23:24 Syria meets deadline to destroy chemical production facilities:
Syria has destroyed or rendered inoperable all of its declared chemical weapons production and mixing facilities, meeting a major deadline in an ambitious disarmament program, the international chemical weapons watchdog said Thursday.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace prize this month, said its teams had inspected 21 out of 23 chemical weapons sites across the country. The remaining two were too dangerous to reach for inspection but the chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites that experts had visited, it said.
23:07 53 Nigerians detained in Goa over unruly protest:
Fifty three Nigerians were detained today after a mob of about 200 of them blocked a National Highway over the death of a fellow national, prompting the Goa government to announce a major crack-down on foreign nationals living in the state without proper documents.
23:06 Iraq attacks kill 19 people:
Four car bombs north of Baghdad killed a dozen people today, while attacks elsewhere in Iraq left seven dead, officials said, the latest casualties in a nationwide spike in unrest.
The attacks come as Iraq witnesses its worst violence since 2008, a surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 5,400 people this year despite authorities having carried out a swathe of operations and implemented tightened security measures.
22:12 EC issues notice to Rahul Gandhi for ISI speech:
The Election Commission has issued notice to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for his speeches in violation of the model code of conduct.
The EC examined Gandhi's recent remarks linking Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence to the Muzaffarnagar riot victims. The action was taken after EC received a report on Gandhi's speech by the collector of Indore where here made this statement.
21:56 37 heads of government to attend CHOGM summit in Colombo:
Thirty-seven heads of government have confirmed their participation in the troubled Commonwealth Summit to be hosted by Sri Lanka next month, a minister said today.
"Thirty-seven heads of government have confirmed participation, which is more than at (the last Commonwealth Summit in) Perth," Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be held here during November 15-17.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's participation is uncertain.
20:32 Hamdi Ansari in UK on two-day visit:
Vice President Hamid Ansari arrived in London today on a two-day official visit. Ansari flew to UK from Havana after completing a visit to Cuba.
Earlier he visited Peru. The vice president will deliver a lecture on 'Citizenship and Identity' at the Oxford Islamic Research Centre tomorrow.
20:16 Live! Edward Snowden to start work at Russian website: The Guardian
reports: Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has found a job working for a website in Russia, where he was granted asylum after fleeing the United States, a Russian lawyer who is helping him has said.
"Edward starts work in November," lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said on Thursday, according to state-run news agency RIA.
Read the full report here
19:30 UP govt will crush communal forces: Mulayam:
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today warned communal forces trying to vitiate the harmony and amity among people in the state, saying hisparty's government will "crush" them.
Taking note of fresh clashes that took place in Muzaffarnagar yesterday, in which four were killed, he said the power of the government was "supreme" and it would crush forces involved in vitiating atmosphere in the state.
Highlighting the works done by Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, the SP supremo said Rs 90 crore had already been given to the affected areas for construction of houses for the victims.
18:36 Live! Diwali baksheesh for you: Petrol price cut by Rs 1.15/litre:
The government's Diwali gift for you: Petrol price cut by Rs 1.15 per litre, diesel price hiked by 0.50 p/litre.
Yesterday, the Kirit Parikh Committee recommended that trade parity pricing
formula for diesel, kerosene and cooking gas (LPG) be retained.
suggested an increase in its retail price by Rs 4-5 per litre
immediately and the remaining subsidy recovered from consumers through a
monthly price hike of Re 1 per litre or oil companies be paid a fixed
subsidy of Rs 6 per litre.
18:25 Told PM about unfinished work on Narmada dam many times, in vain: Modi:
Suggesting that the UPA government was biased against Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said the gates on the Sardar Sarovar dam had not been installed yet even though he had taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh many times.
"Gates are yet to be installed on Sardar Sarovar dam. Only after gates are installed, the dam will be filled with water. I have met Prime Minister many times and told him that installation of gates would take three years. Allow us to install it. And questions related to closing of gates or operating them can be dealt with later," Modi said here.
"PM said this is a good suggestion. When I met him again and raised the same question, he replied 'is the installation not yet over?'" Modi said.
Modi, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, was in Kevadia, to lay the foundation stone of Sardar Patel's statue.
18:16 'Agonising wait to collect bodies could be longer for kin':
The agonising wait to collect the bodies of their near ones who perished in the bus fire tragedy in Andhra Pradesh that claimed 45 yesterday could prolong for their distraught relatives.
As the kin of the victims of the Volvo bus blaze in Mahbubnagar district struggled to come to terms with the loss of their dear ones, Karnataka Transport minister Ramalinga Reddy said only DNA test can establish their identities.
Reddy told a news channel that DNA samples of the victims in the tragedy had been collected and the process of identification could be completed once they are matched with their close relatives and the entire process would require more time.
17:37 I know how to crush Muzaffarnagar rioters, Mulayam says:
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday issued a warning that rioters in Muzaffarnagar will be crushed with an iron hand. He also reminded that he had ordered firing on the kar sevaks exactly 23 years ago on October 30, 1990, in Ayodhya to uphold the Constitution.
"Some people are instigating riots. I must remind them that they cannot challenge the might of the government. The government is very powerful. I must also tell rioters that I know how to crush such activities," Mulayam said while recalling how as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1990 he ordered firing at kar sevaks who had assembled in Ayodhya on the call of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP for bulldozing Babri mosque and construction of Ram temple.
17:24 Stock markets' daily turnover crosses record Rs 5 lakh cr:
Indian stock markets today witnessed a record daily turnover of over Rs five lakh crore, even as the benchmark Sensex missed its all-time intra-day high by a whisker.
The BSE Sensex, however, managed to record an all-time closing high of 21,164.52 points, with a surge of 130.55 points from yesterday. During intra-day trade, the Sensex rose to as high as 21,205.44 points, just 1.33 points away from its record high of 21,206.77 points scaled on January 10, 2008.
17:10 Listing plans put on hold: Vodafone India:
Vodafone India, the nation's second-biggest telecom firm, has put on hold a planned initial public offering (IPO) over lack of clarity on rules around spectrum and cellular permits.
"At this moment we have put that (IPO) on hold because we need first clarity about our licence extensions and the pricing of spectrum," Vodafone India Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Martin Pieters said.
16:52 Advani knew about my going to Kandahar with terrorists:Jaswant:
Contradicting LK Advani, former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has said the then Home Minister was aware of the controversial decision about his travelling to Kandahar along with three terrorists released in exchange for the hostages of hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999.
Singh, however, said Advani along with Arun Shourie were the two ministers who had opposed the decision which he had taken on his own and informed the Cabinet.
"He was in Cabinet (meeting)," Singh said when asked whether Advani was aware of the decision. Advani, then the Home Minister, has claimed that he was not aware of the decision that Singh was going with the terrorists.
16:28 The police say Meher-e-Alam is a close aide of Tehseen Akhtar, a top operative of the Indian Mujahideen, who allegedly mentored the Patna bombers.
16:26 Live! Patna blasts' suspect escapes from NIA custody:
Patna blasts' suspect Meher-e-Alam, who was detained by the NIA from Darbhanga on Wednesday, escapes from custody, say TV reports.
He was being questioned at a 'safe place' near Muzaffarnagar station and escaped when the NIA sleuths were asleep. He had been questioned for 10 hours and escaped from the washroom.
The home minister gave the NIA charge of the blasts' probe at the behest of the Bihar CM.
16:09 Munde's prophecy: Pawar won't be part of Third Front :
The NCP's presence at a convention sponsored by Left parties may have created a flutter in political circles, but BJP's deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde today said the Sharad Pawar-led party won't join a Third Front.
"My reading is Pawar won't be a part of a Third Front. It is just a ploy to make Congress agree to retain the old seat sharing formula in Maharashtra for Lok Sabha polls," Munde said.
16:04 Violence won't have reoccurred had UP govt acted fairly: BJP:
Lashing out at UP government over fresh communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, the BJP today said it would not have happened had the authorities taken severe and unbiased action against those responsible for last month's riots.
The party, which has been accused by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for trying to communalise the state for electoral gains, said such blame game would only worsen the situation and asked the Samajwadi Party government to make efforts to win the confidence of all sections of society.
15:56 Mumbai faces biggest threats from climate change of all cities in world:
India is among the 'extreme risk' countries where economic impacts of climate change will be most felt by 2025, according to a report.
In its sixth annual Climate Change Vulnerability Index, risk consultancy firm Maplecroft revealed the countries most likely to suffer from the effects of warming climates by 2025.
The report revealed that Bangladesh, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone have the most 'extreme' risk rating. Of cities around the world, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and the Indian metropolis of Mumbai are the most at risk of being impacted by climate change, the Huffington Post reports.
To come to the conclusion, researchers evaluated 193 countries on three factors: the capacity of nations to combat the effects of climate change, exposure to extreme weather events and sensitivity of populations to this exposure in areas such as health and agricultural dependence.
15:33 'Adolf Hitler didn't commit suicide, lived in Argentina till 1962':
A new book has suggested that Adolf Hitler not only survived WWII but lived a fruitful life in Argentina.
In the new book 'Grey Wolf: The Escape Of Adolf Hitler,' British authors Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan have written that on the night of April 27, 1945, three people, Hitler, Eva Braun, brother-in-law, Hermann Fegelein, emerged from a secret tunnel connecting the bunker to the surface. Read more
15:24 Karuna urges PM not to attend CHOGM:
Amid speculations over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Colombo next month, DMK today reiterated that India should boycott it to register protests over the alleged war crimes against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
In a sharp reaction to reports in a section of the press that Singh was likely to attend the meet, DMK chief M Karunanidhi said people of Tamil Nadu expect that there should not even be a symbolic participation from India at CHOGM.
15:20 Ashes to ashes: BJP begins yatra with Patna blast victims' remains:
In a bid to mobilise support after the serial blasts, the BJP in Bihar began what it calls the 'shahid asthi-kalash yatra', wherein the ashes of the six blast victims from six different villages would be taken to different parts of the state before being immersed in the Ganga in Patna.
This comes two days ahead of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's visit to Patna on November 2 to meet the kin of the victims. The state BJP declared the victims as martyrs on Monday. -- MI Khan in Patna.
14:49 Pak's ceasefire assurance is deceptive: BJP:
The BJP today termed the assurance given by Pakistan to withhold ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir as "deceptive", alleging that they are buying time to plan future mischief.
"Pakistan's assurance to withhold ceasefire violations following the flag meeting between BSF and Pakistan Rangers yesterday as a deceptive ploy by it," BJP National Executive Member and JK spokesperson Jitendra Singh said.
14:45 Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha tweeets: PM's post is 'devalued' so much so that whether The PM should go for CHOGM or not..will be decided by regional parties??
14:44 'Everyone feels at home in Delhi. It is home to everyone':
'Delhi represents the composite culture of our country. You will find people from every state of the country here. You will find every language in the country being spoken here.
There is more history here than any city in the country,' says writer-columnist Sadia Dehlvi, in Rediff.com's continuing series where well-known Indians speak about their India. Read
14:27 Nitish pays tribute to 'iron man' Sardar Patel:
Bihar Governor D Y Patil and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today paid rich tributes to "iron man" Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel on his 138th birth anniversary in Patna.
The Governor paid homage to the first Home minister of the country after Independence at Patel Chowk near Chitkohara railway bridge in Patna. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also offered tribute to Sardar Patel.
Suhasini Haidar's column on why the PM must ignore Tamil Nadu and attend CHOGM in Colombo.
14:15 Amma dekh: PM likely to attend Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka:
Taking a difficult call, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to go to Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting keeping in mind that it is in India's strategic interests to remain engaged in its neighbourhood.
The decision was firmed up after a meeting of the Congress core committee on Wednesday where the political fallout of the PM attending the CHOGM was evaluated in some detail before it was felt the benefits outweigh the downsides. Read more
14:05 MP polls: Cong, BJP yet to announce candidates:
Ruling BJP and Opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh seem to be still scouting for prospective candidates for distribution of tickets for the November 25 Assembly polls as both the parties are yet to make any announcement in this regard.
According to Congress sources, many meetings of various committees have been held in New Delhi but names of candidates have not been finalised so far.
The party had announced quite some time back that tickets for Assembly elections would be announced three months in advance but there are no signs yet, even as filing of nominations for the polls is slated to begin tomorrow.
14:03 PM, Shinde neglecting plight of rain-battered AP: Naidu:
TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu today attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for "purposefully neglecting" the plight of Andhra Pradesh, which has been battered by rains, owing to political considerations.
"The prime minister should break his silence and come forward to the rescue of people of Andhra Pradesh who have suffered a huge damage to their properties and crops due to nature's fury in the form of cyclone 'Phailin' and heavy rains of late," Naidu said.
13:36 Live! Putin topples Obama in Forbes 2013 Power List :
The World's Most Powerful People 2013 list released by the Forbes hinted at the 'shifting individual power dynamics' as US President Barack Obama was outdone by Russian leader Vladimir Putin who notched the number one position on the list,, riding high on Syria manoeuver and Edward Snowden issue.
The Most Powerful's title went to Putin as he "solidified his control over Russia" whereas the chaos created by the US government shutdown and Edward Snowden leaks revealing NSA surveillance programmes pushed Obama into a "lame duck period" that set in earlier than ususual for a two-term president, said a post written by the Forbes staff Caroline Howard. More
13:27 Gujarat Police: Bihar cops lax in providing security to Modi:
Gujarat's top cop has accused the Bihar Police of "indifference and laxity" and said that the string of blasts that killed six people in Patna just before Narendra Modi's rally on Sunday could have been averted if adequate security preparedness had been ensured. Read
13:00 Cong: Modi does NOT follow Sardar Patel's philosophy in any way :
The Congress reacts to Narendra Modi's speech at Kevadia in Gujarat.
Party general secretary Ajay Maken says Narendra Modi does not follow Sardar Patel's philosophy in any way. Maken said a woman journalist who had written about Patel and the RSS is being threatened.
Modi had said that we need Sardar Patel's secularism not votebank secularism'. Patel unified, but did not divide the nation. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is like a God for the Dalit community. No one asks which party he belonged to. His life inspires us.
Party can be any, our heart must be for the nation and for every great leader our nation has produced.
Pic: The PM pays floral tributes at the portrait of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary today at Parliament House
12:34 Live! HC notices to Sushma, Jaitley on Jethmalani's expulsion plea :
The Delhi High Court issues notices to BJP, its Parliamentary Board members on Ram Jethmalani's plea against his expulsion.
Rebel BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, who had been critical of the BJP leadership and had revolted against the then party chief Nitin Gadkari, was on Tuesday expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years on charges of "breach of discipline".
The expulsion of 89-year-old Jethmalani, who is a member of Rajya Sabha, by the BJP Parliamentary Board comes weeks after he had barged into a Parliamentary Party meeting and questioned his continued suspension. He had also asked if he could be issued a whip when he has been suspended.
Jethmalani had filed a defamation suit against BJP''s parliamentary board for expelling him without reason following his remarks over senior party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley earlier this year.
Jethmalani is seeking damages worth 50 lakhs from each member of the parliamentary board. He has however left of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi from the list of people he is suing. The parliamentary board has 11 member, including senior party leader LK Advani.
12:03 Modi: To associate Sardar Patel with any party is an injustice:
Narendra Modi at Kevadia: "After Chanakya, if there was a 'mahapurush' who unified the nation, it is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Were Maharana Pratap, Rajguru, Sukhdev BJP members? Will we only remember BJP members? The nation comes before parties. To associate Sardar Patel with any party would be a great injustice," says Modi.
11:56 A historic event is taking place on the banks of the Narmada: Modi:
Narendra Modi addressing the meet at Kevadia. He says a historic event is taking place on the banks of the Narmada today. "This was a dream for many years. Many people added new colour to this dream, they gave suggestions and after a lot of churning, this has happened. Many people have inspired and blessed us and I thank them today," he says.
11:40 Lalu bail plea rejected:
And former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav stays in jail. The Jharkhand High Court rejects the bail petition of the RJD leader in a fodder scam case.
11:36 IAS officers won't take oral orders from political bosses: Supreme Court:
In Kevadia, Advani holds forth with his glimpses from history.
For the rest of India, an important ruling by the Supreme Court. The SC today said IAS officers will no more take oral orders from their political bosses, and asked for measures to insulate them from victimisation.
A petition had asked for a civil service board to decide on the transfer and postings of officials and rid the bureaucracy of political interference, corruption and inaction.
The court today asked the Central and state governments to set up such boards within three months, and asserted that officials must have fixed tenures.
The judges observed, "Frequent transfers should be avoided so that implementation of the policies and programmes of the government reach the poor people." Read
11:29 If Sardar Patel was not there, India would have been badly divided into pieces. There would not be two, but many divisions, says Advani.
Advani says he watches a serial called Pradhan Mantri on TV and through the episodes in the serial, which he says hasn't even reached Atal Bihari Vajpayee, illustrates the uphill task faced by Sardar Patel in the unification of the princely states to form India.
11:17 Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone, not Advani.
Advani meanwhile, speaking on how the British believed Indians were born thieves and therefore marked everything -- mirrors, taps, cushions, in their railways, called the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, with a 'Stolen from GIP'.
"Many who did not see colonial times say there was nothing wrong in colonial rule. When the British left India, one of the causes was the struggle for independence mounted by Gandhiji and Sardar Patel and other leaders."
11:10 LK Advani speaking at the venue, says, "I am really pleased today to be here. My relation with Gujarat began from the time I was very young and that too during colonial period."
11:09 Live! Modi's day in the sun as LK Advani lights ceremonial lamp at Patel statue :
At Kevadia in Gujarat, the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity will be laid at precisely at precisely 12:39 pm. A ceremonial lamp is being lit by LK Advani and Narendra Modi and other dignitaries. The Statue of Unity will be double the height of the Statue of Liberty in the USA and five times taller than the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The construction is estimated to cost Rs 2063 crore, and will be completed in four years.
10:58 Little boy sits in Pope's chair, steals the show:
Pope Francis was delivering a homily but a little boy stole the show. Francis was speaking in St. Peter's Square about the important role grandparents play when a little boy walked up behind him and confidently climbed up and sat down on the pontiff's white chair. Read
10:47 Narendra Modi aims at history and Gandhis with world's tallest statue:
Narendra Modi will today inaugurate the construction of what he bills as the world's biggest statue - a 182-metre iron and bronze structure being built at a cost of Rs. 2074 crore to honour India's "iron man" Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 138th birth anniversary.Here are 5 interesting facts about Modi's Statue of Unity. Read
10:30 8 arrests after Muzaffarnagar communal clashes:
Eight persons have been arrested and cases registered against 15 people in connection with fresh communal violence in Budhana area of Muzaffarnagar district where paramilitary forces are patrolling tense areas.
Three persons were killed last night as communal violence erupted afresh in Budhana area of Muzaffarnagar district which was hit by riots last month leaving 62 dead.
Eight persons were arrested in connection with the latest round of violence and security was enhanced in the entire district where tension ran high, officials said.
Cases have been registered against 15 persons at Budana Police Station, SSP, Muzaffarnagar, H M Singh said.
District Magistrate Kaushal Raj had said yesterday that three victims, identified as Afroz, 20, Meherban, 21, and Ajmal, 22, were beaten to death while another was injured in clashes between members of two communities at Muhammadpurraisingh village.
09:50 Rupee down 22 paise Vs dollar in early trade:
The rupee weakened by 22 paise to trade at 61.45 against the dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market due to increased demand for the US currency from importers.
Forex dealers said besides dollar's gains against other overseas currencies after a US Federal Reserve policy statement gave a better-than-expected outlook on economic conditions, month-end demand from importers for the American currency and a lower opening in the stock market also put pressure on the rupee.
The rupee gained 8 paise to close at over two-week high of 61.23 against the US dollar in the previous session.
Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex slipped below 21,000 level by falling 37.28 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 20,996.69 in early trade today.
09:49 Mars Orbiter Mission launch rehearsal at Sriharikota today:
Ahead of the launch of India's ambitious Rs 430-crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), ISRO will carry out a launch rehearsal on Thursday at the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.
The final countdown for Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) will begin November 3 morning.
"The countdown for the Mars Orbiter Mission will begin Sunday at 6.08 a.m.," K Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation told reporters.
PSLV C-25 carrying the Mars Orbiter spacecraft is slated for lift-off at 2.36 PM on November 5.
08:53 Modi, Advani to flag off work on Statue of Unity:
Amidst the row over the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi along with BJP veteran leader LK Advani will lay the foundation stone for the 'Statue of Unity' in Narmada district on Thursday.
Advani, also a Member of Parliament from Gandhinagar, will be the chief guest at the function.
The ceremony will take place near Sadhubet at Kevadia colony close to the main Sardar Sarvoar dam.
During the ceremony, Advani will launch the book, 'Hind ke Sardar'.
Modi will lay the foundation stone of the first phase of the Rs 2,063-crore project on the 138th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, the country's first deputy prime minister and home minister.
The Statue of Unity will be double the size of 'Statue of Liberty' (which is 93 metres) in the US and four times higher than the statue of 'Christ the Redeemer' in Rio de Janeiro.
08:46 Fodder scam: Ruling on Lalu's bail plea today:
The Jharkhand High Court will on Thursday pronounce its judgment on bail petition of former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who has completed one month in Birsa Munda Central Jail.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) completed arguments on Lalu's bail petition on Wednesday. He had moved the court on October 17 against his conviction and sentencing in a fodder scam case and filed a bail petition.
His lawyers completed arguments on bail petition in October.
On September 30, Lalu Prasad and another former Bihar chief minister Jagnnath Mishra, Janata Dal (United) Lok Sabha member Jagdish Sharma and some others were convicted in a fodder scam case RC 20 A/96. It was related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from Chaibasa treasury during 1994-1995 when Lalu Prasad was the chief minister of Bihar.
08:45 New York City bans sale of cigarettes to under 21s:
New York City voted to ban the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco to anyone under the age of 21, raising the previous threshold of 18.
Having pioneered years of stringent anti-smoking laws, the city of 8.5 million becomes the largest metropolis to raise the age limit for buying cigarettes so high.
The US federal age requirement for buying cigarettes is 18, which some states previously raised to 19 and in some, smaller communities to 21.
A spokeswoman for New York City council yesterday said the proposal was approved by 35 votes to 10.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has to sign the resolution into law, immediately welcomed what he called a key step towards preventing young people from lighting up.
"Tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking so it's critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start. By increasing the smoking age to 21 we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking."
His administration believes raising the legal age for buying cigarettes will reduce the number of smokers aged 18-20 by as much as 55 per cent.
08:45 Facebook Q3 results fly past expectations:
Facebook's stock is soaring after the company reported a 60 per cent revenue increase in the third quarter, surpassing Wall Street's expectations for the second quarter in a row.
The world's largest social network said yesterday that it earned USD 425 million, or 17 cents per share. That's up from a loss of $59 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook jumped $5.22, or 10.7 per cent, to $54.23.
Adjusted earnings were USD 621 million, or 25 cents per share in the latest quarter, 6 cents better than analysts expected. This figure excludes special items, mainly stock compensation expenses.
Revenue grew 60 per cent to USD 2.02 billion from $1.26 billion, helped by increasing mobile advertising revenue.
Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $1.91 billion, according to FactSet.
Facebook's advertising revenue was $1.8 billion, up 66 per cent from a year ago. Mobile ads accounted for 49 per cent of the company's total ad revenue during the quarter.
08:43 Little boy sits in pope's chair, steals the show:
Pope Francis was delivering a homily but a little boy stole the show.
Francis was speaking in St. Peter's Square about the important role grandparents play when a little boy walked up behind him and confidently climbed up and sat down on the pontiff's white chair.
The Vatican says Francis was surrounded by elderly faithful and their grandchildren Saturday night at a rally to encourage family life when the boy came up, wearing a striped shirt, jeans and sneakers.
Acting like an indulgent grandpa, Francis let the boy explore the area undisturbed before tens of thousands of people. The pope smiled while reading his speech as the boy sat in the empty chair, gazed up at him and even at one point clung to the pontiff's legs.
01:57 Egyptian police disperse pro-Morsi students at Al-Azhar:
Police have entered al-Azhar University in the Egyptian capital Cairo to disperse students protesting in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
The interior ministry said it had responded to a request for help from university authorities.
Pro-Morsi students had been holding protests at the campus for weeks.
01:56 Mexico evacuates 4,500 for gasoline pipeline leak:
A geyser of gasoline spewing from a state-owned pipeline in western Mexico forced officials to evacuate about 4,500 people today. Officials blamed the accident on fuel thieves.
Photos from the scene in the town of Tlajomulco, near the city of Guadalajara, showed a plume of gasoline shooting into the air from the pipeline, located in a field near a housing development. Guadalajara is Mexico's second-largest city and the capital of Jalisco state.
01:56 US taps links to Google, Yahoo data centres: report:
The US National Security Agency has tapped into key communications links from Yahoo and Google data centres around the world, a media report said today.
The Washington Post, citing documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with officials, said the programme can collect data at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, including from Americans.
The report said the programme dubbed MUSCULAR, operated jointly with NSA's British counterpart GCHQ, indicated that the agencies can intercept data flows from the fiber-optic cables used by the US Internet giants.
01:55 Two killed in blasts in Russia's Dagestan: official:
Two people were killed and at least 15 wounded today when two explosive devices went off in shops in Russia's troubled Caucasus region of Dagestan, officials said. The national anti-terror committee said the attacks occurred on a busy street in the centre of the Dagestan capital Makhachkala.
00:37 3 UK journalists plead guilty to phone hacking:
Three British journalists who were charged with hacking the phones of celebrities and others for a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid have pleaded guilty in advance of a trial, according to a prosecutor in London Wednesday.
Ex-news editor Greg Miskiw, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and former reporter James Weatherup faced charges that they eavesdropped on the voicemails of story subjects while they worked for the defunct News of the World.
00:36 Forbes: Obama only 2nd most powerful:
President Obama has fallen to second place in Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's most powerful people '" trailing Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Forbes began its analysis with the question "who's more powerful: the autocratic leader of a former superpower or the handcuffed commander in chief of the most dominant country in the world?"The magazine went with Putin, who finished second in last year's poll behind Obama.
00:26 Gadkari slams Cong over corruption, price rise:
Hitting out at Congress over rampant corruption and price rise, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari asked people to vote BJP led NDA to power at the Centre.
Corruption has created a record in the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh, the former national president of BJP said in Vijai Sankalp Rally at Bajna about 80 Kms from here. He cited the example of coal block allocation scam among others to highlight the alleged corruption during the Congress rule.
00:23 6 people shot dead in US in domestic dispute:
A law enforcement official says six people found dead in a US home were shot in a domestic dispute that ended with the gunman's suicide. Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis identified the gunman as 27-year-old Bryan Sweatt.
Davis says Sweatt had dated one of the women who was killed and had a child with her. Davis says the victims include the woman, her parents and two children. The sheriff says the shootings looked like executions.
00:18 China says 5 are arrested in Beijing attack:
The Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the arrests of five men described as Islamic jihadists who they say helped orchestrate an audacious attack near Tiananmen Square, the political heart of the nation, that left five people dead.
In a brief message posted on its microblog account, the Beijing Public Security Bureau said the arrested men, all ethnic Uighurs from China's western Xinjiang region, had enlisted a family of three to drive a vehicle across a crowded sidewalk on Monday and then ignite the car at the foot of the Tiananmen Gate.