurts. I respect Modi for his governance, but he deserves this for getting personal.

Hahaha.. Rahul Gandhi's Youth Congress goon tried to grope Shashi Tharoor's wife and got slapped. But Shashi takes frustration on Modi. LoL!
15:42  Sandy: Worst disaster for NYC metro's 108 years:   Update on Storm Sandy: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said early on Tuesday that the storm was the worst disaster in the history of the New York City subway system.

"The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night,' said Joseph J. Lhota, the authority's chairman, in a statement.

"All of us at the M.T.A. are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.'He outlined the extent of the damage that city workers and residents would face in the coming days:As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Read

@SalmanRushdie Almost 6am. Still no power, but the tree made it!
15:20  2 DMDK MLAs dare Vijaykant to dismisss them:  Upping the ante, two MLAs of principal opposition in the assembly DMDK, whose meeting with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has left party founder actor Vijaykant red faced, today dared him to sack them from the organisation.

"We went and met the Chief Minister to discuss problems of people. If they feel it is a mistake, let them dismiss us," Radhapuram MLA C Michael Rayappan said. Another DMDK legislator, S Sundararajan, echoed similar stand and challenged his party chief to resign and face elections.
15:07   Also on Shashi Tharoor... This is what he tweeted yesterday.
@ShashiTharoor Extraordinary reception at Thiruvananthapuram airport. Pushing&jostling got the better of my wife, alas,but people's enthusiasm exhilarating.

And here's that video on YouTube, headlined to ensure hits.

Tell us what you think of the war of words between Modi and Tharoor right here
15:03  Nilam intensifies into cyclonic storm:  A deep depression lying 500 km south east of Chennai has intensified into a cyclonic storm and is expected to cross the coast between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow, bringing in torrential rains in the region.

The system, named Nilam, as suggested by Pakistan under the cyclone naming procedure, would move northwestwards and cross the coast between Nagapattinam and Nellore by tomorrow afternoon/evening.

Under the influence of the storm, rainfall at most places, with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall, would occur over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next 12 hours, an bulletin issued by Area Cyclone Warning Centre here at 1 pm said.

It forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (25 cm or more) in the region during the subsequent 36 hours. "Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 12 hours.

The wind speed would gradually increase thereafter as the system comes closer to coast," it said.
14:52  @ShashiTharoor Worried about updates from @ishaantharoor  and  @kanishktharoor in storm-hit New York. All power gone in lower Manhattan. Phone batteries fading
14:47  Spam hits Indian users of Skype:  A "malicious spam" has hit the internet-based audio-video communicator 'Skype' in the Indian cyberspace and anti-hacking sleuths have asked users to remain alert and cautious.

"A malicious spam campaign is on the rise targeting Skype users by sending instant message which appears to come from friends in the Skype contact list," a government advisory to 'Skype' users in the country said.

Cyber security experts found the malware content has been lurking in the vicinity of cyber networks of Indian users who use this popular Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. A number of Indians use 'Skype' to communicate with their friends, relatives and other contacts within and outside the country.
14:41  US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in his speech at a private fundraiser, claimed that Barack Obama considers business people 'a necessary evil', it has been revealed.  

Romney's remarks have been revealed in a new audio recording of a private fundraiser earlier this year in Irvine, California. Romney dramatically cast the election as a black-and-white contest with Obama waging a 'war on business and economic freedom.' 
14:32  Is Indias rising billionaire wealth bad for the country?:  The strength and direction of the Indian economy may be up for debate, but one remarkable fact is not: There has been massive growth in the number and wealth of billionaires in India since the economic liberalization measures in 1991. So is it bad for the country?  Read
14:26  KFA revival plan comprehensive, claims Mallya:  Ahead of submitting a revival plan to aviation regulator DGCA, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya today met Civil Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava and briefed him about the steps being taken to revive the beleaguered carrier.

Mallya is understood to have been asked by Shrivastava about the plans to pay off the debts and dues to various vendors, including Airports Authority of India (AAI) which has asked it to vacate two hangars at Kolkata and Chennai airports as it owes the state-run airports body Rs 293 crore.

"I have briefed him on revival and restart plan. It would be a comprehensive plan. All hurdles will be crossed," Mallya said after the meeting.

The meeting between UB Group chief and the Secretary, the first since the airline got into regulatory trouble, lasted 30 minutes, official sources said. Kingfisher is expected to apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for revocation of suspension of its Scheduled Operator's Permit (SOP) or flying license in a few weeks.
14:20  Many in the BJP say that Modi was particularly unkind on Tharoor because the latter had taken on Modi over the controversy over his online followers. When Modi posted a self-congratulatory tweet a few days ago for clocking over a million followers -- which later became a hot debate with some sites saying that most were fake or inactive followers -- Tharoor had said in his tweet: "Alas, most followers aren't fans."  Read more
14:11  Tharoor: My wife worth more than imaginary Rs 50 cr:   MoS HRD Shashi Tharoor hits back at Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for his comment yesterday calling Sunanda Pushkar a '50-crore-rupee girlfriend'. Tharoor said his "wife was worth much more than an imaginary Rs 50 crore. She is priceless. But you need to be able to love someone to understand that."

Addressing a rally in Himachal Pradesh yesterday, ahead of polls in the state, Modi said, "Wah kya girlfriend hai. Apne kabhi dekha hai 50 crore ka girlfriend?" (What a girlfriend. Have you ever seen a 50-crore-girl friend), he told the crowd referring to Tharoor who was inducted into the government as minister of state for HRD.

Modi was making a reference to allegations of Tharoor actively negotiating the "sweat equity" for Sunanda Pushkar, now his wife for the Kochi IPL team in 2010. He had allegedly asked for 10% for Pushkar while the deal was finally settled at 5%. Following the allegations, Tharoor had resigned from the Union ministry.   
14:03  Gadkari survives, for now:  Nitin Gadkari has been spared the guillotine and not because he managed to come clean on the questions surrounding his business empire. Read
14:00  BJP completely rattled and baffled, thunders Kejriwal:  Reacting to BJP's official mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh, which has criticised his campaign against party president Nitin Gadkari, activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal today said the main opposition party is completely rattled and baffled, following the facts published by him.

"The BJP is nervous. They are completely rattled and baffled. And they have said that we are being foreign funded. The list of all the donors to this movement is there on a website. I challenge BJP, if they have the guts and courage. Let BJP put the list all the donors for the last 10 years on the website, so, that the country knows that which are those coal beneficiaries or various other industrial beneficiaries who got various contracts from BJP in BJP-ruled states," Kejriwal said here.
13:57   TTN assembly opposition leader files anticipatory bail in HC:  DMDK founder and opposition leader in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Vijaykant today filed an anticipatory bail plea in the Madras High Court in connection with the October 27 incident at the city airport where a journalist was allegedly pushed down and abused by him. The application is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow.
13:55  Guj HC slams gun-totting MP's behaviour :  The Gujarat High Court has slammed Congress MP Vitthal Radadia for this behaviour. A local court two weeks ago, had rejected the  anticipatory bail application of the MP who was booked after he brandished a gun at the operators of a toll both for avoiding paying toll.

Additional District and Sessions Court Judge B V Gohil turned down Radadia's plea saying charges against the MP are of serious nature and cited past criminal cases pending against the MP.
13:42  New MoS Agriculture Tariq Anwar takes charge:  The new Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Tariq Anwar has said allied sectors like dairying and animal husbandry play an important role in the growth of agriculture and betterment of farmers.

Anwar, who took charge of his new post today, said he would do his best to contribute to policy formulation and implementation not only in mainline agriculture but also the allied sectors such as dairying and animal husbandry. 
13:36  CA had said he was one of the Kandahar hijackers:  According to the police, Mohla had allegedly entered into the cockpit on February 1, 2009 and had sparked panic by claiming that he has hijacked the plane while he was on the flight.

Mohla had also warned the crew members that he was one of the accused in the infamous Kandahar hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999 and was carrying needles with which he would "infect" others if they resisted him, the prosecution had said.

The crew members and some passengers had overpowered Mohla and he was arrested on the next day. The court, in its order convicting Mohla, said he had intimidated the crew members by claiming to be a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official and had also threatened them by saying that he was one of the accused in the Kandahar hijacking.

The court also said that Mohla was aware that his "terrifying act" would have endangered the safety of the 160 passengers and the crew members on board.
13:26  Life term for CA who raised false hijack alarm:  A chartered accountant, who triggered a hijack alert in February 2009 on a Goa-Delhi Indigo flight when he threatened the crew and passengers mid-air by claiming that he had "infected" needles and gun, was today given a life term by a Delhi court.

45-year old Jitender Kumar Mohla had been convicted under section 3(1)(d)of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act of 1982 dealing with offences on board an aircraft and various IPC Section and faces maximum punishment of up to life term.

Besides the Aviation Act, the court convicted Delhi-based Mohla under various provisions of the IPC dealing with endangering life or personal safety of others and criminal intimidation and reserved its order on quantum of sentence for October 30.
13:23  Life term for man who raised false hijack alarm:  Just in: Court awards life term to a charted accountant who had created a mid-air hijack scare on a Goa-Delhi flight in 2009. 
13:22  MoS Defence Kataria's portfolio likely to be changed:  Minister of State for Defence Lalchand Kataria's portfolio is likely to be changed, sources said on Tuesday. The sources said that the Prime Minister's Office had put on hold the decision to appoint Kataria as one of the two Ministers of State for Defence.

Sources said that this was because both Kataria and the other MoS in Defence were from the same state: Rajasthan. Kataria is currently meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The PMO, however, has clarified that there has been no objections from Defence Minister AK Antony over Kataria's appointment.
13:19  Congress president Sonia Gandhi is campaigning in Shimla today. The usual guff... Sonia slams the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh for not bothering with development. 
13:14  Deadly storm strikes Argentina:  News of yet another storm...

At least two people were killed in Argentina when torrential rain drenched the Buenos Aires area, knocking out power, and flooding streets and train tunnels, officials said.

A 65-year-old man drowned when he fell down trying to rescue a television set from his flooded home in the town of Isidro Casanova, just west of Buenos Aires.

A woman was electrocuted at her home in the Lanus neighborhood in the outskirts of the capital, local officials said. Five of the city's seven subway lines as well as the regional train system was forced to stop for several hours during the day due to track flooding.
13:08  Stunning images of New York plunged into darkness:  The city that never sleeps has been forced to have a lie down with much of the city now in darkness as Sandy holds New York in its grip. Some amazing images are being shared on social networks which show just how tenuous humanity's dominance over nature really is. Streets and subways are flooded and blackouts are affecting much of the city as the deluge continues. See

Sandy has so far claimed 14 lives in the US and one in Canada.
13:05  Confidential note on revenue loss over auction may be outed:   While on confidences and confidentiality, a note by a Union Minister to a constitutional authority which talks of a huge revenue loss may be leaked n the winter session of Parliament. The note says that the decision to not go in for an auction of a natural resource has caused losses. No prizes for guessing whe this is about.
A certain group of politicians want this leak to take place in middle of November to stall the Winter session of parliament which begins on the 23rd.

12:54  Modi calls Tharoor's 'wife 50-crore-rupee girlfriend':  A day after the Cabinet reshuffle, UPA ministers '" especially Shashi Tharoor '" came under fire from Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as he made a scathing attack on the former UN diplomat, calling his wife the " 50-crore-rupee girlfriend". More
12:52  Veerappan's widow acquitted in actor Rajkumar kidnap case:  A court here has acquitted the widow of slain forest brigand Veerappan along with 10 accused while sentencing 13 others to one-year rigorous imprisonment in the sensational kidnap of late Kannada thespian Rajkumar in 2000. Muthulakshmi was acquitted by Judicial Magistrate Krishnan on the ground that the prosecution was not able to prove charges against her and 10 others.
12:48  A visit Manmohan must make:  Only a summit between India and Pakistan at the highest political level can lead to a forward movement on Sir Creek, a no-war pact, and the Kashmir formula. That's the read on the Hindu. 
12:44  Strict rule on private secretaries for new mantris:  Congress ministers are facing the fallout of getting their confidantes for the posts of private secretaries and additional private secretaries.

Two hindrances ministers with new portfolios face is the UPA2 enforcing strict rules that ministers cannot employ any staff member who has completed 10 years of service in the personal staff of a union minister. This is applicable from IAS officers down to Class IV employees like peons and office attendants.

The second is that union ministers are scared of spy video cameras and secret taping devices. Once bitten twice shy seems to be the adage for the new faces in Dr Manmohan Singh's council of ministers.
12:33  On the Washington Post, pictures of the calm before and during Sandy. See 
12:30  Jitendra starts as student in Antonys 'class':  Rahul Gandhi's friend and adviser Jitendra Singh was baptised into the defence ministry's St Antony School within minutes of taking over as the minister of state today.A.K. Antony, who greeted the scion of the Alwar royal family, asked him to attend a scheduled Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) meeting this afternoon that cleared purchases worth nearly Rs 3,000 crore. Read more here
12:30  The story behind how Jitin Prasada was named MoS defence:  So how did the confusion over the defence portfolio allocation between Jitin Prasada and Jitendra Singh happen? 

To refresh memories, the list from the President's office on Sunday afternoon mentioned that Jitin Prasada had been allotted defence and HRD while Jitendra Singh had been given youth affairs and sports. However, later that evening, a clarification was issued that defence had been added to Singh's portfolio, not Prasada's.

How did this confusion happen? Reports said that it was a clerical error as the two names were similar. 

The truth can be told now. Yes, it was a clerical error, but at the root of this was the prime minister's own soft voice, say our sources. While dictating the names, Dr Singh mentioned Jitendra Singh for defence but it went down as Jitin Prasada in the list that was sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan.   

Since Sonia Gandhi had already informed Singh that he was being sent to work under AK Antony as MoS, there was confusion once the portfolios were (incorrectly) announced. Jitendra Singh then spoke to the prime minister, following which a letter was sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan correcting the error.   

And all was well that ended well.
12:11  Chaturvedi's task: To finalise Lokpal draft before session starts:  Satyavrat Chaturvedi, chairman of the standing committee of Parliament on Lokpal, is facing a tough time in finalising the draft bill which has to be presented to Parliament during the winter session which begins on November 22.   

Chaturvedi's task only became that much more difficult following Anna Hazare and ex-Army chief General VK Singh's combative press conference on Monday in Mumbai on the issue, which has speeded up the deliberations. 

Some 21 MPs from various political parties will be meeting in New Delhi today and tomorrow to the wrest the core issue of Lokpal to the ground.  

Two rounds of internal discussions were held last week between Chaturvedi and the BJP's Arun Jaitley before a final draft was attempted.
12:05  Pakistani Hindus protest as trader is killed in Sindh:  A Hindu trader was killed in Pakistan's southern Sindh province during Eid holidays, triggering protests by the minority community in its Hyderabad region. 

Trader Dhayan Chand Bhagri was killed early in the morning on Saturday while he was returning home after selling cattle in the livestock market at Latifabad, his father Sobho Bhagri told the media. The unidentified killers escaped with Rs 720,000 that Dhayan Chand had earned after selling his cattle, his father said. 

Members of the Hindu community protested outside the press club in Hyderabad city yesterday and demanded the arrest of those who killed the trader.
11:23  Sandy: Power cut to 5.5M people in 13 states:  The latest estimates of the number of people without power due to Standstorm Sandy now range between five and six million. There have been power cuts in 13 states including Washington DC.   
11:12  RBI announces credit policy; cuts CRR by 0.25 pc:   The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday cut the cash reserve ratio by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent, but kept the key policy rates including the repo rate unchanged.

Falling revenues from the services sector and a dip in exports due to global slowdown may result in higher current account deficit in the second quarter of the current fiscal, RBI said in its quarterly review of the economy on Monday.

The merchandise trade deficit has remained at the same level as in the first half of 2011-12, as slowdown in exports was matched by import contraction.

This, coupled with the falling surplus in services trade over the medium term, is likely to leave the current account deficit -- the net of imports and exports of goods and services - too wide for comfort, the RBI report says.
11:01  Storm Sandy: America's oldest nuke plant on alert :   America's oldest nuclear power plant is on alert after waters from Superstorm Sandy reached high levels. Oyster Creek in Lacey Township, New Jersey, was already offline for regular maintenance before Sandy slammed the East Coast.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says an "unusual event'' was declared around 7 pm when water reached a high level. The situation was upgraded less than two hours later to an "alert,'' the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system.

Federal officials say all nuclear plants are still in safe condition. They say water levels near Oyster Creek, which is along the Atlantic Ocean, will likely recede within a few hours.
10:39  Sandy: Medical services hit, 200 patients evacuated:  Superstorm Sandy has also hit medical services in New York. 

The storms  wrath prompted the evacuation of about 200 patients at NYU Langone Medical Center.

"We are having intermittent telephone access issues, and for this reason the receiving hospital will notify the families of their arrival," spokeswoman Lisa Greiner told CNN.

In addition, the basement of New York's Bellevue Hospital Center flooded, and the hospital was running off of emergency backup power.

Ian Michaels of the Office of Emergency Management said the main priority is to help secure additional power and obtain additional fuel and pumps for the hospital.
10:27  Delhi HC to hear Guj govt vs DG Sharma case:  

A Correspondent in New Delhi: The Delhi high court is hearing today the petition of Gujarat government against Gujarat cadre police officer Kuldip Sharma against his promotion as director general. Sharma is a controversial officer who is fighting a fierce political battle with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.


The state government had jailed his brother, an IAS officer. Sharma is accused of being a "Congress stooge" by the Modi government. Sharma had managed to get transfer out of Gujarat some 18 months back. Then he was promoted as the DG, against which the Modi government has gone to court


The Modi government is wary of losing the case today. If Sharma's promotion is upheld, the option will be available to nominate him as a state in-charge in the crucial period of election.  


However, the temporary nomination is solely dependent on discretion of the Election Commission. But, if Sharma goes back to Gujarat as DG to oversee the election, the state will see huge confrontation between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Sharma. 

10:08  RS MP Lal Chand Kataria's portfolio may be changed:  Sunday's cabinet reshuffle sprung many surprises for the Congressmen in Rajasthan with the induction of Lal Chand Kataria and Chandresh Kumari as union ministers. However, sources tell CNN-IBN that the PMO has put the decision to appoint Kataria as MoS defence on hold.  

Sources say there are already two MoSes in defence, both from Rajashtan.

Rajya Sabha MP Kataria is currently in a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

More details are awaited.
09:56  Sandy downgraded, is no longer a hurricane:  The silver lining the the dark cloud: Sandy no longer remains a hurricane. It has been downgraded to a "post-tropical" superstorm. However, it continues to unleash it's fury on the across Northeast America.   
09:17  Cyclone alert in Tamil Nadu; schools, colleges shut:  Tamil Nadu has been put on a cyclone alert after a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal. The Met Department forecast heavy rains in the state on Tuesday, reports CNN-IBN.

Schools and colleges in Chennai have decided to remain shut today while fishermen have been warned not to venture out into the sea.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall on Wednesday and it could hit anywhere between Nagapattinam and Nellore.

08:31  Storm Sandy wreaks havoc in New Jersey, 10 dead:   Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore on Monday, killing at least 10 people from West Virginia to North Carolina and Connecticut bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy rains to a wide swath of the US East Coast, officials said.

Floods inundated large number of areas, leaving nearly three million people out of electricity. Some parts of Manhattan also experienced power cuts. It also flooded ground-zero.

In the New York City a crane associated with a high rose building under construction collapsed.  In New York, lower Manhattan's Battery Park recorded nearly 14-foot tide, smashing a record set by 1960's Hurricane Donna by more than 3 feet.

The city had already halted service on its bus and train lines, closing schools and ordering about 4,00,000 people out of their homes in low-lying areas of Manhattan and elsewhere, reports CNN.

Flooding forced the closure of all three of the major airports in the area, LaGuardia, John F Kennedy and Newark Liberty. Water seeped into subway stations in Lower Manhattan and into the tunnel connecting Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, while high winds damaged a crane perched atop a Midtown skyscraper under construction, forcing authorities to evacuate the surrounding area.

The storm was blamed for lamed for more than 2.8 million outages across the Northeast.
04:50  Sandy barges into US east coast at 150km/hour :  BBC reports: For the last few hours, Sandy has been packing winds with sustained maximum speeds of 90mph (150km/h) and has been moving north-west at 28mph (44km/h).

A cluster of states along the eastern seaboard -- from North Carolina to Massachusetts -- have been impacted.

Along the coast, up to 12ft (3.7m) of storm surge and pounding waves has caused widespread flooding.
04:46  Sandy no longer a hurricane, but a tropical storm:  CNN Reports: While it still has sustained winds of 85 mph, Sandy is no longer considered a hurricane, the National Hurricane Centre reported in a 7 pm (EDT) update. The Miami-based agency said it is reclassifying the storm because "Sandy has continued to lose tropical characteristics."

Moving west-northwest at 28 mph, the storm is centered about 30 miles east-northeast of Cape May, New Jersey, and 20 miles south of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
04:10  Sandy surge: 1.5 million Americans go powerless:  
BBC Reports: New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, urges people to stay inside until Tuesday morning: "We'd like to continue what we've experienced so far, and that's no fatalities whatsoever."

Meanwhile, Claudene Christian, one of two missing people from the HMS Bounty, has been found dead, the US Coast Guard said. The ship sank off the North Carolina coast earlier Monday, and 14 crew members were subsequently rescued. The Coast Guard is still looking for 63-year-old Robin Walbridge, the ship's captain.

Also, more than 1.5 million customers are without power due to Sandy, about double the amount just a few hours earlier
04:06  New Jersey Guv: No more evacuations possible now:  CNN reports: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said evacuations are no longer possible, and that those who stayed behind cannot count on authorities to help them.

Rescuers won't be sent out "until daylight tomorrow," he added, citing "all the various hazards."

"I'm very disappointed in the fact that some decided to disregard my instruction, in fact my order, and I'm concerned that it might lead to the loss of life," Christie said.
02:35  6 fake Sandy photos you are sharing on social media:  
Fake Hurricane Sandy photos flew around Twitter and Facebook on Monday, as users shared jaw-dropping images. Unfortunately, the race to post the most striking pics has most folks skipping the all-important fact check.

Mashable gathered up five 'Hurricane Sandy' photographs that have spread on the social web, but were not actually taken during the massive storm.

Click here to see
02:12  Sandy to make landfall in New Jersey in 3-5 hours:  
In an updated advisory from the National Hurricane Centre, Sandy is now 65 miles (105km) away from Atlantic City, and has maximum sustained winds of 90mph (150km/h). The NHC estimates that the centre of Sandy could reach the coast of southern New Jersey or central Delaware within the next three to five hours.

Meanwhile, in just two hours, the number of customers without power due to Hurricane Sandy has more than doubled. 

More than 765,000 in seven states have no electricity, with New York and New Jersey being the most affected states with more than 220,000 outages each.
01:51  Hurricane Sandy 110 miles southeast of Atlantic City:  
CNN reports: Hurricane Sandy retained its strength on Monday afternoon (EDT) with 90 mph sustained winds, the National Hurricane Centre reports in its 4 pm advisory.

Moving northwest at 28 mph, the storm is centered 110 miles southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and 175 miles south-southeast of New York City.

Hurricane-force wind gusts - in excess of 74 mph - have been reported along the coast of Long Island, New York, according to the National Weather Service.
01:25  Sandy surge: 'It's going to get worse and worse':  
Newark, New Jersey, is experiencing high winds and flooding, though the city's mayor is warning conditions should only deteriorate. 

"We have an intensity of water coming into our city that we anticipate getting worse and worse," Mayor Cory Booker told CNN.

He expressed fears about what the storm surge around the 8 pm high tide will do to New Jersey's most populated city.

According to the US Department of Energy, as of 2pm EDT, the impacted states report a total of 316,563 customers without power in the affected areas.
00:26  Sandy moving towards NJ shore more quickly:  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tweets: RT @NOAASatellites: #Sandy is moving toward NJ shore more quickly: See our animated imagery:
00:23  Extreme weather event continues to unfold in US:  
Recap -- Hurricane Sandy is approaching the US East Coast, expected to make landfall in the state of New Jersey on Monday evening.

The storm could affect up to 50 million people in the densely populated region, and is likely to last through the day on Tuesday.

This huge, late-season storm is colliding with a cold front moving south from Canada and is expected to result in blizzard conditions as far inland as West Virginia.

The storm is gaining energy from other weather systems and is combining to create a superstorm with the potential for devastation over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. About 2 to 3 feet of snow were forecast for mountainous parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.

"History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States," said meteorologist Stu Ostro of the Weather Channel.
00:09  Hurricane Sandy gains power as it heads northwest:  
Hurricane Sandy is rapidly accelerating toward the northwest at 28 mph, the National Hurricane Centre said in its 2 pm ET advisory. 

Sandy remains a Category One hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph with gusts 110 mph, forecasters said.

Nearly 300,000 customers are without power in seven states due to Hurricane Sandy, according to figures from power companies.  New Jersey tops the states in outages with about 92,000 customers without electricity, followed by New York with 90,000.

For earlier updates on Hurricane Sandy, CLICK HERE 
00:07  Top headlines at this hour:  Hurricane Sandy shuts down northeastern US

Nitin Gadkari cans Himachal poll campaign 

Anna Hazare gets new General in war against graft

Modi calls Tharoor's wife '50-crore-rupee girlfriend'

For earlier updates on Hurricane Sandy, CLICK HERE 

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