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Lokpal Bill will form a toothless body: Kejriwal

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February 04, 2013

23:05  Odisha gets first fast-track court for crime against women:  Odisha today got its first fast-track court here to deal exclusively with cases of sexual offences against women. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had last month announced that the state would fast track such cases to provide speedy justice to victims of sexual assault. 

Acting Chief Justice of Odisha Pradeep K Mohanty today inaugurated a special (fast-track) court here inside the Cuttack district court complex. This is the first such court in the state, where an assistant sessions judge would preside over the cases of sexual offences inviting punishment of less than ten years of imprisonment.
22:57  Land acquisition for Posco on, police excess alleged:  The land acquisition for the Rs 52,000-crore Posco steel project, which resumed amidst tight security at Gobindpur village in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district, continued peacefully today, the state government said. 

Chief Secretary B K Patnaik claimed people were offering their land and betel vines on their own. "There is no violence during the land acquisition. The district administration of Jagatsinghpur and the local police have been instructed to undertake land acquisition work peacefully," he said.
22:36  Lokpal Bill will form a toothless body: Kejriwal:  Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal today tore into the amended Lokpal Bill passed by the Union Cabinet, saying the proposed body would be "toothless" as the CBI will still function under the Government. 

Speaking at a public meeting in west Delhi, Kejriwal alleged that the proposed Lokpal will not have "any powers" as the Government has made it a "toothless body". "Government does not want to leave the CBI independent because it wants power, it wants the control of CBI. As long as CBI is under the control of politicians, no one can expect anything from Lokpal," he said.
22:35  Online petiton urges Grand Mufti of Kashmir to step down:  An online petition on is inviting netizens to sign a petition urging Mufti Bashir-ud-Din to step down from the chair of grand mufti of Kashmir for his fatwa against the girl band Pragaash

Find the petition here
22:11  Go by the rulebook, Rahul tell party men:  Rahul Gandhi today stressed ongoing by the rulebook and the need for "emotional unity" among Congressmen as he wrapped up his first formal interaction with office bearers which saw the leaders slamming ticket distribution system and work allocation pattern.   

The Congress vice president also expressed his keenness to have such discussions from block to state level. He dubbed the Congress Constitution a "radical document" but stressed that"the need is that we implement the provisions properly",sources said.   

At the party's two-day Chintan Shivir also, Gandhi had slammed the absence of any rules in Congress working,wondering how does the party function.
21:52  Dehi gang rape: Engineer friend to testify tomorrow:  The trial of the five men accused of gang raping and murdering a medical student on a bus in Delhi will formally start tomorrow, reports NDTV

The prosecution has called four witnesses, including a software engineer who was with her and tried to protect her from the men.

Read the full report here
21:37  Lankan Tamils issue: Will take up issue with MEA, says Sonia:   Stating that she shared the concerns of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi regarding Sri Lankan Tamils issue, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi has told him that she "shall take up the matter" with the external affairs minister.

"I share your concern regarding the disturbing developments in Sri Lanka vis-a-vis the Tamils. I shall take up the matter with the Minister of External Affairs (Salman Khurshid)," she said in her January 30, 2013 letter to Karunanidhi.

The Congress president's response to a January 19, 2013 letter by Karunanidhi was posted on DMK leader's page in micro-blogging site Twitter.

In identical letters to Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Karunanidhi, whose DMK is a key constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, had claimed Tamils in Sri Lanka were living in an "oppressive environment," and sought the Centre's intervention to "stop this atrocity," as India had a "moral obligation" to do so.
21:27  US under secretary for public affairs to visit India:  United States Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine will travel to New Delhi from February 5-7.

Sonenshine's visit to India will highlight the breadth and depth of the US-India people-to-people relationship, particularly our strong educational partnership.

In New Delhi, Sonenshine will lead the US delegation to the Government of India conference 'Mainstreaming Skills in Education' on February 6-7, where she will deliver remarks on our support for India's development of community colleges and the expansion of skills development education. 

The US delegation to this international conference will include representatives from twelve community colleges. During her travel Sonenshine will meet with  Indian government officials to discuss US-India education collaboration. 
20:52  Kripashankar assets case: SIT submits report before SC:   The Special Investigation Team formed by the Mumbai police to probe into the alleged amassing of disproportionate assets by former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and his family, has submitted its report in the Supreme Court, police said on Monday.

"The case investigation report has been submitted in the Supreme Court in a sealed cover," an officer told PTI without divulging further details.
20:34  Dalai Lama likely to visit Maha Kumbh tomorrow:   A day after Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Maha Kumbh in Allahabad was cancelled for want of security clearance, a Buddhist outfit claimed the Tibetan spiritual leader will arrive at the congregation on Tuesday.

The Dalai Lama will visit Kumbh following grant of necessary permission by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Uttar Pradesh government, the Maha Bodhi Society of India said.

"The Maha Bodhi Society of India and various other inter-faith and spiritual groups have been making requests for the permission," B K Modi, former president of the Maha Bodhi Society of India, told reporters in Allahabad.
20:02  Kerala HC bench acquits rape convict:  The special bench in the Kerala High Court, hearing petitions related to sexual assaults and atrocities against women and children, today acquitted the accused in a rape case in its first verdict.

Allowing the appeal of the accused, Sivadasan, against his conviction and sentence of 10 years imprisonment by a lower court, Justice P Bhavadasan held that there was delay in filing the complaint against the accused and holding that the statements of the victim and other witnesses were unbelievable.

The alleged incident occurred in 1994 while the victim had filed the complaint three years later. The petitioner had challenged the order of Additional Sessions Court i
19:49  Mantralaya fire: Only 10 % files reconstructed:  Only ten per cent of the files which were destroyed in the fire that gutted top floors of the Mantralaya on June 21, 2012, have been reconstructed so far. This came to light following a Right to Information query filed by activist Anil Galgali. 

The fire had destroyed 63,349 files in the state secretariat. However, till date only 6,339 files have been reconstructed, which is only ten per cent, it said. "It's the worst example of (the functioning of) government offices.

Their attitude to deal with important issues is clearly shown. Now, the state officials from various departments are ignoring chief minister's order just like they do with the common man," Galgali said on the issue.
19:44  Join the peace process: David Cameron to Taliban:  UK Prime Minister David Cameron today called on Taliban to join the peace process after he held a high-level peace talks with Afghan and Pakistani Presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari.

The talks, to discuss peace process and prevent a Taliban resurgence when foreign troops withdraw from the war-torn country in 2014, featured top spy chiefs and military generals of the countries for the first time.

Speaking from his Chequers country retreat near London alongside Karzai and Zardari, Cameron also announced the opening of an office in the Qatari capital of Doha for negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan High Peace Council.
19:25  Bunty Chor moves HC:  Hitech thief Bunty chor, alias Devinder Singh, today moved the Kerala High Court, seeking to set aside the order of a court at Thiruvananthapuram, remanding him to police custody.

The police had sought custody for questioning with regard to a case relating to theft of expensive goods, including a car from the house of a NRI in the state capital.

The Judicial First Class Magistrate court had recently remanded him to police custody. Bunty Chor contended that the order was 'illegal' and wanted the Court to stop further questioning by the police.

As there were some defects in the petition, the matter was not taken up today by the court.
19:03  Sachin Tendulkar to release Yuvraj's memoir:  Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar will release a book that traces his teammate Yuvraj Singh's successful battle with cancer. 

Titled In Different Form, the book chronicles Singh's journey while he was being treated for a rare germ cell cancer between his lungs a few months after India's World Cup triumph in 2011. 

"Sachin Tendulkar is going to be there at the book launch," Yuvraj said at an event organised by his cancer initiative 'YouWeCan' to celebrate World Cancer Day. 

The book is expected to hit the stands in March.
19:01  Christian outfit objects to Mani Ratnam's film:  After protests by Muslim outfits against Kamal Haasan's Tamil film Vishwarooopam, ace director Mani Ratnam's Kadal (Sea) is now facing opposition from a Christian outfit which is piqued over some scenes in the movie. 

The Indian Christian Democratic Party alleged the film had objectionable scenes referring to Christianity and sought their deletion and warned of intensifying their protests if police do not initiate action. 

 They submitted a memorandum to the police in this regard today.
18:48  Sonia writes to Karunanidhi, shares concern for Lankan Tamils:  Congress president Sonia Gandhi has replied to DMK chief M Karunanidhi's letter expressing concern for the cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka. 

In a copy of the letter tweeted by the former chief minister, Gandhi said she shared his concerns regarding the 'disturbing developments' in Sri Lanka vis-a-vis the Tamils, and promised to take up the matter with the minister for external affairs.

You can read her letter here.
18:41  Women groups protest anti-rape ordinance:  Dubbing the government's ordinance on sexual violence against women an "eyewash," a number of women's groups today protested at Jantar Mantar seeking full implementation of Justice Verma committee recommendations. 

"This ordinance is an eyewash. It is diluting the actual recommendations of Justice Verma committee. We want a bill based not on this ordinance but the panel's suggestions," said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women Association. 

Sehba Farooqui, secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association, listed their demands which include recognising marital rape. "While we wanted a gender specific definition of rape, government's ordinance has made it gender neutral. Also, teh Verma panel's recommendation that no sanction will be required if the armed forces personnel are accused of a crime against woman has been turned down," she said. 

"We were also in favour of recommendation that recognised marital rape. But this ordinance instead of strengthening the law will derail the issue," Farooqui said.
18:38  Condition of Muslims in India worse than SC, STs: UK scholar:  Muslims in India are even less privileged than members of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes as they enjoy neither equity nor equality of opportunity, a noted British scholar claimed today. 

Delivering the Sir Syed Memorial Lecture at Aligarh Muslim University, Gordon Campbell, professor of renaissance studies at Leicester University in the UK, claimed that the condition of Muslims, especially in the field of education, had worsened "in the seven years since the Sachar Committee Report was published". 

"Muslims have been marginalised and have limited access in the field of mainstream education and public sector employment in the country," said Campbell, who is also the founding chairman of the Consortium of British Universities in Saudi Arabia.
18:24  'Lowering juvenile age needs more consultations':   Rejecting criticism that the anti-rape ordinance was an eyewash, government today expressed the hope that it will have a deterrent effect on potential criminals and said issues like reducing the age of juvenile, marital rape and amending AFSPA would be considered later.

It also dismissed suggestions that the government has rejected some of the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, which went into the issue of tightening anti-rape laws, saying the ordinance reflected the broadest consensus within the government

Defending the ordinance, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said there was a universal demand that laws must be amended immediately and the government came to the conclusion that there was a strong case to promulgate it.
17:32  JMM in talks with Cong to form govt in Jharkhand:  The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha today said it is in talks with the Congress to form a government in Jharkhand, which is currently under President's rule. 

"The JMM has taken the initiative in this regard (talks with the Congress) and we are expecting something positive to come out soon," senior JMM leader Sudhir Mahto told reporters. 

He, however, refused to set any time frame when pressed by the journalists.
17:31  Case against Shinde for his remarks on Hindu terror:  A criminal case has been filed against Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in a court in Mathura for his remarks on Hindu terror. 

The case was filed in the court of chief judicial magistrate DD Ojha on Saturday. 

"February 12 (is the date) set by the honourable court for arguments on the maintainability of the complaint," Saheb Singh Deshavar, counsel for complainant Vijai Bahadur Singh, said today. 

Singh, an RSS member, had moved court against the comments of the home minister made on January 20 at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir of Congress.
17:30  Vishwaroopam row: Centre forms Committee to review Cinema Act:  In the wake of row over Kamal Haasan's movie Vishwaroopam, the Centre today set up a judicial committee to have a relook at the Cinematograph Act to make it more robust and ensure that movies do not get stuck after clearances by the film certification board. 

The eight-member committee, headed by retired Chief Justice of Delhi high court Mukul Mudgal, also include film star Sharmila Tagore and noted poet and MP Javed Akhtar. 

The committee was set up by the information and broadcasting ministry against the backdrop of Vishwaroopam being banned by the J Jayalalithaa-led Tamil Nadu government despite the Censor Board's clearance.
17:29  Lok Sabha polls likely in September: Mulayam:  Hinting at snap polls, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today said the Congress-led UPA government might declare Lok Sabha elections after the budget session of Parliament. 

Asking the party workers to be ready for early polls, he said the exercise could be held by September this year. 

"You all should be prepared for Lok Sabha polls. As per my information, the elections may be declared after the budget session and the exercise is likely to be held by September," Yadav said.
17:10  Don't issue statements on PM candidate: Rajnath to BJP workers:  Concerned over divisions within the NDA on the candidature of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the post of prime minister, BJP President Rajnath Singh today made a 'final appea' to his party leaders not to speak on the issue. 

"I want to humbly appeal to the BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will the candidate for the prime minister's post. As I have said earlier, the BJP convention is that any decision on the chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate is taken by the Central Parliamentary Board," he told reporters.

Singh's comments come in the wake of demands from BJP leaders such as Ram Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha that Modi should be the party's PM candidate. 

Other leaders have also reacted in the media to the debate leading to spilling out of the differences over the issue within the NDA.
16:49  Blackbuck case: Salman does not appear before court:  ollywood star Salman Khan did not appear before a court in Jodhpur in connection with the 1998 blackbuck poaching case in Rajasthan.

Salman's counsel Hastimal Saraswat said the actor could not appear before the court due to his pre-scheduled shooting plans.

"We moved an application in the court today seeking his exemption from appearing in the court on the ground that he was busy in shooting," Saraswat said. The chief judicial magistrate's court had to read out the revised charges to Khan and co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Tabbu, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and two others in connection with the hunting of protected blackbucks at Kankani village in Jodhpur during shooting of film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.

The case will now be heard on March 23. Salman has been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act while others under Section 52 of the Act and Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC.
16:37  NDA cadet dies during training:  A cadet of the National Defence Academy  Khadakwasla near Pune died during a training activity on the campus after collapsing suddenly, the NDA spokesman said today. 

Ajitesh Goel was participating in an organised training activity -- night navigation-- on Saturday night when he collapsed, the spokesman said. 

"On February 2 at 9.25 pm Cadet Ajitesh Goel of 126th course -- 4th term -- was participating in an organised training activity namely night navigation. He suddenly collapsed short of the finishing line. He was taken to Military Hospital Khadakwasla, where he was declared brought dead," he added. 

Investigations were on to determine the cause of death. 

In a similar incident, an NDA cadet had died of cardiac arrest while on a training run last year.
16:16  Historial Irfan Habib tweets: No Quranic verse alludes to prohibition of music and there are many Prophetic traditions which clearly support music as a gift of God.
16:15  Film director, actor and singer Farhan Akhtar tweets: I have just one thing to say to #Pragaash.... Rock On!!

And we agree:)
16:09  Youth Cong leader, two others booked for raping Dailt girl:  A case has been registered against a Youth Congress leader and two others for allegedly kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old Dalit girl in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh, the police said today. 

"Case has been registered against Goldy Nayak, Youth Congress president of Sarangarh constituency, and his two associates for allegedly kidnapping and raping the class XII student, based on her complaint yesterday," superintendent of police Praphull Thakur said. 

"The two associates have been identified as Bhimsen Banjare and Manoj Banjare," the police said, adding that all of them were absconding. 

However, Goldy's car that was used in the crime has been seized, the SP said.
15:43  Pranab meets Gowda, Kiran Reddy, Rosaiah:  President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday received former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy in Rashtrapati Bhavan. A scheduled meeting with the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation Ranjit Sinha, and former Union minister and Paattali Makkal Katchi E Ponnuswamy are also listed as a courtesy call.
15:30  Don't have numbers for no-trust move, says K'taka Congress:  The Congress will not move a no-confidence motion as it expects the BJP government to collapse on its own, Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka assembly said today. 

"We will not move", Siddaramaiah said when asked if the Congress was planning to bring in a no-trust notice in the budget session, which commenced today. "We don't have the numbers (to succeed)".
15:28  Rs 100 crore fine on Rajasthan Royals for FEMA violations:  Just In: The Enforcement Directorate has slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on Rajasthan Royals, co-owned by actress Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra, for violations of the Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act.

Read about the controversies plaguing the RR here.
15:25  Just In: Kamal Haasan's Viswaroopam to release in Tamil Nadu on February 7 (Thursday). With this announcement a sorry chapter comes to a close.
15:24  Egyptian President Morsi to visit India on March 19:   Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will visit India on March 19, on what is considered a very crucial visit to boost bilateral ties between the two countries.

Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is currently confronting agitations against his leadership.

Morsi, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the NAM summit in September, will be accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan when he arrives in the country.
15:23  Don't speculate about BJP's PM candidate: Rajnath:  BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday urged all party leaders to refrain from speculating about who was likely to be selected as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election. 

His appeal comes in the wake of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha stating that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be the party's PM candidate.

His open support for Modi had reportedly angered Bihar CM and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who is no fan of the Gujarat CM.

JD-U is a major constituent in the BJP-led NDA.
14:56  Anti-rape ordinance is a starting point: Chidambaram:   Just In: Finance Minister P Chidambaram is addressing the media in New Delhi on the anti-rape ordinance promulgated by the government, and says they hope the stringent provisions will be a deterrent.

You can read the text of the ordinance here.

Of the 22 clauses in the ordinance, 11 of which have been taken from a piece of legislation pending before Parliament, Chidambaram says.

The anti-rape ordinance is only the starting point of the legislative process, the finance minister says. 

On marital rape, there is divergence of opinion, as well as what is the age for a juvenile, admits Chidambaram. The amendment to Armed Formed Special Forces Act proposed by Justice Verma, on custodial rape, needs to be debated further, he says.

The bill that will be passed by Parliament and which will replace the ordinance will reflect the broadest consensus on the issue, and government welcomes proposals and suggestions on the subject, Chidambaram says.

On some of the more difficult issues -- "I am not calling them contentious issues" -- the finance minister hopes there will be more discussion to arrive at a consensus.

On keeping marital rape out of the ambit of the ordinance, Chidambaram says it is a "difficult issue on which we have to hear the views of everybody". We have taken it one step forward by saying if husband and wife are separated, if there is sexual act then it will be punishable. Within marriage, this is debatable, Chidambaram says. There are differing views on this, he adds.

Along with Chidambaram, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari is also addressing the media.

"Nothing has been rejected, it may not have been incorporated," says Chidambaram when asked why the provision on debarring politicians accused of sexual violence, as recommended by Justice Verma, is not part of the ordinance.

Asked why the finance minister is speaking on an issue which falls in the ambit of the home ministry, Chidambaram pointed out that he was the head of the Group of Ministers set up on the issue and was speaking on behalf of the government.

Reduction of juvenile age for certain heinous crimes is being considered by the government keeping in mind the Constitution, says Chidambaram. However, he points out, the changed law cannot be applied retrospectively, in an obvious reference to the recent Delhi gangrape case which has led to the whole exercise of tightening the law on crimes against women.

To the extent of the changes made in the Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act, it will lead to a faster trial in the December 16 gangrape case, Chidambaram says. Changes in procedural law will apply even to ongoing cases and thus will speed up the trial in this case.

Ordinance does not mandate death penalty but it is an alternative. The Indian law prescribes death penalty in the rarest of rare cases, and that's the principle we have followed in the ordinance as well, Chidambaram says.

On sensitising the police force to atrocities against women, the finance minister says sensitising the constabulary to gender was a work in progress. Efforts are also made to recruit more policewomen. "Government is very concerned about the attitude of certain policemen and police officers," he says.

14:32  SC orders release of 2 tmf feet of Cauvery water to TN:  Just In: As Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari address the media on the anti-rape ordinance, there's some critical development from the Supreme Court.

The SC has directed the Centre to notify the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award by February 20, and holds that the Centre has flouted rules by not notifying the tribunal's award in the last five years.

The apex court also directs the release of 2 TMC feet of Cauvery water toTamil Nadu, and asks the Central Water Commission to file a report within two days on the water requirements of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
14:00  Women can finally wear trousers in Paris now!:  A 200-year-old law that forbid women to wear trousers in Paris has finally been revoked. 

On January 31, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France's minister of women's rights, made it officially impossible to arrest a woman for wearing trousers in the French capital, the Telegraph reported. 

The law required women to ask the police for special permission to "dress as men' in Paris, or risk being taken into custody. 

In 1892 and 1909 the rule was amended to allow women to wear trousers, "if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse".

The law was kept in place until now, despite repeated attempts to repeal it, in part because officials said the unenforced rule was not a priority, and part of French "legal archaeology".
13:55  Sylvester Stallone quits Twitter:  After Megan Fox, it is actor-director Sylvester Stallone who has quit the micro blogging site Twitter because he thinks the act of telling strangers about his life is "futile". 

The 66-year-old termed the site "crazy" and thinks sharing personal things on it is pointless, reported Contactmusic

"I used to tweet but it's an act of futility. You're not really making any impact. It might be a great promotional tool but just to make small talk, it's crazy. 

"If you find yourself in a mood when you wanna be a bit controversial and you post something, you suddenly realise, 'Oh my God!' because you've opened yourself up to a bunch of criticism from strangers," he said.
13:52  Students protest shuts down Allahabad university:  The Allahabad University today shut down for three days amid apprehensions of violence after an FIR was lodged against student union leaders for allegedly assaulting the staff of the vice-chancellor's office. 

The FIR was lodged yesterday at Colonelganj police station against University Students Union president Dinesh Singh Yadav, its vice-president and two others who had barged into the V-C office to complain against "irregularities" in admissions of research scholars and assaulted some staff members, varsity sources said.
13:40  SC to gointo who is a juvenile under law:  Just In: The Supreme Court decides to examine the definition of 'juvenile' in the Juvenile Justice Act. The Attorney General will assist the court in the plea seeking to strike down the definition of 'juvenile' from the Juvenile Justice Act.
13:38  Traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway suspended due to snow:   Vehicular traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was suspended today due to heavy snowfall and rains. 

The national highway was blocked for the traffic since yesterday afternoon. 

The traffic remained suspended due to heavy snowfall in the Pir Panjal range, traffic authorities said today. "Traffic remains blocked due to heavy snowfall in the Pir Panjal range," a traffic official said.
13:24  Don't speculate about BJP's PM candidate: Rajnath:  BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday urged all party leaders to refrain from speculating about who was likely to be selected as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election. 

His appeal comes in the wake of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha stating that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be the party's PM candidate.

His open support for Modi had reportedly angered Bihar CM and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who is no fan of the Gujarat CM.

JD-U is a major constituent in the BJP-led NDA.
13:19  Torture was used to get information on Osama: US:  US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has admitted that torture and enhanced interrogation techniques were used to "put together the puzzle" that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.        

Panetta made the candid admission, becoming the highest-ranking Obama administration official to do so, while responding to a question on Kathyrn Bigelow's Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty, the New York Post reported.        

The film depicts prisoners being water boarded by the US in an effort to find out where bin Laden is hiding.
12:24  What the ordinance on crimes against women says:  Rape that leads to death of the victim or leaving her in a vegetative state can now attract death penalty under an ordinance cleared by the Union Cabinet.

The ordinance, based on the recommendations of the Justice J S Verma Committee and going beyond, proposes to replace the word 'rape' with 'sexual assault' to expand the definition of all types sexual crimes against women.

It also proposes enhanced punishment for other crimes against women like stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks, indecent gestures such as words and inappropriate touch and brings into its ambit 'marital rape',

Read the full text of the ordinance here

12:22  Telangana decision soon? AP CM meets Sonia, Azad:  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Monday met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and party president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the Telangana issue and take a final decision on the creation of a separate state.

The Union government had earlier missed its deadline to reach a final decision on the creation of Telangana by January 28. The Congress-led UPA had assured Telangana activists that it will take a final decision soon after consulting the Andhra CM and other leaders from the state.
12:01  A new book of rare images from Hyderabad's history is making waves.

'Images of Hyderabad (Aks-e-Hyderabad) is a pictorial document of the Hyderabad of yore and its transformation from aristocracy to democracy and modernity. Covers the years 1880 to 1960, it is a welcome addition to the available literature on the city and an invaluable gift for those who cherish Hyderabad and its culture,' writes Syed Akbar in the Deccan Chronicle. Read more about it here.
11:38  Kamal Haasan withdraws case against TN govt:  Actor-director Kamal Haasan has withdrawn the case he had filed against the Tamil Nadu government after it  imposed a ban on his ambitious film Vishwaroopam.

The film will be released across the state on February 8.

Haasan had earlier reached an agreement with some Muslim groups which had opposed certain sections of the film. The TN government had subsequently lifted the ban on the film.
11:12  Robert Vadra is not the only beneficiary of Hoodas land largesse:  'Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda's motivation in licensing a staggering 21,000 acres of land in just 8 years since he assumed office in May 2004 may not be entirely to drive planned development '" as the State administration claims. Fresh evidence culled from over 200 land deals reveals that far from planned development, roughly 1,350 acres of land acquired from poor, unsuspecting farmers at a low rate in the name of 'public interest' were later licensed to builders after bestowing out-of-turn favours and concessions that helped the land value increase exponentially,' reports Shalini Singh in The Hindu

Read the shocking expose here.
11:02  Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman resigns:  Solicitor General Rohinton F Nariman resigned from his post on Monday. The reason behind his resignation is not yet known.

Nariman had taken over as the Solicitor General in July 2011.
10:38  CWG scam: Charges framed, Kalmadi pleads not guilty:  The CBI has framed charges against all the accused in the multi-crore Commonwealth Games scam.

The charges were filed in a Patiala court in connection with the Swiss timing and scoring scam.

Sacked Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, one of the accused, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 
10:05  Budget session of Karnataka assembly starts today:  The Budget Session of the Karnataka assembly will start today amid high drama over whether the ruling BJP has majority in the House, after 13 party MLAs resigned to join the newly-formed Karnataka Janata Party of former chief minister B S Yeddyruappa.
10:01  Andhra CM meets Azad over Telangana row:  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Monday met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad over the issue of Telangana.

Further details are awaited.
09:01  Ram temple a permanent issue for us: BJP:  BJP's national vice president Kalraj Mishra has said the building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya was "a permanent issue" for the party.        

"Construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya is the BJP's firm commitment. It is not an election issue for us, but a permanent one," he said.        

"The issue will remain alive till a Ram Temple is built," he said.
08:58  AP CM to discuss Telangana with Cong top brass:  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy will be in Delhi today to meet the central leadership of the Congress. He is expected to hold a discussion on the demand for Telangana.        

The chief minister might take up the Telangana issue with the top leaders of the Congress and the Centre.    

Meanwhile, the Telangana Joint Action Committee has announced plans to block highways and organise a Chalo Assembly during February and early March as part of intensifying the separate statehood agitation.       
08:56  US may move into N Africa to go after Al Qaeda:  The US was anticipating that it might have to move into North Africa to go after Al Qaeda in the region as the Obama administration wants to make sure the global terror network has no place to hide, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said today.        

"We have gone after the core leadership of Al-Qaeda in the Fatah in Afghanistan. We have gone after them in Yemen. We have gone after them successfully in Somali. We were always aware there was AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) in North Africa," Panetta told CNN.
08:48  Resolving Palestine row Kerry's top priority:  
New US Secretary of State John Kerry had a very busy first weekend, dialing leaders of Israel and Palestine and his counterparts in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and Canada.        

Kerry, who was sworn in as the Secretary of State on Friday afternoon, not only spoke with the Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, reflecting that finding an amicable two-state solution to this decades old conflict is going to be his top priority.
08:46  Amartya Sen's advice to the Left Front:  Nobel laureate Amartya Sen today urged the Left parties to raise the issue of sanitation and other basic needs of the poorest of the poor, apart from the issues of food security and LPG price hike.        

"I am sometimes accused of being critical of the Left parties. I am particularly upset when they go after the issues of cooking gas (price hike) and other issues. These are the issues of the middle class. But what about the issues of the poorest of the poor." Sen asked while addressing a session at the Kolkata Literary Meet.

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