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June 05, 2013

23:32  Vajpayee in good health: BJP:  Amid reports that the health of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had deteriorated, BJP today issued a statement saying he was fine and such reports are "misleading". 

"Some speculations are being made about the health of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in some newspapers. He is in good health. Everybody wishes and prays for his good health and long life," BJP said in a statement.
23:30  US soldier pleads guilty over Afghan killings:  A US soldier pleaded guilty today to killing 16 Afghan villagers last year, as he faced a military hearing hoping to escape a death sentence. 

Sergeant Robert Bales, 39, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of murder over the massacre in southern Afghanistan in March last year. His lawyer said last week he would admit guilt in exchange for prosecutors not seeking his execution.
23:30  10 killed in Yemen anti-Qaeda offensive:  The Yemeni army launched an all-out offensive today to recapture villages from Al-Qaeda groups in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, costing 10 lives, security and medical sources said. 

Troops backed by tanks and helicopters launched a dawn operation in Ghayl Bawazir, about 30 kilometres east of the port city of Mukalla, a security official said. Seven Al-Qaeda militants, two civilians and an army officer were killed in the offensive, the sources said.
23:08  Jackson's daughter Paris hospitalised after 'suicide attempt':  Pop icon Michael Jackson's 15-year-old daughter Paris Jackson today allegedly tried to commit suicide and was rushed to a hospital here, according to media reports. 

"She's going to be OK," a source close to the Jackson family told CNN. The source, who was at the hospital, said it was unclear why she was hospitalised.

However, celebrity news website TMZ, quoting its sources, said it was a suicide attempt and she was taken from her Calabasas family home on a stretcher and conveyed to a nearby hospital.
23:06  Turkey protesters demand dismissal of police chiefs:  Activists in Turkey have called for the sacking of police chiefs in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities over their forces' violent responses to protests.

They presented a series of demands to Deputy PM Bulent Arinc, who on Tuesday apologised to injured protesters.

The crackdown on protests over the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul last week triggered nationwide unrest.

Thousands of striking workers have now joined demonstrations to demand Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan resign.
23:05  At least 2 trapped in Philly building collapse:  Rescue teams worked frantically Wednesday to try to extract two people trapped beneath "tons of rubble" after the collapse of a four-story building under demolition in central Philadelphia, according to rescue officials.

"We have located people inside," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. "We are going to continue until we get them out and get them to the hospital."

Emergency teams, initially using buckets and their bare hands to move bricks and rubble, pulled out 12 people who were hospitalized with injuries ranging from minor to stable.
22:45  Chinese-American released from China:  Just ahead of a meeting between US and Chinese presidents, a Chinese-American scientist was allowed to leave China after being kept there for five years over a business dispute. 

It all happened so fast, Hu Zhicheng's wife couldn't get to the airport in time to meet him when he finally arrived back in America.

Hu, an internationally known expert on catalytic converters for motor vehicles, had gone to court several times over the years to try to get permission to leave the country and return to his Southern California home. His wife, Hong Li, meanwhile, had steadfastly lobbied US officials for help.
22:23  Michelle Obama heckled: How'd she handle it?:  Michelle Obama threatened to walk out of a Washington fundraiser Tuesday night after a heckler interrupted her speech.

It was a rare moment of unscripted anger from a first lady who has generally avoided direct political confrontation and has approval ratings higher than those of her husband.

"Heckling at fund-raisers is a fairly common practice, but it's almost always directed at the president, which is why Michelle Obama must have been somewhat taken aback,' writes Adam Martin in New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer.

Read more
22:10  Naxals attack police team in Chhattisgarh:  Police today managed to thwart an attack by Naxals in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district which ended with the fleeing rebels leaving behind weapons and other supplies. 

Security personnel, who reported no damages or injuries, however, could not nab any of those involved in the attack although they said it is suspected that at least a couple of the ultras had received injuries. 

Naxals might have borne away their injured colleagues with them while retreating from the encounter, police added.
22:08  24 TN fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka Navy:  Twentyfour Indian fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan navalmen when they were fishing near Katchateevu today, officials said. 

The fishermen were arrested on the charge of intruding into Sri Lankan territory, fisheries department officials and Innocent Fishermen's Association Arulanandham said.
21:37  Centre unable to send forces for WB panchayat polls: Mamata:  The Centre has expressed its inability to send paramilitary forces for the three-phase panchayat polls in West Bengal beginning July 2, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said today.        

"Due to overstretched deployment of forces, it was not found feasible to provide (the same) for panchayat polls in your state," Banerjee quoted director, home personnel, Dinesh Mathur, as having written in a June 4 letter to WB Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra.
21:20  UK Islamic centre gutted in suspected racist attack :  An Islamic centre in north London was burnt down today in a suspected a racially-motivated arson attack, allegedly by a far-right group.        

The Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill, north London, was burnt down early this morning and the Metropolitan police believe the fire may have been started deliberately.       

Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism officers are investigating the suspected racially-motivated arson attack on the Somali community centre.
20:50  BJP's demand for early monsoon session laughable: Tewari:  Union minister Manish Tewari today took a dig at Opposition BJP, saying its demand for an early monsoon session to discuss the Food Security Bill is "laughable" as the party had not allowed the budget session to function smoothly.       
"You did not allow the budget session to function because you thought that cheap politics would help you in Karnataka. You lost badly in Karnataka," he told reporters.
20:49  Spot-fixing probe report given to BCCI :  An internal probe report was today submitted to the BCCI about IPL spot-, in which three players including S Sreesanth of Rajasthan Royals were arrested by the Delhi police a fortnight ago.        

The fate of the report, which was completed without getting any access to the arrested players and complete evidence collected by the Delhi police, was yet to be decided keeping in view the crisis that has engulfed the cricket board.
20:45  Congress high command to ponder over CIC order:  The Congress high command will decide on the future course of action on the CIC order on bringing parties under the ambit of the RTI Act, a move against which virtually the entire political class appears to be united.        

"The decision will be taken by the party high command," party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit told reporters when asked whether Congress would appeal to the Central Information Commission for a review of the order or the party would take any other course.
20:43  Former UK cop jailed for selling celeb info:  A former UK police officer who had access to private information about celebrities, including Kate Middleton, has been jailed for two years for selling stories about them to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun tabloid.        

Paul Flattley had been in the force barely a year when he started the "sustained" provision of confidential information to the News International paper, which earned him a total of 7,600 pounds, The Guardian reported today.
20:20  Rahul Gandhi served legal notice!:   Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was today slapped with a legal notice by Asom Gana Parishad's youth wing, which gave him 15 days to apologise for his purported remarks -- that the party came to power for a second term in Assam with the support of insurgents.        

AGP youth wing President Kishore Upadhaya said, "If the Congress vice president fails to apologise, we will seek a compensation of Rs 500 crore for damaging the reputation of the party whose members were involved in the six-year Assam agitation against foreigners".
20:19  Pilgrims stranded midair as snag hits rope car:  23 pilgrims were stranded in mid-air for four hours in a rope cable car which stopped halfway to the famous Lord Muruga hill shrine in Tamil Nadu, following a snag today.   

The pilgrims, including six children and two differently-abled persons, travelling in two cabins were stuck at different heights -- 20 feet and 100 feet -- when the cable car came to a halt at 8 am on the way to the Sri Dhandayuthapani Swamy shrine, officials said.   

All the pilgrims were rescued after a four-hour battle by the fire service personnel, who used rope ladder and bamboo baskets to bring them down.
20:16  Dhoni keeps mum on recent controversies :  Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued to maintain a stoic silence on the IPL spot-fixing scandal. He also showed no willingness to give his version in the 'conflict of interest' controversy over him having stake in a sports management company which handles him.     

Asked if there are any distractions going into the Champions Trophy in the wake of recent controversies surrounding Indian cricket and the captain himself, Dhoni smartly dodged the query.
20:13  No talks should be held with Naxals: Govindacharya :  Condemning the Naxal attack on a Congress convoy in Chattisgarh, former BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya today cautioned the Centre against engaging the ultras in dialogue until they shun their violent ways.        

"The Centre should not engage the Naxals in any dialogue without securing a commitment from them to shun their ideology of armed struggle," he said at a function organised by the Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan in Bihar's Gaya town.
18:32  Spot-fix: Cops NOT satisfied with Raj Kundra's answers:  Delhi police says they are not satisfied with Raj Kundra's answers. Kundra is the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals. The three players -- S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila -- all from RR have been charged with spot-fixing.  Kundra told the police that players often invited bookies as personal guests. The cops asked him about the ownership pattern of his team. The Delhi police today called Rajasthan Royals co-owner Kundra, to its Special Cell office on Lodhi Road, to seek details about accused players in the IPL spot-fixing case and the agreement they had reached with them.
18:25  Narendra Modi's meeting with Latin American envoys ends. The envoys apparently told Modi that he was one of the tallest politicians in India. 
18:17  Son chains 90-yr-old man man in Bangalore:  CNN IBN reports that a 90-year-old man, chained by his son, has been hospitalised. This comes in wake of news yesterday of a 35-year-old woman who was allegedly locked up in a room by her parents for about five years. She was rescued by the police from her house in Bangalore.  
18:06  Mamata justifies RTI Act for parties: Must for transparency:  Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today came out in support of the Central Information Commission order on bringing political parties under the RTI ambit. "Political parties should function in a transparent manner and the public has the right to be informed about their functioning and funding. There should be transparency somewhere. I appreciate this move," Banerjee said. "Since political parties are involved with the lives of the public at large they should be brought under the RTI ambit," she said.
18:00  David Beckhams Rs 8.7 crore Indian footie talks :  Newly-retired David Beckham could make a sensational comeback -- in India. Goldenballs is being lined up to play in a football version of the megabucks IPL cricket league, which signs stars from round the world. Read
17:54  End drone strikes, NOW: Sharif to Obama:  Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today sought an end to the controversial US drone attacks targeting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in safe havens in the country's lawless tribal belts.

"We respect the sovereignty of others and they should respect our sovereignty and independence. This campaign must come to an end," Sharif told MPs in his first address since being re-elected to the top post. He told MPs that it was necessary to work out a joint strategy to stop the CIA-operated drone strikes in Pakistan's unruly tribal areas.

"We must learn others' [American] concerns about us, and express our concerns about them, and find a way to resolve this issue," he said. "These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop," Sharif said.
17:39  RR owner Raj Kundra tells cops: Players invited bookies as guests:   Quick updates: An encounter is on between security forces and militants in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra's interrogation by the police has just ended.  Three RR players are alleged to be involved in spot-fixing in IPL 6. Kundra told the police that players often invited bookies as personal guests. The cops asked him about the ownership pattern of his team. The Delhi police today called Rajasthan Royals co-owner Kundra, to its Special Cell office on Lodhi Road, to seek details about accused players in the IPL spot-fixing case and the agreement they had reached with them.
17:26  Dhoni hat-trick at presser: Remains silent on spot-fix scan:   India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni addresses the press ahead of India's first game in the Champions Trophy. India plays against South Africa tomorrow.  The questions however remained on the game tomorrow and not on the spot-fixing scandal or his uncomfortable relationship with Rhiti Sports. Dhoni has remained consistently silent on the spot-fixing incident in which three players from his IPL team Rajasthan Royals have been accused of spot-fixing. This is his third press conference since the scandal broke.

MSD said he will not be thinking about distractions, but will be focussing on the game and "doing our job in the middle."
16:44  Confident Modi did not bother to campaign for by-polls:  Modi was apparently so confident of the victory in the by-polls that he did not even campaign for party nominees. He termed the defeat of Congress candidates in the two Lok Sabha seats as a "reflection of public anger" and an "ultimatum" for the Centre's ruling party ahead of the general elections due next year.

"The people of Gujarat have given a thumping victory to the BJP and Congress has fared miserably. BJP's emphatic victory and Congress's defeat in two Lok Sabha seats is in a way a message of public anger and an ultimatum to the Congress," he said in Delhi.
16:41  @narendramodi 55m Going to meet Shri LK Advani ji.
16:38  Will Advani wave goodbye to anti-Modi sentiment? Meet on now:   Full day for Narendra Modi today. After his meeting with Rajnath Singh, the Gujarat CM is now headed to meet LK Advani. Advani has given in to populist demand and given his nod to the appointment of Modi to head a committee that would oversee the party's campaign and strategy for upcoming Assembly elections. But Advani's decision comes with a rider.

The senior leader wants a formation of separate election management committee headed by a different person other than Modi, to oversee the state Assembly elections and 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Four states including Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi are scheduled to go to elections later this year.

And then there's this: ‏@narendramodi: Will meet Ambassadors of 20 Latin American Nations at Gujarat Bhawan in Delhi. Will discuss avenues of greater cooperation in various fields.
16:09  Sushilkumar Shinde ducks behind PC, Tiwari:  It is well known that Dr Manmohan Singh Prime Minister avoids media interactions, but that disease, if you will, has now spread to Union home
Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. At the PM's internal security meet with chief ministers, the government mandated P Chidambaram and Manish Tiwari to meet the media. 
16:03  Sonia leans more on PM than on Pranab:  It is believed that Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have not interacted with President Pranab Mukherjee in recent times. They have bumped into each other at meetings and at state banquets, but have stopped short of having a one-on-one. Congress sources believe that that Sonia Gandhi is more dependent on Dr Manmohan Singh than on Pranab Mukherjee.
16:01  July marks a year of Pranab Mukherjee as president :  Rashtrapati Bhavan is likely to celebrate Pranab Mukherjee's first anniversary as President on July 23. By July 2014, Mukherjee's role in installing a popular government with a predictable fractured mandate is going to be another challenge. Pranab will be sorely missed in the Union Cabinet and the Congress Core Committee for his skills in firefighting with allies.

As president, he has brought about many changes in his interaction with the common man by opening up prestigious heritage building to public, revamping the library, and disposing off pending files.

He has also been meeting the media at regular intervals unlike the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson.
15:46  Modi-Rajnath meet ends: No statement on leadership :   Narendra Modi's meeting with BJP president Rajnath Singh ends. Rajnath makes a terse statement after the two-hour meet simply saying the party would defeat the Congress decisively in the 2014 polls. No statement on the leadership issue yet.

 Modi will head to Gujarat Bhavan to attend meetings with foreign business houses. The Gujarat CM given a rousing welcome at Rajnath Singh's residence in Delhi.
15:26  And here's what the Indian Express says on bringing political parties under RTI. Read
15:26  NO place to hide :  The tag line for India's much-acclaimed transparency law could well be: good for others, not for me. The Supreme Court loftily decreed the right to information to be a part of the fundamental right to free expression. Read
15:14  Cracking the Code on Affordable Health Care :  Read the interview with Devi Shetty, India's most celebrated physician, and one of the world's most famous surgeons (his patients include Mother Teresa). 
15:12  Death of victim focusses attention on acid attacks :  Acid attacks are almost always "tied to gender inequality and discrimination", noted a 2011 study sponsored by the Avon Foundation for Women. The study also noted that attackers prefer to use hydrochloric, sulfuric and nitric acids because they rapidly burn through flesh and bone: "Perpetrators often intend to destroy what society considers to be one of the most valuable traits of a woman -- her beauty.  Read
15:10  TMC wins Howrah by-poll:  Trinamool Congress candidate Prasun Banerjee today won the Howrah Lok Sabha seat in a bye-election defeating his nearest rival, CPI(M) candidate Sridip Bhattacherjee, by over 27,000 votes. Though official results were still to be declared, Election Commission sources said that Prasun Banerjee secured 4,26,273 votes and Sridip Bhattacherjee 3,99,258 votes. Congress candidate Sanatan Mukherjee was in third spot polling 96,727 votes.
15:02  Fortified with by-poll win Modi has one-on-one with Rajnath:  Narendra Modi is now meeting BJP chief Rajnath Singh at his residence. Rajnath Singh on Monday described the Gujarat Chief Minister as the most popular political leader in the country. The statement comes two days after senior leader LK Advani lauded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's style of functioning.

According to many in the party, Modi had told Singh that he did not like being publicly derided by anyone on leadership and wanted an end to the controversy.

Advani was seen to be echoing what Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had been saying about Gujarats progress. BJP insiders said Advani wants the BJP to leave it to him to decide on the leadership just as he had done in 1995 announcing AB Vajpayee's name unilaterally for the top slot.

14:51  Terms of engagement :  Earlier this month, the Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne, and the Lowy Institute, Sydney, released India Poll 2013: Facing the Future. A survey of Indian attitudes towards other nations and broad themes concerning foreign policy, the poll covered rural and urban citizens across representative socio-economic categories and regions. Read
14:48  Transcripts from Bradley Manning's trial:  The US military has refused to release transcripts of Bradley Manning's trial. In addition, they've denied press passes to 270 out of the 350 media organizations that applied. Without public transcripts or a press pass, it's virtually impossible for media organizations to accurately cover the trial and for the public to know what the government is doing in its name. Read
14:46  Manufacturing news:  News studios have gradually become the site where news is "manufactured". Indeed, the very definition of "news" has changed as Indian television networks become increasingly promoter-driven.

There are severe cutbacks in news gathering, reporters have been marginalised and the focus has shifted to studio-driven news presentations with outside "experts". From his perspective as a former television reporter, the writer analyses the current state of broadcast media. Read
14:44  ISI trying to revive Sikh militancy: Home minister :   India today blamed Pakistan for trying to revive Sikh militancy and said youth are being trained in ISI facilities to carry out terror attacks in the country.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said there have been significant developments on the Sikh militancy front and its commanders based in Pakistan are under pressure from the ISI to further the Pakistani intelligence agency's terror plans not only in Punjab but also other parts of India.

"Sikh youth are being trained in ISI facilities in Pakistan. Interrogations have revealed use of jailed cadres, unemployed youth, criminals and smugglers by Pak-based Sikh terror groups for facilitating terror attacks," he said addressing the conference of Chief Ministers on internal security.
14:29  What India's Political Parties Can Still Hide (despite the RTI). Read
14:23  Monsoon cheer may fade in July:  The timely arrival of monsoon rains over southern and western India has cheered policymakers and farmers alike because the seasonal downpours largely determine farm output.But doubts are now surfacing over whether the prediction of normal rains would hold for the crucial sowing month of July. Read
14:13  Nawaz Sharif formally elected Pakistan PM:   PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif formally elected Prime Minister in Pakistan's National Assembly. Pakistan's parliament elected Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, completing the first transition of power between two democratically elected civilian governments in the nearly 66-year history of this coup-prone country.

The National Assembly met today to vote on a prime minister, after which Sharif was sworn in. It will be his third term as premier. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party won the May 11 parliamentary elections by securing 176 seats in the 342-member law-making lower house.

The vote was a formality, though the former ruling Pakistan People's Party and the party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan have also fielded candidates against Sharif.

13:49  Cong: Be very scared, Modi wants POTA, TADA back:   Union I&B minister Manish Tewari says it is time to sit back and think and consider with fear that Narendra Modi wants TADA and POTA back. The Congress is opposed to it.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) was an anti-terrorism legislation enacted by the Parliament of India in 2002. The act replaced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) of 2001 and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) (1985-95), and was supported by the governing NDA. The act was repealed in 2004 by the UPA. The acts have been draconian and one of the key problem areas with POTA was that under it, a confession made to the police was accepted in a court of law as an admission of guilt.
13:41  BJP should remember Radadiya defected from Cong: PC:   Finance minister P Chidambaram on the BJP's by-poll win. Commenting on  Porbandar MLA Vitthal Radadia's win over the Congress' Vinu Amipara, Chidambaram said the BJP should remember Radadiya had defected from the Congress. 

Radadiya was caught brandishing his gun at a toll booth last year when he was a Congress MP and later crossed over BJP.
13:15  Sibal: Need terrorism tips from Modi as he's involved in one :  Addressing the issue of internal security in the backdrop of the just-concluded chief ministers' meet held by the PM, Narendra Modi says the centre has done nothing on internal security in the last 10 years. "All the Centre does is talk, but it is the states that have to ensure action. These meetings (on internal security) have only become an annual exercise in futility. The country is with Raman Singh and Chhattisgarh. We will not lose the fight against Naxals."

Meanwhile, law minister Kapil Sibal takes a jibe at Modi at the NCTC meet. Speaking to CNN IBN, Sibal says Modi knows a lot on terror, knows how it works. "We need tips on Modi on terrorism because he is involved in one," he said. 

Modi had earlier challenged the government to arrest him in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, saying he was not afraid to go to jail.
12:57  BJP's by-poll victory is people's ultimatum to Congress: Modi:  Narendra Modi holds by-poll victory conference. He said BJP workers had worked hard in the state congratulated them. He said the BJP victory was an ultimatum to the Congress. 
12:52  UP: soldiers throw six youth out of moving train:  Six young men who had, by mistake, occupied a coach reserved for army personnel were thrown off a moving train by soldiers in Uttar Pradesh, police said on Wednesday. Read
12:49   Dominos testing drones for pizza delivery:  Domino's Pizza has hired a creative agency called T + Biscuits to test the feasibility of octocopter drones that could deliver a hot pizza at your doorstep.   Heavily branded as the DomiCopter, the current prototype can deliver two, large pizzas in about ten minutes within a four mile radius of the store, Fox News reported.  

While future versions could hypothetically use GPS coordinates to deliver the pie, the existing model is piloted from the ground by someone experienced in drone flight.  

The DomiCopter has eight spinning blades and includes the standard thermal insulation bag that's carried around by Domino's Pizza delivery drivers.
12:45  The Indian Frida Kahlo:  The daughter of a Sikh aristocrat and a Hungarian opera singer was never going to be ordinary. But Amrita Sher-Gil '" in her art, in her adventuress life, and in the photographs taken of her by her pioneering father in the early 1900s -- proved truly remarkable. Read
12:17  Delhi gang rape: Juvenile accused turns 18:  The juvenile accused in the horrific December 16 gang rape finally 'came of age' on Tuesday. According to a source close to him, who did not wish to be identified, it was a quiet occasion -- not even a celebration -- at the government-run 'Place of Safety' in north Delhi's Timarpur where he is lodged at the moment.

"He is allowed to meet his legal counsel and to talk to his family over the phone. He was allowed to contact his family on his birthday. The chat was normal and did not last too long,' said the source. Read more
12:05  Modi conquers again: BJP wins 2 LS, 4 Assembly seats:   CNN IBN reports that the BJP has won in Jetpur, Limbadi, Dhoraji and Morva Hadaf, where the bypolls were held, along with the two Lok Sabha seats, on Sunday, officials said.
12:02   BJP leading in Gujarat bypolls for 2 LS, 4 assembly seats:  By-polls: Early trends show that the ruling BJP is leading in all the six seats -- two Lok Sabha and four assembly -- which were previously occupied by the Congress party in the by-elections held in Gujarat.

"After two hours of counting of votes for two the Lok Sabha seats of Porbandar and Banaskantha, BJP candidates are far ahead of their nearest Congress rivals," Election authorities said.

The saffron party is also leading in the four assembly constituencies of Jetpur, Limbadi, Dhoraji and Morva Hadaf, where the bypolls were held, along with the two Lok Sabha seats, on Sunday, officials said.
12:00  No easy cure for Indian cricket:  The miasma of corruption claims hanging over the Board of Control for Cricket in India, by far the most powerful body in the game because of its financial clout, is not going away any time soon. Read the column on the New York Times.
11:56  Did Rajeev Shukla meet Dawood when he was in Pakistan?:   Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar on Monday alleged that Union minister Rajeev Shukla had met India's 'Enemy Number One' in Pakistan on April 5, 2004, and discussed important security issues with him.Ambedkar produced a two-page document, which he claims was an internal report of the external affairs ministry, to corroborate his allegation.

Though Ambedkar didn't specify who 'Enemy Number One' mentioned in the said report was, it is well known that Indian security agencies use the phrase to refer to Dawood Ibrahim. Shukla, however, rubbished the allegations.

Said Shukla, "It's a five-year-old allegation and he has been repeating it over and over again. There is no basis to his allegations. The documents, which he claims to have with him, are fake and bogus. It's nonsense." Here's more
11:34  Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra quizzed in spot-fix case:   By-polls: It is a crucial day for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as votes will be counted for the Howrah Lok Sabha seat where the election was held on June 2.  So far, the TMC leads in two seats. 
11:26  RR owner Raj Kundra quizzed in spot-fix case :  Meanwhile, the Delhi police has taken statements from the owner of Rajasthan Royals, Raj Kundra, in the spot-fixing case.  
11:23  Who's fighting whom where:  The Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after the death of Congress MP Mukesh Gadhvi. In the by-poll, the Congress fielded his wife Krishna Gadhvi. At Morva Hadaf, the election was held to fill the vacancy caused by Congress candidate Savita Khant, who died on the day of counting of the assembly elections in December last year.

For the by-poll, the party had given ticket to her son Bhupendrasinh Khant. The Limbadi Assembly seat fell vacant after Congress MP Soma Patel, who won the seat, later resigned as MLA. The party has fielded his son Satish against whom BJP has given ticket to former state minister Kiritsinh Rana. In the state legislative Assembly of 182 members, at present BJP has 115 MLAs, Congress 57, Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) 2, Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) 2 and Independent and JD(U) has one member each member.
11:21  For the assembly seats of Limbadi, Morva Hadaf, Dhoraji and Jetpur 62 per cent, 64 per cent, 33 per cent and 45 per cent voting was recorded. All eyes have been on the results of Porbandar Lok Sabha (BJP wins) and the Jetpur Assembly seats where the BJP has given a ticket to Vithhal Radadia and his son Jayes, respectively, who had defected from the Congress and joined BJP.
11:18  The by-polls are seen as a crucial test for the Congress in the Gujarat, as the party currently holds all the seats. A win for the BJP will be leveraged by supporters of Chief Minister Narendra Modi as further evidence of his popularity.

In Bihar, there was jubilation in the RJD camp as this was the first time in seven and half years that it had stolen a march over the JD-U in a by-election.
11:15  By-polls: Gujarat: BJP wins 2 LS seats, Bihar: JD(U) loses:  Results coming in for the two Lok Sabha and four state Assembly seats where by-polls were held on Sunday. The BJP's candidate Vitthal Radadia has won the Banaskantha seat over Vinu Amipara of the Congress. The BJP has also won the Porbandar Lok Sabha seat. Counting is underway at Panchmahal and Limbadi

In Bihar, it's a prestige battle between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The JD(U) lost the by-poll at the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat. The contest was between strongman Prabhunath Singh of Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and state education minister P K Shahi of the Janata Dal (United).

Nitish Kumar received a setback after the has lost the Maharajganj seat. 
11:04  CMs to meet Shinde on NCTC, counter-Naxal strikes :  Now that the PM is done talking at the security meet, the chief ministers of seven Naxal-affected states will meet Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde separately, where they will discuss strategy to root out the Naxals. The formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre is also expected to be discussed at the meet with Shinde.
10:50  Who is attending the PM's security meet :   A pat on the back for Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah. The PM said that 2012 saw a significant improvement in the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Incidentally, the chief ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are not attending the meet. Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Madhya Predesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah are the non-Congress CMs who are attending the meet.

This meet with the chief ministers was called by Dr Manmohan Singh in the wake of the brutal naxal attacks in Chattisgarh on May 25.
10:43  The PM said that the government was open to dialogue with people who had given up violence and were willing to work within the framework of the Constitution. 
10:39  PM at security meet: Naxal violence has NO place in democracy :  The PM said that the challenge of Naxalism has received serious attention. The action plan includes taking concrete steps to root out the menace, ensuring state governments work together with the centre for eliminating the Naxal threat, strengthening the security apparatus in 34 Naxal-hit areas, ensuring development and security for Naxal-hit areas and modernisation of state police.
The PM also touched upon women's security and said it remained a concern. He said several laws had been enacted to tackle such crimes.

10:32  Dr Singh at CMs meet: Naxal violence has no place in democracy :  Addressing the chief ministers' conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "I welcome all the chief minister and all distinguished partners to this conference."

Talking about the recent Naxal strike he said: Naxal violence has no place in our democracy. The Centre and states need to work together to eliminate such attacks."

The PM said that there was a decrease in Naxal attacks over the past few years, but the Chhattisgarh attack came as a setback. "Proactive measures have been taken to stop such attacks."

To build a broader national consensus, the Centre has called for an all-party meet on June 10, the PM said.  
10:22  Shinde at CMs meet: Naxal violence will be dealt with firmly :  Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde speaks at the chief minister's meet in New Delhi. "The Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh was an attack on democracy. Naxal violence will be dealt with firmly," he said.

"The Chhattisgarh violence case has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency with the consultation of the state," he added.

Shinde also said that the internal security situation was largely under control.

The HM said that a large amount of RDX has been recovered from Punjab and Rajasthan. "Sikh youth are being trained by Pakistan for terror. But there has been a fall in terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir."   
10:11  Gujarat by-polls: Counting for 2 LS, 4 assembly seats begins:   Counting for two Lok Sabha and four state assembly seats where by-elections were held on Sunday is underway.

Counting has begun at four centers of Porbandar, Panchmahal, Limbadi and Banaskantha for all the seats and results are expected by Wednesday afternoon, officials said. Early trends, during the first hour of the counting, suggest that on two Lok Sabha and three assembly seats, BJP candidates were leading against their nearest Congress rivals.

"BJP candidates are leading in two Lok Sabha seats of Porbandar and Banaskantha and three Assembly seats of Jetpur, Limbadi and Dhoraji," a top state election official said.
10:07  Modi likely to oppose NCTC at CM's meet today:  Narendra Modi is likely to oppose the  National Counter Terrorism Centre at the chief minister's conference in New Delhi today. According to insiders, he will push for strengthening of the Intelligence Bureau.
09:59  No talks with Naxals, fight to continue: Chhattisgarh CM:   Ahead of the chief ministers' meet on internal security in New Delhi today, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said that the time for talks with the Naxals was over.

"There is question of any compromise with such forces. We are fighting, and we'll continue to do that. The recent Naxal attack in the state has ruled out any option of dialogue with them. There will be no talks. The fight against Naxalites will be intensified," Singh told NDTV.

Read the full story here
09:09  Advani's rider over Modi puts BJP in a fix:  CNN-IBN reports: Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch L K Advani has put a rider on making Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi the party campaign panel chief for the 2014 elections.

Advani has told BJP chief Rajnath Singh to form a a parallel for the five state assembly polls later this year. The party is in a bind on who will head the second committee.

Advani had proposed Nitin Gadkari's name for the second panel, but the former BJP president said no.    
09:01  PIL in SC against Ranbaxy Pharma:  A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court against Ranbaxy Pharma for manufacturing adulterated drugs. The PIL seeks prosecution of all its directors and sealing of all its manufacturing units. 
08:56  PM to meet CMs today, focus on anti-Naxal strategy, NCTC:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for an internal security meeting of the chief ministers of all states. Anti-Naxal battleplan in wake of the recent attack in Chhattisgarh and National Counter Terrorism Centre are expected to be the main focus of the meet.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa have decided to give a skip to the meet.

Among the non-Congress CMs attending the conference are Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Madhya Predesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah.
04:08  Turkey apologises for crackdown that spurred protests:  Turkey's deputy prime minister apologised on Tuesday for the 'excessive violence' used by the police last week againstdemonstrators opposing the razing of an Istanbul park, the start of what later became nationwide protests against the pro-Islamic government. 

The deputy, Bulent Arinc, speaking at a news conference broadcast live from Ankara, appeared to be trying to ease mounting criticism after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday referred to the thousands who have been protesting in 67 cities for at least five days as extremists led by the main opposition party.
04:05  Nepal colonel facing torture charges in UK pleads for immunity:  A Nepalese army officer accused of committing torture during his country's civil war in 2005, has pleaded for immunity in a London court today. 

Kumar Lama is accused of torturing two men when he was in charge of a barracks in Nepal at the height of the Himalayan nation's decade-long conflict between Maoist rebels and government forces.
04:04  US extradites Bosnian wanted for war crimes:  United States has extradited a Bosnian national to his Balkan homeland so he can stand trial for alleged war crimes committed during the conflicts of the 1990s. 

Sulejman Mujagic was handed over to Bosnian authorities on Friday following an April ruling by a New York federal district court, the US Justice Department said in a statement Monday. 

As a platoon commander in the Army of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, Mujagic is accused of torturing and executing a disarmed Bosnian Army soldier and torturing a second on or around March 6, 1995, it said.
03:04  38 dead in Sudan road crash: police:  At least 38 people died in Sudan today in one of the worst road accidents in the country in years when a bus collided with a truck, police said, blaming the crash on speeding. 

"Because of a crash this morning between a bus and a truck south of El Gutaina town in White Nile state, 38 people died and others were injured," a police statement said.
03:04  Boston bomb suspect tells mother he is 'doing fine':  Boston Marathon bomb suspect Djokhar Tsarnaev has told his mother that he is receiving thousands of dollars in support from unnamed sources, according to a video obtained by Britain's Channel 4 News.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev replayed a recording of the conversation with her son, who is being held in Fort Devens prison in Massachusetts, in which he says "everything is fine" ahead of his trial. "I'm already eating and have been for a long time," he said in the message, which was recorded last week according to Channel 4.
02:18  Israel voices support for UN Arms regulation treaty:  At the UN on Monday, over 60 nations signed a blockbuster international treaty for regulating the massive $70 billion global arms trade.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem on Tuesday said that Israel supports the measure, but has not yet signed because an inter-ministerial committee is still looking into the details.

With Russia holding out from signing on, questions loomed over whether the treaty would impact the over-two-year-long conflict in Syria, where the former Soviet Union has been accused of largely tilting the conflict in favor of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
02:17  Erdogan has been warned:  "History shows that if nations cannot manage to win all together, they are destined to lose all together,' declared Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the first anniversary of his 2007 re-election. 

"We defend freedom, justice, democracy and welfare for everybody.' Back then, he promised that his Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials, A.K.P., would embrace all sections of society regardless of political affiliation. He even thanked those who didn't vote for him.

Read more
02:15  English gay marriage plans clear hurdle in parliament:  The British parliament's upper house today voted down a bid to kill off a bill to introduce gay marriage in England and Wales, moving it a step closer to becoming law. 

Following two days of impassioned debate in the House of Lords that exposed deep divisions in the unelected upper chamber, peers voted 390 to 148 against the so-called "wrecking" amendment.

The amendment was a proposal to not allow a second reading of the Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Bill -- a rarely used motion.
02:14  Kuwait defends barring expats from morning treatment:  Kuwait said today that barring foreigners from attending public hospitals in the mornings was aimed at resolving the problem of "overcrowding" at such health facilities. 

Since Sunday the health ministry in the oil-rich Gulf state began implementing the measure, described by activists as racist, at the public hospital in Jahra, west of Kuwait City, on experimental basis for six months.
01:12  Iran's reactor said damaged by quakes:  Several countries monitoring Iran's nuclear program have picked up information that the country's only power-producing nuclear reactor was damaged by one or more of several recent earthquakes, with long cracks appearing in at least one section of the structure, two diplomats said Tuesday.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions for refusing to stop nuclear programs that could be used to make weapons, even as it insists it has no such plans.Its Bushehr nuclear plant is not considered a proliferation threat. But some nations are concerned about how safe it is. 
00:25  Abbas: Ball in Israel's court for talks:  Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said today the "ball is in Israel's court" concerning a resumption of peace talks that the US is pushing for, ahead of a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry. 

"Kerry is exerting strenuous efforts... to come to a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas told a news conference in Ramallah. "I believe the ball is now in Israel's court. 

"The Palestinian demands are clear, and the Israelis know them as do the Americans, so Israel must now accept them in order to begin negotiations," said Abbas.
00:25  Judge accepts insanity plea in US movie shooting:  A judge today accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity from the suspect in the deadly Colorado movie theater shooting, setting the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation. 

James Holmes, a former graduate student, is accused of opening fire in a packed Denver-area movie theater last summer, killing 12 people and injuring 70. He is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
00:24  US Army post shooting suspect cites 'defence' plan:  An Army psychiatrist accused of gunning down soldiers waiting to deploy to Afghanistan at a Texas Army post said today his defence would show that he was compelled to do so because the soldiers posed an imminent danger to Taliban fighters. 

The military judge responded that Maj. Nidal Hasan's "defence of others" strategy would be thrown out if he didn't provide supporting evidence. Hasan, 42, faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the 2009 attack at Fort Hood.
00:23  Thousands in Hong Kong commemorate Tiananmen:  Thousands of people braved a heavy thunderstorm in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Tuesday evening, lighting candles to honor the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as Beijing tightened restrictions on reporters and on the Web in mainland China.

The June 4 anniversary commemorating the deaths of student pro-democracy protesters, believed to have numbered in the hundreds, is a particularly sensitive time for China's Communist Party, which has neither apologized for the crackdown nor provided a formal account of how many died after troops began firing at demonstrators.
00:20  Top headlines in the past 24 hours:  
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Yesterday's Live commentary
00:12  Judge accepts insanity plea in US movie shooting:  A judge today accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity from the suspect in the deadly Colorado movie theater shooting, setting the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation. 

James Holmes, a former graduate student, is accused of opening fire in a packed Denver-area movie theater last summer, killing 12 people and injuring 70. He is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. 

The July 20 massacre was one of several mass shootings that jolted the US debate over gun violence, and it helped prompt Colorado to adopt significant statewide gun control laws this year.

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