23:09 Malala goes back to school :
Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education in her country, today defied her attackers by returning to a school in Britain where she underwent several surgeries.
"I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school," she said after her first day of classes at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham.
"I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity. I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much but I am looking forward to meeting my teachers and making new friends here in Birmingham," she added.
22:53 DMK leaders meet President, withdraw support to UPA:
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders, led by T R Baalu, met President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and handed over a letter withdrawing support from the UPA government.
Baalu said the DMK will decide further course of action after seeing the draft resolution on Sri Lanka.
DMK ministers will meet Prime Minister tomorrow to submit their resignations from the Union Council of Ministers: T R Baalu.
22:52 Pak parliamentary panel to select caretaker premier:
The task of choosing a caretaker premier to oversee Pakistan's general election was today entrusted to a parliamentary committee after the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition failed to agree on a consensus candidate.
The secretariat of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament issued a notification regarding the constitution of the eight-member panel after Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were unable to choose a caretaker premier within the stipulated three days.
The Pakistan People's Party, which led the outgoing federal government, and the main opposition PML-N had earlier rejected each other's candidates for the post.
22:16 Afghan government says NATO war 'aimless, unwise':
Afghanistan's presidential spokesman today described the NATO-led military operation in the country as "aimless and unwise", in the latest government broadside against the coalition.
Aimal Faizi, spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, hit out after NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen rejected Karzai's recent allegations that it was working in collusion with Taliban militants.
"The people of Afghanistan ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror... (They) consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue," Faizi said in a statement.
21:12 Anti-rape rape new, progressive: Shinde:
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today termed as "new" and "progressive" the Criminal Law Amendment Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha despite several amendments being moved by members and emphasised that it will empower women.
"The whole country was watching this Bill. I am happy that this Bill- which Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to get passed- has been passed by the Lok Sabha... A new, progressive law will come into force. This is a good law for women," he told reporters outside Parliament House.
He said that this law will give enhanced punishment for crime against women. Asked about the low attendance in the Lok Sabha when the Bill was put up for voting and passage, Shinde said, "I cannot speak about those who were not present. But our members were present in good strength. It is the benches of the other side which were not occupied."
20:58 UK updates travel advisory for female tourists in India:
Hours after a British woman jumped out of a hotel room in Agra over fears of a sex attack, UK today updated its travel advice for women tourists to India. The fresh advisory from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office asked women travellers to 'exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group'.
"A Swiss national suffered a serious sexual attack in Madhya Pradesh on March 16. Women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group.
20:31 Assault on cop by MLAs: Chavan promises action:
Condemning the beating up of a police officer by some MLAs within the Assembly premises, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said that based on the investigations into the incident strict action will be taken against those guilty.
Talking to reporters, the CM said that it was a 'reprehensible' act which had never happened in the state legislature before and strictest action would be taken against the guilty.
About possible action against the guilty MLAs, he merely said that "criminal action and disciplinary action are two different things and will be known tomorrow".
He said that top cops of the state police met him to discuss the matter but did not divulge details of the meeting. He, however, said that the concerned police officer has the right to file an FIR.
20:21 Gaddafi's cousin arrested in Cairo:
Egyptian police in a joint operation with Interpol today arrested a cousin of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, wanted for his alleged role in his country's 2011 civil war.
The police, in coordination with Interpol, surrounded the residence of Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam early this morning, Ahram Online reported. Al-Dam was holed up behind iron-barred doors and windows and gun fire was reported at the scene.
He had defected to Egypt at the beginning of the Libyan revolution in 2011. The new Libyan administration has long been demanding al-Dam's repatriation along with 40 Libyans linked to Gaddafi's regime, to face trial for alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during the Gaddafi era.
19:56 Lok Sabha passes anti -rape bill:
The Lok Sabha has passed the anti-rape Bill. They voted against life imprisonment for child trafficking. These are some highlights:
- Lady police officers to be appointed in every police station
- Life term for acid attack: 62 for, 105 against
According to Zeenews:
The bill provides for stringent punishment for crimes against women including natural life term or even death for repeat offenders of rape besides various penalties for stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which seeks to replace an Ordinance promulgated on February 3, was moved by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the backdrop of national outrage over the Delhi gang-rape incident of December 16.
The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
19:27 Society 'schizophrenic' towards women: Ansari:
The country may have been blessed with remarkable women leaders but the society is still 'schizophrenic' towards women, often displaying endemic brutality in its word and deed, Vice President Hamid Ansari said today.
The society still has a long way to go in ensuring full gender parity as it often fail to treat women as equal citizens and disregard their basic human rights, he said.
"Our country has been blessed with remarkable women leaders who have left an indelible mark on our society and polity through their invaluable contributions.
"The paradox is that, as a society we are somewhat schizophrenic in our attitude to women and in actual practice oscillate between deep respect and endemic display of brutality in word and deed," Ansari said after unveiling a book on former President Pratibha Patil.
18:39 Sun TV, SpiceJet plunge after DMK pulls out of UPA:
Sun group stocks -- Sun TV and SpiceJet -- today tumbled as much as 6 per cent as sentiment turned bearish after the government's key ally DMK withdrew its support. Shares of Sun TV Network plunged 5.98 per cent to Rs 410.95 on the BSE. Intra-day, the scrip lost 7.36 per cent to Rs 404.90. Selling pressure also dragged down SpiceJet's shares that settled 4.35 per cent lower at Rs 31.85.
18:30 2G case: Mittal, Ruia summoned over irregularities :
A Delhi court today summoned as accused Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Bharti Cellular Ltd Sunil Bharti Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and five others in a case relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of 2G additional spectrum to Airtel and Vodafone during the NDA regime.Besides Mittal and Ruia, the court issued summonses against Asim Ghosh, who was the then Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh for April 11.
18:16 NIA announces Rs 10 lakh reward for info on Hyd twin blasts:
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information leading to the arrest of the accused in the twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad on February 21, claiming lives of 17 persons and injuring over 100.
On the direction of Ministry of Home Affairs, NIA had taken over the probe into the twin blasts case from Andhra Pradesh police, and its Hyderabad branch had registered two FIRs on March 14 in connection with the case.
The information may be provided on email or by telephone call, by post or to the SP NIA, according to the agency's website. The identity of the informant will be kept confidential, the website mentioned.
18:08 INLD predicts early Lok Sabha polls:
The way Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is holding "marathon meetings" Lok Sabha polls in the country are not far, Opposition INLD in Haryana said today.
"The way Rahul Gandhi, after becoming Vice President of Congress, is holding marathon meetings, it is for sure that the Lok Sabha polls will be held in October," senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala, younger son of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala said.
"Early Lok Sabha polls are inevitable as the Congress is in a desperate situation. Especially after DMK, a key constituent of the UPA, has pulled out," Abhay, who is party MLA from Ellenabad seat said. He also predicted possibility of an early polls in Haryana, which are due late next year.
18:05 Congress Core Group meeting on DMK pullout begins.
17:43 Women convicts to spend 14 yrs lifer unlike male convicts: HC:
The Bombay High Court has ruled that women convicts serving life sentence in Maharashtra jails are required to spend only 14 years unlike the male convicts, who have to be behind bars for a period ranging from 14 to 28 years depending on the nature of offence committed by them.
17:40 Govt clears Food Security Bill without changes:
The government has cleared the Food Security Bill without any changes. The National Food Security Bill, a cenerpiece of the ruling
government's campaign in 2009, says 75%
of the rural population and 50% of the poor in urban India - about 800
million people - will be entitled to five kilos of subsidised grain per
month. Rice will be made available at Rs.
3 a kilo; wheat will cost Rs.
2 a kilo and cereal will be sold for Rs.
1 per kilo.
17:15 Maha govt ready to hand over Bhandara case to CBI: RR Patil:
The Maharashtra Government is ready to hand over the probe into the deaths of the three minor sisters at Murmadi village in Bhandara district to the CBI if the family wishes so, the Legislative Council was informed today.
This was announced by Home Minister R R Patil, while replying to a discussion. Three reports of forensic experts were received and all stated cause of death was drowning and did not mention rape, Patil said. A team has visited Rajasthan and Gujarat in connection with the case, he said. So far, over 500 persons have been interrogated in the case, he added.
17:08 People are lying, I will remain in Cong: Beni:
Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, who was ticked off by Congress after his comments against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav created a controversy, today said he will continue to remain in the party and is not resigning from the Cabinet.
"Log jhooth bool rahe hein. Hum jeevan bhar Congress mein rehenge. Jo log bool rahe hein unko bolne do (People are lying. I will remain in Congress all my life. Let people say what they want to say," Verma said.
The minister was asked if he was considering quitting the Cabinet or the Congress party in view of the party disapproving his comments against Mulayam. Verma had not attended the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting this morning leading to speculation that he might be contemplating quiting Congress and warming up to other parties like BSP ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections.
"I am just leaving for the Cabinet meeting," he remarked, indicating his continuance in the Union Cabinet.
16:48 African American woman traces her roots to Bengal:
One of the many fascinating figures in MIT professor Vivek Bald's book on the history of the first Bengali migrants to the US has jumped out of its pages to guide his African American granddaughter to his roots in Hooghly.
The journey of discovery for the very Bengali-looking Fatima Shaik, 60, began with her ancestry being traced by Bald in his Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, a revelatory account of how the first Bengali migrants quietly merged into America's iconic neighbourhoods.
on the Telegraph.
16:35 Indian designer creates stunnning typography:
Kapil Bhagat, a Mumbai-based graphic designer, has created a typography series that piques the interest of both arts lovers and science nerds alike.The project, a clever homage for National Science Day in India, celebrates the discoveries of renowned figures like Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton with unique typographical designs crafted just for them. Read
The scariest statistic about the newspaper business today. In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in print ads for every $1 earned in digital ads. Read
16:28 Daniel Pearl's family hails Pakistani arrest:
The family of slain US journalist Daniel Pearl welcomed the arrest in Pakistan of a former leader of a banned militant outfit allegedly involved in his 2002 murder.
Qari Abdul Hayee, popularly known as Asadullah and from Karachi's eastern Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighbourhood, was detained in a raid on his hideout on Sunday, according to a spokesman for Pakistan's Rangers paramilitary force. Ruth and Judea Pearl, who live in the Los Angeles area, hailed the news, in a statement issued through the New York-based Daniel Pearl Foundation.
A conversation with former Tihar inmate Niranjan Kumar Mandal, accused and then acquitted of rape. Read
16:04 CNN feels sorry for Steubenville rapists:
Since when do rapists get all the sympathy? After a CNN reporter seemed to side with the defendants in the Steubenville, the critics called for blood. But CNN isn't alone. Read
15:56 DMK's pullout unexpected: Congress:
Congress today described as "unexpected," DMK's announcement to break ties with it as it said the Centre was holding consultations on party chief M Karunanidhi's new demand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
TNCC president and MP B S Gnanadesikan said three Central Ministers A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad had flown down on Monday and held talks with the DMK patriarch.
"I believe (Centre) is holding discussions on further steps," on Karunanidhi's demand that Parliament adopt a resolution incorporating DMK suggested amendments, he said.
"Because, the Centre is in a position where it has to discuss (the matter) with all political parties," he said. In the meantime Karunanidhi had announced quitting UPA, he noted.
Gnanadesikan said this was an "unexpected announcement" and he had himself asked India to play a proactive role on this issue, while debating it in Parliament.
15:46 CRPF camp attack NOT revenge for Guru execution:
Police today claimed to have cracked the suicide attack case on a CRPF camp in Srinagar with the arrest of four persons, including an LeT militant from Pakistan, and recovered huge cache of arms, but said investigations did not prove that the attack was linked to execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
"We have completed the investigations into the attack and cracked the case," Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir said.
A former militant, Mukhtar Shah, was the fourth person to be arrested in connection with the attack for providing logistical support to the fidayeens who stormed a CRPF camp in Bemina in central Srinagar on March 13, killing five jawans, the IGP said.
Investigations had not proved that the attack was a revenge attack for the execution of Guru, who was hanged in Tihar jail on February 9, he said. "Investigations have not proved that this was a revenge attack," he said.
15:32 Pope's inauguration mass begins at Vatican:
The inauguration Mass for Pope Francis is being held in St Peter's Square in Rome, marking the start of his papacy.Francis earlier toured the square in an open-topped vehicle, descending to bless pilgrims behind the barriers.His homily called on global leaders and all people of the world to protect the weak and the poor. Up to a million people are attending the Mass. Francis was elected by a conclave of cardinals last week to take over from Benedict XVI. -- BBC.
15:24 British tourist jumps from hotel balcony to escape molestation:
A British tourist jumped from her hotel room in Agra today, allegedly to avoid being assaulted by a man who forced his way into her room.She jumped from the balcony of her room on the first floor and is in hospital with head injuries; both her legs are fractured.The man who allegedly tried to molest her has been identified as th hotel owner and has been arrested. -- NDTV
15:15 PM, Sonia hold emergency meet with Cong top brass :
Meanwhile, the PM has called an urgent meeting with top ministers and Sonia Gandhi. At the meeting are AK Antony, P Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad. The DMK pullout is being discussed.
14:49 Cong hopeful DMK will reconsider decision to withdraw support:
Congress today held out hope that the DMK would reconsider its decision to withdraw support to the UPA government at the Centre. "The discussions are still on. So, it is premature for us to comment on it," party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said.
She was asked to comment on the announcement of withdrawal of support by the DMK from the UPA over the issue of alleged human rights violations of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
DMK Chief K Karunanidhi has stated that his party was ready to reconsider its decision if the Parliament adopts a resolution before March 21 incorporating two amendments he had suggested to be moved on the US-backed resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission.
DMK today announced its decision to pull out of the UPA government at the Centre for allowing "watering down" of the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and not considering its suggestions on the matter.
14:28 Govt proposes to bring Bill to regulate surrogacy: Azad:
The government today said it proposes to bring a Bill to monitor the services of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics and banks to regulate surrogacy in the country.
"A draft Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill has been formulated and sent to Ministry of Law and Justice for concurrence," Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
He said in order to monitor the services of ART clinics and banks to help regulate surrogacy, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already framed guidelines for accreditation, supervision and regulation of ART clinics and banks.
14:27 'Everyone wants to be English-speaking in India':
'If you're an Indian reading this book in English, it's probably because of Macaulay,' says the blurb on the book cover of Macaulay, Pioneer of India's Modernisation by Zareer Masani. Thomas Babington Macaulay, the British politician who introduced the English language as a medium for education, spent just four years in India, but has left behind a highly debated legacy.
That is why even 178 years after English was introduced in Indian schools, he continues to be both admired and reviled in India. Masani, who has an Oxford DPhil with a thesis on Indian nationalism, says that though largely forgotten in the land of his birth, Thomas Macaulay's legacies are alive and hotly contested in the Subcontinent -- and it is time for a balanced reprisal of his contribution.
Writer Zareer Masani explains Thomas Macaulay's legacy in a fascinating interview with Rediff.com's Archana Masih
Pic: Children play football in the backdrop of the memorial to Queen Victoria in Kolkata, which was the first capital of the British empire.
14:18 Rajya Sabha MPs can go home early and have momos at Dilli Haat. The house has been adjourned for the day after uproar over Sri Lankan Tamil issue.
14:08 BCCI may ask Lankan players to stay away from IPL :
In the backdrop of the protests in Chennai against Sri Lanka, the IPL matches could be in crisis. Of the nine IPL teams, eight have Sri Lankan players and the BCCI says it is worried about the upcoming matches to be held in Chennai. The BCCI says it may ask Sri Lankan players to stay away from the matches and it may send a memo to the players.
Earlier, TN CM Jayalalithaa had cancelled the Asian Athletics Championships in February saying Lankan players would not be allowed in Tamil Nadu.
14:00 BJP sniggers at DMK pullout: UPA is in ICU:
The BJP today lashed out at the UPA Government after the M. Karunanidhi-led DMK withdrew its support over the Lankan Tamils issue, saying the ruling Congress Party at the Centre has almost been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is taking its last breath.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the latest political development is nothing very amusing, and added that the credibility of the DMK has always been doubtful because they were one of the strongest supporters of the UPA Government.
"But having said that, the foremost fact remains that no alliance of the UPA would like to go to the next elections with the burden of the Congress Party, with the burden of Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi. So, they are looking for very first excuse to come out of the alliance," said Rudy. "But having said that, the government had become a minority government the very time Mamata Banerjee-the TMC had withdrawn their support from the Congress and thereafter it has been a lame duck government, which the UPA Government has been surviving.
"And today with the withdrawal of the DMK from UPA, this government is almost admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), it is taking its last breath and the government will collapse under its own weight undoubtedly," he added.
13:52 The geography of joy:
If only our roads were less congested, metros less crowded, markets a little more cleaner and air and water purer; our happiness would be greater... feels B S Prakash, India's former ambassador to Brazil. Read
13:52 B'lore to get 2 free Wi-Fi hot spots, a first for an Indian city:
Free wireless internet services are expected to commence in the commercial heart of India's technology capital starting next month. Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road, two of the best-known shopping destinations, will have free Wi-Fi access as part of a plan to make Bangalore the first city to have such a service available at public spots. Read
13:50 WhatsApp to extend subscription model to iOS this year:
WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging app that eschews advertising in favor of a paid model, is getting ready to bring its iOS app in line with the apps it makes for other platforms by turning it into an annual subscription service. Read
PMO responds to The Hindu reports on 2G issue. Read
13:44 What ever happened to Malala's friends? :
Moving on from DMK and its kind...
When 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot point-blank on her school bus in October for her vocal support of girls' education in Pakistan, it provoked an outcry in Pakistan and around the globe, but it also changed the lives of the two girls sitting next to her on that bus.
Almost half a year after the Taliban attack, the two girls injured alongside Malala struggle to deal with the not-so-pleasant notoriety that came with being associated with the young female education activist. Read
13:37 Rising inequality hurts development in India:
The Human Development Report 2013 showed broad improvements in human development worldwide, as a large number of developing countries transformed into dynamic major economies with growing political influence. Where did India fit in? Read
This is what the US has to say on Sri Lanka. Read
13:33 TN students protest human rights abuses in Lanka:
The police sought to arrest more than 200 university students in Tamil Nadu's capital, Chennai as protests raged on college campuses over allegations of the Sri Lankan army's brutal treatment of Tamil rebels. Read
13:22 BJP has used uncivilised language against Cong: Sonia:
Update on what Sonia Gandhi said at the Congress Parliamentary Party meet.
Speaking on gender issues, the Congress President referred to the Delhi gang rape cum murder case and said that after the consensus reached on the anti-rape Bill, "we should make every effort to see that these amendments are approved by both Houses before the recess begins (on March 22).
Asking the party to face the upcoming Assembly elections this year and next Lok Sabha elections in 2014 with "confidence, professionalism and enthusiasm", she asked the partymen to counter the "intemperate and abusive language" and "deliberate falsehoods" of the main opposition party BJP.
"The people have seen through the obstructionist tactics adopted by the BJP in Parliament and the deliberate falsehoods spread by it outside. "The use of intemperate and abusive language by the BJP about our party and its leaders goes beyond the pale of civilised discussion and debate. Are we going to take this lying down. Certainly not.
"We will maintain our dignity and take our fight to the people," Gandhi said. Maintaining that Congress' fight against the "malaise of corruption" continues in earnest, she said, "We are committed to the early passage of the Lokpabl bill."
13:18 DMK wants 'genocide, eelam' in UN resolution :
The DMK says that it has no intention of destabilising the government. It plans to call for a high-level meeting on Monday. The DMK wants the words 'genocide' and 'Eelam' in the UN resolution. The Centre is opposed to the idea of 'Eelam' and will not accept the term 'genocide'. India is also said to be against an 'international' probe into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army during the battle with LTTE cadres.
12:54 DMK: No divorce from UPA yet, doors still open :
The Cabinet Committee on Security is likely to meet at 4.20 pm. The resolution against Sri Lanka is likely to be discussed. DMK MP Vasanthi tells CNN IBN that there is no divorce from UPA, yet. The door is still open.
12:44 No claimant for PM's post in BJP: Uma Bharti:
Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti has said there is no claimant for the post of the Pirme Minister in her party.
"There is no claimant for the Prime Minister's post in the BJP, where anyone who is capable can be chosen by the party's parliamentary board," Bharti told reporters last evening.
Bharti's remarks come in the wake of the debate about who would be BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate for the next Lok Sabha elections. On the rape of a Swiss national in Datia district on March 15, she appreciated the efforts of the police to arrest the accused in the case.
12:42 Buenos Aires all set for Pope's party:
In the rest of the world, here's what's been happening...
Vast crowds gathered outside the Buenos Aires cathedral overnight to dance and sing as they prepared to watch the inauguration of Francis I, an Argentine like them, as the new pope on a giant television screen today.
The new pope -- until days ago known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires -- regularly delivered mass at the cathedral on a corner of the Plaza de Mayo.
The president's office, the Casa Rosada, is also located on the plaza. "We are expecting a full plaza, as if it were to celebrate a World Cup victory," said Federico Wals.
Going to the pope's party will be Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien.
Kurien leading team to Vatican an insult: Suryanelli gang-rape victim
12:38 Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath says the government is open for discussion in the Lok Sabha on Sri Lankan Tamil issue, but amid uproar, the house is adjourned till 2 pm.
12:36 Anti-rape bill tabled in Lok Sabha :
Even as the government has been stirred into action over the DMK pullout (Chidambaram insists the government is not shaken' it's stable), home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has introduced the revised anti-rape ordinance in the Lok Sabha.
12:33 CPI: Govt is desperate to survive:
CPI leader D Raja says the resolution against the Sri Lanka government should use the word genocide over its treatment of Lankan Tamils. The DMK may have a loss of credibility, but the UPA is a party in crisis and it is desperate to survive. He says the government has to first put up the resolution, after which the CPI will decide whether to support it. The government can't just be a mute spectator, it has to state its stand on the Geneva resolution
12:06 In the backdrop of the DMK pullout, the BJP pipes up to say, "We are always ready for elections." The UPA certainly is not having a good time.
Karuna says that all the DMK ministers (a total of five) will resign either today or tomorrow.
11:57 Chidambaram: Govt stable, will stay in power :
P Chidambaram reacting to the pullout says the DMK demands are under
consideration and the government will consult other political parties. Displaying his usual calm (before the upcoming storm?) Chidambaram says there is no threat to the government and it will stay in power. "The government is stable," says the finance minister. The consultation process with other parties has begun to find a resolution to the problem. "Karunanidhi is a senior leader and the government has taken note of his concerns," Chidambaram tells CNN IBN.
The DMK is known for its inclinations to pull out of the government. In May 2012, it had threatened to pull out of the government over fuel price hikes.
11:53 Where the UPA stands now :
With immediate effect (though Karunanidhi has said he is yet to inform President Pranab Mukherjee) 18 DMK MPs in the Lok Sabha have resigned.
This means the strength of the UPA government falls from 295 to 277 in the
So, total strength of House: 540
Halfway mark: 270
UPA with 18 DMK seats: 295, which drops to 277 if the pullout is indeed effective. (Friday is the deadline for the government).
The DMK pullout therefore means that the UPA is now a minority government.
Subramaniam Swamy has however rubbished the DMK pullout saying if the party was indeed serious, why didn't they write to the President.
The government needs support from all parties if the resolution against Sri Lanka has to be passed on Friday. It may therefore call an all-party meet to decide the next step.
11:44 Sonia on DMK pullout: I have nothing to say now :
Sonia reacts to DMK quitting the government. "I have nothing to say now. I am most pained by reports of continued atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamils. Tamils have always been denied their rights in Sri Lanka. Anguished over reports of unspeakable atrocities on Tamils there.
11:38 The Sensex loses 200 points as DMK pulls out of the government.
11:37 DMK won't pull out if Parl resolution slams Lanka :
The US is likely to table the draft resolution on Tuesday and voting may take place on Thursday or Friday. Karunanidhi said India should indict Sri Lanka for the "genocide against the Tamil people there."
The changes should include the citing that the Sri Lankan Army had "committed genocide and war crimes' against the Tamils there, and the need for a "credible, independent, International Commission of Investigation in a time-bound manner' to enable to punish the guilty.
11:30 Karunanidhi: DMK pulling out of UPA in totality :
Karunanidhi said the party salutes all those who have lost their lives and all those who have supported the issue. "The DMK condemns the serious crimes that the Sri Lanka government has committed against Lankan Tamils and supports a revolution in Lanka for the rights Sri Lankan Tamils," said Karunanidhi.
However, the DMK has offered a drowning UPA a straw. Karunanidhi says that the party may reconsider its decision and withdraw everything it has said right now if the Centre is willing to move amendments to the US-sponsored resolution on the issue at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The deadline for the UPA to change its stance on the issue is Friday.
The DMK has 18 seats in Parliament.
11:23 Karunanidhi drops the bomb: DMK pulling out of UPA:
DMK chief M Karunanidhi says that in spite of repeated requests by the DMK to the Centre over the human rights violations against Sri Lankan Tamils, the Centre did not not pay any heed. "So, there is no point in continuing with the alliance. We may not even give outside support to the UPA. We are pulling out of the UPA in totality," says the patriarch.
11:14 Karunanidhi drops the bomb: DMK pulling out of UPA:
DMK chief M Karunanidhi announces that party is pulling out of the UPA. Addressing a press conference at Chennai, Karunanidhi says the DMK has always worked for the Tamils and has been demanding a tough stance against the Sri Lankan government over war crimes against Tamils. Five ministers will be submitting their resignations shortly, announces Karunanidhi.
11:09 Mindless solidarity:
A fanatic fringe seems intent on hijacking the protest movement in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka's treatment of its Tamil citizens. With the terrorist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam no longer in the picture, large sections of the people in Tamil Nadu have begun to openly sympathise with the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Read
11:07 The DMK is set to hold a press conference in Chennai over the issue shortly.
11:05 DMK ministers likely to resign over SL Tamils issue:
TV reports suggest that DMK ministers are likely to resign over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Mounting pressure on the Centre on its demand to punish 'war criminals'
in Sri Lanka, UPA key ally DMK has threatened to pull out its
ministers from the Union Cabinet if its demand to bring in amendments to
the US-backed resolution at UNHRC in Geneva was not conceded.
find it meaningless to continue in the Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh-led Cabinet if our demand is not obliged to," party chief M
Karunanidhi has said.
11:02 Anti-rape bill to be tabled today:
The anti-rape bill or Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 which provides for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape will be tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. Barely three days after the Centre decided to fix the age of consent for sex at 16 years, main opposition parties and even the UPA's outside supporters on Monday forced the government to raise it to 18 years and also dilute other provisions of the anti-rape bill to check its misuse. Read
10:56 37 dead as bus falls into river:
Update on that bus accident in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. At least 37 people were killed and seven injured when a speeding Mumbai-bound luxury bus plunged into the Jagbudi River in Ratnagiri district in the early hours today.
The accident occurred around 3.30 am near Khed when the driver was negotiating a steep turn and lost control over the vehicle, which fell off the Jagbudi bridge from a height of about 40 ft.
The bus, which was badly damaged, was on its way back from Goa when the mishap took place.
The bodies of 37 passengers have been extricated so far and have been kept at the Khed municipal hospital, where the injured have also been admitted. The deceased have not been identified yet.
Rescue operations are still on and the bus is being retrieved from the river, which has dried up almost, police said. Following the accident, traffic on the Mumbai-Goa Highway was disrupted for nearly four hours.
10:53 China PM to India: Boundary issue should not affect relations:
China's new President Xi Jinping unveils five proposals for improving ties with India. He said that the boundary question is a complex issue and solving it will take time. China and India can find a mutually acceptable solution to the boundary issue, and pending final settlement (to the boundary issue), the two countries should maintain peace and tranquility on the border.
"China and India should prevent the boundary question from affecting overall bilateral relations," Xi said of ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Durban next week.
10:49 Sonia begins strategy meet with MPs:
The Congress Parliamentary Party meeting in Delhi comes at a time when key UPA ally DMK has hardened its stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue by slamming the Centre for its "lukewarm" response on the matter and threatened to walk out of the ruling alliance if it failed to move amendments to a US-sponsored resolution at UNHRC.
"If our demands are not met, it is doubtful whether our ties with the alliance (UPA) will continue...It won't continue is sure," DMK President M Karunanidhi said in Chennai even as he shot off letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gandhi, saying he felt "let down" by the government.
Gandhi, who is Chairperson of both CPP and UPA, will meet Congress MPs against the backdrop of the government and the party facing opposition flak over several issues including the Italian marines as also the VVIP chopper deal.
10:43 Incidentally, Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma, under attack for his remarks against Mulayam Singh Yadav, has skipped the CPP meeting.
10:41 Sonia warns Italy: Don't take India for granted :
Sonia Gandhi's first reactions on the absconding Italian marines issue. Addressing the general body meeting of
Congress Parliamentary Party -- the first such interaction with her MPs
after the start of the Budget session of Parliament last month, Sonia said that no country should take India for granted.
In the wake of the DMK threat to pull out of the UPA on Sri Lankan Tamils
problem, Sonia said the government was fully committed to the cause of Lankan Tamils and an impartial inquiry should happen into the allegations of atrocities against them.
10:13 Resolve marine standoff: UN to India, Italy:
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expects India and Italy to resolve their standoff over the marine issue constructively and in compliance with their international obligations.
"The Secretary-General hopes and expects Italy and India to resolve this matter constructively, and in compliance with their international obligations," Eduardo del Buey, deputy spokesperson for the UN chief, told reporters.
08:51 Mha: 20 feared killed as bus falls into river:
At least twenty people were feared killed when a Mumbai-bound private luxury bus plunged into a river in Ratnagiri district of coastal Konkan area early on Tuesday.
The bus fell into the Jagbudi river near Khed in Ratnagiri district at around 3.30 am, said the police.
08:50 Outrage over TV 'Satan' who looks like Obama:
History Channel's new series The Bible
has created a furore after the actor portraying Satan's role in a recent episode reportedly resembled US President Barack Obama.
The devil was played by actor Medhi Ouzaani, and the similarity could be a casting coincidence.
08:49 Rwandan war lord surrenders at US embassy in Kigali:
A Rwandan born Congolese general, wanted for war crimes in Congo, has surrendered at the US embassy in Kigali, a State Department spokesperson confirmed.
"I can confirm that this morning Bosco Ntaganda, an ICC indictee and leader of one of the M23 factions, walked into the US embassy in Kigali. He specifically asked to be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
08:43 Egypt Prez to meet Sonia, PM, Pranab:
Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, who is on a three-day visit to India, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi later in the day.
He will later attend a dinner hosted in his honour by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rahstrapati Bhavan.
08:42 UK issues travel advisory against India:
United Kingdom has issued a travel advisory against India for its citizens.
It has cautioned female tourists about visiting India in the wake of the gang-rape of a Swiss citizen in Madhya Pradesh.
08:39 Anti-rape bill to be tabled in Lok Sabha today:
The much-awaited anti-rape bill will be tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
An all-party meeting to sort out the differences among major political parties over the bill was held on Monday.
The meeting reportedly ended inconclusively.
Many parties had raised objections to lowering the age of consent from 18 to 16 years and to the clauses connected to stalking and voyeurism.
08:34 Will DMK pull out of UPA over Eelam issue?:
DMK may pull out of the ruling UPA coalition over its stand on the Sri Lankan civil war, media reports claimed on Tuesday morning.
The party may continue providing outside support to the UPA.
Senior Union ministers AK Antony, P Chidamabram and Ghulam Nabi Azad had met DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday to resolve the issue.
Karunanidhi wants Parliament to adopt a resolution which states that "genocide and war crimes had been committed and inflicted on the Eelam Tamils by the Sri Lankan army and the administrators".
03:45 Pakistan MPs demand Musharraf arrest on arrival:
Pakistani lawmakers today repeated their call for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to be arrested and tried for treason on his return home from self-imposed exile in Dubai. Musharraf has said he will return next Sunday to contest elections that are expected in May.
"I am arriving in Pakistan on March 24th. I need your support," Musharraf said on his Facebook page early today, but lawmakers demanded his immediate arrest.
Musharraf is wanted in Pakistan over the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a gun and suicide attack after an election rally in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the army, on December 27, 2007.
02:54 New Israeli government takes office:
The new Israeli coalition packed with hardliners received parliament's seal of approval today just two days ahead of a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama, with faint hopes of any revival of the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.
Knesset - the Israeli parliament - approved the new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a majority of 68 votes in favour and 48 against. Netanyahu and his 21 ministers then took their oaths of office before the house.
02:06 Iraq war 10 years later: Was it worth it?:
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq '" a war that lasted far longer and was more costly than Americans were told to expect by their military and political leaders, a war that has led to much public questioning as well as private soul-searching.
It's clear that a decade of war has led to changed attitudes.At the conclusion of the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, there was a presidential straw poll. But conservative activists also were asked about the US role in the world, and the response was clear: Only 34 percent said the United States should adopt a more muscular role; 50 percent said the US should pull back, leaving it more to allies to take care of trouble spots.
01:31 Italy says India violating diplomatic immunity:
Italy today said India was violating a convention on diplomatic immunity by preventing the Italian ambassador from leaving the country in an escalating row over the case of two Italian marines on trial for killing two Indian fishermen.
"The Supreme Court's decision to prevent our ambassador from leaving the country without the court's permission is a clear violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations," the foreign ministry said.
01:05 25 killed in northern Nigeria explosions:
At least 25 people were killed in a series of explosions targeting a bus station in northern Nigeria, witnesses said.
They said the blast occurred at a bus station in Kano city where commuters making intra-city and intercity travels come to board vehicles for their journey. Soldiers and police cordoned off the area immediately after the explosions.
00:38 US to go ahead with human rights resolution against Lanka:
The US is going ahead with its resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as the Rajapaksha government has failed to fulfill its international obligations, which it promised after the fall of the LTTE, the Obama Administration said today.
Without naming any one, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference that the US is working with a lot of governments who share its concerns about the lack of progress in Sri Lanka.
00:23 Argentina asks pope to help on Falklands dispute:
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez says she has asked Pope Francis to help defuse the long-running dispute between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands.
Fernandez told journalists after she met with the new, Argentine-born pope today at the Vatican that she has asked for his intercession to "facilitate dialogue" over the islands, which Argentina claims and calls the Malvinas.
Just last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he doesn't agree with Francis' views on the Falklands. When Francis was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had been quoted as saying that Britain "usurped" the remote islands.
00:21 Pak Parliament completing five years is truly historic: US:
The US today termed as "truly historic" Pakistan parliament's completion a full term of five years in the country's history. "The US congratulates the Pakistani parliament on the completion of its term. This is truly historic," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.
There is a period of time now where a transitional government will be formed in order to take the elections forward, she added.