22:45 Technology helps Pakistan to 'fairest' polls:
It was targeted by the Taliban, women and minorities were vastly under-represented, and videos of irregularities went viral online -- yet Pakistan's 2013 election may still have been its fairest ever.
A much improved voter roll, near-record turnout, and vigilant citizens tweeting alleged rigging all played their part in what former Norwegian PM and election observer Kjell Magne Bondevik called "a credible expression of the will of the people".
Violence in the run-up to polls and on election day itself killed more than 150 people, according to an AFP tally, as the Taliban set their sights in particular on secular parties that made up the outgoing government.
But despite the threat, nearly 60 per cent of the country's registered 86 million voters went to the polls, moving Pakistani columnist Murtaza Haider to hail his country as "the world's bravest democracy".
"The results of May 11 elections prove once again that if given the opportunity, Pakistani masses would embrace democracy against the religious orthodoxy," he wrote in Dawn, one of the country's leading English language newspapers.
21:48 Blackbuck case: HC rejects revision petition against Salman:
A revision petition against actor Salman Khan in the 14-year-old blackbuck poaching case, seeking additional charges against him under the Arms Act, was today rejected by the Rajasthan high court.
The court observed that the petition of the Rajasthan government has been pending for a long time and "that there was no point in carrying it further," government counsel Mahipal Bishnoi said.
21:45 Two aides of Janardhana Reddy held:
Two aides of former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy were nabbed by CBI sleuths today in connection with their alleged involvement in the iron ore export scam, CBI sources said.
The two associates, Murali, 35, and Shrinivas Reddy, 28, were arrested by a five-member CBI team, taking the total number of those arrested in this connection to eight.
21:44 Cabinet likely to take up creamy layer criteria issue :
The Union Cabinet is expected to decide on Thursday on the revision of the criteria to distinguish the creamy layer from the Other Backward Caste communities.
A proposal in this regard is expected to come up for discussion. The proposal says families with an annual income of Rs 6 lakh or more should be removed from the list of beneficiaries of the creamy layer, sources said today.
20:51 Not happy with law and order situation in Delhi: CM:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today called on Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and is understood to have discussed the law and order situation in the city.
Sources said Dikshit expressed unhappiness over the prevailing law and order situation and specifically drew his attention towards rising cases of crime.
20:44 UK girl's death: Punjab Cong demands judicial probe:
The Punjab Congress today demanded a judicial probe into the "mysterious" death of an eight-year-old British Sikh girl on April 2 at Khanna in Ludhiana district.
"The mysterious death/murder of Gurkiran Kaur, a UK national at a Ludhiana clinic on April 2, brings to fore the crumbled, shattered and very medieval type obsolete medical health care system of Punjab," Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
20:43 Plan Panel approves Rs 34,000 cr plan size for Bihar :
The Planning Commission today approved Rs 34,000 crore annual plan size for Bihar in the current fiscal, up 21.4 per cent from a year ago.
The plan size for the state was decided in a meeting between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"Bihar's performance in the 11th plan was very good. It is a low income state but has a very high growth rate. We have reviewed all the different sectors of the economy. We agreed on an annual size of Rs 34,000 crore for the year 2013-14, that is an increase of about 21.4 per cent," Ahluwalia told reporters after the meeting.
20:41 Lokayukta notice against Delhi CM:
The Delhi Lokayukta today issued show-cause notices to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami and six other MLAs, taking objection to putting up of hoardings and banners, allegedly in violation of law.
The Lokayukta asked the legislators to file their replies by July 22 while observing that enforcement agencies were reluctant to take action against the "powerful and mighty".
The notices by Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin came in response to a petition filed by S K Saxena seeking action against public functionaries who put up hoardings and posters without taking permission from concerned authorities.
19:33 Tewari cautions Congress workers against backstabbing:
Lashing out at the SAD-BJP coalition government in the state for its alleged all round failure, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today cautioned party workers against backstabbing by some of its own people.
Addressing a series of public rallies in support of party candidates contesting Block Samiti and Zilla Parishad elections in Jagaraon Assembly segment here, Tewari said despite best efforts of party workers, Congress candidate from Jagaraon Isher Singh Meharban lost by just about two hundred votes as some people from within the party worked against him.
"Had it not been internal sabotage, the situation in Punjab would be different," he regretted while referring to the alleged poor law and order situation, shattered economy,widespread unemployment and rampant drug peddling and addiction prevailing in Punjab under the Akali regime.
18:48 CPI(M) demands medical bulletin of key accused in Saradha scam:
CPI(M) today demanded the West Bengal government to issue medical reports of Sudipta Sen, the key accused in the ponzy scheme scam, currently in police custody and claimed that he had already made some 'startling disclosures' in the case.
"Many heads may roll if he (Sudipta Sen) makes further disclosures in his statement to the police. The government should issue medical bulletin about his health in the interest of fair investigations," CPI(M) Politburo member and opposition leader in state assembly Suryakanta Mishra told reporters.
Sen had a medical check-up in a state-run hospital recently. Demanding security of all those arrested in the Saradha chitfund scam and were now in police custody, Mishra alleged that more Trinamool Congress leaders may be found involved in the scam if Sen speaks further and makes more disclosures.
18:36 Shinde says "NO" to Army's plan to control ITBP:
The plans of the Army for controlling Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the frontier with China, was rejected by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who said today there will be no change in the command.
"ITBP home department ke paas hee rahegi" (ITBP will stay with the Home Ministry only)," was the reply of the Home Minister during a press conference.
He was replying to various questions including one on proposed handing over the operational command of ITBP to the Army's Leh-based 14 Corps which oversees the country's frontier with China and Pakistan in Ladkah division of Jammu and Kashmir.
18:07 Raja Bhaiyya may be booked for conspiracy to murder cop :
Former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya may be booked for conspiracy to murder in the killing of DSP Ziaul Haque. The CBI says Raja Bhaiyya's call records show he knew what happened when the DSP was killed. CBI says it is not possible for the crime to have been committed without Raja Bhaiyya's knowledge or without his support.
This morning, the former ministers arrived at the CBI headquarters for questioning about his alleged role in providing shelter to his driver Sanjay Pratap Singh alias Guddu Singh who is lodged in jail in the Balipur pradhan Nanhey Yadav's murder case, sources said. He was also questioned regarding slain DSP Ziaul Haque's wife Praveen Azad's allegation that her husband was murdered at Raja Bhaiya's behest.
17:57 BJP's loss in Karnataka is a wake up call: Rudy:
BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy today said losing elections in Karnataka was a "wake up call" for the party and claimed it will put up a strong performance in the coming Assembly elections in other states.
"We accept the party's loss in Karnataka Assembly elections due to our mistakes. It was a major wake up call for us. From here, we are confident to register a strong presence in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi elections and after that in country (general elections)," Rudy said at BJP's headquarters Ekatm Parisar.
"BJP is the sole alternative to Congress for the people in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and no Third Front exists in the country now, the 51-year-old Rajya Sabha MP said. "People of the country see BJP as a sole alternative to Congress in coming general elections. It is quite clear that after the Left's defeat in West Bengal and Kerala, there is no alternative...," he said.
17:47 India on way back to Olympic fold after successful Lausanne talks:
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday agreed to have fresh elections and hold another Annual General Meeting (AGM) within a month to select their representatives, paving the way for its return to the Olympic fold after a ban was imposed on it last year.
The agreement was reached at a crucial meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, with a focus on drawing a road map for India's return to the Olympic fold. Most of the IOA delegates left for Lausanne on Monday for the May 15 meeting.
IOA Acting President V K Malhotra and IOC Member in India, Randhir Singh, boycotted the meeting, after the IOC agreed to include Hockey India General Secretary Narinder Batra and Jharkhand Olympic Association R K Anand in the IOA delegation for the meeting in addition to the four-member list submitted earlier.
The meeting was attended by Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, Sports Secretary P K Deb, Beijing Olympics gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and Olympian sailor Malav Shroff. Earlier, Tarlochan Singh, one of the IOA delegates, had said that he was hopeful for a positive result as the objective of undertaking the trip to Lausanne was to remove all misgivings and wrong perceptions that the IOC has about the IOA. He said the aim was to get the ban lifted and revive Indian sports.
The joint meeting was held from 9 am to 12 noon local time. It was followed by the Indian delegation calling on IOC President Jacques Rogge.
17:38 Cabinet will have people with clean image: Siddaramaiah:
With the BJP's debacle in Karnataka following corruption charges clearly on his mind, new Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said he will have people with clean image in his Cabinet to be formed in a couple of days.
Siddaramaiah (64), who took over as the Chief Minister on May 13, reached Delhi this afternoon and will hold consultation with central leadership on the composition of his Cabinet.
"Right now I cannot comment on any issue. I will be forming the Cabinet within 2-3 days with people having clean image," he said.
He will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Siddaramaiah was chosen the Congress Legislature Party leader on Saturday after he upstaged party warhorse Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge for the coveted post.
Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief G Parameshwara had led the Congress battle against BJP in the May five assembly polls, which paid rich dividends as the party riding on anti- incumbency put up an impressive show winning 121 seats, eight more than the required strength in the 224-member House.
17:32 People underestimate value of newspapers: UPSC topper :
When Debasweta Banik applied to take one of the toughest exams in the country, she didn't reach for textbooks or attend coaching classes. Instead she turned to her favorite pastime -- reading the newspapers.
"I quoted out of editorials in my answers," said 22-year-old Banik. "They were my Bible." And her preparation method paid off. This month she became one of the youngest to pass the exams for the Indian civil service. Read
Meet the Upwardly Mobile Middle-Class Indian. Read
17:23 Should India provide direct military aid to Afghanistan?:
Over the past decade, India has invested heavily in Afghanistan's reconstruction. Recognizing India's significant economic and development contributions, the United States has called on New Delhi to play an important role in the new Silk Road initiative aimed at transforming Afghanistan into a regional trade hub. Read more
17:14 'Our daughter was murdered for her organs' :
The family of a British schoolgirl who died at a doctors' clinic in India fear she could have been 'murdered' by medics intent on harvesting her organs.Gurkiren Kaur Loyal's parents took her to see doctors in the Punjab when she began suffering from dehydration 11 days into her first foreign holiday. Her father, Santokh Ghatoara, and mother, Amritpal Kaur Loyal, claim that their eight-year-old daughter was 'fine' until she was given a mystery injection. Read more
17:06 Prisoners on hunger strike in Pak jail where Sarabjit died:
Over 1,400 prisoners went on hunger strike at Kot Lakhpat Jail today where Indian national Sarabjit Singh was killed, to protest the hostile attitude of the prison staff.
The prisoners refused to have breakfast or lunch, sources said. Senior jail officials were trying to persuade them to end the strike. Jail superintendent Kamran Anjum, however, denied that prisoners had gone on strike.
"Some prisoners have complained about some issues but they did not go on strike," a spokesman of the jail said. The striking prisoners complained that the staff woke them up at 3.30 am and lined them up to go to a factory within the jail. They further complained that the food served to them was of poor quality. The jail became infamous after several prisoners assaulted Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh last month.
After remaining comatose for almost a week, Sarabjit succumbed to his injuries on May 1. After the killing of Sarabjit, authorities at the jail separated hardened criminals from other prisoners.
Earlier in January, another Indian prisoner in the same jail, Chamel Singh, died after allegedly being assaulted by prison staff. The jail has more than 30 Indian prisoners. It could not immediately be ascertained if any of the Indian inmates had joined the hunger strike.
16:31 Why the Olympic ban is hurting Indian athletes:
Indian sports officials meet with the International Olympic Committee Wednesday to negotiate readmission to the Olympic family after being suspended late last year for violating the Olympic Charter. Read
16:23 Chidambaram leaves for 3 nation tour to woo investors:
In a bid to sell India story and lure overseas investments, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today embarked on a three-nation tour to UK, France and Qatar. During the 5-day tour, Chidambaram will hold a meeting with his UK counterpart George Osborne and address investor conferences. He will also hold meetings with leading UK investors.
16:21 Sanjay Dutt life threat: Arthur Road jail gets anonymous letter :
Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail receives an anonymous letter about a threat to actor Sanjay Dutt's life. Jail authorities say they will provide adequate security to Dutt.
Sanjay Dutt is expected to surrender at the TADA court tomorrow. The actor withdrew his plea to surrender at the Pune jail. Dutt, convicted in the 1993 bomb blasts case, told a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities court yesterday, that he was facing threat to life from fundamentalist groups and hence should be allowed to surrender before the Yerwada jail instead of the special court on Mumbai.
15:51 Nitish on Lalu: Won't speak on someone who talks all the time:
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today dubbed Lalu Prasad as a man who speaks too much, days after the RJD chief called him a "parrot" of RSS and BJP.
"Lalu is badbola (one who speaks too much). We don't comment on people who speak too much. There are some people, who are in the habit of speaking something or the other all the time. I don't reply to them," Kumar said.
He was responding to a question about Prasad's comments in Patna a few days back in which the former Chief Minister had dismissed Kumar's posturing against Narendra Modi and dubbed him as a parrot of RSS and BJP. The Bihar Chief Minister is here to discuss the annual state plan with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Alhuwalia.
15:42 Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi was not permitted to address Congress workers in Bikaner, Rajasthan and the Prime Minister's motorcade had to take an an alternate route in Assam where he went to file his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha today.
Air India: Emergency Landing and End to Free Food. Read
15:29 Delhi gang rape: One accused critical, hospitalised :
A defendant in the trial over the fatal gang rape on a bus in Delhi last December is in a "very critical" condition in hospital after being attacked by fellow prisoners, his lawyer said, reports AAP.
Vinay Sharma, 20, was rushed to the state-run Lok Nayak Hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday after he started vomiting blood, defence lawyer A. P. Singh said on Wednesday. "He was vomiting blood and running very high fever. He was also suffering from chest pains. He is in a very critical condition," Singh said.
15:00 RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav introduced his son Tejaswani to politics in Patna Patna today. The rally was attended by thousands. It is believed Lalu thinks the Congress is ditching him and crossing over to Nitish Kumar. Lalu was heard abusing NK Singh, a former Revenue Secretary, saying, "officer kya rajneeti karega? Airconditioned-wala IAS officer hai."
14:50 The Rajasthan BJP is in deep trouble with the CBI slapping a case against Gulab Chand Khataria. Sources believe that the Congress is using the CBI to to make Kataria another Yedurrappa.
The CBI booked senior BJP leader from Rajasthan Gulab Chand Kataria
and three others for murder charges in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter
killing case. Kataria is the second high profile politician to be named
in the alleged fake encounter case after former Gujarat Home Minister
Amit Shah, considered close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
14:33 Why the Cong protests against BJP are worrying Cong ministers:
Our Delhi sources tell us that the Congress protests in front of the BJP headquarters in Delhi demonstrating against the BJP's demands for the PM to quit has some Congress ministers worried.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath who is Netherlands, Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who is in Delhi and KV Thomas who is in Kerala want the Food Security Bill and Land Form Bill passed, which cannot be done with support from the BJP.
14:12 Sheila Dikshit haazir ho! CM in court in 'crude language' case:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today appeared in a court in Delhi, which reserved its order for July 1 on framing charges against BJP leader Vijender Gupta in a criminal defamation complaint filed by her.
Dikshit arrived in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal, who took up the matter only after Gupta came in. The court told Dikshit's counsel that she can leave after marking per presence in the court but it was opposed by Gupta's counsel who said the Chief Minister should wait and the magistrate should take up the matter as per the sequence of the cause list.
The court reserved its order on whether charges are to be framed against Gupta, after hearing arguments from the counsel for Dikshit and Gupta.
"Come on July 1 for an order or for clarification, if needed," the magistrate said. During the over 30 minutes long hearing, Dikshit kept standing beside her advocate Mehmood Pracha. Earlier, Dikshit had appeared in the court on May 30 last year for recording her statement, after which Gupta was summoned as an accused in the case.
Dikshit had filed the criminal defamation case against Gupta alleging that the BJP leader used "uncivilised" language against her in the run up to the MCD polls last year. During the arguments, Pracha said Gupta was claiming that the statement given by him against Dikshit at a public place was not made by him, which is "completely false".
13:54 Brad Pitt calls Angelina heroic for undergoing mastectomy:
Brad Pitt called his fiancee Angelina Jolie "heroic" for electing to get a preventative double mastectomy in order to lower her risk of getting cancer and be healthy for her family. Jolie revealed in a New York Times op-ed Monday that last month she finished medical procedures for a double mastectomy -- a surgery she decided to get after discovering that she has a "faulty" gene, BRCA1.
Mutations of this gene could lead to higher risks of cancer. Jolie said she had an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and 50 percent of developing ovarian cancer. Now her risk has dropped below 5 percent. Read more
13:49 UP Govt to challenge Varun Gandhi in hate speech, vandalism case:
The Uttar Pradesh Government has decided to challenge a Pilibhit court''s order that acquitted BJP leader Varun Gandhi in two hate speech cases and one vandalism case.
Inspector General of Police for a Special Task Force Ashish Gupta said, "there were two cases of hate speech against Varun lodged during Lok Sabha elections in 2009, whereas another case of vandalism was filed in the same year.
Among hate speech cases, one was lodged at the Kotwali police station in Pilibhit, while another was filed at Bharkhera of the same district. In the cases related to hate speech, Varun was acquitted by the court of chief judicial magistrate on February 27 and March 5.
In the case relating to vandalism, he was discharged on May 3 by the sessions court."
Meanwhile, Varun, after becoming the general secretary, has organised a political rally in Bareilly and taken the battle close to Rahul Gandhi''s bastion Amethi with a rally held at Sultanpur which shares a boundary with Amethi.
13:22 Delhi HC to hear Sajjan plea in anti-Sikh riots case:
The Delhi high court on Wednesday will deliver its verdict on an application filed by Congress leader Sajjan Kumar seeking the quashing of all charges against him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
This comes close on the heels of Kumar's acquittal of all charges in another case related to the same riots.
There were three cases against Kumar in the riots case, of which he was acquitted in one on April 30 while in the other Delhi Police filed a closure report, saying there was no evidence to implicate him.
There were protests from various quarters after Kumar, a former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Delhi, was cleared of involvement in the killing of Sikhs in the November 1984 massacre in Delhi. However, five others were convicted in the same case.
One protester hurled a shoe at the judge soon after he acquitted Kumar in the case of the riots that broke out 29 years ago on October 31, 1984, after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
12:55 SC to hear plea against govt action for online comments:
The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea seeking to restrain government authorities from taking any coercive action against anyone for posting alleged objectionable comments on social networking sites.
An application was filed before the apex court seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting such comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years, besides imposition of appropriate fine.
12:50 Cops use water cannons on Cong protestors at BJP HQ :
Youth Congress workers protesting outside the BJP headquarters in New Delhi are being dispersed by the police. The protestors want the BJP to "stop asking for the PM's head". Police have used water cannons to disperse the crowd which has broken barricades.
12:38 Headlines Today's Shiv Aroor on Twitter: Someone should tap Sanjay Dutt on the shoulder and say, 'Tadaaaa!'
12:01 Sensex up 400 points, Nifty hits 28-month high:
Indian markets rallied sharply on Wednesday, with the BSE Sensex rising over 400 points and the broader Nifty regaining the 28-month high of 6,125, rising nearly 130 points. The Sensex traded above the psychological 20,000 mark. Strong buying interest was seen in banking stocks on hopes that the Reserve Bank will cut rates in June after April inflation eased to a 41-month low. The Bank Nifty surged over 2.5 per cent after RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao said he would take note of falling inflation when discussing potential interest rate cuts. More
11:58 Sanjay Dutt's lawyer says the actor will surrender before TADA court in Mumbai tomorrow.
11:53 Navy officer's wife: Husband forced me to have sex with officers:
The Navy, which has faced several allegations of indecent behaviour regarding its officers in recent weeks, has been hit by another controversy with the wife of a serving officer alleging that she had being forced into getting sexually involved with her husband's colleagues and is also facing mental and physical torture.
The charges came on a day that Defence Minister A K Antony asked top Naval commanders to take strongest possible action against personnel who engaged in 'inappropriate behaviour' and tarnished the Navy's image. The Navy, however, pointed out several inconsistencies in the account of the woman.Read the full story here
11:46 The state and the child: Problems of foster care:
The opinion piece on the Telegraph
: One of the many wrong reasons why non-resident Indians have been in the news recently is a spate of cases in which the public authorities of several countries have taken away some Indian children from their homes and placed them in foster care. The excuse generally offered has been that the children have suffered abuse at home and deserve the State's protection of their rights. Full report here
11:32 Sanjay Dutt to surrender at TADA court, withdraws Yerwada plea:
Just in: Sanjay Dutt will surrender at the TADA court today. The actor withdraws his plea to surrender at the Pune jail. Dutt, convicted in the 1993 bomb blasts case, told a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities court yesterday, that he was facing threat to life from fundamentalist groups and hence should be allowed to surrender before the Yerwada jail instead of the special court on Mumbai.
Dutt filed an application before special TADA Judge G A Sanap seeking permission to surrender before the Yerwada jail in Pune instead of giving himself up before the special court in south Mumbai.
Dutt, whose conviction under the Arms Act was upheld by the Supreme Court recently, is supposed to surrender on May 16. However, the apex court had reduced to five years the six-year jail term awarded to Dutt by a designated TADA court in 2006 while ruling out his release on probation, saying the "nature" of his offence was "serious". The applicant (Dutt) is facing a threat to life from fundamentalist groups and those with vested interests," the application said.
It further claimed that the actor wanted to avoid a situation of the past when media persons and camera persons had chased his vehicle from Mumbai to Pune last time he was taken to jail after the TADA court convicted him.
11:26 Jolie's father heard about mastectomy online:
On Monday Angelina Jolie made a very brave move as she revealed she recently underwent a preventative double mastectomy. And one person who learned about the surgery on the internet along with the rest of the world was the actress' father Jon Voight. Read more
10:57 Dy SP murder case: Kunda ka gunda Raja Bhaiyya at CBI HQ :
Former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya has arrived at the CBI headquarters for questioning about his alleged role in providing shelter to his driver Sanjay Pratap Singh alias Guddu Singh who is lodged in jail in the Balipur pradhan Nanhey Yadav's murder case, sources said.
The former minister will also be questioned regarding
slain DSP Ziaul Haque's wife Praveen Azad's allegation that her husband
was murdered at Raja Bhaiya's behest.
Singh alias Raja Bhaiya for questioning at its camp office at Kunda in Pratapgarh district on Wednesday, CBI chief information officer Dharini Mishra said on Tuesday.
10:42 PM files nomination today:
And this is what the Telegraph says on that story: The ruling Congress in Assam is preparing to accord a warm welcome to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he arrives here on a whirlwind trip tomorrow morning to file his nomination papers for the May 30 Rajya Sabha election.Singh has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1991. His election this time round -- a mere formality -- will be his fifth straight term from the state. Read
10:41 Will Manmohan Singh get a third term? :
reports: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will fly to Assam toay to file his nomination papers for another term in the Rajya Sabha, ensuring his membership of the Upper House till 2019, the same term the next elected government will get. This makes him eligible for a third term as PM, if the United Progressive Alliance government succeeds in getting another five years.
Congress sources stressed that this should end the speculation of a disagreement between Dr Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the exit of two cabinet ministers -- Pawan Bansal and Ashwani Kumar, and the likelihood of a new prime minister
Changing the PM could certainly change the optics for UPA, the fact is, the TINA (there is no alternative) factor works in favour of Dr Singh.Read the full story here
10:34 Court to decide if Sanjay Dutt can surrender before jail:
Four weeks after the Supreme court granted actor Sanjay Dutt time to
surrender before the TADA court in the 1993 Bombay blasts case, the
deadline ends today. But will
surrender at the TADA court?
Dutt filed an application seeking to
surrender directly at Mumbai's Arthur Road prison or Pune's Yerawada
The actor said he was facing threat to life from fundamentalist groups and hence should
be allowed to surrender before Yerwada jail instead of the special
court on Mumbai. He filed an application before special TADA Judge G A Sanap seeking
permission to surrender before the Yerwada jail in Pune instead of
giving himself up before the special court in south Mumbai.
09:42 Lalu's Parivartan rally today; spotlight on his sons, daughters :
Today's Parivartan rally is considered crucial to reassert the popularity of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad. His party says that it is aimed at bringing change in Bihar.
Lalu's political career took a hit after the animal husbandry scam following which he launched his wife Rabri Devi as the chief minister of Bihar. Today's rally to be held in Patna will put the spotlight on his children.
Lalu told NDTV
: "When they are my children do you want to them to hold a lotus (the
BJP's symbol) or arrow (the symbol of the ruling Janata Dal- United)? It
is natural that they will hold lanterns and canvas for the RJD," he
said. The lantern is the RJD's political symbol.
The RJD chief has two sons and seven daughters.
Read the full story here
09:11 Four Indian Americans charged with healthcare fraud:
Four Indian Americans, including a physician and three co-owners of a health clinic from Chicago, have been charged with healthcare fraud estimated to be running into millions of dollars.
Federal law enforcement officials said three Indian Americans Ankur Roy, Akash Patel and Dipen Desai owned and operated Selectcare Health Inc., that provided outpatient physical and respiratory therapy in Park Ridge and Skokie.
They have been charged with submitting more than $4 million in false billings to Medicare between March and July 2011. Each of them have been charged with six counts of healthcare fraud in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last Wednesday and unsealed on Tuesday.
08:44 UK launches 'super priority' visa for Indians:
Britain has launched a new "super priority" same-day visa service for urgent travellers from India, the first-of-its-kind service to be launched by the UK anywhere in the world.
The super priority visa service was announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the country in February this year.
The service is open for appointment bookings in India from today.
08:31 UP cop murder: CBI to grill Raja Bhaiya today:
The Central Bureau of Investigation has summoned former Uttar Pradesh minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya for questioning in connection with the murder case of Kunda Deputy Superintendent of Police Zia-ul-Haque.
The 44-year-old former minister has been asked to appear before the CBI at 10:30 am today at their camp office in Kunda, reports NDTV. Read the full story here
04:30 India must not bow to the dragon:
The preparatory work for External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's Beijing visit should have involved a comprehensive internal analysis of why the Ladakh face-off occurred and produced a brief for frank discussions with the Chinese leadership on the subject.
But the government's handling of the issue has been curiously different.
On arrival at Beijing, Khurshid, astonishingly, told the Indian journalists that it was not clear why the incident happened and that the Chinese "were not offering us that background and we were not looking for (it)", adding gratuitously that "actually, we are not even ready with our own analysis", suggesting he came unprepared on this vital agenda point.
04:27 Nawaz Sharif's great challenge:
Politics is a long game.
And in Pakistan, perhaps no politician understands this better than Nawaz Sharif, who will be the country's prime minister for the third time.
Exiled for seven years, he will be sworn into the office of prime minister by Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president and a man once imprisoned by Sharif.
The general who overthrew Sharif in 1999, Pervez Musharraf, now sits in his Islamabad villa under house arrest, awaiting trial.
Politics is indeed a long game.
02:59 Russia vows to expel 'US CIA agent' from Moscow:
Russia has ordered the expulsion of an alleged American CIA agent working undercover at the US embassy who was discovered with a large stash of money trying to recruit a Russian agent.
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB, ex-KGB) identified the man as Ryan C Fogle -- third secretary of the political section of Washington's embassy in Moscow -- and said he had been handed back to the embassy after his detention.
The foreign ministry said it was summoning US ambassador Michael McFaul on Wednesday for an explanation and slammed Washington for what it described as "provocative acts in the spirit of the Cold War".
It declared Fogle to be persona non grata who had to return to the United States "as soon as possible" -- a complete contrast to the joint pledges for intelligence cooperation after the Boston bombings.
US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell later confirmed that an American staffer at the embassy had been briefly detained, but refused to respond to allegations that the man was an undercover CIA agent.
02:56 Holder says he had no direct role in AP subpoena:
Attorney General Eric Holder has said that he played no direct role in the Justice Department's secret review of Associated Press phone records but called it part of an investigation into what he termed a grave national security leak.
Holder said he had removed himself from the matter because of congressional testimony he had given and his dealings with the news media.
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of AP reporters and editors.
Holder said federal prosecutors are looking into the matter.
"This was a very serious leak, a very grave leak" that "put the American people at risk," Holder told reporters at a news conference today.
Holder has assigned Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole to handle the phone records case.
02:56 No plea bargain for Costa Concordia captain:
Italian prosecutors have rejected a plea bargain bid by the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off Italy last year, killing 32 people, defense lawyers said.
Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all 4,200 passengers and crew were evacuated.
Defence lawyer Francesco Pepe said Schettino had wanted to defend himself at a trial but when the five other defendants in the shipwreck off the Tuscan coast all sought plea bargains during a closed-door hearing Tuesday, his defense team decided to change strategy.
"We weren't planning on requesting a plea bargain. But when we saw the development in the hearing, we were practically obliged to do so," Pepe said.
Prosecutors agreed to plea bargains for the other five defendants but not for Schettino, lawyers said -- meaning Schettino might be the only defendant if a trial is ordered.
02:55 Emergency declared in Nigeria:
Admitting Islamic extremists now control some of his nation's villages and towns, Nigeria's president has declared a state of emergency across in the nation's troubled northeast, promising to send more troops to fight what is now an open rebellion.
President Goodluck Jonathan, speaking live across state radio and television networks, also warned that any building suspected to house Islamic extremists would be torn down in what he described as the "war" now facing Africa's most populous nation. However, it remains unclear what the emergency powers will do to halt the violence, as a similar effort failed to stop the bloodshed.
"It would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilise the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve," Jonathan said.
Since 2010, more than 1,600 people have been killed in attacks by Islamic insurgents, according to an Associated Press count.
01:23 Obama calls Sharif to congratulate him:
US President Barack Obama called PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, set to become Pakistan's next Prime Minister, to congratulate him on his election victory and pledge to further strengthen friendly ties with Islamabad.
"Today, the President spoke by phone with Nawaz Sharif, president of Pakistan Muslim League's (Nawaz) to congratulate him on his party's success in the May 11 parliamentary election," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"The US and Pakistan have a long history of working together on mutual interests, and this administration looks forward to continuing our cooperation with the Pakistani government that emerges from this election as equal partners in supporting a more stable, secure and prosperous future for the people of Pakistan," Carney said.
Carney said Obama commended the people of Pakistan on the successful completion of their parliamentary elections.
"The US stands with all Pakistanis in welcoming this historic, peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power, which is a significant milestone in Pakistan's democratic progress," he said.