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February 06, 2013

23:19  Youth arrested for threatening all-girls rock band of Kashmir:  Police tonight arrested a youth in connection with the online abuses and threats to the all-girls rock band of Kashmir, which forced them to quit singing. 

A team of Rajbagh police arrested the youth from Ganderbal district of central Kashmir, highly placed sources said. They said another police team has been dispatched to south Kashmir town of Bijbehara to arrest another youth.
22:56  Solomon Islands earthquake triggers tsunami:  A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami up to 1.5 metres (5ft) high that damaged dozens of homes and left several people missing, presumed dead.

Authorities cancelled tsunami warnings on more distant coasts in the Pacific.

Officials on the chain of islands reported two 1.5-metre waves hitting the western side of Santa Cruz island on Wednesday, damaging 70 to 80 properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister of the Solomon Islands. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution.

Click here for more
22:07  Rahul's work will decide if he can lead country: Mulayam:  Claiming that India lacks a national leader, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today said Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's work will decide whether he would be able to lead the country. 

"Rahul is a leader big enough to take command of (Congress) party as he has worked and is also a member of Parliament. Congress has accepted him as a leader, but whether he will be able to become the leader of the country or not will depend on his work. It will depend on his policies," he said.
22:05  Rahul's visit to Tripura rescheduled:  Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has rescheduled his visit to Tripura for campaigning but the dates of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's itineraries remained the same, party sources said. 

Tripura Pradesh Congress member Pijush Biswas said Rahul Gandhi would visit the state on February 11 instead of February 8. "He will address a rally in Sonamura subdivisional town in Sipahijala district, Belonia subdivisional town in South Tripura district and Dharmanagar town in North Tripura district," he said.
21:30  BJP questions silence of PM, Sonia on Shinde's remarks:  Questioning the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi on Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's remarks on terror against BJP and RSS, senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu today said the party would continue to demand his apology or sacking. 

"The allegation made by the Union Home Minister is a serious one. He should withdraw and apologise or the Prime Minister should sack him," he said referring to Shinde's remarks that BJP and RSS were involved in training their cadre in terror activities.
21:07  GJM calls for 12-hr Darjeeling bandh on Feb 9:  

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha today called for a 12-hour Darjeeling hills bandh on February 9 in protest against the West Bengal government's plan to carve out a Lepcha council in the hills.        


"We will protest if the state government goes ahead with its divide and rule policy between the Nepali and Lepcha communities in the hills," GJM leader Binay Tamang told reporters in Darjeeling in a sign of further straining of ties between the government and GJM.        


"In the wake of the promise made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on January 30 to Lepcha leaders in Kalimpong about formation of a Lepcha council, the sentiments of hill people have been bruised. We will remain united," he said.        


"Our leader Bimal Gurung had already affirmed that there should not be two councils in one GTA area and anything should come under Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. If any other council happens we have to protest," Tamang said.

20:12  Modi trying to mislead people, says Tewari:  

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today questioned Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for not making any reference to 2002 riots in the state and alleged his speech here was aimed at generally trying to "mislead" the people.        


"Well, the chief minister of Gujarat made a reference to a cliche called P2 and G2 when he was referring to Gujarat model of development. P2 essentially stands for platitudes personified -- patting oneself on the back when one has no achievements to account for," Tewari told reporters in New Delhi.


"G 2 would mean Geo global. I am surprised the Chief Minister of Gujarat in his entire speech made no reference of Gujarat pogrom which continues to be a blot and stain on the fair name of the state," he said.        


Tewari said the Gujarat Chief Minister had not said anything to "atone" for the incidents which had happened during his tenure.

19:35  Pak commerce minister to visit India later in Feb:  Weeks after calling off a scheduled visit to India amidst mounting tensions over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, Pakistan's Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim will travel to New Delhi later this month for bilateral talks.   

Fahim, one of the top leaders of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, will begin a four-day visit to India from February 21, Commerce Ministry officials were quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan today.   

Besides holding talks on bilateral trade with Indian officials, Fahim will attend a SAARC business conference, the officials said.
18:46  Hurts to hear her called gang-rape victim: Father :  Her brutal gang-rape and subsequent death had stirred the nation's conscience. But more than a month after the horrific incident the 23-year-old girl, whose identity is protected under the law, is known only as Delhi's 'gang-rape victim'. Her father, however, is not happy with the term. Read more.
18:40  Pritish Nandy tweets: If you are on twitter, you are coerced to believe Modi is already Prime Minister of India...
18:37  'It's like Richard III wanted to be found':  Screenwriter Philippa Langley, creator of the Looking For Richard project, explains her lifelong passion for the monarch. Read
18:15  Buddha questions Mamata's honesty, angry TMC demands apology:  Former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has questioned his successor Mamata Banerjee's honesty, prompting an angry rebuttal today from Trinamool Congress which demanded an apology from the CPI-M veteran.

"I don't agree with the perception that she is honest," Bhattacharjee told a Bengali news channel last night when asked whether he agreed with the popular perception that Banerjee was honest. Asked to elaborate, he asked the news channel to make its own investigation.

The ruling Trinamool Congress said Bhattacharjee's remarks were unfair. "What he has said is unfair.
18:11  Need to create strong defence-industrial base: Antony:  Defence Minister A K Antony today said the Indian aviation sector is growing at the fastest pace and will evolve into a major hub for aerospace operations and outsourcing in the coming days.  Inaugurating the 9th edition of Aero India-2013, at Air Force Station, Yelhanka, Bangalore, Antony underscored the need to create a strong defence industrial base in the country.

Also read: Red Bulls, Rafale jets dazzle B'lore air show
17:40  Budget session of Parliament begins on Feb 15:  Meanwhile, the 13th session of the 15th Lok Sabha will commence on February 21, while the business session is likely to conclude on May 10.
17:38  In effect, this is what Narendra Modi said to the approximately 1800 students at SRCC, his first public address after he became chief minister again in December.. Read
17:34  'Modi's mouse charmers are Rajiv's Gandhi's dream':  Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi reacts to Narendra Modi's speech at SRCC.
"Narendra Modi used the words mouse charmers today. In fact, it was Rajiv Gandhi who dreamed of a future with computers. It was he who saw the future. The mouse charmers are the realisation of Rajiv Gandhi's dream."

Obviously, the speech is the beginning of a political battle and not just a speech addressed to a motley group of students. 
17:28  Modi has now left SRCC after his speech. Outside he will face protesters once again. There was supposed to have been a question and answer session with the with the students, but that seems to have been abandoned.  #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
17:25  The Brown Brumby tweets: Meanwhile cows from Haryana and Punjab have started gathering outside SRCC to protest against modis "Gujarat Milk in Delhi" remark.
17:25  Modi seems to have just been gauging his popularity with that statement, since he has now concluded his speech with the remark that apart from milk and salt the coaches of Delhi's metro also come from Gujarat. Modi ends with this message: "We need to swap vote bank politics for development. The country has been destroyed by vote bank politics, it needs development."  #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
17:13  Modi: Govt has no business to be in business:  "My view is government has no business to be in business. Minimum governance is good governance," says Narendra Modi. A master of political oratory, Modi seems to have vowed his young audience as well. He asked if he was taking up too much time and whether he should continue, the audience screamed, YES!
17:08  Olympian Rajyavardhan Rathore tweets: SRCC very impressive talk by Modi, specific, to the point, govt has no business to so business, audience loving his talk.refreshing change
17:07  'We don't have snake charmers, we have mouse charmers':  "In Taiwan, a person asked me if we still have snake charmers and superstition. I said no, we are mouse charmers. You see, the youth of this nation has its finger on the mouse of computers and it is them and not politicians who are changing the world," says Modi to loud applause.

"It is time we adopt the dream of Swami Vivekananda by focusing on the youth and changing the world. It is time we 'arise, awaken and stop not till we reach our goal'," says Modi.  
17:02  Make the Made in India tag a statement of quality: Modi:  "China is the largest exporter of herbal medicine. We, despite our history of ayurveda, have not done as much. We have been unable to use the opportunities that come our way. The world sees us a bazaar where they can dump goods. We should try to make the world our bazaar," said Modi. "Why can't we make the 'Made in India' tag a statement of quality? Unfortunately, that is not true now," he says.

Remember, Modi had wanted a Made in Gujarat tag for products made from the state last month. Read  #LIVE-Modi-Speaks

Pic: Modi addressing a meeting ahead of the state polls in December.
16:53  Modi: Aap sab ne Gujarat ka namak khaya hain:  After milk, Modi uses the ubiquity of salt to say, "There is no one among you who has not had salt from Gujrarat (Gujarat ka namak khaya)." Pun intended?

Ramesh Srivats on Twitter: Narendra Modi to speak at SRCC. Makes sense. It's a college associated with his two favourite things. Shri Ram, and Commerce.

DeshGujarat: 2,000 seat capacity auditorium at SRCC college in Delhi packed in advance with youths waiting to listen to Narendra Modi: TV report
16:48  Gujaratis are the best tourists, explains Modi:  Modi explains economics very simply. "Purchasing power should continuously rise. Gujaratis are the best tourists. You will find them everywhere. Even in five star hotels you will find them eating thepla from dabbas," says Modi, a fact everyone can immediately identify with. Advancement in technology is the key to getting ahead, it is the key to success, he says.

CNN IBN's Bhupendra Chaubey tweets: While modi is speaking at SRCC, listen to SP's aazam khan on modi's kumbh yaatra: " ganga ko ganda karne ke liye aa rahe hain"

16:42  I will speak for more than 45 minutes, says Modi:  At SRCC, Delhi, Modi works the crowds.  "I am not a teacher, so I will not restrict myself to 45 minutes. Teachers have a chip that tells them they are approaching 45 minutes, I don't," he says as the students cheer him on.

He says Gujarat is the only state to have a forensic science university. The number of universities in Gujarat has increased from 11 in 2002 to 42 at present, says Modi. Music to students' ears, obviously.   #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
16:36  Modi: Every sip of tea you drink has milk from Gujarat:  "There will not be a single person in this audience who drinks tea and the milk doesn't come from Gujarat. The presence of Gujarat is everywhere. I can assure you that the milk packets sold in Singapore sourced from India, comes from Gujarat. This means that with economical development the purchasing power of the farmer who milks the cows should also increase. That is development," says Modi. #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
16:29  Gujarat a success despite registan and Pakistan:   The Gujarat model is based on good governance and by being pro-people, says Modi. "We must use our resources to the full potential. We need to seize the opportuntiy to take charge. Gujarat has achieved this despite adversities: "Hamara to halaat yehi hai ki ak taraf registan (desert), dusri tarf Pakistan," he says.
16:24  Modi: Nation awaits good governance (nudge nudge):  "Gujarat was at the forefront of India's freedom struggle and now it is being lauded for its development plan and good governance," says Modi. "The nation awaits good governance. The same laws, the same rules and regulations, the same Constitution, yet Gujarat has moved forward. I want to use Gujarat as an example of how it is possible to progress with the same parameters."

Modi uses the half-empty, half-full glass of water as an analogy to explain that he is hopeful for India's future. "For me the glass is not half full, it full. Half with water, half with air," he says. The audience buys his sales pitch with a huge round of applause. 

"The population of China is old, the population of Europe is old, India on the other is a young nation, but sadly we have not been able to channelise this resource," he says addressing an audience of students. 
16:16  I come from the land of Gandhi and Patel: Modi:   Modi begins his address at SRCC. He opens his speech by drawing on Gandhi and Patel. "I come from the land of Vallabhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi. They gave India freedom, spent their youth in jail and it is through their efforts that freedom was achieved. But since the many decades since freedom, we have failed to provide good governance. It is the fundamental problem that ails India," says Modi. 

16:12  Modi hands out trophies to the young students at the SRCC business enclave and begins his speech. #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
16:10   Outside the venue police disperse protestors using water canons, inside the audience listens in as Modi's CV is read out. 
16:02  Cheers greet Narendra Modi as he enters the SRCC basketball stadium. #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
15:58  Modi's first public address in Delhi set to begin:   Left-leaning student organisations and teachers from JNU, Delhi University and Jamia Milia Islamia, are participating in the protest. #LIVE-Modi-Speaks

Also read on Will Modi charm young India?
15:57  The venue is the basketball stadium at the SRCC college, Delhi. Modi is expected to begin speaking in another five minutes at the outset. #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
15:54   Narendra Modi's cavalcade reaches SRCC, a delay of around 40 minutes.  #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
15:44  So, Narendra Modi all set to make his first public address in New Delhi after being sworn in as Gujarat CM in December. Protestors have gathered outside the Sri Ram College of Commerce.  #LIVE-Modi-Speaks
15:33  Rajnath Singh: Ram temple should be built in Ayodhya:  BJP senior leader Rajnath Singh, who is in Allahabad for the Kumbh Mela, says the Ram Temple should be built in Ayodhya. In other words, the temple is firmly back on the BJP's agenda ahead of the 2014 polls.  
15:27  For 'brutal and diabolical' murder, Chandrakant Jha gets death:  Meanwhile, a Delhi court awards the death sentence to serial killer Chandrakant Jha in yet another case of murder and dumping of headless body near Tihar Jail. More here
15:25  Why are students protesting:  The groups calling for the protest has said that it intends to stage a peaceful protest outside SRCC at the time of his oration 'for his refusal to apologise for the Gujarat carnage and the horrible treatment and repression that minorities in Gujarat have been subjected to since 2002'.  

Around 752 invitations have been sent out so far and about 156 have already confirmed to attend the protest. The 'event' on Facebook has been generating a lot of interest with netizens posting their feedback and comments.
15:21  Students from Delhi University and JNU are expected to protest against Narendra Modi when he visits the Sri Ram College of Commerce any minute now. The protestors say Modi is misusing academic space as he is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the SRCC's business conclave.
15:17  Students break barricades as Modi set to speak:   Student groups have broken barricades in protest against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's visit in Delhi where he is scheduled to deliver the annual 'Shri Ram Memorial Oration' as part of Shri Ram College of Commerce's management festival 'Business Conclave 2013' on Wednesday. The topic of his discourse is 'Emerging Business Models in the Global Scenario'. The students have broken barricades and have been shouting anti-Modi slogans, waving death masks. 
15:05  Rahul: Will bring about change in laws, mindset of people:   Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi today spoke for the second time on the Delhi gang-rape case saying in the aftermath of the horrific incident the nationwide protests were because the youth identified with the girl and the injustice done to her and demanded justice for her.  He said he saluted the youth and their fight for justice and change in society and promised that the Congress would bring about a change not only in rape laws but also in the mindset of society at large. 
14:48  Delhi CM finally wakes up: Women unsafe in capital:  Nearly two months after the horrific Delhi gang rape, Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit admits that women are not safe in Delhi. Details awaited.
14:44  Somali woman is jailed for a year after claiming she was raped:  Human rights groups attack 'terrible miscarriage of justice' as woman and journalist who interviewed her are sentenced. Read
14:13  Don't play politics at Mahakumbh, SP warns BJP:  The Samajwadi Party has warned the BJP not to use the Mahakumbh platform for politics. The BJP leaders can go to the Mahakumbh to seek the blessings of the seers, but they should not indulge in politics over there, SP leader Ram Ashrey Kushwaha said. More
14:05  Activists: Get rid of 'degrading' parts of sexual assault:  With a glaring spotlight on sexual violence after a fatal gang-rape case, a high-profile government panel has joined women's rights advocates in demanding changes to India's sexual assault medical exam. Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures. Read
13:49  Mexican girl gives birth at nine!:  A Mexican girl aged nine has given birth to a girl of her own, local authorities and family members said today. "The girl was just over eight when she got pregnant. The father is a boy who is 17, but we have not found him, since he ran away," the mother of the girl, said. "We are looking for the young man to get his story because she does not understand what has happened. This is a rape or child sex abuse case," said an official with the state prosectors' office.
13:45  Want to rent a castle in Himachal?:  A houseboat on the Seine for as little as Rs 3,700 a night. A private island in Fiji for 13,500 rupees. An igloo in Greenland for 8,760 rupees. A castle in Himachal Pradesh for Rs 2,700.
Airbnb, a U.S. company that offers a marketplace to book vacations in other peoples homes, this month launched an Indian version of its popular website. Read more
13:38  Why exactly will the Delhi rape trial be held in private?:  The public has a right to know the role of the five men in the Delhi gang rape. Perhaps the real motive is that someone has decided the ensuing publicity might be be bad for India. Read Andrew Buncombe's piece on the Independent. 
13:33  German education minister stripped of doctorate for plagiarism:  Germany's Education minister Annette Schavan has been stripped off her doctorate title after an inquiry confirmed plagiarism in her thesis, which she wrote 33 years ago. Schavan, 57, is the second prominent member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet to lose a doctorate following allegations of plagiarism in their doctoral thesis.

Also read: India Todays plagiarism scandal
13:24  India's top athlete in funding crisis:  India's only world-class winter sports competitor is in doubt for the Winter Olympics due to a shortage of government funding, despite recently setting an Asian record. Read
13:13  VHP compares buzz over Modi for PM with Nehru :  Senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Ashok Singhal today compared Gujarat CM Narendra Modi with Jawaharlal Nehru saying the the buzz around Modi for PM is much like what it was when Nehru became India's first prime minister. "There has been no buzz like this since the Nehru era," Singhal added for good measure.
12:57  Delhi gang rape: Cross-examination of friend begins:  Defence lawyers began cross-examining Wednesday the male companion of a student who was gang raped on a bus in New Delhi at the trial of five adults accused of her murder, the man's father said.

"The cross-examination has begun," said the father of the 28-year-old IT specialist, who cannot be named for legal reasons. "Three defence lawyers will cross-examine and question him based on the statement that he gave to the police and the court," he added. AFP
12:53  Rs 10,000 crore cut in defence budget hits procurement deals:  A deadly double whammy has hit the armed forces. As it is, the entire Indian defence procurement process is a long-winded, tortuous one. To make matters worse, it often gets derailed by allegations and complaints - some genuine but many motivated. And now, with the defence capital acquisitions budget being slashed by around Rs 10,000 crore. Read 
12:48  For the aam aadmi's sake:  The excitement usually associated with the run-up to the budget has begun to build up. This budget is coming in the background of one of the worst years of economic growth in our country. The GDP growth rate for this fiscal year will be officially announced. Read
12:45  The disgusting consequences of plastic-bag bans:  "A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls' soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday." The norovirus may not have political clout, but evidently it, too, is rooting against plastic bags. Read
12:38  Indians among 18 charged in global USD 200 mn credit card scam:  At least five Indian-origin men are among 18 others charged here for running a whopping USD 200 million global credit card fraud under which they used thousands of fake identities to dupe businesses and financial firms and wired millions of dollars to Pakistan and India.

In one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the US Department of Justice, the men fabricated identities to obtain credits cards and doctored credit reports to pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards.
12:31  Juvenile Delhi gang-rape suspect held alone:  Behind a barbed wire-topped wall by a busy New Delhi highway a teenager sits alone in a locked room, accused of taking part in a gang rape that first sparked nationwide protests and now a debate over whether law in India is too lenient on juveniles. Read
12:26  Is music un-Islamic?:  A teenage girl band in Kashmir split up Monday after a senior cleric issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, against them. The rock band, a trio of schoolgirls calling themselves Praagaash, meaning "darkness into light,' faced threats following a public performance in December. Read
12:24  Indias speech impediments:  India is in the throes of what Salman Rushdie rightly calls a "cultural emergency." Writers and artists of all kinds are being harassed, sued and arrested for what they say or write or create. The government either stands by and does nothing to protect freedom of speech, or it actively abets its suppression. Read

Suketu Mehta writes for the NYT.
12:11  Thank God, it's not turtle soup:  In other news:  A head-on collision between a pickup van and autorickshaw in Giridih, Hazaribagh, was instrumental in saving 1,100 Indian softshell turtles classified vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Read how the turtles narrowly missed being soup.
11:59  Gangraped, uterus removed, 22-yr-old fights for life :  Even as the dust settles on the outrage over the Delhi gang rape, the horrors continue unabated. A 22-year-old woman in Uttarakhand is battling for her life in a hospital after being gang-raped and left with a damaged uterus, other internal injuries and multiple bite marks on her body, police said on Tuesday. Read more
11:45  Bikaner baby bitten on lip, nose by father, dies :  Indian Express: The five-month-old baby, whose upper lip and nose were bitten off allegedly by her father, Siyana village near Bikaner, has died today. The man, Bahadur Singh, worked as a trucker and after losing an arm in an accident had started working as an agricultural labourer. A reconstructive plastic surgery was performed here on Friday on the baby girl. Doctors at Jaipur's SMS Hospital had said the baby was able to breathe and swallow better following the operation that went on for over four hours. But her condition deteriorated during the night on Tuesday.
11:40  5 missing, 3 injured as avalanche hits Kinnaur village:  Five persons were missing while three others were injured when an avalanche hit a cluster of houses in Kafnu village in Himachal Pradesh's tribal Kinnaur village, 190 km from Shimla, this morning.
11:39  Condition of Bikaner baby abused by father critical:  A five-month-old baby girl from Bikaner, whose father had bitten off parts of her lips, nose and cheek last month, was today put on ventilator support after her condition deteriorated, doctors said here.

"The baby was operated upon on February 1 at the Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital and she was stable but her condition turned critical following which she was put on ventilator today," the hospital spokesperson said.

The baby's 36-year-old father Bahadur Singh had bit off her nose, lip and cheek in a fit of rage leaving her face damaged in Bikaner last month.

The accused was drunk when he had reached his house in Siyana village and had a verbal spat with his wife Santosh over some domestic issue. During the quarrel, he had allegedly bit his daughter's upper lip, nose and cheek, according to police.
11:25  SC asks Centre to consider ban on sale of acid :  Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has rapped the Centre over what it says is inadequate steps take for the rehabilitation of acid attack victims. It also asks the government to consider the ban of the sale of acid. It also asked the government to take concrete action in acid attack cases. If the sale of acid is indeed banned, it will come as a much-needed and much-delayed first step in the curbing of acid attacks.

Also read: Acid attack victim Sonali Mukherjee wins Rs.25 lakh on Kaun Banega Crorepati

11:15  Modi also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh extended his best wishes for Gujarat's development and to the new state government.
11:14  Modi dodges PM question:   Modi also deftly dodged questions on the issue of the PM candidate and insisted that meeting the PM was just a courtesy call. Modi visited Dr Singh at his residence at 7, Race Course Road. The Gujarat CM is in the capital to address the students at Shri Ram College of Commerce at 3.15 pm. He also described the meeting with the PM as a "very good, cordial meeting."
11:04  Modi: PM promised help for development of Gujarat :  Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi says he has presented the PM with a memorandum on the Narmada dam issue. The statement comes after his meeting Dr Manmohan Singh this morning. "The PM has assured all help in for the development of Gujarat. I have sought help for the Narmada irrigation programme as well," he said. He also demanded that the prices of gas be similar to that of Maharashtra and Delhi. This was his first meeting after he became CM for the third time.  
10:59  MHA, MoD at war over IAF men 'fleeing' Reds:  The spat over Indian Air Force personnel allegedly abandoning an injured police wireless operator after Maoists' firing forced the chopper they were in to land is deepening with the home ministry describing the IAF crew's conduct as "extremely disturbing" and demanding an inquiry. More
10:42  AP: Minor allegedly raped by police constable:  A minor has been allegedly raped by a police constable in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.

Further details are awaited.
10:41  Kerry calls Chinese FM, discusses N Korea, Iran:  Newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry today called his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi to discuss Iran and possible North Korean atomic tests, besides bilateral issues including trade and climate change.        

"They agreed on the importance of continuing to work to strengthen US-China relations, notably including in the economic trade and investment sphere," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
10:18  Narendra Modi meets Dr Singh:  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday morning met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Modi visited Dr Singh at his residence at 7, Race Course Road. 

Modi is in the capital to address the students at Shri Ram College of Commerce at 3.15 pm.
09:42  G K Vasan meets law minister over Cauvery row:  A correspondent in Delhi reports: Union Minister for Shipping G K Vasan on Wednesday met Law Minister Ashwini Kumar and demanded early notification of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's final award.

Vasan also spoke on the phone to Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat, who is currently in Uttarakhand. Both ministers have promised Vasan that his demand will be considered and action will be taken soon.
09:40  Narendra Modi in Delhi, likely to meet Dr Singh:  A correspondent in Delhi reports: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Delhi on Wednesday at 9.30 am. He is likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 10.15 am.

Modi is scheduled to speak at the Shri Ram College of Commerce at 3.15 pm.
08:47  Lokayukta raids residences of MP forest official:  The Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta's office on Wednesday raided the residences of forest official B K Singh at Ujjain and Bhopal.

The Lokayukta officials recovered Rs 7 lakh in cash and proof of investments worth several crores.
08:44  Karzai confirms he will step down in 2014:   Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed today in Oslo that he plans to step down next year when his mandate expires. "The question of me staying as the president beyond 2014 is out of the question," Karzai said when reporters asked about recent speculation that he was keen to stay on. 

"Neither am I seeking a third term, nor does the constitution allow it. There will be an election and a new president will come," he said. Karzai was elected in 2004, and re-elected in 2009 in a vote marred by accusations of fraud. Afghanistan's next presidential election is scheduled for April 2014, just a few months before the end of NATO's mission.
08:44  Tsunami alert at Pacific Ocean:   The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has warned of a one-metre high tsunami near Solomon Islands.

Further details are awaited.
03:45  Gunmen rape 6 tourists near Acapulco, Mexico:  A pack of hooded gunmen broke into a beach bungalow near Acapulco, Mexico, and raped six women tourists after tying up a group of men with cell phone cables and bikini straps, officials said Tuesday.

Another woman, also in the bungalow, was spared during the attack early Monday morning near the beach resort city, known as a top spring break destination for vacationing tourists.The victims -- Spanish nationals in their 20s on vacation -- are now under the protection of Mexican authorities. Spanish officials have been notified.
03:44  Danish Islam critic escapes assassination attempt:  A prominent Danish writer who heads a controversial group that claims free speech is under threat from Islam escaped an attempt on his life in Copenhagen, police said. Lars Hedegaard, a well-known historian in Denmark, was able to fend off the attack after the gunman misfired, and was unharmed, police said in statement yesterday. 

The incident happened when Hedegaard, 70, opened his front door in the capital's Frederiksberg neighbourhood to a man pretending to be delivering a package and wearing a jacket showing the logo of the Danish postal service.
02:29  UK lawmakers to vote on gay marriage bill:  Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior British officials threw their support behind a gay marriage bill today ahead of a key Parliament vote on the divisive topic. 

If entered into law, the bill would enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, provided that the religious institution consents. The proposals have divided opinion among members of Cameron's Conservative Party and dozens of them are expected to vote against the bill later today.
02:04  Saudi executes man after 30 years on death row:  Saudi Arabia beheaded today a man who had been on death row for three decades for beating to death a fellow Saudi, after the victim's family denied him clemency. Abdullah bin Fandi al-Shammari was executed in the northern town of Hael, the official SPA news agency said. 

 Shammari was 23 when he was arrested and jailed for beating to death Moojab bin Mohammed al-Rashidi after a row. His trial dragged on for five years and at the time the court set him free and ordered him to pay the victim's family "blood money" after ruling Rashidi's death was involuntary homicide.
02:03  Bulgaria accuses Hezbollah of carrying out bomb attack:  The Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah was behind the bombing of a bus filled with Israeli tourists in the Black Sea city of Burgas last July, a Bulgarian investigation has concluded.

Five Israeli tourists, the driver and the bomber were killed in the blast.The militant cell that carried out the attack included a Canadian and an Australian citizen, investigators found. Both had been living in Lebanon, one since 2006 and the other since 2010. 

"We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah," said Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgaria's interior minister.
01:34  Sri Lankan President rules out autonomy for Tamils:  Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled out greater political autonomy for Tamils, saying ethnicity-based division was "not practical" for the country, appearing to back away from his promise made as part of the country's reconciliation process. 

"When the people live together in unity there are no racial or religious differences. Therefore, it is not practical for this country to be divided based on ethnicity," Rajapaksa said during his address at the 65th Independence day celebrations yesterday. "The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities," he said.
01:29  Grenade attack near Pak Air Force base in Karachi:  Unidentified miscreants hurled two hand grenades in front of a Pakistan Air Force base, in the port city of Karachi this evening, injuring at least one person, a spokesman said.

The hand grenades were lobbed near the Base on Shahra-e-Faisal Air Base Flyover at about 7:15 pm, during busy traffic hours, the PAF spokesman said in a statement. "One pedestrian got injured at the exit end of flyover, who was shifted to Jinnah Hospital for first aid," he said.
00:52  North Korea video shows 'US city' hit by missiles:  The video was uploaded by the North's official website, Uriminzokkiri,which distributes news and propaganda from the state media.

The video is shot as a dream sequence, with a young man seeing himself on board a North Korean space shuttle launched into orbit by the same type of rocket Pyongyang successfully tested in December.As the shuttle circles the globe - to the tune of We Are the World - the video zooms in on countries below, including a reunified Korea.

The focus then switches to a city - shrouded in the US flag - under apparent missile attack, with its skyscrapers either on fire or in ruins.

Read more here
00:44  Pak PM says Kashmir poses threat to world peace:  Arguing that the unresolved Kashmir issue poses a threat to the region and the world, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf today asked the international community to push India to resolve the lingering dispute. 

"The Kashmir issue is not only a threat for the peace and prosperity of South Asia but also for the entire world and the world should take notice of this vital issue and pressurise India to resolve this lingering issue on the UN agenda according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir," he said.
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