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Live! PM to meet Pranab on Oct 1, hint at withdrawal of ordinance

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September 28, 2013


22:51  Miss Philippines Megan Young crowned Miss World 2013:   Philippines beauty Megan Young was today crowned Miss World 2013 after beating 130 contestants across the globe. This is the first time Miss Philippines has been awarded the title in the 63rd Miss World grand final pageant on the resort island of Bali.

Megan, 23, who is a student of filmmaking, is excited to have taken over the crown from 2012's Miss World winner Wenxia Yu of China. "I have no words to express my feelings. Thank you so much to everyone for choosing me to be the next Miss World. It means a lot to me and I promise to be the best person. I am very very excited," she said after the crowning.
22:46  Our Delhi correspondent reports: President Pranab Mukherjee will be on six-day state visit to Belgium and Tureky from October 2 to October 8. Mukherjee will be keeping a tab on the Union Cabinet meet on Thursday to withdraw the ordinance on convicted lawmakers. 

In all probability, the President will agree to withdraw the ordinance only on October 8 after his return from Turkey.
22:43  Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth returned on Saturday morning from Philippines. There have been  informal instructions from New York to have a Union cabinet meeting on Thursday at 5.30 pm. 
22:12  PM to meet Pranab on Oct 1, hint at withdrawal of ordinance:  Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday (October 1) after his confabulations with Sonia Gandhi and he Congress core committee on the ordinance to protect convicted neatas. The PM is likely to brief the President about his foreign visit and indicate the government's decision to withdraw the ordinance, reports our Delhi correspondent.  
21:25  At the United Nations headquarters, the PM is surrounded by friends and admirers after his speech at the general assembly.
21:18  'Epicenter of terror is in our neighbourhood Pak' :   Dr Singh added, "Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that there can never, ever, be a compromise with the unity and territorial integrity of India. We need to renew our commitment, especially here at the UN, for concerted, cohesive and continuing global action against terrorism. The epicenter of terror is in our neighbourhood in Pakistan."
21:14  Terror machinery in Pak must be shut down: PM at UNGA:  Ahead of the PM's meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif tomorrow, he sent a though message. Speaking at the UNGA, Dr Singh said, "India is committed sincerely to resolving all issues with Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the Simla Agreement. It is imperative that the territory of Pakistan and the areas under its control are not utilised for aiding and abetting terrorism directed against India."

"It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down."
21:11  'India supports elimination of chemical weapons':  Speaking on Syria, the PM said at the UNGA, "The conflict in Syria is not only a tragedy for the people of Syria, but also threatens stability and security in the region and beyond. India supports strongly the elimination of chemical weapons material and equipment in Syria. Must intensify efforts to end conflict in Syria and seek a political settlement." 
21:10  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "India is proud of its partnerships with developing countries. India and Africa are engaging through the India-Africa Forum Summit process. We are committed to building 100 institutions in Africa."

Image: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com
21:07  'Issues of peace, security, human rights need to be addressed':   Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at UNGA, "Issues of peace, security, human rights and governance are important and need to be addressed. It is important that the UN set clear and concise goals and provide practical and well-defined means of implementation."

"The UN should take the views of developing countries into account, especially critical is women's equal access to economic opportunities. It is important that women do not become victims of violence or targets of prejudice." 
21:04  Need to attack poverty: PM at United Nations General Assembly :  Here are the highlights of the PM's address at UNGA: 

Renewed attention on the role of the United Nations in advancing international peace, security and prosperity. Countries are now not only more interdependent, but also face new and increasingly complex challenges.

The UN Security Council must be reformed and restructured; more developing countries should be included. A lingering global economic slowdown and continuing volatility in financial markets have imposed disproportionately heavy costs on developing countries.

New collective trust is needed to fight global poverty. Poverty remains a major political and economic challenge and its eradication requires special attention and a new thrust.

Growth and inclusive development are naturally important for all our countries. Growth requires supportive international economic environment, enhanced investment flows.

Problems of over a billion people living in abject poverty around the world need to be attacked more directly.
20:57  PM addresses United Nations General Assembly:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh begins his address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 
20:41  PM to speak shortly at the United Nations General Assembly:  The Prime Minister's Office tweeted: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will be speaking shortly at the the general debate of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
19:50  No alliance at the cost of Telangana, says Sushma:  Mohammed Siddique reports: Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj today poured cold water on the hopes of Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu that the party will soften its support to the Telangana state in exchange of his hand of friendship.

Addressing a mammoth rally of Telangana supporters in Mahbubnagar, Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, Swaraj made it clear that whether the BJP enters into an alliance or not, there will not be any change in party's support to the cause of Telangana.

"Alliance or no alliance there will be no change in our stand on Telangana. The BJP was and will always be in support of the Telangana state. No alliance will be at the cost of Telagnana," she said.
19:41  India's Navneet Kaur Dhillon out of Miss World :  India's Navneet Kaur Dhillon is out of Miss World contest being held in Bali today.
19:15  Cabinet to meet on Oct 3-4 to discuss ordinance on convicted netas:  Union Cabinet likely to meet on Oct 3 or  4 to take a view on the ordinance on convicted lawmakers after PM returns from United State, said government sources.
18:16  India, China to hold talks to discuss new border agreement:   Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit next month, a key Sino-Indian group on border affairs will hold its fourth meeting here tomorrow against the backdrop of several incursions by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control.    

The two-day meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs is expected to discuss the proposed Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, aimed at more comprehensively dealing with tensions related to patrolling by both sides along the LAC.

The BDCA agreement is expected to be signed during Prime Minister Singh's visit here next month.
18:04  Tunda sent to 3-day police custody in 1997 bomb blast case:   Top LeT bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda was today remanded in three-day police custody by a Delhi court in connection with a 1997 blast case, in which one woman was killed and several others were injured.

Tunda, who was in police custody till today in connection with a separate bomb blast case lodged against him here, was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal, and special cell of the Delhi police sought his three-day of custodial interrogation.

The police said a bomb had exploded at Bidan Pura here on October 26, 1997 resulting in death of a woman, and during the searches, a live bomb was recovered by the investigators and it was defused.
17:46  Thank you for firing me: Yogendra Yadav:  In a scathing letter written to Human Resource Development Minister M MPallam Raju, Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav has torn apart the HRD ministry's decision to fire him from the board of the UGC.

Picking several holes in all the excuses put forward by the ministry to justify his sacking, Yadav slammed the working of the UGC and implored it to spend as much time and initiative to implement better measures for students across India.

Read the letter here
17:41  Iran President greeted with shoe missile!:  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was greeted with a shoe missile and slogans of 'Death to America' on his return to Tehran after attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

While Rouhani's security personnel managed to guard him from the shoe strike by dodging it with an umbrella, the President had to face scores of protesters who were angry at him for adopting a conciliatory tone and holding a phone conversation with US President Barack Obama.

Read the full story here
17:31  After ordinance shocker, what is Rahul up to today?:  Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today met a small group of industrialists, including RP-Sanjeev Goenka Group chairman Sanjiv Goenka and banker Shikha Sharma.     

Others who were part of the meeting include Bengal Ambuja Housing Development Ltd MD Harshavardhan Neotia and former Hindustan Unilever CEO Nitin Paranjpe. Sharma is CEO of Axis Bank.     

While none of the participants were available for comments, sources privy to the meeting said Gandhi met this small group at his residence today morning.
16:44  Trinamool suspends MP Kunal Ghosh:  Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh has been suspended from the party for anti-party activities, West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee has said.
16:43  Narendra Modi's Bhopal rally is a world record: BJP:  The BJP today said the party's rally at Bhopal was a world record vis-a-vis the largest assembly of its kind, even as it expressed confidence about winning more allies before and after the Lok Sabha elections.     

"The Bhopal rally was great in the country's political history," said senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, who added that he was overwhelmed by the response to the meetings of the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in recent weeks, including at Hyderabad.
15:47  Lankan MPs head to India to woo Dr Singh:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Thirty four newly elected Tamil legislators from the north-eastern province of Sri Lanka are likely to visit New Delhi in the middle of October to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. 

They will also meet senior BJP and CPI-M leaders, 

The Lankan government is sponsoring this visit.

The ultimate agenda of the visit is to woo Dr Singh and convince him to participate in the Commonwealth Summit in November
15:44  Lanka envoy seeks Dr Singh's presence at Colombo summit:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: "Peace has returned to Sri Lanka. Tamils have won the elections." 

This is what Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi, told many Union ministers. 

Prasad is spending time with Congress ministers to lobby for the presence of Prime Minister Manmnohan Singh at the Commonwealth Summit in November in Colombo.
15:40  Newly-elected Lankan Tamil MPs to visit India:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: The external affairs ministry will extend warm welcome to 34 newly elected Tamil legislators from Sri Lanka. 

The MEA will ensure that their 20-day visit goes off smoothly, and they are accorded heavy security detail.

These MLAs are also likely to visit Tirupathi and other well-known Lord Muruga temples in Tamil Nadu 

A special section is now being created in the National Security Advisor Office to liaise with the state governments and finalise appointments with Indian VVIPs
15:38  Terror group had hired shop in Westgate mall :  Kenyan security forces have claimed that al-Shahab, the militant group which led the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall over the weekend, hired a shop in the mall itself to stockpile weapons and ammunition weeks before the siege.   

According to the BBC, hiring a shop inside the mall helped the militants to pre-position weapons, access service lifts of the mall and re-arm quickly to repel the security forces.   

The investigations revealed that 67 people have died in the four-day siege, while 61 others were still missing, the report added.
15:37  Ordinance aimed only at saving Lalu Prasad: BJP:  The BJP today said the Congress ought to issue the ordinance on lawmakers in a hurry to"save" its ally Lalu Prasad, in case he is convicted in the fodder case on September 30.        

"If the ordinance is not issued before September 30 and if there is a negative judgement against him, then he will lose his membership," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told a press conference.
15:35  Seemandhra MPs urge Speaker to accept their resignations:  Six Members of Parliament representing the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh have met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to seek the acceptance of their resignations over a central government and Congress Party proposal to go ahead with the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh for the creation of a new state of Telangana.   

The six MPs are Undavilli Arun Kumar representing Rajamundry, Lagadapati Rajagopal from Vijayawada, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao from Guntur, A. Venkatarami Reddy from Ananthpur, S P Y Reddy from Nandyl and A Saipratap from Rajampet.   

These lawmakers had handed in their resignations soon after the Congress Working Committee decided in favour of creating a separate state of Telangana on July 30.
15:34  Pak objects to four more Indian hydropower projects:  Pakistan has raised objections to four new hydropower projects of India to be built on western rivers.   

The ministry of foreign affairs informed the National Assembly that India is working on six hydropower projects of 1,716 MW capacity on western rivers, including Jhelum, Chenab and Indus, which were assigned to Pakistan under the World Bank-sponsored treaty, Dawn News reports.   

According to the report, the two nations have been involved in a dispute from a long time over 10 such violations of the 1960 treaty.   

Pakistan has taken up two major cases with the International Court of Arbitration over Baglihar and Kishenganga hydropower projects, the report added.
15:08  Rape case: Ex-minister appears for medical examination :  Former Rajasthan minister Babulal Nagar, accused of raping and assaulting a 35-year-old woman, today appeared for medical tests in connection with the case, CID-Crime Branch sources said.        

A medical board examined him and collected his semen and other samples for forensic tests after Nagar reported at the hospital, unescorted by CID-CB sleuths, who reached there separately.
14:56  UNSC adopts resolution to destroy Syria's chemical weapons:  
In a major breakthrough, the UN Security Council today voted unanimously on a resolution to destroy Syria's chemicals weapons stockpile and warned of strong actions in case of non-compliance by Damascus.        

Ending a dramatic month of diplomacy, the 15-nation UNSC voted unanimously on the resolution, which was based on a deal struck between Russia and the US following a chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds on August 21.
14:53  High alert in Jammu's Kathua village:  A high alert was today sounded and search operations launched in Kathua and adjoining areas after some villagers claimed to have sighted terrorists in the region which witnessed twin suicide attacks on Thursday that left 10 people dead.       

Security forces launched a search and cordon operation after some villagers claimed they have sighted some terrorists in army uniforms in Dayalachak area of Kathua district this morning, DIG, Jammu-Kathua range, Shakeel Ahmed Beigh said.        

The Jammu-Pathankote National Highway has been sealed and a high alert has been sounded in Kathua and adjoining areas, he said.
14:53  Sidhu calls off fast-unto-death after Badal's assurance :  After a written assurance from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu today called off his scheduled fast-unto-death.        

The cricketer-turned-politician had announced that he would go on a fast-unto-death from today to protest against the stalling of disbursement of development funds for his Amritsar constituency.        

The three-time MP said he has been assured by Badal that the Amritsar's development projects would be completed in a time-bound manner.        

"Badal sahab is like a father to me, he has given me written assurance regarding the time-bound completion of the projects and I have decided to call off the programme," Sidhu said.
14:51  Pakistan's quake-hit area jolted my massive aftershock:  Several cities of Pakistan's Sindh and Balochistan provinces were today hit by a massive aftershock measuring 6.8, three days after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the region and killed over 500 people.        

Pakistan's Met office measured the earthquake at 7.2,while the US Geological Survey recorded it at 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Tremors were felt in provincial capitals Karachi and Quetta.        

All the local television channels showed people rushing out of their offices in Karachi after the latest tremors.
14:17  Sibal tried to save Lalu with new law on tainted MPs:  From a correspondent in Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had approached BJP leader Sushma Swaraj to seek her help in getting the Parliament session extended, in order to debate and pass the bill to save convicted legislators.   

Kamal Nath even conveyed his displeasure about the way in which Sibal was pushing his agenda to help Lalu Prasad.    

But with the active collaboration and floor coordination by Nath, with some help from the BJP and CPI-M, Sibal's attempts to save Prasad were thwarted.
14:15  Kapil Sibal on his way out after ordinance fiasco?:  From a correspondent in Delhi: 'Baba-log', as junior Union ministers close to Rahul Gandhi are affectionately known, have spoken out openly against Law Minister Kapil Sibal.   

One of them even went to the extent of claiming that Finance Minister P Chidambaram had explained to BJP leaders the dangers of opting for the ordinance route to save convicted lawmakers.   

One junior minister overheard senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj discussing the perils of bringing in the ordinance with Chidambaram and Sibal while they were leaving the Red Fort, right after the PM's address on Independence Day.
14:05  Lalu may not save his Lok Sabha seat after all:  
From a correspondent in Delhi: Should the Congress forge an alliance with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal?

The emphatic answer from all quarters is a resounding 'no'.

Then why should the law minister adopt the Ordinance route to help Lalu Prasad retain his Lok Sabha membership? 

'Let him be disqualified, one or two sacrifices have to be done for cleansing politics'. This is the buzz heard in South Block, around the Prime Minister's Office.
14:02  Sibal's days in Union cabinet may be numbered:  From a correspondent in Delhi: Law Minister Kapil Sibal may turn out to be the unlikely scapegoat of the 'nonsense' ordinance episode.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Sibal will explain the fiasco to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after he returns from the US, and offer to resign.
13:58  Rahul happy at the wide media coverage:  From a correspondent in Delhi: On Saturday morning, Rahul Gandhi on his iPad reportedly went through various dailies, all of which carried his photograph and his comments in large fonts on their front pages, and shared his happiness with sister Priyanka.    
13:55  Why Union ministers have switched off their cell phones:  A correspondent from Delhi reports: Aftershocks from Rahul Gandhi's shocking comments on the ordinance on tainted lawmakers continued to be felt by 20 to 30 Union ministers, who kept their mobile phones switched off on Saturday to evade incessant calls from party men and media personnel alike, seeking clarifications on the Congress vice president's statement.
13:50  Death toll in Pakistan quake likely to rise:  The death toll in the devastating earthquake that struck Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province is likely to rise further as rescuers race against time to frantically search for survivors despite attacks from nationalist militants.        

While the official death count stands at 515, unofficial figures are much higher. Rescue teams are still to reach several remote areas, including the worst-hit Balochistan's Awaran district, near the epicentre of Tuesday's 7.7-magnitude temblor.        

However, according to an official preliminary damage assessment, Awaran has borne just "partial damage" of 30 to 40 per cent. 

Two other districts -- Mashkal and Malar -- were said to be "badly hit" with 80 to 90 per cent damage.
13:48  PM flags India's concerns over US immigration law changes :  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told President Barack Obama that certain aspects of the proposed changes in the American immigration laws will hit Indian IT professionals, eliciting a promise from the US that these concerns will be looked into.        

Dr Singh raised the issue during his three-hour discussion with Obama in Washington  and said that the Indian IT sector  is a major contributor to US' GDP and employment generation, besides being a cementing force between the two countries, and any barriers would be counter-productive.
13:47  PM should quit if he disagrees with Rahul: Naidu :  TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign if he disagreed with what Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said on the controversial ordinance related to convicted lawmakers.        

"The prime minister (is being) insulted repeatedly to elevate Rahul Gandhi. 'Nonsense' is his (Rahul's) new moniker for the government. PM should resign if he disagrees with this," he tweeted.        

The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister has recently joined microblogging site Twitter.
13:46  Militants attack convoy of security forces in Srinagar:  Militants opened fire on a convoy of security forces in the outskirts of Srinagar today, leaving a civilian injured.        

The militants opened fire on vehicles of the security forces between Sanat Nagar and Hyderpora bypass road today afternoon, official sources said.        

They said a civilian was injured in the brief firing.        

The whole area has been cordoned off and a hunt has been launched to nab the militants involved in the firing, the sources said.
13:34  We want America to stand by our side: PM:  "India is a poor country. Our basic task is to improve the standard of living of our people, to get rid of mass poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflict millions and millions of our people, and in that struggle we want America to stand by our side".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had this to say, and much more, in his statement to the media after his meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Read the PM's statement here
13:16  Army rushed to Srinagar locality after reports of gunshots:  Mukhtar Ahmad reports from Srinagar: Panic spread among the residents of Hyderpora in Srinagar on Saturday morning when gunshots were heard from the locality.

Senior police and army officials have rushed there with reinforcements.
12:39  Cong in damage control mode: Sonia, Rahul reassure PM:  Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi have reassured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the party's support for him and the government in the wake of Rahul Gandhi's criticism of a Union 
Cabinet ordinance that allows MPs and MLAs to attend Parliament and state assemblies despite having criminal cases against them. 

Media reports said that Sonia called Dr Singh in Washington to reassure him of the Congress Party's support and to assuage any hurt that he may have felt in the wake of Rahul terming the ordinance wrong and rubbish. 

On his part, Rahul Gandhi e-mailed a letter to the prime minister, in which he emphasised his respect for Dr Singh and his leadership, but at the same time maintained that the ordinance was wrong in letter and spirit. 

The Congress Party released the letter in the public domain, suggesting that it was in damage control mode to reduce the apparent humiliation caused to Dr Singh by Rahul Gandhi's very public criticism of the government in full media glare in New Delhi on Friday. 

Statements released on Dr Singh's behalf from Washington indicate that the Congress Party's attempts at assuaging the prime minister are succeeding.
11:51  A day after Rahul's googly, Congress hails PM:  A day after Rahul Gandhi caused political tremors with his denunciation of the ordinance on lawmakers and attack on government, the Congress today got into damage control mode, hailing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for convincing the US on the issue of terror.        

"Compliment the prime minister for convincing US and others that LeT is a global terror threat. I hope Pakistan will take a note of that and act decisively," Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh commented on micro blogging site twitter.
10:27  'Dr Singh, please step down':  In a strongly worded article, senior journalist Shekhar Gupta has implored Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to step down from his post after his return from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in the wake of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's tactless remarks about the ordinance on convicted legislators.

"It would be heartbreaking for all those who admire him for his dignity, integrity and intellect -- whatever the criticism of his lack of articulation or decisiveness -- if he chose to simply carry on," says Gupta.

Read the story here
10:07  Dr Singh has been a great friend and partner: Obama:   "I also want to say how glad I am to have Prime Minister Singh here today.  He has been a great friend and partner to the United States and to me personally during his tenure as Prime Minister of India.  And I think all of us recognize that as the world's two largest democracies, countries that have for a very long time been invested in the peace and prosperity of their own people, that there is a natural convergence between the United States and India."

US President Barack Obama summed up his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with this eloquent statement.

Read what he had to say
10:06  Iran, US ties out of the freezer after 34 years?:  In a move that may thaw the 34-year-old icy relationship between the US and Iran, Barack Obama on Friday called his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and "exchanged pleasantries" in a 15-minute conversation. 

The phone call may signal the beginning of the resolution of the Iran nuclear weapons crisis and help the Islamic nation escape the clutches of economic sanctions.

Read the report here 
10:02  India, US agree to identify joint defence projects:  As part of their effort to enhance defence engagements, India and the US have agreed to identify areas of cooperative and collaborative projects in advance defence technologies and systems in the next one year.

Read more about Indo-US efforts on defence cooperation here
09:57  The unique protest by an American researcher:  A researcher has posted five copyrighted papers -- on the findings of NASA's Curiosity rover about the conditions on Mars -- on his personal website.

His agenda: To protest against science journals charging a subscription fee for reading details about government-funded research data.

Read the story here
09:53  Has Modi forgotten Patel's views on the RSS?:  Narendra Modi has been paying glowing tributes to Sardar Vallabhbai Patel, the iron man of India, in his recent speeches. But what the Gujarat chief minister seems to have forgotten is that Patel had opposed and, in fact, banned the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the right-wing outfit Modi owes his political beginnings to.

Read the full story here
02:58  Iran President calls US a 'great' nation:  
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the United States a "great" nation today in a sharp reversal from his predecessors and expressed hope that at the very least the two governments can stop the escalation of tensions.

Wrapping up his first trip to the United States as Iran's new leader, Rouhani said President Barack Obama struck a new tone in his UN speech this week, which he welcomed. 

He said he believes the first step to a meeting between the two leaders was taken Thursday at a meeting on Iran's nuclear programme, where the foreign ministers of both nations talked for the first time in six years. 

"I want it to be the case that this trip will be a first step, and a beginning for better and constructive relations with countries of the world as well as a first step for a better relationship between the two great nations of Iran and the United States of America," Rouhani told a press conference at a hotel near UN headquarters.

He expressed hope that "the views of our people, the understanding of each other, will grow, and at the level of the two governments that at the very least we can as a first step stop further escalation of tensions and then reduce tension as a next step and then pave the way for achieving of mutual interests."
02:54  Durga Shakti Nagpal transferred to Kanpur:  
Less than a week after revocation of her suspension, Uttar Pradesh IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who had taken on sand mining mafia in Gautam Budh Nagar district, was tonight posted as Joint Magistrate of Kanpur (Rural).

Nagpal, who was awaiting posting after the revocation of her suspension, had allegedly earned the wrath of the state government for her action against the mafia during her tenure as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar. 

The 28-year-old officer was suspended on July 27 before her suspension was withdrawn on Sunday last after she along with her husband, also an IAS officer, had a meeting with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The suspension of the 2009-batch IAS officer had triggered a major controversy.
02:53  Rouhani: Obama has struck new tone on Iran:  
Iran's new president says President Barack Obama struck a new tone in his UN speech this week that left him optimistic about easing tensions between the two countries. 

Hassan Rouhani also said the recent elections that propelled him to the Iranian presidency created a "new environment" that could pave the way for better relations with the West. 

Rouhani said at a news conference in New York that he did not meet with Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week because there was not enough time to plan such a high-stakes meeting.

But he says Iran emerged hopeful from a lower-level meeting with the US and its international partners aimed at restarting talks to settle their nuclear standoff.
02:43  PM leaves for New York to attend UN session:  
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has left for New York to attend the UN General Assembly session there soon after a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office.

Dr Singh met Obama at the Oval Office of White House, their first bilateral summit meeting after nearly three years.

Accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, NSA Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh and Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Singh arrived at the White House for delegation-level talks that covered the stalemate in the ties over a civil nuclear deal finalised five years ago.

In New York, Singh would address the UN General Assembly session on Saturday and will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on September 29.
01:25  Obama extends rarest of rare gesture for PM:  
In the rarest of the rare gesture, US President Barack Obama personally walked down to the White House portico to see off Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a meeting with him at the Oval Office today. 

Those familiar with the strict White House protocol said that this is rarest of the rare gesture by the President, which they have not seen in the recent past. 

Officials in the past have noted that Obama has great respect for the Prime Minister not only as a great leader and a statesman but also as an economist. The two leaders have enjoyed a great personal equation. 

Obama had hosted his presidency's first State Dinner for the Prime Minister in November 2009 and has described India and United States as the indispensable partners of the 21st century.
00:41  India endorses Obama's diplomacy on Syria, Iran:  
India today came out in support of US President Barack Obama's policies on Syria and Iran, saying diplomacy needs to be given a chance. 

"I complimented him for his vision, for his courage in giving diplomacy yet another chance," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters in a joint media interaction with Obama inside the Oval Office of the White House, following an hour long meeting between the two leaders. 

India, he said, fully supports these initiatives because six million Indians live in West Asia and the Middle East. 

"They earn their livelihood there, which is an important part of sustaining our values of freedom," he added. 

"Therefore, anything that contributes to peace and stability in the Middle East, in Iran, in Syria, is something which is in the interest of the global economy; it is certainly in the interest of people in the region in which I and India is placed," Singh said.
00:17  India, US seal 1st commercial deal on civil nuclear power:  
India and the US have reached the first commercial agreement on civilian nuclear power, five years after a landmark deal between the two countries was clinched.

Addressing a joint media interaction after talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Barack Obama disclosed that the two countries have sealed the agreement. 

"We've made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power, and in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a US company and India on civilian nuclear power," Obama said. 
00:16  Sonia talks to PM after Rahul outburst:  
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today spoke over telephone to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hours after Rahul caused political tremors with his denunciation of the ordinance on lawmakers and sharp attack on the government on the issue.

There was no official word on what was discussed between the two but coming as it does after Rahul's remarks it was likely they discussed the raging issue. 

The Prime Minister is away in Washington for talks with President Barack Obama.
00:15  President consults legal experts on ordinance:  
President Pranab Mukherjee today consulted a number of legal experts seeking their opinions on the controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers. 

The President's consultations were part of his exercise to firm up an opinion on the ordinance and his course of action, Rashtrapati Bhavan source said. 

The ordinance, approved by the union cabinet earlier this week and referred to him, drew a sharp reaction from Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. 

Mukherjee had called Home Minister and Leader of the House in Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde, Law Minister Kapil Sibal and later Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath yesterday for consultations on the issue.

The ordinance seeks to undo the Supreme Court judgement striking down a provision in the electoral law that protected MPs and MLAs convicted for serious crimes from immediate disqualification.
00:15  Iran will 'never deviate' from nuclear pledges:  
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed today his country would never deviate from its pledges at nuclear talks and said his country would propose a new plan at next month's Geneva meeting.

"At the next meeting in Geneva, Iran will propose its plan to the P5+1," the new Iranian leader told reporters, adding "we will never deviate from our commitments."
00:14  Top headlines at this hour:  Sharif plays good cop, bad cop with India @ UN

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