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Nepal parties agree on new interim PM

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February 19, 2013

21:59  Nepal parties agree on new interim PM :  

Al Jazeera: Nepal's major political parties have agreed to form an interim government led by a supreme court chief justice, and to hold elections in June, in an attempt to end the deadlock that has left the nation without a fully functioning government since last year.

The parties want chief justice Khilraj Regmi to chair the council, replacing Maoist prime minister Beburam Bhattarai as head of the interim government until the upcoming elections.

"We agreed on a package deal in which all major parties' concerns were addressed. The prime minister will recommend the chief justice as his successor at a meeting with the president later today."

"The four major parties have agreed to appoint the chief justice as a head of the interim government which will hold elections by mid-June," said Bimalendra Nidhi, a senior Nepali Congress politician.

"We agreed on a package deal in which all major parties' concerns were addressed. The prime minister will recommend the chief justice as his successor at a meeting with the president later today."

21:28  Togadia cries foul as Facebook page hacked:  

Angry over his Facebook page status updates, VHP leader Praveen Togadia today alleged it was the work of hackers and their politically-motivated masterminds.          


"I was informed by my friends yesterday that there had been strange posts, unlike those put by me on my Facebook page. "To my utter shock I found that the page that I had myself created was no longer accessible to me and there were a couple of politically-coloured posts," Togadia said in a statement in Allahabad.           


"I have urged the Facebook company to help me restore my access to the page and deny the same to anybody else unless officially authorised by me," the VHP international working president said. "I have also urged the Union government to help me locate the hackers and their politically-motivated masterminds for suitable action," he said.          


The VHP leader's Facebook page has had a number of posts in the last few hours which are openly supportive of former BJP president Nitin Gadkari and critical of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.  

20:59  Two women die of swine flu in Delhi:  Two women died due to swine flu today in the capital, while 53 more people have been detected with the deadly H1N1 virus, taking the total number of cases this season to 510.        

The women, aged 36 and 45 years, were admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Apollo Hospital in the capital some time back. They succumbed to swine flu today, doctors said.
20:45  Ahead of shutdown, restrictions imposed in Srinagar:  Authorities today imposed restrictions in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, apprehending law and order problems in view of the three-day strike called by the separatists in the Valley.        

"According to Srinagar District Magistrate Baseer Ahmad Khan, in view of law and order situation, restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed across entire Srinagar district with immediate effect," an official spokesman said.
20:43  IAF's Sukhoi 30 aircraft crashes in Jaisalmer :  A Sukhoi 30 aircraft of the Indian Air Force has crashed in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district, a spokesperson of the defence ministry said on Tuesday evening.

Both pilots have bailed out of the crashed aircraft, he said.
20:36  'Food Bill overlooking genuine needs of people':  Terming the recommendations of a the Standing Committee on the Food Security Bill as 'eyewash', a number of rights groups today said the proposed law should not be tabled in the Budget Session of Parliament without incorporating their key demands.       

At a press conference, members of the 'Right to Food Campaign' accused the Standing Committee of undermining the broad goal of the proposed legislation and slammed the government for not addressing their demands seriously.
20:35  BJP confident about defeating Cong in Meghalaya poll :  The BJP today exuded confidence about forming the next government in Meghalaya by defeating the Congress, after the party forged an "internal alliance" with the P A Sangma-led National People's Party and United Democratic Party.        

"We have an internal-alliance with the NPP and the UDP. We will extend our full support to them to form a coalition-government in the state," BJP's organising secretary for north-eastern states, P Chandra Shekhar claimed before reporters.
20:32  Will cooperate with Indian officials: Finmeccanica:  Finmeccanica, the Italian firm which is being investigated for bribing Indian officials to nab a lucrative defence deal, on Tuesday said it is ready to cooperate with Indian authorities to clarify the matter.
19:59  Lack of coordination led to Allahabad stampede: BJP:  Blaming the Uttar Pradesh government, senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon today said lack of coordination between the Kumbh mela administration and the railways led to the February 10 stampede at Allahabad railway station, which claimed 38 lives.        

"I have met a number of officials to get an idea as to why such a tragedy took place. I also met a number of people who had sustained injuries. It can be categorically said that coordination between the Kumbh Mela administration and the railways was absent. It was a failure on part of the state government, which was supposed to achieve a proper coordination," Tandon told reporters.
19:57  CPI demands scapping of VVIP chopper deal:  The CPI today demanded scrapping of the AgustaWestland chopper deal and setting up of a special investigation team to probe in a time-bound manner the allegation of kickbacks in the contract, saying inquiries by CBI or the armed forces would not instill confidence among the people.        

In a letter to Defence Minister A K Antony, party general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said, "Any in-house inquiry of the army or a CBI inquiry will not create confidence among the people, as the charges of corruption are on the highest officers of the army."
19:56  Sack Kurien if he doesn't resign: Left to Congress:  The CPI-M led LDF Opposition in Kerala today demanded the resignation of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien for his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli gang-rape case.    

The LDF state liaison committee meeting  also asked the Congress leadership to remove him from the post if he did not quit, in the wake of the victim sticking to her stand that Kurien was among those men who raped her in 1996.
19:53  What Rajapaksa could have done, but didn't:  Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been universally hailed for ending the decades long and bloody civil war in his country.

Rajapaksa could have seized this opportunity to resolve the ethnic tension that had almost torn the island nation apart. Instead, the steps taken by the government led by him have worsened the simmering rage among the minority Tamil population.

Read the story here
18:45  14 days more in jail for man who shoved rod in victim's mouth:  A 25-year-old man arrested for attempting to rape a class XI girl and shoving an iron rod into her mouth, was today remanded back to 14 days of judicial custody by a Delhi court.
18:44  Budget session of Parl from Feb 21 to May 10:  The Budget Session, 2013 of Parliament (13th Session of the Fifteenth Lok Sabha and the 228th Session of the Rajya Sabha) will commence on Thursday, the 21st of February, 2013 and subject to exigencies of Government Business, the Session will conclude on Friday, the 10th of May, 2013.  

During this period, the two Houses will adjourn for recess on Friday, the 22ndof March 2013, to reassemble on Monday, the 22nd of April, 2013 to enable the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees to examine the demands for grants relating to various ministries/departments and make their reports to the Houses. The Session will provide 34 sittings -- 21 sittings during first part of the Session before recess and 13 sittings during second part of the Session.

The President will address both Houses of Parliament assembled together at 11.00 a.m. on 21st of February, 2013.  The Budget (Railways) for 2013-2014 will be presented to the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the 26th of February, 2013 immediately after Question Hour.  The Economic Survey of India will be laid in the Parliament on Wednesday, the 27th of February, 2013.  The Budget (General) for 2013 2014 will be presented at 11.00 a.m. on Thursday, the 28th of February, 2013.
18:35  Court adjourns, Pistorius in police custody again:   The court adjourns until tomorrow at 9am (SA time). Pistorius will be held again at the Brooklyn police station, Pretoria.
18:23  BJP promises difficult Parl session, wants answers to scams :  BJP today said it will strongly raise in Parliament the allegation of payment of bribes in the VVIP chopper deal and ask for a reply from the government on whether the contract stood scrapped and who were the ultimate beneficiaries.

The Executive Committee meeting of BJP's Parliamentary Party, chaired by L K Advani, decided to raise the issue in Parliament in a major way, while party President Rajnath Singh demanded a comprehensive investigation into the deal, saying anyone found guilty should be punished.

"I am demanding a comprehensive investigation into this helicopter scam. Whoever is guilty should be punished," Singh said. 
18:20  Italy's view of the chopper scandal:  The investigation into a unit of Italian defense firm Finmeccanica SpA has sparked mixed reactions in Italy, with some -- including former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- saying bribe-giving is a necessary process when doing business in India. Read
18:15  How Britain controls the global narrative:  As the Pistorius trial continues, read this: The British Empire is neither dead nor gone; in fact, it is more powerful today than ever.  Read
18:12  Orebotse Lepono on Twitter: How big is Oscar Pistorius's bed?? When he wakes up he does not even realize his woman is missing. Come-on.
18:04  Anger as author labels Catherine a 'machine-made' doll :  An award-winning author has whipped up controversy by describing Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, as a "machine-made" doll with a "plastic smile" who lacks the personality and human frailty shown by Princess Diana.Hilary Mantel, who has twice won the Man Booker prize for her historical novels set in Tudor times, made the comments in a talk for the London Review of Books entitled "Royal Bodies." Read
17:58  Pistorius would say Reeva 'could be the one'...:  Pistorius' attorney is now reading out a statement from Justin Divaris, who has been named in the media as Pistorius's "best friend". 

"Oscar would often tell me how much he loved Reeva and she was a fantastic person who understood him. She could be 'the one'."  Pistorius breaks down yet again when he hears this.
17:54  "I tried to save Reeva. But she died in my arms. I can't stand how much hurt I've caused." -- Oscar Pistorius in his statement in court. 
17:50  Oscar Pistorius' attorney reading out his statement in court:  "I sleep with my 9mm under my bed. I woke up to close the sliding door and heard a noise in the bathroom."
17:37  Open to JPC on chopper scam: Kamal Nath:  Update on the Finmeccanica chopper deal: "We are open to JPC on the chopper deal. We are not ruling out anything. Divisions in parties on Lokpal bill, Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, Food Security bill and Land Acquisition bill will be discussed, says Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Kamal Nath.
17:33  "Reeva had bought me a present for Valentines Day. We were deeply in love. Oscar sobs." -- Guardian
17:33  Pistorius: I deny murder charge, we were in love:  Oscar Pistorius in court, begins his statement: I have been informed I have been accused of murder - I deny the accusation."

Talking about the night of February 13, Pistorius says, "We agreed to spend evening at home. By 10pm we were in bedroom, she was doing yoga. I was watching TV with prosthetic legs off."

Pistorius breaks down, sobs uncontrollably. The magistrate asks Pistorius to try to maintain his composure. He gives Pistorius two minutes to speak to his family in order to help him do so.

Nair leaves to allow Pistorius to regain composure. A woman hands him an energy drink, his brother pats him on the back, Roux (the defense attorney) talks to him.

-- Guardian.
17:28  Sharad Rao calls of strike :   Mumbaikars need not worry about buses, trains, autorickshaws and cabs not being available during the proposed two-day nationwide shutdown. Trade unions led by Hind Mazdoor Sabha president Sharad Rao will not be participating in the Bharat bandh proposed on February 20 and 21. All modes of transport will operate as usual.  Read
17:18  Sexist Sharad Yadav tells reporter: You are beautiful:  Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav today stumped a woman reporter with his "beautiful" remark. The reporter sought to know from Yadav which was the better state- Madhya Pradesh or Bihar- ruled by BJP and Janata Dal (U)-BJP coalition respectively.

The former Union Minister has political links with both states and has represented them in Parliament at different times. Without getting into an argument, Yadav simply said the whole country was beautiful.

He then added in a lighter vein "even you are very beautiful." The engineer-turned-politician's remark evoked loud laughter from those present, including the reporter. Yadav was elected to Lok Sabha from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh in late 1970s, while currently he represents the Madhepura constituency of Bihar in the Lower House of Parliament.
17:15  Is Britain's arms trade making a killing?:  Few prime ministers have been as tireless in promoting Britain's arms industry as David Cameron. He calls it a key part of the UK's economy, but do the figures really add up? Read
17:12  Jaya pockets Vaiko :  Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha met T Vaiko for 15 minutes for a one-on-one today. The meeting is significant as it seems to suggest early Lok Sabha polls. ADMK is ready to give two LS seats to Vaiko. Such an initiative by Jayalalithaa also sends a strong message to the PMK. Many pointed out that Karunanidhi had won over DMDK's Vijaykant and projected that the DMK-Congress alliance would be formidable. But Jaya neutralised such a buzz by pocketing Vaiko.  
16:50  Right to Education Act does not apply to nursery admission: HC:  In a landmark verdict, the Delhi High Court today held that the Right to Education (RTE) Act and subsequent government notifications are not applicable for nursery admissions in unaided private schools.

The verdict, which does not affect the ongoing nursery admission process in the national capital, however, clarified that the RTE Act would deal with 25 per cent reservation for toddlers of weaker sections in admissions to "pre-elementary" classes including the nursery.
16:39  We cannot forget: Shocked Muslim clerics snub Madani truce:  Muslim clerics and scholars have expressed their shock and dismay over the statement of Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, that there is a perceptible change in Muslims' attitude towards Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Read more
16:32  Suport and brickbats for Pistorius on Twitter:  Brigi: still, my prayers are also with OscarPistorius & family. besides jail, he will have to face his demons till the end of his days.

Mode: Oscar Pistorius, i am sorry i don't believe you pal, you would have heard a womans scream after the first shot. But to then shoot another?

Rowena Grant-Frost: Oscar Pistorius's defence basically that he meant to shoot a black man dead and not a white lady? Not really doing it for me.
16:25  Pistorius faces charges of premeditated murder:   Oscar Pistorius now faces a charge of premeditated murder (schedule six) in the death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, a judge ruled Tuesday.

But the judge said he will consider downgrading the charge later.The ruling came after an emotionally draining bail hearing, with prosecutors saying Steenkamp's killing was premeditated and the defense saying Pistorius thought she was an intruder.

Both the defense and prosecution agreed Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend in a tragic Valentine's Day confrontation inside his upscale Pretoria home.But the two sides gave wildly different accounts Tuesday of what led to the model's death.

Pistorius sobbed uncontrollably during the bail hearing as prosecutors described how they say he murdered his girlfriend.The state said the killing was premeditated: Pistorius armed himself, attached his prosthetic legs and walked 7 meters before shooting Steenkamp, who had come to spend the night, through a bathroom door, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.Pistorius fired four times, Nel said; Steenkamp was struck thrice inside a locked bathroom.

As Nel spoke, Pistorius buried his face in his hands. -- CNN.
16:10  Gavin Venter, a former jockey who worked for Steenkamp's father, said of Pistorius: "He's a danger to the public. He'll be a danger to witnesses. He must stay in jail. He's already shown how dangerous he can be for what he did to Reeva."-- Guardian.
16:09  Pistorius may face life sentence: Magistrate :  Oscar Pistorius cries as he hears that Magistrate Desmond Nair rules that the case is 'schedule six', which makes it extremely unlikely the defendant will be granted bail. Magistrate Nair says that the defendant (Pistorius) will face a possible life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder.
16:04  No end to human greed, philosophises Antony:  Bracing to face opposition heat over chopper scam in Parliament, Defence Minister A K Antony today said government has "nothing to hide" and is prepared for a discussion even as he played down reports of his resignation.

"I will do my duty. I am now getting ready for the Parliament session. We will explain everything to Parliament. We have nothing to hide. Our hands are very clean," Antony told reporters on being asked whether he would resign. Reacting to BJP's allegations that the Defence Ministry was "sleeping" over the reports of corruption in the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 VVIP choppers, he said, "I cannot wake up anybody who is sleeping".

The Defence Ministry had started taking action on the issue from day one when first media reports in this regard came in, Antony said.

Addressing a press conference at a BrahMos Aerospace function, he said there were no differences between different ministries on the process to scrap the deal and the whole Government was working together.

Antony said he was "sad and upset" over the controversy which had erupted despite all precautions having been taken. "Now we are preparing to face Parliament."

The Minister was asked if he was sad over the whole episode and was resigning on the issue taking a high moral ground. Antony said he was upset over the alleged scam as despite blacklisting six firms in one scam for which he was accused of slowing down modernisation, such an incident has happened as "there was no end to human greed and still greedy people were working around the world."
15:57  David Cameron seeks to recast 'special relationship' with India. Read
15:46  Giant diamond heist at Brussels airport :  Armed robbers have pulled off a spectacular heist at Brussels airport, making off with diamonds worth 350 million euros (USD 465 million), Belgian public television reported today. The raid saw the gang of thieves hit a Brinks transport truck as its contents were being loaded onto a Swiss aircraft bound for Zurich, it said. Belgian prosecutors confirmed that a raid had been carried out at the airport, but did not specify what was stolen. They were expected to provide more details later in the day.
15:35  100 mourners, flower-draped coffin for Reeva:  Reeva Steenkamp, who had been going out with Pistorius since late last year, will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at a Port Elizabeth crematorium with an on-site chapel that holds less than 100 mourners. Reeva's cloth-draped coffin bearing white flowers was carried into the chapel by six people.

It arrived in a black hearse. A few mourners have arrived for the ceremony. "The memorial itself inside the chapel is family and friends and then there will be a statement afterwards for the media," her uncle Michael Steenkamp told AFP. The family bore the runner no grudge but wanted clarity about Steenkamp's death.

"The family haven't got that animosity or hatred or anything like that but questions, and we realise that it's going to come out," he said.

Sharon Steenkamp, her cousin, told local newspaper The Herald that none of the family at Steenkamp's parents home had met Pistorius. "No, we are not even thinking about Oscar. All our focus is on Reeva, her life and what has happened to her. She never had an enemy in the world and was a super person," she said.
15:16  The paramedics were not for Oscar, but for switchboard worker on the 1st floor of the court, says the Guardian.
15:13  Paramedics arrived at the Pretoria court where the bail hearing for Oscar Pistorius is on. Reason unknown, as yet. -- Guardian. 
15:11  Trains, taxis, autos, buses will ply on 2-day bandh:  Eleven Central trade unions tonight stuck to their call for a two-day nation-wide strike from Wednesday after talks with senior ministers convened at the instance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed.

Rejecting the prime minister's appeal yesterday to the unions to call of the stir, the trade unions said the panel of ministers failed to give then any concrete proposal and that not even one of their demands were accepted. "The strike is on... They are only asking for time.

However, trains, taxis, autorickshaws, buses, hospitals and public services will work.
14:58  'Pistorius may have regretted premeditated murder':  Pre-planning doesn't mean months, weeks or hours, prosecutor says. "It means: I ready myself, I get a gun, I make it ready to fire, and I walk there to shoot. Nel says premeditation does not preclude Pistorius's feeling regret after the fact," said the prosecutor.
14:49  Oscar Pistorius in court: The court breaks for 20 minutes. 
14:47  Hate speech case: Akbaruddin appears in court:  MIM legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, who was earlier granted bail in alleged hate speech cases, today appeared before a court at Nirmal town in Adilabad district.         

The magistrate posted the next hearing in the case for March 5. While granting him bail last week, the court had asked him to appear before it today.

Akbaruddin, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) floor leader in the state Assembly, has been facing charges of sedition and waging war against the nation among others, under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for his "hate speech" in two different courts in Adilabad and Nizamabad districts. He was released on bail on February 16 after the two courts granted him bail.
14:39  Reeva was still alive when shot: Prosecutor :  Oscar Pistorius in court: On Tuesday, the prosecution asked why a burglar would lock oneself in a bathroom. Items found in Pistorius' home suggest Steenkamp intended to stay the night.

She had an overnight bag and her iPad, a South African official familiar with a case said Monday.

The 29-year-old model was alive after she was shot, and Pistorius carried her wounded body downstairs, said the official, who was not authorized to release details to the media.Police were alerted to the shooting by neighbors, and residents had "heard things earlier," spokeswoman Denise Beukes said.

A police spokeswoman said there had been "previous incidents" at the home, including "allegations of a domestic nature." They did not detail what those may been.

Detectives are investigating a blood-stained cricket bat in the home, Johannesburg's City Press newspaper reported, and are trying to determine whether it was used to attack Steenkamp, if she used the bat in self-defense, or if Pistorius used it to try to break down the bathroom door.

Pistorius, 26, has rejected the murder allegation "in the strongest terms," his agent said in a statement. His defense attorney argued Tuesday that the incident was not premeditated, and that Pistorius has no prior convictions. More
14:26  Why India Needs Finmeccanica:  A potential barring of Finmeccanica SpA from future contracts in India would not only hurt the Italian aerospace and defense contractor, but it would also delay efforts to modernize the Cold War-era equipment of the Indian armed forces, some analysts and politicians say. Read
14:25  20 fishermen assaulted by Sri Lankan naval personnel:  In other news: Twenty fishermen from Tamil Nadu were allegedly assaulted by Sri Lankan navalmen while they were fishing near Katchathivu islet early this morning, officials said. The navy personnel surrounded the fishermen's boats, allegedly beat them up and then took away the GPS equipment. They also cut the fishing nets and threw the catch into the sea, officials said. Katchathivu is an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka in the 1970.
14:09  'Nothing to support Pistorius' intruder claim':  Oscar Pistorius in court: Prosecutors told a court today that there was nothing to support Oscar Pistorius' claim that he thought his girlfriend was an intruder when he fatally shot her through the locked bathroom door of his home in South Africa.

A bail hearing, described as a "little trial' by one expert, was being held to determine whether the double-amputee athlete known as "Blade Runner" should be freed pending trial.

As the hearing began just after 9:30 a.m. local time, Pistorius, 26, stood staring straight ahead, trembling with his jaw clenched.Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair asked him "are you well?" to which the athlete shrugged and said "I guess."
14:06  Park Street case: Three accused charged with gang rape:  Meanwhile, three accused have been charged with gang rape in the Park Street case. Sumit Bajaj, Nishad Khan and Naser Khan were arrested on February 18, 2012, exactly a year and a day before charges were be framed against them. Charges will not be framed against prime accused Kadir Khan and co-accused Ali, who are absconding. According to the law, police will have to submit a supplementary chargesheet against the duo once they are arrested before charges can be framed against them.
13:56  HC gives bail to assistant directors in drunk driving case:  In other news: In a relief to Mark Samuel, the assistant director of Salman Khan-starrer 'Dabaang-2', and his friend Vidushi Sood, held in a case of rash and drunk driving, the Bombay High Court has granted them bail while quashing an order of a magistrate who had ordered their custody.

Both Samuel and Sood were arrested on February 15 after a chase in suburban Oshiwara and produced before a magistrate, who had remanded them in custody till February 21. They were booked for over speeding on Jogeshwari-Vikhroli link road and also misbehaving with police. Police also alleged that Samuel was drunk.
13:50  Pistorius broke down bathroom door, carried victim downstairs:  South African athletics star Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend three times as she was in the bathroom at his home, prosecutors have said.

Details of the murder case against Mr Pretorius are emerging at a bail hearing in Pretoria.

The defendant - who is expected to deny murder - wept as he heard the account.

His girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was shot dead on Thursday.The court appearance comes on the same day as her funeral in Port Elizabeth.

In their account of the killing, prosecutors said Mr Pistorius - a double amputee - got up, put on his prosthesis, walked seven metres and fired his gun through the bathroom door.

He shot four times and hit Ms Steenkamp three times, prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court. Mr Pistorius then broke down the bathroom door and carried the victim downstairs, he added.

Earlier, prosecutors said they would press a charge of premeditated murder against the 26-year-old athlete.

Mr Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion, competed in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games at London 2012. -- BBC.
13:47  'Armed Pistorius put on his prostheses, shot Reeva dead':   Oscar Pistorius in court. Prosecutor Garrie Nel says: Oscar Pistorius "armed himself, put on his prostheses, walked 7m and shot dead the deceased."
13:40  Kingfisher shares up 5 pc as UB Group hikes loan limit:  Shares of Kingfisher Airlines today surged as much as five per cent on the bourses in afternoon trade after its group holding firm United Breweries (Holdings) hiked its loan limit for the ailing carrier to Rs 750 crore from Rs 300 crore.

UB Holdings has sought approval from its shareholders to revise the lending limit for Kingfisher and to authorise its board of directors to take necessary actions in this regard, the company had said yesterday.
13:39  Police check Reeva Steenkamp iPad for motive :   Oscar Pistorius in court: South African police are believed to be checking SMS and text messages from the slain model's iPad and mobile phone to try to establish a motive for her death. Reeva Steenkamp was believed to be in a 'close friendship' with South African rugby star Francois Hougaard when she was killed. The pair had reportedly dated in the past. --
13:30  Pistorius killed an innocent woman: Prosecutor:  Prosecutor Garrie Nel begins speaking, laying out the prosecution case that Oscar Pistorius shot an innocent woman, who was unarmed and inside a toilet. Pistorius slumps forward, sobbing. -- The Guardian
13:20  Pistorius looks 'exhausted', 'emotional' in court :  The Guardian reports that Oscar Pistorius who has arrived for his bail hearing at the Pretoria court looks "exhausted" and "emotional. Sky News's Alex Crawford describes him as looking very contemplative and calm, sitting staring at this hands. The prosecution say they are ready to argue for a charge of schedule six premeditated murder. Pistorius's team are aiming to have this reduced to the relatively less serious schedule five.
12:37  Pistorius gun licence initially rejected:  Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius' application for a firearm licence was initially rejected, according to a report today. The Beeld newspaper reported that the licence, for a 9mm firearm, was not approved when he applied for it in 2008. This is the firearm with which Pistorius allegedly shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his Pretoria home last week. Read
12:30  Back to the Pistorius story, girlfriend and victim, Reeva Steenkamp's father says: We don't hate Oscar. Read more
12:28  Will NOT resign over chopper deal: Antony:  Meanwhile, Defence minister AK Antony says he will not resign over the chopper deal. "Why should I resign? I will do my duty, we have nothing to hide," says Antony. We are trying to get details of investigation from the Italian government." 
12:24  Murder accused Pistorius in court for bail hearing:  Athlete and murder suspect Oscar Pistorius arrives at court in Pretoria for the bail hearing.

Also read: Police 'believe message on iPad of model shot dead by Blade Runner may have sparked fatal row
12:19  Khurshid on the chopper scam: We have nothing to hide:  Defence Ministry will recommend what it thinks "appropriate" on the issue of the Rs 3,600 crore contract to procure VVIP choppers from an Italian firm, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said today while making it clear that he has not expressed "reservations" on scrapping the deal. "We should not be pressuried by anything.

"We have nothing to hide. It is an outrightly objective procedure that has been followed. "Keeping all that in mind, the Defence Ministry will recommend what it thinks is appropriate," Khurshid told reporters here. The Minister also said he has not expressed reservations on scrapping of the deal by the Defence Ministry.
12:13  Antony on chopper deal: Something is WRONG:  Defence ministry AK Antony addressing a meet in New Delhi on the chopper deal. Antony says the government has followed all procedures in the deal, but despite precautions something went wrong, but said no mercy would be shown to those guilty.  
12:03  When Napoleon met Einstein... Read
12:00   Write a book, Arundhati tells Suryanelli victim. Read

Well known writer and social commentator, Paul Zacharia speaks to Rediff.coms Shobha Warrier, and opines on the Suryanelli case that is being talked about in Kerala once again, after 17 years. Read
11:55  Ruling out default by definition:   The expected has finally occurred. Banks that were pretending for long that Kingfisher airlines would wriggle out of its problems and take to the sky again have decided the end has come. Read

Also read: This gag order is no faking news
11:52  Think beyond censorship:  Governments and official agencies try very hard to control the Internet, but the design of this global network with no physical centre makes it difficult to achieve. What is blocked in one territory is accessible in the rest of the world. More importantly, scrubbing is counterproductive. Read
11:51  An execution most foul:  In carrying out Afzal Guru's death sentence, the government deliberately ignored the view of the Supreme Court and courts across the world that hanging a person after holding him in custody for years is inhuman.
That's also on the Hindu. Read
11:45  The killing of a young boy:  New photographs of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran's son just before he was shot dead, obtained by Channel 4 TV, leave more questions for Sri Lanka to answer about war crimes. Read the full story on the Hindu. 
11:43  Sandhya death case: Police add abduction, murder charges:  The city crime branch probing the death of Sandhya Singh, sister of Bollywood composers Jatin- Lalit, has added charges of abduction, robbery and murder in the case.

"Abduction, murder and robbery charges, which were not in the FIR, have now been added as she was murdered and robbed by unidentified persons," a crime branch official said. A team of crime branch would also visit the spot in Navi Mumbai where her skeletal remains were found.

The places where she was seen on the fateful day would also be visited to understand the sequence of events that led to her murder, the officer added. "A forensic experts' team would also accompany the police team," the officer added. The case was recently transferred to Mumbai crime branch from Navi Mumbai Police. So far, no arrests have been made.
11:41  British PM David Cameron meets PM Manmohan Singh in Delhi. 
11:37  Antony snubbed? Won't be part of PM-Cameron talks:  Defence Minister A K Antony is not part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's delegation that will hold talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron during which defence deals are expected to come up for discussion.

However, no reasons were given for Antony not being part of the delegation. During the talks, the British side is expected to take up the issue of Eurofighter combat aircraft for India's requirement of 126 multi-role fighter planes for the IAF. The controversial chopper deal involving Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland may also come up for discussion.
11:24  India will look for ways to become 'a party' in Italy case:   With Italian authorities refusing to share details of their probe into the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, the CBI-Defence Ministry team in Italy will explore legal ways to become "a party" in the Finmeccanica trial before the Italian court, which would then ensure access to all documents and investigation reports.
Read more
11:21  As FM, Pranab opposed changes in chopper deal:  During his tenure as the finance minister, President Pranab Mukherjee had, in 2009, raised some objections to the VVIP chopper deal, questioning the need to include new parameters after the Request For Proposal stage, which resulted in a cost escalation of over Rs 600 crore for the AgustaWestland helicopters. Read more
11:14  Chopper scam, Hindu terror, Coalgate... BJP has lots to discuss:  The BJP Parliamentary Party is set to discuss the helicopter scam, the Hindu terror angle (Sushil Kumar Shinde's remark), the Coalgate scam, etc and then work out a strategy to make the UPA accountable in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament. The BJP Executive meeting today is to be held at LK Advani's residence. 
11:02  Amar Singh critical, but stable, hospitalised in Dubai:  Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was admitted to a Dubai hospital on Monday after he fainted at the airport there. 57-year-old Singh was on his way to Singapore for regular health check-up when he fainted at the Dubai airport, an aide at his Delhi residence said. "His condition is critical but stable," the aide said, adding he has been admitted to Welcare Hospital in Dubai.
11:00  Manmohan to meet UK PM today:   Up ahead in the day...

A contempt of court petition filed by Tamil Nadu against Karnataka is likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court. The Tamil Nadu chief secretary is likely to appear in the Supreme Court to provide details of missing children from the state.

Then, Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath is likely to issue a statement on the Budget session of Parliament at 4 pm today. Following this, a Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting is likely.

UK PM David Cameron is in Delhi and is likely to meet the PM.

Then, of course, Defence Minister AK Antony will speak at the India-Russia partnership event. 
10:45  Fire breaks out in south Delhi's Nehru Place :   A fire broke out on the second floor of Ansal Tower in Nehru Place, a popular commercial centre in South Delhi, at around 9 am, reports NDTV.

At least six fire engines were rushed to the spot.

More details are awaited.
09:58  Bandh: Autos to go off roads, buses to ply tomorrow:  The meeting between central trade union leaders and senior ministers failed in New Delhi on Monday night with the unions refusing to accept the government's appeal to postpone their two-day call for strike from Wednesday.

However, in Mumbai most union will not strike work on Thursday keeping in mind the start of the HSC exams.

While the auto unions led by Sharad Roa will join the bandh on Wednesday, the BEST bus and train services will remain unaffected.   
09:21  Separate chopper from the scandal: David Cameron:  British Prime Minister David Cameron will meet his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi today.  Cameron spoke to Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta in an exclusive interview about the VVIP chopper scam, easing business rules with India, the economy and much more.

"I want to safeguard AgustaWestland's future. Separate chopper from the scandal," Cameron told NDTV ahead of his meeting with Dr Singh.

Watch the full interview of NDTV
08:57  India will not ask Nasheed to leave embassy:  Stepping up pressure on India, Maldives on Monday pressed for facilitation of the arrest of former President Mohamed Nasheed against whom a fresh court warrant was issued on the sixth day of his stay at the Indian High Commission in Male.

However, India is unlikely to ask Nasheed to leave because it feels it was up to the Maldivian leader to take a call, sources said in New Delhi.

A Maldivian court on Monday gave time till Wednesday 4 pm to the police for bringing Nasheed before it, prompting them to approach the foreign ministry asking it to get in touch with the Indian High Commission, where Nasheed has taken refuge since February 13.
08:51  Nagaland HM quits after arms haul: Sources:  CNN-IBN reports: Nagaland Home Minister Imkong L Imchen has resigned from the Council of Ministers, sources said.

Imchen was detained earlier on Monday after he was caught carrying carrying a cache of arms and ammunition and Rs 1.10 crore in cash in a vehicle. A case under the Arms Act has been filed against him and he has been arrested.

Read the full report here

08:30  India wins hearing on Kishenganga power plant :  The International Court of Arbitration at the Hague has upheld India's right to divert water from the Rs. 3600-crore Kishenganga Hydro-electric Project (KHEP) in north Kashmir today, reports PTI.

The arbitration court took the decision after Pakistan sought a stay on the project claiming that India was diverting the flow of the river and violating Indus Water Treaty between the two countries.

Reacting to the development, official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said, "The award of the Court of Arbitration at The Hague today reaffirmed validity of India's position regarding KHEP by allowing diversion of water from the KHEP as envisaged by India."
02:12  Chavez returns to Venezuela after Cuba cancer care:  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned to the country after receiving treatment for cancer in Cuba.

In three messages posted on Twitter, Mr Chavez, 58, thanked Cuban President and ex-leader Raul and Fidel Castro.

He also thanked Venezuelans for their support and said he would continue treatment in his home country.

He has been president for 14 years and was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2012, but his swearing-in was delayed because of his illness.

Read the full story here
01:30  Will punish perpetrators of Quetta attack: Pak PM:   Calling for collective action to eliminate terrorism, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf today pledged that his government would go to any extent to punish those responsible for the bomb attack that killed scores of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.

"It is not time for a political divide. It is not time to discriminate between the government and the opposition. We need collective wisdom and action for the nation's deliverance from the challenges it faces," Ashraf said, while addressing the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

He spoke after the House discussed the law and order situation with special reference to the devastating bomb attack that killed 89 people and injured nearly 200 in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta on Saturday.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack, which came barely a month after twin suicide bombings in Quetta killed 92 Shias.
00:34  Pak CJ seeks govt response on attacks on Shias:  Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry today took suo moto notice of a series of attacks that killed hundreds of Shia Hazaras in Quetta and sought a response from the government regarding steps taken to address the issue.

The Chief Justice acted after receiving a note from the Supreme Court's Registrar regarding the attacks on the minority Shia Hazara community. 

The note referred to twin suicide bombings in Quetta that killed 92 on January 10 and a devastating bomb attack that left nearly 90 dead on Saturday. The case will be heard by a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice tomorrow.
00:10  Bharat bandh: Talks with ministers collapse:  Eleven Central trade unions tonight stuck to their call for a two-day nation-wide strike from Wednesday after talks with senior ministers convened at the instance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed.

Rejecting the prime minister's appeal yesterday to the unions to call of the stir, the trade unions said the panel of ministers failed to give then any concrete proposal and that not even one of their demands were accepted. "The strike is on... They are only asking for time. 

They say they will study the demand and will give proper reply or take necessary action later on... We said it is not possible, there should be some concrete decision over demands of the workers," INTUC President G Sanjeeva Reddy told reporters.

INTUC is affiliated to the Congress. AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta also endorsed Reddy's views. The two-hour long meeting was attended by representatives of all the 11 trade unions.
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