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No north-south bias in Padma awards: Govt

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January 27, 2013

21:20  China carries out interceptor missile test :  China today successfully carried out its second missile interceptor test, the defence ministry announced.        

China carried out a land-based mid-course missile interception test within its territory today, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, attributing the news to the Information Bureau of China's Defence Ministry.        

"The test has reached the preset goal," an official with the Bureau said.
20:58  No north-south bias in Padma awards: Govt:  Government today rejected noted playback singer S Janaki's claim that artistes from south were generally neglected while deciding the recipients of the Padma awards.        

"There is no bias towards any state in selecting the awardees. But she has stated that she is not interested in receiving the award because south Indians are neglected. It is not so. There is no question of south Indians being neglected," said Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanaswamy.
20:56  Pak National Assembly to be dissolved before March 16: Kaira:  Pakistan's National Assembly will be dissolved before March 16 and the date for the next general election will be announced in the coming ten days, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said today.        

"The National Assembly will be dissolved before March 16 and elections be held within 90 days," Kaira told reporters after a team of federal ministers and leaders of parties in the ruling coalition met cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri to discuss electoral reforms.        

"The dates for the dissolution of assemblies and the election will be announced in 10 days," Kaira said.
20:32  Vishwaroopam's release delayed in Karnataka:   The release of Kamal Haasan's controversial film Vishwaroopam has been put on hold, pending clearance from the police, in the wake of protests against its screening in some parts of Karnataka.        

The film was slated to be released in 40 theatres across the state, including 12 in the city. But its opening was delayed as Bangalore Police Commissioner Jyothiprakash Mirji wanted to view it before giving the nod for its screening.
20:31  Another fire in Kumbh, no injuries reported:  Barely two days after a blaze engulfed a tent and injured 19 people, a minor fire broke out today inside a tent at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation due to leakage in a gas cylinder.               

The blaze was brought under control and there was no report of injury or damage to property, a senior official said.               

It was the second such incident in a span of two days as on January 25, nineteen people were injured in an inferno in a Kumbh tent.
20:29  Uniform gas price policy soon: Moily:  A uniform gas price policy will be brought soon to ensure parity in the price of imported and locally produced gas, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily said today.    

"I have worked out the policy, but don't know whether it has to go to the Cabinet or not. The proposed policy will ensure one price for gas that is imported and that is produced here," he told reporters.
20:13  Want UK citizenship? Better learn about Beatles, Newton!:  Who is William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton or the Beatles ? If you don't know the answers, you may not get British citizenship.       

Immigrants who wish to settle in the UK will now have to learn key facts about British history to pass their citizenship test.        

The Life in the United Kingdom test, introduced under the previous Labour government, has been re-designed to make historical and cultural facts about the country an essential requirement.
20:12  Prince Harry was 'tea boy' in Afghanistan!:  Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, had to double up as a 'tea boy' for his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan, where he was deployed as a helicopter pilot.        

Harry, who has just returned from a 20-week tour of duty in the war zone in Helmand province as an Apache helicopter pilot, said he had to regularly double up as a 'tea boy' for his colleagues after losing in a board game called Uckers.        

"Whoever loses that becomes the Brew B****, and then you have to make brews for everybody all day," he said.
20:10  Death toll in Egypt clashes climbs to 35:  Thousands of mourners marched today in the Egyptian canal city of Port Said at the funeral of the 35 people killed in clashes triggered by death sentences given to 21 football fans for last year's post-match riot.        

The bodies, wrapped in white shrouds, were carried in open coffins along the city's main avenue.

A brief burst of gunfire set off chaotic scenes before calm was restored.        

Condemning the clashes that also left over 300 people injured on Saturday, the Presidency called for a national dialogue in the wake of the ongoing unrest.
20:08  Will seek broad and stable coalition: Israel PM:  Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today said that he would seek a broad and stable coalition to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions and the possibility of Syrian weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands.       

"The entire region is raging and we must be prepared, strong and determined in the face of any possible development," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
19:03  Bihar: Search on for 8 kidnapped labourers:  Eight bridge construction workers, kidnapped by armed Naxals in Bihar's Jamui district late last night, remained untraced despite rescue operations by security forces, the police said today.    

The armed personnel of CRPF, STF, SAP and district police continued their hunt for the kidnapped, Deputy Superintendent of Police D K Sahu said.    

In a late night attack, armed activists of the banned Naxal outfit had abducted eight persons engaged in road bridge construction work at Badaldiah under Khaira police station.
19:02  China gears up for world's biggest human migration:  The world's biggest annual human migration will take place in China shortly, with the majority of over 1.3 billion people set to travel before next month's Chinese Lunar New Year.        

The country's Railways is geared up to handle an estimated 5.2 million daily trips over the next 40 days' peak travel season, Zhao Chunlei, said an official with the Ministry of Railways  

A record 3.41 billion trips are expected to be made over this year's Lunar New Year travel rush, as Chinese people, who have worked away from home, see the holiday as the most important occasion for family reunion.
18:58  220 feared killed in fire at Brazil nightclub:   Over 220 people have been feared killed in a devastating fire at a nightclub in Brazil, according to media reports.

The fire started at 2 am local time at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, said authorities. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

18:30  Political parties seek action against Ashis Nandy:   An all-party delegation today submitted a memorandum to the police seeking registration of complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities Act against Ashis Nandy for his controversial comments that people from OBC, SC and ST communities were the "most corrupt", made at the Jaipur Literary Festival.       

"The delegation, comprising leaders from MNS, Shiv Sena, BJP, RPI and Dalit organisations, under the banner of Bahujan Samaj Sangharsh Samiti, handed over the memorandum to ACP Ganesh Shinde at Sarkarwada police station seeking registration of the complaint against Nandy under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act," said Nashik district RPI president Prakash Londhe.
18:07  Need more time to decide on Telangana: Congress:  Vicky Nanjappa reports: The decision on Telangana will be taken only after more consultations with senior leaders, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in New Delhi. 

He said leaders from both Rayalseema-Andhra and Telangana will be invited to Delhi for talks before a final decision is taken.

Azad told media personnel on Sunday evening that more time is needed and the decision would be taken after further deliberations. 

According to sources, the Congress may take a final decision only after the budget session of the AP assembly.

The Congress wants to take a final decision closer to the state polls.
17:46  Need more time to decide on Telangana: Congress:  The Centre has sought more time to decide on the demand for a separate state of Telangana.

Seeking to downplay the 'deadline' to decide on the Telangana issue, which ends today, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Congress-led government needed more time.

"We will invite the Andhra Pradesh CM and other leaders of Telangana to discuss the issue," he said.
17:02  VHP demands Shinde's apology for 'terror' remark :  Vishwa Hindu Parishad's international president  Pravin Togadia today asked Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to take back his remarks on 'Hindu terrorism' and apologise to the nation for it. 

"VHP has strong objections to the Union home minister's statement on saffron terrorism. He should take back his words and extend an apology to the nation on the issue," Togadia demanded. 

"A person may be bad, but not the entire population of over 100 crore," Togadia said while referring to Shinde's remarks.
17:01  'Nandy's remark an indirect attack on Muslims':  After groups affiliated to OBC, SC and ST communities, a Muslim outfit today joined the bandwagon by criticising renowned sociologist Ashis Nandy for his controversial remark at the ongoing Literature Festival in Jaipur.        

The newly-formed Azmat-E-Rasool foundation alleged that the author's comment, in which he purportedly said that people from OBC, SC and ST communities were the "most corrupt", is an "indirect attack" on the Muslim community.        

"Nandy made a comment against ST, SC and OBC. Many of the minority communities are under OBC, so it is an indirect attack on minorities," said Paikar Farukh of the foundation.
16:35  Life after retirement wonderfully pleasant: Ratan Tata:  Enjoying life after retirement, country's top industrialist Ratan Tata is spending more time at home and playing with his dogs, besides catching up with "smaller things" for which he never found time before.     

Providing a sneak peek into his personal life, the former Chairman of the US$ 100 billion, salt-to-software Tata Group said that he would soon start focusing on specific areas to improve the quality of life of people in rural areas.     

In a message titled 'Life After Retirement' posted on microblogging site Twitter, the usually reticent Tata said the first few weeks of life after retirement have been wonderfully pleasant.
16:32  10 detained ahead of Pak team's arrival:  Ahead of the Pakistan team's arrival for the ensuing Women's Cricket World Cup at Cuttack,the city police today took 10 activists of Utkal Bharat, including former MP Kharvel Swain, into custody as the outfit was agitating against their participation in the tournament.     

The police picked up Swain and others while they were on their way to the Biju Patnaik Airport. 

"The agitators are likely to be detained till arrival of the Pakistan team," a senior police officer said.
16:23  India launches K-5 missile from underwater platform:  India has launched medium-range K-5 missile from an underwater platform in Bay of Bengal, DRDO chief V K Saraswat said today.

The missile is ready for deployment in platforms including nuclear submarine INS Arihant, which is under development in India, said Saraswat:
16:05  China makes telecom forays in Nepal; India wary:   The growing presence of Chinese telecom companies in Maldives and Nepal has put Indian security agencies on alert -- over fears that their equipment used for infrastructure development there might be bugged and misused for intercepting communication between India and the two countries.     

The concerns by the central security agencies, which have been conveyed to the telecom department, came against the backdrop of the $5.70 crore loan given by China to Maldives to implement its Information Technology infrastructure project, according to official sources.
15:51  Trinamool won't contest CPI-M in Tripura polls:  Trinamool Congress, the arch political rival of CPI-M, has decided not to contest the February 14 Tripura assembly polls .       

President of Tripura Trinamol Pradesh Committee Manik Deb said the TC high command, led by Mamata Banerjee, has instructed them to not put up candidates in Tripura elections on the plea that the leaders would remain busy for the three by-elections in West Bengal in February and panchayat elections in April.

To a question, he said, "It is not a question of giving less importance to Tripura. It is a question of priority. If our party becomes stable in West Bengal, we would be able to spread our organisations in other state, though we expressed our desire to contest in the elections".
15:34  Death toll in Egypt clashes rises to 31 :  The toll in the fierce clashes in the Egyptian city of Port Said -- following the pronouncement of the death sentence to 21 football fans -- climbed to 31 today, authorities said, as the Presidency condemned the violence and called for a national dialogue.     

Condemning the clashes that also left over 300 people injured yesterday, the Presidency called for a national dialogue in the wake of the ongoing unrest.    

In a statement, it also praised the police and the judiciary for their integrity.
15:33  Digvijay in favour of early hanging of Afzal Guru:  Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh today said he was in "favour of early hanging of Afzal Guru".

Guru was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in connection to the Parliament attack case.        

"I have always believed that there should be a time limit for the disposal of mercy petitions pending before the President," said Singh.       

Delays in disposal of mercy petitions do not help anyone and nor do they serve any purpose, he said.
14:32  Facebook profile can expose mental illness?:  A person's Facebook profile may reveal signs of mental illness that might not necessarily emerge in a session with a psychiatrist, a new study suggests.       

According to researchers from the University of Missouri, the social media activity, when used as a tool in psychological diagnosis, can remove some of the problems associated with patients' self-reporting.        

"For example, questionnaires often depend on a person's memory, which may or may not be accurate. By asking patients to share their Facebook activity, we were able to see how they expressed themselves naturally," said study researcher Elizabeth Martin.
14:31  Khurshid to push trade accord with EU :  External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will undertake visits to two important European Union countries -- Germany and Belgium -- from Sunday, where he will have discussions on enhancing common approaches to address new and emerging challenges, apart from ways to push long-pending India-EU trade accord.       

Khurshid will be holding discussions with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and would call on the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel during his two-day visit on January 28-29.
14:26  Rajnath meets Modi, discusses 2014 election:   Newly elected BJP president Rajnath Singh on Sunday met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

While BJP leaders insisted that the meeting was merely a 'courtesy call', insiders say there is more to the meeting between the party chief and the man who is being touted as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election.

The meeting lasted for over two hours.

Singh later told journalists that he discussed the "2014 general election and state matters" with the Gujarat CM.
14:01  Stalin to rake up UN report on Lanka civil war:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: DMK treasurer M K Stalin reached Delhi on Sunday morning to meet the ambassadors of 85 countries to complain about the the global community ignoring the United Nations' report on the alleged massacre of Tamil civilians in the eastern part of Sri Lanka during the civil war in 2009.

DMK MPs AKS Vijayan, Sugavanam and Aadi Sankar accompanied Stalin.

Stalin is also trying to meet External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid before the latter leaves for Europe. 
13:57  RIL's KG-D6 block a 'No-Go' area: Defence ministry:  
Reliance Industries and its partner BP plc's KG-D6 gas fields and gas discovery area NEC-25 are among 14 oil and gas blocks that have been declared 'No-Go' areas by the defence ministry, barring any exploration or production activity.     

The ministry of defence has either withdrawn or withheld clearances for 47 oil and gas blocks. Of these, 14 have been classified as 'No-Go' areas, sources privy to the development said.     

RIL-BP's KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block has been declared as 'No-Go' as it overlaps with a proposed naval base.
13:55  China tests biggest military transport aircraft:  China has successfully conducted a test flight of its biggest-ever indigenously-made long-range strategic air transport plane, boosting its military prowess.        

The Yun-20, or Transport-20, is a huge, multi-function airfreighter capable of carrying 66 tons of load and can perform various long-distance air transportation tasks targeting cargo and passengers, state-run Xinhua news agency reported
13:53  Now, a vaccine to ensure a horrible hangover!:  In a bid to tackle the growing problem of alcoholism, a new vaccine that gives alcoholics an immediate and heavy hangover will soon be tested in India after pre-clinical trials in Chile, researchers say.        

The pre-clinical trial preludes the phase one clinical trial in India, when doctors will inject people with the vaccine for the first time. 

If all goes well, the vaccination could be available as soon as two years from now, Santiago Times quoted Dr Juan Asenjo, director of the Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology at Universidad de Chile, as saying.        

The vaccine, which would be effective for between six months and a year, works by sending a biochemical message to the liver, telling it not to express genes that metabolise alcohol.
13:10  Ashish Nandy leaves Jaipur Lit Fest:   Thinker Ashish Nandy, whose comments at the Jaipur Literature Festival has triggered a major controversy, has left the event to return home.

Nandy had allegedly said that people from OBC, SC and ST communities were the 'most corrupt'.

His comments were condemned by all major political parties. 

A FIR was filed against him in Jaipur under Section 506 Indian Penal Code (criminal intimidation) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Nandy had later apologised for his comment.

The police have now sought the video footage of his comments from the festival organisers.
11:47  'Indian economy likely to grow by 6.7 pc in 2013-14':  The Indian economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6.7 per cent in 2013-14 on account of expectations of a cut in the key policy rates by the RBI which may have a positive impact on industrial growth and consumption, a Ficci survey today said.        

The chamber has revised its growth forecast upwards from 6.5 per cent to 6.7 per cent for the 2013-14 fiscal.        

"This improvement is largely based on the expectation of a possible cut in the policy rates which is expected to have a positive impact on industrial growth and consumption," Ficci's Economic Outlook Survey said.
11:46  New visa pact, extradition treaty with Bangladesh soon:  India is all set to sign a liberalised visa agreement and an extradition treaty with Bangladesh during Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's two-day visit to Dhaka beginning Monday.

The new visa pact, named revised travel arrangement, will remove restrictions on visit of each other's businesspersons, students, patients, senior citizens above 65 years and children below 12 years on the lines of the liberalised visa regime between India and Pakistan.        

"Both the treaties will be signed during the home minister's visit to Bangladesh," a home ministry official said.
11:44  Naxals abduct 8 labourers in Bihar :  Naxalites abducted eight people engaged in road bridge construction in a village in Bihar's Jamui district, the police said today.        

Superintendent of Police of Jamui Upendra Sharma said that a group of Naxals swooped on Badaldiah village and abducted eight labourers engaged in road bridge construction work on Saturday night.
11:43  Rs 20 hike in Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto fares likely:  Another round of fare hike in premier trains looks imminent with the Railways revising food tariffs for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains.        

"It will be a minor hike ranging between Rs 15 and Rs 20 for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto passengers," a top Railway official involved with the decision-making process said.       

The revision will be announced shortly and the hike will be implemented as soon as the software is updated accordingly, the official said.
11:25  No decision on Telangana yet; TRS leader arrested:  Telangana continued to simmer on Sunday as the Congress-ruled UPA government at the Centre failed to reach a decision on the creation of a separate state.

On December 28 last year, the Union Cabinet had announced that it will take a final decision -- on whether to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh -- within a month.

The Congress Core Committee meeting held on Saturday night failed to reach a decision on the issue.

Members of the Telangana Joint Action Committee have gone on a 36-hour hunger strike.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K T Rama Rao has courted arrested.
10:03  Govt withdraws restriction on foreign tourists going to NE:   To boost tourism in the northeast, the government has withdrawn restrictions imposed on foreign tourists travelling to the picturesque region. 

The home ministry has allowed free movement of foreign tourists to the three northeastern states of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland by suspending a decades-old rule under which foreign nationals had to take mandatory permission from authorities for visits. 

However, citizens of Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Myanmar will not enjoy the benefit of the latest order, which would initially be applicable for a year, home ministry official said.
10:02  New visa pact, extradition treaty with Bangladesh in offing:  India is all set to sign a liberalised visa agreement and an extradition treaty with Bangladesh during Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's two-day visit to Dhaka beginning tomorrow. 

The new visa pact, named revised travel arrangement, will remove restrictions on visit of each other's businesspersons, students, patients, senior citizens above 65 years and children below 12 years on the lines of the liberalised visa regime between India and Pakistan. 

"Both the treaties will be signed during the home minister's visit to Bangladesh," a home ministry official said.
10:02  6 Indian NGOs accorded special consultative status with UN:  Six Indian non-governmental organisations working for the uplift of women, Dalits and poor have been approved for consultative status with the United Nations. 

The approval by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, which is a part of the UN's Economic and Social Council, came during the annual ongoing session of the world body panel this week. 

NGOs enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and issue statements. 

Prominent among them include Action of Human Movement, which seeks to help improve living conditions for poor people in rural Tamil Nadu state, and Centre for Community Economics & Development Consultants Society which seeks to empower partner communities, castes and tribes, small and marginal farmers, landless people and Dalits as well as deprived women and children.
10:01  Rs 20 hike in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto fares likely:  Another round of fare hike in premier trains looks imminent with the railways revising food tariffs for the Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains. 

"It will be a minor hike ranging between Rs 15 and Rs 20 for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto passengers after the revision of catering charges of the premier trains," a top railway official involved with the decision making process said. 

The revision will be announced shortly and the hike will be implemented as soon as the software is updated accordingly, the official said.
10:00  Naxals abduct eight labourers in Bihar:  Naxalites abducted eight persons engaged in a road bridge construction in a village in Bihar's Jamui district, the police said today. 

Superintendent of police of Jamui Upendra Sharma said that a group of Naxalites swooped on Badaldiah village and abducted eight labourers engaged in road bridge construction work late last night. 

 The labourers were working in a road bridge construction work on Nawada-Jamui road from, the SP said.
00:08  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Filmi charcha, 'sexual privacy' rule Jaipur Litfest Day 2

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