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Thane building collapse: Civic official arrested

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April 24, 2013


23:19  Syria clashes destroy ancient Aleppo minaret:  

BBC: The minaret of one of Syria's most famous mosques has been destroyed during clashes in the northern city of Aleppo. The state news agency Sana accused rebels of blowing up the 11th-Century minaret of the Umayyad Mosque.

 

However, activists say the minaret was hit by Syrian army tank fire. The mosque, which is a Unesco world heritage site, has been in rebel hands since earlier this year but the area around it is still contested.  

22:56  Thane building collapse: Civic official arrested:  

With the arrest of a deputy municipal commissioner of Thane Municipal Corporation tonight, the number of arrests in connection with the building collapse in Mumbra area has gone up to 22.        

 

DMC Srikant Sarmokdam, whose name was found in the diary of the builder (already arrested), was taken into custody, police said in Thane   Police had deferred arresting him because of a death in his family. Sarmokdam was due to retire soon, police added.        

 

Seventy-four people died when a 7-story unauthorized building in Shil-Phata area near Mumbra in the district collapsed earlier this month.

22:18  Untouchability continues in politics: Narendra Modi :   Apparently alluding to the protest by the CPI-M and resentment by the Congress over his visit to Sree Narayana Mutt at nearby Sivagiri, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today stated that 'untouchability' was increasing in politics.     

"Political untouchability is increasing in society though this great evil had been eradicated in social life to a great extent by the works of spiritual leaders and reformers," Modi said while inaugurating the golden Jubilee of Sree Narayana Dharma Meemamsa Parishad at Sivagiri Mutt at Varkala.
22:12  Thane building collapse: Civic official arrested :  With the arrest of a deputy municipal commissioner of the Thane Municipal Corporation tonight, the number of arrests in connection with the building collapse in Mumbra area has gone up to 22.        

DMC Srikant Sarmokdam, whose name was found in the diary of the builder, was taken into custody, police said.
22:11  Cobrapost sting: KPMG to do forensic audit at Axis Bank :  Axis Bank today said it has appointed top accounting firm KPMG to do a forensic audit, following a sting operation done by Cobrapost that alleged executives of the private lender had indulged in money laundering.        

"We have hired KPMG (to conduct a forensic audit)," Axis Bank Executive Director Somnath Sengupta told reporters.
22:08  'Sudipta Sen lied constantly, about everything':  A journalist who worked in a English newspaper run by the Saradha Group gives an inside look into how Sudipta Sen, who allegedly duped investors of hundreds of crores, ran his dubious businesses.

Read the story here
22:04  Former Pak cricketer Saleem Pervez dies in road mishap:  Former Pakistan international cricketer Saleem Pervez, who came into the limelight during the Justice Qaygum inquiry into match fixing in the 1990s, died today after being severely injured in a road accident. He was 65 years old.
22:03  HC stays trial against Sanjiv Bhatt :  The Gujarat high court today temporarily stayed the trial against suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a 16-year-old case of custodial torture in Porbandar.        

Justice S R Brahmabhatt ordered stay till further orders and fixed the hearing in the first week of May.
21:42  Maharashtra: HC orders resident doctors to call off strike:  The Bombay high court today directed the resident doctors of state-run hospitals to call off their strike immediately.     

Doctors affiliated to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors are on strike over several demands including an increase in stipend.
21:41  Prez Pranab to visit Sri Jagannath Temple:  President Pranab Mukherjee is currently on a two-day visit to Odisha amid tight security arrangement.        

Mukherjee, who is on his maiden visit to the state after assuming the office of the President, was accorded a warm welcome by Governor S C Jamir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Bhubaneswar Mayor Anant Narayan Jena and other dignitaries at the Biju Patnaik Airport.

After landing by an Air Force plane, the President went straight to Raj Bhavan, where the governor will host a state banquet in honour of Mukherjee.
21:38  Indian economy not in 'stagflation': Roubini:  Noted American economist Nouriel Roubini today said India is not passing through stagflation but maintained that the prevailing conditions are "not ideal" for faster economic growth and the cost of doing business is too high in the country due to "excessive levels of corruption".        

"Inflation is high but growth has slowed down. It's not truly stagflation but certainly the situation is not ideal," Roubini said.
21:36  Sun's royal editor charged with conspiracy :  Three people, including a senior editor at Rupert Murdoch's tabloid The Sun have been charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office after allegedly paying more than 23,000 pounds for stories related to the royal family or military academy Sandhurst.        

Sun journalist Duncan Larcombe has been charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, along with John and Claire Hardy, the CPS said.        Tracey Bell has been charged with misconduct in public office.
19:56  I-T dept to probe transactions of Saradha Group:  The Income Tax department will probe finances and transactions of the Kolkata-based Saradha Group.

Saradha Group is currently embroiled in allegations of a massive scam, with its managers accused of duping investors worth crores.
19:55  None will be spared, says Partha Chatterjee :  With allegations of involvement of some ruling Trinamool Congress leaders in the Saradha Group, which allegedly duped thousands of investors, a senior West Bengal minister today said none would be spared irrespective of political affiliations.       

"We want a bold inquiry. None involved will be spared, no matter whichever party they may belong to," Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters when asked about the alleged involvement of some TMC leaders.
19:54  Advani slams dragging Vajpayee's name in 2G scam:  BJP leader L KAdvani today accused the UPA government of trying to drag the name of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the 2G spectrum issue to divert the investigation and said it was an irony that his name had appeared in the draft JPC report.     

Addressing election rallies in the second leg of his tour for the May 5 Karnataka assembly polls at Savadatti and Indi in north Karnataka, he said, "It is an irony that Atalji's name has appeared in the report".
19:52  HC restores contempt petition against Raj Thackeray:  The Bombay high court today restored a contempt petition against MNS chief Raj Thackeray over his alleged remarks against the court last year.        

Division bench of Justices P V Hardas and Mridula Bhatkar restored the petition filed by advocate Ezaj Naqvi, seeking action against Raj for contempt of court. 

The petition had been dismissed earlier as Naqvi failed to appear before the court.
18:52  Mamata: Ready to enact law on chit funds :  Mamata says, "Some people trying to defame me and my government. Action be taken against TMC MPs if found guilty. She says she is ready to call a special assembly session to enact a special law on chit funds. Why didn't RBI and other central agencies act?"
18:47  Mamata: Rs 500 crore relief for chit fund victims:  West Bengal chief minister announces Rs 500 crore for those affected by the chit fund scam by the Saradha Group. The funds will be given to the small and medium sized investors. Compensation to be funded partly by a cess of 10 per cent on cigarettes. 
18:41  Body found in river may be missing Indian student:   Authorities is Rhode Island say it is "very possible" a man's body that was pulled out of the Providence River Tuesday is that of missing Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, who was falsely accused of being one of the Boston Marathon bombers on social media websites.


Boston.com reports that Providence police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly says "it's very, very possible' the body belongs to Tripathi, who has been missing since March 15. He said authorities will not know for sure until the medical examiner's office has a chance to identify the body.


Donnelly says the body was found Tuesday floating in the river by the coach of Brown's rowing team.WPRI reports authorities believe the body is that of a male between the ages of 20-30, and that it has been in the water more than a couple of days. Read more
18:29  Parliament may be adjourned sine die on April 30:  Parliament may be adjourned sine die if Congress party insiders are to be believed. A highly-placed source said the Congress arrived at this conclusion given the A Raja-JPC-Coal-gate issues. This means the Union Budget may be passed without discussion. In fact, insiders say Parliament may be adjourned sine die by Tuesday, April 30.

The Congress, which is feeling the heat from the Opposition, has discussed the option of giving an extension to the JPC for a month where A Raja will appear before it, and then submit the final JPC report in the first week of the Monsoon session.
18:10  TMC MP: Sack party MPs linked to Saradha Group :  With the Trinamool Congress government under fire over the alleged fraud by collapsed chitfund company Saradha Group, senior party leader Saugata Roy today blamed central agencies like RBI for not taking action in the matter.


"The Centre did not take action. RBI could have taken steps. But it did not act," Roy, a TMC Lok Sabha member said. Roy said he had made a case against chitfunds during his speech in Lok Sabha on December 18 last year. Kunal Ghosh and and Srinjoy Bose have links with the group.


To a question on the return of money to the defrauded depositers, he said that the West Bengal government had no role in it. "Even if the state government wanted it cannot do so. It has to be done at the direction of the High Court. If the matter later goes to court and a liquidator is appointed, then it can be done," he said, adding that government has instituted a SIT probe and an high-level inquiry into it.

He also said the two TMC MPs linked to the group should be asked to step down, but the decision still lay with the CM.
18:05  Bangladesh building collapse toll climbs to 100:  Reuters: An eight-storey block housing garment factories and a shopping centre collapsed on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and injuring hundreds more, officials said.Fire fighters and army personnel worked frantically through the day at the Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 km outside Dhaka, to rescue people trapped in the rubble. Television showed young women workers, some apparently semi-conscious, being pulled from the debris.
17:47  Meet the man who nabbed the Boston bomber:  The man who captured and handcuffed Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the end of a city-wide hunt last week, is a Trinidad and Tobago national now a police officer living in the United States. Read
17:45  Sunil Tripathi: The other victim of Bostons bombs:  Sunil Tripathi has been missing since March. His family speaks of their fresh anguish last week -- when the world labelled him a terrorist. Read
17:38  Take up issue of intrusion strongly with China: Omar to Centre:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asked the Central Government to send out a strong and firm message to China on the recent intrusion in the Ladakh area by Chinese troops, and added that this kind of situation always puts people living in frontier areas under difficulty, besides hampering the development process.


"We would like the Central Government to take up this issue with both China and Pakistan strongly and on same terms so that no such incident takes place in future,' Abdullah said, adding that the Union Government's dealing on such issues should be unambiguous and similar vis-a-vis both neighbours.
17:33  Kerala leaders shun Modi:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who arrives in the state today, seems quite the persona non grata in Kerala with sections of both the ruling Congress-led front and the opposition Left refusing to share the stage with him. Left leader and former minister NK Premachandran, and Kerala State Women's Commission chairperson KC Rosakutty, a former Congress legislator, turned down an invitation to take part in an event at the Sivagiri Mutt, which is to be attended by Modi. Read more

Also see: Modi in Kerala
17:18  Ireland abortion death: Dad to sue hospital:   The bereaved father of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar has vowed to take legal action against the Irish hospital where his daughter died after being denied abortion last October, saying he is not satisfied with the probe outcome.

"I believe we will never get justice from the Irish government so we are definitely going to take legal action against the hospital [University Hospital Galway]," Andanappa Yalagi told the 'Irish Daily Star' from his home in Belgaum, Karnataka.

"No one has yet told us the real reason for my daughter's death. I am not satisfied by the inquest because the truth about what led to my daughter's death still has not come out. What I think is that the government and the doctors need to take responsibility for what happened to Savita but so far no one is doing that.

"No one from the hospital or the government not the doctors, not the politicians have spoken of the negligence that killed my daughter," he added, in reference to the "medical misadventure" verdict at the end of a seven-day
inquest at Galway Courthouse last Friday.
17:15  Tremors in Kashmir: No damage to life, property :  Update on the 5.7 temblor this afternoon. Rediff.com's Mukhtar Ahmad reporting from Srinagar says mild tremors were felt in the Kashmir Valley this afternoon. There was no immediate report of any damage to life or property.  Residents of Srinagar rushed out of their homes as the quake shook houses in the city.
17:05  At heart of Chinese incursion, an airstrip, a new road:  While the standoff between Chinese troops and Indian security forces continues in Ladakh at Depsang Bulge in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Area, the focus is now shifting to the post-standoff measures that the Indian military needs take to avoid repetition of the current incident. Read Nitin Gokhale's blog on NDTV.com
17:00  Congress demands CBI probe into Saradha Group:  The Congress today said that there should be a CBI probe into chit fund company Saradha Group which has allegedly defrauded thousands and as there were reports of involvement of Trinamool Congress and other party leaders.


"It has been said that a section of Trinamool Congress leaders are indirectly or directly connected with the Saradha Group and protected its interests," WBPCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya said.


"There is also talk of the involvement of leaders of other parties," he said. Stating it had appeared in the media that Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen wrote to the CBI on the alleged involvement of Trinamool Congress leaders, Bhattacharya said "Let the truth come out through a CBI probe." Asked whether he thought that Kunal Ghosh was involved, Bhattacharya said that the TMC MP's name had cropped up in the media. "But I will not say anything without evidence."
16:50  Nine-year-old girl gang-raped in MP, two accused arrested:   In yet another incident of sexual assault on children in Madhya Pradesh, a nine-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by two persons at Akhetpur village here, police said today. The victim, a fourth grade student had gone to a nearby jungle yesterday for grazing goats and was returning home when she was stopped by accused Mahendra Kol and Amit Kol, who took turns to rape her, they said. The bleeding victim somehow managed to reach home late in the evening and narrated the ordeal to her parents.
16:48  Another child raped in Delhi, accused a minor:  At a time when the people of the national capital are angry over the brutal rape of a five-year-old child, yet another incident of rape has come to the light. A six-year-old girl has been raped in the Seemapuri area of northeast Delhi. The accused, aged 14, has been detained.  The victim has been admitted to a nearby hospital. Further details of the crime are awaited.
16:23  Delhi child rape: Bribe-giver cops identified :  The cops from Gandhinagar police station in Delhi who allegedly offered a Rs 2000 bribe to hush up the 5-year-old girl's rape have been identified. The probe  report is expected to be submitted tomorrow.


The condition of the five-year-old girl, who was raped allegedly by two youth, is stable and her perineal wounds are healing well, doctors said today. "The girl is afebrile. Her vital parameters are normal and her general condition is stable. Her urine output is normal and colostomy is functioning well," Dr D K Sharma, Medical Superintendent of AIIMS, said in a medical bulletin. He said she is on full oral intake. 
16:18  Vitamin E gives extra boost to heart health for smokers who quit:  Taking a specific form of a vitamin E supplement can give ex-smokers an extra booth in their endeavors toward a healthier lifestyle, new research has found. In the small study, improvement in blood vessel function associated with the added vitamin E potentially translates into an estimated 19 percent greater drop in future risk for cardiovascular disease.
16:07  'Sudipta Sen trapped receptionist-turned boss' :  Debjani Mukherjee's sister says she was trapped by Sudipta Sen and had wanted to surrender long ago. The woman known as Sudipta Sen's shadow in the Saradha Group was at her appointed place during arrest too -- right by the boss. The story of 27-year-old Debjani Mukherjee, who joined as a receptionist and became the executive director of the group's flagship company within three years, can dwarf any tale of corporate rise. Read more
15:48  Tremors felt in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida; no casualties :  More on the Pakistan quake: Tremors were felt in north India, including the national capital and adjoining satellite townships, this afternoon, the second such occurrence in nine days. The quake, measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale at 2:51 PM, was epicentred in southern Afghanistan, the MeT Department said.


The quake took place 6.6 km down the surface. The tremors were felt in the capital, Gurgaon and Noida. There were no immediate reports of any casualty or injury. Tremors were also felt in Srinagar and adjoining areas but there was no report of any casualty, officials said. In Srinagar, the tremor lasted a few seconds, prompting people to rush out of buildings for safety.
15:46  Does it really matter what motivated the Boston bombers? :  Following the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks that killed three people and injured over 170, President Obama addressed the nation: "We still do not know who did this or why.... [M]ake no mistake -- we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we'll find out why they did this."  Point is, does it really matter? Read
15:43  The chit fund media baron:   Very early on it was clear that this organization was different from any other newspaper outfit any of us had worked for previously. Read

Also read: Sudipta Sen: The man with three wives and five houses
15:30  The USGS puts the magnitude of the earthquake felt in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, India's New Delhi and Kabul, Afghanistan at 5.7. 
15:23  Seniors prevented me from arresting Nupur: CBI officer:  Update on the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case: There was evidence against Nupur Talwar in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case but senior CBI officers prevented her arrest, agency investigator told special court here during cross examination.


CBI Additional SP AGL Kaul, who led the second probe team in the sensational double murder, was asked by the defence counsel to explain why Aarushi's mother Nupur was not arrested if there was enough evidence against her.


Kaul said his senior, DIG Neelabh Kishore, did not support the view and stopped him from arresting her. When asked if he had filed a complaint against Kishore, Kaul said he (Kishore) was my senior and if he did not permit, arrest could not have been made.


He also said Nupur Talwar's role was given in the closure report filed before the Magistrate. With today's proceedings, Kaul's deposition before the special court here has been completed. He was the last prosecution witness to be produced before the court, CBI counsel R K Saini said.
15:15   The quake was felt in Lahore, Kabul, Peshawar, Islamabad, the Swat province, Abbottabad and other parts of Pakistan. This is the second quake in a week. A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the richter scale rocked the Iran-Pakistan border last Tuesday, tremors of which were experienced in North India, including New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab.
15:11  6.2 quake hits Pakistan, tremors in Delhi, J-K:  Tremors felt in parts of India including Delhi and Kashmir, as well as in neighbouring Pakistan. The Pakistan Met office says the epicentre has been identified in Afghanistan and measures 6.2 on the Richter scale.


Rezaul Hasan Laskar: All shook up, lasted over 5 seconds. #Islamabad #Quake, definitely more powerful than last one.
15:05  Inside Kota's Rs 300 crore coaching industry:  Anamika Rai left her job as UNICEF's district mobilisation co-ordinator in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras in 2011 to take care of her son Vishvesh, who had joined Bansal Classes in Kota to prepare for IIT-JEE (Joint entrance Examination). The reason? Her son was missing homemade food. After landing in Kota she opened a mess in a double-storey house and became an entrepreneur. Read more
15:02  How Sudipta Sen did a Munnabhai :  Remember Munna of Munnabhai MBBS where the protagonist built a make-shift hospital to get his parents believe that he was a doctor in Mumbai when in reality he was a crook? Saradha group owner Sudipta Sen made his workers at Saradha Global Motors dress up and work like factory staff for one day every year. On that day, he would take his investors in luxury buses to the factory and show them around believing it was an up and running business raking in money. 
14:44  Bangles no bar:  Ever since the December 16 gang rape, many of my female friends have been clamouring for a death sentence for rapists, not because they look upon the act as a crime per se but in a tit-for-tat for "ruining a girl's life forever". Read
14:41  Awareness of India in Israel is of a different kind now :  Just when it appeared that India-Israel relations had hit a plateau, a trailblazing project is under way which has the potential to change the bilateral relationship from one that is still largely cloak-and-dagger and under-cover to one the two peoples can genuinely embrace. Read
14:38  Chit fund scam: 4 office buildings, 35 cars seized:  Four office buildings and 35 cars belonging to the Saradha Group have been seized by the West Bengal police. At least 35 bank accounts of the company have been frozen. 
14:07  IED=WMD? :  Why the Justice Department's charge against the Boston bomber is ridiculous. Read
14:03  Now is the time to buy art :  A work by Indian Modernist Tyeb Mehta never before displayed in public has sold for three quarters of a million dollars at auction, failing to keep pace with recent sales of the late artist's work that have broken the million dollar mark. Read
13:58  Pak court cancels Musharraf's bail in Bhutto murder case:  A Pakistani court today cancelled Pervez Musharraf's interim bail over the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, adding to the legal woes of the ex-army chief who is currently being held at his farmhouse.


The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court rejected an application by Musharraf's lawyer Salman Safdar for the extension of his interim bail. Safdar filed an objection against the court's decision but this too was rejected by the bench.

The 69-year-old former president had been granted interim bail for a week on April 17. Legal experts said he is likely to face arrest in the assassination case too following the Lahore High Court's decision. Musharraf has been accused of failing to provide adequate security to Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from self- exile.

She was assassinated by a suicide bomber shortly after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007.
13:54  Dhaka building collapse leaves 70 dead:  At least 70 people have been killed and many more are feared trapped after an eight-storey building collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, government officials say. Frantic efforts are under way to rescue those beneath the debris. At least 200 were injured by the collapse.

The army is helping with the rescue operation on the outskirts of Dhaka.Building collapses are common in Bangladesh where many multi-storey blocks are built in violation of rules. Read
13:44  Chinas War Plan:  Classified military documents on China's strategy for a limited war against India confirm our worst fears: China can take Arunachal in 48 hours. And we are in no hurry to do anything about it. Read
13:42  Goa airport to be closed partially this weekend:  Domestic flights arriving in Goa have been re-scheduled for four days due to temporary closure of the runway at Dabolim airport here between April 27-30 for annual maintenance.

All the airlines have been informed about the closure of runway for four days between 8 am to 4 pm, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) spokesman said.

"The airlines have ensured that there are minimum cancellations and have adjusted the passengers in other flights," he said. The spokesman said that the closure will affect around 15-20 domestic flights daily.
13:41  Infant sold to Delhi businessman, deal struck through Facebook:  In perhaps a first-of-its-kind case, a new born baby boy was sold to a Delhi-based businessman for Rs 8 lakh through a deal struck on the social networking site Facebook.

The incident came to light when Noorie, mother of the baby, lodged a complaint with the police that the child, delivered on April 3, went missing from the nursing home where she delivered the baby.

The child was allegedly abducted by Noorie's father Feroze Khan on April 10 and sold off with the help of Sunita, a nurse and Gurpreet Singh, another employee of the same nursing home, police said. Gurpreet Singh is alleged to have shown the picture of the baby on the internet before finalising the deal with the Delhi-based businessman for Rs 8 lakh.
13:33  Pakistan's Lahore High Court cancels former president Parvez Musharraf's interim bail in Benazir Bhutto assassination case.
13:18  Sachin cuts his cake and eats it too:  Dressed in a formal charcoal black shirt, Sachin Tendulkar, who turned 40 today, cut the customary cake while wife Anjali in a white salwar kameez was beside him in a special programme organised by his IPL franchise. Tendulkar got the first bite of his birthday cake from Anjali's hands who giggled after being called from the backstage by the batsman on the insistence of the present journalists and photographers. "Now, don't ask her to put it on my face next," joked the veteran cricketer.
13:17  ADMK rejects JPC report on 2G:  ADMK rejects the JPC report on 2G and says the JPC should focus more on P Chidambaram's alleged involvement in the case. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has directed ADMK MP Thambidurai to vote against the JPC report on Thursday at the JPC meeting. Jayalalithaa is likely to issue a detailed press release in Chennai at 5 pm today.
13:05  'Learnt to make bombs from Qaeda magazine':  The suspected Boston Marathon bomber has admitted that he and his brother planted two bombs at the race - and had learned to make them through a notorious terror propaganda magazine. Read more
12:58   Condition of child rape victim stable:  The condition of the five-year-old girl, who was raped allegedly by two youth, is stable and her perineal wounds are healing well, doctors said today. "The girl is afebrile. Her vital parameters are normal and her general condition is stable. Her urine output is normal and colostomy is functioning well," Dr D K Sharma, Medical Superintendent of AIIMS, said in a medical bulletin. He said she is on full oral intake.

"She was examined and redressed under general anaesthesia yesterday. Her perennial injuries are healing well," he said. Yesterday, doctors had said that she was recovering as "expected". The child was raped at a residential building in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar on April 15 and was discovered 40 hours later. She was shifted to AIIMS on April 19 evening from Swami Dayanand Hospital.
12:52  Chit fund scam: WB cops get Sudipta Sen's custody :  West Bengal police get four days transit remand for Saradha Group promoter Sudipta Sen.  Sen is the chairman and managing director of Saradha, a business group built on a chit fund, the collapse of which has left lakhs and lakhs of people in West Bengal in the lurch. People who had put their hard earned savings into Sen's chit fund on the promise of abnormally high returns. Now, the chit fund has gone bust and he is on the run.
12:44  Boston bomber: My brother made me do it for Islam:  Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has blamed his dead older brother for the atrocity.In scribbled notes from his hospital bed, the 19-year-old said Tamerlan, 26, made him do it because he "wanted to defend Islam from attack'. Read more
12:31  Sandra Choi: The soul of Choo:  The new boss of Jimmy Choo walks us through one of fashion's greatest sagas - and her plans for the future. Read
12:28  China may have provided Pak with N-weapons designs: document:  China might have provided its close ally Pakistan a fairly comprehensive package of proven nuclear weapons design in late 1970s and the CIA knew about it, according to a recently declassified document.

"The CIA had evidence suggesting close Pakistan-China nuclear cooperation, to the point of facilitating a nuclear weapons capability, although the intelligence community saw this as possibly a special case based on an alliance that had existed since 1963," according to recently declassified CIA data, obtained by the National Security Archive (NSA) under the Freedom of Information Act.
12:18  Cong minister: It's women who invite harassment :  A Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh has landed himself in a controversy by making sexist remarks that women invite trouble by looking at men in a suggestive manner, drawing flak from the BJP.


"Jab tak mahila tirchi najar se nahi dekhegi, tab tak purush use nahi chedega" (No man will harass a woman till she looks at him in a suggestive manner)," Satyadev Katara, a former minister, said at a Congress rally in Bhind district.


The rally was organised earlier this week by the Congress in Bhind as part of the party's campaign to regain power in the year-end assembly polls. Efforts to contact Katare on the issue proved futile.


BJP spokesman and MLA Vishwas Sarang said the statement is highly derogatory towards women despite the fact that the President of the Congress Party is a woman. "It reflects the mentality of Congress leaders and specially in the aftermath of incidents of rape in Delhi," Sarang said.
12:14  Vidya Balan on Cannes Film Festival's jury:   Bollywood actress Vidya Balan and 'Life of Pi' director Ang Lee are part of the prestigious 66th Cannes Film Festival's nine-member jury, headed by Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.

Balan, 35, one of the most respected performers in India, is best known for her path-breaking roles in films like 'The Dirty Picture', 'Kahaani' and 'Parineeta'. The other big names joining Spielberg are Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, Oscar-winner Christophe Waltz, Japanese director Naomi Kawase, Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, French actor-director Daniel Auteuil and Romanian director Cristian Mungiu. The jury will award the coveted Palme d'Or prize to one of the 19 films in competition at this year's festival, which runs from May 15 to 26.
12:10  Saradha Group boss in court :  Saradha Group promoter Sudipta Sen has been presented at the Ganderbal court in Jammu and Kashmir. 
12:08  Stock market falls after bogus AP tweet on White House bombs :  The FBI and SEC are to launch investigations after more than 90bn was temporarily wiped off the US stock market when hackers broke into the Twitter account of the Associated Press and announced that two bombs had exploded at the White House, injuring Barack Obama. Read
11:56  India lowers foreign investor outlook:  India has officially lowered its expectations of investment from foreign stock investors, which could translate into a tepid year for Indian stocks. Read
11:54  Werent Buddhists supposed to be pacifists?:  Their religion may stress peace, but some Buddhists are showing that they're entirely capable of violence in the name of faith. Read
11:52  If you're in Mumbai...:  Heads up. There's a protest-cum-rally of cars and motorcycles over the LBT (Local Body Tax) starting from Dadar Shivaji Park from 11 am onwards. The rally will pass through Siddhivinayak temple, Worli, Peddar Road, Sukh Sagar, Marine Drive and end at Azad Maidan. Check for the latest traffic updates on www.traffline.com or call 9223111000.
11:43  India lowers foreign investor outlook:  India has officially lowered its expectations of investment from foreign stock investors, which could translate into a tepid year for Indian stocks.A few days after Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram returned over the weekend from a trip to the U.S. and Canada to woo investors, the government said Tuesday that it expects fewer dollars coming into Indian stocks this year. Read
11:41  Tendulkar turns 40, thanks fans for 'unconditional love':  Sachin Tendulkar was a picture of humility as he celebrated his 40th birthday with a brief cake-cutting ceremony here, thanking his legions of fans for their "unconditional love" in a cricket career spanning over two decades.


The Mumbaikar, who would be seen in action during an IPL match for his team Mumbai Indians against the Kolkata Knight Riders later tonight, made a brief statement to the media before cutting a cake in Kolkata.


"Let me take this opportunity to thank all the people in India and well wishers all over the world who have supported me and showered me with unconditional love," said the veteran, whose wife Anjali was by his side during the ceremony. "It has been really special and it is because of their good wishes that I am standing here," he added.


Tendulkar said he wanted to thank each one of his fan personally for supporting him for over 24 years. "Since I can't do that, it is a good opportunity to thank the every little thing that they have done for me, like fasting for me during injuries. I just wanted to say thank you," he said.


Tendulkar got the first bite of his birthday cake from Anjali's hands who giggled after being called from the backstage by the batsman on the insistence of the present journalists and photographers. "Now, don't ask her to put it on my face next," joked the veteran cricketer.
11:31  No aspiration to become PM, want to do party work: Chidambaram:  Finance Minister P Chidambaram yet again parried questions on his becoming the Prime Minister saying he has no such aspirations and would like to do party work.


"I have no such expectations. I have no such aspiration and I believe that in the few years that remain to me, I want to do (a) few other things, like travel," he said when asked whom he would like to choose his Finance Minister after becoming the Prime Minister after 2014 general elections.


"The first part of the question, I reject it out of hand... Therefore, if I reject the first assumption out of hand, the second question does not arise. But I can certainly recommend you and many other names to the new Prime Minister," he said in a lighter vein. Answering questions at The Economist's India Summit here, Chidambaram said he would like to "remain a worker of the Congress party".
11:22  Ladakh face-off on, end likely soon:   India expects the border "situation" with China to blow over in a few days after New Delhi sent messages to Beijing and Chengdu. The second flag meeting between the local commanders on Tuesday failed to convince the Chinese that they should step back.  Read more

Also read: Flag meet with China hits wall
11:21  Why is Suu Kyi silent over Rakhine massacres?:  Last month, as the anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar spread from Rakhine state in the western part of the country to the central city of Meiktila, Aung San Suu Kyi sat among the generals on the reviewing stand as the army marched past on Armed Forces Day. She is seen as a saint by many people -- but she didn't say anything about Meiktila, where just days before at least 40 people were killed and 12,000 made homeless. Read
11:16  No disconnect between PLA and leadership, says Chinese scholar:  The stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh has come against the backdrop of warming diplomatic ties between both countries, leaving some officials and analysts to wonder if there was a disconnect between the Chinese military and government on taking forward ties with India. Read
11:11  I was used, blackmailed by TMC MPs: Saradha Group boss:   Saradha Group CMD Sudipta Sen has sent an 18-page letter to the CBI containing names of several key politicians, officials and legal experts who allegedly milked the company for money. Read the exclusive story on the Indian Express.
11:06  Chung Tash: The Last Frontier:  And another piece by the same author: The Sino-Indian border extends from Kashmir to the North-East, covering some of the most inhospitable parts of the planet. Colonel John Taylor (retd), who served in this treacherous terrain for many years, recalls his journey to Chung Tash, a military expedition like none other. A startling revelation of what life on the Chinese frontier is like for the Indian soldiers who keep vigil there. Read
11:04  1962 WILL NOT happen again:  In the backdrop of the Chinese incursion in Ladakh -- read this 2012 report on rediff.com, written by an Army hero who served there.

Colonel John Taylor (retd) writes, "Take the word of an old war veteran for it, says even as there is talk that China may strike at India and try to grab some territory, 1962 will not be allowed to happen again."  Read
10:52  The case that saved Indian democracy:  The judgment in Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala was crucial in upholding the supremacy of the Constitution. Read
10:50  Protecting Indias migrants:  Human trafficking for labour exploitation is a global concern. In West Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council region, it is a particular worry given the scale of labour migration and the prevalence of opaque and exploitative regulatory systems. A new report on forced labour and human trafficking in the Middle East, based on research sponsored by the International Labour Organisation, attempts to quantify the scale of the problem. Not surprisingly, it makes for some disturbing reading.  Read
10:46  Missing the point.... AGAIN!:  Indian Express: Ever since the Delhi gang rape, there has been a rising ferment about sexual offences against women. The recent public interest litigation against pornography seeks to ride on the wave of discontent with laws and policing around rape.

But this PIL on pornography, filed in the Supreme Court, is an insult to all those seeking legal reform of rape and sexual assault laws. Once again, it shifts the blame away from men who perpetrate crimes. Except, now it is not the woman's fault for how she behaves and dresses, but that of pornography and its mass circulation, and consequently the technology of the internet.  Read
10:44  Putting security back into childhood:  The condition of the five-year-old girl raped and brutalised in Delhi is stable says doctors. Besides laws, the state and civil society must together invest in a culture of child protection, says the Hindu. Read
10:42  Be wary of false prophets:  The fact that Anna Hazare is no longer on the list of the most powerful shows that people are more sober today and sceptical of tall claims made by so-called crusaders. Read
10:34  Fear of flying got Saradha Group boss in cops' embrace:  It was his fear of flying that finally brought Saradha Group boss Sudipta Sen crashing down. The man wanted for defrauding thousands of investors of crores in Bengal since his chit fund went bust last week, left his footprints at every highway toll plaza during his 2,500km road run and was finally tracked down to a plush hotel in Sonmarg,Jammu and Kashmir, on Tuesday afternoon. Read more
10:26  Modi to contest Lok Sabha polls from Lucknow?:  
After reports that Gandhinagar MP LK Advani is likely to contest from Bhopal in next General Elections, it is being talked about that former minister of state Amit Shah may contest the Lok Sabha Elections from Gandhinagar. 

This rumour stems from the planning Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his team is busy with in New Delhi. 

Sources in the state BJP say though it is a little early to freeze plans for Lok Sabha Elections, leaders are busy preparing a strong base for what is believed to be a battle of survival for BJP nationally. 

Also, for now, Modi plans to contest from Lucknow -- Atal Bihari Vajpayee's seat for five terms between 1991 and 2004. BJP president Rajnath Singh, it is believed, supports Modi in his plans.

Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt had reported about this exclusive way back in May 2012. 

Click HERE to read the story 
10:18  Legendary singer Shamshad Begum passes away:  
Legendary singer Shamshad Begum, one of the first playback singers in the Hindi film industry and voice behind hit songs like Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon, Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar and Kajra Mohabbat Wala, has died at her Mumbai residence. She was 94. 

"She was not keeping well for past few months and was admitted to the hospital. She passed away last night. The funeral was a solemn affair with a few friends present," Begum's daughter Usha said. 

Begum was born on April 14, 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab. She made her debut on Peshawar Radio in Lahore on December 16, 1947, captivating the hearts of her listeners with her enchanting voice.

The singer has been living with her daughter Usha Ratra and son-in-law in Mumbai, ever since her husband Ganpat Lal Batto died in 1955. 
09:29  Court to hear Zakiya Jafri's plea against Modi today:  
An Ahmedabad court will today begin the hearing on the protest petition filed by Zakiya Jafri against the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team's closure report on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 61 others for their alleged involvement in 2002 Gujarat riots.

Jafri, wife of Congress leader Ehsaan Jafri, had filed the petition last week as per Supreme Court direction that the victim should be heard before taking a decision on the closure report.

Jafri's case relates to the killing of her husband and 68 people on February 28, 2002 at the Gulberg Housing Society in Ahmedabad where the Jafris lived. 

Jafri alleges that Modi and several senior ministers and officials did nothing to prevent the killings, despite several frantic calls made by her husband to the police and even to the Chief Minister's office, for help as a mob attacked the housing complex.

Her petition now claims despite a plethora of intelligence messages to indicate revenge killings by the rioters, the administration took no preventive action
09:25  BJP goes the jingle way in Karnataka:  
Business Standard reports: Cornered by allegations of corruption against senior ministers of the Karnataka government just ahead of the assembly elections scheduled for May 5, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have decided to use jingles and short films to tell their side of the story to voters. 

The BJP leaders have sought help from professionals to prepare four short films for television viewers and jingles for radio listeners. 

Apart from films and jingles, short video clips will also be shown to people through video projectors in residential colonies and markets.
08:59  5-yr-old was raped even after she fell unconscious:  
In another horrifying detail in the gang-rape case that took place in East Delhi's Gandhi Nagar recently, second accused, Pradeep, told police that he had raped the five-year-old when she lost her consciousness after being already assaulted by his friend Manoj Kumar Sah. 

According to a newspaper, Pradeep has told the police that the girl was bleeding heavily after Manoj raped her. Terming it the "biggest mistake" of his life, Pradeep said that the girl screamed for help when Manoj raped her, the newspaper quoted an investigating officer as saying. 

Manoj and Pradeep will be brought face to face after police conduct a test identification parade of the former. 

Pradeep, 19, who was nabbed on Monday from Bihar, told police when the girl started crying they decided to kill her to hush up the crime. 

After the attempt to slit her throat, Manoj locked the girl inside his house and along with Pradeep went to New Delhi Railway station. 
01:24  Syria used chemical weapons: Israeli general:  

Israel's top intelligence analyst on Tuesday accused the Syrian regime of using lethal chemical weapons in an assertion that puts pressure on the US over its pledge to intervene should Damascus cross what it has described as a "red line".

 

Brigadier-General Itai Brun, head of military intelligence research at the Israeli Defence Forces, told a security conference in Tel Aviv that the lack of international response to the use of a chemical suspected to be the nerve gas sarin was a "very worrying development".

 

He said: "There's a huge arsenal of chemical weapons in Syria. Our assessment is that the [Assad] regime has used and is using chemical weapons." Although the Pentagon and state department insisted on Tuesday there was no appetite for intervention in Syria, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, speaking at a Nato meeting in Brussels, called on the alliance to make preparations to respond in the event of chemical weapons endangering one of its members, Turkey.

 

Read the full report on the Guardian

01:21  Two kidnapped Syrian bishops freed:  

Al Jazeera: Two Syrian bishops who were reportedly kidnapped carrying out humanitarian work in the northern province of Aleppo have been released, according to a Christian association.

 

Greek Orthodox Bishop Tony Yazigi said the kidnapped priests, Bishop Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and Bishop John Ibrahim of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, were released on Tuesday and arrived safely in the city of Aleppo. It was not immediately clear who kidnapped the men.

01:21  Scores on hunger strike at Guantanamo jail:  

More than half of the men held at the Guantanamo detention camp have joined an escalating hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention, a camp spokesperson has said. The US military counted 84 of the 166 prisoners as hunger strikers by Monday, and was force-feeding 16 of them liquid meals through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs.

 

Six were hospitalised for observation, said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesperson for the detention operation at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in southeastern Cuba. The US military is sending additional medical personnel to the prison camp to handle the hunger strikers, House said on Monday.

 

Read the full report on Al Jazeera

01:19  Ricin suspect freed, say US marchals:  

CNN: The Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and other officials has been released from federal custody, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said Tuesday.

 

Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Mississippi, was charged with sending a threat to the president last week after letters containing the poison triggered security scares around Washington. But a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled to continue on Tuesday was canceled and Curtis was released.

 

There is a bond attached to his release, but the conditions of the bond are under seal at this point, said Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy. She said her client has been framed by someone who used several phrases Curtis likes to use on social media. "I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him," McCoy told CNN. "It is absolutely horrific that someone would do this."

01:09  Al Qaeda, Iran ... and Canada plot?:  

The news that Canadian law enforcement on Monday arrested two men accused of planning to derail a passenger train in the Toronto area has attracted much attention, in part, because the plotters are also charged with "receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran.

 

"If these allegations are true, it would appear to be the first time that al Qaeda elements based in Iran have directed some kind of plot in the West. And it also underlines the perplexing relationship between the Shia theocratic state of Iran, which the Sunni ultra-fundamentalists who make up al Qaeda regard as heretical but with which they have had some kind of a marriage of convenience for many years. While there isn't evidence that al Qaeda and the Iranian government have ever cooperated on a terrorist attack, al Qaeda's ties to Iran, surprising perhaps to some, stretch back more than a decade.  

 

Read Peter Bergen's full story on CNN

00:11  China may have provided Pak with nuke designs:  

PTI: In the late 1970s, Central Intelligence Agency had information that China might have provided a fairly comprehensive package of proven nuclear weapons design information to Pakistan, a recently declassified document has revealed.          

 

According to recently declassified CIA data, obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA had evidence suggesting close Pakistan-China nuclear cooperation, to the point of facilitating a nuclear weapons capability, although the intelligence community saw this as possibly a special case based on an alliance that had existed since 1963.          

 

"This allegation has come up before, for example in a State Department document and in major news stories but this is the first time the CIA has released some of its own information," according to the set of two documents obtained by the National Security Archive.

00:08  Top headlines at this hour:  

India likely to send army contingent to Ladakh's DBO

Army chief discusses Chinese incursions with Omar

Sebi orders Saradha Realty to close schemes, refund money

Obama is fine, says White House after AP Twitter hack

Didn't target anyone at JD-U conclave: Nitish

Akhilesh off to Harvard to narrate Kumbh success story

MP minor girl's rapist arrested in Bihar

Police defuse car bomb near Musharraf's farmhouse

Aarushi and Hemraj were in objectionable position: CBI

Gowda comes to Advani's rescue in Karnataka

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