23:21 Odisha seeks RBI's support for smooth relief payments:
PTI: Odisha government has sought support of RBI to facilitate government payments towards relief expenditure in view of the severe cyclonic storm 'Phailin' all set to hit land near Gopalpur in Ganjam district, official sources said.
In his letter to the regional director Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) UN Behera said: "Treasuries of all the cyclone prone districts will remain open during the Puja holidays to facilitate processing of bills relating to emergent relief expenditure."
"You are requested to issue suitable instructions to the agency banks transacting government business to be in preparedness to carry out government payments relating to relief expenditure from October 12-14 and on other holidays to ensure flow of funds for relief activities," Behera said.
The Finance department has also directed the engineer-in-chief (electrical) to ensure uninterrupted power supply to treasuries as well as the directorate of treasuries, since treasuries will remain open to facilitate government payments for relief activities.
22:10 UN Council approves Syria disarmament plan:
The UN Security Council today formally approved a first joint mission with the Nobel Peace Prize winning global chemical arms watchdog to destroy Syria's weapons.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN already have a team of 60 experts and support staff in Syria destroying Syria's production facilities while the country's civil war rages on.
21:35 Kerry arrives in Kabul for talks on security seal:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit Friday, aiming to advance difficult negotiations between Washington and Kabul over the future of American military forces.
The U.S. and Afghan governments are negotiating a bilateral security agreement that, if concluded, would pave the way for a small U.S.-led military force to remain in Afghanistan after the current coalition's mandate expires at the end of next year.
That force would conduct limited counterterrorism missions and train Afghanistan's fledgling military and police.
20:05 Cyclone Phailin: Armed forces put on high alert:
Defence Minister A K Antony has put the armed forces on high alert and asked them to be ready to provide all support in view of the impending cyclone Phailin, forecast to hit the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coast on Saturday evening.
The IAF has deployed 24 aircraft including its transport planes such as Ilyushin-76, C-130J Super Hercules and the Antonv-32 along with 18 helicopters.
19:17 Paradip port shuts operations amid cyclone threat:
The Paradip Port on Friday shut all cargo operations, plants and machinery and put in place a contingency plan to meet any eventuality due to Cyclone Phailin which is expected to hit eastern coast tomorrow.
The port is one of the 12 major ports in the country.
"We have stopped all cargo operations. We have set up control rooms and are ready with a contingency plan. We have cleared all vessels. People have been evacuated from low lying areas on war footing," Paradip Port Trust, Odisha, Chairman Sudhanshu Shekhara Mishra told PTI.
Mishra said all officers have been mobilised and all arrangements have been done including storage of sufficient stock of diesel and fuel for generators besides food and water including dry fruits stock to tackle any untoward situation.
18:53 Mumbai set to host Tendulkar's farewell 200th test:
Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium is set to host the farewell Test for Sachin Tendulkar after the legendary batsman expressed a wish to play his landmark 200th match against the West Indies next month in front of his home crowd.
"Tendulkar has requested the BCCI to hold his farewell test at Wankhede Stadium," Mumbai Cricket Association president Ravi Sawant told PTI.
"He has expressed his wish that the second and final test of the series be held in Mumbai," Sawant added.
A top BCCI official said that Mumbai is almost certain to host the historic match though it will be made official only after the BCCI's tours and fixtures committee meets.
18:28 Cyclone Phailin: PM monitors situation from Jakarta:
Sheela Bhatt reports from Jakarta:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keeping a close watch on the cyclone situation from Jakarta where he is on a two-day visit to strengthen bilateral relation.
Dr Singh has asked National Security Advisor S S Menon to monitor the situation.
The National Institute of Disaster Management has been asked to send a team to handle the situation.
A PMO source said that Menon has activated his machinery to monitor arrangements on the ground.
18:09 GoM on Telangana to consider Srikrishna Committee's report:
The Group of Ministers, setup to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, will focusits deliberations on the recommendations of Justice B NSrikrishna Committee that gave an extensive report onTelangana in 2010.
"Srikrishna Committee's report will be the basis of thewhole exercise," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who headsthe seven-member ministerial panel, told reporters.
However, the option -- bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Seemandhra with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra having a new capital -- given by the central government was not the most preferred one of the committee.
17:13 Jagan seeks Court nod to move out of Hyderabad:
YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who is facing corruption charges and was released from jail last month, today moved a local court seeking relaxation in bail conditions to enable him to move out of the Andhra Pradesh capital.
Jagan, who got bail in the corruption case in late September, filed an application in a Special CBI court requesting relaxation in conditions to allow him to visit different parts of Andhra Pradesh and also New Delhi.
The plea will come up for hearing on October 15. While granting him bail on September 23, the court had asked the Kadapa MP not to leave the state capital without its permission.
16:50 CVC closes 10 corruption cases in CWG projects:
About 10 cases of alleged corruption in Commonwealth Games related projects carried out by various government departments have been closed following investigation by the Central Vigilance Commission.
The complaints of alleged corruption by government officials in conducting work at Pragati Maidan India Trade Promotion Organisation, roofing work for wight lifting auditorium at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and improvement of footpath and drainage system, among others, have been closed by the commission.
The probe in alleged over payment to contractor and low quality work at Archery and TT stadium in Yamuna Sports Complex, complaints against engineers of Public Works Department for irregularities in construction of roads, sewers, etc in which loss of Rs 50 crore was alleged and investigation in irregularities in award of work to upgrade houses constructed for the Games in Vasant Kunj have also been closed, the CVC said in reply to an RTI query.
15:28 Amidst drama, Delhi police evicts fasting Naidu from Andhra Bhavan:
Television channels are reporting high drama outside the Andhra Bhavan in New Delhi where Telugu Desam Chief Chandrababu Naidu has been fasting for five days protesting against the Centre's decision for a separate Telangana.
The Delhi Police has moved in to evict Naidu from the premises to RML hospital as his condition has deteriorated.
Hundreds of TDP supporters are protesting outside the Andhra Bhawan, shouting anti-government slogans and criticising the Centre's decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh for creating a separate state of Telangana.
An ambulance, which was called in to take Naidu to the hospital, is being stalled by TDP party workers
Naidu has been fasting at Andhra Bhavan without a relevant permission. The Andhra Bhavan is the headquarters of the Andhra Pradesh state government in Delhi.
The state government had complained that the hunger strike is unlawful and cannot be held there; it had asked the Delhi Police to evict Naidu and his supporters.
15:11 Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto fares rise again!:
Close on the heels of a fresh rise in passenger fares, Railways have decided to further hike the fares of premier trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto effective from October 17.
The ticket rates of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains will go up further by about Rs 25 to Rs 27 with an upward revision in food tariff, a senior Railway Ministry official said.
This is the second increase in passenger fares applicable in a few selected trains in a month as Railways had increased the fares by 2 per cent in all trains on October 7.
Railway official maintained that the base fare of premier trains has not been increased and only food prices have been revised, which will result in overall hike in ticket rates.
The official said charges paid per meal to caterers have not been increased in the last 14 years. The Railways serve about 3.3 crore meals a year in these trains.
14:43 2013 Peace Nobel for chemical weapons watchdog:
Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
The OPCW is tasked with supervising the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
Experts from The Hague-based watchdog, supported by the United Nations, aim to help destroy Syria's chemical weapons production facilities and weapons-filling equipment by November 01.
Under a Russian-US deal struck last month, Syria's entire chemicals arms program is due to be eliminated by mid-2014.
In line with tradition, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, revealed the laureate's name at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.
14:04 Don't sell Malala's book, Taliban warns:
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has warned that those found selling 'I am Malala' -- the book authored by teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai -- will face serious action.
The TTP, which has vowed to attack her again if it get a chance, claimed that she had not performed any act of bravery but swapped her religion Islam with secularism for which she is being rewarded.
The banned group's spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said they knew that 16-year-old Malala would get awards from the "enemies of Islam", the Dawn reported.
"Malala abandoned Islam for secularism for which she is being given awards," he said, adding that the media and the international community should keep in mind that students of Jamia Hafsa (Lal Masjid controversy) were never given any award despite their "immense bravery".
"The Taliban will not lose an opportunity to kill Malala Yousufzai and those who were found selling her book will be targeted," he said.
13:25 Sikh Light Infantry officers, jawans clash; 3 hurt:
IBN Live reports: Three armymen are believed to have been injured in a clash between officers and jawans of the 10th Sikh Light Infantry on Friday.
The 10th Sikh Light Infantry is the parent regiment of Army Chief Bikram Singh.
A Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the incident
More details are awaited.
13:16 Media made a bad impression of me: Raja Bhaiya:
Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, who was today re-inducted into Akhilesh Yadav Cabinet, slammed the media for holding him guilty in the DSP Zia-ul-Haq murder case "even before any probe was started".
"The media had held me guilty in DSP murder case before any probe was started. Now that I have been given clean chit by the CBI, they should review their working. I am thankful to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for having faith on me," Raja Bhaiya told reporters here after taking oath as Minister.
"It's unfortunate that media made a bad impression of me before the people without any base... They (media) should maintain restraint in such matters," he said.
The former Food and Civil Supplies Minister had to resign from the Cabinet after being named by DSP Haq's wife Parveen Azad in the murder case earlier this year.
13:12 NATO-led ISAF to stay in Afghanistan toll 2014 end:
The United Nations has voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for the last time till 2014 end, when the Afghan government will assume full responsibility for the country's security.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council welcomed the agreement between the Afghan government and countries contributing to ISAF to transfer full security responsibility to the authorities by the end of 2014, and the ongoing implementation of the transition process since July 2011.
The 15-member body also called on UN Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to ISAF and to continue to pursue their efforts to support security, stability and transition in Afghanistan.
12:57 'Infosys results have been above estimates':
Dipen Shah, Head of Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities on the Infosys results: "Infosys results have been above estimates. While the volume growth was in line, average realization increase has come as a positive surprise. On the other hand, margins have come in slightly below estimates."
"We believe that the company should be able to do better than the guidance given for FY14, which, we feel, is conservative. The company has reported consistent revenue growth performance over the past couple of quarters and it has levers to improve margins further from current levels. To that extent, we expect the valuations to improve from the current levels."
12:55 Tom Hanks on his diabetes, pirates...:
Tom Hanks, the gosh-darned nicest guy in Hollywood, is in town to promote his new movie, Captain Phillips. But all anyone wants to talk about is the news he has type-two diabetes
12:44 Cyclone Phailin the size of Katrina: WaPo:
Washington Post reports: Over the last day, a cyclone over the Bay of Bengal has explosively strengthened as it marches towards the east coast of India, presenting a clear and present danger to the country of over a billion people.
In the last 18 hours, Phailin's peak winds have increased an astonishing 80 mph (or 70 knots), a rare rate of intensification.
"Based on satellite estimates, maximum sustained winds are now easily around 160 mph (140 knots)," says Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at WeatherBell.com, a private forecasting services company.
Those wind speeds would make Phailin the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, capable of catastrophic damage.
Phailin is not only intense, but also large.
"It's equivalent to Katrina in size," Maue says.
12:39 Pak violates ceasefire again, several Indian Army posts targeted:
NDTV reports: The Pakistani army violated the ceasefire yet again today, targeting several Indian Army posts in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to reports, heavy firing was reported from the Hamirpur, Mendhar and Barasingha sectors of Poonch in Jammu.
Small arms, rockets and mortars are reportedly being fired from Pakistan. The Indian Army is retaliating in equal measure, said officials.
12:38 Spanish court indicts Hu Jintao on genocide charges:
South China Morning Post reports that Spain's National Court has agreed to hear charges of genocide against former Chinese President Hu Jintao.
On Thursday, the court's criminal division ruled in favour of an appeal by Tibetan exile groups allowing the indictment of Hu, a request which had been dismissed in June by the same court.
The court, which handles crimes against humanity and genocide, argued that the earlier decision had to be overturned because one of the plaintiffs, Thubten Wangchen, is a Spanish citizen and because China had not carried out its own investigation into the allegations.
Courts can hear cases of crimes against humanity wherever they occur outside Spanish territory on the legal principle of universal competence.
12:33 Asaram's judicial custody extended till October 25:
A court in Rajasthan's Jodhpur town on Friday extended, till October 25, the judicial custody of spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl.
The 72-year-old Asaram has been lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail since September 1.
The court of the district and sessions judge (Jodhpur rural) will, meanwhile, decide on the plea by a Gujarat police team seeking custody of the jailed self-styled godman for questioning him in connection with a sexual assault case lodged by two sisters from Surat against him and his son.
12:29 Terrorist sanctuaries in Pak challenge Afghan: US:
The United States has said that safe havens of terrorists in the tribal areas in Pakistan continue to pose challenge to Afghanistan.
"Terrorist sanctuary in the tribal areas of Pakistan will continue to challenge Afghan security," nominated Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Michael D Lumpkin said.
The Pentagon official also said the US must remain cautious in Afghanistan as the allied forces begin to withdraw
"Both unilateral and partnered direct actions are an essential and highly effective element of our strategy to defeat al-Qaeda and those that enable it in Afghanistan, particularly in northeastern parts of the country," he said.
In a set of written answers submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lumpkin told lawmakers that the US and Pakistan share common interests in long term regional stability; which includes disrupting, dismantling, and defeating Al Qaeda, a durable political settlement in Afghanistan, and the safety and security of the Indian Ocean.
12:29 Just In: GoM on Telangana discussed basis parameters for creation of a separate state. There is no time-frame for the GoM on Telangana to submit its report, says Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
12:21 'Commit your crimes when Sachin is batting... because even the Lord is watching':
'While covering the World Cup in 2011 I watched, rapt, as he scored 120 against England in Bengaluru. It is just another among the many great centuries he made, but for me it stands out as one of the precious occasions when I got to sit in court with a king, a moment akin to watching Roger Federer on Centre Court, Usain Bolt at the Olympic Stadium, or Michael Phelps in the Olympic pool. There was a banner in the ground, a copy of one which had been seen at the SCG years earlier. "Commit your crimes when Sachin is batting," it said. "They will go unnoticed, because even the Lord is watching."...'
Andy Bull on Sachin in The Guardian
12:19 Sachin's hunger has been as incredible as his records at the crease:
'Oddly enough, Mike Atherton once harangued Sachin Tendulkar from cover at Edgbaston in 1996 when he thought that the latter had given the umpire too much information about whether he had snicked the previous delivery. Atherton reports that he got a swift, concise reply and that his piercing observations did not seem to disturb Tendulkar's concentration greatly. Amid the rubble of the India innings Tendulkar posted another masterful century. All that serenity, all that pacificity masks a teak-toughness...,' says Vic Marks in The Guardian
12:04 How the Obama administration treats the media:
US President Barack Obama came into office pledging open government, but he has fallen short of his promise.
Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press.
Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists.
12:02 Alice Munro's road to Nobel literature prize was not easy:
Alice Munro has been awarded the Nobel prize in literature, thus becoming its 13th female recipient. It's a thrilling honour for a major writer: Munro has long been recognised in North America and the UK, but the Nobel will draw international attention, not only to women's writing and Canadian writing, but to the short story, Munro's chosen mtier and one often overlooked.
Initially regarded as a housewife whose writing was domestic and boring, elusive perfection drove Canadian to literary stardom
11:36 Rupee trims early gains Vs dollar:
The rupee trimmed gains made in early morning trade today but was still up 12 paise at 61.27 per dollar on selling of the American currency by banks and exporters in view of sustained foreign capital inflows.
The rupee resumed higher at 61.08 per dollar as against the last closing level of 61.39 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) Market.
It firmed up further to 61.06 per dollar. However, the local currency trimmed its early gains and was quoted at 61.27 per dollar at 1040 hours. It moved in a range of 61.06 and 61.29 per dollar during morning deals.
Banks and exporters preferred to reduce their dollar position on hopes of more foreign capital inflows into equity market.
11:20 Yuvraj dedicates match-winning knock to Tendulkar:
He should have been on cloud nine after smashing a match-winning unbeaten 77 against Australia in the one-off T20 International in his comeback match, but Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh said he had mixed feelings as it came on the day Sachin Tendulkar retires from Test cricket.
An emotional Yuvraj, who guided India to a six-wicket win over Australia here, dedicated his unbeaten innings to Tendulkar who yesterday announced that he would quit Test cricket after playing his 200th match against the West Indies next month.
"Well I don't know if I am happy or sad. Happy that I hit the ball and sad day that Sachin is retiring. But really happy the way I hit the ball and how I continued to play well since the India A and West Indies A series," Yuvraj said at the post-match press conference.
10:49 Raja Bhaiya rejoins UP Cabinet:
Just In: Controversial independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya sworn in as minister in the Uttar Pradesh government.
Raja Bhaiya's re-induction was a writing on the wall on the very day the trial court gave him a clean chit on the charges of his suspected involvement in the killing of a UP deputy superintendent of police Zia-ul Haque in his home town Kunda earlier this year.
And earlier this week, when Samajwadi Party-led government's senior most minister Azam Khan called on Raja Bhaiya at his Lucknow residence, the picture became even clearer that the feudal lord-turned-politician Raja Bhaiya was staging an early come back to the portals of power.
Azam Khan was stated to have been instrumental in pushing Raja Bhaiya's exit from the ministry after wild accusations came from different quarters demanding his ouster. Raja Bhiaya was then holding two key portfolios -- food and civil supplies and prisons.
Evidently, the Samajwadi Party felt the need for his re-induction as his ouster had already earned the displeasure of the Thakur community for the ruling dispensation.
10:49 Why Malala should NOT win the Peace Nobel:
Malala Yousafzai is a hero in south Asia and beyond, but awarding her the prize now would be a disservice to her and her cause.
As a Nobel-winner, Malala would get lost in giving speeches and collecting further honors. By the time she would emerge at the end of her term as the new laureate, would the interest and attention in her original aspirations still burn as bright? One year after her shooting, with a book and major prize nominations, everyone cares. Four years from now, Malala will still be fighting for the cause, but who will listen then?
10:41 Rupee up 29 paise against dollar in early trade:
The rupee today appreciated further by 29 paise to 61.10 against the dollar in early trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market on increased selling of the US currency by exporters and increased capital inflows.
Forex dealers said besides selling of the American urrency by exporters, gains in other Asian currencies against the dollar and a higher opening in the domestic stock market also buoyed the sentiment.
The rupee had gained 54 paise to close at an almost two-month high of 61.39 against dollar yesterday.
Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex today rose 286.78 points, or 1.41 per cent, to trade at fresh three-week high of 20,559.69 in early trade.
10:16 Has PM quit Vishwa Bharati chancellor's post?:
Indrani Roy reports from Kolkata: Rumour mills have it that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has resigned from the Chancellors post of Vishwa Bharati University
However, a former professor of the university who did not want to be named said that Dr Singhs term as come to an end.
The official resignation has not yet been received by the University so far.
It is also being heard that Dr Singh has recommended former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi for the post, but this too has not been endorsed by University officials.
10:02 Heavy rains leave Delhiites stranded in traffic:
Heavy rains lashed the national capital on Friday morning giving a harrowing time to hundreds of morning commuters as they found themselves stuck in traffic jams caused by water-logging.
According o reports, the downpour started early morning and continued to lash parts of Delhi for hours.
The Met department has forecast heavy rainfall till Sunday.
10:01 Cyclone Phailin update: The IMD has predicted a storm surge with height of around 2.0-2.5 meteres. Low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh may get inundated. The National Disaster Response Force has put 28 and 15 teams in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh respectively on standby to meet any eventuality.
09:28 Telangana issue: Curfew relaxed for 9 hrs in Vizianagaram:
With the situation further improving, curfew in violence-hit Vizianagaram town of the district has been relaxed for nine hours on Friday to facilitate people to purchase essential commodities.
As the situation is returning to normal, authorities have decided to relax curfew for nine hours today from 7 am to 4 pm to provide relief to the people of the town, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Vizag region) P Umapathi told PTI.
The curfew was clamped in Vizianagaram town on Saturday night in the wake of large-scale violence by anti-bifurcation agitators following the Union Cabinet's decision to create a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
The situation was totally under control and no fresh violence was reported since last five days in Vizianagaram town, the DIG said.
09:25 Infosys Q2 net up at Rs 2,407 crore:
Infosys consolidated net profit for second quarter up 1.6 per cent year-on-year to Rs 2,407 crore.
Infosys consolidated revenues up 31.5 per cent to Rs 12,965 crore in July-September, 2013 quarter.
Infosys revises US dollar guidance upwards to 9-10 pc for 2013-14 fiscal from 6-10 pc earlier.
08:56 Cyclone Phailin grows menacingly stronger:
Cyclone Phailin over the Bay of Bengal slightly intensified further and moved north-westwards.
It lay centred at 2030 hours at about 650 km southeast of Paradip, 700 km south-east of Gopalpur, and 700 km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam.
It is expected to cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by Saturday evening.
As per the latest update from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Thursday, the cyclone over east central Bay of Bengal will gain intensity and turn into a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 190-200 kmph at landfall.
08:53 GoM on Telangana to meet today:
Amidst the ongoing turmoil, a group of ministers (GoM) will hold their first meeting on Friday on the decision by the central government to create a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
The central government's decision has instigated huge protests, which have affected normal life in the Seemandhra region of the state.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who heads the GoM, Defence Minister AK Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M Veerappa Moily and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh are the part of the GoM.
The terms of reference for the GoM include determining the boundaries of the new state of Telangana and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the electoral constituencies, judicial and statutory bodies, and other administrative units.
08:49 Striking Andhra employees to rejoin duty today:
About 30,000 regular staff and 15,000 contract employees across 13 districts of Seemandhra will rejoin duties on Friday morning.
The decision came following the second round of talks with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday.
Employees of the state road corporation indicated they would take a decision on ending their two-month stir in a day or two.
The announcement is a relief to the millions in this region without power since Sunday.
Power supply in Visakhapatnam and other coastal towns has already been restored, according to reports.
03:14 Bubonic plague outbreak feared in Madagascar:
Madagascar is at risk of a major outbreak of bubonic plague unless it can clean up its rat-infested jails, health experts have warned. The Indian Ocean island became the most severely affected country in the world last year, with 256 cases and 60 fatalities from the disease known as the "black death" when it swept through Europe in the 14th century.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Malagasy prison authorities have launched a campaign against rodents in Antanimora prison in the capital, Antananarivo, where 3,000 inmates are behind bars.
Read more on The Guardian
03:12 UK warned of another horsemeat scandal as food fraud rises:
Budget cuts coupled with a two-thirds rise in reported food fraud have increased the risks of another horsemeat scandal, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report that is highly critical of government changes weakening food controls.
The cuts in testing also led to a loss of intelligence information, meaning "the government failed to identify the possibility of adulteration of beef products with horsemeat despite indications of heightened risk", the NAO says.
It questions whether there will be sufficient capacity to respond to future incidents, given the dramatic decline since 2010 in the number of public analysts and laboratories capable of detecting food fraud.
Just 29 public analysts remain out of 40, and four out of a total of 13 labs have closed in the last two years. The watchdog's inquiry has found a dramatic increase in food fraud, with one in six products failing tests for the presence of undeclared species in 2012.
But until testing was ramped up after Irish authorities found horsemeat in beef in January 2013, no tests for undeclared horse in food had been conducted in England since 2003.
Read more on The Guardian
03:10 Iraq executes 42 convicts in last two days :
Iraq has executed 42 prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges in the last two days, the Justice Ministry has said, defying international condemnation of its extensive use of the death penalty amid escalating violence.
The ministry said on Thursday that all 42 executed, including a woman, over the past two days were Iraqis convicted of "terrorist crimes, killing dozens of innocents in addition to other crimes aimed at destabilising the country, causing chaos and spreading horror".
The statement was accompanied by a photo of a noose on a black background, a reference to the way in which executions in Iraq are usually carried out. Human rights groups have questioned trial procedures in Iraqi courts, alleging that some verdicts are based on testimony obtained by torture or forced statements against the accused.
"The escalation in the number of executions in recent days is an extremely alarming development," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
Read more on Al Jazeera
01:15 Freed Libyan PM calls for calm:
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan appealed for calm Thursday in his first public comments since he was freed after being abducted by militia gunmen for several hours.
In remarks to a Cabinet meeting broadcast on Libyan state TV, Zeidan said he did not want to see the situation escalate and urged Libyans to show "wisdom." Zeidan's abduction from a luxury hotel early Thursday highlighted the security threat posed by militias that have run rampant in Libya since the revolution that ousted Moammar Gadhafi two years ago.
"These types of groups exploit these types of gaps that exist in the country at the moment, given the fact that we are in the process of building our criminal justice system," Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
Read more on CNN
00:11 US Republicans make temporary debt-ceiling offer:
US Republicans have offered President Barack Obama a short-term debt limit increase to stave off default. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said they would do so in exchange for negotiations with the White House to end a government shutdown that took effect on 1 October.
Republicans will meet Mr Obama, who is a Democrat, later on Thursday. Officials have warned the US risks default on 17 October if the nation's borrowing limit is not increased.
Read more on BBC