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No Sehwag, Pujara in Champions Trophy shortlist

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April 06, 2013

23:47  Maoists blow up railway track in Jharkhand, Bihar:   Maoists blew up railway tracks in Latehar district of Jharkhand and Vaishali district of Bihar on Saturday, the first day of a two-day Jharkhand-Bihar bandh called by them.

Maoists blew up a stretch of railway track between Chhipadohar and Barwadih railway stations in Latehar district, railway sources said.

"The track has been blown up between Chhipadohar and Barwadih railway stations. Rajdhani Express is at Kumandih railway station in Latehar district," Divisional Commander of the Railway Protection Force Shashi Kumar told PTI over phone.
22:32   China approves new drug to treat bird flu, cases rise to 18:   China today approved a new type of drug that it believes may be effective in treating the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, even as two more cases were reported taking the total to 18, six of whom have died so far.   

According to a statement issued by the China Food and Drug Administration, the potential of injections of 'peramivir diluted in sodium chloride' have proved effective in preliminary tests, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.   

As of today, China has confirmed 18 H7N9 cases -- eight in Shanghai, six in Jiangsu, three in Zhejiang and one in Anhui, in the first known human infections of the lesser-known strain. Hong Kong too reported one case.   

Six people, four in Shanghai and two in Zhejiang province have died due to the virus, which till now have no proven cure.   

The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China said today that the country's H7N9 cases were isolated and there has been no sign of human-to-human transmission.
22:28  No Sehwag, Pujara in Champions Trophy shortlist:   Indian selectors on Saturday left out dashing batsman Virender Sehwag from a 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy in England in June, reports NDTV.

Seasoned off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and veteran seamer Zaheer Khan were also missing from the list, which has to be shortened to 15 players a month before the one-day tournament opens on June 5. Cheteshwar Pujara is another surprise omission after recently impressing during the Test series versus Australia.

Read the full report here
22:03  Politicians looted country more than Britishers: Hazare:   Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Saturday said the country's politicians have looted the nation more than the Britishers did in over a century before Independence.

"In 150 years, the Britishers did not plunder the country as much as the leaders of this nation have looted. The country requires a Jan Sansad (parliament of the people) which will be convened in Delhi within six months," Hazare said, addressing a public meeting in Narnaund town of the district during his 'Jantantra Yatra'.
21:44   Mandela discharged from hospital:  Former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was today discharged from hospital where he spent 10 days for pneumonia treatment.   

He has "been discharged from hospital today following asustained and gradual improvement in his general condition.   

"The former President will now receive home based highcare," Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement   

This latest stay in hospital was 94-year-old Mandela'sthird since December.  

Mandela, who was South Africa's first black president, was admitted to the hospital on March 27. He has received treatment for a recurring lung infection and pneumonia.    In December, he was admitted for 18 days for treatment of the lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones. It was his longest stint in hospital since his release from prison in1990.
20:27  'Assaulted' Delhi gang rape accused fears returining to Tihar :   One of the accused in the December 16 gang rape on Saturday again pleaded the special court hearing the case not to send him back to Tihar alleging he was assaulted by prison security personnel, who have threatened to kill him, a charge denied by the jail authorities.

Accused Vinay Sharma, who suffered a hand fracture on Friday, requested Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna not to send him to Tihar alleging that jail officials have threatened to kill him by hanging him in his cell on Sunday.

Vinay's advocate A P Singh told the court that his client has been threatened by the jail's security personnel whom he quoted as saying ,"Today, the media and lawyers can save you, but who will save you on Sunday as you have to stay in Tihar only."

Sharma was lodged in Tihar Jail along with four other accused following his arrest on December 18 last year.

One of the accused Ram Singh was found dead in his cell on March 11 with police claiming that he committed suicide by hanging. The matter is under probe.
20:15  'Cong will fight 2014 polls under Sonia, Dr Singh' :  The Congress will fight the 2014 general elections under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh said on Saturday and questioned the projection of Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate by the NDA.

"We will go to the elections (2014) under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. We are not projecting any candidate as Prime Minister," Singh told reporters at the APCC headquarters in Guwahati.
20:00  HC stays Dharampal's hanging till Apr 10:   The Punjab and Haryana high court today stayed till April 10 the execution of Dharampal, a rape convict who later murdered the victim and four members of her family while out on parole in 1993.

Dharampal was set to be hanged on April 15 and had been brought from Rohtak jail where he was lodged to Ambala for the execution, Haryana DGP (Prisons) Sharad Kumar had said earlier today.

The division bench of Justice A K Mittal and Justice G S Sandhawalia took up the petition for conversion of the death sentence into life imprisonment. Among the grounds taken in the petition, filed before the high court was that the Supreme Court was already "seized of the matter".
19:38  India is beehive for Cong, it's BJP's mother: Modi:   Criticising the Congress, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was speaking at the convention in Ahmedabad said, "The party uses the CBI to harass BJP leaders and workers. Attempts to scare BJP workers will not work. They have sacrificed their lives in states like Kerala."

"The BJP was formed at a time when some selfish elements were ruling in the country. At such a time, the BJP decided to be with the people and fight for them."

He said, "The Congress uses constitutional institutions to create trouble for BJP. There is no comparison between Congress and BJP's character. The people of Gujarat have punished the Congress in the last election."

He said he was disappointed in the Rahul Gandhi's speech at the CII meeting. "The country might be a beehive for the Congress but not for BJP, it is our mother. For the BJP, India will always be ahead of the party."    

"Surprising to know that leaders of this country do not know that there is a water crisis in the country. If Congress leaders are so concerned about farmers of Gujarat then without wasting time please ask the Central government to allow work on Narmada Dam to start again," he added.
19:14  'People will teach Cong a lesson for calling Modi yamraj':  Speaking at the BJP foundation day function in Ahmedabad, party chief Rajnath Singh said that Chief Minister Narendra Modi has followed Mahatma Gandhi's footsteps in Gujarat. "It hurts when a leader like Modi is being called 'maut ka saudagar'. People will teach Congress a lesson for calling Modi 'yamraj'."

"Modi is the most popular leader in the country," he said.

Singh said that BJP was the only party that can decentralise power.

Taking on Rahul Gandhi, the BJP chief said that he will have no impact in the elections. 
18:55  Rajkot immolation: 2 from Nepalese family succumb to burns:   The two surviving women from the Nepalese family whose members immolated themselves died on Saturday after battling for life for three days in a hospital in Rajkot.

Rekha Mahendra Vishwakarma, 35, and Vasumati, 60, succumbed to burn injuries at the Civil Hospital, resident medical officer G H Dambhaniya said. Rekha died early on Saturday morning, while Vasumati breathed her last a few hours later, he said.

Five members of the Nepalese family poured kerosene and set themselves ablaze in Rajkot Municipal Corporation's central zone office on April 3, fearing eviction from the house they had been staying in for 30 years.
18:47  UK offers aid in British woman's murder in Kashmir:   The United Kingdom has offered consular assistance to the family of a British woman found murdered in Srinagar today saying that it is following up the case with local authorities.

"We are aware of an incident involving the death of a British national in India. We have offered consular assistance to the family," a spokesperson of the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

The FCO had only recently eased restrictions on travel to Jammu and Kashmir in its advice to British nationals.
18:24  Rajnath at Modi's function for BJP foundation day :  At a massive function to celebrate the Bharatiya Janata Party's 33rd foundation day in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shared the dais with party chief Rajnath Singh. Also on stage was Modi aide and newly appointed national BJP secretary Amit Shah. 

The CM has reserved the Sardar Patel stadium on the banks of the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad for the fucntion. About one lakh supporters are expected this evening. All party workers from the district level up in the state have also been invited. 
18:17  After Beni, Samajwadi Party wants Jaiswal to be sacked :   After Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma, his colleague Sriprakash Jaiswal has earned the wrath of the Samajwadi Party which on Saturday demanded that the prime minister sack him from the Cabinet for levelling allegations of corruption against the Uttar Pradesh government "Immediate resignation should be taken from the minister.... If he does not do so, he should be sacked from the Union Cabinet.

The prime minster should give him a lesson about the democratic setup and then he can be re-inducted, if needed," senior SP leader and UP minister Shivpal Yadav told reporters in Lucknow.

Yadav's outburst came after Jaiswal is said to have accused the SP government in the state of misusing central funds for distribution laptops and tablets at a meeting in Lucknow on Friday.
18:05  25 Indian fishermen arrested in Sri Lanka:  At least 25 Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters.

Naval spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that the fishermen were arrested last night off the coast of Karainagar in the northern Jaffma penisula for violating Sri Lanka's international maritime boundary.

Their six trawlers were also seized. They were handed over to the police in the islet of Kayts for further action, the Navy added.
17:32  Pak court summons investigator in Mumbai attacks trial :  A Pakistani anti-terrorism court, which is conducting the trial of the seven men charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks, today issued summons to a senior investigator even as six prosecution witnesses failed to appear before the judge.       

Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman, who is conducting the trial behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, issued the summons for Altaf Hussain, a Karachi-based additional director of the Federal Investigation Agency.
17:30  Pakistan is like a 'horror film franchise': Mohsin Hamid:  Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid has described the coverage of Pakistan in the international media as a 'horror film franchise'.       

"Most news outlets are owned by big entertainment corporations that depend on shocking people for their success and Pakistan is one such horror story that sells. It is like a big Hollywood Friday 13th franchise," said Hamid.
17:29  Factionalism in Kerala Cong crossing limits: Antony:  Slamming the factionalism in Congress' Kerala unit, a 'pained' Defence Minster A K Antony today said it was "crossing limits" and warned that it could be self-destructive if the party men do not honour the Lakshman rekha.        

"Various factions are airing their views openly and sometimes it is crossing limits. If there are differences of opinion, air it out in the party," Antony said while addressing Congress workers in Ernakulam district.
17:14  Thane building collapse: 2 held:  Two people have been held in connection to the Thane building collapse. 

The two are reportedly real-estate developers Jamil Qureshi and Salim Sheikh, who face a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In the building collapse, 72 people were killed and scores of others were injured.
17:11  Do not complain if you don't vote: Sunita Williams:  Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams today said staying away from voting in a democratic set-up is tantamount to losing one's moral right to complain about deficiencies in the system.        

Williams, who had cast her vote through the absentee ballot in the US presidential elections, said the youth should participate in the electoral democracy.
17:10  Chidambaram rules out early Lok Sabha elections:  Finance Minister P Chidambaram today ruled out the prospect of early elections.

"There will be no early elections," said Chidambaram.
17:09  Narendra Modi is India's most popular leader: Rajnath:  Amid growing speculation over Narendra Modi's role in the next Lok Sabha polls, BJP president Rajnath Singh today remained non-committal on the issue of the party's prime ministerial candidate, even as he hailed the Gujarat chief minister as the most popular leader of the country.       

"Nobody can overlook this truth about Modi being India's most popular leader at this moment. There are no two opinions about it," the BJP president said in an interview.
17:08  Annamalai University Vice-Chancellor suspended:  Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosiah today suspended Annamalai University Vice-Chancellor M Ramanathan, following allegations of financial and other irregularities.        

In his order, the governor said a government-appointed Special Audit Team found "financial irregularities, including diversion of funds running to several crore of rupees and misappropriation of funds".
16:39  Arvind Kejriwal ends 14-day fast:   Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday ended his 14-day long hunger strike.

Kejriwal had gone on fast to protest against the "inflated" water and power bills of the Delhi government.
16:18  Chidambaram promises amendments to Income Tax Act:  I hope we can pass the Insurance Amendment Bill in  the current budget session of Parliament, said the FM. 

He added that the government will come out with amendments to the Income Tax Act once the tax dispute with Vodafone is resolved.

Chidambaram informed that an additional 50 lakh people have filed Income Tax returns, so the government's approach is yielding results.
15:33  DMK members to meet Commonwealth representatives :  The DMK today said its MPs and members of the pro-Tamil TESO backed by it will meet envoys of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group of countries, scheduled to meet at London on April 26, to demand that the CHOGM should not be held in Sri Lanka.        

DMK, which has been opposing Sri Lanka as the venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting slated for November, said in a statement that its representatives will call on the CMAG members to press their demand.
15:31  Shah Rukh Khan to perform despite injury:  Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is nursing a shoulder injury that he suffered on the sets of his upcoming film Chennai Express but that will not deter him from performing at the debut Times of India Film Awards.

Shah Rukh's performance is one of the most anticipated segments and the 47-year-old actor is planning to entertain his numerous fans despite the injury.
15:30  GDP will grow by over 6 pc in 2013-14: Chidambaram:  Annual Subsidy bill will go up by Rs 2,500-2,600 crore as a result of sugar sector decontrol, said the FM. 

Sugar decontrol is a major step which will benefit farmers and the industry, said Chidambaram.    

He added that revenue growth of 16.7 per cent is commendable.
15:29  GDP will grow by over 6 pc in 2013-14: Chidambaram:  GDP will grow by little over 6 per cent in 2013-14 and revenue targets will be achieved, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in a press conference on Saturday.

Rs 10,38,037 crore tax target for 2012-13 will be achieved, said Chidambaram.

He added that Direct Benefit Transfer roll-out all over the country is likely to be completed by the end of 2013-14.
15:03  Vijender Singh to miss out on two boxing events:  Top boxer Vijender Singh, who finds himself at the centre of a drug scandal, will not be considered for selection for two upcoming international events, for missing their trials.      

The beleaguered boxer, who has been accused by the Punjab Police of consuming heroin, missed the two-day boxing trials in Patiala and will not be selected in the squad for the events in Cyprus and Cuba, which serve as build-up events for the World Championships at Almaty, Kazakhstan in October.
15:02  Crime Branch to probe suspected attempt on Pinarayi's life:  The Crime Branch would probe the case related to the arrest of a 75-year-old man with an air-gun and sword near the residence of CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in Kannur district on Thursday,official sources said.       

The CPI-M state secretariat had demanded a detailed probe into the incident, saying in a statement that the incident should not be taken lightly by portraying the person involved as mentally imbalanced.
15:01  MP: Father, brother arrested for honour killing of girl :  The father and brother of a girl who was found murdered in a case of honour killing in February this year in Silhonia village have been arrested, police said today.    

Father Raghubir Singh and brother Bhoora Singh were arrested on Friday and the search is on to trace two uncles and a cousin of the girl who was killed.
14:10  Why is Rahul criticising his own govt?:   Is Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi trying to convey the message that he is merely a political philosopher, not a hard-nosed politician? Is he trying to answer his own dilemmas through his public speeches?

Read more about Rahul Gandhi's day out
13:57  The truth behind Kashmir's rehabilitation policy:  The rehabilitation policy offered by the Jammu and Kashmir government for militants has often failed to live up to the many promises it had made.

For the surrendered militants, life after surrendering to the state government has not been particularly easy.

Read the full story here
13:54  What was the Trinamool government thinking?:  Mamata Banerjee's government recently stood by and did nothing when several Islamic organisations held a massive rally to denounce the Shanbagh movement in Bangladesh and show their solidarity with criminals of the 1971 Liberation War.

Read the full story here
13:51  Pak court orders poll officials to stop 'intrusive' questions :  A Pakistani court has barred election officials from asking irrelevant or intrusive questions while scrutinising nomination papers after days of televised proceedings, during which candidates were asked to recite Quranic verses and to reveal intimate details.        

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore high court issued the order yesterday evening, following widespread criticism of the questioning of candidates by Returning Officers, who are mostly judges of lower courts deputed to assist election authorities.
13:48  Bodies of Thane building collapse to be flown back:  Bodies of ten victims, mostly construction workers hailing from Malda district of West Bengal, who died in Thane's building collapse on Thursday, will be flown back today.        

State tourism minister and local MLA Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury said the bodies in coffins will be flown to the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose international airport in Kolkata before being taken by road to their native places.
12:58  Jairam Ramesh, C P Joshi may lose portfolios:  Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Road Transport Minister C P Joshi may soon lose their respective ministries.

The Congress's top brass may ask Ramesh and Joshi to give up their ministries to go back to the 'war room', to concentrate on party work for the 2014 general elections.

Read the full story here
12:55  Allow Pakistan players in IPL: Wasim Akram:  Former Pakistan captain and pace legend Wasim Akram has requested the Indian cricket board to allow Pakistani players to participate in the cash-rich Indian Premier League.     

Akram said Pakistani players would only help add colour to the Twenty20 tournament.     

"I have always believed that sports and politics should be kept apart. If our players take part in the IPL, it will only raise the bar of the event," said Akram, who was the bowling consultant of current IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
12:53  'No crisis for Indian expatriates for 2 months':  Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia will not face problems for the next two months in the wake of the implementation of a new labour policy called Nitaqat in the Gulf country, Union minister E Ahamed has said.        

"There will not be problems for Indians for the next two months. Saudi authorities have given us an assurance in this regard," the minister of state for external affairs told reporters.
12:51  Hackers warn of 'largest internet battle' :  Hackers have threatened to disrupt Internet operations in Israel in a major cyber attack planned for Sunday, it has emerged.       

As part of an operation code-named Op Israel, notorious hacking group Anonymous and similar collectives have in recent days been exchanging information, via social media and other websites, on the Israel government and the corporate websites they plan to target.       

On Thursday, Anonymous warned that it was poised to launch 'the largest internet battle in the history of mankind,' Gulf News reports.
12:50  Sri Lanka, Pakistan to enhance bilateral cooperation :  Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in many areas, including trade and defence.        

The two countries have agreed to further mutual cooperation in countering terrorism, transnational crime and training defence personnel, the ministry of external affairs said.
12:49  China Bird flu: Hangzhou city suspends live poultry:  A day after Shanghai closed a live poultry trading zone and ordered culling of thousands of birds, China's Hangzhou city today followed suit after the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus was detected from quails sold in its farm produce market.        

Six persons have so far died in the country due to the avian influenza and a total of 16 cases have been confirmed in the first known human infection of the lesser-known strain.
12:48  6 per cent growth possible in India: Raghuram Rajan :  India is watching the external developments of recent weeks and its impact on the economy, Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram G Rajan said today, even as he expressed optimism about the economy growing by over 6 percent during the current fiscal.       

"The external environment has deteriorated somewhat," he said.
12:20  Collapse aftermath: '90 pc buildings in Mumbra illegal':  The death toll in the Thane building collapse rose to 71 on Saturday.

Authorities in the Thane municipality said nearly 90 per cent of the buildings in Mumbra -- a suburb of Thane city where the building collapse happened -- have been illegally constructed.
12:12  Bank of Baroda denies money laundering charges:   Bank of Baroda today denied charges of playing a role in a money laundering racket led by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

It was alleged that Dawood is still allegedly laundering blood money through the Bank of Baroda's branch in the tax havens in Nassau, Bahamas.

According to a CNN-IBN-First Post investigation, large volumes of funds belonging to terror groups based in Afghanistan and Pakistan are being handled by Dawood.
12:11  Kejriwal's fast just a drama: Congress:   Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J P Agarwal on Saturday lashed out at Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal for repeatedly targeting the Sheila Dikshit government, and alleged that the latter's fast is 'a drama' with a political motive.   

"This is all a drama. I just don't understand that how in two days' time, he became the well-wisher of the entire public of Delhi and he began taking note of all the defects. Has he ever done constructive work in Delhi? Did he ever raise his voice for a poor man," asked Agarwal.   

"He was nowhere in the picture for the last 40 years and all of a sudden he began taking note of all the drawbacks," he added.
12:11  WHO probes bird flu cases in China:  The World Health Organisation has said that there was no sign of 'sustained human-to-human transmission' of the H7N9 virus in China.       

The UN health organisation cautioned that it was important to check on 400 people who had been in close contact with the 14 confirmed cases.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told a news briefing in Geneva that they have 14 cases in a large geographical area. He said they have no sign of any epidemiological linkage between the confirmed cases and no sign of sustained human-to-human transmission.
12:07  Chelsea Clinton wants mom Hillary to 'rest':  Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has said that she wants her mother to 'rest' before deciding whether to run for President in 2016.       

Chelsea told Parade magazine that right now, she wants her to rest, and then make whatever she thinks is the right decision.       

Clinton, who stepped down from the State Department in February, has been stoking speculation about a potential 2016 campaign with a series of public statements and speeches. 
12:06  Champions Trophy team: Sehwag, Harbhajan, Zaheer out:  Cricketers Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan are not in the list of 30 probables for the Indian team for the ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in England in June. 

Ishwar Pandey, Parvez Rasool and Unmukt Chand have all been included among the probables, according to ESPNcricinfo.

Rasool is the first cricketer from Kashmir to be named among the probables for the Indian cricket team.
11:16  Obama signs order outlawing the Taliban:  United States President Barack Obama has signed an Executive Order outlawing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

White House termed the step as a "simple and straightforward" move to end the war in Afghanistan. 

Taliban militants have been given 30 days to surrender before facing prosecution.

Read the full story here
11:13  LeT sends 'best' cadres to Kashmir:  As many as 94 per cent of the youth recruited by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba are sent to Kashmir to participate in the militant activities. Most of these LeT fighters hail from Punjab in Pakistan and are considered as the brightest of the recruits.

Read the full story here
10:46  Dinshah Vimadalal looks for a wife!:  Dinshah Vimadalal, 70, is in search for a thin wife who should be at least three decades his junior. 

Read about Vimadalal's unique hunt for a wife
10:41  Italy PM calls up Khurshid:  Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti talked to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday about the National Investigation Agency framing murder charges against two Italian marines for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year.

Khurshid also met Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura to seek a speedy trial.

Read the full report here
10:37  Obama to host Middle East leaders and UN Secy Gen:  US President Barack Obama will host leaders from its allies Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and UAE, and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in the coming weeks, amid ongoing turmoil in Syria,the White House has said.       

Announcements for these series of meetings came from the White House as the Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to leave for yet another trip to the region -- his third in less than a month.        

Obama will kick-off his series of meetings at the White House with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on April 12.
10:35  US will dominate the 21st century economies: Biden :  America will continue to dominate the 21st century economies because it allows people to think differently, US Vice President Joe Biden has said.        

"Steve Jobs, in that famous exchange with the student at Stanford, said, 'think different'. You can't think different in a country where you can't speak freely. You can't think different in a country where you are not allowed to challenge the orthodoxy. You can't think different in a country that limits what you can be engaged in," Biden said in his address, apparently referring to China.
02:21  Obama says sorry to Kamala Harris for comment on her looks:  
President Barack Obama has apologised to California Attorney General Kamala Harris "for the distraction created" when he remarked on her looks during a fundraiser on Thursday.

Obama called Harris on Thursday night after his comments generated criticism on social media and from political opponents, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

"They are old friends and good friends, and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities," Carney said at a White House briefing.

On the last stop of a fundraising swing in California, Obama singled out Harris at the home of Levi Strauss heir John Goldman, praising her for her brilliance and dedication.

"She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country," the president said, prompting laughter from the crowd. "It is true, come on".
02:07  US military's North Korea back-up plan:  
Courageous Channel is a regular non-combatant evacuation operation exercise done by the US military in South Korea to practice getting thousands of US civilians out of the country in a hurry if it looks like war with North Korea is imminent.

Each spring, US military dependents, non-emergency essential civilians and contractors do everything except board an airplane for such an eventuality. 

They are told what to bring ("3 days food/water... 30 days medslimited cash $100-200") and what to do about pets ("pets are considered family members... do not have priority over people... pets cannot be abandoned"). 

There is even a handy video "to learn how to correctly employ the Infant Chemical Agent Protection System", along with lots of other tips on what to do the day no one hopes ever comes.

"Each person", the guidelines issued by US Forces Korea say, "is allowed one airline carry-on & one check-in bag totaling no more than 66 lbs".

Click HERE to read further
02:07  Filmmaker 'froze to death' reporting on homelessness:  
A young filmmaker is believed to have frozen to death as he made a documentary about sleeping rough on the streets.

Lee Halpin, 26, had planned to spend a week living on the streets in his home city of Newcastle to experience what it was like to be homeless.

Speaking on a YouTube video, he said the project was part of an application for an investigative journalism course and that he intended to "immerse" himself in the lifestyle of a homeless person.

Click HERE to read more
02:06  What China's online censorship systems block:  
The April 6 edition of The Economist contains a special report on China and the internet. 

It contains lots of interesting charts and tables, but the one below, which tries to capture what it is that China's censors delete or block, stands out. 

Though official data on the operation of China's two state-run online censorship systems, the Great Firewall and Golden Shield, are unavailable for obvious reasons, various studies have been conducted to infer how many people are hitting the delete keys by measuring how quickly sensitive material disappears from sites. 

This method suggests, for instance, that Sina Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter) alone employs 4,000 censors. 

You can read the full report here

Click HERE to read more

02:05  North Korea sure is acting like it wants to start a war:  
The situation on the Korean peninsula is not getting any better today, as the North continues to posture as though it's ready to start a war. 

Reports arrived on Friday morning that Pyongyang has loaded two mid-range ballistic missiles onto mobile launch platforms, which they promptly hid somewhere along the east coast. 

The North has also reportedly suggested to the Russian, British, and other governments that they might want to evacuate their embassy, a move meant to suggest that things could soon get ugly.

They've also let slip that Kim Jong-un has beefed up his private security detail, again acting as though he believes trouble is coming.

The American government is trying to project an "all-is calm" attitude about the increasingly hostile maneuversa "regrettable but familiar" pattern, according to White House Spokesperson Jay Carneybut their actions definitely betray a note of concern. 

They're moving forward with plans to put a missile defense battery in Guam, while South Korea has deployed two Aegis destroyer ships (equipped with state of the art radar systems) off their own coasts to be on alert for flying objects.

Click HERE to read more
02:05  US warns N Korea against 'provocative' acts:  
The Pentagon warned Pyongyang today that "further provocative action would be regrettable" after reports that North Korea had deployed two mid-range missiles near its eastern coast. 

"Missile tests outside their international obligations would be a provocative act. They need to follow international norms and abide by their commitments," Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

Several UN Security Council resolutions require North Korea to abstain from all nuclear and ballistic missile activities.

Little declined to comment on a report by South Korea's Yonhap news agency saying that two intermediate Musudan missiles had been transported by train earlier in the week and loaded on vehicles equipped with launch pads.

The Musudan has never been tested, but is believed to have a range of around 3,000 kilometres, which could theoretically be pushed to 4,000 if they were to be given a light payload. 
02:04  Top headlines at this hour!:  Thane building collapse toll mounts to 56

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