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December 24, 2013


23:17  Kejriwal refuses UP offer of security, Delhi Police makes a fresh offer:  AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal, all set to be the chief minister of Delhi, today refused to accept the security cover offered by Uttar Pradesh police even as the Delhi police today made a fresh attempt to make him accept its protection accorded to the occupant of the top post.

Senior Superintendent of Police of Ghaziabad, Dharmendra Yadav, today met Kejriwal at his residence in Kausambi after he received a letter from the security branch of the Delhi police to provide security cover to him.

"We have received letter from the Delhi police security branch regarding security of his residence at Kaushambi. I met him today but he refused to take any security cover," Yadav told PTI. Earlier also, he had refused the security cover offered by Uttar Pradesh police to him.
22:57  6 killed in clashes in southwest Pakistan:  Five militants and a security personnel were killed in an exchange of gunfire in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province today.

A spokesman for the Frontier Corps told reporters that six people, including five militants and a security personnel, were killed when gunmen attacked a construction site in Turbat area of the province.

"The labourers were engaged in their work at the construction site when militants attacked them but the FC personnel retaliated as a result of which the attack was repulsed," Khan Wasey, spokesman for the Frontier Corps, said. "The FC quickly hit back and ensured security of the construction company's labourers," he said.
22:42  UN Chief vows to investigate S Sudan human rights violations:  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today commended the bravery of Indian peacekeepers who fought nearly 2,000 rebels in an attack on a UN base in South Sudan and vowed to investigate incidents of grave human rights violations.

Two Indian soldiers Warrant Officers Dharmesh Sangwan and Kumar Pal Singh were killed when the rebel Lour Nuer youth attacked the UN base in the Jonglei state town of Akobo on December 19.

A third soldier Indian Battalion Warrant Officer Mondal Shabul was wounded in the chest during the attack and was flown to Malakal where he was reported to be in stable condition.
22:16  Prez, VP, PM greet people on Christmas:  President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today greeted the people on the eve of Christmas. In his message, the President said it was time for all to recall on this auspicious day the teachings of love and kindness of Jesus Christ who for centuries has been an inspiration to mankind.

"May the Almighty shower his bounteous blessings on all the people of the world on this festive occasion," he said. Vice President Hamid Ansari said, "Let us celebrate this happy occasion by dedicating ourselves to Christ's eternal message of love, compassion and forgiveness for all."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also greeted the nation on the joyous occasion.
22:15  Jaya plans to ensure ADMK gets 30 plus Lok Sabha MPs:    Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is making plans to ensure that the ADMK gets 30-plus Lok Sabha MP, and is giving final touches to the plan during her vacation in Kodanadu for a one month from today.

She is expected to finalise ADMK strategies such as alliance, Lok Sabha candidates and generating funds.

She also wants to finalise poll campaign schedules. She will also draft five or six sets of speeches in the poll meetings to focus against the DMK and the Congress.
21:23  Big B sharing dais with Raj an insult to north Indians: Azmi:  Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi today said that mega star Amitabh Bachchan sharing the dais with MNS chief Raj Thackeray was an "insult" to north Indians. "Amitabhji sharing the stage with Raj Thackeray is an insult to millions of north Indians," Azmi told reporters.

Sinking their five-year-old differences, Bachchan yesterday shared dais with Thackeray, who said whatever happened between him and the actor was a thing of the past.

They had come together at the seventh anniversary of his party's movie industry wing Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena at the Shanmukhanand Hall in Central Mumbai. Azmi, who is also the state chief of Samajwadi Party, added that he was "pained" to see the iconic actor with the politician, who had launched a tirade against the north Indians.
20:03  Kejriwal refuses UP Police security cover:  AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal, who is all set to be the Chief Minister of Delhi, today once again refused to accept the security cover offered by the Uttar Pradesh police.

Senior Superintendent of Police of Ghaziabad, Dharmendra Yadav, today met Kejriwal at his residence after he received a letter from Security branch of Delhi Police to provide security cover to him.

"We have received letter from Delhi police Security branch regarding security of his residence at Kaushambi. I met him today but he refused to take any security cover," Yadav told PTI.

Yesterday, Kejriwal had refused to accept the 'Z' security cover, which he is entitled to as the Chief Minister of Delhi, by the Delhi police. Earlier also, he had refused the security cover offered by the Uttar Pradesh police to him.
19:24  LIVE! Congress seriously considering withdrawing support to AAP:  Congress sources tell CNN IBN that it is seriously considering withdrawing support to the AAP. Senior party leader Janardan Dwivedi today said there was an opinion in the party that the decision to support AAP was perhaps not correct and it should have instead raised people's issues as an opposition.

Dwivedi's remarks came on a day when Congress workers are protesting the party's decision to support Arvind Kejriwal's bid to form government.

Ever since AAP decided to form government Congress leaders have been repeatedly emphasising that their support to AAP is not unconditional.
19:19  BJP to seek donations from Rs 10 to Rs 1,000 for LS polls:  'One vote, one note'. This is the new slogan for BJP as it attempts to deepen its connect with voters ahead of Lok Sabha elections, apparently taking a leaf out of Aam Aadmi Party's strategy.

Under the slogan, BJP workers will approach people to seek donations ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 1,000. Announcing the decision after a meeting of party leaders, including Prime Ministerial-candidate Narendra Modi, BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar said the collection will be done by workers at booth-level.

The party hopes Modi's appeal will drive people to donate for it as it readies to fight polls with 'Modi for PM' slogan.
19:17   Radia tapes: CBI finds no criminality 'so far':  The CBI has informed the Supreme Court that it has "so far" not found any criminality in the 14 preliminary enquiries registered on the basis of intercepted conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

In its status report submitted to the apex court recently, CBI has said most of the conversations were her bragging about connections but so far no concrete evidence has been found which could indicate her direct involvement in corrupt practices, CBI sources said.

The sources said Supreme Court will take cognisance of the status report next week when it would open after winter vacation.
18:54  Israeli Mossad agents trained Nelson Mandela in Ethiopia: Israeli archive:   Israeli Mossad agents operating in Ethiopia in 1962 unwittingly trained Nelson Mandela in hand-to-hand combat, weaponry and sabotage, according to a document released by Israel's state archives. Read the full report here.
18:54  India, Pakistan DGMOs agree to maintain LoC ceasefire:   Takeaways from the DGMO meet at Wagah today:

1. India and Pakistan have agreed to re-energise the existing mechanisms to maintain the ceasefire on the LoC.

2. Meeting was cordial, constructive and fruitful.

3. Discussed the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the existing mechanisms

4. It was decided to ensure ceasefire and strengthen the existing mechanisms.

5. Two flag meetings between brigade commanders will be held on the LoC in the near furture to ensure peace and tranquillity.

6. The DGMOs decided to make their hotline contact "more effective and result-oriented".

7. They have decided to inform each other of inadvertent crossing of the LoC by any civilian to ensure his early return.

Pic: The DGMO meet at Wagah on the Pakistan side of the border. Courtesy: ISPR -- Pakistan Army's public relations wing
18:38  Rahul to meet 12 Cong CMs on Dec 27:  Smarting under the defeat in four state polls, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has called a meeting of party Chief Ministers this week to fine tune the strategy for Lok Sabha polls in view of challenges like corruption and price rise.

AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi today said that the purpose of December 27 meeting of leaders of Congress-ruled states is to discuss the future course in the wake of the passage of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill.

Immediately after the results of the Assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were out, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had listed price rise as an issue that could have led to the rout of the party in these states.

"Perhaps, price rise was also an issue. It was affecting people," she had said. Congress has chief ministers in 12 states many of whom including Haryana and Uttarakhand were first to launch the scheme, which UPA believed was a gamechanger for 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
18:30  Milind Deora disagrees with Maha govt rejection of Adarsh probe report:   Milind Deora tweets: If the Adarsh Committee report raises questions, we should investigate (agnostic of party or bureaucracy), answer them & not be hush!

Deora's remarks were then seen as having made with the consent of the party high command as the young minister is stated to be close to Rahul Gandhi. "Legalities aside, allowing convicted MPs/MLAs 2 retain seats in the midst of an appeal can endanger already eroding public faith in democracy," Deora had then commented on Twitter.

The report of the Adarsh Commission of Inquiry, tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly on Friday, has indicted four former Congress Chief Ministers, including Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, and two Nationalist Congress Party Ministers for extending political patronage to the controversial building.

The report, rejected by the Maharashtra Cabinet, names the former Chief Ministers, Ashok Chavan and the late Vilasrao Deshmukh. It also indicts Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil, who served as Revenue Minister when the building received clearances.
18:24  Maruti Suzuki bets big on backwaters:  India's country roads have emerged as a bastion of growth for Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. even as demand is waning in the south Asian nation's cities and towns. Read
18:21  The wall of love and sorrow:  What would you write to your loved ones if you only had hours to live? Read these haunting messages scratched in a Gestapo cell. 
18:03  India withdraws US staff IDs as deadline for surrender ends:   India has decided to take firm reciprocal steps following the end of yesterday's deadline for surrender of Identity Cards provided to US Consular Staff in India.

India has said that all identity cards provided to US Consular officials now stand withdrawn and new ID cards will only be given to the Consular officials and not to their family members.

Acting reciprocally, US consular staff will now only be permitted to import their requirements during the first six months on assuming office.

India had announced a slew of retaliatory measures after Devyani Khobragade was arrested for alleged visa fraud on December 12 and strip-searched.
17:48  AAP cabinet names declared:   AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal picks his team for the Delhi cabinet. Names include: Manish Sisodia, Girish Soni, Satyendra Jain, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti. Details awaited on the other names.
17:39  It was not our duty to form govt: Cong:  Maintaining that the Congress government in Delhi in last 15 years changed the face of the city, Janardhan Dwivedi said, "Despite this voters did not accept us... It was not our duty... whether somebody forms the government or not."

The Congress General Secretary, whose voice matters in the party, at the same time said, "Since now a proposal (to support AAP) has already been made, we have to carry on with that as well. Perhaps we will have to find out a middle path."

He parried a question whether Congress could withdraw support to AAP later, saying Congress does not follow an extremist approach.
17:05  The CBI story: How Ishrat Jahan and others were killed :  Gujarat Crime Branch officials had fired 70 rounds using their automatic and semi-automatic weapons at Ishrat Jahan and three others during the alleged fake encounter nine years ago.

In an attempt to give the encounter credibility, Crime Branch Commando Mohan Kalasawa allegedly fired from AK-56 automatic assault rifle, which was said to be provided by subsidiary intelligence bureau -- an unit of Intelligence Bureau, at the official Gypsy of police, CBI sources said, adding these details have been included in their chargesheet.

Read the full report here.
16:59  LIVE! CBI clean chit for Modi's key aide, Amit Shah, in Ishrat Jahan murder:  Just in: The CBI has given a clean chit to the former home minister of Gujarat, Amit Shah, in the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing. 

The CBI's supplementary chargesheet in the Ishrat Jahan murder case has been filed, but Shah, who is now the BJP general secretary, has not been named in it.

Ishrat Jahan and her three associates - Pranesh Gopinath Pilai, Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar - were killed by the Gujarat Police in an allegedly staged shootout on June 15, 2004.

The CBI has not found any concrete proof to indict Amit Shah. 
16:54  5 takeaways from Edward Snowden's Washington Post interview:  Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, has given a wide-ranging interview to The Washington Post about the effects of the startling information he shared earlier this year with journalists, shedding light on the U.S. surveillance apparatus. Read the full story here.
16:47  Modi will divide the country if he comes to power: Buddha:  Claiming that the country will be divided if BJP leader Narendra Modi comes to power, CPI(M) Politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said Modi is a candidate who has been pushed forward only by industrialists.

"If Modi comes to power then our country will be divided and it will be a danger for us. Modi is not being pushed forward by farmers and poor people of Gujarat. He is being pushed forward by big industrialists of the country," he said.

"It is a dangerous trend that industrialists are pitching in for Modi," the former West Bengal Chief Minister said while addressing rally here. Bhattacharjee today reiterated that both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP have entered into a covert alliance.

"We know that BJP and Trinamool are in a covert alliance. This is not a new claim. Earlier also we have seen them as allies," he said.
16:36  Anna will skip Kejriwal's swearing-in:  Anna Hazare will not be at the Ramlila Maidan when Arvind Kejriwal is sworn in chief minister of Delhi.

"I haven't received any invitation for Kejriwal's oath ceremony so am not attending it," the 76-year-old Gandhian activist said, adding that he is "also ill".
16:28  Stop witch-hunt against Justice Ganguly: Swamy:   BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take necessary steps to stop the "witch-hunt" against Justice (retd) A K Ganguly in the case of his alleged sexual harassment of a law intern.

In a letter to Singh, he said there has to be an impartial investigation to determine the truth as to what happened in the "media-driven episode of a former intern alleging 'unwelcome' behaviour' by the former Supreme Court judge.

Swamy said it was "extremely important at this juncture to get an investigation completed before any precipitate action is taken merely to make out Justice Ganguly guilty without an opportunity of being heard".

He noted that the statutes governing the chairperson's tenure at the West Bengal Human Rights Commission make it clear that the chairperson can be removed from the post only if he or she is convicted.

The former law intern has hit back at Justice Ganguly for denying the charges and hinted that she may file a police complaint.
16:24  Cong to create 'cyber army' to counter BJP on social media:  Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel has said that his party has decided to create its "cyber army" to take on BJP's "onslaught" on the social media.

"We will be creating our cyber army to counter the BJP's onslaught on social media which has become important in the run up to the 2014 general elections," Patel said last evening during a training workshop of IT Cell of the party workers at Bharuch, about 90 kms from Vadodara.

The Congress party has geared up to face challenges and fight for truth after "spread of lies by BJP whose ideology divides the people," said Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Till now these lies were limited to Gujarat state, but now it is being spread across the country, he said.

"The focus of our training the cyber army is to spread in social media the achievements of the UPA government, to bring out the falsehood spread by BJP in the virtual world, and to bring ground realities and problems of people to the fore," he said, adding that their cyber army will comprise of party workers and well-wishers.

Also read  Ahmed Patel's column on Rediff.com: 'The common men and women keep India going'
16:15  NGO stands by Justice Ganguly, writes to President, PMO:  Terming any move to remove Justice (retd) A K Ganguly as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission a violation of the Right to Life and Liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, an NGO has written to the President and the PMO seeking "justice".

"Media trial and biased approach of feminist organisations have already pronounced Justice Ganguly guilty on a mere accusation of an intern. Removing him will violate the constitutional Right to Life and Liberty. Ganguly has not been given a fair representation," said Amit Gupta, general secretary of National Coalition for Men (NCM).

"No FIR has been lodged in this matter yet, but an attack on his integrity, reputation and honour is on," he said. "We have urged upon the President to look into the matter so that the pressure on the retired Supreme Court judge comes to an end," Gupta said.
16:11  Cong will take middle path in supporting AAP: Dwivedi:   Dwivedi echoes Veerappa Moily's view on Rahul Gandhi, that he is the future of the Congress, but stops short of saying whether he is the party's PM candidate.  Dwivedi adds that the Congress would have to take the middle path on the issue as it has decided to support AAP in govt formation.
16:04  LIVE! Cong: Our decision to support AAP for govt formation not correct :  Congress Gen Secy Janardan Dwivedi on the party's support to AAP. He says, "There is an opinion in the Congress that perhaps the decision to support AAP for government formation is not correct. Mandate was not for Congress, perhaps we should have played the role of opposition and raised people's issues."

So, is the Congress rethinking its support? Another visit to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's residence in the offing?
16:00  Discussed LoC violations, agreed to sustain ceasefire: DGMOs:  Here's the outcome of the Indo-Pak DGMOs meet at the Wagah border today. Lt General Vinod Bhatia, who is representing India said: "We discussed ceasefire at LoC and agreed to sustain the ceasefire." Major General Aamer Riaz represented Pakistan.

 
15:55  Arun Jaitley on whether the AAP-Congress government will last: The AAP Government will last only as long as the Congress wants it to last.
15:45  Mulayam accuses Rahul of inciting Muzaffarnagar victims:  Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav appears to be quite cut up with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over the latter's surprise visit to the relief camps for victims of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts in Western Uttar Pradesh.

Mulayam expressed his chagrin at a meeting of party workers in Lucknow by not only accusing Rahul of sneaking into the relief camps 'like a thief', but also blamed him and the Congress party for "inciting' those living in the camps.
15:43  Rajendra Kumar tipped to be Principal Secy to Kejriwal:   A senior IAS officer, Rajendra Kumar, is tipped to become the Principal Secretary to Arvind Kejriwal, who is set to take over as Chief Minister of Delhi later this week.

Like Kejriwal, 47-year-old Kumar, at present Higher Education Secretary, is an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur. Kumar met Kejriwal at his residence in Ghaziabad.

Chief Secretary D M Spolia also met Kejriwal. They were described as courtesy calls.

Kejriwal may be sworn-in as Chief Minister at an oath- taking ceremony in Ramlila Maidan once President Pranab Mukherjee clears the Lt Governor's proposal in this regard.

Meanwhile, newly elected AAP MLAs Rakhi Birla from Mangolpuri constituency, Somnath Bharti from Malviya Nagar and Manish Sisodia from Patparganj, who are tipped to become Ministers, met him.
15:39  Gold set for biggest annual drop in 30 years :  Gold fell on Monday, on course for its largest annual loss in 32 years, as thin pre-holiday trade and signs of an improving US economy growth kept investors fretting over the impact of the Federal Reserve's stimulus tapering.  Read
15:19  Check out the DGMO body language :  The much-anticipated meeting between director generals military operations of India and Pakistan is on along the Wagah-Attari border to work out a mechanism to ease tension and ensure peace at the Line of Control. The Indian side is led by Lt General Vinod Bhatia while Major Gen Aamer Riaz is heading the Pakistani side. A brigadier and three lieutenant colonels from each side are also participating in the talks.

Pic: Lt General Vinod Bhatia and Major Gen Aamer Riaz meet
15:05  LIVE! Will pass Janlokpal Bill in 15 days even if sky falls on our heads: AAP:  AAP leader Manish Sisodia has said the party would make good its promise - to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill, or its version of an anti-corruption law.

"Even if the sky falls on our heads, we will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in 15 days. If the Congress decides to withdraw support, let them," he declared on a day the party's leaders met to discuss government formation. Sisodia is among the probable ministers in the new Delhi cabinet, along with Somnath Bharti, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Rakhi Birla, Vinod Kumar Binny and Shazia Ilmi.
14:48  Alabaman becomes ray of hope to desperate Indian family:  Real-estate developer Chip Moore left his four-bedroom home in Birmingham one morning in his GMC Yukon SUV, drove through his community's gate, past the golf course to a Publix supermarket.

There, he wired $1,000 to Rahima Sheikh, a gravely ill woman in a 240-square-foot home in India. He considered it a one-time thing."I thought I'd sling some money at the problem,' he says, "and make it go away."  Read more
14:43  Transformational politics:  The Aam Aadmi Party's journey from mass movement to political office in just one year is without a parallel in Indian electoral history, reflecting as it does a popular yearning for change from the models of governance on offer today. Read
14:40  No daaru: Import curbs cast shadow on Christmas for US diplomats:  With the Indian government withdrawing the facility of duty-free imports of food items and liquor in retaliation to the "ill-treatment" meted out to diplomat Devyani Khobragade, the families of American diplomats will have to make "alternative arrangements" for the Christmas-New Year week.

American employees at the US embassy in Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad used to get imported food and liquor at much cheaper rates -- sometimes half the market price -- since they could import these items without paying taxes and duties. Read
14:34  Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing receives royal pardon:  Mathematician lost his job and was given experimental 'chemical castration' after being convicted for homosexual activity in 1952. Read
14:31  India opponents seeking 9% growth cite Thatcher in vote push :  For India's main opposition party, the mood in the world's second-most populous country is similar to that in 1979 Britain, when Margaret Thatcher came to power on a message of strong leadership and effective governance.  Read
14:24  In return for a Green Card, all you have to do is provide evidence against your prominent employer. Jaithirth Rao's open letter to an Indian nanny in New York. Read
14:14  Harish Salve lashes out at Justice Ganguly for casting aspersions on law intern's motive:   Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve lashes out at Justice AK Ganguly for casting aspersions on the law intern's motive.

This is what he tweeted: Justice Ganguly's intemperate allegations against the intern are absurd.

While some of those nailed for corruption may be cocking a snook at his discomfiture, to suggest that the intern is acting at their behest is preposterous.

The companies who have lost investments are in a process to salvage what they can.

Ganguly's embarrassment does not save their investments and they don't care about who decided against them.

The judge presiding over the coal allocation PIL - much larger than the 2G- was part of the 3 who gave the report against Ganguly. He didn't find a scent of retribution in the allegations.

Nor did he fear that judges who decided such cases were vulnerable. Ganguly admits inviting the young lady to a hotel room and dining with her. Does not deny he consumed alchohol- and he was fond of his drink. If the panel of 3 judges found him guilty, least he can do is not cast aspersions of this kind on the young courageous lady.
13:59  Kejriwal's political gamble is a minefield:  By agreeing to form the government in New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal has taken a gamble where his reputation has been put on mortgage. Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt looks at the road ahead for Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party. Read
13:50  How the taper could hit the rupee:  Now that the US Federal Reserve's dreaded taper has arrived, some in India are wondering whether the rupee is headed for new lows again. A recent paper by two economists provides some clues. Many emerging markets took a thumping this summer after the Fed first hinted it might scale back its monthly asset purchases. But India got it the worst. Read
13:27  LIVE! Veerappa Moily: Rahul is Congress PM candidate:  Veerappa Moily's first comments after he assumed charge as Environment and Forests minister. In a first from a partyman, Moily says Rahul Gandhi is the party's choice for PM candidate. He also said that Narendra Modi talked too much, but Congress was the one to deliver.  

The Congress has yet to officially name Rahul as the PM candidate. A Cong Parliamentary Party meeting next month is when the announcement is expected to be made.
13:20  AAP releases video on the how and why of govt formation :  In yet another first, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has now released a video wherein they have explained their position on government formation in Delhi and also tried to communicate how despite taking support from the Congress, they were determined to follow their agenda and pursue promises they made to the people of Delhi.

As the video starts, it talks about the two conflicting views over the issue of government formation -- one that AAP should not align with either the Congress or the BJP, and the other that it should take Congress support, form government for as long as it can, and prove that it can run a government fulfilling campaign promises. Read more
12:58  The recent elections were just old hat, except Kejriwal :  Elections are Indians favourite sport. It used to be cricket. But the combination of round-the-clock television and money-addicted Board of Control for Cricket in India has flooded us with mediocre matches. So stadia are often going empty, and viewership on television has peaked. Read
12:47  Why Congress agreed to the humiliation of working as B-Team of AAP: Jaitley:  What is the exact nature of the Congress-AAP relationship?  Many have suggested that AAP is the B -Team of the Congress. The truth is otherwise.  For the present, the Congress has agreed to the humiliation of working as the B-Team of the AAP.  The relationship between the two merits some other comments.

Read Arun Jaitley's blog.
12:39  Why 'Modi Wave' may lose momentum:  As India prepares for national elections in May, what is being called the "Modi wave' seems almost unstoppable.

Since naming Narendra Modi -- the controversial chief minister of the state of Gujarat -- as its prime ministerial candidate, the opposition BJP has consistently topped opinion polls.

Modi's BJP decimated the ruling Congress Party in recent state elections -- a harbinger, many now believe, of the national outcome. Read
12:31  LIVE! Historic Indo-Pak DGMO meet begins at Wagah:   Indo-Pak DGMOs meeting begins at Wagah border. The historic meet takes place after 14 years.

The Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan are scheduled to discuss the mechanism for reducing tension along the Line of Control (LoC).

DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia would cross over to Pakistan on Tuesday to hold discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Amir Riaz at the Wagah border.
12:18  Nirupama Rao on the Khobragade case :  "With the benefit of hindsight, a plethora of wise words surrounds us on how the Khobragade case should have been handled by the government '" our embassy included '" and how, once the case surfaced, Ms Khobragade should have been immediately posted out of the US. While this seems to be an easily administered solution, it was not seen as necessary at the time of the advent of the case."

Nirupama Rao, former Indian envoy to the US, writes in the Indian Express on the Khobragade case.  Read
12:09  BSF recovers 3 Pak sim cards, heroin in Jammu border:  Heroin, worth Rs 10 crore in the international market, three Pakistani mobile sim cards were recovered by the BSF along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu district. Troops of 94 Battalion of BSAF, after getting an specific information, recovered heroin and the sim cards, they said, adding that they have also detained four villagers.
12:06  Musharraf's treason trial delayed after bomb found:  The trial of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf on treason charges was delayed today after explosives were recovered from his route to the special court in Islamabad.

At the outset of the proceedings, Musharraf's counsel Anwar Mansur raised objections on the constitution of special court and appointment of the prosecutor.

He said the former president could not appear in the court due to security threat.

The court asked the lawyer to file separate plea if there were security threats to 70-year-old Musharraf and then delayed the proceedings.

Earlier in the morning, a bomb weighing 5 kg along with two loaded guns were recovered today from the route Musharraf was scheduled to take to the special court.
12:01  Fear and loathing in New York: Former diplomat Prabhu Dayal reveals how Indian envoys to the US can fall victim to maids pursuing their American dreams. Read
11:50  Here's to you, Sir Galahad:  Indian politics has now got a new Sir Galahad. He promises to sweep away the muck, beginning with Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal, who is all set to become Delhi's next chief minister, is committed to removing corruption from the political arena. His entire campaign had the eradication of corruption at its very centre. Read the opinion piece on the Telegraph.
11:44  Veerappa Moily takes charge as environment minister:  Just in: Veerappa Moily takes charge as environment minister today. This comes after Jayanathi Natarajan resigned last week, ostensibly to help with the party's preparations for the coming 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

While the Congress has maintained that the step was taken as she wanted to work for the party ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls, reports suggested that Natarajan had to quit because the party wanted to assuage industry worries about delays in environmental clearances for projects.
11:39  AAP became the campaign of the aam aadmi of Delhi: Yogendra Yadav :  And a story of hope: AAP leader Yogendra Yadav says that in his dream script, his party will be the natural political hope for the transformative energies he sees in public life. Here's his interview to the Hindu. 
11:36  LIVE! Law intern blogs on Justice Ganguly's conspiracy claims:  "It has been widely reported in the news today that former Justice A.K. Ganguly has written a letter to the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India. Several questions have been raised in the past few weeks, and I think it is appropriate at this stage, for me to answer some of them."

Read the law intern's statement on the intent of her blog accusing Justice Ganguly of sexually harassing her. 
11:23  Kolkata: 13-year-old allegedly raped in taxi in Park Street:   In a virtual re-run of the infamous Park Street rape case 20 months back, a minor girl was allegedly sexually assaulted inside a taxi in an upscale area of Kolkata, police said on Monday.

The 13-year-old girl, whose family lives on a pavement, was alleged to have been dragged inside the cab and raped on Sunday night in the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road - close to Park Street.

One person has been arrested in connection with the incident, while a manhunt was on to nab the taxi driver and an accomplice.

In February 2012, an Anglo-Indian woman was allegedly raped by a group of youths who befriended her in a night club in the area.

The sensational crime shocked the city, and the case continues to be heard in court. But the prime suspect is still at large. -- NDTV
11:18  It's payback time, Arvindji:  Arvind Kejriwal wasn't the only one staking claim to broom-inspired sweepstakes today.Inder Kumar and Sunil Kumar, sweepers at the Ghaziabad housing complex where the chief minister-designate lives, held up their brooms and grinned as they demanded a pay hike.

"Isi jharu ne unko kafi kuchh diya hai. Ab to saheb ko hamara salary badhana hoga (The broom has given him a lot; now saheb will have to raise our pay)," Inder, 45, said shortly after the Aam Aadmi Party chief met Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and staked claim to power with outside support from the Congress.  Read more
11:12  Art of Living to raise awareness among urban electorate :  In other news: Art of Living will teach Jharkhand the Art of Voting. Surprised? Don't be.

The organisation founded by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar and synonymous with pranayama or deep breathing for the chattering classes, teamed up with Election Commission of India to push voter turnout in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram, which held Assembly elections recently.

Read the full report on the Telegraph.
11:10  I sleep well, said Kalashnikov :  Kaslashnikov often said he felt personally untroubled by his contribution to bloodshed.

"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,' he told The Associated Press in 2007.

The AK-47 -- 'Avtomat Kalashnikov' and the year it went into production -- is the world's most popular firearm, favored by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies. An estimated 100 million guns are spread worldwide. -- Washington Post
11:02  AK47 assault rifle designer Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94:  The inventor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died aged 94, Russian officials say. The automatic rifle he designed became one of the world's most familiar and widely used weapons. Its comparative simplicity made it cheap to manufacture, as well as reliable and easy to maintain.

Although honoured by the state, Kalashnikov made little money from his gun. He once said he would have been better off designing a lawn mower. Kalashnikov was admitted to hospital with internal bleeding in November. -- BBC.
10:59  AAP to meet today to finalise Delhi cabinet:   The Aam Aadmi Party or AAP will meet today to finalise its list of ministers for Delhi. AAP's convener Arvind Kejriwal, who will be Delhi's youngest chief minister at 45, has got the go-ahead from Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to have the oath-taking ceremony at Ramlila Maidan. He will take oath on December 26.

Most of AAP's 28 legislators in Delhi are first-time politicians with no experience of governance. 
10:53  Law intern hits back at Justice Ganguly: You are escaping scrutiny:   The former law intern who accused former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly of sexual harassment has hit back at him for denying the charge and calling it revenge for his past judgements.

"At this stage, I believe that anyone claiming that my statements are false is showing disrespect not just to me, but also to the Supreme Court of India," the former intern has said in a blog posted on the website Legally India, which rebuts Justice Ganguly's letter to the Chief Justice of India on Monday. Read the full report here.
10:19  US condemns Syria assault around Aleppo:  

The US has condemned the indiscriminate air assault by the Syrian government in and around Aleppo city which has killed more than 300 people, including children.        

 

"The United States condemns the ongoing air assault by Syrian government forces on civilians, including the indiscriminate use of SCUD missiles and barrel bombs in and around Aleppo over the last week," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.        

 

The intensive "barrel bomb" bombardment over the weekend of Aleppo and other northern towns by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has killed more than 300 people and cast renewed doubt over next month's peace talks.        

 

Carney said that the Syrian government must respect its obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population. He demanded that the Syrian government must fulfill its November commitment to do more to facilitate the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, so that millions of Syrian men, women, and children have access to urgently needed services.

10:18  Fog disrupts flight operations at Delhi airport:  

Dense fog once again returned to affect the operations at the IGI Airport where over a dozen flights were delayed this morning. Three flights -- one freighter aircraft, a Jet Airways flight from Abu Dhabi and a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul -- had to be diverted as the pilots were not trained to land aircraft when the visibility is less than 200 metres, airport sources said.        

 

Fog started to descend at the airport early in the morning and the runway visibility kept fluctuating, causing problems for airport authorities to maintain the schedule of the flights.        

 

According to airport Met officials, the runway visibility was around 100 metres at the third runway (29/11) and around 125 to 200 metres on the main runway (28/10), while the general visibility was less than 50 metres.        

 

This led to delay in departures of some flights as the minimum runway visibility for low visibility take off is 125 to 150 metres. This also brought take-offs from third runway to a halt but landings were taking place.        

There was no suspension of flight operations at the airport due to fog, an airport official said.

09:41  Snooping row: Trouble for Modi, more audio tapes to be released:  

More trouble in store for BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as news portal Gulail is planning to release new audio tapes on the alleged snooping row.

 

The tapes reportedly show how state machinery was used to tap the phone and stalk the woman in and outside Gujarat. Two news portals, Cobrapost and Gulail, had claimed on November 15 that Modi close-aide Amit Shah had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman in Gujarat at the behest of one "saheb".

 

They had released purported taped conversation between Shah and IPS officer GL Singhal to support their claim but said the authenticity of the tape could not be confirmed.

 

Read more on CNN IBN

08:33  BJP demands probe into Robert Vadra land deal in Rajasthan:  

ongress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's land deals in Rajasthan have come under scrutiny just days after the party was unseated in the state by the BJP in this month's assembly polls. 

 

A group of BJP MPs have written to the newly-formed Vasundhara Raje government asking for a commission of inquiry to look into land bought by Mr Vadra's companies in the state. They claim that these deals violate the Land Ceiling Act.

 

In one of these deals, Mr Vadra had in 2009 reportedly bought land in Bikaner that was in the middle of the Thar desert and largely wasteland. He reportedly bought over 270 hectares of land in different segments for nearly Rs. 2.83 crore. 

 

The land was reportedly bought on Mr Vadra's behalf by Mahesh Nagar, a former Congress MLA from Faridabad in Haryana, the state where Mr Vadra's land deals have been at the centre of controversy for some time.

 

Read more on NDTV

00:59  Madhya Pradesh CM allocates portfolios to Cabinet colleagues:  Senior BJP leader Babulal Gaur was allocated Home and Jail Department, while Jayant Mallaiya was given Finance as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan distributed portfolios to his party MLAs today.

Mallaiya will also have additional charge of Water Resources, Commercial Tax, Planning and Statistics Departments, official sources said tonight.

Chouhan has retained general administration, aviation, culture, tourism, Narmada Valley development authority and few other departments not allocated to any minister.

Gopal Bhargava has been given responsibility of panchayat and rural development, social justice and cooperative, while Kailash Vijaywargiya was given urban administration and housing and environment.
00:53  New Indian envoy arrives in US amid row over diplomat's arrest:  S Jaishankar, the new Indian Ambassador to the US, arrived in Washington today to take charge amid a raging diplomatic row over the arrest and strip-search of senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade on visa fraud charges.

He is to take charge at a time when officials from both countries have intensified efforts to find an amicable resolution of the issue of Khobragade's arrest. Jaishankar, who till recently was India's ambassador to China, arrived in Washington this afternoon from New York where he flew in from New Delhi.

While he would formally present his credentials to US President Barack Obama at the White House in the new year, Jaishankar is expected to present his credentials to the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal at the State Department soon.
00:16  Raj Thackeray sinks his differences with Big B:   Sinking their five-year-old differences, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray today shared dais with Amitabh Bachchan and said that whatever happened between him and the actor is now a thing of the past.

Praising the actor for his immense contribution to the Indian film industry, Raj said Amitabh Bachchan is not the brand ambassador of any state in particular but of the nation.

Raj made it clear that he sticks to his words said in the past but also clarified that there was nothing personal between them.

"What happened in the past is done. It was never ever personal. Time and again, from my speeches, I have been repeating that an actor of his stature has not dawned on the screen in the past 100 years in the country and probably never would even in the future. And thus, he belongs to India and he is an ambassador of the entire nation," Thackeray said.
00:11  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Court asks actors Mohan Babu, Brahmanandam to return Padma Shri
Jairam Ramesh: The rising star of Rahul's Congress 
Devyani Khobragade gets waiver from appearing in person in US court
4 dead, 9 missing in heavy snowfall in Himachal
Diplomat row: US embassy paid for maid's family's air tickets
Cong in catch-22 situation after support to AAP govt
Chinese troops return from Ladakh after flag meeting

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