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Cong resorts to Gandhigiri to pacify LBT protesters

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May 13, 2013


22:02  Bihar: Dalit woman attacked for drawing water from handpump:  A Dalit woman was injured when a man attacked her with a sharp weapon today for drawing water from a handpump in a village in Bihar's Madhubani district, police said.    

Mantorami Devi, 33, was attacked by Marhu Yadav, who was infuriated with her for drawing water from a public hand pump at Jhauwa village.
21:43  Cong resorts to Gandhigiri to pacify LBT protesters :  The ruling Congress in Maharashtra would resort to 'Gandhigiri' to reach out to traders protesting against the local body tax and remove their 'misconceptions' about the new levy.        

Party workers will personally meet the traders, who have been resorting to frequent bandhs, and explain how the new tax regime would benefit them.
21:38  New govt to help boost India-Pak eco relation: Assocham:  Industry body Assocham today said it expects the new government in Pakistan to help in enhancing trade and economic relations with India.        

The chamber said as per its report, the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan would touch over $12 billion by 2015 if Pakistan accords India with the Most Favoured Nation status.
21:37  Home guard held for rape and murder of MBA student:  An MBA student was allegedly raped and murdered by a home guard at Madanapalle, 120 km from Tirupatire, police said today.    

The first year student of a private college at Madanapalle was admitted to a government hospital under mysterious circumstances by the home guard last night. 

She died at midnight, police said, adding that the home guard was taken into custody for questioning today.
21:35  CBI court summons all accused in Jagan assets case:  A CBI special court has summoned all 13 accused, including Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, in a disproportionate assets case against YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, to appear before it on June 7.    

The court took the step after taking cognisance of the fifth charge-sheet filed by CBI in connection with the case against Jagan Mohan Reddy.
21:33  Delhi gang-rape shook nation's conscience: Prez:  The recent Delhi gang-rape shook the conscience of the nation, President Pranab Mukherjee today said and underlined the need to ponder and "reset the moral compass" of the society during this difficult time.        

"Sometimes certain events shake the national conscience.Recently the brutal rape on a young woman in Delhi shook the conscience of the whole nation and it compelled us to sit back and think where we are going," Mukherjee said.
21:15  Hyderabad police nab serial killer for murdering 8 women:  A serial killer, who had been convicted for life for murdering eight women and was on the run after escaping from a Hyderabad hospital since December 2011, was arrested today along with another person for allegedly murdering five more women for monetary gain, the police said.       

The accused Maina Ramulu alias Maina Sailu, along with B Narasimha, were arrested from a toddy shop in connection with the murder of five prostitutes in different areas of the city since April 2012, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma told reporters.
21:14  Hurriyat extends support to India, Pak on Kashmir issue :  Moderate Hurriyat Conference today said it will extend all possible support to India and Pakistan if the two countries demonstrate the political determination to resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state.        

"We are hopeful that the leadership of India and Pakistan, in the interest of the better future of the south Asian region, will demonstrate political determination to resolve the longstanding Kashmir issue. Hurriyat will extend all possible support in this meaningful exercise," the amalgam said in a statement after a joint meeting of its executive and general councils.
21:12  Moist killed in encounter, 2 security men hurt:  One Maoist ultra was killed and two security men were injured in an encounter in a forest in Jharkhand's Seraikela-Kharswan district today, said DIG, Kolhan range, A K Singh.       

The encounter took place in a forest between Kalerango and Chatnibeda villages under Naxal-affected Kuchai police station.
21:11  Sebi warns India Infoline for breaching broker norms:  Capital market regulator Sebi today accused India Infoline of having violated stock brokerage regulations with various lapses in its client dealings, but let it off with a stern warning without any monetary penalty.     

Finding India Infoline guilty of certain irregularities and deficiencies in its functioning as a stock-broker, Sebi asked the company "to be careful and cautious in the conduct of its stock-broking activity and to adhere to and comply with all the statutory provisions while carrying out its activities in the securities market".
20:12  CBI seizes documents from Rail Bhavan:  The CBI today seized files related to railways promotions and tenders the details of which have emerged in the phone calls intercepted by it in connection with bribery scandal involving former Minister Pawan Bansal's nephew and suspended Railway Board member Mahesh Kumar.

CBI sources said a team of agency visited Rail Bhavan today to collect the files on promotions and contracts which have figured in over 1,000 calls intercepted by the agency during last two months.

However, the sources refused to given specific details of the contracts and promotions which are under scrutiny of the agency as it might adversely affect their ongoing probe.
20:11  Manish Tewari, gets 'Z' security cover:  Union Minister Manish Tewari and Punjab Congress President P S Bajwa are the new entrants to the VIP security club with the Home Ministry approving 'Z' category cover to them.

Tewari, a Congress MP from Ludhiana, has been accorded the enhanced security entailing armed commandos during his movements across the country. 

Bajwa, who recently became Punjab PCC chief, will also get the same security. The ministry of home affairs, in its order issued recently, has asked paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force to ensure their protection.
19:57  More on Gopal Krishna:  
Gossip heard at the batch Lunch of 1983 batch IAS officers was focused on Krishna. Some said that he attended two of the CBI meetings on the Coal-gate scam. And that Krishna raised pertinent questions -- about Dr Manmohan Singh approvals on 126 allocations, where in three Congress MPs were the major beneficiaries. 

The officers were speculating that Krishna getting empanelled as additional secretary is a reality. But will West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee relieve Krishna, who is set to rejoin the WB cadre on May 15, 2013? 
19:50  Coal-gate: Three joint secretaries under CBI scanner:  Our Delhi correspondent says that Joint Secretaries (PMO) Shatruhan Singh, (coal) AK Bhalla and Krishna are the three IAS officers who are now under the CBI scanner on coal-gate. These three allegedly 'saved'  the PM from the coal-gate report.
19:46  Sibal has become very active in the law ministry briefings:  More from our Delhi correspondent: Insiders say that Union Minister Kapil Sibal has been very active in the law ministry briefings -- his first task was to enquire about  Gopal Krishna, a joint secretary from the West Bengal IAS cadre. 

According to sources, these are the various questions he has asked during the briefings:
  • Why was he brought for three months from the sports authority?
  • What is the close connection between Krishna and (former law minister) Ashwini Kumar?
  • Why did the prime minister agree to shift Krishna as a special consideration for three months  when he knew that his tenure with the Centre was ending on May 14, 2013.?
  • Why did Dr SIngh sign the file in February 2013? Should an IAS officer be brought for three months in the law ministry?
Sources say that Sibal has also found an internal order issued by Ashwini Kumar that policy files to him may be routed through Krishna.

Buzz is that Krishna was considered to be close to Ashwani Kumar during their tenure at the Union ministry of commerce together.

Sources informed that Krishna was wanting to 'run away' from the law ministry. The IAS officer felt the spotlight was on him once the law minister was sacked. The officer was more upset when Sibal took charge on Monday.
19:44  Two more Union ministers in serious trouble:  Our correspondent from New Delhi says: Two more Union ministers are in serious trouble -- one for having written to the authorities to help out his brother, while the other is in trouble for the allotment of huge quantities of steel to his son and nephew. Insiders say that the running joke at 24 Akbar Road (the Congress HQ) is, "Please go in for a shuffle at the prime ministerial level, not for a Cabinet one.'
19:35  A rift between the Congress and the government?:  Our Delhi correspondent says: There seems to be a serious rift between the Congress and the government, especially after Dr Manmohan Singh agreed to run for a third consecutive term.

Sources say that to cut him short the Congress has begun to pick and choose confidants of Dr Singh and started exposing them.

The first installment was the removals of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Bansal and law Minister Ashwani Kumar.

Political circles in New Delhi are full of speculation about two more Union ministers, who also happen to be close confidants of the prime minister are in the line of fire. 
19:32  Chautala case: CBI allowed to bring more witnesses:  A Delhi court today allowed CBI to bring 97 additional witnesses, missed out earlier due to "inadvertence", against INLD leader Abhay Chautala, younger son of five-time Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala facing trial a disproportionate assets (DA) case.

Special CBI Judge Manu Rai Sethi allowed the agency's plea to lead 97 additional prosecution witnesses and also 44 documents which the agency claimed could not be filed earlier on account of "inadvertence".

Allowing CBI's plea, the judge said, "In considered opinion of this Court, charge sheet cannot be deemed to be a document which cannot later on be supplemented. "In case there is any lapse on part of Investigating Officer or even of the Investigating Agency in not placing on record complete list of witnesses and documents at the initial stage, obviously, prosecution should not be made to suffer for the same..."
19:30  No grand celebrations for UPA's 10th anniversary:  A correspondent from New Delhi says:  Sources are saying that the All India Congress Committee does not want to have a grand celebration of the 10th anniversary of the United Progressive Alliance government on May 22. The reasons being quoted are that the Congress is concerned that two more scams would be exposed around that time.
19:25  Why is the prime minister 'indisposed'?:  Our correspondent from New Delhi reports: Speculation is rife in political circles that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is  indisposed and is planning to reschedule his appointments for Tuesday.  Though, no one from the the Prime Minister's Office was available to either confirm or deny the fact.
18:31  K'taka CM unveils Rs 4,409.81 crore scheme for poor:  Resurrecting the Congress rule in Karnataka after seven years, Siddaramaiah today took over as chief minister, unveiling a Rs 4,409.81 crore bonanza for the poor, SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities in his maiden act.

The 64-year-old backward class leader was sworn in by Governor H R Bhardwaj amid fanfare with thousands of his supporters in attendance at the ceremony held in the jam-packed Kanteerava Stadium, instead of the portals of state legislature building (Vidhana Soudha), state secretariat, or Raj Bhavan.

Sporting a white silk dhoti and shirt, Siddaramaiah, a self-declared atheist, was sworn in alone and he took the oath in the name of 'Truth'.

Thereafter, Siddaramaiah went into the action mode to implement the Congress poll manifesto, chairing his maiden cabinet meeting with only him in attendance as the list of ministers is yet to be finalised.
18:18  PDP welcomes move to revive Indo-Pak peace process:  The Opposition PDP today welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's latest move to revive the peace process with the newly-elected government in Pakistan and said, it offers a great opportunity for the leadership of both countries to "chart a new course" in bilateral relations. 

"We hope that election of Nawaz Sharif as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan would not only prove a stabilising factor for that country, but also pave way for scripting a new chapter in Indo-Pak ties with Jammu and Kashmir," Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said while addressing a workers' convention in Kupwara.
18:12  PM's invite to Sharif welcome and bold: Farooq Abdullah:  Union minister Farooq Abdullah today hailed the invitation extended by India to Pakistan prime minister-in-waiting Nawaz Sharif, saying that such initiatives would help the two countries come together and resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. 

"The invitiation extended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Sharif is a welcome and bold step.
17:58  Abhinav Bindra's name recommended for Bharat Ratna:  The only Indian to win an individual gold medal in Olympics, shooter Abhinav Bindra, has been recommended for the Bharat Ratna -- the country's highest civilian honour -- by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI). 

On August 11, 2008, the 30-year-old reserved marksman from Zirakpur, Punjab scripted history when he shot an incredible 700.5 to clinch the yellow metal in the Beijing Olympic Games.
17:57  CPI(M) to launch agitation in Gujarat:  Communist Party of India(Marxist) has decided to launch a week-long agitation from May 23 in Gujarat to highlight the problems of drinking water, commercialisation of education and health among others. 

"In Gujarat, people in more than 10,000 villages and 43 cities are facing acute shortage of drinking water. We are launching a week-long agitation from May 23 during which scores of party workers will stage dharna, demonstrations and will court arrests en masse," CPM Gujarat secretary Arun Mehta told reporters here today.
17:46  Report of the expert committee on National Food Security Bill:  Read the report of the expert committee on National Food Security Bill here
17:33  Suspected Hizbul militant Liyaqat Shah seeks bail:  Suspected Hizbul militant Liyaqat Shah today approached a special NIA court here seeking bail in a case of alleged conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in Delhi, claiming that no concrete evidence had been found against him during probe. 

Forty five-year-old Shah, who was arrested by the special cell of Delhi Police on March 20, moved the bail application during an in-chamber hearing before District Judge I S Mehta who posted it for hearing on May 15, court sources said. Shah was produced before the court after expiry of his judicial custody and the court extended it till May 18, they said.
17:26  Bangladesh to end search for building collapse victims:  Authorities in Bangladesh say they are preparing to end the search for victims of a building collapse that killed 1,127 people last month.

An army general said troops will complete the search by Tuesday, after weeks of combing through rubble for survivors and the bodies of victims.

On Friday, emergency workers rescued a woman who survived 17 days buried in the rubble of the garment factory complex. Emergency workers had earlier given up hope they would find any more survivors.
17:22  Bar Council of India has become ineffective: SC:  The Supreme Court today questioned the Bar Council of India for not taking action against erring lawyers, saying it has become "ineffective" and courts become victims because of such legal practitioners.

"Bar Council has become ineffective. No action is taken against erring lawyers and we have to suffer. We are actually the victim and lawyers are making money," a bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.
17:19  Multi-storey building shifted by 50 feet:  Haryana-based TDBD Engineering Works, house lifting and shifting service providers today said it has successfully shifted a two-storeyed building in the city by 50 feet, claimed to the first of its kind in the country. 

Though the company has shifted more than 300 buildings in the last few years, this was the first time a multi-storeyed building, with first floor, weighing 400 tonnes, being shifted, Sushil Sisodia, Managing Director, TDBD, told reporters at the site.
17:12  Digvijaya takes on SC, says govt accountable to the people alone:   Scorched by the Supreme Court's scathing indictment of the government for shackling the CBI, a belligerent Congress has dared the nation's highest court to come clean. 

In an explosive interview to Rahul Kanwal in Aaj Tak's Seedhi Baat programme, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has said the apex court cannot get away by just making stinging observations. 

"If the Supreme Court feels the heart of the Coalgate report was changed by the law minister, then it should pass a judicial order. Observations do not fix responsibility and the apex court cannot get away like this," said Singh.

Read more
17:00  Cabinet formation in two-three days, says Siddaramaiah:  Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said Ministers would be inducted into his Cabinet by Friday even as he acknowledged that it's a difficult exercise. 

Addressing a press conference after the maiden Cabinet meeting, minutes after he was sworn in Chief Minister, he said he would be leaving for New Delhi tomorrow or the day after to hold discussions with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in this regard.
16:41  Cheers as Afghan minister outs 'corrupt' MPs:  Afghanistan's finance minister today named in parliament several lawmakers whom he said were guilty of corruption, triggering wild cheering and applause during a televised session of the lower house. 

Corruption is one of the key challenges facing Afghanistan as it tries to establish a functioning state system before US-led combat troops exit next year, and the government is often accused of failing to tackle the issue.
16:36  Midwives in Ireland warn of another Savita tragedy:  Midwives and nurses in Ireland have warned that staff shortages at maternity units in the country could lead to a repeat of system failures that were blamed for Savita Halappanavar's death. 

The 31-year-old dentist had died at Galway University Hospital on October 28, 2012, after a miscarriage at 17 weeks. An inquest into her death last month was told how the medical team missed the early signs of blood poisoning that eventually killed her.
16:35  Will invite PM Singh to my oath-taking ceremony: Nawaz :  PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif today said he will invite Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan for his oath-taking ceremony as the new Premier.

Sharif invited Singh to Pakistan today, Express News reported adding he said he would also invite Singh to his oath-taking ceremony. Nawaz has already indicated his desire to normalise "roller-coaster" ties with India.
15:55  Mumbai housing prices appreciate by 66 pc in 4 yrs:  

Housing prices have increased by an average 66 per cent in Mumbai over the last four years on account of steady demand and rising input cost, according to property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle.   The increase has been even higher at 70 per cent in Thane and 74 per cent in Navi Mumbai.        

 

"The cumulative price escalation figures for Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai represent the highest among all cities in India," JLL India Managing Director (West) Ramesh Nair said in a statement.        

 

Gurgaon and Bangalore saw price appreciation of 52 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively, during this period. "Residential property prices in Mumbai have increased steadily after the correction seen post the Lehman debacle. In the period from the second quarter of 2009 to the same quarter in 2013, residential real estate prices in Mumbai have increased by 66 per cent," Nair said. 

 

On reasons for price rise, Nair noted that the demand for investment residential properties and end-user homes in the country's financial capital has remained stable.

15:41  BCCI gets Pak, SL's backing over Siva's appointment:  

Even as the controversy over Laxman Sivaramakrishnan's appointment to the ICC Cricket Committee raged on, the BCCI today received support from its Asian allies Sri Lanka and Pakistan who claimed allegations of the Indian Cricket Board forcing a re-vote were baseless.     

 

The furore over the appointment seemed to have created a rift in the cricket world with the Asian countries throwing their weight behind BCCI, which is apparently unhappy with all the noises being made over the former leg-spinner's appointment to the current player's committee.    

 

There were reports earlier today that a miffed India was threatening to pull out of the upcoming Champions Trophy to be held in England in June. However, when contacted, a top BCCI official denied such a move. "There is no question of pulling out of the Champions Trophy," the top BCCI official told PTI.

15:35  Yemen military jet crashes in Sanaa :  

Al Jazeera: A Russian-made Yemeni military jet has crashed into a residential district of the capital Sanaa killing the pilot, an army official told AFP news agency. The Sukhoi on Monday crashed into "Al-Asbahi residential district in southern Sanaa," the official said.

 

The official did not provide further details. The accident is the second of its kind in the capital this year after 12 people died in February when another military aircraft ploughed into a building in a residential area.

 

That plane had also been identified as a Sukhoi SU-22 attack aircraft, and had been on a training mission. An air base is located near the Sanaa international airport, just 15 kilometres (nine miles) north of the capital.

15:09  New Chinese PM to visit Pakistan next week:  

China's new Premier Li Keqiang will visit Pakistan next week, allowing the two 'all-weather' allies to give further impetus to their strategic ties. Li's two-day visit from May 22-23 comes at the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari. It will be Li's first visit to Pakistan after becoming premier and comes at a time when the country has held its landmark general elections.      


"A warm welcome awaits him," Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said in a brief statement. The visit will provide the Chinese premier an opportunity to meet the new leadership in Pakistan, he said.        

 

"The visit also provides further impetus to our strategic relations. These friendly ties and the friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy," Chaudhry said.

14:38  Medical mess continues: Publish results, says SC:  The Supreme Court has lifted bar on declaring results for MBBS, medical post graduate courses for which exams were conducted this academic year.  Private colleges have moved the apex court against Medical Council of India's decision to hold common entrance for MBBS, dental and PG courses.
14:18  So how big is India's middle class?:  India Ink, the New York Times's blog on India, has started a week-long series on India's vaunted middle class, comparing the myth to reality.   

The blog points out: Only a quarter of India's 1.2 billion people can be defined as "middle class' according to standards set by the Asian Development Bank. 

They are all in the top third, by wealth, of Indian society, but in absolute numbers they are about as big as the entire American population. 

It then goes on to warn of structural weaknesses in India growth cycle that sets so much store by the middle classes.

For one, four out of five middle-class Indians are in the lowest bracket of spending power, meaning they can spend $2 to $4 a day, says India Ink.   For another, the base of high-spending middle-class consumers is still small. The "middle middle' (spending $4 to $10 a day) and the "upper middle' (spending $10 to $20 a day) together make up just over 50 million people. 

Then, of course, entrepreneurial middle class is still not strong enough for a country of India's size. The middle class still prefers to do jobs rather than create jobs; starting up companies is still not the normal middle-class thing to do.  

You can read the interesting blog post here.
14:15  Bhaderwah shook by fresh tremors:  

Fresh tremors of moderate intensity today shook Bhaderwah valley and adjoining areas in Jammu and Kashmir, prompting authorities to close down schools again.        

 

Tremors measuring 4.1, 3 and 3.7 on the Richter scale shook Baderwah valley and adjoining areas at 12:01 pm, 8:42 and 9:41 am respectively, Met officials said.        

 

There was no immediate report of any casualty or injury, but the tremors triggered fresh panic among people, who rushed out of their houses. Met officials said the epicentre is Bhaderwah. Schools, which had reopened after 12 days of closure due to quake, were again closed today and students were sent back home, officials said.

14:13  Jaya warns of banning parties indulging in violence:  

In a stern warning to PMK, whose party leader S Ramadoss' recent arrest triggered violence, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today likened it to a "terrorist" organisation and said any political party that harmed law and order and public peace would be banned.        

 

Slamming PMK for the violence, she told the state assembly that steps would be taken to claim damages from it for the losses caused to public and private property, which she said, were running into several hundred crores of rupees. PMK workers had damaged 850 vehicles, including government buses, she said.

13:49  CBI to question Pawan Bansal?:  The Central Bureau of Investigation is likely to question former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal this week, sources tell Times Now. The TV channel reports that CBI has already questioned two railway vigilance officials in connection with the same.
13:40  Fears grow over deadly new virus:  

The World Health Organization says it appears likely that the novel coronavirus (NCoV) can be passed between people in close contact. This comes after the French health ministry confirmed a second man had contracted the virus in a possible case of human-to-human transmission.

 

Two more people in Saudi Arabia are also reported to have died from the virus, according to health officials. NCoV is known to cause pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.

 

Read the full report on BBC

13:33  Cong woker dies in Siddaramaiahs swearing-in:  A Congress worker died because of a heart attack while attending Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah's swearing-in ceremony at Bangalore's Sri Kanteerava Stadium on Monday.
13:11  Bill Gates gets emotional about late Steve Jobs:  

Bill Gates got emotional when CBS 60 Minutes Interviewer Charlie Rose asked him about his long time business rival, the late Steve Jobs.  

 

Gates described his last conversation with Jobs when the latter was sick, as "forward-looking'. He described that during his last meeting with Jobs, the latter showed him the boat he was working on and was looking forward to being on it, which they both knew could not happen due to Jobs' deteriorating health.  

 

Gates said he and Jobs in a sense grew up together, being naively optimistic, creating new products and achieving all of it mostly as rivals. Gates said that respect and communication was never overlooked when it came to Jobs.

13:09  Sharif vows better relations with US, India:  

Nawaz Sharif, poised for a record third term as Pakistan Prime Minister after his party's emphatic win in the landmark general elections, has vowed to pursue better relations with the US while seeking "warmer ties" with India.        

In an interview to The Wall Street Journal after the impressive victory of Pakistan Muslim League-N in the polls, Sharif recalled that his country's relationship with the US was quite good when he was in power.        

 

"I'd like to take this relationship further. We need to strengthen the relationship," said 63-year-old Sharif, who has held the top position twice in the past. "The US may wish to re-examine its drone campaign or risk stoking the anti-Americanism that feeds Pakistani public anger," Nawaz said, referring to the strong opposition to the controversial drone strikes by the CIA inside Pakistan.        

 

Responding to questions on the drone strikes, Sharif said he would discuss these issues of concerns with the US leadership.

12:26  Kapil Sibal takes additional charge of law ministry:  

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday took additional charge of the law and justice ministry.    "I want to thank Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi for assigning me this job as additional charge. We have almost a year to go till the next Lok Sabha election. So, in this short time of one year or less, I would do my best to carry out the responsibility assigned to me,' Sibal told media after taking charge.    

 

In a swift and decisive move, the Congress party dropped both Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Union Cabinet in view of the charges of corruption and impropriety surrounding the duo.

12:05  PML-N will revisit foreign policy: Sharif's aide:  

The PML-N, which is set to form government in Pakistan, will revisit the foreign policy -- including all "covert and overt" agreements with the US -- while ties with India will be picked up from where they were left off in 1999, according to a media report today.        

 

The focus of PML-N's foreign policy will be on safeguarding the "supreme national interest", an unnamed close aide of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who advises him on foreign policy, was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.        

 

"It may sound cliched but we mean it," the aide said. Referring to relations with India, the aide said two-time former premier Sharif would pick up from where he left off in 1999, when then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Lahore.        

 

Asked if the PML-N would renegotiate current terms of engagement with the US, including a deal to facilitate the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the aide said, "We will look into all such arrangements to find out whether they conform to the country's national interest." The PML-N would not seek a "divorce" with the US, he said.

11:50  Siddaramaiah sworn-in as Karnataka chief minister:  

K Siddaramaiah has been sworn-in as the 22nd chief minister of Karnataka at Bangalore's Kanteerva stadium. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor H R Bharadwaj.

 

A large number of Congress supporters had gathered at the stadium to attend Siddaramaiah's swearing-in ceremony.

 

 

11:24  Aarushi murder case: Setback to Talwars:  

The Supreme Court refused to entertain Talwars' plea for summoning 14 additional witnesses in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case trial.  The apex court took strong exception to Talwars moving apex court against trial court's order and directs them to approach Allahabad HC. 

 

The CBI had told the court that teenager Aarushi was killed by her parents. Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj were found dead in 2008.

11:21  One killed, two injured in fire at Dombivili factory:  

One person was charred to death and two others sustained serious burn injuries in a fire at an industrial unit in Dombivili township of Thane district this morning. The fire broke out in a hair dye manufacturing unit of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation estate at Manpada in Dombivili at around 6 am and spread in the plant leaving one person dead.        

 

Fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames even as concerned officials of MIDC and police rushed to the spot to supervise fire fighting operations. The cause of the blaze was yet to be ascertained, fire brigade sources said. The body of the deceased, yet to be identified, was sent for postmortem.  

10:56  Army chopper crash lands in Siachen:  A helicopter of the Indian Army made an emergency landing in the Siachen sector after developing a technical snag. The pilot is reported to be safe.
 
The chopper was on a routine maintenance sortie when it developed a snag. 
10:23  'BJP demanded PM's resignation 180 times in nine years':  

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla has criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for frequently demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  

 

Talking to media in New Delhi yesterday, Shukla said that BJP has demanded resignation from the Prime Minister 180 times since 2004.   "If they were obliged then the country by now could have seen 180 prime ministers in just nine years," he added.  

 

He further said that the BJP's only aim is to disrupt the Parliament proceedings and the party should learn from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who became popular in the country because of his speeches instead of creating ruckus in the House.

10:21  President Mukherjee to visit Assam today:  

President Pranab Mukherjee will undertake a three-day visit to Assam and Nagaland from today.   In Assam, Mukherjee will present the Asom Ratna Award to Mamoni Raisom Goswami (posthumously) and Srimanta Shankardev Award for the year 2008 to Sharmila Tagore at Guwahati on Monday.  

 

On the same day, he will attend the closing Ceremony of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Pandu College at Guwahati.   On May 14, he will attend the annual convocation of Assam University at Silchar.   In Nagaland, the President will attend the third convocation of Nagaland University at Lumami on May 15.

09:57  WB: Four children among five struck dead by lightning:  

Five persons, including four children, died after being hit by lightning during a thundershower at Chancold in Malda district, the police said Monday.   Four children -- Bittu Saha (10), Joyprakash Singha (11), Md Hossain (11) and Mumpy Khatun (13) -- were killed by lightning at Harishchandrapur village when they went to pick mangoes during a thundershower last night.        

 

In a separate incident, one farmer died after being struck by lightning when he was returning from field at Kushal village.

09:51  Sensex down 71 points in early trade:  

The BSE benchmark Sensex declined by over 71 points in early trade today, as funds and retail investors booked profits amid a mixed trend in Asian markets.         The 30-share barometer fell by 71.11 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 20,051.21 The index had gained 183.28 points in the previous two sessions.        

 

Stocks of FMCG, capital goods, metal, auto, IT and realty sectors declined due to profit-booking. Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 25.40 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 6,081.85        

 

Brokers said selling by funds amid mixed trend on other Asian bourses mainly influenced the trading sentiment. They said Asian shares eased today with sentiment hit by selling in commodities triggered by a strong dollar, which rose to a fresh four-and-a-half-year peak against the yen on the back of growing confidence in the US economy.        

 

In the Asian region, Japan's Nikkei Index was up 1.63 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.82 per cent in early trade.  

09:06  Turkey blames 'inaction' on Syria for attacks:  

Turkey's foreign minister has blamed the world's inaction on the Syrian conflict for the "barbarian act of terrorism" that claimed dozens of lives near the border. Ahmet Davutoglu's comments in Berlin came a day after a twin bombing in the small town of Reyhanli, in the southern Turkish province of Hatay bordering Syria, that left at least 46 people dead and 100 others wounded.  

 

They also followed a vigorous denial by Syria of any links to Saturday's blasts - the deadliest incident on Turkish soil since the Syrian conflict began.

 

Read the full report on Al Jazeera

09:04  Pakistan election: Why voters backed Nawaz Sharif:  

Nawaz Sharif has established himself as the most successful politician in Pakistan's history. It's not just that he has won an unprecedented third term as prime minister. He has also survived sustained corruption allegations, periods of deep unpopularity, imprisonment, exile and being thrown out of power in a military coup.

 

The last time he lived in Prime Minster's House, in the late 1990s, his main objective was to see off anyone who challenged his authority. Frustrated by opposition in the parliament, he tried to pass a constitutional amendment that would have enabled him to enforce Sharia law.

 

He also confronted other power centres - a mob of his supporters ransacked the Supreme Court and he tried to rein in Pakistan's powerful military. It was his decision to sack two army chiefs in rapid succession that led to General Musharraf's military takeover.

 

Read the full analysis on BBC

08:46  Modi tears apart UPA at US video conferencing:  

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday addressed the Indian diaspora in the US via video conferencing. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's address comes on the occasion of 53rd Gujarat Day.

 

Taking a swipe at the UPA and the recent scams, Modi lashed out saying that the misgovernance of some individuals at the top have broken trust of 120 crore Indians and that it was time to re-establish that 'trust'. "The biggest problem confronting India is lack of trust. We need to re-establish the trust. Even coal has not been spared, what else is left?," the BJP leader said.

 

Read the full report on CNN IBN

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