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Americans still divided over Iraq war: poll

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March 18, 2013

23:53  Americans still divided over Iraq war: poll:  A decade after the US-led invasion of Iraq, Americans remain divided over the war, with a majority believing it was a mistake, according to a poll released today.

The Gallup survey, the first since US forces withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, showed Americans are still split over the war, with 53 per cent saying they regret the decision to invade and 42 per cent saying it was not a mistake. 

The poll indicated little change in public opinion since a survey in 2009, and strong support for the decision to invade among those who support the Republican party of former president George W. Bush, who launched the war.
23:12  Pope Francis meets Argentine president, smooths tensions:  He called her policies an "attack on God's plan.' She described him as "medieval.'But Pope Francis and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the leader of his native Argentina, kissed and made up Monday '" literally '" at a private meeting at the Vatican.

"Never in my life has a pope kissed me!' Fernandez exclaimed after the encounter, during which she presented the pope with her own token of reconciliation: a mate gourd, which he can use to drink traditional Argentine tea.Fernandez was the first world leader to meet the new pontiff, who before his elevation last week was known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires. 

Dozens more heads of government and heads of state are due to attend his official installation Tuesday, a ceremony that organizers say could draw as many as a million people to the Vatican. Vice President Joe Biden will represent the United States.

Read more here
22:43  Hillary Clinton endorses same sex marriage:  Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, being considered as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, today came out in open support of same sex marriage, which is considered a significant change from her previous position. 

"I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being," Clinton said in a video statement to the Human Rights Council, a gay rights advocacy group.
22:42  All jails in Maharashtra to have CCTVs:  Mobile phone jammers and CCTVs would be installed in all the jails in Maharashtra, the Legislative Assembly was informed today. Minister of State for Home Satej Patil made this announcement after the Opposition raised the issue of irregularities and mismanagement in most of the jails. 

He said use of GPS technology may be considered to curb misuse of the parole system by convicts. Patil admitted that the number of cases of convicts jumping parole has increased in the last few years and it was a matter of concern for the Home Department.
22:06  Balochistan Assembly dissolved:  Balochistan Provincial Assembly was today dissolved by Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi on the advice of Chief Minister Muhammad Aslam Raisani.

The development comes a day after the dissolution of the Pakistan National Assembly. An official notification was issued in this regard ahead of the coming general elections in the country in May.

Raisani would continue to act as the provincial Chief Minister until a caretaker Chief Minister is agreed upon by him and the opposition leader in the Assembly, a spokesman for the Balochistan government said in a statement.
21:53  Mumbai: Asaram Bapu's followers attack mediapersons:  A group of followers of Asaram Bapu today allegedly assaulted mediapersons and damaged their equipment, apparently angry at criticism over wastage of water at a pre-Holi function by the self-styled godman in drought-hit Maharashtra.

Asaram Bapu's followers pelted stones at television news channel reporters and assaulted them, damaging their video cameras, the police said.

Three suspects have been detained and a probe is on, a officer at the Rabale police station said.

The godman has drawn flak for the pre-Holi event organised at the Airoli grounds in Navi Mumbai at a time when Maharashtra is facing its worst-ever drought in more than four decades.
21:33  Amarnath yatra registration begins:  The registration of pilgrims for the annual Amarnath yatra scheduled to commence on June 28 began today through over 400 designated bank branches.

The process started for both the pilgrimage routes -- Baltal and Chandanwari -- through 422 bank branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, State Bank of India, YES Bank, HDFC Bank and Punjab National Bank across the country.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Shri Amarnath Shrine Board chairman N N Vohra has said all pilgrims possessing valid registration will be provided an insurance cover of Rs one lakh against accidental death within the state during the yatra period.
19:56  Achuthanandan seeks to post case to March 25:  Veteran CPI-M leader V SAchutanandan today approached the Kerala High Court to post to March 25 a petition filed by him in the 'Ice Cream parlour sabotage case', seeking a CBI probe.

The submission in this regard will be made before thecourt tomorrow. Achuthanandan had approached the court seeking a CBI probe into a case registered on the basis of claims by a relative of state minister P K Kunhalikutty that he had tried to influence witnesses in the 'Ice cream parlour sex scandal'case.

The matter is pending before a division bench, headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur.

The Opposition leader in the assembly today filed a memo requesting posting of the case on Mar 25 as the senior counsel from Delhi has been engaged for appearing in the high court.
19:32  Swiss gangrape: 6 remanded in police custody:  The six youths who allegedly gangraped a Swiss woman were today remanded in police custody for a day by a Madhya Pradesh court even as the victim along with her husband has decided to stay in the country to help identify the culprits. 

The March 15 incident rocked the Madhya Pradesh Assembly today with opposition Congress demanding Home Minister Uma Shankar Gupta's resignation and staging state-wide protests.

The accused, who were arrested yesterday, were produced before Datia Chief Judicial Magistrate R P Yadav with their faces covered with black cloth and remanded in police custody for a day.

Deputy Inspector General D K Arya said they will be further interrogated.
18:59  Cabinet to discuss Food Bill tomorrow:  Cabinet today deferred the approval for amendments to the Food Bill in absence of key ministers including Finance Minister P Chidambaram. It will be taken up in the next meet, which is to be held tomorrow at 4 pm. 
18:29  1,704 rape cases reported in Maharashtra in 2012:  Maharashtra Legislative Assembly was today informed that there were 1,704 incidents of rape in the the state in the year 2012, out of which 924 victims were minor girls. In a written reply to a question asked by Anil Kadam (Shiv Sena), Home Minister R R Patil said 127 victims were girls below the age of 12, while 188 girls were aged between 10 and 14 years. Speaking about the pending cases in the court, the minister said there were 14,414 rape cases, 31,412 molestation and 9,480 cases of eve-teasing.
18:27  SC to hear PIL on caste/region/religion-based Army recruitment:  he Supreme Court today listed afresh for hearing a plea seeking abolition of recruitment in the Army on the basis of caste, region and religion claiming it was violative of the Constitutional right to equal opportunity in public employment.
18:13  Greek footballer given lifetime national ban after Nazi salute:  A young Greek footballer has been banned from all levels of international football after celebrating a goal with what appears to be a fascist salute. Read
17:55  Delhi gang-rape case: Doc testifies on friend's injuries:  A doctor from Safdarjung Hospital here, who had initially prepared the medical report of the male friend of the December 16 gang-rape victim, today recorded his statement in a fast-track court.

Dr Sachin Bajaj, the Medical Officer in Safdarjung Hospital who had prepared the 28-year-old youth's medico-legal case (MLC), deposed in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna trying the case behind closed doors.

The report describes the wounds and injuries caused to the youth. The doctor had also recorded the statement of the youth , a software engineer, after he was rushed to the hospital along with the 23-year-old victim who was in a critical state due to the injuries allegedly inflicted on her by six persons, one of whom is a juvenile.

The girl died on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital due to the grievous injuries she suffered when she was brutally assaulted by the six accused.

Besides Bajaj, Dr P K Verma, who was in-charge of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where the victim was undergoing treatment for ten days, also recorded his statement as a prosecution witness today.

Both the doctors, however, will be cross-examined by the counsel for the four adult accused later this week.

Meanwhile, doctor Raj Kumar Chejara, a surgeon from the Safdarjung hospital, who had operated upon the victim, and had already recorded his statement as a prosecution witness will be cross-examined by the defence counsel tomorrow.
17:45  What about malnutrition?:  The term malnutrition is tossed around indiscriminately, without people paying much attention to measurement and data. Within malnutrition, there can be under-nutrition (either protein or energy), over-nutrition (consumption of too many calories) or abnormal nutrient loss. Bibek Debroy's piece for the Economic Times. Read
17:19  Five most enduring myths about Iraq:  A decade later and the Iraq debate is still contaminated with myths. Read
17:17  MI6, CIA knew Iraq had no active WMD:  BBC's Panorama reveals fresh evidence that agencies dismissed intelligence from Iraqi foreign minister and spy chief. Read
17:13  Steubenville rape trial ends, ordeal far from over:  The ordeal of an eastern Ohio community roiled by allegations of rape against two high school football players is far from over, despite the teens' conviction for the crime and their sentence to juvenile prison terms. Read
17:10  Pope Francis' humble superiority:  In just a few days, Jorge Bergoglio has shown that as Pope Francis he will be the kind of approachable, down-to-earth man that people yearn for in a spiritual leader.Like the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, he smiles easily and appears to walk comfortably through the world. Read
17:07  Shobhana Bhartia, Vinita Bali, Ekta Kapoor: 50 power women:   The second edition of '50 Most Influential Women' in the Indian marketing, advertising and media ecosystems was unveiled by IMPACT magazine at a glitzy, star studded event in Mumbai on March 15, 2013. The list recognises women across mediums, who have not only done path-breaking work, but have also helped in redefining the dynamics in their fields. Read

Here's the full list
16:56  Only PM can use IAF aircraft for non-official visits: Antony:  Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday informed that as per the existing instructions, only Prime Minister is entitled to use Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft for non-official visits for reasons of security as well as for due performance as the head of the government.

"No bill is pending for payment in connection with Prime Minister's non-official visits from December 2006 to December 2012. Bills for airlift for use of IAF aircraft are raised by IAF from time to time and necessary action is taken thereon," he said in a written reply. 
16:32  Foreigners ask: Is India safe?:  A friend recently got in touch with me for travel advice on India. She is thinking of spending a few weeks here in the summer and wanted tips on must-sees and must-avoids. She also wanted to know if India is safe for women."I will have friends with me for some of the trip, but might be alone for bits too--  is this safe? The news has not been very confidence-inspiring lately,' she said. So is it? Read about it in the WSJ.
16:30  Praveen Swami on why Italian envoy Daniele Mancini should get away with lying to India's Supreme Court. Read
16:27  Rajeev Masand tweets: Tigmanshu Dhulia kept his promise to Irrfan Khan then... "Arre ruko, National Award toh dila de"
16:22  Angry Gavaskar tells fans: Have you come to watch match or what? :   Fans making a beeline for autographs and photographs outside the commentary box during the third India-Australia Test left the legendary Sunil Gavaskar fuming after their over-enthusiastic chatter "disturbed" him while on job.

The incident happened in the afternoon today at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali.

Taking advantage of the lax security in the AC lounge on the third floor of the stadium, some fans mobbed former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden, who like Gavaskar, was doing the English commentary for the match. The fans got autographs and photographs with Hayden. After this, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, who is also a commentator for the match, came out and had to oblige the fans' autograph requests.

The commotion outside miffed Gavaskar, who had earlier come out to take a phone call. "Have you come to watch a match here or what? Do you realise that this noise reaching inside is disturbing us," an angry Gavaskar said. He told the fans to take their seats and not shout outside the commentary box.
16:19  Tarn Taran: Two weeks on, court wants abusive cops transferred:  The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered immediate transfer of eight police personnel in the assault case in which a girl was pushed, abused and hit with a baton by policemen in Tarn Taran district. Justice Ranjit Singh also directed the Amritsar Inspector General (IG) to ensure compliance of orders within 24 hours.

HC also directed Chandigarh UT IG to provide security to the victim for 24 hours. The HC Judge has asked the Amritsar IG to inform the court tomorrow about providing further protection to victim and her family from cops other than Punjab police. It may be recalled that the young woman was slapped, pushed, abused and hit with a baton by policemen in uniform in Punjab's Tarn Taran on March 3.
16:03  National Awards: Best Animation Film: Delhi Safari (director: Nikhil Advani)
16:02  National Awards: Eega wins Best Telugu film and Best Special Effects.
15:58  National Awards for Rituparno, Nawazuddin :  Pandit Birju Maharaj received the Best Choreography award for Vishwaroopam.
Special Jury Award goes to Rituparno Ghosh for Chitrangada and Nawazuddin Siddiqui for Kahaani.
15:50  Quakes turn water into gold: study:  Midas touch! Earthquakes cause water in faults to vaporise, depositing gold in the Earth's crust, according to a new study.

When an earthquake strikes, it moves along a rupture in the ground -- a fracture called a fault. Big faults can have many small fractures along their length, connected by jogs that appear as rectangular voids. Water often lubricates faults, filling in fractures and jogs. About 10 kilometres below the surface, under incredible temperatures and pressures, the water carries high concentrations of carbon dioxide, silica and economically attractive elements like gold. 
15:47  Swiss tourist gang rape: Gun recovered from accused:  Update on the Swiss tourist gang rape: A 12-bore gun was seized from the six accused, arrested in the Swiss woman's gang-rape case, police said today.   The accused would be produced in court later in the day.

Last night police produced five of them before media-persons, and also displayed a laptop, laptop-charger, mobile phone and Rs 5,500 cash, looted by the accused from the Swiss woman and her husband. Police have also recovered a 12-bore gun from their possession.

The sixth accused was nabbed later and now police will seek their remand from the court. All of them are in the age group of 19-25. The Swiss couple, after their return here from Delhi, would be asked to identify the accused, police added. The arrested men were identified as Baba, Bhutha, Rampro, Gaza alias Brajesh, Vishnu Kanjar and Nitin Kanjar.
15:43  Irrfan, Vikram Gokhale share best actor award:  Best Actor award shared by Irrfan Khan for Paan Singh Tomar and Vikram Gokhale for the Marathi film Anumati at the 60th National Film Awards. Usha Jadhav named Best Actress for Marathi film Dhag.

Best singer goes to Shankar Mahadevan for Chittagong.
15:40  National Awards: Paan Singh Tomar gets best film :   National Award for Best film in wholesome entertainment goes to Vicky Donor.
Dolly Ahluwalia gets the supporting actress award for Vicky Donor.
Annu Kapoor gets the supporting actor award for Vicky Donor.
Best Screenplay (adapted) goes to Oh My God.
Best actress: Usha Jadhav 
Best sound recording: Gangs of Wasseypur
Best feature film: Paan Singh Tomar
Sujoy Ghosh: Best original screenplay for Kahaani.

15:26  Kahaani wins National Award for Best original screenplay:  Khan has won three Filmfare Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Independent Spirit Award nomination. He is also the recipient of 2011 Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian award in India.

And yes, Kahaani wins the National Award for Best Original Screenplay.
15:22  National award for best actor goes to Irrfan Khan :  National film award for Best Actor goes to Irrfan Khan for Paan Singh Tomar. Details awaited. 
15:20  India to send rape-tainted Kurien for Pope's inauguration:   India's decision to send a politician dogged by rape allegations involving a schoolgirl to the pope's inauguration was attacked on Monday by the victim's family and opposition figures.

PJ Kurien, deputy chairman of the upper house of parliament, will lead the Indian delegation to the inauguration of Pope Francis on Tuesday, despite questions about his alleged role in the gang-rape of a teenager in 1996. -- AFP
15:15  Control yaar! Congress asks Beni Prasad to restrain himself:  Congress asks Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma to observe restraint in making comments.

Beni found himself in the midst of a fresh controversy over his remarks that Mulayam Singh Yadav allegedly has "terrorist links", with Samajwadi Party members disrupting the Lok Sabha today demanding his removal from the Cabinet.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for nearly two hours following the uproar with SP members storming the Well demanding an apology by the Minister and his removal from the Cabinet. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Shailendra Kumar (SP) demanded that Verma should immediately tender an apology for his alleged remark that all Muslims were terrorists.

Verma immediately clarified that he had not made any such statement and so there was no question of an apology. "Where is the proof that I have said such thing? I did not link terrorism to any religion." But SP members remained adamant as Mulayam Singh Yadav himself rose to speak attacking Verma.

He said Verma's comments followed a Muslim convention he had addressed in Lucknow where several Muslim religious leaders spoke about the contributions of the community in the service of the nation.
15:09  Delhi men say sorry:  On rape and attitudes of Indian men: "Before Yohan Sudheer put up his banner apologizing to Delhi women for the behavior of Indian men, a security guard stepped in to share his opinion on the matter.

"He took me aside and said 'You know, in that rape case that it was the woman's fault because of the way she was behaving on the bus,'' said Sudheer, recalling the conversation at the small gathering at Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi, Saturday.

15:06  What, no jet packs? Life in 2013, as predicted in 1988:  Jet packs and meal pills never did take off, but some of one writer's predictions in the LA Times magazine from 1988 are spot on. Read
15:01  Swiss tourist rape: Victim must share blame for attack :  Even as six people have been held for the rape and assault of a Swiss woman in Madhya Pradesh, the police say she should never have been camping in the area. Read
14:48  FM's absence during budget debate 'insult' to Par: Oppn:  Apart from the war of words between Beni Prasad Verma and Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Lok Sabha, this is what happened in the Rajya Sabha.

Absence of Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Rajya Sabha during discussion on the Union Budget today evoked sharp criticism from the opposition which termed it as an "insult" to Parliament.

Opposition members were up on their feet soon after Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena rose to move three Appropriation Bills for consideration in the absence of Chidambaram, against whose name they were listed.

Members, especially from BJP, raised strong objection to it and questioned the Finance Minister's absence. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP), who was to initiate the discussion on the general budget thereafter, questioned the Finance Minister's absence when it was to hold an important discussion on the Budget.

"This is really an insult to the House. The Minister is expected to be present," and sought to know if he has taken the Chair's permission for his absence.
14:43  Age of sexual consent to be 18, cabinet meet today:  CNN IBN reports that the anti-rape bill is to be taken up by the cabinet this evening. The age of sexual consent will be 18 and not 16.

Read Ganesh Nadar's column on why 16 should not be the age of consent.
14:29  Activist files another appeal for undertrial info :  Former Central Information Commissioner-turned activist Shailesh Gandhi had filed a second appeal for obtaining information about undertrials in Maharashtra prisons. Read
14:26  Qwerty keyboards: Time for a rethink?:  In other news: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. Six letters that define so much of our waking lives.If they are not there on the screen in front of you, chances are they are only a click away. Read
14:12  Govt tells Asaram to cancel Holi celebrations :   The Maharashtra government has asked Asaram Bapu to cancel the upcoming celebrations in Navi Mumbai, as a severe drought has gripped many parts of Maharashtra. However, it did not deter the spiritual leader from celebrating a pre-Holi function in Nagpur and wasting many litres of water Sunday, said a social group.

Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANS) condemned Asaram Bapu's alleged Holi play and staged a protest.

"A person who calls himself a saint, does he not have basic common sense? How can he waste water like this when millions are thirsting for even a drop?" said ANS state president Narendra Dabholkar.

14:09  Anti-rape bill to be introduced in LS tomorrow:  The anti-rape bill is to be introduced in the Lok Sabha tomorrow. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which proposes to lower the age of consent from 18 years to 16 years, was cleared by the Cabinet on Thursday. The Samajwadi Party, which extends outside support to the Congress-led UPA, has raised objections against the provisions relating to stalking and lowering age of consent.
The government now says it is not averse to keeping age of consent as 18.
13:59  Where is the proof I made the remarks, Beni tells Parl:  Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma found himself in the midst of a fresh controversy over his remarks that Mulayam Singh Yadav allegedly has "terrorist links", with Samajwadi Party members disrupting the Lok Sabha today demanding his removal from the Cabinet.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for nearly two hours following the uproar with SP members storming the Well demanding an apology by the Minister and his removal from the Cabinet. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Shailendra Kumar (SP) demanded that Verma should immediately tender an apology for his alleged remark that all Muslims were terrorists.

Verma immediately clarified that he had not made any such statement and so there was no question of an apology. "Where is the proof that I have said such thing? I did not link terrorism to any religion." But SP members remained adamant as Mulayam Singh Yadav himself rose to speak attacking Verma.

He said Verma's comments followed a Muslim convention he had addressed in Lucknow where several Muslim religious leaders spoke about the contributions of the community in the service of the nation.
13:28  A Portrait of Indias Parsi Community:  Sooni Taraporevala is always photographing, from the changing streets of Mumbai to her family on quiet evenings at home. "My kids are fed up. They're like stars warding off paparazzi," she says. "But they love looking back at old pictures," she says. These old pictures include shots of the Parsi community. See
13:22  Rising onion prices: Food For Thought:  Onion prices are on the rise again, bringing tears to the eyes of the common man and posing a potential challenge to the Indian government ahead of election season.

Also see: What is so special about onions in India?
13:18  Sahara challenges SEBI to TV Debate:  Subrata Roy, chairman of the multi-billion-dollar Sahara group, wants to open a new -- and novel -- front in his long-running tussle with India's securities regulator: live television. If you saw the full page ads on Sunday, this is what he was talking about. Read
13:10  US woman held for trespassing in Kanha Tiger Reserve:  A US woman tourist was arrested for allegedly trespassing in the prohibited area of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, official sources said today.

The California-based woman, identified as Eve Lynn, 50, checked into a hotel near the Kanha Tiger Reserve on the evening of March 15.

The next day in early hours she strolled into the reserve's prohibited area in Kisli Range without permission. She was spotted in the prohibited area by a forest guard who later informed his superiors about the woman's suspected activity, Kanha Tiger Reserve's Field Director J S Chouhan said.

The forest officials then questioned the woman and on not getting any satisfactory reply from her, they arrested her under Section 27(35) of the Wildlife Protection Act and produced her in a court yesterday.
13:01  3-pronged probe on Bitti, accused returns to Kerala:   In other news: A Kerala Police team, which took Bitti Mohanty, accused of raping a German woman, to Rajasthan for gathering evidence, returned to Kerala in the early hours today with the fugitive after collecting proof to confirm his identity.

According to Dy SP S K Sudarshan, who heads the special investigation team probing the charges of impersonation, cheating and forgery against Bitty, the police have already collected all details about him.

The fingerprints and identification marks collected from the prison where Bitti was serving his sentence in Rajasthan could clearly prove that `Raghav Rajan, who was working in a public sector bank her for the last two years was Bitti himself.

He said the police would be able to prove Bitty's identity without a DNA test. But in case it is necessary, a decision on it would be taken later, he said.

The second police team which had been to Odisha had questioned Bitty's father and former Odisha DGP B B Mohanty, who had identified his son through the photographs shown to him. The team would be back later today.

Another team which went to Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh had also collected evidences of forgery from the documents they got from the flat where Bitti was staying before he moved in to Kerala.
12:50  Mulayam demands Beni's scalp for terror link remark:  Beni Prasad says he stands by his remarks on Mulayam. "Who is Mulayam to ask me to quit!" he quipped. 
12:49  Mulayam wants Beni's scalp: He should be sacked:  Beni Prasad Yadav made the statement during a rally in Gonda district that Mulayam Singh Yadav is know to have supported and still supports terrorists. "He has links with terrorists," says Beni.

The Samajwadi Party walked out from the Lok Sabha over the remarks. Mulayam has also demanded that he be sacked. Beni is a former colleague of Mulayam. 
12:44  Steel minister tells Lalu: You support terrorists :   Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm after uproar over steel minister Beni Prasad Verma's remark to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, that he supports terrorists. Details awaited.
12:18  Narendra Modi's trip that never was :   The 'disinvitation' of a University of Pennsylvania invitation to Narendra Modi to deliver the keynote address at an annual conference on India at Wharton is now an old story. It still needs comment. It was ugly and insulting. The 'disinvitation' for Modi was initiated by a petty publicity-seeking Indian-origin assistant professor of social sciences at the university, with two other more reticent followers. On Indian television channels this assistant professor was given time to explain his position. The university rescinded the invitation after receiving a letter, co-signed by the two others. Read more on the Telegraph
12:06  India ranks lower than Pakistan on gender equality:  India ranks 132 out of 187 countries on the gender inequality index -- lower than Pakistan (123), according to the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report 2013. Read
12:02  Keep media space open to all:  Justice Katju has once again stirred up a hornet's nest '" this time by suggesting a minimum academic requisite for journalists. Somewhere he fails to understand that the unintended consequences of a well-meaning prescription may undermine the wellsprings of democratic entailments. Read
11:59  I am Sharmila:  By focusing on individuals like Irom Sharmila, the cause or reason for protest is often forgotten. In this particular case, the cause -- repeal of the AFSPA -- is crucial. Read
11:58  How UPSC got its English wrong:  The suspended proposal to give the language a decisive place in the civil services examination will exclude large numbers of aspiring candidates. Read
11:57  India's continuing shame:  There could not have been a more naked admission of the government's all-round failure. A new law is already in the making to replace the 1993 Act to prohibit the employment of manual scavengers and the construction of dry latrines. Read
11:55  The language of merit:  Widespread criticism of the changes notified recently by the Union Public Service Commission involving the language component in the Civil Services examination has forced the Union government to put those plans on hold pending review.

The "language bias' allegation that has been made by almost all the detractors is centred on the perception that English has been given a more prominent place in the scheme of things compared to regional languages, including Hindi.  Read
11:54  Promise of a new beginning :  President Mohamed Morsi's visit is a fresh opportunity for India and Egypt to bury the irritants of the past and rebuild their neglected ties. Read
11:44  Orders restraining Italian envoy for leaving India to continue:   Update on the Italian marines case. The Supreme Court rules that the orders restraining the Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India will continue till further orders.The Supreme Court also says that it has lost complete faith in the envoy and he will not enjoy immunity. The case will resume on April 2.
11:38  Reavealed: The names for BJP's top posts:  BJP President Rajnath Singh has given a list of suggestions for the positions of General Secretary and Vice President of the party. Singh has discussed the same with RSS leaders and the new team is expected to be announced by March 20.

What we can reveal is that that there is no major representation from south India. Sushma Swaraj has objected to two names, while LK Advani wanted to push two of his close confidantes to the post.

The general secretary is likey to be chosen among the following: Anant Kumar, Amit Shah, Thavarchand Gehlot, Murali Dhar Rao, JP Nadda, Ram Lal, Muqtar Abbas Naqvi, Balbir Punj, Jual Oram or Faggan Singh Kulsate, Saroj Pandey.

For Vice president: Uma Bharti, CP Thakur, SS Ahluwalia, Yashwant Sinha, Shahnawaz Hussain, Vinay Katiyar, K Mishra and Prabhat Jha
11:22  Mancini court date today:   Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini is expected to face tough questions tomorrow from the Supreme Court when it takes up the issue of Italy reneging on its undertaking to send back its marines charged with the killing of two fishermen off the Kerala coast last year.

Law minister Ashwani Kumar, who today described Italy's refusal to send back the marines "after giving undertaking to the highest court of the country' as "unprecedented', still hoped the court's order will be complied with before the March 22 deadline for the marines' return.

"The attorney-general will convey the government's stand tomorrow depending upon the response of the Italian government in the court,' he said.Harish Salve, who has quit as the Italian government's counsel, said in response to a query on diplomatic immunity: "Our Constitution commands everybody will act in aid and according to directions of the Supreme Court.'
11:12  All-party meet on anti-rape bill inconclusive:  Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath says all parties fear the bill will be misused and want safeguards. Party leaders to meet again at 12.30 pm.
11:09  All-party meet on anti-rape bill inconclusive:  An all-party meeting to discuss the anti-rape Bill, which seeks to hand down stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape and acid attack, and lower the age of consent for sex to 16, has ended inconclusively.

The Samajwadi Party, which extends outside support to UPA, has openly come out against the provisions relating to stalking and lowering of consent age from 18 to 16 years.

The BJP wants the Bill to be passed at the earliest. But, it has objections to lowering of age of consent which was 18 in the ordinance issued last month. Rubbishing the anti-rape Bill, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav has said the party will oppose its proposals in Parliament and at the all-party meeting.
11:08  MP, heart of India, is tourists' nightmare:  This is not the first time that a Swiss national or a foreign tourist has been targeted in Madhya Pradesh. In the winter of 2005, Swiss tourist, Geneva-based Jacqueline Roseres was duped of of nearly Rs. 10 lakh for a tribal welfare project by her project partner from Chhatarpur. Read
11:00   Egyptian President Morsi to arrive in India today:  Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi will begin a three- day official visit to India from today. He will be accompanied by senior ministers and business leaders. During his stay in New Delhi, Morsi will meet his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. President Morsy will also meet Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
10:44  Canada prisoners in daring helicopter escape:  

Two inmates have made a daring escape from a prison in Canada by climbing up a rope into a hovering helicopter. Officials at the St-Jerome prison, near Montreal, said the inmates fled at about 14:20 on Sunday, triggering a massive manhunt.


Police later said they arrested one of the prisoners and two other men. They also surrounded the area where they believe the second escapee is hiding.


Read the full story on BBC

10:32  Ram Teri Ganga MOILY:  

J Gopikrishnan on the Pioneer: Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily could be in the dock for raising funds for his family controlled trust from a corporate giant when he was Corporate Affairs Minister. Moily faces another serious case of conflict of interest as a top official of Reliance Industries is advisor to a company controlled by Moily's son Harsha Moily.


Even earlier, the Minister has faced charges of favouring Reliance in the KG basin case. Veerappa Moily has been president of Kissan Sabha Trust (KST), which received huge funds from ITC from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget in September 2012.


His son Harsha Moily's email message to his partner Sudhir P clearly showed that Moily himself managed the fund from the ITC for his private trust. "Sudhir '" Dad just called and confirmed that ITC has approved the funding the operating expenses of KST (Kissan Sabha Trust) for the next five years.


Therefore, for ITC to process the payments, we have to immediately furnish ITC all OpEx bills for Karkala & Chikaballarpur for the academic year 2011-12. Request you to do the needful,' said the email message, which was also forwarded to Moily's official email vmoily@  


The subject of the message was Capital Budget for Kissan Sabha Trust for Funding. The Kissan Sabha Trust is a family-controlled trust of Moily. It was established decades ago and is running educational institutes and charitable organisations in Karkala and Chikaballarpur in Karnataka.


In addition to Moily, his wife Malathy, son Harsha and daughter Sushma too are members of the trust. "The total capital cost for Karkala school comes to `1.71 crore and for Chikkaballarpur school `3.10 crore. Total capital cost comes to `4.81 crore'. For operating the schools, our budget right now is `50 lakh for this year and will increase with PUC students getting admitted.


Hence we may ask for a corpus fund of `6 crore to fund the day to day operations @ 8% per annum,' said an earlier email sent by Sudhir to Harsha Moily. The email messages between the duo talk about approaching the corporate sector for the requirements of the trust. The person, Sudhir P, referred in this mail is Sudhir K Prabhu. He is also a Director in one of the companies run by Moily's son  and the Karnataka branch head of a Mumbai-based Chartered Accountant's firm, which audits companies of Harsha Moily.  

09:45  Six pilgrims killed in bus mishap in Sikar:  

Six devotees were killed and 20 others injured when their bus collided head-on with a truck in Sikar district of Rajasthan, police said today. The victims were returning home from Khatu Shyamji Temple late last night when the mishap took place.        


The incident occurred near Ghassu Ka Bas area when the private bus was on its way to Laxmangarg, police said, adding that condition of the injured was stable.

09:43  Sensex down 183 points in early trade:  

The BSE Sensex today fell by over 183 points in early trade, extending losses for the second straight session, due to sustained selling by funds amid a weak trend on other Asian bourses.        


The 30-share benchmark index, which had lost 142.88 points on Friday, lost 183.14 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 19,244.42 in the early trade. Similarly, the wide-based the National Stock Exchange Nifty declined by 58.25 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 5,814.35.        


All the sectoral indices, led by metals, realty and bank, were trading in the negative zone, with losses of up to 2.07 per cent. Brokers said continued selling by funds largely in line with a weak trend in Asian bourses as euro-zone fears returned on news that Cyprus was planning to tax bank depositors as part of a controversial bailout, influenced the trading sentiment here.        


In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down by 2.04 per cent and Japan's Nikkei index shed 2.15 per cent in the morning trade. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.17 per cent lower in Friday's trade.

09:19  Bihar special status: Nitish to meet PM, FM today:  

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday. He will discuss Bihar's fight for special status with the Centre.


Earlier on Sunday, the Bihar chief minister held a massive rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan where he took a jibe at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, criticising the development model in the state. "Taking everyone along is my model of development," he said, in a veiled reference to the Modi's speeches about the Gujarat model of development.


Read the full story on CNN IBN

09:14  2 dead in plane crash in Indiana; 200 evacuated:  

At least three more injured and up to 200 people evacuated from houses after small jet crashes near regional airport. A private jet apparently experiencing mechanical trouble crashed in Indiana on Sunday, hitting three homes and killing two people aboard the plane, authorities and witnesses said.


The Beechcraft Premier I twin-jet had left Tulsa, Oklahoma's Riverside Airport and crashed near South Bend Regional Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig said. Two of the four people aboard the plane were killed. It was not clear if anyone on the ground was killed, and Herwig did not have any additional information.


Read the full report on Guardian

08:41  Tahirul Qadri announces to boycott Pakistan polls:  

The cleric, who took to the streets in Islamabad in front of the parliament house and demanded an elected government to step down, on Sunday announced to not participate in the upcoming general elections, DawnNews reported.


Speaking to a public gathering in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Awami Tehrik chief Dr Tahirul Qadri announced to boycott the forthcoming polls citing lack of implementation upon proposals he had given to the government at the time of ending his days-long sit-in in the federal capital earlier in January this year.


Reiterating his rhetoric over corrupt rulers, Qadri said the PAT will not become a part of the corrupt electoral system, being run by corrupt people as well.


Read the full report on Dawn

08:38  New China foreign minister: We will firmly uphold peace:  

China will firmly safeguard sovereignty, security and its development interests but at the same time it will uphold the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, new Chinese Foreign Minster, Wang Yi said on Monday.         China will assume its due responsibility and make un-remitted efforts to build a harmonious world of sustained peace and common prosperity, Wang who succeeded Yang Jiechi said while assuming his responsibilities.        


In a message posted at the official web site of the foreign ministry, the new foreign minister said China will continue to pursue the mutually beneficial strategy of opening up to the outside world and advance friendly cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence.        


China will firmly safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests, he said without directly referring to the present tensions between China and Japan over the disputed islands or differences between Beijing and various South  East Asian countries over South China Sea.        

08:35  Anti-rape bill to face hurdles in all-party meet today:  

The proposed bill which seeks to hand down stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape and acid attack, and lower the age of consent for sex to 16, is set to face hurdles in an the all-party meeting convened by the government on Monday.    


Samajwadi Party, which extends outside support to United Progressive Alliance, has openly come out against the provisions relating to stalking and lowering of consent age from 18 to 16 years. Main opposition BJP wants the bill to be passed at the earliest. But, it has objections to lowering of age of consent which was 18 in the ordinance issued last month.

08:34  Marines row: SC may pose tough questions to Mancini:  

Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini may face tough questions today from the Supreme Court when it takes up the issue of Italy reneging on its undertaking to send back its marines charged with the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast last year.        


Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who described the Italian government's refusal to send back the marines as "unprecedented", still hoped that the Supreme Court's order will be complied with by Italy as the deadline for their return ends on March 22.        


"The communication by the Italian government declining to send back the marines after giving undertaking to the highest court of the country through its Ambassador is unprecedented," Kumar told PTI on Sunday. Some legal experts feel that Mancini can be hauled up by the apex court for contempt and that he cannot take seek diplomatic immunity        


Harish Salve, who quit as Italian government's counsel, feels that Mancini breached a solemn undertaking given to Supreme Court which can take action against the envoy including sending him to jail.          

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