23:14 French Chevalier honour for Anjali Gopalan:
France today awarded its highest civilian award 'Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur' to Anjali Gopalan for her work on transgenders and HIV positive patients.
Presenting the award in New Delhi at a function, French Cabinet Minister for Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said: "I
admire the work carried out by Anjali."
She said Gopalan started her career as a social worker in New York where she worked for migrants from South-East Asia who lacked valid documents.
She later started the Naz Foundation that changed the lives of transgenders, homosexuals and those with HIV positive, the minister said.
21:50 Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi to share dais soon:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will share the stage at the function to inaugurate a museum dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's life in Ahmedabad on October 29.
21:49 Skyrocketing onion prices may ease after Diwali: Govt :
Onion prices continued to reign at as much as Rs 100 a kg in major cities, with the government indicating that rates may start falling after Diwali.
Blaming hoarding for the price rise, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas asked traders not to "loot" consumers. He also said there was no need to be "alarmed" about the crisis as prices would cool down in the next 10 days, with improved arrivals from the domestic and overseas markets.
21:48 No merger with Congress till Parliament nod for Telangana: TRS :
TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao today said a possible merger with the Congress can only be discussed after Parliament passes the Bill for the formation of Telangana.
"I have said time and again about this merger (with the Congress). Anything can be discussed after the Bill (on Telangana) is passed by both houses of Parliament i.e, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Then the process is complete. It is too early to talk before that. Anything can be discussed only after that," he told reporters.
21:46 Opposition holds rallies across Bangladesh, 5 killed:
At least five protesters were killed and over 300 injured as workers of the main opposition BNP today clashed with security forces, during rallies across Bangladesh, to demand that a neutral caretaker government must oversee the next general election.
BNP chief Khaleda Zia, while addressing a massive rally in Dhaka, issued an ultimatum to her arch rival Prime Minister SheikhHasina to initiate talks on her demand.
The former prime minister said if the demand was not accepted, the party would enforce a 60-hour nationwide strike from October 27.
21:45 I know nothing about chit fund scam: MP Kunal Ghosh:
MP Kunal Ghosh was today grilled for the eighth time by the police in connection with the Saradha scam, with the dissident Trinamool Congress leader claiming that he had no knowledge about the chit fund fraud.
"I am being interrogated regularly, but the fact is I don't know anything about the scam. The police should question those who know about the scam," Ghosh, who has been suspended from the TMC, told reporters at the Biddhanagar Police Commissionerate.
21:44 JD-S to stay away from both BJP, Congress:
Former prime minister and JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda today said the party would maintain equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and supported the initiative taken by Left parties to form a future political combination.
"In the coming Lok Sabha elections, JD-S will stay away from both BJP and Congress," he told reporters.
21:42 Vijaykant's party likely to enter poll fray in Delhi election :
Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam party leader Vijaykant is mulling fielding candidates for the upcoming Delhi assembly polls.
The Tamil Nadu-based party is banking on the 15 lakh Tamils who have made the national capital their home, party sources said.
Vijaykant is likely to make an official announcement about his party's entry into the poll fray at a public meeting.
21:41 'Farmer' Pawar bats for genetically modified crops :
Backing the use of genetically modified technology in crops, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said farmers prefer GM cotton as it gives a higher yield and is more disease-resistant and opposed "arbitrary bans" on trials of such crops.
"I am not a scientist. But as a farmer, I would like my friends opposing the GM technology to answer some of my queries. For instance, is it not a fact that the GM technology substantially curtails the requirement of fertilisers and pesticides? This helps farmers maintain the soil quality and also save money," Pawar said.
21:40 Mohamed Nasheedalleges Al Qaeda assassination plot:
Ousted Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed today alleged that he was in danger of being assassinated by Al Qaeda agents, prompting authorities to launch an investigation.
In a statement, Nasheed's office said that two Al Qaeda agents are currently in Male, plotting an attack on him.
21:39 Centre seeks status report on Posco:
Ahead of the seventh India-Republic of Korea Joint Commission Meeting on November 9, the Centre has asked the Odisha government to submit a status report on the Posco project.
The ministry of external affairs, in a letter to the state government, said that the status report on Posco was required as the issue might be raised during the discussion with Korean delegates.
21:11 Andhra CM writes to Prez, PM over Telangana:
Andhra Chief Minister Kiran Reddy has written to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting them to follow established practices and conventions in the state's bifurcation and the creation of Telangana.
Reddy has earlier openly voiced his protest against the creation of a separate state.
21:08 Rahul has enough experience, Congress to Pawar :
The Congress today refrained from directly reacting to NCP leader Sharad Pawar's advice for Rahul Gandhi -- that he should gain administrative experience first before trying to become the prime minister -- although the party did point out that its vice-president had gathered "experience" as a two-time MP.
"Pawarji is a senior leader of the country. The Congress will not like to comment on his televised interview. But Rahul has his own experience of becoming Lok Sabha MP for two terms," party spokesperson Randeep Singh Soorjewala told reporters.
21:06 If epithet for Thackeray is objectionable, so is Maulana: Sena:
Rebutting the NCP's objection to the epithet Hindu Hriday Samrat
in the name of a recently opened municipal hospital named after Bal Thackeray, Shiv Sena today said 'Maulana' in 'Maulana Abul Kalam Azad' too has a religious association.
The newly constructed trauma care hospital in suburban Jogeshwari has been named 'Hindu Hriday Samraat Balasaheb Thackeray Hospital'.
The NCP has objected to the use of the epithet (which means 'King of Hindu Hearts) in the hospital's name.
21:03 PDP expresses dismay over Speaker's decision on V K Singh:
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party today expressed dismay over the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker's decision to "send a letter" to former army chief General (Retd) V K Singh instead of summoning him in connection with his remarks.
This is breach of the Speaker's own ruling in the House, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, adding, "The U-turn by the Speaker (Mubarak Gul) on this sensitive subject has in no way added to the prestige of the House, the restoration of which was the focus of the discussion on Singh's expose about the pay-offs to politicians."
21:01 Modi is a 'blot of Godhra' : Congress:
Senior Congress leader and Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma today described Narendra Modi as a"blot of Godhra".
He also alleged that hundreds of people from Gujarat came to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh and indulged in rioting.
Verma told reporters that the Uttar Pradesh government protected the rioters as both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party were working in "collusion".
20:59 Congress, NCP will arrive at seat sharing formula: Chavan:
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan indicated today that the Congress and the NCP will arrive at an agreeable seat sharing formula to jointly fight parliamentary elections in the state.
When asked about Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre seeking a greater share in seat allotment in a departure from last election's 26 seats (Congress) and 22 seats (NCP) formula, Chavan said that there is always room for a "flexible approach" to hammer out an acceptable solution.
20:02 Narendra Modi is a creation of VHP: Singhal :
Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal today claimed that BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is a "creation of VHP" and is best suited to unite people of all castes, creeds and religions.
"All political parties (barring BJP) are not only openly committing loot, corruption, and generating black money but also dividing the society in the garb of religion, language," Singhal told a press conference.
"Modi, who is a creation of VHP, is himself a party and we all can take his shelter. He has the power and capability to unite people of all communities, castes and religions," he told reporters.
19:59 Rahuls access to intelligence serious: Ex-IB chief:
Former Intelligence Bureau director Arun Bhagat has expressed concern over Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi being provided with intelligence inputs.
Describing it as an imprudent step, Bhagat said Gandhi's claim to being informed about Pakistani intelligence contacting disgruntled Muzaffarnagar youths after last month's riots, is a serious matter, and if true, needs to be avoided at all costs.
"People who occupy higher positions have to be very, very careful with their words. They have to measure their responses and their utterances, so that there is no fallout in them. This, I feel, may be considered to be imprudent, or an indiscretion by some," Bhagat said
19:11 Rahuls riot victims remark should be warning to stay united: Rita Bahuguna:
Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Friday said party vice president Rahul Gandhi's remark on Muslim riot victims being approached by Pakistan intelligence, should be a warning to people to stay united.
"Rahul Gandhi made the statement because there is not only an international linkage to the communal violence, but also an internal hand in the riots, which India needs to save itself from,' Bahuguna said.
"He made the statement to stress on the need for communal unity within the country to take India forward. In one way, Rahul Gandhi has given a warning that international agencies will try to take advantage of communal tensions, but India needs to stand united,' Bahuguna added.
Bahuguna also used the opportunity to criticize the Sangh Parivar's role in the Muzaffarnagar riots, and reiterated that the violence was a combination of internal actors and potential external actors.
19:05 Live! Bureaucrat, wife found dead in Delhi flat :
A food ministry official and his wife have been found dead in their apartment in Delhi. The man's throat has been slit while the wife was found hanging in another room.
19:00 What is the use of talking friendship with Pak: Omar:
With the latest ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir injuring 11 civilians, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today hit out at its Premier Nawaz Sharif while the BSF has been asked by the Union Government to retaliate with equal measure any unprovoked firing.
In the fresh violation, three more civilians were injured as Pakistani troops opened fire and shelled 17 border out posts and hamlets along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Samba districts overnight taking to 11 the total number of injured civilians.
"As a Primer Minister of Pakistan, the violation of ceasefire cannot be without his consent", Omar said while addressing a large gathering of affected people in border area of R S Pura belt of Jammu district. "Clearly, he either lacks the will, intention and sincerity or has no control over his
Army. If that's the case, what is the use of talking friendship with Pakistan."
18:14 Live! Former Rajasthan minister Babulal Nagar arrested for rape:
The police have booked Nagar for allegedly raping and beating up the woman on September 11, after calling her to his official bungalow in Jaipur on the pretext of giving her a job.
The CBI on October 9 took over the probe from the Rajasthan Police which had registered the case against Nagar, following which he resigned as the minister of dairy, khadi and rural Industries.
Earlier, the CBI team had conducted forensic examination of the official residence of Nagar, where he had allegedly raped the woman.
The CBI team had also recorded the statement of the victim at her residence. Nagar, who tendered his resignation as minister, was suspended from Congress by the party high command last month.
18:12 Live! Former Rajasthan minister Babulal Nagar arrested for rape:
Former Rajasthan minister Babulal Nagar was arrested today in a sexual assault case.
The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in its report reportedly confirmed that the ex-minister's DNA extracted from his blood matches that of the semen taken off the clothes worn by the woman who has accused him of rape.
Nagar's DNA taken off the rape victim's clothes have allegedly found a match with the DNA swab of his blood sample, sources said.
The CBI is now looking for CCTV footage of the woman to ensure she was wearing the same saree the day she was allegedly raped by Nagar at official residence.
18:07 Would be very happy to look at Air India privatisation: Tata:
Industry leader Ratan Tata today expressed interest in the possibility of privatisation of Air India, saying he would be very happy to look at it whenever it happened.
"As an when it happens, we would be very happy to look at it," the Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group said when asked whether he would be interested if Air India was privatised.
Tata's comments came weeks after Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said it was his personal opinion that the government should not be in service sectors like airlines or hotels and any future regime could consider privatisation of Air India, as the government would not give any more funds to the airline after it completed equity infusion of Rs 30,000 crore till 2021.
Tata was speaking to reporters after he, along with Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong and Tata-SIA Airlines Chairman Prasad Menon, met the minister.
17:53 SP: Irresponsible Rahul should apologise for Muzaffarnagar remarks:
Way before Narendra Modi demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi for painting UP riot victims as ISI recruits, senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan said today that Rahul Gandhi should not speak irresponsibly.
"At one point he blames the BJP for the riots and at the other he raises doubt on the dedication of Muslim youths... He should apologise to Muslims for the same and if he cannot do that Sonia Gandhi should do it," Khan said.
"The claims of Rahul Gandhi that Muslim youths are in touch with the Pakistani Intelligence agency would open new doors of hatred and animosity towards them," he said.
The Uttar Pradesh minister said he would try to find out the truth behind Rahul's claims. "Such a statement is not just putting the ISI in the dock but also doubting the integrity of Muslim youths," he said.
17:28 Live! Whistleblower Khemka: Witch-hunt is extreme, don't know what sin I have committed:
Ashok Khemka, IAS, tweets: These are trying times for me and my family. Witch-hunt is extreme. Do not know what sin I have committed. Truth will ultimately prevail.
Khemka, who has been transferred more than 40 times during his career so far, has been chargesheeted for alleged administrative misconduct in cancelling the mutation of the land deal between businessman Robert Vadra and real estate major DLF in Gurgaon.
The 1991-batch IAS officer has been held liable for alleged administrative misconduct for overstepping jurisdiction in passing orders to cancel the mutation of 3.5 acre land in Gurgaon's Shikohpur village. The land was sold by Vadra to DLF.
The Haryana government is now preparing a second chargesheet against him for alleged low sale of wheat seeds during his tenure in Haryana Seed Development Corporation as its managing director from October 15, 2012 to April 4 this year.
17:21 Govt, parliament not prepared to rein in ISI: Pak top judge:
Meanwhile, a top Pakistani judge has said that nobody, including the federal government and parliament, is prepared to bring in legislation to control the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Peshawar High Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan made the observation while hearing cases related to 282 "missing persons" of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, a media report said today.
Khan warned that courts would be forced to restrict members of law enforcing agencies and security forces to their barracks if they continued to whisk away citizens almost every day through unlawful means, The News reported.
17:12 Political parties woo Chhattisgarh youth on Facebook, Whatsapp:
Political parties in Chhattisgarh are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to young voters through mobile phones and social media to influence them in their favour ahead of the next month's Assembly elections.
Both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress have created Facebook pages for their candidates in 90 constituencies and are promoting their stand on Whatsapp, besides using voice calls.
16:59 Make me a chowkidar, not PM, to guard India's treasury from greedy hands: Modi:
Modi says, "Repeat after me "Beimaanon ko nahi denge denge" "Mera desh nahi denge" (We will not give our country to dishonest people).
"Look at the values of a party that chose me to be its PM candidate. The BJP has chosen me an ordinary man born into a poor family, someone who as a child sold tea on the railway platform," says Modi.
Modi ends his speech.
16:46 Live! Modi in Jhansi: In this land of Lakshmibai we have come with the lotus:
Modi who is addressing the rally in Jhansi, refers to Rani Laxmibai, saying, "If there is a lotus then Lakshmi will follow and if Lakshmi comes then roti will come too. This is the revolution we should bring about.
"The 1857 struggle was symbolised by the roti and the lotus, once again on this land of Lakshmibai we have come with the Lotus. From this land a slogan was given. With her baby tied to her back, Lakshmibai said "Meri Jhansi nahi doongi," says Modi.
"Don't make a PM, make me a watchman (chowkidar). I won't let India's treasury be looted by grabbing hands (referring to the Congress symbol). Give us just 60 months to change your destiny," says Modi.
16:41 Cong is like a news agency: Modi:
"I have a feeling that the Congress Party and the Government in Delhi is like a news agency. Their responsibility stops with giving us news. Can your future be safe with such a government? Can you leave your future to such leaders and such a party? If no, then please throw them out of power. They are making fun of poverty."
16:37 Live! Modi in Jhansi: You gave Cong 60 years, give BJP 60 months to better India:
As expected, Modi takes on Rahul's, "I was angry at my grandmother's death."
"Wasn't an angry responsible for the the deaths of thousands of of Sikhs" he thunders.
Referring to Rahul as sahabzada, he says why did your government not react to reports of ISI recruiting Muslims in Muzaffarnagar. He asks how can intelligence officers share state secrets with Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul in his rally at Indore yesterday had said Pakistani agencies are approaching young Muslims who lost family members in the communal riots of Muzaffarnagar. "Why does India's intelligence bureau share information with an MP. Can you have faith in such a government," he asks.
Modi challenges Rahul to disclose the names of the men who were allegedly recruited by the ISI. "If you (Rahul) can't name them, you have to apologise to the riot victims," he said.
16:27 Modi says the BJP will rewrite the destiny of India in just 60 months.
"The leaders here are not interested in development, they are not interested in the future of the youth," says Modi. "Yeh sabka lootte hai. They have ruined Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand. The Samajwadi Party's conduct is such that if Dr Rammanohar Lohia were alive he would be extremely sad," he says.
16:21 Cong, SP, BSP are looting UP: Modi:
Attacking Rahul Gandhi, Modi says, "The BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh has used funds wisely. But Rahul's Bundelkhand package has not worked for the people in UP; it was meant for the leaders not the people. The UPA-government is responsible for the poverty in this region. The time has come to pack away the Congress.
"The Congress, SP and BSP are looting Uttar Pradesh. UP politicians have pocketed all the funds meant for this region."
16:11 Live! Modi in Bundelkhand: I have not come here to weep, but to wipe your tears:
Narendra Modi's mega rally in Jhansi begins. On the dais are BJP biggies Uma Bharti, Rajnath Singh. According to a report, the main opposition party, is expecting around two lakh people to attend the Jhansi rally.
In an order to bring more crowd in Jhansi, the party is reportedly ferrying people from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and the poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, where assembly elections will held on November 25. Vijendra Singh Sisodia, the BJP spokesperson from Madhya Pradesh, said that Modi's message in Jhansi will have a bearing on assembly elections in MP.
Modi says he is not in Bundelkhand to weep, a reference made to Rahul Gandhi's speeches where he invoked the killings of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and the possibility of his own assassination. "Main yahan rone-dhone ke liye nahin aaya hoon. Main aason ponchhe ne ke liye aaya hoon. I have come here to wipe your tears," says Modi.
16:02 Assocham writes open letter to PM: Worried about half baked-truth on coalgate:
Expressing concerns on famous industrialists' name being dragged into the coal allocation scam, Industry body Assocham has written a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The industry body has also cautioned that such instances could impair decision making too.
The CBI earlier this month filed a case against Birla as a representative of Aditya Birla Group and his group company, aluminium maker Hindalco, for alleged corruption in the allocation of Talabira-II coal blocks in Odisha which was allotted to it on November 10, 2005.
Former Coal Secretary PC Parakh was also named by CBI on the matter.Assocham has sought Prime Minister's intervention to end the "environment of distrust" which had arisen due to "half-baked cases" against industry leaders. Read more
15:56 Yet again... BJP demands PM's resignation in coal scam:
The BJP today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resign to uphold the sanctity of his office before submitting himself to questioning by CBI in the coal scam.
"It is fine that the Prime Minister has expressed his willingness to face a CBI probe in the Coal scam and said that he is not above law... but we would like him to be questioned by the agency not in his capacity as the PM, but as the Coal Minister Manmohan Singh who approved coal blocks allotment," BJP national spokesperson Syed Shahanwaz Hussain said.
"It will demean sanctity of the high constitutional post of the Prime Minister if the CBI questions him the coal scam and so he must tender his resignation on moral ground before submitting himself to probe in the said scam," he said.
Another BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who was also present at the press conference, said that the PM's remarks should not be taken at face value.
15:53 The BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi will address a rally in Jhansi shortly.
15:52 Pak ISI, BJP rejoice when communal riots take place: Shakeel Ahmad:
In comments that are likely to fuel a controversy, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad today drew parallels with Pakistan's ISI and BJP, saying both "rejoice" whenever communal riots erupt.
His tweet came a day after Rahul Gandhi's claim that intelligence agencies in Pakistan were approaching some victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots to lure them to terrorism sparking a row with the BJP, which said the Congress Vice President tried to point the needle of suspicion at Muslims by his remarks.
"Really true ! Whenever& wherever communal trouble erupts in this country two sets of people rejoice. Pakistan's ISI& India's Bhajpaei," Ahmad tweeted.
15:50 TMC MP may defect to Congress :
A disgruntled Trinamool Congress MP, Somen Mitra, is likely to defect to the Congress soon. He may bring in at least four dissidents with him, a TMC source tells Rediff.com. A senior Congress leader, who did not want to be named, also confirmed this development. Mitra, it is heard, is busy parleying with the Congress leadership and could not be reached for comments.
15:20 Odisha flood situation grim, toll 10, lakhs marooned :
Floods triggered by low pressure induced rains wreaked havoc in cyclone-hit Ganjam and other coastal districts of Odisha, leaving 10 persons dead and lakhs marooned as helicopters launched rescue operations today.
Of the 10 deaths, six, including four members of a family were killed in wall collapse in Jagatsinghpur district and four others were swept away in floods in Ganjam district. He said that around 85,000 persons have been evacuated to safety so far.
15:10 Narendra Modi NOT a political untouchable for Muslims: Cleric:
A prominent Muslim cleric has said Narendra Modi is not a political untouchable for the minority community, and can get their votes if he shows that he cares about them.
Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, one of the country's tallest Shia clerics, praised Modi for "good development" in Gujarat and said, "People should be given a chance to correct their mistakes.
Modi should make changes in his policies and programmes to convey that he is concerned about the welfare of Muslims. If he does that, Muslims can consider voting for him." -- NDTV
15:05 GoM on Telangana to submit report before winter session: Shinde:
The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, will submit its report to the Union Cabinet before the winter session of Parliament, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said today.
"We will submit the report before the winter session begins," Shinde who heads the seven member GoM said.
Shinde, however, refused to divulge anything on when Telanagana will come into existence.
"There is a process (of creating new state). When the Parliament passes the (Telangana) bill, the new state will come," he said.
The high-powered ministerial panel had detailed discussions over sharing of river water, power, distribution of assets and demarcating of boundaries in its two meetings held early this month.
15:00 Heavy rains wreak havoc in Andhra; 17 dead:
Heavy rains continued to lash Andhra Pradesh today, leaving 17 people dead and forcing the evacuation of 67,419 others from low-lying areas.
Seventeen people were killed in various rain-related incidents as the downpour continued for the fourth consecutive day today even as two others were also missing, official sources.
They said 135 relief camps have been set up in the coastal districts, which bore the brunt of the rain fury.
14:57 In what capacity is the IB briefing Rahul, asks BJP:
More on the BJP's reaction to Rahul Gandhi saying that the IB had briefed him on ISI recruiting UP riot victims.
The BJP today said the Home Minister must answer that in what capacity intelligence officials are briefing the Congress MP.
The party criticised the Intelligence Bureau (IB), asking how can it brief a Member of Parliament or a party office bearer.
"In what capacity is the IB briefing Rahul Gandhi? He is just an MP (Member of Parliament), we are MPs too. He is a party office bearer, we are party office bearers too. IB does not brief our party bearers, how can they brief him. He is not the Prime Minister or a Home Minister," BJP national spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
"If Rahul Gandhi is saying that ISI is in touch with the youth in India, what action is the government taking? The Home Minister must answer. "This is very serious. We can't take politics today to that level where Congress wants to take it," he said.
In a public rally in Indore, Gandhi had claimed that intelligence agencies in Pakistan were approaching some victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots to lure them into terrorism.
14:42 BJP raises doubt over PM's willingness to be questioned by CBI:
Alleging that the country's property worth Rs 50 lakh crores was given to 140 companies for "free under the Prime Minister signature", BJP today said Manmohan Singh's readiness to be questioned by CBI in the coal scam is "meaningless" as the agency comes under PMO's purview.
"The investigations have reached the door of the Prime Minister. Now he is saying that he is ready to go to CBI... CBI is under the PMO. Its administrative control is with PMO. His joint secretary changed the status report of the CBI.
"So, saying that he is ready to go to CBI is meaningless. Perhaps he is thinking that he will get a clean chit from the agency in the same way Pawan Bansal, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh got," BJP spokesman Prakash Javedkar said today.
14:13 Philippines needs USD 46.8 million for quake victims: UN:
The United Nations today appealed for USD 46.8 million in international aid for the hundreds of thousands now living in tents after a big earthquake in the disaster-prone Philippines.
A 7.1-magnitude quake last week flattened homes, schools, clinics and other vital infrastructure killing more than 200 people.
14:01 Pak should be taught a lesson, BJP on ceasefire violations:
The BJP today said the ceasefire violations along the LoC and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir are totally "unacceptable" and asked the Centre to "teach Pakistan a lesson" through political means.
"The activities taking place on the border since the last two months are unacceptable. Time has come to respond to Pakistan in clear terms because if it does not stop what it is doing, then there are many political ways to teach the country a lesson so that it does not dare to do such things again," BJP national spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
13:45 Can't work with Rahul, but we're with Congress: Pawar:
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has to prove his mettle before taking up a bigger role after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"One has to prove his mettle in administration. Rahul Gandhi should have joined the Manmohan Singh government. He did not join," the NCP chief told a TV channel. Read
13:38 Indias battle against nutrition data deficiency:
Being underweight is a common indicator of both short- and long-term malnutrition in children, and government workers can help prevent health problems from worsening by catching the signs of malnutrition early.
Yet only 18.3 percent of the over 10,000 government-run child welfare centers in Delhi had weighing instruments for infants, according to a 2011 evaluation study by the country's Planning Commission. Read
13:34 Thailand to raise entry fee for foreigners:
Tourists arriving in Thailand may soon have to pay an entry fee of Rs 1,000 and also a higher departure tax as authorities in the country are planning to introduce a new service tax for foreigners at airports and land border crossings.
13:33 The Last Jews of Kolkata:
Lunchtime read: On bustling Brabourne Road in central Kolkata, vendors line sidewalks packed with pedestrians, while cars, motorbikes and rickshaw pullers fill the street.
Amid the urban din, the Magen David Synagogue sits silent and empty. A Muslim guard stands watch outside. With an estimated 25 Jews remaining in this city of 14 million people, the synagogue is rarely used. Read
13:31 GoM on Telanagana to submit report before the Winter Session of Parliament, says Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde
13:22 Avoid ITO Circle if you're in Delhi today:
A fire broke out in the Accountant General of Central Revenue (AGCR) building near ITO in central Delhi today. The fire was reported on the fifth floor of the building and 10 fire tenders have been rushed to the spot to douse the blaze, fire officials said. No casualty has been reported in the incident. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
13:12 IB slams Rahul's remarks on ISI recruitment: Potential PM should have more sense :
Rahul Gandhi's reference to his briefing by an "intelligence official" on the ISI having "contacted" 10-15 youth whose kin were killed in the Muzaffarnagar riots, for potential recruitment, has puzzled both retired and serving bureaucrats.
They are questioning how an intelligence official could brief the vice-president of a political party, who is not bound by the oath of secrecy.
They also criticized the Gandhi scion for going public with information that should have ideally prompted a secret intelligence operation to identify the youth contacted and neutralize the ISI agents carrying out sabotage and subversion in the hinterland.
"A potential prime minister of the country should have had more sense of national security. ISI is a hostile foreign agency recruiting people in the hinterland for sabotage and subversion. Rahul's response should have been more robust and decisive.
"He should have asked the intelligence official to go back to the Muslim boys contacted by ISI, lay a trap for these Pakistani agents and neutralize them," said former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Kumar Doval.Read
the full report on the Times of India
13:01 Beyond the border:
The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China is without doubt a constructive step towards resolving the boundary dispute. Read
12:57 The CBI and the bureaucrat:
The CBI's handling of the Parakh affair once again highlights the contentious subject of how it treats the civil services. ReadSee
Parakh's letter to the Cabinet Secretary
The woman who pointed out that Shah Rukh Khan's speech was plagiarised has experienced online hate. Read
12:18 JuD founding member killed in accident in Pakistan:
Hafiz Saifullah Mansoor, one of the close aides of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and a founding member of the group, has been killed in a road accident in Lahore.
Mansoor was coming to Lahore from Islamabad on his car when it skidded off the road and overturned near Faizpur, a JuD statement said yesterday. He died on the spot, while his gunman and driver suffered serious injuries. They were shifted to a hospital in Lahore.
12:17 Heavy downpour disrupts normal life in AP; 12 killed so far:
Heavy rains triggered by northeast monsoon and a low pressure area over Bay of Bengal lashed several parts of Andhra Pradesh for the fourth consecutive day today, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people from low-lying areas.
According to official figures, 12 people have been killed in various rain-related incidents in the state and crops in 2.5 lakh hectares have suffered damages till yesterday.
Low lying areas continued to remain under water in number of towns and villages, particularly in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.
Hundreds of houses have been damaged due to the rainfall, rendering many people homeless.Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and shifted to emergency relief camps.
12:03 No presence of ISI in Muzaffarnagar: Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa
reports: Rahul Gandhi's statement at the Indore rally yesterday that the ISI was in touch with the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar brings up a serious question.
The Intelligence Bureau has been keeping a close watch on the situation in Muzaffarnagar and till date there has been no attempt made by the ISI to lure riot-affected Muslims.
The IB's standard operating procedure during communal riots is that "in case riot victims are not rehabilitated, there is a chance of some elements trying to lure them into their fold."
There is no mention whatsoever of an ISI presence that has taken shape in Muzaffarnagar so far.
11:52 BJP: Rahul is NOT PM or home minister, how can IB brief him?:
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar addressing a press meet in Srinagar slams Rahul Gandhi's statement that the ISI was hiring Muzaffarnagar riot victims, saying if there is proof, the government should act.
Rahul Gandhi was apparently briefed by the Intelligence Bureau on the alleged ISI recruitment drive. Javdekar questions the veracity of the claims saying how can the IB brief Gandhi, since he is neither the PM nor the home minister.
Salman Rushdie (on Instagram):The DVD of midnights children in the UK. Out now with my name misspelled in the band at the top. Ugh.
11:36 Modi's rally at 12 pm today:
BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi to address a rally in Jhansi, Madhya Pradesh at noon today. Rahul's speeches ensure enough fodder for Modi. Stay with us.
11:33 Rahul trying to spread communal hatred: BJP:
The BJP charged that the maximum number of communal riots have taken place under Congress rule and it has no right to allege that they are responsible for the recent incidents.
The Opposition asked why the Centre had not taken appropriate and prompt action in the recent Muzaffarnagar riots."Samajwadi Party, which is in power in Uttar Pradesh, is a Congress ally at the Centre. It failed to control the riots.
Why did the Congress-led UPA government not take action against it? Rahul Gandhi cannot evade responsibility for it," he said.
"Thousands of riots have taken place during Congress rule over the decades. Most of them happened during the Prime Ministership of Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao," he added.
Another prominent Muslim BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party will take this issue to the Election Commission and demand that an FIR be lodged against Rahul Gandhi for violating the Model Code of Conduct as election process is on in five states.
"Rahul Gandhi has made baseless allegations against BJP and this attempt to divide votes on communal grounds is a clear cut violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
"We will ask the EC to lodge an FIR against him for his communal, provocative speeches," Naqvi said.
The party alleged that Congress is a "traditional and professional exploiter" of votes and is spreading "communal poison" for this purpose during the on-going polls.
"Yuvraj (Rahul) is only taking this tradition forward," Naqvi said. He alleged that Gandhi is trying to spread dissensions and conflict on religious lines in the country through his speeches. He said Gandhi's speech was an attempt at creating communal sensationalism in the name of secular politics.
11:27 The BJP says it will go to the Election Commission on Rahul's comments blaming UP muslims for the Muzaffarnagar riots. A BJP delegation will formally compaling to the EC on Monday.
The BJP says Rahul's speeches spread communal hatred.
11:23 Live! Livid BJP to complain to EC: Rahul says ISI recruits Muzaffarnagar muslims :
The Bharatiya Janata Party today interpreted Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's remarks that Pakistani agencies were approaching victims of Muzaffarnagar riots to lure them into terrorism as an attempt to cast doubts about the patriotism of Muslims and demanded an apology from him.
The BJP says it will approach the Election Commission against Rahul's remarks.
"Rahul Gandhi has tried to point the needle of suspicion at Muslims by his remarks today. These Muslims did not go to Pakistan at the time of Partition and decided to live here," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
The BJP's Muslim face condemned Gandhi's statement. "Rahul Gandhi has raised questions about the patriotism of Indian Muslims by saying they were approached by ISI. This is unfortunate. He should apologise for his remarks," he said.
Speaking at a public meeting in Indore, Gandhi had alleged that BJP is trying to divide the nation and damaging the country's secular fabric.
He invoked the Muzaffarnagar riots and said that Pakistani agencies were approaching some of the victims to lure them to terrorism.
Hussain said BJP has never said Indian Muslims are communal or that they can be influenced by Pakistan's ISI.
Just in: The Supreme Court issues a notice to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Govt on a DMK MP's plea for release of Indian fishermen caught by Sri Lankan Navy.
10:59 Chinese court rejects Bo Xilai's appeal; upholds life sentence:
The much-awaited verdict on the Bo Xilai trial -- easily one of biggest stories out of China.
A Chinese High Court today rejected the appeal of disgraced Communist Party leader Bo Xilai and upheld his life sentence for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in the country's biggest political scandal.
"The Shandong Higher People's Court rejected the appeal and upheld the first instance life sentence verdict on Bo's bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power case," state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
A charismatic Bo, widely expected to be front runner for a top post in the once-in-a-decade leadership change of the ruling Communist Party last year, was expected to be housed at a separate jail for convicted Communist Party officials which was stated to be more like a guest house with all facilities.
His wife Gu Kailai is also imprisoned as she was given a suspended death sentence last year for her involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
10:52 Human rights violation: 205 cases against policemen in 2012:
There has been a sudden spurt in the number of cases registered against policemen for alleged human rights violations across the country, with 205 last year alone, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
The total number of cases registered against the men in uniform was 205 last year, much higher than data of 2011 and 2010, which stood at 72 and 37 respectively, NCRB data said.
However, of the 205 cases, only 19 personnel were charge sheeted and none were convicted last year. Assam registered the maximum cases at 102, whereas Delhi registered 75 last year for violation of human rights.
10:46 Live! BJP says the alphabets: A for Adarsh, B for Bofors, C for CWG:
Major rival parties in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh are literally waging a 'war of words' by coining meanings to alphabets to highlight issues of corruption allegedly linked to each other.
Experts feel that this is not a good thing as it may send a wrong message among children when they listen to such attribution of meanings to alphabets.
The ruling BJP in the state has coined terms like 'A for Adarsh scam, B for Bofors scam, C for CWG scam, D for Damad Ka Scam, E-Enron Scam' and so on in an alphabetical order till Z, as highlighted by party leaders during their poll rallies, against the Congress.
Not to be left behind, the Congress hit back at the BJP by formulating a similar order in Devnagiri (script) language's "Barahkhadi", of scams which allegedly took place during the BJP's governance, specially in MP.
State Congress unit issued a press note last month highlighting scams in 'Barahkhadi' (of Hindi) order - "A-Apex Bank Ghotala (scam) AA-Aditya Construction Company Ghotala, E-Indore Vikas Pradhikaran Ghotala, EE-E-tendering Ghotala, U-Udyogon ka nakli sapna, Uu-Urja kharid Ghotala, A-Arrears Ghotala, Ai-Essar coal Block Ghotala, O-Ola-pala muawja Ghotala, Ou-Aurton par Atyachar...and so on."
08:00 Relations with US 'severely shaken' over spying claims: Merkel: CNN
reports: That's what German Chancellor Angela Merkel firmly asserted early Friday -- as she had the previous day -- in the wake of reports the US National Security Agency had eavesdropped on her cell phone.
This claim and others that she and other world leaders have been spied on had "severely shaken" relationships between Europe and the United States, the German leader said."Obviously, words will not be sufficient," Merkel said in the wee hours Friday at a summit of European Union leaders.
"True change is necessary."
Read the full story here
07:57 Indian-American crowned Miss New Jersey USA:
Eighteen-year-old Indian-American Emily Shah has won Miss New Jersey USA 2014 title, following in the footsteps of Nina Davuluri, who was crowned Miss America recently.
Emily would now compete for Miss America and Miss Universe titles. Davuluri had won the coveted beauty pageant in September. Emily was the youngest among more than 130 contestants for the New Jersey pageant held over the weekend.
Shuffling between India and America, Emily has dabbled in cinema having acted in both Bollywood and Hollywood films. She featured in Hollywood movies like 'The Great New Wonderful
' with Naseerudin Shah and Bollywood films such as 'Out of Control
' alongside Riteish Deshmukh, 'Ta Ra Rum Pum
' among others.
03:05 Mukesh Ambani remains the richest Indian:
Energy tycoon and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani is India's richest man with personal assets of $18.9 billion, a report says.
According to the China-based Hurun India Rich List, Ambani retained the top position for the second year even after a wealth decrease of 2 per cent.
Ambani is followed by London-based steel baron LN Mittal with assets of $15.9 billion. Mittal's wealth declined 6 per cent from last year.
Sun Pharmaceuticals' founder Dilip Shanghvi broke into the top three for the first time with a 66 per cent surge in his wealth.
"This rise in stock price was supported by the expected sales of the cancer drug Doxil, following Janssen Pharma Inc's admission of shortage of the drug supply," the report said.
Among others in the top 10 are: Wipro's Azim Premji (4th) with assets of $12 billion, HCL Technology's Shiv Nadar (5th, $8.6 billion), Grasim Industries' Kumar Mangalam Birla (6th, $8.4 billion), Godrej Group's Adi Godrej (7th, $8.1 billion).
02:52 Shooting at US base, two soldiers wounded:
Two National Guard soldiers were wounded today in a shooting at a US military base in Tennessee, officers said, a month after a rampage killed 13 at a base in Washington.
Police arrested the suspected gunman, who was also a member of the Guard, at about 1810 GMT, and the wounded members of the Army National Guard did not suffer life-threatening injuries, said Patrick Foughty, spokesman for Naval Installations Command in Washington.
The shooting in Millington, Tennessee occurred across the street from a naval base on land leased by the Army National Guard, he said.
"There was a shooting. The shooter is in custody," Foughty told AFP.
Local media reported the shooting followed an argument among the three soldiers, with one of them pulling out a gun and opening fire, hitting one man in the leg and another in the foot.
01:06 Judge declares mistrial in US Buddhist temple killings:
A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a man charged with killing nine people at a suburban Phoenix Buddhist temple in 1991.
The judge's mistrial declaration today means 39-year-old Johnathan Doody will face another retrial.
The retrial that ended today began Aug. 12 because an appeals court had overturned his previous conviction. The jury had deliberated for about seven days when they informed the judge yesterday they had reached an impasse.
Doody originally was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to 281 years in prison.
Another man, Allesandro "Alex" Garcia, pleaded guilty in the killings and was sentenced to life in prison in exchange for his testimony against Doody and a promise that prosecutors wouldn't seek the death penalty.
Garcia said the crime was Doody's idea and that the two wanted to steal gold and cash that they believed the monks kept.
Authorities said the robbers ransacked the temple's living quarters and made away with about USD 2,600 and other valuables.
Each victim was shot in the back of the head.
Doody faced 20 counts, including robbery and burglary and nine charges of first-degree murder. Prosecutors have already indicated they plan to put Doody on trial again.
00:32 Jamaat-ud-Dawa co-founder killed in accident:
Hafiz Saifullah Mansoor, one of the founding members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, has been killed in a road accident in Lahore.
Mansoor was coming to Lahore from Islamabad on his car when it skidded off the road and overturned near Faizpur, a JuD statement said.
Mansoor died on the spot, while two others suffered serious injuries. They were shifted to a hospital in Lahore.
JuD chief Hafiz Saeed will lead Mansoor's funeral prayers at Township Lahore on Friday, the statement said. Mansoor was considered to be very close to Saeed.
Saeed and other JuD leaders have expressed their grief and sorrow and said that the JuD had been deprived of a 'great leader'.
Mansoor, a native of Jia Baga, was a part of Hurmat-e-Quran and Hurmat-e-Rasool movements and was the chairman of Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir.
00:30 Ram Gopal Varma gets police protection after threat:
Police security have been provided at the office and residence of Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma after he received a threat.
However, the police chose to remain silent about details like who threatened him and what sort of threat was issued to him.
"On the basis of an intercepted conversation, the Mumbai police gave me security for various reasons. I cannot divulge the content of the threat. For some important reasons, I cannot comment on whether or not this threat to me is related to the content of Satya 2," Varma tweeted today.
When contacted by PTI, Additional Police Commissioner (West Region) Vishwas Nagare Patil said: "I would not be displaying professionalism if I talk about somebody receiving a threat. I would not like to comment anything on the matter".
Varma's Satya 2, which was originally scheduled to release on Friday, would now be released on November 8.
00:28 Delhi Police's most wanted gangster shot dead in encounter:
NDTV reports: Neetu Dabodia, Delhi Police's most wanted gangster, was killed in an encounter with the Special Cell on Thursday night. Two of Dabodia's aides were also killed in the encounter that took place near a hotel in Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi.
According to the police, the gangster's car was intercepted at around 10:30 pm near Vasant Kunj. Dabodia and his aides opened fire at the policemen who retaliated killing the gangster and his aides.
Dabodia and his two accomplices were taken to the AIIMS Trauma Centre where they were declared brought dead.
He was involved in several cases of extortion, contract killing and murder and carried a reward of Rs. seven lakh. Dabodia had escaped from Haryana Police's custody in August last year when he was being brought from Saket court from Bhondsi Jail in Gurgaon.
He had killed a head constable on Delhi-Haryana border in November 2012 and was injured in an encounter with the Special Cell of Delhi Police and Punjab Police in February.