23:04 AP: Phailin damaged crops over 7,783 hectares in Srikakulam:
Two persons were killed and crops in 7,783 hectares were damaged in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh due to cyclone `Phailin', according to the official survey.
Sources said horticultural crops like coconut and cashew also sustained damage in 5,140 hectares. As many as 91,000 people were evacuated before the cyclone struck.
Over nine km road stretches were damaged but they have been cleared of debris and fallen trees. 380 houese were damaged completely.
Officials claimed power and water distribution networks had been restored in almost all the villages.
22:52 Opp, govt in slugfest over PM's culpability in coal-gate:
A slugfest erupted today between Opposition parties and the government over the coal scam, with BJP holding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responsible saying he is the final signatory while Union Ministers defending him in unison.
The BJP said Singh is "culpable" if one goes by the rules applied in the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum scams, where the final signatory was held responsible for the financial irregularities.
Alleging that trail of the coal scam goes all the way to the Prime Minister since he was the final signatory for all the allocations, BJP also sought to know how Coal Secretary P C Parakh is being held responsible but not the minister who held the portfolio.
"The trail of the coal allocation scam goes all the way to 7, Race Course Road (PM's residence).
22:00 After cyclone fury epidemic threat in Odisha's Ganjam:
The threat of epidemic is looming large in Odisha's worst-hit Ganjam district as the debris is yet to be cleared even six days after Cyclone Phailin left behind its trail of destruction. Five diarrhoea cases have already been reported from Sorala, a fishermen village in the coastal area.
The disease was also reported from the nearby villages. Confirming it, Ganjam chief medical officer P K Kar, however, said the situation was not alarming. We have received some sporadic cases.
But the situation is totally normal, he said. Kar said at least ten teams of doctors along with paramedical staff were touring the cyclone-ravaged areas. At least two teams were deputed to the district from Bhubaneswar and all the senior doctors in the area have been alerted to be prepared to meet the situation, Kar added.
Managing Director of National Rural Health Mission Roopa Mishra today reviewed the preparedness of the health sector to meet the outbreak of any epidemic here.
Locals complained that the situation was the worst in Berhampore Municipal Corporation area as heaps of garbage, branches of trees lay piled up in the south Odisha town.
21:12 Rahul meets Ratangarh stampede victims:
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today visited the district hospital in Datia where the victims of Ratangarh temple stampede are admitted.
Accompanied by Congress general secretary and in-charge of Madhya Pradesh Mohan Prakash, state Congress president Kantilal Bhuria, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh, Rahul met injured persons and inquired about their condition.
115 persons were killed and over 100 injured when a stampede broke out at Ratangarh temple near here on October 13.
20:42 Pak high commission invites Indian journalists:
In an unusual development, the high commission of Pakistan has invited Indian journalists for attending a lecture by a Pakistani scholar Dr Shahzad Qaisar on "The Transformation of Religiosity into Spirituality; Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Fareed'
20:39 Stan Lee's newest superhero Is Indian:
Daily Mail: Legendary American comic creator Stan Lee's newest superhero is an Indian boy from Mumbai, who creates a body suit that fires up the mystic chakras of his body and invests him with supernatural powers to fight evil. "Chakra '"
The Invincible' will debut in South Asia on Nov. 30 on Cartoon Network. Lee describes Chakra as a "thrill-a-minute superhero saga' and calls it one of his "most exciting superhero creations' that will "captivate audiences in India and around the world', reports news agency IANS.
"I have always been fascinated by the ancient traditions of the East,' Lee told the Mumbai Mirror in February. "That's why I wanted to create a character that imbued some of these characteristics into his powers.'
20:13 Odisha CM Patnaik wrote to PM to approve coal blocks for Hindalco : CNN-IBN
reports: In a new twist to the coal blocks allocation scam the Central Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the role of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the case.
Naveen Patnaik had reportedly written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to approve coal blocks of Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Hindalco, say sources.
Read the full report here
19:56 Telangana row: Govt employees in Seemandhra end 65-day strike:
The pro-united Andhra employees today decided to temporarily suspend their agitation following an assurance from Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddyon rules governing their service among others.
They, however, said they would resume their agitation>whenever the legislative assembly session is convened to see that pressure is mounted on political parties so as to prevent the state's division.
19:42 Over 350 activists arrested on eve of VHP's Ayodhya rally:
The Uttar Pradesh police today arrested around 350 people, including former BJP MLA Lalu Singh, and put 42 others under house arrest on the eve of the
VHP's 'Sankalp Diwas' rally in Ayodhya, which has been banned
by the state government.
Talking to reporters, Inspector General (law and order) R K Vishwakarma said 340 people have been arrested, 42 have been placed under house arrest and 39 people have been charged with CrPC Section 107/16. Those arrested included VHP spokesman and former BJP MLA Lalu Singh, he said, adding there was no information regarding the arrest or house arrest of senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal.
19:29 Phailin aftermath in Bengal: Nine killed in floods:
Nine persons have lost their lives in the recent floods in five districts of West Bengal, state disaster management department sources said on Thursday. Floods in West and East Midnapore, Howrah, Bankura and Hooghly districts have claimed nine lives so far, they said, adding, that seven persons have died in West Midnapore and two in Bankura.
"Situation in East Midnapore district continues to remain grave because of the inflow of tidal water through breached river embankments, but the overall flood situation in West Midnapore district has improved to some extent," sources said.
19:11 Lara, Amitabh, SRK to be sepcial invitees for Sachin's 199th Test at Eden : CNN-IBN
reports: West Indies cricketing legend Brian Lara to come as especial guest for Sachin Tendulkar's 199th Test match at Kolkata's Eden Gardens. Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan many also be invited. 10 other national and international star cricketers will be part of the programme.
Tendulkar has announced his retirement. His 200th test in Mumbai will be his last.
18:17 SC directs CBI probe against Radia and others:
Observing that tapped telephonic conversations between Niira Radia, politicians and others prima facie revealed "deep-rooted malice", the Supreme Court today ordered CBI probe into six issues relating to corrupt practices being adopted for private gains.
"Prima facie, there is a deep rooted malice by private enterprises in connivance with the government officials and Niira Radia's conversations suggest that influential persons indulged in corrupt practices for private gains for extraneous purpose," a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi said.
On the basis of analysis of the telephonic conversations of Radia which was done by apex court-appointed committee, the bench directed the CBI to complete its probe within two months and asked it to file the report in the Supreme Court.
However, the bench while reading out the order did not elaborate on the issues to be looked into by the agency.
It noted the submission of the CBI which had found element of criminality involved in them.
18:16 CBI may question Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik:
The Central Bureau of Investigation could question Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of coal block to Hindalco as he had written a letter to the Coal Ministry after application of the Aditya Birla company was rejected in 2005.
CBI sources said as its officials were scrutinising the documents they found a letter written by Patnaik requesting for a relook and reverse rejection of Hindalco's application for Talabira II block in Odisha.
CBI said while no final decision has been taken as to who all would be questioned, the sources said the Chief Minister would be questioned only if need was felt to seek his views on the reasons for recommending coal blocks to Hindalco.
CBI sources said 46-year-old Kumar Manglam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group, had written a letter to the Prime Minister's Office which had forwarded the letter to the Coal Ministry.
17:45 Gone are the days of 8% growth: Moody's on India:
The Indian economy has bottomed out and the recovery is on the anvil although the days of 8 per cent growth are "gone", Moody's Analytics said today.
"The economy is nearing the bottom of the current cycle and there is recovery in sight as investment should improve from the fourth quarter, as the government has been actively trying to restart stalled investment projects, both from the public and private sectors," senior economist at Moody's Analytics Glenn Levine said in a note today.
"Yet the recovery will be modest, as weak business sentiment will take time to turn around. We expect fixed investment to grow 3.5 per cent in 2014 after being flat in 2013," he added.
The arm of the global credit ratings agency Moody's also said: "The days of 8 per cent GDP growth are gone. We expect the Indian economy to hit its potential growth rate of 6.5 per cent by the second half of 2015."
16:44 Former Army chief V K Singh rules out joining BJP:
Former Army Chief General (Retd) V K Singh today ruled out joining BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, and said he was with social activist Anna Hazare in his crusade against corruption.
"I am with Anna Hazare to fight corruption in the country. I am not joining BJP," General (Retd) Singh, who was here to attend a college function in Bewar, told reporters.
General (Retd) Singh said the government should ensure that black money stashed in foreign banks is brought back to the country as it would help in development and eradication of poverty.
Stressing the need to improve quality of education, he said it was necessary to check the flow of money on foreign education.
Advocating the need to elect public representatives having clean image, the former Army Chief said it was the need of the hour to check entry of people with criminal background in politics.
16:04 China's leaders now part of cartoon video!:
A video depicting the leadership selection process in China, where all top leaders of the Communist Party are animated characters, has gone viral.
The Chinese video, which has made President Xi Jinping, among other leaders, into a cartoon character, has received over one million hits in the last three days.
15:56 CVC declines information on LTC scam:
The Central Vigilance Commission has declined to share information on the leave travel concession scam involving certain government officials, saying it would hamper investigation in the case.
"Parting with any information on the same (LTC scam) would impede the process of apprehension of offenders. In view of this, the information is denied as per provision of Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act," it said in reply to an RTI query.
15:56 SC seeks CBI probe on Radia tape issue:
The Supreme Court has sought a CBI inquiry into six issues arising out of the analysis of Niira Radia's taped conversations.
Radia's conversations reveal "deep-rooted malice" by private enterprises in connivance with government officials for extraneous purposes, said the SC.
The telephonic conversations suggest corrupt means being adopted by private parties to extract gains, the apex court said.
15:54 Adnan Sami gets three-month visa extension:
Pakistani singer-composer Adnan Sami, whose Indian visa expired last week, has been granted a three-month extension by the ministry of home affairs, a senior police official said today.
"Adnan was granted three months extension by the MHA from October 6, the date when his visa has expired," Deputy Police Commissioner, Special Branch, Sanjay Shintre told PTI.
Shintre's office today received a fax from the MHA, informing about the three-month visa extension to the singer, said another officer.
15:50 Pak PM vows to take bold decisions to combat terrorism:
The Pakistan government will take 'bold' decisions to tackle terrorism and restore law and order in cities like Karachi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said.
Addressing PML-N parliamentarians and party workers after Eid-ul-Azha prayers at his ancestral home in Raiwind, Sharif said, "We are going to take bold decisions for the sake of restoring peace and maintaining law and order in Karachi and everywhere in the country."
15:50 BJP MLA arrested for Muzaffarnagar violence:
BJP legislator Kunwar Bhartendu Singh, accused of inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar, was today apprehended by Uttar Pradesh police and sent to 14-day judicial custody.
Singh was arrested by police after a press conference in which he claimed his innocence and said he was being targeted by political rivals.
15:44 Brooklyn restaurant bans talking, is a hit:
Eat, a restaurant in Brooklyn which forbids its patrons from talking, has become a major hit with the patrons of the noisy city of New York.
According to a report in the Times, London, diners have to wait for days for a reservation in the eatery, which encourages "people to experience the food with a kind of intention and attention to the experience that isnt usually afforded by a loud meal".
15:24 Sonia was in tears over food bill: Rahul:
Hard-selling UPA'sFood Security Act, Rahul Gandhi today reached out to the aam aadmi
and tribals, recalling that Sonia Gandhi was in tears as she failed to cast her vote in Lok Sabha when her pet project was being passed in August.
"I will not go until the bill is passed (despite being taken ill in Parliament). I have fought this battle for years.I will not go without pushing the button (casting the vote)," Rahul quoted the Congress chief as having said on that day.
14:48 Japanese PM assures Fukushima leak issue 'under control' :
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly assured that the issue of radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant is under control and measures are being taken to address the problem.
Abe said that the Japanese government will continue efforts to tackle the problem with multiple preventive measures.
According to the Japan Times, Abe reiterated that there were no-cause-for-alarm assessments of the situation at the Fukushima plant, which suffered three reactor-core meltdowns shortly after it was hit by the 2011 Japan Earthquake and monster tsunami.
14:46 Goa Lokayukta resigns citing personal reasons:
Goa Lokayukta Justice B Sudarshan Reddy has quit from his post citing personal reasons, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said today.
Parrikar told reporters that Reddy's resignation has been accepted.
His appointment had earlier been challenged in the high court by social activist Aires Rodrigues, but the plea was dismissed.
14:37 AAP candidate's brother says kidnapping case false, seeks bail:
The brother of an Aam Aadmi Party leader, booked for kidnapping an accused in the IPL spot-fixing case, today sought bail from a Delhi court on the ground that the charges against him were false.
Additional Sessions Judge Illa Rawat called for the file of the IPL spot-fixing case accused Ritesh Bansal, who has alleged that he was kidnapped by four persons including Chakit Ravi, the elder brother of AAP's Karol Bagh candidate Vishesh Ravi.
14:36 Jagan appears before CBI court in assets case :
YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy today appeared before a special CBI court in connection a disproportionate assets case against him.
Former Andhra Pradesh minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, also an accused in the case, Jagan's financial advisor V Vijay Sai Reddy, industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad among other accused too appeared before the court as part of proceedings in the case.
14:17 The new breed of smugglers:
Smugglers are no longer sleazy lowlifes with furtive manners; the newest breed of such criminals are sophisticated, well-mannered and rich.
13:52 Gurgaon toll plaza staff beaten, robbed:
A group of six men armed with iron rods and other sharp objects assaulted the staff of a toll plaza in Gurgaon and decamped with Rs 1.85 lakh kept in the booth.
Though the incident took place on Monday night at a commercial toll plaza on the Gurgaon-Pataudi road, it came to light today when the staff released CCTV footage of the incident to the press.
13:52 EU to make it easier for Indian students to visit Europe:
The European Union is working on a legislation which will make it easier for students and researchers from India to visit Europe.
"We are working on a Europe-wide legislation which will help us to welcome Indian students and researchers. Within the next few years, we are going to see a much greater ease of access for bonafide students and researchers in European Union," H E Joao Cravinho, ambassador and head of delegation of EU in India, told reporters today.
13:50 Did NOT write e-mail bashing Sonia: Mark Tully:
Veteran journalist Sir Mark Tully today described as "totally false" an e-mail circulating in the cyber space in his name attacking Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
"I am very concerned about such wide circulation of the totally false e-mail because time and again people have called me to ask about the totally false e-mail they have read on the net," he said.
13:35 SIT grapples with 400 riot cases in Muzaffarnagar:
The number of cases registered in connection with Muzaffarnagar riots has risen to over 400, proving to be quite a task for the SIT team of Uttar Pradesh government to probe into the incidents.
According to police, the number of cases registered has increased to 405, which include that of loot, damage to property, rape and murder.
12:58 Canada offers Malala honorary citizenship:
Canada will offer honorary citizenship to Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.
Malala will become just the sixth person to be granted honorary Canadian citizenship after South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama' British business magnate Aga Khan and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, state-run Radio Pakistan reported today.
12:57 Pawar to be new Mumbai Cricket Association chief:
NCP chief Sharad Pawar will be elected unopposed as the president of the powerful Mumbai Cricket Association, current MCA President Ravi Sawant informed media personnel on Thursday.
Earlier, the application of BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who was a contender for the post, had been rejected on the ground that he was not a resident of Mumbai.
Pawar's return to the role of cricket boss spells bad news for BCCI chief N Srinivasan, who has faced several allegations in connection to spot-fixing in IPL matches.
12:56 CBI arrests BJP MLA in illegal iron ore export scam:
BJP MLA and former Karnataka minister Anand Singh was today arrested by CBI in connection with alleged illegal export of iron ore from Belikeri Port in Karnataka.
"Singh was arrested in the city," CBI officials told PTI.
Singh is the fourth MLA to be arrested by the CBI in the case after B Nagendra and Satish Sail, both independents, and Suresh Babu of BSR Congress headed by former minister B Sriramulu, a close aide of mining baron and former minister Janardhana Reddy, now in jail in an illegal mining case.
12:12 Rs 25 crore seized from Kumarmangalam Birla's office:
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi reports:
The CBI has found more than Rs 25 crore cash from industrialist Kumarmangalam Birla's office on Wednesday, said CBI spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad while talking to Rediff.com
The cash was found in the office of Hindalco, owned by Birla, in UCO bank building near Parliament in New Delhi.
Birla was recently named as an accused in the ongoing coal scam case. The case pertains to irregular allotment of coal mines by the Congress-led UPA government.
When asked how the CBI will link the seized cash to the alleged illegal allotment of coal mine to Hindalco, Prasad said they have not yet drawn such a link.
The cash has been handed over to the income tax department.
11:54 SC notice to Centre on allowing pvt radio to broadcast news:
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking its direction to the government to allow private radio stations, including community radio, to broadcast news.
Agreeing to hear the PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam raised questions on why the government had a problem in allowing private radio stations to broadcast news when it is already being permitted in television.
11:10 Guj, Del cops hold joint raids against Asaram's son:
A joint team of Surat and Delhi police today conducted raids across the city to gather evidence against Narayan Sai, son of self-styled godman AsaramBapu, over a sexual assault complaint against the father-son duo registered by two sisters.
The joint team conducted raids at Asaram's ashrams at Rohini, Najafgarh, Jafarpur Kalan and on Ridge Road.
The sexual assault complaint against Asaram and Sai was filed at Jehangirpura police station in Surat.
11:02 Obama signs bill to end shutdown, avoid debt default:
US President Barack Obama early today morning signed a bill into law to end a disruptive 16-day government shutdown and increase the current debt ceiling of $16.7 trillion to prevent the country from a debt default with potentially worldwide economic repercussions.
Obama signed into law the 'Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014,' which provides fiscal year 2014 appropriations for projects and activities of the Federal Government through Wednesday, January 15, 2014, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
The US Congress earlier approved an 11th-hour deal to end a partial government shutdown and pull the world's biggest economy back from the brink of a historic debt default that could have triggered a financial calamity
09:33 EC slaps poll code violation notice on MP minister:
The Election Commission has slapped a notice against Madhya Pradesh Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya for making 'contemptuous' remarks against the model code of conduct and distributing money.
Taking cognisance of his criticism of the model code at a programme of Rajput Sabha in Bhopal on October 14, the EC said that by doing so, he has shown "utter disrespect and disregard" to the provisions of the code and asked him to reply by October 18.
09:30 Srikakulam suffers crop loss of Rs 500 crore:
Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, which bore the brunt of Cyclone Phailin, has suffered crop loss worth Rs 500 crore.
The economically backward district may witness large-scale migration in the aftermath of the cyclone.
09:28 China's newest trick to make friends -- space diplomacy :
China is using space, the final frontier, to make some new friends.
Beijing is using its enviably advanced space technology to strike up deals to conquer the final frontier with India's close and distant neighbours -- Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.
09:23 Family is the biggest threat for women in UP:
382 women are killed in Uttar Pradesh per day, 330 of them unborn.
Female feteicide, poor maternal health and dowry related violence kill a woman every four minutes in India's largest state.
09:15 Why the US should NOT send troops to Syria:
The US stands to gain nothing and lose much if it decides to militarily intervene in Syria, which may well become the fourth Muslim-majority country targeted by America's 'pro-democracy' strategy.
09:10 Eros International head honchos' million dollar payday! :
Bollywood may just be the only sector on the planet as yet untouched by the global slowdown.
The top brass of Eros International, one of the biggest studios in Bollywood, have taken home more than $3 million as pay in the fiscal year ending March 2013.
08:52 Three police jawans killed in Naxal attack in Gadchiroli:
Three police jawans were killed in a Naxal attack near Gyarabatti area of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in the wee hours of Thursday, police said.
"Three jawans have been killed in the Naxal attack on a police patrolling party in Kurkheda taluka of Gadricholi," a police official said.
"There are no immediate reports of injuries to others from the patrolling party," he said.
Top police officials have rushed to the spot.
08:49 Lanka must not be given Commonwealth chairmanship: HRW:
Sri Lanka must not be awarded the two-year chairmanship of the Commonwealth after it hosts the CHOGM summit in November, a human rights group said today.
Commonwealth foreign ministers will meet on October 17 and 18 in London to finalise the agenda for the summit in Colombo from November 15-17.
Rewarding Sri Lanka with the chairmanship casts serious doubts on the Commonwealth's commitment to supporting human rights and democratic reform enshrined in the Commonwealth Harare Declaration of 1991, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
08:48 US shutdown hurts growth, cost economy $24 billion :
The US government shutdown, running into more than two weeks now, has cost the American economy more than $24 billion, ratings agency Standard &Poor's has said.
"The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the US economy," Standard and Poor's -- the eminent credit rating agency -- said in a statement.
08:46 US Senate votes to end shutdown:
Less than four hours before the midnight deadline, the United States' Senate voted 81-18 for the legislation to end a 16-day government shutdown and avert a catastrophic debt default.
The bill will fund the government through January 15, 2014 and avert default through February 7, during which time it can work toward a long-term budget agreement that prevents these frequent crisis.
US President Barack Obama said he would sign the legislation immediately after it is passed by the House of Representatives.