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February 11, 2013

23:23  Fire at GVK BIO facility in Hyderabad; no casualty:  

A fire broke out at a facility of GVK Biosciences (GVK BIO), a drug discovery research and development organisation, in Hyderabad today, officials said.    


However, no one was injured in the blaze which started at around 3 pm and was brought under control by firefighters after nearly three hours, they said.     A possible tragedy was averted after authorities quickly shifted as many 50 LPG cylinders from a gas agency's godown located in the nearby area after flames erupted from the GVK BIO lab at Uppal in Hyderabad, they said.    


"The fire could have been caused by sparks emanating due to some chemical reaction in the lab. There was no casualty. Property loss is yet to be examined. Mandatory fire safety measures were not in place in the lab," a fire department official said.

23:21  10 killed in car blast near Turkey-Syria border:  

AFP: At least 10 people were killed and dozens wounded when a car exploded today near the border between Turkey and Syria, officials said, although the cause was not immediately clear.        


A Syrian-registered car is believed to have been at the centre of the blast in a buffer zone at the frontier, a foreign ministry official told AFP, adding that the likelihood of it being a terrorist attack was "51 percent". The official said the dead included four Turks and six Syrians.

23:20  Shooting at US courthouse leaves three dead:  

AFP: A shooting erupted at a courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware today, leaving three people dead, including a gunman, police said. "I can confirm a shooting at 8 am. Two civilians, females, were killed, two capital officers were shot. The gunman is dead inside the lobby," a police spokesman said at a news conference.        


The incident took place in the New Castle county court building, which was evacuated. The police spokesman said multiple shots were fired and that police were searching the building floor by floor.

22:04  Shock in St Peter's Square at papal resignation:  Catholic faithful in St Peter's Square reacted with amazement and emotion today at Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign later this month, though some said they hoped his successor would be more progressive. 

Hundreds of believers converged on the heart of the Roman Catholic Church after hearing the historic news, swelling the usual small huddles of tourists on an overcast and chilly winter day in Rome.
22:03  Pope's brother says knew for months of planned resignation:  The pope's brother said today he has known "for a few months" that Benedict XVI was planning to resign and confirmed that the 85-year-old pontiff was "feeling the burden of his age". Georg Ratzinger told AFP: 

"The reason for his resignation is indeed that he is feeling the burden of his age... I have known for a few months that this (the resignation) was planned." "He knows the demands of the office. I think his decision is correct. It is a positive thing that he is handing over the office to younger hands," said Ratzinger, four years the pope's senior. He also confirmed that Benedict XVI would remain in Rome.
21:46  Obama to propose deep nuclear arms cuts: report:  US President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union address tomorrow to call for dramatic cuts in nuclear arsenals around the world, The New York Times reported. Quoting unnamed administration officials, the newspaper said yesterday that in recent months Obama had secured agreement with the US military that its nuclear force can be cut by roughly a third. 

In his speech Obama is unlikely to discuss specific numbers but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000, the report said.
21:43  CBI removes 2G prosecutor:  CBI has removed a public prosecutor from the 2G spectrum case after he was allegedly caught in a taped conversation discussing prosecution strategy with one of the high-profile accused Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Unitech. 

CNN-IBN channel tonight played the audio tape of the purported conversation between A K Singh, the CBI prosecutor and Chandra in which Singh purportedly suggests how a key prosecution witness would depose in the special court hearing the 2G case.
21:28  CBI removes 2G prosecutor:  CBI has removed a public prosecutor from the 2G spectrum case after he was allegedly caught in a taped conversation discussing prosecution strategy with one of the high-profile accused Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Unitech. CNN-IBN channel tonight played the audio tape of the purported conversation between A K Singh, the CBI prosecutor and Chandra in which Singh purportedly suggests how a key prosecution witness would depose in the special court hearing the 2G case.

The suspected voice on the tape, said to been recorded in September last year, is also even detailing a three-judge Supreme Court judgement which could be used as a reference in the legal strategy.
21:25  Pakistan rupee at all-time low, sinks below 100-mark vs USD:  The Pakistani rupee today plunged to its all-time low of 100.1 against the US dollar on worries of dwindling forex reserve after reports of the country repaying USD 146 million to the International Monetary Fund. 

The Pakistani rupee fell to the 100 rupee mark after it opened at 99.30 in the open market. It has now lost 39 per cent of its value against the US currency since March 2008. "This is the first time the rupee has weakened to beyond the 100 rupee mark and it happened today in the open market where the dollar traded around 100.1 rupees," Intikhab Ahmed, analyst, Capital Investments, said.
21:06  PIA plane crash lands at Muscat Airport, passengers unhurt:  All 108 passenger on board the Pakistan International Airlines plane had a miraculous escape today when the aircraft crash-landed at the Muscat International Airport due to a technical fault in landing gear. 

"All the 108 passengers and crew are safe," Bashiruddin Khan, PIA country Manager in Muscat said. The Boeing 737 aircraft was coming from Sialkot when it crash-landed. The aircraft landed tilting on the left and the landing gear on the left of aircraft appears to have broken, Gulf News reported.
21:00  Multiple people shot in Delaware courthouse:  A police spokesman says three people were shot at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del..

Wilmington police Cpl. Jamaine Crawford says two women and a man were shot early Monday and that the man hit was a security guard. Crawford says he does not know the condition of the three people who were shot.

According to Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams' office, the shooter is deceased, reports CBS affiliate KYW-TV in Philadelphia. The Associated Press reports the mayor said the alleged shooter was killed by police after killing his wife.
20:41  NC won't quit govt over Afzal hanging: Farooq :  Union Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today ruled out quitting the UPA government at the Centre over hanging of Afzal Guru, an issue on which Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had made some strong statements. 

"Why should we leave the government?... We have got a job to do. You don't leave.... I have no such idea," Abdullah said at a function here.
20:08  Former DGP becomes the first CVC of JK:  Former director general of police Kuldeep Khoda has been appointed the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir, sources in the government told PTI.
19:29  Want to take quick decision on Telangana: Centre:  
The government is interested in taking a "quick decision" on the demand for a separate state of Telangana and the issue is not yet closed, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said today.        

"It is not a closed chapter. We are discussing it. The issue is open. The issue is open because we have to do this way or that way," he said at a press conference.
19:28  Court orders lodging of FIR against Raj Thackeray:  A Delhi court today directed the police to lodge an FIR against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray for allegedly branding Muslims from north India as insurgents and threatening to throw them out of the state.        

The court said it was the "primary duty of the police to register an FIR and proceed with the investigation" but the authorities have failed to discharge their primary duty.        

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sameer Bajpai's order came on a complaint by advocate Mithilesh Kumar Pandey, who referred to a rally in Mumbai addressed by Thackeray, in which he allegedly blamed Muslims from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand for the August 11, 2012 violence in the city during protests against the Assam riots.
19:24  Beijing residents sent 831 million New Year greetings!:  On the first day of the Lunar NewYear, Beijing residents sent 831 million SMS from their mobile phones to wish friends and relatives rather than visiting in person, showing a decline in family relations in China.        

In the Chinese capital city alone, residents sent 831 million SMS for New Year, according to the Beijing branch of China Mobile, the country's biggest telecom operator.        

China Unicom Beijing also recorded a peak volume of 8,000 text messages per second around 7.45 pm on the first night of the new year on Saturday, according to a report.
19:23  Meghalaya: Congress, ally UDP release separate manifestos :  The ruling Congress in Meghalaya and its ally in the government, the United Democratic Party, today separately released their manifestos for the February 23 assembly polls.        

The parties promised inclusive development, more subsidised LPG cylinders, incentives for women and retirement benefits for accredited journalists.   
18:26  With Benedict resigning, can Latin American claim papacy?:  With Pope Benedict's stunning announcement that he will resign later this month, the time may be coming for the Roman Catholic Church to elect its first non-European leader and it could be a Latin American. Read

However, the bets are already on a cardinal from Ghana.
18:22  J-K postmaster: Curfew delayed Afzal speed post:  The chief postmaster of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday said that the speed post, containing the letter from Tihar jail on Afzal Guru's execution meant for his family, had been received on Saturday afternoon but was not delivered because of the curfew. The family received the letter at 11 am today, though curfew is still clamped in the valley for the third day. 
18:17  I-T Dept to quiz PAN holders not filing returns:  In a stern warning to those not paying taxes, the Income Tax Department today said it is sending letters to 35,170 PAN holders in the first phase for not filing returns and will take appropriate follow up action. There are over 12 lakh PAN (Permanent Account Number) holders who had not filed income tax returns, the Department said, adding it has set up a nodal cell to monitor such cases.
18:05  Priority of UP govt is to ensure safety at Kumbh: Akhilesh:   In other news: Expressing grief over the Allahabad stampede, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said today that the priority of his government was to ensure the safety of devotees at the Kumbh Mela.  

Thirty-six devotees, retuning after taking holy dip at Maha Kumbh, were killed and many more injured at the Allahabad railway station in a stampede on February 10.  

The tragedy occurred at the railway station, as thousands of devotees arrived to catch trains to leave for their respective destinations, leading to chaos and stampede.
17:56  On Twitter: Pope Benedict XVI resignation also means he will have a say on his successor? Seems to be a smart move to keep church conservative?
17:54  Interesting factoids on the Pope...

In 2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, sold his 1999 VW Golf for $13,000. It was reported to be in a 'well-cared-for condition' and was later re-sold on eBay for $244,000 to the Golden Palace casino in Austin, Texas as a 'celebrity status item'.There are at least 20 Popemobiles around the world, including half a dozen in the Vatican garage.

And a lovely quote from the Pope who preceded Pope John Paul II:
It often happens that I wake at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.
-- Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

17:50  Israel's chief rabbi: He deserves credit for improving relations:   "I think he deserves a lot of credit for advancing inter-religious links the world over between Judaism, Christianity and Islam," Israel's chief rabbi Yona Metzger says of Pope Benedict.
17:46   Kristy Lee on Twitter: Pope's brother says: "At this age my brother wants more rest."

Hallie Jackson: Israel's chief rabbi praises @Pontifex, says "best relations ever between church and chief rabbinate" under Pope Benedict
17:41  Pope's resignation not due to sex abuse scandals:  The Vatican reiterated its message, since speculation has been rife, despite the Pope's 'failing health' claims, that his resignation has nothing to do with sexual abuse and other scandals. The Vatican spokesperson said the Pope also had a couple of minor strokes.
17:39  Italy reacts:  Mario Monti, Italy's caretaker prime minister, says of pope's resignation: "I am greatly shaken by this unexpected news."
17:35  Cardinal from Ghana is an early favourite:  The Pope's resignation has prompted much speculation about who will replace him. The bookmaker Paddy Power is now taking bets on who will be the next leader of the Catholic Church. It makes Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana an early favourite to replace the 85-year-old at 9/4. -- BBC.

This the complete list of those in the running, according to the Guardian.
17:31  Germany 'moved and touched' by Pope's resignation:  A German government spokesman said he was "moved and touched" by the surprise resignation of the German-born pontiff. "The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church. "He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd."

Remember, Pope Benedict is German.
17:28  The Vatican spokesperson has also read out the text of the Pope's resignation and says the Pope will remain "in full charge" of church until 1900 GMT, 28 February. He says the that the resignation is in full compliance with church law and that the decision was taken freely.

He is now taking questions from the media.

17:23  A factoid from the website

The Pope is paid nothing and owns nothing. This was confirmed in 2001 when Vatican spokesman Joaqun Navarro-Valls ended speculation about the Pope's personal wealth by saying: 'The Pope does not and has never received a salary."
However, as head of the Catholic Church and head of state of the Vatican, all the Pope's worldly needs are looked after. A recent estimate of the Vatican's wealth by Time magazine put it at between $10 and $15 billion.
17:17  Pope Benedict has severe arthritis:  Benedict, who became the 265th Pope in 2005, is known to suffer from arthritis, particularly in his knees, hips and ankles. He had been due to travel to Brazil - the largest Catholic country in the world - in July for a youth festival, but concerns had been raised privately among Vatican observers about whether his health would be strong enough. -- Guardian.
17:14  Pope's spokesperson: Decision took us by surprise:  Vatican press conference begins. The Pope's spokesperson Fredrico Lombardi says, the Pope "took us by surprise", indicating that even closest aides did not know.
17:10  Pope Benedict: Will continue to serve the church:  Pope Benedict announced in his statement that he will renounce the office of Bishop of Rome at 8pm on 28 February for these reasons:
-- Advanced age
-- Is no longer able to carry out all his tasks adequately.
-- Does not have the strength in mind and body necessary for the job.
-- In the last few months he does not have the strength to run his ministry.
-- A conclave will have to be convened to elect the new pope.
-- He would like to "continue to serve the church through a life dedicated to prayer."
16:52  Full statement of Pope Benedict's resignation:   Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.

With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican,
0 February 2013
16:44  Pope Benedict: I'm resigning in full freedom:  Reuters: A Vatican official says he expects the period between Benedict's resignation and the election of successor to be "as brief as possible". The Vatican also says that Benedict's resignation means the papacy will be vacant until a successor is chosen.

The Pope, meanwhile, says he is resigning in full freedom, and that he is "fully aware of the gravity of this gesture".
16:42  Pope Benedict: I'm resigning in full freedom:  The Vatican is expected to address a press conference shortly. Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.

Reuters: The Pope says he is resigning in 'full freedom'. He will turn 86 in April.
16:37  The shock move by the 85-year-old pontiff has stunned the Catholic world. The German was elected in April 2005 and took the name Benedict, having being born as Joseph Ratzinger.
In fact, one of the headlines that the Sun had debated on when he became pointiff was Heil Mary.
16:35   The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII (1406-1415), who did so to end the Western schism, which had reached the point where there were three claimants to the Papal throne, Roman Pope Gregory XII, Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII, and Pisan Antipope John XXIII. Before resigning he formally convened the already existing Council of Constance and authorized it to elect his successor.

The Vatican says Pope Benedict will resign due to health reasons.
16:32  Pope Benedict to resign on February 28: Vatican:   Just in: Pope Benedict is to resign on February 28, spokesman Father Federico Lombardi tells CNN. No reason has been given, reports CNN. The 85-year-old became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II. Details in a bit.
16:26  Mercy pleas for Rajiv, Beant killers next: Shinde :  A journalist asks Shinde, "This decision on this execution was taken quickly. Who's next?" Shinde laughs it off, saying the country would know when the matter came up in the court. But he did mention earlier that the pleas of the killers of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh were up next for consideration.

Journalists keep asking him about who signed the speed post, when was it sent etc., so Shinde fishes out a photocopy of the speed post acknowledgement sent to Guru's family and waving it to the media triumphantly says," See, I knew you would want to know the details, so I carried this with me."
16:17  'Will consider if Afzal's kin wants to visit grave':  "It was the jail authorities decision to inform Afzal Guru's family by speed post, and not a home ministry decision. If Afzal's family wants to visit his grave, we shall consider it," said Shinde. Guru has been interred within the premises of the Tihar jail in Delhi, much like 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab was interred within the Yerawada jail in Pune.
On Hindu terror, Shinde asks what is the link with Afzal Guru. "I have said over and over again that terror has no colour." 
16:13  Guru hanging legal, not political decision: Shinde:  Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde addressing the media on the execution of Afzal Guru. Shinde say due course of law was followed and the family was sent the news by speed post on February 7. "The cases of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh's killers still pending in court. As per the rule, everything was followed," insists Shinde.

"The execution is not a political decision. The decision was taken as per the law. I personally told Omar Abdullah on 8th that the execution will be held tomorrow [9th]," said Shinde.
15:55  Visiting a brothel may soon be illegal in India:  Buying sex could soon be illegal in the country if an amendment proposed by the ministry of women and child development passes muster. A cabinet note on amendments to the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, circulated by the government last week, proposes to punish a person visiting a brothel with the purpose of buying sex. Read more
15:33  Pakistan tests nuke-capable Hatf-IX missile :   Pakistan today conducted a successful test fire of Short Range Surface to Surface Missile Hatf IX (NASR). The test fire was conducted with successive launches of two missiles from a state of the art multi tube launcher. NASR, with a range of 60 km, and inflight maneuver capability can carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yield, with high accuracy.

This quick response system, which can fire a four Missile  Salvo  ensures deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios. Additionally NASR has been specially designed to defeat all known Anti Tactical Missile Defence Systems. More from the press release.
15:20  Farooq Abdullah: Afzal hanging secrecy pains me:  Union Energy Minister and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah today said the secrecy behind Afzal Guru's execution pained him. He said the Centre must explain the reason behind the secrecy and why he was executed in such a manner. "It pains me that the Afzal Guru's family was not given a chance to meet him one last time. There is a question of a man dying being allowed to meet his family for one last time," said Abdullah.

For all that, a year ago, this is what Abdullah had said about Guru: Afzal Guru should pay the price for attacking Parliament. Read
15:11  BJP targets Omar for remarks against Afzal Guru's hanging:  Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday lashed out at Omar Abdullah for questioning the secrecy surrounding the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, saying the interview given by the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister is highly objectionable, and not in the national interest.

"I do not know what prompted him to make such a comment. The entire process of trial was conducted in a very fair manner. The sessions' court, the high court and the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, at every stage there was a proper trial and then a fair opportunity was provided and at the end of it the conviction was given. The incident happened in 2001 13th December and the final judgement was given in 2002 December 18th and then a review petition was filed in 2005 which was rejected.

Again another review petition (was filed) in 2007 that was also rejected. As the top court has said that every opportunity was provided and every procedure has been followed. And I don't know what else the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is expecting," he said.
15:04  For Delhi elite, a glut of police protection:  While a single police officer covered 253 residents on average in New Delhi last year, a dozen police officers  were tasked with guarding each individual government official '" bureaucrats, ministers, judges and legislators. In India, which loves its acronyms, they are referred to as "V.I.P.'s' or, for the extremely powerful, "V.V.I.P.'s.'  Read
14:54  Message from a sadhu:  Do your duty, but stop worrying so much about parents, wife and children.

That was the message of the 60-year-old Hindu mystic Maheshanand Giri from the Shri Panchayati Mahanirvani Akhara as he sat outside of a yellow and red tent set up on the vast grounds of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad this weekend.

Attachments bring sadness, he said. Read

Also seeon The many faces of the Kumbh Mela
14:48  Worshiping at the Kumbh Mela. An NYT special. Watch
14:41  Top Secret: The Making of Indias Budget:  Countdown to India's budget day '"Parliament's single most important calendar event -- is on. As usual, this year it falls on Feb. 28. Last year, it was on March 16, a couple of weeks later than usual owing to then ongoing state elections in parts of the country. Read
14:39  The 18-foot tunnel to freedom at Sabarmati jail :  A major jail break plan was unearthed in the Sabarmati Central Jail when a 18-feet long tunnel dug by Ahmedabad serial blasts case undertrials was found, jail officials said today.

"We have found a tunnel dug in the barrack where 14 of the serial bomb blasts accused are lodged. We have registered an FIR and investigation is on," said Superintendent of Sabarmati Central Jail V M Parghi.

Late last night, when jail authorities suspected something amiss in the behaviour of two inmates at barrack number four, called 'Chhota Chakkar', they searched it and found the tunnel dug from inside the barrack, police said.

"Out of 68 accused of the serial bomb blasts case, 14 were lodged in this barrack and we have started probe on since how long digging work was on, how they were digging it and who else are involved," said Parghi without divulging any further details.

While on tunnel and jail breaks watch the superlative Shawshank Redemption. 
14:17  Yasser Arafat's widow says her marriage was 'a big mistake':  In other stories: Suha Arafat, widow or the late Palestinian leader says she tried to leave hundreds of times and would not have married if she had known what was in store. Read
14:01  Hanging of Afzal Guru is a stain on India's democracy:  Despite gaping holes in the case against Afzal Guru, all India's institutions played a part in putting a Kashmiri 'terrorist' to death, writes Arundhati Roy on the Guardian. 
13:57  Azhar Qadri on Twitter: "No milk to make tea as #Kashmir continues to remain in lockdown for third day."
13:51  Kumbh in-charge Azam Khan resigns over stampede:   Just in: Azam Khan, who is in-charge of the Kumbh Mela resigns, taking responsibility for the stampede that led to 36 deaths.The Uttar Pradesh government has blamed the Railways for the tragedy. Minister in charge for the Mahakumbh, Azam Khan, had said, "The UP government's responsiblity was restricted to the mela venue only."
13:46  In northeast polls, jobs, militancy in focus:  Three states in India's remote northeast will vote later this month to elect new governments in a region that has been marked with violent conflict for decades and very little infrastructure development or industrialization. More
13:43  In other reads: In male-dominated Haryana, Rajasthan, cross-regional brides are deprived of rights. See
13:37   Sonia condoles loss of lives in Allahabad stampede:  Congress President Sonia Gandhi today expressed grief over the death of 36 people in a stampede at Allahabad Railway Station. The stampede occurred at 7 pm yesterday when thousands of passengers, mostly Maha Kumbh devotees returning after taking holy dip at the Sangam, had gathered to board a train. Gandhi has expressed deep shock and sorrow over the tragic death of pilgrims, a message from the AICC said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy and instructed the Railway ministry to provide all possible assistance. Singh also directed Central government departments to extend all possible help to the Uttar Pradesh government in relief operations.
13:31  Teen's body fished out from Jhelum river in J-K:  Body of a teenager, who went missing when group of people protesting hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru were allegedly chased away by security forces, was fished out from the Jhelum river this morning.

Zameer Ahmad Dar, 16, who went missing yesterday, was fished out from Jhelum river in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir this morning, official sources said. They said Dar had gone missing yesterday during a law and order problem in the area in which another youth, Tariq Ahmad Bhat, had also drowned.

Local residents alleged that the youths who were protesting the hanging of Guru, jumped into the river to escape security forces.
13:24  Probe into stampede after clearing Kumbh rush:Railways:  The railways today said a probe will be initiated into the railway station stampede in Allahabad, which left 36 dead, once it is through with the task of clearing the rush of Kumbh pilgrims.

Alok Johri, General Manager of the North Central Railway zone, told PTI, "Our top priority is to ensure a safe return journey for the thousands of pilgrims who visited the Kumbh Mela yesterday. We are plying about two dozen special trains today to facilitate this," he said. An inquiry committee was constituted late last night by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav into the stampede.

Pic: Kin of victims who died in the Kumbh stampede at Allahabad station
13:01  Letter reaches Guru's family 2 days after execution:  Afzal Guru's family receives letter about his hanging two days after execution, say reports.  Soon after Afzal Guru was hanged on Saturday, the Centre said two letters had been sent to his family by speed post -- on February 7 and 8 -- informing them about the rejection of his mercy petion and his hanging.
12:52  Pak reacts cautiously to Afzal Guru's execution:  Pakistan today reacted cautiously to the execution of Afzal Guru, hanged for his role in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, saying it did not want
to "go into details" of his trial. Responding to a question regarding the hanging of Guru, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said he "would not want
to go into details of the trial process". The matter was "being discussed and debated by the media and the human rights organizations", he said in a statement.
12:41  There's nothing called saffron terror: Deoband:  Darul Uloom Deoband has dismissed the use of term 'saffron terrorism'. The seminary spokesperson said terrorism was a crime against humanity and couldn't be seen through the lens of religion. While the statement stands in complete contrast with Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde's comment, it has also provided an ammo to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has already sought an unconditional apology from Shinde on the issue. More
12:28  Violence hounds Kashmirs cautious path to democracy:  Militant separatists are killing the elected village leaders, in the latest setback for a region beset by schisms. Andrew Buncombe reports
12:19  Some questions for comrade Karat on the killing of Afzal Guru:  The entire legal proceedings against Afzal were shot through with contradictions, fabrications and travesties of legal procedure. The Supreme Court bench that finally sentenced him to death did so to 'appease the national conscience' despite inadequate evidence of his role in the Parliament attack case. That's the post on Afazal Guru on Read 
12:17  The vanity of 13/12 truth-telling:  More on the execution of Afzal Guru: The ground beneath Arundhati Roy's seismic claims on the Parliament House attack, is shaky -- to say the least, writes Praveen Swami on the Hindu. 
12:12  Rs 1 lakh for relatives of Kumbh victims: Govt :   Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia will be given to the next of kin of those killed in Allahabad stampede, Railway Minister P K Bansal, has announced. Bansal rushed to Allahabad with Railway Board Chairman for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

The death toll in the stampede at Allahabad railway station reached 36 on Monday, with 14 more people succumbing to their injuries. Chief Medical Officer-Allahabad Dr Prabhakar confirmed the toll, saying 14 more people died during treatment.

Many injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital in Allahabad, he said. The victims include 26 women, 9 men and a child, official sources said, adding bodies of 20 of the deceased have been identified. The stampede occurred at 7 pm on Sunday at Platforms No 5 and 6 where thousands of passengers, mostly Maha Kumbh devotees returning after taking the holy dip at the Sangam, had gathered to board a train.
12:06  Look who's at the Kumbh mela! :   Babe watch at the Kumbh. Actress Preity Zinta arrived at the Ganga Action Parivar camp at the Kumbha Mela where she performed a yagna and puja led by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, the founder of the Ganga Action Parivar and President of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh.

Zinta then went for a sacred dip in the Sangam, while the Swamiji gave her water from the Sangam with which she performed rituals before the dip. Zinta was in silence for the entire day until after her dip, since today is the mauna amavasya. 
11:51  Congress has finally realised how much trouble it is in:  It is hard to believe now but when the UPA government was sworn in for its first term, it was seen as representing the aspirational 21st century middle class. The Congress had inherited Rajiv Gandhi's legacies: his emphasis on computers and his modernising instinct. Then, there was the Manmohan Singh factor. Read the full column by Vir Sangvi here.
11:49  TMC defends Mamata: Media houses to blame:  Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy on Monday came out in full defence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying she is being unfairly criticised by a section of the media.

"That is because some media houses are acting in a motivated way to malign the chief minister and bring down her prestige. They are doing harm to the state by trying to pull down a democratically elected chief minister," said Roy, when asked why was Banerjee angry with the journalists.

"So, she is naturally angry that they are twisting whatever she says. They are blowing up whatever she says. So, the chief minister is naturally angry; any human being would be angry," he added.
11:43  Congress has finally realised how much trouble it is in:  It is hard to believe now but when the UPA government was sworn in for its first term, it was seen as representing the aspirational 21st century middle class. Read
11:35  'Kumbh deaths due to numbers, not bridge collapse':  Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday blamed huge rush of people for stampede at the foot-over-bridge at platform no. 6 of the Allahabad station.  

At least 36 people were killed and scores of others injured on Sunday night in a stampede at Allahabad railway station as thousands of pilgrims were returning after a holy dip at the ''Maha Kumbh Mela''.  

Bansal said: "Till now death toll has reached 36. There has been no collapse of foot-over-bridge or any railing on the station. I want to make clear that stampede occurred due to people reaching in large numbers. We had made arrangements before start of the Kumbh. We have come to know that people turned in large numbers resulting in stampede,' he said.
11:33  And this was the petition seeking a stay on the execution of Afzal Guru. Read
11:30  The Day Afzal Died :  There are days in which streaks of hope shine through dark clouds of misery. The 9th of February, 2013, was such a day.The day broke with the news that the noose of the Indian state had finally seized the throat of Mohammad Afzal Guru after years of careful conspiracy. Read

11:20  Anti-rape protests in Delhi bring back a mothers grisly memories:  It may be 20 years for everyone else but for Safia (name changed on request), it seems like 20 seconds. Overwhelmed by the nationwide outrage over the Delhi gang rape, she is anguished that no one helped when she and her 19-year-old daughter were stripped and gang-raped.

The mob burnt her daughter alive while she managed to escape on January 10, 1993, in the heat of the communal carnage in the city, after the Babri Masjid was destroyed. Read the report on the Hindu.
11:17  In Tihar, officials feel tinge of sorrow:  Update on the big news over the weekend -- the execution of Afzal Guru.

'Al vida', said Afzal Guru to his executioner, who had himself bid him goodbye with the same words a few seconds earlier. And then as the executioner pulled a lever, Afzal's frame hung from the gallows.

"He was dead in a minute, though," as per the jail norms, the body was kept hanging for a full half hour, said an official who witnessed the hanging. Read
11:13  Eyewitness blames police for Kumbh stampede:  An eyewitness blamed the police for a stampede at the railway station that killed several pilgrims returning after a holy dip at the ''Maha Kumbh'' here.   At least 36 people were killed and scores of others injured on Sunday night in a stampede at Allahabad railway station.  

Officials' say more than 30 million people took a dip on the occasion of ''Mauni Amavasya'', considered the most auspicious day during the 12-yearly congregation, at Sangam - the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.  

Thousands of people were at the railway station, waiting to take a train home, when the melee occurred.
11:09  Why Narendra Modi is India's Richard Nixon:  The illiberal face of the liberals is seldom commented upon in India because if you do, the pack labels you as illiberal. That is their power. Read more
11:06  Politics beyond the noose:  It is the peculiar indignity of our republic that the odour of conspiracy so often attaches itself to death. Far from bringing a dignified closure to a serious episode, Afzal Guru's execution raises several political challenges. That's Pratap Bhanu Mehta for the Indian Express. Read
10:58  Whispers from the streets of Kashmir:  At 4 am on Sunday, a police posse pulled up at a printing facility in Shalteng on Srinagar's outskirts and confiscated hot-minted copies of Kashmir Images, one among a fair crop of the Valley's English dailies.

There was nothing incendiary or provocative about the newspaper's treatment of the day's front page; it had led with a value-neutral headline: 'Guru Hanged, Buried at Tihar'.

Yet, like all its competition, the newspaper was prohibited from getting to readers. More
10:52  More executions in 7 months of President Pranab :  By signing Parliament attack convict Mohammed Afzal Guru's execution warrant, President PranabMukherjee has ordered death penalty for three convicts in the last six months, a rate faster than any President in the last 15 years. Read
10:47  Curfew continues in Kashmir Valley:  Kashmir Valley remained under curfew for the third day today even as mobile Internet services remained suspended and newspapers failed to hit the stands following the hanging of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.

The restrictions on the movement of people in the Valley were further tightened this morning in view of apprehension of widespread protests to commemorate the 29th death anniversary of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.

Bhat, who was sentenced to death for murder of a police officer, was hanged inside Tihar Jail on this day in 1984. Protests continued in many parts of the Valley yesterday against hanging of Guru, forcing security forces to impose strict restrictions on civilian movement.

Only ambulances and staff of essential services department have been issued curfew passes to facilitate their movement. Two persons have died and at least 50 others, including 23 policemen, injured in clashes between protestors and law enforcing agencies across the Valley since Saturday.
10:08  Adele, Gotye, Beyonce win Grammys:  
British soul singing sensation Adele became the first winner of the evening at the 55th Grammys by grabbing the Best Pop Solo Performance award, while Australian musician Goyte walked towards big wins, clinching three trophies.

Adele was presented a Grammy by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull for a live rendition of her hit song 'Set Fire To The Rain'.

The Golden Globe winner pipped the likes of Kelly Clarkson (Stronger), Carly Rae Jepsen (Call Me Maybe), Katy Perry (Wide Awake) and Rihanna (Where Have You Been) to win the award.

Gotye, real name Wouter "Wally" De Backer, took home three trophies -- Record of the Year and Pop/duo group performance for his song 'Somebody That I Used to Know' and Alternative music album for 'Making Mirrors'.

In the Record of the Year category, Gotye was nominated alongside The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Fun, Frank Ocean and Taylor Swift. 

Beyonce won the Traditional R&B performance Grammy for 'Love on Top'.

Carrie Underwood won the Best Country Solo Performance Grammy for 'Blown Away', while Grammy goes to Fun took the Song of the Year award for 'We Are Young'. The indie pop band also won the Best New Artist trophy.
10:07  Sensex down 16 points in early trade:  
Extending losses for the eighth straight session, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Monday lost over 16 points to 19,468.36 in early trade due to sustained selling by funds amid absence of any market moving factor from overseas. 

The 30-share barometer, which has lost over 520 points in the previous seven sessions, fell further by 16.41 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 19,468.36, with FMCG, metal and power sectors stocks leading the fall.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index, Nifty, declined by 4.80 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 5,898.70. 

Brokers said sustained selling by funds following weak quarter earnings by some leading companies mainly kept market under pressure. 
09:53  When a Delhi policeman almost hacked Arun Jaitley's call details:  
In what, police sources indicated, could be a political conspiracy, an official of the Delhi Police tried to get the call detail records of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley by accessing the email ID of a senior officer, who is a competent authority to seek CDR. 

The shocking revelation came to light on January 17, when the Delhi Police got a call from the service provider company which enquired whether the police requested for the CDR.

Click HERE to read
09:29  Delhi gang-rape case: Trial to continue in fast-track court today:  
A fast-track court will on Monday continue its hearing in the brutal Delhi gang-rape case.

Notably, five of the six accused are being tried for charges of rape and murder of a 23-year-old student at Saket court. 

The trial in the fast-track court began on February 05, around 50 days after the medical student's brutal rape. 

The fast-track court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna started day-to-day trial in the case last week after framing charges of murder, gang-rape and kidnapping, among others, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the five accused. 

The gang-rape victim's male friend, a software engineer, who was also attacked along with her on the bus, also appeared as a witness in the court on a wheelchair accompanied by his father. 

The case of the juvenile accused is being heard by the Juvenile Justice Board. 
09:27  Argo named best pic at BAFTA, Day-Lewis best actor:  
Ben Affleck's Iran-hostage drama Argo continued its award season triumph by winning three trophies, including the best picture and director, at the British Academy Film Awards while Ang Lee's India-set drama Life of Pi managed two trophies in technical categories. 

The BAFTA win has bettered Argo's chances at the Oscars on February 24. 

Inspired by real-life events in 1979 of CIA's attempt to free six diplomats while posing as a film crew, the film has steadily climbed its way to the top this award season by winning trophies at the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild and
the Directors Guild of America awards. 

Argo beat Les Miserables, Life Of Pi, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty to be named the best film.

The best actor win by Daniel Day-Lewis for his brilliant turn as 16th US President Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln was predictable. It was the only prize out of 10 nominations for Steven Spielberg directed movie.
08:50  Allahabad station stampede toll rises:  
The death toll in the stampede at Allahabad railway station reached 36 today, with 14 more people succumbing to their injuries. 

CMO Allahabad Dr Prabhakar confirmed the toll, saying 14 more people died during treatment. 

Many injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital here, he said. 

The victims include 26 women, 9 men and a child, official sources said, adding bodies of 20 of the deceased have been identified.
08:29  Allahabad station stampede: Helpline numbers:  

Special helpline numbers have been issued by the Railways for the distressed to know about their relatives:


Allahabad: 0532 2408149, 0532 2408128

Kanpur: 0512 2323015, 0512 2323018

New Delhi: 011 23342954, 011 23341074

08:27  Bridge railing was intact: Railway minister Bansal:  
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has ruled out that the stampede at Allahabad station in which 36 people lost their lives and many injured was caused due to the breaking of foot-over bridge's railing at platform no 6. 

He said efforts are being made to decongest the Allahabad railway station which is overcrowded as thousands of pilgrims were in the city to take a holy dip on Mauni amavasya at the Mahakumbh and added that probe into the incident will be initiated.

Bansal said the compensation for the next of the kin of the deceased and the injured is being announced by the Prime Minister's Office and will be disbursed from the PM's relief fund. 

"My information is the railing of the FOB has not been broken. Our effort is to make arrangement to take people out of Allahabad for which we are making efforts to press into service more special trains from Allahabad," Bansal told media persons.
08:18  MCX-SX goes live today with equity, derivative trading:  
MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) will begin trading in equities and equity derivatives from Monday. 

With its 40-stock index named SX40, MCX-SX is the third full-fledged equity bourse after BSE and NSE. 

The bourse was formally launched by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday. 

SX40 will be a free-float based index of large-cap and liquid stocks, representing diverse sectors. The base value will be 10,000 with a base date of March 31, 2010, MCX-SX Vice-chairman Jignesh Shah said at the launch. 

The index is designed to measure the economic performance with better representation of various industries and sectors based on the ICB (industry classification benchmark), a global classification from the FTSE of the London bourse.

The index allows fast entry for companies with better free float, market cap and liquidity. SX40 includes companies that have a minimum free float of 10 percent and is within the top 100 liquid companies, MCX-SX Managing Director & Chief Executive Joseph Massey said.
08:16  Top headlines at this hour:  22 killed in Allahabad station stampede

Guru 'tragedy' to reinforce Kashmir's alienation: Omar

Anti-Cauvery release protests continue in Karnataka

Sonia's Kumbh trip cancelled; 'uncooperative' UP govt blamed

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