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Emergency meet of DMK Executive on Oct 1

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September 26, 2012

23:50  Emergency meet of DMK Executive on Oct 1:  An emergency meeting of the DMK executive will be held in Chennai on October 1 to discuss the alleged foisting of cases on partymen by the ruling AIADMK.

A DMK statement tonight claimed a slew of cases were being slapped on its leaders, with some of them being detained under the stringent Goondas Act by the government, with a view to 'prevent them from actively participating in cooperative and parliamentary elections'.

The meeting would be held under the leadership of DMK chief M Karunanidhi at party headquar
22:46  Protester shows slipper to Bihar CM:  A protester among a group of contractual workers today showed a slipper to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a public meeting in this district, official sources said.

The man suddenly took his 'chappal' in his hand and showed it to Kumar as he was addressing a gathering to press for the special status demand. TV channel cameras captured the unidentified protester waving his 'chappal' in the chief minister's direction.

Kumar had suffered similar humiliation at Madhubani three days' ago.
22:03  Twin suicide blasts strike Syrian army; 4 killed:  Two suicide car bombers today struck Syria's army command headquarters, killing four guards and engulfing a key symbol of President Bashar Assad's embattled regime in flames, state-run media and witnesses said. 

The twin blasts were followed by several hours of gun battles between rebel fighters and regime forces in downtown Damascus. A reporter for an Iranian TV channel also was killed by gunfire near the clashes, and a correspondent for another Iranian station was wounded.
21:47  Six more coal blocks to be cancelled:  Stepping up action, the government today decided to cancel six more coal blocks allocated to private companies and deduct bank guarantees of seven others for failing to develop the mines within the time-frame. 

"Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today approved the IMG's recommendation to de-allocate six more mines and deduct bank guarantees of seven. Earlier, the government has already announced cancelling licences of seven mines and deducting bank guarantees of seven others," sources told PTI.
21:14  Mamata pushes for formation of regional parties' front:  Weeks after parting ways with UPA, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today pushed for formation of a front of regional parties, saying the country should "run from different parts" of the country. 

She contended that the Manmohan Singh dispensation has lost "moral right and democratic right" to rule and said political parties should decide on bringing down the "very arrogant" government. "This government never consulted any matter with any alliance partner. 

Whatever they do they do it quietly. This may be a stable government in the Congress eye, but it's not a safe and sound government," Banerjee told CNN-IBN.
21:13  24 killed as bus plunges into river in Maharashtra:  Twenty-four passengers were killed and over 30 injured, some of them seriously, when a state transport bus fell into Purna river in Maharashtra's Buldhana district today, police said. 

The mishap took place around noon in Sangrampur taluka when the overcrowded bus plunged into the river while crossing the old Khiroda bridge, they said. The bus carrying more than 60 passengers, mostly students, was on its way to Paturda village near here when the accident occurred, they said.
20:39  7 arrested in Hisar gangrape:   After drawing flak for alleged delayed action, Haryana Police today arrested seven persons from Uttarakhand in dalit girl gangrape case which may be tried in a fast-track court. 

Even as the case sparked outrage, another woman in Haryana was allegedly raped at gun point in her house by three men, who made a video clip of the crime and circulated it Jind district. 

National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC), which had yesterday taken strong exception to the delay in nabbing the key accused, today sought an action taken report (ATR) from Haryana administration at the earliest on the Hisar incident which took place earlier this month and has asked Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.
20:37  I will not accept any responsibility in Maha govt: Supriya Sule:  NCP MP and daughter of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule, today ruled out the possibility of being part of the Maharashtra government, which plunged into crisis after the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. 

"I will not accept any responsibility in the Maharashtra government as I am working with the Centre," Sule told reporters here scotching speculations of her entry into the Maharashtra cabinet after her cousin quit yesterday.
19:43  No division in NDA over FDI in retail: BJP:  Seeking to dismiss reports of differences in NDA over FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP today said it was opposed to the decision in toto and indicated that it will scrap the policy if it comes to power. 

Amid reports that Shiromani Akali Dal President and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, who is a key NDA ally, has softened his stand on FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP said it is opposed to the proposal completely as it is against the interest of the farming community. 

BJP clarified that it is not a question of the quantum of FDI to be allowed and the party is fully against it.
19:42  BJP criticise Gogoi over Japan tour:  
The BJP today criticised Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for being on a foreign tour at a time when the state is reeling under floods and demanded dismissal of state Environment and Forest Minister over killing of animals at Kaziranga National Park by poachers. 

"Governance has ceased to exist in Assam. The Chief Minister is having a luxury tour abroad even as people in the state have to wade through chest-deep water," BJP national vice-president and Lok Sabha MP Bijoya Chakravarty told reporters here.
19:32  Abu Hamza's extradition to US put off :  Convicted radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza got a last-minute reprieve today when a high court judge issued interim injunctions preventing his extradition to the United States until the case is heard in court. 

Earlier in the day, Hamza had launched the appeal in the High Court against his extradition to the US, two days after a European court ruled he could be handed over to Washington on terrorism charges. The injunction now temporarily prevents the extradition of Abu Hamza and another suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz.
19:20  IAF to base Sukhoi squadron near Indo-Pak border:  Deploying its lethal combat arsenal near the Indo-Pak border, the Air Force (IAF) is going to base a squadron of its frontline fighter aircraft Su-30MKI at Sirsa in Haryana by December. 

This will be the second squadron of the Su-30MKI to be deployed in the Western Command area after deployment of the aircraft in Halwara in Punjab. The aircraft will be deployed in Sirsa which is a key base along the Pakistan border, IAF officials said here.
19:09  UPA govt using money, muscle, mafia power: Mamata:  
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who recently pulled out of the UPA over the reform measures taken by it, has once again hit out at the government, calling it "by the corruption, of the corruption and for the corruption".

In an interview with CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, the West Bengal Chief Minister questioned the stability of the Centre saying Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati may bail out the government for now, but people won't bail them out in future.

Banerjee further accused the government of misusing its power and alleged that it had begun monitoring the funds of the Trinamool Congress.

Terming the government as "very arrogant", the Trinamool Congress chief said, "The Congress does not consult any ally in the UPA. They have lost the moral right to govern."

She even attacked the Prime Minister pointing that Manmohan Singh was not a grassroot leader, and accused the government of using "money, muscle and mafia power".

When asked about her fallout with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has decided to support the UPA after Banerjee's exit, during the presidential elections, the West Bengal Chief Minister said that she had not held anything against him as even his party had its "political compulsions".

Banerjee, however, maintained that it was because of her that Pranab Mukherjee became the President of the country.
18:47  Sheila Dikshit's convoy meets with accident, 5 hurt:  
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's convoy on Wednesday met with an accident near Red Fort in old Delhi in which four security personnel and a senior official sustained minor injuries. The Chief Minister, however, remained unharmed.

The accident occurred when one of the vehicles in Dikshit's convoy tried to save a cyclist who came in between two cars of the entourage.

The car carrying Dikshit had moved well ahead when the incident happened involving the remaining vehicles of her convoy.

The Chief Minister was going to Delhi Secretariat from the Raj Bhavan after attending the swearing-in ceremony of Justice Darmar Murugesan as Chief Justice of the Delhi high court.

Four Delhi Police constables and a senior official in the Chief Minister's Office sustained minor injuries in the accident which took place around noon.
18:38  Rafi's son mulls legal action against Lata Mangeshkar:  
A day after singer Lata Mangeshkar claimed in a newspaper interview that late singer Mohammed Rafi had apologised to her in writing, his son Shahid Rafi has refuted her, saying that it's was a publicity stunt and he might even take legal action.

"My father was national property. I am hurt and so are his fans. His fan following is much bigger than any other artist. If she can prove that my father had written an apology letter to her, then I am ready to apologise. But the main thing is that she should come forward and produce that letter. All I want is that the truth should come out," Shahid told reporters here at a press conference.

"If that is the case, let her show the letter. My father passed away about years ago, and now she is talking about this letter? People keep valuable documents for even fifty years. Why hasn't she retained the paper which would give her dignity," he said. 

Shahid said that Mangeshkar made these claims because she is insecure.
18:17  NCP will support UPA, Maha govts: Sharad Pawar:  
Just In: The Nationalist Congress Party will continue to support Congress in Maharashtra and United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, says party chief Sharad Pawar.

Interacting with media persons, Pawar said, "The NCP legislature party has requested Ajit Pawar to reconsider his decision and entrusts party chief to take a final call on it."
18:13  Open India: Considerations for Retailers :  
Vijay Govindarajan, Javed Matin, and Christian Sarkar chalk out a Go-to-India strategy for MNC retailers for the Harvard Business Review blog network.

Read more about this HERE

18:12  Trident lights on Kolkata roads kick up storm:  
The move to beautify Kolkata by installing decorative trident lights on road sides, which courted controversy after opposition parties described it as hurridedly-done without inviting tenders, was on Wednesday raised in the Assembly.

State urban development minister Firhad Hakim said he did not know whether any tender process was gone through in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation area, but in other areas under the Urban Development Department the process was duly followed.

Very recently the KMC top brass removed Goutam Pattanayak as the director-general (electrical) who was under the scanner for an alleged role in the purchase of the trident lights and fixing their rates.

The civic authorities also decided to conduct a departmental probe into alleged irregularities in the purchase of these lights. 

Giving details of the scheme, the minister told the Assembly that 54 civic bodies, including the KMC, installed it till August 31 this year, costing about Rs 39.39 crore.
17:37  India climb to 3rd spot in ICC T20 ratings:  
Riding on their huge win over England in the group stages of the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, India jumped four places to claim the third position in the Reliance ICC T20 Championship table, which was released on Wednesday

India spanked defending champions England by 90 runs in a Group A match, which propelled Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men to 116 rating points. 

The crushing defeat meant England slipped a position to second spot with 124 ratings points. 

South Africa head into the Super Eight stage as the number-one ranked team.

Meanwhile, Suresh Raina is the lone Indian to feature in the top 10 list for the T20I Player Rankings for batsmen. 

Even though Raina dropped two places in the recently-released chart, the left-hander still occupied the fifth position with 730 points in his kitty. Another Indian to rise in the chart is opener Gautam Gambhir who is 13th (up by three places).
17:33  Rupee likely to touch below 50 level: Assocham:  
The rupee is expected to touch below 50 level against the US dollar in the next three months, bolstered by the recent raft of reforms and rising foreign fund flows into domestic stock market, says a report. 

The "courageous" decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel prices hike as well as increased liquidity in global markets -- spurred by monetary easing policies in the US and Europe -- would boost the rupee, Assocham said in a study.

Currently trading at the 53-level against the US dollar, the rupee has depreciated as much as 25 per cent in the last one year, amid sluggish economic trends. 

"The courageous decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail and hiking diesel prices in the face of widespread political opposition were the turning points...," Assocham President Rajkumar N Dhoot said.

It so happened that these decisions coincided with the quantitative easing in the US and Europe resulting in rush of liquidity in the global markets, he added.
17:32  Kejriwal to begin political innings in Delhi:  
Arvind Kejriwal's new party, which is likely to be announced next week, will have youths in leadership position and will enter electoral fray with Delhi polls before contesting all seats in next Lok Sabha elections. 

Addressing a meeting of students and youths here, Kejriwal said, "We will contest from across the country. But before that we will first fight the Delhi Assembly elections. People will select the candidates and they will fund the election expenses."

If the party wins power, he said, the first thing they will do will be the enactment of Jan Lokpal Bill. 

He also asked students to form groups in every college in the national capital. However, he said the party will not have separate students' wing. 

"30-40 per cent of those in leadership will be youth," he said at the meeting held on Tuesday.

Kejriwal also said that an internal Lokpal will be appointed in the party to look into complaints against party members.
17:29  Madonna vows to strip onstage if Obama wins:  
Queen of Pop Madonna called President Barack Obama a "black Muslim" at a recent concert, saying she will bare all if he wins a second term. 

The 54-year-old singer, who performed here on Monday night, asked everyone in the audience to vote for Obama, reported Fox news.

"You all better vote for Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House! Now that's amazing... It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man," Madonna said.

Madonna also stripped down to her underwear to reveal "Obama" stenciled in big letters on her back.

"When Obama is in the White House for a second term I'll take it all off," she added. 

Obama is Christian and has spoken and written widely about his faith. Madonna's comments came in the middle of an extended speech that touched on Martin Luther King Jr's legacy and traced the civil rights movement from America's inception to Obama's election.
17:27  Iran TV reporter killed, another wounded in Syria:  
A reporter for Iran's Press TV was killed by a sniper and the Damascus bureau chief for Iran's Al-Alam was wounded in the Syrian capital, their employers in Tehran said.

"Press TV correspondent Maya Nasser has been killed by sniper fire in the Syrian capital, Damascus," Press TV said in a bulletin on its news website. 

Both Press TV and Al-Alam said on their websites that Al-Alam's Damascus bureau chief, Hussein Mortada, a Lebanese national, was wounded. 

Al-Alam said Mortada suffered a gunshot wound as he went to the site of two bomb blasts at the Damascus headquarters of the Syrian armed forces general staff. 

It was not immediately known whether Nasser was with Mortada when he was killed. Press TV was not immediately able to give his nationality.
17:26  Pawar knows how to kill two birds with one stone:  
Ajit Pawar, as Maharashtra's deputy chief minister, has gotten too big for his boots. He is also no longer dependent upon his uncle Sharad Pawar for support or resources. Many NCP workers and MLAs have been shifting their loyalties to Ajit as they find him more dependable and reliable than the NCP president. That fact has been a thorn in Pawar's side for long -- the fear of Ajit engineering a split in the NCP to strike out on his own has been like a sword hanging over Pawar's head for months now.

The current move to enforce the resignations of all ministers of the Nationalist Congress Party in the Maharashtra government a brilliant move by Ajit Pawar.

Read more about this HERE
17:25  Rahul Gandhi to tour Punjab next month:  
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will be on a two-day visit to Punjab next month during which he will be interacting with a cross-section of people including party workers, office bearers, MLAs and MPs, State Congress President Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday.

He said that Rahul will be visiting Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala during his tour of the state on October 10-11. 

Singh said, being Rahul's first visit to the state after Congress lost at the hustings in January assembly polls this year, the young MP will be interacting with a cross-section of people, including party workers.

The PCC President in a release here said that he has also constituted a state-level committee headed by him and three
separate committees for Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala in view of Rahul Gandhi's visit to Punjab.

The programme has been chalked out in such a way that he (Rahul) will be able to meet all the office bearers, Singh said.
17:17  A priest in Southampton, England, bans yoga from church hall:  
A priest has banned yoga from a church hall because the class was "not compatible" with the Catholic faith.

Click HERE to read about it

17:15  Chidambaram kins encroaching wall razed :  
The Pioneer on the demolition a compound wall built by the finance minister's family on the outskirts of Chennai.

Click HERE to read
16:35  Sensex closes 62 pts lower; Maruti, Infy stocks take hit:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday fell by 62 points on profit-booking, mainly in front-line stocks Bharti Airtel, Coal India, TCS, Infosys and Maruti, amid weak global cues.

After resuming lower at 18,644.54, the 30-share index closed lower 62.24 points, or 0.33 per cent at 18,632.17. 

The broader National Stock Exchange index Nifty also fell by 10.45 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 5,663.45. 

Brokers said selling pressure emerged as investors indulged in squaring up their positions created in recent rally ahead of the settlement in September month contract in the derivatives segment on Thursday

They said the sentiment was also dampened by weak global stock markets after Federal Reserve said the third round of bond buying may fail to stimulate economic growth. 

Of Sensex stocks, 19 stocks declined led by Infosys, TCS, Dr Reddy, Larsen and Toubro, Bharti Airtel, HDFC, Maruti Suzuki and Coal India declined.
16:25  CBI lodges 4 FIRs in coal scam:  Just In: Four FIRs have been lodged by the CBI in the coal scam in the court of special judge, CBI, Talwant Singh, in the Patiala House courts, New Delhi. Details soon.
16:23  Pak, China sign bilateral military cooperation deal:  Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for bilateral military cooperation.   
The agreement was signed during a visit of the Chinese delegation led by Deputy Chief of General Staff of People Liberation Army General Ma Xiaotian to Rawalpindi, a press release by the Inter Services Public Relations has said.   

The delegation met Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Khalid Shameem Wynne and discussed ongoing cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.  

The visit of the Chinese delegation commences the start of the 9th round of Pakistan-China Defence and Security Talks. 
16:22  Reforms revive investor interest in India: Experts:  Foreign investors are showing renewed interest in India following the reforms thrust announced by the government, but further steps are needed to improve the environment for economic growth, experts say. 

According to a research report by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, there has been a sea change in interest in India post the reforms announced last week that included allowing FDI in multi-brand retail and the civil aviation sector. 

"Clients sensed a change in the political environment in India and some investors who earlier were staying away from India were keen to meet and understand the shape of things to come," Bank of America - Merrill Lynch Research Analyst Jyotivardhan Jaipuria said.
16:06  NCP wants Maha CM Chavan out; No way, says Cong:  NCP MLAs on Wednesday passed a resolution urging Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to withdraw his resignation.

Media reports claimed that NCP leaders had also sought the ouster of Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. But the Congress has made it clear to its coalition partner that this is not the right time to replace Chavan.
15:31  NCP legislators request Pawar to withdraw resignation:  NCP legislators have requested senior leader Ajit Pawar to withdraw his resignation. Pawar, who faces serious allegations of corruption, resigned from the post of Maharashtra deputy chief minister on Tuesday.
15:29  UPA Coordination Committee meet on Thursday:  The UPA Coordination Committee, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, will meet on Thursday.

This will be the first meeting of the committee after the Trinamool Congress, a major ally of the UPA, pulled out of the coalition to protest the introduction of FDI in retail.

Rifts have also appeared between the Congress, which leads the coalition, and another major ally NCP.
15:27  Women can't have it all: IMF chief Lagarde:  Head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde has said that women cannot have it all when it comes to juggling career and family life.   

Lagarde, the first woman to hold the post, said that anybody attempting to balance motherhood and a career should accept there would be 'failures'.   

"I think you cannot have it at the same time. I think you can in a way have it all as long as you can afford to be patient. But you cannot have it all at the same time. You must accept there will be failures," the Daily Mail quoted Lagarde as saying.
15:15  Chinese tycoon offers $500 mn for gay daughter's marriage:  Hong Kong property developer Cecil Chao Sze-tsung wants a kind, generous man to marry his daughter Gigi Chao, and he is willing to offer $500 million to the right candidate.

There is only a tiny hitch in the tycoon's offer. His daughter recently announced that she has married her female partner of seven years.    

Sze-tsung has, however, dismissed reports that his daughter is a lesbian and stated that he does not care whether the applicants for her husband's position are 'rich or poor'.
15:01  They pay the price for Indo-Pak conflict:  Kashmiris living near the Line of Control are often caught in the crossfire between India and Pakistan. They risk losing life and limb in the relentless feud between the armies on both sides. And the wait for compensation is a long one.

Read the full article here
14:57  Blaming migrants for Assam violence makes no sense:  Many right-wing parties have been quick to blame migrants from Bangladesh for the recent spate of violence in Assam. But they fail to see that their argument makes no sense.

Read the full article here
14:53  Did TMC's withdrawal help the UPA?:  Has the withdrawal of support by the Trinamool Congress actually helped the ruling UPA? Why is the Opposition not rejoicing over the recent developments?

How did the recent political developments lead to such unexpected results?

14:50  Ajit Pawar's resignation MUST be accepted: Praful:  Ajit Pawar's resignation as Maharashtra deputy chief minister must be accepted, NCP vice president Praful Patel has said.  

The deputy chief minister's post in Maharashtra will be kept vacant, said Patel.
14:49  Iran to halt 20-pct uranium enrichment IF...:  Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Iran has offered to stop enriching uranium to a purity level of 20 percent if the West lifts sanctions against Tehran.   

Soltanieh said the offer was made in a meeting between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul earlier in September.   

"We are prepared to suspend enrichment to 20 percent, provided that we find a reciprocal step compatible with it," Soltanieh was quoted as saying.
14:49  Yemen offers to hold talks with Al Qaeda :  Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has offered to hold talks with the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda if it gives up violence.   

The Yemeni president made the offer in a speech aired late on Tuesday, one day after the terrorists bombed Yemen's gas and oil pipelines.   

Hadi, who replaced former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in February, is in the United States to drum up foreign aid to help his country out of the current economic and security crisis.
14:44  Situation uncertain, polls are possible ANY time: BJP:   The political situation is uncertain and polls are possible any time, the BJP said on Wednesday. 

The party is currently holding its national executive meeting in Surajkund, Haryana, where it is expected to formulate its strategy on the current political and economic situation in the country.
14:23  Why don't plane windows open, asks Mitt Romney:  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lamented the fact that airplane windows don't roll down after wife Ann's plane had to make an emergency landing due to an electrical malfunction.   

Discussing the incident at a fundraiser the next day, he said, "When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous".
14:23  WB seeks probe into Bangladesh Padma Bridge graft cases:  The World Bank today sought a credible probe into corruption charges around the Padma Bridge project in Bangladesh, in the absence of which the US$ 1.2 billion credit for this ambitious project would remain cancelled. 

"The people of Bangladesh deserve a clean bridge. If we are to move ahead, we are insisting that a credible investigation is undertaken and any project implementation bedone in a manner that ensures transparency and enhanced oversight," the bank said. 

The bank said it is issuing this clarification following media reports in which Bangladeshi government officials misrepresented the World Bank's position concerning the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project.
14:17  Will Customs dept tableau find a place in R-Day parade?:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: A tableau on the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Central Board of Customs and Excise has not been included in the Republic Day parade in Rajpath, New Delhi   

'Green Customs' is the theme for the 2013 Republic Day tableau of the Union ministry of finance, as it celebrates the Golden Jubilee year of the Customs department.   

The finance ministry forgot to write to the defence ministry to include the tableau.   Efforts are now going on at a ministerial level to get this tableau included in the colourful parade. The Customs department has already got a special stamp released and also unveiled a coffee table book titled 'Anything to Declare'.   

The theme has been a focus on the role the Customs administration has played in nation building, guarding economic frontiers and highlighting the paradigm shift in the role of Customs, including the changes in smuggling and other economic frauds.   

North Block is wondering whether the 'Green' Customs tableau will be applauded or dumped, as in the ongoing coal scam and mine scam, Customs department is the main player.
13:48  NCP leaders meet sulking Ajit Pawar:  NCP leader Praful Patel on Wednesday said that the Maharashtra government will no longer have a deputy chief minister.

His announcement comes in the wake of NCP leader Ajit Pawar resigning from his post as deputy CM on Tuesday, after allegations of corruption were made against him. It has been reported that Pawar, along with a major section of party leaders, is in favour of NCP ministers resigning from the state Cabinet and offering outside support to the government.

Senior NCP leaders met Pawar on Wednesday, purportedly to change his mind about resigning. The outcome of the meeting is not yet known.
13:39  Iran blocks Gmail after court order:  The government of Iran has blocked Internet search giant Google's Gmail service, following a court order to bar access to it.   

Iran's Telecommunications Minister Reza Taghipour claimed Gmail had not observed Iranian law.   

State media quoted Taghipour as saying that if the court changes its decision, his ministry will lift its block on Gmail.
13:23  BBC apologises to the Queen:   The British Broadcasting Corporation has apologised to Queen Elizabeth II for revealing her concerns over the failure of British officials to arrest radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza.   

The apology comes after security correspondent Frank Gardner told BBC Radio 4 of a private conversation he had had with the Queen some years ago.   The BBC said it and Gardner were sorry for the 'breach of confidence', which both 'deeply regret'.   

"This morning on the Today programme, our correspondent Frank Gardner revealed details of a private conversation which took place some years ago with the Queen,' the BBC said in a statement.     

"The conversation should have remained private, and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence. It was wholly inappropriate. Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologised to the Palace," the statement added.
13:21  Judge orders arrest of Brazil Google president:  A judge has ordered the arrest of Google's president in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, after the company refused to remove some controversial YouTube videos. 

Brazilian authorities described the videos as slanderous towards a candidate running for the post of mayor.   

The judge ordered the removal of the videos last week, but Google refused to remove them, saying it is not responsible for content posted on its site. 
13:20  Himalayan climbers' deaths blamed on China:  China's response to a series of protests in Tibet this year, including restricting access to the Tibetan Himalayas, might have led to a high number of casualties in the mountaineering disaster that took place last weekend, expedition organisers have said.   

China had reportedly rejected 'climbing permits' for mountaineers wanting to climb the Tibetan Himalayas, implying that more people than the usual number attempted to ascend the mountain range in Nepal.     

In the disaster that took place, nearly 25 climbers were swept off by debris and large fragments of rocks from a falling ice cliff last Sunday, while they were preparing to leave their tents from a camp on the mountain of Manaslu, the world's eighth highest peak.
13:08  DMK turns down Cong offer for more Cabinet posts:  With speculations rife about a Union Cabinet reshuffle, the Congress has discussed the issue with DMK, the largest ally of the UPA after the exit of the Trinamool Congress. 

Union Minister V Narayansamy called on DMK chief M Karunanidhi, but the latter is learnt to have turned down the offer for the induction of his party MPs in the Manmohan Singh-led Cabinet, party sources said.
12:24  Goa govt to inspect, quantify iron ore lying in state :  
The Goa government has constituted several teams to inspect and quantify the iron ore stacked at various points in the state before allowing it to be exported, a senior official said today. 

The state government, in its order dated September 10, had decided to allow only the already extracted and ready for transportation ore to be exported, thus discouraging fresh extraction. 

The teams comprising officials from the mines and forest departments and Goa State Pollution Control Board will be inspecting the places where ore is stacked, said state Mines and Geology Director Prasanna Acharya.
12:23  Plea to remove SEBI chief: SC issues notice to Centre:  The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre, in response to a PIL, seeking the removal of SEBI Chairman U K Sinha.
12:22  Yahoo! names Ken Goldman as Chief Financial Officer:  Yahoo! today said Ken Goldman will join the company as Chief Financial Officer with effect from October 22, as recently appointed chief Marissa Mayer tries to turn around the Internet company. 

In this role, he will be responsible for the company's global finance functions, including financial planning and analysis, controllership, tax, treasury, and investor relations, Yahoo! said in a statement. Goldman will report directly to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.
12:22  HC releases prisoner on parole to get married:  Despite a rule prohibiting prisoners from going out of jail to tie the nuptial knot, the Bombay high court has ordered the release of a convict on parole for seven days to enable him to solemnise his marriage.

Justices P V Hardas and M L Tahiliyani said, "It is true that as per Rule 19 relating to the release of prisoners on parole and furlough, the petitioner is not entitled to seek parole on the ground of his own marriage, yet we allow his plea in view of peculiar circumstances". 

A complex question concerning the interpretation of Rule 19 relating to the release of prisoners on parole and furlough has been raised through this petition, the judges said recently in their order.
11:56  UPA trying tit-for-tat tactics with Mamata?:  Is the UPA trying to get back at Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for pulling out of the ruling coalition at the Centre?

According to reports, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has cancelled a meet of international investors that was scheduled to be held in Kolkata.
11:30  Maharashtra govt not in trouble: Sharad Pawar:  NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday stated that the ruling coalition government in Maharashtra, comprising his party and Congress, was stable.

Speculations about the future of the coalition had arisen after Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar resigned on Tuesday, in the wake of allegations of large-scale corruption in irrigation deals during his tenure as the state water resources minister.
11:15  Ford to cut hundreds of jobs across Europe:  US-based car manufacturer Ford has announced its plans to cut several hundred jobs in Europe because of declining demand.      

The firm said that it will offer voluntary buyouts for staff and cut jobs for 'agency workers and purchased service'.     

Ford has warned that its European operations could suffer losses of one billion dollars this year.
11:14  Assange to address UN via video link from London:  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is reportedly planning to address a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly through a video link from Ecuador's embassy in London, to avoid extradition to Sweden.   

Ecuador's mission to the United Nations announced that Assange would speak on Wednesday, alongside Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, at a specially convened event to discuss his asylum case.     

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since June 19 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sex crime allegations.
10:51  One militant killed in Manipur encounter:  An unidentified militant was killed in an encounter with a combined team of police commandos and personnel of the 18th Sikh Regiment of the army in Manipur's Imphal west district, official sources said .   

Sources said security personnel patrolling Toubungkhok area under Lamphel police station asked a suspect to stop late last night.  

As the security men approached him, the militant hurled a grenade, which failed to explode and in the ensuing encounter, the militant was killed.
10:50  PM calls up Assam minister over flood relief:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday called Disaster Management Minister of Assam Prithvi Majhi and expressed his concern over the worsening flood situation in the state.   

The PM assured the state government of all help in rescue and relief operations. 
10:45  Tigress killed, hacked in Arunachal zoo:  A tigress was found killed and hacked to pieces in the Arunachal state zoo on Wednesday.

The forest department has ordered a probe into the incident.
10:44  Setback for BJP: Ally Akali Dal may support FDI:  In a major setback to the BJP, the Akali Dal has expressed its support for the Congress-led UPA's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail. 

Akali Dal is a major ally in the NDA coalition, led by the BJP, which has strongly opposed FDI in retail.

Leaders of the Akali Dal said they might support the decision if the Centre "addressed traders' concerns".
10:10  Wish Dr Singh Happy Birthday!:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turns 80 today.

Wish him right here!
10:09  Sensex down 86 points in early trade on profit-booking:  The BSE benchmark Sensex declined by over 86 points in early trade today as funds and retail investors preferred to book profits after Tuesday's gains. 

Besides, a subdued trend on Asian bourses and Thursday's expiry in the derivatives segment also dampened trading sentiments here.
10:08  NCP legislators to discuss Ajit Pawar's resignation:  A crucial meeting of the NCP Legislature Party will be held in Mumbai today to discuss the political situation in the aftermath of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's resignation from the Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra. 

The Legislature Party of NCP will meet at 2 pm today. 

Party sources said several legislators owing allegiance to 53-year-old Ajit Pawar are firm that the party should quit the government and extend outside support to the Prithviraj Chavan-led ministry.
09:52  BJP top brass to discuss TMC pullout, corruption:   Top leaders of the BJP will meet today to chalk out the party's strategy in the wake of the Trinamool Congress's exit from the ruling UPA.

The party is expected to discuss ways to project the BJP-led NDA as an alternative to the UPA. It will also target Congress on the issue of corruption.
09:09  Congressmen seeks protection of Pak minorities:  Amidst reports of continuing mistreatment of minorities in Pakistan, two US lawmakers are mobilising the support of their colleagues to impress upon the Obama Administration to push for protection of minorities in that country. 

A letter drafted by Congressman Robert Dold and Brad Sherman to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in circulation at the Capitol Hill, seeking signatures from otherUS lawmakers, a Washington-based Hindu American Foundation said. 

Drawing her attention to the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and the Ahmadiyya community, the draft letter urgesClinton to work with the Pakistani government to address the abductions and forced conversions of religious and ethnic minority girls.
09:05  US seeks good relationship between Myanma:  The United States wants India and Myanmar to share a good relationship for furthering their economic interests, a top Obama Administration official has said. 

"We want a good relationship between Myanmar and India and Myanmar and its other Asian interlocutors. It sits at an important crossroads. It will continue to play a vital role," said Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell. 

Campbell's remarks came a day after a top State Department official said India and the US needs to look for economic partnership with Myanmar.
02:57  Stop the war in Syria: Ban Ki-moon:  AP reports: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded international action to stop the war in Syria, telling a somber gathering of world leaders that the 18-month conflict had become 'a regional calamity with global ramifications'.

In sharp contrast to the UN chief, President Barack Obama pledged US support for Syrians trying to oust President Bashar Assad 'a dictator who massacres his own people'.
00:29  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  
Decision on Ajit after talking to NCP, Cong: Chavan

Assam: Flood toll up to 12, over 15 lakh hit

'Army needs change in thinking, approach, attitude

Pakistan, China have non-strategic nukes; India doesn't

Congress gives thumbs up to PM's policies, slams BJP
00:23  Assange to address UN on asylum bid:  AP reports: Ecuador says it has invited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to address a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly via a videolink from his refuge in the country's London embassy.

Assange will speak tomorrow alongside Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino at a specially convened event to discuss his asylum case.

The Australian activist is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crimes allegations and has been sheltered inside Ecuador's embassy in London beyond the reach of British police since June 19.

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