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July 21, 2013

21:01  Pilot Harry faces return to Afghan front line: report:  Prince Harry may return to Afghanistan for another spell of duty after military chiefs decided to use Apache helicopters to provide "top cover" for British troops as they withdraw from the war-torn country. 

The Prince had not expected to return to the front line after spending four months in Afghanistan earlier this year. However, 'The Sunday Times' quoting defence sources said plans for Harry's unit, the Army Air Corps' 3 Regiment, to return next year are being considered. 

28-year-old Harry recently qualified as an Apache air commander.
20:52  Dubai sentences Norwegian woman who reported rape:  A Norwegian woman has spoken out about the 16-month prison sentence she received in Dubai after reporting a rape incident to police.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped.

The 24-year-old reported the March attack to the police but found herself charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.
20:49  Browne on US visit to strengthen security, defence ties:  A wide range of bilateral issues on strengthening security and defence ties are expected to figure during IAF chief N A K Browne's four-day visit to the United States beginning today. 

The Air Chief Marshal, who left yesterday, is visiting the US at the invitation of his American counterpart General Mark A Welsh. He will be taking the delivery of second C-17 heavylift transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force, an IAF statement said here.
20:48  Syria's Assad is stronger now, says Cameron:  British Prime Minister David Cameron today acknowledged that the embattled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has strengthened his position in recent months. 

"I think he may be stronger than he was a few months ago, but I'd still describe the situation as a stalemate. And yes, you do have problems with part of the opposition that is extreme, that we should have nothing to do with," Cameron said. Cameron insisted he was still committed to helping the Syrian opposition but admitted its numbers included "a lot of bad guys".
20:42  After heavy rains, a lull in North India:  After heavy downpour, rains gave a slip to most parts of North India today leading to high humidity levels while temperatures in the region were normal. Delhi witnessed humid conditions with the maximum temperature settling at 33.8 degrees Celsius today. 

The maximum temperature rose by a notch above normal to 33.8 deg C but it was high humidity which hovered between 70 and 92 per cent that made Delhiites sweat it out. Minimum temperature was recorded at 23 deg C, which was 4 degrees lower than yesterday.
19:36  Philippe becomes king of Belgium:  King Philippe I became Belgium's seventh monarch on Sunday's national day after his father Albert abdicated as the head of this fractured nation. 

After he took the oath at the parliament filled with representatives of the 6 million Dutch-speaking Flemings and 4.5 million Francophones, Philippe insisted "the wealth of our nation and our institutions consists in turning our diversity into a strength."
19:31  Iran opposes Israel-Palestinian peace talks:  Iran today voiced opposition to a US-mediated resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, predicting the Jewish state would never agree to withdraw from occupied Arab lands. 

Tehran "along with Palestinian groups expresses its opposition to the proposed plan and it's certain that the occupying Zionist regime will utterly not agree to withdraw from the occupied lands," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said, quoted by Iranian media.
19:26  Israelis and Palestinians skeptical ahead of new round of peace talks:  Israeli and Palestinian officials voiced skepticism Sunday that they can move toward a peace deal, as the sides inched toward what may be the first round of significant negotiations in five years.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced late last week that an agreement has been reached that establishes the basis for resuming peace talks. He cautioned that such an agreement still needs to be formalized, suggesting that gaps remain.

Read more here
18:36  Montek praises Bihar's growth story:  Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today appeared to give credit to the Nitish Kumar government for Bihar's high growth rate, saying the state had not depended on central resource but built on its own capabilities. 

He said while Bihar was among the 'BIMARU' states, it registered the highest growth in the 11th Five Year Plan among all states of the country.
17:48  PM Abe wins big in Japan upper house poll:  Voters gave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a resounding victory in upper house elections today, exit polls showed, likely ushering in a new period of stability for politically volatile Japan. 

The projected victory means both chambers will be under governmental control, unblocking the bottleneck that has hampered legislation for the last six short-term premiers.
17:26  Indian woman scientist's portrait to be exhibited in Britain:  Sunetra Gupta, an India-born chemist and physicist has joined the big league of female scientists like Marie Curie in a first-of-its-kind art exhibition at the prestigious Royal Society. 

Gupta, who was born in Kolkata and is now a professor at Oxford University, is among an exclusive group as part of the "Women in Science Portrait Exhibition" of the greatest female Fellows of the Royal Society together with newly-commissioned drawings featuring Royal Society Research Fellows.
17:03  Trayvon Martin: Protests across US at Zimmerman verdict:  Protests have taken place in more than 100 US cities, a week after George Zimmerman was cleared of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Demonstrators demanded federal charges to be brought against Mr Zimmerman, 29, over the February 2012 incident.A Florida jury agreed that the neighbourhood watch volunteer killed the 17-year-old in self-defence.

In comments on Friday, President Barack Obama admitted many black men in the US experienced racial profiling.
16:50  Wave of bombings kills 65 in Iraq:  A wave of bombings killed 65 people in Baghdad province, officials said, as Iraq struggles to contain its worst violence since 2008, in which over 520 have died this month. 

Last night, 12 car bombs and a roadside bomb hit the city of Baghdad, while another bomb exploded in Madain to the south of the capital, a police colonel and a medical official said. The blasts also wounded 190 people.
16:46  British MPs asks Singh whether India in loop on visa bonds:  A high-powered British parliamentary committee has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking if he was consulted over a controversial plan to introduce a hefty 3,000 pounds cash bond for 'high-risk' visitors from India.

Under the pilot scheme announced by British home secretary Theresa May last month, citizens of India, along with that of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ghana and Sri Lanka could be asked to pay a 3,000 pounds cash bond in a bid to prevent them overstaying their visa.
15:41  Prosecution of three Chinese intruders recommended:  Security agencies have recommended to the Home Ministry prosecution of three Chinese intruders on the grounds that they had prior knowledge about Indian defence posts and routes taken by troops during patrolling in the higher reaches of Ladakh. 

The trio were questioned at a stretch by interrogators and there were contradictions in their statements about the route taken by them to enter into India, sources said here. 

The three -- Salamo, Abdul Khaliq and Adil Thorsong -- were detained on June 12 near Sultanchku in north of Ladakh and were kept separately at Margo post in the area.
15:39  BJP wants US visa for Narendra Modi:  BJP, which had so far maintained that it was not unduly bothered about denial of American visa to Narendra Modi, today said it will appeal to the US Administration to lift the travel ban on him. 

Addressing a press conference here, party President Rajnath Singh said he would take up the issue with the US lawmakers in Washington during the week. "I will appeal to the US government to clear the US visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister," he said.
15:37  Headmaster arrested for selling mid-day meal rice:  A headmaster of a school and a rickshaw puller were arrested from Khayerpur, about 20 km from here, for selling rice allotted for the mid-day meal scheme in the open market, police said today. 

Local people stopped a rickshaw in which 200 kg of rice, lifted from a godown, was being taken to the nearby market yesterday to be sold. They then informed the police about it.
15:32  Congress' media conclave from tomorrow:  The two-day media conclave of Congress will begin here tomorrow seeking to tone up its communication strategy in states and propagate UPA's achievements among the masses ahead of the next General elections. 

While party vice-president Rahul Gandhi will inaugurate the conclave, Union ministers P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari will address the key sessions during the two-day programme.
15:20  Students protest against poor quality of midday meal:  Students of a primary school in Barauli village here have protested against the poor quality of food served to them. 

Students of Primary School, Barauli village, under Chargawan block here protested against the poor quality of food yesterday, District Coordinator for midday meal Deepak Patel said. 

Authorities reached the spot and found several irregularities in serving the midday meal, he said.
14:26  Mars mission not for pride, we mean business, says ISRO:  As India prepares to launch its Rs 450 crore mission to Mars this year, a top space official says the country's first martian odyssey--that has attracted some criticism--is not just for pride but for undertaking "meaningful research".

K Radhakrishnan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, also debunked perception in some quarters that the Mars Orbiter mission around the red planet, that's just three months away, is primarily a "feel-good" package to just pat ourselves on the back.
13:49  A hands-on minister with a hands-off policy:  A K Antony is perhaps the first defence minister to delegate responsibility on a large scale to his officials. He prefers to have his juniors, officials and colleagues in the government taking charge of matters relating to the ministry for quick decision making. 

However, some officials have been dragging their feet on many crucial decisions regarding procurement and policy formulations. In the recent case of setting up a Mountain Strike Corps on the China border last week, a decision was delayed by bureaucratic tussles between the defence and the finance ministries.

Read more here
13:45  1,300 people shifted as river Godavari level rises in AP:  Over 1,300 people have been shifted to rehabilitation camps in East Godavari district after water level of Godavari river at Dowleswaram barrage rose alarmingly following heavy rains. 

The second flood alert in the district was issued yesterday, an official said.
13:07  Home Ministry opposes any hike of FDI cap in media:  The Home Ministry has strongly opposed any move to increase the FDI cap in the broadcasting and print media, saying allowing more foreign investment in the sensitive sectors may compromise country's security. 

Apprehending undue influence by big global players, the Home Ministry said opening up of current affairs TV channels, newspapers and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs may lead to meddling in India's domestic affairs and politics, official sources said.
13:05  After Af-Pak, US to deploy drones to fresh frontiers:  The US is shifting its huge fleet of drones from combat zones of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fresh frontiers, where these planes will spy on a melange of armed groups, drug runners, pirates and other targets. 

"As the Obama administration dials back the number of drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, the US military is shifting its huge fleet of unmanned aircraft to other hot spots around the world," The Washington Post reported today.
13:04  Noon meal in schools: Kerala Govt issues guidelines:  Taking note of the Bihar mid-day meal tragedy, Kerala Government has issued a set of guidelines to ensure that good quality food cooked in hygienic conditions is served to children in schools across the state. 

The guidelines, formulated on instructions from Education Minister P K Abdurabb, make it the responsibility of heads of educational institutions to keep the kitchen highly hygienic and healthy persons are engaged as cooks.
12:41  Strong 6.5 quake shakes New Zealand: USGS:  A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off New Zealand today, jolting the nation's capital but no tsunami alert was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage. 

The quake hit at 5:09 pm (0509 GMT) 57 kilometres (36 miles) south-southwest of Wellington at a depth of 14 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
12:17  Roadmap prepared for clearing debris at Kedarnath:  Over a month after calamity hit Uttarakhand, the state government has finally prepared a roadmap for clearing tonnes of debris left over by the destruction at Kedarnath and extricating bodies still trapped underneath the rubble at the Himalayan shrine and adjoining areas. 

The roadmap was worked out at a meeting of GSI experts, Engineering Projects (India) Limited (EPIL) top brass and IAF officials with Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar and DGP Satyavrat Bansal here yesterday.
11:42  City face among science icons:  Calcutta-born Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford University professor, has been included in an exhibition at the Royal Society in London focusing on how inspirational women scientists can act as role models in society.

In a talk with The Telegraph, Sunetra laughed off the suggestion that she had entered the big league because the "Women in Science Portrait Exhibition', which began on July 2, projected her as well as the likes of Marie Curie (1867-1934).

Read more here
11:28  Poll violence: Three Cong workers killed in WB:  Violence continued to rock Panchayat elections in West Bengal with at least three Congress party workers killed and several others, including two policemen, injured ahead of tomorrow's fourth and last phase of polling. 

Two Congress workers, Nurmohhamad Sheikh and Ahad Ali, died when they were hit by crude bombs hurled by rival party supporters at Kapasdanga under Beldanga Police Station of Murshidabad district late last night.
11:23  Iraq: Baghdad car bombings kill at least 33 people:  A coordinated wave of car bombings tore through commercial streets in Baghdad tonight, killing more than 30 and wounding dozens as insurgents kept up a relentless offensive during the holy month of Ramadan. 

The blasts struck in Shiite Muslim areas of the Iraqi capital. Although there was no claim of responsibility, coordinated bombings against Shiites are a favourite tactic of Al Qaeda's Iraq branch.

The explosions were all caused by car bombs timed to go off after the breaking of the daily Ramadan fast when many people are out shopping or relaxing in coffee shops, police said.
11:15  Curfew lifted in Kashmir Valley:  Curfew was today lifted from all parts of Kashmir but normal life in the Valley remained affected due to the strike call given by hardline Hurriyat Conference to protest against the firing incident in Ramban district that left four persons dead. 

Authorities lifted curfew from all parts of the Valley this morning in view of the improvement in the law and order situation since yesterday, official sources said. They said police and other security agencies are keeping a close vigil on the situation across Kashmir.
11:14  Uttarakhand may prove to be a greater tragedy if no lessons are learnt:  The recent Uttarakhand tragedy, in the Kedarnath Valley, has brought to the fore the issue of vulnerability of the system and lack of preparedness in the face of natural disasters. 

While the proximate cause was the breach of a water body north of Kedarnath due to very heavy rains, the extensive damage caused was from total lack of preparedness, apart from wanton permission to degrade the environment in the area, resulting in probably 10 times the loss that should have been there. 

Read more here
11:11  Dubai Police refuse bail for man who filmed Emirati attack:  The man who filmed an Emirati attacking an Indian in Dubai last week is still being held in custody, after being refused bail by Dubai Police.

The 22-year-old Indian is being held at Al Qusais police station, after the son of the Emirati filmed in the attack filed a complaint for defamation.

The video of the attack '" seen by hundreds of thousands of people globally '" was uploaded on Youtube. It shows a senior Emirati government official brutally attacking an Indian driver after an apparent accident in Dubai. The Emirati has also since been arrested.
11:10  Strategic Triangle: A Japan-Australia-India Coalition at Sea?:  The Naval Diplomat ventured from sweltering New England to sweltering Washington, DC last Friday to explore Japanese maritime cooperation with fellow Asian seafaring powers. 

Well, cooperation with powers apart from A Certain Large Asian Power Whose Name May Not Be Spoken, anyway.

Click here to read more
00:14  Secret communion on Moon you didn't know about:  
The date, July 20, 1969, will forever be known as the day the United States of America put the first man on the moon. What most people do not know is the date also marks when Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin celebrated the first and only Lord's Supper on the moon, a fact the US government refused to make public at the time.

Inside the lunar module, just hours before stepping onto the moon for the first time, Aldrin radioed Houston Space Centre Mission Control. 

He asked for a few moments of silence 'to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way'.

Click HERE to read more
00:10  US hunts devious Al Qaeda bomb maker's proteges:  
Al Qaeda's most diabolical bomb maker, who has targeted the American homeland at least four times, has trained other terrorists who are now being hunted down, the top US aviation security official has said.

Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole told ABC News during a discussion at a counterterrorism conference that accused Saudi terrorist Ibrahim al-Asiri had shared his expertise at building almost undetectable bombs with a number of Al Qaeda operatives.

"There is intel that he has unfortunately trained others," Pistole said at the annual Aspen Security Forum.

Click HERE to read more
00:08  Batla House encounter verdict on July 25:  
A Delhi court will pronounce on July 25 its verdict in the controversial 2008 Batla House encounter case in which lone suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Shahzad Ahmad has been facing trial.

"Come for order on 25th of this month," Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri said, after conclusion of final arguments by the prosecution and the defence.

In its final arguments, the prosecution had contended that it has sufficient circumstantial evidence and phone records to prove that accused Shahzad was present in the Jamia Nagar flat in Batla House and was among those who fired at the police party leading to the death of inspector MC Sharma.
00:08  Pakistan's new big threat is not terrorism -- It's water:  
In a report released last week by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Pakistan was pinpointed as "one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, not far from being classified, 'water-scarce'." 

As water demand exceeds supply in the South Asian country, more and more water is being withdrawn from the nation's reservoirs, leaving them in a critically precarious position. 

According to the ADB, Pakistan's storage capacity, the amount of water it has on reserve in case of an emergency, is limited to a 30-day supply -- far below the recommended 1,000 days for countries with similar climates. Without meaningful action, a water crisis could push the country into further chaos.

Click HERE to read more
00:06  Akhilesh discusses Third Front possibility with Naidu:  
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is on a two-day visit to Hyderabad, met the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu in Hyderbad on Saturday tonight and discussed various political issues.

"I have discussed political issues with Chandrababu Naidu and the possibility of forming a third alternative," Akhilesh said after the meeting at the TDP chief's residence. 

He hailed the TDP's decision to allocate 100 seats to the backward classes and announce the candidates well in advance.

"This will benefit the BCs well. In fact, we have done a similar thing in UP," he pointed out.

The UP administration was doing well, Akhilesh said in reply to a question.
00:05  WB: 40 injured as bus overturns:  
At least 40 persons were injured, some of them seriously, when a bus overturned and dashed against a private car on Diamond Harbour Road at Khidderpore, police said

The injured, including three occupants of the car, were admitted to state-run SSKM Hospital and a local nursing home, police said.

Local people set up a road blockade in protest against police "negligence" to regulate road traffic in the area. 

The bus was coming from Howrah to Akra in South 24 Parganas district in the south-west fringes of Kolkata. 

Senior police offcers later persuaded the protestors to lift the blockade.
00:05  Top headlines at this hour:  Delhi is so NOT monsoon ready

Fresh clashes in Valley; Amarnath yatra resumes

Disabled man triggers blast at Beijing airport 

Root the hero as England grind Australia into dust 

World no. 114 Delbonis shocks Federer in Hamburg semis 

Two Indian shooters banned for 'mental harassment'

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