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LIVE! My twitter account has been faked: Kejriwal

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December 17, 2013

23:42  My twitter account has been faked: Kejriwal:  
Aam Aadmi Party Convener Arvind Kejriwal today claimed somebody had faked his micro-blogging site and was posting comments against anti-graft activist Anna Hazare.

The AAP leader said he can't speak ill about Hazare, whom he revered as a father figure and guru, and filed a complaint against it in the cyber crime cell. 

"I can never think of criticising Anna. Somebody had faked my Twitter account and posted comments against him," he said, adding it is "an attempt to malign me". 

The AAP leader, who had defeated Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in recent assembly elections, has been active on the micro-blogging site and had been posting comments on various issues.
23:38  6 NATO soldiers killed in Afghan helicopter crash:  
Six soldiers from the US-led NATO mission fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan were killed in a helicopter crash today, with NATO officials saying it was not a suspected militant strike. 

However the Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the deaths, using their main Twitter account to report that their fighters had shot down a US helicopter in the province of Zabul.

The incident was the single biggest loss of life for the NATO mission in Afghanistan since seven Georgian soldiers died when a suicide bomber blew up a truck loaded with explosives outside a base in Helmand province in June. 

"Six International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following an aircraft crash in southern Afghanistan today," an ISAF statement said, declining to give the nationalities of the victims. 

"The cause of the crash is under investigation, however initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash.
23:37  Delhi BJP says it is 'battle ready' as uncertainty looms:  
Amid continued stalemate over government formation in the city, BJP today said it was "battle ready" for another round of assembly polls. 

A meeting of Delhi BJP's Election Core Group reviewed the current situation and discussed the future strategy. 

BJP's Delhi Election in-charge Nitin Gadkari told the meeting that party cadres need to work harder now to fulfil aspirations of the Delhiites. 

"If elections are held again, BJP will emerge much stronger with a clear majority," Gadkari said. 

Delhi BJP President Vijay Goel attacked Aam Admi Party for not coming forward to form a government despite Congress extending support to it. 

"The BJP did not have the required numbers so we could not form the government. But Congress had given unconditional support to AAP and hence the party had numbers but it still did not form the government," Goel said in a statement. 
20:40  SC justifies court-monitored CBI probe in Coalgate:  
The Supreme Court today justified the court-monitored CBI investigation into coal blocks allocation scam, which allegedly caused Rs 1.86 lakh crore loss to the exchequer, saying it would retain public confidence in the impartial inquiry into the alleged crime.

Further, the concern of the court is that "there is no undue delay in the investigation and the probe is conducted in a free and fair manner with no external interference" as there have been allegations that coal blocks were allocated for "extraneous considerations by unknown public servants in connivance with businessmen, industrialists and middlemen".

While giving reasons for favouring the court-monitored probe, a bench headed by justice R M Lodha said "the court is of the view that a fair, proper and full investigation by CBI into every accusation in respect of allocation of coal blocks shall help in retaining public confidence in the conduct of inquiry/investigation."
19:52  Four killed in Turkey military helicopter crash:  A Turkish military helicopter crashed near the capital Ankara today, killing all four of its crew members, local media reported.
19:52  Cong plays down DMK ruling out alliance for LS poll:  Congress today played down DMK ruling out any alliance with it for 2014 Lok Sabha polls, saying there was "nothing new" in this "late announcement" as the "alliance was broken long back". 

Party spokesperson P C Chacko at the same time said "what will happen in future is something nobody can predict." "It is a very late announcement. The alliance was broken long time back...we will take it for granted, no problem.
19:09  LoC tension, soldier killings at DGMO talks :  The DGMOs of the two sides have not held any meetings in the past few years. Indian DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia and his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Amir Riaz spoke on their hotline on October 25 and 29.

On September 29, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif agreed on a meeting between the DGMOs when they held talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The premiers felt a meeting between the military officials would help reduce tensions on the LoC that were at a peak following the killing of five Indian soldiers in an attack in August.

However, the meeting was not scheduled and both sides did not give reasons for the delay.

The already strained bilateral relations took a hit early this year when two Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops along the LoC in January.

Fierce exchanges of fire on the ceasefire line claimed the lives of soldiers on both sides. Both countries accused each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement.
18:59  No apology from US yet:  The US virtually justified the reported strip search by New York police of Khobragade, saying "standard procedures" have been followed during her arrest.

"Diplomatic Security, which is under the State Department purview, followed standard procedures during her arrest," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at a daily news conference in Washington.

She was asked about reports that the Indian diplomat was strip searched and confined with drug addicts after her detention apart from being subjected to DNA swabbing.

Reacting sharply, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said, "It is despicable and barbaric".

The strong comments by the NSA came as Indian leaders, including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, refused to meet a US Congressional delegation as a mark of protest over the treatment meted out to the senior diplomat.
18:48  LIVE! DGMO level talks between India, Pak at Wagah on Dec 24 :  India accepts Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) level talks offer from Pakistan. The meeting will take place on 24 December. The meeting between the two DGMO's was a key understanding achieved when  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharief had met at the UN in September.

India will be represented by DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia at the December 24 meet at Wagah, while the Pakistani side will be led by Maj Gen Aamer Riaz.
18:23  Punish US diplomats with same sex companions: Yashwant Sinha:  With India cutting down privileges of US diplomats following an IFS officer's arrest in New York, BJP leader Yaswant Singh today demanded that the government take action against US personnel in India having same sex companions following the Supreme Court order against gay sex.

"Media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats' companions.

'Companions' means that they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, it is completely illegal in our country, just as paying less wages was illegal in the US.

"So, why does not the Government of India go ahead and arrest them and punish them," Sinha said.
18:20  'Diplomacy operates on the principle of reciprocity':  "The arrest and the treatment meted out to the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade deserves to be condemned. The United States unilateralism in narrowing down the scope of diplomatic immunity should not be accepted by India. Article 31 of the Vienna Convention clearly provides that a diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from criminal action of the receiving State."

That's Arun Jaitley's blog on the Khobragade issue. Read the complete blog here.
18:18  That's a picture of barricades being removed outside the US embassy in Delhi. This is one of the measures taken by India to express its displeasure over the treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat in the US. 
18:16  Kamal Nath: Lok Sabha will pass Lokpal Bill tomorrow:   Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath says the Lokpal Bill is the need of the hour and he is happy that it was passed. Stepping out of Parliament House, the minister said that the Lok Sabha would pass the bill unanimously tomorrow as well. 
18:03   K N Balagopal (CPI-M) supported the Bill and sought an amendment to include the public private projects (PPPs) under the purview of the measure.

Barun Mukherji (AIFB) too sought bringing PPPs under the ambit of the proposed law.

Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) also supported the Bill.

Naresh Gujral (SAD), Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD), Ranbir Singh Parjapati (INLD) and Amar Singh (Ind) also participated in the discussion.
18:00  The debate on the Lokpal Bill which began at around 1 pm, has finally ended.
17:59  Who said what on the Lokpal Bill while it was being debated in the RS:  Opposing the Bill, Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) said, "Creating an extra-constitutional body Lokpal amounts to blatant attempt to undermine our Constitution." "Tomorrow, if the Lokpal falters, there is no provision to remove it," he said. Desai also mentioned that in the past, as many as eight Bills on Lokpal were introduced but all lapsed. "From 1966 to 2011, nothing came up for creation of Lokpal," he said.

Supporting the Bill, Y S Chowdary (TDP) said Andhra Pradesh would have benefited if the Bill was passed last year. He suggested the government to have a proper monitoring of the proposed Lokpal in the first five years and a system of submitting a performance report to Parliament.

M S Gill (Cong) favoured the Bill but begged to differ on a provision to bring Prime Minister under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill saying that there are other ways. He suggested that the government must reduce "suspicion" on bureaucrats as they are doing great service to the country. Gill, who is also Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, said he saw "the dominance" of advocates, judges and police at present in the country.

M P Achuthan (CPI) moved an amendment to bring all entities getting concessions from the government under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill. He also asked the government to also bring the Citizen Charter Bill and the Whistle-blower Bill in the House soon.

Bhalchandra Mungekar (Cong) supported the Bill and said he was not comfortable including incumbent Prime Minister under the it. "Including Prime Minister demolishes the moral authority of the Bill," he added.
17:52  RS passes Lokpal Bill, Lok Sabha debate tomorrow:  Loksabha will take up the debate on the Lokpal Bill tomorrow. Anna Hazare and his camp cheer as they watch the proceedings on TV from Ralegan Siddhi. Addressing his followers in Ralegan Siddhi, Anna says he has full faith that the bill will be passed in the Lok Sabha. He says he will end his fast, which is in its eight day, tomorrow and thanks the RS MPs.   
17:48  LIVE! Historic Lokpal Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha :  And so, the Lokpal Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha. 
17:47  When Parliament works, as it did today, it's heartening to note we can have absolutely stellar, civil, debates on issues like the Lokpal. 
17:45  Meanwhile, the Maharashtra governor refuses to give prosecution sanction against former CM Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh scam. Details awaited.
17:41  RS set to vote on Lokpal Bill :  Rajya Sabha set to pass the Lokpal Bill. Each clause and the amendments thereon is being voted on now. Hamid Ansari, who is in the chair, says the ayes have it, for almost every clause. 
17:35  Anna Hazare supporters begin celebrations at Ralegan Siddhi, where he is on fast for the Lokpal Bill.

The voting is going happen right now.
17:26  Voting on the Lokpal Bill is underway in the Rajya Sabha. :  Voting on the Lokpal Bill is underway in the Rajya Sabha. 
17:16  Charges against 7 Indians dropped, 2 arraigned: Singapore riot:   Seven out of the 33 Indians charged with alleged rioting in Singapore's worst outbreak of violence in over 40 years were acquitted today, even as two more of their compatriots were arraigned in the incident. Charges against seven Indians were dropped after they had spent a week in detention for their alleged roles in the December 8 riot in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most of the South Asian workers take their Sunday break.
17:14  Sucheta Dalal tweets: Why wasn't govt-IFS upset when President Kalam was humiliated? Or others imprisoned? Heck nobody in the country got so upset over beheading of soldiers or torture of braveheart capt Kalia! Why?
16:59  LIVE! Delhi police remove barricades outside US embassy:   And it's begun. The Delhi police have begun removing barricades outside the US embassy. This is one of the measures taken by India to express its displeasure over the outrageous treatment of Indian diplomat in the US, Devyani Khobragade.
16:52  Diana was not murdered:  In other news: There is "no credible evidence" the SAS was involved in the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Al Fayed, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The Met had received material in August about their deaths in a 1997 Paris car crash, which reports suggested related to claims the military was involved. Read
16:47  Here's a timeline of  the events that led to an Indian diplomat's arrest in New York last week. Read
16:39  Justice Ganguly seeks four weeks' time from NCW:  As pressure mounted on him to resign in the wake of sexual harassment charges, chief of West Bengal Human Rights Commission Justice AK Ganguly has sought four weeks' time from National Commission for Women which had asked him to explain his position.

"Justice Ganguly has sought four weeks' time citing he needs to collect all the documents regarding the case," Member of the NCW Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar said.

The Commission had taken a suo motu cognisance of the case in which retired Supreme Court judge Ganguly was accused of sexually harassing a law intern and had sent notice to him in December 6 to explain his position post the indictment by the three-member panel of the Supreme Court.

This is what the law intern said in her affidavit. Read
16:36  Tesco files first application for setting up multi-brand retail outlets in India, to invest USD 110 million.
16:14  Decision on party formation by Monday: Kejriwal:  So,the decision on whether Kejriwal will form a government will be taken on Monday. He says that the party will make public our stand on Monday and convey it to the Lt Governor. 
16:10  'Tired of hearing allegations that AAP running away from responsibilities':  The letter lists AAP's reservations of taking support from the BJP or the Congress and asks people to decide on whether it should form government after taking that into consideration. He says he is tired of hearing allegations that AAP was running away from responsibility. He said the party was in a position to implement its manifesto if it came to power. 

Mr Kejriwal seems to be down with a bad cough.
16:02  LIVE! AAP asks for public referendum on forming govt in Delhi :  Kejriwal slams the BJP for its silence on the letter written by AAP. He says the BJP did not even bother to respond to the letter. "In a democracy, that is a bare minimum that can be expected from a party," he says.

Kejriwal says he will call for a referendum from the public on whether the party should form government. AAP says it will ask for public opinion till Sunday. He said he wants to tell Delhi's voters that the party is not running away from responsibility.

Kejriwal reads out a letter that will be distributed across Delhi asking for the citizens' mandate. Twenty-five lakh copies of the letter have been made and will be distributed. That's way too many trees, Mr Kejriwal.

Responses to whether AAP should form govt can be sent by SMS, phone calls or emails.
15:51  Kejriwal holds meet on decision to form govt in Delhi:  AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is holding a press meet over its decision to form government in Delhi. Kejriwal talks about AAP's set of demands to the BJP and Congress and the responses of the parties. He says the Congress has replied, but the BJP has not.
15:42  The Khobragade effect: India reduces diplomatic immunity to US :   The Khobragade effect: These are the measures taken by India over its displeasure over the outrageous treatment of Indian diplomat in the US, Devyani Khobragade.

1. India to provide limited immunity to US embassy and consular staff.

2. India withdraws all airport passes for US diplomats - both from Embassy and Consulates.

3. India calls for details including salaries paid to all Indian staff employed at the US consulates, including by Consulate officers and families such as domestic help.

4. Government seeks visa and other details of all teachers at US schools and salary and bank accounts of those of Indians in these schools.    

5. Government stops all import clearances for the US embassy including liquor.

6. Government to remove all traffic barricades near the US Embassy on Nyaya Marg in Delhi except the picket.

7. India has recalled ID cards of consulate personnel and their families.
15:32  Omar Abdullah tweets: I'm all for reciprocity but removal of security barriers is taking things too far. These barriers weren't a privilege were they? By all means withdraw all the special privileges bestowed on the US Embassy in Delhi. Security has to be above political/diplomatic scraps.
15:30   All this means that under law of strict reciprocity, US diplomats too will have limited immunity.  
15:18  India gets tough with US: No VIP treatment for US envoys across India :  India gets tough finally.

India has asked for details of salaries of staff in US embassies and consulates, withdrawal of airport passes of all consulates and embassies, visa details of all teachers at US schools, salaries paid and bank account details. There is no thoroughfare outside US embassies and consulates for years. Salaries paid to their Indian domestic staff will be under scrutiny.

India has said if any US personnel is held in a white-collar crime like Devyani Khobragade was, the treatment meted out to her by the US, will be mirrored in India.
15:07  LIVE! India removes barricades outside US embassy, asks for salaries paid to Indian staff:   So, India puts in motion what we believe will be an effective way to address the issue of the humiliation of its diplomat in the US, Devyani Khobragade.

To begin with, US diplomats in consulates all over the country have been asked to surrender their identity cards, while import permits are also being withdrawn.

Senior leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sushilkumar Shinde and Narendra Modi have refused to meet a US Congress delegation. In fact, all ministers had been told boycott the US delegation.

Further, the Delhi Police will remove all barricades outside the US Embassy with immediate effect.

India has also asked for details of salaries paid to Indian employees.

After Khobragade was arrested and handcuffed in public in New York, she was also reportedly subjected to a humiliating strip search and was kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest for alleged visa fraud last week.
14:40  A prisoner of his principles:  If politics is the art of the possible, as Otto von Bismarck argued, then Arvind Kejriwal would do well to explore the next best options in Delhi in a situation where his principles do not allow him to either accept the support of other parties or offer his support to them.

As the second largest party in a hung Assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party is in a real dilemma. Read
14:38  Russian diplomat sneers at Goa police over drug nexus case:  A senior Russian diplomat mocked the Goa police by claiming that the number of cops arrested in the state during the previous government regime were more than his countrymen arrested here.

"There were about 10 cases of Russian crime in India, but during the same period there were 20-30 cases of policemen being arrested for covering Indian criminals under the previous government (in Goa)," said Deputy Consul General, Russian Federation in Mumbai, Mzareulov.

He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Russian information centre in North Goa this week.

Mzareulov was referring to the arrest of more than 10 policemen who were held during the Congress government rule when nexus between drug paddlers and policemen was exposed by the media.

The diplomat rubbished allegations that Russians visiting Goa are involved in the crime, claiming that compared to two lakh Russians visiting here, those found involved in crime is close to zero percent.
14:25  What Arun Jaitley said in Parliament today:  A recap of what Arun Jaitley said in Parliament today on the Lokpal Bill.

-- We must strive to bring a viable and credible Lokpal Bill. There is scope for improvement in this law.

-- The political atmosphere is different today. I believe that the government has gained some insight on the matter between December 29, 2011 and today because of the changed political atmosphere.

-- We want to pass the Lokpal Bill. We need to remove all its faults and introduce a bill that is credible and functional.

-- We felt that if the government had the upper hand in appointing the Lokpal, then the office can be misused.

-- In the government's bill, the government had the ability to start proceedings against a Lokpal if they wanted to. That has been amended, and now, it's like the impeachment process - MPs were empowered. The jurisdiction of the Lokpal predominantly should be where government revenue is involved.
14:15  Ganguly and Telangana derail Lok Sabha:   The demand for removal of Justice A K Ganguly, accused of harassing a law intern, from the post of Chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission, along with Telangana issue paralysed the functioning of Lok Sabha today.

As soon as the House assembled for the day, members of Congress, YSR Congress and TDP displayed placards opposing creation of Telangana by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. Samajwadi Party members trooped into Well demanding government action against repeated incursion into Indian territory by China.

Speaker Meira Kumar then adjourned the House till noon. When the House reassembled, similar scenes were witnessed with Trinamool Congress members, led by Sudip Bandopadhyay, coming into the Well demanding sacking of Justice Ganguly.
14:12  Lok Sabha will take up the Lokpal Bill tomorrow, says Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath. In the Rajya Sabha, the debate continues. 
13:57   Cong may be reduced to double digits in LS polls: Advani:   BJP leader L K Advani today compared the defeat of Congress in the Assembly polls in four states to its "disastrous" loss in the post-Emergency elections and maintained that the ruling party may be reduced to double digits in the next Lok Sabha.

In his latest blog posting, Advani said, "I hold that the recent round of Assembly elections has been for the Congress Party the second disastrous defeat since the Emergency days, despite all attempts to buy over the voters."
13:51  Khobragade's father meets MEA:   Uttam Khobragade, the father of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade,has met home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Home ministry assures him full government support so that the case against his daughter is withdrawn.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid says the government has conveyed its sense of disquiet to the US as a protest to treatment meted out to India's Deputy Consul General in New York. He said, "We take this case very seriously and our sense of outrage has been adequately conveyed to the US."
13:45  LIVE! Yechury on Cong-BJP consensus on Lokpal: Ankhon hi ankhon mein ishara...:  CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury speaking in the Rajya Sabha before it was adjourned says of the Congress-BJP consensus on the Lokpal Bill, "Ankhon hi ankhon mein ishara ho gaya, baithe baithe jeene ka sahara ho gaya." 
13:30  Tulsiram murder case: SC refuses to entertain plea against MPs:  The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea against two BJP MPs Prakash Javdekar and Bhupendra Singh Yadav for allegedly trying to impede the probe in Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case.

A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan questioned the locus of the petitioner, a journalist who had allegedly claimed to have captured the "criminal conspiracy hatched and executed" by MPs, senior BJP leaders and advocates on concealed cameras as part of his undercover investigation.
13:26  Lokpal a result of govt realising which way wind is blowing on corruption: Jaitley:   Jaitley who has concluded his speech says that the bill was the result of the government realising which way the wind was blowing on corruption.

It would have been better if all political parties passed the bill unanimously, "Only those who are doing wrong will fear from taking decisions," he said, making an oblique reference to the SP which stated a walkout. He said the Parliament must strive to pass the bill together.
12:52  Anna watches RS proceedings in Ralegan Siddhi:   In Ralegan Siddhi, Anna Hazare watches the proceedings in the RS. Kiran Bedi is by his side.

AAP leader Prashant Bhushan had expressed dismay at Hazare's support for the Lokpal Bill.

"The Bill was in cold storage for two years and it was a weak bill. They took it out suddenly and all parties gave their accent to the bill, even said that they would pass the bill without discussion.

"The bill is so inefficient that Lokpal does not have independence or even a probe agency of its own. I don't know who are the people making Anna understand," said Bhushan.
12:43  Belated attempts to take credit is part of Rahul's plan: BJP :  The RS had been adjourned for an hour between 11 am and noon. Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad has said then that his party would fully cooperate in the passage of Lokpal Bill.

He then took potshots at Rahul, saying that the Congress leader always belatedly tries to take credit.

"We want the bill to be passed - to be passed with discussion. It is the obligation of Congress to properly ensure that Samajwadi Party does not oppose, if it can manage SP for nine and half years to remain in power. We are also willing to pass it without discussion if the need arises because BJP is committed to pass the bill as approved by the select committee. Country wants the bill to be passed," he said.

"Rahul has been taking a charge of lot of things including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, we have seen what has happened. Therefore, belated attempts to take credit have been a part of Rahul Gandhi and he has failed always," said Prasad.
12:41  Former SP leader Amar Singh in Parliament after a very long time. Must be wonderful change from jail. 
12:40  Lokayukta mandatory in all states within one year: Sibal:  Law minister Kapil Sibal reading out the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Lokpal Bill, says that Lokayukta in all states will be mandatory within one year of the Lokpal Bill becoming the law. As he ends his speech, leader of the opposition in the RS, Arun Jaitley speaks. 
12:33  What Sibal is doing now is reading out the points in the Lokpal draft and the amendments made to it.

For once, there is complete silence in the house, with MPs across party lines listening in to what he says.
12:32  LIVE! Sibal hopes house creates history by passing Lokpal Bill, SP walks out of RS :  Kapil Sibal reading out the new provisions under the Lokpal Bill. He says he hopes that the house creates history by rising above politics. He says never has a bill garnered so much political debate.

SM Krishna seated behind Sibal.

Read: The Lokpal Bill, then and now
12:28  Kiran Bedi tweets that Anna Hazare is "closely watching the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha from his manch along with all present in the anshan sabha" in Ralegan Siddhi. 
12:27  Soumya murder: High court upheld the death sentence in sensational rape case:  While Sibal speaks, you should know that a division bench of the Kerala high court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence served to the first accused in the case pertaining to raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman , who was subjected to brutal assault after being pushed out of a moving train in 2011.

Read more
12:24  Debate on Lokpal Bill begins in RS, SP walks out of :  Debate on the Lokpal Bill begins in Parliament. Samajwadi Party, which is opposing the Bill, has walked out of the House. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that the Lokpal Bill will lead to no work. If the bill is passed officers will hesitate to work, he said and added that the bill assumes that only Lokpal is honest.

Kapil Sibal is speaking on the issue.
12:16  The 'official' reason why Shinde won't be meeting the US delegation:   Home Ministry officials have said Sushilkumar Shinde is busy in Parliament and, hence, he will not be in a position to meet the American delegation. However, the Home Minister's programme, which was prepared last evening, had clearly mentioned the scheduled meeting at 1700 hours. Officials said the meeting was cancelled this morning.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had yesterday cancelled her meeting with the delegation as she felt it was not "appropriate" to meet the Parliamentarians of the US, which has badly treated one of India's senior diplomats.
12:12  The US delegation compriseS Congressmen George Holding (Republican - North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican - Texas) David Schweikert (Republican - Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican - Georgia) and Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat - Guam).

The repeated snubs came after India reacted sharply to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges last week by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard.

In Washington also, the matter was taken up with the US government "forcefully" through the Indian mission.
12:04  Meanwhile, India has indicated that the benefits of all US consulates in the country will be reviewed. 
12:03  So, what did Khobragade?:  For those unaware of the Khobragade diplomatic row, this is what happened.

Devyani Khobragade, deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women's affairs, Consulate General of India, New York, was arrested on Thursday morning (December 12) 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.  

Prosecution sources said Khobragade was not arrested from her home or from her office, "but from somewhere else in Manhattan.'   She was picked up from the street while picking up her daughter from school and handcuffed, a violation of diplomatic immunity.

She was charged with one count of visa fraud and one count of making false statements, which carry maximum sentences of 10 years and five years in prison respectively.   Read more
11:50  All ministers told to boycott US delegation:  Government sources say all ministers have been told to boycott the US delegation.

This is what Narendra Modi tweeted a few minutes ago: Refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill-treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA.
11:47  India asks US diplomats across India to return ID cards:  The rare instance where the Congress and the BJP see eye-to-eye. Narendra Modi has followed Rahul Gandhi and Sushilkumar Shinde and has snubbed the US congressional delegation. He won't be meeting the team as well.

Remember, MEA Salman Khurshid had promised strict action.

India has also asked the US to turn in identity cards of all US diplomats serving in US Consulates all over the country.
11:33  Indian diplomat's arrest in US: Rahul, home minister refuse to meet US delegation:   Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today refused to meet a US Congress delegation amid an escalating diplomatic row over Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade who was reportedly subjected to a humiliating strip search and kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest for alleged visa fraud in New York last week.

Shinde's office says his meeting with the US Congressional delegation was cancelled since he is busy with Parliament.

National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon has described Khobragade's treatment as "despicable and barbaric."

Khobragade has refused to comment on this, but the new revelations have escalated the diplomatic row between India and the US over her arrest. Government sources have said that India is considering taking "reciprocal steps" later today, "to convey a clear message that this treatment of the diplomat is unacceptable."  -- NDTV

Read more: US says standard procedures followed in Khobragade's arrest
11:25  Delhi logjam: Aam Aadmi Party finds Congress reply to its charter evasive:  The dogged fight to avoid political power in Delhi took a new turn on Monday with Congress responding to the Aam Aadmi Party's 18-point charter for support by saying that 16 of them were executive decisions that didn't require Congress support in the House, and on the remaining two statehood for Congress and Lokpal Bill Congress was also committed to them. 
Read the full story here.
11:19  Anna's fast enters eight day, condition deteriorates:  Anna Hazare's aide Suresh Pathare told PTI today that the Gandhian's condition has deteriorated.

"Anna has lost a lot of weight since the fast began on December 10," he said.

While the veteran anti-corruption crusader praised the amended draft Lokpal bill presented in the Rajya Sabha, his one time protege Arvind Kejriwal dismissed it as "Jokepal".

Hazare said, "I accept it completely. If this Bill is passed, I will end my fast. The Bill will help the poor people of this country."

Kejriwal has expressed his opposition to the Bill and Hazare's acceptance. "I'm really surprised. How can Anna accept sarkari Lokpal Bill? Sarkari Lokpal is a 'Jokepal'. Who is misguiding him ?," he asked.

Hazare has requested the Samajwadi Party to extend support to the Bill. "I am confident that all the parties will support it and it will be passed," he said.
11:13  Keep the movement burning:  If the Aam Aadmi Party's intention in setting long-winded preconditions for accepting support was to put the Congress and the BJP off, it should have stuck to the basics of opposing VIP culture and doodling with the idea of a Lokpal Bill.  Read the editorial on the Hindu. 
11:06  LIVE! Rahul asks party MPs to ensure Lokpal Bill is passed in RS today:  Basically, Rahul Gandhi has taken charge of the Lokpal Bill. Today, Rahul called upon Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and minister in charge of the Prime Minister's office V Narayanasamy - to discuss the strategy to push the Bill in Parliament.

Congress sources say Gandhi, 43, has taken charge of the party's Lokpal strategy, which many see as the party's attempt to credit him with championing the anti-corruption measure ahead of national polls due by May. Rahul has asked his party to ensure that the Lokpal Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha today.

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned within minutes over ruckus over the Lokpal Bill.
10:59  What Rahul wrote in his letter to Anna:  So, there's been an exchange of letters between Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Anna Hazare.

Anna had in his letter to Rahul welcomed the government's move to bring the Lokpal Bill and requested him to incorporate the suggestions of the select committee.

Rahul had replied to Hazare's letter on the Lokpal Bill saying the government was committed to the Bill. Anna had written to Rahul thanking him for his commitment to get the Lokpal Bill passed.

"Thanks to your 15th December letter. It was very encouraging. We are committed to giving a strong Lokpal to the country. We respect your role in it and thank you for the support," Rahul said in his letter.

10:52  No fixed match with Congress: Anna Hazare:  There is heartburn here over anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare's changing stand on the Lokpal bill and the Congress, towards which he has adopted a softer approach.

Agitated by accusations that he was playing a 'fixed match' with the Congress on the Lokpal issue and that he had softened his stand towards the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi, Hazare said he had no discussion with anyone about the Lokpal draft tabled in Rajya Sabha.

"I have not met any Congress leader recently. Salman Khurshid was the only leader I met a long time ago before this agitation," said Hazare. Read
10:44  Two news updates coming in now:

The BJP will oppose the Communal Violence Bill; the measure is against the country's federal structure, says Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Supreme Court says that no approval of the central govt is required to prosecute senior bureaucrats in court-monitored cases.
10:27  BJP issues notices to 3 MPs named in Cobrapost sting:  The BJP has issued notices to three of its MPs named in the Cobrapost sting -- Lalu Bhai Patel, Ravindra Kumar Pandey and Hari Manjhi on Tuesday.

The undercover investigation, codenamed operation Falcon Claw, the investigative website Cobrapost had exposed a bunch of parliamentarians who were willing to not only write recommendation letters but also lobby with the Union Ministry of Petroleum for a foreign company to help it secure oil exploration and rigging rights in the Northeast.

Other parliamentarians who allegedly stand exposed are K Sugumar and C Rajendran from the AIADMK; Vishwa Mohan Kumar, Maheshwar Hazari and Bhudeo Chaudhary from the JDU; Khiladi Lal Bairwa and Vikrambhai Arjanbhai from the Congress; and Kaiser Jahan from the BSP.
09:50  Indian diplomat's 'strip-search' sparks outrage:  Indian diplomat's 'strip-search' sparks outrage.

According to several media reports, Dr Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, was subjected to a strip search and kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest in New York last week.

The issue now threatens to snowball into a major diplomatic face-off between India and the United States. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar cancelled a meeting in Delhi with a visiting US Congressional delegation on Monday.National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon also cancelled his meeting.

Dr Khobragade, 39, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on charges that she underpaid her maid and presented false documents to the US about her maid's salary.

Dr Khobragade was later released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court. 
09:15  Lokpal Bill scheduled for debate in Rajya Sabha today:  The Lokpal Bill will be taken up for a debate in Tajya Sabha today. The government's efforts to get the Samajwadi Party's nod to the Bill did not appear to have made much headway as it continued its opposition.

If passed, the Bill will then come up in the Lok Sabha.
08:12  Fog disrupts flight operations at IGI:  Operations at IGI airport here came to a standstill as dense fog engulfed the city for the second consecutive day today, affecting over 40 domestic and international flights.

The flights, scheduled around 5 am, were disrupted as visibility on all the three runways were below 50 metres, airport officials said. Around 40 domestic and international flights, arriving and departing from Delhi, were delayed by up to two to three hours.

Some arriving flights were diverted while two were cancelled.
01:59  AAP warming up to idea of Delhi govt formation?:  
Zee News reports: After much ado, Aam Aadmi Party MLAs have built a consensus in favour of forming government in the national capital, reports said on late Monday night. 

As per AAP sources, four public meetings will be held in every constituency of Delhi. If people opine that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal should form a government, then the party will do so. 

The sources further revealed that AAP is willing to form government in Delhi only if people want. The final decision will be taken after holding 280 public meetings held 7 days in which the party will want to know the masses view. 

Earlier in the day, AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia had said that the party will take a decision on Congress' reply on the 18 issues raised by party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday. 

"We will be cautious and not take a hurried decision. People need to decide," Manish Sisodia said. 

MLA from Patparganj Sisodia added, "Our political affairs committee will meet and discuss also will go to the people for opinion. We have received the reply from Congress on the 18 issues raised by AAP on Saturday. The party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) will meet on Tuesday and decide the next course of action." 
01:58  Lokpal bill may clear Rajya Sabha hurdle today:  
While the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) skipped the all-party meeting called by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to end the deadlock on Lokpal Bill, others on Monday agreed to support the anti-corruption legislation in the Upper House. 

According to reports, the main opposition party, BJP said that the Lokpal Bill be passed in the din. 

The Samajwadi Party, however, remains adamant and made it clear that it won't support the Bill. 
"Our stand hasn't changed, we will continue to oppose the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha as we have been doing," said SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav. 

Later talking to reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath asserted, "Parties which attended the meeting agreed to pass Lokpal bill in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday."
01:56  Car bombs hit Shiite pilgrims as Iraq unrest kills 66:  
Car bombs ripped through Shiite pilgrims near Baghdad while militants attacked a city council headquarters and a police station, as Iraq-wide violence killed at least 66 people today, officials said. 

The killing of the pilgrims underscored the danger of sectarian violence in Iraq, while the attacks on the city council and police station in Salaheddin province showed the impunity with which militants can strike even targets that should be highly secure. 

Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was emerging from a period of brutal sectarian killings, and has raised fears it is slipping back into all-out conflict.

In the Rashid area south of Baghdad, two car bombs targeted Shiite pilgrims, killing at least 22 people and wounding at least 52, security and medical officials said. Sunni militants including those linked to Al-Qaeda frequently target members of Iraq's Shiite majority, whom they consider to be apostates.
01:56  Saudi passes anti-terror law banning defamation:  
Saudi Arabia's Cabinet has approved a new anti-terrorism draft law that criminalises acts that disturb public order, defame the reputation of the state or threaten the kingdom's unity. 

A rights activist and a rights lawyer decreed the law as too broad, saying that besides terrorists, it could be used to target civil society activists calling for democratic reforms. 

They spoke anonymously for fear of retribution.

The Saudi Council of Ministers is comprised of nearly two dozen members all appointed by King Abdullah. The meeting today was chaired by his likely successor, Crown Prince Salman, who is also deputy premier and the defence minister. Any legislation approved by the council must be ratified by the king.

State-owned Saudi media released details of the law online after the Cabinet meeting.
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