23:48 Pakistani terrorist arrested for CRPF camp attack :
A Pakistani terrorist, suspected to be involved in the suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp in Srinagar, has been arrested from Chattabal area in the city.
On a tip off about presence of two terrorists in Chattabal, the special operation group cordoned off the area and nabbed Abu Talib, a resident of Multan, sources said.
The spot where he was picked up from is a little over a km from Bemina area where the terrorists struck on Wednesday, leaving five troopers dead and seven others injured.
The Pakistani terrorist opened fire on the SOG personnel with a pistol, but he was overpowered and arrested, the sources said.
The terrorist told police that he is a resident of Multan in Pakistan and was operating under the alias of Abu Talib, they said.
Sources said the breakthrough was achieved when the intelligence agencies traced a call made by the terrorist to his handlers in Pakistan soon after the attack on Wednesday.
Two suspected Pakistani terrorists, disguised as cricketers had on Wednesday stormed a CRPF camp in Srinagar in a 'fidayeen' (suicide) attack, the first major strike in the city in three years.
23:31 Lowering age for sex will cause more rapes: Ramdev:
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev today said the Centre's decision to reduce the age for consensual sex from 18 to 16 years would affect the social order and increase rape cases in the country.
Sex at 16 was not right for a person either physically or psychologically, Ramdev said while talking to reporters at Panchkuia near here.
"If this decision (to lower age of consensual sex) is taken, rape cases will increase," he said.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which provides for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape, was today cleared by the Union Cabinet. It also lowers the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16 years.
Ramdev alleged that the Bill aimed to benefit a "particular religion" and "break the Hindu society".
Instead of tackling issues such as corruption and inflation, the UPA government was busy deciding the age for consensual sex, he said.
22:50 NIA files FIRs in Hyderabad twin blasts case:
The Hyderabad branch of National Investigation Agency on Thursday lodged two first information reports in connection with the February 21 twin blasts.
The development follows Centre's direction for hand-over of the case to NIA, sources said, adding that NIA, which had already started its probe, would continue it.
The FIRs (one for each blast) were registered under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and other Acts.
"The CD (crime diary) files pertaining to the case, which was so far being probed by the SIT of Andhra Pradesh police, will also be handed over to the NIA," a senior police officer told PTI.
Two powerful Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) exploded near Konark and Venkatadiri theatres in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad on the evening of February 21, claiming 17 lives and injuring over 100.
NIA has questioned two suspected IM operatives, namely, Syed Maqbool and Imran Khan. Yesterday court granted it custody of another suspected IM operative, Obaid-ur-Rehman.
22:44 UPSC exam: Modi alleges anti-Gujarati bias:
Describing the recent changes in UPSC exam pattern as "a language bias" against Gujarati, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today demanded that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh should intervene and reverse the changes.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Modi opposed the decision to scrap the regional languages.
"The decision would ruin the dreams of thousands of candidates from Gujarat," he said, seeking that PM take a remedial step.
"A candidate will not be able to write the essay in Gujarati or in any other language. He has to now compulsorily write it in English or Hindi," Modi said.
If a candidate has graduated in any of the approved regional languages, then he should be able to write all the papers (except Section-2 of Paper-1 on English comprehension and precis) in that language, Modi said.
22:02 Pak resolution on Guru 'highly improper' India:
India today reacted sharply to the resolution passed by Pakistan Parliament to condemn the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru, saying it was 'highly improper' with Foreign Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid tersely asking Islamabad not to dabble in internal matters of this country.
"They should address matters of their own country. They should let us address the matters of our country," Khurshid told reporters when asked about the resolution.
Trying to fish in troubled waters, Pakistan's National Assembly today passed a resolution condemning the hanging of Parliament attack convict Guru and demanded the return of his body to his family.
21:13 Kerala police to quiz Odisha ex-DGP:
A Kerala police team will arrive here tomorrow to question former Odisha DGP B B Mahanti, whose son Bittihotra jumped parole in 2006 in Rajasthan for raping a German tourist in Alwar.
The Kerala police team would also verify the educational documents of bank probationary officer Raghav Rajan, who has denied that he was Bittihotra, and who was arrested on March 8 from Alwar in that state for producing fake academic certificates.
Rajan possessed academic certificates which were issued by educational institutes in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Sources said, the Kerala police team would verify the documents with the Stewart School here and at KIIT University in Bhubaneswar.
20:14 1984 riots eyewitness' statement trustworthy: CBI:
CBI today told a Delhi court that the complainant in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and five others are facing trial is an "eyewitness" to the killings and her statement is "trustworthy".
Advancing final arguments before District Judge J R Aryan, senior advocate R S Cheema, appearing for CBI, said complainant Jagdish Kaur had "seen the killings in front of her and she has neither changed her stand nor tried to exaggerate the facts in the court". Kaur had lost her husband, a young son and three brothers during the riots.
19:49 Police kill New York state gun-rampage suspect:
BBC: Police in New York State say they have killed a gunman who was holed up in a building, a day after a shooting spree that left four people dead. Kurt Myers killed a police dog as officers prepared to storm his hideout, before he himself was shot dead. He had been cornered by police in the village of Herkimer, 225 miles north of New York City, since Wednesday.
Myers, 64, had killed two people at a local barber shop and two more in a car wash, police say. No officers were injured as police assaulted the building at 08:00 local time (12:00 GMT) on Thursday, trooper Jack Keller told the Associated Press.
19:22 Ponty shootout: 7 accused sent to judicial custody:
A Delhi court today remanded in judicial custody seven accused persons who had surrendered before the court earlier this month after being listed in a charge sheet for their alleged roles in the killings of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep.
After they were produced before the court on expiry of their seven days' police remand, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Raj Kumar Tripathi sent them to judicial custody till March 28.
Satnam Singh, Balkar Singh, Baaj Singh, Pargat Singh, Kulbir Singh, Bakshish Singh and Hardayal Singh were named in the charge sheet along with sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief S S Namdhari and 13 others for the November 17 killings of Ponty and Hardeep in a farm house in New Delhi.
After absconding for over three months, the seven accused, all from Namdhari's group, surrendered on March 7. The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against them and two others, who still remain untraceable.
19:05 Pak Parl passes resolution condemning Guru's death:
Pakistan's Parliament today provoked India again by passing a resolution condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, the mastermind behind the December 13, 2001 terror strike on the Indian Parliament, and demanded the return of his body to his family. This happens two days before it completes its five-year term, the Pakistan National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
19:04 Lord Ahmed suspended by Labour party for anti-Jewish remarks:
Pakistan-born Lord Nazir Ahmed, one of Labour's most prominent Muslim peers in the UK, was suspended by the party today for allegedly making anti-Jewish remarks.
The peer had been jailed for dangerous driving back in 2009 and he is believed to have blamed his imprisonment on a "Jewish conspiracy". "The Labour Party deplores and does not tolerate any sort of racism or anti-Semitism.
Following reports in The Times today we are suspending Lord Ahmed pending an investigation," a Labour Party said.
Lord Ahmed, 55, who became Britain's first Muslim life peer in 1998, is said to have made the comments in a TV interview during a visit to Pakistan in April last year. He allegedly told an Urdu-language broadcast that the judge who jailed him for 12 weeks was appointed to the High Court after helping a "Jewish colleague" of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair during an important case and was hand-picked to hear his case.
18:57 Marines row: Italian envoy heads to South Block:
Who will brink first? Italian envoy Daniele Mancini is on his way to South Block to meet MEA officials.
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Italian ambassador and restrained him from leaving the country without its permission, taking exception to Italian government's refusal to send back marines charged with the killing of two fishermen.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also issued notice to the two marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, who were allowed by the apex court to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini had given an assurance to send them back.
Relations with Italy are also being reviewed by India.
18:40 Key points of the Anti-rape Bill:
The amendments in the Bill proposes to replace the offence of rape with sexual assault
which has a wider definition.
- Age of consent lowered from 18 to 16 years
- Sustained stalking is a non-bailable offence. A first offence of voyeurism is a bailable offence.
- Repeat offences of voyeurism, inappropriate touch, gesture and remarks are non-bailable offences.
- The term 'rape' in the bill has been retained and treated as gender-specific, instead of the proposal to make it gender-neutral.
-- Strong action against those filing false complaints were dropped since existing laws were adequate for dealing with such cases and it was only a matter of enforcing them.
-- Offences such as sodomy can be addressed by the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
- Protection of the victim by penalising policemen who fail to register FIRs in cases relating to sexual offences
Victims of sexual offence
be provided with medical and legal assistance.
The bill specifies the same punishment for penetrative and nonpenetrative sexual assault.--
The bill and the Ordinance seek increase in the punishment for sexual assault upon a judicially separated wife.
18:33 Cabinet clears final draft of Anti-rape Bill :
Cabinet clears the final draft of the Anti-rape Bill.
The new bill means that the age of consent is now 16 years and the definition of crime against women was changed to rape. A Group of Ministers yesterday ironed out the differences over the draft of anti-rape law.
This also means that offences like voyeurism, stalking and public disrobing of a woman have been include in the new draft. Voyeurism is proposed to be made a bailable offence, while stalking and disrobing non-bailable offences.
18:07 Bickering BJP cancels Modi rally in Mumbai :
The political rivalry between two party stalwarts Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde has forced the BJP high command to cancel Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's rally to be held on March 17 in Mumbai.
However, the party leaders are citing the drought as a reason behind it.Newly appointed BJP chief Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi were to be felicitated at a function on March 17 in Mumbai.
The Gujarat voters in Mumbai had decided to facilitate Modi for retaining the crown for third time in the state. -- Jagran Post
18:03 CBDT begins probe on bank money-laundering sting:
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) begins its probe on the money laundering charges on Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank. Cobrapost's pan-India undercover investigation spanning several months,
" unearths a vast, nation-wide money laundering racket being run by HDFC
Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. The brazen criminal activity by these
banks is channelizing vast amounts of black money into the regular
banking system as laundered white money. Our investigation, conducted
across dozens and dozens of branches of these banks and their insurance
affiliates, across all five zones of the country, revealed these
17:38 India reacts to CRPF attack: NO group visas for Pak:
The Home Ministry today has said that India will NOT start group tourist visa facility for Pakistani nationals from tomorrow as scheduled. This comes in the aftermath of the attack on the CRPF camp at Bemina in Srinagar where militants from Pakistan killed five jawans and injured seven.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde today told Parliament that the attack on
the CRPF camp in Srinagar yesterday points to a Pak hand saying the terrorists wore civilian clothes
and their diaries showed telephone numbers from Pakistan. They were also
carrying items manufactured at a Karachi factory.
17:34 Marines standoff: India's ties with Italy being reviewed, MEA:
Relations with Italy are being reviewed by India following the standoff over the issue of Italian marines, it was officially stated in New Delhi today.
A spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said the "entire expanse of our interaction" with Italy was being reviewed and all aspects carefully examined following Italy's refusal to send back two accused Italian marines to face trial in the country for homicide.
"Entire expanse of our interaction with Italy is being reviewed, every aspect is being examined carefully and appropriate decision taken after that," the spokesman told reporters.
Sources said that India's Ambassador-designate to Italy Basant Kumar Gupta, who was scheduled to leave for Rome romorrow, is not proceeding there now.
The sources said that a decision on whether to expel the Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini and on whether Gupta should take up the posting would also be taken after the review.
Answering a question on the Supreme Court order restraining Mancini from leaving the country, the spokesman said that no aspect of Vienna Convention, which governs diplomatic relations between countries, was violated by the apex court notice to the envoy. The spokesman also said the agreement should be implemented and abided by Italy.
17:26 India hails pro-poor pope:
The election of the first non-European pope for over 1,200 years has been welcomed in India by Catholics, leaders of other faiths and political parties.Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected Wednesday after five ballots among 115 cardinals in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Read
17:24 Who Is Google Androids Sundar Pichai?:
The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur has another name to boast about: Sundar Pichai. Pichai, an alumnus of the institute roughly 80 miles west of Kolkata, has just been appointed head of Google Inc.'s Android business. Android is the most widely used smartphone operating system in the world. Read
17:23 Cern physicists say they have found a Higgs boson:
Physicists say they are now confident they have discovered a long-sought subatomic particle known as a Higgs boson.The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, says a look at all the data from 2012 shows that what they found last year was a version of what is popularly referred to as the "God particle." Read
17:20 Why World Bank prez went to UP:
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim spent a significant chunk of his three-day trip in India in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.India has the highest number of poor people in world: about 400 million people, or over 30% of its 1.24 billion people, according to World Bank data. Over half of U.P.'s population of 200 million lives on less than $1.25 a day. Read
17:17 Musharraf: I had crossed LoC in 1999:
Barkha Dutt tweets: When I ask Musharraf whether he came 11 kms inside India in March, 1999, he says "Why does it interest you? LOC not border; its violable. Musharraf tells me in an interview that he "wont deny" reports that he spent a night inside Indian territory just ahead of the Kargil War. Stunning audacity from Musharraf on reports of his crossing the LOC to spend a night in India as Pakistan's Army Chief.
Watch the interview on NDTV at 10 pm
17:03 CRPF rushing to donate blood, pelted with stones:
Jammu and Kashmir government today said the CRPF men rushing for blood donation to their injured colleagues came under attack by the group of stone pelters and opened fire in which one youth was killed.
"Men of 73 BN of CRPF were on way to SKIMS to donate blood for the CRPF personnel, who had been injured in the Bemina attack earlier in the day," Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Mir Saifullah today informed the Legislative Assembly today.
"They were reportedly attacked by an alleged group of stone pelters at Saidpora Eidgah, Srinagar, the minister said. The CRPF men retaliated and opened the fire in which 35-year-old Altaf Ahmad Mir was killed, he said.
16:37 Tough, but love made it easy: Sonia on being Cong prez:
Commencing her 16th year as Congress President, Sonia Gandhi today said being at the helm was "not an easy task" and gave credit to the party's rank in helping her accomplish the job.
"It was not not an easy task. But it was made possible due to your support and the love and affection of the grass root and ordinary workers which made the task easier and the credit goes to them", the 66-year-old Gandhi told the leaders.
Gandhi is currently in the fourth term of the Presidentship which expires in 2015. Changes have been made in the party constitution that now mandates organisational polls after five years instead of three years earlier.
She has created history by becoming the longest serving chief of the 127-year-old organisation. AICC leaders said that some PCC Chiefs had sought permission for celebrating the occasion in a big way, but Gandhi advised them against it in view of drought situation in some parts of the country.
16:33 Has Padma Lakshmi finally found love again with Chatwal?:
Padma Lakshmi's four-month-old relationship with high-flying hotelier Vikram Chatwal appears to be blossoming swiftly.It has been 18 months since the 42-year-old model and Top Chef host's ex-boyfriend Theodore 'Teddy' Forstmann died of cancer, and now it seems like she is finally able to move on.
16:22 Are India and Italy on a Collision Course?:
A serious diplomatic incident appears to be brewing between India and Italy, at least as seen from this side of the Arabian Sea.The Italian government said this week that it would not send two marines back to India to face a murder trial. Read
16:17 Support for Srinagar militants mixes with contempt on Twitter:
As news broke about the attack on a police camp near a school in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning, not surprisingly it spread quickly on Twitter.
Read this: This was about to happen . #Peace will only come when there will be no occupying force. #Kashmir #Bemina#Fidayeen #Azadi #AfzalGuru.More
16:04 Khurshid tells Sushma: Pop pills to improve memory:
Sushma Swaraj's bid to link the terror attack in Srinagar with the lunch hosted in Jaipur to Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf today irked External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid who advised the Leader of Opposition to take tablets to improve her memory.
Responding to a question on Swaraj's remarks in the House, Khurshid recalled that the summit between then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then Pakistani Military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Agra in 2001, in the backdrop of Kargil war, had failed.
"I think that there are tablets which you can get for improving your memory. They should buy enough of those tablets to improve their memory," Khurshid told reporters outside Parliament House when asked about the senior BJP leader's charge.
Criticising the government for failing to check terror strikes in the country, Swaraj said in Lok Sabha,"The External Affairs Minister treats Pakistani Prime Minister to a sumptuous lunch when he comes to Ajmer Sharif and just four days later, this terror attack happens. ... We should unite and challenge Pakistan."
16:00 TN Govt announces cash relief to family of deceased CRPF jawan:
The Tamil Nadu government today announced a cash relief of Rs five lakh to the family of a CRPF jawan, who was killed in a suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa condoled the death of Perumal, who hails from Thummanayakkanpatti in Madurai district. In a statement here, she expressed grief over the yesterday's incident and sympathised with the family members of the martyred soldier.
15:41 Rajiv Gandhi's killer gets a gold medal in jail :
Death row convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case Perarivalan has won a gold medal in one of the Prison Department-conducted educational and vocational training programmes. Perarivalan, lodged in Vellore Central Prision, has come first and "bagged the gold medal" in Diploma in Desk Top Publishing Operator course, one of the training programmes conducted in association with the Mahatma Gandhi Community College and the Tamil Nadu Open university, a Prison Department release said today.
Every dawn scares me, says Perarivalans mother
15:39 BJP not an alternative to Congress: Prakash Karat:
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat today dismissed that BJP is an alternative to Congress and said that the country needs a new option, which will be formed when like-minded parties come together.
"BJP was never an alternate to Congress. The political parties which believe in similar policies as ours should come together and struggle. Our country needs a new option," Karat said.
Karat ruled out the formation of a Third Front before elections and said that alliance with like-minded parties wouldn't form a front but it will give option to the people other than Congress and BJP.
15:29 Dalai Lama '@DalaiLama: His Holiness the Dalai Lama congratulates the new Pope
15:18 The Apparatus:
Laying bare the State's terrifying impunity in Kashmir. Read
the report on the Caravan.
15:16 After CRPF anger, Omar rushes to pay tribute :
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah rushed to the airport to pay homage to the CRPF martyrs after a telling absence in the state assembly. The CRPF jawans had earlier expressed anger that no government official were present at the funeral.
There was more rage than grief as the CRPF today paid tribute in
Srinagar to five of its jawans who were killed in a suicide attack by
two terrorists in the Jammu and Kashmir capital on Wednesday morning.
a stone-faced ceremonial tribute, the jawans spoke out asking angrily
why no political leader, including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had
attended the ceremony to honour the soldiers who died yesterday.
is the Chief Minister? When a civilian dies everyone attends," said a
jawan, bitter also about what he called an unequal battle that they
fight against militancy while policing the valley. "We were unarmed. We
cannot fight terrorists with lathis," the jawan said. -- NDTV
15:12 High drama in Parliament as Sushma Swaraj holds sway:
The Opposition today accused the government of failing to check terror strikes in the country, including yesterday's attack in Srinagar in which five CRPF personnel were killed.
"The External Affairs Minister treats Pakistani Prime Minister to a sumptuous lunch when he comes to Ajmer Sharif and just four days later, this terror attack happens. ... We should unite and challenge Pakistan," Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour.
"I salute the Diwan of Ajmer Sharif (who refused to welcome the visiting Pakistani Premier last week). He did what the government could not do," Swaraj said, seeking a response from the government on the Srinagar terror strike.
She lamented that "the front row of the treasury bench was empty when the House was condoling the death of the CRPF personnel earlier today. Neither the Leader of the House (Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde), nor senior ministers or the UPA Chairperson (Sonia Gandhi) were present when the Speaker was making the obituary reference. It is a sad situation." Swaraj said it was "very shameful" that every other day Pakistan was attacking Indian soldiers, including beheading one of them recently, and "there is no reaction."
"We got some assurance when the visa on arrival (to Pakistanis) was stopped and the Prime Minister made a statement that business as usual will not do", but the attacks happened again, she said. Heated exchanges took place between members of National Conference (NC) and the BJP, when Swaraj said, "These attacks are occurring when there is a demand for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)."
As soon as Swaraj spoke of AFSPA, NC members Sharifuddin Shariq and Mirza Mehboob Beg were on their feet shouting that the law, which gave stringent powers to the armed forces, should be withdrawn, prompting BJP members to rise and shout back.
15:04 Prince Charles takes private Arabic lessons:
He has long been fascinated by the culture and art of the Middle East, and now the Prince of Wales is taking his interest to a new level by having lessons in Arabic, it emerged today. Read
Queen Victoria took lessons from an Indian retainer.
14:52 Rs 3 lakh crore: That's the remittances India got in 2012:
India received USD 70 billion in remittances in the year 2012, Government told Rajya Sabha today. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi gave the
figure quoting a World Bank report.
He was replying to a question on the issue. India had received over USD 66.13 billion in remittances in the year 2011-12 while in 2010-11, the amount was USD 55.62 billion.
The remittances to the country through private transfer of funds have been on the rise in the last few years. India received USD 53.63 billion in 2009-10 while in 2008-09, the amount was USD 46.9 billion.
14:48 Shinde in a stupor? Reads terror statement twice:
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today committed yet another faux pas in Lok Sabha by reading out twice a part of his statement on the terrorist attack in Srinagar.
Members were agitated and even Shinde's ministerial colleagues were looking in disbelief as the Home Minister started reading the statement for the second time.
Several BJP members stood up to point out to Speaker Meira Kumar that the statement was being read again.
Unmindful of this, Shinde went on and read out almost half of the five-paragraph statement.
Finally, he stopped only after a Lok Sabha official went up to him to apparently say that he has already read it out and was repeating it.
A few weeks ago, Shinde had committed a gaffe in Rajya Sabha when he read out a statement naming the three girls who were raped and killed in Bhandara district of Maharashtra.
As per Supreme Court guidelines, rape victims cannot be named. Prior to that, he had referred to Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud -Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the main accused Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, as 'Shri' and 'Mr' in a statement made on the visit of Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
14:37 Pope Francis stops for prayer at Rome basilica:
Pope Francis stopped into a Rome Basilica today for private prayer on his first full day as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church following his historic election.
The 76-year-old Argentine pope spent about half an hour at Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome's "big four" basilicas.
He was accompanied by around a dozen people including Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, who is both head of the papal household and the personal secretary of Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI.
Yesterday Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, called for "fraternity" among the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
14:31 More bad news for CRPF: 3000 jawans will stay put in J-K:
The Central government may temporarily stay its plan of pulling back about 3,000 CRPF personnel from Kashmir Valley in view of a latest terror strike in Srinagar. Earlier, the government here has decided to call back three battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which are engaged in maintaining law and order in militancy-hit Kashmir Valley, by this month end in order to deploy them in naxal affected areas.
Sources said that it has been decided not to withdraw security forces from the Valley in view of yesterday's terror strike there, which killed five CRPF jawans. CRPF has deployed about 65 battalions (65,000 personnel) in the valley.
Really nice cartoon on the Telegraph, UK, on the new pope. Have a look.
The Planning Commission of India has asked citizens whether the Public Distribution System be Universalized again. Cast your vote here.
14:11 Angry Sushma tells govt: Don't challenge BJP, challenge Pak:
Raising the issue of terror attack in the CRPF camp in Srinagar,
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj on Thursday accused
the government of not being concerned about CRPF jawans losing their
lives in attacks by militants sponsored by Pakistan.
top leaders of the government not concerned about terrorism? " she asked
and said: "Don''t challenge BJP, instead, let us unite and ''challenge
"We should not challenge each other. We should be challenging Pakistan in one voice," she said.
It is sad that on a terror attack that the Parliament should seriously
discuss, the members are challenging each other," she added.
further asked the government to explain reports that there were
intelligence inputs about the attack. "Why were the jawans not saved
despite that?" she asked.
She also criticized External Affairs
Minister Salman Khurshid, who was in the House, for lunching recently
with Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf when he visited the
Ajmer Dargah or shrine near Jaipur last weekend.
Secretary R.K. Singh on Wednesday said the terrorists who posed as
cricketers and attacked the CRPF camp in Srinagar were from Pakistan.
13:57 Petrol price may come down by Re 1, diesel may cost more:
The price of petrol is likely to come down by around Re 1 per litre, sources told NDTV Profit today, while diesel may become dearer by 50 paise.
A strong rupee, falling international gasoline prices and softening of the Indian crude basket may lead to the downward revision, they added, while the hike in diesel prices would be in line with the January decision to raise prices in small dozes every month till all of the Rs. 11-per-litre losses are eliminated.
A final decision on this will be taken by oil marketing companies tomorrow. -- NDTV
13:54 CRPF: Why doesn't Omar pay tribute when jawans die?:
There was more rage than grief as the CRPF today paid tribute in Srinagar to five of its jawans who were killed in a suicide attack by two terrorists in the Jammu and Kashmir capital on Wednesday morning.
After a stone-faced ceremonial tribute, the jawans spoke out asking angrily why no political leader, including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had attended the ceremony to honour the soldiers who died yesterday.
"Where is the Chief Minister? When a civilian dies everyone attends," said a jawan, bitter also about what he called an unequal battle that they fight against militancy while policing the valley. "We were unarmed. We cannot fight terrorists with lathis," the jawan said. More
13:47 Bank suspends Raghav Rajan aka Biiti Mohanty:
In other news, the State Bank of Travancore has suspended Raghav Rajan, the probationary officer working with them and said to be Bitti Mohanty, convicted in the 2006 German woman rape case and now in police custody seven years after he jumped parole.
Raghav Rajan has been suspended on the ground that he was under police custody for more than 48 hours, a bank spokesman said today, adding that, police have not yet informed the bank that Rajan was Bitti.
After an inquiry, the bank's next course of action would be his dismissal without paying any benefits, the spokesman said.
Son of former Odisha DGP B B Mohanty, Bitti was traced and found working in a public sector bank at Kannur for the last three years impersonating as 'Raghav Raja' from Andhra Pradesh.
13:36 Electric atmosphere as new Pope was announced :
There was elation on a rain-strewn St Peter's Square as white smoke billowed from the rusty chimney of the Sistine Chapel.Brollies bounced and flags swayed as the basilica bells rang out.The crowd swelled as Rome converged on the square, priests and pilgrims running to catch a glimpse of their new leader. Read
13:30 Is the new pope a liberal or a Stalinist of God?:
In the coming days, there's going to be quite a bit more parsing of the religious, social, and political views of the newly-named Pope Francis. That the new pope is a Jesuit, hails from South America, and has chosen the name Francis, may lead some to wonder if he'll be a bit more liberal than his docrtinaire predecessor Benedict XVI. Read
13:26 Advantages in choosing an older pope:
The selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the new pope, Francis, was largely unexpected by betting markets and Vatican experts, in part because of his advanced age. Cardinal Bergoglio, 76, is probably the ninth oldest of the 266 popes at the time of his election, accounting for some uncertainty because the age of many early popes remains unknown. Read
13:23 Pope by numbers: How Francis stacks up:
The 115 cardinal-electors arrived at their decision after two days of voting; it took five ballots until one candidate finally received the required two-thirds majority -- 77 of the 115 votes. Let's see where Francis fits into the papacy, statistically. Read
13:11 New pope to meet retired pope today:
A rush of stories on the Pope coming up: Pope Francis is to meet Benedict at the Papal retreat today. Latin America's first ever pontiff begins his first full day on the job with a visit to the retired Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo. Read
13:08 External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid says the government will comply with the Supreme Court order restraining the Italian Ambassador from leaving the country.
13:00 Statue in monumental waste row:
BJP's Venkaiah Naidu and Dr PJ Kurien who is in the chair, are having a heated argument in the RS. Naidu wants a discussion on the CRPF attack now, but Kurien says it will be discussed later.
In other stories: Mumbai's 'Statue of Liberty' threatens to get shackled in controversy again. The row over a 300-foot Shivaji statue in the Arabian Sea is likely to be re-ignited with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan saying today he had requested the Centre to examine a fresh site for the Rs 350-crore memorial.
But a legal battle looms.
Music director Vishal Dadlani, who had launched a campaign against the memorial when it was being pushed in 2008 saying it amounted to a waste of public money, said he would file a PIL. Read
12:53 BJP workers caned outside J-K assembly:
BJP workers are being lathi-charged outside the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Jammu. (The state assembly had moved to Jammu for the winter.) The BJP workers are protesting against the attack on the CRPF camp, demanding to know what action would be taken against Pakistan. What we also know is that the CRPF men were only armed with guns and not lathis.
In the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj wanted to know why the home minister wasn't present in the house when the house paid homage to the five martyred CRPF jawans. Shinde is now reading out the same statement in the Rajya Sabha.
12:45 Shinde in LS: Ultras had diaries with Pak numbers:
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde reads out a statement on the attack on the CRPF camp in Srinagar yesterday. Detailing how the attack happened Shinde points to a Pak hand saying the terrorists were civilian clothes and their diaries showed telephone numbers from Pakistan. They were also carrying items manufactured at a Karachi factory.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has asked state Director General of Police Ashok Prasad to conduct a detailed inquiry into the suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp and killing of a youth in alleged firing by security forces on Wednesday.
"The DGP, who is camping in Srinagar, will be making a detailed inquiry into the happenings," an official spokesman said after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
Five jawans of 73 battalion CRPF were killed and 10 other persons including four civilians were injured in a suicide attack by two militants on their camp in Bemina area of the city on Wednesday.
Pic: The CRPF camp in Bemina that was attacked yesterday.
12:37 Defiant Italy says marines don't face charges in India:
The Supreme Court may have restrained Italian ambassador to India
Daniele Mancini from leaving the country, but the Italians remain unfazed. Italian government sources speaking to CNN IBN says the two marines do not face any charges in India. All the charges were quashed. The Supreme Court had left the option to challenge the jurisdiction in the Special court, but India refused to take it. There has been a delay in setting up a special court of trial and India ignored the advice of the SC to settle matter with Italy.
A defiant Mancini, who had given an undertaking in Supreme Court assuring the return of the marines, said India can't look at a affidavit given in court in isolation .
12:21 CRPF jawans: Most of us are allowed to carry only lathis:
NDTV'S Nitin Gokhale tweets: Angry CRPF jawans in Srinagar point out that half of them are forced to carry only lathis post 2010 agitation.Only the back up team has guns.
Here's the context: Five Central Reserve Police Force troopers and two suicide attackers were among seven persons killed and nine others wounded in a fidayeen attack in the Bemina locality of Srinagar on Wednesday morning. Those injured included seven CRPF troopers and two civilians. More
12:15 The humble pope who took the bus:
Here's a quick read on the new pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected as the first Latin American Pope in history, taking the name of Pope Francis.Bergoglio, 76, reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialised in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next Pope. Read
12:11 BJP: India parties with Pak, they bomb us in return:
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy today made it clear that his party will not agree on the withdrawal of the armed forces special powers act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir. He further said, " BJP is concerned with the persistent demand of the removal of AFSPA, in no situation will the Bharatiya Janata Party will agree to the UPA government''''s demand."
Taking a dig at the UPA Government for hosting Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who came to Ajmer of a personal visit, Rudy said: "Our leaders were busy partying with the Pakistani dignitaries, hosting them for lunch. Pakistan responded by planning an attack on India. This needs an answer, and the BJP will stand with the government in the battle against terror, but we would like to know what was the outcome of the lunch?"
11:59 Argentine press reacts to Pope Francis's election:
Argentina, home to more than 30 million Catholics (out of a population of over 40 million), is now also home to the first pope from Latin America -- or from the Southern Hemisphere, for that matter. How is the Argentine press reacting to the historic election of Pope Francis I? Read
11:50 New Pope posts first tweet:
The Vatican authorities have send out the first tweet from the official account for Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who would be formally known as Pope Francis.
Tweet on the pope's official account @Pontifex read 'Habemus papam franciscum.'
According to CBS News, the Latin phrase means "we have a new pope [Francis]."
On Wednesday white smoke emerged from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at about 2 pm local time signifying that at least 77 cardinals agreed on a successor for Pope Benedict XVI.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Argentina, has been named the 266th pope.
Soon after it was made known that a new pope was elected, the official Twitter page of the pope was changed from "Sede Vacante", an expression to signify the papacy is currently vacant, to "Pontifex.'
11:47 Too early to cheer on HIV:
And another opinion piece on the Hindu: It is too early to celebrate the recent news of a breakthrough in the treatment of a baby infected with HIV. Despite the passage of a year after treatment for HIV was stopped and the viral load test returning negative results even at age 29 days, the Mississippi, U.S. baby cannot be described as being cured of HIV. Read
11:46 Kashmirs unsettled business:
Yesterday, militants attacked and killed five CRPF jawans in Bemina, Srinagar. This is what the Hindu has to say on the story: Wednesday's fidayeen attack in Srinagar is a reminder of the unfinished business India must attend to in Jammu and Kashmir.
Suicide fighters took advantage of the cover provided by students playing cricket in a public school to open fire at the adjoining camp of the Central Reserve Police Force. In the larger context of the State's unresolved political problems, the modus operandi of the terrorists or their choice of target is merely incidental. If it had not been Bemina, it would have been some other target. Read
11:39 'Money-laundering svcs offered to walk-in clients':
Here's more on what that press release from Cobrapost sayss:
--These money laundering practices are part of a standard set of procedures within these banks;
-- These money laundering services are being openly offered to even walk-in customers who wish to launder their illicit money;
-- A variety of options for laundering ill-gotten cash are being offered brazenly;
-- These money laundering services are being offered practically as a standard product across the country. This huge money-laundering racket being run by these banks has been captured by Cobrapost, on video-tape, running into hundreds of hours. The evidence is graphic, crystal-clear and clinching.
-- The investigation finds the banks and their managements systematically and deliberately violating several provisions of the Income Tax Act, FEMA, RBI regulations, KYC norms, the Banking Act and Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA) with utter disregard to consequences, driven by their desire to boost cheap deposits and thereby increasing their profits.
11:37 India stops Italian envoy from leaving India:
If you've just joined us... apart from the Cobrapost story on money laundering by major Indian banks, an update on the absconding Italian marines story.
The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained Italian ambassador to India Daniele Mancini from leaving the country, and asked him to appear before the court on Monday.
The apex court after an undertaking from the Italian Ambassador had allowed the two Italian naval guards -- Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre -- who were facing trial in India for killing two Kerala fishermen, to go home to vote in the national elections.
The marines were sent back to Italy on February 23, a day before the country's election, but the Italian Government on March 11 made it clear that they will not return back to India. On Thursday morning, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid speculation over India''s next move on the issue.
Daniele Mancini said on Wednesday that his government hoped to consensually solve the case of the Italian marines charged with murdering two Indian fishermen while on anti piracy duty.
The two sailors, part of a military security team protecting the tanker Enrica Lexie from pirates, were accused of shooting the two fishermen after mistaking them for pirates off Kerala in February last year. While talking to mediapersons in New Delhi, Mancini said that he was hopeful that both the governments would solve the problem in a consensual manner.
"In these very months and in the last few weeks and even in the last few days, we tried and we also put forward several proposals to the Indian authorities, and to solve this case by consensual means. This is what we still want to be doing," he said. Mancini was summoned on Tuesday by India''s foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai who had strongly expressed New Delhi's anger over Italian government''s decision.
11:29 As expected, Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon after uproar over arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka.
11:25 More than the issue of the Italian marines, the brazen attempt by private banks to subvert the Indian economy is something that hurts India to the core.
11:25 India's major banks running money laundering racket:
This is what the Cobrapost press release says on the money laundering...
"A Cobrapost pan-India undercover investigation spanning several months, unearths a vast, nation-wide money laundering racket being run by HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. The brazen criminal activity by these banks is channelizing vast amounts of black money into the regular banking system as laundered white money.Our investigation, conducted across dozens and dozens of branches of these banks and their insurance affiliates, across all five zones of the country, revealed these shocking facts.Here
are the details.
And yes, the Catholic world got a new pope last night. Here's the Telegraph on what the election of Pope Francis means for the Church. Read
11:17 SC restrains Italian envoy from leaving India:
Meanwhile, an update on the Italian job. The Supreme Court restrains Italian Ambassador from leaving the country after Italy refuses to send back two marines charged with killing Indian fishermen. The Supreme Court has also issued a notice to the Italian Ambassador and the two marines.
11:06 It's now up to the RBI to show some spine and crackdown on the banks.
11:06 Stocks of banks HDFC, Axis, ICICI plunge:
The sting operation is exposing Axis Bank too. The bank is shown helping convert black money into white. The fact that stocks of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank stocks have fallen proves that the market believes the Cobrapost story.
11:04 Pin-drop silence at ICICI Bank headquarters:
ICICI Bank top brass is watching the proceedings in a room in its headquarters amid pin-drop silence. The Delhi establishment is worried that some politician's name will be revealed. It is believed that the second installment may have sting footage showing how a politician is converting cash into legal hoarding with the help of ICICI Bank.
11:00 Money laundering: HDFC, ICICI banks exposed?:
HDFC Bank's hand in money laundering? Cobrapost allegedly exposed how the HDFC bank is involved in extensive money laundering. In a countrywide sting operation of HDFC branches Anirudh Bahal from Cobrapost has tried to prove the money of account holders is converted into black money.
K Venkateshwaran, a territory manager of HDFC Bank's Chennai branch, has been caught in the sting operation. The film shown at press conference by Cobrapost is an indication of how greedy bank managers can be easily captured.
Across India, HDFC bank managers say: Cash lao, aish karo!
The sting reveals how they convert black money into white and even allow Rs 50 lakh to be deposited as cash, thus clearly violating laws.
However, the bank is expected to come up with some defence.
The expose, which is the first of its kind, if true is the grim reality of India's parallel economy.
How private banks are helping black money holders is worth taking a look at. The sting shows that converting black money to white is a cakewalk in India.
C M Vasudev, HDFC Bank chairman, will now have to face questions on how the branch managers justify their actions to increase the deposit.
10:26 Hyderabad blasts: NIA detains four suspects from Bihar :
The National Investigation Agency today detained four accused from Munger in Bihar in connection with the Hyderabad blasts claimed at least 16 lives and injured several others.
The NIA officials arrived in Bihat following leads about one of the suspects arrested by the agency, whose SIM card was purchased from the city. The suspects are being questioned for vital leads in the case.
09:50 Xi Jinping named new President of China:
Xi Jinping was named president of China today after a vote at the nation's parliamentary meeting in Beijing, four months after he took charge of the ruling Communist Party.
"Now I announce comrade Xi Jinping is selected as president of the People's Republic of China," said Liu Yunshan, a top official of the ruling party who chaired the electoral session at the National People's Congress.
09:47 Curfew in Srinagar after man dies in police firing:
A curfew was today imposed in Srinagar district following the death of a youth in CRPF firing in Zoonimar area of the city.
"Curfew will be imposed in Srinagar district after midnight," District Magistrate Srinagar Baseer Ahmad Khan had told PTI.
A 22-year-old youth was killed yesterday when CRPF personnel allegedly opened fire after coming under attack by a group of stone pelters in the Zoonimar area.
09:23 Jesuit Pope a first for 'God's Marines':
In a world first, a Jesuit has been appointed Pope in a surprise, reports The Sydney Morning Herald
They are sometimes referred to as "God's Marines" or the church's "storm troopers" - a band of priests and missionaries who live sparse lives and are willing to accept religious orders anywhere in the world, sometimes living in extreme conditions, SMH reports.Read the full story here
08:49 Why new pope may be a Catholic nightmare:
Pope Francis may seem like a humble reformer, but he is the last thing the Vatican needs, reports Slate.
He is not known as a champion of any theological vision, traditional or modern. He is just two years younger than Pope Benedict was upon his election eight years ago. He has deep connections to Italy, but little experience with the workings of the Vatican offices, the report reads.Read the full story here
04:06 Why Pope Francis' name choice is truly historic:
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, the new pope, is breaking historic ground by choosing the name Francis.
Pope Francis chose his name in honour of St Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, said Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica.
"Cardinal Bergoglio had a special place in his heart and his ministry for the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice," Rosica said.
St Francis, one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, was known for connecting with fellow Christians, Rosica added.Click HERE to read more
02:27 Nepal to get a new Prime Minister on Thursday:
A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has endorsed the decision by Nepal's four major political parties to form an election government, paving the way for Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to be sworn-in as the country's new leader on Thursday.
Prime Minister Bhattarai later met President Ram Baran Yadav to inform him of the cabinet's decision.
The swearing-in ceremony of the new head of government Chief Justice Regmi will be held tomorrow morning, according to party sources.
Earlier, ending months of political deadlock, Nepal's four major political parties reached a deal to form an election government as thorny issues were resolved during a marathon meeting.
Top leaders of the parties signed an 11-point political consensus document to form a Chief Justice-led election government. This will be endorsed by the existing cabinet after which it will be taken to the President for approval.
This will be for the first time in Nepalese political history that a sitting Chief Justice is being named as the Head of the Government, sources said.
02:24 Some Chinese cyber attacks "state sponsored": Obama:
US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that some of the cyber-attacks emanating from China are state sponsored.
"Absolutely," Obama told the ABC news channel in an interview when asked "Some (cyber-attacks coming from China) are sponsored".
Obama's remarks come days after his top national security advisor, Tom Donilon and other government officials expressed concerns over cyber-attacks coming from China.
"This is why I've taken some very aggressive executive actions, but we need Congress to act. We've made it very clear to China and some other state actors that, you know, we expect them to follow international norms and abide by international rules. And we'll have some pretty tough talk with them. We already have," Obama said.
When asked about a recent statement by Chairman of the ouse Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, that the US is at war with China "because of their cyber espionage they're winning that war and their government and military can behind it," Obama said one always have to be careful about war analogies.
01:02 Let's begin journey of brotherhood: Pope Francis 1:
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio (Francis 1) says, "Let's begin this journey, bishop and people, journey of brotherhood, love and trust among us"
"Now I want to give a blessing. But I ask favour. Please ask God to bless me"
"Let's pray for whole world that there be brotherhood. I hope this journey of the church we begin today is fruitful for evangelization"
"In silence, ask God to bless me"
00:52 Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is the new Pope:
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The announcement was made by Cardinal Protodeacon Jean-Louis Pierre TauranHere's a brief sketch of the new Pope
Born: December 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Education: Studied at Theological Faculty of San Miguel. Received licentiate in philosophy.
Ordained for the Jesuits on December 13, 1969.
Languages: Besides his native Spanish, Bergoglio also speaks Italian and German.
00:42 Cardinal Protodeacon Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran has appeared to announce the name of the new pope.
00:41 Any moment now, the new Pope will come out onto that balcony to greet the crowds and to give his first 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing to the city of Rome and to the world