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A major crisis for Bengal's Trinamool Congress?

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April 20, 2013

22:58  A major crisis for Bengal's Trinamool Congress?:  Chairman and managing director of the Saradha group Sudipta Sen, who is absconding, rendering thousands of investors, agents, media personnel jobless and penniless, had bought a painting by Mamata Banerjee for Rs 1 crore 86 lakhs.

On Friday, thousands of agents and former employees thronged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Harish Chatterjee Street home, seeking help in recovering their dues.

Within hours, the crowd was too large and the police dispersed it.

A war of words has already started between Sudipta Sen and Kunal Ghosh, a Rajya Sabha member of the Trinamool Congress.

Ghosh issued a statement on Facebook, saying he was never a director in the group and that he had nothing to do with its 'finance (and) accounts'.

He also said he did not persuade Sen to launch or acquire media companies and that he was roped in only after the Saradha Group got into an alliance with Sangbad Pratidin, a Bengali daily, of which Ghosh was an editor.

Sangbad Pratidin is owned by another Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member, Srinjoy Bose, and his family. Ghosh quit Sangbad Pratidin earlier this year.
22:56  Pakistan State Oil near bankruptcy: Report:  Continuous cash flow problems due to a debt crisis in the energy sector has brought Pakistan's only public sector oil marketing company Pakistan State Oil close to bankruptcy, a report has said.     

Pakistan State Oil Managing Director and Chief Executive Naeem Yahya Mir has warned that if the public oil company fails, its bankruptcy will not only shake the entire economy but also take down many banks.
22:28  'Chit fund' company's director arrested in Kolkata:  
One of the directors of 'chit fund' company Saradha Group was today arrested in Kolkata while its Chairman and Managing Director Sudipta Sen remained at large. 

"We have arrested Manoj Kumar Nagel, who is one of the directors of the company, from Bidhannagar. We are also looking out for their chairman Sudipta Sen by keeping a vigil at airport and other places," a senior police official at Bidhannagar Commissionerate said. 

The West Bengal government has already ordered Sen's arrest. 

With a huge default in repayments, the Saradha Group is virtually on the verge of collapse.
22:20  Which priest will accompany President Pranab?:  The Sri Jagannath Temple Administration in Odisha today decided to take the help of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to determine which of the two priests -- claiming to be the family priest of President Pranab Mukherjee -- would accompany him to the sanctum sanctorum during his visit to the 12th century shrine.        

Both priests produced documents before the SJTA claiming they were the family priest of the President.
22:18  Bangladesh inks biggest ever power deal with India:  Bangladesh today signed its biggest ever joint venture agreement with India, involving the investment of US$ 1.6 billion for 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant, which is expected to be operational in the next five years.     

"This will be the largest investment Bangladesh ever had. This will be cheapest source of energy (after hydropower) to accelerate the country's economic growth," Prime Minister's Energy Affairs Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said at the signing ceremony.
22:09  We provide latest military tech exclusively to India: Russia :  Russia today reminded India that it provides latest cutting-edge technology exclusively to New Delhi unlike its "newly-acquired partners" in defence sector.    

"Unlike its newly-acquired partners, we provide the latest cutting-edge technology to India and don't share it with others," Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said at an IAF function on front-line fighter aircraft MiG-21.
22:07  Three guilty of abuse of Indian woman in London :  Three people, including a wealthy optician, have been found guilty of abusing a 39-year-old illiterate Indian woman, who was kept as slave in a multi-million pound luxury home in London and was raped while being passed between three families.

The mother of four from Hyderabad, whose identity was not revealed, was employed in three London households as a nanny and domestic worker.
21:16  Child rape accused flown to Delhi, grilled by cops:  The 22-year-old man, who was arrested in Bihar for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl in Delhi, was today flown into the national capital.        

The police team, which arrested Manoj Kumar, was flown to Delhi in an Air India flight from Patna.        

After a mandatory medical check-up, Kumar is now being questioned by police, a senior police official said.
21:15  JSS may leave ruling UDF in Kerala:  UDF partner Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy, led by K R Gowri Amma, today sent out signals that it was not interested in remaining in the Congress-led ruling coalition as its sentiments had not been respected.        

Though Gowri Amma made her stand clear at the party's state committee meeting, a section of the leadership was learnt to be opposed to abruptly snapping ties with the UDF and moving to the Left camp.
21:14  Bird flu death toll in China rises to 18:  One more person died due to the deadly bird flu in China today, taking the death toll to 18, even as five new cases of the H7N9 avian influenza were reported, pushing the total to 96.        

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said in its daily update on H7N9 cases that a total of 96 cases have been reported in China, including 18 that have ended in deaths.
21:13  Major fire averted in Chennai airport:  A major accident was averted when fire brigade personnel put out a blaze in a catering vehicle, from which food items were being loaded on to a Hyderabad-bound Air India flight with 108 passengers on board, at the Chennai airport today.   

The incident took place around 6.30 pm at Bay No 29, when food items were being loaded onto the flight which came from Maldives, airport sources said.
20:36  Punjab: Ex-MLA, 21 others get 7 years in jail for fraud :  SAD leader and former MLA Mangat Rai Bansal and 21 others, including three Food Corporation of India officials, were today sentenced to seven years in jail by a special CBI court in a case of cheating and defrauding.        

Special Judge Hemant Gopal held Bansal and the others guilty of wrongful gains by supplying sub-standard rice, resulting in loss to the tune of Rs 1.8 crore to the FCI.        

The CBI had filed the chargesheet against 28 persons including three FCI officials and 24 rice millers (including Bansal) in 2001.
20:34  Thane building collapse: 21 accused remanded in judicial custody:  As many as 21 accused, including builders and officers of the Thane Municipal Corporation, arrested in connection with the collapse of an illegal building at Mumbra, were today remanded in judicial custody till May 3.       

Seventy-four people were killed and scores injured when the unauthorised under-construction building crumbled on April 4.
19:44  Mulayam lashes out at central government:  Drawing comparisons with Bihar, which has got a Rs 12,000-crore special package, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today alleged that Uttar Pradesh was not getting "adequate help" from the Centre for development despite the shortage of resources.       

"The Centre is meeting out step-motherly treatment to UP. It has helped Bihar, which is appreciable, but UP is not getting adequate help from the Centre for development despite shortage of resources," Mulayam said.
19:43  Delhi gangrape: Police opposes bail plea of accused :  Delhi Police today opposed in a special court the bail plea of one of the four accused in the December 16 gangrape case, saying the accused may flee, tamper with evidence and try to influence witnesses.        

Opposing the interim bail plea of accused Akshay Singh, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said, "The accused played a vital role in the commission of the offence in question".
19:42  Many contenders for PM post in BJP: Maneka:  Not everyone agrees with BJP leader Kalyan Singh's views about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. One of them is fellow leader Maneka Gandhi.

Modi is a good prime ministerial candidate but there are many other contenders for the post in the party, BJP MP Maneka Gandhi has said.   

"Modi is certainly a good candidate but there is no dearth of leaders holding prime ministerial ambitions in the BJP," said Gandhi.
19:40  Modi first among equals in PM race: Kalyan Singh:  BJP leader Kalyan Singh today said there are a number of able and experienced leaders in the party, but the acceptability of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate is 'highest'.        

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister told reporters that Modi is a popular leader "who is the voice of the people".        

He termed the Gujarat chief minister as a vikas purush (icon of development).
19:39  Reject report on 2G: NDA to members of JPC:  BJP-led NDA has appealed to all members of the JPC on 2G spectrum allocation issue to reject its report.
19:29  BJP to rake up JPC report leak, Delhi rape in Parl:   The BJP is set to corner the government in Parliament over the leakage of the JPC report on 2G spectrum allocation, the coal scam and the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl in Delhi when the second phase of the budget session begins on April 22.        

The executive committee of the BJP Parliamentary Party today held a meeting at the residence of L K Advani to evolve its strategy in Parliament.
18:51   Ensure free, fair polls in view of blast: BJP tells EC :  In light of the bomb blast near the BJP office in Bangalore, the ruling party in Karnataka has petitioned electoral authorities and called for a serious review of security measures and steps to ensure that the upcoming assembly polls are free and fair.       

The timing of the blasts was "very crucial" as the elections are near, the party said.
18:48  India, China discuss incursion in Ladakh:  Authorities in both India and China are trying resolve the situation arising out of deep incursion by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh.

18:47  JPC report is a farce: CPI:  CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta today claimed that the JPC report on 2G spectrum allocation, which was 'undemocratically' released on Thursday, was 'a farce and a fraud committed on democracy in the country'.       

"The way the JPC report was handed over on Thursday defied all democratic norms and demeaned the prestige of the Parliament before the nation," Dasgupta told a press conference.
17:38  Will BJP deny tickets to Yashwant, Advani? :  A correspondent from Delhi reports: According to gossip in BJP headquarters, top leaders like Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and LK Advani may not get tickets to contest the Lok Sabha election.

An exercise is going on to identify top ten leaders who have been troublesome for the BJP high command during crucial times.  The Congress is not very far behind in denying Lok Sabha tickets to senior leaders but the party is exercising caution about publicising the names.
17:38  Union ministers not keen on contesting LS polls:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Reports emerging in the wake of the Union cabinet meeting held on Friday indicate that many ministers are shying away from contesting the Lok Sabha polls. 

Two Union ministers and three Members of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh and one Union minister and two MPs from Tamil Nadu have conveyed to the war room of the All India Congress Committee that due to their advanced age, they are opting out of the Lok Sabha polls.   

One Union minister is reportedly apprehensive about losing his security deposit after the DMK walked out of the UPA.   

Ageing MPs and ministers from Karnataka are expected to follow suit after the state assembly election.   

The Union ministers are hopeful about being granted a Rajya Sabha seat, if Congress President Sonia Gandhi or Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi want them to remain in Parliament.
17:36  Krishna refuses to discuss Karnataka polls:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Former external affairs minister S M Krishna was recently seen swimming in a deluxe hotel in New Delhi. 

When some media personnel tried to quiz him about the Karnataka polls, he jokingly retorted that he would only answer questions about swimming, sports and healthcare.
17:20  Sonia, Rahul, PM to campaign for K'taka polls:   Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would undertake a whirlwind tour across the state from April 23 for the May five Karnataka Assembly polls.

Sonia would start her campaign on Apr 25, instead of Apr 26, as announced earlier, at Chikamagalur, from where former Prime Minister and her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi won a by-poll in 1978, that resurrected her politically to come back to power ending the erstwhile Janata Party rule.

She would also campaign in Mangalore the same day, KPCC Campaign Committee Chairman Veeranna Mattikatti today told reporters here.

Sonia would tour Gulbarga and Belgaum on April 30 and Mysore and Bangalore on May 2, Mattikatti said. Rahul Gandhi would address public meetings in Raichur and Bijapur districts on Apr 23.
17:20  Delhi rape: Protestors at AIIMS, demand action:  Protests over the rape of a five- year-old girl erupted in Delhi today with people staging demonstrations at various places in the capital including the residences of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the Police Headquarters.

Demonstrations were also held at AIIMS where the girl is undergoing treatment and outside the Gandhi Nagar police station where policemen allegedly showed laxity in dealing with the case.

The protests started in the morning with a small crowd at Police Headquarters demanding stringent action against policemen, but as the day progressed, it grew to a few hundreds.

The demonstrators tried to enter the PHQ at regular intervals by breaking the barricades but a heavy posse of security personnel stationed there prevented them. Activists of BJP, CPI-M, CPI, AAP, AISF, AIYF, SFI, ABVP and other organisations were part of the protest.

There were protests at AIIMS also.
17:13   Amit Shah set for a bigger role in BJP :  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Speculation is ripe in the headquarters of BJP that party general secretary Amit Shah, a  confidant of Narendra Modi, is likely to get a major post among BJP office-bearers.

Industrialists and IPS and IAS officers of the Gujarat cadre are now making a beeline to get an audience with Amit 'bhai' Indications are that Amit Shah will be given the charge of states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

It is crucial for the BJP to win at least 65 seats.Shah has reportedly already worked out a strategy for the party to win the maximum number of seats in Gujarat.
17:11  Why are top babus meeting Jaitley and Swaraj?:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Buzz at the BJP headquarters in Delhi suggests that at least ten to fifteen senior IPS and IAS officers have been secretly meeting Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely to indicate their neutrality and explain their predicament on some important file notings, during the UPA government's regime.

The BJP has further hardened its opposition to the appointment of former NIA chief S C Sinha as a member of the National Human Rights Commission.

These bureaucrats, some of whom are two or three years away from retirement, are scared that the Congress-led coalition will crumble, the BJP-led NDA will come to power and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will take over the prime minister's post.

They are trying to secure their future posting etc via such clandestine meetings.
17:08  Budget session part 2 will be rocky for PM!:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: The second half of the budget session is set to witness some firework.

Union minister G K Vasan is likely to urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to abstain from the Commonwealth Conference -- which will be held in Colombo in November -- to highlight India's protest against the war crimes allegedly perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamil minority community.

The Congress Parliamentary Party is also expected to discuss DMK's withdrawal over the Lankan Tamil issue. 
17:00  I was made a victim: Babu Bajrangi:  Babu Bajrangi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case, has claimed that he is innocent and has been made a victim.

Bajrangi was granted two days temporary bail on Thursday as his wife was undergoing a surgery.

Read the full story here
16:47  Some JD-U members to change camps over Nitish speech?:  Apprehensions are rife about a possible split in the Parliamentary party of the Janata Dal-United as many of them disapprove of the harsh speech by Bihar Chief Minister NItish Kumar on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the BJP.

A senior JD-U MP is in touch with both the Congress the BJP -- indicating that six MPs  would be ready to cross over at any point of time.

These MPs are stoutly opposed to the extra influence of JD-U Rajya Sabha member N K Singh on Nitish. Grapevine is that JD-U president Sharad Yadav is the brains behind this coup. But he is unlikely to come out in the open against Nitish.
16:20  BJP Treasurer to do an MBA from Harvard after K'taka polls:  

BJP treasurer Piyush Goyal will join an MBA course at the Harvard University  
after the Karnataka assembly polls and the end of the Budget session.

Party president Rajnath Singh has granted him leave, and will take over the treasurers post until Goyals return.

16:18  Will the joint secretary be sacrificed?:  Our correspondent from New Delhi reports: The buzz is that senior Central Bureau of Investigation officers are flashing a copy of the email allegedly sent by Joint Secretary to the prime minister, Shatruhan Singh, to the deputy inspector general of the agency, that indicates that the PMO has approved the draft status report on the Coal scam.

Will it blow up during the second half of the Budget session of Parliament, because it puts the prime minister in a tight spot. And will the joint secretary be sacrificed?

The man in question was the district collector of Faizabad during the 1992 Babri demolition crisis. 
15:45  Action needed to stop heinous incidents: Sonia:  With the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl in Delhi sparking outrage, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today sent out a tough message to authorities that "action and not words" are necessary to stop recurrence of such incidents. 

"Congress President Sonia Gandhi has condemned the heinous incident of rape of the five-year-old girl. She has appealed to the government and the administration that action and not words are required to ensure that such incidents never happen again in future," party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told PTI.

Gandhi also emphasised the need for "awareness" among citizens to stop such incidents, saying these kinds of crimes can be stopped only when each and every citizen of the country is alert and aware.

"The entire society needs to be alert and aware to prevent such incidents," she said. Sources, meanwhile, said that Gandhi is also likely to visit the victim in AIIMS.
15:24  14 bodies recovered from Texas plant blast site:  The death toll in the massive fertilizer plant explosion in Texas has risen to 14, with US investigators announcing they had nearly finished search and rescue efforts.

Two days after the West Fertilizer Company fertilizer facility exploded in the US town of West, Texas, the residents were grappling with the tragedy

"It's going to be a long recovery for this community," Governor Rick Perry told reporters yesterday. The death toll rose to 14, which included the city secretary, who was also on the city of West's 29-member volunteer fire department, said Mayor Tommy Muska, also a volunteer firefighter.

In total, five West firefighters died battling the blaze, along with one Dallas firefighter and four emergency responders, the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas said Thursday.
14:24  Shake-up at topmost level of Delhi police likely:  Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today hinted that there may be a shake-up at the topmost levels in the Delhi police in the wake of recent incidents, including protesters entering his house and their conduct against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Talking to reporters in Rashtrapati Bhawan, Shinde said he is closely looking at the recent developments and some action may be in the offing. Asked if recent reports of Delhi police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar's likely removal were true, Shinde said, "I have ordered an inquiry into the two recent incidents- what happened to Mamata Banerjee at the planning commission and the case of some people entering my house. Action will be taken against those found responsible for it."

However, he did not specify who will face action and said he will wait for the inquiry report.
14:12  Will take action against guilty cops: Shinde:  Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today promised action against policemen who are found to be guilty of trying to hush up the rape case of a five-year-old girl by allegedly offering money to her parents.

"An enquiry is going on to find out if there was any lapse on the part of police. We will take action against the policemen who are found to be guilty. We are waiting for the report. Give us some time, we will take action," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Shinde's statement came in the wake of protests in the national capital against the rape and demand for action against policemen who allegedly tried to hush up the case by offering money to the parents of the victim.
13:38  Azad meets family of rape victim at AIIMS:  Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today met the family of the five-year-old rape victim at AIIMS and enquired about her health.

The minister assured the girl's parents of all help and medical care of the victim. He also met the doctors looking after her treatment and instructed them to provide best medical treatment.

The minister stayed in the hospital for 15 minutes. The rape victim was shifted to AIIMS last evening. The girl was brutally raped and assaulted allegedly by her neighbour while being held captive and starved for two days.

She also contracted infection from foreign objects inserted in her body. The horrific incident took place in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar. The girl, who was missing from April 15 evening, was rescued on April 17 from the ground floor of the building where her family was staying.
12:32  Musharraf remanded to judicial custody till May 4:  Former President Pervez Musharraf was today remanded to judicial custody for a fortnight by an anti-terrorism court in the Pakistani capital, a day after his arrest in a case over the imposition of emergency rule in 2007.

Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi of the anti-terrorism court remanded the 69-year-old former military ruler to judicial custody after hearing arguments by Musharraf's lawyer and the counsel of several persons who filed petitions against him.

Zaidi briefly reserved his judgment before announcing his decision.

He directed authorities to produce Musharraf in court again on May 4. During the hearing held at the court complex in Sector F-8 of Islamabad, Musharraf's lawyer Qamar Afzal told the judge that he was cooperating with police officials investigating the detention of more than 60 judges during the emergency and should be remanded to judicial custody.
11:58  President Pranab expresses shock over rape:  Following is the text of the statement of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on rape of five year old in Delhi:

I am shocked and deeply anguished at the latest incident of sexual assault and rape of a five year old child in Delhi. I join her family in praying for a speedy recovery and call upon concerned authorities to ensure the best possible medical attention for her.

Urgent steps must be taken to bring the perpetrators to immediate justice. As a society, we must introspect at the erosion of values and our repeated failure to ensure the security of our women and children.

We must identify the causes and find solutions for such criminal depravity in our midst.

Let us pledge to put all our energy and effort into ensuring that such aberrations which stain our moral fibre and standing as a society is prevented. 
11:40  Minor's condition stable, protests in Delhi:  The condition of the five-year-old girl, who was raped allegedly by a 22-year-old man after holding her captive here, was stable even as protests erupted in the capital today against the grisly crime.

Doctors attending to the victim at the AIIMS said the girl's condition was stable. She was shifted to AIIMS last evening. Protests erupted at AIIMS and Police Headquarters this morning demanding justice for the victim and punishment to policemen who allegedly did not help locate the girl who went missing on April 15.

Activists belonging to Aam Aadmi Party protested outside Delhi police headquarters alleging police apathy in the case while others staged a demonstration outside AIIMS Hospital in solidarity with the girl.
10:10  7.0 magnitude quake hits China, 72 killed:   At least 72 people were killed and hundreds of others injured today when a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked southwest China's Sichuan province causing massive destruction.

The quake hit Lushan county of Ya'an city in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 8:02 am local time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The epicenter of the earthquake was reported to be at a depth of 13 Kms and was monitored at 30.3 degrees north latitude and 103.0 degrees east longitude. 

At least 72 people were killed and 600 others injured, China's state-run CCTV reported, while officials said the number of injured people could be over a thousand. This is the second major quake to hit Sichuan in five years.
09:48  Why police worked so hard to take 2nd Boston suspect alive:  
The mysteries of the Boston Marathon bombings should be a lot easier to unravel since authorities involved in a massive manhunt managed to take Dzhokhar Tsarnaev into custody Friday night without killing him, says

Tsarnaev, 19, a suspect in the explosions Monday that killed three and injured and maimed some 170 others, was taken to the hospital in serious condition. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, suspect No. 1, died early Friday in a shoot-out with police.

Read the full story here

Also read what Akhil Tripathi, father of the missing student who was wrongly identified as a suspect in the Boston bombings told George Joseph here.

03:53  Delhi rape accused arrested in Bihar:  The police have said that they have arrested the accused who allegedly raped a five-year-old girl in Delhi. 

The arrest was made in Muzaffarpur in Bihar. The police said they are bringing the accused to Delhi.
02:48  Fundamentalism and the Chechens' fighting history:  The Chechnya from which the Tsarnaev family traces their roots became in the 1990s a battered and violent place undergoing an ideological shift. 

Already, it was home to a warrior culture, down to the very bone.Throughout the mountain towns of the Caucasus, gymnasiums were full of wiry teens and young men learning to box, wrestle, and practice Asian martial arts. 

Speed bags hung from trees the way basketball hoops decorate American driveways.

Read more
02:01  US fears promise of Arab Spring may be lost:  Global hopes that democracy could replace dictatorships in Arab Spring nations risk being crushed by repressive regimes, the United States warned today in its annual human rights report. 

"The hope of the early days of the Arab Awakening has run up against the harsh realities of incomplete and contested transitions," the State Department said in its assessment of the global situation of human rights in 2012. 

Two years after the first uprisings against iron-fisted rulers in the Middle East and North Africa, the countries that gave rise to the Arab Spring are now encountering "harsh realities" and face "immense challenges".
02:01  Maduro sworn in as Venezuelan president:  Nicolas Maduro was today sworn in as president of Venezuela, taking the oath of office in the memory of the late Hugo Chavez to cheers in the National Assembly. 

"I swear it before the eternal memory of the supreme commander," he said after being read the oath by National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello. Cheers broke out in the packed assembly as the presidential sash was placed over the 50-year-old Maduro, who was elected president Sunday in snap elections to replace Chavez following his death from cancer on March 5 after 14 years in power.
02:00  US approves resumption of Boeing 787 flights:  Federal officials have accepted Boeing's revamped battery system for its beleaguered 787 Dreamliners and intend to lift a three-month-old order grounding the planes. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement today that it will next week send airlines instructions and publish a notice lifting the grounding order. The lifting of the grounding order will be effective the day the notice is published.
01:44  When linking Boston to Chechnya, exercise caution:  t now looks like the two perpetrators in the Boston Marathon bombing are ethnic Chechens who were raised as Muslims. But before we leap blindly into geopolitical speculation on what this all means, let's take a step back and a deep breath. These bombers may well have more in common with the shooters at Columbine than the 9/11 hijackers.

Early reports suggest these young brothers arrived in the United States by way of Central Asia. The family may or not have fled Russian-Chechen violence in Chechnya in the early 1990s. The two boys appear to have arrived in the Boston area at a tender age-the older brother was about 16, and the younger was about 9.

Read more
01:06  12 bodies recovered from Texas plant blast site:  US authorities today said 12 bodies have been recovered from the site of a massive explosion that leveled a fertiliser plant in the quiet central Texas town. 

In a press conference, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes confirmed "with a heavy heart" that 12 bodies had been pulled from the area of the plant explosion. Officials have said at least 150 homes had been destroyed. 

They have searched all but 25 homes for bodies and expect to finish the task by tomorrow.
01:05  Classmates: Bomb suspect was on campus this week:  Students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have said that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was on campus this week after the bombings. 

Tsarnaev is a student at the school, about an hour's drive south of Boston. Students say he lived in a campus dormitory. Harry Danso, who lives on the same floor, tells the AP he saw him in the hallway this week, and Tsarnaev was calm.
01:04  UN powers say NKorea, Iran 'serious' nuke threats:  Ahead of a round of major nuclear talks, the five big powers today labelled North Korea and Iran as "serious challenges" to the world's nuclear security, citing their repeated defiance of international obligations. 

Senior diplomats from the UN Security Council's five permanent members singled out North Korea's nuclear test in February and Iran's "continued pursuit of certain nuclear activities" as among the biggest threats to the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the world's most important pact on preventing the spread of nuclear arms.
01:04  Boston terror fears raised at Senate immigration hearing:  A top Republican senator used the terror bombings in Boston to raise new questions on Friday about a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, legislation that now faces growing questions from conservative critics.

Democrats shouldn't rush the legislative process "given the events of this week," Iowa's Chuck Grassley said at the opening of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nearly 900-page bill.

Read more
00:28  FBI at US home of sister of Boston bomb suspects:  The FBI is at the New Jersey home of the sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. 

The police director in West New York says the woman told authorities she has not been in frequent touch with her brothers. He says she is very upset. Police did not have her name.
00:27  US unveils major arms deal with Israel, Saudi, UAE:  The United States today unveiled plans to sell USD 10 billion worth of advanced missiles and aircraft to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a bid to counter the threat posed by Iran. 

It was highly unusual for the Pentagon to announce an arms deal covering three countries and the move seemed to be designed to send a warning to Iran that Washington's partners in the region were beefing up their military power. But officials insisted the arms package did not reflect any shift in US policy on Iran.
00:27  No Italian president after 3rd round of voting:  Italy's Parliament today failed for a third time to elect a successor to President Giorgio Napolitano, and was voting again, this time with former Premier Romano Prodi being pushed as a candidate. 

Most lawmakers cast blank ballots in the third round, when a two-thirds majority was required, reserving their real vote for the fourth round when a simple majority is needed.
00:27  Boston bomb suspects 'unknown in Chechnya': Leader:  Two ethnically-Chechen brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings had no connection with Chechnya, the leader of the mainly Muslim region in southern Russia said today, blaming their upbringing in the United States. 

"They grew up in America, their views and convictions were formed there. The roots of evil must be sought in America," the strongman leader of the North Caucasus republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, wrote on his Instagram account.
00:26  Top headlines in the past 24 hours:  
It's a Congress document not JPC report on 2G scam: BJP

Sonia holds strategy meet ahead of Parliament session

1 Boston bombing suspect shot dead, suspect 

Boston bomb suspects brothers of Chechen-origin: Report

Raped, brutalised 5-year-old Delhi girl battles for life

Minor's rape: Delhi Police suspends three cops

Yesterday's Live commentary

Stars spotted!  What's this?

Hey! What is Boman Irani doing in London?
Reader Raman sends us a picture from London.

More stars spotted

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