23:16 Cyclone Phailin not a super storm, says IMD:
Cyclone Phailin hit the Indian coast, a little south of Gopalpur in Odisha, between 8.30 to 9 pm today at a windspeed of 200 km per hour, Indian Meteorological Department officials said.
The 'eye' or centre of the cyclone is estimated to be 15 km in spread so it will take nearly an hour to cross the coast completely, officials said, adding that the impact of the storm will be maximum for the next six hours.
"The intensity of the storm is likely to continue for six hours, that is until Sunday morning. The eye of the cyclone is approximately 15 km, which means it will take around one hour to cross the coast," according to L S Rathore, director general of IMD.
22:58 Coastal districts in Odisha plunged into darkness:
Power was switched off in a dozen towns in coastal districts of Odisha since morning in view of Cyclone Phailin, which made landfall near Gopalpur in Ganjam district.
Since the supply at most places was through overhead wires which were vulnerable, power distribution companies SouthCo, CESU and NorthCo disconnected power.
22:57 Gopinath Munde's application for MCA presidentship rejected:
Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who had filed his nomination to contest for the presidentship of the Mumbai Cricket Association at its biennial election on October 18, today suffered a huge setback as his application was rejected on the basis of the residential criteria.
According to MCA rules, only a resident of Mumbai can become a governing member of the cricket body and Munde now has two days' time to appeal to the Association.
Friday was the last day for filing the nominations and today the forms were scrutinised.
22:55 Glass, wood, asbestos sheets fly after Phailin landfall :
Broken glass pieces, wood shreds and asbestos sheets flew like killer projectiles in adjoining cities of Gopalpur and Berhampur, moments after severe cyclone Phailin slammed into Gopalpur beach.
The roads in these twin cities were empty as strong wind howled across, hitting closed doors and windows of the houses deserted by the locals.
People living in Berhampur, the largest town in Ganjam district, jostled in one corner of residential buildings as even concrete structures shook due to the combined battering of winds and heavy rains.
22:31 Cyclone will be intense for next six hours, says IMD :
Cyclone Phailin, which made landfall with a wind-speed of 200 kmph near Gopalpur town in Odisha tonight, is likely to maintain the intensity of a very severe cyclonic storm for six hours, the IMD said.
Gopalpur in Ganjam district was experiencing heavy rains and the cyclone is likely to move northwestwards across interior Odisha after about six hours, bringing heavy to very heavy rain at some places in the state, it said.
22:01 Rajasthan rape case: CBI questions victim :
The CBI today questioned a 35-year-old woman, who has alleged that former Rajasthan former minister Babulal Nagar sexually assaulted her, and also inspected the politician's official residence.
The CBI team recorded the victim's statement and questioned her on various issues related to the crime, a spokesman of the agency said.
The team also inspected Nagar's official residence at Civil Lines, where he had allegedly raped the woman, the spokesman said.
22:00 One held in sexual assault case against Narayan Sai :
Surat police have arrested an aide of Narayan Sai, son of self-styled godman Asaram, in connection with the sexual assault case registered against him.
One Mohit Gadvani, aide of Narayan Sai, was arrested from Surat last night, police officials said today.
Gadvani was arrested as he allegedly sent some messages to the victim, who had filed a complaint against Sai, police sources said, adding that he might be aware of the whereabouts of Sai, who has been absconding since the case was filed.
21:59 Standing by to deal with Phailin fallout: Railways :
Indian Railways today said it had taken the required steps and put its machinery on stand-by to manage operations in the areas which are likely to be affected by Cyclone Phailin.
According to a statement, top Railway Board officials are constantly monitoring the situation and emergency control rooms have been activated at zonal and divisional levels for east coast, south-central and south-eastern zones.
General managers of these zones are personally supervising all arrangements, the statement said, adding that other zones have been put on alert to provide necessary support.
21:33 Cyclone Phailin: Next one hour will be worst :
Heavy to very heavy rainfall has been reported from Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh, said the IMD.
Entry points to all the major beaches in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have been blocked off, according to news channels.
21:20 Cyclone Phailin makes landfall in Gopalpur, Odisha:
Cyclone Phailin has made landfall in Gopalpur in Odisha, the Indian Meteorological Department has confirmed.
The east coast will witness heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours, said the IMD, adding that Phailin will remain in a cyclonic phase for the next six hours.
The next one hour will
be the most intense period of the cyclone, which is being considered as the
worst one to hit India
in the last 14 years.
The cyclone is
currently moving at a speed of 200 kmph, said the IMD, adding that Cyclone
Phailin cannot be termed as a super storm.
20:38 4 fishermen injured after Lankan fishermen attack them :
Four fishermen of a coastal village in Nagapattinam district were injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan fishermen off Kodiakarai coast today.
Officials said the fishermen from Vellapallam village had ventured out to sea on October 10 in two fishing boats.As they were fishing just off Kodiakarai coast, the Lankan fishermen arrived there in four boats and attacked them with sickles and pelted stones.
They also snatched the fish catch and other valuables and fled the scene.
20:18 Lohia had warned Nehru about China: Mulayam:
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today said that soon after independence, Ram Manohar Lohia had warned Jawaharlal Nehru of the threat from China.
"Lohia in 1952 had warned Nehru about the intentions of China, but since then the Centre has not taken it seriously. Even the opposition failed to understand it. I gave several speeches in Parliament. I want the prime minister to take it seriously," Yadav said.
20:17 Police unable to take Asaram to Ahmedabad:
Fearing a backlash by followers of Asaram, Gujarat police officials are camping in Jodhpur and waiting for orders from their seniors to take the self-styled godman to Ahmedabad despite getting his transit remand.
"We are awaiting directions of our seniors from Gujarat regarding transit of Asaram to Ahmedabad and will decide upon it only after receiving those directions," said ACP J C Patel, head of the Gujarat police team.
Patel said that there are certain challenges involved, which needed to be addressed in order to avoid any "untoward" happening both in transit and in Ahmedabad.
19:39 All possible assistance to states: PM:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed government agencies to extend all possible assistance to the states concerned in ensuring safety of people as Cyclone Phailin approaches the east coast.
19:36 Chhattisgarh: Naxals hack police constable to death :
Suspected Naxals axed to death a 45-year-old police constable and injured another police official in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh today, police said.
"Naxals attacked police constable Gautam Pande with an axe and also injured police sub-inspector Satyawadi Sahu, 35.They took away Pande's SLR (rifle)," Dantewada SP NarendraKhare told PTI over the phone.
Naxals, dressed as villagers, attacked the policemen, who were on bandobast duty for the Kuakonda weekly market.
19:35 India's economic recovery strongest: Sharma:
India took the hardest hit during the recent financial market turmoil, but the country has also staged the "strongest recovery", Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said today.
Despite all the volatility, Indian markets have sharply rebounded, he added.
"In the last few months, despite all the volatility, our markets have rebounded sharply. We took the hardest hit, but we have also staged the strongest recovery in markets as well as currency values. The stronger recovery has been of India's, which is not being talked about," he told reporters on the way back from Indonesia as part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led high-level delegation.
19:34 Shashi Tharoor does it again! :
Political parties should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act to ensure transparency in governance and strengthen the trust of the people in democracy, Union minister Shashi Tharoor said today.
"Political parties are the lifelines of our democracy. So, in my personal view, there is nothing wrong in bringing them under the RTI Act. The more transparent we are, the more we can gain the trust of people," the minister of state for human resource development said at a seminar on Right to Information Act - The Way Forward.
19:31 Talks with militants within constitutional limits: Pak army chief:
Keeping open the option of military action against banned militant groups, Pakistan army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today said any peace talks with them must be held within constitutional limits.
Kayani, who is set to retire in November after leading the army for six years, said the military fully backs the government's move to hold talks with militants.
19:30 Manohar Joshi meets Uddhav Thackeray:
Former Lok Sabha Speaker and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi today met party president Uddhav Thackeray, a day after appearing to have indirectly criticised the latter's leadership style.
At a public function in Dadar, Mumbai, Joshi had said he missed Sena founder Bal Thackeray's aggressive style.
"Why can't Sena build a Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park? Just imagine if this was the case with Prabodhankar Thackeray, Bal Thackeray's father... Would he have kept quiet? The chief minister is showing Uddhav the rules and permissions that need to be taken," Joshi had said.
19:28 Chhattisgarh issues alert due to Phailin:
The Chhattisgarh government has issued an alert to all its departments in view of Cyclone Phailin, which is likely to trigger heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in the area between south Bastar and capital Raipur.
The meteorological department said that state may receive heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours as clouds have begun to form in the southern part.
18:45 EC issues orders for extending NOTA option to voters :
The Election Commission has issued instructions for Chief Electoral Officers of states and Union Territories to introduce the 'None of the Above' option during polls to enable voters to exercise their right to not vote for any particular candidate while maintaining secrecy.
The EC has decided to introduce the NOTA option in forthcoming assembly elections in the five states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram after the Supreme Court, in a September 27 judgement, directed that the said option be included for voters on EVMs and ballot papers.
18:32 Congress meddling in religious affairs of Sikhs: Punjab CM:
Continuing his offensive against the Congress, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today alleged that the party was resorting to its "old policy of meddling" into the religious affairs of Sikhs.
Badal alleged that the party was backing Paramjeet Singh Sarna, former head of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, "who, through one of his aides, has filed a criminal petition in Delhi high court challenging authority of the Jathedar of Akal Takht."
Akal Takht is the the highest temporal seat of the Sikh community.
18:28 Cyclone Phailin 30 km away, 5.25 lakh evacuated:
Their focus primarily on avoiding any loss of human life, authorities have evacuated more than 5.25 lakh people from the coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, with Cyclone Phailin set to hit the eastern coastline.
"Our main focus is to avoid loss of human life. So far, we have evacuated 4.25 lakh people in Odisha and 1 lakh more in Andhra Pradesh," said Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami.
18:27 BJP trying to grab power by misleading people: Cong :
Upping the ante against the BJP, Congress today accused the opposition party of trying to grab power in the national capital after a hiatus of 15 years by misleading people on issues like power, water and governance.
Three senior ministers in the Sheila Dikshit dispensation -- Harun Yusuf, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Raj Kumar Chouhan -- launched a broadside against Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel, alleging that he was levelling wild accusations and making "unbelievable promises" to win the polls.
The ministers also attacked Goel for going to Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna for the appointment of the Accountability Commission to probe alleged irregularities in the Delhi government.
18:25 Rajasthan Speaker, son booked on forgery charges :
Rajasthan Assembly Speaker and his son have been booked on the charges of forgery and usurping property.
Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat and his son Kunal Singh have been accused of furnishing forged documents to avoid paying rent for a property, which was rented out to Kunal, police said.
18:16 'No incriminating evidence against ex-CJI Balakrishnan':
The Supreme Court has been informed by the Centre that an income tax probe into the allegations against NHRC Chairman K G Balakrishnan and his relatives -- of having amassed disproportionate assets during his tenure as CJI -- has unearthed no incriminating evidence.
The government has also said that Balakrishnan's conduct during his tenure as CJI cannot be ground for his removal from post of chairman, National Human Rights Commission under the Protection of Human Rights Act, as its provisions cannot be invoked "unless there is proved misbehaviour and mere allegations are insufficient to make a reference to this court".
18:15 Obama warns of 'economic shutdown' :
Faced with the looming prospect of a debt default, President Barack Obama today appealed to Congress to pass the budget while pushing Republicans to agree to hike the borrowing limit to prevent an "economic shutdown".
"Let's pass a budget, put people back to work, and end this Republican shutdown. Let's pay our bills, and prevent an economic shutdown," Obama said as the government shutdown entered its twelfth day.
18:13 Rahul is capable of becoming PM: Oscar Fernandes :
Joining the 'Rahul for PM' clamour in the Congress, Union Minister for Transport Road and Highways Oscar Fernandes today said that Rahul Gandhi had all the capabilities to become the prime minister.
"Rahul is a talented leader. He has all the capabilities to become prime minister," Fernandes said while responding to a question.
17:26 Cyclone Phailin: Now West Bengal put on high alert :
The latest from NDMA: West Bengal is on high alert ahead of Cyclone Phailin. Coastal districts of East Midnapore, 24 Parganas are expected to be affected.
Nearly 5 lakh people have been evacuated from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh.
This is the biggest deployment so far for the NDRF, 2300 personnel have been deployed in two states. 20 medical teams have been flown in.
16:50 Cyclone Phailin inches closer, 90 km off Odisha coast :
Met department's latest bulletin: Cyclone Phailin is 90 km off the coast of Gopalur in Odisha. It may hit with a wind speed of 200 to 220 kmph. Current observations of wind in Gopalur is 150 kmph. US forecasters have been over estimating the strength of the cyclone.
16:26 PM returns after 4-day visit to Brunei, Indonesia:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today returned home after a four-day visit during which he attended the East Asia and ASEAN summits in Brunei and paid a bilateral visit to Indonesia. The visits paved the way for expansion of trade ties with the countries of the region even as India announced the setting up of a separate mission for ASEAN with a full time ambassador.
16:19 Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth takes stock of situation ahead of cyclone :
With Cyclone Phailin hours away from hitting the coast of Odisha, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth today took stock of the preparedness of various central agencies assigned to provide relief to those affected and restore normalcy in the aftermath.
Top officials from the ministries of home, defence, petroleum, telecom, health, food, railways,drinking water and sanitation participated in the meeting, which will now be a daily affair to ensure "proper coordination", official sources said.
15:40 Army, navy in place to tackle cyclone, says Andhra CM :
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy said the army, navy and NDRF teams are in place to tackle with Cyclone Phailin.
Talking about relief and rescue preparations, he said, "Drinking water is being available. Boats are also being arranged as part of the contingency plan. We have a contingency plan in case communication fails, hand radio, wireless facilities are in place. Doctors and veterinary doctors are in place. There is no need to fear. We are prepared to handle the situation. Srikakulam, Vizianagram, Vishakhapatnam are the places we're concerned about. Temporary structures will be affected," he said.
14:47 Cyclone Phailin 'may be worse than Katrina' that hit US in 2005:
Meteorologists warned that Cyclone Phailin may be worst than Hurricane Katrina that cause massive destruction in the United States in 2005.
"Phailin is already worse than what the IMD is forecasting. A recent satellite estimate put Phailin's current intensity on par with 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the United States," said Eric Holthaus, meteorologist for Quartz, a US-based online magazine which covers global economy-related issues. Image: Men inspect damage to a beach club destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Sea Bright, New Jersey in 2005.
13:49 4.4 lakh people evacuated from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh:
Shashidhar Reddy, vice-chairman of the NDMA said, "The wind speed of Cyclone Phailin continues to be over 220 kmph. 4.4 lakh people have been evacuated from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh so far."
23 disaster relief team have been deployed in Odisha and five more are on stand by.
13:35 Amitabh Bachchan tweets on Cyclone Phailin: @SrBachchan: The fury of the God's in cyclone #Phailin !! Be careful, beware and be protected .. and be in prayer !!
13:24 Cyclone Phailin hits rail, air traffic :
"All trains cancelled on Howrah-Visakhapatnam route due to Cyclone Phailin. Trains likely to be cancelled tomorrow also," J P Mishra, CPRO, East Coast Railways told NDTV
13:11 Jagan discharged from hospital, advised rest:
YSR Congress President Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who was admitted to a hospital on October 9 after being forcibly evicted by police from the site of hisfast to protest bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, was today discharged.
Jagan left for home from the Nizam's Institute of MedicalSciences in Hyderabad this morning following improvement in his health condition. He was, however, advised rest for a fewdays, sources said.
12:30 Phailin intensifies into a 'super' cyclone:
The deep depression that had formed over the Bay of Bengal has
intensified into a super cyclone. It is moving towards the Odisha and
Andhra coast at the speed of over 200 km per hour, reports downtoearth.org.in.
12:12 Phalin is a very severe cyclonic storm, says IMD:
The Met department has said that Phailin is a very severe cyclonic storm and will remain that when it makes landfall this evening. It is currently 200 km southeast of Gopalpur, Odisha. It will remain a very severe storm even after 6 hours of making landfall.
11:11 Heavy rains in Odisha ahead of cyclone, 1 killed : CNN-IBN
reports: One person has died in Bhubaneswar after a tree fell on him during heavy rains as cyclone Phailin approaches the Odisha coast. In Gopalpur, where Phailin is expected to make landfall by 5:30 pm, high tides are being seen in the sea.
10:31 Explosion in hotel in Miumbai :
An explosion has taken place in the hotel in Mulund, Mumbai. The police say that the case appears to be that of a cylinder blast, reports CNN-IBN
More details are awaited.
09:38 Obama, top Republicans agree to continue talks on shutdown:
United States President Barack Obama and the Republican party leadership have decided to continue talks to find any possible deal to re-open government and raise the debt ceiling, but there was no immediate resolution in site to end the current impasse.
The White House described a telephonic conversation between Obama and John Boehner, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, as good and constructive.
"Two of them agreed that all sides need to keep talking on the issues here that are confronting us that have led to a shutdown of a government and to the situation that has put us on the precipice of potential default or at least reaching that line beyond which the United States government does not have borrowing authority," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday.
He, however, said there has not been any change in the position of the US president.
09:32 The Prime Minister's Office spoke to the Ministry of Defence and the NDMA expressing concern about the cyclone.
09:31 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today concluded his four-day visit to Brunei and Indonesia and left for home.
The flight route of the PM's return journey has changed to avoid turbulence due to Cyclone Phalin which is expected to hit the east cost by this evening.
09:27 Super cyclone Phalin to hit Andhra, Odisha around 6 pm :
The meteorological department has termed Phalin as a severe super cyclone. It is hurtling towards coastal Odisha and Andhra Pradesh at wind speeds
averaging 200 km per hour and is expected to hit the states around 6 pm.
02:59 Saudi blogger detained, but she's hopeful about campaign to allow women to drive:
As a campaign for Saudi women to defy the driving ban in their country heats up, one of the country's leading female bloggers was detained in Riyadh on Thursday after a woman she was with did just that.
Eman al-Nafjan, who tweets as Saudiwoman and has been one of the leading voices urging Saudi women to get behind the wheel on October 26, was in a car that was stopped by police in Riyadh, the capital, as she filmed another woman driving. Al-Nafjan, who has been calling on Saudi women to upload videos of themselves driving in different parts of the kingdom, spoke exclusively with CNN on Friday about what happened.
"Yesterday, I kept getting called by women I know who wanted me to film them driving," she said, explaining how she spent most of the day filming and uploading information about those excursions online.
Read the exclusive CNN report here
02:58 Hillary Clinton: We need to talk sensibly about spying:
Hillary Clinton has called for a "sensible adult conversation" to be held in a transparent way, about the boundaries of state surveillance highlighted by the leaking of secret NSA files by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In a boost to British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who is planning to start conversations within government about the oversight of Britain's intelligence agencies, the former US secretary of state said it would be wrong to shut down a debate.
Clinton, who is seen as a frontrunner for the 2016 US presidential election said at Chatham House in London: "This is a very important question. On the intelligence issue, we are democracies thank goodness, both the US and the UK. "We need to have a sensible adult conversation about what is necessary to be done, and how to do it, in a way that is as transparent as it can be, with as much oversight and citizens' understanding as there can be."
Read more on The Guardian
02:56 Japanese hospital fire leaves many dead and injured:
A fire has broken out at a hospital in southern Japan, killing 10 people. Another eight people were injured in the fire, which started on the ground floor of the four-storey orthopedic hospital while patients were sleeping.
Fukuoka police said eight of the dead were patients, and the remaining two were hospital staff. Several of those injured were in serious condition. Akiharu Otsu, a Fukuoka city fire department official, told journalists the fire had been extinguished only after burning down most of the building.
Read more on The Guardian
01:07 Syria rebels executed civilians, says Human Rights Watch:
Rebel forces in Syria killed as many as 190 civilians and seized more than 200 hostages during a military offensive in August, Human Rights Watch says.
A report by the US-based group says the deaths occurred in villages inhabited predominantly by members of President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect near the coastal city of Latakia. It said the findings "strongly suggest" crimes against humanity were committed.
The group has previously documented atrocities by pro-government forces. The report calls on the UN to impose an arms embargo on all groups where there is credible evidence of their involvement in war crimes.
Read more on BBC
01:06 Boat carrying 200 migrants capsizes off Lampedusa:
A boat with more than 200 migrants on board has capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa and a rescue operation is under way, officials say. Italian and Maltese ships - backed by helicopters - were scrambled to the scene and are searching in darkness.
At least 120 people are said to have been saved, but dozens of bodies have been reportedly spotted in the water. Last week more than 300 people drowned when a boat carrying African migrants sank off Lampedusa.
Read more on BBC
00:17 APSRTC employees call off strike:
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation employees in Seemaandhra region called off their indefinite strike late tonight.
The RTC staff had been on strike for last 60 days demanding the Centre to withdraw the proposed bifurcation of the state. Bus services would resume in all the 13 districts of Seemaandhra region from tomorrow, Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said.
Satyanarayana held marathon talks with RTC employees unions for about seven hours this evening to end the deadlock as the corporation has suffered steep losses.
"The unions agreed to call off their indefinite strike with immediate effect. We have promised to positively look into all the demands that they have raised," Botsa told reporters here.
The RTC will immediately pay a festival advance of Rs 28,000 each to all regular employees and Rs 17,000 each to the contract workers. He said the demand for merger of RTC with the state government would also be looked into. A committee has been constituted to study the proposal.