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Headley would've got death penalty in India: Nikam

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January 24, 2013


23:47  Headley would've got death penalty in India: Nikam:  
Ujjwal Nikam, 26/11 case public prosecutor, on Daid Headley's sentencing: "I personally feel this sentence of 35 years is inadequate. Had it been in India, he would have been awarded death penalty."
23:16  I do not have any faith in Headley: Judge:  
Giving his order, US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber said "He commits crime, cooperates and then gets rewarded for the cooperation.

"No matter what I do, it is not going to deter terrorists. Unfortunately. Terrorists do not care for it. I do not have any faith in Mr Headley when he says that he is a changed person now.

"I do believe that it is my duty to protect the public from Mr Headley and ensure that he does not get into any further terrorist activities. Recommending 35 years is not a right sentence. I will accept the government motion 35 years and sentence of 35 years and supervised release for life".

23:08  Headley has lost his right to live as a free man: 26/11 victim:  
26/11 victim Linda Ragsdale, who was at the Taj during 26/11, tells Headley in court: 

"A man with your intelligence could have altered the lives of so many people in this country. This is my wish for you I hope you find the kind of people and faith that allows you to ownership of you actions and consequences under your own name."

"I wish for you peace and faith that brings to you the understanding of the word family; the ability to see every child as your child, to wish for your child a life of peace and faith rather than train other kids to take life." 

"Headley has lost his right to live as a free man. He must bear the consequences for the rest of his life. It would be a moral outrage to all the victims and even those still in India if he gets only 35 years."
22:19  26/11 accused David Headley's sentencing underway:   A United States federal court in Chicago has started the sentencing hearing of David Coleman Headley, an LeT operative convicted of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.              

The hearing started before the court of US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber in downtown Chicago amidst an unprecedented security.              

According to court officials several hundred people lined up before the court room ahead of proceedings, delaying the start by around 30 minutes.              

Sniffer dogs were deployed and every individual was thoroughly checked before they were allowed to enter the courtroom by security personnel.              

No electronic device, cellular phone, i-pads and recording devices were allowed inside the court room, which was opened on a first-cum-first serve basis.
21:19  North Korea says new nuke test to target US:  North Korea said today that it plans to carry out a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches, all of which it said are a part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States, reports CNN.

The North's National Defense Commission said the moves would feed into an "upcoming all-out action" that would target the United States, "the sworn enemy of the Korean people."
20:01  Committee set up to probe charges against Wal-Mart:  A one-man committee will probe whether US retail giant Wal-Mart had indulged in lobbying activities by violating Indian laws to gain access to its market, the government announced today, more than a month after a major uproar over the issue.

The Union Cabinet decided that the probe would be conducted by a retired judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a High Court, sources said. The committee will submit its report within three months, an official statement said.
19:45  Final trials for INS Vikramaditya in June:   INS Vikramditya, India's second aircraft carrier, is back on its feet. Three of the ship's eight boilers that had malfunctioned during trials in last year have been "opened up and set right," a senior Navy official told NDTV.

INS Vikramaditya can sail out of the port only in June this year for "delivery acceptance trials" - the penultimate stage before a ship is commissioned, the report said.

Read the full story here


19:09  Madras HC stays Viswaroopam release till Jan 28:  Just In: The Madras high court stays release of Kamal Haasan's film Viswaroopam till January 28.
18:49  Shrinking Government, Ballooning Costs:  A report on IndiaSpend by Sourjya Bhowmick finds that while the central government has spent around Rs 3,64,613 crore ($68 billion) on 2.5 million employees between 2006 and 2011, the clincher is that the total number of government employees has actually come down from 2.8 million in 2005-06 to 2.5 million in 2009-10!

Read the revealing report here.
18:43  Ban on Kamal Hasaan's Vishwaroopam till Jan 28:  According to TV reports, the Madras HC has stayed the releases of Kamal Hassan starrer Vishwaroopam until January 28.

Yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government has banned the screening following strong protests from various Muslim organisations over alleged depiction of their community in a negative light.
18:37  Standing on the shoulders of giants:   The cover of Open magazine's latest edition is telltale.

Called the Devil's Alternative, it shows Narendra Modi standing single, standing tall, in a pile of human skulls. On the other side, it shows Rajiv Gandhi, on whose shoulder is Sonia Gandhi on whose shoulder is Rahul Gandhi...

Great creativity. You can see it here.
18:07  CBI court reserves judgement in Shehla murder case:  A CBI court today reserved its judgement in the Shehla Masood murder case. Shehla was shot dead outside her house in Bhopal'sKoh-e-Fiza locality on August 16, 2011.

After short arguments by senior public prosecutor Hemant Shukla and Saba Farooqui's defence lawyer SunilSrivastava, special CBI court judge Anupam Srivastava reserved its judgement on a petition filed by the senior publicp rosecutor seeking permission to examine main accused Zahida Parvez and her accomplice Saba Farooqui separately, by a lady inspector in judicial lock-up to find out the origin of exhibits.

Defending the petition filed in the court on January 10, the CBI prosecutor said that permission was necessary to find out the origin of exhibits such as the handkerchief, used condom and human hair found in the possession of Zahida and Saba, besides identities of persons.
17:41  Street protests over gangrape part of democracy: Anand Sharma:  Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today justified the protests in Delhi in the wake of gruesome gangrape of a 23-year-old girl, saying that in an aspirational and young society like India, such demonstrations are part of the democracy. 

"We not only have an aspirational society, but it is young and assertive society. The problem will be people not coming out on street when there has been a gruesome rape, it is part of the society and democracy," Sharma said at the World Economic Forum meet in Davos. 

He made the comments while participating in a session on the topic 'Avoiding the BRIC Wall', that also saw the participation of Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan and Transparency International chair Huguette Labelle, among others.
17:33  Jailed because of Congress: Asaduddin Owaisi:  MIM President and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has said that those opposing the policies of the Congress government in the state were being jailed.

He said he as well as the YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy were jailed because they dared to oppose Congress government. Speaking to the media on release from the angareddy jail on bail, Owaisi said that his fight against the misrule and anti people and anti minority policies of Congress government will continue.

"The Congress and Kiran Kumar Reddy government have joined hands with the BJP to murder democracy in the state', he said.
17:27  Juvenile board rejects plea to treat juvenile rapist as adult:  A plea for prosecution of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gangrape case along with the five adult accused was today dismissed by the Juvenile Justice Board. 

The petition, moved by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking the prosecution of the sole juvenile along with the five adult accused, was rejected by the Board presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel.
16:16  What is common between Rahul Gandhi, Rajnath Singh?:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: The promotion of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and that of BJP leader Rajnath Singh may have some common traits. 

The decision to appoint Rahul Gandhi as the vice president of the AICC was not conveyed to too many senior leaders except Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony.    

The information was not shared with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh as it was likely to be leaked to the media.    

Similarly, Rajnath Singh's promotion to the BJP chief's post was kept a secret and he was told to rush to New Delhi.    

Even when the news was conveyed by senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, only a few RSS functionaries knew about the internal development and several top BJP leaders were kept in the dark.
16:14  'Tear politics' over Rahu Gandhi's speech!:   A correspondent from Delhi reports: Senior Congress leaders Janardhan Diwedi, Mohsina Kidwai, Ahmed Patel, Gulam Nabi Azad and P Chidambaram were in tears when Rahul Gandhi read the acceptance speech at the Congress Chintan Shivir in Jaipur.     

Other senior leaders noted this moving scene but could not compete with the crying Congress leaders as the leaders had by then wiped their tears.   

Few leaders commented that Rahul's close confidant Digvijaya Singh missed this opportunity to express some tearful warmth
16:12  How Rahul Gandhi finalised emotional speech!:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Rahul Gandhi's speech accepting the position of the vice president of the All India Congress Committee was drafted by his sister Priyanka Gandhi.   

Two or three drafts of the speech were corrected by confidant Suman Dubey.   

Rahul Gandhi also showed his draft speech to his aide Sam Pitroda.   

AICC insiders claim that the emotional bit about Congress president Sonia Gandhi coming to his room to talk about his new role was added by Rahul himself.
16:10  Pranab to preside over governors' meet:   A correspondent from Delhi reports: President Pranab Mukherjee has convened a two-day governors' conference from February 11 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.      

The conference will deliberate on issues related to economic matters, the agricultural situation, internal security and women's rights.   

In a circular letter, Omita Paul, secretary to President, invited suggestions from the governors to make the conference fruitful.   

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan as the Doyen of Governors. 

During the two-day conference, Narasimhan will conduct the proceedings and moderate the sessions.
16:08  Pak working towards granting MFN-status to India:  Pakistan today said it is working towards giving Most Favoured Nation-status to India though a final decision will be made only after talking to all stakeholders and "prioritising the country's interests".        

During Question Hour in the Senate or upper house of Parliament, Minister of State for Commerce Abbas Khan Afridi said "work was in progress" to grant MFN-status to India.        

Afridi did not say when the process is likely to be completed
16:00  How Mumbai cops plan to keep couples safe:   Couples found meeting in isolated places in Mumbai may land in trouble if a recent directive from the police commissioner is implemented. 

The police described the move as a "preventive" step aimed at saving such couples from becoming victim of miscreants.

During a recently-held meeting, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh gave instructions to all the police stations to keep a vigil at isolated places in their jurisdictions where couples often meet and ask them to vacate such places. 

According to police, the couples would be first asked to leave the place. In case they do not listen, action would be initiated against them under relevant sections of Bombay Police Act. 

"The reason behind this move is that we do not want them (couples) to face the risk of becoming victim of miscreants. It is a preventive measure," Mumbai Police spokesperson Ambadas Pote said.
15:53  Why the sudden silence on Sebi's part on Sahara?:  'There is a sudden and eerie silence to the issue of the Sahara group coughing up a whopping Rs10,000 crore second instalment to be paid to SEBI under a Supreme Court order. As per the extended deadline provided by the apex court, Sahara companies were to pay up this instalment on the 10th January. It has not happened,' says a piece in MoneyLife.in, and ask the pertinent question: 'Is there some sinister compromise going on?' 

Read the article here.
15:38  Did hysterical TV anchors force PM's hand on Pak?:   It was the hysterical campaign by the electronic media that led the Prime Minister to change course on the India-Pakistan dialogue after the LoC hostilities, writes lawyer, author and commentator AG Noorani in The Hindu.

'It was not to the BJP that the Prime Minister surrendered. He did so to the clamour whipped up by the electronic media. The BJP wrode piggy-back on that clamour. The resume of events from January 6 to 18 should be read in the light of the venom poured by television news anchors night after night. This raises in an acute form the issue of media influence on diplomacy,' he writes. 

Read his engaging article here.

And while on the subject of the prime minister, here's another piece by someone who knows him well. Dr Sanjaya Baru decodes Dr Singh's red lines. Read him here.
15:18  MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi gets bail:   Vicky Nanjappa reports: MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who was remanded to judicial custody in connection with an assault case, was granted bail on Thursday. 

The Sanga Reddy court, which heard his plea, granted him bail on the condition that he cooperate with the investigation.

Owaisi was booked for obstructing a government employee from doing his work. The case was registered in 2005 but an arrest warrant was issued recently, following which he surrendered before the court. 

He was later remanded to judicial custody.
15:02  Why threaten the media, sue me: Kejriwal to Ambani:   In response to the notices served to various TV channels by Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Industries, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday sent a letter to the industrialist.

Kejriwal asked him why he was holding the media houses responsible for airing his allegations of corruption against Ambani. 

"If you want to send a notice, send it to me and Prashant Bhushan," said Kejriwal.

He also put forward a few questions about Ambani's alleged accounts in Swiss banks and his pressure tactics on the government.

Read the full letter here
14:20  BJP threatens to block Budget Session:  The BJP on Thursday threatened to block proceedings in the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament if Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was not sacked over his controversial 'Hindu terror' remark.       

BJP president Rajnath Singh said Shinde would have to resign because his remark has caused nationwide outrage. He was addressing party supporters at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
14:19  BJP holds protests at Jantar Mantar:  BJP members held protests at Jantar Mantar on Thursday against Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde''s 'Hindu terror' remarks.   

Newly elected party president Rajnath Singh, along with Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, spearheaded the protest in the national capital.   

Rajnath Singh had earlier lashed out at Shinde over his controversial remark, saying the Union home minister should have refrained from making statements of the kind he made against the BJP and RSS in order to ensure that credibility of the political system.   

"Sushil Kumar Shinde is the home minister of the country and should not have made such statements," Singh said.
14:18  IMF chief dedicates WEF moments to Delhi gangrape victim:  Making a passionate appeal for fairness and gender equality, IMF chief Christine Lagarde invoked the Delhi gang rape incident during a speech at the World Economic Forum while emphasising that expectations of Indian women for greater respect and justice must be met.               

She also remembered the young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai while addressing the gathering at the annual WEF meeting.               

"I dedicate the moment (of addressing WEF annual meet) to Malala, daughter of Pakistan, and another daughter in India (rape case)," International Monetary Fund chief Lagarde said.
13:48  BJP demands Shinde's resignation, Sonia's apology:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Newly-elected BJP president Rajnath Singh on Thursday slammed the statement on 'Hindu terror' made by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and demanded the latter's resignation.

He also asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to "clarify" what Shinde meant by the comment.

Singh also demanded an apology by both Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over Shinde's comment.

Shinde had made the controversial remark on the final day of the Congress Party's Chintan Shivir in Jaipur. He had accused the BJP and RSS of holding terror training camps and promoting 'Hindu terrorism' in the country. 

The BJP has already threatened to hold nationwide protests from today against 
Shinde's comment.

The Union home minister had refused to comment on BJP's nation-wide protests when asked about it earlier today.
13:28  Next nuclear test against US, warns North Korea:  North Korea sure has its hands full!

The secretive regime, while dismissing reports about its leader undergoing plastic surgery, has also warned that it will carry out yet another nuclear test.

The test will be the third one carried out by the Communist regime and it will be aimed at arch-foe United States, said authorities.

Reacting to further sanctions imposed by the United Nations, North Korea promised "all out action", but refused to specify a date for the nuclear test.
13:24  Will finish coal block scam probe in 4 months: CBI:  The probe in the coal block allocation scam will be completed within four months, the CBI assured the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The apex court also questioned the Centre's power to allocate coal blocks,asking under what provisions minerals are allocated by the government.
12:56  Kim Jong-Un did NOT have plastic surgery: N Korea:  North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-Un did not have plastic surgery to look like his grandfather Kim Il-Sung, the national government has stated in an angry statement.

Kim Jong-Un's striking similarity to his grandfather in terms of his attire, mannerisms, haircut etc had led to rampant speculations that the young leader of one of the world's most secretive nations had gone under the knife to change his looks. 

The formidable Kim Il-Sung was the founding leader of North Korea.
12:52  Argument for taxing 'very rich' should be considered: FM:  Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who has talked about a stable tax regime during his meetings with foreign investors in the last two days, has said that the argument for taxing the very rich 'a little more' should be considered.     

"I believe in stable tax rates. However, I must concede that there is an argument, underline the word argument, that when the economy requires, when the government requires more resources, the very rich should willingly pay a little more".     

"That is not to say that the tax rate should not be stable. I think we should have stability in tax rates but we should consider the argument whether the very rich should be asked to pay a little more on some occasions," he told CNBC-TV18.
11:45  SC rejects Rajasthan govt's plea against Salman:  The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the Rajasthan government's plea against actor Salman Khan in connection to the black buck shooting incident.

The state government had filed a plea seeking the conviction of the actor in connection to the black buck shooting case.
11:09  Sack Alagiri over fertilizer scam: Jayalalithaa:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has demanded the sacking of Union Minister M K Alagiri over the alleged fertilizer scam.

Further details are awaited.
11:08  BJP to hold nationwide protest against Shinde's remark:  The BJP will hold nationwide protests from today against Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for his recent remarks on  'Hindu terror'.   

Newly elected party president Rajnath Singh has already lashed out at Shinde over his controversial 'Hindu terror' remark, saying that the party will hold a massive nationwide protest against him from Thursday.   

Shinde had made the controversial remark on the final day of the Congress Party's Chintan Shivir in Jaipur. He had accused the BJP and RSS of holding terror training camps and promoting 'Hindu terrorism' in the country. 
10:44  India lucky to have Dhoni: Boycott :  The Indian cricket team is 'very average' at the moment and is 'lucky' to have a captain like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is coping the blame for 'lack of quality' in the side, feels former England skipper Geoffrey Boycott.     

"Do you judge captains on their win and loss ratio, or do you take into account or consideration the quality, or lack of quality, in his team? If you are thinking about India, there is a lack of quality at the moment, lack of quality seam bowling, lack of quality spin bowling, and in some cases your best players are beginning to retire after getting past their sell-by date. Aren't they," Boycott told ESPN-Cricinfo.
10:42  Cultural terrorism should stop: Hassan on film ban:   Actor-director Kamal Hassan has decided to take legal recourse against the ban on the screening of his film Vishwaroopam.

Such cultural terrorism should stop, Hassan said while reacting to the ban on the screening of his film, imposed by the Tamil Nadu government.

The TN government had banned the screening of Vishwaroopam following strong protests from various Muslim organisations over alleged depiction of their community in a negative light.

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

10:25   Jaipur Lit Fest starts amid warnings, security:   The Jaipur Literature Festival starts today amid strict security arrangements, after the organisers received threats from some fundemental organisations.

Some groups had warned organisers against inviting authors who hurt religious sentiments of the community, including the four who had read out passages from Salman Rushdie's banned Satanic Verses at the event last year.
09:58  16-year-old raped in Kolkata:  A 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in a hotel in Kolkata on Wednesday. No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

Further details are awaited.
04:16  US to end ban on women in front-line combat:  
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to lift the military's ban on women serving in combat, a senior Pentagon official has said.

The move could open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and elite commando jobs to women.

It overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to small ground-combat units.

But the military would have until 2016 to argue for any specific posts they think should remained closed to women.

The decision is expected to be formally announced on Thursday.
04:01  '7 Qaeda suspects' killed in Yemen drone strike:  
Seven suspected Al Qaeda members, including two Saudis, were killed in a US drone attack in a village east of the Yemeni capital, a security source said. 

"The drone targeted a vehicle killing the seven people on board" in Jahana, a village in the Khawlan tribal region, 30 kilometres from Sanaa, the source told AFP. 

He said the vehicle was headed for Sanaa with two Saudis among the Al-Qaeda suspects on board. 

Four missiles targeted the vehicle on the road link Marib province with the capital, a tribal source said, giving a death toll of six. 

Amid an escalation in such attacks, five suspected Al Qaeda militants were killed in a US drone strike on Tuesday near the Saudi border north of the Yemeni capital, tribal sources and witnesses said. 

And an air raid northeast of Sanaa on Monday killed four Al Qaeda suspects, Yemen's interior ministry said. Last Saturday, air raids attributed to a US drone killed nine suspected members of the group.
02:22  Prince Harry back in UK after Afghan deployment:  
Prince Harry has returned to Britain after a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan, landing on a military plane in light snow at the Brize Norton military airbase northwest of London.

He had already been in the spotlight for comments made public several days ago in which he asserted that he had targeted Taliban fighters from the cockpit of his Apache attack helicopter.

In interviews conducted in Afghanistan, he said that he had fired on Taliban positions: "If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."

"Four-and-a-half months passed really quickly," Harry said. "I'm very, very happy to be back."
01:51  Prosecutors seeks lighter sentence for Headley:  
Federal prosecutors have reportedly sought lighter sentence for American David Coleman Headley for striking a fair and just balance between the despicable nature of his crimes and the significant value of his cooperation.

They have recommended that he be sentenced to 30 to 35 years in prison despite his essential role in the 26/11 Mumbai bloodbath.

Headley pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including conspiracy to bomb places of public use and commit murder. The guilty pleas included plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper. He was arrested in October 2009

After pleading guilty in March 2010 he has been cooperating with U.S. investigators ever since to avoid the death penalty and in exchange for a pledge that he would not to be extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark.

US District Judge Harry Leinenweber in Chicago is scheduled to sentence Headley, 52, on Thursday.

"There is little question that life imprisonment would be an appropriate punishment for Headley's incredibly serious crimes but for the significant value provided by his immediate and extensive cooperation," the government said in its memorandum filed on Tuesday.
01:36  When women do better the country does better: IMF:  
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde invoked the Delhi gangrape incident during a speech at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday while emphasising that expectations of Indian women on gender equity must be met. 

She also remembered the young Pakistani victim Malala Yousafzai while addressing the gathering at the annual WEF meeting.

"I dedicate the moment (of addressing WEF annual meet) to Malala, daughter of Pakistan, and another daughter in India (rape case)," International Monetary Fund chief Lagarde said. 

Touching upon India, the IMF Managing Director emphasised that the expectations of Indian women must be met and rued that policymakers had failed to pay attention to the crucial issues of equitable distribution and gender equality. 

"... But you will ask what it has to do with economy. It is indeed about economy and equality and bringing in prosperity. No policymakers have paid enough to the fact that more equal distribution of income bringing in better. Gender inequality is also very important and the policymakers have not paid enough attention to either of the two. The fact is when women do better the country does better and policymakers need to understand this," Lagarde said. 
01:03  NATO Patriot missiles to be operational in Turkey over weekend:  
NATO Patriot missiles deployed in Turkey to protect against a spillover of the conflict in neighbouring Syria will be operational this weekend, a senior NATO officer said.

"We expect to have an initial operating capability this weekend, that's what we're aiming at. This is when we will have the capability to defend some aspects of the population," said British Brigadier General Gary Deakin.

The first two Patriot missile batteries to operate have been supplied by the Netherlands and will deploy in the southern city of Adana while two German Patriot missile batteries will be positioned in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras.

A further two US batteries will stationed in Gaziantep, just 50 kilometres north of the border.

Each contributing nation has also sent up to 350 troops. 

"The full capability, we expect to deliver at the end of the month," the NATO officer said.
01:03  India among top nations seeking info on Internet user: Google:  
Google has reported a "steady increase" in government requests to hand over data from Internet users in the second half of 2012. 

The Web giant's semiannual "transparency report" showed the most requests came from the the United States, with 8,438 requests for information about 14,868 users. 

India was second with 2,431 requests for data about 4,106 users, followed by France, where Google received 1,693 requests for information about 2,063 users. Germany, Britain and Brazil rounded out the top six, Google said.

"The steady increase in government requests for our users' data continued in the second half of 2012, as usage of our services continued to grow," said Richard Salgado, Google's head of law enforcement and information security.

"User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 per cent since 2009," he said in a blog posting.
01:03  Thai editor gets 10 years in jail for royal insult:  
A prominent Thai activist and magazine editor was today sentenced to a decade in prison for defaming Thailand's monarchy, a verdict rights groups condemned as the latest affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was convicted of publishing two articles in an anti-establishment magazine that made negative references to the crown. 

The verdict came despite repeated calls by rights groups to free Somyot, who has been jailed since 2011. It also underscored the harsh nature of Thailand's lese majesty laws, which critics say have frequently been used by politicians to silence rivals.

The articles were published under a pseudonym in Somyot's now-defunct Voice of Taksin magazine, which he launched in 2009 to compile political news and anti-establishment articles from writers and contributors.
01:02  Top headlines this hour:  Tamil Nadu bans screening of Kamal's 'Vishwaroopam' 

What Justice Verma says in his report on rape laws

Disappointed at US refusal to extradite Headley: Khurshid

K'taka BJP govt in crisis; resignation drama in assembly

Govt to miss Jan 28 deadline on Telangana decision

Team India seals series win over England in Mohali 

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Spotted: Shah Rukh Khan at Mumbai airport
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