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March 15, 2013

23:13  ICICI sacks 18 staffers after money laundering expose:  Just In: ICICI Bank suspends 18 employees, pending inquiry into money laundering charges.

The decision follows an investigation by an independent journalist, who said on Thursday that he had video footage of the lenders' branch employees suggesting to an undercover reporter methods to launder money.
23:08  DMK threatens to pull out of UPA on Tamil issue:   Just In: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi warns of pulling out of Union Cabinet if India does not push for amendments in the US-backed resolution in UNHRC on Sri Lanka calling attention to the government's alleged violations of international human rights law.
22:32  Pakistan 'game' for peace with India:  
Responding India's cancellation of a bilateral hockey series and delays in implementing a new visa agreement, Pakistan today said sporting ties are a part of confidence building measures, which are required for peace between the between the two countries.

The Pakistan hockey team was scheduled to tour India in mid-April for five Test matches, followed by a return visit by India.

But India's foreign ministry refused to clear the series, a day after the Pakistan Parliament passed a resolution against Afzal Guru's execution. 

Reacting to the news, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said, "Pakistan believes that in the larger interest of maintaining peace between Pakistan and India, sustained and uninterrupted implementation of confidence-building process, including sports events, is required."

"Sports, cultural events and people-to-people contacts build trust and confidence between the two sides, he said. 

The Pakistan government remains fully committed to the peace process and composite dialogue with India, including enhanced people-to-people contacts and friendly exchanges, Chaudhry said.
22:28  India to have 225 billionaires by 2022: report:  
India, which is at the fifth spot in global ranking with 122 dollar-billionaires in 2012, is likely to see a whopping 84 per cent growth in this number with 225 billionaires by 2022, real estate consultancy Knight Frank has said in a report.

Asia's third-largest economy, with 122 dollar-billionaires last year, is expected to see an 84 per cent rise in this number to 225 by 2022, according to the firm's `Wealth Report 2013' released in Mumbai today.

"The number of high networth individuals (HNIs) in the country is expected to more than double over the next 10 years to 17,032 from the present 8,481, a growth of 101 per cent. While Mumbai will witness a growth of 137 per cent, Delhi will clip at around 120 per cent," it said. 

Mumbai, currently the seventh largest city in terms of HNIs with 2,105 individuals among the top 30 global cities, is likely to have 4,988 of them by 2022. Delhi, which is now ranked 11th with a total of 1,945 HNIs, is likely to have 4,278 super rich by 2022, the report added.
22:20  8,300 dead pigs flowed down Shanghai river this week:  
Shanghai fished another 809 dead pigs out of its main waterway today, bringing the total carcasses found this week to 8,300 in a scandal that has spotlighted China's troubles with food safety. 

The swine effluent discovered flowing down the Huangpu river -- which supplies a fifth of the commercial hub's drinking water -- has added the country's most popular meat to a growing list of food items rocked by scandal. 

"As of 3:00 pm today, another 809 floating dead pigs have been fished out," Shanghai authorities said on their Weibo account, a service similar to Twitter. 

It gave assurances that authorities had not found any substandard pork products on the market and were closely monitoring water quality. 

Shanghai has blamed farmers in neighbouring Zhejiang province for casting pigs thought to have died of disease into the river upstream, although officials from the area have admitted to only a single producer doing so. 

Pork accounted for 64 per cent of total meat output last year, and China's increasingly wealthy urban residents consumed 21 kilograms (45 pounds) of the meat per person in 2011.
21:07  CRPF jawan cremated with full state honours in MP:  A tearful adieu with full state honours was given to martyred CRPF jawan Omprakash Mardaniya today, at his ancestral village of Shahpura, in Icchhawar tehsil of Madhya Pradesh's Sehore district.

Lok Sabha opposition leader Sushma Swaraj and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan led mourners who converged in large numbers for his cremation. Paying rich tributes to the killed CRPF jawan, Swaraj said that she had a lot of respect for Mardaniya's parents who gave birth to a brave person like him.

Addressing the mourners on the occasion, Chouhan said that it is high time for India to teach a lesson to those playing with the country's security.
19:45  Sending back marines best thing for Italy: Tharoor:  

Dubbing Italy's stand in the marines' case as "legally, morally and diplomatically" wrong, Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor today said the best course for it would be to send back to India the duo charged with killing Indian fishermen.  


Though he prefaced his comments saying he was not involved in any negotiations on the matter since he was dealing with a different portfolio, he said in reply to reporters' queries that the position of the Italian ambassador to India was "invedious." A former UN diplomat, Tharoor said the Italian ambassador had committed a serious mistake by breach of his assurance given to the apex court of India that the marines would come back after elections in their country.   


"His credibility is at stake. His position has become untenable. He has made a legal, moral and diplomatic commitment. He cannot go back on that. This is completely unprecedented," he added. Tharoor said the UPA government at the Centre had taken a "firm and sincere" position in the matter.

19:10  Reddy's Laboratories' founder-chairman passes away:  The founder and chairman of Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Dr K Anji Reddy, has died. He was 72. 

Sources said Dr Reddy, who was suffering from a lung ailment was admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad more than a week ago. Despite the medical team's best efforts, he passed away at 4.30 pm today.
18:44  Vatican: Pope was not silent during dirty wars:   Vatican rejects claims that Argentine-born Pope Francis stayed silent during military rule in 1970s-80s.  The man who is now Pope Francis was a young Jesuit leader, not long out of seminary, when Argentina's military junta unleashed a reign of terror that became known as the "dirty war." That was more than 30 years ago, but the reaction to the naming of the first Argentine pope shows that the wounds have not yet healed. Read
18:35  Top Army commander meets J-K Governor:   Days after a suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Bemina locality of central Srinagar which left five jawans and two militants dead, a top Army commander today met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra in Srinagar and briefed him about the existing security situation in the Valley.
18:14  Pak bleeding India, can't shake hands: Army chief:  The Army today made it clear to Pakistan that it cannot keep the tap of exporting terrorism to India open and hope for confidence-building measures (CBMs) with it.

"They are bleeding us and you want us to shake hands with you at the military level. I think that is not done. We got to be fair and there has to be level-playing field," Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said and accused the neighbour of having "double standards" when it says that terrorists were not under its control and conceals them as non-state actors.

"The term CBM has got to be preceded by addressing trust deficit. You cannot talk of these things for endless years the way the things are going on. You cannot afford to keep open this tap of exporting terrorism to India. You have to check that and only then we can move forward," he said.

The Army Chief was answering queries at the India Today conclave about the Army being opposed to the CBMs between India and Pakistan.
18:12  Ishrat Jahan case: Gujarat HC satisfied with CBI probe:  The Gujarat High Court today expressed satisfaction about the progress made by CBI in the investigation of Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, and ordered it to submit the next progress report by May 9.

The CBI, ordered by the HC to take over the probe in December 2011, yesterday submitted a progress report in a sealed cover.

Today, the division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari said the pace and direction of the probe were satisfactory. "It looks like in past two months CBI has made a substantial progress," the judges said.

At the last hearing in January, when CBI submitted its first report, the court wasn't much happy and decided to monitor the probe.

Ishrat Jahan, who hailed from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zeeshan Johar and Amjadali Rana were killed by the Gujarat police in an encounter on June 15, 2004 on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
17:50  Faces of war: stories behind iconic images of Iraq conflct:  They were the images that defined the conflict in Iraq: the pain of ordinary Iraqi civilians, the exhaustion of American soldiers. But what became of them? From Fort Polk, Louisiana, USA, to Tal Afar, northern Iraq, Guardian reporters track down the people behind the images and hear their moving stories. Read
17:33  Champions League Last 8 announced:  Champions League play moves to the quarterfinals after an exciting Round of 16, which featured several marquee matchups. The Last 8 have been announced:  PSG v Barcelona; Malaga v Borussia Dortmund; Real Madrid v Galatasary; Bayern Munich v Juventus. The first legs will be played on either April 2 or 3 and will be followed by the second legs the next week, on either April 9 or 10.
17:30  Hyd blasts: Production warrants against two IM men for tomorrow:  Tihar Jail authorities were today directed by a Delhi court today to produce before it tomorrow the two arrested Indian Mujahideen operatives whose roles are under investigation in connection with the February 21 Hyderabad twin blasts case which claimed 16 lives and left 79 injured.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has moved an application seeking further custodial interrogation of Syed Maqbool and Imram Khan during which they would be confronted with another alleged IM operative Obaid-Ur-Rehman, who has been brought from Bangalore Central Jail and is presently in NIA's custody till March 20 in connection with the case.
17:25  It's chalo Dilli for Nitish supporters, 40,000 expected :  More than 40,000 JD(U) activists are expected to attend the March 17 rally of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Delhi's Ram Lila Maidan, demanding special-category status for Bihar. More than 10,000 people reached Delhi today to take part in the rally, senior JD (U) leader Sanjay Jha said.

"We expect at least 30,000 more will be there from across the state tomorrow," said Jha, a close confidante of Nitish Kumar, who has been associated with organising the rally for nearly a month. All Delhi bound trains from Bihar are full with JD(U) activists leaving for Delhi to attend the rally. Party sources said, JD(U) ministers, parliamentarians and legislators are touring different parts of Delhi and NCR to mobilise support for Sunday's rally.
17:22  Another death in Tihar jail :  Days after Ram Singh, one of five men accused in a Delhi gang rape case, was found dead in his prison cell, Tihar Jail authorities say there's been another suicide in the prison.A 30-year-old woman was found dead on Thursday in her cell in jail number six of the prison's women's ward. Read
17:21  Sensex down 143pts, bank shares fall on money laundering fears:  As we await the results of a probe by the CBDT on money laundering sting on private banks, the BSE benchmark Sensex today fell by nearly 143 points on heavy selling in private banks, including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, following government's promise that action will be taken if any person is found.
17:10  Mauritius PM's wife an accomplished belly dancer:  High-level visits also bring out the commonality in culture. Veena Ramgoolam, the Mauritian PM's wife is a well-known belly dancer. The Indian delegation was suitably impressed, but more so, Sharmistha Mukherjee, the president's daughter, who is an accomplished kathak dancer. 
16:58  Mauritius is being maligned as a tax haven:  More on the president's visit to Mauritius. Our source said that Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam didn't just have a sharp mind, he was interesting personality.

When a newsman asked whether he felt Mauritius was being maligned as tax haven, Ramgoolam said, yes, it was being maligned. "We are the best administered country, and we believe in transparency. We shall never allow the financial markets to misuse our innocence," he said.

His comment hogged the headlines in India and Mauritius.
16:48  Indian diplomacy pays off: SL releases 34 fishermen:'s Sheela Bhatt says that Sri Lanka has released 34 Indian fishermen, who had been captured off the Delft Islands in northern Lanka. Though 19 fishermen are yet to be freed, diplomatic efforts by India seem to have yielded results. The credit goes to the Indian High Commission in Colombo and the consulate in Jaffna. They are now being brought to Jaffna, pending repatriation through Indian Consulate General and the Sri Lankan navy.
16:16  Why Pranab was anxious to leave Mauritius:  The Union Minster of state for Home, RPN Singh was the minister-in-waiting for President Pranab Mukherjee, during his just-concluded three-day Mauritius visit.

Singh told the President that the stay in Port Louis should have been for a few more days, as Mauritius is a strategic location for India, which meant the President should have stayed longer.

The president's reply was that he was invited by the host country to be the Chief Guest for 45th Independence Day, on Tuesday, March 12 and once that was done, he should have returned to India. However, there were bilateral agreements and a ceremony the following day.

Singh said he was concerned that it would entail a travel of eight hours from New Delhi to Port Louis. His daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee intervened, but the President interjected angrily saying he was a principled man and he believed that once the business was done, he should not outstay his welcome. The President left Mauritius on Wednesday. 
15:34  As much of a revolution as the Vatican can stand:  Pope Francis faces a formidable task. First, he must clear out Rome's careerists. Read
15:30  Food for thought, or thoughts from food?:  Don't dismiss chickens as bird-brained -- they really do have personalities. Read
15:18  Builders unearth Medieval plague victims in City of London square:  Seven centuries after their demise, the skeletons of 12 plague victims have been unearthed in the City of London, a find which archaeologists believe to be just the tip of a long-lost Black Death mass burial ground. Read
15:06  Kerala Police team in Jaipur with Bitti:  After examining the records of Alwar jail, a team of Kerala Police today arrived in Jaipur with German woman rape case convict Bitti Mohanty to establish his identity.

The team from Kunnur district of Kerala along with the convict Mohanty arrived by a train from Alwar and went to Transport Nagar Police Station for a halt, police sources said.

The team will go to Jaipur jail to carry out its investigation. Additional Commissioner of Jaipur police Biju George Joseph said that the Kunnur police will carry out its course of investigation.

The team had yesterday visited Alwar jail and examined its record to verify the identity of Mohanty who was arrested in Kerala last week.
15:04   Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) demanded a "structured response" from the government on the issue and termed the resolution passed by Pakistan National Assembly as a "very sinister" resolution.
14:43  Sebi seeks arrest, detention of Sahara Subrato Roy :   The Securities and Exchange Board of India moves the Supreme Court seeking the arrest and detention of Sahara chief Subrato Roy.  Sebi had ordered Sahara to refund Rs 24,000 crore to subscribers. The plea is to be heard this month.  Sebi also seeks the attachment of passports of Roy and two directors of the group.

Sebi, last month, had ordered the freezing of bank accounts and attachment of all properties of two group firms and top executives, including Subrata Roy. Sebi's action follows directions from the Supreme Court, which had said that the market regulator was free to freeze accounts and attach properties if Sahara group companies were not depositing the money with it for refund to investors.

Passing two separate orders against Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL), Sebi said that the two companies had raised Rs 6,380 crore and Rs 19,400 crore respectively from bondholders and "various illegalities" were committed in raising of these funds.
14:33  Rajya Sabha rejects Pak Parl resolution on Guru:  The resolution against Pakistan is being read out in the Rajya Sabha by chairman Hamid Ansari. The resolution is adopted unanimously.

The Lok Sabha passed a resolution asserting that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan, "is and shall always be an integral part of India".

It said that any attempt from any quarter to interfere in India's internal affairs will be met "resolutely and with complete unity" of the nation.

"This House totally rejects the Resolution passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on March 14,2013," said the Lok Sabha resolution read out by Speaker Meira Kumar after concern was raised over the development. Pakistan's National Assembly yesterday passed a resolution condemning the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and demanded that his body be returned to his family.

"The House rejects interference in the internal affairs of India and calls upon the National Assembly of Pakistan to desist from such acts of support for extremist and terrorist elements," the Lok Sabha resolution said.
14:24  Meet the Pope's childhood sweetheart:  The first Latin American Pope may have been a Latin Lover first it emerged last night after a childhood sweetheart claimed she may have driven him into the church. Amalia Damonte, 76, who grew up in the same Flores neighbourhood of Buenos Aires as Bergoglio said she was shocked when he became Pope.
Read more 
14:20  Cash-strapped ministry stakes Rs 1 crore claim on Nirbhaya Fund:  Barely two weeks after it was officially unveiled in gthe general Budget, there's been a rush to stake ownership of the Nirbhaya Fund, created by the UPA government in the memory of the Delhi gang-rape victim.Eyeing the Rs 1,000 crore corpus set aside for the fund, the cash-strapped ministry of women and child development (WCD) has already started working towards securing its ownership. Read more
14:14  Pope Francis's sister says he never wanted the job:   Mara Elena Bergoglio, the sole surviving sibling of the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, said she had prayed fervently for her brother not to be made pope when he was a frontrunner in the 2005 conclave that followed the death of John Paul II. "He didn't want to be Pope and when we chatted privately about it, we joked at the prospect and he would say 'no, please no'." Read
14:04  Airports alerted to prevent Italian envoy from leaving India:   Airports across the country have been alerted to prevent Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country.

The decision was taken by the Union Home Ministry a day after the Supreme Court restrained the Italian Ambassador from leaving India without its permission, official sources said.

The Apex court had taken exception to Italian government's refusal to send back two marines charged with the killing of two fishermen.

The two marines were allowed by the court to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after the Italian Ambassador had given an assurance to send them back.
13:53  Lok Sabha tells Pakistan's National Assembly to desist from acts of support for extremists and terrorist elements.
13:52  LS moves motion against Pak resolution on Guru:   Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar moves a resolution against Pakistan's resolution condemning the execution of Afzal Guru. The Speaker said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan had no right to interfere. "We reject any interference in the matter," said the Speaker. The resolution is to be passed by all parties.  
13:45  BSP will support anti-rape bill: Mayawati:  BSP supremo Mayawati on Friday made it clear that her party will support the new anti-rape bill and not oppose it.

"I would like to make it very clear about this that our party will support the anti-rape bill being brought by the Central Government, be it any form and shape. Our party will support it and not oppose it," Mayawati said. 

"If we have to give any suggestions, we will give in the all-party meeting, but we will not oppose this bill," she added.

A bill providing for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape, and also defining acid attack, stalking and voyeurism as criminal offences, was cleared by the Union Cabinet yesterday.
13:26  The bag that Kate bought:  Kate Middleton carried a bag made by Manojna J. Tarin on her skiing trip to the Swiss Alps. The Hindu catches up with the designer who also makes home dcor products. Read
13:22  Pak govts's completion of tenure a major achievement: Zardari:  The completion of a five-year term by the Pakistan government and a peaceful transition from one democratic set-up to another would be another major achievement of the current dispensation, President Asif Ali Zardari has said.

Zardari made the remarks during a dinner he hosted last night for outgoing Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and some ministers and parliamentarians.

"The completion of the tenure of the present government and a peaceful transition from one democracy to another would be another major achievement of the present dispensation," Zardari was quoted as saying in an official statement.
13:10  Seven things you need to know about Jesuits:  Pope Francis is a Jesuit, but what does that mean? Read
12:55  Choosing the Pope: What really happened behind closed doors:  Update on the Pope Francis. A veteran Vatican journalist gives a glimpse of went on inside the conclave, and the cardinals who entered with high hopes but failed to rise to the top. Read
12:50  Sachin, SM Krishna granted leave from Parliament:   More news from Parliament: Our sources in Delhi tell us that Sachin Tendulkar has written to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha on today seeking his to grant him leave for the first half of Union Budget session as he was busy playing cricket.

The house agreed in unison to grant him leave.

Another Rajya Sabha MP S M Krishna, the former Union Minister for external affairs, has written to the the chairman seeking leave. Krishna was also given permission.
12:40  Angry India calls off hockey tour with Pakistan :  India has called off the Indo-Pakistan bilateral hockey series with were to be held from April 5 in India and April 25 to May 2 in Pakistan. This comes after there was anguish and anger in Parliament today over the Pakistan Parliament's resolution condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru. The BJP said there cannot be normalisation of ties with that country after its polity gave stamp of approval on the terror attack on Indian Parliament.  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.

12:35  Jaitely tells PM not to walk a single inch with Pak:  Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asked the government to reconsider its engagements with Pakistan in light of yesterday's resolution. BJP and other Opposition parties demanded a resolution condemning Pakistan's interference in India's internal affairs.

"Besides interfering in India's internal affairs, the resolution is an official statement by the entire polity of Pakistan endorsing the terrorist attacks," Jaitley said raising the issue when the House met for the day. New Delhi, he said, always suspected the hand of Pakistan in the Parliament attack.

"Yesterday's resolution seems to have confirmed our fears," he said. Jaitely said the resolution was "an official stamp of approval on one of the worst terrorist attacks."

"Government of India will have to seriously consider how to deal with Pakistan," he said, adding, "As long as this resolution remains, we should seriously forget normalising ties."

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been talking about walking an extra mile in normalising ties with Pakistan but after yesterday's resolution, he should "forget walking even an extra inch."
12:27  Violence in Kashmir not an answer and killings must stop: UN:  In the wake of a terror attack in Kashmir that claimed the lives of five Indian security personnel, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said violence is not the answer to any problem and the killings must stop.

"What he (Ban) has said in cases such as this; violence is not the answer, violence should come to an end and that the killings must stop," Eduardo del Buey, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, told reporters yesterday in response to a question on the current situation in Kashmir. Two terrorists disguised as cricketers stormed a CRPF camp near a school at Bemina, killing five of its personnel on Wednesday in a major suicide attack in Srinagar.
12:16  Yesterday, IG CRPF, Kashmir, V S Yadav dismissed suggestions that the CRPF men were unarmed when the attack took place in Bemina in Srinagar. "We have a standard operating procedure and that was followed. One-third of the jawans of the concerned (CRPF) company were armed, one third were carrying the riot gear and one-third had lathis," Yadav said.
12:13  Rare unity in Parl on BJP's resolution against Pak:   BJP senior leader Yashwant Sinha is to move a resolution condemning the Pakistan Parliament's resolution slamming Afzal Guru's execution and the demand for this body to  be returned to his family. All parties likely to join in.
11:55  Will the Gandhis reap a bitter harvest:  Swapan Dasgupta on how the Italian marines row could damage the countries.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has often been mocked for his persistent refusal to speak on issues that warrant interventions at the highest level of government. It is a commentary on the potential consequences of the two Italian marines refusing to return to India for their trial on charges of killing two Indian fishermen on the high seas that he actually spoke on the subject in both Houses of Parliament last Wednesday." Read
11:51  Pope Francis, the conservative:  Though he courted much controversy during Argentina's Dirty War, Pope Francis's advantage of being a Vatican outsider, his simplicity and compassion towards the poor are expected to help steer the Church to a better future. Read
11:46  White smoke or fresh breeze?:  The Roman Catholic Church has startled the world by electing, after five ballots, the Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th Pope.

The new pontiff, who has taken the name Francis, is the first Pope from the Americas, the first from outside Europe in 1,300 years, and is the first member of the Society of Jesus to attain the office; aged 76, he is also the oldest of the likely candidates.  Read the editorial on the Hindu.
11:42  Pak-India mistrust must be reduced: Hina Rabbani Khar:  Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is leaving office this month. She talks to the Dawn on how her government is dismayed with India and sceptical about a resolution of core disputes, including Kashmir. Read
11:36  Govt goofs up: Uses brother's portrait for slain CRPF jawan:  Can this really get worse?After the no-show by J-K chief minister Omar Abdullah at funeral of the slain CRPF jawans yesterday and the union home minister's absence when the house paid tribute to their sacrifice, the government has goofed up again.

In an embarrassing lapse, the portrait of the brother of CRPF soldier N Satish, who was killed in the militant attack in Srinagar, was taken in his funeral procession here today with relatives and district authorities blaming each other for it.

According to Satish's uncle, the portrait was that of the slain soldier's brother, who is also serving in the CRPF in Madhya Pradesh. But, the Deputy Commissioner B N Krishnaiah maintained that the portrait was provided by Satish's family and there was no lapse on the part of the district administration. The portrait was later changed as the funeral procession proceeded.
11:25  BJP wants ALL dialogue with Pakistan suspended :  As expected there was bloodshed in Parliament over the Pakistan's Parliament passing a resolution condemning the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and demanded that his body be handed over to his family.

The BJP today wants all dialogue with Pakistan suspended, with party senior leader Arun Jaitley saying the resolution passed by Pakistan is in fact a stamp of approval for the attack on the Indian parliament. Jaitley said there were no end to Pakistan's mischief with beheadings, bombings, killings of CRPF men and now the resolution.

MoS Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla says the house condemns the resolution and that the government is ready for a debate on it.
11:14  Malala's friends struggle for normalcy in Pakistan:  Four months after the Taliban's failed assassination attempt of 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, the two girls injured in the same attack are struggling to regain a normal life. Read
11:07  Curfew continues in Srinagar district for second day:  Curfew continued in Srinagar district for the second consecutive day today following the death of a youth in alleged firing by CRPF personnel here on Wednesday.

Police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in large numbers across the city to ensure that there are no attempts to violate prohibitory orders, police said.

Police vehicles fitted with public address systems made appeals to residents not to venture out of their homes in view of the curfew. Barbed wires have been laid at all exit points in the interiors of the city and civil lines area. Curfew was imposed on Wednesday night after a 22-year-old youth was killed when CRPF personnel allegedly opened fire after coming under attack by a group of stone pelters in Zoonimar area.
10:59  IPL-6 may clock 27% more in advertisement revenues:  Multi Screen Media (MSM), the official broadcaster of Indian Premier League (IPL) has brought on board a total of eight sponsors for the sixth edition of the Twenty20 tournament, which would help it rake in Rs 200 crore more over last year, after lowering its ad rates by 10-15%. Three more sponsors are expected to join over the next two weeks. Read
10:53  Why Sonia Gandhi is more Indian than you:  While on Italy, Sadanand Dhume's piece on Sonia Gandhi, who marks 15 years at the helm of India's ruling Congress Party. In the Wall Street Journal today, Dhume argues that opposing her for her Italian origins is both unfair and misguided.
Read why.
10:42  UPA govt acts tough, delays sending new envoy to Italy:  India on Thursday toughened its stand over Italy's refusal to send back two marines accused of killing Kerala fishermen to face trial by stopping its new ambassador to Rome from joining duty. Read
10:22  Pak resolution on Guru: Don't interfere, says India:  India has reacted strongly to a resolution passed by the Pakistani Parliament condemning Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's execution and demanding that his body be returned to his family.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that Pakistan has no jurisdiction over action taken by the Government of India against terror activities committed on Indian soil, reports CNN-IBN.

"It's a matter within the jurisdiction of India. It just seems that this unwholesome interest in something that is a sordid tale of terrorist activities on our country is not a very pleasant thing and I don't think we should be reacting more than that. In their Assembly they should address matters of their country and they should let our Assembly address matters of our country," Khurshid said.
09:41  2nd arrest made in Srinagar attack case:  A second arrest has been made in Wednesday's attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp in the Benima area of Srinagar. The police are currently questioning a resident of Uri in the case, reports Times NOW.

A Pakistani terrorist, suspected to be involved in the attack, was arrested from Chattabal area in the city yesterday. 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.   
09:24  Odisha law minister quits over dowry allegations:   Odisha's Law Minister Raghunath Mohanty resigned today after a dowry case was filed against him by his daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhary. Barsa has filed the complaint against her husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law as well, reports CNN-IBN.

In her complaint, Barsa has alleged that she was physically and mentally abused by her in-laws for dowry a few days after her marriage in June 2012.

08:43  Iran might be 'over a year' away from nuclear bomb: Obama:  United States President Barack Obama has said America will keep "all options on the table" to stop Iran from going nuclear, noting that Tehran is "over a year or so" away from developing an atom bomb, if it has any such plans.   

Six days before his forthcoming trip to Israel, Obama, in an interview to Israel's Channel 2, asserted that the US did not want to go down to the deadline with the Iranians.   

"Obviously we don't want to cut it too close," the US president said. He also rebuffed the notion that part of his message to Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be to try and reign in any possible Israeli military action.
08:37  Li Keqiang named Chinese premier:  Li Keqiang was named China's premier today, the No 2 position in the Chinese government. He replaces Wen Jiabao.

Yesterday, Xi Jinping took over as China's new president.
03:43  'Higgs boson' near confirmed: CERN scientists:  
The CERN physics research centre on Thursday announced that it is now confident that physicists have discovered the long-sought subatomic particle called 'Higgs boson'. 

According to the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, the elementary particle was discovered in the Large Hadron Collider last summer and its analysis "strongly indicates" that what they found last year was a version of what is popularly referred to as the "God particle". 

CERN physicist Joe Incandela said in a statement that "it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is." 

The long-theorised subatomic particle would explain why matter has mass. It is considered a missing cornerstone of physics. 

Last July scientists with the world's largest atom-smasher announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like.
02:47  Iraq war costs US more than $2 trillion: study:  
The US war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.
02:44  New style of Papacy: Pope Francis pays hotel bill:  
Associated Press reports: Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself in a decidedly different style of papacy than his tradition-minded predecessor who tended to stay ensconced in the frescoed halls of the Vatican.

The break from Benedict XVI's pontificate was evident even in Francis' wardrobe choices: He kept the simple iron pectoral cross of his days as bishop and eschewed the red cape that Benedict wore when he was presented to the world for the first time in 2005 -- choosing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy.

And in his first Mass as pope, Francis showed how different he would be as a pastor, giving an off-the-cuff homily about the need to walk with God, build up his church and confess -- at one point referring to children building sand castles on the beach.

It was a far simpler message than the dense, three-page discourse Benedict delivered in Latin during his first Mass as pope in 2005.
01:54  Pope Francis has already got a warning... from China!:  
China congratulated Pope Francis on Thursday on his ascension to the papacy, but also warned the Vatican not to interfere in what China deems to be its internal affairs.

The reaction underscored the tensions between the Vatican and China's government, which has been accused of suppressing Catholicism under Communist rule.

Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that Beijing hoped the pope, who was elected on Wednesday, would work with Chinese officials on improving relations. But, she said, the Vatican 'must stop interfering in China's internal affairs, including in the name of religion.'

She also said the Vatican must sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan before ties with Beijing improve. China considers Taiwan a renegade province that is part of its territory.
01:53  Obama calls Xi, top US officials headed to China:  
US President Barack Obama on Thursday called up his new Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to congratulate him on taking up his new position and discuss future of bilateral ties between the two countries. 

The telephone call between the two leaders comes in the wake of flurry of exchange of words between the US and China on the alleged cyber-attacks emanating from China, some of whom, Obama alleges are state sponsored. 

During the call, Obama told Xi that he is sending his new Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to Beijing next week and the Secretary of State John Kerry too would be travelling to the country on his first Asia trip in the coming weeks. 

The White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference that Obama congratulated Xi on his new position.
01:28  Revealed: Notorious Blackwater's secret CIA past:  
Last month a three-year-long federal prosecution of US military's most notorious security contractor, Blackwater collapsed. 

The government's 15-felony indictment -- on such charges as conspiring to hide purchases of automatic rifles and other weapons from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives -- could have led to years of jail time for Blackwater personnel.

In the end, however, the government got only misdemeanor guilty pleas by two former executives, each of whom were sentenced to four months of house arrest, three years' probation, and a fine of $5,000. Prosecutors dropped charges against three other executives named in the suit and abandoned the felony charges altogether.

But the most noteworthy thing about the largely failed prosecution wasn't the outcome. It was the tens of thousands of pages of documents -- some declassified -- that the litigation left in its wake. These documents illuminate Blackwater's defence strategy -- and it is a fascinating one.

To defeat the charges it was facing, Blackwater built a case not only that it worked with the CIA -- which was already widely known -- but that it was in many ways an extension of the agency itself.

Click here to read more
01:27  Iran confronts US drone over Persian Gulf:  
On CNN: Iranian military aircraft targeted a US Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, administration officials said. It was the latest in Iranian efforts to thwart the U.S. military's airborne intelligence collections efforts in the region.

Three administration officials have separately confirmed details of the incident, although the Pentagon has not publicly acknowledged it.

The drone was flying in international airspace off Oman when Iran detected it and launched its own manned aircraft, according to the officials who have direct knowledge of the incident. The Iranian planes then shadowed the drone, which eventually left the area. No shots were fired. However, the officials said the US is concerned about Iranian intentions in incidents like this and whether it could unintentionally trigger hostility.

"They have done this before. We are fully prepared to defend our aircraft. We were definitely in international airspace," one of the officials said.
01:07  Yes, I crossed Indian border during Kargil: Musharraf:  
Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to NDTV on reports that he crossed into India during the Kargil war: 

"I don't want to deny it, I don't know about 11 Kms, yes I have been in that sector certainly, I was in that sector and I have gone to the front in that sector." 

"Because an Army chief or an Army commander must be with troops, that is my belief. I have served in an institution or a special services group which is the elite of Pakistan Army. Now, we have believed that we are with the troops in the front, we lead from the front, I don't lead from behind, I have never led from behind, I have led from the front. So therefore, I'm there." 

"I, whenever the troops were involved, whether it was Siachen or any place I have been to the front, everywhere, all over Pakistan so that is my theory of leading and commanding. So in that, I was with the troops, now you shouldn't be concerned whether I was across the line of control by 10 miles or 10kms or 7 or 11, forget it, I was there, I did go and visit the troops, not once but three times, I spent nights there."

Read the rest of the interview here
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