23:50 Obama proposes sweeping gun control measures:
US President Barack Obama today proposed sweeping gun control measures, including universal background check and ban on assault weapons, hoping that these would bring an end to deadly incidents like the Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting and Connecticut school firing.
"Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. We have the right to worship freely and safely; that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin," Obama said.
"The right to assemble peacefully; that right was denied shoppers in Oregon, and moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado," Obama said, flanked by a group of children as he signed a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
23:09 NIA picks up Samjhauta, Malegaon blasts suspect:
The National Investigation Agency today detained a suspect in connection with the Samjhauta Express and Malegaon blasts from a suburban town of Indore district, police sources said.
The NIA teams made extensive searches at Sanver, a suburban town in Indore and detained Dinesh Devra. Devra of Chandrawatiganj area of Sanver was detained after interrogation, Sanver police station in-charge U P S Chouhan told PTI.
On Monday, the NIA had arrested one Balveer Singh from the Shipra police station area in connection with the Samjhauta Express and Malegaon blasts, as well as the murder of former RSS activist Sunil Joshi on January 14.
22:56 Dengue showing global 'epidemic potential': WHO: AFP
reports: The World Health Organisation said today that it had charted progress in the fight against tropical diseases but warned that dengue fever was spreading at an alarming rate.
"In 2012, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, with an epidemic potential in the world, registering a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years," the Geneva-based UN agency said in a report released today.
The increased transmission rate of the deadly mosquito-borne disease was due to climate change and a greater movement of people, the agency said.
22:16 One gored to death, 67 injured in Jallikattu events:
One person was gored to death during a bull taming event while 67 others, including spectators, were injured in other Jallikattu events organised as part of Pongal festival across Tamil Nadu.
The man died at Thiruvengadam village in Pudukottai district while taking part in Manjuvirattu, a different event wherein the bull is tied to a pole with a long rope and one has to tame it by holding it by the horns, police said.
Thirty-eight people, including bull tamers and spectators, were injured in different Jallikattu events at Alanganallur in Madurai district, they said. As many as 477 bulls were used and people from all over the state and abroad had thronged the venue. Two seriously wounded have been admitted to the government hospital here.
22:14 Kejriwal takes potshots at BJP over Gadkari:
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal today expressed 'surprise' over the likely appointment of Nitin Gadkari as the BJP president for the second time, and claimed the saffron party has now lost moral right to raise voice against corruption.
"Despite number of serious allegations against Gadkari, it is surprising that BJP has almost decided to give a second term to its president," Kejriwal said.
This gives a clear signal to BJP-ruled states that they must shield the corrupt, he said.
22:10 Minor tribal girl gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh:
A minor tribal girl was allegedly gang-raped by two persons near Guna in Madhya Pradesh, police said today. The incident took place in village Kudi Mangwar on January 14, when the victim went to an agriculture field for some work at around 9 pm. The duo, who were in an inebriated state, sexually assaulted her and fled, they said.
The 14-year-old girl informed her parents about the episode yesterday morning following which the matter was reported to the Cantt Police Station, Sub-Divisional Police Officer Antar Singh Kanesh told reporters.
Based on the complaint, police registered a case of rape against the accused, identified as Imrat Lodha and Dharmendra Lodha, both of whom are absconding.
21:46 Facebook's annual hacker competition opens for registration:
Social networking giant Facebook has opened registration for its third annual Hacker Cup, set to begin from January 25. The top prize will be $10,000 (approx. Rs 5.5 lakh) as against $5,000 (Rs 2.75 lakh) last year and as many 25 of the best hackers will be taken to Facebook's headquarter in the US, a statement said.
The Facebook Hacker Cup is an annual worldwide programming competition where hackers compete against each other for fame, fortune, glory and a shot at the coveted Hacker Cup.
21:20 Will not give land for building Muslim Varsity: BJP:
The ruling BJP in Karnataka today said it would not provide land for setting up of Tipu Muslim University proposed by the Centre in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district, alleging it will become a "breeding ground for anti-national elements".
However, Union Minister for Minorities Welfare K Rahaman Khan said the University would be established.
"The state government will not provide land for setting up of Tipu Muslim University proposed by the union government in Srirangapatna for it will become a breeding ground for anti-national elements," Karnataka BJP Spokesperson and MLC G Madhusudan told reporters at Mysore.
18:50 The Pakistan women's cricket team will not be invited to the World Cup starting in India later this month. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has written to the International Cricket Council or ICC on concerns over security for the team.
18:49 Pakistan Cricket Board: Ready to play at any venue:
Zaka Ashraf, chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board says Indo-Pak cricket relationship should continue. "Even though there is no word from BCCI, we are ready to play at any venue. Pakistani women team members are thrilled at being able to play in India and we should not aggravate the situation. What happened with hockey players was sad. (They were sent home)."
18:26 Practice before you preach, BJP tells Hina Rabbani:
Taking potshots at Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for accusing India of ''warmongering'', the BJP today said she must reflect on her country's past actions and avoid preaching to New Delhi from international platforms.
"Pakistan is where militancy is being manufactured, where the establishment is in tatters, where many parallel governments exist, which threatens the peace of not just India, but the world.
In such circumstances, my unsolicited advice to Pakistan's Foreign Minister is that instead of preaching to the Indian government, army and media, she must reflect on her country''s actions in the past," said BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
18:19 Why Indias police force lags behind much of the world:
A recent spate of violent crimes against women in northern India has led to increased scrutiny of the Indian police force.
In Delhi, after the gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman, residents called for the resignation of the city's chief of police and the retraining of the overwhelmingly male police force.
But perhaps the question that should be asked about India's police officers is whether there are enough of them in the first place. Read
18:10 Pakistan will not attend global trade meet at Agra:
Yet another casualty of the killing of the two jawans at the LoC. The global business conclave scheduled to be held on January 27 at Agra will not have a representation from Pakistan. Indo-Pak bilateral trade has been affected ever since the January 8 incident. Indian government sources tell TV channels that the prevailing situation is not conducive for talks. The Pakistani commerce minister was supposed to attend the Agra meet. Paksitan, meanwhile, has suspended trade at Poonch-Rawalkote along the LoC.
17:56 2-year judicial probe in Adarsh ends, report likely next month:
The two-year marathon inquiry conducted by a judicial commission into the Adarsh scam has ended with the Maharashtra government said to have admitted for the first time that the controversial housing society did not have necessary environmental clearances.
The commission set up in January 2011 wrapped up its inquiry into the scam yesterday and is likely to submit its final report to the state government next month, sources in the panel said. The government may accept or reject the findings of the commission.
17:52 Curtains for Qadri? Govt issues arrest warrant :
An arrest warrant has been issued for the fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who is leading thousands of supporters in a protest demanding the ouster of the Pakistan government, after police here registered a case against him.
A case was registered against Qadri and some 70 unidentified people at Kohsar police station for attacking police officials at the venue of the protest in Islamabad.
A source privy to the development told PTI that an arrest warrants for Qadri had been issued by a local magistrate. Authorities were awaiting a go-ahead from Interior Minister Rehman Malik to arrest Qadri, the source said.
17:38 Just in: The Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested a Hizb-e-Islami militant. An AK rifle, magazines and a wireless set have been seized.
Vivek Chadha Colonel (retd.), a Research Fellow at the Institute for
Defence Studies and Analyses, on Pakistan's transgression on the Line of Control.
17:12 Pakistan cleric Qadri was state guest of Gujarat :
Dr Tahir-ul- Qaudri who also runs an International Islamic Organisation "Minhajul Quran" with its head quarters in UK was given a status of "State Guest" by the Gujarat government during his two day tour which commenced just two days before the 10th anniversary of Godhra riots.
He was given Z-plus security and more than 300 policemen were posted around the venue where he addressed a huge gathering in Vadodara.
The minister of state for home Praful Patel was among the dignitaries seated on the dais. Dr. Qaudri thanked the state Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his gesture and the hospitality. More
17:07 Why honour killings happen:
In a document filed to the Supreme Court this week, a group of khap panchayats -- unelected but powerful village councils common in parts of northern India -- defended themselves against charges they have perpetuated honor killings in the country. Read
16:37 Hina Rabbani: Qadri's 'million march' just 30,000:
And this is what Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar had to say on the 'Million Man March'.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has termed Minhajul Quran
International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri's demands "preposterous and
unconstitutional" and said the cleric means "no good".
Khar, who is in New York to attend an Asia Society meet, said Qadri was a
dual national which bars him from contesting provincial or national
assembly elections, reports The Express Tribune.
She said Qadri has only come to derail the system, and that he happens
to be someone who constitutionally cannot contest a single provincial or
national assembly seat. She said it is preposterous that Qadri wants a
role of the military and judiciary in the politics of Pakistan.
added that he could also be arrested for it.
Commenting on Qadri's ongoing long march in Islamabad, Khar said that
the participants of the rally were around 30,000 in number by all
16:33 In custody: Tihars jailhouse rock:
For some prisoners at least, Tihar jail has been a place of opportunity. "Life is hell in Tihar," says Bhagirath Khadiya, 27, a prisoner who is already deep into his second year here for a charge of dacoity, or gang robbery. "Playing music is a medicine for my hell." Read
16:29 Indias Man Problem:
As India grapples with what seems like a constant barrage of shocking acts of violence against women, one question is asked again and again: Why is this happening? One answer, some experts say, is India's gender ratio, distorted by the practice of sex selection in favor of baby boys. Read
16:22 Musharraf: Million Man Qadri''s march is a success:
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has declared the long ''Million March'' led by Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief, Dr Tahirul Qadri, a success.
Musharraf said he had been supporting them from the beginning, reports The Dawn. Qadri, who played a role in backing a military coup in 1999, has threatened to remain camped out near the federal parliament with thousands of supporters until his demands for the resignation of the government are met.
Qadri returned to Pakistan from Canada less than a month ago to lead a call for electoral reforms to bar "corrupt politicians" from office, which has made him an instant hit among several Pakistanis disillusioned with the state.
The fiery cleric who can TOPPLE Pakistan government
16:10 Lance Armstrong and other celebrity confessions:
By now, we all know that Lance Armstrong will admit to doping on Thursday's much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey. But the segment has already spurred its own questions: Will he apologize? Does he explain why? Will he admit to blackmailing anyone or threatening people around him? And does Armstrong, as Charlie Rose so desperately wanted to know on CBS Tuesday morning, appear contrite? Read
Caught in the crossfire: Shelling fails to move students out of the last school on the LoC. Read more
15:47 Bertrand Russell in Bollywood!:
Heres one for Ripleys Believe It Or Not: Bertrand Russell, the eminent mathematician and philosopher, once made a cameo appearance in a Hindi film.
The year was 1967. Russell was by then a very frail 95-year-old man. Read
15:44 Puri Shankaracharya blames western influence for rape cases:
Western influence was one of the main reasons behind the rise in incidents of rape in the country, Sankaracharya of Puri Swami Sri Nischalananda Saraswati said in Kolkata on Wednesday. He said that the western influence i.e. of films, club culture and drugs has destroyed the age old values and principles of the country.
"There is a need to change this. Before independence we were able to maintain our culture and values but in the last 65 years we have lost a great part of it." "Such horrific incidents (Delhi gang rape) don't happen all of a sudden. They happen when the thin line of culture and values are crossed in the name of civilisation and development," he said, adding that people should ponder over this and ensure that such incidents don't happen.
15:42 Police cite DNA evidence in Delhi rape case:
Police investigating last month's gang rape aboard a moving bus in New Delhi claim to have DNA evidence linking the alleged assailants to the crime, according to a police document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Read
15:32 Eyewitnesses recall helping Delhi gang-rape victim:
Raj Kumar, a security patrolman for a private highway management firm, and a colleague were on a motorcycle on the Delhi airport expressway on Sunday, Dec. 16, when they saw the man. He was waving his arms and shouting frantically.
Near him, a woman lay unconscious in the dusty grass on the side of the expressway, according to a person familiar with the patrolmen's account. The young man and woman were naked. Read
15:17 London chopper crash: Two confirmed dead :
BBC: Update on the London chopper crash: Two people have been confirmed dead, Scotland Yard says, while two others have been injured. Commuters have described hearing a loud explosion, and seeing the helicopter and cars in flames. Around 60 firefighters are at the scene of the crash near Wandsworth Road in south London. London Fire Brigade is also at scene of a crane in a "precarious position", it says.
15:06 Stand closer to the rhino, please:
A photo taken seconds before a safari tourist was seriously injured by a rhino - after she was allegedly urged to stand closer to the animal by a wildlife expert. Chantal Beyer, 24, was visiting the South African nature park with her boyfriend when they stopped to look at some rhinos. See
14:55 Former hockey players back decision to send back Pakistanis:
Former Indian players today not only backed Hockey India's decision to send back Pakistanis, but also advocated more stringent action even as players from across the border urged that the upcoming bilateral series should not be derailed due to the ongoing conflict. HI barred all nine Pakistani players from participating in the Hockey India League and sent them back to their country as protests grew against Pakistan's ceasefire violation at the Line of Control.
Pakistani troops killed two Indian soldiers and decapitated one of them recently, an act described as 'dastardly' by the Indian Prime Minister.
14:40 Brit men wash their faces only six times a week: study:
If you find Brit men, hot, here's something you may need to consider.
Far from embracing the 'metrosexual' trend of male grooming, the average British man washes his face just six times a week, according to a new study. Facial maintenance is clearly not high on their list of priorities with one in five (18 per cent) allocating less than five minutes each week to take care of their faces, the study found.
The BBC's Ross Hawkins said at least four ambulances and many police cars were at the scene.He said Wandsworth Road near Vauxhall station is closed, with apparent debris on the ground, and a crane at the top of a new high rise development appears to be damaged.Witnesses wrote about what they had seen on Twitter.
Belinda Moore wrote: "Just cycled in and saw lots of smoke over by Vauxhall, gather it's a helicopter crash, saw it flying low over Chelsea Bridge thought it odd."Quin Murray said: "Helicopter just hit a crane and crashed a few metres in front of me in Vauxhall. Completely shaken."Watch this video
This picture was tweeted by David Fullard
14:20 Train services suspended, chopper crashes into crane:
Update on the chopper crash in London.
Fire and rescue services said they were taking "lots of emergency calls" as eyewitnesses described seeing grey smoke towering into the sky, close to Battersea bridge.
A spokesman for London fire brigade was unable to give details but said: "We are taking lots of emergency calls at the moment."
A Met police spokesman said: "We had a call at approximately 8am this morning and we are dealing with an incident."We are still waiting for some further details at the moment."
Witnesses took to Twitter to report details.One said the helicopter appeared to have hit a crane.Another said it crashed close to a railway line.One user posted a dramatic photograph showing burning wreckage in the road. The fire brigade said on Twitter: "We're attending reports of a helicopter crash near Wandsworth Road in South Lambeth."
14:01 Helicopter crashes in central London, no casualties:
The emergency services are responding to reports of a helicopter crash in south London. The London Fire Brigade said it had received multiple calls of a helicopter hitting a crane in Vauxhall. The London Ambulance Service said it was also at the scene. People have reported seeing a pall of smoke in the area. Transport for London has conformed there has been an incident.Train services at Vauxhall and Waterloo stations have been suspended. No casualties have been reported as yet. -- BBC.
13:58 Tesco beef burgers found to contain 29% horse meat:
Here's something that anti FDI proponents might want to sink their teeth into. Or may be not.
Tesco beef burgers have been found to contain 29% horse meat. Tests on beef products sold in Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores uncovered low levels of the animal's DNA. Read
Tesco is one of the companies queuing up to enter India.
13:56 Large explosion, gunfire heard in Kabul:
In neighbouring Afghanistan, a large explosion followed by gunfire was heard in the capital Kabul today, with initial reports placing the blast near a tightly-secured area housing key buildings including the police headquarters. The explosion was heard in the AFP office in the diplomatic district of Wazir Akbar Khan, while gunfire was reported from near the French embassy. First reports located the explosion close to the area housing the police HQ, national intelligence headquarters and the interior ministry.
13:51 Can Lance Armstrong save Oprah?:
Oprah's decision to end her show and start a network always seemed a little bit quixotic to me; why mess with success? On the other hand, I figured that if anyone could make it work, it would be Oprah. Read
13:33 Why the Net grieves Aaron Swartz:
Four days after the death of Aaron Swartz, the digital innovator and blazing intellect, why are millions of strangers on the Internet still mourning as if some essential part of us has died? The answer is simple: It has. Read
13:30 Even Indian Prime Minister faced corruption allegations: Khar:
Even as corruption charges threatened to topple Pakistan's second Premier in a row, the country's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar drew a parallel with India, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also faced "very big" allegations.
"The problem of corruption plagues many countries within South Asia and elsewhere also. You saw many many scandals of corruption and allegations on the Prime Minister within India also very recently and very very big ones," she said here.
She was responding to a question at an event at the Asia Society yesterday on the "tremendous corruption" in Pakistan, which has led to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordering the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for allegedly receiving bribes in power projects.
13:07 Mom locked up in Australia as security risk has baby boy:
A woman who Australia deems to be a national security risk has given birth to a child who is likely to spend the early months, if not years, of his life in detention.Baby Paari was born on Tuesday to Ranjini, a 33-year-old mother of two other boys aged six and nine, who was granted refugee status by Australia in 2011 after fleeing violence in Sri Lanka. Read
Kingfisher Airlines has been given a "no objection certificate" from oil companies and some aircraft leasing companies to restart operations, a senior regulatory source said today. Read
Amid the decapitation row, this is a must-read. Dear Barkha Dutt: The Buck Stops Where? Read
And from the Telegraph, Kolkata: One word on lips of Maoists, troops: unavoidable. Read
12:50 The Congress Kumbh Mela:
When the Grand Old Party's leaders congregate at Jaipur, they will do well to remember their historic responsibility to adapt to changing aspirations. Read
veteran journalist and former media advisor to the PM, Harish Khare's piece on the Hindu.
12:39 We will fire only if they fire: Army chief:
General Bikram Singh is now on his way out of Kosi Kalan, slain Lance Naik Hemraj Singh's village. Addressing the media there, the army chief said, "I will make sure that as the chief of army staff, we will do our best to make sure the demand's of Hemraj's family is met. I owe it to them. There is a mechanism in the army called AWAA (Army Wives Welfare Association). My wife interacts with the veer naaris (widows) through the AWAA.
On ceasefire violations, the general said, the Indian army fires only if they fire. It is retaliatory firing. "Don't make the mistake of thinking that if they fire, we won't. We will always retaliate."
12:30 Shiv Aroor of Headlines Today tweets: Mines made by Pak Ordnance Factory, Sargodha found on Indian side of LoC.
12:28 Pak lying, India did not kill soldier: Army chief :
General Singh also said that Pakistan was lying when it stated that India had killed their soldier at the LoC. The soldier could have died in retaliatory firing, but was not killed like the Indian jawans were.
12:26 Army chief: Hemraj's family's demand will be met:
The Army chief says the Hemraj's family's demands made to the army will be met. He will also speak to the state government regarding the other demands made by the family. These are likely to include better infrastructure, electricity and schools for the village.
The army repeated that its officers and troops had been instructed to remain "offensive and aggressive' on the LoC. Bikram Singh, while reviewing the Army Day parade, said Indian troops must continue to operate in an ethical manner in war and peace.Lt Gen.
Parnaik, in whose area of responsibility the killings took place, said his troops were "exercising great restraint' but "Pakistan was being as adamant and arrogant as they are'.For Parnaik, the killing of lance naiks Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh on January 8 is also a matter of personal umbrage.
The soldiers belonged to Rajputana Rifles, the regiment that Parnaik is the senior-most officer and Colonel Commandant -- pater familias - of. More
Yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave a tough message to Pakistan that it "cannot be business as usual" in the aftermath of the beheading of an Indian soldier on the Line of Control last week.
He emphasised that those responsible for the "barbaric act" of beheading of Lance Naik Hemraj will have to be brought to book and hoped "Pakistan realises this".
In his public remarks on the January 8 incident on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in which two soldiers were killed and bodies mutilated, Dr Singh said, "After this barbaric act there cannot be business as usual (with Pakistan)."
12:09 There is little doubt that the army chief's visit will bring some solace to the families of both the slain jawans. Pakistan, has of of course, denied that the jawans were killed or beheaded.
Khairair, the nondescript village in Uttar Pradesh, which does not have a proper road or school, may soon get all of that. The visit of high-profile leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj, saw the administration going into overdrive to build a helipad, a road and change a defunct transformer. Read
12:05 Army chief reaches martyr Hemraj's village :
Army chief General Bikram Singh reaches Kosi Kalan in UP, at the house of martyred jawan, Lance Naik Hemraj Singh. General Singh had earlier on Monday said he would visit Hemraj's home.
"I will go. They are my people. Tomorrow is Army Day, I will send my
senior officer there. I will definitely go. Let this event, the Army
Day, be over, I will definitely go and meet the family. If that is the
demand, I shall be there," General Singh told the media in New Delhi.
The family wants Pakistan to return the severed head of the jawan. The army chief is scheduled to make a visit to other martyred jawan Sudhakar Singh's family.
11:56 Delhi gang-rape victims family vows not to quit fight:
Thirty years ago, when he took a train to Delhi, he was alone yet hopeful of a better future. On Wednesday, when the father of the 23-year-old gang rape victim retraces his journey from his village in Ballia to Delhi, he will have little to look forward to. Read
11:51 Why cycling can be dropped from Olympics :
Cycling could dropped from the Olympic games if Lance Armstrong, who has confessed to doping, reveals sport's governing body's involvement in covering up his doping scandal. Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said radical action would have to be taken if Armstrong provided proof that officials from the International Cycling Union (UCI) were involved in doping, the Telegraph reports.
Armstrong has confessed to doping during a no-holds-barred chat show with Oprah Winfrey on Monday, and according to reports, the American is also ready to testify against top UCL officials.
11:49 Rs 700 crore land grab case against Asaram Bapu, son:
Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu has run into fresh trouble with the Serious Fraud Investigating Office seeking his prosecution in a Rs 700 crore land grab case in Madhya Pradesh.
The case pertains to 200 acres of land in Ratlam and the SFIO, which wants to prosecute Asaram and his son under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and Companies Act 1956, recently send its recommendation to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in this regard. Read
11:40 Khaps will now tweet, post on Facebook:
Khap panchayats, the extra-judicial village courts that face possible ban following allegations of encouraging honour killings, have decided to give themselves an image makeover -- getting on to Facebook and Twitter. Read
11:36 Flight operations normal at IGI:
If you're flying in to Delhi or out of Delhi, heads up. Flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were today normal even as the airport witnessed shallow fog.
The visibility remained good through the night. Though there was shallow fog in the morning, it had no effect on the flight operations as the visibility remained above 1,000 metres, airport sources said. The runway visibility on main runway was above 2000 metres through the night but it dropped to 1900 metres in the morning. Similarly, the visibility on the third runway was around 1600 metres and it dipped to 1200 metres.But there was no disruption of flight movement. Dense fog had affected the schedule of over 250 flights after it enveloped the airport on January 14 and 15.
11:31 Dear Madhu-ji:
Zahir Janmohamed, a freelance writer living in and writing about Juhapura, the Muslim neighbourhood of Ahmedabad, writes an open letter to activist Madhu Kishwar, on Gujarat, Narendra Modi, women's safety (not necessarily in that order). Must read.
11:27 A New Conflict in Kashmir?:
For nearly a decade, despite constant tensions -- and even large-scale terrorist violence -- between Pakistan and India, there is one thing the two nuclear-armed states have kept largely intact: their 2003 cease-fire agreement in Kashmir.
Over the past week, however, that agreement has suddenly seemed in danger of unraveling, with alarming killings along the defacto border between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir and threats of further escalation by senior officials on both sides. Read
11:25 Schools of Discrimination:
A report outed recently highlights how children from the scheduled castes face routine segregation from other children and are made to sit and eat separately. Children belonging to upper-caste Hindu families often refused food cooked by SC/ST cooks. The researchers, who conducted the study across Karnataka, also came across cases where dalit students were getting food but from a distance; in some instances, high-caste children brought their own plates for fear of school plates having been touched by dalit classmates. Read
11:22 The scam had come to light around three years back when an IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar filed an application before the Supreme Court alleging that OP Chautala and his sons Ajay and Abhay had provided jobs to 3,000 applicants by taking money. In September 2012, the CBI had questioned his son Ajay Chautala also in connection with the scam and had raided various premises of the Chautala family in Delhi and had allegedly seized documents relating to the recruitment process.
Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala has been arrested. The court to pronounce the quantum of punishment on the 22nd. Chautala his son and 53 others were convicted by a Delhi court for the illegal recruitment of over 3000 teachers. Details awaited.
11:16 Owaisi refuses to cooperate, sent back to jail:
Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, in an operation that was kept under wraps, Nirmal police which is investigating the alleged hate speech of Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, returned him to judicial custody early on Wednesday, a day before the completion of his five-day police custody period. Read
An antidote for pure poison
The offensive speech club has a new member. Read
10:56 Rapist-killer gets death in 10-day trial:
In what should come as relief to those of us who want the death penalty for rapists,
a fast-track court in Dwarka, west Delhi, on Tuesday gave the death
sentence to a 56-year-old farmhouse guard for raping and killing a
three-year-old girl in 2011.
The sentencing comes just 10 days after the fast-track court was set up to try cases of sexual offences against women and was the first sentence handed out by any of the fast-track courts set up in the capital after the Nirbhaya gang-rape. Read
: Indian Army chief's statements "very hostile", says Pak foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
10:50 Hina Rabbani: Thought warmongering was behind us:
Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar went on a strident diplomatic offensive in the US on Tuesday, accusing India of "war-mongering" and embarking on a "narrative of hostility," while presenting her country as a paragon of peace and amity in the context of border tensions between the two countries.
"I thought war-mongering was a thing of yesteryear and we had put it behind us," the foreign minister of a country that is recognized as having initiated three wars against India said at an Asia Society talk, artfully glossing over her country's well-chronicled record of hostilities to change status-quo. More of that here
10:44 Army Chief to meet martyr's kin today:
Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, will meet the family members of Lance Naik Hemraj here on Wednesday amid demands that the severed head of the martyred soldier be brought back.
General Singh had earlier on Monday said he would visit Hemraj's home. "I will go. They are my people. Tomorrow is Army Day, I will send my senior officer there. I will definitely go. Let this event, the Army Day, be over, I will definitely go and meet the family. If that is the demand, I shall be there," General Singh told the media in New Delhi.
General Singh, who conveyed his condolences to the families of the two jawans killed brutally, had also said that the Pakistani Army should be pressurised to return Hemraj''s head.
10:10 Pak soldier killed by Indian troops in Kashmir: Pak army:
Indian troops killed a Pakistani soldier in Kashmir late on Tuesday, the Pakistani army claimed, the fifth fatality in hostilities between the nuclear armed neighbours since the new year. The soldier was killed at a position called Kundi during firing from the Indian side that began at 10 pm, Pakistan's army said in a statement.
Two Pakistani and two Indian soldiers were killed in early January in the worst outbreak of violence in Kashmir since the India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire nearly a decade ago. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
10:07 India raises Pak terror at UN Security Council:
India highlighted terrorism as a security threat at the UN security council. India's representative to the UN Hardeep Puri said, "The international community cannot afford selective approaches in dealing with terrorist groups or in dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism. Resort to the use of terrorism as an instrument of State Policy is short-sighted. Those who have taken recourse to it have invariably themselves suffered immensely from it."
He also reportedly named terror groups Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa as major security threats to South East Asian countries.He also calls for effective international action against terror sponsors.
10:03 Rs 700-crore land grab case against Asaram Bapu:
Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu has ran into fresh trouble with the Serious Fraud Investigating Office (SFIO) seeking his prosecution in a Rs 700 crore land grab case in Madhya Pradesh.
The case pertains to 200 acres of land in Ratlam and the SFIO, which wants to prosecute Asaram and his son under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and Companies Act 1956, recently send its recommendation to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in this regard.
09:19 Constructing Kumbh on TV:
Monday, 14 January, saw the inauguration of the Kumbh Mela. I remember Gandhi in one of his comments remarked matter of factly that India does not need lectures in crowd control as long as it has the Kumbh Mela. I was contrasting mentally the folklore attitude to the Kumbh with the way TV constructs the Kumbh. TV in India orientalises the Kumbh. It is presented as a fact out of the Guinness Book of Records, as something out of Ripley's Believe it or Not.
There is an alienation, a distancing, a quaintness as westernised broadcasters approach the Kumbh pilgrimage as creatures in a zoo. The selection of pictures, including those of sadhus, American tourists, a family having a quick dip, etc, provides a tourist vignette of what is our own people, the core of a civilisation. For an ordinary Hindu, the Kumbh is almost genetic. For our TV broadcasters, the Kumbh is alien, a curiosity. At one level, the spectator watching these broadcasters realises that for her Woodstock as a musical festival and protest makes more sense than the Kumbh. What I am suggesting is that media is guilty of orientalising its own people. The Kumbh is more than a ritual.
08:36 Green Books, red herring and the LoC war:
Late one night in the summer of 2009, four improvised 107-millimetre rockets arced over the Pul Kanjari border outpost in Punjab, and exploded in the fields outside the village of Attari. For the first time since the war of 1971, there was an attack across the India-Pakistan border. In September that year, four more rockets were fired; then, in January 2010, there was a third assault.
Now, as Indian and Pakistani troops trade fire along the Line of Control (LoC), it is more important than ever to understand the significance of those events. The rocket attacks, believed to have been carried out by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, represented a glimpse into a grim future that India's policy of strategic restraint has been designed to avert '" a war of attrition waged by jihadists that would turn India's western frontiers into a kind of nuclear-fuelled Lebanon.
08:34 LoC remains tense even as India talks tough:
The situation along the India-Pakistan border continues to remain tense after India reported five ceasefire violations even after the flag meet. Indian troops, however, did not retaliate and officers say that they will not react in haste but will take their time.
Firing from the Pakistani side allegedly was for a brief period with small fire arms and mortal shells. This came hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talked tough and warned Pakistan on Tuesday evening. The Prime Minister finally made a statement on the matter, warning Pakistan, that it 'cannot be business as usual' after last week's 'barbaric' beheading of an Indian soldier by the Pakistani Army.
Speaking on the occasion of the 65th Army Day, the Prime Minister said that those responsible for killing and mutilating Indian soldiers should be brought to book. "What happened at the Line of Control is unacceptable," said Singh.
08:27 NASA's Curiosity rover preparing to drill on Mars:
NASA says the Curiosity rover should be ready to begin drilling on Mars soon. It's the most highly anticipated milestone since the six-wheel, nuclear-powered rover landed near the Martian equator five months ago.
Mission managers outlined the drilling plan yesterday. Project manager Richard Cook says the team has chosen the site where Curiosity will test its drill for the first time. The spot contains a diverse sample of rocks that the rover can pick from. Curiosity will drive to the location in the next several days and begin drilling in the next two weeks.
01:29 1soldier killed in 'unprovoked firing': Pak army:
The Pakistani army today said one of its soldiers was killed in 'unprovoked firing' along the Line of Control.
A statement from the army's media arm alleged that Indian troops violated the ceasefire on the LoC and 'carried out unprovoked firing' in Hotspring and Jandrot sectors.
The firing continued from 10pm to 11pm Pakistan time and the soldier was killed at Kundi post, the statement said.
The LoC has witnessed several clashes since last week that have left two Indian soldiers and as many Pakistani soldiers dead.
01:28 Is a new conflict brewing in Kashmir?: Ahmed Rashid
writes: For nearly a decade, despite constant tensions'"and even large-scale terrorist violence'"between Pakistan and India, there is one thing the two nuclear-armed states have kept largely intact: their 2003 cease-fire agreement in Kashmir.
Over the past week, however, that agreement has suddenly seemed in danger of unraveling, with alarming killings along the defacto border between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir and threats of further escalation by senior officials on both sides.
Though it has until now received little attention in the international press, this new confrontation poses a grave threat to the entire region.
00:36 Facebook launches search engine for shared content: AFP
reports: Facebook today launched asearch engine for shared content described as a way to find things liked by friends on the huge social network. "We look at Facebook as a big social database," chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in announcing the so-called 'graph search' function.
"Just like any database, you should be able to query it." The search engine aims to help members better navigate the vast amount of information on Facebook, which is not available on Web search engines such as Google.
00:10 Hollande, in Gulf, defends France's Mali offensive:
AFP: French President Francois Hollande, on a visit to the Gulf, today defended his country's intervention in Mali, saying it had prevented the African country from being overrun by "terrorists".
Speaking to reporters in Dubai, Hollande said his government does not intend to keep forces in Mali, but will remain until security is restored and Islamist fighters eliminated.
Earlier, as he arrived at Peace Camp in Abu Dhabi '" his country's only military base in the region -- Hollande said it will take at least another week before an African force is deployed in Mali.
The French intervention had allowed time for this force to be put together. "France is at the forefront," said Hollande. "Had it not been there, Mali would have been today entirely occupied by terrorists and other African countries threatened," he said.
00:08 Over 80 killed in campus blast in Syria's Aleppo:
AFP: More than 80 people were killed when twin explosions rocked Aleppo University today, the governor of Syria's second city, Mohammed Wahid Akkad, and a source at the university hospital said.
"So far there are 82 fatalities and more than 160 wounded in a terrorist attack that targeted students on their first day of exams at the University of Aleppo," Akkad told AFP by telephone.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 52 people had been killed in the blasts but said the figure could rise dramatically.
As well as students, the campus houses some 30,000 people who have fled homes in areas of the city ravaged by fighting since July last year.