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December 27, 2013


22:21  No new probe into Benazir's assassination: Pak government:  The Pakistan government will not order a new probe into former premier Benazir Bhutto's assassination and await a court's decision on the issue, according to a media report today.

"We will wait for the court decision and then evolve a future line of action," Information Minister Pervez Rashid said. "Since the matter is in court, we cannot initiate a separate investigation," he said when asked about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's statement before the May polls that his PML-N party would expose Bhutto's killers if it came to power.

Four investigations have already been carried out and the case is being by an anti-terrorism court. "Let us see what the court decides on the investigation reports already submitted to it," Rashid told the Dawn newspaper.
22:20  Delhi HC stays renovation of mosque inside its premises:  The Delhi High Court today stayed renovation work at a mosque inside its premises and directed "status quo" to be maintained till the court's Building Maintenance and Construction Committee holds its next meeting to discuss the matter.

A group of lawyers made an oral submission before the High Court, saying that some people associated with Hindu religious groups were protesting in front of the construction site. Taking suo motu cognisance of the issue, a vacation bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog directed "status quo be maintained till the High Court's Building Maintenance and Construction Committee holds its next meeting to discuss the issue."

The committee comprises of High Court Judges, justices S Ravindra Bhat, G S Sistani, Mukta Gupta and Najmi Waziri. The court also asked a nodal officer, appointed by it, to monitor the issue and submit a compliance report of its order. It also asked the police to ensure that law and order is maintained within the court complex.
21:45  MoD tasked to recruit crew for ISRO's 'Man to Moon' mission:  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been tasked to recruit crew for ISRO's "ambitious" Man to Moon Mission, Air Marshal A K Behl, Director General, Medical Services (Air) today said. MoD and ISRO have signed an MoU for the project.

"We have collaborated with ISRO a couple of years ago," he said. The Director General for Armed Forces Services, who is looking after the project, is also also supposed to asses whether the crew can maintain the spacecraft well and come back safely.

"Man to Moon is an ambitious project started by the ISRO. Since the Indian Air Force has domain expertise in aviation and in other aspects related to space, we have collaborated with them. The Institute of Aviation Studies Bangalore is also involved in this project," Behl added.

Rakesh Sharma, a former Indian Air Force pilot who flew aboard Soyuz T-11 as part of the Inter-cosmos programme by the USSR was the first Indian to travel in space
21:01  Bhiwani gives fourth CM in Kejriwal:  A dusty village in the Bhiwani region of Haryana that has produced three chief ministers is celebrating the success of its native Arvind Kejriwal, who will take oath as Delhi's chief minister tomorrow.

While Kejriwal's close kin in Siwani village of Bhiwani district are enthusiastic about taking part in the oath taking ceremony in the national capital, his friends and teachers are also an excited lot.

"It is a matter of great joy and happiness for all of us. There have been celebrations in the family. Now, we are preparing to leave for Delhi," Kejriwal's cousin sister, Suman told PTI over phone this evening from Bhiwani.

While 45-year-old Kejriwal's ancestors hailed from Kheda village of Bhiwani, the family is now based in Siwani village in the same district.
20:40  KLO's involvement in Jalpaiguri blast not yet confirmed:  A day after the bomb explosion near Jalpaiguri town which killed five people and left nine injured, security agencies are yet to find out if it was a terrorist attack.

The Kamtapur Liberation Organisation which observed its martyrs' day yesterday is widely believed to be behind the blast, though the organisation in a statement released today denied its hand in the incident.

A team of the National Investigation Agency today inspected the site at Bajrapara near Jalpaiguri town. DSP, Jalpaiguri, Probhat Chakraborty, said the team collected samples from the blast site.

No one had been arrested or detained by the police till now, he said. About the KLO's involvement in the blast, the DSP did not wish to comment, saying "we won't say anything on this matter now. All angles to the blast are being investigated," he said.

While denying its hand in the blast, the KLO alleged in the statement that the West Bengal police was trying to malign the organisation.
19:35  Let's not confuse the issue: Rahul on Modi's blog:  Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today parried questions on Narendra Modi's comments over the 2002 Gujarat riots.        

"The issue here is about building a framework against corruption. Let's not confuse the issue here," he said at a press conference when asked to comment on Modi's statement.
19:34  FIR against Jaganmohan Reddy for disrespecting national anthem:  The Cyberabad police have registered an FIR against YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem.        

Based on a private complaint lodged by one advocate Janardhan Goud, a local court had earlier issued directions to the Saroornagar police to investigate the matter.
19:33  Mallika Sarabhai disagrees with court's clean chit to Modi:  Noted social activist and danseuse Mallika Sarabhai today said she does not agree with the Metropolitan Court's verdict giving clean chit to Narendra Modi and 62 others in the 2002 Gujarat riots, while rejecting Zakia Jafri's protest petition.       

"I do not agree with the judgment," said Sarabhai.
19:08  Sonia forms new Punjab Congress Committee:  Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has formed a new Punjab Congress Committee.
19:07  Draft charges filed against Abu Jundal in 26/11 case:  Mumbai police today filed draft charges against alleged Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case. 

"The process of framing of charges will start in January," said Jundal's lawyer, advocate Ejaz Naqvi.
18:43  New Lokayukta legislation in Congress-ruled states:  All Congress-ruled states will enact new Lokayukta legislation by February 28 next year; it was decided at a meeting of Congress CMs chaired by Rahul Gandhi.
18:26  Will discuss issue with my Cabinet: Maha CM:  Reacting to Rahul Gandhi's latest political stunt, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said, "I will discuss the issue with my Cabinet and take a decision on the Adarsh report."
18:21  Don't agree with Maha govt's decision on Adarsh: Rahul:  In a meeting with Congress CMs, party vice president Rahul Gandhi reportedly urged the Maharashtra state government to reconsider its decision to reject the Adarsh scam probe report.

Gandhi said, "There is no question of protecting anyone in the Adarsh case", according to a report in CNN-IBN.


18:08  No change in stand on abrogation of Article 370: BJP :  The BJP today said there is no change in its stand on abrogation of Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, saying the constitutional provision has created hurdles in the development and full integration of the state with the rest of the country.        

The party's statement comes in the backdrop of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's remark at a rally in Jammu earlier this month -- that it should be debated whether the constitutional provision had been beneficial for the state.
18:06  Kejriwal summons his first Cabinet meeting:  Soon after taking oath as Delhi chief minister on Saturday, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal will visit Rajgath before leaving for his first Cabinet meeting.        

The Cabinet meeting is scheduled to take place at 2 pm.

"After taking oath as Delhi's CM, I will call a Cabinet meeting at 2 pm on Saturday," the chief minister designate told reporters.
18:04  Clean chit a slap on Nitish's face: Sushil Modi :   Senior BJP leader Sushil Modi today said that the clean chit given by a Gujarat court to Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots was a "strong slap" on the face of "pseudo secular" leaders like Nitish Kumar and asked the Bihar chief minister to tender an apology for breaking the alliance.   

"The verdict of a Gujarat Metropolitan court upholding the SIT report giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi is a strong slap on the face of pseudo-secular leaders like Nitish Kumar who severed ties with the BJP in his name," Sushil Modi told reporters.
17:54  'Modi's words are meaningless and hollow' :  Writer Samaresh Majumdar is fuming. Having heard of what Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote in his blog, the ace writer of Bengal is outraged. 

Modi expressed himself in his blog after getting a clean chit by an Ahmedabad court on the Gujarat riots of 2002. 

According to Majumdar, however, these words are meaningless and hollow. They are meticulously designed to serve a political purpose. 

"Instead of penning such 'overtly emotional' words, he should have stood by those people who lost everything,' the writer told Rediff.com on Friday. 

"Had the Gujarat chief minister taken some sincere steps to counter the riots that claimed hundred of lives, his 'anguish' would have been justified,' Majumdar said. 

"Where was he when women were raped and children were butchered? Why didn't he feel their pain then? A mere court statement can't belie the truth.  The whole world knows what happened in Gujarat in 2002. The Gujarat chief minister should seek clean chit not from any legal body but from the people of this country.' 

As told to Indrani Roy 
17:27  Congress: Modi's blog on Gujarat riots 'pretentious':  The Congress has reacted strongly to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's blog post on the 2002 post-Godhra riots, in which the BJP's PM candidate talks about the "agony" he suffered after he was accused of playing a role in triggering the communal carnage.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari claimed that Modi's musings were "sanctimonious and pretentious"
16:41   Incidentally, Narendra Modi's website has crashed after this blog. 
16:32  I hope people will connect with the real Narendra Modi: Gujarat CM:  "The Gujarat Government had responded to the violence more swiftly and decisively than ever done before in any previous riots in the country. Yesterday's judgement culminated a process of unprecedented scrutiny closely monitored by the highest court of the land, the Honourable Supreme Court of India. Gujarat's 12 years of trial by the fire have finally drawn to an end. I feel liberated and at peace.

"I am truly grateful to all those who stood by me in these trying times; seeing through the facade of lies and deceit. With this cloud of misinformation firmly dispelled, I will now also hope that the many others out there trying to understand and connect with the real Narendra Modi would feel more empowered to do so.

"Those who derive satisfaction by perpetuating pain in others will probably not stop their tirade against me. I do not expect them to. But, I pray in all humility, that they at least now stop irresponsibly maligning the 6 crore people of Gujarat.

"Emerging from this journey of pain and agony; I pray to God that no bitterness seeps into my heart. I sincerely do not see this judgement as a personal victory or defeat, and urge all - my friends and especially my opponents - to not do so as well. I was driven by this same principle at the time of the Honourable Supreme Court's 2011 judgement on this matter. I fasted 37 days for Sadbhavana, choosing to translate the positive judgement into constructive action, reinforcing Unity and Sadbhavana in society at large.

I am deeply convinced that the future of any society, state or country lies in harmony. This is the only foundation on which progress and prosperity can be built. Therefore, I urge one and all to join hands in working towards the same, ensuring smiles on each and every face.

Once again, Satyameva Jayate!

Vande Mataram!"
16:30  My Gujarat transformed into one of Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana: Modi:  "For so many years, they incessantly kept up their attack, leaving no stone unturned. What pained even more was that in their overzealousness to hit at me for their narrow personal and political ends, they ended up maligning my entire state and country.

"This heartlessly kept reopening the wounds that we were sincerely trying to heal. It ironically also delayed the very justice that these people claimed to be fighting for. Maybe they did not realize how much suffering they were adding to an already pained people.

"Gujarat however had decided its own path. We chose peace over violence. We chose unity over divisiveness. We chose goodwill over hatred. This was not easy, but we were determined to commit for the long haul. From a life of daily uncertainty and fear; my Gujarat transformed into one of Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana. I stand a satisfied and reassured man today. And for this, I credit each and every Gujarati."
16:27  Such deplorable incidents don't behove civilised society: Modi:  This has been Modi's strongest expression of regret so far, on the Gujarat riots.  Read more...

"However, it was from these very built up emotions that I had appealed to the people of Gujarat on the day of the Godhra train burning itself; fervently urging for peace and restraint to ensure lives of innocents were not put at risk.

"I had repeatedly reiterated the same principles in my daily interactions with the media in those fateful days of February-March 2002 as well; publicly underlining the political will as well as moral responsibility of the government to ensure peace, deliver justice and punish all guilty of violence.

"You will also find these deep emotions in my recent words at my Sadbhavana fasts, where I had emphasized how such deplorable incidents did not behove a civilized society and had pained me deeply.

"In fact, my emphasis has always been on developing and emphasizing a spirit of unity; with the now widely used concept of 'my 5 crore Gujarati brothers and sisters' having crystallized right at the beginning of my tenure as CM itself from this very space.

"However, as if all the suffering was not enough, I was also accused of the death and misery of my own loved ones, my Gujarati brothers and sisters. Can you imagine the inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you!"

Pic: People pay homage to the victims who died in the Gulberg Society killings. Courtesy: Citizens for Justice and Peace
16:18  I was wracked with pain and agony: Modi on Gujarat riots :  "On one side was the pain of the victims of the earthquake, and on the other the pain of the victims of the riots. In decisively confronting this great turmoil, I had to single-mindedly focus all the strength given to me by the almighty, on the task of peace, justice and rehabilitation; burying the pain and agony I was personally wracked with.

During those challenging times, I often recollected the wisdom in our scriptures; explaining how those seating in positions of power did not have the right to share their own pain and anguish. They had to suffer it in solitude.

I lived through the same,experiencing this anguish in searingly sharp intensity. In fact, whenever I remember those agonizing days, I have only one earnest prayer to God. That never again should such cruelly unfortunate days come in the lives of any other person, society, state or nation.

This is the first time I am sharing the harrowing ordeal I had gone through in those days at a personal level."
16:16  LIVE! Modi on Guj riots: I was shaken to the core, imagine my pain at being blamed!:  As promised Gujarat CM Narendra Modi blogs on clean chit he was given by an Ahmedabad court on the Gujarat riots of 2002. Here's an excerpt of what he wrote.

Dear sisters and brothers,

"The law of nature is that Truth alone triumphs - Satyameva Jayate. Our judiciary having spoken, I felt it important to share my inner thoughts and feelings with the nation at large.

The end brings back memories of the beginning. The devastating earthquake of 2001 had plunged Gujarat into the gloom of death, destruction and sheer helplessness. Hundreds of lives were lost.

Lakhs were rendered homeless. Entire livelihoods were destroyed. In such traumatic times of unimaginable suffering, I was given the responsibility to soothe and rebuild.

And we had whole heartedly plunged ourselves into the challenge at hand.

Within a mere five months however, the mindless violence of 2002 had dealt us another unexpected blow. Innocents were killed. Families rendered helpless. Property built through years of toil destroyed. Still struggling to get back on its feet from the natural devastation, this was a crippling blow to an already shattered and hurting Gujarat.

I was shaken to the core. 'Grief', 'Sadness', 'Misery', 'Pain', 'Anguish', 'Agony' - mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity."
16:09  Mandela: Death of a Politician:  Does it matter that Nelson Mandela was a communist who believed in the liberating virtue of firearms and explosives? It matters that he became a communist in 1960, in the aftermath of Sharpeville, where 69 protesters were shot dead by the South African police.

It also matters that the SACP was still in 1960 the organisational and political spine of the ANC, which was founded in 1912 as a party of notables rather than a fighting force.

Finally, it matters that Mandela saw the use of or abstention from armed insurrection as, in his own words, 'not a moral principle but a strategy, as there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon'.

-- That's Stephen W. Smith on the great Nelson Mandela. Read
16:01  Maha Dy CM 'reimburses' Rs 27 lakh towards bungalow renovation:  Stung by allegations of splurging public money, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has reimbursed Rs 27 lakh toward "unwarranted" expenditure incurred by the government on renovation of his official residence.

"Ajit Pawar has reimbursed Rs 27 lakh, the amount which was the additional expenditure on renovation of his official bungalow Devgiri in South Mumbai, to the public works department (PWD)," an official in the Deputy Chief Minister's office said today.

The step was taken in the wake of information obtained through RTI activist Anil Galgali that Maharashtra ministers spent Rs 14 crore over the past year to repair and renovate their official residences and on domestic air travel.
15:57  So, what are inflation-linked bonds?:  India recently launched a new kind of bond to give individual investors some protection against inflation, but they don't make sense for everyone. The new bonds, officially called the Inflation Indexed National Savings Securities, are available for sale to individuals until December 31. Read
15:50  Snoopgate: Sibal accuses BJP of double speak:  Defending the decision to set up an inquiry commission to go into Gujarat snoopgate, Law Minister Kapil Sibal today accused the BJP of "doublespeak" and said a probe ordered by the Narendra Modi government on it will meet fate of a probe panel on post-Godhra riots which is yet to give its report.

"The Nanavati Commission was set up by Narendra Modi in order to help absolve himself of any wrong doing in Gujarat. Instead of four months, it has taken over 11 years and the inquiry report is still awaited," Sibal said.

"Setting up a Commission of Inquiry by the Gujarat government in relation to snoopgate will meet the same fate," he said.

He said there is "ample evidence" to suggest that various provisions of the Information Technology Act, Telegraph Act, IPC as well as right to privacy of a young girl and her family were violated in the snooping incident.
15:45  Saddam was strong until the end, says man who oversaw hanging :  Mowaffak al-Rubaie sits in his office with a statue of Saddam Hussein behind him, the rope used to hang the dictator around its neck, recalling his final minutes.

The former national security advisor, who oversaw Saddam's 2006 execution, said he remained strong until the end, and never expressed any regret.

"A criminal? True. A killer? True. A butcher? True. But he was strong until the end.

"I received him (Saddam) at the door. No one entered with us -- no foreigners, and no Americans," Rubaie said in an interview with AFP at his office in the Kadhimiyah area of north Baghdad, near the prison where the execution took place seven years ago.

"He was wearing a jacket and a white shirt, normal and relaxed, and I didn't see any signs of fear.

"Of course, some people want me to say that he collapsed or that he was drugged, but these facts are for history," Rubaie said.

"I didn't hear any regret from him, I didn't hear any request for mercy from God from him, or request for pardon.

"A person who is about to die usually says, 'God, forgive my sins -- I am coming to you.' But he never said any of that," Rubaie told AFP.
15:40  Woman attacked with acid in beauty parlour dies:  A 22-year-old bride, who suffered serious burn injuries in an acid attack, breathed her last today at a Mumbai hospital.

The victim Harpreet Kaur was shifted from DMC Hospital, Ludhiana to National Burns Centre, Mumbai for treatment on December 12.

Her body will be air lifted to her native town Barnala, said Nirmal Singh Dhillon, Police Commissioner Ludhiana.

The victim had gone to a beauty salon in Sarabha Nagar for her bridal make-up shortly before her marriage on December 7 when the accused youth barged in and threw acid on her. Three other women present there were also injured in the attack.

Ludhiana police had arrested one Amitpal Kaur, the divorced wife of the elder brother of the groom, alongwith her paramour and five others in connection with the case.

During interrogation, she told the police that she was envious of seeing the family happy since her divorce, and sought help from her paramour to scar the bride with acid on the day of her wedding.

Kaur told the police that she attacked Harpreet so that no one dares to marry their daughter into the groom's family.
15:36  Rs 31 lakh compensation awarded to kin of road mishap victim:  A motor accident claims tribunal (MACT) here has awarded compensation of over Rs 31 lakh to the family members of a woman who died in a road accident in 2009 after being hit by a rashly driven truck.

The tribunal directed ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co Ltd, with which the offending truck was insured, to pay compensation of Rs 31,86,214 to the husband and two children of the 29-year-old Madhu, the deceased victim. The accident happened in Delhi.
15:18  How the AAP can take advantage of India's changing political equations:  If the AAP wins 20 to 40 Lok Sabha seats, which is conceivable unless it botches up on governance in Delhi, it will become a significant bloc comparable in influence to or even bigger than several major regional parties, feels Praful Bidwai. Read the column on Rediff.
15:09  That's Neil Armstrong's immigration form for entering Earth. 
15:07  File burning sting op proof of corruption in Delhi govt depts: Kejriwal:   In the wake of a sting operation by a news channel which purportedly shows files being destroyed at the Delhi Secretariat, Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal today said the matter reflected large-scale corruption in certain departments even as he asked the Chief Secretary to take care of important documents.

"This (the sting) shows there is large-scale corruption in these departments and officials who are seeking transfer are understood to have been involved in it," the AAP leader said.

In the sting operation, news channel 'Aaj Tak' showed some files being torn up at the Secretariat, which houses the offices of all Delhi ministers, including the chief minister, besides other departments.

Kejriwal said it was the Chief Secretary's responsibility to take care of all the files before a new government took charge. Kejriwal will be sworn in as the Chief Minister tomorrow along with six other ministers.
14:55  Half of refugees in govt-aided relief camp children:   The only government-aided relief camp in the Muzaffarnagar district has so far seen 16 deaths after it opened to shelter victims following the September riots in the area, official sources said.

The camp at Loi presently houses more than 2,000 riot victims of which approximately half are children.

Sixteen deaths have taken place at the camp due to ailments and medical causes, sources added.

They also revealed that 39 children have so far been born to victims at the riot camp.

A high-level official panel had yesterday said that a total of 4,783 "displaced" people were still living in relief camps for riot victims in the area.

Riots in September had left over 60 people dead and rendered thousands homeless.
14:48  Priceless 2000-year-old lion broken at Kolkata museum:  Meanwhile, in Kolkata, a priceless statue of a lion, over 2000 years old, has been broken while it was being relocated in the Indian Museum.

The sculpture that has been severely damaged is of the Rampurva Lion Capital , built in the time of Ashoka the Great, and acknowledged as a rare specimen of Mauryan culture.

The museum is being renovated for its 200th anniversary, and the statue, which is seven feet tall and weighs several tons, was being moved to a different part of the lobby. -- NDTV
14:44   India to be world's 3rd largest economy by 2028 after China,US:  India is likely to overtake Japan in 2028 to become the third largest economy in the world after China and United States, according to London-based economic consultancy Cebr.

As per Cebr's World Economic League table report for 2013, India has lost a place in the league table in 2013 to Canada and is now the 11th largest economy in the world.

"But demographics and economic growth will eventually drive the Indian economy up the table and the forecast for 2028 has India becoming the world's 3rd largest economy overtaking Japan," the report said.
14:35  Mallika Sarabhai on clean chit for Modi in riots: Courts not above politics :  Activist Mallika Sarabhai questions the Ahmedabad court's clean chit to Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots. She tells NDTV that courts in India were not above politics and it was silly to have expected anything but a clean chit for Modi. Courts may not find evidence, but Modi should ask his conscience.

She said everyone in Gujarat was terrified of Modi's vengeance.

A metropolitan court yesterday rejected the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, against the clean chit given to him and others by the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was among the 68 people killed in the Gulbarg society massacre here during the post-Godhra riots. Zakia had filed a protest petition on April 15, this year objecting to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT's closure report absolving Modi of complicity in the conspiracy behind the carnage.
14:29   120,000 people displaced by S Sudan violence: UN:  The United Nations says more than 120,000 people have been displaced by continuing violence in South Sudan, and about half are now sheltering at UN compounds.

The number of internally displaced people has been rising since fighting started on December 15 in the capital, Juba, before spreading across the oil-producing East African nation.

Aid agencies now need at least USD 166 million to save lives, according to the UN, which has urged South Sudan's leaders to start talks.
14:25  India is sitting on a time-bomb of violence against women:  Imagine a world where the proportion of girls being born is so low that large proportions of males just cannot find partners when they come of age.

In such a world they are more likely to congregate in gangs for company. In turn, that means they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour: i.e. commit crime, do drugs and engage in violence against women.   Read more
14:23  Former Lebanese minister Mohammed Shattah, adviser to ex-prime minister Saad Hariri, is killed in blast in the capital Beirut. Read more
14:12  The men who would be king in 2014:   The chemistry and momentum is clearly with a charismatic Modi but will he have the numbers to become India's next prime minister, asks Rajdeep Sardesai. Read
14:08  Sixty injured in piranha attack in Argentina, girl loses finger :   At least 60 swimmers have been injured in a piranha attack on an Argentine beach on Christmas Day.

The attack involved more than 20 children, with one seven-year-old girl losing part of one of her fingers and another boy sustaining an open fracture to his hand by the shoal of meat-eating fish.

Other victims suffered bites to their feet and hands by the palometas, a cousin of the piranha.   Read more
13:47  CNG rate increase due to court orders: IGL:  A day after hiking CNG price by a steep Rs 4.50 per kg in Delhi, Indraprastha Gas Ltd today said the rate increase were forced by court orders that led to cut in allocation of cheaper domestic natural gas.

Following a Gujarat High Court order, the government ordered all of domestically available natural gas for city gas projects to be equitably distributed among all the companies in the country than convert the fuel into compressed natural gas for sale to automobiles.

Prior to this, cheaper domestic gas was largely available to firms retailing CNG in Delhi and Mumbai.
13:46  Histrionics at Kejriwal's janta durbar as man slits wrist in support of AAP:  A 25-year-old youth slit his wrist at Delhi chief minister designate Arvind Kejriwal's 'janata darbar' today in what he called an act of support for Aam Aadmi Party.

Zamil Ahmed, a resident of Deoli, had come to participate at the meet in Ghaziabad. While the proceedings of the darbar were on, Ahmed suddenly slit his wrist with a blade.

"Subhash Chandra Bose had said 'tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhein azadi dunga' (Give me blood, I will give you freedom). Sir, I am with you and would do anything for you," Ahmed told Kejriwal after he had slit his wrist.

Seeing what the youth had done, Kejriwal immediately asked AAP supporters to take him to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Ahmed's condition is said to be out of danger.

Ahmed had come to the darbar to complain against the 'jhuggi' system in Delhi and requested Kejriwal to do something in this regard.

Friday was the third consecutive day of Kejriwal's darbar where many people have been coming with complaints related to water and electricity.
13:31  BJP demands a rollback in CNG price hike :  The BJP has demanded a rollback in the CNG price hike in Delhi, says Dr Harsh Vardhan.  The compressed natural gas, or CNG, rate in the national capital was on Thursday raised by a steep Rs 4.50 per kg in a second increase in rates in three months.CNG will now cost Rs 50.10/kg in Delhi and Rs 56.70/kg in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, Indraprastha Gas Ltd has said.
13:26  How the 2001 Kutch quake aided Modi's rise:  At 8:46 am on January 26, 2001, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake shook the state of Gujarat, killing 20,000 people and toppling around 339,000 homes.

Over a decade later, Kutch -- the district in the western Indian state hit hardest by the calamity -- has transformed into an economic boomtown with flat new roads, an airport and tax-free zones that have attracted hundreds of businesses and created thousands of jobs.

The state's chief minister, Narendra Modi, has touted the region's development as one of the successes of his government.  Read more
13:23  30 families booked for illegally staying in relief camps:  Thirty families have been booked for allegedly living in relief camps in Sanjak village here despite not being riot victims, police said today.

According to Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rajnikanth, these families from Kinoni village in Muzaffarnagar, which was not affected by riots, were living in the make-shift camps set up for the riot victims.

The families, who claim to be affected by communal riots that took place in September, were asked to leave the camps but they refused, he said.

A case of encroaching on government land has been slapped against them, police said.

Over 60 people were killed and thousands displaced in the riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas.
13:10  New Indian envoy's first task in US is protesting Khobragade arrest:   The new Indian Ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar today met top officials of the State Department to convey India's strong protest over the arrest of its senior diplomat in New York over visa fraud charges, even though she had diplomatic immunity.

Immediately after presenting copies of his credentials to the Office of Chief of Protocol, Jaishankar met the Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and the Under Secretary for Management, Patrick F Kennedy at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

Both the meetings were dominated by the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, in New York early this month, which India insists is in violation of the Vienna Convention.

During the meeting, Jaishankar is believed to have sought withdrawal of the charges, and strongly objected to the manner in which the US government evacuated Indian citizens -- the family members of the maid of the Indian diplomat -- undermining the judicial sovereignty of India. No official details of the meetings were available.
13:04  CBI arrests joint commissioner of income tax for accepting bribe :  Sanjeev Ghai, Joint Commissioner posted at Thane office of Income Tax was taken into custody after he was caught red-handed while accepting the bribe from the businessman.

The sources said Ghai had put the tax return of the businessman in the scrutiny raising doubts on the claims of losses incurred by him in the business.

Later, Ghai approached the businessman through a chartered accountant to settle his case and allegedly demanded Rs 10 lakh for the purpose. During negotiations, the amount was brought down to Rs 3.5 lakh, they said.

After getting input about the deal, a team of CBI officers laid the trap at Ghai's office and arrested him while he was allegedly accepting the bribe, the sources said.
13:00  The CBI has arrested the joint commissioner of income tax for accepting a bribe of Rs 3 lakh. 
12:59  Akhilesh presses damage control button: Slams UP Home Secy for Siberia comment:  UP CM Akhilesh Yadav in damage control mode. Reacting to Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) AK Gupta's comment that cold wasn't the reason behind children's deaths at relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, Yadav said officials should be careful about what they speak.

Gupta had said that if people could die of cold then how do people survive in Siberia.

Addressing the media now, Akhilesh said people should have control about what they speak especially when they speak to the media since the same tape will be shown in a loop throughout the day. "That's especially true when you are speaking about Muzaffarnagar. You should not hurt anyone's feelings," he said.

He said a lot of people had gone back home from the relief camps, but many more were yet to leave. 
12:37   35 crew members of US ship get conditional bail:   A local court has granted conditional bail to all the 35 crew members of a US ship, arrested on charges of illegally carrying weapons on board the vessel and straying into Indian waters.

In their bail plea, the crew argued that the 'Q' branch of Tamil Nadu police had failed to file the charge sheet even after 60 days of their arrest.

After hearing the petition, Judicial Magistrate-I Kathiravan granted them bail yesterday ordering that they report at the office of the 'Q' branch , investigating the case, and sign every day.

The 35 crew members of the ship MV Seeman Ohio were arrested on October 18 by Tamil Nadu police after it was intercepted by the Coast Guard.

They were booked under the Arms Act and Essential Commodities Act. The crew members were also accused of illegal purchase of diesel from local agents.

Also read: The diplomat's arrest and the Tuticorin connection
12:34  The FIVE key spokes in the 2014 political wheel:  A country in which all general elections are unique, 2014 polls promises to top the list. In 2014, India's political story will be told by five people -- Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, J Jayalalithaa and Pranab Mukherjee, notes Aditi Phadnis. Read
12:31  Pragya Thakur to get NIA's clean chit in Joshi murder case:  The NIA has found nothing to suggest that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and 3 others were involved in Malegaon and Samjhauta blasts accused Sunil Joshi's murder, reports Vicky Nanjappa. Read
12:22  LIVE! Life term for man who raped Spanish woman in Bandra apartment:  Just in: The man who raped a Spanish woman in 2012 in her apartment in Bandra has been given a life term.

Police had launched a manhunt for the accused who was believed to be a serial robber.

Piecing together the horrific details, police sources said the man, Mohammed Badshah alias Mohammed Ismail Ansari, entered the victim's flat, raped her twice and later ordered her to take a bath.

He spent around 45 minutes at the victim's flat and smoked two of her cigarettes. He is also believed to have wiped off fingerprints and traces of evidence that might have been left in the course of his stay.
12:14  Lovely denies hand in shredding documents :  With hours left before Arvind Kejriwal becomes the Chief Minister of Delhi, a wave of panic is swirling through Delhi's government departments, leaving shredded paper in its wake.

A sting operation by Headlines Today has revealed incriminating files being quietly destroyed, dubious documents being shredded, and suspicious data being discretely erased in Delhi government offices.

The team equipped with sting cameras carried out operation into the offices of ministers at Delhi Secretariat near ITO and at the office of Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

Incidentally, Sheila Dikshit was also the DJB chairperson.

Former minister Arvinder Singh Lovely's officer on special duty (OSD) was found busy destroying files and documents by the operation.

Lovely now says he has nothing to do with the documents. "I have not stepped into office since the code of conduct has been implemented," says Lovely.
12:11  Creating a robust accountability system:  The provisions in the Communal Violence Bill are intended to strengthen the bureaucracy by giving it a framework within which to operate. Read
12:01  Reactons to Kejriwal's aam aadmi behaviour :  Shiv Aroor: Dear @ArvindKejriwal, all u'll achieve by taking the metro to ur swearing-in is inconvenience thousands of commuters. Stop overdoing stuff.

Ramesh Srivats: I thought Arvind Kejriwal was all about values. He's turning out to be mostly about prices.
11:56  Lack of resemblance: Artist to re-do face of Karunakaran statue:  What do you do when a statue does not resemble the person? It has to be remade, of course.

A full-size bronze statue of former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran in Thiruvananthapuram, to be unveiled by President Pranab Mukherjee will have to be recast.

Some Congress leaders, including Karunakaran's son and party MLA K Muraleedharan, have voiced dissatisfaction at the statue installed in the Kanakakunnu palace grounds in the heart of the state capital.

They argued that it had failed to depict the true facial expressions of the late leader, including his trademark smile.
11:44  Meira Kumar's office defends allocation of bungalow for father's memorial:   Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's office has sharply rebutted reports that she has access to more than one sprawling government bungalow in the heart of Delhi.

It has termed as "factually incorrect, highly mischievous and defamatory" a newspaper report that she will have access to a bungalow that has been given on a 25-year lease to a foundation in her father, Babu Jagjivan Ram's name.  Read more
11:42  Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas to reunite?:  In other news: Estranged couple Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are reportedly heading for a reunion.

The married couple, who confirmed through their representatives in August that they were taking a break from each other, have allegedly shown signs that they are happy together again.

Zeta-Jones and Douglas were seen laughing and enjoying each other's company at lunch this past weekend at Ocean Grill on the Upper West Side.

Neither Zeta-Jones nor Douglas has filed for divorce. She was still seen with the wedding ring and gushed about Douglas after he won the Best Actor trophy at the recent Emmys.
11:38  LIVE! Arvind Kejriwal, AAP MLAs to take metro to swearing-in ceremony:  Delhi's CM designate Arvind Kejriwal and AAP MLAs will be taking the metro to the swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan tomorrow.

Kejriwal, who is set to become the Delhi chief minister, has refused to shift to a government bungalow in line with his resolve to end the VIP culture.

Sources said Kejriwal has already rejected a request to move to a government bungalow after he becomes chief minister.

He is likely to move to a flat somewhere near the Delhi secretariat at I P Estate in Central Delhi.

The ministers in Kejriwal's cabinet may also not accept government bungalows entitled to them and are likely to prefer to stay in government flats following their leader's footstep.

The Delhi government ministers are entitled to Type 6 or Type 7 bungalows having three-bedrooms. Sheila Dikshit has been staying at a Type 8 bungalow on 3 Motilal Nehru Marg in Lutyens Delhi since 2003.

Kejriwal has already vowed to end the VIP culture like having cars fitted with red beacons.
11:33  Omar slams UP govt's 'you can't die of cold' remark:  Omar Abdullah tweets: "Can't die of the cold"!!!! Send him out in a few less clothes & let's see if he isn't singing a different tune pretty damn quick.

That's the Jammu and Kashmir CM's reaction to Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) AK Gupta's comment that cold wasn't the reason behind children's deaths at relief camps in Muzaffarnagar. He also said that if people could die of cold then how do people survive in Siberia.
11:25  40 years of Exorcist today:  "What an excellent day for an exorcism." Forty years ago, the movie that is often still hailed as the scariest of all time hit theaters. "The Exorcist" received mixed reviews upon its Dec. 26, 1973, release, but it made a huge impact on audiences, raking in cash at the box office and garnering a word-of-mouth reputation that's only escalated over time.
Here, have a hearty scare.
11:21  Kejriwal: The power of the commonplace:  "The first days of power reminded one of the Janata rule... one wondered whether Kejriwal and AAP had the Janata's self-destruct gene. Yet he moved as sure-footedly as a goat on a hill."

Shiv Nadar on the man of the moment -- Arvind Kejriwal. Read
11:16  CBS' Miller to NYPD counterterrorism:  CBS News correspondent John Miller has made it official: he is re-joining the NYPD in a high-level counterterrorism role. Miller announced the move on WCBS shortly after 5:30 p.m. Read more
11:10  Autorickshaw drivers may be Kejriwal's first opponents :   Chief Minister designate Arvind Kejriwal has said that autorickshaw fares in the national capital may be revised as a result of the steep increase in CNG prices.

When told that autorickshaw drivers were unhappy with the hike and planning to go on a strike, Kejriwal said, "They have been associated with us for a long time... When I take charge tomorrow, I will hold consultations with them and try to find out a solution. If necessary, we cannot rule out the possibility of a hike in auto fares in Delhi."
11:05  Bomb blast: Detailed report sought, forensic team to visit Jalpaiguri:  Senior police officials have sought a detailed report from IG, North Bengal, about the Jalpaiguri blast in which five persons were killed to ascertain whether the explosion was due to security or intelligence failure, a senior police official said.

Forensic teams would also reach Jalpaiguri town today to examine the kind of explosives used to carry out the blast, the police said. "Today forensic teams will examine the blast site to find out the type of explosives used to carry out the blast.

A high alert has been issued," DSP (Jalpaiguri) Provat Chakraborty told PTI. A bomb kept in a moving bi-cycle exploded killing five persons and injuring nine others at Bajrapara near Jalpaiguri town in north Bengal yesterday.

The injured were admitted to the Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital from where two persons were referred to the North Bengal Medical College Hospital. The condition of some of the injured were critical, hospital sources said.
11:00  2014 will be year of Maoists, warns IB :   The next year is likely to pose a bigger challenge to the counter-insurgency operation in Chhattisgarh where the CPI (Maoist) is planning to observe its 10th year of foundation and is being feared to unite all Naxal groups in the country to carry out major 'events'.

"Senior members of the outlawed CPI(Maoist) held a meeting in the state's Gariyaband forest bordering Odisha recently to chalk out the strategy for next year, which will see a decade of its formation," a state intelligence bureau official said.  See the slideshow on Rediff.com shortly. 
10:50  Kashmiri fatwa allows remarriage of women with missing husbands:  Various Kashmiri Muslim scholars yesterday issued a fatwa permitting women whose husbands have been missing for the past four years to remarry.

The religious scholars were in Srinagar for a conference on the issue of the remarriage of Kashmiri women whose husbands have gone missing over the past two decades since the outbreak of militancy in the state.  Read
10:47  L'Affaire Khobragade: Unprecedented winter of discontent for India, US:  "The diplomat's arrest has led to a major diplomatic spat, the likes of which I have not seen in my nearly three decades of covering the US-India relationship," says Aziz Haniffa ."The knee-jerk reaction by the powers-that-be in Delhi was myopic to say the least." Read the column on Rediff.com
10:43  We have been asked to vote against AAP in floor test: 4 Cong MLAs:   Four Congress MLAs have alleged that some people, who claimed to be representatives of the party high command, asked them to vote against Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party during the floor test in the Delhi Assembly.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has asked Kejriwal to prove majority of his government on the floor of the state assembly by January 3.

The Congress with its eight MLAs has promised support to AAP to form government in Delhi.

Two of the four Congress MLAs, who have alleged they were visited by unknown men at their residences on Wednesday night, have lodged an FIR.

The police are now examining the CCTV footage obtained from outside the houses of these MLAs to establish the identity of the men.  Read more
10:25  Dear Mr Kejriwal, this is the chief minister you should emulate:  The media and social media are abuzz about the no-frills style of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Delhi's to-be-CM Arvind Kejriwal, both very unusual politicians in today's India.

But India has not seen a chief minister like Nripen Chakraborty whose spartan lifestyle and frugal habits were the subject of legend.

Nitin Gokhale remembers the late Tripura chief minister who should be a role model for all of India's luxury-loving politicians. 

Read the column on Rediff.com
10:20  For Indian stocks, the answer is blowing in the political wind:  After a year of economic jolts, investors in India's stock market looking forward to 2014 have politics in mind, and one politician in particular: opposition candidate Narendra Modi. They shouldn't get too excited. Read

Yesterday, an Ahmedabad court gave a clean chit to Modi in the Gujarat riots. Later today, Modi is expected to address his followers over the issue.
10:17  Perish or perform: Mamata shuffles ministries in year-end warning :  Mamata Banerjee today replaced a key minister for an undeclared but unprecedented reason in Bengal: perceived non-performance.

Partha Chatterjee, once considered the No. 2 in the cabinet, has been stripped of two industry-related portfolios.

The vacancies have gone to Amit Mitra, who will continue to hold the crucial finance portfolio.

With one shuffle, the chief minister appears to have dealt two aces: send her team an unmistakable message to perform or perish and proclaim to industry that she was making it a priority by deploying the most business-friendly face on the frontline.  Read the full story here.
10:13  A tribute to the uncrowned Travancore kKing:  If ever there was an uncrowned king who commanded more respect and reverence than any ruler, hereditary or democratic, it was Sri Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma of Travancore, a princely state in British India, now part of the state of Kerala.

Adulation and admiration for him were evident for many years, but the outpouring of grief in Kerala over his demise at the age of 91 on Dec. 16 was exceptional in terms of the number of mourners and the sense of loss expressed.  Read more
10:02  Sensex up 97 points in early trade:  The benchmark BSE Sensex today rose over 97 points in early trade, extending yesterday's gains on sustained buying by funds and retail investors amid a mixed trend overseas.

The 30-share index, which had gained 41.88 points in the previous session, gained another 97.40 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 21,171.99 with all the sectoral indices, led by realty and consumer durables, rising up to 1.34 per cent.
09:59  Where Kejriwal restored power, they now pay lower bills:  For those who think Arvind Kejriwal will not be able to deliver on his promises, here's a story: More than a year before becoming Delhi's chief minister-designate, Arvind Kejriwal had launched his "civil disobedience" movement from a house in Tigri Colony in South Delhi.

The house, which belonged to Bana Ram, was at the epicentre of the "Bijli Paani Satyagrah" in October 2012 as Kejriwal "restored" the power connection of the family that had been disconnected as it could not pay the "inflated" bill of Rs 15,000.Ram's extended family of 25 people -- of three brothers and their families -- lived on three floors but had one power meter between them. Now they have three separate meters and said each gets a bill of not more than Rs 1,500.

Read the full story here
09:56  CNG price up by Rs 4.50 in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal smells a rat:   Two days before Delhi gets a new chief minister, compressed natural gas (CNG) rates were hiked on Thursday by a steep Rs 4.50 -- the second increase in three months -- giving rise to the prospect of costlier public transport for Delhiites and throwing a challenge to the incoming Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

CM-designate Arvind Kejriwal was quick to question the timing of the hike. In a tweet, Kejriwal stated, "CNG rates hiked in Delhi. Isn't the time suspect?"  Read more
09:43  The politics of privacy:  The political and moral aspects of the Gujarat snooping case appear to have overtaken the substantive legal issues involved in the State government ordering intrusive surveillance on a young woman without observing the mandatory procedural safeguards. Read more
09:39  Section 377 reeks of the anxieties of Victorian Britain and Puritan America:  Sodomy laws are intrusive and violate human dignity. People need zones of freedom around them so that they can conduct their most intimate consensual activities unobserved and without interference.

A society that protects these zones of liberty is both more just to individuals and stronger as a whole than a society that allows conventional norms to tyrannise over personal dignity.  Read more
09:34  On a historical note: On this day in 1911, "Jana Gana Mana", the national anthem of India, was 1st sung in the Calcutta Session of the INC.
09:31  Guwahati teen molester gets a year in reform home :   A juvenile accused in the infamous GS Road molestation case was held guilty for outraging the modesty of the victim and sentenced to one year in a reformatory home by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

The incident had sparked nationwide condemnation after a girl was molested by a group of people outside a bar on July 9, 2012 and the entire incident was shot on camera by a local TV journalist, Gaurav Jyoti Neog. It was later telecast and even uploaded on YouTube.

Interestingly, Alka Lamba, the former Congress member and now a new entrant to AAP was thrown out from the NCW inquiry panel in the case after she named the victim.  
09:24  Modi's message on clean chit on Guj riots today:  Narendra Modi has said he will "share his thoughts" today on the Gujarat court verdict that has endorsed a clean chit to him in a 2002 Gujarat riots case, the only one that listed criminal charges against him.
09:20  The lesson from the Macchil encounter:  The Army's decision to court-martial six military personnel, including a Colonel, for the heinous murder of three civilians in a fake encounter at Machhil in the Kashmir Valley in April 2010, is a rare, but significant event.

This is what the Hindu has to say. Read
09:17  Kejriwal at door, Delhi Jal Board officials in a flutter:  Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal will take over as the chairperson of the Delhi Jal Board after he is sworn in as the chief minister of Delhi.

The prospect of Kejriwal's entry into the water utility has made many officials nervous and those eager to make a clean start with the new chief are learned to have made a list of suspicious deals and corrupt people in the department for him.  Read more
09:09  LIVE! UP govt: Nobody died of cold in Muzaffarnagar camps, how do people in Siberia live?:  Ruling out the cold as the reason behind children's death relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) AK Gupta said that if people could die of cold then nobody would have survived in Siberia.

The government's fact-finding committee, says of the 34 child deaths between September 7 and December 20, only 10-12 took place in relief camps of which four were due to pneumonia. The rest died at private or government hospitals where their parents took them, it said. 

The committee said there was no medical negligence and that no one died of severe cold or any epidemic in the camps. But it has also recommended that the government should improve the facilities in these camps. 
09:02  As poll clouds gather, Rahul to meet 12 CMs in Congress war room today :  As for the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, is major damage control mode. The Congress 

Gandhi will meet with Chief Ministers of 12 Congress-ruled states in New Delhi today as the party braces for next Lok Sabha polls after a debacle in the recent state Assembly elections.

The meeting is being held at 15-Rakabganj Road, also known as Congress War Room, to work out poll strategies.

The future course for the party in the wake of the passage of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill will be discussed.

The meeting will discuss the issue of price rise in detail and the steps to be taken to arrest the rising prices.
08:56  Cong leader Alka Lamba joins AAP :  Rumours of Alka Lamba, a Congress politician from Delhi joining AAP were rife yesterday. News now is that she has indeed quit the Congress and joined the Aam Aadmi Party.

Lamba, 38, is a former president of the National Students Union of India or NSUI, the Congress party's student wing. She had unsuccessfully contested assembly elections in 2003.
08:53  Army directs 'spouses of all ranks' should be groomed :   No longer content being "married to the uniform', newly or recently married wives of Indian Army officers have forced the army chief to direct a cultural reformation over conjugal relations in the hierarchy-bound force.

In quiet instructions issued to all commanders this week, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Bikram Singh, has directed that "spouses of all ranks should be groomed so that they can fulfil their role in the organisation'.

But the chief has also asked unit commanders to be mindful of the working wife. He has told them that while "grooming' was important, the commanders should understand the compulsions of working wives and adjust programmes to suit their schedules.  Read more
08:43  LIVE! UP govt contradicts Mulayam: 2500 riot-affected still in camps:  Amid a raging controversy over child deaths in the relief camps for people displaced by the Muzaffarnagar riots in September, the Uttar Pradesh government has admitted for the first time that 34 children below the age of 15 died in the aftermath of the clashes.

This was concluded by a fact-finding committee of the state government, which has contradicted Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, by saying that over 2,500 riot-affected people are still living in relief camps.

Mulayam Singh Yadav had controversially said earlier this week that there were no riot victims in the camps, only conspirators and political activists planted by the BJP and the Congress.  Read more
08:38  32 killed in Thailand bus accident: police:   At least 32 people were killed and five severely injured when a bus plunged down a deep ravine in Phetachbun district in the country's northeast early this morning.

The bus from Khon Kaen was heading to Chiang Rai province and crashed into the guard rail of a bridge which has the tallest supporting pillars in Thailand, and fell down, police said.

Police said the bus was carrying 40 people, 27 bodies were found in the bus and many more outside.

Five severely injured were rushed to two hospitals and one of them died at a hospital. The ravine is about 50 metres deep and rescue workers are still combing the site.
08:32  UK: More storms ahead as thousands still without power:  

More gales and heavy rain are set to hit the UK as the Environment Agency warns of further significant disruption from floods in southern England. Many rivers remain swollen after storm damage caused power cuts and travel delays. More than 50 flood warnings are in place for England and Wales.

 

About 1,200 homes in south-east and south-west England have been flooded. Some 7,500 properties are still without power. Engineers say some may not be reconnected until the end of the week. UK Energy Networks said more customers had been connected on Thursday, as 24,000 had been without power first thing.

 

Read more on BBC

00:57  Kiran Bedi not to attend Kejriwal's swearing-in ceremony:  IPS officer-turned social activist Kiran Bedi today said that she will not be attending the swearing-in ceremony of Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi Chief Minister on Saturday owing to her prior engagements.

"I will be in Bangalore that day due to my prior engagements. Moreover, I have not yet received any formal invitation for the ceremony," she told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

Anna Hazare has also said that he would not be attending the ceremony owing to ill-health. Kejriwal had earlier said Hazare, Bedi and Justice Santosh Hegde would be invited to the ceremony.

Hazare and his team of supporters, which includes Kiran Bedi, had parted ways with Kejriwal following his decision to form a political party.
00:17  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Would back CM if he reconsiders rejecting Adarsh report: NCP
Blast kills 4, injures 7 in West Bengal; KLO hand suspected
Sonia Das, chief of staff to New Jersey Senate majority leader
Not 'disheartened' Zakia to appeal in higher court
Naveen dubs Congress 'corrupt', BJP 'communal'
NY taxi drivers to receive $75,0000 in restitution

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