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Live! Team Obama reaches out to key allies as US mulls Syria strike

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August 27, 2013

23:41  Fodder scam: Lalu to begin his arguments from Sept 9:  Granting RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's request to begin his arguments in a fodder scam case from Sept 9, a special CBI Court today directed all the other accused to present their arguments by Sept 16. 

The court of Pravas Kumar Singh, which yesterday reserved its decision on Lalu's petition seeking two weeks' time to begin his arguments, today allowed his lawyer's request to begin arguments on behalf of his client from Sept. 9.
23:05  Team Obama reaches out to key allies as US mulls Syria strike:  President Barack Obama and his cabinet colleagues today reached out to key allies of the US before a possible military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Obama called Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss concerns about the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against civilians near Damascus on August 21.
23:04  UN rights chief visits Jaffna, faces protest:  Families of those who disappeared in Sri Lanka during the three-decade-long ethnic war protested today as UN rights chief Navi Pillay visited Jaffna - the former stronghold of the rebel Tamil Tigers - on a fact-finding mission. 

Pillai, on a week long assessment visit of the country,was having meetings in the Jaffna library when the kith and kin of the disappeared demonstrated outside, demanding her intervention to trace them.
23:03  Netanyahu holds urgent security meeting:  Amid speculations of an impending US strike on Syria, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today held an urgent security consultations with his top officials and said the Jewish nation was "prepared for any eventuality". 

Israel was not involved in the Syrian Civil War, but if it discerns any attempt at all to attack it, "We will respond, and we will respond fiercely," Netanyahu said after the meeting, adding that his administration was "prepared for any eventuality".
22:16  Live! Jagan's fast inside jail continues on third day:  

The indefinite fast launched by jailed YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganomhan Reddy to protest the move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh entered third day today.        


"He (Jagan) is continuing with his fast and did not take lunch and dinner even today," Chanchalguda Jail Superintendent B Saidaiah told PTI adding his health condition was stable.        


Jagan began his indefinite hunger strike on Sunday. YSR Congress honorary president Y S Vijayamma had called off her indefinite fast on August 24 opposing proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh after she was forcibly shifted to a hospital in Guntur.        


She had then announced that her son and jailed Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy would undertake an indefinite fast seeking "justice for Seemandhra people."

20:37  Food bill to come up in Rajya Sabha on Sept 2:  

The landmark Food Security Bill, which was approved by the Lok Sabha, will be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha on September 2.        


The bill, which seeks to provide cheap foodgrains to 82 crore people in the country ushering in the biggest programme in the world to fight hunger, was okayed by the Lower House yesterday after much delay and uncertainty.        


Passage of the bill in Parliament will pave the way to give the nation's two-third population the right to 5 kg of foodgrain every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 a kg.

20:36  Sonia did not require any definitive treatment: AIIMS:  

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who felt some degree of uneasiness and was admitted to AIIMS last night, did not require any "definitive treatment", the hospital said today.        


"A team of doctors under the supervision of the Director, AIIMS, Prof R C Deka examined her and conducted certain tests. All the tests were found normal and she did not require any definitive treatment," said a statement issued by AIIMS.        


It said Gandhi had viral fever last weekend and while she was attending Parliament yesterday, she felt some degree of uneasiness. She visited AIIMS for assessment.       


"She was happy on the outcome of the test reports and the care  provided by the doctors, nurses and other staff ofAIIMS," the statement said adding she left the hospital at 0130 hours today.

20:06  US plane from Delhi makes emergency landing in Moscow:  
Hundreds of passengers, many of them Indians, were stranded in an airport in the Russian capital after an United Airlines flight made an emergency landing today.

The Boeing 777-200 with 267 passengers and 16 crew was flying from New Delhi to Newark when it landed at 3.50 am Moscow time. The malfunction of a central accumulator unit caused the emergency landing, Itar-Tass news agency reported. 

The passengers were "fuming" at Domodedovo Airport after being stranded for hours without food or a place to sleep, said a report in The Moscow Times. 

No one was injured in the landing and no visible damage was found to the aircraft, reports said.

After disembarking at Domodedovo's international terminal, the passengers were told they would have to wait until 11 pm for the plane to continue its flight to Newark in New Jersey. The passengers became "frustrated" when the flight crew disappeared and United Airlines did not provide representatives to offer assistance, reports said.
20:04  US strike against Syria 'as early as Thursday':  
NBC News reports: Missile strikes against Syria could be launched 'as early as Thursday', senior US officials have said as the White House intensified efforts for an international response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in a Damascus suburb last week.

The "three-day" strikes would be limited in scope, and aimed at sending a message to the regime of Syria President Bashar Assad, US officials said.

News on the possible timescale for military action followed another round of telephone diplomacy by President Barack Obama, who held discussions with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and French President Francois Hollande on Monday.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, meanwhile, told the BBC the US military is "ready to go" if Obama orders action.
19:46  Antony reviews security scenario:  
Defence Minister A K Antony today reviewed the country's security scenario with the three Services chiefs and other top officials against the backdrop of incursions by Chinese soldiers and increasing ceasefire violations on the LoC.

The high-level meeting was also attended by Defence Secretary R K Mathur and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

In the meeting, the security situation along the LoC was discussed and Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh briefed the minister about the steps taken by the force to handle the incidents of unprovoked firing by Pakistan Army.

After the August 6 incident in Poonch where five Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by Pakistan Army Special Forces, there have been 39 incidents on ceasefire violations from across the LoC.
19:42  Compromise between victim, rapist can't reduce jail term: SC:  
A compromise between a victim of a rape case and the perpetrator should not be a ground for awarding lesser punishment to the convict as this trend exhibits "stark insensitivity to the need for proportionate punishments", the Supreme Court today ruled.

The court also said religion, race, caste, economic or social status of the accused or the victim, long pendency of the criminal trial, offer of the rapist to marry the victim or the fact that victim is married and settled in life "cannot be construed as special factors for reducing the sentence prescribed by the statute".

It cautioned the courts subordinate to it that it would not be "safe" to reduce sentence of a rape convict or accused in exercise of their discretionary powers under the Indian Penal Code, merely because the victim has settled the matter. 

"A compromise entered into between the parties cannot be construed as a leading factor based on which lesser punishment can be awarded. In interest of justice and to avoid unnecessary pressure/harassment to the victim, it would not be safe in considering the compromise arrived at between the parties in rape cases to be a ground for the court to exercise the discretionary power under the proviso of section 376(2) of IPC," a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said.
19:40  My wife is targeting me; she is lying: Om Puri:  
Noted actor Om Puri, who has been charged of domestic violence, today accused his estranged wife of targeting him and said the truth will prevail. 

Puri's wife Nandita filed a police complaint on Thursday accusing the 62-year-old actor of hitting her with a stick after an argument at their Versova flat last week. 

"I do not want to talk much about all this. She is targeting me. The matter is sub judice as it is in court. The matter will come tomorrow morning for hearing," Puri told PTI. 

Nandita had earlier complained that Puri was not paying her maintenance and school fees of their son. "You can ask the entire building and our staff that who abuses. I have all the evidence (of paying maintenance and school fees). Truth will come out.

"I have been working in the industry for 35 years, have acted in over 250 films here in 20 films abroad but no complaint of abuse or beating or misbehaviour or anything negative has ever come out against me. It shows she is lying," Puri alleged.
18:48  Asaram makes Jodhpur police wait 8 hours, look-out notice issued:  Jodhpur police have written to the immigration department to issue look-out notice against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu to ensure that he does not leave the country.

"We have issued a request letter to Joint Director- Immigration in Delhi seeking look-out notice against Asaram who has been summoned by Jodhpur police in connection with a sexual exploitation case lodged against him," DCP Ajay Lamba said.

A team of Jodhpur police has delivered summon to Asaram in Indore today, he said. The team had to wait for nearly eight hours in the ashram of Asaram to meet him and for delivering the notice, Lamba said.

When asked what the police will do if the accused failed to appear within the given time-frame, the official said, "We will later decide what step we have to take if Asaram does not come."
18:32   Newsalert: All flights cancelled in Mizoram's lone airport at Lengpui near Aizawl due to power failure, tweets DD news.
18:32  Naxal trying to expand activities in urban areas: govt:  In the wake of the Naxal ambush on a BSF convoy today, the government said Naxals have been trying to expand their activities in urban areas and their plans include sabotage and selective assassinations in cities.

Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said the CPI(Maoist) has been making efforts to expand its activities in urban areas through overground front organisations and members of such organisations masquerade as 'activists' espousing causes which mainly supplement the activities of underground cadres in direct and indirect ways.

Singh said the front organisations provide safe hideouts to armed cadres and also facilitate procurement of supplies to Maoist war machinery.
18:09  LIVE! Chidambaram's 10 points to a healthier Indian economy:  We have to resolve the impasse in the coal and iron ore sector, says Chidambaram. "Despite ideological differences may exist in this house, but if we do not end the impasse, it will affect all sectors," he says.

He says his instinct is that of a reformer, and he knows that while he may be contradicted, he will continue to respect that right of other MPs. "We need reforms, not restrictions," he says.

On power projects, he says that for every power project, especially nuclear power projects, there are agitations saying locals don't want it. But that is not acceptable."

On public sector banks: We have to capitalise public-sector banks for which Rs 14,000 crore will be invested as capital. 
17:59  PM Dr Manmohan Singh also a former finance minister, credited for ushering in liberalisation in India, listens intently.

Chidambaram says Yashwant Sinha's quibble about the restriction on importing flat screen TVs is unacceptable. He says if India has the capacity to make a million TV sets, why should it be imported. 
17:55   The finance minister says stalled projects have to be unblocked. Options of sovereign bonds are being considered.

He says India must be reap the benefit of a good monsoon. "We must maximise agricultural production," he says. 
17:50  LIVE! Chidambaram speaks to hushed Parl: We need open economy, NOT a closed one:  Finance minister P Chidambaram speaking on the economic slowdown in the Lok Sabha. He says the government is committed to containing current deficit. "We will contain current account deficit at 70 billion dollars. Fiscal deficit is a challenge and we need reforms. We need an open economy not a closed on," he says. He also blamed global factors for the falling rupee. He said instant results cannot be expected.  

For once, opposition MPs are listening to the FM quietly, apart from a few pointers by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who was also a finance minister in the NDA government.  
17:31  LIVE! Jairam: Others interested in Rekha, I'm interested in garibi rekha:  The still stunning Rekha was in the Rajya Sabha today to sign the attendance register. She was received at Gate Number 12, the designated entry gate for RS MPs, by Rajiv Shukla,

Walking past was Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who commented that while other MPs may be concerned about Rekha, he is concerned about the Garibi Rekha (poverty line). Both Rekha and Jairam then spoke in Tamil. 
17:26  SPG pulled up for not escorting Sonia :  The Special Protection Group (SPG) came under severe criticism today for not being on their toes when Sonia Gandhi was walking towards her vehicle after she felt unwell in Parliament last night.

Questions are being raised about why there was no escort to take her to her car. Why was there no women SPG deployed inside Parliament to help her? Why wasn't a wheelchair available? 

'After Narendra Modi's tweet: "Concerned that basic medical
emergency procedures were not used. Would have been better if
wheel chair or stretcher was used in Parliament", the entire SPG  force was given a dressing down by its Director.
17:17  Allahabad B-Tech student set on fire:  Just in: A B-tech student has been set on fire in Allahabad. The girl has suffered 30 per cent burns. Doctors say she is out of danger. The man has been arrested   
16:54  LIVE! Sonia's 'crutch' Kumari Selja is MP of the day in Parliament :  Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja was in the limelight in the Lok Sabha today after she helped UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi out of Parliament House last night.

Gandhi left Parliament at 8:15 pm yesterday while the voting was underway on various amendments moved by the Opposition on the Food Security Bill and was rushed to AIIMS.

Kumari Selja was there with her all the way. In fact, a tottering Gandhi held on to her arm, while walking down the steps of Parliament House to her car last night.

Selja and Rahul Gandhi accompanied Sonia to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where she was admitted for five years.

Selja, however, refused to disclose any detail about the incident, saying it was a personal matter concerning Mrs Gandhi. 
16:31  Ashok Khemka, IAS tweets: Feel happy that Food Security Bill passed in Lok Sabha. Devil is in implementation. This requires better governance, not more bureaucracy.

Khemka is the IAS officer who had cancelled the land deal mutation between Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and real estate giant DLF Universal Ltd last October.
16:25  7 Reasons why the UPA may win in 2014 :  By speaking out against Manmohan Singh, by constantly bashing the UPA/Congress, Narendra Modi by 2014 will be like a television show in replay mode. In winning the intra-BJP battle, he runs losing the war with the UPA, feels Amberish K Diwanji. Read
16:12  Women don't want to become bravehearts:  The increasing vulnerability of Indian women is all the more ironic in its cities flaunting their new mall-to-mall carpet of globalization. It is most unnerving in Mumbai, whose women across classes had long been empowered and safe on its streets. Read
16:08  CNN IBN's Pallavi Ghosh tweets: Jairam Ramesh as Rekha waked into Parliament... Others r interested in Rekha I am interested in Garibi Rekha
16:05  Monster cloud shrouds Kolkata in darkness :  Darkness descended on Kolkata hours before dusk on Monday, a monstrous mass of cloud topped with ice and its bottom heavy with rain unleashing tragedy along with a torrent. At 2.30pm, a young company executive turned on his car's headlights just like the train of vehicles on Central Avenue and mumbled: 'Apocalypse now.' Read
15:58  The significance of Durga Shakti:  In the wake of the Durga Shakti Nagpal controversy, former senior bureaucrat Dr Rajivan Krishnaswamy, raises an important question about whether the public outrage over the young IAS officer's case reflects accumulated anger over "the state of public goods". Read
15:49  LIVE! Yashwant Sinha says Chidambaram is an incompetent doctor :   A former finance minister ripped apart current finance minister P Chidambaram in Parliament today. Opposition leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha today said that the rupee value was determined by the market, but the government and the RBI had a responsibility to control the volatility in the currency.

"Such volatility is not good for our economy," he said. Consumer price index (CPI) has been over 10 per cent since 2008. The consumption expenditure was raised by the government with an eye on the 2009 elections, Sinha claimed.

"The government has been blaming RBI's policies, but what can the RBI do?" Sinha asked. "Paralysis of decision making is the problem. American economy is recovering and we are crying that their recovery is affecting us adversely. Earlier when their economy was suffering, the government said, the Indian economy is affected by that," Yashwant Sinha added.
15:10  The X-ray of a fascist :  Social scientist Ashis Nandy had interviewed Narendra Modi in the early 1990s. He came out of the interview shaken. In his own words. Read
15:04  Fear in the frame:  After the Mumbai rape, what is our action plan -- as individuals, employers, organisations? Read
14:58  The Supreme Court will hear in-camera the Centre's arguments and examination of its probe report on leakage of Radia tapes.
14:48  Cancel your foreign holiday: Rupee 66.06 to a dollar :  The rupee today breached the 66-mark against the dollar for the first time in history and quoted at 66.06 at mid-session.
14:44  The global QE crisis:  The global economy could be in the early stages of another crisis. Once again, the US Federal Reserve is in the eye of the storm. Read
14:27  Journalist gangrape: Forensic experts examine crime spot:  Forensic experts from Gujarat and Delhi today arrived here to collect the evidence at the Shakti Mills compound here where a photojournalist was gang-raped six days ago.

Carrying the necessary equipment, the two teams from Central Forensic Science Laboratory and Gujarat Forensic Science Laboratory are thoroughly examining the defunct Shakti Mills compound in Parel to gather clinching evidence against the five accused, who gang-raped the 23-year-old photojournalist there on August 22, police said.

Mumbai police is seeking the help of forensic experts from Gujarat and Delhi as they are more proficient in conducting such investigations, they said.

Earlier, all the five accused - Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav, Chand Babu Sattar Shaikh, Mohammed Kasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali and Siraj Rehman Khan - were remanded in police custody.
14:18  Lawless UP: 4 journalists killed in past 45 days in state:  A missing journalist's body was recovered from a gunny bag in Bulandshahr on Monday. This was the fourth incident of a journalist being killed during the past 45 days in Uttar Pradesh. Barely two days ago, a reporter of a local Hindi daily was shot dead in Etawah - the home town of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Read
14:13  No difference between Asaram Bapu case and Mumbai gang rape: Sharad Yadav:  Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav on Tuesday asked Parliament why the allegations against Asaram Bapu are being treated differently from the Mumbai gang rape case of a 23-year-old photojournalist.

Yadav accused Bapu of being a fraud and of being involved with the land mafia. I brought it up in Parliament and will say it again what is the difference between what happened in Mumbai and this case? Theyre both the same cases. Why does the government give more focus to Mumbai? Its because it is a bigger city and this happened in a smaller place.

The government should investigate and hand out punishment, equally, Yadav said. He has been called. The look out notice has also been issued against him. What he is saying, like previously, is all lies. He is part of the land mafia. Several people, connected with him, are involved in land scams.
14:09  Karuna congratulates Sonia Gandhi for Food Bill:  Lauding Congress President Sonia Gandhi for "being instrumental" in bringing the Food Security Bill, DMK today expressed confidence that more amendments will be included in "course of time and based on experience."

Party chief M Karunanidhi expressed satisfaction that amendments suggested by DMK and other parties had been accepted, but hastened to add that there were many other amendments waiting to be incorporated.
13:49  Asaram Bapu could not be served summons because he was 'meditating':  Two Rajasthan policemen have been waiting for hours to serve summons on self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in his ashram in Jodhpur. They were told that he was 'meditating'. Read
13:46  College student in Meerut abducted, raped:  And crimes against women go on and on...

A 17-year-old girl was allegedly abducted and raped by four youths while she was on way to her college in Meerut. The victim, a BA student and a resident of Chindauri village, was going to her college yesterday when four men forcefully pulled her inside a car, took her to a field where she was raped, the girl's family alleged in the police complaint.

After hearing her cry for help, nearby villagers rescued her and nabbed two youths while the other two escaped, police said. After preliminary investigation, police said that one of the arrested youths, Ashu (20), was known to the girl.
13:38  Palamu rape survivor attempts suicide in court:  A 25-year-old rape survivor from Palamu on Monday tried to make her point in the court of justice by ending her life. Read
13:05  What can we learn from Ashton Kutcher?:  Ashton Kutcher isn't just a pretty face. He's figured out how to portray himself as a 'man of ideas' in this nerd age. Read
13:04  None of the experts saw India's debt bubble coming. Sound familiar?:  India's economic problems reflect a global boom-to-bust pattern. Why do policymakers act surprised? Read
12:50  Chidambaram INSISTS India can afford Food Security Bill :  Finance Minister P Chidambaram insisted today that the government can afford its vast new food security programme despite the concern about its impact on the strained public finances.

The rupee crashed to a record low of 65.93, and the Sensex plunged over 500 points, a day after the Lok Sabha passed the Food Security Bill, projected to cost Rs. 1.25 lakh crore or 22 billion dollars. Read
12:42  Woman attacked at Goregaon station, assailant escapes :  A 28-yearold woman suffered serious injuries when an unidentified man assaulted her while she was about to board a Virar-bound train at Goregaon station.

The incident took place around 8 pm, when the victim, Roopali Shinde, was about to board the train from platform number three. Eyewitnesses have told police that a stocky man slammed a hammer-like object on Shinde's head, and escaped. Read more
12:39  Convoy was carrying 18 BSF jawans:  At least three Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and two injured when Naxals blew up their vehicle in an IED blast in Odisha's Koraput district today.

A convoy of three BSF vehicles carrying 18 personnel was ambushed when it was travelling from Patangi to Sunki in the district at around 0930 am during an official movement, sources said.

The Improvised Explosive Device (IED), embedded in the road, exploded as the first vehicle in the convoy crossed the area, resulting in the death of three troopers.

Two injured personnel have been rushed to the nearby hospital in Sunki while a gunfight was on at the blast site when the reports last came in.

Additional reinforcements from state police and paramilitary force have ben rushed, the sources said. Koraput is about 363 kms from state capital Bhubaneshwar.
12:33  December gang-rape case eye-opener for India:Ex-Finland Prez:  The Indian society has undergone a transformation after the December 16 gang-rape case, but still there is lot be done to achieve the complete equality for women status, former Finland President Tarja Halonen has said.

"It was a tragic incident. But the way government offered support and people came on streets to protest was something which wasn't often seen in India before. It was definitely an eye opener," she told a group of visiting foreign journalists.

The number of rape cases and crime against women do exist but the mechanism to deal with them and the reaction of the society towards them has definitely undergone a transformation, said Halonen, the first woman president of Finland serving from 2000 to 2012.
12:19  Early reports say that the Naxals have taken a few BSF jawans hostage. The Naxals ambushed a BSF van moving in a convoy in the Koraput district of Odisha. The toll so far is four, with many grievously injured. 
12:05  Indian cross-border firing in Kashmir forces residents to flee:  Several hundred villagers have fled their homes in Pakistan occupied  Kashmir after deadly cross-border shelling by the Indian army, Pakistani officials said Monday.  Read the report on the Tribune. 
12:03  Naxal attack in Odisha: Two jawans feared dead, many injured :   Just in: Three jawans feared dead, many injured in Naxal attack on a BSF van in Koraput, Odisha. Details awaited. 
11:56  It's true, you can learn secrets in the womb:   In a Finnish hospital, scientists have spotted elements that mirror the myth of Abhimanyu, Arjuna's warrior son in the epic Mahabharat who learnt a key battle trick while still in his mother's womb.

A study by researchers in Finland has suggested that human foetuses can learn and retain faint memory traces of sounds they hear while in their mothers' wombs, adding fresh evidence for prenatal influences on the brain. Read
11:42  LIVE: Compromise between rapist, surivivor can't reduce sentence: SC:  The Supreme Court has ruled that compromise between a rape survivor and rape convict cannot be a ground to reduce the sentence of imprisonment. Even offer of marriage by the accused to rape survivor cannot persuade courts to reduce sentence of rape convicts, the top court said. Read
11:38  Value of rupee has overshot its true value, says Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The rupee breaches 65.55 to a dollar to reach a new low.
11:37  From the Bangladesh borders :  In both war and peace, borders between countries can be uncomfortable places.

They would be even more so if history and politics combined to make them contested areas.

For the people living on both sides of the India-Bangladesh border, an end to the 60-odd years of uncertainty is often a matter of life and death. Read
11:34  Neighbourly caution:  Freezing relations with Pakistan and temporarily stalling secretary-level talks tentatively scheduled for September appears to be the preferred choice for commentators and experts alike. To be sure, Opposition representatives of all stripes make clear that the very idea of dialogue requires urgent revision. Read
11:26  Dragging women below the glass ceiling :  The call for police escort to women reporters is a denigration of their professionalism and shows a poor understanding of media freedom. Read
11:17  How Haryana is treating a teen gang-rape survivor. Read
11:17  Wife files domestic violence case against actor Om Puri:  In other news: On the evening of August 22, actor Om Puri, who is an infrequent visitor to his marital home (preferring to stay on his own instead) came home, ostensibly to catch up with his son, Ishaan.

Since the teenager was busy with his tuition, the actor allegedly made a call to a woman friend, which was objected to by wife Nandita. Apparently, that was all the provocation Om needed to beat his wife black and blue. Read the report on the Times of India.
11:12  Mumbai's women govindas fear molestation, want extra security:  After Thursday's chilling gang rape of a photojournalist in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, many women who want to be part of the dahi handi competitions say they are afraid of being molested in the crowd. They have demanded extra security from police force. Read
11:07  Uproar in LS over missing coal files :  Uproar in the Lok Sabha -- again -- over the missing coal files. Yesterday, after much delay and uncertainty, the landmark Food Security Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to provide cheap foodgrain to 82 crore people in the country, ushering in the biggest programme in the world to fight hunger.
10:58  Mumbai gang-rape case: Accused meets mom in lockup, confesses:  One of the suspects in the Shakti Mills gang-rape case has confessed to the crime in front of his mother. Qasim Shaikh (21), who was arrested outside Nair Hospital on Sunday, was visited in the police lockup by his mother, Chand Bibi, on Monday. Read
10:54  The rape suspect who slept on sidewalks:  Not far from the abandoned mill where a 22-year-old photojournalist was raped last week in Mumbai is a street lined with ramshackle structures built with corrugated iron sheets and covered in blue tarpaulin.

Before his arrest on Saturday, Vijay Jadhav, 19, one of the five suspects in the case, lived here in a slum at Jivraj Ramji Boricha Marg in the Lower Parel neighborhood, where he was frequently found sleeping on the pavement. Read
10:51  Outside Mumbai, reports of rape buried in pages of newspapers. Read
10:46  Cabinet Committe on Investment clears power projects worth Rs 183,000 cr:  The Cabinet Committee on Investment clears 18 power projects worth Rs 183,000 crore, says finance minister P Chidambaram.  Banks have already disbursed Rs 30,000 crore to the 18 power projects cleared by the CCI, apart from nine other infrastructure projects involving an investment of Rs 92,541 crore. Fuel supply agreements for 18 power projects will be signed by September 6.
10:40  Unwelll Sonia wanted to be present in Parliament for Food Bill vote:  AIIMS hospital sources said Gandhi complained of exhaustion and mild chest pain and was taken to the Intensive Care Unit as a precautionary measure before she was shifted to the Cardio-Neuro Centre.

The sources said she underwent some tests including an ECG and was under observation at AIIMS where top doctors including its director Deka attended on her. Balram Airon, Head of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Department, was monitoring Gandhi's health condition.

The Congress chief was stated to be suffering from viral fever since Sunday and was suddenly taken ill after spearheading UPA's ambitious Food Security Bill in Lok Sabha yesterday.

She was seen leaving Parliament last night holding the hand of Union Minister Selja before boarding a vehicle. Her son and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also accompanied her.

"She was very concerned about the food bill and she was regretting that she could not be present in Parliament (when the voting was on). Then we told her the bill has been passed. She expressed happiness over it. "Everything is normal with her. There is nothing to worry. She is completely fine. All the tests have been conducted," Selja said.
10:22  Sonia should have been taken to hospital in ambulance: Modi:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has some concerns about the way Congress President Sonia Gandhi was taken to AIIMS Hospital from Parliament on Monday evening.

"Concerned that basic medical emergency procedures were not used. Would have been better if wheelchair or stretcher were used in Parliament. Considering her health, Sonia ji should have been taken to hospital in a well-equipped ambulance. Still, doctors are best judges," Modi tweeted.

The BJP leader also took the opportunity to wish the Congress president "best of health".

"Glad to know that Sonia ji's health is fine. Wishing her the best of health for the future," he tweeted,
10:15  Coming soon: 'The Hindu' daily in Tamil:  From a Rediff correspondent: The Hindu, one of India's most-respected newspapers, which has its headquarters in Chennai, is coming out with a Tamil edition.
10:11  US cancels meeting on Syria with Russia:  The US has postponed a meeting with Russia this week -- aimed at finding a resolution to the Syrian crisis -- as it is weighing a military strike against the Arab country in the wake of alleged use of chemical weapons.        

"Given our ongoing consultations about the appropriate response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria on August 21, we have decided to postpone Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and the US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford's meeting with a Russian delegation that was scheduled for this week in the Hague," a senior State Department official said.
09:41  Hazare, former army chief to resume nation-wide tour:  Former army chief V K Singh has said he and Gandhian Anna Hazare are planning to resume their nation-wide tour from Bihar to create awareness among people for systematic changes in the country, besides recruiting volunteers to spread their message.        

On a tour to the US to accompany Anna Hazare during a portion of his US trip, General (retired) Singh said while they have nothing to do with the coming Lok Sabha polls, their aim is to create awareness among voters so that they elect good people and bring about a positive change.        

"Our aim is very simple. Voters must choose good people so that we can bring about a positive change," he said.
03:52  'Syria resumed shelling at site of chemical weapons attack':  The Obama Administration has alleged that Syria's Assad regime resumed shelling at the site of the reported chemical attack, soon after a team of UN investigators, gathering evidence from the site, returned. 

"The United Nations' team caravan was attacked en route to the site, and upon its return from its first day of work from the site, the neighbourhood was again bombarded and shelled, in a further indication of the utter lack of credibility of the Syrian regime on this matter," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters yesterday at his daily press briefing.
02:22  Thirteen dead in Mexico mudslides: Authorities:  At least 13 people were killed today by mudslides unleashed in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz by Fernand, a tropical storm that has since weakened to a tropical depression, officials said. 

"Thirteen dead is the official figure, all of them by landslides caused by rains from Fernand," a spokesman for the civil protection agency told AFP.
02:21  US-Egypt alliance to remain, despite dim democracy:  The White House is reluctantly preparing to accept an Egyptian government that could be a democracy in name only, two years after the US supported the overthrow of its dictator in the name of democracy. 

The US is still holding out hope that Egypt's military-backed interim leaders will cede power once elections scheduled for early next year are held and that an inclusive government will be formed under a publicly drafted constitution.
02:20  Syria chemical attack undeniable, says John Kerry:  US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned what he termed the "moral obscenity" of the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against its own people.

He said footage of the alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus was "real and compelling" and "undeniable".

He said President Barack Obama was considering a response.
01:55  Sonia Gandhi discharged from AIIMS:  TV reports say Congress President Sonia Gandhi who was admitted to AIIMS hospital after she fell ill in Parliament has been discharged from hospital.

She has left AIIMS for home and she is said to be fine. 

Doctors conducted a few tests after which the Congress president was discharged.
01:14  Kerry: nations must stand up over Syria chemical weapons:  Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday, in a forceful statement, said all nations must stand up for accountability on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The information so far, including videos and accounts from the ground, indicate "that chemical weapons were used in Syria. Moreover, we know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons," Kerry said.
01:05  Congress president Sonia Gandhi stable:  TV reports say the Congress President Sonia Gandhi who was admitted to AIIMS hospital after she fell ill in Parliament is stable. She may be discharged later tonight or on Tuesday. 
00:50  US denies Israeli-Palestinian meeting cancelled:  The United States insisted today that no meeting planned as part of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process had been cancelled, despite claims to the contrary. 

"I can assure you that no meeting has been cancelled," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, after reports a session had been cancelled after Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians.
00:49  Russia says Western attack on Syria would be catastrophic:   A Western military attack on Syria will only create more problems in the region, lead to more bloodshed and result in the same sort of "catastrophe' as previous Western interventions in Iraq and Libya, Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Monday.

"Hysteria is growing and confrontation is incited,' Lavrov said in what he portrayed as an emergency press conference. He said the United States and its European allies have condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad without any evidence that it actually usedchemical weapons in an assault on a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21.
00:31  UN says it will contact United States over spying report:  The United Nations said on Monday it plans to contact the United States over a report that the U.S. National Security Agency bugged its New York headquarters and warned that countries are expected to respect the world body's diplomatic inviolability.

Citing secret U.S. documents obtained by fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Germany's Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that the United States succeeded in gaining access to the internal conferencing system in 2012.
00:30  Palestinians call off peace talks after clash:   A Palestinian official said planned peace talks with the Israelis scheduled for Monday have been called off following a deadly clash in the West Bank.

Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians Monday in clashes during an arrest raid in the West Bank outside Jerusalem. The violence came as Israel and the Palestinians were expected to begin rounds of peace talks, the first such meetings in five years.
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