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LIVE! General V K Singh is a nuisance: Delhi court

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August 21, 2013


23:54  General V K Singh is a nuisance: Delhi court:  
Former Army Chief General V K Singh, facing criminal defamation charges, was on Wednesday termed as a "nuisance" by a Delhi court which said his presence creates a "ruckus" in the court room.

The court made the remarks while granting him exemption from personal appearance for the day for the "last time" in the case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said whenever he comes to the court, he brings a crowd with him and due to this "ruckus" is created and proceedings are hampered.

"Whenever he is not appearing, it is better for my proceedings otherwise the trial gets delayed," the magistrate said.

"My past experience shows that the dates when these persons do not appear, my proceedings go on but when they appear the proceedings get stuck," the magistrate added.

The court allowed the plea of the retired General who had sought exemption from appearance for the day's proceedings on the ground that he was in the US and would be back in India on August 25.
23:34  Russia denounces Manning sentence:  
Russia today called the 35-year sentence handed down to US Army Private Bradley Manning for divulging state secrets "unjustifiably harsh" and accused the United States of double standards.

The Russian foreign ministry's human rights representative argued that "when US interests are at stake, as was the case with Bradley Manning, the American justice system adopts unjustifiably harsh decisions ... without any regard for human rights."

Manning passed a massive cache of classified government documents to WikiLeaks anti-secrecy headed by Julian Assange. He was sentenced by a US military judge earlier today. 

Russia bristles at US condemnations of its own human rights record under President Vladimir Putin and has recently angered Washington by issuing temporary asylum to fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
23:26  Punjab Police question Tunda:  
Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Abdul Karim Tunda was today questioned by Punjab Police over his links with top leadership of Sikh separatist outfit Babbar Khalsa International and his role in a 2009 case relating to recovery of 10 kg of RDX in Amritsar.

According to a senior police official, on December 31, 2009, Punjab Police had thwarted a possible terror attack with the recovery of 10 kg of RDX from a car outside a government guest house in Amritsar and arrest of three persons.

During the investigation, the name of Ratandeep Singh, a key BKI operative in the case, figured as the key conspirator behind placing of the explosives to carry out high-intensity blast in Amritsar, police said.
22:00  US 'deeply concerned' by Syria 'toxic gas' claim:  The White House says it's "deeply concerned" about reports that chemical weapons were used by Syria's government against civilians.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.S. strongly condemns any use of chemical weapons and says the Obama administration is urgently working to gather information. 

Earnest says the U.S. is asking the U.N. to investigate and wants a Security Council debate.

Syrian anti-government activists say the regime carried out a toxic gas attack Wednesday, killing at least 100 people, but the government has denied that.
21:46  Kerry reinstates four US officials after Benghazi probe:  US Secretary of State John Kerry has reinstated four officials, who were suspended after the deadly 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

"The State Department has determined that the four officials who were placed on administrative leave following the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board's (ARB) report should be reassigned to different positions within the Department, and they will be returning to work," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.
21:43  Egypt temporarily closes embassy in Dhaka, 1 Jamaat man held:  A student activist of Bangladesh's fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami was arrested today on charge of threatening to blow up the Egyptian embassy here, which was earlier shut down for 11 days over "security reasons". 

Shawkat Afsar of Islami Chhatra Shibir, student wing of the Jamaat, was arrested on a tip-off, Deputy Commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masudur Rahman said.
21:00  New Fukushima radioactive leak 'serious':  Japan's watchdog Nuclear Regulation Authority announced Wednesday that a radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant was magnitudes more severe than previously thought, further eroding faith in the capacity of the plant owners and government to deal with safety breaches in the aftermath of a disaster there two years ago. 

The NRA increased the severity level of the crisis '" which began when a leak was discovered in a storage tank Monday '" from a level 1 "anomaly' to a level 3 "serious incident' on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. 

Each number on the scale represents a 10-fold increase in severity, with a level 3 event signaling exposure that exceeds ten times the limit for workers, according to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

Read more here
20:07  Wikileaks row: US soldier Bradley Manning gets 35-yr jail term:  Bradley Manning, the United States army soldier who leaked a massive trove of secret US government files to WikiLeaks, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a court in Fort Meade.

Manning will also be dishonourably discharged from the army. He will be eligible for parole only after serving at least one-third of his sentence.

During the trial, the prosecution had asked for a 60-year jail term for Manning, claiming that such a sentence will set an example for other whistle-blowers.

Manning, 25, has already apologised for his actions, saying the results had been "unexpected".
20:01  IRDA imposes Rs 3.10 cr penalty on Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance :  The IRDA has imposed a Rs 3.10 crore penalty on Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co for violation of various regulatory norms.
20:00  Wasim Akram marries Australian girlfriend :  Former Pakistan cricket captain Wasim Akram today announced he had married his Australian girlfriend, Shaniera Thompson, after clerics contended it was 'sinful' for the couple to live together without being wed.        

"I married Shaniera in Lahore last week in a simple ceremony and this is the start of a new life for me, my wife and for my kids," Akram was quoted as saying by a local journalist.
19:32  Right-wing group behind Dabholkar's killing?:  Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today hinted at the possibility of right-wing groups being behind the murder of anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar,  when he equated his assassination with that of Mahatma Gandhi.        

"Forces who could not tolerate Gandhiji, who could not tolerate his views and silenced his voice, the same way forces who could not stand the power of Narendra Dabholkar's views, have silenced his voice by his brutal murder," he said.
19:31  HC refuses relief to two bookies in IPL betting case:  Observing that the probe in the IPL betting scandal was at a premature stage, the Bombay high court today refused to grant relief to two bookies from Jaipur, who were accused of having been in touch with actor Vindoo Dara Singh and Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, for placing bets.       

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S B Shukre was hearing a petition filed by brothers Pawan and Sanjay Jaipur seeking quashing of the FIR registered against them and a direction to the police to not take any coercive steps against them.
19:29  BJP against screening of 'Madras Cafe' in Mumbai :  Opposing the screening of Madras Cafe in Mumbai for allegedly portraying the outlawed LTTE in a bad light, the BJP today warned that its activists would take to the streets if the film was screened in Mumbai.       

"The film with John Abraham in a leading role has a negative portrayal of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran. The movie deals with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination and mentions Tamil organisations as terror outfits," Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar said.
19:26  Pak summons Indian diplomat over LoC row:  Pakistan's Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned India's deputy high commissioner over the alleged killing of an officer of the Pakistan Army due to firing at the Line of Control by Indian soldiers.

Though Islamabad claimed that the firing was "unprovoked', New Delhi has maintained that the Indian Army's actions were "appropriate".

Pakistan had resorted to unprovoked firing, claimed India.
18:57  Court rejects RTL plea for deferring Anil Ambani's deposition :  A Delhi court today dismissed Reliance Telecom Ltd's plea for postponement of examination of additional witnesses -- Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina -- in the 2G case, saying no prejudice would be caused to any accused by their deposition.        

"Furthermore, the witness for tomorrow (Anil Ambani) has already been served and an accommodation was granted to him earlier, also when he was summoned for July 26. At that time also, the accused had not stated that examination of these witnesses would cause prejudice to it.        

"I see no reason as to how any prejudice would be caused to the accused, if these witnesses are examined now," Special CBI judge O P Saini said.
18:56  Maharashtra minister calls Narendra Modi a 'liar' :  Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane today dubbed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a "liar" after rubbishing his claims on development.     

"I have got a typical Marathi word for him (Modi), that is thapadya (liar)," Rane said at the state Congress meet 'Vision 2014' for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.     

Citing GDP figures, the senior Congress leader slammed Modi's rhetoric that Gujarat was leading on many fronts.

He said, "Gujarat cannot be ahead of Maharashtra in any sector.Our GDP is Rs 12 lakh crore, whereas their GDP is Rs 6 lakh crore."
18:19  LIVE! Former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak granted bail after 2 years in jail:  A court in Egypt has ordered the release of former president, Hosni Mubarak, on bail. Mubarak is appealing against his detention on a corruption charge. The 85-year-old is also being retried on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him from power in 2011. -- BBC.
18:14  Man banned from EVERY farm for sex with goat:  In other reads: Robert Newman, 23, is banned from every single farm in the United Kingdom after sexually penetrating a goat. Read
18:09  India asks Pak to return Sarabjit's belongings, earnings :  India has asked Pakistan to return all personal belongings of Sarabjit Singh, who was killed in a Lahore jail a few months ago.

New Delhi has written to Islamabad that Sarabjit's belongings -- clothes and other items -- which he kept with him during his stay in the infamous Kot Lakhpat jail should be returned.

India has also asked Pakistan to hand over the money Sarabjit had earned through prison work.

The move came after Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur requested Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde last month to bring back his belongings from the Kot Lakhpat jail.

Kaur had said a memorial would be constructed in Sarabjit's village in Punjab and all his belongings and the money he had earned will be kept there as memorabilia.
17:55  Revolutionary new mental health bill will decriminalise suicide:   The new mental health care bill, which seeks to decriminalise suicide and makes access to affordable mental health care a right for all, was introduced in Rajya Sabha this week.

For the first time in the history of criminal law reform in the country, Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 seeks to decriminalise acts of suicide by linking them to the state of mental health of the person attempting the act.

The forward-looking Bill explicitly states that acts of suicide will not be criminalised and those attempting suicide would be treated to be mentally ill unless proved otherwise and therefore exempted from the current provisions of Section 309 of Indian Penal Code. 
17:11  Diary of an ambulance driver:  Srirangaiah, 55, is an expert --  and somewhat maniacal -- Bangalore driver.  Day after day, he dangerously hops lanes in traffic. He deliberately jumps red lights and speeds the wrong way on one-way streets. Often, he hurtles in the direction of oncoming traffic. He is an ambulance driver. Read
17:04  Curfew was today lifted in Kishtwar, 13 days after restrictions were imposed there following communal strife, as the situation was returning to normal.

"In view of betterment of situation, curfew was lifted from noon in the town," District Magistrate, Kishtwar, Baseer Khan said. There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the district and the situation was returning to normal, he said.

The all-party delegation, which was here since August 19 to hold talks with members of the two communities to end tension, left today, Khan said.
16:53  Our father would have been alive had govt acted earlier: Dabholkar's kin:   Rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar's daughter and son speak to CNN IBN and say had the government acted earlier, their father would still have been alive. His daughter, Mukta Dabholkar says, that whatever
My father's death was a wake up call to society, but why do we need death for the government to act. Son, Hameed Dabholkar, says, "If there was any support from the government, my father would not have died."

The Maharashtra government cleared the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance to replace a Bill that had been approved by the cabinet, but had lapsed before it could be taken up in the assembly. The Bill has been pending for 18 years.

16:27  The Indian economy is not in crisis yet:  Panicking at the falling rupee? Here's what can be done, says Bibek Debroy -- the rupee slide, sort out the mess at home, fix domestic investment and don't wait for the global knight in shining armour. Read
15:58  Syria conflict: 'Chemical attacks' near Damascus:  Chemical weapons attacks have killed dozens on the outskirts of Damascus, Syrian opposition activists claim.Rockets with toxic agents were launched at the suburbs of the Ghouta region early on Wednesday as part of a major bombardment on rebel forces, they say.

A team of UN inspectors arrived in Syria on Sunday to probe earlier allegations of chemical weapons use. Read
15:57  Nitish: Rail minister blaming us for mishap is highly irresponsible:  With the Railways blaming the Bihar government for the train disaster at Dhamara Ghat in Khagaria district which claimed 28 lives, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today dubbed Railway minister of state Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury's remarks in this regard as "highly irresponsible."

"From the newspaper report his statement in this regard appears highly irresponsible," Kumar said. "By giving such comments he has made a fool of himself," Kumar said, in angry response to the minister's remarks.
15:37  LIVE! Speculation ends: Lok Sabha polls in March 2014 :   You  read it here first. Reliable sources in New Delhi tell us that there will not be early Lok Sabha polls. Speculation was rife that India would go to the polls this year instead of 2014.

The Election Commission is now in the final stages of an exercise to announce five assembly poll dates. What this means is that the EC is not ready to hold the LS polls as well in 2013.

So, the EC will declare the dates of the five assembly polls -- Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Manipur -- by September.

Even if the Lok Sabha is dissolved in October, the polls for the Lok Sabha will be held in March 2014.
15:04  LIVE! Maharashtra govt clears anti-black magic, anti-superstition ordinance:  Rediff.com's Neeta Kolhatkar reports: Pressure from all quarters in Maharashtra after Dr Narendra Dabholkar's murder has compelled the state government to take a stand on the anti-superstition bill. As a tribute to the slain rationalist, the government has agreed to sign an ordinance on anti-superstition.

Dabholkar, who was in the forefront of a campaign to persuade Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead in Pune on Tuesday morning by unknown assailants. More
14:55  The Supreme Court has declined to pass an order on the plea for the stay of a trial court direction summoning Anil Ambani and other witnesses in 2G case.
14:47  Indian army kills soldier, officer at LoC: Pakistan :   The Pakistan Army has said that one officer was killed and a soldier was wounded by Indian firing along the disputed border in Kashmir, Express News reported on Wednesday. The officer was identified as Captain Sarfaraz and the soldier was identified as Yasin. Read
14:40  Getting Away With Murder:   Behind the investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Read
14:27  SC stays execution of two rapists, murderers on death row :  The Supreme Court, in an interim order passed on Monday, stayed till further orders the execution of capital punishment in respect of Shivu Munishetty and Jadeswamy Rangashetty, guilty of rape and murder of 18 years old Shivamma in their native Bhadyadrayanahalli in Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district.  Read
14:02  'Taliban call centre' busted in Pak, 5 held:  Police in Pakistan have busted an illegal telephone gateway exchange here allegedly being operated by the Taliban to make ransom calls to families of persons kidnapped by them including the sons of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

Though the Lahore police chief Rai Tahir did not confirm how many arrests were made during yesterday's raid, police sources say at least five suspects including women have also been taken into custody.
13:57  The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) finds itself in a flux over the coal allocation scam since it has to comment on the missing coal files. That's primarily because Pradeep Kumar, who is the present CVC was heading a coal screening committee a few years earlier which enabled the allocation of coal to six companies. He was then the Additonal Secretary (Coal). How can he now pass judgement on coal allocation?
13:50  Monsoon session to stretch to September?:  Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar cancelled her six-day visit to South Africa on the first week of September since her presence will be required in Parliament in case the monsoon session extends beyond August. 
13:47  Angela Merkel visits Dachau concentration camp:  Angela Merkel became the first German leader to walk through the imposing steel gates marking the entrance to Germany's original concentration camp in Dachau on Tuesday, touring the memorial as controversy continued to rage over the timing of the historic visit during her election campaign. Read
13:32  Delhi balm for Beijing:  India wants to work with China to ensure a "transparent' geopolitical architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, New Delhi communicated to Beijing today, trying to assuage its neighbour's concerns over its growing cosiness with Japan and the US. Read
13:17  China provokes India again, troops enter Arunachal and camp for 3-4 days:  Chinese troops reportedly intruded into Arunachal Pradesh last week and stayed for a few days, in a repeat of the standoff at Depsang in Ladakh four months ago. Chinese troops entered eastern Arunachal Pradesh's Chaglagam area and stayed put for three to four days before going back. Read the full report here.
13:01  Row over 'vote-bank politics' in Uttar Pradesh, VHP yatra keeps government on edge:  The BJP today slammed the Samajwadi Party for announcing a major pro-minority sop and denying permission for a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) yatra seen to be aimed at resurrecting the Ayodhya temple campaign.

"They are not doing anything for the good of Muslims - this is only vote bank politics," said BJP leader Kalraj Mishra.  Read
12:47  Has a rare disease afflicted this baby?:  When 23-year-old Rajeshwari Karnan delivered a boy in May in Nedimozhinur village in Villipuram district of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, she and her husband, both farm laborers, were ecstatic. Their first child, born two years ago, was a girl, and Ms. Karnan was fervently hoping their second one would be a boy. But things changed. Read
12:42  Obama to meet Manmohan Singh on September 27:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on September 27, during which they will chart a course to enhance bilateral ties and defence cooperation.

The announcement came after National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon met his US counterpart Susan Rice and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday to prepare for the "working visit" of Singh.

"It's a working visit. It's a short visit. But I think, in terms of the substance, it is going to be a good visit," Menon said. Rest of the logistics of the trip is still being worked out, he said, adding the meeting will be followed by lunch.
12:37  Syria opposition groups: Chemical agents kill hundreds in Damascus countryside:  Syrian opposition sources and witnesses reported several explosions and serious casualties in rebel strongholds in the Damascus countryside on Wednesday -- and accused the government of using chemical agents.The sources put the casualty count at "hundreds." Read
12:34  Rupee could touch 70 to a dollar in a month: Deutsche Bank:   The rupee could touch 70 against the US dollar in a month or so, although some revival is expected in the currency by the end of the year, Deutsche Bank said in a report on Wednesday. Read
12:31  Where Indias Food Bill Fails Children:  The Food Security Bill will be debated in Parliament tomorrow. At a conference in April, India's Food Minister KV Thomas said the country would be known the world over for taking an important step toward eradicating hunger, malnutrition and poverty. He was referring to the National Food Security Bill, which aims to provide very cheap grains to around 70 per cent of the population. Read
12:27  Turning the whistleblower into suspect:  Ashok Khemka's trial by media has shifted the spotlight away from Robert Vadra's questionable land dealings and the chance to investigate them further. Read
12:05  The debate over the poverty line has been meaningless:  The recent debate on the extent of poverty in India has been generating a lot of heat, but very little light. The debate was sparked off by the latest poverty estimates released by the Planning Commission. Read
12:04  JD(U) withdraws notice after Bihar ministers regret remarks:  JD(U) has withdrawn the show cause notice issued to its two Bihar ministers after they expressed regret over their controversial remarks on the killing of Indian soldiers along the LoC by Pakistani Army.

Party President Sharad Yadav had issued show cause notice to ministers Bhim Singh and Narendra Singh on August 11 after noting that their statements were against the policy, ethics and norms of JD(U). Yadav said the party has decided to treat the matter as closed as the two ministers have expressed regret.
11:45  LIVE! Big day at Supreme Court today: Ratan Tata hears Radia case:  Former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata today came to the Supreme Court to witness the hearing in the matter relating to taped conversation of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with corporate leaders, politicians and others.

The court is hearing a petition filed by Tata in which he had sought action against those involved in the leakage of tapes containing his conversation with Radia.

Tata, in his petition, has contended that the leakage of the tapes have infringed upon his fundamental Right to Life, which includes right to privacy. He arrived in the courtroom at around 11 am accompanied by advocate Raian Karanjawala and some executives.
11:23  A charter for the CBI:  If you're even remotely interested in history, this is a must read.

Immediately after Madanlal Pahwa exploded a bomb at Gandhi's prayer meeting on January 20, 1948, Jamshid Nagarvalla of the Bombay CID asked Bombay's Home Minister, Morarji Desai, for permission to arrest VD Savarkar on the basis of Madanlal's visit to him the week before. Desai angrily refused.

Had he agreed, Gandhi would not have been assassinated by that gang on January 30. Read
11:20  The curious case of the MIA files :  Nothing represents the near collapse of governance more acutely than the manner in which over 200 files pertaining to the controversial coal mining licences have gone missing. Read
Parliament proceedings were disrupted yesterday over the missing coalgate files.
11:19  Did not seek US help in tackling Chinese incursions: India:  India has denied seeking any assistance from the US on the Chinese border incursions in Ladakh, asserting that New Delhi is capable enough to take care of its own territorial integrity.

"Ultimately it is sovereign function to take care of India's own territorial integrity. We are not going around asking other people to take care of our interest. We are an independent country," National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said yesterday as he concluded his six-day US trip, during which he met top officials of the Obama administration.

In April, Chinese PLA troops had intruded 10 km deep inside Indian territory in Ladakh and set up a tented post.
11:16  Truck carrying onions hijacked on Delhi-Jaipur highway:  Highway robbers are moving with the times. With the price of onions skyrocketing, highway robbers in Rajasthan have now taken to looting onions apart from jewellery, cash and vehicles. Early on Sunday, a truck with 40 tonnes of onions was hijacked by highway robbers on the Delhi-Jaipur national highway. Read
11:06  LIVE! 16-yr-old girl charges Asaram Bapu with sexual assault :  The case has been filed by a 16-year-old girl who was living in Asaram Bapu's hostel in Jodhpur. The case was first registered in Delhi, but has now been transferred to Jodhpur.

This is what Asaram Bapu had said on the Delhi gang-rape victim. Read
10:58  LIVE! Asaram Bapu charged with sexual assault :  A rape case has been filed by self-styled spiritual guru Asaram Bapu in Delhi. The spiritual preacher was in the news recently after he was granted conditional exemption from personal appearance in court in connection with a case filed against him for his alleged malicious statement with regard to the Delhi gang-rape incident.

According to the complainant, Asaram Bapu had held the victim responsible for the gang rape. He had also said that the girl should have not ventured out without the protection of her guardians at odd hours.
10:43  How a tip-off from UAE helped track down Tunda on Nepal border:  The arrest of top Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Abdul Karim Tunda was an elaborate intelligence operation that started in the United Arab Emirates, where he had been spotted six months ago, and ended on the India-Nepal border. Read
10:40  A mobile app to find blood donor at the right time:   Thanks to an initiative by a group of IIT-Madras students, all you have to do to become a hero is roll up your sleeve. Technology will handle the rest. Read
10:35  Bangalore woman lay dead for four months in her sprawling bungalow:   A 53-year-old woman lay dead in her sprawling bungalow in the heart of Bangalore for over four months, her body decomposed and half reduced to bones as not even close relatives visited her. Read
10:33  Pakistan-trained terrorists planning to attack south India:  The Maharashtra police have received a terror alert from central intelligence agencies warning that eight militants are undergoing training in Pakistan-based camps to attack targets in south India from Sri Lanka. Read the full report here.
10:32  Only social media can't help win elections, says Tharoor:  At a time major political parties are fighting to outdo each other on the social media, Twitter-savvy Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has said that this alone can't help win elections - it is just a new way of reaching out to people. Read
10:21  Robert Vadra bought land using'fictitious' cheque:   Days after Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka's claims, CNN-IBN has accessed documents that reveal that Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra did buy land from Omkareshwar properties using a 'fictitious' cheque.

Read the full report here

10:03  Defence top agenda at Manmohan-Obama meet in September :   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet with United States President Barack Obama at the White House next month, where the two leaders will chart a course seeking enhanced bilateral ties and defence cooperation between the two countries, US officials have said.

Dr Singh will visit the White House on September 27. The announcement of his visit came as renewed tensions along the Kashmir border threaten to sabotage efforts by India and Pakistan to improve bilateral ties. National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon met his US counterpart Susan Rice, and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel to prepare for the "working visit" of the PM on Tuesday.
09:54  Banking stocks drive Sensex 300 points higher:   The BSE Sensex opened sharply higher and the rupee gained on Wednesday on the back of new steps taken by the government and the Reserve Bank on Tuesday to support the beaten-down bond market.

The rupee today opened at 63.45 versus the US dollar. The Sensex is up by 300 points.

On Tuesday, the rupee fell past 64 to the dollar for the first time and bond yields spiked to a five-year high.
08:57  Congress blames Modi for delay in Food Security Bill:   NDTV reports: The Congress has blamed Gujarat Chief Minister for the delay in Food Security Bill. At the Talkatora stadium in Delhi, where Sonia Gandhi launched the food security scheme yesterday, Union Food Minister KV Thomas said,  "Last week when I got the letter from Narendra Modi, what was the aim? It was to delay. Modi who claims to be the next prime minister of the country is denying the right to the people." 

Modi had written to the Centre raising five points of objection. The BJP says it does not oppose the bill, but wants changes.
08:36  Day-long band in Pune over rationalist Narendra Dabholkar's murder:   A day after prominent anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune, political parties have called a day-long bandh. Dr Dabholkar was spearheading a campaign for the Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition, anti-black magic bill, reports CNN-IBN.  
04:41  Judge to announce Manning's sentence today:  
A US military judge said she'll announce today the sentence for Army Pfc Bradley Manning, who gave reams of classified information to  WikiLeaks.

Army Col Denise Lind said yesterday she was still deliberating but she was confident she would have a sentence by today morning at 1930 IST. 

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables in 2010 while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

He also leaked video of an US helicopter attack in Baghdad in which at least nine people were killed, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. 

Prosecutors have asked for at least a 60-year prison term. 

Capt Joe Morrow said in his closing argument Monday that a long prison sentence would dissuade other soldiers from following in Manning's footsteps.
02:31  Iraq violence kills 35 as authorities hail arrests:  
Iraq violence killed 35 people including 15 civilians today, officials said, as authorities hailed arrests in a campaign aimed at curbing the country's worst unrest since 2008.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has vowed to press ahead with operations to try to stem the bloodshed, which has claimed more than 3,500 lives already this year.

But analysts and diplomats say Iraq is not tackling the root causes of the unrest.

Today, six car bombs south of the capital killed six civilians and a policeman and wounded 98 people.

Two car bombs hit a bus and taxi station in Amara. Two more hit near Hilla, while the others struck in Nasiriyah.
Another bomb struck a cafe in a village north of Baghdad, killing five people and wounding 15 others, the latest in a string of attacks to target cafes in recent weeks.

And two separate bombings at a livestock market and a police station north of Baghdad killed three people, including a policeman, and wounded nine others.
00:58  100 tonnes of explosives seized in Quetta:  
Pakistan's paramilitary forces today foiled a major terror plot by seizing nearly 100 tonnes of explosives material and arresting 10 militants in the capital of troubled southwestern Balochistan province. 

"The explosives material weighing nearly 100 tonnes was seized from a warehouse in the New Addah area of the city," Frontier Corps Commandant Col Maqbool told reporters in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

Maqbool said the explosive material include potassium chloride, aluminum chloride, improvised explosive devices, detonators, circuit wires and other arms and ammunition during the operation. 

He said the forces have arrested 10 suspected militants during the operation that lasted for more than an hour.
00:56  US military aid to Egypt has stopped:  
The United States has halted military aid to Egypt, a Senate aide said today, describing what would be a rebuke of the once stalwart US ally's crackdown on Islamist opponents and the military ouster of its president. Obama administration officials immediately rejected the claim.

David Carle, an aide to Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said his Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee has been informed the "transfer of military aid was stopped" amid ongoing Egyptian security operations against the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

"This is current practice, not necessarily official policy, and there is no indication of how long it will last," Carle said.

Obama administration officials said they were reviewing US aid to Egypt in light of the military's July 3 overthrow of the democratically elected president and the violent confrontations between security forces and demonstrators that have left almost 1000 people dead in the last week. But they say no final decisions have been made, despite State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki's disclosure yesterday that Washington still hasn't delivered some USD 585 million, almost half the annual military aid package, for fiscal year 2013. 
00:36  Top headlines at this hour:  UPA govt is headed for a major storm 

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