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Mumbai Monorail likely to be operational by August

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February 16, 2013

23:13  Mumbai Monorail likely to be operational by August:   Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority is hopeful that India's first mono rail would become operational by August.

"A proposal by the state government to appoint a safety certification engineer for issuing the safety certificate as required by the Tramway Act is in process.
We expect this procedure to begin in June and expect certification within three months thereafter", MMRDA chief Rahul Asthana said.

The certification would enable commissioning of the mono rail.
22:38  Have no links with AgustaWestland: Sanjeev Tyagi:  Sanjeev 'Julie' Tyagi, brother of former air chief S P Tyagi, said today that Finmeccanica is covering up its own bungling by maligning the name of the Tyagi family.         

Speaking exclusively to CNN-iBN's editor-in chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Tyagi who had been avoiding the media till now denied completely that he and his family had nothing to do with the AgustaWestland deal. I have nothing to with AgustaWestland, I have no clue about the deal, he said.

He has also denied having received any payment or bribe in any form and added that Italian businessmen Guido Ralph Haschke is lying and everyone has fallen for one mans lie. "Haschke used my name to siphon off money, Tyagi has alleged.  

21:27  47 killed in blast in Pakistan's Quetta: Police:  A remote-controlled bomb went off in a Shia neighbourhood in Quetta city of southwest Pakistan today, killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 200, police said.

"At least 47 people have been killed and 200 more wounded; the death toll may rise. It was a remote-controlled bomb," sources quoted Wazir Khan Nasir, a top police officer in Quetta, as saying.

The explosion occurred on Kirani Road, a neighbourhood of Quetta with a sizeable Shia population that has been targeted by terrorists in the past.
19:57  SC declines to hear plea of Veerappan's aides:  Four Veerappan's aides move before Chief Justice Altamas Kabir for stay of the execution of their death penalty. However, the Supreme Court did not take up the plea for hearing saying there is no proof that execution will take place tomorrow, say lawyers of Veerappan's aides.
19:45  Ireland abortion row: Savita's death inquiry report leaked:   Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar died as a result of a litany of failures by hospital staff, a leaked draft of a probe report said, proving her family's claim that her death was avoidable.

The report by Ireland's health ministry revealed that doctors caring for the 31-year-old dentist seriously failed to investigate, recognise and treat the infection, which led to her death.
19:06  Hate speech case: Akbaruddin Owaisi released from jail:   After spending 38 days in a local prison, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, who is facing charges of sedition and waging war against the nation for his "hate speech", was released on bail on Saturday.

Owaisi had been granted bail by two separate courts in Nirmal and Nizamabad on Friday, where cases had been registered against him. Hundreds of party workers on Saturday gathered outside the prison and raised slogans in favour of the MIM leader, who left for Hyderabad immediately after the release.

The state police had made elaborate security arrangements along the highway.
18:10  4 Veerappan aides move SC against death penalty:  Four aides of slain forest brigand Veerappan have moved the Supreme Court after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected their mercy pleas earlier this week setting the stage for their hanging.

The four Veerappan associates had been awarded life term for the landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993, which killed 22 policemen.

Once the mercy plea is rejected, the execution is scheduled within 14 days.
17:56  Another fire breaks out at Kumbh, 2 sadhus injured:   Yet another fire broke out at the Kumbh Mela area in Allahabad on Saturday afternoon, injuring two sadhus, an official said.

The fire broke out in Sector 9 of the Kumbh Mela area, injuring two sadhus who were cooking food, though it was brought under control quickly, Sector Magistrate Vidya Shankar Singh said. A leaking gas cylinder appears to have caused the incident, Singh said.

The injured ascetics have been admitted to one of the various make-shift hospitals set up in the Kumbh area and they may be referred to a hospital in the city if required, the Sector Magistrate said.

The ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation, which had commenced on January 14, has so far witnessed a number of fire-related incidents, which have claimed a total of eight lives besides leaving a score of people injured.
17:53  Be strong: Geetika's mom's suicide note to son :  Former air hostess Geetika Sharma's mother, who committed suicide by hanging herself inside her house in New Delhi on Friday evening, left another suicide note for her son, asking him to be "strong," the police have said.

Read the full story here
17:32  Ponty Chadha shootout: Namdhari chargesheeted for murder:  Sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief S S Namdhari and others were  on Saturday chargesheeted for murder, conspiracy and kidnapping in the November 17 killing of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep in a shootout at a farmhouse in New Delhi.

The Delhi police filed its chargesheet in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Mukesh Kumar who had on Friday expressed displeasure over the failure of the cops to fulfill their assurance of filing the document by February 15.

The court took cognizance of the charge sheet and directed the crime branch of the Delhi police to produce Namdhari and the 10 other arrested accused before it on February 19.
16:56  Copter scam: Orsi denies knowing ex-air chief's kin:   Former Finmeccanica Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Orsi has denied knowing the family of Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi in the ongoing investigations in Italy into the alleged payment of kickbacks of Rs 362 crore for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to India.

Orsi was arrested earlier this week by the Italian investigators in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore deal. Appearing before an Italian magistrate there, Orsi said "three Nos" to queries about any mandate to the Swiss-American Guido Hashcke for "any type of manoeuvre" for the operation of Indian, knowing the Tyagi family and about adopting "illegal manoeuvres for the deal, Orsi's lawyer Ennio Amodio was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.
16:04  Italian court refuses to share chopper scam files:   The defence ministry will send a joint director to Italy to gather information about corruption charges in the VVIP chopper deal.  

Meanwhile, an Italian court has refused to share case documents in the VVIP chopper deal with India.
15:56  Namdhari faces charges of murder, kidnapping:  Uttarakhand minorities panel chief S S Namdhari and nine others have been charge-sheeted for offences of murder, conspiracy, kidnapping, illegal confinement, trespass and destruction of evidence.

The court has taken cognisance of the charge-sheet and issued a production warrant against Namdhari and nine others for February 19.
15:55  Indian team begins training camp for Aus series:  The Indian team today began its three-day training camp ahead of its Test series against Australia starting next week, with a three hour-long practice session, with senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar returning in the mix after his retirement from ODI cricket.     

Tendulkar, who struggled against England in the recent home Test series, batted along with Virat Kohli for 45 minutes on the centre pitch at Chinnaswamy Stadium, facing Ashok Dinda, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin.
15:19  Pakistan Taliban rejects declaration by political parties :  The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have rejected a declaration adopted by leading political parties that called for negotiations to end terrorism, saying it was drawn up with an eye on the upcoming general election.        

The banned Taliban further said that a conference of all political parties, which was held in Islamabad on Thursday to discuss the issue of terrorism, had failed to come up with a road-map for peace talks with militants.        

Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told the media, "We are still waiting for serious and meaningful talks with the government and the army."
15:18  Salman Khurshid arrives in Bangladesh:  External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today arrived in Dhaka on a two-day Bangladesh visit. He will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other top leaders and discuss issues of bilateral interests.        

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni received Khurshid at the Shahjalal International Airport.        

The two leaders are scheduled to hold the second high-level meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission to review a wide spectrum of bilateral issues.
15:16  Asteroid Google Doodle removed after meteor strike:  Popular search engine Google has withdrawn a Google Doodle which was put up in the event of a record close approach of an asteroid towards Earth, following the unexpected meteor strike in Russia, in which numerous people were injured.   

The moving Google illustration, in which the small 'g' of Google was shown evading a flying rock, had been put up in anticipation of the huge Asteroid 2012 DA14, which has passed the Earth, the Telegraph reports.   

The doodle was removed following reports that hundreds of people had been hurt after a meteor broke up into fragments in the atmosphere over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging property and injuring people from the flying glass and debris. 
15:15  Joint team of CBI and MoD to leave for Italy:  A joint team of the CBI and defence ministry will leave for Italy on Sunday in connection with the VVIP chopper deal.   

The team will meet Italian prosecutors to ascertain the details of the case.
15:13  Sonia cancels visit to AMU due to bad weather :  Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was scheduled to address the 60th convocation of Aligarh Muslim University today, cancelled her visit due to bad weather.        

"The visit has been cancelled due to bad weather," Congress sources said.        

In Aligarh, AMU Vice-Chancellor Lieutenant General (Retired) Zameer Uddin Shah said that Gandhi's plane could not take off due to inclement weather.
15:13  Police files charge-sheet in Ponty Chadha murder case:  The Delhi police has filed a charge-sheet in court against sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief S S Namdhari and others in the Ponty Chadha murder case.
15:12  Finnmeccanica boss Orsi resigns over chopper scam :  The chairman and chief executive of the Italian defence firm Finnmeccanica has stepped down from his post, following his arrest in Italy for his alleged part in a corruption scandal involving the sale of helicopters to the Indian government.

13:40  Jaitley's call record row: BJP demands answers:  The BJP on Saturday lashed out at the Congress-led UPA government over reports of a Delhi police constable being arrested for allegedly trying to access Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley's call details, and demanded an answer from Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as to who ordered this unauthorised surveillance.   

"More than four police stations asking for the call details of BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mr Arun Jaitley is a very serious issue. We demand that the home minister tell the nation who ordered this. This is unauthorised. There must be unauthorised tapping also," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. 
13:36  EC seizes Rs one crore from copter of poll cadidate:  A team of the Election Commission has seized Rs one crore from the helicopter of a candidate in poll-bound Nagaland.

Further details are awaited.
13:34  Co-Chair to Congressional Caucus on India meets Rao:  Newly selected Republican Co-Chair to the Congressional Caucus on India Congressman Peter Roskam today met Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao and discussed the ties between the two countries.        

Roskam and Rao discussed the present state of India-US relations during the meeting held at the Capitol Hill in Washington.        

Rao informed him about the recent developments in the ties, which she described as 'multidimensional', and shared India's perspective on regional and global issues of common interest.
11:42  Centre defends hike in diesel, petrol prices:  Amid sharp criticism from the BJP and the Left Parties over the move to hike the prices of petrol and diesel, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Tariq Anwar has defended the central government's decision.   

"The government has some compulsions. As we all know that whenever prices in international market rise, it has an impact on the domestic market as well. We have to purchase fuel in international currency. The difference between the gap in international value and our domestic currency needs to be recovered," he said.
11:11  Jharkhand police arrest top Maoist leader :  In a major success for the Jharkhand police, a top Maoist leader wanted in over 32 cases was arrested in the rebel hotbed region of Palamu district of the state.          
The top brass of the district police disclosed this to the media personnel at Daltonganj.        

One country made pistol, 25 bullets and Maoist literature were seized from the rebel leader, considered a key person in mobilising resource for the ultras.         

Superintendent of Police Anup T Mathew on Friday shared details of the rebel known as Yogesh alias BKG and said he was arrested during a raid from Kathaundha village.
11:09  Five Kumbh pilgrims killed in mishap:  Five pilgrims returning from the Kumbh Mela were killed and eight others injured when a jeep collided with a truck in Jalalpur area, the police said today.        

The five people, including three women and two men, were killed when the jeep carrying them collided with the truck on the Lucknow-Varanasi National Highway late on Friday night, Superintendent of Police Manjil Saini said.
11:02  ARSS Chairman Subhash Agarwal kidnapped:  ARSS Chairman Subhash Agarwal has been reportedly kidnapped from Bhubaneswar. Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident, said media reports.

However, Agarwal has not yet been traced. The police have found his abandoned car.

According to police officials, Agarwal was kidnapped over a Rs 5 crore contract dispute.
09:55  UN chief urges India, Pak to exercise restrain:  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and resolve issues peacefully after a Pakistani soldier, who intruded into Indian territory, was killed by the Indian Army along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.        

Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters that the UN Chief was aware of the latest incident on February 14 at the LoC in which the Pakistani soldier, after intruding into Indian territory in a fresh incident of ceasefire violation, was killed by the Indian troops.
09:53  Headley among top 5 high value targets arrested by US:  Obama's top counter terrorism adviser has listed David Headley, the Mumbai attack convict, among the high-value targets arrested by the US in the last four years.        

In fact, Headley is listed on top of the five high-value targets arrested by the US in the last four years, which has been submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee by John Brennan, counter-terrorism adviser to the US President and his nominee to be the next CIA director.
03:06  Zapatistas break silence to slam Mexico elite:  

After years of silence, secluded in their base communities in Mexico's impoverished south, indigenous Zapatista rebels have re-emerged with a series of public statements in recent weeks, attempting to reignite passions for their demands of "land, liberty, work and peace".


In December, 40,000 Zapatista supporters marched through villages in Chiapas, re-asserting their presence. In January and February, Subcomandate Marcos - the Zapatistas' pipe-smoking, non-indigenous spokesman and an international media darling - issued a series of communiques slamming the government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party which assumed power in December.


"Our pains won't be lessened by opening ourselves up to those that hurt all over the world," Marcos wrote in late January, rallying supporters. "We will resist. We will struggle. Maybe we'll die. But one, ten, one hundred times, we'll always win."


Read the full story on Al Jazeera

03:04  Colombia's FARC frees two policemen:  

Al Jazeera: Colombia's FARC rebels have freed two police patrolmen it seized last month, in an apparent goodwill gesture ahead of the next round of tense peace negotiations with the government.


The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the biggest armed group in Latin America, released the two uniformed officers on Friday even as the rebel leadership pledged to continue seizing members of the security forces until peace is reached. Patrolmen Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Gonzalez were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross in a mountainous area of southern Colombia, where the rebel group still holds a soldier.


The FARC, considered a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, promised to free the soldier by Saturday. Television carried images of the two men embracing former Senator Piedad Cordoba after being freed.

03:02  Bulgaria expels visiting Hamas delegation:  

Al Jazeera: Bulgaria has ordered three visiting Palestinian politicians from Hamas to leave the country, saying they posed a security risk to the EU member state. The expulsion on Friday came a week after Bulgaria blamed Hezbollah, a Lebanese group, for a bomb attack in the Black Sea city of Burgas last July.


That attacked killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver, fuelling an EU debate over whether the Lebanese group should be blacklisted alongside Hamas.


The European Union, like the United States, has branded Hamas a "terrorist group" for attacks on Israelis since the mid-1990s. Bulgaria's National Security Service said Friday's move was a "preventive measure".

02:52  Asteroid 2012 DA14 in record-breaking Earth pass:  

BBC: An asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool has raced past the Earth at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200mi) - the closest ever predicted for an object of that size.


It passed far closer even than the geosynchronous satellites that orbit the Earth, but there was no risk of impacts or collisions. Its closest approach was at 19:25 GMT. For regions in darkness, it should remain visible until about midnight through good binoculars or a telescope.


The asteroid's arrival was preceded by a damaging meteor event in Russia on Friday - but indications from the meteor's path suggest that the two events are entirely unrelated - just a "cosmic coincidence", as Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University Belfast told BBC News.

01:14  Asteroid 2012 DA14 approaches Earth:  

CNN: It's not going to crash here, but it's still exciting! An asteroid made its closest pass by Earth at around 2:24 p.m. ET, flying about 17,200 miles above Earth's surface. It's estimated to be about 150 feet (45 meters) across with an estimated mass of 130,000 metric tons. The flyby was the closest ever predicted for an object this large, according to NASA. 


The asteroid, called 2012 DA14, flew between Earth and the satellites that ring the planet 22,200 miles up. Scientists think there may be 500,000 asteroids the size of 2012 DA14, but fewer than 1% have been located. NASA says the asteroid is entirely unrelated to the meteor that exploded over Russia Friday.

00:34  Venezuela's Chavez in first post-surgery images:  

BBC: The first images of Venezuela's leader Hugo Chavez seen since he underwent cancer surgery have been broadcast by the government. The 58-year-old is shown smiling as he lies in bed reading a newspaper, with his two daughters at his side.

Mr Chavez has not been seen in public since he went to Havana for surgery last year, on 11 December. It was his fourth operation in an 18-month period for cancer first diagnosed in mid-2011.

00:24  Top headlines at this hour:  

Govt not averse to JPC probe on chopper deal: Kamal Nath

70 lakh pilgrims take dip at Kumbh's last 'shahi snan'

IN PHOTOS: Meteor BLAST injures over 700 in Russia

Rahul gets more than he bargained for at Cong meeting

CAG report on chopper deal soon, says Rai

Pakistani court seeks information on two Indian prisoners

Chopper scam: Middleman claims he knew Tyagi 'family'

Geetika's mother kills self; family blames Kanda again

PHOTOS: Kashmir keeps the peace on Friday

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