20:47 Marines' trial in India hits new snag: Italian Prez Napolitano:
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has said the trial of two marines in India over the killing of two Indian fishermen has run into new "difficulty" because of upcoming general elections in that country.
"Sometimes it seems that we are the only nation where elections can create problems. (But) they also create trouble in India," Napolitano told marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone during a long-distance video conference.
"A (fast-track) trial had been proposed to us, a proper and swift trial which has now encountered difficulty because we are near the Indian elections," the president was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA
19:34 Chinese troops set up camp in Chepzi in Ladakh:
Around 20 Chinese soldiers last week entered Indian territory near the LAC and pitched their tents in Chepzi area in Ladakh, sources said today. Around 20-22 Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers had last week pitched around 8-10 tents in the west of Chepzi in Ladakh area, the sources said.
However, the army headquarters insisted there was no such incident in that area. It was not immediately known whether the Chinese troops still remained in the Indian territory or have left.
The army had held a flag meeting with the Chinese side yesterday. Chepzi is close to Chumar area, which has been witness to a large number of incursions by the Chinese side in the last one year.
19:26 AAP to contest LS polls in Madhya Pradesh:
Buoyed by its performance in Delhi polls, the Aam Aadmi Party has decided to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh, though the party is yet to finalise the number of seats.
"We will definitely contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh and will be in a position to decide the number of seats we will be contesting in nearly a month's time," AAP State Secretary, Akshay Hunka told PTI.
The party will be taking out rallies in all the 29 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state between January 12 and 19 to identify the issues for the polls and also take people's feedback on the problems faced by them, he said.
During these rallies, the party will also form constituency-wise teams for the polls, he added.
18:40 New chronicle on 'Chairman' Mao released in China:
A chronicle offering a rare glimpse into the life and career of 'Chairman' Mao Zedong, one of the founders of modern China, was released today ahead of the late Chinese leader's 120th birthday this week.
The six-volume, three-million-word chronicle describes Mao's life and achievements after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, according to the Central Party Literature Press, the chronicle's publisher.
Mao's 120th birthday will be marked on December 26. The chronicle offers a rare glimpse at speeches and talks that have not been included in Mao's works, the publisher said.
18:27 Modi's knowledge of history still weak, says NCP:
The statements made by Narendra Modi at a rally here today proved that the party's prime ministerial candidate's knowledge of history was still weak, the NCP said.
"Modi's knowledge of history proves to be weak again. Since 1960, Maharashtra has had only 17 chief ministers and not 26 as claimed by Modi," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said today.
"Also, the local body tax, whose implementation in Maharashtra Modi opposed today, is not an exclusive feature of this state. All the states with no octroi have LBT. "
Several vehicles from Maharashtra carry goods to northern parts of India. All of these go through Gujarat. Therefore the Motor Vehicle Tax that Gujarat collects is higher. On the other hand, lesser number of vehicles come from Gujarat in Maharashtra. Modi has wrongly interpreted this fact to present Gujarat positively," he said.
18:13 8 held for forcing medical students to perform sex in Mangalore:
Eight persons have been arrested for allegedly kidnapping and forcing two medical college students to perform sex.
The incident happened on the night of December 18 at Deralakatta on the outskirts of the city.
The couple was in a car when a group of eight men surrounded them and forcefully took them to an isolated location, where they compelled the medical students to indulge in a sexual act, police said.
18:11 You can be strict but don't misbehave:Omar tells forces:
Asking security forces to ensure that human rights of people are respected, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today advised them to differentiate between strictness and misbehaviour while discharging their duties.
Praising the forces for working in difficult conditions here and assuring them full support for maintaining peace, the chief minister said the situation in the state has improved a lot but stressed that there is a lot to achieve before normalcy can return.
"Treat this as a message or an advice, but during discharging your duties, differentiate between strictness and misbehaviour. I often tell my police officers that sometimes when I see the behaviour of policemen with the people, I see that they want to be strict but end up misbehaving with them," Omar said.
17:51 Mars rover Curiosity gets software upgrade, wheel check:
NASA engineers have given Mars rover Curiosity a software upgrade and are now checking wear and tear on the one-tonne robot's wheels caused by the rugged Martian surface.
The wheels of Curiosity rover are sustaining damage at an increasing rate, NASA said. "Curiosity is now operating on version 11 of its flight software," said Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This is the third upgrade version since Curiosity's landing on Mars 16 months ago. Completing the switch from version 10 took about a week, the NASA said.
An earlier switch to version 11 prompted an unintended reboot on November 7 and a return to version 10, but the latest transition went smoothly.
17:49 China punishes 20,000 officials in anti-graft drive:
Some 20,000 officials have been punished this year in China as part of the ruling Communist Party's clamp down on corruption and misconduct by mandarins to ensure that the "colour of red China will never change."
A circular issued this week by the Communist Party of China warned cadres and officials that they are strictly forbidden from hosting luxurious funerals or taking advantage of the occasion to collect condolence money from visitors.
The Politburo of the CPC had issued rules December last year asking officials to refrain from excessive spending of public money on official vehicles, foreign trips and parties.
17:48 CII welcomes Rahul Gandhi's speech to industry:
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's speech touches the real issues being faced by the industry and investors can draw confidence from his talk, industry body CII said today.
"His talk is comprehensive and touches real issues, which industry has been trying to grapple with in recent times. Gandhi's talk is reflective of the fact that he has his ears to the ground...even as the economy has slowed down and investor confidence is not at its peak," CII President Kris Gopalakrishnan said in a statement.
16:44 Builder shot at by three unidentified men in Thane:
A 30-year-old builder from Kalyan town here was shot at by three unidentified men this morning. According to police, at around 9.30 am, three masked men barged into the Mahabali Builders office, run by Dushant Kale in Khadak Pada area and opened fire at him, while one person waited outside the office.
Though Kale ducked the bullets, he received injuries in the shoulder. The four accused escaped from the place and the builder was rushed to a local hospital, police said. Kale had received an extortion call recently, in which the caller had demanded Rs 10 lakh from him.
The police suspect that the crime could be a fallout of that. A manhunt has been launched to nab the accused, they said.
16:38 Was Devyani Khobragades domestic help a Spy?:
When the senior officer in R&AW Mr Ravinder Singh was spirited away with his family by the Americans, the then National Security Advisor of India had commented that the issue was not that there was a mole but why was he so important to the US establishment.
Read the full article here
15:30 Rahul Gandhi speaking as if he is in opposition: BJP:
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's recent comments on corruption and the fall in growth rate seemed like they were coming from an opposition leader, BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said today.
"The Congress vice-president's speech at the FICCI conference yesterday appears like the speech of an opposition leader. He seems to have forgotten that his party is in power for the last 10 years. Earlier, it was in power for more than 50 years," he said, talking to reporters.
"Whatever he was preaching yesterday, his party did not practise it. He said graft is bleeding India. Who is responsible? It is his party, which was in power and which is in power. He says without growth, you cannot alleviate poverty. Then, who brought down the growth? Your party. You should explain that," Naidu said.
15:24 First human artificial heart transplant performed in France:
For the first time, an artificial heart that may give patients up to five years of extra life has been successfully implanted in a 75-year-old French man.
The artificial heart, designed by French biomedical firm Carmat, is powered by Lithium-ion batteries that can be worn externally. The heart that was put into the patient at Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris uses a range of "bio-materials", including bovine tissue, to reduce the likelihood of the body rejecting it, 'The Telegraph
This device is intended to replace a real heart for as many as five years, unlike previous artificial hearts that were created mainly for temporary use.
15:15 Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigns from Vidisha seat:
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who won the just concluded Assembly polls from Vidisha and Budhni, has resigned from Vidisha seat, sources said today.
As per the rules, a legislator winning from two seats has to relinquish one of it within 14 days of the constitution of the new Assembly. The new state Assembly was constituted last week.
Chouhan, who resigned from Vidisha seat on Friday, preferred to retain Budhni -- his traditional seat in Sehore district, sources said. In the run up to the recently held Assembly polls, the BJP leader had announced that he will retain the seat which gets him the higher victory margin.
15:13 Guv order refusing action against Chavan questioned:
An application has been filed in the Bombay High Court by a former journalist questioning the order of the Maharashtra Governor refusing sanction to prosecute former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Housing Society Scam.
Ketan Tirodkar, in his application while relying on a Supreme Court order, has said that the CBI does not require sanction from the governor to prosecute government servants in cases which are being monitored by the judiciary.
"The Supreme Court ruled that there is no requirement of sanction for the CBI under section 6-A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to prosecute government servants in cases that are being monitored by the judiciary," the application said.
14:47 Modi's wax statue unveiled in Mumbai:
A wax statue of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was unveiled here ahead of the 'Mahagarjana rally' he is addressing in suburban Bandra this afternoon where 10,000 tea vendors have been specially invited.
BJP president Rajnath Singh unveiled the statue before the two leaders proceeded for the rally. Singh posed with the statue, flanked by Modi. The BJP chief even tried to shake hands with the statue.
Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde said over a million people were expected at the rally, being held at the BKC grounds and billed as a show of strength by BJP workers.
Over 22 trains brought in BJP supporters from across Maharashtra, and the organisers made arrangements to distribute over five lakh food packets, many containing Gujarati snack "thepla
14:45 Storms kill 2 in southern US, thousands lose power:
A storm system is sweeping across the central and southern US, bringing tornadoes and wind gusts that ripped roofs from barns and hurled trees into power lines.
Officials said at least two people were killed yesterday. A man died after his mobile home overturned in northern Mississippi and another man was killed when his car hit a tree that had fallen across a county road in southeastern Mississippi.
14:07 Jammu-Srinagar highway closed for traffic due to snowfall:
The 300-km-long Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only surface link between Kashmir and rest of the country, has been closed for vehicular traffic due to snowfall and slippery conditions.
Due to snowfall at Jawahir Tunnel and Patnitop, the highway was closed during the night, an officer of Police Control Room said here today.
Vehicular traffic was not allowed today on the highway from both the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar due to snowfall and slippery road conditions along the highway, he said
13:52 World experienced hottest November in 134 years:
The month of November this year was the hottest in 134 years, with land and ocean temperatures soaring around the world, according to a new report. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report said November was the hottest experienced on Earth since record-keeping began in 1880.
Africa, Eurasia and South America experienced a warmer-than-usual November along with parts of Southwest Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, the agency said.
13:46 Singapore riot: 200 foreign workers get police advisories:
Two hundred foreign workers, including Indians, today received advisories from Singapore police for alleged involvement in the worst street violence here in 40 years.
The workers started arriving at the Police Cantonment Complex at 10 am to receive police advisories at the criminal investigation department.
The development came two days after 56 Indians and a Bangladeshi were deported from Singapore for alleged involvement in the riot in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most South Asian workers take their Sunday break.
13:44 HC rejects bail of 2008 Malegaon blast accused:
Observing that there was prima facie material against the accused for his complicity in the crime, the Bombay high court has rejected the bail plea of Praveen Takalki, accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.
Refusing to grant bail to the accused on December 18, a bench headed by Justice P V Hardas said the evidence on record shows that he was a member of an organised crime syndicate which was involved in unlawful activity of exploding bombs in religious places, predominately in Muslim areas.
The judges noted that confession given by the accused and corroboration by witnesses revealed that the applicant had knowledge of the acts of other accused and that he conspired with them to cause the offences with which he is charged.
12:44 Will fulfill promises if AAP comes to power: Kejriwal:
Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal continued to take pot-shots at Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday and said that if the AAP comes to power, then it will send corrupt politicians of both parties to jail.
"The Congress is a shrewd party and if we form a government, then it will not be able to do any mischief for the next six months," Kejriwal said
Read the full story here
12:07 Tea vendors for Modi's rally get VIP passes: Zeenews
reports: Thousands of tea vendors are reportedly getting VIP passes to attend Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Mumbai on Sunday.
As per reports, around 10,000 tea vendors will get VIP passes for the rally of BJP's prime ministerial for 2014 general elections.
Read the full story here
11:57 We have proven that politics can be run honestly: Kejriwal:
Speaking at a public gathering in Gole Market in Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party convener Arwind Kejriwal said that the party has proven that politics can be run honesty.
"The majority here wants the AAP to form the government. It's the victory of aam admi." Hitting out at the Congress and the BJP, he said, "This is just the beginning, we have to clean up the whole country."
11:37 MEA 'bent' rules to favour Devyani Khobragade:
TimesofIndia reports: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade had been a go-getter right from the day she entered Indian Foreign Service and got what she wanted, thanks to her 'influential' IAS father and benevolent political connections.
The rules for allotment of foreign language to the IFS officers on the basis of their rank in the select list was changed only for her batch (1999) to ensure she got her chosen language
Read the full article here
11:36 How Yoga Became A $27 Billion Industry: Huffingtonpost
reports: In 1971, Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa moved to New York to open a yoga studio.
A lawyer moonlighting as a Kundalini yoga teacher, he set up shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, opening a school to share the teachings of the spiritual leader Yogi Bhajan. At that time, there were only two other yoga studios in the city.
Read the full article here
11:34 UN posting gives Devyani temporary immunity, says US:
The transfer of diplomat Devyani Khobragade to India's Permanent Mission at the United Nations would grant her full-diplomatic immunity temporarily and protect her from any arrest in the US, but the visa fraud case against her would go uninterrupted, US official said.
"For anyone, it would apply for the length of time that they have that diplomatic status. But it doesn't retroactively wipe out past discretions," the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki said yesterday.
"Receiving diplomatic immunity does not nullify any previously existing criminal charges. Those remain on the books. Nor does obtaining diplomatic immunity protect the diplomat from prosecution indefinitely. It relates to the status of a diplomat's current status for the length of the time of that status," Psaki said.
Diplomatic immunity means, among other things, that a foreign diplomat is not subject to criminal jurisdiction in the United States for the time they are a diplomat, for the time they have that immunity, she said. She added that,"when immunity is conferred, it does not retroactively take effect at a previous point in time but relates solely to the diplomat's current status."
"So, I think some of the confusion here has been if there is a change in status, does that mean that there is a clean slate from past charges. There's not," Paski said.
00:21 Storm-hit US braces for tornadoes and freezing rain:
A stew of foul weather, ranging from freezing rain and snow in the Midwest to thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the South, is arriving just in time for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
Much of the nation was bracing for something, with freezing rain then snow likely in the northern Plains, downpours expected from St Louis through Appalachia, and even weekend tornadoes a possibility in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
While much of the East awoke Friday to unusually warm weather for this time of year, the region was next in the storm front's crosshairs, creating pre-Christmas travel worries from Chicago and Detroit to Boston and New York.
AAA projected that nearly 95 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more during the holiday period, which runs from Saturday through January 1. Temperatures that hovered in the 60s in some parts of the Midwest on Thursday plummeted overnight, and freezing rain Friday morning snarled traffic and forced some school closures in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said Interstate 90/94 was ice-covered from Tomah and Mauston. The state was bracing for significant snow, sleet and ice.
Read more on The Guardian