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Tamil Nadu bans screening of Kamal's Vishwaroopam

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January 23, 2013


23:32  Tamil Nadu bans screening of Kamal's Vishwaroopam:  
The Tamil Nadu government tonight banned the screening of Kamal Hassan's Vishwaroopam following strong protests from various Muslim organisations over alleged depiction of their community in a negative light. 

Official sources said the state government has asked the respective district collectors to invoke necessary legal provisions to maintain law and order. 

The ban came hours after the Muslim groups petitioned the government, seeking a ban.

A group of 20-odd organisations under a common banner submitted a memorandum to Home Secretary R Rajagopal to press for their demand, a day after taking up the matter with city police.

M H Jawahirullah, MLA and president of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, told reporters that the movie "targets Muslims and their beliefs". 
22:00  Rajnath Singh to address first rally as BJP prez tomorrow:  Newly-appointed BJP President Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will jointly address a rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi tomorrow, reports Onkar Singh.

Singh has requested party cadres from across country to attend the rally. 
21:45  Extradition treaty with B'desh on the cards :  The Cabinet is likely to consider a proposal tomorrow on signing of an extradition treaty with Bangladesh ahead of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's visit to Dhaka next week.   

The long-awaited treaty is being considered by the Cabinet after the Bangladesh government made minor modifications in the draft. The extradition treaty, if signed, will pave the way for deportation of jailed ULFA 'general secretary' Anup Chetia and many other insurgents from the northeast who have been hiding in Bangladesh.
20:56  Decision on Telangana will be delayed:   There is a likelihood of some delay regarding an announcement on Telangana with the Congress seeking to buy more time to resolve the vexed issue despite the January 28 deadline set by the Centre to decide the matter, reports Vicky Nanjappa. 

Ghulam Nabi Azad, All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, said on Wednesday, "It is a very sensitive issue and cannot be decided on the whims and fancies of the media."

"We had sought a month's time to announce the decision. However, there is still some time before a month could pass by,' he added. He said a positive decision would be taken, but only after proper deliberations.
20:39  Disappointed at US refusal to extradite Headley: Khurshid :   India disappointed at the refusal by the United States to extradite David Headley, an accused in Mumbai 26/11 attack case, said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
20:18  Complaint against Shinde for remark on terror:  A complaint has been filed against Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde over his "Hindu" terror remark. The sentiments of the Hindu community have been hurt, said the complaint.

Shinde has received severe criticism after his remark at the Congress conclave in Jaipur on Sunday that the RSS and the BJP ran terror camps to promote Hindu terror. He later he retracted from his words saying that he has no new information on the subject and he was only referring to media reports about so-called saffron terrorism.
20:09  Justice Verma panel's recommendations on sexual crime laws:  A three-member commission assigned to review laws for sexual crimes has submitted its report to the government today.

Read the full report here
19:42  Indo-Pak secretary level talks on water cancelled:   Yet another India-Pakistan engagement has been put off in the backdrop of strain in bilateral ties arising out of ceasefire violations.

The scheduled January-end Indo-Pak secretary-level meeting on waters, including differences over the Tulbul navigation project in Jammu and Kashmir, has been cancelled. There are some "scheduling issues", official sources said here, adding, therefore, new dates have to be worked-out for the meeting now.

India had told Pakistan that the annual talks, which were held in March last year, could be held in January, following which both countries had decided on dates for the end of this month. However, now officials here said there were some "scheduling issues" because of which the meeting cannot take place.
19:18  Bhutan king on 8-day visit to India:  Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who is the chief guest at the 64th Republic Day Parade, arrived here today along with his queen Jetsun Pema on an eight-day visit.

During his visit, he will meet President Pranab Mukherjee. Vice President Hamid Ansari, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj among others will be calling on the king.
19:17  PML-N leader shot dead in Karachi:  A leader of the PML-N has been shot dead along with his father in this Pakistani port city fuelling fears that there could be more violence leading up to the general elections.

Thirty-year-old Mian Taimur, the PML-N's deputy secretary in Sindh, and his father Mian Arbab were gunned down in Karachi's upscale neighbourhood of Defence.

Taimur is the second politician in a week to become the victim of a targeted killing in Karachi, raising fears of violence as the country moves closer to general elections.

Last week provincial lawmaker of the Mutthaida Qaumi Movement Manzar Imam was assassinated in Orangi Town.
18:58  Gang-rape victim attempts suicide in court premises:  A gang rape victim today attempted suicide by consuming a poisonous substance in the premises of metropolitan court here, alleging 'delay' injustice, police officials said.

After the complainant, who had come for a hearing in an alleged rape case of 2008, got to know that the next date in the case was fixed for February 8, she walked out of courtroom on fifth floor and consumed some poisonous substance saying 'justice was being delayed', her lawyer Bharat Shah,who was an eyewitness, said.
18:27  Division in BJP ranks prompted Gadkari to quit: RSS:  A clear-cut division in the higher ranks of the BJP over his continuance as party chief for second term, prompted incumbent BJP president Nitin Gadkari to quit the post and not to seek a second term, senior RSS ideologue M G Vaidya told reporters in Nagpur today.

"Gadkari probably realised that the party should not suffer due to him and might have therefore decided to call it a day," former RSS spokesperson Vaidya said. 

Senior party leader and former union finance minister in the NDA regime, Yashwant Sinha, along with Mahesh Jethmalani also showed interest in elections to the top party post, he said.
17:48  Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Cong vice president:   Rahul Gandhi has officially taken charge on Wednesday evening as the Congress vice president.

He met party general secretaries and heads of departments at the All India Congress Committee headquarters at 24, Akbar Road in New Delhi.

Rahul was elevated to the post at the party's Jaipur conclave held last weekend. As VC, he is second only to party president and his mother Sonia Gandhi.

"I don't want to get into negative politics, I want to do positive politics," he said as he took charge.
17:40  Sikh trader kidnapped in Pakistan:  A Sikh businessman was kidnapped by unidentified armed men from outside his house in Pakistan's Qaidabad region. 

Sikhs believe Rakbir Singh, a trader and shopkeeper, was kidnapped for ransom. 

Sikhs have decided to stage a protest in front of the chief minister's house on Wednesday to protest the kidnapping. 

The Banamarhi police have registered an FIR and started an investigation, reports the Express Tribune

Sahib Singh, a former Sikh council member said that in the past few months, Sikhs have been a frequent target for mobile phone snatchers as well. 
17:38  Asaduddin Owaisi's bail plea rejected again:  A local court today dismissed the bail plea of MIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi for the second time in two days in connection with a 2005 case against him. 

Asaduddin had allegedly obstructed the then Medak district collector and other officials from discharging their duties. The judicial first class magistrate and prohibition and excise court, which had yesterday dismissed Asaduddin's bail petition, in its orders today observed, "There is no change of circumstances from the date of dismissal of earlier bail petition" and dismissed the fresh bail plea.
17:18  Long wait over for Bose's driver, may get freedom-fighter status:  The wait of 107-year-old Nizamuddin, who claims to be a close aide, guard and driver of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, could well be over as district administration has now initiated the process of giving him the status of freedom fighter. 

Born in Dhakwa village of Mubarkpur area in 1901, 'Colonel' Nizamuddin was honoured today by the District Magistrate Azamgarh on the occasion of Netaji's Jayanti. The DM, Pranjal Yadav, said the documents available with Col Nizamuddin are enough to help him get the status of freedom fighter and with the completion of some formalities "it would be done at the earliest".
16:53  Unless our advice is taken up quickly and implemented, our efforts will end in futility, says Justice Verma.
16:44   Among other points made by the Justice Verma commission today were: 

The Delhi gangrape case shows the failures of traffic regulations, maintenance of law and order and dealing with sexual assault cases.

Police action on peaceful protestors has scarred Indian democracy.

Ambiguity over the control of Delhi police should be cleared.
16:37  Leila Seth had some valid points to make: Socio-economic conditions impede a woman's access to justice. In a 1992 case, a judge held that upper caste men don't rape Dalit women.

How can khap panchayats rule against marriages made of free choice, she wanted to know.

When a woman belongs to weaker section, she has the twin disadvantage of being a woman and economically disadvantaged, Seth pointed out.
16:30  No AFSPA for sexual offences: Verma panel:  Sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas should be brought under ordinary criminal law, says Verma Committee, and recommends appointment of special commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in conflict areas.
16:22  Gopal Subramanium says that sexual offences against women by men in uniform should be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law and not be under the Armed Forces Special Protection Act.
16:21  Gopal Subramanium says the commission has also made a recommendation that trafficking, particularly trafficking in minor children, should be treated as a major crime.
16:18  Gopal Subramanium, who was part of the Justice Verma commission on reforming laws relating to gender laws, said recognition of homosexuality, lesbianism and transgenderism are constitutionally mandated Art 15.
16:04  Leila Sheth, who spoke at the media briefing after Justice Verma, said the mindset of the judiciary also needs to change. Women must not be carriers of any perceived sense of honour, she added.
15:59  No DGP gave proper submission to us:Justice Verma:   Justice Verma's disclosure about the submission by directors general of police was shocking: "Response was expected from all DGPs, but we hardly got any. If that is the attitude of the DGPs, then we need to change them," he said.

He also said an apology must be sought from the Delhi police commissioner for failing in his duty to protect women.
15:56  A pat on the back for Delhi police commissioner?:  Justice Verma says it is the duty of the State to provide a safe environment for women.

What is needed to enforce laws in the country is  sensitivity on the part of those who implement it, he adds during his press briefing.

The Delhi police commissioner, who should apologise for failing to protect women, instead gets a pat on the back, from no less than the home secretary, I was shocked, says Justice Verma.
15:44  Need good governance, not new laws: Justice Verma:  

Justice Verma, who is heading a committee formed to make necessary amendments after the major outcry following the Delhi gang-rape incident, is briefing the media on its recommendations  

 

Justice Verma said the committee is engaged in-depth global research, and analysed past judgments and public policies. The constitution of this committee is in response to the peaceful countrywide outcry by the youth.  

 

Need good governance, not new laws, Justice Verma added. We got lukewarn response from ministers, he also said.

15:38  Justice Verma hopes that his report will be taken up in the Budget session of Parliament. The report was prepared in 30 days, the government should also show similar speed, he said.

The commission, he said, favours a mandatory time limit for completion of trial in rape cases, and also to have designated courts with women judges, and to create graded spectrum of offences relating to sexual assault.
15:29  80,000 responses to Verma panel on rape laws:  Justice Verma also said that his panel received 80,000 responses from across the nation.
15:25  Justice Verma says his commission went through the entire gamut of laws on gender justice. Aggravated sexual assault and speedy justice were the focus of the panel's work, he added.
15:22  Continuing his press briefing after submitting his report on amendments to anti-rape laws, Justice Verma said his commission received almost 80,000 suggestions, including from judges, and professors at Harvard and Oxford universities. Even ordinary people from foreign countries submitted their recommendations.
15:16  Justice Verma commission submits report on rape law changes:   The 3-member Justice Verma commission to review anti-rape provision in our criminal laws in the wake of the horrific rape and murder of a Delhi girl last month, today submitted its report to the home ministry.

Addressing a press briefing soon after, Justice Verma paid rich tributes to the youth for showing great maturity and showing the way for the country. 

 The committee was formed in the aftermath of the heinous gang-rape case of Delhi  in which a 23-year-old medical student was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012. She died of her injuries on December 29 in the multi-specialty Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, which has been forced on the backfoot over this heinous crime, has constituted a three-member committee headed by Justice Verma to give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases.

The committee had earlier issued a notice seeking suggestions from the public in general, particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, non-governmental organisations, women's groups and civil society members in a bid to provide quicker justice and stringent punishment for crimes against women.

The other members of the committee, constituted by the government, are Justice (retd) Leila Seth, former chief justice of Himachal Pradesh high court, and Gopal Subramanian, former solicitor general of India.
15:09  Tribal girl raped in MP; one held:  

A youth has been arrested for allegedly raping a tribal girl, student of Class VIII, at Bayawadi village in the MP's Betul district, police said today. Mukesh Kumar Pawar (22), a resident of Betul Bazar area, raped the girl when she was returning from school yesterday, police said.        

 

The girl told her parents about the incident following which a complaint was lodged with AJK police station and the accused was arrested, they said. The victim was sent for medical check-up, police said, adding investigation was on.

15:07  Ready to act if there is constitutional crisis: K'taka guv:  

Against the backdrop of two BJP ministers resigning and eleven more MLAs deciding to quit their assembly membership, Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj today said he was ready to act if there is a constitutional crisis in the state.   

 

"If there is a constitutional crisis in the state, I am ready to act," he told reporters at a function in Bangalore. Bhardwaj, however, said he would not like to disturb the Jagadish Shettar government.     

 

He said he had spoken to Shettar yesterday and the chief minister said there was nothing wrong with his government.

15:02  Supreme Court says no to transaction fees:  Just In: No transaction fee in any form be levied on passengers byairlines: SC.
15:00  Justice Verma commission submits report on rape law changes:  Just In: The Justice J S Verma committee, set up to propose amendments to laws relating to crime against women, submits its report to the home ministry.
14:36  Deoband opposes 'controversial' authors at litfest:  Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband today demanded that "controversial authors" be kept away from the Jaipur Literature Festival in Pink City. 

 Deoband's demand comes on the heels of some Muslim groups warning JLF organisers against inviting authors who have "hurt" the religious sentiments of the community, including Jeet Thayil, Ruchir Joshi, Hari Kunzuru and Amitava Kumar, who had read out passages from Salman Rushdie's banned Satanic Verses at the event last year. 

"India is a secular country and every citizen has a right to raise his voice under the ambit of law. However, some controversial authors invited to the JLF have hurt religious sentiments in the past," Vice-Chancellor Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani said. "The Darul Uloom Deoband has asked the government to stop such authors from visiting the country."
14:31  Pathology tests made free in Madhya Pradesh hospitals:  The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to provide free pathology tests in government hospitals and health centres from next month. 

The state Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan yesterday, approved free pathology tests with a view to make available more health facilities to the people, an official release said today. 

The Cabinet has also sanctioned special medical allowance for doctors in the state, the release said.
14:15  Zardari should give up post of PPP chief: LHC:  

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari should "quit political activities" and give up the post of the chief of the ruling PPP in line with a judgement issued last year, the Lahore high court has said.        

 

The chief justice of the High Court, Umar Ata Bandial, asked Wasim Sajjad, the counsel for the federal government, to present a clear point of view on behalf of the President about implementing the court's order of May 12, 2011 that had said Zardari was expected to quit as the chief of the PPP.        

 

Bandial, who is heading a five-judge bench that is hearing a petition seeking action against Zardari under the contempt of court law, gave Sajjad time till February 6 to file the President's reply. He said the court would decide the matter without any further delay.

14:11  Rehman Malik orders release of all Indian fishermen:  Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ordered the release of all Indian fishermen held in Pakistani jails. 

India released four Pakistanis, including a woman, from jail and who have now arrived in Lahore, reports the Express Tribune

Earlier on Monday, Pakistan had arrested 27 Indian fishermen for illegally straying into its territorial waters. Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency arrested the Indian fishermen and seized six boats, alleging they were 40 nautical miles inside Pakistani waters. 

The arrests come after a ceasefire took hold last week in Kashmir, following five deadly cross-border killings that threatened to unravel a fragile peace process.
14:09  Pak firebrand Qadri not to contest polls:  Firebrand cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who led a massive protest demanding electoral reforms in Pakistan, has announced that he and his family will not contest the upcoming general election to discourage "dynastic politics". 

"My wife, two sons, daughters, daughters-in-law and sons-in-law will not contest the elections. Though there is no legal issue, I have made this decision just to discourage dynastic politics," Qadri told reporters yesterday. 

However, leaders of other political parties believe Qadri decided not to contest polls, expected to be held in May, to retain his Canadian nationality. 

Under Pakistani laws, a person has to give up his dual nationality to contest elections.
14:01  Mathrubhumi group launches 24x7 news TV:  Mathrubhumi, one of the country's leading media houses, today launched its 24x7 television news channel in Malayalam. 

 Offering the viewers a "different visual culture" without compromising on basic values, Mathrubhumi News started its telecast today. 

On the occasion were present Mathrubhumi Managing Director M P Veerendrakumar, Managing Editor P V Chandran, besides M V Shreyams Kumar, MLA and director (marketing and electronic), P V Nidheesh and other directors of the company.
13:59  Seni's new norms for investment advisers:   Sebi has notified norms that make it mandatory for investment advisers to register with the capital market regulator and also require them to disclose all issues that could result in conflict of interests, among others. 

 To ensure more transparency, the new regulations require investment advisers -- banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and corporates -- would have to segregate their investment advisory services from other activities. 

Investment advisers also have to disclose the fee received for their advice on a particular financial product.
13:52  Vaju Vala unanimously elected Gujarat speaker:  

Veteran leader and former Gujarat Finance Minister Vaju Vala was unanimously elected as the new Speaker of the Gujarat assembly in Ahmedabad today.   During the first session of the thirteenth assembly, Chief Minister Narendra Modi proposed Vala's name for the post, which was supported by veteran Congress leader Mohansingh Rathwa.

 

Pro tem Speaker Nima Acharya then put the name of Vala for voting and he was elected unanimously by a voice vote, following which, Modi, along with two former chief ministers Shankarsinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel and former Speaker Ganpat Vasava, led Vala to his chair.

12:41  BJP with Gadkari, says party chief Rajnath Singh:  

Newly-appointed BJP president Rajnath Singh, while addressing the media at the party headquarters, said that the party is with former president Nitin Gadkari.

 

Rajnath also attacked the Congress, stating that questions are being raised about BJP cadres, even though their integrity is unquestionable. He also said that Congress, and its petty vote bank politics, is responsible for the sorry state of affairs in the country.

12:35  All seniors in BJP should be role models: Advani:  

Senior BJP leader L K Advani, while addressing the media at the party headquarters after Rajnath Singh was unanimously appointed as the party president, said all senior leaders in BJP should become role models. Advani also said that new president Rajnath Singh faces huge tasks.

 

Former president Nitin Gadkari blamed political conspiracy to malign BJP through him.

12:30  KP's brother-in-law arrested with shotgun and cannabis:  Kevin Pietersen's brother-in-law, Samuel Taylor, has been arrested by the British police for possessing a sawn-off shotgun, imitation firearms and the drug cannabis. 

Samuel, who is Pietersen's singer wife Jessica Taylor's brother, appeared in the court after being charged by the police on New Year's Eve and was remanded in custody until later this month, the Sun reports. 

The former plumber was arrested on Saturday after cops found a weapon buried in woodland in Preston, Lancashire. 

It is the latest controversy for Pietersen, who was axed from the England team last summer in a row over text messages. The South Africa-born batsman married Jessica, who shot to fame as a member of band Liberty X, at a plush ceremony in front of celebrity pals in Wiltshire in 2007.
12:09  Rajnath Singh unanimously elected BJP president:  

Rajnath Singh was unanimously elected as the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party.  

 

Senior leaders of party, including former president Nitin Gadkari, leaders of opposition Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj among others, have all gathered at the party headquarters in the national capital to congratulate Rajnath Singh.

12:03  K'taka govt in minority as 14 BJP MLAs set to quit:  

Vicky Nanjappa reports from Bangalore: The BJP in Karnataka appears to be on the brink of losing its government as 14 MLAs have reached the Vidhan Soudha to tender their resignations.

 

The decision to quit their positions as MLAs was taken after all these persons, loyalists of B S Yeddyurappa, decided on the same at a breakfast meeting earlier this morning.

 

Earlier Shobha Karandlaje and C M Udasi, both ministers in the BJP government, had tendered their resignations. If the 14 MLAs go ahead and tender their resignations, the BJP government will not have the required numbers.

 

At present it has 119 MLAs in a House of 225 and the magic number to stay in power is 113. If the 14 MLAs resign then the BJP would have just 105 MLAs.  The Congress has 76 MLAs, while the JD(S) has 26. There are 6 independents and one MLA from the BSR Congress party which is run by B Sriramulu.

11:33  Rahul calls meeting of Cong functionaries:  

Onkar Singh reports from New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, who was appointed vice-president of the Congress party at the chintan baithak in Jaipur last week, has called a meeting of important functionaries at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

 

Rahul will lead the party campaign for the 2014 general elections. Wednesday's meeting is seen as his first step towards that direction, a senior Congress leader told Rediff.com.

11:31  Jethmalani hails BJPs decision to appoint Rajnath as prez:  

Senior BJP leader and noted advocate Ram Jethmalani has welcomed the decision to appoint Rajnath Singh as the party president.  

 

Jethmalani was first among the BJP leaders who have objected to Nitin Gadkari's continuation as BJP president over allegations of graft against companies run by him.

11:27  Justin Bieber is king of Twitter:  Pop star Justin Bieber has become the most-followed person on micro-blogging site Twitter, surpassing previous record holder Lady GaGa. 

The Canadian teen sensation successfully scored 33,315,521 followers, a massive amount that was enough to beat GaGa's 33,315,459 followers. 

The Boyfriend singer garners an average of 40,055 followers a day, while Gaga adds around 30,495 users to her follower list each day, reported Aceshowbiz.
11:24  Shakira has a baby boy:  Columbian superstar Shakira has given birth to a baby boy. 

The 35-year-old Hips Don't Lie hit-maker and her partner Gerard Pique welcomed their son Milan on Tuesday in a hospital in Barcelona, Spain, reported USA Today online. 

Announcing the good news on her website, she wrote, "We are happy to announce the birth of Milan Pique Mebarak, son of Shakira Mebarak and Gerard Pique, born Jan. 22nd at 9:36 pm, in Barcelona, Spain."
11:23  Fog in Mohali, temperature plunges too:  Set to host the penultimate one-dayer in the five-match India-England ODI series today, Mohali and its surrounding were enveloped by a thick blanket of fog. 

In the early morning, the weather was misty, but dense fog soon started descending, reducing the visibility levels to around 200 metres, a Met official in Chandigarh said. 

 The PCA stadium, where the match starts in the afternoon, was covered by thick fog and the maximum temperature also came down and was hovering around 12-13 degrees Celsius at about 10 am.
11:21  Ace lensman Jagdish Mali says he is fine:  Celebrated photographer Jagdish Mali, who was reportedly spotted walking in a "disoriented" state in a city suburb recently, has rubbished reports saying he is not suffering from any mental problem and is perfectly fine. 

Small-time actress Mink Brar, who was a participant in the recently concluded reality show Bigg Boss, had reportedly spotted him roaming around in a semi-nude condition in  suburban Andheri recently. Mink had first contacted Jagdish's daughter actress Antara Mali, but later called actor Salman Khan for help. 

However, Jagdish said he just laughed at the matter when he first heard about it. 

"I was laughing when I heard all this. I am not angry with Mink or anyone. I am not thinking of taking any legal action or issuing notice to anyone," the ace photographer said.
11:10  RSS wont comment on Rajnath Singhs selection:  

RSS national spokesperson Ram Madhav tells Rediff.com's Onkar Singh that the organisation doesn't care about media reports on Rajnath Singh's selection as BJP president under its pressure.  

 

"We won't comment on any media report," Madav said.

11:04  BJP resolution hails Gadkaris tenure:  

In the meanwhile, BJP leader Ananth Kumar briefed the media, after the conclusion of the BJP parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi, which endorsed the name of Rajnath Singh for party president's post.  

 

Ananth Kumar said senior leader L K Advani, chief of the BJP parliamentary board, passed a resolution in the meeting hailing the tenure of Nitin Gadkari as the party president. Members present in the meeting, including Gadkari, Rajnath, Jaitley, Swaraj among others, accepted the resolution.   However, there was no word on Rajnath's elevation.

10:45  BJP parliamentary board endorses Rajnath for prez:  

The BJP parliamentary board meeting, which met in New Delhi today, endorsed the name of Rajnath Singh for party president.  

 

The meeting was attended by senior leader L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajnath Singh and incumbent president Nitin Gadkari among others.  

 

The formal announcement of Rajnath Singh taking over the party presidential post will be made later today.

10:38  Biden undecided on 2016 US presidential run:  

US Vice President Joe Biden today said he is still undecided about running for the 2016 presidential elections, a prospect that may entail a clash with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party nomination.  

 

"There are a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn't run. I haven't made that decision and I don't have to make that decision for a while," Biden told CNN in an interview.  

 

Biden evaded the question if he would run against Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, who many in the US speculate is a potential strong Democratic Party candidate in the 2016 elections.  

 

"Look, I haven't made that judgement and Hillary hasn't made that judgement, but I can tell you what, everything that should be done over the next two years that I should be part of would have to be done whether I run or I don't run," he said.  

 

"If this administration is successful, whoever is running as a Democrat is better position to win. If we are not successful, whoever runs as a nominee is going to be less likely to win," Biden said. Biden said that for the next two years his focus would be on addressing key issues facing the nation.  

10:14  Rajnath to file nominations for BJP prez post:  

The BJP parliamentary board meeting, which will decide upon the new president of the party, is expected begin in the national capital soon. Frontrunner for the post Rajnath Singh met with senior leader L K Advani and incumbent president Nitin Gadkari shortly before the beginning of the meeting.  

 

Rajnath Singh will file nomination for the post of BJP president today.

10:01  BSY loyalist ministers quit Karnataka govt:  

Karnataka ministers C M Udasi and Shobha Karandlaje resigned today, sources in chief minister's secretariat told PTI. Ending weeks of speculation, Karnataka Minister for Energy Shobha Karandlaje, a loyalist of Karnataka Janata Party chief B S Yeddyurappa, had decided to quit the BJP ministry on Wednesday.

 

"I am proud and have satisfaction of performing well during my tenure as Energy Minster in the last two and a half years. I am leaving the Department. It is my last day, hopefully, in office', Shobha told reporters on Tuesday.

 

Shobha, who had already dropped hints, three months back, at resigning from the ministry and also BJP to support KJP activities ahead of the assembly polls, thanked officials of energy department.

09:55  The LoC incident - The back story:  

NDTV's Nitin Gokhale on the back story of the LoC incident:   The recent incidents on the Line of Control between Indian and Pakistani army troops has predictably generated a lot of heat and has taken up oodles of air and print space in the media on both sides of the border.  

 

As someone who was involved from day one in not only reporting the incident but also monitoring the subsequent developments, it is important for me to recall the facts, the chain of events and the reaction of all stake-holders (a term I recently came across at a South Asia 2020 Conference) during the entire episode lest fiction as conceived by different players gets accepted as the absolute truth.

 

Read the full blog on NDTV

09:47  Sensex up over 72 points in early trade:  

The BSE benchmark Sensex today rose by over 72 points in early trade on the back of gains in stocks of realty, metal, oil and gas and banking sectors, amid a mixed Asian trend.        

 

The 30-share barometer, which had lost 120.25 points yesterday, recovered by 72.40 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 20,053.97 in early trade.        

 

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty moved up by 21.30 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 6,069.80.        

 

Brokers said fresh buying by major players after yesterday's profit-booking amid a mixed trend in Asian markets, following overnight gains on the US markets on stronger-than-expected earnings results, influenced the trading sentiment here.         Meanwhile, in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose by 0.19 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.88 per cent in early trade today.        

 

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.46 per cent higher in yesterday's trade.  

09:44  15 killed, 10 injured in bus mishap in Bihar:  

At least 15 people were killed and ten others injured today when a speeding bus rammed into thick iron bars at a revenue checkpost amid heavy fog at Dobhi in Bihar's Gaya district.        

 

The accident happened at Dobhi integrated revenue checkpost under Barachatti Police Station early this morning. The bus was going from Kalipahari in Gurwa Police Station area to Rajrappa Temple in neighbouring Jharkhand's Ramgarh district when the driver lost control over the vehicle due to fog and hit the iron bars of the checkpost, Superintendent of Police Akhtar Hossain said.        

 

He said a police rescue team has reached the spot and the injured people are being rushed to local hospitals.

09:21  Setback for Netanyahu as Lapid turns kingmaker:  

A political rookie, Yair Lapid, has emerged as a kingmaker in Israeli elections spoiling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's victory celebrations, as undecided voters rallied behind the former scribe at the last moment in polls marked by plummeting support for the ruling Likud party.        

 

Pollsters were swept by surprise as the change in public mood at the last moment saw exit polls throwing a major surprise with the right wing bloc losing popular support and in the end centre-left bloc ending up very close at 61-59 mark raising speculations that some of Netanyahu's natural allies may be left out of the next coalition.        

 

All the Israeli news networks projected the joint Likud-Yisrael Beteinu list to have won 31 Knesset seats, a sharp drop from the 42 mandates that two parties currently hold, but enough for Netanyahu to be invited again to form the next government.        

 

Netanyahu put up a brave front saying he viewed the results as an endorsement of his leadership, vowing to immediately start working on forming a coalition that would include parties on the Right, Left, and Center.        

 

He also immediately called Lapid, the leader of the Yesh Atid (There is Future) party, who won an unexpected 18-19 seats in exit polls, and asked him to cooperate with him in his next government.        

 

"The exit polls clearly indicate that the citizens of Israel want me to continue to serve as prime minister of Israel and form the widest possible government," the Prime Minister wrote on Facebook.        

 

"The results are a great opportunity to make many changes for the benefit of the citizens of Israel," he added.        

 

Labour party stood third in the exit polls at 17 seats. It's leader, Shelly Yacimovich, another former scribe, in her address to party workers vowed "to do all in her strength to prevent Netanyahu from becoming the next Prime Minister".  

 

Image: Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, addresses supporters at his party's headquarters in Tel Aviv   Photograph: Reuters

08:41  Pentagon inquiry clears US top commander:  

The Pentagon has cleared Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan Gen John Allen, of charges of professional misconduct over email exchanges with a socialite, a US official says.        

 

"Secretary Panetta has been informed that the Department's Office of Inspector General has concluded an investigation into a matter involving General John Allen, US Marine Corps. The Secretary was pleased to learn that allegations of professional misconduct were not substantiated by the investigation," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.        

 

"The Secretary has complete confidence in the continued leadership of General Allen, who is serving with distinction in Afghanistan," Little said in a statement, ending all speculation against one of best American commanders.        

 

Gen Allen's decorated career came to a halt last year after his name appeared in the scam following which Gen (rtd) David Petraeus, the CIA Director resigned citing extra marital affairs.

08:40  N Korea hints at nuke test after UN sanctions:  

AFP: A defiant North Korea today condemned a new round of UN sanctions and hinted it might carry out a nuclear test, while ruling out a resumption of talks on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.        

 

"We flatly reject and condemn the UN Security Council's extremely unfair resolution that attempts to violate our sovereign rights," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.        

 

"We will take physical actions aimed at expanding and strengthening our self-defensive military forces, including nuclear deterrence," the ministry said.

01:29  US: 3 injured in shooting at Texas college:  
CNN reports: Three people -- one suspected shooter and two people caught in a "crossfire" -- were wounded in a shooting that appears to have been between two people at the Lone Star College campus in Houston, school spokesman Jed Young said.

The wounded suspect is in custody, and the second gunman is on the loose but not believed to be on campus, Young said.

Authorities believe the school is "under control, but the school is still being evacuated," Young said.

Young said he doesn't know the conditions of the wounded. He said the shooting apparently between two gunmen was reported at about 12:31 pm CT.

Two apparently unintended targets were shot in a "crossfire," he said.
01:25  US: Jewish counsellor handed 103-yr term for sex abuse:  
A religious counsellor in New York City's ultra-orthodox Jewish community has been sentenced to 103 years in prison for molesting a girl who came to him with questions about her faith.

Nechemya Weberman was convicted in December on 59 counts, including of sustained sexual abuse of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse. 

Both Weberman, 54, and the girl belonged to the Satmar Hasidic sect, which has its own ambulances, volunteer police and rabbinical courts. Followers are discouraged from going to secular authorities.

The trial put a spotlight on the city's ultra-orthodox community and its strict rules that govern interaction with the outside world. The city is home to the largest community of ultra-orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 2,50,000.
01:24  Fresh clashes in Syria's Homs as Russians flee:  
A fresh outbreak of fierce fighting has gripped the strategic Syrian city of Homs, a watchdog said on Tuesday, as Russia warned of a protracted civil war and helped its citizens flee the violence. 

A day after Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said a UN-backed peace mission had yet to yield even a "glimmer of hope", the 22-month conflict pitting rebels against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad showed no signs of abating. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 23 troops and pro-regime fighters were killed and dozens wounded in Homs, dubbed "the capital of the revolution" by the opposition.

"So far, we have confirmed 23 of the men have died, but the actual number may be higher," said the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman. 

The troops were killed in heavy clashes in western Homs, which Abdel Rahman said was crucial as it lies on a "strategic fault line" both for the rebels and the pro-Assad forces. 
01:24  US blames terrorists for Algerian crisis:  
The US has hinted that Al Qaeda-linked terrorists killed the hostages, including three Americans, in Algeria, saying the casualties would have been much larger if they had succeeded to blow up the oil facility. 

"The blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns those actions in the strongest possible terms," White House Press Secretary jay Carney told reporters.

"The Algerians have said, as you know, that these attackers intended to kill all of the hostages, and blow up the facility," he said, adding that outcome would have made the situation even more tragic.

"We are in touch with, as we have been, we'll continue to be in touch with, the government of Algeria to gain a fuller picture of what happened, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that the blame for this lies with the terrorists," he said.
01:23  Police journal carries apology for cop's controversial poem:  
The latest edition of Mumbai police's in house journal 'Samwad' which came out on Tuesday, carried an unconditional apology by female police inspector Sujata Patil, whose poem had sparked off a controversy. 

Traffic police inspector (Matunga division) Sujata Patil's controversial poem in an earlier issue of the in-house police journal, had described last year's Azad Maidan protesters as "snakes" and "traitors", whose hands should have been "chopped off". 

Patil had already apologised in writing, but on Tuesday it was published in the latest edition of 'Samwad', police sources said. She did not intend to hurt anybody's religious sentiments or any religion through her poem, she wrote in the journal.

Joint Police Commissioner (Administration) Hemant Nagrale who is also Samwad's editor and publisher, has stated in writing that Patil had already apologised and she did not intend to hurt anybody's sentiments.
01:22  Top headlines this hour:  Gadkari out, Rajnath Singh back as BJP president

Gadkari's exit: Advani won, but RSS is still the boss

No probe has directly linked RSS to terror yet

Rejuvenated India look to clinch series in Mohali

Serious negotiations going on with investors: Kingfisher


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