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Army, BSF reviews security along LoC in J-K

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January 09, 2013


22:09  NIA court extends custody of Malegaon blast accused:  A special National Investigation Agency court here today extended the custody of Manohar Singh, a prime accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast, till January 16. NIA, seeking extension of his custody, had said he was one of the planters of the explosives and a key conspirator.

Singh was arrested on December 29 last year by NIA from Hathod area of Indore in Madhya Pradesh. NIA claimed he has confessed to his role in the blast.

The multiple bomb explosions in Malegaon, a communally sensitive powerloom town in Nashik district, on September 8, 2006 killed 37 people and injured over 100.
22:07  Himachal govt to probe land allotment to Bhushan:  Himachal Pradesh government today said it would conduct an inquiry into the alleged violation of norms in sale of a tea plantation land to social activist Prashant Bhushan two years ago.

According to the state laws, a person, who is not a resident of Himachal Pradesh cannot purchase land in the state. HP Revenue minister Kaul Singh said: "We will investigate whether the permission granted to Bhushan has been for purchase of land only or for change of its land use too.

"If there is a violation of statutory and administrative procedures even in the transfer of land in his name, we will take action."
22:06  Army, BSF reviews security along LoC in J-K:  A day after the brutal and inhuman killing of two soldiers by Pakistani troops in Poonch, Army and BSF today reviewed the security set up along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir.

The security situation and security measures have been reviewed at a high level meeting today at Rajouri based headquarters of 25 Infantry Division headed by 16 Corps Commander, Lt Gen D S Hooda.

Gen Hooda has visited the forward areas and met field commanders, who briefed him about the situation and security set up along the border.
21:25  French honour Malala, father says Taliban have lost fight:  AP reports: The Taliban must accept peace talks as their mission has failed, the father of Malala Yousafzai said today, accepting a key French award for the Pakistani schoolgirl shot for campaigning for girls' education.

In an impassioned speech after accepting the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Womens' Freedom on behalf of the 15-year-old, Ziauddin Yousafzai said his daughter was supported by the world and by God.

"She fell but Pakistan stood up. And the whole world -- north, south, east and west -- supported her," he said. "God protected her and protected the cause of humanity and education."
21:15  AP govt decides to ban gutkha:  The Andhra Pradesh government today decided to impose ban on sale of gutkha, pan masala and other such tobacco products in the state.

State Commissioner of Food Safety had requested the government to permit him to impose ban on gutkha, pan masala and other chewable products, a Government Order issued today said.

The government, after examination of the request, permitted the Commissioner of Food Safety today to prohibit the manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of gutkha and pan masala containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients, in the interest of public health.
21:09  Mumbai to get women commandos to fight crimes:  Mumbai may soon get its own group of elite women commandos whose primary responsibility would be to fight crimes against women in the city. "These commandos will be deployed only in the East Region which consists of 18 police stations", said additional commissioner of police (east region) Quaiser Khalid who mooted the idea.

Though the idea was mooted early in December 2012, the training began shortly after the Delhi gang rape. Commandos will be trained for 45 days and would include running five kilometres a day as well as martial arts techniques. Khalid said training will begin soon in other regions of the city.

There are 91 police stations in the city. Once on the field, these commandos would fight molestation and harassment of women to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.
20:31  Severed head of soldier yet to be found: Army:  The Indian army on Wednesday said both the soldiers killed during an attack by Pakistani troops across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir were decapitated and that one severed head was yet to be recovered.

"The bodies of two soldiers were brutalised--one head was severed and another body was beheaded... It (the head of one of jawan) has not being recovered --probably they have taken it along with them", Deputy Commander of the 25 Division Brigadier J K Tiwari told reporters in Rajouri.
20:07  BJP, Left, TMC demand immediate rollback of rail fare hike:  The BJP, Left parties and Trinamool Congress today slammed the government for the hike in passenger rail fares and demanded its immediate rollback. They termed the decision as "anti-people", saying it will further hit the common man already reeling under price rise and inflation.   

The parties said instead of raising fares, railways should have adopted other means to garner additional revenue. The BJP said the decision to increase rail fares a few weeks ahead of the Budget session of Parliament clearly exposes the "anti-democratic" face of the UPA government.   

"The near 20 per cent hike in fares has dealt a big blow to the common man who is already reeling under high inflation," he said, demanding a rollback of the hiked fares.
19:47  SC dismisses Sahara review plea on Rs 17.4 cr refund:   The Supreme Court has dismissed Sahara group's plea seeking review of its August 31 verdict to refund over Rs. 17,400 crore collected from 2.21 crore depositors.

Two Sahara group firms -- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd -- are to refund the amount with 15 per cent interest to its investors, as per the court's order.
19:39  Well planned Pakistan operation: Brig JK Tiwari:  Brig JK Tiwari, Deputy General Officer Commanding 25 Div, speaking exclusively with TIMES NOW on the Pakistani army action on Line of Control in the Mendhar Sector in which two Indian soldiers were brutally killed and their bodies subjected to "barbaric and inhuman mutilation".

He says the attack was a well planned operation by Pakistan.

Watch the full interview here

18:19  Bilateral process with Pak will not be delayed: MEA:  Talking about the killings of two Indian jawans in the Poonch sector yesterday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khursid told CNN-IBN, "Have communicated our concerns to Pakistan in clear terms. We are waiting for a direct response from them."

He said that it was difficult to move on with Pakistan unless they deliver. 

On whether India will take tough action against the neighbours he said, "Let is first exhaust standard procedures.Can't specify what India can do diplomatically."

But, however, said that he will not allow international inference in matters concerning Pakistan. The bilateral process will not be delayed, said Khurshid.  
18:10  Women must be escorted by male kin, reiterates Azmi:  Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi today he will not apologise for declaring that women must not go out at night unless escorted by a husband, father or brother, reports NDTV.

Azmi's remarks yesterday created a storm.

His son, Farhan Azmi, a restaurateur, later apologied for the comments.

But, Azmi today said he is not sorry, and that while his son may disagree with his opinion, "everyone has a right to air their views in a democracy."

Read the full report here
17:49  3 children killed in blast in Assam:   Three children killed in an explosion near Digboi, Assam.

The bomb was placed under a concrete pipe in a village road. The blast took place at 4.15 pm.

According to eyewitnesses, a group of children were playing near the pipe when one of them picked up an object that looked like a grenade. As soon as a girl in the group picked up the grenade-like object, it went off killing three children and injuring others, according to news channels.

Till now no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
17:19  Kingfisher staff move court to have company shut:  
Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines today faced fresh trouble with its employees deciding to move court seeking a formal closure of the company if it did not spell out future plans giving a time-line for clearing their salary dues of eight months.

The employees are also learnt to have moved the DGCA, informing the aviation regulator of their plans which also include seeking the intervention of the President and the Prime Minister, airline sources said.

"We demand that the management should share the revival plan with us. We also want it to spell out a payment schedule for our salary dues. If we don't find their explanation satisfactory, we will file a winding up petition in the court under section 433 of the Companies Act," the sources told PTI. 

The decision was taken following a meeting of the Kingfisher Airlines Maintenance Engineers Association, which lasted for two hours in New Delhi. 

The staffers have also decided to write to the Kingfisher management asking them to sell assets of the airline and clear salary dues running into several months, they said. 
17:18  Sensex loses 76 pts to end at 1-week low:  
The BSE benchmark Sensex today slipped by 76 points to close at one-week low and the NSE Nifty ended below the 6,000-mark on fag-end selling in FMCG, consumer durables, auto and metal shares, ahead of November industrial production data.

The BSE 30-share barometer resumed better and moved in a narrow range till late afternoon trade before succumbing to fag-end selling to settle at 19,666.59, a fall of 75.93 points or 0.38 per cent. This is the lowest closing since 19,426.71 on December 31, 2012.

The broader 50-issue Nifty of the NSE fell back by 30.20 points or 0.50 per cent to end below 6K-mark at 5,971.50. 

"A cautious approach ahead of IIP numbers and Q3 results led to the selling pressure," said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio. 
16:32  Indian Army pays tribute to slain jawans:  
Soldiers and officers of the Indian Army paid their tribute to two jawans who were martyred in an encounter with Pakistan soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

The body of one of the soldiers was found 'badly mutilated' in a forested area along the Line of Control
16:25  Jharkhand Guv recommends President's rule in state:  
Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed is understood to have recommended President's Rule in the state by keeping the assembly under suspended animation. 

The recommendation was made in his report to the Centre on the political situation in the wake of the resignation of Chief Minister Arjun Munda who also sought dissolution of the Assembly after JMM withdrew support to his Government, sources said.

"I have received the preliminary report from the Jharkhand Governor. I will go through it. Wait for sometime for any decision," Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters without giving details. 

Munda had resigned on Tuesday and his cabinet recommended dissolution of the assembly. 

The present political crisis erupted when BJP's ruling coalition partner JMM, in a letter to the Governor, formally withdrew its support to the 28-month-old government pushing it into a minority.
16:21  Jayalalithaa announces Pongal bonus for govt staff:  
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday announced bonus to state government staff and teachers for Pongal festival. 

Group C and D staff and teachers will be paid bonus with a ceiling limit of Rs 3000, a state government release said.

Group A and B staff and teachers, full-time and part-time employees who had put in 240 working days in a financial year, anganwadi workers, those on special pay including in Panchayati Raj department, contract labours among others will be paid Rs 1000, it said. 

Pensioners and former village administrative officers will be granted Rs 500, the release said, adding, the government will incur an expenditure of Rs 311.53 crore for the payment of bonus.
16:16  Govt blames mounting losses for train fare hike:  
Justifying the hike, Bansal said passenger segment losses are likely to touch Rs 25,000 crore in the current fiscal.
 
"Input costs have increased immensely while rail fares have remained stagnant. In fact there was a decrease in lower class fares. Given economic slowdown, we have not been able to so far achieve this year's targets in either freight or fare side," he added.
 
He said that the slowdown has further impacted railways' earnings.
 
He further said hat extra revenue earned through the fare hike will be used to maintain cleanliness and safety.
15:54  A look at the revised train fares:  

Some of the raised fares:

Delhi-Mumbai AC 3-Tier: From Rs 1065 to Rs 1205

Delhi-Howrah AC 3-Tier: From Rs 1088 to Rs 1235

Delhi-Mumbai Sleeper: From Rs 214 to Rs 270

Delhi-Howrah Sleeper: From Rs 218 to Rs 280

15:32  First train fare hike in a decade; up by 20 pc:   Just in: Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday announced a hike in train fares. 

The new rates:

2nd class ordinary suburban- 2 paise per Km

2 class ordinary non suburban- 3 paise per Km

2nd class mail express train- 4 paise per Km

Sleeper class- 10 paise per Km

AC chair car- 10 paise per Km

AC 2 tier- 15 paise hiked earlier and additional 6 paise now

AC first class- 30 paise per km was hiked earlier and additional 10 paise now

The new fares will be effective from midnight of January 21, 2012. Meanwhile, the Railway Minister also clarified that the fares will not be hiked in Railway Budget.
15:04  Train fares set to go up by 20 per cent:  
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is likely to announce a hike of 20 per cent in railway fares and sources said that the government won't wait for the Budget Session to announce it. 

A clear indication of the same came from Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who told the Times of India recently, "People are ready to pay. After all we have to modernize the railways. 

"People also must understand this. We seek there cooperation since there is no increase in passenger fare for last 12 years. Though any increase in fare will pinch, it is obviously, but then we have to be realist in our approach. That is what I appeal to the people

This will be the first fare hike by Indian Railways in the last 10 years.
13:55  No truth in LoC attack; it's just propaganda: Pak:  
Here's what the Pakistan army is saying on Tuesday's LoC attack: "Today Pakistani Military DGMO talked to his counterpart in India on hotline. Pakistan rejected Indian Army allegations of cross LoC firing by Pakistani troops and killing of any Indian soldier."

"Indian authorities were informed that Pakistan carried out ground verification and found nothing of this sort happened. This is mere propaganda by the Indian Army."

13:33  Court keeps media out of Delhi gang-rape trial:  
A Delhi court on Wednesday upheld magistrates order for in-camera proceedings in the December 16 gang-rape case and restraining media from reporting it. 

The trial court had ordered in-camera proceedings following the "unprecedented situation" in the courtroom with crowds of reporters, lawyers, security personnel and onlookers. 

Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said: "An unprecedented situation arises when members of bar and public persons not connected with the case also have started converging in the courtroom..." 

"The courtroom has become jampacked with lots of disturbance created from different nooks and corners," observed the court. 
13:22  2013 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards announced:  
The 2013 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards have been announced. Here's the list of the winners

* Hist Exellency Rajkeswur Purryag, Mauritius for Public Service

* Australia India Society of Victoria  for Community Service

* Prof Dr Gursharan Singh Chhatwal, Germany, for Science

* Ashok Shambhomal Vaswani, Guinea, for Community Service

* Indian Doctors Forum, Kuwait, for Community Service

* Tan Sri Ravindran Menon, Malaysia, for Community Service

* Dr Rasik Vihari Joshi, Mexico, for Literature

* Dr Satendra Kumar Singh, New Zealand, for Community Service

* Gilbert Canabady Moutien, Reunion Island, for Business

* Mohammed Rabeeh Karuvanthodi, Saudi Arabia, for Business

* Ismail Ebrahim Ebrahim, South Africa, for Public Service

* Bava Pandalingal, UAE, for Community Service

* Patricia Maria Rozario, UK, for Music

* Dr Narendra Ramakrishna Kumar, US, for Healthcare

* Subash Razdan, US, for Public Service
13:18  Death for juveniles: HC notice to Centre:  
The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued a notice to Centre seeking its response on the issue of amending the Juvenile Justice Act to pave way for the judiciary to award death sentences to minors involved in rarest of rare cases of crimes. 

The high court issued the notice in response to a PIL seeking amendment in the Juvenile Act so that even minors can be given capital punishment if found guilty in heinous crimes. 

The court asked Centre to file its reply by February 14.

The PIL comes in the wake of growing demands from several quarters to give death sentence to all six accused -- including a minor -- involved in the shocking Delhi gang-rape case of December 16, which triggered national outrage. 
13:16  Investigate barbarous LoC attack, India tells Pak:  
The Indian government has lodged "a strong protest" with Pakistan's High Commissioner Salman Bashir over Tuesday's attack in which Pakistani troops crossed over the Line of Control in Kashmir and killed two jawans. 

One of the bodies was found decapitated. The severed head is missing, top army sources said. 

The second body was also mutilated.

Bashir was summoned to the External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday morning. 

At the 30-minute meeting, sources say, India asked Pakistan to investigate "the barbarous attack."
13:10  Armed struggle will revive in Kashmir: Hafiz Saeed:  
Zee News reports: Jamaat-ud-Dawah Chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander Syed Salahuddin have reportedly stated that jihad (armed militancy) would revive in Kashmir next year. 

News magazine Tehelka reported on Wednesday that a delegation of Kashmiri separatists, while visiting Pakistan last month, had also Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin. The duo, whom India describes as terror masterminds, told the Kashmiri separatists that armed militancy would revive in the Valley in 2014. 

'Both Saeed and Salahuddin told us that militancy in Kashmir would escalate after the US-led international troops depart from Afghanistan in 2014,' one of the delegates told Tehelka. 

The meeting between Kashmiri separatists and the terror duo was kept secret. Both the meetings happened separately -- one in Lahore, and the other in Islamabad. 
12:58  Sale of tickets for Republic Day parade begins:  
In order to facilitate the general public to witness the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath and Beating Retreat Ceremony at Vijay Chowk, the sale of tickets has commenced.

The price of tickets for the Republic Day Parade on January 26 will be Rs 300 and Rs 150 for reserved seats and Rs 50 and Rs 10 for unreserved seats.

The tickets for the Beating Retreat Ceremony (Full Dress Rehearsal) on January 28 will be in the category of Rs 50 and Rs 20 respectively and will not have reserved seats.

The non-department sale counters have been set up for this purpose at ITDC travel counters at Ashok and Janpath Hotels, DTDC counters at coffee home, Baba Kharag Singh Marg and food and craft bazar, Dilli Haat, opposite INA market and Shri Gandhi Ashram, Chandni Chowk. Tickets at these counters will be available only on working days.
12:45  Pak daily: India, Pakistan must avoid further confrontation:  
Pakistani daily, The News International, in an editorial piece says: 

'There have been numerous violations of the ceasefire, and each side accuses the other of failing to honour it and the entire border region remains highly volatile, despite a thaw in relations over the last year. Incidents such as this have the potential to put relations between the two countries back in the freezer unless they are handled with the utmost delicacy.'

'The LoC is a flashpoint along its entire length and has the capacity to derail the efforts of those with peaceful intent. Neither nation needs or wants another war, both countries have moved beyond that, but the various tracks that make up a still-frail peace process need to gain weight and traction to the extent that they are a counterweight to any military contacts, and that peace is the ultimate winner.' 

'Serious as this incident is we cannot, must not, allow it to propel us in the direction of further confrontation.'
12:28  Pak Army strike team behind LoC intrusion: Sources:  
IBN Live reports: The killing of two Indian soldiers in Poonch by Pakistani troops is being seen to be the handiwork of Pakistani border action team, according to sources in the Indian Army. 

Sources also say that the attack was clearly in retaliation to the alleged killing of Pakistani soldiers in Haji Pir area on Sunday.

Sources say the Baloch battalion provided local intelligence and ground support. 

The teams are strike teams and highly trained. Pakistani villagers living along the LoC were probably used as cover, sources added.
12:27  Owaisi supporters attack media vans in Adilabad:  
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi's alleged supporters on Wednesday attacked media vans in Adilabad after Owaisi was arrested and sent to 14-day judicial custody.

According to television reports, MIM supporters attacked media vans in Adilabad, where a shutdown is being observed today.

The MIM had called for a shutdown in Adilabad and Nizamabad districts in Andhra Pradesh following the arrest of Akbaruddin Owaisi on Tuesday.

Additional security forces have been deployed in Hyderabad and Adilabad as a precautionary measure.

Owaisi was arrested on Tuesday, hours after doctors at the government-run Gandhi Hospital said that he is suffering from a number of ailments.
11:59  No Friday release for Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam:  
Kamal Haasan's much-awaited film Vishwaroopam will not hit the screens, both Direct-To-Home (DTH) and theatres, as scheduled. 

The original plan was to release the movie in DTH platform on January 10 and January 11 in theatres, but now it was stated that the revised dates will be announced later. 

Theatre owners have been objecting Haasan's decision to release the movie first on DTH.

"In-line with the postponement of the release date of the movie Vishwaroopam [Tamil & Telugu]/Vishwaroop [Hindi] across theaters and on the DTH platform by Rajkamal Films, we have stopped taking bookings for the movie premiere," said Shashi Arora, CEO- DTH/Media, Bharti Airtel.

The movie was scheduled for January 10, 2013 at 9.30 pm on Airtel DTH. "We are awaiting confirmation from Rajkamal Films on the revised dates," he added. The actor-cum-producer of the movie Haasan could not be reached for a comment and no official communication from his office has been made.
11:58  
Jottings from New Delhi:

* Top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders are in New Delhi, quietly meeting senior BJP leaders, to ascertain and assess the feelings about an extended term for Nitin Gadkari. A final decision on the issue though will be taken after Pongal (January 15-17).  

* Nitin Gadkari BJP chief on Wednesday treated the party's campaign managers in Gujarat with a heavy breakfast at his New Delhi residence. 

Our planning went well, the advertisement campaign was excellent, the media unit was geared up... my sincere thanks to all of you for having successfully installed BJP for the fifth time in Gujarat -- that was the gist speech of Nitin Gadkari. 

But those who attended the breakfast knew well what's on their mind -- Will Nitin Gadkari will get an extended term for three more years?
11:29  270m Asteroid Apophis to whiz past Earth today:  
Apophis, an asteroid with an estimated diameter of almost three football fields (270m), will make its close approach to Earth this week.

Slooh Space Camera will cover its near-approach on January 9, with several live shows on Slooh.com, free to the public, starting at 4 pm.

This is not the first time Apophis has whizzed past Earth.

Discovered in 2004 by astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, Apophis was calculated at the time to have a 1 in 45 chance of it hitting the Earth in 2029.

Thankfully, improved prediction models have eliminated those concerns, but there still is a chance Apophis could impact Earth sometime in the distant future, perhaps as soon as 2036.
11:26  Death and tax are forever; will pay my dues: BigB:  
A day after the Supreme Court asked actor Amitabh Bachchan to respond to a petition from the Income Tax department, the actor said on Wednesday that he is ready to pay the taxes due. 

The Income Tax Department had claimed that the superstar owed to it Rs 1.66 crore as taxes on the income he earned through his show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' during 2001-02. 

"Death and I-T are the two things that are permanent in anyone's life. Whatever the court says, I will obey it," tweeted Bachchan.

The Bombay high court had dismissed an IT Department's plea on February 29, 2012 after which the department moved the Supreme Court. 

The IT Department in its petition had alleged that the actor in his returns filed for the assessment year 2001-02 showed his taxable income to be about Rs 3.23 crore while the Assessing Officer (AO) assessed the money earned by Bachchan to be around Rs 26 crore including the amount he had earned from the TV show.
11:26  CAT 2012 results declared:  
The much awaited CAT 2012 results were declared early Wednesday. Over 1.90 lakh students had appeared for the test for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management and other top B-schools. 

While the Common Admission Test 2012 officials had announced that the results would be available from midnight, the results were finally declared at around 3 am. However, owing to a server problem, the aspirants could log on to the results page on www.catiim.in only after 4.15 am

Candidates can access their result by registering with their email id and registration number. 

Of the total of 2,14,068 candidates had registered for this year's test only 1.91 lakh students had taken the test conducted in 61 test centres across 36 cities over a 21-day from October 11 to November 6. 

While there were no significant changes to the test this year, there has been a positive shift in the candidate pool in terms of gender and social balance as well as work experience. 
11:19  Pakistani Army's attack is a warning to India: BJP:  
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday strongly condemned the incident of ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch District, describing the attack as a unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan.

"This ceasefire violation is an unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan. This obviously is intended to disturbed the environment of relationship between the two countries. The BJP is strongly condemns this unprovoked attack," Jaitley told ANI.

"The brutality, which has been practiced on the two Indian soldiers, shows the real design behind this attack. This attack is also a warning to India. A warning that, in dealing with Pakistan, is now extremely important. The government of India clearly defines redlines. It has to be very firm, very cautious in how to deal with Pakistan,' he added.

In a significant escalation to the continuing series of cease-fire violations and infiltration attempts supported by the Pakistan Army, a group of their regular soldiers intruded across LoC in the Mendhar Sector on Tuesday.
11:15  Cold wave toll crosses 200 in UP:  
People across India continue to face the wrath of the cold wave as it further intensified in several parts of north India.

In Uttar Pradesh, the minimum temperature fell down below freezing point at several places during the past 24 hours. The death toll due to the cold has mounted to over 200 as 31 more people have succumbed to it in different parts of the state.

Meanwhile, the national capital New Delhi continues to shiver at 3 degree Celsius as there seems no respite from the cold wave.
10:57  JMM leaders camp in Delhi to woo Congress:  
A day after the collapse of the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leaders led by Shibu Soren are expected to hold talks with the Congress top brass in New Delhi on the possibility of cobbling up a new political alliance to form a new government in the state. 

The crucial meeting between the JMM and the Congress comes a day after the regional political party pulled out of the 28-month-old BJP-led coalition government. 

According to reports, top JMM leaders, including Hemant Soren, Simon Marandi, Mathura Mahto and Hazi Hussain Ansari, will hold discussions with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders. 

The JMM leaders are expected to stay in New Delhi till a new political alliance is stitched up. 
10:52  Pak Army's LoC action highly provocative: Antony:  
Just in: Pakistan Army's LoC intrusion was highly provocative, says Defence Minister A K Antony.

"The way dead bodies of Indian soldiers were treated was inhuman. India will convey its protest against the attack to Pakistan government. The DGMO will take up the matter with its Pakistani counterpart."
10:47  Shyam Saran may be new National Security Advisory Board head:  
Shyam Saran, Indias former foreign secretary, is likely to succeed Naresh Chandra as chairman of National Security Advisory Board.

Retired bureaucrat-turned-diplomat Chandra's term is ending this week. 

On Wednesday, the current boards last meeting is being held in New Delhi.  

In the evening, the board that constitutes of experts from various fields will be hosted by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.
10:23  MEA summons Pak envoy over killing of jawans :  India has summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner to lodge a protest over the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army troops. 

Sources say the External Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry and Intelligence agencies have been assessing the situation.

Pakistani soldiers had attacked an Indian army patrol in Poonch. One of the dead soldiers' bodies was found to be mutilated.India has reacted strongly to the ceasefire violation and killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid called it 'inhuman' and 'ghastly'. 
10:13  We hope for peace and stability in South Asia: US:  In view of the unprovoked firing by the Pakistani army killing two Indian soldiers, the US hoped that the two neighbours would work together to maintain peace and stability in the region. 

"We all hope - our Pakistani and Indian partners - that we can maintain peace and stability in the region. The Secretary (of Defense) has affirmed that on visits throughout that region, including to India," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters. 

The issue of tensions, historical tensions between India and Pakistan, is one that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, knows very well, he said in response to a question.
10:04  US may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014:  The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.

The comments by Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security adviser, come as the Pentagon and White House mull over the number of troops that could be left in Afghanistan after 2014 to fight insurgents and train Afghan security forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama are scheduled to meet on Friday in Washington.
10:00  Chief minister's skip Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention:  
Chief ministers of five states who were expected to attend the ongoing Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Kochi, Kerala have given it a miss.
 
The chief ministers who failed to turn up for the convention include; Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Jharkhand CM Arjun munda and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. 
09:39  JMM-Congress meet to stitch new alliance in Jharkhand:  A day after the collapse of the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leaders led by Shibu Soren are expected to hold talks with the Congress top brass here on the possibility of cobbling up a new political alliance to form a new government in the tribal state. 

The crucial meeting between the JMM and the Congress comes a day after the regional political party pulled out of the 28-month-old BJP-led coalition government. According to reports, top JMM leaders including Hemant Soren. Simon Marandi, Mathura Mahto and Hazi Hussain Ansari will hold discussions with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, PM manmohan Singh and other senior leaders. 

The JMM leaders are expected to stay in Delhi till a new political alliance is stitched up. 
09:12  Killing of soldiers by Pak troops inhuman: Khurshid:  India has reacted strongly to the ceasefire violation and killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid called it 'inhuman' and 'ghastly'. 

"It is Absolutely Unacceptable, seems like a clear attempt to derail dialogue. Ghastly incident. This is inhuman. Extremely Myopic by Pakistan. This is not how civilized people behave, specially a neighbour. Extremely distressing. We need answers from Pakistani side. We will take it up," Khurshid said.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari tweeted, "Pakistan must respect rules of engagement and the ceasefire agreement. How can we tolerate mutilation of our braves. Redlines must be drawn."
08:30  Britain's trade minister Marland resigns:  In a fresh setback to the Britain's new coalition government, former Tory Party treasurer Lord Marland stepped down as country's trade minister, becoming the second British minister to quit this week. 

Lord Marland told British Prime Minister David Cameron he wanted to resign to resume a business career. It comes the day after Lord Strathclyde stepped down as Leader of the House of Lords, also saying he wanted to go back to the private sector. 

The first resignation was a setback for Cameron as he re-launched the Coalition with Nick Clegg at Downing Street on Monday.
08:19  MIM leader Owaisi sent to 14 day judicial custody:  Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, facing multiple cases for his alleged "hate speech", was today remanded to 14 day judicial custody by a magistrate in Nirmal town of Adilabad district. 

Akbaruddin was reportedly questioned and produced before the magistrate at 5:30, after which he was sent to judicial custody. The magistrate also asked the police to produce the MLA before the court later today at 10:30 am. 

Owaisi has been taken to the Nirmal town police station, and his petition is expected to be listed at the Andhra Pradesh high court today.
08:15  Moderate earthquake hits North-East India:   An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale rocked North-East India on Wednesday morning at 7.13 am. The epicentre of the quake was along the Indo-Myanmar border.

Tremors were felt in Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. 

So far no injuries have been reported. 


03:29  US considers leaving no troops in Afghanistan :  

A senior White House official has said the US would consider leaving no American troops in Afghanistan after the end of combat in December 2014.

 

The official, however, stressed that the administration remains committed to preventing the country from becoming a haven for Al Qaeda. The comments on Tuesday came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai headed to Washington for talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama.

 

Asked whether Obama would consider a scenario in which all US troops left and there was no residual force in Afghanistan, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser said: "That would be an option we would consider."

 

"We wouldn't rule out any option. We are not guided by the goal of a certain number of troops in the country. We are guided by the objective that the president has set," Rhodes told reporters.

 

Read more on Al Jazeera

03:26  Curiosity Mars rover deploys its rock brush:  

BBC: Nasa's Mars rover Curiosity has used its brush tool for the first time to sweep dust off the surface of a rock. The rotating wire bristles cleared a roughly 5cm-wide patch on an area of ground dubbed "Ekwir 1" by scientists.

 

Brushing away the dust gives the robot's survey instruments a clearer view of the texture and chemistry of the underlying rock. Curiosity is building towards using its hammer-drill, the last major tool yet to be deployed on the mission. This should see action very soon, provided a suitable rock can be identified.

 

The drill will produce a powdered sample that can be put in the robot's on-board laboratories for analysis. The rover is currently investigating a location in Mars' Gale Crater known as Yellowknife Bay, a small depression several hundred metres from the point where it landed back in August.

03:24  Venezuelan Prez Chavez to miss swearing-in:  

BBC: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will not take the oath for a new term in office on Thursday, the government has said. Mr Chavez is in hospital in Cuba after cancer surgery, and has suffered complications caused by a lung infection. He has not been seen in public since his operation last month.

 

Venezuela's opposition has called for the Supreme Court to rule on what should be done if Mr Chavez is absent. Its leader, Henrico Capriles, says that if Mr Chavez is not sworn in, then according to the constitution the National Assembly speaker should act as caretaker president until new elections are held within 30 days.

 

The government insists that the inauguration is a mere formality for an incumbent leader. Mr Chavez has been president since 1999.

03:23  Panetta, Karzai to discuss US troops' future in Afghan:  

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is slated to have intensive consultations with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai on a range of issues concerning Afghanistan's future, in particular the bilateral security agreement that would authorise the number of a residual US force in the war-torn nation past 2014.         

 

Ahead of his meeting with Karzai, Panetta yesterday held a secure video conference with General John Allen, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, from Kabul.         

 

Karzai arrived in Washington yesterday at the invitation of the US President Barack Obama.         

 

"President Karzai will receive full honors, a full honors welcome on the parade field just outside the river entrance prior to his meetings with Secretary Panetta and Chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin) Dempsey," the Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.         

 

Panetta and Karzai will also visit the 9/11 Memorial to honour and remember the 184 people who lost their lives when Al Qaeda attacked the United States. The next day, Panetta will also participate in meetings with Karzai on Friday at the White House.

02:42  China should asses its media censorship row: US:  

Amid demonstrations in China against media censorship, the US today said that it supports freedom of expression but it is upto Beijing to make an assessment of the issue and take action.        

 

"We support freedom of the media, freedom of expression everywhere around the world, including in China, and we believe that censorship of the media is incompatible with China's own aspirations to build a modern, information-based economy and society. As I said, as people become richer, they want to have the ability to speak freely," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.        

 

"So it's obviously upto the Chinese government to make its own assessments about those things, but we obviously stand on the side of free expression and free media everywhere in the world," she said in response to a question.   "We are all watching with interest as the Chinese people make their views known to their own government, and we will all watch how the government takes this into account," Nuland said.

01:10  Not taking sides in Iraq's domestic politics: US:  

The US is not taking any sides in Iraq's domestic politics, a state department official said today, stressing that Washington's role has been to encourage various Iraqi stakeholders to talk to each other.         

 

"We are not taking a side in any of these internal difficulties inside Iraq," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.         

 

"We want to see the Iraqi stakeholders sitting down, talking, meeting, discussing, finding constitutional solutions to the various grievances on all of these issues. Our role has simply been to try to encourage the various stakeholders to talk to each other," she said.

00:15  'No food aid' for million Syrians:  

One million Syrians are going hungry and helpless due to the 22-month civil conflict in the country, the UN says. The World Food Program says it is helping 1.5 million Syrians, but continued fighting and an inability to use the port of Tartus to deliver food mean many people are not receiving aid.

 

The UN estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed in the uprising, which began in March 2011.

 

Read more on BBC

00:08  'Asaram must be stoned for blaming my daughter':  

Headlines Today correspondent Preeti Choudhry spoke to the father of the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim. In this exclusive interview, he spoke on many issues, including Asaram Bapu 's brazen remark against the girl who was brutally gangraped in moving bus on December 16.

Read more here

00:05  Top headlines at this hour:  

Pak troops cross LoC, kill 2 Indian jawans brutally

Pak army denies LoC attack; calls it 'Indian propaganda'

PICS: Akbaruddin Owaisi arrested amid high drama

Noida murder: Third accused arrested, sent to 14-day remand

Youth held for raping girlfriend in Mumbai

Mamata chairs high-level meet after CPI-M, Trinamool clash

Asaram Bapu, the 'elephant', calls critics 'barking dogs'

J'khand appears headed for brief spell of President's rule

Delhi rape: 3 accused to plead NOT GUILTY, says lawyer

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