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Live! V K Singh seeks quashing of J&K privilege motion

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December 13, 2013

22:28  V K Singh seeks quashing of J&K privilege motion:  

Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh has sought quashing of a Privilege Motion against him by the Jammu and Kashmir assembly over his alleged remarks that Army had paid bribes to politicians in the state, saying various quotes ascribed to him are "inaccurate and incorrect".  


In his response to Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul on the breach of privilege notice, Gen Singh said, "In light of facts and circumstances, it is respectfully submitted that the allegations levelled against me by way of a breach of privilege motion by members of legislative assembly are not made out and appear to be a case of misinformation."  


"Therefore, the same may kindly be quashed by your goodself (Assembly Speaker) and no further proceeding in regards thereto may kindly be carried out in the interest of justice," he said in his letter.  


Gul had issued the notice on October 24 asking Singh to explain his position on allegation of pay-offs to some ministers from the army's secret funds during his tenure.   The J&K assembly today made his reply public and sought comments from members, who had moved the privilege motion.

21:49  Fire in building in South Mumbai, 3 fire officials injured:   A fire has broken out in the Mount Blanc building, on Napean Sea Road, Mumbai on Friday. Fourteen fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Media reports say that 3 fire officials were injured and were rushed to the Breach Candy Hospital in South Mumbai.

Officials say that there may be people stuck inside the building.

Photo courtesy: Ambika Gupta

More details are awaited.
21:39  After Congress, now BJP extends support to AAP:  According to several media reports,  the BJP has said that they will extend constructive support to the AAP. Earlier, the Congresss had written to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. The AAP will meet Jung tommorrw. 
21:34   Jagan meets Nitish against Cong dividing Andhra Pradesh:  YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy today met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over division of Andhra Pradesh and raised the issue of Congress "highhandedness" in doing so without consulting the state, a point which Kumar described as "valid."

Emerging from a hour-long meeting with Kumar at his One Anne Marg residence, the YSR Congress President told reporters that he had come to seek support of Bihar CM against Congress "highhandedness" in division of Andhra Pradesh without consulting the state government.

"The Congress-led UPA with 272 MPs can think they can split any state...this is abuse of Article 3 of the constitution. This is dangerous trend" Jagan Mohan Reddy said. Jagan Reddy accompanied by two YSR Congress MPs,Rajmohan Reddy and S P Y Reddy, claimed Kumar heard his plea seriously and shared his concerns.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said the YSR Congress chief has a "valid" point that state has not been consulted for division of Andhra Pradesh.

"Though there is provision in the Constitution that a new state can be created through a simple majority but this is against a set tradition of democracy in the country," he said.
20:56  Congress offers support to AAP. Sends letter of support:  According to reports coming in, the Congress has offered support to the Aam Admi party AAP. It has sent a letter of support to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.
20:49  Fire in multi-storeyed building in Mumbai:   A fire has broken out in the Mount Blanc building, on Napean Sea Road, Mumbai on Friday.Each floor has four flats and because of the fire, it seems all four flats caught fire.

More details are awaited.

Photo courtesy: Ambika Gupta

19:57  Chouhan to be sworn in as MP chief minister tomorrow:  Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who led BJP to its third straight victory in Madhya Pradesh assembly election, was today unanimously elected leader of BJP's legislature wing, paving the way for him to take over as the Chief Minister for a fresh term.

The newly-elected BJP MLAs chose Chouhan as their leader at a meeting in the assembly premises here. Senior legislator and former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur proposed Chouhan's name and it was seconded by Narottam Mishra, Ranjana Baghel, Lalsingh Arya and Divyaraj Singh. Chouhan, 54, will take oath as chief minister for a third time in a row tomorrow.

After eliciting the views of the 165 MLAs, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj formally declared Chouhan as the chief of the party's legislature wing.
19:41  Hrithik Roshan, Sussanne decide to separate after 13-yr marriage:   Hrithik Roshan and his wife of 13 years, Sussanne, are ending their marriage, a statement from the actor confirms. "Sussanne has decided to separate from me and end our 17-year relationship.

The couple has two sons -- Hrehaan, 7 and Hridhaan, 5.

More details are awaited.
19:24  Mail Today removes fake article with Shanti Bhushan's byline :  Mail Today editor Sandeep Bamzai says the paper has been duped by miscreants with a motive and sincerely apologise to Mr Shanti Bhushan for carrying what was purportedly his article.

Still clueless about the context?

Here you go: An op-ed piece purportedly written by Shanti Bhushan in Mail Today criticises Arvind Kejriwal and says the AAP chief hid his political ambitions under the garb of the anti-corruption movement.

Shanti Bhushan, a Supreme Court advocate and founding member of AAP says he has not written it and that the article is forged. Speaking to TV channels he said the BJP could be behind this and it was nothing short of a political conspiracy against AAP.

This is what Bhushan had tweeted earlier today: "The article published in mail today not written by me..Hv filed the legal notice,will sue them."

Now, Mail Today editor, Sandeep Bamzai concedes that the article is not genuine and was not written by Bhushan. 

The article has since been removed. The link to the article now says:

"The article has since been removed due to lack of authenticity of authorship. Originally, the article was published under the name of eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan who has denied having written the article. Following our investigation, we have removed that article.

Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience."
19:19  Incident smacks of racial bias, says father of handcuffed diplomat :  The father of the Indian woman diplomat arrested on visa fraud charges in New York and later released on a bond today said the incident smacked of "racial bias" and sought an apology from law enforcing agencies.

Uttam Khobragade, father of Devyani Khobragade, also claimed that it was a clear case of "conspiracy" to harass his daughter and damage the reputation of the Indian government.

"It is nothing but a racial bias. It is simple and clear racial bias to harass the Indians," he said. He requested the Indian government not to take the matter lightly.

India-born Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has accused Khobragade of making false statements in a visa application for an Indian national employed as a babysitter and housekeeper at her New York home.

Khobragade is Deputy Consul General at the Consulate in New York and was serving as its acting head at the time of her arrest yesterday.
19:04  Live! India summons US envoy for 'shocking, unacceptable' treatment of diplomat:   Deploring the arrest of Deputy Consul General in New York, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh today summoned US Ambassador Nancy Powell to convey India's "shock" over "absolutely unacceptable" treatment meted out to the senior Indian diplomat.

Reacting strongly to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges, the Foreign Secretary summoned Powell to South Block to lodge strong protest and convey India's displeasure over the arrest of its diplomat.

According to sources, Singh told Powell that the treatment meted out to the senior diplomat was "totally unacceptable" and she was entitled to the courtesies under various multilateral conventions dealing with diplomatic fraternity posted in foreign countries.

In a major diplomatic embarrassment, Khobragade, 39, was taken into custody on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school at 9 am yesterday and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

"We are shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the US authorities. We have taken it up forcefully with the US government through our embassy in Washington. We are also reiterating, in no uncertain terms, to US embassy here that this kind of treatment to one of our diplomats is absolutely unacceptable," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akabaruddin said here.
18:50  Bihar Assembly debates on condition of Muslims in the state:  The Bihar Assembly today witnessed a debate on the condition of Muslims in the state, with Opposition BJP accusing Nitish Kumar government of indulging in vote bank politics, a charge it refuted saying there has been a positive change in the minority community's socio-economic status.
18:49  Mandela lies in state: South Africans told not to join queue:  South Africans have been warned not to attempt to go to see Nelson Mandela's body in the capital, Pretoria, unless they are already in the queue.

The anti-apartheid leader's body is lying in state at the Union Buildings, where he was sworn in as South Africa's first black president in 1994.

More than 50,000 people were waiting for buses when the warning came. Mandela will be buried at his ancestral home in Qunu on Sunday. He died on 5 December aged 95.  -- BBC
18:28  The BJP-AAP partnership is doomed to fail in the unlikely even that it gets off the ground. The BJP has offered 'constructive support' to AAP ahead of Kejriwal's meet with the Lt Gov of Delhi tomorrow.

Nitin Gadkari says of AAP: Jhoote aarop lagana inka dhandha hai, teen chaar mahine mein inki dukaan bandh ho jayegi. (Making false allegations is their business. They will shut shop in three to four days.)

This is probably with reference to the Shanti Bhushan's remark that the BJP could be responsible for the fake article under his byline on Mail Today.  He said it was a political conspiracy against AAP and the BJP was probably behind it.
18:18  Why the US cannot handcuff Indian diplomat Khobragade:  This is why Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summons US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell in connection with arrest of its Deputy Consul General in New York. Diplomatic agents may not be handcuffed, arrested or detained; or be prosecuted no matter how serious the offense. Read

High-ranking Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was arrested and handcuffed in public in New York on Thursday for allegedly lying on the visa application for an Indian national who worked for her for less than four dollars an hour.
18:15  Bibek Debroy tweets: Articles will henceforth carry caveat. "Newspaper/magazine disowns any responsibility about authenticity of the author. Caveat reader."

An op-ed piece purportedly written by Shanti Bhushan in Mail Today criticises Arvind Kejriwal and says the AAP chief hid his political ambitions under the garb of the anti-corruption movement.

Shanti Bhushan, a Supreme Court advocate and founding member of AAP says he has not written it and that the article is forged. Speaking to TV channels he said the BJP could be behind this and it was nothing short of a political conspiracy against AAP.

Bhushan, if you recollect, donated Rs 1 crore to AAP.

This is what Bhushan had tweeted earlier today: "The article published in mail today not written by me..Hv filed the legal notice,will sue them."

Now, Mail Today editor, Sandeep Bamzai concedes that the article is not genuine and was not written by Bhushan.
18:11  Maharashtra Assembly passes anti-superstition bill :  The Maharashtra assembly passed the landmark Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other evils and Aghori practices Act today.

This is the landmark bill which the late Dr Narendra Dabholkar had toiled for and paid with his life when he was murdered by people who opposed his anti-superstition ideology.

Dr Dabholkar's son Hamid told, "We are happy that this Bill has been passed. This is just the beginning. I hope it is passed soon in the Upper House and is made a law soon, as it will definitely help in preventing more innocent people from falling prey to such inhuman ills which allow human sacrifices." -- Nita Kolhatkar.
18:00  Shivraj Singh Chouhan to be sworn in as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh tomorrow.
17:58  Narayan Sai aides detained for bribing cops; Rs 5 crore seized:   A sub-inspector and five aides of self-styled godman Asaram's son Narayan Sai were detained today for allegedly attempting to bribe the cops and other officials in a bid to weaken the sexual assault case against him and Rs 5 crore seized from their possesion.

Police said the Rs 5 crore seized from Sai's aides was allegedly meant to be given as bribe to cops, doctors and judicial officials.
17:56   And former home secretary RK Singh officially joins the BJP. 
17:40  Live! BJP offers 'constructive support' to AAP ahead of Kejriwal's meet with Lt Gov:  Two news breaks:

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summons US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell in connection with arrest of its Deputy Consul General in New York.

BJP has decided to offer 'constructive support' to AAP ahead of Arvind Kejrwal's meeting with the Lt Governor Najeeb Jung tomorrow. Unlikely to be any resolution to the formation of government in Delhi since AAP leader Yogendra Yadav told the media that when legislature party chairman Kejriwal meets Jung tomorrow, he will tell him that the party does not have the majority and was not inclined to form a government. The meeting is at 10:30 am tomorrow.
17:24  Why the Cong needs to sack Chidambaram to survive:  'The Congress can't return to power unless it reins in prices, lowers interest rates, taxes the rich,' says Praful Bidwai. "If this means sacking those most responsible for the UPA's pro-big business policies including Finance Minister Chidambaram, so be it!" Read
17:22  Live! Anna: I have no conflict with AAP, we all know who made whom:  Anna Hazare slams AAP member Gopal Rai for creating a ruckus at the venue of his fast at Ralegan Siddhi. He said while he doesn't want to blame anyone for what happened, Gopal Rai should not have sat at the venue and fasted as he was part of a political party. He said he has always maintained that there is no space for politics at his fasts.

He said he has no conflict with AAP. "Everyone knows who made whom. I will continue to sit here and fast even if I have to do it alone," he says.

Anna is on fast for the Parliament to pass the Janlokpal Bill.

Rai, who is at Ralegan Siddhi fasting with Anna Hazare for the Janlokpal Bill to be passed in this session of Parliament, was asked to leave the venue.

According to reports, Rai was asked to leave after a heated argument broke out between him and former Army chief VK Singh.

Three AAP members- Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai- arrived in Ralegan Siddhi on Thursday to join Hazare.

17:03  Advice for Anna: Accept what Parl gives you on Lokpal Bill :  Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today suggested that Team Anna should accept the Lokpal bill which "Parliament gives now" and hoped Anna Hazare agrees to it.

The former Team Anna member said the Lokpal bill might not be the same as wanted by Hazare, who is on an indefinite fast demanding stronger anti-graft measure.

However, "let us accept whatever the Parliament gives now, let us see how it functions, and if we find this is not enough- the institution is not functioning well- then we will make a demand to bring about the change," he said.

"Why miss this opportunity of getting this bill passed and creating an institution? Creating an institution is absolutely more necessary and important than asking for a perfect institution to be brought into," Hegde said.

Expressing his doubts about Hazare agreeing to this, the former Supreme Court judge said, "He has taken a firm stand on that... I wish he does though (agrees)."

On Hazare's fast, he said, "Starting the fast was for good cause because the government was defying something which the people wanted...; now they have placed it in the Rajya Sabha, I hope for the positive outcome."
16:58  Mandela memorial interpreter suffered ''schizophrenic episode'' at service:  And an update on the fraud of the year: South African sign language interpreter, who was branded fake for his performance at Nelson Mandela's memorial, has said he had suffered a schizophrenic episode during the service.

In an interview with the South African newspaper "The Star', Thamsanqa Jantjie said he suddenly lost concentration, started hallucinating and saw angels while interpreting alongside world dignitaries, reports.

He further said that still he could not leave as he did not wanted to cause an embarrassment to his nation. So he tried to control himself and did not show the world what was going on with him, the report added.

Jantjie felt sorry for what happened at the service as he did not know what triggered the attack.

Director of Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town Cara Loening said Jantjie is a complete fraud and he was not doing anything at the service, just literally flapping his arms around.
16:55  Queen Victoria wrote in Urdu:  And that, dear reader, is Queen Victoria's handwriting in Urdu!

The queen learnt Urdu from her secretary, an Indian Muslim called Abdul Karim. The queen's close relationship with the tall and handsome Karim has been the topic of much research.

Diaries add weight to suggestions that the queen was arguably far closer to Karim than she was to John Brown - the Scottish servant who befriended her after the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert in 1861.

They show that when the young Muslim was contemplating throwing in his job, soon after his employment started, because it was too "menial", the queen successfully begged him not to go.
16:52  'India shocked, appalled by US treatment of its diplomat':  India says it is shocked and appalled by what the US has done to its diplomat in New York and is forcefully taking up with the US the treatment meted out to arrested diplomat which is not acceptable.

Devyani Khobragade, deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women's affairs, Consulate General of India, New York, was arrested on Thursday morning for allegedly presenting fraudulent documents to the United States State Department in support of a visa application for an Indian national employed as a babysitter and housekeeper at Khobragade's home in Manhattan.  

The arrest of Khobragade, 39, was announced by Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
16:48  Dear Supreme Court, read the Kama Sutra:  India has always been on the side of erotic freedom. Read the opinion piece on the Indian Express.
16:33  Treason trial: Court asks Musharraf to appear on Dec 24:  Setting the ball rolling for the trial of Pervez Musharraf on a charge of high treason, a special court today summoned the former Pakistani military ruler to appear before it on December 24.

The three-judge court, during its maiden hearing, accepted the complaint registered by the government against the 70-year-old Musharraf.

He is the first general to face trial in Pakistan, which has been ruled by the military for more than half of its history. If convicted of treason, Musharraf could face either life imprisonment or the death penalty.
16:19  Shazia Ilmi files police complaint against sting journalists:   AAP spokesperson Shazia Ilmi, says she will be filing a criminal complaint with the Delhi police against journalists Anuranjan Jha, Deepak Chaurasia and another person for the sting operation against her in the run-up to the Delhi polls.

The sting operation allegedly showing prominent AAP members, including Ilmi, accepting funds without a proper background check. The party has also sued news channel 'India News' in relation with the case.
-- Onkar Singh
16:18  The death of Nelson Mandela has exposed the failings of his successors:  Never, never and never again will South Africa receive in one day anything like the number of global leaders that turned up for Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB stadium this week.

Never again -- short, maybe, of another football World Cup -- will the country receive such widespread and intense media attention.

It was an opportunity to do honour to Mandela and put on a spectacle to display South Africa, as befitted the mighty occasion, in the best possible light. But, boy, did they blow it.  Read
16:02  Live! Mail Today apologises to Shanti Bhushan for carrying fake article :  Sandeep Bamzai, editor Mail Today tweets: We have been had, our deepest apologies to Mr Shanti Bhushan whose purported article has been carried on our edit page this morning.

If you've just joined us, this is what happened: An op-ed piece purportedly written by Shanti Bhushan in Mail Today criticises Arvind Kejriwal and says the AAP chief hid his political ambitions under the garb of the anti-corruption movement.

Shanti Bhushan, a Supreme Court advocate and founding member of AAP says he has not written it and that the article is forged. Speaking to TV channels he said the BJP could be behind this and it was nothing short of a political conspiracy against AAP.

Bhushan, if you recollect, donated Rs 1 crore to AAP.

This is what Bhushan had tweeted earlier today: "The article published in mail today not written by me..Hv filed the legal notice,will sue them."

Now, Mail Today editor, Sandeep Bamzai concedes that the article is not genuine and was not written by Bhushan.  
15:51  My brother Riyad:  In the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling effectively re-criminalizing homosexuality, these excerpts from Roy Wadia's piece, about his brother the late Riyad Wadia, filmmaker and LGBT activist, have more resonance than ever before. Riyad was once at the vanguard of change of a new India. This year marks Riyad's tenth death anniversary. Read
15:49  Winnie Mandela describes Nelson's death:  Nelson Mandela's ex-wife describes the final moments of his life as he passed away last week at his home in Johannesburg. Read
15:38  Parliament adjourned till Monday:  And the Rajya Sabha has also been adjourned till Monday after chaos and interruptions disallow discussions on Lokpal Bill.

Lok Sabha was adjourned till Monday, a while ago.
15:37  Book on 'submissive wives' becomes hit in Spain :   Book that advises new wives "to be submissive" proves surprise success in Spain but angers feminists. Read
15:32  SP wants discussion on price rise before Lokpal Bill :  Update on the Lokpal Bill which has been tabled in the Rajya Sabha today. The Samajwadi Party today gave a clear indication that it would not allow the Rajya Sabha to debate the Bill saying unless the issue of price rise is discussed it will not allow the House to function.

On the other hand, the BJP insisted that all parties should agree to maintain decorum in the Upper House and participate in the debate on Lokpal Bill.

"BJP wants the Lokpal Bill to be passed. We request all members to maintain peace in the House and allow the debate to take place. Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley will present BJP's views on the Bill when the debate takes place," Deputy Leader of BJP in the Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till Monday.
15:12  Arvind Kejriwal to meet Lt Governor tomorrow :  AAP's Yogendra Yadav said Arvind Kejriwal will meet Lt Governor Najeeb Jung tomorrow.  The governor has invited AAP to form the government in Delhi as it is the second largest party. The BJP has refused to form the government as it does not have a majority.
14:59  AAP member Gopal Rai leaves Ralegan Siddhi after public rebuke from Anna:   Gopal Rai, who is a member of the National Executive of the Aam Aadmi party tweets, saying he is leaving Ralegan Siddhi, but will keep fasting for JanLokpal. Some people are unhappy with Anna and AAP coming together.

If you've just joined us: Rai, who is at Ralegan Siddhi fasting with Anna Hazare for the Janlokpal Bill to be passed in this session of Parliament, was asked to leave the venue.

According to reports, Rai was asked to leave after a heated argument broke out between him and former Army chief VK Singh.

Three AAP members- Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai- arrived in Ralegan Siddhi on Thursday to join Hazare.

What happened was this: Former army chief VK Singh, who is an ardent Anna Hazare supporter was speaking at the Ralegan Siddhi rally, when he said "some people think they are bigger than Anna." Without naming Kejriwal, VK Singh said that people were extracting mileage from being associated with Hazare.

Rai, an AAP member, objected to what he believed was a snide reference made to Arvind Kejriwal.

Anna rebuked Rai saying he was not welcome to join the fast with him and had told him so earlier. "We haven't not asked you to fast, if you want to create a noise then you can leave Ralegan Siddhi," said Hazare.

Anna and Arvind Kejriwal split ways after the formation of AAP. Anna has always insisted that the Janlokpal movement should not be politicised.

"Someone who deserted Anna and joined hands with Modi is accusing others of betrayal," Rai later said, referring to General Singh who was seen with Narendra Modi at a rally in Haryana couple of months back.
14:36  RS adjourned till 3:30 pm:  Minutes after the Rajya Sabha convenes at 2:30 pm, the house is adjourned for an hour after ruckus over the Lokpal Bill. Earlier in the day, the Bill was tabled in the RS. 
14:33  Shanti Bhushan: India Today article is forged, political conspiracy against AAP:   Meanwhile, another mystery, that for now remains unsolved.

Who wrote this piece in India Today?

Though the byline appears as Shanti Bhushan, the Supreme Court advocate and founding member of AAP says he has not written it and that the article is forged. Speaking to TV channels he said the BJP could be behind this and it was nothing short of a political conspiracy against AAP.

Bhushan, if you recollect, donated Rs 1 crore to AAP.

In the article, Bhushan purportedly criticised Kejriwal and said the AAP chief hid his political ambitions under the garb of the anti-corruption movement.
14:15  Live! Anna, Kejriwal rift widens: AAP member asked to leave fast venue at Ralegan Siddhi:   Former army chief VK Singh, who is an ardent Anna Hazare supporter is speaking at Ralegan Siddhi where the Gandhian is fasting for the Lokpal Bill to be passed in Parliament.

Apparently, VK Singh while addressing the rally said some people think they are bigger than Anna.

Gopal Rai, an AAP member, objected to the snide reference made to Arvind Kejriwal, to which Anna rebuked Rai saying he was not welcome to join the fast with him.

Clearly, the rift between Anna and AAP is getting wider.

Remember, just before Delhi went to the polls, Anna had written a letter to Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal asking him to specify if the money collected for the movement for Lokayukta is being used to fund his election campaign.
14:00  Consensus after BJP's 3-hour meet: Won't ally with DMK :  At the BJP meet which went on for over three hours, the consensus that evolved was that the party would never align with the DMK. The meeting was held at party headquarters at 11 Ashok Road and attended by the top brass. Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh were emphatic that the party reject the Tamil Nadu unit's suggestion that it cozy up to the DMK.

BJP Parliamentary Board had an inconclusive deliberations about the alliance of Soutern States. It has a broader outline of Tamil Nadu. That BJP shall go with MDMK and PMK, In the next one week, the BJP leader Rajnath SIngh shall meet Vaiko and Dr S Ramdoss in New Delhi to bring about a formula. Central leadership of BJP awaits response from Vijaykant-the leader of DMDK If he joins this front, it is good otherwise, BJP will go ahead with MDMK and PMK
13:52  Vice President M Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, and several other leaders offered floral tributes to the martyrs at a solemn ceremony to mark the 2001 attack on the Parliament House.
13:49  BJP launches three-pronged strategy to conquer Karnataka:  Our sources in Delhi tell us that the BJP Central leadership has evolved a three-pronged strategy for Karnataka.

1. Yeddyurappa should merge his party KJP with the BJP, though LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj are opposed to this.

2. Yeddyurappa should join the NDA and negotiate for seat arrangements.

3. The best option by far, according to party sources, is that Yeddy's KJP should contest the Lok Sabha polls under the BJP's poll symbol -- lotus.
13:37  Father to marry off daughter after losing in gambling:  In a shocking incident, a gambler has fixed his 13-year-old daughter's marriage to his neighbour after losing to him during a marathon gambling session at Krishnapur - Buritala village in Malda district in West Bengal.

The father, a compulsive gambler, was locked in a gambling bout with local youth Sukumar Mandal on December 1. After losing everything, he put his girl at stake, and again lost.

The two families started making wedding plans immediately after that. The marriage has been fixed for January 22 next and the engagement ceremony on December 9 was attended by villagers and relatives.

The girl, a Class VIII student, had stopped attending school after she was engaged to the man, who is double her age.  The BDO said all out efforts would be made to stop the marriage as early marriage is a punishable offence.
13:34  Addl solicitor general Indira Jaising writes to PM demanding AK Ganguly's head :  Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising writes to PM Dr Manmohan Singh demanding action against former Supreme Court justice AK Ganguly.  She says Ganguly must quit after a three-judge committee indicted him of committing an "act of unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" towards a woman law intern. The committee had dropped any further action since he was a retired judge on the day of the incident. 
13:19  Vasundhara Raje sworn in as Rajasthan CM:  Just in: Vasundhara Raje sworn in as Chief Minister of Rajasthan by Governor Margaret Alva.

Yesterday, Raje, called the Congress garbage that has been cleaned from the state. The comment was made at a rally in the Churu constituency from where party candidate Rajendra Rathore was contesting.

The assembly poll in Churu was cancelled on December 1 following the death of a Bahujan Samajwadi Party candidate after filing his nomination. Rathore, who spoke before Raje, termed the Congress garbage and told the gathering, "It is a matter of happiness for us that Vasundhara-ji is here after cleaning garbage like the Congress from the state."

When the BJP's Churu candidate finished his speech, Raje came to the dais and said, "Rajendra, I have not removed the garbage (Congress), it is the people of Rajasthan who cleaned it."

"Now, Ashok Gehlot is not a magician, it is the people of Rajasthan who are,' said Raje referring to chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who comes from a family of magicians.

In Rajasthan politics, Gehlot was considered a magician.
13:11  Tweet from ESPNcricinfo: Michael Clarke is ICC Cricketer of the Year, as well as Test Cricketer. Sangakkara wins ODI nod, and Pujara is Emerging Cricketer.
13:10  Modi likely to head poll campaign in UP, Maharashtra, Bihar :  BJP president Rajnath Singh at the BJP Central Parliamentary Board said that Narendra Modi, the party's Prime Minsterial candidate will assume responsibility of major states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in May.

The other states will be left to the Central leadership. For example in Tamil Nadu, Modi will not interfere with Jayalalitha's AIDMK because it believes there are parties that need to be kept for post poll scenarios.

Modi has told Rajnath Singh that he wants to be a stand-by. He does not want to be involved in every state.

The party's internal assessment from southern states is that it should aspire for a maximum of 25 Lok Sabha seats and a minimum of 18 to 20 MPs except for Karnataka where the BJP believes it will get between 10 and 13 seats. In Tamil Nadu it hopes to get between three and five seats and up to eight seats in Andhra Pradesh and a seat or so in Kerala. 
12:53  Shanti Bhushan to IBN7: The article published in mail today not written by me..Hv filed the legal notice,will sue them. 
12:52  Locating AAP in the political spectrum:  Arvind Kejriwal was giant-killer-in-chief in the just concluded state elections. Whether you like him or not, it can't be denied that he's done something that seemed undo-able till a few months ago.

The elections results in general show widespread discontent among voters, which translated into a strong anti-Congress wave. And riding on this wave is the BJP, led by Narendra Modi.

The only break in this macro-trend is the rise of Kejriwal.

12:50  Delhi amid victory and protests:  While the euphoria over AAP's poll performance reached a crescendo, Delhi was moving quietly towards remembering the 16 December gang rape. Read
12:48  Shanti Bhushan: Kejriwal on course to ruin 2014 for BJP :  Arvind Kejriwal might prove to be a spoiler for the BJP bandwagon in 2014.

During the Delhi assembly elections, Kejriwal and party made it quite clear that they were opposed to the BJP more than the Congress.

Kejriwal very cleverly targeted BJP using the corruption plank, equating BJP and Congress on one hand and on the other hand meeting Muslim leaders to acquire Muslim support on a secular plank knowing that Muslims, who were notionally against the BJP, are now were fed up of the Congress and seeking a new platform to stand against the BJP.

12:41  Anna has lost 1.6 kilos since hunger strike began on Tuesday:  Activist Anna Hazare has lost 1.6 kgs since he began his hunger strike on Tuesday to pressure the government into clearing the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill in this session of Parliament, scheduled to end on December 20.Doctors say Anna's blood pressure and other vital parameters are normal.
12:32  Anna's hunger strike enters 4th day; MNS lends support:  Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger strike pressing for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament entered the fourth today.

The 76-year-old anti-corruption crusader has said that he will not break his fast till the Jan Lokpal Bill is passed in Parliament.

Hazare is fasting near the Yadavbaba temple at Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, under the banner of 'Jantantra Morcha'.

Meanwhile, supporters of Hazare thronged the village from places like Pune and Aurangabad today. MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar, who left for the village today, said he would be meeting Hazare to extend his party's support.
12:30  Mothers take lead in fight for gay sons:  2: Mothers seem to understand more, even if it takes them a while. Take, for example, Vijayalaksmi Raychaudhury. She took nearly a decade to accept her son Anis's sexual orientation.

Now 79, she senses time is running out for her and wants the nation to wipe off the stigma associated with homosexuality.

Shakuntala Vijay Kumar Khire took her son Bindu Madhav to spiritual leaders and astrologers to "cure' him when he told her he was gay. That was 13 years ago. Today, the 78-year-old is "completely at ease' with his sexuality.  Read more
12:28  Supreme misgovernance and unbridled flattery have limits :  "Many of my generation consider Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro to be the most insanely rollicking Hindi slapstick comedy movie ever made. Directed by Kundan Shah, it featured Ravi Baswani and Naseeruddin Shah as down-and-out Bombay photographers who are on the throes of getting bankrupt after a failed attempt to set up a studio on expensive Pedder Road.

Salvation comes when they are given an assignment by a tabloid called Khabardaar to expose shady land grabs and illegal construction deals in the city involving the corrupt municipal commissioner called D'Mello played by Satish Shah, and two even more crooked property developers and builders, one of whom is Ahuja, essayed by Om Puri."


12:20  Redrafted Lokpal Bill tabled in Rajya Sabha:   Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday that the the Lokpal Bill remained the government's priority and would be taken up in Rajya Sabha, and then in the Lok Sabha.

He also dismissed suggestions that there was any plan to curtail the Winter session of Parliament.

Asked about reports that government is considering adjourning Parliament sine die by Friday, he said, "There is no plan at the moment to curtail the session. We have allocated time for other businesses and we have a list of priorities".

He said the government also has to secure the passage of the supplementary demands for grants of the finance and railway ministries.

The Winter session, which started on December 5, is scheduled to end on December 20.

AAP and BJP has said they will oppose the diluted Lokpal Bill. MLA Manish Sisodia says AAP will oppose the Lokpal Bill as it is still technically weak. 
12:14  MoS PMO V Narayanswamy tables the redrafted Lokpal Bill. The house is adjourned till 2:30 pm. 
12:13  Lokpal bill good enough to begin with:  Kiran Bedi, an ardent Anna Hazare supporter on why the Lokpal bill good enough to begin with:

Why is Anna Hazare on a fast for the Lokpal Bill yet again, this time in his own village at Ralegaon Siddhi, near Pune (Maharashtra)?

Where is the Lokpal Bill for which the country has been agitating since the past three years?

This is even after Parliament passed a unanimous resolution on August 28, 2011, and the Prime Minister sent a signed letter to Anna, conveying the sentiment and a written commitment that a strong Lokpal Bill shall be passed!  Read
12:05  Queen angry at police officers eating her Bombay mix:  One of the world's richest women, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is upset royal protection officers helped themselves to Bombay mix and nuts left out for her around Buckingham Palace, a court heard today. Read
11:59  Fanboy MPs cheer Sachin in Parl, Mani Shankar Aiyar asks autograph :  Details on Sachin Tendulkar's appearance in Parliament today.

Tendulkar was the cynosure of all eyes in the Rajya Sabha today when he attended the House for the first time during the current Winter Session of Parliament.

Clad in a check-shirt and a black pullover, Tendulkar walked in from the Chairman's chamber shortly before the House was called to order.

He was greeted by many members as he walked through the aisle to the exit only to make an entry again from the door nearest to his seat.

Soon after the House paid homage to the martyrs of the dastardly attack of Parliament House 12 years ago, Chairman Hamid Ansari said it was a "matter of great pride that the government has decided to confer Bharat Ratna on Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, a nominated member of the House and an outstanding cricketer."

He extended congratulations to Tendulkar on his own behalf and on behalf of the House.

Members thumped desks to congratulate Tendulkar, who stood up to acknowledge their greetings with folded hands.

When the House was adjourned, members queued up to congratulate him with some seeking his autograph.

Tendulkar greeted each one of them with a smile and a warm handshake even as Mani Shankar Aiyar, another Nominated member, came up to his seat and was engaged in an animated conversation. However, the exchange of greetings did not stop.

Nominated member Anu Aga in between took his autograph.

Not to be left behind, Aiyar too asked Tendulkar to scribble a message for him. Tendulkar, who last came to Parliament in August during the Monsoon Session, stayed in the House for a brief while after the House was adjourned amid din over various issues.
11:49  Lalu can't contest polls for six years:   Despite the bail, Lalu still cannot contest elections for six years. The RJD chief was disqualified as a Lok Sabha member under a recent Supreme Court order that an MP or MLA would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more and under some other laws even without jail sentence.

He was given bail on the principle of parity.
11:46  Lalu gets bail in fodder scam, spent 2 months in jail :   Just in: Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav gets bail in fodder scam case. In October, Lalu was given a five-year jail term and was sentenced on September 30.

Another 44 accused, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, six politicians and four IAS officers, were also convicted by court of Pravas Kumar Singh for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa treasury.

Of these, 37 are already out on bail. 

11:39  As usual, pandemonium over AP bifurcation in Parliament:  Pro and anti-Telangana slogans by members on either side of the divide pushed Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly into pandemonium leading to its adjournment for 30 minutes this morning.

MLAs from Telangana, including those of ruling Congress, stormed the Speaker's podium as soon as the day's proceedings began and demanded that the draft AP Reorganisation Bill-2013, referred to the Legislature by the President of India last night, be taken up for discussion immediately.
11:36  Live! Are you an artist or a writer? Come stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan, says Pranab:  Taking forward his initiative to "open the Rashtrapati Bhavan' to the people, President Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of his birthday on Wednesday announced a 30-day 'in-residence' programme for artists, writers and innovation scholars, the first of its kind.

The programme will allow artists and writers with an "established track record in the field of art and literature' to stay for a month and be a part of the life of the Estate.  Read more
11:31  Lokpal Bill in RS today, Mayawati promises support :   Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) stunning poll debut, Anna Hazare's ongoing fast and the approaching Lok Sabha election has brought the Lokpal bill back to political centrestage, with the Manmohan Singh government displaying fresh zeal in seeking its passage.

With the government pushing the anti-graft law after a year's hiatus, BJP said the legislation can be passed without further discussion if certain clauses like measures to enhance the autonomy of the CBI are made part of the bill.

The BSP has said it will support the Lokpal Bill.
11:25  North Korea executes Kim Jong-un's 'traitor' uncle:  North Korea said on Friday that it has executed Kim Jong-un's uncle, calling the leader's former mentor a traitor who tried to seize power and overthrow the state.

The stunning announcement came only days after Jang Song-thaek -- long considered the country's No. 2 power -- was removed from all his posts because of a long list of allegations, including corruption, drug use, gambling and womanizing. 

In an unusually detailed announcement, the official news agency KCNA said Jang had been tried for "such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state".

It called him a "traitor to the nation for all ages" and "worse than a dog".
11:15  BJP demands Justice Ganguly's head:  In the Lok Sabha, the leader of the opposition, Sushma Swaraj making a statement on Justice AK Ganguly. She says the retired Supreme Court judge should step down from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission or should be sacked. She says the powerful must be punished so that others are taught a lesson.

Justice Ganguly is accused of sexually harassing a law intern. The TMC says it also supports the BJP and wants Justice Ganguly to step down immediately. The rest of the MPs raise slogans: "We want justice."

This is the first time that the BJP has raised the issue of Justice Ganguly in Parliament.

Telangana MPs continue to protest and the house is adjourned till noon. So, both houses to meet at 12 pm.
11:07  Live! Sachin makes surprise appearance in Parliament, RS adjourned till noon:  Parliament in session. Surprise appearance by Sachin Tendulkar. Chairman Hamid Ansari welcomes him and Sachin smiles shyly. MPs back to business shouting slogans. Ansari says he can't hear anything and the Rajya Sabha is adjourned till noon.
11:01  LeT operative planning terror attack on Delhi held :  Details of the aborted LeT attack: A suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Mohammed Shahid has been arrested from Mewat in Haryana by Delhi Police which claimed to have busted a terror module planning to attack prominent market places in the national capital.

"Shahid was arrested from Nuh in Mewat.His other associates are on the run," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said.

The terror module was spread across Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. A top LeT commander, identified as Javed Baluchi and believed to be operating from Pakistan, was their handler.

Shahid visited Pakistan twice in the past and apparently met Baluchi, sources said. Shahid came under police scanner after investigators traced Baluchi's calls to his cellphone.

Special Cell officers have also recovered a diary from Shahid which gives details of a terror attack being planned in the national capital, the sources said.

With his arrest, police have claimed to have busted a module of the terror outfit planning to attack prominent market places in the national capital.
10:57  Congress, BJP MLAs want to back AAP govt:  On a day Harsh Vardhan told Lt-Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung the BJP did not have the numbers to form a government, legislators from both the Congress and the BJP on Thursday suggested they back an AAP government.
10:55  Government fast-tracks Lokpal Bill, likely in Rajya Sabha today:   The government's plan to quickly push the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha today could run into trouble again, with the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party warning it against diluting provisions of the proposed anti-corruption law.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday accused the government of ignoring key recommendations of an all-party parliamentary committee while redrafting the Bill. Read more
10:23  BJP to demand Justice Ganguly's removal in Parliament:  BJP Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has given a notice to suspend Question Hour to demand the removal of Justice A K Ganguly, a retired judge of the Supreme Court who has been accused of sexually harassing a law intern.

09:20  Singapore imposes alcohol ban in Little India :  Singapore has imposed a ban on the consumption and sale of alcohol in Little India locality in Singapore over this weekend following last Sunday's riot by some 400 South Asian workers, media report said.        

"Nobody would be allowed to sell or consume alcohol in approximately 1.1 sq km zone declared as proclaimed area for the weekend under the Public Order (Preservation) Act," said Deputy Commissioner of Police T Raja Kumar.        

Anyone who is drunk or disorderly in the area can be arrested for being a public nuisance, he said.  
08:44  LeT operative arrested in Delhi:  A suspected Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative has been arrested in Delhi. The arrested man was in touch with LeT commander Javed Baluchi, said a report by Times Now.

The man, one Mohammad Shahid, was allegedly plotting a strike in the national capital.
03:29  'Fake' Mandela memorial interpreter asks forgiveness:  

The sign language interpreter widely ridiculed for his performance at the Nelson Mandela memorial stands by his work. Thamsanqa Jantjie said Thursday that he is a fully qualified interpreter and has been trusted in the past with other big events. "It has been many years I have been doing this job" he told CNN.


"My portfolio shows that I have been a champion of what I have been doing." Not so, says the head of the South Africa Translators' Institute.


Read the full report on CNN

03:27  Tough times for India's transgender community :  

Transgender people in India face turbulent times, as top court reinstates ban on gay sex.


Read Sohan Gupta's piece on Al Jazeera

03:25  North Korean leader's uncle 'executed over corruption':  

The once-powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been executed after being purged for corruption, state news agency KCNA reports. Chang Song-thaek was dramatically removed from a Communist Party session by armed guards earlier this week.


He was accused of forming factions against the state, corruption and "depraved" acts such as womanising and drug abuse. It was the biggest upheaval since Mr Kim succeeded his father two years ago.


KCNA said Mr Chang had been executed immediately after a military trial on Thursday, calling him a "traitor" and accusing him of seeking to overthrow the state.


Read more on BBC

00:23  Live! Thane building crash accused NCP corporator gets bail:  

The Bombay High court granted bail today to NCP corporator from Mumbra Hira Patil, who was arrested along with 23 others in connection with the infamous Shil-Daighar Adarsh Building crash on April 4, which claimed as many as 74 lives and injured more than 60.        


However, it is not known on what grounds Patil has been granted bail by the court of Justice A R Joshi of the Bombay High Court. Patil is the fifth accused to be granted bail, while four others were given bail by the sessions court, which include a police constable and three others.        


After being in jail for a little more than eight months, Patil will walk free to work in his ward. More than a dozen civic personnel including top officers had been arrested in the case, besides a couple of real estate developers.

00:20  Top headlines at this hour:  

Jamaat leader executed in Bangladesh for 1971 war crimes

BJP declines to form govt in Delhi; AAP invited for discussion

Cong considering extending support to AAP: Rahul

Nawaz Sharif sends formal invite to Manmohan Singh

Karzai arrives in Delhi on four-day visit

Ex-home secretary R K Singh set to join BJP tomorrow

Homosexuality: Rahul against SC verdict; BJP acts prissy

Telangana Bill sent to AP assembly with 6-week timeline

Lokpal Bill to come up in Rajya Sabha on Friday

Anna a permanent source of inspiration: Kumar Vishwas

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