23:11 3 die in gas leak at Guj agro-chemical plant:
Three workers died following a gas leak at the agro-chemicals plant of Meghmani Organics in Ankleshwar industrial area today, police said.
"The gas leak was reported at the agro-chemicals plant of Meghmani Organics, resulting in death of Ratan Rajput (23), Sanjay Prajapti (22) and Ghanshyam Kalsaria (22)," they said without elaborating.
Following the incident, a team headed by deputy director of Industrial Safety and Health, Vijay Patel, reached the spot and served a closure notice on the company, officials said. "If the company is found responsible for negligence then legal action would be initiated against them," Patel said. Meanwhile, workers at the plant where the mishap occurred held protests.
22:31 J'khand: Maoists take away food for mid-day meal:
The Maoists were taking away food grains meant for mid-day meal in schools and public distribution system, and even controlling projects under MGNREGA in Naxal-affected areas of West Singhbhum district, a senior police official said today.
This was revealed during interrogation of an arrested hard-core Maoist, identified as Cherwa, said Pankaj Kamboj, Superintendent of Police. Cherwa, an influential man in the area and a member of the management committee of a school, said during interrogation that he used to siphon off food grains meant for mid-day meals in the school as well as PDS in his village Banguruia in the district.
As the Maoists had access to block offices in their strong hold areas and could influence a section of government officials, they were able to take out food grains meant for PDS, Kamboj told a press conference in Chaibasa. The red rebels used this means particularly during anti-Maoist operations when other routes to rations were cut off, he said.
21:56 Blame game in Congress after Moga bypoll defeat:
The defeat of the Congress in the Moga bypoll has triggered a blame game within the party's state unit with two senior leaders Randeep Singh Nabha and Brahm Mohindra locking horns with PCC chief Amarinder Singh for issuing show cause notices to them.
Amarinder had issued show cause notices to the two leaders asking them to explain why they remained absent during the bypoll campaigning. Besides the two MLAs, leader Rakesh Panday and former minister Avtar Henry were told to file their replies by March 5 in connection with the party's debacle at the hustings.
The ruling SAD-BJP combine wrested the Moga assembly seat from the Congress with its candidate Joginderpal Singh Jain trouncing Vijay Kumar Sathi (Cong) by a margin of over 18,000 votes.
Justifying his absence from the poll campaign, Nabha, who received the notice today, said "I was not well and had informed him (Amarinder) in advance." "It is a time for introspection and not to issue show cause notices to senior leaders. The job of the state Congress chief is to keep party intact and not to create circumstances for division," he said. On receiving the notice, Mohindra too fumed, "I am not a political turncoat". He was apparently referring to Joginderpal Jain who had switched allegiance from the Congress to the SAD.
21:27 Stones can come from MNS too: Raj to Ajit Pawar:
MNS chief Raj Thackeray today dared NCP leader Ajit Pawar to intimidate his party without the help of the state apparatus, saying stones can come from "our side" too in an escalating war of words between the two leaders from Maharashtra.
Raj also asked Union Agriculture Minister and NCP leader Sharad Pawar if the matches of Indian Premier League would be cancelled in Maharashtra this time around on account of the terrible drought the state is facing.
Addressing a rally in Jalna as a part of his organisation-building drive across the state, Raj said MNS was ready to take on NCP if the latter were to use the government power to intimidate.
20:11 BJP to induct Modi, Chauhan in parliamentary board:
The BJP has decided in its ongoing national executive meet to expand its parliamentary board, and has paved way for the entry of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Chouhan in its highest decision-making body.
20:08 Kolkata Surya Sen market fire toll rises to 21:
The toll in the blaze at the Surya Sen Market here rose to 21 today with another persons succumbing to injuries in hospital.
"One person with 80 per cent burns died in hospital. The toll is now 21," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh said. The blaze had broken out at a five-storey building in Sealdah housing the market on February 27.
19:26 Not inevitable to call Raja as JPC witness: Chacko:
JPC Chairman P C Chacko today said 'it is not inevitable' to call former Telecom Minister A Raja, prime accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, before the Joint Parliamentary Committee as a witness as all the main witnesses had been called and evidence taken.
"It is not inevitable at this juncture to call Raja as all main witnesses have been called and evidence taken," he said. He was responding to a query on CPI leader and Joint Parliamentary Committee member Gurudas Dasgupta's letter to him stressing the need to call Raja as witness.
Chacko said Raja had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to allow him tender evidence as witness before the JPC. Several other persons have also expressed a similar desire but it was impractical to call all of them, he said. A final decision, however, in this regard will be taken after discussing it with all JPC members, Chacko told PTI.
19:07 Dhule: 3-year-boy dies after falling in borewell:
A 3-year-old boy was killed after he fell in a farm borewell at Ayane village in Dhule district of Maharashtra, police said today.
Bhatu Dhangar fell in the borewell while playing on Friday, however, efforts to rescue him from the underground pit came cropper. He was pulled out dead this morning from the borewell, they said.
19:05 Cong men held for showing black flag to Patnaik:
At least 11 Congress activists were arrested for showing black flags to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his visit to the tribal dominated Mayurbhanj district today.
While eight leaders, including district Congress committee vice president Bhuvan Bihari Sahu and district Youth Congress secretary Jitendra Raj, were arrested at Karanjia, three others were held at Thakumunda, police said.
Protesting the visit of Patnaik to the district, the slogan shouting activists holding black flags tried to break the security barricade in a bid to proceed close to the chief minister at both the places, they said. However, the police personnel deployed in the area swung into action and took the protesters into custody.
18:07 China's new J-15 fighter jet can operate in 1,000 km radius:
As it rapidly modernises its military, China today claimed that its new J-15 fighter jet which will operate from its recently-acquired aircraft carrier, can cover a radius of 1,000 kms in attack missions.
The J-15 fighter jet is able to cover an area with a radius of over 1,000 km on attack missions, Sun Cong, a chief designer of the plane told state-run Xinhua news agency.
The jet reaches similar technical standards of the third-generation carrier-borne fighters currently in service, Sun, also a member of the advisory legislative body National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said.
"The jet is close to the US F-18 Hornet fighter jet in terms of bomb load, combat radius and mobility," he said. According to some reports, Russia was upset as the J-15 resembled its Su-33.
Image: People walk past a model of J-15 fighter aircraft during an aerospace science in Shenyang Photograph: Reuters
17:21 'Can't win over the fight against terror under UPA':
BJP, which has been opposing NCTC, today accused the Congress-led UPA government of failing to provide leadership in fighting terror and asked it to bring in a strong anti-terror law if it was serious on the issue.
"The Congress-led UPA is not providing the leadership to fight terrorism. We cannot win over the fight against terror under UPA," BJP President Rajnath Singh said in his inaugural address at the National Council meet, where he condoled the loss of lives in the recent bomb blasts in Hyderabad.
Claiming that the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre was against the country's federal structure, he said BJP was not against any laws to shore up internal security but will not accept anything that "poses a question mark on the nation's federal structure".
16:39 Mum attacks: Trial in Pak adjourned till March 16:
The trial of seven Pakistanis charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks was today adjourned for two weeks after prosecutors informed the judge that they were awaiting an undertaking from Indian authorities regarding the visit of a Pakistani judicial commission.
Anti-terrorism court Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman, who is conducting proceedings behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, put off the case till March 16 after prosecutors failed to submit an undertaking from Indian authorities that the Pakistani commission would be allowed to cross-examine four key witnesses in Mumbai.
Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulifqar Ali told the court that the Indian government was yet to respond to Pakistan's request for a written assurance regarding the cross-examination of witnesses in Mumbai.
"We are awaiting the Indian government's response," he said.
15:58 In throes, girl to Gandhi Ashram:
Sujan Dutta of the Telegraph
writes: She is so young and so delicate she cannot stand in a jostling crowd, but she can publicly call for the hanging of men.
Held in a guardian's arms, 9-year-old Ipsita took centre stage and the microphone at Shahbag this evening, where the people have been assembling for three weeks to demand the death sentence for the war criminals of 1971.
15:28 Lankan group alleges radiation leaks at Kudankulam:
Days after India dismissed as 'baseless' reports about radiation leaks at the yet to be commissioned Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, a Sri Lankan interest group today alleged that the atomic power station has been leaking radiation since February 27.
The People's Movement Against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, in a statement, urged officials here to bare the truth. They held the government of Sri Lanka responsible for turning a blind eye to radiation threats from Kudankulam.
"It was against public protests by affected people of both India and Sri Lanka representing fisher, agriculture and trade communities that Kudankulam came to be commissioned," the statement said.
15:10 Record 5.02 lakh rly e-tickets booked on single day:
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation booked more than five lakh rail e-tickets yesterday, surpassing the earlier one-day sales record set in July last year.
The Corporation booked 5.02 lakh e-tickets, crossing the earlier figure of 4.96 lakh e-tickets booked on July 7 last year, an IRCTC official said.
The record, he said, comes at a time when the IRCTC is facing criticism of its website failing to cope up with the peak hour rush for Tatkal bookings and during festive season.
IRCTC had recently invested Rs 3.5 crore in enhancing the efficiency of the website and another Rs three crore in augmenting the software licenses and storage area network.
15:09 TN: Stranded fishermen rescued by Coast Guard:
Six fishermen stranded in mid sea off Kanyakumari coast for five days have been rescued by the Coast Guard. Coast Guard ship 'Naikidevi' undertook a search and rescue mission yesterday and spotted the boat about 30 km east of Kanyakumari.
The fishermen were provided medical aid and their vessel towed to Tuticorin harbour, an official release said.
The fishermen had put out to sea on February 23, it said.
14:59 US asks Bangladesh to help calm the situation:
Expressing concern over eruption of violence in the country that has killed more than 46 people, the US has asked Bangladesh to help calm the ongoing situation and demanded citizens to engage in peaceful protest.
"While engaging in a peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right, we believe violence is never the answer. We encourage all Bangladeshis to peacefully express their views, and we welcome peaceful efforts by the Government of Bangladesh to help calm the situation," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters.
"We are saddened by the loss of life during protests across Bangladesh," Ventrell said in response to a question. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch said that the Bangladeshi government and the Jamaat-e-Islaami party need to act urgently to ensure that security forces and party supporters do not engage in further acts of violence, which has already led to the death of over 40 people in the last 24 hours.
14:07 108 Myanmarese detained for crossing into Indian waters:
A group of 108 Myanmarese nationals were detained after they illegally boarded a barge coming to Mumbai from the neighbouring country, Coast Guard sources said today.
After getting complaints of illegal entry by some unknown people onboard barge Ganpati, which was being towed from Myanmar to Mumbai by Star Jakarta, a Coast Guard ship was sent from north Andaman to intercept the barge on Thursday.
Andaman Nicobar Coastguard official Poornima Arora said their officers found 108 Myanmarese in the barge who were at sea since February 15 and had no food and water for the past seven days.
14:00 Rajnath lauds Modi as most popular CM:
Amid calls for a larger role for him, Narendra Modi today won singular praise from BJP President Rajnath Singh for being the 'most popular' chief minister having registered 'never before' three consecutive electoral wins for the party in Gujarat.
The BJP National Council meeting began with Singh exhorting the delegates to give a standing ovation to Modi and garlanding him.
"We have never seen the BJP winning three elections under one leadership," Singh said as Modi stepped forward on the dais to accept plaudits from the delegates.
"It won't be proper to welcome Modi with mere words. He deserves a good round of applause, a standing ovation," Singh said.
12:49 Centre 'closely monitoring' situation in Sri Lanka: Minister:
The Centre was 'closely monitoring' the situation in Sri Lanka and was taking all steps for the safety of Tamils living there, Union Minister V Narayanasamy said today.
"India was closely monitoring the situation over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in the Island Nation and was taking all steps for their safety", the minister of state in PMO he told reporters.
Responding to a query, Narayanasamy said the Centre would not take any hasty decisions on the Sri Lankan issue, adding, "steps based on the resolution passed at the Human Rights Council Meet (in Geneva) will be taken".
12:30 Sarabjit's lawyer receives death threat from Taliban:
The lawyer of Sarabjit Singh, who is on death row in a Pakistani prison, today said he had received a death threat from the Taliban for pursuing the case of the Indian national.
Awais Shiekh said a letter written by an anonymous activist of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had warned his wife to stop her husband from pursuing the case of Sarabjit.
He said the letter read: "I belong to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and I am a resident of Faisalabad district (150 km from Lahore). I want to tell you that your husband is representing the case of Sarabjit Singh, who is responsible of killing my whole family in a bomb blast.
"Your husband is addressing a press conference about Sarabjit Singh. If this is held, it would be the last day of your husband and every single member of your family will be killed. You will find dead bodies of your children by tomorrow morning.
12:26 Modi in focus as BJP national council meet begins:
Zee News reports: Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Saturday lauded Gujarat's Narendra Modi as the most popular chief minister. Speaking at the party's national council meet, Singh hailed Modi as the first CM belonging to the party, who has registered three consecutive victories.
All countries are talking about Modi's developmental model, said Singh, who also asked party workers to give the Gujarat CM a standing ovation. The BJP president also added that other chief ministers belonging to the party are also doing good job in the respective states.
12:17 Woman MP criticises Shinde for naming rape victims:
All India Democratic Women's Association Vice President and Rajya Sabha member T N Seema today criticised Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his 'insensitivity' in naming the minor victims of Bhandara rape case in Maharashtra.
Shinde violated the Section 228A of the IPC by revealing the names of the three rape victims during a debate in the Upper House yesterday, she said in a statement here.
"The Bhandara rape and murder of three sisters, within less than two months after the Delhi gang rape, highlights the widespread nature of crimes against women in the country and to top it all Home Minister Shinde disclosed the names of rape victims forgetting Section 228A of the IPC," she said.
11:56 Moderate tremor rocks some NE states:
An earthquake of moderate intensity shook Meghalaya, Assam and some other north-east states this morning.
The quake, which had a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale, had its epi-centre 10 km underneath the earth's crust along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Karimganj area of Assam, officials at the Regional Seismological Centre here said.
The officials said the quake was of "moderate" intensity which lasted for a few seconds only around 7 am and all major towns in the region felt the tremor. The tremor was also felt in Itanagar, Guwahati, Agartala besides Kohima and Imphal, they said.
There was no casualty in the tremor which caused minor cracks in some buildings in the state capital.
11:53 Chidambaram's granddaughter's day out in Parliament: Aditi Nalini Chidambaram
writes: At 10 am, February 28, began the biggest thrill of my life (well, for a 12-year old anyway!). It was time for Union Budget 2013-14.
My grandfather, Mr P Chidambaram, was presenting it. For the past month, the entire family had caught the 'Budget Fever,' as I would like to call it. My grandfather was working so hard that we hardly saw him. I was so excited, because for me the Budget meant taking off a few days from school and holidaying in Delhi (My family and I live in Chennai).
Read the full article here
11:46 US to move resolution on Lanka during UNHRC:
The US set to move a new resolution against Sri Lanka at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council for its alleged war crimes, asking the country to promote reconciliation and accountability.
"The resolution will ask the Government of Sri Lanka to follow through on its own commitments to its people, including implementing the constructive recommendations from the report by Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters yesterday.
The US had introduced a similar resolution last year. "It will build on the 2012 resolution, which called on Sri Lanka to do more to promote reconciliation and accountability," he said.
11:45 8 killed in China mine blast:
Eight miners have been killed in a colliery blast in southwest China. The accident happened yesterday at the Liangshuigou Coal Mine in Muzhuo township of Zhenxiong county, according to the county's publicity bureau.
An initial probe has indicated a gas blast in the mine. Operation of the coal mine has not resumed after the Spring Festival, but the mine manager managed 20 miners to work in the mine without any safety check.
Twelve of them had been lifted out of the mine before the accident. The manager of the colliery has been in police custody.
11:44 Delhi school rape: Police quiz more teachers: IBNLive
reports: The police claim to have recovered vital clues saying they are close to a breakthrough and have ruled out the role of an outsider in connection with the rape of a seven-year-old girl inside an MCD school in Mangolpuri on Friday.
Teachers including 13 female and two male have been called in for questioning again on Saturday morning. Four people including two teachers were questioned on Friday. Meanwhile, the rape survivor has been discharged from the hospital.
Dr Puneeta Mahajan, medical Superintendent, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital said, "The patient was discharged in a stable condition yesterday at 4 pm. Prima facie medical tests confirmed sexual assault. We are awaiting final reports."
11:38 Moderate quake jolts India-Bangladesh border:
An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, jolted India-Bangladesh border here today.
The quake, which struck at 07:01 am today, was measured 5.2 on the Richter scale, the India Meteorological Department said. The epicentre of the quake was located at 24.8 degrees north on the latitude and 92.2 degrees east on the longitude.
No loss of life or property was reported from anywhere in the region.
03:47 Venezuela rejects 'absurd' rumors over Chavez death:
Senior aides and relatives of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez countered on Friday a crescendo of rumors that the socialist president may be dead from cancer, saying he was still battling for his life.
"There he is, continuing his fight, his battle, and we are sure of victory!" his older brother Adan Chavez, the governor of Barinas state, told cheering supporters.
Speculation about Chavez, 58, hit fever pitch this week, fed in part by assertions from Panama's former ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Guillermo Cochez, that the Venezuelan leader had died.
03:47 Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will raise serious concerns: US:
The USD 7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, if finalised, would raise serious concerns under America's Iran Sanctions Act, the United States warned today. "If a deal were finalised for the proposed Pakistan-Iran pipeline, it would raise serious concerns under the Iran Sanctions Act... We have made that absolutely clear," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday returned to his country after a two-day visit to Iran for finalising the pipeline deal and sorting out financing and technical issues. "Of course, Washington will look at it," Ventrell said in response to a question on the decision of Pakistan to go ahead with the project despite objections from the United States.
03:46 Al-Qaeda's top leader in Mali killed in fighting:
Al-Qaeda's top commander in Mali has been killed, Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno said today, in what would be one of the most significant blows to the rebels in the seven-week French-led intervention against Islamist insurgents.
Several newspapers in Abou Zeid's native Algeria had reported his death and Washington had described the reports as "very credible". Deby said Abou Zeid, the Mali-based operative in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was killed in deadly fighting between Chadian troops and Islamist fighters on February 22.
03:46 Pakistan army probes Kashmir 'torture' death:
The Pakistani army is investigating the alleged torture of a youth that led to his death last week in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, an official has said. Mohammed Ali Murtaza's family have accused the army of torture and claim the 26-year-old died while in its custody after going missing on February 17 near the Line of Control.
The Pakistani army has launched an inquiry to investigate the death but a senior military official, who requested anonymity, denied any army involvement in the incident. "Murtaza went missing when he left his home in Kotli city to see his cousin in a village of Khoi Ratta sector at the Line of Control (LoC) with India," Muhammad Amjad Chaudhry, a relative, told AFP.
02:02 Vatican takes first steps running pope-less church:
The Vatican took the first steps of governing a Catholic Church without a pope on Friday, making some ceremonial and practical moves to formalise the end of one pontificate and prepare for the conclave to start the next.
Benedict XVI's 8 p.m. resignation Thursday opened what is known as the "sede vacante" or "vacant see" - the transition period between papacies when a few key Vatican officials take charge of running the church.
01:24 Cannot discriminate against same sex couples: Obama:
US President Barack Obama today said that same sex couple need to be treated equal and they cannot be discriminated when it comes to marriage, a day after his administration approached the US Supreme Court to strike down a California law in this regard.
"As everybody here knows, last year, upon a long period of reflection, I concluded that we cannot discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to marriage, that the basic principle that America is founded on, the idea that we're all created equal, applies to everybody, regardless of sexual orientation as well as race or gender or religion or ethnicity," Obama told White House reporters.
01:06 Malaysian territorial standoff turns bloody:
A standoff turned bloody Friday between Malaysian security forces and Filipino followers of a Muslim clan leader claiming the Malaysian state of Sabah as part of the old Sultanate of Sulu.
Twelve Filipinos were killed as well as two Malaysian police officers.Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the Filipino group shouldn't test his resolve to protect the sovereignty of his country.
00:28 Sequester to cut growth rate, cost 75,000 jobs: Obama:
US President Barack Obama today warned that sequester or automatic spending cuts that comes into effect tonight would reduce America's growth rate by one-half of one per cent and cost about 75,000 jobs.
"Economists are estimating that as a consequence of the sequester, we could see growth cut by over one-half of 1 per cent. It will cost about 750,000 jobs at a time when we should be growing jobs more quickly," Obama told White House reporters during a news conference.
00:27 US steps up aid, but Syrias rebels want arms:
It should come as no surprise that Syria's rebels were underwhelmed by Thursday's U.S. pledge of $60 million in direct aid: Although the announcement by Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome marked Washington's first direct assistance to the Western backed opposition coalition and reportedly may be accompanied by non-lethal equipment such as body armor and night-vision gear for rebel forces, the pledges fell short of the rebels' principal demand: weapons.