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Benedict in final speech: I'm just a pilgrim now

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February 28, 2013

22:59  Magnitude 6.3 quake causes no damage in Russia:  Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry says that a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in the Pacific off the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula has caused no casualties or damage. 

The ministry said in a statement that the epicenter of today's quake was located about 65 kilometers east of the Kamchatka coast at a depth of 69 kilometers. It said that the temblor was felt as a magnitude 4 in the provincial capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and other nearby areas.
22:38  Benedict in final speech: I'm just a pilgrim now :  Benedict, who will be known as pope emeritus, is expected to stay at the Castel Gandolfo papal retreat for the next two months.

The cardinals' conclave to elect the next pope is expected to begin sometime in March.
22:20  Benedict makes last public appearance as pope:  In his last public appearance as pope, Benedict said: Dear friends, I am happy to enjoy your sympathy. I give thanks for your friendship and for your affection.

You know that this is a different day for me than earlier days. I am no longer the pope, but I'm still in the church. I'm just a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his pilgrimage on this Earth.

And with all my heart and prayer and love, and with my thoughts and strength, I would like to work for the common good ... and feel very much supported (by you). ... Thank you all very much.

So accept my blessing. May god bless you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thank you all. Good night. Thank you all.

22:10  Benedict XVI makes appearance at the balcony of the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo, where is he expected to give his final speech as pope.
22:08  Benedict arrives at papal retreat, Castel Gandolfo:  Pope Benedict XVI has arrived at the papal retreat in the town of Castel Gandolfo. Thousands of people waiting in the village square -- many waving Vatican flags -- for him to appear on the residence's balcony. reports CNN.

22:00  Pope Benedict XVI arrives at Castel Gandolfo, Italy:  Pope Benedict XVI has landed in the town of Castel Gandolfo, on the outskirts of Rome. He is off the helicopter. Standing just outside the helicopter, he's greeting a delegation at the heliport in the Castel Gandolfo area, CNN reports.
21:54  Benedict XVI final tweet as pope: Thank you for your love:  Benedict XVI final tweet as pope: Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.
21:43  Bells ring in Vatican City as the helicopter carrying Benedict takes off.

About 10,000 people await him in the town of Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict should land in 10-15 minues from now, reports CNN.

21:39  Pope Benedict XVI leaves Vatican:   Benedict's helicopter has taken off and he will be now flown Castel Gandolfo, where he will spend two months before he moves to his final retirement home.
21:35  A motorcade, which was running 15 minutes behind schedule, took Benedict away from the area of his papal apartments. He has alighted a helicopter, which will take him to Castel Gandolfo, reports CNN.
21:30  CNN reports: Benedict's journey out of the Vatican has begun. He has departed the courtyard of San Damaso at the Vatican, and is driven to a heliport

He shook hands with and said goodbye to some staff members before he left. The crowds applaud as he stepped outside.
21:23  NY cannibal cop planned to roast alive fiancee:   In a grisly online plot, a New York police officer planned to torture and roast alive his fiancee with a butcher in India with whom he chatted on the internet, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent has testified in court.

Gilberto Valle, 28, told Aly Khan, that he "longed to butcher and cook female meat" during an online chat last year. Khan offered to provide a place in Pakistan to kill the woman once she was brought to India, FBI agent Corey Walsh testified on Wednesday. Valle, dubbed the 'cannibal cop', is charged with conspiring to kidnap, rape, kill and eat women.

He is also charged with illegally accessing a government database to research potential victims, media reports said.
21:20  Benedict XVI prepares to leave Vatican:   Pope Benedict XVI has vowed "unconditional obedience and reverence" to his eventual successor. He was speaking on his final day in office at the Vatican to his cardinals, one of whom will be elected next month to replace him.

In around 20 minutes, Benedict will start leaving the Vatican for the papal resort in the Italian town of Castel Gandolfo, where he will stay for two months before moving to a permanent residence in Mater Ecclesiae, an ex-nunnery within the ancient walls of the Vatican.
21:04  Brit Asian's suicide sparks online drugs concern:  The suicide of a British Asian teenager has sparked calls for tighter controls over the sale of lethal drugs online.

16-year-old Isobel Narayan found a drug used on death row prisoners in the United States while scouting online forums about suicide.

The college student was found dead at her family home in Didsbury, Manchester, in December 2011 after taking the drugs delivered to her by post.
19:54  Sketches of Hyd blasts suspects to be released soon:  

A week after the twin bomb blasts at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy today said sketches of suspects were being prepared, and he was hoping for a breakthrough.     


"There are a lot of eye-witnesses and with inputs provided by those injured in the blasts we are trying to prepare the sketches of suspects, which will be released shortly," the DGP told reporters.     


Investigators were working on some clues, he said. On February 21, two powerful bombs made with ammonium nitrate exploded in the crowded Dilsukhnagar area, leaving 16 dead and injuring 117.    


The state government has formed 15 probe teams. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is also probing the case. No arrest has been made yet. But the DGP said police have "very valuable data available" and "it is a matter of time we will get a breakthrough".

19:35  Jaya's disproportionate case adjourned to March 4:  

The Special Court in Bangalore trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today adjourned the matter to March 4 for further recording of evidence of defence witnesses.        


Special Court judge M S Balakrishna adjourned the matter after evidence of 12 such witnesses were recorded today. The cross-examination of defence witnesses will be conducted from March 6-8, the court stated. On February 4, Special Public Prosecutor appointed in the case, Bhavani Singh, had sought time to study the case.        


Jayalalithaa has been charged with amassing wealth to the tune of Rs 66 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income when she was the chief minister between 1991 and 1995 and the case had been transferred to the court in Bangalore by the Supreme Court.

19:00  Uttarakhand BJP asks Bahuguna govt to resign:  

Uttarakhand BJP today asked the Bahuguna government in the state to step down on moral grounds, accusing it of wasting too much of the tax payers' hard earned money on travel by air.        


Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ajay Bhatt accused government functionaries of undertaking too many trips abroad and to Delhi by air and said it had burdened the state exchequer.        


In comparison to the last financial year, 67 more air trips have been undertaken by the government which amounts to blowing away hard earned public money on pure luxury, Bhatt said, alleging that none of the trips were undertaken in public interest.        


He said it would have been better if the state government diverted the wasteful expenditure on air travels to development work.

18:18  Rahul Gandhi on one-day visit to Mumbai tomorrow :  Heads up if you're heading to Dadar tomorrow morning. Rahul Gandhi is headed to Tilak Bhavan, Dadar, at 9:45 am, where he will be meeting with office bearers of the District Congress Committees & Block Congress Presidents of Mumbai. Then at 1.30 pm he will be meeting with the elected Congress Members of Mumbai Municipal Corporation. At 2:45 pm, he will attend the extended executive meeting of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.
18:11  'Mulayam should ask son if he wants NREGA scrapped':  Taking on Mulayam Singh Yadav over his demand to scrap UPA's job scheme MNREGA, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the SP leader's son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav appears not to share his views.

"Did his son (Akhilesh) agree with that view. His son writes to me every second day asking for more money under MNREGA. I don't think that Mulayam Singh's view is shared by his son. He should ask his son," Ramesh said when asked about Yadav's demand.

In his speech on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in Lok Sabha yesterday, Yadav had attacked the rural job scheme, claiming it to be the root of corruption in the country and demanded that it be scrapped.
18:06  Two Muslim students abducted by police for Hyd blasts:   Terror witch hunt of Muslim youths after Dilsuknagar bomb blasts continues in Hyderabad as two Muslim youths from old city detained by the police. Read
18:05  The killer cops who refuse to fade away:  A builder's murder captured on camera serves as a reminder of what happens when encounter specialists run amok. Read
17:56  Reaching for Infinity:  How a math genius's life was transformed into an interactive experience. The genius of Ramanujan. Read
17:51  Union Budget 2013 as an infographic. Awesome
17:50  Sensex tanks 291 pts to 3-mth low as budget disappoints:  In the worst Budget day show since 2009, the BSE benchmark Sensex today tanked 291 points to end below 19,000-level, as the government slapped more taxes on companies as well as super-rich and offered little concessions for large investors.

The 30-share gauge resumed higher and touched a high of 19,332.28, up by almost 170 points. However, as Budget proposals started trickling in, Sensex turned volatile. It fell sharply to settle at 18,861.54, a loss of 290.87 points or 1.52 per cent. This is the lowest close since 18,842.08 on November 27, 2012.
17:39  Life of Pi Theory:  Why average novels are fodder for good movies but great books fail on screen. Why Life of Pi on screen does not work. Read
17:13  Who's who at the Parliament visitor's gallery:  While Chidambaram was presenting his budget, the minister's wife Nalini, son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi sat in the visitor's gallery. Several Rajya Sabha members including M S Swaminathan, Ramgopal Yadav, Naresh Agarwal, Murli Deora, V Maitreyan, Satyabrat Chaturvedi, Derek O'Brien and Amar Singh too watched the budget presentation from the gallery.
17:06  Dying woman's diamond ring stolen from her finger:  A dying woman had her diamond ring stolen from her finger in the final moments of her life at a hospice, her son said.A thief took the gold band - a gift to Wendy Dolton from her late husband - while she lay in Pilgrim's Hospice in London Road, Canterbury, Kent. Read
17:01  Hyd blasts: IM operatives get 5-day NIA custody :  Just in: Two suspected operatives of the Indian Mujahideen have been remanded to a five-day custody in the NIA by a Delhi court in connection with the Hyderabad blasts case.

A Delhi court yesterday issued fresh production warrants for today against the two suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives whose custody was sought by the NIA for interrogation in connection with the twin blasts in Hyderabad that claimed 16 lives. District judge I S Mehta issued the fresh production warrants against Syed Maqbool and Imran Khan after they were not produced before him by the jail authorities.
16:47  Meet the man who made the Pope's red shoes:  Pope Benedict XVI doesn't use Prada shoes, as was speculated at some point about the red pair that have been his trademark throughout his pontificate period, which ends this February 28 after he made his resignation public.The man behind those iconic red shoes is, in fact, Hispanic. They are a product of Peruvian artisan Arellano. Read 
16:44  Women fail to enter Nagaland Assembly once again:  The two women candidates among the 185 aspirants in the fray for the Nagaland elections have lost out to their male counterparts once again. Rakhila Lakiumong, the BJP candidate from Tuensang Sadar-II and Independent nominee from Mokokchung Town Dr Yangerla were placed third. Rakhila polled 4,193 votes and Dr Yangerla just 579 votes. Nagaland, where the first elections were held in 1964, has not seen any women representative in the House as of date.
16:42  Tripura landslide: CM is India's poorest, donates salary:  Communist Party of India-Marxist Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has led the Left Front to a successive fifth term in power in Tripura.

What is best known about Sarkar is that he is one of the poorest candidates in Tripura -- he lives on a salary of Rs 5,000 a month, which is paid to him from own his party and has no house of his own.

What he earns as the chief minister, he gives to the party.Sarkar can arguably be dubbed 'the cleanest and poorest' chief minister in the country with personal property, movable and immovable, valued at less than Rs 2.5 lakh. More
16:29  Naga Peoples Front wins absolute majority:   The Ruling Naga Peoples Front (NPF) wins absolute majority in the 60-member Nagaland Assembly securing 31 seats.
16:27  Woman 'obsessed with necrophilia' had sex on top of bodies:  An 18-year-old woman apparently 'obsessed with necrophilia' has been accused of having three-way sex on top of the corpses of two men she and her sexual partners allegedly murdered. More of that horror story here.
16:18  Pakistan to free 11 Indian prisoners, including seven fishermen, at the Wagah border tomorrow. Details awaited.
16:14  Against the Tides:  As Pope Benedict XVI says his final farewells, how will Germans remember one of their own? Read
16:05  Benedict XVI passing final day as Pope at Vatican:  On his final day in office, Pope Benedict XVI is meeting cardinals and staff at the Vatican before leaving for the papal retreat near Rome.He will hand temporary charge of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone before flying by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo. Read
16:03  Amitabh Bachchan tweets: They ask me comment on Budget ..'ama yaar, jise apne ghar ke budget ke bare mein pata nahin, woh desh ke Budget pe kya bolega !'
16:01  Whats the Idea, Omar?:  Journalist and author Rahul Pandita laments the lack of wisdom in the proposed J&K Police Bill. Read
15:58  MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin says Rajeev Shahare appointed as India's next High Commissioner to Maldives.
15:47  'CPI-M win in Tripura reflects re-emergence of Left Parties':  The return of the CPI(M)-led Left Front in Tripura and Forward Bloc wresting the Nalhati seat from Congress in West Bengal reflects "re-emergence" of the Left parties, senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said today.

"We congratulate the people of Tripura to have given us two-thirds majority for the seventh Left Front government in the state and sixth in a row," he told reporters when his reaction was sought on the poll results.

Asked about Left Front partner Forward Bloc winning the Nalhati seat, earlier represented by President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee, Yechury said, "It reflects the re-emergence of the Left."

To a question on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's election campaign speech that the Left should be thrown out of the country, the CPI(M) leader said: "Please take the people more seriously. "... More they say such things, more the people react. When Rajiv Gandhi described Kolkata as a 'dying city', we won three subsequent elections in West Bengal. Another Congress leader, who is now more now, also wanted to throw out the Left in the Bay of Bengal, but we kept winning."
15:42  Barbara More resurfaces in new travel show on TV:  Mexican model and actress Barbara Mori is making another attempt to be part of the Indian showbiz whirl. This time, she will be hosting the second season of the travel show, Life Mein Ek Baar 2, on FOX Traveller, which will air in March. Read more

Mori who? She was the heroine of the film, Kites, and more...
15:35  British politician says disabled children should be put down. Read
15:26  Dan Husain: Wow! Stephen Fry in Mumbai! What luck! @stephenfry: Morning, Britain. Hot afternoon here in Mumbai/Bombay ' such a glorious city".

Fry is a man who wears many hats: English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet.
15:16  'Nearby' black hole rotates at speed of light:  Astronomers have calculated the speed of rotation of a massive black hole at the centre of a galaxy 60 million light years away. Read
15:04  Delhi gang rape: Minor charged with murder, rape:  The Delhi Police have explored options to ensure that the youngest and the most brutal of the six accused - declared a minor in January - gets maximum punishment for his role in the Delhi gang rape and murder case. Last month, a juvenile justice board accepted his school certificate as a proof of age and declared the boy to be a minor. He is five months shy of 18.

If found guilty, he will get away with three years in a reform home. The other five accused face a possible death penalty.

"If a couple of months that keep him from the age of 18 can be a reason for a lighter punishment, why can't some provisions in the law be overlooked given the severity and brutality of the crime," a police officer asked. More

Also read: 'Juvenile' deserves death sentence, says victim's mother
14:59  Delhi gang rape: Minor slapped with murder, rape:   Just in: The Juvenile Justice Board frames rape and murder charges against the minor accused in December 16 Delhi gang-rape case.
14:56  Wanted: Married couple for maiden voyage to Mars in 2018:  What Dennis Tito's Mars mission also means is a second honeymoon on Mars A married couple is being sought to represent humanity on the first manned mission to Mars to be launched in 2018. US millionaire tycoon Dennis Tito, who in 2001 became the first space tourist, has launched an ambitious project to send two civilians on a historic 501 days return journey to the Red Planet in January 2018.

Tito has unveiled the plan to launch the first manned mission to Mars in 2018, a voyage that could include an adventurous married crew, '' reported. Tito announced the private Mars voyage plan here yesterday. The project aims not to land people on the surface of the Red Planet, but to take advantage of a rare planetary alignment that would allow a relatively easy, quick flyby around the Mars.
14:51  First humans on Mars will spend 501 days cooped up in tiny space:   The first humans on Mars could be a married couple, after organisers of an ambitious manned mission to the Red Planet said that only a "tried and tested' male-female partnership could cope with the close confinement of a return trip. Read
14:45  Budget 2013-14: What's costly, what's cheap:  Finance Minister P Chidambaram has more or less spared items used by the common man from a price hike but the affluent will have to pay more following the tax proposals in the Budget 2013-14. Following is a list of what will be costlier and cheaper:

- Mobile phone handsets priced above Rs 2,000
- Sports Utility Vehicles
-  Imported cars and high-end vehicles priced over $40,000
-  Imported bikes with engine capacity of 800cc and above
-  Imported yatch and motorboats
- Cigarettes
- Dining at air-conditioned restaurants
- Sales of immovable property worth over Rs 50 lakh
-  Home/flats with a carpet area of 2,000 sq ft or more or of a value of Rs 1 crore or more
- Marbles for flooring
- Silk clothes produced using imported raw materials
- Set top boxes
-  Parking fees

- Branded apparels
- Precious stones
- Imported cheaper hazel nuts and dehulled oat grain
- Sabudana
- Truck chasis
14:29  The school where they speak 20 languages:  Not one pupil at this school in the UK speaks English as a first language. But, despite the challenges, it has just received a glowing report. Read
14:22  Budget speech gets modern on quotes; Stiglitz finds mention:  In a marked shift from quoting words of ancient Indian economist Kautilya and Shakespeare by earlier Finance Ministers, P Chidambaram chose to quote from the contemporary economist Joseph Stiglitz in his Union Budget proposals today. Presenting the Union Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament, Finance Minister P Chidambaram also quoted his favourite poet Tiruvalluvar towards the end of his Budget speech after referring to Stiglitz in the beginning.

"There is a compelling moral case for equity; but it is also necessary if there is to be sustained growth. A country's most important resource is its people," Chidambaram quoted Nobel prize-winning economist Stiglitz as saying, while stressing on the need for inclusive economic growth.

Just before ending his speech, Chidambaram said the government's work would be seen in its action and quoted his favourite poet, Saint Tiruvalluvar: "What clearly eye discerns as right, with steadfast will. And mind un-slumbering, that should man fulfill".
14:17  And another piece on the Pope on the Guardian. Pope Benedict bemoans 'great burden' and loss of privacy as head of church. Read
14:16  The world bids farewell to Pope Benedict XVI:   Part funeral, part jubilee, the Vatican had never witnessed an event like this before. People flocked from all over the globe to acknowledge the retiring Pope Benedict. Read
14:15  Don't trust anyone over 70:  Why old leaders are dangerous. Explained on Read
14:07  Left Front in Tripura bags absolute majority:  Left Front in Tripura gets absolute majority, CPI(M) bags 30 seats and CPI one in the 60-member Assembly
14:01  Unseen archive of only woman photog in WWII :  Lee Miller was on the cover of American Vogue at 20, became part of the surrealist art movement in the 1930s and would go on to be the only female combat correspondent for the allies during the Second World War. Yet the photographer described as "one of the most remarkable female icons of the 20th century' was thought to have left just a few hundred works when she died 35 years ago.But that changed... Read
13:58  Traumatised 15-year-old girl 'raped by her stepfather who then murdered baby' is sentenced to 100 lashes in the Maldives - for having pre-marital sex. Read 
13:54  For sale: big, bold US dailies at knockdown prices:  Some of America's largest and most storied metropolitan newspapers are up for sale, in a sign of the turmoil facing an industry struggling to find a business model in the digital age.

The Boston Globe recently went on the market as its parent company, The New York Times Co., said it was exploring options for the daily. The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun are also on the auction block, along with five others owned by parent Tribune Co., which is refocusing after bankruptcy.

The shakeup in newspapers, which follows changes in ownership at several other large US dailies, portends dramatic changes in a key US media segment.

But the desire to sell is motivated by factors other than cashing out, given the grim reality that newspaper companies no longer attract a litany of buyers or the hefty prices they once fetched.

Despite their legendary status, they are worth only about a tenth of the value from their heyday of a decade or two earlier, said Ken Doctor, a media analyst at the research firm Outsell.

"These are the papers which broke national stories," he said. "They have been important -- and they have been the ones hardest hit by all the changes and digital disruption." The Boston Globe, which was acquired by The New York Times Co. in 1993 for USD 1.1 billion, "will sell for around USD 110 million today."
13:44  Highlights of the budget, just presented by finance minister P Chidambaram. Read
13:42  B'desh leader gets death verdict for '71 war crimes:  Senior Islamist leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi sentenced to death by war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh.

Arrested in June 2010, he is accused of murder, rape and arson during the country's 1971 war of independence.

The verdict will be the third issued by the controversial tribunal, which is trying a total of nine Jamaat leaders in what critics say is a vendetta.

Last week, thousands of people staged a protest in Dhaka, demanding that Sayeedi be given the death sentence.

The tribunals has sparked violent clashes in Dhaka in recent weeks which have left a number of people dead. Sayeedi is accused of working with the Al-Badr group during the independence struggle and carrying out numerous atrocities, including forcibly converting Hindus to Islam.

His critics say that during the war he formed a small group to loot and seize the property of Bengali Hindus and those who supported independence. He denies all 19 charges against him, which include murder, rape, crimes against humanity and genocide.
13:33  China's first lady gives marching orders to military perk:  In other news: China's de facto first lady, famed military singer Peng Liyuan, seems to have gone out of her way to keep a low profile since her husband Xi Jinping was anointed as the Communist Party's top leader at its 18th National Congress last November.

But as Xi pushes forward a high-profile campaign to rid the Party and military ranks of corruption and waste, Peng found herself in the news again as a model Party member more than ready to answer her husband's marching orders. Here's what she's been doing. Read
13:27  Desk workers -- stand up for your health:  If you are reading this sitting down then the chances are you are also increasing your risk of developing heart disease, blood clots on the brain and even certain types of cancer. The latest evidence suggests that being seated for much of the day can also increase your risk of developing diabetes. However, standing up daily for an extra 90 minutes significantly lowers your chances of developing this serious metabolic disorder. Read
13:25  Nagaland Congress PCC President S I Jamir won from Dimapur II seat defeating his nearest Independent rival Savi Liegise by 1,615 votes.
13:15  Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio wins:  At the north-east polls: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio wins from Northern Angami II seat defeating nearest Congress rival Kevise Sogotsu of Congress by 12,671 votes.
13:10  PC presented budget for 8th time less than Morarji Desai's 10 :  Finance Minister P Chidambaram today presented his eighth annual budget in Parliament, the second highest by anyone in the country after a record ten by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

Overall, it was 82nd Union Budget in the Indian history, including interim and special-situation budgetary proposals, since the first one of independent India was presented by then Finance Minister R K Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947.

Individually, Chidambaram presented the Union Budget for the eighth time, the second-highest by any Finance Minister. The maximum number of 10 budgets have been presented by Morarji Desai, while Pranab Mukherjee (currently President of the country), Yashwant Sinha, Y B Chavan and C D Deshmukh have presented seven budgets each in the past. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the country's fourth Finance Minister T T Krishnamachari have presented six budgets each during their tenures in the Finance Ministry.

Among others, R Venkatraman and H M Patel have presented three budgets each, while Jaswant Singh, V P Singh, C Subramaniam, John Mathai and R K Shanmukham Chetty have two budgets each to their credits. Besides, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Charan Singh, N D Tiwari, Madhu Dandwate, S B Chavan and Sachindra Chaurdhuri have presented one budget each. Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi had presented budget in their capacity as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Charan Singh (once) and Morarji Desai (on four occasions) presented budget as Deputy PM and Minister of Finance.

So far, the country has seen 66 normal annual budgets, while there have been 12 interim budgets and four special- occasion budgetary proposals, also known as mini budgets.

The first such mini-budget was presented by T T Krishnamachari on November 30, 1956 in form of fresh taxation proposals through Finance Bills, demanded by the prevailing domestic and international economic situation.
12:54  British terror suspects stripped of citizenship, killed by drones:  On the Independent: The British government has secretly ramped up a controversial programme that strips people of their British citizenship on national security grounds '" with two of the men subsequently killed by American drone attacks. Read
12:48  What the India's first women's bank is about:  Details on India's first women's bank: The country is all set to get an all-women bank by this year with the government announcing an initial capital of Rs 1,000 crore for the purpose.

Announcing the Budget proposals for 2013-14, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the bank is likely to be set by October this year. "I...propose to set up India's first women bank as the public sector. I shall provide Rs 1,000 crore as initial capital. I hope to obtain the necessary approval and banking licence by October, 2013," he said.

The proposed bank will lend mostly to women and women run businesses, support women SHGs and womens livelihood, he said. It will employ predominately women which addresses the gender related issues and empowerment and financial inclusion, he added.

So, what do you think? Discuss the budget here.
12:42  The Al Jazeera infographic on picking the new pope. See
12:38  A realistic assessment:  The Economic Survey (tabled yesterday) is integral to the budget process, bringing out the economic trends in the country on the eve of the budget presentation. This facilitates a better appreciation of resource mobilisation and allocation in the budget. Read
12:32  Benedict XVI enters last day as pope:  When night falls Thursday over Vatican City, there will be no pope in residence.After nearly eight tumultuous years at the head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Benedict XVI has made the almost unprecedented decision to stand down.

That resignation, which takes effect at 8 p.m. local time, opens up the prospect of unforeseen opportunities and challenges for the Roman Catholic Church.As Benedict closes the door behind him, many are wondering whether a new pontiff will choose to lead the church in a different direction -- and can lift it out of the mire of scandal that has bogged down this pope's time in office. More
12:21  On India's streets, women a run gantlet of harassment:   Juhi Nondi, a 20-year-old college student, takes the train every day to and from school here, toting a satchel of textbooks and looking stylish in her skinny jeans and T-shirts -- and long, sharp fingernails. "They're not just for fashion," she says of her pink nails, "but also for self-defense."  Read

Meanwhile, the finance minister has announced a Rs 1000 crore Nirbhaya Fund for women's safety.
12:13  India's first public sector women's bank by October:  The government will set up India's first women's bank as a public sector bank by October, says FM. Reactions...

Sucheta Dalal: Women's bank in a country that has Chanda Kochchar, Shikha Sharma, Naina Lal, Meera Sanyal, Usha anantsubramanima & many many CMD women?

Pritish Nandy: Wonderful. We cant stop rapes, crimes against women. But we want to open a bank for women. As if women cant use normal banks!
12:04  Boss outsources daughter's homework to employees:  Nine civil servants have been suspended after doing a homework assignment for their boss' 12-year-old daughter in China. The employees in an undisclosed provincial government department spent three days on the assignment in the girl's hometown, and claimed expenses. One of the employees, known only as Mr Chen, blew the whistle on the scam, claiming staff with a variety of skills helped out with the project. More
11:58  In Nagaland: The NPF won four seats and is leading in 22 others, Congress won 1 seat and is leading in 5, JD(U) in 1, NCP in 4 and others in 6 seats.
11:40  Time to call the corporate bluff:  The Union budget provides an occasion for the UPA government to end its cosy ties with business houses and recognise the political economy of pain and deprivation. Read Harish Khare's opinion piece for the Hindu.
11:36   Finance minister P Chidambaram allocates Rs 1000 crore for the development of the north-eastern states. Too little, too late?
11:32  Hole in the Wall wins Indian educator $1 mn TED Prize:  Sugata Mitra, an Indian education innovator, was awarded the first $1 million TED Prize for what the global organization called his "innovative and bold efforts towards advancing learning for children." Read
11:23  Nagaland CM leads over Congress rival:  Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio (NPF) is leading by a huge margin of over 11000 votes over his nearest Congress rival Kevise Sogotsu of Congress in Northern Angami II seat. Rio has so far polled 13201 votes and Sogotsu 2191 votes.
11:18  Also on the Wall Street Journal: The Perils of Unfulfilled Indian Youth. Read
11:16  Also read: India moves slowly on sexual offense laws
11:16  Five-year-old gangraped in North Delhi, battling for life:  A five-year-old girl is battling for life in GTB Hospital, where she was admitted after she was abducted and gangraped by two men in New Seemapuri, Northeast Delhi.

Her condition, according to police, is critical and she is under observation.Police said the girl was playing outside her house when the men, who were on a motorcycle, abducted her. The men rode to a secluded spot and took turns to rape her. The men have not been identified yet, police said. See more
11:13  The debate about Cameron at Jallianwala Bagh is rather silly :  The accomplished British cartoonist, Martin Rowson, is '" as befitting his profession '" naturally attracted by the absurdities of public life. Last week, he directed his fire at the Think Tanks. "Let's form a Think Tank', he suggested to his Twitter followers, "Call it' 'Policy Carousel''Front it up with a couple of nerdy teenagers in suits' and start issuing press releases' arguing the dumbest things that comes into our heads. Read Swapan Dasgupta's piece for the Telegraph.
11:11  Pawar seals lips to express grievances with Cong:  Sharad Pawar today hinted he could reveal Congress secrets explosive enough to put the Manmohan Singh government in peril.

"I won't talk about the Congress as the UPA government has to run successfully. I don't want a situation that would create doubts and conflicts,' the NCP leader said.

He sent a veiled warning to the Congress not to nurse dreams of going it alone as there was no escape from coalitions over the next 10-15 years. Pawar was speaking at the release of the Marathi translation of the book 24 Akbar Road, by Rasheed Kidwai, a journalist with The Telegraph.  Read
11:09  Congress surging ahead in Meghalaya:   The ruling Congress is surging ahead to retain power in Meghalaya as it was leading in 21 constituencies in the 60-member House while the United Democratic Party is leading in seven constituencies. Congress chief and former chief minister D D Lapang is leading over UDP candidate Roma Khymdeit by over 1000 votes in 9-Nongpoh constituency. Out of the 122 independent candidates in fray, 11 are leading. HSPDP chief Hopingstone Lyngdoh is set to retain his seat from 32-Nongstoin constituency in West khasi Hills district while his former protg in the last election and rival A Pariong is trailing by over 900 votes.

The P A Sangma-led National Peoples' Party is yet to find a place in the list after two hours of counting. His two sons '" Conrad and James - are trailing behind Congress candidates from Selsella and Dadenggre.

Also read: How a Wharton graduate fits into North-East politics
Pic: Victor Sangma
10:47  NPF forging ahead of Congress in Nagaland:  The Ruling Naga Peoples Front (NPF) was way ahead of opposition Congress in Nagaland where counting of votes is underway. NPF is leading in 16 and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is forging ahead of his closest Congress candidate in North Angami seat by about 4,500 votes. Congress is leading in 4 and PCC chief S I Jamir is among those forging ahead in Dimapur II seat. He is leading over his nearest independent candidate by about 650 votes. JD(U) was leading in 1 and independents in 3.
10:43  Obama's half-brother in India to clean Yamuna :   A little more than two years after Barack Obama made a headline-grabbing visit to India, another, lesser-known Obama has made a quiet trip to the country and reached out to it in the name of the US president.

Malik Obama, the Kenyan older half-brother of Barack Obama, was in India last week as the chief guest at a convention organised by a spiritual leader in Vrindavan, Mathura, and even took part in an event to clean the Yamuna river as part of the convention. Read
10:39  David Cameron's ancestors owned slaves:  British Prime Minister David Cameron is among some of the famous Britons distantly related to people involved in the slave trade, according to a new database. A research conducted by University College London (UCL) documents all British slave-owners who were compensated after being forced to free slaves in 1833 when slavery was abolished in Britain's colonies. See more
10:36  CPI(M) set to retain Tripura, Cong leads Meghalaya :  Leads in Tripura show that the CPI(M) is coming back to power in Tripura for a record fifth time.Congress leads by a healthy margin over UDF in Meghalaya whereas NPF in Nagaland looks set to retain power.Counting of votes for the 60 Assembly seats in Tripura began at 8 am this morning amid tight security.

Counting began at 17 venues in eight districts of the state with three-tier security in each counting hall, sources in the office of Chief Electoral Officer said.Among prominent candidates whose electoral fates would be decided are Chief Minister Manik Sarkar from Dhanpur, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury from Hrishyamukh, Higher Education Minister Anil Sarkar from Pratapgarh, Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury from Manu (ST).

The electoral fortunes of TPCC President Sudip Ray Barman from Agartala, Leader of the Opposition Ratan Lal Nath of Congress from Mohanpur and President of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura Bijay Hrankhwal from Ambassa would also be decided.

Around 2,500 employees, including counting supervisors and counting assistants, have been engaged together with micro observers and Election Commission appointed observers. See more
10:32  Digvijaya Singh's wife passes away:  Asha Singh, wife of senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, on Wednesday breathed her last at a hospital in New Delhi after battling cancer for several years.

She was 58 and died around 7pm at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in Vasant Kunj, where she was admitted a few days ago.

Doctors at the hospital said the cancer was in the advanced stage when she was brought to the institute."She breathed her last in the hospital around 7pm. Her family including Digvijaya Singh was present when she passed away," a senior doctor said.
10:29  HSC Urdu shocker: In letter, condole dad's death:  In other news: All the cramming and revision had not prepared them for this. An insensitive question in the Urdu paper on the first day of theHSC board examination left students traumatized and their parents and teachers fuming. The 80-mark paper's nine mandatory questions included a strange assignment of 4 marks -- "Write a letter to your younger brother condoling the sudden death of your father". Read
10:23  Will the Reds retain their last remaining bastion?:  Will the Reds retain their last remaining bastion in the country? Can Neiphiu Rio perform the hat-trick? Can the new kid on the block, the National People's Party, dislodge the Congress in Meghalaya?

The answers to these and many others, now etched in the memory of the electronic voting machines (EVMs), will tumble out tomorrow as counting is held for the Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya Assembly elections.

By all accounts, if other things remain equal, the results are expected by afternoon for the three 60-seat Assemblies.

Elections in Tripura were held on February 14, while those in Meghalaya and Nagaland were held on February 23.Apprehending a hung house, the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) and the main opposition party in Nagaland, the Congress, have already started contacting Independent candidates in the hope of winning them over to their sides in the event of no party getting a majority. More
10:18  Leads in Meghalaya:  Jova Marak of the United Democratic Party is leading from Rambrai constituency in Meghalaya over Kingford Kharsyntiew of Indian National Congress from Jyrngam constituency. Probin K. Raswai of United Democratic Party is leading from Ranikor over Martin M. Dango of the Indian National Congress.

"The counting will be held in 17 venues in eight districts of the state with three-tier security layers created in each counting hall," said Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jindal.
Elections were held on February 14.
Jindal on Wednesday held meetings with 44 Returning Officers and District Election Officers to ensure free and fair counting which will start at 8 am.
Nearly 2,500 employees, including counting supervisors and counting assistants, will be engaged in the counting process along with micro-observers and Election Commission appointed observers.
Prohibitory orders have been imposed within 100 meter of each counting hall and the entire counting process will take place under CCTV surveillance.
10:07  Leads in Nagaland:  Update on the counting in Nagaland: Leads so fare...
Y Vikheho Swu of Naga Peoples Front leading over Joshua Sumi of Congress in Pughoboto.
N Thongwang of Naga Peoples Front leading over Y Mankhao of Congress in Mon Town.
K Yimso Yimchunger of JD(U) leading over R Tohanba of Naga Peoples Front in Shamtor Chessore.
Tapi 43 Noke of Naga Peoples Front leading over Lanpha of Congress in Tapi. Naiba of Naga Peoples Front leading over Bongkhao of Congress in Tobu. Naga Peoples Front (NPF) leading in 12, Congress in 2, JD(U) 1 and others in 1. Congress trailing in 8, NPF in 4.
09:29  International border sealed in Tripura, Nagaland:  Counting of votes has begun in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland amid extremely tight security.

The international borders of the north-eastern states have been sealed for the day to prevent any untoward incidents.
09:18  Is doctor in Pak jail an American hero?:  
A Congressional resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to recognise a Pakistani doctor, who helped the CIA trace Osama bin Laden, as an American hero.  

Dr Shakil Afridi was arrested by the Pakistan government three weeks after Laden was killed in the US raid for accessing the Al Qaeda leader's compound and helping the US identify who was hiding in Abbottabad.

The resolution also seeks his release from jail.
03:34  Indian, Nigerian armies to co-operate on counter-terrorism Abuja, Feb 27 (PTI) Armies of India and Nigeria would co-operate with each other in the areas of training of cadets and counter-terrorism, as the oil-rich African nation is struggling to overcome insurgency in its northern region. 

Nigerian Army chief Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika told visiting Vice-Chief of Indian Army Staff Lt Gen Krishna Singh that the collaboration would bring to fruition the decisions reached by both countries' armies to collaborate, particularly in the area of training. "The two countries have alwIndian, Nigerian armies to co-operate on counter-terrorism
03:33  Mursi's opponents say will boycott Egypt elections:  An alliance of Egyptian opposition parties decided on Tuesday to boycott parliamentary elections in protest at an election law they say favors the Muslim Brotherhood, increasing the chance that Islamists will sweep the vote.

The boycott by liberal and leftist parties opposed to President Mohamed Mursi aims to undermine the legitimacy of the vote and shows the polarization that has defined Egyptian politics since Hosni Mubarak was toppled two years ago.
02:17  3 killed In Swiss factory shooting:  An employee  of a Swiss factory killed three people, while injuring seven others during a shooting spree.  

This marks another story of a former employee shooting and killing his coworkers happened, this time in Switzerland. "The workers were eating a snack in the cafeteria during the morning, and there was a massacre," said a man quoted by the Swiss news website 20minutes, who had phoned the factory to check on the welfare of his father.
00:50  Film director killed in New Zealand shark attack:  An award-winning short-film director was killed Wednesday by a "huge" shark off New Zealand in a bloody attack being blamed on a great white.

Police Inspector Shawn Rutene said in a statement that the swimmer, identified by his family as Adam Strange, was about 220 yards offshore when the shark attacked. He said police in inflatable lifesaving boats shot at the shark, which they estimated was 12 to 14 feet long.

"It rolled over and disappeared," Rutene said.
00:29  Iran tells Zardari pipeline must advance despite US:  Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today told the visiting Pakistani president that a much-delayed USD 7.5 billion gas pipeline project must go ahead despite US opposition. 

"The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is an important example of Tehran-Islamabad cooperation, and despite hostilities towards the expansion of ties we must overcome this opposition decisively," Khamenei told Asif Ali Zardari, his office reported. 

The gas pipeline project is strongly opposed by Tehran's archfoe Washington.
00:18  Taliban kill 17 Afghans in attack in east:  Taliban insurgents poisoned, then shot and killed 17 people as they slept at a local police post in eastern Afghanistan, one of two attacks in as many days targeting Afghan security forces, an official said Wednesday.

It's unclear how the militants were able to drug people inside the post before firing bullets into their incapacitated bodies Tuesday night, said Abdul Jamhe Jamhe, a government official in Ghazni province.

Ten members of the Afghan Local Police, a village-level defense force backed by the U.S. military and Afghan government, and seven of their civilian friends died in the attack, said Provincial Gov. Musa Khan Akbarzada. He said there was a conspiracy of some sort but declined to confirm if poison was involved.
00:16  Top headlines in the past 24 hours:  
Cauvery dispute: 'Moral and legal victory for Tamil Nadu'

Did Dubai hawala money fund Hyderabad blasts?

Mumbai, Thane tense over MNS-NCP tiff

Pope Benedict's final address

Varun Gandhi acquitted in a hate speech case

VIDEO: 20 killed in Kolkata fire; Mamata orders probe

Meghalaya Governor: Lack of honesty, work culture retard India's growth

Yesterday's Live commentary
00:08  Wages of Tamil insurgency paid by the poor left behind:  
Article by Manu Joseph:

It appears that the Sri Lankan government had somehow forgotten about the existence of the mobile phone.

That was the blunder it made in 2009, when it launched the final onslaught deep into the territory of Tamil insurgents to end a 26-year-old civil war. It kept the news media and human rights organizations out of the war zone, and from the evidence that has emerged, it did not plan to leave many witnesses.

Read more here

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