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May 17, 2013

23:56  Declaring goods was my responsibility: Ranbir:  Actor Ranbir Kapoor, who was recently detained and fined nearly Rs 60,000 at an airport for not declaring luxury goods, has said that he made a mistake and paid a price for it.        

The 30-year-old actor, who had landed on May 4 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport on a British Airways flight from London, walked away with branded goods in his luggage that required to be declared before the Customs authorities.  
23:39  Cong top brass discusses Food Security Bill:   The Congress top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, today deliberated on the way ahead on the issue of the Food Security Bill.        

No decision has been taken about the future course of the action on the ambitious legislation and the Land Acquisition Bill.
22:57  S&P's negative outlook on India unfortunate: India Inc:  Expressing surprise over S&P's threat to downgrade India's credit rating, industry bodies today termed the global agency's affirming its negative outlook on the country as "unfortunate and harsh".     

Standard & Poor's has warned that it may downgrade India's sovereign rating to junk grade if the government fails to pursue reforms and check deterioration.
22:55  Court refuses bail to officials in Thane building crash case :  A local court today rejected the bail applications of four officials of the Thane Municipal Corporation in a case related to the building collapse in the district, in which 74 people were killed.       

Judge K R Warrier said as the probe was going on and the charge-sheet was yet to be filed, bail cannot be granted.
22:54  Spot-fixing scandal is like a kick in the teeth: Warne:  Spin legend Shane Warne has said the ongoing Indian Premier Legaue spot-fixing scandal is like a "kick in the teeth" for cricket.

Errant Indian pacer Sreesanth and two other bowlers from Rajasthan Royals team were arrested in a post-midnight operation in Mumbai by Delhi Police for spot-fixing IPL matches for payments of up to Rs 60 lakhs just for giving away pre-determined number of runs in an over.
22:53  Nirupama Rao discusses Indo-US ties with top lawmaker:  Ahead of the India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi later this summer, Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao has met a key Republican lawmaker, who drives the party's foreign policy in the House of Representatives.

In her meeting with Ed Royce, the chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rao discussed current developments in India-US relations.
22:48  CBI officer probing coal-gate arrested for graft:  Senior CBI officer Vivek Dutt, who was probing the coal-gate scam, was arrested for allegedly taking Rs 7 lakh bribe from a businessman outside agency headquarters.
21:57  Indian Police unit in Congo gets UN medal:  An Indian police unit in the Democratic Republic of Congo has received the United Nations Peacekeeping Medal for its "high level of commitment" towards fighting criminals and maintaining peace in the African nation's troubled east.        

The 135 Indian Formed Police Unit-2 was honoured with the medal as an appreciation for their service in Goma/North Kivu.
21:40  Girls were present when Sreesanth was arrested: Cops:  Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar today said women were present with cricketer S Sreeshanth and his friend Jiju when they were arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing in IPL matches.        

"Girls were present with Sreesanth and Jiju. We also have information about others (players)," he said.        

Asked whether a honey trap was used in cricket, he said it was an open secret and such tactics are part of all big sports.
20:18  Dawes leaving Mail & Guardian for Indian paper:  Dawes informed staff at the weekly newspaper and digital news provider on Friday that he is to step down from his post.

Dawes will leave the paper in September, after nine years on staff, half of them as editor, to join the Hindustan Times in New Delhi.

"My time at the Mail & Guardian both as a frontline reporter and as editor has been the most fulfilling of my professional life. This is an organisation which places great journalism at the centre of everything it does, but which also has the courage and the creativity to engage with the deep changes that are challenging and revitalising the news business.

Read the story here
20:07  Spot fixing: Sreesanth moves court for copy of FIR:  Indian pacer S Sreesanth, who is being quizzed along with 13 others in the IPL spot-fixing scandal case, today moved a Delhi court seeking a a copy of the FIR registered against him.

Sreesanth, his two teammates of Rajasthan Royals franchise and 11 bookies were yeserday remanded to police custody for five days.

The cricketer be supplied with a copy of the FIR for preparing his defence, the application, filed before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma, said.
19:14  Betting racket: Another bookie arrested in Mumbai:  One more bookie having links with alleged international cricket betting racket busted two days ago has been arrested from suburban Bhandup, the police said. 

The bookie Pravin Behra was caught from his hideout in suburban Bhandup last night and ten mobile phones and a laptop were recovered from him, the police said.

On Wednesday, the city police had busted an alleged international cricket betting racket and arrested three bookies identified as Ramesh Vyas, 52, Pandurang Kadam, 41, and Ashok Vyas, 32.

After interrogating the trio, Behra was caught, the police said.
18:18  Rahul Dravid to be examined in spot-fixing case:  CNN-IBN reports: Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid and the team will be examined in the spot-fixing case, sources said. The sources added that Dravid and the team will help in the probe.
18:02  Dutt pours into Hanuman Chalisa, Gita, Ramayan in jail:   Sanjay Dutt spent his first night after returning to prison reading spiritual books even as Maharashtra Government authorities are yet to decide on keeping him at Arthur Road Central Jail here or shifting him elsewhere.

The 53-year-old filmstar surrendered before TADA Court yesterday and was later shifted to the high-security jail in central Mumbai. He has to serve 42 more months in jail after his conviction in the 1993 bomb blast case was upheld by the Supreme Court which, however, reduced his sentence by one year (to five from six) in March.

"The issue of shifting Dutt to another jail has not yet been discussed," said Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Meera Borwankar. Another senior officer told PTI the prison department is currently involved in gathering information such as number of convicts, security conditions, presence of inmates linked to underworld in various jails in the State like those located in Taloja (Navi Mumbai), Yerwada (Pune), Thane, Nagpur and Nashik.

"We will go through this information and then take a call on whether or not to shift the actor (to some other jail). If things permit, he may be kept in Arthur Road Jail. However, the chances of shifting him to Yerwada Jail appear to be more bright," the officer added.

Asked about the activities of the actor in the cell where he has been kept, the officer stated, "last night, he (Dutt) read some spiritual books he brought along with him. He also did physical exercise this morning. However, the actor appeared restless and kept to himself." Dutt had sought permission from the TADA Court to carry with him to jail copies of Bhagwad Gita, Ramayan
and Hanuman Chalisa.
18:00  Delhi police chief says Sreesanth cooperating in probe:  Delhi's Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar on Friday said former Test fast bowler S Sreesanth is cooperating with investigators with regard to an IPL spot-fixing probe. Kumar, as saying that he had visited the Special Cell office of the Delhi Police, but had not met with Sreesanth.

"I met my officers in special cell this morning'Sreesanth is cooperating with investigations,' Kumar was quoted by CNN-IBN, as saying.Kumar also said that no other names had surfaced in the investigation so far.
17:38  EXPOSED: Angelina Jolie part of a clever corporate plan:  Angelina Jolie's announcement of undergoing a double mastectomy (surgically removing both breasts) even though she had no breast cancer is not the innocent, spontaneous, "heroic choice" that has been portrayed in the mainstream media. decision. Read more
17:23  New issue of Qaeda Magazine out, but hacked:  A purported new issue of an English-language al-Qaeda magazine, linked to the Boston terrorist attacks, has been posted on the web but its contents were hacked. The Inspire magazine, produced by al-Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate - al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which regularly includes how-to instructions for followers to carry out terrorist attacks in the West - has received significant scrutiny in recent weeks.

Investigators believe that Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev accessed Inspire magazine, and the material had instructions on bomb-making, a law enforcement official told CNN.
17:22  IPL Season Fix:  BCCI and ICC cannot wait for the next big scandal. They must act to rescue the game. Read the full story here.
17:18  A talent that didn't know its own worth:  Sreesanth wasn't the most likeable team-mate or opponent, but he had skill beyond doubt, which we might have seen the last of. Read
16:54  Non-bailable warrant against Zaibunissa Kazi:  The TADA court has issued a non-bailable warrant against seventy-year-old Zaibunissa Kazi, who is a co-accused in the 1993 Bombay blasts case. She was supposed to surrender at the TADA court in Mumbai today.
16:43  Two more accused in Graham Staines murder case arrested:  The CBI today arrested two more accused in connection with the case in which Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt alive by a mob in Odisha in 1999.

The two, identified as Ghanshyam Mahanta and Ramjan Mahanta, were picked up from Anandpur area in Odisha's Keonjhar district by CBI sleuths in the early hours, Anandpur police station inspector in-charge Abhay Shankar Kar said.

While Ghanshyam was arrested from Gayalamunda village, Ramjan was nabbed from nearby Bhaludhera, he said, adding that the duo was taken to Bhubaneswar.
16:35  Chandila: RR management knew of spot-fixing racket :  India Today reports that Rajasthan Royal player Ajit Chandila's lawyer claimed today that the management of the IPL team knew that bookies have approached the team members for spot-fixing. His lawyer also said Chandila even informed the team management about the underworld threat, but not the local police. According to him, the team management advised Chandila to concentrate on his game and said these things do happen, so don't focus on that.
16:30  Judge appointed to probe Sarabjit's murder:  A serving judge has been named by a Pakistani court to probe the murder of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who died earlier this month after being assaulted within the Kot Lakhpat Jail here.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial appointed Justice Syed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi to investigate the matter and submit a report to the court.

However, no deadline has been given to Naqvi to complete the probe. Earlier, caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi had written a letter to the Chief Justice, asking him to appoint a judge to conduct the probe.

Five to six prisoners had brutally assaulted Sarabjit in a well-coordinated attack on April 26.
16:25  IPL is credible, it looks greed took over players: BCCI:   The BCCI today said that it was doing its bit to curb the menace of corruption in the game but it has its own limitations and one should not question the credibility of the IPL due to the latest spot-fixing scandal.

Temperamental paceman S Sreesanth, spinners Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested by the Delhi Police yesterday on the charges of spot-fixing in at least three matches of the ongoing IPL season.

"Nobody can deny what happened. We wont sit and allow this to happen. What is impact of it.. let's see what happens. Allegations have to be proved, players too have rights. IPL is still credible, there are allegations and we will get to the bottom of it," BCCI President N Srinivasan told NDTV.

"This is a clear indication of risk. They are Ranji and Test players. It is not as if they did not know what's wrong and still went ahead. It looks greed has taken over. It seems three players have fallen pray," the BCCI chief said.

Srinivasan outlined what their endeavours are in curbing corruption and also accepted their limitations in doing the job. "We do not have resources of a state, of a government, of police or an agency. We function on certain limitations. We engage the services of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit. We have a Working Committee meeting and we will look into all aspects. We will hear from our own Anti-Corruption Unit on that day. We will wait to get all the information."
16:08  TWO more players of Rajasthan Royals under scanner :   CNN IBN says two more Rajasthan Players are under police scanner. Ankeet Chavan has told the Delhi police that bookies had approached two more RR players. 
16:06  Wanted, an Afghan statesman:  With prospects for peace in Afghanistan and the region at stake, Hamid Karzai needs to end the uncertainties surrounding next year's presidential election. Read
16:03  Indian crickets credibility crisis:  Ironically, the most shocking thing about the spot fixing scandal that has rocked the Indian Premier League is that it may not have come as a rude shock to too many in the game. For, the moral vacuousness of IPL's agenda -- packaging dumbed-down entertainment as sport with the sole aim of making money -- had left plenty of room for shady dealings of this kind.  Read
16:02  Ex-Citi chief faces challenge in bank license quest:  Vikram Pandit's arrival could add weight to JM Financial Ltd's plan to get a banking license, but his name alone might not be enough to persuade India's central bank to grant it one. The ex-Citi chief invests $210 million in India. Read
15:05  Spot-fixing: BCCI may sue tainted trio, decision on Sunday :   The BCCI is considering taking criminal action against S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandalia for their alleged involvement in the spot-fixing controversy. A decision is expected to be taken during the emergency committee meeting scheduled for 11 am on Sunday.
15:00  It's not just China, India is also buying and building aircraft carriers. Read the report on the Foreign Policy. 
14:51  Guess who?:  The man in this picture taken in the sixties is now an international figure. Who is he?
14:34  Dirty medicine:   The epic inside story of long-term criminal fraud at Ranbaxy, the Indian drug company that makes generic Lipitor for millions of Americans. Read
14:19  Baz Luhrmann: Fitzgerald was a clown, just like I am:   The director of the new film of The Great Gatsby is under no illusions that his style is everyone's cup of tea -- and that, he says, is why he has such a kinship with the novel's author. Read
14:16  Delhi police interrogating Sreesanth, Ankeet, Chandila:   The BCCI has suspended former Rajasthan Royal player and now bookie, Amit Singh. The Delhi police are now interrogating all three players, separately.
14:04  Sreesanth in separate cell, no interaction with other players:   The Delhi police says S Sreesanth has been kept in a separate cell and is not interacting with other players. The Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar says he has spoken to Sreesanth but the actor said he is not aware of a bigger racket, reports CNN IBN. 
13:50  Shinde congratulates Delhi Police for busting IPL spot-fixing rac:  A day after Indian pacer Sreesanth and his IPL teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday congratulated Delhi Police for busting the racket.

"I congratulate the Delhi Police. Whenever they did good work, I appreciate," Shinde said.

Meanwhile, Sreesanth and 13 others, including two cricketers of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, were sent to police custody for five days by a Delhi court for being quizzed in connection with the spot-fixing case. They have confessed to their involvement in spot fixing. 
13:32  Spot-fixing racket: BCCI calls for emergency meet on Sunday :  The BCCI has called for an emergency working committee meeting at 11 am in Chennai to discuss the spot-fixing scandal.  BCCI president N Srinivasan said yesterday, "I don't know about others, but I was shocked. It was a bolt from the blue. The BCCI is shocked that this has happened because we never expected this."
13:28  WB: Teacher thrashes student to death:  In West Bengal, an eight-year-old student has died after being assaulted by the teacher. The student is believed to have thrown bags across the classroom. The teacher has been arrested. 
13:26  Maharashtra withdraws textbook without Arunachal:  Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has assured a high-level delegation from Arunachal Pradesh that his government will take action through the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education against all those responsible for printing a wrong India map in a class X geography and economics textbook that shows a substantial part, including Tawang, of Arunachal Pradesh, in China.

The MSBSHSE has promised to rectify the mistake in the chapter ''India and its neighboring countries'' before the start of the new academic year.The Arunachal team led by Member of Parliament Takam Sanjoy met Chavan at his Delhi residence and submitted a protest letter to him, demanding a thorough investigation to find out the truth behind the 'Missing Map' of Arunachal Pradesh from the textbook.

The team also demanded that all books circulated throughout Maharashtra numbering 70 lakhs should be withheld till investigation to unearth the truth is completed. Sanjoy alleged sabotage of such publication by anti-national elements who are inimical to the nation's democratic set up.
13:16  That's two down, one to go. Ajit Chandila has not confessed to his guilt or to making a mistake. Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan are believed to have confessed to the Delhi police that they were involved in spot-fixing.
13:10  Sreesanth confesses: Jiju lured me to spot-fixing racket:   A huge shock for S Sreesanth's family, who has maintained that he was innocent and was being framed by MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh (his father's claim). Sreesanth has now admitted to the Delhi Police that bookie Jiju Janardhan, who is also his cousin, lured him into the spot-fixing racket. He also told Times Now that the bookies 'did him in' and that he had 'made a mistake'. 
12:34  Meanwhile, in Chennai six bookies and financiers have been arrested and Rs 14 lakh has been seized. 
12:33  Ankeet Chavan's brother: We just want him back:   Ankeet Chavan's brother says the cricketer is innocent. "He was supposed to get married next month and he would never do something like this. We are small people. We just want Ankeet back," says his brother. Chavan who is in police custody, reportedly broke down and confessed to making a 'mistake'.
12:15  Ankeet Chavan confesses to spot-fixing under interrogation:   One of the three arrested Rajasthan Royal players, Ankeet Chavan, who is in police custody, breaks down during interrogation and confesses to spot fixing, report's Manu Shankar from Delhi. His family continues to maintain that he is innocent.

Indian pacer S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila and bookies were sent to police custody for five days by a Delhi court for being quizzed in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case.Rajasthan Royals player Ankeet Chavan's residence wore a deserted look on Thursday morning.

His parents refused to comment on his alleged role in the spot-fixing scandal that hit the cash-rich Indian Premier League on Wednesday.Ankeet's family is in a state of shock.

When visited his house in Mumbai a few mediapersons had gathered outside waiting for his parents' reaction, but they refused to open the door.One of his family members said, "It's not the right time to speak. As of now we would not like to comment on anything."
12:04  Disaster at Cannes: Starring Amitabh, Vidya and Sonam:  Here's putting into words what you have been chewing on -- the disastrous sartorial sense of our film stars. Read
11:57  David Beckham: Rise of the metrosexual:  Fans gasped when sports hero David Beckham first wore a sarong. Then there was the nail polish and tattoos. Cultural history is unimaginable without Beckham. Read
11:54  Now, MBAs for India's rural women. Read
11:52  GoM will work to give functional autonomy to CBI: Chidambaram:  Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said the Group of Ministers(GoM) headed by him will work towards giving CBI "functional autonomy" but at the same time asserted that accountability is "important".

Chidambaram's comments yesterday came three days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the constitution of the high-powered Group of Ministers(GoM) to finalise a plan of action to secure the autonomy of the CBI.

"We will give CBI functional autonomy and we will assure CBI will have a large degree of functional autonomy in matter of investigation," said Chidambaram, who donned a hard hat and an orange colour construction worker suit, after he visited a construction site of the new Crossrail project in east London along with his British counterpart George Osborne.
11:42  'Amitabh Bachchan doesn't need Hollywood':  The Great Gatsby, releases in India today. The film marks Amitabh Bachchan's debut in Hollywood as Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim. After 40 years in the movie business, why has it taken so long for the Bollywood superstar to make it to Tinseltown? In an emailed interview, Rachel Dwyer, professor Indian cultures and cinema at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, told India Real Time that Mr. Bachchan didn't need Hollywood and explained the interplay between the two worlds of film. Read
11:33  Sarabjit's lawyer says his kidnappers were Pashto-speaking:  Awais Sheikh, the Pakistani lawyer of slain Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, has told police that the armed men who abducted him and his son were "Pashto-speaking".

According to the FIR registered by police, Sheikh and his son Shahrukh were intercepted by four to five men travelling in a red pick-up truck and a motorcycle yesterday morning. The armed men then bundled them into the pick-up.

Sheikh said the kidnappers did not talk to him or his son while they were in captivity. The men, who were armed with sophisticated weapons, assaulted Sheikh and dumped him on Sheikhupura Road, 40 km from Lahore.

The abductors did not harm Shahrukh and dumped him several kilometres from the point where his father was thrown out of the pick-up. Sheikh told police that the kidnappers were wearing 'shalwar-kameez' and were fluent in Pashto. They also spoke Urdu.
11:25  Court grants bail to Liyaqat Shah:  Suspected Hizbul militant Liyaqat Shah, arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror attacks in the national capital, was today granted bail by a special NIA court here.

District Judge I S Mehta enlarged Liyaqat on bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 with a surety of the like amount. The court imposed several conditions on Liyaqat while granting him bail and directed him not to leave the country without its prior permission.

Liyaqat (45) was arrested on March 20 while crossing the Indo-Nepal border in Gorakhpur with his family. Liyaqat had said that he had come to surrender under the Jammu and Kashmir government's rehabilitation policy.

Delhi Police, which arrested him soon after he had crossed the border, alleged that Liyaqat was involved in the conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in the capital ahead of Holi.

The Home Ministry had on March 28 issued a notification facilitating NIA to take over the case after his arrest had generated conflicting versions from Delhi and J&K Police.
11:22  Sree has been framed, will apply for bail tomorrow: Lawyer:   Indian pacer S Sreesanth and 13 others, including two cricketers of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, were sent to police custody for five days by a Delhi court for being quizzed in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case. Sreesanth's laywer has been saying his client is innocent and has no knowledge of spot fixing. "All allegations against him are baseless. There is nothing in the documents with the Delhi police to indict him. We will apply for bail tomorrow," said Deepak Prakash.

The three cricketers were produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma at his residence adjacent to the Saket court complex yesterday. Sreesanth and his IPL teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, who were arrested in Mumbai, were brought to the court complex with their faces covered along with 11 bookies and middlemen from Mumbai and Delhi.
11:04  The Tamil Nadu Police is conducting searches in several places in Chennai in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal. 
11:03  Suspected Hizbul militant Liyaqat Shah granted bail by court in a case of alleged conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in Delhi.
10:54  Spot fixing: Dawood's man in Dubai is mastermind :   The mastermind of the cricket betting syndicate is said to be a Dubai-based Dawood Ibrahim man named Sunil Ramchandani alias Sunil Dubai while the principal bookie referred to as 'Jupiter' in phone intercepts is a person called Chandresh. He is reportedly close to several politicians, builders and police officers. Read the full story here

Also read: A billion betrayed for a few lakhs
10:43  Bewildered, upset at being dragged into IPL scandal: Tait:   Bewildered at his name being dragged into the IPL spot-fixing scandal, Australian pacer Shaun Tait said his legal representatives will examine how the "false" suggestions, which have already been dismissed by the Delhi Police, started.

"I'm bewildered, I'm angry and I'm upset at the false suggestions I've been involved in any wrongdoing," Tait said in a statement after his name cropped up on social media sites following the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals players for allegedly bowling manipulated overs after striking deals with bookies who had underworld connections.

Tait, who also turns up for the Rajasthan franchise, was immediately cleared by the Delhi Police which stated that no foreign player was involved in the scandal. India pacer S Sreesanth and spinners Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were the players arrested for alleged spot-fixing yesterday.

"While I welcome the recent statements from police clearing me of any involvement, for a few hours I was deeply distressed by the rumours that were rapidly circulating about me, most of which were aired in the social media space," said Tait.

"Not only were they without foundation, they highlight the danger of a medium that deals with innuendo rather than fact, the result of which has brought my name into question.
10:40  Australian jailed to 45 yrs for raping and killing Indian girl:  A 21-year-old Australian man was today sentenced to 45 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 30 years for the "planned and premeditated" rape and murder of Indian student Tosha Thakkar, who he strangled to death, stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in a canal. New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Derek Price sentenced Daniel Stani-Reginald to a maximum of 45 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 30 years.

With time served, he will be eligible for parole in March 2041. Stani-Reginald strangled 24-year-old Thakkar to death with a cable, stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in the canal off the Parramatta River on March 21, 2011, when he was aged only 19, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
10:39  Obama rules out unilateral US action on Syria:  US President Barack Obama has ruled out any unilateral American action against the Assad regime, asserting that his administration would continue to work with international partners and the Syrian opposition.

"This is an international problem. It is very much my hope to continue to work with all the various parties involved, to find a solution that brings peace to Syria, stabilises the region, stabilises those chemical weapons," Obama said yesterday in a joint news conference with the visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ruling out any unilateral action by the United States against the Assad regime, Obama said that "It's not going to be something that the United States does by itself. I don't think anybody in the region, including the Syrian Prime Minister would think that US unilateral actions would bring about a better outcome for Syria."

Obama said that US and the international community needs to continue to strengthen capacity of the Syrian opposition that are on the ground fighting to protect themselves from the Assad regime. He also stressed on continuing to mobilise the entire international community to put more and more pressure on Assad so that he recognises that he is no longer legitimate and that he needs to go.
09:56  Sensex up 54 points in early trade:  

The BSE benchmark Sensex today extended gains for the fourth straight day by adding over 54 points in early trade on continued foreign funds inflow, amid a firming trend in the Asian region.         


The 30-share barometer rose by 54.25 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 20,301.58, a level last seen in January, 2011 with stocks of IT, oil and gas, realty, auto and capital goods sectors leading the gains. The index had gained 555.66 points in the previous three sessions.         


Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index, Nifty, moved up by 8.55 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6,178.45. Brokers said sentiments on the domestic bourses continues to be buoyed by sustained buying by foreign funds and retail investors on hopes of a rate cut as inflation eased.    


Besides, a firming trend in the Asian region supported the upside, they said.          Stocks of ITC Ltd rose 0.21 per cent to Rs 337.50 ahead of fourth quarter earnings, to be released later today.         


Meanwhile in Asia, Japan's Nikkei up by 0.35 per cent, in early trade today, while Hong Kong's market remained closed. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.28 per cent lower in yesterday's trade.  

09:16  NY busts multi-million dollar 'cigarette smuggling ring':  

New York officials say they have busted a multi-million dollar cigarette smuggling ring. Officials allege that three of the 16 Palestinian immigrants charged had links to known terrorists. The state's attorney general said investigators had recovered only "a fraction" of the proceeds from sales of more than a million untaxed cartons.


The amount of money involved remains unclear, but records show the suspects deposited at least $55m


Read the full report on BBCImage: Law enforcement personnel stack boxes of confiscated cigarettes in New York  Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

08:30  Obama rules out unilateral US action on Syria:  

 US President Barack Obama has ruled out any unilateral American action against Assad regime, asserting that his administration would continue to work with international partners and the Syrian opposition.        


"This is an international problem. It is very much my hope to continue to work with all the various parties involved, to find a solution that brings peace to Syria, stabilises the region, stabilises those chemical weapons," Obama said yesterday in a joint news conference with the visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.        


Ruling out any unilateral action by the United States against the Assad regime, Obama said that "It's not going to be something that the United States does by itself. I don't think anybody in the region, including the Syrian prime minister would think that US unilateral actions would bring about a better outcome for Syria."         Obama said that US and the international community needs to continue to strengthen capacity of the Syrian opposition that are on the ground fighting to protect themselves from the Assad regime.        


He also stressed on continuing to mobilise the entire international community to put more and more pressure on Assad so that he recognises that he is no longer legitimate and that he needs to go.  

03:02  National security leaks cost lives: Obama:  
US President Barack Obama has warned that national security leaks to the news media could cost lives, defending his administration's pursuit of those who reveal classified information. 

But Obama said it was important to find a balance between security and press freedom, as he addressed the furor triggered by the Justice Department's secret seizure of the phone records of reporters at the Associated Press.

"Leaks related to national security can put people at risk," Obama told reporters at the White House, as he met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"They can put men and women in uniform that I've sent into the battlefield at risk. They can put some of our intelligence officers who are in various dangerous situations that are easily compromised at risk. 

"I make no apologies, and I don't think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed." 

But Obama added that "we also live in a democracy where a free press, free expression and the open flow of information helps hold me accountable, helps hold our government accountable and helps our democracy function."
02:57  Why Russian President Putin will now fly to work:  
Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon fly to work by helicopter rather than being driven there in his usual Mercedes limousine to try to appease anger over traffic jams created by his motorcade.

A helicopter pad has been built in the Kremlin "and the president will use it at the first opportunity," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Putin spends most summers at a government residence.

Russia's post-Soviet shift to capitalism and the oil-fuelled boom of Putin's initial 2000-2008 presidency have clogged Moscow's once uncrowded streets with cars, making for traffic jams that rival overburdened cities worldwide.

The problem worsens when main arteries in the capital are closed off to let motorcades pass, a frequent occurrence as some officials and other influential figures have permission to use blue lights on their vehicles, giving them traffic privileges.

This has sparked resentment among ordinary Muscovites and led to the creation of the "Blue Buckets" protest group, whose members place blue buckets on their car roofs in a mocking reference to the motorcades.
02:35  Parents jailed in Norway's worst sexual abuse case:  
A Norwegian court has sentenced a couple to 17 years in prison for violence, rape and incestuous relations with their three sons, calling it the country's worst sexual abuse case.

A 39-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man had been accused of physical and sexual violence over two years, from a very young age, against the two boys born of their union and the third boy from a previous relationship by the mother. 

The boys now aged six, seven and 17 live with separate foster families. 

The court in Oevre Romerike in southeast Norway based its guilty verdict on testimonies from the children given in some 20 hours of videos. 

"Seeing the way the two little boys explain it, it is behaviour by their parents which they could not know and describe without having themselves been involved," said judge Karen Wendel Sandaa.

The boys said they were denied food, beaten and locked up nude in the basement, raped and made to abuse each other, in a room especially set up by their parents.
02:34  Two NATO drivers killed in Pakistan:  
Suspected militants attacked NATO supply trucks in Pakistan's restive northwest, killing two drivers, officials said.

Two armed men riding a motorcycle targeted a truck in Jamrud area of the lawless Khyber tribal region and killed its driver, officials told the media. 

Another NATO supply truck was attacked on the outskirts of Peshawar and its driver shot dead, police officials said.

No group claimed responsibility for both attacks. 

In the past, the banned Taliban have destroyed hundreds of NATO supply trucks and oil tankers and killed scores of drivers and crew members. 
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