22:36 Cong, JD-U councillors among 5 leaders to join Delhi BJP:
A day after Election Commission set December 4 as the date for Assembly polls in Delhi, five leaders with different political affiliations joined the state BJP unit today.
Leaders from Congress, Janata Dal (United), Lok Janshakti Party, BSP, and an independent councillor were those who made the switch to BJP today.
Those who joined the BJP included former Chandni Chowk District Congress Committee president and councillor, Amod Sharma, and Mukundpur ward municipal councillor, Gulab Singh Rathor, of Lok Janshakti Party.
Independent councillor from Tigadi ward, Sarita Garba, and Farid Shah, who contested the municipal elections from Jahangirpuri-2 and was the Delhi state general secretary of the Bahujan Samaj Party, also joined BJP, as did Janata Dal (United) Delhi state general secretary, Kapoor Chand Chhikara.
Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel said, "These leaders' coming into the BJP fold makes it obvious there is a wave in favour of BJP in Delhi. People from all sections of society are joining BJP in order to teach Congress a lesson."
22:18 Lalu to appear in court in two other fodder scam cases:
Former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, who was sentenced to five years in prison in a fodder scam case, is likely to appear through video conferencing before CBI courts in two other fodder scam cases on October 7 and October 8.
Prasad's counsels today petitioned the courts to issue production warrants to the Birsa Munda Central Jail authorities, where he is lodged along with other fodder scam convicts.
"As per law, after conviction, a person can't be represented by lawyers as that person is taken into judicial custody," Prasad's counsel Prabhat Kumar said.
"So we have petitioned the courts to issue production warrants to the jail authorities for his appearance in court on the dates," Kumar said.
19:24 Rahul could have used 'some other words': Sheila:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has said Rahul Gandhi could have used "some other words" to criticise the ordinance on convicted law makers.
Dikshit stated this during a programme on India TV when she was asked about Rahul's criticism of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet that the ordinance was "complete nonsense".
"You can say this that may be some other words could have been used but what he (Rahul) reflected was something all of us were feeling," she said.
Forced by Rahul's open trashing of the government, the Union Cabinet had on Wednesday decided to withdraw the controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers as well as a related bill in the face of mounting public opinion against the measure.
18:24 State divided because Sonia wants son as PM: Jagan:
Urging parties to go against the Andhra Pradesh bifurcation, Reddy asks how can the Centre decide to divide the state without an Assembly resolution.
To make Rahul the PM, Sonia Gandhi is going about it in the most wrong, undemocratic way, Reddy tells a news channel.
Urging Narendra Modi to change the BJP, Reddy says this generation wants peace and development. He advises the BJP to reach out to Muslims and be secular. "I want every party to be secular. I want BJP to change. I want Modi to change BJP."
17:53 Life ban recommended on Jwala for IBL row:
In a surprise decision, the Badminton Association of India's disciplinary committee has recommended a life ban on top Indian doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta for trying to stop some players of her franchise Krrish Delhi Smashers from playing a match against Banga Beats in the IBL.
"The disciplinary committee has recommended a life ban or suspension for a certain period of time on Jwala Gutta for her role in the IBL controversy," a senior BAI official told PTI.
"The recommendation has been circulated to the member associations but no decision has been taken as of now. It has not been implemented."
S Muralidharan, chairman of BAI's disciplinary committee, said: "I don't want to talk about it much. It is the discretion of BAI President Mr Akhilesh Das Gupta and on an unconditional apology, Jwala can be set free. But she should feel apologetic for what happened."
A controversy had erupted during the August 25 tie when Delhi smashers had threatened to pull out against Banga Beats over the last-minute replacement of injured singles player, Hu Yun of Hong Kong with Denmark's Jan Jorgensen.
17:23 China sounds red alert as typhoon Fitow approaches coast :
China today sounded a red alert as typhoon Fitow, the 23rd storm this year, approached the country's southeast coastal areas.
The National Meteorological Centre said Fitow was 680 km east of Taipei and likely to make landfall in the coastal areas between central Zhejiang Province and northern Fujian Province between Sunday night and Monday morning.
The red alert is the highest in the country's weather warning system.
16:38 Men involved in Sarabjit's murder assaulted in jail :
Two Pakistani death row prisoners -- accused of involvement in the murder of Indian national Sarabjit Singh -- were assaulted by wardens of Kot Lakhpat Jail, official sources said today.
The prisoners -- Amer Tamba and Mudassar -- misbehaved with a warden during a search of their cell on Thursday. The warden called in more personnel and thrashed them, the sources said.
Following the incident, both men and some other death row prisoners went on hunger strike for a day.
16:36 Digvijay's brother ready to take on Chouhan in poll battle :
Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Laxman Singh, who is the brother of party stalwart Digvijay Singh, is ready to take on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the poll arena.
Laxman has said he is willing to contest the assembly election from Budhni, represented by Chouhan, if the party decides to field him from the seat in Sehore district and the local workers back his candidature.
"I recently spent two days in Budhni and I got the feeling that the people there want a change and the defeat of Chouhan," he told PTI
16:34 Will not pay ransom to end shutdown crisis: Obama:
Warning that an economic shutdown with default would be "dramatically worse", US President Barack Obama today appealed to the opposition to pass the federal budget with no partisan strings attached, but said he would not "pay a ransom" to end the crisis.
"There's only one way out of this reckless and damaging shutdown: pass a budget that funds our government, with no partisan strings attached," Obama said in his weekly address.
Making it clear that he would not change his position on the issue, Obama warned, "For as reckless as a government shutdown is, an economic shutdown that comes with default would be dramatically worse."
15:21 Former Mossad chief warns against China's role:
A former head of Israel's spy agency Mossad has warned the country's leadership against involving China in a major railway project, saying it could lead to a crisis in strategic relations with the US.
Efraim Halevy is apprehensive about China's involvement in the proposed trans-Israel network, a project which is being pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Halevy outlined China's relations with Iran and its extensive investment in the Iranian oil sector. He also said China's goal is to strengthen its economic standing by laying down a rail track connecting it to the Mediterranean Sea via Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.
15:20 Pak Taliban denies involvement in Peshawar church attack:
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has said the recent attack at a church in Peshawar that killed over 80 people was in 'accordance with the Shariah', but claimed that neither it nor any of its sub-groups were involved in the bombing.
"We didn't carry out the church attack. However, we believe it's according to the Sharia," TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid told the BBC Urdu in a telephonic interview from an undisclosed location.
Explaining their organisational structure, Shahid said the outfit have scores of sub-groups operating countrywide, akin to various departments of the government.
15:18 JK assembly defers discussion on V K Singh's charges :
The Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly today deferred till Monday the discussion on allegations levelled by former army chief General (retired) V K Singh -- that politicians in the state were paid money by the army to get certain jobs done.
The decision was announced by Speaker Mubarak Gul after several MLAs from Jammu sought the postponement of the discussion in view of Navratras beginning today.
As soon as the House assembled, BJP MLA Ashok Khajuria pleaded that the discussion on the issue, which was listed for second sitting of the House today, be deferred till Monday.
15:17 UP: Encephalitis claims 13 more lives; toll 343 :
With 13 more deaths reported due to encephalitis in the past 48 hours, the toll from the disease in eastern Uttar Pradesh has reached 343, health officials said today.
Of this, eight deaths occurred at the BRD Medical College Hospital. These include three children from Kushinagar, two each from Gorakhpur and Deoria and one from Siddharthanagar.
The five children who died today include three from Deoria and one each from Gorakhpur and Siddharthanagar, they said
15:15 Sri Lankan military blows up Prabhakaran's bunker:
The Sri Lankan military has reportedly destroyed one of the final places where LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran lived.
Prabhakaran was the founder of the rebel group and led it for 25 years before its eventual defeat by the army. He was killed in May 2009 as the army captured the last area of rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka.
According to the BBC, after the separatist war ended in 2009, Prabhakaran's house and its deep bunker had become a tourist attraction for Sri Lankan visitors.
On Thursday evening, the army asked the people living near the bunker to evacuate their homes, as the officials prepared to blow up Prabhakaran's house.
15:14 One dead, 20 injured in Maharahstra temple stampede:
A stampede at a temple in Osmanabad in Maharashtra claimed one life and left 20 others injured, police said on Saturday.
The stampede occurred at Tuljapur Devi Temple in Solapur District early on Saturday morning, as hundreds of devotees gathered outside the temple to pray at the beginning of the Navratri Festival.
The injured have been admitted to a local hospital for treatment.
14:11 We will ensure that Lokpal Bill is passed: Kejriwal:
In a press conference held in Delhi on Saturday, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal asserted that his party would ensure that the Lokpal Bill, for which he had started a movement along with activist Anna Hazare, is passed in Parliament.
The AAP is contesting the Delhi assembly polls this year and Kejriwal is likely to be the party's chief ministerial candidate.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav claimed that the voters of Delhi had the opportunity to choose a 'clean' party after decades.
13:27 President Pranab leaves for Turkey :
President Pranab Mukherjee today left for Turkey, the second leg of his tour, after he finished his four-day visit to Belgium, where he attended a host of state events.
During his stay in Belgium, the President inaugurated the 'Europalia-India 2013-14', a cultural extravaganza showcasing India.
Mukherjee, in his maiden trip to the country after taking over as the head of the state, was invited by King Philippe, who in a rare gesture came to the airport to receive him.
13:26 China tops APEC picks for investment: Survey:
China tops Asia-Pacific CEOs' picks for investments in the next three to five years, followed by Indonesia and the United States, according to a survey of 500 business leaders.
Enjoying an almost infinite supply of cheap labour, easily obtained credit and an economy that never stopped running, many multinational corporations struck gold by helping turn a one-time economic backwater into the world's factory floor that churns out everything for everywhere.
But as GDP growth slowed, wages surged and financial risks increased, economists warned the world's second largest economy, the engine driving global growth, could be losing steam.
12:45 Jagan begins hunger strike against division of Andhra:
YSR Congress party president and Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy today launched an indefinite hunger strike at his residence against the Centre's decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
This is the second time Jagan is undertaking an indefinite fast on the issue.
In September, he went on an indefinite hunger strike in Chanchalguda Jail, where he was lodged as an under-trial in connection to an alleged disproportionate assets case against him, but it was foiled on the fifth day.
12:43 I was raped at knifepoint: Madonna :
'Queen of Pop' Madonna has revealed that she was raped at knifepoint in New York while she was still struggling to make it big as a singer.
The 55-year-old singer opened up about the horrific incident in a guest column of the November issue of Harper's Bazaar.
"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back," Madonna said.
12:23 Telangana row: Look who is fasting too!:
YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to launch his fast-unto-death today against the Centre's move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu has announced an indefinite fast in New Delhi from Monday to demand 'justice' for Seemandhra.
12:22 All-women Sharia Court to redress grievances of Muslim women :
A Sharia Court conducted solely by women with an aim to redress grievances of Muslim women has started functioning.
Set up by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, the first all-women Sharia Court will deal with various family issues, including marital discord, divorce as well as property-related disputes.
"We will be functioning to mete out justice to women in Muslim community in tune with the tenets of the Quran which confer equal rights to both men and women. In reality, however, women are often discriminated against by the all-men Sharia Courts traditionally run by All India Muslim Personal Law Board," said Saeeda Jamadar.
12:20 PM visits Antony in hospital :
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today visited Army's Research and Referral Hospital to enquire about the health of Defence Minister A K Antony.
The minister had undergone a prostate surgery at the hospital recently.
The prime minister was with Antony for 15 minutes.
11:02 Anti-Telangana protests scorch Andhra, target Cong chief: From Mohammed Siddique:
Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana's family continued to face the wrath of anti-Telangana protesters in his home town Vijayanagaram.
A stone crusher unit at Gajapatinagaram, belonging to the Botsa family, was destroyed by the agitators. This is the latest in a series of such attacks.
On Friday, the agitators tried to barge in his house, destroyed his camp office, pelted stone on the house of his nephew and set fire to a cable network's office.
The state government has sent senior police officials to Vijayanagaram to strengthen the security arrangements in the town.
Security has been further tightened around the residence of Botsa Satyanarayana on MG Road.
10:58 Andhra faces massive power shutdown: From Mohammed Siddique:
Many parts of Andhra Pradesh faced a power shutdown on the second day of the 72-hour strike in Seemandhra to protest the creation of Telangana.
Many areas of the state were facing the threat of a power shutdown as many units of the Vijaywada Thermal Plant had stopped working and power generation was down by 1260 MW.
The situation is likely to worsen as the striking employees have refused to return to work to repair the tripped units till Saturday night, when their 48-hour strike ends.
Authorities are apprehensive that the remaining units will also stop working. If that happens, power supply to the state capital will also be affected, they warned.
Many parts of Krishna district, where this plant is located, plunged into darkness on Friday night.
Power supply was also stopped in six districts from Nellore by the power utilities employees to protest police lathi-charge on them.
The power supply in Kadapa, Chitoor, Nellore, Prakasham, Guntur and Krishna was affected for four hours and could be restored only after officials intervened and police tendered an apology.
10:55 Obama nominates Indian-American to key administration post:
Indian-American Arun M Kumar has been nominated by President Barack Obama to a key administration post, giving him charge of international trade at a critical juncture when the US is looking to increase its export.
Arun M Kumar, till recently a partner and member of the Board of Directors at consultancy firm KPMG, was nominated by Obama to be the Assistant Secretary and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce.
10:02 US shutdown enters 4th day: No end in sight:
Amid continued political impasse leading to a government shutdown, the US appeared to be no closer to resolving the crisis, the first in 17 years, with time fast running out for raising the debt limit.
Some eight lakh federal employees have been furloughed as a result of the shutdown -- which was in its fourth day yesterday.
The Congress needs to increase the federal debt ceiling by October 17 to avoid having the US default on its obligations.
00:26 No one is winning with shutdown: Obama:
As the government shutdown entered its fourth day, US President Barack Obama today said that no one is winning with this shutdown - the first in 17 years - which has resulted in some eight lakh federal employees without any work.
"Nobody's winning. And that's the point. We should get this over with as soon as possible," Obama told reporter as he and Vice President Joe Biden walked out of the White House to a nearby sandwich shop for their afternoon meal.
Obama said he is willing to negotiate with the Republicans leadership and John Boehner, Speaker of House of Representatives, on a whole range of issues. "But we can't do it with a gun held to the head of the American people,' he said.
A day earlier, Obama announced to cancel his trip to Asia in view of the government shutdown.