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LIVE! Volgograd blasts: Putin vows to 'annihilate terrorists'

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December 31, 2013

22:57  Volgograd blasts: Putin vows to 'annihilate terrorists':  

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to fight "terrorists until their complete annihilation", in his first comment on two suicide attacks in the southern city of Volgograd. The attacks, on Sunday and Monday, claimed a total of 34 lives.


Thousands of police are patrolling public transport and checking traffic in the city following the attacks, which injured some 60 people. The first victim has been buried - a policeman killed at the train station. No group has said it carried out the attacks, which Russian investigators believe are connected. They are similar to previous indiscriminate attacks by Islamist militants operating from the North Caucasus.


Read more on BBC

21:55  Kejriwal hijacked Anna's movement to become CM: Ramdev:  Criticising Arvind Kejriwal for taking support from Congress to form government in Delhi, yoga guru Baba Ramdev today alleged that the AAP convener became the Chief Minister of Delhi by "hijacking Anna Hazare's movement".

"Kejriwal has got his desired (CM's) post. He has achieved this position by hijacking Anna Hazare's movement. He used Anna's anti-corruption movement to reach there," the yoga guru told reporters on the sidelines of a programme organised by Bhartiya Swabhiman Trust.

"If he had to fight against corruption, he should have done that by remaining in the government set-up as IAS officer Ashok Khemka has done. Kejriwal had not done anything like Khemka, who has exposed corruption case against the son-in-law of Congress' leader while remaining in government service," Ramdev said.
21:14  Lokpal Bill sent to President for assent:   The much-awaited anti-corruption measure Lokpal was tonight one step short of becoming a law with the government sending the bill to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent.

Highly placed sources in the government said the Lok Sabha secretariat sent to the Law Ministry late this evening a copy of the Bill which has been signed by Speaker Meira Kumar.

The Bill was then forwarded to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the President's assent, the sources said.

As per the laid down procedure, the House of Parliament which passes the Bill last sends an authenticated copy to the government which includes the official amendments.

While the Rajya Sabha had passed the amended Lokpal Bill on December 17, the Lok Sabha passed the measure the next day.
21:10  Rajnath, Modi to address rallies in UP:  Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, BJP will hold more rallies of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and party president Rajnath Singh in Uttar Pradesh.

"During a meeting here today it was decided that first meeting of the two leaders would be held in Bareilly on January 13 and another one in western UP on February 1," BJP's chief spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.

He said that during the meeting detailed disussions were held on the future programmes of the party by national general secretary and UP incharge Amit Shah.

The meeting was chaired by the state president Laxmi Kant Bajpai. Bajpai later said a discussion was held on the fund raising campaign and it was decided that it would be launched from March 31.
20:59  Raje wants her security cut, doesn't move to official house:  Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has asked state DGP Omendra Bharadwaj to scale down her security cover so that people do not face trouble when visiting her. Raje has urged the police chief that the number of her security personnel be cut to half.

"Z-plus security cover is provided to the Chief Minister. But now after the direction of the Chief Minister, we are working out new security arrangements and on the number of security personnel to be deployed," T Guite, IG Security, said today.

The police personnel who are taken off the CM's security will be posted for the security of people and in law and order of the state from tomorrow.
20:43  Last Muzaffarnagar camp vacated, 483 families move out:  Hounded by biting cold and urgings by senior district officials, as many as 483 riot-hit families camping in Loi village today left for "safer places".

There are no more relief camps left in Muzaffarnagar district, while neighbouring Shamli has four camps. According to District Magistrate Koshal Raj Sharma, who was camping in Loi village since morning, "420 families were shifted during the day while remaining 63 left in evening to safer places".

Principal Secretary of UP Health department, Paveen Kumar also visited the camp today. Kumar also went to the four camps in Shamli to check the arrangement of medical facilities in camps.
20:35  AAP will not form alliance with any big party for Haryana polls:  Aam Aadmi Party will not enter into alliance with any major political party while contesting the Assembly polls in Haryana.

"There is no question of taking support of any big party. Our fight is against corruption, price-rise and other essentials, and all big parties are responsible for this," senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said. He, however, said that AAP was in talks with smaller parties.

"We are in talks with one-two small parties. AAP might take their support," he told reporters here. On speculation that he will be portrayed as AAP's Chief Ministerial candidate in Haryana, Yadav said, "I have no knowledge about this. This is all media speculation." He said the party will choose the Chief Minister after it wins the election.

"There is no CM candidate. After the party wins the election, decision will be taken on who will occupy the post," Yadav said.
20:01  Sri Lanka, India to exchange detained fishermen:  An exchange of 18 fishermen detained by Sri Lanka and India will take place soon, the Sri Lankan navy said today. Six Indian fishermen and two trawlers will be handed over to authorities off the coast of Kankesanturai in the north, naval spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said.

Twelve Sri Lankan fishermen and their two trawlers would be released by India, he said. An Indian Coast Guard vessel will bring the Sri Lankan fishermen, Warnakulasuriya said. It could not immediately be ascertained when the exchange would be made.

The Tamil Nadu government has been mounting pressure on the Centre to take strong action against Sri Lanka for detaining fishermen.
19:46  CBI likely to close PE on V K Singh's bribe complaint:  Over 18 months after receiving a complaint, CBI may close a preliminary enquiry into former Army Chief Gen V K Singh's complaint that he was allegedly offered a bribe of Rs.14 crore by a retired Lt Gen to clear a tranche of sub-standard vehicles for use of the force.

Gen (retd) Singh has not been able to provide documents to support his allegation and enquiry conducted by the CBI so far also does not conclude such a deal, official sources said. The agency had registered a Preliminary Enquiry against unknown people to probe the matter but nothing has concrete has emerged from the investigation, they said.

The CBI had also recorded statement of the former army chief in this regard and a decision to close the PE is likely to be taken soon, the sources said. The bribe offer, according to Gen Singh, was made in 2010 and the former Army Chief was unable to explain why he had maintained a silence for more than two years, they said.

A PE is formal initiation of probe before registering an FIR but during this phase the agency does not have powers to question, search or arrest.
18:58  First reactions from Tata Power CEO, one of the three discoms in Delhi: He says the decision doesn't affect the company, since the government will absorb the balance after the subsidies. Ultimately, the customer will benefit.
18:55  AAP keeps promise #2: Cuts electricity prices by 50 per cent :  Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal keeps his promise of power subsidy. Holding a press meet after a cabinet meeting, Kejriwal says there will be a 50 per cent cut in electricity prices up to a consumption of 400 units. Rates will be reduced further when the CAG audit is complete.

One of Kejriwal's major pre-poll promises was that he would halve the cost of electricity in Delhi if AAP was elected.

Subsidies will benefit 28 lakh consumers. 
18:28  Chinese tycoon wants to buy New York Times for $1 billion:  An eccentric Chinese recycling magnate said on Tuesday he was preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times Co. Chen Guangbiao, a well-known philanthropist, is something of a celebrity in China.

During a particularly murky bout of pollution in January, the ebullient and tireless self-promoter handed out free cans of "fresh air".

But Chen says he is perfectly serious in his bid to buy the Times, which he said he had been contemplating for more than two years.

He said he expected to discuss the matter on January 5, when he is due to meet a "leading shareholder" in New York. "There's nothing that can't be bought for the right price," Chen told Reuters.
18:18  Frustrated BJP fabricating stories: Himachal CM on bribe allegations:  Accused by BJP of taking bribes, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh arrived in Delhi today to present his version to the Congress high command while slamming the opposition party of indulging in "malicious propaganda" against him and his family.

Singh is understood to have been called to Delhi by the high command in the wake of the allegations by BJP Leader Arun Jaitley that he had taken a "bribe" from a private company for extension of a project.

He is expected to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi and possibly Rahul Gandhi to explain his position in the matter at a time when Congress is seeking to take a high moral ground on the issue of corruption prodded by party vice-president.

The Chief Minister's wife Prathiba Singh, who has also been accused, visited the AICC headquaters and met senior party leaders.

Singh insisted that he had taken no bribe and issued an eight-page statement seeking to rebut Jaitley's charges point by point. "Frustrated BJP leaders are fabricating false stories and twisting and tampering facts to suit their convinence. They have been waging the same old issues pertaining to my income tax return and loan taken by my family, which have been replied and clarified time and again and there is nothing material or new in them" Singh said.
17:44  Russia buries dead as bombings toll hits 34:   Russia beefed up security and mourned its dead today as the toll from jarring successive-day suicide strikes in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games rose to 34.

The southern city of Volgograd began to bury the first victims of Sunday's bombing of the heartland hub's main railway station that killed 18 people and which officials have provisionally blamed on a young woman from the restive North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

A second suicide attack on a trolleybus packed with students yesterday that investigators pinned on a male assailant has now claimed 16 lives.

The blasts are Russia's deadliest since a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport that was claimed by Islamic insurgents from the North Caucasus killed 37 people in January 2011.
17:24  Out of jail, Lalu is licking Cong's feet: Mulayam:   Mulayam Singh Yadav was expected to react with anger to Lalu Prasad Yadav's recent visit to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, where he blamed the BJP and the ruling Samajwadi Party for the riots that lacerated the region in September.

Unexpectedly though, Mr Singh, who heads the Samajwadi Party, mimicked Lalu Prasad today as he lashed out at the Bihar leader, calling him a "Congress stooge."

"He is now out of jail and is licking the Congress's feet," said Mulayam Singh, repeatedly mimicking Lalu Yadav, much to the amusement of his audience. Read more
17:20  Peace, security, joy, prosperity for new year, wishes PM:  Meanwhile, here's the PM's New Year message: 

"The New Year is a time for each one of us to reflect upon the year gone by, the successes and achievements as well as the lapses and shortcomings.

"It provides an opportunity to reassess ourselves  and to plan for the year ahead, taking corrective action and setting new goals.

"It is a time of hope, a time to make a new beginning with resolve and confidence to achieve these goals.

"As a nation, it is an occasion to unite and brace ourselves for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, the Prime Minister said.

"I wish 2014 brings peace, security, joy and prosperity to all ', Dr. Singh added.
17:07  Arvind Kejriwal who has been unwell has been advised not to attend office for a couple of days, but against the advice of this doctor, the Delhi CM is expected to chair a cabinet meeting this evening which will focus on power prices.

The three power companies have given time till tomorrow to say whether they object to being audited.
16:57  LIVE! CAG to audit Delhi power companies over last 11 years:  Here's the status from Kerjiwal-AAP meet. CAG has agreed to audit discoms over the last 11 years, but cannot give a specific timeline for completion of the job. 
16:22  Arun Jaitley blogs: "Can't Congress Party see the proof against Virbhadra Singh?" Read
16:06  MS Dhir is Delhi Speaker, says Kejriwal:   AAP's candidate for Delhi Assembly Speaker's post will be M S Dhir, says Arvind Kejriwal. Both the BJP and the Congress have failed to come up with a name for the post of the Speaker, leaving the onus on the AAP to choose a Speaker from amongst its MLAs. The Delhi Assembly session begins tomorrow.

At 61, Dhir, is the oldest MLAs in AAP.  He won from the Jangpura constituency of Delhi.
15:59  Doctors in France say it's impossible to give a prognosis for Michael Schumacher for tomorrow, 6 months or 1 year's time.
15:55  Schumacher has shown 'slight improvement' :  German motor-racing champion Michael Schumacher's condition has improved slightly after an operation to relieve pressure on his brain, his doctors have said.

A new scan taken overnight showed signs that his condition was "better than yesterday", but he is still "not out of danger", doctors said.

The seven-time Formula 1 champion suffered head injuries on Sunday in a skiing accident in the French Alps. He was put in a medically-induced coma. -- BBC
15:50  Kejriwal-CAG meeting at 4 pm over audit of power companies:   Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on freebie #2: Reduce power tariff by 50 per cent

Kejriwal says there is a meeting with CAG at 4 pm today on auditing power companies. All three companies supplying power to Delhi will be audited and will be given a chance to respond by tomorrow.

The promise to reduce power tariff by 50% in Delhi had triggered a furious debate between the manifesto committee of the AAP, which was headed by Yogendra Yadav.
15:34  Want a Lok Sabha ticket? AAP has online forms. Apply:   AAP has, in another first, launched a web page for those wishing to join the fray. People, who wish to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, can download a form from the web page and fill it to apply for an AAP ticket.

Apart from personal information, ticket seekers are supposed to furnish details regarding social work done by them and political affiliation if any, including those of family members. Read more
15:21  Kejriwal gets his man, SK Srivastava to be new chief secretary of Delhi:  The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is learnt to have cleared the name of S K Srivastava as the new chief secretary of Delhi. The 1980 batch IAS officer of UT cadre is at present posted as additional secretary and financial adviser in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Srivastava will replace D M Spolia, the 1976 batch IAS officer considered close to former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

The appointment of Srivastava comes after Home Ministry received a letter from the new Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recommending the name of Srivastava for the top job. -- The Indian Express
15:03  The Indian Express: BREAKING: Ministry of Home Affairs is learnt to have cleared the name of S K Srivastava as the new chief secretary of Delhi.
15:01  Who's in the NZ ODI?:  Here are the names in the ODI Squad for the NZ series: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey, Stuart Binny and Varun Aaron.
15:00  No possibility of Cong doing well under Rahul: BJP:  In other news: Amid reports that Rahul Gandhi may be anointed the Congress Prime Ministerial candidate, BJP today said the recent Assembly polls results have shown the party has "failed" under his leadership and has no possibility of doing well in the Lok Sabha polls.

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha told reporters that after the Congress performance in the recent Assembly polls, it will not be easy for the ruling party to choose its PM candidate, unlike the BJP which had a clear choice.

"If they make Rahul Gandhi their Prime Ministerial candidate then everybody knows what happened to the Congress in the Assembly elections. The whole country knows that Rahul Gandhi could not click anywhere," Sinha said.

Dismissing speculation that Gandhi's elevation could be a threat to the BJP, he said, "There is no possibility of Congress doing well under Rahul Gandhi. This has already been seen."
14:55   Pacer Varun Aaron replaces Mohit Sharma in Indian ODI squad; rookie seamer Ishwar Pandey finds a place in both Test and ODI squads for India's tour of New Zealand.
14:49  LIVE! Yuvraj dropped from ODI team for New Zealand series:  Just in: Yuvraj Singh has been dropped from the Indian ODI team for the series against New Zealand. The tour commences with the first ODI at Napier on January 19, 2014 and ends on February 18 with the second Test at Wellington, starting February 14.

After a glorious run in ODIs this year, starting with the triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy in June, India suffered their first series loss in South Africa prior to the ongoing Test rubber and a few changes are expected in the squad.
14:27  Quick-thinking pilot makes emergency landing on highway in MP:  Early reports say that a small Cessna aircraft made an emergency landing on four-lane highway near Betul in Madhya Pradesh today. The four-seater plane could not land on a nearby airstrip because of severe windy conditions, and used the highway to land.  The pilot and the passenger are believed to be safe. Details awaited.
14:16  Death toll from Russian bombings rises to 33:   The death toll from two suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd has risen to 33 after two victims succumbed to their injuries, the emergency situations ministry said today.

"A victim of the explosion at the train station on December 29 died last night in the Volgograd hospital and the number of dead has risen to 18," ministry spokesman Dmitry Ulanov told the Interfax news agency.

He added that another victim of yesterday's suicide bombing on a trolleybus had also died, raising the toll from that blast to 15.
14:13  AAP to have its own pro-tem Speaker in Delhi Assembly:   After a BJP leader refused to be pro-tem Speaker in Delhi Assembly, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party has decided to appoint its own legislator to the position. "Now Speaker will be from AAP; we will announce by today evening," senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said today. The pro-tem Speaker administers oath to the newly-elected MLAs when the Assembly meets for the first time. -- NDTV
14:08  Vijay Mallya tweets: All of us at Sahara Force India pray for Michael Schumacher's speedy recovery.
14:07  For years Michael was the perfect pantomime villain, particularly in this country:  British former F1 driver David Coulthard for the Telegraph: I only hope Michael Schumacher pulls through so that he can see all the nice things people are saying about him. Read
14:02  Why you should boycott Mango:  Mango and many other brands have refused to contribute for a $40 million fund for Bangladeshis killed in factory accident. Read
13:47  Dead frog found in salad:  Reach for the barf bag: While eating her lunch-time salad, a Wall Street Journal employee found an unexpected ingredient -- a frog.After opening a Pret A Manger nicoise salad at her desk, and eating about half of it, she discovered an approximately two inch long green and brown dead frog in the lettuce. She summoned nearby coworkers to confirm what she saw.
See the picture.
13:38  India rape cases coloured by caste:  Lalasa Devi says that before her attacker grabbed her by the throat, he snarled "Chamar,' the name of the so-called untouchable caste into which she was born. "What can you do to me?'Then he threw her to the ground and raped her, she says. Read more
13:34  Deepti Naval, Javed Akhtar, Supriya Pathak at Farooque Sheikh's condolence meet:  Veteran actor Farooque Sheikh, who passed away on December 28 while holidaying in Dubai with his family, was given a tearful send-off by his many friends and admirers from the film industry.

After the late actor was laid to rest beside his mother's grave in Andheri, a western Mumbai suburb, on the evening of December 30, friends and family of the late actor proceeded to his residence for the condolence meet. See the slideshow on
13:26  Comatose Schumacher''s family thanks doctors, requests privacy from media :   The family of Formulas One legend Michael Schumacher, who is fighting for his life following a serious ski injury, has released an official statement thanking his doctors and requesting privacy as they maintain a bedside vigil with the seven-time world champion.

''Adrenaline junkie'' Schumacher remains in an induced coma in a hospital in the French town of Grenoble after suffering critical head injuries from a skiing accident on Sunday.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Schumacher's long-time personal assistant Sabine Kehm released a statement on behalf of the German's family, which includes his wife and two children, and stated that they would like to thank the medical team for continuing to do their best to help Schumacher.

The statement also thanked Schumacher''s friends, fans and his well-wishers who have expressed their sympathy, support and sent their best wishes for his speedy recovery, although it requested the media to respect the family's privacy at such time.
13:16  Manish Tewari: PM will take questions from media on Jan 3, won't resign:  I&B minister Manish Tewari says the speculations on the PM resigning ahead of the Lok Sabha polls is baseless. He says on January 3, the PM will hold a press conference where he will take questions from the media.

The PM's presser assumes so much importance because it will be his first in three years.
12:57  Partying this New Year's Eve? Stay smart, stay safe!:  If you're in Mumbai, and you've just joined us, here's the good news. All restaurants, pubs, bars, have been allowed to stay open till 5 am to bring in the new year.

Let down your hair and have a blast, but be safe. Alcohol, drugs, large crowds, hecklers -- New Year's Eve has all the elements of a disaster waiting to happen. Here's what you must do to stay safe. Read the report on
12:38  LIVE! HC's New Year gift for Mumbai: Party till 5 am! :  Alright then, Mumbai can party till 5 am. The tussle between the Mumbai Police and city hotels and restaurants over the New Year deadline has been resolved with the Bombay high court ruling in favour of hotels and restaurants. All establishments can stay open till 5am tonight.

The Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) moved court after the police said they were firm on their stand of keeping 1.30am the deadline for hotels and bars, considering womens safety and to curb drink-driving cases.

Mumbai Police commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh on Monday said, My views are very clear on the matter. For womens safety and to prevent drink-driving cases, among other things, I took this decision. Last year too, the deadline was 1.30am.

He added, however, that there is no specific terror input with regard to New Year.

The government has however banned beach parties.

12:29  2013: a year of gloom :  Pessimism is the opiate of activism. Optimism the aphrodisiac of the will. Most Indians committed to democracy and liberty will perhaps agree that many of the hallmark events of 2013 have saturated the year with pessimism. The will to oppose this has been noticeable by its absence. Read more
12:24   The Reserve Bank of India has said that risks to the banking sector have increased during the past six months due to rising bad loans and has proposed tightening banks' exposure limit for single borrower and single groups. The central bank also said that persistently high retail inflation would make it difficult to bring down rates.  Read more
12:16  Muzaffarnagar: UP govt orders relief camps to shut in 3-4 days:   Top Uttar Pradesh bureaucrats are visiting relief camps in Muzaffarnagar this morning to try and convince people to go back home so that the camps, set up to shelter those made homeless by the communal riots in September, can now be dismantled.

Officials made similar visits in the neighbouring Shamli district yesterday. They have allegedly asked organisers to wind up the camps within the next three or four days.-- NDTV
12:14   Arup Raha takes over as IAF chief:   Air Marshal Arup Raha, an ace fighter pilot, today took over as the Air Force chief succeeding Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne.

Raha takes over the command of the force at a time when it is engaged in a tussle with its largest supplier Hindustan Aeronautics Limited over the issue of indigenous and foreigner trainer aircraft.

The IAF is also engaged in intense negotiations for the procurement of 126 Rafale multi-role combat aircraft from the French firm Dassault Aviation.

Born on December 26, 1954, 59 year-old Raha is expected to have a tenure of three years as the Chief of Air Staff.
12:11  Omar Abdullah snowed in :  Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah may have to put his new year plans in cold storage. He tweets: Was looking forward to being in the valley to see in the new year but man proposes & God disposes, looks like the snow will ground me :-(

The mercury plummeted by eight degrees in Leh in the Ladakh region to register the season's lowest temperature and most parts of the Valley froze in sub-zero temperatures.

Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 14.1 degrees Celsius last night, against minus 6.3 degrees Celsius the previous night, an official of the MeT Department in Srinagar said.
12:01  Watch New Year over Sydney today:  Sydney's iconic opera house and harbour bridge will sparkle with tons of exploding fireworks, while smog concerns have dampened such pyrotechnic displays in at least one polluted Chinese city and Japanese temples will ring 108 times as Asia-Pacific countries become the first to usher in the New Year.

Sydney officials promised that the Australian city's annual world-renowned pyrotechnics show would be more extravagant than ever, with more than 1.6 million revelers expected to line the harbour today for a view.
11:58  Cop suspended for over-enthusiasm at Kejriwal's swearing-in:   A Delhi Police constable's over enthusiasm landed him in soup as he was suspended for climbing a barricade and shouting slogans during the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet ministers.

The constable, identified as Rajesh Kumar, was posted with the fourth battalion of the Delhi Armed Police and deployed at the Ramlila Ground for crowd management on Saturday.  Read more
11:54  LIVE! PM likely to anoint Rahul as PM candidate at Jan 3 press meet:   Update on the PM's impending presser on January 3. Reports say that Dr Manmohan Singh will set the stage for Rahul Gandhi's anointment as the Congress party's PM candidate for the 2014 polls.

Remember, on several occasions, Dr Singh has maintained that Rahul was the ideal candidate for the job and that he was willing to work under Rahul.

That apart, the January 3 presser is also expected to be a state of the nation address. 
11:37  The silence of Muzaffarnagar:  "Few today would talk of Muzaffarnagar -- the well of silence surrounding it is not just the silence of Hindu majoritarianism gloating in anticipation of the rise of Narendra Modi. It is not merely the silencing of the media owned by corporate interests. Indifference is no one's particular patent. Corporate dons, journalists, citizens, all claim a stake in it. The silence of Muzaffarnagar is the most disturbing event of the year," writes Shiv Visvanathan for the Asian Age. Read

11:33  Retired life isn't so bad, Tendulkar to Kallis:   Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar today paid tribute to just-retired South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, calling him a "true champion" who always played the game in the right spirit. "@jacqueskallis75 Congratulations on a fabulous career. You have played the game in the right spirit....It's been a joy to have played against you. Jacques you are a true Champion. Retired life isn't so bad :-))," Tendulkar, who called time on his own career in international cricket last month, tweeted.

And remember this? This is what Michael Schumacher wrote in an email on Sachin's retirement.  "As a sportsman with a long active career as well, I think I can judge what it means to be around as many years as Sachin Tendulkar is, and I can only express my biggest respect for his achievements."
11:29  Kejriwal advised two-day bed rest:  Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had skipped office yesterday due to ill health, is recovering well but has been advised strict two-day bed rest, a doctor treating him said today.

"Kejriwal wanted to attend office for two hours today, but I advised him not to do this. Kejriwal's blood pressure is now normal and he is recovering well. As he recently went on a fast for several days, he is feeling weak," Dr Vipin Mittal, who is treating the newly elected Chief Minister, said.

The doctor said Kejriwal also wanted to meet the family of Delhi Police constable Vinod Kumar, who was beaten to death by liquor mafia in Githorni area in south Delhi, but he has advised him against stepping out.

"I have got to know that Vinod Kumar's family lives in Muzarfarnagar. I have clearly asked Kejriwal not to go there because he is not in a such condition to go out of Delhi," Mittal said.

However, Mittal said that he knows Kejriwal for a long time and he might not follow his advice.
11:27  Rs 870.47 is what Delhi users will pay if they exceed AAP's free water limit:  From January 1, 2014, a Delhi household using up to 20 kl of water a month -- or 667 litres a day -- will pay nothing.

That is 33 average-sized (20-litre) bathroom bucketfuls for free.

However, these consumers will have to ensure that they will not exceed the the 20 kl per month limit.

That is because as soon as a household's monthly consumption crosses 20 kl, it pays for the entire volume it has consumed, not just the extra over 20 kl, at a higher tariff.

This is how it will work for a household that consumes, say, 21 kilolitres. Read
11:22  Why is Schumacher kept in medically induced coma?:  This is what the doctors say: "Traumatic brain injury causes the brain to swell, just like the inflammation that happens when you injure an elbow or knee. But because the brain is trapped inside your skull, pressure on the brain increases and restricts a lot of critical functions, such as blood supply, said Dr. David Wright, director of emergency neurosciences in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine.

"You're worried because the skull is a closed space," said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"As the brain starts to expand, the only place it has to go is down and out, and you damage the brain stem. You can die. You can create a lot of tissue damage."

Read more
11:17  Next 48 hours will determine whether Schumacher survives:   Michael Schumacher's treatment for severe head injuries has entered a "decisive" 48-hour period that will determine whether he survives, his doctors have said. The seven-times Formula One world champion, who fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste, would have died if he had not been wearing a ski helmet, medics said. According to one report the impact was so severe that the helmet cracked.  Read
11:03  Manmohans will-he moment :  This is what the Telegraph says on speculations that the PM will step aside before the Lok Sabha polls to make way for Rahul Gandhi.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is said to be weighing the several pros and as many cons of stepping aside months before the Lok Sabha polls to facilitate Rahul Gandhis formal anointment at the top, according to sources. But others cautioned that the situation was still unfolding and can take a turn in any direction.

The Prime Minister could announce at a media conference early in the new year the less-unexpected decision of not seeking a third term but the big question is if he would make way before the elections."

Read more

10:59  Basically, the PM's address to the nation on January 3, his first speech in the new year is expected to set the tone for the polls in May.
10:52  A TV channel has got ahead of itself by saying Dr Manmohan Singh is resigning as PM on January 3 and that Rahul Gandhi will be taking over as PM. The PMO is now crying itself hoarse saying it's a rumour. 
10:48  AAP minister Manish Sisodia's surprise midnight check on shelters:  As rain exacerbated the bitter December chill in Delhi on Monday night, new Urban Development Minister Manish Sisodia stepped out to make a surprise check on night shelters in the city and rounded up the tour with some hot paranthas.    Read more
10:08  'Manmohan Singh WON'T quit on January 3' :   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not quit before the Lok Sabha polls. The Prime Minister's Office has dismissed speculation that Dr Singh has offered to quit on January 3 to make way for Congress No 2 Rahul Gandhi.

He is expected to address a press conference to January 3 about the Congress's strategy for 2014, say sources. This will be his first press conference in nearly five years.     
09:05  Justice Ganguly to be removed as chief of WB human rights panel? :  More trouble seems to be brewing for Supreme Court judge (retired) A K Ganguly, accused of sexually assaulting a law intern. Home ministry sources say that the cabinet has cleared a note to remove Ganguly as the chief of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, according to a CNN-IBN report.

The note is expected to be cleared by the cabinet on Thursday.
08:51  Indian sqaud for NZ tour to be picked today:  Indian cricket squad for the New Zealand tour will be announced today.

The tour commences with the first ODI at Napier on January 19, 2014 and ends on February 18 with the second Test at Wellington starting February 14.
08:47  Don't want Devyani issue to negatively impact relationship: US:  The United States does not want the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade to negatively impact its important bilateral relationship with the country, a top US administration official has said.   

"We don't want this to negatively impact our relationship,that we work on a broad range of issues together, our bilateral relationship is too important. And we've said repeatedly that we don't want it," the State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf, told reporters at her daily news conference.    

Harf was responding to questions about the impact on India-US relationship the arrest of an Indian diplomat has had. 

Khobragade, 39, was arrested on December 12 on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid Sangeeta Richard. She was released on a $250,000 bond.
08:35  1.30 am deadline for New Year's party for Mumbai? Court decision today:   A vacation court will today decide whether Mumbai can party beyond 1.30 am on New Year's Eve.

The Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association approached the Bombay high court yesterday challenging the city polices 1.30 am deadline for eateries and restaurants on December 31.

After Mumbai Police commissioner issued the directive, the police commissioners of Thane and Navi Mumbai followed suit citing concerns of serious crimes and law and order disruptions.

Aggrieved by the directive, AHAR petitioned the high court seeking a direction to police to recall its deadline.

02:53  South Sudan president rules out power share:  

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has ruled out any power sharing with rebel leader Riek Machar to halt violence that has killed at least 1,000 people.


Mr Kiir told the BBC that Mr Machar - his deputy until sacked in July - should not be rewarded with power for rebelling. The fighting broke out more than two weeks ago in the capital Juba. It has spread to many parts of the country.


South Sudan only became independent in 2011, after decades of conflict. What began as a power struggle between the two men has taken on overtones of an ethnic conflict. The Dinka, to which Mr Kiir belongs, are pitted against the Nuer, from which Mr Machar hails.


Read more on BBC

02:51  US names domestic test sites for drone aircraft:  

The Federal Aviation Administration will authorize test sites for drone aircraft in upstate New York, New Jersey and seven other states, the agency said on Monday, but integrating the aircraft into the nation's airspace, set by Congress for 2015, will be phased in gradually.


The agency picked six institutions to operate test locations, which will explore how to set safety standards, how to train and certify their ground-based pilots, how to ensure that the aircraft will operate safely even if they lose their radio links with the ground and, most of all, how to replace the traditional method for avoiding collisions.


Already, federal investigators have linked one drone craft to a problem that would have been almost inconceivable if a pilot had been on board: The engine failed, and no one noticed.


Read more on The New York Times

02:50  Doctors fighting 'hour by hour' to save Schumacher:  

Doctors treating Michael Schumacher said on Monday they were fighting "hour by hour" to save the former Formula One driver's life after he cracked his head on a rock during an off-piste skiing accident in the French Alps. Dr Jean-Francois Payen, the chief anaesthesiologist at the Grenoble hospital treating Schumacher, said the next 48 hours would be crucial.


A brain scan revealed internal bleeding and multiple lesions. "He is in a critical condition ' His condition is deemed very serious," Payen told a news conference. "For the moment, we cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher."


The seven-times Formula One champion was airlifted to Grenoble on Sunday after falling heavily and hitting his head while skiing on an unmarked slope at the chic resort of Mribel.


It soon emerged that the accident, initially played down by a spokesman for the resort, had a devastating impact on Schumacher, who was in a coma by the time he arrived at Grenoble.


"He is in a critical state of cerebral resuscitation," said Payen. "We are working hour by hour." Doctors said his ongoing treatment was aimed at oxygenating the brain and stopping the swelling. On Monday night, Schumacher, due to turn 45 on Friday, remained in a medically induced coma designed to help his recovery.


Read the full story on The Guardian

01:21  Al Jazeera demands Egypt release Cairo team:  

Al Jazeera has condemned the arrest of four of its journalists held by Egyptian authorities since Sunday night and demanded their immediate release.


Award-winning Nairobi-based correspondent Peter Greste, Al Jazeera English bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo-based producer Baher Mohamed and cameraman Mohamed Fawzyre have been held in custody since their arrest by security forces on Sunday evening.


The arrests follow a period of sustained intimidation towards Al Jazeera staff, property and coverage since the military-orchestrated removal of President Mohamed Morsi in July. Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network's spokesperson said of the latest arrests: "We condemn the arbitrary arrest of Al Jazeera English journalists working in Cairo and demand their immediate and unconditional release.


Read more here

01:01  Won't withdraw case against Devyani; no question of apology: US:  
  • JUST IN: The case against senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade is not being "withdrawn', US sources tell PTI. 
  • The US government intends to proceed with the prosecution of Khobragade, sources add.   
  • The deadline for indictment of Khobragade is January 13, the sources say.  
  • However, the sources concede that If Khobragade gets UN immunity she cannot be prosecuted or brought to court for the period of immunity, PTI reports.    
  • But if she returns to India and then comes back to the US on a visit, the charges will stand and she could face arrest, the sources say.  
  • There is no nefarious motive for arresting Khobragade, the sources add.   
  • Prosecutors are continuing to gather more evidence before indictment is filed. The indicment will be brought, sources inform.  
  • There is no question of apology to India; everything in the case has been done by the book, sources note.  
00:41  Russia blasts: IOC 'confident' Olympics will be safe:  

The International Olympic Committee president says he has confidence that Russian authorities will deliver a "safe and secure" Games in Sochi. Thomas Bach wrote to President Vladimir Putin to express condolences for the "despicable" attacks that struck Volgograd within 24 hours.


Investigators say the attacks on a railway station and trolleybus, which killed at least 31 people, were linked. They struck just over a month before the Winter Olympics begin. Volgograd was also targeted in October, when a suspected female suicide bomber killed six people in an attack on a bus.


Read more on BBC

00:40  Top headlines at this hour:  

AAP fulfills free water promise within 48 hours

Indians in US missions are GROSSLY underpaid

Thanks to AAP, Congress may field new faces in LS polls

AFSPA's withdrawal would hit counter-terrorist ops in J-K: Army chief

Mumbai: Gun on Coast Guard ship goes off, building damaged

Kumar Vishwas dares Modi to contest from Amethi

Regime change will not come in way of bilateral ties: Bashir

UP ignoring query about relief camp deaths: Home ministry

Kejriwal announces highest-ever compensation for slain cop

NASA astronaut takes 'super selfie' of the year!

Chidambaram speaks up: Congress SHOULD name PM candidate

Indian Mujahideen wanted to nuke Surat, save Muslims

Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh involved in irregularities, says Jaitley

Jairam hits out at Rajnath for calling him 'super CM'

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