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October 21, 2013

22:42  Nevada middle school shooting: 2 killed, 2 injured:  
Two people were killed and two were injured in a shooting at a Nevada middle school Monday, school officials said.

It was not immediately clear whether the death toll included the shooter.

Sparks Middle School, located outside Reno, Nevada, remains an active crime scene, school officials said in a Twitter post.

Two minors are in critical condition at Renown Regional Medical Center after the shooting, a hospital spokeswoman said.
22:04  New report of NSA spying angers France:  The National Security Agency has carried out extensive electronic surveillance in France, a French newspaper reported Monday, drawing an angry condemnation from an important American ally. 

The report, based on secret documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, was published in Le Monde, the authoritative French newspaper, the day Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here for an official visit.
21:37  The terrorist next door:  Recent incidents on the Line of Control (LoC) '" the frontier between India and Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir '" have again raised fundamental questions about the nuclear-armed neighbors' fraught relationship. 

Early this month, India's army foiled an attempted incursion by a group of 30 to 40 militants from Pakistani territory, leading Indian critics to decry official peace overtures. Indeed, barely two weeks before the latest incident, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, during the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

Read more 
21:14  India, Russia hail BRICS role in boosting world economy:  India and Russia today noted the enhanced role played by BRICS nations as part of global efforts for a strong, sustainable and growing world economy and also acknowledged the contribution of the SCO group for ensuring peace and development in Eurasia.
21:12  ONGC interested in Arctic exploration with Russian companies:  Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is interested in exploration in the Arctic offshore region even as the possibility of pumping Russian hydrocarbons by pipeline to India is considered by both nations.
20:58  Police: Report of shooting at Nevada middle school:  A suspect has been "neutralized" after a shooting Monday at Sparks Middle School, police in Sparks, Nev., said.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that police spokesman Rocky Triplett said students had been evacuated from the school to nearby Agnes Risley Elementary School. The students were then being moved to Sparks High School.
20:36  Congress strikes deal with rebellious Ajit Jogi:   Anita Katyal reports:   

The Congress has managed to tame the rebellious former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi who wanted the party to project him as CM in the year-end assembly elections while pressing for tickets for his wife and son.   

As part of the compromise, the Congress today announced the candidature of Jogi's son Amit Jogi from the Marwahi seat while his wife Renu Jogi has been fielded from Kota. In return, Jogi will have to sit out in the assembly polls and will, therefore, not be in the race for the CM's post.   

Jogi will instead contest the Lok Sabha elections next year. It had become necessary for the Congress to strike a deal with Jogi or else he could have played spoiler in the coming crucial assembly election. 
20:35  Changes at the helm: Editorial and business:   N Ravi has taken over as Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, and Malini Parthasarathy as Editor of The Hindu. Arun Anant is no longer the Chief Executive Officer of Kasturi & Sons Limited, the company that owns and publishes The Hindu Group of publications. 

N Ram has become Chairman of KSL and Publisher of The Hindu and Group publications; and N. Murali, Co-Chairman of the company. These decisions were taken by the Board of Directors of the Company at its meeting on Monday.

In consequence, Siddharth Varadarajan, who was made Contributing Editor and Senior Columnist, The Hindu, has submitted his resignation.The Board also decided to allocate specific responsibilities to other Directors.
19:57  Shatrughan plays down Advani's absence in Modi's Patna rally:  

Downplaying patriarch L K Advani's absence from BJP's proposed 'Hoonkar Rally' on Sunday, leader Shatrughan Sinha today said that the party's wish to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister is a command for him.        


"Everybody is together in the party... Not only Advaniji, many other BJP leaders will also not be coming to Patna for the Hoonkar Rally on October 27 because of their prior engagements," said Sinha, who is known to be close to Advani and had not attended the party's Goa conclave after initially expressing reservation over Narendra Modi being the prime ministerial candidate.  



Sinha is BJP MP of Patna Saheb in whose constituency the proposed rally is scheduled. The rally is significant in that it would be the first political engagement of Narendra Modi in his bete noire Nitish Kumar's home turf.        


"Advaniji is a father figure for BJP like Atal Bihari Vajpayee," the actor-turned politician said after flagging off a motorcycle rally at party headquarters here to drum up support for Sunday's rally.

19:36  Nuclear weapons are Israel's 'worst-kept secret,' says Israeli historian:  Talks between six world powers and Iran conducted in Geneva this week reflect international concern about the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation in the volatile Middle East. 

Rarely discussed amid the concern over Iran's nuclear intentions is the unacknowledged but widely accepted reality that there has been a nuclear weapons state in the Middle East for decades.Israel has long hewed to a policy of nuclear opacity '" known as amimut in Hebrew '" neither confirming nor denying the existence of a substantial nuclear arsenal. 

While the U.S. and its allies largely refrain from talking publicly about Israel's program, Iran often cites it as an instance of what it decries as a Western double standard.

Read more
19:35  Bangladesh heads for 'total deadlock' ahead of scheduled polls:  Bangladesh's main opposition party on Monday refused a request from the prime minister to form an all-party government to oversee upcoming elections, setting the stage for a showdown this week that could delay or even derail the polls altogether.

The tension is a fresh threat to the poverty-stricken country's garment export industry which has already been rocked by a string of deadly factory accidents over the past year.
19:07  Tunku Varadarajan: The only decent editor The Hindu has had in nearly a decade has been ousted in a squalid boardroom putsch. Hey Ram!

Tunku Varadarajan, editor Newsweek international, is Siddharth Varadarajan's brother.
19:05  Lydia Polgreen: Reminder of what family-controlled journalism at the Hindu looks like: N. Ram's slavish intv w/Sri Lanka's president: Read
19:04   Here are reactions on Twitter...

Jonathan Shainin: Horrible news from The Hindu today. The family wins, but Indian journalism loses.

Swapan Dasgupta‏: Regardless of differences svaradarajan is a formidable journo & a friend since his radical undergrad days at LSE. Hope he remains in media.

Lydia Polgreen: The Hindu was a far better paper under svaradarajan. It is a great loss for readers. Stunned and saddened to hear that svaradarajan is resigning as editor of the Hindu. The family that owns it wants to edit it again.

Kanchan Gupta tweets: Exemplary.
18:58  Varadarajan's letter to his readers on 'editorial endorsements':  Obviously, all has not been well at The Hindu. Read Siddharth Varadarajan's letter to his readers in the Hindu on April 24, 2012.

"We carried a 'jacket' on Monday in our Tamil Nadu editions that featured a message -- laid out in the form of an in-house advertisement -- to readers on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on behalf of 'The Hindu' .

Neither I, as Editor of The Hindu, nor anyone from the editorial side, was involved in the drafting of this message. Nor did we know of, let alone approve, its contents.

For the record, it is not The Hindu' s editorial position that Akshaya Tritiya, an occasion that has risen to prominence only relatively recently, is one of "the most auspicious days in the Hindu religion.' Nor can we possibly endorse this statement -- "The belief that buying gold on this day would make you prosperous throughout the year is shared by one and all' -- or others contained in that message.

We have now taken internal steps to ensure that advertising messages put out in the name of The Hindu are consistent with its editorial policy and that our Code of Editorial Values, which says there is "a firm line between the business operations of the Company and editorial operations and content", is strictly adhered to by all.
-- Siddharth Varadarajan
18:48  This is what Malini Parthasarathy had tweeted on October 13 over what is presumably Siddharth Varadarajan taking charge. "There is no change in my views regarding the events of 2011 when I was forced to quit my editorial position or its unfairness."
18:46  Siddharth Varadarajan was appointed as the editor of The Hindu on 20 July, 2011. Following this appointment, N Ravi, Malini Parthasarathy and Nirmala Lakshman -- family members of N Ram resigned. N Ravi is now editor of The Hindu. 
18:41  Swamy's plea against Varadarajan dismissed?:   So what happens to Subramanian Swamy's plea? The Janata Party chief  had filed a plea in the Delhi High Court saying editors of news organisations in India "must be Indian citizens and residents of India" and not foreign citizens.

The court in turn, on May 8, 2013, issued a notice to the Centre asking whether the citizenship of editors of publications in India should be a criteria for their appointment.

The Press And Registration of Books Act (PRB Act) 1867, which is a pre-Independence legislation for publications, states that a person who does not ordinarily reside in India would not be permitted to edit a newspaper. However, the Act doesn't comment on the matter of citizenship.
18:21  Siddharth Varadarajan quits as Editior-in-Chief of the Hindu:  Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, announced his resignation from the newspaper on Twitter, after about two years after he took over the reins from N Ram as the first professional editor of The Hindu.

This is what he tweeted: "With The Hindu's owners deciding to revert to being a family run and edited newspaper, I am resigning from The Hindu with immediate effect."
18:15  LIVE! Coal-gate: CBI probe of Birla to continue despite PMO validating allocation:  Ahead of the CBI's status report before the Supreme Court on the coal scam tomorrow, news is that the report is likely to contain the details of latest FIRs filed against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, former Coal Secretary PC Parakh and the "competent authority" named by the CBI in its investigation.

The CBI will not back away from probing Birla, despite the PMO statement validating the allotment to Birla.
17:57  Naveen takes action for loot of relief material:   Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today transferred the commissioner of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and suspended his deputy over allegations of misappropriation of relief material meant for cyclone victims.
17:54  Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?:  What happens to a country when its young people stop having sex? Japan is finding out. Read
17:47  Bed-of-cash Left leader says pic was a joke:  The CPI(M) leader in Marxist-ruled Tripura who lay on a bed of cash withdrawn from his own bank account to fulfil a long cherished dream, today denied charges of illegally earning the money.

"I have no hesitation in admitting that it was a foolish idea of sleeping on cash, but I have not earned a single paisa illegally. It was a joke," he told reporters.

"We have always grown up in abject poverty. Neither I, nor my partners in work have ever seen Rs 15 lakh at once in our lives. One of my partners, Santosh Bhowmik, suggested we scatter the cash on the bed and take pictures in turn. Both of us clicked photos of ours jokingly," he said.
17:38  Shiv Sena, BJP and RPI, alliance partners in Maharashtra, today said they are united and would contest the next Lok Sabha polls together.
17:35  The GoM in its first meeting directed the two additional secretaries in the Union ministry of home affairs -- K Skandan and Rajeev Sharma -- to prepare a status paper on the sharing of natural resources.

This document is based on the replies from secretaries of petroleum, water resources, mines, human resources development, and road transport ministries -- on sharing, authority and the bifurcation of central universities, national institute of technologies, minerals, offshore gas, oil explorations and other related policy issues.

The source added that the GoM will strictly adhere to its terms of reference.
17:30  LIVE! Telangana Bill unlikely to be tabled in winter session of Parliament:  The Telangana Bill is unlikely to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament for seven reasons, according to highly placed UPA sources. The decision was taken by the Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to draft the bill, since they believe it will take at least two more months.

Two Union Ministers of the GoM are of the view that the draft bill should be uploaded on the net to seek public opinion and 30 days should be given for some clarity to emerge from the public discussion on the Bill.

The GoM need to discuss the Telangana draft Bill in three or four sittings.
Detailed report on shortly.  
17:16  Three-day national executive meet of RSS from Oct 25:   The national executive of the RSS will meet in Kochi for three days from October 25, the first time such a high-level meeting is being held in Kerala. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat is already here for the All India Executive meeting. Near 400 senior-most RSS functionaries will participate in the meeting, to be presided by RSS General Secretary Suresh Joshi.
16:53  Poll surveys are entertainment programmes: Nitish:  With poll surveys indicating increase in seats for the BJP-led NDA under its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in 2014 polls, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today dismissed such surveys based on small samples and said those were nothing more than "entertainment programmes".

"These surveys based on sample size of only 4000 and without considering the fact that India does not have a bipolar political set up but a multi-party ethos are not true... They are nothing more than entertainment programmes," Kumar told reporters.

"Everybody knows these are PR exercise to falsely claim that nation's mood is in their favour," he said.
16:23  On Twitter: "I feel you bro" - text from Advani to vijay goel 
16:20  3 translations in USD 50000 DSC Prize longlist:   Translations of works by Anand, Benyamin and Sachin Kundalkar are among the 15 writers on the longlist for the USD 50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature announced in New Delhi today.

Anand and Benyamin has been chosen for their Malayalam works "Book of Destruction" and "Goat Days" translated by Chetana Sachidanandan and Joseph Koyippalli respectively, while Marathi filmmaker Sachin Kundalkar's debut book "Cobalt Blue" has been translated into English by Jerry Pinto.

The longlist culled from over 65 entries, includes 4 debut novels along with the works of established writers.
16:17  Have not recommended anyone's name as CM candidate: Goel:   Goel denies media reports saying, he did not threaten to quit, but says that everything related to the Assembly polls should be decided quickly. The decision on the CM candidate will be taken after discussion with elders, he says and adds that he has not recommended anyone's name as the candidate, including his own.
16:11   Congress press meet headed by Sandeep Dixit now.
16:09  LIVE! Delhi BJP chief's presser: NO rift in party over CM candidate :  Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel begins his press conference in New Delhi. Goel begins his presser slamming Delhi CM Sheila Dixit saying she has destroyed the national capital and denying that there were rifts in the BJP.  "The current CM has failed to provide basic facilities and security to citizens," he says, demanding an audit of the Commonwealth Games. 
15:57  Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel to address media at 4 pm:  Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel to address the press at 4 pm. Infighting in the BJP's Delhi unit forced the party to defer the announcement of its chief ministerial candidate for the assembly elections in the national capital.

The party, instead, claimed that the meeting of its top leadership was held to discuss the strategy for the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.
15:42  2G scam: Karuna's wife likely to testify at Chennai home this month:   DMK chief M Karunanidhi's second wife, Dayalu Ammal, who has been enlisted as a witness in the telecom scam, is expected to testify at her home in Chennai later this month.

Her lawyers have said she is unwell and cannot leave the house. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of the city is likely to meet  the 84-year-old at her residence on October 28.  -- NDTV
15:40  LIVE! Dangerous levels of smog shuts Chinese city of 11 million people:  Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China's largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country's first major air pollution crisis of the winter.

An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.

A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20.-- NDTV
15:34  France summons US ambassador over spying claims:  France said today it is demanding explanations after a report that the US National Security Agency secretly recorded millions of phone calls made in the country.Interior Minister Manuel Valls described the revelations in Le Monde newspaper as "shocking", in an interview with French radio Europe 1. Read
15:29  Britains jails facing growing problem of forced conversion to Islam:  Britains jails facing growing problem of forced conversion to Islam and the issue is a symptom of the increasing influence of Muslim gangs in jails, according to a prison law expert. Read
15:11  China court to issue Bo Xilai appeal decision on October 25:  A Chinese court will rule Friday on the appeal of the once-powerful politician Bo Xilai, it announced on Monday, another step towards closing a scandal that has rocked the ruling party. Bo was sentenced to life in prison in September by the Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong. Read
15:07  He defeated the French, the Americans: Was there anyone like General Giap? Read
15:01  Indias Mental Health Challenge:  India lacks an officially approved mental health policy and has only 0.3 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people, the World Health Organization's Mental Health Atlas 2011 says. The government spends 0.06% of its health budget on mental health, according to the WHO. Read
14:59   Swamy demands Radia tapes from CBI:  Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy today demanded from CBI the transcript of a recorded telephonic conversation of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia relating to alleged kickbacks in civil aviation sector agreements between India and other countries.

"...I request you to provide me access to the transcript of the conversation which incidentally is already informally in the public domain. For the purpose of the court, I require an authenticated transcript," Swamy wrote in his letter to CBI Director Ranjit Sinha.

He said the matter is directly relevant to his writ petition before the Supreme Court on a bilateral agreement between India and the UAE and connected with the Jet Airways- Etihad FDI deal.
14:56  New airlines to be called Tata SIA Airlines Limited :   The proposed aviation venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines has received approval from the Corporate Affairs Ministry to use the name 'Tata SIA Airlines Limited'. According to the latest information available with the ministry, the name has been approved now and the company, Tata SIA Airlines Limited, stands registered from Delhi.
14:38  Shinde rejects third party intervention on Kashmir:  Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Monday said that the Indian Government has consistently maintained that there can be no third party interference in bilateral matters between India and Pakistan.

"Our stand has always been that when it is a matter between two countries, the third country cannot participate in it. This has been our viewpoint right the time of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and even today our view is the same,' he told media here, when asked about Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hinting at seeking US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue.

Sharif, presently on a four-day official to the US, is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on October 23.
14:37   Shinde concerned over Pak ceasefire violations:  Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Monday expressed concern over repeated ceasefire violations from across the border along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, and said he would be visiting the area to assess the situation on ground.

"We have sufficient information that there has been an infiltration. This might be the result of decisions taken by the Indian Government against militants in the past few years,' he said.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan again violated ceasefire several times in Ramgarh and Arnia sectors last night with heavy mortar and rocket shelling at 13 Indian posts and forward villages.

According to reports, the Pak Rangers fired 82 mm mortars and rockets targeting seven to eight forward villages and BSF posts at SM Pur, Narayanpur, Chamblyal, Nanga, from 8.30 pm yesterday.

The Border Security Force retaliated very effectively giving an equal response to the Pak Rangers.
14:35  Omar warns security forces to be vigilant against militancy:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today asked security forces not to let their guard down, saying militancy in the state has not ended yet.

"We will have to be vigilant and not let down the guard. Militancy has not ended in the state yet. If that were the case, the situation would have been different," Omar said in his address to police personnel on Police Martyrs' Commemoration Day at Zewan, 15 kms from Srinigar.

He said there were still remnants of militancy present in the state which need to be given a strong response.

"There is still some effect and influence present and to finish it off, it is our duty that we do not give them even one chance of success. Wherever the militants attack, they have to be dealt with an iron fist," he said.

Omar, however, said there has been substantial success in tackling militancy in the state and it seems that "we will be able to see its end".
14:30  Unhappy Journalists in Happy Bhutan:  Bhutan is the only country in the world which claims to put citizens' happiness at the heart of government policy. But if you ask the nation's private journalists, they will tell you a different story. The country's first private newspaper, Bhutan Times, had about 100 employees in 2008. Today, you can count the staff at the weekly on the fingers of one hand. Read
14:22  Nixon saw American empathy for India as physiological disorder:  Former US President Richard Nixon was baffled and annoyed by Americans' sympathies for India, which he described as a "physiological disorder", says a new book based on declassified documents.

He scorned a "phobia" among some Americans that "everything India does is good, and everything Pakistan does is bad", and once told the military leader of Pakistan (Yahya Khan), "There is a psychosis in this country about India," writes Princeton University professor Gary J Bass in "The Blood Telegram: India's Secret War in East Pakistan."

The book, published by Random House India, is a riveting history of the Pakistani army's crackdown on the then East Pakistan (today's independent Bangladesh), killing thousands of people and sending 10 million refugees fleeing into India.
14:14  More bureaucrats under CBI scanner :  Bureaucrats of a certain state government seem to be in a tight spot after the CBI sent a request for examining a senior woman IAS officer who may be involved in three major cases -- the 2G case, coal-gate and gas allocation. The IAS officer had served the PMO in a crucial position.

CBI legal wing has also prepared a detailed questionnaire for another Andhra cadre IAS officer -- J Sridhar Sarma -- a former Telecom  Secretary and Chairman of TRAI. He will be questioned on a new case about a Malaysian telecom company.
14:02  Big B, Sridevi may come together for 'Khuda Gawah' sequel:  Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi are likely to unite again on screen for the sequel of their hit 1992 film 'Khuda Gawah'.

"The script is being written for the sequel. It (film) was one of the most loved films and we thought of bringing it back. We have given a one liner brief idea to Mr Bachchan. We have got a positive feedback from him. Once the script is complete we will meet him again and approach him for this film," producer Manoj Desai said.

"Once Mr Bachchan gives his nod for the sequel we may go and talk to Sridevi as well about the film. There will be other actors also in the film from the younger generation," he said.
13:59  Is India ready for authentic UK curry?:  In other reads: Exporting curry to India might seem as futile as it once was to carry coals to Newcastle, but the subcontinent is proving an increasingly lucrative market for British chefs offering their own interpretations and ingredients. Read
13:54  Warmth of old sweater for PM's Russia trip:  A blustery breeze, rolling clouds and leafless trees delicately filigreed against a late autumn sky greeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this afternoon as he arrived in Moscow on the first leg of his last major foreign trip -- the chill offering not just a balm after the heat and dust of the fractious politics back home, but also the promise of warmth that an old friendship affords. Read
13:51  Convicted Cong MP Rashid Masood disqualified from Rajya Sabha :   Congress MP Rashid Masood disqualified from Rajya Sabha after being convicted in graft case.

Masood, was sentenced to four years in jail by a Delhi court in a corruption case this month, becoming the first MP to lose his seat after a recent Supreme Court judgment had removed the immunity for convicted lawmakers.

Sixty-seven-year-old Masood, who attains the dubious distinction of being the first lawmaker to be disqualified after the July 10 Supreme Court judgment, was immediately taken into custody by the court.

13:46  Russia stood by India when our friends were few: PM tells Putin:  Dr Manmohan Singh receives an honorary doctorate at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a first for an Indian. The PM is in the Russian capital on a two-day visit for the 14th India-Russian annual summit at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

The PM tweets, "every visit to Russia reaffirms to me the abiding comfort and confidence that mark our relationship. Russia has stood by India at moments of great international challenge, when our own resources were limited and our friends were few. Following Indias independence and consistently since then, India and Russia have built a sound partnership."

Also read: Things work between India and Russia without much ado
13:22  India won't respond with words only, Omar warns Pak:  More on Omar Abdullah's response to Pakistan's ceasefire violations.

Addressing police personnel on the occasion of Police Martyrs' Commemoration Day, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said if Pakistan continued to violate the ceasefire, India will have to look at other options.

"If they violate the ceasefire, we won't respond by words only. We will have to find some other options. If our people living along the borders are being targeted, we also know how to respond in kind but so far we do not want to do it," he said.

Omar said the restraint exercised by India was to avoid sufferings for the masses. "We do not want that common people face problems but continued ceasefire violations will not be tolerated.

Today, villages are being deserted...people are leaving their farms, their houses and children are leaving their schools. The reason is that Pakistan is violating the ceasefire," he said.

Pakistani troops had last night opened fire at six forward posts of the BSF along the International Border(IB) in Jammu district.
13:04  LIVE! Ram Jethmalani sues BJP for 'malicious, arbitrary' expulsion from BJP:  BJP MP and Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani has sued the BJP Parliamentary Board for Rs 50 lakh challenging his expulsion from the party.

In the case, which has been filed in the Delhi High Court. Jethmalani says his expulsion was driven by malice and desire to defame and was arbitrary. He has sued the party with the exception of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Jethmalani was expelled from the BJP in May this year, after his initial suspension from the party in November 2012 based on charges of making anti-party statements.
12:59  Out of the darkness, light:  The Prime Minister has stepped into the firing line by coming out in support of former Union Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh -- named by the Central Bureau of Investigation in an FIR which hints at possible illegality in the way a coal mine share was allotted to the private firm Hindalco -- but he has done so fully confident that nothing criminal will emerge about the 2005 allotment made when he was heading the Coal Ministry. Read
12:51  Learn to keep your friends close :  If it boycotts the CHOGM summit, New Delhi will alienate Sri Lanka and erode the progress it has made in nudging Colombo to devolve more powers to the Northern Province. Read
12:41  LIVE! SC refuses to interfere in UP gold hunt :  The Supreme Court has refused to interfere for the time being in the ongoing excavation being carried out by ASI to find gold treasure in UP's Unnao district.

The Archaeological Survey of India on Sunday installed a couple of close-circuit cameras around the ruins of an 18th century fortress in Daundiya-Khera village of Unnao district (about 140 km from Lucknow), where its teams were busy digging in search of 1000 tons of gold, believed to have been buried there -- as per a dream witnessed by a popular local godman Baba Shobhan Sarkar.

The excavation was formally undertaken on October 18 with Unnao district magistrate striking the first shovel on the ground.

And at the end of the third day of excavation, when the digging touched about 4 feet deep, ASI teams have struck the edge of a wall made of 'lakhauri' brick, commonly used in 17h and 18th century buildings.
12:37  Crew member of detained US ship tries to kill himself in jail:  One of the 35 men found on board an American ship with a huge cache of illegal arms and ammunition has tried to commit suicide in jail in Tutucorin in Tamil Nadu.

The chief engineer of the MV Seaman Ohio, which entered Indian waters illegally earlier this month,  was described by jail authorities are "restless and stressed."

"The language problem and the condition of our jail is a major problem for the crew," said an official. 

All crew members are being counseled, the authorities said, and are housed together in prison. -- NDTV
12:24  LIVE! SC refuses to restrain media from reporting on Asaram :  The Supreme Court has refused to restrain the media from reporting on Asaram Bapu, but cautions the media to report responsibly.

The wife and daughter of Asaram Bapu, were questioned by police in Ahmedabad yesterday in connection with the sexual assault case filed against him by a Surat-based woman.
11:59  LIVE! Omar on ceasefire violations: Time to give Pak a fitting reply:  J-K chief minister Omar Abdullah said today that Pakistan should be given a fitting reply if it continues ceasefire violations. "Peace can't be a one-sided affair. We can't be at receiving end all the time without giving any response," he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hinted at seeking US intervention to resolve the Kashmir tangle. A US State Department official made it clear that there was not an 'iota of change' in their Kashmir policy.

Sharif made the comment as he began a four-day visit to the US, the first such bilateral visit in five years.

Omar struck down the Pak PM's proposal saying India was not open to any foreign intervention to Kashmir.
11:48  Ceasefire breach goes beyond LoC :  The firing and shelling in Jammu indicates that the ceasefire violations this year have spread from the Line of Control (LoC) to a part of the International Boundary that Pakistan disputes despite Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif agreeing on September 30 in New York to restore peace. Read
11:38  Dec 16 case: Two convicts seeks Hindi translation of documents:   Two of the four death row convicts in the December 16 gang-rape case today moved an application before the Delhi High Court seeking Hindi translation of certain documents including the trial court's conviction and sentence orders in the case.

Advocate M L Sharma, appearing for the two convicts, also told the court that he has moved an application seeking Hindi version of the FIR, charge sheet, evidence, September 10 judgement and September 13 sentence order.

Seeking the court to adjourn the case till the time he filed formal appeals, Sharma said as the documents are in English, he was seeking Hindi translation of these papers.

The bench said this court cannot hear the matter immediately as one of the judges is down with high fever and adjourned the matter for October 28.

Sharma had on October 9 informed the bench that he would represent Mukesh and Pawan as their counsel had withdrawn from the case.

The bench had also directed the prosecution to supply the documents pertaining to convict Mukesh to Sharma.

The counsel, who was earlier representing Pawan, had also handed over the paperbook pertaining to the convict to Sharma.

Advocate V K Anand, who was earlier representing Mukesh, had informed the court that he intended to withdraw from the case as the family members of the convicts were interfering in his work to file the appeal, at the instance of certain people, including advocates.

The bench was also informed by special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan that advocate Vivek Sharma, who represented convict Pawan, telephonically informed about his intention to withdraw from the case.

Two other convicts in the case, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, had on October 7 filed their joint appeal against the trial court's conviction and sentencing orders of September 10 and 13, respectively.

All four of them were convicted and awarded death penalty for raping the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012.
11:30  'Maharashtra police has no understanding of Naxalism':   On August 19, 2007, Vernon Gonsalves was picked up by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad from Mumbai's Andheri East suburb on charges of being a top-level Naxalite leader with a sinister plan and for possessing explosives.

Almost six years after being jailed and despite the stiff defence put forth by his advocate wife Susan Abraham, Gonsalves was convicted under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Arms Act in 2007 by District and Additional Sessions Judge P M Dunedar.

But since he had already undergone incarceration for the period that he was sentenced, he was released immediately.

Going by his educational qualifications, professional record, no one would believe that Gonsalves -- a trade unionist, a strong believer for justice, writer and social activist -- could be spearheading the outlawed group.

In an exclusive interview with, Gonsalves recounts to Neeta Kolhatkar his arrest, the case against him and his future plans. Read
11:23  Environmentalist Sunita Narain stable after hit-and-run horror :  Environmentalist and director of Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain, who was severely injured in a hit-and-run when she was riding a bicycle, is stable after she underwent surgery.

According to the police, she was going to Delhi's Lodhi Park from her house in Green Park when an unidentified vehicle hit her near AIIMS flyover. The incident took place at 6.15 am on Sunday and she was rushed to the AIIMS trauma centre.
11:18  CBI mulls option of closing Coalgate case against Kumar Mangalam Birla:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's strong defence of the allocation of Talabira II coal block to Hindalco has created uncertainty about the fate of CBI's investigation into the matter, with many feeling that it may turn out to be still-born. Read
11:16  Chargesheet in J Dey murder today:  A special MCOCA court is likely to frame charges in the J Dey murder case. Dey was killed two years ago by four bike-borne men on June 11, 2011, in Powai, allegedly at gangster Chhota Rajan's behest.

On October 9, Paulson Joseph, one of the key accused in the case, was granted bail by the Bombay high court on a personal bond of Rs1 lakh.

Joseph was arrested on September 5, 2011, after it was revealed that he provided SIM cards to the gangster's sharpshooter.

Of the 11 people arrested in the case, former journalist Jigna Vohra was the first accused to be released on bail.

The prosecution opposed the plea on the ground that there was substantial evidence against the accused.
11:08  After criticism of hunt for buried gold, Narendra Modi's conciliatory tweet :  After attacking the government for allegedly ordering a treasure hunt for buried gold on the basis of a sage or sadhu's dream, Narendra Modi is trying to propitiate the followers of the sage, Shobhan Sarkar.

He tweeted today, "Sant Shobhan Sarkar ke prati anek varshon se lakhon logion ki shradha judi hui hai, main unki tapasya aur tyag ko pranam karta hun (Faith of lakhs of people is associated with Shobhan Sarkar since many years. I salute his sacrifice)." Full story on
11:03  LIVE! Omar: Centre should explore 'other options' if ceasefire violations go on :   Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah has stated that the Centre should explore other options if Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire along the LoC. There has been firing from the Pakistan side all night at 20 places the Line of Control. Locals have fled as the firing caused panic, reports CNN-IBN.   Ceasefire violations have almost doubled in the last year, say government sources.
10:32  Pakistani film on 'Indian agents' sets new box office record:  PTI reports: As a police compound in Islamabad comes under terror attack, an 'Indian female agent'-cum-social worker in Pakistan is dancing with a mercenary celebrating their success.

This is a scene from 'Waar', a film doing roaring business in Pakistan.

After a first day opening of Rs 11.4 million the big budget flick earned a total of Rs 42.6 million till Friday night, breaking all previous records of Eid collections.

'Waar' has also broken first day record set by King Khan's Chennai Express that had earned around nine million rupees on Eid-ul-Fitr.

Said to be the most expensive Pakistani film ever to be made, the film is rumoured to be partly funded by the military, a charge denied by the film director Bilal Lashari.
10:22  Environmentalist Sunita Narain severely injured in hit-and-run:  Environmentalist and director of Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain was injured severely in a hit-and-run when she was riding a bicycle.

According to the police, she was going to Delhi's Lodhi Park from her house in Green Park when an unidentified vehicle hit her near AIIMS flyover. The incident took place at 6.15am on Sunday and she was rushed to the AIIMS trauma centre.

Photograph: Wikipedia

09:55  India should adapt more positive approach towards Pak: President Mamnoon:  India should adapt a more positive and open minded approach towards Pakistan to improve bilateral ties, President Mamnoon Hussain today said.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum, the President said that Pakistan wanted cordial relations with its neighboring country. "But I think India also needs to adapt a more positive and open minded approach towards Pakistan which would help bilateral relations," he said.
09:54  Tension along LoC: Shinde to visit Samba sector tomorrow:  Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to visit Jammu and Kashmir's Samba sector tomorrow. "I will take stock of the situation," he said.
09:33  Sensex closes in on 21,000 mark, Nifty near 6200:  NDTV reports: Indian markets moved up in early trade, buoyed by higher Asian markets and strong inflows from foreign investors.

The Sensex was up 65 points at 20,948 while Nifty was up 13 points at 6,203.

Read the full report here

09:07  Pak firing all night along LoC, locals flee border villages :  There has been firing from the Pakistan side all night at 20 places the Line of Control. Locals have fled as the firing caused panic, reports CNN-IBN.  

Ceasefire violations have almost doubles in the last year, say government sources.
08:51  Pak PM Sharif meets US Secretary of State Kerry:  Visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today met United States Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, the State Department said.

"Secretary Kerry's meeting with the PM (Sharif) is their third in three months, and continued the robust dialogue on our shared goal of a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan," a statement issued by the State Department said.

Sharif is in on a four-day official visit to the US, and is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama on October 23. He is accompanied by a high-powered delegation that includes Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.
08:38  Not an 'iota of change' on Kashmir policy: US:  The Obama administration said there has not been an "iota of change" on its policy on Kashmir which considers it a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, dismissing the latest Pakistani efforts to seek United States intervention in this regard.

"On Kashmir, our policy has not changed an iota," a senior administration official told a group of reporters during a press conference, as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif started his US tour during which he will meet President Barack Obama.

Sharif, who arrived in the US on four-day official visit on Sunday, hinted at seeking US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue.
08:35  Top headlines in the last 24 hours :  
Things work between India and Russia without much ado

'Pakistan's actions are under government's watch'

UP gold hunt: CCTV cams installed; 'descendants' stake claim

BJP's Goel threatens to resign if not named Delhi CM candidate

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