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Live! Turmoil over Telangana: Digvijaya to visit Hyd on Dec 12

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December 10, 2013

23:09  Turmoil over Telangana: Digvijaya to visit Hyd on Dec 12:  

PTI: Against the backdrop of surcharged atmosphere over impending bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, AICC general secretary and in-charge of party affairs Digvijaya Singh is likely to visit Hyderabad on Thursday.        


During his visit, Digvijaya is expected to meet Congress leaders in the state and take stock of the prevailing political situation as protests continue to rage in Seemandhra against the division, party sources said.        


Significantly, the winter session of the state legislative assembly is beginning on December 12 and the House is likely to take up the AP Reorganisation Bill if it is forwarded by President Pranab Mukherjee by then.        


The draft bill, approved by the Union Cabinet last week, has already been sent to the President.        


Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has been critical of the party's decision to split the state, has vowed to defeat the Telangana bill on the floor of the House, though Telangana leaders insist the assembly would merely debate the issue.

22:10  Thai PM insists she will not resign before polls:  Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Tuesday she would not resign ahead of national elections set for Feb. 2, her voice filling with emotion as she discussed her family's role in Thai politics.

Yingluck spoke one day after she announced elections '" and one day after the main leader of a protest group seeking her ouster told his followers to stay in the streets even as he insisted his movement had now assumed broad political power.
21:51  Afghan president lashes out at US 'threats':  Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States, accusing it of making threats in the dispute over an agreement to keep US troops in the country beyond 2014. 

In an interview published today by the French daily Le Monde, Karzai says the US is "absolutely" acting like a colonial power in its attempts to force him to sign the bilateral security agreement by the end of this year.
21:47  Former LS Speaker Somnath Chatterjee defends Justice Ganguly:  Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today defended beleaguered West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman AK Ganguly, indicted by a Supreme Court judges panel in an sexual molestation case of a law intern, saying he had 'faith' in him and the exercise against him was 'overzealous'.
21:44  Syria regime has killed 2,900 'with knives': opposition:  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have killed some 2,900 people "with knives," the opposition National Coalition said in a new report today. 

The publication, timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day, accuses Syrian government forces of carrying out "at least 20 massacres that involved the slaughter of 2,885 people" with knives and other crude weapons. 

The victims, the report said, include "more than 200 children and 120 women."
21:36  Will decide on Telangana motion after Speaker takes call: BJP:  BJP today said it will take a call on supporting the no-confidence motion against the government when it is moved in the Lok Sabha by MPs opposed to formation of Telangana. 

Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that for a no-confidence motion to be accepted by the Chair in the Lok Sabha a certain number of members have to express their support in the House for moving it.
21:22  We are ready for re-election, says Kejriwal:  Amid speculation of Delhi facing re-election as no party has come forward to form a government, Aam Aadmi Party today said it is ready for re-poll and this time, it will be a contest between itself and BJP. 

"We are ready for it (re-election). At present, we will neither take, nor extend, support to either BJP or Congress to form the government. But unlike this election, next election would be contested between BJP and AAP, as Congress has lost badly," AAP National Convener Arvind Kejriwal said.
20:52  GM's Mary Barra to be first female CEO at major automaker:  General Motors today promoted insider Mary Barra to serve as its chief executive officer, the first female head of a major US automaker.   

Barra, executive vice president, will succeed current CEO Dan Akerson on January 15, the company said.   

Akerson, 65, is retiring several months earlier than planned because his wife has an advanced stage of cancer, the automaker said.
20:40  Anna Hazare begins indefinite fast for Jan Lokpal:   Notwithstanding Centre's assertion that it was serious about passing the Jan Lokpal Bill in the current Parliament session, Anna Hazare today began his indefinite fast for its immediate passage, saying the government must keep its word on the issue.
20:20  Obama shakes Raul Castro's hand at Mandela service:  President Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, in a brief but rare gesture between the leaders of the two rival nations. 

The handshake could rile Cuban-American lawmakers and activists whose distrust of the Castro government runs deep. 

But the encounter may have been spontaneous, unlike the historic phone call earlier this year between Obama and Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani. 
19:35  US Defence Secretary made 'no threats': Pakistan:  Pakistan today dismissed media reports that US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel had warned that an American aid programme was linked to NATO supply routes to Afghanistan being kept open. 

"There were no threats," Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry told a news channel. A statement from the Foreign Office said Hagel's meetings with Pakistani leaders here yesterday were held in a "friendly and cordial atmosphere".
18:48  Modi's ministers on nationwide iron hunt for giant Sardar Patel statue:   Narendra Modi's government is travelling across India on a drive to collect iron for a giant statue of Sardar Patel being built in Gujarat.

The 182-metre statue of India's iron man, tipped to be the world's tallest, is coming up in the middle of the Narmada river.

Modi, who is running for prime minister in 2014, had announced in October that 700 tonnes of iron would be collected from five lakh villages for the statue.

For this, Gujarat ministers, bureaucrats and IPS officers are visiting states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Orissa, urging people to donate iron.

They are carrying specially designed boxes with the message "Sardar ne desh ko ek banaya, hum desh ko shresth banayenge (Sardar Patel united the nation, we will make it the best)." -- NDTV
18:40  Live! 2G: BJP to move no-confidence motion against Speaker tomorrow:  BJP and DMK MPs are planing a no-confidence motion against Speaker Meira Kumar for her inept handling of 2G JPC report, which they say is full of inconsistencies and does not reflect the true extent of the scam nor does it point to the role of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the scam. 

Union Ministers have planned to submit resignations to Sonia Gandhi on Thursday as they say the mandate is against the Congress.

Six Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh have moved a no confidence motion which got support from TDP and YSR Congress MPs.

Tomorrow, the BJP and the DMK plan to give the Speaker's Office a one-line resolution that the House expresses its no confidence in the Presiding Officer in her handling of the JPC report on 2G.

The moment it is admitted, Meira Kumar cannot stay put in the Chair. The Deputy Speaker Karia Munda will preside over the Lok Sabha when the house will discuss it. 
18:23  Jailed sailor's family meets PM, govt in touch with Togo authorities :   India today said it is in touch with Togo authorities to secure on compassionate ground the release of a jailed Indian sailor even as his family met the Prime Minister requesting his intervention to ensure the seaman is able to conduct last rites of his 11-month-old son.

"We are in touch with them. We are trying to do our best. Lets hope for the best. This is a human tragedy," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters here at the sidelines of a CII function.

The family members of merchant navy captain Sunil James, jailed in Togo, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Parliament House office seeking his early release.

According to reports, the sailor's 31-year-old wife Aditi and others in the family want James to conduct the last rites of his son whose body is lying in a hospital morgue since the toddler's death from septicaemia on December 2.

Indian officials from Accra also met the sailor, whose family eagerly awaits his return for performing the last rites of his son.

Captain James is under arrest in the west African country Togo since July on the charge of aiding pirates who had attacked and looted his Marshall Islands-flagged MT Ocean Centurion on July 16.

It was reported that the infant, Vivaan, underwent an operation for intestinal gangrene but doctors could not save him as the infection had spread to his bloodstream.

Pic: The PM meets the wife and sister-in-law of Capt Sunil James
18:13  The Yogi arrives: A warning for Narendra Modi:  'The Congresswallahs will hope that Arvind Kejriwal's oratory and confidence will be the anti-aircraft guns to Narendra Modi's airwave-capturing force.

''Both Kejriwal and Modi speak Hindi well. Both are supremely self-confident about their agenda and vision. Some of their catch-phrases -- 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' -- are identical.

''Both are inspiring figures for their cadres. Both are not hesitant at all to wear their faith in Bhagwan on their foreheads on public platforms."

Sheela Bhatt believes the 2014 election will be a Kejriwal versus Modi battle. Read
18:07  Pranab Mukherjee pays tribute to Mandela :  President Pranab Mukherjee pays tribute to Mandela. He says Indians stand by South Africans in their hour of bereavement. Mandela continued his non-violent struggle with dignity and pride, he says.

He reminded Indians of Mahatma Gandhi, and calls Mandela "a venerated elder, a great soul".

Mandela lived a life of sacrifice and privation, he says, as he pursued a seemingly impossible goal for his people. Indians have long admired him and all that he stood for, he says.
17:54  Congress: We are willing to support AAP unconditionally :   Congress appeared to be extending an olive branch to AAP to form a government in Delhi as Arvind Kejriwal ruled out giving any support to BJP for the purpose.

"A number of senior leaders of Delhi are of the opinion that we should give unconditional support to AAP to form a government. They believe that we should extend outside support to it. But, we are talking to MLAs from the state. Their opinion is very important. Once we take their opinion, we will apprise the party high command about it," AICC general secretary in charge for Delhi, Shakeel Ahmed told PTI.

His remarks came shortly after Kejriwal ruled out support to BJP and termed as "personal opinion" the remarks of party leader Prashant Bhushan, who told a TV channel last night that AAP may consider supporting BJP if the party gives AAP in writing that it will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The noted lawyer clarified on Tuesday that what he had said last night was in a rhetorical context. Bhushan said the party will not stake claim to form government and prefer to sit in the opposition.
17:47  Court dismisses plea for FIR against Hazare, Kejriwal, others:  A Delhi court today dismissed a plea seeking lodging of FIR against Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and others for allegedly cheating over four crore people by selling them 'Anna SMS cards' after the Delhi Police gave a clean chit to them.

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain rejected the plea filed by Delhi resident Rumal Singh, who claimed to be a member of India Against Corruption (IAC) led by Kejriwal, after the Delhi Police said "no offence has been made out and no police action is warranted" on the petition.
17:40   Bill Clinton with Tony Blair at the memorial service.

NYT's Lydia Polgreen tweets: Seeing a fairly large exodus now that Obama has spoken. Lots of people leaving the stadium.
17:33  Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, is speaking now.
17:33  What a great soul it was. We will miss him deeply: Obama :   " After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength - for his largeness of spirit - somewhere inside ourselves.

"And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach - think of Madiba, and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of a cell:

"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

What a great soul it was. We will miss him deeply. May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela. May God bless the people of South Africa."

What a speech! A standing ovation for Barack Obama.
17:20  Live! Obama: Michelle and I are a product of America's struggle to overcome prejudice:  Michelle and I are a product of America's struggle to overcome prejudice. We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. He makes me want to be a better man. He speaks of what is best inside us.

I remember 30 years ago learning about Mandela and his struggles. "It woke me up to my responsibilities - to others, and to myself - and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today.

"He says he will always fall short of Mandela's example, but "he makes me want to be a better man. He speaks to what's best inside us."
17:15  Mandela also taught the power of ideas, Obama says :  Mandela also taught the power of ideas, Obama says.

Ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper's bullet, the US president says.

He used prison to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement, and learned the language of his oppressors "so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his".
17:14  Obama: Mandela was the last liberator of the 20th century:   Obama says Mandela is the last liberator of the 20th century. He held the country together like Lincoln did USA, like Gandhi, Mandela led the resistance movement.  Mandela moved billions around the world with his struggle for justice.

He was not a bust made of marble but a flesh and blood man.

Mandela taught us the power of ideals but also the power of action.
17:06  Live! Obama: To the people of S Africa, thank you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us:  Addressing the cheering stadium, Obama, says, we are here to celebrate a life like none other.

To the people of S Africa, the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.

His struggle was your struggle, his triumph was your triumph.

It is hard to eulogise any man. To capture facts and the dates that make a man. The private moments, joys and sorrows that make a man. How much harder to do so for a giant of history. "
17:02  Obama speaks at Mandela's memorial service :  Barack Obama due to speak at memorial now.  Obama shakes hands with FW De Klerk, SA's last white president.

This is what Obama had said of Mandela on December 6.

Obama spoke about Mandela's legacy and influence on the course of history, shortly after current South African president Jacob Zuma confirmed news of the politician's death.

In a televised address from The White House, President Obama said:  "[Mandela] achieved more than can be expected of any man. Today he has gone home. He no longer belongs to us, he now belongs to the ages."

"Through his fierce urgency and unbending will, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us," the US president commented.

"His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better."

The President credited Nelson Mandela with inspiring his own interest in politics.
16:55  Ban Ki-Moon speaks of Mandela's compassion...:   At Mandela's memorial in Johannesburg, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon says South Africa has lost a hero and a father and that Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our time. He says Mandela taught us compassion, that one should get angry at injustice, not individuals and showed the world the power of forgiveness.
16:49  President Pranab Mukherjee was briefed on the cabinet resolution  on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh but will study it when he returns late evening on December 11 from South Africa after attending Nelson Mandela funeral.

Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde met the President to explain the issue.

The Rayalaseema Congress MPs were unhappy with Jairam Ramesh. They apparently told him that he shouldn't have agreed to write the report and should have left it to P Chidambaram.

One MP intervened to say that Ramesh is only a messenger and that he collected material and collated it to get the report. They believe Jairam Ramesh does not have an opinion on Telangana or against Rayalaseema.
16:36  Born in 1953, the only son of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodiyar, the last ruling Maharaja of Mysore and his second wife, Maharani Tripura Sundari Ammani Avaru, Srikanthadatta Waoiyar succeeded his father as the head of his dynasty in September 1974.

He was elected as a Member of Parliament representing the Mysore Parliamentary Constituency four times as a candidate of Indian National Congress and has lost twice, once as a BJP candidate and recently as a Congress party candidate.

He was married to Maharani Pramoda Devi Avaru, who hails from the Bettada Kote Ursu family of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore.
16:33  Former Mysore king Srikantadatta Wodeyar dies:   News comes in that Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, who is head of the former royal family of Mysore has died of a heart attack in Bangalore today. He was brought to the Vikram Hospital this morning after he had complained of chest pain.

He was 60.

He is the son of the late Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, and was a former MP and had represented the Mysore Parliamentary Constituency as a Congressman.

-- Vicky Nanjappa
16:26  Mamata meets BJP MP in Parliament:  A day of drama in Parliament considering that the norm is an adjournment.

The Treasury benches were half empty with almost no senior union minister present in the Lok Sabha. Those who were there, looked dejected after the Congress's humiliating defeat in the four-state elections.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee caused a flutter in the Central Hall of Parliament when she spoke to BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad for over 10 minutes. This has political significance, say BJP leaders.
She also met with Jagan Reddy for 15 minutes at the Central Hall of Parliament.

Mamata also met the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and had lunch with her. 
16:13  Mandela's grandchildren to speak soon:  This is the official programme for the Mandela memorial. After this tribute by his friend are tributes by Mandela's family and his grandchildren. President Pranab Mukherjee is also scheduled to speak. Representatives from BRICS nations will be speak on the occasion, apart from Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro and the UN Secretary General.
16:06  Mandela's friend Andrew Mlangeni, who was in prison with Mandela on Robben Island is speaking at the memorial service. 
16:05  Dutch woman alleges yoga teacher raped her in Goa:  A 25-year-old Dutch woman says she was raped by a yoga teacher in Goa. The accused was arrested at Dabolim airport when he was trying to escape.
Details awaited.
16:02  Delhi Magistrate orders FIR against woman for anti-Modi posts:  In other news: The footsteps of fascism can be heard this time in the hallowed hallways of the national capital's courts.

A woman who filed an FIR against a man physically threatening her for her anti-Modi Facebook posts, found to her dismay that the Metropolitan Magistrate in the Tis Hazari courts let off the man accused of threatening her safety, while ordering an FIR against her instead!

The media's coverage of this outrageous incident has been, till now, biased and factually misleading. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, a journalist and a Ph.D. Fellow in JNU, received several threats by emails from one Pankaj Kumar Dwivedi, which warned her of 'consequences' and even demanded she meet the man so that he could 'cleanse' her of her 'filth.'

Read Kavita Krishnan's post.
15:56  A Rabbi says prayers for Mandela, followed by a Hindu and Muslim priest. 
15:55  That's an image of Mandela's widows Winnie and Graca Machel greeting each other. 
15:45  Live! 'We are here to tell Madiba his long walk is over':  ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the gathering says, "We are here to tell Madiba his long walk is over, that he can finally rest, that he can enjoy the view of our beautiful country, a view he discovered when he walked the hills of his birthplace.

"His long walk is over, but ours is just beginning, he says.What Mandela would have wanted us to do is to open this memorial service with an interfaith prayer.

He calls on Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders to come and give opening prayers."
15:39  Live! Mandela memorial service begins: SA president Zuma speaks :   SA President Jacob Zuma begins his speech amid rousing cheers. Zuma can't continue with the deafening cheers. He acknowledges Graca Machel, members of the ANC, and all the former SA presidents.
15:30  S Africa national anthem being sung at the stadium:  The service will last for around four hours. Private vehicles have been banned from area. Helicopters and military jets will fly overhead repeatedly. With 91 dignitaries including present and former heads of state attending, the South African government is taking no chances. 
15:23  Mandela's prison guard mourns 'father figure':  As a rookie prison guard reporting for his first day on Robben Island, Christo Brand was told he was about to meet the biggest criminals in South Africa's history. Now he is mourning the loss of a father figure. Read  his moving account of Mandela's years in Robben Island. 
15:20  Pranab Mukherjee is one of only six heads of state who will address the crowd at the memorial service.

He will join Obama, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Raul Castro of Cuba as well as Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao on the podium to address the crowd.
15:18  Thousands upon thousands sing, jog, dance at Mandela memorial:  Five hours before the memorial began, large crowds had already gathered in a light drizzle, hoping for one of the first-comer tickets.

Wrapped in the South African flags or yellow-green coloured shawls printed with the slogan "Mandela Forever," they danced and jogged towards the stadium entrance, some singing in Zulu: "Mandela is not sleeping, just kneeling.

"Thousands more were boarding free trains from central Johannesburg, mixing excitedly together on the platform and in the compartments -- men and women of all ages and races.

"I am going to the memorial to be closer to the national mood, to come out of my bubble," said white Afrikaans speaker Marcel Boezaart, 26.
-- Daily Nation
15:12  A Raja gives notice to Speaker on 2G report :  Meanwhile, the DMK has demanded a discussion on the JPC report on 2G in the Lok Sabha. A Raja, the former telecom minister and an accused in the 2G scam, has given a notice to Meira Kumar, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, to discuss the short duration notice under Rule 193.

This has been seconded by TR Baalu and TKS Elangovan. The reasons they projected is that the JPC report was incomplete and inconsistent.

Read the notice
15:07  Winnie, Graca Machel hug, mourners sing and celebrate Mandela at his memorial :  FW De Klerk, the former SA president who reached to Mandela to bring about the end of apartheid. He received the Peace Nobel with Mandela.

Winnie Mandela's ex-wife arrives and hugs Mandela's third wife, Graca Machel.
15:02  The man who met Mandela and Gandhi:   Ninety-year-old Chotubhai Makan is probably the last surviving person in South Africa who have witnessed both Mahatma Gandhi's famous salt march in 1930 and the signing of the historic Freedom Charter in 1955 in presence of Nelson Mandela, demanding a non-racial nation.

Meeting Mandela again in 2005 on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom Charter on the same site at the Johannesburg-suburb of Kliptown was a special moment for him.

"I was invited by the Premier of Gauteng to render a Hindu prayer alongside the other religious prayers. Soon after the prayers, I hurriedly took permission from the security officer, through the Programme Director, to meet Madiba, who was sitting away from the main table on the stage," Makan said referring to Mandela's clan name.

"I greeted him with a handshake and introduced myself as a close associate of Jasmat Nana, also known to Madiba as Jessie, who later got national orders for his anti-apartheid struggle role as well.

"I told him that I had been with Jessie on that historic day when the Freedom Charter was adopted at the same spot, although it was barren land then, unlike the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication that stands on the site now."

"Madiba was overjoyed to hear this, stood up and shook my hand to congratulate me," Makan said.

"I have been very privileged in my lifetime to have personally seen the two greatest leaders of the past century, Gandhiji and Madiba," he said.
14:48  Live! Mandela memorial: Pranab Mukherjee, Hamid Karzai arrive :   President Pranab Mukherjee has arrived. Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj are Sitaram Yechury are also part of the Indian delegation.  Ninety-one current heads of state are at the memorial.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has arrived.

Stadium, with a capacity of 90,000, is fast filling up. Singing and dancing in the stadium, much like a football match.
14:41   South Africans made their way to the funeral service despite the rains in Johanneshburg. These women said they skipped work to be here... but it is thanks to Mandela that they have good jobs.
14:39  World awaits Obama's keynote address :  President Barack Obama opened a day of remembrance and celebration on Tuesday for his personal hero Nelson Mandela, arriving in South Africa for a memorial service honouring the anti-apartheid icon who died last week at age 95.

Air Force One touched down at a military base near Johannesburg on a rainy morning.

Joining Obama on the 16-hour trip from Washington was first lady Michelle Obama, former president George W Bush and his wife, Laura, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were also scheduled to attend the memorial service, but travelled to South Africa separately.

Charlise Theron, Bono, Naomi Campbell also arrive.
14:31  This day, in 1993, Mandela received the Peace Nobel:  UN Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has arrived at the stadium.

Ex-US presidents Jimmy Carter, George W Bush, Bill Clinton will be attending.

Interestingly, on this day, in 1993, Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace prize with South Africa's last apartheid president FW de Klerk

Read:Mandela was told to refuse the Nobel.
14:23  UK PM David Cameron and former PM Tony Blair arrive for the funeral. Crowds singing at the stadium, more like a football match than a memorial service.

The stadium holds 90,000 people.
14:19  Mandela's widow arrives for memorial service, stadium still not full :  Mandela's widow Graca Machel is reported to have arrived. But with only half an hour to go before the memorial service is due to start, the stadium is two-thirds empty according the BBC's Andrew Harding.
14:17  World unites for Mandela memorial:  Close to 100 world leaders were among 80,000 people expected to cram into the venue in Soweto -- the crucible of Mandela's anti-apartheid struggle -- to bid farewell to a man whose life story earned uncommon universal respect.

Despite the profound sense of national sorrow triggered by Mandela's death last Thursday, the mood was upbeat, with people determined to celebrate the memory of one of the 20th century's towering political figures.

"He's God given, he's God taken. We will never stop to cherish him," said Shahim Ismail, who took a day off from the sports academy he runs in Johannesburg to attend the event. Read more
14:12  Former UN Secretary General's Kofi Anan and Boutros Boutros Ghali will be attending Nelson Mandela's memorial service. 
14:11  Israel's final snub to Mandela, Netanyahu says SA trip too expensive:  Israel's prime minister proves he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He's something worse. Read
14:01  IIT Kharagpur basks in alumnus Kejriwals glory:  At IIT Kharagpur, all eyes were on Ritesh Singh on Monday. The MTech student of computer science and engineering was surrounded by friends and swamped with congratulatory messages from those away from the campus due to the winter break.

Ritesh has been an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) insider for the past one year, the only one on the campus. And AAP leader Arvind Kejrwal is an IIT Kharagpur alumnus, being a mechanical engineering BTech of the 1989 batch. Read
13:51  Jailed sailor James' family meets PM:  The family members of merchant navy captain Sunil James, jailed in Togo, today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his early release to conduct the last rites of his 11-month-old son who died recently.

Captain James' wife Aditi and her sister Anvi accompanied by Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam met the Prime Minister in his Parliament House office.

Captain James of oil tanker MT Ocean Centurian was arrested in July on charges of aiding pirates off the coast of Togo. "But the fact is that he gave a tip off to authorities on the presence of pirates," Nirupam told reporters outside Parliament House.

After the meeting, Anvi's husband Rakesh Mahadappa said the Prime Minister informed the family that his office is "doing everything possible to secure either a full and final release of Sunil or, on humanitarian grounds at least, a pardon or relief for a few weeks so that he could come back to India to perform his duties as a father to bury his son."

He said Singh has also deputed a Joint Secretary in the PMO, Javed Ashraf, to help manage the captain's release. Nirupam said he is hopeful that a solution will be found in the next few days.
13:47  The government is examining an NGO's letter on Gujarat's snoopgate controversy, says Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
13:31  Nations responsible for keeping Mandela behind bars at his memorial svc:   Nearly 90 leaders from across the world, some of them locked in enmity, are flying to South Africa for memorials to Nelson Mandela that will hail one of humanity's great peacemakers.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would also be there, Monyela said, raising the possibility of a first face-to-face meeting with Obama. However, Rouhani's name was not on an initial official list of attendees.

Israel, once an ally of the apartheid rulers who kept Mandela behind bars for 27 years, is sending neither its prime minister nor president, Israeli officials said.

Much of the logistical plan is based on South Africa's hosting of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Even though Pretoria refused to discuss Mandela's funeral arrangements before his death, it has been laying the preparations for years. -- Reuters
13:22  Omar Abdullah on the SC order today that red beacons should be allowed to be used only by persons holding constitutional posts and high dignitaries to prevent its misuse by local politicians flaunting it as a status symbol.

The J-K CM says: I must admit I'll be happy to see this red beacon culture go. I never use one on my private vehicles & don't see the need for one anyway.
13:19  Are women drivers Saudi Arabia's gravest threat?:  The winds of revolution are blowing all over the Arab world. A bit, slowly in Saudi Arabia, perhaps, but nevertheless. Some women did drive, defying the ban and were duly arrested. But the day is not long, may be, just another century at most, when women can actually drive, in women-only lanes, of course, says BS Prakash. Read
12:55  Kejriwal: No question of supporting BJP, Prashant's views his own:  Arvind Kejriwal today asserted that there was "no question" of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporting the BJP for a government in Delhi, after his colleague Prashant Bhushan's comment triggered speculation of a divide within the year-old party just after its spectacular electoral success.

"There is no question of supporting BJP. What Prashant said yesterday was his personal opinion," Mr Kejriwal tweeted.

Shortly before this tweet, Mr Bhushan himself backtracked from his comments to NDTV last night that the AAP may consider supporting the BJP "if the BJP gives us in writing that it will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill (a law for an anti-corruption ombudsman) by December 29.

"Today, Mr Bhushan revised his views, saying, "What I said was in a rhetorical context. I meant that if the BJP becomes like AAP and does those things which AAP has been formed for and AAP believes in, then we can think of supporting them. But this is not possible because these parties can never become like AAP."  Read more
12:52  Live! AAP says its MLA did not misbehave with Cong leader's wife:  The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has described a police case against one of its newly-elected legislators in Delhi as a political conspiracy.

Dharmender Koli from the AAP has been accused by the man he defeated, Congressman Veer Singh Dhingan, of entering his house and misbehaving with the Congress leader's wife during a victory procession on Sunday.

In the recent elections in the capital, the AAP made a smashing electoral debut, winning 40 per cent of Delhi's seats, and forcing the incumbent Congress to third place.

Mr Koli was elected to the Delhi legislature from the Seemapuri constituency in north-east Delhi, which had elected Mr Dhingra three times in the past. Read
12:45  Thousands gather in Johannesburg:  Thousands of people are arriving at a stadium in Johannesburg for a memorial service for Nelson Mandela.US President Barack Obama and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be among those paying tribute.

The service will be held at the 95,000 capacity FNB stadium, where Mr Mandela made his last public appearance. It will also be shown on big screens at three "overflow" stadiums. The former South African president died aged 95 last Thursday. Read more
12:40  24 Indians brought to court to face rioting charges:   Twenty-four Indians allegedly involved in Singapore's worst outbreak of violence in over 40 years were today brought to a court here to face charges.

As many as 28 South Asian workers, including 24 Indians, were arrested yesterday for alleged rioting in the country on Sunday.

All the accused face charges under "rioting with dangerous weapons", punishable by up to seven years in prison as well as caning.
12:37  Major ruckus in Parliament:  What we have so far is this. Chaos in Parliament, RS adjourned as BJP accuses JPC chairman of changing the contents of the dissent note on 2G spectrum.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha was adjourned on Telangana for the day. Parliament was adjourned till noon after uproar over issues including JPC report on 2G, price rise and Telangana.

Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm after uproar over issues including Telangana, JPC report on 2G and price rise. BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad says the 2G report is malafide.

JPC chairman PC Chacko, who tabled the report says the government is open to discussion.
12:17  Small consolation:  After the drubbing in the Assembly elections to four heartland States, a victory in the small northeastern State of Mizoram could not have been of much consolation for the Congress.

But Mizoram needs the Congress more than the Congress needs Mizoram. For a State divided by tribal identities, where development is organically linked to Central funds, the Congress is in some ways both unifier and saviour.

With their experience of long years of insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, the people of Mizoram often turn to the Congress for political stability and firm governance.  Read more
12:05  S Africa ready for Madiba memorial :  Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers fly in to pay tribute South African for Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

This is the programme schedule. Read

Pic: President Pranab Mukherjee in Johannesburg. He will be speaking at the memorial service.
12:00   Parliament adjourned till noon amid uproar:  Parliament was today adjourned till noon after uproar over various issues including JPC report on 2G, Telangana, price rise and death of children in relief camps for riot victims in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

BJP members were on the feet in Lok Sabha on the issue of JPC report which gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 2G spectrum scam.

Displaying newspaper reports on death of children in Muzaffarnagar relief camps, BSP members trooped in the Well and protested against the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh. Seemandhra MPs, including YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, also raised their voice against creation of Telangana and demanded a united Andhra Pradesh.

Holding placards against training of Sri Lankan Navy personnel by Indian Navy, DMK members came to the Well and demanded an immediate halt to it.
11:58  It's good to lose:  As a Congressman, I greatly welcome Sunday's electoral reverses. I also look forward to our probably occupying the opposition benches after the mid-2014 Lok Sabha elections. Poll reverses could give Rahul the opportunity to remake the Congress, writes Mani Shankar Aiyar for the Indian Express. Read
11:51  Govt: Lokpal Bill will be passed in this session of Parliament :  Parliamentary Affairs minister V Narayanswamy says that the Lokpal Bill will be passed in the Winter Session.

Meanwhile, Anna Hazare, who accused the Centre of "betrayal" and going back on its promise on Jan Lokpal Bill is on an indefinite hunger strike in Ralegan Sidhi from today for the passage of the anti-graft bill in Parliament. 
11:46  The sentiment that Dr Singh should not be the PM, if the Congress indeed wins the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, is well entrenched in the party. Sonia Gandhi on Sunday, conceding the defeat of the party in the four-state elections, said that the announcement on the PM candidate would be made soon. 
11:38  Live! Mani Shankar Aiyar: Cong must sit in opposition, Manmohan should not be PM:   Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar sets off a time bomb. Speaking to CNN IBN he said that the time has come for the Congress to sit in opposition and reinvent itself. It's best to lose and plan ahead, he said and added that the decision to make Dr Manmohan Singh PM should have been reversed.

Aiyar, who has always been a staunch Rajiv Gandhi supporter says it is time to return to the politics of Rajiv Gandhi -- the return to Panchayat Raj.
11:30  Vasundhara Raje stakes claim to form government in Rajasthan:  BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje today called on Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva to stake claim to form the government following her party's landslide win in the Assembly polls.

She was accompanied by the party MLA Gulabchand Kataria and two other party leaders.

The meeting lasted for a few minutes, Raj Bhawan sources said. The oath ceremony will take place on December 13.

Raje was yesterday elected the BJP legislature party leader in Rajasthan. BJP MLAs had unanimously passed a proposal of Kataria to elect Raje, who was projected as the party's chief ministerial candidate, as their leader.
11:26  Seventy heads of state are at Mandela's funeral, including those not on speaking terms. But such is China's clout that Dalai Lama isn't attending, tweets Brahma Chellaney.
11:25  After Delhi, AAP to focus on Mumbai:  Enthused by the strong showing in Delhi Assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to concentrate on the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.

"Our slogan is, 'AAP ka ye sandesh, aaj Dilli, kal pura desh'," AAP functionary Mayank Gandhi said here. "We will be fielding candidates from the 36 Assembly seats in Mumbai," he said.

"We haven't yet decided the number of Lok Sabha seats we will contest from Mumbai," he added. Mumbai has six Lok Sabha seats. The Delhi results have boosted the morale of AAP members in the state, he said.

The party plans to take up issues like open spaces and slum rehabilitation schemes in the city. Housing, electricity and water supply will also be the issues on which the party will focus.

"Voters are fed up of the indecisive, corrupt and non-functional government and are looking at the AAP as an alternative," another AAP member said.

To ensure good performance in the polls, the party is roping in youth through forums like social media.
11:19  SC's new guidelines on who can use beacons:  The Supreme Court brings out a new list of who is entitled to use a red beacon. The apex court says that non-flashing red beacons can be provided only to vehicles carrying people holding constitutional posts, or those who are dignitaries. That apart, ambulances, police or emergency services are also allowed to use read beacons.

The Supreme Court has cracked the whip on the use of red beacons by VIPs earlier asking all state governments to review the security given to VIPs.

The apex court also said that the use of red beacons by authorities is reminiscent of British Raj. The court stated that a regular review should be done by a committee headed by a High Court judge.

11:00  Pranab in S Africa to attend Mandela's memorial service:   President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Johannesburg today to attend a memorial service in honour of South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, whose death triggered an unprecedented outpour of rich tributes worldwide.

Mukherjee will join the heads of governments and states from more than 53 countries, including US President Barack Obama, in the two-hour long memorial service to be held at a 95,000-seat FNB Stadium, where Mandela made his last major public appearance during the 2010 football World Cup.

Mandela, 95, who had been suffering from a recurring lung infection and a prolonged spell of ill-health, died on December 5.

President Mukherjee is accompanied by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury and BSP leader Satish Mishra, reflecting the high-esteem Mandela held across the entire political spectrum in India.
10:30  'Madiba unites the world even in death':  
In what is supposed to be the largest gathering of international dignitaries in recent history, more than 70 heads of states would be in attendance when anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's memorial service will be held in Johannesburg. 

The grand service will be held at the 95-000 seat FNB Stadium in Soweto, which was the venue of 2010 soccer World Cup final, when Mandela was last seen making a major public appearance. 

Offering a tribute to nelson Mandela at a event, Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, said that the entire world was converging upon South Africa 'again' to honour the stalwart who ended the white-minority rule and became the first black Prime Minister of the nation in 1995. 

"We pay tribute today to the man that is bringing the whole world to South Africa again, who even in his death can unite a nation," he said.

The memorial service will be a one of its kind of gathering in the recent history, with dozens of significant global dignitaries converging upon Johannesburg to pay their final respects to the great leader. 

So, the South African got has expanded the capacity of the Soweto stadium to 200,000 from 95000 and also 11000 security men have been deployed for the event. 
10:01  AAP ready to offer 'issue-based' support to BJP?:   Zee News reports: Suspense over government formation has continued in Delhi ever since the assembly polls delivered a fractured mandate, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hinting that it could favour the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if its 'demands are met'. 

The BJP, which hoped to return to power in Delhi after being in the opposition for 15 long years, has called a meeting of its legislators Tuesday.

While AAP leaders like Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal said they would prefer a re-election than to side with either the Congress or the BJP and helm together an uncertain coalition, senior leader Prashant Bhushan showed what could be interpreted as a thaw in the party's cold-shouldered-approach to its opponents. 

Bhushan was quoted by reports as saying, "If the BJP agrees to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill by December 29 and set up jan sabhas and other things in Delhi as promised by the Aam Aadmi Party.....and is willing to give this to us in writing, then we may consider supporting the party." 

Bhushan however followed this up quickly by saying this was his 'personal' view that was yet to be vetted by his party. 
10:01  Anna to begin indefinite fast for Jan Lokpal Bill today:  
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare would start another indefinite fast from Tuesday at his native village Ralegan Siddi in Maharashtra to press for Jan Lokpal Bill. 

The Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to as the Citizen's Ombudsman Bill, is an anti-corruption legislation drafted by civil society activists, seeking appointment of an independent panel to investigate cases of corruption. 

Anna yesterday addressed a press conference and asked the Government to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. 

The social activist accused the Congress of betraying him and the people and said the government has repeatedly said that it will bring Ombudsman Bill, but never done so. 

Anna further said that time has come for the UPA government to deliver on its promise or quit. 

The social activist, who had shot into national limelight with his fasts in Delhi over the issue, has chosen Yadav baba temple in his native village  this time. 
09:24  US will work with Narendra Modi if he becomes PM: Condoleezza Rice:  
Bharatiya Janata Party, riding high on its victory in the recent assembly elections, has more reason to cheer. In a major boost to BJP Prime Ministerial Narendra Modi, former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice claimed the Gujarat riots were no longer an issue and the US would work with Modi if he became the Prime Minister.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate talk show, Rice said, "I think we have put behind us the past and we have established the foundation for the future and now it's a matter of pursuing on a consistent basis at all levels in both countries the fruits and benefits of that foundation that we put in place."

Read more HERE
09:18  AAP MLA Dharmendra Koli accused of molestation, rioting:  
A case of molestation was filed against Dharmendra Koli Aam Aadmi Partys (AAP) newly-elected MLA from Seemapuri, on Monday.

The police complaint was filed against Koli by the wife of Congress leader Veer Singh Dhingan who alleged that Koli molested her during a victory rally after his win in the assembly elections on Sunday. 

She, in her complaint, also alleged that Koli's supporters threw alcohol bottles inside a Valmiki Temple in the area. 

Incidentally, Dhingan was defeated by Koli in the Seemapuri constituency. 

Koli, the party's youngest MLA, refuted the charges, saying it was "a fake case" and "an attempt to malign my image", while AAP said prima facie it seemed to be an attempt to malign the image of the party. 
03:03  Ukraine's president agrees to offer of talks :  

Ukraine's Russia-minded president has supported a call for talks a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Kiev, strengthening anti-government demonstrations raging for weeks in the capital.


Viktor Yanukovich's official website said on Monday that the president backed an initiative of an "all-national round-table" suggested by Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine's first post-Soviet president.


"In his opinion, such a round-table can become a platform for mutual understanding," the website said. Later on Monday, heavily armed masked men have raided party headquarters of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and took a computer server, spokewoman Natalia Lysova said. She blamed police for the incident, but the police denied any involvement.


Read the full report on Al Jazeera

03:01  US joins France in Central African Republic:  

PTI: The US todayannounced to deploy its military planes to transport troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic as part of a French-led affort to help quell violence there.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel issued such a direction to US AFRICOM to begin transporting forces from Burundi to the Central African Republic, in coordination with France, the Pentagon said.


The request in this regard was made by the French Minister of Defense Yves Le Drian during a telephonic call with Hagel. "Minister Le Drian requested limited assistance from the United States military to support this international effort.


In the near term, France has requested airlift support to enable African forces to deploy promptly to prevent the further spread of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic," Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog said.

01:20  Prez leaves for S Africa to attend Mandela's memorial:  

President Pranab Mukherjee tonight left for Johannesburg to attend the memorial service for South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, embarking on a visit aimed at conveying the "intense grief and personal loss" India feels over his death.        


In his pre-departure statement, Mukherjee said the former South African President was a household name and someone the Indians saw as their own.        


"My delegation and I hope to convey to the government and people of South Africa the intense grief and personal loss that we in India feel over the sad demise of the great soul -- our beloved 'Madiba'," he said.  


"My participation in the memorial service by a delegation, representing the cross-section of our political spectrum reflects the high degree of love and respect which Dr Mandela commanded in India," the President said.

00:14  No woman makes it to Mizoram House yet again:  

PTI: Though women voters outnumbered their male counterparts in Mizoram, no woman once again made it to the state legislature in the election held on November 25.        


Two women candidates belonging to major political parties-- Tlangthanmawii of the INC and Lalmalsawmi of the MNF '" were defeated by male candidates.        


Three women candidates belonging to BJP were in the bottom, while the lone woman Independent nominee B Sangkhumi, former President of the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl or Mizo Women Federation, also suffered loss.        


There had been no woman legislator in Mizoram during the past 25 years.  

00:09  Top headlines at this hour:  

World leaders gather in Johannesburg for Mandela memorial

AAP will contest LS polls; its fight doesn't end in Delhi: Kejriwal

Congress gets two thirds majority in Mizoram

Delhi polls: Will prefer to sit in opposition, says BJP

Form govt, fulfil 'unrealistic promises': BJP challenges AAP

Raje's biggest critic wins with the highest margin

Pawar hits out at AAP, calls them 'pseudo activists'

Heads may roll as rattled Congress takes stock

You cannot sell dreams, but AAP has: Dikshit

JPC report: BJP, CPI take on govt, criticise speaker's actions

24 Indians among 27 arrested in Singapore after riots

For some Union ministers, Rajasthan's crushing defeat is personal

BJP's Harsh Vardhan has FIR against him for 'insulting woman's modesty'

More trouble brewing for Congress in Andhra, Parliament

Vasundhara Raje: Where are the big guns of the Congress hiding?

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