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BJP tinkered with EVMs in Guj civic polls: Cong

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February 12, 2013

23:00  BJP tinkered with EVMs in Guj civic polls: Cong:  

Gujarat Congress today alleged that the ruling BJP was misusing the state machinery by tinkering with the Electronic Voting Machines in the recently-held municipalities polls.    


"The allegations that the BJP indulged in EVM tinkering have been proved by an incident in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district," state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia said.    


There were such complaints against BJP in the past as well, he said.     "BJP party workers in Bhachau had joined the Congress prior to the nagarpalika elections. As BJP was not going to win the polls, they resorted to EVM tinkering," he said.    


"EVMs are sealed at polling booths before they reach the centres and are kept in strong rooms. However, BJP party workers conspired with the local administration to break open seals of 14 EVMs before placing it in the strong rooms," he alleged.   


"As soon as local Congress workers came to know of the incident, they reached the spot and videographed the broken seals of EVMs and informed the State Election Commission officials about the matter. They demanded that a police complaint was immediately lodged into the incident and a probe should be carried out," he said.

21:54  New, more powerful nuclear test conducted: N Korea:  North Korea said Tuesday that it had conducted a new, more powerful underground nuclear test using more sophisticated technology, jolting the already fragile security situation in Northeast Asia.

The test probably took place near P'unggye and yielded "several kilotons," according to assessments cited by the U.S. director of national intelligence. It drew condemnation from around the globe and prompted an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday morning.

It is the first nuclear test carried out under the North's young leader, Kim Jong Un, who appears to be sticking closely to his father's policy of building up the isolated state's military deterrent to keep its foes at bay, shrugging off the resulting international condemnation and sanctions.

Read more here
21:33  Syrian rebels storm base defending Aleppo airport:  Activists say rebels have stormed a base that is in charge of protecting the international airport in the contested northern city of Aleppo, leaving dozens dead.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory forHuman Rights and the Aleppo Media Center say opposition fighters captured large parts of the "Brigade 80" base near the city's main civilian airport. The Observatory said there were "tens" of casualties.
21:01  Iran rejects grilling of officials in Argentina bomb probe:  Iran denied today that Iranians facing international arrest warrants for their alleged roles in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish centre will be questioned by an Argentinian judge, as announced by Argentine's foreign minister. 

"The matter of questioning of some of the Iranian officials is a sheer lie. It seems that those who are concerned by the actual agreement are spreading such reports," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference.
20:43  China denounces N Korea's nuke test, summons envoy:  China today reacted angrily to close ally North Korea's third nuclear test by summoning its ambassador here and conveyed its protest to Pyongyang for acting against the opinion of the international community. 

In a rare display of displeasure against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi summoned North Korean Ambassador to China Ji Jae Ryon and lodged a protest over the test. Yang said China was "strongly dissatisfied" and "firmly opposed" to North Korea's third nuclear test, according to a press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
20:33  We want peace but LoC incident is unacceptable: PM:   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India wanted peaceful existence with its neighbours but the recent incident of beheading by Pakistani troops was "against the norms of civilized international behavior" and "unacceptable". 

Addressing a conference of Governors here, Singh said there is a need to recognise that India's neighbourhood is "characterized by growing instability and uncertainty" and that capabilities of armed forces and police are being "constantly strengthened" to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.
20:32  Lt Gen Parnaik reviews security situation in Kashmir:  Northern Army Command chief Lt General K T Parnaik today reviewed the security situation in Kashmir and visited forward posts along the Line of Control in the Valley. 

Lt General Parnaik visited forward posts in Gurez, Uri and Gulmarg sectors of the Valley, a defence spokesperson said. He said the Army Command interacted with the troops at the forward posts and lauded them for their dedication in discharging their duties in hostile weather conditions and inhospitable terrain.
20:14  Moderate quake jolts northwest China:  A moderate 5.1-magnitude quake today jolted parts of northwest China's Qinghai Province close to Tibet but no casualities were reported. The epicentre of the quake, with a depth of 10 km, was felt in Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, China Earthquake Networks Centre said. 

Li Yuejin, deputy director of the Qinghai Provincial Seismological Bureau, told state-run Xinhua news agency that the quake took place in a scarcely populated region, 85 km away from the nearest township.
19:56  Pope Benedict has a pacemaker, the Vatican confirms:  A day after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the Vatican has acknowledged that the pontiff has had a pacemaker for years.

But Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi reiterated that he was not stepping down because of any specific illness.

His last public appearance will be his final mass in Saint Peter's Square on 27 February, Fr Lombardi said.

The pontiff would have no role in the running of the church after his resignation, he added.
19:42  2G probe not polluted by alleged collusion: CBI chief:  Against the backdrop of alleged collusion between CBI prosecutor and an accused in 2G scam, CBI chief Ranjit Sinha today insisted that it has not "polluted" the probe into the case but admitted that the agency's reputation suffers by such incidents. 

Sinha was grilled by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G scam, with members posing tough questions over the agency's credibility and asking how it had failed to detect the alleged collusion between its prosecutor A K Singh and Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra.
19:23  Yasin Malik's passport may be revoked:  JKLF chief Yasin Malik's passport is likely to be revoked by the government after he shared the stage with Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan while protesting against Afzal Guru's execution. 

Security agencies will interrogate the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader, who is on a visit to Pakistan, when he returns to India, top officials said here today, making it very clear that Malik's hobnobbing with Saeed and indulging in political activities against India in Pakistan have not gone down well with the government. 

Malik will be subjected to detailed questioning about his activities in the neighbouring country including his meeting with Saeed and other leaders who are inimical to India's interests.
19:22  Pakistani, Afghan clerics bicker over peace summit:  Pakistani clerics threatened today to boycott a peace conference in Afghanistan after a dispute over whether to invite the Taliban, another sign of how hard it will be for the two states to cooperate on a deal to end the 11-year-old Afghan war. 

The dispute followed talks between Pakistani and Afghan clerics in Islamabad that ended yesterday. The visiting Afghan delegation, which sought to play down the disagreement, was in town on a seemingly simple mission to finalise plans for a conference of religious scholars in Kabul next month meant to denounce suicide attacks and other forms of violence in the name of Islam.
18:49  Committed to Jaitapur project but issues remain: India:   Ahead of French President Francois Hollande's visit here, India today said it was "fully committed" to the French-assisted Jaitapur nuclear plant but admitted there were "issues" of pricing and liability.

Hollande, who will be on a two-day state visit to India from Thursday, his first stop in Asia after becoming President, will be accompanied by his companion Valerie Trierweiler and a high-level delegation comprising his cabinet colleagues and  45-strong business leaders. The French President will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Singh on international, regional and bilateral issues including the Jaitapur project, Rafale deal and situation in Mali where French forces are fighting terrorists.
18:37  Palghar FB case: HC asks Maha on action taken against cops:  The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit stating what action it proposes to take against the police officials who arrested two girls from nearby Palghar district for posting comments on Facebook. The girls had posted comment on social networking site Facebook on the bandh during Bal Thackeray's funeral in November last year.
18:24  Gang rape: Friend to be cross examined by this weekend:  The male friend and the sole eyewitness to the December 16 brutal assault and gang rape of the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus will be cross examined by the defence in the fast-track court this weekend. The youth has earlier testified as a prosecution witness before the court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna. The 28-year-old youth, a software engineer, is likely to depose before the court against the five adult accused on February 15.
18:18  Afzal Guru's family wants body, prayers can wait:  The family of Afzal Guru, who was hanged last week for his role in 2001 Parliament attack, welcomed the Centre's decision to hand over his belongings, but said they would come to Tihar only if the government agrees to hand over his body.

"They are mixing the two things, we don't understand what they mean. We can pray even from here. We want the body to be handed back, nothing less than that," Mohammad Yasin, a cousin of Afzal from Sopore told PTI after Home Secretary R K Singh said in Delhi that the family will be allowed to visit Afzal's grave inside Tihar jail here.

Singh also said all belongings left behind in Tihar jail by Afzal will be handed over to his family.
18:07  Govt puts Rs 4000-cr Westland chopper deal on hold :   Delivery of remaining 9 of 12 Augusta Westland choppers to be put on hold in wake of arrest of head of Italian firm: Sources.
18:02  Ramesh Srivats tweets: So, Valentine's Day" anagrams to "Sena's violent day". Not for nothing.
18:00  Slowdown hits love birds on Valentine's Day: Survey:  The economic slowdown has taken a toll on love birds this Valentine's Day with 44 per cent young men and 34 per cent young women telling a survey that they will curtail their expenditure.

According to a survey by matrimonial site, those surveyed said that the ongoing slowdown would affect their plans for the special day. The trend was more prevalent in metros where about 50 per cent males said this year they were trimming their V-Day plans.
17:41  Modi sweep: Muslim majority town elects all BJP candidates:  Meanwhile, in Gujarat: It was a straight fight and the BJP created history by winning all 27 seats of town municipality in Salaya, a Muslim-majority town in Dwarka district.

Salaya is know for its mega power project and now it will be known for giving Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi another triumph in the development agenda.Among BJP's 27 candidates, 24 were Muslims while remaining three were Hindus including one ST candidate. More
17:35  PIL seeks judicial inquiry into Allahabad stampede:  The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today directed the centre and state governments to file within a week their replies on a PIL seeking a judicial inquiry into the stampede at the Allahabad railway station on February 10.

The Court also issued a notice to the Centre through the secretary of Railways and directed the state government to seal the records connected with the movement of the members of the Kumbh Mela committee on the day of the stampede.
17:29  Five things you must know about the Finmeccanica chopper scam. Read
17:23  Italian defence scandal: Indian deals face delay :  The Finmeccanica bribery issue comes at a time when India is on the cusp of finalizing a contract with Dassault Aviation of France to purchase 126 Rafale fighter jets in a deal estimated at more than $10 billion. Read
17:20  China says its 'firmly' opposed to N Korea nuke test:  In a quandary over how to deal with its staunch ally's third nuclear test, China today said it "firmly" opposed the latest test conducted by North Korea but remained silent on whether it would back calls for more sanctions against Pyongyang.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted another nuclear test in disregard of the common opposition of the international community," a Foreign Ministry statement here said. "The Chinese government is firmly opposed to this act," it said. Pyongyang has already conducted similar nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
17:02  IAF MiG 27 crashes in Rajasthan, pilots safe :   Shiv Aroor of Headlines Today tweets: An  IAF MiG-27 crashes in Uttarlai in Rajasthan's Barmer District. Engine flame-out. Pilot ejects safely.

Two years after it grounded the MiG-27 fleet following a fatal crash, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to phase out the accident-prone fighters by 2016. At the same time, the non-upgraded version of MiG-21 fighter aircraft will also be phased out by March 2018.

The IAF hopes to induct a large number of the medium multi-role combat aircraft, which it will buy in the first phase and the indigenous light combat aircraft as the new platforms of choice.
16:53  Defence ministry orders probe in Italian chopper deal:  The Defence Ministry has ordered a CBI probe into VVIP chopper deal after arrest of head of Italian firm Finmeccanica on charges of bribery. Italian police arrested the head of Italian state-controlled defence group Finmeccanica SpA (SIFI.MI) on Tuesday in a corruption probe centred on the sale of helicopters to the Indian government.
16:48  Martyr of nation' Afzal Guru's memorial in J-K:  An epitaph marking the hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru has come up next to the grave marked for JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, in the Eidgah area of the city.

The black marble epitaph marking the date of Afzal's hanging, was seen this morning in the graveyard, where dozens of youths including militants killed during the past 20 years have been buried.

The epitaph was placed next to the grave of Bhat who was also hanged inside Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984.

"The mortal remains of the martyr of the nation Afzal Guru are lying with Government of India, which are awaited (to be buried here)," the epitaph engraved in Urdu read.
16:43  Wrestling makes way for pentathlon, taekwondo:  Members of the International Olympic Committee removed wrestling from the schedule to make way for a new sport.But the event could enjoy a reprieve as it now joins a shortlist of sports hoping to be included in 2020.

Wrestling joins baseball and softball, squash, karate, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and roller sports in pushing for a place at the Games.

A decision on which sport will be added to the 2020 Games will be made when the full IOC session meets in Buenos Aires in September.The executive board studied a report from the IOC's programme commission which assessed each of the sports at last summer's London Games.

The Modern Pentathlon and Taekwondo were also viewed as being possibly at risk with the report looking into more than 30 separate areas, including TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping and global popularity. Read
16:38  IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics :   NDTV: Wrestling has been dropped from the 2020 Olympics. The IOC executive board has decided to retain modern pentathlon, but dropped wrestling. An official familiar with the decision says International Olympic Committee leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision on Tuesday, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn't been announced yet. I ndia has won four medals in wrestling since 1952, with Yogeshwar Dutt winning the bronze in 2012. 
16:22  On Twitter: Shiv Sena workers thrash a couple in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, as a warning ahead of Valentine's Day.
16:19  Onion, grape crops damaged in Nashik hailstorm:  Heavy rains accompanied by a hailstorm lashed Nashik and its adjoining areas last evening, causing damage to standing grape and onion crops. Prices to rise?
16:10  Lost and found at the Kumbh Mela:  Most people know the heart-sinking feeling of losing someone in a crowded place. Imagine the feeling of being lost at the largest gathering of humanity in the world, the Kumbh Mela. Read
16:07  Moderate Hurriyat slams political parties over Afzal's hanging:  Hurriyat Conference's moderate faction today accused mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir of "running with the hare and hunting with the hound" on the issue of Afzal Guru's execution.

"The State Legislative Assembly stands exposed as an accomplice in the political decision of hanging of Afzal Guru by deliberately and brazenly choosing to not support a resolution for clemency for him brought under its purview," a spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.
15:51  Emotional baggage:  Intimate read, but not in the way you think: 500 suitcases and their contents are all that remain of the inmates of an abandoned asylum for the chronically insane. But a determined photographer is slowly piecing their lives back together. Read
15:37  Pope Benedict prepares for monk's life in Vatican. Read
15:34  Pope resigns with church at crossroads:  Pope Benedict XVI's surprise announcement on Monday that he will resign on Feb. 28 sets the stage for a succession battle that is likely to determine the future course of a church troubled by scandal and declining faith in its traditional strongholds around the world. More

Also read: Why the Pope was a moral failure
15:23  SC asks Jindal: Why was FIR against Zee quashed?:  Just in: The Supreme Court has sought a response from Naveen Jindal's Jindal Group and the police on the quashing of the FIR against Zee News and two journalists -- News editors Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia. They had been arrested and charged with trying to extort Rs. 100 crore from Congress MP Naveen Jindal's steel company. The two had been sent to 14 days in judicial custody in December. 
15:10  Hate speech: Akbaruddin's voice recorded, remand extended:  The voice of jailed MIM legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, facing charges of sedition and waging war against the nation for his alleged "hate speech," was today recorded in Nizamabad town of Andhra Pradesh even as a court extended his judicial remand till February 26.

On February 5, Nirmal town police had got his voice recorded by Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL) experts in another alleged hate speech case.

Akbaruddin was brought from Adilabad District Jail, where he has been lodged since January 9, in connection with another "hate speech" case registered at Nirmal town of Adilabad, and produced before the First Additional District Magistrate in Nizamabad town.
15:05  Assam boils: Eight killed on eve of Panchayat polls:  Eight persons were killed in police firing in trouble-torn Goalpara district of Assam and indefinite curfew was imposed in Krishnai police station area after violence erupted during panchayat polls today.

Arson was also reported from Kamrup (Rural) district during the final phase of panchayat polls. A mob of 400 men and women armed with iron rods, axes, machetes and sticks attacked a polling station at Ambari Kathalmari school, the police said. Read
15:02  Tragedy strikes Indian family during NY snowstorm:  Snowstorm Nemo that hit several areas of the United States on Saturday claimed the life of a Telugu pharmacist in New York, relatives staying at Nandigama village in Warangal district said on Monday. Read more
14:33  Cutting down on salt intake could save millions of lives:  If your constant As many as a half a million American lives could be saved if they all ate a fraction of a teaspoon of salt less every day, according to a new study.   The study found that a gradual decrease in salt consumption over a decade '" ending in a 40 percent reduction -- would prolong the lives of between 280,000 and 500,000 people by decreasing the risk of hypertension and heart disease.  
14:27  Why Pakistans Prime Minister is still free:  Pakistan's Supreme Court last month ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf within 24 hours on allegations of his involvement in corruption involving power-generation equipment. Read more
14:17  Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs tweets: India on reports of nuclear test by DPRK: Matter of deep concern that DPRK has acted in violation of its international commitments.
14:16  Suryanelli gang rape: Kurien writes to Sonia, Ansari:  Facing the heat after fresh twists in the Suryanelli gangrape case, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien has written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Chairman of the Upper House Hamid Ansari explaining his position.

Sources said he has explained his position to the party President and Ansari amid the Opposition demand for his resignation. He is understood to have explained in the letter the judgements of various courts, which "exonerated" him in the case.

When contacted, Kurien said he cannot speak to the media on any communication between him and the Congress President.
14:11  TMC-Cong clash at Kolkata college, cop killed :  Violence broke out in Harimohan Ghosh College in Kolkata on Tuesday in which one policeman, a sub-inspector, was killed.  Reports say bullets were fired at the policeman outside the college campus as the violence escalated in a clash between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress. The violence took place between NSUI, the students' wing of Congress and Trinamool Chhatra Parishad, the students' wing of TMC when the student leaders gathered to file nominations for the upcoming Students Union election. The RAF has been deployed to control the situation.
14:06  Power of North Korean nuclear test over seven kilotons:  Russia's Defence Ministry said the power of North Korea's nuclear test blast on Tuesday surpassed seven kilotons, a ministry source told the Interfax-AVN military news agency. South Korea said earlier on Tuesday that the size of the seismic activity indicated a nuclear explosion slightly larger than the North's two previous tests at six to seven kilotons. The Hiroshima bomb was, by comparison, around 20 kilotons. -- Reuters
13:54  Home Secy: Afzal's family can offer prayers at grave:  Home Secretary RK Singh has said that Afzal Guru's family can come and offer prayers at his grave and his belongings will be given to them. The jail authorities will decide the date of his visit.  Guru was executed on Saturday morning for the attack on the Parliament 11 years ago.

Please see our 12:42 pm post for more.
13:45  Italian defence giant head arrested for India bribes:  Italy has not shared details of a corruption probe into the sale of helicopters to the Indian government, the Indian foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after the arrest of Finmeccanica's head Giuseppe Orsi in Italy.

"We had asked the government of Italy through our mission in Rome for details of the investigation but were told that it is a judicial process and the government of Italy is unable to share any information," foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said. "That remains the position even today."

India's defence ministry said it could not immediately comment. The 560 million euros ($735 million) deal was to sell 12 high-security AgustaWestland choppers for use by India's political leaders.

The first helicopters were due to be delivered by December 2012. Italian police on Tuesday arrested the chief executive of aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica for corruption and embezzlement in relation to alleged bribes given to the Indian government, Italian media reported. -- Reuters
13:42  MEA: No direction to revoke Yasin Malik's passport:  The External Affairs ministry has said that there is no direction from the home ministry on revoking JKLF leader Yasin Malik's passport. The MEA said the decision to revoke Malik's passport is a quasi-judicial process and has to therefore stand up for scrutiny.

Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik's decision to share the stage with 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Islamabad to mourn the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has got the government in a tizzy. The government is now weighing the option of revoking his passport on grounds of national security.

The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader will be questioned by security agencies as soon as he returns home to explain his hobnobbing with India's most-wanted terror fugitive, almost giving Saeed legitimacy as a champion of the Kashmiri cause.
13:27  Sex abuse victims welcome Pope's decision to quit:  An Australian group representing the victims of sexual abuse has welcomed Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, saying he had done little to stop "the reign of terror of child rapist priests", a report said. Read
13:21  Where's the black swan?:  Pritish Nandy tells it like it is: Rahul vs Modi...

Like much of India, the media is also certain that 2014 will be a battle between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, and currently Modi appears to have a distinct edge.

The battle is often stupidly oversimplified into a confrontation between two adversaries, one who stands for our Hindu identity, a strong, muscular government that gives no quarter to corruption, refuses to appease the minorities, and actually delivers on promises of development and the other, who has failed to make his mark in recent elections, does not stand for anything specific, is soft on most issues, pampers a different set of vote banks, and allows his cronies to steal from the public exchequer. More
13:13  Kashmiri journalist speaks out on clampdown:  A Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist, Iftikar Gilani, says he was picked up by police on his way to work on Saturday and questioned for hours. Gilani says he was heading to work early to plan reporting of the day's news -- Guru's surprise hanging -- when police approached him in the parking lot.

In detaining him, he says, the police noted that his father-in-law is Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a hardline Kashmiri separatist who earlier Saturday had condemned  Guru's hanging. Read
13:05  Industrial output contracts to 0.6% in December:  Indicating persistent sluggishness in the economy, industrial output contracted to 0.6 per cent in December due to poor performance of manufacturing and mining sectors and decline in production of capital as well as consumer goods.

The industrial output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 2.7 per cent in December, 2011. Industrial production growth stood at 0.7 per cent during April-December period of this fiscal, down from 3.7 per cent in the same period of 2011-12, according to official data released today.
12:55  Relationship anxiety could weaken your immune system:  Anxiety and concerns about your close relationships can make you fall ill by reducing your immunity, a new study claims. Such concerns appear to function as a chronic stressor that can compromise immunity, researchers said. They asked married couples to complete questionnaires about their relationships and collected saliva and blood samples to test participants' levels of a key stress-related hormone and numbers of certain immune cells.
12:53  Suryanelli: Special team set up to trace absconding convict:   The Kerala Police has set up a special team to trace and arrest the absconding convict in the Suryanelli gangrape case, who appeared on a Malayalam TV channel alleging that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien was involved in the case, as claimed by the victim.

The four-member team has left for Karnataka from where Dharmarajan purportedly gave the interview to the channel yesterday and made the startling claim. 
12:42  Family likely to be airlifed to Delhi for Guru's last rites:  In order to soothe the rising tempers in Valley, the union government is likely to airlift the family of Mohammad Afzal Guru to Delhi to allow them to perform his last rites. His body has been interred inside Tihar jail after he was hanged on Saturday morning. Sources said that the possibility was being explored after the issue was discussed at a high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late last evening in Delhi.  -- The Daily Rising Kashmir.
12:36  Incredible! Japan's shrinking building. Watch 
12:30  Azam Khan blames news channels for panic after Kumbh stampede:  Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan, who resigned as incharge-Kumbh mela, has blamed the news channels for creating panic in the aftermath of the stampede.

"The death of two persons after falling in drain was run as breaking news by channels saying that deaths took place due to stampede in Kumbh... Due to this news, people started moving to the railway station following which pressure increased there," Khan said last night.

As there was no proper arrangement of announcement system at the station, confusion prevailed there, he said.

Khan further said that he was ready to resign as a minister, too, if laxity of any of the departments he is heading comes to the fore. "I have no interest in continuing as minister if responsibility of departments I am looking comes to the fore", he added.

Cabinet Minister Mohammad Azam Khan had yesterday resigned as the in-charge of Kumbh Mela in which 36 people were killed in stampede.
12:12  Strictly for those blessed with patience... The man who killed Osama. Read
12:06  Defiant North Korea confirms nuclear tests :  North Korea says it has successfully carried out its third underground nuclear test, in a widely-anticipated move set to draw international condemnation.Pyongyang said the test involved a "miniaturised" device and was carried out in a "perfect manner". The confirmation came three hours after seismic activity was detected at North Korea's nuclear test site. The UN had warned of "significant consequences" if Pyongyang went ahead. Read more

Also read: North Korea's missile programme
12:03  Kate prank call DJ back on air :  One of the two Australian DJs who made a prank call to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated is back on air.Michael Christian was suspended two months ago by 2Day-FM in Sydney after the nurse who answered the phone - and believed the callers to be the Queen and Prince Charles - was found dead. More
11:53  Bhutan set to plough lone furrow as world's first wholly organic :  By shunning all but organic farming techniques, the Himalayan state of Bhutan will cement its status as a paradigm of sustainability. Read

If you're headed to Bhutan, pick up a bottle of their orange marmalade under the label Druk. Easily one of the best in the world at that price. It's also available in Kolkata.
11:49  Pope Benedict oversaw church drift into conservatism:  Pope Benedict may have acted with the best will in world but his papacy neither inspired, nor revived the mass of cradle Catholics. Read
11:42  Why we shouldnt be surprised by the Kumbh stampede:  It happened again on Sunday, with at least 36 people dying at the railway station in Allahabad, where this year's Kumbh Mela is being hosted. But the stampede should not surprise us. Here's why.
11:34  What caused the fatal stampede at Allahabad station?:  More than a day after a stampede that killed three dozen pilgrims and injured nearly 40 at the Allahabad railway station, government officials have not provided any concrete answers about the cause of the accident. Read
11:29  An abomination called AFSPA:  Finance minister P Chidambaram has sought to blame the Army for the failure to repeal the draconian Act but the government is equally guilty as it has abdicated responsibility in the matter. Read
11:28  Pathology of the hurt sentiment:  The demand that ideas should not cause offence to any 'community' serves to protect vested interests and prevents social and cultural progress. Read
11:23  Lawlessness and disorder:  In the name of preserving law and order in the hours following the hanging of Afzal Guru, the Delhi police detained a senior and well-respected Delhi journalist, Iftikhar Gilani, for no reason other than that he was the son-in-law of the Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. More
11:22  Retail inflation rises to 10.79 per cent in January, 2013 from 10.56 per cent in December, 2012. 
11:19  The indecency of a secret execution:  More on the Afzal Guru hanging...

Between Afzal Guru's hanging at Tihar and the executions of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh at the same jail lies a gap of 24 years. In this time, India has risen tremendously in economic and strategic terms but the decline in our collective morality is evident in the indecorous secrecy which has attended the latest execution. Read the editorial on the Hindu.
11:13  South Korea confirms N Korea conducts 3rd N-test:  The South Korean Defense Ministry believed that the Democratic People''s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, a local TV station reported.  

The report from local TV "Channel One" came shortly after a 5.1-magnitude earthquake was detected in the DPRK, a potential sign that the country has finally undertaken its third nuclear test.  

China's seismology authority measured the temblor at 4.9 magnitude, with a depth of "zero" km.  
11:11  Kashmir Valley remains under curfew for 4th day:  Curfew continued in Kashmir Valley for the fourth consecutive day today even as authorities blocked all roads leading to the hometown of 2001 Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru to foil any attempts by people to assemble there on the fourth day ceremony of the deceased.

"Curfew is in place in the Valley for the fourth straight day. The night passed off peacefully," a police spokesman said. He said there were no reports of any fresh incident of violence or violation of curfew this morning. The authorities have blocked all roads leading to Sopore town, the hometown of Guru, as some separatist outfits had called for a march to mark the fourth day of his death today.
11:08  Seven cardinals from India expected to vote for Pope:   Several cardinals from India are expected to be in the papal college that will pick the next pontiff of 1.2 billion Catholics, half of whom live in the global south at a time bookmakers are speculating on the first 'Black Pope'. The process of electing a new Pope rests with the Sacred College of Cardinals, which consists of all cardinals aged below 80. Read
10:53  Molesters beat rescuer constable, snatch gun:  When 'saviour' cops themselves become victims, you need to worry about safety of women in Delhi. A head constable was brutally beaten up and his pistol snatched away by a group of 78 men in northeast Delhi, after the cop confronted them over a molestation of a college student. Read

Also read: Cops abuse Keenan Santoss father for confronting pervert
10:50  Pakistan: Land of the Pure, Land of Perfidy:  Pakistan's collusion with violent Islamist groups has been to the detriment of its security and regional stability. Between 1990 and 2001, while the United States was engaged elsewhere, Pakistan condoned a malignant symbiosis between the Taliban and al Qaeda. Unless those ties are finally cut, the recent gains in the US-led war in Afghanistan won't last. Read
10:44  Afzal's last letter to wife: Don't agonize over my death:  The morning that Afzal Guru was to be executed, he wrote a letter to his wife, Tabassum. Written in Urdu, he handed it over to jail officials before he was marched out for his execution."He pressed the letter into the jail superintendent's hand just before he was asked to step out of his cell. All he said was that it was meant for his wife and to please ensure that it reached her safely," said a senior Tihar official. More
10:42  Yasin Malik shares stage with Hafiz Saeed, passport revoked?:   Embarrassed and angered byKashmiri separatist leader YasinMalik's decision to share the stage with 26/11 mastermind HafizSaeed in Islamabad to mourn the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the government is weighing the option of revoking his passport on grounds of national security. Read
10:37  US slaps nonproliferation sanctions on 12 foreign companies:  The US has slapped non-proliferation sanctions against 12 foreign companies, including four from China, under an act that prohibits transferring of equipment and technology to Iran, North Korea and Syria.

The sanctions has also been imposed on four Chinese companies which include BST Technology and Trade Company, China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC), Dalian Sunny Industries, and Poly Technologies Incorporated. Companies from Belarus, Iran Sudan and Venezuelan too have been slapped with sanctions.
10:08  UP CM to meet Allahabad stampede victims today:  
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will visit Allahabad on Tuesday to meet those injured in the stampede at Allahabad railway station.

He is also expected to take stock of relief operations for the Kumbh pilgrims.

Expressing grief over the tragedy, Yadav had earlier on Monday said that the priority of his government was to ensure safety of devotees at the Kumbh Mela.

"The most important issue for the government and the officials is to ensure that rest of the people, who are stranded at railway station or staying at the Kumbh after taking dip, should reach their home safely and without any harassment," he told media in Etawah town.
10:04  Sensex recovers ahead of IIP data:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex on Tuesday recovered by over 50 points in early trade, snapping its eight-session losing streak, on fresh buying by funds and retailers ahead of industrial output data, amid a firming trend in other Asian bourses.

The 30-share barometer rose by 50.20 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 19,510.77. It had lost nearly 545 points in the past eight sessions. 

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 9.65 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 5,907.50. 

Brokers said expectations of better index of industrial production (IIP) data for December to be released later today and a firming trend on the Asian markets, mainly triggered buying by funds and retail investors.
09:51  2G expose: JPC may grill CBI chief today:  
Central Bureau of Investigation director Ranjit Sinha and Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar will face the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday over the latest twist in the ongoing 2G spectrum scam investigation. 

The twist in the tale happened when a leading TV news channel aired visuals and the taped conversation between CBI prosecutor AK Singh and Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Unitech and one of the high-profile accused in the 2G scam case.

The expose by the channel showed AK Singh discussing the prosecution strategy with Chandra.

This will be the first time when the CBI chief will face the JPC over the 2G scam. 

According to reports, Sinha and other top CBI officials will appear before JPC this morning to inform it about the progress made so far in the 2G case.
09:25  North Korea tests nuclear device: report:  
Just in: North Korea appears to have exploded a nuclear device, media reports said.

Seismic activity has been detected in North Korea, the US and South Korea say, in what could be a sign of a widely anticipated nuclear test.

The US Geological Survey said it had detected a tremor with a 4.9 magnitude.

South Korean media also reported a "man-made earthquake" in its northern neighbour.

North Korea said last month it was planning to carry out its third nuclear test despite a promise from the UN Security Council of "consequences".

The USGS said the quake occurred at a depth of 1km. It put the epicentre close to North Korea's nuclear test site.
08:57  Delhi gang-rape: Magistrates, doctors to testify today:  
Three of the magistrates, who had recorded the statement of the five men accused in the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus here on December 16, will testify before the fast track court on Tuesday. 

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, who is recording the statement of the prosecution witnesses in in-camera proceedings on daily basis, on Monday issued summons to the magistrates for testifying in the case today. 

Two doctors from the AIIMS have also been called today. 

The court's decision to record their statement came after it recorded the testimony of four people yesterday.

Two doctors from AIIMS and two officials from Indian bank and Axis Bank have recorded their evidence on behalf of prosecution and were also cross examined by the counsel for accused bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh. 

The bank officials gave evidence on the use of two ATMs of the victim after committing the crime. 
03:09  Facebook sued over 'like' button:  

Facebook is facing legal action over its use of the "like" button and other features of the social network. It is being sued by a patent-holding company acting on behalf of a dead Dutch programmer called Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer.


Rembrandt Social Media said Facebook's success was based, in part, on using two of Mr Van Der Meer's patents without permission. Facebook said it had no comment to make on the lawsuit or its claims. A lawsuit has been filed in a federal court in Virginia by Rembrandt Social Media.


Read the full story on BBC

02:11  Navy SEAL who killed Osama breaks his silence:  

AFP: The US Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden broke his silence today, recounting in an interview the three bullets he pumped into the Al Qaeda leader and the financial anxiety he now faces as an unemployed civilian. The commando kept his identity secret in the Esquire magazine profile but revealed his role in the daring May 2011 raid for the first time, as well as the worries he has for his family's security.         


"He looked confused. And way taller than I was expecting," the SEAL says of Bin Laden. When the commandos came upon Bin Laden on the third floor of his Pakistani hideout, the Al-Qaeda mastermind had his hands on his youngest wife's shoulders, "pushing her ahead" and there was a AK-47 nearby.         


"I don't know if she's got a vest and she's being pushed to martyr them both. He's got a gun within reach. He's a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won't have a chance to clack himself off (blow himself up)," the commando says.         


"In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he's going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! Same place," he says. "He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out."

02:08  US launches Earth observation satellite:  

AFP: The United States launched its latest Earth observation satellite Monday atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, NASA said.         


The Landsat Data Continuity Mission was the latest in a line of satellites used to continuously gather imagery from space of the Earth's land surface, coastal areas and coral reefs.         


"Everything is looking good, and the engine is operating normally," a NASA announcer said after the rocket roared off its launch pad at 1702 GMT.          Once in orbit, the satellite will be turned over to the US Geological Survey. The satellite is the eighth in a series to be launched beginning in 1972, that have been instrumental in tracking the changing face of planet.         


It is designed to have a minimum five year life span, although it is fuelled for a 10 year run in space, orbiting the Earth about 14 times a day from an altitude of 705 kilometres.

02:07  Former RSS pracharak detained in MP:  

Apprehending tension on Basant Panchami at Dhar district headquarters, the police Monday detained two persons including a former RSS pracharak Nawal Kishore Sharma as part of preventive measure.        


A country-made pistol along with one cartridge have been seized from Sharma, Additional Superintendent of Police, Dhar, Bitto Sehgal said, adding that he was later shifted to M Y Hospital in Indore.        


The former pracharak was detained by Dhar police, while eleven others have been arrested on charges of spreading tension in the wake of Bhojshala issue in 2006, when Basant Panchami had coincided with Friday namaz, police said. Another saffron leader Harsh Sharma, who is a close aide of Nawal Kishore Sharma, has also been detained, they said.

01:11  Obama offers appreciation to Pope Benedict:  

US President Barack Obama today offered appreciation and prayers to Pope Benedict XVI, who announced that he would resign on February 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.        


"Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," Obama said in a statement on the decision of the top Catholic leader to resign.        


"Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years," he said.        


"The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's successor," Obama said.  

00:12  Kenya holds first-ever presidential debate:  

Kenya is holding its first presidential debate - between all eight candidates in next month's tightly contested poll.Millions of Kenyans are expected to watch and listen to Monday's debate, broadcast live on national television, as well as YouTube.


Raila Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister, and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces trial for crimes against humanity, are seen as the favourites in the poll.


Read the full story on Al Jazeera

00:10  Top headlines at this hour:  

Spectrum case: CBI removes 2G prosecutor

Pope Benedict to quit on February 28

Yasin sharing dais with Saeed in Pak creates flutter

Stampede: Bansal orders high-level probe

Mufti calls India a 'banana republic' on Afzal issue

Tit-fot-tat: TMC questions Buddhadeb's honesty

Will not quit UPA alliance over Afzal's hanging: Farooq

Hours before execution, Afzal Guru wrote a letter to his wife

Omar speaking language of separatists: BJP

In PHOTOS: Kashmir seethes in anger, protests worsen

French pres visit: Rafale, Jaitapur deals won't be inked

ALL rules were followed on Guru's execution: Shinde

Court orders lodging of FIR against Raj Thackeray

Suryanelli case: Convict claims Kurien was involved

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