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Gujarat cricketer who sold fake IPL dreams arrested

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April 02, 2013

22:59  Gujarat cricketer who sold fake IPL dreams arrested:  
A Gujarat-based cricketer, who was one of the probables of an IPL franchise, was arrested in Ahmedabad for allegedly cheating five local cricketers of Rs 38 lakh by promising them a place in Indian Premier League (IPL) teams, police said.

The Cyber Crime Cell of the Crime Branch arrested Hetarth Gohil, who was one of the probables called by Deccan Chargers team in the Season 3 of IPL. 

"We have arrested Hetarth Gohil for cheating five local cricketers by promising them places in IPL teams in lieu of money," Assistant Commissioner of Police (Cyber Crime) K N Patel told reporters here.

"We have received several bogus documents from Gohil's possession and fake documents in the name of Anurag Thakur and his secretary Anurag Salvi. He collected Rs 38 lakh from his friends," the ACP said.

Gohil enticed his friends -- Hitesh Vaghela, Satyavir Chauhan, Unmesh Joshi, Iqbal Momin and Dipty Chauhan -- by showing his photographs with players of Deccan Chargers and the support staff, police said, adding that he told his friends he had received three years' contract for playing with the team.
22:44  How Modi cut Togadia down to size in Gujarat:  
Despite his image as a hardliner, Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi has never flaunted his Hindutva credentials -- in fact, it is inbuilt in his persona. 

But after the 2002 elections, he has consciously cultivated the image of a strong development-oriented administrator. 

The rise of VHP leader Pravin Togadia in the pre-2002 period was Modi's loss. But after 2002, it has been the reverse.

Modi's stakes are much higher now. Togadia's claims on creating a Hindu state in Gujarat is intended to damage Modi. 

To the VHP's dismay however, the outfit's campaign against Modi ended up helping him correct his image outside Gujarat and even with some segments of the minorities.

Click HERE to read more
22:38  Iceland Prez showers praise on Uttarakhand:  Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson today showered praise on Uttarakhand, saying the state is endowed with great natural beauty and has tremendous scope for power generation and tourism.     

Currently on a three-day visit to the hill state, Grimsson met Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and expressed his desire to come again to Uttarakhand and explore the possibilities of collaborations between Iceland and the state, in hydropower and tourism sectors.
22:37  Youth fires air gun at RBI HQ in Mumbai:  A 27-year-old youth was arrested today for trying to forced his way into the fortified headquarters of the Reserve Bank in Mumbai by firing from his air gun, police said.        

The intruder, identified as Padma Girirao Shekhar, who hails from Kerala, told investigators that he did this for "publicity". 

The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch.
22:35  Naveen moves notice on special category status for Odisha:  Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today moved a notice seeking the Speaker's permission for the passage of a resolution in the assembly demanding special category status for Odisha, following an uproar over the issue in the House.        

The ruling BJD's action came after the opposition Congress disrupted proceedings of the House for the entire day, demanding a debate on the state's demand for special category status.
22:23  US delegation meets Sushma Swaraj :  A visiting US Parliamentarians'delegation today met Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and discussed a host of issues, including elections and FDI in infrastructure development in India.        

The US delegation led by Aaron Schock from the state of Illinois, which met the BJP leader at her Parliament office, also discussed the history of Punjab and Haryana and environment-related issues, party members said.        

The meeting lasted for one hour.
22:22  Mallya pays 2 months salary to Kingfisher staff :  Kingfisher Airlines today started remitting two months' salaries to its employees, who have not been paid for the last 10 months.        

"We have released two months' salaries to our staff," a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said, without elaborating on the period for which the salary was paid.
22:21  Don't panic over Saudi labour policy, Indians told:  The Indian embassy in Riyadh today urged the Indian expatriate community not to panic on the basis of media reports that claimed Saudi Arabia plans to reserve 10 per cent jobs for locals, a move which will hit over 3 lakh low and semi-skilled Indian workers, especially from Kerala.       

"The embassy urges the Indian expatriate community not to panic based on inaccurate reports published by some sections of the media," an embassy statement said.
22:09  Don't panic over Saudi labour policy, Indians told:  The Indian embassy in Riyadh today urged the Indian expatriate community not to panic on the basis of media reports that claimed Saudi Arabia plans to reserve 10 per cent jobs for locals, a move which will hit over 3 lakh low and semi-skilled Indian workers, especially from Kerala.       

"The embassy urges the Indian expatriate community not to panic based on inaccurate reports published by some sections of the media," an embassy statement said.
21:12  AIIMS doctors to treat villagers in Naxal-hit Bastar :  In a bid to reach out to residents of conflict zones in the Naxal-affected Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, the CRPF has come up with a novel plan of tele-medicine in collaboration with AIIMS.        

The move is aimed at bringing about a paradigm shift in the villagers' outlook towards security forces.        

It envisages the networking of at least 100 CRPF camps, spread in Bastar region with Raipur AIIMS, through electronic means of communication.
21:04  Sandeep Patil quits as Mumbai selector :  National chief selector Sandeep Patil has resigned from his post as chairman of the Mumbai Cricket Association's selection panel.    

"I have received a letter from him stating he is resigning, but the letter has to be tabled before the managing committee and it has to be accepted," said MCA joint secretary Nitin Dalal.
21:04  59 bodies recovered from Tibet gold mine:  Chinese rescuers have recovered 59 bodies form a gold mine in Tibet, where a massive landslide buried 83 workers.        

The search for those who remained buried has continued into a fifth day, though no survivors have been found.

Experts say the rescuers are threatened by possible secondary landslides, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.        

Rescuers retrieved 23 bodies today.
20:33  New twist in Punjab drug scandal:   The drug scandal surrounding boxer Vijender Singh today took a new twist with one of his fellow pugilists Dinesh Kumar disputing the claims of Punjab Police, even as the sports ministry explored ways to subject the star boxer to a heroin test, despite NADA's refusal to do so.     

Almost a month after the scandal broke out, Dinesh, an Asian Games silver medallist, claimed that Punjab Police planted Vijender's car outside the flat from where heroin was recovered.
20:33  21 Bangladeshi fishermen killed in pirate attack :  At least 21 Bangladeshi fishermen have been killed and ten others are missing after they were tied up and thrown into the deep sea by pirates in the Bay of Bengal, officials said today.        

The bodies of the fishermen were found floating 32 km east off the island of Kutubdia of Cox's Bazaar District, at a site where vessels anchor.
20:32  Vijayamma blames Cong, TDP for AP power crisis:  The ruling Congress and main Opposition TDP should be blamed for the present power crisis in Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress Party alleged today.   

"Had the TDP voted in favour of the no-confidence motion, the Congress government would not have increased the power tariff,"  the party's honourary president Y S Vijayamma said.
20:30  Situation is at boiling point in mining belt: Goa CM:  Stating that things have reached a boiling point in the wake of the mining ban, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said apprehending violence in the region, police have been told to keep a strict vigil.     

Replying to a query by Congress legislator Jeniffer Monserratte on whether the government had received police reports about things going out of hand in the mining belt, the CM said things indeed have reached the boiling point and the police have been asked to keep a strict vigil.
20:28  Bird flu spreads in China; four more affected:  Four more people have been infected with the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus in China, taking the number of affected people to seven today and setting off concerns among health officials and public about how to deal with the latest avian influenza, which has no vaccine to cure it.        

Four people in east China's Jiangsu Province have been confirmed as being infected with the lesser-known H7N9 bird flu, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
20:25  Woman village chief, four others abducted in Tripura :  Five persons, including a woman village head and her neighbour, were abducted today by insurgents of the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura.       

A group of about eight armed insurgents raided the house of Chakmapara Village Council Chairperson, 27-year-old Bakrung Reang, in Dhalai district early in the morning and kidnapped her at gun-point, police sources said.
19:16  UN chief urges talks in North Korea crisis:  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that a crisis over North Korea had gone too far and urged dialogue and negotiation to resolve the situation.

"Nuclear threats are not a game. Aggressive rhetoric and military posturing only result in counter-actions, and fuel fear and instability," Ban said at a news conference in Andorra, where he was on an official visit.
19:14  Dec 16 gang rape: Witness denies coffin didn't contain body:  An Air India official today denied before a special court here the claim of December 16 gang rape accused that the coffin in which the body of the victim was flown back to India did not contain "human remains" and was loaded with "other things". 

 "It is wrong to suggest that instead of human remains some other things were loaded in the box (coffin). The coffin was in sealed condition and in my presence no one has opened it," the AI official said while deposing as a prosecution witness. 

 The AI official is posted at the IGI cargo terminal and in his presence the coffin carrying the victim's dead body was unloaded on December 29, 2012.
18:44  Bilawal Bhutto returns to Pakistan to lead party campaign:  Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto has returned to the country to start the party's election campaign on April 4. 

The Daily Times quoted sources in the PPP as saying that despite severe security threat and reservations on the way party's affairs are being run, Bilawal decided to return to Pakistan to start the party's election campaign. 

However, it was still not clear whether he would lead the party campaign till the elections in the prevailing circumstances, the sources added.
18:32  'Spiritual guru' gave murder supari on BSP's Bhardwaj?:  The Delhi police is investigating the role of a "spiritual guru" who is suspected to have hired shooters for Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore to kill local BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj even as they are trying to unravel the "complex web of conspirators". 

Purushottam Rana, who along with another alleged shooters Sunil Mann and Amit refused to undergo the test identification parade today and were remanded in police custody for 10 days, in his disclosure statement has said that the main accused in this case is a "swamiji" and he is yet to be arrested, the police told a Delhi court. 

Police sources said the two arrested shooters, who allegedly murdered Bhardwaj in his south Delhi farmhouse on March 26, have told them that a "spiritual guru" gave them the contract to kill the BSP leader for an amount that is believed to be between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore.
18:20  Varun Gandhi may miss Karnataka poll campaign:  The BJP's newly appointed general secretary, Varun Gandhi may miss the election campaign in Karnataka, it is said. There are some pressing domestic matters to be attended to, that the grapevine says involves a stork. We are just reporting what we heard...
18:13  Manoj Kumar files criminal case against SRK, Farah:  Yesteryear actor Manoj Kumar today filed a criminal case against Shahrukh Khan and choreographer-turned-director Farah Khan in a local court in Mumbai for allegedly defaming him in their film Om Shanti Om.

Kumar sought the registration of an FIR against the duo for alleged offences such as criminal breach of trust, cheating, defamation and conspiracy. 

The case dates back to 2007 when Om Shanti Om was released with a scene in which Khan had allegedly "mimicked" Kumar. It was allegedly shown in the movie that Kumar was prevented from entering an auditorium during a show.
18:11  Scheduled caste panel issues arrest warrant for IAS officer:  Slamming a senior IAS officer for failing to appear before it, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes today issued arrest warrant against him and directed the city police chief to produce the officer before the panel. 

The commission had issued a summons to secretary, higher education, Ashok Thakur in the HRD Ministry to appear before it for the hearing of a case yesterday. 

The hearing of the case could not be held as he failed to appear before it.
18:01  IPL dues: HC says Mah govt may attach defaulters' properties:  The Bombay high court today said that the Maharashtra government should consider taking legal action against those cricket associations who have defaulted on arrears to the police for providing security cover during the IPL matches, if they failed to pay the dues by April 18. 

A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and A P Bhangale was today told by the state government that dues of around Rs 9 crores was pending. 

These IPL matches were held during 2010-11.
17:56  Beni Prasad Verma's fate hinges on Rahul's Wed meeting:  Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi  is scheduled to meet his party's members of Parliament and senior leaders from Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday at 11 am. And the grapevine has it that after this interaction with Congress leaders from UP, Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, who has been having a running battle with the Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav, may not continue in the Union cabinet for long.
17:30  Mamata govt denied permission for Modi's reception: BJP:  A civic reception for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi planned by the BJP at a stadium in Kolkata during his visit on April 9 has been denied permission by the Mamata Banerjee government, the party today alleged. 

The BJP claimed that in mid-March, it was told by authorities of government-run Netaji Indoor Stadium that the venue was available for the event but later on it was told that booking was not open on that date. 

"We wanted to give a civic reception to Narendra Modi on April 9 at Netaji Indoor Stadium, but we were told that booking was not available on that date," state BJP spokesman Ritesh Tiwari said.
17:25  Congress gets maximum air time on DD, AIR for K'taka poll:  The Election Commission today allotted broadcast and telecast time to political parties for carrying out election campaigns on Doordarshan and All India Radio for the May 5 Karnataka assembly elections. 

While Congress has got the maximum time 166 minutes, the ruling BJP has got 163 minutes in Karnataka for each of broadcast and telecast, followed by JD-S with 111 minutes.
17:11  Mullah Omar should run for president: Karzai:  Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai wants the elusive Taliban chief Mullah Omar to run for president in next year's election so that people could "vote for or against him". 

Karzai, in an interview to German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published today, said his government had sporadic contacts with the Taliban but that there is no negotiation. 

He called on the Taliban to lay down their arms and participate in the political process, the daily said.
17:09  Just In: Bombay HC refuses interim relief to UB Holdings seeking torestrain banks from selling shares pledged as security against loans to Kingfisher Airlines.
16:49  Bilawal returns to Pakistan but will not lead PPP's campaign:  Pakistan Peoples Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari today returned to the country after spending over a week in Dubai but will not lead the party's campaign for the May 11 general election, one of his close aides said. 

"Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be very much a part of the campaign but he will not head the campaign. In fact, the PPP never had tasked him to spearhead the election campaign," Hasham Riaz, Bilawal's chief of staff, told PTI.
16:46  Three arrested in Bangladesh for defaming Islam:  Three atheist bloggers in Bangladesh were today arrested here on charges of defaming Islam, as the government set up the country's first cyber crime tribunal to prevent exploitation of religion on the Internet. 

The crackdown as well as the announcement came two days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged stern action against people found guilty of defaming Islam using the Internet.
16:34  Jaya produces proof on Gandhi's intend to dissolve Congress:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today presented documentary evidence to Congress members in the state Assembly to validate her minister's argument that Mahatma Gandhi wanted to dissolve the century-old political party after Independence. 

Responding to a demand by some Congress members, who had sought proof that Mahatma Gandhi had advocated dissolving of Congress after Independence, Jayalalithaa stunned them by reading out excerpts from 'The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi - Volume 90.'
16:23  UPA govt in coma, says BJP:  BJP General Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan today said the Congress-led UPA government was in "coma" and election could take place any time in the country.

"The people of the country want to get rid of the UPA government which is in coma and are looking at BJP as an alternative force to form the next government, which can take place any time," Pradhan, who has retained his position in the recently announced Rajnath Singh-led BJP central team, told reporters.
16:04  Ambani brothers join hand for telecom biz, sign Rs 1,200 cr-deal:  Billionaire Ambani brothers today struck a Rs 1,200-crore deal wherein Mukesh will use his younger sibling's optic fibre network for launch of his telecom venture.

Under the pact, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries' telecom arm will hire nationwide optical fibre network of Reliance Communications for the roll-out of 4G services.

"Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Reliance Communications Ltd today announced the signing of a definitive agreement for approximately Rs 1,200 crore as one-time indefeasible right to use fees for sharing RCom's nationwide inter-city fibre optic network infrastructure," RCom said in a statement.
15:58  HC gives go ahead to 'Sholay's' 3-D version :   The Bombay high court has rejected the plea of Bollywood producer Ramesh Sippy which sought a stay on production and release of Hindi blockbuster Sholay's 3-D version being made by his nephew Sasha.

Sippy, the director of Sholay, is in dispute with Sasha over the rights of the film which was released in 1975 and created many records.

Sasha, son of Sippy's brother Vijay, had recently announced making 3-D version of the film to be distributed by Jayantilal Gada. Being aggrieved, Sippy moved the high court.
15:50  No innocent youth will be put behind bar: MoS Home:  In the wake of demands for bringing justice to "innocent" Muslims falsely accused of terrorism, the Centre today said all efforts would be made to release such youth languishing in jails. 

Union Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said the government will act in the toughest manner as far as terrorism and terrorists are concerned and deal with them accordingly. 

"But it will make extra steps to make sure that no innocent youth is put behind bars," he said after a delegation of Muslim MPs and leaders of the community met him demanding justice to "innocent" Muslims accused of terrorism.
15:48  Kejriwal loses 7 kg as his fast enters Day 11:   The Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal's fast against inflated power and water bills in Delhi entered Day 11 today. The AAP leader has lost 7 kg during his fast, but his vitals are normal, reports CNN-IBN.

And he promises to continue his fight.

The party claims that the number of 'bijli-pani satyagrahis' who have pledged not to pay the inflated bills had crossed 8.3 lakhs till Monday night.

Read the full report here
15:04  Man forges letter using Khurshid's name for Mecca visit:  A man allegedly forged a letter in the name of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and presented it before the consul general of Saudi Arabia to procure a visa to visit Mecca and Medina, police said today.   

The incident came to light after the letter dated November 7, 2012, addressed to the consul general based in Mumbai, was forwarded to the ministry of external affairs by the Saudi Arabian ambassador.   

The economic offences wing has registered a case under sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code, a senior police official said.    In the forged letter, the official said, the consul general has been allegedly requested to facilitate visa for one Abdul Sattar and his family to visit Mecca and Madina.
14:57   The Enforcement Directorate today registered a money-laundering case relating to Punjab narcotics haul from the house of alleged drug dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon.
14:40  Mobile phones start ringing in Kashmir's border area:  Over 50,000 people living in the border belt areas of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir have got mobile phone connections, after a long wait. 

Earlier, state officials were reluctant about setting up mobile towers in the border regions of the state. They feared that the signals maybe intercepted by terrorists and their facilitators in the border areas to intensify their activities in this region. But after analysing and enhancing the technology in order to contain the signals emitted by the towers, the officials have finally gained confidence to set it up.
14:24  Modi govt brings in Lokayukta bill to cut CJ's powers:  The Narendra Modi government today introduced a bill in the Gujarat assembly which curtails the 'primacy' of the chief justice of the state high court and the governor in the matter of appointment of the Lokayukta. 

The Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013 proposes to give all the powers of the appointment to a selection committee headed by the chief minister and wants the state governor to act on the recommendations of this committee. 

The new Bill comes after the state government lost a bitter fight legally and politically when Governor Kamla Beniwal, bypassing the state government, appointed Justice R A Mehta as the state Lokayukta which was upheld by the high court as well as the Supreme Court in January this year. 

The Supreme Court had ruled that the primacy of the opinion of the chief justice of the high court in the Lokayukta Act was final.
14:18  Vijender missed 3 drug tests last month: NADA:   Mukul Chatterjee, the chief of the National Anti-Doping Agency, told NDTV that today boxer Vijender Singh has missed three drug tests in the last one month.

He said that the last test on Vijender was conducted in July last year.

Meanwhile, the Punjab police, which alleged that Vijender bought and used heroin 12 times in the last few months, is reportedly preparing to move court to get samples of the boxer's hair and blood.

Read the full report here
14:16  Yashwant's letter to PM is political stunt: JPC chief:  Yashwant Sinha's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a political stunt and against norms, says JPC chief P C Chacko.
13:57  Even Marathis are outsiders, says Justice Katju:  Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju has trashed the "sons-of-the-soil" theory, saying people propagating such concept should be ostracised. 

"What is this sons-of-the-soil theory of some of the political leaders here (in Maharashtra)? Who do they think are the original inhabitants of this land? Even the Marathis are from outside. Their theory of only Marathi people being sons of (the) soil is completely anti-national and clearly violates constitutional provisions," he said. 

The retired Supreme Court judge, without naming anyone, said people who were propagating such theories should be ostracised. "Except tribal communities, none of us are the original inhabitants of this land. These people first targeted South Indians in Mumbai, and then they attacked Biharis and other North Indians. The Constitution gives everyone the right to stay anywhere in this country. Such violators of the Constitution should be kicked out of social circles."
13:50  SC agrees to hear Mittal's plea against 2G court summons:   The Supreme Court today agreed to hear Bharti Cellular Limited CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal's plea challenging the March 19 order of the special court summoning him as an accused in a corruption case related to allocation of additional 2G spectrum during the 2002 National Democratic Alliance regime.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to give an early hearing and posted the matter to April 8. The matter was brought before the apex court during mentioning time in which the counsel appearing for Mittal sought an early hearing as he has been summoned to be present in the 2G court on April 11.

Mittal, whose name was not mentioned in the CBI's charge sheet as an accused, was summoned by the special court saying there were "enough material" to proceed against him in the case.
13:40  Italy objects to marines' case being handled by NIA:  More on the Italian marines' case: Italy has objected to the government's decision that the case will be investigated by the National Investigation Agency. It had been handled so far by the Kerala police, reports NDTV.

Read the full report here 
13:08  Curtains down on Ramleela for first time in 9 yrs:  One of the longest running Ramleela performance in the world has been stopped for the first time in nine years due to non-release of funds by the Uttar Pradesh government, an official said today.   

The Ramleela, being organised by the Ayodhya Research Institute, an autonomous body of the Uttar Pradesh culture department, has been stopped since yesterday, he said.  

"People work on credit. Due to lack of fund we have no other option but to stop all the activities of the ARI. The notice has been put up to inform the general public as peoplecome to watch Ramleela every evening," ARI's director Y P Singh told PTI.
12:49  Two Sri Lankans arrested for trying to smuggle gold:  Two Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested at the international air terminus in Chennai while trying to smuggle 470 grammes of undeclared gold from Colombo, airport sources said today. 

Mohammad and Isaruddin, after alighting from a flight from Colombo last night around 8 pm, tried to leave the airport with the gold, when customs officials nabbed them, they said. 

The gold seized from the two, who came on a tourist visa to India, was valued at Rs 12 lakh, they said.
12:41  2G: Raja equally culpable as PM, Chidambaram, says BJP:  CNN-IBN reports: The Bharatiya Janata Party has hit out at 2G Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairman PC Chacko yet again for not calling former telecom minister A Raja to depose.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has demanded that former telecom minister A Raja be called to depose as he is equally culpable as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G case. "Raja has written to the JPC to say that if he is guilty, so are the PM and the FM. Raja's testimony will cause a lot of problems for both the prime minister and the finance minister, that is why he isn't being called by the JPC," Yashwant Sinha said.
12:37  Angelina Jolie opens school in Afghanistan:  Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has opened a school in Afghanistan through her foundation The Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. 

The 37-year-old actress has funded the girls-only educational establishment, which caters to between 200 and 300 students, just outside of Kabul and hopes it will be the first of many schools she sets up, reported E! online. 

Jolie plans to fund more schools by selling her own self-designed accessories collection, the Style of Jolie, to retail stores for the first time with 100 per cent of the profits going to her new foundation, The Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. 
12:26  American woman gang-raped, beaten in Brazil:  An American woman was raped by three men aboard a public van in a six-hour abduction over the weekend that began in the seaside district of Copacabana, Brazil, reports The New York Times.

The attackers pummeled the woman's face and tied up her male companion, a French citizen, then beat him with a metal bar as he witnessed the harrowing assault. The couple were forced to use bank cards to withdraw money from their accounts before the assailants finally freed them at a bus station on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
11:59  Supreme Court gets cracking on Babri, spectrum cases:   The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought an affidavit from the senior law officer of the Centre explaining the delay in filing an appeal against L K Advani and others in Babri Masjid demolition case. 

The top court also questions the CBI for the delay in challenging the Allahabad high court's ruling that conspiracy charges will not apply to Advani and others. 

In another case, the Supreme Court has decided to hear Bharti Cellular Ltd CMD Sunil Mittal's plea against the summoning order by a court in the additional spectrum allocation case. The matter has been posted for hearing on April 8. 
11:34  SC relief for Italian envoy, he can now leave India:   In what comes as a relief from Italian envoy Daniele Mancini, the Supreme Court today withdrew its order that banned him from leaving the country.

The apex court banned the envoy from leaving the country after Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen, refused to return.

The attorney general today informed the court that the marines had come back within the stipulated time.

The SC also asked the Centre to take a decision soon for setting up a special court to hear the case against Italian marines.
11:30  Lankan Tamils issue: Kollywood's Surya, Ajith join fast:   Actors and other representatives of the Tamil film industry today began a day-long fast demanding the rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils and an international probe into the alleged war crimes.

Film activity in Tamil Nadu came to a standstill as artistes, directors, producers, distributors and exhibitors, are participating in the hunger-strike being held at the premises of South Indian Film Artists' Association in Chennai.

Noted film personalities of Kollywood, including South Indian Film Artistes' Association president R Sarath Kumar, Ajith Kumar and Surya, are part of the agitation.
11:28  Actor Stephen Fry in flight drama:   Actor Stephen Fry was caught up in a flight drama when police were called to the plane to deal with an unruly passenger.

The 55-year-old was on board awaiting take-off when staff announced there would be a delay while a person's luggage was removed, but the incident escalated when cops arrived to speak to a traveller, reported Contactmusic.

Detailing the drama on his Twitter page, Fry said, "Just about to take off when 'we have a problem with a passenger' - turn back remove his/her luggage. At least an hour's delay. Amuse me, titillate me and delight me as this tedious nuisance unfolds... They're not being informative (sic).

"Ground staff are about to enter the plane and we have been asked 'to turn off all camera or video devices'... weird. Turns out it was a belligerent a man who insisted on smoking a cigar and insulting the crew. Police on plane now," he added.
11:25  Ex-Odisha minister, wife get bail in dowry torture case :  Former Odisha law minister minister Raghunath Mohanty and his wife Pritilata were granted bail today in a dowry torture case. They were arrested on Saturday after the case was lodged against by their daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury.
11:21  Top court orders Sterlite to pay Rs 100 cr for pollution:  Just In: The Supreme Court asks Sterlite Industries to pay a compensation of Rs 100 crore for polluting the environment through its copper-smelting plant in Tamil Nadu.   

The apex court refuses to direct the closure of the plant in Tuticorin, says compensation amount to be paid in five years.   

Compensation must act as a deterrent and any amount less than Rs 100 crore would not have the desired impact, the court rules.
10:31  Kerala minister scandal: Opposition demands Chandy's resignation:   The resignation of Forest Minister K B Ganesh Kumar following allegations of domestic violence had its echo in the Kerala assembly today where opposition Left Democratic Front demanded that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should step down on moral grounds.

As soon as the assembly began its proceedings, the LDF members were on their feet alleging Chandy had lost moral right to remain in office as he "misled" the House over the complaint by Yamini Thankachi against her husband.
10:26  Apple CEO apologises for warranty policies in China:  Bowing to pressure mounted by Chinese official media, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook has apologised for company's warranty policies in China, saying the company is sorry for any "concern or misunderstanding" in the country.

"We are aware that due to insufficient communication, the public holds the idea that Apple is arrogant, disregards or pays little attention to the feedback of consumers," read a Chinese statement to consumers signed by Cook and posted on Apple China's website.

"Therefore, we want to express our sincere apology for any concern of misunderstanding arising from the process," said the statement issued late last night.

Cook's apology comes after the China Consumer's Association asked Apple to "sincerely apologise" to Chinese consumers and "thoroughly correct its problems," after the US firm took little action to address waves of criticism started by the national broadcaster China Central Television, according to media reports.
10:18  Punjab police to move court to get Vijender's hair, blood samples:  More on Vijender Singh and the drug haul case: The Punjab police are reportedly preparing to move court to get samples of Vijender Singh's hair and blood, after the national anti-doping agency refused a sports ministry request last evening to test the star boxer for heroin, citing a technicality, reports NDTV.
10:01  Delhi gangrape accused seeks milk, papers to prep for exams:   One of the four accused in the December 16 gang-rape case sought a direction from a special court in New Delhi that he be provided nutritious food inside Tihar jail as he has to prepare for tests for recruitment of clerks in Indian Air Force.

Vinay Sharma, the accused who along with others had allegedly gang-raped the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus, moved the plea before Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna and sought "proper food and newspapers" inside jail.
09:55  No more topless models in 'The Sun'? :  The Sun, the United Kingdom's biggest newspaper, may be putting an end to the topless model on Page 3 that opponents see as sexist and outdated, according to a CNN report. 

Owner Rupert Murdoch -- in one tweet -- has raised the specter of a world without Page 3. Murdoch said: "@Kazipooh page three so last century! You maybe right, don't know but considering. Perhaps halfway house with glamorous fashionistas."

Murdoch later tempered this, saying it was the editor's call.

The Sun's topless model on Page 3 has been a tradition since the 1970s.

Campaigners have been pushing for Page 3 cover up. The campaign was started by Lucy Holmes when she realised the day after Jessica Ennis won Olympic gold in the heptathlon for Great Britain last summer "the largest female image in The Sun was of a young woman showing her breasts."

Read the full report on CNN

09:39  Can't test Vijender for heroin: Anti-doping agency :  Hours after the sports ministry asked the National Anti-Doping Agency to conduct a heroin test on star boxer Vijender Singh, the anti-doping agency has said that it will follow its own protocol, reports NDTV.

The Olympian was on Sunday accused by the Punjab police of buying and using heroin on 12 occasions in the last few months.

"We are an autonomous body and don't need to listen to anyone... We are however considering the ministry's request. NADA will do a sample test on Vijender. A substance test on Vijender was due. NADA though cannot test Vijender for heroin... it is not in prohibited list for out of competition athletes," officials from NADA told NDTV.

Read the full report here

09:24  Singapore PM to meet Obama:  United States President Barack Obama will meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today in the White House where two leaders are expected to discuss broad range of strategic and economic issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region.

"The President looks forward to discussing with Prime Minister Lee a broad range of strategic and economic issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region," the White House said on the eve of the crucial meeting between the two leaders.

"The United States and Singapore have strong economic and security ties, and our strategic partnership reflects a shared commitment to working together to ensure the continued peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region," the White House said.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel hosted lunch for the visiting foreign dignitary at the Pentagon.
09:21  Odisha: 3 killed as train hits truck:  Three people have been killed as a train crashed into a truck at an unmanned level crossing in Khurda, Odisha. Train services have been disrupted in the region.

More details are awaited. 
09:04  Indo-American to be first S Asian circuit court judge in US:   Described by United States President Barack Obama as a "trailblazer", Indian-American Srikanth Sri Srinivasan has moved closer to become the first South Asian circuit court judge in the history of the United States.

A year after he was nominated by Obama on the US court of appeals for the district of Columbia circuit, the senate judiciary committee yesterday announced its decision to hold his confirmation hearing on April 10, which was immediately welcomed by the White House.

Srinivasan, 46, born in India and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, is currently serving as the principal deputy solicitor general of the US.

"Sri (Srinivasan) is of course also a highly respected appellate advocate who has spent a distinguished career litigating before the US supreme court and the US court of appeals, both in private practice and on behalf of the United States for both Democratic and Republican administrations," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
08:52  Guj to introduce bill that dilutes Lokayukta powers:  The Gujarat government is expected to introduce a bill in the assembly today that attempts to overhaul the process of appointing the Lokayukta, virtually giving the full control to the state, reports NDTV.

According to the bill, the Lokayukta will have to seek the government's permission before acting on a complaint.

Read the full report here 
08:40  Kerala forest minister quits over domestic violence charges :  Facing charges of domestic violence slapped by his wife, Kerala Forest Minister K B Ganesh Kumar resigned from the Congress-led United Democratic Front ministry late last night.

Though the minister had rejected the allegation by his wife Yamini Thankachi as "baseless" and ruled out his resignation last evening, his position became untenable after his wife lodged a complaint against him in a police station in the city late last night.

Losing his ground, the actor-turned politician belonging to the Kerala Congress-B drove to the official residence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy by midnight and handed over his resignation. The chief minister's office sources said the resignation letter will be forwarded to the governor today.
08:39  US moves warship to watch N Korea as tension soars:  CNN reports: The United States navy is moving a warship and a sea-based radar platform closer to the North Korean coast in order to monitor that country's military moves, including possible new missile launches, a defence department official said.

The decision comes after weeks of belligerent rhetoric from North Korea, including threats to use nuclear weapons.

Read the full report on CNN
01:39  Fearful female tourists are now avoiding India:  
The number of foreign women tourists, including Australians, visiting India has dropped by 35 per cent in the past three months following a spate of sex attacks that have made global headlines.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India says overall tourist arrivals are down 25 per cent year-on-year, with holidaymakers opting instead to visit other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.

The fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old Indian student by six men on a bus in New Delhi in December sparked outrage over the country's treatment of women, and since then there have been other widely reported attacks.

A Swiss cyclist was gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh last month, while a South Korean tourist was allegedly drugged and raped in the same state in January by the son of the owner of a hotel where she was staying.

These incidents have "raised concerns about the safety of female travellers to the country", said D.S. Rawat, secretary general at ASSOCHAM, which surveyed 1200 tour operators from different cities.
01:36  56 days and 90,000 troops: The US plan to confront North Korea:  
As North Korea continues to posture and ostensibly move towards war with its southern neighbour, news has come to light about the United States' plan to deal with such a threat.

In a recent war-game conducted by the US military, it took Uncle Sam's army 56 days and required 90,000 troops to deal with the country's nuclear stockpiles.

According to the Defense News website, the "Unified Quest" war game was conducted this year by Army planners and posited the collapse of a nuclear-armed, xenophobic, criminal family regime that had lorded over a closed society. While unconfirmed, the model for the game, and maps seen during the game at the Army War College, point to North Korea as the state in question.

American forces staged in a neighboring friendly country to the south eventually made it over the border into "North Brownland", though not without encountering several major problems for which they struggled to find solutions. One of the first was that a large number of nuclear sites were in populated areas, so they had to try to perform humanitarian assistance operations while conducting combined arms maneuver and operations.

It took 56 days for the US to flow two divisions' worth of soldiers into the failed nuclear-armed state of "North Brownland" and as many as 90,000 troops to deal with the country's nuclear stockpiles, a major US Army war game concluded this winter.

Click HERE to read more
01:33  Saudi Arabia may block Skype, Viber, WhatsApp...:  
Saudi Arabia may block access to popular Internet messaging applications like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp if telecommunication providers there don't comply with rules and regulatory conditions, according to the country's official news agency, SPA.

A statement from Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission released via SPA read, "The Commission emphasizes that it will take appropriate action regarding these applications and services in the event of failure to meet those conditions."

The statement did not address how the applications in question -- which allow Internet users to communicate with each other via text messages and voice calls -- were violating any rules, but it did highlight the need for service providers in the country to quickly "work with the developers of these applications to meet regulatory requirements."
01:27  China mobilizing troops, jets near Korea:  
China has placed military forces on heightened alert in the northeastern part of the country as tensions mount on the Korean peninsula following recent threats by Pyongyang to attack, US officials said.

Reports from the region reveal the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently increased its military posture in response to the heightened tensions, specifically North Korea's declaration of a "state of war" and threats to conduct missile attacks against the United States and South Korea.

According to the officials, the PLA has stepped up military mobilization in the border region with North Korea since mid-March, including troop movements and warplane activity.
01:26  US moves sea-based radar to watch North Korea:  
The US Navy is moving a warship and a sea-based radar platform closer to the North Korean coast in order to monitor that country's military moves, including possible new missile launches, a Defense Department official said Monday.

The decision to move at least one ship and the oil rig-like SBX-1 are the first of what may be other naval deployments, CNN has learned.

The action follows weeks of belligerent rhetoric from North Korea since a February nuclear bomb test, including the renunciation of the 60-year-old armistice that ended the Korean War and threats to use nuclear weapons.
01:22  March was Syria's bloodiest month:  
More than 6,000 people were killed in the Syrian civil war in March alone, according to a leading activist group that reported it was the deadliest month yet in the 2-year-old conflict.

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an increase in shelling and clashes around the country led to the high toll, which is incomplete because fighters on both sides tend to under-report their dead.

"Both sides are hiding information," Rami Abdul-Rahman said by phone from Britain, where he is based. "It is very difficult to get correct info on the fighters because they don't want the information to hurt morale." 

The increase also likely represents the further spread of the civil war throughout the country. 

Clashes continue to rage in the northern city of Aleppo and around the capital Damascus as well as in the central city of Homs.
01:21  What Naipaul got right, and wrong, about India:  
V S Naipaul's early predictions about politicised and motivated Indians have been abundantly ratified. 

But, for all their literary power, his writings cannot lighten the task of those who struggle to decipher today -- in the larger postcolonial world as well as in India -- the million mutinies that continue to erupt in the great void of the national idea.

Click HERE to read

00:42  Pak in a state of institutional failure: Ex-US envoy:  
Pakistan is in a state of institutional failure, even if it is not a failed state now, a former US ambassador to Islamabad has said, noting that the nation's powerful army is in no mood to usurp power. 

"Pakistan is in a state of institutional failure. Its not a failed state, but you could argue it is a failing state. So these elections need to be well run and credible in their outcome," former US Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker told reporters during a conference call on Monday.

Crocker who was the US Ambassador to Pakistan from 2004 to 2007 said that there are more extremist groups in Pakistan on Monday than when he was there.

"They are targeting the Pakistani state, the military and civilians. We've seen the press reports of the ascendancy of the Taliban in Karachi, one of the world's largest cities," he said.

In response to a question, Crocker said that Pakistan would continue to hedge its bets on the Taliban. 
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